Lianas (woody vines) are an abundant and diverse plant group in tropical ecosystems (Gentry, 1991; Dewalt et al., 2014). While they enhance forest canopy connectivity and provide food and shelter for tropical fauna (Yanoviak and Schnitzer, 2013; Schnitzer, 2018), lianas also intensely compete with trees for resources, and hence negatively influence a wide range of tropical ecosystem processes (van der Heijden et al., 2013), such as regeneration (Schnitzer et al., 2000; Pérez-Salicrup, 2001), tree reproduction (García León et al., 2018), and carbon storage and sequestration (van der Heijden et al., 2015).
Although the knowledge on lianas has developed significantly since Darwin's initial work on climbing plants (Darwin, 1865), studies in tropical forests still overwhelmingly focus on trees (da Cunha Vargas et al., 2020). This special issue brings together a collection of papers that provide new insights into the diversity of lianas, their impact on the ecosystem, and their relationships with climate.
van der Heijden, G. M., Schnitzer, S. A., & Meunier, F. (2023). Editorial: Lianas, ecosystems, and global change. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, 6, Article 1079620. https://doi.org/10.3389/ffgc.2023.1079620