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: closed (20 March 2022) | Viewed by 6315

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Miguel Montoro Girona
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
1. Forest Research Institute, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Rouyn-Noranda, QC, Canada
2. Restoration Ecology Research Group, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala, 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
1. Forest Research Institute, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Rouyn-Noranda, QC, Canada
2. Département des sciences biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, QC, 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

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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 2000 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 (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Analysis of Current and Future Forest Disturbances Dynamics in Central Europe
Forests 2022, 13(4), 554; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13040554 - 31 Mar 2022
Viewed by 556
Abstract
The area of forests and the standing volume per hectare are constantly increasing in Europe, and this trend is expected to continue for several more decades; the aim of this paper was to provide an empirical overview of the development of disturbances in [...] Read more.
The area of forests and the standing volume per hectare are constantly increasing in Europe, and this trend is expected to continue for several more decades; the aim of this paper was to provide an empirical overview of the development of disturbances in selected countries of central Europe and based on this overview to empirically model and predict the development and intensity of disturbances in the future. Statistical methods (Holt–Winters) and predictive risk models of the growth simulator SIBYLA were used for prediction. From the statistically predicted values by this method, it follows that, in the next three years, it is possible to assume that stagnation will result in declining volumes of incidental fellings in all countries. Forecast from the growth simulator SIBYLA shows a substantial increase in the predicted volume of incidental fellings for the years 2021 and 2022, compared with 2020. The volumes of incidental fellings should grow most significantly, especially in Germany, Poland, and Austria. The performed analysis and predictions suggest that the peak of wood volumes damaged by disturbances in the next decade will probably be reached already in the reports for 2021 or 2022. However, the risk of disturbances remains high, and other large-scale area disturbances in forest ecosystems cannot be completely ruled out. Full article
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Article
The Dominant Driving Force of Forest Change in the Yangtze River Basin, China: Climate Variation or Anthropogenic Activities?
Forests 2022, 13(1), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13010082 - 07 Jan 2022
Viewed by 460
Abstract
Under the combined effect of climate variations and anthropogenic activities, the forest ecosystem in the Yangtze River Basin (YRB) has experienced dramatic changes in recent decades. Quantifying their relative contributions can provide a valuable reference for forest management and ecological sustainability. In this [...] Read more.
Under the combined effect of climate variations and anthropogenic activities, the forest ecosystem in the Yangtze River Basin (YRB) has experienced dramatic changes in recent decades. Quantifying their relative contributions can provide a valuable reference for forest management and ecological sustainability. In this study, we selected net primary productivity (NPP) as an indicator to investigate forest variations. Meanwhile, we established eight scenarios based on the slope coefficients of the potential NPP (PNPP) and actual NPP (ANPP), and human-induced NPP (HNPP) to quantify the contributions of anthropogenic activities and climate variations to forest variations in the YRB from 2000 to 2015. The results revealed that in general, the total forest ANPP increased by 10.42 TgC in the YRB, and forest restoration occurred in 57.25% of the study area during the study period. The forest degradation was mainly observed in the Wujiang River basin, Dongting Lake basin, and Poyang Lake basin. On the whole, the contribution of anthropogenic activities was greater than climate variations on both forest restoration and degradation in the YRB. Their contribution to forest restoration and degradation varied in different tributaries. Among the five forest types, shrubs experienced the most severe degradation during the study period, which should arouse great attention. Ecological restoration programs implemented in YRB have effectively mitigated the adverse effect of climate variations and dominated forest restoration, while rapid urbanization in the mid-lower region has resulted in forest degradation. The forest degradation in Dongting Lake basin and Poyang Lake basin may be ascribed to the absence of the Natural Forest Conservation Program. Therefore, we recommend that the extent of the Natural Forest Conservation Program should expand to cover these two basins. The current research could improve the understanding of the driving mechanism of forest dynamics and promote the effectiveness of ecological restoration programs in the YRB. Full article
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Article
Holocene Fire Regime Changes in the Southern Lake Baikal Region Influenced by Climate-Vegetation-Anthropogenic Activity Interactions
Forests 2021, 12(8), 978; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12080978 - 23 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1056
Abstract
Catastrophic fire years that have taken place during the last decade in Siberia, and more generally within the boreal forest, have been directly linked to global warming and had strong repercussions on boreal ecosystems and human populations. In this context the study of [...] Read more.
Catastrophic fire years that have taken place during the last decade in Siberia, and more generally within the boreal forest, have been directly linked to global warming and had strong repercussions on boreal ecosystems and human populations. In this context the study of the past dynamics of these fires is essential for understanding their links with climate, vegetation and human activity changes on longer time scales than the last few decades. However, few studies on fire dynamics are available for Siberia, and none have been conducted for the entire Holocene period. This study presents the first fire history reconstruction of this area during the Holocene based on charcoals sequestered in sediments of two lakes located on the southern shore of Lake Baikal, in Siberia. The results show a similar trend in the two lakes, with high frequency and high peak magnitude during the Early Holocene and low magnitudes after 6500 cal. yr BP. This difference is interpreted as crown fires versus surface fires. According to pollen records (Dulikha, Vydrino, Ochkovoe) available near the studied lakes, a vegetation transition occurred at the same time. Picea obovata, which has a tree structure prone to crown fires, was dominant during the Early humid Holocene. After 6500 cal. yr BP, conditions were drier and Pinus sylvestris and Pinus sibirica became the dominant species; their tree structure favors surface fires. In addition to vegetation dynamics, the nearby pollen sequence from Dulikha has been used to provide quantitative estimates of past climate, indicating an Early to Middle Holocene climatic optimum between 8000 and 5000 cal. yr BP and an increase in temperatures at the end of the Holocene. These results have been compared to outputs from regional climate models for the Lake Baikal latitudes. Fire dynamics appear to have been more linked to the vegetation than climatic conditions. Over the past 1500 years, the greater presence of human populations has firstly resulted in an increase in the fire frequency, then in its maintenance and finally in its suppression, which may possibly have been due to very recent fire management, i.e., after ca 500 cal. BP. Full article
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Article
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
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 837
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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Article
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
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 892
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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Article
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 1412
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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