1 Canonical community ordination comprises a collection of methods that relate species assemblages to their environment, in both observational studies and designed experiments. Canonical ordination differs from ordination sensu stricto in that species and environment data are analyzed simultaneously. Part I reviews the theory in a non-mathematical way with emphasis on new insights for the interpretation of ordination diagrams. The interpretation depends on the ordination method used to create the diagram. After the basic theory, Part I is focused on the ordination diagrams in linear methods of canonical community ordination, in particular principal components analysis, redundancy analysis and canonical correlation analysis. Special attention is devoted to the display of qualitative environmental variables.
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