Ecosystem Traits Linking Functional Traits to Macroecology

Nianpeng He, Congcong Liu, Shilong Piao, Lawren Sack, Li Xu, Yiqi Luo, Jinsheng He, Xingguo Han, Guangsheng Zhou, Xuhui Zhou, Yi Lin, Qiang Yu, Shirong Liu, Wei Sun, Shuli Niu, Shenggong Li, Jiahui Zhang, Guirui Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


As the range of studies on macroecology and functional traits expands, integration of traits into higher-level approaches offers new opportunities to improve clarification of larger-scale patterns and their mechanisms and predictions using models. Here, we propose a framework for quantifying ‘ecosystem traits’ and means to address the challenges of broadening the applicability of functional traits to macroecology. Ecosystem traits are traits or quantitative characteristics of organisms (plants, animals, and microbes) at the community level expressed as the intensity (or density) normalized per unit land area. Ecosystem traits can inter-relate and integrate data from field trait surveys, eddy-flux observation, remote sensing, and ecological models, and thereby provide new resolution of the responses and feedback at regional to global scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-210
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • community
  • ecosystem
  • function
  • macroecology
  • scale-up
  • trait
  • transect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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