Expansion of Naturally Regenerated Forest

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (19 November 2021) | Viewed by 15696

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Departamento de Ciencias Agroforestales, Universidad de Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain
Interests: forest regeneration mechanisms; anthropogenic ecosystems; restoration ecology; plant ecology; species diversity; vegetation dynamics; plant-plant facilitation; grazing effect

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Guest Editor
Department of Vegetal Production and Forestry Science, Universitat de Lleida, Lleida, Catalunya, Spain
Interests: forest ecology; applied community dynamics; restoration ecology; plant ecology; forest succession

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Forests cover 31% of the global land area, and are home to most of Earth’s terrestrial biodiversity. Forests supply water, provide livelihoods, mitigate climate change, and are essential for sustainable food production, contributing to the health of the planet. However, deforestation and forest degradation continue to take place at alarming rates in some parts of the world, whereas in others the trend has been reversed with forests expanding over new areas.

In this era of contrast, improving our knowledge of ecological processes and mechanisms involved in the natural regeneration and expansion of forests should be a priority. Factors affecting tree growth rates, seed production and dispersal, seedlings establishment, shrubs species colonization, microsites availability, soil conditions, as well as the complex interactions that occur within and between all levels of forest biological diversity (local, ecosystem, landscape, species, population, and genetic) in the colonization process will be topics of interest for this Special Issue. We also welcome all manuscripts discussing new management and implementation actions to reverse deforestation and biodiversity loss (all life forms found within forested areas and the ecological roles they perform) for the benefit of current and future generations.

This Special Issue will improve our understanding of constraints for natural forest expansion all around the world, while providing practical recommendations for the reforestation of degraded ecosystems.

Dr. Carolina Martínez-Ruiz
Dr. Josu G. Alday
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Plant colonization
  • Forest management
  • Understorey
  • Forest biodiversity
  • Positive interactions
  • Edge effect
  • Soil processes
  • Seed dispersal
  • Seedlings
  • Forest growth

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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2 pages, 650 KiB  
Editorial
Expansion of Naturally Regenerated Forest
by Josu G. Alday and Carolina Martínez-Ruiz
Forests 2022, 13(3), 456; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13030456 - 15 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1627
Abstract
Forests cover 31% of the global land area and are home to most of Earth’s terrestrial biodiversity [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Expansion of Naturally Regenerated Forest)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

14 pages, 2437 KiB  
Article
Fungal Perspective of Pine and Oak Colonization in Mediterranean Degraded Ecosystems
by Irene Adamo, Svetlana Dashevskaya and Josu G. Alday
Forests 2022, 13(1), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13010088 - 8 Jan 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2257
Abstract
Forest restoration has become one of the most important challenges for restoration ecology in the recent years. In this regard, soil fungi are fundamental drivers of forest ecosystem processes, with significant implications for plant growth and survival. However, the post-disturbance recovery of belowground [...] Read more.
Forest restoration has become one of the most important challenges for restoration ecology in the recent years. In this regard, soil fungi are fundamental drivers of forest ecosystem processes, with significant implications for plant growth and survival. However, the post-disturbance recovery of belowground communities has been rarely assessed, especially in highly degraded systems such as mines. Our aim was to compare forests and mined systems for biomass and structure of fungal communities in soil during early stages of tree establishment after disturbance. We performed ergosterol analysis and PacBio and Illumina sequencing of internal transcribed spacer 2 amplicons across soil layers in P. sylvestris, Q. robur and Q. ilex (holm oak) forests and naturally revegetated mined sites. In pine forests, total fungal biomass was significantly higher in litter and humus compared to mineral layers, with dominance of the mycorrhizal genera Tomentella, Inocybe and Tricholoma. Conversely, in oak forests the most abundant mycorrhizal genera were Tomentella, Cortinarius and Sebacina, but the biomass of saprotrophic fungi was greater in the litter layer compared to mycorrhizal fungi, with the genus Preussia being the most abundant. In the revegetated mined sites, ectomycorrhizal fungi dominated in the humus and mineral layers, with the mycorrhizal genus Oidiodendron being dominant. In contrast, in holm oak forests saprotrophic fungi dominated both soil humus and mineral layers, with the genera of Alternaria, Bovista and Mycena dominating the soil humus forest layer, while the genus Cadophora dominated the mineral layer. The habitat-specific differences in soil fungal community composition and putative functions suggest that an understanding of soil–plant–microbial interactions for different tree species and use of specific soil/litter inoculum upon planting/seeding might help to increase the effectiveness of tree restoration strategies in Mediterranean degraded sites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Expansion of Naturally Regenerated Forest)
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21 pages, 8307 KiB  
Article
Environmental Dynamics of the Ribbon-Like Pine Forests in the Parklands of North Kazakhstan
by Sholpan Zhumadina, Jiri Chlachula, Alina Zhaglovskaya-Faurat, Jolanta Czerniawska, Gulmira Satybaldieva, Nailya Nurbayeva, Nariman Mapitov, Anar Myrzagaliyeva and Elmira Boribay
Forests 2022, 13(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13010002 - 21 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3003
Abstract
The ribbon-like pine forests of North Kazakhstan represent the principal territorial intrazonal and azonal biotopes. Integrated bio-geographic studies of the pine forests’ status were performed in the Beskaragai and Chaldai Nature Reserves in the Pri-Irtysh River basin within, at present, the climate–change most [...] Read more.
The ribbon-like pine forests of North Kazakhstan represent the principal territorial intrazonal and azonal biotopes. Integrated bio-geographic studies of the pine forests’ status were performed in the Beskaragai and Chaldai Nature Reserves in the Pri-Irtysh River basin within, at present, the climate–change most susceptible transitional parkland-steppe zone of Central Asia, adjoining the West Siberian Lowland. The investigations followed the regional topographic gradient with a series of mapped sites characterizing the spatial relief patterns of the pristine forest distribution and the associated phytocenoses. The results revealed marked natural arboreal cover restoration differences between the geographically close upland and lowland forest ecosystems. The regional tree growth dynamics show the varying intensity of the pine seedlings’ succession, the tree stands’ biomass productivity and the environmental stability, weakened by the extreme continentality and progressing aridification along with adverse anthropogenic ecological impacts. The specific geomorphic, soil and hydrological conditions are the principal determining factors. The more vital plain and lowland pine forests host the floristically richer fescue-dominated communities compared to the more fragile and precipitation-poorer upland pine settings. The latter forest ecosystems display a higher vulnerability to the current climate change, generating tree drying, forest fires, and to modern human activities such as logging, herding and recreation. The research conclusions provide new insights on the natural ribbon-like pine forests’ sustainability and adaptation to the ongoing continental warming triggering fundamental environmental transformations in Central Asia’s parklands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Expansion of Naturally Regenerated Forest)
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13 pages, 2269 KiB  
Article
Maternal Environmental Light Conditions Affect the Morphological Allometry and Dispersal Potential of Acer palmatum Samaras
by Bin J. W. Chen, Xinyu Wang, Yuting Dong, Heinjo J. During, Xia Xu and Niels P. R. Anten
Forests 2021, 12(10), 1313; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12101313 - 26 Sep 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2037
Abstract
Seed dispersal plays critical roles in determining species survival and community structures. Since the dispersal is biologically under maternal control, it is hypothesized that intraspecific variation of dispersal potential and associated traits of seeds (diaspores) should be influenced by maternal habitat quality. We [...] Read more.
Seed dispersal plays critical roles in determining species survival and community structures. Since the dispersal is biologically under maternal control, it is hypothesized that intraspecific variation of dispersal potential and associated traits of seeds (diaspores) should be influenced by maternal habitat quality. We tested this hypothesis by examining the effects of maternal environmental light condition on morphological traits and descending performance of nearly 1800 wind-dispersed samaras collected from maple species Acer palmatum. Results showed that samaras produced by trees from shaded microhabitats had greater dispersal potential, in terms of slower terminal velocity of descent, than those produced in open microhabitats. This advantage was largely attributed to morphological plasticity. On average, samaras produced in shaded microhabitats, as compared to those produced in open habitats, had lower wing loading by only reducing weight but not area. In allometric details, in the large size range, samaras from shaded microhabitats had larger areas than those from open microhabitats; in the small size range, samaras from shaded microhabitats had wider wings. These findings suggest that greater dispersal potential of samaras in response to stressful maternal light environment reflected an active maternal control through the morphological allometry of samaras. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Expansion of Naturally Regenerated Forest)
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16 pages, 1865 KiB  
Article
Niche Characterization of Shrub Functional Groups along an Atlantic-Mediterranean Gradient
by Adriana E. Olthoff, Carolina Martínez-Ruiz and Josu G. Alday
Forests 2021, 12(8), 982; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12080982 - 24 Jul 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2141
Abstract
The identification of the factors controlling the understory species distribution and abundance is essential to understand the ecology and dynamics of natural forests and their management response. We assess the relationships between environmental gradients and shrub functional groups distribution patterns and niche characteristics [...] Read more.
The identification of the factors controlling the understory species distribution and abundance is essential to understand the ecology and dynamics of natural forests and their management response. We assess the relationships between environmental gradients and shrub functional groups distribution patterns and niche characteristics in a transitional area between the Eurosiberian and Mediterranean biogeographic regions in Northern Spain. Here, 772 plots from the 3rd Spanish National Forest Inventory were used. Shrub functional groups respond to the same complex environmental gradients as trees, i.e., the north-south climatic gradient and a slope gradient. Unimodal response curves of shrub functional groups and families dominate along both gradients, providing evidence of successful functional turnover. Similar to tree species, the niche location of functionally related shrubs is close. Functional groups occupying environments with sharp contrast or transitional environments have the broadest niches, whereas those specialized functional groups occupying localized habitats showed the narrowest niches. The knowledge of shrub species distributions and niche characteristics along complex environmental gradients will improve our ability to discuss potential conservation management goals or threats due to land-use changes and future climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Expansion of Naturally Regenerated Forest)
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18 pages, 3327 KiB  
Article
Effect of the Forest-Mine Boundary Form on Woody Colonization and Forest Expansion in Degraded Ecosystems
by Carolina Martínez-Ruiz, Ana I. Milder, Daphne López-Marcos, Pilar Zaldívar and Belén Fernández-Santos
Forests 2021, 12(6), 773; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12060773 - 11 Jun 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1860
Abstract
We evaluated the ecological significance of the boundary form between two patches with contrasting vegetation (mine grassland and adjacent forest) on woody colonization and forest expansion in open-cast coal mines in Northern Spain. Woody colonization and browsing traces were measured on three mine [...] Read more.
We evaluated the ecological significance of the boundary form between two patches with contrasting vegetation (mine grassland and adjacent forest) on woody colonization and forest expansion in open-cast coal mines in Northern Spain. Woody colonization and browsing traces were measured on three mine sites, along 24 transects that were laid out perpendicular to the forest-mine boundary and classified according to their shape (concave, convex, straight). Mine sites were colonized from the close forest by woody species, whose colonization intensity depends on the boundary form. The overall colonization intensity decreased with increasing distance to the forest and differed depending on the boundary form. The more intense colonization was found in concave boundaries and the strongest decrease in convex boundaries close to the forest, whereas straight boundaries showed an intermediate colonization pattern. Concave boundaries reached higher woody cover in the basal strata of the mines than convex (up to 2 m) or straight boundaries (up to 1 m) from 11 m to the forest edge, mainly by the presence of dense patches of Cytisus scoparius (L.) Link, with a scattered overstory of Genista florida L. These shrubs might reduce the browsing intensity and act as nurse plants facilitating the establishment of Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl. in mine areas at greater distances from the forest edge. The forest-mine boundary form does not affect the forest vertical structure that is homogenous and does not help explain the woody colonization pattern in the mines. We conclude that edge characteristics have a strong potential to be used in the restoration of native forests based on natural processes. The implications of our results for sessile oak (Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl.) forest expansion along edges in fragmented Mediterranean forest landscapes were discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Expansion of Naturally Regenerated Forest)
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14 pages, 4137 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Native Shrub, Fencing, and Acorn Size on the Emergence of Contrasting Co-Occurring Oak in Mediterranean Grazed Areas
by Roberto Díaz-Hernández, José Luis Vicente Villardón, Carolina Martínez-Ruiz and Belén Fernández-Santos
Forests 2021, 12(3), 307; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030307 - 6 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1639
Abstract
Research Highlights: The regeneration of Quercus species is usually very difficult in many oak woodlands transformed by livestock farming. Some studies have reported that shrubs can facilitate regeneration. However, the strength of interaction may vary depending on, among other factors, the shrub species [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: The regeneration of Quercus species is usually very difficult in many oak woodlands transformed by livestock farming. Some studies have reported that shrubs can facilitate regeneration. However, the strength of interaction may vary depending on, among other factors, the shrub species and the stress tolerance of the oak species. Moreover, further studies are necessary to clarify the relative importance of the two facilitation mechanisms in the same community. Background and Objectives: Cytisus multiflorus (L’Her.) Sweet is a predominant shrub species in the Mediterranean grazed open-oak-woodlands found in the central west of the Iberian Peninsula (bioclimatic limit) and is present with Quercus pyrenaica Willd and Quercus ilex subsp. ballota Samp trees. Thus, we assessed the effect of these native shrubs and acorn size, and the effect of excluding large herbivores, on the seedling emergence of two contrasting co-occurring Quercus species under a bioclimatic limit. Materials and Methods: A manipulative field experiment was carried out considering four treatments as a combination of shrubs (shrub/no-shrub) and fence (fenced/open) factors. A total of twenty plots, five replicates for each treatment were available. In each plot, 20 acorns were sown: 10 acorns (5 small and 5 large) for each Quercus species. Acorn emergence was recorded during the first four years following the sowing. Results: Seedling emergence took place mostly in the spring of the first year after sowing. The presence of shrub was the main significant factor and incremented the emergence of both Q. ilex and Q. pyrenaica. The effect of the fence depended on the Quercus species considered, improving only the emergence of Q. pyrenaica. A negative effect with the small acorns was detected but only for Q. pyrenaica. In all treatments, Q. ilex emerged more than Q. pyrenaica. Conclusions: C. multiflorus had a clear facilitative effect on the seedling emergence of Q. ilex and Q. pyrenaica, which was much greater than the physical effect that acorn size and excluding large herbivores had. As such, this native shrub may have a key role in oak regeneration in Mediterranean grazed areas. Furthermore, in these areas of contact between marcescent and sclerophyllous Quercus species, Q. ilex currently emerges more than Q. pyrenaica. This could be indicative of a shift towards more xeric climatic conditions, which could lead to a change in the dominant tree species in the future. However, this change could be modulated by the effects of native shrub and large herbivores. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Expansion of Naturally Regenerated Forest)
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