Ecological optimality in water-limited natural soil-vegetation systems: 1. Theory and hypothesis
Article first published online: 9 JUL 2010
Copyright 1982 by the American Geophysical Union.
Water Resources Research
Volume 18, Issue 2, pages 325–340, April 1982
How to Cite
1982), Ecological optimality in water-limited natural soil-vegetation systems: 1. Theory and hypothesis, Water Resour. Res., 18(2), 325–340, doi:10.1029/WR018i002p00325.(
- Issue published online: 9 JUL 2010
- Article first published online: 9 JUL 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 29 DEC 1981
- Manuscript Received: 20 JUL 1981
The solution space of an approximate statistical-dynamic model of the average annual water balance is explored with respect to the hydrologic parameters of both soil and vegetation. Within the accuracy of this model it is shown that water-limited natural vegetation systems are in stable equilibrium with their climatic and pedologic environments when the canopy density and species act to minimize average water demand stress. Theory shows a climatic limit to this equilibrium above which it is hypothesized that ecological pressure is toward maximization of biomass productivity. It is further hypothesized that natural soil-vegetation systems will develop gradually and synergistically, through vegetation-induced changes in soil structure, toward a set of hydraulic soil properties for which the minimum stress canopy density of a given species is maximum in a given climate. Using these hypotheses, only the soil effective porosity need be known to determine the optimum soil and vegetation parameters in a given climate.