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Someone, at some point, had mangled the first sentence, completely changing it's meaning from the original. Also, the "importance" paragraph had been merged into the intro P, making it unnecessarily long and diffuse. Don't know how long ago this happened, as I have not checked the article much lately. I have reverted both of these to their approximate original conditions.
Vegetation is a general term for the plant life of a region; it refers to the ground cover provided by plants. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular taxa, life forms, structure, spatial extent, or any other specific botanical or geographic characteristics. It is broader than the term flora which refers exclusively to species composition. Perhaps the closest synonym is plant community, but vegetation can, and often does, refer to a wider range of spatial scales than that term does, including scales as large as the global. Primeval redwood forests, coastal mangrove stands, sphagnum bogs, desert soil crusts, roadside weed patches, wheat fields, cultivated gardens and lawns; all are encompassed by the term vegetation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk) 11:05, 24 August 2008 (UTC)