The Ecology of Natural Disturbance and Patch Dynamics brings together the findings and ideas of researchers studying such varied systems as marine invertebrate communities; grasslands; and boreal, temperate, and tropical forests. The primary goal is to present a synthesis of diverse individual contributions.
The book is divided into three main sections: (1) examples of patch dynamics in diverse systems; (2) adaptations of organisms and evolution of populations in patch dynamic environments; and (3) implications of patch dynamics for the organization of communities and the functioning of ecosystems. This approach demonstrates the commonality of disturbance-generated phenomena over a wide range of scales and levels of organization, and thus validates the broad applicability of the patch dynamic viewpoint. The book presents a framework that can stimulate the generation of explicit hypotheses and theory and forms an alternative to equilibrium concepts of the evolution of populations, composition of communities, and functioning of ecosystems.