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I am interested in the role of functional trait variation in plant and ecosystem functioning, with a particular focus on how vegetation composition impacts on carbon and nutrient cycling. I like to find out not only what determines the functional (trait) diversity of plants in ecosystems, but also how (much) this functional diversity drives important carbon cycling processes. These processes include plant carbon and nutrient gain processes (photosynthesis, nutrient uptake strategy – e.g. snow roots) but especially carbon and nutrient loss processes, such as litter decomposition, fire and herbivory. I study linkages between traits and carbon cycling through lab and field experiments, trait database analyses and meta-analyses, from local to global scale. Via collaborations with modellers I also study how plant trait variation feeds back to climate via carbon cycling processes. Furthermore I study evolutionary patterns in these processes: the Tree of Life of carbon cycling. This approach helps us to reconstruct carbon cycling in the past. In the fire lab, FLARE, we carry out ecological fire experiments. I also coordinate the large ‘tree cemetery’ experiment, LOGLIFE, on tree trait effects on coarse wood decomposition and associated biodiversity. Finally, I am heavily involved in various global change impact experiments and meta-analyses.


  • Q Science
  • Arctic, biogeochemical cycling, comparative plant ecology, cryptogams, diversity, ecosystem hydrology, evolutionary ecology, fire ecology, functional traits, global ecology, global change, litter decomposition, trophic interactions, plant species control, vegetation feedback

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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litter Earth & Environmental Sciences
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leaves Agriculture & Biology
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plant litter Agriculture & Biology
climate Agriculture & Biology
ecosystem Earth & Environmental Sciences

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Research Output 1996 2019

Combining tree species and decay stages to increase invertebrate diversity in dead wood

Andringa, J. I., Zuo, J., Berg, M. P., Klein, R., van't Veer, J., de Geus, R., de Beaumont, M., Goudzwaard, L., van Hal, J., Broekman, R., van Logtestijn, R. S. P., Li, Y., Fujii, S., Lammers, M., Hefting, M. M., Sass-Klaassen, U. & Cornelissen, J. H. C., 23 Mar 2019, In : Forest Ecology and Management. 441, p. 80-88 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

dead wood

Experimental sand burial and precipitation enhancement alter plant and soil carbon allocation in a semi-arid steppe in north China

Ye, X., Liu, Z., Zhang, S., Gao, S., Liu, G., Cui, Q., Du, J., Huang, Z. & Cornelissen, J. H. C., 15 Feb 2019, In : Science of the Total Environment. 651, Part 2, p. 3099-3106 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

biomass allocation
soil carbon

Functional evenness of N-to-P ratios of evergreen-deciduous mixtures predicts positive non-additive effect on leaf litter decomposition

Guo, C., Cornelissen, J. H. C., Zhang, Q. Q. & Yan, E. R., Mar 2019, In : Plant and Soil. 436, 1-2, p. 299–309

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

leaf litter
plant litter

Leaf and root nutrient concentrations and stoichiometry along aridity and soil fertility gradients

Liu, G., Ye, X., Huang, Z., Dong, M. & Cornelissen, J. H. C., Mar 2019, In : Journal of Vegetation Science. 30, 2, p. 291-300 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

dry environmental conditions
soil fertility
nutrient content

Nitrogen transfer from one plant to another depends on plant biomass production between conspecific and heterospecific species via a common arbuscular mycorrhizal network

He, Y., Cornelissen, J. H. C., Wang, P., Dong, M. & Ou, J., Mar 2019, In : Environmental Science and Pollution Research. 26, 9, p. 8828-8837 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Cinnamomum camphora

Activities 2005 2005

  • 1 Editorial work

Journal of Ecology (Journal)

J.H.C. Cornelissen (Reviewer)

Activity: Peer review and Editorial workEditorial workAcademic