Spatial scale influence on longterm temporal patterns of a semi-arid grassland Academic Article uri icon


  • Longterm (45 years) temporal data were used to assess the influence of spatial scale on temporal patterns of a semi-arid west Texas grassland. Temporal basal area dynamics of common curlymesquite (Hilaria belangeri (Steud.) Nash) collected from permanent plots within two areas that were released from disturbance (longterm overgrazing and drought), were evaluated at two spatial scales (quadrat, site). Wiens (1989) proposed hypotheses to characterize the influence of scale on variability, predictability, and equilibrium. These hypotheses were tested for this grassland and temporal patterns observed were different for each spatial scale. The large scale (site) was characterized by low variation between units, high variation within units, high potential predictability, and possible movement toward a fluctuating but relatively stable or equilibrial state. At the small scale (quadrat), variation between units was high, predictability low, and there was no indication of movement toward a stable state; chaotic behavior may be expressed at this scale although the length of the temporal record may not be sufficient to evaluate this phenomenon.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Fuhlendorf, S. D., & Smeins, F. E.

citation count

  • 41

complete list of authors

  • Fuhlendorf, SD||Smeins, FE

publication date

  • March 1996