, Volume 98, Issue 2, pp 165–174 | Cite as

Plant distribution in relation to the length of the growing season in a snow-bed in the Taisetsu Mountains, northern Japan

  • G. Kudo
  • K. Ito


The distribution pattern of plants was studied in an alpine snow-bed in six plots along a snow-melting gradient. Each plot consisted of two habitats with respect to the microtopography; the flat habitat and the mound habitat. The number of species per plot decreased with the shortened snow-free period. In the flat habitat, the dominant growth forms changed from the early exposed plots to the late exposed ones as follows; lichens ↔ evergreen and deciduous shrubs ↔ forbs ↔ graminoids ↔ bryophytes. In the mound habitat, evergreen and deciduous shrubs prevailed widely along the gradient because of the ability to exploit new habitat by creeping over exposed rocks. For shrubs, the existence of mounds contributed to the expansion of the distribution ranges. Forbs and graminoids shifted their distribution modes to the late exposed plots where shrubs decreased in cover. Deciduous shrubs and forbs completely disappeared in the latest exposed plot.


Growth form Microtopography Snow-melt timing Soil condition 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Kudo
    • 1
  • K. Ito
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Environmental ScienceHakkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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