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

Research Project , Research Report 2002

Hiroo OHMORI Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo
Kazuo SUZUKI Graduate School of Economics, The University of Tokyo
Kimito FURUTA Graduate School of Economics, The University of Tokyo
Toshihiko SUGAI Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo
Tsuyoshi OHTA Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo
Kengo HIKITA Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo
Atsuko TERAZONO Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University 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 85 cm in maximum diameter and 30 cm in height 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 over 0.6℃, plant growth rates and phenological changes showed notable differences between inside and outside of the chambers. The responses were different by different plant species. The results suggest that dominant species in plant community should be replaced by the species not only with a high physiological response to warming but also 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