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Special Issue "Isotope Application in Forest Growth Assessment"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Giovanna Battipaglia

Department of Environmental, Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies University of Campania "L. Vanvitelli" Via Vivaldi, 43 - 81100 Caserta, Italy
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Guest Editor
Dr. Olga Churakova (Sidorova)

1 University of Geneva, Institute for Environmental Sciences, Switzerland
2 Siberian Federal University, Krasnoyarsk, Russia
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Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues

Stable isotopes are valuable sources of information about past climatic and environmental changes, and their impact on forest growth and dynamics. Indeed, understanding the relationship between tree-growth and environmental variability represents a key aspect concerning both forest assessment and plant ecophysiology.

Relevant matters investigated within this special issue will be:

  • application of stable and compound-specific isotope analyses (δ13C, δ18O, δ15N and δD) in wood tissues as sensitive indicators for biogeochemical, eco-physiological and metabolic changes at the tree level;
  • forest productivity changes, die-back phenomena and adaptive responses of trees to global change;
  • extreme climatic events: impacts and approaches for their reconstruction;
  • evaluation of the effects of disturbance and competition over the expression of tree-ring stable isotopes in natural versus managed forests;
  • potential application of stable isotopes from the study of hydrological processes to pollution influences;
  • application of eco-physiological and mechanistic models to the interpretation and deeper understanding of stable isotope changes at the tree to the forest level

This Special issue aims to stimulate the integration of long‐term (paleo) records and short-term (in vivo) measurements of plant-physiology to improve our understanding of plants’ responses to environmental variability at various timescales (from seasonal to centennial).

Dr. Giovanna Battipaglia
Dr. Olga Churakova (Sidorova)
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

  • Stable isotopes
  • Forest productivity
  • Extreme climatic events
  • Disturbances
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Biodiversity
  • Ecosystem services
  • Forest management
  • Eco-physiological modeling

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Effects of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi on the Vegetative Vigor of Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle Seedlings under Sustained Pot Limitation
Forests 2018, 9(7), 409; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9070409
Received: 11 April 2018 / Revised: 6 June 2018 / Accepted: 3 July 2018 / Published: 6 July 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1331 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In order to invade new ecosystems, invasive alien plants need to cope with different microbial communities. Whilst the ability to avoid antagonists is well recognized, the opportunity to establish mutualistic associations is less known, even in widespread invasive species such as Ailanthus altissima [...] Read more.
In order to invade new ecosystems, invasive alien plants need to cope with different microbial communities. Whilst the ability to avoid antagonists is well recognized, the opportunity to establish mutualistic associations is less known, even in widespread invasive species such as Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle. We sought to evaluate whether the beneficial effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on Ailanthus seedlings are maintained over time, under prolonged pot limitation. We compared three-month-, three-year- and four-year-old mycorrhizal seedlings grown in natural forest soil (NT) with seedlings grown in sterilized (ST) and non-mycorrhizal (NM) soils, in pots of 3.4 L (22 × 15 cm). Growth parameters and leaf traits were assessed, including carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) stable isotope compositions. NT seedlings showed relatively higher vigor in the early stage but, subsequently, the benefits provided by AMF were lost. Interestingly, mycorrhizal seedlings consistently showed about 2‰ δ13C enrichment, relatively to the other treatments. Negative linear relationships between leaf δ13C and N content were found. Higher photosynthesis rates and WUE are the likely causes of the early enhanced growth in mycorrhizal seedlings. The symbiotic relationship between AMF and Ailanthus could be driven by resource availability. Greater insights into such aspects could provide an improved perspective on the ecological limits of Ailanthus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Isotope Application in Forest Growth Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle Age-Effect on Intra-Annual δ13C-Variability within Scots Pine Tree-Rings from Central Siberia
Forests 2018, 9(6), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060364
Received: 30 March 2018 / Revised: 3 June 2018 / Accepted: 4 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
Intra-annual tree-ring parameters are increasingly used in dendroecology thanks to their high temporal resolution. To better understand the nature of intra-ring proxy signals, we compared old and young trees according to the different ways in which they respond to climate. The study was [...] Read more.
Intra-annual tree-ring parameters are increasingly used in dendroecology thanks to their high temporal resolution. To better understand the nature of intra-ring proxy signals, we compared old and young trees according to the different ways in which they respond to climate. The study was carried out in central Siberia (Russia, 60°75′ N, 89°38′ E) in two even-aged Pinus sylvestris L. stands of different ages (20 and 220 years). Ring width, cell size, and intra-annual δ¹³С were measured for 4 to 27 tree rings, depending on age group (young vs. old) and tree-ring parameter. Wood formation was monitored to link tree-ring position to its time of formation. Results indicated more distinct intra-annual δ¹³С patterns at both the beginning and end of the ring of young trees compared to old ones. Older trees showed a stronger significant correlation between δ¹³С across the ring border, indicating a stronger carry-over effect of the previous year’s growing conditions on current year wood production. This suggests that tree age/size influences the magnitude of the transfer of mobile carbon reserves across the years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Isotope Application in Forest Growth Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle Compound-Specific Carbon Isotopes and Concentrations of Carbohydrates and Organic Acids as Indicators of Tree Decline in Mountain Pine
Forests 2018, 9(6), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060363
Received: 29 March 2018 / Revised: 24 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 May 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3522 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We investigated seasonal variations in δ13C values and concentrations of carbohydrates and organic acids in needles of declining and healthy mountain pine (Pinus mugo ssp. uncinata (DC.) Domin) trees from the Swiss National Park (SNP), using compound-specific isotopes analysis (CSIA). [...] Read more.
We investigated seasonal variations in δ13C values and concentrations of carbohydrates and organic acids in needles of declining and healthy mountain pine (Pinus mugo ssp. uncinata (DC.) Domin) trees from the Swiss National Park (SNP), using compound-specific isotopes analysis (CSIA). Our goal was to study the impact of climatic drivers on the individual compounds and understand the reasons of partial tree declines in relation to healthy mountain pine trees under seasonal weather patterns. We found that temperature is the main climatic driver determining the seasonal carbon dynamics at the needle level. Lower seasonal δ13C variability and lower concentration levels of sucrose in needles suggest less photosynthetic activity and sink carbon demand in declining compared to healthy mountain pine trees. Higher concentration levels of hexose (glucose and fructose) can play a reserve function for surviving mechanisms of mountain pine trees. Seasonal patterns of organic acid (malate and citrate) suggest an increasing investment in maintenance and repair mechanisms. The seasonal course of carbohydrates and organic acids can therefore be considered an indicator for a modified carbon metabolism within the leaves and possibly within the other tree tissues, partially explaining the decline of mountain pine trees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Isotope Application in Forest Growth Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle Permafrost Regime Affects the Nutritional Status and Productivity of Larches in Central Siberia
Forests 2018, 9(6), 314; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060314
Received: 13 April 2018 / Revised: 31 May 2018 / Accepted: 31 May 2018 / Published: 1 June 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (3349 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Permafrost exerts strong controls on forest development through nutrient availability. The key question of this study was to assess the effect of site conditions on macroelement concentration and stable isotope (δ13C and δ15N) dynamics during the growing season, and [...] Read more.
Permafrost exerts strong controls on forest development through nutrient availability. The key question of this study was to assess the effect of site conditions on macroelement concentration and stable isotope (δ13C and δ15N) dynamics during the growing season, and nutrient stoichiometry and resorption efficiency in the foliage of two common larch species in Siberia. Foliar nutrient (N, P and K) concentrations of larches grown on permafrost soils were exceptionally high in juvenile needles compared to those from a permafrost-free region (+50% and 130% for P and K), but were two-fold lower at needle maturation. Within permafrost terrain trees, sites with a warmer and deeper soil active layer had 15–60% greater nutrient concentrations and higher δ15N in their needles compared to shallower, colder soils. Larch of permafrost-free sites demonstrated an enrichment of foliage in 15N (+1.4% to +2.4‰) in comparison to permafrost terrain (−2.0% to −6.9‰). At all sites, foliar δ13C decreased from June to August, which very likely results from an increasing contribution of current photoassimilates to build foliar biomass. With senescence, nutrient concentrations in larch needles decreased significantly by 60–90%. This strong ability of larch to retain nutrients through resorption is the essential mechanism that maintains tree growth early in the growing season when soil remains frozen. The high resorptive efficiency found for K and P for larches established on permafrost suggests nutrient limitation of tree growth within the Central Siberian Plateau not only by N, as previously reported, but also by P and K. The increasing nutrient concentrations and a 15N enrichment of foliage towards warmer sites was paralleled by an up to 50-fold increase in biomass production, strongly suggesting that accelerated nutrient cycling with permafrost degradation contributes to an increased productivity of Siberian larch forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Isotope Application in Forest Growth Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Variation in Leaf Stable Carbon Isotope Composition of Three Caragana Species in Northern China
Forests 2018, 9(6), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060297
Received: 30 March 2018 / Revised: 18 May 2018 / Accepted: 22 May 2018 / Published: 25 May 2018
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Abstract
Leaf stable carbon isotope (δ13C) composition provides comprehensive insight into plant carbon cycles and water use efficiency and has also been widely used to evaluate the response of plants to environmental change. In the present study, leaf δ13C was [...] Read more.
Leaf stable carbon isotope (δ13C) composition provides comprehensive insight into plant carbon cycles and water use efficiency and has also been widely used to evaluate the response of plants to environmental change. In the present study, leaf δ13C was analyzed in samples of Caragana microphylla Lam., C. liouana Zhao, and C. korshinskii Kom. from 38 populations. These species provide great environmental benefits and economic value and are distributed east to west continuously across northern China. We studied the relationship of δ13C to altitude, mean annual precipitation (MAP), mean annual temperature (MAT), mean annual relative humidity (RH), leaf nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) concentrations to examine the patterns and controls of leaf δ13C variation in each species. Results indicated that, across the three species, leaf δ13C significantly decreased with MAP, RH, and leaf N and P concentrations, while it increased with altitude and MAT. However, patterns and environmental controls of leaf δ13C varied proportionally with species. C. korshinskii was mainly controlled by MAP and leaf N concentration, C. liouana was controlled by both MAT and MAP, and C. microphylla was mainly controlled by MAT. Further analysis indicated significant differences in leaf δ13C between species, which tended to increase from C. microphylla to C. korshinskii. Overall, these results suggest that the three Caragana species may respond differently to future climate change due to different controlling factors on leaf δ13C variation, as well as differentiation in water use efficiency, which likely contributes to the geographical distribution of these species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Isotope Application in Forest Growth Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle Warming Effects on Pinus sylvestris in the Cold–Dry Siberian Forest–Steppe: Positive or Negative Balance of Trade?
Forests 2017, 8(12), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8120490
Received: 10 November 2017 / Revised: 1 December 2017 / Accepted: 5 December 2017 / Published: 7 December 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (11083 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Understanding climate change impacts on drought-prone forests is a critical issue. We investigated ring-width and stable isotopes (Δ13C and δ18O) in two Pinus sylvestris stands of the cold–dry Siberian forest–steppe growing under contrasting climatic trends over the last 75 [...] Read more.
Understanding climate change impacts on drought-prone forests is a critical issue. We investigated ring-width and stable isotopes (Δ13C and δ18O) in two Pinus sylvestris stands of the cold–dry Siberian forest–steppe growing under contrasting climatic trends over the last 75 years. Despite regional warming, there was increasing precipitation during the growing period at the southern site (MIN) but increasing water deficit (WD) at the northern site (BER). Intrinsic water use efficiency (WUEi) increased similarly (ca. 22%) in response to warming and rising atmospheric CO2. However, the steady increase in WUEi was accompanied by divergent growth patterns since 1980: increasing basal area increment (BAI) in MIN (slope = 0.102 cm2 year−2) and decreasing BAI in BER (slope = −0.129 cm2 year−2). This suggests that increased precipitation, mediated by CO2 effects, promoted growth in MIN, whereas intensified drought stress led to decreased carbon gain and productivity in BER. When compared to warm–dry stands of eastern Spain, the WUEi dependence on WD was three-fold greater in Siberia. Conversely, BAI was more affected by the relative impact of water stress within each region. These results indicate contrasting future trajectories of P. sylvestris forests, which challenge forecasting growth and carbon sequestration in cold–dry areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Isotope Application in Forest Growth Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle Hoof Growth Rates of the European Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) for Dating the Hoof’s Isotopic Archive
Forests 2017, 8(12), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8120462
Received: 6 October 2017 / Revised: 17 November 2017 / Accepted: 21 November 2017 / Published: 24 November 2017
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Abstract
Hooves preserve the isotopic information laid down during their growth and may be used for reconstruction of animal feeding history. To assign certain positions along hooves to corresponding times, growth rates are required. Hoof growth rates are known for domestic animals; however, they [...] Read more.
Hooves preserve the isotopic information laid down during their growth and may be used for reconstruction of animal feeding history. To assign certain positions along hooves to corresponding times, growth rates are required. Hoof growth rates are known for domestic animals; however, they cannot be obtained easily in wild animals. We estimated the hoof growth rate of the European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus L.) by using the immediate drop in δ13C along the hoof as a tag that is assigned to the date of maize (Zea mays L.) harvest. Keratin samples were taken each mm along 17 hooves and analyzed for their δ13C. A linear regression between (1) time differences of expected maize harvest to animal death and (2) distances between the points of the δ13C drop to the periople yielded the growth rate. Mean hoof growth rate was 0.122 mm/day (95% CI 0.014 mm/day) and 0.365%/day (±0.026%/day) of the hoof length and within the range of domestic animals. The method may be applied to determine growth rates of other incrementally growing tissues. Our estimated growth rate fosters dating isotopic information in hooves, facilitating research on feed resources and space use of roe deer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Isotope Application in Forest Growth Assessment)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Effects of Drought on Xylem Anatomy and Water-Use Efficiency of Two Co-Occurring Pine Species
Forests 2017, 8(9), 332; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8090332
Received: 4 August 2017 / Revised: 28 August 2017 / Accepted: 30 August 2017 / Published: 8 September 2017
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (3014 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Exploring how drought influences growth, performance, and survival in different species is crucial to understanding the impacts of climate change on forest ecosystems. Here, we investigate the responses of two co-occurring pines (Pinus nigra and Pinus sylvestris) to interannual drought in [...] Read more.
Exploring how drought influences growth, performance, and survival in different species is crucial to understanding the impacts of climate change on forest ecosystems. Here, we investigate the responses of two co-occurring pines (Pinus nigra and Pinus sylvestris) to interannual drought in east-central Spain by dendrochronological and wood anatomical features integrated with isotopic ratios of carbon (δ13C) and oxygen (δ18O) in tree rings. Our results showed that drought induces both species to allocate less carbon to build tracheid cell-walls but increases tracheid lumen diameters, particularly in the transition wood between early and latewood, potentially maximizing hydraulic conductivity but reducing resistance to embolism at a critical phase during the growing season. The thicker cell-wall-to-lumen ratio in P. nigra could imply that its xylem may be more resistant to bending stress and drought-induced cavitation than P. sylvestris. In contrast, the higher intrinsic water-use efficiency (iWUE) in P. sylvestris suggests that it relies more on a water-saving strategy. Our results suggest that narrower cell-walls and reduced growth under drought are not necessarily linked to increased iWUE. At our site P. nigra showed a higher growth plasticity, grew faster and was more competitive than P. sylvestris. In the long term, these sustained differences in iWUE and anatomical characters could affect forest species performance and composition, particularly under increased drought stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Isotope Application in Forest Growth Assessment)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Plant Water Use Strategy in Response to Spatial and Temporal Variation in Precipitation Patterns in China: A Stable Isotope Analysis
Forests 2018, 9(3), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9030123
Received: 20 November 2017 / Revised: 27 February 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 6 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (12408 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Spatial and temporal variation in precipitation patterns can directly alter the survival and growth of plants, yet in China there is no comprehensive and systematic strategy for plant use based on the effects of precipitation patterns. Here, we examined information from 93 published [...] Read more.
Spatial and temporal variation in precipitation patterns can directly alter the survival and growth of plants, yet in China there is no comprehensive and systematic strategy for plant use based on the effects of precipitation patterns. Here, we examined information from 93 published papers (368 plant species) on plant xylem water stable isotopes (δD and δ18O) in China. The results showed that: (1) The slope of the local meteoric water line (LMWL) gradually increased from inland areas to the coast, as a result of continental and seasonal effects. The correlation between δD and δ18O in plant stem water is also well fitted and the correlation coefficients range from 0.78 to 0.89. With respect to the soil water line, the δ18O values in relation to depth (0–100 cm) varied over time; (2) Plants’ main water sources are largely affected by precipitation patterns. In general, plants prioritize the use of stable and continuous water sources, while they have a more variable water uptake strategy under drought conditions; (3) There are no spatial and temporal variations in the contribution of the main water source (p > 0.05) because plants maintain growth by shifting their use of water sources when resources are unreliable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Isotope Application in Forest Growth Assessment)
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