Janos Podani

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Vegetation Science often relies on methods whose principal strategy involves the change of some parameters of sampling. There is, in fact, a time-static spatial dynamism in the analysis of vegetation, and most changes can be ordered into a sequence, whereby spatial processes are defined. The objective of the present thesis is to create a theoretical framework for the discussion and review of time-static spatial processes, to give a methodological basis for their analysis, and to illustrate some possibilities through real and simulated examples.;Two basic types of processes are distinguished: (1) the primary processes defined by the investigator, and (2) the dependent processes automatically generated once a primary process is defined. Within these, further distinction is made based on the type of space with which the process is associated, and the number of controlling parameters.;The role of primary and dependent processes is investigated in real, data, resemblance, classification, and ordination spaces, and in the space of derived variables. Past contributions to the topic and the task of analyzing spatial processes are reviewed. It is stressed, and demonstrated, that the study of spatial processes is, or should be, a vital part in: (1) the optimization of sampling design for statistical estimation or typification; (2) the optimization of data type to reduce sampling effort and cost; (3) the reduction of large data sets to permit computerized analysis; (4) the detection of pattern in a single or a multi-species plant population; (5) the analysis of interspecific relationships; (6) the control of the stability of ordinations and classifications; (7) the determination of the relative impact of different processes upon the results; (8) the performance of pilot studies prior to the analysis of temporal changes in vegetation; (9) the recognition of trends in the results; and in (10) the discovery of the principal characteristics of the vegetation.



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