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Encyclopedia > Climax community

The term climax community, also described as a climatic climax community, is a largely obsolete ecological term for a biological community of plants and animals which, through the process of ecological succession - the development of vegetation in an area over time - has reached a steady state. This equilibrium occurs because the climax community is composed of species best adapted to average conditions in that area. The term is sometimes also applied in soil development. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... In ecology, a community is an assemblage of populations of different species, interacting with one another. ... u fuck in ua ... For other uses, see Animal (disambiguation). ... Secondary succession: trees are colonizing uncultivated fields and meadows. ... Loess field in Germany Surface-water-gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland Technically, soil forms the pedosphere: the interface between the lithosphere (rocky part of the planet) and the biosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere. ...


The idea of a single climatic climax, which is defined in relation to regional climate, originated with Frederic Clements in the early 1900s. The first analysis of succession as leading to something like a climax was written by Henry Cowles in 1899, but it was Clements who used the term "climax" to describe the idealized endpoint of succession.[1] Frederic Edward Clements (1874–1945) was an American plant ecologist and pioneer in the study of vegetation succession. ... Henry Chandler Cowles (February 27, 1869 - September 12, 1939) was an American ecological pioneer. ...


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Rejection of climax theory

Support among ecologists for the climax theory declined, because they found the theory with its many coined terms difficult to apply, because they were dissatisfied how it compared to observed individual organisms, and because better theories developed.[2]


Although Clements recognized that vegetation follows gradients rather than being tightly bound, his rhetorical comparisons of ecological communities to organisms fostered the impression that communities, including the climax, have distinct edges in space and time. Yet Robert Whittaker's research demonstrated plant species distribute themselves along nutrient and other environmental gradients.[3] Many ecologists saw this as a major reason to stop using the climax concept. Robert Whittaker (1920-1980) was an American vegetation ecologist, active in the 1950s through the 1970s. ...


More recent palynological studies showed that modern species assemblages are ephemeral; vegetation in eastern North America since the last glacial maximum has consisted of several different species assemblages, many of which have no analogues in modern "climax" communities. That would mean, at least, that the climax types for those areas could not be stable to the degree Clements believed they were. Pollen under microscope Palynology is the science that studies contemporary and fossil palynomorphs, including pollen, spores, dinoflagellate cysts, acritarchs, chitinozoans and scolecodonts, together with particulate organic matter (POM) and kerogen found in sedimentary rocks and sediments. ... North America North America is a continent[1] in the Earths northern hemisphere and (chiefly) western hemisphere. ... This article is on analogue as a literary term . ...


Ultimately, even if succession tends towards a steady state, the time required to achieve this state is unrealistically long; in most cases, external disturbances and environmental change occur so frequently that the realization of a climax community is unlikely, and therefore it has come to be regarded as a less useful concept. Long-term vegetation dynamics are now more often characterized as resulting from the action of stochastic factors.[4] Stochastic, from the Greek stochos or goal, means of, relating to, or characterized by conjecture; conjectural; random. ...


Continuing usage of "climax"

Despite the overall abandonment of climax theory, during the 1990s use of climax concepts again became more popular among some theoretical ecologists.[5] Many authors and nature-enthusiasts continue to use the term "climax" in a diluted form to refer to what might otherwise be called mature or old-growth communities. Old growth forest, sometimes called late seral forest or ancient forest is an area of forest that has attained great age and exhibits unique biological features. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Cowles, Henry Chandler. 1899. The Ecological Relations of the Vegetation on the Sand Dunes of Lake Michigan. Botanical Gazette 27(2): 95-117; 27(3): 167-202; 27(4): 281-308; 27(5): 361-391.
  2. ^ Tobey, Ronald C. 1981. Saving the prairies: the life cycle of the founding school of American plant ecology, 1895–1955. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  3. ^ Whittaker, Robert H. 1953. A consideration of climax theory: the climax as a population and pattern. Ecological Monographs 23: 41–78.
  4. ^ Cook, James E. 1996. Implications of Modern Successional Theory for Habitat Typing: A Review. Forest Science 42(1): 67–75.
  5. ^ See, for example, Roughgarden, Jonathan, Robert M. May and Simon A. Levin, editors. 1989. Perspectives in Ecological Theory. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
What are the Plants projects? (1329 words)
The historic climax plant community was in dynamic equilibrium with its environment.
Plant communities that are subjected to abnormal disturbances and physical site deterioration or that are protected from natural influences, such as fire, for long periods seldom typify the historic climax vegetation and may exist in a steady state that is different from the historic climax plant community.
The historic climax plant community of an ecological site is not a precise assemblage of species for which the proportions are the same from place to place or from year to year.
Climax - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (228 words)
In general, a climax is a point of greatest intensity or force in an ascending series; i.e., a culmination.
For the climax in the development of an ecosystem, see climax community and climax vegetation.
John Climax was a 7th century Christian monk at the monastery on Mount Sinai.
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