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Non-Equilibrium Coexistence of Plants

S. T. A. Pickett
Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club
Vol. 107, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1980), pp. 238-248
Published by: Torrey Botanical Society
DOI: 10.2307/2484227
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2484227
Page Count: 11
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Non-Equilibrium Coexistence of Plants
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Abstract

Equilibrium plant communities are established by uninterrupted successions over several centuries. However, these equilibrium communities are often relatively poorer in species than some non-equilibrium community that preceded them. This, coupled with the paucity of confirmed within-community niche differentiation, suggests that factors preventing the establishment of a competitive equilibrium are critical to the coexistence of plants. Disturbance occurs frequently enough in many systems to destroy or disadvantage the competitive dominants of late successional communities and so allow the coexistence of species with many degrees of competitive ability. Without disturbance the persistence of certain species is threatened. The concept of patch dynamics is used to generalize and emphasize non-equilibrium coexistence.

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