Tree population dynamics on a floodplain: A tradeoff between tree mortality and seedling recruitment induced by stochastic floods

Hitoshi Miyamoto, Ryo Kimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This paper proposes a stochastic evaluation method for examining tree population states in a river cross section using an integrated model with Monte Carlo simulation. The integrated model consists of four processes as submodels, i.e., tree population dynamics, flow discharge stochasticity, stream hydraulics, and channel geomorphology. A floodplain of the Kako River in Japan was examined as a test site, which is currently well vegetated and features many willows that have been growing in both individual size and overall population over the last several decades. The model was used to stochastically evaluate the effects of hydrologic and geomorphologic changes on tree population dynamics through the Monte Carlo simulation. The effects including the magnitude of flood impacts and the relative change in the floodplain level are examined using very simple scenarios for flow regulation, climate change, and channel form changes. The stochastic evaluation method revealed a tradeoff point in floodplain levels, at which the tendency of a fully vegetated state switches to that of a bare floodplain under small impacts of flood. It is concluded from these results that the states of tree population in a floodplain can be determined by the mutual interactions among flood impacts, seedling recruitment, tree growth, and channel geomorphology. These interactions make it difficult to obtain a basic understanding of tree population dynamics from a field study of a specific floodplain. The stochastic approach used in this paper could constitute an effective method for evaluating fundamental channel characteristics for a vegetated floodplain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7226-7243
Number of pages18
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sept 1


  • flow regime
  • plant ecology
  • riparian ecosystem
  • river channel
  • stochastic model
  • vegetation dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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