In ecology, a climax community is a theoretical state in which a soil or plant community has reached a stable and sustainable state of equilibrium with the edaphic and climatic factors of the environment.
Any natural or anthropic disturbance of the environment destroys this climax state. In the absence of further disturbance, the soil and the plant community will again develop towards their climax community.
Under the current climatic conditions, the climax vegetation in temperate latitudes is the forest. Therefore, without human intervention, Europe would be covered in forests except for a few places where fires, floods and herds of large herbivores would have created clearings.
In France, the climax community would result in brown soil topped with oak and beech forest covering most of the territory.
In the Vosges du Nord natural park, the environment's vegetation has reached its climax state of mixed forest. © Pierre Kessler CC by-nc-sa 2.0