“Natural Areas as Necessary Components of Man’s Total Environment
Eugene P. & Howard T. Odum

“Our theme is that natural environment is an essential part of man’s total environment. Preservation of a substantial portion of the biosphere in a natural state, while not a panacea for all the ills of humankind, is, nonetheless, a necessity if we base the carrying capacity of the earth on the quality of human life. First, we define ‘natural environment’ as that part or our environment which is essentially self-supporting, in that a minimum of human management is required for maintenance. In terms of function, ‘natural environment’ is the part of man’s life support system that operates without energetic or economic input from the power flows directly controlled by man. ‘Natural environment’ is a more restricted category than ‘open space,’ a term widely used by planners to mean any part of the landscape, whether natural or man-made, that is free of building structures. In this context ‘natural environment’ includes ecological systems ranging from little-used wildernesses to moderately used forests, grasslands, rivers, estuaries and oceans which produces useful products and recycle wastes on a continuous basis, but without appreciable economic cost to man."“Developed systems generate economic wealth but the economic cost of maintenance in creases as a power function of the intensity of the development.”

For an analysis of the above paragraph with active links for key terms press here.

For a formula interpreting the above go on.


C = N (N-1) N squared


C is equal to any number called "N," times that number minus one, times that same number "N" squared.

or approximately C = any number (3), multiplied by 3-1,

multiplied by 3 squared





C is the network of services (sidewalks, roads, sewers, fire, police, schools, hospitals)
N is the number of units in the network of services “Thus if a city doubles from 10 to 20 million units the cost goes up 4 times.”

pp. 178-179

37th Annual National Wildlife Conference Proceedings