Functional dispersion and variation in above-ground traits in tropical dry deciduous forests of Central India.

PRIYA KAUSHIK, Pranab Kumar Pati, Babu Lal Chadhar, M. L. Khan, P. K. Khare


Plants are adapted to their environment through a suite of anatomical, morphological, and physiological traits. These functional traits are commonly thought to determine the plant’s tolerance to environmental conditions. Functional diversity quantifies diversity of species traits which reflects the kind of species functions and acts as a key driver of ecosystem processes and services. The objective of the present study is to quantify the intraspecific functional distance among species in terms of their traits within two selected tropical dry deciduous forest communities in Central India. Six key functional traits namely, specific leaf area, leaf dry matter content, leaf size, height, basal area and circumference, were considered for their significant ecological functions. The interspecific functional distances ranged from 2 to 52 in Garpehra forest community while it was 0 to 50 in the Jaruakhera forest community. The average functional distance recorded within two communities were 21.43 and 14.42 respectively. Most similar species pairs were Hollarhena antidysenterica -Aegle marmelos,   Hollarhena antidysenterica- Lagerstroemia parviflora, Holoptelea integrifolia- Miliusa tomentosa in the Garpehra forest whereas in Jaruakhera species pairs namely, Madhuca indicaDiospyros melanoxylon, Ficus glomerata- Eugenia heyneana indicates high similarity for functional attributes. Being similar they are most redundant to each other. Few species pairs were highly dissimilar under functional trait space in Garpehra forest namely, Miliusa tomentosa- Sterculia urens, Holoptelea integrifoliaSterculia urens and Helicteres isoraBoswellia serrata while in Jaruakhera, highly dissimilar species pairs were Ficus religiosa-Ziziphus xylopyrus and Helicteres isora- Ficus religiosa. Being dissimilar, they show complementarity to each other. The study depicts the functional structure of community and the redundant and complementary species pairs for predicting resilience, resistance, invasibility and conservation.



Functional trait; functional distance; functional space; redundancy; resilience


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