• Disturbance;
  • Inter-genet competition;
  • Plant competition;
  • Removal experiment;
  • Size variability
  • Tutin et al. (1964-1980)

Abstract. To evaluate the effects of local competition on the growth and size variability of sprouts following disturbance in a natural population of Arbutus unedo in Catalonia, plants were cut at the base and a neighbor removal experiment was performed. Removal of neighbors resulted in an increase in the number and biomass of sprouts at 2 and 7.5 months after clipping. Number and biomass of sprouts was also correlated with initial plant size (stump area). Inter-genet competition appeared to be symmetric, and acted to delay the onset of interference among sprouts within a genet. Size variability of sprouts on an individual was positively correlated with their density on the stump, supporting the hypothesis that competition among ramets (sprouts) within a genet is asymmetric. Reduced inter-genet competition from neighbor removal resulted in an increase in the number and biomass of sprouts growing from a stump. This resulted in an increase in the asymmetry of competition among sprouts, and therefore an increase in the size variability of these sprouts.