Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2023, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (9): 1270-1277.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2022.0255

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Differential ecological strategies in functional traits among coexisting tree species in a Quercus aliena var. acuteserrata forest

YUAN Ya-Ni, ZHOU Zhe, CHEN Bin-Zhou, GUO Yao-Xin*(), YUE Ming   

  1. Key Laboratory of Resource Biology and Biotechnology in Western China, Ministry of Education, Northwest University, Xi’an 710069, China
  • Received:2022-06-16 Accepted:2022-10-11 Online:2023-09-20 Published:2023-09-28
  • Contact: * GUO Yao-Xin(
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(31600337);Natural Science Foundation of Shaanxi Province of China(2016JQ3002)


Aims Comparing functional traits of coexisting tree species in natural forests can reveal the adaptation strategies of different tree species to different habitats, which is essential for understanding the coexistence mechanism of the local forest community and guiding forest restoration.
Methods In this study, we compared the functional traits of five coexisting tree species in a Quercus aliena var. acuteserrata forest, the zonal vegetation in the Qinling Mountains, and further examined the difference in the traits space defined by the first two principal component analysis (PCA) axes to reveal the differences of these tree species in ecological strategies.
Important findings The results showed that there were obvious differences in the above- and belowground functional traits of different tree species, especially in the strategies of leaf resource acquisition and defense. Specifically, Acer davidii tended to have more acquisitive leaf traits and fine root traits, while Carpinus cordata was relatively more conservative in leaf and fine root traits. Lindera obtusiloba was inclined to have leaves with high resistance and defense ability, while leaves of Cornus kousa subsp. chinensis showed low resistance and defense ability. The dominant species, Q. aliena var. acuteserrata, occupied the middle position along the strategy gradient. The differences in the functional traits and their combinations of coexisting tree species in Q. aliena var. acuteserrata forest reflect their differences in ecological strategies and niches, which may contribute to their stable coexistence.

Key words: functional trait, ecological strategy, species coexistence, Quercus aliena var. acuteserrata forest, Qinling Mountains