Marquette University biologist Stefan Schnitzer spends months at a time at his lab on Barro Colorado Island in Panama. Amidst the fauna and flora, the island is home to dozens of woody vine species, or liana.
“And what’s happening now is that the forests are changing enough that they (lianas) seem to be thriving when many trees are not,” Schnitzer says.
Trees are important not simply to a balanced tropical forest ecosystem, they are vital to the planet. “What we want from these forests is that they pull the carbon into the tree trunk for a thousand years,” he says.