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 OJE  Vol.4 No.15 , November 2014
Vegetation Formation in Estuarine Tidal Flats: Influences of Basin Scale and River-Crossing Structures of the Eight Rivers of Ise Bay in Mie and Aichi Prefectures, Japan
Abstract: In this study, we examined the influences of the differences in basin scale and river-crossing structures of 8 rivers of Ise Bay in Mie and Aichi Prefectures, Japan on the vegetation in the estuarine tidal flats of these rivers. The dominant plant communities of the estuarine tidal flats formed from rivers of large-scale river basins (exceeding 300 km2) were determined. In the Miya River, the dominant plant community was the Suaeda maritima and Artemisia fukudo community. In the Kushida River, the dominant plant community was composed of Phacelurus latifolius, Artemisia fukudo, Phragmites australis, and bamboo. In the Kumozu River, the dominant community was composed of the coastal plants Calystegia soldanella, Lathyrus japonicus, and Carex pumila and the exotic plant of Lolium multiflorum. The plant community of Suzuka River was dominated by the exotic plant of Eragrostis curvula. Among the estuarine tidal flats influenced by a small-scale river basin (50 km2 or less), the plant community of Shinbori River (Fukue tidal flat) was dominated by Suaeda maritima, and the plant communities of the Shio and Harai Rivers were dominated by Phragmites australis. The plant community of Tanaka River was dominated by Phragmites australis and coastal plants. Regarding the relationship between the vegetation and the river environment for each study site, we hypothesised that in a large basin area with few structures crossing the river, the river water catchment in the estuary after heavy rains caused large areas of disturbance and formed bare land, providing suitable habitat for an annual salt marsh plant community. In contrast, in cases with many structures crossing the river, a stable channel, an excavated riverbed and the suppression of runoff and the resulting disturbance of the estuary, flooding did not occur during high tide. Moreover, we hypothesised that in a small basin with many structures crossing the river, disturbance to the estuary was not likely, and the perennial salt marsh plant community of Phragmites australis would be widely distributed, except for a river type such as the Shinbori River, in which tide and river flow were managed by a final closure.
Cite this paper: Kaneko, K. and Nohara, S. (2014) Vegetation Formation in Estuarine Tidal Flats: Influences of Basin Scale and River-Crossing Structures of the Eight Rivers of Ise Bay in Mie and Aichi Prefectures, Japan. Open Journal of Ecology, 4, 974-988. doi: 10.4236/oje.2014.415081.
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