Woody species diversity and the spatial distribution of trees in a subtropical evergreen broadleaf forest on a silicate substrate, Okinawa Island, were investigated to determine the forest's architectural stratification. The forest stand consisted of four architectural layers. The values of Shannon's index H′ and Pielou's index J′ tended to increase from the top layer downward, except for the bottom layer. The lower layers contained many species relative to their smaller height ranges. High woody species diversity of the forest depended on small trees. This trend of species diversity was different from that of forest on a limestone substrate on Okinawa Island, where high woody species diversity depended on large trees. Conservation of small trees in the lower layers, especially the bottom layer, is indispensable to maintain diversity in Okinawan evergreen broadleaf forests. Castanopsis sieboldii (Mak.) Hatusima had the highest importance value in all layers, indicating that it is typically a facultative shade species as well as a climax species. The spatial distribution patterns of trees were found to be random in the lower three layers, but in the top layer clumping seemed to occur at three spatial scales. A high degree of overlapping in spatial distributions of trees among the layers suggested that light cannot penetrate easily into the lower layers. As a result, most species in the lower layers must be shade-tolerant. Mean weight index decreased from the top toward the bottom layer, and tree density increased from the top downward. This trend resembled the mean weight-density trajectory of self-thinning plant populations.
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Vol. 62 • No. 3