Hurricane impacts on liana populations in an old-growth southeastern bottomland forest

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Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society


Old-growth bottomland hardwood and slough forests of the Congaree Swamp National Monument, Columbia, SC, were exposed to winds of' up to 155 km/hr during Hurricane Hugo in September 1989. Liana distribution and population changes were examined in ten I ha plots in 1989-90 and 1994. Prior to the hurricane, vines were not randomly distributed among host tree species. In the bottomland hardwood communities, Liquidambar styraciflua L.. and Fraxinus spp. supported relatively more vines, and Ilex spp., Carpinus caroliniana Walter., and Nyssa spp. had fewer vines than other tree species. Liquidambar styraciflua was more likely to host Rhus radicans than were other tree species. Small trees with lianas suffered disproportionally greater damage from the hurricane than small trees with no lianas; trees of all sizes that supported three or more lianas were more likely to be damaged. Declines in liana populations appear to be related to high tree damage and to hydrologic regime. In sloughs, declines in liana stem density were greater than the levels of canopy damage would predict. Large woody vines that survived grew slowly over the four years following the hurricane.

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