Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2011, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (10): 1000-1008.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1258.2011.01000

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Variation and correlation of plant functional traits in karst area of central Guizhou Province, China

XI Xin-Qiang1,2, ZHAO Yu-Jie1,2, LIU Yu-Guo1,2, WANG Xin1,2, and GAO Xian-Ming1*   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China;

    2Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2010-06-21 Revised:2010-12-29 Online:2011-11-07 Published:2011-10-01
  • Contact: GAO Xian-Ming


Aims The trait-based community ecology approach has recently attracted considerable interest from plant ecologists. Our objective is to explore variations and correlations of plant functional traits at the species and community levels along a successional gradient in Karst area of central Guizhou Province in order to improve our understanding about community succession from the perspective of functional ecology.
Methods We investigated species composition of 26 plots in three successional stages (bush, deciduous broad-leaved forests, deciduous-evergreen forests) in Karst area of Puding, central Guizhou Province and quantified three functional traits (leaf area, specific leaf area and maximum height) of 82 woody species in these plots. We calculated the species abundance-weighted mean community trait values and used trait-gradient analysis (TGA) to analyze species functional trait variation along the successional gradient and within communities.
Important findings We found an increasing trend in mean community leaf area and maximum height and decreasing mean community specific leaf area along the successional gradient. For mean plot trait values, there were strong positive correlations between leaf area and maximum height, and significant negative correlations between specific leaf area and both maximum height and leaf area. Species β trait values of the three traits were strongly correlated with each other, but there was no significant correlation for α trait values. Results indicate that the adaptive strategies of dominant species transformed from fast growth to high resource-use efficiency along succession and that co-occurring species in the same community employ different trait assemblies.

Ackerly DD, Cornwell WK (2007). A trait-based approach to community assembly: partitioning of species trait values into within- and among-community components. Ecology Letters, 10, 135–145.

Ackerly DD, Knight CA, Weiss SB, Barton K, Starmer KP (2002). Leaf size, specific leaf area and microhabitat distribution of chaparral woody plants: contrasting patterns in species level and community level analyses. Oecologia, 130, 449–457.

Cornelisson J, Lavorel S, Garnier E, Diaz S, Buchmann N, Gurvich D, Reich P, Steege H, Morgan H, van der Heijden M (2003). A handbook of protocols for standardized and easy measurement of plant functional traits worldwide. Australian Journal of Botany, 51, 335–380.
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