Because the (st)age structure of a population may rarely be stable, studies of transient population dynamics and population momentum are becoming ever more popular. Yet, studies of "population momentum" are restricted in the sense that they describe the inertia of population size resulting from a demographic transition to the stationary population growth rate. Although rarely mentioned, inertia in population size is a general phenomenon and can be produced by any demographic transition or perturbation. Because population size is of central importance in demography, conservation, and management, formulas relating the sensitivity of population inertia to changes in underlying vital rates and population structure could provide much-needed insight into the dynamics of populations with unstable (st)age structure. Here, we derive such formulas, which are readily computable, and provide examples of their potential use in studies of life history and applied arenas of population study. ?? 2007 by the Ecological Society of America.
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Population inertia and its sensitivity to changes in vital rates and population structure