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Forests 2018, 9(7), 433; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9070433

Evaluation of the Water-Storage Capacity of Bryophytes along an Altitudinal Gradient from Temperate Forests to the Alpine Zone

Center for Arts and Sciences, Fukui Prefectural University, 4-1-1 Kenjojima, Matsuoka, Eiheiji-cho, Yoshida-gun, Fukui 910-1195, Japan
Received: 10 May 2018 / Revised: 13 July 2018 / Accepted: 16 July 2018 / Published: 18 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Hydrology and Watershed)
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Abstract

Forests play crucial roles in regulating the amount and timing of streamflow through the water storage function. Bryophytes contribute to this increase in water storage owing to their high water-holding capacity; however, they might be severely damaged by climate warming. This study examined the water storage capacity (WSC) of bryophytes in forests in the mountainous areas of Japan. Sampling plots (100 m2) were established along two mountainous trails at 200-m altitude intervals. Bryophytes were sampled in these plots using 100-cm2 quadrats, and their WSC was evaluated according to the maximum amount of water retained in them (WSC-quadrat). The total amount of water in bryophytes within each plot (WSC-plot) was then calculated. The WSC-quadrat was affected by the forms of bryophyte communities (life forms) and their interactions, further influencing soil moisture. The WSC-quadrat did not show any significant trend with altitude, whereas, the highest WSC-plot values were obtained in subalpine forests. These changes to WSC-plot were explained by large differences in bryophyte cover with altitude. As the WSC controlled by the life forms might be vulnerable to climate warming, it can provide an early indicator of how bryophyte WCS and associated biological activities are influenced. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate warming; East Asia; forest floor; forest hydrology; subalpine forest climate warming; East Asia; forest floor; forest hydrology; subalpine forest
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Oishi, Y. Evaluation of the Water-Storage Capacity of Bryophytes along an Altitudinal Gradient from Temperate Forests to the Alpine Zone. Forests 2018, 9, 433.

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