Lianas, to cut or not to cut to conserve forest biodiversity?

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Ricardo A. Moreno , Gabriel Ortega-Solis, Javier Godoy, Felipe Gonzalez, Iván A. Díaz


Although lianas play an important role in forest composition, structure, and functions, they are considered as structural parasites of the tree-host. Both contrasting ideas on the role of lianas in forest ecosystems challenge the practitioners and decision might be taken without specific information. Here we present a preliminary result, applied in a unique, small, old-growth forest in the Chilean Mediterranean Forest, to assess the interference degree that lianas might cause to the trunk or to the crown of the host-tree. Results showed that almost half of the trees were colonized by lianas between 1-6 cm DBH, with a continuous regeneration. Also, most lianas were hanging from lower branches but not tangling the main trunk, while most of them did not reach the topmost section of the crown, likely not competing for light resources with the tree-host. Although we did not assess the host responses, we found no strong evidence indicative of a structural parasitism; therefore, no control or eradication of lianas can be recommended in this particular case. Moreover, it seems the species might be an important component of the old-growth Mediterranean Forest, and could be include the lianas into the planning to increase biodiversity and other ecological functions. A rapid assessment could facilitate the decisions in other forest ecosystems, while gaining more information on the ecological function and processes that utterly would help enhancing conservation and restoration outcomes.



Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Forest Sciences, Life Sciences, Plant Sciences


Epiphyte, Tree-host colonization, Valdivian Temperate Rainforest hotspot, Forest management, structural parasitism, biodiversity conservation


Published: 2024-03-17 01:57


CC-By Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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Data and Code Availability Statement:
data and/or analytical code associated with this preprint are available by request