Alternative pathways of liana communities in the forests of northwestern Argentina.
Ceballos, S. J., Malizia, A., & Chacoff, N.
Liana dynamics in secondary and mature forests are well known in tropical areas dominated by native tree species. Outside the tropics and in secondary forests invaded by exotic species, knowledge is scarce. In this study, we compare liana communities between secondary and mature forests dominated by native species in a subtropical montane area of Sierra de San Javier, Tucuman, Argentina. Additionally, we evaluate changes of liana communities in secondary forests with increasing densities of Ligustrum lucidum and Morus alba , two of the most invasive exotic trees of the area. We surveyed liana species richness and density in three 30‐year secondary patches, four 60‐year secondary patches, and four mature patches dominated by native tree species, to analyze changes in liana communities with forest age. Within each patch, we sampled 10–25 20 × 20 m quadrats. Additionally, we surveyed liana density and species richness in secondary forest patches with different densities of L. lucidum and M. alba . In native‐dominated forests, liana species richness increased and showed a tendency of increasing basal area from 30‐year secondary forests to mature forests. Liana density was highly variable, and most of the species were shared between native‐dominated secondary and mature forests. Liana density and species richness decreased with L. lucidum density, whereas in secondary forests highly dominated by M. alba , lianas increased in density. Overall, lianas followed different pathways influenced by native forest succession and exotic tree invasions.