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Canopy and understory tree guilds respond differently to the environment in an Indian rainforest

Abstract : Questions: Changes in the functional composition of tree communities along resource availability gradients have received attention, but it is unclear whether or not understory and canopy guilds respond similarly to different light, biomechanical, and hydraulic constraints. Location: An anthropically-undisturbed, old-growth wet evergreen Dipterocarp forest plot located in Karnataka State, India. Methods: We measured leaf and wood traits of 89 tree species representing 99% of all individuals in a 10 ha permanent plot with varying topographic and canopy conditions inferred from LiDAR data. We assigned tree species to guilds of canopy and understory species and assessed the variation of the guild weighted means of functional trait values with canopy height and topography. Results: The functional trait space did not differ between canopy and understory tree species. However, environmental filtering led to significantly different functional composition of canopy and understory guild assemblages. Furthermore, they responded differently along environmental gradients related to water, nutrients, light, and wind exposure. For example, the canopy guild responded to wind exposure while the understory guild did not. Conclusions environmental heterogeneity impacts differently on these two guilds, generating striking differences in functional composition between understory and canopy guild assemblages. Accounting for vertical guilds improves our understanding of forest communities’ assembly processes.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03338777
Contributor : Yannick Brohard <>
Submitted on : Thursday, September 9, 2021 - 9:15:06 AM
Last modification on : Saturday, September 11, 2021 - 3:25:58 AM

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Sylvain Schmitt, Valérie Raevel, M. Réjou-Méchain, Ayyappan Narayanan, Natesan Balachandran, et al.. Canopy and understory tree guilds respond differently to the environment in an Indian rainforest. Journal of Vegetation Science, Wiley, In press, ⟨10.1111/jvs.13075⟩. ⟨hal-03338777⟩

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