The Mechanisms and Consequences of Interspecific Competition among Plants

Erik T. Aschehoug, Rob Brooker, Daniel Z. Atwater, John L. Maron, Ragan M. Callaway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


During the past 100 years, studies spanning thousands of taxa across almost all biomes have demonstrated that competition has powerful negative effects on the performance of individuals and can affect the composition of plant communities, the evolution of traits, and the functioning of whole ecosystems. In this review, we highlight new and important developments that have the potential to greatly improve our understanding of how plants compete and the consequences of competition from individuals to communities in the following major areas of research: (a) mechanisms of competition, (b) competitive effect and response, (c) direct and indirect effects of competition, (d) population-level effects of competition, (e) biogeographical differences in competition, and (f) conditionality of competition. Ecologists have discovered much about competition, but the mechanisms of competition and how competition affects the organization of communities in nature still require both theoretical and empirical exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-281
Number of pages19
JournalAnnual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Biogeography
  • Conditionality
  • Demography
  • Indirect effects
  • Plant competition
  • Resource competition


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