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Bringing together leaf trait data spanning 2,548 species and 175 sites we describe, for the first time at global scale, a universal spectrum of leaf economics consisting of key chemical, structural and physiological properties. The spectrum runs from quick to slow return on investments of nutrients and dry mass in leaves, and operates largely independently(More)
Fitting a line to a bivariate dataset can be a deceptively complex problem, and there has been much debate on this issue in the literature. In this review, we describe for the practitioner the essential features of line-fitting methods for estimating the relationship between two variables: what methods are commonly used, which method should be used when,(More)
Here, we analysed a wide range of literature data on the leaf dry mass per unit area (LMA). In nature, LMA varies more than 100-fold among species. Part of this variation (c. 35%) can be ascribed to differences between functional groups, with evergreen species having the highest LMA, but most of the variation is within groups or biomes. When grown in the(More)
■ Abstract An important aim of plant ecology is to identify leading dimensions of ecological variation among species and to understand the basis for them. Dimensions that can readily be measured would be especially useful, because they might offer a path towards improved worldwide synthesis across the thousands of field experiments and ecophysiological(More)
Ratios of nitrogen (N) isotopes in leaves could elucidate underlying patterns of N cycling across ecological gradients. To better understand global-scale patterns of N cycling, we compiled data on foliar N isotope ratios (delta(15)N), foliar N concentrations, mycorrhizal type and climate for over 11,000 plants worldwide. Arbuscular mycorrhizal,(More)
Worldwide decomposition rates depend both on climate and the legacy of plant functional traits as litter quality. To quantify the degree to which functional differentiation among species affects their litter decomposition rates, we brought together leaf trait and litter mass loss data for 818 species from 66 decomposition experiments on six continents. We(More)
Aim This first global quantification of the relationship between leaf traits and soil nutrient fertility reflects the trade-off between growth and nutrient conservation. The power of soils versus climate in predicting leaf trait values is assessed in bivariate and multivariate analyses and is compared with the distribution of growth forms (as a discrete(More)
Global-scale quantification of relationships between plant traits gives insight into the evolution of the world's vegetation, and is crucial for parameterizing vegetation-climate models. A database was compiled, comprising data for hundreds to thousands of species for the core 'leaf economics' traits leaf lifespan, leaf mass per area, photosynthetic(More)
*Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108, U.S.A.; †Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney 2109, Australia; ‡Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, P.O. Box 28, Edgewater, Maryland 21037, U.S.A.; §Landcare Research, Private Bag 1930, Dunedin, New Zealand; kPolish Academy of Sciences,(More)
Aim Our aim was to quantify climatic influences on key leaf traits and relationships at the global scale. This knowledge provides insight into how plants have adapted to different environmental pressures, and will lead to better calibration of future vegetation–climate models. Location The data set represents vegetation from 175 sites around the world.(More)