Forests2015, 6(4), 1227-1238; doi:10.3390/f6041227 - published 15 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Many plantation eucalypts are difficult to propagate from cuttings, and their rooted cuttings often possess very few adventitious roots. We microscopically examined the stem anatomy of cuttings from 12 species of eucalypts and we determined whether adventitious root formation in auxin-treated cuttings of four species was limited to particular positions around the vascular tissue. Most species contained a central pith that was arranged in a four-pointed stellate pattern. The surrounding vascular tissue was also arranged in a stellate pattern near the shoot apex but it developed a more rectangular shape at the outer phloem as the stems enlarged radially. Adventitious roots formed at, or slightly peripheral to, the vascular cambium, and they formed at both the corners and the sides of the rectangular-shaped vascular tissue. The study highlighted that auxin-treated eucalypt cuttings can produce roots at multiple positions around the vascular tissue and so propagation methods can aim to produce more than four adventitious roots per rooted cutting. Higher numbers of adventitious roots could improve the root system symmetry, stability, survival and growth rate of clonal eucalypt trees.
Forests2015, 6(4), 1208-1226; doi:10.3390/f6041208 - published 15 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Alpine, subalpine and boreal tree species, of low genetic diversity and adapted to low optimal temperatures, are vulnerable to the warming effects of global climate change. The accurate prediction of these species’ distributions in response to climate change is critical for effective planning and management. The goal of this research is to predict climate change effects on the distribution of red spruce (Picearubens Sarg.) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP), eastern USA. Climate change is, however, conflated with other environmental factors, making its assessment a complex systems problem in which indirect effects are significant in causality. Predictions were made by linking a tree growth simulation model, red spruce growth model (ARIM.SIM), to a GIS spatial model, red spruce habitat model (ARIM.HAB). ARIM.SIM quantifies direct and indirect interactions between red spruce and its growth factors, revealing the latter to be dominant. ARIM.HAB spatially distributes the ARIM.SIM simulations under the assumption that greater growth reflects higher probabilities of presence. ARIM.HAB predicts the future habitat suitability of red spruce based on growth predictions of ARIM.SIM under climate change and three air pollution scenarios: 10% increase, no change and 10% decrease. Results show that suitable habitats shrink most when air pollution increases. Higher temperatures cause losses of most low-elevation habitats. Increased precipitation and air pollution produce acid rain, which causes loss of both low- and high-elevation habitats. The general prediction is that climate change will cause contraction of red spruce habitats at both lower and higher elevations in GSMNP, and the effects will be exacerbated by increased air pollution. These predictions provide valuable information for understanding potential impacts of global climate change on the spatiotemporal distribution of red spruce habitats in GSMNP.
Forests2015, 6(4), 1195-1207; doi:10.3390/f6041195 - published 15 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Forest inventory mapping is used worldwide to describe forests at a large spatial scale via the delimitation of portions of the landscape that are structurally homogeneous. Consequently, there is a significant amount of descriptive forest data in forest inventory maps, particularly with the development of ecosystem classification, which represents a significant potential for use in ecosystem based management. With this study we propose to test whether forest inventory maps can be used to describe not only stand characteristics but also dynamic processes. The results indicate that stand types identifiable in forest inventory maps do not in fact represent unique developmental stages, but rather confound stands at multiple developmental stages that may be undergoing different ecological processes. The reasons for this are linked to both the interaction between succession, fire severity and paludification. Finally, some aspects of the process of forest inventory mapping itself contribute to the disjunction between forest types and forest succession. Given the low similarity between spruce mapping types and their actual description following forest inventories, it would be too ambitious to infer the dynamic aspects of spruce forest by map units.
Forests2015, 6(4), 1179-1194; doi:10.3390/f6041179 - published 15 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We evaluated a smartphone app (TRESTIMATM) for forest sample plot measurements. The app interprets imagery collected from the sample plots using the camera in the smartphone and then estimates forest inventory attributes, including species-specific basal areas (G) as well as the diameter (DgM) and height (HgM) of basal area median trees. The estimates from the smartphone app were compared to forest inventory attributes derived from tree-wise measurements using calipers and a Vertex height measurement device. The data consist of 2169 measured trees from 25 sample plots (32 m × 32 m), dominated by Scots pine and Norway spruce from southern Finland. The root-mean-square errors (RMSEs) in the basal area varied from 19.7% to 29.3% and the biases from 11.4% to 18.4% depending on the number of images per sample plot and image shooting location. DgM measurement bias varied from −1.4% to 3.1% and RMSE from 5.2% to 11.6% depending on the tree species. Respectively, HgM bias varied from 5.0% to 8.3% and RMSE 10.0% to 13.6%. In general, four images captured toward the center of the plot provided more accurate results than four images captured away from the plot center. Increasing the number of captured images per plot to the analyses yielded only marginal improvement to the results.
Forests2015, 6(4), 1157-1178; doi:10.3390/f6041157 - published 15 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Within the Central Rocky Mountains, spruce beetle populations have the potential to rapidly transition from endemic to epidemic levels in the spruce-fir (Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir) forest type. Conventional management has focused on creating resistance to spruce beetle outbreaks by manipulating the overstory density and composition. Three silvicultural treatments, single tree selection, group selection, and shelterwood with reserves, were established in a spruce-fir forest in northern Utah with the goals of increasing both resistance and resilience to outbreaks. Resistance and resilience metrics were explicitly defined. Pre-harvest and two post-harvest measurements were used to assess how the different silvicultural treatments influenced the metrics. The shelterwood with reserves was the only treatment to meet both the resistance and resilience criteria. This treatment, while not traditionally used, created a stand structure and composition that will be most resilient to climate induced increases in spruce beetle caused tree mortality. However, there will be a trade-off in composition and structure, especially Engelmann spruce, after a spruce beetle epidemic because the created structure is more uniform with fewer groups and gaps than commonly observed in spruce-fir forests. With changing climatic conditions, proactive forest management, such as the shelterwood with reserves in the spruce-fir forest type, is the best method for increasing short-term resistance and long-term resilience to spruce beetle outbreaks.
Forests2015, 6(4), 1145-1156; doi:10.3390/f6041145 - published 10 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The growth enhancing effects of forest fertilizer is considered to level off within 10 years of the application, and be restricted to one forest stand rotation. However, fertilizer induced changes in plant community composition has been shown to occur in the following stand rotation. To clarify whether effects of forest fertilization have residual long-term effects, extending into the next rotation, we compared tree growth, needle N concentrations and the availability of mobile soil N in young (10 years) Pinus sylvestris L. and Picea abies (L.) H. Karst. stands. The sites were fertilized with 150 kg·N·ha−1 once or twice during the previous stand rotation, or unfertilized. Two fertilization events increased tree height by 24% compared to the controls. Needle N concentrations of the trees on previously fertilized sites were 15% higher than those of the controls. Soil N mineralization rates and the amounts of mobile soil NH4-N and NO3-N were higher on sites that were fertilized twice than on control sites. Our study demonstrates that operational forest fertilization can cause residual long-term effects on stand N dynamics, with subsequent effects on tree growth that may be more long-lasting than previously believed, i.e., extending beyond one stand rotation.