27 Laws of Ecology

I recently typed-up an old handout about the 27 laws of ecology (collated by Pierre Dansereau) and posted it on the web. It’s a .pdf file located here, and is also linked through our Online Articles page under the Recommended Resources heading. Below is a list of the laws. For their definitions and explanations, read the whole article.

“Twenty-seven basic propositions may be said to cover ecological formulae and comprise the body of the so-called Laws of Ecology. The propositions have taken shape over a number of years, and have been collated by Pierre Dansereau, head of the Department of Ecology at the New York Botanical Garden and Adjunct Professor of Botany at Columbia University. Mr. Dansereau is credited with the authorship of several of the propositions and with the reformulation of others. Mr. Dansereau’s compendium follows:

1. Law of the Inoptimum.
2. Law of Aphasy.
3. Law of Tolerance.
4. Law of Valence.
5. Law of Competition-Cooperation.
6. Law of the Continuum.
7. Law of Cornering.
8. Law of Persistence.
9. Law of Evolutionary Opportunity.
10. Law of Ecesis.
11. Law of Succession.
12. Law of Regional Climax.
13. Law of Factorial Control.
14. Law of Association Segregation.
15. Law of Geoecological Distribution.
16. Law of Climatic Stress.
17. Law of Biological Spectra.
18. Law of Vegetation Regime.
19. Law of Zonal Equivalence.
20. Law of Irreversibility.
21. Law of Specific Integrity.
22. Law of Phylogenetic Trends.
23. Law of Migration.
24. Law of Differential Evolution.
25. Law of Availability.
26. Law of Geological Alternation.
27. Law of Domestication.

Collated as an Appendix to an article, “Ecological Impact and Human Ecology,” by Pierre Dansereau in the book Future Environments of North America by, edited by F. Fraser Darling and John P. Milton; The Natural History Press, division of Doubleday & Company: New York, 1966, 1970.”

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