Model of ecological succession.

Eugene Odum (1913-2002) was a highly influential ecologist of the 20th century. His 1969 paper, “The Strategy of Ecosystem Development,” proposed a general model for ecological succession informed by research over the previous decades. He argued that “an understanding of ecological succession provides a basis for resolving man’s conflict with nature” (p. 262). His proposed model motivated a new generation of ecologists to formulate and test hypotheses about ecological succession (see, e.g., Christensen 2104) and inspired those seeking a scientific foundation for environmentalism (see, e.g., Worster 1994).

craft an argumentative essay (5 pages, double-spaced) that evaluates Odum’s argument within the context of Pacific Northwest forest ecosystems.

Does Odum’s model of ecological succession provide a useful framework for understanding ecosystem development over time? For instance, does his model capture the patterns and processes of Pacific Northwest forests that you observe on the Evergreen campus, the Olympic Peninsula, and elsewhere in our region?

What function do scientific models serve in ecological science? On the one hand, they might clarify ecological patterns and processes, illuminate causal connections, or produce generalizable knowledge that can be applied to multiple situations. On the other hand, they might oversimplify complex phenomena or focus attention on certain causal factors at the expense of others. Explore with examples!

Assuming that Odum’s model of succession does serve a useful function in ecological theory, does this model offer valuable insights for human society or a framework for understanding environmental issues? In practical terms, does it provide a useful framework for natural resource management or ecological restoration?

Assuming that Odum’s model of succession does not serve a useful function in ecological theory, what kind of approach would you recommend? Should generalizable knowledge play a role in ecological theory?

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