In this study, the plant communities at five succession stages (herbage, herbage-shrub, shrub, tree-shrub, and tree) in the Zhenning Karst Plateau area of Guizhou were examined. The changes of plant functional characteristics in different succession stages were analyzed, as was the relationship between functional traits and environmental factors. The main results include the following. (1) During the succes-sion process, plant height, leaf dry matter mass, leaf area, leaf nitrogen content, and leaf phosphorus content gradually increased, whereas leaf thickness and specific leaf area decreased, and leaf C:P ratio and leaf N:P ratios did not change significantly. (2) Soil organic matter, soil total nitrogen, soil total phosphorus, soil C:N, soil C:P, and soil C:K increased at first and then decreased, reaching a peak at the tree-shrub stage. Soil total potassium fluctuated and soil bulk density gradually decreased and reached the lowest value at the tree-shrub stage. (3) Redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that the plant community shifted from a nutri-ent-poor soil environment to a nutrient-rich environment. Soil total phosphorus, soil C:K, soil organic mat-ter, soil C:N, and soil bulk density were the key environmental factors affecting the change of functional traits. (4) Structural equation modeling suggests that that specific leaf area and leaf nitrogen content had more sensitive responses to soil nutrient resources and environmental factors, respectively.
The relationships among species diversity, functional diversity, functional redundancy, and community stability are central to community and ecosystem ecology. This paper examines plant communities at different stages of vegetation restoration in the Guizhou karst plateau to study the relationship among functional diversity, functional redundancy, and stability of plant communities. The most important results include the following. (1) Species diversity (SD), functional redundancy (FR), and stability (STB) gradually increased with restoration, and there were significant differences among the different stages; functional diversity (FD) increased at first and then decreased, and reached the highest level at the tree irrigation stage. (2) Plant height (PLH) and specific leaf area (SLA) were functional traits that affected the diversity and stability of the plant community, and PLH was positively correlated with plant community diversity and stability, while SLA was negatively correlated with plant community diversity and stability. (3) During the community recovery, FD and FR interacted to maintain stability. In the early and late stages of recovery, the effect of functional redundancy on stability was greater than that of functional diversity, but it was the opposite in the middle stages. (4) The tree irrigation stage is the likely point at which the species diversity of plant communities in karst areas reached saturation, and the growth rate of functional redundancy after species diversity saturation was greater than that before saturation.