Special Issue "Forest Carbon Dynamics under Changing Climate and Disturbance Regimes"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Jagtar Bhatti
Website
Guest Editor
Northern Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, Edmonton, AB T6H 3S5, Canada.
Interests: Carbon, Forest productivity, peatlands, disturbances, climate change, nutrient cycling, greenhouse gases
Dr. Kara L. Webster
Website
Guest Editor
Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, Great Lakes Forestry Centre, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.
Interests: Soil biogeochemistry, hydrology, greenhouse gases, carbon, peatlands, forests
Dr. Céline Boisvenue
Website1 Website2 Website3
Guest Editor
Adjunct Professor, University of British Columbia
Research Scientist, Canadian Forest Service
506 Burnside Rd W., Victoria, BC, V8Z 1M5, Canada
Interests: Forest productivity, forest dynamics, forest carbon, statistical modelling, biogeochemical modelling, growth and yield modelling, greenhouse gas estimation
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Determining whether forest (both upland and lowland) are, have been, or will be a carbon source or sink is critical to improving our ability to predict changes in the carbon balance in forest ecosystems. Climate change may affect ecosystem productivity, allocation of aboveground versus belowground biomass and microbial populations and their activities. Under climate change scenarios of increasing temperature and changes in precipitation patterns, the standing biomass (aboveground carbon stock) would increase and soil carbon (SOC) would perturb various ecosystem processes, such as photosynthesis and autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration. None of these processes is well understood or quantified across spatiotemporal scales.

Forest carbon (C) is significantly affected by both natural and anthropogenic disturbances.  A natural disturbance can be a destructive event with drastic perturbations of an ecosystem, such as harvesting, fire, drought, insects and diseases, mining, seismic lines, and in-situ oil sand extraction, which could result in changes abiotic and biotic variables influencing the C distribution in different components of a forest ecosystem.  Both climate and disturbances also interact to influence latitudinal patterns of vegetation and C storage.  This Special Issue will examine the importance of forest C in the global carbon cycle; potential feedback on atmospheric CO2 concentration and climate change; attempt to improve both our knowledge of the amounts, spatial distributions and processes controlling C dynamics and our ability to predict changes in the terrestrial carbon balance.

Dr. Jagtar Bhatti
Dr. Kara L. Webster
Dr. Céline Boisvenue
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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

  • forest
  • carbon cycle
  • carbon dynamics
  • GHGs source and sink
  • anthropogenic disturbances
  • natural disturbances
  • climate change
  • forest productivity
  • litter fall rate
  • soil C changes
  • forest disturbance
  • post-disturbance carbon dynamics
  • disturbance type and carbon balance
  • cross-scale carbon estimation in forests
  • role of non-commercial forest components in forest carbon dynamics
  • Northern forests and disturbance effects on stored carbon

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Roads Impact Tree and Shrub Productivity in Adjacent Boreal Peatlands
Forests 2020, 11(5), 594; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11050594 - 24 May 2020
Abstract
Peatlands in the western boreal plains of Canada are important ecosystems as they store over two percent of global terrestrial carbon. However, in recent decades, many of these peatlands have been fragmented by access roads constructed for resource extraction and transportation, challenging their [...] Read more.
Peatlands in the western boreal plains of Canada are important ecosystems as they store over two percent of global terrestrial carbon. However, in recent decades, many of these peatlands have been fragmented by access roads constructed for resource extraction and transportation, challenging their carbon storage potential. To investigate how roads have been impacting tree and shrub growth and productivity in these peatlands, this study was conducted in a forested bog and woody fen in Carmon Creek, Alberta, Canada. In 2017, vegetation surveys were conducted along 20 m transects that extended on both sides of the road with 4 m2 circular plots at 2, 6 and 20 m distance from the road and were followed by disc or core collection from woody stems. Within 20 m of the road at the bog site, we observed a shift towards significantly larger radial growth of trees in the downstream areas (t = 3.23, p = 0.006) where water table position was deeper, while at the fen site, radial growth of tall shrubs had little response to the road. Combining the effects of direct tree clearing and hydrology induced shifts in growth, aboveground net primary productivity (NPPag) post-road construction was reduced significantly in areas where vegetation was cleared during the road construction (i.e., upstream areas of the bog: t = 5.21, p < 0.0001 and downstream areas of the fen: t = 2.64, p = 0.07). Substantially lower NPPag around the road construction areas compared to reference areas shows tremendous loss of carbon sink potential of trees and shrubs after road construction through peatlands. Altogether, roads constructed through peatlands perpendicular to the water flow may shift long-term carbon sinks into sources of carbon, at least for the initial few years following road construction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Carbon Dynamics under Changing Climate and Disturbance Regimes)
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Open AccessArticle
Warming Effects on Topsoil Organic Carbon and C:N:P Stoichiometry in a Subtropical Forested Landscape
Forests 2020, 11(1), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11010066 - 06 Jan 2020
Abstract
Warming effects on agricultural and forest ecosystems have been well documented at broad spatiotemporal scales but less so at stand and landscape scales. To detect the changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) and carbon:nitogen:phosphorus (C:N:P) stoichiometry in response to a short-range warming gradient, [...] Read more.
Warming effects on agricultural and forest ecosystems have been well documented at broad spatiotemporal scales but less so at stand and landscape scales. To detect the changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) and carbon:nitogen:phosphorus (C:N:P) stoichiometry in response to a short-range warming gradient, we defined an inverse elevation-dependent warming gradient and developed a novel index of warming based on a common environmental lapse rate. We associated the warming gradient and warming index with the changes in SOC and C:N:P stoichiometry and tested the independence of warming effects using partial correlation analysis. SOC content and C:N:P stoichiometric ratios significantly decreased with warming, and the effect of warming on C:N:P stoichiometric ratios were stronger than on SOC content. The relationships of SOC content and C:N:P stoichiometric ratios with warming did not change after controlling for two other energy-related variables, i.e., transmitted total radiation and potential direct incident radiation. However, the strength in the relationships of C:N:P stoichiometric ratios with vegetation-related variables significantly decreased after the warming index was controlled for. As indicated by the random forest regression model, the warming index was the most important variable for predicting SOC variability and the second most important for predicting total N variability, while vegetation-related variables were the most important for predicting C:N:P stoichiometric ratios. Our results showed that warming was responsible for the decrease in SOC content and C:N:P stoichiometric ratios and the warming index was the most important variable for predicting SOC variability. Although the most important variables for C:N:P stoichiometric ratios were related to vegetation, the relationships between C:N:P stoichiometric ratios and vegetation-related variables were significantly affected by warming. These findings demonstrate that warming is the major driver of SOC variability and the decrease in SOC content, as well as of C:N:P stoichiometry, even along a short-range warming gradient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Carbon Dynamics under Changing Climate and Disturbance Regimes)
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Open AccessArticle
Inorganic Nitrogen Addition Affects Soil Respiration and Belowground Organic Carbon Fraction for a Pinus tabuliformis Forest
Forests 2019, 10(5), 369; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10050369 - 28 Apr 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The capability of forest ecosystems to sequester carbon from the atmosphere largely depends on the interaction of soil organic matter and nitrogen, and thus, this process will be greatly influenced by nitrogen deposition under the future scenario of global change. To clarify this [...] Read more.
The capability of forest ecosystems to sequester carbon from the atmosphere largely depends on the interaction of soil organic matter and nitrogen, and thus, this process will be greatly influenced by nitrogen deposition under the future scenario of global change. To clarify this interaction, the current study explored the variations in soil carbon fraction and soil respiration with different levels of nitrogen deposition. NH4NO3 was added at concentrations of 0, 50, 100, 200, and 400 kg N ha−1 year−1 separately on twenty 100 m2 plots in a Pinus tabuliformis Carr forest in northern China. Soil samples were analyzed for their nutrient content and biophysical properties two years after nitrogen application, and the soil respiration rate was measured every month during the study period. Seasonal variation and nitrogen addition significantly affected soil respiration rate. On average, nitrogen addition significantly reduced the annual soil respiration rate by 23.74%. Fine root biomass significantly decreased by an average of 43.55% in nitrogen treatment plots compared to the control plot. However, the average proportions of autumn and winter soil respiration rates out of the annual cumulative soil respiration rate greatly increased from 23.57% and 11.04% to 25.90% and 12.18%, respectively. The soil microbial biomass carbon content in the control plot was 342.39 mg kg−1, 23.50% higher than the average value in nitrogen treatment plots. The soil dissolved organic carbon was reduced by 22.60%, on average, following nitrogen addition. Significant correlations were detected between fine root biomass and the annual cumulative soil respiration rate, soil microbial biomass carbon content, and soil dissolved organic carbon content. This demonstrates that nitrogen addition affects soil organic carbon transformation and carbon emission, mainly by depressing fine root production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Carbon Dynamics under Changing Climate and Disturbance Regimes)
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Open AccessArticle
Variability of Aboveground Litter Inputs Alters Soil Carbon and Nitrogen in a Coniferous–Broadleaf Mixed Forest of Central China
Forests 2019, 10(2), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020188 - 20 Feb 2019
Cited by 9
Abstract
Global changes and human disturbances can strongly affect the quantity of aboveground litter entering soils, which could result in substantial cascading effects on soil biogeochemical processes in forests. Despite extensive reports, it is unclear how the variations in litter depth affect soil carbon [...] Read more.
Global changes and human disturbances can strongly affect the quantity of aboveground litter entering soils, which could result in substantial cascading effects on soil biogeochemical processes in forests. Despite extensive reports, it is unclear how the variations in litter depth affect soil carbon and nitrogen cycling. The responses of soil carbon and nitrogen to the variability of litter inputs were examined in a coniferous–broadleaf mixed forest of Central China. The litter input manipulation included five treatments: no litter input, natural litter, double litter, triple litter, and quadruple litter. Multifold litter additions decreased soil temperature but did not affect soil moisture after 2.5 years. Reductions in soil pH under litter additions were larger than increases under no litter input. Litter quantity did not affect soil total organic carbon, whereas litter addition stimulated soil dissolved organic carbon more strongly than no litter input suppressed it. The triggering priming effect of litter manipulation on soil respiration requires a substantial litter quantity, and the impacts of a slight litter change on soil respiration are negligible. Litter quantity did not impact soil total nitrogen, and only strong litter fluctuations changed the content of soil available nitrogen (nitrate nitrogen and ammonium nitrogen). Litter addition enhanced soil microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen more strongly than no litter input. Our results imply that the impacts of multifold litter inputs on soil carbon and nitrogen are different with a single litter treatment. These findings suggest that variability in aboveground litter inputs resulting from environmental change and human disturbances have great potential to change soil carbon and nitrogen in forest ecosystems. The variability of aboveground litter inputs needs to be taken into account to predict the responses of terrestrial soil carbon and nitrogen cycling to environmental changes and forest management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Carbon Dynamics under Changing Climate and Disturbance Regimes)
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Sensitivity of Subtropical Stand Aboveground Productivity to Local and Regional Climate Signals in South China
Forests 2019, 10(1), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10010071 - 18 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Subtropical forest productivity is significantly affected by both natural disturbances (local and regional climate changes) and anthropogenic activities (harvesting and planting). Monthly measures of forest aboveground productivity from natural forests (primary and secondary forests) and plantations (mixed and single-species forests) were developed to [...] Read more.
Subtropical forest productivity is significantly affected by both natural disturbances (local and regional climate changes) and anthropogenic activities (harvesting and planting). Monthly measures of forest aboveground productivity from natural forests (primary and secondary forests) and plantations (mixed and single-species forests) were developed to explore the sensitivity of subtropical mountain productivity to the fluctuating characteristics of climate change in South China, spanning the 35-year period from 1981 to 2015. Statistical analysis showed that climate regulation differed across different forest types. The monthly average maximum temperature, precipitation, and streamflow were positively correlated with primary and mixed-forest aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) and its components: Wood productivity (WP) and canopy productivity (CP). However, the monthly average maximum temperature, precipitation, and streamflow were negatively correlated with secondary and single-species forest ANPP and its components. The number of dry days and minimum temperature were positively associated with secondary and single-species forest productivity, but inversely associated with primary and mixed forest productivity. The multivariate ENSO (EI Niño-Southern Oscillation) index (MEI), computed based on sea level pressure, surface temperature, surface air temperature, and cloudiness over the tropical Pacific Ocean, was significantly correlated with local monthly maximum and minimum temperatures (Tmax and Tmin), precipitation (PRE), streamflow (FLO), and the number of dry days (DD), as well as the monthly means of primary and mixed forest aboveground productivity. In particular, the mean maximum temperature increased by 2.5, 0.9, 6.5, and 0.9 °C, and the total forest aboveground productivity decreased by an average of 5.7%, 3.0%, 2.4%, and 7.8% in response to the increased extreme high temperatures and drought events during the 1986/1988, 1997/1998, 2006/2007, and 2009/2010 EI Niño periods, respectively. Subsequently, the total aboveground productivity values increased by an average of 1.1%, 3.0%, 0.3%, and 8.6% because of lagged effects after the wet La Niña periods. The main conclusions of this study demonstrated that the influence of local and regional climatic fluctuations on subtropical forest productivity significantly differed across different forests, and community position and plant diversity differences among different forest types may prevent the uniform response of subtropical mountain aboveground productivity to regional climate anomalies. Therefore, these findings may be useful for forecasting climate-induced variation in forest aboveground productivity as well as for selecting tree species for planting in reforestation practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Carbon Dynamics under Changing Climate and Disturbance Regimes)
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Open AccessArticle
Responses of Soil Organic Carbon Sequestration Potential and Bacterial Community Structure in Moso Bamboo Plantations to Different Management Strategies in Subtropical China
Forests 2018, 9(10), 657; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9100657 - 20 Oct 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Moso bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of converting secondary broadleaf evergreen forests (CK) to Moso bamboo plantations, and the impact of different management strategies, including no disturbance (M0), [...] Read more.
Moso bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of converting secondary broadleaf evergreen forests (CK) to Moso bamboo plantations, and the impact of different management strategies, including no disturbance (M0), extensive management (M1), and intensive management (M2), on the soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration potential, and relevant characteristics of the soil bacterial community. Our results showed that, in comparison with CK, M0 and M1 had significantly higher SOC and recalcitrant organic materials (aliphatic and aromatic compounds), and a lower C mineralization rate, whereas M2 had the opposite effects. The conversion from CK to Moso bamboo plantation significantly decreased the relative abundance of Acidobacteria in both the topsoil and subsoil soil layers. Compared with CK, M0 led to the enrichment of bacteria such as Alphaproteobacteria, Chloroflexi, and Bacteroidetes, which are involved in the decomposition of organic matter and the formation of humus and are, therefore, potentially beneficial for increasing the SOC. Furthermore, the ratio of the microbial biomass C (MBC) to total organic C (TOC), C mineralization rate, and bacterial diversity increased from M0 to M2, i.e., with an increase in the disturbance intensity. These findings indicate that the conversion of secondary broadleaf forest to bamboo forest alter the soil bacterial community structure. Reducing disturbance in bamboo forest management strategies should be actively taken up to improve the SOC, and maintain sustainable development in the forest industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Carbon Dynamics under Changing Climate and Disturbance Regimes)
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