Environmental variability

Environmental conditions, such as temperature or precipitation, are important drivers of plant growth and are not temporally constant in real systems. For example, in many arid and semiarid systems, precipitation is highly variable and unpredictable. Additionally, there is often an autocorrelation in rainfall which produces prolonged wet and dry periods at timescales of decades. To appropriately investigate the effect of grazing in such systems the stochastic rainfall needs to be considered explicitly. To date, the grazing models presented above failed to account for this inherent characteristic of semiarid and arid grazing systems and are thus restricted to, for example, temperate systems as in middle Europe, where environmental sto-chasticity plays a minor role for resource dynamics. It is intuitively clear that strong rainfall stochasticity will destroy the filigree structure of the deterministic models. The degree of stochasticity of environmental fluctuations, at which stochasticity dominates the behavior of the system, is yet to be determined.

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