Climatic and soil factors explain the two-dimensional spectrum of global plant trait variation - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Nature Ecology & Evolution Year : 2022

Climatic and soil factors explain the two-dimensional spectrum of global plant trait variation

1 UZH - Universität Zürich [Zürich] = University of Zurich
2 MPI-BGC - Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
3 Leipzig University
4 iDiv - German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research
5 Max-Planck-Institute for Research on Collective Goods
6 UIS - Universidad Industrial de Santander [Bucaramanga]
7 Macquarie University [Sydney]
8 IAC - Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science [Zürich]
9 NIBIO - Norsk institutt for bioøkonomi=Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research
10 Universität Leipzig
11 Universiteit Leiden = Leiden University
12 VUB - Vrije Universiteit Brussel
13 CONICET - Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas [Buenos Aires]
14 WUR - Wageningen University and Research [Wageningen]
15 Naturalis Biodiversity Center [Leiden]
16 EMU - Estonian University of Life Sciences
17 University of Minnesota System
18 Western Sydney University
19 Department of Biogeochemical Integration [Jena]
20 Institute of Physical Geography [Frankfurt am Main]
21 UON - University of Nottingham, UK
22 School of Environmental Sciences
23 Department of Ecology [Innsbruck]
24 Andong National University
25 UNICAM - Università degli Studi di Camerino = University of Camerino
26 Uninsubria - Universitá degli Studi dell’Insubria = University of Insubria [Varese]
27 Jonah Ventures
28 Universidad del Rosario [Bogota]
29 UCHILE - Universidad de Chile = University of Chile [Santiago]
30 Murdoch University
31 Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina
32 BioGeCo - Biodiversité, Gènes & Communautés
33 UCLA - University of California [Los Angeles]
34 University of Oldenburg
35 MSU - Lomonosov Moscow State University
36 CREAF - Centre for Ecological Research and Applied Forestries
37 UFRGS - Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul [Porto Alegre]
38 Embrapa Recursos Genéticos e Biotecnologia [Brasília]
39 UHasselt - Hasselt University
40 University of Wisconsin-Madison
41 UFZ - Helmholtz Zentrum für Umweltforschung = Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
Ian J Wright
Wesley N Hattingh
Ülo Niinemets
Franziska Schrodt
Michael Bahn
Chaeho Byun
Joseph M Craine
Tianhua He
  • Function : Author
Pedro Higuchi
Hervé Jactel
Vladimir Onipchenko
Evan Weiher


Plant functional traits can predict community assembly and ecosystem functioning and are thus widely used in global models of vegetation dynamics and land–climate feedbacks. Still, we lack a global understanding of how land and climate affect plant traits. A previous global analysis of six traits observed two main axes of variation: (1) size variation at the organ and plant level and (2) leaf economics balancing leaf persistence against plant growth potential. The orthogonality of these two axes suggests they are differently influenced by environmental drivers. We find that these axes persist in a global dataset of 17 traits across more than 20,000 species. We find a dominant joint effect of climate and soil on trait variation. Additional independent climate effects are also observed across most traits, whereas independent soil effects are almost exclusively observed for economics traits. Variation in size traits correlates well with a latitudinal gradient related to water or energy limitation. In contrast, variation in economics traits is better explained by interactions of climate with soil fertility. These findings have the potential to improve our understanding of biodiversity patterns and our predictions of climate change impacts on biogeochemical cycles.
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Dates and versions

hal-04123895 , version 1 (09-06-2023)





Julia S Joswig, Christian Wirth, Meredith C Schuman, Jens Kattge, Björn Reu, et al.. Climatic and soil factors explain the two-dimensional spectrum of global plant trait variation. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2022, 6 (1), pp.36-50. ⟨10.1038/s41559-021-01616-8⟩. ⟨hal-04123895⟩
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