Abstract

Lianas are important components of tropical forests and have significant impacts on the diversity, structure and dynamics of tropical forests. The present study documented the liana flora in a Chinese tropical region. Species richness, abundance, size-class distribution and spatial patterns of lianas were investigated in three 1-ha plots in tropical seasonal rain forests in Xishuangbanna, SW China. All lianas with ≥ 2 cm diam- eter at breast height (dbh) were measured, tagged and identified. A total of 458 liana stems belonging to 95 species (ranging from 38 to 50 species/ha), 59 genera and 32 families were recorded in the three plots. The most well-represented families were Loganiaceae, Annonceae, Papilionaceae, Apocynaceae and Rhamnaceae. Papilionaceae (14 species recorded) was the most important family in the study forests. The population den- sity, basal area and importance value index (IVI) varied greatly across the three plots. Strychnos cathayensis, Byttneria grandifolia and Bousigonia mekongensis were the dominant species in terms of IVI across the three plots. The mean aboveground biomass of lianas (3 396 kg/ha) accounted for 1.4% of the total community above- ground biomass. The abundance, diversity and biomass of lianas in Xishuangbanna tropical seasonal rain forests are lower than those in tropical moist and wet forests, but higher than those in tropical dry forests. This study provides new data on lianas from a geographical region that has been little-studied. Our findings emphasize that other factors beyond the amount and seasonality of precipitation should be included when considering the liana abundance patterns across scales
Keywords: biodiversity, liana abundance, liana biomass, species richnes, tropical forests