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Liana distribution and community structure in an old-growth temperate forest: the relative importance of past disturbances host trees and microsite characteristics

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Mori H; Kamijo T; Masaki T

2016

Plant Ecology

1–12

Studies on lianas conducted within temperate forest stands have provided scant information on host trees microsites past disturbances and liana size classes. Studies focussing on East Asia are also lacking although this information is important for a comprehensive understanding of temperate liana ecology. The aim of this study was to compare the liana community structure of a 6-ha plot in the Ogawa Forest Reserve an old-growth temperate forest of Japan with that of other temperate forests. We also examined the relative importance of past disturbances host trees and microsite characteristics on specific liana distribution especially variations among climbing types and liana size classes. The diameter at breast height species name and the locations of all liana stems were recorded. The most dominant liana species was Wisteria floribunda contributing 85 % to the total basal area of the liana community. The liana community structure at the study site was similar to that of other temperate forests in terms of flora at genus level basal area and climbing types. Occurrences of stem twiners and root climbers were negatively correlated with tree size gradients as reported for other temperate forests. Each liana species significantly aggregated at a 25-m scale on average whereas there were no exclusive distribution patterns among liana species. Most liana species were dependent on past disturbances with host tree sizes also influencing liana distribution and microsite characteristics being less important. Further studies in temperate East Asia will contribute to a comprehensive understanding of liana communities in temperate forests.

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Support

The Liana Ecology Project is supported by Marquette University and funded in part by the National Science Foundation.