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A Theoretical Approach to a Study of Chalk Grassland

Franklyn Perring
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 46, No. 3 (Nov., 1958), pp. 665-679
DOI: 10.2307/2257544
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2257544
Page Count: 15
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
A Theoretical Approach to a Study of Chalk Grassland
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Abstract

A. A brief review of the literature on British Chalk Grassland suggests that though it is remarkable for its amount and variety, the work has lacked unity. It is argued that a general survey might form a framework upon which previous work could be hung. B. Jenny's concept of independent variables in relation to soil formation is outlined and it is shown how his concept might be applied to vegetation analysis. C. The five independent variables are discussed in relation to the survey of chalk grassland. They are: Climate, Parent Material, Topography, the Biotic Factor and Time. D. The value of the functional approach is discussed and it is suggested that it is a valuable tool in assessing the relative importance of the various factors affecting the balance of the ecosystem, though it may not be feasible to solve the equation proposed. Some possible causes of residual variation are considered and the importance of maintaining a balance between fineness of analysis of the factors and soil and vegetation values is emphasized. As both soil and vegetation are dependent upon the same functions there can be no universal correlation between them, though there may be examples of regional parallelism.

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