Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

Site-Specific Properties and Irreversible Vegetation Changes in Semi-Arid Grazing Systems

Max Rietkerk, Frank van den Bosch and Johan van de Koppel
Oikos
Vol. 80, No. 2 (Nov., 1997), pp. 241-252
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3546592
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3546592
Page Count: 12
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Site-Specific Properties and Irreversible Vegetation Changes in Semi-Arid Grazing Systems
Preview not available

Abstract

There is an urgent need to develop a mechanistic understanding of how site-specific properties can lead to irreversible vegetation changes. We show, by means of a bifurcation analysis of two mathematical models, how site-specific properties determine the resilience of vegetation changes in semi-arid grazing systems. The models predict that if available soil water limits plant growth, the vegetation supported by sandy soils is generally resilient to herbivore impact and rainfall fluctuations, unlike the vegetation on clayey soils. This depends on the capacity of vegetation communities to improve the structural and water-holding capacities of the soil. In contrast, if plant growth is nutrient limited, vegetation on sandy soils is generally not resilient to herbivore impact and fluctuations in external nutrient input, unlike the vegetation supported by clayey soils. This is affected by the nutrient retention capacity of vegetation communities. We stress the applicability of the general theory provided by this model to the Sahel environment. The model predictions are consistent with field observations documented in the literature.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
241
    241
  • Thumbnail: Page 
242
    242
  • Thumbnail: Page 
243
    243
  • Thumbnail: Page 
244
    244
  • Thumbnail: Page 
245
    245
  • Thumbnail: Page 
246
    246
  • Thumbnail: Page 
247
    247
  • Thumbnail: Page 
248
    248
  • Thumbnail: Page 
249
    249
  • Thumbnail: Page 
250
    250
  • Thumbnail: Page 
251
    251
  • Thumbnail: Page 
252
    252