Invasive alien lianas have similar allometry to native lianas in temperate forests
French K; Smith L; Watts E; Robinson SA
Lianas use other trees for mechanical support and convert freed resources into other structures such as leaf biomass. Consequently lianas can contribute significantly to leaf biomass in forests. As invasive species tend to have higher growth rates we predicted that invasive lianas would have higher biomass accumulation which would cause greater damage to host trees than native lianas. We compared differences in native and invasive liana allometry to determine if invasive lianas have maximized growth. We developed equations to predict aboveground biomass (AGB) of three native and three invasive lianas found in temperate closed forests in south-eastern Australia based on their stem diameter at breast height (DBH; 1.3 m) and investigated the relationship between DBH AGB components and SLA. Native and invasive lianas did not differ in any trait measured and showed a similar relationship between DBH and above ground measures of leaf stem and total biomass. Similarly SLA did not vary with origin of liana. Interestingly our predictive biomass equation for temperate lianas is comparable to equations used in research on tropical lianas suggesting a widespread similarity in allometry. Native and invasive lianas do not appear to be different in the growth characteristics measured suggesting that invasion success is more associated with unique features common to most species of lianas rather than specific differences in growth of invasive species.