MyEnvironment Inc / Work / Forests / Forest Resources / Newly discovered landscape traps produce regime shifts in wet forests

Newly discovered landscape traps produce regime shifts in wet forests

Cement Creek

David B. Lindenmayer,1, Richard J. Hobbsb, Gene E. Likensa,c,1, Charles J. Krebsd, and Samuel C. Banksa

aFenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia; bSchool of Plant Biology, University of Western

Australia, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia; cCary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY, 12545; and dDepartment of Zoology, University of

British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4

Contributed by Gene E. Likens, August 4, 2011 (sent for review May 28, 2011)

Cement Creek

We describe the “landscape trap” concept, whereby entire landscapes

are shifted into, and then maintained (trapped) in, a highly

compromised structural and functional state as the result of multiple

temporal and spatial feedbacks between human and natural

disturbance regimes. The landscape trap concept builds on ideas

like stable alternative states and other relevant concepts, but it

substantively expands the conceptual thinking in a number of

unique ways. In this paper, we (i) review the literature to develop

the concept of landscape traps, including their general features;

(ii) provide a case study as an example of a landscape trap from

the mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) forests of southeastern

Australia; (iii) suggest how landscape traps can be detected before

they are irrevocably established; and (iv) present evidence of the

generality of landscape traps in different ecosystems worldwide.