Forests2015, 6(7), 2307-2323; doi:10.3390/f6072307 - published 1 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Soil carbon (C) in three Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba L.) agroforestry systems, afforestation (Ginkgo alone; G), and an agricultural cropping system were compared over a five-year period. The agroforestry systems were Ginkgo + Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) + Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.; GWP); Ginkgo+ Mulberry (Morus alba L.; GM); and Ginkgo + Rapa (Brassica napus L.) + Peanut (GRP). The agricultural system consisted of wheat and peanut (WP). Total soil carbon (TSC), soil organic (SOC) and inorganic carbon (SIC), and the pools of five SOC chemical fractions were measured. TSC and SOC were always lower under WP than the G-based planting systems, and TSC in the latter increased significantly across years in the top 20 cm. Stocks of SIC under WP were significantly greater than the G-based systems, whereas SOC fractions tended to be lower. Most fractions increased across years but not in WP.
Forests2015, 6(7), 2296-2306; doi:10.3390/f6072296 - published 30 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The concentration of the carbon-13 isotope (leaf δ13C) in leaves is negatively correlated with the mean annual precipitation (MAP) atlarge geographical scales. In this paper, we explain the spatial pattern of leaf δ13C variation for deciduous oriental oak (Quercus variabilis Bl.) across temperate and subtropical biomes and its sensitivity to climate factors such as MAP. There was a 6‰ variation in the leaf δ13C values of oak with a significant positive correlation with latitude and negative correlations with the mean annual temperature (MAT) and MAP. There was no correlation between leaf δ13C and altitude or longitude. Stepwise multiple regression analyses showed that leaf δ13C decreased 0.3‰ per 100 mm increase in MAP. MAP alone could account for 68% of the observed variation in leaf δ13C. These results can be used to improve predictions for plant responses to climate change and particularly lower rainfall.
Forests2015, 6(7), 2281-2295; doi:10.3390/f6072281 - published 30 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Successful management of forest systems requires a deeper understanding of the role of ecophysiological traits in enabling adaptation to high temperature and water deficit under current and anticipated changes in climate. A key attribute of leaf water relations is the water potential at zero turgor (πtlp), because it defines the operating water potentials over which plants actively control growth and gas exchange. This study examines the drivers of variation in πtlp with respect to species climate of origin and habitat water availability. We compiled a water relations database for 174 woody species occupying clearly delineated gradients in temperature and precipitation across the Australian continent. A significant proportion of the variability in πtlp (~35%) could be explained by climatic water deficit and its interaction with summertime maximum temperature, demonstrating the strong selective pressure of aridity and high temperature in shaping leaf water relations among Australian species. Habitat water availability (midday leaf water potential), was also a significant predictor of πtlp (R2 = 0.43), highlighting the importance of species ecohydrologic niche under a set of climatic conditions. Shifts in πtlp in response to both climatic and site-based drivers of water availability emphasises its adaptive significance and its suitability as a predictor of plant performance under future climatic change.
Forests2015, 6(6), 2261-2280; doi:10.3390/f6062261 - published 23 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A nonlinear equation system for individual tree diameter growth and mortality of natural Mongolian oak forests was developed based on 13,360 observations from 195 permanent sample plots in Northeast China. Weighted regression was used in a distance-independent diameter growth equation for dealing with heterocedasticity. Since diameter growth and mortality models have common predictors including the diameter at breast height (DBH), stand basal area (BA), basal-area-in-larger trees (BAL), and site index (SI), parameters were estimated using nonlinear three-stage least squares (N3SLS) and seemingly unrelated regression (SUR) which accounts for correlations of errors across models. The system equation provided better projection than individual fitting of the equation based on maximum likelihood estimation. Compared with the separate tree growth model, the simultaneous equations using N3SLS and SUR produced more efficient parameter estimation and smaller bias. Furthermore, N3SLS had more accurate projection. Overall, the simultaneous model will facilitate the growth and yield projection for better management of Mongolian oak forests in the region.
Forests2015, 6(6), 2241-2260; doi:10.3390/f6062241 - published 19 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The current scenario of global warming has resulted in considerable uncertainty regarding the capacity of forest trees to adapt to increasing drought. Detailed ecophysiological knowledge would provide a basis to forecast expected species dynamics in response to climate change. Here, we compare the water balance (stomatal conductance, xylem water potential, needle osmotic adjustment) of Abies pinsapo, a relict drought-sensitive Mediterranean fir, along an altitudinal gradient. We related these variables to soil water and nutrient availability, air temperature, atmospheric water potential, and vapour pressure deficit during two consecutive years. Our results indicate that A. pinsapo closed stomata rapidly over a very narrow range of soil water availability and atmospheric dryness. This isohydric response during water stress suggests that this relict conifer relied on the plant hormone abscisic acid to maintain closed stomata during sustained drought, instead of needle desiccation to passively drive stomatal closure, needle osmotic adjustment or a plastic response of the xylem to different levels of water availability. Both the soil and foliar nutrient contents suggest that the studied populations are not limited by nutrient deficiencies, and drought was stronger in the warmer low-elevation areas.
Forests2015, 6(6), 2214-2240; doi:10.3390/f6062214 - published 19 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Climate change has the potential to influence many aspects of wildfire behavior and risk. During the last decade, Greece has experienced large-scale wildfire phenomena with unprecedented fire behavior and impacts. In this study, thousands of wildfire events were simulated with the Minimum Travel Time (MTT) fire growth algorithm (called Randig) and resulted in spatial data that describe conditional burn probabilities, potential fire spread and intensity in Messinia, Greece. Present (1961–1990) and future (2071–2100) climate projections were derived from simulations of the KNMI regional climate model RACMO2, under the SRES A1B emission scenario. Data regarding fuel moisture content, wind speed and direction were modified for the different projection time periods to be used as inputs in Randig. Results were used to assess the vulnerability changes for certain values-at-risk of the natural and human-made environment. Differences in wildfire risk were calculated and results revealed that larger wildfires that resist initial control are to be expected in the future, with higher conditional burn probabilities and intensities for extensive parts of the study area. The degree of change in the modeled Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index for the two time periods also revealed an increasing trend in frequencies of higher values for the future.