New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1997) 21(2): 129- 140

Models of vegetation dynamics in semi-arid vegetation: Application to lowland Central Otago, New Zealand

Research Article
Susan Walker  
  1. Botany Department, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand

Predictions from three conceptual models of the dynamics of semi-arid vegetation (Clementsian succession, alternative stable states and annuation/pulse phenomena) are used to review the available evidence on changes in the vegetation of semi- arid lowland Central Otago, New Zealand. Evidence is presented from Central Otago that corresponds with Clementsian succession and with annuation/pulse phenomena, although there is so far no formal evidence of alternative stable states. A declining- productivity model, which combines aspects of the other models, is also shown to fit the process of vegetation change in vegetation dynamics in Central Otago are insufficient for the employment of management frameworks such as degradation gradient assessment and the state-and-transition model.