The importance of importance

Rob Brooker, Zaal Kikvidze, Francisco I. Pugnaire, Ragan M. Callaway, Philippe Choler, Christopher J. Lortie, Richard Michalet

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

204 Scopus citations

Abstract

Failure to distinguish between 'importance' and 'intensity' of competition has hindered our ability to resolve key questions about the role interactions may play in plant communities. Here we examine how appropriate application of metrics of importance and intensity is integral to investigating key theories in plant community ecology and how ignoring this distinction has lead to confusion and possibly spurious conclusions. We re-explore the relationship between competition intensity and importance for individuals across gradients, and apply our review of concepts to published data to help clarify the debate. We demonstrate that competition importance and intensity need not be correlated and show how explicit application of the intensity and importance of competition may reconcile apparently incompatible paradigms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-70
Number of pages8
JournalOikos
Volume109
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2005

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