Community Ecology

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 177–190 | Cite as

A discrete mathematical method for the analysis of spatial pattern

  • P. Ittzés
  • É. Jakó
  • Á. Kun
  • A. Kun
  • J. PodaniEmail author


A discrete mathematical method, based on the Jakó Iterative Canonical Forms (ICF) of Boolean functions is proposed for the analysis of species combinations and the detection of characteristic areas in plant communities. Information on species combinations (or florulas) appearing in a sample is expressed in compact form to reveal fundamental properties of community pattern. The new method provides a complementary tool for the florula diversity approach: whereas florula diversity is indicative of the frequency distribution of species combinations regardless their interrelationships, the new procedure detects complexity in the abstract structure of species combinations. Graph-theoretical representations of the ICF promote understanding the new method and visualizing its results. A cellular automata model and field data provide illustrative examples.


Boolean functions Cellular automata Graphs Species pattern Vegetation 



Cellular Automata


Canonical Disjunctive Normal Form


Florula Diversity


Iterative Canonical Form


Number of species combinations


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© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2005

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Ittzés
    • 1
  • É. Jakó
    • 2
    • 3
  • Á. Kun
    • 1
    • 3
  • A. Kun
    • 4
  • J. Podani
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Collegium BudapestBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Research Group of Ecology and Theoretical BiologyHungarian Academy of Sciences and Eötvös UniversityBudapestHungary
  3. 3.Department of Plant Taxonomy and EcologyEötvös UniversityBudapestHungary
  4. 4.Research Institute for Botany and EcologyHungarian Academy of SciencesVácrátótHungary

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