OKITSU S. (2003)

Forest Vegetation of Northern Japan and the Southern Kurils.

In: KOLBEK, J. et al.: Forest Vegetation of Northeast Asia: 231-261.
Geobnotany Series Vol. 28. Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
ISBN 978-90-481-6312-0; ISBN 978-94-017-0143-3 (eBook); DOI 10.1007/978-94-017-0143-3.


The composition and geographical distribution of major forest types of northern Japan, including the southem Kuril Islands, are summarized, along with phytogeographical relationships of the major forest types to the forests of the adjacent Korean Peninsula, northeastern China and the Russian Far East. Two major forest zones appear, a cool-temperate forest zone and a boreal forest zone, as well as a subalpine forest belt in mountains of northern Japan. The cool-temperate forest zone includes five major climax forest types: Fagus japonica forest, Quercus serrata forest, Fagus crenata forest, Quercus mongolica forest and Abies sachalinensis-Quercus mongolica forest. This zone covers almost all of lowland northern Japan. The boreal forest zone includes three major climax forest types: Picea jezoensis-Abies sachalinensis forest, Picea glehnii forest and Larix gmelinii forest. This zone occurs in central Hokkaido and on the southern Kuril Islands. The subalpine forest belt includes three major forest types: Abies mariesii forest, Betula ermanii forest and Pinus pumila thicket. Phytogeographically, the Quercus serrata forest and Quercus mongolica forest are the principal forest types of cool-temperate deciduous broad-leaved forest in northeastern Asia. The Fagus crenata forest is a snow-induced, non-zonal climax. The Abies sachalinensis-Quercus mongolica forest is the most essential forest type of the Pan-Mixed Forest Zone (sensu Tatewaki), together with the Quercus mongolica forest. The Picea jezoensis-Abies sachalinensis forest composes the eastern and southernmost extension of the boreal evergreen forest zone in northeastern Asia. The subalpine Abies mariesii forest is endemic to northern Japan, while the Betula ermanii forest occupies the area of highly oceanic climate in northeastern Asia. Finns punula thicket is a homologue of the Larix gmelinii-Pinus pumila forest in continental northeastern Asia. The south to north zonation of forest types in lowland northern Japan corresponds to the following sequence: Quercus serrata forest, Quercus mongolica forest, Abies sachalinensis-Quercus mongolica forest, and Picea jezoensis-,Abies sachalinensis forest.


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