Critical physical geography: State-and-transition models

I came across a solicitation to a dissertation workshop on “critical physical geography” which was a field I had never heard of before. Accompanying the solicitation was an introduction to a special issue of Progress in Physical Geography on the field, written by Rebecca Lave (link). I want to explore some of the intersections between what we think of as the mission of Borrowed Lands and critical physical geography.

Chris Van Dyke’s contribution to the special issue, “Boxing daze — using state-and-transition models to explore the evolution of socio-biophysical landscapes” (abstract) focuses on a type of model I spend a lot of time thinking about, what he calls the state-and-transition model. In the state-and-transition model framework, there are distinct landscape states, grassland and shrubland, say, and transitions which flip a landscape from one state to another such as grazing or fire.

State-and-transition model example
Figure 1 from Van Dyke (2015) illustrates a three-state STM




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