Thursday, 13 October 2016

Classifying plants by functional types (#journal)

Plant functional types: an alternative to taxonomic plant community description in biogeography?

This article critically reviews the concept of plant functional types as an alternative to the traditional taxonomic species-based approach to plant community description in biogeography and ecology. Plant functional types are nonphylogenetic groupings of species that show close similarities in their response to environmental and biotic controls. Functional classifications often cut across taxonomic classifications and may be more meaningful in terms of plant response.

Practical applications of plant functional types in biogeography and ecology are also reviewed. Plant functional types can aid in the understanding of ecological processes, such as the assembly and stability of communities and succession, and facilitate the detection and prediction of response to environmental change at a range of scales. Despite its potential, the plant functional type approach is probably best viewed as a complementary approach to description using traditional taxonomy.

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