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Trends Ecol Evol. 1994 Apr;9(4):145-8. doi: 10.1016/0169-5347(94)90180-5.

Terrestrial plant tolerance to herbivory.

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  • 1J.P. Rosenthal is at the Dept of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


Damage to plants by herbivores is ubiquitous and sometimes severe. Tolerance is the capacity of a plant to maintain its fitness through growth and reproduction after sustaining herbivore damage. Recent physiological and ecological work indicates that tolerance mechanisms are numerous and varied. Some of the plant traits involved may reflect selection by herbivores, while others are likely to be by-products of selection for other ecological functions. Similarly, some tolerance mechanisms may participate In trade-offs with plant defence, while many do not. Regardless of its ultimate origin or physiological relationship to plant defence, tolerance often may Influence the evolution of plant defence and the composition of plant communities.

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