The work that an ecosystem can carry out decreases as a function of lost work, when some natural or anthropogenic alterations exist; the extinction of the ecosystem depends on how much lost work it can support. Lost work assessment in an ecosystem can be determined and then used as an indicator of the environmental impact. If the ecosystem is divided in subsystems and each subsystem is interrelated with the other ones, an ideal work can be obtained to revoke all the damage from each alteration in the ecosystem (being the subsystems the water, the soil, the atmosphere, the organisms and the society). Thus, the global index could be determined by adding the partial indexing of each subsystem, and could be used to determine the trend that an ecosystem will follow due to alterations.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.