Advertisement

Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 123, Issue 6, pp 741–749 | Cite as

Effects of roads on alpine and subalpine plant species distribution along an altitudinal gradient on Mount Norikura, central Japan

  • Koichi Takahashi
  • Yutaka Miyajima
Regular Paper

Abstract

We investigated the effects of roads on alpine and subalpine plant species distribution along an altitudinal gradient on Mount Norikura (3026 m a.s.l.), Japan. We examined the vegetation of herb and tree species shorter than 1.3 m along roadsides and adjacent natural vegetation at 200 m intervals between 1600 and 3000 m a.s.l. The timberline was at 2500 m a.s.l. Although the canopy opening was greater at the roadsides than in the natural vegetation, it was similar above the timberline. Soil cover and litter depth of the soil surface were less at roadsides than the natural vegetation, and gravel and rock cover were greater at roadsides. Species composition changed in similar directions from natural vegetation to roadsides along the altitudinal gradient. This direction was related to canopy opening and litter depth. Liliaceae, Ericaceae and Pinaceae were dominant families in the natural vegetation, and Asteraceae and Poaceae were greatest at the roadsides. Roadside plants were mostly herb species, while tree species increased in natural vegetation. Five exotic species were also observed at the roadsides. Sunny plant species gradually increased with altitude in the natural vegetation, indicated by the increase in canopy opening. By contrast, roadside plants were mostly sunny plant species irrespective of altitude. The number of lowland and montane species increased at the roadsides in the subalpine zone. Thus, roads strongly altered species composition of the natural vegetation along the altitudinal gradient probably because of changes in light and soil-surface conditions for growth and seedling establishment.

Keywords

Alpine plant Altitudinal distribution Exotic species Non-native species Road Shade tolerance Subalpine plant 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was partially supported by grants from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture of Japan (Nos. 13780418 and 15710007). We thank two anonymous reviewers for constructive comments.

Supplementary material

10265_2010_318_MOESM1_ESM.xls (67 kb)
Table S1. Relative cover (%) of each species in natural vegetation (N) and at roadside (R) at each altitude between 1600 m and 3000 m a.s.l. on Mount Norikura, central Japan. Each site is indicated by the combination of (N or R) plus altitude (ex. N 16 means natural vegetaion at 1600 m a.s.l.). The number in parenthees indicates the total cover (%) at each altitude. Data of natural vegetation was cited from Miyajima et al. (2007). (XLS 67 kb)

References

  1. Azegami T (1996) Wild flowers of Japan—mountainside (in Japanese). Yama-kei, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  2. Buckley DS, Crow TR, Nauertz EA, Schulz KE (2003) Influence of skid trails and haul roads on understory plant richness and composition in managed forest landscapes in Upper Michigan, USA. For Ecol Manage 175:509–520CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Caño L, Escarre J, Sans FX (2007) Factors affecting the invasion success of Senecio inaequidens and S. pterophorus in Mediterranean plant communities. J Veg Sci 18:281–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Editorial Board of Flora of Nagano Prefecture (1997) Flora of Nagano Prefecture (in Japanese). Shinano Mainichi Shinbunsha, NaganoGoogle Scholar
  5. Forman RTT (2000) Estimate of the area affected ecologically by the road system in the United States. Conserv Biol 14:31–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Foster SA, Jansen CH (1985) The relationship between seed size and establishment conditions in tropical woody plants. Ecology 66:773–780CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Freckleton RP, Watkinson AR (2001) Predicting competition coefficients for plant mixtures reciprocity, transitivity and correlations with life-history traits. Ecol Lett 4:348–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Goldberg DE, Landa K (1991) Competitive effect and response: hierarchies and correlated traits in the early stages of competition. J Ecol 79:1013–1030CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Goldberg DE, Werner PA (1983) The effects of size of opening in vegetation and litter cover on seedling establishment of goldenrods (Solidatgo spp.). Oecologia 60:149–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hadley JL, Smith WK (1983) Influence of wind exposure on needle desiccation and mortality for timberline conifers in Wyoming. USA Arc Alp Res 15:127–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hansen MJ, Clevenger AP (2005) The influence of disturbance and habitat on the presence of non-native plant species along transport corridors. Biol Conserv 125:249–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Harper JL, Lovell PH, Moore KG (1970) The shape and sizes of seeds. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 1:327–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hayashi Y (1989) Wild flowers of Japan—plains, seaside and hills (in Japanese). Yama-kei, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  14. Ida H, Ozeki M (2000) Shoot dynamics of Pinus pumila Regel along the road in Mt. Norikura, central Japan (in Japanese). Bull Nagano Nat Conserv Res Inst 3:1–7Google Scholar
  15. Johnston FM, Johnston SW (2004) Impacts of road disturbance on soil properties and an exotic plant occurrence in subalpine areas of the Australian Alps. Arc Antarc Alp Res 36:201–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kameyama A (1973) Phytosociological studies on vegetational change caused by road construction in Natural Park (I) (in Japanese). J Fac Agric Shinshu Univ 10:125–146Google Scholar
  17. Kameyama A (1975) Phytosociological studies on vegetational change caused by road construction in Natural Park (III) (in Japanese). J Fac Agric Shinshu Univ 12:1–18Google Scholar
  18. Kameyama A (1976) Phytosociological studies on vegetation change caused by road construction in natural park (V) (in Japanese). J Fac Agric Shinshu Univ 13:63–88Google Scholar
  19. Knapp AK, Smith WK (1982) Factors influenceing understory seedling establishment of Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii) and subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) in southeast Wyoming. Can J Bot 60:2753–2761CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Körner C (1999) Alpine plant life. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  21. Miyajima Y, Takahashi K (2007) Changes with altitude of the stand structure of temperate forests on Mount Norikura, central Japan. J For Res 12:187–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Miyajima Y, Sato T, Takahashi K (2007) Altitudinal changes in vegetation of tree, herb and fern species on Mount Norikura, central Japan. Veg Sci 24:29–40Google Scholar
  23. Nogami T (2002) Distribution of lowland plants in alpine and subalpine zone of Mt. Hakusan (2) (in Japanese). Res Bull Hakusan Nat Conserv Center 29:1–6Google Scholar
  24. Pauchard A, Alaback P (2004) Influence of elevation, land use, and landscape context on patterns of alien plant invasions along roadsides in protected areas of south-Central Chile. Conserv Biol 18:238–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Phoenix GK, Gwynn-Jones D, Lee JA, Callaghan TV (2000) The impacts of UV-B radiation on the regeneration of a sub-arctic heath community. Plant Ecol 146:67–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pickering C, Hill W (2007) Roadside weeds of the snowy mountains, Australia. Mount Res Dev 27:359–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Putz FE (1983) Treefall pits and mounds, buried seeds, and the importance of soil disturbance to pioneer trees on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Ecology 64:1069–1074CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rentch JS, Fortney RH, Stephenson SL, Adams HS, Grafton WN, Anderson JT (2005) Vegetation-site relationships of roadside plant communities in West Virginia, USA. J Appl Ecol 42:129–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Seiwa K, Kikuzawa K (1996) Importance of seed size for the establishment of seedlings of five deciduous broad-leaved tree species. Vegetatio 123:51–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Semenza RJ, Young JA, Evans RA (1978) Influence of light and temperature on the germination and seedbed ecology of common mullein (Verbascum thapsus). Weed Sci 26:577–581Google Scholar
  31. Shimizu T (1990) Nature of Norikura (in Japanese). Shinano Mainichi Shinbunsha, NaganoGoogle Scholar
  32. Shimizu T (2003) Naturalized plants of Japan (in Japanese). Heibonsha, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  33. Stohlgren TJ, Chong GW, Schell LD, Rimar KA, Otsuki Y, Lee M, Kalkhan MA, Villa CA (2002) Assessing vulnerability to invasion by nonnative plant species at multiple spatial scales. Environ Manag 29:566–577CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Takahashi K (2003) Effects of climatic conditions on shoot elongation of alpine dwarf pine (Pinus pumila) at its upper and lower altitudinal limits in central Japan. Arc Antarc Alp Res 35:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Takahashi K, Yoshida S (2009) How the scrub height of Pinus pumila decreases at the treeline. Ecol Res 24:847–854CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Trombulak SC, Frissell CA (2000) Review of ecological effects of roads on terrestrial and aquatic communities. Conserv Biol 14:18–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. von der Lippe M, Kowarik I (2007) Long-distance dispersal of plants by vehicles as a driver of plant invasions. Conserv Biol 21:986–996CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Watkins RZ, Chen J, Pickens J, Brosofske KD (2003) Effects of forest roads on understory plants in a managed hardwood landscape. Conserv Biol 17:411–419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wester L, Juvik JO (1983) Roadside plant communities on Mauna Loa, Hawaii. J Biogeogr 10:307–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Westoby M, Leishman MR, Lord J (1996) Comparative ecology of seed size and dispersal. Phil Trans R Soc Lond 351:1309–1318CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceShinshu UniversityMatsumotoJapan
  2. 2.Institute of Mountain ScienceShinshu UniversityMatsumotoJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of Science and TechnologyShinshu UniversityMatsumotoJapan

Personalised recommendations