How do plant community ecologists consider the complementarity of observational, experimental and theoretical modelling approaches?

Background and aims - A large variety of methods are used by ecologists for studies at plant community level. While early works were mainly descriptive, more manipulative experiments are now being undertaken because they provide a better functional understanding and a greater insight into underlying mechanisms. Mathematical models are also being increasingly used, in particular for predicting biodiversity under global change. The aim of this study is to highlight the strengths, limitations, and advantages of these three approaches, namely observational, experimental and theoretical modelling.


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