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Forest restoration following a windthrow: how legacy retention versus plantation after salvaging alters the trajectory of initial recovery


Recently, the conversion of plantations into natural forests has attracted increasing attention, but little is known about how to convert a windthrown plantation into a natural forest. We examined the initial 3-year effects of salvage logging, site preparation, planting, and weeding in comparison with the effects of legacy retention after a typhoon blowdown on the changes in terrestrial environments and plant compositions and the similarity of the species composition to that of the intact natural forest. Our major findings are as follows: (1) A homogeneous, sunny, and flat environment continued for 3 years in the planted and weeded plot, whereas a heterogeneous environment was observed in the legacy retention plot; however, the light environment changed slightly in the planted plot. (2) The species composition in the planted plots changed greatly due to invasion by annual, biennial, and perennial herbs and early successional trees. Alien species also invaded the planted row. Conversely, the species composition changed little in the legacy retention, which was likely due to the presence of residual plants that prevented shade-intolerant species from being established. (3) The legacy retention, followed by the residual row, was the closest to the natural forest with respect to species composition, whereas the planted row was the most dissimilar from the natural forest. Legacy retention appears to be the most appropriate way to restore a natural forest immediately after a windthrow, yet supplemental planting may be necessary to restore the desired broadleaved species.

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This research was partially supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) (19208013, 2007–2010) from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture. The National Forest Service of Ishikari provided invaluable logistical support. Valuable field support and comments were provided by the members of the Laboratory of Forest Ecosystem Management, Hokkaido University.

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Correspondence to Miho Morimoto.




Abbreviation Species name
 AJ Acer japonicum
 AM Acer mono
 AP Acer palmatum
 AS Abies sachalinensis
 ASf Acanthopanax sciadophylloides
 AU Acer ukurunduense
 B Betula spp.
 CC Cornus controversa
 CCb Carpinus cordata
 CJ Cercidiphyllum japonicum
 FL Fraxinus lanuginosa
 FM Fraxinus mandshurica
 KP Kalopanax pictus
 MB Morus bombycis
 MK Magnolia kobus
 MO Magnolia obovata
 PA Phellodendron amurense
 PG Picea glehnii
 PJ Picea jezoensis
 PM Prunus maximowiczii
 PS Prunus ssiori
 Q Quercus crispula
 S Salix spp.
 SA Sorbus alnifolia
 SC Sorbus commixta
 UD Ulmus davidiana
 AE Aralia elata
 HP Hydrangea paniculata
 LG Leucothoe grayana
 PT Pachysandra terminalis
 RI Rubus idaeus
 SR Sambucus racemosa
 AC Aralia cordata
 ACt Agrostis clavata
 AD Aruncus dioicus
 AG Aster glehni
 AM Anaphalis margaritacea
 AMm Artemisia montana
 AS Agrostis scabra
 CA Circaea alpina
 CH Calamagrostis hakonensis
 CJ Carex japonica
 CK Cirsium kamtschaticum
 CL Calamagrostis langsdorffii
 CM Clinopodium micranthum
 CO Carex oxyandra
 CP Carex puberula
 EC Elsholtzia ciliata
 EG Eupatorium glehnii
 HA Hypericum ascyron
 HE Hypericum erectum
 JE Juncus effusus
 JT Juncus tenuis
 LC Luzula capitata
 LJ Lysimachia japonica
 LR Lactuca raddeana
 LU Lycopus uniflorus
 MC Muhlenbergia curviaristata
 MD Maianthemum dilatatum
 MH Muhlenbergia hakonensis
 PA Plantago asiatica
 PB Panicum bisulcatum
 PF Potentilla freyniana
 PH Picris hieracioides
 PJ Petasitis japonicus
 PL Persicaria longiseta
 PN Persicaria nepalensis
 PV Patrinia villosa
 SC Senecio cannabifolius
 SV Solidago virgaurea
 TP Tiarella polyphylla
 TT Trillium tschonoskii
 VG Viola grypoceras
 VS Viola selkirkii
Alien species
 ag Agrostis gigantea
 cc Conyza canadensis
 ea Erigeron annuus
 hm Hypericum majus
 ob Oenothera biennis
 pl Panicum lanuginosum
 pt Poa trivialis
 ra Rumex acetosella
 sg Solidago gigantean
 to Taraxacum officinale
 tr Trifolium repens
 ay Athyrium yokoscense
 da Dryopteris austriaca
 dc Dryopteris crassirhizoma
 lc Lycopodium clavatum
 lo Lycopodium obscurum
 oc Osmunda cinnamomea
 tn Thelypteris nipponica

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Morimoto, M., Morimoto, J., Moriya, Y. et al. Forest restoration following a windthrow: how legacy retention versus plantation after salvaging alters the trajectory of initial recovery. Landscape Ecol Eng 9, 259–270 (2013).

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  • Disturbance
  • Succession trajectory
  • Natural forest restoration
  • Biological legacies