PNV is widely used in modern conservation and renaturation projects to predict the most adapted species for a definite ecotope. Native species being considered having optimum ecological resilience for their native environment, and the best potential to enhance biodiversity.
Study of past ecosystems allowed to demonstrate, for instance, that numerous contemporary biotopes (like the "wild" Slovenian forests for instance), supposedly largely untouched, were in fact very remote from their natural vegetation. (No citation)
In Japan Prof. Akira Miyawaki, demonstrated after study that, on the one hand, long supposed "native species" had in fact been introduced on account of human intervention since over 1000 years (especially, coniferous being privileged over deciduous). On the other hand, that reforestation with "original" species gives good and often spectacular results. (No citation)
However the concept is subject to debate, on similar grounds as for the climax theory. Critics argue that ecosystems are not static but ever dynamic: as bioclimatic conditions constantly evolve, it is illusory to define either a final or a primary stage of vegetation.
- Moravec, Jaroslav (Dec 1998). "Reconstructed natural vs potential natural vegetation in vegetation mapping : a discussion of concepts". Applied Vegetation Science. Pruhonice, Czech Republic. 1 (2). doi:10.2307/1478946. JSTOR 1478946.
- Chiarucci, Alessandro; Miguel B. Araujo; Guillaume Decocq; Carl Beierkuhnlein; Jose ́ Marıa Fernandez-Palacios (2010). "FORUM The concept of potential natural vegetation: an epitaph?". Journal of Vegetation Science. doi:10.1111/j.1654-1103.2010.01218.x.
- Loidi, Javier; Federico Fernandez-Gonzalez (1 February 2012). "Potential natural vegetation: reburying or reboring?". Journal of Vegetation Science. 23 (3): 596–604. doi:10.1111/j.1654-1103.2012.01387.x.