With increasing elevation, trees in tropical montane forests have to invest larger frac-tions of their resources into their fine roots in order to compensate for increasingly unfavorable soil conditions. It is unclear how elevation and related edaphic changes influence the variability in tree fine root traits and belowground functional diversity. We measured six fine root traits related to resource acquisition on absorptive fine roots of 288 trees from 145 species along an elevational gradient from 1000 m to 3000 m a.s.l. in tropical montane forests of the Ecuadorian Andes. We analyzed trait relation-ships with elevation and soil nutrient availability, and tested whether root functional diversity varied along these gradients. Fine roots at higher elevations and at more nutrient-poor sites were thicker, had higher tissue densities, and lower specific root length and nutrient concentrations than at lower elevations. These trends were diluted by the coexistence of tree species with a broad range of different root traits within communities particularly towards lower elevations, where root functional diversity was significantly higher. We conclude that nutrient limitation and potentially further adverse conditions at higher elevations are strong environmental filters that lead to trait convergence towards a conservative resource use strategy, whereas different trait syndromes are equally successful at lower elevations.