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State and Transition Modeling: An Ecological Process Approach

Tamzen K. Stringham, William C. Krueger and Patrick L. Shaver
Journal of Range Management
Vol. 56, No. 2 (Mar., 2003), pp. 106-113
DOI: 10.2307/4003893
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4003893
Page Count: 8
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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.
State and Transition Modeling: An Ecological Process Approach
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Abstract

State-and-transition models hold great potential to aid in understanding rangeland ecosystems' response to natural and/or management-induced disturbances by providing a framework for organizing current understanding of potential ecosystem dynamics. Many conceptual state-and-transition models have been developed, however, the ecological interpretation of the model's primary components, states, transitions, and thresholds, has varied due to a lack of universally accepted definitions. The lack of consistency in definitions has led to confusion and criticism indicating the need for further development and refinement of the theory and associated models. We present an extensive review of current literature and conceptual models and point out the inconsistencies in the application of nonequilibrium ecology concepts. The importance of ecosystem stability as defined by the resistance and resilience of plant communities to disturbance is discussed as an important concept relative to state-and-transition modeling. Finally, we propose a set of concise definitions for state-and-transition model components and we present a conceptual model of state/transition/threshold relationships that are determined by the resilience and resistance of the ecosystems' primary ecological processes. This model provides a framework for development of process-based state-and-transition models for management and research. /// Los modelos de estados-y- transición presentan un gran potencial para ayudar a entender la respuesta de los ecosistemas de pastizal a los disturbios naturales y/o inducidos por el manejo al proveer una estructura para organizar el conocimiento presente de las dinámicas del potencial del ecosistema. Muchos modelos conceptuales de estados-y-transición han sido desarrollados, sin embargo, la interpretación ecológica de los componentes principales del modelo: estados, transiciones y umbrales han variado debido a la carencia de definiciones universalmente aceptadas. La falta de consistencia en las definiciones ha conducido a confusión y critica indicando la necesidad de un mayor desarrollo y refinamiento de la teoría y los modelos asociados. Nosotros presentamos una revisión extensiva de la literatura actual y modelos conceptuales y puntualizamos las inconsistencias en la aplicación de los conceptos de la ecología de no equilibrio. La importancia de la estabilidad del ecosistema, definida como la resistencia y resilencia de las comunidades vegetales a los disturbios, se discute como un concepto importante relativo al modelaje de estados-y- transición. Finalmente, proponemos un grupo de definiciones concisas para los componentes del modelo de estados-y-transición y presentamos un modelo conceptual de las relaciones de estados/transiciones/umbrales que están determinadas por la resilensia y resistencia de los principales procesos ecológicos del ecosistema. Este modelo provee un marco para el desarrollo de modelos de estados-y-transición basados en procesos para manejo e investigación.

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