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Large lianas as hyperdynamic elements of the tropical forest canopy

Phillips, O.L., Vásquez Martínez, R., Monteagudo Mendoza, A., Baker, T.R. and Núñez Vargas, P. (2005) Large lianas as hyperdynamic elements of the tropical forest canopy. Ecology, 86 (5). pp. 1250-1258. ISSN 0012-9658

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Lianas (woody vines) are an important component of lowland tropical forests. We report large liana and tree inventory and dynamics data from Amazonia over periods of up to 24 years, making this the longest geographically extensive study of liana ecology to date. We use these results to address basic questions about the ecology of large lianas in mature forests and their interactions with trees. In one intensively studied site we find that large lianas (≥10 cm diameter) represent ,5% of liana stems, but 80% of biomass of well-lit upper canopy lianas. Across sites, large lianas and large trees are both most successful in terms of structural importance in richer soil forests, but large liana success may be controlled more by the availability of large tree supports rather than directly by soil conditions. Long-term annual turnover rates of large lianas are 5–8%, three times those of trees. Lianas are implicated in large tree mortality: liana-infested large trees are three times more likely to die than liana-free large trees, and large lianas are involved in the death of at least 30% of tree basal area. Thus large lianas are a much more dynamic component of Amazon forests than are canopy trees, and they play a much more significant functional role than their structural contribution suggests.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2005 by the Ecological Society of America
Keywords: Amazonia, dynamics, liana, mortality, Peru, productivity, recruitment, soil structure, treefall, tropical forest, turnover
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Geography (Leeds)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 23 May 2005
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 03:11
Status: Published
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/480

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