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Special Issue "Wood Science and Tropical Forest Ecology"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Hans Beeckman

Service of Wood Biology, Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA), Leuvensesteenweg 13, 3080 Tervuren, Belgium
Website | E-Mail
Phone: + 32 (0) 2 769 56 11
Interests: Wood biology understood as the study of wood as a result of growth, the compartmentalization of it in cells and tissues and its variability; xylem anatomy; dendrochronology; carrying capacity of populations and communities of trees and of forest ecosystems; Central African rainforests and woodlands; tropical forests resilience; trait-based ecology; research relevant for development cooperation; epistemology of ecology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Tropical forests stockpile more than half of the terrestrial organic carbon. 98 % of this carbon is wood. The prominence of lignified tissues provides a resounding plea for implying wood research into investigations of the structure and function of tropical forests, their climatic buffering capacities and the resources they contain for local and global economies.

Several aspects of wood science support tropical forest ecology, management and conservation.

Analysis of wood traits help understanding the performance of individual trees. Together with properties, such as wood density, these traits hold key information for ecosystem models on carbon fluxes.

Carbon sequestration processes can be studied using retrospective growth analysis of pith-to-bark samples and through vegetation reconstructions from fossil wood and charcoal.

Wood technological endeavors provide the best understanding of which timber qualities are optimally-suited to which applications, and, as such, help to avoid wasting valuable materials.

Finally, public concern for the fate of tropical forests has resulted in the creation of a number of mechanisms for assuring biodiversity conservation and sustainable production of goods and services. Implementation and enforcement of these instruments very often imply various tools from the domain of wood science. Verification of the authenticity of a material is, for instance, done through microscopic or chemical identification.

Altogether, tropical wood science comprises a firm foundation of global change research. The special issue will illustrate this statement with papers on different applications of wood research.

Dr. Hans Beeckman
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

  • trait-based ecology
  • wood anatomy
  • dendrochronology
  • tropical forests
  • wood technology
  • carbon fluxes
  • climate changes
  • vegetation history
  • sustained yield
  • forest resilience

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Wood Density Variations of Legume Trees in French Guiana along the Shade Tolerance Continuum: Heartwood Effects on Radial Patterns and Gradients
Forests 2019, 10(2), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020080
Received: 20 December 2018 / Revised: 17 January 2019 / Accepted: 21 January 2019 / Published: 22 January 2019
PDF Full-text (6915 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Increasing or decreasing wood density (WD) from pith to bark is commonly observed in tropical tree species. The different types of WD radial variations, long been considered to depict the diversity of growth and mechanical strategies among forest guilds (heliophilic vs. shade-tolerant), were [...] Read more.
Increasing or decreasing wood density (WD) from pith to bark is commonly observed in tropical tree species. The different types of WD radial variations, long been considered to depict the diversity of growth and mechanical strategies among forest guilds (heliophilic vs. shade-tolerant), were never analyzed in the light of heartwood (HW) formation. Yet, the additional mass of chemical extractives associated to HW formation increases WD and might affect both WD radial gradient (i.e., the slope of the relation between WD and radial distance) and pattern (i.e., linear or nonlinear variation). We studied 16 legumes species from French Guiana representing a wide diversity of growth strategies and positions on the shade-tolerance continuum. Using WD measurements and available HW extractives content values, we computed WD corrected by the extractive content and analyzed the effect of HW on WD radial gradients and patterns. We also related WD variations to demographic variables, such as sapling growth and mortality rates. Regardless of the position along the shade-tolerance continuum, correcting WD gradients reveals only increasing gradients. We determined three types of corrected WD patterns: (1) the upward curvilinear pattern is a specific feature of heliophilic species, whereas (2) the linear and (3) the downward curvilinear patterns are observed in both mid- and late-successional species. In addition, we found that saplings growth and mortality rates are better correlated with the corrected WD at stem center than with the uncorrected value: taking into account the effect of HW extractives on WD radial variations provides unbiased interpretation of biomass accumulation and tree mechanical strategies. Rather than a specific feature of heliophilic species, the increasing WD gradient is a shared strategy regardless of the shade tolerance habit. Finally, our study stresses to consider the occurrence of HW when using WD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wood Science and Tropical Forest Ecology)
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Open AccessArticle Variation in Climate Signals in Teak Tree-Ring Chronologies in Two Different Growth Areas
Forests 2018, 9(12), 772; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9120772
Received: 30 November 2018 / Accepted: 11 December 2018 / Published: 14 December 2018
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Abstract
We developed two tree-ring chronologies of teak (Tectona grandis L.f.) from Mae Tuen (462-year, 1555–2016) and Umphang (165-year, 1852–2016) in Tak province, northwestern Thailand. The chronologies were based on 67 and 71 living teak trees, respectively. We used crossdating methods to check [...] Read more.
We developed two tree-ring chronologies of teak (Tectona grandis L.f.) from Mae Tuen (462-year, 1555–2016) and Umphang (165-year, 1852–2016) in Tak province, northwestern Thailand. The chronologies were based on 67 and 71 living teak trees, respectively. We used crossdating methods to check and verify the tree-ring width data and tree-ring chronology construction using the ARSTAN program. In this study, the two teak tree-ring chronologies from two different growth areas could not be crossdated. The relationship among these chronologies is, thus, relatively low (r = 0.33, n = 165, p < 0.01). This result shows that the growth of tree-ring structure from two sites can be affected by a variety of non-climatic patterns due to site variation, such as topography, nutrient, light, and internal factors. However, these chronologies have a significant positive correlation with rainfall, during the pre-monsoon season (April to May). As demonstrated by the spatial correlation patterns, these chronologies represent April to May rainfall, which was a limiting factor of teak growth from northwestern Thailand. While the difference in surface temperatures of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) might not be affected by rainfall, its unstable relationship with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) was noted to have occurred. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wood Science and Tropical Forest Ecology)
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Open AccessArticle Wood Density Profiles and Their Corresponding Tissue Fractions in Tropical Angiosperm Trees
Forests 2018, 9(12), 763; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9120763
Received: 12 October 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 27 November 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
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Abstract
Wood density profiles reveal a tree’s life strategy and growth. Density profiles are, however, rarely defined in terms of tissue fractions for wood of tropical angiosperm trees. Here, we aim at linking these fractions to corresponding density profiles of tropical trees from the [...] Read more.
Wood density profiles reveal a tree’s life strategy and growth. Density profiles are, however, rarely defined in terms of tissue fractions for wood of tropical angiosperm trees. Here, we aim at linking these fractions to corresponding density profiles of tropical trees from the Congo Basin. Cores of 8 tree species were scanned with X-ray Computed Tomography to calculate density profiles. Then, cores were sanded and the outermost 3 cm were used to semi-automatically measure vessel lumen, parenchyma and fibre fractions using the Weka segmentation tool in ImageJ. Fibre wall and lumen widths were measured using a newly developed semi-automated method. An assessment of density variation in function of growth ring boundary detection is done. A mixed regression model estimated the relative contribution of each trait to the density, with a species effect on slope and intercept of the regression. Position-dependent correlations were made between the fractions and the corresponding wood density profile. On average, density profile variation mostly reflects variations in fibre lumen and wall fractions, but these are species- and position-dependent: on some positions, parenchyma and vessels have a more pronounced effect on density. The model linking density to traits explains 92% of the variation, with 65% of the density profile variation attributed to the three measured traits. The remaining 27% is explained by species as a random effect. There is a clear variation between trees and within trees that have implications for interpreting density profiles in angiosperm trees: the exact driving anatomical fraction behind every density value will depend on the position within the core. The underlying function of density will thus vary accordingly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wood Science and Tropical Forest Ecology)
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Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle Recovery of Functional Diversity Following Shifting Cultivation in Tropical Monsoon Forests
Forests 2018, 9(9), 506; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9090506
Received: 8 June 2018 / Revised: 8 August 2018 / Accepted: 18 August 2018 / Published: 22 August 2018
PDF Full-text (2000 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is an important issue in ecology. Plant functional traits and their diversity are key determinants of ecosystem function in changing environments. Understanding the successional dynamics of functional features in forest ecosystems is a first step to [...] Read more.
The relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is an important issue in ecology. Plant functional traits and their diversity are key determinants of ecosystem function in changing environments. Understanding the successional dynamics of functional features in forest ecosystems is a first step to their sustainable management. In this study, we tested the changes in functional community composition with succession in tropical monsoon forests in Xishuangbanna, China. We sampled 33 plots at three successional stages—~40-year-old secondary forests, ~60-year-old secondary forests, and old growth forests—following the abandonment of the shifting cultivation land. Community-level functional traits were calculated based on measurements of nine functional traits for 135 woody plant species. The results show that the community structures and species composition of the old-growth forests were significantly different to those of the secondary stands. The species diversity, including species richness (S), the Shannon–Weaver index (H), and Pielou’s evenness (J), significantly increased during the recovery process after shifting cultivation. The seven studied leaf functional traits (deciduousness, specific leaf area, leaf dry matter content, leaf nitrogen content, leaf phosphorus content, leaf potassium content and leaf carbon content) changed from conservative to acquisitive syndromes during the recovery process, whereas wood density showed the opposite pattern, and seed mass showed no significant change, suggesting that leaf traits are more sensitive to environmental changes than wood or seed traits. The functional richness increased during the recovery process, whereas the functional evenness and divergence had the highest values in the 60-year-old secondary communities. Soil nutrients significantly influenced functional traits, but their effects on functional diversity were less obvious during the secondary succession after shifting cultivation. Our study indicates that the recovery of tropical monsoon forests is rather slow; secondary stands recover far less than the old growth stands in terms of community structure and species and functional diversity, even after about half a century of recovery, highlighting the importance of the conservation of old growth tropical monsoon forest ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wood Science and Tropical Forest Ecology)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Wood anatomical traits of mangroves related to salinity stress

Auhtor: Peter Kitin

Abstract: Xylem vessel diameter, vessel frequency, number of bars in scalariform perforation plates, intervessel cell wall thickness, intervessel pit diameter, and vessel/ fiber/parenchyma proportions were measured in roots and stems of five species of mangroves with contrasting saline tolerance and saline desalination physiology. A relative non-mangrove species of Rhizophoraceae was included in the analysis as control. Traits, such as small vessel diameter and thick cell wall which are known to be related to safer water transport are also clearly linked to higher salinity tolerance. The wood anatomical structure of mangroves is discussed in terms of the adaptation to salinity and bio-mechanics required in the coastal environment.

 

 

 

Title: Meta-analysis of liana wood hydraulic traits reveals their competitive advantage for water uptake and transport

 

Authors: Long Nguyen Hoang, Félicien Meunier, Manfredo di Porcia, Hans Verbeeck

 

Abstract While liana proliferation could constitute one of the most important structural changes that tropical forests experience, little is known about the liana vs tree competition for water in tropical ecosystems. It was shown in many studies that woody vines exhibit contrasted water uptake and transport properties as compared to self-supporting trees. To clarify the picture, we performed a meta-analysis of the literature to collect the available data about hydraulic traits of lianas alongside with their wood and leaf structural traits. Relationships between functional and structural traits of lianas were derived and then compared with similar state-of-the-art functions established for tropical trees.

 

Statistical differences were observed for hydraulic properties between the two groups (lianas vs trees). In particular, for the same wood density, lianas exhibit larger stem conductivities with a ‘riskier’ strategy for water uptake, experiencing more severe cavitation.

 

The significant correlations between functional and structural parameters were then implemented in a dynamic vegetation model (i.e. the Ecosystem Demography model, ED2). ED2 is an integrated terrestrial biosphere model incorporating hydrology, land-surface biophysics, vegetation dynamics, and soil carbon and nitrogen biogeochemistry being able to represent fine-scale processes and scale them up to the ecosystem level. Among other processes, ED2 simulates the water fluxes and competition in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. Taking into account the plant hydraulic trait diversity, it was recently demonstrated that the plant water uptake and transport properties were responsible for the differentiated responses to water stress in seasonally dry forests.

 

Site simulations with different levels of drought stress were run to quantitatively assess the impacts of such trait differences in terms of transpiration and biomass distribution. The model runs revealed the competitive advantage of liana hydraulic properties for water uptake and transport for moderate droughts.

 

 

 

Title: Growth rings in Diploknema butyracea – a potential tool for understanding indigenous land rights in Himalayan foothills of Nepal

Running head: D. butyracea growth rings reveal indigenous slush-and-burn history

Authors: Qumrurraman Chowdhury

Abstract: Slash-and-burn is a traditional farming practice of the indigenous (Chepang) community in Himalayan foothills of Nepal. The land tenure system of this community is based on customary oral tradition. However, government’s persistent denial of indigenous land rights has fueled the indigenous land right conflicts in the last few decades. Deliverance of scientific evidence-based arguments may act as a catalyst in the on-going conflict-resolution dialogues between the government authority and indigenous communities. Therefore, dating growth rings of the slash-and-burn trees might offer an opportunity for the indigenous people to proof their land rights in the mountainous landscapes. In this pilot study, we examine the potential of Diploknema butyracea growth rings for documenting land use history of Nepalese indigenous slash-and-burn farming practices. It is an economically important and interesting (as it flushes leaves when everything is dry and sheds leaves while everything is green) deciduous tree species belonging to Sapotacece family and widely distributed in Sub-Himalayan tracts. Five stem discs were studied from the xylarium (RMCA, Tervuren) which were originated from Chitawan district, Nepal. Distinct growth rings were observed in the studied samples which are marked by fiber with thicker cell walls. Growth-ring anomalies, i.e., wedging and partially missing rings were also found. Four out of five samples could be cross-dated at marginal level (GLK ≥ 60 and t ≥ 2.0) which indicating the annual nature of growth rings. However, correlation between growth ring index and precipitation (December - June) was not significant (r = 0.17, n = 82). One sample showed black spots of oxidized wood which are traces of fire and suggesting the evidence of historical slash-and-burn practices in the area since 1933. This study explores the potentials of D. butyracea for growth ring analysis to reconstruct indigenous land use history in Nepal.

Keyword: slash-and-burn practice, growth rings, fire traces, indigenous community, D. butyracea, Nepal

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