Abstract for:Resource dependency – insights from modelling

Studies of sustainability and resilience inevitably incorporate the dependency of a class of agents on a resource of some kind. This paper sets out a generic approach to configuring models of dependency involving both physical (abiotic) and biological (biotic) resources. Rather than attempting to devise a model that illuminates a particular observed behaviour mode, the work outlined here uses modelling to understand the solution space more generally, and compares the results with empirical evidence. The resulting simulations describe the domains which give rise to persistence or extinction of the dependent agents, and the determinants of system stability or otherwise where oscillatory behaviour is observed. The results show that conventional predator-prey interactions, such as described by the Lotka-Volterra equations, are insufficient to explain the empirical data that demonstrates limit cycle or trend-to-equilibrium behaviour in nature. A more complete model incorporating a hierarchy of biological resources founded on physical flows accords more credibly with real-world behaviour.