Special Issue "Selecting Climate Resilient Tree Species for Forest Restoration – What Is Necessary and What Is Possible?"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainability, Biodiversity and Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Helge Walentowski
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Faculty of Resource Management, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hildesheim/Holzminden/Göttingen [HAWK], Büsgenweg 1a, D-37077 Göttingen, Germany
Interests: Forest ecology; Maintaining ecological Functions and Managing Biodiversity under Global change conditions; natural risks; disturbance ecology; sustainable land use; forest bioeconomy; nature-based solutions; renewable raw materials; cooperative research
Prof. Dr. Christoph Leuschner
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Albrecht-von-Haller-Institute for Plant Sciences, Georg August University of Göttingen, Untere Karspüle 2, 37073 Göttingen, Germany
Interests: ecophysiology of temperate and tropical trees (carbon, water and nutrient relations); forest dynamics research; climate change effects on temperate and tropical forests; biodiversity and ecosystem function in forests; vegetation ecology of Central Europe
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Upcoming forestry decisions on the choice of the most suitable tree species and adequate management concepts in a future warmer world require bringing biological knowledge, silvicultural experience, and economic expertise together and interlocking theory and practice. Due to the long-term impact of forestry decisions, nothing is more fatal than choosing a tree species that turns out to be a fiasco after a few decades. This Special Issue would like to address three fields that require action: 

(1) Insufficient knowledge: We invite contributions that improve our knowledge of the influence of climatic factors on the growth and vitality of indigenous tree species and their stress tolerance in order to enable science-based predictions about their performance in a warmer and drier climate. In the focus are not the well-studied main timber species, but the secondary timber species and those which have minor or no economic value at present. We encourage submissions that can lay foundations on which to base authors’ choice of tree species for the “forest of the future”. 

(2) Inadequate consideration of research results: Existing knowledge on the stress tolerance and growth physiology of tree species is still not sufficiently used in forestry planning or not adequately transferred to forestry practitioners. We welcome work that opens avenues to better transfer existing international research results on the stress tolerance and biology of important commercial tree species to silvicultural planning. 

(3) Gaps in existing forest research capacities and strategies for the future: Interdisciplinarity and the link between basic and applied research are often not well developed, and not much capacity exists to develop innovative concepts beyond the beaten track. We welcome conceptional papers, which outline the goals and structure of interdisciplinary research concepts and research networks focusing on the challenges that forestry is facing because of climate change.

Prof. Dr. Helge Walentowski
Prof. Dr. Christoph Leuschner
Guest 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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • Indigenous tree species
  • Forest crisis management
  • Improved knowledge sharing
  • Capacity optimization
  • Interdisciplinary research

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
The Influence of Tilia tomentosa Moench on Plant Species Diversity and Composition in Mesophilic Forests of Western Romania–A Potential Tree Species for Warming Forests in Central Europe?
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7996; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147996 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 277
Abstract
Climate change challenges important native timber species in Central Europe. The introduction of non-native tree species originating from warmer climates is one option to make Central European forests compatible to global warming. This, however, requires an assessment of the species’ growth requirements, and [...] Read more.
Climate change challenges important native timber species in Central Europe. The introduction of non-native tree species originating from warmer climates is one option to make Central European forests compatible to global warming. This, however, requires an assessment of the species’ growth requirements, and of its impact on biodiversity in its native ranges. Silver lime (Tilia tomentosa), a moderately drought-tolerant, thermophilous tree species of South-eastern Europe is considered suitable for the future. Along three elevational transects in western Romania, we assessed the impact of changing climate and local site conditions on the abundance of this tree species and contrasted plant species diversity and composition of lime-dominated forests with mesophytic oak and beech forests. Local site conditions and disturbance histories shaped the distribution pattern of silver lime. When dominant, it reduced plant species diversity within stands due to its dense canopy. For shade-tolerant, mesophytic species, though, lime forests provided an additional habitat and extended their range into warmer environments. Thus, silver lime may have the potential as an admixed tree species forming a transitory meso-thermophilous habitat in the future. At the same time, silver lime may be limited under increasing drought frequency. Full article
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Article
Landscape Variables Influence over Active Restoration Strategies of Nothofagus Forests Degraded by Invasive Castor canadensis in Tierra del Fuego
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7541; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147541 - 06 Jul 2021
Viewed by 439
Abstract
North American beavers (Castor canadensis) are responsible for the major changes in the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago, altering riparian forests for the long-term. Passive restoration of the areas affected was ineffective in the medium-term (up to 20 years), being necessary active [...] Read more.
North American beavers (Castor canadensis) are responsible for the major changes in the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago, altering riparian forests for the long-term. Passive restoration of the areas affected was ineffective in the medium-term (up to 20 years), being necessary active strategies. Plantations in abandoned ponds were made with Nothofagus pumilio and N. antarctica tree species across Tierra del Fuego island (Argentina). In the first experiment, we analysed the influence of biotic and abiotic factors in three micro-habitats in the impacted areas: front and tail of ponds, and cut not-flooded forest areas. Five-years-old N. pumilio seedlings had 39% survival in front, 21% in tails, and 46% in cut areas at year-3 of the restoration experiments, being negatively influenced by plant cover and soil moisture. Lower growth was recorded during year-1 (0.7–0.9 cm yr−1), but increased on time (1.9 cm yr−1 front, 1.6 cm yr−1 tail, 4.3 cm yr−1 cut areas). A second experiment explores the alternative to substitute the tree species to face the harder conditions of the impact and climate change. For this, we conducted a new plantation at four locations across the main bioclimatic zones, where 10–40 cm N. antarctica plants attained 17% survival in meadows (front and tail) and 30% in cut areas, being higher with larger than smaller plants (25% vs. 18%), and where they are mainly influenced by rainfall (4% in sites <400 mm yr−1 and 41% in >400 mm yr−1). The main damage was detected in the above-ground biomass due to dryness, but root survival allowed the emergence of new shoots in the following growing season. It is necessary to monitor different Nothofagus species across natural environments in the landscape to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of different strategies in restoration plans, considering the selection of climate-resilient tree species. Full article
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Article
Climate Analogues for Temperate European Forests to Raise Silvicultural Evidence Using Twin Regions
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6522; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126522 - 08 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 474
Abstract
Climate analogues provide forestry practice with empirical evidence of how forests are managed in “twin” regions, i.e., regions where the current climate is comparable to the expected future climate at a site of interest. As the twin regions and their silvicultural evidence change [...] Read more.
Climate analogues provide forestry practice with empirical evidence of how forests are managed in “twin” regions, i.e., regions where the current climate is comparable to the expected future climate at a site of interest. As the twin regions and their silvicultural evidence change with each climate scenario and model, we focus our investigation on how the uncertainty in future climate affects tree species prevalence. We calculate the future climate from 2000 to 2100 for three ensemble variants of the mild (representative concentration pathway (RCP) 4.5) and hard (RCP 8.5) climate scenarios. We determine climatic distances between the future climate of our site of interest ‘Roth’ and the current climate in Europe, generating maps with twin regions from 2000 to 2100. From forest inventories in these twin regions we trace how the prevalence of 23 major tree species changes. We realize that it is not the ‘how’ but the ‘how fast’ species’ prevalence changes that differs between the scenario variants. We use this finding to develop a categorization of species groups that integrates the uncertainty in future climate. Twin regions provide further information on silvicultural practices, pest management, product chains etc. Full article
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Article
Intensified Interspecific Competition for Water after Afforestation with Robinia pseudoacacia into a Native Shrubland in the Taihang Mountains, Northern China
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 807; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020807 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 471
Abstract
Understanding how soil water source is used spatiotemporally by tree species and if native species can successfully coexist with introduced species is crucial for selecting species for afforestation. In the rocky mountainous areas of the Taihang Mountains, alien Robinia pseudoacacia L. has been [...] Read more.
Understanding how soil water source is used spatiotemporally by tree species and if native species can successfully coexist with introduced species is crucial for selecting species for afforestation. In the rocky mountainous areas of the Taihang Mountains, alien Robinia pseudoacacia L. has been widely afforested into the native shrublands dominated by Ziziphus jujuba Mill var. spinosa and Vitex negundo L. var. heterophylla to improve forest coverage and soil nutrients. However, little is known about the water relation among species, especially seasonal water use sources in different microsites. We selected the soil and plant xylem samples of two opposite microtopographic sites (ridge and valley) monthly in the growth season to analyze isotope composition. The proportions of water sources were quantified by the MixSIAR model and compared pairwise between species, microsites and seasons. We found that deep subsoil water at a depth of 40–50 cm contributed up to 50% of the total water uptake for R. pseudoacacia and Z. jujuba in the growing season, indicating that they stably used deeper soil water and had intense water competition. However, V. negundo had a more flexible water use strategy, which derived more than 50% of the total water uptake from the soil layer of 0–10 cm in the rainy season, but majorly captured soil water at a depth of 30–50 cm in the dry season. Therefore, high niche overlaps were shown in V. negundo with the other two species in the dry season, but niche segregation was seen in the rainy season. The microtopographic sites did not shift the seasonal dynamic of the water source use patterns of the three studied species, but the water use niche overlap was higher in the valley than in the ridge. Taken together, the introduced species R. pseudoacacia intensified water competition with the native semi-arbor species Z. jujuba, but it could commonly coexist with the native shrub species V. negundo. Therefore, our study on seasonal water use sources in different microsites provides insight into species interaction and site selection for R. pseudoacacia afforestation in the native shrub community in rocky mountainous areas. It is better to plant R. pseudoacacia in the shrubland in the valley so as to avoid intense water competition and control soil erosion. Full article
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