Climber species composition, abundance and relationship with trees in a Nigerian secondary forest

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African Journal of Ecology


Abstract Climbers play different roles in forest biology and ecology and are the first to be eliminated during forest clearing but little is known about the species composition, distribution and relationship with tree species of this group of plants of tropical forest. This study thus investigated the species composition, abundance and tree relationship of climbers along altitudinal gradient in four 0.06 ha plots in a secondary forest at Ile-Ife, Nigeria. All trees >=10 cm g.b.h were examined for the presence of climbers in the plots. There were 49 climber species consisting of 35 liana and fourteen vine species distributed over 41 genera and 28 families in the forest. Lianas contributed 34% and vines 13.7% of the plant species in the forest. Climber basal area, density, number of species, genera and families increased with altitude. Forty-two per cent (42%) of the trees in the forest carried climbers. There was significant positive correlation (P <= 0.05) between girth sizes of host trees of 31-50 cm with the girths of climbers on them indicating that trees of these girth sizes are highly susceptible to climber infestation. Tree species host density and size are important factors in determining the presence of climbers on a tree.