Constant final yield is an empirical generalization concerning the total biomass production of plant stands growing at different densities after a period of growth. Total standing biomass initially increases in proportion to density, levels off, and then remains constant as density increases further. We review the empirical basis for and mathematical formulations of this pattern, and we clarify the relationship of constant final yield to density-dependent mortality (self-thinning). There are several mechanisms that can explain the pattern, and it has a clear evolutionary basis. Constant final yield is a key to understanding population- and community-level phenomena. Establishing whether or not a plant community is at or close to constant final yield is important for understanding and predicting its behavior. It represents the maximum biomass for a genotype in an environment after a period of growth and, as such, can serve as a baseline for the measurement of disturbance in plant communities.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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