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An original concept of C. H. Merriam (1894) describing the way in which changing vegetation forms give a series of life-zones in relation to temperature gradients. In modern ecology these life-zones are defined by reference to a range of interacting environment gradients, and reflect animal as well as plant characteristics. On a world scale life-zones are thus synonymous with the major biomes. However, life-zone is more frequently used for more local changes (e.g. the altitudinal zonation of communities on mountains).

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry — Ecology and Conservation.

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