Colonization and succession on Krakatau - an analysis of the guild of vining plants

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Vines are significant components of rain forests, yet their role in succession has received little attention. Changes in vine communities on the Krakatau Islands, Indonesia, during the last 111 years provide an insight into colonizational patterns in a regenerating tropical rain forest. In surveys of Krakatau between 1979 and 1992, 71 species of plants that may be described as having a vining growth habit are identified out of a total of 306 spermatophytes (i.e., 23% of the flora). Most vines on Krakatau are hermaphrodite, approximately 24.6 percent are dioecious, and just 3.7 percent are monoecious. All the vines are insect-pollinated, but the proportion of wind-, animal- and sea-dispersed vines varies according to the recent history of the islands. Rakata, the least disturbed island in the group carries the greatest diversity of vines and the highest proportion of sea-dispersed species. As with many island biotas the vine flora of Krakatau is a disharmonic subset of the mainland (southeast Asian) pool and certain families, e.g., Annonaceae, Apocynaceae, Bignoniaceae, are relatively under- or unrepresented.