Complexity vs. Stability

  • James C. Frauenthal
Part of the The Umap Expository Monograph Series book series (UMAP)


A tropical rain forest is ecologically more stable than the sub-arctic tundra. If the number of species present is chosen as a measure of the ‘complexity’ of the ecosystem, and the ability of the species present to persist in time is taken as a sign of ‘stability’ then the above examples are interpreted to mean that Complexity leads to Stability. Another example of this hypothesis comes from agricultural observations. In general, a field with several interplanted crops is more resistant to a pest outbreak than a field with just a single crop.


Trophic Level Tropical Rain Forest Resilient System Single Crop Pest Outbreak 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. May, R.M., Stability and Complexity in Model Ecosystems, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J., 1973.Google Scholar
  2. Maynard Smith, J., Models in Ecology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1974.MATHGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Education Development Center, Inc. 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • James C. Frauenthal
    • 1
  1. 1.Applied Mathematics and StatisticsState University of New YorkUSA

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