Protected Land pp 115-127 | Cite as

Grassland Ecosystems

  • Douglas J. Spieles
Part of the Springer Series on Environmental Management book series (SSEM)


The ecosystems that we protect were forged by a long history of disturbance, stress, and response. In some ecosystems the disturbance and stress regimes have been harsher than others. Frequent, intense disruption can make a place nonviable for many species, as can severe and prolonged physiological limitations. As a ­consequence, we see simpler ecosystems in conditions of extreme disturbance and stress. The organisms that inhabit such ecosystems manage to exist as they do because they are in some way tolerant to the stress, adapted to the disturbance regime, and/or highly specialized to exploit some particular resource. The community- and system-level features of such environments consequently include some unique and fragile associations. When the disturbance regime changes abruptly, or when new stress is imposed, the former associations can rapidly dissolve, to be replaced by a new community as time and conditions allow.


Conservation Reserve Program Leafy Spurge Land Trust Umbrella Species Shortgrass Prairie 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Denison UniversityGranvilleUSA

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