Historical logging and current successional status of old-growth Cryptomeria japonica forest on Yakushima Island

Atsushi Takashima, Atsushi Kume, Shigejiro Yoshida, Nobuya Mizoue, Takuhiko Murakami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Estimation of the current successional status of long-lived coniferous forests is difficult especially after several hundred years of human disturbance. However, in Cryptomeria japonica forest on Yakushima Island, the stumps generated by logging activities from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries remain almost intact without intense rotting. From an inventory of these stumps and long-term monitoring of current stands for more than 25 years, we estimated the forest condition before logging and evaluated the current status of secondary succession. The size structure of Cr. japonica stumps suggested the stumps were composed of two different generations: the stumps of trees present before initiation of logging; and those of trees that regenerated after initiation of logging. In the current forest, the stem number of canopy species is decreasing and that of understory broad-leaved species is increasing. Regenerating Cr. japonica individuals are rare. Before the logging, the forest contained a larger number of larger Cr. japonica trees than the current forest. The results of monitoring the current forest suggested that all coniferous species, including Cr. japonica, were still undergoing self-thinning. The current Cr. japonica forest is in an intermediate stage of secondary succession, but the processes of succession are markedly different between the study plots, depending on their location or previous logging intensity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-117
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Forest Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 19 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry


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