On the meaning of competition and the mechanisms of competitive superiority

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Replies to criticism by Thompson (1987: see 89L/02585) of previously published theories of plant competition, community structure and succession, and develops ideas on the meaning and mechanisms of competition, and on equilibrium versus non-equilibrium models. Observations, experiments and theory demonstrate that there is little justification for the assertion that species can be ranked, in general, as falling at some point along a gradient from inferior to superior competitors. Rather, species are differentiated in their competitive abilities, with species which are superior competitors at one point along major environmental gradients, eg productivity or disturbance, being inferior competitors at other points on these gradients. Such differentiation is a consequence of trade-offs that exist in the physiologies, morphologies and life histories of plants. -P.J.Jarvis

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-315
Number of pages12
JournalFunctional Ecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1987


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