Effect of local competition on resprouting of Arbutus unedo after clipping

Authors

  • Montserrat Vilà,

    1. Unitat d Ecologia and Centre de Recerca Ecològica i d'Aplicacions Forestals, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Catalonia, Spain; Fax +34 3 5811312;
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    • Present address: Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley CA 94720, USA; Fax +1 5106436264

  • Jacob Weiner,

    1. Department of Biology, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA 19081-1397, USA;
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  • Jaume Terradas

    1. Unitat d Ecologia and Centre de Recerca Ecològica i d'Aplicacions Forestals, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Catalonia, Spain; Fax +34 3 5811312;
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Abstract

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.

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