Liana diversity and host relationships in a tropical evergreen forest in the Indian Eastern Ghats

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Ecological Research


In tropical evergreen forest in the Kolli Hills of the Indian Eastern Ghats, four 2 ha (100 m * 200 m) replicate plots (two plots each in undisturbed and human-impacted sites), were inventoried for species diversity of lianas .GEQ.5 cm girth at breast height (g.b.h.) and their relationships with .GEQ.30 cm g.b.h. host trees. Liana diversity included 26 species from 18 families and 24 genera. The population density and basal area of lianas in the study plots were 48 individuals ha-1 and 0.23 m2 ha-1 respectively, while those of the trees were 478 stems ha-1 and 43.6 m2 ha-1 respectively. As the lianas and their hosts had often been cut in the disturbed sites, their diversity was less there than in the undisturbed sites. Five (19%) liana species were common to all four sites. Three lianas, Hiptage benghalensis (Malpighiaceae), Elaeagnus indica (Elaeagnaceae) and Gnetum ula (Gnetaceae) were dominant. The twining mechanism (54% of liana species and 71% of individuals) and zoochorous diaspores (73% of species and 77% of individuals) predominated. A total of 336 trees from 39 species, 34 genera and 22 families hosted 345 lianas. The ratio of liana: host for species was 1:1.5 and for individuals was 1: 1. Liana preferences for certain host trees, host girth classes and trellis heights were evident.