Ecological analysis of world trade

Leonardo Ermann, Dima L. Shepelyansky

Ecological systems have a high level of complexity combined with stability and rich biodiversity. Recently, the analysis of their properties and evolution has been pushed forward on a basis of concept of mutualistic networks that provides a detailed understanding of their features being linked to a high nestedness of these networks. It was shown that the nestedness architecture of mutualistic networks of plants and their pollinators minimizes competition and increases biodiversity. Here, using the United Nations COMTRADE database for years 1962 - 2009, we show that a similar ecological analysis gives a valuable description of the world trade. In fact the countries and trade products are analogous to plants and pollinators, and the whole trade network is characterized by a low nestedness temperature which is typical for the ecological networks. This approach provides new mutualistic features of the world trade highlighting new significance of countries and trade products for the world trade.

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