Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2015, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (9): 857-866.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0082

Special Issue: 植物功能性状

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Responses of soil water content to change in plant functional traits in evergreen broadleaved forests in eastern Zhejiang Province

XU Ming-Shan, HUANG Hai-Xia, SHI Qing-Ru, YANG Xiao-Dong, ZHOU Liu-Li, ZHAO Yan-Tao, ZHANG Qing-Qing, YAN En-Rong*()   

  1. School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China;and Tiantong National Forest Ecosystem Observation and Research Station, Ningbo, Zhejiang 315114, China
  • Received:2015-03-23 Accepted:2015-08-04 Online:2015-09-03 Published:2015-09-23
  • Contact: En-Rong YAN
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors

Abstract: <i>Aims</i>

Study on the relationships between plant functional traits and soil water content is important for revealing potential impact of vegetation dynamics on soil water dynamics. The objective of this study was to understand the change of soil water content (Ws) through forest succession.


The study sites are located in Tiantong, Nanshan and Shuangfeng Mountains in eastern Zhejiang Province. We measured 10 functional traits for common plant species and Ws in forest plots representative of three successional stages of evergreen broadleaved forests. The Pearson correlation and the stepwise regression were conducted to determine the quantitative relationships between plant functional traits and Ws.

<i>Important findings</i>

Tree height (H), crown area (CA) and leaf dry matter content (LDMC) were significantly higher for species at intermediate-and late-successional stages than for species at early-successional stage. In contrast, max net photosynthetic rate (Pmax) and transpiration rate (Tr) of dominant species declined with forest succession. The Ws in the surface soil layer (0-20 cm) increased significantly, whereas Ws in the subsurface soil layer (20-40 cm) did not significantly change through forest succession. With respect to the surface soil layer, Ws was positively correlated with each of H, CA and LDMC, but negatively correlated with each of Pmax and Tr. With respect to the subsurface soil layer, Ws positively correlated with CA only, and negatively correlated with each of Pmax, stomatal conductance (Cond) and Tr. Variation in soil water content with forest succession could be explained mostly by H, CA, LDMC, Pmax, Cond and Tr, and the ratio of crown depth to tree height (CD/TH) was mostly sensitive to the change of soil water content during forest succession.

Key words: evergreen broadleaved forest, soil water content, response strategy, successional series, plant functional traits