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Sullivan, S. and Rohde, R. 2002. On non-equilibrium in arid and semi-arid grazing systems. Journal of Biogeography, 29: 1595-1618


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On non-equilibrium in arid and semi-arid grazing systems.

Summary / Notes:

A debate in ecology rages over the sources and types of dynamic behaviour driving ecological systems. Drylands have become a particular focus of this debate. In these environments extreme and unpredictable variability in rainfall are considered to confer non-equilibrium dynamics by continually disruptingrnthe tight consumer–resource relations otherwise considered to pull a system towards equilibrium. This implies that livestock grazing in drylands, widely thought to cause degradation and desertification through bad management practices leading to overstocking, might not be causing irreversible ecological change through over-use of vegetation. An article recently published in Ecological Applications (Illius & O’Connor, 1999), however, argues that variability in arid and semi-arid grazing systems is not the outcome of qualitatively different dynamical behaviour, and that livestock do cause negative change through normal density-dependent relations. The authors maintain that these operate primarily in key resource areas and during drought periods.

Year: 2002

Type: Journal Article

Origin: DRFN DLIB

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