Investigating the impact of plant traits on community structure in fire-prone woody vegetation using a model of 288 plant functional types
Groeneveld, J., Esther, A., Enright, N., Miller, B., Lamont, B., Perry, G and Jeltsch, F. (2007) Investigating the impact of plant traits on community structure in fire-prone woody vegetation using a model of 288 plant functional types. In: 11th International Mediterranean Ecosystems (MEDECOS) Conference (2007), 2 - 5 September, Perth, Western Australia.
A number of models provide potential explanations for the persistence of high plant species diversity of fire-prone Mediterranean-type ecosystems (e.g. Groeneveld et al. 2002). However, these models often deal with only a few species or are rather abstract and do not allow the investigation of detailed questions of community structure. We developed a spatially explicit, individual- and rule-based model for theoretically-possible plant functional types (PFTs) based on seven traits thought to be important for the persistence of woody perennials in fire-prone environments. In this paper we present the importance of seed input from a regional seed pool for the structure and diversity of a local plant community. We compare our simulation results with field data for a study site in the northern sandplains of the Mid-West region of Western Australia near the town of Eneabba, 270 km north of Perth, where 38 Plant functional types co-occur. We focus particularly on the following three questions: 1) Does seed input from a species rich regional PFT pool increase local PFT richness and diversity? How do potential effects depend on 2) the mode (equal seed input number vs. equal seed input mass from all PFTs of the regional pool) and 3) the intensity (from low to high) of seed input?
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