Linear edge effects on liana and tree communities in two tropical forest ecosystems in Ghana
Addo-Fordjour P; Owusu-Boadi K
The study determined linear edge effects on liana and tree community assemblages in moist semi-deciduous (Afram Headwaters Forest Reserve) and upland evergreen (Tano Offin Forest Reserve) forests in Ghana. Fifteen plots (20 × 20 m2) were randomly set up at each habitat in the forests: edge habitat (0–40 m) and interior habitat (=500 m). Lianas (diameter at 1.30 m from rooting base =1 cm) and trees (diameter at breast height dbh =5 cm) were identified and enumerated in the plots. In the forest ecosystems liana and tree species composition differed significantly between the two habitats. Liana and tree diversity did not differ significantly between edge and interior habitats. Nevertheless edge habitat in moist semi-deciduous forest supported significantly higher liana abundance and basal area than its interior habitat whereas edge habitat in upland evergreen forest harboured significantly lower liana basal area than its corresponding interior habitat. Edge habitat in moist semi-deciduous and upland evergreen forests had significantly lower tree abundance and basal area respectively than interior habitat. The results suggest that overall linear edge effects on liana and tree assemblages were more pronounced in moist semi-deciduous forest than upland evergreen forest. Lianas exhibited dominance over trees in edge habitat within moist semi-deciduous forest implying that they can have serious implications on tree diversity and ecosystem functioning in the forest. As our study is the first of its kind in the tropics with respect to edge type and forest ecosystems studied our findings can contribute towards edge theory development.