Liana distributions in disturbed northern Indiana temperate forests and management of invasive exotic liana, Celastrus orbiculatus
Fortelka, Mark J.
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Lianas (perennial woody vines) can have lasting impacts on forest community structure and composition by providing persistent disturbance and connection of all vertical forest levels. Due to climate change and increasing yearly minimum winter temperatures, lianas are now establishing themselves farther north in temperate regions altering ecological interactions at a local scale. In Northern Indiana, we surveyed 51 transects among 17 different disturbed forest sites and examined ground layer liana presence/absence and abundance, climbing liana abundance and size, and associated tree diameter at breast height (DBH) and species identity. We also examined the effects of different cutting techniques on the invasive exotic liana, Celastrus orbiculatus. Using cluster analysis, we found six distinct community types among the 17 locations. Overall, 62.0% of the trees surveyed had lianas growing on them with C. orbiculatus being the most abundant (N=1213). We found significantly positive relationships between DBH of host trees and both overall liana abundance and liana diameter at 130 cm. Along transects that included C. orbiculatus (N=37), we found significantly higher soil moisture, organic matter, calcium, and cation exchange capacity as well as marginally higher proportion of clay in soil and potassium. Of the three cutting techniques we examined (cut below ground, 1 cm above the ground, and 10 cm above the ground) none showed significant differences in total resprouts compared to total stems cut. With this research, we hope to further the knowledge of both native and exotic liana distributions in northern, disturbed temperate forests which could have implications on management strategies as lianas move into increasing latitude.