Climate Change Affects Reproductive Phenology in Lianas of Australia’s Wet Tropics

Vogado, Nara O., Engert, Jayden E., Linde, Tore L., Campbell, Mason J., Laurance, William F., and Liddell, Michael J. (2022) Climate Change Affects Reproductive Phenology in Lianas of Australia’s Wet Tropics. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, 5. 787950.

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Lianas are increasing in abundance in many tropical forests. This increase can alter forest structure and decrease both carbon storage and tree diversity via antagonistic relationships between lianas and their host trees. Climate change is postulated as an underlying driver of increasing liana abundances, via increases in dry-season length, forest-disturbance events, and atmospheric CO2 concentrations; all factors thought to favour lianas. However, the impact of climate change on liana reproductive phenology, an underlying determinant of liana abundance, has been little studied, particularly outside of Neotropical forests. Over a 15-year period (2000–2014), we examined the phenological patterns of a liana community in intact rainforests of the Wet Tropics bioregion of Australia; a World Heritage Area and hotspot of floral diversity. Specifically, we assessed (1) flowering and fruiting patterns of liana species; (2) potential climate drivers of flowering and fruiting activity; and (3) the influence of El Niño-related climatic disturbances on liana phenology. We found that flowering and fruiting of the studied liana species increased over time. Liana reproduction, moreover, rose in apparent response to higher temperatures and reduced rainfall. Finally, we found flowering and fruiting of the liana species increased following El Niño events. These results suggest that liana reproduction and abundance are likely to increase under predicted future climate regimes, with potentially important impacts on the survival, growth, and reproduction of resident trees and thus the overall health of Australian tropical rainforests.

Item ID: 76506
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2624-893X
Keywords: ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation), flowering, forest disturbance, fruiting, rainforest, woody vines
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2022 Vogado, Engert, Linde, Campbell, Laurance and Liddell. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2023 03:22
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 100%
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