NCEAS Project 8541

Lianas and tropical forest dynamics: Synthesis of Pan-tropical patterns from regional data sets

  • Stefan A. Schnitzer
  • Robyn J. Burnham

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Working Group13th—17th February 2005Participant List  
Working Group23rd—27th April 2006Participant List  

Members Only Area

Lianas (woody vines) are an important component in tropical forest dynamics, altering forest regeneration, species diversity and ecosystem-level processes such as carbon sequestration. Recently, the study of liana ecology has increased substantially throughout the tropics; however, methods for collecting liana data are only rarely consistent and there is little comparability in liana abundance, biomass, diversity, composition, or community dynamics across large areas of the tropics. Until these data sets are combined and synthesized, many large-scale questions on the ecology of lianas will remain unanswered. We propose an NCEAS Working Group to standardize, combine, and synthesize the many liana data sets from research groups around the world. In doing so, we will compile a pan-tropical data set with which we can answer specific questions about the contribution of lianas to forest diversity and biomass worldwide, as well as the pan-tropical distribution of many important liana taxa. Four main goals will be addressed during two Working Group Meetings and the intervening year. (1) Establish logical and useable guidelines for censuses of lianas, given different research goals. (2) Assemble and synthesize preexisting data sets on liana stem diameter, abundance, and diversity using empirically derived correction factors to generate a uniform, pan-tropical data set on lianas. (3) Estimate liana biomass at the whole-forest and regional levels using new and substantially more robust stem diameter-to-biomass equations. (4) Create standard systematic databases and maps of the geographic distribution of liana taxa and maps of liana hotspots to identify conservation priorities.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article DeWalt, Saara J.; Schnitzer, Stefan A.; Chave, Jérôme; Bongers, Frans; Burnham, Robyn J.; Cai, Zhiquan; Chuyong, George; Clark, David; Ewango, Corneille E.N.; Gerwing, Jeffrey J.; Gortaire, Esteban; Hart, Terese; Ibarra-Manríquez, Guillermo; Ickes, Kalan; Kenfack, David; Macía, Manuel; Makana, Jean-Remy; Martinez-Ramos, Miguel; Mascaro, Joseph; Moses, Sainge; Muller-Landau, Helene C.; Parren, Marc; Narayanaswamy, Parthasarathy; Perez Salicrup, Diego; Putz, Francis E.; Romero Saltos, Hugo; Thomas, Duncan. 2010. Annual rainfall and seasonality predict pan-tropical patterns of liana density and basal area. Biotropica. Vol: 42. Pages 309-317. (Online version)
Journal Article Gerwing, Jeffrey J.; Schnitzer, Stefan A.; Burnham, Robyn J.; Bongers, Frans; Chave, Jérôme; DeWalt, Saara J.; Ewango, Corneille E.N.; Foster, Robin; Kenfack, David; Martinez-Ramos, Miguel; Parren, Marc; Parthasarathy, Narayanaswa; Perez Salicrup, Diego; Putz, Francis E.; Thomas, Duncan. 2006. A standard protocol for liana censuses. Biotropica. Vol: 38(2). Pages 256-261.
Data Set Schnitzer, Stefan A.; Burnham, Robyn J.; Bongers, Frans; Chave, Jérôme; Clark, David; DeWalt, Saara J.; Ewango, Corneille E.N.; Fine, Paul V. A.; Foster, Robin; Gerwing, Jeffrey J.; Kenfack, David; Lohmann, Lucia; Martinez-Ramos, Miguel; Muller-Landau, Helene C.; Parren, Marc; Perez Salicrup, Diego; Putz, Francis E.; Romero Saltos, Hugo; Thomas, Duncan; Webb, Campbell O.; Parthasarathy, Narayanaswa. 2006. Determining pan-tropical patterns of liana distributions from regional datasets. (Abstract) (Online version)