Effects of logging on the diversity of lianas in a lowland tropical rain forest in Hainan Island, South China


Y Ding
R Zang

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Lianas are an integral part of tropical forest ecosystems, which usually respond strongly to severe disturbances, such as logging. To compare the effect of different logging systems on the lianas diversity in tropical rain forest, we recorded all lianas and trees ≥1 cm dbh in two 40-year-old forest sites after clear cutting (CC) and selective cutting (SC) as well as in an old-growth (OG) lowland tropical rain forest on Hainan Island in south China. Results showed that OG contained fewer liana stems and lower species richness (stems: 261, richness: 42 in 1 ha) than CC (606, 52) and SC (727, 50). However, OG had the highest Fisher's α diversity index (17.3) and species richness per stem (0.184). Species composition and dbh class distribution of lianas varied significantly with different logging systems. The mean liana dbh in OG (22.1 cm) were higher than those in CC (7.0 cm) and SC (10.4 cm). Stem twining was the most frequent climbing mechanism represented in the forest, as shown by the greatest species richness, abundance, basal area, and host tree number with this mechanism. The percent of host tree stems ≥4 cm dbh hosting at least one liana individual in SC (39%) was higher than CC (23%) and OG (19.5%). Large host trees (dbh≥60 cm) were more likely to be infested by lianas in SC and OG. Our study demonstrated that logging disturbance could significantly change the composition and structure of liana communities in the lowland tropical rain forest of south China.

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