Temporal and spatial dynamics of an old-growth beech forest in western Japan

Uyanga Ariya, Ken Ya Hamano, Takushi Makimoto, Shu Kinoshita, Yasuaki Akaji, Yuko Miyazaki, Muneto Hirobe, Keiji Sakamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Dendrochronological approaches enable us to understand forest stand dynamics by estimation of disturbance history and age structure. The present study was conducted in an old-growth beech forest in a forest reserve in western Japan. Increment cores were taken for tree ring analysis from all canopy trees in a 50 m × 130 m study plot. Radial growth release criteria were developed to identify significant growth releases in each tree ring series and to characterize the disturbance history of the study site. The age structure of the forest was indicative of continuous establishment by Fagus crenata and simultaneous establishment by Magnolia obovata. A variety of low-intensity disturbances were identified in each decade, especially after the 1900s, but the occurrence of high-intensity catastrophic disturbance was rare, and likely played an important role in maintaining species diversity in the existing forest canopy. The results also suggest that F. crenata regenerates gradually before and after both large- and small-scale disturbances, whereas M. obovata and Betula grossa regenerate only after large-scale catastrophic disturbances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-83
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Forest Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Age structure
  • Dendroecology
  • Disturbance
  • Growth release
  • Spatial distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry


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