Spatial dynamics of regeneration in a conifer/broad-leaved forest in northern Japan



Abstract. This study deals with stand dynamics over a 6-yr period in a conifer/broad-leaved mixed forest in Hokkaido, northern Japan. The annual rates of gap formation and recovery were 81.3 m2/ha and 66.7 m2/ha, respectively and turnover time of the canopy was 125 yr. The recruitment processes of the component species in this cool-temperate forest were governed by different canopy types: gap, canopy edge and closed canopy. Magnolia obovata regenerated in canopy edges, and Acer mono and Prunus ssiori regenerated in canopy edges and gaps. The results suggested that the mosaic structure made up of closed canopy, canopy edge and gap was related to various regeneration niches. Abies sachalinensis had high mortality rates, initiating gap expansion. The transition probabilities from closed canopy or canopy edge to gap for deciduous broad-leaved trees were lower than for A. sachalinensis, which implies that the difference in degeneration patterns of conifer and broad-leaved canopies contributes to the heterogeneity of spatial structure in the mixed forests. Spatial dynamics were determined by a combination of gap expansion by A. sachalinensis (neighbour-dependent disturbance) and gap formation by deciduous broad-leaved trees (random disturbance).