Long-term effects of salvage logging after a catastrophic wind disturbance on forest structure in northern Japan

  • Junko MorimotoEmail author
  • Toshihiro Umebayashi
  • Satoshi N. Suzuki
  • Toshiaki Owari
  • Naoyuki Nishimura
  • Satoshi Ishibashi
  • Masato Shibuya
  • Toshihiko Hara
Special Feature - Original Paper Ecological Resilience of Ecosystems with Human Impact—Restoration of Plants and Animals


Many reports on the effects of conventional salvage logging—the removal of fallen and damaged trees after a catastrophic windthrow—on subsequent forest restoration have focused on short-term results occurring over less than 20 years; however, this time scale is inadequate, especially for boreal forests, because of the time required for tree growth. Here, we examine the long-term effects of salvage logging after a catastrophic windthrow event in 1954 on the resilience of a boreal forest by assessing the continuous recruitment of coniferous trees, dominance of typical coniferous tree species, and potential for future recruitment. We targeted two regions with different proportions of coniferous trees that were subject to three disturbance and management histories: windthrow (WT: fallen trees left intact), windthrow and salvage (WT+SL: salvage logged after the windthrow), and old growth (OG: not affected by the windthrow). In both regions, past salvaging has had serious negative impacts on the continuous recruitment of coniferous trees and potential for future recruitment. Negative impacts on the dominance of typical coniferous tree species were only observed in mixed forests. Our results suggest that in comparison to the coniferous forest, the mixed forest was less resilient, i.e.; the capability of a forest to maintain its identity as assessed by the dominance and recruitment of typical conifer species after wind disturbance and salvage logging. We found that salvage logging could affect forest structure, even 60 years later, by destroying advanced growth, including potential mother trees, and nursery beds for seedlings of typical conifer tree species.


Ecological resilience Windthrow Light tolerance Nursery bed Regeneration Boreal forest 



Funding this research was supported by a KAKENHI grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Grant Number 17H01516); the Science and Technology Research Promotion Program for Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Food Industry of the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (S-15) of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan; and the Grant for Joint Research Program of the Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University.

Supplementary material

11355_2019_375_MOESM1_ESM.png (36 kb)
Supplementary material 1 Table. S1 Species diversity and dominance of Sasa species (JPG 824 KB)
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Supplementary material 1 Table. S2 Abbreviations for the scientific names of plant species (JPG 824 KB)


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Copyright information

© International Consortium of Landscape and Ecological Engineering and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Junko Morimoto
    • 1
    Email author
  • Toshihiro Umebayashi
    • 1
  • Satoshi N. Suzuki
    • 2
  • Toshiaki Owari
    • 3
  • Naoyuki Nishimura
    • 4
  • Satoshi Ishibashi
    • 5
  • Masato Shibuya
    • 1
  • Toshihiko Hara
    • 6
  1. 1.Graduate School of AgricultureHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  2. 2.The University of Tokyo Chichibu Forest, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoChichibuJapan
  3. 3.The University of Tokyo Chiba Forest, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoKamogawaJapan
  4. 4.Environmental Sciences Laboratory, Faculty of Social and Information StudiesGunma UniversityMaebashiJapan
  5. 5.Hokkaido Research CenterForestry and Forest Products Research Institute of the Forest Research and Management OrganizationSapporoJapan
  6. 6.Institute of Low Temperature ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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