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Special Issue "Nutrient Cycling in Forest Ecosystems"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Robert G. Qualls

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, University of Nevada, Reno, NV, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: forest biogeochemistry; wetland biogeochemistry; succession and ecosystem development; effects of climatic warming and CO2 fertilization on forest soils; soil organic matter chemistry; microbial ecology; chlorine chemistry in water; ultraviolet light disinfection

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The long term productivity of forest ecosystems depends on the cycling of nutrients. In fact, the carbon dioxide fertilization effect on forest productivity may ultimately be limited by the rate of nutrient cycling. Contemporary and future disturbances such as climatic warming, deforestation, short rotation sylviculture, fire (wild and controlled), and the invasion of exotic species all place strains on the integrity of this system of nutrient cycling. Global differences in climate, soils, and species make the extrapolation of even a single important study difficult to extrapolate to forests worldwide. Despite advances in the understanding of nutrient cycling and carbon production in forests, many questions remain. These questions are reflected in the topics listed below. We invite submissions for a Special Issue of Forests on the subject of “Nutrient Cycling in Forest Ecosystems”. Topics for submissions may include, but are not limited to:

  • forest nutrient stocks and climate change;
  • ability of increased N and P mineralization caused by soil warming to sustain increased productivity caused by CO2 fertilization;
  • uptake, removal from soil, and cycling of nutrients during forest growth (either natural ecosystem development or growth of managed forests);
  • nutrient cycling and species diversity: does increased tree diversity improve nutrient use in plantations?
  • species effects on nutrient cycling; dominant species traits that affect nutrient cycling;
  • effects of invasive species or forest management practices on nutrient cycling;
  • genomics of microorganisms involved in nutrient cycling;
  • role of mycorrhizae in nutrient cycles;
  • fate of nutrients used in fertilization;
  • root productivity and nutrient turnover;
  • fundamental mechanisms that control P cycling in tropical forests;
  • causes of recalcitrance in soil organic matter mineralization.

Prof. Dr. Robert G. Qualls
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
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Nutrient cycles
  • Soil
  • Climate change
  • Nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon, micronutrients

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Decreased Temperature with Increasing Elevation Decreases the End-Season Leaf-to-Wood Reallocation of Resources in Deciduous Betula ermanii Cham. Trees
Forests 2019, 10(2), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020166
Received: 27 January 2019 / Revised: 9 February 2019 / Accepted: 13 February 2019 / Published: 15 February 2019
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Abstract
Global air temperature has increased and continues to increase, especially in high latitude and high altitude areas, which may affect plant resource physiology and thus plant growth and productivity. The resource remobilization efficiency of plants in response to global warming is, however, still [...] Read more.
Global air temperature has increased and continues to increase, especially in high latitude and high altitude areas, which may affect plant resource physiology and thus plant growth and productivity. The resource remobilization efficiency of plants in response to global warming is, however, still poorly understood. We thus assessed end-season resource remobilization from leaves to woody tissues in deciduous Betula ermanii Cham. trees grown along an elevational gradient ranging from 1700 m to 2187 m a.s.l. on Changbai Mountain, northeastern China. We hypothesized that end-season resource remobilization efficiency from leaves to storage tissues increases with increasing elevation or decreasing temperature. To test this hypothesis, concentrations of non-structural carbohydrates (NSCs), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) during peak shoot growth (July) were compared with those at the end of growing season (September on Changbai Mt.) for each tissue type. To avoid leaf phenological effects on parameters, fallen leaves were collected at the end-season. Except for July-shoot NSC and July-leaf K, tissue concentrations of NSC, N, P, and K did not decrease with increasing elevation for both July and September. We found that the end-season leaf-to-wood reallocation efficiency decreased with increasing elevation. This lower reallocation efficiency may result in resource limitation in high-elevation trees. Future warming may promote leaf-to-wood resource reallocation, leading to upward shift of forests to higher elevations. The NSC, N, P, and K accumulated in stems and roots but not in shoots, especially in trees grown close to or at their upper limit, indicating that stems and roots of deciduous trees are the most important storage tissues over winter. Our results contribute to better understand the resource-related ecophysiological mechanisms for treeline formation, and vice versa, to better predict forest dynamics at high elevations in response to global warming. Our study provides resource-related ecophysiological knowledge for developing management strategies for high elevation forests in a rapidly warming world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrient Cycling in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Experimental Nitrogen Addition on Nutrients and Nonstructural Carbohydrates of Dominant Understory Plants in a Chinese Fir Plantation
Forests 2019, 10(2), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020155
Received: 14 January 2019 / Revised: 2 February 2019 / Accepted: 11 February 2019 / Published: 12 February 2019
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Abstract
Research Highlights: This study identifies the nitrogen (N) deposition effect on understory plants by altering directly soil nutrients or indirectly altering environmental factors in subtropical plantation. Background and Objectives: N deposition is a major environmental issue and has altered forest ecosystem components and [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: This study identifies the nitrogen (N) deposition effect on understory plants by altering directly soil nutrients or indirectly altering environmental factors in subtropical plantation. Background and Objectives: N deposition is a major environmental issue and has altered forest ecosystem components and their functions. The response of understory vegetation to N deposition is often neglected due to a small proportion of stand productivity. However, compared to overstory trees, understory species usually have a higher nutrient cycle rate and are more sensitive to environmental change, so should be of greater concern. Materials and Methods: The changes in plant biomass, N, phosphorus (P), and nonstructural carbohydrates (NSCs) of three dominant understory species, namely Dicranopteris dichotoma, Lophatherum gracile, and Melastoma dodecandrum, were determined following four years of experimental N addition (100 kg hm−2 year−1 of N) in a Chinese fir plantation. Results: N addition increased the tissue N concentrations of all the understory plants by increasing soil mineral N, while N addition decreased the aboveground biomass of D. dichotoma and L. gracile significantly—by 82.1% and 67.2%, respectively. The biomass of M. dodecandrum did not respond to N addition. In contrast, N addition significantly increased the average girth growth rates and litterfall productivity of overstory trees—by 18.28% and 36.71%, respectively. NSCs, especially soluble sugar, representing immediate products of photosynthesis and main energy sources for plant growth, decreased after N addition in two of the three species. The plant NSC/N and NSC/P ratios showed decreasing tendencies, but the N/P ratio in aboveground tissue did not change with N addition. Conclusions: N addition might inhibit the growth of understory plants by decreasing the nonstructural carbohydrates and light availability indirectly rather than by changing nutrients and N/P stoichiometry directly, although species-specific responses to N deposition occurred in the Chinese fir plantation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrient Cycling in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle Fine Root Biomass Mediates Soil Fauna Community in Response to Nitrogen Addition in Poplar Plantations (Populus deltoids) on the East Coast of China
Forests 2019, 10(2), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020122
Received: 4 January 2019 / Revised: 30 January 2019 / Accepted: 31 January 2019 / Published: 3 February 2019
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Abstract
Soil fauna is critical for maintaining ecosystem functioning, and its community could be significantly impacted by nitrogen (N) deposition. However, our knowledge of how soil-faunal community composition responds to N addition is still limited. In this study, we simulated N deposition (0, 50, [...] Read more.
Soil fauna is critical for maintaining ecosystem functioning, and its community could be significantly impacted by nitrogen (N) deposition. However, our knowledge of how soil-faunal community composition responds to N addition is still limited. In this study, we simulated N deposition (0, 50, 100, 150, and 300 kg N ha−1 year−1) to explore the effects of N addition on the total and the phytophagous soil fauna along the soil profile (0–10, 10–25, and 25–40 cm) in poplar plantations (Populus deltoids) on the east coast of China. Ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) was dissolved in water and sprayed evenly under the canopy with a backpack sprayer to simulate N deposition. Our results showed that N addition either significantly increased or decreased the density (D) of both the total and the phytophagous soil fauna (Dtotal and Dp) at low or high N addition rates, respectively, indicating the existence of threshold effects over the range of N addition. However, N addition had no significant impacts on the number of groups (G) and diversity (H) of either the total or the phytophagous soil fauna (Gtotal, Gp and Htotal, Hp). With increasing soil depth, Dtotal, Dp, Gtotal, and Gp largely decreased, showing that the soil fauna have a propensity to aggregate at the soil surface. Htotal and Hp did not significantly vary along the soil profile. Importantly, the threshold effects of N addition on Dtotal and Dp increased from 50 and 100 to 150 kg N ha−1 year−1 along the soil profile. Fine root biomass was the dominant factor mediating variations in Dtotal and Dp. Our results suggested that N addition may drive changes in soil-faunal community composition by altering belowground food resources in poplar plantations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrient Cycling in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle Stocks and Stoichiometry of Soil Organic Carbon, Total Nitrogen, and Total Phosphorus after Vegetation Restoration in the Loess Hilly Region, China
Forests 2019, 10(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10010027
Received: 17 November 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 27 December 2018 / Published: 3 January 2019
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Abstract
The Loess Plateau is an important region for vegetation restoration in China; however, changes in soil organic carbon (SOC), soil nutrients, and stoichiometry after restoration in this vulnerable ecoregion are not well understood. Typical restoration types, including orchardland, grassland, shrubland, and forestland, were [...] Read more.
The Loess Plateau is an important region for vegetation restoration in China; however, changes in soil organic carbon (SOC), soil nutrients, and stoichiometry after restoration in this vulnerable ecoregion are not well understood. Typical restoration types, including orchardland, grassland, shrubland, and forestland, were chosen to examine changes in the stocks and stoichiometry of SOC, soil total nitrogen (TN), and soil total phosphorus (TP) at different soil depths and recovery times. Results showed that SOC stocks first increased and then stabilized in orchardland, grassland, and shrubland at 0–30 cm depths, while in forestland, SOC stocks gradually increased. Soil TN stocks first increased and then decreased in orchardland, shrubland, and forestland with restoration age at 0–30 cm depths, while soil TP stocks showed little variation between restoration types; at the same time, the overall C:N, C:P, and N:P ratios increased with restoration age. In the later stages of restoration, the stocks of SOC and soil TN at 0–30 cm soil depths were still lower than those in natural grassland and natural forest. Additionally, the SOC, soil TN, and soil TP stocks and the C:N, C:P, and N:P ratios decreased with soil depth. The forestland had the highest rate of change in SOC and soil TN stocks, at 0–10 cm soil depth. These results indicate a complex response of SOC, soil TN, and soil TP stocks and stoichiometry to vegetation restoration, which could have important implications for understanding C, N, and P changes and nutrient limitations after vegetation restoration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrient Cycling in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle Leaf Nitrogen and Phosphorus Stoichiometry of Cyclocarya paliurus across China
Forests 2018, 9(12), 771; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9120771
Received: 16 November 2018 / Revised: 11 December 2018 / Accepted: 13 December 2018 / Published: 13 December 2018
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Abstract
Leaf stoichiometry (nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and N:P ratio) is not only important for studying nutrient composition in forests, but also reflects plant biochemical adaptation to geographic and climate conditions. However, patterns of leaf stoichiometry and controlling factors are still unclear for most [...] Read more.
Leaf stoichiometry (nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and N:P ratio) is not only important for studying nutrient composition in forests, but also reflects plant biochemical adaptation to geographic and climate conditions. However, patterns of leaf stoichiometry and controlling factors are still unclear for most species. In this study, we determined leaf N and P stoichiometry and their relationship with soil properties, geographic and climate variables for Cyclocarya paliurus based on a nation-wide dataset from 30 natural populations in China. The mean values of N and P concentrations and N:P ratios were 9.57 mg g−1, 0.91 mg g−1 and 10.51, respectively, indicating that both leaf N and P concentrations in C. paliurus forests were lower than those of China and the global flora, and almost all populations were limited in N concentration. We found significant differences in leaf N and P concentrations and N:P ratios among the sampled C. paliurus populations. However, there were no significant correlations between soil properties (including organic C, total N and P concentrations) and leaf stoichiometry. The pattern of variation in leaf N concentration across the populations was positively correlated with latitude (24.46° N–32.42° N), but negatively correlated with mean annual temperature (MAT); meanwhile, leaf N concentration and N:P ratios were negatively correlated with mean temperature in January (MTmin) and mean annual frost-free period (MAF). Together, these results suggested that temperature-physiological stoichiometry with a latitudinal trend hold true at both global and regional levels. In addition, the relationships between leaf stoichiometry and climate variables provided information on how leaf stoichiometry of this species may respond to climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrient Cycling in Forest Ecosystems)
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