aretioides; see above), which indicates that tropical alpine communities might be exposed to different gradients of stress than other alpine environments. Similarly, another study in a Costa Rican páramo suggested that the SGH could be corroborated at small spatial scale (variation in slope orientation; Farji-Brener et al., 2009). However, the authors themselves acknowledged that the absence of abiotic measurements between treatments made their conclusions speculative. Despite a unique combination of environmental characteristics and a number of observations of facilitative plant–plant interactions in TAE, there has been no attempt so far to define a link of
causality between these two features. Testing this link in future research is a stimulating challenge which would permit incorporating TAE into the broad conceptual framework of plant–plant interactions and to extend its conceptual and geographical relevance. By exploring AZD9291 nmr the potential influence of the various environmental parameters that are typical of TAE (see above section) we make a first step towards
this objective and propose several directions for research to come. Among the most important drivers of plant–plant interactions (see reviews by Callaway and Walker, 1997 and Callaway, 2007), those potentially influenced by the specific characteristics of TAE can be roughly classified Small molecule library into two groups (Fig. 1): one related to the stress-gradient hypothesis sensu stricto (SGH) and the other related to niche differentiation between species/populations, which has been integrated into a “refined SGH” by Maestre et al. (2009). The SGH, initially described Megestrol Acetate by Bertness and Callaway (1994), proposes that the frequency of positive plant–plant interactions increases along increasing gradients of either abiotic or biotic stress (Graff and Aguiar, 2011). In reality, in this definition, both stress and disturbance sensu Grime (2001) are potential
constraints that increase the ‘severity’ of the environment ( Brooker et al., 2008) and it is commonly accepted that they both play a role in the SGH ( Bertness and Callaway, 1994 and Brooker and Callaghan, 1998). The effects of disturbance on plant communities in TAE are expected to differ from those in other alpine plant communities because of a higher frequency of freeze–thaw cycles, the absence of permafrost, the absence of durable snowbeds (these three variables being possibly considered as stressors as well), a higher frequency – but a lower amplitude – of frost heaving and solifluction events, and a higher frequency of fires. Also, the nature of abiotic stress is expected to shift from extratropical alpine environments to TAE because of increased aridity induced by the absence of persistent snow cover and inverted rainfall gradients, lower partial pressure of atmospheric gases, especially CO2, and stronger UV radiations.