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Pimm and Gigon's Concepts of Ecological Stability

Pimm (1984) attempted to provide a common basis for further understanding of ecological processes by clear differentiation of complexity and stability contrasted with interpretation of ecological stability. For the complexity in a system he regards the number of species, connec-tance and interaction strength and the evenness of species distribution as the most important characteristics. This leads to five different terms currently used in discussion on stability.

• Stability, in its narrower definition, implies that all system elements affected by a disturbance return to the original balanced state (an ecological balance).

• Stability is related to the period required until the original state is re-established. This shows the resilience of the system.

• Persistence is the third term, also connected to time. The deviation of the period which passes before individual elements of the sys-

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Constant stability or

Cyclic stability l/U/l

Period of observation

Time

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