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Forests, Volume 7, Issue 2 (February 2016)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Allometric Models Based on Bayesian Frameworks Give Better Estimates of Aboveground Biomass in the Miombo Woodlands
Forests 2016, 7(2), 13; doi:10.3390/f7020013
Received: 27 August 2015 / Revised: 2 November 2015 / Accepted: 19 November 2015 / Published: 3 February 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1470 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The miombo woodland is the most extensive dry forest in the world, with the potential to store substantial amounts of biomass carbon. Efforts to obtain accurate estimates of carbon stocks in the miombo woodlands are limited by a general lack of biomass estimation
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The miombo woodland is the most extensive dry forest in the world, with the potential to store substantial amounts of biomass carbon. Efforts to obtain accurate estimates of carbon stocks in the miombo woodlands are limited by a general lack of biomass estimation models (BEMs). This study aimed to evaluate the accuracy of most commonly employed allometric models for estimating aboveground biomass (AGB) in miombo woodlands, and to develop new models that enable more accurate estimation of biomass in the miombo woodlands. A generalizable mixed-species allometric model was developed from 88 trees belonging to 33 species ranging in diameter at breast height (DBH) from 5 to 105 cm using Bayesian estimation. A power law model with DBH alone performed better than both a polynomial model with DBH and the square of DBH, and models including height and crown area as additional variables along with DBH. The accuracy of estimates from published models varied across different sites and trees of different diameter classes, and was lower than estimates from our model. The model developed in this study can be used to establish conservative carbon stocks required to determine avoided emissions in performance-based payment schemes, for example in afforestation and reforestation activities. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effects of Forest Gaps on Litter Lignin and Cellulose Dynamics Vary Seasonally in an Alpine Forest
Forests 2016, 7(2), 27; doi:10.3390/f7020027
Received: 24 September 2015 / Revised: 18 December 2015 / Accepted: 21 January 2016 / Published: 27 January 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (4465 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To understand how forest gaps and the associated canopy control litter lignin and cellulose dynamics by redistributing the winter snow coverage and hydrothermal conditions in the growing season, a field litterbag trial was conducted in the alpine Minjiang fir (Abies faxoniana Rehder
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To understand how forest gaps and the associated canopy control litter lignin and cellulose dynamics by redistributing the winter snow coverage and hydrothermal conditions in the growing season, a field litterbag trial was conducted in the alpine Minjiang fir (Abies faxoniana Rehder and E.H. Wilson) forest in a transitional area located in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Over the first year of litter decomposition, the litter exhibited absolute cellulose loss and absolute lignin accumulation except for the red birch litter. The changes in litter cellulose and lignin were significantly affected by the interactions among gap position, period and species. Litter cellulose exhibited a greater loss in the winter with the highest daily loss rate observed during the snow cover period. Both cellulose and lignin exhibited greater changes under the deep snow cover at the gap center in the winter, but the opposite pattern occurred under the closed canopy in the growing season. The results suggest that decreased snowpack seasonality due to winter warming may limit litter cellulose and lignin degradation in alpine forest ecosystems, which could further inhibit litter decomposition. As a result, the ongoing winter warming and gap vanishing would slow soil carbon sequestration from foliar litter in cold biomes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Adaptation to Climate Change in Swedish Forestry
Forests 2016, 7(2), 28; doi:10.3390/f7020028
Received: 17 November 2015 / Revised: 18 December 2015 / Accepted: 6 January 2016 / Published: 28 January 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (714 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Adaptation to climate change in forestry has become a growing concern, in part due to the impact of storms and other events that have raised the awareness of such risks amongst forest owners. Sweden is one of Europe’s most densely-forested countries, with this
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Adaptation to climate change in forestry has become a growing concern, in part due to the impact of storms and other events that have raised the awareness of such risks amongst forest owners. Sweden is one of Europe’s most densely-forested countries, with this sector playing a major role economically. However adaptation has, to a large extent, been limited to the provision of recommendations to forest managers, most of which have only been partially implemented. This paper summarizes research with direct implications for adaptation to climate change within the forestry sector in Sweden. The focus is based in particular on providing examples of adaptations that illustrate the specific Swedish orientation to adaptation, in line with its relatively intensive forest management system. The paper thus illustrates a specific Swedish orientation to adaptation through active management, which can be contrasted with approaches to adaptation in other forestry systems, in particular those with limited management or management based on maintaining natural forests in particular. Full article
Open AccessArticle Impacts of Forest to Urban Land Conversion and ENSO Phase on Water Quality of a Public Water Supply Reservoir
Forests 2016, 7(2), 29; doi:10.3390/f7020029
Received: 15 November 2015 / Revised: 15 January 2016 / Accepted: 18 January 2016 / Published: 27 January 2016
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Abstract
We used coupled watershed and reservoir models to evaluate the impacts of deforestation and l Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phase on drinking water quality. Source water total organic carbon (TOC) is especially important due to the potential for production of carcinogenic disinfection byproducts
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We used coupled watershed and reservoir models to evaluate the impacts of deforestation and l Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phase on drinking water quality. Source water total organic carbon (TOC) is especially important due to the potential for production of carcinogenic disinfection byproducts (DBPs). The Environmental Fluid Dynamics Code (EFDC) reservoir model is used to evaluate the difference between daily pre- and post- urbanization nutrients and TOC concentration. Post-disturbance (future) reservoir total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), TOC and chlorophyll-a concentrations were found to be higher than pre-urbanization (base) concentrations (p < 0.05). Predicted future median TOC concentration was 1.1 mg·L−1 (41% higher than base TOC concentration) at the source water intake. Simulations show that prior to urbanization, additional water treatment was necessary on 47% of the days between May and October. However, following simulated urbanization, additional drinking water treatment might be continuously necessary between May and October. One of six ENSO indices is weakly negatively correlated with the measured reservoir TOC indicating there may be higher TOC concentrations in times of lower streamflow (La Niña). There is a positive significant correlation between simulated TN and TP concentrations with ENSO suggesting higher concentrations during El Niño. Full article
Open AccessArticle Attribution Analyses of Impacts of Environmental Changes on Streamflow and Sediment Load in a Mountainous Basin, Vietnam
Forests 2016, 7(2), 30; doi:10.3390/f7020030
Received: 29 November 2015 / Revised: 18 January 2016 / Accepted: 21 January 2016 / Published: 29 January 2016
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Abstract
Located in the southeastern China and northern Vietnam, the Red River is an important international trans-boundary river that has experienced rapid deforestation and environmental changes over the past decades. We conducted attribution analysis of impacts of various environmental changes on streamflow and sediment
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Located in the southeastern China and northern Vietnam, the Red River is an important international trans-boundary river that has experienced rapid deforestation and environmental changes over the past decades. We conducted attribution analysis of impacts of various environmental changes on streamflow and sediment load. The contribution of reclassified environmental changes to total change of the streamflow and sediment load was separated. Land cover change based on climate-induced and human-induced indicators were defined. We found that human-induced land cover change was the main factor affecting changes of the streamflow and sediment load. Changes of the land cover were more pronounced in the dry season than in the wet season whereas sediment load changed more in the wet season than in the dry season. In addition, changes in sediment load were mainly caused by human-induced land cover change and the changes of land cover were more influential on sediment load than on streamflow in the Red River basin. Full article
Open AccessArticle Spatial Variations of Soil Moisture under Caragana korshinskii Kom. from Different Precipitation Zones: Field Based Analysis in the Loess Plateau, China
Forests 2016, 7(2), 31; doi:10.3390/f7020031
Received: 29 September 2015 / Revised: 10 January 2016 / Accepted: 14 January 2016 / Published: 29 January 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2644 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Soil moisture scarcity has become the major limiting factor of vegetation restoration in the Loess Plateau of China. The aim of this study is: (i) to compare the spatial distribution of deep (up to 5 m) soil moisture content (SMC) beneath the introduced
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Soil moisture scarcity has become the major limiting factor of vegetation restoration in the Loess Plateau of China. The aim of this study is: (i) to compare the spatial distribution of deep (up to 5 m) soil moisture content (SMC) beneath the introduced shrub Caragana korshinskii Kom. under different precipitation zones in the Loess Plateau and (ii) to investigate the impacts of environmental factors on soil moisture variability. Soil samples were taken under C. korshinskii from three precipitation zones (Semiarid-350, Semiarid-410, Semiarid-470). We found that the highest soil moisture value was in the 0–0.1 m layer with a large coefficient of variation. The soil water storage under different precipitation zones increased following the increase of precipitation (i.e., Semiarid-350 < Semiarid-410 < Semiarid-470), although the degree of SMC variation was different for different precipitation zones. The SMC in the Semiarid-350 zone initially increased with soil depth, and then decreased until it reached the depth of 2.8-m. The SMC in the Semiarid-410 zone showed a decreasing trend from the top soil to 4.2-m depth. The SMC in the Semiarid-470 zone firstly decreased with soil depth, increased, and then decreased until it reached 4.6-m depth. All SMC values then became relatively constant after reaching the 2.8-m, 4.2-m, and 4.6-m depths for Semiarid-350, Semiarid-410, and Semiarid-470, respectively. The low but similar SMC values at the stable layers across the precipitation gradient indicate widespread soil desiccation in this region. Our results suggested that water deficit occurred in all of the three precipitation zones with precipitation, latitude, field capacity, and bulk density as the main environmental variables affecting soil moisture. Considering the correlations between precipitation, SMC and vegetation, appropriate planting density and species selection should be taken into account for introduced vegetation management. Full article
Open AccessArticle Developing Aboveground Biomass Equations Both Compatible with Tree Volume Equations and Additive Systems for Single-Trees in Poplar Plantations in Jiangsu Province, China
Forests 2016, 7(2), 32; doi:10.3390/f7020032
Received: 28 August 2015 / Revised: 22 December 2015 / Accepted: 25 January 2016 / Published: 29 January 2016
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Abstract
We developed aboveground biomass equations for poplar plantations in Jiangsu Province, China, both compatible with tree volume equations and additive systems. Biomass equations were fitted with 80 selected and previously harvested sample trees. Additivity property was assured by applying a “controlling directly under
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We developed aboveground biomass equations for poplar plantations in Jiangsu Province, China, both compatible with tree volume equations and additive systems. Biomass equations were fitted with 80 selected and previously harvested sample trees. Additivity property was assured by applying a “controlling directly under total biomass proportion function” approach. Weighted regression was used to correct heteroscedasticity. Parameters were estimated using a nonlinear error-in-variable model. The results indicated that (1), on average, stems constituted the largest proportion (71.5%) of total aboveground biomass; (2) the aboveground biomass equations, both compatible with tree volume equations and additive systems, obtained good model fitting and prediction, of which the coefficient of determination ranged from 0.903 to 0.987, and the total relative error and the mean prediction error were less than 2.0% and 10.0%, respectively; (3) adding H and CW into the additive system of biomass equations did not improve model fitting and performance as expected, especially for branches and foliage biomass; and (4) the additive systems of biomass equations presented here provided more reliable and accurate biomass predictions than the independent biomass equations fitted by ordinary least square regression. This system of additive biomass equations will prove to be applicable for estimating biomass of poplar plantations in Jiangsu Province of China. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Integer Programming Model to Determine Land Use Trajectories for Optimizing Regionally Integrated Ecosystem Services Delivery
Forests 2016, 7(2), 33; doi:10.3390/f7020033
Received: 3 November 2015 / Revised: 14 January 2016 / Accepted: 20 January 2016 / Published: 30 January 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1782 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
BIOLP is an Integer Programming model based on the Balanced Compromise Programming multi-criteria decision method. The aim of BIOLP is to determine how a set of land use types should be distributed over space and time in order to optimize the multi-dimensional land
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BIOLP is an Integer Programming model based on the Balanced Compromise Programming multi-criteria decision method. The aim of BIOLP is to determine how a set of land use types should be distributed over space and time in order to optimize the multi-dimensional land performance of a region. Trajectories were defined as the succession of specific land use types over 30 years, assuming that land use changes can only occur at fixed intervals of 10 years. A database that represents the Tabacay catchment (Ecuador) as a set of land units with associated performance values was used as the input for BIOLP, which was then executed to determine the trajectories distribution that optimizes regional performance. The sensitivity of BIOLP to uncertainty in the input data, simulated through random variations on the performance values, was also tested. BIOLP showed a relative stability on its results under these conditions of stochastic, restricted changes. Additionally, the behaviour of BIOLP under different settings of its balancing and relative importance parameters was studied. Stronger variations on the outcomes were observed in this case, which indicate the influential role that such parameters play. Finally, the inclusion of performance thresholds in BIOLP was tested through the addition of sample constraints that required some of the criteria at stake to exceed predefined values. The outcome of the optimization exercises makes clear that the phenomenon of trade off between the provisioning service of the land (income) and the regulation and maintenance services (runoff, sediment, SOC) is crucial. BIOLP succeeds in accounting for this complex multi-dimensional phenomenon when determining the optimal spatio-temporal distributions of land use types. Despite this complexity, it is confirmed that the weights attributed to the provisioning or to the regulation and maintenance services are the main determinants for having the land use distributions dominated by either agriculture or forest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services from Forests)
Open AccessArticle Seasonal Variations of Carbon Dioxide, Water Vapor and Energy Fluxes in Tropical Indian Mangroves
Forests 2016, 7(2), 35; doi:10.3390/f7020035
Received: 31 August 2015 / Accepted: 20 January 2016 / Published: 6 February 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (6091 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We present annual estimates of the net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of carbon dioxide (CO2) accumulated over one annual cycle (April 2012 to March 2013) in the world’s largest mangrove ecosystem, Sundarbans (India), using the eddy covariance method. An eddy covariance flux
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We present annual estimates of the net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of carbon dioxide (CO2) accumulated over one annual cycle (April 2012 to March 2013) in the world’s largest mangrove ecosystem, Sundarbans (India), using the eddy covariance method. An eddy covariance flux tower was established in April 2012 to study the seasonal variations of carbon dioxide fluxes due to soil and vegetation-atmosphere interactions. The half-hourly maximum of the net ecosystem exchange (NEE) varied from −6 µmol·m−2·s−1 during the summer (April to June 2012) to −10 µmol·m−2·s−1 during the winter (October to December 2012), whereas the half-hourly maximum of H2O flux varied from 5.5 to 2.5 mmol·m−2·s−1 during October 2013 and July 2013, respectively. During the study period, the study area was a carbon dioxide sink with an annual net ecosystem productivity (NEP = −NEE) of 249 ± 20 g·C m−2·year−1. The mean annual evapotranspiration (ET) was estimated to be 1.96 ± 0.33 mm·day−1. The gap-filled NEE was also partitioned into Gross Primary Productivity (GPP) and Ecosystem Respiration (Re). The total GPP and Re over the study area for the annual cycle were estimated to be1271 g C m−2·year−1 and 1022 g C m−2·year−1, respectively. The closure of the surface energy balance accounted for of about 78% of the available energy during the study period. Our findings suggest that the Sundarbans mangroves are currently a substantial carbon sink, indicating that the protection and management of these forests would lead as a strategy towards reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Forests Carbon Fluxes and Sequestration)
Open AccessArticle Effects of Bentonite, Charcoal and Corncob for Soil Improvement and Growth Characteristics of Teak Seedling Planted on Acrisols in Northeast Thailand
Forests 2016, 7(2), 36; doi:10.3390/f7020036
Received: 24 November 2015 / Revised: 22 January 2016 / Accepted: 29 January 2016 / Published: 4 February 2016
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Abstract
When teak (Tectona grandis L. f.) is planted on acrisols in Northeast Thailand, its growth is suppressed by low pH, infertility, and low water holding capacity. To examine materials capable of increasing water holding capacity in soil and improving teak growth, we
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When teak (Tectona grandis L. f.) is planted on acrisols in Northeast Thailand, its growth is suppressed by low pH, infertility, and low water holding capacity. To examine materials capable of increasing water holding capacity in soil and improving teak growth, we conducted an experiment with teak seedlings. We selected bentonite, charcoal, and corncob and added these materials at a rate of 4% to sandy soil from northeast Thailand. Teak seedlings were potted on these soils and raised from July 2013 to July 2014. We compared growth, photosynthetic rates, leaf water potential, and concentrations of elements in plant organs among bentonite, charcoal, corncob, and no addition (control) treatments. Water content in the soils was increased for the bentonite and charcoal treatments. Teak seedlings potted in these two conditions did not suffer from drought stress. Comparing the growth traits of the teak seedlings, the charcoal treatment produced larger root growth and promoted the uptake of phosphorus and potassium, whereas the bentonite treatment did not show positive effects on growth or nutrient acquisition. In contrast, the corncob treatment decreased water content in the soil, and teak seedling growth was suppressed. We concluded that charcoal was a useful material to improve teak growth in sandy soils. Full article
Open AccessArticle Potential for Hybrid Poplar Riparian Buffers to Provide Ecosystem Services in Three Watersheds with Contrasting Agricultural Land Use
Forests 2016, 7(2), 37; doi:10.3390/f7020037
Received: 30 October 2015 / Revised: 23 December 2015 / Accepted: 21 January 2016 / Published: 4 February 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (8047 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In temperate agricultural watersheds, the rehabilitation of tree vegetation in degraded riparian zones can provide many ecosystem services. This study evaluated ecosystem service provision potential following the conversion of non-managed herbaceous buffers to hybrid poplar (Populus spp.) buffers in three watersheds (555–771
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In temperate agricultural watersheds, the rehabilitation of tree vegetation in degraded riparian zones can provide many ecosystem services. This study evaluated ecosystem service provision potential following the conversion of non-managed herbaceous buffers to hybrid poplar (Populus spp.) buffers in three watersheds (555–771 km2) of southern Québec (Canada), with contrasting agricultural land uses. To extrapolate services at the watershed level, total stream length where hybrid poplars could be established was calculated using GIS data from hydrological and land cover maps. After nine years, a 100% replacement of herbaceous buffers by hybrid poplar buffers along farm streams could lead to the production of 5280–76,151 tons of whole tree (stems + branches) biomass, which could heat 0.5–6.5 ha of greenhouses for nine years, with the potential of displacing 2–29 million litres of fuel oil. Alternatively, the production of 3887–56,135 tons of stem biomass (fuelwood) could heat 55–794 new farmhouses or 40–577 old farmhouses for nine years. Producing fuelwood in buffers rather than in farm woodlots could create forest conservation opportunities on 300–4553 ha. Replacing all herbaceous buffers by poplar buffers could provide potential storage of 2984–42,132 t C, 29–442 t N and 3–56 t P in plant biomass, if woody biomass is not harvested. The greatest potential for services provision was in the Pike River watershed where agriculture is the dominant land use. A review of the potential services of poplar buffers is made, and guidelines for managing services and disservices are provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services from Forests)
Open AccessArticle Above- and Belowground Biomass Models for Trees in the Miombo Woodlands of Malawi
Forests 2016, 7(2), 38; doi:10.3390/f7020038
Received: 25 October 2015 / Revised: 29 December 2015 / Accepted: 25 January 2016 / Published: 5 February 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1935 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study we present general (multiple tree species from several sites) above- and belowground biomass models for trees in the miombo woodlands of Malawi. Such models are currently lacking in the country. The modelling was based on 74 trees comprising 33 different
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In this study we present general (multiple tree species from several sites) above- and belowground biomass models for trees in the miombo woodlands of Malawi. Such models are currently lacking in the country. The modelling was based on 74 trees comprising 33 different species with diameters at breast height (dbh) and total tree height (ht) ranging from 5.3 to 2 cm and from 3.0 to 25.0 m, respectively. Trees were collected from four silvicultural zones covering a wide range of conditions. We tested different models including dbh, ht and wood specific gravity ( ρ ) as independent variables. We evaluated model performance using pseudo-R2, root mean square error (RMSE), a covariance matrix for the parameter estimates, mean prediction error (MPE) and relative mean prediction error (MPE%). Computation of MPE% was based on leave-one-out cross-validation. Values of pseudo-R2 and MPE% ranged 0.82–0.97 and 0.9%–2.8%, respectively. Model performance indicated that the models can be used over a wide range of geographical and ecological conditions in Malawi. Full article
Open AccessArticle Partitioning Longleaf Pine Soil Respiration into Its Heterotrophic and Autotrophic Components through Root Exclusion
Forests 2016, 7(2), 39; doi:10.3390/f7020039
Received: 16 November 2015 / Accepted: 27 January 2016 / Published: 6 February 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1508 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Rapid and accurate estimations of the heterotrophic and autotrophic components of total soil respiration (Rs) are important for calculating forest carbon budgets and for understanding carbon dynamics associated with natural and management-related disturbances. The objective of this study was to use
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Rapid and accurate estimations of the heterotrophic and autotrophic components of total soil respiration (Rs) are important for calculating forest carbon budgets and for understanding carbon dynamics associated with natural and management-related disturbances. The objective of this study was to use deep (60 cm) root exclusion tubes and paired control (i.e., no root exclusion) collars to estimate heterotrophic respiration (Rh) and Rs, respectively, in three 26-year-old longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) stands in western Georgia. Root biomass was measured in root exclusion tubes and control collars after 102–104 days of incubation and fine root biomass loss from root exclusion was used to quantify root decay. Mean Rs from control collars was 3.3 micromol·CO2·m−2·s−1. Root exclusion tubes decreased Rs, providing an estimate of Rh. Mean Rh was 2.7 micromol·CO2·m−2·s−1 when uncorrected by pretreatment variation, root decay, or soil moisture compared to 2.1 micromol·CO2·m−2·s−1 when Rh was corrected for root decay. The corresponding ratio of Rh to Rs ranged from 66% to 82%, depending on the estimation method. This study provides an estimate of Rh in longleaf pine forests, and demonstrates the potential for deep root exclusion tubes to provide relatively rapid assessments (i.e., ~40 days post-treatment) of Rh in similar forests. The range in Rh to Rs is comparable to other reports for similar temperate coniferous ecosystems. Full article
Open AccessCommunication Investigating Potential Toxicity of Leachate from Wood Chip Piles Generated by Roadside Biomass Operations
Forests 2016, 7(2), 40; doi:10.3390/f7020040
Received: 2 November 2015 / Revised: 26 January 2016 / Accepted: 1 February 2016 / Published: 9 February 2016
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Abstract
Roadside processing of wood biomass leaves chip piles of varying size depending upon whether they were created for temporary storage, spillage, or equipment maintenance. Wood chips left in these piles can generate leachate that contaminates streams when processing sites are connected to waterways.
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Roadside processing of wood biomass leaves chip piles of varying size depending upon whether they were created for temporary storage, spillage, or equipment maintenance. Wood chips left in these piles can generate leachate that contaminates streams when processing sites are connected to waterways. Leachate toxicity and chemistry were assessed for pure aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.), lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl.), hybrid white spruce (Picea engelmannii x glauca Parry), and black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) Britton) as well as from two wood chipping sites using mixes of lodgepole pine and hybrid or black spruce. Leachate was generated using rainfall simulation, a static 28-day laboratory assay, and a field-based exposure. Leachate generated by these exposures was analyzed for organic matter content, phenols, ammonia, pH, and toxicity. Findings indicate that all wood chip types produced a toxic leachate despite differences in their chemistry. The consistent toxicity response highlights the need for runoff management that will disconnect processing sites from aquatic environments. Full article
Open AccessArticle Development of Ash Dieback in South-Eastern Germany and the Increasing Occurrence of Secondary Pathogens
Forests 2016, 7(2), 41; doi:10.3390/f7020041
Received: 1 October 2015 / Revised: 18 January 2016 / Accepted: 3 February 2016 / Published: 15 February 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (3008 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Since its first identification in Poland in 2006, the ascomycete Hymenoscyphus fraxineus has caused massive dieback of Fraxinus excelsior in the countries of eastern, northern and central Europe. This work shows the development, expansion, and severity of the disease in south-eastern Germany for
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Since its first identification in Poland in 2006, the ascomycete Hymenoscyphus fraxineus has caused massive dieback of Fraxinus excelsior in the countries of eastern, northern and central Europe. This work shows the development, expansion, and severity of the disease in south-eastern Germany for a period of four years, starting in 2010. Differences between habitats, as well as age classes have been captured. The presence and the amount of potentially resistant trees were proven over the years, to determine how high the resistance level might be. Typical disease symptoms are the wilting of leaves, necrotic lesions in the bark and reddish discolorations of branches and stems. In addition, stem necroses also appear by infection with species of Armillaria. Therefore, special attention has been given to Armillaria species in affected ash stands but also to other secondary pathogens, like ash bark beetles. It is shown that breeding galleries of Hylesinus fraxini are only found in trees that have recently died and thus Hylesinus fraxini is still acting as a secondary opportunistic pathogen. In contrast, Armillaria spp. can be considered as serious pathogens of weakened ash trees. In different ash stands, typical symptoms of infection can be found. A relationship between stem base necrotic lesions and vitality was examined. It is shown that necrotic lesions severely contribute to accelerating the mortality of ash trees. In addition to the high infection pressure by H. fraxineus, the high inoculum of Armillaria in the soil facilitates further infections and, thus, likewise endangers the survival of potentially resistant trees. In the following years, forest conversion and seed harvest in affected ash stands will have to be urgently considered to avoid tree gaps on a large scale. Furthermore, infection assays of potentially resistant trees with ensuing breeding programmes should be initially started for the conservation of this ecologically and economically important tree species. Full article
Open AccessArticle Quantifying the Impact of Different Ways to Delimit Study Areas on the Assessment of Species Diversity of an Urban Forest
Forests 2016, 7(2), 42; doi:10.3390/f7020042
Received: 2 November 2015 / Revised: 25 January 2016 / Accepted: 28 January 2016 / Published: 15 February 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1900 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Assessing the species diversity of an urban forest is important for understanding its structure and functions, but the result can be affected by sampling methods, times, and delimitations of the study area. In this study, we examined the influence of different ways to
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Assessing the species diversity of an urban forest is important for understanding its structure and functions, but the result can be affected by sampling methods, times, and delimitations of the study area. In this study, we examined the influence of different ways to delimit boundaries of urban areas on the assessment of species diversity of urban forests through a case study conducted in Haikou, China. We surveyed the species diversity of the urban forest in Haikou twice using the same sampling protocol but two commonly used delimitations of the urban area. The two surveys produced significantly different estimates of species richness of the urban forest. Recorded species richness was 228 (144 woody and 84 herbaceous species) and 303 (164 woody and 139 herbaceous species) for the first and the second survey, respectively. The rarefaction analysis indicated that species richness of woody plants recorded in the two surveys could converge by doubling the sample size, but species richness of herbaceous plants was significantly different between the two surveys at the 95% confidence interval even at three times the original sample size. The value of the Simpson dissimilarity index between the two surveys was 0.417 and 0.357 for woody and herbaceous plants respectively, which implied noticeable dissimilarity of species compositions of plant assemblages in the two areas. We concluded that the assessment of biodiversity of an urban forest can be affected significantly by how the boundary of an urban area is defined. Caution should be taken when comparing species diversities of urban forests reported in different studies, especially when richness measures are used. Full article
Open AccessArticle Spatial Autoregressive Models for Stand Top and Stand Mean Height Relationship in Mixed Quercus mongolica Broadleaved Natural Stands of Northeast China
Forests 2016, 7(2), 43; doi:10.3390/f7020043
Received: 19 November 2015 / Accepted: 28 January 2016 / Published: 15 February 2016
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Abstract
The relationship of stand top and stand mean height is important for forest growth and yield modeling, but it has not been explored for natural mixed forests. Observations of stand top and stand mean height can present spatial dependence or autocorrelation, which should
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The relationship of stand top and stand mean height is important for forest growth and yield modeling, but it has not been explored for natural mixed forests. Observations of stand top and stand mean height can present spatial dependence or autocorrelation, which should be considered in modeling. Simultaneous autoregressive (SAR) models, including spatial lag model (SLM), spatial Durbin model (SDM) and spatial error model (SEM), within nine spatial weight matrices were utilized to model the stand top and stand mean height relationship in the mixed Quercus mongolica Fisch. ex Ledeb. broadleaved natural stands of Northeast China, using ordinary least squares (OLS) as a benchmark model. The results showed that there was a high linear relationship between stand top and stand mean height and that there was a positive spatial autocorrelation pattern in model residuals of OLS. Moreover, SEM and SDM performed better than OLS in terms of reducing the spatial dependence of model residuals and model fitting, regardless of which spatial weight matrix was used. SEM was better than SDM. SLM scarcely reduced the spatial autocorrelation of model residuals. Among nine spatial matrices in SEM, rook contiguous matrix performed best in model fitting, followed by inverse distances raised to the second power (1/d2) and local statistics model matrix (LSM). Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle High-Throughput Sequencing Shows High Fungal Diversity and Community Segregation in the Rhizospheres of Container-Grown Conifer Seedlings
Forests 2016, 7(2), 44; doi:10.3390/f7020044
Received: 25 November 2015 / Revised: 1 February 2016 / Accepted: 4 February 2016 / Published: 17 February 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1978 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Forest nurseries in Sweden produce ca. 360 million seedlings of Pinus sylvestris L. and Picea abies (L.) Karst. annually. Fungi represent the largest microbial component in rhizospheres and may significantly affect health and, consequently, quality of the seedlings. The aim of this study
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Forest nurseries in Sweden produce ca. 360 million seedlings of Pinus sylvestris L. and Picea abies (L.) Karst. annually. Fungi represent the largest microbial component in rhizospheres and may significantly affect health and, consequently, quality of the seedlings. The aim of this study was to assess fungi focusing on pathogens in roots and the sphagnum peat growth substrate of healthy-looking P. sylvestris and P. abies seedlings from nine forest nurseries situated in northern, central and southern regions of Sweden. We hypothesized that nursery stock and the growth substrate can provide a venue for dissemination of fungal diseases. In each nursery and for each tree species, 100 seedlings with the growth substrate were collected during the dormant period. DNA was isolated from parts of root systems and from samples of the growth substrate, amplified using internal transcribed spacer of rDNA as a marker and 454-sequenced. Clustering at 98.5% similarity of 169,844 high-quality sequences resulted in 619 non-singleton fungal taxa. Although results showed that management practices in forest nurseries generally give a healthy stock, latent establishment of pathogenic fungi in both roots and the growth substrate supported the hypothesis. Furthermore, seedling roots and the growth substrate were inhabited by distinct communities of fungi, and lifestyles of these fungi largely determined community segregation into particular ecological niche. Full article
Open AccessArticle Short-Term Belowground Responses to Thinning and Burning Treatments in Southwestern Ponderosa Pine Forests of the USA
Forests 2016, 7(2), 45; doi:10.3390/f7020045
Received: 8 September 2015 / Revised: 25 January 2016 / Accepted: 1 February 2016 / Published: 18 February 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2371 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Microbial-mediated decomposition and nutrient mineralization are major drivers of forest productivity. As landscape-scale fuel reduction treatments are being implemented throughout the fire-prone western United States of America, it is important to evaluate operationally how these wildfire mitigation treatments alter belowground processes. We quantified
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Microbial-mediated decomposition and nutrient mineralization are major drivers of forest productivity. As landscape-scale fuel reduction treatments are being implemented throughout the fire-prone western United States of America, it is important to evaluate operationally how these wildfire mitigation treatments alter belowground processes. We quantified these important belowground components before and after management-applied fuel treatments of thinning alone, thinning combined with prescribed fire, and prescribed fire in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) stands at the Southwest Plateau, Fire and Fire Surrogate site, Arizona. Fuel treatments did not alter pH, total carbon and nitrogen (N) concentrations, or base cations of the forest floor (O horizon) or mineral soil (0–5 cm) during this 2-year study. In situ rates of net N mineralization and nitrification in the surface mineral soil (0–15 cm) increased 6 months after thinning with prescribed fire treatments; thinning only resulted in net N immobilization. The rates returned to pre-treatment levels after one year. Based on phospholipid fatty acid composition, microbial communities in treated areas were similar to untreated areas (control) in the surface organic horizon and mineral soil (0–5 cm) after treatments. Soil potential enzyme activities were not significantly altered by any of the three fuel treatments. Our results suggest that a variety of one-time alternative fuel treatments can reduce fire hazard without degrading soil fertility. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessing Wildfire Risk in Cultural Heritage Properties Using High Spatial and Temporal Resolution Satellite Imagery and Spatially Explicit Fire Simulations: The Case of Holy Mount Athos, Greece
Forests 2016, 7(2), 46; doi:10.3390/f7020046
Received: 15 November 2015 / Revised: 4 February 2016 / Accepted: 14 February 2016 / Published: 19 February 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (4527 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fire management implications and the design of conservation strategies on fire prone landscapes within the UNESCO World Heritage Properties require the application of wildfire risk assessment at landscape level. The objective of this study was to analyze the spatial variation of wildfire risk
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Fire management implications and the design of conservation strategies on fire prone landscapes within the UNESCO World Heritage Properties require the application of wildfire risk assessment at landscape level. The objective of this study was to analyze the spatial variation of wildfire risk on Holy Mount Athos in Greece. Mt. Athos includes 20 monasteries and other structures that are threatened by increasing frequency of wildfires. Site-specific fuel models were created by measuring in the field several fuel parameters in representative natural fuel complexes, while the spatial extent of the fuel types was determined using a synergy of high-resolution imagery and high temporal information from medium spatial resolution imagery classified through object-based analysis and a machine learning classifier. The Minimum Travel Time (MTT) algorithm, as it is embedded in FlamMap software, was applied in order to evaluate Burn Probability (BP), Conditional Flame Length (CFL), Fire Size (FS), and Source-Sink Ratio (SSR). The results revealed low burn probabilities for the monasteries; however, nine out of the 20 monasteries have high fire potential in terms of fire intensity, which means that if an ignition occurs, an intense fire is expected. The outputs of this study may be used for decision-making for short-term predictions of wildfire risk at an operational level, contributing to fire suppression and management of UNESCO World Heritage Properties. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evidence on the Adaptive Recruitment of Chinese Cork Oak (Quercus variabilis Bl.): Influence on Repeated Germination and Constraint Germination by Food-Hoarding Animals
Forests 2016, 7(2), 47; doi:10.3390/f7020047
Received: 16 September 2015 / Revised: 7 January 2016 / Accepted: 14 February 2016 / Published: 20 February 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1539 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In drought temperate forest, seedling recruitment is highly dependent on seed burial by native animal dispersers. To prolong seed storage, animals often take measures to impede seed germination. Aiming to understand the strategic balance between the natural seed germination and the role played
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In drought temperate forest, seedling recruitment is highly dependent on seed burial by native animal dispersers. To prolong seed storage, animals often take measures to impede seed germination. Aiming to understand the strategic balance between the natural seed germination and the role played by animals in the constraint germination procedures, we investigated the stages on the germinated acorns of Chinese cork oak (Quercus variabilis Bl.) and the rodents’ behavior on the consequential delay in developmental processes of acorns in Mt. Taihangshan area of Jiyuan, Henan, China. The results showed that (1) Apodemus peninsulae Thomas excise radicles from germinated acorns before hoarding; (2) radicle-excised acorns re-germinate successfully if the excised radicle was un-lignified, but reverse if excised radicle was lignified; and (3) seedlings derived from radicle-excised acorns produce more lateral roots than that of sound acorns. We conclude that rodents take the radicle-excision behavior as a deliberate mechanism to slow the rapid germination of acorns; nevertheless, the acorns adaptively respond to this negative treatment and counteract the constraint from rodents by regermination to preserve the viability of the seeds. Consequently, this plays a significant role in forest recruitment. This study proves the new survival model of Chinese cork oak against animal predation, and will broaden theories of animal-forest interaction, forest succession and can be used as a meaningful venture to temperate forest restoration efforts. Full article

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Open AccessReview Financial Mechanisms to Improve the Supply of Ecosystem Services from Privately-Owned Australian Native Forests
Forests 2016, 7(2), 34; doi:10.3390/f7020034
Received: 1 September 2015 / Revised: 26 January 2016 / Accepted: 26 January 2016 / Published: 3 February 2016
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Abstract
Much of Australia’s native forest is privately-owned and is needing investment to maintain and improve the supply of a wide range of ecosystem services. This paper reviews mechanisms presently used in Australia to improve the supply of ecosystem services, with particular emphasis on
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Much of Australia’s native forest is privately-owned and is needing investment to maintain and improve the supply of a wide range of ecosystem services. This paper reviews mechanisms presently used in Australia to improve the supply of ecosystem services, with particular emphasis on financial mechanisms. Auction, green bond and biobanking schemes are widely and, so far, successfully used in a number of States, especially in projects where the actions required and ecosystem services can be readily measured. Measurement of biodiversity and biodiversity-based services remains problematic, despite some fairly widespread application of different measurement systems. Inadequate or variable measurement systems could engender a loss of investor interest if equivalence or gains cannot be appropriately verified. A new Biodiversity Investment Scheme is proposed, based on the structure used commercially in Managed Investment Schemes. The choice of mechanism, however, will be mainly determined by landowner attitudes to assignment of property rights, and by scale, the extent of public versus private consumption goods, and the transaction costs and risks. Full article
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