Special Issue "Biodiversity Conservation in Managed Forests"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 November 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Todd Fredericksen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Ferrum College, Ferrum, VA 24088, USA
Interests: wildlife; forestry; forest ecology; silviculture; biodiversity; forest regeneration
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Forests are often managed for the supply of forest products such as timber, pulpwood, fuelwood, medicines, resins, and food. They are also managed for ecosystem services such as watershed protection, carbon sequestration, and airshed production. In addition, forests provide recreational opportunities and spiritual aspects that people value. Central to all these interests is forest biodiversity, the variety of life from genes to species and habitat types. Among terrestrial habitats, forests are the most biodiverse because of their structural heterogeneity and variety of available niches.

Management strategies often produce very different types of forests including protected areas for recreation and/or conservation of biodiversity, naturally regenerated native forests for wood production, monoculture plantations of native or exotic species for pulp or paper, and short-rotation biomass plantations. Regardless of objectives, forest managements are confronted by challenges ranging from increasing demand for forest products, land-use policies, invasive pests and pathogens, and climate change.

This Special Issue of Forests focuses on strategies to mitigate human pressures on managed forests with respect to maintenance of biological diversity. Manuscripts on any aspect of biological diversity conservation in managed forests are welcome, but of particular interest are manuscripts that offer strategies for maintaining biodiversity that do not significantly compromise the sustainable flow of forest products, ecosystem services, and recreational opportunities in managed forests.

Dr. Todd Fredericksen
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

  • forests
  • conservation
  • biodiversity
  • forest ecology
  • forest management
  • wildlife
  • silviculture

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Biodiversity Conservation in Managed Forests
Forests 2021, 12(8), 1054; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12081054 - 08 Aug 2021
Viewed by 583
Abstract
In addition to management for forest products, an increasing priority in the management of forests is the provision and maintenance of ecosystem services [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity Conservation in Managed Forests)

Research

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Article
Can Strict Protection Stop the Decline of Mangrove Ecosystems in China? From Rapid Destruction to Rampant Degradation
Forests 2020, 11(1), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11010055 - 01 Jan 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 1871
Abstract
China has lost about 50% of its mangrove forests from 1950 to 2001. Since 2001, mangrove forest area has increased by 1.8% per year due to strict protection of the remaining mangrove forests and large-scale restoration. By 2019, 67% of the mangrove forests [...] Read more.
China has lost about 50% of its mangrove forests from 1950 to 2001. Since 2001, mangrove forest area has increased by 1.8% per year due to strict protection of the remaining mangrove forests and large-scale restoration. By 2019, 67% of the mangrove forests in China had been enclosed within protected areas (PAs). In terms of the proportion of PAs of mangrove forests, China has achieved the conservation target of “Nature Needs Half”. The ongoing degradation of mangrove forests was assessed at the species, population, community and ecosystem levels. The results show that despite the strict protection, the remaining mangrove forests are suffering extensive degradation due to widespread anthropogenic disturbance. Of the 26 mangrove species, 50% are threatened with extinction, a proportion higher than the average for all higher plants in China (10.8%). Local extinction of some common species like Bruguiera gymnorhiza is widespread. About 53% of the existing mangrove areas were dominated by low-intertidal pioneer species. Consequently, the carbon stock in vegetation has decreased by 53.1%, from 21.8 Tg C in the 1950s to 10.2 Tg C in 2019. Meanwhile, there is an estimated 10.8% concomitant decrease in the carbon sequestration rate. The root cause for this degradation in China is seawall construction because most mangroves are outside seawalls in China. Without fundamental changes in protection and restoration strategies, mangrove forests in China will continue to degrade in spite of strict protection and large-scale restoration. Future mangrove conservation effort should aim to preserve the diversity of both the biota and the ecological processes sustaining the mangrove ecosystem. A few suggestions to raise the effectiveness of mangrove conservation actions were provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity Conservation in Managed Forests)
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Article
Is Phylogeny More Useful than Functional Traits for Assessing Diversity Patterns Under Community Assembly Processes?
Forests 2019, 10(12), 1159; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10121159 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1060
Abstract
Phylogenetic and functional diversities and their relationship are important for understanding community assembly, which relates to forest sustainability. Thus, both diversities have been used in ecological studies evaluating community responses to environmental changes. However, it is unclear whether these diversity measures can uncover [...] Read more.
Phylogenetic and functional diversities and their relationship are important for understanding community assembly, which relates to forest sustainability. Thus, both diversities have been used in ecological studies evaluating community responses to environmental changes. However, it is unclear whether these diversity measures can uncover the actual community assembly processes. Herein, we examined their utility to assess such assembly processes by analyzing similarities in phylogenetic, functional, and taxonomic α- and β-diversities along an elevational gradient. Additionally, we examined the relationships among environment, phylogeny, and functional traits within the community. Based on our results, we evaluated whether phylogenetic or functional diversity could better reveal the actual community assembly processes. We found that taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional α-diversities were correlated with one another. Although the functional α-diversity showed a linear correlation with the elevational gradient, taxonomic and phylogenetic α-diversities showed unimodal patterns. Both phylogenetic and functional β-diversities correlated with taxonomic β-diversity, but there was no significant relationship between the former. Overall, our results evidenced that phylogenetic diversity and taxonomic diversity showed similar patterns, whereas functional diversity showed a relatively independent pattern, which may be due to limitations in the functional trait dimensions used in the present study. Although it is difficult to unravel whether the environment shapes phylogeny or functional traits within a community, phylogenetic diversity is a good proxy for assessing the assembly processes, whereas functional diversity may improve knowledge on the community by maximizing information about the functional trait dimensions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity Conservation in Managed Forests)
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Article
The Potential of Production Forests for Sustaining Lichen Diversity: A Perspective on Sustainable Forest Management
Forests 2019, 10(12), 1063; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10121063 - 22 Nov 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1341
Abstract
There is a critical gap in our knowledge about sustainable forest management in order to maintain biodiversity with respect to allocating conservation efforts between production forests and set-asides. Field studies on this question are notably scarce on species-rich, poorly detectable taxon groups. On [...] Read more.
There is a critical gap in our knowledge about sustainable forest management in order to maintain biodiversity with respect to allocating conservation efforts between production forests and set-asides. Field studies on this question are notably scarce on species-rich, poorly detectable taxon groups. On the basis of forest lichen surveys in Estonia, we assessed the following: (i) how much production stands contribute to maintaining the full species pool and (ii) how forest habitat conditions affect this contribution for habitat specialist species. The field material was collected in a “semi-natural forestry” system, which mitigates negative environmental impacts of even-aged forestry and forestry drainage by frequently using natural regeneration, tree retention, and low intensity of thinnings. We performed standard-effort surveys of full assemblages of lichens and allied fungi (such as non-lichenized calicioid and lichenicolous fungi) and measured stand structure in 127 2 ha plots, in mainland Estonia. The plots represented four management stages (old growth, mature preharvest forests, clear-cut sites with retention trees, and clear-cut sites without retention trees). The 369 recorded species represent an estimated 70% of the full species pool studied. Our main finding was that production forests supported over 80% of recorded species, but only one-third appears tolerant of management intensification. The landscape-scale potential of production forests through biodiversity-friendly silviculture is approximately twice as high as the number of tolerant species and, additionally, many very rare species depend on setting aside their scattered localities. The potential is much smaller at the scale of individual stands. The scale effect emerges because multiple stands contribute different sets of sensitive and infrequent species. When the full potential of production forests is realized, the role of reserves is to protect specific old-growth dependent taxa (15% to 20% of the species pool). Our study highlights that production forests form a heterogeneous and dynamic target for addressing the biodiversity conservation principle of sustainable forest management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity Conservation in Managed Forests)
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Article
Soil Nematode Fauna and Microbial Characteristics in an Early-Successional Forest Ecosystem
Forests 2019, 10(10), 888; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100888 - 08 Oct 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 863
Abstract
Windstorms can often decrease the diversity of native local biota in European forests. The effects of windstorms on the species richness of flora and fauna in coniferous forests of natural reserves are well established, but the effects on biotas in productive deciduous forests [...] Read more.
Windstorms can often decrease the diversity of native local biota in European forests. The effects of windstorms on the species richness of flora and fauna in coniferous forests of natural reserves are well established, but the effects on biotas in productive deciduous forests have been less well studied. We analyzed the impact of windstorms on the diversity and abundance of soil nematode communities and microbial activity and their relationships with the succession of plant species and basic soil physicochemical properties 12 and 36 months after a windstorm in Fagus sylvatica forests. The relationships were investigated in cleared early-successional forest ecosystems and at undamaged forest sites as a control. The windstorm significantly affected total nematode abundance, number of nematode species, and the diversity and abundance of all nematode functional guilds, but no functional guilds disappeared after the disturbance. The abundance of several nematode taxa but not total nematode abundance was positively correlated with soil-moisture content. Indices of the nematode communities were inconsistent between sites due to their variable ability to identify ecosystem disturbance 12 months after the storm. In contrast, the metabolic activity of various functional groups identified ecosystem disturbance well throughout the study. Positive correlations were identified between the number of plant parasites and soil-moisture content and between carnivore abundance and soil pH. Positive mutual links of some nematode genera (mainly plant parasites) with the distribution of dominant grasses and herbs depended on the habitat. In contrast, microbial activity differed significantly between disturbed and undisturbed sites up to 36 months after the storm, especially soil basal respiration, N mineralization, and microbial biomass. Our results indicated different temporal responses for two groups of soil organisms to the destruction of the tree canopy. Soil nematodes reacted immediately, but changes in the microbial communities were visible much later after the disturbance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity Conservation in Managed Forests)
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Article
Integrating Phylogeographic Analysis and Geospatial Methods to Infer Historical Dispersal Routes and Glacial Refugia of Liriodendron chinense
Forests 2019, 10(7), 565; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10070565 - 07 Jul 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1204
Abstract
Liriodendron chinense (Hemsl.), a Tertiary relic tree, is mainly distributed in subtropical China. The causes of the geographical distribution pattern of this species are poorly understood. In this study, we inferred historical dispersal routes and glacial refugia of this species by combining genetic [...] Read more.
Liriodendron chinense (Hemsl.), a Tertiary relic tree, is mainly distributed in subtropical China. The causes of the geographical distribution pattern of this species are poorly understood. In this study, we inferred historical dispersal routes and glacial refugia of this species by combining genetic data (chloroplast DNA (cpDNA), nuclear ribosomal DNA (nrDNA), and nuclear DNA (nDNA)) and geospatial data (climate and geology) with the methods of landscape genetics. Additionally, based on sequence variation at multiple loci, we employed GenGIS and Barrier software to analyze L. chinense population genetic structure. Dispersal corridors and historical gene flow between the eastern and western populations were detected, and they were located in mountainous regions. Based on species distribution model (SDMs), the distribution patterns in paleoclimatic periods were consistent with the current pattern, suggesting the presence of multiple refuges in multiple mountainous regions in China. The genetic structure analysis clustered most eastern populations into a clade separated from the western populations. Additionally, a genetic barrier was detected between the eastern and western populations. The dispersal corridors and historical gene flow detected here suggested that the mountains acted as a bridge, facilitating gene flow between the eastern and western populations. Due to Quaternary climatic fluctuations, the habitats and dispersal corridors were frequently inhabited by warm-temperate evergreen forests, which may have fragmented L. chinense habitats and exacerbated the differentiation of eastern and western populations. Ultimately, populations retreated to multiple isolated mountainous refugia, shaping the current geographical distribution pattern. These dispersal corridors and montane refugia suggested that the mountains in subtropical China play a crucial role in the conservation of genetic resources and migration of subspecies or related species in this region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity Conservation in Managed Forests)
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Article
Species-Area Relationship and Its Scale-Dependent Effects in Natural Forests of North Eastern China
Forests 2019, 10(5), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10050422 - 15 May 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 930
Abstract
The Species-area relationship is one of the core issues in community ecology and an important basis for scale transformation of biodiversity. However, the effect of scale on this relationship, together with the selection of an optimal species-area model for different sampling methods, is [...] Read more.
The Species-area relationship is one of the core issues in community ecology and an important basis for scale transformation of biodiversity. However, the effect of scale on this relationship, together with the selection of an optimal species-area model for different sampling methods, is still controversial. This study is based on the data from two sampling areas of 40 km2 in size, one in a Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis Sieb. et Zucc) broad-leaved mixed forest in Mt. Changbai and the other in Jiaohe, Jilin Province. The logarithmic, power, and logistic model were established on a scale of 10 km2, 20 km2, and 30 km2, respectively, using a nested sampling plot and random sampling plot. The goodness of the species-area model was tested by the Akaike information criterion (AIC). The results show that the sampling method affected the relationship between species and area, and the data were fitted better under random sampling compared with nested sampling. The construction of the relationship between species and area was closely related to the upper limit of the sampling area size. On a small scale (10 km2), the data were fitted best with the logarithmic and logistic model, whereas the logistic model was the best fit on a medium (20 km2) and large scale (30 km2). We evaluated the scale dependence of species-area relationship in two forests with nested and random sampling methods. We further showed that the logistic model based on the random sampling plot can explain most soundly the species-area relationship in Jiaohe and Mt. Changbai. More studies are needed in other regions to develop models to optimize sampling designs for different forest types under different density constraints at different spatial scales, and for a more accurate estimation of forest dynamics under long-term observations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity Conservation in Managed Forests)
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Article
A Conceptual Model for Forest Naturalness Assessment and Application in Quebec’s Boreal Forest
Forests 2019, 10(4), 325; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10040325 - 11 Apr 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1447
Abstract
Research Highlights: To inform eco-designers in green building conception, we propose a conceptual model for the assessment of the impact of using wood on the quality of ecosystems. Background and Objectives: The proposed model allows the assessment of the quality of ecosystems at [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: To inform eco-designers in green building conception, we propose a conceptual model for the assessment of the impact of using wood on the quality of ecosystems. Background and Objectives: The proposed model allows the assessment of the quality of ecosystems at the landscape level based on the condition of the forest and the proportion of different practices to characterize precisely the forest management strategy. The evaluation provides a numerical index, which corresponds to a suitable format to inform decision-making support tools, such as life cycle analysis. Materials and Methods: Based on the concept of naturalness, the methodology considers five naturalness characteristics (landscape context, forest composition, structure, dead wood, and regeneration process) and relies on forest inventory maps and data. An area within the boreal black spruce-feathermoss ecological domain of Quebec (Canada) was used as a case study for the development of the methodology, designed to be easily exportable. Results: In 2012, the test area had a near-natural class (naturalness index NI = 0.717). Simulation of different management strategies over 70 years shows that, considering 17.9% of strict protected areas, the naturalness index would have lost one to two classes of naturalness (out of five classes), depending on the strategy applied for the regeneration (0.206 ≤ ΔNI ≤ 0.413). Without the preservation of the protected areas, the management strategies would have further reduced the naturalness (0.274 ≤ ΔNI ≤ 0.492). Apart from exotic species plantation, the most sensitive variables are the percentage of area in irregular, old, and closed forests at time zero and the percentage of area in closed forests, late successional species groups, and modified wetlands after 70 years. Conclusions: Despite the necessity of further model and parameter validation, the use of the index makes it possible to combine the effects of different forestry management strategies and practices into one alteration gradient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity Conservation in Managed Forests)
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Article
Exploring the Relationships between Key Ecological Indicators to Improve Natural Conservation Planning at Different Scales
Forests 2019, 10(1), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10010032 - 05 Jan 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1482
Abstract
Biodiversity, regulating ecosystem services (RES), and vegetation productivity are key indicators to instruct natural conservation planning. Decision makers often hope that ecosystems can be protected by focusing on certain key indicators, which requires an understanding of the relationships between the indicators. Using individual [...] Read more.
Biodiversity, regulating ecosystem services (RES), and vegetation productivity are key indicators to instruct natural conservation planning. Decision makers often hope that ecosystems can be protected by focusing on certain key indicators, which requires an understanding of the relationships between the indicators. Using individual case studies, many have argued that these indicators commonly have significant relationships. However, these relationships at different spatial scales are unclear. Therefore, in this study, biodiversity and ecosystem services are modelled by the ecological niche model, the universal soil loss equation, and the equation of water balance in two study areas at different scales. The influence of vegetation productivity on the spatial pattern of other ecological indicators in the two areas is examined by a spatial lag model. The contributions of the driving factors on biodiversity distribution at both scales are identified by a boosted regression tree (BRT) model. The results showed that at the fine scale, the spatial correlations were strongest for species richness, especially mammalian species richness, and water retention. However, biodiversity had no significant relationship with vegetation productivity. In contrast, at a coarser scale, the correlation was stronger between plant diversity and regulating ecosystem services. In addition, plant diversity was significantly correlated with vegetation productivity. These differences between scales were controlled by various explanatory variables. At the fine scale, biophysical and climatic factors had the strongest effects on biodiversity distribution, while Net Primary Productivity (NPP) and ecoregion also had relatively high influences on biodiversity at the coarse scale. This demonstrates the critical importance of spatial scale in selecting conservation indicators. We suggest that rare mammalian species richness or flagship mammal species are suitable as conservation surrogates in fine-scale conservation planning. However, at a coarser scale, selecting vegetation patches with more rare plant species and high productivity for each ecoregion is a workable alternative method for conservation planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity Conservation in Managed Forests)
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