Allometric Scaling of Production and Life History Variation in Vascular Plants
A prominent feature of comparative life histories in the well documented negative correlation between growth rate and life span [1,2]. Patterns of resource allocation during growth reflect life-history differences between species [1,2]. This is particularly striking in tropical forests, where tree species can differ greatly in their rates of growth and ages of maturity but still attain similar canopy sizes [3,4]. We provide a theoretical framework to relate life-history variables to rates of production partial M/partial t, where M is above ground body mass and t is time. Assuming that metabolic rate limits production as an individual grows, partial M/partial t proportional to M3/4 and incorporating interspecific variation in wood density we derive a universal growth law which quantitatively fits data for large sample of tropical tree species with diverse life histories. Combined with evolutionary life-history theory,  the growth law also predicts several qualitative features of tree demography and reproduction. This framework also provides a general answer to why relative growth rate 1/M(partial M/partial t) decreases with increasing plant size and varies differing allocation strategies [5-8].
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|Date of creation:||Oct 1999|
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