Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 402312
Title Robust scaling in ecosystems and the meltdown of patch size distributions before extinction
Author(s) Kefi, S.; Rietkerk, M.; Roy, M.; Franc, A.; Ruiter, P.C. de; Pascual, M.
Source Ecology Letters 14 (2011)1. - ISSN 1461-023X - p. 29 - 35.
Department(s) Resource Ecology
Biometris (WU MAT)
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) spatial vegetation patterns - power laws - catastrophic shifts - ecological-systems - local interactions - leading indicator - arid ecosystems - regime shifts - desertification - criticality
Abstract Robust critical systems are characterized by power laws which occur over a broad range of conditions. Their robust behaviour has been explained by local interactions. While such systems could be widespread in nature, their properties are not well understood. Here, we study three robust critical ecosystem models and a null model that lacks spatial interactions. In all these models, individuals aggregate in patches whose size distributions follow power laws which melt down under increasing external stress. We propose that this power-law decay associated with the connectivity of the system can be used to evaluate the level of stress exerted on the ecosystem. We identify several indicators along the transition to extinction. These indicators give us a relative measure of the distance to extinction, and have therefore potential application to conservation biology, especially for ecosystems with self-organization and critical transitions
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