We can describe two types of ecotonal effects: a process effect and a pattern effect. The first is the result of a peculiar environmental constraint on the life trait of an organism (plant, animal, virus, fungus, bacterium) as intercepted by the species-specific eco-field. The pattern effect is the result of neighboring of a population or community patch at the margin of their existence (Fig. 6.4a, 6.4b).
Pattern effects are considered in a dynamic process of movement of the limit of such ecotones; for instance, the change of the tree line due to climatic changes or the substitution of one vegetation patch with another. This process may be gradual, abrupt, or intermediate. The graduality is quite common in community patches while abrupt changes occur especially in population patches.
Was this article helpful?