Ecological Research

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 329–340 | Cite as

Early herbaceous succession along a topographical gradient on forest clear-felling sites in mountainous terrain, central Japan

  • Toshiyuki Ohtsuka
  • Tsuguo Sakura
  • Masahiko Ohsawa


Early successional patterns of herbaceous communities in forest clear-felling sites were investigated along a topographical gradient, which included ridge, slope and valley habitat types, in warm-temperate evergreen forest regions of central Japan for 5 years. Three dominant species with wind-dispersed seeds played a major role in the succession: an annual,Crassocephalum crepidioides, a biennial,Erigeron canadensis, and a perennial,Miscanthus sinensis. Pioneer herbs that have a seed-bank strategy, which are common in old field succession, were not found in the mountainous sites. The persistence of the annual or biennial dominants during the very early stages of secondary succession was different in the three topographical habitat types. In the ridge habitat,M. sinensis dominated from the first year state, andC. crepidioides andE. canadensis were less prominent.Crassocephalum crepidioides andE. canadensis became dominant as one moved down the slope. In the valley habitat,C. crepidioides dominated in the first year stage, was succeeded byE. canadensis in the second year, and thenM. sinensis gradually replaced it in later years. As all three wind-dispersed dominants simultaneously invaded in all the habitat types after clear-felling, the different successional patterns along the topographical gradient might have resulted from differences in the establishment ability and the growth rate of the three dominants depending on the three habitat types.

Key words

annual herbs pioneer secondary succession seed dispersal habitat gradient 


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Copyright information

© Ecological Society of Japan 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Toshiyuki Ohtsuka
    • 1
  • Tsuguo Sakura
    • 2
  • Masahiko Ohsawa
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratory of Ecology, Graduate School of Science and TechnologyChiba UniversityInagekuJapan
  2. 2.University Forest in Chiba Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of TokyoAwagunJapan
  3. 3.Laboratory of Ecology, Faculty of ScienceChiba UniversityInagekuJapan

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