Comparative demography of three coexisting Acer species in gaps and under closed canopy

H. Tanaka, M. Shibata, T. Masaki, S. Iida, K. Niiyama, S. Abe, Y. Kominami, T. Nakashizuka

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    Questions: 1. Is there a trade-off between gap dependency and shade tolerance in each of the life-history stages of three closely related, coexisting species, Acer amoenum (Aa), A. mono (Am) and A. rufinerve (Ar)? 2. If not, what differences in life-history traits contribute to the coexistence of these non-pioneer species? Location: Ogawa Forest Reserve, a remnant (98 ha), species-rich, temperate deciduous forest in central Japan (36°56' N, 140°35' E, 600 - 660 m a.s.l.). Methods: We estimated the demographic parameters (survival, growth rate and fecundity) by stage of each species growing in gaps and under closed canopy through observations of a 6-ha permanent plot over 12 years. Population dynamics were analysed with stage-based matrix models including gap dynamics. Results: All of the species showed high seedling and sapling survival rates under closed canopies. However, demographic parameters for each growth stage in gaps and under closed canopies revealed inter-specific differences and ontogenetic shifts. The trade-off between survival in the shade and growth in gaps was detected only at the small sapling stage (height < 30 cm), and Ar had the highest growth rate both in the shade and in the gaps at most life stages. Conclusions: Inter-specific differences and ontogenetic shifts in light requirements with life-form differences may contribute to the coexistence of the Acer species in old-growth forests, with Aa considered a long-lived sub-canopy tree, Am a long-lived canopy tree, and Ar a short-lived, 'gap-phase' sub-canopy tree.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)127-138
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Vegetation Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2008 Feb 1


    • Demography
    • Growth rate
    • Ogawa reserve
    • Shade tolerance
    • Survival
    • Trade-off
    • Transition matrix model

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology
    • Plant Science


    Dive into the research topics of 'Comparative demography of three coexisting Acer species in gaps and under closed canopy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this