698 pages, b/w photos, illustrations, tables
The media coverage of natural disasters (hurricanes, fires, floods, ice storms, etc.) indicates the prevalence of natural disasters in most, if not all, ecosystems. In order for ecologists to study, understand, and ultimately predict how these disturbances affect ecosystems, it is necessary for them to know more about the physical processes involved in these disturbances and to learn how to couple these processes to the ecological systems.
In Plant Disturbance Ecology, physical scientists who study some of the disturbances provide an introduction to the physical disturbance processes while ecologists attempt to relate this information to the way the vegetation responds to the disturbances.
"The process by which vegetation changes over time has fascinated plant ecologists for at least a century. Early theories emphasized slow, steady change to a hypothetical stable climax" community. By the 1970s, ecologists began to realize that disturbance was the rule, not the exception, and a rather radical shift in thinking about vegetation took hold. This multidisciplinary compendium seeks to move what might be called disturbance science beyond descriptive approaches to look at how particular physical disturbances actually cause particular ecological effects. The many authors cover, e.g., the specifics of how forces like wind (turbulence, microbursts, etc.) can physically cause stem breakage in trees. Other modes of disturbance treated here include ice storm damage to forests and trees; dynamic processes that affect coastal dunes; fluvial processes related to riparian tree growth; the effects of water-level changes in ponds and lakes; heating effects on vegetation; fire's effects on grasslands and trees; a variety of insect impacts on different systems; and the impact of beavers on woody vegetation. The level of technical detail in the chapters varies greatly, and a few rely heavily on mathematical formulas. Other chapters are essentially literature reviews. Plant ecologists with a process- or mechanistically oriented approach to understanding vegetation change will appreciate this book. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above."
- Disturbance and Succession
- The turbulent wind in plant and forest canopies
- Microbursts and macrobursts: windstorms and blowdowns
- Understanding how the interaction of wind and trees results in windthrow, stem breakage and canopy gap formation.
- Meteorological conditions associated with ice storm damage to forests
- The effect of icing events on the death and regeneration of North American trees
- Disturbance processes and dynamics in coastal dunes
- Coastal dune succession and the reality of dune processes
- Fluvial geomorphic disturbances and life history traits of riparian tree species
- Water level changes in ponds and lakes: the hydrological processes
- Vegetation dynamics due to fluctuating water levels in prairie wetlands
- Modeling heating effects
- Fire effects on grass populations
- Wildfire as a distributed tree population process
- Insect defoliators as periodic disturbances in northern forest ecosystems
- Modelling disturbance and recovery of lodgepole forest due to mountain pine beetle outbreaks on landscape scales
- Relationship between spruce budworm outbreaks and forest dynamics in eastern North America
- Impact of beaver foraging on structure of boreal forests
- Beaver, willow shrubs and floods
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