Ecotones and ecological gradients

Kark, Salit (2013). Ecotones and ecological gradients. In Rik Leemans (Ed.), Ecological Systems: Selected Entries from the Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology (pp. 147-160) New York , NY, United States: Springer New York. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-5755-8

Author Kark, Salit
Title of chapter Ecotones and ecological gradients
Title of book Ecological Systems: Selected Entries from the Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology
Place of Publication New York , NY, United States
Publisher Springer New York
Publication Year 2013
Sub-type Chapter in reference work, encyclopaedia, manual or handbook
DOI 10.1007/978-1-4614-5755-8
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
ISBN 9781461457541
Editor Rik Leemans
Chapter number 9
Start page 147
End page 160
Total pages 14
Total chapters 15
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
Ecotones are areas of transition between ecological communities, ecosystems, or ecological regions (such as Mediterranean and desert). Ecotones often occur along ecological gradients. Such gradients are created as a result of spatial shifts in elevation, climate, soil, and many other environmental factors. Ecotones commonly coincide with areas of sharp climatic transition along environmental gradients. They occur at multiple spatial scales, from continental-scale transitions between major biomes to small-scale ecotones where local vegetation communities and microhabitats coincide. They show a diversity of boundary types that range from natural boundaries (e.g., altitudinal, latitudinal transitions) to human-generated ecotones (e.g., forest clear-cut edges or urban ecotones). Ecotones have been studied in the past four decades in an ecological context and in recent years are receiving increasing attention in the context of biodiversity conservation. Various studies have shown that species richness and abundances tend to peak in ecotonal areas, though exceptions to these patterns occur. Ecotones are “natural laboratories” for studying a range of evolutionary processes, such as the process by which new species form, also termed speciation. Some researchers argue that ecotones deserve high-conservation investment, potentially serving as speciation and biodiversity centers. Because ecotones are often small in size and relatively rich in biodiversity, conservation efforts in these areas may prove to be an efficient and cost-effective conservation strategy.
Keyword Ecotones
Q-Index Code B1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Book Chapter
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Created: Thu, 17 Oct 2013, 08:58:13 EST by Salit Kark on behalf of School of Biological Sciences