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Forests, Volume 7, Issue 4 (April 2016)

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Open AccessArticle Spatial Patterns of Irradiance and Advanced Reproduction along a Canopy Disturbance Severity Gradient in an Upland Hardwood Stand
Forests 2016, 7(4), 73; doi:10.3390/f7040073
Received: 7 January 2016 / Revised: 8 March 2016 / Accepted: 18 March 2016 / Published: 24 March 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1962 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Regeneration failure of Quercus in mature Quercus-dominated forests has been reported throughout the temperate zone. Quercus seedlings are often abundant in these forests, yet frequently fail to recruit to larger size classes despite canopy disturbances. To examine intra-stand patterns of advanced reproduction,
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Regeneration failure of Quercus in mature Quercus-dominated forests has been reported throughout the temperate zone. Quercus seedlings are often abundant in these forests, yet frequently fail to recruit to larger size classes despite canopy disturbances. To examine intra-stand patterns of advanced reproduction, competition, and irradiance in an upland Quercus stand, we installed a 2 ha plot that captured the canopy disturbance severity gradient caused by a wind event. To quantify disturbance severity and stand conditions, we inventoried all living and dead woody stems ≥5 cm diameter at breast height (dbh, 1.37 m above the surface) and quantified irradiance in 25 m2 quadrats (n = 800) using synchronized ceptometers. To inventory patterns of advanced reproduction within the plot, we recorded the species of every woody stem >1 m in height and <5 cm dbh. We also documented the species and height of every Quercus stem ≥0.5–<5 cm dbh and the species, height, and distance to each stem nearest the focal Quercus stem. At the genus-level, Quercus was the most common nearest neighbor. However, at the species-level, the most common nearest neighbors were Acer saccharum and Ostrya virginiana. Competition index values significantly differed by species (p < 0.01), but did not significantly differ by disturbance severity class and we found no significant interactions between species and disturbance class. Quercus advanced reproduction was significantly clustered through the study plot and cluster locations overlapped with clusters of high irradiance, but these patterns were scale-dependent. Our results indicate that an appreciation for intra-stand heterogeneity may improve forest management planning. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sub-Soiling and Genotype Selection Improves Populus Productivity Grown on a North Carolina Sandy Soil
Forests 2016, 7(4), 74; doi:10.3390/f7040074
Received: 26 February 2016 / Revised: 14 March 2016 / Accepted: 16 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1046 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This study reports the stem volume of 10 Populus genotypes in a randomized split-plot design with different tillage treatments (disking versus sub-soiling) after two years of growth. Height, diameter at breast height (DBH), stem aboveground volume index, survival, Melampsora rust resistance, leaf area
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This study reports the stem volume of 10 Populus genotypes in a randomized split-plot design with different tillage treatments (disking versus sub-soiling) after two years of growth. Height, diameter at breast height (DBH), stem aboveground volume index, survival, Melampsora rust resistance, leaf area index (LAI), chlorophyll content, and foliar nitrogen concentration (Foliar N) were measured to identify how tillage treatments might alter poplar growth. Stem volume index and LAI were positively correlated and differed significantly among tillage treatments, taxa, and genotypes. Melampsora rust resistance was also positively correlated with volume index, but significant differences were only detected among taxa and genotypes. Foliar N and chlorophyll did not correlate to stem volume for genotypes or tillage treatments. Overall, sub-soiling yielded 37% more estimated volume compared to disking. Within the sub-soiled treatments, four genotypes (140, 176, 185, and 356) had high survival (>80%) and produced substantial stem volume (>32 dm3·tree−1). These findings show that tillage practices do impact poplar stem volumes after two years and that sub-soiling improves productivity for poplar short rotation woody crops on loamy fine-sandy soils. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Biomass Energy Potential and Forest Carbon Stocks in Biscay (Spain)
Forests 2016, 7(4), 75; doi:10.3390/f7040075
Received: 25 November 2015 / Revised: 15 March 2016 / Accepted: 16 March 2016 / Published: 29 March 2016
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Abstract
The aim of this research is to identify, quantify and characterize the potential available forest biomass of Pinus radiata D. Don and Eucalyptus globulus Labill. across Biscay province in northern Spain. In order to do this, we have used information from the National
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The aim of this research is to identify, quantify and characterize the potential available forest biomass of Pinus radiata D. Don and Eucalyptus globulus Labill. across Biscay province in northern Spain. In order to do this, we have used information from the National Inventories of Spain to quantify the amount of carbon dioxide accumulated in the forests of Biscay by means of stratum-species-based forestry statistics. The total biomass and biomass fractions have been estimated using two different methods: allometric biomass equations (ABE) and biomass expansion factors (BEF). The second objective is to develop a methodology to quantify and produce a cartography of the prospective energy production of residual biomass from the most representative forest species of Biscay. For this purpose, we have used a Geographic Information System (GIS) computer tool. We have found that the stock of carbon accumulated in the main forest species in Biscay in 2014 amounts to 8.2 Tg (ABE) and 6.63 Tg (BEF) equivalent to 30 and 24.3 Tg of CO2, respectively. The quantity of forestry biomass residue (FBR) obtained has been estimated as 52,214 Mg·year-1 dry matter. This amount means a prospective energy supply of 947,000 GJ·year-1. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Ecofunctional Traits and Biomass Production in Leguminous Tree Species under Fertilization Treatments during Forest Restoration in Amazonia
Forests 2016, 7(4), 76; doi:10.3390/f7040076
Received: 21 December 2015 / Revised: 4 March 2016 / Accepted: 18 March 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4846 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: Choosing the correct species and fertilization treatments is a determining factor in the success of forest restoration. Methods: A field study was conducted in a degraded area near the Balbina hydroelectric dam in Amazonas State (AM), Brazil, to evaluate two hypotheses: (i)
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Background: Choosing the correct species and fertilization treatments is a determining factor in the success of forest restoration. Methods: A field study was conducted in a degraded area near the Balbina hydroelectric dam in Amazonas State (AM), Brazil, to evaluate two hypotheses: (i) leguminous tree species exhibit differences in growth, leaf nutrient content, and photosynthetic nutrient use efficiencies; and (ii) differences in these characteristics depend on the fertilization treatments to which the species have been subjected. Dipteryx odorata, Inga edulis and Schizolobium amazonicum were subjected to the following treatments: (T1) unfertilized control; (T2) post-planting chemical fertilization; (T3) post-planting organic fertilization and (T4) combined chemical and organic post-planting fertilization. Results: In general, I. edulis had the highest absolute growth rate of biomass under all of the fertilization treatments. I. edulis and S. amazonicum showed the highest growth rates under the T4 treatment. D. odorata showed the greatest responses under the T2 and T4 treatments. Native leguminous trees with higher photosynthetic performance and better nutrient use efficiency exhibited greater growth and biomass production. Conclusion: The results suggest that an adequate balance between leguminous species selection and fertilization will aid in the success of forest restoration in Amazonia. Full article
Open AccessArticle Climate Change Refugia, Fire Ecology and Management
Forests 2016, 7(4), 77; doi:10.3390/f7040077
Received: 29 January 2016 / Revised: 18 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 30 March 2016
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (3613 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Early climate change ideas warned of widespread species extinctions. As scientists have probed more deeply into species responses, a more nuanced perspective emerged indicating that some species may persist in microrefugia (refugia), including in mountainous terrain. Refugia are habitats that buffer climate changes
[...] Read more.
Early climate change ideas warned of widespread species extinctions. As scientists have probed more deeply into species responses, a more nuanced perspective emerged indicating that some species may persist in microrefugia (refugia), including in mountainous terrain. Refugia are habitats that buffer climate changes and allow species to persist in—and to potentially expand under—changing environmental conditions. While climate and species interactions in refugia have been noted as sources of uncertainty, land management practices and disturbances, such as wildland fire, should also be considered when assessing any given refugium. Our landscape scale study suggests that cold-air pools, an important type of small-scale refugia, have unique fire occurrence, frequency, and severity patterns in frequent-fire mixed conifer forests of California’s Sierra Nevada: cold-air pool refugia have less fire and if it occurs, it is lower severity. Therefore, individuals and small populations are less likely to be extirpated by fire. Active management, such as restoration and fuels treatments for climate change adaptation, may be required to maintain these distinctive and potentially important refugia. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effects of Elevated Ozone on Stoichiometry and Nutrient Pools of Phoebe Bournei (Hemsl.) Yang and Phoebe Zhennan S. Lee et F. N. Wei Seedlings in Subtropical China
Forests 2016, 7(4), 78; doi:10.3390/f7040078
Received: 29 December 2015 / Revised: 25 March 2016 / Accepted: 28 March 2016 / Published: 31 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1644 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tropospheric ozone (O3) is considered one of the most critical air pollutants in many parts of the world due to its detrimental effects on plants growth. However, the stoichiometric response of tree species to elevated ozone (O3) is poorly
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Tropospheric ozone (O3) is considered one of the most critical air pollutants in many parts of the world due to its detrimental effects on plants growth. However, the stoichiometric response of tree species to elevated ozone (O3) is poorly documented. In order to understand the effects of elevated ozone on the stoichiometry and nutrient pools of Phoebe bournei (Hemsl.) Yang (P. bournei)and Phoebe zhennan S. Lee et F. N. Wei (P. zhennan), the present study examined the carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorous (P) concentrations, stoichiometric ratios, and stocks in foliar, stem, and root for P. bournei and P. zhennan with three ozone fumigation treatments (Ambient air, 100 ppb and 150 ppb). The results suggest that elevated ozone significantly increased the N concentrations in individual tissues for both of P. bournei and P. zhennan. On the contrary, elevated ozone decreased the C:N ratios in individual tissues for both of P. bournei and P. zhennan because the C concentration remained stable under the ozone stress. The P concentration, and C:P and N:P ratios in individual tissues for both P. bournei and P. zhennan did not exhibit consistent variation tendency with elevated ozone. Elevated ozone sharply reduced the total C, N, and P stocks and altered the pattern of C, N, and P allocation for both P. bournei and P. zhennan. The present study suggests that tropospheric ozone enrichment should be considered an important environmental factor on stoichiometry of tree species. Full article
Open AccessArticle Aboveground Biomass and Carbon in a South African Mistbelt Forest and the Relationships with Tree Species Diversity and Forest Structures
Forests 2016, 7(4), 79; doi:10.3390/f7040079
Received: 15 January 2016 / Revised: 25 March 2016 / Accepted: 29 March 2016 / Published: 8 April 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1784 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biomass and carbon stocks are key information criteria to understand the role of forests in regulating global climate. However, for a bio-rich continent like Africa, ground-based measurements for accurate estimation of carbon are scarce, and the variables affecting the forest carbon are not
[...] Read more.
Biomass and carbon stocks are key information criteria to understand the role of forests in regulating global climate. However, for a bio-rich continent like Africa, ground-based measurements for accurate estimation of carbon are scarce, and the variables affecting the forest carbon are not well understood. Here, we present the first biomass study conducted in South Africa Mistbelt forests. Using data from a non-destructive sampling of 59 trees of four species, we (1) evaluated the accuracy of multispecies aboveground biomass (AGB) models, using predictors such as diameter at breast height (DBH), total height (H) and wood density; (2) estimated the amount of biomass and carbon stored in the aboveground compartment of Mistbelt forests and (3) explored the variation of aboveground carbon (AGC) in relation to tree species diversity and structural variables. We found significant effects of species on wood density and AGB. Among the candidate models, the model that incorporated DBH and H as a compound variable (DBH2 × H) was the best fitting. AGB and AGC values were highly variable across all plots, with average values of 358.1 Mg·ha−1 and 179.0 Mg·C·ha−1, respectively. Few species contributed 80% of AGC stock, probably as a result of selection effect. Stand basal area, basal area of the ten most important species and basal area of the largest trees were the most influencing variables. Tree species richness was also positively correlated with AGC, but the basal area of smaller trees was not. These results enable insights into the role of biodiversity in maintaining carbon storage and the possibilities for sustainable strategies for timber harvesting without risk of significant biomass decline. Full article
Open AccessArticle Population Structure and Genetic Relationships of Melia Taxa in China Assayed with Sequence-Related Amplified Polymorphism (SRAP) Markers
Forests 2016, 7(4), 81; doi:10.3390/f7040081
Received: 21 January 2016 / Revised: 29 March 2016 / Accepted: 1 April 2016 / Published: 6 April 2016
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Abstract
The uncertainty about whether, in China, the genus Melia (Meliaceae) consists of one species (M. azedarach Linnaeus) or two species (M. azedarach and M. toosendan Siebold & Zuccarini) remains to be clarified. Although the two putative species are morphologically distinguishable, genetic
[...] Read more.
The uncertainty about whether, in China, the genus Melia (Meliaceae) consists of one species (M. azedarach Linnaeus) or two species (M. azedarach and M. toosendan Siebold & Zuccarini) remains to be clarified. Although the two putative species are morphologically distinguishable, genetic evidence supporting their taxonomic separation is lacking. Here, we investigated the genetic diversity and population structure of 31 Melia populations across the natural distribution range of the genus in China. We used sequence-related amplified polymorphism (SRAP) markers and obtained 257 clearly defined bands amplified by 20 primers from 461 individuals. The polymorphic loci (P) varied from 35.17% to 76.55%, with an overall mean of 58.24%. Nei’s gene diversity (H) ranged from 0.13 to 0.31, with an overall mean of 0.20. Shannon’s information index (I) ranged from 0.18 to 0.45, with an average of 0.30. The genetic diversity of the total population (Ht) and within populations (Hs) was 0.37 ± 0.01 and 0.20 ± 0.01, respectively. Population differentiation was substantial (Gst = 0.45), and gene flow was low. Of the total variation, 31.41% was explained by differences among putative species, 19.17% among populations within putative species, and 49.42% within populations. Our results support the division of genus Melia into two species, which is consistent with the classification based on the morphological differentiation. Full article
Open AccessArticle How natural Forest Conversion Affects Insect Biodiversity in the Peruvian Amazon: Can Agroforestry Help?
Forests 2016, 7(4), 82; doi:10.3390/f7040082
Received: 31 August 2015 / Revised: 6 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 8 April 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2054 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The Amazonian rainforest is a unique ecosystem that comprises habitat for thousands of animal species. Over the last decades, the ever-increasing human population has caused forest conversion to agricultural land with concomitant high biodiversity losses, mainly near a number of fast-growing cities in
[...] Read more.
The Amazonian rainforest is a unique ecosystem that comprises habitat for thousands of animal species. Over the last decades, the ever-increasing human population has caused forest conversion to agricultural land with concomitant high biodiversity losses, mainly near a number of fast-growing cities in the Peruvian Amazon. In this research, we evaluated insect species richness and diversity in five ecosystems: natural forests, multistrata agroforests, cocoa agroforests, annual cropping monoculture and degraded grasslands. We determined the relationship between land use intensity and insect diversity changes. Collected insects were taxonomically determined to morphospecies and data evaluated using standardized biodiversity indices. The highest species richness and abundance were found in natural forests, followed by agroforestry systems. Conversely, monocultures and degraded grasslands were found to be biodiversity-poor ecosystems. Diversity indices were relatively high for all ecosystems assessed with decreasing values along the disturbance gradient. An increase in land use disturbance causes not only insect diversity decreases but also complete changes in species composition. As agroforests, especially those with cocoa, currently cover many hectares of tropical land and show a species composition similar to natural forest sites, we can consider them as biodiversity reservoirs for some of the rainforest insect species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation in Forests)
Open AccessArticle Burn Severity Dominates Understory Plant Community Response to Fire in Xeric Jack Pine Forests
Forests 2016, 7(4), 83; doi:10.3390/f7040083
Received: 29 February 2016 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 9 April 2016 / Published: 15 April 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1960 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fire is the most common disturbance in northern boreal forests, and large fires are often associated with highly variable burn severities across the burnt area. We studied the understory plant community response to a range of burn severities and pre-fire stand age four
[...] Read more.
Fire is the most common disturbance in northern boreal forests, and large fires are often associated with highly variable burn severities across the burnt area. We studied the understory plant community response to a range of burn severities and pre-fire stand age four growing seasons after the 2011 Richardson Fire in xeric jack pine forests of northern Alberta, Canada. Burn severity had the greatest impact on post-fire plant communities, while pre-fire stand age did not have a significant impact. Total plant species richness and cover decreased with disturbance severity, such that the greatest richness was in low severity burns (average 28 species per 1-m2 quadrat) and plant cover was lowest in the high severity burns (average 16%). However, the response of individual plant groups differed. Lichens and bryophytes were most common in low severity burns and were effectively eliminated from the regenerating plant community at higher burn severities. In contrast, graminoid cover and richness were positively related to burn severity, while forbs did not respond significantly to burn severity, but were impacted by changes in soil chemistry with increased cover at pH >4.9. Our results indicate the importance of non-vascular plants to the overall plant community in this harsh environment and that the plant community is environmentally limited rather than recruitment or competition limited, as is often the case in more mesic forest types. If fire frequency and severity increase as predicted, we may see a shift in plant communities from stress-tolerant species, such as lichens and ericaceous shrubs, to more colonizing species, such as certain graminoids. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Compliance with PEFC Forest Certification Indicators with Remote Sensing
Forests 2016, 7(4), 85; doi:10.3390/f7040085
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 12 April 2016 / Published: 16 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2100 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Correction
Abstract
The majority of Finnish forests (95%) are certified by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). It is a worldwide leading forest certification scheme. The aim of this study is to analyze the Finnish National Standard of PEFC certification and identify
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The majority of Finnish forests (95%) are certified by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). It is a worldwide leading forest certification scheme. The aim of this study is to analyze the Finnish National Standard of PEFC certification and identify the indicators that can be reliably estimated with remote sensing (RS) techniques. The retrieved data are further verified with a chosen geographical information system (GIS) application. The rapid increase in certified areas globally has created a certain level of mistrust that makes the evaluation by certification bodies (CB) questionable. Firstly, the area of the field audit is limited, and the verification results are based on sampling techniques. Secondly, the evaluation of the indicators of sustainable forest management (SFM) is based on auditor expertise and thus is prone to bias. Thirdly, the actual condition of large forest stands in Eastern and Northern Finland are not easy to determine and verify. Thus, PEFC certification in Finland, in particular, faces numerous challenges in regard to the quality of field assessment due to the intensive forest management model with a high number of annual felling sites. At the same time, small scale and scattered harvesting sites are difficult to assess. Our proposed approach combined with remote assessment reliably verified 18% of the standard and could substantially reduce the costs associated with field audits in Finland. The results from our verification analysis are spatially explicit and geographically referenced and can be published in open access portals for interested parties. Moreover, it provides improved transparency in field assessments for the PEFC certification. The novel approach proposed here requires further investigation at larger scales (e.g., national level). Full article
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Open AccessArticle Even-Aged vs. Uneven-Aged Silviculture: Implications for Multifunctional Management of Southern Pine Ecosystems
Forests 2016, 7(4), 86; doi:10.3390/f7040086
Received: 5 February 2016 / Revised: 26 March 2016 / Accepted: 12 April 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
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Abstract
We evaluated even- and uneven-aged silvicultural options for slash pine (Pinus elliottii Engelm.) using empirical data and the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) model. Data were collected from a mature unthinned slash pine plantation in a flatwoods site in Florida, and used to
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We evaluated even- and uneven-aged silvicultural options for slash pine (Pinus elliottii Engelm.) using empirical data and the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) model. Data were collected from a mature unthinned slash pine plantation in a flatwoods site in Florida, and used to simulate six scenarios of even- and uneven-aged silvicultural regimes applied to slash pine stands, including a no-action option. These alternative silvicultural regimes were evaluated for multiple benefits including timber production, carbon storage and stand structural diversity over a period of 100 years. None of the silvicultural regimes maximized all the benefits. While even-aged management options were more efficient in total merchantable timber production (9.78 to 11.02 m3·ha−1·year−1) and overall carbon stocks (3.05 to 3.47 metric tons·ha−1·year−1), uneven-aged management options created overall more complex stand structure (Stand Structural Diversity (computed from Shannon’s Indices values) = 1.92) and maintained a steady flow of yields, particularly sawtimber (34.29 to 58.46 m3·ha−1 every 10 year) and aboveground carbon stocks (56.9 to 77.2 metric tons·ha−1). Optimal achievement of multiple benefits across the landscape, therefore, may require maintaining an assortment of management strategies. Both even- and uneven-aged management options have the potential to improve production and carbon storage of pine forests and are a substantial improvement over no action. Full article
Open AccessArticle Deriving Merchantable Volume in Poplar through a Localized Tapering Function from Non-Destructive Terrestrial Laser Scanning
Forests 2016, 7(4), 87; doi:10.3390/f7040087
Received: 19 October 2015 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 9 April 2016 / Published: 20 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1329 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Timber volume is an important ecological component in forested landscapes. The application of terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) to volume estimation has been widely accepted though few species have well-calibrated taper functions. This research uses TLS technology in poplar (Populus × canadensis Moench
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Timber volume is an important ecological component in forested landscapes. The application of terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) to volume estimation has been widely accepted though few species have well-calibrated taper functions. This research uses TLS technology in poplar (Populus × canadensis Moench cv. ‘I-72/58’) to extract stem diameter at different tree heights and establish the relationship between point cloud data and stem curve, which constitutes the basis for volume estimation of single trees and the stand. Eight plots were established and scanned by TLS. Stem curve functions were then fitted after extraction of diameters at different height, and tree heights from the point cloud data. Lastly, six functions were evaluated by R2 and RMSE. A modified Schumacher equation was the most suitable taper function. Volume estimates from the TLS-derived taper function were better than those derived using the stem-analysis data. Finally, regression analysis showed that predictions of stem size were similar when data were based on TLS versus stem analysis. Its high accuracy and efficiency indicates that TLS technology can play an important role in forest inventory assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Ground Observations through Terrestrial Point Clouds)
Open AccessArticle Developing Biomass Equations for Western Hemlock and Red Alder Trees in Western Oregon Forests
Forests 2016, 7(4), 88; doi:10.3390/f7040088
Received: 29 February 2016 / Revised: 15 April 2016 / Accepted: 19 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1148 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biomass estimates are required for reporting carbon, assessing feedstock availability, and assessing forest fire threat. We developed diameter- and height-based biomass equations for Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.) and red alder (Alnus rubra Bong.) trees in Western Oregon. A system
[...] Read more.
Biomass estimates are required for reporting carbon, assessing feedstock availability, and assessing forest fire threat. We developed diameter- and height-based biomass equations for Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.) and red alder (Alnus rubra Bong.) trees in Western Oregon. A system of component biomass equations was fitted simultaneously with a constrained seemingly unrelated regression. Additionally, a linear model that predicts total aboveground biomass as a function of DBH and height was also fitted. The predicted total biomass was then apportioned to different components according to the predicted proportions from beta, Dirichlet, and multinomial log-linear regressions. Accuracy of these methods differed between species with higher root mean squared error (RMSE) being produced in red alder trees. Within species, the accuracy of the equation for bole biomass was better than the equations for other components. None of these methods stood out as a clear winner, but the multinomial log-linear regression produced marginally better results compared to other methods in terms of RMSE, except for Western hemlock bark biomass and red alder bole and branch biomass. The equations based on a seemingly unrelated regression provided lower RMSEs for those species-component combinations. Full article
Open AccessArticle Plant Diversity along the Eastern and Western Slopes of Baima Snow Mountain, China
Forests 2016, 7(4), 89; doi:10.3390/f7040089
Received: 23 September 2015 / Revised: 28 March 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3079 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Species richness and turnover rates differed between the western and eastern aspects of Baima Snow Mountain: maximum species richness (94 species in a transect of 1000 m2) was recorded at 2800 m on the western aspect and at 3400 m on
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Species richness and turnover rates differed between the western and eastern aspects of Baima Snow Mountain: maximum species richness (94 species in a transect of 1000 m2) was recorded at 2800 m on the western aspect and at 3400 m on the eastern aspect (126 species), which also recorded a much higher value of gamma diversity (501 species) than the western aspect (300 species). The turnover rates were the highest in the transition zones between different vegetation types, whereas species-area curves showed larger within-transect beta diversity at middle elevations. The effect of elevation on alpha diversity was due mainly to the differences in seasonal temperature and moisture, and these environmental factors mattered more than spatial distances to the turnover rates along the elevation gradient, although the impact of the environmental factors differed with the growth form (herb, shrubs or trees) of the species. The differences in the patterns of plant biodiversity between the two aspects helped to assess several hypotheses that seek to explain such patterns, to highlight the impacts of contemporary climate and historical and regional factors and to plan biological conservation and forest management in this region more scientifically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation in Forests)
Open AccessArticle Changes in Structure and Diversity of Woody Plants in a Secondary Mixed Pine-Oak Forest in the Sierra Madre del Sur of Mexico
Forests 2016, 7(4), 90; doi:10.3390/f7040090
Received: 29 February 2016 / Revised: 14 April 2016 / Accepted: 15 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3121 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The biotic province of the Sierra Madre del Sur presents a mosaic of woodlands at different successional stages due to frequent modifications in land use. In this study, we analyzed changes in woody flora across three successional stages of pine-oak forest: early, intermediate,
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The biotic province of the Sierra Madre del Sur presents a mosaic of woodlands at different successional stages due to frequent modifications in land use. In this study, we analyzed changes in woody flora across three successional stages of pine-oak forest: early, intermediate, and mature. Vegetation composition and diversity were characterized in 10 plots (each 0.28 ha). The mature stage had the highest values for species richness, abundance, and diversity. Pioneer plants were dominant in the early-successional site and may promote the establishment of late-successional species. The vegetation structure was more complex in the mature stage, where members of the Quercus genus were co-dominant with Pinus species. Pine tree richness was highest in the early-successional stage, and its abundance increased at the intermediate-successional site. These results suggest that Pinus species can grow in perturbed and sunny environments but also require favorable edaphic and microclimatic conditions, such as those found in intermediate woodlands. Results of this fieldwork support the initial floristic composition succession model, which suggests that species present at early stages will also occur in subsequent stages. Ecological succession may be considered to be a natural restoration process, and thus, conservation strategies should focus on maintaining distinct successional communities in addition to mature forests in order to preserve a high number of species. Full article
Open AccessArticle Recovery of Vegetation Cover and Soil after the Removal of Sheep in Socorro Island, Mexico
Forests 2016, 7(4), 91; doi:10.3390/f7040091
Received: 4 February 2016 / Revised: 20 April 2016 / Accepted: 20 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
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Abstract
For over 140 years, the habitat of Socorro Island in the Mexican Pacific has been altered by the presence of exotic sheep. Overgrazing, jointly with tropical storms, has caused soil erosion, and more than 2000 hectares of native vegetation have been lost. Sheep
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For over 140 years, the habitat of Socorro Island in the Mexican Pacific has been altered by the presence of exotic sheep. Overgrazing, jointly with tropical storms, has caused soil erosion, and more than 2000 hectares of native vegetation have been lost. Sheep eradication was conducted from 2009 to 2012. Since then, the vegetation has begun to recover passively, modifying soil properties. The objective of our study was to verify that this island was resilient enough to be recovered and in a relatively short time scale. To confirm our hypothesis, we analyzed changes in the physical-chemical properties of the soil and vegetation cover, the last one in different times and habitats after sheep eradication. The change in vegetation cover was estimated by comparing the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) between 2008 and 2013. In sites altered by feral sheep, soil compaction was assessed, and soil samples were taken, analyzing pH, electrical conductivity, organic carbon, total nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium. After a year of total sheep eradication, clear indications in the recovery of vegetation cover and improvement of soil quality parameters were observed and confirmed, specifically compaction and nitrogen, organic carbon, phosphorus, and calcium. The results seem to support our hypothesis. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview Disturbance Agents and Their Associated Effects on the Health of Interior Douglas-Fir Forests in the Central Rocky Mountains
Forests 2016, 7(4), 80; doi:10.3390/f7040080
Received: 18 January 2016 / Revised: 23 March 2016 / Accepted: 30 March 2016 / Published: 6 April 2016
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Abstract
Interior Douglas-fir is a prevalent forest type throughout the central Rocky Mountains. Past management actions, specifically fire suppression, have led to an expansion of this forest type. Although Douglas-fir forests cover a broad geographic range, few studies have described the interactive effects of
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Interior Douglas-fir is a prevalent forest type throughout the central Rocky Mountains. Past management actions, specifically fire suppression, have led to an expansion of this forest type. Although Douglas-fir forests cover a broad geographic range, few studies have described the interactive effects of various disturbance agents on forest health conditions. In this paper, we review pertinent literature describing the roles, linkages, and mechanisms by which disturbances, including insect outbreaks, pathogens, fire, and other abiotic factors, affect the development, structure, and distribution of interior montane forests primarily comprised of Douglas-fir. We also discuss how these effects may influence important resource values such as water, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, timber, and recreation. Finally, we identify gaps where further research may increase our understanding of these disturbance agents, their interacting roles, and how they influence long-term forest health. Full article
Open AccessReview Nutritional Prescriptions for Eucalyptus Plantations: Lessons Learned from Spain
Forests 2016, 7(4), 84; doi:10.3390/f7040084
Received: 29 February 2016 / Revised: 12 April 2016 / Accepted: 13 April 2016 / Published: 15 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1212 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Eucalyptus globulus Labill is the main exotic broadleaf species planted and managed for pulp and energy production in Spain, where it covers an area of more than 0.6 million ha. The climatic and soil conditions of the planting areas range from the predominantly
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Eucalyptus globulus Labill is the main exotic broadleaf species planted and managed for pulp and energy production in Spain, where it covers an area of more than 0.6 million ha. The climatic and soil conditions of the planting areas range from the predominantly acidic or fertile soils developed over limestone in Atlantic areas of the north and northwest of the Iberian Peninsula to the less weathered soils developed from slates, sandy deposits or limestone in the drier southwest. The widely varying conditions explain the large differences in proposed fertilizer prescriptions. This review paper provides an analysis of the proposed practices and prescriptions by considering trial results and the need to develop site specific prescriptions for seedling standards and fertilization at planting establishment. Analysis of nutritional studies and of nutrient balances over a whole rotation is presented in order to provide basic information for defining maintenance fertilization, identified as the main bottleneck for sustainable wood production in these stands. Different fertilization practices are used by non industrial owners and Spanish pulp companies, with the last one applying a more intense management relying in more fertilization. A complete consideration of nutrition-related operation and decisions is shown to be essential for maintaining potential productivity, reduce biotic and abiotic damages and reduce mineral fertilization needs. Full article

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