Data from: Grazing away the resilience of patterned ecosystems

Siero, E. (Creator), Siteur, K. (Creator), Doelman, A. (Creator), Koppel, van de, J. (Creator), Rietkerk, M. (Creator), Eppinga, M. B. (Creator), University of Groningen, 26-Oct-2018


  • Eric Siero (Creator)
  • Koen Siteur (Creator)
  • Arjen Doelman (Creator)
  • Johan Koppel, van de (Creator)
  • Max Rietkerk (Creator)
  • Maarten B. Eppinga (Creator)
  • University of Oldenburg
  • Department of Estuarine and Delta Systems (EDS)
  • Mathematical Institute, Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands.
  • Univ Utrecht, University of Utrecht, Copernicus Inst Sustainable Dev & Innovat


Ecosystems’ responses to changing environmental conditions can be modulated by spatial self-organization. A prominent example of this can be found in drylands, where formation of vegetation patterns attenuates the magnitude of degradation events in response to decreasing rainfall. In model studies, the pattern wavelength responds to changing conditions, which is reflected by a rather gradual decline in biomass in response to decreasing rainfall. Although these models are spatially explicit, they have adopted a mean-field approach to grazing. By taking into account spatial variability when modelling grazing, we find that (over)grazing can lead to a dramatic shift in biomass, so that degradation occurs at rainfall rates that would otherwise still maintain a relatively productive ecosystem. Moreover, grazing increases the resilience of degraded ecosystem states. Consequently, restoration of degraded ecosystems could benefit from the introduction of temporary small-scale exclosures, to escape from the basin of attraction of degraded states.

The data package contains two datasets:
- GNU Octave/MATLAB model implementation.
- Model Runs.
Date made available26-Oct-2018
PublisherUniversity of Groningen
Geographical coverageOostvaardersplassen, the Netherlands
Access to the dataset Open

    Keywords on Datasets

  • Climate change, Foraging: theory, Modeling: spatial, Desert, self-organization, positive density dependence, regime shift, land degradation, desertification, global coupling
Related Publications
  1. Grazing away the resilience of patterned ecosystems

    Siero, E., Siteur, K., Doelman, A., van de Koppel, J., Rietkerk, M. & Eppinga, M. B., Mar-2019, In : American Naturalist. 193, 3, p. 472-480 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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ID: 75403896