Functional traits along a transect
Functional traits, which usually develop over evolutionary time‐scales to maximize plant survivorship and functional performances in changing environment, are important indices to explore how ecosystems respond and adapt to a changing environment. Many ecologists have argued that identifying regional to global‐scale patterns in functional traits, at organismal to ecosystem scales, in combination with responses to environmental changes, is necessary to increase our ability to predict how ecosystems will function in the future (Katja & Jeanfrançois, 2009; Reich, Walters, & Ellsworth, 1997; Wright et al., 2017). Global models that have been used to simulate changes in ecosystem function primarily incorporate biogeochemical and ecophysiological processes (Bonan, 2008; Taylor, Stouffer, & Meehl, 2012). These models, however, could not well predict community compositional change (Fisher et al., 2017). Traditionally, plant functional types have been used to represent community composition changes in dynamic global vegetation models (DGVM). That scheme remains poor at predicting ecosystem functions and their responses to climatic change (Sitch et al., 2008). Recently, trait‐based modelling has emerged as one of the most promising approach to simulation of community dynamics under global changes (Markus, Michael, Mahecha, Jens, & Baldocchi, 2014; van Bodegom, Douma, & Verheijen, 2014; Van Bodegom et al., 2012; Violle, Reich, Pacala, Enquist, & Kattge, 2014). To support this trait‐based modelling, it is urgent to compile empirical evidence, develop comprehensive datasets, and reveal the large‐scale patterns and controlling factors of functional traits and their variations along environmental gradients.