Ecological Research

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 117–124

Edge-related changes in tree communities in the understory of mesic temperate forest fragments of northern Japan

  • Satoshi N. Suzuki
  • Hiroshi Tomimatsu
  • Yoshiko Oishi
  • Yasuo Konno
Note and Comment

DOI: 10.1007/s11284-012-0995-8

Cite this article as:
Suzuki, S.N., Tomimatsu, H., Oishi, Y. et al. Ecol Res (2013) 28: 117. doi:10.1007/s11284-012-0995-8


We have assessed the effects of habitat fragmentation on understory tree communities in mesic temperate forests of the Tokachi plain of northern Japan. Tree community composition was analyzed across 13 forest fragments of various sizes ranging from 0.30 to 8.51 ha. The community composition varied along the edge-to-interior gradient: there was a lower abundance of shade-tolerant shrubs in forest edges than in forest interiors, while saplings of dominant canopy trees and pioneer trees were more abundant near the edges. The edge influence extended approximately 56 m into the forest interiors. Even the interior area of small fragments were likely to be affected not only by the nearest edge but also by more distant edges. Consequently, most areas in fragments smaller than 2 ha were covered by these “edge-type” communities. These results indicate that it is of primary importance to conserve and restore forests with an area at least larger than several hectares to sustain forest-interior tree communities.


Edge effectsDepth of edge influenceForest fragmentationFloodplain forestTokachi plain

Supplementary material

11284_2012_995_MOESM1_ESM.doc (42 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 42 kb)
11284_2012_995_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (385 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 384 kb)
11284_2012_995_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (111 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 111 kb)

Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Satoshi N. Suzuki
    • 1
  • Hiroshi Tomimatsu
    • 2
  • Yoshiko Oishi
    • 3
    • 4
  • Yasuo Konno
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Mountain ScienceShinshu UniversityNaganoJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Life SciencesTohoku UniversityOsakiJapan
  3. 3.Department of Life Science and AgricultureObihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary MedicineObihiroJapan
  4. 4.NEWJEC Inc.OsakaJapan