Effects of micro-topographies on stand structure and tree species diversity in an old-growth evergreen broad-leaved forest, southwestern Japan

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Stand structure and species diversity were studied in correspondence with micro-topographies in an old-growth forest in southwestern Japan. The study was conducted in a 200×200m(2) permanent plot, which were divided into 400 subplots using grids of 10m×10m. Subplots were categorized to four micro-topographies as crest slope (CS), head hollow (HH), upper slope (US) and lower slope (LS), basing on slope of forest floor and plot position, and to two elevational zones as below 450 m and above 450 m. Tree censuses for all individuals with diameter at breast height (DBH) ⩾ 5 cm were conducted in 2009 and 2013. The results indicated that CS had subplot means of living stems, dead stems, DBH, basal area (G), and basal area increment (▵G) significantly higher than that in LS. While, means of recruited stems and Shannon diversity index were significantly lower. Comparing between below and above 450 m elevational zones indicated the significantly higher parameters of stand structure and species diversity in above 450 m elevational zone. The differences of edaphic conditions led to difference of density of living stems, species density, DBH, G, and ▵G among micro-topographies. Therefore, crest slope, upper slope, and higher elevational zones should be encouraged for the purposes of carbon accumulation and storage. While, the lower elevational zones should be used for the purposes of species diversity conservation.


  • Global Ecology and Conservation

    Global Ecology and Conservation (4), 185-196, 2015-07

    Elsevier B.V.


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