Forest Environment and Ecology

A topical collection in Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This collection belongs to the section "Plant Ecology".

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Editors


E-Mail Website1 Website2
Collection Editor
Department of Environment and Forest Resources, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Korea
Interests: ecological silviculture; qualified seedling production; restoration ecology; carbon sequestration by forest management; nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems; the response of plants to environmental change; forest soil management for forest health

E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Department of Forest Biological Sciences, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of the Philippines Los Baños, 4031 Los Baños, College, Laguna, Philippines
Interests: plant community structure and composition; evolutionary biology of forest plant populations; ecological genetics of forest plants; forest biodiversity and genetic resources

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

Forests provide innumerable ecological, social, and economic services. Besides providing food, water, air, and shelter for humans, they also mitigate climate change by acting as carbon sinks via carbon sequestration. Many of the ecological, biological, and chemical processes that are needed for trees to flourish are influenced by the forest environment. The complex interactions among the physical and biological components engender a resilient and stable forest structure and diverse composition. However, forests are under threat and pressure amid changes in climate and land use, which cause significant alterations in the forest environment in many regions. The capacity of the forest to support the forest plant community (especially trees) depends on factors of its physical environment, such as precipitation, temperature, soil, light, etc. For example, gas exchange across the forest strata depends upon the prevailing microclimatic and edaphic factors, and significant changes in these factors influence the capacity of the forest to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as well as the capacity to provide ecosystem services.

Because the climate is continuously changing, we must be able to fully understand the interactions between the physical and biological environments to help predict forest growth and tree survival, especially during restoration and regeneration processes. Hence, this Topical Collection "Forest Environment and Ecology" of Plants invites submission of original research in various fields of forest ecology with emphasis on physical environment and tree interactions. Long-term field and large-scale nursery-based observations and modeling of the forest physical environment at various levels (from population to ecosystem levels) and its interaction with trees across various developmental stages (from seeds, seedlings to mature trees) are most welcome. Because urban forests also provide many ecosystem services and the survival of trees therein largely depends on the physical environment, similar studies on the context of urban forest environment, whether field-based or under controlled conditions, are also encouraged.

Prof. Byung Bae Park
Prof. Dr. LERMA SJ. MALDIA
Collection Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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 semimonthly 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 2700 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

  • carbon sequestration
  • ecosystem services
  • edaphic and climatic factors
  • forest growth
  • forest structure
  • physical environment and tree interactions

Published Papers (15 papers)

2024

Jump to: 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020

15 pages, 2260 KiB  
Article
Fine-Root Distribution and Soil Physicochemical Property Variations in Four Contrasting Urban Land-Use Types in South Korea
by Lan Thi Ngoc Tran, Ji Young An, Mark Bryan Carayugan, Jonathan O. Hernandez, SK Abidur Rahman, Woo Bin Youn, Julia Inacio Carvalho, Min Seon Jo, Si Ho Han, Hai-Hoa Nguyen and Byung Bae Park
Plants 2024, 13(2), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13020164 - 07 Jan 2024
Viewed by 799
Abstract
Urbanization and associated forest conversions have given rise to a continuum of native (forest fragments) and modified (artificial grasslands and perennial ecosystems) land-use types. However, little is known about how these shifts affect soil and fine-root compartments that are critical to a functioning [...] Read more.
Urbanization and associated forest conversions have given rise to a continuum of native (forest fragments) and modified (artificial grasslands and perennial ecosystems) land-use types. However, little is known about how these shifts affect soil and fine-root compartments that are critical to a functioning carbon and nutrient circulation system. In this study, soil physicochemical properties, fine-root mass, and vertical distribution patterns were investigated in four representative urban land-use types: grassland (ZJ), perennial agroecosystem (MP), broadleaf deciduous forest patch (QA), and coniferous evergreen forest patch (PD). We quantified the fine-root mass in the upper 30 cm vertical profile (0–30 cm) and at every 5 cm depth across three diameter classes (<2 mm, 2–5 mm, and <5 mm). Soil physicochemical properties, except for phosphorus, nitrogen, ammonium nitrogen, and sodium cations, varied significantly across land-use types. The total root biomass (<5 mm) decreased in the order of QA (700.3 g m−2) > PD (487.2 g m−2) > ZJ (440.1 g m−2) > MP (98.3 g m−2). The fine-root mass of ZJ and MP was correlated with soil nutrients, which was attributed to intensive management operations, while the fine-root mass of QA and PD had a significant relationship with soil organic matter due to the high inputs from forest litter. Very fine roots (<2 mm) presented a distinct decremental pattern with depth for all land-use types, except for MP. Very fine roots populated the topmost 5 cm layer in ZJ, QA, and PD at 52.1%, 49.4%, and 39.4%, respectively. Maintaining a woody fine-root system benefits urban landscapes by promoting soil stabilization, improving ground infiltration rates, and increasing carbon sequestration capacity. Our findings underscore the importance of profiling fine-root mass when assessing urban expansion effects on terrestrial ecosystems. Full article
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18 pages, 4164 KiB  
Article
Conserving Marine Forests: Assessing the Effectiveness of a Marine Protected Area for Cystoseira sensu lato Populations in the Central Mediterranean Sea
by Francesco Paolo Mancuso, Gianluca Sarà and Anna Maria Mannino
Plants 2024, 13(2), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13020162 - 06 Jan 2024
Viewed by 810
Abstract
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are vital for biodiversity conservation, yet their effectiveness in preserving foundation seaweeds remains understudied. This study investigates the diversity and distribution of Cystoseira sensu lato (including Cystoseira, Ericaria, and Gongolaria, hereafter referred to as Cystoseira s.l.) populations [...] Read more.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are vital for biodiversity conservation, yet their effectiveness in preserving foundation seaweeds remains understudied. This study investigates the diversity and distribution of Cystoseira sensu lato (including Cystoseira, Ericaria, and Gongolaria, hereafter referred to as Cystoseira s.l.) populations in an MPA located in the central Mediterranean Sea, comparing them with those in two unprotected sites. We hypothesized MPA Cystoseira s.l. populations would display higher diversity and structure compared to outside unprotected sites. Results revealed a total of 19 Cystoseira s.l. species at depths of 0–20 m, with the MPA exhibiting a higher diversity than unprotected sites. Thus, MPAs can play a crucial role in fostering the diversity of Cystoseira s.l. populations. However, no significant differences were observed among the MPA’s protection zones, raising questions about the zoning effectiveness. Additionally, our survey uncovered a substantial presence of non-indigenous seaweeds within the MPA. In conclusions, while MPAs improved Cystoseira s.l. diversity compared to unprotected sites, the varying efficacy of protection within MPA zones suggested a necessity for site-specific conservation strategies. The presence of non-indigenous seaweeds emphasizes ongoing challenges. This study provides a baseline for understanding Cystoseira s.l. population dynamics, crucial for future monitoring and conservation efforts in the face of global change. Full article
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2023

Jump to: 2024, 2022, 2021, 2020

13 pages, 1930 KiB  
Article
Effects of Thinning Intensity on Litterfall Production, Soil Chemical Properties, and Fine Root Distribution in Pinus koraiensis Plantation in Republic of Korea
by Si Ho Han, Ji Young An, Jonathan O. Hernandez, Hee Moon Yang, Eun-Sook Kim, Nam Jin Noh, Jeong Min Seo and Byung Bae Park
Plants 2023, 12(20), 3614; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12203614 - 19 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 945
Abstract
It is crucial to evaluate the effects of thinning on litterfall production, soil chemical properties, and fine root dynamics when implementing thinning as a silvilcultural technique to enhance tree growth and timber yield in Pinus koraiensis plantations. Thus, we determined the 10-year effects [...] Read more.
It is crucial to evaluate the effects of thinning on litterfall production, soil chemical properties, and fine root dynamics when implementing thinning as a silvilcultural technique to enhance tree growth and timber yield in Pinus koraiensis plantations. Thus, we determined the 10-year effects (2007–2017) of different thinning intensities on litterfall production, soil chemical properties, and fine root biomass and necromass within a P. koraiensis plantation in South Korea. The soil chemical parameters and fine root biomass and necromass were also compared across three soil depths (0–10, 10–20, and 20–30 cm). Three thinning treatments were employed: no thinning (CON), light thinning (32% removed, LT), and heavy thinning (64% removed, HT). Results revealed that litterfall was consistent across all thinning treatments, but broadleaf species had considerably higher litterfall production at HT stands than at CON/LT stands. Soil chemical properties, except exchangeable K+, were generally lower at LT stands, particularly at a depth of 20–30 cm soil. After ten years, there was a decrease in fine root biomass and necromass with increasing soil depth. Over 80% of fine roots were found in the upper layer (0–20 cm), while very fine roots (0–1 mm) consisted mainly of 47% pine and 53% other species and were concentrated in the 0–10 cm soil depth in HT. In conclusion, different thinning intensities had diverse effects on the parameters measured within the plantation. Future studies can explore how the effects of thinning intensities on litterfall production, soil chemistry, and fine root dynamics affect species diversity, carbon storage, and understory vegetation in P. koraiensis plantations. Full article
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20 pages, 7181 KiB  
Article
Spatial Distribution of Pinus koraiensis Trees and Community-Level Spatial Associations in Broad-Leaved Korean Pine Mixed Forests in Northeastern China
by Unil Pak, Qingxi Guo, Zhili Liu, Xugao Wang, Yankun Liu and Guangze Jin
Plants 2023, 12(16), 2906; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12162906 - 09 Aug 2023
Viewed by 921
Abstract
Investigating the spatial distributions and associations of tree populations provides better insights into the dynamics and processes that shape the forest community. Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis) is one of the most important tree species in broad-leaved Korean pine mixed forests (BKMFs), [...] Read more.
Investigating the spatial distributions and associations of tree populations provides better insights into the dynamics and processes that shape the forest community. Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis) is one of the most important tree species in broad-leaved Korean pine mixed forests (BKMFs), and little is known about the spatial point patterns of and associations between Korean pine and community-level woody species groups such as coniferous and deciduous trees in different developmental stages. This study investigated the spatial patterns of Korean pine (KP) trees and then analyzed how the spatial associations between KP trees and other tree species at the community level vary in different BKMFs. Extensive data collected from five relatively large sample plots, covering a substantial area within the natural distribution range of KP in northeastern China, were utilized. Uni- and bivariate pair correlation functions and mark correlation functions were applied to analyze spatial distribution patterns and spatial associations. The DBH (diameter at breast height) histogram of KP trees in northeastern China revealed that the regeneration process was very poor in the Changbai Mountain (CBS) plot, while the other four plots exhibited moderate or expanding population structures. KP trees were significantly aggregated at scales up to 10 m under the HPP null model, and the aggregation scales decreased with the increase in size classes. Positive or negative spatial associations were observed among different life stages of KP trees in different plots. The life history stages of the coniferous tree group showed positive spatial associations with KP saplings and juvenile trees at small scales, and spatial independence or negative correlations with larger KP trees at greater scales. All broad-leaved tree groups (canopy, middle, and understory layers) exhibited only slightly positive associations with KP trees at small scales, and dominant negative associations were observed at most scales. Our results demonstrate that mature KP trees have strong importance in the spatial patterns of KP populations, and site heterogeneity, limited seed dispersal, and interspecific competition characterize the spatial patterns of KP trees and community-level spatial associations with respect to KP trees, which can serve as a theoretical basis for the management and restoration of BKMFs in northeastern China. Full article
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2022

Jump to: 2024, 2023, 2021, 2020

15 pages, 2882 KiB  
Article
Growth of Deciduous and Evergreen Species in Two Contrasting Temperate Forest Stands in Korea: An Intersite Experiment
by Byung Bae Park, Youngtak Ko, Jonathan O. Hernandez, Ser-Oddamba Byambadorj and Si Ho Han
Plants 2022, 11(7), 841; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11070841 - 22 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1865
Abstract
Poor seedling establishment and growth can be a result of the limitation of light and soil resources in the forest understory. Here, we investigate the interacting effects of stand and soil characteristics on the seedling growth of deciduous species (Fraxinus rhynchophylla and [...] Read more.
Poor seedling establishment and growth can be a result of the limitation of light and soil resources in the forest understory. Here, we investigate the interacting effects of stand and soil characteristics on the seedling growth of deciduous species (Fraxinus rhynchophylla and Zelkova serrata) and evergreen species (Pinus koraiensis) through a 3-year intersite experiment in two contrasting forest stands. Seedlings were grown in both oak and pine stands using two different soil types, i.e., gray-brown forest soil (GB) and red-yellow forest soil (RY). Soil physicochemical properties, light intensity, tree-seedling height, root-collar diameter (RCD), and biomass growth were analyzed between two stands and/or soil types. Light availability was generally more abundant in the pine stand (mean: 1074.08 lx or 20.25%) than the oak stand (mean: 424.33 lx or 9.20%) throughout the year. The height and RCD growth of fast-growing and deciduous F. rhynchophylla and Z. serrata were higher in the pine than in the oak stand, particularly in GB soil. The growth of the slow-growing and evergreen P. koraiensis was not affected by the forest stand, except for its higher root growth in the oak stand and RY soil. Therefore, abundant light availability can enhance the growth and seedling establishment of F. rhynchophylla and Z. serrata in the pine-stand understory. Contrarily, P. koraiensis may be planted in the understory regardless of light condition, but with a slower growth rate. Full article
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2021

Jump to: 2024, 2023, 2022, 2020

12 pages, 4437 KiB  
Article
Contrasting Hydraulic Efficiency and Photosynthesis Strategy in Differential Successional Stages of a Subtropical Forest in a Karst Region
by Guilin Wu, Dexiang Chen and Zhang Zhou
Plants 2021, 10(12), 2604; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10122604 - 27 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1576
Abstract
Understanding the successional process from a disturbed forest to a mature forest is essential for species recovery and conservation initiatives. The resource acquisition and drought tolerance of plants can be instructive to predictions of species abundance and distribution for different forests. However, they [...] Read more.
Understanding the successional process from a disturbed forest to a mature forest is essential for species recovery and conservation initiatives. The resource acquisition and drought tolerance of plants can be instructive to predictions of species abundance and distribution for different forests. However, they have not been adequately tested at different successional stages in karst regions. Here, we selected seven dominant species in an early-succession forest and 17 species in a late-succession forest in a karst region of southwestern China. Resource acquisition-related traits such as hydraulic conductivity and photosynthetic rate, and drought tolerance-related traits, including turgor loss point and wood density, were measured. We found that species in the early-succession forest had a higher hydraulic conductance and photosynthetic rate than those in the late-succession forest, while leaf water potential at turgor loss point and wood density showed nonsignificant differences between the two forests. In addition, we observed a significant negative relationship between photosynthetic rate and drought tolerance in the early-succession forest, which was not identified in late-succession forests. Our study indicates that resource acquisition rather than drought tolerance was the key factor explaining plant distributions in forests at different successional stages in karst regions. We also suggest that the resource acquisition and drought tolerance trade-off hypothesis is not always supported for karst region species. Our study could inform about the design of species replacements in successional forests and provide forest management and restoration guidelines for karst regions. Full article
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15 pages, 3088 KiB  
Article
Species Distribution Pattern and Their Contribution in Plant Community Assembly in Response to Ecological Gradients of the Ecotonal Zone in the Himalayan Region
by Inayat Ur Rahman, Aftab Afzal, Zafar Iqbal, Abeer Hashem, Al-Bandari Fahad Al-Arjani, Abdulaziz A. Alqarawi, Elsayed Fathi Abd_Allah, Mohnad Abdalla, Eduardo Soares Calixto, Shazia Sakhi, Niaz Ali and Rainer W. Bussmann
Plants 2021, 10(11), 2372; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10112372 - 04 Nov 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3062
Abstract
The ecotonal zones support populations that are acclimated to changing, fluctuating, and unstable conditions, and as a result, these populations are better equipped to adjust to expected change. In this context, a hypothesis was tested that there must be vegetation dominated by unique [...] Read more.
The ecotonal zones support populations that are acclimated to changing, fluctuating, and unstable conditions, and as a result, these populations are better equipped to adjust to expected change. In this context, a hypothesis was tested that there must be vegetation dominated by unique indicator plant species under the influence of ecological gradients in the ecotonal zone of Manoor Valley (northwestern Himalaya), Pakistan. Keeping the aforementioned hypothesis in mind, detailed field studies were conducted during different seasons in 2015-18. Line transect sampling and phytosociological characteristics (density, frequency, cover, and their relative values and Importance Value) were implemented as ecological methods. This investigation documented 97 plant species recorded from seven sampling sites. The community distribution modelling revealed that the ecological variables separate the seven sampling sites into two major plant communities (Indigofera-Parrotiopsis-Bistorta and Ziziphus-Leptopus-Quercus) recognized by TWINSPAN. The IBP communities showed a positive and significant correlation with altitude (1789.6–1896.3 m), sandy soil texture with a slightly acidic pH (6.4–6.5), and higher phosphorous (9–13 mg kg−1). In contrast with this, the ZLQ community was recognized on the southern slope under the strong influence of high electrical conductivity (2.82–5.4 dsm−1), organic matter (1.08–1.25%), calcium carbonate (5.8–7.6 mg kg−1), potassium (202–220 mg kg−1), and temperature (28.8–31.8 °C). Hence, both communities were found on opposite axes with clear differences based on the ecological gradients. NMDS clustered different species with similar habitats and different stands with common species, showing that plant species and stands were in a linear combination with ecological gradients. The IPB community has the maximum number of plant species (87 species), Shannon value (H’ = 4), Simpson value (0.98), and Pielou’s evenness value (0.96). Thus, the multivariate approaches revealed unique vegetation with sharp boundaries between communities which might be due to abrupt environmental changes. Full article
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15 pages, 718 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Low Irradiance on Leaf Nitrogen Allocation and Mesophyll Conductance to CO2 in Seedlings of Four Tree Species in Subtropical China
by Jingchao Tang, Baodi Sun, Ruimei Cheng, Zuomin Shi, Da Luo, Shirong Liu and Mauro Centritto
Plants 2021, 10(10), 2213; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10102213 - 18 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2550
Abstract
Low light intensity can lead to a decrease in photosynthetic capacity. However, could N-fixing species with higher leaf N contents mitigate the effects of low light? Here, we exposed seedlings of Dalbergia odorifera and Erythrophleum fordii (N-fixing trees), and Castanopsis hystrix and Betula [...] Read more.
Low light intensity can lead to a decrease in photosynthetic capacity. However, could N-fixing species with higher leaf N contents mitigate the effects of low light? Here, we exposed seedlings of Dalbergia odorifera and Erythrophleum fordii (N-fixing trees), and Castanopsis hystrix and Betula alnoides (non-N-fixing trees) to three irradiance treatments (100%, 40%, and 10% sunlight) to investigate the effects of low irradiance on leaf structure, leaf N allocation strategy, and photosynthetic physiological parameters in the seedlings. Low irradiance decreased the leaf mass per unit area, leaf N content per unit area (Narea), maximum carboxylation rate (Vcmax), maximum electron transport rate (Jmax), light compensation point, and light saturation point, and increased the N allocation proportion of light-harvesting components in all species. The studied tree seedlings changed their leaf structures, leaf N allocation strategy, and photosynthetic physiological parameters to adapt to low-light environments. N-fixing plants had a higher photosynthesis rate, Narea, Vcmax, and Jmax than non-N-fixing species under low irradiance and had a greater advantage in maintaining their photosynthetic rate under low-radiation conditions, such as under an understory canopy, in a forest gap, or when mixed with other species. Full article
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14 pages, 12505 KiB  
Article
Effects of Shade and Planting Methods on the Growth of Heracleum moellendorffii and Adenophora divaricata in Different Soil Moisture and Nutrient Conditions
by Woo Bin Youn, Jonathan Ogayon Hernandez and Byung Bae Park
Plants 2021, 10(10), 2203; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10102203 - 17 Oct 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2429
Abstract
In this study, the interacting effects of shade and planting methods on the growth and competitive ability of two understory plants Heracleum moellendorffii Hance and Adenophora divaricata Franch. & Sav. were investigated under different soil moisture and nutrient conditions. One-year-old seedlings were subjected [...] Read more.
In this study, the interacting effects of shade and planting methods on the growth and competitive ability of two understory plants Heracleum moellendorffii Hance and Adenophora divaricata Franch. & Sav. were investigated under different soil moisture and nutrient conditions. One-year-old seedlings were subjected to different light levels (0%, 35%, and 55% shade) and planting methods (monoculture and mixed) under contrasting soil moisture (1.2 L/m2 and 2.3 L/m2 of water) and soil nutrient conditions (unfertilized and fertilized). Here, shading significantly improved the height growth of H. moellendorffii (10–20 cm increase) in unfertilized and fertilized plots and at high soil moisture conditions. Contrarily, A. divaricata seedlings planted singly at full sunlight yielded a higher aboveground biomass growth (8–17 g plant−1), compared with those shaded and intercropped seedlings (0.9–3.9 g plant−1). The increased competitiveness of H. moellendorffii suppressed the growth of A. divaricata across different light conditions when planted together. The amount of light, soil moisture, and nutrients and their interactions significantly affected the growth of the seedlings, resulting in asymmetric interspecific competition between the two species. Results provide us with a better understanding of the environmental factors affecting plant growth for forest farming in the understory. Full article
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15 pages, 5912 KiB  
Article
A Decade’s Change in Vegetation Productivity and Its Response to Climate Change over Northeast China
by Min Yan, Mei Xue, Li Zhang, Xin Tian, Bowei Chen and Yuqi Dong
Plants 2021, 10(5), 821; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10050821 - 21 Apr 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2506
Abstract
In this study, we simulated vegetation net primary productivity (NPP) using the boreal ecosystem productivity simulator (BEPS) between 2003 and 2012 over Northeast China, a region that is significantly affected by climate change. The NPP was then validated against the measurements that were [...] Read more.
In this study, we simulated vegetation net primary productivity (NPP) using the boreal ecosystem productivity simulator (BEPS) between 2003 and 2012 over Northeast China, a region that is significantly affected by climate change. The NPP was then validated against the measurements that were calculated from tree ring data, with a determination coefficient (R2) = 0.84 and the root mean square error (RMSE) = 42.73 gC/m2·a. Overall, the NPP showed an increasing trend over Northeast China, with the average rate being 4.48 gC/m2·a. Subsequently, partial correlation and lag analysis were conducted between the NPP and climatic factors. The partial correlation analysis suggested that temperature was the predominant factor that accounted for changes in the forest NPP. Solar radiation was the main factor that affected the forest NPP, and the grass NPP was the most closely associated with precipitation. The relative humidity substantially affected the annual variability of the shrub and crop NPPs. The lag time of the NPP related to precipitation increased with the vegetation growth, and it was found that the lag period of the forest was longer than that of grass and crops, whereas the cumulative lag month of the forest was shorter. This comprehensive analysis of the response of the vegetation NPP to climate change can provide scientific references for the managing departments that oversee relevant resources. Full article
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18 pages, 3257 KiB  
Article
Anthropogenic Pressure on Tree Species Diversity, Composition, and Growth of Balanites aegyptiaca in Dinder Biosphere Reserve, Sudan
by Elmugheira M. I. Mohammed, Elhag A. M. H., Patrick A. Ndakidemi and Anna C. Treydte
Plants 2021, 10(3), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10030483 - 04 Mar 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2657
Abstract
Anthropogenic disturbances, such as illegal harvesting and livestock browsing, often affect natural forests. However, the resulting tree species diversity, composition, and population structure have rarely been quantified. We assessed tree species diversity and importance value indices and, in particular, Balanites aegyptiaca (L.) Del. [...] Read more.
Anthropogenic disturbances, such as illegal harvesting and livestock browsing, often affect natural forests. However, the resulting tree species diversity, composition, and population structure have rarely been quantified. We assessed tree species diversity and importance value indices and, in particular, Balanites aegyptiaca (L.) Del. population structure, across 100 sample plots of 25 m × 40 m in disturbed and non-disturbed sites at the Dinder Biosphere Reserve, Sudan, from April 2019 to April 2020. We found that the tree species diversity in non-disturbed sites was more than double that of disturbed sites (p < 0.001, T = 32.6), and seedlings and saplings comprised more than 72% of the entire tree population (F2,48 = 116.4, p = 0.034; F2,48 = 163.2, p = 0.021, respectively). The tree density of B. aegyptiaca in the disturbed site was less than half that of the non-disturbed site (p = 0.018, T = 2.6). Balanites aegyptiaca was seven times more aggregated in disturbed sites compared to more regularly spaced trees in non-disturbed sites (T = 39.3 and p < 0.001). The poor B. aegyptiaca population status of the disturbed site shows that the conservation of this vulnerable species is essential for a sustainable management and utilization scheme. Full article
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18 pages, 1743 KiB  
Review
Climate-Driven Plant Response and Resilience on the Tibetan Plateau in Space and Time: A Review
by Prakash Bhattarai, Zhoutao Zheng, Kuber Prasad Bhatta, Yagya Prasad Adhikari and Yangjian Zhang
Plants 2021, 10(3), 480; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10030480 - 04 Mar 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3310
Abstract
Climate change variation on a small scale may alter the underlying processes determining a pattern operating at large scale and vice versa. Plant response to climate change on individual plant levels on a fine scale tends to change population structure, community composition and [...] Read more.
Climate change variation on a small scale may alter the underlying processes determining a pattern operating at large scale and vice versa. Plant response to climate change on individual plant levels on a fine scale tends to change population structure, community composition and ecosystem processes and functioning. Therefore, we reviewed the literature on plant response and resilience to climate change in space and time at different scales on the Tibetan Plateau. We report that spatiotemporal variation in temperature and precipitation dynamics drives the vegetation and ecosystem function on the Tibetan Plateau (TP), following the water–energy dynamics hypothesis. Increasing temperature with respect to time increased the net primary productivity (NPP) on most parts of the Tibetan Plateau, but the productivity dynamics on some parts were constrained by 0.3 °C decade−1 rising temperature. Moreover, we report that accelerating studies on plant community assemblage and their contribution to ecosystem functioning may help to identify the community response and resilience to climate extremes. Furthermore, records on species losses help to build the sustainable management plan for the entire Tibetan Plateau. We recommend that incorporating long-term temporal data with multiple factor analyses will be helpful to formulate the appropriate measures for a healthy ecosystem on the Tibetan Plateau. Full article
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2020

Jump to: 2024, 2023, 2022, 2021

23 pages, 2827 KiB  
Review
Research Trends and Methodological Approaches of the Impacts of Windstorms on Forests in Tropical, Subtropical, and Temperate Zones: Where Are We Now and How Should Research Move Forward?
by Jonathan O. Hernandez, Lerma S.J. Maldia and Byung Bae Park
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1709; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121709 - 04 Dec 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3314
Abstract
Windstorm is one of the destructive natural disturbances, but the scale-link extent to which recurrent windstorms influenced forests ecosystems is poorly understood in a changing climate across regions. We reviewed the synergistic impacts of windstorms on forests and assessed research trends and methodological [...] Read more.
Windstorm is one of the destructive natural disturbances, but the scale-link extent to which recurrent windstorms influenced forests ecosystems is poorly understood in a changing climate across regions. We reviewed the synergistic impacts of windstorms on forests and assessed research trends and methodological approaches from peer-reviewed articles published from 2000 to 2020 in tropical (TRF), subtropical (SUF), and temperate (TEF) forests/zones, based on the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Overall, the majority of the reviewed studies were conducted in TRF (i.e., 40%), intermediate in SUF (i.e., 34%), and the lowest in TEF (i.e., 26%). Among the four levels of biological organization, the species-population and community-ecosystem levels had the highest number of study cases, while the molecular-cellular-individual and landscape levels had the lowest study cases in all forest types. Most of the articles reviewed dealt largely on tree mortality/survival and regeneration/succession for TRF, tree mortality/survival and species composition/richness/diversity for SUF, and stem density, gap dynamics, and regeneration/succession for TEF. However, research on the effects of windstorms on mycorrhizal symbioses, population genetics, and physiological adaptation, element fluxes via litterfall, litter decomposition, belowground processes, biological invasion, and tree health are less common in all forest types. Further, most of the studies were conducted in permanent plots but these studies mostly used observational design, while controlled studies are obviously limited. Consequently, more observational and controlled studies are needed on the topic reviewed, particularly studies at the molecular-cellular-individual and landscape levels, to help inform forest management decision-making about developing sustainable and resilient forests amid climate change. Full article
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11 pages, 297 KiB  
Review
Successional Categorization of European Hemi-boreal Forest Tree Species
by Raimundas Petrokas, Virgilijus Baliuckas and Michael Manton
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1381; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101381 - 16 Oct 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3433
Abstract
Developing forest harvesting regimes that mimic natural forest dynamics requires knowledge on typical species behaviors and how they respond to environmental conditions. Species regeneration and survival after disturbance depends on a species’ life history traits. Therefore, forest succession determines the extent to which [...] Read more.
Developing forest harvesting regimes that mimic natural forest dynamics requires knowledge on typical species behaviors and how they respond to environmental conditions. Species regeneration and survival after disturbance depends on a species’ life history traits. Therefore, forest succession determines the extent to which forest communities are able to cope with environmental change. The aim of this review was to (i) review the life history dynamics of hemi-boreal tree species in the context of ecological succession, and (ii) categorize each of these tree species into one of four successional development groups (gap colonizers, gap competitors, forest colonizers, or forest competitors). To do this we embraced the super-organism approach to plant communities using their life history dynamics and traits. Our review touches on the importance and vulnerability of these four types of successional groups, their absence and presence in the community, and how they can be used as a core component to evaluate if the development of the community is progressing towards the restoration of the climatic climax. Applying a theoretical framework to generate ideas, we suggest that forests should be managed to maintain environmental conditions that support the natural variety and sequence of tree species’ life histories by promoting genetic invariance and to help secure ecosystem resilience for the future. This could be achieved by employing harvesting methods that emulate natural disturbances and regeneration programs that contribute to maintenance of the four successional groups. Full article
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16 pages, 929 KiB  
Article
Effects of Increased N Deposition on Leaf Functional Traits of Four Contrasting Tree Species in Northeast China
by Attaullah Khan, Jingjue Sun, Nowsherwan Zarif, Kashif Khan, Muhammad Atif Jamil, Lixue Yang, Brent Clothier and Boris Rewald
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1231; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091231 - 18 Sep 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2902
Abstract
Northeast China is persistently affected by heavy nitrogen (N) deposition. Studying the induced variation in leaf traits is pivotal to develop an understanding of the adaptive plasticity of affected species. This study thus assesses effects of increased N deposition on leaf morphological and [...] Read more.
Northeast China is persistently affected by heavy nitrogen (N) deposition. Studying the induced variation in leaf traits is pivotal to develop an understanding of the adaptive plasticity of affected species. This study thus assesses effects of increased N deposition on leaf morphological and anatomical traits and their correlation among and with biomass allocation patterns. A factorial experiment was conducted utilizing seedlings of two gymnosperms (Larix gmelinii, Pinus koraiensis) and two angiosperms (Fraxinus mandshurica, Tilia amurensis). Leaf mass per area and leaf density decreased and leaf thickness increased under high N deposition but trait interrelations remained stable. In gymnosperms, leaf mass per area was correlated to both leaf thickness and area, while being correlated to leaf density only in angiosperms. Epidermis, mesophyll thickness, conduit and vascular bundle diameter increased. Despite the differences in taxonomic groups and leaf habits, the common patterns of variation suggest that a certain degree of convergence exists between the species’ reaction towards N deposition. However, stomata pore length increased in angiosperms, and decreased in gymnosperms under N deposition. Furthermore, biomass and leaf mass fraction were correlated to leaf traits in gymnosperms only, suggesting a differential coordination of leaf traits and biomass allocation patterns under high N deposition per taxonomic group. Full article
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