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    Plants are multifaceted organisms that have evolved ecological strategies for sustaining populations in resource-limited environments (Grime 1979; Craine 2009). Plant strategies can be quantified by measuring functional traits (Grime et al. 1997; Reich et al. 2003), which are the properties of plants that impact plant fitness (Violle et al. 2008) and ecosystem processes (Lavorel & Garnier 2002). Comparisons of functional traits across taxa have provided insight into the primary functional gradients among plants (e.g. Grime et al. 1997; Reich et al. 1999; Craine et al. 2001; Diaz et al. 2004). One important gradient describes differences in resource acquisition (Reich, Walters & Ellsworth 1997), known as the 'leaf economics spectrum' (sensu Wright et al. 2004a), which runs from plants with quick returns on investment in nutrients and dry matter [i.e. plants with leaves that have high photosynthetic rates, short life spans, high SLA, and high leaf nitrogen (N) concentrations] to plants with slower returns on their investments. This multi-trait spectrum (or strategy axis) is only one out of potentially many spectra important to plant growth, reproduction, and survival (Reich et al. 2003; Craine 2009).

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    Laughlin, Daniel C.; Leppert, Jessica J.; Moore, Margaret M.; Sieg, Carolyn Hull. 2010. A multi-trait test of the leaf-height-seed plant strategy scheme with 133 species from a pine forest flora. Functional Ecology. 24: 493-501.


    comparative ecology, functional traits, leaf economics spectrum, litter decomposition, nitrogen, seed mass, specific leaf area, specific root length

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