, Volume 97, Issue 3, pp 297-311

Regeneration in subalpine coniferous forests

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The regeneration process of a subalpine coniferous forest, a mixed forest ofTsuga diversifolia (dominant species),Abies veitchii, Abies mariessi, andPicea jezoensis var.hondoensis, was studied on the basis of annual ring data. The age class distribution was discontinuous and four age groups occurred in the study plot (30m×30m). The canopy layer was a mosaic of patches (83.8–133.7 m2 patch area), which had different mean ages. The recruitment of canopy trees was carried out only by advance regeneration in the plot. The diameter growth ofAbies andPicea exceeded diameter growth ofTsuga in the gap.Abies lived for 200–300 years and their trunks were susceptible to heart rot.Picea lived for 300–400 years andTsuga for more than 400 years. The regeneration process derived from the analysis of the plot consisted of three phases leading to the development of a even-aged patch; (1) the establishment of saplings before a gap opening, (2) the opening of a gap in the canopy and repair of the canopy by advance regenerated saplings dominated by rapid growth species,Abies andPicea, and (3) the dying off of canopy trees as each species reached the end of its life-span, resulting in pure patches of long-livedTsuga.