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...

Decomposition and Mineralization

An extensive literature has addressed the effects of detritivores on decomposition and mineralization rates (Coleman et al. 2004). Generally, the effect of arthropods on the decay rate of litter can be calculated by subtracting the decay rate when arthropods are excluded from the decay rate when arthropods are present (see Table 14.1). Detritivores affect decomposition and mineralization processes, including fluxes of carbon as CO2 or CH4, by fragmenting litter and by affecting rates of...

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,...