Resilience and Stability of Ecological Systems

Resilience and Stability of Ecological Systems Individuals die, populations disappear, and species become extinct. That is one view of the world. But another view of the world concentrates not so much on presence or absence as upon the numbers of organisms and the degree of constancy of their numbers. These are two very different ways of viewing the behavior of systems and the usefulness of the view depends very much on the properties of the system concerned. If we are examining a particular device designed by the engineer to perform specific tasks under a rather narrow range of predictable external condi­ tions, we are likely to be more concerned with consistent nonvariable performance in which slight departures from the performance goal are immddiately counteracted. A quantitative view of the behavior of the system is, therefore, essential. With attention focused upon achieving constancy, the critical events seem to be the amplitude and frequency of oscillations. But if we are dealing with a system pro­ foundly affected by changes external to it, and continually confronted by the unex­ pected, the constancy of its behavior becomes less important than the persistence of the relationships. Attention shifts, therefore, to the qualitative and to questions of existence or not. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics Annual Reviews

Resilience and Stability of Ecological Systems

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Abstract

Individuals die, populations disappear, and species become extinct. That is one view of the world. But another view of the world concentrates not so much on presence or absence as upon the numbers of organisms and the degree of constancy of their numbers. These are two very different ways of viewing the behavior of systems and the usefulness of the view depends very much on the properties of the system concerned. If we are examining a particular device designed by the engineer to perform specific tasks under a rather narrow range of predictable external condi­ tions, we are likely to be more concerned with consistent nonvariable performance in which slight departures from the performance goal are immddiately counteracted. A quantitative view of the behavior of the system is, therefore, essential. With attention focused upon achieving constancy, the critical events seem to be the amplitude and frequency of oscillations. But if we are dealing with a system pro­ foundly affected by changes external to it, and continually confronted by the unex­ pected, the constancy of its behavior becomes less important than the persistence of the relationships. Attention shifts, therefore, to the qualitative and to questions of existence or not.

Journal

Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and SystematicsAnnual Reviews

Published: Nov 1, 1973

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