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Thursday, 24 November 2016

A dwarf bamboo (Pleioblastus chino) and winter browsing by Japanese hare (Lepus brachyurus) combine to limit establishment of transplanted native tree seedlings in an abandoned agricultural field

Published Date
Volume 27, Issue 6pp 1287–1294

Short Communication
DOI: 10.1007/s11676-016-0257-7

Cite this article as: 
Tokuoka, Y., Ohigashi, K., Watanabe, K. et al. J. For. Res. (2016) 27: 1287. doi:10.1007/s11676-016-0257-7

  • Yoshinori Tokuoka
  • Kentaro Ohigashi
  • Koji Watanabe
  • Hiroshi Yamaguchi
  • Takahiro Ara
  • Nobukazu Nakagoshi

Natural forest recovery on abandoned farmland is hindered by a variety of factors and active restoration plays an important role when quick afforestation is desired. We investigated seedling survival of four transplanted native tree species (Quercus myrsinifoliaQuercus serrataAphananthe aspera, and Rhus sylvestris) by experimentally manipulating the vegetation cover, which was mainly dominated by dwarf bamboo (Pleioblastus chino), and herbivore access to the planting sites on farmland that had been abandoned for 15 years at the start of the study. Few transplanted seedlings of any species survived under intact vegetation cover, irrespective of herbivore presence. In gaps in the vegetation cover, winter browsing by Japanese hare (Lepus brachyurus) damaged all species. However, lower browsing frequency and higher resprouting ability after grazing of the seedlings enabled both Quercus species to survive better than the other species. These results indicate that dwarf bamboo and the hare jointly limit the establishment of native trees in old fields. If active afforestation by transplanting seedlings at sites dominated by dwarf bamboo is planned, a combination of vegetation removal, selection of suitable species, and temporary seedling protection will be most effective.

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