In his recent essay, Ch. Körner (2003) suggested that we need to clarify and narrow the meaning of limitation and stress. Current definitions and usage of these terms are not in any great need of revision. Limiting the use of ‘stress’ to only extreme situations is inappropriate because sometimes stress is indeed weak. What is needed is to use the terms within a comparative framework, a framework based on comparisons along gradients and among taxa. Recent studies on the factors controlling diversity have used such a comparative framework, and have increased our understanding of the relative roles of various types of stress. Redefining and narrowing general terms that relate to common processes would limit our ability to make comparisons and generalizations, and this should be avoided.
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Vol. 15 • No. 4