The disturbance regime concept

Brian J. Harvey, Sarah J. Hart, C. Alina Cansler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Disturbances are key ecological processes that profoundly shape ecosystems across a range of temporal and spatial scales. As such, disturbances, and their repeated patterns over space and time (i.e., disturbance regimes) are focal topics in landscape ecology. In this chapter, we discuss connections between disturbance and landscape ecology, in the past, present, and future. First, we discuss the critical importance of disturbance concepts to the development of the field of landscape ecology, and vice versa. We then explore in depth the disturbance regime concept and trace its roots from early studies through contemporary research and ecosystem management. We discuss two key research themes in the landscape ecology of disturbance that are the focus of much study since the start of the 21st century during a period of rapid and accelerating global change: interactions among multiple disturbances, and changing disturbance regimes. Following a discussion on how disturbance relates to dimensions of resilience and scale, we close this chapter with a look to the future of disturbance as a focal area for landscape ecology, by exploring challenges and opportunities that are both methodological and conceptual in nature.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Landscape Ecology
Number of pages16
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Publication series

NameThe Routledge Handbook of Landscape Ecology


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