Landscape Ecology

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 107–113 | Cite as

Spatial scale influence on longterm temporal patterns of a semi-arid grassland

  • Samuel D. Fuhlendorf
  • Fred E. Smeins
Article

Abstract

Longterm (45 years) temporal data were used to assess the influence of spatial scale on temporal patterns of a semi-arid west Texas grassland. Temporal basal area dynamics of common curlymesquite (Hilaria belangeri (Steud.) Nash) collected from permanent plots within two areas that were released from disturbance (longterm overgrazing and drought), were evaluated at two spatial scales (quadrat, site). Wiens (1989) proposed hypotheses to characterize the influence of scale on variability, predictability, and equilibrium. These hypotheses were tested for this grassland and temporal patterns observed were different for each spatial scale. The large scale (site) was characterized by low variation between units, high variation within units, high potential predictability, and possible movement toward a fluctuating but relatively stable or equilibrial state. At the small scale (quadrat), variation between units was high, predictability low, and there was no indication of movement toward a stable state; chaotic behavior may be expressed at this scale although the length of the temporal record may not be sufficient to evaluate this phenomenon.

Keywords

scaling temporal patterns equilibrium stability succession predictability variability grassland savannah chaos ecological scale vegetation dynamics 

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Copyright information

© SBP Academic Publishing bv 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel D. Fuhlendorf
    • 1
  • Fred E. Smeins
    • 1
  1. 1.Department Rangeland Ecology and ManagementTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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