Forests2016, 7(6), 113; doi:10.3390/f7060113 (registering DOI) - published 31 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We have investigated public preferences for use intensity and visual quality of forest recreational infrastructure. Forest infrastructure covers five classes, along a continuum from unmarked paths to paved walkways. Altogether, 39 sites were categorized into the five classes and measured with automatic counters. A sample of 545 respondents living in southeastern and middle Norway were asked to rate 15 forest scenes and 35 preconceptions of recreational settings. The path scenarios were depicted as digitally calibrated photos that systematically displayed physical path feature in boreal, semi-natural settings. Survey participants showed a clearly greater preference for photos and preconceptions of forests settings containing minor elements of forest infrastructure; unmarked paths received the highest score and forest roads/walkways/bikeways the lowest. We identified a clear mismatch between public preferences for forest infrastructure and the intensity of use; the less appreciated infrastructure was the most used. Planning and management has to consider these different needs for recreational infrastructure, and we propose an area zoning system that meets the different segments of forest visitors.
Forests2016, 7(6), 117; doi:10.3390/f7060117 (registering DOI) - published 31 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Fertilization increases productivity in Eucalyptus plantations, but losses in productivity associated with soil fertility continue at operational scales. In this study, we evaluated the fertilization response (FR), light use efficiency (LUE) and growth efficiency (GE), i.e., the amount of wood biomass accumulated per unit of light absorbed (LUE) and per unit of leaf area index of Eucalyptus plantations. We used a “twin plot” approach, with 161 blocks representing 52,700 ha of planted forests that spanned a broad range of edaphoclimatic conditions in southeastern Brazil. The normal plots (NP) were part of a permanent inventory network, whereas the twin plots (TP) received extra high levels of fertilization and extra weed control after fertilization. The intensive management (twin plots) led to a large increase of 5.3 Mg·ha−1·year−1 of wood increment. The region without dry periods and with soils with high clay content was most responsive to fertilization, with a 15% increment in the LUE and 10% increase in the GE of the TPs compared with those of the NPs. Our results suggested that water availability was the primary element affecting productivity and potential response to fertilization. With this information, decisions can be made on which regions should receive priority fertilization investments. However, more research is required to determine the most limiting nutrient in each type of environment.
Forests2016, 7(6), 119; doi:10.3390/f7060119 (registering DOI) - published 31 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Is (sub)urban forest diversity shaped by previous land use? This study was designed to quantitatively assess the impacts of subdivision development on urban tree-species composition in two Canadian cities: Halifax, Nova Scotia, and London, Ontario. The main goal was to determine whether cities with contrasting pre-urbanized or pre-settlement landscapes—woodlands in Halifax and agricultural fields in London—also revealed differences in urban tree diversity losses and/or gains due to urbanization. In each city, four residential neighbourhoods representing two age categories, older and newer (40–50 years, <15 years), were examined and trees on three land types were sampled: public (street), private (residential), and remnant (woodland). All public street trees within the chosen neighbourhoods were inventoried and approximately 10% of the residential property lots were sampled randomly. Plots were examined in remnant forests in or near each city, representing the original forest habitats prior to agricultural and/or urban landscape transformations. Diameter at breast height, species richness and evenness, and proportions of native and non-native trees were measured. In both cities, streetscapes in newer neighbourhoods exhibit greater species richness and evenness, and are characterized by substantially more native trees. Despite this trend, developers and home owners continue to intensively plant non-native species on newer and smaller property lots. Older neighbourhoods in Halifax containing remnant forest stands hold the greatest number of native trees on private property, alluding to the importance of residual forest buffers and patches in promoting naturalness in the private urban forest. These results suggest that identifying and quantifying flows of species between green spaces during and after development is valuable in order to effectively promote native species establishment and enhance overall urban forest diversity.
Forests2016, 7(6), 118; doi:10.3390/f7060118 (registering DOI) - published 31 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The aim of the study is to determine the innovation strategy of contractor firms in the Slovak forestry service sector in the area of further innovation activities development. The strategy identification was based on the analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in this sector. The results indicate that weaknesses of contractor firms exceed their strengths and, considering the degree and importance of their impact, opportunities exceed identified threats. Based on these findings revealing the relations in the area of innovation activities of forestry service contractors, the “Strategy of Partnership” was suggested as the most suitable type of strategy. It can be concluded that such a form of grouping cooperation brings many benefits to contractors in the form of information availability, guidance, training, and management of conflicts, risks and uncertainty, which are associated with the innovation process.
Forests2016, 7(6), 116; doi:10.3390/f7060116 - published 30 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This study compares carbon sequestration rates along two independent tidal mangrove creeks near Naples Bay in Southwest Florida, USA. One tidal creek is hydrologically disturbed due to upstream land use changes; the other is an undisturbed reference creek. Soil cores were collected in basin, fringe, and riverine hydrogeomorphic settings along each of the two tidal creeks and analyzed for bulk density, total organic carbon profiles, and sediment accretion. Radionuclides 137Cs and 210Pb were used to estimate recent sediment accretion and carbon sequestration rates. Carbon sequestration rates (mean ± standard error) for seven sites in the two tidal creeks on the Naples Bay (98 ± 12 g-C m−2·year−1 (n = 18)) are lower than published global means for mangrove wetlands, but consistent with other estimates from the same region. Mean carbon sequestration rates in the reference riverine setting were highest (162 ± 5 g-C m−2·year−1), followed by rates in the reference fringe and disturbed riverine settings (127 ± 6 and 125 ± 5 g-C m−2·year−1, respectively). The disturbed fringe sequestered 73 ± 10 g-C m−2·year−1, while rates within the basin settings were 50 ± 4 g-C m−2·year−1 and 47 ± 4 g-C m−2·year−1 for the reference and disturbed creeks, respectively. These data support our hypothesis that mangroves along a hydrologically disturbed tidal creek sequestered less carbon than did mangroves along an adjacent undisturbed reference creek.
Forests2016, 7(6), 114; doi:10.3390/f7060114 - published 28 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Family forest owners (FFOs) control a majority of private forestland in the United States and have widely diverse ownership and management objectives. Many FFOs manage their holdings for timber production and, thus, are concerned with issues such as reforestation incentives and tax treatment of timber revenues. Their actual knowledge of the tax aspects of timber management varies, with some owners even unaware of the federal income tax provisions that apply to timber. This research used econometric techniques to establish socioeconomic predictors of FFO awareness and use of federal income tax provisions. Socioeconomic factors (such as size of forest holding, ownership objective, education, age, and income) were evaluated in terms of association with awareness and use of income tax provisions. Data were obtained from a survey of 1350 South Carolina FFOs (472 useable responses). A two-step sample selection methodology revealed that membership in a landowner organization and size of forest holding positively influence landowner awareness of the seven tax provisions, while ownership objective and level of education exhibited varying degrees of influence. Overall, the findings suggest that size of forest holding is the key determinant that influences landowner use of the provisions. These tax incentives are one of the foundations of federal policies encouraging active forest management by FFOs and the effectiveness of the various incentives has crucial implications for forest policy analysis.