Results/Conclusions: We found that shade induced by woody plants significantly increased the phylogenetic diversity and functional diversity of SLA of co-occurring species, suggesting that woody plants behave as “ecosystem engineers” creating a different environment that allows the existence of shade tolerant species and thereby facilitates the coexistence of plant species with different light resource acquisition strategies. We also found that both drought and excess moisture may act as environmental filters selecting species with close phylogenetic relationships and similar height. Finally, we detected that the multivariate functional diversity did not change across environmental gradients. This lack of multivariate response supports the hypothesis that multiple processes, such as environmental filtering, competition and facilitation, may operate simultaneously and exert opposing effects on community assembly along different niche (e.g. water use, light acquisition) axes, resulting in no overall functional community structure change. This contrast between individual and multivariate trait patterns highlights the important of examining individual traits linked with different ecological processes to better understand the mechanisms of community assembly.