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An Integrative Approach to Successional Dynamics: Tempo and Mode of Vegetation Change

  • Presents a comprehensive and integrative framework for understanding plant community dynamics – such a framework can be applied to any system and server to organize and guide research strategies
  • Utilizes a unique, long-term data set on plant community dynamics to address fundamental and conceptual questions in ecology – provides a rich context from which to develop a deeper understanding of the factors controlling plant community dynamics
  • Synthesizes fifty years of empirical research using innovative analyses and numerous graphs – allows a detailed understanding of the dynamics of the system and demonstrates the contingencies that operate over long temporal scales

By: Scott J Meiners(Author), Steward TA Pickett(Author), Mary L Cadenasso(Author)

303 pages, 94 b/w illustrations, 5 tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Mar 2015 | #218562 | ISBN-13: 9780521116428
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £66.99 $86/€73 approx

About this book

Much of what is considered conventional wisdom about succession is not as clear cut as it is generally believed. Yet, the importance of succession in ecology is undisputed since it offers a real insight into the dynamics and structure of all plant communities. Part monograph and part conceptual treatise, An Integrative Approach to Successional Dynamics presents a unifying conceptual framework for dynamic plant communities and uses a unique long-term data set to explore the utility of that framework. The fourteen chapters, each written in a nontechnical style and accompanied by numerous illustrations and examples, cover diverse aspects of succession, including: community, population and disturbance dynamics, diversity, community assembly, heterogeneity, functional ecology and biological invasion. This unique text will be a great source of reference for researchers and graduate students in ecology and plant biology and others with an interest in the subject.

"[...] the book is a very useful guide to the understanding of some rather complex successional theories and provides essential reading especially for early-career plant ecologists and students. For lecturers, it provides a very useful case study repository for plant succession theory lectures."
– Péter Török, Bulletin of the Eurasian Dry Grassland Group

"[...] the book should be accessible to ecologically minded undergraduates who want to learn more about succession than the two or three pages found in a general ecology text."
– W. E. Williams, Choice



1. Goals, concepts and definitions

Part I. The Conceptual Background and Development of Succession
2. History and context of the Buell–Small Succession study
3. Succession theory
4. Conceptual frameworks and integration: drivers and theory

Part II. Successional Patterns in the BSS Data
5. Community patterns and dynamics
6. Dynamics of populations through succession
7. Impacts of drought and other disturbances on succession
8. Dynamics of diversity

Part III. Integrative Themes
9. Convergence and community assembly
10. Successional equivalence of native and non-native species
11. Heterogeneity in dynamic systems
12. Functional ecology of community dynamics

Part IV. Synthesis
13. Succession, habitat management and restoration
14. Where we stand: lessons and opportunities

Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Literature cited

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Scott J. Meiners is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences of Eastern Illinois University where he teaches Plant Ecology, Introductory Botany and a graduate course in biostatistics. His research interests focus on the dynamics of regenerating communities using forest, grassland and successional systems, as well as the dynamics of stream fish communities and sustainable agriculture. Since 2001, he has led the Buell–Small Succession Study, the longest continuous study of post-agricultural vegetation dynamics.

Steward T. A. Pickett, a Distinguished Senior Scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, in Millbrook, New York, is an expert in the ecology of plants, vegetation dynamics, and natural disturbance. His contributions to succession are in the realm of both theory and empirical, mechanistic studies. He also directs the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, Long-Term Ecological Research program. He has edited and authored books on ecological heterogeneity, humans as components of ecosystems, conservation, the linkage of ecology and urban design, the philosophy of ecology, and ecological ethics.

Mary L. Cadenasso is a Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis. She received a National Science Foundation Career award and was recently named a Chancellor's Fellow. Her research interests span landscape, ecosystem, and plant ecology and focus on determining how the spatial heterogeneity of a system is linked to ecosystem functions and change of that system. Her work has been widely published in more than 50 peer reviewed journal articles, 25 book chapters and two books.

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