Special Issue "Advances in Sustainable Forest Management"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2022) | Viewed by 6593

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Emilio Vilanova
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM), University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-5800, USA
Interests: forest ecology; sustainable forest management
Dr. Lord Ameyaw
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588, USA
Interests: agroforestry; forest ecology; sustainable forest management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Forests in their multiple forms and types are the dominant terrestrial ecosystem on Earth, covering about one third of the globe’s land area. Forests represent a fundamental component of the world’s carbon cycle, are the habitat for biodiversity and are important for the provision of a myriad of services on which people depend for their livelihoods. Recent estimates indicate that the forest area under management plans, mostly for timber production, has increased since 2000, reaching close to 2.05 billion ha in 2020, but the demand for better management systems capable of satisfying multiple objectives has never been higher. At the same time, high rates of deforestation and degradation continue to threaten the stability of forests, particularly in the tropics. Climate change is threatening the resilience and stability of multiple forests worldwide, and thus, their ability to continuously provide vital ecosystem services to local communities is being increasingly compromised.

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This Special Issue broadly aims at providing an updated overview of the recent advances in sustainable forest management (SFM) across different forest types and scales to highlight the relationships between SFM and key aspects of forestry such as the social, policy, and biological dimensions that are part of the process. The suggested topics might include but are not limited to:

(1) SFM and local communities:

  • How can people better participate in the multiple benefits of forests?
  • How can forest management be a tool for empowering local communities?
  • Local incentive schemes and their socioeconomic effectiveness.

(2) Ecosystem services and biological diversity:

  • How can SFM enhance the provision of critical ecosystem services?
  • How can the multiple and often-conflicting benefits of forests (e.g., timber vs. nontimber forest products) be sustainably managed?
  • Agroforestry practices for SFM.

(3) The monitoring of SFM:

  • The application of criteria and indicators for the monitoring of SFM;
  • Forest certification as a tool for enhancing SFM;
  • The role of long-term ecological research as a tool for monitoring SFM.

(4) Forest restoration:

  • The impacts of SFM and practices for forest restoration;
  • Understanding the ecological drivers of forest dynamics to enhance forest restoration.

(5) Climate change adaptation and mitigation:

  • SFM as a tool for enhancing carbon sequestration;
  • Payment for ecosystem services in the context of SFM.

Dr. Emilio Vilanova
Dr. Lord Ameyaw
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Land 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 2000 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

  • agroforestry
  • climate change
  • community forest management
  • ecological forestry
  • ecosystem services
  • forest certification
  • sustainable forest management
  • socioecological systems

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
How Eco-Efficiency Is the Forestry Ecological Restoration Program? The Case of the Sloping Land Conversion Program in the Loess Plateau, China
Land 2022, 11(5), 712; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11050712 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 345
Abstract
The Forestry Ecological Restoration Program (FERP) aims to restore the world’s degraded forest landscapes to restore biodiversity and mitigate climate change. Scientific evaluation of eco-efficiency of forestry restoration programs (EEoFERPs) is the basis for developing and implementing inclusive and sustainable development policy measures. [...] Read more.
The Forestry Ecological Restoration Program (FERP) aims to restore the world’s degraded forest landscapes to restore biodiversity and mitigate climate change. Scientific evaluation of eco-efficiency of forestry restoration programs (EEoFERPs) is the basis for developing and implementing inclusive and sustainable development policy measures. We take the world’s largest FERP—China’s Sloping Land Conversion Program (SLCP)—as an example. Using 314 county-level panel data in the Loess Plateau, the core area for the implementation of the SLCP, during 2002–2015, this study aims to evaluate the eco-efficiency of the Sloping Land Conversion Program (EEoSLCP) based on a DEA model and to measure the eco-efficiency dynamic changes through a Malmquist index model. The results show that: (1) The overall EEoSLCP of the Loess Plateau is at a low level, with an average efficiency of only 0.357 from 2002 to 2015. EEoSLCP is on an overall upward trend, mainly influenced by technical efficiency. (2) There are significant spatial differences in EEoSLCP among counties on the Loess Plateau, with an overall decreasing distribution trend from south to north and from southeast to northwest. (3) The Malmquist index of the EEoSLCP grew at an average annual rate of 17.7%, with technical efficiency changes being the most important factor driving its growth. Our results suggest that in the future, when implementing or designing FERPs, it is necessary not only to select the appropriate restoration plan precisely while respecting the laws of nature, but also to improve the management and technical level of FERPs accordingly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Forest Management)
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Article
Depth-to-Water Maps to Identify Soil Areas That Are Potentially Sensitive to Logging Disturbance: Initial Evaluations in the Mediterranean Forest Context
Land 2022, 11(5), 709; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11050709 - 09 May 2022
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Abstract
Scientific research on reduced-impact logging has been addressed to develop effective approaches and methodologies to limit soil disturbance caused by forest operations. In recent years, the development of soil trafficability maps based on soil wetness indices is the approach that has been extensively [...] Read more.
Scientific research on reduced-impact logging has been addressed to develop effective approaches and methodologies to limit soil disturbance caused by forest operations. In recent years, the development of soil trafficability maps based on soil wetness indices is the approach that has been extensively used in the context of the Boreal forests. In particular, the depth-to-water (DTW) index has been identified as an interesting solution for the identification of areas particularly sensitive to soil disturbance. This study aimed to evaluate the cost-benefit factor of DTW maps for the identification of soil-sensitive areas in the Mediterranean context. In particular, a DTW map was developed for two oak coppice areas located in Italy and harvested over a period of 2–4 years with different mechanisation levels. Soil surveys concerning soil moisture, physico-chemical properties (bulk density, penetration resistance, shear resistance, organic matter), and biological properties (soil microarthropods community measure via soil biological quality (QBS-ar) index) were carried out in these forests, checking for significant differences between the zones at DTW index ≤1 (which should be more sensitive to soil disturbance) and the other areas of the forest soil. The results obtained revealed the efficiency of a DTW index in potential areas at a higher level of soil moisture. On the other hand, the values of soil physico-chemical properties in the areas at a DTW index ≤1 did not differ significantly from the ones in other zones. However, the values of the QBS-ar index in areas with a low DTW index were significantly lower than the ones in zones at the DTW index >1. Therefore, the obtained findings reveal that the DTW index is a reliable tool to identify and predict which areas are more prone to impact soil biological properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Forest Management)
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Article
Tourist Agroforestry Landscape from the Perception of Local Communities: A Case Study of Rwenzori, Uganda
Land 2022, 11(5), 650; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11050650 - 28 Apr 2022
Viewed by 389
Abstract
The Bakonjo have long practiced an agroforestry system of cultivation on the Ugandan slopes of the Rwenzori Mountain range. All terrain above 1600–2200 m has been strictly protected for many years because it is part of a national park. As a trade-off, the [...] Read more.
The Bakonjo have long practiced an agroforestry system of cultivation on the Ugandan slopes of the Rwenzori Mountain range. All terrain above 1600–2200 m has been strictly protected for many years because it is part of a national park. As a trade-off, the landscapes outside the park have been largely deforested. In the meantime, tourist numbers have increased. In Ruboni, a village of 1200 people, the closest to the eastern gate of the park, we interviewed a random sample of 51 residents aged >14 to understand how they perceived the landscape, park and tourism. Cultivated features were not essential to describe the place of residence, in contrast to natural features and human engineered devices. Cultivated and natural elements were judged as beautiful. Even if the inhabitants did not like human engineered facilities, they welcomed their improvement. The origin of native and non-native plants was not consistently recognized. These results show that the inhabitants feel affection for the agroforestry pattern of the Rwenzori landscape. However, ecological, social and economic pressures are challenging land use sustainability. This would be better addressed by an integrated pattern of land governance than the current two models: strict protection inside the park and relaxed land use outside. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Forest Management)
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Article
Identifying Key Environmental Factors for Paulownia coreana Habitats: Implementing National On-Site Survey and Machine Learning Algorithms
Land 2022, 11(4), 578; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11040578 - 14 Apr 2022
Viewed by 402
Abstract
Monitoring and preserving natural habitats has become an essential activity in many countries today. As a native tree species in Korea, Paulownia coreana has periodically been surveyed in national ecological surveys and was identified as an important target for conservation as well as [...] Read more.
Monitoring and preserving natural habitats has become an essential activity in many countries today. As a native tree species in Korea, Paulownia coreana has periodically been surveyed in national ecological surveys and was identified as an important target for conservation as well as habitat monitoring and management. This study explores habitat suitability models (HSMs) for Paulownia coreana in conjunction with national ecological survey data and various environmental factors. Together with environmental variables, the national ecological survey data were run through machine learning algorithms such as Artificial Neural Network and Decision Tree & Rules, which were used to identify the impact of individual variables and create HSMs for Paulownia coreana, respectively. Unlike other studies, which used remote sensing data to create HSMs, this study employed periodical on-site survey data for enhanced validity. Moreover, localized environmental resources such as topography, soil, and rainfall were taken into account to project habitat suitability. Among the environment variables used, the study identified critical attributes that affect the habitat conditions of Paulownia coreana. Therefore, the habitat suitability modelling methods employed in this study could play key roles in planning, monitoring, and managing plants species in regional and national levels. Furthermore, it could shed light on existing challenges and future research needs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Forest Management)
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Article
Contribution of Small-Scale Agroforestry to Local Economic Development and Livelihood Resilience: Evidence from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KPK), Pakistan
Land 2022, 11(1), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11010071 - 04 Jan 2022
Viewed by 489
Abstract
Agroforestry plays a vital role in enhancing environmental sustainability, improving local economies, and reducing poverty through livelihood resilience. Several researchers have studied the importance of agroforestry, but little attention has been paid to livelihood resilience and local economic development in developing countries. This [...] Read more.
Agroforestry plays a vital role in enhancing environmental sustainability, improving local economies, and reducing poverty through livelihood resilience. Several researchers have studied the importance of agroforestry, but little attention has been paid to livelihood resilience and local economic development in developing countries. This study aims to find the role of small-scale agroforestry in local economic development in the Shangla and Swat districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Province, Pakistan. In this study, a total of 350 quantitative household surveys, 12 qualitative household case studies, and interviews of experts are used. The ordinary least squares (OLS), linear regression model, household income, wealth index, and five capitals of sustainable livelihood approach (SLA) were used to measure livelihood resilience. Results show several significant findings which may apply on a larger scale and in other cities of Pakistan or other countries. First, it directly shows the association between agroforestry, resilience-building, and local economic development. Second, financial capital can be improved through agroforestry, which can improve other capital assets. Third, small-scale agroforestry brings non-financial benefits such as environmental sustainability, improved living standards, reduced soil erosion, and provided shade. Fourth, irrigation plays a vital role in building livelihood resilience and promoting agroforestry. Lastly, on-farm diversity can be improved through agroforestry. This research discusses several practical implications along with recommendations for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Forest Management)
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Article
An Integrated Approach to Assess the Potential of Forest Areas for Therapy Services
Land 2021, 10(12), 1354; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10121354 - 08 Dec 2021
Viewed by 981
Abstract
The study considers forest therapy as a tool for diversification of forest management. An up-to-date integrated approach for assessing and mapping potential of forest areas which could provide conditions for forest therapy services is developed and tested. It is based on combining data [...] Read more.
The study considers forest therapy as a tool for diversification of forest management. An up-to-date integrated approach for assessing and mapping potential of forest areas which could provide conditions for forest therapy services is developed and tested. It is based on combining data from the traditional forest inventory in Bulgaria and other open databases with methods for integrated assessment and mapping of ecosystem services: 7 criteria groups and 22 indicators are proposed, rated on a 5-point scale. Overlay analysis is applied to generate a composite assessment for each forest unit. Using spatial statistics tools, territorial hot spots with potential for forest therapy are identified. The methodology was successfully tested in a pilot case-study region, Smolyan Municipality, but it is applicable at broader scale, regardless of the type and ownership of forests. This approach could be transferred to other countries as well after adapting to their geographical, geoecological and socio-cultural specifics and database available. It is a cost-effective and informative tool to support forest owners and managers to diversify forest welfare services focusing on insufficiently used forest recreation potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Forest Management)
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Review

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Review
Improving the Representation of Climate Change Adaptation Behaviour in New Zealand’s Forest Growing Sector
Land 2022, 11(3), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11030364 - 02 Mar 2022
Viewed by 909
Abstract
To provide the forest industry with a better understanding of alternatives to simulate future adaptation pathways under evolving climatic and socio-economic uncertainty, we review the literature on how adaptation decisions are modelled in the context of plantation forests. This review leads to the [...] Read more.
To provide the forest industry with a better understanding of alternatives to simulate future adaptation pathways under evolving climatic and socio-economic uncertainty, we review the literature on how adaptation decisions are modelled in the context of plantation forests. This review leads to the conclusion that the representation of adaptation behaviour and decision-making remain very limited in most of the agent-based models in the forestry sector. Moreover, theoretical frameworks used to understand the adaptation behaviour of forest owners are also lacking. In this paper, we propose the application of protection motivation theory (PMT) as a framework to understand the motivation of forest owners to reduce the negative impacts of climate change on their forest plantations. Furthermore, the use of PMT allows factors affecting the maladaptive behaviour of forest owners to be examined. A survey of New Zealand foresters showed that less than 10% of smallholder forest owners adopted adaptation strategies. This result highlights the importance of addressing the research question “what motivates forest owners to take risk reduction measures?” Exploring this question is crucial to the future success of the New Zealand forestry sector and we suggest that it can be addressed by using PMT. This paper proposes a conceptual framework for an agent-based model as an alternative to simulating adaptation pathways for forest plantations in New Zealand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Forest Management)
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Review
The Role of Regional Ecological Assessment in Quantifying Ecosystem Services for Forest Management
Land 2021, 10(7), 725; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10070725 - 09 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1112
Abstract
Regional ecological assessments evaluate sustainability as an interaction among ecosystem services and stressors across changing landscapes. Using ecological assessments to inform ecosystem management activities relies on assessing functional linkages between ecosystem processes and ecosystem services, because ecosystem processes are the primary targets of [...] Read more.
Regional ecological assessments evaluate sustainability as an interaction among ecosystem services and stressors across changing landscapes. Using ecological assessments to inform ecosystem management activities relies on assessing functional linkages between ecosystem processes and ecosystem services, because ecosystem processes are the primary targets of ecosystem management. We undertook a review of regional ecological assessments in the Appalachian region of the United States to examine how forest-based ecosystem services, forest ecosystem processes, and their linkages are quantified. To provide context, we first give an overview of common ecological assessment frameworks, including risk, vulnerability, resilience, and indicator-based approaches. Assessments tended to target either ecosystem-level properties thought to be important for ecosystem service sustainability, or else to target specific ecosystem services or stressors. Forest ecosystem-level assessment most often relied on specific indicators for system properties such as integrity or health, but how those properties or their indicators were related to ecosystem services was typically not quantified. Individual ecosystem services were frequently assessed in terms of risk and vulnerability to specific external stressors, but linkages to ecosystem processes, and potential tradeoffs among ecosystem services, were infrequently quantified. Integrated system-level assessment and ecosystem service assessment can improve support for ecosystem management by advancing our understanding of dependencies on the ecosystem processes that are modified through management. Models that evaluate ecosystem services and underlying processes in a systems context offer one approach to do so. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Forest Management)
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