Special Issue "Natural Disturbance Dynamics Analysis for Forest Ecosystem Management"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Kalev Jõgiste
Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwaldi 1, Tartu, Estonia.
Interests: forest disturbance regimes, ecosystem legacy management, ecological memory

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Observations of climate change impacts are prompting scientists to search for alternative approaches to forest management. As changing climate alters successional trajectories leading to novel ecosystems, resilience concepts create new insights into the non-equilibrium dynamics of ecosystems.

The role of ecosystem legacies in the course of dynamic processes of forest biomes around the world requires thorough analysis before implementing new silvicultural techniques. Legacy syndromes, in which ecological memory is impacted by management activity, are suggested as a platform for designing ecosystem management in the future. The impact (length and strength) of the pool of ecosystem legacies and how they vary at different spatial and temporal scales is a most promising line of further research. In particular, the investigation of how the carbon cycle is directed by legacies is crucial to understanding climate change impacts. Analyses of successional trajectories, ecosystem memory, and novel ecosystems are needed to improve modelling in support of forests.

The objective of this Special Issue is to begin to untangle successional patterns and the driving forces of disturbances dynamics. To this end, we solicit scientists to share their cutting-edge research in ecosystem approaches to forest management. In particular, we are interested in further elaboration of the theory of ecological memory and the underpinnings of ecosystem legacies and legacy syndromes.

Prof. Dr. Kalev Jõgiste
Guest Editor

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 ecosystem
  • Natural disturbance
  • Ecosystem legacy
  • Ecological memory
  • Novel ecosystems

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Natural Disturbance Dynamics Analysis for Ecosystem-Based Management—FORDISMAN
Forests 2020, 11(6), 663; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11060663 - 11 Jun 2020
Abstract
Forest ecosystems are shaped by disturbances and functional features of vegetation recovery after disturbances. There is considerable variation in basic disturbance characteristics, magnitude, severity, and intensity. Disturbance legacies provide possible explanations for ecosystem resilience. The impact (length and strength) of the pool of [...] Read more.
Forest ecosystems are shaped by disturbances and functional features of vegetation recovery after disturbances. There is considerable variation in basic disturbance characteristics, magnitude, severity, and intensity. Disturbance legacies provide possible explanations for ecosystem resilience. The impact (length and strength) of the pool of ecosystem legacies and how they vary at different spatial and temporal scales is a most promising line of further research. Analyses of successional trajectories, ecosystem memory, and novel ecosystems are required to improve modelling in support of forests. There is growing evidence that managing ecosystem legacies can act as a driver in adaptive management to achieve goals in forestry. Managers can adapt to climate change and new conditions through anticipatory or transformational strategies of ecosystem management. The papers presented in this Special Issue covers a wide range of topics, including the impact of herbivores, wind, and anthropogenic factors, on ecosystem resilience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Disturbance Dynamics Analysis for Forest Ecosystem Management)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Long-Term Effect of Lophodermium Needle Cast on The Growth of Scots Pine and Implications for Financial Outcomes
Forests 2020, 11(7), 718; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11070718 - 29 Jun 2020
Abstract
In Northern Europe, climate change may facilitate the prevalence of Scots pine, yet also promote the spread of pathogens attacking this species. A common biotic risk for Scots pine in nurseries and young stands is Lophodermium needle cast, primarily caused by Lophodermium seditiosum [...] Read more.
In Northern Europe, climate change may facilitate the prevalence of Scots pine, yet also promote the spread of pathogens attacking this species. A common biotic risk for Scots pine in nurseries and young stands is Lophodermium needle cast, primarily caused by Lophodermium seditiosum, which negatively affects the survival and growth of saplings. Reduced tree growth has been observed several years after damage by Lophodermium needle cast. However, for decision-making in protection or resistance breeding, an estimate of financial loss is important. Thus, the study aimed to assess the long-term influence of Lophodermium needle cast on the growth and financial value of Scots pine stands. The effect of needle cast damage during the sixth growing season on growth at the age of 17 years was evaluated in a control-crossed Scots pine progeny trial, and the results indicated a significantly negative effect on the height and diameter of the trees. A significant family effect also existed on the severity of the needle cast damage. Long-term simulations indicated that severely damaged Scots pines had a reduced equivalent annual annuity (EAA) of almost 100% at the final harvest. More intensive early management to reduce stand density could partly compensate for losses caused by needle cast. A higher EAA for the most resistant group of trees regardless of the stand management scenarios suggests an economically justified potential for improved resistance. Strong negative (−0.62 to −0.70) correlations of height and survival with the proportion of severely affected trees at the family mean level implies that resistant genotypes can be selected along with improved growth in progeny trials, which are affected by needle cast. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Disturbance Dynamics Analysis for Forest Ecosystem Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Tree Damage by Ice Accumulation in Norway Spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) Stands Regarding Stand Characteristics
Forests 2020, 11(6), 679; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11060679 - 13 Jun 2020
Abstract
Freezing rain is a frequently occurring, but relatively rarely studied disturbance in Europe, although ice accumulation may occasionally cause severe damage for forestry. We aimed to characterize ice-accumulation damage to overstory trees in spruce stands, assess the probability of damage based on the [...] Read more.
Freezing rain is a frequently occurring, but relatively rarely studied disturbance in Europe, although ice accumulation may occasionally cause severe damage for forestry. We aimed to characterize ice-accumulation damage to overstory trees in spruce stands, assess the probability of damage based on the stand and individual tree parameters, and define the most significant parameters that affect the probability of individual tree damage in all stands and in recently thinned stands. Among the studied stands, the proportion of damaged overstory spruce ranged from 1.8% to 60.9% and was higher (p < 0.001) in recently thinned stands (27.8% ± 1.9%) than in the other stands (20.4% ± 1.6%). Stem breakage was the prevalent (98.5% ± 1.1%) damage type. At the stand level, the probability of damage decreased for older, less dense stands with a larger mean diameter. Within stands, overstory trees were more damaged (23.5% ± 1.2%; p < 0.001) than those in the lower stand layers, but, within overstory, trees with larger dimensions and a higher social position (high relative diameter and low slenderness ratio) and a higher proportion of crown were less damaged. The probability of breakage to overstory trees was most accurately predicted using almost the same variables for all stands and recently thinned stands. The site type, tree height, relative diameter, and crown ratio were common for both, with the addition of mean diameter at breast height for all stands and the stand density for recently thinned stands. Our results indicate the importance of the tree and stand characteristics on the resistance of individual tree to ice accumulation and the need for management practices that balance increased growth and the stability of trees throughout the rotation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Disturbance Dynamics Analysis for Forest Ecosystem Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Cost–Benefit Analysis of Measures to Reduce Windstorm Impact in Pure Norway Spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) Stands in Latvia
Forests 2020, 11(5), 576; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11050576 - 21 May 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Wind is one of the major natural forest disturbances in Europe, and reduces the total economic (including carbon sequestration) value of forests. The aim of this study was to assess the financial benefit of silvicultural measures in young, pure, planted Norway spruce stands [...] Read more.
Wind is one of the major natural forest disturbances in Europe, and reduces the total economic (including carbon sequestration) value of forests. The aim of this study was to assess the financial benefit of silvicultural measures in young, pure, planted Norway spruce stands by reduction in the impact of wind damage over the rotation period. The analyzed measures are promptly applied precommercial thinning and low-density planting with improved plant material. Spatial information on factors affecting wind damage—wind climate and soil—were gathered and combined with the local growth model and empirical data from tree pulling experiments in Latvia to assess the economic value loss due to wind damage over a rotation period. Timely precommercial thinning and lower-density planting with improved plant material would ensure a positive net present value with an interest rate of 3%, using conservative estimates. The financial benefit is highest in windier (coastal) regions and for the planting, followed by moderate thinning. The results demonstrate that, even without changing the dominant tree species, a considerable reduction in wind-damage risk can be achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Disturbance Dynamics Analysis for Forest Ecosystem Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Deadwood Characteristics in Mature and Old-Growth Birch Stands and Their Implications for Carbon Storage
Forests 2020, 11(5), 536; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11050536 - 11 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
As one of the most abundant tree species in the hemiboreal zone, birch is important from both commercial and biodiversity perspectives. While old-growth deciduous stands are important for biodiversity conservation with an emphasis on deadwood availability, the role that deadwood in these stands [...] Read more.
As one of the most abundant tree species in the hemiboreal zone, birch is important from both commercial and biodiversity perspectives. While old-growth deciduous stands are important for biodiversity conservation with an emphasis on deadwood availability, the role that deadwood in these stands plays in carbon sequestration remains unclear. We studied mature (71–110 years old) and old-growth (121–150 years old) birch stands on fertile mineral soils. The marginal mean deadwood volume was 43.5 ± 6.4 m3 ha−1 in all mature stands, 51.3 ± 7.1 m3 ha−1 in recently unmanaged mature stands, and 54.4 ± 4.4 m3 ha−1 in old-growth stands; the marginal mean deadwood carbon pool for each stand type was 5.4 ± 0.8 t·ha−1, 6.3 ± 0.9 t·ha−1, and 7.9 ± 0.6 t·ha−1, respectively. Deadwood volume was not related to stand productivity in terms of stand basal area, stand height, or stand age. The difference between mature and old-growth stands remained non-significant (p < 0.05). A high volume of deadwood was almost continuously present throughout the landscape in assessed unmanaged sites; moreover, 88% of sample plots in old-growth stands and 63% of sample plots in mature stands had a deadwood volume higher than 20 m3·ha−1. Old-growth stands had a slightly greater volume of large deadwood than unmanaged mature stands; in both, almost half of the deadwood was more than 30 cm in diameter and approximately one-fifth had a diameter greater than 40 cm. Both groups of stands had similar proportions of coniferous and deciduous deadwood and lying and standing deadwood. Old-growth stands had a higher volume of recently and weakly decayed wood, indicating increased dieback during recent years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Disturbance Dynamics Analysis for Forest Ecosystem Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Stem Damage Modifies the Impact of Wind on Norway Spruces
Forests 2020, 11(4), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11040463 - 19 Apr 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Bark stripping caused by cervids can have a long-lasting negative effect on tree vitality. Such trees of low vitality might be more susceptible to other disturbances. The amplifying effects of disturbance interactions can cause significantly more damage to forest ecosystems than the individual [...] Read more.
Bark stripping caused by cervids can have a long-lasting negative effect on tree vitality. Such trees of low vitality might be more susceptible to other disturbances. The amplifying effects of disturbance interactions can cause significantly more damage to forest ecosystems than the individual effects of each disturbance. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the impact of bark stripping (stem damage) on the probability of wind damage and snapping height for Norway spruces (Picea Abies (L.) H. Karst.). In this study, we used the Latvian National Forest Inventory data from the period 2004–2018. In the analysis, we used data based on 32,856 trees. To analyse the data, we implemented a Bayesian binary logistic generalised linear mixed-effects model and the linear mixed-effects model. Our results showed that stem damage significantly increased the probability of wind damage and affected the snapping height of Norway spruces. Similarly, root damage, the slenderness ratio, the stand age, the stand density, the soil type, and the dominant tree species had a significant influence on the probability of wind damage. In both periods, trees with stem damage had significantly (p < 0.05) higher probability (odd ratio 1.68) to be wind damaged than trees without stem damage. The stem damaged Norway spruce trees snapped in the first 25% of the tree height, while trees without stem damage snapped around half (50%) of the tree height. Our results show that stem damage significantly alters the effect of wind damage on Norway spruces, suggesting that such damage must be incorporated into wind-risk assessment models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Disturbance Dynamics Analysis for Forest Ecosystem Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Bark-Stripping on Mechanical Stability of Norway Spruce
Forests 2020, 11(3), 357; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11030357 - 21 Mar 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
The increasing effects of storms are considered the main abiotic disturbance affecting forest ecosystems. Bark-stripping damage from the growing ungulate populations, in turn, are among the main biotic risks, which might burden the stability of trees and stands. Therefore, the aim of our [...] Read more.
The increasing effects of storms are considered the main abiotic disturbance affecting forest ecosystems. Bark-stripping damage from the growing ungulate populations, in turn, are among the main biotic risks, which might burden the stability of trees and stands. Therefore, the aim of our study is to estimate the effect of cervid bark-stripping on the mechanical stability of Norway spruce using a static tree-pulling test. For the test, eight damaged and 11 undamaged canopy trees were selected from a 40-year old stand (plantation with 1 × 3 m spacing) growing on mineral mesotrophic soil. The selected trees were bark-stripped 7–9 years prior to the experiment. Uprooting was the most frequent type of failure; only two trees broke at the stem. For the damaged trees, the resistance to pulling was significantly reduced (p-value < 0.001). Stem volume and presence of bark-stripping were the best linear predictors of the basal bending moment at the primary failure (irreversible deformation of wood structure) and secondary failure (collapse of the tree). A significant (p-value < 0.001) interaction between stem–wood volume and presence of bark-stripping was observed for primary failure, indicating a size-dependent reduction of stability of the damaged trees. Such interaction lacked significance (p-value = 0.43) for the secondary failure (mostly uprooting), indicating a decrease in stability irrespectively of tree size. Somewhat surprisingly, the decrease in the overall mechanical stability of the bark-stripped trees appeared not to be related to a direct reduction of the strength of the stems, but rather to physiological effects such as altered allocation of carbon, increased drought stress because of interfered hydraulic conductance of wood, or secondary infestation. The reduced stability also suggests that bark-stripped trees can act as the weak spots decreasing the collective stability of stands in the long term, thus increasing the susceptibility to storms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Disturbance Dynamics Analysis for Forest Ecosystem Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Advance Regeneration of Norway Spruce and Scots Pine in Hemiboreal Forests in Latvia
Forests 2020, 11(2), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11020215 - 13 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Continuous cover forestry (CCF) aims to emulate small natural disturbances and take advantage of natural regeneration. To implement these management practices successfully, knowledge of advance regeneration under the canopy in different conditions is crucial. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess [...] Read more.
Continuous cover forestry (CCF) aims to emulate small natural disturbances and take advantage of natural regeneration. To implement these management practices successfully, knowledge of advance regeneration under the canopy in different conditions is crucial. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the influence of stand inventory parameters of canopy layer (age, basal area, height, and density) on the probability and density of advance regeneration of the Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in hemiboreal forests in Latvia. The data were obtained from the National Forest Inventory, from a total of 879 plots. In the study, only Norway spruce or Scots pine dominated stands were used and the sampled stand age ranged from 21 to 218 years. The probability of advance regeneration differed between stands dominated by Scots pine versus Norway spruce. The probability and density of the advance regeneration of Norway spruce were positively linked to increased stand age, whereas the probability of the advance regeneration of Scots pine was negatively linked to the basal area of the stand. In stands dominated by Norway spruce and Scots pine on mesic soils, the advance regeneration of Norway spruce has a high density, whereas the advance regeneration of Scots pine is sporadic and scarce. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Disturbance Dynamics Analysis for Forest Ecosystem Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Patterns of Carbon Sequestration in a Young Forest Ecosystem after Clear-Cutting
Forests 2020, 11(2), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11020126 - 21 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
A large area of Estonian hemiboreal forest is recovering from clear-cut harvesting and changing carbon (C) balance of the stands. However, there is a lack of information about C- source/sink relationships during recovery of such stands. The eddy covariance technique was used to [...] Read more.
A large area of Estonian hemiboreal forest is recovering from clear-cut harvesting and changing carbon (C) balance of the stands. However, there is a lack of information about C- source/sink relationships during recovery of such stands. The eddy covariance technique was used to estimate C-status through net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of CO2 in two stands of different development stages located in southeast Estonia in 2014. Measured summertime (June–September) mean CO2 concentration was 337.75 ppm with mean NEE −1.72 µmol m−2 s−1. June NEE was −4.60 µmol m−2 s−1; July, August, and September NEE was −1.17, −0.77, and −0.25 µmol m−2 s−1, respectively. The two stands had similar patterns of CO2 exchange; measurement period temperature drove NEE. Our results show that after clear-cutting a 6-year-old forest ecosystem was a light C-sink and 8-year-old young stand demonstrated a stronger C-sink status during the measurement period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Disturbance Dynamics Analysis for Forest Ecosystem Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Synchronous Growth Releases in Peatland Pine Chronologies as an Indicator for Regional Climate Dynamics—A Multi-Site Study Including Estonia, Belarus and Sweden
Forests 2019, 10(12), 1097; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10121097 - 02 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Fourteen tree-ring chronologies developed from 788 peatland Scots pines sampled at sites in Estonia, Belarus and Sweden were compared for common growth trends and possible links to regional climate dynamics. Several synchronous growth release events were detected, especially during the 1910s, 1930s, and [...] Read more.
Fourteen tree-ring chronologies developed from 788 peatland Scots pines sampled at sites in Estonia, Belarus and Sweden were compared for common growth trends and possible links to regional climate dynamics. Several synchronous growth release events were detected, especially during the 1910s, 1930s, and around 1970 and 1990, indicating that hydrological shifts and associated tree growth responses have been governed by similar forcing mechanisms, at least during the 20th century. In general, the best agreements were observed between the tree populations from Estonia and Belarus, but synchronous growth changes could also be detected between the Swedish and Estonian material. Trends detected in single tree-ring chronologies may be linked to local peatland management or land-use changes, whereas common variations detected at multiple sites are more likely linked to hydrological changes in the peatlands associated with regional climate dynamics. Understanding the links between climate and processes that involve peatland hydrology and vegetation responses is important since peatland ecosystems are key players in the global carbon cycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Disturbance Dynamics Analysis for Forest Ecosystem Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Genetic Diversity in Naturally Regenerated Norway Spruce Stands and Seed Orchard Progeny Trials
Forests 2019, 10(10), 926; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100926 - 21 Oct 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Forest ecosystems in Europe are expected to experience changes in temperature and water regimes associated with increased risks of extreme environmental events and disasters. Genetic diversity and relatedness has been linked to resilience of forest stands and landscapes. Genetic diversity indicators were compared [...] Read more.
Forest ecosystems in Europe are expected to experience changes in temperature and water regimes associated with increased risks of extreme environmental events and disasters. Genetic diversity and relatedness has been linked to resilience of forest stands and landscapes. Genetic diversity indicators were compared between a Norway spruce population naturally regenerated after extensive windthrow and Norway spruce progeny populations derived from two seed orchards. In addition, genetic diversity in an undisturbed stand in a long established national park and a spruce genetic resource stand were analyzed. Populations were genotyped at 11 simple sequence repeat (SSR) loci. Average genetic diversity indicators were similar across populations. However, the total number of alleles, average number of alleles over all loci, effective number of alleles, average gene diversity, and average allelic richness were highest in the naturally regenerated population and lowest in one of the seed orchard progeny populations. The genetic diversity in progeny from seed orchards used for stand renewal is comparable to the genetic diversity in naturally regenerated stands. However, fluctuations in seed production between years can have a large impact on genetic diversity in seed orchard progeny. The use of improved Norway spruce germplasm deployed via clonal seed orchards for forest renewal can maintain similar levels of genetic diversity compared to naturally regenerated stands, while also increasing production and timber quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Disturbance Dynamics Analysis for Forest Ecosystem Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Distribution and Habitat Selection of Free-Ranging European Bison (Bison bonasus L.) in a Mosaic Landscape—A Lithuanian Case
Forests 2019, 10(4), 345; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10040345 - 19 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In Lithuania, free-ranging European bison live sedentarily in the fragmented landscape of the central part of the country. The aim of this study was to analyze the distribution and habitat selection of European bison in a semi-isolated territory. Free-ranging European bison living sedentarily [...] Read more.
In Lithuania, free-ranging European bison live sedentarily in the fragmented landscape of the central part of the country. The aim of this study was to analyze the distribution and habitat selection of European bison in a semi-isolated territory. Free-ranging European bison living sedentarily have formed six groups in the mosaic landscape of central Lithuania. A herd of 34 individuals of European bison entered into a new semi-isolated territory in 2016. During the snow-free season, we tracked the movements of the herd by fitting a global positioning system (GPS) collar to the leading cow. To evaluate the home range and habitat selection, we used ArcGIS software, Jacobs’ index, and chi-square testing to verify significant differences between proportions. The home range of European bison was largest in spring, decreased in summer, and increased again in autumn; this was associated with feeding and the food supply in agricultural lands. European bison spent more time in the forest, especially during the daytime, due to disturbance, but in summer time and at night, the bison did not avoid agricultural land. In the forests, European bison preferred clear-cut, small-leaved deciduous (aspen, grey alder) forests of middle and mature age, but they avoided broad-leaved deciduous (ash), coniferous, and young forests. The increased number of European bison caused damage to agricultural crops and increased conflict with farmers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Disturbance Dynamics Analysis for Forest Ecosystem Management)
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