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Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA Vol. 93, pp. 99809984, September 1996

Summary: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA
Vol. 93, pp. 99809984, September 1996
Population Biology
A model of self-thinning through local competition
Departments of Mathematics and Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112
Communicated by Robert T. Paine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, May 31, 1996 (received for review September 14, 1995)
ABSTRACT Explanations of self-thinning in plant popu-
lations have focused on plant shape and packing. A dynamic
model based on the structure of local interactions successfully
reproduces the pattern and can be approximated to identify
key parameters and relationships. The approach generates
testable new explanations for differences between species and
populations, unifies self-thinning with other patterns in plant
population dynamics, and indicates why organisms other than
plants can follow the law.
Ecological patterns tend to be obscured by noise. Those that
stand out must derive from robust structural or dynamical
principles. One such pattern is the 3 2 self-thinning law for
plant populations (1, 2). As individuals in a competing popu-


Source: Adler, Fred - Department of Mathematics, University of Utah


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology