Grasslands are complex ecosystems, and understanding the ecological processes and factors determining its dynamics, productivity, and biodiversity requires use of combined approaches of field measurements, experimentation, data analysis, and modeling. Thus, ecological models are important tools for ecologists working in grasslands. However, the term 'model' has been used in such a variety of contexts that it has become almost meaningless, unless used with some qualifications. In the present context, models may be regarded as a simplified and formalized representation of ecological processes, either using mathematical or computer simulation techniques, which produce, based on a set of assumptions, a quantitative output. Grassland models are as varied as the purposes for which they have been constructed, and cover various spatial and temporal scales and various degrees of detail. Our focus lies on ecological models which are concerned with grassland population and community dynamics with less attention to grassland models of matter and energy flows or biophysical processes. In this article, most grassland models are conceptual, empirical, analytical, or simulation models.
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