The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the science dealing with interrelated and interacting complexes of living and inert nature (biogeocenoses) and their planetary aggregate (the biogeosphere). The term “biogeocenology” arose in geobotany but has subsequently developed as a common subject of biological and geographical sciences, reflecting the interdisciplinary level of the study of living nature.

The founder of biogeocenology was V. N. Sukachev. In a number of works beginning in 1940 he defined the basic concepts of biogeocenology, its theoretical and practical tasks, its ties with other sciences, and the program and direction of research. An important role in the development of modern biogeocenology was played by the works of the Russian scientists V. V. Dokuchaev, G. F. Morozov, and R. I. Abolin, who established the idea of the interconnected quality of the phenomena of nature, and by V. I. Vernadskii, who discovered the enormous planetary significance of organisms (living matter). The questions under investigation in biogeocenology include research on the structure, properties, and functions of the components of the biogeocenosis and the deciphering of the mechanism of their relationships; study of the flows of matter and energy in them, as well as the proportion and form of the participation of their components in the material and energy metabolism of the entire complex, and particularly in its biological productivity; study of the transformation by some components of the states, properties, and functioning of other components; determination of their role in the change and dynamics of the biogeocenosis; determination of the reaction of the components and the biogeocenosis as a whole to spontaneous changes and the economic activities of man; study of the stability of biogeocenoses and their regulatory mechanisms; and research on the relationships and interactions both between adjacent biogeocenoses and between the more remote ones, which provide the unity of the biogeosphere and its major parts.

These problems can be solved only with the participation of a broad range of specialists (botanists, zoologists, physiologists, microbiologists, soil scientists, climatologists, biochemists, and others) in research. These problems require extended periods of research, the use of experimentation (both under natural conditions and on models), the extensive application of quantitative methods of study, and the use of mathematical analysis and statistical processing of the data. A successful solution to the problems of biogeocenology determines the possible accuracy of the prediction of the consequences of man’s interference in the course of natural processes, the possibility of directed regulation of the relationships and interactions of the components in the biogeocenosis in order to obtain the greatest and most generally beneficial economic effect (chiefly a rise in biological productivity), and the choice of ways for the economic use of the material and energy resources of the biogeosphere and its parts. The significance of biogeocenology is particularly great for forestry and agricultural practice. It is also of high methodological significance for the study of man’s environment on the earth and for space science, the protection of industrial articles, food products, and feed from damage by the biological components of the biosphere, the conservation of nature, and so on. Biogeocenology is closely related to landscape science, soil science, climatology, biocenology, microbiology, and biogeochemistry.


Sukachev, V. N. “Razvitie rastitel’nosti kak elementa geograficheskoi sredy ν sootnoshenii s razvitiem obshchestva.” In the collection O geograficheskoi srede ν lesnom proizvodstve. Leningrad, 1940.
Sukachev, V. N. “Osnovy teorii biogeotsenologii.” In lubileinyi sbornik [AN SSSR], posviashchennyi 30-letiiu Velikoi Oktiabr’-skoi sotsialisticheskoi revoliutsii, [part 2]. Moscow-Leningrad, 1947.
Osnovy lesnoi biogeotsenologii. Edited by V. N. Sukachev and N. V. Dylis. Moscow, 1964.
Programma i metodika biogeotsenologicheskikh issledovanii. Edited by V. N. Sukachev and N. V. Dylis. Moscow, 1966.
Timofeev-Resovskii, N. V., and A. N. Tiuriukanov. “Biogeotsenologiia ¡ pochvovedenie.” Biull. Moskovskogo obshchestva ispytatelei prirody: Otdel biologicheskii, 1967, vol. 72, no. 2.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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