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You are here: Home Partner Projects Spotlight on National Park Resources Interactions Between Climbing Vines and Forest Edges Influence Tree Mortality in Mid-Atlantic Forests

Interactions Between Climbing Vines and Forest Edges Influence Tree Mortality in Mid-Atlantic Forests

Elizabeth Matthews - Botanist, Megan Nortrup - Science Communicator, John Paul Schmit - Quantitative Ecologist, J Patrick Campbell - Network Coordinator, NPS, National Capital Region Inventory and Monitoring Program

Vines are an integral component of forests, competing with trees for resources and influencing forest  composition, carbon sequestration, and wildlife resources. Vine abundance is increasing in tropical forests, likely a result of fragmentation and elevated CO2. Research in temperate forests is limited,  but studies in the eastern U.S. show a similar increase in abundance. The Inventory and Monitoring Program monitors forests at permanent plots in the Washington, D.C. region.  Using these data, we asked: Is abundance of climbing  vines increasing? Are vines more  likely to spread near forest  edges? Does the presence of climbing  vines affect tree growth and mortality? We found that: vine abundance is increasing, climbing  vines are more  likely to spread to trees near forest  edges, and tree mortality is greater for trees with climbing  vines in their crown. Further, the effect on mortality of vines in the crown was greater for trees near a forest  edge.

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