Changes and Dynamics

In the usual sense, changes are processes that modify the structure and/or the dynamic of a system. But the dynamic is at the same time a type of change. Probably a way to clarify this concept is to distinguish a dynamic, as a product of a self-organizing system, from a sudden unpredictable event that produces changes. The history of the system is not the main cause of changes "sensu stricto," but only the reference system. Historically, dynamics have played the main role, determining the sequences of species, pattern, or process turnover. Succession in plant communities is a well-known example of dynamics that develop in a historical context. In other words, dynamics refer to changes linked to a sequence of nonrandom events. In this case, we could call this a patterned history as opposed to a stochastic history in the case of an unpredictable disturbance.

Changes generally are considered in terms of space and time and rarely in terms of function, but see Tilman for the concept of ecological debt (Tilman et al. 1994).

Functional changes capture both the emergent properties of a system as well as the functionality of individuals.

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