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As the human population inexorably grows, its cumulative impact on the Earth's resources is hard to ignore. The ability of the Earth to support more humans is dependent on the ability of humans to manage natural resources wisely. Because disturbance alters resource levels, effective management requires understanding of the ecology of disturbance.

This book is the first to take a global approach to the description of both natural and anthropogenic disturbance regimes that physically impact the ground. Natural disturbances such as erosion, volcanoes, wind, herbivory, flooding and drought plus anthropogenic disturbances such as foresty, grazing, mining, urbanization and military actions are considered. Both disturbance impacts and the biotic recovery are addressed as well as the interactions of different types of disturbance. Other chapters cover processes that are important to the understanding of disturbance of all types including soil processes, nutrient cycles, primary productivity, succession, animal behaviour and competition. Humans react to disturbances by avoiding, exacerbating, or restoring them or by passing environmental legislation. All of these issues are covered in this book.

Managers need better predictive models and robust data-collections that help determine both site-specfic and generalized responses to disturbance. Multiple disturbances have a complex effect on both physical and biotic processes as they interact. This book provides a wealth of detail about the process of disturbance and recovery as well as a synthesis of the current state of knowledge about disturbance theory, with extensive documentation.

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