Plant compensatory growth: a conquering strategy in plant-herbivore interactions ?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We present a theoretical analysis that considers the phenotypic trait of compensatory growth ability in a context of population dynamics. Our model depicts a system of three interactors: herbivores and two different plant types referred to as ordinary and compensating. The compensating plant type has the ability to increase its intrinsic rate of biomass increase as a response to damage. This compensatory growth ability is maintained at the expense of a reduced growth rate in the absence of damage, where the ordinary plant type has the higher growth rate. Analysis of this system suggests that, even though a compensatory capacity of this kind will not imply an increase in equilibrium plant density, it will give a competitive advantage in relation to other plants, in the presence of a sufficiently efficient herbivore. Invasion of compensating plants into a population of non-compensating plants is facilitated by a high compensatory growth ability and a high intrinsic rate of plant biomass increase. Conversely, an ordinary plant can invade and outcompete a compensating plant when the herbivore is characterised by a relatively low attack rate, and/or when plant intrinsic growth rate is decreased.


  • Johannes Järemo
  • Eva Palmqvist
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-102
JournalEvolutionary Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Chemical Ecology/Ecotoxicology (Closed 2011) (011006020), Theoretical ecology (Closed 2011) (011006011)