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Degradation of Abies veitchii wave-regeneration on Mt. Misen in Ohmine Mountains: effects of sika deer population

Tsujino R, Matsui K, Yamamoto K, Koda R, Yumoto T, Takada K-I

How has the degradation of Abies veitchii wave-regeneration occurred under the sika deer (Cervus nippon) pressure? We conducted tree census and ground vegetation survey in a 1 ha plot in Mt. Misen (Nara prefecture, Japan). We found 15 tree species (over 50 cm in height). Abies accounted for 60.0% of all living trees, and 46.9% of Abies were damaged (herbivory, bark stripping and/or fraying) by deer. Spatial distribution of Abies trees showed Abies-wave, although there were few saplings in the dieback zone. Estimated deer population density in 2009 was 57.3 head/km2. Number of living Abies and standing dead conifer trees, and ground vegetation cover for each quadrat (5 9 5 m) were used to assign the quadrats into 6 clusters. The hierarchical clustering-approach revealed that living Abies distributed mainly on the moss and/or Carex fernaldiana dominated quadrats, but did not on the Dennstaedtia scabra, or Brachypodium sylvaticum dominated quadrats. While standing dead conifer trees distributed mainly on the Carex dominated quadrats, they hardly occur on the moss, the Dennstaedtia or the Brachypodium dominated quadrats. Regeneration of Abies tree and thus the wave-regeneration is hindered for now owing to deer herbivory and bark-stripping. The ground vegetation under the dieback zone has changed from the moss and/or the Carex dominated one to the Carex, the Dennstaedtia or the Brachypodium covered vegetation with the canopy remained open and without Abies regeneration.

Journal of Plant Research, DOI 10.1007/s10265-013-0551-9


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