Special Issue "Forests as a Key Climate Solution"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Miguel A. Zavala
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Departmento de Ciencias de la Vida, Edificio Ciencias, Universidad de Alcalá, Campus Universitario, 28805 Alcalá de Henares (Madrid), Spain
Interests: forest ecology; climate change adaptation; sustainability; biodiversity; mathematical ecology
Dr. Paloma Ruiz-Benito
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Departamento de Ciencias de la Vida, Edificio Ciencias, Universidad de Alcalá, Campus Universitario, 28805 Alcalá de Henares (Madrid), Spain
Interests: climate change; diversity; ecosystem services; forest ecology; forest functioning; functional biogeography; land use change; mathematical ecology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Forests provide a wide range of ecosystem services critical to human well-being. Forests have a key role on the global carbon cycle and constitute a critical ecosystem for mitigation. Forests are threatened by human impacts chiefly land use changes and the increase of extreme events, such as droughts and fires, yet it is estimated that forest carbon could provide up to one third of climate solution that we need over the next two decades.

This Special Issue welcomes contributions about:

  • Key examples of forests as a potential solution to climate change issues.
  • Forests as drivers of the global carbon cycle and the role of forests in climate change mitigation.
  • Theoretical and empirical approximations to estimate carbon stored by forests including valuation of carbon storage and other ecosystem services.
  • Effects of climate change on forests, including extreme climatic events and disturbances.
  • Management solutions to adapt forests to climate change and to maintain ecosystem services.
  • Interdisciplinary issues related with forest adaptation and mitigation, especially with a social or policy component.

We invite scientist involved in theoretical, methodological and practical studies of forest ecology, mitigation and adaptation to contribute original research papers that will illustrate the continuing effort to understand the role of forests in climate regulation and the develop of novel approximations to mitigation, adaptation and sustainable forest management.

Prof. Dr. Miguel A. Zavala
Dr. Paloma Ruiz-Benito
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 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. Sustainability 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 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • adaptation
  • carbon
  • climate change
  • drivers
  • ecosystem services
  • forests
  • mitigation

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
A Multifactorial Approach to Value Supporting Ecosystem Services in Spanish Forests and Its Implications in a Warming World
Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 358; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020358 - 11 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Carbon storage and sequestration are key ecosystem services critical to human well-being and biodiversity conservation. In a warming context, the quantification and valuation of carbon storage and sequestration is important in ensuring that effective incentives are put in place to tackle climate change. [...] Read more.
Carbon storage and sequestration are key ecosystem services critical to human well-being and biodiversity conservation. In a warming context, the quantification and valuation of carbon storage and sequestration is important in ensuring that effective incentives are put in place to tackle climate change. The quantification and valuation of ES such as carbon storage and sequestration requires the calculus of actual values and prediction, however, it usually does not include key processes that can indirectly influence carbon dynamics (i.e., risk, conservation or management). Here, we define a multifactorial approach to value ecosystem services based on two stages: (1) a biophysical approximation that integrates yearly supporting ecosystem services (i.e., quantification of carbon storage and sequestration) and (2) a weighing approach including factors that indirectly influence carbon storage and sequestration or that deserve specific attention (i.e., risk, conservation or management factors). The quantification of carbon storage and sequestration indicated that Spanish forests store on average 43 Mg C ha−1 and sequestrate on average 1.02 Mg C ha−1 year−1. Forest structure was a strong determinant of carbon storage and sequestration in Iberian forests, hence there was a strong spatial variation in the carbon sink. We adapted the weighting values to a financial cap and the monetary value of carbon increased more than four times when the weighting factors were taken into account. Finally, we argue that a multifactorial approach to value supporting ecosystem services incorporating aspects related to conservation and risk prevention can facilitate ecosystem service valuation and assist policy makers and stakeholders to establish payment service policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forests as a Key Climate Solution)
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Open AccessArticle
Climate Change Sensitivity of Multi-Species Afforestation in Semi-Arid Benin
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1931; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061931 - 08 Jun 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The early growth stage is critical in the response of trees to climate change and variability. It is not clear, however, what climate metrics are best to define the early-growth sensitivity in assessing adaptation strategies of young forests to climate change. Using a [...] Read more.
The early growth stage is critical in the response of trees to climate change and variability. It is not clear, however, what climate metrics are best to define the early-growth sensitivity in assessing adaptation strategies of young forests to climate change. Using a combination of field experiments and modelling, we assessed the climate sensitivity of two promising afforestation species, Jatropha curcas L. and Moringa oleifera Lam., by analyzing their predicted climate–growth relationships in the initial two years after planting on degraded cropland in the semi-arid zone of Benin. The process-based WaNuLCAS model (version 4.3, World Agroforestry Centre, Bogor, Indonesia) was used to simulate aboveground biomass growth for each year in the climate record (1981–2016), either as the first or as the second year of tree growth. Linear mixed models related the annual biomass growth to climate indicators, and climate sensitivity indices quantified climate–growth relationships. In the first year, the length of dry spells had the strongest effect on tree growth. In the following year, the annual water deficit and length of dry season became the strongest predictors. Simulated rooting depths greater than those observed in the experiments enhanced biomass growth under extreme dry conditions and reduced sapling sensitivity to drought. Projected increases in aridity implied significant growth reduction, but a multi-species approach to afforestation using species that are able to develop deep-penetrating roots should increase the resilience of young forests to climate change. The results illustrate that process-based modelling, combined with field experiments, can be effective in assessing the climate–growth relationships of tree species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forests as a Key Climate Solution)
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Open AccessArticle
Estimating Forest Carbon Fluxes Using Machine Learning Techniques Based on Eddy Covariance Measurements
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010203 - 17 Jan 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Approximating the complex nonlinear relationships that dominate the exchange of carbon dioxide fluxes between the biosphere and atmosphere is fundamentally important for addressing the issue of climate change. The progress of machine learning techniques has offered a number of useful tools for the [...] Read more.
Approximating the complex nonlinear relationships that dominate the exchange of carbon dioxide fluxes between the biosphere and atmosphere is fundamentally important for addressing the issue of climate change. The progress of machine learning techniques has offered a number of useful tools for the scientific community aiming to gain new insights into the temporal and spatial variation of different carbon fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. In this study, adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS) and generalized regression neural network (GRNN) models were developed to predict the daily carbon fluxes in three boreal forest ecosystems based on eddy covariance (EC) measurements. Moreover, a comparison was made between the modeled values derived from these models and those of traditional artificial neural network (ANN) and support vector machine (SVM) models. These models were also compared with multiple linear regression (MLR). Several statistical indicators, including coefficient of determination (R2), Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE), bias error (Bias) and root mean square error (RMSE) were utilized to evaluate the performance of the applied models. The results showed that the developed machine learning models were able to account for the most variance in the carbon fluxes at both daily and hourly time scales in the three stands and they consistently and substantially outperformed the MLR model for both daily and hourly carbon flux estimates. It was demonstrated that the ANFIS and ANN models provided similar estimates in the testing period with an approximate value of R2 = 0.93, NSE = 0.91, Bias = 0.11 g C m−2 day−1 and RMSE = 1.04 g C m−2 day−1 for daily gross primary productivity, 0.94, 0.82, 0.24 g C m−2 day−1 and 0.72 g C m−2 day−1 for daily ecosystem respiration, and 0.79, 0.75, 0.14 g C m−2 day−1 and 0.89 g C m−2 day−1 for daily net ecosystem exchange, and slightly outperformed the GRNN and SVM models. In practical terms, however, the newly developed models (ANFIS and GRNN) are more robust and flexible, and have less parameters needed for selection and optimization in comparison with traditional ANN and SVM models. Consequently, they can be used as valuable tools to estimate forest carbon fluxes and fill the missing carbon flux data during the long-term EC measurements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forests as a Key Climate Solution)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Forest Adaptation to Climate Change along Steep Ecological Gradients: The Case of the Mediterranean-Temperate Transition in South-Western Europe
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3065; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093065 - 28 Aug 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Impacts of climate change are likely to be marked in areas with steep climatic transitions. Species turnover, spread of invasive species, altered productivity, and modified processes such as fire regimes can all spread rapidly along ecotones, which challenge the current paradigms of ecosystem [...] Read more.
Impacts of climate change are likely to be marked in areas with steep climatic transitions. Species turnover, spread of invasive species, altered productivity, and modified processes such as fire regimes can all spread rapidly along ecotones, which challenge the current paradigms of ecosystem management. We conducted a literature review at a continental-wide scale of South-Western European forests, where the drier and warmer conditions of the Mediterranean have been widely used as examples of what is expected in more temperate areas. Results from the literature point to: (a) an expansion of slow-growing evergreen hardwood trees; (b) increased dieback and mortality episodes in forests (both natural and planted) mostly related to competition and droughts, and mainly affecting conifers; and (c) an increase in emergent diseases and pests of keystone-trees used in agroforestry zones. There is no consensus in the literature that fire regimes are directly increasing due to climate change, but available satellite data of fire intensity in the last 17 years has been lower in zones where agroforestry practices are dominant compared to unmanaged forests. In contrast, there is agreement in the literature that the current spread of fire events is probably related to land abandonment patterns. The practice of agroforestry, common in all Mediterranean countries, emerges as a frequent recommendation in the literature to cope with drought, reduce fire risk, and maintain biodiverse landscapes and rural jobs. However, it is unknown the extent to which the open vegetation resulting from agroforestry is of interest to forest managers in temperate areas used to exploiting closed forest vegetation. Hence, many transitional areas surrounding the Mediterranean Basin may be left unmanaged with potentially higher climate-change risks, which require active monitoring in order to understand and help ongoing natural adaptation processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forests as a Key Climate Solution)
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