Hier finden Sie wissenschaftliche Publikationen aus den Fraunhofer-Instituten.

Alternatives to Growth. Climax Economy Modelled on Ecology

: Schäfers, Christoph; Bette, Kristina; Herrmann, Florian; Nawroth, Georg


Neugebauer, Reimund (Hrsg.):
Biological Transformation
Berlin: Springer, 2020
ISBN: 978-3-662-59658-6 (Print)
ISBN: 978-3-662-59659-3 (Online)
ISBN: 978-3-662-59660-9
ISBN: 978-3-662-59661-6
Aufsatz in Buch
Fraunhofer IME ()
Fraunhofer IAO ()

In any consideration of biological transformation, it is worthwhile to include a perspective on how populations manage the habitats in which they live, as described by population ecology. Strategies for growth and capacity can be understood in this context as extreme ways of responding to the fundamental question of how to make limited resources of energy and materials available to the next generation. In ecological succession research, the term climax designates a final state, which represents the hypothetical end stage of the developmental succession in plant, animal and soil communities. This is only achieved under stable environmental conditions and resource availability. Current globalization trends require that resources must also be considered globally. When we consider the human population and its demands, we are heading towards a climax situation with regard to our planet’s carrying capacity. This steady‐state situation will require a paradigm shift in the way we think about economy, if we want to avoid or at least attenuate the cyclical collapses observable in nature in rapidly growing populations. The global system as a whole exists under quasi‐constant conditions and at the limits of its capacity it requires a circular economy, which grows in stability by networking as many niche‐adapted economic entities as possible.
The present text describes the concept of climax economy, which can serve as a model for optimal resource utilization. Its principles may also be transferred to the current developments and challenges of the modern economy-such as increasing digitization and customization. Intelligent value networks that are based on diversity and occupy all available niches are prerequisites for a climax economy. These are illustrated using examples in agriculture and agroforestry as well as new developments in the automotive industry.