Submitted to: International Rangeland Congress
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 15, 2010
Publication Date: April 1, 2011
Citation: Bestelmeyer, B.T., Peinetti, H., Herrick, J.E., Steinaker, D., Adema, E. 2011. State-and-transition model archetypes: a global taxonomy of rangeland change. Proceedings of the IX International Rangeland Congress, April 3-10, 2011, Rosario, Argentina. CDROM. Technical Abstract: State and transition models (STMs) synthesize science-based and local knowledge to formally represent the dynamics of rangeland and other ecosystems. Mental models or concepts of ecosystem dynamics implicitly underlie all management decisions in rangelands and thus how people influence rangeland sustainability. STMs use a combination of elements, including structured inventory and mapping, historical reconstruction, process-based comparisons and experiments, and local knowledge to develop formal models of ecosystem function. The models describe the mechanisms by which transitions among states occur and thus the interventions needed to achieve or sustain desired states. STMs are very useful tools, but are often difficult to construct. We ask whether we can identify a series of basic, archetypal models globally that could be matched to local ecosystems and assist in the development of local STMs.