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Effect of lianas on forest-level tree carbon accumulation does not differ between seasons: Results from a liana removal experiment in Panama

van der Heijden, Geertje M.F.; Powers, Jennifer S.; Schnitzer, Stefan A.

Authors

Jennifer S. Powers

Stefan A. Schnitzer



Abstract

1. Lianas are prevalent in Neotropical forests, where liana-tree competition can be intense, resulting in reduced tree growth and survival. The ability of lianas to grow relative to trees during the dry season suggests that liana-tree competition is also strongest in the dry season. If correct, the predicted intensification of the drying trend over large areas of the tropics in the future may therefore intensify liana-tree competition, resulting in a reduced carbon sink function of tropical forests. However, no study has established whether the liana effect on tree carbon accumulation is indeed stronger in the dry than in the wet season.
2. Using six years of data from a large-scale liana removal experiment in Panama, we provide the first experimental test of whether liana effects on tree carbon accumulation differ between seasons. We monitored tree and liana diameter increments at the beginning of the dry and wet season each year to assess seasonal differences in forest-level carbon accumulation between removal and control plots.
3. We found that median liana carbon accumulation was consistently higher in the dry (0.52 Mg C ha-1 yr-1) than the wet season (0.36 Mg C ha-1 yr-1), and significantly so in three of the years. Lianas reduced forest-level median tree carbon accumulation more severely in the wet (1.45 Mg C ha-1 yr-1) than the dry (1.05 Mg C ha-1 yr-1) season in all years. However, the relative effect of lianas was similar between the seasons, with lianas reducing forest-level tree carbon accumulation by 46.9% in the dry and 48.5% in the wet season.
4. Synthesis: Our results provide the first experimental demonstration that lianas do not have a stronger competitive effect on tree carbon accumulation during the dry season. Instead, lianas compete significantly with trees during both seasons, indicating a large negative effect of lianas on forest-level tree biomass increment regardless of seasonal water stress. Longer dry seasons are unlikely to impact liana-tree competition directly; however, the greater liana biomass increment during dry seasons may lead to further proliferation of liana biomass in tropical forests, with consequences for their ability to store and sequester carbon.

Citation

van der Heijden, G. M., Powers, J. S., & Schnitzer, S. A. (2019). Effect of lianas on forest-level tree carbon accumulation does not differ between seasons: Results from a liana removal experiment in Panama. Journal of Ecology, 107(4), 1890-1900. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13155

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 28, 2019
Online Publication Date Feb 8, 2019
Publication Date Feb 8, 2019
Deposit Date Feb 14, 2019
Publicly Available Date Feb 9, 2020
Journal Journal of Ecology
Print ISSN 0022-0477
Electronic ISSN 1365-2745
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 107
Issue 4
Pages 1890-1900
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13155
Keywords carbon balance, dry season advantage, dry season length, liana biomass increase, liana-tree competition
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1547875
Publisher URL https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1365-2745.13155
Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: van der Heijden GMF, Powers JS, Schnitzer SA. Effect of lianas on forestā€level tree carbon accumulation does not differ between seasons: Results from a liana removal experiment in Panama. J Ecol. 2019; 00:1–11. which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13155. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

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