Seedling regeneration on decayed pine logs after the deforestation events caused by pine wilt disease
Coarse woody debris (CWD) forms an important habitat suitable for tree seedling establishment, and the CWD decay process influences tree seedling community. In Japan, a severe dieback of Pinus densiflora Sieb. & Zucc. caused by pine wilt disease (PWD) damaged huge areas of pine stands but creates huge mass of pine CWD. It is important to know the factors influencing seedling colonization on pine CWD and their variations among geographical gradient in Japan to expect forest regeneration in post-PWD stands. I conducted field surveys on the effects of latitude, climates, light condition, decay type of pine logs, and log diameter on tree seedling colonization at ten geographically distinct sites in Japan. In total, 59 tree taxa were recorded as seedlings on pine logs. Among them, 13 species were recorded from more than five sites as adult trees or seedlings and were used for the analyses. A generalized linear model showed that seedling colonization of Pinus densiflora was negatively associated with brown rot in sapwood, while that of Rhus trichocarpa was positively associated with brown rot in heartwood. Regeneration of Ilex macropoda had no relationships with wood decay type but negatively associated with latitude and MAT, while positively with log diameter. These results suggested that wood decay type is a strong determinant of seedling establishment for certain tree species, even at a wide geographical scale; however, the effect is tree species specific.