Forests2016, 7(8), 155; doi:10.3390/f7080155 (registering DOI) - published 26 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Swiss needle cast (SNC), a foliar disease specific to Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), is caused by an endemic Ascomycete fungus (Phaeocryptopus gaeumannii). In the late 1980s and early 1990s significant symptoms began to appear in coastal Oregon, and these have been associated with the planting of Douglas-fir in the Sitka spruce zone, leaf wetness during potential spore dispersal in May–August, and mild winter temperature. The first annual aerial survey was initiated in 1996 and has continued through 2015, which indicates a significant increase in area of visible symptoms from the air, increasing from 53,050 ha in 1996 to 238,705 ha in 2015. Monitoring plots in the NW Oregon Coast Range verified impacts of SNC on tree growth and productivity, with growth reductions averaging about 23% in the epidemic area linked to needle retention. A series of monitoring plots was set up in the western Cascade Mountains of Oregon and 590 10–23-year old Douglas-fir trees in 59 stands were tracked for 10 years, measured in 2001, 2006, and 2011. No measureable growth impacts were noted in this region of Oregon. A new plot network is being installed throughout the Oregon and southwest Washington coastal ranges as a means of monitoring future disease impact and providing framework for additional studies.
Forests2016, 7(8), 152; doi:10.3390/f7080152 - published 25 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Forest tenure reform has no doubt attained significant gains in promoting social justice and equity in the forest sector, through legal recognition of the communities’ property rights over forest lands in many developing countries. This includes the right to harvest and market trees that the communities planted. Along these lines, the Philippines’ community-based forest management (CBFM) and smallholder forestry have the potential to meet the country’s wood demand and contribute to its poverty alleviation goal. Realities on the ground, however, make this lofty aspiration seems too far-fetched. Formal and informal barriers along the timber value chain restrict the growth and obstruct opportunities for community-based timber enterprises (CBTEs) and smallholder forestry. Using the case of CBFM and smallholder forestry in the Visayas and Mindanao Islands in the Philippines, respectively, this paper examines the hurdles posed by regulations and informal practices, such as restrictive policies and increased transaction costs, through a segment analysis of the timber value chain. It argues that failure to address these barriers would lead to the decline of CBTEs and smallholder enterprises, thus undermining the merits of the forest tenure reform.
Forests2016, 7(8), 153; doi:10.3390/f7080153 - published 25 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Understanding the effects of stand age and forest type on soil respiration is crucial for predicting the potential of soil carbon sequestration. Thus far, however, there is no consensus regarding the variations in soil respiration caused by stand age and forest type. This study investigated soil respiration and its temperature sensitivity at three stand ages (5, 10, and 20 or 30 years) in two plantations of coniferous (Pinus tabulaeformis Carrière) and deciduous (Populus davidiana Dode) species using an automated chamber system in 2013 in the Beijing-Tianjin sandstorm source area. Results showed that mean soil respiration in the 5-, 10-, and 20/30-year-old plantations was 3.37, 3.17, and 2.99 μmol·m−2·s−1 for P. tabulaeformis and 2.92, 2.85, and 2.57 μmol·m−2·s−1 for P. davidiana, respectively. Soil respiration decreased with stand age for both species. There was no significant difference in soil respiration between the two plantation species at ages 5 and 10 years (p > 0.05). Temperature sensitivity of soil respiration, which ranged from 1.85–1.99 in P. tabulaeformis and 2.20–2.46 in P. davidiana plantations, was found to increase with stand age. Temperature sensitivity was also significantly higher in P. davidiana plantations and when the soil water content was below 12.8%. Temperature sensitivity incorporated a combined response of soil respiration to soil temperature, soil water content, soil organic carbon, and fine root biomass and, thus, provided an ecological metric for comparing forest carbon dynamics of these species.
Forests2016, 7(7), 151; doi:10.3390/f7070151 - published 22 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Determining the response of dominant height growth to climate change is important for understanding adaption strategies. Based on 550 permanent plots from a national forest inventory and climate data across seven provinces and three climate zones, we developed a climate-sensitive dominant height growth model under a mixed-effects model framework. The mean temperature of the wettest quarter and precipitation of the wettest month were found to be statistically significant explanatory variables that markedly improved model performance. Generally, future climate change had a positive effect on stand dominant height in northern and northeastern China, but the effect showed high spatial variability linked to local climatic conditions. The range in dominant height difference between the current climate and three future BC-RCP scenarios would change from −0.61 m to 1.75 m (−6.9% to 13.5%) during the period 2041–2060 and from −1.17 m to 3.28 m (−9.1% to 41.0%) during the period 2061–2080 across provinces. The impacts of climate change on stand dominant height decreased as stand age increased. Forests in cold and warm temperate zones had a smaller decrease in dominant height, owing to climate change, compared with those in the mid temperate zone. Overall, future climate change could impact dominant height growth in northern and northeastern China. As spatial heterogeneity of climate change affects dominant height growth, locally specific mitigation measures should be considered in forest management.
Forests2016, 7(7), 150; doi:10.3390/f7070150 - published 21 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Nature-based solutions have been identified by the European Union as being critical for the enhancement of environmental qualities in cities, where urban and peri-urban forests play a key role in air quality amelioration through pollutant removal. A remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) approach was applied to the Metropolitan City (MC) of Rome to assess the seasonal particulate matter (PM10) removal capacity of evergreen (broadleaves and conifers) and deciduous species. Moreover, a monetary evaluation of PM10 removal was performed on the basis of pollution externalities calculated for Europe. Deciduous broadleaves represent the most abundant tree functional group and also yielded the highest total annual PM10 deposition values (1769 Mg). By contrast, PM10 removal efficiency (Mg·ha−1) was 15%–22% higher in evergreen than in deciduous species. To assess the different removal capacity of the three functional groups in an area with homogeneous environmental conditions, a study case was performed in a peri-urban forest protected natural reserve (Castelporziano Presidential Estate). This study case highlighted the importance of deciduous species in summer and of evergreen communities as regards the annual PM10 removal balance. The monetary evaluation indicated that the overall PM10 removal value of the MC of Rome amounted to 161.78 million Euros. Our study lends further support to the crucial role played by nature-based solutions for human well-being in urban areas.
Forests2016, 7(7), 148; doi:10.3390/f7070148 - published 20 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The South-Central United States, which includes the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Arkansas, represents an important segment of the softwood sawtimber market. By using the Seemingly Unrelated Regression (SUR) method to account for the linkage among the four contiguous timber markets, this study examines the dynamics of softwood sawtimber stumpage markets within the region. Based on quarterly data from 1981 to 2014, the findings reveal that both pulpwood and chip-and-saw (CNS) prices have a positive influence on the Texas and Arkansas sawtimber markets. Moreover, Granger-causality tests suggest that unidirectional causality runs from pulpwood and CNS markets to the respective sawtimber market. Compared to the pre-financial crisis period, sawtimber prices in these four states are 9%–17% lower in the recent years.