Patterns of tree-liana interactions: distribution and host preference of lianas in a tropical dry evergreen forest in India.
Vivek, P., & Parthasarathy, N.
Lianas are structurally dependent life-form that rely mostly on trees to access the forest canopy. The complex interactions between lianas and trees are often effected by host species’ traits. Lianas are evolved with various climbing mechanisms that aid them attach and infest the host trees. Liana infestation on trees now seems to be common in many tropical forests, where they are abundant. The present study was aimed to investigate the patterns of liana-tree interactions in tropical dry evergreen forest of Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary (PCWS), south- east India. This study also analyzes the impact of various tree functional traits on liana colonization success in the PCWS. All trees ≥ 10 cm girth at breast height (gbh) was measured along with lianas (≥ 1 cm diameter at 1.3 m from the rooting point) they hosted. Overall, 57.9% of trees in the study sites carried at least one liana. The infested trees hosted an average of 1.53 ± 0.49 (range; 0–8) lianas per tree. At PCWS, the trees with medium girth-class, moderate wood specific density, rough bark and those with pronounced summer leaflessness are more prone to be infested by lianas. The preference of lianas under different climbing mechanisms in selecting host trees remained similar, although their proportion differed slightly in the present study. Liana infestation on host trees can be highly dynamic under the current scenario of increasing liana abundance and biomass in tropical forests world over for which, we recommend the need for documenting the patterns of tree-liana interactions, by employing a standard protocol to facilitate global comparisons.