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Early response of stand structure and species diversity to strip-clearcut in a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest in Okinawa Island, Japan

Abstract

Natural regeneration by strip-clearcut has rarely been used for restocking of evergreen broad-leaved forests in the East Asia. To contribute to a better understanding of the likely reasons for either the successful recovery of these forests or failure, the early response of stand structure and tree species diversity to strip-clearcut were studied in Okinawa Island, southwest Japan. The 4,000 m2 study area was divided into 10 adjacent sections of equal area with a 10 m × 10 m sampling plot in the center, of which five sections were strip-clearcut while the remaining five sections uncut. Eight-year secondary succession following strip-clearcut showed that the density of woody stems, tree species diversity increased significantly not only in the regenerating stands but also in the residual stands compared to the primary stands. The primary dominant target species, Castanopsis sieboldii, continued to dominate both the regenerating and residual stands although colonizing species invaded abundantly in the stands, occupying approximately one-third of total tree species in each treatment. The community similarity analyses showed that the species composition were similar between the primary stands and the regenerating stands or residual stands reflected the high similarity amongst the primary stands and the regenerating stands or the residual stands. The similar stand structure, high tree species diversity and greater community similarity after strip-clearcut provided no evidence of forest degeneration, suggesting that the regenerating stand might gradually develop into stand similar to that prior to strip-clearcut.

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Acknowledgments

Great thanks to Dr. Mitsunori Aramoto, an emeritus Professor of University of the Ryukyus, for his invaluable helps. We are also much indebted to all staffs of Yona Field, Subtropical Field Science Centre, Faculty of Agriculture, University of the Ryukyus for their helps in field census. Thanks to Mr. Masahiro Asato, a technical worker of Subtropical Field Science Centre for his special help in the fieldwork in weekends. Thanks are also extended to the students of the University of the Ryukyus for their assistance in the fieldwork. Financial support was partly provided by Special Scientific Research Projects in Non-profit Industries of Forestry (201104008).

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Correspondence to Lichao Wu.

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Wu, L., Deng, Y., Watanabe, S. et al. Early response of stand structure and species diversity to strip-clearcut in a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest in Okinawa Island, Japan. New Forests 44, 427–442 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11056-012-9353-5

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Keywords

  • Stand structure
  • Species diversity
  • Natural regeneration
  • Subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest
  • Strip-clearcut