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Special Issue "How Compounding Disturbances Affect Forest Dynamics: Implications for Ecosystem Functioning in a Changing World"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 August 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Craig R. Nitschke

School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Melbourne, 500 Yarra Blvd Richmond Vic, 3121, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: biodiversity; sustainability; conservation; ecology; climate change; biodiversity and conservation; forest ecology; sustainability management; forest management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The cumulative effects of disturbance on stand and landscape dynamics can have long-term implications on forest composition and structure. Disturbance-mediated shifts in developmental pathways could have significant impacts on ecosystem function. Recent climate change has already caused a shift in natural disturbance regimes with increased drought-related forest mortality, increased wildfires and increases in forest insects and diseases epidemics. Future climate change is expected to cause further change in disturbance regimes and facilitate shifts in forest composition and structure. In this Special Issue we explore the role of compounding disturbances events (i.e., allogenic and/or biogenic processes) on forest dynamics (i.e., autogenic processes) and function. We will explore the role of scale through the consideration of the impacts of cumulative disturbance on both stand and landscape structure and functioning. Papers submitted must highlighted the cumulative effects (i.e., additive, antagonistic, or synergistic) of disturbance over time and within the same space.  In this issue space can represent the stand, patch and/ or landscape-level. Disturbances can be represented by climate (drought, heatwaves, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons, flooding, wind, frosts, snow), wildfire, insects, diseases, invasive species, and forest management (timber harvesting, planned burning, fire suppression, conservation). The objective of this issue is to provide a compendium of papers that scientifically assess the impacts of past, present and/or future compounding disturbances on forest structure, composition and functioning in a manner that can inform decision makers about the implications of future disturbance-mediated changes to forest ecosystems.

Dr. Craig R. Nitschke
Guest Editor

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.


  • Disturbance
  • Climate,
  • Fire,
  • Landscape,
  • Forest,
  • Dynamics,
  • Insects,
  • Drought,
  • Ecological Functioning

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle Seasonal Dynamics of Floodplain Forest Understory–Impacts of Degradation, Light Availability and Temperature on Biomass and Species Composition
Forests 2019, 10(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10010022
Received: 25 October 2018 / Revised: 5 December 2018 / Accepted: 21 December 2018 / Published: 1 January 2019
PDF Full-text (2719 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Forest understory significantly contributes to matter cycling in ecosystems, but little is known about its carbon pool. This is especially poorly understood in floodplain forests, one of the most threatened ecosystems worldwide. We studied seasonal dynamics of biomass and species composition of understory [...] Read more.
Forest understory significantly contributes to matter cycling in ecosystems, but little is known about its carbon pool. This is especially poorly understood in floodplain forests, one of the most threatened ecosystems worldwide. We studied seasonal dynamics of biomass and species composition of understory vegetation in degraded and non-degraded floodplain forests, to improve our understanding of carbon pools in forest ecosystems. We hypothesized that degraded and non-degraded floodplain forests will differ in patterns of seasonal variability of biomass and species composition. The study was conducted in Poznań (W Poland) in two study plots (each with 10 samples) across 22 dates (March–November 2016). In each date, we collected understory aboveground biomass. We evaluated impact of light availability and soil temperature on biomass and species composition. Our study revealed high dynamics of biomass production. We found maximum biomass crop of understory in degraded floodplain forest on 24 April (930.12 ± 48.70 kg ha−1), whereas in non-degraded floodplain forest the maximum occurred on 30 May (768.99 ± 40.65 kg ha−1). At the beginning of the growing season, understory biomass was dominated by spring ephemerals and later these species were replaced by others present for the whole season. Additionally, we confirmed the positive impacts of light availability and temperature on understory primary production. The pattern revealed drove species composition shifts and low differences in biomass crop between consecutive dates. Patterns of understory biomass dynamics differed between degraded and non-degraded plots. Despite study limitations, we provided rare data about understory biomass dynamics of floodplain forests, increasing knowledge about carbon accumulation and cycling in floodplain forests, and contributing to global carbon assessments. Full article

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