Longitudinal variation in disturbance regime and community structure of a riparian forest established on a small alluvial fan in warm-temperate southern Kyushu, Japan

  • Hiroka Ito
  • Satoshi Ito


Riparian forests maintain diverse vegetation structure through the influence of various types, intensities and frequencies of disturbance promoted by fluvial and geomorphic processes (Nilsson et al. 1989; Baker 1990; Ito & Nakamura 1994; Sakio 1997; Suzuki et al. 2002). These fluvial and geomorphic distubances vary longitudinally from headwater streams to low-gradient alluvial rivers and result in different types of plant communities according to longitudinal location (Nakamura & Inahara 2007). For each location, many studies have revealed the coexistence or habitat segregation of tree species, showing how tree life history is linked to variations in disturbance regime and heterogeneous micro-landforms (Johnson et al. 1976, White 1979, Kovalchik & Chitwood 1990, Swanson & Sparks 1990; Gregory et al. 1991; Malanson & Kupfer 1993; Stewart et al. 1993; Loehle 2000). In Japan, many studies (e.g., other chapter of this issue) have reported distinct structures and dynamics of mountainous riparian forests compared to those of forests situated on adjacent hill slopes. These findings highlight how fluvial and geomorphic processes in sedimentation-dominated positions such as wide head-water streams or alluvial fans consisting of small terraces are important for the maintenance of regional plant diversity. However, most of these studies have been conducted in cool-temperate central or northern Japan (Sato 1992, Sato 1995;; Kaneko 1995; Ann & Oshima 1996; Hara et al. 1996; Sakio 1997; Kaneko et al. 1999; Sakai et al. 1999; Sakio et al. 2002; Sakio & Yamamoto 2002; Suzuki et al. 2002)


Debris Flow Riparian Zone Riparian Forest Disturbance Regime Habitat Segregation 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiroka Ito
    • 1
  • Satoshi Ito
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Forest Science, Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of MiyazakiMiyazakiJapan

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