Forests2014, 5(9), 2163-2211; doi:10.3390/f5092163 - published 16 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The first objective of this paper was to provide an inventory of developments of certification schemes for sustainable biomass production, following recent EU legislation (both formalized and under development). One main pillar is the EU Timber Regulation for legal harvesting; a second one is the EU’s 2010 recommendations for sustainable woody biomass sourcing for energy; the third one is the EU Waste Directive. The second objective was to benchmark the coverage of this (draft) legislation, when wood product certificates for sustainable forest management (SFM) are used as proof of the related legislative requirements. We studied North America, as it is a major biomass supplier to the EU-28. Together with existing forest legislation in the US and Canada, SFM certificates are actively used to cover the EU’s (draft) legislation. However, North American forests are only partially certified with fibers coming from certified forests; these are referred to as forest management (FM) fibers. Other certified fibers should come from complementary risk assessments downstream in the supply chain (risk based fibers). Our benchmark concludes that: (a) FM fiber certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) international standards show the highest level of coverage with EU’s (draft) legislation; (b) There is insufficient coverage for risk based fibers by FSC Controlled Wood (FSC-CW), PEFC Due Diligence (PEFC-DD), or SFI-fiber sourcing (SFI-FS). Other weaknesses identified for elaboration are: (c) Alignment in definitions are needed, such as for primary forest, high carbon stock, and wood waste (cascading); (d) Imperfect mass balance (fiber check downstream) needs to be solved, as non-certified fiber flows are inadequately monitored; (e) Add-on of a GHG calculation tool is needed, as GHG life cycle reporting is not covered by any of the SFM frameworks.
Forests2014, 5(9), 2136-2162; doi:10.3390/f5092136 - published 15 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: REDD+ social safeguards have gained increasing attention in numerous forums. This paper reviews the evolution of multi-level policy dialogues, processes, and actions related to REDD+ social safeguards (e.g., Cancun Safeguards 1–5) among policy makers, civil society organizations, and within the media in Brazil, Indonesia and Tanzania, three countries with well advanced REDD+ programs. We find that progress on core aspects of social safeguards is uneven across the three countries. Brazil is by far the most advanced having drafted a REDD+ social safeguards policy. Both Brazil and Indonesia have benefited from progress made by strong sub-national entities in the operationalization of REDD+ safeguards including free prior and informed consent (FPIC), participation, and benefit sharing. Tanzania has weakly articulated how social safeguards will be operationalized and has a more top-down approach. We conclude that in all three countries, measuring, reporting and verifying progress on social safeguards is likely to be a complex issue. Stakeholders with vested interests in REDD+ social safeguards operate in polycentric rather than nested systems, suggesting that aggregation of information from local to national-scale will be a challenge. However, polycentric systems are also likely to support more transparent and comprehensive safeguards systems. Clear direction from the international community and financing for REDD+ safeguard MRV is essential if REDD+ social safeguards are to be meaningfully integrated into forest-based climate mitigation strategies.
Forests2014, 5(9), 2122-2135; doi:10.3390/f5092122 - published 15 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Flavanols and flavonols of mitotic and post-mitotic nuclei in needles of Taxus baccata L., Tsuga canadensis L., and slow growing dwarf genotypes of both genera are investigated histochemically. The flavanols of nuclear chromatins and in the vacuoles stain blue with the p-dimethylamino-cinnamaldehyde (DMACA) reagent. Flavonols do not react with the reagent but owing to their UV absorbance they can be seen as bright yellow pigments. The nuclei in the photomicrographs obtained by microscopy were measured for flavanols at 640 nm. The vigorously sprouting Taxus baccata L. displays the most rapid cell cycling of the needles and the nuclei reveal clear blue and white mosaic structures. The flavanol component of Taxus baccata nuclei remains relatively stable most of the growing season. The dwarf genotypes also display fairly blue stained meristematic nuclei during the intense spring flush. However, after the spring flush and towards mid-summer the nuclear flavanols slowly decrease in parallel with a gradual increase in yellow staining nuclear flavonols. A mixture of blue stained flavanols and yellow flavonols results in greenish coloration of the nuclei. The greenish tint becomes more pronounced when the parenchyma cells mature and age. At the same time, the cytoplasm of the dwarf genotypes also begins to attain a more yellow tint. This trend continues towards mid-summer and autumn, particularly in the nana genotypes. It would appear that the yellow staining flavonols are linked to restricted growth conditions. In the present study, it becomes evident that the species-typical endogenous growth potential is related to both flavanol and flavonol allocation into the nuclei. The vigorously growing species of Taxus and Tsuga have a higher capacity for recruitment of flavanols into the nuclei than the very slow growing dwarf species.
Forests2014, 5(9), 2106-2121; doi:10.3390/f5092106 - published 2 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Aboveground competition is often argued to be the main process determining patterns of natural forest regeneration. However, the theory of multiple resource limitation suggests that seedling performance also depends on belowground competition and, thus, that their relative influence is of fundamental importance. Two approaches were used to address the relative importance of above- and below-ground competition on regeneration in a nutrient-poor pine (Pinus sylvestris) boreal forest. Firstly, seedling establishment beneath trees stem-girdled 12 years ago show that a substantial proportion of the seedlings were established within two years after girdling, which corresponds to a time when nutrient uptake by tree roots was severely reduced without disrupting water transport to the tree canopy, which consequently was maintained. The establishment during these two years also corresponds to abundances high enough for normal stand replacement. Secondly, surveys of regeneration within forest gaps showed that surrounding forests depressed seedlings, so that satisfactory growth occurred only more than 5 m from forest edges and that higher solar radiation in south facing edges was not enough to mediate these effects. We conclude that disruption of belowground competitive interactions mediates regeneration and, thus, that belowground competition has a strong limiting influence on seedling establishment in these forests.
Forests2014, 5(9), 2084-2105; doi:10.3390/f5092084 - published 1 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Whole trees from energy thinnings constitute one of many forest fuel sources, yet ten widely applied supply chains could be defined for this feedstock alone. These ten represent only a subset of the real possibilities, as felling method was held constant and only a single market (combustion of whole tree chips) was considered. Stages included in-field, roadside landing, terminal, and conversion plant, and biomass states at each of these included loose whole trees, bundled whole trees or chipped material. Assumptions on prices, performances, and conversion rates were based on field trials and published literature in similar boreal forest conditions. The economic outcome was calculated on the basis of production, handling, treatment and storage costs and losses. Outcomes were tested for robustness on a range of object volumes (50–350 m3solid), extraction distances (50–550 m) and transport distances (10–70 km) using simulation across a set of discrete values. Transport was calculated for both a standard 19.5 m and an extended 24 m timber truck. Results showed that the most expensive chain (roadside bundling, roadside storage, terminal storage and delivery using a 19.5 m timber truck) at 158 € td−1 was 23% more costly than the cheapest chain (roadside chipping and direct transport to conversion plant with container truck), at 128 € td−1. Outcomes vary at specific object volumes and transport distances, highlighting the need to verify assumptions, although standard deviations around mean supply costs for each chain were small (6%–9%). Losses at all stages were modelled, with the largest losses (23 € td−1) occurring in the chains including bundles. The study makes all methods and assumptions explicit and can assist the procurement manager in understanding the mechanisms at work.
Forests2014, 5(9), 2050-2083; doi:10.3390/f5092050 - published 1 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Damage or mortality from pathogens can reduce productivity of forest plantations, as well as significantly harm natural forest ecosystems. Genetic resistance within the host species is the first line of defense for tree species. Resistance breeding programs for the native fusiform rust and exotic (to North America) white pine blister rust diseases are two of the longest concerted efforts in forest trees, spanning more than 50 years. Advances in developing greater genetic resistance have been made in both pathosystems, but unique challenges and opportunities in each system translate to different approaches. Fusiform rust resistance programs have mainly emphasized complete resistance, while partial resistance plays a prominent role in white pine blister rust resistance programs. Advances in the development of molecular genetic tools now permit investigations in conifers and their associated rust pathogens. Good progress has been made in identifying resistant populations and understanding resistance in these pathosystems, and resistant stock is now being used extensively for reforestation and restoration. These programs represent great success stories brought to fruition by the long-term efforts. However, continued support will be needed to enhance the level and fully realize the potential of durable genetic resistance in these invaluable North American conifer species.