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Botanical Sciences

versão On-line ISSN 2007-4476versão impressa ISSN 2007-4298


PEDRAZA, Fernando  e  MARTORELL, Carlos. Allocating species in Grime’s strategy space: an alternative to trait-based approaches. Bot. sci [online]. 2019, vol.97, n.4, pp.649-660.  Epub 04-Fev-2020. ISSN 2007-4476.


The three-primary-strategy theory proposed by Grime identifies stress and disturbance as the key environmental factors leading to the emergence of distinctive plant strategies that are defined by combinations of stress and disturbance tolerance. Plant strategies are usually inferred from sets of traits, which may lead to circular reasoning and artificial restrictions of the species distribution in the strategy space.


Can measurements of stress and disturbance tolerance in nature be used to estimate the positions of different species relative to each other in Grime’s strategy space?

Data description:

Stress, disturbance and abundance data for 50 species at 25 0.5-ha sites

Study site and dates:

Semiarid grassland, Oaxaca, Mexico, 2014


The tolerance of species to stress and disturbance were inferred from their abundances and were used to allocate the species into Grime’s space. To assess whether our procedure reflects the underpinnings of Grime’s theory, we determined whether a few attributes of the species changed within the strategy space according to theoretical expectations.


Most species were allocated towards high disturbance and low stress intensities. The species attributes concurred with the trends expected from their positions in the strategy space.


This study indicates that plant species can be allocated in the strategy space using their attributes for stress and disturbance tolerance. Thus, our measurements seem to reflect the basic principles proposed by Grime. Future improvements would require the development of procedures that involve several sources of stress and disturbance.

Palavras-chave : C-S-R theory; disturbance tolerance; functional attributes; Grime’s triangle; hydric stress tolerance.

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