Plant Demography

FX Picó, A Rodrigo, J Retana

Research output: Chapter in BookChapterResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


© 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. The main goal of plant demography is to understand how plant populations perform in their environments and how ecological factors affect population dynamical trends. This article summarizes all aspects of plant biology that matter for population dynamics. The contents include the main demographic patterns that characterize different life histories (annuals, monocarpic and polycarpic perennials) as well as the relationship between population structure (size, age, and genetic structure) and population dynamics. All demographic traits that constitute the life cycle of plants (reproduction, dispersal, seed germination, establishment, growth, and survivorship) and their contribution to population dynamics are also detailed. This article also outlines the main factors affecting demographic traits (competition, predation, herbivory, pollination, and disturbances), which in turn influence, and even regulate, the dynamics of plant populations. Finally, an extensively used integration tool in plant demography studies (structured population models) is briefly summarized to illustrate the contribution of modeling to plant demography. As concluding remarks, this article stresses the fact that plant demography represents a consolidated research field with important implications for basic and applied ecology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Ecology
Editors Sven Erik Jorgensen and Brian Fath, Editor/a
Place of PublicationOxford (GB)
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • Competition for resources
  • Demographic traits
  • Density dependence
  • Disturbance
  • Herbivory
  • Life history
  • Life-cycle graph
  • Pollination
  • Population growth rate
  • Population structure
  • Predation
  • Structured demographic models


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