Components of Stability

Holling (1973) originally defined stability as the ability of a community to withstand disturbance with little change in structure, whereas resilience was the capacity of the community to recover following perturbation. Webster et al. (1975) subsequently refined the definition of stability to incorporate both resistance to change and resilience following perturbation. Succession is the expression of resilience. However, the criteria for measuring stability remain elusive. What degree of change...

Major Cycles

In the absence of biota, the rate and direction of chemical fluxes would be controlled solely by the physical and chemical factors determining exchanges between abiotic pools. Chemicals would be retained at a site only to the extent that chelation or concentration gradients restricted leaching or diffusion. Exposed nutrients would continue to move with wind or water (erosion). Biotic uptake and storage of chemical resources creates a biotic pool that reduces...

Factors Affecting Succession

Succession generally progresses toward the community type characteristic of the biome within which it occurs (e.g., toward deciduous forest within the deciduous forest biome or toward chaparral within the chaparral biome e.g.,Whittaker 1953, 1970). However, succession can progress along various alternative pathways and reach alternative endpoints (such as stands dominated by beech, Fagus, maple, Acer, or hemlock, Tsuga, within the eastern deciduous forest in North America), depending on a...

Regulation of Net Primary Productivity by Biodiversity

Ecosystem Stability Biodiversity

The extent to which biodiversity contributes to ecosystem stability has been highly controversial (see Chapter 10). Different species have been shown to control different aspects of ecosystem function (e.g., production, decomposition, and nutrient fluxes), demonstrating that biodiversity in its broadest sense affects ecosystem function (Beare et al. 1995, Vitousek and Hooper 1993, Waide et al. 1999, Woodwell 1993). The presence or absence of individual species affects biotic, atmospheric,...