Special Issue "Genetic Diversity and Conservation of Woody Species"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Ecology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 February 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Gregor Kozlowski
Guest Editor
1. Department of Biology and Botanic Garden, University of Fribourg, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland;
2. Shanghai Chenshan Plant Science Research Center, Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 201602 Shanghai, China.
Interests: conservation biology; conservation biogeography; climate relicts; relict trees; phylogeography; phylogeny; population genetics; conservation status assessments; endemic plants

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Trees and other woody plants, such as shrubs and lianas, form the principal components in forests and many other ecosystems on our planet. Being among the largest and longest-living organisms, they support an immense share of the Earth’s terrestrial biodiversity, providing food and habitats for innumerable microorganisms, epiphytes, invertebrate, and vertebrate species. Woody species are perfect study objects, giving us a link between the past, present, and future. Woody species have also accompanied our own species throughout its evolution. Even today, billions of people depend on trees and shrubs for fuel, medicine, food, tools, fodder for livestock, shade, and watershed maintenance. Woody species therefore have a high scientific, economic, social, cultural, and aesthetic value.

However, the future of many trees and shrubs is uncertain. Ten of thousands of species are threatened by overharvesting, non-native pests and diseases, changes in accelerated land use, and climate warming. Many aspects of their biology, ecology, and biogeography are still unexplored or insufficiently understood. These knowledge shortfalls, concerning their genetic diversity, for example, significantly hinder the development of protection strategies and the elaboration of efficient action plans. This Issue, dedicated to this very diverse group of plants, aims to encourage on-going research and conservation efforts worldwide.

For this Special Issue of Plants, we therefore warmly welcome contributions (original research papers, reviews, perspectives, and opinions) on woody species and their conservation, from different fields of research, such as molecular biology, conservation biology, ecology, biogeography, and physiology.

Prof. Dr. Gregor Kozlowski
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. Plants 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 1600 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.


  • woody species
  • endangered woody species
  • relict woody species
  • phylogeography
  • population genetics
  • genomics
  • landscape genetics
  • dispersal biology
  • seed ecology
  • dendroecology
  • dendroclimatology
  • habitat fragmentation
  • conservation biology
  • conservation strategy
  • conservation prioritizing
  • in situ conservation
  • ex situ conservation

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Advancing timberline on Mt. Fuji between 1978 and 2018
Authors: Hitoshi SAKIO
Affiliation: Niigata University, Koda 94-2, Sado, Niigata 952-2206, Japan
Abstract: Climate change is a major cause of changes in alpine and polar vegetation. Over a 40-year period (1978–2018), we researched the changes in vegetation of timberline of Mt. Fuji that is the highest mountain in Japan. The timberline advanced rapidly upwards during the 40 years. Vegetation cover degree above the timberline increased remarkably in 40 years. Seedlings of Larix kaempferi were particularly abundant at the upper timberline and established on the uppermost part of the slope. The shape of L. kaempferi at the upper timberline changed from a table type to an upright type. We predict that the upward advance of the alpine timberline was due to climate change.

Title: Landscape genomics in tree conservation under a changing climate/environment
Authors: Li Feng; Min Qi; Fang K. Du
Affiliation: 1 School of Pharmacy, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710061, China 2 School of Ecology and Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, Beijing
Abstract: Understanding the genetic basis of how species response to changing environment is essential to the conservation and utilization of the species. However, the genetic mechanism of local adaptation is remains largely unknown for long-lived tree species which always have large population size, long generation time, and extensive gene flow. Recent advances of landscape genomics analysis can identify adaptive variation and spatial patterns by reveal the interaction between the genetic variation of species and landscape characteristics, and provide new insights for making tree conservation strategies. In this paper we first defining landscape genomics and briefly summarized series methods of this approaches used in tree conservation. We particular emphasis on the introduction of generalized linear mixed models, multivariate statistical analysis, non-linear models, and calculation tools involved in genotype – environment associations (GEAs) and compare the advantages and disadvantages of these methods. Secondly we review and present existing and emerging methods for landscape genomic studies on tree conservation. Specially, we introduced the newly developed method “Risk of Non-Adaptedness”, which predicts the current and future adaptability of species by combining the allele frequency and the changes in environmental factors. Finally, we provide suggestions on how these approaches can aid in making conservation strategies for tree species under climate change.

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