Special Issue "Natural Disturbances under Climate Change: Challenges, Trends, and Management Implications"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 May 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Miguel Montoro Girona
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Forest Research Institute - Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue- Canada
Restoration Ecology Research Group, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)- Sweden
Interests: silviculture; modeling; dendroecology; sustainable forest management; Spruce budworm; windthrows
Dr. Elizabeth Campbell
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service- Canada
Pacific Forestry Centre
Interests: forest disturbances; climate change; sustainable forest management; bark beetles; Spruce budworm
Prof. Dr. Yves Bergeron
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Forest Research Institute - Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue- Canada
Département des sciences biologiques - Université du Québec à Montréal- Canada
Interests: ecosystem forest management; fire; disturbance ecology; climate change
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Global climate change is already altering forest disturbance regimes and further changes are expected to have major implications on forest ecosystem structure and dynamics. Climate change is altering the frequency, intensity, and extent of drought, wildfire, wind, insect outbreaks, and introducing novel disturbances to some forest ecosystems. Changed disturbances affect ecological processes occurring across multiple scales of space and time, including tree growth and regeneration, species interactions, forest successional trajectories, and biogeochemical cycles. This could drive shifts in forest landscape mosaic composition and possibly forest ecosystem state transitions that could have major socio-ecological consequences, particularly for forest resource-dependent communities. The continued provision of key ecosystem services (e.g., timber, wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration) and the maintenance of sustainable forest management goals will depend on how we adapt forest management to a changing climate. New ecological knowledge and decision support tools will help mitigate the socio-ecological impacts of climate- induced changes to forests.

This Special Issue aims to increase our understanding of how forest disturbances impact forest ecosystem structure and dynamics, providing knowledge to inform adaptation strategies for sustainably managing forests in a changing climate using innovative methodologies in natural disturbances under climate change and highlighting implications for the sustainable management of forest resources. We encourage contributions from around the world in all fields of study related to forest ecology and sustainable forest management (e.g., landscape ecology, disturbance ecology, paleoecology, dendroecology, silviculture). Contributions to this Special Issue may include original research, new and novel methodologies, reviews and meta-analyses, short communications, and opinions, as well as multi-scaled and multi-disciplinary approaches to understanding forest change.

Prof. Dr. Miguel Montoro Girona
Dr. Elizabeth Campbell
Prof. Dr. Yves Bergeron
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

  • Natural disturbance
  • Fire
  • Biodiversity
  • Ecosystem services
  • Bark beetle outbreaks
  • Spruce budworm
  • Regeneration
  • Forest management
  • Restoration
  • Reconstruction of natural disturbance regimes, e.g. wildfire, insect outbreaks, hurricanes, etc.
  • Disturbance interactions in forest ecosystems
  • Description of drivers of natural disturbances in forest ecosystems

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Crown Social Class on Bark Thickness and Sapwood Moisture Content in Norway Spruce
Forests 2020, 11(12), 1316; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121316 - 10 Dec 2020
Viewed by 476
Abstract
The research study examined the effect of tree properties (crown social class, diameter at breast height (DBH), and tree height) on bark thickness (BT) and sapwood moisture content (SMC) in Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.). Both examined variables were shown [...] Read more.
The research study examined the effect of tree properties (crown social class, diameter at breast height (DBH), and tree height) on bark thickness (BT) and sapwood moisture content (SMC) in Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.). Both examined variables were shown to be positively affected by DBH and tree height. The relationship between DBH and SMC varied among crown social classes, while the relationship between DBH and BT was relatively constant across crown social classes. Crown social class had a relatively small effect on BT and SMC, having a more pronounced effect on SMC than on BT. The relationship between tree height and BT did not vary across crown social classes, while the relationship between SMC and tree height was found to change slightly across crown social classes. Measurements of BT and SMC in the field are affordable, fast, and easy to use. Both variables could potentially be used to improve predictions of bark beetle attacks, as they reflect the physiological state of an individual tree. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Moderate- to High-Severity Disturbances Shaped the Structure of Primary Picea Abies (L.) Karst. Forest in the Southern Carpathians
Forests 2020, 11(12), 1315; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121315 - 10 Dec 2020
Viewed by 531
Abstract
Research Highlights: Past disturbances occurred naturally in primary forests in the Southern Carpathians. High- and moderate-severity disturbances shaped the present structure of these ecosystems, which regenerated successfully without forestry interventions. Background and Objectives: Windstorms and bark beetle outbreaks have recently affected large forest [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: Past disturbances occurred naturally in primary forests in the Southern Carpathians. High- and moderate-severity disturbances shaped the present structure of these ecosystems, which regenerated successfully without forestry interventions. Background and Objectives: Windstorms and bark beetle outbreaks have recently affected large forest areas across the globe, causing concerns that these disturbances lie outside the range of natural variability of forest ecosystems. This often led to salvage logging inside protected areas, one of the main reasons for primary forest loss in Eastern Europe. Although more than two-thirds of temperate primary forests in Europe are located in the Carpathian region of Eastern Europe, knowledge about how natural disturbances shape the forest dynamics in this region is highly essential for future management decisions. Material and Methods: We established our study in a primary forest valley situated in the centre of the largest temperate primary forest landscape in Europe (Făgăraș Mountains). A dendrochronological investigation was carried out to reconstruct the natural disturbance history and relate it to the present forest structure. Results: The dendrochronological analysis revealed high temporal variability in the disturbance patterns both at the patch and stand level. Moderate severity disturbance events were most common (20–40% of canopy disturbed in 60% of the plots) but high severity events did also occur (33% of the plots). Regeneration was spruce-dominated and 71% of the seedlings were found on deadwood microsites. Conclusions: We conclude that the current structure of the studied area is a consequence of the past moderate-severity disturbances and sporadic high-severity events. The peak in disturbances (1880–1910) followed by reduced disturbance rates may contribute to a recent and future increase in disturbances in the Făgăraș Mts. Our findings show that these disturbance types are within the range of natural variability of mountain spruce forests in the Southern Carpathians and should not be a reason for salvage logging in primary forests from this area. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Why Do Beavers Leave Home? Lodge Abandonment in an Invasive Population in Patagonia
Forests 2020, 11(11), 1161; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11111161 - 31 Oct 2020
Viewed by 801
Abstract
Research Highlights: Lodge abandonment by beavers is apparently a common phenomenon in Patagonia, but it is still poorly understood and we ignore what drives it. In relatively slow growth Nothofagus forests, resource depletion can impact abandonment while water availability may be a major [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: Lodge abandonment by beavers is apparently a common phenomenon in Patagonia, but it is still poorly understood and we ignore what drives it. In relatively slow growth Nothofagus forests, resource depletion can impact abandonment while water availability may be a major driver in the semiarid steppe. Background and Objectives: North American beaver (Castor canadensis) was introduced in 1946 on the island of Tierra del Fuego (TDF) in southern Argentina. Since then, beavers have become a major disturbance affecting not only forest but also treeless steppe landscapes. Our goal was to determine the factors affecting lodge abandonment by beavers in two habitats of TDF: forest and steppe. Materials and Methods: A total of 47 lodges were surveyed between February and March from 2012 to 2014 in both habitat types, 22 in the forest and 25 in the steppe. To explain factors involved in lodge abandonment by beavers, we measured the following variables: water level variation, stream gradient, vegetation cover adjacent to shore and forest structure. Results: We recorded 24 abandonments events, with a similar proportion of lodges abandoned in both habitats. Our results revealed that lodge abandonment was mostly linked to water level fluctuations irrespective of habitat type. The water level at the entrances of the lodge generally decreased in abandoned lodges. Variables that characterize understory cover had some influence on lodge abandonment in the forest, and no effect in the steppe. Conclusions: Water level variation was associated with lodge abandonment in both habitats, and we found some evidence of resource depletion in the forest. However, we caution that changes in water level may be not only due to extrinsic factors but rather to beaver’s own activities or to a decay in pond maintenance following abandonment. Full article
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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.

1. Title: Bark Thickness and Sapwood Moisture Content in Relation to Other Tree Properties in Norway spruce
Abatract: This research study aims to examine the effect of tree characteristics (tree height, tree height and crown social class) on bark thickness and sapwood moisture content in Picea abies on two different bedrocks. The two easily measurable variables were shown as potentially usable in predicting bark beetle attacks by past studies. Both variables were shown to be positively affected by diameter and tree height, with the relationships dependent on crown social class. Crown social class by itself also had an effect on both bark thickness and moisture content, the effect was more pronounced in moisture content.

2. Title: Holocene fire history of the southern Lake Baïkal region
Abstract: The catastrophic fires years that have taken place during the last decade in Siberia and in the boreal forests in general and which are directly linked to global warming have had dramatic repercussions on the human populations of these regions. Paleoecological studies are currently the only way to study the past dynamics of these fires and to understand their link with climate and vegetation. However, few studies of the dynamics of these fires are available in Siberia, and none have been carried out on the scale of the Holocene. This study aims to present the first reconstruction of the fire history during the Holocene in the Southern shore of Lake Baikal, in Siberia, by the analysis of sedimentary charcoals from lake cores. Two lakes have been sampled, Lake Ébène and Lake Jarod. The results showed a similar trend between the two lakes,with severe and intense crown fires during the early Holocene and less severe surface fires after 6 500 cal. yr BP. According to pollen reconstructions carried out near the studied lakes, a vegetation transition occurred at the same time. Picea obovata was dominant during the early humid Holocene. After 6 500 cal. yr BP, conditions were more arid and Pinus sylvestris and Pinus sibirica became the dominant species. Over the past 1 500 years, the greater presence of human populations has firstly resulted in an increase of the fire frequency, then in its maintenance and to finish, in its suppression after 600 cal. yr BP.
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