Wu, Jianguo with Yaman Barlas and John Vankat, "Modelling Patchy Ecological Systems Using the System Dynamics Approach", 1990

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A System Dynamics model of an ecological system consisting of two patchily distributed populations is constructed to study the effects of inter-patch colonization on the persistence of the species. The model structure is primarily composed of the negative feedback loops dominant in local (within-patch) population regulation and a regional positive feedback loop coupled with two negative loops which regulate the inter-patch species colonization.The simulation results show that with colonization the population system always persists if at least one of the populations is larger that a minimum viable population size (MVP). If the species has sufficiently large colonizing ability, the populations are always able to reach the carrying capacity. Otherwise, the population with below MVP, there are two possibilities depending on the magnitude of species colonization ability: (1) both stabilize at the carrying capacity level and (2) both go extinct. The simulations also demonstrate that delays in colonization and population regulation may have distinctive impacts on species persistence and dynamics of the population system. The study may provide useful information for species conservation and design of nature reserves.

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  • 1990
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