Liana Diversity and Their Ecosystem Services in Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest on the Coromandel Coast of India

  • N. ParthasarathyEmail author
  • P. Vivek
  • K. Anil
Part of the Sustainable Development and Biodiversity book series (SDEB, volume 5)


Lianas constitute one of the most important components and play a vital role in structural and functional aspects of tropical forests. Few studies have reported the ecosystem services offered by lianas. This chapter presents the research conducted in eighteen tropical dry evergreen forest (TDEF) sites on the Coromandel Coast of India to investigate various ecosystem services rendered by the liana life-form. Lianas in the studied sites contributed a total of 56 species to forest plant biodiversity and added 15,224 individuals to forest stand. At individual sites, liana species richness ranged from 11 species ha−1 to 31 species ha−1 and the density contribution ranged from 408 individuals ha−1 to 1,658 individuals ha−1. The proportion of lianas to total woody species (lianas + trees) richness ranged from 0.38 to 0.53 and the proportion of stem density varied from 0.29 to 0.62. To the total forest aboveground biomass, lianas contributed 411.26 Mg. Further, lianas in our sites provide valuable resources to various faunal groups chiefly the forest foliar herbivores, florivores and frugivores. Among the leaf-eaters, beetles and lepidopteran larvae formed the major foliar herbivores. Bees and butterflies are the major floral resource users, while birds consumed major fruit resources of TDEF ecosystem. Lianas also offer important livelihood to local people by providing various edible products and feed for cattle. Further lianas offer valuable medicinal resources, 49 species being used for the treatment of various ailments. Sustainable use of resources offered by lianas would help long-term species survival and hence, the need for conservation of liana species is emphasized useful to, forest wealth and human health.


Aboveground biomass Biodiversity Ecosystem services Foliar herbivores Lianas Medicinal values NTFP 



We thank the Department of Science and Technology, Indian National Science Academy and Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi, India for funding various phases of this study through project.


  1. Abbiw DK (1990) Useful plants of Ghana. West African uses of wild and cultivated plants. Royal Botanical Gardens, KewCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Angulo-Sandoval P, Aide TM (2000) Leaf phenology and leaf damage of saplings in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, PuertoRico. Biotropica 32(41):5–422Google Scholar
  3. Angulo‐Sandoval P, Fernández‐Marín H, Zimmerman JK (2004) Changes in patterns of understory leaf phenology and herbivory following hurricane damage. Biotropica 36:60–67Google Scholar
  4. Bawa KS, Bullock SH, Perry DR et al (1985) Reproductive biology of tropical lowland rain forest trees. II. Pollination systems. Am J Bot 72:346–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bongers F, Schnitzer SA, Traore D (2002) The importance of lianas and consequences for forest management in West Africa. Bioterre, Rev. Int. Sci. de la Vie et de la Terre, No. Especial: 59–70Google Scholar
  6. Bongers FJJM, Parren MPE, Swaine MD, Traoré D (2005) Forest climbing plants of West Africa: introduction. In: Forest climbing plants of West Africa: diversity, ecology and management. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, pp 5–18Google Scholar
  7. Champion SH, Seth SK (1968) A revised survey of the forest types of India. Manager of Publications, DelhiGoogle Scholar
  8. Emmons LH, Gentry AH (1983) Tropical forest structure and the distribution of gliding and prehensile-tailed vertebrates. Am Nat 121:513–524CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gamble JS, Fischer CEC (1915–1935) Flora of Presidency of Madras. Adlard and Son, LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. Gentry AH (1991) The distribution and evolution of climbing plants. In: Mooney HA, Putz FE (eds) The biology of vines. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 349–369Google Scholar
  11. Gentry AH, Dodson CH (1987) Contribution of non-trees to species richness of tropical rain forest. Biotropica 19:149–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Heideman PD (1989) Temporal and spatial variation in the phenology of flowering and fruiting in a tropical rainforest. J Ecol 77:1059–1079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ingwell LL, Joseph Wright S, Becklund KK et al (2010) The impact of lianas on 10 years of tree growth and mortality on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. J Ecol 98:879–887CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Khare CP (ed) (2007) Indian medicinal plants: an illustrated dictionary. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Malaisse F (1997) Se nourrir en foret claire africaine. Approche ecologique et nutritionelle. Les Presses Agronomique de Gembloux, gembloux, and Centre Technique de Coopération Agricole et Rurale, CTA, WageningenGoogle Scholar
  16. Martins MM (2009) Lianas as a food resource for brown howlers (Alouatta guariba) and southern muriquis (Brachyteles arachnoides) in a forest fragment. Anim Biodivers Conserv 32:51–58Google Scholar
  17. Matthew KM (1991) An excursion flora of central Tamil Nadu. CRC Press, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  18. Mazia N, Chaneton EJ, Dellacanonica C et al (2012) Seasonal patterns of herbivory, leaf traits and productivity consumption in dry and wet Patagonian forests. Ecol Entomol 37:193–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Momose K, Yumoto T, Nagamitsu T et al (1998) Pollination biology in a lowland dipterocarp forest in 3232 Sarawak, Malaysia. I. Characteristics of the plant-pollinator community in a lowland dipterocarp forest. Am J Bot 85:1477–1501PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Murali KS, Sukumar R (1993) Leaf flushing phenology and herbivory in a tropical dry deciduous forest, southern India. Oecologia 94(114):119Google Scholar
  21. Odegarrd F (2000) The relative importance of trees versus lianas as host for phytophagous beetles (Coleopteran) in tropical forest. J Biogeogr 27:283–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Parthasarathy N, Selwyn MA, Udayakumar M (2008) Tropical dry evergreen forests of peninsular India: ecology and conservation significance. Trop Conserv Sci 1(2):89–110Google Scholar
  23. Perez-Salicrup DR (2001) Effect of liana cutting on tree regeneration in a liana forest in Amazonian Bolivia. Ecology 82:389–396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Putz FE (1984) The natural history of Lianas on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Ecology 65:1713–1724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Putz FE, Windsor DM (1987) Liana phenology on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Biotropica 19:334–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ramirez N (2004) Pollination specialization and time of pollination on a tropical Venezuelan plain: variations in time and space. Bot J Linn Soc 145:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Schnitzer SA, Bongers F (2002) The ecology of lianas and their role in forests. Trends Ecol Evol 17:223–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Schnitzer SA, Carson WP (2001) Treefall gaps and maintenance of species diversity in a tropical forest. Ecology 82:913–919CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Schnitzer SA, Kuzee ME, Bongers F (2005) Disentangling above- and below-ground competition between lianas and trees in a tropical forest. J Ecol 93:1115–1125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schnitzer SA, DeWalt SJ, Chave J (2006) Censusing and measuring lianas: a quantitative comparison of the common methods. Biotropica 38:581–591Google Scholar
  31. Senbeta F, Schmitt C, Denich M et al (2005) The diversity and distribution of lianas in Afromontane rain forests of Ethiopia. Divers Distrib 11:443–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Tra Bi FH (1997) Utilisations des plantes, par l’homme, dans les Forets Classees du Haut Sassandra et du Scio, en Côte d’Ivoire. These, 3emeCycle, Universite de Cocody, AbidjanGoogle Scholar
  33. Tra Bi FH, Kouame FN, Traore D (2002) Utilisation des lianes dans deux Forêts Classées de l’Ouest de la Côte d’Ivoire. Chapitre dans le livre Bongers & TraoréGoogle Scholar
  34. Tra Bi FH, Kouame FN, Traore D (2005) Utilisation of climbers in two forest reserves in west Cote d’Ivoire. In: Bongers F, Parren MPE, Traore D (eds) Forest climbing plants of West Africa: diversity, ecology, and management. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, pp 167–182Google Scholar
  35. Van Andel T (2000) Non-timber forest products of the North-West District of Guyana. Tropenbos-Guyana Series 8a, Tropenbos Foundation, WageningenGoogle Scholar
  36. Van Valkenburg JLCH (1997) Non-timber forest products of East Kalimantan: potential for sustainable forest use. Tropenbos Series 16. Ph.D. thesis, Wageningen University, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  37. Varanda EM, Pais MP (2006) Insect folivory in Didymopanax vinosum (Apiaceae) in a vegetation mosaic of Brazilian Cerrado. Braz J Biol 66:671–680PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Williams‐Linera G, Herrera F (2003) Folivory, herbivores, and environment in the understory of a tropical montane cloud forest. Biotropica 35:67–73Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Environmental SciencesPondicherry UniversityPuducherryIndia

Personalised recommendations