, Volume 42, Issue 1-3, pp 11-21

Searching for a model for use in vegetation analysis

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Indirect gradient analysis methods require an explicit vegetation model which must be based on direct gradient analysis studies. Various vegetation models are reviewed. Field evidence for the models is discussed. Experimental studies of species response to environmental gradients are reviewed and discussed. Three types of gradient are recognized as important for development of models: indirect environmental gradients where the environmental factor has no direct physiological influence on plant growth e.g. elevation; direct environmental gradients where the factor has a direct physiological effect on growth but is not an essential resource, e.g. pH; resource gradients where the factor is an essential resource for plant growth. The behaviour of the ecological carrying capacity and the role of competition along such gradients are shown to be important for developing vegetation models.