Fig. 1. The four ecosystem functions (r, K, Ω, α) and the flow of events among them. The arrows show the speed of that flow in the cycle, in which the arrows close to each other indicate a slowly changing situation. The cycle reflects changes in two attributes: (1) the y axis shows the amount of accumulated capital potential, e.g., nutrients, carbon, stored in the variables that are the dominant structuring variables at that moment, and (2) the x axis indicates the degree of connectedness among the variables. The arrows entering and leaving a phase suggest the points at which the system is most sensitive to external influence.