, Volume 42, Issue 1-3, pp 181-185

Reflections on the phytosociological approach and the epistemological basis of vegetation science

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It is tried to identify the logical basis of the phytosociological method. Both the inductive and the deductive approach are discussed. The starting point can be summarized with the axiom ‘vegetation is organized in communities’. Some problems related to the use of numerical methods and computers are discussed.

This paper was written under the auspices of the Programma finalizzato ‘Qualità dell'Ambiente’ of the C.N.R. (Roma) Subprogetto 5 ‘Metodologie matematiche e basi di dati’. I thank the following people for helpful comments: E. Feoli, D. Lausi, P. Nimis, E. Pignatti Wikus (all at the Istituto Botanico, Trieste), D. Dal Maso (Istituto di Matematica, Trieste), E. van der Maarel (Botanisch Laboratorium, Nijmegen).