The population dynamics of plants in a lattice structured habitat are studied theoretically. Plants are assumed to propagate both by producing seeds that scatter over the population and by vegetative reproduction by extending runners, rhizomes, or roots, to neighboring vacant sites. In addtion, the seed production rate may be dependent on the local density in the neighborhood, indicating beneficial or harmful crowding effects. Two sets of population dynamical equation(s) are derived: one based on mean-field approximation and the other based on pair approximation (tracing both global and local densities simultaneously). We examine the accuracy of these approximate dynamics by comparing them with direct computer simulation of the stochastic lattice model. Pair approximation is much more accurate than mean-field approximation. Mean-field approximation overestimates the parameter range for persistence if crowding effects on seed production are harmful or weakly beneficial, but underestimates it if crowding effects are highly beneficial. Dynamics may show bistability (both population persistence and extinction) if the effect of crowding is strongly beneficial. If there is a linear trade-off between seed production and vegetative reproduction, the equilibrium abundance of the population may be maximised by a mixture of seed production and vegetative reproduction, rather than by pure seed production or by pure vegetative reproduction. This result is correctly predicted by pair approximation but not by mean-field approximation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)