LIANAS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     21st March 2024        

Context: As the world grapples with rising temperatures, a groundbreaking study led by the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia exposes an unlikely menace Lianas.


  • About: A liana is a long-stemmed, woody vine that uses trees or other vertical supports to climb towards the canopy in search of sunlight, rooted in the ground like a shrub or tree.
  • Taxonomic Distinction: The term "liana" doesn't denote a taxonomic category but describes a growth habit akin to a tree or shrub, derived from the French word "liane."
  • Ecological Adaptation: Lianas adopt a climbing strategy to access direct sunlight in forest canopies, employing trees and other support structures for vertical growth.
  • Characteristics: Long, flexible stems with abundance of soft tissue that allow for rapid growth, vegetative regeneration, and pliability.
  • Factors Driving Liana Dominance

oForest Disturbance: Lianas outcompete trees in disturbed forests, lacking structural support essential for liana growth, fostering their proliferation.

oClimate Influence: Warmer temperatures and lower precipitation favor lianas over trees, enhancing their competitive success.

oTopographical Considerations: Lianas thrive towards tropical lowlands, gaining an edge over trees in these regions.


  • Rapid Growth Opportunities: Lianas exploit disturbed areas like logged forests or landslides, quickly ascending towards the canopy using trees for support.
  • Climate Resilience: Lianas demonstrate resilience to moisture and temperature variations, bolstering their competitiveness, especially in climates undergoing extreme conditions due to global warming.