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Special Issue "Forest Policy and Biodiversity Strategy: The Relevance of Forest Genetic Resources"

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 January 2019)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Hojka Kraigher

Head of Department for Forest Physiology and Genetics & the Research Programme P4-0107, LIFEGENMON coordinator, Večna pot 2, SI – 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: physiology and ecology of forest trees and their symbionts; The role of belowground diversity and turnover of fine roots and mycorrhizal mycelia in mycorrhizosphere processes and carbon dynamics; Mycobioindication of stress in forest soils; Conservation of forest genetic resources and certification of forest reproductive material
Guest Editor
Dr. Srdjan Stojnic

University of Novi Sad, Institute of Lowland Forestry and Environment, Novi Sad, Serbia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: genetics and breeding of forest tree species; climate change influence on forest genetic resources, adaptation potential of forests to climate change; conservation of forest genetic resources
Guest Editor
Dr. Urša Vilhar

Slovenian Forestry Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenija
Website | E-Mail
Interests: forest hydrology; climatology; tree phenology; forest pedagogics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainable forest management is based on the long-term adaptability of forest ecosystems and starts at the lowest, namely the gene, level. Management and conservation of forest genetic resources is essential and needs to consider all processes which might affect their genetic variability, especially processes influencing the ability of a population to reproduce in heterogeneous environments. The primary concern is to maintain the adaptability of future generations of forest trees to the changing environmental conditions, which can be supported by active management supporting high genetic diversity, such as through adequate collection and use of forest reproductive material, active measures for increasing genetic diversity, and sustainable forest management through adequate silvicultural systems. Yet, sustainability of forests, including all measures for “genetic conservation of forests” proposed for long-term conservation of the adaptability potential, need to be assessed in time. Only if future forests will include populations of a high genetic diversity, the adaptability potential will be conserved and future landscapes might remain similar to their present situation, with forest stands growing and fulfilling ecosystem services in their present distribution areas.

Forest genetic monitoring (FGM) is therefore a crucial component of any sustainable forest management as it gives a possibility to detect potentially harmful changes of forest adaptability before they are seen on higher levels. The key questions to address are:

1. How to contribute to the identification of the national / regional / EU and global-wide genetic monitoring objectives and strategies, and how to address obstacles to meet the objectives for development and implementation of FGM.

2. How to contribute to the identification of communication systems with key stakeholders and policy makers regarding FGM.

3. How to contribute to the formation of a future action plan on the procedures needed to obtain a discussion line with policy makers on development and implementation of the system for FGM.

Possible topics are:

  • Nature dynamics is framed by genes, whereas human approach mostly by legislation
  • An overview of forest management and forest monitoring practices with a view towards a regional Forestry and a regional Forest biodiversity strategy
  • Adaptive forest management in the changing climates: Different countries adopted diverse strategies that best suit their particular management needs and interests concerning sustainable use of FGR
  • How to cope with large-scale disturbances, regeneration and survival of forests
  • From science to practice: FGM regions, demographic and genetic indicators and verifiers, ring tests and database organizaiton
  • How to mitigate the northwards moving rear edge of currently important tree species in southern and xeric borders of their distribution in Europe
  • The role of FGR in provision of forest ecosystem services
  • Scientific support to the question on what should an action plan on production and use of forest reproductive material (FRM) consider

Dr. Hojka Kraigher
Dr. Srdjan Stojnic
Dr. Urša Vilhar
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 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

  • climate change
  • genetic diversity
  • forest genetic monitoring
  • forest management
  • forest reproductive materal
  • marginal tree population
  • conservation of forest genetic resources
  • forest policy
  • hidden biodiversity

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Population Genetic Diversity of Quercus ilex subsp. ballota (Desf.) Samp. Reveals Divergence in Recent and Evolutionary Migration Rates in the Spanish Dehesas
Forests 2018, 9(6), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060337
Received: 3 April 2018 / Revised: 22 May 2018 / Accepted: 4 June 2018 / Published: 7 June 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1462 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The Spanish dehesas have been severely affected by human activities that date to the prehistoric period and have suffered accelerated decline since the 1980s. Holm oak (Quercus ilex subsp. ballota (Desf.) Samp.) is a key component of this system, and its acorns [...] Read more.
The Spanish dehesas have been severely affected by human activities that date to the prehistoric period and have suffered accelerated decline since the 1980s. Holm oak (Quercus ilex subsp. ballota (Desf.) Samp.) is a key component of this system, and its acorns provide an important food source for wildlife and domesticated livestock. Our earlier work showed structured variation in acorn morphology and biochemistry. Here, we used chloroplast and nuclear microsatellites to detect genetic structure among populations of Q. ilex from the major biogeographic regions of Andalusia. We found high levels of spatial differentiation with chloroplast DNA indicating little seed dispersal among populations. Spatial differentiation was weaker for nuclear DNA, presumably as a result of more widespread pollen dispersal and its larger effective population size. The Baetic Cordillera (Cádiz) population consistently appeared well separated from populations of the northern Sierra Morena, suggesting that the Guadalquivir Valley has played an important role in determining population divergence. This may be, in part, evolutionary, as suggested by chloroplast DNA, and, in part, a result of human-induced population isolation, as Q. ilex has been removed from the Guadalquivir Valley. Evolutionary gene flow rates were greater than contemporary rates, which were limited to unidirectional gene flow from Córdoba to other populations in the Sierra Morena and, surprisingly, to the southern population at Almería. The inconsistency between evolutionary and recent migration rates suggests an effect of anthropogenic activity over the last few generations of Q. ilex. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Leaf Trait Variation with Environmental Factors at Different Spatial Scales: A Multilevel Analysis Across a Forest-Steppe Transition
Forests 2018, 9(3), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9030122
Received: 31 December 2017 / Revised: 15 February 2018 / Accepted: 3 March 2018 / Published: 6 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1056 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In mountain areas, the distribution of plant communities is affected by both regional and microhabitat conditions. The degree to which these different spatial factors contribute to plant communities is not well understood, because few studies have used a uniform sampling methodology to measure [...] Read more.
In mountain areas, the distribution of plant communities is affected by both regional and microhabitat conditions. The degree to which these different spatial factors contribute to plant communities is not well understood, because few studies have used a uniform sampling methodology to measure trait variation across the range of ecological scales. In this study, a stratified sampling method was used to study community weighted leaf traits and environment factors at different spatial (transect and plot) scales. We measured 6 leaf traits (specific leaf area, leaf tissue density, leaf thickness, leaf carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus content) in 258 communities from 57 sites in 9 transects nested within 3 vegetation zones. These communities are located in the loess hilly and gully area of the Yanhe river watershed. We coupled climatic factors at the transect scale with topographic and edaphic factors at the plot scale using multilevel regression modeling to analyze the trait variation associated with spatial scales. At the transect scale, the mean annual rainfall showed a highly significant positive effect on the leaf nitrogen concentration (LNC) (p < 0.01), while it had a highly significant negative effect on leaf thickness (LT) and leaf tissue density (LTD) (p < 0.001) and a significant negative effect on leaf carbon concentration (LCC) (p < 0.05), explaining 10.91%, 36.08%, 57.25% and 66.01% of LTD, LT, LCC and LNC variation at transect scale respectively. At a plot scale, the slope aspect showed a highly significant positive effect on specific leaf area (SLA) and LNC but a highly significant negative effect on LT and LTD. The soil water content had a significant negative effect on LT (p < 0.05) and LTD (p < 0.001) while soil organic matter showed a positive effect on SLA (p < 0.001) and LNC (p < 0.01). Totally, plot scale variables explained 7.28%, 43.60%, 46.43%, 75.39% and 81.17% of LCC, LT, LNC, LTD and SLA variation. The elevation showed positive effect only on LCC (p < 0.05). The results confirmed the existence of consistent trait–environment relationships at both transect and plot scales. These trait–environment relationships at different spatial scales will provide mechanistic understanding on the vegetation community assembly in the study area. Practically, ignoring trait variation within transects will underestimate roles of microhabitat filters in community assembly, and leads to the homogenization of restoration species. This will be like the past restoration plans and programs, causing serious environmental problems such as dwarf trees and soil desiccation. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview The Interplay between Forest Management Practices, Genetic Monitoring, and Other Long-Term Monitoring Systems
Forests 2018, 9(3), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9030133
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 2 March 2018 / Accepted: 7 March 2018 / Published: 10 March 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (767 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The conservation and sustainable use of forests and forest genetic resources (FGR) is a challenging task for scientists and foresters. Forest management practices can affect diversity on various levels: genetic, species, and ecosystem. Understanding past natural disturbance dynamics and their level of dependence [...] Read more.
The conservation and sustainable use of forests and forest genetic resources (FGR) is a challenging task for scientists and foresters. Forest management practices can affect diversity on various levels: genetic, species, and ecosystem. Understanding past natural disturbance dynamics and their level of dependence on human disturbances and management practices is essential for the conservation and management of FGR, especially in the light of climate change. In this review, forest management practices and their impact on genetic composition are reviewed, synthesized, and interpreted in the light of existing national and international forest monitoring schemes and concepts from various European projects. There is a clear need and mandate for forest genetic monitoring (FGM), while the requirements thereof lack complementarity with existing forest monitoring. Due to certain obstacles (e.g., the lack of unified FGM implementation procedures across the countries, high implementation costs, large number of indicators and verifiers for FGM proposed in the past), merging FGM with existing forest monitoring is complicated. Nevertheless, FGM is of paramount importance for forestry and the natural environment in the future, regardless of the presence or existence of other monitoring systems, as it provides information no other monitoring system can yield. FGM can provide information related to adaptive and neutral genetic diversity changes over time, on a species and/or on a population basis and can serve as an early warning system for the detection of potentially harmful changes of forest adaptability. In addition, FGM offers knowledge on the adaptive potential of forests under the changing environment, which is important for the long-term conservation of FGR. Full article
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