• phytosociology
  • The study of vegetation, including the organization, interdependence, development, geographical distribution and classification of plant communities.
Abstract from DBPedia
    Phytosociology, also known as phytocoenology or simply plant sociology, is the study of groups of species of plant that are usually found together. Phytosociology aims to empirically describe the vegetative environment of a given territory. A specific community of plants is considered a social unit, the product of definite conditions, present and past, and can exist only when such conditions are met. In phytosociology such as unit is known as a phytocoenosis (or phytocoenose). A phytocoenosis is more commonly known as a plant community, and consists of the sum of all plants in a given area. It is a subset of a biocoenosis, which consists of all organisms in a given area. More strictly speaking, a phytocoenosis is a set of plants in area that are interacting with each other through competition or other ecological processes. Coenoses are not equivalent to ecosystems, which consist of organisms and the physical environment that they interact with. A phytocoensis has a distribution which can be mapped. Phytosociology has a system for describing and classifying these phytocoenoses in a hierarchy, known as syntaxonomy, and this system has a nomenclature. The science is most advanced in Europe, Africa and Asia. In the United States this concept was largely rejected in favour of studying environments in more individualistic terms regarding species, where specific associations of plants occur randomly because of individual preferences and responses to gradients, and there are no sharp boundaries between phytocoenoses. The terminology 'plant community' is usually used in the US for a habitat consisting of a number of specific plant species. It has been a successful approach in the scope of contemporary vegetation science because of its highly descriptive and predictive powers, and its usefulness in nature management issues.