Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Enrichment Planting and Soil Amendments Enhance Carbon Sequestration and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Agroforestry Systems: A Review
Forests 2018, 9(6), 369; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060369 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Agroforestry practices that intentionally integrate trees with crops and/or livestock in an agricultural production system could enhance carbon (C) sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from terrestrial ecosystems, thereby mitigating global climate change. Beneficial management practices such as enrichment planting and the
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Agroforestry practices that intentionally integrate trees with crops and/or livestock in an agricultural production system could enhance carbon (C) sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from terrestrial ecosystems, thereby mitigating global climate change. Beneficial management practices such as enrichment planting and the application of soil amendments can affect C sequestration and GHG emissions in agroforestry systems; however, such effects are not well understood. A literature review was conducted to synthesize information on the prospects for enhancing C sequestration and reducing GHG emissions through enrichment (i.e., in-fill) tree planting, a common practice in improving stand density within existing forests, and the application of organic amendments to soils. Our review indicates that in agroforests only a few studies have examined the effect of enrichment planting, which has been reported to increase C storage in plant biomass. The effect of adding organic amendments such as biochar, compost and manure to soil on enhancing C sequestration and reducing GHG emissions is well documented, but primarily in conventional crop production systems. Within croplands, application of biochar derived from various feedstocks, has been shown to increase soil organic C content, reduce CO2 and N2O emissions, and increase CH4 uptake, as compared to no application of biochar. Depending on the feedstock used to produce biochar, biochar application can reduce N2O emission by 3% to 84% as compared to no addition of biochars. On the other hand, application of compost emits less CO2 and N2O as compared to the application of manure, while the application of pelleted manure leads to more N2O emission compared to the application of raw manure. In summary, enrichment planting and application of organic soil amendments such as compost and biochar will be better options than the application of raw manure for enhancing C sequestration and reducing GHG emissions. However, there is a shortage of data to support these practices in the field, and thus further research on the effect of these two areas of management intervention on C cycling will be imperative to developing best management practices to enhance C sequestration and minimize GHG emissions from agroforestry systems. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Flexible Height–Diameter Model for Tree Height Imputation on Forest Inventory Sample Plots Using Repeated Measures from the Past
Forests 2018, 9(6), 368; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060368 -
Abstract
In this study, height–diameter relations were modeled using two different mixed model types for imputation of missing heights from longitudinal data. Model Type A had a hierarchical structure of sample plot-specific and measurement occasion-specific random effects. In Model Type B, a possible temporal
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In this study, height–diameter relations were modeled using two different mixed model types for imputation of missing heights from longitudinal data. Model Type A had a hierarchical structure of sample plot-specific and measurement occasion-specific random effects. In Model Type B, a possible temporal variance was modeled by a sample plot-specific linear time trend. Furthermore, various calibration strategies of random effects were performed on past and current data, and a combination of both. The performance of the mixed models was compared on independent data using bias and root mean square error (RMSE). The results showed that Model Type A achieved the highest precision (lowest RMSE), if sample plot-specific random effects were predicted from old data and measurement occasion-specific ones were predicted from new data. In comparison, however, Model Type B had a higher RMSE, and lower bias. Model performance was almost unaffected from the usage of past or current data for the prediction of random effects. Results revealed that a certain calibration strategy should be simultaneously applied to all random effects from the same hierarchy level. Otherwise, predictions would become imprecise and a serious bias may result. In comparison with traditional uniform height curves, the novel mixed model approach performed slightly better. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Litterfall Production Prior to and during Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Four Puerto Rican Forests
Forests 2018, 9(6), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060367 -
Abstract
Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck Puerto Rico on the 6th and 20th of September 2017, respectively. These two powerful Cat 5 hurricanes severely defoliated forest canopy and deposited massive amounts of litterfall in the forests across the island. We established a 1-ha research
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Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck Puerto Rico on the 6th and 20th of September 2017, respectively. These two powerful Cat 5 hurricanes severely defoliated forest canopy and deposited massive amounts of litterfall in the forests across the island. We established a 1-ha research plot in each of four forests (Guánica State Forest, Río Abajo State Forest, Guayama Research Area and Luquillo Experiment Forest) before September 2016, and had collected one full year data of litterfall production prior to the arrival of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Hurricane-induced litterfall was collected within one week after Hurricane Irma, and within two weeks after Hurricane Maria. Each litterfall sample was sorted into leaves, wood (branches and barks), reproductive organs (flowers, fruits and seeds) and miscellaneous materials (mostly dead animal bodies or feces) after oven-drying to constant weight. Annual litterfall production prior to the arrival of Hurricanes Irma and Maria varied from 4.68 to 25.41 Mg/ha/year among the four forests, and annual litterfall consisted of 50–81% leaffall, 16–44% woodfall and 3–6% fallen reproductive organs. Hurricane Irma severely defoliated the Luquillo Experimental Forest, but had little effect on the other three forests, whereas Hurricane Maria defoliated all four forests. Total hurricane-induced litterfall from Hurricanes Irma and Maria amounted to 95–171% of the annual litterfall production, with leaffall and woodfall from hurricanes amounting to 63–88% and 122–763% of their corresponding annual leaffall and woodfall, respectively. Hurricane-induced litterfall consisted of 30–45% leaves and 55–70% wood. Our data showed that Hurricanes Irma and Maria deposited a pulse of litter deposition equivalent to or more than the total annual litterfall input with at least a doubled fraction of woody materials. This pulse of hurricane-induced debris and elevated proportion of woody component may trigger changes in biogeochemical processes and soil communities in these Puerto Rican forests. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Strip Clear-Cutting Application and Logging Typologies for Renaturalization of Pine Afforestation—A Case Study
Forests 2018, 9(6), 366; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060366 -
Abstract
Renaturalization treatment in black pine afforestation is an important topic that should be considered. There is a need to favor the evolution of artificial pine forests toward natural forest systems. Overall, this study focused on pine forests, and suggests one typology of clear-cutting
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Renaturalization treatment in black pine afforestation is an important topic that should be considered. There is a need to favor the evolution of artificial pine forests toward natural forest systems. Overall, this study focused on pine forests, and suggests one typology of clear-cutting (dismantling cutting) on strips, which is associated with different extraction management techniques. Some ecological and environmental aspects associated with renaturalization treatments that have been applied by different mechanizations in black pine afforestation have been highlighted, as well as how renaturalization and the active ecological management of these stands could affect soil and vegetation. The main objectives of this research were to: (1) analyze the impact of silvicultural treatment and logging activities on forest soil, and (2) assess tree regeneration and floristic biodiversity in an ecological management system, in terms of both quantity and quality characteristics. These analyses were planned to obtain an overview of the environmental impact related to a multifunctional approach to the forest management of black pine afforestation. Essentially, the answers to the main research questions are: (1) less invasive extraction systems seem to use a cable yarder and forest winch; (2) a clear soil recovery trend with good capabilities is visible, in particular for the two extraction systems by cable; however, over a three-year period, only a partial but substantial recovery has been shown; (3) in general, silvicultural treatment showed qualitative and quantitative improvement in terms of tree regeneration; in particular, the extraction systems by forest winch and cable yarder showed better results; (4) silvicultural treatment seems not to have led to improvement at the level of the herbaceous and shrubby layers; however, clear differences are shown among the different harvesting systems. Significant recovery after use of the cable yarder was observed. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Emerging Forest Diseases: A Case Study of Greenheart (Chlorocardium spp., Lauraceae) and the Newly Described Fungus, Xylaria karyophthora
Forests 2018, 9(6), 365; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060365 -
Abstract
Greenheart (Chlorocardium spp., Lauraceae) is one of Guyana’s most economically important timber species. It is a large evergreen canopy tree with desirable wood characteristics and no previously recorded pathogens. Recently, however, the fungal species Xylaria karyophthora was described from morbid Greenheart seeds
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Greenheart (Chlorocardium spp., Lauraceae) is one of Guyana’s most economically important timber species. It is a large evergreen canopy tree with desirable wood characteristics and no previously recorded pathogens. Recently, however, the fungal species Xylaria karyophthora was described from morbid Greenheart seeds found throughout central Guyana. For years, forestry stakeholders have postulated that the future of Greenheart in Guyana is threatened due to overharvesting. However, X. karyophthora may represent a new immediate threat to the Greenheart industry. The exact time of emergence of this fungus is unclear, although our examination of historical records indicates that it was sometime before 2000. In this review, we discuss the history of key silvicultural and mycological research in relation to Greenheart in Guyana and the threats to its production. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Age-Effect on Intra-Annual δ13C-Variability within Scots Pine Tree-Rings from Central Siberia
Forests 2018, 9(6), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060364 -
Abstract
Intra-annual tree-ring parameters are increasingly used in dendroecology thanks to their high temporal resolution. To better understand the nature of intra-ring proxy signals, we compared old and young trees according to the different ways in which they respond to climate. The study was
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Intra-annual tree-ring parameters are increasingly used in dendroecology thanks to their high temporal resolution. To better understand the nature of intra-ring proxy signals, we compared old and young trees according to the different ways in which they respond to climate. The study was carried out in central Siberia (Russia, 60°75′ N, 89°38′ E) in two even-aged Pinus sylvestris L. stands of different ages (20 and 220 years). Ring width, cell size, and intra-annual δ¹³С were measured for 4 to 27 tree rings, depending on age group (young vs. old) and tree-ring parameter. Wood formation was monitored to link tree-ring position to its time of formation. Results indicated more distinct intra-annual δ¹³С patterns at both the beginning and end of the ring of young trees compared to old ones. Older trees showed a stronger significant correlation between δ¹³С across the ring border, indicating a stronger carry-over effect of the previous year’s growing conditions on current year wood production. This suggests that tree age/size influences the magnitude of the transfer of mobile carbon reserves across the years. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Compound-Specific Carbon Isotopes and Concentrations of Carbohydrates and Organic Acids as Indicators of Tree Decline in Mountain Pine
Forests 2018, 9(6), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060363 -
Abstract
We investigated seasonal variations in δ13C values and concentrations of carbohydrates and organic acids in needles of declining and healthy mountain pine (Pinus mugo ssp. uncinata (DC.) Domin) trees from the Swiss National Park (SNP), using compound-specific isotopes analysis (CSIA).
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We investigated seasonal variations in δ13C values and concentrations of carbohydrates and organic acids in needles of declining and healthy mountain pine (Pinus mugo ssp. uncinata (DC.) Domin) trees from the Swiss National Park (SNP), using compound-specific isotopes analysis (CSIA). Our goal was to study the impact of climatic drivers on the individual compounds and understand the reasons of partial tree declines in relation to healthy mountain pine trees under seasonal weather patterns. We found that temperature is the main climatic driver determining the seasonal carbon dynamics at the needle level. Lower seasonal δ13C variability and lower concentration levels of sucrose in needles suggest less photosynthetic activity and sink carbon demand in declining compared to healthy mountain pine trees. Higher concentration levels of hexose (glucose and fructose) can play a reserve function for surviving mechanisms of mountain pine trees. Seasonal patterns of organic acid (malate and citrate) suggest an increasing investment in maintenance and repair mechanisms. The seasonal course of carbohydrates and organic acids can therefore be considered an indicator for a modified carbon metabolism within the leaves and possibly within the other tree tissues, partially explaining the decline of mountain pine trees. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Design-Unbiased Estimation and Alternatives for Sampling Trees on Plantation Rows
Forests 2018, 9(6), 362; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060362 -
Abstract
Recently, methods for inventories of forest plantations have been proposed based on the use of remote sensing to estimate total row length, followed by the estimation of plantation row attributes, such as number and volume or weight of trees, at randomly selected field
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Recently, methods for inventories of forest plantations have been proposed based on the use of remote sensing to estimate total row length, followed by the estimation of plantation row attributes, such as number and volume or weight of trees, at randomly selected field locations on the ground within a forest plantation of interest. While we are aware of instances in which such inventories have been performed, to our knowledge, no scientific studies of this approach have previously appeared. Many plantation inventories have been performed by traditional methods, such as Bitterlich (point) sampling and fixed-size plot sampling. Random plot sizes including a fixed number of rows are possible but the resulting estimators are typically not unbiased. Plot sampling and Bitterlich sampling can be problematic in plantations because inventory crews may gravitate towards the establishment of sample points in similar locations relative to row spacing, e.g., midway between rows, compromising the assumption of random point location in the tract area. We propose and test five novel estimators which are based on sampling a fixed number of trees at random sample locations on rows. The methods we propose can be used to estimate tract-level quantities of any tree attribute, including the number of trees, total volume, basal area, and others. Fixed row lengths may be sampled at randomly determined field locations on rows. Alternatively, distance sampling methods can be used to sample a fixed number of trees subsequent to, or nearest to, a randomly located point on a plantation row. Ducey’s recently-developed estimator for point-to-particle sampling on lines can be applied to sampling on rows. A “mean of ratios” (MR) estimator can be based on the average ratio of the sum of the sample trees’ attributes divided by the length of line occupied by the sample trees. A “ratio of means” (RM) estimator can be based on the ratio of the mean of the sample trees’ attributes for all random points divided by the mean sample line length for all random points. For either of these ratio estimators, the line length may be chosen to include the gap between trees into which the random sample point falls (G-MR, mean of ratios including the sample gap and G-RM, ratio of means estimator including the sample gap), or it may be chosen to begin subsequent to that gap (NG-MR, mean of ratios not including the sample gap and NG-RM, ratio of means not including the sample gap). A simulation was used to test each of these techniques on typical plantation row populations. Two row populations were used in the simulation. One had relatively uniform spacing between trees on a row, which resembles the characteristics of young plantations. The second population contained numerous gaps, typical of more mature plantations that have been thinned and may be experiencing mortality. In the simulations, the estimators were used to estimate the number of trees in each population. Trends in other variables, such as volume or basal area, were similar to those for te estimated number of trees in the populations. The simulation results showed that the G-MR method had the smallest root mean square error followed by the NG-RM. Ducey’s method and the fixed-length row plot were both design-unbiased. Both the latter methods had low root mean square errors but these were slightly higher than some of the other methods. In contrast to the other methods tested, the NG-MR and G-RM methods were both substantially biased on a simulated row population containing large gaps which might occur due to mortality or thinning. The estimators which had good performance in simulations—Ducey’s method, G-MR, NG-RM, and fixed-length row sampling—are viable alternatives to traditional methods of sampling plantations, such as Bitterlich sampling and fixed-size plot sampling, if accurate plantation row lengths can be measured. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Segmenting Landowners of Shandong, China Based on Their Attitudes towards Forest Certification
Forests 2018, 9(6), 361; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060361 -
Abstract
Forest certification is considered a viable market-based policy instrument to promote forest sustainability. It has an important role of play in meeting the objective of modern forestry development in China, which is to sustain ecological and environmental benefits of forests. To understand differences
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Forest certification is considered a viable market-based policy instrument to promote forest sustainability. It has an important role of play in meeting the objective of modern forestry development in China, which is to sustain ecological and environmental benefits of forests. To understand differences in attitudes, opinions, and interests in forest certification, this study segmented respondents of a landowner’s survey in Shandong, China based on their level of interest in participating in forest certification under different program requirements. Multivariate cluster analysis revealed three distinct groups: likely-, potential-, and unlikely-landowners. We further examined the heterogeneity of these groups in terms of their demographics, ownership characteristics, management objectives, and perceived benefits and challenges of adopting forest certification. The results suggested the necessity of differentiating landowners in formulating and designing specific motivation-based incentives and tailoring outreach efforts and communication strategies to improve their interests in forest certification. Findings will be useful and interesting to forest policymakers interested in promoting forest certification among landowners in China and other countries facing similar circumstances. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Oxidized Brown Coal Humic Acid Fertilizer on the Relative Height Growth Rate of Three Tree Species
Forests 2018, 9(6), 360; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060360 -
Abstract
This study aimed to identify the effects of oxidized brown coal humic acid fertilizer on the relative growth rate of several tree species intended for reforestation. Field experiments were carried out during 2011–2014 at the Research and Experimental Center for Combating Desertification located
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This study aimed to identify the effects of oxidized brown coal humic acid fertilizer on the relative growth rate of several tree species intended for reforestation. Field experiments were carried out during 2011–2014 at the Research and Experimental Center for Combating Desertification located at the Elsen Tasarkhai station in central Mongolia. The trees studied were Populus sibirica Tausch., Salix ledebouriana Trautv., and Acer tataricum L. The experiment was conducted with concentrations of 2000, 10,000, and 20,000 mg L−1 of humic acid fertilization treatment. Measurement of the relative height growth rate (RHGR) was undertaken for a period of four years. The results demonstrated significant differences between the humic fertilizer concentrations, which varied depending on the species. Compared to monthly RHGR over the study period, the treatment using fertilizers yielded significantly better tree growth. P. sibirica, when treated with 2000 mg L−1 and 10,000 mg L−1 humic acid fertilizers, had significant height growth rates. S. ledebouriana with 20,000 mg L−1 of humic acid fertilzers treatments showed the highest RHGR. In addition, when the humic acid treatments were compared to the control, results showed that oxidized brown coal humic acid fertilizers as an organic fertilizer can have a significant effect on the growth of A. tataricum. The results equally showed that the soil chemical properties EC, CO2, NO3, and K2O were significant among all the treatments compared to control. The effect on P2O5 significantly increased in all the treatments; however, there was no significant effect on pH and Mg among all treatments. Combining the results obtained with reforestation and sustainable land-management practices can help to improve soil organics in degraded sandy soil regions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Pine Stand Density Influences the Regeneration of Acacia saligna Labill. H.L.Wendl. and Native Woody Species in a Mediterranean Coastal Pine Plantation
Forests 2018, 9(6), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060359 -
Abstract
Mediterranean plantations are the most suitable areas to assess vegetation dynamics and competitive interactions between native and exotic woody species. Our research was carried out in a coastal pine plantation (Sicily) where renaturalization by native species (Pistacia lentiscus L. and Olea europaea
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Mediterranean plantations are the most suitable areas to assess vegetation dynamics and competitive interactions between native and exotic woody species. Our research was carried out in a coastal pine plantation (Sicily) where renaturalization by native species (Pistacia lentiscus L. and Olea europaea var. sylvestris) and invasion by Acacia saligna (Labill.) H.L.Wendl. simultaneously occur. The regeneration pattern of woody species in the pine understory was evaluated in six experimental plots along a stand density gradient, from 200 to approximately 700 pines per hectare. Both pine stand density and regeneration by native species had a significant negative relationship with Acacia natural regeneration. Olea regeneration was positively correlated with stand density, while Pistacia showed a non-significant relationship. Saplings of both native species were mostly less than 1 m high, whereas approximately 70% of Acacia individuals were higher than 1 m. We found that 400 pines per hectare should be considered a minimum stand density to keep Acacia under control, while favouring the establishment of native species in the understory. The successful control of Acacia requires an integrated management strategy, including different forest interventions according to stand density: thinning, control measures against Acacia, and renaturalization actions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cumulative Drought Stress Leads to a Loss of Growth Resilience and Explains Higher Mortality in Planted than in Naturally Regenerated Pinus pinaster Stands
Forests 2018, 9(6), 358; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060358 -
Abstract
The assessment of the long-term impacts of drought on tree growth decline using tree-ring analyses may be used to test if plantations are more vulnerable to warming after successive droughts, leading to a “cumulative stress” effect. We selected 76 Pinus pinaster trees (declining
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The assessment of the long-term impacts of drought on tree growth decline using tree-ring analyses may be used to test if plantations are more vulnerable to warming after successive droughts, leading to a “cumulative stress” effect. We selected 76 Pinus pinaster trees (declining and non-declining trees), and basal area increments over the last 20 years (BAI20) were calculated to build the chronologies for the stand types and vigor classes. Resistance, recovery and resilience indices were calculated. Pearson correlations, analyses and Partial Least-Squares regression were used to analyze the relationships among the response and environmental variables. We found a negative and significant relationship between mean temperature for May and June of the current year and growth in the naturally regenerated stands. This negative effect on growth under warm spring conditions was more noticeable in plantations than in naturally regenerated stands. A negative trend along time was found for the resilience index in planted stands. Evapotranspiration, maximum temperature and annual radiation showed significant and negative correlations with the growth of declining trees from planted stands, indicating they are susceptible to drought stress. Declining trees in planted stands showed a loss of growth resilience, specifically a negative trend after successive droughts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Detection of Annual Spruce Budworm Defoliation and Severity Classification Using Landsat Imagery
Forests 2018, 9(6), 357; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060357 -
Abstract
Spruce budworm (SBW) is the most destructive forest pest in eastern forests of North America. Mapping annual current-year SBW defoliation is challenging because of the large landscape scale of infestations, high temporal/spatial variability, and the short period of time when detection is possible.
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Spruce budworm (SBW) is the most destructive forest pest in eastern forests of North America. Mapping annual current-year SBW defoliation is challenging because of the large landscape scale of infestations, high temporal/spatial variability, and the short period of time when detection is possible. We used Landsat-5 and Landsat-MSS data to develop a method to detect and map SBW defoliation, which can be used as ancillary or alternative information for aerial sketch maps (ASMs). Results indicated that Landsat-5 data were capable of detecting and classifying SBW defoliation into three levels comparable to ASMs. For SBW defoliation classification, a combination of three vegetation indices, including normalized difference moisture index (NDMI), enhanced vegetation index (EVI), and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), were found to provide the highest accuracy (non-defoliated: 77%, light defoliation: 60%, moderate defoliation: 52%, and severe defoliation: 77%) compared to using only NDMI (non-defoliated: 76%, light defoliation: 40%, moderate defoliation: 43%, and severe defoliation: 67%). Detection of historical SBW defoliation was possible using Landsat-MSS NDVI data, and the produced maps were used to complement coarse-resolution aerial sketch maps of the past outbreak. The method developed for Landsat-5 data can be used for current SBW outbreak mapping in North America using Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 imagery. Overall, the work highlights the potential of moderate resolution optical remote sensing data to detect and classify fine-scale patterns in tree defoliation. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Vertical Transmission of Fusarium circinatum Mitoviruses FcMV1 and FcMV2-2 via Microconidia
Forests 2018, 9(6), 356; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060356 -
Abstract
Pine Pitch Canker disease, caused by the pathogenic fungus Fusarium circinatum, affects conifer species worldwide. However, the virulence of the pathogen may be affected by the presence of mycoviruses. The aim of this laboratory-based study was to investigate the probability and rate
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Pine Pitch Canker disease, caused by the pathogenic fungus Fusarium circinatum, affects conifer species worldwide. However, the virulence of the pathogen may be affected by the presence of mycoviruses. The aim of this laboratory-based study was to investigate the probability and rate of transmission of F. circinatum mitoviruses FcMV1 and FcMV2-2 via microconidia. Ten isolates of mitovirus-infected F. circinatum were subcultured to produce a total of 100 single-spore colonies (ten replicates per isolate). The total RNA and cDNA obtained from each spore isolate (monosporic culture) were amplified by PCR with specific primers for detection of F. circinatum mitoviruses FcMV1 and FcMV2-2. The mitoviruses were detected in a high percentage of the individual spore isolates (between 60% and 100% depending on the fungal isolate). However, the probability of transmission was not statistically significantly associated with either the F. circinatum isolate or the viral strain. A high proportion of transmission via microconidia is critical for development of a biological control program against Pine Pitch Canker (PPC) disease in forests. However, further studies are needed to establish the effect of these mitoviruses on the virulence of F. circinatum. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Do Silviculture and Forest Management Affect the Genetic Diversity and Structure of Long-Impacted Forest Tree Populations?
Forests 2018, 9(6), 355; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060355 -
Abstract
The consequences of silviculture and management on the genetic variation and structure of long-impacted populations of forest tree are reviewed assessed and discussed, using Mediterranean forests as a working paradigm. The review focuses on silviculture and management systems, regeneration schemes, the consequences of
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The consequences of silviculture and management on the genetic variation and structure of long-impacted populations of forest tree are reviewed assessed and discussed, using Mediterranean forests as a working paradigm. The review focuses on silviculture and management systems, regeneration schemes, the consequences of coppicing and coppice conversion to high forest, the effects of fragmentation and exploitation, and the genetic impact of forestry plantations. It emerges that averaging genetic diversity parameters, such as those typically reported in the assessment of forest population genetics, do not generally present significant differences between populations under certain silvicultural systems/forest management methods and “control” populations. Observed differences are usually rather subtler and regard the structure of the genetic variation and the lasting adaptive potential of natural forest tree populations. Therefore, forest management and silvicultural practices have a longer-term impact on the genetic diversity and structure and resilience of long-impacted populations of forest tree; their assessment should be based on parameters that are sensitive to population perturbations and bottlenecks. The nature and extent of genetic effects and impact of silviculture and forest management practices, call for a concerted effort regarding their thorough study using genetic, genomic, as well as monitoring approaches, in order to provide insight and potential solutions for future silviculture and management regimes. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Growth and Physicochemical Changes of Carpinus betulus L. Influenced by Salinity Treatments
Forests 2018, 9(6), 354; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060354 -
Abstract
Carpinus betulus L. is a deciduous tree widely distributed in Europe with strong adaptation, and it plays a key role in landscaping and timbering because of its variety of colors and shapes. Recently introduced to China for similar purposes, this species needs further
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Carpinus betulus L. is a deciduous tree widely distributed in Europe with strong adaptation, and it plays a key role in landscaping and timbering because of its variety of colors and shapes. Recently introduced to China for similar purposes, this species needs further study as to its physiological adaptability under various soil salinity conditions. In this study, the growth and physicochemical changes of C. betulus seedlings cultivated in soil under six different levels of salinity stress (NaCl: 0, 17, 34, 51, 68, and 85 mM) were studied for 14, 28 and 42 days. The plant growth and gas exchange parameters were not changed much by 17 and 34 mM NaCl, but they were significantly affected after treatments with 51 ~ 85 mM NaCl. The chlorophyll content was not significantly affected at 17 and 34 mM salinity, and the relative water content, malondialdehyde content and cell membrane stability of C. betulus did not change obviously under the 17 and 34 mM treatments, indicating that C. betulus is able to adapt to low-salinity conditions. The amount of osmotic adjustment substances and the antioxidant enzyme activity of C. betulus increased after 14 and 28 days and then decreased with increasing salinity gradients, but the proline content was increased during the entire time for different salinities. The Na content of different organs increased in response to salinity, and the K/Na, Ca/Na, and Mg/Na ratios were significantly affected by salinity. These results suggest that the ability of C. betulus to synthesize osmotic substances and enzymatic antioxidants may be impaired under severe saline conditions (68 ~ 85 mM NaCl) but that it can tolerate and accumulate salt at low salinity concentrations (17 ~ 34 mM NaCl). Such information is useful for land managers considering introducing this species to sites with various soil salinity conditions. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Forest Regeneration Following Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairemaire) Enhances Mesophication in Eastern Hardwood Forests
Forests 2018, 9(6), 353; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060353 -
Abstract
Emerald ash borer (EAB, Agrilus planipennis Fairemaire) is a phloem-feeding beetle that was introduced into North America in the late 20th century and is causing widespread mortality of native ash (Fraxinus) species. The loss of an entire genus from the forest
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Emerald ash borer (EAB, Agrilus planipennis Fairemaire) is a phloem-feeding beetle that was introduced into North America in the late 20th century and is causing widespread mortality of native ash (Fraxinus) species. The loss of an entire genus from the forest flora is a substantial disturbance, but effects vary because of differences in Fraxinus dominance and remaining vegetation. At three sites near the center of the North American EAB range, we investigated the impacts of Fraxinus mortality on recruitment of woody and non-native vegetation in 14 permanent plots from 2012 to 2017. We used the change in relative Fraxinus basal area to determine the impact of EAB on density of woody species and non-native vegetation less than 2.5 cm diameter at breast height (dbh). Changes in canopy cover were not correlated with loss of Fraxinus from the overstory, and only the density of shade-tolerant shrubs and saplings increased with Fraxinus mortality. Both native and non-native shrub species increased in density at sites where they were present before EAB, but no new invasions were detected following Fraxinus mortality. These shifts in understory vegetation indicate that Fraxinus mortality enhances the rate of succession to shade-tolerant species. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Amount and Location of Damage to Residual Trees from Cut-to-Length Thinning Operations in a Young Redwood Forest in Northern California
Forests 2018, 9(6), 352; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060352 -
Abstract
A cut-to-length (CTL) harvest system using a harvester and forwarder has been recently introduced in northern California (USA) for thinning young (<25 years old) redwood forests (Sequoia sempervirens (Lamb. ex D. Don) Endl.). However, the severity of CTL damage to residual trees
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A cut-to-length (CTL) harvest system using a harvester and forwarder has been recently introduced in northern California (USA) for thinning young (<25 years old) redwood forests (Sequoia sempervirens (Lamb. ex D. Don) Endl.). However, the severity of CTL damage to residual trees in this forest type are unknown. The goals of this study were to (1) determine the location, size, and number of scars resulting from CTL harvesting and (2) compare scar size differences between redwood clumps and individual trees in two units. Most scars occurred on trees located near the forwarding trails. Wider and longer scars were associated with clumped trees (9.1–12.2 cm wide and 28.1–46.2 cm long) as compared to scars on individual trees (8.1–9.5 cm wide and 16.7–31.3 cm long), and 16–32% of the residual trees were scarred. Determining a minimum scar size will define the severity of stand damage; larger scars result in a longer time until closure. However, counting all the smaller scars that result from CTL harvesting will result in a large number of counted damaged trees. Therefore, we suggest that scars smaller than 5–10 cm width are acceptable on coastal redwood after CTL thinning. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Seedling Quality and Family on Performance of Northern Red Oak Seedlings on a Xeric Upland Site
Forests 2018, 9(6), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060351 -
Abstract
Cultural practices to develop larger, more robust oak seedlings have been developed, however, the potential improvement conferred by these larger seedlings has received limited testing in the Northeast. We evaluated the effect of seedling size and pedigree on the survival, growth, and competitive
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Cultural practices to develop larger, more robust oak seedlings have been developed, however, the potential improvement conferred by these larger seedlings has received limited testing in the Northeast. We evaluated the effect of seedling size and pedigree on the survival, growth, and competitive ability of northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.) seedlings planted on a xeric site in northeastern Pennsylvania. We planted seedlings from a state tree nursery that represented locally available seedling stock, as well as high-quality seedlings from seven half-sibling families grown following improved nursery protocol. Half-sibling families were split into three size classes based on their root collar diameter and height; large, average, and poor. Eleven years after planting, survival across seedling treatments ranged from 45 percent for locally available seedlings, to 96 percent for one half-sibling family. Two families showed superior growth, survival, and competitive ability compared with the others. Seedling size class conferred moderate height and diameter advantage in four and three of the families, respectively. Initial seedling size was an important variable in models predicting survival, diameter, and dominance (competitive ability). Over time, the relationship between initial diameter and height diminished. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Palaeoecological Evidence for Survival of Scots Pine through the Late Holocene in Western Ireland: Implications for Ecological Management
Forests 2018, 9(6), 350; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060350 -
Abstract
The dynamics of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in Europe during the Holocene have been spatially and temporally complex. The species underwent extirpation and reintroduction in several north-west European countries. This study investigated the late Holocene vegetation history of a present-day pinewood
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The dynamics of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in Europe during the Holocene have been spatially and temporally complex. The species underwent extirpation and reintroduction in several north-west European countries. This study investigated the late Holocene vegetation history of a present-day pinewood in western Ireland, to test the widely accepted hypothesis that P. sylvestris became extinct in Ireland c. AD 400. Palaeoecological, chronological and loss-on-ignition analyses were conducted on a sediment core extracted from an adjacent lake. The pollen profile showed no major Pinus decline and a Pinus macrofossil occurred c. AD 840, indicating localised survival of P. sylvestris from c. AD 350 to the present. The available archival maps and historical literature provide supporting evidence for continuity of forest cover. The hypothesis that P. sylvestris became extinct in Ireland is rejected. The implications for ecological management are significant. We argue that P. sylvestris should be considered native to Ireland, at least at this site. As Ireland’s only putative native P. sylvestris population and the western limit of the species’ native range, this site is of high conservation value and must be carefully managed and monitored. Seed-sourcing for ex-situ forest restoration must be compatible with the long-term viability of the population in-situ. Full article
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