Ecosystems and Landscape Ecology

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Ecology Science and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 November 2024 | Viewed by 2355

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National Institute for Research and Development in Forestry “Marin Dracea”, Eroilor 128, 077190 Voluntari, Romania
Interests: forest soils; land recovery; ecology of forest species
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Scientific knowledge about the link between living and nonliving components within the environment, how these factors interact with each other, and how both natural and human-induced changes affect how they function is very important. In the case of landscape ecology, this applies to sustainability, conservation, management, and landscape planning. This knowledge is even more relevant and important at this moment due to the new issues and challenges we are facing: climate change, pollution, the diminishing or overexploitation of natural resources, scarce biodiversity, and human demographic explosion.

This Research Topic aims to provide new science-based information on the status of ecosystems and landscape ecology, including aspects from ecosystem services, animal ecology, plant ecology, and the interaction between species and environmental conditions (climate, including climate changes to air, water, soil, etc.). Furthermore, it addresses a very large area of specialists (as ecology usually does), such as biologists, botanists, silvicultural people, climatologists, geneticists, GISs, and field management specialists.

We welcome articles that research and review ecosystems and landscape ecology. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Assessment of the climatic and anthropogenic effects on terrestrial ecosystems;- The evolution of mountain ecosystems in different climatic regions;
  • The influence of flooding, erosion, drought, fires, pests, and diseases, as well as other natural phenomena, on ecosystems;
  • Wildlife conservation and management;
  • Ecology, biodiversity, and forestry management;
  • Improving and preserving the genetic diversity of species;
  • Policy, science, and practice in the fields of ecosystems and landscapes;
  • Landscape history, sustainability, and resilience.

Dr. Lucian Dinca
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • ecosystem services
  • landscape resilience
  • biodiversity
  • environment
  • conservation

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

21 pages, 2035 KiB  
Article
Improving the Content of Chemical Elements from the Soil of Waste Heaps Influenced by Forest Vegetation—A Case Study of Moldova Nouă Waste Heaps, South-West Romania
by Ilie-Cosmin Cântar, Ersilia Alexa, Daniela Sabina Poșta, Vlad Emil Crişan, Nicolae Cadar, Adina Berbecea, Sándor Rózsa, Tincuța-Marta Gocan and Orsolya Borsai
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(12), 5221; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14125221 - 16 Jun 2024
Viewed by 425
Abstract
The present article emphasizes the influence of forest vegetation on improving the content of toxic elements from soil, increasing the content of micro and macro elements as well as correlating these variations with characteristics of forest vegetation from the studied areas—Moldova Nouă waste [...] Read more.
The present article emphasizes the influence of forest vegetation on improving the content of toxic elements from soil, increasing the content of micro and macro elements as well as correlating these variations with characteristics of forest vegetation from the studied areas—Moldova Nouă waste heaps, South-West Romania. The research involved comparing and observing the differences in the content of micro, macro, and toxic elements (Fe, Pb, Zn, and Cd) between the soil of waste heaps from Moldova Nouă from areas with forest vegetation and the content of these elements analyzed 31 years ago during the projection of afforestation works, when forest vegetation was missing. The differences were correlated with stand characteristics of forest vegetation. We observed a significant increase for Fe and a significant decrease for Zn and Cd. The influence of forest vegetation of the variation on the soil’s chemical composition was studied for the chemical elements that previously showed significant differences (Fe, Zn, and Cd). The averages of the statistically significant differences for the concentration of each analyzed element (Fe, Zn, and Cd) were correlated with the characteristics of the stands from the studied sampling points. The variation in time for Fe, Zn, and Cd and actual content of P, Cu, Mg were correlated especially with the average height of trees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystems and Landscape Ecology)
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23 pages, 8665 KiB  
Article
Soil Compaction Induced by Three Timber Extraction Options: A Controlled Experiment on Penetration Resistance on Silty-Loamy Soils
by Mădălina Florina Presecan, Gabriel Osei Forkuo and Stelian Alexandru Borz
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(12), 5117; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14125117 - 12 Jun 2024
Viewed by 248
Abstract
Local effects of ground-based timber harvesting, such as soil compaction, are often important for forest management and resilience of forests. One way to evaluate the compaction of the forest soils is by the penetration resistance. Most often, however, the control over the weight [...] Read more.
Local effects of ground-based timber harvesting, such as soil compaction, are often important for forest management and resilience of forests. One way to evaluate the compaction of the forest soils is by the penetration resistance. Most often, however, the control over the weight of the means used to extract the wood is difficult to maintain, influencing therefore the outcomes of the comparison studies. In this study, a controlled experiment was set up to see how the penetration resistance is affected by the number of passes of three wood extraction methods. A first objective of the study was to characterize the undisturbed soils by the mean values of penetration resistance along the profile. The second objective of the study was to compare the changes in penetration resistance induced by the number of passes along the soil profile. The extraction means were selected based on their typical use in flat-land operations, namely horse logging, skidding and forwarding, and the weight of their loads was determined before the experiment; then, each one was tested in a different area by operating in a closed loop on flat land, with 15 passes over the respective testing area. Penetration resistance was sampled up to 80 cm in depth in 10 control points, as well as in 10 sampling points over the wheels’ footprints. Ten samples were taken on the latter after the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, tenth and fifteenth passes, and comparisons were set up based on natural changing points in penetration resistance found in the control areas. The comparisons found significant differences by an increase in penetration resistance for all three extraction means, and there was a difference by an order of magnitude and depth; horse logging affected it the least and forwarding the most in magnitude, while skidding seemed to produce more significant changes in depth. However, the magnitude and depth of these changes may have depended on the characteristics of the soils from the test areas, and it cannot be concluded that the found levels of penetration resistance will affect the trees located nearby the experimental trails. The problem of soil compaction should be further examined by dedicated studies, given the variability in soil characteristics and diversity in means used to extract timber. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystems and Landscape Ecology)
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13 pages, 2187 KiB  
Article
Impacts of Land-Use Change from Primary Forest to Farmland on the Storage of Soil Organic Carbon
by Changgui Xiao, Yaoqi Gong, Xiaolei Pei, Hanyue Chen, Sheng Li, Chengwen Lu, Li Chen, Xuhui Zheng, Jiaxin Zheng and Xie Yan
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(11), 4736; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14114736 - 31 May 2024
Viewed by 306
Abstract
Land-use change (LUC) is a significant contributor to the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations, with previous studies demonstrating its profound impact on soil organic carbon (SOC). The conversion of primary forests to farmland has been recognized as the most significant type of [...] Read more.
Land-use change (LUC) is a significant contributor to the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations, with previous studies demonstrating its profound impact on soil organic carbon (SOC). The conversion of primary forests to farmland has been recognized as the most significant type of LUC inducing CO2 release from the soil. Therefore, it is critical to understand the impacts of forest LUC on SOC storage, with a particular focus on primary forest to farmland conversion. In this study, we conducted a meta-analysis of 411 observations from 41 published works and found that SOC storage decreased significantly following the conversion of primary forests to farmland. Factors such as soil depth and climate zone influenced the degree of SOC storage loss, with SOC loss being less severe in deeper soil following a conversion from primary forests to farmland. Moreover, the loss of SOC storage was more severe in temperate regions compared to tropical regions. The input and output of surface SOC, changes in soil structure, and increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations were significant reasons for the loss of SOC following primary forest to farmland LUC. However, improving tillage methods and implementing sustainable agricultural management strategies can help reduce SOC loss. These findings highlight the importance of sustainable land-use practices in mitigating the negative impacts of forest LUC on SOC storage and the global carbon cycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystems and Landscape Ecology)
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33 pages, 6831 KiB  
Article
Dynamic Land-Use Patterns and the Associated Impacts on Ecosystem Services Value in Putian City, China
by Qingxia Peng, Dongqing Wu, Wenxiong Lin, Shuisheng Fan and Kai Su
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(11), 4554; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14114554 - 25 May 2024
Viewed by 446
Abstract
Human actions have led to consistent and profound alterations in land use, which in turn have had a notable effect on the services provided by ecosystems. In this research, the Google Earth Engine (GEE) was initially employed to perform a supervised classification of [...] Read more.
Human actions have led to consistent and profound alterations in land use, which in turn have had a notable effect on the services provided by ecosystems. In this research, the Google Earth Engine (GEE) was initially employed to perform a supervised classification of Landsat satellite images from 2000 to 2020, which allowed us to obtain land-use data for Putian City, China. Next, the geo-informatic Tupu model and the revised valuation model were used to explore the spatial attributes and ecological effects of land-use changes (LUCs). Subsequently, EEH (eco-economic harmony), ESTD (ecosystem services tradeoffs and synergies degree index), and ESDA (exploratory spatial data analysis) methods were employed to further analyze the coordination level, trade-offs, synergies, and spatial patterns of ecological-economic system development. The findings revealed that: (1) The land-use composition in Putian City was predominantly cultivated land and forest land, with other types of land intermixed. Concurrently, there was an ongoing trend of expansion in urban areas. (2) ESV in Putian City exhibited an upward trend, increasing from 15.4 billion CNY to 23.1 billion CNY from 2000 to 2020. (3) ESV exhibited an imbalance in spatial distribution, with high-high agglomeration areas concentrated in the central part of Putian City and the coastal region of Hanjiang District, while low-low agglomeration areas were prevalent in Xianyou County in the southwest, Xiuyu District along the coast, and Licheng District in the urban center. (4) Synergistic relationships among ESs predominated, though the trade-off relationship showed a tendency to expand. (5) The ecological environment and economic progress in Putian City collectively faced a region of potential risk. The findings of this study are intended to serve as a guide for improving the distribution of land resources and for developing strategies that ensure the sustainable development of the region’s socio-economic framework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystems and Landscape Ecology)
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24 pages, 5670 KiB  
Article
Land-Use Transitions Impact the Ecosystem Services Value in a Coastal Region by Coupling the Geo-Informatic Tupu and Benefit-Transfer Method: The Case of Ningde City, China
by Qingxia Peng, Lingzhi Shen, Wenxiong Lin, Shuisheng Fan and Kai Su
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(9), 3643; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14093643 - 25 Apr 2024
Viewed by 529
Abstract
Exploring the mechanisms and processes of land-use transitions (LUTs) and their impact on ecosystem services can effectively elucidate the intricate interactions between human and natural systems, which is pivotal for advancing the sustainable development of regional economies and enhancing ecological environments. However, the [...] Read more.
Exploring the mechanisms and processes of land-use transitions (LUTs) and their impact on ecosystem services can effectively elucidate the intricate interactions between human and natural systems, which is pivotal for advancing the sustainable development of regional economies and enhancing ecological environments. However, the existing literature lacks comprehensive analysis regarding the spatial and temporal evolution of LUTs, with insufficient integration of the “spatial pattern” and “time process”. Moreover, traditional assessments of the ecosystem services value (ESV) often overlook their negative costs. To address these gaps, this study first utilized the Google Earth Engine (GEE) cloud platform and employed the random forest algorithm to conduct supervised classification on Landsat remote-sensing images from the years 2000, 2010, and 2020 within the research area, thereby obtaining land-use data for three distinct periods. And then, we investigated the geographic features of LUTs and their ecological effects in the Ningde City of China from 2000 to 2020. The geo-informatic Tupu model and a newly revised method of benefit transfer were primarily employed for this purpose. The findings indicate the following: (1) Over the study period, the land-use structure of Ningde City predominantly comprised cultivated land and forest land, with continuous decreases in both types and a concurrent increase in built-up land. (2) Significant disparities exist in the spatial distribution of Tupu units, notably with “forest land → cultivated land” and “cultivated land → built-up land” as crucial units influencing ESV changes. (3) The ESV in Ningde City decreased from CNY 1105.54 × 108 to CNY 1020.47 × 108 over 2000–2020, while the ecosystem dis-services value exhibited an opposing trend, rising from CNY 12.68 × 108 to CNY 20.39 × 108. (4) The net ESV in Ningde City showed a decline over the same period, indicating a certain vulnerability in the city’s ecological system structure. This study aims to enhance our understanding of the influence of land-use patterns on ESV, offering valuable insights for regional ecological–environment management and land-use policy formulation, thereby fostering sustainable development in ecological, environmental, and socio-economic dimensions. Furthermore, the results serve as a reference for evaluating net ecosystem services value in other countries/regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystems and Landscape Ecology)
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