Special Issue "Physiological Responses to Abiotic and Biotic Stress in Forest Trees"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecophysiology and Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2019).

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A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Heinz Rennenberg
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Guest Editor
Institut für Forstwissenschaften Professur für Baumphysiologie Georges-Köhler Allee, Geb. 53/54 79110 Freiburg, Germany
Interests: nitrogen and phosphorus nutrition; nitrogen and sulfur metabolism; abiotic and biotic stress physiology; biogenic emissions; phytoremediation
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Andrea Polle
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Guest Editor
Forstbotanik und Baumphysiologie, Büsgen-Institut, Georg-August Universität Göttingen, Büsgenweg 2, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Interests: molecular physiology of tree stress adaptation; biotic interaction and functional diversity of mycorrhiza

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As sessile organisms, plants have to cope in their environment with a multitude of natural and anthropogenic forms of stress. Due to their longevity, this is of particular significance for trees. As a consequence, trees developed an orchestra of resilience and resistance mechanisms to biotic and abiotic stresses in order to support their growth and development in a constantly changing atmospheric and pedospheric environment. The objective of this Special Issue of Forests is to summarize state-of-art knowledge and to report current progress on processes that determine resilience and resistance of trees from different zonobiomes to all forms of biotic and abiotic stress from the molecular to the whole tree level by review articles and original research papers.

Prof. Dr. Heinz Rennenberg
Prof. Dr. Andrea Polle
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • climate change
  • heat
  • drought
  • water logging
  • salt stress
  • soil contamination
  • parasites
  • pathogens
  • herbivore

Published Papers (18 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Physiological Responses to Abiotic and Biotic Stress in Forest Trees
Forests 2019, 10(9), 711; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10090711 - 21 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Forests fulfill important ecological functions by sustaining nutrient cycles and providing habitats for a multitude of organisms. They further deliver ecosystem services such as carbon storage, protection from erosion, and wood as an important commodity. Trees have to cope in their environment with [...] Read more.
Forests fulfill important ecological functions by sustaining nutrient cycles and providing habitats for a multitude of organisms. They further deliver ecosystem services such as carbon storage, protection from erosion, and wood as an important commodity. Trees have to cope in their environment with a multitude of natural and anthropogenic forms of stress. Resilience and resistance mechanisms to biotic and abiotic stresses are of special importance for long-lived tree species. Since trees exist for many decades or even centuries on the same spot, they have to acclimate their growth and reproduction to constantly changing atmospheric and pedospheric conditions. In this special issue, we invited contributions addressing the physiological responses of forest trees to a wide array of different stress factors. Among the eighteen papers published, seventeen covered drought or salt stress as major environmental cues, highlighting the relevance of this topic in times of climate change. Only one paper studied cold stress [1]. The dominance of drought and salt stress studies underpins the need to understand tree responses to these environmental threats from the molecular to the ecophysiological level. The papers contributing to this Special Issue cover these scientific aspects in different areas of the globe and encompass conifers as well as broadleaf tree species. In addition, two studies deal with bamboo (Phyllostachys sp., [1,2]). Bamboo, although botanically belonging to grasses, was included because its ecological functions and applications are similar to those of trees. Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle
Salicylic Acid Alleviated Salt Damage of Populus euphratica: A Physiological and Transcriptomic Analysis
Forests 2019, 10(5), 423; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10050423 - 16 May 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Populus euphratica Oliv. is a model tree for studying abiotic stress, especially salt stress response. Salt stress is one of the most extensive abiotic stresses, which has an adverse effect on plant growth and development. Salicylic acid (SA) is an important signaling molecule [...] Read more.
Populus euphratica Oliv. is a model tree for studying abiotic stress, especially salt stress response. Salt stress is one of the most extensive abiotic stresses, which has an adverse effect on plant growth and development. Salicylic acid (SA) is an important signaling molecule that plays an important role in modulating the plant responses to abiotic stresses. To answer whether the endogenous SA can be induced by salt stress, and whether SA effectively alleviates the negative effects of salt on poplar growth is the main purpose of the study. To elucidate the effects of SA and salt stress on the growth of P. euphratica, we examined the morphological and physiological changes of P. euphratica under 300 mM NaCl after treatment with different concentrations of SA. A pretreatment of P. euphratica with 0.4 mM SA for 3 days effectively improved the growth status of plants under subsequent salt stress. These results indicate that appropriate concentrations of exogenous SA can effectively counteract the negative effect of salt stress on growth and development. Subsequently, transcripts involved in salt stress response via SA signaling were captured by RNA sequencing. The results indicated that numerous specific genes encoding mitogen-activated protein kinase, calcium-dependent protein kinase, and antioxidant enzymes were upregulated. Potassium transporters and Na+/H+ antiporters, which maintain K+/Na+ balance, were also upregulated after SA pretreatment. The transcriptome changes show that the ion transport and antioxidant enzymes were the early enhanced systems in response of P. euphratica to salt via SA, expanding our knowledge about SA function in salt stress defense in P. euphratica. This provides a solid foundation for future study of functional genes controlling effective components in metabolic pathways of trees. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Pretreatment with High-Dose Gamma Irradiation on Seeds Enhances the Tolerance of Sweet Osmanthus Seedlings to Salinity Stress
Forests 2019, 10(5), 406; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10050406 - 10 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The landscape application of sweet osmanthus (Osmanthus fragrans) with flower fragrance and high ornamental value is severely limited by salinity stress. Gamma irradiation applied to seeds enhanced their tolerance to salinity stress as reported in other plants. In this study, O. [...] Read more.
The landscape application of sweet osmanthus (Osmanthus fragrans) with flower fragrance and high ornamental value is severely limited by salinity stress. Gamma irradiation applied to seeds enhanced their tolerance to salinity stress as reported in other plants. In this study, O. fragrans ‘Huangchuang Jingui’ seeds were pretreated with different doses of gamma irradiation, and tolerance of the seedlings germinated from the irradiated seeds to salinity stress and the changes of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and ROS scavenging systems induced by gamma irradiation were observed. The results showed that seed pretreatment with different doses of gamma irradiation enhanced the tolerance of sweet osmanthus seedlings to salinity stress, and the positive effect induced by gamma irradiation was more remarkable with the increase of radiation dose (50–150 Gy). The pretreatment with high-dose irradiation decreased O2 production under salinity stress and mitigated the oxidative damage marked by a lower malondialdehyde (MDA) level, which could be related to the significant increase of superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD) and catalase (CAT) activities in the seedlings germinated from the irradiated seeds compared to the corresponding control seedlings. In addition, the accumulation of proline in the irradiated seedlings may contribute to enhancing their tolerance to salt stress by the osmotic adjustment. The study demonstrated the importance of regulating plant ROS balance under salt stress and provided a potential approach to improve the tolerance of sweet osmanthus to salt stress. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Soil Silicon Amendment Increases Phyllostachys praecox Cold Tolerance in a Pot Experiment
Forests 2019, 10(5), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10050405 - 10 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Cultivated bamboos are occasionally subjected to cold stress in winter, and silicon could improve their cold tolerance. However, evidence of the effect of Si on bamboos is still limited. Therefore, a batch and pot experiment was conducted for six months to investigate the [...] Read more.
Cultivated bamboos are occasionally subjected to cold stress in winter, and silicon could improve their cold tolerance. However, evidence of the effect of Si on bamboos is still limited. Therefore, a batch and pot experiment was conducted for six months to investigate the effects of different Si fertilizer application rates (0, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 4.0, and 8.0 g kg−1 of soil weight) on the physiological responses and photosynthesis parameters of Phyllostachys praecox under a simulated cold stress condition. The cold temperature was set to 5 °C, 0 °C, and −5 °C, successively. The bamboo biomass increased significantly when the Si amendment rate was at least 2.0 g kg−1 (P = 0.002), and the highest biomass increase and root-to-canopy ratio were obtained with the 4.0 g kg−1 Si amendment. Furthermore, the Si contents in all organs of the bamboos increased with the increase of the Si amendment rate. The highest content of Si among the other organs was observed in the leaf, and the content was 68.95 mg kg−1 with the treatment of 4.0 g kg−1. With the application of Si, the photosynthesis rate of bamboo leaves was significantly increased (P = 0.008). The Si-amended bamboo exhibited a cold tolerance that was associated with stimulating antioxidant systems, and the enzyme activities of superoxide dismutase, peroxidase, and catalase increased with the increase of the Si amendment rate, whereas the malondialdehyde content and cell membrane permeability decreased with all Si treatments. A low temperature of −5 °C exerted effects on the bamboo leaf chloroplasts, but the ultrastructures of the chloroplasts remained intact after Si treatment. These findings suggest that Si fertilizer enhances bamboo growth and the tolerance of bamboo plants to cold stress. However, a high application rate (8.0 g kg−1) caused a decline in the bamboo biomass, compared to T4. Thus, a Si fertilization rate of 2.0~8.0 g kg−1 is recommended for bamboos under cold conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characteristics and Expression Analysis of FmTCP15 under Abiotic Stresses and Hormones and Interact with DELLA Protein in Fraxinus mandshurica Rupr.
Forests 2019, 10(4), 343; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10040343 - 17 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The TEOSINTE BRANCHED1, CYCLOIDEA, and PROLIFERATION CELL FACTOR (TCP) transcription factor is a plant-specific gene family and acts on multiple functional genes in controlling growth, development, stress response, and the circadian clock. In this study, a class I member of the TCP family [...] Read more.
The TEOSINTE BRANCHED1, CYCLOIDEA, and PROLIFERATION CELL FACTOR (TCP) transcription factor is a plant-specific gene family and acts on multiple functional genes in controlling growth, development, stress response, and the circadian clock. In this study, a class I member of the TCP family from Fraxinus mandshurica Rupr. was isolated and named FmTCP15, which encoded a protein of 362 amino acids. Protein structures were analyzed and five ligand binding sites were predicted. The phylogenetic relationship showed that FmTCP15 was most closely related to Solanaceae and Plantaginaceae. FmTCP15 was localized in the nuclei of F. mandshurica protoplast cells and highly expressed in cotyledons. The expression pattern revealed the FmTCP15 response to multiple abiotic stresses and hormone signals. Downstream genes for transient overexpression of FmTCP15 in seedlings were also investigated. A yeast two-hybrid assay confirmed that FmTCP15 could interact with DELLA proteins. FmTCP15 participated in the GA-signaling pathway, responded to abiotic stresses and hormone signals, and regulated multiple genes in these biological processes. Our study revealed the potential value of FmTCP15 for understanding the molecular mechanisms of stress and hormone signal responses. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental Controls on the Seasonal Variation in Gas Exchange and Water Balance in a Near-Coastal Mediterranean Pinus halepensis Forest
Forests 2019, 10(4), 313; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10040313 - 05 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.) is widespread in most countries of the Mediterranean area. In Greece, Aleppo pine forms natural stands of high economic and ecological importance. Understanding the species’ ecophysiological traits is important in our efforts to predict its responses to [...] Read more.
Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.) is widespread in most countries of the Mediterranean area. In Greece, Aleppo pine forms natural stands of high economic and ecological importance. Understanding the species’ ecophysiological traits is important in our efforts to predict its responses to ongoing climate variability and change. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the seasonal dynamic in Aleppo pine gas exchange and water balance on the leaf and canopy levels in response to the intra-annual variability in the abiotic environment. Specifically, we assessed needle gas exchange, water potential and δ13C ratio, as well as tree sap flow and canopy conductance in adult trees of a mature near-coastal semi-arid Aleppo pine ecosystem, over two consecutive years differing in climatic conditions, the latter being less xerothermic. Maximum photosynthesis (Amax), stomatal conductance (gs), sap flow per unit leaf area (Ql), and canopy conductance (Gs) peaked in early spring, before the start of the summer season. During summer drought, the investigated parameters were negatively affected by the increasing potential evapotranspiration (PET) rate and vapor pressure deficit (VPD). Aleppo pine displayed a water-saving, drought avoidance (isohydric) strategy via stomatal control in response to drought. The species benefited from periods of high available soil water, during the autumn and winter months, when other environmental factors were not limiting. Then, on the leaf level, air temperature had a significant effect on Amax, while on the canopy level, VPD and net radiation affected Ql. Our study demonstrates the plasticity of adult Aleppo pine in this forest ecosystem in response to the concurrent environmental conditions. These findings are important in our efforts to predict and forecast responses of the species to projected climate variability and change in the region. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial and Temporal Calcium Signaling and Its Physiological Effects in Moso Bamboo under Drought Stress
Forests 2019, 10(3), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10030224 - 02 Mar 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Elevations in cytosolic free calcium concentration constitute a fundamental signal transduction mechanism in plants; however, the particular characteristics of calcium ion (Ca2+) signal occurrence in plants is still under debate. Little is known about how stimulus-specific Ca2+ signal fluctuations are [...] Read more.
Elevations in cytosolic free calcium concentration constitute a fundamental signal transduction mechanism in plants; however, the particular characteristics of calcium ion (Ca2+) signal occurrence in plants is still under debate. Little is known about how stimulus-specific Ca2+ signal fluctuations are generated. Therefore, we investigated the identity of the Ca2+ signal generation pathways, influencing factors, and the effects of the signaling network under drought stress on Phyllostachys edulis (Carrière) J. Houz. Non-invasive micro testing and laser confocal microscopy technology were used as platforms to detect and record Ca2+ signaling in live root tip and leaf cells of P. edulis under drought stress. We found that Ca2+ signal intensity (absorption capacity) positively correlated with degree of drought stress in the P. edulis shoots, and that Ca2+ signals in different parts of the root tip of P. edulis were different when emitted in response to drought stress. This difference was reflected in the Ca2+ flux and in regional distribution of Ca2+. Extracellular Ca2+ transport requires the involvement of the plasma membrane Ca2+ channels, while abscisic acid (ABA) can activate the plasma membrane Ca2+ channels. Additionally, Ca2+ acted as the upstream signal of H2O2 in the signaling network of P. edulis under drought stress. Ca2+ was also involved in the signal transduction process of ABA, and ABA can promote the production of Ca2+ signals in P. edulis leaves. Our findings revealed the physiological role of Ca2+ in drought resistance of P. edulis. This study establishes a theoretical foundation for research on the response to Ca2+ signaling in P. edulis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification and Analysis of a CPYC-Type Glutaredoxin Associated with Stress Response in Rubber Trees
Forests 2019, 10(2), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020158 - 12 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Glutaredoxins (GRXs) are a class of small oxidoreductases which modulate various biological processes in plants. Here, we isolated a GRX gene from the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis Müll. Arg.), named as HbSRGRX1, which encoded 107 amino acid residues with a CPYC [...] Read more.
Glutaredoxins (GRXs) are a class of small oxidoreductases which modulate various biological processes in plants. Here, we isolated a GRX gene from the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis Müll. Arg.), named as HbSRGRX1, which encoded 107 amino acid residues with a CPYC active site. Phylogenetic analysis displayed that HbSRGRX1 was more correlated with GRXs from Manihot esculenta Crantz. and Ricinus communis L. HbSRGRX1 was localized in the nuclei of tobacco cells, and its transcripts were preferentially expressed in male flowers and in the high-yield variety Reyan 7-33-97 with strong resistance against cold. The expression levels of HbSRGRX1 significantly decreased in tapping panel dryness (TPD) trees. Furthermore, HbSRGRX1 was regulated by wounding, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and multiple hormones. Altogether, these results suggest important roles of HbSRGRX1 in plant development and defense response to TPD and multiple stresses. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ecophysiological Responses of Carpinus turczaninowii L. to Various Salinity Treatments
Forests 2019, 10(2), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020096 - 25 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Carpinus turczaninowii L., commonly known as hornbeam, has significant economic and ornamental importance and is largely distributed in the northern hemisphere, including parts of China and Korea, with high adaptation to harsh conditions in very unfertile soils. In this study, the ecophysiological responses [...] Read more.
Carpinus turczaninowii L., commonly known as hornbeam, has significant economic and ornamental importance and is largely distributed in the northern hemisphere, including parts of China and Korea, with high adaptation to harsh conditions in very unfertile soils. In this study, the ecophysiological responses of C. turczaninowii seedlings to various salinity stress treatments (NaCl: 0, 17, 34, 51, 68, and 85 mM) were studied for 42 days by determining stress-induced changes in growth parameters and biochemical markers. Salinity stress affected the values of all the examined parameters, both morphological and physiological, and caused the inhibition of plant growth, the degradation of photosynthetic capacity and stomatal behavior, a decrease in the photosynthetic pigments contents and relative water content, an increase in the Malondialdehyde (MDA) content and relative electrolytic conductivity, and the accumulation of Na+ and Cl content. The presence of relatively high concentrations of organic osmolytes, the activation of antioxidant enzymes, and the ionic transport capacity from the root to shoots may represent a constitutive mechanism of defence against stress in C. turczaninowii seedlings. Our results suggest that C. turczaninowii can tolerate salinity at low and moderate concentrations (17–51 mM) under nursery conditions and can be widely used in roadsides, gardens, parks, and other urban areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Low Water Availability Increases Necrosis in Picea abies after Artificial Inoculation with Fungal Root Rot Pathogens Heterobasidion parviporum and Heterobasidion annosum
Forests 2019, 10(1), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10010055 - 12 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Research Highlights: Dedicated experiments to investigate how disturbances will affect Heterobasidion sp.—Norway spruce pathosystems are important, in order to develop different strategies to limit the spread of Heterobasidion annosum s.l. under the predicted climate change. Here, we report on a greenhouse experiment to [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: Dedicated experiments to investigate how disturbances will affect Heterobasidion sp.—Norway spruce pathosystems are important, in order to develop different strategies to limit the spread of Heterobasidion annosum s.l. under the predicted climate change. Here, we report on a greenhouse experiment to evaluate the effects of water availability on the infection severity of Heterobasidion parviporum or Heterobasidion annosum, respectively, on Picea abies saplings. Background and Objectives: Changes in climatic conditions and intense logging will continue to promote H. annosum s.l. in conifer forests, increasing annual economic losses. Thus, our aim was to test if disease severity in Norway spruce was greater after infection with H. parviporum or H. annosum in low water availability conditions, compared to seedlings with high water availability. Materials and Methods: We performed inoculation studies of three-year-old saplings in a greenhouse. Saplings were treated as high (+) or low (−) water groups: High water group received double the water amount than the low water group. The necrosis observed after pathogen inoculation was measured and analyzed. Results: The seedling growth was negatively influenced in the lower water group. In addition, the water availability enhanced the necrosis length of H. parviporum in phloem and sapwood (vertical length) in the low water group. H. annosum benefited only in horizontal length in the phloem. Conclusions: Disturbances related to water availability, especially low water conditions, can have negative effects on the tree host and benefit the infection ability of the pathogens in the host. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Growth and Needle Properties of Young Pinus koraiensis Sieb. et Zucc. Trees across an Elevational Gradient
Forests 2019, 10(1), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10010054 - 11 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
A better understanding of the response of plant growth to elevational gradients may shed light on how plants respond to environmental variation and on the physiological mechanisms underlying these responses. This study analyzed whole plant growth and physiological and morphological properties of needles [...] Read more.
A better understanding of the response of plant growth to elevational gradients may shed light on how plants respond to environmental variation and on the physiological mechanisms underlying these responses. This study analyzed whole plant growth and physiological and morphological properties of needles in young Pinus koraiensis Sieb. et Zucc. trees at thirteen points along an elevational gradient ranging from 750 to 1350 m above sea level (a.s.l.) at the end of a growing season on Changbai Mountain in northeastern China. Sampling and analyses indicated the following; (1) many needle properties of P. koraiensis varied with forest type along the elevational gradient though some needle properties (e.g., intrinsic water use efficiency, concentration of chlorophyll, and leaf mass per area) did not change with elevation and forest types; (2) growth was significantly influenced by both forest type and elevation and growth of saplings in P. koraiensis and mixed broadleaved forests was greater than that in evergreen forests and increased with elevation in both forest types; (3) in P. koraiensis and mixed broadleaved forests, there were significant correlations between growth properties and light saturation point, leaf water potential, mean within-crown humidity, annual precipitation, cumulative temperature (≥5 C), within-crown air temperature, and atmospheric pressure; while in evergreen forests, the leaf C, leaf P content, net rate of light saturation in photosynthesis, water content of soil, within-crown humidity, annual precipitation, cumulative temperature (≥5 C), within-crown air temperature, and total soil P content displayed a significant relationship with plant growth. These results may help illuminate how P. koraiensis responds to environmental variation and evaluate the adaptive potential of Pinus koraiensis to climate change. Data presented here could also contribute to the more accurate estimation of carbon stocks in this area and to refinement of a plant trait database. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Positive Effect of Different 24-epiBL Pretreatments on Salinity Tolerance in Robinia pseudoacacia L. Seedlings
Forests 2019, 10(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10010004 - 20 Dec 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
As a brassinosteroid (BR), 24-epibrassinolide (24-epiBL) has been widely used to enhance the resistance of plants to multiple stresses, including salinity. Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) is a common species in degraded soils. In the current study, plants were pretreated with three [...] Read more.
As a brassinosteroid (BR), 24-epibrassinolide (24-epiBL) has been widely used to enhance the resistance of plants to multiple stresses, including salinity. Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) is a common species in degraded soils. In the current study, plants were pretreated with three levels of 24-epiBL (0.21, 0.62, or 1.04 µM) by either soaking seeds during the germination phase (Sew), foliar spraying (Spw), or root dipping (Diw) at the age of 6 months. The plants were exposed to salt stress (100 and 200 mM NaCl) via automatic drip-feeding (water content ~40%) for 45 days after each treatment. Increased salinity resulted in a decrease in net photosynthesis rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (Gs), intercellular:ambient CO2 concentration ratio (Ci/Ca), water-use efficiency (WUEi), and maximum quantum yield of photosystem II (PSII) (Fv/Fm). Non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) and thermal dissipation (Hd) were elevated under stress, which accompanied the reduction in the membrane steady index (MSI), water content (RWC), and pigment concentration (Chl a, Chl b, and Chl). Indicators of oxidative stress (i.e., malondialdehyde (MDA) and antioxidant enzymes (peroxidase (POD) and superoxide dismutase (SOD)) in leaves and Na+ content in chloroplasts increased accompanied by a reduction in chloroplastid K+ and Ca2+. At 200 mM NaCl, the chloroplast and thylakoid ultrastructures were severely disrupted. Exogenous 24-epiBL improved MSI, RWC, K+, and Ca2+ content, reduced Na+ levels, maintained chloroplast and thylakoid membrane structures, and enhanced the antioxidant ability in leaves. 24-epiBL also substantially alleviated stress-induced limitations of photosynthetic ability, reflected by elevated chlorophyll fluorescence, pigment levels, and Pn. The positive effects of alleviating salt stress in R. pseudoacacia seedlings in terms of treatment application was Diw > Sew > Spw, and the most positive impacts were seen with 1.04 µM 24-epiBL. These results provide diverse choice for 24-epiBL usage to defend against NaCl stress of a plant. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Nitrogen Nutrition of European Beech Is Maintained at Sufficient Water Supply in Mixed Beech-Fir Stands
Forests 2018, 9(12), 733; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9120733 - 23 Nov 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Research highlights: Interaction effects of coniferous on deciduous species have been investigated before the background of climate change. Background and objectives: The cultivation of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) in mixed stands has currently received attention, since the future performance of beech [...] Read more.
Research highlights: Interaction effects of coniferous on deciduous species have been investigated before the background of climate change. Background and objectives: The cultivation of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) in mixed stands has currently received attention, since the future performance of beech in mid-European forest monocultures in a changing climate is under debate. We investigated water relations and nitrogen (N) nutrition of beech in monocultures and mixed with silver-fir (Abies alba Mill.) in the Black Forest at different environmental conditions, and in the Croatian Velebit at the southern distribution limit of beech, over a seasonal course at sufficient water availability. Material and methods: Water relations were analyzed via δ13C signatures, as integrative measures of water supply assuming that photosynthesis processes were not impaired. N nutrition was characterized by N partitioning between soluble N fractions and structural N. Results: In the relatively wet year 2016, water relations of beech leaves, fir needles and roots differed by season, but generally not between beech monocultures and mixed cultivation. At all sites, previous and current year fir needles revealed significantly lower total N contents over the entire season than beech leaves. Fir fine roots exhibited higher or similar amounts of total N compared to needles. Correlation analysis revealed a strong relationship of leaf and root δ13C signatures with soil parameters at the mixed beech stands, but not at pure beech stands. While glutamine (Gln) uptake capacity of beech roots was strongly related to soil N in the monoculture beech stands, arginine (Arg) uptake capacities of beech roots were strongly related to soil N in mixed stands. Conclusions: Leaf N contents indicated a facilitative effect of silver-fir on beech on sites where soil total N concentrations where low, but an indication of competition effect where it was high. This improvement could be partially attributed to protein contents, but not to differences in uptake capacity of an individual N source. From these results it is concluded that despite similar performance of beech trees at the three field sites investigated, the association with silver-fir mediated interactive effects between species association, climate and soil parameters even at sufficient water supply. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Natural and Synthetic Hydrophilic Polymers Enhance Salt and Drought Tolerance of Metasequoia glyptostroboides Hu and W.C.Cheng Seedlings
Forests 2018, 9(10), 643; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9100643 - 15 Oct 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
We compared the effects of hydrophilic polymer amendments on drought and salt tolerance of Metasequoia glyptostroboides Hu and W.C.Cheng seedlings using commercially available Stockosorb and Luquasorb synthetic hydrogels and a biopolymer, Konjac glucomannan (KGM). Drought, salinity, or the combined stress of both drought [...] Read more.
We compared the effects of hydrophilic polymer amendments on drought and salt tolerance of Metasequoia glyptostroboides Hu and W.C.Cheng seedlings using commercially available Stockosorb and Luquasorb synthetic hydrogels and a biopolymer, Konjac glucomannan (KGM). Drought, salinity, or the combined stress of both drought and salinity caused growth retardation and leaf injury in M. glyptostroboides. Under a range of simulated stress conditions, biopolymers and synthetic hydrogels alleviated growth inhibition and leaf injury, improved photosynthesis, and enhanced whole-plant and unit transpiration. For plants subjected to drought conditions, Stockosorb hydrogel amendment specifically caused a remarkable increase in water supply to roots due to the water retention capacity of the granular polymer. Under saline stress, hydrophilic polymers restricted Na+ and Cl concentrations in roots and leaves. Moreover, root K+ uptake resulted from K+ enrichment in Stockosorb and Luquasorb granules. Synthetic polymers and biopolymers increased the ability of M. glyptostroboides to tolerate combined impacts of drought and salt stress due to their water- and salt-bearing capacities. Similar to the synthetic polymers, the biopolymer also enhanced M. glyptostroboides drought and salt stress tolerance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Drought-Affected Populus simonii Carr. Show Lower Growth and Long-Term Increases in Intrinsic Water-Use Efficiency Prior to Tree Mortality
Forests 2018, 9(9), 564; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9090564 - 13 Sep 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
The Three-North Shelter Forest (TNSF) is a critical ecological barrier against sandstorms in northern China, but has shown extensive decline and death in Populus simonii Carr. in the last decade. We investigated the characteristics—tree-ring width, basal area increment (BAI), carbon isotope signature ( [...] Read more.
The Three-North Shelter Forest (TNSF) is a critical ecological barrier against sandstorms in northern China, but has shown extensive decline and death in Populus simonii Carr. in the last decade. We investigated the characteristics—tree-ring width, basal area increment (BAI), carbon isotope signature (13Ccor), and intrinsic water-use efficiency (iWUE)—of now-dead, dieback, and non-dieback trees in TNSF shelterbelts of Zhangbei County. Results from the three groups were compared to understand the long-term process of preceding drought-induced death and to identify potential early-warning proxies of drought-triggered damage. The diameter at breast height (DBH) was found to decrease with the severity of dieback, showing an inverse relationship. In all three groups, both tree-ring width and BAI showed quadratic relationships with age, and peaks earlier in the now-dead and dieback groups than in the non-dieback group. The tree-ring width and BAI became significantly lower in the now-dead and dieback groups than in the non-dieback group from 17 to 26 years before death, thus, these parameters can serve as early-warning signals for future drought-induced death. The now-dead and dieback groups had significantly higher δ13Ccor and iWUEs than the non-dieback group at 7–16 years prior to the mortality, indicating a more conservative water-use strategy under drought stress compared with non-dieback trees, possibly at the cost of canopy defoliation and long-term shoot dieback. The iWUE became significantly higher in the now-dead group than in the dieback group at 0–7 years before death, about 10 years later than the divergence of BAI. After the iWUE became significantly different among the groups, the now-dead trees showed lower growth and died over the next few years. This indicates that, for the TNSF shelterbelts studied, an abrupt iWUE increase can be used as a warning signal for acceleration of impending drought-induced tree death. In general, we found that long-term drought decreased growth and increased iWUE of poplar tree. Successive droughts could drive dieback and now-dead trees to their physiological limits of drought tolerance, potentially leading to decline and mortality episodes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Growth and Physicochemical Changes of Carpinus betulus L. Influenced by Salinity Treatments
Forests 2018, 9(6), 354; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060354 - 14 Jun 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Carpinus betulus L. is a deciduous tree widely distributed in Europe with strong adaptation, and it plays a key role in landscaping and timbering because of its variety of colors and shapes. Recently introduced to China for similar purposes, this species needs further [...] Read more.
Carpinus betulus L. is a deciduous tree widely distributed in Europe with strong adaptation, and it plays a key role in landscaping and timbering because of its variety of colors and shapes. Recently introduced to China for similar purposes, this species needs further study as to its physiological adaptability under various soil salinity conditions. In this study, the growth and physicochemical changes of C. betulus seedlings cultivated in soil under six different levels of salinity stress (NaCl: 0, 17, 34, 51, 68, and 85 mM) were studied for 14, 28 and 42 days. The plant growth and gas exchange parameters were not changed much by 17 and 34 mM NaCl, but they were significantly affected after treatments with 51 ~ 85 mM NaCl. The chlorophyll content was not significantly affected at 17 and 34 mM salinity, and the relative water content, malondialdehyde content and cell membrane stability of C. betulus did not change obviously under the 17 and 34 mM treatments, indicating that C. betulus is able to adapt to low-salinity conditions. The amount of osmotic adjustment substances and the antioxidant enzyme activity of C. betulus increased after 14 and 28 days and then decreased with increasing salinity gradients, but the proline content was increased during the entire time for different salinities. The Na content of different organs increased in response to salinity, and the K/Na, Ca/Na, and Mg/Na ratios were significantly affected by salinity. These results suggest that the ability of C. betulus to synthesize osmotic substances and enzymatic antioxidants may be impaired under severe saline conditions (68 ~ 85 mM NaCl) but that it can tolerate and accumulate salt at low salinity concentrations (17 ~ 34 mM NaCl). Such information is useful for land managers considering introducing this species to sites with various soil salinity conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Non-Structural Carbohydrate Dynamics in Leaves and Branches of Pinus massoniana (Lamb.) Following 3-Year Rainfall Exclusion
Forests 2018, 9(6), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060315 - 01 Jun 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Drought-induced tree mortality is an increasing and global ecological problem. Stored non-structural carbohydrates (NSCs) may be a key determinant of drought resistance, but most existing studies are temporally limited. In this study, a 3-year 100% rainfall exclusion manipulation experiment was conducted to evaluate [...] Read more.
Drought-induced tree mortality is an increasing and global ecological problem. Stored non-structural carbohydrates (NSCs) may be a key determinant of drought resistance, but most existing studies are temporally limited. In this study, a 3-year 100% rainfall exclusion manipulation experiment was conducted to evaluate the response of NSC dynamics to drought stress in 25-year-old Pinus massoniana leaves and branches. The results showed: (1) compared with the control condition, leaf NSC concentration in the drought treatment increased 90% in the early stage (days 115–542) (p < 0.05), and then decreased 15% in the late stage (days 542–1032), which was attributed to water limitation instead of phenology; (2) the response of leaf NSCs to drought was more significant than branch NSCs, demonstrating a time lag effect; and (3) the response of P. massoniana to mild drought stress was to increase the soluble sugars and starch in the early stage, followed by an increase in soluble sugars caused by decreasing starch in the later stress period. Considering these results, mid-term drought stress had no significant effect on the total NSC concentration in P. massoniana, removing carbon storage as a potential adaptation to drought stress. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
What Makes the Wood? Exploring the Molecular Mechanisms of Xylem Acclimation in Hardwoods to an Ever-Changing Environment
Forests 2019, 10(4), 358; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10040358 - 25 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Wood, also designated as secondary xylem, is the major structure that gives trees and other woody plants stability for upright growth and maintains the water supply from the roots to all other plant tissues. Over recent decades, our understanding of the cellular processes [...] Read more.
Wood, also designated as secondary xylem, is the major structure that gives trees and other woody plants stability for upright growth and maintains the water supply from the roots to all other plant tissues. Over recent decades, our understanding of the cellular processes of wood formation (xylogenesis) has substantially increased. Plants as sessile organisms face a multitude of abiotic stresses, e.g., heat, drought, salinity and limiting nutrient availability that require them to adjust their wood structure to maintain stability and water conductivity. Because of global climate change, more drastic and sudden changes in temperature and longer periods without precipitation are expected to impact tree productivity in the near future. Thus, it is essential to understand the process of wood formation in trees under stress. Many traits, such as vessel frequency and size, fiber thickness and density change in response to different environmental stimuli. Here, we provide an overview of our current understanding of how abiotic stress factors affect wood formation on the molecular level focussing on the genes that have been identified in these processes. Full article
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