Special Issue "Impacts of Complex Forest Structures on Tree Regeneration"

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 March 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Mike A. Battaglia
Website
Guest Editor
USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 240 West Prospect Road, Fort Collins, CO 80526, United States.
Interests: tree regeneration; uneven-aged silviculture; forest resilience; adaptation strategies; forest stand dynamics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In many forested systems, disturbances create structurally complex forests. Whether through natural processes or silvicultural actions, the frequency and severity of the disturbance results in a variation in stand spatial structure and available resources for subsequent tree regeneration. Variability in forest structures results in changes in understory light environments, moisture and nutrient availability, and temperature. Each of these abiotic factors influences the success of tree regeneration, both in density and species composition. Understanding the dynamics of seedling establishment and growth in relation to overstory structure is an important first step in the management of these complex forest structures.

This Special Issue of Forests is focused on the effect that complex forest structure has on the establishment and growth of tree regeneration. Research articles should focus on the establishment and/or growth of tree seedlings in response to natural or anthropogenic disturbances that create forests with horizontal and vertical complexity. Studies that describe silvicultural techniques to facilitate tree regeneration in uneven-aged systems and/or quantify the abiotic conditions created by complex forest structure and describe the mechanisms related to successful regeneration are encouraged.

Dr. Mike A. Battaglia
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

  • tree regeneration
  • uneven-aged silviculture
  • complex forest structure
  • seedling growth
  • natural disturbance

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Difference in Regeneration Conditions in Pinus ponderosa Dominated Forests in Northern California, USA, over an 83 Year Period
Forests 2020, 11(5), 581; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11050581 - 22 May 2020
Abstract
Forest inventories based on field surveys can provide quantitative measures of regeneration such as density and stocking proportion. Understanding regeneration dynamics is a key element that supports silvicultural decision-making processes in sustainable forest management. The objectives of this study were to: 1) describe [...] Read more.
Forest inventories based on field surveys can provide quantitative measures of regeneration such as density and stocking proportion. Understanding regeneration dynamics is a key element that supports silvicultural decision-making processes in sustainable forest management. The objectives of this study were to: 1) describe historical regeneration in ponderosa pine dominated forests by species and height class, 2) find associations of regeneration with overstory, soil, and topography variables, 3) describe contemporary regeneration across various management treatments, and 4) compare differences in regeneration between historical and contemporary forests. The study area, a ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosae Dougl. ex P. and C. Law) dominated forest, is located within the Blacks Mountain Experimental Forest (BMEF) in northeastern California, United States, which was designated as an experimental forest in 1934. We used 1935 and 2018 field surveyed regeneration data containing information about three species—ponderosa pine, incense-cedar (Calocedrus decurrens (Torr.) Florin) and white fir (Abies concolor (Grod. and Glend)—and four height classes: class 1: 0–0.31 m, class 2: 0.31–0.91 m, class 3: 0.91–1.83 m, and class 4: >1.83 m and <8.9 cm diameter at breast height. We used stocking as proxy for regeneration density in this study. We found that historically, stocking in the BMEF was dominated by shade-intolerant ponderosa pine in height classes 2 and 3. Two variables—overstory basal area per hectare (m2 ha−1) and available water capacity at 150 cm, which is the amount of water that is available for plants up to a depth of 150 cm from the soil surface—were significantly associated with stocking, and a beta regression model fit was found to have a pseudo-R2 of 0.49. We identified significant differences in contemporary stocking among six management scenarios using a Kruskal–Wallis non-parametric one-way ANOVA. Control compartments had the highest stocking followed by burned compartments. In contemporary forest stands, recent treatments involving a combination of burning and thinning resulted in high stocking in height classes 2 and 3. Overall, the stocking in historical BMEF stands was higher than in contemporary stands and was dominated by ponderosa pine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Complex Forest Structures on Tree Regeneration)
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Open AccessArticle
Variability in Mixed Conifer Spatial Structure Changes Understory Light Environments
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1015; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111015 - 13 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In fire-adapted conifer forests of the Western U.S., changing land use has led to increased forest densities and fuel conditions partly responsible for increasing the extent of high-severity wildfires in the region. In response, land managers often use mechanical thinning treatments to reduce [...] Read more.
In fire-adapted conifer forests of the Western U.S., changing land use has led to increased forest densities and fuel conditions partly responsible for increasing the extent of high-severity wildfires in the region. In response, land managers often use mechanical thinning treatments to reduce fuels and increase overstory structural complexity, which can help improve stand resilience and restore complex spatial patterns that once characterized these stands. The outcomes of these treatments can vary greatly, resulting in a large gradient in aggregation of residual overstory trees. However, there is limited information on how a range of spatial outcomes from restoration treatments can influence structural complexity and tree regeneration dynamics in mixed conifer stands. In this study, we model understory light levels across a range of forest density in a stem-mapped dry mixed conifer forest and apply this model to simulated stem maps that are similar in residual basal area yet vary in degree of spatial complexity. We found that light availability was best modeled by residual stand density index and that consideration of forest structure at multiple spatial scales is important for predicting light availability. Second, we found that restoration treatments differing in spatial pattern may differ markedly in their achievement of objectives such as density reduction, maintenance of horizontal and tree size complexity, and creation of microsite conditions favorable to shade-intolerant species, with several notable tradeoffs. These conditions in turn have cascading effects on regeneration dynamics, treatment longevity, fire behavior, and resilience to disturbances. In our study, treatments with high aggregation of residual trees best balanced multiple objectives typically used in ponderosa pine and dry mixed conifer forests. Simulation studies that consider a wide range of possible spatial patterns can complement field studies and provide predictions of the impacts of mechanical treatments on a large range of potential ecological effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Complex Forest Structures on Tree Regeneration)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Topography on Tree Community Structure in a Deciduous Broad-Leaved Forest in North-Central China
Forests 2019, 10(1), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10010053 - 11 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Topography strongly influences the compositional structure of tree communities and plays a fundamental role in classifying habitats. Here, data of topography and 16 dominant tree species abundance were collected in a fully mapped 25-ha forest plot in the Qinling Mountains of north-central China. [...] Read more.
Topography strongly influences the compositional structure of tree communities and plays a fundamental role in classifying habitats. Here, data of topography and 16 dominant tree species abundance were collected in a fully mapped 25-ha forest plot in the Qinling Mountains of north-central China. Multivariate regression trees (MRT) were used to categorize the habitats, and habitat associations were examined using the torus-translation test. The relative contributions of topographic and spatial variables to the total community structure were also examined by variation partitioning. The results showed the inconsistency in association of species with habitats across life stages with a few exceptions. Topographic variables [a + b] explained 11% and 19% of total variance at adult and juvenile stage, respectively. In contrast, spatial factors alone [c] explained more variation than topographic factors, revealing strong seed dispersal limitation in species composition in the 25-ha forest plot. Thus, the inconsistent associations of species and habitats coupled with high portion of variation of species composition explained by topographic and spatial factors might suggest that niche process and dispersal limitation had potential influences on species assemblage in the deciduous broad-leaved forest in north-central China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Complex Forest Structures on Tree Regeneration)
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