The University of Arizona

Application of nonequilibrium ecology to management of Mediterranean grasslands.

M.R. George, J.R. Brown, W.J. Clawson


The state and transition model and the ball and cup analogy are used to organize the vegetation dynamics knowledge base for California's annual-dominated Mediterranean grasslands. These models help identify irreversible transitions and alternate stable states. Mechanisms that facilitate movement between successional stable states are categorized as demographic inertia, seedbank and germination, grazing impacts, establishment and competition, fire feedback, and irreversible changes in soil conditions. While theoretical work needs to continue to further describe states and transitions, managers can begin to use existing knowledge to develop management plans with realistic species composition objectives and to select the appropriate tools for reaching objectives.


simulation models;annual grasslands;plant ecology;population dynamics;fires;fire effects;Mediterranean climate;natural grasslands;plant communities;California;range management;rangelands;grazing

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