loading page

What shapes the elevational patterns of plant diversity on Mount Yatsugatake, Japan?
  • Yoshitaka Oishi
Yoshitaka Oishi
Fukui Prefectural University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile


Aim: This study examined whether the hypotheses associated with species distribution could substantiate the elevational patterns of plants. Location: Mount Yatsugatake in central Japan. Taxon: Embryophyte Methods: The species richness of plant groups (trees, shrubs, herbs, ferns, and bryophytes) was investigated within study plots established at 200-m elevational intervals from 1800 m to 2800 m. The changes in species richness (alpha diversity) with elevation were analysed in relation to climatic factors and the hypotheses pertaining to the elevational distribution of plants, i.e., mass effect, mid-domain effect, and Rapoport’s elevational rule. The elevational patterns of beta diversity, plant functional types, and elevational ranges of plant groups were examined. Results: The comparison of alpha and beta diversity revealed that the different plant groups variably responded to elevation; the alpha diversity of trees and ferns decreased, that of herbs increased, whereas that of shrubs and bryophytes showed a positive and negative quadratic curve, respectively. The beta diversity of shrubs, herbs, and moss abruptly increased above the subalpine-alpine transition zone. In accordance with these changes, the dominance of evergreen shrubs and graminoids increased, whereas that of liverworts decreased at the elevation zone. Regarding the elevational ranges, no plant group showed a wider elevational range at higher elevations. Main conclusions: The elevational patterns of the plant groups were determined by the climatic factors and their effects on plant-plant interactions. Notably, these interactions were presented based on the changes in plant functional types, supporting the elevational patterns of plant diversity. Our finding indicates the importance of studies on elevational patterns using multi-plant groups and multiple indices of plant diversity.