Alpha diversity of lianas in a tropical evergreen forest in the Anamalais, Western Ghats, India

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Diversity and Distributions


Species richness, abundance, size-class distribution, climbing mode and spatial patterns of lianas were investigated in a 30-ha permanent plot of tropical evergreen forest at Varagalaiar in the Anamalais, Western Ghats, India. Each hectare was subdivided into 10 m 10 m quadrats, in which all lianas 1 cm d.b.h. were measured, tagged and identified. The total liana density was 11, 200 individuals (373 ha-1) and species richness was 75 species, representing 66 genera and 37 families. The richness estimators employed for species and family accumulation curves after 100 times randomization of sample order, have stabilized the curves at 16th and 15th hectares, respectively. A greater proportion of lianas was twiners (55% of species and 44.4% of density) and root climbers (5% of species and 14% of density), and a few were tendril climbers, reflecting the late successional stage of the forest. In the size-class distribution, 82% of abundance and 97% of species richness fell within 1-3 cm diameter threshold. The dominance of succulent diaspore type signifies the faunal dependence of lianas on vertebrate frugivores for dispersal. The diversity, population density and family composition of lianas of our site is compared with those of other tropical forests. The need for biomonitoring of this synusia in the permanent plot for forest functioning is emphasized.