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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #321760

Research Project: MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR CONSERVATION OF WESTERN RANGELANDS

Location: Range Management Research

Title: State and transition models: Theory, applications, and challenges. In: Briske, D.D. Rangeland Systems: Processes, Management and Challenges

Author
item Bestelmeyer, Brandon
item ASH, A. - Commonwealth Scientific And Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
item BROWN, JOEL - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)
item DENSAMBUU, M - Inner Mongolian Agriculture University
item FERNANDEZ-GIMENEZ, M - Colorado State University
item JOHANSON, J. - Florida State University
item Levi, Matthew
item LOPEZ, D. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item RUMPFF, L. - University Of Melbourne
item PEINETTI, R. - University Of La Pampa
item SHAVER, PAT - University Of Oregon

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2015
Publication Date: 4/1/2017
Citation: Bestelmeyer, B.T., Ash, A., Brown, J., Densambuu, M., Fernandez-Gimenez, M., Johanson, J., Levi, M.R., Lopez, D., Rumpff, L., Peinetti, R., Shaver, P. 2017. State and transition models: Theory, applications, and challenges. In: Briske, D.D. Rangeland Systems: Processes, Management and Challenges. Book Chapter. p. 303-345. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-46709-2_9.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-46709-2_9

Interpretive Summary: State and transition models (STMs) are used for communicating about ecosystem change in rangelands and other ecosystems, especially the implications for management. The fundamental premise that rangelands can exhibit multiple states is now widely accepted. The current application of STMs for management, however, has been limited by both the science and the ability of institutions to develop and use STMs. In this chapter, we provide a comprehensive and contemporary overview of STM concepts and applications at a global level.

Technical Abstract: State and transition models (STMs) are used for communicating about ecosystem change in rangelands and other ecosystems, especially the implications for management. The fundamental premise that rangelands can exhibit multiple states is now widely accepted. The current application of STMs for management, however, has been limited by both the science and the ability of institutions to develop and use STMs. In this chapter, we provide a comprehensive and contemporary overview of STM concepts and applications at a global level. We first review in detail the ecological concepts underlying STMs with the goal of bridging STMs to the recent theoretical developments and debates in ecology. We then provide a synthesis of the history of STM development and current applications in rangelands of Australia, Argentina, the United States, and Mongolia, exploring why STMs have been limited in their application for management. Key challenges in the use of STMs for management are addressed and recent advances that may improve STMs, including participatory approaches in model development, the use of STMs within a structured decision-making process, and mapping of ecological states are described. We conclude a summary of actions that could increase the utility of STMs for collaborative adaptive management in the face of global change.