eCite Digital Repository

Feedbacks and landscape-level vegetation dynamics


Bowman, DMJS and Perry, GLW and Marston, JB, Feedbacks and landscape-level vegetation dynamics, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 30, (5) pp. 255-260. ISSN 0169-5347 (2015) [Contribution to Refereed Journal]

Pending copyright assessment - Request a copy

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.tree.2015.03.005


Alternative stable-state theory (ASS) is widely accepted as explaining landscape-level vegetation dynamics, such as switches between forest and grassland. This theory argues that webs of feedbacks stabilise vegetation composition and structure, and that abrupt state shifts can occur if stabilising feedbacks are weakened. However, it is difficult to identify stabilising feedback loops and the disturbance thresholds beyond which state changes occur. Here, we argue that doing this requires a synthetic approach blending observation, experimentation, simulation, conceptual models, and narratives. Using forest boundaries and large mammal extinctions, we illustrate how a multifaceted research program can advance understanding of feedback-driven ecosystem change. Our integrative approach has applicability to other complex macroecological systems controlled by numerous feedbacks where controlled experimentation is impossible.

Item Details

Item Type:Contribution to Refereed Journal
Keywords:feedbacks, fire, modelling vegetation dynamics, landscape ecology
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:105835
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:58
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2016-01-15
Last Modified:2016-08-10
Downloads:7 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page