Lianas, the new ‘conquistadors’ of the Neotropics

Lianas in the NeotropicsTropical forests play an important role in the global carbon cycle. Moreover this biome is vital in scope of climate change mitigation, storing huge amounts of excess anthropogenic CO2 in tree biomass and in the soil.

However, during the last decades a strong increase of liana abundance and biomass has been noted in the tropical forests of Latin America. The impact lianas have on the well-functioning of the forest is still unclear, what triggers their increase is a complete mystery.

Are we approaching complete and irreversible ecosystem collapse?

What we do

The TREECLIMBERS project aims to understand the underlying mechanism of this liana proliferation from intensive data collection.

Additionally building the first vegetation model accounting for lianas would enable estimating the future impact of lianas on the forest and climate change in general.


  • Understanding of the mechanisms resulting in proliferation
  • Understanding interactions between trees and lianas
  • Establishment of first vegetation model accounting for lianas
  • Estimation of future impacts on tropical forest functioning and Climate Change
  • Guidelines for forestry practices and policy makers


Prof. Hans Verbeeck