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Conference Proceeding

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Published Version

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Transactions of the Fifty-third North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference

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What relevance has theoretical community ecology to vegetation managers? The answer to this question has at least two parts. One, community ecology provides a framework for understanding how communities are put together; i.e., what determines their composition, structure and location. Two, community ecology provides insights into what type of data and research are needed to perceive, predict or produce vegetative change. The second part of the answer has direct applications to vegetation management. If mechanisms that cause vegetation change are understood, then they can be exploited to manipulate vegetation, and the results of these manipulations can be predicted more reliably.

I will first consider briefly both parts of contemporary reductionist answers, and then illustrate with examples from wetland ecology how reductionist models of communities can be translated into better management. Management in this paper is restricted to what Milton Weller (1978) has called "natural" management; i.e., the manipulation of natural forces that control the composition and dynamics of vegetation. This approach involves manipulating either water levels, fire frequency or grazing intensity to alter the composition or structure of vegetation.


This is a proceeding from van der Valk, A. G. 1988. From community ecology to vegetation management: providing a scientific basis for management. Transactions of the Fifty-third North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, March 18-23, 1988, Louisville, Kentucky. Posted with permission.

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Wildlife Management Institute



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