The assessment of ecological gradients and functional composition of plant communities will affect subsequent predictions as to how those communities will react to disturbances. Focusing on leaf dry matter content (LDMC), Duru et al. compare methods for assessing the impact of different disturbances and nutrient conditions upon functional characteristics of 69 grassland communities. They find that estimates based on a database of plant traits correlate well with actual measurements provided that variations in temperature are taken into account, and that the N-Ellenberg index out-performs methods based on plant nutrient content.
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