Community Ecology

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 63–71 | Cite as

Predominant phenotypic traits of disturbed tropical dry deciduous forest vegetation in northern India

  • R. Sagar
  • J. S. SinghEmail author
Open Access


The study examined the vegetation composition and phenotypic traits at five sites, differing in degree of disturbance, in a tropical dry deciduous forest of India. A total of 49 species and 4033 individuals (≥ 9.6 cm dbh) were enumerated in the cumulative 15-ha permanently protected area. The study revealed that the five sites represented five more or less different communities (species combinations with different dominants). On the basis of phenotypic traits, these communities or sites could not be discriminated, either by proportion of species belonging to different trait categories or by the cumulative importance value of the trait categories. As a result, disturbance did not affect the predominant traits. Evidently, all the communities shared the major phenotypic traits of the dry deciduous forest. Small leaf size, medium leaf texture, rough bark texture and medium deciduousness characterized the dry deciduous forest vegetation. Both the percent of species and importance values were larger for medium or less deciduous trait categories than for highly deciduous trait, representing a trade-off between water loss and the period of dry matter synthesis.


Bark texture Deciduousness Disturbance Dry tropical forest Leaf size and texture Plant functional traits Relative importance value 


Verma et al. (1985) 

Supplementary material

42974_2003_401063_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (14 kb)
Supplementary material, approximately 14 KB.


  1. Aguiar, M.R., J.M. Paruelo, O.E. Sala and W.K. Lauenroth. 1996. Ecosystem responses to changes in plant functional type composition: An example from the Patagonian steppe. J. Veg. Sei. 7: 381–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bjorkman, O. 1981. Responses to different quantum flux densities. In: O.L. Lang, P.S. Nobel, C.B. Osmond and H. Ziegler (eds), Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology, vol. 12A. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp. 57–107.Google Scholar
  3. Box, E.O. 1996. Plant functional types and climate at global scale. J. Veg Sci. 7: 309–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bugmann, H. 1996. Functional types oftrees in temperate and boreal forests: classification and testing. J. Veg. Sei. 7: 359–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burslem, D.F.R.P., P.J. Grubb and I.M. Turner. 1996. Responses to stimulated drought and elevated nutrient supply among shade-tolerant tree seedlings of lowland tropical forest in Singapore. Biotropica 28: 636–648.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Champion, H.G. and S.K. Seth. 1968. A Revised Survey of the Forest Types of India. Government of India Publication, New Delhi.Google Scholar
  7. Chapin, F.S. 1993. Functional role of growth forms in ecosystem and global processes. In: J.R. Ehleringer and C.B. Field (eds.), Scaling Physiological Processes: Leaf to Globe. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, pp. 287–312.Google Scholar
  8. Cramer, W.P and R. Leemans. 1993. Assessing impact of climate change on vegetation using climate classification systems. In: A.M. Solomon and H.H. Shugart (eds). Vegetation Dynamics and Global Change. Chapman and Hall, London, pp. 190–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Curtis, J.T. 1959. The Vegetation of Wisconsin: An Ordination of Plant Communities. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.Google Scholar
  10. Diaz Barradas, M.C., M. Zunzunegui, R. Tirado, F. Ain-Lhout and F Garcia Novo. 1999. Plant functional types and ecosystem function in Mediterranean shrubland. J. Veg. Sci. 10: 709–716.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Diaz, S., M. Cabido and F. Casanoves. 1999. Functional implications of trait-environment linkages in plant communities. In: E. Weiher and P.A. Keddy (eds), The Search for Assembly Rules in Ecological Communities. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 338–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ehleringer, J.R. 1988. Comparative ecophysiology of Encelia farinose and Encelia frutescens. I. Energy balance considerations. Oecologia 76: 553–561.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Gitay, H. and I.R. Noble. 1997. What are functional types and how should we seek them? In: T.M. Smith, H.H. Shugart and F.I. Woodward (eds), Plant Functional Types: Their Relevance to Ecosystem Properties and Global Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 3–19.Google Scholar
  14. Hogeweg, P. 2002. Computing an organism: on the interface between informatic and dynamic processes. Biosystems 64: 97–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jha, C.S. and J.S. Singh. 1990. Composition and dynamics of dry tropical forest in relation to soil texture. J. Veg. Sci. 1: 609–614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Keddy, P.A. 1992. Assembly and response rules: two goods for predictive community ecology. J. Veg. Sci. 3: 157–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lambers, H. and H. Poorter. 1992. Inherent variation in growth rate between higher plants: a search for ecological causes and consequences. Adv. Ecol. Res. 23: 187–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lavorel, S., S. McIntyre, J. Landsberg and T.D.A. Forbes. 1997. Plant functional classification: from general groups to specific groups based on response to disturbance. Trends Ecol. Evol. 12: 474–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Levit, J. 1972. Responses of Plants to Environmental Stress. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  20. Mclntyre, S., S. Lavorel, J. Landsberg and T.D.A. Forbes. 1999. Disturbance response in vegetation towards a global perspective on functional traits. J. Veg. Sci. 10: 621–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nicholls, A.O. andC.R. Margules. 1993. An upgraded reserve selection algorithm. Biol. Conserv. 64: 165–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Orians, G.L. and O.T. Solbrig. 1977. A cost-income model of leaves and roots with special reference to arid and semiarid areas. Am. Nat. 111: 677–690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pressey, R.L., C.J. Humpheries, C.R. Margules, R.I. Vane-Wright and P.H. Williams. 1993. Beyond opportunism: key principles for systematic reserve selection. Trends Ecol. Evol. 8: 124–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Reich, P.R. and R. Borchert. 1984. Water stress and tree phenology in a tropical dry forest in the lowlands of Costa Rica. J. Ecol. 72: 61–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Skarpe, C. 1996. Plant functional types and climate in a southern African savanna. J. Peg. Sci. 7: 397–404.Google Scholar
  26. Singh, J.S., A.S. Raghubanshi, R.S. Singh and S.C. Srivastava. 1989. Microbial biomass acts as a source of plant nutrients in dry tropical forests and savanna. Nature 238: 499–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Singh, J.S., K.P. Singh and M. Agrawal. 1991. Environmental degradation of the Obra-Renukoot-Singrauli area, India, and its impact on natural and derived ecosystems. The Environmentalist 11: 171–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. SPSS. 1997. SPSS Base 7.5 Applications Guide. SPSS Inc., Chicago.Google Scholar
  29. Suding, K.N., D.E. Gordberg and K.M. Hartman. 2003. Relationships among species traits: separating levels of response and identifying linkages to abundance. Ecology 84: 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Verma, D.M., P.C. Pant and M.I. Hanfi. 1985. Flora of Raipur, Durg and Rajnandgaon. Botanical Survey of India, Howrah.Google Scholar
  31. Vitousek, P.M. 1994. Beyond global warming: Ecology and global change. Ecology 75: 1861–1876.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Walker, B.H. 1992. Biodiversity and ecological redundancy. Conserv. Biol. 6: 18–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Werger, M.J.A. and G.A. Ellenbraek. 1978. Leaf size and leaf consistence of a riverine forest formation along a climatic gradient. Oecologia 34: 297–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Woodward, F.I. and D.A. Diament. 1991. Functional approaches to predicting the ecological effects of global change. Func. Ecol. 5: 202–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Woodward, F.I. and W. Cramer. 1996. Plant functional types and climatic changes: Introduction. J. Veg. Sci. 7: 306–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wright, I.J. and M. Westoby. 1999. Differences in seedling growth behaviour among species: trait correlations across species, and trait shifts along nutrient compared to rainfall gradients. J. Ecol 87: 85–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2003

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BotanyBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia

Personalised recommendations