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Testing Predictions Of The Resistance And Resilience Of Vegetation Subjected To Extreme Events

C. W. Macgillivray, J. Grime
Published 1995 · Biology

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We test the hypothesis that the responses of vegetation to extreme events is a function of the nutrient stress tolerance of species present. The nutrient stress tolerance of a range of species was defined by a formalized procedure in which traits measured by screening in the laboratory were synthesized using principle components analysis. Results were then compared with the results from a large-scale field experiment which examined the responses of five herbaceous plant communities in Derbyshire, UK to three extreme events (frost, drought and fire). Nutrient stress tolerance was positively correlated with resistance to initial damage and negatively correlated with resilience (speed of recovery). The results illustrate the use of laboratory data to predict the field responses of plants to extreme events and demonstrate that the axis from high to low nutrient stress tolerance can play an effective role in predicting these responses.
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