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EQUILIBRIUM IS A term from general systems theory that has been a central concept in ecology for several decades. In general systems theory, equilibrium is a steady state (homeostasis) that the system achieves due to negative feedback, causing changes in the system to quickly return to the initial state. In terms of ecology, equilibrium occurs when a biotic community maintains a constant species composition and abiotic nutrients and energy are cycled through food webs such that the amount of energy and nutrients entering the biotic community are balanced by output of these abiotic components. Equilibirium is considered to be reached in late stages of ecosystem development when high biodiversity across all trophic levels and a high degree of niche specialization result in all available ...

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