, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 115-120

Effects of Sika deer on the regeneration of aFagus crenata forest on Kinkazan Island, northern Japan

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Abstract

Kinkazan Island, a sanctuary island that has been conserved for over 100 years, is inhabited by a Sika deer population of high density (60 km−2). AFagus crenata forest, a climax forest of this region, was composed of only large sized trees (30–60 cm diameter breast height) and lacked young trees. However, many saplings were found inside a deer proof fence, indicating this forest had a potential to produce seedlings. They were tentatively protected by shrubs ofLeucothoe grayana var.glabra, an upalatable ericaceous shrub, but did not exceed the shrub height. Heavy browsing by the deer suppressed recruitment of saplings ofF. crenata. The forest will be reduced without population control of the deer.