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Title

Self-organized spatial patterns of vegetation in alpine grasslands

AuthorsAlados, Concepción L. ; El Aich, Ahmed; Komac, Benjamin ; Pueyo, Yolanda ; García-González, Ricardo ; García-González, Ricardo
KeywordsSpatial patterns
Diversity
Fractals
Self-organization
Alpine grasslands
Issue Date2007
PublisherElsevier
CitationEcological Modelling 201(2): 233-242 (2007)
AbstractThere is increased interest in vegetation spatial pattern as an indicator of transition shifts following catastrophes. Much, however, remains unknown about the mechanisms that underlie spatial pattern formations. In this study, we examined how the spatial heterogeneity of species distributions in the grasslands of the Central Pyrenees and Middle Atlas Mountains is associated with plant species diversity and the importance of self-organizing processes in the control of pattern formations. In the grasslands of the Central Pyrenees and Middle Atlas, the spatial heterogeneity of species distributions increased along a habitat degradation gradient defined by an increase in bare soil. In Central Pyrenees grasslands, however, the increase in heterogeneity was associated with self-organizing bare soil formations, rather than the self-organizing distribution of plant species. In Middle Atlas grasslands, the increased heterogeneity of species spatial distributions was a consequence of the self-organizing capacity of the composing species; the increase in bare soil was randomly distributed. In the more heavily grazed grasslands (Middle Atlas), but not in the more lightly grazed and better preserved ecosystem (Central Pyrenees), plant species richness and diversity declined significantly with an increase in grazing pressure because fewer species were able to colonize empty space. On the contrary, the colonization of bare soil by new species increased the diversity and spatial organization of new colonizing species in Central Pyrenees grassland.
Description10 páginas, 5 figuras, 3 tablas.-- El PDF del artículo es la copia de autor.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2006.09.014
URI10261/35317
DOI10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2006.09.014
ISSN0304-3800
Appears in Collections:(IPE) Artículos
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