Vegetation Response to Global Climate Change in Mid-latitude Mountain Regions

Research Project , Research Report 2003

Hiroo OHMORI Dept. of Natural Environmental Studies, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, Univ. of Tokyo
Kazuo SUZUKI Dept. of Forest Science, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Univ. of Tokyo
Kimito FURUTA Dept. of Forest Science, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Univ. of Tokyo
Toshihiko SUGAI Dept. of Natural Environmental Studies, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, Univ. of Tokyo
Tsuyoshi OHTA Dept. of Natural Environmental Studies, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, Univ. of Tokyo
Kengo HIKITA Dept. of Natural Environmental Studies, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, Univ. of Tokyo
Atsuko TERAZONO Dept. of Natural Environmental Studies, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, Univ. of Tokyo(Research Partners)
Atsumu OHMURA Dept. of Geography, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland

Abstract

Impact of global warming due to so-called greenhouse gases like CO2, CH4 and others on vegetation ecology is among the most serious environmental issues. To investigate how plants response to global warming, an experiment of greenhouse effect on vegetation has been continued at a high mountain, Mt. Norikura (3,025 m a.s.l.), central Japan, since 1997. Five open-top chambers which are small greenhouses with a size of maximum open-top diameter, the maximum basal diameter and the height of the chamber were 47 cm, 85 cm and 30 cm, respectively, were set over alpine plant communities consisting of small woody plants and herbaceous vegetation. At places inside and outside of the chambers, seasonal changes in vegetation growth and phenology were observed every month. Using automatic data-recorders, some climate elements such as air and ground temperatures, humidity and rainfall have been observed every hour. Some results through the experiment were quite remarkable. Due to the temperature enhancement of about 0.8℃ for air temperature and about 0.3℃ for ground temperature, plant growth rates and phenological changes showed notable differences between inside and outside of the chambers. The responses to warming, however, were different by different plant species. The results suggest that dominant species in plant community should be replaced by the species with a high physiological response to warming and with a growing form extending tree crown.

Keywords:

vegetation response to climate change, global warming, vegetation change, experiment of greenhouse effect on vegetation, alpine plant communities of a high mountain in Japan