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In recent years, wireless sensor networks have gained extensive attentions due to their bright future in military and civil fields. Innovative routing techniques that can prolong the network lifetime are highly demanded. Clustering is an effective technique in applications of periodical data gathering. Most clustering schemes make the common assumption that sensors are uniformly dispersed within an area. In this paper, we propose an adaptive and distributed clustering scheme (ADCS) for wireless sensor networks, which can work very well in both uniform and non-uniform scenes. Our approach elects nodes with comparatively more residual energy and more neighbors as the cluster heads. In the cluster formation phase, the plain nodes choose to join in cluster considering both distance and load balance. ADCS can generate an even distribution of the clusters, which helps to prolong the network lifetime. Simulation results show that ADCS outperforms LEACH significantly by prolonging the network lifetime over 40% in uniform scenes and 75% in non-uniform scenes respectively.