Trampling, defoliation and physiological integration

Trampling, defoliation and physiological integration
Trampling, defoliation and physiological integration

Clonal plants are a common feature of heavily grazed ecosystems where large herbivores inflict simultaneous pressures of trampling and defoliation. Xu et al. examine the effects of physiological integration (resource sharing between interconnected ramets of the same clone) on responses in the root-suckering clonal tree Populus simonii. They find that although clonal connection does not influence defoliation response, it does alleviate the effects of trampling, possibly via facilitation of resource transport between ramets that compensates for trampling-induced damage to fine roots.