Ecosystems as products of spatially and temporally varying driving forces, ecological processes, and landscapes: a theoretical perspective

D. L. Deangelis, P. S. White

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

The general features of an ecosystem can be predicted from the underlying geology and exogenous abiotic driving forces, such as mean annual temperature, insolation, precipitation, and nutrient input. A more precise prediction of the ecosystem depends on knowing the natural variability of the driving forces, both temporally and spatially, which control processes of material accumulation and loss that result in the structural aspect of the ecosystem. There are three general types of variability: gradual change, such as changes in climate and sea level; disturbances, such as hurricanes, freezes, and fires; and natural periodicities, such as the cycles of dry and wet seasons. Species are adapted in a number of ways, such as phenotypic plasticity and mobility on a heterogeneous landscape, in order to maintain relative stability in spite of this natural variability in conditions, but rapid changes outside the normal range of variability and reduction of the size and heterogeneity of the landscape on which the biotic community exists can threaten the integrity of the system. -Authors

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEverglades: the ecosystem and its restoration
EditorsS.M. Davis, J.C. Ogden
Pages9-27
Number of pages19
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

Deangelis, D. L., & White, P. S. (1994). Ecosystems as products of spatially and temporally varying driving forces, ecological processes, and landscapes: a theoretical perspective. In S. M. Davis, & J. C. Ogden (Eds.), Everglades: the ecosystem and its restoration (pp. 9-27)