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The vegetation is the totality of the plant formations and plant communities that grow in an area. The vegetation is shaped by the climate , soil , relief , rock , water balance and the influences of fire, animals and people. The vegetation formations influenced by the major climate are zonally arranged in vegetation zones on earth (mainly according to the climatic zones ). In small-scale studies is often of a plant cover speaking, in the scientific recording one speaks generally of a vegetation surveys . In the case of a damaging fire that primarily affects the flora, one speaks of vegetation fire .

The related terms flora and flora do not refer to the plant formation, but to the totality of all plant families in an area.

In medicine, vegetation means the growth of bacteria , for example on heart valves in infectious endocarditis . The verb to vegetate means to live "inactive" like a plant.

Types of vegetation in botany

A distinction is made between different vegetation concepts:

Original natural vegetation

The original natural vegetation is the - v. a. by means of rock analyzes, climate models as well as pollen analyzes and analyzes of other organic finds - reconstructed vegetation that could have formed in an area before the appearance of human culture. Since the original natural vegetation was subject to different climatic conditions and was formed from a different pool of species, it usually differs more or less clearly not only from the real vegetation of today, but also from today's potentially natural vegetation.

Real vegetation

Real vegetation is the vegetation that actually occurs in an area. This is often influenced by humans, for example through interventions of an agricultural and forestry nature. If cultural influences lead to significant changes in the vegetation, these are substitute societies that have replaced the natural plant societies .

Potential natural vegetation

The term “ potential natural vegetation ” (pnV) describes the final state of the vegetation that one would expect in the respective area, provided that no more human intervention takes place there. "Any changes in abiotic factors that could occur in the course of a hypothetical succession ... should be theoretically excluded." The PNV is therefore the vegetation expected based on the current natural and possibly anthropogenically changed location factors , if the human influence would end. The PNV is therefore mostly not identical to the type of vegetation that one would expect if humans had never intervened (= reconstructed natural vegetation ). The term pnV can be related to different times. If one relates it to the present time, one speaks of today's potentially natural vegetation (hpnV). If no time is given, pnV means the hpnV.

The concept of potential natural vegetation is primarily based on the concept of a final community of plants, the so-called climax vegetation . This describes a form of vegetation that is stable over the long term, which occurs at a growing site after a succession series, during which the site properties of the growing site can change. The climax vegetation itself is subject to a gradual change over very long periods of time due to climatic, geological and floristic changes in a place of growth (e.g. vegetation development in the Holocene ). An alternative concept to climax vegetation is the mosaic cycle concept .

Reconstructed natural vegetation

The reconstructed natural vegetation is the reconstructed vegetation that one would expect in an area if humans had never appeared there. In contrast to potential vegetation, it does not take into account any anthropogenic changes, but rather excludes them through extrapolations. The reconstructed natural vegetation becomes relevant for nature conservation in process protection and for the wilderness concept .

Web links

Wiktionary: vegetation  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  2. Otti Wilmanns: Ecological Plant Sociology . Heidelberg 1993: 56. See Reinhold Tüxen: The basics of primeval landscape research. A contribution to the study of the history of the anthropogenic influence on the vegetation of Central Europe . Lower Saxony Yearbook for State History 8, 1931: pp. 59–105.
  3. Otti Wilmanns: Ecological Plant Sociology . Heidelberg 1993: 55.
  4. Reinhold Tüxen: Today's potential natural vegetation as an object of vegetation mapping. Angew. Plant so. 13, 1956: pp. 5-42
  5. Otti Wilmanns: Ecological Plant Sociology . Heidelberg 1993: 55.
  6. Otti Wilmanns: Ecological Plant Sociology . Heidelberg 1993: 56.
  7. Otti Wilmanns: Ecological Plant Sociology . Heidelberg 1993: 55f.
  8. a b Alessandro Chiarucci, Miguel B. Araújo, Guillaume Decocq, Carl Beierkuhnlein & José María Fernández-Palacios: The concept of potential natural vegetation: an epitaph? Journal of Vegetation Science 21: 1172-1178, 2010.