Plant trait assembly in species‐rich forests at varying elevations in the northwest andes of Colombia

Angélica Ochoa‐beltrán, Johanna Andrea Martínez‐villa, Peter G. Kennedy, Beatriz Salgado‐negret, Alvaro Duque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Andean forests are home to a strikingly high diversity of plants, making it difficult to understand the main drivers of species assembly. Trait‐based approaches, however, help overcome some challenges associated with high taxonomic complexity, providing insights into the main drivers of species coexistence. Here, we evaluated the roles of climate, soil fertility, and symbiotic root associations on shaping the assembly of six plant functional traits (leaf area, specific leaf area, dry leaf matter content, leaf thickness, leaf toughness, and wood density) along an elevational gradient in the species‐rich northwestern Andean forests of Colombia. The two main axes of the correspondence RLQ analysis explained 95.75% of the variability. The first axis was associated with the leaf economic spectrum, while the second axis with the tradeoff between growth and survival. Furthermore, the fourth corner method showed that both regional (climatic variables) and local factors (soil fertility, symbiotic root associations, and light distribution) played a key role in determining plant trait assembly. In summary, our study emphasizes the importance of considering both individual size and local factors to better understand drivers of plant trait assembly along environmental gradients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1057
JournalLand
Volume10
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: We thank the Dirección de Investigaciones de la Universidad Nacional de Co‐ lombia Sede Medellín (DIME) and Johanna Martinez Villa for financing and facilitating the estab‐ lishment of monitoring plots. We also thank the Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Re‐ search Institute for funding the trait measurement.

Funding Information:
Funding: Functional characterization was funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Biological Re‐ sources Research Institute and Université du Québec à Montréal.

Funding Information:
Functional characterization was funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute and Universit? du Qu?bec ? Montr?al.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Andean forests
  • Environmental drivers
  • Fourth corner
  • Functional traits
  • Mycorrhizas
  • RLQ

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