(Upload on December 16 2012) [ 日本語 | English ]

Advanced lecture in Environmental Conservation (Beadroll)
環境保全学特論 (過去帳)

Mount Usu / Sarobetsu post-mined peatland
From left: Crater basin in 1986 and 2006. Cottongrass / Daylily

Every year, the content of lecture is subjected to modification. Here, all the content I have lectured so far is summarized. The lecture titles were Ecosystem Structure [Advanced Lecure in Regional planning II during 1996 and 1999, Landscape Ecology during 2000 and 2002, and Advanced lecture in Environmental Conservation during 2005 and the present (see the summary of beadroll).

Glossary (小辞典)

A Table of Contents

Expected background: Knowing "fundamental ecology" and/or related subjects

Introduction (Guidance)


What is this lecture?
Flow chart of this lecture
Classification of ecology
Numerical analysis of ecolgoical data
Deterministic model, numerical model, game theory, and chaos theory
Life cycle (life history)

Case of Trillium (Ref. T. smallii )
MVP (minimum viable population)
Case: Trillium in fragmented forests


Case: Silver-studded blue butterfly (Plejebus argus) in North Wales
Case: Spatial occurrence and abundance patterns of Maculinea butterflies
Carrying capacity

Pattern and scale

Ecosystem (or biosystem)

Ecosystem damages by the 2000 eruptions on Mount Usu

Definitions and criteria of plant community

Flora (floristic composition) - Ex. Mount Koma

Vegetation physiognomy

Strata (sg. stratum)
Larch forest in Oku-Nikko
Strata of tropical forest with reference to the conservation of mammal species
Lawn in New Zealand → herbaceous plant diversities vs strata

Distribution correlated with environment
Boundary between communities

Plant community dynamics = spatial and temporal patterns

The problems on pattern and scale in ecology


Data characteristics - scales and attributes

Qualitative and quantitative data
Biomass, cover, basal area, height
Hierarchy, phenology, vitality
Brawn-Blanquet cover scale vs percentage cover
Plot size: species-area curve

Measurement scales: Norminal, ordinal, interval and ratio

Restriction of statistical tests due to data quality
GIGO (Garbage in, Garbage out)

Complex dynamics in ecology

Toposequence, chronosequence, and permanent plot

Soil moisture (or water depth) gradient
Baidzharakhs (relic mounds)


Case: Fire history → Advantages and disadvantages on chronosequence
Plant community patterns of lavas on Sakurajima Island
Abondoned pastures
Succession after glacier retreat

Permanent plot and Long-term ecological research sites

Why are plant communities important for restoration?
70 years of permanent plot research in the Netherlands

Scaling from large to small

Scale-dependent factor (environmental gradient)

Case. Vegetation in gullies near Kolyma River

Scale-dependent interactions

Scale-dependent interactions and community structure on cobble beaches
Seasonal shifts in competition and facilitation in subalpine plant communities of the central Caucasus

Global (biome) > Regional > Habitat > Microhabitat

Biome: Precipitation and temperature

World (Biome)

Plant functional types (PFTs) and species attributes

Inductive method vs deductive method
Attributes for obtaining PFTs: vegetative strategy, life history, phenology, and seed biology
Case: comparison of plant community structures between distinct areas
Case: landscape-scale variation in the seed banks of floodplain wetlands with contrasting hydrology in China


Vegetation map


Climate (temperature and precipitation)
As a bonus: How many species are there on earth?
Biodiversity hotspots
Distribution of fern species in Japan
Warmth index (WI) → vegetation map
Snow (dorso-ventral sturcture)
Dwarf-shaped plants: adaptation to snow
Vertical distribution and horizontal distribution


Distribution of Sasa (dwarf bamboo) in Hokkaido
Mixed forest

Vegetation map
Soil type map - andosol, lithosol, and regosol


Dorso-ventral sturcture of plant community on mountians
Case: Hokkaido
Case: Permafrost in the North America


Case. Pumice Plains on MSH: rill and near-rock
Case. Hummock-hollow complex (bulte-schlenke comlex)
Application of postfire peat accumulation and microtopography in boreal bogs
Case. Tree establishment on Mount Usu: rill, ground surface texture


Extra: Field trip to understand real plants -see the flora list for HUSTEP

Natural disturbance and human disturbance
Scale, frequency and intensity

Natural disturbance


Case study: Vegetation zonation in Sorachi River
Longevity of seeds
Disturbance-maintained landscape

Intermediate(-disturbance) hypothesis

Relationships between grazing pressure and species richness

Intermediate grazing optimization hypothesis
Ccompensatory growth model
Overgrazing model

Effect of pocket gophers on plant community dynamics
Plant species diversity in response to disturbance magnitude in a grassland remnants

Soil erosion

Types of soil erosion
Water erosion, subsurface erosion and wind erosion
Sheet erosion, rill erosion, gully erosion, and streambank collapse and removal Cases: Alpine area, volcano
Problems on the measurement of underground organs
Estimation of root lifespan

Forest fire

Soil profile (acidic brown forest soil)
The role of duff on seedling establishment
Seeder and sprouter

Fallen-log regeneration

Human disturbance
A fwe extreme examples

Military forces: US Air Forces
Mining (coal slag heap, e.g., Miike Mines)

Biological invasion

Alien species
Invasive species - biological invasion

Distribution pattern of the flora in a peri-urban forest: an effect of the city-forest ecotone
Changes in composition and structure of urban flora over 120 years
Determinants of native and alien species richness in the urban flora of Rome
Invasion patterns of larch (Larix kaempferi) on Mount Koma Hieracium lepidulum in New Zealand
Invasion patterns of larch (Larix kaempferi) on Mount Koma

Seed source vs environmental factors (elevation, aspect, and slope) - multicolinearity
Morphological plasticity

Weed control

Effects of reduced pesticide use on flora and fauna in agricultural fields


Distribution and dispersion

Random, contagious, and regular distribution patterns
Age and dispersion pattern
Analysis methods on spatial pattern

Dispersion pattern analysis
Spatial autocorrelation

Competition: intera-specific and inter-specific competition

Competition experiment designs
Aboveground vs belowground competition
Competition for light causes plant biodiversity loss after eutrophication

Indices of plant-plant competition

On indices of plant-plant competition and their pitfalls
Regional effects on competition-productivity relationship: a set of field experiments in two distant regions

Determinants on ecosystem structure with reference to "scale"

Environmental gradients, biotic interactions, and disturbance

Island Biogeography

Principles: distance from mother land and island size

Mother land
Relationship between island area and number of species
Minimum area for the establishment of species
Relationship between island area and extinction rate
How human makes islands (forest cutting, etc.)
Owl can not establish on small islands
Relationship between distance from mother land and immigration rate
Graphical presentation of island biogeography
Measuring immigration and extinction rates

Ecotone and corridor

Ecotone (on a skislope)
Corridor in landscape
Corridor supports the movements of animals and plants
Corridor supports population growth rate
Conservation areas determined by corridors and island biogeography

Applications of island biogeography to nature conservation

National and quasi-national parks in Hokkaido
Law concerning with nature reserves
Edge: detection of edge effects
Effects of edge on inside and outside of island
Buffer zone
MVP again. How do we decide nature reservation area?

Restoration ecology

Why are plant communities important for restoration?
Management methods for degraded ecosystems
Land degradation
Terminology used in the analysis of ecosystem stability

Landscape ecology

Landscape unit: mega-, macro-, and micro-scale → structure, function, and change

Satoyama (village forest)
Hierarchy of landscape units in relation to map scale
Interaction between ecosystems: terrestrial-oceanic link created by food chain
Interactions between ecosystems

Community diversity

α-diversity, β-diversity, and γ-diversity

α-diversity = within-habitat diversity
β-diversity = between-community diversity
γ-diversity = landscape diversity

α-diversity (and γ-diversity)

Type 0: Using number of species = Species richness
Type 1: Using number of species and total individuals
Type 2: Using relative dominance
Relationship between animal species richness and plant structural diversity

Species richness
Fischer's α-diversity index - Representative T1

Case: Species richness in Kinabalu
How to measure α-diversity

Shannon-Wiener diversity index (H') - representative T2

Diversity and evenness

Selection of parameter for diversity

Density vs cover. Ex. Plant communities on Mount Usu
Density vs Biomass. Ex. Post-fire chaparral plant communities

Resource patitioning hypothesis

Niche breadth and overlap
Case: Effects of over-grazing on vegetation in Ruoergai wetland, China
Scale dependent effects of land use on plant species richness of mountain grassland in the European Alps

Consider data characteristics

Types of data transformation
Random sampling and normal distribution
'Correlation' vs 'causal relation'

β-diversity (between-habitat diversity)

Types of similarity index
Binary data and quantitative data
Jaccard, Sorensen, Simpson, Eucledean distance, etc.
Similarity and dissimilarity

Similarity matrix

Diamond graph
Case study: fauna on Mount Usu (springtails and bees)

Multivariate analysis

Main purposes of multivariate analysis

Classification and ordination
R-and Q-analysis


Hierarchy of plant community
Clements and Whittaker

Clsutering or cluster analysis

Cluster analysis

Divisive strategy vs agglomerative strategy
Nearest neighbor method (single-linkage method)

Agglomerative strategy

From single-linkage method to average-linkage method
Single linkage method

Average-linkage method

Ex 0. A bad example
Ex 1. Buried seed populations on Mount Usu
Ex 2. Skislope vegetation in the highland of Hokkaido
Case: History of ski resort development in Niigata Prefecture

Divisive strategy

TWINSPAN (two-way indicator analysis)
Ex. Methane emission in Siberian wetland

Other clustering methods

Data standardization

Down-weighting or eliminating rare species
Site standardization and species standardization

Ordination: Indirect and direct ordination
Indirect ordination

Polar ordination (PO)
Weighted average
Correspondence analysis/Reciprocal average (CA/RA)
Hump: arch and horseshoe
Detrended correspondence analysis (DCA)

Case: Chronosequence on skislope vegetation

Principal component analysis (PCA)

Eigenvalue and eigenvector
Case: Application of PCA on fern development
Case: Skislopes
Relationships between vegetation pattern and environmental gradients on a skislope
Procedure of ski slope establishment in Japan
Environmental deterioration resulting from ski-resort construction in Japan

Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA)
Detrended canonical correspondence analysis (DCCA)

The relationship between seedbank and standing vegetation on MSH

Selection of software(s)


Temporal change and succession

Succession (Contents was changed owing to PC collapse on Dec 15 2005)

Classification of successional sere: primary succession (xeric succession, mesic succession), and secondary succession

Concept of succession

Life history characteristics, proposed by Grime (1979)
Three models on succession


Successional paces

Species turnover
Application of percentage similarity and community coefficient
From degree of succession to successional index
Case: Mount Usu

Wetland succession (mesic succession)

Old-fashioned figure of wetland succession
Definition of wetland - very diverse
Wetland, moor, mire, bog, fen, swamp, and marsh
Major species in wetlands

Carnivorous plants


Tussocks may maintain species diversity
Effects of tussock size and shape on species diversity

Tephratrophic mires in Japan
Wetland development patterns in 4th crater on Mount Usu

Xeric succession: Chronosequence approach

Characteristics of vegetation recovery on Mount Usu

Plant sources


Seed dispersal types
Water-dispersal on isolated islands
Relationship between seed size and succession
Types of seed traps
Application of seed traps on Mount Usu

Vegetative reproduction

Polygonum sachalinense and Petasites japonicus var. giganteus


Seed dormancy type (innate and induced dormancy)
Transient and persistent seedbanks
Density of seedbank

Triggers on seed germination

Sensitivity of seasonality
Cold stratification: Phacelia secunda (Hydrophyllaceae)
Smoke-induced seed germination

Methods for the detection of seedbank

Flotation methods with centrifugation
Seedbank on Mount Usu after 1977-78 eruptions
Germination test strikes back! ... but it looses


Mycorrhizal types: ectomycorrhziae and endomycorrhizae
Interactions between seed plants and AM fungi
Case: Mount Koma

Plant-animal interactions

Case study on Mount Koma: Rhus tricocarpa and Jungle Crow


Environments vs interactions

Lupine patches on Mount St. Helens
Shrub-ring in Pattagonian steppe
Shrub (Salix reinii) patches on Mount Koma
Application of facilitation to restoration

Equilibrium theory vs non-equilibrium theory
Patch dynamics