, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 641–651 | Cite as

Wood trait-environment relationships in a secondary forest succession in South-East China

  • Martin BöhnkeEmail author
  • Nadine Kreißig
  • Wenzel Kröber
  • Teng Fang
  • Helge Bruelheide
Original Paper


Concerning forest communities, not much is known about the relationship between wood traits and environmental conditions. Using a succession series, we analyzed which wood anatomical traits were correlated with successional stage and asked which traits and which environmental factors were particularly important for the trait–environment relationship. An extensive dataset of 11 groups of wood traits was generated for 93 woody species that occurred in 27 permanent plots in a secondary subtropical secondary broadleaved forest in Zhejiang Province (SE-China) and subjected to Fourth Corner Analyses, using different permutation models. We encountered a strong relationship of wood porosity, visibility of growth rings and vessel arrangement to the successional gradient. Compared to biotic community characteristics such as density of plants, abiotic environmental variables such as soil characteristics, aspect and inclination of the plots showed only marginal correlations to wood anatomical traits. Furthermore, the link between environment and species composition of the forest communities was found to be more important in explaining the trait–environment relationship than between the communities and species wood traits. In addition, our results support the idea that most of the species in the subtropical forest might be functionally equivalent.


BEF-China Dendroecology Fourth Corner analysis Gutianshan National Nature Reserve (GNNR) Paratracheal parenchyma Wood vessel arrangement 



We are grateful to the Gutianshan National Nature Reserve for the permit and the whole team of BEF-China for the warm and supportive collaboration since the early beginning of the project. In particular (and not only for the challenging task of establishing 27 CSPs under the local circumstances), thanks to the overwhelming efforts and kindness of Andreas Schuldt, Martin Baruffol, Juliana Nates Jimenez, Sabine Both, Anne Lang, Stefan Trogisch, Zeng Xueqin and Bo Yang. We are indebted to Andreas Kundela and Bernhard Schmid who provided the PAR measurements. We also thank Heike Heklau, Bärbel Hildebrandt, Sebastian Hammer, Lars Ludwig and Anja Hallensleben for their help in the lab in Halle and two anonymous reviewers, who considerably helped to improve the manuscript. The BEF-China project (FOR 891) is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Supplementary material

468_2011_632_MOESM1_ESM.doc (607 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 607 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Böhnke
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nadine Kreißig
    • 1
  • Wenzel Kröber
    • 1
  • Teng Fang
    • 2
  • Helge Bruelheide
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Biology/Geobotany and Botanical GardenMartin-Luther University Halle-WittenbergHalle (Saale)Germany
  2. 2.Gutianshan National Nature ReserveZhejiangChina

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