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Applied to groups of organisms, or communities, that are thought to have properties (e.g. homoeostasis or reproduction) similar to those of a single living organism, making them ‘supra-organisms’. The term is most used to describe plant communities by those who consider that discrete climax vegetation entities, e.g. beech–oak wood-lands, may be identified. These units will necessarily show a high degree of internal interdependence of species, and on the maturity and death of a community another identical plant association will replace it. This organismic concept forms the theoretical basis for a classificatory approach to the description of vegetation communities and their analysis. Compare individualistic hypothesis.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation — Plant Sciences and Forestry.

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