In This Issue

2015 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America  
In This Issue Woody liana vines and tropical carbon storage The abundances of woody vines called lianas are increasing in tropical forests, which store nearly 30% of aboveground terrestrial carbon and serve as a significant global carbon sink. To assess the impact of lianas on carbon storage and sequestration in tropical forests, Geertje van der Heijden et al. (pp. 13267-13271) compared carbon storage in experimental plots in Panama that had been cleared of lianas with tropical forest plots
more » ... al forest plots that had not been cleared. After 3 years of growth, the plots with lianas displayed around 76% less accumulation of biomass than the liana-free plots. According to the authors, the difference is due to increased tree mortality and reduced tree growth when lianas are present. Liana plots also stored more aboveground carbon in leaves and less carbon in woody stems than liana-free plots. Carbon stored in leaves, the authors note, can return to the atmosphere much more quickly than carbon stored in woody stems. Simulations of future forest growth suggest that lianas may decrease long-term forest biomass storage by around 35%. The results suggest that growth and expansion of lianas throughout tropical forests may hamper the capacity of forests for carbon storage and accumulation, according to the authors. -P.G.
doi:10.1073/iti4315112 fatcat:rzl3gjgv2fgmdaimr7aco26e3m