Home About TRY Data Portal Feedback Registration


  • Jens Kattge: jkattge-at-bgc-jena.mpg.de (project coordination, content and science, database management)
  • Sandra Díaz: sdiaz-at-efn.uncor.edu (content and science)
  • Gerhard Boenisch: boenisch-at-bgc-jena.mpg.de (technical issues, database management, web administration)


If you've found this web site useful or would like to send any comment on the TRY initiative please e-mail us or provide feedback in the forum below. We'd like to know how the TRY website is being used.

If you have cited the TRY initiative in a publication, please send us that reference. This will help to document that the TRY initiative has value, and will help if / when we look for additional funding.

Thank you.

Jens Kattge and Gerhard Boenisch, on behalf of the TRY initiative.


Here you can participate in the discussion (Registration required).

Gerhard Boenisch on 2018-07-19 09:13:28Dear Ignacio - It usually means the custodian has not replied yet. Although a decline is possible, this rarely happens. We do not distinguish between the two to avoid bad feelings. Anyway, you should feel free to contact these custodians. This is why we provide the email addresses.
Ignacio Sevillano on 2018-07-18 13:34:36Dear TRY team, I have requested data from try and I am able to start data release. I am just wondering if when in the permission Column says "No", that means that it not possible to have access to these trait or just that the data custodians have not replied yet. Thank you.
Gerhard Boenisch on 2018-06-25 09:47:37Dear Sarah - providing more information about the traits in the Data Explorer is more difficult unfortunately. Obviously, we had started providing trait definitions together with Top-Thesaurus, but there currently is no funding to continue the project.
Gerhard Boenisch on 2018-06-21 15:26:41Dear Sarah - Thanks for the suggestion. I have added the TraitID to the output table.
Sarah Dalrymple on 2018-06-21 12:09:20Sorry, I also forgot to add that it would be really useful to have a list of trait units or categories (as appropriate) when you are exploring the data. For example, it would be interesting to know whether Seed (seedbank) longevity was a continuous variable (given in days perhaps) or a categorical variable such as transient or persistent. Also, an explanation of the traits would help to define whether this was longevity in an ex situ seed bank facility or it referred to the soil seed bank. Thanks! Sarah
Sarah Dalrymple on 2018-06-21 11:45:41Dear TRY team, Thank you for this amazing resource. I am a relatively new user and would like to request data for a given set of species which I have already defined in the data explorer. The data explorer returned a spreadsheet with the requested species and all available traits. Then, when I went to request these data, it asks for the traits by ID which the data explorer output does not provide. It would help the data request process enormously if the output of the data explorer gave the trait ID as well as the trait by name. I can find these through the MATCH function in excel but it would be much simpler if they were generated in the data explorer. If there is a simpler way to do this, please let me know. Thanks again for your excellent work, Sarah
Jens Kattge on 2018-05-09 09:56:15Dear Mark, please accept my apologies for the slow response. According to our our documentation, you did not request trait data from TRY, but browsed the TRY Data Explorer for information about the traits. In this case the numbers indicate the numbers of records in TRY for a given trait and a given species. To request trait records from the TRY database, please go to: https://www.try-db.org/TryWeb/Prop0.php. We are sorry for the misunderstanding and added information to the webpages of the TRY Data Explorer, indicating they provide only information about the trait records in TRY, not the trait records themselves. We hope this will help to avoid this kind of misunderstandings in the future. With best wishes, Jens
Mark Thomas on 2018-04-24 13:44:58Dear TRY, sorry, another question I thought of. If when I download a list of trait data for my species and it says 0 rather than another number, do I take it that it means zero or does it mean that nothing has been recorded for that species in particular? An example would be Leaf nitrogen (N) content per leaf dry mass, I have a few zeros but I wanted to know if that meant the weight was zero (as in none) or whether there isnt any data for that species. Many thanks, Mark
Mark Thomas on 2018-04-24 13:36:56Dear TRY, thank you for the amazing work you do. I have downloaded trait data for my species list but have no way of understanding what the values mean. For instance, I have Photosynthesis pathway and it says definition under construction so I am not sure how to interpret the numbers. This is the same for the other traits I have. Is there some way to find out please? Mark
Gerhard Boenisch on 2018-04-23 09:34:30Dear Diego - first of all Rio is in the southern hemisphere and in the west, so the latitude and longitude must be negative. Second, you must always enter a range (maximum ranges are described on the page). All the traits in TRY are described in the Data Explorer.
Diego Guarin on 2018-04-20 19:11:48Good day members of TRYNET I´m try to look at Data Explorer then Information By Region, and put the coordinates of the region in his case Rio de Janeiro which is Lat 22 and Long 40 but it says that the ranges of lat and long are too big if anybody can help me with that I really appreciate it. and also I´m looking for plants traits that may indicate drought conditions in neotropical regions as the Mata Atlantica in Brazil.if somebody has information free feel to contact me Diego Guarin diaglucif@gmail.com M.Sc Student Nat. Rec. Management ITT Koeln.
Gerhard Boenisch on 2018-03-27 11:34:15Dear Yoni, you are required to talk to the custodians about publication involvement, if they wish. Citation of each original paper is required too. This can be done in an appendix, if restrictions of the journal leave no other option. If your request includes the restricted data, you can choose which datasets you want included in the output. Just be aware, there is only one data output per request. You are however welcome to submit as many requests as you want. You can use the Data Explorer to find out what traits and species from which datasets suit your project, before submitting requests. I hope this answers your questions. Gerhard
Yoni Gavish on 2018-03-27 11:19:34Dear Jens Kattge/Gerhard Boenisch, Thanks for compiling and managing the TRY database! I have requested 109 traits for 236 tree species from 148 datasets. I am wondering if you could clarify some points regarding the usage of the TRY database when working with a large number of datasets. 1. From the 148 datasets, 34 requested to be involved in the publication. Does that mean all of them should be co-authors in any paper? thats a lot of co-authors especially when the traits are a supporting analysis in the general workflow. 2. The guidelines state I should cite each of the 148 dataset separately in the method section, and some custodians actually ask for multiple citations. It would be impossible to cite all the datasets, especially with papers becoming shorter and journals limiting the total citations to about 60. what should I do? 3. Is it possible to first download a subset of the datasets that does not request publication involvement, and then review the other datasets if needed? 4. Eventually, I need traits that covers as many of the species in my species list. Ive submitted a big list of traits and species in my request, hoping to select the subset of traits that cover many species. Is there a way to generate a trait by species matrix at this stage with 1 and 0 (not the actual trait values)? when clicking on the measurement/trait/species table I get the full datasets and not the subset of traits/species I asked for. Also, each of the measurement/trait/species table is not downloadable and need to be copy-pasted into excel for each dataset separately. This would take considerable time to process. How would you suggest reviewing the datasets if the aim is to have as large as possible fill of a species by trait matrix? Sorry for the long question... Best regards, Yoni Gavish
Gerhard Boenisch on 2018-03-13 08:32:04Dear Yolanda - Republication means it is allowed to make the data of the request used in a publication publicly available, if the journal requires it
Yolanda Chirango on 2018-03-12 15:07:47Hi, Im in the process of selecting datasets for data release and one of the categories is Data Republication. What does that mean?
Gerhard Boenisch on 2017-11-02 11:27:19Dear Marina You are right. To receive all traits available for a list of species, you have to create the comma separated list of all trait IDs.
Gerhard Boenisch on 2017-11-02 11:22:05Dear Nicola There is no way to ask for data from the TRY database by region. The reason is only a fraction of the data is geo-referenced and you would miss possible useful data. The way to get the data is to ask for all traits and species you possibly need for your analysis. You will then receive the geo-references as part of the auxiliary data with the traits.
Nicola Kuhn on 2017-10-25 18:12:56Dear Jens Kattge/Gerhard Boenisch, I am undertaking PhD work at the University of Oxford. I am looking for all available geo-located trait data for a particular region, as opposed to a particular list of traits or species. The current methods of extracting the data only allow me to extract in the latter way. Is there anyway I can extract by region? Many thanks in advance for your time, Nicola Kühn
Marina Cock on 2017-09-05 22:16:31Dear TRY memmbers, Is there any way to require data of all traits available for a list of species? It seems that the systems require a list of traits. Another way to do it would be to require all the traits but I think that would end in a very long list. Thanks.
Jens Kattge on 2017-08-08 16:57:30Dear Farnoush, please take a look at sPlot - the global vegetation database, which matches exactly to your requirements: https://www.idiv.de/?id=176&L=0 To get access to this database please contact: Dr. Borja Jiménez-Alfaro borja.jimenez-alfaro@botanik.uni-halle.de With best wishes, Jens
Farnoush Farahpour on 2017-08-08 16:36:11Dear TRY members, I am a bioinformatic scientist and for a project I am looking for some datasets with basically few properties: 1- consist of many (more than 50) different samples (different space- and time points), 2- have complete list of species abundances and 3- have information about the trait of species or functional diversity of the samples. Unfortunately I can find none of these information in description of TRY datasets. If I request to get the data to figure out if it fulfills my criteria or not, it takes time to have access to them. Do you have any suggestion which can help me to find out which dataset I should I?
Gerhard Boenisch on 2016-09-01 07:16:40Dear Waleed - All plant species the database contains are listed in the Data Explorer (https://www.try-db.org/de/de.php - Information by Species).
Waleed Sawan on 2016-09-01 06:39:44I am sorry. This may seem a basic question... but I cant seem to find where to search for a Plant on this database. Is the only way possible to search through IDs?
Jens Kattge on 2016-08-02 10:33:26Dear Katherine, I am sorry for the problem. This does not seem to be related to the definition of the trait per se, but rather points to the need for sufficient additional information in the context of the given dataset. In this case this information seems to be missing. Please send me an email (jkattge at bgc-jena.mpg.de) with information on trait and dataset and we will send you the missing information and try to improve the dataset in TRY accordingly.
Katherine Ross on 2016-06-30 20:12:57Sehr geehrter Herr Gerhard Boenisch, I am working on a science education curriculum project that utilizes plant traits as statistics. I was wondering if there is a summary anywhere of what each trait is defined as, beyond the prototype one at: https://www.try-db.org/de/TabDetails.php. For example there are traits like "tolerance to fire" which are given as numbers but the definition is "under construction." I can pull values for these observed traits but I dont know if 1 represents more tolerant or less tolerant, especially if there is a maximum value Im not aware of. Es tut mir leid if I am wasting your time. Your help is much appreciated, Danke schön, Katherine
Gerhard Boenisch on 2016-06-21 07:35:48Dear Jessica - sorry this is supposed to be above the table. I do not know which site you are talking about and therefore cannot check. AccSpeciesID: Identifier for the accepted species name; ObsNum: Number of observations; ObsGRNum: Number of geo-referenced observations; MeasNum: Number of measurements; MeasGRNum: Number of geo-referenced measurements; TraitNum: Number of traits. I hope this helps.
Jessica Gurevitch on 2016-06-20 16:47:35How do I find what the abbreviations stand for in a data base? I am looking at leaf longevity. The columns are: "AccSpeciesID" "AccSpeciesName" "ObsNum" "ObsGRNum" "MeasNum" "MeasGRNum" "TraitNum" Is there a place to find abbreviations, and other meta-data? Thanks!
Gerhard Boenisch on 2016-06-09 10:55:27Dear Fabio - It is not possible to delete requests. However, you can abandon requests you no longer need as stated in the email. Either let us know by email, or do so online in the Request PI Center (https://www.try-db.org/TryWeb/Prop01.php)
Fabio Berzaghi on 2016-06-09 10:47:32How to delete a try request that has not been submitted? I keep getting an email about a request for which I never asked the release of the data but since the query comes out empty I cant do anything.
Gerhard Boenisch on 2016-03-24 18:39:21Dear Thibault - I am sorry, I do not know what you mean by "traits: 327 (Treatment exposition)". We do not have such a trait in TRY as much as I know.
Thibault Costaz on 2016-03-24 17:51:14Hello, I am a master student working on the influence of tree foliar nutrient status on forest carbon sequestration in response to nutrient addition. I want to assess the C to N and C to P response of woody biomass pools in boreal, temperate and tropical forests against foliar nutrient (N and P) concentrations and N/P ratios. I use the TRY database to extrapolate critical nutrient threshold representing nutrient deficiency status for species in a given climate in order to characterise site fertility (Critical foliar nutrient concentration data are scarce). I would like to know where I can find more explanation on the traits: 327 (Treatment exposition) so I can refine the TRY dataset to non-fertilized observations. Thank you for your help, Thibault
Gerhard Boenisch on 2016-03-22 07:48:55Dear Alexey - In https://www.try-db.org/TryWeb/Admin01.php is the link to the pdf TRY data release format. This describes the columns of the output file. It is also send with each data release.
Alexey Shiklomanov on 2016-03-21 22:07:54Is there any possibility that you could make the data release information, and particularly the column header table, available in HTML format? This would make it possible to scrape via command line tools, as well as to facilitate things like printing it out for reference. Thanks!
Gerhard Boenisch on 2015-11-18 07:37:11Dear Xiao-Yu Chang - You have not advanced the requests far enough to ask for data. Go to https://www.try-db.org/TryWeb/Prop01.php, select the request from the first popup and follow the wizard until no more buttons appear on the website, i.e. you have answered all the questions needed to process the request. It is always indicated that you are not finished.
Xiao-Yu Chang on 2015-11-18 03:09:49Hi dear, I have requested several times (Data Request 1363,1384) but there was not any feedback, and the Number of Trait Measurements showed nothing. Is there any problem with the system, or with my request? Thanks.
Jens Kattge on 2014-12-09 19:26:48Dear Felipe, Thank you very much for letting us know! The best solution is to submit the new dataset to TRY and we will replace the older version in the next version of TRY. With the best wishes, Jens
Felipe Lenti on 2014-12-09 19:20:57CORRECTION: Hi, my name is Felipe and I am a contributor (DataSetID 274). My question is quite simple, I hope. I have now more accurate spatial information (coordinates) about my measurements, which I did not have at the time of submission. All the data was obtained at the same study site (Brasilia National Park); yet, individuals are scattered along two parallel, 5 km long sampling tracks, 1 km away from each other. Previous coordinates were relative to the center of the grid, but now we managed to georreferenciate each individual tree (lucky us, trees do not move!) Do you think that would be relevant to the TRY DATABASE scale of work? If so, is there a way I can upgrade spatial data on my dataset? I would also like to congratulate you guys on the new portal, it is neat and user friendly. Keep it up! Best feelings from Brazil. Felipe.
Felipe Lenti on 2014-12-09 19:17:39Hi, my name is Felipe and I am a contributor (DataSetID 274). My question is quite simple, I hope. I have now more accurate spatial information (coordinates) about my measurements, which I did not have at the time of submission. All the data was obtained at the same study site (Brasilia National Park; yet, individuals are scattered along a 10 km x 1km sampling grid. Previous coordinates were relative to the center of the grid, but now we managed to georreferenciate each individual tree (lucky us, trees do not move!) Do you think that would be relevant to the TRY DATABASE scale of work? If so, is there a way I can upgrade spatial data on my dataset? I would also like to congratulate you guys on the new portal, it is neat and user friendly. Keep it up! Best feelings from Brazil. Felipe.
Lilibeth Villablanca on 2014-08-25 17:15:26Hi my name is Lilibeth my cuestions is ¿What functional group corresponds each functional trait, is there any table with these data?.
Gerhard Boenisch on 2014-03-31 10:01:30Dear Etienne - I am sorry you will have to submit a proposal to get the data. The reason is the data in the database do not belong to the database managers but stay in the possession of the data contributors. The data managers do not have the right to release data without explicit permission from the data contributors. Submitting a proposal is the way to get permissions from them. - Cheers - Gerhard
MICHEL Etienne on 2014-03-17 15:16:47Hi, My name is Etienne and I have few questions about TRY Data Base. As a french student in a master degree on agriculture, I am involved in a project which focuses on estimation of plant forage value in the North of France (Plaine maritime Picarde). We have to create a guide which will help farmers to estimate the agro-ecological potential of their meadows. We have to use a non destructive methods based on another database called e-florasys. However some data are still missing and we would like to estimate their feeding value through the shoot C/N ratio (Tables ID 409). How can we get easily the information because I do not really understand how to answer TRY Proposal. Is there another way to get an access to download this table ? Thank you very much for your dedication, Yours faithfully Etienne MICHEL
Gerhard Boenisch on 2014-01-23 13:39:53Dear Imogen and Linda-Maria - I assume you are referring to the output of the Data Explorer. Unfortunately, the TRY Intellectual Property Guidelines do not allow us to release trait data in the Data Explorer, the numbers provided are just numbers of measurements. If you want real data, you have to submit a Data Request in the Data Portal in the menu above.
Linda-Maria Mårtensson on 2014-01-13 08:44:27Hello I am using the TRY database for an trait-based analysis but can´t find translation from the value given in database into an apprehensible value - with units or categories. Could you recommend a site or publication for this? Will be most grateful for help! Kind regards, Linda-Maria
Jens Kattge on 2013-08-27 10:51:57

A response to the post: Making a Case for a Fully Open Trait Database by Daniel Falster (Macquarie University) from August 23, 2913 at http://dfalster.github.io/blog/2013/08/23/making-a-case-for-a-fully-open-trait-database/


Thank you very much for the thought-provoking and timely post at your website. There have been similar comments and questions with respect to open data access via TRY from others as well. Therefore here a response from Gerhard and me (TRY database management and coordination):

We agree with many of your arguments. But we would also like to mention that the TRY data policy, as defined in the Intellectual Property Guidelines of the TRY initiative and as mentioned in Kattge et al. 2011, explicitly encourages open access, but respecting the decision of the individual contributors under which conditions their data shall be made available. Not all data in TRY may therefore ever be open access. TRY may rather serve as a conveyor belt helping to move data from restricted to open access.

At the upcoming workshop of the TRY initiative we will present a suggestion how to exactly implement open access for plant trait data via the TRY website. Conventional data repositories, like DRYAD, provide access to non-processed whole datasets as they have been contributed. In contrast, TRY provides access to processed data for individual selections of traits and species across all contributed datasets. This is a non-trivial request to the database, as relations need to be preserved and respective auxiliary data released without duplication. However, if accepted at the workshop, the refined mode of data access can be set in place within a few months. We expect that a major part of the TRY database may then become open access.

In parallel a dataset of consolidated categorical plant traits for several 10,000 of species is already available open access via the TRY website: http://www.try-db.org/TryWeb/Data.php.

Apart from this you mention that open access does not mean without obligations: we very much agree, especially with your recommendation to cite the original references. This leads to the problem of excess-references. While we support the initiative linked at your post, indexing additional references in supplementary material may already be possible:

Information from ISI (December 2012):

“The formal policy is that we capture cited refs from supp mat if we know they are there. For example, if the ref list in the article says “additional references are in the supplementary files at: [weblink]”

(personal communication with D. J. Currie (editor GEB) and J. Penuelas)

However, the good news needs to be spread and the initiative supported:


You recommend no co-authorship for data contribution. We have no strong opinion about this. Within TRY we would prefer to leave this decision to the individual data owners. What about the opportunity of co-authorship for data processing? In the context of TRY we add corrected names of species and traits, we add standardized units and values, we add plausibility indices, we complement the data and we index duplicates. The opportunity to become involved in publications based on these processed data is a prerequisite for a scientist to coordinate the TRY initiative. If the curated data repository is well established and institutionalized, co-authorship may no longer be appropriate. Until then co-authorship for data processing might be a means to establish curated long term data repositories in a scientific context: data can be open access (based on consent of contributors), but with the obligations to cite the original references and invite database PIs for intellectual contribution and co-authorship in manuscripts decidedly based on these data.

Jens Kattge and Gerhard Boenisch


TRY Intellectual Property Guidelines:


Kattge et al. (2011) TRY – a global database of plant traits. Global Change Biology.


TRY Categorical Traits Look-up Table:


Open Letter to ISI Web of Knowledge, Google Scholar, and SciVerse Scopus:


Gerhard Boenisch on 2013-03-22 12:49:18Dear Godfrey, all species we have trait data for are listed on these websites. If yours are not mentioned, we unfortunately have no trait data of them.
Godfrey Oyema on 2012-12-16 20:20:29I am Godfrey Oyema, MSc. Biology: human ecology at Vrije Universiteit Brussels. My thesis is on impacts of anthropogenic activities on indigenous species of Pugu Forest Reserve, Tanzania. I have a list of 109 species sampled during data collection, however all the species I have none is found in this database. I am in need of the traits of the species I have so that to link them with how they support species with disturbance regime. Kindly provide me with information
Gerhard Boenisch on 2012-03-26 08:32:55Please leave your comments and suggestions here.
Gerhard Boenisch on 2012-03-22 12:50:50Welcome to to TRY!

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Disclaimer Page calls: 18707 Gerhard Boenisch, Jens Kattge, created 2011-11-01, modified 2015-11-11