An ordination technique for the description of vegetation based on characteristics of the site rather than the composition of species. One or more environmental gradients are identified and stands are arranged in order along them according to the characteristics of their sites. The vegetation is then examined to discover any related pattern. The technique was first proposed in 1966 by R. H. Whittaker.
http://books.google.com/books?id=zTvP14I3uc4C&pg=PA1064&lpg=PA1064&dq=gradient+analysis+of+vegetation&source=bl&ots=vI-93AvmDX&sig=0zzxrH31dtRfGn6wesEqCbCz3Vk&hl=en&ei=ga6vSp68B-Sd4gaJ84WtCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4#v=onepage&q=gradient%20analysis%20of%20vegetation&f=false. Whittaker's original paper.
Subjects: Ecology and Conservation — Plant Sciences and Forestry.