Geographical variation in the early regeneration process of Siebold's beech (Fagus crenata BLUME) in Japan

Kosuke Homma, Nobuhiro Akashi, Tomoyuki Abe, Mikio Hasegawa, Kenichi Harada, Yoshihiko Hirabuki, Kiyoshi Irie, Mikio Kaji, Hideo Miguchi, Noriyasu Mizoguchi, Hiromi Mizunaga, Tohru Nakashizuka, Syunji Natume, Kaoru Niiyama, Tatsuhiro Ohkubo, Shin Ichi Sawada, Hisashi Sugita, Seiki Takatsuki, Norikazu Yamanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The causes and timing of seed death in early regeneration process of Siebold's beech (Fagus crenata Blume) was studied at 15 sites along a snowfall gradient in Japan, in order to clarify why the seedling density of the species has geographic difference remarkably. Seed production did not significantly differ along the snowfall gradient. Pre-dispersal seed mortality by insect damage was higher at sites with light snowfall than at sites with heavy snowfall, but this only seemed to be a minor factor influencing the population. A large proportion of the viable nuts that fall in autumn ware killed in winter before germination. Winter mortality was much higher at sites with thin snow cover than that at sites with thick snow cover, and this factor was strongly correlated with the geographic variation of seedling regeneration probability. There was little seed mortality by winter desiccation. The main factor contributing to the geographic difference seemed to be a seed predation by rodents in winter. Deep snow cover may reduce the success of rodents finding seeds in winter. Thus the observed relationship between snowpack depth and early mortality may be due to an indirect effect through the process of seed predation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-138
Number of pages10
JournalPlant Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Fagus crenata
  • Geographic distribution
  • Post-dispersal mortality
  • Pre-dispersal mortality
  • Seedling emergence
  • Snowpack

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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