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Survival rate and environmental response of current-year seedlings of the temperate liana Wisteria floribunda across a heterogeneous environment. 

Journal

Mori, H., Masaki, T., Tsunamoto, Y., & Naoe, S.

2020

Journal

vol. 133

p. 193-203

Lianas have a huge influence on forest structure and function. However, it is unclear how the surrounding environment affects the establishment of liana seedlings in temperate forests. We addressed the following questions: (1) Can current-year seedlings persist under a closed canopy? (2) Do current-year seedlings form aggregated distribution and how has their spatial distribution varied over the years? (3) How does the light condition, soil moisture content, forest floor litter, understory vegetation, and the distance from the conspecific adults affect the establishment and survival of seedlings? We examined the distribution pattern and survivorship of current-year seedlings of the temperate liana species, Wisteria floribunda, across a heterogeneous environment for 6 years using 1 m2 sub-quadrats (n = 651) in a 6 ha plot within the Ogawa Forest Reserve, an old-growth, temperate, deciduous forest in central Japan. In total, 908 current-year seedlings were observed during the study period, 87% of which emerged in 2014. Over half (56%) of these seedlings survived until 1 year after germination, which was relatively high compared with other tree species in this forest. The seedlings formed significantly aggregated distribution, but the degree of aggregation decreased over time. The number of emerged seedlings was negatively associated with the presence of dwarf bamboo (Sasa borealis) and the distance from the nearest conspecific adult. However, the survival rate of the seedlings was negatively associated with the presence of dwarf bamboo and soil moisture content and was positively associated with the openness of the canopy and the distance from the nearest conspecific adult. An enhanced survival rate under more intense light conditions and the ability to persist within the shaded understory may be important for the survival of this species in the earlier stage of the life history.

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