Liana-tree species associations in a Bolivian dry forest

Document Type


Publication Date


Volume Number


Source Publication

Tropical Ecology


Associations between tree species and degree of woody liana colonization were identified and the mechanisms explaining these relationships were investigated in a dry forest in eastern Bolivia. For 3158 individual trees >20 cm in diameter representing 72 tree species, 77% had at least 1 liana. Of the total number of trees colonized by lianas, 35% of trees had lianas totally covering their crowns, 37% had lianas within the crowns but not covering them, and 28% had lianas only on their boles. Based on natural tree species abundances, the tree species Anadenanthera colubrina and Attalea phalerata had significantly lower colonization rates than expected, whereas Neea hermaphrodita was the only species having significantly more liana-colonized individuals than expected. Ranks were assigned for each tree species according to morphological and physiological features thought to facilitate or inhibit liana establishment (shedding of branches or large branch like leaves, rate of bark exfoliation, bark texture, stem flexibility, and branch-free bole height) in an attempt to explain relative differences in liana colonization among species. Only shedding of branches or large compound leaves was negatively correlated with the proportion of liana-infested trees.