Plant Ecology

, Volume 207, Issue 1, pp 161–174 | Cite as

Initial establishment and regeneration processes of an outlying isolated Fagus crenata Blume forest stand in the northernmost boundary of its range in Hokkaido, northern Japan

  • Kanji Namikawa
  • Tetsuya Matsui
  • Makoto Kobayashi
  • Ryota Goto
  • Shigeo Kuramoto


We investigated initial establishment and regeneration of an outlying isolated Fagus crenata forest stand at the northernmost boundary of its range in Hokkaido, northern Japan. The study site was located in the Sannosuke beech forest (42°46′48″N, 140°23′43″E), a representative outlying beech stand beyond its continuous range. A rectangular 0.75 ha plot was established on a southwest-facing slope and divided into 300 square sub-plots of 25 m2. Within each sub-plot, stems over 5 cm in diameter at breast height (DBH) were identified and measured. Furthermore, the location of stems over 10 cm in DBH (canopy stem) was recorded within each sub-plot, and their increment core samples were extracted. Wood from fallen logs was sampled to estimate the species composition of the coarse woody debris. Micro-relief of the plot was investigated by leveling with compasses for a 2.5 m × 2.5 m grid system. In the plot, the population of F. crenata was divided into three sub-populations by their frequency distribution of age. The oldest sub-population, over 121 years old, had been established in small-localized gap in the plot. The sub-population between 81 and 120 years old and the sub-population less than 80 years old were regenerated after a landslide and windthrow in a 1954 typhoon, respectively. Furthermore, dominant species in the plot shifted from Quercus mongolica var. grosseserrata to F. crenata. Consequently, regeneration of F. crenata, i.e., expansion of forest stands, at the northernmost boundary of its range was primarily dependent on episodic natural disturbance, which may be responsible for the reduction of their migration rate in Hokkaido, northern Japan.


Age structure Dispersal ability Ecological inertia Establishment Landslide Regeneration Windthrow 



We wish to express our sincere thanks to Mr. H. Saito (Kuromatsunai Beech Tree Museum) and Mr. M. Matsumoto (Hokkaido Forestry Management Office) for their assistance with information regarding the distribution of beech. We also thank Dr. S. Iida (Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute) and the students of the Biological Laboratory, Hokkaido University of Education, for their assistance in the field study. This study was partly funded by the program of the Global Environmental Research of Japan (S-4), the Ministry of the Environment and the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) 21580189 (2009), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kanji Namikawa
    • 1
  • Tetsuya Matsui
    • 2
  • Makoto Kobayashi
    • 3
  • Ryota Goto
    • 1
  • Shigeo Kuramoto
    • 2
  1. 1.Biological Laboratory, Sapporo CampusHokkaido University of EducationSapporoJapan
  2. 2.Forest Ecology and Diversity Group, Hokkaido Research CentreForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteSapporoJapan
  3. 3.Faculty of Environmental Earth ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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