The lengths of food chains within ecosystems have been thought to be limited either by the productivity of the ecosystem or by the resilience of that ecosystem after pertur- bation. Models based on ecological energetics that follow the form of Lotka-Volterra equations and equations that include material (detritus) recycling show that productivity and resilience are inextricably interrelated. The models were initialized with data from 5- to 1 0-year studies of actual soil food webs. Estimates indicate that most ecological production worldwide is from ecosystems that are themselves sufficiently productive to recover from minor perturbations.
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