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Distribution and Effects on Tree Growth of Lianas and Woody Hemiepiphytes in a Costa Rican Tropical Wet Forest

David B. Clark and Deborah A. Clark
Journal of Tropical Ecology
Vol. 6, No. 3 (Aug., 1990), pp. 321-331
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2559832
Page Count: 11
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Distribution and Effects on Tree Growth of Lianas and Woody Hemiepiphytes in a Costa Rican Tropical Wet Forest
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Abstract

We evaluated occurrence and abundance of lianas and woody hemiepiphytes on canopy and emergent tree species in primary tropical wet forest at the La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica. Two pioneers, Cecropia obtusifolia and C. insignis, lacked both lianas and hemiepiphytes. The seven non-pioneer species differed significantly in their loads of lianas and hemiepiphytes. For all non-pioneer species, two measures of liana and hemiepiphyte loads (the percentage of the crown occupied and the combined basal area of descending hemiepiphyte and liana roots and stems) increased significantly with tree diameter. In all non-pioneer species, most trees ⩾70 cm diameter (50-97%) were colonized. Lianas occupied more trees and had a smaller mean host diameter than did hemiepiphytes; however, basal area of descending roots or stems was equivalent for the two life forms in occupied trees. We used partial correlations controlling for tree diameter to evaluate the relationship between annual tree diameter growth and loads of hemiepiphytes and lianas for six non-pioneer species. Five of the six species showed a significant negative correlation between loads and diameter growth. Existing published data show that the high incidence of lianas and hemiepiphytes at La Selva is paralleled in most other Neotropical wet forests.

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