Seedling success of Tsuga sieboldii along a microtopographic gradient in a mixed cool-temperate forest in Japan

Research paper by Naoya Yoshida, Masahiko Ohsawa

Indexed on: 01 Jan '99Published on: 01 Jan '99Published in: Plant Ecology


Emergence and establishment of Tsuga sieboldii seedlings were monitored for six years in an old-growth mixed forest in Japan, to clarify the reason why adult T. sieboldii trees are distributed only on convex slopes. T. sieboldii seedlings germinated on exposed soils without broad-leaved litter cover on both convex and concave slopes, but they died out from concave slope during the first two years after germination. Along a gradient from convex to concave slope, litter cover became higher and surface soil erosion became severer, and T. sieboldii seedlings died at the plots with severe surface soil erosion. Other environmental variables, such as relative illuminance, vegetation cover of seedling layer and soil water potential were not significantly different between convex and concave slopes. We concluded that the restricted seedling establishment of T. sieboldii to convex slope is determined by stability of surface soils and broad-leaved litter cover.