African Journal of Biotechnology

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Functional diversity in plant communities: Theory and analysis methods

JT Zhang, L Fan, M Li


Plant functional diversity in community has become a key point in ecology studies recently. The development of species functional diversity was reviewed in the present work. Based on the former original research papers and reviews, we discussed the concept and connotation and put forward a new definition of functional diversity that refers to the change of species functions in communities, and species functions are reflected by functional traits during the completion of their life histories. The ecological process in ecosystems or ecosystem function is closely related to functional diversity. The present quantitative methods for functional diversity analysis were reviewed and their validity needs to be evaluated by more application studies, and new effective methods need to be developed. The questions and problems in functional diversity studies were discussed and will be solved in the future research, and the perspectives for functional diversity research were also discussed in this review.

Key words: Functional diversity, community structure, ecosystem function, quantitative methodology, ecology theory.
AJOL African Journals Online