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Special Issue "Ecological Restoration for Sustainable Forest Management"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Takuo Nagaike

Yamanashi Forest Research Institute, Japan
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +81 556 22 8001
Interests: ecological sustainable forest management; deer; plantation; forest science; ecosystem services

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Forests provide us various ecosystem services. Thus, ecosystem restoration of forests, which is defined as the process of assisted recovery of a forest ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged or destroyed, should focus on maintaining services from forests. Forests ecological restoration is one of the most important topics for sustainable forest resource management, as well as providing various other functions.

Forests are degraded, not only by forest management (e.g., intensive selective harvesting), but also herbivory (e.g., ungulates and insects). To resolve these issues, not only natural, but also social, sciences are important to plan and implement forest ecosystem restoration, because public awareness of forests is of deep interest.

This Special Issue welcomes contributions about natural, social and interdisciplinary approaches to accomplish proper forest ecological restoration.

Dr. Takuo Nagaike
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. Sustainability 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 1400 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

  • Target of the restoration
  • Sustainable forest management
  • Overabundant/outbreaks of herbivory
  • Social participation
  • Feasibility
  • Ecological integrity

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Analysis of the Driving Forces in Vegetation Variation in the Grain for Green Program Region, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1853; doi:10.3390/su9101853
Received: 24 August 2017 / Revised: 11 October 2017 / Accepted: 11 October 2017 / Published: 16 October 2017
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Abstract
The Chinese government introduced six ecological restoration programs to improve its natural environment. Although these programs have proven successful in improving local environmental conditions, some studies have questioned their effectiveness when regions suffer from extreme weather conditions. Using the Grain for Green Program
[...] Read more.
The Chinese government introduced six ecological restoration programs to improve its natural environment. Although these programs have proven successful in improving local environmental conditions, some studies have questioned their effectiveness when regions suffer from extreme weather conditions. Using the Grain for Green Program (GGP) region as a study area, we estimated vegetation activities in the GGP region from 2000 to 2010 to clarify the trends in vegetation growth and their driving forces. The results showed that: (1) vegetation activities improved in the GGP region during 2000-2010, with 58.94% of the area showing an increased trend in the NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index); (2) 26.33% of the increased vegetation was caused by human interference, and 11.61% by climate variation, human activity was the dominant cause, and resulted in 54.68% of the degradation compared to 4.74% from climate change; and, (3) the contribution of different land use types to the NDVI interannual variations showed that high contribution regions were focused in the arid and semiarid areas, where the vegetation growth is associated with variations in recipitation and temperature. However, conversions between farmland and grassland or forest had a significant effect on the change in the NDVI trend. Therefore, although climate conditions can affect vegetation growth, human activities are more important in vegetation changes, and appropriate human activities would contribute to its continual improvement. Hence, we recommend establishing an assessment and scientific management mechanism for eco-risks in the design and management of ecosystem restoration programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Restoration for Sustainable Forest Management)
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Open AccessArticle Let the Women Harvest the Mangrove. Carbon Policy, and Environmental Injustice
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1485; doi:10.3390/su9081485
Received: 9 June 2017 / Revised: 4 August 2017 / Accepted: 16 August 2017 / Published: 21 August 2017
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Abstract
Carbon policy is a fascinating topic in geography and political ecology, because carbon is a new exchangeable good, which links the local to the international arenas through a complex set of instruments, norms, and institutions. In this paper, after explaining my theoretical and
[...] Read more.
Carbon policy is a fascinating topic in geography and political ecology, because carbon is a new exchangeable good, which links the local to the international arenas through a complex set of instruments, norms, and institutions. In this paper, after explaining my theoretical and conceptual framework rooted in Africanist geography and currents of political ecology, I analyze the responses of local actors (knowledge, practices, logic, and strategies) to environmental policies and consider the effects of new mechanisms, upon local dynamics in Africa. I focus my attention on the impacts of mangrove reforestation policies on women, who harvest shellfish. My research, conducted over 35 years on coastal mangroves in Africa and Madagascar, provides me with examples. Through a long-term approach to the perception of mangroves and the changing modes of policies, I highlight the weight of imperialism and neo-liberalism and analyze types of environmental injustice against mangrove harvesters, particularly the women, who are the most directly concerned by the preservation of their heritage and are rarely recognized as stakeholders in environmental policies that are defined internationally and implemented at national and local levels. They are not informed (or are deliberately kept unware) of new devices such as REDD+. They have lost their rights of access to the reforested mangrove areas. Carbon policy requires comparative and empirical research, giving voice to local actors, especially women, about their perceptions of policies and actions. The approaches in terms of political ecology must be combined with analysis of the bio-ecological and socio-cultural dynamics of the mangrove. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Restoration for Sustainable Forest Management)
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Open AccessArticle Experts’ Analysis of the Quality and Usability of SILVANET Software for Informing Sustainable Forest Management
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1200; doi:10.3390/su9071200
Received: 26 April 2017 / Revised: 1 July 2017 / Accepted: 2 July 2017 / Published: 7 July 2017
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Abstract
It is important today to take account of the opinions of both experts and stakeholders in the sustainable management of forests. SILVANET (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain) is a software package that offers a useful methodology for assessing the preferences of individuals
[...] Read more.
It is important today to take account of the opinions of both experts and stakeholders in the sustainable management of forests. SILVANET (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain) is a software package that offers a useful methodology for assessing the preferences of individuals or groups, and applying them to the design of a sustainable forest management plan. The program starts by identifying the personal preferences of the evaluators based on information provided individually when comparing and selecting sustainability options from a series of site pairs. The evaluator is given information on certain sustainability indicators obtained in the area to be assessed. The scope of the evaluator’s knowledge of sustainable forest management and the consistency of his/her decisions is assessed, and he/she is then included in a group of people with similar systems of preferences to encourage interaction between evaluators in the same group. The preferences are characterized by matrices that encode individual assessments, the maximization of their utility and the analysis of past decisions. Finally, by identifying preferences, we are able to design the forest management system that maximizes the concept of sustainability for each individual or group of individuals. In this paper, we present the results of its application to mono-specific conifer forest stands, although it can be adapted to other forest types. The forestry management experts classify its usability as good, although non-expert users give it a lower rating. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Restoration for Sustainable Forest Management)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Understory Liana Trachelospermum jasminoides on Distributions of Litterfall and Soil Organic Carbon in an Oak Forest in Central China
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 1019; doi:10.3390/su9061019
Received: 4 April 2017 / Revised: 6 June 2017 / Accepted: 9 June 2017 / Published: 14 June 2017
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Abstract
Liana constitutes an important structural and functional component in many forest ecosystems and has profound impacts on forest carbon (C) cycling. However, whether and how liana regulates spatial distributions of litterfall and soil organic C are still poorly understood. To address this critical
[...] Read more.
Liana constitutes an important structural and functional component in many forest ecosystems and has profound impacts on forest carbon (C) cycling. However, whether and how liana regulates spatial distributions of litterfall and soil organic C are still poorly understood. To address this critical knowledge gap, we investigated litterfall composition and soil physicochemical characteristics in stands with different densities of liana (Trachelospermum jasminoides (Lindl.) Lem.). Both fresh and decomposed leaf litters were greater in the stands with high density of the liana species T. jasminoides. More liana covered stands also had higher soil respiration rate, soil organic C, and total nitrogen than those with less liana. The findings demonstrate that understory liana can regulate litterfall distribution and thus soil organic C, suggesting that the influences of understory liana on belowground ecological processes should be considered while assessing the role of liana in forest ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Restoration for Sustainable Forest Management)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Effects of Small Hydropower Substituting Firewood Program in Majiang County, Guizhou Province, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 988; doi:10.3390/su9060988
Received: 25 March 2017 / Revised: 2 June 2017 / Accepted: 3 June 2017 / Published: 9 June 2017
PDF Full-text (2377 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Small hydropower substituting fuel (SHSF) is an ecological environment protection program to improve regional ecosystems and alleviate poverty. However, the sustainability of SHSF programs remains controversial due to lingering doubts about its potential for socioeconomic development and its environmental impacts. The sustainability of
[...] Read more.
Small hydropower substituting fuel (SHSF) is an ecological environment protection program to improve regional ecosystems and alleviate poverty. However, the sustainability of SHSF programs remains controversial due to lingering doubts about its potential for socioeconomic development and its environmental impacts. The sustainability of SHSF was examined based on field investigations and household questionnaire surveys. The results were as follows: (1) Biomass of SHSF protected masson pine (Pinus massoniana) and weeping cypress (Platycladus orientalis) plantations were 11.06 t·ha−1 and 7.15 t·ha−1 higher than unprotected plantations, respectively. Furthermore, the differences in ecosystem biomass were mainly derived from arbor biomass. While the energy conversion efficiency based on field investigations was merely 1.28 kg (kWh)−1, which was only 64% of the empirical value and 54% of the guideline for accounting for the ecological benefit of small hydropower substituting fuel. (2) Households’ total income in SHSF villages was higher than in households with access to a hydropower plant but no substituting fuel or households with no hydropower plant. (3) Most of the households had a positive attitude towards SHSF because of its cheaper electricity and associated ecological environmental improvements. Overall, our results suggest optimistic and sustainable prospects for the SHSF program; however, continued education and policy communications are needed to sustain program success. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Restoration for Sustainable Forest Management)
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Open AccessArticle The Spatiotemporal Variation of Tree Cover in the Loess Plateau of China after the ‘Grain for Green’ Project
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 739; doi:10.3390/su9050739
Received: 23 February 2017 / Revised: 26 April 2017 / Accepted: 28 April 2017 / Published: 3 May 2017
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Abstract
Analyzing spatiotemporal variation of tree cover could enhance understanding of the environment and promote a sustainable resource use of ecosystems. This study investigated the variation in tree cover in the Loess Plateau after an ecological restoration effort called the ‘Grain for Green Project’
[...] Read more.
Analyzing spatiotemporal variation of tree cover could enhance understanding of the environment and promote a sustainable resource use of ecosystems. This study investigated the variation in tree cover in the Loess Plateau after an ecological restoration effort called the ‘Grain for Green Project’ (GGP). The results show that the proportion of tree covered area in the Loess Plateau changed from 73% to 88%, with the cumulative tree cover fluctuating from approximately 7% to 11%, and the average annual tree cover increased from 10% in 2000 to 12% in 2014. Based on tree cover values over the course of 15 years, the study area was classified into five regions, which provide much more information for spatial assessment of tree cover change in the Loess Plateau spatially. The increase in tree cover value was mainly in the core part of Loess Plateau, the mountains, and the edge of the mountain areas; whereas the values were stable in 36.21% of the area, and a decrease was noted in 5.63% of the area, primarily located in the low plain areas. Approximately 26.36% of the Loess Plateau will show a sustained increase in tree cover in the future. The results of this study will facilitate us to understand the current conditions and development of the GGP’s effects, and offer a valuable reference for future detection of tree cover change through geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing (RS) tools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Restoration for Sustainable Forest Management)
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Open AccessArticle Improvements in Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Capacities after Shrub Planting to Stabilize Sand Dunes in China’s Horqin Sandy Land
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 662; doi:10.3390/su9040662
Received: 24 February 2017 / Revised: 9 April 2017 / Accepted: 19 April 2017 / Published: 23 April 2017
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Abstract
Caragana microphylla, a native perennial leguminous shrub, is widely used for desertification control in China’s Horqin Sandy Land. We investigated the effects of afforestation using C. microphylla in areas with fixed and active dunes on soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) storage
[...] Read more.
Caragana microphylla, a native perennial leguminous shrub, is widely used for desertification control in China’s Horqin Sandy Land. We investigated the effects of afforestation using C. microphylla in areas with fixed and active dunes on soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) storage in the soil total and light-fraction (LF) organic matter. Compared to the values in the control areas, soil organic carbon (SOC) storage to a depth of 100 cm increased by 88%, 74%, and 145% at 9, 15, and 31 years after shrub planting, respectively; the corresponding values were 68%, 61%, and 195% for total nitrogen (TN) storage, 109%, 199%, and 202% for LF organic carbon storage, and 203%, 337%, and 342% for LF nitrogen storage. The soil light-fraction (LF) organic matter contributed significantly to total SOC and TN storage, despite the low proportion of total soil mass accounted for by the LF dry matter. Thus, afforestation using C. microphylla was an effective way to sequester C and to restore degraded soils, but the process was slow; it would take more than 100 years to fully restore SOC storage in active dunes through afforestation with C. microphylla in the Horqin Sandy Land. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Restoration for Sustainable Forest Management)
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Open AccessArticle Estimating Residents’ Preferences of the Land Use Program Surrounding Forest Park, Taiwan
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 598; doi:10.3390/su9040598
Received: 16 November 2016 / Revised: 21 March 2017 / Accepted: 6 April 2017 / Published: 13 April 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5772 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This paper aims to build up a preference function to evaluate the public benefits of the type of agricultural farming, biodiversity, water provisions, land use type, ecotourism modes, and a monetary attribute (willingness to pay and willingness to work) associated with an ecosystem
[...] Read more.
This paper aims to build up a preference function to evaluate the public benefits of the type of agricultural farming, biodiversity, water provisions, land use type, ecotourism modes, and a monetary attribute (willingness to pay and willingness to work) associated with an ecosystem service and land use program in a forest park. This study used choice experiments to build a random utility model, analyze the average preference for the above land use attributes based on the conditional logit (CL) and used a latent class model to test the residents’ heterogeneous preferences for land use planning in the forest park. We also estimated the welfare derived from various land use programs. The empirical result has shown that: (1) increasing organic farming area, increasing the surface water provision, increasing the area of custom flora, increasing the wetland area, and setting up an integrated framework for ecotourism increase the public’s preference for the land use program; (2) farmer and non-farmers do not have the same land use preferences, attributes, marginal willingness to pay and willingness to work; and (3) the ecotourism development program incorporating biodiversity, organic farming, ethnobotany, and wetland area with integrated ecotourism has the highest values when compared to other land use program scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Restoration for Sustainable Forest Management)
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Open AccessArticle Exotic Invasive Shrub Glossy Buckthorn Reduces Restoration Potential for Native Forest Herbs
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 249; doi:10.3390/su9020249
Received: 19 December 2016 / Accepted: 7 February 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (5095 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Invasive glossy buckthorn could reduce restoration potential for understory native forest herbs by compromising their growth and biodiversity. Few studies of glossy buckthorn’s effects on forest herbs exist, and none were done in early-successional, partially open hardwood forests. This study was conducted in
[...] Read more.
Invasive glossy buckthorn could reduce restoration potential for understory native forest herbs by compromising their growth and biodiversity. Few studies of glossy buckthorn’s effects on forest herbs exist, and none were done in early-successional, partially open hardwood forests. This study was conducted in a mature hybrid poplar plantation invaded by buckthorn, located in southeastern Québec. We tested the effect of buckthorn removal on the growth of three forest herb species, whether this effect varied among species, and if canopy type (two poplar clones) influenced this effect. Forest herbs were planted in herbicide (buckthorn removed) and control treatments in the plantation understory, an environment similar to that of early-successional hardwood forests. Over the first two growing seasons, species showed specific reactions to buckthorn cover. Mean relative growth rate (RGR) for Asarum canadense and Polygonatum pubescens was increased in the herbicide treatment (48% and 33%, respectively) and decreased in the control treatment (−35% and −33%, respectively). Sanguinaria canadensis growth was the highest among species, with no difference between treatments. No effects of canopy type were detected. Results suggest that planting forest herbs for restoration purposes may be unsuccessful if buckthorn is present. Important changes in understory flora biodiversity are likely to occur over the long term in forests invaded by buckthorn. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Restoration for Sustainable Forest Management)
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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.

Title: Ecological restoration of conifer plantations by forest environmental tax by local government in Japan
Author: Takuo Nagaike
Type of paper: Review
Abstract: In Japan, forests cover 66% of the land area, and plantations account for ~40% of these forests. However, some of the plantations were abandoned of the appropriate management (e.g., thinning) because of economic downturn of the forestry in Japan. Such degraded plantations are necessary to ecologically restore, to prevent soil erosion and natural disasters. Since each prefecture could introduce a local tax through the movement of decentralization, forest environmental tax, one of the local tax, has introduced in 37 of 47 prefectures to restore such plantations. Thinning in such plantations to restore was mainly operated by the tax. I will review this scheme, like payments for ecosystem services, would be effective for ecological restoration in conifer plantations.

Title: Ecosystem functions in a natural mixed forest under a selection cutting regime
Author: Toshiya Yoshida (Hokkaido Univ., Japan)
Type of paper: Article
Abstract: The objective of forest management has become broader, and it is essential to harmonize timber production with conservation of forest ecosystem. A selection cutting is recognized as a major alternative of clear cutting because it can maintain complexity and heterogeneity of natural forest, but its long-term evaluations are limited. We found the management preserved tree volume, ecosystem carbon stock and canopy tree species diversity for 30 years. However, several structural components which are significant for biodiversity (such as large trees and dead trees), showed marked decrease, indicating that they should be subject to conservation targets in a future management.

Title: Growth performance of five indigenous tree species beneath an Acacia mangium plantation in the northeast of Thailand
Author: Dr. Atsushi Sakai
Abstract: With the aim of finding suitable method to convert fast-growing tree plantations into indigenous tree stands in monsoon tropical areas, we examined survivorship and growth performance of five indigenous tree species under different light conditions. Twenty-five-year-old Acacia mangium plantation was thinned in different ways, namely, group selection thinning (gap), 2/3 line thinning, 1/2 line thinning and no thinning in the northeast of Thailand. Seedlings of Dipterocarpus alatus, Hopea odorata, H. ferrea, Shorea henryana, and Pterocarpus macrocarpus were planted in each site and in an open site. At 20 months after planting, survival rate of most species kept high (>90%) in the thinning plots and the gap plot, while it was relatively low in the open site and beneath the canopy (no thinning). The group selection thinning was most suitable for the growth of indigenous tree species, while the line thinning would be the second best on account of efficiency of the operation.

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