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Although ecologists have long considered morphology and life history to be important determinants of the distribution, abundance, and dynamics of plants in nature, this book contains the first theory to predict explicitly both the evolution of plant traits and the effects of these traits on plant community structure and dynamics. Tilman focuses on the universal requirement of terrestrial plants for both below-ground and above-ground resources. The physical separation of these resources means that plants face an unavoidable tradeoff. To obtain a higher proportion of one resource, a plant must allocate more of its growth to the structures involved in its acquisition, and thus necessarily obtain a lower proportion of another resource.
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