Thursday, July 9, 2009

A fine piece of writing.

This excerpt is from one of the important papers regarding the maintenance of species richness in plant communities. My favourite part is the final statement.

"Four component niches have to be recognized in a complete definition
of a plant’s niche.

(i) The habitat niche, i.e. the physical and chemical limits tolerated by the mature
plant in nature. The definition should include an expression of the kinds of fluctuations
from the mean climatic conditions which favour the plant’s vegetative development.

(ii) The life-form niche, including an expression of size and annual productivity as
well as three-dimensional pattern.

(iii) The phenological niche, i.e. the pattern of seasonal development.

(iv) The regeneration niche, i.e. an expression of the requirements for a high chance
of success in the replacement of one mature individual by a new mature individual of
the next generation, concerning all the processes and characters indicated in Table 2.

The habitat niche is the plant’s address. The life-form and phenological niches are
the plant’s profession. The regeneration niche includes elements of both address and

Grubb, P.J. 1977. The maintenance of species richness in plant communities: the importance of the regeneration niche. Biological Reviews 52: 107-145.

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