Special Issue "Managing Forests and Water for People under a Changing Environment"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ge Sun
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Services, Raleigh, NC, USA
Interests: forest hydrology; modeling, climate change; watershed management
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Kevin Bishop
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7070, Almas allé 8 SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden
Prof. Silvio Ferraz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Forest Hydrology Laboratory (LHF), Forest Sciences Department—ESALQ/USP, University of São Paulo, Av. Padua Dias, 11-Piracicaba/SP-13418-900, Brazil
Prof. Julia Jones
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Wilkinson 220, 104 CEOAS Administration Building, Corvallis, OR 97331-5503, USA

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Global environmental change poses increasing challenges for managing forests and water for sustainable development. The joint “International Forests and Water Conference 2018, Valdivia, Chile” http://forestsandwater2018.cl/ represents the first of its kind, and offers a unique forum to understand forest and water issues in Latin America under a global context. The conference promotes the exchange of understanding and experience from the realms of research, policy, and public involvement through developing international research collaborations. Selected papers presented at the conference are invited to contribute to this Special Issue, but not exclusively. We also encourage other contributions from the global community studying environmental change, forests, and water. Major themes include:

1. Forests and water: the role of arts, humanities, and communication
2. The 2030 Agenda framework for forests and waters
3. Forest ecosystems, water and climate change adaptation
4. Forest certification, government policy and water resources
5. Ecosystem service tradeoffs involving water from native forests and plantations
6. Aquatic and Riparian Biodiversity—forest ecosystem–stream connections
7. Social aspects of watershed management and monitoring
8. Agroforestry and water
9. Forest ecosystem restoration for aquatic ecosystem services
10. Forests in the food–water–energy nexus
11. Modeling and decision support systems linking forest hydrology, management, and policy
12. The Forest-Water Network: Planning tools

Dr. Ge Sun
Prof. Kevin Bishop
Prof. Silvio Ferraz
Prof. Julia Jones
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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

  • Forest hydrology
  • Ecohydrology
  • Sustainability
  • Watershed management
  • Climate change
  • Forest policy and water
  • Modeling
  • Decision Support System

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Climate Associations with Headwater Streamflow in Managed Forests over 16 Years and Projections of Future Dry Headwater Stream Channels
Forests 2019, 10(11), 968; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10110968 - 02 Nov 2019
Abstract
Integrating climate-smart principles into riparian and upland forest management can facilitate effective and efficient land use and conservation planning. Emerging values of forested headwater streams can help forge these links, yet climate effects on headwaters are little studied. We assessed associations of headwater [...] Read more.
Integrating climate-smart principles into riparian and upland forest management can facilitate effective and efficient land use and conservation planning. Emerging values of forested headwater streams can help forge these links, yet climate effects on headwaters are little studied. We assessed associations of headwater discontinuous streams with climate metrics, watershed size, and forest-harvest treatments. We hypothesized that summer streamflow would decrease in warm, dry years, with possible harvest interactions. We field-collected streamflow patterns from 65 discontinuous stream reaches at 13 managed forest sites in Western Oregon, USA over a 16-year period. We analyzed spatial and temporal variability in field-collected stream habitat metrics using non-metric multidimensional scaling ordination. Relationships between streamflow, climate metrics, basin size, and harvest treatments were analyzed with simple linear models and mixed models with repeated measures. Using past effects of climate variation on streamflow, we projected effects to 2085 under three future scenarios, then quantified implications on headwater networks for a case-study landscape. Ordination identified the percent dry length of stream reaches as a top predictor of spatial and temporal variation in discontinuous stream-habitat types. In our final multivariate model, the percent dry length was associated with heat: moisture index, mean minimum summer temperature, and basin area. Across future climate scenarios in years 2055–2085, a 4.5%–11.5% loss in headwater surface streamflow was projected; this resulted in 597–2058 km of additional dry channel lengths of headwater streams in our case study area, the range of the endemic headwater-associated Cascade torrent salamander (Rhyacotriton cascadae Good and Wake) in the Oregon Cascade Range, a species proposed for listing under the US Threatened and Endangered Act. Implications of our study for proactive climate-smart forest-management designs in headwaters include restoration to retain surface flows and managing over-ridge wildlife dispersal habitat from areas with perennial surface water flow, as stream reaches with discontinuous streamflow were projected to have reduced flows in the future with climate change projections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Managing Forests and Water for People under a Changing Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
The Forest–Water Nexus: An International Perspective
Forests 2019, 10(10), 915; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100915 - 17 Oct 2019
Abstract
Discussions on the relationships between forests and water have primarily focused on the biophysical nature of these relationships. However, as issues such as land degradation affect the ability of forests to provide water-related ecosystem services resulting in water insecurity, the human dimension of [...] Read more.
Discussions on the relationships between forests and water have primarily focused on the biophysical nature of these relationships. However, as issues such as land degradation affect the ability of forests to provide water-related ecosystem services resulting in water insecurity, the human dimension of the forest–water nexus has become more evident. This has resulted in the identification of the forest–water nexus as an issue that requires urgent recognition within major international policy processes and where knowledge gaps on the global state of the nexus exist. To address this, two major international policy frameworks driving the current development and environment agenda, namely the Sustainable Development Goals and the (Intended) Nationally Determined Contributions were analyzed to assess the integration of forests and water in international policy agenda. In addition, data on tree cover and water risks as well as data on forests managed for soil and water protection was analyzed to understand the global state of the forest–water nexus. The results indicate that even though there is no single indicator monitoring forest–water interactions, there are existing indictors that provide partial information on the forest–water nexus, which would be key to measuring progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Furthermore, the research has highlighted increasing political will as well as global trends that could be used to further harness support and include the forest–water nexus in these global policy agenda. As international processes move forward, the methodology presented here provides a way to evaluate progress of global management of forests for water ecosystem services and gives specific areas where further research that integrates the scientific and socio-political spheres is needed. It is hoped that the initial approach presented in this paper serves as a stepping-stone for further action that might result in better management of and policies for our global forest–water resources and their associated ecosystem services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Managing Forests and Water for People under a Changing Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of Streamside Native Forests on Dissolved Organic Matter in Forested and Agricultural Watersheds in Northwestern Patagonia
Forests 2019, 10(7), 595; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10070595 - 17 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Streamside native forests are known for their key role in water provision, commonly referred to as buffers that control the input or output of nutrients from terrestrial to aquatic ecosystems (i.e., nitrogen or carbon cycle). In order to assess the functional role of [...] Read more.
Streamside native forests are known for their key role in water provision, commonly referred to as buffers that control the input or output of nutrients from terrestrial to aquatic ecosystems (i.e., nitrogen or carbon cycle). In order to assess the functional role of indigenous forests along streamside channels, we measured 10 parameters associated with DOM (Dissolved Organic Matter) at 42 points in 12 small catchments (15–200 ha) dominated by native forests (reference, WNF), forest plantations (WFP) and agricultural lands (WAL) in which the land cover portion was calculated in the entire watershed and along 30 and 60-m wide buffer strips. We found that watersheds WFP and WAL were statistically different than WNF, according to DIC concentrations (Dissolved Inorganic Carbon) and the intensity of the maximum fluorescence of DOM components. Using linear models, we related streamside native forest coverage in buffer strips with DOM parameters. The increase of streamside native forest coverage in 60 m wide buffer strips (0–100%) was related to lower DIC concentrations (0.89 to 0.28 mg C L−1). In watersheds WFP and WAL, the humic and fulvic-like components (0.42 to 1.42 R.U./mg C L−1) that predominated were related to an increase in streamside native forest coverage in the form of a 60 m wide buffer strip (0–75%). This is evidence that streamside native forests influence outputs of detritus and lowered in-stream processing with concomitant downstream transport, and functional integrity and water quality. We propose that DOM quantity and quality may be a potential tool for the identification of priority areas near streams for conservation and ecological restoration in terms of recovery of water quality as an important ecosystem service. The results of this study are useful to inform policy and regulations about the width of streamside native forests as well as their characteristics and restrictions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Managing Forests and Water for People under a Changing Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
Local Participation in Forest Watershed Management: Design and Analysis of Experiences in Water Supply Micro-Basins with Forest Plantations in South Central Chile
Forests 2019, 10(7), 580; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10070580 - 12 Jul 2019
Abstract
The joint “International Forests and Water Conference 2018” highlighted among its main conclusions the need to involve the viewpoint and participation of local communities in the management and monitoring of forest watersheds. This topic constitutes a strategic and transverse challenge for the sciences [...] Read more.
The joint “International Forests and Water Conference 2018” highlighted among its main conclusions the need to involve the viewpoint and participation of local communities in the management and monitoring of forest watersheds. This topic constitutes a strategic and transverse challenge for the sciences and public policies in the current context of global climate change. As a contribution to this challenge, the aim of this research was to qualitatively describe and analyze a territorial intervention model based on two case studies. Both involve stakeholders from the public sector, forest companies, and rural communities within the framework of implementing a participatory process at a local scale. The first case study was based on the collective creation of a set of indicators for local water monitoring. The second case, through the incorporation of the social and local dimension, culminated in the collective creation of a forest watershed management guide. The research hypothesis was that the inclusion of stakeholders and local knowledge in forest watershed management is essential to create and/or strengthen local abilities that ensure the involvement of communities in water governance, surpassing the current informative and consultative approaches. The research methodology was qualitative, and the data collection strategies were focused on the compilation of the process, the participatory work, and gathering diverse local knowledge. The data analysis included content tabulation, including both local indicators and ones extracted from the guide. In both cases, the systematization process and the main empirical findings were included. Among the findings, it was observed that both the pilot of local indicators and the design of the forest watershed management guide confirmed that the main challenge of local participation is the effective inclusion of local knowledge in water governance. This ethical and methodological challenge must be approached more rigorously and with more commitment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Managing Forests and Water for People under a Changing Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
Eucalyptus Short-Rotation Management Effects on Nutrient and Sediments in Subtropical Streams
Forests 2019, 10(6), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10060519 - 20 Jun 2019
Abstract
Forested catchments generally present conserved aquatic ecosystems without anthropogenic disturbances; however, forest management operations can degrade these environments, including their water quality. Despite the potential degradation, few studies have analyzed the effects of forest management in subtropical regions, especially in forest plantations with [...] Read more.
Forested catchments generally present conserved aquatic ecosystems without anthropogenic disturbances; however, forest management operations can degrade these environments, including their water quality. Despite the potential degradation, few studies have analyzed the effects of forest management in subtropical regions, especially in forest plantations with intensive management, such as Eucalyptus plantations in Brazil. The intensive management of those plantations is characterized by fast-growing, short rotation cycles, and high productivity. This study aimed to assess the effects of Eucalyptus plantations harvesting on the concentration and exportation of nutrients and suspended solids in subtropical streams. Results showed that clear-cut harvesting and subsequent forest management operations do not alter most of the concentration of nitrate, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. The concentration of suspended solids increased during the first year after timber harvesting in all studied catchments, however, the increases were statistically significant in only two catchments. In the first year after harvest, it was observed an increment of water yield/precipitation ratio at three catchments, which also increased export of nutrients and suspended solids. Our results showed that harvesting of fast-growing Eucalyptus forest plantations partially affected sediment exports and did not compromise water quality in the studied catchments. However, the catchment land-use design, especially related to road density and land-use composition, showed significant relationship with sediment exportation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Managing Forests and Water for People under a Changing Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
Land Use Change Impacts on Hydrology in the Nenjiang River Basin, Northeast China
Forests 2019, 10(6), 476; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10060476 - 31 May 2019
Abstract
The objectives of this study were to assess land use changes and their hydrological impacts in the Nenjiang River Basin (NRB). The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model was employed to evaluate the impacts of land use changes. The Cellular Automata-Markov model [...] Read more.
The objectives of this study were to assess land use changes and their hydrological impacts in the Nenjiang River Basin (NRB). The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model was employed to evaluate the impacts of land use changes. The Cellular Automata-Markov model was used to predict a land use map in 2038. Streamflow under each land use state was simulated by the SWAT model. The results showed that there was a significant expansion of agriculture area at the expense of large areas of grassland, wetland, and forest during 1975–2000. The land use changes during the period of 1975 to 2000 had decreased the water yield (3.5%), surface runoff (1.7%), and baseflow (19%) while they increased the annual evapotranspiration (2.1%). For impacts of individual land use type, the forest proved to have reduced streamflow in the flood season (10%–28%) and increased surface runoff in the drought season (20%–38%). Conversely, grassland, dry land, and paddy land scenarios resulted in increase of streamflow during summer months by 7%–37% and a decrease of streamflow in the cold seasons by 11.7%–59.7%. When the entire basin was changed to wetland, streamflow reduced over the whole year, with the largest reduction during January to March. The 2038 land use condition is expected to increase the annual water yield, surface runoff and wet season flow, and reduce evapotranspiration and baseflow. These results could help to improve sustainable land use management and water utilization in the NRB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Managing Forests and Water for People under a Changing Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impacts of Native Forests and Forest Plantations on Water Supply in Chile
Forests 2019, 10(6), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10060473 - 30 May 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Over the past 40 years, south-central Chile has experienced important land-use-induced land cover changes, with massive conversion from native forests (NF) to Pinus radiata D.Don and Eucalyptus spp. exotic forest plantations (FP). Several case studies have related this conversion to a reduction in [...] Read more.
Over the past 40 years, south-central Chile has experienced important land-use-induced land cover changes, with massive conversion from native forests (NF) to Pinus radiata D.Don and Eucalyptus spp. exotic forest plantations (FP). Several case studies have related this conversion to a reduction in water supply within small catchments (<100 ha). In this work, we explore the impacts of NF and FP on streamflow by using a large-sample catchment dataset recently developed for Chile. We select 25 large forested catchments (>20,000 ha) in south-central Chile (35° S–41° S), analyze their land cover and precipitation spatial distributions, and fit a regression model to quantify the influence of NF, FP, grassland (GRA) and shrubland (SHR) partitions on annual runoff. To assess potential effects of land cover changes on water supply, we use the fitted model (R2 = 0.84) in synthetic experiments where NF, GRA and SHR covers within the catchments are replaced by patches of FP. We show that annual runoff consistently decreases with increments of FP, although the magnitude of the change (ranging from 2.2% to 7.2% mean annual runoff decrease for 10,000 ha increment in FP) depends on several factors, including the initial land cover partition within the basin, the replaced land cover class, the area of the catchment, and the type of catchment (drier or humid). Finally, in the context of the mitigation strategies pledged in the Chilean NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions defined after the Paris Agreement), which include the afforestation of 100,000 ha (mainly native forest) by 2030, we quantify the impacts on water supply due to the afforestation of 100,000 ha with different combinations of NF and FP. We show that annual runoff is highly sensitive to the relative area of FP to NF: ratios of FP to NF areas of 10%, 50% and 90% would lead to 3%, −18% and −40% changes in mean annual runoff, respectively. Our results can be used in the discussion of public policies and decision-making involving forests and land cover changes, as they provide scientifically-based tools to quantify expected impacts on water resources. In particular, this knowledge is relevant for decision making regarding mitigation strategies pledged in the Chilean NDC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Managing Forests and Water for People under a Changing Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
Combining Global Remote Sensing Products with Hydrological Modeling to Measure the Impact of Tropical Forest Loss on Water-Based Ecosystem Services
Forests 2019, 10(5), 413; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10050413 - 13 May 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
In the Lower Mekong River Basin (LMB), deforestation rates are some of the highest in the world as land is converted primarily into intensive agriculture and plantations. While this has been a key for the region’s economic development, rural populations dependent on the [...] Read more.
In the Lower Mekong River Basin (LMB), deforestation rates are some of the highest in the world as land is converted primarily into intensive agriculture and plantations. While this has been a key for the region’s economic development, rural populations dependent on the freshwater water resources that support their fishing and agriculture industries are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of flood, drought and non-point source pollution. Impacts of deforestation on ecosystem services (ES) including hydrological ES that control the availability and quality of fresh water across the landscape, regulating floods and droughts, soil erosion and non-point source pollution are known. Despite this understanding at the hillslope level, few studies have been able to quantify the impact of wide-scale deforestation on larger tropical watersheds. This study introduces a new methodology to quantify the impact of deforestation on water-based ES in the LMB with a focus on Cambodia by combining spatial datasets on forest loss from remote sensing and spatially-explicit hydrological modeling. Numerous global and regional remote sensing products are synthesized to develop detailed land use change maps for 2001 to 2013 for the LMB, which are then used as inputs into a hydrological model to develop unique spatial datasets that map ES changes due to deforestation across the LMB. The results point to a clear correlation between forest loss and surface runoff, with a weaker but upward trending relationship between forest loss and sediment yield. This resulted in increased river discharge for 17 of the 22 watersheds, and increased sediment for all 22 watersheds. While there is considerable variability between watersheds, these results could be helpful for prioritizing interventions to decrease deforestation by highlighting which areas have experienced the greatest change in water-based ES provision. These results are also presented in a web-based platform called the Watershed Ecosystem Service Tool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Managing Forests and Water for People under a Changing Environment)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Regional-Scale Index for Assessing the Exposure of Drinking-Water Sources to Wildfires
Forests 2019, 10(5), 384; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10050384 - 30 Apr 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Recent human-interface wildfires around the world have raised concerns regarding the reliability of freshwater supply flowing from severely burned watersheds. Degraded source water quality can often be expected after severe wildfire and can pose challenges to drinking water facilities by straining treatment response [...] Read more.
Recent human-interface wildfires around the world have raised concerns regarding the reliability of freshwater supply flowing from severely burned watersheds. Degraded source water quality can often be expected after severe wildfire and can pose challenges to drinking water facilities by straining treatment response capacities, increasing operating costs, and jeopardizing their ability to supply consumers. Identifying source watersheds that are dangerously exposed to post-wildfire hydrologic changes is important for protecting community drinking-water supplies from contamination risks that may lead to service disruptions. This study presents a spatial index of watershed exposure to wildfires in the province of Alberta, Canada, where growing water demands coupled with increasing fire activity threaten municipal drinking-water supplies. Using a multi-criteria analysis design, we integrated information regarding provincial forest cover, fire danger, source water volume, source-water origin (i.e., forested/un-forested), and population served. We found that (1) >2/3 of the population of the province relies on drinking-water supplies originating in forested watersheds, (2) forest cover is the most important variable controlling final exposure scores, and (3) watersheds supplying small drinking water treatment plants are particularly exposed, especially in central Alberta. The index can help regional authorities prioritize the allocation of risk management resources to mitigate adverse impacts from wildfire. The flexible design of this tool readily allows its deployment at larger national and continental scales to inform broader water security frameworks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Managing Forests and Water for People under a Changing Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
The Joint Effects of Precipitation Gradient and Afforestation on Soil Moisture across the Loess Plateau of China
Forests 2019, 10(3), 285; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10030285 - 22 Mar 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Understanding the dependence of soil moisture changes following afforestation on the precipitation gradient and afforested vegetation types is crucial for improving ongoing afforestation projects, and to guide future restoration strategies in water-limited regions. For this study, we characterized afforestation-induced changes in soil moisture [...] Read more.
Understanding the dependence of soil moisture changes following afforestation on the precipitation gradient and afforested vegetation types is crucial for improving ongoing afforestation projects, and to guide future restoration strategies in water-limited regions. For this study, we characterized afforestation-induced changes in soil moisture at depths of 0–3.0 m across a precipitation gradient in the semi-arid Loess Plateau of China. A paired experiment was conducted across 15 sites, where native grasslands served as the baseline hydrology. The results showed that korshinsk peashrub (Caragana korshinskii Kom.), sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.), and black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) afforestation caused an overall strong decline in soil moisture content at depths of below 2.2 m. The degree of soil moisture decline at the regional scale did not vary between different afforested vegetation types but was contingent on precipitation. With decreasing precipitation gradients, afforestation increased the cost of deep soil moisture. Precipitation restrictions began to appear at mean annual precipitation (MAP) = 520 mm, and were intensified at MAP = 380 mm, which could be employed to divide the Loess Plateau into different ecological regions. Because of this, different strategies should be assigned in future restoration practices to these ecological regions to align with localized precipitation conditions. It will likely be prudent to encourage afforestation in areas with MAP of more than 520 mm, while advocating alternative grassland restoration in areas with MAP of less than 380 mm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Managing Forests and Water for People under a Changing Environment)
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