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Forests, Volume 12, Issue 3 (March 2021) – 123 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This image of the Mediterranean forest canopy shows a high diversity of tree and shrub species with numerous ecophysiological abilities to cope with different environmental constraints. All of these species are suffering under new environmental conditions posed by climate change and, as a result, this forest is experiencing important changes in species distribution. Some tall shrub species can take advantage of the rise in air temperature and increase in the intensity and duration of dry periods, leading to the progressive substitution of current dominant tree species of this forest by these shrub species that are better adapted to drier environments. View this paper
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Article
Climate Differently Impacts the Growth of Coexisting Trees and Shrubs under Semi-Arid Mediterranean Conditions
Forests 2021, 12(3), 381; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030381 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1037
Abstract
Background and Objectives—Coexisting tree and shrub species will have to withstand more arid conditions as temperatures keep rising in the Mediterranean Basin. However, we still lack reliable assessments on how climate and drought affect the radial growth of tree and shrub species at [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives—Coexisting tree and shrub species will have to withstand more arid conditions as temperatures keep rising in the Mediterranean Basin. However, we still lack reliable assessments on how climate and drought affect the radial growth of tree and shrub species at intra- and interannual time scales under semi-arid Mediterranean conditions. Materials and Methods—We investigated the growth responses to climate of four co-occurring gymnosperms inhabiting semi-arid Mediterranean sites in northeastern Spain: two tree species (Aleppo pine, Pinus halepensis Mill.; Spanish juniper, Juniperus thurifera L.) and two shrubs (Phoenicean juniper, Juniperus phoenicea L.; Ephedra nebrodensis Tineo ex Guss.). First, we quantified the intra-annual radial-growth rates of the four species by periodically sampling wood samples during one growing season. Second, we quantified the climate–growth relationships at an interannual scale at two sites with different soil water availability by using dendrochronology. Third, we simulated growth responses to temperature and soil moisture using the forward, process-based Vaganov‒Shashkin (VS-Lite) growth model to disentangle the main climatic drivers of growth. Results—The growth of all species peaked in spring to early summer (May–June). The pine and junipers grew after the dry summer, i.e., they showed a bimodal growth pattern. Prior wet winter conditions leading to high soil moisture before cambium reactivation in spring enhanced the growth of P. halepensis at dry sites, whereas the growth of both junipers and Ephedra depended more on high spring–summer soil moisture. The VS-Lite model identified these different influences of soil moisture on growth in tree and shrub species. Conclusions—Our approach (i) revealed contrasting growth dynamics of co-existing tree and shrub species under semi-arid Mediterranean conditions and (ii) provided novel insights on different responses as a function of growth habits in similar drought-prone regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dendrochronology and Dendroclimatology in the Mediterranean)
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Article
Seemingly Unrelated Mixed-Effects Biomass Models for Black Locust in West Poland
Forests 2021, 12(3), 380; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030380 - 23 Mar 2021
Viewed by 821
Abstract
Information about tree biomass is important not only in the assessment of wood resources but also in the process of preparing forest management plans, as well as for estimating carbon stocks and their flow in forest ecosystems. The study aimed to develop empirical [...] Read more.
Information about tree biomass is important not only in the assessment of wood resources but also in the process of preparing forest management plans, as well as for estimating carbon stocks and their flow in forest ecosystems. The study aimed to develop empirical models for determining the dry mass of the aboveground parts of black locust trees and their components (stem, branches, and leaves). The research was carried out based on data collected in 13 stands (a total of 38 sample trees) of black locust located in western Poland. The model system was developed based on multivariate mixed-effect models using two approaches. In the first approach, biomass components and tree height were defined as dependent variables, while diameter at breast height was used as an independent variable. In the second approach, biomass components and diameter at breast height were dependent variables and tree height was defined as the independent variable. Both approaches enable the fixed-effect and cross-model random-effect prediction of aboveground dry biomass components of black locust. Cross-model random-effect prediction was obtained using additional measurements of two extreme trees, defined as trees characterized by the smallest and largest diameter at breast height in sample plot. This type of prediction is more precise (root mean square error for stem dry biomass for both approaches equals 77.603 and 188.139, respectively) than that of fixed-effects prediction (root mean square error for stem dry biomass for both approaches equals 238.716 and 206.933, respectively). The use of height as an independent variable increases the possibility of the practical application of the proposed solutions using remote data sources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Biomass and Carbon Estimation)
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Review
A Review of Dynamic Tree Behaviors: Measurement Methods on Tree Sway, Tree Tilt, and Root–Plate Movement
Forests 2021, 12(3), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030379 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1331
Abstract
Urban forest ecosystems are being developed to provide various environmental services (e.g., the preservation of urban trees) to urban inhabitants. However, some trees are deteriorated asymptomatically without exhibiting an early sign of tree displacement, which results in a higher vulnerability under dynamic wind [...] Read more.
Urban forest ecosystems are being developed to provide various environmental services (e.g., the preservation of urban trees) to urban inhabitants. However, some trees are deteriorated asymptomatically without exhibiting an early sign of tree displacement, which results in a higher vulnerability under dynamic wind loads, especially during typhoon seasons, in the subtropical and tropical regions. As such, it is important to understand the tilt and sway behaviors of trees to cope up with the probability of tree failure and to improve the efficacy of tree management. Tree behaviors under wind loads have been broadly reviewed in the past literature, yet thorough discussions on the measurement methods for tree displacement and its analysis of broadleaf specimens are lacking. To understand the behavioral pattern of both broadleaf and conifer species, this paper presents a detailed review of sway behavior analysis from the perspectives of the aerial parts of the individual tree, including tree stem, canopy, and trunk, alongside a highlighted focus on the root–plate movement amid the soil-root system. The analytical approaches associated with the time-space domain and the time-frequency domain are being introduced. In addition to the review of dynamic tree behaviors, an integrated tree monitoring framework based on geographic information systems (GIS) to detect and visualize the extent of tree displacement using smart sensing technology (SST) is introduced. The monitoring system aims to establish an early warning indicator system for monitoring the displacement angles of trees over the territory of Hong Kong’s urban landscape. This pilot study highlights the importance of the monitoring system at an operational scale to be applicable in the urban areas showcasing the practical use of the Internet of Things (IoT) with an in-depth understanding of the wind-load effect toward the urban trees in the tropical and subtropical cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Article
Can a Remote Sensing Approach with Hyperspectral Data Provide Early Detection and Mapping of Spatial Patterns of Black Bear Bark Stripping in Coast Redwoods?
Forests 2021, 12(3), 378; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030378 - 22 Mar 2021
Viewed by 981
Abstract
The prevalence of black bear (Ursus americanus) bark stripping in commercial redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.) timber stands has been increasing in recent years. This stripping is a threat to commercial timber production because of the deleterious effects on [...] Read more.
The prevalence of black bear (Ursus americanus) bark stripping in commercial redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.) timber stands has been increasing in recent years. This stripping is a threat to commercial timber production because of the deleterious effects on redwood tree fitness. This study sought to unveil a remote sensing method to detect these damaged trees early and map their spatial patterns. By developing a timely monitoring method, forest timber companies can manipulate their timber harvesting routines to adapt to the consequences of the problem. We explored the utility of high spatial resolution UAV-collected hyperspectral imagery as a means for early detection of individual trees stripped by black bears. A hyperspectral sensor was used to capture ultra-high spatial and spectral information pertaining to redwood trees with no damage, those that have been recently attacked by bears, and those with old bear damage. This spectral information was assessed using the Jeffries-Matusita (JM) distance to determine regions along the electromagnetic spectrum that are useful for discerning these three-health classes. While we were able to distinguish healthy trees from trees with old damage, we were unable to distinguish healthy trees from recently damaged trees due to the inherent characteristics of redwood tree growth and the subtle spectral changes within individual tree crowns for the time period assessed. The results, however, showed that with further assessment, a time window may be identified that informs damage before trees completely lose value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Inventory, Modeling and Remote Sensing)
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Article
Drought Stress Can Induce the Pathogenicity of Cryptostroma corticale, the Causal Agent of Sooty Bark Disease of Sycamore Maple
Forests 2021, 12(3), 377; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030377 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1219
Abstract
Reports of sooty bark disease of maples caused by the fungus Cryptostroma corticale have recently been emerging from across Europe. The aims of our study were to describe the first report of sooty bark disease in Slovenia, to determine the pathogenicity of C. [...] Read more.
Reports of sooty bark disease of maples caused by the fungus Cryptostroma corticale have recently been emerging from across Europe. The aims of our study were to describe the first report of sooty bark disease in Slovenia, to determine the pathogenicity of C. corticale, to confirm the optimum temperature for the growth of the fungus, and to determine the mass loss of Acer pseudoplatanus wood inoculated by C. corticale. We confirmed the presence of C. corticale on A. pseudoplatanus via morphological and molecular analysis. The optimal growth of C. corticale was measured in vitro on potato dextrose agar and was determined to occur at 25 °C. Pathogenicity tests were performed on 30 saplings of A. pseudoplatanus under two treatments, humid and drought stress, and the fungus was pathogenic in both treatments. The mean length of bark lesions and wood discoloration of the drought-stressed saplings was significantly greater than that in the humid treatment. Re-isolations of C. corticale were successful from all inoculated saplings, and thus Koch’s postulates were confirmed. The mass loss of A. pseudoplatanus wood was determined by mini-block test in a period of 10 weeks and was observed as minimal. Based on the results, we conclude that C. corticale is a weak and opportunistic pathogen that most likely expresses itself intensively under hot and dry conditions. Full article
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Article
Dynamics of Soil Nutrients, Microbial Community Structure, Enzymatic Activity, and Their Relationships along a Chronosequence of Pinus massoniana Plantations
Forests 2021, 12(3), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030376 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 899
Abstract
Pinus massoniana is the major afforestation and vegetation restoration tree in southern China, and it plays an important role in the sustainable development of plantations. However, long-term single planting of P. massoniana has resulted in the decline of soil quality and forest productivity, [...] Read more.
Pinus massoniana is the major afforestation and vegetation restoration tree in southern China, and it plays an important role in the sustainable development of plantations. However, long-term single planting of P. massoniana has resulted in the decline of soil quality and forest productivity, and a soil fertility assessment is urgently needed. We selected P. massoniana plantations of four age stages for plot investigation and sampling to determine the soil physicochemical properties, microbial diversity and composition, and enzyme activities at different soil depths. The results showed that soil total phosphorus (TP) and available phosphorus (AP) decreased with the increase of age, especially low C/N ratio and high C/P and N/P ratio in the 30-year and 36-year stands, leading to P limitation. Meanwhile, the bacterial Shannon index also decreased with the increase of age and was positively correlated with AP, NO3-N, and pH. However, the fungal Shannon index decreased first and then increased with the increase of age; soil acid phosphatase (S-ACP) and urease activities showed a similar trend. Correlation analysis demonstrated that the increase of total organic carbon (TOC) and total nitrogen (TN) promoted the increase of fungal Shannon index, which was beneficial to the secretion of more enzymes. We found that soil physicochemical properties, microbial diversity, and enzyme activity decreased simultaneously when soil depths increased. Moreover, Acidobacteria and Basidiomycota were the most abundant bacterial and fungal communities, respectively, followed by Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria for bacteria and Ascomycota for fungi, and these microbial taxa were significantly affected by soil water content (SWC), TOC, AP, and C/P. In conclusion, this work reveals the potential correlation among soil physicochemical properties, microbial diversity and composition, and enzyme activities, and revealed potential correlations among them which will help to improve understanding of soil conditions and provide a reference for rational management of soil resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Article
Assessment of Potential Climate Change Impacts on Montane Forests in the Peruvian Andes: Implications for Conservation Prioritization
Forests 2021, 12(3), 375; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030375 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1763
Abstract
Future climate change will result in profound shifts in the distribution and abundance of biodiversity in the Tropical Andes, and poses a challenge to contemporary conservation planning in the region. However, currently it is not well understood where the impacts of climate disruption [...] Read more.
Future climate change will result in profound shifts in the distribution and abundance of biodiversity in the Tropical Andes, and poses a challenge to contemporary conservation planning in the region. However, currently it is not well understood where the impacts of climate disruption will be most severe and how conservation policy should respond. This study examines climate change impacts in the Peruvian Andes, with a specific focus on tropical montane forest ecosystems, which are particularly susceptible to climate change. Using an ensemble of classification models coupled with different climate change scenarios, we estimate high and low potential impacts on montane forest, by projecting which areas will become climatically unsuitable to support montane forest ecosystems by 2070. These projections are subsequently used to examine potential impacts on protected areas containing montane forest. The modeling output indicates that climate change will have a high potential impact on 58% of all montane forests, particularly in the elevation range between 800 and 1200 m.a.s.l. Furthermore, about 64% of montane forests located in protected areas will be exposed to high potential impact. These results highlight the need for Peru’s conservation institutions to incorporate climate change considerations into prevailing conservation plans and adaptation strategies. To adjust to climate change, the adaptive capacity of forest ecosystems in the Peruvian Andes should be enhanced through restorative and preventive conservation measures such as improving forest functions and mitigating deforestation and forest degradation pressures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Climate Change on Biome Distributions in Forests)
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Article
Occurrence of the Green Shield-Moss Buxbaumia viridis (Moug.) Brid. in the Bieszczady Mountains of Poland
Forests 2021, 12(3), 374; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030374 - 20 Mar 2021
Viewed by 976
Abstract
The small-sized gametophytes and sporophytes of the green shield-moss Buxbaumia viridis (Moug.) Brid. make it difficult to study. However, in Europe, there has been increasing interest in this species in the past few years, mostly as a result of the implementation of the [...] Read more.
The small-sized gametophytes and sporophytes of the green shield-moss Buxbaumia viridis (Moug.) Brid. make it difficult to study. However, in Europe, there has been increasing interest in this species in the past few years, mostly as a result of the implementation of the Natura 2000 network. In Poland, B. viridis has only been reported in isolated studies that have been limited in terms of area and the number of participating workers. One of the Polish regions where B. viridis was recently recorded is the Bieszczady Mountains, but there have been no large-scale surveys of that region to date. The objective of the current work was to describe the B. viridis population in the Bieszczady Mountains in terms of its spatial distribution and abundance, investigate its selected microhabitat preferences, and evaluate the conservation status of this moss species within the Natura 2000 site Bieszczady PLC180001. The studied region encompassed 93,490.44 ha, including 69,056.23 ha of managed forests and 24,434.21 ha of forests belonging to the Bieszczady National Park. A preliminary survey was conducted in the Cisna Forest District (forest area of 19,555.82 ha) on 15–17 November 2017, while the main survey was performed in selected forest subcompartments of four forest districts—Baligród, Komańcza, Lutowiska, and Stuposiany—as well as the Bieszczady National Park from 5 to 16 November 2018. The field work consisted of searching for B. viridis sporophytes and setae and recording selected population and locality characteristics. The study led to the discovery of 353 new B. viridis localities in 202 study areas, with 9197 diploid individuals (sporophytes or setae only) growing in 545 microhabitats. The number of B. viridis localities discovered in the Bieszczady Mountains during 17 days of survey in 2017 and 2018 was two times higher than the combined number of localities previously found in Poland over more than 150 years (159 localities). Additionally, the number of sporophytes and setae identified was two times greater than their overall number in previous records. In addition, this study provides information about selected microhabitat preferences and the conservation status of this moss in the Bieszczady Natura 2000 site. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Article
Growth Rates of Poplar Cultivars across Central Asia
Forests 2021, 12(3), 373; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030373 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1087
Abstract
Research Highlights: Despite a long tradition of using poplars as wood source across Central Asia, recent international breeding developments have not penetrated that region yet. This study therefore explored growth performance of 30 local and international poplar cultivars. Background and Objectives: The Central [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: Despite a long tradition of using poplars as wood source across Central Asia, recent international breeding developments have not penetrated that region yet. This study therefore explored growth performance of 30 local and international poplar cultivars. Background and Objectives: The Central Asian countries are forest poor countries, which need to cover the domestic wood demand through costly imports. Therefore, fast growing trees, such as poplars, are gaining increasing attention as option to grow wood domestically. The most common cultivars date back to Soviet Union times. As recent breeding developments have not reached the region, this study aims at investigate the growth performance of a number of newly developed poplar cultivars. Materials and Methods: The investigated cultivars were planted as cuttings across nine sites in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan between 2018 and 2020. Results: Under warm climate conditions, i.e., low elevations, P. deltoides x nigra hybrids attained highest stem volumes and biomass yields, up to 16.9 t/ha*a after two years, followed by P. nigra xmaximoviczii hybrids. One of the P. deltoides xnigra hybrids reached a tree height of 10.5 m after three years. On higher elevations, e.g., in the Pamirs and in Naryn, P. maximoviczi x trichocarpa hybrids and P. trichocarpa cultivars grew faster than the former hybrids. Conclusions: The cultivars explored in this study should be included into plantations or agroforestry systems that are being established, provided that land users are able to thoroughly control weeds and ensure nutrient and water supply. If sufficient weed control, nutrient supply, or water supply cannot be ensured, then land users should opt for local cultivars (e.g., Mirza Terek) or the P. nigra xmaximoviczii hybrids or P. trichocarpa, in order to avoid failure. Full article
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Review
Wood Modification as a Tool to Understand Moisture in Wood
Forests 2021, 12(3), 372; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030372 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 1658
Abstract
Moisture plays a central role in the performance of wood products because it affects important material properties such as the resistance to decomposition, the mechanical properties, and the dimensions. To improve wood performance, a wide range of wood modification techniques that alter the [...] Read more.
Moisture plays a central role in the performance of wood products because it affects important material properties such as the resistance to decomposition, the mechanical properties, and the dimensions. To improve wood performance, a wide range of wood modification techniques that alter the wood chemistry in various ways have been described in the literature. Typically, these modifications aim to improve resistance to decomposition, dimensional stability, or, to introduce novel functionalities in the wood. However, wood modification techniques can also be an important tool to improve our understanding of the interactions between wood and moisture. In this review, we describe current knowledge gaps in our understanding of moisture in wood and how modification has been and could be used to clarify some of these gaps. This review shows that introducing specific chemical changes, and even controlling the distribution of these, in combination with the variety of experimental methods available for characterization of moisture in wood, could give novel insights into the interaction between moisture and wood. Such insights could further contribute to applications in several related fields of research such as how to enhance the resistance to decomposition, how to improve the performance of moisture-induced wooden actuators, or how to improve the utilization of wood biomass with challenging swelling anisotropy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wood Modification: Physical Properties and Biological Efficacy)
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Article
What Factors Shape Spatial Distribution of Biomass in Riparian Forests? Insights from a LiDAR Survey over a Large Area
Forests 2021, 12(3), 371; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030371 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 996
Abstract
Riparian ecosystems are home to a remarkable biodiversity, but have been degraded in many regions of the world. Vegetation biomass is central to several key functions of riparian systems. It is influenced by multiple factors, such as soil waterlogging, sediment input, flood, and [...] Read more.
Riparian ecosystems are home to a remarkable biodiversity, but have been degraded in many regions of the world. Vegetation biomass is central to several key functions of riparian systems. It is influenced by multiple factors, such as soil waterlogging, sediment input, flood, and human disturbance. However, knowledge is lacking on how these factors interact to shape spatial distribution of biomass in riparian forests. In this study, LiDAR data were used in an individual tree approach to map the aboveground biomass in riparian forests along 200 km of rivers in the Meuse catchment, in southern Belgium (Western Europe). Two approaches were tested, relying either on a LiDAR Canopy Height Model alone or in conjunction with a LiDAR point cloud. Cross-validated biomass relative mean square error for 0.3 ha plots were, respectively, 27% and 22% for the two approaches. Spatial distribution of biomass patterns were driven by parcel history (and particularly vegetation age), followed by land use and topographical or geomorphological variables. Overall, anthropogenic factors were dominant over natural factors. However, vegetation patches located in the lower parts of the riparian zone exhibited a lower biomass than those in higher locations at the same age, presumably due to a combination of a more intense disturbance regime and more limiting growing conditions in the lower parts of the riparian zone. Similar approaches to ours could be deployed in other regions in order to better understand how biomass distribution patterns vary according to the climatic, geological or cultural contexts. Full article
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Article
Trade-Offs among Release Treatments in Jack Pine Plantations: Twenty-Five Year Responses
Forests 2021, 12(3), 370; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030370 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 974
Abstract
We assessed 27 indicators of plant diversity, stand yield and individual crop tree responses 25 years post-treatment to determine long-term trade-offs among conifer release treatments in boreal and sub-boreal forests. This research addresses the lack of longer-term data needed by forest managers to [...] Read more.
We assessed 27 indicators of plant diversity, stand yield and individual crop tree responses 25 years post-treatment to determine long-term trade-offs among conifer release treatments in boreal and sub-boreal forests. This research addresses the lack of longer-term data needed by forest managers to implement more integrated vegetation management programs, supporting more informed decisions about release treatment choice. Four treatments (untreated control, motor-manual brushsaw, single aerial spray, and complete competition removal) were established at two jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) sites in Ontario, Canada. Our results suggest that plant diversity and productivity in boreal jack pine forests are significantly influenced by vegetation management treatments. Overall, release treatments did not cause a loss of diversity but benefitted stand-scale yield and individual crop tree growth, with maximum benefits occurring in more intensive release treatments. However, none of the treatments maximized all 27 indicators studied; thus, forest managers are faced with trade-offs when choosing treatments. Research on longer term effects, ideally through at least one rotation, is essential to fully understand outcomes of different vegetation management on forest diversity, stand yield, and individual crop tree responses. Full article
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Article
Is the Seasonal Variation in Frost Resistance and Plant Performance in Four Oak Species Affected by Changing Temperatures?
Forests 2021, 12(3), 369; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030369 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 729
Abstract
Research Highlights: We found seasonal variation in frost resistance (FR) and plant performance which were affected by growth temperature. This helps to better understand ecophysiological processes in the light of climate change. Background and Objectives: FR and photosynthesis are important plant characteristics that [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: We found seasonal variation in frost resistance (FR) and plant performance which were affected by growth temperature. This helps to better understand ecophysiological processes in the light of climate change. Background and Objectives: FR and photosynthesis are important plant characteristics that vary with the season. The aim of this study was to find out whether there is a seasonal variation in FR, photosynthetic CO2 assimilation rates and leaf functional traits associated with performance such as specific leaf area (SLA), leaf dry matter content (LDMC), chlorophyll content, stomatal characteristics and leaf thickness in two evergreen and two deciduous species, and whether this is influenced by different temperature treatments. Additionally, the trade-off between FR and photosynthetic performance, and the influence of leaf functional traits was analyzed. By understanding these processes better, predicting species behavior concerning plant performance and its changes under varying climate regimes can be improved. Materials and Methods: 40 individuals of four oak species were measured weekly over the course of ten months with one half of the trees exposed to frost in winter and the other half protected in the green house. Two of these species were evergreen (Quercus ilex L., Quercus rhysophylla Weath.), and two were deciduous (Quercus palustris L., Quercus rubra L.). We measured FR, the maximum assimilation rate at light saturation under ambient CO2 concentrations (Amax), chlorophyll fluorescence and the leaf functional traits SLA, LDMC, stomatal pore area index (SPI), chlorophyll content (Chl) and leaf thickness. Results: All parameters showed a significant species-specific seasonal variation. There was a difference in all traits investigated between evergreen and deciduous species and between the two temperature treatments. Individuals that were protected from frost in winter showed higher photosynthesis values as well as SLA and Chl, whereas individuals exposed to frost had overall higher FR, LDMC, SPI and leaf thickness. A trade-off between FR and SLA, rather than FR and photosynthetic performance was found. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution of Plant Functional Traits Response to Global Change)
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Article
Modelling Maritime Pine (Pinus pinaster Aiton) Spatial Distribution and Productivity in Portugal: Tools for Forest Management
Forests 2021, 12(3), 368; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030368 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 981
Abstract
Research Highlights: Modelling species’ distribution and productivity is key to support integrated landscape planning, species’ afforestation, and sustainable forest management. Background and Objectives: Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Aiton) forests in Portugal were lately affected by wildfires and measures to overcome this situation [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: Modelling species’ distribution and productivity is key to support integrated landscape planning, species’ afforestation, and sustainable forest management. Background and Objectives: Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Aiton) forests in Portugal were lately affected by wildfires and measures to overcome this situation are needed. The aims of this study were: (1) to model species’ spatial distribution and productivity using a machine learning (ML) regression approach to produce current species’ distribution and productivity maps; (2) to model the species’ spatial productivity using a stochastic sequential simulation approach to produce the species’ current productivity map; (3) to produce the species’ potential distribution map, by using a ML classification approach to define species’ ecological envelope thresholds; and (4) to identify present and future key factors for the species’ afforestation and management. Materials and Methods: Spatial land cover/land use data, inventory, and environmental data (climate, topography, and soil) were used in a coupled ML regression and stochastic sequential simulation approaches to model species’ current and potential distributions and productivity. Results: Maritime pine spatial distribution modelling by the ML approach provided 69% fitting efficiency, while species productivity modelling achieved only 43%. The species’ potential area covered 60% of the country’s area, where 78% of the species’ forest inventory plots (1995) were found. The change in the Maritime pine stands’ age structure observed in the last decades is causing the species’ recovery by natural regeneration to be at risk. Conclusions: The maps produced allow for best site identification for species afforestation, wood production regulation support, landscape planning considering species’ diversity, and fire hazard mitigation. These maps were obtained by modelling using environmental covariates, such as climate attributes, so their projection in future climate change scenarios can be performed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modelling and Managing the Dynamics of Pine Forests)
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Article
Hybridisation of Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. with Malus × domestica Borkh. and Implications for the Production of Forest Reproductive Material
Forests 2021, 12(3), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030367 - 19 Mar 2021
Viewed by 696
Abstract
This study focuses on the morphological and genetic characteristics of European crab apple (Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill.) and the occurrence of hybrids in its populations. We analyzed a total of 107 putative European crab apple trees in Slovenia: 92 from nine natural [...] Read more.
This study focuses on the morphological and genetic characteristics of European crab apple (Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill.) and the occurrence of hybrids in its populations. We analyzed a total of 107 putative European crab apple trees in Slovenia: 92 from nine natural populations, five from a seed stand and 10 from a stand of unnatural origin. We also included 18 domesticated apple trees (Malus × domestica Borkh.) and two Japanese flowering crab apple trees (Malusfloribunda van Houtte) as outliers. The trees were classified into groups of European crab apples, hybrids and domesticated apples according to their morphological and genetic characteristics. Classification based on morphological traits produced different results (58.75% European crab apple, 37.11% hybrids and 4.14% domesticated apple) compared to those based on genetic analysis (70.10% European crab apple, 21.64% hybrids and 8.26% domesticated apple). When genetic and morphological characteristics were combined, only 40.20% of the trees were classified as European crab apple, and an additional group of feral cultivars of domesticated apples (6.18%) was identified. The analysis revealed that hybridization with domesticated apple is taking place in all studied natural European crab apple populations; however, hybrids and feral cultivars only occur to a limited extent. When introducing European crab apple into forests in the future, only genetically verified forest reproductive material obtained exclusively from suitable seed stands should be used. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Genetics and Molecular Biology)
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Article
The Potential Influence of Tree Crown Structure on the Ginkgo Harvest
Forests 2021, 12(3), 366; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030366 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 730
Abstract
Ginkgo biloba L. has significant health benefits and considerable economic value, but harvesting the fruit is highly labor-intensive. Mechanical vibration harvesting has been shown effective in harvesting various fruit types. In the study of vibration harvesting, the research on the vibration characteristics of [...] Read more.
Ginkgo biloba L. has significant health benefits and considerable economic value, but harvesting the fruit is highly labor-intensive. Mechanical vibration harvesting has been shown effective in harvesting various fruit types. In the study of vibration harvesting, the research on the vibration characteristics of fruit trees focuses on the natural frequency (resonance frequency), model, and damping coefficient, which are the main factors affecting the vibration characteristics of trees. But field harvesting experiments have shown that the tree structure may have an impact on the vibration characteristics of the fruit tree and the efficiency of mechanical harvesting. In addition, the research on the damping coefficient of fruit trees is mainly low-frequency damping, and the relevant results cannot be applied to the actual vibration harvesting frequency range. Applying a natural frequency with low damping coefficient to excite a tree can reduce additional energy dissipation. This study explored the influence of ginkgo crown structure on the vibration characteristics and the law of damping changes with frequency. After counting 273 ginkgo trees, two typical ginkgo crown structures, monopodial branching and sympodial branching, were selected to be analyzed for vibration spectrum and damping coefficient. The vibration models for different crown-shaped ginkgo trees were simulated to analyze the vibration state at different frequencies. For sympodial branching ginkgo trees, the consistency of natural frequencies at different branches was better than monopodial branching ginkgo trees. The finite element model analysis shows that monopodial branching ginkgo trees have mainly partial vibrations at different branches when vibrating at high frequencies. The high-frequency vibrations in sympodial branching reflect the better overall vibration of the canopy. The damping coefficients for the two crown types decreased with the increase in frequency. The monopodial branching damping coefficient was 0.0148–0.0298, and the sympodial branching damping coefficient was slightly smaller at 0.0139–0.0248. Based on the test results, the sympodial branching ginkgo tree has better vibration characteristics. The results indicate that controlling the crown structure of fruit trees to be sympodial branching by pruning may help improve the overall vibration characteristics of fruit trees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Article
The Potential Effect of Pests on Forest Fire: Flammability of Mongolian Pine Bark with Resinosis on Boles
Forests 2021, 12(3), 365; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030365 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 848
Abstract
Wildfires and pests are natural disturbance agents in many forest ecosystems that often contribute to ecological succession, nutrient cycling, and forest species composition. Mongolian pine (Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica) is a coniferous species that plays an important role as an ecological [...] Read more.
Wildfires and pests are natural disturbance agents in many forest ecosystems that often contribute to ecological succession, nutrient cycling, and forest species composition. Mongolian pine (Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica) is a coniferous species that plays an important role as an ecological barrier, and is widely spread in northern China. Its wood is loose; its branches, leaves, and cones contain a high level of resin and volatile oils that make the species highly flammable and the stands dominated by the species are very vulnerable to fire. Recently, resinosis on boles of Pinus sylvestris became an epidemic in China. To explore the potential effects of pests on fire, we compared the flammability of Mongolian pine barks with or without resinosis on boles using a cone calorimeter and several combustion analyses. We found that the barks from boles with resinosis had a greater oil content than the healthy trees. The study also indicated that the ignition times of the barks from boles with and without resinosis were 6.00 s (±1.73) and 22.67 s (±1.15), respectively, and that the heat release rate curves were parabolic, with peaks 225.19 and 75.27 kW/m2, respectively, for the two bark types. Additionally, because resinosis was on the low- to mid-bole of infested trees, the barks from boles with resinosis tended to be ignited much easier than those without resinosis. This clearly evidenced that pests could affect fire severity and behavior by increasing forest flammability. More information about the role that pests play in the different forest cover types is needed to increase our understanding of fire danger and to develop sound forest management policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fire Effects on Fuel and Vegetation: Linking Process to Pattern)
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Review
Molecular Research on Stress Responses in Quercus spp.: From Classical Biochemistry to Systems Biology through Omics Analysis
Forests 2021, 12(3), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030364 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1316
Abstract
The genus Quercus (oak), family Fagaceae, comprises around 500 species, being one of the most important and dominant woody angiosperms in the Northern Hemisphere. Nowadays, it is threatened by environmental cues, which are either of biotic or abiotic origin. This causes tree [...] Read more.
The genus Quercus (oak), family Fagaceae, comprises around 500 species, being one of the most important and dominant woody angiosperms in the Northern Hemisphere. Nowadays, it is threatened by environmental cues, which are either of biotic or abiotic origin. This causes tree decline, dieback, and deforestation, which can worsen in a climate change scenario. In the 21st century, biotechnology should take a pivotal role in facing this problem and proposing sustainable management and conservation strategies for forests. As a non-domesticated, long-lived species, the only plausible approach for tree breeding is exploiting the natural diversity present in this species and the selection of elite, more resilient genotypes, based on molecular markers. In this direction, it is important to investigate the molecular mechanisms of the tolerance or resistance to stresses, and the identification of genes, gene products, and metabolites related to this phenotype. This research is being performed by using classical biochemistry or the most recent omics (genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) approaches, which should be integrated with other physiological and morphological techniques in the Systems Biology direction. This review is focused on the current state-of-the-art of such approaches for describing and integrating the latest knowledge on biotic and abiotic stress responses in Quercus spp., with special reference to Quercus ilex, the system on which the authors have been working for the last 15 years. While biotic stress factors mainly include fungi and insects such as Phytophthora cinnamomi, Cerambyx welensii, and Operophtera brumata, abiotic stress factors include salinity, drought, waterlogging, soil pollutants, cold, heat, carbon dioxide, ozone, and ultraviolet radiation. The review is structured following the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology and the omic cascade, from DNA (genomics, epigenomics, and DNA-based markers) to metabolites (metabolomics), through mRNA (transcriptomics) and proteins (proteomics). An integrated view of the different approaches, challenges, and future directions is critically discussed. Full article
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Article
Regeneration of Pinus halepensis (Mill.) through Organogenesis from Apical Shoot Buds
Forests 2021, 12(3), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030363 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1050
Abstract
Organogenesis and somatic embryogenesis have been widely applied as the two main regeneration pathways in plant tissue cultures. However, recalcitrance is still the main restriction in the clonal propagation of many woody species, especially in conifers. They undergo a “phase change” that leads [...] Read more.
Organogenesis and somatic embryogenesis have been widely applied as the two main regeneration pathways in plant tissue cultures. However, recalcitrance is still the main restriction in the clonal propagation of many woody species, especially in conifers. They undergo a “phase change” that leads to significant loss of vegetative propagation capacity, reducing the aptitude of tissues and organs to be regenerated in vitro beyond this point. In line with this, the in vitro regeneration of mature conifer trees has been a long-cherished goal in many laboratories worldwide. Based on previous works in Pinus species regeneration from adult trees, we now present data about the culture of apical shoot buds in an attempt to induce organogenesis and somatic embryogenesis to clone mature trees of Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis). Reinvigorated axillary shoots were submitted to conditions usually applied to induce somatic embryogenesis through the manipulation of culture media, including the use of auxins such as 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and 1-Naphthaleneacetic acid, cytokinins (6-benzyladenine and kinetin), and phytosulfokine (50, 100, and 200 nM). Although somatic embryos could not be obtained, an embryogenic-like tissue was produced, followed by the emergence of actively proliferating non-embryogenic calli. Variations in the consistence, texture, and color of non-embryogenic calli were observed; especially those arising in the media containing phytosulfokine. Reinvigorated shoots, induced by 22 or 44 µM 6-benzyladenine, were obtained through organogenesis and acclimatized, and phenotypically normal plants were obtained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Biotechnology Techniques on Tree Species)
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Article
Development of a Rapid Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification Assay for the Detection of Dothistroma septosporum
Forests 2021, 12(3), 362; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030362 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1106
Abstract
A Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) assay was developed for the detection of the pine pathogen Dothistroma septosporum (G. Dorog.) M. Morelet. The specificity of the LAMP assay was tested using a selection of pine needle fungi, including Dothistroma pini Hulbary, and Lecanosticta acicola [...] Read more.
A Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) assay was developed for the detection of the pine pathogen Dothistroma septosporum (G. Dorog.) M. Morelet. The specificity of the LAMP assay was tested using a selection of pine needle fungi, including Dothistroma pini Hulbary, and Lecanosticta acicola (Thüm.) Syd.; only D. septosporum DNA was amplified by the test. In terms of sensitivity, the assay was able to detect as little as 1 pg of total D. septosporum DNA. This assay enables DNA extracted from diseased host needles to be rapidly tested for the presence of D. septosporum using relatively simple to operate equipment away from a fully equipped molecular biology laboratory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Pathology and Entomology)
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Article
Economic Analysis of Cedar Plantation Management and Mega-Solar Replacement
Forests 2021, 12(3), 361; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030361 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 863
Abstract
Technology related to solar power as a renewable energy resource has increased in recent years. However, in Japan, forestland has been converted into mega-solar power plants with more than 1 MW photovoltaic capacity and such conversions raise significant concerns as they degrade forest [...] Read more.
Technology related to solar power as a renewable energy resource has increased in recent years. However, in Japan, forestland has been converted into mega-solar power plants with more than 1 MW photovoltaic capacity and such conversions raise significant concerns as they degrade forest ecosystem services. In this study, the profit and power supplies generated by a mega-solar power plant and a cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) plantation were evaluated. The profit for the cedar plantation was estimated from saw log and wood chip production, and its power supply was estimated from wood chip production alone. These figures were based on an optimal forest management strategy that was generated using a dynamic programming model. In this numerical simulation, it was found that the power supply from the mega-solar power plant was 50–150 times more than that from the cedar plantation. Regarding profit, it was found that the simulated mega-solar power plant provided NPV (net present value) of 8.5–90.6 MM JPY (Japanese Yen)/1–3 ha (0.1–3.0 MM JPY/ha/year), while the forest management simulation generated an NPV of 29,863 JPY/ha/year (for one timber rotation) and SEV (soil expectation value) of 3.6 MM JPY/ha at most. To avoid the conversion of forests into mega-solar power plants, this difference provides a basis for the cost of maintaining forests for ecosystem services and potential economic incentives. Full article
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Article
Interactions between Climate and Stand Conditions Predict Pine Mortality during a Bark Beetle Outbreak
Forests 2021, 12(3), 360; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030360 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 805
Abstract
In temperate coniferous forests, biotic disturbances such as bark beetle outbreaks can result in widespread tree mortality. The characteristics of individual trees and stands, such as tree diameter and stand density, often influence the probability of tree mortality during a bark beetle outbreak. [...] Read more.
In temperate coniferous forests, biotic disturbances such as bark beetle outbreaks can result in widespread tree mortality. The characteristics of individual trees and stands, such as tree diameter and stand density, often influence the probability of tree mortality during a bark beetle outbreak. However, it is unclear if these relationships are mediated by climate. To test this, we assembled tree mortality data for over 3800 ponderosa pine trees from Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) plots measured before and after a mountain pine beetle outbreak in the Black Hills, South Dakota, USA. Logistic models were used to determine which tree, stand, and climate characteristics were associated with the probability of mortality. Interactions were tested between significant climate variables and significant tree/stand variables. Our analysis revealed that mortality rates were lower in trees with higher live crown ratios. Mortality rates rose in response to increasing tree diameter, stand basal area (both from ponderosa pine and non-ponderosa pine), and elevation. Below 1500 m, the mortality rate was ~1%, while above 1700 m, the rate increased to ~30%. However, the association between elevation and mortality risk was buffered by precipitation, such that relatively moist high-elevation stands experienced less mortality than relatively dry high-elevation stands. Tree diameter, crown ratio, and stand density affected tree mortality independent of precipitation. This study demonstrates that while stand characteristics affect tree susceptibility to bark beetles, these relationships may be mediated by climate. Thus, both site and stand level characteristics should be considered when implementing management treatments to reduce bark beetle susceptibility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Article
Using a Bottom-Up Approach to Scale Leaf Photosynthetic Traits of Oil Palm, Rubber, and Two Coexisting Tropical Woody Species
Forests 2021, 12(3), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030359 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1150
Abstract
Rainforest conversion to woody croplands impacts the carbon cycle via ecophysiological processes such as photosynthesis and autotrophic respiration. Changes in the carbon cycle associated with land-use change can be estimated through Land Surface Models (LSMs). The accuracy of carbon flux estimation in carbon [...] Read more.
Rainforest conversion to woody croplands impacts the carbon cycle via ecophysiological processes such as photosynthesis and autotrophic respiration. Changes in the carbon cycle associated with land-use change can be estimated through Land Surface Models (LSMs). The accuracy of carbon flux estimation in carbon fluxes associated with land-use change has been attributed to uncertainties in the model parameters affecting photosynthetic activity, which is a function of both carboxylation capacity (Vcmax) and electron transport capacity (Jmax). In order to reduce such uncertainties for common tropical woody crops and trees, in this study we measured Vcmax25 (Vcmax standardized to 25 °C), Jmax25 (Jmax standardized to 25 °C) and light-saturated photosynthetic capacity (Amax) of Elaeis guineensis Jacq. (oil palm), Hevea brasiliensis (rubber tree), and two native tree species, Eusideroxylon zwageri and Alstonia scholaris, in a converted landscape in Jambi province (Sumatra, Indonesia) at smallholder plantations. We considered three plantations; a monoculture rubber, a monoculture oil palm, and an agroforestry system (jungle rubber plantation), where rubber trees coexist with some native trees. We performed measurements on leaves at the lower part of the canopy, and used a scaling method based on exponential function to scale up photosynthetic capacity related traits to the top of the canopy. At the lower part of the canopy, we found (i) high Vcmax25 values for H. brasiliensis from monoculture rubber plantation and jungle rubber plantation that was linked to a high area-based leaf nitrogen content, and (ii) low value of Amax for E. guineensis from oil palm plantation that was due to a low value of Vcmax25 and a high value of dark respiration. At the top of the canopy, Amax varied much more than Vcmax25 among different land-use types. We found that photosynthetic capacity declined fastest from the top to the lower part of the canopy in oil palm plantations. We demonstrate that photosynthetic capacity related traits measured at the lower part of the canopy can be successfully scaled up to the top of the canopy. We thus provide helpful new data that can be used to constrain LSMs that simulate land-use change related to rubber and oil palm expansion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
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Article
Agroforestry Systems and Their Contribution to Supplying Forest Products to Communities in the Chure Range, Central Nepal
Forests 2021, 12(3), 358; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030358 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2827
Abstract
Agroforestry (AF), an integration of agricultural and/or pastureland and trees, is a powerful tool for the maximization of profit from a small unit of land; however, it has been less well explored and recognized by existing policies. AF could be the best approach [...] Read more.
Agroforestry (AF), an integration of agricultural and/or pastureland and trees, is a powerful tool for the maximization of profit from a small unit of land; however, it has been less well explored and recognized by existing policies. AF could be the best approach to conserving the fragile soils of Chure and to supplying subsistence needs to the local people. This study endeavored to understand how the adoption of various AF practices contributed to people’s livelihoods in the Bakaiya rural municipality of Makawanpur District. To achieve this, 5 focus group discussions, 10 key informant interviews and 100 household surveys were conducted. These were analyzed using various statistical analysis tools: Kruskal–Wallis test, Games–Howell post hoc comparison test and Wilcoxon test. Thematic analysis was employed to understand the status and growth process of AF in the study area. Of three different AF systems used in the area, agri-silviculture was found to be the dominant form. Local people derived forest products, especially fuelwood, fodder and leaf litter from AF, where agri-silvi-pasture was most common. The three AF systems studied here were in turn compared with community forestry (CF), which is a participatory forest management system overseen by the community. People derived almost 75% of fuelwood from CF, whereas in the case of fodder and leaf litter, contributions from CF and AF were almost equal. Despite the potentiality of AF in fulfilling the demands of local people, promotional and development activities were lacking. This study recommends a strong collaboration of local people and concerned stakeholders for the promotion and technical facilitation of AF systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systematic Approach to Agroforestry Policies and Practices in Asia)
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Article
Rock-Solubilizing Microbial Inoculums Have Enormous Potential as Ecological Remediation Agents to Promote Plant Growth
Forests 2021, 12(3), 357; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030357 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 739
Abstract
Anthropogenic overexploitation poses significant threats to the ecosystems that surround mining sites, which also have tremendous negative impacts on human health and society safety. The technological capacity of the ecological restoration of mine sites is imminent, however, it remains a challenge to sustain [...] Read more.
Anthropogenic overexploitation poses significant threats to the ecosystems that surround mining sites, which also have tremendous negative impacts on human health and society safety. The technological capacity of the ecological restoration of mine sites is imminent, however, it remains a challenge to sustain the green restorative effects of ecological reconstruction. As a promising and environmentally friendly method, the use of microbial technologies to improve existing ecological restoration strategies have shown to be effective. Nonetheless, research into the mechanisms and influences of rock-solubilizing microbial inoculums on plant growth is negligible and the lack of this knowledge inhibits the broader application of this technology. We compared the effects of rock-solubilizing microbial inoculums on two plant species. The results revealed that rock-solubilizing microbial inoculums significantly increased the number of nodules and the total nodule volume of Robinia pseudoacacia L. but not of Lespedeza bicolor Turcz. The reason of the opposite reactions is possibly because the growth of R. pseudoacacia was significantly correlated with nodule formation, whereas L. bicolor’s growth index was more closely related to soil characteristics and if soil nitrogen content was sufficient to support its growth. Further, we found that soil sucrase activity contributed the most to the height of R. pseudoacacia, and the total volume of root nodules contributed most to its ground diameter and leaf area. Differently, we found a high contribution of total soil carbon to seedling height and ground diameter of L. bicolor, and the soil phosphatase activity contributed the most to the L. bicolor’ s leaf area. Our work suggests that the addition of rock-solubilizing microbial inoculums can enhance the supply capacity of soil nutrients and the ability of plants to take up nutrients for the promotion of plant growth. Altogether, our study provides technical support for the practical application of rock-solubilizing microbes on bare rock in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
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Article
Nanopore-Level Wood-Water Interactions—A Molecular Simulation Study
Forests 2021, 12(3), 356; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030356 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 677
Abstract
The nanoscale wood-water interaction strength, accessible sorption sites, and cell wall pore sizes are important factors that drive water sorption and the hysteresis phenomenon in wood. In this work, these factors were quantitatively studied using molecular simulations based on a cell wall pore [...] Read more.
The nanoscale wood-water interaction strength, accessible sorption sites, and cell wall pore sizes are important factors that drive water sorption and the hysteresis phenomenon in wood. In this work, these factors were quantitatively studied using molecular simulations based on a cell wall pore model, previously developed by the authors. Specifically, the wall-water interaction strength, the sorption sites network including their number, interaction range, strength, and spatial distributions were set at a series of theoretical values as simulation input parameters. The results revealed that most of the investigated parameters significantly affected both sorption isotherms and hysteresis. Water monolayers and clusters were observed on the simulated pore surface when the wood-water interaction and sorption site strength were set at unrealistically high values. Furthermore, multiple linear regression models suggested that wood-water interaction and sorption site parameters were coupled in determining sorption isotherms, but not in determining hysteresis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Wood Science and Forest Products)
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Article
The Effects of Forest Litter and Waterlogging on the Ecotoxicity of Soils Strongly Enriched in Arsenic in a Historical Mining Site
Forests 2021, 12(3), 355; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030355 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 919
Abstract
This study examined the effects of waterlogging and forest litter introduced to soil on chemical properties of soil pore water and ecotoxicity of soils highly enriched in As. These effects were examined in a 21-day incubation experiment. Tested soil samples were collected from [...] Read more.
This study examined the effects of waterlogging and forest litter introduced to soil on chemical properties of soil pore water and ecotoxicity of soils highly enriched in As. These effects were examined in a 21-day incubation experiment. Tested soil samples were collected from Złoty Stok, a historical centre of arsenic and gold mining: from a forested part of the Orchid Dump (19,600 mg/kg As) and from a less contaminated site situated in a neighboring forest (2020 mg/kg As). An unpolluted soil was used as control. The concentrations of As, Fe and Mn in soil pore water were measured together with a redox potential Eh. A battery of ecotoxicological tests, including a bioassay with luminescence bacteria Vibrio fischeri (Microtox) and several tests on crustaceans (Rapidtox, Thamnotox and Ostracodtox tests), was used to assess soil ecotoxicity. The bioassays with crustaceans (T. platyurus, H. incongruens) were more sensitive than the bacterial test Microtox. The study confirmed that the input of forest litter into the soil may significantly increase the effects of toxicity. Waterlogged conditions facilitated a release of As into pore water, and the addition of forest litter accelerated this effect thus causing increased toxicity. Full article
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Article
Recovery of Soil-Denitrifying Community along a Chronosequence of Sand-Fixation Forest in a Semi-Arid Desertified Grassland
Forests 2021, 12(3), 354; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030354 - 17 Mar 2021
Viewed by 535
Abstract
Revegetation on moving sand dunes is a widely used approach for restoring the degraded sandy land in northeastern China. The development of sand-fixation forest might improve the structures of soil microbial communities and affect soil N cycle. In the present study, the diversities [...] Read more.
Revegetation on moving sand dunes is a widely used approach for restoring the degraded sandy land in northeastern China. The development of sand-fixation forest might improve the structures of soil microbial communities and affect soil N cycle. In the present study, the diversities of nitrite (nirS and nirK) and nitrous oxide (nosZ) reductase genes were investigated under a chronosequence of Caragana microphylla sand-fixation shrub forest (9- and 19-year), adjacent non-vegetated shifting sand-dune, and a natural forest dominated by C. microphylla. The dominant compositions and gene abundance were analyzed by a clone library technique and quantitative polymerase chain reaction, respectively. The compositions and dominant taxa of nirK, nirS, and nosZ communities under forest soil were all similar to those in the shifting sand-dune. However, the three gene abundances all linearly increased across forest age. Clones associated with known denitrifiers carrying nosZ, nirK, or nirS genes, such as members of Pseudomonas, Mesorhizobium, Rhizobium, Rhodopseudomonas, Azospirillum, and Cupriavidus, were detected. These denitrifiers were found to be abundant in soil and dominant in soil denitrification. Soil pH, total N, and available N affected the denitrifying communities by altering the relative abundance of dominant taxa. Overall, although soil attributes and forest age had no significant effects on the dominant constituents of nirK, nirS, and nosZ communities, revegetation on shifting sand-dunes facilitated the quantitative restoration of soil denitrifiers due to the increase in soil nutrients. Full article
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Article
Similarities and Differences among Soil Fungal Assemblages in Managed Forests and Formerly Managed Forest Reserves
Forests 2021, 12(3), 353; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030353 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1225
Abstract
Unlike the numerous works concerning the effect of management on the forest mycobiome, only a few studies have addressed how fungi from different trophic groups recover from natural and anthropogenic disturbances and develop structural features typical of unmanaged old-growth forests. Our objective is [...] Read more.
Unlike the numerous works concerning the effect of management on the forest mycobiome, only a few studies have addressed how fungi from different trophic groups recover from natural and anthropogenic disturbances and develop structural features typical of unmanaged old-growth forests. Our objective is to compare the soil fungal assemblages represented by different functional/trophic groups in protected and managed stands located in European mixed forests dominated by Scots pine. Fungal communities were analyzed using high-throughput Illumina MiSeq sequencing of fungal internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) amplicons. Formerly managed forest reserves (established around 50 years ago) and forests under standard forest management appeared to be similar in terms of total and mean species richness of all fungal operational taxonomic units (OTUs), as well as OTUs assigned to different functional trophic groups. Among the 599 recorded OTUs, 497 (83%) were shared between both management types, whereas 9.5% of taxa were unique to forest reserves and 7.5% were unique to managed stands. Ascomycota and Basidiomycota were the predominant phyla, comprising 88% of all identified fungi. The main functional components of soil fungal assemblages consisted of saprotrophic (42% fungal OTUs; 27% reads) and ectomycorrhizal fungi (16%; 47%). Two-way analysis of similarities (ANOSIM) revealed that both site and management strategy influenced the species composition of soil fungal communities, with site being a primary effect for saprotrophic and ectomycorrhizal fungi. Volume of coarse and very fine woody debris and soil pH significantly influenced the ectomycorrhizal fungal community, whereas saprotrophic fungi were influenced primarily by volume of coarse woody debris and soil nitrate concentration. Among the identified fungal OTUs, 18 red-listed fungal species were identified from both forest reserves and managed forests, comprising two ECM fungi and four saprotrophs from the category of endangered species. Our results suggest that the transformation of fungal diversity after cessation of forest management is rather slow, and that both forest reserves and managed forests help uphold fungal diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Article
Nitrogen Recovery from Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizers and Urea in Intensively Managed Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) Plantations
Forests 2021, 12(3), 352; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030352 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 674
Abstract
Intensively managed forest plantations often require fertilization to maintain site fertility and to improve growth and yield over successive rotations. We applied urea-based “enhanced-efficiency fertilizers” (EEF) containing 0.5 atom% 15N at a rate of 224 kg N ha−1 to soils under [...] Read more.
Intensively managed forest plantations often require fertilization to maintain site fertility and to improve growth and yield over successive rotations. We applied urea-based “enhanced-efficiency fertilizers” (EEF) containing 0.5 atom% 15N at a rate of 224 kg N ha−1 to soils under mid-rotation black walnut (Juglans nigra L.) plantations to track the fate of applied 15N within aboveground ecosystem components during the 12-month period after application. Treatments included Agrotain Ultra (urea coated with a urease inhibitor), Arborite EC (urea coated with water-soluble boron and phosphate), Agrium ESN (polymer-coated urea), uncoated urea, and an unfertilized control. Agrotain Ultra and Arborite EC increased N concentrations of competing vegetation within one month after fertilization, while neither Agrium ESN nor uncoated urea had any effect on competing vegetation N concentrations during the experiment. Agrotain Ultra and Arborite EC increased δ15N values in leaves of crop trees above those of controls at one and two months after fertilization, respectively. By contrast, Agrium ESN and uncoated urea had no effect on δ15N values in leaves of crop trees until three months after fertilization. Fertilizer N recovery (FNR) varied among ecosystem components, with competing vegetation acting as a sink for applied nutrients. There were no significant differences in FNR for all the urea-based EEF products compared to uncoated urea. Agrium ESN was the only EEF that exhibited controlled-release activity in this study, with other fertilizers behaving similarly to uncoated urea. Full article
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