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Stand development and regeneration during a 33-year period in a seral Picea glehnii forest, northern Japan

Takahashi, Koichi, Yogo, Masaru, Ishibashi, Satoshi
Ecological research 2006 v.21 no.1 pp. 35-42
Abies sachalinensis, Picea glehnii, basal area, canopy, conifers, forests, mortality, saplings, tree and stand measurements, understory, Japan
Stand development and regeneration were studied during a 33-year period (1965-1998) in a 1-ha plot in a seral Picea glehnii forest in northern Japan. P. glehnii was mono-dominant in the upper canopy layer, but its understory trees were rarely found in 1965. Other species were scarcely observed in 1965. Many recruited saplings of Abies sachalinensis which had grown to > 5 cm diameter at breast height (DBH) by 1998 had become dominant in the understory layer. Mortality of P. glehnii canopy trees was low. Therefore, the stand basal area increased during the census period due to the growth of surviving canopy trees. Stand development brought about intense competition among trees by increasing local crowding for each tree, and promoted dominance of larger trees and suppression of smaller trees. Although growth rates of understory trees of the two conifers decreased with the increase in local crowding, the growth rate of A. sachalinensis was consistently higher than that of P. glehnii at all extents of local crowding. The recruitment rate (growing to ≥ 5 cm DBH) of the two conifers was less affected by local crowding. However, the number of recruits of P. glehnii was only about a quarter of that of A. sachalinensis during the census period because the regeneration of P. glehnii was largely restricted to fallen logs and within 1 m of the base of any live tree > 20 cm DBH. Therefore, our long-term study suggests that A. sachalinensis will dominate over P. glehnii in the seral forest because of higher recruitment and growth rates of the former than the latter in the understory.