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Practical guidance for developing state-and-transition models
- Bestelmeyer, Brandon T., Moseley, Kendra, Shaver, Pat L., Sanchez, Homer, Briske, David D., Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria E.
- ARS USDA Submissions 2010 v.32 no.3 pp. 23
- models, monitoring, rangelands, soil surface layers, vegetation, vegetation structure
- State-and-transition models (STMs) are synthetic descriptions of the dynamics of vegetation and surface soils occurring within specific ecological sites. STMs consist of a diagram and narratives that describe the dynamics and its causes. STMs are developed using a broad array of evidence including historical information, local and professional knowledge, general ecological knowledge, and monitoring and experimental data from a specific ecological site or similar sites. We provide general guidance on the production of rangeland state-and-transition models with special attention to recent concepts. We describe preparation and a sequence of steps in the development of STMs that parallels the steps in ecological site development. STMs are usually developed alongside ecological site concepts because STMs help to define differences among sites. We follow the steps with a discussion of some common problems encountered by model developers and provide some advice for how to resolve them. We then conclude with some forward-looking ideas that bear upon the present-day development of STMs.