The health and integrity of an ecosystem is a multifaceted concept. It can become operational and of use in setting environmental policies once it is backed up by a theory that explicates the basic mechanisms of ecosystem functioning in response to stress. Despite the fact that ecosystem health remains a theoretical construct, the theory proposes a set of observed variables, basically the biotic stocks and flows of the ecosystem, empowered by a computable model, that give rise to operational and diagnostic measures of ecosystem health. The proposed measures are shown to correlate well with several other qualitative and quantitative measures of ecosystem health.

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