Gassmann, F; Klotzli, F; Walther, GR: Simulation of observed types of dynamics of plants and plant communities, JOURNAL OF VEGETATION SCIENCE, 11(3), 397-408 (2000)
Observations of different plant communities over several decades reveal five types of dynamics: constant, fluctuating, growing, decaying, intermittent. With a modelling approach based on interacting particle systems (cellular automata), these distinct types of dynamics can be simulated. In addition, the proposed model shows a strong tendency towards the formation of patches when started with random initial conditions. Further, it gives evidence for dominance resulting from the interplay of plant characteristics and patterns rather than being attributable to certain plant types alone, so making questionable the existence of key species and the usefulness of a constant mapping key over extended periods. The presented model unifies the fundamental dichotomy in vegetation dynamics between determinism (predictability) and disorder (chance effects) by showing the outcome of both classical theories as special cases.
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