Abundance and distribution of lianas in tropical lowland evergreen forest of Agumbe, central Western Ghats, India
Species diversity and density of all woody climbers (lianas) > 5 cm gbh were inventoried in three one-hectare plots (at 650 m, 200 m and 100 m elevations) in the tropical lowland evergreen forest ofAgumbe, in central Western Ghats, India. In all a total of 1,138 lianas belonging to 40 species were recorded. Mean liana density was 379 stems ha-1. Plots 1, 2 and 3 contained 211, 668 and 259 lianas ha-1 respectively. Their corresponding species richness was 15, 24 and 24. The number of lianas twining over individual trees ranged from 1 to 3, but majority of the hosts supported only a single liana. Rutaceae and Papilionaceae were the most species-rich plant families of lianas followed by Annonaceae, Arecaceae, Caesalpiniaceae, Connaraceae, and Piperaceae. Twiners formed the bulk (>70%) of liana types followed by rattans and root climbers, while tendril and hook climbers were rare. Greater proportion of individuals was represented in the lower girth classes in all the plots. There was aggregated distribution of lianas on host trees in all the plots. Very few liana species showed any kind of association with host trees in the three plots indicating that the selection of hosts was largely random.