Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 665–675 | Cite as

Life strategy traits of the liana Sericostachys scandens spreading in the montane forests in the Kahuzi-Biega national park (DR Congo)

  • Masumbuko Ndabaga Céphas
  • Herpigny Basile
  • Barbier Nicolas
  • Habiyaremye Muhashy FrançoisEmail author
  • Lejoly Jean
  • Meerts Pierre


Sericostachys scandens is a monocarpic and heliophilous liana, native in tropical African forests. In the montane forests of the Kahuzi-Biega National Park (KBNP) (East of DR Congo), it has been expanding very strongly for a decade, and is currently considered as having negative impacts on biodiversity conservation. In this paper, we test if S. scandens differs from three co-occurring, native, non spreading lianas (Gouania longispicata, Tacazzea apiculata and Adenia bequaertii) for functional traits which might influence plant expansion. For leaf traits (SLA, dry matter content, nitrogen concentration), S. scandens did not show extreme values compared to those of the three other lianas. In contrast, S. scandens had much higher biomass allocation to sexual reproduction. It also differs from the three other lianas for its reproductive strategy that combines both vegetative propagation and sexual reproduction, and propagule dispersal by wind. Moreover, S. scandens has larger leaves and a greater number of lateral branches per unit stem length. It is argued that the particular combination of functional traits exhibited by S. scandens may in part explain its propensity to behave as an opportunistic weed in the disturbed areas in the montane forests of Kahuzi-Biega.


Life strategy Sericostachys scandens montane forest Kahuzi-Biega National Park functional traits Native expanding species 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masumbuko Ndabaga Céphas
    • 1
    • 2
  • Herpigny Basile
    • 2
  • Barbier Nicolas
    • 3
  • Habiyaremye Muhashy François
    • 4
    Email author
  • Lejoly Jean
    • 5
  • Meerts Pierre
    • 2
  1. 1.Université Officielle de BukavuBukavuDR Congo
  2. 2.Laboratoire d’Ecologie Végétale et Biogéochimie, CP 244Université Libre de BruxellesBruxellesBelgium
  3. 3.Botany and Computational Plant Architecture, IRD — Marie Curie.Montpellier cedex 5France
  4. 4.Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de BelgiqueBruxellesBelgium
  5. 5.Herbarium de l’Université Libre de BruxellesBruxellesBelgium

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