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Table 1 The relationship between more easily measured “soft functional traits” and less easily measured, but potentially more informative, “hard functional traits”

From: Functional perspectives on tropical tree demography and forest dynamics

Soft traits Hard traits Citations
Seed mass • Seed persistence
• Germination requirements
• Survival to reproduction
• Dispersal mode
Díaz and Cabido (1997); Westoby et al. (2002); Cornelissen et al. (2003); Metz et al. (2010)
Wood density • Aboveground storage of carbon
• Mechanical failure risk
• Diameter growth rate
• Mortality rate
• Timing of reproduction
• Hydraulic capacities
Carlquist (1975); Putz et al. (1983); Niklas (1997); Enquist et al. (1999); Cornelissen et al. (2003); van Gelder et al. (2006); Swenson and Enquist (2007)
Specific leaf area • Mass-based maximum photosynthetic rate
• Potential relative growth rate
• Intrinsic water use efficiency
• Leaf palatability
• Leaf life span
• Leaf instantaneous photosynthetic rate
Blackman and Wilson (1951); Aerts (1990); Poorter and Remkes (1990); Lambers and Poorter (1992); Reich et al. (1992); Díaz and Cabido (1997); Reich et al. (1997); Reich et al. (1998); Diemer (1998); Lavorel and Garnier (2002); Westoby et al. (2002); Cornelissen et al. (2003); Elger and Willby (2003); Angert et al. (2007)
Leaf nitrogen content and leaf phosphorous content • Mass-based maximum photosynthetic rate
• Nutritional quality
• Leaf instantaneous photosynthetic rate
Lavorel and Garnier (2002); Cornelissen et al. (2003)