Special Issue "Mountain Treelines: Tree Growth and Plant Ecology under Climate Change"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2022) | Viewed by 3286

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Sonja Vospernik
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Forest Growth, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
Interests: forest growth at low-elevation and mountainous sites; dendrometer and year-ring analysis; forest growth modelling and forest growth and yield prediction for different management scenarios; forest mensuration
Prof. Dr. Klaus Katzensteiner
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Forest Ecology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria
Interests: forest ecology; forest soils and forest nutrition; biogeochemistry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Tree growth at the Alpine tree line is mainly restricted by temperature, and life forms are adapted to the cold environment. Plants stay small and close to the ground, where temperatures are more favorable. The presence of trees is strongly related to the micro-environment and also largely influenced by disturbances. Warming rates observed in the Alps and in other mountain regions are higher than the global mean and most likely correlate with elevation. Warming and decreasing duration of snow cover cause shifts in tree species composition and distribution patterns, densification of forests, and increasing plant growth. Nevertheless, responses in Alpine environment are often reported to be slow. Is the increase in changes rate so fast that species will become extinct? Are growth increases substantial ,and can high elevation forest compensate for forest losses at lower elevations or are climate change rates too fast? What are the effects of shifting vegetation patterns on microclimate, soil processes and plant soil interaction (e.g. soil moisture, temperature soil carbon and nutrient cycling)?

The Special Issue aims at covering the state of the art in forest and tree growth response to climate change at the Alpine tree line, including shifts in vegetation patterns and plant soil interactions. Research articles and well-funded review articles on the topic are welcome. This Special Issue brings together some of the contributions presented at the Focus Session: ID05: Alpine Treeline Ecotones under Global Change (https://www.imc2022.info/portfolio/id05-alpine-treeline-ecotones-under-global-change/ in International Mountain Conference (11–15 September 2022)).

Dr. Sonja Vospernik
Prof. Dr. Klaus Katzensteiner
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • climate change
  • tree growth
  • tree rings
  • dendrometers
  • tree species shifts
  • spatial vegetation patterns

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Assessment of Past Decadal Dynamics of Tree Stands in Forest–Tundra Transition Zone on the Polar Ural Mountains Calibrated Using Historical and Modern Field Measurements
Forests 2022, 13(12), 2107; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13122107 - 09 Dec 2022
Viewed by 391
Abstract
Altitudinal forest limits are typically climatically dependent, such that increasing temperatures connected to global warming are causing upslope shifts in treeline ecotones worldwide. However, at the local and regional levels, the degree of such a response is dependent on differences in climate, topography [...] Read more.
Altitudinal forest limits are typically climatically dependent, such that increasing temperatures connected to global warming are causing upslope shifts in treeline ecotones worldwide. However, at the local and regional levels, the degree of such a response is dependent on differences in climate, topography and soil features. In recent decades, attempts have been undertaken to estimate tree stand dynamics with remote sensing methods, but their resolution is still too coarse for a precise assessment of stand structural changes, and requires ground-truthing, which is not possible without historical data collected on a single-tree level. We used aerial photos (1962) and satellite images (2021) in combination with historical inventory data to investigate changes in open forest positions at different spatial scales at the eastern macroslope of the Polar Urals over the past 60 years. Additionally, obtained remote sensing data were validated on a single-slope level using tree crown size estimations. Our investigations showed that since 1960 up to present day, the total crown coverage increased from 6.9 to 22.1% within the test polygon. A highly spatially variable upslope advance in an open forest boundary was identified from 1.7 up to 7.1 m in altitude per decade. We revealed that the rate of tree stand transformations was to a great extent depended on the stand density in the 1960s, soil substrate type, moisture regime, slope aspect and inclination. Our results highlighted the necessity to consider the abovementioned factors when trying to predict climate-induced tree distributional responses in subarctic mountain regions. Full article
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Article
Spatiotemporal Distribution Patterns of Climbers along an Abiotic Gradient in Jhelum District, Punjab, Pakistan
Forests 2022, 13(8), 1244; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13081244 - 06 Aug 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 967
Abstract
Climber–abiotic parameter interactions can have important ramifications for ecosystem’s functions and community dynamics, but the extent to which these abiotic factors influence the spatial distributions of climber communities in the western Himalayas is unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine the [...] Read more.
Climber–abiotic parameter interactions can have important ramifications for ecosystem’s functions and community dynamics, but the extent to which these abiotic factors influence the spatial distributions of climber communities in the western Himalayas is unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine the taxonomic diversity, richness, and distribution patterns of climbers in relation to abiotic variables in the Jhelum District. The data were collected from 120 random transects between 2019 and 2021, from 360 sites within triplet quadrats (1080 quadrats), and classification and ordination analyses were used to categorize the sample transects. A total of 38 climber species belonging to 25 genera and 11 families were recorded from the study area. The Convolvulaceae were the dominant family (26.32%), followed by the Apocynaceae (21.05%), and Leguminosae (15.79%). The majority of the climbers were herbaceous in nature (71.05%), followed by woody (23.68%). Based on the relative density, the most dominant species was Vicia sativa (12.74). The majority of the species flowered during the months of March–April (28.04%), followed by August–September (26.31%). Abiotic factors have a significant influence on the distribution pattern and structure of climbers in the study area. The results show that the climbers react to the biotic environment in different ways. The findings will serve as the foundation for future botanical inventories and will be crucial for understanding the biological, ecological, and economic value of climbers in forest ecosystems. This will help forest management, conservation, and ecological restoration in the Himalayas. Full article
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Article
Influence of Edaphic Properties in Determining Forest Community Patterns of the Zabarwan Mountain Range in the Kashmir Himalayas
Forests 2022, 13(8), 1214; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13081214 - 01 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1191
Abstract
The significance of edaphic factors in describing forest vegetation patterns is becoming more well acknowledged, with significant implications for the description of biogeographical regions and biome classification, as well as abundance and growth patterns at regional levels. The current study examines the vegetation [...] Read more.
The significance of edaphic factors in describing forest vegetation patterns is becoming more well acknowledged, with significant implications for the description of biogeographical regions and biome classification, as well as abundance and growth patterns at regional levels. The current study examines the vegetation association in the Zabarwan mountain range of the Western Himalayas and its association with edaphic factors. To collect data on forest types, we employed a systematic random sampling strategy in 60 plots (0.1 ha) across five forest types. We investigated data using ordination and cluster analysis approaches after calculating the important value index (henceforth IVI) for each plant species and edaphic data from forests. In total, 76 plant species from 39 different families were found in the area. The Rosaceae family was the most numerous, followed by Fabaceae and Asteraceae. Scrub forest types have lower diversity indices, while broad-leaved forest types have greater diversity indices. Two-way cluster analyses classified the forest vegetation of the Zabarwan mountain range into two plant communities on the basis of indicator plant species. The ordination analysis (canonical correspondence analysis) indicated that vegetation association tended to be influenced differently by distinct levels of soil parameters. The soil pH and calcium content were the main factors influencing the species distribution in the different forest types. The phytosociological features (basal area) were higher in coniferous forest type (74.49 m2ha−1) compared to broad-leaved (58.63 m2ha−1) and scrub forest type (15.4 m2ha−1). Overall, the goal of this research is to gain a better understanding of the impact of soil elements on forest composition and associations in order to develop scientifically based management options for forest ecosystem protection in the Himalayan region. Full article
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