Forest Ecosystems

  • Klaus Stern
  • Laurence Roche
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 6)


The great variety of forest types found even in a restricted area has posed problems to forest botanists since early stages in the development of forest science. The dependence of species composition upon soil, climate, topography (microclimate), management, and the possibility of describing site on the basis of vegetation and sometimes to measure its productivity all offered numerous opportunities to forestry science and practice to engage in vigorous debate. The discussion of the idea of the “perpetual forest” (Dauerwald) is one that will remain in memory. Complex systems such as the forest ecosystem were well suited to the application of the dialectic method to an object of natural science, and it was apparently unavoidable that the endeavors of forestry sciences in coping with such complexity were hamstrung by ideology under the influence of dialectic holism. The most prominent model of ideological thought, the so-called “forest organism,” has exerted a bad influence until the most recent times and found supporters, especially in central Europe. This of course was not an autonomous development of forest science; rather, holisms had taken hold throughout phytology (to name only the closest science). Tansley’s (1935) essay on this problem is still worth reading today. Even as late as 1967, Lewontin was forced to argue against research-paralyzing models of this kind, indicating that the debate with supporters of the dialectic method still continues.


Forest Ecosystem Genetic System Tropical Rain Forest Primary Succession Humid Tropic 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klaus Stern
    • 1
  • Laurence Roche
    • 2
  1. 1.Büsgenweg 2Federal Republic of Germany
  2. 2.Department of ForestryUniversity of IbadanIbadanNigeria

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