CONTRIBUTION OF LIANAS AND CLIMBERS TO SPECIES RICHNESS IN TOPICAL FORESTS OF PACCHAIMALAI HILLS, EASTERN GHATS, TAMIL NADUS. Soosairaj, N.Nagamorugan, B.Balagurti and D.Natarajan
Forest type maps of Pacchaimalai hills were prepared using IRS 1C hard copy and for each forest type 0.12 ha. area was analyzed for diversity and species richness of lianas and trees. A total of 366 individuals covering 57 species, 49 genera and 33 families were recorded. Lianas were classified into five girth classes in each forest type. The evergreen and the semi-evergreen forest types had more number of individuals in higher girth class whereas the Dry deciduous scrub and the Southern thorn forests had only individuals of low girth classes. The members of the family Oleaceae were found in all forest types followed by Rhamnaceae and Asclepiadaceae. Celastrus paniculatus contribute maximum number of individuals (33), followed by Ventilago maderaspatana (19). Maclura spinosa showed clumped distribution. The investigations show that the lianas positively contribute to the species richness, diversity and stem basal area and to some extent to the forest canopy cover, since they are non-deciduous.
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