The role of abiotic factors (geology and climate) and human activities in shaping the spatial variability and distribution patterns of plant populations are widely studied. Less is known on the effects of plant-plant and plant-animal interactions in determining the dispersal, establishment and performance of plant species propagules and therefore in conditioning plant population spatial variability.
Plant and animal species composition can be considered constant within a vegetation series in a discrete biogeographical and bioclimatic area: structural and functional traits of communities are therefore biotic factors that play a major role in determining the fate of populations.
Here we analyze how the chorological and functional traits of plant and animal species within vegetation series affect seed dispersal, recruits performance and population fluctuations of some case-study plant species. Comparison of the performance of plant populations among vegetation series is of great interest to understand mechanisms of plant-plant and plant-animal interaction.
Two case study are presented: temporal analysis of the population dynamics of an endemic dwarf plant (Centaurea horrida Badarò), living in coastal, thermomediterranean, juniper vegetation series, under different types of land use, and the spatial analysis of the population structure of a temperate, relic tree (Taxus baccata L.), within different types of Mediterranean and sub-Mediterranean oak-dominated series, in relation to browsing.
competition, facilitation, plant-animal interactions, plant-plant interactions, Sardinia, secondary succession