To detect the factors that affect sapling species composition in gaps, we investigated 55 gaps in an old-growth temperate deciduous forest in Ogawa Forest Reserve, central Japan. Gap size, gap age, gap maker species, topographic location, adult tree composition around gaps, and saplings of tree species growing in the gaps were censused. For gaps ≥5 m2, mean gap size was 70 m2 and the maximum was 330 m2. Estimated ages of gaps had a tendency to be concentrated in particular periods relating to strong wind records in the past. The sapling composition in gaps was highly and significantly correlated to that under closed canopy, indicating the importance of advance regeneration in this forest. However, some species showed significant occurrence biases in gaps or under closed canopy, suggesting differences in shade tolerance. The result of MANOVA showed that gap size and topography were important factors in determining the sapling composition in gaps. Species of gap makers affected the sapling composition indirectly by influencing gap size. The existence of parent trees around gaps had effects on sapling densities of several species. Gap age did not have clear influences on sapling composition. Variations in gap size and topography were considered as important factors that contribute to maintenance of species diversity in this forest.
ASJC Scopus subject areas