A study of pasture pattern in relation to microtopography : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Agricultural Science at Massey University

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Massey University
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An important aspect of the science of plant ecology is the determination of the nature and causes of variation in vegetation. Reflecting the controlling influence of the physical environment, this variation is continuous both in space and in time. The most rewarding means of unravelling the intricate relationships between vegetation and habitat is through the detection and analysis of pattern. In an ecological context, pattern may be defined as the non-random distribution of vegetation units within a defined area. This means in effect, that the distribution is either more contagious or more regular than could be expected, if chance was the only factor which influenced the distribution. Greig-Smith (1964) described a random distribution as one in which the presence of one individual (unit) does not either raise or lower the probability of another occurring nearby. The existence of pattern in vegetation is apparently a universal phenomenom. It may be manifest on a very wide range of scales and intensities; from broad global-wide belts of vegetation, down to the variable performance of a single species over a small are.. Causes of pattern may be either intrinsic, (e.g. method of dispersion, competitive ability) or extrinsic, (e.g. variations in the effective physical environment). [From Introduction]
Please note: pp 13-14 missing
Plant ecology, Pastures, Sheep