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Competition and Spacing in Plant Communities: The Arizona Upland Association
Richard I. Yeaton, Joseph Travis and Ellen Gilinsky
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 65, No. 2 (Jul., 1977), pp. 587-595
Published by: British Ecological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2259503
Page Count: 9
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Plants, Deserts, Root systems, Highlands, Plant ecology, Plant communities, Desert soils, Synecology, Shrubs, Plant competition
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Spacing and competition were studied within and between species of the `Arizona upland association' in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Larrea tridentata, Franseria deltoidea, Opuntia fulgida, Carnegiea gigantea, and Fouquieria splendens comprise 95% of the individuals and 94% of the plant cover in the area studied. All intraspecific nearest-neighbour comparisons show that competition is occurring. Larrea tridentata competes with all species studied except Carnegiea gigantea, Franseria deltoidea competes only with Larrea tridentata, while there is no evidence of Carnegiea gigantea competing with other species (its interaction with Opuntia fulgida could not be determined). The root system of Larrea tridentata occupies a position intermediate between and overlapping those of Franseria deltoidea and Opuntia fulgida and as a result competes with both. Opuntia and Franseria do not compete as their root systems are segregated vertically from each other in the soil. It is suggested that vertical separation of root systems is the mechanism through which interspecific competition is reduced and co-existence maintained between these associated species of plants.
Journal of Ecology © 1977 British Ecological Society