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ISRN Forestry
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 920370, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/920370
Research Article

Factors Influencing Liana Species Richness and Structure following Anthropogenic Disturbance in a Tropical Forest, Ghana

Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

Received 13 November 2012; Accepted 29 November 2012

Academic Editors: D. Huber, Z. Kaya, T. L. Noland, and B. Schirone

Copyright © 2013 Patrick Addo-Fordjour et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The study was conducted to determine the factors that influenced liana species richness and structure in forests of different disturbance intensities (high, moderate, and low disturbance forests) in the Southern Scarp Forest Reserve, Ghana. Within each forest, lianas (dbh  cm) were enumerated in six  m2 plots located along transects. Soil physicochemical properties and forest structure were determined within the plots. Liana species richness and abundance were significantly lower in the high disturbance forest ( ) whereas basal area was significantly higher in the low disturbance forest ( ). Tree abundance and dbh significantly predicted liana species richness and structure in the study ( ). On the basis of the importance value index, three main liana communities, each corresponding with a forest type, were identified. Stepwise multiple regression analysis revealed that exchangeable magnesium and calcium, and total exchangeable bases were the main soil variables that affected liana species richness. Liana structure was influenced by the above-mentioned soil variables as well as exchangeable potassium and sodium, and pH. The present study has demonstrated that changes in liana species richness and structure following human disturbance may be due to variations in soil properties and forest structure.