, Volume 100, Issue 3, pp 223-241

Age structure and regeneration of old growthCryptomeria japonica forests on Yakushima Island

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Abstract

The regeneration process ofCryptomeria japonica forests was studied from surveys of age and initial growth of the coniferous stumps in plots of 2.66 ha in total on Yakushima Island, south Japan. The conifers germinated during particular regeneration periods each of which was shorter than 100 years. The periods repeated themselves several times in each plot, and conifers of each period formed patches. Both tree cutting and natural gap formation of the canopies initiated the regenerations. The saplings that were thought to have germinated before the initiation of the regeneration grew slowly. After the initiation, the saplings that germinated earlier grew more quickly. For the three codominant conifers:Cryptomeria japonica, Tsuga sieboldii, andAbies firma, the shade tolerance was inversely correlated with maximum age. Even the most shade-tolerantA. firma was a gap-dependent species in regeneration periods, and there were no species differences in the colonizing times during the regeneration period. Shade-intolerant long-lived species and shade-tolerant short-lived species coexisted as climax species, not as alternate species in the sere of succession.