Folia Geobotanica

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 275–296

Regeneration dynamics, causal factors, and characteristics of pacific ocean-type beech (Fagus crenata) forests in Japan: A review


DOI: 10.1007/BF02805212

Cite this article as:
Shimano, K. Folia Geobot (2002) 37: 275. doi:10.1007/BF02805212


This paper reviews the differences in the distribution and regeneration ofFagus crenata between two types of Japanese beech forests, the Japan Sea (JS)-type and the Pacific Ocean (PO)-type, and discusses the causal factors and characteristics of these forests, particularly the PO-type.F. crenata in PO-type forests regenerates sporadically rather than constantly, whereas regeneration in the JS-type forests is relatively constant with gap dynamics.F. crenata has dominated in snowy areas both in the past, after the last glacial age, when there was less human disturbance, and in the present. Snow accumulation facilitates beech regeneration in snowy JS-type forests, but not in the less snowy PO-type. Snow protects beechnuts from damage caused by rodents, desiccation, and freezing. In addition, snow suppresses dwarf bamboo in the spring, thus increasing the amount of sunlight available for beech seedlings on the forest floor. Snow also supplies melt water during the growing season and limits the distribution of herbivores. Moreover, snow reduces the number of forest fires during the dry winter and early spring seasons. The low densities ofF. crenata impede its regeneration, because disturbed wind pollination lowers seed fertility and predators are less effectively satiated. In snowy JS-type beech forests,F. crenata dominates both at the adult and the juvenile stages because it regenerates well, while other species are eliminated by heavy snow pressure. On the less snowy PO-side, deciduous broad-leaved forests with various species are a primary feature, althoughF. crenata dominates because of its large size and long lifespan.

Copyright information

© Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of ScienceShinshu UniversityMatsumoto City, Nagano Pref.Japan

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