Special Issue "Growth and Allocation of Woody Biomass in Forest Trees Based on Environmental Conditions"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 July 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Luigi Todaro
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
School of Agricultural, Forestry, Food and Environmental Science (SAFE), University of Basilicata, V.le dell’Ateneo Lucano 10, 85100 Potenza, Italy
Interests: wood characterization; sustainability; natural resource management; wood modification
Dr. Angelo Rita
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
School of Agricultural, Forestry, Food, and Environmental Sciences, University of Basilicata, V.le Ateneo Lucano 10, 85100 Potenza, Italy
Interests: plant ecology; tree growth; wood anatomy; dendrochronology; drought stress
Dr. Alessio Collalti
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Institute for Agricultural and Forestry Systems in the Mediterranean (ISAFOM-CNR). National Research Council of Italy, Via Cavour, 4-6 87036, Rende (CS) Italy
Interests: tree ecophysiology; forest modelling; biogeochemical cycles; silviculture; stand dynamics; carbon sequestration; forest ecology; climate change impacts; adaptation; mitigation
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Terrestrial ecosystems, and forests in particular, are important components because of their key role in reducing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations by storing a large amount of carbon in biomass and soils. Increasing attention is being paid to forestland area, which accounts for 30% of the total land surface and acts as the main C store in the land system. In their life cycle, plants uptake, process, allocate, and remobilize resources from the environment, including basic materials, such as CO2, water, and nutrients, and other materials, such as sugars, proteins, and defensive chemicals. The relative amount of above- and belowground biomass allocated among leaves, branches, stems, roots, and reproductive tissues is a functional indicator of the forest stand and reflects the material flow, the wood quality, a plant’s survival strategy, and the primary production processes. The way in which plants share their labile products across their compartments is influenced by plant size and is not fixed but likely varies over time, across growth environments, and among species. It follows that the whole allocation process would be modulated under strong natural selection. Obtaining a qualitative/quantitative understanding of the influence that these factors have on growth and biomass allocation is of fundamental importance for both understanding plant ecology and evolution and developing environmental policies and forest management practices, such as:

- sequestration to increase stocks in more recalcitrant woody carbon pools, characterized by a slow build-up of carbon with a potentially slower release of carbon to the atmosphere;

- conservation to prevent emissions from existing forest carbon pools in regions with high C stocks and where natural disturbances are less frequent to cause large immediate reductions in C stocks;

- substitution of energy-intensive products with products derived from renewable resources; and

- the improvement of practices that aim to increase wood quality for social purposes.

Dr. Luigi Todaro
Dr. Angelo Rita
Dr. Alessio Collalti
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • forest growth
  • carbon allocation
  • woody biomass
  • wood quality

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Wood vs. Canopy Allocation of Aboveground Net Primary Productivity in a Mediterranean Forest during 21 Years of Experimental Rainfall Exclusion
Forests 2020, 11(10), 1094; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11101094 - 14 Oct 2020
Abstract
A Mediterranean holm oak forest was subjected to experimental partial rainfall exclusion during 21 consecutive years to study the effects of the expected decrease in water availability for Mediterranean vegetation in the coming decades. Allocation in woody structures and total aboveground allocation were [...] Read more.
A Mediterranean holm oak forest was subjected to experimental partial rainfall exclusion during 21 consecutive years to study the effects of the expected decrease in water availability for Mediterranean vegetation in the coming decades. Allocation in woody structures and total aboveground allocation were correlated with annual rainfall, whereas canopy allocation and the ratio of wood/canopy allocation were not dependent on rainfall. Fruit productivity was also correlated with annual rainfall, but only in Quercus ilex. In the studied site, there were two types of forest structure: high canopy stand clearly dominated by Quercus ilex, and low canopy stand with more abundance of a tall shrub species, Phillyrea latifolia. In the tall canopy stand, the allocation to woody structures decreased in the experimental rainfall exclusion, but not the allocation to canopy. In the low canopy stand, wood allocation in Quercus ilex was very small in both control and plots with rainfall exclusion, but wood allocation in Phillyrea latifolia was even higher than that obtained in tall canopy plots, especially in the plots receiving the experimental rainfall exclusion. These results highlight likely future changes in the structure and functioning of this ecosystem induced by the decrease in water availability. A serious drop in the capacity to mitigate climate change for this Mediterranean forest can be expected, and the ability of Phillyrea latifolia to take advantage of the limited capacity to cope with drought conditions detected in Quercus ilex makes likely a forthcoming change in species dominance, especially in the low canopy stands. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Patterns for Populus spp. Stand Biomass in Gradients of Winter Temperature and Precipitation of Eurasia
Forests 2020, 11(9), 906; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11090906 - 19 Aug 2020
Abstract
Based on a generated database of 413 sample plots, with definitions of stand biomass of the genus Populus spp. in Eurasia, from France to Japan and southern China, statistically significant changes in the structure of forest stand biomass were found, with shifts in [...] Read more.
Based on a generated database of 413 sample plots, with definitions of stand biomass of the genus Populus spp. in Eurasia, from France to Japan and southern China, statistically significant changes in the structure of forest stand biomass were found, with shifts in winter temperatures and average annual precipitation. When analyzing the reaction of the structure of the biomass of the genus Populus to temperature and precipitation in their transcontinental gradients, a clearly expressed positive relationship of all components of the biomass with the temperature in January is visible. Their relationship with precipitation is less clear; in warm climate zones, when precipitation increases, the biomass of all wood components decreases intensively, and in cold climate zones, this decrease is less pronounced. The foliage biomass does not increase when precipitation decreases, as is typical for wood components, but decreases. This can be explained by the specifics of the functioning of the assimilation apparatus, namely its transpiration activity when warming, and the corresponding increase in transpiration, which requires an increase in the influx of assimilates into the foliage, and the desiccation of the climate that reduces this influx of assimilates. Comparison of the obtained patterns with previously published results for other species from Eurasia showed partial or complete discrepancies, the causes of which require special physiological studies. The results obtained can be useful in the management of biosphere functions of forests, which is important in the implementation of climate stabilization measures, as well as in the validation of the results of simulation experiments to assess the carbon-deposition capacity of forests. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Structural Carbon Allocation and Wood Growth Reflect Climate Variation in Stands of Hybrid White Spruce in Central Interior British Columbia, Canada
Forests 2020, 11(8), 879; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11080879 - 12 Aug 2020
Abstract
Research Highlights: This research presents a novel approach for comparing structural carbon allocation to tree growth and to climate in a dendrochronological analysis. Increasing temperatures reduced the carbon proportion of wood in some cases. Background and Objectives: Our goal was to estimate [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: This research presents a novel approach for comparing structural carbon allocation to tree growth and to climate in a dendrochronological analysis. Increasing temperatures reduced the carbon proportion of wood in some cases. Background and Objectives: Our goal was to estimate the structural carbon content of wood within hybrid white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) × engelmannii (Parry) grown in British Columbia, Canada, and compare the percent carbon content to wood properties and climate conditions of the region. Specific objectives included: (i) the determination of average incremental percent carbon, ring widths (RW), earlywood (EW) and latewood (LW) widths, cell wall thickness, and density over time; (ii) the determination of differences between percent carbon in individual forest stands and between regions; and (iii) the evaluation of the relationships between percent carbon and climate variation over time. Methods: Trees were sampled from twelve sites in northern British Columbia. Wood cores were analyzed with standard dendrochronology techniques and SilviScan analysis. Percent structural carbon was determined using acetone extraction and elemental analysis for 5 year increments. Individual chronologies of wood properties and percent carbon, and chronologies grouped by region were compared by difference of means. Temperature and precipitation values from the regions were compared to the carbon chronologies using correlation, regression, and visual interpretation. Results: Significant differences were found between the percent structural carbon of wood in individual natural and planted stands; none in regional aggregates. Some significant relationships were found between percent carbon, RW, EW, LW, and the cell wall thickness and density values. Percent carbon accumulation in planted stands and natural stands was found in some cases to correlate with increasing temperatures. Natural stand percent carbon values truncated to the last 30 years of growth was shown as more sensitive to climate variation compared to the entire time series. Conclusions: Differences between the stands in terms of structural carbon proportion vary by site-specific climate characteristics in areas of central interior British Columbia. Wood properties can be good indicators of variation in sequestered carbon in some stands. Carbon accumulation was reduced with increasing temperatures; however, warmer late-season conditions appear to enhance growth and carbon accumulation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Growth, Carbon Storage, and Optimal Rotation in Poplar Plantations: A Case Study on Clone and Planting Spacing Effects
Forests 2020, 11(8), 842; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11080842 - 03 Aug 2020
Abstract
Poplar, as the most widely cultivated fast-growing tree species in the middle latitude plain, provides important wood resources and plays an important role in mitigating climate change. In order to understand the response of growth, biomass production, carbon storage to poplar clones, planting [...] Read more.
Poplar, as the most widely cultivated fast-growing tree species in the middle latitude plain, provides important wood resources and plays an important role in mitigating climate change. In order to understand the response of growth, biomass production, carbon storage to poplar clones, planting spacings, and their interaction, a field trial was established in 2007. In 2018, we destructively harvested 24 sample trees for biomass measurements and stem analyses. Biomass production and carbon storage for the single tree of three clones enhanced as planting spacing increasing at the age of 13, but both the biomass production and carbon storage of clones NL-895 and NL-95 were higher than the clone NL-797 at the spacings of 6 × 6 m and 5 × 5 m. The average carbon concentration of the tested clones was in the order of stem > branches > leaves, and showed significant variation between different components (p < 0.05). Large spacing stimulated more biomass to be partitioned to the canopy. Based on the prediction values of tree volume growth by established Chapman–Richards models, the quantitative maturity ages of stand volume varied among the investigating plantations, ranging from 14 to 17 years old. Our results suggest that the selecting clones NL-895 and NL-95 with 6 × 6 m spacing would be recommended at similar sites for future poplar silviculture of larger diameter timber production, as well as for carbon sequestration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Estimation of Aboveground Oil Palm Biomass in a Mature Plantation in the Congo Basin
Forests 2020, 11(5), 544; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11050544 - 12 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Agro-industrial oil palm plantations are becoming increasingly established in the Congo Basin (West Equatorial Africa) for mainly economic reasons. Knowledge of oil palm capacity to sequester carbon requires biomass estimates. This study implemented local and regional methods for estimating palm biomass in a [...] Read more.
Agro-industrial oil palm plantations are becoming increasingly established in the Congo Basin (West Equatorial Africa) for mainly economic reasons. Knowledge of oil palm capacity to sequester carbon requires biomass estimates. This study implemented local and regional methods for estimating palm biomass in a mature plantation, using destructive sampling. Eighteen 35-year-old oil palms with breast height diameters (DBH) between 48 and 58 cm were felled and sectioned in a plantation located in Makouké, central Gabon. Field and laboratory measurements determined the biomasses of different tree compartments (fruits, leaflets, petioles, rachises, stems). Fruits and leaflets contributed an average of 6% to total aboveground palm biomass, which petioles accounted for 8%, rachises for 13% and the stem, 73%. The best allometric equation for estimating stem biomass was obtained with a composite variable, formulated as DBH2 × stem height, weighted by tissue infra-density. For leaf biomass (fruits + leaflets + petioles + rachises), the equation was of a similar form, but included the leaf number instead of infra-density. The allometric model combining the stem and leaf biomass yielded the best estimates of the total aboveground oil palm biomass (coefficient of determination (r2) = 0.972, p < 0.0001, relative root mean square error (RMSE) = 5%). Yet, the model was difficult to implement in practice, given the limited availability of variables such as the leaf number. The total aboveground biomass could be estimated with comparable results using DBH2 × stem height, weighted by the infra-density (r2 = 0.961, p < 0.0001, relative RMSE (%RMSE) = 5.7%). A simpler model excluding infra-density did not severely compromise results (R2 = 0.939, p < 0.0003, %RMSE = 8.2%). We also examined existing allometric models, established elsewhere in the world, for estimating aboveground oil palm biomass in our study area. These models exhibited performances inferior to the best local allometric equations that were developed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Biomass Allocation into Woody Parts and Foliage in Young Common Aspen (Populus tremula L.)—Trees and a Stand-Level Study in the Western Carpathians
Forests 2020, 11(4), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11040464 - 20 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Our research of common aspen (Populus tremula L.) focused on the forested mountainous area in central Slovakia. Forest stands (specifically 27 plots from 9 sites) with ages between 2 and 15 years were included in measurements and sampling. Whole tree biomass of [...] Read more.
Our research of common aspen (Populus tremula L.) focused on the forested mountainous area in central Slovakia. Forest stands (specifically 27 plots from 9 sites) with ages between 2 and 15 years were included in measurements and sampling. Whole tree biomass of aspen individuals was destructively sampled, separated into tree components (leaves, branches, stem, and roots), and then dried and weighed. Subsamples of fresh leaves from three crown parts (upper, middle, and lower) were scanned, dried, and weighed. Allometric biomass models with stem base diameter as an independent variable were derived for individual tree components. Basic foliage traits, i.e., leaf mass, leaf area, and specific leaf area, were modelled with regard to tree size and leaf position within the crown. Moreover, biomass stock of the woody parts and foliage as well as the leaf area index were modelled using mean stand diameter as an independent variable. Foliage traits changed with both tree size and crown part. Biomass models showed that foliage contribution to total tree biomass decreased with tree size. The total foliage area of a tree increased with tree size, reaching its maximum value of about 12 m2 for a tree with a diameter of 120 mm. Leaf area index increased with mean stand diameter, reaching a maximum value of 13.5 m2 m−2. Since no data for biomass allocation for common aspen had been available at either the tree or stand levels, our findings might serve for both theoretical (e.g., modelling of growth processes) and practical (forestry and agro-forestry stakeholders) purposes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Net Primary Productivity of Pinus massoniana Dependence on Climate, Soil and Forest Characteristics
Forests 2020, 11(4), 404; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11040404 - 04 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Understanding the spatial variation of forest productivity and its driving factors on a large regional scale can help reveal the response mechanism of tree growth to climate change, and is an important prerequisite for efficient forest management and studying regional and global carbon [...] Read more.
Understanding the spatial variation of forest productivity and its driving factors on a large regional scale can help reveal the response mechanism of tree growth to climate change, and is an important prerequisite for efficient forest management and studying regional and global carbon cycles. Pinus massoniana Lamb. is a major planted tree species in southern China, playing an important role in the development of forestry due to its high economic and ecological benefits. Here, we establish a biomass database for P. massoniana, including stems, branches, leaves, roots, aboveground organs and total tree, by collecting the published literature, to increase our understanding of net primary productivity (NPP) geographical trends for each tree component and their influencing factors across the entire geographical distribution of the species in southern China. P. massoniana NPP ranges from 1.04 to 13.13 Mg·ha−1·year−1, with a mean value of 5.65 Mg·ha−1·year−1. The NPP of both tree components (i.e., stem, branch, leaf, root, aboveground organs, and total tree) show no clear relationships with longitude and elevation, but an inverse relationship with latitude (p < 0.01). Linear mixed-effects models (LMMs) are employed to analyze the effect of environmental factors and stand characteristics on P. massoniana NPP. LMM results reveal that the NPP of different tree components have different sensitivities to environmental and stand variables. Appropriate temperature and soil nutrients (particularly soil available phosphorus) are beneficial to biomass accumulation of this species. It is worth noting that the high temperature in July and August (HTWM) is a significant climate stressor across the species geographical distribution and is not restricted to marginal populations in the low latitude area. Temperature was a key environmental factor behind the inverse latitudinal trends of P. massoniana NPP, because it showed a higher sensitivity than other factors. In the context of climate warming and nitrogen (N) deposition, the inhibition effect caused by high temperatures and the lack or imbalance of soil nutrients, particularly soil phosphorus, should be paid more attention in the future. These findings advance our understanding about the factors influencing the productivity of each P. massoniana tree component across the full geographical distribution of the species, and are therefore valuable for forecasting climate-induced variation in forest productivity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Small-Scale Forest Structure Influences Spatial Variability of Belowground Carbon Fluxes in a Mature Mediterranean Beech Forest
Forests 2020, 11(3), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11030255 - 26 Feb 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
The tree belowground compartment, especially fine roots, plays a relevant role in the forest ecosystem carbon (C) cycle, contributing largely to soil CO2 efflux (SR) and to net primary production (NPP). Beyond the well-known role of environmental drivers on fine root production [...] Read more.
The tree belowground compartment, especially fine roots, plays a relevant role in the forest ecosystem carbon (C) cycle, contributing largely to soil CO2 efflux (SR) and to net primary production (NPP). Beyond the well-known role of environmental drivers on fine root production (FRP) and SR, other determinants such as forest structure are still poorly understood. We investigated spatial variability of FRP, SR, forest structural traits, and their reciprocal interactions in a mature beech forest in the Mediterranean mountains. In the year of study, FRP resulted in the main component of NPP and explained about 70% of spatial variability of SR. Moreover, FRP was strictly driven by leaf area index (LAI) and soil water content (SWC). These results suggest a framework of close interactions between structural and functional forest features at the local scale to optimize C source–sink relationships under climate variability in a Mediterranean mature beech forest. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Aboveground Biomass Response to Release Treatments in a Young Ponderosa Pine Plantation
Forests 2019, 10(9), 795; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10090795 - 12 Sep 2019
Abstract
Controlling competing vegetation is vital for early plantation establishment and growth. Aboveground biomass (AGB) response to manual grubbing release from shrub competition was compared with no release control in a twelve-year-old ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Lawson & C. Lawson) plantation established after [...] Read more.
Controlling competing vegetation is vital for early plantation establishment and growth. Aboveground biomass (AGB) response to manual grubbing release from shrub competition was compared with no release control in a twelve-year-old ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Lawson & C. Lawson) plantation established after a wildfire in northeastern California. In addition, response to chemical release followed by precommercial thinning in an adjacent plantation was also examined as a growth potential from a more intensively managed regime, where shrub competition was virtually eliminated. We measured AGB in both planted trees and competing woody shrubs to partition the biomass pools in the plantation. The results showed a significant grubbing treatment effect on basal diameter (BD) at 10 cm aboveground (p = 0.02), but not on tree height (p = 0.055). Height and BD were 2.0 m and 7.4 cm in the manual release, respectively, compared to 1.7 m and 5.6 cm in the control. However, chemical release produced much greater rates of tree growth with a height of 3.6 m and BD of 14.7 cm, respectively. Tree AGB was 60% higher with the manual release of shrubs (1.2 Mg ha−1) than with control (0.7 Mg ha−1) (p < 0.05). The planted area without shrub competition yielded a much higher green tree biomass (16.0 Mg ha−1). When woody shrub biomass was included, the total AGB (trees and woody shrubs) appeared slightly higher, but non-significant in the no release control (13.3 Mg ha−1) than in the manual release (11.9 Mg ha−1) (p = 0.66); the chemical release had 17.1 Mg ha−1. Clearly, shrub biomass dominated this young plantation when understory shrubs were not completely controlled. Although the manual release did increase targeted tree growth to some degree, the cost may limit this practice to a smaller scale and the remaining shrub dominance may create long-term reductions in growth and a persistent fuels problem in these fire-prone ecosystems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Growth and Tree Water Deficit of Mixed Norway Spruce and European Beech at Different Heights in a Tree and under Heavy Drought
Forests 2019, 10(7), 577; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10070577 - 11 Jul 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Although several studies suggest that tree species in mixed stands resist drought events better than in pure stands, little is known about the impact on growth and the tree water deficit (TWD) in different tree heights at heavy drought. With dendrometer data at [...] Read more.
Although several studies suggest that tree species in mixed stands resist drought events better than in pure stands, little is known about the impact on growth and the tree water deficit (TWD) in different tree heights at heavy drought. With dendrometer data at the upper and lower stem and coarse roots, we calculated the TWD and growth (ZGmax) (referring to the stem/root basal area) to show (1) the relationship of TWD in different tree heights (50% tree height (H50), breast height (BH), and roots) and the corresponding leaf water potential and (2) how mixture and drought influence the partitioning of growth and tree water. The analyses were made in a mature temperate forest of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica (L.)). Half of the plots were placed under conditions of extreme drought through automatic closing roof systems within the stand. We found a tight relationship of leaf water potentials and TWD at all tree compartments. Through this proven correlation at all tree heights we were also able to study the differences of TWD in all tree compartments next to the growth allocation. Whereas at the beginning of the growing period, trees prioritized growth of the upper stem, during the course of the year the growth of lower stem became a greater priority. Growth allocation of mixed spruces showed a tendency of a higher growth of the roots compared to the BH. However, spruces in interspecific neighborhoods exhibited a lesser TWD in the roots as spruces in intraspecific neighborhood. Beeches in intraspecific neighborhoods showed a higher TWD in BH compared to H50 as beeches in interspecific neighborhoods. Mixture seems to enhance the water supply of spruce trees, which should increase the stability of this species in a time of climatic warming. Full article
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