Special Issue "Forests for a Better Future: Sustainability, Innovation and Interdisciplinarity"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 September 2021) | Viewed by 20844

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Angela Lo Monaco
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture and Forest Science, University of Tuscia, Via San Camillo de Lellis snc, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
Interests: wood characterisation; wood anatomy; wood modification; wood coating; mechanical testing; physical testing; wood properties; wood quality; tree growth; forest products; forest resource management; sustainability; wood in cultural heritage; wood in religious art
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Cate Macinnis-Ng
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Interests: plant ecophysiology; carbon and water cycles; forest function; global change
Prof. Dr. Om P. Rajora
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management, University of New Brunswick, P.O. Box 44000, 28 Dineen Drive, Fredericton, NB E3B 5A3, Canada
Interests: forest genetics, genomics and biotechnology; forest tree molecular, population, conservation and evolutionary genetics; structural, functional, population, conservation and ecological genomics; conservation and sustainable management of forest genetics resources

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the First International Electronic Conference on Forests (IECF2020) (https://sciforum.net/conference/IECF2020), to be held from 15–30 November 2020. We are looking forward to seeing you at our event. The Special Issue will publish selected papers from the Proceedings volume associated with our event on sciforum.net, an online platform for hosting scholarly e-conferences and discussion groups.

Through IECF2020, we aim to promote and advance the exciting and rapidly changing field of forestry and forest ecology. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration;
  2. Forest Genetics, Ecophysiology and Biology;
  3. Forests and Urban Forest Sustainability;
  4. Forest Inventory, Quantitative Methods and Remote Sensing;
  5. Wood Science, Production Chains and Fuelwood;
  6. Forest Operations and Engineering;
  7. Fire Risks and Other Natural Hazards.

The papers that will be considered for publication are those that attract the most interest on the web or that provide innovative contributions. These papers will be subject to peer review, and are published with the aim of the rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments, and applications. We hope this conference series will grow rapidly in the future, and become recognized as a new venue and way in which to present new developments related to the field of forests. The scientific committee cordially welcome you all, and we look forward to your contributions.

Dr. Angela Lo Monaco
Dr. Cate Macinnis-Ng
Prof. Dr. Om P. Rajora
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

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Editorial

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Editorial
Forests for a Better Future: Sustainability, Innovation and Interdisciplinarity
Forests 2022, 13(6), 941; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13060941 - 16 Jun 2022
Viewed by 587
Abstract
Forests offer a solution to climate change through carbon storage and providing ecosystem services and sustainable products [...] Full article

Research

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Article
MDIR Monthly Ignition Risk Maps, an Integrated Open-Source Strategy for Wildfire Prevention
Forests 2022, 13(3), 408; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13030408 - 03 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1068
Abstract
Countries unaccustomed to wildfires are currently experiencing wildfire as a new climate-change reality. Understanding how fire ignition and propagation are correlated with temperature, orography, humidity, wind, and the mixture and age of individual plants must be considered when designing prevention strategies. While wildfire [...] Read more.
Countries unaccustomed to wildfires are currently experiencing wildfire as a new climate-change reality. Understanding how fire ignition and propagation are correlated with temperature, orography, humidity, wind, and the mixture and age of individual plants must be considered when designing prevention strategies. While wildfire prevention focuses on fire ignition avoidance, firefighting success depends on early ignition detection, meaning that, in either case, ignition plays a major role. The current case study considered three Portuguese municipalities that annually observe frequent fire ignitions (Tomar, Ourém, and Ferreira do Zêzere) as the testing ground for the Modernized Dynamic Ignition Risk (MDIR) strategy, thus evaluating the efficiency of MDIR and the efficacy of the variables used. This methodology uses geographic information systems technology sustained by open-source satellite imagery, along with the Habitat Risk Assessment model from the InVEST software package, as drivers for the MDIR application. The MDIR approach grants frequent update capabilities and fully open-sourced high ignition risk area identification, producing monthly ignition risk maps. The advantage of using this method is the ease of adaptation to any current monitoring strategy, awarding further efficiency and efficacy in reducing ignitions. The approach delivered adequate results in estimating ignitions for the three Portuguese municipalities, achieving, for several months, prediction accuracy percentages of over 70%. For the studied area, MDIR clearly identifies areas of high ignition risk and delivers an average of 62% success in predicting ignitions, thus showing potential for analyzing the impact of policy implementation and monitoring through the strategy design. Full article
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Article
Trichoderma spp. from Pine Bark and Pine Bark Extracts: Potent Biocontrol Agents against Botryosphaeriaceae
Forests 2021, 12(12), 1731; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12121731 - 09 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1022
Abstract
Pinus sylvestris bark represents a rich source of active compounds with antifungal, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. The current study aimed to evaluate the antifungal potential of P. sylvestris bark against Botryosphaeria dothidea, Dothiorella sarmentorum, and Neofusicoccum parvum (Botryosphaeriaceae) through its chemical [...] Read more.
Pinus sylvestris bark represents a rich source of active compounds with antifungal, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. The current study aimed to evaluate the antifungal potential of P. sylvestris bark against Botryosphaeria dothidea, Dothiorella sarmentorum, and Neofusicoccum parvum (Botryosphaeriaceae) through its chemical (water extracts) and biological (Trichoderma spp. isolated from the bark) components. The water bark extracts were prepared at two temperatures (80 and 120 °C) and pH regimes (7 and 9). The presence of bark extracts (30%) caused inhibition of mycelial growth of B. dothidea and D. sarmentorum for 39 to 44% and 53 to 60%, respectively. Moreover, we studied the antagonistic effect of three Trichoderma isolates originating from the pine bark. Trichoderma spp. reduced growth of B. dothidea by 67%–85%, D. sarmentorum by 63%–75% and N. parvum by 55%–62%. Microscopic examination confirmed typical mycoparasitism manifestations (coiling, parallel growth, hook-like structures). The isolates produced cellulase, β-glucosidase and N-acetyl-β-glucosaminidase. The volatile blend detected the emission of several volatile compounds with antimicrobial activity, including nonanoic acid, cubenene, cis-α-bergamotene, hexanedioic acid, and verticillol. The present study confirmed in vitro potential of P. sylvestris bark extracts and Trichoderma spp. against the Botryosphaeriaceae. The study is an important step towards the use of environmentally friendly methods of Botryosphaeriaceae disease control. Full article
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Article
Assessing Black Locust Biomass Accumulation in Restoration Plantations
Forests 2021, 12(11), 1477; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12111477 - 28 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 610
Abstract
Forests (either natural or planted) play a key role in climate change mitigation due to their huge carbon-storing potential. In the 1980s, the Hellenic Public Power Corporation (HPPC) started the rehabilitation of lignite post-mining areas in Northwest Greece by planting mainly black locust [...] Read more.
Forests (either natural or planted) play a key role in climate change mitigation due to their huge carbon-storing potential. In the 1980s, the Hellenic Public Power Corporation (HPPC) started the rehabilitation of lignite post-mining areas in Northwest Greece by planting mainly black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.). Today, these plantations occupy about 2570 ha, but the accumulation of Above Ground Biomass (AGB) and deadwood has not been assessed to date. Therefore, we aimed at estimating these biomass pools by calibrating an allometric model for AGB, performing an inventory for both pools and predicting the spatial distribution of AGB. 214 sample plots of 100 m2 each were set up through systematic sampling in a grid dimension of 500 × 500 m and tree dbh and height were recorded. AGB was estimated using an exponential allometric model and performing inventory measurements and was on average 57.6 t ha−1. Kriging analysis reliably estimated mean AGB, but produced errors in the prediction of high and low biomass values, related to the high fragmentation and heterogeneity of the studied area. Mean estimated AGB was low compared with European biomass yield tables for black locust. Similarly, standing deadwood was low (6–10%) and decay degrees were mostly 1 and 2, indicating recent deadwood formation. The overall low biomass accumulation in the studied black locust restoration plantations may be partially attributed to their young age (5–30 years old), but is comparable to that reported in black locust restoration plantation in extremely degraded sites. Thus, black locust successfully adapted to the studied depositions of former mines and its accumulated biomass has the potential to improve the carbon footprint of the region. However, the invasiveness of the species should be considered for future management planning of these restoration plantations. Full article
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Article
The Impact of Air Pollution on the Growth of Scots Pine Stands in Poland on the Basis of Dendrochronological Analyses
Forests 2021, 12(10), 1421; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12101421 - 18 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 928
Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate Scots pine stand degradation caused by the pollutants emitted from Zakłądy Azotowe Puławy, one of the biggest polluters of the environment in Poland for over 25 years (1966–1990). To assess the pollution stress in trees, [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate Scots pine stand degradation caused by the pollutants emitted from Zakłądy Azotowe Puławy, one of the biggest polluters of the environment in Poland for over 25 years (1966–1990). To assess the pollution stress in trees, we chose the dendrochronological analysis We outlined three directions for our research: (i) the spatio-temporal distribution of the growth response of trees to the stress associated with air pollution; (ii) the direct and indirect effects of air pollution which may have influenced the growth response of trees; and (iii) the role of local factors, both environmental and technological, in shaping the growth response of trees. Eight Scots pine stands were selected for study, seven plots located in different damage zones and a reference plot in an undamaged stand. We found that pollutant emission caused disturbances of incremental dynamics and long-term strong reduction of growth. A significant decrease in growth was observed for the majority of investigated trees (75%) from 1966 (start of factory) to the end of the 1990s. The zone of destruction extended primarily in easterly and southern directions, from the pollution source, associated with the prevailing winds of the region. At the end of the 1990s, the decreasing trend stopped and the wider tree-rings could be observed. This situation was related to a radical reduction in ammonia emissions and an improvement in environmental conditions. However, the growth of damaged trees due to the weakened health condition is lower than the growth of Scots pine on the reference plot and trees are more sensitive to stressful climatic conditions, especially to drought. Full article
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Article
Tree Species Mapping on Sentinel-2 Satellite Imagery with Weakly Supervised Classification and Object-Wise Sampling
Forests 2021, 12(10), 1413; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12101413 - 16 Oct 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1087
Abstract
Information on forest composition, specifically tree types and their distribution, aids in timber stock calculation and can help to better understand the biodiversity in a particular region. Automatic satellite imagery analysis can significantly accelerate the process of tree type classification, which is traditionally [...] Read more.
Information on forest composition, specifically tree types and their distribution, aids in timber stock calculation and can help to better understand the biodiversity in a particular region. Automatic satellite imagery analysis can significantly accelerate the process of tree type classification, which is traditionally carried out by ground-based observation. Although computer vision methods have proven their efficiency in remote sensing tasks, specific challenges arise in forestry applications. The forest inventory data often contain the tree type composition but do not describe their spatial distribution within each individual stand. Therefore, some pixels can be assigned a wrong label in the semantic segmentation task if we consider each stand to be homogeneously populated by its dominant species. Another challenge is the spatial distribution of individual stands within the study area. Classes are usually imbalanced and distributed nonuniformly that makes sampling choice more critical. This study aims to enhance tree species classification based on a neural network approach providing automatic markup adjustment and improving sampling technique. For forest species markup adjustment, we propose using a weakly supervised learning approach based on the knowledge of dominant species content within each stand. We also propose substituting the commonly used CNN sampling approach with the object-wise one to reduce the effect of the spatial distribution of forest stands. We consider four species commonly found in Russian boreal forests: birch, aspen, pine, and spruce. We use imagery from the Sentinel-2 satellite, which has multiple bands (in the visible and infrared spectra) and a spatial resolution of up to 10 meters. A data set of images for Leningrad Oblast of Russia is used to assess the methods. We demonstrate how to modify the training strategy to outperform a basic CNN approach from F1-score 0.68 to 0.76. This approach is promising for future studies to obtain more specific information about stands composition even using incomplete data. Full article
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Article
Recreation and Therapy in Urban Forests—The Potential Use of Sensory Garden Solutions
Forests 2021, 12(10), 1402; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12101402 - 14 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1158
Abstract
Urban forests are not only woodlands or groups of trees, but also individual trees, street trees, trees in parks, trees in derelict corners, and gardens. All of which are located in urban and peri-urban areas and diversify the landscape and provide a wide [...] Read more.
Urban forests are not only woodlands or groups of trees, but also individual trees, street trees, trees in parks, trees in derelict corners, and gardens. All of which are located in urban and peri-urban areas and diversify the landscape and provide a wide range of social benefits. Sensory gardens play a specific therapeutic and preventive role. Designing such gardens as a recreational infrastructure element can successfully enrich urban forests. Following the principles of universal design may provide enjoyment for all city-dwellers, with special attention given to the needs of individuals with disabilities. We studied 15 gardens and one sensory path located in various regions in Poland. The inventory was carried out on the basis of the features considered important in spatial orientation by blind and partially sighted people. The results showed that the solutions used were only partly adequate for the needs of selected users. We found neither tactile walking surface indicators (e.g., communication lines and terrain), spatial models, nor applications in mobile devices. However, these could be useful for all visitors. We confirmed that although problems with the use of forest tourist space are dependent on the type of disability, by implementing the idea of universal design for all elements of recreational infrastructure, forests may be accessible for all users. Full article
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Article
Bark Thickness and Heights of the Bark Transition Area of Scots Pine
Forests 2021, 12(10), 1386; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12101386 - 11 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 676
Abstract
The estimation of forest biomass is gaining interest not only for calculating harvesting volumes but also for carbon storage estimation. However, bark (and carbon) compounds are not distributed equally along the stem. Particularly when looking at Scots pine, a radical change in the [...] Read more.
The estimation of forest biomass is gaining interest not only for calculating harvesting volumes but also for carbon storage estimation. However, bark (and carbon) compounds are not distributed equally along the stem. Particularly when looking at Scots pine, a radical change in the structure of the bark along the stem can be noted. At the bark transition area, the bark changes from thick and rough to thin and smooth. The aim of our study was (1) to analyze the height of the bark transition area where the bark structure changes and (2) to analyze the effect of cardinal direction on the bark thickness. Regression analyses and forward selection were performed including measured tree height, DBH, bark thickness, crown base height and upper and lower heights of the bark transition areas of 375 trees. While the cardinal direction had no effect on bark thickness, DBH was found to have a significant effect on the heights of the bark transition areas, with stand density and tree height having a minor additional effect. These variables can be used to estimate timber volume (without bark) with higher accuracy and to predict the carbon storage potential of forest biomass according to different tree compartments and compounds. Full article
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Article
Age-Based Survival Analysis of Coniferous and Broad-Leaved Trees: A Case Study of Preserved Forests in Northern Japan
Forests 2021, 12(8), 1014; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12081014 - 30 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 744
Abstract
Scientifically sound methods are essential to estimate the survival of trees, as they can substantially support sustainable management of natural forest resources. Tree mortality assessments have mainly been based on forest inventories and are mostly limited to planted forests; few studies have conducted [...] Read more.
Scientifically sound methods are essential to estimate the survival of trees, as they can substantially support sustainable management of natural forest resources. Tree mortality assessments have mainly been based on forest inventories and are mostly limited to planted forests; few studies have conducted age-based survival analyses in natural forests. We performed survival analyses of individual tree populations in natural forest stands to evaluate differences in the survival of two coniferous species (Abies sachalinensis (F. Schmidt) Mast. and Picea jezoensis var. microsperma) and all broad-leaved species. We used tree rings and census data from four preserved permanent plots in pan-mixed and sub-boreal natural forests obtained over 30 years (1989–2019). All living trees (diameter at breast height ≥ 5 cm in 1989) were targeted to identify tree ages using a Resistograph. Periodical tree age data, for a 10-year age class, were obtained during three consecutive observation periods. Mortality and recruitment changes were recorded to analyze multi-temporal age distributions and mean lifetimes. Non-parametric survival analyses revealed a multi-modal age distribution and exponential shapes. There were no significant differences among survival probabilities of species in different periods, except for broad-leaved species, which had longer mean lifetimes in each period than coniferous species. The estimated practical mean lifetime and diameter at breast height values of each coniferous and broad-leaved tree can be applied as an early identification system for trees likely to die to facilitate the Stand-based Silvicultural Management System of the University of Tokyo Hokkaido Forest. However, the survival probabilities estimated in this study should be used carefully in long-term forest dynamic predictions because the analysis did not include the effects of catastrophic disturbances, which might significantly influence forests. The mortality patterns and survival probabilities reported in this study are valuable for understanding the stand dynamics of natural forests associated with the mortality of individual tree populations. Full article
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Article
Soil Temperature in Disturbed Ecosystems of Central Siberia: Remote Sensing Data and Numerical Simulation
Forests 2021, 12(8), 994; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12080994 - 27 Jul 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 812
Abstract
We investigated changes in the temperature regime of post-fire and post-technogenic cryogenic soils of Central Siberia using remote sensing data and results of numerical simulation. We have selected the time series of satellite data for two variants of plots with disturbed vegetation and [...] Read more.
We investigated changes in the temperature regime of post-fire and post-technogenic cryogenic soils of Central Siberia using remote sensing data and results of numerical simulation. We have selected the time series of satellite data for two variants of plots with disturbed vegetation and on-ground cover: natural ecosystems of post-fire plots and post-technogenic plots with reclamation as well as dumps without reclamation. Surface thermal anomalies and temperature in soil horizons were evaluated from remote data and numerical simulation and compared with summarized experimental data. We estimated the influence of soil profile disturbances on the temperature anomalies forming on the surface and in soil horizons based on the results of heat transfer modeling in the soil profile. According to remote sensing data, within 20 years, the thermal insulation properties of the vegetation cover restore in the post-fire areas, and the relative temperature anomaly reaches the level of background values. In post-technogenic plots, conditions are more “contrast” comparing to the background, and the process of the thermal regime restoration takes a longer time (>60 years). Forming “neo-technogenic ecosystems” are distinct in special thermal regimes of soils that differ from the background ones both in reclamated and in non-reclamated plots. An assumption was made of the changes in the moisture content regime as the main factor causing the long-term existence of thermal anomalies in the upper soil horizons of disturbed plots. In addition, we discussed the formation of transition zones (“ecotones”) along the periphery of the disturbed plots due to horizontal heat transfer. Full article
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Article
Habitat-Related Differences in Winter Presence and Spring–Summer Activity of Roe Deer in Warsaw
Forests 2021, 12(8), 970; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12080970 - 22 Jul 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 907
Abstract
Preliminary research conducted in Warsaw in the 1970s and 2000s showed that roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) stayed in forest habitat and avoided anthropogenic areas. Activity and exploration patterns of animals are shaped by indices of anthropogenic disturbances, elevated in large cities. [...] Read more.
Preliminary research conducted in Warsaw in the 1970s and 2000s showed that roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) stayed in forest habitat and avoided anthropogenic areas. Activity and exploration patterns of animals are shaped by indices of anthropogenic disturbances, elevated in large cities. The aims of the study were (1) to compare the presence of roe deer in natural and anthropogenic habitats of Warsaw during three periods: 1976–1978, 2005–2008 and 2017–2021, based on snow tracking on transect routes (681.2 km in total), and (2) to describe the presence and activity of roe deer in relation to human disturbances in selected urban forests in its reproductive period (March–August), based on camera trap survey (2019–2020, 859 observations, 5317 trap-days in total). The number of tracks was higher in natural habitat during all three periods, with the highest value in 2017–2021 (9.85/km/24h). The peak of roe deer activity was recorded at dusk, and it changed with moon phases between spring and summer. Landscape connectivity and level of light pollution did not affect the activity pattern of roe deer. Our research showed that roe deer inhabiting urban areas avoided human presence by using well-covered habitats and being active in periods when the level of human disturbance was lower. Full article
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Article
Growth and Potential of Lomatia hirsuta Forests from Stump Shoots in the Valley of El Manso/Patagonia/Argentina
Forests 2021, 12(7), 923; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12070923 - 15 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 672
Abstract
Lomatia hirsuta (Lam.) Diels is a pioneer tree species that develops after wildfires, and in advanced successional stages, it is often found as a secondary species in Patagonian forests. However, in El Manso Valley, Province of Río Negro in Western Argentina, L. hirsuta [...] Read more.
Lomatia hirsuta (Lam.) Diels is a pioneer tree species that develops after wildfires, and in advanced successional stages, it is often found as a secondary species in Patagonian forests. However, in El Manso Valley, Province of Río Negro in Western Argentina, L. hirsuta forms mature pure stands, originated from stump shoots. The wood is very attractive for its colourful appearance and beautiful grain. Nevertheless, these forests are not managed for timber production, they are mostly strong thinned for grazing, and the wood is mainly used as firewood. The objective of this study was to evaluate the possibility to improve quality wood production in stands through silvicultural interventions in a sustainable way. Samples have been carried out in stands of different developmental stages. We evaluated the state and quality of the trees, and their growth has been studied by means of trunk analysis. The results indicate that there is significant potential to improve the production of quality wood in dense stands by thinning to release crop trees. Thinning should start in young stands. It also became apparent that forest management is first necessary to stabilise these nearly unattended forests. Full article
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Article
Environmental Sustainability of Heat Produced by Poplar Short-Rotation Coppice (SRC) Woody Biomass
Forests 2021, 12(7), 878; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12070878 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 863
Abstract
As demonstrated for some time, the reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can also take place using agroforestry biomass. Short-rotation coppice (SRC) is one of the sources of woody biomass production. In our work, the supply of woody biomass was considered by [...] Read more.
As demonstrated for some time, the reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can also take place using agroforestry biomass. Short-rotation coppice (SRC) is one of the sources of woody biomass production. In our work, the supply of woody biomass was considered by examining four different cutting shifts (2, 3, 4 and 5 years) and, for each, the Global Warming Potential (GWP) was evaluated according to the IPCC 2007 method. Regarding the rotation cycle, four biomass collection systems characterized by different levels of mechanization were analyzed and compared. In this study, it was assumed that the biomass produced by the SRC plantations was burned in a 350 kWt biomass power plant to heat a public building. The environmental impact generated by the production of 1 GJ of thermal energy was assessed for each of the forest plants examined, considering the entire life cycle, from the field phase to the energy production. The results were compared with those obtained to produce the same amount of thermal energy from a diesel boiler. Comparing the two systems analyzed, it was shown that the production and use of wood biomass to obtain thermal energy can lead to a reduction in the Global Warming Potential of over 70% compared to the use of fossil fuel. Full article
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Article
Industrial Heat Treatment of Wood: Study of Induced Effects on Ayous Wood (Triplochiton scleroxylon K. Schum)
Forests 2021, 12(6), 730; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12060730 - 03 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 999
Abstract
High-temperature treatment of wood is a useful method for improving certain physical characteristics, ensuring durability without biocides, and improving the performance of wood when exposed to degradation agents. This work aims to determine the effects induced by a heat treatment performed industrially on [...] Read more.
High-temperature treatment of wood is a useful method for improving certain physical characteristics, ensuring durability without biocides, and improving the performance of wood when exposed to degradation agents. This work aims to determine the effects induced by a heat treatment performed industrially on ayous wood (Triplochiton scleroxylon K. Schum) from Cameroon, through the study of the main physical and mechanical characteristics. The heat treatment at 215 °C for three hours with a slight initial vacuum determined a reduction of the mechanical characteristics (compression strength 26%, static bending 46%, Brinell hardness 32%) and some physical properties (dry density 11%, basic density 9%), while it improved the behaviour towards variations of environment moisture. The anti-shrinkage efficiency was 58.41 ± 5.86%, confirming the increase of the dimensional stability. The darkening (ΔE 34.76), clearly detectable (L* 39.69 ± 1.13; a* 10.59 ± 081; b* 18.73 ± 1.51), was supported almost equally by both the lightness parameter (L*) and the a* chromatic parameter. The data collected during the laboratory tests were then subjected to statistical analysis to verify correlations between the characteristics examined. Statistical differences were highlighted between each physical and mechanical properties of ayous wood modified or not. Full article
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Article
Analysis of the Influence That Parameters Crookedness and Taper Have on Stack Volume by Using a 3D-Simulation Model of Wood Stacks
Forests 2021, 12(2), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12020238 - 20 Feb 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1475
Abstract
The influence that parameters crookedness and taper have on the stack volume was analyzed by using a 3D-simulation model in this study. To do so, log length, diameters at the midpoint and both ends, crookedness, bark thickness, taper and ovality were measured in [...] Read more.
The influence that parameters crookedness and taper have on the stack volume was analyzed by using a 3D-simulation model in this study. To do so, log length, diameters at the midpoint and both ends, crookedness, bark thickness, taper and ovality were measured in 1000 logs of Scots pine. From this database, several data sets with different proportions of crooked and tapered logs in stack as well as with different degrees of taper and crookedness were created and taken as basis to simulate the stacks and carry out the analysis. The results show how the variation of these parameters influences the stack volume and provide their volume variation grades. These rates of variation were compared with measurement guidelines of some countries and previous research works. In conclusion, the parameters crookedness and taper influence the stack volume to a considerable extent. Specifically, the stack volume is increased as the crookedness degree or the proportion of crooked logs increases. In contrast, the stack volume is reduced as the taper degree or the proportion of tapered logs increases. Furthermore, the results demonstrate the capability of this simulation model to provide accurate results which can serve as a basis for future studies. Full article
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Communication
Evaluation of Early Bark Beetle Infestation Localization by Drone-Based Monoterpene Detection
Forests 2021, 12(2), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12020228 - 16 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1205
Abstract
The project PROTECTFOREST deals with improvements in early bark beetle (e.g., Ips typographus and Pityogenes chalcographus) detection to allow for fast and effective response to initial infestation. The removal of trees in the early infestation stage can prohibit bark beetle population [...] Read more.
The project PROTECTFOREST deals with improvements in early bark beetle (e.g., Ips typographus and Pityogenes chalcographus) detection to allow for fast and effective response to initial infestation. The removal of trees in the early infestation stage can prohibit bark beetle population gradation and successive timber price decrease. A semiconductor gas sensor array was tested in the lab and attached to a drone under artificial and real-life field conditions. The sensor array was able to differentiate between α-pinene amounts and between different temperatures under lab conditions. In the field, the sensor responded to a strong artificial α-pinene source. The real-life field trial above a spruce forest showed preliminary results, as technical and environmental conditions compromised a proof of principle. Further research will evaluate the detection rate of infested trees for the new proposed sensor concept. Full article
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Article
Transport Cost Estimation Model of the Agroforestry Biomass in a Small-Scale Energy Chain
Forests 2021, 12(2), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12020158 - 28 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1153
Abstract
The delivery of biomass products from the production place to the point of final transformation is of fundamental importance within the constitution of energy chains based on biomass use as a renewable energy source. Transport can be one of the most economically expensive [...] Read more.
The delivery of biomass products from the production place to the point of final transformation is of fundamental importance within the constitution of energy chains based on biomass use as a renewable energy source. Transport can be one of the most economically expensive operations of the entire biomass energy production process, which limits choices in this sector, often inhibiting any expansive trends. A geographic identification, through remote sensing and photo-interpretation, of the different biomass sources was used to estimate the potential available biomass for energy in a small-scale supply chain. This study reports on the sustainability of transport costs calculated for different types of biomass sources available close a biomass power plant of a small-scale energy supply chain, located in central Italy. To calculate the transport cost referred to the identified areas we used the maximum travel time parameter. The proposed analysis allows us to highlight and visualize on the map the areas of the territory characterized by greater economic sustainability in terms of lower transport costs of residual agroforestry biomass from the collection point to the final point identified with the biomass power plant. The higher transport cost was around €40 Mg−1, compared to the lowest of €12 Mg−1. Full article
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Article
Empowering Forest Owners with Simple Volume Equations for Poplar Plantations in the Órbigo River Basin (NW Spain)
Forests 2021, 12(2), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12020124 - 23 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 664
Abstract
Hybrid poplar plantations are becoming increasingly important as a source of income for farmers in northwestern Spain, as rural depopulation and farmers aging prevent landowners from planting other labor-intensive crops. However, plantation owners, usually elderly and without formal forestry background, lack of simple [...] Read more.
Hybrid poplar plantations are becoming increasingly important as a source of income for farmers in northwestern Spain, as rural depopulation and farmers aging prevent landowners from planting other labor-intensive crops. However, plantation owners, usually elderly and without formal forestry background, lack of simple tools to estimate the size and volume of their plantations by themselves. Therefore, farmers are usually forced to rely on the estimates made by the timber companies that are buying their trees. With the objective of providing a simple, but empowering, tool for these forest owners, simple equations based only on diameter were developed to estimate individual tree volume for the Órbigo River basin. To do so, height and diameter growth were measured for 10 years (2009–2019) in 404 trees growing in three poplar plantations in Leon province. An average growth per tree of 1.66 cm year−1 in diameter, 1.52 m year−1 in height, and 0.03 m3 year−1 in volume was estimated, which translated into annual volume increment of 13.02 m3 ha−1 year−1. However, annual volume increment was different among plots due to their fertility, with two plots reaching maximum volume growth around 11 years since planting and another at 13 years, encompassing the typical productivity range in plantations in this region. Such data allowed developing simple but representative linear, polynomial and power equations to estimate volume explaining 93%–98% of the observed variability. Such equations can be easily implemented in any cellphone with a calculator, allowing forest owners to accurately estimate their timber existences by using only a regular measuring tape to measure tree diameter. However, models for height were less successful, explaining only 75%–76% of observed variance. Our approach to generate simplified volume equations has shown to be viable for poplar, but it could be applied to any species for which several volume equations are available. Full article
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Communication
Feasibility of a Harvesting System for Small-Diameter Trees as Unutilized Forest Biomass in Japan
Forests 2021, 12(1), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12010074 - 10 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1247
Abstract
In order to secure a supply of forest biomass, as well as promote further utilization following the completion of the Feed-in-Tariff Scheme for Renewable Energy (FIT), small-diameter trees such as cleanings from young planted forests and broad-leaved trees from coppice forests are prospective [...] Read more.
In order to secure a supply of forest biomass, as well as promote further utilization following the completion of the Feed-in-Tariff Scheme for Renewable Energy (FIT), small-diameter trees such as cleanings from young planted forests and broad-leaved trees from coppice forests are prospective resources in Japan. The goal of this study was to discuss effective methods for harvesting the small-diameter trees that are unutilized forest biomass in Japan. This study assumed a simplified model forest and conducted experiments and time studies of the harvesting of small-diameter trees with a truck-mounted multi-tree felling head. As a result, the machine used in the experiment could fell a maximum of six trees inward in a row from a forest road. However, the harvesting cost (felling, accumulating and chipping) was cheapest when the machine felled five trees inward in a row. Lengthening the maximum reach of a felling head to fell trees deeper inward in a row appeared effective in increasing the number of harvested trees. From the perspective of minimizing the harvesting cost, however, there were upper limits to the number of trees felled inward as well as to the maximum reach of a felling head. The results of a sensitivity analysis suggested the following machine improvements could be considered in future policy: increasing the moving velocity of a felling head and the maximum number of trees that can be held at a time are effective if it is possible to lengthen the maximum reach of a felling head. Meanwhile, shortening the machine’s moving time among operation points is also effective if the maximum reach of a felling head cannot be lengthened. Full article
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Article
Transport Work for the Supply of Pine Sawlogs to the Sawmill
Forests 2020, 11(12), 1340; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121340 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 755
Abstract
The aim of the presented research is to characterize the scale of transport work performed on the supply of large-size pine wood to the sawmill, with indication of factors influencing structure and parameters. Analyzes were carried out for deliveries to a sawmill in [...] Read more.
The aim of the presented research is to characterize the scale of transport work performed on the supply of large-size pine wood to the sawmill, with indication of factors influencing structure and parameters. Analyzes were carried out for deliveries to a sawmill in northern Poland, which supplies pine sawlogs and long wood assortments. The distance of deliveries on public and forest roads was determined, as well as transport work for each type of road and the total value. The transport work was defined as a multiplication of driven kilometers with the load and the weight of the load in ton kilometers. Data on the transport distance were obtained on the basis of information from the driver, and the parameters of the transported pine sawlogs from the delivery note. Based on the collected data over a period of 12 months, the transport work was determined for selected courses. The total transport work for the 1509 analyzed deliveries was 3,447,486 ton-kilometers (tkm). The average transport work for one course amounted to 2286 tkm and was characterized by a high variability SD = 1207. The minimum value of the transport work was recorded at the level of 83 tkm, and the maximum as much as 7803 tkm. The median of the analyzed deliveries was 2220 tkm, while the first quartile Q1 = 1358, and the third quartile Q3 = 2997. With very similar cargo volumes (m3) and cargo weight (kg) the transport distance and the total number of deliveries have a significant effect on the transport work performed with the transport of timber. Purchase of wood in seven forest districts located up to 50 km from the sawmill accounts for 30.1% of the analyzed deliveries (1509), resulting in only transport work at the level of 476,104 tkm, which is only 13.8% of the total transport work of all deliveries. Full article
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Article
Exploring the Relationship between Forest Structure and Health
Forests 2020, 11(12), 1264; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121264 - 27 Nov 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 957
Abstract
There is abundant evidence that green space in urban neighborhood is associated with physical activity and it is well known that physical activity contributes to human health. Physical activity fosters normal growth and development, can reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and can [...] Read more.
There is abundant evidence that green space in urban neighborhood is associated with physical activity and it is well known that physical activity contributes to human health. Physical activity fosters normal growth and development, can reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and can make people feel better and function better. Evidences also show that exposure to natural places can lead to positive mental health outcomes, whether a view of nature from a window, being within natural places, or exercising in these environments. The study aims to identify the factors of forest structure and socioeconomic characteristics influencing adults’ physical activity and health. A sample of 148,754 respondents from the Korea Community Health Survey, conducted in 2016, was analyzed. Measures included frequency of physical activity, stress, depression, and landscape metrics of forest patch. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis, controlling for socio-demographic characteristics, revealed that larger forest patches and the more irregular shapes were associated with more physical activity. The study also showed that the shape of forest patch and slope were associated with less mental health complaints, whereas composition related landscape metrics were not. Full article
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