We present new conditions for semigroups of positive operators to converge strongly as time tends to infinity. Our proofs are based on a novel approach combining the well-known splitting theorem by Jacobs, de Leeuw and Glicksberg with a purely algebraic result about positive group representations. Thus we obtain convergence theorems not only for one-parameter semigroups but for a much larger class of semigroup representations.
Our results allow for a unified treatment of various theorems from the literature that, under technical assumptions, a bounded positive $C_0$-semigroup containing or dominating a kernel operator converges strongly as $t \to \infty$. We gain new insights into the structure theoretical background of those theorems and generalise them in several respects; especially we drop any kind of continuity or regularity assumption with respect
to the time parameter.
As applications we derive, inter alia, a generalisation of a famous theorem by Doob for operator semigroups on the space of measures and a Tauberian theorem for positive one-parameter semigroups under rather weak continuity assumptions. We also demonstrate how our results are useful to treat semigroups that do not satisfy any irreducibility conditions.