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Special Issue "Biodiversity and Conservation in Forests"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Diana F. Tomback

Department of Integrative Biology, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: evolutionary ecology, forest ecology, and conservation biology; specifically, the evolution, ecology, and population biology of bird-dispersed pines and their corvid dispersers; and the conservation and restoration of five-needle white pines in western North America

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Global forest communities cover only about 30% of land areas, but they provide important ecosystem services, such as watershed protection, carbon sequestration, and oxygen production, as well as renewable forest products for human subsistence and markets. Forests also support the majority of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. Although land conversion for agriculture and pastureland has historically resulted in fragmentation and declining forested areas, forests worldwide are now experiencing change at an unprecedented rate due to various anthropogenic activities and growing human populations. Global warming trends are altering snowpack and hydrology, fostering outbreaks of native forest pests, and accelerating the loss of older tree age classes. Modeling suggests that future fire regimes in temperate regions will have shorter return intervals, with more severe wildfires. In addition, a by-product of trade and travel globalization has been the accelerated transport of plants and animals, and plant and animal diseases, around the world.  Exotic species have altered community composition, especially where foundational tree species are affected. Every forest community worldwide is challenged by some of these problems. In this Special Issue of the journal Forests we explore the unique biodiversity supported by forest communities, how forest communities are rapidly changing, and conservation approaches to preserving forest biodiversity.

Prof. Dr. Diana F. Tomback
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • global warming
  • exotic species
  • biodiversity
  • conservation
  • restoration

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessArticle Plant Diversity along the Eastern and Western Slopes of Baima Snow Mountain, China
Forests 2016, 7(4), 89; doi:10.3390/f7040089
Received: 23 September 2015 / Revised: 28 March 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3079 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Species richness and turnover rates differed between the western and eastern aspects of Baima Snow Mountain: maximum species richness (94 species in a transect of 1000 m2) was recorded at 2800 m on the western aspect and at 3400 m on
[...] Read more.
Species richness and turnover rates differed between the western and eastern aspects of Baima Snow Mountain: maximum species richness (94 species in a transect of 1000 m2) was recorded at 2800 m on the western aspect and at 3400 m on the eastern aspect (126 species), which also recorded a much higher value of gamma diversity (501 species) than the western aspect (300 species). The turnover rates were the highest in the transition zones between different vegetation types, whereas species-area curves showed larger within-transect beta diversity at middle elevations. The effect of elevation on alpha diversity was due mainly to the differences in seasonal temperature and moisture, and these environmental factors mattered more than spatial distances to the turnover rates along the elevation gradient, although the impact of the environmental factors differed with the growth form (herb, shrubs or trees) of the species. The differences in the patterns of plant biodiversity between the two aspects helped to assess several hypotheses that seek to explain such patterns, to highlight the impacts of contemporary climate and historical and regional factors and to plan biological conservation and forest management in this region more scientifically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation in Forests)
Open AccessArticle How natural Forest Conversion Affects Insect Biodiversity in the Peruvian Amazon: Can Agroforestry Help?
Forests 2016, 7(4), 82; doi:10.3390/f7040082
Received: 31 August 2015 / Revised: 6 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 8 April 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2054 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The Amazonian rainforest is a unique ecosystem that comprises habitat for thousands of animal species. Over the last decades, the ever-increasing human population has caused forest conversion to agricultural land with concomitant high biodiversity losses, mainly near a number of fast-growing cities in
[...] Read more.
The Amazonian rainforest is a unique ecosystem that comprises habitat for thousands of animal species. Over the last decades, the ever-increasing human population has caused forest conversion to agricultural land with concomitant high biodiversity losses, mainly near a number of fast-growing cities in the Peruvian Amazon. In this research, we evaluated insect species richness and diversity in five ecosystems: natural forests, multistrata agroforests, cocoa agroforests, annual cropping monoculture and degraded grasslands. We determined the relationship between land use intensity and insect diversity changes. Collected insects were taxonomically determined to morphospecies and data evaluated using standardized biodiversity indices. The highest species richness and abundance were found in natural forests, followed by agroforestry systems. Conversely, monocultures and degraded grasslands were found to be biodiversity-poor ecosystems. Diversity indices were relatively high for all ecosystems assessed with decreasing values along the disturbance gradient. An increase in land use disturbance causes not only insect diversity decreases but also complete changes in species composition. As agroforests, especially those with cocoa, currently cover many hectares of tropical land and show a species composition similar to natural forest sites, we can consider them as biodiversity reservoirs for some of the rainforest insect species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation in Forests)
Open AccessArticle Community Structure, Biodiversity, and Ecosystem Services in Treeline Whitebark Pine Communities: Potential Impacts from a Non-Native Pathogen
Forests 2016, 7(1), 21; doi:10.3390/f7010021
Received: 11 November 2015 / Revised: 23 December 2015 / Accepted: 6 January 2016 / Published: 19 January 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (3531 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) has the largest and most northerly distribution of any white pine (Subgenus Strobus) in North America, encompassing 18° latitude and 21° longitude in western mountains. Within this broad range, however, whitebark pine occurs within a narrow
[...] Read more.
Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) has the largest and most northerly distribution of any white pine (Subgenus Strobus) in North America, encompassing 18° latitude and 21° longitude in western mountains. Within this broad range, however, whitebark pine occurs within a narrow elevational zone, including upper subalpine and treeline forests, and functions generally as an important keystone and foundation species. In the Rocky Mountains, whitebark pine facilitates the development of krummholz conifer communities in the alpine-treeline ecotone (ATE), and thus potentially provides capacity for critical ecosystem services such as snow retention and soil stabilization. The invasive, exotic pathogen Cronartium ribicola, which causes white pine blister rust, now occurs nearly rangewide in whitebark pine communities, to their northern limits. Here, we synthesize data from 10 studies to document geographic variation in structure, conifer species, and understory plants in whitebark pine treeline communities, and examine the potential role of these communities in snow retention and regulating downstream flows. Whitebark pine mortality is predicted to alter treeline community composition, structure, and function. Whitebark pine losses in the ATE may also alter response to climate warming. Efforts to restore whitebark pine have thus far been limited to subalpine communities, particularly through planting seedlings with potential blister rust resistance. We discuss whether restoration strategies might be appropriate for treeline communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation in Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Foundation Species Loss and Biodiversity of the Herbaceous Layer in New England Forests
Forests 2016, 7(1), 9; doi:10.3390/f7010009
Received: 4 November 2015 / Revised: 4 December 2015 / Accepted: 21 December 2015 / Published: 25 December 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1629 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is a foundation species in eastern North American forests. Because eastern hemlock is a foundation species, it often is assumed that the diversity of associated species is high. However, the herbaceous layer of eastern hemlock stands generally
[...] Read more.
Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is a foundation species in eastern North American forests. Because eastern hemlock is a foundation species, it often is assumed that the diversity of associated species is high. However, the herbaceous layer of eastern hemlock stands generally is sparse, species-poor, and lacks unique species or floristic assemblages. The rapidly spreading, nonnative hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tusgae) is causing widespread death of eastern hemlock. Loss of individual hemlock trees or whole stands rapidly leads to increases in species richness and cover of shrubs, herbs, graminoids, ferns, and fern-allies. Naively, one could conclude that the loss of eastern hemlock has a net positive effect on biodiversity. What is lost besides hemlock, however, is landscape-scale variability in the structure and composition of the herbaceous layer. In the Harvard Forest Hemlock Removal Experiment, removal of hemlock by either girdling (simulating adelgid infestation) or logging led to a proliferation of early-successional and disturbance-dependent understory species. In other declining hemlock stands, nonnative plant species expand and homogenize the flora. While local richness increases in former eastern hemlock stands, between-site and regional species diversity will be further diminished as this iconic foundation species of eastern North America succumbs to hemlock woolly adelgid. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation in Forests)
Open AccessArticle Species Distribution Model for Management of an Invasive Vine in Forestlands of Eastern Texas
Forests 2015, 6(12), 4374-4390; doi:10.3390/f6124374
Received: 14 September 2015 / Revised: 11 November 2015 / Accepted: 18 November 2015 / Published: 27 November 2015
PDF Full-text (3208 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Invasive plants decrease biodiversity, modify vegetation structure, and inhibit growth and reproduction of native species. Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica Thunb.) is the most prevalent invasive vine in the forestlands of eastern Texas. Hence, we aimed to identify potential factors influencing the distribution
[...] Read more.
Invasive plants decrease biodiversity, modify vegetation structure, and inhibit growth and reproduction of native species. Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica Thunb.) is the most prevalent invasive vine in the forestlands of eastern Texas. Hence, we aimed to identify potential factors influencing the distribution of the species, quantify the relative importance of each factor, and test possible management strategies. We analyzed an extensive dataset collected as part of the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service to quantify the range expansion of Japanese honeysuckle in the forestlands of eastern Texas from 2006 to 2011. We then identified potential factors influencing the likelihood of presence of Japanese honeysuckle using boosted regression trees. Our results indicated that the presence of Japanese honeysuckle on sampled plots almost doubled during this period (from 352 to 616 plots), spreading extensively, geographically. The probability of invasion was correlated with variables representing landscape conditions, climatic conditions, forest features, disturbance factors, and forest management activities. Habitats most at risk to invasion under current conditions occurred primarily in northeastern Texas, with a few invasion hotspots in the south. Estimated probabilities of invasion were reduced most by artificial site regeneration, with habitats most at risk again occurring primarily in northeastern Texas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation in Forests)
Open AccessArticle Outbreak of Phoracantha semipunctata in Response to Severe Drought in a Mediterranean Eucalyptus Forest
Forests 2015, 6(11), 3868-3881; doi:10.3390/f6113868
Received: 29 August 2015 / Accepted: 27 October 2015 / Published: 30 October 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (500 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Extreme climatic events, including droughts and heatwaves, can trigger outbreaks of woodboring beetles by compromising host defenses and creating habitat conducive for beetle development. As the frequency, intensity, and duration of droughts are likely to increase in the future, beetle outbreaks are expected
[...] Read more.
Extreme climatic events, including droughts and heatwaves, can trigger outbreaks of woodboring beetles by compromising host defenses and creating habitat conducive for beetle development. As the frequency, intensity, and duration of droughts are likely to increase in the future, beetle outbreaks are expected to become more common. The combination of drought and beetle outbreaks has the potential to alter ecosystem structure, composition, and function. Our aim was to investigate a potential outbreak of the native Eucalyptus longhorned borer, Phoracantha semipunctata (P. semipunctata), following one of the most severe droughts on record in the Northern Jarrah Forest of Southwestern Australia. Beetle damage and tissue moisture were examined in trees ranging from healthy to recently killed. Additionally, beetle population levels were examined in adjacent forest areas exhibiting severe and minimal canopy dieback. Severely drought-affected forest was associated with an unprecedented outbreak of P. semipunctata, with densities 80 times higher than those observed in surrounding healthier forest. Trees recently killed by drought had significantly lower tissue moisture and higher feeding damage and infestation levels than those trees considered healthy or in the process of dying. These results confirm the outbreak potential of P. semipunctata in its native Mediterranean-climate Eucalyptus forest under severe water stress, and indicate that continued drying will increase the likelihood of outbreaks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation in Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Benthic Collector and Grazer Communities Are Threatened by Hemlock Woolly Adelgid-Induced Eastern Hemlock Loss
Forests 2015, 6(8), 2719-2738; doi:10.3390/f6082719
Received: 5 May 2015 / Revised: 13 July 2015 / Accepted: 20 July 2015 / Published: 6 August 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (864 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis (L.) is a foundation species in eastern North America where it is under threat from the highly invasive, exotic hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae). Eastern hemlock is especially important in riparian areas of Central and Southern
[...] Read more.
Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis (L.) is a foundation species in eastern North America where it is under threat from the highly invasive, exotic hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae). Eastern hemlock is especially important in riparian areas of Central and Southern Appalachia, so we compared the spatial and temporal composition of benthic collector-gatherers, collector-filterers, and grazers in headwater streams with hemlock-dominated riparian vegetation to those with deciduous tree-dominated riparian vegetation to evaluate the extent to which adelgid-induced hemlock loss could influence composition and abundance of these two functional feeding groups. We found differences in benthic invertebrate abundance and family-level diversity based on riparian vegetation and sampling approach, and, often, riparian vegetation significantly interacted with location or season. Collector-gatherers and grazers were more abundant in eastern hemlock streams in the summer, when hemlock litter is readily available and deciduous litter is relatively sparse. Riparian eastern hemlock appears to exert considerable influence on benthic invertebrate functional feeding group composition in headwater stream communities, as expected with a foundation species. With the loss of eastern hemlock due to adelgid-induced mortality, we should expect to see alterations in spatial and temporal patterns of benthic invertebrate abundance and diversity, with potential consequences to both benthic and terrestrial ecosystem function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation in Forests)
Open AccessArticle Extinction Risk of Pseudotsuga Menziesii Populations in the Central Region of Mexico: An AHP Analysis
Forests 2015, 6(5), 1598-1612; doi:10.3390/f6051598
Received: 4 March 2015 / Revised: 24 April 2015 / Accepted: 27 April 2015 / Published: 5 May 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (250 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Within the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) framework, a hierarchical model was created considering anthropogenic, genetic and ecological criteria and sub-criteria that directly affect Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.)) risk of extinction in central Mexico. The sub-criteria values were standardized, weighted, and ordered by
[...] Read more.
Within the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) framework, a hierarchical model was created considering anthropogenic, genetic and ecological criteria and sub-criteria that directly affect Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.)) risk of extinction in central Mexico. The sub-criteria values were standardized, weighted, and ordered by importance in a pairwise comparison matrix; the model was mathematically integrated to quantify the degree of extinction risk for each of the 29 populations present in the study area. The results indicate diverse levels of risk for the populations, ranging from very low to very high. Estanzuela, Presa Jaramillo, Peñas Cargadas and Plan del Baile populations have very low risk, with values less than 0.25. On the other hand, Vicente Guerrero, Morán, Minatitlán, La Garita and Tonalapa populations have very high risk (>0.35) because they are heavily influenced by anthropogenic (close to roads and towns), ecological (presence of exotic species and little or no natural regeneration) and genetic (presence of mature to overmature trees and geographic isolation) factors. In situ conservation activities, prioritizing their implementation in populations at most risk is highly recommended; in addition, germplasm collection for use of assisted gene flow and migration approaches, including artificial reforestation, should be considered in these locations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation in Forests)
Open AccessArticle Lichen Monitoring Delineates Biodiversity on a Great Barrier Reef Coral Cay
Forests 2015, 6(5), 1557-1575; doi:10.3390/f6051557
Received: 7 March 2015 / Revised: 28 April 2015 / Accepted: 28 April 2015 / Published: 5 May 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (23784 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Coral islands around the world are threatened by changing climates. Rising seas, drought, and increased tropical storms are already impacting island ecosystems. We aim to better understand lichen community ecology of coral island forests. We used an epiphytic lichen community survey to gauge
[...] Read more.
Coral islands around the world are threatened by changing climates. Rising seas, drought, and increased tropical storms are already impacting island ecosystems. We aim to better understand lichen community ecology of coral island forests. We used an epiphytic lichen community survey to gauge Pisonia (Pisonia grandis R.BR.), which dominates forest conditions on Heron Island, Australia. Nine survey plots were sampled for lichen species presence and abundance, all tree diameters and species, GPS location, distance to forest-beach edge, and dominant forest type. Results found only six unique lichens and two lichen associates. A Multi-Response Permutation Procedures (MRPP) test found statistically distinct lichen communities among forest types. The greatest group differences were between interior Pisonia and perimeter forest types. Ordinations were performed to further understand causes for distinctions in lichen communities. Significant explanatory gradients were distance to forest edge, tree density (shading), and Pisonia basal area. Each of these variables was negatively correlated with lichen diversity and abundance, suggesting that interior, successionally advanced, Pisonia forests support fewer lichens. Island edge and presumably younger forests—often those with greater tree diversity and sunlight penetration—supported the highest lichen diversity. Heron Island’s Pisonia-dominated forests support low lichen diversity which mirrors overall biodiversity patterns. Lichen biomonitoring may provide a valuable indicator for assessing island ecosystems for conservation purposes regionally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation in Forests)
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Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Open AccessReview Building on Two Decades of Ecosystem Management and Biodiversity Conservation under the Northwest Forest Plan, USA
Forests 2015, 6(9), 3326-3352; doi:10.3390/f6093326
Received: 20 June 2015 / Revised: 14 September 2015 / Accepted: 14 September 2015 / Published: 22 September 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (537 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Correction
Abstract
The 1994 Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) shifted federal lands management from a focus on timber production to ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation. The plan established a network of conservation reserves and an ecosystem management strategy on ~10 million hectares from northern California to
[...] Read more.
The 1994 Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) shifted federal lands management from a focus on timber production to ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation. The plan established a network of conservation reserves and an ecosystem management strategy on ~10 million hectares from northern California to Washington State, USA, within the range of the federally threatened northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina). Several subsequent assessments—and 20 years of data from monitoring programs established under the plan—have demonstrated the effectiveness of this reserve network and ecosystem management approach in making progress toward attaining many of the plan’s conservation and ecosystem management goals. This paper (1) showcases the fundamental conservation biology and ecosystem management principles underpinning the NWFP as a case study for managers interested in large-landscape conservation; and (2) recommends improvements to the plan’s strategy in response to unprecedented climate change and land-use threats. Twenty years into plan implementation, however, the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, under pressure for increased timber harvest, are retreating from conservation measures. We believe that federal agencies should instead build on the NWFP to ensure continuing success in the Pacific Northwest. We urge federal land managers to (1) protect all remaining late-successional/old-growth forests; (2) identify climate refugia for at-risk species; (3) maintain or increase stream buffers and landscape connectivity; (4) decommission and repair failing roads to improve water quality; (5) reduce fire risk in fire-prone tree plantations; and (6) prevent logging after fires in areas of high conservation value. In many respects, the NWFP is instructive for managers considering similar large-scale conservation efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation in Forests)

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessCorrection Correction: DellaSala, D.A., et al. Building on Two Decades of Ecosystem Management and Biodiversity Conservation under the Northwest Forest Plan, USA. Forests, 2015, 6, 3326
Forests 2016, 7(3), 53; doi:10.3390/f7030053
Received: 19 February 2016 / Accepted: 23 February 2016 / Published: 26 February 2016
PDF Full-text (611 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We discovered two typos and a change in a sentence needed in our published manuscript.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation in Forests)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Review
Title: A Synthesis of Species Interactions, Metacommunities, and the Conservation of Avian Diversity in Hemiboreal and Boreal Forests
Authors: Alexis R. Grinde and Gerald J. Niemi, Natural Resources Research Institute and Department of Biology, University of Minnesota, 5013 Miller Trunk Highway, Duluth MN 55811 USA
Abstract: The rate at which climate is changing in northern latitudes presents a significant threat to bird populations that rely on boreal forests. Alterations in the distributions of trees and other plants as a result of warming will alter the habitat suitability of vast regions of boreal and hemiboreal forests. Climate change associated habitat alterations along with range expansions of bird species are likely to have substantial consequences on avian communities and biodiversity. Identifying factors that contribute to species coexistence and community assembly processes at local and regional scales will facilitate predictions about the impact of climate change on avian communities in these forest ecosystems. This paper provides a comprehensive review of historic and current theories of community ecology dynamics providing a theoretical synthesis that links the evolution of species traits at the individual level, the dynamics of species interactions, and the overall maintenance of biodiversity. Integration of these perspectives is necessary to provide the scientific means to face growing environmental challenges in boreal ecosystems.
Keywords: avian, biodiversity, metacommunity, metapopulation, hemiboreal, boreal, forests

Title: Community Structure, Biodiversity, and Ecosystem Services in Treeline Whitebark Pine Communities: Potential Impacts from a Non-Native Pathogen
Authors:
Diana F. Tomback 1,*, Lynn M. Resler 2, Robert E. Keane 3, Elizabeth R. Pansing 1, Andrew J. Andrade 1 and Aaron C. Wagner 1
Affiliations:
1 Department of Integrative Biology, CB 171, University of Colorado Denver, P. O. Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217, USA 2 Department of Geography, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 115 Major Williams Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA 3 U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, 5775 US Hwy 10 West, Missoula, MT 59808, USA
Abstract:
Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) has the largest and most northerly distribution of any white pine (Subgenus Strobus) in North America, encompassing 18˚ latitude and 21˚ longitude in western mountains. Within this broad range, whitebark pine occurs within a narrow elevational zone, including upper subalpine and treeline forests, but functions generally as an important keystone and foundation species for high elevation communities. In the Rocky Mountains, whitebark pine also facilitates the development of treeline conifer communities and thus provides capacity for critical ecosystem services such as snow retention and soil stabilization. The invasive, exotic pathogen Cronartium ribicola, which causes white pine blister rust, now occurs nearly rangewide in whitebark pine, to its northern limits. Here, we document geographic variation in structure, conifer species, and understory plants in whitebark pine treeline communities and the role of these communities in snow retention and regulating downstream flows. Whitebark pine mortality is predicted to alter treeline community composition, structure, and function, as well as response to climate warming. Efforts to restore whitebark pine have thus far been limited to subalpine communities, particularly through planting blister rust-resistant seedlings. We discuss whether restoration strategies might be appropriate for treeline communities.
Keywords: whitebark pine; treeline communities; biodiversity; community structure; keystone species; foundation species; ecosystem services; exotic pathogen; white pine blister rust; restoration

Title: Species Distribution Modelling for Management of an Invasive Vine in Forestlands
Authors: Hsiao-Hsuan Wang and William E. Grant
Affiliation: Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
Abstract: In the twentieth century, the U.S. alone has experienced an economic loss of approximately 97 billion dollars due to the presence of 79 non-indigenous species, and invasive plant species have degraded forest ecosystems without control or reclaimed action. Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) was the most prevalent invasive tree in the forestlands of eastern Texas in 2006. Japanese honeysuckle can have negative effects on the native vegetation of the communities in which it is prevalent. It has been shown to decrease diversity, modify vegetation structure, and inhibit growth and reproduction of native species under certain circumstances. There are currently no predators or pathogens in the introduced range which have significant detrimental effects on Japanese honeysuckle. We analyzed an extensive data set collected as part of the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program of the USDA Forest Service to quantify the range expansion of Japanese honeysuckle from 2006 to 2011. Our results indicated that the presence of Japanese honeysuckle on sampled plots increased 10% during this period. Japanese honeysuckle spread extensively toward the north. Results of multiple logistic regression indicated that the probability of invasion was correlated positively with water bodies, temperature, site productivity, species diversity, and private land ownership, slope, stand age, artificial regeneration, distance to the nearest road, and fire disturbance. Habitats most at risk of further invasion under current conditions occurred primarily in northeastern Texas, with a few invasion hotspots in the South. Estimated probabilities of further invasion were reduced the most by site preparation and artificial regeneration, with habitats most at risk again occurring primarily in northeastern Texas.

 

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