Effects of submergence on growth and survival of saplings of three wetland trees differing in adaptive mechanisms for flood tolerance

  • Fumiko Iwanaga Graduate Education and Research Training Program in Decision Science for Sustainable Society, Kyushu University.
  • Kazuo Tanaka Faculty of Human Science, Waseda University.
  • Ikue Nakazato Graduate School of Agriculture, Tottori University.
  • Fukuju Yamamoto Graduate School of Agriculture, Tottori University.


Aim of study: Withstanding total submergence and reaeration following submergence is essential for the survival and establishment of wetland species. We focused on “LOES–low oxygen escape syndrome” and “LOQS–low oxygen quiescence syndrome” and compared tolerances to total submergence among wetland woody species differing in morphological adaptation to soil flooding.

Area of study, materials and methods: This study examined the survival of 2-year-old saplings of Taxodium distichum (LOQS species), and Alnus japonica and Metasequoia glyptostroboides, (LOES species), during and after total submergence. Saplings were completely submerged, then de-submerged to determine trends in survival and growth.

Main results: The M. glyptostroboides and A. japonica saplings could not survive prolonged submergence for more than 8 weeks, whereas saplings of T. distichum survived for over 2 years. Submerged saplings of all species showed no significant growth or modifications in morphology and anatomy under water, such as shoot elongation, adventitious root formation, and/or aerenchyma development. All T. distichum saplings that were de-submerged in the second year had the same pattern of shoot growth regardless of differences in timing and seasonality of de-submergence. Wood formation in T. distichum saplings ceased during submergence and resumed after de-submergence in spring and summer, but not in autumn.

Research highlights: T. distichum saplings, which survived longer submergence periods than A. japonica and M. glyptostroboides, had physiological characteristics, such as suspension of growth and metabolism, which allowed survival of protracted total submergence (at least 2 years) when saplings were immersed during the dormant stage before leaf flushing.

Keywords: Alnus japonica; Metasequoia glyptostroboides; survival rates; Taxodium distichum; total submergence.

Abbreviations: LOES, low oxygen escape syndrome; LOQS, low oxygen quiescence syndrome.


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Author Biographies

Fumiko Iwanaga, Graduate Education and Research Training Program in Decision Science for Sustainable Society, Kyushu University.

Research Fellow


Kazuo Tanaka, Faculty of Human Science, Waseda University.

Research Associate

Department of Human Behavior and Environment Sciences

Ikue Nakazato, Graduate School of Agriculture, Tottori University.
Graduate student, Forest science
Fukuju Yamamoto, Graduate School of Agriculture, Tottori University.


Forest Science


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How to Cite
IwanagaF., TanakaK., NakazatoI., & YamamotoF. (2015). Effects of submergence on growth and survival of saplings of three wetland trees differing in adaptive mechanisms for flood tolerance. Forest Systems, 24(1), e001. https://doi.org/10.5424/fs/2015241-03010
Research Articles