Thermodynamic aspects of the systems approach in ecology

Keywords: ecological system, thermodynamic approach, sustainability, system organization, entropy, anti-entropy


Purpose. research from thermodynamic positions of the properties of ecological systems of various types under the influence of anthropogenic factors.

Methods. Analytical-synthetic method, analysis of information sources, entropy analysis.

Results. The effect of an anthropogenic factor on the ecosystem will result in a decrease in the antientropy of the components. The response of the ecosystem will be different depending on the strength and duration of the disturbance. With a strong and sufficiently long impact, the antientropy of the components falls while preserving the organization of the ecosystem until the too low level of the antientropy of the components does not include their own regulatory reactions aimed at restraining the fall of the antientropy even to the detriment of the organization of the system. The organization begins to fall. Since the influence is strong enough and does not stop, the regulatory mechanisms of the components are not able to stabilize the antientropy. The process of falling anti-entropy and organization continues, the system is irreversibly going to its demise. With an average strength, but long-term impact, the components manage to stabilize their anti-entropy at some sub-optimal, but acceptable level at the expense of energy reserves while preserving the organization. However, if the influence continues and does not weaken, the components, not being able to return their antientropy to the original optimal level, sooner or later cannot cope with the continuous perturbation, and their antientropy begins to fall again, now together with the organization. With a weak or short-term impact, the components, adapting to new conditions, return the antientropy to the optimal level (with a strong or medium impact, this is possible only after its termination before irreversible changes in the system). In this case, the organization of the system remains constant, since the disturbing action in this case did not lead the ecosystem beyond the effective operation of homeostatic mechanisms.

Thus, the critical moment when an anthropogenic factor acts on an ecosystem is the beginning of the fall of its organization, when homeostasis has completely exhausted itself in countering the disturbance, and the ecosystem begins to irreversibly degrade. So, to control the state of the ecosystem exposed to the anthropogenic factor, it is enough to monitor the organization of the system: if it does not decrease, we can talk about relative well-being, but if the organization falls, the ecosystem is on the verge of death, and it is necessary to take measures to save it.

However, the periodic and fairly frequent measurement of the organization of the ecosystem is a task, although one that does not cause fundamental difficulties, but is very time-consuming, primarily due to finding the average module of the correlation coefficients of the parameters.

Determining the complexity of the ecosystem according to the formula, although associated with certain difficulties associated with finding the number of connections, does not require time-consuming mathematical processing.


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Author Biographies

Vitalii Bezsonnyi, V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University

PhD (Technics), Associate Professor

Oleg Tretyakov, National Aviation University

DSc (Technics), Professor

Mykola Sherstyuk, Sumy State University

PhD Student

Alla Nekos, V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University

DSc (Geography), Professor


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How to Cite
Bezsonnyi, V., Tretyakov, O., Sherstyuk, M., & Nekos, A. (2022). Thermodynamic aspects of the systems approach in ecology. Visnyk of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Series "Geology. Geography. Ecology", (57), 268-281.