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Special Issue "Tree Ecophysiology: Responses and Adaptation to a Changing Environment"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Martina Pollastrini

Department of Agrifood Production and Environmental Sciences, University of Florence, Italy Piazzale delle Cascine 28, 50144, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: tree physiology; forest ecology; environmental stress; forest biodiversity; forest monitoring; plant functional traits; forest management; global change
Guest Editor
Dr. Riccardo Marzuoli

Department of Mathematics and Physics, Laboratory of Ecophysiology and Environmental Physics, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, via dei Musei 41, 20125 Brescia, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: ecophysiology of forest trees; tropospheric ozone effects on the soil-plant-atmosphere system; evaluation of the impacts of atmospheric pollution and climate change on forest ecosystems; characterization of the gas-exchange processes between atmosphere and forest ecosystems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The life and survival of trees are influenced by the environment. The effect of environmental stressors on forest trees represents a great concern in the forestry community, especially in view of the ongoing climate changes and those expected for the near future. In addition to biotic stresses, such as pests and pathogen attacks, drought, global climate warming, land-use changes, fires and pollution negatively affect tree physiology and vitality, with consequences for forest structure, composition and regeneration. Therefore, it is important to know in depth the mechanisms and processes involved in tree responses to different environmental constraints, acting individually, in combination or in temporal sequence.

In this Special Issue, we aim to improve the knowledge on forest tree responses to environment constraints, in natural or planted, temperate and tropical forest species, asking for original contributes and studies evaluating also the mechanisms of physiologically-based adaptation of trees to the changing environment. This Special Issue proposes contributions from research studies carried out in controlled conditions, in the field, with models and remote sensing surveys focused on tree ecophysiology, and other aspects, such as biodiversity, species interactions and forest management strategies.

Dr. Martina Pollastrini
Dr. Riccardo Marzuoli
Guest Editors

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 1400 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

  • tree physiology
  • ecophysiology
  • environmental stress
  • stressors
  • adaptive capacity
  • climate change
  • environmental changes
  • plant functioning
  • forest health
  • forest management
  • forest ecosystems

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle High-Resolution Analytical Approach to Describe the Sensitivity of Tree–Environment Dependences through Stem Radial Variation
Forests 2018, 9(3), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9030134
Received: 29 December 2017 / Revised: 22 February 2018 / Accepted: 7 March 2018 / Published: 12 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2831 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Stem radius variations are remarkably synchronous to weather conditions. Climate fluctuations can forecast the occurrence and severity of environmental disturbance on radial variations, as well as tissue sensitivity and tree growth. Radial variations were detected through dendrometers and were analyzed coupled to environmental
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Stem radius variations are remarkably synchronous to weather conditions. Climate fluctuations can forecast the occurrence and severity of environmental disturbance on radial variations, as well as tissue sensitivity and tree growth. Radial variations were detected through dendrometers and were analyzed coupled to environmental conditions to define stem sensitivity in response to experimental (logs in lab) and natural (trees in field) drivers. By using a mathematical approach for the analysis of plant traits and environmental variables, this study aimed at highlighting a methodological framework to analytically unravel the environmental control of stem cycles. A derivative analysis was performed on data derived from experimental measurements, which showed a high degree of agreement between environmental drivers and dendrometer signals. The analytical approach provided information on plant performance in response to environmental variation, removing the confounding effects of different variables. Coding of the dendrometer signal provided a process to quantify stem sensitivity to ambient temperature, to portray synchronicity of time series related to stem radial variations and air temperature events, and to identify time lags of environmental effects on plant traits. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Night Light-Adaptation Strategies for Photosynthetic Apparatus in Yellow-Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) Exposed to Artificial Night Lighting
Forests 2018, 9(2), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9020074
Received: 30 December 2017 / Revised: 28 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (23154 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Plants can undergo external fluctuations in the natural light and dark cycle. The photosynthetic apparatus needs to operate in an appropriate manner to fluctuating environmental factors, especially in light. Yellow-poplar seedlings were exposed to nighttime artificial high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting to evaluate night
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Plants can undergo external fluctuations in the natural light and dark cycle. The photosynthetic apparatus needs to operate in an appropriate manner to fluctuating environmental factors, especially in light. Yellow-poplar seedlings were exposed to nighttime artificial high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting to evaluate night light-adaptation strategies for photosynthetic apparatus fitness relative to pigment contents, photosystem II photochemistry, photosynthetic parameters, histochemical analysis of reactive oxygen species, and plant biomass. As a result, seedlings exhibited dynamic changes including the enhancement of accessory pigments, the reduction of photosystem II photochemistry, increased stomatal limitation, downregulation of photosynthesis, and the decreased aboveground and belowground biomass under artificial night lighting. Histochemical analysis with 3,3′-diaminobenzidine (DAB) and nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) staining indicates the accumulation of in situ superoxide radicals (O2) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in leaves exposed to the lowest level of artificial night lighting compared to control. Moreover, these leaves exposed to artificial night lighting had a lower nighttime respiration rate. These results indicated that HPS lighting during the night may act as a major factor as repressors of the fitness of photosynthesis and growth patterns, via a modification of the photosynthetic light harvesting apparatus. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Ecophysiological Responses of Three Tree Species to a High-Altitude Environment in the Southeastern Tibetan Plateau
Forests 2018, 9(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9020048
Received: 17 November 2017 / Revised: 14 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 23 January 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4992 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper measured the ecophysiological responses of Populus cathayana Rehd., Salix longistamina C. Wang et P. Y. Fu., and Ulmus pumila L. to high altitude in the Tibetan Plateau based on changes in water relations, gas exchange, and chlorophyll fluorescence. P. cathayana and
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This paper measured the ecophysiological responses of Populus cathayana Rehd., Salix longistamina C. Wang et P. Y. Fu., and Ulmus pumila L. to high altitude in the Tibetan Plateau based on changes in water relations, gas exchange, and chlorophyll fluorescence. P. cathayana and U. pumila have higher survival rates than S. longistamina, but the latter has highest biomass. S. longistamina has higher water-use efficiency (WUE), lower transpiration rates (E), higher water potential (Ψ), highest light saturation point (LSP) and higher photosystem II (PSII) photochemistry efficiency (Fv’/Fm’) and non-photochemistry quenching (NPQ) than the other species, and is thus adapted to its habitat for afforestation. U. pumila has lower E, light compensation point (LCP), dark respiration (Rd), Fv’/Fm’ and electron transport rate (ETR), with higher Ψ, apparent quantum yield (AQY), net photosynthetic rate (Pn) and non-photochemical quenching (NPQ), which helps it maintain water balance and utilize weak light to survive at high altitude. Relative low WUE, Ψ, Rd, NPQ, with high E, Pn, Fv’/Fm’ and biomass, imply that P. cathayana is more suitable for shelterbelt forests than for a semi-arid habitat. These three species can adapt to high-altitude conditions by different physiological mechanisms and morphological characteristics, which can provide a theoretical basis for afforestation and forest management in the Qinghai Tibetan Plateau. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Temperate and Tropical Forest Canopies are Already Functioning beyond Their Thermal Thresholds for Photosynthesis
Forests 2018, 9(1), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9010047
Received: 21 December 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 22 January 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2198 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tropical tree species have evolved under very narrow temperature ranges compared to temperate forest species. Studies suggest that tropical trees may be more vulnerable to continued warming compared to temperate species, as tropical trees have shown declines in growth and photosynthesis at elevated
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Tropical tree species have evolved under very narrow temperature ranges compared to temperate forest species. Studies suggest that tropical trees may be more vulnerable to continued warming compared to temperate species, as tropical trees have shown declines in growth and photosynthesis at elevated temperatures. However, regional and global vegetation models lack the data needed to accurately represent such physiological responses to increased temperatures, especially for tropical forests. To address this need, we compared instantaneous photosynthetic temperature responses of mature canopy foliage, leaf temperatures, and air temperatures across vertical canopy gradients in three forest types: tropical wet, tropical moist, and temperate deciduous. Temperatures at which maximum photosynthesis occurred were greater in the tropical forests canopies than the temperate canopy (30 ± 0.3 °C vs. 27 ± 0.4 °C). However, contrary to expectations that tropical species would be functioning closer to threshold temperatures, photosynthetic temperature optima was exceeded by maximum daily leaf temperatures, resulting in sub-optimal rates of carbon assimilation for much of the day, especially in upper canopy foliage (>10 m). If trees are unable to thermally acclimate to projected elevated temperatures, these forests may shift from net carbon sinks to sources, with potentially dire implications to climate feedbacks and forest community composition. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Seasonal Water Relations and Leaf Temperature in a Deciduous Dipterocarp Forest in Northeastern Thailand
Forests 2017, 8(10), 368; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8100368
Received: 10 June 2017 / Revised: 25 September 2017 / Accepted: 26 September 2017 / Published: 28 September 2017
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Abstract
Deciduous dipterocarp forests across mainland Southeast Asia are dominated by two families: the Dipterocarpaceae and Fabaceae. Monsoon conditions produce strong seasonal climates with a hot dry season of 5–7 months extending from late November or early December through April or early May. Seasonal
[...] Read more.
Deciduous dipterocarp forests across mainland Southeast Asia are dominated by two families: the Dipterocarpaceae and Fabaceae. Monsoon conditions produce strong seasonal climates with a hot dry season of 5–7 months extending from late November or early December through April or early May. Seasonal measurements of stomatal conductance and plant water potential found important differences between members of the two families. Despite their long dry season, Shorea siamensis and S. obtusa (Dipterocarpaceae) showed little significant patterns of seasonal change in xylem water potentials, with midday potentials never dropping below −1.3 MPa. These species present a classic example of isohydric strategies of adaptation where stomatal regulation maintains a relatively stable minimum water potential over the course of the year. However, maximum rates of stomatal conductance dropped sharply in the late dry season as the leaves heated in full sun without significant transpirational cooling, reaching as high as 44–45 °C, making them potentially sensitive to global increases in extreme temperature. The woody legumes Xylia kerrii and Dalbergia oliveri present different patterns of seasonal water relations and leaf response to high temperatures. The legumes exhibit anisohydric behavior where water potential decreases over the dry season as evaporative demand increases. Dry season midday water potentials dropped from high wet season levels to −2.4 to −3.2 MPa, moderately lowering maximum stomatal conductance. The relatively small leaflets of these legumes responded to the high temperatures of the late dry season by temporarily wilting, reducing their exposure to solar radiation and taking advantage of convective cooling. Large leaf size of dipterocarps in this community may not be an adaptive trait but rather an ancestral condition compensated for with ecophysiological adaptations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Growth and Physiological Adaptation of Salix matsudana Koidz. to Periodic Submergence in the Hydro-Fluctuation Zone of the Three Gorges Dam Reservoir of China
Forests 2017, 8(8), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8080283
Received: 3 July 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 2 August 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1608 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Submergence-tolerant trees are essential for vegetation restoration of the hydro-fluctuation zone of the Three Gorges Dam Reservoir (TGDR) area. Thus, it is of great significance to select the submergence-tolerant plant species by conducting in situ studies. To restore degraded riparian vegetation under the
[...] Read more.
Submergence-tolerant trees are essential for vegetation restoration of the hydro-fluctuation zone of the Three Gorges Dam Reservoir (TGDR) area. Thus, it is of great significance to select the submergence-tolerant plant species by conducting in situ studies. To restore degraded riparian vegetation under the circumstances of dynamic impoundment of the TGDR, Salix matsudana Koidz., a flooding-tolerant native tree species, was introduced to conduct an in situ practical study to test its performance in re-vegetating and restoring the hydro-fluctuation zone of the TGDR. Effects of periodic moderate submergence (MS) and deep submergence (DS) on photosynthesis and growth of Salix matsudana Koidz. were investigated after three water cycles compared to a control (i.e., shallow submergence, abbreviated as SS) in order to specifically assess its application prospects in vegetation restoration under such extreme environment. Results showed that net photosynthetic rate (Pn), intrinsic water use efficiency (WUEi) and limiting value of stomata (Ls) of S. matsudana were significantly reduced in DS. However, pigment content had no significant change in all submergence treatments. Diameter at breast height (DBH) and tree height of S. matsudana were significantly decreased in both MS and DS when compared to that of SS, respectively. In contrast, the primary branch number of S. matsudana was significantly increased as submergence increased. In addition, relative diameter and height growth rates of S. matsudana were also reduced under submergence. Considering the sustained growth of this species, S. matsudana saplings are tolerant to long-term periodic submergence and can be applied to the vegetative restoration of the hydro-fluctuation zone of the TGDR region. Full article
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