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CitationWestoby, M., Walker, B., & Noy-Meir, I. (1989). Opportunistic management for rangelands not at equilibrium. Journal of Range Management, 42(4), 266-274.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractWe discuss what concepts or models should be used to organize research and management on rangelands. The traditional range succession model is associated with the management objective of achieving an equilibrium condition under an equilibrium grazing policy. In contrast, the state-and-transition model would describe rangelands by means of catalogues of alternative states and catalogues of possible transitions between states. Transitions often require a combination of climatic circumstances and management action (e.g., fire, grazing, or removal of grazing) to bring them about. The catalogue of transitions would describe these combinations as fully as possible. Circumstances which allow favorable transitions represent opportunities. Circumstances which threaten unfavorable transitions represent hazards. Under the state-and-transition model, range management would not see itself as establishing a permanent equilibrium. Rather, it would see itself as engaged in a continuing game, the object of which is to seize opportunities and to evade hazards, so far as possible. The emphasis would be on timing and flexibility rather than on establishing a fixed policy. Research under the state-and-transition model would aim to improve the catalogues. Frequencies of relevant climatic circumstances would be estimated. Hypotheses about transitions would be tested experimentally. Often such experiments would need to be planned so that they could be implemented at short notice, at an unknown future time when the relevant circumstances arise.