Forests2015, 6(5), 1537-1556; doi:10.3390/f6051537 - published 30 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Blight-resistant American chestnut (Castanea dentata) may soon be commercially available, but few studies have tested methods to produce high quality seedlings that will be competitive after planting. This study evaluated the performance of one American, one Chinese (C. mollissima), one second-generation backcross (BC3F2), and 10 third-generation backcross chestnut families (BC3F3). We examine growth over one year in a commercial tree nursery in east Tennessee. We examined relationships among nut size and weight and seedling growth, between germination timing and seedling survival, and between germination percentage and growth. Across the population tested, a 1 g increase in nut weight corresponded to a 6 cm increase in seedling height, a 0.5 mm increase in root collar diameter and one additional first order lateral root, but models had low predictive power. BC3F3 chestnuts grew similarly to American chestnuts, with substantial differences in growth among chestnut families within generation. Nuts that germinated by 23 April had greater than 1955 odds of surviving the first growing season than nuts that germinated in late May. American and backcross chestnut growth slowed in late June, presumably due to exhaustion of their cotyledons before leaf expansion. These results will help nursery managers refine cultural practices to maximize growth of backcross chestnuts.
Forests2015, 6(5), 1516-1536; doi:10.3390/f6051516 - published 30 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Landuse governance in the Brazilian Amazon has undergone significant changes in the last decade. At the national level, law enforcement capacity has increased and downstream industries linked to commodity chains responsible for deforestation have begun to monitor some of their suppliers’ impacts on forests. At the municipal level, local actors have launched a Green Municipality initiative, aimed at eliminating deforestation and supporting green supply chains at the territorial level. In this paper, we analyze the land use transition since 2001 in Paragominas—the first Green Municipality—and discuss the limits of the governance arrangements underpinning these changes. Our work draws on a spatially explicit analysis of biophysical variables and qualitative information collected in interviews with key private and public stakeholders of the main commodity chains operating in the region. We argue that, up to now, the emerging multi-level scheme of land governance has not succeeded in promoting large-scale land use intensification, reforestation and rehabilitation of degraded lands. Moreover, private governance mechanisms based on improved product standards, fail to benefit from potential successful partnerships between the public and private sector at the territorial level. We propose a governance approach that adopts a broader territorial focus as a way forward.
Forests2015, 6(5), 1500-1515; doi:10.3390/f6051500 - published 30 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this paper a new concept for modeling uneven-aged forests (UEAF) is presented. The term UEAF in this article encloses all forests that deviate from the even-aged structure. The matrix model is area-based, in that the forest under study is described by a distribution of areas over fixed state-spaces spanned by stem number and volume per hectare classes. Dynamics is introduced as transitions of areas inside the state-space during the simulation. Harvesting activities and the occurrence of calamities are explicitly handled. The model is designed to be suitable for large-scale analyses. The concept was tested in an application to Austrian National Forest Inventory (NFI) data. Results shown, including a comparison to older inventory data, indicate that it is worth further elaborating on the concept and the model. The work will be continued and in the next step the model concept will be applied in several other countries.
Forests2015, 6(5), 1476-1499; doi:10.3390/f6051476 - published 30 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Fire is an intrinsic element of many forest ecosystems; it shapes their ecological processes, determines species composition and influences landscape structure. However, wildfires may: have undesirable effects on biodiversity and vegetation coverage; produce carbon emissions to the atmosphere; release smoke affecting human health; and cause loss of lives and property. There have been increasing concerns about the potential impacts of climate variability and change on forest fires. Climate change can alter factors that influence the occurrence of fire ignitions, fuel availability and fuel flammability. This review paper aims to identify tools and methods used for gathering information about the impacts of climate variability and change on forest fires, forest fuels and the probability of fires. Tools to assess the impacts of climate variability and change on forest fires include: remote sensing, dynamic global vegetation and landscape models, integrated fire-vegetation models, fire danger rating systems, empirical models and fire behavior models. This review outlines each tool in terms of its characteristics, spatial and temporal resolution, limitations and applicability of the results. To enhance and improve tool performance, each must be continuously tested in all types of forest ecosystems.
Forests2015, 6(5), 1454-1475; doi:10.3390/f6051454 - published 29 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Promoting tropical forest sustainability among corporate players is a major challenge. Many tools have been developed, but without much success. Southeast Asia has become a laboratory of globalization processes, where the development and success of agribusiness transnationals raises questions about their commitment to environmental concerns. An abundance of literature discusses what determines the behavior of Asian corporations, with a particular emphasis on cultural factors. Our hypothesis is that financial factors, such as ownership structure, may also have a fundamental role. We analyzed the audited accounts of four major Asian agribusiness transnationals. Using network analysis, we deciphered how the 931 companies relate to each other and determine the behavior of the transnationals to which they belong. We compared various metrics with the environmental commitment of these transnationals. We found that ownership structures reflect differences in flexibility, control and transaction costs, but not in ethnicities. Capital and its control, ownership structure, and flexibility explain 97% of the environmental behavior. It means that existing market-based tools to promote environmental sustainability do not engage transnationals at the scale where most of their behavior is determined. For the first time, the inner mechanisms of corporate governance are unraveled in agricultural and forest sustainability. New implications such as the convergence of environmental sustainability with family business sustainability emerged.
Forests2015, 6(5), 1439-1453; doi:10.3390/f6051439 - published 28 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Effective population size (Ne) is a crucial metric for evaluating the current status of genetic diversity and conservation management.Population of Kandelia obovata, a mangrove species that is patchily distributed along the estuaries off Southeastern China, is genetically structured. Here, we applied skyline analyses to infer the demographic history of K. obovata based on Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms (AFLP) data. Congruent trends of population growth rate among populations, but concurrent change in Ne estimates, were inferred in all populations. The recent rapid habitat expansion explains the high census population size but small Ne of populations in Northern Taiwan. Our study also revealed lower Ne of reforested populations than their sources. In silico demographic analyses simulate the small or biased sampling of seedlings for reforestation and revealed over 90% and 99% Ne reduction when only 1/2 and 1/10 samples were collected, respectively. These results emphasize the importance of a comprehensive sampling of seeds for restoration. Overall, this study rendered, not only the current Ne of K. obovata populations, but also indicates the importance of Ne estimation on restoration.