Population cycles; ecological modelling; bursting; bifurcation; coexistence; oscillation death; chaos
Explaining observations in the population dynamics of ecosystems influenced by the environment and being able to correctly predict future events in these complex systems is one of the major challenges in mathematical modelling. We present our models having climate parameters which explain experimental observations of the cyclic population dynamics of the larch budmoth – an insect pest which causes massive defoliation of entire larch forests at high altitudes around the world. The tritrophic ecological system consists of the larch trees, the budmoth and parasitoid species which live off the budmoths. We make an important modification of the models we had proposed earlier by incorporating a slow time dependence in one of the species-specific parameters, in order to provide an explanation for the irregular larch budmoth cyclic outbreaks observed in the French Alps.
PACS Nos 05.45.-a; 05.45.Pq; 87.23.Cc