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Forest Research Institute of Malaysia

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Journal of Tropical Forest Science

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Lianas are an important growth form in tropical forests around the world. However, they are relatively unknown in south-east Asia. We identified, measured and determined the climbing and dispersal modes for lianas in five 0.1-ha plots in three common forest types at the tropical-temperate transitional zone in Xishuangbanna, SW China, namely, montane forest, evergreen broad-leaved forest and seasonally wet forest. Liana diversity in the three forests combined was high; we found a total of 147 liana species, representing 48 families and 75 genera. The mean density of lianas was 3407 ha-1 and varied significantly between the three forests, with 445, 276 and 301 individuals 0.1 ha-1 in the seasonally wet, montane and evergreen forests respectively. Similarity coefficients between the forests were low and mean species richness varied among different forests, indicating that species turnover among the forests was high. In all three forests, most lianas were stem twiners and scramblers, with relatively few hook, tendril and root climbers. Liana species were mostly wind dispersed in the evergreen forest but were animal and gravity dispersed in the other two forests. Compared with other Asian tropical forests, the diversity and abundance of lianas are relatively high in Xishuangbanna, which may be due to the warm climate as well as high seasonal rainfall and high rates of disturbance and forest fragmentation.


Published version. Journal of Tropical Forest Science, Vol. 21, No. 3 (2009): 252-264. Stable URL. © 2009 Forest Research Institute of Malaysia. Used with permission.

S.A. Schnitzer was affiliated with University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at the time of publication.

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