The effects of understory dwarf bamboo (Sasa kurilensis) on soil water and the growth of overstory trees were studied in a dense secondary forest of Betula ermanii in northern Japan. Four plots were established in a Betula ermanii forest with Sasa kurilensis in the understory. The Sasa was removed in two of the plots. The annual increment of the trunk diameter for each tree was measured in the first two years from the commencement of the experiment. Soil water potential was similar in the plots following significant rainfall, but was found to be greater in the plot without Sasa between rainfall events. This suggests that the removal of Sasa slows the reduction of soil water after rainfall. The relative growth rate of the trunk diameter of Betula ermanii increased with tree size in all of the plots because taller trees strongly suppressed smaller ones in the dense forest. The growth rates of Betula ermanii were higher in the plots without Sasa. However, the difference in growth rates between all of the plots tended to be smaller in smaller size classes, possibly because smaller trees were strongly suppressed by larger ones, irrespective of the presence/absence of Sasa. Therefore, the removal of Sasa increased soil water and encouraged the growth of larger Betula ermanii in dense forest during the first two years after the Sasa was removed. The present study suggests that Sasa can reduce the growth of larger Betula ermanii in dense forest by limiting available soil water to these trees.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Babalola O., Boersma L. & Youngberg C. T. (1968) Photosynthesis and transpiration of Monterey pine seedlings as a function of soil water suction and soil temperature. Plant Physiology 43: 515–521.
Bréda N., Granier A., Barataud F. & Moyne C. (1995) Soil water dynamics in an oak stand. I. Soil moisture, water potentials and water uptake by roots. Plant and Soil 172: 17–27.
Cannell M. G. R., Rother P. & Ford E. D. (1984) Competition within stands of Picea sitchensis and Pinus contorta. Annals of Botany 53: 349–362.
Cienciala E., Kucera J., Ryan M. G. & Lindroth A. (1998) Water flux in boreal forest during two hydrologically contrasting years; species specific regulation of canopy conductance and transpiration. Annales des Sciences Forestieres 55: 47–61.
Granier A. & Bréda N. (1996) Modelling canopy conductance and stand transpiration of an oak forest from sap flow measurements. Annales des Sciences Forestieres 53: 537–546.
Gratzer G., Rai P. B. & Glatzel G. (1999) The influence of the bamboo Yushania microphylla on regeneration of Abies densa in central Bhutan. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 29: 1518–1527.
Kallarackal J. & Somen C. K. (1997) Water use by Eucalyptus tereticornis stands of differing density in southern India. Tree Physiology 17: 195–203.
Kelliher F. M. & Black T. A. (1986) Estimating the effects of understory removal from a Douglas fir forest using a two-layer canopy evapotranspiration model. Water Resources Research 22: 1891–1899.
Kikuzawa K. (1988) Intraspecific competition in a natural stand of Betula ermanii. Annals of Botany 61: 727–734.
Kitamura K., Nakai Y., Sakamoto T., Terashima T. & Shirai T. (1996) Heat balance measurements on Sasa bamboo field. Transaction of Japanese Forest Society 107: 323–326. (In Japanese).
Kojima S. (1994) Vegetation and environment of Betula ermanii forest on the Kamchatka Peninsula. Japanese Journal of Ecology 44: 49–59. (In Japanese with English summary).
Konno Y. (2001) Feedback regulation of constant leaf standing crop in Sasa tsuboiana grasslands. Ecological Research 16: 459–469.
Kudoh H., Kadomatsu M., Noda M., Akibayashi Y., Natsume S. & Kaneko K. (1999) Long-term observation on the growth of Sasa kurilensis regenerated after mass flowering and associated plants in northern Japan: a 31-year observation. Research Bulletin of the Hokkaido University Forests 56: 30–40. (In Japanese with English summary).
Kume A., Satomura T., Tsuboi N., Chiwa M., Hanba Y. T., Nakane K., Horikoshi T., Sakugawa H. (2003) Effects of understory vegetation on the ecophysiological characteristics of an overstory pine, Pinus densiflora. Forest Ecology and Management 176: 195–203.
Lambert J. L., Gardner W. R. & Boyle J. R. (1971) Hydrologic response of a young pine plantation to weed removal. Water Resources Research 7: 1013–1019.
Miller B. J., Clinton P. W., Buch G. D. & Robson A. B. (1998) Transpiration rates and canopy conductance of Pinus radiata growing with different pasture understories in agroforestry systems. Tree Physiology 18: 575–582.
Nakashizuka T. (1988) Regeneration of beech (Fagus crenata) after the simultaneous death of undergrowing dwarf bamboo (Sasa kurilensis) Ecological Research 3: 21–35
Nakashizuka T. & Numuta M. (1982) Regeneration process of climax beech forests. I. Structure of beech forest with the undergrowth of Sasa. Japanese Journal of Ecology 32: 57–67.
Ohashi H. (2001) Salicaceae of Japan. Scientific Report, Tohoku University, 4th Series Biology 40: 269–396.
Ohwi J. (1961) Flora of Japan. Shibundo, Tokyo (In Japanese).
Oren R., Ewers B. E., Todd P., Phillips N. & Katul G. (1998) Water balance delineates the soil layer in which moisture affects canopy conductance. Ecological Applications 8: 990–1002.
Oren R., Waring R. H., Stafford S. G. & Barrett J. W. (1987) Twenty-four years of ponderosa pine growth in relation to canopy leaf area and understory competition. Forest Science 33: 538–547.
Oshima Y. (1962) Ecological studies of Sasa communities V. Influence of light intensity, snow depth and temperature upon the development of Sasa kurilensis community. Botanical Magazine, Tokyo 75: 43–48.
Roberts J., Pymar C. F., Wallace J. S.& Pitman R. M. (1980) Seasonal changes in leaf area, stomatal and canopy conductances and transpiration from bracken below a forest canopy. Journal of Applied Ecology 17: 409–422.
Satake G., Hara H., Watari T. & Tominari T. (1993) Wild Flowers of Japan. Heibonsha, Tokyo.
Schmitt J., Eccleston J. & Ehrhardt D. W. (1987) Dominance and suppression, size-dependent growth and self-thinning in a natural Impatiens capensis population. Journal of Ecology 75: 651–665.
Suzuki S. (1961) Ecology of the Bambusaceous Genera Sasa and Sasamorpha in the Kanto and Tohoku districts of Japan, with special reference to their geographical distribution. Ecological Review 15: 131–147.
Suzuki S. (1962) The distribution area of Sasa sect. Crassinodi (Bambusaceae) in Shimokita Peninsula and in Hakodate and its vicinity, Japan. Ecological Review 15: 221–230.
Takahashi K. (1997) Regeneration and coexistence of two subalpine conifer species in relation to dwarf bamboo in the understorey. Journal of Vegetation Science 8: 529–536.
Takahashi K., Mitsuishi D., Uemura S., Suzuki J., & Hara T. (2003) Stand structure and dynamics during a 16-year period in a sub-boreal conifer-hardwood mixed forest, northern Japan. Forest Ecology and Management 174: 39–50.
Takahashi K., Uemura S. & Hara T. (2002) Effect of understory dwarf bamboo on seasonal changes in soil temperature in a Betula ermanii forest, northern Japan. Eurasian Journal of Forest Research 5: 49–53.
Takahashi K., Yoshida K., Suzuki M., Seino T., Tani T., Tashiro N., Ishii T., Sugata S., Fujito E., Naniwa A., Kudo G., Hiura T. & Kohyama T. (1999) Stand biomass, net production and canopy structure in a secondary deciduous broad-leaved forest, northern Japan. Research Bulletin of the Hokkaido University Forests 56: 70–85.
Taylor A. H. & Qin Z. (1988) Regeneration patterns in old-growth Abies-Betula forests in the Wolong Natural Reserve, Sichuan, China. Journal of Ecology 76: 1204–1218.
Van Cleve K., Oliver L., Schlentner R., Viereck L. A. & Dyrness C. T. (1983) Productivity and nutrient cycling in taiga forest ecosystems. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 13: 747–766.
Weiner J. (1990) Asymmetric competition in plant populations. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 5: 360–364.
Yoda K., Kira T., Ogawa F. & Hozumi K. (1963) Self-thinning in overcrowded pure stands under cultivated and natural conditions (Intraspecific competition among higher plants. XI.). Journal of the Institute of Polytechnics. Osaka City University, Series D 14: 107–129.
About this article
Cite this article
Takahashi, K., Uemura, S., Suzuki, JI. et al. Effects of understory dwarf bamboo on soil water and the growth of overstory trees in a dense secondary Betula ermanii forest, northern Japan. Ecol Res 18, 767–774 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11284-003-0594-9
- Betula ermanii
- dwarf bamboo
- Sasa kurilensis
- soil water availability