How liana loads alter tree allometry in tropical forests
Dias A.S.; Santos K.; Santos F. A. M.; Martins F. R.
Intense competition with lianas (wood climbers) can limit tree growth reproduction and survival. However the negative effects of liana loads on tree allometry have not yet been addressed. We investigated the hypothesis that liana loading on tree crown alters tree’s allometry expressed through slenderness (height–diameter ratio). The relationship between trunk slenderness and percentage of tree crown covered by lianas was investigated for 12 tree species from 10 fragments of the Semideciduous Seasonal Forest in Southeastern Brazil. We also tested whether the relationship between slenderness and wood density differ between trees without lianas and trees heavily infested. Liana loads significantly altered tree allometry by decreasing slenderness even when lianas covered less than 25% of tree crown. Heavy-wood species decreased their trunk slenderness in a greater ratio than light-wood species. Our findings indicate that liana infestation shifts tree allometry and these effects are stronger on heavy-wood tree species.