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: closed (30 June 2021) | Viewed by 6435

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, Collections and Topics 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, Collections and Topics 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, Collections and Topics 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

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Keywords

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

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
Projected Changes in Terrestrial Vegetation and Carbon Fluxes under 1.5 °C and 2.0 °C Global Warming
Atmosphere 2022, 13(1), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13010042 - 28 Dec 2021
Viewed by 319
Abstract
The terrestrial ecosystem plays a vital role in regulating the exchange of carbon between land and atmosphere. This study investigates how terrestrial vegetation coverage and carbon fluxes change in a world stabilizing at 1.5 °C and 2 °C warmer than pre-industrial level. Model [...] Read more.
The terrestrial ecosystem plays a vital role in regulating the exchange of carbon between land and atmosphere. This study investigates how terrestrial vegetation coverage and carbon fluxes change in a world stabilizing at 1.5 °C and 2 °C warmer than pre-industrial level. Model results derived from 20 Earth System Models (ESMs) under low, middle, and high greenhouse emission scenarios from CMIP5 and CMIP6 are employed to supply the projected results. Although the ESMs show a large spread of uncertainties, the ensemble means of global LAI are projected to increase by 0.04 ± 0.02 and 0.08 ± 0.04 in the 1.5 and 2.0 °C warming worlds, respectively. Vegetation density is projected to decrease only in the Brazilian Highlands due to the decrease of precipitation there. The high latitudes in Eurasia are projected to have stronger increase of LAI in the 2.0 °C warming world compared to that in 1.5 °C warming level caused by the increase of tree coverage. The largest zonal LAI is projected around 70° N while the largest zonal NPP is projected around 60° N and equator. The zonally inhomogeneous increase of vegetation density and productivity relates to the zonally inhomogeneous increase of temperature, which in turn could amplify the latitudinal gradient of temperature with additional warming. Most of the ESMs show uniform increases of global averaged NPP by 10.68 ± 8.60 and 15.42 ± 10.90 PgC year−1 under 1.5 °C and 2.0 °C warming levels, respectively, except in some sparse vegetation areas. The ensemble averaged NEE is projected to increase by 3.80 ± 7.72 and 4.83 ± 10.13 PgC year−1 in the two warming worlds. The terrestrial ecosystem over most of the world could be a stronger carbon sink than at present. However, some dry areas in Amazon and Central Africa may convert to carbon sources in a world with additional 0.5 °C warming. The start of the growing season in the northern high latitudes is projected to advance by less than one month earlier. Five out of 10 CMIP6 ESMs, which use the Land Use Harmonization Project (LUH2) dataset or a prescribed potential vegetation distribution to constrain the future change of vegetation types, do not reduce the model uncertainties in projected LAI and terrestrial carbon fluxes. This may suggest the challenge in optimizing the carbon fluxes modeling in the future. Full article
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Article
Intra-Annual Variation of Stem Circumference of Tree Species Prevailing in Hemi-Boreal Forest on Hourly Scale in Relation to Meteorology, Solar Radiation and Surface Ozone Fluxes
Atmosphere 2021, 12(8), 1017; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12081017 - 08 Aug 2021
Viewed by 556
Abstract
(1) Background: Continuous monitoring of the tree stem increment throughout the year is crucial for the understanding of trees’ reactions to changes in meteorology, solar radiation and surface ozone and evaluating the adaptive capacity of prevailing tree species to recent environmental global changes; [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Continuous monitoring of the tree stem increment throughout the year is crucial for the understanding of trees’ reactions to changes in meteorology, solar radiation and surface ozone and evaluating the adaptive capacity of prevailing tree species to recent environmental global changes; (2) Methods: Data on tree intra-annual sequences based on electronic dendrometer data of Picea abies (L.) Karst, Pinus sylvestris L., Betula pendula, and Betula pubescens, growing under different nutritional and humidity conditions in the north-eastern part of Lithuania, together with their stem sap flow intensity, common meteorology and O3 fluxes, were used to meet the objectives of the study; (3) Results: Stem shrinking/contraction during the day, due to transpiration, and the swelling/expansion during the night was significantly related to meteorology, sun activity and O3 flux intensity. These variations were negatively related to current time and temperature, but positively to precipitation and relative humidity. O3 fluxed through the stomata stimulated the shrinking process more intensively than it inhibited the swelling process, but only for pine and birch trees. Spruce trees demonstrated the highest sensitivity to O3 impact due to its significant effect on the stem swelling process. Pine trees were less sensitive to O3 damages and birch trees were the least sensitive. An over-moisture regime at measoeutrophic organic soil forest site increased the significance of the effect of O3 on the tree increment of the considered tree species; (4) Conclusion: The most intensive tree ring formation of Scots pine trees in relation to recent environmental changes indicated their high resiliencies and adaptations to a local specific condition. Reduced tree growth intensity and weak relationships between the birch tree radios increment and main meteorological parameters indicated the lowest adaptive capacity of this tree species to recent environmental changes. Full article
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Article
Comparison of the Carbon and Water Fluxes of Some Aggressive Invasive Species in Baltic Grassland and Shrub Habitats
Atmosphere 2021, 12(8), 969; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12080969 - 28 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 555
Abstract
Biological systems are shaped by environmental pressures. These processes are implemented through the organisms exploiting their adaptation abilities and, thus, improving their spreading. Photosynthesis, transpiration, and water use efficiency are major physiological parameters that vary among organisms and respond to abiotic conditions. Invasive [...] Read more.
Biological systems are shaped by environmental pressures. These processes are implemented through the organisms exploiting their adaptation abilities and, thus, improving their spreading. Photosynthesis, transpiration, and water use efficiency are major physiological parameters that vary among organisms and respond to abiotic conditions. Invasive species exhibited special physiological performance in the invaded habitat. Photosynthesis and transpiration intensity of Fallopia japonica, Heracleum sosnowskyi, and Rumex confertus of northern and trans-Asian origin were performed in temperate extensive seminatural grassland or natural forest ecotones. The observed photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) ranged from 36.0 to 1083.7 μmol m−2 s−1 throughout the growing season depending on the meteorological conditions and habitat type. F. japonica and H. sosnowskyi settled in naturally formed shadowy shrub habitats characterized by the lowest mean PAR rates of 58.3 and 124.7 μmol m−2 s−1, respectively. R. confertus located in open seminatural grassland habitats where the mean PAR was 529.35 μmol m−2 s−1. Correlating with the available sunlight radiation (r = 0.9), the highest average photo assimilation rate was observed for R. confertus (p = 0.000). The lowest average intensity of photosynthesis rates was exhibited of F. japonica and H. sosnowskyi in shadowy shrub habitats. Transpiration and water use effectivity at the leaf level depended on many environmental factors. Positive quantitative responses of photosynthesis and transpiration to soil and meteorological conditions confirmed positive tolerance strategies of the invasive species succeeded by environmental adaptation to new habitats during their growing period sustained across a range of environments. Full article
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Article
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
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1109
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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Article
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
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 929
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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Article
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
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 998
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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Article
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 9 | Viewed by 1026
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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