Special Issue "Plant Ecosystems in a Changing World: Monitoring, Modelling and Risk Assessment"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Biosphere/Hydrosphere/Land–Atmosphere Interactions".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alessandra De Marco
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Sustainability, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), Via Anguillarese 301, 00123, Rome, Italy
Interests: atmospheric pollution; impacts on ecosystems
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Evgenios Agathokleous
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Ecology, School of Applied Meteorology, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
Interests: global change impacts on plant ecosystems; air pollution biomonitoring; carbon dioxide; dose responses; ecophysiology; forests; ozone; temperature; trees; hormesis; adaptive response
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Pierre Sicard
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
ARGANS 260 route du Pin Montard 06904 Sophia-Antipolis cedex, France
Interests: ground-level ozone; epidemiological study; impacts on forests
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Based on observations, modelling approaches are emerging to develop coupled biogeochemical–ecological models to predict the combined effects of climate change, air pollution, atmospheric deposition, and other stressors on the functioning and diversity of plant ecosystems.

The main objective of this Special Issue is to discuss different approaches to bridge the knowledge gaps in different scientific domains (air pollution, deposition, climate change, impacts in terms of health, yield, and biodiversity loss) in order to (i) translate observations and predictions into future scenarios; (ii) improve understanding of interaction and feedbacks between climate change, air pollutants, and effects upon plant ecosystems; (iii) quantify the ecosystems responses to air pollution and changing climate conditions; and (iv) provide risk maps for plant ecosystems at regional and local scale.

This Special Issue will deal with monitoring and modelling of air pollution and climate change effects on plants, with a strong focus on emerging research needs for risk assessment. Papers which exclusively deal with any aspects of tropospheric ozone or other air pollutants (physics–chemistry) are also welcome.

This Special Issue will include peer-reviewed papers presented at the International Conference “Air Pollution Threats to Plant Ecosystems” (4–8 May 2020, Paphos, Cyprus) as well as excellent contributions from those who did not have the opportunity to attend the conference.

Dr. Alessandra De Marco
Dr. Evgenios Agathokleous
Dr. Pierre Sicard
Guest Editor

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 papers will be 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. Atmosphere 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 1800 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.

Keywords

  • air pollution
  • climate change
  • ecological model
  • modelling
  • monitoring
  • nitrogen
  • ozone
  • risk assessment
  • vegetation
  • vegetation–atmosphere interactions

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Challenge in the Management of Historic Trees in Urban Environments during Climate Change: The Case of Corso Trieste (Rome, Italy)
Atmosphere 2021, 12(4), 500; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12040500 - 15 Apr 2021
Viewed by 445
Abstract
This study carries out a quantitative analysis of the impact on microclimate (air temperature and thermal comfort) of a row of 165 historical Pinus pinea L. located in a central neighbourhood of Rome (Italy). The analysis starts from a qualitative general analysis on [...] Read more.
This study carries out a quantitative analysis of the impact on microclimate (air temperature and thermal comfort) of a row of 165 historical Pinus pinea L. located in a central neighbourhood of Rome (Italy). The analysis starts from a qualitative general analysis on the stressful conditions leading to tree decline in the urban environment especially during extreme climate change phenomena. Subsequently, the effects of planting new types of trees are assessed using ENVI-met, a 3D prognostic non-hydrostatic model for the simulation of surface-plant-air interactions. Results, obtained by simulating three different scenarios in which the trees are first removed and then modified, show that a gradual renewal of the existing trees, based on priority criteria of maturity or senescence, vegetative and phytosanitary conditions, efficiency of ecosystem services and safety for citizens, has positive effects on thermal comfort. By integrating current results and scientific literature, the final aim of this work is to provide stakeholders with a strategic and systemic planning methodology, which, based on the innovative integrated use of tree management and modelling tools, may (i) enhance the benefits of greening in a scenario of climate change and (ii) lead to intervention strategies based on complementarity between conservation of existing trees and tree renewal. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spatio-Temporal Variation of Ozone Concentrations and Ozone Uptake Conditions in Forests in Western Germany
Atmosphere 2020, 11(11), 1261; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11111261 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 556
Abstract
The study analyzes the long-term trends (1998–2019) of concentrations of the air pollutants ozone (O3) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) as well as meteorological conditions at forest sites in German midrange mountains to evaluate changes in O3 uptake conditions [...] Read more.
The study analyzes the long-term trends (1998–2019) of concentrations of the air pollutants ozone (O3) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) as well as meteorological conditions at forest sites in German midrange mountains to evaluate changes in O3 uptake conditions for trees over time at a plot scale. O3 concentrations did not show significant trends over the course of 22 years, unlike NO2 and NO, whose concentrations decreased significantly since the end of the 1990s. Temporal analyses of meteorological parameters found increasing global radiation at all sites and decreasing precipitation, vapor pressure deficit (VPD), and wind speed at most sites (temperature did not show any trend). A principal component analysis revealed strong correlations between O3 concentrations and global radiation, VPD, and temperature. Examination of the atmospheric water balance, a key parameter for O3 uptake, identified some unusually hot and dry years (2003, 2011, 2018, and 2019). With the help of a soil water model, periods of plant water stress were detected. These periods were often in synchrony with periods of elevated daytime O3 concentrations and usually occurred in mid and late summer, but occasionally also in spring and early summer. This suggests that drought protects forests against O3 uptake and that, in humid years with moderate O3 concentrations, the O3 flux was higher than in dry years with higher O3 concentrations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Soybean Evapotranspiration and Controlled Water Stress Using Traditional and Converted Evapotranspirometers
Atmosphere 2020, 11(8), 830; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11080830 - 06 Aug 2020
Viewed by 664
Abstract
Evapotranspiration (ETR), reference evapotranspiration (ET0), and seasonal ETR totals were determined for soybean over two growing seasons, at Keszthely, Hungary, using traditionally operated and converted evapotranspirometers. The study aimed to document the plant–water response of two soybean varieties [...] Read more.
Evapotranspiration (ETR), reference evapotranspiration (ET0), and seasonal ETR totals were determined for soybean over two growing seasons, at Keszthely, Hungary, using traditionally operated and converted evapotranspirometers. The study aimed to document the plant–water response of two soybean varieties (Sinara: Sin; Sigalia: Sig) which have different water demands. Three water supply treatments were tested: unlimited (WW) watering, 50% of crop water requirement (RO), and rainfed (P). Reconstructed evapotranspirometers allowed crop water deprivation to be simulated under field conditions. ETR sums were higher during the cooler 2017 than in the warmer 2018, calling attention to the importance of being informed about more detailed meteorological variables other than monthly (seasonal) means. In addition to variation in daily mean air temperatures (Ta), maximum Ta played a key role in determining ETR under naturally occurring extreme weather conditions in 2018. Irrespective of the variety, daily mean ETR was on average 65–75% greater than in the water-stress treatment. Unexpectedly, water stress-tolerant Sin used slightly more water than Sig, which was bred for standard weather conditions. Measured mean ETR was as much as 10% higher than derived ET0 rates, causing crop coefficient to exceed 1.0 during flowering. Careful selection of the soybean variety when practicing water-saving management may lead to more efficient variety improvement in a breeding program. It may also be important for soybean producers and farmers to adopt the best variety, aiming to decrease the use of irrigation water to increase seed yield. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Growth Response of Endemic Black Pine Trees to Meteorological Variations and Drought Episodes in a Mediterranean Region
Atmosphere 2020, 11(6), 554; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11060554 - 27 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 686
Abstract
Weather variations affect natural ecosystems, while in regions where climate change is anticipated to intensify extreme events such as droughts, the vitality of vulnerable species may be reduced. The sensitivity of key-species to the climatic conditions may illustrate their adjustability in specific areas [...] Read more.
Weather variations affect natural ecosystems, while in regions where climate change is anticipated to intensify extreme events such as droughts, the vitality of vulnerable species may be reduced. The sensitivity of key-species to the climatic conditions may illustrate their adjustability in specific areas and assist decision making towards proper mitigation and adaptation measures. Pinus nigra, commonly known as black pine, is an endemic species, forming many protected habitats in the Mediterranean. In this study, black pine tree-ring data from Greece are used to assess the response of tree growth to specific temperature-related (mean, max. and min. temperature and diurnal temperature range) and water-related (precipitation, evapotranspiration, relative humidity and vapor pressure deficit) meteorological parameters. Additionally, the effect of drought episodes is estimated using indices, including the well-established standardised precipitation index (SPI) and reconnaissance drought index (RDI), as well as two recently proposed modifications, namely, the agricultural SPI (aSPI) and the effective RDI (eRDI). The outcomes reveal several seasonal patterns, emphasising the sensitivity of black pine principally to water-related meteorological parameters, with winter and early spring conditions having a primary role on annual tree growth. Black pine seems to be tolerant to drought in the study region, in terms of its resilience; however, there are indications that multiyear droughts may have prolonged effects on tree growth, which may last approximately three years after drought ends. Additionally, it is derived that both aSPI and eRDI illustrate more efficiently tree growth response to drought, indicating that these modifications provide increased accuracy regarding drought characterisation in the forest environment. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Assessment of Ozone risk to Forests: Time series indicates large-scale exceedance of Ozone Critical Levels
Abstract: The study analyzes long-term trends (1998–2019) of ozone (O3) flux, in dependence to Meteorological and Meteorological derived data at forest sites in German midrange mountains to evaluate in the variance of O3 flux of trees over time at plot scale. Phytotoxic O3 Dose over a Threshold Y (Y=1; POD1) (for the five soil water models approaches) and day of exceedance of critical levels have been calculated with DO3SE model for existing Level II plots in Rhinland Palatinate (2 European Beech and 3 Norway spruce sites). It could be shown, that POD1 rates are higher in times without water stress for trees as in periods with drought stress. A principal component analysis revealed strong correlations between O3 concentration, daytime O3, O3 flux, global radiation, vapor pressure deficit and temperature. Moreover, Pearson correlation coefficient showed high positive correlation between POD1 and soil water content (SWC) at all sites. The results showed significant decreasing trend in POD1 for some sites over the time-period 1998–2019. Also, Random Forests Analysis (RFA) confirmed that after stomatal leaf conductance (gsto), SWC was one of the most important predictor of O3 flux in a group of variables considering to water supply at all sites. This suggests that soil water supply is very important for PODy. That has to be recognized by calculation, because drought conditions decrease stomatal conductance, which leads to smaller diffusion rates of CO2 and other trace gases into leaves as well as to a reduction of transpiration.. Soil water deficit protects forests tress against O3 uptake. In humid years with moderate O3 concentrations the O3 flux is higher than in dry years with high O3 concentrations.
Keywords: Ozone risk of forests; ozone flux; DO3SE Model; long time series, drought; soil water supply and POD; Day of exceedance critical ozone level

Title: Above- and belowground responses to experimental climate forcing in two forb species from the wooded pastures of Jura Mountains, Switzerland
Abstract: Mountain ecosystems are particularly threatened by ongoing climate change and the e.g. species composition of grassland at higher elevation has already started to show changes. In the Mountland experiment, the responses to experimental climate forcing of wooded pastures from the Jura Mountains of Switzerland were analyzed in the framework of a transplant experiment conducted downwards an elevational temperature and precipitation gradient (up to +4.17 K and -35% precipitation). In this study and with a view to mechanistic understanding of plant responses, changes in functional traits within foliage and roots  of one ubiquitous (Taraxacum officinale) and one montane (Alchemilla monticola) forb species were investigated, applying a holistic plant syndrome approach. Both species raised their temperature optimum for assimilation and net photosynthesis yield, as a function of recipient site elevation. However, the leaf physiology steadily varied during the 2011 vegetation season, with higher gas exchanges at recipient sites during colder periods and the opposite trend during a spring drought and summer warm spells. Regarding the less transient morpho-anatomical traits, Alchemilla primarily adjusted to warmer temperatures at recipient sites with increased leaf and foliage rosette size. Missing xeromorphic and/or hydraulic adjustments in foliage and roots, the susceptibility to higher vapor pressure deficits and lower soil moisture availability was thus enhanced. Taraxacum showed adjustments to both warmer temperature and lower moisture availability, including reduced leaf size, lower hydraulic diameter of vessels and, by the way, specific hydraulic conductivity. Changes in both species thus appeared consistent with the ecology of ubiquitous Taraxacun and montane Alchemilla. The expected and complex shift in the environmental conditions, with reduced coldness limitation but increasingly constraining water economy, could be then particularly demanding for montane species of wooded pastures. It may foster perennials with large phenotypic plasticity but leads to maladjustments and species loss regarding the species more specifically adapted to montane conditions.

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