The sessile nature of plants requires they integrate the environment for the duration of their lives. The presence of a plant suggests that, for the period of occupying that site, the environment has met all minimal requirements for light, water, and nutrients while not surpassing the tolerances of the plant to abiotic and biotic factors. Plant interactions alter the physical and biotic effects of the environment and may lead to alteration in community composition. When plants are no longer able to alter the environment beyond the tolerance of the occupants, a dynamic stability in community composition is established. This composition is often changed as a result of disturbance in the form of herbivory, wind, flooding, or fire. Depending upon the frequency and intensity of disturbance, an altered and dynamic community may occupy the site.
See also: Autotrophs; Leaf Area Index; Life Forms, Plants; Plant Defense; Succession.
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