Assessment of interspecific interactions in plant communities: an illustration from the cold desert saltbush grasslands of North America

Journal of Arid Environments
By:  and 

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Abstract

Interspecific interactions influence both the productivity and composition of plant communities. Here, we propose new field procedures and analytical approaches for assessing interspecific interactions in nature and apply these procedures to the salt desert shrub grasslands of western Utah. Data were collected from two grazing treatments over a period of 2 years. The proposed equations were fairly consistent across both treatments and years. In addition to illustrating how to assess interspecific interactions within a community, we also develop a new approach for projecting the community composition as a result of some alteration, i.e. increase or decrease in the abundance of one or more species. Results demonstrate competition both within and between plant life-form groups. While introduced annuals were found to depress profoundly the likelihood of perennial plants replacing themselves, perennials had little influence on annuals. Thus, as native perennials die, they are more likely to be replaced by perennials than for the reverse to occur. Our results suggest that unless conditions change, these communities will become increasingly dominated by introduced annuals.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Assessment of interspecific interactions in plant communities: an illustration from the cold desert saltbush grasslands of North America
Series title Journal of Arid Environments
DOI 10.1006/jare.1995.0059
Volume 31
Issue 2
Year Published 1995
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Western Fisheries Research Center
Description 20 p.
First page 179
Last page 198
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