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Title: The unexpected influence of legacy conspecific density dependence
Abstract

When plants die, neighbours escape competition. Living conspecifics could disproportionately benefit because they are freed from negative intraspecific processes; however, if the negative effects of past conspecific neighbours persist, other species might be advantaged, and diversity might be maintained through legacy effects. We examined legacy effects in a mapped forest by modelling the survival of 37,212 trees of 23 species using four neighbourhood properties: living conspecific, living heterospecific, legacy conspecific (dead conspecifics) and legacy heterospecific densities. Legacy conspecific effects proved nearly four times stronger than living conspecific effects; changes in annual survival associated with legacy conspecific density were 1.5% greater than living conspecific effects. Over 90% of species were negatively impacted by legacy conspecific density, compared to 47% by living conspecific density. Our results emphasize that legacies of trees alter community dynamics, revealing that prior research may have underestimated the strength of density dependent interactions by not considering legacy effects.

 
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NSF-PAR ID:
10513558
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley-Blackwell
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Ecology Letters
Volume:
27
Issue:
6
ISSN:
1461-023X
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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