Genetic succession and spatial genetic structure in a natural old growth Cryptomeria japonica forest revealed by nuclear and chloroplast microsatellite markers

Tomokazu Takahashi, Naoki Tani, Kaoru Niiyama, Shigejiro Yoshida, Hideaki Taira, Yoshihiko Tsumura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Spatial genetic structure and diversity of Cryptomeria japonica trees in old growth forest but selectively logged in approximately 300 years ago were analyzed using seven nuclear microsatellite markers and one chloroplast microsatellite marker. The individuals were sampled from a 4-ha natural forest plot (200 m × 200 m), which are consisted of three size classes including newly regenerated individuals such as regenerated individuals (REG class; stem diameter at breast height (DBH), 5-110 cm), remaining individuals (REM class; DBH ≥ 110 cm), and old stumps. Genetic diversity was similar between the three groups. These results suggest that genes from the old growth forest may have been passed on to the next generation (i.e., the current forest). DNA extraction and analysis from old stumps was partly successful and we could compare the genetic diversity between old stumps and living trees using four microsatellite loci. Patterns of spatial genetic structure detected by analyses of the nuclear and chloroplast markers differed substantially; all nuclear markers showed significant positive autocorrelation (P < 0.05) over short distances, but the chloroplast marker showed no significant autocorrelation over any distance. We concluded that Moran's I spatial autocorrelation pattern for the chloroplast microsatellite may have been influenced by the extensive pollen flow characteristic of this species, because chloroplast DNA of C. japonica is paternally inherited through pollen and is a wind-pollinated species that produces abundant pollen every few years. In contrast, Moran's I spatial autocorrelation pattern for nuclear microsatellites may reflect limited seed dispersal in gaps where the forest has regenerated and low levels of seed shadow overlap due to past logging. The average seed dispersal distance was 86.0 m at the study site and about 34.0% of the seeds were from the outside of the site, which revealed by parentage analysis. The individuals remaining after logging, and the extensive pollen flow from outside our study plot, may play important roles in maintaining the forests on this island. Gaps created by the selective logging activities appear to have been important for the regeneration of this species in the past but in the present time, natural disturbances such as typhoon and landslide are also important for gap creation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2820-2828
Number of pages9
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 20 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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