Biodiv Sci ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (3): 332-340.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2014224

• Original Papers: Plant Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Diversity and spatial distribution of lianas in a mid-montane moist evergreen broad-leaved forest in the Ailao Mountains, SW China

1,2, Wenyao Liu3,*, 3   

  1. 1 Yunnan Academy of Forestry, Kunming 650204
    2 Key Laboratory for Conservation of Rare, Endangered and Endemic Forest Plants in Yunnan of State Forestry Administration, Yunnan Provincial Key Laboratory for Cultivation and Utilization of Forest Plant, Kunming 650204
    3 Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223
  • Received:2014-10-21 Accepted:2015-01-22 Online:2015-06-08 Published:2015-06-12
  • Contact: Liu Wenyao


Lianas are an important component of tropical and subtropical forests, and influence forest dynamics, ecosystem processes, and the formation and maintenance of forest biodiversity. In the present study, liana diversity and their vertical and horizontal spatial distribution were investigated in a mid-montane moist evergreen broad-leaved forest in the Ailao Mountains, SW China. A total of 1,145 individuals of 29 liana species (DBH≥0.2 cm) were recorded in twenty 20 m × 50 m plots. In the forest the most species-rich families were the Smilacaceae (4 species) and Rosaceae (3 species). Vitaceae was the most abundant family represented by 363 individuals (31.7% of total individuals). The understory lianas (usually DBH < 1 cm) had greater species richness and abundance than subcanopy and canopy lianas. The majority of lianas individuals (55.7%) were found in the understory, 28.8% were in the canopy, and only 15.5% were in the subcanopy. The vertical distribution of lianas showed obvious differences among stem diameter-classes and climbing mechanisms. In terms of the horizontal spatial distribution, topography was an important factor governing the diversity and distribution of lianas. The species richness, abundance and basal area in the valley were 171%, 420% and 606% greater, respectively, than hillslope sites. A total of 12 species grew exclusively in valley sites. These results suggest that lianas have habitat preferences in the mid-montane moist evergreen broad-leaved forests of the Ailao Mountains.

Key words: liana, diversity, abundance, climbing type, spatial distribution, subtropical