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Forests, Volume 10, Issue 11 (November 2019) – 114 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Agroforestry systems can improve the provision of ecosystem services at the farm scale whilst [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Disturbance on Understory Vegetation across Slovenian Forest Ecosystems
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1048; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111048 - 19 Nov 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 995
Abstract
The herbaceous understory represents a key component of forest biodiversity across temperate forests of Europe. Here, we quantified changes in the diversity and composition of the forest understory layer in representative Slovenian forest ecosystems between 2004/05 and 2014/15. In total, 60 plots were [...] Read more.
The herbaceous understory represents a key component of forest biodiversity across temperate forests of Europe. Here, we quantified changes in the diversity and composition of the forest understory layer in representative Slovenian forest ecosystems between 2004/05 and 2014/15. In total, 60 plots were placed across 10 different managed forest types, ranging from lowland deciduous and mid-altitude mesic mixed forests to mountain conifer forests. This network is part of an international network of sites launched within the ICP Forests Programme aimed to assess the condition of forests in Europe. To examine how disturbance influenced understory dynamics, we estimated the disturbance impacts considering both natural and/or anthropogenic disturbances that cause significant damage to trees and to ground-surface layers, including ground-vegetation layers and upper-soil layers. Species richness across 10 sites (gamma diversity) significantly decreased from 272 to 243 species during the study period, while mean species richness per site did not significantly change. The mean value of site level Shannon diversity indices and evenness significantly increased. The cover of most common plant species increased during the monitoring period. The mean value of disturbance estimates per site increased from 0.8% in 2004/05 (ranging from 0% to 2.5%) to 16.3% in 2014/15 (ranging from 5.0% to 38.8%), which corresponded to a reduction in total vegetation cover, including tree-layer cover. More disturbed sites showed larger temporal changes in species composition compared to less disturbed sites, suggesting that forest disturbances caused understory compositional shifts during the study period. Rather than observing an increase in plant diversity due to disturbance, our results suggest a short-term decrease in species number, likely driven by replacement of more specialized species with common species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Deep Learning Approaches for the Mapping of Tree Species Diversity in a Tropical Wetland Using Airborne LiDAR and High-Spatial-Resolution Remote Sensing Images
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1047; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111047 - 19 Nov 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 940
Abstract
The monitoring of tree species diversity is important for forest or wetland ecosystem service maintenance or resource management. Remote sensing is an efficient alternative to traditional field work to map tree species diversity over large areas. Previous studies have used light detection and [...] Read more.
The monitoring of tree species diversity is important for forest or wetland ecosystem service maintenance or resource management. Remote sensing is an efficient alternative to traditional field work to map tree species diversity over large areas. Previous studies have used light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and imaging spectroscopy (hyperspectral or multispectral remote sensing) for species richness prediction. The recent development of very high spatial resolution (VHR) RGB images has enabled detailed characterization of canopies and forest structures. In this study, we developed a three-step workflow for mapping tree species diversity, the aim of which was to increase knowledge of tree species diversity assessment using deep learning in a tropical wetland (Haizhu Wetland) in South China based on VHR-RGB images and LiDAR points. Firstly, individual trees were detected based on a canopy height model (CHM, derived from LiDAR points) by the local-maxima-based method in the FUSION software (Version 3.70, Seattle, USA). Then, tree species at the individual tree level were identified via a patch-based image input method, which cropped the RGB images into small patches (the individually detected trees) based on the tree apexes detected. Three different deep learning methods (i.e., AlexNet, VGG16, and ResNet50) were modified to classify the tree species, as they can make good use of the spatial context information. Finally, four diversity indices, namely, the Margalef richness index, the Shannon–Wiener diversity index, the Simpson diversity index, and the Pielou evenness index, were calculated from the fixed subset with a size of 30 × 30 m for assessment. In the classification phase, VGG16 had the best performance, with an overall accuracy of 73.25% for 18 tree species. Based on the classification results, mapping of tree species diversity showed reasonable agreement with field survey data (R2Margalef = 0.4562, root-mean-square error RMSEMargalef = 0.5629; R2Shannon–Wiener = 0.7948, RMSEShannon–Wiener = 0.7202; R2Simpson = 0.7907, RMSESimpson = 0.1038; and R2Pielou = 0.5875, RMSEPielou = 0.3053). While challenges remain for individual tree detection and species classification, the deep-learning-based solution shows potential for mapping tree species diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Inventory, Modeling and Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Post-Fire Deadwood Management on Soil Macroarthropod Communities
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1046; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111046 - 19 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 567 | Correction
Abstract
Dead wood comprises a vast amount of biological legacies that set the scene for ecological regeneration after wildfires, yet its removal is the most frequent management strategy worldwide. Soil-dwelling organisms are conspicuous, and they provide essential ecosystem functions, but their possible affection by [...] Read more.
Dead wood comprises a vast amount of biological legacies that set the scene for ecological regeneration after wildfires, yet its removal is the most frequent management strategy worldwide. Soil-dwelling organisms are conspicuous, and they provide essential ecosystem functions, but their possible affection by different post-fire management strategies has so far been neglected. We analyzed the abundance, richness, and composition of belowground macroarthropod communities under two contrasting dead-wood management regimes after a large wildfire in the Sierra Nevada Natural and National Park (Southeast Spain). Two plots at different elevation were established, each containing three replicates of two experimental treatments: partial cut, where trees were cut and their branches lopped off and left over the ground, and salvage logging, where all the trees were cut, logs were piled, branches were mechanically masticated, and slash was spread on the ground. Ten years after the application of the treatments, soil cores were extracted from two types of microhabitat created by these treatments: bare-soil (in both treatments) and under-logs (in the partial cut treatment only). Soil macroarthropod assemblages were dominated by Hemiptera and Hymenoptera (mostly ants) and were more abundant and richer in the lowest plot. The differences between dead-wood treatments were most evident at the scale of management interventions: abundance and richness were lowest after salvage logging, even under similar microhabitats (bare-soil). However, there were no significant differences between microhabitat types on abundance and richness within the partial cut treatment. Higher abundance and richness in the partial cut treatment likely resulted from higher resource availability and higher plant diversity after natural regeneration. Our results suggest that belowground macroarthropod communities are sensitive to the manipulation of dead-wood legacies and that management through salvage logging could reduce soil macroarthropod recuperation compared to other treatments with less intense management even a decade after application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Relationship between Forest Biodiversity and Soil Functions)
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Open AccessArticle
A Regularized Raking Estimator for Small-Area Mapping from Forest Inventory Surveys
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1045; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111045 - 19 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 687
Abstract
In this paper, we propose a new estimator for creating expansion factors for survey plots in the US Forest Service (USFS) Forest Inventory and Analysis program. This estimator was previously used in the GIS literature, where it was called Penalized Maximum Entropy Dasymetric [...] Read more.
In this paper, we propose a new estimator for creating expansion factors for survey plots in the US Forest Service (USFS) Forest Inventory and Analysis program. This estimator was previously used in the GIS literature, where it was called Penalized Maximum Entropy Dasymetric Modeling. We show here that the method is a regularized version of the raking estimator widely used in sample surveys. The regularized raking method differs from other predictive modeling methods for integrating survey and ancillary data, in that it produces a single set of expansion factors that can have a general purpose which can be used to produce small-area estimates and wall-to-wall maps of any plot characteristic. This method also differs from other more widely used survey techniques, such as GREG estimation, in that it is guaranteed to produce positive expansion factors. Here, we extend the previous method to include cross-validation, and provide a comparison to expansion factors between the regularized raking and ridge GREG survey calibration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Soil Carbon Storage and Its Determinants in Forest Fragments of Differentiated Patch Size
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1044; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111044 - 18 Nov 2019
Viewed by 613
Abstract
Research Highlights: Soil carbon storage (SOC) decreased due to forest fragmentation through lower proportion of macroaggregate distribution, higher storage of fine roots and litter falls, and lower fine root production rate. Background and Objectives: Globally, forest fragmentation processes lead to enormous [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: Soil carbon storage (SOC) decreased due to forest fragmentation through lower proportion of macroaggregate distribution, higher storage of fine roots and litter falls, and lower fine root production rate. Background and Objectives: Globally, forest fragmentation processes lead to enormous losses of SOC in forests. We investigated SOC and its determinants in forest fragments experiencing edge disturbances in south China. Materials and Methods: Soil aggregate characteristics, dynamics of fine roots, and litter fall were studied from forest edges to interiors. Generalized linear mixed models were used to model the contributions of fine root and litter fall dynamics to carbon concentration in aggregates. Results: Large and small macroaggregates had higher proportion of aggregate distribution and contributed more carbon to SOC in all types of plots in the present study. SOC significantly increased from forest edges to interiors due to carbon concentration of these two aggregate types increasing from edges to interiors, while the proportion of different aggregate distributions was similar within each plot. The same trend was found with increasing forest patch size. Fine root biomass storage had the strongest impact on carbon concentration in large macroaggregates and microaggregates, with higher fine root biomass storage associated with lower carbon concentration. In addition, biomass storage and production rates of both fine roots and litter falls decreased from forest interiors to edges. Our results showed that SOC was significantly decreased due to the lower proportion of large and small macroaggregate distribution, and lower fine root production rate in forest fragments. Conclusions: SOC loss due to effects of forest fragmentation and forest edges occurred through decreased concentrations of soil aggregates and fine root production rates. Results from this study will enhance our ability to evaluate soil aggregate, fine root, and leaf litter fall contributions to SOC within forest fragments, and to suggest basic recommendations for the management and conservation of these forest fragments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Carbon Pools and Storage in Forest Soil)
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Open AccessArticle
PacBio Long-Read Sequencing Reveals the Transcriptomic Complexity and Aux/IAA Gene Evolution in Gnetum (Gnetales)
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1043; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111043 - 18 Nov 2019
Viewed by 668
Abstract
The genus Gnetum includes pantropical trees, shrubs and lianas, with unresolved phylogenetic relationships with other seed plant groups. Despite the reference genome for this genus being recently published, the molecular mechanisms that regulate the reproductive organ development of Gnetum remain unclear. A previous [...] Read more.
The genus Gnetum includes pantropical trees, shrubs and lianas, with unresolved phylogenetic relationships with other seed plant groups. Despite the reference genome for this genus being recently published, the molecular mechanisms that regulate the reproductive organ development of Gnetum remain unclear. A previous study showed that indole-3-acetic acid is involved in the regulation of female strobili of Gnetum, while the diversity and evolution of indole-3-acetic acid-related genes—the Aux/IAA genes—have never been investigated in Gnetales. Thus, a pooled sample from different developmental stages of female strobili in Gnetum luofuense C.Y. Cheng was sequenced using PacBio single-molecular long-read technology (SMRT) sequencing. PacBio SMRT sequencing generated a total of 53,057 full-length transcripts, including 2043 novel genes. Besides this, 10,454 alternative splicing (AS) events were detected with intron retention constituting the largest proportion (46%). Moreover, 1196 lncRNAs were identified, and 8128 genes were found to possess at least one poly (A) site. A total of 3179 regulatory proteins, including 1413 transcription factors (e.g., MADS-box and bHLHs), 477 transcription regulators (e.g., SNF2), and 1289 protein kinases (e.g., RLK/Pelles) were detected, and these protein regulators probably participated in the female strobili development of G. luofuense. In addition, this is the first study of the Aux/IAA genes of the Gnetales, and we identified 6, 7 and 12 Aux/IAA genes from Gnetum luofuense, Welwitschia mirabilis, and Ephedra equistina, respectively. Our phylogenetic analysis reveals that Aux/IAA genes from the gymnosperms tended to cluster and possessed gene structures as diverse as those in angiosperms. Moreover, the Aux/IAA genes of the Gnetales might possess higher molecular evolutionary rates than those in other gymnosperms. The sequencing of the full-length transcriptome paves the way to uncovering molecular mechanisms that regulate reproductive organ development in gymnosperms. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Forest Biomass Pretreatment on Essential Oil Yield and Properties
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1042; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111042 - 16 Nov 2019
Viewed by 742
Abstract
Essential oils (EOs) are natural and economically valuable aromatic compounds obtained from a variety of crops and trees, including forest trees, which have different therapeutic and biological activities. This project aims to assess the impact of different residual forest biomass pretreatments on the [...] Read more.
Essential oils (EOs) are natural and economically valuable aromatic compounds obtained from a variety of crops and trees, including forest trees, which have different therapeutic and biological activities. This project aims to assess the impact of different residual forest biomass pretreatments on the yield and the properties of EOs, including their antibacterial and antioxidant characteristics. Forest biomass from black spruce (BS, Picea mariana Mill.), balsam fir (BF, Abies balsamea), and jack pine (JP, Pinus banksiana Lamb.) was processed mechanically by (i) shredding, (ii) grinding, (iii) pelletizing, and (iv) bundling. EOs were then extracted by hydro- and steam distillation. The densification into bundles was found to improve EOs yield compared to the other residual forest biomass pretreatments. For example, the yield of bundled BF was improved by 68%, 83%, and 93% compared to shredded, ground, and granulated biomass, respectively. The highest yield was obtained when densification into bundles was combined with extraction through hydrodistillation. As for EOs’ chemical composition, JP had the highest polyphenol content and consequently the greatest antioxidant activity. EOs derived from BS inhibited the growth of Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus bacteria and Gram-negative Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli bacteria. The densification of forest biomass into bundles did not affect the antioxidant capacity or the antibacterial activity of EOs, thereby preserving both properties. Thus, the pretreatment of forest biomass residue could have an impact on the volume and the transport costs and therefore improve the bioproducts market and the bioeconomy in Canada. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Supply Chain Optimization for Biomass and Biofuels)
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Open AccessArticle
Selection of Poplar Genotypes for Adapting to Climate Change
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1041; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111041 - 16 Nov 2019
Viewed by 826
Abstract
Deployment of well-adapted, water use efficient, and productive genotypes may be essential for the sustainability of both forests and wood supply for the forest industry, as climate change is increasing water stress around the world. This study aimed to characterize key traits among [...] Read more.
Deployment of well-adapted, water use efficient, and productive genotypes may be essential for the sustainability of both forests and wood supply for the forest industry, as climate change is increasing water stress around the world. This study aimed to characterize key traits among new genotypes of hybrid poplars (Populus spp.) in water use efficiency (WUE) and evaluate adaptive capacity to guide the selection of appropriate clones/hybrid types for commercial deployment in habitats with an increasing water deficit in northern, continental climates. Forty-five new hybrid poplar genotypes were compared at the age of 10, including two control clones, Walker and Okanese, growing in a common garden genetics trial in northern Alberta. We studied the relationships between their productivity and WUE, photosynthetic assimilation, transpiration, stomatal conductance, stomatal density and length, and leaf size and weight. In addition, the genetic variance and heritabilities of physiological and morphological characteristics related to WUE were calculated. Results of this study revealed that most of the clones showed an adaptive capacity to acclimatize (small and dense stomata) to the region of deployment. Morphological traits were characterized by higher heritabilities than physiological traits. Hybrids between Populus balsamifera and Populus maximowiczii species showed a slightly greater adaptive potential to the area of our study than the other tested cross types. Walker, a clone widely planted across the Canadian prairies, showed inferior WUE and productivity in comparison to the new genotypes tested. Selection and tree breeding for adaptation to climate change in the region of our investigation identified highly productive genotypes with dense, small stomata and a larger leaf area to dry mass ratio. As these traits are heritable, selection of clones with these traits will ensure a faster reaction of stomata when faced with a water deficit. The low genetic effect, heritability estimates, and high residual effect for physiological traits, impose a severe limitation on the use of gas exchange measurements under field conditions in tree improvement programs selecting for drought resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Forest-Type Classification Using Time-Weighted Dynamic Time Warping Analysis in Mountain Areas: A Case Study in Southern China
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1040; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111040 - 16 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 514
Abstract
Efficient methodologies for mapping forest types in complicated mountain areas are essential for the implementation of sustainable forest management practices and monitoring. Existing solutions dedicated to forest-type mapping are primarily focused on supervised machine learning algorithms (MLAs) using remote sensing time-series images. However, [...] Read more.
Efficient methodologies for mapping forest types in complicated mountain areas are essential for the implementation of sustainable forest management practices and monitoring. Existing solutions dedicated to forest-type mapping are primarily focused on supervised machine learning algorithms (MLAs) using remote sensing time-series images. However, MLAs are challenged by complex and problematic forest type compositions, lack of training data, loss of temporal data caused by clouds obscuration, and selection of input feature sets for mountainous areas. The time-weighted dynamic time warping (TWDTW) is a supervised classifier, an adaptation of the dynamic time warping method for time series analysis for land cover classification. This study evaluates the performance of the TWDTW method that uses a combination of Sentinel-2 and Landsat-8 time-series images when applied to complicated mountain forest-type classifications in southern China with complex topographic conditions and forest-type compositions. The classification outputs were compared to those produced by MLAs, including random forest (RF) and support vector machine (SVM). The results presented that the three forest-type maps obtained by TWDTW, RF, and SVM have high consistency in spatial distribution. TWDTW outperformed SVM and RF with mean overall accuracy and mean kappa coefficient of 93.81% and 0.93, respectively, followed by RF and SVM. Compared with MLAs, TWDTW method achieved the higher classification accuracy than RF and SVM, with even less training data. This proved the robustness and less sensitivities to training samples of the TWDTW method when applied to mountain forest-type classifications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Different Responses of Cytoplasmic and Endoplasmic Reticulum Hsp90 Genes from Eogystia hippophaecola (Lepidoptera: Cossidae) to Cold Stress
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1039; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111039 - 16 Nov 2019
Viewed by 477
Abstract
Eogystia hippophaecola Hua, Chou, Fang et Chen (Lepidoptera: Cossidae) is an important borer pest of the sea buckthorn forest (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) in China. Its larvae, which are highly cold tolerant, mainly overwinter in sea buckthorn roots. Heat shock proteins (Hsps) are [...] Read more.
Eogystia hippophaecola Hua, Chou, Fang et Chen (Lepidoptera: Cossidae) is an important borer pest of the sea buckthorn forest (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) in China. Its larvae, which are highly cold tolerant, mainly overwinter in sea buckthorn roots. Heat shock proteins (Hsps) are important molecular chaperones that have been linked to cold tolerance in insects. In this study, we cloned the open reading frames (ORFs) of two Hsp90 genes from E. hippophaecola, EhHsp90-1 and EhHsp90-2, and analyzed their expression under cold stress by qRT-PCR. EhHsp90-1 and EhHsp90-2 are 2154 and 2346 bp in length, respectively, encoding 717 and 781 amino acids. The deduced amino acid sequences contain the conserved signature sequences of the Hsp90 family and the C-terminus characteristic sequence of cytoplasmic or endoplasmic reticulum Hsp90 protein. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the amino acid sequences of EhHsp90-1 and EhHsp90-2 were very similar to the corresponding proteins from Lepidoptera. Under various low-temperature treatments lasting 2 h, EhHsp90-1 and EhHsp90-2 exhibited similar expression patterns, increasing first and then decreasing. At −5 °C, EhHsp90-1 was significantly up-regulated after 12 h, whereas EhHsp90-2 was up-regulated after just 1 h and reached its highest level at 2 h; however, the overall degree of upregulation was greater for EhHsp90-1. Subsequently, the expression level of EhHsp90-2 fluctuated with time. Our results suggest that the two Hsp90s play important roles in E. hippophaecola larvae response to cold stress, but that their response times and the magnitudes of their responses to low-temperature stress differed significantly, providing a theoretical basis for further studying the molecular mechanism of cold tolerance in E. hippophaecola larvae. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Nitrogen Addition Alleviates Microbial Nitrogen Limitations and Promotes Soil Respiration in a Subalpine Coniferous Forest
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1038; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111038 - 16 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 575
Abstract
Soil microbes are an important component of soil ecosystems that influence material circulation and are involved in the energy flow of ecosystems. The increase in atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition affects all types of terrestrial ecosystems, including subalpine forests. In general, alpine and high-latitude [...] Read more.
Soil microbes are an important component of soil ecosystems that influence material circulation and are involved in the energy flow of ecosystems. The increase in atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition affects all types of terrestrial ecosystems, including subalpine forests. In general, alpine and high-latitude ecosystems are N limited. Increased N deposition could therefore affect microbial activity and soil respiration. In this study, four levels of N addition, including CK (no N added), N1 (2 g m−2 a−1), N2 (5 g m−2 a−1), and N3 (10 g m−2 a−1), were carried out in a Sichuan redwood forest at the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The dynamics of soil respiration, major microbial groups, ecoenzymatic stoichiometry, and microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen (MBC and MBN, respectively) were investigated over a year. The results showed that N application significantly increased soil respiration (11%–15%), MBC (5%–9%), MBN (23%–34%), N-acetylglucosidase (56.40%–204.78%), and peroxidase (42.28%–54.87%) activities. The promotion of soil respiration, N-acetylglucosidase, and peroxidase was highest under the N2 treatment. The carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus metabolism of soil microbes in subalpine forests significantly responded to N application. In the latter stages of N application, microbial metabolism changed from being N restricted to phosphorus restricted, especially under the N2 treatment. Soil bacteria (B) and gram-positive (G+) bacteria were the dominant microbial groups affecting soil respiration. Structural equation modelling indicated that N application significantly promoted soil respiration and microbial biomass, whereas the main microbial groups did not significantly respond to N application. Therefore, we conclude that short-term N addition alleviates microbial nitrogen limitation and promotes soil respiration in the subalpine forest ecosystem that accelerates soil carbon (C) and N cycling. Continuous monitoring is needed to elucidate the underlying mechanisms under long-term N deposition, which may help in forecasting C, N, and P cycling in the alpine region under global climate change. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Genetic Markers for Species Conservation and Timber Tracking: Development of Microsatellite Primers for the Tropical African Tree Species Prioria balsamifera and Prioria oxyphylla
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1037; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111037 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 710
Abstract
Research Highlights: Two novel sets of polymorphic microsatellite markers were developed for Prioria balsamifera and Prioria oxyphylla through high-throughput sequencing. Validation in two populations of each species proved the utility of the developed primers to estimate genetic diversity at population level. Background and [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: Two novel sets of polymorphic microsatellite markers were developed for Prioria balsamifera and Prioria oxyphylla through high-throughput sequencing. Validation in two populations of each species proved the utility of the developed primers to estimate genetic diversity at population level. Background and Objectives: Prioria balsamifera and Prioria oxyphylla are tropical tree species from Central Africa. They produce a high-quality, multi-purpose timber that is of great interest to the international market. Prioria balsamifera has been included as ‘endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In order to set up adequate management plans and facilitate timber tracking, knowledge on the genetic diversity at population level is needed. Therefore, we aim to develop microsatellite markers that can be used for species conservation, forensics, plant breeding and population genetics studies. Materials and Methods: Genomic DNA of P. balsamifera and P. oxyphylla was sequenced on an Illumina NextSeq platform (Illumina Inc., San Diego, CA, USA), generating 829,421 and 772,018 paired-end reads that contained 7148 and 7004 microsatellite sequences, respectively. The QDD-pipeline was used to design primers, which were tested for amplification in two populations of each species. Cross-species amplification was tested in all seven African Prioria species. Results: For P. balsamifera, 16 polymorphic microsatellite markers were developed and combined in three multiplexes. Inbreeding appeared to be absent but genetic diversity was low in both populations. For P. oxyphylla, 15 polymorphic microsatellite markers were developed and combined in three multiplexes. Genetic diversity was low in both populations and estimated null allele frequencies were high for multiple loci. Cross-species amplification tests demonstrated the occurrence of conserved loci that amplified for most of the African Prioria species. Conclusions: The microsatellite markers prove to be useful for estimating genetic diversity at population level. These novel markers can be used to study gene flow and spatial genetic structure in Prioria species, which is needed to set up proper conservation guidelines and to prevent genetic erosion. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Genetic Parameter Estimates and Genotype × Environment Interactions of Growth and Quality Traits for Betula alnoides Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don in Four Provenance-Family Trials in Southern China
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1036; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111036 - 15 Nov 2019
Viewed by 512
Abstract
Betula alnoides is a valuable timber species with wide ecological adaptability in Southeast Asia and southern China. There are more than 150,000 ha of B. alnoides plantations in China until now. However, heavy differentiation in growth and quality traits with low productivity are [...] Read more.
Betula alnoides is a valuable timber species with wide ecological adaptability in Southeast Asia and southern China. There are more than 150,000 ha of B. alnoides plantations in China until now. However, heavy differentiation in growth and quality traits with low productivity are usually seen in the practice. Elite germplasm are thus urgently needed for this species. Here growth and quality traits for 199 families of 25 provenances were assessed at four sites when 10–15 years old to estimate genetic parameters and reveal genotype by environment (G × E) interaction, and screen out superior provenances and families for plantation forestry of B. alnoides. The growth and quality performances of provenances varied with sites. Significant site, provenance, family and provenance-site effects were revealed for most growth and quality traits, while significant family-site effects were only observed in crown width (CW) and crown shape (CS), inferring that there existed significant G × E interaction. The provenance repeatability ( h p 2 ) and family heritability ( h f 2 ) of all tested traits ranged from 0.026 to 0.636 and 0.148 to 0.578, respectively. Stem volume showed the highest genetic and phenotypic coefficients of variation (GCV, PCV) among all traits at each site. The diameter at breast height (DBH), tree height (H), height to live crown base (HCB) and CW were strongly correlated with other traits, and were also under relatively higher genetic control and had stronger discriminating ability on genotype differences. Through biplot analyses of main genotypic effect and G × E interaction (GGE) for these traits, five provenances and 20 families were screened out with selection ratio of 20 % and 10% at provenance and family level, respectively. The genetic and realized gains at provenance level ranged from 0.25% to 2.01% and 2.43% to 14.84%, and those at family level ranged from 0.85% to 21.22% and 5.76% to 36.71%, respectively. The findings lay a foundation for subsequent study on genetic improvement and breeding of this species, and application of the superior provenances and families will greatly increase the productivity of its plantations in practice. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Nutrient Deficiency on Root Morphology and Nutrient Allocation in Pistacia chinensis Bunge Seedlings
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1035; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111035 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 539
Abstract
Plant growth depends on soil mineral elements, a lack of which results in reduced nutrient accumulation leading to poor growth and resistance in plants. Therefore, more information is needed about the response of Pistacia chinensis Bunge (P. chinensis) seedlings to nutrient [...] Read more.
Plant growth depends on soil mineral elements, a lack of which results in reduced nutrient accumulation leading to poor growth and resistance in plants. Therefore, more information is needed about the response of Pistacia chinensis Bunge (P. chinensis) seedlings to nutrient deficiency. In this study, we investigated how soil nutrient availability affects the nutrient accumulation and root system of P. chinensis seedlings. Seedlings were cultivated under five different nutrient treatments (500 mg, 400 mg, 300 mg, 200 mg, and 100 mg N). Various indices, including seedling growth, nutrient accumulation and root morphology, were analyzed at the end of the growing season. Nutrient deficiency (300 mg, 200 mg, and 100 mg N) reduced the accumulation of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in roots and stems, while the nutrient proportion of N, P, and K stored in the roots and root to shoot ratio (R/S) was increased at the end of growing season. Root length, root surface area, and root volume of very fine roots (<0.5 mm in diameter) and coarse roots (>3.0 mm in diameter) of the three lower nutrient treatments were significantly lower than those of the two highest nutrient treatments, while no significant difference was detected in the fine roots (1.0–3.0 mm in diameter). Instead, foliar N and K contents in seedlings treated with the two highest treatments were significantly greater than those of the three lower nutrient treatments, resulting in a greater nutrient loss ratio. However, seedlings treated with 100 mg N had significantly higher foliar P content than those treated with 500 mg. Seedlings treated with 300 mg and 200 mg N did not have restricted root nutrient accumulation but did have reduced nutrient accumulation in the stems. The 100 mg N treatment significantly reduced the root nutrient accumulation of N and K. The 500 mg N treatment did not increase the accumulation of nutrients in the storage organs compared with the 400 mg N treatment, but did increase the loss of N and K due to defoliation in autumn. In conclusion, there is a threshold for nutrient accumulation in storage organs at the nursery stage under a specific environment. P. chinensis seedlings reduced the negative effects of nutrient deficiency by promoting root growth, particularly fine roots, and increasing N and K allocation in storage organs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
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Open AccessArticle
Post-Harvest Evaluation of Soil Physical Properties and Natural Regeneration Growth in Steep-Slope Terrains
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1034; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111034 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 557
Abstract
Protection of forest soils during harvesting operations is necessary to reduce damage and accelerate recovery time. The current study aims to evaluate soil physical properties, natural regeneration, and its recovery process in treatments including slope gradient, traffic intensity and skid trail after long [...] Read more.
Protection of forest soils during harvesting operations is necessary to reduce damage and accelerate recovery time. The current study aims to evaluate soil physical properties, natural regeneration, and its recovery process in treatments including slope gradient, traffic intensity and skid trail after long periods of time, after ceasing the timber harvesting operations. The most recent skidding operations within each 5 years recovery period were studied for a chronosequence of 20 years. Soil samples were taken in abandoned skid trails and data were recorded on naturally regenerated species and density. The results revealed that most soil disturbances occurred on the slopes >20%, as well as the highest levels of traffic intensity. Bulk density and penetration resistance were still higher than the control area, with a significant difference between them, while total porosity was partially recovered. Twenty years after the skidding operation, soil bulk density and penetration resistance were 13.2% and 23.7% higher than the control area, while total porosity was 9.78% lower the than value of the control area. Seedlings of 50–150 cm and >150 cm in height on skid trails had significantly lower density than those in the control. The number of seedlings per m2 was less than the control area in all skid trails and for all height classes. The proportion of seedlings present in low traffic intensity was higher than in medium and high traffic intensities. The findings confirmed that full recovery rates are lengthy, and more time than 20 years is required to fully recover, especially with regards to penetration resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Soil Fauna on Home-Field Advantages of Litter Mass Loss and Nutrient Release in Different Temperate Broad-Leaved Forests
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1033; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111033 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 624
Abstract
The home-field advantage (HFA) of litter decomposition dynamics has been investigated intensively in different ecosystems with a wide variety of plant types. HFA mainly occurs due to the specialization of a soil organism. However, for the HFA, the linkages between litter mass loss, [...] Read more.
The home-field advantage (HFA) of litter decomposition dynamics has been investigated intensively in different ecosystems with a wide variety of plant types. HFA mainly occurs due to the specialization of a soil organism. However, for the HFA, the linkages between litter mass loss, nutrient release, and soil faunal community are not fully understood. Thus, in this study, we performed a reciprocal litter transplant experiment using coarse and fine mesh litterbags in a Quercus mongolica Fisch. ex Ledeb. forest dominated by Q. mongolica (QM) and Acer pseudosieboldianum (Pax) Komarov (AP) and miscellaneous wood forests dominated by Juglans mandshurica Maxim. (JM) and Ulmus laciniata (Trautv.) Mayr. (UL). Results showed that the A. pseudosieboldianum litter displayed a significantly higher total abundance of Oribatida, Tomoceridae, and Entomobryidae at home than away from home after 7 months. However, all litters showed no significant difference in the HFA between the coarse mesh and fine mesh sizes during the 12-month experiment. A. pseudosieboldianum and J. mandshurica litters showed a significantly higher positive HFA for the C release in the coarse mesh than in the fine mesh litterbags after 7 months. Q. mongolica and J. mandshurica litters showed a significantly higher positive HFA for N release in the coarse mesh than in the fine mesh litterbags after 7 months. The A. pseudosieboldianum litter showed a significantly higher positive HFA for N release in the coarse mesh than in the fine mesh litterbags after 12 months. Q. mongolica and A. pseudosieboldianum litters showed a significantly higher positive HFA for S release in the coarse mesh than in the fine mesh litterbags after 7 and 12 months, respectively. However, A. pseudosieboldianum and Q. mongolica litters showed a significantly higher negative HFA for S release in the coarse mesh than in the fine mesh litterbags after 7 and 12 months, respectively. Our results illustrated that soil faunal specialization was found in the A. pseudosieboldianum litter only at home after 7 months. Soil fauna had a weak effect on the HFA of the litter mass losses during the 12-month experiment. Soil fauna drove the positive HFA for the N release of both the high- and low-quality litters. Soil fauna have a positive and negative HFA for S release in the low-quality litter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Matter Production and Decomposition in Forest Soils)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Drought and Salinity on Sweetgum Tree (Liquidambar styraciflua L.): Understanding Tree Ecophysiological Responses in the Urban Context
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1032; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111032 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 721
Abstract
Understanding urban tree responses to drought, salt stress, and co-occurring stresses, as well as the capability to recover afterward, is important to prevent the cited stresses’ negative effects on tree performance and ecological functionality. We investigated the impact of drought and salinity, alone [...] Read more.
Understanding urban tree responses to drought, salt stress, and co-occurring stresses, as well as the capability to recover afterward, is important to prevent the cited stresses’ negative effects on tree performance and ecological functionality. We investigated the impact of drought and salinity, alone and in combination, on leaf water potential, gas exchange, chlorophyll a fluorescence, xanthophyll cycle pigments, and isoprene emission of the urban tree species Liquidambar styraciflua L. Generally, drought had a rapid negative impact, while the effect of salt stress was more long lasting. Both stressors significantly decreased photosynthesis, transpiration, and stomatal conductance, as well as the maximum quantum efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) and the photochemical efficiency of PSII (ΦPSII), but increased nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ). Under stress conditions, a strong negative correlation between the PSII efficiency and the xanthophyll cycle pigment composition indicated a nocturnal retention of zeaxanthin and antheraxanthin in a state primed for energy dissipation. Drought and salt stress inhibited isoprene emission from leaves, although its emission was less responsive to stresses than stomatal conductance and photosynthesis. Full recovery of photosynthetic parameters took place after rewatering and washing off of excess salt, indicating that no permanent damage occurred, and suggesting downregulation rather than permanent impairment of the photosynthetic apparatus. Sweetgum trees were capable of withstanding and surviving moderate drought and salt events by activating defense mechanisms conferring tolerance to environmental stresses, without increasing the emission in the atmosphere of the highly reactive isoprene. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
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Open AccessArticle
Lessons Learned from the Water Producer Project in the Atlantic Forest, Brazil
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1031; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111031 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 710
Abstract
Forest and landscape restoration (FLR) is a powerful strategy for large-scale tropical forest recovery, and payment for ecosystem services (PES) is used to support FLR programs and projects on privately-owned land. In this article, we discuss the lessons learned from the Water Producer [...] Read more.
Forest and landscape restoration (FLR) is a powerful strategy for large-scale tropical forest recovery, and payment for ecosystem services (PES) is used to support FLR programs and projects on privately-owned land. In this article, we discuss the lessons learned from the Water Producer Project, a pioneer, multiple-stakeholder, and PES-supported FLR project in the Atlantic Forest, south-eastern Brazil. The project was implemented in four landscapes located in two municipalities. Altogether, 41 PES contracts with landowners were signed, resulting in various FLR practices being implemented in a total of 342.4 ha (64.2 ha for riparian forest restoration, 90.8 ha for soil conservation, and 187.4 for forest conservation) of land, which represents 39% of the project goal. As of the end of the project, only 50% (USD 49,250) of the available PES funds had been spent. However, funds spent on project planning, implementation, communication, and monitoring were 12 times greater than those spent on PES. Several challenges restricted the progress and monitoring of the project. The main issue was landowner participation and/or engagement. In terms of lessons learned, we highlight that PES schemes are more complex than initially thought, and that sufficient funding does not guarantee the success of FLR projects. It is essential to promote landowner participation and engagement by considering them key players in FLR projects. Finally, acceptance from landowners was higher and implementation was easier for forest conservation practices that required no land-use changes. Thus, we suggest that similar future projects should focus on targeting private properties in marginal agricultural lands with a high probability of natural regeneration. Alternatively, future projects could focus on lands with remnant forest cover of high conservation value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest and Landscape Restoration—Making it Happen)
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Open AccessArticle
Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for Forest Management: The Case of the U.S. Forest Service
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1030; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111030 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1022
Abstract
Forest managers need access to targeted scientific information about the impacts of climate change in order to adapt to climate change. Vulnerability assessments address this need and are common across a range of disciplines and geographies; however, the practice of vulnerability assessment has [...] Read more.
Forest managers need access to targeted scientific information about the impacts of climate change in order to adapt to climate change. Vulnerability assessments address this need and are common across a range of disciplines and geographies; however, the practice of vulnerability assessment has revealed challenges that warrant further examination in a specific context. The U.S. Forest Service, a national forest-management agency in charge of 78 million hectares, has developed a collection of climate change vulnerability assessments to support adaptation by forest managers. We conducted a qualitative document analysis, informed by a series of research interviews with scientists, of 44 vulnerability assessments developed for the U.S. Forest Service. We found that partnerships between research scientists and land managers were central to the development of vulnerability assessments in the U.S. Forest Service. Assessment processes vary across settings. As the practice has developed, vulnerability assessments increasingly cover larger spatial extents and a broader range of resources associated with forest management. We identified ways in which vulnerability assessments can support decision-making, including approaches already in use and opportunities to improve practice. In particular, we discuss how vulnerability assessments are well-positioned to support the development of land-management plans, which set strategic management direction for periods of at least a decade. This paper provides baseline knowledge on a fundamental aspect of a large national forestry agency’s climate change adaptation strategy, with many findings transferable to the study of other forest-management organizations. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Factors Affecting the Chipping Operation Based on the Screen Size of the Drum Chipper
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1029; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111029 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 529
Abstract
Forest biomass has recently been highlighted as a renewable energy source in South Korea. As the Renewable Energy Certificate weight has been revised to encourage the use of forest biomass for energy production, forest operations have focused on the development of new technologies [...] Read more.
Forest biomass has recently been highlighted as a renewable energy source in South Korea. As the Renewable Energy Certificate weight has been revised to encourage the use of forest biomass for energy production, forest operations have focused on the development of new technologies and harvesting methods for the extraction and utilization of forest biomass. This study examined the application of a drum chipper to forest biomass and analyzed the effects of screen size (40, 50, 65, and 80 mm) on productivity, cost, and particle size distribution. When the screen size was 40 mm to 65 mm, the chipping productivity improved by up to 3.6 times, the fuel consumption decreased by up to 29.7%, and the chipping cost was reduced by up to 31.9%. The fines content tended to decrease with an increase in screen size. The size of woodchips was less than 100 mm in length and ranged from 10 to 63 mm. The 65 mm screen was the most effective (e.g., producing optimal wood chip size at an acceptable production rate) for the chipping operation. Harvesting methods and drying time are also important factors that determine the utilization efficiency of forest biomass. Therefore, further research should be focused on the effect of moisture content on chipping productivity, power required, and fine particle size in forest biomass productions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Open AccessReview
Propagation of Juniper Species by Plant Tissue Culture: A Mini-Review
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1028; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111028 - 14 Nov 2019
Viewed by 601
Abstract
The genus Juniperus (of the Cupressaceae family) is the second most prevalent group of conifers on Earth. Juniper species are widely dispersed in the Northern Hemisphere, in Europe and Asia, and in Africa and Central America. Juniper species are resistant to dry climates [...] Read more.
The genus Juniperus (of the Cupressaceae family) is the second most prevalent group of conifers on Earth. Juniper species are widely dispersed in the Northern Hemisphere, in Europe and Asia, and in Africa and Central America. Juniper species are resistant to dry climates and can adapt to difficult environmental conditions. Most juniper species are important in both ecological and economic terms. However, today, many forests in which junipers occur are being reduced in size due to both natural causes (fires, for example) and human activity (uncontrolled exploitation of forests, etc.). Also, climate changes may have adversely affected the range of populations of different juniper species. For this reason, some juniper species are now categorized as rare or endangered, and require immediate protective action. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop effective strategies for ex situ conservation, including reliable procedures for Juniperus sp. reproduction for future reintroduction and restoration programs. The conservation strategies used until now with traditional forestry techniques (seed propagation, rooted cuttings, grafting) have not been satisfactory in many cases. Thus, increasing attention is being paid to the possibilities offered by in vitro culture technology, which enables the conservation and mass clonal propagation of different coniferous tree species. In this mini-review, we summarize the current state of knowledge regarding the use of various methods of the propagation of selected Juniperus species, with a particular emphasis on in vitro culture techniques. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Deforestation Processes in the Polish Mountains in the Context of Terrain Topography
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1027; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111027 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 981
Abstract
In the 1980s, the Western Sudety Mountains were affected by a forest dieback process, resulting in large-scale deforestation covering an area of about 15,000 ha. A similar phenomenon is presently being observed in the Western Beskidy and Eastern Sudety Mountains, where the course [...] Read more.
In the 1980s, the Western Sudety Mountains were affected by a forest dieback process, resulting in large-scale deforestation covering an area of about 15,000 ha. A similar phenomenon is presently being observed in the Western Beskidy and Eastern Sudety Mountains, where the course of the process and the final effects are similar. The presented study analyzed the relationships between forest dieback processes today and in the past. Among others, the impact of the following factors was examined: exposure, slope, altitude, and topographic index, which was generated based on the airborne LIDAR (also airborne laser scanning abbreviated as ALS) data. The identification of forest dieback areas in the past was carried out based on the archived Landsat satellite imagery, as well as data obtained from the Polish State Forests. The identification of forest dieback areas at present was carried out based on the ALS data (single-tree detection approach) and color infrared aerial images. In the study, inter-dependencies between forest dieback today and in the past were compared. The performed analyses show significant differences between forests’ dieback specifics in all three areas. The process first occurred at 800–900 m a.s.l., and afterwards at over 900 m. Mortality was especially intensive on the western and southwestern slopes. Below 700 m a.s.l., forests survived quite well. In the 1980s, significantly higher concentrations of hazardous chemical compounds were noted, which resulted in respectively greater deforestations on aspects open to the operation of prevailing winds (mainly west). Nowadays, a proportionately higher number of trees die on the southern aspects, which is particularly visible in the Western Sudety Mountains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Inventory, Modeling and Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessReview
The Processing of Non-Timber Forest Products through Small and Medium Enterprises—A Review of Enabling and Constraining Factors
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1026; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111026 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1284
Abstract
Research Highlights: This study reviews the available literature on processed non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in order to comprehensively identify relevant factors enabling or constraining their potential to contribute to rural development. Background and Objectives: NTFPs, such as wild foods, medicinal plants, and raw [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: This study reviews the available literature on processed non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in order to comprehensively identify relevant factors enabling or constraining their potential to contribute to rural development. Background and Objectives: NTFPs, such as wild foods, medicinal plants, and raw materials for handicrafts, make significant contributions to rural livelihoods. NTFPs can help fulfil households’ subsistence and consumption needs, serve as a safety-net in times of crises, and provide cash income. In particular, the processing of NTFPs has often been suggested to positively influence sustainable economic development in rural areas. However, despite rising interest and recognition of the potential contributions of such industries as key sources of employment and their strategic role in overall growth strategies of developing countries, many NTFP processing enterprises remain in the informal sector and an in-depth understanding of the underlying factors is lacking. This review aims to identify enabling and constraining factors affecting NTFP processing enterprises. Materials and Methods: Using systematic review methodology, studies investigating commercialized, processed NTFPs and their economic impacts have been identified and the current evidence base with regard to NTFP processing and small and medium sized enterprise (SME) development synthesized. Results: Despite the diverse nature of NTFPs, a number of constraining and enabling factors affecting NTFP processing and commercialization were identified. The former includes aspects such as the lack of resource access (finances, skills, technologies, etc.), market information, and basic infrastructure; the latter, amongst others, the role of key entrepreneurs; and cooperation across the value chain, amongst producers, and among members of the institutional environment or an abundant resource base. Moving from small-scale NTFP commercialization in local markets to more mature NTFP value chains reaching export markets, the increasing role of cooperation and having a supportive institutional framework in place, becomes apparent. Conclusions: Overall, successful NTFP processing strongly depends on the socio-economic and environmental context in question, requiring a holistic approach tailored to the respective context and value chain. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Using UAV Multispectral Images for Classification of Forest Burn Severity—A Case Study of the 2019 Gangneung Forest Fire
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1025; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111025 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 927
Abstract
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-based remote sensing has limitations in acquiring images before a forest fire, although burn severity can be analyzed by comparing images before and after a fire. Determining the burned surface area is a challenging class in the analysis of burn [...] Read more.
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-based remote sensing has limitations in acquiring images before a forest fire, although burn severity can be analyzed by comparing images before and after a fire. Determining the burned surface area is a challenging class in the analysis of burn area severity because it looks unburned in images from aircraft or satellites. This study analyzes the availability of multispectral UAV images that can be used to classify burn severity, including the burned surface class. RedEdge multispectral UAV image was acquired after a forest fire, which was then processed into a mosaic reflectance image. Hundreds of samples were collected for each burn severity class, and they were used as training and validation samples for classification. Maximum likelihood (MLH), spectral angle mapper (SAM), and thresholding of a normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) were used as classifiers. In the results, all classifiers showed high overall accuracy. The classifiers also showed high accuracy for classification of the burned surface, even though there was some confusion among spectrally similar classes, unburned pine, and unburned deciduous. Therefore, multispectral UAV images can be used to analyze burn severity after a forest fire. Additionally, NDVI thresholding can also be an easy and accurate method, although thresholds should be generalized in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forestry Applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) 2019)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Stem Taper on the Yield of Black Spruce Stands and Trees Following Commercial Thinning
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1024; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111024 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 386
Abstract
In this work, we examine the effects of commercial thinning on stand volume and individual stem form in nine naturally regenerated black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) stands. We compared these study sites with controls in the commercial boreal forest of northern [...] Read more.
In this work, we examine the effects of commercial thinning on stand volume and individual stem form in nine naturally regenerated black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) stands. We compared these study sites with controls in the commercial boreal forest of northern Quebec, Canada. At stand level, dendrochronological data provided insight into changes in stand volume ten years after thinning. Analysis of a subsample of six individual trees from each commercially thinned stand and three individual trees from the controls illustrated the role of thinning on stem shape development. Although average volume increased for residual stems in thinned stands slightly more than in the controls (110% versus 106%), the treatment effect stand-level volume increment or stand-level total volume harvested (ten years after treatment) was not statistically significant. Moreover, at tree level, thinning did not significantly affect stem volume increment. However, radial growth increment significantly increased after treatment. Trees from commercially thinned stands showed a significantly higher growth increment along the lower first two-thirds of the stem. Response to thinning at tree level correlated strongly with the size and number of harvested competitors around a residual stem. We conclude that commercial thinning modified wood allocation rather than wood volume and did not affect taper and stem shape. These patterns of post-cutting growth are explained by wood allocation following thinning. After commercial thinning, growth increment is favored at the expense of height growth. As the treatment effect was found at the stem scale rather than at the stand scale, further research is needed in regard to commercial thinning treatments to investigate how to increase productivity at the stand scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
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Open AccessArticle
Temporal and Spatial Changes of Soil Organic Carbon Stocks in the Forest Area of Northeastern China
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1023; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111023 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 612
Abstract
Forest soil organic carbon (SOC) accounts for a large portion of global soil carbon stocks. Accurately mapping forest SOC stocks is a necessity for quantifying forest carbon cycling and forest soil sustainable management. In this study, we used a boosted regression trees (BRT) [...] Read more.
Forest soil organic carbon (SOC) accounts for a large portion of global soil carbon stocks. Accurately mapping forest SOC stocks is a necessity for quantifying forest carbon cycling and forest soil sustainable management. In this study, we used a boosted regression trees (BRT) model to predict the spatial distribution of SOC stocks during two time periods (1990 and 2015) and calculated their spatiotemporal changes during 25 years in Liaoning Province, China. A total of 367 (1990) and 539 (2015) sampling sites and 9 environmental variables (climate, topography, remote sensing) were used in the BRT model. The ten-fold cross-validation technique was used to evaluate the prediction performance and uncertainty of the BRT model in two periods. It was found that the BRT model could account for 65% and 59% of SOC stocks, respectively for the two periods. MAP and NDVI were the main environmental variables controlling the spatial variability of SOC stocks. Over the 25-year period, the average SOC stocks increased from 5.66 to 6.61 kg m−2. In the whole study area, the SOC stocks were the highest in the northeast, followed by the southwest, and the lowest in the middle of the spatial distribution pattern in the two periods. Our accurate mapping of SOC stocks, their spatial distribution characteristics, influencing factors, and main controlling factors in forest areas will assist soil management and help assess environmental changes in the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Carbon Pools and Storage in Forest Soil)
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Open AccessArticle
The Growth of Mountain Tourism in a Traditional Forest Area of Greece
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1022; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111022 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 593
Abstract
The recreational value of forests in mountain areas creates significant potential for local growth. Indeed, in recent decades, it has been noted that there has been an increase in the popularity of forests recognized as tourism destinations with a strong recreational importance. In [...] Read more.
The recreational value of forests in mountain areas creates significant potential for local growth. Indeed, in recent decades, it has been noted that there has been an increase in the popularity of forests recognized as tourism destinations with a strong recreational importance. In the forest area of Metsovo, the locals are aware of the role of tourism in local growth, and it is considered, along with forestry and livestock farming, as the major critical advantage for sustainable development. Research Highlights: Although the locals are satisfied with the quality of their lives, they consider that mountain tourism should be enhanced with certain prerequisites, such as forest infrastructure and improvement of the road network. Background and Objectives: The case study aims to examine and interpret the locals’ views in the mountain area of Metsovo on different factors that are able to support and encourage the growth of mountain tourism. Materials and Methods: Simple random sampling was applied, and data collection took place in 2018. In order to analyze and synthesize the locals’ views, reliability, factor, and hierarchical cluster analyses were used. Results: The main findings of the survey indicate that according to the locals’ views, there is a need for strategic organization addressing primarily forest recreation infrastructures from the Forest Service. Conclusions: The locals’ views are focused on mountain tourism-related exploitation with the aim of forest recreation infrastructures. Indeed, the locals acknowledge the important role of the forest service in conservation schemes, but they also identify that there are forest recreational potentials in their area that need to be enhanced by the central administration and locally by the Forest Service. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Economics, Policy, and Social Science)
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Open AccessArticle
Event-Based Integrated Assessment of Environmental Variables and Wildfire Severity through Sentinel-2 Data
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1021; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111021 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1024
Abstract
To optimize suppression, restoration, and prevention plans against wildfire, postfire assessment is a key input. Since little research has been carried out on applying Sentinel-2 imagery through an integrated approach to evaluate how environmental parameters affect fire severity, this work aims to fill [...] Read more.
To optimize suppression, restoration, and prevention plans against wildfire, postfire assessment is a key input. Since little research has been carried out on applying Sentinel-2 imagery through an integrated approach to evaluate how environmental parameters affect fire severity, this work aims to fill this gap. A set of large forest fires that occurred in northwest Spain during extreme weather conditions were adopted as a case study. Sentinel-2 information was used to build the fire severity map and to evaluate the relation between it and a set of its driving factors: land cover, aspect, slope, proximity to the nearest stream, and fire recurrence. The cover types most affected by fire were scrubland, rocky areas, and Eucalyptus. The presence of streams was identified as a major cause of the reduced severity of fires in broadleaves. The occurrence of fires in the past is linked to the severity of fires, depending on the land cover. This research aims to help fire researchers, authority managers, and policy makers distinguish the conditions under which the damage by fire is minimized and optimize the resources allocated to restoration and future fire suppression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Inventory, Modeling and Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Trichoderma Fungi on the Tunneling, Aggregation, and Colony-Initiation Preferences of Black-Winged Subterranean Termites, Odontotermes formosanus (Blattodea: Termitidae)
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1020; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111020 - 13 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 605
Abstract
The black-winged subterranean termite, Odontotermes formosanus Shiraki, is a severe pest of plantations and forests in China. This termite cultures symbiotic Termitomyces in the fungal combs, which are challenged by antagonistic microbes such as Trichoderma fungi. In a previous study we showed that [...] Read more.
The black-winged subterranean termite, Odontotermes formosanus Shiraki, is a severe pest of plantations and forests in China. This termite cultures symbiotic Termitomyces in the fungal combs, which are challenged by antagonistic microbes such as Trichoderma fungi. In a previous study we showed that O. formosanus workers made significantly fewer tunnels in sand containing commercially formulated conidia of Trichoderma viride Pers. ex Fries compared with untreated sand. Herein, we hypothesize that fungi in the genus Trichoderma exert repellent effects on O. formosanus. Different choice tests were conducted to evaluate the tunneling and aggregation behaviors of O. formosanus workers reacting to sand/soil containing the unformulated conidia of seven Trichoderma fungi (Trichoderma longibrachiatum Rifai, Trichoderma koningii Oud., Trichoderma harzianum Rifai, Trichoderma hamatum (Bon.) Bain, Trichoderma atroviride Karsten, Trichoderma spirale Indira and Kamala, and T. viride). We also investigated the colony-initiation preference of paired O. formosanus adults to soil treated with Trichoderma conidia (T. koningii or T. longibrachiatum) versus untreated soil. Tunneling-choice tests showed that sand containing conidia of nearly all Trichoderma fungi tested (except T. harzianum) significantly decreased tunneling activity in O. formosanus workers compared with untreated sand. Aggregation-choice test showed that T. koningii, T. atroviride and T. spirale repelled O. formosanus workers, whereas T. longibrachiatum and T. hamatum attracted termites. There was no significant difference in proportions of paired adults that stayed and laid eggs in the soil blocks treated with conidia of Trichoderma fungi and untreated ones. Our study showed that Trichoderma fungi generally repelled tunneling in O. formosanus, but may exert varied effects on aggregation preference by workers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genetic Diversity and Population Genetic Structure of Cinnamomum camphora in South China Revealed by EST-SSR Markers
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1019; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111019 - 13 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 604
Abstract
Cinnamomum camphora is a valuable broad-leaf tree indigenous to South China and East Asia and has been widely cultivated and utilized by humans since ancient times. However, owing to its overutilization for essential oil extraction, the Transplanting Big Trees into Cities Program, and [...] Read more.
Cinnamomum camphora is a valuable broad-leaf tree indigenous to South China and East Asia and has been widely cultivated and utilized by humans since ancient times. However, owing to its overutilization for essential oil extraction, the Transplanting Big Trees into Cities Program, and over deforestation to make furniture, its wild populations have been detrimentally affected and are declining rapidly. In the present study, the genetic diversity and population structure of 180 trees sampled from 41 populations in South China were investigated with 22 expressed sequence tag-simple sequence repeat (EST-SSR) markers. In total, 61 alleles were harbored across 180 individuals, and medium genetic diversity level was inferred from the observed heterozygosity (Ho), expected heterozygosity (He), and Nei’ gene diversity (GD), which were 0.45, 0.44, and 0.44, respectively. Among the 41 wild populations, C. camphora had an average of 44 alleles, 2.02 effective alleles, and He ranging from 0.30 (SC) to 0.61 (HK). Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed that 17% of the variation among populations and the average pairwise genetic differentiation coefficient (FST) between populations was 0.162, indicating relatively low genetic population differentiations. Structure analysis suggested two groups for the 180 individuals, which was consistent with the principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) and unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic means (UPGMA). Populations grouped to cluster I were nearly all distributed in Jiangxi Province (except population XS in Zhejiang Province), and cluster II mainly comprised populations from other regions, indicating a significant geographical distribution. Moreover, the Mantel test showed that this geographical distance was significantly correlated with genetic distance. The findings of this research will assist in future C. camphora conservation management and breeding programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Genetics and Tree Improvement)
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