Virtual Issue

Alpine and subalpine plant communities: importance of plant growth, reproduction and community assemblage processes for changing environments

Edited by Koichi Takahashi


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Natural plant communities are exposed to environmental changes such as global warming and increased human activities. It is thought that alpine and subalpine ecosystems with cool climatic conditions are sensitive to environmental changes. This virtual issue introduces multidisciplinary research at alpine and subalpine plant communities. The articles include research on (1) species diversity, vegetation and biomass, (2) species assembly, (3) climate and growth of alpine plants, (4) reproduction of alpine plants, (5) differences of growth traits among coexisting species, (6) vegetation changes by human activities and overgrazing of deer, and (7) differentiation of growth traits among ecotypes in relation to climatic conditions. These thirteen articles provide valuable information for future research on the effects of environmental changes on alpine and subalpine plant communities.


Table of Contents


Editorial - free access!

  • Takahashi K (2018) Alpine and subalpine plant communities: Importance of plant growth, reproduction and community assemblage processes for changing environments. Journal of Plant Research 131:891–894

(1) Species diversity, vegetation and biomass

  • Namgail T, Rawat GS, Mishra C, van Wieren SE, Prins HHT (2012) Biomass and diversity of dry alpine plant communities along altitudinal gradients in the Himalayas. Journal of Plant Research 125:93–101
  • Manish K, Pandit MK, Telwala Y, Nautiyal DC, Koh LP, Tiwari S (2017) Elevational plant species richness patterns and their drivers across non-endemics, endemics and growth forms in the Eastern Himalaya. Journal of Plant Research 130:829–844
  • Zhu B, Wang X, Fang J, Piao S, Shen H, Zhao S, Peng C (2010) Altitudinal changes in carbon storage of temperate forests on Mt Changbai, Northeast China. Journal of Plant Research 123:439–452
  • Hirota M, Zhang P, Gu S, Shen H, Kuriyama T, Li Y, Tang Y (2010) Small-scale variation in ecosystem CO2 fluxes in an alpine meadow depends on plant biomass and species richness. Journal of Plant Research 123:531–541
  • Sakio H, Masuzawa T (2012) The advancing timberline on Mt. Fuji: natural recovery or climate change? Journal of Plant Research 125:539–546

(2) Species assembly

  • Takahashi K, Tanaka S (2016) Relative importance of habitat filtering and limiting similarity on species assemblages of alpine and subalpine plant communities. Journal of Plant Research 129:1041–1049

(3) Climate and growth of alpine plants

  • Yoshie F (2010) Vegetative phenology of alpine plants at Tateyama Murodo-daira in central Japan. Journal of Plant Research 123:675–688
  • Takahashi K, Aoki K (2015) Effects of climatic conditions on annual shoot length and tree-ring width of alpine dwarf pine Pinus pumila in central Japan. Journal of Plant Research 128:553–562

(4) Reproduction of alpine plants

  • Guerrina M, Casazza G, Conti E, Macrì C, Minuto L (2016) Reproductive biology of an Alpic paleo-endemic in a changing climate. Journal of Plant Research 129:477–485

(5) Differences of growth traits among coexisting species

  • Takahashi K, Obata Y (2014) Growth, allometry and shade tolerance of understory saplings of four subalpine conifers in central Japan. Journal of Plant Research 127:329–338

(6) Vegetation changes by human activities and overgrazing of deer

  • Takahashi K, Miyajima Y (2010) Effects of roads on alpine and subalpine plant species distribution along an altitudinal gradient on Mount Norikura, central Japan. Journal of Plant Research 123:741–749
  • Tsujino R, Matsui K, Yamamoto K, Koda R, Yumoto T, Takada K (2013) Degradation of Abies veitchii wave-regeneration on Mt. Misen in Ohmine Mountains: effects of sika deer population. Journal of Plant Research 126:625–634

(7) Differentiation of growth traits among ecotypes in relation to climatic conditions

  • Ozaki H, Oguchi R, Hikosaka K (2018) Dependence of functional traits related to growth rates and their CO2 response on multiple habitat climate factors across Arabidopsis thaliana populations. Journal of Plant Research


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