One of the central goals in plant ecology is to understand how species functional traits scale up to plant demographic performance. A few recent studies have showed that functional traits are related to species’ growth and mortality but they focus on one or two ontogenetic stages only. Plant growth and mortality rates often vary with tree size and association of functional traits with growth and mortality may change size-dependently.
We examined how architectural traits (including important functional traits previously reported, such as wood density and adult stature) are associated with size-dependent growth and mortality at a community-wide scale. Beyond species wood density and adult stature, we found consistent positive correlations of crown width with growth and mortality over a wide range of tree sizes. This suggests that crown width may enhance the species ability to forage for light thus fueling growth, but this may come at the expense of risk of mechanical failure, thus enhancing mortality. Our paper shows that large inter-specific differences in these traits in understory partly facilitate the trade-off between growth and survival and contribute to tree species coexistence in a species-rich rainforest.
Additionally, I would like to introduce research plan in a subtropical rainforest, Taiwan. Tree growth responds several factors such as local environment (e.g. topography, neighborhood) and microclimate (e.g. rainfall, temperature) together with functional traits. We will conduct field survey to address to what extent species functional traits determine species growth in Fushan 25 ha forest dynamics plot in Taiwan.