Modelling the complex dynamics of vegetation livestock and rainfall in a semiarid rangeland in South Africa

 

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dc.contributor.author Richardson, F D
dc.contributor.author Hoffman, Michael Timm
dc.contributor.author Gillson, Lindsey
dc.date.accessioned 2017-10-25T13:06:59Z
dc.date.available 2017-10-25T13:06:59Z
dc.date.issued 2010
dc.identifier http://dx.doi.org/10.2989/10220119.2010.520676
dc.identifier.citation Richardson, F. D., Hoffman, M. T., & Gillson, L. (2010). Modelling the complex dynamics of vegetation, livestock and rainfall in asemiarid rangeland in South Africa. African Journal of Range & Forage Science, 27(3), 125-142.t
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/25815
dc.description.abstract Predicting the effect of different management strategies on range condition is a challenge for farmers in highly variable environments. A model that explains how the relations between rainfall, livestock and vegetation composition vary over time and interact is needed. Rangeland ecosystems have a hierarchical structure that can be described in terms of vegetation composition, stocking rate and rainfall at the ecosystem level, and the performance of individual animals and plants at the lower level. In this paper, we present mathematical models that incorporate ideas from complex systems theory to integrate several strands of rangeland theory in a hierarchical framework. Compared with observed data from South Africa, the model successfully predicted the relationship between rainfall, vegetation composition and animal numbers over 30 years. Extending model runs over 100 years suggested that initial starting conditions can have a major effect on rangeland dynamics (divergence), and that hysteresis is more likely during a series of low rainfall years. Our model suggests that applying an upper threshold to animal numbers may help to conserve the biodiversity and resilience of grazing systems, whilst maintaining farmers’ ability to respond to changing environmental conditions, a management option here termed controlled disequilibrium.
dc.language.iso eng
dc.source African Journal of Range and Forage Science
dc.source.uri http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tarf20
dc.subject.other catastrophe theory
dc.subject.other complexity theory
dc.subject.other disequilibrium
dc.subject.other hysteresis
dc.subject.other moving attractors
dc.title Modelling the complex dynamics of vegetation livestock and rainfall in a semiarid rangeland in South Africa
dc.type Journal Article
dc.date.updated 2016-01-21T10:13:43Z
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Science en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image
dc.identifier.apacitation Richardson, F. D., Hoffman, M. T., & Gillson, L. (2010). Modelling the complex dynamics of vegetation livestock and rainfall in a semiarid rangeland in South Africa. <i>African Journal of Range and Forage Science</i>, http://hdl.handle.net/11427/25815 en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation Richardson, F D, Michael Timm Hoffman, and Lindsey Gillson "Modelling the complex dynamics of vegetation livestock and rainfall in a semiarid rangeland in South Africa." <i>African Journal of Range and Forage Science</i> (2010) http://hdl.handle.net/11427/25815 en_ZA
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation Richardson FD, Hoffman MT, Gillson L. Modelling the complex dynamics of vegetation livestock and rainfall in a semiarid rangeland in South Africa. African Journal of Range and Forage Science. 2010; http://hdl.handle.net/11427/25815. en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - AU - Richardson, F D AU - Hoffman, Michael Timm AU - Gillson, Lindsey AB - Predicting the effect of different management strategies on range condition is a challenge for farmers in highly variable environments. A model that explains how the relations between rainfall, livestock and vegetation composition vary over time and interact is needed. Rangeland ecosystems have a hierarchical structure that can be described in terms of vegetation composition, stocking rate and rainfall at the ecosystem level, and the performance of individual animals and plants at the lower level. In this paper, we present mathematical models that incorporate ideas from complex systems theory to integrate several strands of rangeland theory in a hierarchical framework. Compared with observed data from South Africa, the model successfully predicted the relationship between rainfall, vegetation composition and animal numbers over 30 years. Extending model runs over 100 years suggested that initial starting conditions can have a major effect on rangeland dynamics (divergence), and that hysteresis is more likely during a series of low rainfall years. Our model suggests that applying an upper threshold to animal numbers may help to conserve the biodiversity and resilience of grazing systems, whilst maintaining farmers’ ability to respond to changing environmental conditions, a management option here termed controlled disequilibrium. DA - 2010 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town J1 - African Journal of Range and Forage Science LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 2010 T1 - Modelling the complex dynamics of vegetation livestock and rainfall in a semiarid rangeland in South Africa TI - Modelling the complex dynamics of vegetation livestock and rainfall in a semiarid rangeland in South Africa UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/25815 ER - en_ZA


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