Linking diverse terminology to vegetation type-conversion

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Ecosystems worldwide are facing complex interacting stressors that are leading to rapid and potentially irreversible change. Many of these changes involve vegetation type-conversion in various stages and forms. A variety of terms are applied to changes in ecosystems around the world to describe some aspect of long-lasting changes in plant communities. Here we evaluate a representative list of analogous terms for processes and patterns involved in vegetation type-conversion, highlighting similarities and differences. The list illustrates a common problem in ecology, viz. how similar terminology may actually describe different aspects of complex processes. Linking this terminology under a unified, umbrella concept of vegetation type conversion and placing it into the context of an ecological resilience framework, including community reorganization, may help resolve research agendas and conservation efforts.

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