Special Issue "Biotic Interactions in Forest Ecosystems"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2020) | Viewed by 2581

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Santiago Soliveres
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Alicante
Interests: community assembly; global change; planta-plant interactions; ecosystem functioning
Dr. Claire Fortunel
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
IRD (French National Research Institute for Development), UMR AMAP (Botany and Modelling of Plant Architecture and Vegetation)
Interests: community ecology; species coexistence; functional traits; phylogenetics; ecosystem functioning; global change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Forests are complex ecosystems that have long fascinated ecologists. After decades of research focusing on the responses of trees to abiotic factors (e.g., climate, soil, and disturbances), biotic interactions have emerged as important mechanisms that shape species differences in tree performance, thereby contributing to patterns of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning along environmental gradients. Biotic interactions also have the potential to improve the prediction and mitigation of the consequences of land management and global changes on forest systems, in particular to develop tools to maintain the services that forests provide to humans.

This Special Issue aims to gather contributions covering the most important biotic interactions in forests, from competitive/facilitative interactions between trees (i.e., within a trophic level) to interactions between trees and their mutualistic partners or natural enemies (i.e., between trophic levels). We will focus on providing a better mechanistic understanding of (i) the role of biotic interactions in generating forest diversity and function, but also (ii) the role of the interplay of biotic interactions with environmental and management factors in shaping forest systems. We will include contributions that report on the key forest biomes on Earth through diverse approaches (modeling, experimental, and observational studies) and on various spatio-temporal scales (from tree individuals to forested landscapes, and from instant tree responses to long-term forest dynamics). This joint effort will present the cutting edge of current research on the roles of biotic interactions in forest ecosystems.

Dr. Santiago Soliveres
Dr. Claire Fortunel
Guest Editors

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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Forests 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 2000 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.


  • plant–plant interactions
  • plant–pathogen interactions
  • plant–herbivore interactions
  • plant–soil interactions
  • mutualistic interactions
  • species coexistence
  • global change

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Dwarf Mistletoe Infection Interacts with Tree Growth Rate to Produce Opposing Direct and Indirect Effects on Resin Duct Defenses in Lodgepole Pine
Forests 2020, 11(2), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11020222 - 15 Feb 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1233
Research Highlights: I sought to disentangle the influences of tree age, growth rate, and dwarf mistletoe infection on resin duct defenses in lodgepole pine, Pinus contorta Douglas ex Loudon, revealing the presence of direct positive and indirect negative effects of mistletoe on defenses. [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: I sought to disentangle the influences of tree age, growth rate, and dwarf mistletoe infection on resin duct defenses in lodgepole pine, Pinus contorta Douglas ex Loudon, revealing the presence of direct positive and indirect negative effects of mistletoe on defenses. Background and Objectives: For protection against natural enemies, pines produce and store oleoresin (resin) in ‘resin ducts’ that occur throughout the tree. Dwarf mistletoe, Arceuthobium americanum Nutt. ex Engelm. (hereafter “mistletoe”), is a widespread parasitic plant affecting the pines of western North America. Infection by mistletoe can suppress pine growth and increase the probability of insect attack—possibly due to a reduction in resin duct defenses or in the potency of chemical defenses at higher levels of mistletoe infection, as reported in Pinus banksiana Lamb. However, the influence of mistletoe infection on defenses in other pine species remains unclear. I hypothesized that mistletoe infection would induce greater resin duct defenses in P. contorta while simultaneously suppressing annual growth, which was expected to reduce defenses. Materials and Methods: Using increment cores from P. contorta trees occurring in a subalpine forest of Colorado, USA, I quantified tree age, annual growth, annual resin duct production (#/annual ring), and cross-sectional area (mm2 of resin ducts/annual ring). Results: Mistletoe infection increased with tree age and had a direct positive relationship with resin duct defenses. However, mistletoe infection also had an indirect negative influence on defenses via the suppression of annual growth. Conclusions: Through the combined direct and indirect effects, mistletoe infection had a net positive impact on resin duct production but a net negative impact on the total resin duct area. This finding highlights the complexity of pine defense responses to natural enemies and that future work is needed to understand how these responses influence overall levels of resistance and the risk of mortality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic Interactions in Forest Ecosystems)
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