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Special Issue "Forest Fine Roots in Changing Climate"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Isabella Børja

Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), Division of Biotechnology and Plant Health, Department of Forest Health, P. O. Box 115, 1431 NO - Ås, Norway
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Healthy forests depend on their successful adaptation to changing climate. However, current rising global temperatures, altered precipitation patterns, frequent droughts, and an increased length of growing season pose challenges for forests. Climatic changes influence forest trees in many intricate ways, with consequences for their vitality, productivity, and soil–carbon balance. As fine roots are the principal organs for absorption of water and nutrients, their growth patterns control forest health and sustainability. In addition, fine roots are often associated with ectomycorrhizas, which also have an impact on carbon stores in forest soils. Thus, root dynamics affect, not only nutrient cycling in ecosystems, but also the carbon budget in forest soils. Our current ability to predict the effects of climate change on root growth dynamics is limited by the general difficulties in measuring below-ground processes.  

The aim of this Special Issue is to highlight the importance of fine roots in forest adaptation to climatic changes. We invite manuscripts that document the impact of climatic changes on the processes, function, and dynamics of forest-tree fine roots. We encourage topics on the development of new methods for fine root assessment, which can improve measurements or model inputs, and enhance our understanding of the role of fine roots in the complex carbon source–sink relationship.

Dr. Isabella Børja
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

  • Extreme Climatic Events
  • Fine Root Dynamics
  • Fine Root Respiration
  • Fine Root Turnover
  • Fine Root Biomass
  • Carbon Sequestration
  • Ectomycorrhiza
  • Ecosystem Services
  • Modelling
  • Forest Management

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Fine Root Dynamics in Three Forest Types with Different Origins in a Subalpine Region of the Eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau
Forests 2018, 9(9), 517; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9090517
Received: 22 June 2018 / Revised: 23 August 2018 / Accepted: 25 August 2018 / Published: 27 August 2018
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Abstract
Fine roots play a crucial role in plant survival potential and biogeochemical cycles of forest ecosystems. Subalpine areas of the Eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau have experienced different forest re-establishment methods after clear-cutting primary forest. However, little is known about fine root dynamics of these [...] Read more.
Fine roots play a crucial role in plant survival potential and biogeochemical cycles of forest ecosystems. Subalpine areas of the Eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau have experienced different forest re-establishment methods after clear-cutting primary forest. However, little is known about fine root dynamics of these forests originating from artificial, natural and their combined processes. Here, we determined fine root traits (biomass, production and turnover rate) of three subalpine forest types, i.e., Picea asperata Mast. plantation forest (artificial planting, PF), natural secondary forest (natural without assisted regeneration, NF) and P. asperata broadleaved mixed forest (natural regeneration after artificial planting, MF) composed of planted P. asperata and naturally regenerated native broadleaved species. At the soil depth of 0–30 cm, fine root biomass was the highest in PF and fine root production was the highest in NF, and both were the lowest in MF. Fine root dynamics of the three forest types tended to decrease with soil depth, with larger variations in PF. Fine root biomass and production were the highest in PF in 0–10 cm soil layer but were not significantly different among forest types in the lower soil layers. There were positive correlations between these parameters and aboveground biomass across forest types in soil layer of 0–10 cm, but not in the lower soil layers. Fine root turnover rate was generally higher in mixed forests than in monocultures at all soil depths. In conclusion, the natural regeneration procedure after clear-cutting in the subalpine region of western Sichuan seems to be superior from the perspective of fine root dynamics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Fine Roots in Changing Climate)
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Open AccessArticle The Effects of Dynamic Root Distribution on Land–Atmosphere Carbon and Water Fluxes in the Community Earth System Model (CESM1.2.0)
Forests 2018, 9(4), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9040172
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 29 March 2018
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Abstract
Roots are responsible for the uptake of water and nutrients by plants, and they have the plasticity to respond dynamically to different environmental conditions. However, currently, most climate models only prescribe rooting profiles as a function of the vegetation type of the land [...] Read more.
Roots are responsible for the uptake of water and nutrients by plants, and they have the plasticity to respond dynamically to different environmental conditions. However, currently, most climate models only prescribe rooting profiles as a function of the vegetation type of the land component, with no consideration of the surroundings. In this study, a dynamic rooting scheme describing root growth as a compromise between water and nitrogen availability in the subsurface was incorporated into the Community Earth System Model 1.2.0 (CESM1.2.0). The dynamic rooting scheme was incorporated to investigate the effects of land–atmosphere carbon and water fluxes, and their subsequent influences on climate. The modeling results of global land–atmosphere coupling simulations from 1982 to 2005 show that the dynamic rooting scheme can improve gross primary production (GPP) and evapotranspiration (ET) in most tropical regions, and in some high-latitude regions with lower mean biases (MBEs) and root mean square errors (RMSEs). Obvious differences in 2-m air temperature were found in low-latitude areas, with decreases of up to 2 °C. Under the influence of local land-surface feedback and large-scale moisture advection, total precipitation in the northeastern area of the Amazon and the west coast of Africa increased by 200 mm year−1, and that of South America, central Africa, and Indonesia increased by 50 to 100 mm year−1. Overall, the model incorporating the dynamic rooting scheme may reveal cooling and humidifying effects, especially for tropical regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Fine Roots in Changing Climate)
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Open AccessArticle Fine Root Biomass and Its Relationship with Aboveground Traits of Larix gmelinii Trees in Northeastern China
Forests 2018, 9(1), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9010035
Received: 23 November 2017 / Revised: 9 January 2018 / Accepted: 12 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1759 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fine roots play a prominent role in forest carbon flux, nutrient and water acquisition; however, information on fine roots remains scarce due to the limitation of measuring methods. In this study, a nested regression method was used to estimate the biomass and surface [...] Read more.
Fine roots play a prominent role in forest carbon flux, nutrient and water acquisition; however, information on fine roots remains scarce due to the limitation of measuring methods. In this study, a nested regression method was used to estimate the biomass and surface area of fine roots of individual Larix gmelinii trees that dominate northernmost China. Aboveground traits including leaf biomass, leaf area, stem volume and aboveground biomass were also investigated. In particular, the relationships between leaves and fine roots, in terms of biomass and area, were examined. The results revealed that allometric models of fine roots, total roots, and leaves consistently fit well with Adj. R2 = 0.92–0.97. The root-shoot ratio at the individual tree level was approximately 0.28. There were robust positive linear correlations between absorption (fine root biomass, fine root surface area) and production (leaf biomass, leaf area) (Adj. R2 = 0.95, p < 0.001). In conclusion, the close coupling between fine roots and leaves presented in this study provides support for the theory of functional equilibrium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Fine Roots in Changing Climate)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Warming and Precipitation Manipulation on Fine Root Dynamics of Pinus densiflora Sieb. et Zucc. Seedlings
Forests 2018, 9(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9010014
Received: 14 November 2017 / Revised: 19 December 2017 / Accepted: 22 December 2017 / Published: 25 December 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2380 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Air warming (TC: control; TW: +3 °C) and precipitation manipulation (PC: control; PD: −30%; PI: +30%) were established to examine effects of these treatments on fine root production (FRP), fine root mortality (FRM), and total root (coarse and fine root) biomass in 33- [...] Read more.
Air warming (TC: control; TW: +3 °C) and precipitation manipulation (PC: control; PD: −30%; PI: +30%) were established to examine effects of these treatments on fine root production (FRP), fine root mortality (FRM), and total root (coarse and fine root) biomass in 33- to 59-month-old Pinus densiflora Sieb. et Zucc. seedlings for two years. We hypothesized that warming and altered precipitation would affect the growth, death, and biomass of fine roots by changing soil temperature and soil water availability. Mean annual FRP and total root biomass were significantly altered by only precipitation manipulation: they were 29.3% (during the two-year period) and 69.0% (after the entire two years) higher, respectively, in PD plots than in PC plots, respectively. In contrast, only warming had a significant effect on mean annual FRM, being 13.2% lower in TW plots than TC plots during the two-year period. Meanwhile, fine root biomass was affected negatively and simultaneously by both soil temperature and soil moisture. It seemed that fine root dynamics have changed so that they maintain their systems in response to the altered soil temperature and moisture. The current study adds significant knowledge for understanding the fine root dynamics of P. densiflora seedlings under altered temperature and precipitation regimes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Fine Roots in Changing Climate)
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Open AccessArticle Short-Term Effects of Low Intensity Thinning on the Fine Root Dynamics of Pinus massoniana Plantations in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area, China
Forests 2017, 8(11), 428; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8110428
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 2 November 2017 / Accepted: 3 November 2017 / Published: 12 November 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1990 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fine roots play an important role in plant growth as well as carbon (C) and nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. Fine roots are important for understanding the contribution of forests to the global C cycle. Knowledge about this topic is still limited, especially [...] Read more.
Fine roots play an important role in plant growth as well as carbon (C) and nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. Fine roots are important for understanding the contribution of forests to the global C cycle. Knowledge about this topic is still limited, especially regarding the effects of different forest management practices. This study investigated the seasonal dynamics of fine roots (<2 mm) in masson pine (P. massoniana) plantations for one year after low intensity thinning by using a sequential soil coring method. The fine roots showed pronounced seasonal dynamics, with a peak of fine root biomass (FRB) occurring in September. Significant differences were noted in the seasonal dynamics of FRB for the different diameter size sub-classes (≤0.5 mm, 0.5–1 mm and 1–2 mm); also FRB was inversely related to soil depth. Moreover, the FRB (≤0.5 mm and 0.5–1 mm except 1–2 mm) in the thinning plots was greater than that in the control only in the upper soil layer (0–10 cm). Furthermore, the FRB varied significantly with soil temperature, moisture and nutrients depended on the diameter sub-class considered. Significant differences in the soil temperature and moisture levels were noted between low-intensity thinned and control plots. Soil nutrient levels slightly decreased after low-intensity thinning. In addition, there was a more sensitive relationship between the very fine roots (diameter < 0.5 mm) and soil nutrients. Our results showed an influence of low-intensity thinning on the fine root dynamics with a different magnitude according to fine root diameter sub-classes. These results provide a theoretical basis to promote the benefits of C cycling in the management of P. massoniana forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Fine Roots in Changing Climate)
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Open AccessArticle Decomposition of Leaves and Fine Roots in Three Subtropical Plantations in China Affected by Litter Substrate Quality and Soil Microbial Community
Forests 2017, 8(11), 412; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8110412
Received: 9 August 2017 / Revised: 19 October 2017 / Accepted: 23 October 2017 / Published: 30 October 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4175 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Leaf and root litter decomposition has been a major research focus. However, the possible effects of belowground microbial community structure and diversity on this process are poorly understood. Understanding the biochemical mechanisms controlling aboveground decomposition processes is important to predict the changes of [...] Read more.
Leaf and root litter decomposition has been a major research focus. However, the possible effects of belowground microbial community structure and diversity on this process are poorly understood. Understanding the biochemical mechanisms controlling aboveground decomposition processes is important to predict the changes of soil carbon and nutrient cycling in response to changes of forest management regimes. Here, we explore the biochemical controls of leaf and fine root decomposition in three subtropical plantations (Ford Erythrophleum (Erythrophleum fordii Oliver), Masson Pine (Pinus massoniana Lamb.)), and a mixed plantation containing both species) using the litterbag method, and soil microbial communities were determined using phospholipid fatty acid profiles. Overall, leaves decomposed more rapidly than fine roots, potentially due to the faster degradation of their cellulose component, but not lignin. In addition, leaf and fine root decomposition rates varied among plantations, being higher in E. fordii and lower in P. massoniana. Substrate quality such as N, Ca, lignin concentration, and C/N ratio were responsible for the decomposition rate changes among plantation types. Moreover, we used redundancy analysis to examine the relationships between litter decomposition and soil microbial community composition and diversity. Results revealed that actinobacteria and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi community were the key determinants affecting leaf and fine root litter decomposition, respectively. Our work demonstrates that litter decomposition was linked to substrate quality and to the structure of soil microbial communities, and evidences the probable role of E. fordii in increasing soil nutrient availability, especially N, P and Ca. Additional data on phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) or DNA marker groups within the litterbags over time may provide insights into litter decomposition dynamics, which represents potential objectives for future long-term decomposition studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Fine Roots in Changing Climate)
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Open AccessArticle Taxonomic and Functional Diversity of a Quercus pyrenaica Willd. Rhizospheric Microbiome in the Mediterranean Mountains
Forests 2017, 8(10), 390; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8100390
Received: 7 September 2017 / Revised: 6 October 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 12 October 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3002 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Altitude significantly affects vegetation growth and distribution, including the developmental stages of a forest. We used shotgun Illumina sequencing to analyze microbial community composition and functional potential in melojo-oak (Quercus pyrenaica Willd.) rhizospheric soil for three different development stages along an altitudinal [...] Read more.
Altitude significantly affects vegetation growth and distribution, including the developmental stages of a forest. We used shotgun Illumina sequencing to analyze microbial community composition and functional potential in melojo-oak (Quercus pyrenaica Willd.) rhizospheric soil for three different development stages along an altitudinal gradient: (a) a low altitude, non-optimal site for forest maintenance; (b) an intermediate altitude, optimal site for a forest; and (c) a high altitude, expansion site with isolated trees but without a real forest canopy. We observed that, at each altitude, the same microbial taxa appear both in the taxonomic analysis of the whole metagenome and in the functional analysis of the methane, sulfur and nitrogen metabolisms. Although there were no major differences at the functional level, there were significant differences in the abundance of each taxon at the phylogenetic level between the rhizospheres of the forest (low and intermediate altitudes) and the expansion site. Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria were the most differentially abundant phyla in forest soils compared to the expansion site rhizosphere. Moreover, Verrucomicrobia, Bacteroidetes and Nitrospirae phyla were more highly represented in the non-forest rhizosphere. Our study suggests that rhizospheric microbial communities of the same tree species may be affected by development stage and forest canopy cover via changes in soil pH and the C/N ratio. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Fine Roots in Changing Climate)
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Open AccessArticle Fine Root Dynamics in Afromontane Forest and Adjacent Land Uses in the Northwest Ethiopian Highlands
Forests 2017, 8(7), 249; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8070249
Received: 2 June 2017 / Revised: 6 July 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
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Abstract
Fine roots are a major pathway of C input into soils. The aim of this study was to quantify fine root stocks, production and turnover in natural forest and land use systems converted from forests in Ethiopia. The study was conducted in a [...] Read more.
Fine roots are a major pathway of C input into soils. The aim of this study was to quantify fine root stocks, production and turnover in natural forest and land use systems converted from forests in Ethiopia. The study was conducted in a remnant Afromontane forest, eucalyptus plantation and grass and cropland in NW Ethiopia. Fine root dynamics were investigated using three different methods: sequential coring, in-growth cores and in-growth nets. Soil cores for sequential analyses were taken in quarterly intervals, while in-growth cores and nets were harvested corresponding to 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, 8- and 12-month interval. Fine root stocks averaged 564, 425, 56 and 46 g·m−2 in the forest, eucalyptus, grazing land and cropland ecosystems, respectively. The values decreased exponentially with increasing soil depth. In forest and eucalyptus, fine root biomass and necromass were highest in the dry season. Estimates of fine root production differed according to the method used. Fine root production based on in-growth coring averaged 468, 293, 70 and 52 g m−2·year−1. In general, land use conversion from forest to open lands reduced fine root production by 85–91%. The turnover rate of fine roots was 1.5 for forest and 2.1 for eucalyptus plantation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Fine Roots in Changing Climate)
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Open AccessArticle Characteristics of Fine Roots of Pinus massoniana in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area, China
Forests 2017, 8(6), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8060183
Received: 1 May 2017 / Revised: 19 May 2017 / Accepted: 22 May 2017 / Published: 25 May 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1618 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Several studies have focused on fine roots characteristics because they provide a major pathway for nutrient cycling and energy flow in forest ecosystems. However, few studies have evaluated changes in fine root characteristics according to their diameter. Pinus massoniana forests are the main [...] Read more.
Several studies have focused on fine roots characteristics because they provide a major pathway for nutrient cycling and energy flow in forest ecosystems. However, few studies have evaluated changes in fine root characteristics according to their diameter. Pinus massoniana forests are the main vegetative component in the Three Gorges Reservoir area and play an important role in providing forest resources and ecological services. Pinus massoniana fine roots were sorted into 0–0.5, 0.5–1, and 1–2 mm diameter classes, and their fine root standing biomass (FRB), necromass, annual production and decomposition rates were determined and correlated with soil characteristics. These fine roots in three diameter classes significantly differed in their initial carbon (C), C/N ratio, FRB, necromass, annual C and N production and decomposition rate. The production and decomposition of these different diameter classes varied significantly with soil variables including soil temperature, moisture, calcium and ammonium concentration but the strength of these interactions varied dependent on diameter class. The very fine roots had a faster decomposition ratio than larger fine roots due to the lower N content, higher C/N ratio and higher sensitivity to soil environmental factors. These results clearly indicate heterogeneity among fine roots of different diameters, and these variations should be taken into account when studying fine root characteristics and their role in the C cycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Fine Roots in Changing Climate)
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