Spatial and temporal dispersal of Kalopanax pictus seeds in a temperate deciduous forest, central Japan

Shigeo Iida, Tohru Nakashizuka

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23 Citations (Scopus)


We determined the role of bird dispersal in seed and seedling dynamics of the tree Kalopanax pictus from 7 years of observing seed rain and seedling emergence in a broad-leaved deciduous forest in central Japan. We also performed an experiment on the influence of seed pulp on germination of seeds of K. pictus. Seeds of this species can lie dormant for several years, and this causes rather constant yearly seedling emergence in spite of irregular seed production. The spatial distribution of the seedlings that emerged each year (maximum distance from nearest conspecific seed-bearing tree of 90 m) was wider than that of gravity-dispersed seeds (max. distance of 37 m), suggesting seed dispersal by birds in winter. Emerged seedling densities at sites over 20 m from the nearest conspecific seed-bearing tree were highest in the spring of 1991, about half a year after the largest seed fall of the observation period. However, emerged seedling densities within 20 m from seed-bearing trees were highest in 1992, 1.5 years after the largest seed fall. These field observations may be explained by the experimental results on the effects of seed pulp on germination. Intact seeds germinate slowly at low germination rates, while seeds without seed pulp germinate quickly at high germination rates. Fallen seeds with seed pulp thus appear to form a seed bank near seed sources (temporal dispersal), while seeds scattered by birds appear to increase the possibility of reaching the present safe sites in distant areas with quick germination (spatial dispersal).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-248
Number of pages6
JournalPlant Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Avian seed dispersal
  • Germination strategy
  • Ogawa Forest Reserve
  • Seed dormancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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