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Special Issue "Ecology and Management of Invasive Species in Forest Ecosystems"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 May 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Kent Kovacs

Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: economic and ecosystem service damages from the invasions; Monitoring and control of invasions; Societal perceptions of biological invasion
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Damian C. Adams

School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, 355 Newins-Ziegler Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611-0410, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 352-846-0872
Interests: nonmarket valuation; economic analysis; ecosystem services; invasive species; policy analysis; choice modeling; survey methods; bioeconomic modeling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue encourages paper submissions broadly related to forest health and resilience in the context of invasive species disturbance risks, and from diverse fields of study. Forest ecosystems around the world face tremendous challenges from invasive insects, pathogens, plants, and animals. In the US for example, one new forest insect pest enters every 5 to 6 years and causes significant ecological and/or economic damages. Climate change and increased trade flows exacerbate these problems, and fundamentally change the productivity, structure, and species composition of vitally important forest ecosystems around the world. Effective policies, programs, and management strategies address these challenges and ensure resilient forests that continue to contribute meaningfully to the global economy and to societal well-being (e.g., through ecosystem services). We know that the complexity and uncertainty inherent in biological invasions makes their processes unpredictable. Better forest management, forest resilience, and societal response to emerging forest threats is possible through greater understanding of: forest ecology, disturbance risk dynamics, forest management, economic and broader social impacts, and the appropriate role for policies and programs to protect forest health and boost resilience. Submissions broadly related to these aspects of invasive species and forest management are strongly encouraged.

Prof. Dr. Kent Kovacs
Prof. Dr. Damian C. Adams
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

  • Biological Invasions
  • Forest Ecology and Management
  • Forestry Policy and Planning
  • Agricultural and Forest Entomology and Pathology
  • Ecosystem Service Impacts

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Native and Invasive Woody Species Differentially Respond to Forest Edges and Forest Successional Age
Forests 2018, 9(7), 381; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9070381
Received: 15 May 2018 / Revised: 20 June 2018 / Accepted: 21 June 2018 / Published: 26 June 2018
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Abstract
Forest fragmentation can promote non-native plant invasions by increasing invasive plant seed dispersal and resource availability along edges. These effects can vary based on forest age and may be influenced by differences in traits of native and invasive plant species. To determine how [...] Read more.
Forest fragmentation can promote non-native plant invasions by increasing invasive plant seed dispersal and resource availability along edges. These effects can vary based on forest age and may be influenced by differences in traits of native and invasive plant species. To determine how native versus invasive plant species respond to forest edges and forest successional age, we experimentally evaluated germination, survival, and growth of three native and three invasive woody plant species in eastern USA forests. Across all species, increasing distance from the edge resulted in more germination and less seedling growth, but had no effect on seedling survival. Generally, seedling growth was greater in younger forests and invasive species outperformed native species; however, there were significant species-specific differences in performance. For example, among native species, spicebush had poor growth performance but high survival, while redbud had low germination but high growth performance and survival. By contrast, the invasive privet and autumn olive produced more biomass with high relative growth rates, and autumn olive had exceptionally high germination but the lowest survival. Overall, our results suggest that while there are some general characteristics of invasive species, species-specific traits may better inform management strategies and improve predictions about biological invasions along forest edges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Management of Invasive Species in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle Pine Stand Density Influences the Regeneration of Acacia saligna Labill. H.L.Wendl. and Native Woody Species in a Mediterranean Coastal Pine Plantation
Forests 2018, 9(6), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060359
Received: 2 May 2018 / Revised: 12 June 2018 / Accepted: 12 June 2018 / Published: 16 June 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1579 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mediterranean plantations are the most suitable areas to assess vegetation dynamics and competitive interactions between native and exotic woody species. Our research was carried out in a coastal pine plantation (Sicily) where renaturalization by native species (Pistacia lentiscus L. and Olea europaea [...] Read more.
Mediterranean plantations are the most suitable areas to assess vegetation dynamics and competitive interactions between native and exotic woody species. Our research was carried out in a coastal pine plantation (Sicily) where renaturalization by native species (Pistacia lentiscus L. and Olea europaea var. sylvestris) and invasion by Acacia saligna (Labill.) H.L.Wendl. simultaneously occur. The regeneration pattern of woody species in the pine understory was evaluated in six experimental plots along a stand density gradient, from 200 to approximately 700 pines per hectare. Both pine stand density and regeneration by native species had a significant negative relationship with Acacia natural regeneration. Olea regeneration was positively correlated with stand density, while Pistacia showed a non-significant relationship. Saplings of both native species were mostly less than 1 m high, whereas approximately 70% of Acacia individuals were higher than 1 m. We found that 400 pines per hectare should be considered a minimum stand density to keep Acacia under control, while favouring the establishment of native species in the understory. The successful control of Acacia requires an integrated management strategy, including different forest interventions according to stand density: thinning, control measures against Acacia, and renaturalization actions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Management of Invasive Species in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle Short-Term Vegetation Responses Following Windthrow Disturbance on Preserved Forest Lands
Forests 2018, 9(5), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050278
Received: 14 March 2018 / Revised: 8 May 2018 / Accepted: 9 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
Invasive exotic plants pose a serious threat to the ecological integrity of forests in the eastern United States. Presence and expansion of these plants are closely associated with human-caused disturbances. Land preservation to exclude human-caused disturbances could protect against invasions, yet natural disturbances [...] Read more.
Invasive exotic plants pose a serious threat to the ecological integrity of forests in the eastern United States. Presence and expansion of these plants are closely associated with human-caused disturbances. Land preservation to exclude human-caused disturbances could protect against invasions, yet natural disturbances persist. We ask if windthrow forest disturbances in preserved National Park lands facilitate exotic species invasions. We hypothesized that exotic plant expansion is positively correlated with forest canopy disturbance from windthrow and proximity of disturbed area to forest edge. Pre and post-disturbance data from National Park Service long-term vegetation monitoring were used to analyze exotic plant richness and abundance in four National Park Service units affected by 2012 severe storms. No significant difference in exotic plant richness or cover occurred between disturbed (n = 18) and undisturbed plots (n = 262) over three years following disturbance. Exotic plant cover prior to disturbance was positively correlated with the amount of nearby linear edge habitat, but there were no significant correlations between edge and change in exotic plant cover following disturbance. Lack of increase in exotic plants after windthrow disturbance suggests that land preservation provides short-term resistance to invasion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Management of Invasive Species in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Interaction between Ailanthus altissima and Native Robinia pseudoacacia in Early Succession: Implications for Forest Management
Forests 2018, 9(4), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9040221
Received: 12 March 2018 / Revised: 16 April 2018 / Accepted: 17 April 2018 / Published: 20 April 2018
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Abstract
The goal of this study was to discover the nature and intensity of the interaction between an exotic invader Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle and its coexisting native Robinia pseudoacacia L. and consider management implications. The study occurred in the Mid-Appalachian region of the [...] Read more.
The goal of this study was to discover the nature and intensity of the interaction between an exotic invader Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle and its coexisting native Robinia pseudoacacia L. and consider management implications. The study occurred in the Mid-Appalachian region of the eastern United States. Ailanthus altissima can have a strong negative influence on community diversity and succession due to its allelopathic nature while R. pseudoacacia can have a positive effect on community diversity and succession because of its ability to fix nitrogen. How these trees interact and the influence of the interaction on succession will have important implications for forests in many regions of the world. An additive-replacement series common garden experiment was established to identify the type and extent of interactions between these trees over a three-year period. Both A. altissima and R. pseudoacacia grown in monoculture were inhibited by intraspecific competition. In the first year, A. altissima grown with R. pseudoacacia tended to be larger than A. altissima in monoculture, suggesting that R. pseudoacacia may facilitate the growth of A. altissima at the seedling stage. After the second year, R. pseudoacacia growth decreased as the proportion of coexisting A. altissima increased, indicating inhibition of R. pseudoacacia by A. altissima even though the R. pseudoacacia plants were much larger aboveground than the A. altissima plants. In early successional sites A. altissima should be removed, particularly in the presence of R. pseudoacacia in order to promote long-term community succession. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Management of Invasive Species in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle Fine Scale Determinants of Soil Litter Fauna on a Mediterranean Mixed Oak Forest Invaded by the Exotic Soil-Borne Pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi
Forests 2018, 9(4), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9040218
Received: 24 February 2018 / Revised: 16 April 2018 / Accepted: 17 April 2018 / Published: 19 April 2018
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Abstract
There is growing recognition of the importance of soil fauna for modulating nutrient cycling processes such as litter decomposition. However, little is known about the drivers promoting changes in soil fauna abundance on a local scale. We explored this gap of knowledge in [...] Read more.
There is growing recognition of the importance of soil fauna for modulating nutrient cycling processes such as litter decomposition. However, little is known about the drivers promoting changes in soil fauna abundance on a local scale. We explored this gap of knowledge in a mixed oak forest of Southern Spain, which is under decline due to the invasion of the exotic soil-borne pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi. Meso-invertebrate abundance found in soil litter was estimated at the suborder level. We then explored their statistical correlations with respect to light availability, tree and litter characteristics, and P. cinnamomi abundance. Oribatida and Entomobryomporpha were the most abundant groups of Acari and Collembola, respectively. According to their trophic level, predator and detritivore abundances were positively correlated while detritivores were, in turn, positively correlated with pathogen abundance and negatively influenced by light availability and tree defoliation. These overall trends differed between groups. Among detritivores, Diplopoda preferred highly decomposed litter while Oribatida and Psocoptera preferred darker environments and Poduromorpha were selected for environments with lower tree defoliation. Our results show the predominant role of light availability in influencing litter fauna abundances at local scales and suggest that the invasive soil-borne pathogen P. cinnamomi is integrated in these complex relationships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Management of Invasive Species in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle Managing the Early Warning Systems of Invasive Species of Plants, Birds, and Mammals in Natural and Planted Pine Forests
Forests 2018, 9(4), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9040170
Received: 15 March 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (759 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Plantations with alien forest species could be a major way for invasive plant and animal species to become introduced and naturally established in a territory, but the sensitivity of plantations with native forest species to invasive plant and animal species is still unknown. [...] Read more.
Plantations with alien forest species could be a major way for invasive plant and animal species to become introduced and naturally established in a territory, but the sensitivity of plantations with native forest species to invasive plant and animal species is still unknown. This paper studies the probability of the presence and the richness of invasive species of three different taxa (plants, birds, and mammals) in pine forests of southwestern Europe. To do so, the relative contribution from natural and planted forests is analysed to explain the presence and the richness of invasive species in 3950 cells (10 km × 10 km) covering Spain after controlling for the possible effects of variables related to geography, climate, land use, landscape, and human pressure on the environment. Our results show that man’s influence on the establishment of invasive species is notable. However, those forests that are the most intensely managed by man, such as pine plantations with native species, seem less susceptible to the establishment and propagation of invasive species. Reasons may be found in those planted pine forests being closely monitored, controlled, and managed by man. Therefore, it is argued that efforts related to the early warning systems of invasive species should be focused on natural pine forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Management of Invasive Species in Forest Ecosystems)
Open AccessArticle Resistance of a Local Ecotype of Castanea sativa to Dryocosmus kuriphilus (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) in Southern Italy
Forests 2018, 9(2), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9020094
Received: 16 January 2018 / Revised: 8 February 2018 / Accepted: 11 February 2018 / Published: 16 February 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (5785 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The cynipid Dryocosmus kuriphilus is the most impactful invasive pest of Castanea sativa copse woods and orchards currently reported from many European countries. A low impact solution for the containment of this pest could be the use of resistant trees. We examined the [...] Read more.
The cynipid Dryocosmus kuriphilus is the most impactful invasive pest of Castanea sativa copse woods and orchards currently reported from many European countries. A low impact solution for the containment of this pest could be the use of resistant trees. We examined the resistance of the red salernitan ecotype (RSE) of C. sativa to D. kuriphilus and carried out a morphological characterization of this ecotype’s plants and fruits. From November 2015 to May 2017 we observed and recorded the percentage of infested buds, healthy leaves and shoots on about 50 chestnut trees, together with the number, size, and position of galls, and the number of eggs laid by the gall wasps into the buds and the number of larvae inside the galls. We showed a progressive mortality of cynipid larvae up to the starting point of galls development when almost total larval mortality was recorded. This suggests that RSE trees have a moderate resistance to D. kuriphilus; however, resistance acts at different levels, resulting in fewer eggs being deposited, a low number of larvae reaching the complete development, and a low number of galls on the branches. Moreover, the galls on resistant trees are smaller than the susceptible ones, so the larvae are more exposed to parasitization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Management of Invasive Species in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle Encroachment Dynamics of Juniperus virginiana L. and Mesic Hardwood Species into Cross Timbers Forests of North-Central Oklahoma, USA
Forests 2018, 9(2), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9020075
Received: 8 January 2018 / Revised: 29 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 3 February 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2001 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cross Timbers forests, typically dominated by Quercus stellata Wangenh. and Q. marilandica Muenchh., are the transition zone between eastern deciduous forest and prairie in the southern Great Plains. Fire exclusion beginning in the mid-1900s has led to increasing stand density and encroachment of [...] Read more.
Cross Timbers forests, typically dominated by Quercus stellata Wangenh. and Q. marilandica Muenchh., are the transition zone between eastern deciduous forest and prairie in the southern Great Plains. Fire exclusion beginning in the mid-1900s has led to increasing stand density and encroachment of fire-intolerant Juniperus virginiana L. and mesic hardwood. We measured current forest structure and tree ages of 25 stands (130 plots) in north-central Oklahoma to characterize the extent and dynamics of encroachment. The respective basal area and stand density of the overstory (diameter at breast height; dbh > 10 cm) were 19.0 m2 ha−1 and 407 trees ha−1 with Q. stellata comprising 43% of basal area and 42% of stand density. Quercus marilandica represented only 3% of basal area and 4% of overstory density. Juniperus virginiana represented 7% of basal area and 14% of stand density while mesic hardwoods, e.g., Celtis spp., Ulmus spp., Carya spp., 33% of basal area and stand density. The sapling layer was dominated by mesic hardwoods (68%) and J. virginiana (25%) while the seedling layer was dominated by mesic hardwoods (74%). The majority of Quercus recruited into the overstory between 1910–1970, while recruitment of J. virginiana and mesic hardwoods began more recently (post 1950s). Growth rate, based on the relationship between age and dbh, was faster for mesic hardwoods than for J. virginiana and Q. stellata. These results indicate that removal of recurrent surface fire as a disturbance agent has significantly altered forest composition in the Cross Timbers region by allowing encroachment of J. virginiana and fire-intolerant, mesic hardwoods. This increases wildfire risk because J. virginiana is very flammable and will alter how these forests respond to future drought and other disturbance events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Management of Invasive Species in Forest Ecosystems)
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