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31 January 2008 Differential survival among life stages contributes to co-dominance of Abies mariesii and Abies veitchii in a sub-alpine old-growth forest
Akira S. Mori, Akira Komiyama
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Abstract

Questions: Are there interspecific differences in mortality and recruitment rates across life stages between two shade-tolerant dominant trees in a sub-alpine old-growth forest? Do such differences in demography contribute to the coexistence and co-dominance of the two species?

Location: Sub-alpine, old-growth forest on Mt. Ontake, central Honshu, Japan.

Methods: From 1980 to 2005, we recorded DBH and status (alive or dead) of all Abies mariesii and A. veitchii individuals (DBH ≥ 5 cm) in a 0.44-ha plot. Based on this 25 year census, we quantified mortality and recruitment rates of the two species in three life stages (small tree, 5 cm ≤ DBH < 10 cm; subcanopy tree, 10 cm ≤ DBH < 20 cm; canopy tree, DBH ≥ 20 cm).

Results: Significant interspecific differences in mortality and recruitment rates were observed in both the small tree and subcanopy tree stages. In this forest, saplings (< 5 cm DBH) are mostly buried by snow-pack during winter. As a consequence, saplings of A. mariesii, which is snow and shade tolerant, show higher rates of recruitment into the small tree stage than do those of A. veitchii. Above the snow-pack, trees must tolerate dry, cold temperatures. A. veitchii, which can more readily endure such climate conditions, showed lower mortality rate at the subcanopy stage and a higher recruitment rate into the canopy tree stage. This differential mortality and recruitment among life-stages determines relative dominance of the two species in the canopy.

Conclusion: Differential growth conditions along a vertical gradient in this old forest determine survival of the two species prior to reaching the canopy, and consequently allow co-dominance at the canopy stage.

Nomenclature: Kitamura & Murata (1994).

Akira S. Mori and Akira Komiyama "Differential survival among life stages contributes to co-dominance of Abies mariesii and Abies veitchii in a sub-alpine old-growth forest," Journal of Vegetation Science 19(2), 239-244, (31 January 2008). https://doi.org/10.3170/2008-8-18364
Received: 26 June 2006; Accepted: 1 July 2007; Published: 31 January 2008
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