HOME

TheInfoList




A plant community is a collection or
association Association may refer to: *Club (organization), an association of two or more people united by a common interest or goal *Trade association, an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry *Voluntary association ...
of
plant species Flora is all the plant Plants are mainly multicellular organisms, predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, ...
within a designated geographical unit, which forms a relatively uniform patch, distinguishable from neighboring patches of different
vegetation type Vegetation classification is the process of classifying and mapping the vegetation Vegetation is an assemblage of plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the plant k ...
s. The components of each plant community are influenced by
soil type A soil type is a taxonomic unit in soil science Soil science is the study of soil File:Stagnogley.JPG, Surface-water-Gley soil, gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland. Soil is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquid ...
,
topography Topography is the study of the forms and features of land surface Relief map of Sierra Nevada, Spain Terrain or relief (also topographical Topography is the study of the forms and features of land surfaces. The topography of an ...
,
climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a la ...

climate
and human disturbance. In many cases there are several soil types present within a given plant community. This is because the soil type within an area is influenced by two factors, the rate at which water infiltrates or evapotranspirates from the soil, as well as the rate at which organic matter (any carbon-based compound within the environment, such as decaying plant matter) enters or decays from the soil. Plant communities are studied substantially by ecologists, due to providing information on the effects of dispersal, tolerance to environmental conditions, and response to disturbance of a variety of plant species, information valuable to the comprehension of various plant community dynamics.


Definition

A plant community can be described '' floristically'' (the species of flowers or flora the plant community contains) and/or ''phytophysiognomically'' (the physical structure or appearance of the plant community). For example, a
forest A forest is an area of land dominated by tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a ...

forest
(a community of trees) includes the
overstory In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechani ...
, or upper
tree layer Stratification in the field of ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Topics o ...
of the
canopy Canopy may refer to: Plants * Canopy (biology), aboveground portion of plant community or crop (including forests) * Canopy (grape), aboveground portion of grapevine Religion and ceremonies * Baldachin or canopy of state, typically placed over an ...
, as well as the
understory In forestry Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, planting, using, conserving and repairing forests, woodlands, and associated resources for human and environmental benefits. Forestry is practiced in plantations and na ...
,a layer consisting of trees and shrubs located beneath the canopy but above the forest floor. The understory can be further subdivided into the
shrub layer Stratification in the field of ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Topics o ...
, composed of vegetation and trees between a height of approximately 1 to 5 meters, the
herbaceous layer Stratification in the field of ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Topics o ...
, composed of vascular plants at a height of 1 meter or less, and sometimes also the
moss layer Stratification in the field of ecology refers to the vertical layering of a habitat; the arrangement of vegetation in layers. It classifies the layers (sing. ''stratum'', pl. ''strata'') of vegetation largely according to the different heights to wh ...
, a layer of non-vascular bryophytes typically present at ground level (approximately 0.15 meters in height or less). In some cases of complex forests there is also a well-defined lower tree layer. A plant community is similar in concept to a
vegetation type Vegetation classification is the process of classifying and mapping the vegetation Vegetation is an assemblage of plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the plant k ...
, with the former having more of an emphasis on the ecological association of species within it, and the latter on overall appearance by which it is readily recognized by a layperson. A plant community can be rare even if none of the major species defining it are rare. This is because it is the association of species and relationship to their environment that may be rare.Introduction to California Plant Life,
Robert OrnduffRobert Ornduff (1932–2000) was an American botanist. He was Director of the University and Jepson Herbaria, Director of the University of California Botanical Garden, Executive Director of the Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science, and Cha ...
, Phyllis M. Faber, Todd Keeler-Wolf, California Natural History Guides No. 69, University of California Press, Ltd., 2003,
An example is the
sycamore alluvial woodlandSycamore Alluvial Woodland is a rare open woodland plant community, or vegetation type, dominated by California sycamore ''Platanus racemosa'', existing only in small parts of California.Introduction to California Plant Life, Robert Ornduff, Phyllis ...
in California dominated by the California sycamore ''
Platanus racemosa ''Platanus racemosa'' is a species of plane tree known by several common names, including California sycamore, western sycamore, California plane tree, and in North American Spanish aliso. ''Platanus racemosa'' is native to California Cal ...
''. The community is rare, being localized to a small area of California and existing nowhere else, yet the California sycamore is not a rare tree in California.


Examples

An example is a grassland on the northern
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe and Asia. It is situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and mainly occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. It is home to ...
steppes In physical geography, a steppe () is an ecoregion characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. Steppe biomes may include: * the montane grasslands and shrublands biome * the temperate grassland ...
, where common grass species found are ''
Festuca sulcata ''Festuca'' (fescue) is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the grass family (biology), family Poaceae (subfamily Pooideae). They are evergreen or herbaceous plant, herbaceous perennial plant, perennial tufted grasses with a height range of ...
'' and ''
Poa bulbosa ''Poa bulbosa'' is a species of grass known by the common names bulbous bluegrass or bulbous meadow-grass. It is native to Eurasia and North Africa, but it is present practically worldwide as an introduced species. It is widespread in the United ...
''. The most common species defining this grassland
phytocoenosisPhytosociology, 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 Empirical evidence, empirically describe the vegetative environment of a given ...
is ''
Carex shreberi ''Carex'' is a vast genus of more than 2,000 species of grass-like plants in the family (biology), family Cyperaceae, commonly known as sedges (or seg, in older books). Other members of the family Cyperaceae are also called sedges, however those o ...
''. Other representative
forb A forb or phorb is a herbaceous Herbaceous plants are vascular plants that have no persistent wood, woody stems above ground, including many perennial plant, perennials, and nearly all Annual plant, annuals and Biennial plant, biennials. Def ...
s occurring in these steppe grasslands are ''
Artemisia austriaca ''Artemisia austriaca'' is a species of plants belonging to the family Asteraceae. Its native range is Europe to Western Siberia, and Iran. References

{{Taxonbar, from=Q1844349 Artemisia (genus), austriaca ...

Artemisia austriaca
'' and ''
Polygonum aviculare ''Polygonum aviculare'' or common knotgrass is a plant related to buckwheat Buckwheat (''Fagopyrum esculentum''), or common buckwheat, is a plant cultivated for its grain-like seeds and as a cover crop In agriculture Agriculture is ...
. Other examples of different plant communities include the forests located on the granite peaks of the Huangshan Mountains in Eastern China. The deciduous broad-leaved forest, present from a height of 1,100 metres, is populated by trees such as ''Pinus hwangshanesis'', also known as the Huangshan pine. The Huangshan mountain also possesses an evergreen broad-leaved forest community, home to a variety of shrubs and small trees. Some examples of species present in the evergreen broad-leaved forest community include ''Castanopsis eyrei'', ''Eurya nitidia, Rhododendron ovatum, Pinus massoniana,'' as well as ''Loropetalum chinense''. An example of a three tiered plant community is in central Westland of South Island, New Zealand. These forests are the most extensive continuous reaches of
podocarp Podocarpaceae is a large family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members and of s ...
/broadleaf forests in that country. The canopy includes ''
Prumnopitys ferruginea ''Prumnopitys ferruginea'', commonly called miro, is an evergreen In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scient ...
'', and
mountain totaraMountain totara may refer to: * '' Podocarpus laetus'', a coniferous tree endemic to New Zealand * ''Podocarpus nivalis'', a coniferous shrub endemic to New Zealand {{Short pages monitor