Long-term studies of vegetation dynamics

M. Rees, R. Condit, M. Crawley, S. Pacala, D. Tilman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

404 Scopus citations

Abstract

By integrating a wide range of experimental, comparative, and theoretical approaches, ecologists are starting to gain a detailed understanding of the long-term dynamics of vegetation. We explore how patterns of variation in demographic traits among species have provided insight into the processes that structure plant communities. We find a common set of mechanisms, derived from ecological and evolutionary principles, that underlie the main forces shaping systems as diverse as annual plant communities and tropical forests. Trait variation between species maintains diversity and has important implications for ecosystem processes. Hence, greater understanding of how Earth's vegetation functions will likely require integration of ecosystem science with ideas from plant evolutionary, population, and community ecology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)650-655
Number of pages6
JournalScience
Volume293
Issue number5530
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 27 2001

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