Open AccessFeature PaperCommentary
Lessons from Research for Sustainable Development and Conservation in Borneo
Forests 2016, 7(12), 314; doi:10.3390/f7120314 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
I present a brief synopsis of six key lessons provided by research on forest ecology and conservation, focusing particularly on the Malaysian state of Sabah in northeastern Borneo. These lessons are generalizable to other contexts, especially for tropical developing nations, where surviving forests
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I present a brief synopsis of six key lessons provided by research on forest ecology and conservation, focusing particularly on the Malaysian state of Sabah in northeastern Borneo. These lessons are generalizable to other contexts, especially for tropical developing nations, where surviving forests are under growing pressures from a range of human activities. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Dominant Voice amidst Not Enough People: Analysing the Legitimacy of Mexico’s REDD+ Readiness Process
Forests 2016, 7(12), 313; doi:10.3390/f7120313 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In the development of national governance systems for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+), countries struggle with ensuring that decision-making processes include a variety of actors (i.e., input legitimacy) and represent their diverse views in REDD+ policy documents (i.e., output legitimacy).
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In the development of national governance systems for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+), countries struggle with ensuring that decision-making processes include a variety of actors (i.e., input legitimacy) and represent their diverse views in REDD+ policy documents (i.e., output legitimacy). We examine these two dimensions of legitimacy using Mexico’s REDD+ readiness process during a four-year period (2011–2014) as a case study. To identify REDD+ actors and how they participate in decision-making we used a stakeholder analysis; to assess actors’ views and the extent to which these views are included in the country’s official REDD+ documents we conducted a discourse analysis. We found low level of input legitimacy in so far as that the federal government environment agencies concentrate most decision-making power and key land-use sectors and local people’s representatives are absent in decision-making forums. We also observed that the REDD+ discourse held by government agencies and both multilateral and international conservation organisations is dominant in policy documents, while the other two identified discourses, predominantly supported by national and civil society organisations and the academia, are partly, or not at all, reflected in such documents. We argue that Mexico’s REDD+ readiness process should become more inclusive, decentralised, and better coordinated to allow for the deliberation and institutionalisation of different actors’ ideas in REDD+ design. Our analysis and recommendations are relevant to other countries in the global South embarking on REDD+ design and implementation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Predictive Modeling of Black Spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) Wood Density Using Stand Structure Variables Derived from Airborne LiDAR Data in Boreal Forests of Ontario
Forests 2016, 7(12), 311; doi:10.3390/f7120311 -
Abstract
Our objective was to model the average wood density in black spruce trees in representative stands across a boreal forest landscape based on relationships with predictor variables extracted from airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) point cloud data. Increment core samples were collected
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Our objective was to model the average wood density in black spruce trees in representative stands across a boreal forest landscape based on relationships with predictor variables extracted from airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) point cloud data. Increment core samples were collected from dominant or co-dominant black spruce trees in a network of 400 m2 plots distributed among forest stands representing the full range of species composition and stand development across a 1,231,707 ha forest management unit in northeastern Ontario, Canada. Wood quality data were generated from optical microscopy, image analysis, X-ray densitometry and diffractometry as employed in SilviScan™. Each increment core was associated with a set of field measurements at the plot level as well as a suite of LiDAR-derived variables calculated on a 20 × 20 m raster from a wall-to-wall coverage at a resolution of ~1 point m−2. We used a multiple linear regression approach to identify important predictor variables and describe relationships between stand structure and wood density for average black spruce trees in the stands we observed. A hierarchical classification model was then fitted using random forests to make spatial predictions of mean wood density for average trees in black spruce stands. The model explained 39 percent of the variance in the response variable, with an estimated root mean square error of 38.8 (kg·m−3). Among the predictor variables, P20 (second decile LiDAR height in m) and quadratic mean diameter were most important. Other predictors describing canopy depth and cover were of secondary importance and differed according to the modeling approach. LiDAR-derived variables appear to capture differences in stand structure that reflect different constraints on growth rates, determining the proportion of thin-walled earlywood cells in black spruce stems, and ultimately influencing the pattern of variation in important wood quality attributes such as wood density. A spatial characterization of variation in a desirable wood quality attribute, such as density, enhances the possibility for value chain optimization, which could allow the forest industry to be more competitive through efficient planning for black spruce management by including an indication of suitability for specific products as a modeled variable derived from standard inventory data. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Foliage Chemistry of Pinus baksiana in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, Canada
Forests 2016, 7(12), 312; doi:10.3390/f7120312 -
Abstract
Industrial emissions in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR), Alberta, Canada, have caused concerns about the effect of oil sands operations on the surrounding terrestrial environments, including jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) stands. We collected jack pine needles from 19 sites in
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Industrial emissions in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR), Alberta, Canada, have caused concerns about the effect of oil sands operations on the surrounding terrestrial environments, including jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) stands. We collected jack pine needles from 19 sites in the AOSR (13–128 km from main operations) for foliar chemical analyses to investigate the environmental impact on jack pine. Pine needles from three age classes, the current annual growth (CAG, 2011), one year and two year old pine needles, were collected. Samples were analyzed for total carbon (TC), nitrogen (TN), and sulfur (TS), inorganic S (SO4-S), base cations (Ca, Mg, Na), and other elements (B, Cu, Fe, Mn, P, Zn); CAG needles were also analyzed for their nitrogen and carbon isotopic compositions. Only TN, TS, Ca, B, Zn, and Fe contents showed weak but significant increases with proximity to the major oil sands operations. C and N isotopic compositions showed no trend with distance or TC and TN contents. Total S contents in CAG of pine foliage increased significantly with proximity to the main industrial operation while foliar inorganic S to organic S ratios (SO4-S/Sorg) ranged consistently between 0.13 and 0.32, indicating low to moderately high S loading. Hence, this study suggests some evidence of uptake of S emissions in close proximity to anthropogenic sources, although the reported values have not reached a level of environmental concern. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Heterotrophic Soil Respiration Affected by Compound Fertilizer Types in Red Pine (Pinus densiflora S. et Z.) Stands of Korea
Forests 2016, 7(12), 309; doi:10.3390/f7120309 -
Abstract
This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of fertilizer application on heterotrophic soil respiration (Rh) in soil respiration (Rs) components in red pine stands. Two types of fertilizer (N3P4K1 = 113:150:37 kg·ha−1·year−1; P
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This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of fertilizer application on heterotrophic soil respiration (Rh) in soil respiration (Rs) components in red pine stands. Two types of fertilizer (N3P4K1 = 113:150:37 kg·ha−1·year−1; P4K1 = 150:37 kg·ha−1·year−1) were applied manually on the forest floor for two years. Rs and Rh rates were monitored from April 2011 to March 2013. Mean Rs and Rh rates were not significantly affected by fertilizer applications. However, Rh in the second year following fertilizer application fell to 27% for N3P4K1 and 17% in P4K1 treatments, while there was an increase of 5% in the control treatments compared with the first fertilization year. The exponential relationships between Rs or Rh rates and the corresponding soil temperature were significant (Rh: R2 = 0.86–0.90; p < 0.05; Rs: R2 = 0.86–0.91; p < 0.05) in the fertilizer and control treatments. Q10 values (Rs increase per 10 °C increase in temperature) in Rs rates were lowest for the N3P4K1 treatment (3.47), followed by 3.62 for the P4K1 treatment and 3.60 in the control treatments, while Rh rates were similar among the treatments (3.59–3.64). The results demonstrate the importance of separating Rh rates from Rs rates following a compound fertilizer application. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Male Parent Identification of Triploid Rubber Trees (Hevea brasiliensis) and the Mechanism of 2n Gametes Formation
Forests 2016, 7(12), 301; doi:10.3390/f7120301 -
Abstract
Eight triploids were screened among offspring of the rubber tree clone GT1 × different clones by flow cytometry and chromosome counting. Twenty-five simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were screened to identify the origin of 2n gametes, to determine the male parents of
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Eight triploids were screened among offspring of the rubber tree clone GT1 × different clones by flow cytometry and chromosome counting. Twenty-five simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were screened to identify the origin of 2n gametes, to determine the male parents of these triploids, and to evaluate the mechanism of 2n gamete formation using band configurations and microsatellite DNA allele counting peak ratios (MAC-PR). The results showed that 2n gametes originated from the maternal rubber tree clone GT1, contributing the extra genome copy present in the triploids. It was confirmed that GT1 is able to produce a 2n megagametophyte spontaneously. Many male parents were shown to provide pollen for formation of triploid rubber trees, including clones RRIC 103, Yunyan 277-5, and three other clones. The second division restitution (SDR) was likely the main mechanism involved in formation of megagametophytes in GT1, as the rate of maternal heterozygosity restitution (HR) of all eight triploids varied from 27.78% to 75.00%, with a mean of 51.46%, and all 25 markers varied from 0% to 100%, with a mean of 51.69%. Elucidation of the origin and formation of 2n gametes will help optimize further sexual hybridization of polyploid rubber trees. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Forest Restoration Using Variable Density Thinning: Lessons from Douglas-Fir Stands in Western Oregon
Forests 2016, 7(12), 310; doi:10.3390/f7120310 -
Abstract
A large research effort was initiated in the 1990s in western United States and Canada to investigate how the development of old-growth structures can be accelerated in young even-aged stands that regenerated following clearcut harvests, while also providing income and ecosystem services. Large-scale
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A large research effort was initiated in the 1990s in western United States and Canada to investigate how the development of old-growth structures can be accelerated in young even-aged stands that regenerated following clearcut harvests, while also providing income and ecosystem services. Large-scale experiments were established to compare effects of thinning arrangements (e.g., spatial variability) and residual densities (including leave islands and gaps of various sizes). Treatment effects were context dependent, varying with initial conditions and spatial and temporal scales of measurement. The general trends were highly predictable, but most responses were spatially variable. Thus, accounting for initial conditions at neighborhood scales appears to be critical for efficient restoration. Different components of stand structure and composition responded uniquely to restoration thinnings. Achieving a wide range of structures and composition therefore requires the full suite of silvicultural treatments, from leave islands to variable density thinnings and creation of large gaps. Trade-offs among ecosystem services occurred as result of these contrasting responses, suggesting that foresters set priorities where and when different vegetation structures are most desirable within a stand or landscape. Finally, the results suggested that foresters should develop restoration approaches that include multiple treatments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Harvest on Forest Soil Carbon: A Meta-Analysis
Forests 2016, 7(12), 308; doi:10.3390/f7120308 -
Abstract
Forest soils represent a substantial portion of the terrestrial carbon (C) pool, and changes to soil C cycling are globally significant not only for C sequestration but also for sustaining forest productivity and ecosystem services. To quantify the effect of harvesting on soil
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Forest soils represent a substantial portion of the terrestrial carbon (C) pool, and changes to soil C cycling are globally significant not only for C sequestration but also for sustaining forest productivity and ecosystem services. To quantify the effect of harvesting on soil C, we used meta-analysis to examine a database of 945 responses to harvesting collected from 112 publications from around the world. Harvesting reduced soil C, on average, by 11.2% with 95% CI [14.1%, 8.5%]. There was substantial variation between responses in different soil depths, with greatest losses occurring in the O horizon (−30.2%). Much smaller but still significant losses (−3.3%) occurred in top soil C pools (0–15 cm depth). In very deep soil (60–100+ cm), a significant loss of 17.7% of soil C in was observed after harvest. However, only 21 of the 945 total responses examined this depth, indicating a substantial need for more research in this area. The response of soil C to harvesting varies substantially between soil orders, with greater losses in Spodosol and Ultisol orders and less substantial losses in Alfisols and Andisols. Soil C takes several decades to recover following harvest, with Spodosol and Ultisol C recovering only after at least 75 years. The publications in this analysis were highly skewed toward surface sampling, with a maximum sampling depth of 36 cm, on average. Sampling deep soil represents one of the best opportunities to reduce uncertainty in the understanding of the response of soil C to forest harvest. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Forest Inventory Attribute Prediction Using Lightweight Aerial Scanner Data in a Selected Type of Multilayered Deciduous Forest
Forests 2016, 7(12), 307; doi:10.3390/f7120307 -
Abstract
Airborne laser scanning is a promising technique for efficient and accurate, remote-based forest inventory, due to its capacity for direct measurement of the three-dimensional structure of vegetation. The main objective of this study was to test the usability and accuracy of an individual
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Airborne laser scanning is a promising technique for efficient and accurate, remote-based forest inventory, due to its capacity for direct measurement of the three-dimensional structure of vegetation. The main objective of this study was to test the usability and accuracy of an individual tree detection approach, using reFLex software, in the evaluation of forest variables. The accuracy assessment was conducted in a selected type of multilayered deciduous forest in southern Italy. Airborne laser scanning data were taken with a YellowScan Mapper scanner at an average height of 150 m. Point density reached 30 echoes per m2, but most points belonged to the first echo. The ground reference data contained the measured positions and dimensions of 445 trees. Individual tree-detection rates were 66% for dominant, 48% for codominant, 18% for intermediate, and 5% for suppressed trees. Relative root mean square error for tree height, diameter, and volume reached 8.2%, 21.8%, and 45.7%, respectively. All remote-based tree variables were strongly correlated with the ground data (R2 = 0.71–0.79). At the stand-level, the results show that differences ranged between 4% and 17% for stand height and 22% and 40% for stand diameter. The total growing stock differed by −43% from the ground reference data, and the ratios were 64% for dominant, 58% for codominant, 36% for intermediate, and 16% for suppressed trees. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Basin-Scale Estimation of Carbon Stocks of a Forest Ecosystem Characterized by Spatial Distribution and Contributive Features in the Liuxihe River Basin of Pearl River Delta
Forests 2016, 7(12), 299; doi:10.3390/f7120299 -
Abstract
Forest ecosystems make a greater contribution to carbon (C) stocks than any other terrestrial ecosystem. To understand the role of regional forest ecosystems in global climate change and carbon exchange, forest C stocks and their spatial distribution within the small (2300 km2
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Forest ecosystems make a greater contribution to carbon (C) stocks than any other terrestrial ecosystem. To understand the role of regional forest ecosystems in global climate change and carbon exchange, forest C stocks and their spatial distribution within the small (2300 km2) Liuxihe River basin in China were analyzed to determine the different contributors to the C stocks. Forest C stocks were quantified by measuring the biomass of trees, understory vegetation, litter and roots, as well as soil organic C, using data from field samples and laboratory experiments. The results showed that forests stored 38.04 Tg·C in the entire basin, with secondary and planted forests accounting for 89.82% and 10.18%, respectively, of the stored C. Five types of forests, a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest, a subtropical coniferous and broad-leaved mixed forest, a subtropical coniferous forest, a timber forest, and a non-wood forest, stored 257.55 ± 15.01, 218.92 ± 9.59, 195.24 ± 18.29, 177.42 ± 17.55, and 117.86 ± 6.04 Mg·C·ha−1, respectively. In the forest ecosystem C stocks of the basin, soils on average contributed about 73.78%, not including root underground biomass. The results of this study, which provide baseline forest C stock data for ecosystem services and regional C flux research, are useful to support the basin-scale forest management and land use change. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A New Skid Trail Pattern Design for Farm Tractors Using Linear Programing and Geographical Information Systems
Forests 2016, 7(12), 306; doi:10.3390/f7120306 -
Abstract
Farm tractor skidding is one of the common methods of timber extraction in Turkey. However, the absence of an optimal skidding plan covering the entire production area can result in time loss and negative environmental impacts. In this study, the timber extraction by
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Farm tractor skidding is one of the common methods of timber extraction in Turkey. However, the absence of an optimal skidding plan covering the entire production area can result in time loss and negative environmental impacts. In this study, the timber extraction by farm tractors was analyzed, and a new skid trail pattern design was developed using Linear Programming (LP) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). First, a sample skidding operation was evaluated with a time study, and an optimum skidding model was generated with LP. Then, the new skidding pattern was developed by an optimum skidding model and GIS analysis. At the end of the study, the developed new skid trail pattern was implemented in the study area and tested by running a time study. Using the newly developed “Direct Skid Trail Pattern (DSTP)” model, a 16.84% increase in working time performance was observed when the products were extracted by farm tractors compared to the existing practices. On the other hand, the average soil compaction value measured in the study area at depths of 0–5 cm and 5–10 cm was found to be greater in the sample area skid trails than in the control points. The average density of the skid trails was 281 m/ha, while it decreased to 187 m/ha by using the developed pattern. It was also found that 44,829 ton/ha of soil losses were prevented by using the DSTP model; therefore, environmental damages were decreased. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping Long-Term Changes in Mangrove Species Composition and Distribution in the Sundarbans
Forests 2016, 7(12), 305; doi:10.3390/f7120305 -
Abstract
The Sundarbans mangrove forest is an important resource for the people of the Ganges Delta. It plays an important role in the local as well as global ecosystem by absorbing carbon dioxide and other pollutants from air and water, offering protection to millions
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The Sundarbans mangrove forest is an important resource for the people of the Ganges Delta. It plays an important role in the local as well as global ecosystem by absorbing carbon dioxide and other pollutants from air and water, offering protection to millions of people in the Ganges Delta against cyclone and water surges, stabilizing the shore line, trapping sediment and nutrients, purifying water, and providing services for human beings, such as fuel wood, medicine, food, and construction materials. However, this mangrove ecosystem is under threat, mainly due to climate change and anthropogenic factors. Anthropogenic and climate change-induced degradation, such as over-exploitation of timber and pollution, sea level rise, coastal erosion, increasing salinity, effects of increasing number of cyclones and higher levels of storm surges function as recurrent threats to mangroves in the Sundarbans. In this situation, regular and detailed information on mangrove species composition, their spatial distribution and the changes taking place over time is very important for a thorough understanding of mangrove biodiversity, and this information can also lead to the adoption of management practices designed for the maximum sustainable yield of the Sundarbans forest resources. We employed a maximum likelihood classifier technique to classify images recorded by the Landsat satellite series and used post classification comparison techniques to detect changes at the species level. The image classification resulted in overall accuracies of 72%, 83%, 79% and 89% for the images of 1977, 1989, 2000 and 2015, respectively. We identified five major mangrove species and detected changes over the 38-year (1977–2015) study period. During this period, both Heritiera fomes and Excoecaria agallocha decreased by 9.9%, while Ceriops decandra, Sonneratia apelatala, and Xylocarpus mekongensis increased by 12.9%, 380.4% and 57.3%, respectively. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Whole Tree Growth Increment Derived from Tree-Ring Series for Use in Assessments of Changes in Forest Productivity across Various Spatial Scales
Forests 2016, 7(12), 303; doi:10.3390/f7120303 -
Abstract
The inherent predictability of inter-annual variation in forest productivity remains unknown. Available field-based data sources for understanding this variability differ in their spatial resolution, temporal resolution, and typical units of measure. Nearly all other tree and forest characteristics are in practice derived from
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The inherent predictability of inter-annual variation in forest productivity remains unknown. Available field-based data sources for understanding this variability differ in their spatial resolution, temporal resolution, and typical units of measure. Nearly all other tree and forest characteristics are in practice derived from measurements of diameter at breast height (DBH). Therefore, diameter increment reconstructed annually from tree-ring data can be used to estimate annual growth increments of wood volume, but the accuracy and precision of these estimates requires assessment. Annual growth estimates for n = 170 trees sampled for whole stem analysis from five tree species (jack pine, lodgepole pine, black spruce, white spruce, and trembling aspen) in Western Canada were compared against increments derived from breast height measurements only. Inter-annual variability of breast height and whole tree growth increments was highly correlated for most trees. Relative errors varied by species, diameter class, and the equation used to estimate volume (regional vs. national). A simple example of the possible effect of this error when propagated to the stand level is provided. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Geographic Information System (GIS) Skills Employed by Graduates from Three Forestry Programs in the United States
Forests 2016, 7(12), 304; doi:10.3390/f7120304 -
Abstract
This research evaluates the current use of geographic information systems (GIS) by forestry program graduates employed in the United States who graduated from university in the past five years. The purpose was to understand what geospatial processes and databases are typically used by
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This research evaluates the current use of geographic information systems (GIS) by forestry program graduates employed in the United States who graduated from university in the past five years. The purpose was to understand what geospatial processes and databases are typically used by field foresters. A survey was designed and sent to recent forestry graduates from Mississippi State University, Oregon State University, and the University of Georgia, with 30% of those surveyed choosing to participate. The majority of forestry graduates surveyed use GIS at least once a week, and the most frequently employed tasks included editing tabular data, adjusting polygon boundaries, buffering and splitting polygons, and querying for spatial and tabular information. Very few overlay or advance spatial analysis tools were noted as used in regular work efforts. Most respondents use digital aerial photographs as reference, along with satellite images. LiDAR is increasingly being used by these foresters, but to a lesser extent. ArcMap and Google Earth were noted as the most commonly used software packages. Most foresters rely on an organization’s technical support staff for assistance. The study results can be used as a guide for academic programs in their efforts to provide timely and effective knowledge on geospatial topics to forestry undergraduate students. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Transforming Justice in REDD+ through a Politics of Difference Approach
Forests 2016, 7(12), 300; doi:10.3390/f7120300 -
Abstract
Since Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation “Plus” (REDD+) starting gaining traction in the UN climate negotiations in 2007, its architects and scholars have grappled with its community-level justice implications. On the one hand, supporters argue that REDD+ will help the environment and
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Since Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation “Plus” (REDD+) starting gaining traction in the UN climate negotiations in 2007, its architects and scholars have grappled with its community-level justice implications. On the one hand, supporters argue that REDD+ will help the environment and forest-dependent communities by generating payments for forest carbon services from industrialized countries seeking lower cost emissions reductions. Critics, by contrast, increasingly argue that REDD+ is a new form of colonization through capitalism, producing injustice by stripping forest communities of their rights, denying them capabilities for wellbeing, and rendering forest peoples voiceless in forest governance. This paper argues that current REDD+ debates are too focused on relatively simple visions of either distributive or procedural justice, and pay too little attention to the core recognitional justice concerns of REDD+ critics, namely questions of what values, worldviews, rights, and identities are privileged or displaced in the emergence, design, and implementation of REDD+ and with what effects. This paper examines the tensions that emerge when designing institutions to promote multi-scalar, multivalent justice in REDD+ to ask: what are the justice demands that REDD+ architects face when designing REDD+ institutions? Complexifying the concepts of justice as deployed in the debates on REDD+ can illuminate the possibilities for a diversity of alternative perspectives to generate new institutional design ideas for REDD+. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Estimation of Nutrient Exports Resulting from Thinning and Intensive Biomass Extraction in Medium-Aged Spruce and Pine Stands in Saxony, Northeast Germany
Forests 2016, 7(12), 302; doi:10.3390/f7120302 -
Abstract
A growing interest in using forest biomass for bioenergy generation may stimulate intensive harvesting scenarios in Germany. We calculated and compared nutrient exports of conventional stem only (SO), whole tree without needles (WT excl. needles), and whole tree (WT) harvesting in two medium
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A growing interest in using forest biomass for bioenergy generation may stimulate intensive harvesting scenarios in Germany. We calculated and compared nutrient exports of conventional stem only (SO), whole tree without needles (WT excl. needles), and whole tree (WT) harvesting in two medium aged Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stands differing in productivity, and related them to soil nutrient pools and fluxes at the study sites. We established allometric biomass functions for each aboveground tree compartment and analyzed their nutrient contents. We analyzed soil nutrient stocks, estimated weathering rates, and obtained deposition and seepage data from nearby Level II stations. WT (excl. needles) and WT treatments cause nutrient losses 1.5 to 3.6 times higher than SO, while the biomass gain is only 1.18 to 1.25 in case of WT (excl. needles) and 1.28 to 1.30 in case of WT in the pine and spruce stand, respectively. Within the investigated 25-year period, WT harvesting would cause exports of N, K+, Ca2+, and Mg2+ of 6.6, 8.8, 5.4, and 0.8 kg·ha−1 in the pine stand and 13.9, 7.0, 10.6, and 1.8 kg·ha−1 in the spruce stand annually. The relative impact of WT and WT (excl. needles) on the nutrient balance is similar in the pine and spruce stands, despite differences in stand productivities, and thus the absolute amount of nutrients removed. In addition to the impact of intensive harvesting, both sites are characterized by high seepage losses of base cations, further impairing the nutrient budget. While intensive biomass extraction causes detrimental effects on many key soil ecological properties, our calculations may serve to implement measures to improve the nutrient balance in forested ecosystems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Drought Stress Distribution Responses of Continental Beech Forests at their Xeric Edge in Central Europe
Forests 2016, 7(12), 298; doi:10.3390/f7120298 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In order to develop adequate adaptation measures for environmental vulnerability, we need detailed knowledge on the climatic performance of forest ecosystems. In this study, we aim to explore climate function variability of lowland beech forest distribution at a landscape scale. We also construct
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In order to develop adequate adaptation measures for environmental vulnerability, we need detailed knowledge on the climatic performance of forest ecosystems. In this study, we aim to explore climate function variability of lowland beech forest distribution at a landscape scale. We also construct the response profiles of these forests near their xeric limit under wet continental climatic conditions. We studied distribution responses using presence-absence forest records and 18 bioclimatic variables. We performed exploratory factor analysis and frequency estimation to evaluate climate function distribution responses. We found that temperature adjusted precipitation measures during summer were the most important, followed by winter rainfall indices. The relative Drought Response Range (rDRR) in the response profile presented the climate limitation function of the distribution. According to our results, higher level of climate function variability is associated with lower level of rDRR, presenting an ecological trade-off. Our results suggest that distribution functions of the rDRR, especially the Ombrothermic index, can be used as landscape indicators of drought stress. Consequently, rDRR could be a useful measure to assess regional climatic vulnerability of forest occurrence and distribution patterns. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Increasing Water Use Efficiency Comes at a Cost for Norway Spruce
Forests 2016, 7(12), 296; doi:10.3390/f7120296 -
Abstract
Intrinsic water use efficiency (WUEi) in trees is an indication of the ratio of carbon assimilation to the rate of transpiration. It is generally assumed that it is a response to water availability. In agricultural research, the question of drought tolerance
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Intrinsic water use efficiency (WUEi) in trees is an indication of the ratio of carbon assimilation to the rate of transpiration. It is generally assumed that it is a response to water availability. In agricultural research, the question of drought tolerance by increased WUEi has been well studied. In general, the increase is a trade-off for productivity and is therefore not desired. For forest trees, this question is less clearly understood. Using stable carbon isotopes derived from tree rings combined with productivity as the product of the annual growth increment and annual density measurements, we compared the change in WUEi over a 15 year period. While WUEi increased over this period, the productivity decreased, causing an opposing trend. The gradient of the correlation between WUEi and productivity varies between provenances and sites. Counterintuitively, the populations at the drier site showed low WUEi values at the beginning of the investigation. Slopes vary with the provenance from Poland showing the least decline in productivity. In general, we found that a decline in productivity aligned with an increase in WUEi. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Radial Growth Response of Larix gmelinii to Climate along a Latitudinal Gradient in the Greater Khingan Mountains, Northeastern China
Forests 2016, 7(12), 295; doi:10.3390/f7120295 -
Abstract
To explore how climatic factors influence tree growth within the context of global climate changes, we used a dendroclimatological analysis to understand the response of Larix gmelinii to climatic variations along a broad latitudinal gradient from 47.27° to 52.66° N in the Greater
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To explore how climatic factors influence tree growth within the context of global climate changes, we used a dendroclimatological analysis to understand the response of Larix gmelinii to climatic variations along a broad latitudinal gradient from 47.27° to 52.66° N in the Greater Khingan Mountains of Northeastern China. The growth-limiting climate factors and a detailed association between radial growth and climate were identified along the gradient using redundancy analysis (RDA) and standard correlation function analysis over the period 1960–2013. The results showed that temperatures during current June to July represented the most important factor affecting tree radial growth in the study area. Across all studied latitudes, Larix gmelinii growth might be decreasing in radial growth due to higher monthly maximum temperature (Tmax) and monthly mean temperatures (Tm) in the current June, especially for the stands at low and middle latitudes. With continued warming, Larix gmelinii radial growth at high latitudes (e.g., Mangui (MG) and Mohe (MH)) might be reduced by warmer temperatures in July. In addition, Larix gmelinii might be decreasing in radial growth from decreasing precipitation. Our results show that there is a decreasing trend in Larix gmelinii radial growth under the observed general increase of temperatures in the Greater Khingan Mountains in recent years. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Biodiversity Benefits and Opportunity Costs of Plantation Forest Management: A Modelling Case Study of Pinus radiata in New Zealand
Forests 2016, 7(12), 297; doi:10.3390/f7120297 -
Abstract
This study modelled the potential biodiversity benefits and the opportunity costs of a patch-clear-cutting strategy over a clear-cutting strategy for Pinus radiata in New Zealand. Patch-clear cutting is a special case of clear cutting involving the removal of all the trees from strips
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This study modelled the potential biodiversity benefits and the opportunity costs of a patch-clear-cutting strategy over a clear-cutting strategy for Pinus radiata in New Zealand. Patch-clear cutting is a special case of clear cutting involving the removal of all the trees from strips or patches within a stand, leaving the remainder uncut or clear cutting a series of strips or patches. A forest-level optimisation model was extended to include uncertainty in timber growth, plant diversity, and cutting costs. Using a species-area relationship and economies of cutting scale, the net present value and optimal rotation age under alternative management strategies were calculated. Results suggested that the optimal rotation ages were similar (24 and 25 years) for the two cutting strategies. Patch-clear cutting provided higher biodiversity benefits (i.e., 59 vs. 11 understorey plant species) with an opportunity cost of 27 NZD (18 USD) per extra plant species or 1250 NZD (820 USD) ha−1. However, the true benefits of patch-clear cutting would be even greater if other benefits of stand retention are included. Our research can potentially inform local decision making and inform international systems of payment for environmental services, such as the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) program, to conserve biodiversity in developing countries with plantation forests. Full article
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