Plant Ecology

, Volume 151, Issue 2, pp 181–197

Population structure and spatial patterns for trees in a temperate old-growth evergreen broad-leaved forest in Japan

  • Authors
  • T. Manabe
  • N. Nishimura
  • M. Miura
  • S. Yamamoto

DOI: 10.1023/A:1026512404110

Cite this article as:
Manabe, T., Nishimura, N., Miura, M. et al. Plant Ecology (2000) 151: 181. doi:10.1023/A:1026512404110


The population structure and spatial pattern of major tree species in a warm-temperate old-growth evergreen broad-leaved forest in the Tatera Forest Reserve of Japan were investigated. All stems ≥ 5 cm in diameter at breast height (DBH) were mapped on a 4 ha plot and analyses were made of population structure and the spatial distribution and spatial association of stems in different vertical layers for nine species. This was done in the context of scale dependency. The plot was located on a very gentle slope and 17.1% of its canopy layer was in gaps. It contained 45 woody plant species and 4570 living stems with a basal area of 63.9 m2 ha−1. Castanopsis cuspidata var. sieboldii, the most dominant species for the basal area, had the maximum DBH among the species present, fewer smaller stems and a lower coefficient of statistical skewness of the DBH distribution. The second most dominant species, Dystilium racemosum, had the highest stem density (410 ha−1), more abundant smaller stems and a relatively higher coefficient of skewness. Most stems in different vertical layers showed a weakly aggregated distribution with loose colonies as basic units. Gap dependency for the occurrence of stems under the canopy layer was weak. Maximum slope degree of the plot also weakly affected the occurrence of stems. Spatial associations varied among intra- and interspecific cohorts in the different layers and spatial scales examined, and positive associations among cohorts were found more frequently as the scales examined became larger. This tendency suggests that key factors forming observed spatial associations might vary with the spatial scales.

Canopy gapsForest dynamicsLong-term studyNatural disturbanceScale dependency

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000