Special Issue "Main Drivers Affecting/Shaping the Diversity and Variability of Forests"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 December 2019.

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Jozef Šibík Website E-Mail
Institute of Botany, Plant Science & Biodiversity Center, Slovak Academy of Science. Dubravska cesta 9, 845 23 Bratislava, Slovakia
Interests: Classification; Climate changes; Disturbances; Vegetation dynamics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The biodiversity of forest ecosystems is affected by climatic, edaphic and geographic factors, together with natural disturbances and human-controlled forest management. In recent decades, upcoming climate change and intensification of land use have brought new challenges for forest adaptation. Global climate change causes weather anomalies, including severe droughts, shifts in precipitation patterns and intense storms that are reflected by the diversity and variability of forest ecosystems. Large scale-disturbances together with fragmentation of forest areas, intensive management, especially non-native tree planting, and invasion of alien species are contributing to biodiversity loss and the disappearance of rare forest species and thus, the homogenization of forest vegetation. In the past, forests were thought to be resistant to alien plant invasion, but nowadays, they are known to be affected by invasion processes. However, the mechanisms controlling invasion success are different and still not fully understood. The long-life cycles of trees contribute to the lag-phase in the invasion of forest habitats, as it can take a few decades for a tree to mature and reproduce, slowing local adaptation. Spatial and temporal environmental heterogeneity, which influence diversity at different scales, is crucial for the preservation of the forest ecosystem under a changing environment. Thus, improvement of the understanding of the processes that shape forest diversity, resistance to invasions, and regeneration after natural disturbances is essential. The goal of this Special Issue is to gather knowledge about the diversity, variability and habitat characteristics of forests to determine how these ecosystems react under stress and to improve predictions of the effects of climate and land-use changes on ecosystems.

Dr. Jozef Šibík
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. 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 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

  • biodiversity
  • disturbances
  • invasions
  • forest habitats
  • forest management
  • monitoring
  • regeneration
  • succession
  • variability drivers
  • vegetation dynamics

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Quantifying the Relationship among Impact Factors of Shrub Layer Diversity in Chinese Pine Plantation Forest Ecosystems
Forests 2019, 10(9), 781; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10090781 - 09 Sep 2019
Abstract
Shrub layer diversity is an essential component of the forest ecosystem diversity, that contributes significantly to structuring the community and maintaining diversity, especially in plantation forests. In previous studies, researchers have reported the strong relationship among various factors (i.e., soil composition, mean annual [...] Read more.
Shrub layer diversity is an essential component of the forest ecosystem diversity, that contributes significantly to structuring the community and maintaining diversity, especially in plantation forests. In previous studies, researchers have reported the strong relationship among various factors (i.e., soil composition, mean annual temperature, etc.) and shrub diversity. However, how these factors jointly influence shrub diversity and which factors could be considered the key factors is still unknown. In this study, we attempted to quantify the effect among environmental factors, soil factors and forest stand factors on shrub diversity. Twenty-seven variables were selected from 57 Chinese pine plantation plots in Huanglong Mountain, Yanan City, Shaanxi Province, China. The path models showed that latent variable of soil properties is the main effective factor of latent variable of shrub diversity (directly effect, path coefficient = 0.344) and the latent variable of site conditions is another effective factor of latent variable of shrub diversity (indirectly effect, path coefficient = 0.177); Besides, the latent variable of site conditions and forest properties directly affect the latent variable of soil properties (path coefficient = 0.514 and 0.326, respectively). Among the latent variable of soil properties, soil water content (SWC) has the biggest weight of 0.666, which indicated the most significant contribution of SWC to latent variables of shrub diversity. Total nitrogen, weighted 0.375, and total phosphorus, weighted 0.308, are also important factors and make a similar contribution to latent variable of shrub diversity. Soil organic matter (SOM) has a minimal impact (lowest weight, 0.059); among the objective variables of site condition, altitude contributes the most and is followed by litter thickness, weighted at 0.722 and 0.448, respectively. Furthermore, among all the variables affecting the latent variable of forest properties, forest age is recognized as the maximum impactor of soil property change, which weighted −0.941; and is followed by forest stock volume and diameter at breast height (DBH), weighted 0.795 and 0.788, respectively. The crowding index (C) has the lowest weight (−0.235) and demonstrated that spatial distribution and crowding of trees have minimal impact on the latent variable of Soil properties. diversity Overall, our study provides new insights into quantifying the relationships among different driving factors that potentially play a significant role in determining shrub layer diversity within the plantation forest. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Non-Native Black Pine (Pinus nigra J. F. Arnold) Plantations on Environmental Conditions and Undergrowth Diversity
Forests 2019, 10(7), 548; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10070548 - 29 Jun 2019
Abstract
The cover of introduced tree species in Europe has recently increased, due to several factors. Attempts to understand the impact of non-native edificator trees on the environmental conditions and diversity of undergrowth have so far been limited to a few studies. In this [...] Read more.
The cover of introduced tree species in Europe has recently increased, due to several factors. Attempts to understand the impact of non-native edificator trees on the environmental conditions and diversity of undergrowth have so far been limited to a few studies. In this paper, we analyse the effect of one of the most commonly planted non-native tree species–black pine (Pinus nigra J. F. Arnold) in the Carpathian-Pannonian region, north of the border of its native occurrence. The objectives of our study were to determine the following: (i) How does black pine, as a non-native edificator, change the forest structure and environmental conditions in comparison to those of native communities? (ii) How does black pine change the species composition of undergrowth in comparison to that of native communities? (iii) Which factors are associated with the impact of black pine on diversity? To answer these questions, we used the twin plot method, sampling two neighbouring plots with the same environmental conditions in which one plot of the pair is in a forest with native tree species composition and the second plot is in a planted non-native Pinus nigra plantation. We found that in forests dominated by the non-native black pine, (a) the tree canopy is significantly more open; (b) the cover of the shrub layer is significantly higher; (c) the needles of black pine form a significantly thicker litter layer and (d) the cover of the herb layer is significantly lower than that in the native forest. (e) Black pine plays a vital role in modifying local climate by altering air temperature and humidity; (f) there were no significant differences in the soil pH between black pine plantations and native forests; (g) the plantations of black pine cause changes in diversity at both the species and the community level and (h) the dissimilarity between black pine plantations and neighbouring native forests decreases at higher altitudes. Full article
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