Vegetation types: a consideration of available methods and their suitability for various purposes

Date
1974-11
Authors
Mueller-Dombois, Dieter
Ellenberg, Heinz
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Island Ecosystems IRP, U.S. International Biological Program
Abstract
The problem of classifying vegetation is discussed in relation to three general objectives: (1) inventorying existing vegetation types for conservation purposes, (2) providing a framework for biological field studies and local management, and (3) understanding plant and community distribution and dynamics in relation to the environment. It is shown that the map scale which is used imposes a set of constraints on the method of classification. Several different map scales are discussed in terms of these limitations. A number of well known structural and floristic classifying schemes are reviewed including a new scheme of world ecosystems. The IBP/CT (Conservation of Terrestrial Ecosystems) checksheet survey is evaluated in the light of these methods. The conclusion is made that Fosberg's structural scheme, which was adopted for the check-sheet survey, provided only a first approximation to the ultimate objective of inventorying existing vegetation types for conservation purposes. A recommendation for a next step is made, which involves a scheme of hierarchical mapping of world ecosystems. It is anticipated that this activity will be carried out under the UNESCO Man-and-the-Biosphere (MAB) Project No. 8 (Conservation of Natural Areas and of the Genetic Materials they contain).
Description
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Keywords
Citation
Mueller-Dombois D, Ellenberg, H. 1974. Vegetation types: a consideration of available methods and their suitability for various purposes. Honolulu (HI): Island Ecosystems IRP, U.S. International Biological Program. International Biological Program Technical Report, 49. 47 pages.
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