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climaxKlimax (ger.)

  • The point in the ecological succession at which a plant-community reaches a state of equilibrium with its environment, able to reproduce itself indefinitely under existing conditions. (OED)

    In the historical development of a region the primitive plant societies pass rapidly or slowly into others; at first the changes are likely to be rapid, but as the plant assemblages more and more approaches the climax type of the region, the changes become more slow.

    Cowles, H.C. (1899). The ecological relations of the vegetation on the sand dunes of Lake Michigan. Part I. Bot. Gaz. 27, 95-117: 112.


    the primary characteristic of the climax is its relative stability due to a dominance or relative equilibrium produced by the severe environmental and biotic selection and adjustment throughout the process of succession

    Adams, C.C. (1908). The ecological succession of birds. Auk 25, 109-53: 139.


    climax vegetation

    Harper, R.M. (1911). The relation of climax vegetation to islands and peninsulas. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 38, 515-525.


    Every complete sere ends in a climax. This point is reached when the occupation and reaction of a dominant are such as to exclude the invasion of another dominant.

    Clements, F.E. (1916). Plant Succession. An Analysis of the Development of Vegetation: 105; not in: Clements, F.E. (1905). Research Methods in Ecology!


    climax A more or less stable biotic community which is in equilibrium with existing environmental conditions and which represents the terminal stage of an ecological succession; sometimes used as a synonym of formation q. v.; cf. climatic climax, disclimax, edaphic climax, physiographic climax, plagioclimax, polyclimax, postclimax, preclimax, proclimax, serclimax, subclimax, zootic climax. 

    Lincoln, R.J., Boxshall, G.A. & Clark, P.F. (1982). A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics: 49.