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Evidence for the Existence of Three Primary Strategies in Plants and Its Relevance to Ecological and Evolutionary Theory

J. P. Grime
The American Naturalist
Vol. 111, No. 982 (Nov. - Dec., 1977), pp. 1169-1194
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2460262
Page Count: 26
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Evidence for the Existence of Three Primary Strategies in Plants and Its Relevance to Ecological and Evolutionary Theory
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Abstract

It is suggested that evolution in plants may be associated with the emergence of three primary strategies, each of which may be identified by reference to a number of characteristics including morphological features, resource allocation, phenology, and response to stress. The competitive strategy prevails in productive, relatively undisturbed vegetation, the stress-tolerant strategy is associated with continuously unproductive conditions, and the ruderal strategy is characteristic of severely disturbed but potentially productive habitats. A triangular model based upon the three strategies may be reconciled with the theory of r- and K-selection, provides an insight into the processes of vegetation succession and dominance, and appears to be capable of extension to fungi and to animals.

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