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Stephen T. Jackson Natural, potential and actual vegetation in North America Journal of Vegetation Science 24

Article first published online: 29 OCT 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12004

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Potential natural vegetation (PNV) has been widely applied, but often controversially. Paleoecological and historical studies reveal that actual natural vegetation often displays inertia, contingency, and hysteresis, most frequently owing to multiscale climatic variability and episodic disturbance and recruitment. PNV is an artificial and often useful construct, although with diminishing utility in a rapidly changing world.

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