Special Issue "Forest Ecosystems: Protection and Restoration"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2022) | Viewed by 9937

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Vanessa Winchester
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Guest Editor
School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University Centre for the Environment, Oxford OX13QY, UK
Interests: environment; environmental analysis; sedimentology; natural resource management; forest ecology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

New studies are urgently needed highlighting developments in forest science in response to the changing climate and landscape degradation.  This Special Issue focuses on all aspects of forest ecosystems across the major biomes: strategies are required for conservation and restoration to help resolve problems introduced by monocultures, resource conflict, expanding populations and forest exploitation. We particularly invite work that draws attention to and unifies today's topical themes and presents novel analyses. 

Covering around 30% of the Earth’s land area, forests are fundamental to landscape protection providing vital habitats for millions of species as well as being important sources for clean air and water and crucial for combating climate change. Papers are called for on the following topics:

Tropical forests are a major concern, their continuing destruction may pose the greatest threat to our planet’s biodiversity.

Dryland forests, although lower in species numbers, require initiatives to combat land degradation, protect vulnerable species and support human livelihoods.

Temperate forests have become almost universally fragmented with species numbers plummeting - greatly weakening the ecological support chain.

Boreal forests are threatened by differential rates of permafrost thaw. Studies of mechanisms associated with forest loss are essential for predicting future interactions between land surface processes and the climate system. 

Field studies, measurement and monitoring, data analysis and remote sensing are effective tools for investigating ecological processes. Understanding an ecosystem’s ability to withstand disturbance, control erosion, shelter biodiversity and provide food, water and energy, is crucial. Scientifically based practical advice is sought to reverse pending disaster on a global scale. We look forward to your contribution to forest science.

Dr. Vanessa Winchester
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 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

  • forest science
  • degradation
  • ecosystem
  • biodiversity
  • strategies
  • resource conflict
  • forest exploitation
  • climate change
  • mechanisms
  • forest loss

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Evaluation of Protected Areas in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, West Africa, Using a Remote Sensing-Based Approach
Land 2022, 11(5), 720; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11050720 - 10 May 2022
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Abstract
This study assesses the representation of defined ecoregions, slope profiles, and species richness of threatened mammals in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)-listed protected areas in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. It also evaluates the exposure of protected area categories to the [...] Read more.
This study assesses the representation of defined ecoregions, slope profiles, and species richness of threatened mammals in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)-listed protected areas in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. It also evaluates the exposure of protected area categories to the cumulative degree of human modification and their vulnerability to future agricultural expansion. Spatial gap and statistical analyses were performed using quantitative data from publicly available online global databases. Analyses indicated key conservation priorities for both countries: (1) to increase the protection of the Guinean forest–savanna mosaic, West Sudanian savanna, and Eastern Guinean forests, especially of the Eastern Guinean forests’ ecoregion associated with the Guinean forests of the West Africa biodiversity hotspot; (2) to increase the protected area coverage of flat lands and low slopes; and (3) to enhance the size and connectivity of existing protected areas, including restoring degraded habitats. The study emphasizes that improving the ability of tropical protected areas to conserve nature and mitigate anthropogenic threats should be a global conservation priority. Improving the data quality and detail within the World Database on Protected Areas and ground-truthing them are recommended urgently to support accurate and informative assessments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Ecosystems: Protection and Restoration)
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Communication
Variability of Permafrost and Landscape Conditions Following Forest Fires in the Central Yakutian Taiga Zone
Land 2022, 11(4), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11040496 - 29 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 437
Abstract
In the last two decades in Central Yakutia, there has been a significant change in cryogenic landscapes related to climate warming and anthropogenic disturbances. This period is characterized by the activity of forest fires, which significantly impact permafrost landscapes. We observed the dynamics [...] Read more.
In the last two decades in Central Yakutia, there has been a significant change in cryogenic landscapes related to climate warming and anthropogenic disturbances. This period is characterized by the activity of forest fires, which significantly impact permafrost landscapes. We observed the dynamics of cryogenic landscapes after a forest fire in 2001 at the Neleger station in Central Yakutia, 35 km northwest of Yakutsk. The observations included ground temperature and active layer thickness monitoring and statements of changes in the soil moisture content of the active layer. Increases in ground temperature, the active layer thickness, and soil moisture content on the burnt site after a forest fire in Neleger station were noted in the first six to seven years after the disturbance. We found that, following forest fires, permafrost progressively restabilizes as forest cover redevelops over time. The results of the studies will become the basis for planning restoration work after forest fires in permafrost landscapes of Central Yakutia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Ecosystems: Protection and Restoration)
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Article
A Review of Small Farmer Land Use and Deforestation in Tropical Forest Frontiers: Implications for Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods
Land 2021, 10(11), 1113; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10111113 - 21 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1045
Abstract
Forest conversion for agriculture is the most expansive signature of human occupation on the Earth’s surface. This paper develops a conceptual model of factors underlying frontier agricultural expansion—the predominant driver of deforestation worldwide—from the perspective of small farm households—the majority of farmers globally. [...] Read more.
Forest conversion for agriculture is the most expansive signature of human occupation on the Earth’s surface. This paper develops a conceptual model of factors underlying frontier agricultural expansion—the predominant driver of deforestation worldwide—from the perspective of small farm households—the majority of farmers globally. The framework consists of four causal rubrics: demographic, socioeconomic, political–economic, and ecological. Following this approach, the article explores the current state of knowledge on tropical deforestation in tropical agricultural frontiers with a focus on Latin America, the region of greatest deforestation worldwide during recent decades. Neo-Malthusian arguments notwithstanding, in many tropical nations, deforestation has proceeded unabated in recent years despite declining rural populations. However, evidence from the global-to-household scale suggests that population size and composition are also related to farm forest conversion. Existing particularist or behaviorialist theories sometimes fail to capture key geographical and temporal dimensions, yet studies support the notion that certain cultural, individual, and household characteristics are crucial determinants of forest clearing. Conversely, while institutional arguments sometimes fail to emphasize that the ultimate land use change agents are local resource users, their livelihood decisions are shaped and constrained by policies governing economic subsidies, and market and infrastructure development. Further, although ecological change is usually modeled as an outcome in the deforestation literature, increasingly acute climate change and natural farm endowments form a dynamic tabula rasa on which household land use decisions are enabled. To more fully comprehend frontier forest conversion and to enhance protection and conservation while promoting vital local livelihoods, future research may fruitfully investigate the interaction of demographic, social, political, economic, and ecological factors across spatial scales and academic disciplines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Ecosystems: Protection and Restoration)
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Article
Forest Restoration at Berenty Reserve, Southern Madagascar: A Pilot Study of Tree Growth Following the Framework Species Method
Land 2021, 10(10), 1041; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10101041 - 02 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 815 | Correction
Abstract
Forest conservation and restoration are urgently needed to preserve key resources for the endemic fauna of dry southern Madagascar. This is a priority in the shrinking, seasonally dry forest of Berenty, a private reserve in Southern Madagascar. However, to provide a basis for [...] Read more.
Forest conservation and restoration are urgently needed to preserve key resources for the endemic fauna of dry southern Madagascar. This is a priority in the shrinking, seasonally dry forest of Berenty, a private reserve in Southern Madagascar. However, to provide a basis for forest restoration, a study of tree growth and regeneration in this unique biome is essential. A three-year planting program of native and endemic species was initiated in 2016. Three trial plots were established in forest gaps, with varying microclimates and soil conditions: one on the riverside, one in the mid-forest and the third in a degraded dryland area. We planted 1297 seedlings of 24 native tree species with plantings spaced at 1 m and 1.5 m and measured their height and stem diameters and recorded seedling mortality. We also recorded plant recruitment on the plots from the nearby forest. The main findings were that growth was best on the mid-forest plot planted at 1 m. Seedling mortality was highest on the riverside plot for the 1 m seedlings and least in the mid-forest at both planting distances. Recruitment was highest in the mid-forest at both planting distances and high also at 1.5 m by the river. These results are intended to aid future forest restoration on the Reserve and may serve as a reference for restoration of other dry forests in Madagascar. Finally, since species identification is central to the project, we collected, prepared and catalogued tree specimens to form a reference collection in an herbarium under construction in a new Research Centre at the reserve. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Ecosystems: Protection and Restoration)
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Article
The Role of Recent (1985–2014) Patterns of Land Abandonment and Environmental Factors in the Establishment and Growth of Secondary Forests in the Iberian Peninsula
Land 2021, 10(8), 817; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10080817 - 04 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1042
Abstract
Farmland abandonment has been a widespread land-use change in the Iberian Peninsula since the second half of the 20th century, leading to the establishment of secondary forests across the region. In this study, we aimed to address changes in the recent (1985–2014) emergence [...] Read more.
Farmland abandonment has been a widespread land-use change in the Iberian Peninsula since the second half of the 20th century, leading to the establishment of secondary forests across the region. In this study, we aimed to address changes in the recent (1985–2014) emergence patterns of these forests and examine how environmental factors affected their growth by considering differences in leaf-habit types. We used a combination of Landsat-derived land-cover maps and aboveground biomass (AGB) maps from the European Space Agency to assess the secondary forest establishment and growth, respectively, in the study region. We also obtained a set of topographic, climatic and landscape variables from diverse GIS layers and used them for determining changes over time in the environmental drivers of forest establishment and AGB using general linear models. The results highlight that secondary forest cover was still increasing in the Iberian Peninsula at a rate above the European average. Yet, they also indicate a directional change in the emergence of secondary forests towards lower and less steep regions with higher water availability (mean rainfall and SPEI) and less forest cover but are subjected to greater drought events. In addition, these environmental factors differentially affect the growth of forests with different leaf-habit types: i.e., needleleaf secondary forests being less favoured by high temperature and precipitation, and broadleaf deciduous forests being most negatively affected by drought. Finally, these spatial patterns of forest emergence and the contrasting responses of forest leaf-habits to environmental factors explained the major development of broadleaf evergreen compared to broadleaf deciduous forests and, especially, needleleaf secondary forests. These results will improve the knowledge of forest dynamics that have occurred in the Iberian Peninsula in recent decades and provide an essential tool for understanding the potential effects of climate warming on secondary forest growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Ecosystems: Protection and Restoration)
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Article
Community Perceptions of a Payment for Ecosystem Services Project in Southwest Madagascar: A Preliminary Study
Land 2021, 10(6), 597; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060597 - 04 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1022
Abstract
Despite the popularity of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes as a new paradigm to enhance conservation of natural resources, evidence of their benefits to people and nature is often illustrated from desk-based reviews, but rarely investigated from the local sites where they [...] Read more.
Despite the popularity of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes as a new paradigm to enhance conservation of natural resources, evidence of their benefits to people and nature is often illustrated from desk-based reviews, but rarely investigated from the local sites where they have been implemented. We investigated local perceptions of a PES scheme implemented in the Baie des Assassin’s mangroves of southwest Madagascar with particular focus on its perceived future effects. To meet our goal, we first collated socioeconomic and mangrove ecological information through extensive literature research, and key informant interviews with 35 peoples within the 10 villages surrounding the bay to be used as reference conditions. Following this, a workshop with 32 participants from local communities was conducted, using participatory scenario planning to predict the effects of the PES project, and to identify concerns surrounding its implementation. Local communities perceived the PES scheme as a potentially valuable approach for the sustainable management of their mangroves, and perceived that it would address major socioeconomic issues and mangrove management problems in the bay as a result of the carbon offsetting from their mangroves. We conclude that to achieve acceptance and good governance of a PES project by local communities, needs and concerns surrounding the implementation of the PES project need be addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Ecosystems: Protection and Restoration)
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Article
Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Forest Soils Reduced by Straw Biochar and Nitrapyrin Applications
Land 2021, 10(2), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10020189 - 13 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1363
Abstract
Forestlands are widely distributed in the dominantly agricultural landscape in western Canada, and they play important ecological functions; such forestlands (e.g., shelterbelts) accumulate soil organic matter and may receive a substantial amount of nitrogen in the form of surface and subsurface runoff from [...] Read more.
Forestlands are widely distributed in the dominantly agricultural landscape in western Canada, and they play important ecological functions; such forestlands (e.g., shelterbelts) accumulate soil organic matter and may receive a substantial amount of nitrogen in the form of surface and subsurface runoff from adjacent croplands and become a significant source of emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as CO2, N2O, and CH4. Biochar and nitrapyrin applications could potentially mitigate GHG emissions, but their co-application in forest soils has not been studied. We investigated the effect of the application of biochars produced at low (300 °C; BC300) and high temperatures (700 °C; BC700) using canola (Brassica napus L.) straw and the effect of their co-application with nitrapyrin on GHG emissions and soil properties in a 35-day laboratory incubation experiment using forest soils collected from five shelterbelt sites. Results showed no significant interaction effect of biochar and nitrapyrin on the global warming potential (GWP) of the GHG emissions, and the GWP was 15.8% lower in the soil with nitrapyrin than without nitrapyrin application treatments. The GWP was significantly enhanced by BC300 addition due to a 26.9% and 627.1% increase in cumulative CO2 and N2O emissions, respectively, over the 35-day incubation. The GWP significantly decreased by BC700 addition due to a 27.1% decrease in cumulative CO2 emissions. However, biochar addition did not affect CH4 emissions, while nitrapyrin decreased CH4 uptake by 50.5%. With BC300 addition, soil-dissolved organic carbon and microbial biomass carbon increased by 26.5% and 33.9%, respectively, as compared to no biochar addition (CK). Soil pH increased by 0.16 and 0.37 units after the addition of BC300 and BC700, respectively. Overall, the effect of biochar and nitrapyrin was independent in mitigating GHG emissions and was related to the type of biochar applied and changes in soil properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Ecosystems: Protection and Restoration)
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Review

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Review
The ‘Bush Capital’—A Review of 100+ Years of Integrative Spatio-Temporal Planning for a City in the Landscape and Nature in the City
Land 2022, 11(2), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11020169 - 21 Jan 2022
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Abstract
Over approximately 100 years, the Australian capital, Canberra, has evolved in association with the predominant values, vision and cultural relationships of people to the area. The location and design of the city derived from a formal intention to integrate nature and culture for [...] Read more.
Over approximately 100 years, the Australian capital, Canberra, has evolved in association with the predominant values, vision and cultural relationships of people to the area. The location and design of the city derived from a formal intention to integrate nature and culture for the benefit and edification of residents and in symbolisation of the city’s importance as the seat of national decision-making and legislature. Established on a native grassland surrounded by wooded hills and ridges, and with nearby confluences of rivers as security of water supply, the city’s landscape was transformed through centralised planning and implementation of Garden City and City Beautiful constructs to become one of the world’s most liveable regions. Twentieth-century expansion of the city’s suburbs, tree streetscapes and gardens progressed with varying emphasis on exotic versus native species, and contemporary programs aim to increase urban tree canopy cover to 30%. Yet, there is increasing acknowledgement of the landscape’s rich history of culture–nature interactions extending back at least 25,000 years. Indicators are evident in human modification of tree-dominated ecosystems, the overlapping ways in which people related to elemental landscape features, and a continuity of valuing particular sites for ceremonies, social activities and human movement. With projected steady population growth, climate change, and associated impacts on the environment and natural resources, contemporary planning must be innovative and integrative to ensure ecologically sustainable development. Strong visionary leadership is needed to develop a landscape policy that encompasses key natural assets including threatened woodlands and mature native trees for their intrinsic values and as habitat for threatened fauna, cultural landscape values such as forested montane and ridge areas, and heritage and protected trees. From pre-European to current times, planning, modification and management of environmental and ecosystem values has been integral to enabling local people to sustain themselves. The next challenge is to create clarity about the future of this cultural landscape and enhance the community’s attachment to and stewardship of the city and its landscape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Ecosystems: Protection and Restoration)
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Other

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Correction
Correction: Sagar et al. Forest Restoration at Berenty Reserve, Southern Madagascar: A Pilot Study of Tree Growth Following the Framework Species Method. Land 2021, 10, 1041
Land 2022, 11(3), 332; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11030332 - 24 Feb 2022
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Abstract
Correct Email Address [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Ecosystems: Protection and Restoration)
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