Practical Guidance for Developing State-and-Transition Models Academic Article uri icon


  • The State-and-transition models (STM) are usually developed alongside ecological site concepts because STMs help to define differences among sites. Information from published research, interviews, and field inventory data is used to develop the diagram and narratives for each component of the STM for each ecological site. Model development involving inventory data sets typically starts by identifying the various community phases associated with an ecological site concept. The relationships between structures and ecological or physical processes that create the dynamics within each state should be described. Examples include the relationship between plant cover and water infiltration, herbaceous cover and fire frequency or shrub establishment, or tree height and susceptibility to fire-caused mortality. The transition narratives describe the mechanisms of change among states. In contrast to community pathways, transitions are due to changing feedbacks and processes that subsequently limit the recovery of the former state.

published proceedings

  • Rangelands

author list (cited authors)

  • Bestelmeyer, B. T., Moseley, K., Shaver, P. L., Sanchez, H., Briske, D. D., & Fernandez-Gimenez, M. E.

citation count

  • 39

complete list of authors

  • Bestelmeyer, Brandon T||Moseley, Kendra||Shaver, Pat L||Sanchez, Homer||Briske, David D||Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria E

publication date

  • December 2010