Lambir Liana Project (proposal)

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Correlation Between Tree Morphological Characteristics and Liana Growth in Lambir

Andrew, Douwe, Molly



Lianas, referring to woody climbing plants, are typically identified as pioneer species found in disturbed areas (Whitmore, 1988;Reddy & Parthasarathy, 2003). Lianas play an important role in forest dynamics by competing with trees for light and other resources (Londre & Schnitzer, 2006). They often amplify the affects of tree falls, land slides, and other forest disturbances(Perez-Salicrup & de Meijere, 2005). By way of lianas’ importance in forest ecology, many studies have attempted to determine patterns of liana growth. Determining patterns of liana growth can help us better understand interactions within the forest.


Is there a correlation between presence or absence of lianas on a tree and the tree’s bark characteristics?


One article (cite) suggested that early successional species have characteristics that prevent liana growth. We suspect that variation of characteristics such as these are distributed similarly across trees in primary forest as well (i.e. some trees in primary forests are conducive to liana growth). We think that certain bark characteristics may be more conducive to liana growth than others. Fissures and grooves, for instance, could be used as grips for lianas. Therefore we hypothesize that we will find more liana growth on trees with smooth bark as opposed to trees with fissured bark.


  • Select species of tree within the same genus that have very different bark types, smooth and fissured.
  • Use the Lambir plot data to find each tree of those species within the plot.
  • Visit each tree within the plot of those species, and note the presence or absence of liana on all of them.


Run a Chi2 test to see if our smooth bark sample has a significantly different number of lianas than our fissure bark sample.


  • Londre, R. A. & Schnitzer, S. A. (2006), ‘The distribution of lianas and their change in abundance in temperate forests over the past 45 years’, ECOLOGY 87(12), 2973-2978.
  • Perez-Salicrup, D. & de Meijere, W. (2005), ‘Number of lianas per tree and number of trees climbed by lianas at Los Tuxtlas, Mexico’, BIOTROPICA 37(1), 153-156.
  • Reddy, M. & Parthasarathy, N. (2003), ‘Liana diversity and distribution in four tropical dry evergreen forests on the Coromandel coast of south India’, BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION 12(8), 1609-1627.
  • Whitmore, T. C. (1988), Tropical Rain Forests of the Far East, Oxford University Press, USA.