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Micro-Spatial Heterogeneity and Seedling Demography in Species-Rich Grassland

Jonathan W. Silvertown
The New Phytologist
Vol. 88, No. 1 (May, 1981), pp. 117-128
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the New Phytologist Trust
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2434291
Page Count: 12
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Micro-Spatial Heterogeneity and Seedling Demography in Species-Rich Grassland
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Abstract

It is suggested that spatial niche-separation between grassland species occurs in the regeneration phase and that the differential response of species to micro-variations in leaf cover may allow coexistence at high density. A technique for measuring heterogeneity in leaf-cover on a scale of 1-cm2 units (micro-cover) and the demography of seedling cohorts of Reseda lutea and Anthyllis vulneraria in relation to this heterogeneity is described. Densities of seedlings were significantly higher in micro-sites of low micro-cover for R. lutea and for one of the three cohorts of A. vulneraria studied. No relationship was found between mortality and density of seedlings or micro-cover. The ultimate causes of these distribution patterns of seedlings and their consequences for the maintenance of species diversity in grassland are discussed.

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