The Contribution of Lianas to Forest Ecology, Diversity, and Dynamics

  • Schnitzer S
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Abstract

Lianas are a common component of forests worldwide and they contribute to forest ecology, diversity, and dynamics. Lianas can have both positive and negative effects in forests. Lianas can be an important resource for animals, as food (in the form of nectar, pollen, fruits, leaves, or sap), providing nesting sites, shelter and, by climbing among many tree crowns, lianas can provide aerial highways for many animal species. By contrast, lianas also compete intensively with trees, reduc-ing tree recruitment, growth, reproduction, and survival, as well as tree diversity and forest-level carbon sequestration. While the inclusion of lianas in ecological studies have lagged behind that of trees, over the past three decades, the study of liana ecol-ogy has grown signifi cantly, revealing many important contributions of lianas to forest ecology. In this chapter, I review the state of knowledge about the ecology of lianas and their contribution to forest ecology, diversity, and dynamics. 9.1 Introduction Lianas are a common component of forests world-wide where they contribute to many aspects of forest ecology, diversity, and dynamics. Lianas can add consider-ably to forest structure and woody plant diversity, especially in seasonally dry low-land tropics, where lianas can represent in excess of 25 % of the woody stems and more than one-third of the woody species (e.g., Schnitzer et al. 2012 , 2015a). Acting as an important resource for animals by providing nesting sites and shelter, and in addition, by climbing and intertwining themselves within many tree crowns, lianas can serve as aerial pathways for many animal species (Yanoviak 2015). Lianas are also a source of food in the form of nectar, pollen, fruits, leaves, or sap, thus benefi t-ting many animal species (Arroyo-Rodriguez et al. 2015).

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Schnitzer, S. A. (2015). The Contribution of Lianas to Forest Ecology, Diversity, and Dynamics (pp. 149–160). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-14592-1_9

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