Conclusions

Hysteresis is a concept whose importance has been recognized by researchers at both the ecosystem and population/ community levels. However, this duality has given rise to some confusion in the literature. Nonetheless, the confusion is readily dispelled, and the two approaches integrated, with a simple understanding of the different ways in which ecosystem and community researchers formulate models of dynamic processes. The practical importance of hysteresis lies in the recognition that changes that humans may induce in ecosystem state or function might be a great deal harder to reverse than the ease with which the systems were changed in the first place.

See also: Agriculture Systems; Biological Wastewater Treatment Systems; Coexistence; Community; Ecosystem Services; Herbivore-Predator Cycles; Marine Models.

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