Tuatara: Volume 8, Issue 3, April 1961
A Correction and An Explanation
In my article entitled ‘An Empirical Method of Describing Stands of Vegetation’ (Tuatara, Vol. VIII, No. 1) there is a slip in identification: for ‘Pittos. kirk’ in Fig. 3 read ‘Pittos. corn‘.
One or two people have taken exception to the example of inflexibility in the study of vegetation I gave in the article, namely the Braun-Blanquet school of phytosociology, so I offer a few words of explanation. It is the school of course that is inflexible, not Braun-Blanquet. A school is a group of ‘disciples or imitators or followers’ and by definition implies rigidity in thought and practice. Many other examples of inflexibility in scientific study could have been given, including several indigenous ones from New Zealand (I would be inviting further reaction if I named them!). In my opinion the cause of science will be better served by individual contributions than by the growth of schools. September, 1960
We would like to point out that not everyone agrees with the opinion expressed by A. P. Druce (Tuatara 8, 1959, p. 1) about the Braun-Blanquet school of phytosociology. J. Major, who trained in Zurich in 1950, reviewed in Ecology (40, 1959, pp. 330-331) two recent papers by Braun-Blanquet and collaborators. He refers to the now classic study of Braun-Blanquet and Jenny (1926) on ‘Vegetation development and soil formation in the alpine belt of the central Alps’, and of the most recent monograph states ‘the conclusions are grouped around the parallelism of vegetation development and soil formation and a basic inventory of plant communities and soils forms the basis of the dynamic point of view which permeates the whole work‘. Everyone who has had the privilege of seeing Braun-Blanquet page 134 in the field knows that the methods of note-taking that he teaches are in essence similar to those described by Mr. Druce, methods which are valuable just because they are flexible and adaptable to a wide range of vegetation types. So too with the general approach: ‘The apparent simplicity of the analysis of the concept of vegetation is directly in contrast with the difficulty of making any universal rules. Sometimes it is entirely impossible to submit different vegetation types to similar methods of treatment…. In each case, the judgment of the investigator must decide how the minute analysis of a given piece of vegetation can best be carried out and what characteristics of the community will, under the given conditions, give promising results.’ (Braun-Blanquet in Plant Sociology, translated by Fuller and Conard, 1932, pp. 26-27.)
New Zealand Bats - a Correction
In the article by P. D. Dwyer in Tuatara (Vol. VIII, No. 2, May 1960), page 66, Legend to Figures, for Fig. 2: (a) read Fig. 2: (b); and for Fig. 2: (b) read Fig. 2: (a).
Dr. J. A. F. Garrick
Dr. J. A. F. Garrick, who is at present pursuing his research on the sharks of the world at the Smithsonian Institution, has temporarily relinquished his editorship of Tuatara. We are grateful for the contribution he made towards establishing this journal, and in extending our good wishes to him and his family in Washington, may we express the hope that Tuatara will in due course once again come under his able editorship.— H.B.F.