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Forests, Volume 10, Issue 10 (October 2019) – 111 articles

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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Insect Defoliations and Seed Production on the Dynamics of Radial Growth Synchrony among Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris L. Provenances
Forests 2019, 10(10), 934; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100934 - 22 Oct 2019
Viewed by 714
Abstract
The intraspecific variation of climate–growth relationships observed on provenance trials results from among–provenance differences in phenotypic plasticity. Temporal variation in radial growth synchrony among provenances may be modified by adverse climatic/biotic conditions such as drought or insect defoliation. However, these factors can potentially [...] Read more.
The intraspecific variation of climate–growth relationships observed on provenance trials results from among–provenance differences in phenotypic plasticity. Temporal variation in radial growth synchrony among provenances may be modified by adverse climatic/biotic conditions such as drought or insect defoliation. However, these factors can potentially diminish provenance–specific growth reactions and, consequently, prevent the identification of provenances with the highest adaptive potential. Thus, understanding the influence of major biotic conditions on provenance–specific climate–growth relationships seems to be important to anticipate climate change. To determine provenance–specific growth patterns in relation to climate conditions (drought), seed production (reproductive effort), and insect defoliation in a common garden of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), we applied dendroecological techniques to time–series of tree–ring widths and basal area increments. The long–term records of seed production and insect outbreaks from the local Scots pine stands were used to explain the potential effect of biotic factors on the temporal dynamics of radial growth synchrony. During a period of favorable growth conditions, Scots pine provenances showed a decline in inter–provenance synchronicity in growth patterns, while during years affected by severe soil water deficit and insect defoliation, they manifested high uniformity in growth dynamics. The long–term trend in growth synchrony among P. sylvestris provenances depend on both abiotic and biotic environmental factors. This gains significance following an introduction of the appropriate selection of tree provenances for climate–smart forestry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Does the “Returning Farmland to Forest Program” Drive Community-Level Changes in Landscape Patterns in China?
Forests 2019, 10(10), 933; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100933 - 22 Oct 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 657
Abstract
In China, the Returning Farmland to Forest Program (RFFP) has afforested large areas, transforming land and livelihoods. By impacting vegetation cover, it may also drive spatial pattern changes across landscapes. Most studies have focused on time series data as a means to determine [...] Read more.
In China, the Returning Farmland to Forest Program (RFFP) has afforested large areas, transforming land and livelihoods. By impacting vegetation cover, it may also drive spatial pattern changes across landscapes. Most studies have focused on time series data as a means to determine the effectiveness of the program, but there is a paucity of community-level comparative studies. Twelve communities in Northwest Yunnan Province were selected to test whether the RFFP changed landscape patterns by testing the following hypotheses: with (or without) the RFFP, forest and shrubland fragmentations would decrease (or increase) and farmland fragmentation would increase (or decrease). Remote sensing images from 2000, 2010, and 2014 were used to compare the differences in landscape patterns. Survey data from 421 households were used to examine the socioeconomic and ecological factors that affect the differences in landscape fragmentation across communities. The results showed that landscape patterns and fragmentation metrics were not significantly different between communities with or without the RFFP, regardless of the class or landscape level. These communities showed consistent patterns of change in their fragmentation parameters between 2000 and 2014, with forest fragmentation decreasing and the fragmentation of farmland and the overall landscape increasing. The regression models suggest these changes were affected by the local natural conditions, socioeconomic patterns, policy implementation, and farmer livelihoods, with the proximity to market towns and elevation being significant factors. The RFFP alone did not directly drive the changes in landscape patterns for the considered region. For the new RFFP to effectively contribute to reducing fragmentation, managers of afforestation efforts should carefully consider livelihoods and biophysical factors that influence changes in landscape patterns. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Long-Term Successive Rotations, Clear-Cutting and Stand Age of Prince Rupprecht’s larch (Larix principis-rupprechtii Mayr) on Soil Quality
Forests 2019, 10(10), 932; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100932 - 22 Oct 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 520
Abstract
A decline in soil quality is a major factor contributing to the degradation of forest ecological function. Vegetation plays a vital role in maintaining soil quality; however, the influence of plantation length on soil quality remains unclear. In this study, we collected soil [...] Read more.
A decline in soil quality is a major factor contributing to the degradation of forest ecological function. Vegetation plays a vital role in maintaining soil quality; however, the influence of plantation length on soil quality remains unclear. In this study, we collected soil samples in Northern China using a space-for-time substitution method. Soil were collected from control grassland; a clear-cutting site; 16-year-old (young, first, and second generation), 28-year-old (immature, first, and second generation), and 44-year-old (mature, first generation) Larix principis-rupprechtii Mayr stands in May, July, and September 2016. We measured soil physical and chemical properties, microbial communities, and enzymatic activities. We selected soil bulk density, non-capillary porosity, volume humidity, soil organic carbon and activity of polyphenol oxidase to calculate a soil quality index (SQI) for each site. Our data indicated that clear-cutting greatly decreased soil quality of Larix principis-rupprechtii forests but returning the harvesting residues to the forest floor could reduce the negative impact of clear-cutting on soil quality. The soil quality improved significantly by prolonging the cultivation cycle and it took about 39 years for the first-generation forest to restore soil quality to the level of the control plot. Our study confirms that SQI provides a comprehensive measurement of soil quality with the identification of a minimum data set. Comparing SQI with other soil quality indicators would help us to optimize the method for assessing soil quality. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Leaf Abundance Affects Tree Height Estimation Derived from UAV Images
Forests 2019, 10(10), 931; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100931 - 22 Oct 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 626
Abstract
Tree height is an important vegetative structural parameter, and its accurate estimation is of significant ecological and commercial value. We collected UAV images of six tree species distributed throughout a subtropical campus during three periods from March to late May, during which some [...] Read more.
Tree height is an important vegetative structural parameter, and its accurate estimation is of significant ecological and commercial value. We collected UAV images of six tree species distributed throughout a subtropical campus during three periods from March to late May, during which some deciduous trees shed all of their leaves and then regrew, while other evergreen trees kept some of their leaves. The UAV imagery was processed by computer vision and photogrammetric software to generate a three-dimensional dense point cloud. Individual tree height information extracted from the dense photogrammetric point cloud was validated against the manually measured reference data. We found that the number of leaves in the canopy affected tree height estimation, especially for deciduous trees. During leaf-off conditions or the early season, when leaves were absent or sparse, it was difficult to reconstruct the 3D canopy structure fully from the UAV images, thus resulting in the underestimation of tree height; the accuracy improved considerably when there were more leaves. For Terminalia mantaly and Ficus virens, the root mean square errors (RMSEs) of tree height estimation reduced from 2.894 and 1.433 m (leaf-off) to 0.729 and 0.597 m (leaf-on), respectively. We provide direct evidence that leaf-on conditions have a positive effect on tree height measurements derived from UAV photogrammetric point clouds. This finding has important implications for forest monitoring, management, and change detection analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Inventory, Quantitative Methods and Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle
Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Communities Are Influenced by Host Tree Species on the Loess Plateau, Northwest China
Forests 2019, 10(10), 930; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100930 - 21 Oct 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 534
Abstract
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi can establish mutualistic symbioses with most terrestrial plants and therefore play a crucial role in the re-vegetation and rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems. Yet, little information is available on AM fungal communities associated with dominant tree species in the semi-arid [...] Read more.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi can establish mutualistic symbioses with most terrestrial plants and therefore play a crucial role in the re-vegetation and rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems. Yet, little information is available on AM fungal communities associated with dominant tree species in the semi-arid region of the Loess Plateau, Northwest China. In this study, topsoil (0–20 cm) and subsoil (20–40 cm) samples were collected from the rhizosphere of five dominant tree species in northern Shaanxi Province, to investigate the distribution and diversity of their associated AM fungi. The tree species were Hippophae rhamnoides Linn., Juniperus communis L., Populus cathayana Rehd., Robinia pseudoacacia L., and Salix matsudana Koidz. In total, 24 AM fungal species of eight genera were isolated from the rhizosphere soil samples and identified based on their spore morphology. Funneliformis and Funneliformis monosporum were respectively the most abundant genus and species of AM fungi. The distribution and diversity of AM fungi differed among the five tree species and also between the two soil depths. Across different tree species, the spore density of AM fungi varied from 2.85 to 15.32 spores g−1 fresh soil, with a species richness of 3–7, Shannon–Wiener index of 0.81–1.08, and evenness index of 0.30–0.53. The mycorrhizal colonization rate had a significant negative correlation with both the Shannon-Wiener index and species richness, whereas it was positively correlated with the evenness index. Permutational multivariate analysis of variance, non-metric multidimensional scaling, and structural equation modeling revealed that tree species, rather than soil depth or its interactions with tree species, had significant effects on the composition of AM fungal communities. In conclusion, the distribution and diversity of AM fungi associated with the dominant tree species were mainly affected by host tree species identity in the semi-arid ecosystem. Claroideoglomus etunicatum (W.N. Becker & Gerdemann) C. Walker & A. Schüßler and Glomus reticulatum Bhattacharjee & Mukerji appeared to be promising candidates for ecological restoration in the Loess Plateau region because of their adaptation to its semi-arid conditions with a broad spectrum of host tree species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
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Open AccessArticle
The Forest Policies of ASEAN and Montréal Process: Comparing Highly and Weakly Formalized Regional Regimes
Forests 2019, 10(10), 929; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100929 - 21 Oct 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 590
Abstract
Forests are governed by a combination of sub-national and national as well as global and regional regimes. Comparing the institutional variation of regional regimes, including their degrees of formalization, is gaining attention of studies on regionalism in International Relations. This study attempts to [...] Read more.
Forests are governed by a combination of sub-national and national as well as global and regional regimes. Comparing the institutional variation of regional regimes, including their degrees of formalization, is gaining attention of studies on regionalism in International Relations. This study attempts to analyse the ways in which the selected cases of the forest-related Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and forest-focused Montréal Process (MP) regional regimes may have synergetic overlaps or disparity in their institutional design and forest policy development. For this, we combined IR’s ‘rational institutional design’ theory and a policy analysis approach. Using a qualitative data approach, we analyzed key structure-related historical regime documents (e.g., charters) issued since the inception of both regimes, and their latest forest policy initiatives for the periods 2016–2025 (Strategic Plan of Action for ASEAN Cooperation on Forestry) and 2009–2015 (Conceptual Framework for the Montréal Process Strategic Action Plan) with all relevant policy documents since the adoption of current policies. Based on that, we pose the empirical questions of how both regimes illustrate governance structure (i.e., institutional design), and on the other hand how to explain regime forest policies coherently and consistently in terms of their high versus low degree of formality. The results show that institutional design is highly explanatory based on treaty and non-treaty regime formation as well as forest-related/focused regime formation with the synergistic sustainable forest management (SFM) issue that embraces deforestation and forest degradation, biodiversity, timber certification, and greenhouse gas emission. Additionally, the results suggest that the policy goals adopted by both regimes are coherent and consistent based on the full set of policy elements. Concerning the remedy for fragmented global forest governance arrangements, both regimes would be an example of practicing SFM-focused policies with the incorporation of forest-related policy elements into a larger governance assemblage dealing with issues such as biodiversity conservation or climate change mitigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Economics, Policy, and Social Science)
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Open AccessArticle
Variation in Carbon Concentration and Allometric Equations for Estimating Tree Carbon Contents of 10 Broadleaf Species in Natural Forests in Northeast China
Forests 2019, 10(10), 928; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100928 - 21 Oct 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 578
Abstract
In this study, the effects of tree species, tissue types, and tree size on the carbon concentration were studied, and the two additive systems, one with tree diameter (D), and the other with both D and tree height (H), [...] Read more.
In this study, the effects of tree species, tissue types, and tree size on the carbon concentration were studied, and the two additive systems, one with tree diameter (D), and the other with both D and tree height (H), were developed to estimate the stem, root, branch, and foliage carbon content of 10 broadleaf species in northeast China. The coefficients of the two systems were estimated with the nonlinear seemingly unrelated regression (NSUR), while the heteroscedasticity of the model residual was solved with the weight function. Our results showed that carbon concentrations varied along with tree species and size; the tissues and foliage contained higher carbon concentration than other observed tissues. The two additive carbon equation systems exhibited good predictive and fitting performance, with Ra2 > 0.87, average prediction error of approximately 0, and small average absolute error and absolute error percentage. The carbon equation system constructed with D and H exhibited better fit and performance, particularly for the stem and total carbon. Thus, the additive carbon equation systems estimated the tree carbon of 10 broadleaf species more accurately. These carbon equations can be used to monitor the carbon pool sizes for natural forests in the Chinese National Forest Inventory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Inventory, Quantitative Methods and Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle
Phytophthora Species from Xinjiang Wild Apple Forests in China
Forests 2019, 10(10), 927; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100927 - 21 Oct 2019
Viewed by 561
Abstract
Phytophthora species are well-known destructive forest pathogens, especially in natural ecosystems. The wild apple (Malus sieversii (Ledeb.) Roem.) is the primary ancestor of M. domestica (Borkh.) and important germplasm resource for apple breeding and improvement. During the period from 2016 to 2018, [...] Read more.
Phytophthora species are well-known destructive forest pathogens, especially in natural ecosystems. The wild apple (Malus sieversii (Ledeb.) Roem.) is the primary ancestor of M. domestica (Borkh.) and important germplasm resource for apple breeding and improvement. During the period from 2016 to 2018, a survey of Phytophthora diversity was performed at four wild apple forest plots (Xin Yuan (XY), Ba Lian (BL), Ku Erdening (KE), and Jin Qikesai (JQ)) on the northern slopes of Tianshan Mountain in Xinjiang, China. Phytophthora species were isolated from baiting leaves from stream, canopy drip, and soil samples and were identified based on morphological observations and the rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequence analysis. This is the first comprehensive study from Xinjiang to examine the Phytophthora communities in wild apple forests The 621 resulting Phytophthora isolates were found to reside in 10 different Phytophthora species: eight known species (P. lacustris being the most frequent, followed by P. gonapodyides, P. plurivora, P. gregata, P. chlamydospora, P. inundata, P. virginiana, and P. cactorum) and two previously unrecognized species (P. sp. CYP74 and P. sp. forestsoil-like). The highest species richness of Phytophthora occurred at BL, followed by XY. P. lacustris was the dominant species at BL, XY, and JQ, while P. gonapodyides was the most common at KE. In the present paper, the possible reasons for their distribution, associated implications, and associated diseases are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytophthora Infestations in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Genetic Diversity in Naturally Regenerated Norway Spruce Stands and Seed Orchard Progeny Trials
Forests 2019, 10(10), 926; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100926 - 21 Oct 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 668
Abstract
Forest ecosystems in Europe are expected to experience changes in temperature and water regimes associated with increased risks of extreme environmental events and disasters. Genetic diversity and relatedness has been linked to resilience of forest stands and landscapes. Genetic diversity indicators were compared [...] Read more.
Forest ecosystems in Europe are expected to experience changes in temperature and water regimes associated with increased risks of extreme environmental events and disasters. Genetic diversity and relatedness has been linked to resilience of forest stands and landscapes. Genetic diversity indicators were compared between a Norway spruce population naturally regenerated after extensive windthrow and Norway spruce progeny populations derived from two seed orchards. In addition, genetic diversity in an undisturbed stand in a long established national park and a spruce genetic resource stand were analyzed. Populations were genotyped at 11 simple sequence repeat (SSR) loci. Average genetic diversity indicators were similar across populations. However, the total number of alleles, average number of alleles over all loci, effective number of alleles, average gene diversity, and average allelic richness were highest in the naturally regenerated population and lowest in one of the seed orchard progeny populations. The genetic diversity in progeny from seed orchards used for stand renewal is comparable to the genetic diversity in naturally regenerated stands. However, fluctuations in seed production between years can have a large impact on genetic diversity in seed orchard progeny. The use of improved Norway spruce germplasm deployed via clonal seed orchards for forest renewal can maintain similar levels of genetic diversity compared to naturally regenerated stands, while also increasing production and timber quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Disturbance Dynamics Analysis for Forest Ecosystem Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Leaf and Crown Optical Properties of Five Early-, Mid- and Late-Successional Temperate Tree Species and Their Relation to Sapling Light Demand
Forests 2019, 10(10), 925; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100925 - 21 Oct 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 470
Abstract
The optical properties of leaves and canopies determine the availability of radiation for photosynthesis and the penetration of light through tree canopies. How leaf absorptance, reflectance and transmittance and radiation transmission through tree canopies change with forest succession is not well understood. We [...] Read more.
The optical properties of leaves and canopies determine the availability of radiation for photosynthesis and the penetration of light through tree canopies. How leaf absorptance, reflectance and transmittance and radiation transmission through tree canopies change with forest succession is not well understood. We measured the leaf optical properties in the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) range of five Central European early-, mid- and late-successional temperate broadleaf tree species and studied the minimum light demand of the lowermost shade leaves and of the species’ offspring. Leaf absorptance in the 350–720 nm range varied between c. 70% and 77% in the crown of all five species with only a minor variation from the sun to the shade crown and between species. However, specific absorptance (absorptance normalized by mass per leaf area) increased about threefold from sun to shade leaves with decreasing leaf mass area (LMA) in the late-successional species (Carpinus betulus L., Tilia cordata Mill., Fagus sylvatica L.), while it was generally lower in the early- to mid-successional species (Betula pendula Roth, Quercus petraea (Matt.)Liebl.), where it changed only a little from sun to shade crown. Due to a significant increase in leaf area index, canopy PAR transmittance to the forest floor decreased from early- to late-successional species from ~15% to 1%–3% of incident PAR, linked to a decrease in the minimum light demand of the lowermost shade leaves (from ~20 to 1%–2%) and of the species’ saplings (from ~20 to 3%–4%). The median light intensity on the forest floor under a closed canopy was in all species lower than the saplings’ minimum light demand. We conclude that the optical properties of the sun leaves are very similar among early-, mid- and late-successional tree species, while the shade leaves of these groups differ not only morphologically, but also in terms of the resource investment needed to achieve high PAR absorptance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Crown Dynamics and Morphology)
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Open AccessArticle
Intercropping the Sharp-Leaf Galangal with the Rubber Tree Exhibits Weak Belowground Competition
Forests 2019, 10(10), 924; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100924 - 20 Oct 2019
Viewed by 681
Abstract
Intercropping the sharp-leaf galangal with the rubber tree could help to improve the sustainability of the rubber tree planting industry. However, our understanding of belowground competition in such agroforestry systems is still limited. Therefore, we used stable isotope methods (i.e., water δ2 [...] Read more.
Intercropping the sharp-leaf galangal with the rubber tree could help to improve the sustainability of the rubber tree planting industry. However, our understanding of belowground competition in such agroforestry systems is still limited. Therefore, we used stable isotope methods (i.e., water δ2H and δ18O and leaf δ13C) to investigate plant water-absorbing patterns and water use efficiency (WUE) in a monocultural rubber plantation and in an agroforestry system of rubber trees and sharp-leaf galangal. We also measured leaf carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) to evaluate the belowground competition effects on plant nutrient absorption status. Through a Bayesian mixing model, we found that the monocultural rubber trees and the intercropped sharp-leaf galangal absorbed much more surface soil water at a depth of 0–5 cm, while the rubber trees in the agroforestry system absorbed more water from the shallow and middle soil layers at a depth of 5–30 cm. This phenomenon verified the occurrence of plant hydrologic niche segregation, whereas the WUE of rubber trees in this agroforestry system suggested that the competition for water was weak. In addition, the negative correlation between the leaf P concentration of the rubber trees and that of the sharp-leaf galangal demonstrated their competition for soil P resources, but this competition had no obvious effects on the leaf nutrient status of the rubber trees. Therefore, this study verified that the belowground competition between rubber trees and sharp-leaf galangal is weak, and this weak competition may benefit their long-term intercropping. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Use of DNA Barcoding to Assess Phylogenetic β-Diversity in Mid-Subtropical Evergreen Broad-Leaved Forests of China
Forests 2019, 10(10), 923; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100923 - 20 Oct 2019
Viewed by 640
Abstract
The application of quantifying phylogenetic information into measures of forest β-diversity is increasing for investigating the underlying drivers of community assembly along environmental gradients. In terms of assessing evolutionary inferences of community processes, a variety of plant DNA barcodes has been widely used [...] Read more.
The application of quantifying phylogenetic information into measures of forest β-diversity is increasing for investigating the underlying drivers of community assembly along environmental gradients. In terms of assessing evolutionary inferences of community processes, a variety of plant DNA barcodes has been widely used in phylogenetic diversity measurements. However, relatively few studies have evaluated the effectiveness of DNA barcodes with using nuclear region in estimating phylogenetic β-diversity, particularly for communities in tropical or subtropical forests. In this study, we employed DNA barcodes combing with the nuclear region to construct the community phylogeny and examined the patterns of phylogenetic β-diversity of three mid-subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forests (EBLFs) in South China. Three phylogenetic construction methods were performed, including a Phylomatic-generated tree and two ML trees based on the combination of rbcL + matK + ITS with or without a constrained tree. Our results showed that the DNA barcodes including nuclear ITS constructed a highly resolved phylogenetic tree, but the application of a constrained tree had little influence on estimation of phylogenetic diversity metrics (mean pairwise distances and mean nearest taxon distances) based on branch lengths. Using both metrics and their standardized effect size metrics, we found that the patterns of phylogenetic β-diversity in mid-subtropical forests were non-random. There was a slight decline of phylogenetic β-diversity with increasing latitudes, but no trend was found along the altitude gradient. According to the analysis of variation partition, both environmental filtering and dispersion limitation could explain the variation of phylogenetic dissimilarity between communities in mid-subtropical EBLFs of China. Our results highlight the importance of neutrality and the niche conservatism in structuring the patterns of species diversity in subtropical woody communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional and Phylogenetic Signals of Forest Tree Communities)
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Open AccessReview
Above- and Below-Ground Carbon Sequestration in Shelterbelt Trees in Canada: A Review
Forests 2019, 10(10), 922; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100922 - 19 Oct 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 685
Abstract
Shelterbelts have been planted around the world for many reasons. Recently, due to increasing awareness of climate change risks, shelterbelt agroforestry systems have received special attention because of the environmental services they provide, including their greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential. This paper aims [...] Read more.
Shelterbelts have been planted around the world for many reasons. Recently, due to increasing awareness of climate change risks, shelterbelt agroforestry systems have received special attention because of the environmental services they provide, including their greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential. This paper aims to discuss shelterbelt history in Canada, and the environmental benefits they provide, focusing on carbon sequestration potential, above- and below-ground. Shelterbelt establishment in Canada dates back to more than a century ago, when their main use was protecting the soil, farm infrastructure and livestock from the elements. As minimal-and no-till systems have become more prevalent among agricultural producers, soil has been less exposed and less vulnerable to wind erosion, so the practice of planting and maintaining shelterbelts has declined in recent decades. In addition, as farm equipment has grown in size to meet the demands of larger landowners, shelterbelts are being removed to increase efficiency and machine maneuverability in the field. This trend of shelterbelt removal prevents shelterbelt’s climate change mitigation potential to be fully achieved. For example, in the last century, shelterbelts have sequestered 4.85 Tg C in Saskatchewan. To increase our understanding of carbon sequestration by shelterbelts, in 2013, the Government of Canada launched the Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP). In five years, 27 million dollars were spent supporting technologies and practices to mitigate GHG release on agricultural land, including understanding shelterbelt carbon sequestration and to encourage planting on farms. All these topics are further explained in this paper as an attempt to inform and promote shelterbelts as a climate change mitigation tool on agricultural lands. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Uniformity of Bamboo Bundle Veneer and Bamboo Bundle Laminated Veneer Lumber (BLVL)
Forests 2019, 10(10), 921; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100921 - 19 Oct 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 618
Abstract
The lack of an effective and practical quality control method for industrialized bamboo bundle veneers is the key restriction in the application of bamboo bundle composite materials in the field of construction. In this work, the density uniformity and mechanical properties of bamboo [...] Read more.
The lack of an effective and practical quality control method for industrialized bamboo bundle veneers is the key restriction in the application of bamboo bundle composite materials in the field of construction. In this work, the density uniformity and mechanical properties of bamboo bundle veneers were systematically evaluated by the combination of light transmittance and mechanical stiffness. It was found that the number of broomings, dippings, and high-temperature heat treatments had different effects on the bamboo bundle veneers. On this basis, the uniformity of the density and mechanical properties of the bamboo scrimber (BS) that underwent hybrid paving, and the bamboo bundle laminated veneer lumber (BLVL), were analyzed. The results showed that the performance stability of bamboo bundle composites could be greatly improved by bamboo bundle veneer laminated paving. A large-scale quality evaluation system for bamboo bundle veneers was established in this work, and it provides conditions for the manufacture of bamboo bundle composites with stable and controllable performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Differential Expression of Genes Related to the Formation of Giant Leaves in Triploid Poplar
Forests 2019, 10(10), 920; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100920 - 19 Oct 2019
Viewed by 536
Abstract
Plant polyploids tend to have large leaves, but their formation mechanism has not yet been well explained. Therefore, daily transcriptomic differences between triploids and diploids from a synthetic Populus sect. Tacamahaca three times a day (i.e., 04:00, 09:00, and 21:00) were investigated using [...] Read more.
Plant polyploids tend to have large leaves, but their formation mechanism has not yet been well explained. Therefore, daily transcriptomic differences between triploids and diploids from a synthetic Populus sect. Tacamahaca three times a day (i.e., 04:00, 09:00, and 21:00) were investigated using high-throughput RNA-seq analysis. In this study, we identified several transcription factors associated with giant leaves. The combined effects included the high expression of several transcription factors (WRKY, MYB, etc.) and hormone-related genes (e.g., activates auxin, cytokine, and brassinosteroid synthesis-related genes) that accelerate the synthesis and accumulation of endogenous hormones. High levels of growth hormones were maintained by reducing the genes’ expression of hormone metabolism and degradation. The coordination of hormones accumulated sufficient materials and energy for leaf growth and development. Thereby, cell division and growth were accelerated which enhanced the photosynthesis of leaves, and the increased accumulation of photosynthetic products led to giant triploid leaves. This study lays the foundation for revealing the molecular mechanisms in the formation of giant leaves in polyploids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Genetics and Tree Improvement)
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Open AccessArticle
Autotoxicity Hinders the Natural Regeneration of Cinnamomum migao H. W. Li in Southwest China
Forests 2019, 10(10), 919; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100919 - 18 Oct 2019
Viewed by 568
Abstract
Autotoxicity is a widespread phenomenon in nature and is considered to be the main factor affecting new natural recruitment of plant populations, which was proven in many natural populations. Cinnamomum migao H. W. Li is an endemic medicinal woody plant species mainly distributed [...] Read more.
Autotoxicity is a widespread phenomenon in nature and is considered to be the main factor affecting new natural recruitment of plant populations, which was proven in many natural populations. Cinnamomum migao H. W. Li is an endemic medicinal woody plant species mainly distributed in Southwestern China and is defined as an endangered species by the Red Paper of Endangered Plants in China. The lack of seedlings is considered a key reason for population degeneration; however, no studies were conducted to explain its causes. C. migao contains substances with high allelopathic potential, such as terpenoids, phenolics, and flavonoids, and has strong allelopathic effects on other species. Therefore, we speculate that one of the reasons for C. migao seedling scarcity in the wild is that it exhibits autotoxic allelopathy. In this study, which was performed from the perspective of autotoxicity, we collected leaves, pericarp, seeds, and branches of the same population; we simulated the effects of decomposition and release of litter from these different anatomical parts of C. migao in the field; and we conducted 210-day control experiments on seedling growth, with different concentration gradients, using associated aqueous extracts. The results showed that the leaf aqueous extract (leafAE) significantly inhibited growth indicators and increased damage of the lipid structure of the cell membrane of seedlings, suggesting that autotoxicity from C. migao is a factor restraining seedling growth. The results of the analyses of soil properties showed that, compared with the other treatments, leafAE treatment inhibited soil enzyme activity and also had an impact on soil fungi. Although leafAE could promote soil fertility to some extent, it did not change the effect of autotoxic substances on seedling growth. We conclude that autotoxicity is the main obstacle inhibiting seedling growth and the factor restraining the natural regeneration of C. migao. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Relationship between Forest Ecophysiology and Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
Do Coarser Gap Mosaics in Conifer Plantations Induce More Seed Dispersal by Birds? Temporal Changes during 12 Years after Gap Creation
Forests 2019, 10(10), 918; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100918 - 18 Oct 2019
Viewed by 567
Abstract
The creation of canopy gaps is thought to be an efficient silvicultural operation to diversify species composition of monoculture conifer plantations; however, the shortage of regeneration materials in overclosed plantations is one of the concerns related to this operation. Seed dispersal by frugivorous [...] Read more.
The creation of canopy gaps is thought to be an efficient silvicultural operation to diversify species composition of monoculture conifer plantations; however, the shortage of regeneration materials in overclosed plantations is one of the concerns related to this operation. Seed dispersal by frugivorous birds may play an important role in inducing the spread of native broad-leaved trees in canopy gaps in plantations in the warm temperate zone of central Japan because bird-dispersed woody species are abundant in this area. We monitored the dynamics of the abundance and species composition of bird-dispersed seeds over 12 years after gap creation in the canopy of a Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa (Siebold et Zucc.) Endl.) plantation. We also studied the effects of gap-mosaic patterns (from many small gaps to fewer large gaps) on dispersal. We used a hierarchical Bayesian zero-inflated Poisson model to analyze the factors affecting seed dispersal by frugivorous birds. Seed dispersal by birds increased with gap age except for just after gap creation. Dispersal in coarser gap mosaics was more abundant than that in finer gap mosaics. The species diversity of dispersed seeds in each seed trap (α-diversity) and plot (γ-diversity) showed similar trends in terms of temporal changes and differences between plots related to seed dispersal abundance; β-diversity did not. These trends might have been caused by shrub-vegetation development after gap creation. The effects of shrub vegetation were classified into the attraction by fruits borne within the vegetation, as well as other effects related to vegetation, such as functions of perch availability and insect presence as a food source. The presence of bird-dispersed seeds was strongly promoted by vegetation in all seasons, but only marginally by the presence of fruit-bearing vegetation. However, fruits attracted seed dispersal by frugivorous birds in the winter season. Our results suggest that both vegetation development and fruiting are important for promoting seed dispersal by frugivorous birds, and those effects are different in different seasons according to vegetation conditions and shifting food resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of Gap Factors in Forest Tree Regeneration and Plant Communities)
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Open AccessArticle
Identifying Patterns of Human and Bird Activities Using Bioacoustic Data
Forests 2019, 10(10), 917; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100917 - 18 Oct 2019
Viewed by 639
Abstract
In general, humans and animals often interact within the same environment at the same time. Human activities may disturb or affect some bird activities. Therefore, it is important to monitor and study the relationships between human and animal activities. This paper proposed a [...] Read more.
In general, humans and animals often interact within the same environment at the same time. Human activities may disturb or affect some bird activities. Therefore, it is important to monitor and study the relationships between human and animal activities. This paper proposed a system able not only to automatically classify human and bird activities using bioacoustic data, but also to automatically summarize patterns of events over time. To perform automatic summarization of acoustic events, a frequency–duration graph (FDG) framework was proposed to summarize the patterns of human and bird activities. This system first performs data pre-processing work on raw bioacoustic data and then applies a support vector machine (SVM) model and a multi-layer perceptron (MLP) model to classify human and bird chirping activities before using the FDG framework to summarize results. The SVM model achieved 98% accuracy on average and the MLP model achieved 98% accuracy on average across several day-long recordings. Three case studies with real data show that the FDG framework correctly determined the patterns of human and bird activities over time and provided both statistical and graphical insight into the relationships between these two events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Biodiversity Conservation with Remote Sensing Techniques)
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Open AccessArticle
Poverty and Prosperity: Impact on Livelihood Assets of Billion Trees Afforestation Program in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Pakistan
Forests 2019, 10(10), 916; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100916 - 17 Oct 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 693
Abstract
In this study, we assessed the impact of the Billion Trees Afforestation Program (BTAP) on the livelihood of local household in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KPK). BTAP is the largest ban-logging afforestation program in Pakistan, which aims to conserve natural forests, promoting rural livelihoods [...] Read more.
In this study, we assessed the impact of the Billion Trees Afforestation Program (BTAP) on the livelihood of local household in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KPK). BTAP is the largest ban-logging afforestation program in Pakistan, which aims to conserve natural forests, promoting rural livelihoods and reducing poverty. Primary data from 360 local inhabitants were collected and analyzed using descriptive and econometric methodologies that include ordered logit model and ordinary least squares (OLS) respectively. In specific, a wealth index, household income, and five assets of sustainable livelihood have been considered to measure the impact of BTAP. We found that there is a strong and positive contribution of BTAP to the improvement of a rural community’s livelihood. Results showed that BTAP based households earn 4% more income and possess around 35% more assets. These findings suggest that BTAP has considerable effect on increase in livelihood assets. This study continues the discussion with several practical implications of this along with recommendations for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
The Forest–Water Nexus: An International Perspective
Forests 2019, 10(10), 915; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100915 - 17 Oct 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1432
Abstract
Discussions on the relationships between forests and water have primarily focused on the biophysical nature of these relationships. However, as issues such as land degradation affect the ability of forests to provide water-related ecosystem services resulting in water insecurity, the human dimension of [...] Read more.
Discussions on the relationships between forests and water have primarily focused on the biophysical nature of these relationships. However, as issues such as land degradation affect the ability of forests to provide water-related ecosystem services resulting in water insecurity, the human dimension of the forest–water nexus has become more evident. This has resulted in the identification of the forest–water nexus as an issue that requires urgent recognition within major international policy processes and where knowledge gaps on the global state of the nexus exist. To address this, two major international policy frameworks driving the current development and environment agenda, namely the Sustainable Development Goals and the (Intended) Nationally Determined Contributions were analyzed to assess the integration of forests and water in international policy agenda. In addition, data on tree cover and water risks as well as data on forests managed for soil and water protection was analyzed to understand the global state of the forest–water nexus. The results indicate that even though there is no single indicator monitoring forest–water interactions, there are existing indictors that provide partial information on the forest–water nexus, which would be key to measuring progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Furthermore, the research has highlighted increasing political will as well as global trends that could be used to further harness support and include the forest–water nexus in these global policy agenda. As international processes move forward, the methodology presented here provides a way to evaluate progress of global management of forests for water ecosystem services and gives specific areas where further research that integrates the scientific and socio-political spheres is needed. It is hoped that the initial approach presented in this paper serves as a stepping-stone for further action that might result in better management of and policies for our global forest–water resources and their associated ecosystem services. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Different Molecular Characterization of Soil Particulate Fractions under N Deposition in a Subtropical Forest
Forests 2019, 10(10), 914; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100914 - 17 Oct 2019
Viewed by 523
Abstract
Key Findings: Combining physical fractionation and pyrolysis–gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (py-GC/MS) technique can help better understand the dynamics of soil organic matter (SOM). Background and Objectives: SOM plays a critical role in the global carbon (C) cycle. However, its complexity remains a challenge in [...] Read more.
Key Findings: Combining physical fractionation and pyrolysis–gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (py-GC/MS) technique can help better understand the dynamics of soil organic matter (SOM). Background and Objectives: SOM plays a critical role in the global carbon (C) cycle. However, its complexity remains a challenge in characterizing chemical molecular composition within SOM and under nitrogen (N) deposition. Materials and Methods: Three particulate organic matter (POM) fractions within SOM and under N treatments were studied from perspectives of distributions, C contents and chemical signatures in a subtropical forest. N addition experiment was conducted with two inorganic N forms (NH4Cl and NaNO3) applied at three rates of 0, 40, 120 kg N ha−1 yr−1. Three particle-size fractions (>250 μm, 53–250 μm and <53 μm) were separated by a wet-sieving method. Py-GC/MS technique was used to differentiate between chemical composition. Results: A progressive proportion transfer of mineral-associated organic matter (MAOM) to fine POM under N treatment was found. Only C content in fine POM was sensitive to N addition. Principal component analyses (PCA) showed that the coarse POM had the largest plant-derived markers (lignins, phenols, long-chain n-alkanes, and n-alkenes). Short-chain n-alkanes and n-alkenes, benzofurans, aromatics and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons mainly from black carbon prevailed in the fine POM. N compounds and polysaccharides from microbial products dominated in the MAOM. Factor analysis revealed that the degradation extent of three fractions was largely distinct. The difference in chemical structure among three particulate fractions within SOM was larger than treatments between control and N addition. In terms of N treatment impact, the MAOM fraction had fewer benzofurans compounds and was enriched in polysaccharides, indicating comparatively weaker mineralization and stronger stabilization of these substances. Conclusions: Our findings highlight the importance of chemical structure in SOM pools and help to understand the influence of N deposition on SOM transformation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Matter Production and Decomposition in Forest Soils)
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Open AccessArticle
Maximum Branch Diameter in Black Spruce Following Partial Cutting and Clearcutting
Forests 2019, 10(10), 913; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100913 - 17 Oct 2019
Viewed by 431
Abstract
Branch diameter is an important aspect of wood quality, as lumber grades can be determined based on the maximum diameter of branches. Crown and branch development can be influenced by the environment surrounding the trees, and silvicultural interventions, which reduce stand density and [...] Read more.
Branch diameter is an important aspect of wood quality, as lumber grades can be determined based on the maximum diameter of branches. Crown and branch development can be influenced by the environment surrounding the trees, and silvicultural interventions, which reduce stand density and increase the growth of residual trees, could therefore alter branch properties. We evaluated maximum branch diameter within the crown of residual black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) subjected to five types of silvicultural intervention—three partial-cutting and two clearcutting treatments—as well as trees within unmanaged control stands. We sampled a total of 41 stands and 223 trees. We collected 15 whorls from the live crown of each tree and measured the diameters of the largest branches. For all treatments, we observed a curvilinear relationship between maximum branch diameter and distance from the stem apex, and the largest branches were located in the lower third of the live crown. DBH before treatment and treatment were the variables that best explained maximum branch diameter in the lowest portion of the crown. A generalized additive model showed that maximum branch diameter in black spruce following silvicultural treatment will not differ significantly from trees of unmanaged control stands. Therefore, the studied partial cutting and clearcutting treatments do not have adverse effects on maximum branch diameter when compared to unmanaged control stands. However, DBH prior to treatment must be considered before any treatment is applied in forest management operations if maximum branch diameter is an important wood quality factor at the time of the final harvest of the stands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Crown Dynamics and Morphology)
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Open AccessArticle
Tree-Ring Reconstruction of Bark Beetle Disturbances in the Picea schrenkiana Fisch. et Mey. Forests of Southeast Kazakhstan
Forests 2019, 10(10), 912; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100912 - 17 Oct 2019
Viewed by 559
Abstract
Ips hauseri Reitter is the most important bark beetle on Picea schrenkiana in southeast Kazakhstan, but its biology, ecology, and outbreak dynamics are poorly known. We dendrochronologically reconstructed a 200-year history of disturbances in the Kazakh Tien Shan P. schrenkiana forests. Only localized, [...] Read more.
Ips hauseri Reitter is the most important bark beetle on Picea schrenkiana in southeast Kazakhstan, but its biology, ecology, and outbreak dynamics are poorly known. We dendrochronologically reconstructed a 200-year history of disturbances in the Kazakh Tien Shan P. schrenkiana forests. Only localized, low-severity bark beetle events occurred during the reconstructed period, indicating that extensive high-severity bark beetle outbreaks have not occurred historically in the Tien Shan spruce forest, unlike bark beetle outbreaks in spruce forests in North America, Europe, and Russia. Disturbance frequency doubled after about 1965, probably due to warming climate. Results, combined with the failure of an outbreak to fully develop after blowdown events associated with hurricane-force windstorms in 2011, indicate that prolonged drought may be necessary to sustain I. hauseri outbreaks, or that year-to-year variation in the Tien Shan weather prevents outbreak development. I. hauseri is probably less aggressive than I. typographus, at least on their natural hosts within their natural ranges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Carbon Pools in Old-Growth Scots Pine Stands in Hemiboreal Latvia
Forests 2019, 10(10), 911; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100911 - 16 Oct 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 678
Abstract
Old-growth forests are widely recognised for the benefits they provide for biodiversity; however, a more comprehensive understanding of their role in climate change mitigation must still be established to find the optimal balance between different forest ecosystem services at a national or regional [...] Read more.
Old-growth forests are widely recognised for the benefits they provide for biodiversity; however, a more comprehensive understanding of their role in climate change mitigation must still be established to find the optimal balance between different forest ecosystem services at a national or regional scale. Very few studies have assessed carbon pools in old-growth Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.)-dominated boreal forests, and none have been conducted in hemiboreal forests. Therefore, we assessed the carbon storage of the living tree biomass, deadwood, forest floor (soil organic horizon, including all litter and decomposed wood), and mineral soil in 25 hemiboreal old-growth (163–218 years) unmanaged Scots pine stands in Latvia. The studied stands were without known records of any major natural or human-made disturbance in the visible past. Our results show, that the total ecosystem carbon pool (excluding ground vegetation) was 291.2 ± 54.2 Mg C ha−1, which was primarily composed of living tree biomass (59%), followed by mineral soil (31%), deadwood (5%), and the forest floor (5%). Within the studied stand age group, the total carbon pool remained stable; however, interchanges among the carbon pools, i.e., living biomass and laying deadwood, did occur. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
A Conceptual Framework for the Spruce Budworm Early Intervention Strategy: Can Outbreaks be Stopped?
Forests 2019, 10(10), 910; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100910 - 16 Oct 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1202
Abstract
The spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana, Clem., is the most significant defoliating pest of boreal balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.) and spruce (Picea sp.) in North America. Historically, spruce budworm outbreaks have been managed via a reactive, foliage protection approach [...] Read more.
The spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana, Clem., is the most significant defoliating pest of boreal balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.) and spruce (Picea sp.) in North America. Historically, spruce budworm outbreaks have been managed via a reactive, foliage protection approach focused on keeping trees alive rather than stopping the outbreak. However, recent theoretical and technical advances have renewed interest in proactive population control to reduce outbreak spread and magnitude, i.e., the Early Intervention Strategy (EIS). In essence, EIS is an area-wide management program premised on detecting and controlling rising spruce budworm populations (hotspots) along the leading edge of an outbreak. In this article, we lay out the conceptual framework for EIS, including all of the core components needed for such a program to be viable. We outline the competing hypotheses of spruce budworm population dynamics and discuss their implications for how we manage outbreaks. We also discuss the practical needs for such a program to be successful (e.g., hotspot monitoring, population control, and cost–benefit analyses), as well as the importance of proactive communications with stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protection Strategy against Spruce Budworm) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating Short-Term Impacts of Forest Management and Microsite Conditions on Understory Vegetation in Temperate Fir-Beech Forests: Floristic, Ecological, and Trait-Based Perspective
Forests 2019, 10(10), 909; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100909 - 16 Oct 2019
Viewed by 769
Abstract
Forest understory vegetation is largely influenced by disturbances and given local abiotic conditions. Our research focuses on the early response of understory vegetation to various forest management intensities in Dinaric fir-beech forests in Slovenia: (i) control, (ii) 50% cut of stand growing stock, [...] Read more.
Forest understory vegetation is largely influenced by disturbances and given local abiotic conditions. Our research focuses on the early response of understory vegetation to various forest management intensities in Dinaric fir-beech forests in Slovenia: (i) control, (ii) 50% cut of stand growing stock, and (iii) 100% cut of stand growing stock. Apart from identifying overstory removal effects, we were interested in fine-scale variation of understory vegetation and environmental determinants of its species composition. Vegetation was sampled within 27 karst sinkholes, which represent a dominant landform in studied forests. Within each sinkhole, five sampling plots, varying in slope aspect (centre, north, east, south, west), were established (135 in total), where pre-treatment (in 2012) and post-treatment (in 2014) floristic surveys were conducted. The sampled understory species were characterized in terms of Ellenberg’s indicator values (EIVs) and plant functional traits (plant height, seed mass, specific leaf area, leaf dry matter content). Diversity metrics (species richness, total cover, Shannon index) increased in plots where the silvicultural measures were applied. Tree species richness also increased in 100% cutting. A redundancy analysis revealed that species composition was related to environmental variables, which are directly influenced by management interventions (overstory canopy cover, microclimate—maximum daily temperature, soil properties—thickness of organic soil layer) as well as by topographic factors (slope inclination and surface rockiness). EIVs for light were significantly affected by treatment intensity, whereas soil-related EIVs (moisture, reaction, nutrients) depended more on the within-sinkhole position. Canopy gaps, compared with uncut control plots, hosted a higher number of colonizing species with a higher plant height and smaller seeds, while leaf traits did not show a clear response. We found a negative correlation between pre-treatment species (functional) richness and post-treatment shifts in floristic (functional) composition. Plots with higher richness exhibited smaller changes compared with species-poor communities. Incorporating different perspectives, the results of this study offer valuable insights into patterns of understory vegetation response to forest management in fir-beech forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of Gap Factors in Forest Tree Regeneration and Plant Communities)
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Open AccessArticle
Optimization of Pollen Germination in Tectona grandis (Teak) for Breeding Programs
Forests 2019, 10(10), 908; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100908 - 16 Oct 2019
Viewed by 482
Abstract
Teak has become one of the most widely planted species in tropical regions of the world, given its high price for its timber in international markets. This has motivated the development of tree improvement programs in the Latin American region and in the [...] Read more.
Teak has become one of the most widely planted species in tropical regions of the world, given its high price for its timber in international markets. This has motivated the development of tree improvement programs in the Latin American region and in the tropical world in general. The latest advances have achieved clonal forestry at an operational scale. Recently, important efforts are being made to advance towards the next breeding generation, since knowledge about floral biology and pollen management have become important issues. A breeding program is being developed through the Tree Improvement Cooperative GENFORES—a vinculation model between the academy and forestry companies that was initiated in Costa Rica and now involves six Latin American countries. In order to advance into the next breeding generations, building capacities in topics such as pollen banks requires pollen quality, thus enabling the exchange of pollen among cooperative members. Pollen fertility studies are of considerable value in breeding programs, in order to determine pollen viability and germination in collections of genotypes, before going into mating operational activities. In this study, we optimized pollen quality analysis protocols in terms of the viability and germination of fresh teak pollen. Results of this research show that 90% viability and 28% germination can be achieved in fresh pollen grains, both inside and outside the anther, previously dehydrated in silica gel for 2 to 4 h (40% and 33% humidity, respectively). Brewbacker and Kwack (BK) medium at 10% of its salts + 10% sucrose and at a pH of 7 must be used as the germination medium. It is possible to evaluate teak pollen quality using the parameters defined in this study, which will in turn allow pollen management and purification, providing an opportunity for carrying out controlled crosses at an operational scale as part of teak breeding programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
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Open AccessArticle
Harvesting and Local Knowledge of a Cultural Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP): Gum-Resin from Boswellia serrata Roxb. in Three Protected Areas of the Western Ghats, India
Forests 2019, 10(10), 907; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100907 - 15 Oct 2019
Viewed by 836
Abstract
Soliga tribes in the Western Ghats, India harvest some NTFPs (non-timber forest products) for religious purposes. They extract gum-resin from Boswellia serrata Roxb. in Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Tiger Reserve (BRT), Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS), and Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary (MMH) in the state [...] Read more.
Soliga tribes in the Western Ghats, India harvest some NTFPs (non-timber forest products) for religious purposes. They extract gum-resin from Boswellia serrata Roxb. in Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Tiger Reserve (BRT), Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS), and Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary (MMH) in the state of Karnataka, India. They use gum-resin as a cultural offering to the deities in the temples in these study sites and in their households. The traditional harvesting practices adopted by the Soliga tribes in these protected areas, types of gum-resin extracted, and the nature of the extraction processes were examined. The research undertook 346 household surveys with gum-resin harvesters and non-harvesters across 15 villages, along with 60 field trips with the harvesters, during which field harvesting activities and practices were noted. Six different types of gum-resin were harvested, with marked differences between the three sites. Because of the different types of gum-resin, the quantities harvested were also significantly different between sites. Approximately 80% of the harvesters were aware of some harmful methods of harvesting gum-resin, and some harvesters highlighted that B. serrata trees would yield gum-resin only when damaged. Such damage could be human-made or through the effects of elephants, wind, Trigona honey harvest, deer horns or body rubbing and longhorn beetles. Most (81%) of the non-harvesters surveyed previously practiced gum-resin harvesting but had ceased for a variety of reasons, mostly because of insufficient demand and hence income from the sale of gum-resin, insufficient supply, or fear of wild animals in the forests. Considering these cultural practices, experiences, and beliefs of the Soliga communities can help inform management plans and conservation of the species in its natural habitat. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Will Human-Induced Vegetation Regreening Continually Decrease Runoff in the Loess Plateau of China?
Forests 2019, 10(10), 906; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100906 - 15 Oct 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 502
Abstract
China has become the largest contributing country to global vegetation regreening. However, the regreening pattern and subsequent impact on arid areas have not been comprehensively evaluated. Therefore, we selected the Loess Plateau, a representative arid region that has undergone evident vegetation restoration, to [...] Read more.
China has become the largest contributing country to global vegetation regreening. However, the regreening pattern and subsequent impact on arid areas have not been comprehensively evaluated. Therefore, we selected the Loess Plateau, a representative arid region that has undergone evident vegetation restoration, to investigate the spatial patterns and temporal trends, as well as the drivers of vegetation change. This study primarily focused on 12 afforested watersheds during 2000–2018. Furthermore, both the impacts of vegetation regreening on runoff for the past two decades and the future projections were quantified based on the fraction of photosynthetically active radiation (fPAR), the Budyko model, and the global climate models (GCMs). fPAR for the last two decades indicates that vegetation in the Loess Plateau has experienced a continuous increasing trend during the growing season, primarily in response to the implementation of the Grain for Green Project (GFGP). Of the 12 watersheds, 9 experienced significant fPAR change with a change rate above 50%, and 11 exhibited a significant increase (p < 0.05) in runoff sensitivity to vegetation regreening, which indicates that vegetation regreening plays an increasingly important role in controlling runoff variation. The decline in runoff caused by vegetation regreening was particularly noticeable before 2011 or 2012; afterwards, runoff tended to vary with precipitation. In the future (2020–2049 and 2050–2099), decrease in runoff by regreening will be limited, as runoff is anticipated to decrease by 3.5% in 2020–2049 and 4.1% in 2050–2099 with a 20% increase in fPAR. These results indicate that runoff tends to be stable even with continuous vegetation regreening. While the reduction of runoff by regreening will be limited in the future, rapid human-induced vegetation regreening may aggravate water scarcity when flash droughts occur and may result in disasters in water-limited regions to the socio-economic stability and agriculture. Our study will provide an applicable theoretical foundation for water resources decision-making and ecological restoration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Resources Management and Modeling in Forestry)
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Open AccessArticle
Predicting Growing Stock Volume of Eucalyptus Plantations Using 3-D Point Clouds Derived from UAV Imagery and ALS Data
Forests 2019, 10(10), 905; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100905 - 15 Oct 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1128
Abstract
Estimating forest inventory variables is important in monitoring forest resources and mitigating climate change. In this respect, forest managers require flexible, non-destructive methods for estimating volume and biomass. High-resolution and low-cost remote sensing data are increasingly available to measure three-dimensional (3D) canopy structure [...] Read more.
Estimating forest inventory variables is important in monitoring forest resources and mitigating climate change. In this respect, forest managers require flexible, non-destructive methods for estimating volume and biomass. High-resolution and low-cost remote sensing data are increasingly available to measure three-dimensional (3D) canopy structure and to model forest structural attributes. The main objective of this study was to evaluate and compare the individual tree volume estimates derived from high-density point clouds obtained from airborne laser scanning (ALS) and digital aerial photogrammetry (DAP) in Eucalyptus spp. plantations. Object-based image analysis (OBIA) techniques were applied for individual tree crown (ITC) delineation. The ITC algorithm applied correctly detected and delineated 199 trees from ALS-derived data, while 192 trees were correctly identified using DAP-based point clouds acquired from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), representing accuracy levels of respectively 62% and 60%. Addressing volume modelling, non-linear regression fit based on individual tree height and individual crown area derived from the ITC provided the following results: Model Efficiency (Mef) = 0.43 and 0.46, Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) = 0.030 m3 and 0.026 m3, rRMSE = 20.31% and 19.97%, and an approximately unbiased results (0.025 m3 and 0.0004 m3) using DAP and ALS-based estimations, respectively. No significant difference was found between the observed value (field data) and volume estimation from ALS and DAP (p-value from t-test statistic = 0.99 and 0.98, respectively). The proposed approaches could also be used to estimate basal area or biomass stocks in Eucalyptus spp. plantations. Full article
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