Abstract. Structure, diversity and dynamics of five Japanese temperate old‐growth forests were compared, differing from each other in, i.a., climate, dominant tree type, topography, disturbance regime. The forests were Aya, Ogawa, Kanumazawa Riparian, Kanumazawa upland and Senju. A permanent plot (1–6 ha) was established in each forest and trees were censused several times at intervals of two years. Mean annual recruitment rates and mortality rates in these forests were both in the range of 0.5 to 4.6 %/yr at the community level. Analyses of the structure and dynamics of populations showed that the underlying process was different among the forests. Some forests experienced compositional shifts in their canopies, others had a constant canopy composition but appeared to lack effective regeneration in recent years. The recruitment rate appeared to be strongly affected by competitive undergrowth vegetation such as dwarf bamboo which has been controlled by natural disturbance or human impact. It is likely that the forests with mostly low recruitment rates had a low species diversity. The current variation in structure, diversity and dynamics of the studied forests might have been determined not only by physical conditions (e.g. climate) but also by chance factors (e.g. disturbance, outbreak of deer population).
Journal of Vegetation Science – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1999
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