Climax community

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The Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, Australia is an example of a climax forest ecosystem

In ecology, climax community is a term for a stable biological community of plants, animals and fungi.

After a process of ecological succession the vegetation in an area reaches a steady state. Its stability is not guaranteed: invasive species and climate change can cause changes. However, relatively, the system is stable.[1]

This equilibrium was thought to occur because the climax community is composed of species best adapted to average conditions in that area. The term is sometimes also applied in soil development.

The idea of a single climatic climax, which is defined in relation to regional climate, originated with Frederic Clements in the early 1900s.[2][3] The first analysis of succession as leading to something like a climax was written by Henry Cowles in 1899, but it was Clements who used the term "climax" to describe the idealized endpoint of succession.[4]

References[change | change source]

  1. Hagen, Joel B. 1992. An Entangled Bank: the origins of ecosystem ecology. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
  2. Clements, Frederic E. 1916. Plant succession: an analysis of the development of vegetation. Washington D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington.
  3. Clements, Frederic E. 1936. Nature and structure of the climax. Journal of Ecology. 24 (1) pp. 252-284.
  4. Cowles, Henry Chandler. 1899. The ecological relations of the vegetation on the sand dunes of Lake Michigan. Botanical Gazette 27(2): 95-117; 27(3): 167-202; 27(4): 281-308; 27(5): 361-391.