Ecosystem ecology is the integrated study of biotic and abiotic components of ecosystems and their interactions within an ecosystem framework. This science examines how ecosystems work and relates this to their components such as chemicals, bedrock, soil, plants, and animals. A major focus of ecosystem ecology is on functional processes, ecological mechanisms that maintain the structure and services produced by ecosystems. These include primary productivity (production of biomass), decomposition, and trophic interactions. Studies of ecosystem function have greatly improved human understanding of sustainable production of forage, fibre, fuel, and provision of water. Functional processes are mediated by regional-to-local level climate, disturbance, and management thus ecosystem ecology provides a powerful framework for identifying ecological mechanisms that interact with global environmental problems, especially global warming and degradation of surface water. This book presents the latest developments in the field from around the world.