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The Plant Communities of Table Mountain: II. Life-Form Dominance and Succession

R. S. Adamson
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 19, No. 2 (Aug., 1931), pp. 304-320
DOI: 10.2307/2255824
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2255824
Page Count: 17
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The Plant Communities of Table Mountain: II. Life-Form Dominance and Succession
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Abstract

The plant communities on Table Mountain have large and varied populations. The individual species are in most cases not evenly distributed through the area of the community. Detailed examination by the sample quadrat method was undertaken on a number of communities. The frequency and areal percentages were determined. The species were classified in accordance with Raunkiaer's life-form and leaf-size classes, the latter being extended to include some of the hemicryptophytes. Analysis of communities on this basis shows that the life-form classes often behave as units in the construction of the vegetation, the component species of a class being to a large extent interchangeable. There is life-form dominance rather than species dominance. In most of the communities no one class becomes dominant: the life-form dominance is shared by two or more classes. Examination of stages in succession shows that development may proceed by rearrangement of the proportions of the classes, or by a preponderance of one, or by one or more species in a class becoming increasingly abundant. In stratified communities each stratum shows the same features. The interchangeability of species is also shown by comparison of similar communities from different localities.

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