Seeing the forest and the trees: On the very idea of an ecological community

Abstract. In this essay I first provide an analysis of various community concepts. Second, I evaluate the two of the most serious challenges to the existence of communities – gradient and paleoecological analysis respectively – arguing that properly understood neither threatens the existence of communities construed interactively. Finally, I apply the same interactive approach to ecosystem ecology arguing that ecosystems may exist robustly as well.
Keywords realism  communities  ecosystems
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