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2013 (English)In: American Journal of Botany, ISSN 0002-9122, E-ISSN 0032-0919, Vol. 100, no 7, 1356-1368 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Premise of study: Plant functional traits are commonly used as proxies for plant responses to environmental challenges, yet few studies have explored how functional trait distributions differ across gradients of land-use change. By comparing trait distributions in intact forests with those across land-use change gradients, we can improve our understanding of the ways land-use change alters the diversity and functioning of plant communities. Methods: We examined how the variation and distribution of trait values for seven plant functional traits differ between reference natural forest and three types of land-use conversion (pasture, old-field, or legacy sites-regrowth following logging), landscape productivity (NPP) and vegetation strata (tree or non-tree understory), in a meta-analysis of studies from 15 landscapes across five continents. Key results: Although trait variation often differed between land-uses within a landscape, these patterns were rarely consistent across landscapes. The variance and distribution of traits were more likely to differ consistently between natural forest and land-use conversion categories for understory (non-tree) plants than for trees. Landscape productivity did not significantly alter the difference in trait variance between natural forest and land-use conversion categories for any trait except dispersal. Conclusions: Our results suggest that even for traits well linked to plant environmental response strategies, broad classes of land-use change and landscape productivity are not generally useful indicators of the mechanisms driving compositional changes in human-modified forest systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 100, no 7, 1356-1368 p.
Keyword [en]
community assembly, forest regeneration, functional trait variation, land-use change, net primary productivity, secondary forest, trait distributions
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-93187DOI: 10.3732/ajb.1200461ISI: 000321766600011OAI: diva2:645842


Available from: 2013-09-05 Created: 2013-09-04 Last updated: 2014-10-15Bibliographically approved

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Metcalfe, Daniel J.Queiroz, Cibele
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Stockholm Resilience Centre
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