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Special Issue "What Role Can Ecological Factors Play in Supporting Ecosystem Services in Urban and Peri-Urban Forests?"

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 March 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Giovanni Sanesi

Department of Agricultural and Environmental Science, University of Bari, Italy
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Urban and peri-urban forests (UPFs) can play a pivotal role in supporting the quality of life in our cities. Several ecological factors, working synergistically with anthropocentric activities, influence the capacity of these forests in providing ecosystem services (ES). Different forestry patterns (e.g., stem diameter structure, leaf area index, basal area, soil quality) can affect the capacity of UPFs to provide ES from four categories (supporting services, provisioning services, regulating services and cultural services); at the same time, user perception of these factors is also important. This Special Issue aims to explore the state of the art in research on UPFs, focusing on the role of ecological factors.

Prof. Giovanni Sanesi
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.

Keywords

  • Ecosystem services
  • Green infrastructure
  • Human perception
  • Urban biodiversity
  • Urban climate
  • Urban soils
  • Urban and peri-urban forests

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Speaking “Green”: A Worldwide Survey on Collaboration among Stakeholders in Urban Park Design and Management
Forests 2018, 9(8), 458; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9080458
Received: 3 June 2018 / Revised: 23 July 2018 / Accepted: 25 July 2018 / Published: 27 July 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (7756 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Urban parks can provide a range of valuable benefits, including essential ecosystem services. Their successful management is often in the hands of government agencies, who rely on interaction with other stakeholders for specialized knowledge. In order to examine the attitudes of different actors [...] Read more.
Urban parks can provide a range of valuable benefits, including essential ecosystem services. Their successful management is often in the hands of government agencies, who rely on interaction with other stakeholders for specialized knowledge. In order to examine the attitudes of different actors toward professional collaboration and to identify ways of improving the effectiveness of knowledge transfer, a global survey was conducted among the members of the World Urban Parks (WUP) association. The results show that representatives of public agencies, due to their lower level of up-to-date knowledge, have a pressing need for collaboration with private practitioners, academic researchers, and community advocates. Interactive, face-to-face learning is most valued, especially if it includes practical as well as theoretical information. Most respondents indicated that ‘personal contacts’ are more important than professional affiliation for the initiation of new collaborations, and for many, the possibilities for joint creativity are the most highly prioritized benefits. Obstacles to be addressed include ‘bureaucracy’ and a ‘divergence of interests or approaches among stakeholders’, indicating the need for a “common language”—i.e., “speaking green”—which may accommodate diverse priorities and concerns. In accomplishing this, a special role is seen for international professional associations that can help to build bridges between countries and professions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Are Wildfires Knocking on the Built-Up Areas Door?
Forests 2018, 9(5), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050234
Received: 24 March 2018 / Revised: 19 April 2018 / Accepted: 24 April 2018 / Published: 28 April 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3829 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Human-started fires represent the vast majority of wildfires in Mediterranean countries. The current expansion of human settlements into fire-prone territories has led to the creation of landscapes where anthropogenic developments merge with wildland areas. In this context, understanding the role of distance from [...] Read more.
Human-started fires represent the vast majority of wildfires in Mediterranean countries. The current expansion of human settlements into fire-prone territories has led to the creation of landscapes where anthropogenic developments merge with wildland areas. In this context, understanding the role of distance from built-up areas in shaping coarse-scale wildfire spatial patterns is a major concern. Proximity to cities has become an important factor that may increase the probability of wildfires in wildland-urban interfaces. To this issue, we developed an assessment of wildfire distribution in Italy over an 8-year period (2007–2014) to quantify fire occurrence and recurrence as a function of distance from built-up areas. Our findings suggest a positive relationship between the distance from built-up areas and fire incidence (i.e., ratio between burnt forest area and total forest area), whereas a negative relation was found between distance from built-up areas and fire frequency and recurrence; thus, there are more recurring yet smaller sized-fires near built-up areas. Fifty percent of fire events and more than two-thirds of recurrent fires occur within 200 m from built-up areas. On the other hand, the considerable amount of such fire events never reaches an incidence higher than 10% in flat areas and 30% in hilly and mountainous areas. More broadly, quantitative knowledge about where fires occur is essential to ensure appropriate fire management throughout large territories. With this in mind, our investigation intends to provide a solid base for further studies in landscapes with a high component of human-dominated land use. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Does Plant Knowledge within Urban Forests and Parks Directly Influence Visitor Pro-Environmental Behaviors
Forests 2018, 9(4), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9040171
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 8 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
Urban parks and forests provide many services to society and are becoming essential components within urban landscapes worldwide. While substantial research and actions have been taken to understand various ecosystem services of urban forests and parks, significantly less effort has been made on [...] Read more.
Urban parks and forests provide many services to society and are becoming essential components within urban landscapes worldwide. While substantial research and actions have been taken to understand various ecosystem services of urban forests and parks, significantly less effort has been made on people’s perceptions toward the effectiveness of these services. In addressing the above research needs, we conducted a field survey and hypothesized that an individual’s knowledge will lead to different pro-environmental behaviors in urban forests and parks. Using the Toledo, Ohio, USA as our study site, we collected 267 interviews from five of the area’s most frequented urban parks. A three-way ANOVA and two Partial Least Square Structural Equation Models quantified the causal relationship among demography, plant knowledge, environmental knowledge, and pro-environmental behaviors. We found that: (1) different levels of plant knowledge will have different influences on environmental behaviors; (2) pro-environmental behavioral models can be based on planned behaviors or habitual behaviors; and that (3) gender may not be an influential factor in determining pro-environmental behaviors. Environmental knowledge, especially plant knowledge, plays a key role in fostering pro-environmental behaviors. Therefore, we reason that disseminating plant knowledge education materials will profoundly raise visitors’ pro-environmental behaviors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Management of Metasequoia glyptostroboides Plantation Forests in Shanghai
Forests 2018, 9(2), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9020064
Received: 26 September 2017 / Revised: 21 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2878 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Urban forestry is increasingly used as a tool for climate change mitigation and for providing environmental services to inhabitants of urban areas. However, tree species used in urban forestry are usually different from the ones used in commercial forestry. As a consequence, available [...] Read more.
Urban forestry is increasingly used as a tool for climate change mitigation and for providing environmental services to inhabitants of urban areas. However, tree species used in urban forestry are usually different from the ones used in commercial forestry. As a consequence, available data on growth and yield under alternative management scenarios are usually scarce. As forest models can be used to explore potential forest futures, they are of special interest as decision-support tools in urban forestry. In this research, we used the FORECAST ecosystem-level forest model to define the management prescriptions for Metasequoia glyptostroboides plantations in Shanghai that reach the highest net primary productivity (NPP). In a first step, a battery of different stand densities (from 500 to 4000 stems ha−1) was used to identify those with the highest NPP at stand level. Then, different thinning regimes (with intensities ranging from 15% to 40% of trees removed and applied at stand age 5 to 20 years) were simulated on those initial densities with the highest NPP (3000 and 4000 stems ha−1). Planting 4000 stems ha−1 and not applying thinning achieved the highest annual NPP (14.39 ± 3.92 Mg ha−1 yr−1) during the first rotation, but it was not significantly different from the NPP achieved with the same initial density but thinning 40% of trees at year 10. NPP was estimated to decrease with consecutive rotations, and for the second rotation thinning was needed to significantly increase NPP (10.11 ± 2.59 Mg ha−1 yr−1 with 4000 stems ha−1 and 25% thinning at year 10) above non-thinning management. For the third rotation, the highest NPP was reached with initial density 3000 stems ha−1 and 25% thinning at year 10. Nitrogen flows were also estimated to decrease with consecutive rotations. These results indicate the potential of managing M. glyptostroboides urban plantations to reach their maximum productivity potential, but also that additional actions would be needed to ensure adequate nutrient levels over consecutive rotations. For a species such as M. glyptostroboides, which was discovered for science less than 70 years ago and for which no plantations over 50 years exist, the ecosystem-level FORECAST model has been shown as a suitable tool to support management decision when growth and yield data are not available. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Ecological Structure of a Tropical Urban Forest in the Bang Kachao Peninsula, Bangkok
Forests 2018, 9(1), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9010036
Received: 20 November 2017 / Revised: 27 December 2017 / Accepted: 12 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
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Abstract
Rapid urbanization has changed the structure and function of natural ecosystems, especially floodplain ecosystems in SE Asia. The ecological structure of vegetation stands and the usefulness of satellite images was investigated to characterize a disturbed tropical urban forest located in the Chao Phraya [...] Read more.
Rapid urbanization has changed the structure and function of natural ecosystems, especially floodplain ecosystems in SE Asia. The ecological structure of vegetation stands and the usefulness of satellite images was investigated to characterize a disturbed tropical urban forest located in the Chao Phraya River lower floodplain, Thailand. Nine sample plots were established on the Bang Kachao Peninsula (BKP) within 4 tropical forest types in an urban area: rehabilitation forest, home-garden agroforestry, mangrove and park. The tree habitats were beach forest, swamp forest, moist evergreen forest, dry evergreen forest, mangrove forest and abandoned orchard or home-garden. Normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) values obtained from Landsat 7 satellite images were correlated with plant structure from field surveys. NDVI had the highest relationship with stand factors for number of families, number of species, Shannon-Weiner index and total basal area. Linear regression predicted well the correlation between NDVI and stand factors for families and basal area. NDVI trends reflected urban tropical forest typing and biodiversity, being high in rehabilitation and mangrove forests, moderate in home-gardens and low in parks. We suggest that the application of NDVI for assessments can be useful for future planning, monitoring and management of the BKP and hence may contribute for increasing biodiversity and complexity of these urban forests. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Temporal Variation of Ecological Factors Affecting Bird Species Richness in Urban and Peri-Urban Forests in a Changing Environment: A Case Study from Milan (Northern Italy)
Forests 2017, 8(12), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8120507
Received: 20 October 2017 / Revised: 10 December 2017 / Accepted: 15 December 2017 / Published: 19 December 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1396 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Urban and peri-urban forests determine different habitat services for biodiversity according to their characteristics. In this study, we relate ecological characteristics of urban and peri-urban forests to forest bird species richness and we assess whether their effect changed over time due to the [...] Read more.
Urban and peri-urban forests determine different habitat services for biodiversity according to their characteristics. In this study, we relate ecological characteristics of urban and peri-urban forests to forest bird species richness and we assess whether their effect changed over time due to the urban sprawl within the urban region of Milan, Italy. We analyse two periods (1998–2002 and 2010–2014) using weighted generalized linear models that considered urban and peri-urban forests collectively and urban and peri-urban forests separately. Patch area, proximity to source areas and number of surrounding urban and peri-urban forests were the main factors predicting species richness within urban and peri-urban forests in both periods. While there were no differences in factors affecting bird richness in peri-urban forests between the two periods, the negative effect of urban matrix density was statistically significant for birds inhabiting urban forests in the second period. Moreover, protected areas within urban and peri-urban forests and urban forests in the second period were important determinants in providing suitable habitat for birds at the regional scale. This study offered important insights regarding urban and peri-urban forests characteristics that should be maintained to ensure biodiversity conservation across changing urban landscapes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle On the Use of Hedonic Price Indices to Understand Ecosystem Service Provision from Urban Green Space in Five Latin American Megacities
Forests 2017, 8(12), 478; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8120478
Received: 7 October 2017 / Revised: 19 November 2017 / Accepted: 23 November 2017 / Published: 5 December 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2328 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Latin American (LA) megacities are facing enormous challenges to provide welfare to millions of people who live in them. High rates of urbanization and limited administrative capacity of LA cities to plan and control urban growth have led to a critical deficit of [...] Read more.
Latin American (LA) megacities are facing enormous challenges to provide welfare to millions of people who live in them. High rates of urbanization and limited administrative capacity of LA cities to plan and control urban growth have led to a critical deficit of urban green space, and therefore, to sub-optimal outcomes in terms of urban sustainability. This study seeks to assess the possibility of using real estate prices to provide an estimate of the monetary value of the ecosystem services provided by urban green space across five Latin American megacities: Bogota, Buenos Aires, Lima, Mexico City and Santiago de Chile. Using Google Earth images to quantify urban green space and multiple regression analysis, we evaluated the impact of urban green space, crime rates, business density and population density on real estate prices across the five mentioned megacities. In addition, for a subset of the data (Lima and Buenos Aires) we analyzed the effects of landscape ecology variables (green space patch size, connectivity, etc.) on real estate prices to provide a first insight into how the ecological attributes of urban green space can determine the level of ecosystem service provision in different urban contexts in Latin America. The results show a strong positive relationship between the presence of urban green space and real estate prices. Green space explains 52% of the variability in real estate prices across the five studied megacities. Population density, business density and crime had only minor impacts on real estate prices. Our analysis of the landscape ecology variables in Lima and Buenos Aires also show that the relationship between green space and price is context-specific, which indicates that further research is needed to better understand when and where ecological attributes of green space affect real estate prices so that managers of urban green space in LA cities can optimize ecological configuration to maximize ecosystem service provision from often limited green spaces. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Planting Waterscapes: Green Infrastructures, Landscape and Hydrological Modeling for the Future of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
Forests 2017, 8(11), 437; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8110437
Received: 20 October 2017 / Revised: 4 November 2017 / Accepted: 9 November 2017 / Published: 13 November 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5885 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The expansion of cities is an emerging and critical issue for the future of the planet. Water is one of the most important resources provided by urban and peri-urban landscapes, as it is directly or indirectly connected with the quality of the environment [...] Read more.
The expansion of cities is an emerging and critical issue for the future of the planet. Water is one of the most important resources provided by urban and peri-urban landscapes, as it is directly or indirectly connected with the quality of the environment and life. Santa Cruz de la Sierra is the leading city in Bolivia (and the second in Latin America) in regard to population growth and soil sealing. Water is available to the city mostly from the Piraí River basin, and is expected to be totally inadequate to support such powerful urban development. The project Aguacruz, which is financed by the Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development, aimed to (1) restructure and harmonize existing data on the landscape ecology, hydrological features, and functional aspects of the Piraí River; (2) build hydrological scenarios for the future of the basin by introducing a landscape ecology approach, and (3) involve stakeholders and local actors in decision-making processes oriented to increase the resilience of the urban–rural landscape of the Piraì River and the city of Santa Cruz. SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tools) tested five scenarios through simulating different landscape settings, from the current previsions for urban expansion to a sound implementation of green infrastructures, agroforestry, and regreening. The results indicate that integrated actions in rural–urban systems can lead to a substantial reversal of the trend toward a decline in water supply for the city. From a governance and planning perspective, the proposed actions have been configured as to induce (i) integrated waterscape ecological planning; and (ii) the preparation and approval of departmental regulations for the incorporation of green infrastructures in the municipalities. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Biotic Factors Affecting Ecosystem Services in Urban and Peri-Urban Forests in Italy: The Role of Introduced and Impending Pathogens and Pests
Forests 2018, 9(2), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9020065
Received: 29 November 2017 / Revised: 12 January 2018 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (13631 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The present-day phytosanitary disasters caused by biological invasions are afflicting urban and peri-urban forest stands worldwide, as well as the varied services they normally provide. In Europe, we are witnessing an alarming situation due to an increasing introduction of infectious diseases and pests. [...] Read more.
The present-day phytosanitary disasters caused by biological invasions are afflicting urban and peri-urban forest stands worldwide, as well as the varied services they normally provide. In Europe, we are witnessing an alarming situation due to an increasing introduction of infectious diseases and pests. The authors present an up-to-date list of alien microbial pathogens and insect pests affecting urban greening that have been accidentally imported in Italy or that are likely to be introduced. Information about the biology, epidemiology, ethology, and control of these invasive organisms is provided. For each species, the current geographical distribution, including newly-colonized areas, is also given, as well as the chronological progression of its occurrence. Particular detail is used for describing symptoms—the key diagnostic elements for appropriate and timely phytosanitary management. This paper will benefit urban forest management, which is a crucial factor in maintaining the social and ecological viability of urban green spaces, as well as ecosystem services. The importance of engaging citizens in community-based monitoring of urban greenspaces for tracking the location, abundance, and pathways of invasive pathogens and pests will also be touched upon. Full article
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