Global Root Trait (GRooT) Database

Our principal objective with GRooT is to contribute towards the inclusion of root traits in large-scale comparative studies and global models by offering standardized and curated data of key root traits.

The team built GRooT during two synthesis workshops on root traits (sRoot working group) and with the help of external researchers.

In collaboration with Fine-Root Ecology Database (FRED) and Plant Trait Database (TRY).

Steering committee: Nathaly R. Guerrero-Ramírez, Grégoire T. Freschet, Colleen M. Iversen, M. Luke McCormack, Jens Kattge, Alexandra Weigelt.

Data use guidelines and availability

GRooT contains two csv files and an R script.

  • GRooTFullVersion.csv: Root trait data at the highest resolution available, information to filter data by entities, meta-data, and error risk scores
  • GRooTAggregateSpeciesVersion.csv: Root trait species values
  • R script: Code to calculate error risk and species values. Customizable (by error risk, entities or covariables)


GRooT includes 38 root traits, 38,276 species-by-site mean values based on 114,222 trait records. GRooT includes more than 1,000 species with data on the following nine traits: root mass fraction, root carbon and nitrogen concentration, lateral spread, root mycorrhizal colonization intensity, mean root diameter, root tissue density, specific root length, and maximum rooting depth.

Traits per site

Geographic patterns in terms of number of traits measured per site.

Species per site

Geographic patterns in terms of number of species measured per site.

Phylogenetic coverage

Average distribution of root traits per species in GRooT across the phylogeny (n = 6,214 species across n = 254 families).

Citation and contact

Data are publicly available but should be referenced by citing the corresponding data paper:

Guerrero-Ramirez N, Mommer L, Freschet GT, Iversen CM, McCormack M.L, Kattge J, Poorter H, van der Plas F, Bergmann J, Kuyper TW, York LM, Bruelheide H, Laughlin DC, Meier IC, Roumet C, Semchenko M, Sweeney CJ, van Ruijven J, Valverde-Barrantes OJ, Aubin I, Catford JA, Manning P, Martin A, Milla R, Minden V, Pausas JG, Smith SW, Soudzilovskaia NA, Ammer C, Butterfield B, Craine J, Cornelissen JHC, de Vries FT, Isaac ME, Kramer K, König C, Lamb EG, Onipchenko VG, Peñuelas J, Reich PB, Rillig MC, Sack L, Shipley B, Tedersoo L, Valladares F, van Bodegom P, Weigelt P, Wright JP, Weigelt A. 2020. Global Root Traits (GRooT) Database. Global Ecology and Biogeography

We suggest citing the original data sources whose contributed a substantial proportion to the analysis. Also, we encourage to contact and collaborate with data contributors.

For more information, contact me via e-mail:

Picture courtesy of Jane Catford & Logo courtesy of Andres Ramírez.