Mabi Forest - Characteristics

Characteristics

Mabi forests are a particular kind of dense vine forest that grows on nutrient rich yet porous volcanic soils with annual rainfalls averaging between 1300 – 1600 mm and a severe seasonal dry around October of each year

These ecological communities can be distinguished from other forests types by their thick layer of shrubs and many vines growing beneath more open canopies of semi-evergreen and scattered deciduous trees (reaching upwards to between 25m and 45 m high).

Botanist Tony Irvine described Mabi forests as follows:

"..the key thing about Mabi Forest...is that it has mostly tall canopy trees, many vines and a dense shrub layer."

"Key diagnostic features of Mabi forest are:
* Many trees with plank buttresses up to 45m tall
* A well-developed layer of specific shrub species and scrambling lawyer vines.
* A high presence of deciduous and semi-deciduous trees.
* Scattered large lianas and many slender vines
* Large-sized individual epiphytic ferns
* High presence of stinging bushes along edges and in large canopy gaps
* Usually has seasonal wilting of the understorey and seasonal heavy leaf fall."

He further describes the multiple layers of typical Mabi forest as follows:

"The forest may have up to six layers of vegetation. The canopy is uneven and consists of:
1. Scattered emergent trees, 40-45m tall
2. A main canopy, 25-40m tall but occasionally as low as 14-20m...
3. A subcanopy, 12-20m tall
4. A lower layer, 6-8m tall. This layer tends to be absent in areas with lower upper canopies.
5. A predominantly dense shrub and scrambling lawyer vine zone 1-5m tall.
6. A zone of seedling trees, shrubs, vines and herbs 0-1m tall."

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