Changes in liana abundance and species diversity eight years after liana cutting and logging in an eastern Amazonian forest


J Gerwing
E Vidal

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Conservation Biology


Lianas are characteristic of many tropical forests and may serve multiple ecosystem functions. They can also increase logging damage and slow tree growth. Liana cutting prior to logging is a silvicultural tool used to mitigate these negative effects. We assessed the effects of complete liana cutting followed by reduced-impact logging on liana abundance and species diversity. Eight years following liana cutting and 6 years following logging there was a 55 reduction in the stem density of climbing lianas 1 cm diameter in size. Liana basal area, aboveground biomass, and leaf area index decreased by approximately 85. Coppicing of cut stems was the primary mode of liana recruitment. Liana cutting and logging resulted in a 14 reduction in the number of liana species present in a 0.20-ha sample, but a cumulative species-area curve suggested that this percentage might have been reduced if a larger area were sampled. Our results suggest that the silvicultural benefits of complete liana cuttingreduced logging damage and increased postlogging tree growthneed to be weighed against the costs of reduced species diversity of lianas and the possible effects on forest ecosystem functioning (e.g., reduced fruit and flower availability) that are likely to persist long after initial liana cutting.