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Complexity and stability of adaptive ecological networks: a survey of the theory in community ecology
Department of Mathematical Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa; International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria.
Department of Mathematical Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa; Centre of Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9862-816x
Department of Mathematical Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa; African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Muizenberg, South Africa.
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2018 (English)In: Systems analysis approach for complex global challenges, Springer, 2018, p. 209-248Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background and Significance of the topic: The planet is changing at paces never observed before. Species extinction is happening at faster rates than ever, greatly exceeding the five mass extinctions in the fossil record. Nevertheless, human life is strongly based on services provided by ecosystems, thus the responses to global change of the planet's natural heritage are of immediate concern. Understanding the relationship between complexity and stability of ecosystems is of key importance for the maintenance of the balance of human growth and the conservation of all the natural services that ecosystems provide.

Methodology: The concept of ecological networks and their characteristics are first introduced, followed by central and occasionally contrasting definitions of complexity and stability. The literature on the relationship between complexity and stability in different types of models and few real ecosystems is then reviewed, highlighting the theoretical debate and the lack of consensual agreement.

Application/Relevance to systems analysis: This chapter uses ecological-network models to study the relationship between complexity and stability of natural ecosystems.

Policy and/or practice implications: Mathematical network models can be used to simplify the vast complexity of the real world, to formally describe and investigate ecological phenomena, and to understand ecosystems propensity of returning to its functioning regime after a stress or a perturbation.

Discussion and conclusion: The chapter concludes by summarising the importance of this line of research for the successful management and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2018. p. 209-248
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-203509DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-71486-8_12Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85053493646ISBN: 9783319714868 (electronic)ISBN: 9783319714851 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-203509DiVA, id: diva2:1728623
Available from: 2023-01-18 Created: 2023-01-18 Last updated: 2023-03-23Bibliographically approved

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Brännström, Åke

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