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Alternative stable states and the sustainability of forests, grasslands, and agriculture

Alternative stable states and the sustainability of forests, grasslands, and agriculture

Endangered forest–grassland mosaics interspersed with expanding agriculture and silviculture occur across many parts of the world, including the southern Brazilian highlands. This natural mosaic ecosystem is thought to reflect alternative stable states driven by threshold responses of recruitment to fire and moisture regimes. The role of adaptive human behavior in such systems remains understudied, despite its pervasiveness and the fact that such ecosystems can exhibit complex dynamics. We develop a nonlinear mathematical model of coupled human–environment dynamics in mosaic systems and social processes regarding conservation and economic land valuation. Our objective is to better understand how the coupled dynamics respond to changes in ecological and social conditions. The model is... Show More
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