Interactions Among Plants

  • Hans Lambers
  • F. Stuart ChapinIII
  • Thijs L. Pons

In previous chapters we dealt with many physical and chemical environmental factors that affect a plant’s performance, and with the effects of microsymbionts, herbivores, pathogens, and parasites. For many plants, however, the most important factor shaping their environment is other plants. One of the most active debates in both ecology and agriculture focuses on the question of the mechanisms by which plants interact with one another. Plant–plant interactions range from positive (facilitation) to neutral to negative (competition) effects on the performance of neighbors (Bazzaz 1996, Li et al. 1999). Competition occurs most commonly when plants utilize the same pool of growth-limiting resources (resource competition). Competition may also occur when one individual produces chemicals that negatively affect their neighbors (interference competition or allelopathy). Competition between two individuals is often highly asymmetric, with one individual having much greater negative impact than the other.


Relative Growth Rate Panicum Virgatum Specific Leaf Area Specific Root Length Tussock Grass 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Lambers
    • 1
  • F. Stuart ChapinIII
    • 2
  • Thijs L. Pons
    • 3
  1. 1.The University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.University of AlaskaFairbanksUSA
  3. 3.Utrecht UniversityThe Netherlands

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