Liana Vines Deprive Forests Of Carbon, Leading To Death Of Trees

Posted: Oct 14 2015, 6:10am CDT | by , Updated: Oct 14 2015, 8:40pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

Liana Vines Deprive Forests Of Carbon, Leading To Death Of Trees
Photo credit: SC

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has revealed that woody vines or lianas deprive tropical forests of carbon, leading to the deaths of trees on several occasions.

Apart from oceans, tropical forests store carbon the most on earth; but considering the fact that lianas have been growing rapidly in recent years, forests containing the woody vines are being deprived of their ability for carbon storage, limiting forest growth and causing the premature deaths of many large trees.

The study was carried out in Barro Colorado Nature Monument in Panama by scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. About 16 forest plots were examined by the researchers and they found choking vines reduced carbon storage by nearly 76% on certain plots of forested areas.

“This study has far-reaching ramifications,” Stefan Schnitzer, a biology professor at Marquette University, said in a statement. “Lianas contribute only a small fraction of the biomass in tropical forests, but their effects on trees dramatically alter how carbon is accumulated and stored.”

In addition to the fact that liana vines have prevented tree growth in several tropical forests around the globe, they have also covered forest floors with moer dead leaves than usable woods. And since leaves rot faster than wood, the rate of carbon loss into the atmosphere is alarming compared to if it had been wood.

This is having an impact on climate change because drier climate would result as the planet’s temperature rises. While it is possible this climate leads to more lianas growths, it will also lead to more choking for tropical forests, leading to their inability to store carbon in order to arrest the rate of global warming.

Although lianas deprive forests of carbon and create dead leaves on forest floors, they provide fruits and seeds for animals to eat. They also join several trees together, making it possible for tree animals to move from one tree or part of the forest to the other.

"In terms of carbon, lianas may be detrimental; however, lianas provide a wide range of resources for wildlife, such as fruits, seeds and fresh leaves, and by connecting trees together lianas provide aerial pathways that are used by the vast majority of arboreal animals to move through the forest," Schnitzer said.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/52" rel="author">Charles I. Omedo</a>
Charles is covering the latest discoveries in science and health as well as new developments in technology. He is the Chief Editor or Intel-News.




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