Early subtropical forest growth is driven by community mean trait values and functional diversity rather than the abiotic environment
Wenzel Kröber, Ying Li, Werner Härdtle, Keping Ma, Bernhard Schmid, Karsten Schmidt, Thomas Scholten, Gunnar Seidler, Goddert von Oheimb, Erik Welk, Christian Wirth and Helge Bruelheide
Article first published online: 6 AUG 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1604
The manuscript addresses an approach to the framework suggested by Díaz et al. (2007, PNAS) to disentangle the effect of environment, species identity and functional diversity in tree communities. We present a dataset with 231 plots varying in ecological characteristics, species and functional diversity. We used a set of 41 plant functional traits for 23 tree species. Our most striking result is that the ecological environment only explained 4% of plot mean values in crown increment, whereas community weighted mean values and functional diversities of trait combinations explained 42 and 31%, respectively, adding up to 51% explained variation in combination. We can conclude that functional diversity even 3 years after planting has a significant impact on productivity.