Patterns of liana diversity in tropical evergreen forests of peninsular India

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Forest Ecology and Management


The quantitative liana inventories made in five peninsular Indian independent forest sites, distributed in the Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats and on the Coromandel coast, were examined particularly with reference to site altitude and forest stature. Liana diversity totaled 148 species in 101 genera of 47 families, in a total sample of 47 ha. The coefficient of variability in species distribution among the five sites was used to identify an oligarchy in liana species by taking 55 abundant species from the species pool. Ordination analysis, based on presence-absence as well as relative density of liana species indicated a geographical differentiation among the five sites in both the ordinations with respect to site altitude. Liana density (stems>1.6cm diameter) decreased with increasing altitude, whereas richness was highest at intermediate elevations. The mean liana density across the forest sites showed a weak negative correlation with forest stature. The lianas encountered in the five study sites fell under six climber types, of which twining was the chief climbing mechanism, both in terms of species diversity and density, and tendril climbers were more abundant in dry evergreen forests than in the wet evergreen forests. In liana diaspore dispersal modes, the majority of evergreen forest species possessed animal dispersal guilds, whereas wind-dispersal was prevalent in semi-evergreen and dry evergreen forests.