Disturbance as an ecological factor
Dietz, Dietz, Edwards & Wildi
Ecologists are interested in how patterns of disturbance affect the structure and development of ecological communities. Mountain habitats are particularly unstable due to the wide range of disturbance processes operating over a range of spatial and temporal scales. These include small-scale freeze-thaw processes, rock falls, extreme rainfall events, flows of mud and debris, avalanches and damage by strong winds and fire. The relative importance of these processes varies widely according to the geographical and topographical situation, producing different disturbance regimes. These differences have major consequences for the structure and functioning of ecosystems. The aim of this lesson is to describe how various types of disturbance affect the stability and biological diversity of alpine ecosystems. In each case we will consider what was the natural regime of disturbance, and how humans have altered these regimes. We will also consider how plants and animals are adapted to particular patterns of disturbance.
Start Introduction General Aspects Fire Vegetation Response Learning Objectives Self-Test Freeze-Thaw Glacier Wind Scales Regime Avalanches Mudlfow / Debris Flow Rockfalls Adaptations Interactions Human Impact Conclusions Navigation tree


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29 August 2011
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