U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


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Published in LANDSLIDE ECOLOGY (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), by Lawrence R. Walker (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) and Aaron B. Shiels (USDA National Wildlife Research Center, Hila, Hawai’i).


This document is a U.S. government work, not subject to copyright in the United States.


1. Landslide succession is the sequential replacement of plant communities following landslide creation. It is affected by biotic interactions and abiotic conditions and occurs in the intervals between recurrent erosion events.

2. Plant species can facilitate or inhibit landslide succession by direct species interactions or indirectly by the alteration of resources including light levels, soil stability, soil moisture, or soil nutrients. Species replacements may also occur due to differences in the life histories of landslide colonizers.

3. Herbivores, pathogens, and non-native species influence landslide succession and contribute to the variety of successional trajectories found on landslides, potentially with long-term consequences.

4. Landslides contribute to temporal heterogeneity oflandscapes through their destruction and creation of habitats and sharp physical gradients. This heterogeneity generally has a net positive effect on biodiversity at landscape scales, but landslides generally decrease biodiversity at local scales.

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