|Title||State and transition models: Theory, applications, and challenges. In: Briske, D.D. Rangeland Systems: Processes, Management and Challenges|
|Publication Type||Book Chapter|
|Year of Publication||2017|
|Authors||Bestelmeyer BT, Ash A.J., Brown J., Densambuu M., Fernandez-Gimenez M, Johnson J., Levi MR, Lopez D., Rumpff L., Peinetti R., Shaver P.L|
|Book Title||Springer Series on Environmental Management|
|ARIS Log Number||321760|
State and transition models (STMs) are used for communicating about ecosystem change in rangelands and other ecosystems, especially the implications for management. The fundamental premise that rangelands can exhibit multiple states is now widely accepted. The current application of STMs for management, however, has been limited by both the science and the ability of institutions to develop and use STMs. In this chapter, we provide a comprehensive and contemporary overview of STM concepts and applications at a global level. We first review in detail the ecological concepts underlying STMs with the goal of bridging STMs to the recent theoretical developments and debates in ecology. We then provide a synthesis of the history of STM development and current applications in rangelands of Australia, Argentina, the United States, and Mongolia, exploring why STMs have been limited in their application for management. Key challenges in the use of STMs for management are addressed and recent advances that may improve STMs, including participatory approaches in model development, the use of STMs within a structured decision-making process, and mapping of ecological states are described. We conclude a summary of actions that could increase the utility of STMs for collaborative adaptive management in the face of global change.