Patch organization and resilience of dryland wetlands

Steven G. Sandi*, Patricia M. Saco, Jose F. Rodriguez, Neil Saintilan, Li Wen, George Kuczera, Gerardo Riccardi, Garry Willgoose

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Dryland wetlands are ecosystems of high ecological importance as they serve as habitat sanctuaries for aquatic and terrestrial biota in areas with very few resources; therefore, the study of such environments is of major importance for the conservation of biodiversity in arid and semi-arid areas. The vegetation organization in these ecosystems is driven by the water regime as the main driver, but local processes like seed banks and soil resources redistribution also play a crucial role in determining the spatial distribution of the vegetation. Assessment of vegetation dynamics and long-term resilience requires the use of realistic models that can integrate the water regime and that can continuously simulate vegetation extent and conditions under flood-drought cycles. Here we study the influence of the water regime as the main driver of the vegetation. We apply a vegetation-modelling framework to compare the performance of a simplified model at the cell scale and a model integrated at a patch scale. Our results show that aggregating the analysis of vegetation dynamics at the patch scale allows for the incorporation of the effects of both local drivers (acting within the patch) as well as the global drivers (acting over the patch as a whole). The water regime acts as a global driver for the vegetation and indirectly affects the local drivers. Our patch scale model successfully captures wetland vegetation dynamics using the water regime as the main driver for representing changes in the vegetation and assessment of the wetland resilience under flood-drought periods.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number138581
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    Number of pages10
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2020


    • Vegetation dynamics
    • Dryland wetlands
    • Wetland modelling
    • Wetland resilience

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