iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Functional turnover from lowland to montane forests: evidence from the Hyrcanian forest in northern Iran

Seyed Mohammad Jafari (1)   , Shahin Zarre (1), Seyed Kazem Alavipanah (2), Farrokh Ghahremaninejad (3)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 8, Issue 3, Pages 359-367 (2015)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1002-008
Published: Sep 16, 2014 - Copyright © 2015 SISEF

Research Articles

Plant functional traits and functional diversity play key roles in ecosystem functioning. Exploring patterns of functional diversity is of great importance in the management process of forest ecosystems. Altitudinal pattern of plant functional diversity is poorly investigated in Hyrcanian relict forest, N Iran. We explored differences in trait composition between lowland and montane forest types. Altitudinal variation of plant functional traits along 2400 m altitudinal gradient was examined. In order to collect species and vegetation data, 67 vegetation sampling plots were placed along the altitudinal gradient. Eight plant functional traits; related to plant physiognomy, competitive ability and dispersal, were selected for 174 recorded vascular plants and weighted by importance-value of taxa. We used generalized linear model, principal coordinate analysis along with functional diversity metrics to investigate functional changes along the gradient. The importance of different traits such as chamaephyte life form, tiny leaves, dry indehiscent fruits and small seeds increase with altitude. In contrast, other traits including large leaves, taller plants, fleshy fruits, anemophily as well as medium to large seeds decrease with increasing elevation. Functional difference between lowland and montane forest vegetation is strongly supported in our results. Trait associations, different environmental parameters, disturbance type and especially altitude were concluded to be important predictors of functional changes. Vegetation type is a key determinant of functional patterns in temperate forests. We strongly recommend exploring and considering functional diversity in forest management practices.


Functional Diversity, Gradient, Hyrcanian Forest, Multivariate Analysis, Vegetation

Authors’ address

Seyed Mohammad Jafari
Shahin Zarre
Department of Botany, School of Biology and Center of Excellence in Phylogeny of Living Organisms, College of Science, University of Tehran, P.O. Box 14155-6455, Tehran (Iran)
Seyed Kazem Alavipanah
Department of Cartography, Faculty of Geography, University of Tehran, Enqelab Ave., Vesal St.,Tehran (Iran)
Farrokh Ghahremaninejad
Department of Plant Biology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Kharazmi University, 43 Dr. Mofatteh Avenue, Tehran (Iran)

Corresponding author

Seyed Mohammad Jafari


Jafari SM, Zarre S, Alavipanah SK, Ghahremaninejad F (2015). Functional turnover from lowland to montane forests: evidence from the Hyrcanian forest in northern Iran. iForest 8: 359-367. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1002-008

Academic Editor

Giustino Tonon

Paper history

Received: Apr 02, 2013
Accepted: Mar 30, 2014

First online: Sep 16, 2014
Publication Date: Jun 01, 2015
Publication Time: 5.67 months

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