Modeling Collective Dynamics: Dryland Vegetation as a Case Study Academic Article uri icon


  • Ecosystems are nonlinear spatially extended complex systems (Levin 2003; Anand et al. 2010; Meron 2015). The significance of these attributes is threefold. The nonlinearity allows for multiplicity of system states and for qualitative behavioral changes manifested as transitions from one state to another. The spatial extension generally implies a multitude of mutually interacting system constituents (organisms, functional groups), which, at large spatial scales, show collective behavior and self-organization in regular or irregular spatial patterns. Complexity is often associated with a hierarchy of organization levels; bottom-up processes across these levels can result in emergent properties while top-down processes may result in adaptive interactions among the system's constituents. These aspects of ecosystems, together with the long timescales of ecosystem dynamics, make …

publication date

  • January 5, 2018