Plant Ecology

, Volume 216, Issue 5, pp 641–644 | Cite as

Statistical analysis of ecological communities: progress, status, and future directions

  • Peter R. MinchinEmail author
  • Jari Oksanen

In the first half of the twentieth century, plant ecology was primarily a descriptive science. The traditional methods used to classify plant communities involved subjective decisions that made them non-repeatable. Although a few earlier papers had experimented with more formal statistical techniques, it was not until the 1950s that work by several research groups and individuals laid the groundwork for a quantitative revolution in the analysis of vegetation. A major contributor was David W. Goodall, whose series of papers under the main title of “Objective Methods for the Classification of Vegetation” pioneered the use of positive correlation among species to classify vegetation into homogeneous groups (Goodall 1953a), showed how fidelity (the degree to which a species is a good indicator of a proposed vegetation type) could be quantified (Goodall 1953b), demonstrated the use of discriminant functions to allocate new vegetation samples to previously defined community groups (Goodall 1953b...


Markov Chain Monte Carlo Functional Trait Community Analysis Principal Response Curve Standard Principal Component Analysis 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesSouthern Illinois University EdwardsvilleEdwardsvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

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