Simulation of heathland vegetation dynamics

I. C. Prentice, O. Van Tongeren, J. T. De Smidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


A computer model, used to simulate changes in heathland composition after fire, is based on simple stochastic representations of establishment, growth, mortality and competition for space. Model parameters - establishment rates, maximum diameters and heights and growth constants - were estimated for Calluna vulgaris, Empetrum nigrum and Erica tetralix on a heathland in the Netherlands where these 3 species are co-dominant. Experiments revealed differences in the strategies of the species, compensatory and synergistic effects, and an instance of competitive mutualism - illustrating the complex community behaviour that can emerge from a relatively simple model. The mature community is not at an uneven-aged equilibrium; natural disturbances, climatic variation and rational management may prevent this. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-219
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


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