, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 129-140

First online:

Information theory methods for the study of spatial processes and succession

  • P. Juhász-NagyAffiliated withDepartment of Plant Taxonomy and Ecology, L. Eötvös University
  • , J. PodaniAffiliated withDepartment of Plant Sciences, University of Western Ontario

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The use of mathematical methods based on Shannon's entropy function is proposed for the evaluation of the consequences of sampling unit size and for the study of vegetation succession. The concept of diversity is extended to sets of phytosociological relevés under the term florula diversity. It is shown that Shannon's entropy as well as two other related characteristic functions can express the local behaviour and overall relationships of species. Characteristic areas are defined in terms of the maxima and minima of these functions. Several study areas yielded the data which are used in the examples. Some theoretical problems of the methods are discussed and a computer, written in FORTRAN, is described.


Characteristic area Entropy function Florula diversity Information theory Sampling evaluation Spatial process Succession