Equilibrium in the balance? Implications for landscape evolution from dryland environments

Louise J. Bracken*, John Wainwright

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Equilibrium is a central concept in geomorphology. Despite file widespread use of the term, there is a great deal of variability in the ways equilibrium is portrayed and informs practice. Thus, there is confusion concerning the precise meanings and usage of the concept. In this chapter we draw on examples from dryland environments to investigate the practical implications of applying and testing the concept of equilibrium. Issues that we cover include the importance of scale and spatial variability, time, the assumption of constant environmental feedbacks and nonlinearities. The evaluation demonstrates that there are a range of problems inherent with using ideas of geomorphological equilibrium explicitly or implicitly to structure research in drylands. Many of these problems also apply to other environments.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLandscape Evolution
Subtitle of host publicationDenudation, Climate and Tectonics over Different Time and Space Scales
EditorsK. Gallagher, S.J. Jones, J. Wainwright
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherGeological Society of London
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781862392502
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameGeological Society Special Publication
ISSN (Print)0305-8719


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