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Temperate Lianas Have More Acquisitive Strategies than Host Trees in Leaf and Stem Traits, but Not Root Traits

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Zhou, Z; Chen, BZ; Zhao, HR; Yi, JJ; Liu, SQ; Tie, D; Xu, JS; Hu, S; Guo, YX; Yue, M

NA

2022

PLANTS-BASEL

11

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Increasingly, tropical studies based on aboveground traits have suggested that lianas have a more acquisitive strategy than trees, thereby possibly explaining the increase in lianas relative to trees in many tropical forests under global change. However, few studies have tested whether this pattern can be extended to root traits and temperate forests. In this study, we sampled 61 temperate liana-host tree pairs and quantified 11 commonly studied functional traits representative of plant economics in roots, stems, and leaves; we aimed to determine whether root, stem and leaf traits are coordinated across lifeforms, and whether temperate lianas are also characterized by more fast and acquisitive traits than trees. Our results showed that leaf and stem traits were coordinated across lifeforms but not with root traits, suggesting that aboveground plant economics is not always correlated with belowground economics, and leaf and stem economic spectra cannot be expanded to the root directly. Compared with host trees, lianas had more acquisitive leaf and stem traits, such as higher specific leaf area and lower leaf dry matter content, leaf carbon content, leaf mass per area, and wood density, suggesting that lianas have a more acquisitive strategy than host trees in the temperate forest. The differences between lianas and trees in plant strategy may drive their contrasting responses to the changing temperate forest environment under global change.

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