May 14, 1999

The ecology and evolution of plant tolerance to herbivory

Trends in Ecology & Evolution
S Y Strauss, A A Agrawal


The tolerance of plants to herbivory reflects the degree to which a plant can regrow and reproduce after damage from herbivores. Autoecological factors, as well as the influence of competitors and mutualists, affect the level of plant tolerance. Recent work indicates that there is a heritable basis for tolerance and that it can evolve in natural plant populations. Although tolerance is probably not a strict alternative to plant resistance, there could be inter- and intraspecific tradeoffs between these defensive strategies.

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