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Citation. Tilman, D. 1993. Community diversity and succession: the roles of competition, dispersal and habitat modification. Pages 327-344 in Schulze, E. D. and H. Mooney, Eds., Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function, Springer-Verlag, Berlin. [1178 LTER]
Introduction. The rapid expansion of human activities is causing unprecedented changes in the structure, dynamics, and diversity of the earth's ecosystems (e.g., Ehrlich and Ehrlich 1981; Wilson 1988; Ehrlich and Wilson 1991). Although change is the rule in nature, the present speed of habitat destruction and global climate change are unlikely to have occurred ever during the 400 million years since land plants evolved (e.g., Huntly 1991). Thus, there is little historical information that can fully prepare us for the impacts of anthropogenic global change. An understanding of the ways in which communities respond to perturbations (e.g., see Korner, Chap. 6) and of the mechanisms that maintain biodiversity within communities may provide some insights into the process, as may historical information. Conservation of biodiversity in the face of global change requires a much fuller knowledge of the forces that maintain diversity.
Keywords. succession, diversity