Wildfires cause shifts in liana community structure and liana-soil relationships in a moist semi-deciduous forest in Ghana

Abstract

Lianas play significant ecological roles in tropical forest ecosystems, so knowledge of the factors that affect them is key to forest management. Nonetheless, there is limited information on how wildfires influence liana communities. This study therefore sought to determine the effects of wildfires on liana community structure and liana–soil associations in the Asenanyo Forest Reserve, Ghana. Thirty plots (20 × 20 m) were established in each of three forest stands (9-month-old burnt, 15-year-old burnt, unburnt) and sampled for lianas (diameter at 1.3 m from the rooting base ≥ 1 cm). Liana diversity, abundance and basal area were significantly lower in the two burnt forest stands. The 15-year-old burnt forest supported significantly higher values for these liana community attributes than the 9-month-old forest. There was a shift in liana species composition towards a more homogenized composition in the burnt forest. Liana–soil associations differed between the unburnt forest on the one hand and the two burnt forests on the other. Thus, in all, fire caused shifts in liana community structure and liana–soil associations in the forests. The findings of the study have implications for liana, fire and forest management.

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Addo-Fordjour, P., Kadan, F., Rahmad, Z.B. et al. Wildfires cause shifts in liana community structure and liana-soil relationships in a moist semi-deciduous forest in Ghana. Folia Geobot (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12224-020-09380-6

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Keywords

  • environmental factors
  • fire disturbance
  • lianas
  • species distribution
  • soil properties