The influence of reproductive traits on liana abundance 10 years after conventional and reduced-impacts logging in the eastern Brazilian Amazon


J GerwingFollow

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Forest Ecology and Management


Balancing timber production and conservation in tropical forests requires an understanding of the impacts of silvicultural manipulations on specific groups of organisms. Lianas are characteristic of many tropical forests, where they contribute to species diversity, ecosystem functioning, and biomass. However, lianas can also impede timber production by increasing logging damage and slowing tree growth. Cutting lianas prior to logging can mitigate the negative effects, but may adversely affect a forest's value for conservation. To evaluate the effects of forest management activities on lianas, this study assessed the impacts of logging, both with and without pre-logging liana cutting, on the relative abundance and population structure of five species of lianas that differed in primary reproductive strategies.Inventories of the five study species were conducted 10 years following logging in 4.4 ha plots in three adjacent treatment areas: (1) an old-growth forest reserve, (2) a selectively-logged forest that used conventional practices for the region, and (3) a forest that was logged using reduced-impact logging (RIL) techniques including complete liana cutting prior to logging. Liana species responses to logging varied according to their primary modes of reproduction. Croton ascendens, a pioneer species with a persistent seed bank, had a higher abundance in the two logging treatments relative to the old-growth forest, while Serjania caracasana, an early successional species lacking a persistent seed bank, showed abundant regeneration following conventional logging but negligible regeneration following RIL. In contrast, Acacia multipinnata, also an early successional species, showed abundant regeneration following RIL owing to the sprouting of persistent prostrate stems present on the forest floor prior to logging. In both logged areas, Bauhinia guianensis recruited abundant climbing stems from self-supporting seedlings that were present prior to logging, but it showed greatly reduced seedling density following RIL. By sprouting profusely from both fallen stems and stumps, Memora schomburgkii recruited abundant small-diameter climbing stems in both of the logging treatments. The results of this study demonstrate that there are interspecific differences in liana responses to different types of logging and that knowing species' primary modes of reproduction is a valuable first step toward predicting those responses.