IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


22nd March, 2024 Environment


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Picture Courtesy: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/interviews/forests/-lianas-threaten-earth-s-carbon-sinks--95139

Context: A study published by the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia identifies ‘Lianas’, a woody vine that climbs trees, are a threat to carbon storage because they compete for sunlight, limiting tree growth and decreasing carbon sequestration capacity.

Key Highlights of the Study

  • According to the study, lianas restrict tree growth by competing for sunlight in the canopy. Their lower carbon sequestering capacity compared to trees increases this threat to carbon storage.
  • Lianas have the potential to accelerate global warming by reducing the efficacy of forests as carbon sinks and disrupting carbon cycles.

What are the challenges?

  • Lianas grow in disturbed forests and at higher temperatures, frequently surpassing trees for sunshine and resources.
  • Their resilience to climatic stress gives them a competitive advantage, particularly in areas experiencing more extreme conditions due to global warming.
  • Increased lianas can harm tree growth, reduce regeneration, and disrupt nutrient cycles, making forests less resilient to future disturbances.

Way Forward

  • The study highlights the importance of taking a balanced approach to forest management and conservation.
  • Understanding the factors of liana expansion and their influence on forest ecosystems allows stakeholders to develop methods to limit their impact and promote sustainable forest management practices.
  • Instead of attempting to eradicate lianas from forests, efforts should be directed towards maintaining a balance of lianas and trees to aid in forest recovery and biodiversity conservation.


  • The study highlights the need for action to address the threat presented by lianas to the Earth's carbon sinks. By understanding the processes supporting liana dominance and its consequences for carbon sequestration, stakeholders may collaborate to protect forest ecosystems and mitigate the effects of global warming.


Q. According to a recent study, how might lianas impact forests?

A) They increase the overall growth rate of trees.

B) They can compete with trees for sunlight, hindering their growth.

C) They provide essential nutrients directly to tree roots.

D) They are a food source specifically for certain types of birds.

Answer: B