Forests2015, 6(6), 1922-1932; doi:10.3390/f6061922 (registering DOI) - published 29 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Caragana shelterbelts are a common feature of farms in the Northern Great Plains of North America. We investigated if nitrogen (N) from this leguminous shrub contributed to the N nutrition of triticale and oat forage crops growing adjacent to the shelterbelt row. Nitrogen transfer was measured using 15N isotope dilution at distances of 2 m, 4 m, 6 m, 15 m and 20 m from the shelterbelt. At 2 m caragana negatively impacted the growth of triticale and oat. At 4 m from the shelterbelt productivity was maximum for both forage crops and corresponded to the highest amount of N originating from caragana. The amount of N transferred from caragana decreased linearly with distance away from the shelterbelt, but even at 20 m from the shelterbelt row measureable amounts of N originating from caragana were detectable in the forage biomass. At 4 m from the shelterbelt approximately 40% of the N in both oat and triticale was from caragana, and at 20 m from the shelterbelt approximately 20% of the N in oat and 8% of the N in triticale was from caragana.
Forests2015, 6(6), 1897-1921; doi:10.3390/f6061897 (registering DOI) - published 29 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: To examine the effect of nitrogen (N) fertilization on forest carbon (C) sequestration and water loss, we used an artiﬁcial neural network model to estimate C fluxes and evapotranspiration (ET) in response to N fertilization during four post-fertilization years in a Pacific Northwest chronosequence of three Douglas-fir stands aged 61, 22 and 10 years old in 2010 (DF49, HDF88 and HDF00, respectively). Results showed that N fertilization increased gross primary productivity (GPP) for all three sites in all four years with the largest absolute increase at HDF00 followed by HDF88. Ecosystem respiration increased in all four years at HDF00, but decreased over the last three years at HDF88 and over all four years at DF49. As a result, fertilization increased the net ecosystem productivity of all three stands with the largest increase at HDF88, followed by DF49. Fertilization had no discernible effect on ET in any of the stands. Consequently, fertilization increased water use efficiency (WUE) in all four post-fertilization years at all three sites and also increased light use efficiency (LUE) of all the stands, especially HDF00. Our results suggest that the effects of fertilization on forest C sequestration and water loss may be associated with stand age and fertilization; the two younger stands appeared to be more efficient than the older stand with respect to GPP, WUE and LUE.
Forests2015, 6(6), 1878-1896; doi:10.3390/f6061878 (registering DOI) - published 29 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: While negative impacts of invasive species on native communities are well documented, less is known about how these communities respond to the removal of established populations of invasive species. With regard to invasive shrubs, studies examining native community response to removal at scales greater than experimental plots are lacking. We examined short-term effects of removing Lonicera maackii (Amur honeysuckle) and other non-native shrubs on native plant taxa in six mixed-hardwood forests. Each study site contained two 0.64 ha sample areas—an area where all non-native shrubs were removed and a reference area where no treatment was implemented. We sampled vegetation in the spring and summer before and after non-native shrubs were removed. Cover and diversity of native species, and densities of native woody seedlings, increased after shrub removal. However, we also observed significant increases in L. maackii seedling densities and Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) cover in removal areas. Changes in reference areas were less pronounced and mostly non-significant. Our results suggest that removing non-native shrubs allows short-term recovery of native communities across a range of invasion intensities. However, successful restoration will likely depend on renewed competition with invasive species that re-colonize treatment areas, the influence of herbivores, and subsequent control efforts.
Forests2015, 6(6), 1858-1877; doi:10.3390/f6061858 (registering DOI) - published 29 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Salvage logging is the commonest post-fire emergency action, but has unclear ecological effects. In the Mediterranean Basin, drought periods and fire regimes are changing and forest management should be adapted. In summer 2009, a mid-high severity fire burned 968 ha of Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.) forest in southeast Spain, which was submitted to salvage logging six months later. In spring 2010, plots were set in untreated and logged areas to monitor the recruitment and survival of the main tree species and three companion species: Stipa tenacissima L. (resprouter), Cistus clusii Dunal and Rosmarinus officinalis L. (obligate seeders). We evaluated responses to different scenarios in relation to intensification of summer droughts and forest management to obtain differences in water stress, growth, and gas exchange to cope with summer drought. Drought was induced by using rain-exclusion shelters and recorded ecophysiological characteristics were obtained with a portable gas exchange system. The main tree species recruitment was poor, but companion species showed a high survival ratio. Lower water stress was found for obligate seeder seedlings, which was higher in logged areas with induced drought. The initial post-fire stage was similar for the studied areas. However, after two drought periods (2010 and 2011), significant differences were found in the morphological and ecophysiological responses. In the unmanaged area, the biggest size of individuals due to the most marked increases in height and coverage were observed mainly in resprouter S. tenacissima. In the area submitted to salvage logging, the growth ratios in plots with induced drought were lower, mainly for seeders. Greater productivity was related to higher transpiration, stomatal conductance, and net photosynthetic ratio, but lower water use efficiency was found in obligate seeders with no drought induction, and S. tenacissima obtained higher values in untreated areas. Our results confirm that both forest management and intensification of summer droughts influenced the resilience and productivity of the ecosystems in the short term. Adaptive forest management after fire can imply successful survival and recovery of plant communities in the mid to long term. This study provide a scientific basis to develop tools for the post-fire restoration of serotinous pine forests occurring in low-altitudinal areas of the Mediterranean Basin, prone to summer droughts and fire events.
Forests2015, 6(6), 1839-1857; doi:10.3390/f6061839 - published 28 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The demand for cost-efficient forest aboveground biomass (AGB) prediction methods is growing worldwide. The National Land Survey of Finland (NLS) began collecting airborne laser scanning (ALS) data throughout Finland in 2008 to provide a new high-detailed terrain elevation model. Similar data sets are being collected in an increasing number of countries worldwide. These data sets offer great potential in forest mapping related applications. The objectives of our study were (i) to evaluate the AGB component prediction accuracy at a resolution of 300 m2 using sparse density, leaf-off ALS data (collected by NLS) derived metrics as predictor variables; (ii) to compare prediction accuracies with existing large-scale forest mapping techniques (Multi-source National Forest Inventory, MS-NFI) based on Landsat TM satellite imagery; and (iii) to evaluate the accuracy and effect of canopy height model (CHM) derived metrics on AGB component prediction when ALS data were acquired with multiple sensors and varying scanning parameters. Results showed that ALS point metrics can be used to predict component AGBs with an accuracy of 29.7%–48.3%. AGB prediction accuracy was slightly improved using CHM-derived metrics but CHM metrics had a more clear effect on the estimated bias. Compared to the MS-NFI, the prediction accuracy was considerably higher, which was caused by differences in the remote sensing data utilized.
Forests2015, 6(6), 1810-1838; doi:10.3390/f6061810 - published 28 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Although forest ecosystems are fundamental sources of services and global biodiversity, their capacity to maintain these benefits in the future is potentially threatened by anthropogenic impacts such as climate change, land use, and unsustainable management practices. Thus far, studies focusing on forests and their services have gained less attention compared with studies on other biomes. Additionally, management practices may potentially undermine the capacity of forests to sustain biodiversity conservation and services in the future, especially outside protected areas. This study linked the concepts of biodiversity and forest ecosystem services at the national level in Italy. Through a downscaled review, we first analyzed management issues, challenges, and needs within the context of forest ecosystem services. We then carried out a survey on protected areas. The results show that forest biodiversity supports the provision of other services and, hence, needs to be preserved and supported by adaptive management practices. Current research on forest ecosystem services must extend policy trajectories to protected areas (i.e., National Parks) as centers of biodiversity and models of the sustainable use of resources.