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When referring to changes in the amount and/or quality of vegetation on the ground, which is more appropriate between "vegetation changes", "changes in vegetation" or "vegetative changes"? Any other option?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

I would not use vegetative there: it refers to properties of vegetables, not to vegetation as a whole.

Both vegetation changes and changes in vegetation would be acceptable in most uses, but the shorter form might be ambiguous in some contexts (it might get mis-parsed as the sentence "Vegetation (noun) changes (verb)").

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"vegetation changes" or "changes in vegetation" for changes in amount/quality.

"vegetative changes" if you mean the plants are changing from their vegetative cycle to their reproductive cycle.

That is, the word vegetative has a specific scientific meaning related to stages or states of plant growth.

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I just looked at izx's link, and sure enough 'vegetative changes' is used a lot. I would say they are all wrong (!). – Bobbi Bennett Jun 21 '12 at 16:35

"The purpose of this research is to identify changes in vegetation in area X."

Given this context, and that vegetative changes appears to be an extremely common way for scientific papers to refer to changes in land cover, I'd say go for vegetative changes.

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"The purpose of this research is to identify changes in vegetation in area X." – Benjamin Jun 21 '12 at 15:34
"vegetation changes" has more hits than "vegetative changes", not that it is a good metric... – Benjamin Jun 21 '12 at 16:33

I think "vegetative" points to "vegetativeness", so vegetative changes point to changes in vegetativity, if you will. That is, the term is more related to the growth, nutrition and reproduction abilities of vegetation, which is not what I want to describe.

I will stick with "changes in vegetation" to avoid the ambiguity pointed out by Colin. This puts the emphasis on the physicality of plants (i.e. a plant was there, now it is not), rather than on their vegetative functioning.

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Go ahead and accept his answer then! :) – izx Jun 22 '12 at 15:21

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