Linking the Spatial Patterns of Organisms and Abiotic Factors to Ecosystem Function and Management: Insights from Semi-arid Environments

Maestre, F.T.

Publication Date:

Numerous theoretical and modeling studies have demonstrated the ecological significance of the spatial patterning of organisms on ecosystem functioning and dynamics. However, there is a paucity of empirical evidence that quantitatively shows how changes in the spatial patterns of the organisms forming biotic communities are directly related to ecosystem structure and functioning. In this article, I review a series of experiments and observational studies conducted in semi-arid environments from Spain (degraded calcareous shrubland, steppes dominated by Stipatenacissima, and gypsum shrublands) to: 1) evaluate whether the spatial patterns of the dominant biotic elements in the community are linked to ecosystem structure and functioning, and 2) test if these patterns, and those of abiotic factors, can be used to improve ecosystem restoration.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Web Ecology