Tree-liana relationships in a tropical evergreen forest at Varagalaiar, Anamalais, Western Ghats, India
Journal of Tropical Ecology
In a 30-ha permanent plot of tropical evergreen forest at Varagalaiar, Indian Western Ghats, all trees [greater-than-or-equal] 30 cm girth at breast height (gbh) were examined for the presence of lianas [greater-than-or-equal] 1 cm dbh. The plot contained 13 445 trees in 152 species and 11 200 lianas in 75 species. Twenty-eight per cent of trees supported lianas and the mean number of lianas per tree was 0.38 Â¬Â± 0.72. Association analysis between lianas and trees of 16 tree families and 20 abundant tree species indicated that tree susceptibility to lianas was better pronounced at species rather than at family level. Overall, at Varagalaiar site, the aggregation of lianas followed neither Poisson nor clumped distribution. Among the four dominant tree families Dipterocarpaceae and Clusiaceae fit to the negative binomial model better than Euphorbiaceae and Meliaceae. These four families differed in their susceptibility level with 34.6% , 36.7% , 24.1% and 27.7% of trees [greater-than-or-equal] 30 cm gbh respectively supporting lianas. At the species level, the proportion of trees with lianas was positively correlated with the mean branch free bole height of trees [greater-than-or-equal] 30-40 and [greater-than-or-equal] 40 cm gbh classes, and the mean number of lianas per tree was also positively correlated with the mean branch bole height of trees [greater-than-or-equal] 30 cm gbh. Of the 16 abundant families, Euphorbiaceae contributed 31% and dominated the lower canopy, but its susceptibility to lianas was lower when compared to most other families.