Frontiers of Biology in China

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 158–179 | Cite as

Multi-scale trajectory analysis: powerful conceptual tool for understanding ecological change



The model at the basis of trajectory analysis is conceptually simple. When applied to time series vegetation data, the projectile becomes a surrogate for vegetation state, the trajectory for the evolving vegetation process, and the properties of the trajectory for the true process characteristics. Notwithstanding its simplicity, the model is well-defined under natural circumstances and easily adapted to serial vegetation data, irrespective of source. As a major advantage, compared to other models that isolate the elementary processes and probe vegetation dynamics for informative regularities on the elementary level, the trajectory model allows us to probe for regularities on the level of the highest process integrity. Theories and a data analytical methodology developed around the trajectory model are outlined, including many numerical examples. A rich list of key references and volumes of supplementary information supplied in the Web Only Appendices rounds out the presentation.


attractor migration determinism fractal dimension parallelism periodicity phase structure 


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© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ecologia QuantitativaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.LondonCanada

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