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Special Issue "Forest Growth Response to Environmental Stress"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Jesús Julio Camarero

Pyrenean Institute of Ecology (IPE-CSIC), Avda. Montañana 1002, 50059 Zaragoza, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: dendroecology; forest ecology; tree dieback; environmental stress; climate warming
Guest Editor
Dr. Raúl Sánchez-Salguero

Dpt. Sistemas Físicos, Químicos y Naturales, Universidad Pablo de Olavide. Ctra. Utrera Km 1, 41013, Sevilla, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: forest management; dendroecology; biogeography, forest dynamics; tree decline; ecological modeling; global change
Guest Editor
Dr. Juan Carlos Linares

Dpto. Sistemas Físicos, Químicos y Naturales, Universidad Pablo de Olavide. Ctra.Utrera Km 1, 41013, Sevilla, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: forest ecology; tree physiology; Mediterranean environments; dendroecology; climatic change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There exists a great concern on the effects of environmental stressors on 21st-century forests. Drought, heat, and cold spells, climate warming, land-use changes, wildfires, pollution and other local stressors negatively affect forest growth and vitality. These threats could reduce the multiple ecosystem services forests provide to humans. Such negative effects on forests may be direct or indirect through the predisposition to forest pests and pathogens. Researchers must be able to quantify forest growth responses to environmental stressors in the long-term, using for instance tree-ring data, so as to provide assessments of forest resilience to environmental stress.

In this Special Issue of Forests, we aim to fill this gap by asking for manuscripts which constitute original contributions on studies evaluating the impact of environmental stress on forest growth, emphasizing quantitative on the responses of forest growth and vigor to persistent or acute stressors. This Special Issue proposes multidisciplinary contributions using varied disciplines such as dendroecology, ecophysiology, functional ecology, forest pathology, remote sensing and models. Authors should address ecological and management aspects, including mitigation and adaptation, of environmental risks globally faced by forests.

Dr. Jesus Julio Camarero
Dr. Raúl Sánchez-Salguero
Dr. Juan Carlos Linares
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

  • Environmental Stress
  • Forest Growth
  • Climate Warming
  • Dendroecology
  • Forest Vulnerability
  • Forest Vitality
  • Climatic Risks

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Relationship between Leaf Surface Characteristics and Particle Capturing Capacities of Different Tree Species in Beijing
Forests 2017, 8(3), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8030092
Received: 30 November 2016 / Revised: 12 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 20 March 2017
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (5138 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Leaf surface is a multifunctional interface between a plant and its environment, which affects both ecological and biological processes. Leaf surface topography directly affects microhabitat availability and ability for deposition. In this study, atomic force microscopy (AFM) and the resuspended particulate matter method [...] Read more.
Leaf surface is a multifunctional interface between a plant and its environment, which affects both ecological and biological processes. Leaf surface topography directly affects microhabitat availability and ability for deposition. In this study, atomic force microscopy (AFM) and the resuspended particulate matter method were applied to evaluate the adsorptive capacity of the leaf surface. Patterns of particulate‐capturing capacities in different tree species and the effect of leaf surface features on these capacities were explored. Results indicated the following: (1) more total suspended particles (TSP) per unit leaf area were captured by coniferous tree species than by broad‐leaved tree species in a particular order—i.e., Pinus tabuliformis > Pinus bungeana > Salix matsudana > Acer truncatum > Ginkgo biloba > Populus tomentosa; (2) Significant seasonal variation in particulate‐capturing capacities were determined. During the observation period, the broad‐leaved tree species capturing TSP and coarse particulate matter (PM10) clearly exhibited a ∩‐shape pattern— that is, increasing initially and later on decreasing; meanwhile, the ∩‐shape pattern was not clearly shown in P. tabuliformis and P. bungeana. However, no obvious patterns in the absorption of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) were found in the tested tree species; (3) The leaf surface topography, as observed by AFM and scanning electron microscopy, revealed that the broad‐leaved tree exhibits a good correlation between micro‐roughness of leaf surfaces and density of particles settling on leaf surfaces over time. However, the main factors affecting the adsorptive capacities of the leaves in coniferous trees are the number of stomata as well as the amount of epicuticular wax and the properties of the cuticle in different seasons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Growth Response to Environmental Stress)
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Open AccessArticle Analysing Atmospheric Processes and Climatic Drivers of Tree Defoliation to Determine Forest Vulnerability to Climate Warming
Forests 2017, 8(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8010013
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 12 December 2016 / Accepted: 20 December 2016 / Published: 26 December 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3692 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Crown defoliation is extensively monitored across European forests within the International Co-operative Programme (ICP) as a proxy of forest health. Climate warming and drought are assumed to be the major drivers of tree growth and crown defoliation, particularly in seasonally dry areas such [...] Read more.
Crown defoliation is extensively monitored across European forests within the International Co-operative Programme (ICP) as a proxy of forest health. Climate warming and drought are assumed to be the major drivers of tree growth and crown defoliation, particularly in seasonally dry areas such as the Mediterranean Basin. Here we analyse how climate, drought, and atmospheric processes are related to defoliation time series of five oak and five pine species that are dominant across Spanish ICP monitoring forest plots. We found that warmer and drier conditions during April were linked to enhanced defoliation. Warm April conditions were also related to high values of the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO), thereby indicating large-scale links between atmospheric processes, temperature, and defoliation patterns. The temperature-defoliation association was species-specific since some tree species from wet sites showed a weak association (e.g., Quercus robur L.) whereas others from dry sites (e.g., Quercus ilex L.) presented the strongest associations. The latter tree species could be considered vulnerable to heat stress in terms of leaf shedding. We also explored if defoliation was related to radial growth and found negative associations in relatively dry areas. Warmer and drier conditions linked to increasing AMO values are connected to the post-1990s rise of defoliation in Spanish ICP forest plots. Combined incorporation of defoliation and growth into mortality models can provide insights into assessments of forest vulnerability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Growth Response to Environmental Stress)
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Open AccessArticle Foliage Chemistry of Pinus baksiana in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, Canada
Forests 2016, 7(12), 312; https://doi.org/10.3390/f7120312
Received: 14 October 2016 / Revised: 30 November 2016 / Accepted: 2 December 2016 / Published: 8 December 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1988 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Industrial emissions in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR), Alberta, Canada, have caused concerns about the effect of oil sands operations on the surrounding terrestrial environments, including jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) stands. We collected jack pine needles from 19 sites in [...] Read more.
Industrial emissions in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR), Alberta, Canada, have caused concerns about the effect of oil sands operations on the surrounding terrestrial environments, including jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) stands. We collected jack pine needles from 19 sites in the AOSR (13–128 km from main operations) for foliar chemical analyses to investigate the environmental impact on jack pine. Pine needles from three age classes, the current annual growth (CAG, 2011), one year and two year old pine needles, were collected. Samples were analyzed for total carbon (TC), nitrogen (TN), and sulfur (TS), inorganic S (SO4-S), base cations (Ca, Mg, Na), and other elements (B, Cu, Fe, Mn, P, Zn); CAG needles were also analyzed for their nitrogen and carbon isotopic compositions. Only TN, TS, Ca, B, Zn, and Fe contents showed weak but significant increases with proximity to the major oil sands operations. C and N isotopic compositions showed no trend with distance or TC and TN contents. Total S contents in CAG of pine foliage increased significantly with proximity to the main industrial operation while foliar inorganic S to organic S ratios (SO4-S/Sorg) ranged consistently between 0.13 and 0.32, indicating low to moderately high S loading. Hence, this study suggests some evidence of uptake of S emissions in close proximity to anthropogenic sources, although the reported values have not reached a level of environmental concern. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Growth Response to Environmental Stress)
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Open AccessArticle Drought Stress Distribution Responses of Continental Beech Forests at their Xeric Edge in Central Europe
Forests 2016, 7(12), 298; https://doi.org/10.3390/f7120298
Received: 16 September 2016 / Revised: 21 November 2016 / Accepted: 22 November 2016 / Published: 29 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4380 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In order to develop adequate adaptation measures for environmental vulnerability, we need detailed knowledge on the climatic performance of forest ecosystems. In this study, we aim to explore climate function variability of lowland beech forest distribution at a landscape scale. We also construct [...] Read more.
In order to develop adequate adaptation measures for environmental vulnerability, we need detailed knowledge on the climatic performance of forest ecosystems. In this study, we aim to explore climate function variability of lowland beech forest distribution at a landscape scale. We also construct the response profiles of these forests near their xeric limit under wet continental climatic conditions. We studied distribution responses using presence-absence forest records and 18 bioclimatic variables. We performed exploratory factor analysis and frequency estimation to evaluate climate function distribution responses. We found that temperature adjusted precipitation measures during summer were the most important, followed by winter rainfall indices. The relative Drought Response Range (rDRR) in the response profile presented the climate limitation function of the distribution. According to our results, higher level of climate function variability is associated with lower level of rDRR, presenting an ecological trade-off. Our results suggest that distribution functions of the rDRR, especially the Ombrothermic index, can be used as landscape indicators of drought stress. Consequently, rDRR could be a useful measure to assess regional climatic vulnerability of forest occurrence and distribution patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Growth Response to Environmental Stress)
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Open AccessArticle Deep Soil Conditions Make Mediterranean Cork Oak Stem Growth Vulnerable to Autumnal Rainfall Decline in Tunisia
Forests 2016, 7(10), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/f7100245
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 6 October 2016 / Accepted: 13 October 2016 / Published: 21 October 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4300 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tree rings provide fruitful information on climate features driving annual forest growth through statistical correlations between annual tree growth and climate features. Indices built upon tree growth limitation by carbon sequestration (source hypothesis) or drought-driven cambial phenology (sink hypothesis) can be used to [...] Read more.
Tree rings provide fruitful information on climate features driving annual forest growth through statistical correlations between annual tree growth and climate features. Indices built upon tree growth limitation by carbon sequestration (source hypothesis) or drought-driven cambial phenology (sink hypothesis) can be used to better identify underlying processes. We used both analytical frameworks on Quercus suber, a sparsely studied species due to tree ring methodological issues, and growing on a favorable sub-humid Mediterranean climate and deep soil conditions in Tunisia (North Africa). Statistical analysis revealed the major role of autumnal rainfall before the growing season on annual tree growth over the 1918–2008 time series. Using a water budget model, we were able to explain the critical role of the deep soil water refill during the wet season in affecting both the drought onset controlling growth phenology and the summer drought intensity affecting carbon assimilation. Analysis of recent climate changes in the region additionally illustrated an increase in temperatures enhancing the evaporative demand and advancing growth start, and a decline in rainfalls in autumn, two key variables driving stem growth. We concluded on the benefits of using process-based indices in dendrochronological analysis and identified the main vulnerability of this Mediterranean forest to autumnal rainfall decline, a peculiar aspect of climate change under summer-dry climates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Growth Response to Environmental Stress)
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Open AccessArticle Radial Growth Response of Black Spruce Stands Ten Years after Experimental Shelterwoods and Seed-Tree Cuttings in Boreal Forest
Forests 2016, 7(10), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/f7100240
Received: 10 August 2016 / Revised: 10 October 2016 / Accepted: 10 October 2016 / Published: 15 October 2016
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (3713 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Partial cutting is thought to be an alternative to achieve sustainable management in boreal forests. However, the effects of intermediate harvest intensity (45%–80%) on growth remain unknown in black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) stands, one of the most widely distributed boreal [...] Read more.
Partial cutting is thought to be an alternative to achieve sustainable management in boreal forests. However, the effects of intermediate harvest intensity (45%–80%) on growth remain unknown in black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) stands, one of the most widely distributed boreal species with great commercial interest. In this study, we analysed the effect of three experimental shelterwood and one seed-tree treatments on tree radial growth in even-aged black spruce stands, 10 years after intervention. Our results show that radial growth response 8–10 years after cutting was 41% to 62% higher than in untreated plots, with stand structure, treatment, tree position relative to skidding trails, growth before cutting and time having significant interactions. The stand structure conditioned tree growth after cutting, being doubled in younger and denser stands. Tree spatial position had a pronounced effect on radial growth; trees at the edge of the skidding trails showed twice the increase in growth compared to interior trees. Dominant trees before cutting located close to the skidding trails manifested the highest growth response after cutting. This research suggests that the studied treatments are effective to enhance radial wood production of black spruce especially in younger stands, and that the edge effect must be considered in silvicultural management planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Growth Response to Environmental Stress)
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Open AccessArticle Climatic Sensitivity of a Mixed Forest Association of White Spruce and Trembling Aspen at Their Southern Range Limit
Forests 2016, 7(10), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/f7100235
Received: 16 June 2016 / Revised: 26 September 2016 / Accepted: 30 September 2016 / Published: 14 October 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2333 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climatic sensitivity of white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) was examined growing in association with trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) at their southern limit of distribution in a transitional ecotone between the southern boreal forest and northern prairie region. The study [...] Read more.
Climatic sensitivity of white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) was examined growing in association with trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) at their southern limit of distribution in a transitional ecotone between the southern boreal forest and northern prairie region. The study was carried out in the Spruce Woods Provincial Park (SWPP) located in southwestern Manitoba, Canada. The dry regional climate restricted trembling aspen growth during the growing season via moisture deficiency and temperature induced drought stress. Warm, mild winters also negatively affected radial growth of trembling aspen. Growth of white spruce was moderated by conditions within the aspen stands as radial growth patterns showed low variability from year to year, a low common growth signal, and a stronger response to temperature than to precipitation. Nonetheless, the dry regional climate still restricted growth of white spruce during the growing season via temperature induced drought stress. The findings of the study for white spruce support the stress gradient hypothesis in which facilitative interactions between tree species are expected under harsher environmental conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Growth Response to Environmental Stress)
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Open AccessArticle The Alleviation of Nutrient Deficiency Symptoms in Changbai Larch (Larix olgensis) Seedlings by the Application of Exogenous Organic Acids
Forests 2016, 7(10), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/f7100213
Received: 31 July 2016 / Revised: 5 September 2016 / Accepted: 17 September 2016 / Published: 26 September 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1981 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Exogenous organic acids are beneficial in protecting plants from the stress of heavy metal toxins (e.g., Pb) in soils. This work focuses on the potential role of organic acids in protecting Changbai larch (Larix olgensis) seedlings from the stress of growing [...] Read more.
Exogenous organic acids are beneficial in protecting plants from the stress of heavy metal toxins (e.g., Pb) in soils. This work focuses on the potential role of organic acids in protecting Changbai larch (Larix olgensis) seedlings from the stress of growing in nutrient deficient soil. The seedlings were planted in a nutrient rich or deficient soil (A1 horizon of a Haplic Cambisol without organic acid as the nutrient rich control, or fully-mixed A1 + B horizons in a proportion of 1:2 as deficient) in pots in a greenhouse. In A1 + B horizons the seedlings were treated daily with concentrations of oxalic or citric acid (OA or CA) at a rate approximately equivalent to 0, 0.04, 0.2, 1.0, or 2.0 mmol·kg−1 of soil for 10, 20, and 30 days. Nutrient deficiency stressed the seedlings as indicated by lipid peroxidation and malondialdehyde (MDA) content in leaves significantly increasing, and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities, proline, photosynthetic pigment contents, and chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm) decreasing. The stress increased in controls over the application periods. When nutrient deficient plants were exposed to an organic acid (especially 5.0 or 10.0 mmol·L−1 for 20 days), the stress as indicated by the physiological parameters was reversed, and survival rate of seedlings, and biomass of root, stem, and leaf significantly increased; CA was more effective than OA. The results demonstrate that exogenous organic acids alleviate nutrient deficiency-induced oxidative injuries and improve the tolerance of L. olgensis seedlings to nutrient deficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Growth Response to Environmental Stress)
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Open AccessArticle Natural and Anthropogenic Transformations of A Baltic Raised Bog (Bagno Kusowo, North West Poland) in the Light of Dendrochronological Analysis of Pinus sylvestris L.
Forests 2016, 7(9), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/f7090202
Received: 7 July 2016 / Revised: 1 September 2016 / Accepted: 7 September 2016 / Published: 13 September 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4415 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study was conducted in a drained, exploited, and afforested Baltic bog Bagno Kusowo, located in North West Poland. The study aimed (i) to assess if human activity has a stronger impact on tree-ring width of Pinus sylvestris than climatic conditions in this [...] Read more.
This study was conducted in a drained, exploited, and afforested Baltic bog Bagno Kusowo, located in North West Poland. The study aimed (i) to assess if human activity has a stronger impact on tree-ring width of Pinus sylvestris than climatic conditions in this transformed Baltic bog; (ii) to investigate how much the human modification of the ecosystem has influenced tree growth; (iii) to use this knowledge to reconstruct changes in the ecosystem further back in time, in the study area and its immediate neighbourhood. Wood samples for dendrochronological analyses were collected from 45 trees. Next, using classic dating methods and standard procedures (cross-dating methods, COFECHA program), chronologies were constructed (raw tree-ring width and residual chronologies: de-trended, autocorrelation removed, ARSTAN program). They formed a basis for further analyses: signature years, correlation and response function, as well as percentage growth change. The results of dendroclimatological analyses show weak increment–climate relationships and the analysis of weather conditions in the identified signature years did not detect any unambiguous relations with tree-ring width. However, results of the analyses indicate that the dominant factors affecting tree growth dynamics in the bog are changes in the hydrological system. Moreover, our results show many phases of human impact on environmental changes. Dendrochronological methods, combined with an analysis of old maps and other historical records, allowed us to reconstruct transformations of the ecosystem with a high resolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Growth Response to Environmental Stress)
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Open AccessArticle Diameter Growth, Biological Rotation Age and Biomass of Chinese Fir in Burning and Clearing Site Preparations in Subtropical China
Forests 2016, 7(8), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/f7080177
Received: 9 July 2016 / Revised: 5 August 2016 / Accepted: 11 August 2016 / Published: 18 August 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (5230 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustained forest management of Cunninghamia lanceolata (Chinese fir) plantations in subtropical China is restricted by the limited availability of quantitative data. This study combines inventory data and tree-ring analysis of Chinese fir from natural and plantation forests that were subjected to controlled burning [...] Read more.
Sustained forest management of Cunninghamia lanceolata (Chinese fir) plantations in subtropical China is restricted by the limited availability of quantitative data. This study combines inventory data and tree-ring analysis of Chinese fir from natural and plantation forests that were subjected to controlled burning or brush clearing site preparations. Inter-annual variation of Chinese fir tree-ring widths were measured for the controlled burning, brush clearing and natural forest sites. The mean annual diametric growth of Chinese fir was 0.56 cm·year−1 for the natural forest, 0.80 cm·year−1 for the brush clearing site and 1.10 cm·year−1 for the controlled burning site. The time needed to reach the minimum cutting/logging diameter of 15 cm was 14 years in the controlled burning site, 19 years in the brush clearing site and >40 years in the natural forest. The biological rotation ages for the burning, cutting and natural forest sites were 15, 26 and >100 years, respectively. The total aboveground biomasses for the burning and clearing sites were 269.8 t·ha−1 and 252 t·ha−1, respectively. These results suggest that the current 25-year cutting cycle greatly underestimates the growth rate of Chinese fir plantations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Growth Response to Environmental Stress)
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Open AccessArticle Major Changes in Growth Rate and Growth Variability of Beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) Related to Soil Alteration and Climate Change in Belgium
Forests 2016, 7(8), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/f7080174
Received: 20 June 2016 / Revised: 3 August 2016 / Accepted: 4 August 2016 / Published: 8 August 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (3387 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Global change—particularly climate change, forest management, and atmospheric deposition—has significantly altered forest growing conditions in Europe. The influences of these changes on beech growth (Fagus sylvatica L.) were investigated for the past 80 years in Belgium, using non-linear mixed effects models on [...] Read more.
Global change—particularly climate change, forest management, and atmospheric deposition—has significantly altered forest growing conditions in Europe. The influences of these changes on beech growth (Fagus sylvatica L.) were investigated for the past 80 years in Belgium, using non-linear mixed effects models on ring-width chronologies of 149 mature and dominant beech trees (87–186 years old). The effects of the developmental stage (i.e., increasing tree size) were filtered out in order to focus on time-dependent growth changes. Beech radial growth was divided into a low-frequency signal (=growth rate), mainly influenced by forest management and atmospheric deposition, and into a high-frequency variability (≈mean sensitivity), mainly influenced by climate change. Between 1930 and 2008, major long-term and time-dependent changes were highlighted. The beech growth rate has decreased by about 38% since the 1950–1960s, and growth variability has increased by about 45% since the 1970–1980s. Our results indicate that (1) before the 1980s, beech growth rate was not predominantly impacted by climate change but rather by soil alteration (i.e., soil compaction and/or nitrogen deposition); and (2) since the 1980s, climate change induced more frequent and intense yearly growth reductions that amplified the growth rate decrease. The highlighted changes were similar in the two ecoregions of Belgium, although more pronounced in the lowlands than in the uplands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Growth Response to Environmental Stress)
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Open AccessArticle Baseline Mortality Analysis Reveals Legacy of Contrasting Land Use Practices on the Structural Sustainability of Endangered Moroccan and Spanish Mountain Forests
Forests 2016, 7(8), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/f7080172
Received: 23 June 2016 / Revised: 16 July 2016 / Accepted: 2 August 2016 / Published: 5 August 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3912 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Disturbances can affect forest health and are important modulating factors of tree responses to environmental changes. However, standard methods are needed to assess and elucidate the relative effects of disturbance legacies on forest health among species. Here, structural sustainability was used to evaluate [...] Read more.
Disturbances can affect forest health and are important modulating factors of tree responses to environmental changes. However, standard methods are needed to assess and elucidate the relative effects of disturbance legacies on forest health among species. Here, structural sustainability was used to evaluate and to compare the impacts of contrasting disturbances on the health of Quercus ilex, Cedrus atlantica, and Abies pinsapo forest stands in Morocco and Spain. Disturbance effects on structural sustainability were related to type, severity, and land-use history, and showed inter-regional variability. Cedrus atlantica was structurally sustainable in its core distribution in Morocco, but not at its southern and northernmost geographical range limits. Quercus ilex was structurally sustainable in Morocco. Abies pinsapo was structurally sustainable at optimal elevation sites in Morocco (Rif Mts.), but considering the whole A. pinsapo dataset including Morocco and Spain, the species is structurally unsustainable due to excessive mortality. However, at the lower elevation plots in Spain, unsustainability was due to insufficient mortality. Although some forests were structurally sustainable, none of them were deemed healthy because none met their management objectives. Results also support the key role of disturbance regimes as drivers of forest structural sustainability and adaptive capacity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Growth Response to Environmental Stress)
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