Regeneration of beech (Fagus crenata) after the simultaneous death of undergrowing dwarf bamboo (Sasa kurilensis).
Seedling recruitment and survival of beech (Fagus crenata) were studied in a secondary beech-dominated forest on Mt. Iizuni, Japan during an 8-year recovery period after the death in 1974-77 of the dominant understorey bamboo Sasa kurilensis. The survival rate of beech seedlings on the forest floor where Sasa had withered was much higher than that on the floor where Sasa survived. Damping off was the main cause of mortality among beech seedlings. A seedling with a high growth rate was not as susceptible to fungal attack or grazing animals. The dense cover of bamboo prevented the establishment of a beech seedling bank on the forest floor. In order to regenerate successfully, both a beech seedling bank and a subsequent canopy gap are required. The interval between the times when simultaneous death of Sasa occurred and the length of its recovery period were important factors controlling the dynamics of beech forests in Japan.