Ecologists are aware of the importance of natural dynamics in ecosystems. Historically, the focus has been on the development in succession of equilibrium communities, which has generated an understanding of the composition and functioning of ecosystems. Recently, many have focused on the processes of disturbances and the evolutionary significance of such events. This shifted emphasis has inspired studies in diverse systems. The phrase "patch dynamics" (Thompson, 1978) describes their common focus.
The Ecology of Natural Disturbance and Patch Dynamics brings together the findings and ideas of those studying varied systems, presenting a synthesis of diverse individual contributions.