Does road-edge affect liana community structure and liana-host interactions in evergreen rainforests
Ofosu-Bamfo B; Addo-Fordjour P; Belford EJD
Though lianas can respond to human disturbance and forest fragmentation, the effects of forest edge on liana community are poorly documented. This study therefore investigated the effects of road-edge on liana community structure and liana-host interactions in two evergreen rainforests in Ghana (Ankasa Conservation Area, Cape Three Points Forest Reserve). Lianas and their hosts were identified and counted in twenty-four 50m×50m plots in each rainforest. The plots were evenly distributed in edge (0–50 m), interior (200 m) and deep-interior (400 m) sites. The edge site of Cape Three Points Forest Reserve supported significantly higher liana diversity, but there was no edge effect on liana diversity in Ankasa Conservation Area. There were no significant edge effects on liana species composition, abundance, and basal area in both evergreen rainforests. However, there was evidence of strong edge effects on the abundance of some individual liana species. In all the three sites of the two evergreen rainforests, liana species showed random species co-occurrence pattern, with no nested structure in liana-tree interaction network. Although forest edge had weak effects on liana community, some species had increased abundance, compensating the loss of individuals of other species at the edge. Overall, the idiosyncratic edge effect on liana species populations can blur the effects on liana community.