Ecosystems are complex things. The diagram above is mislabeled. It is a simply diagram of a complex ecosystem. To better understand how we might try to understand complex things, it helps to work on a real one.
This time I want you to think about a bounded physical space. It could be your house, your backyard, a field next to your house, a nearby pond, your car, etc. — something that you can actually see all at once. Now think about it as a system. Simplify this system into the important parts and then diagram a material flow (inputs, outputs, internal cycles). Pick either a) water or b) carbon. If you choose carbon and don’t know too much about what carbon is and where it comes from, look at:
This may be more than you need to know… so focus on what you need to know about carbon. Try to keep it simple. Try to indicate which are more important processes (larger flux) and which are less important. Think about the time frame that you are considering the diagram to represent. EMail me the diagram. Now tell me what is hard about this question. What do you not understand?
Matt’s Compost Bin: