- The Association of Japanese Geographers
- 地理学評論 (ISSN:13479555)
- vol.81, no.5, pp.375-383, 2008-05-31 (Released:2010-03-12)
Vegetation science, the study of vegetation patterns and processes, is a relatively minor sub-field of geography in Japan. I summarize the major research on vegetation science by Japanese geographers with reference to similar studies conducted by plant ecologists, focusing on vegetation-environmental relationships. In a few decades, the studies on vegetation by Japanese geographers have generally adopted descriptive approaches that examined the spatial associations between vegetation patterns and environmental factors. However, these studies only demonstrated the covariation of environmental factors with vegetation patterns, whereas theoretical and empirical studies of the mechanistic aspects of the relationships between vegetation patterns and environmental factors were undertaken in plant ecology over a few decades. Thus, to better understand the relationships between vegetation and environment factors and enhance predictions of vegetation change in response to environmental change, I recommend that collaborative approaches to plant ecology, involving plant physiology, should be promoted in geographical studies of vegetation science in Japan.