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Forests 2016, 7(8), 172; doi:10.3390/f7080172

Baseline Mortality Analysis Reveals Legacy of Contrasting Land Use Practices on the Structural Sustainability of Endangered Moroccan and Spanish Mountain Forests

1
Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York, Syracuse, NY 13 210, USA
2
Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
3
Departamento de Sistemas Físicos, Químicos y Naturales, Universidad Pablo de Olavide. Ctra. Utrera km. 1, 41002 Sevilla, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jesus Julio Camarero, Raúl Sánchez-Salguero and Juan Carlos Linares
Received: 23 June 2016 / Revised: 16 July 2016 / Accepted: 2 August 2016 / Published: 5 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Growth Response to Environmental Stress)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [3912 KB, uploaded 5 August 2016]   |  

Abstract

Disturbances can affect forest health and are important modulating factors of tree responses to environmental changes. However, standard methods are needed to assess and elucidate the relative effects of disturbance legacies on forest health among species. Here, structural sustainability was used to evaluate and to compare the impacts of contrasting disturbances on the health of Quercus ilex, Cedrus atlantica, and Abies pinsapo forest stands in Morocco and Spain. Disturbance effects on structural sustainability were related to type, severity, and land-use history, and showed inter-regional variability. Cedrus atlantica was structurally sustainable in its core distribution in Morocco, but not at its southern and northernmost geographical range limits. Quercus ilex was structurally sustainable in Morocco. Abies pinsapo was structurally sustainable at optimal elevation sites in Morocco (Rif Mts.), but considering the whole A. pinsapo dataset including Morocco and Spain, the species is structurally unsustainable due to excessive mortality. However, at the lower elevation plots in Spain, unsustainability was due to insufficient mortality. Although some forests were structurally sustainable, none of them were deemed healthy because none met their management objectives. Results also support the key role of disturbance regimes as drivers of forest structural sustainability and adaptive capacity. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; drought; forest health; anthropogenic disturbance climate change; drought; forest health; anthropogenic disturbance
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Castello, J.D.; Cale, J.A.; D’Angelo, C.M.; Linares, J.C. Baseline Mortality Analysis Reveals Legacy of Contrasting Land Use Practices on the Structural Sustainability of Endangered Moroccan and Spanish Mountain Forests. Forests 2016, 7, 172.

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