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Open AccessArticle
Peer-Review Record

Optimizing the Stand Density of Robinia pseudoacacia L. Forests of the Loess Plateau, China, Based on Response to Soil Water and Soil Nutrient

Forests 2019, 10(8), 663; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10080663
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Valentina Prikhodko
Forests 2019, 10(8), 663; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10080663
Received: 6 July 2019 / Revised: 28 July 2019 / Accepted: 5 August 2019 / Published: 6 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

fLine 48, should "decrease each year" being "decrease in that year"? because this example is talking about one event.

Line 49, vague information about "stand characteristics", what are those characteristics? slope, aspect, elevation will not change in drier years. Or should this be "soil characteristics"?

Line 73-75, so this GFG project includes coverted forestlands, grasslands and shrublands? this sentence comparing grassland with higher cover vs. forestslands with low cover adds too much here. better to have a sentence comparing grassland cover vs. farmland like the previous ones. 

Line 81, "effects of external and internal factors"..this is vague. And these cover all the factors, so better not use "..be partially explained by..." 

Line 82, change "amount" to "frequency"

Line 84, change "more specifically" to "for example". And this following example of extreme weather does not explain "forest ecosystems have been changing slowly". maybe an example of global warming is better? or when authors talking about extreme weather, should focus on the recovery not the instant impacts.

Line 103. change to "forest management"

Line 106, missing belowground runoff. And what scale it is? watershed scale? so maybe including sediment runoff too?

Line 123, add some hypothesis. 

Line 128 typo, plants not plats

Line 148, add quality control values, e.g. SRM, duplicates

Line 163, need to add sentences to describe the constant values: 0.2, 6, 10, 0.003, 1.33 and 1.724

Line 166 and 169, were equation (2) and (3) necessary? I suggested to omit those.

Line 191, I think the results shown here is not "situation trend analysis", it is just linear regressions?

Line 197-199, should Table 1 and 2 be in the Result section?

Line 219 and 232, Table 3 and 4, were those regression equations valuable to show? all the R2 were really low. The low R2 indicated more variables should be included to explain dependent variable.

Table 5, was this equation really useful? omit it?

Line 275, exactly the same? or how much off?

Line 284, this depends on the species. some species have deep roots that can reach to deep water pool, but some are not. 

Line 294, better to use coefficient R if the analysis is simple correlation.

Line 303, omit "which is a current hot research topic in the field of forestry."

Line 337, why the value indicates the stand density on western side is too high? it there a threshold? 

Line 341, not have to be "after death". leaves drop every year for deciduous tree species.

Line 354, no need to put coefficient values in the Conclusion section.

Author Response

1) Line 48, should "decrease each year" being "decrease in that year"? because this example is talking about one event.

Response: Thank you very much for reviewing this paper and providing your valuable opinion on the revision. Through carefully reading and understanding the reference again, we agree with your point, we have revised the wrong statement. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 48)

2) Line 49, vague information about "stand characteristics", what are those characteristics? slope, aspect, elevation will not change in drier years. Or should this be "soil characteristics"?

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and for providing valuable comments. It's true that our statement not accurate. According to your suggestion, we have revised the not accurate statement. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 49)

3) Line 73-75, so this GFG project includes coverted forestlands, grasslands and shrublands? this sentence comparing grassland with higher cover vs. forestslands with low cover adds too much here. better to have a sentence comparing grassland cover vs. farmland like the previous ones.

Response: Thank you very much for your careful review of this paper and your valuable guidance, which helped us improve this paper. The GFG project includes coverted forestlands, grasslands and shrublands. According to your suggestion, we have changed another better reference to prove there is a significant decrease on runoff and sediments after farmland convert to grassland. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 7476)

4) Line 81, "effects of external and internal factors"..this is vague. And these cover all the factors, so better not use "..be partially explained by..."

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We agree with your point and have omit it from our manuscript. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 84)

5) Line 82, change "amount" to "frequency"

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We have changed "amount" to "frequency" in our manuscript. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 85)

6) Line 84, change "more specifically" to "for example". And this following example of extreme weather does not explain "forest ecosystems have been changing slowly". maybe an example of global warming is better? or when authors talking about extreme weather, should focus on the recovery not the instant impacts.

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We have changed "more specifically" to "for example" in our manuscript. Additionally, we agree with your point, we added new references on the topic is global warming in here. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 8791, Line 496499)

7) Line 103. change to "forest management"

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We have changed "forestry management" to "forest management" in our manuscript. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 107)

8) Line 106, missing belowground runoff. And what scale it is? watershed scale? so maybe including sediment runoff too?

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We agree with your point. Exactly as you said, belowground runoff and sediment runoff are important output ways for precipitation and should not be ignore, and we ignored this two important output ways because of our carelessness. We have supplemented belowground runoff and sediment runoff in our manuscript. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 109110)

9) Line 123, add some hypothesis.

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We agree with your point and we have supplemented two important hypothesis in our manuscript. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 127131)

10) Line 128 typo, plants not plats

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We have revised wrong writing in our manuscript. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 136)

11) Line 148, add quality control values, e.g. SRM, duplicates

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We left out the explanation on quality control of experiment because of our carelessness. We have added duplicates of experiment in our manuscript. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 156157)

12) Line 163, need to add sentences to describe the constant values: 0.2, 6, 10, 0.003, 1.33 and 1.724

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. The formula (1) is a general formula for calculate the content of soil organic matter at room temperature. In first version of manuscript, 0.2000×6×10 is to calculate the molar concentration of the FeSO4 standard solution, where 6 refers to the actual amount of concentrated sulfuric acid solution, 10 refers to the actual amount of the phenanthroline indicator. The actual use amount of these two indicator depend on soil organic matter content in the study area, and different types of soil use different amounts. In order to avoid cause wrong calculate for reader in their study, we write the formula of the molar concentration of the FeSO4 standard solution with a general formula (C) in our manuscript. Additionally, the constant values (0.003, 1.33, and 1.724) have been described clearly. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 177180)

13) Line 166 and 169, were equation (2) and (3) necessary? I suggested to omit those.

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We agree with your point and we have omitted this two equation from our manuscript. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 181187)

14) Line 191, I think the results shown here is not "situation trend analysis", it is just linear regressions?

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We generated the figure 2 and figure 3 through trend analysis module by ArcGIS 10.1 (Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc., Redlands, California, USA). However, we also found that the essence of the situation trend analysis and linear regressions is the same, therefore, we chosen "situation trend analysis" because these two figures were generated through trend analysis module by ArcGIS 10.1. We sincerely hope to get your understanding and support. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards.

15) Line 197-199, should Table 1 and 2 be in the Result section?

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. The results of Table 1 as the basic information on standard R. pseudoacacia forestland, therefore, we still put it in Materials and Methods. We sincerely hope to get your understanding and support. Additionally, we agree with your point and we have put Table 2 in the result section (3.1.4). We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 285298)

16) Line 219 and 232, Table 3 and 4, were those regression equations valuable to show? all the R2 were really low. The low R2 indicated more variables should be included to explain dependent variable.

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We agree with your point and we have omitted Table 3 and Table 4 from our manuscript. (Line 240, Line 255). All the R2 were low, according to your suggestion, we added analysis of the relationships of soil water/nutrients with stand density, slope, tree height, diameter at breast height, forest age, and leaf area index. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 300317)

17) Table 5, was this equation really useful? omit it?

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We agree with your point and we have omitted Table 5 from our manuscript. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 332338, Line 341342)

18) Line 275, exactly the same? or how much off?

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We are so sorry that our statement is not rigorous, this should be an average level of soil moisture content in here, and we have rewrote the sentence. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 350351)

19) Line 284, this depends on the species. some species have deep roots that can reach to deep water pool, but some are not.

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We agree with your point that some species have deep roots that can reach to deep water pool, but some are not. And our statement is not rigorous, we have added the qualifier in the sentence. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 362)

20) Line 294, better to use coefficient R if the analysis is simple correlation.

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We agree with your point and we have use coefficient R to replace R2 in the sentence. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 371)

21) Line 303, omit "which is a current hot research topic in the field of forestry."

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We agree with your point and we have omit "which is a current hot research topic in the field of forestry." from our manuscript. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 380)

22) Line 337, why the value indicates the stand density on western side is too high? it there a threshold?

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. There was an error in the description of the study area because of our expression is not rigorous, we have correctly described the study area. The distribution of loess plateau in China is widely, and loess region of western Shanxi Province is taken as the study area in this study. What we mean by this sentence is that the stand density of Robinia pseudoacacia forest in loess region of western Shanxi Province is too high. Limited by manpower and funds, this study has not yet carried out the investigation and research in other areas of loess plateau, and we will try to broaden the scope of the study area in the future. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 413, Line 415)

23) Line 341, not have to be "after death". leaves drop every year for deciduous tree species.

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We agree with your point that leaves drop every year for deciduous tree species, as you said, the metabolic activity of vegetation has been going on. Therefore, we have modified the wrong expression in this sentence. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 419420)

24) Line 354, no need to put coefficient values in the Conclusion section.

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We agree with your point, and we have omitted coefficient values in the Conclusion section according to your suggestion. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 436437)


Reviewer 2 Report

ж Forests-550428-peer-review-v1

Guirong Hou, Huaxing Bi * , Ning Wang , Yanhong Cui , Xiaozhi Ma , Danyang Zhao , Shanshan Wang

Determining the optimal stand density of low efficiency Robinia pseudoacacia forest in the Loess Plate, China based on the response relationship of stand density to soil water resource and soil nutrients

The article is devoted to an important topic with practical importance. The authors use the influence of soil parameters on the optimal density of acacia forest and their effect on reducing soil erosion.

 

However, the granulometric composition is not specified for the soil - clay or sandy loam can strongly influence on other soil indicators. It is necessary to give a table with the particle size distribution of the soil at least for a layer of 0-20 cm of soil. The granulometric composition is the main component influencing the moisture content and nutrients, etc. in the soil, and sediments up to 4 m, and within this layer there may be lenses with different granulometric composition. It is impossible to publish an article without the granulometric composition

 

2. The authors determined the soil properties to a depth of 4 m in every 20 cm layer. And in the tables and figures it is not indicated from what depth the data are given, for example for the SMC in Figure 2., also in Table. 3 Spatial distribution of SD, VTR, SMC and SER

 

Table 1. Basic information on standard R. pseudoacacia forestland. Line 2 - the section with Stand density 1000 Acacia - on this site is steepest slope, 39%. however plants  has the best indicators – maximum tall trees, It is necessary to explain the reason, give the content of nutrients, humidity, grain size distribution, etc.

 

Figure 2. Spatial distribution of SD, VTR, SMC and SER need to decipher these abbreviations in the table

Figure 5. Determining the OSD and its ranges for R. pseudoacacia forest.

Writing all numbers to integer values eg 238,921 needs 238

Tab. 5. OSD – need  decrypt

 

It is desirable to replace all abbreviations in tables and figures in conclusions with their decoding

 


07.22.2019

 


Author Response

1) However, the granulometric composition is not specified for the soil - clay or sandy loam can strongly influence on other soil indicators. It is necessary to give a table with the particle size distribution of the soil at least for a layer of 0-20 cm of soil. The granulometric composition is the main component influencing the moisture content and nutrients, etc. in the soil, and sediments up to 4 m, and within this layer there may be lenses with different granulometric composition. It is impossible to publish an article without the granulometric composition

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We agree with your point, and we have supplemented a table with the soil particle size distribution of the soil for a layer of 0-100 cm of soil (each 20 cm to represent the different soil layers) (Line 273281, Line 284). Additionally, we also supplemented the detection method of soil particle size. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 157162)

2) The authors determined the soil properties to a depth of 4 m in every 20 cm layer. And in the tables and figures it is not indicated from what depth the data are given, for example for the SMC in Figure 2., also in Table. 3 Spatial distribution of SD, VTR, SMC and SER

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We agree with your point, and we have supplemented a figure with the soil moisture content distribution of the soil for a layer of 0-400 cm of soil (each 20 cm to represent the different soil layers). We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 263272, Line 282283)

3) Table 1. Basic information on standard R. pseudoacacia forestland. Line 2 - the section with Stand density 1000 Acacia - on this site is steepest slope, 39%. however plants has the best indicators – maximum tall trees, It is necessary to explain the reason, give the content of nutrients, humidity, grain size distribution, etc.

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We carefully checked our statistical results again according to your reminder. We put the content in wrong order in filling in the table contents because our carelessness, which have been corrected. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the revieweer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 214)

In addition, soil moisture content and nutrients as well as soil particle size have been listed in Figure 4, Table 2 and Table 3. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 262298)

4) Figure 2. Spatial distribution of SD, VTR, SMC and SER need to decipher these abbreviations in the table

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We have omitted the Table 3 in latest version of manuscript according to another reviewer’s suggestion, therefore, we deciphered the abbreviations of SD, VTR, SMC and SER in the caption of Figure 2. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 230231)

5) Figure 5. Determining the OSD and its ranges for R. pseudoacacia forest.

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We have deciphered the abbreviations of OSD according to your suggestion. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 331)

6) Writing all numbers to integer values eg 238,921 needs 238

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We agree with your point, and we have wrote all numbers to integer values in the Figure 5 according to your suggestion. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 330)

7) Tab. 5. OSD – need decrypt

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We have omitted the Table 5 in latest version of manuscript according to another reviewer’s suggestion. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards.

8) It is desirable to replace all abbreviations in tables and figures in conclusions with their decoding

Response: Thank you very much for your review of this paper and providing valuable opinions on the revision. We agree with your point, and we have replace all abbreviations in all figures and Table 1 to Table 3 as well as in conclusions with their decoding according to your suggestion. Additionally, in order to maintain the aesthetics of Table 4, we have supplemented a caption to explain all abbreviations in tables with their decoding. We sincerely hope to get your understanding and support. We hope the new version of the manuscript meets the reviewer’s and journal’s standards. (Line 314317)


Round 2

Reviewer 1 Report

I appreciated authors' hardworking on the revision. I find this paper is acceptable as it is.

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