Plant population ecology and plant demography are consolidated research fields providing insights into how plant populations perform in their environments. In a context of conservation biology, understanding the functioning of plant populations is important since this knowledge has to do with our potential to develop comprehensive and effective conservation plans of endangered plant species. On the other hand, given that evolutionary change begins at the population level, population ecology studies shed light on the forces that affect the life and death and the fecundity of individual plants, determining therefore the fitness of all different variants of a population.
fecundity of plants in a population (see Figure 5). Interestingly, individual-based data can be integrated into a single graph from which important population-based parameters can be obtained through mathematical means. One of these population-based parameters is the population growth rate, A, which indicates whether the population is growing (A > 1), declining (A < 1), or not changing (A = 1) over time.
In the case of plants, structured models (e.g., matrix population models) are an extensively used group of models since plants of a population can be categorized into stage/size classes according to clear biological criteria (e.g., size at first reproduction, size at minimum mortality risk, etc.). Perturbation analyses (e.g., elasticity
See also: Age Structure and Population Dynamics; Competition and Competition Models; Dispersal-Migration; Fecundity; Life Forms, Plants; Matrix Models; Mortality; Population Viability Analysis; Predation; Recruitment; r-Strategist/K-Strategists.
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