Canadian Forest Service Publications

Global trait–environment relationships of plant communities. 2018. Bruelheide, H.; Dengler, J.; Purschke, O.; Lenoir, J.; Jiménez-Alfaro, B.; Hennekens, S.M.; Botta-Dukát, Z.; Chytrý, M.; Field, R.; Jansen, F.; Kattge, J.; Pillar, V.D.; Schrodt, F.; Mahecha, M.D.; Peet, R.K.; Sandel, B.; van Bodegom, P.; Altman, J.; Alvarez-Dávila, E.; Arfin Khan, M.A.S.; Attorre, F.; Aubin, I.; Baraloto, C.; Barroso, J.G.; Bauters, M.; Bergmeier, E.; Biurrun, I.; Bjorkman, A.D.; Blonder, B.; Čarni, A.; Cayuela, L.; Černý, T.; Cornelissen, J.H.C.; Craven, D.; Dainese, M.; Deroire, G.; De Sanctis, M.; Díaz, S.; Doležal, J.; Farfan-Rios, W.; Feldpausch, T.R.; Fenton, N.J.; Garnier, E.; Guerin, G.R.; Gutiérrez, A.G.; Haider, S.; Hattab, T.; Henry, G.; Hérault, B.; Higuchi, P.; Hölzel, N.; Homeier, J.; Jentsch, A.; Jürgens, N.; Kącki, Z.; Karger, D.N., Kessler, M.; Kleyer, M.; Knollová, I.; Korolyuk, A.Y.; Kühn, I.; Laughlin, D.C.; Lens, F.; Loos, J.; Louault, F.; Lyubenova, M.I.; Malhi, Y.; Marcenò, C.; Mencuccini, M.; Müller, J.V.; Munzinger, J.; Myers-Smith, I.H.; Neill, D.A.; Niinemets, Ü.; Orwin, K.H.; Ozinga, W.A.; Penuelas, J.; Pérez-Haase, A.; Petřík, P.; Phillips, O.L.; Pärtel, M.; Reich, P.B.; Römermann, C.; Rodrigues, A.V.; Sabatini, F.M.; Sardans, J.; Schmidt, M.; Seidler, G.; Espejo, J.E.S.; Silveira, M.; Smyth, A.; Sporbert, M.; Svenning, J.-C.; Tang, Z.; Thomas, R.; Tsiripidis, I.; Vassilev, K.; Violle, C.; Virtanen, R.; Weiher, E.; Welk, E.; Wesche, K.; Winter, M.; Wirth, C.; Jandt, U. Nature Ecology and Evolution 2: 1906-1917.

Year: 2018

Available from: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39415

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0699-8

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Plain Language Summary

This paper assesses the relationship between plant species characteristics at the community level, called functional traits, and environmental conditions. Expression of these traits can vary at local scales, based on type of disturbance or successional stage, and at larger scales, based on climate conditions and soil type. The diversity of traits, whether suites of traits co-exist within a community and if exist under certain conditions helps scientists predict ecosystem response when environmental changes occur. Plant traits were analysed and mapped to evaluate community-level patterns and diversity in traits at global scales. To conduct the analyses, a database was built (sPlot) amalgamating data for over 36,000 species across 1.1 million vegetation plots important about for 18 traits important for plant health and survival. Our results show that global patterns of traits within a community are mainly determined by plant height and leaf characteristics important for acquiring resources. However, these patterns are only weakly associated to soil factors and climatic conditions. In fact, the strongest associations with climate were found in characteristics not related to height or resource acquisition. This suggests that the diversity of functional traits is quite high at local scales, but are likely associated with factors other than soil and climate at global scales. This study is among the first to evaluate trait composition across communities over such a large extent.

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