Mathematical and computational approaches provide powerful tools in the study of problems in population biology and ecosystem science. Recent analytical advances, coupled with the enhanced potential of high-speed computation, have opened up new sights and presented new challenges especially in those fields of ecological theory which met methodological restrictions in the past: For many years scales and hierarchies have been considered an important research topic in ecology. Nevertheless, the prevailing methodological constraints frequently reduced the analysis to conceptual considerations. Conceptual structuring remains to be the primary practical contribution of scale and hierarchy to the development of ecological theory. In this volume we attempt to demonstrate to what extent this is currently changing. The application of models which are capable to represent precisely the relations of different scales and integration levels have made a remarkable progress and let us observe how a wide range of emergent properties can be analysed in the output of ecological models. By linking empirical findings and similar model specifications with the implementation of self-organisation processes on the level of model components, the analytical and synthetic power of modelling can be extended to a new, synergistic level. The contributions of this volume provide background, examples and current results. The volume starts with concept articles, then presents an example of artificial networks, provides papers concerning genetic aspects and ends with articles dealing with botanical features.