Coexistence of Salix species in a seasonally flooded habitat

  • Kaoru Niiyama


Riparian willows (genus Salix) are widely distributed in the northern hemisphere and dominate the vegetation along most rivers. Several riparian Salix species coexist on sand bars of floodplains (Cottrell 1996; Dionigi et al. 1985; Niiyama 1990; van Splunder et al. 1995). In Japan, Salix species dominate riparian forests but monodominant forests are very rare (Ishikawa 1979, Ishikawa 1980, Ishikawa 1982, Ishikawa 1983, Ishikawa 1987, Ishikawa 1988,; Niiyama 1987, Niiyama 1989; Yoshikaw & Hukusima 1999). These riparian Salix species have similar life-history traits; dioecy, flowering and seed dispersal in spring, anemochorous small hairy seeds, rapid germination, short seed longevity, etc., but there are subtle differences in regeneration traits such as seed dispersal period, seed size, and root morphology of seedlings (Niiyama 1990). These subtle differences in regeneration traits would explain the dominance and coexistence of riparian Salix species in a seasonally flooded habitat.


Seed Dispersal Flood Disturbance Salix Species Coexistence Mechanism Snowmelt Flood 


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© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaoru Niiyama
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forest VegetationForestry and Forest Products Research Institute (FFPRI)Tsukuba, IbarakiJapan

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