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Two recent theoretical papers put a capstone on Dr. Jordanís 50 years of research in ecosystems ranging from the Amazon rain forest to organic farms in Georgia. The papers are summarized first for practical meaning and application, and then presented in their entirety along with citations.

The Farm as a Thermodynamic System: Implications of the Maximum Power Principle

Industrial farming systems lack internal biological control, that is, feedback systems that promote stability of the systems. Thermodynamic principles dictate that such farming systems can maximize yield or minimize environmental impact, but cannot do both at the same time. So what is a farmer to do? A farmer can manage the farm to build internal feedback systems based on services of nature such as nutrient conservation by soil microorganisms. Such feedback adds structure and resilience to the ecosystem without sacrificing yield.

Download Paper: The Farm as a Thermodynamic System: Implications of the Maximum Power Principle

Carl F. Jordan

Energy Analysis of Coffee Production Systems

Industrial agriculture results in higher short term yields than organic agriculture and agroforestry systems but at the expense of long term ecosystem degradation. Because of concerns for positive international balance of payments, national governments favor industrial agriculture. Maximizing economic sustainability at the national level precludes maximizing sustainability at the local community and traditional farming levels of an agricultural hierarchy. 

Download Paper:ENERGY ANALYSIS OF COFFEE PRODUCTION SYSTEMS: Implications for Environmental and Economic Sustainability

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