Plant design is affected by neighbourhood structure and light availability

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Although neighbourhood structure and light availability are recognized as factors that limit survival and species coexistence, its relative importance on plant design is not well understood. Guzmán and Cordero investigate the effect of these factors on biomechanics, allometry, branching and slenderness as properties of the plant design.

Partial least squares path model to test the effect of ecological factors on plant design. Solid and dashed lines represent the inner and outer model, respectively.
Partial least squares path model to test the effect of ecological factors on plant design. Solid and dashed lines represent the inner and outer model, respectively. Image Guzmán and Cordero (2016).

They found that interference and size of the neighbourhood increase the density-specific stiffness and decrease the developmental stability, while the light availability decreases the branching and increases the slenderness. Because of this, the design must be considered as a key factor that contributes to the adaptation and coexistence in forest communities.

Reference

J. Antonio Guzmán Q, Roberto A. Cordero, 2016, 'Neighbourhood structure and light availability influence the variations in plant design of shrubs in two cloud forests of different successional status', Annals of Botany, vol. 118, no. 1, pp. 23-34 http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcw078


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