Plant traits capture fundamental trade-offs that determine ecological roles of species. Thus traits are key to understanding vegetation dynamics. Currently trait research in plant-trait ecology has a strong empirical focus. What is missing is basic quantitative theory predicting what mixtures of traits should be found where and why. By incorporating natural selection into models of vegetation, we are developing novel theory describing how trait mixtures vary with environmental conditions. These adaptive models will provide a platform for next- generation global vegetation models, able to capture the likely impacts of human activities impacts on ecosystem function and species diversity.
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