Facilitation in plant communities

the past, the present, and the future

Rob W. Brooker, Fernando T. Maestre, Ragan M. Callaway, Christopher L. Lortie, Lohengrin A. Cavieres, Georges Kunstler, Pierre Liancourt, Katja Tielboerger, Justin M. J. Travis, Fabien Anthelme, Cristina Armas, Lluis Coll, Emmanuel Corcket, Sylvain Delzon, Estelle Forey, Zaal Kikvidze, Johan Olofsson, Francisco Pugnaire, Constanza L. Quiroz, Patrick Saccone & 4 others Katja Schiffers, Merav Seifan, Blaise Touzard, Richard Michalet

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

978 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

1. Once neglected, the role of facilitative interactions in plant communities has received considerable attention in the last two decades, and is now widely recognized. It is timely to consider the progress made by research in this field.

2. We review the development of plant facilitation research, focusing on the history of the field, the relationship between plant-plant interactions and environmental severity gradients, and attempts to integrate facilitation into mainstream ecological theory. We then consider future directions for facilitation research.

3. With respect to our fundamental understanding of plant facilitation, clarification of the relationship between interactions and environmental gradients is central for further progress, and necessitates the design and implementation of experiments that move beyond the clear limitations of previous studies.

4. There is substantial scope for exploring indirect facilitative effects in plant communities, including their impacts on diversity and evolution, and future studies should connect the degree of non-transitivity in plant competitive networks to community diversity and facilitative promotion of species coexistence, and explore how the role of indirect facilitation varies with environmental severity.

5. Certain ecological modelling approaches (e.g. individual-based modelling), although thus far largely neglected, provide highly useful tools for exploring these fundamental processes.

6. Evolutionary responses might result from facilitative interactions, and consideration of facilitation might lead to re-assessment of the evolution of plant growth forms.

7. Improved understanding of facilitation processes has direct relevance for the development of tools for ecosystem restoration, and for improving our understanding of the response of plant species and communities to environmental change drivers.

8. Attempts to apply our developing ecological knowledge would benefit from explicit recognition of the potential role of facilitative plant-plant interactions in the design and interpretation of studies from the fields of restoration and global change ecology.

9. Synthesis: Plant facilitation research provides new insights into classic ecological theory and pressing environmental issues. Awareness and understanding of facilitation should be part of the basic ecological knowledge of all plant ecologists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-34
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Ecology
Volume96
Issue number1
Early online date6 Sep 2007
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008

Keywords

  • competition
  • disturbance
  • ecological theory
  • environmental change
  • environmental gradients
  • facilitation
  • plant communities
  • positive plant interactions
  • review
  • stress
  • negative species interactions
  • stress-gradient hypothesis
  • salt-marsh plants
  • positive interactions
  • biotic interactions
  • arid environments
  • nurse-plants
  • relative importance
  • abiotic stress
  • climate-change

Cite this

Brooker, R. W., Maestre, F. T., Callaway, R. M., Lortie, C. L., Cavieres, L. A., Kunstler, G., ... Michalet, R. (2008). Facilitation in plant communities: the past, the present, and the future. Journal of Ecology, 96(1), 18-34. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2745.2007.01295.x

Facilitation in plant communities : the past, the present, and the future. / Brooker, Rob W.; Maestre, Fernando T.; Callaway, Ragan M.; Lortie, Christopher L.; Cavieres, Lohengrin A.; Kunstler, Georges; Liancourt, Pierre; Tielboerger, Katja; Travis, Justin M. J.; Anthelme, Fabien; Armas, Cristina; Coll, Lluis; Corcket, Emmanuel; Delzon, Sylvain; Forey, Estelle; Kikvidze, Zaal; Olofsson, Johan; Pugnaire, Francisco; Quiroz, Constanza L.; Saccone, Patrick; Schiffers, Katja; Seifan, Merav; Touzard, Blaise; Michalet, Richard.

In: Journal of Ecology, Vol. 96, No. 1, 01.2008, p. 18-34.

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

Brooker, RW, Maestre, FT, Callaway, RM, Lortie, CL, Cavieres, LA, Kunstler, G, Liancourt, P, Tielboerger, K, Travis, JMJ, Anthelme, F, Armas, C, Coll, L, Corcket, E, Delzon, S, Forey, E, Kikvidze, Z, Olofsson, J, Pugnaire, F, Quiroz, CL, Saccone, P, Schiffers, K, Seifan, M, Touzard, B & Michalet, R 2008, 'Facilitation in plant communities: the past, the present, and the future', Journal of Ecology, vol. 96, no. 1, pp. 18-34. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2745.2007.01295.x
Brooker RW, Maestre FT, Callaway RM, Lortie CL, Cavieres LA, Kunstler G et al. Facilitation in plant communities: the past, the present, and the future. Journal of Ecology. 2008 Jan;96(1):18-34. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2745.2007.01295.x
Brooker, Rob W. ; Maestre, Fernando T. ; Callaway, Ragan M. ; Lortie, Christopher L. ; Cavieres, Lohengrin A. ; Kunstler, Georges ; Liancourt, Pierre ; Tielboerger, Katja ; Travis, Justin M. J. ; Anthelme, Fabien ; Armas, Cristina ; Coll, Lluis ; Corcket, Emmanuel ; Delzon, Sylvain ; Forey, Estelle ; Kikvidze, Zaal ; Olofsson, Johan ; Pugnaire, Francisco ; Quiroz, Constanza L. ; Saccone, Patrick ; Schiffers, Katja ; Seifan, Merav ; Touzard, Blaise ; Michalet, Richard. / Facilitation in plant communities : the past, the present, and the future. In: Journal of Ecology. 2008 ; Vol. 96, No. 1. pp. 18-34.
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T2 - the past, the present, and the future

AU - Brooker, Rob W.

AU - Maestre, Fernando T.

AU - Callaway, Ragan M.

AU - Lortie, Christopher L.

AU - Cavieres, Lohengrin A.

AU - Kunstler, Georges

AU - Liancourt, Pierre

AU - Tielboerger, Katja

AU - Travis, Justin M. J.

AU - Anthelme, Fabien

AU - Armas, Cristina

AU - Coll, Lluis

AU - Corcket, Emmanuel

AU - Delzon, Sylvain

AU - Forey, Estelle

AU - Kikvidze, Zaal

AU - Olofsson, Johan

AU - Pugnaire, Francisco

AU - Quiroz, Constanza L.

AU - Saccone, Patrick

AU - Schiffers, Katja

AU - Seifan, Merav

AU - Touzard, Blaise

AU - Michalet, Richard

PY - 2008/1

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N2 - 1. Once neglected, the role of facilitative interactions in plant communities has received considerable attention in the last two decades, and is now widely recognized. It is timely to consider the progress made by research in this field.2. We review the development of plant facilitation research, focusing on the history of the field, the relationship between plant-plant interactions and environmental severity gradients, and attempts to integrate facilitation into mainstream ecological theory. We then consider future directions for facilitation research.3. With respect to our fundamental understanding of plant facilitation, clarification of the relationship between interactions and environmental gradients is central for further progress, and necessitates the design and implementation of experiments that move beyond the clear limitations of previous studies.4. There is substantial scope for exploring indirect facilitative effects in plant communities, including their impacts on diversity and evolution, and future studies should connect the degree of non-transitivity in plant competitive networks to community diversity and facilitative promotion of species coexistence, and explore how the role of indirect facilitation varies with environmental severity.5. Certain ecological modelling approaches (e.g. individual-based modelling), although thus far largely neglected, provide highly useful tools for exploring these fundamental processes.6. Evolutionary responses might result from facilitative interactions, and consideration of facilitation might lead to re-assessment of the evolution of plant growth forms.7. Improved understanding of facilitation processes has direct relevance for the development of tools for ecosystem restoration, and for improving our understanding of the response of plant species and communities to environmental change drivers.8. Attempts to apply our developing ecological knowledge would benefit from explicit recognition of the potential role of facilitative plant-plant interactions in the design and interpretation of studies from the fields of restoration and global change ecology.9. Synthesis: Plant facilitation research provides new insights into classic ecological theory and pressing environmental issues. Awareness and understanding of facilitation should be part of the basic ecological knowledge of all plant ecologists.

AB - 1. Once neglected, the role of facilitative interactions in plant communities has received considerable attention in the last two decades, and is now widely recognized. It is timely to consider the progress made by research in this field.2. We review the development of plant facilitation research, focusing on the history of the field, the relationship between plant-plant interactions and environmental severity gradients, and attempts to integrate facilitation into mainstream ecological theory. We then consider future directions for facilitation research.3. With respect to our fundamental understanding of plant facilitation, clarification of the relationship between interactions and environmental gradients is central for further progress, and necessitates the design and implementation of experiments that move beyond the clear limitations of previous studies.4. There is substantial scope for exploring indirect facilitative effects in plant communities, including their impacts on diversity and evolution, and future studies should connect the degree of non-transitivity in plant competitive networks to community diversity and facilitative promotion of species coexistence, and explore how the role of indirect facilitation varies with environmental severity.5. Certain ecological modelling approaches (e.g. individual-based modelling), although thus far largely neglected, provide highly useful tools for exploring these fundamental processes.6. Evolutionary responses might result from facilitative interactions, and consideration of facilitation might lead to re-assessment of the evolution of plant growth forms.7. Improved understanding of facilitation processes has direct relevance for the development of tools for ecosystem restoration, and for improving our understanding of the response of plant species and communities to environmental change drivers.8. Attempts to apply our developing ecological knowledge would benefit from explicit recognition of the potential role of facilitative plant-plant interactions in the design and interpretation of studies from the fields of restoration and global change ecology.9. Synthesis: Plant facilitation research provides new insights into classic ecological theory and pressing environmental issues. Awareness and understanding of facilitation should be part of the basic ecological knowledge of all plant ecologists.

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KW - disturbance

KW - ecological theory

KW - environmental change

KW - environmental gradients

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KW - positive plant interactions

KW - review

KW - stress

KW - negative species interactions

KW - stress-gradient hypothesis

KW - salt-marsh plants

KW - positive interactions

KW - biotic interactions

KW - arid environments

KW - nurse-plants

KW - relative importance

KW - abiotic stress

KW - climate-change

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DO - 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2007.01295.x

M3 - Literature review

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JO - Journal of Ecology

JF - Journal of Ecology

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