In the United States this concept was largely rejected in favour of studying environments in more individualistic terms regarding species, where specific associations of plants occur randomly because of individual preferences and responses to gradients, and there are no sharp boundaries between phytocoenoses. The terminology 'plant community' is usually used in the US for a habitat consisting of a number of specific plant species.

It has been a successful approach in the scope of contemporary vegetation science because of its highly descriptive and predictive powers, and its usefulness in nature management issues.