Symphytosociological approaches

While plant communities and partial communities are assemblages of plant species and their individuals, symphytosociological units are assembled of synusiae or syntaxa (Table 7) and represent a coarser view of community diversity. Sampling and classification basically follow the phytosociological method, but use synusiae or syntaxa (fine-scale vegetation types) instead of plant species as objects of observation. Two major concepts fall in this category and may be combined: (1) 'Integrated synusial phytosociology' of some French authors classifies separate 'associations' for tree, shrub, herb, and cryptogam layers, which in the normal terminology would be synu-siae. These 'associations' are recorded in releves of entire stands, analyzed like species in normal phytosociological tables, and such releves are then classified to form so-called coenotaxa. (2) Sigmasociology records syntaxa (or coenotaxa) in large releves of uniform macrotopography, substrate, and climate (tesela), which are tabulated and classified to form sigmataxa, which at a yet coarser scale (catena) become the elements of landscape units called geosigmataxa.

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