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The power of potential natural vegetation (and of spatial-temporal scale): a response to Carrión & Fernández (2009)

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A commentary by Carrión & Fernández (Journal of Biogeography, 2009, 36, 2202–2203) compared Holocene pollen records with models of potential natural vegetation (PNV) proposed in the phytosociological literature and concluded that the predicted PNV resulted from anthropogenic disturbance. However, the authors misinterpreted PNV, leading to two serious flaws in their assumptions: (1) PNV is not defined as a pre-anthropic or climax plant community; and (2) PNV is not a concept restricted to the phytosociological method. Therefore we criticize the conclusions expressed in the commentary, and we stress the need for an interdisciplinary approach based on multi-temporal and multi-spatial scales to achieve a modern framework for the study of plant communities.
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Keywords: Climax concept; Holocene vegetation; ecological restoration; landscape dynamics; phytosociology; potential natural vegetation; secondary succession; vegetation classification; vegetation science

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Dipartimento di Scienze Botaniche, Ecologiche e Geologiche, Università degli Studi di Sassari, Via Piandanna 4, I-07100 Sassari, Italy 2: Dipartimento di Biologia Vegetale, Università degli Studi di Roma “Sapienza”, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, I-00185 Roma, Italy 3: Dipartimento di Biologia, Difesa e Biotecnologie Agro-forestali, Università degli Studi della Basilicata, Viale dell’Ateneo Lucano 10, I-85100 Potenza, Italy

Publication date: 2010-11-01

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