Inverse density dependence and the Allee effect

  • Courchamp F
  • Clutton-Brock T
  • Grenfell B
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Abstract

The Allee effect describes a scenario in which populations at low numbers are affected by a positive relationship between population growth rate and density, which increases their likelihood of extinction. The importance of this dynamic process in ecology has been under-appreciated and recent evidence now suggests that it might have an impact on the population dynamics of many plant and animal species. Studies of the causal mechanisms generating Allee effects in small populations could provide a key to understanding their dynamics.

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