Demography of <i>Bouteloua gracilis</i> in a mixed prairie: analysis of genets and individuals

TitleDemography of Bouteloua gracilis in a mixed prairie: analysis of genets and individuals
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsFair J., Lauenroth W.K., Coffin D.P.
JournalJournal of Ecology
Date PublishedApril 1, 1999
ARIS Log Number091690
Keywordsclonal fragmentation, grassland, mortality, plants, recruitment

1 We analysed a data set containing the locations and sizes of individual plants from five 1-m2 permanent quadrats that had been mapped annually from 1934 to 1972. We digitized each map and used geographical information software to evaluate annual recruitment and mortality, age structure, survivorship and longevity of genets and individuals of Bouteloua gracilis.

2 Ninety-one per cent of the years between 1938 and 1972 had at least one seedling recruited. An average of 10.3 genets died annually, although the variability among years was high (CV = 70%). The number of seedlings recruited each year was significantly correlated with the number of genets dying. Most genets died before age 10 and the average life span was 3.7 years, although some genets were much longer lived (> 38 years).

3 The average number of individuals per genet was 1.3. Excluding seedlings, 56% of the genets were represented by a single individual. The annual number of individuals in the 5 m2 ranged from 29 to 278. Average mortality of individuals was 25.8 per year and the variability among years was high (CV = 91%).

4 The plant community appeared to be relatively stable and openings created by mortality were recolonized by recruitment. Climatic variability did not have a large influence on demography.