General Terminology

  • Leendert van der Pijl


In the first place, we must consider the name of the phenomenon under discussion. “Dispersal” was indicated expressly for English use by Praeger (1923) and supported by Ridley. They defined it as the active (dynamic) process of transportation, differentiating it from the result it leads to: the passive (static) state of distribution. Unfortunately, this scientific distinction seems insufficiently reflected in colloquial English. Jackson’ glossary gives the two terms as synonyms. In other languages, too, common usage makes no sharp distinction between the comparable words, so that foreign terms came into scientific use. Though I often use it, I shall not promote the use of the term “dissemination” in English for reasons to be explained below, although the other terms may cause confusion. A study entitled “Ancient Dispersals” proved to deal with distribution, and a paper called “Distribution by Means of Bats” concerned dispersal.


Sharp Distinction Spore Dispersal Pollination Ecology Sexual Process Dispersal Unit 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leendert van der Pijl
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of IndonesiaIndonesia
  2. 2.University of NijmegenThe HagueThe Netherlands

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