Species composition, diversity, and abundance of lianas in different secondary and primary forests in a subtropical mountainous area, SW China
The species composition, diversity, and abundance of lianas were studied in four secondary forests (a 100-year-old forest, a middle-aged forest, and two younger secondary forests), and compared with an undisturbed primary forest in the Ailao Mountains of subtropical SW China. The results showed that the species composition of lianas differed greatly from the secondary forests to the primary forest, which exhibit early and late-successional species. The abundance of lianas was relatively higher in the two younger and middle-aged secondary forests than in the old-growth secondary and primary forests. However, liana species richness was very limited in the four secondary forests as compared to the primary forest. Root climbers mainly grew in the primary forest, whereas tendril and hook climbers predominated in the four secondary forests, while stem twiners were common in both. The majority of lianas recorded in this study reproduced by animal dispersal, and there was no variation in dispersal modes across the five forest types. A step-wise regression showed that the abundance of small lianas (dbh <4 cm) was positively correlated with the abundance of small- and medium-sized tree stems and negatively correlated with the abundance of large-sized tree stems, whereas there is a strong positive correlation between the abundance of large lianas (dbh â€šÃ¢â€¢4 cm) and large tree stems. Results from the CCA indicate that canopy openness, soil moisture, and average canopy height were the most important factors that influenced the abundance and distribution of lianas.