Grassland Climax

  • Carl O. Sauer
Part of the The Geographical Readings series book series (GR)


The young science of ecology has undertaken to study the associations of organisms, initially as belonging together by their physiologic requirements or their joint adaptation to a particular physical environment. Systems of classification arose that identified plant and animal complexes with climate. Thus there arose the concept of the ‘ecologic climax’, currently defined as ‘the final or stable type of plant community reached in a particular climate’. A postulate tends to displace reality. Climatic regions are cartographic abstractions, useful as elementary teaching devices to give some first notions of weather contrasts over the earth. ‘Final or stable’ communities are quite exceptional in nature: weather, soils and surfaces are continually changing; new organisms are immigrating or forming, old ones may be giving way. Change is the order of nature: climax assumes the end of change.


Animal Complex Creek Valley Ecologic Instruction Joint Adaptation Flank Ridge 
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    Cooper, W. S. (1922) ‘The broadleaf-sclerophyll vegetation of California’, Carnegie Institute of washington, Publ. no. 319.Google Scholar
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1971

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  • Carl O. Sauer

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