Distribution and abundance of vines along the light gradient in a southern temperate rain forest

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Journal of Vegetation Science


Question: Are vines light-demanding species? Location: Temperate evergreen rain forest of south- ern Chile (40139 0 S, 72111 0 W). Methods: In 45 plots of 25 m2 distributed in treefall canopy gaps, secondary forest stands and old- growth forest (15 plots per light environment), all climbing and non-supported vines were counted and identified to species level, and canopy openness was quantified using hemispherical photographs. Vine abundance and diversity (species richness and Simp- son’s index) were compared in the three light environments and similarity between vine commu- nities was estimated using Jaccard’s similarity coefficient. We also determined the relationship between light niche breadth and local dominance at the species level. Results: In total there were 2510 vine individuals of 14 species. Canopy openness was significantly dif- ferent in the three light environments. Species richness, diversity, community composition and density of vines were similar in treefall gaps, second- ary and old-growth forest. Of the seven more common vine species, which accounted for 91% of all vines, three had even distribution, two were more abundant in the shaded understorey, and two had higher density in well-lit sites. Local dominance of vine species and niche breadth were not significantly associated. forest questions the widespread notion of vines as pioneer-like species, which may be a consequence of the abundance of some lianas in disturbed sites of tropical forests. Functional arguments are needed to justify a general hypothesis on light requirements of vines, which constitute a vast group of species.

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