Plant Indicators in Ecology

  • David F. Grigal
Conference paper
Part of the Environmental Science Research book series (ESRH, volume 1)


Over five decades ago, Clements12 reviewed the literature dealing with the use of plant indicators in ecology. The result was a volume of nearly 400 pages, with about 450 references. In this definitive work, he stated: “Every plant is a measure of the conditions under which it grows… an index of soil and climate… an indicator of the behavior of other plants and of animals in the same spot.” Clements considered Hilgard, in 1860, to have reported the first work done with “distinct” indicator objectives. At the rate of growth of scientific literature,30 a similar review using Clements’ perspective should now encompass over 8,000 references in somewhat more than 400 pages. That will not be attempted here. The manipulation of numbers does reflect, however, the volume of literature that is somewhat pertinent to the use of plant indicators in ecological contexts. In fact, much of the current research in terrestrial plant ecology relates directly to the concept of indicators.


State Factor Plant Indicator Serpentine Soil Pteridium Aquilinum Vegetation Property 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • David F. Grigal
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Soil Science and College of ForestryUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA

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