Ecological Research

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 311–319 | Cite as

The spatial pattern and canopy-understory association of trees in a cool temperate, mixed forest in western Japan

  • Nobuhiro Akashi


The spatial distribution pattern of trees and the association between canopy and understory individuals were examined with reference to the distribution of tree crowns in a cool temperate, mixed forest in Ohdaigahara, western Japan. Line transect and contact sampling methods were used to examine the pattern over various spatial scales. These methods are useful to detect patterns over a large study area. The dominance ofChamaecyparis obtusa on steep slopes forming large patches suggested that the distribution of this species is a consequence of landslides. UnderstoryFagus crenata showed a clumped distribution, and the relative coverage of this species was larger in canopy gaps than under a closed canopy. Understory individuals ofAbies homolepis showed a positive association with canopy trees ofF. crenata but a negative association with conspecific canopy individuals. These patterns suggested thatF. crenata regenerates in canopy gaps and is replaced byA. homolepis. The dynamics of these two species are consistent with the process of gap dynamics. The effects of both small- and large-scale disturbance must be evaluated to understand the mechanisms of patch formation and the coexistence of forest tree species.

Key words

Abies homolepis Chamaecyparis obtusa Fagus crenata reciprocal replacement spatial scale 


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Copyright information

© Ecological Society of Japan 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nobuhiro Akashi
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Ecological ResearchKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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