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3 Vegetation Changes Caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011

3 Vegetation Changes Caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011

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147



148



Plumbaginaceae



Poaceae



158

159



157



156



154

155



153



152



151



150



149



No

146



Family



Table 21.2 (continued)



Limonium tetragonum

(Thunb.) A.A.Bullock

Arthraxon hispidus (Thunb.)

Makino

Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) P.

Beauv. var. crus-galli

Echinochloa oryzicola

(Vasing.) Vasing.

Ischaemum aristatum L. var.

crassipes (Steud.) Yonek.

Leersia japonica (Honda)

Makino ex Honda

Miscanthus sacchariflorus

(Maxim.) Benth.

Panicum bisulcatum Thunb.

Panicum dichotomiflorum

Michx.

Phacelurus latifolius (Steud.)

Ohwi

Phragmites australis (Cav.)

Trin. ex Steud.

Phragmites japonicus Steud.

Polypogon fugax Nees ex

Steud.



Species name

Veronica undulata Wall.



Shoreline

Shoreline



Emergent



Shoreline



Shoreline

Shoreline



Shoreline



Shoreline



Terrestrial



Shoreline



Shoreline



Shoreline



Shoreline



Life form

Shoreline



Salt marsh



Seashore



Salt marsh



Habitata



Conservation

statusb

NT (ME), C

(IW), NT

(MY), C(FK)

NT (ME), I

(MY)



a



Alien species



1

1



9



1



1

2



2



1



1



2



9



1



3



Apperance

frequency

5



2, 3, 7, 9, 11,

13, 15, 17, 19

2

2



3



2

2, 11



2, 15



11



3



2, 3, 5, 11, 17,

19

5, 16



2



4, 13



Referencesc

1, 2, 4, 6, 15



Polygonaceae



Family



173



172



171



170



169



168



167



166



165



164



163



161

162



No

160



Species name

Puccinellia kurilensis (Takeda)

Honda

Puccinellia nipponica Ohwi

Spodiopogon cotulifer

(Thunb.) Hack. var. cotulifer

Zizania latifolia (Griseb.)

Turcz. ex Stapf

Persicaria hydropiper (L.)

Delarbre

Persicaria japonica (Meisn.)

Nakai ex Ohki

Persicaria lapathifolia (L.)

Delarbre var. incana (Roth) H.

Hara

Persicaria lapathifolia (L.)

Delarbre var. lapathifolia

Persicaria longiseta (Bruijn)

Kitag.

Persicaria muricata (Meisn.)

Nemoto

Persicaria odorata (Lour.)

Soják subsp. conspicua

(Nakai) Yonek.

Persicaria perfoliata (L.) H.

Gross

Persicaria posumbu (Buch.Ham. ex D.Don) H.Gross var.

posumbu

Persicaria sagittata (L.) H.

Gross var. sibirica (Meisn.)

Miyabe

Shoreline



Shoreline



Shoreline



Shoreline



Shoreline



Shoreline



Shoreline



Shoreline



Shoreline



Shoreline



Shoreline



Shoreline

Shoreline



Life form

Shoreline

Salt marsh



Habitata

Salt marsh



C (IW)



I (FK)



Conservation

statusb

DT (IW)

Alien species



1



1



2



1



1



4



3



2



1



5



2



3

1



Apperance

frequency

1



15



3



(continued)



5, 15



2



2



2, 3, 5, 11, 19



2, 5, 11



5, 16



3



2, 5, 11, 15



11, 13



4, 10

15



Referencesc

2



177



176



175



No

174



Primulaceae



Lysimachia fortunei Maxim.

Lysimachia thyrsiflora L.



Zannichellia palustris L.



184



185

186



Potamogeton pusillus L.



Monochoria vaginalis

(Burm.f.) C.Presl ex Kunth

var. vaginata

Portulaca oleracea L.

Potamogeton berchtoldii

Fieber

Potamogeton cristatus Regel et

Maack

Potamogeton distinctus A.

Benn.

Potamogeton pectinatus L.



Species name

Persicaria thunbergii (Siebold

et Zucc.) H.Gross var.

thunbergii

Persicaria viscosa (Buch.Ham. ex D.Don) H. Gross ex

T.Mori

Monochoria korsakowii Regel

et Maack



183



182



181



180



Portulacaceae

178

Potamogetonaceae 179



Pontederiaceae



Family



Table 21.2 (continued)



Shoreline

Shoreline



Submergent



Submergent



Submergent



Floating



Submergent



Terrestrial

Submergent



Emergent



Emergent



Shoreline



Life form

Shoreline



Brackish

water



Seashore



Habitata



B (IW)



NT (ME), I

(MY)

VU (ME), I

(MY)

VU (ME), I

(MY)



NT (ME), B

(IW)

VU (ME), II

(MY)



NT (ME), A

(IW), B (FK)



Conservation

statusb

Alien species



1

1



8



21



10



4



1



4

6



5



40



1



Apperance

frequency

3



13

8



4, 9, 10, 12,

13, 16

4, 12, 13



4, 13



10, 11, 13, 19



4



2, 5, 11

8, 11, 13, 19



1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8,

9, 10, 11, 13,

18, 19, 20

1, 2, 10, 11



10



Referencesc

2, 15, 19



191



Rosaceae



200



199



198



Typha latifolia L.



Salix caprea L.

Salix integra Thunb.

Salix triandra L. subsp.

nipponica (Franch. et Sav.)

A.K.Skvortsov

Salix udensis Trautv. et

C.A.Mey.

Sparganium erectum L. var.

coreanum (H.Lév) H.Hara

Typha domingensis Pers.



Species name

Halerpestes kawakamii

(Makino) Tamura

Ranunculus sceleratus L.

Ranunculus trichophyllus

Chaix ex Vill. var. kazusensis

(Makino) Wiegleb

Ricciocarpus natans (L.)

Corda

Potentilla anserina L. subsp.

pacifica (Howell) Rousi

Rosa luciae Rochebr. et

Franch. ex Crép.

Ruppia maritima L.



Emergent



Emergent



Emergent



Shoreline



Shoreline

Shoreline

Shoreline



Submergent



Terrestrial



Shoreline



Floating



Shoreline

Submergent



Life form

Shoreline



Brackish

water



Seashore



Salt marsh



Habitata



NT (ME), NT

(MY)



NT (ME), A

(IW), II (MY)



AT (MY)



II (MY)



NT (ME)



EN (ME), I

(MY)



Conservation

statusb

VU (ME), I

(MY)

Alien species



8



6



13



1



1

1

1



7



1



1



1



3

1



Apperance

frequency

1



1, 2, 4, 11, 15,

18

1, 2, 9, 11, 17,

19

1, 2, 7, 9, 11,

15, 17, 19

2, 4, 16



2



2

2

2



4, 13, 17



3



4



2



2, 10, 16

4



Referencesc

4



a



201

Typha orientalis C.Presl

Emergent

3

Usual habitat of the species

b

Conservation status in the national Red Data Book (ME Ministry of the Environment 2015) or in each prefecture’s red list (IW Iwate Prefecture 2014, MY Miyagi

Prefecture 2013, FK Fukushima Prefecture 2002)

c

Each number represents the literature number shown in Table 21.1



Typhaceae



194

195

196



Salicaceae



197



193



Ruppiaceae



192



190



188

189



No

187



Ricciaceae



Family

Ranunculaceae



378



M. Suzuki



about 30 years (Arai and Nagahata 2013). On the other hand, the tsunami extirpated

rare species from seven sites (Kasai 2013; Takiguchi et al. 2014).

The recorded species were assigned to life-forms; 139 species were shoreline

plants, including 14 that are characteristic of salt marshes (Table 21.2). Twenty-two

of the species were emergent, 16 were submergent, and 8 were free-floating or had

floating leaves. Submergent taxa included 2 species that were specific to brackish

waters. Sixteen species that are characteristic of seashores were recorded at inland

sites 650–4300 m from the coastal shoreline.



21.4



Discussion



The Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami broke open seawalls, levees, and

channels on the Pacific coast of the Tohoku region, creating temporary marshes and

pools at sites that had been dry before the earthquake. In ponds, paddy fields, and

canals that had existed before 2011, the tsunami disturbed sediments, deposited

sand, and soil and changed the growth environments of wetland plants.

Many threatened, extirpated, and newly recorded species were listed by professional and lay botanists studying these newly created freshwater and brackish water

bodies. The threatened and extirpated species were previously common weeds in

the floodplain, especially in agricultural environments; their abundance was reduced

by infrastructure development and the use of toxic chemicals (Kohara et al. 2011;

Yonemura et al. 2001; Washitani 2007).

Wetland plants that appeared after the tsunami likely germinated from seed

banks in the soils of the flooded areas, rather than from seeds transported from surrounding regions by dispersal vectors. Most of the newly emerging species were

gravity dispersed and were not observed outside the inundated areas (Kasai 2013;

Mineta and Tomosyo 2012).

The sediments of freshwater lakes, ponds, and marshes hold persistent seed

banks of diverse species, and water level fluctuations induce recruitment from these

banks (Leck 1989). Vegetation restoration projects that make use of seed or propagule banks in the soils of wetlands have been undertaken since the 1990s (Nakamura

et al. 2006; Nishihiro et al. 2006a, b). For example, Mizusawa et al. (2000),

Nakamoto et al. (2000), Nishihiro et al. (2006a, b), Kushiro et al. (2009), Matsumoto

et al. (2009), and Kitagawa and Shimano (2010) used soil seed banks obtained from

abandoned Japanese paddy fields, lakeshores, and drained marshes to recover wetland vegetation. The recovered vegetation often included species that had disappeared from the aboveground flora decades previously (Kushiro et al. 2009;

Matsumoto et al. 2009; Nishihiro et al. 2006a). Although the proportion of viable

seeds in sediments declines with time, some seeds are able to germinate after

50 years of burial (Matsumoto et al. 2009; Momohara et al. 2001). The plant species

composition of the wetlands that emerged after the 2011 tsunami (Table 21.2) was

similar to that of wetland floras recovered experimentally from soil seed banks,

especially those in Lake Kasumigaura (Nishihiro et al. 2006a).



21 Flora of Freshwater Wetlands in the Tsunami-Affected Zone of the Tohoku Region



379



Since the 1960s, the low-lying wetlands in Tohoku and elsewhere in Japan have

decreased in area, largely through reclamation and modernization of paddy field

agriculture by unification and dredging (Washitani 2007). Therefore, we suggest

that seeds in the soil bank had been dormant for 30–50 years in the tsunami inundation zone. The tsunami itself and the debris swept with it excavated the ground and

scattered the soil seed banks. After the tsunami, sediments in ponds, paddy fields,

and canals were repeatedly excavated by human effort as rubble was removed and

searched for victims of the disaster (2011–2012). Pooled freshwater water standing

on the disturbed soil provided microtopographic and hydrological conditions that

favored seed germination and seedling establishment of wetland plant species.

Fourteen species characteristics of salt marshes were found in the inland freshwater marshes (Table 21.2). Another 16 species characteristic of seashores were

recorded at sites 650–4300 m inland from the shoreline. The coastal beaches in this

area lost most of their vegetation in March 2011, and it is unlikely that plants revegetating the beaches were able to disperse their seeds far inland in the period 2011–

2012 (Kawanishi et al. 2016). I propose that the tsunami beach swept up sand and

mud containing seeds and propagules of seashore species and deposited it inland

(Mineta and Tomosyo 2012).

The UNESCO-IOC International Tsunami Survey Team recorded the distribution of sand and mud deposited by the 2011 tsunami on the Sendai Plain (Sugawara

et al. 2011). They found landward deposition over the length of their survey transect. Deposits were 15–20 cm thick 1 km from the shoreline, ca. 10 cm thick 2 km

inland, and <5 cm thick 3 km inland. Tsunami deposits at sites <3 km from the shore

comprised sand with overlying mud; only mud (except for a one grain-thick sand

layer) was found at sites ≥3 km inland (Sugawara et al. 2011).

Comprehensive floristic lists for the study sites have been provided only by

Mineta and Tomosyo (2012), Sugiyama (2012), Sugiyama and Kasai (2013),

Sugiyama et al. (2013), Kanno et al. (2014), Hoshino and Hoshino (2014), and ourselves (unpublished data). These compilations show that the proportions of threatened species among all recorded species were in the range of 0–30 % and that

common species did not decrease after the tsunami.

The reported appearance frequencies for rare species are considerably higher

than those for common species because the aim of most taxonomic publications is

to report first findings or rare species. Herbarium specimens and literature records

focus disproportionately on rare species. Consequently, the threatened species

Monochoria korsakowii, which has large, blue flowers and characteristic emergent,

heart-shaped leaves, is the most frequently recorded, likely because of the higher

probability of a recorder finding this species than any other (Rich and Woodruff

1992). The media reported the beautiful blue flowers of this threatened species

blooming in land heavily damaged by the tsunami, which had a strong effect on the

viewing public (Hiratsuka 2014; Nagahata 2012). On the other hand, Potamogeton

pusillus and Eleocharis parvula are submergent plants that are inconspicuous.

However, they were extremely rare in this region before the tsunami. Their occurrence was recognized by professional botanists as an uncommon phenomenon and

reported in the scientific literature.



380



M. Suzuki



I suggest that across the entire tsunami inundation area, Typha spp. and

Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud. were the most frequent emergent taxa,

and Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) P. Beauv. and its varieties the most frequent shoreline plants in the period 2011–2013. However, there have been few vegetation studies of inland wetlands in the region; some reports list dominant species in the

vegetation (Kurosawa 2014; Mineta and Tomosyo 2012; Shibuya et al. 2014;

Takiguchi et al. 2014). Naito (Naito 2012) investigated the vegetation of dry rice

fields damaged by the tsunami at eight locations on the Sendai Plain and reported

the dominance of E. crus-galli var. aristata and var. crus-galli and provided a list of

11 plant species, which contained no endangered taxa. During the floristic investigations of the Society for Research on Flora of Iwate at three dry land sites in

tsunami-damaged housing developments, we found 77, 87, and 41 species at each,

none of which was threatened (the Society for Research on Flora of Iwate, unpublished data). Overall, more threatened species have been recorded on wetlands than

dry lands. The disparity is probably related to the process of soil seed bank formation in the lowlands of the coastal zone.

After the 2011 tsunami, plant researchers and lay botanists made observations in

freshwater and brackish water wetlands, where the flora recovered for the first time

in decades. However, these wetlands are vanishing rapidly as restoration of housing

and agriculture proceeds with the infilling of wetlands. Housing and agriculture are

urgent priorities in the disaster zone. Under these circumstances, on-site conservation of aquatic and wetland species is extremely difficult. Off-site conservation by

transplantation and seed preservation has been restricted to a few species (Hiratsuka

2014; Shimada 2016).

The 2011 tsunami showed that soil seed banks in low-lying freshwater wetlands

are large and persistent. However, technological and sociological developments will

be required to utilize their potential in the restoration of local biodiversity after a

huge natural disaster.



References

Arai R, Nagahata Y (2013) Monochoria korsakowii found in tsunami-affected area in Iwate

Prefecture. Iwate-Syokubutsu-No-Kai-Kaihou 50:8–13 (In Japanese)

Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (2011) EERI Special earthquake report. Learning from

earthquakes. The Japan Tohoku Tsunami of March 11, 2011. Available at: http://www.eqclearinghouse.org/2011-03-11-sendai/files/2011/11/Japan-eq-report-tsunami2.pdf

Haraguchi N, Kitagawa I, Tomosho T, Mineta T, Zukemura C, Wakasugi K (2012) Paddy fields

damaged along the Coast Part of Miyagi Prefecture by the Tsunami originated from the 2011

off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku Earthquake. J Jpn Soc Soil Phys 121:11–17 (In Japanese)

Hayasaka D, Shimada N, Konno H, Sudayama H, Kawanishi M, Uchida T, Goka K (2012) Floristic

variation of beach vegetation caused by the 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami in northern Tohoku,

Japan. Ecol Eng 44:227–232

Hiratsuka A (2014) Renaissance in the botanical world. Biotope 33:1 (In Japanese)

Hoshino Y, Hoshino J (2014) Flora and vegetation of the urban area in Otsuchi. In: Ohtsuchi Town

(eds) The study report of spring water ecosystem in Otsuchi. Otsuchi Town, pp 50–73 (in Japanese).

Available at: http://www.town.otsuchi.iwate.jp/docs/2014042200012/files/hokoku.pdf



21 Flora of Freshwater Wetlands in the Tsunami-Affected Zone of the Tohoku Region



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Kanaya G, Suzuki T, Maki H, Nakamura Y, Miyajima Y, Kikuchi E (2012) Effects of the 2011

tsunami on the topography, vegetation, and macrobenthic fauna in Gamo Lagoon, Japan. Jpn

J Benthology 67:20–32

Kanno H, Hirabuki Y, Sugiyama T, Tomita M, Hara K (2014) Vegetation change in various coastal

forest habitats after a huge tsunami: a three-year study. Jpn J Conserv Ecol 19:201–220 (In

Japanese with English summary)

Kasai H (2013) Situation of rare plants and other plants in 2012 at inundation area in Miyagi

Prefecture, Japan, by the Great East Japan Tsunami of 2011. Bull Bot Soc Tohoku 17:32–43 (In

Japanese)

Kawanishi M, Hayasaka D, Shimada N (2016) The species composition of buried-seeds in the

seashore vegetation disturbed by 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami in northern Tohoku, Japan. In:

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Kohara H, Wan X, Akai K, Wang G (2011) Weed Monograph. 7. Monochoria korsakowii Regel et

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Kushiro K, Hayashi N, Nishihiro J (2009) A restoration of submerged vegetations from propagule

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147 (In Japanese)

Leck MA (1989) Wetland seed banks. In: Leck MA, Parker VT, Simpson RL (eds) Ecology of soil

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Matsumoto H, Imanishi A, Imanishi J, Susaki J, Morimoto Y, Natuhara Y (2009) Persistence and

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tsunami after the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake – Report of vegetation investigation in the southern Sendai plains. Tech Rep Natl Res Inst Agric Eng 213:297–304 (In

Japanese with English summary)

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English summary)

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