Editor's Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Article
Chemical Signals in Tree Rings from Northern Patagonia as Indicators of Calbuco Volcano Eruptions since the 16th Century
Forests 2021, 12(10), 1305; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12101305 - 25 Sep 2021
Abstract
The Calbuco volcano ranks third in the specific risk classification of volcanoes in Chile and has a detailed eruption record since 1853. During 2015, Calbuco had a sub-Plinian eruption with negative impacts in Chile and Argentina, highlighting the need to determine the long-term [...] Read more.
The Calbuco volcano ranks third in the specific risk classification of volcanoes in Chile and has a detailed eruption record since 1853. During 2015, Calbuco had a sub-Plinian eruption with negative impacts in Chile and Argentina, highlighting the need to determine the long-term history of its activity at a high-resolution time scale to obtain a better understanding of its eruptive frequency. We developed a continuous eruptive record of Calbuco for the 1514–2016 period by dendrochemical analysis of Fitzroya cupressoides tree rings at a biennium resolution using inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry. After comparing the chemical record of 20 elements contained in tree rings with historical eruptions, one group exhibited positive anomalies during (Pb/Sn) and immediately after (Mo/P/Zn/Cu) eruptions, with a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) ≥ 3, and so were classified as chemical tracers of past eruptions (TPE). The tree-ring width chronology also exhibited significant decreases in tree growth associated with eruptions of VEI ≥ 3. According to these records, we identified 11 new eruptive events of Calbuco, extending its eruptive chronology back to the 16th century and determining a mean eruptive frequency of ~23 years. Our results show the potential to use dendrochemical analysis to infer past volcanic eruptions in Northern Patagonia. This information provides a long-term perspective for assessing eruptive history in Northern Patagonia, with implications for territorial planning. Full article
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Article
Analysis of Olive Grove Destruction by Xylella fastidiosa Bacterium on the Land Surface Temperature in Salento Detected Using Satellite Images
Forests 2021, 12(9), 1266; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12091266 - 16 Sep 2021
Abstract
Agricultural activity replaces natural vegetation with cultivated land and it is a major cause of local and global climate change. Highly specialized agricultural production leads to extensive monoculture farming with a low biodiversity that may cause low landscape resilience. This is the case [...] Read more.
Agricultural activity replaces natural vegetation with cultivated land and it is a major cause of local and global climate change. Highly specialized agricultural production leads to extensive monoculture farming with a low biodiversity that may cause low landscape resilience. This is the case on the Salento peninsula, in the Apulia Region of Italy, where the Xylella fastidiosa bacterium has caused the mass destruction of olive trees, many of them in monumental groves. The historical land cover that characterized the landscape is currently in a transition phase and can strongly affect climate conditions. This study aims to analyze how the destruction of olive groves by X. fastidiosa affects local climate change. Land surface temperature (LST) data detected by Landsat 8 and MODIS satellites are used as a proxies for microclimate mitigation ecosystem services linked to the evolution of the land cover. Moreover, recurrence quantification analysis was applied to the study of LST evolution. The results showed that olive groves are the least capable forest type for mitigating LST, but they are more capable than farmland, above all in the summer when the air temperature is the highest. The differences in the average LST from 2014 to 2020 between olive groves and farmland ranges from 2.8 °C to 0.8 °C. Furthermore, the recurrence analysis showed that X. fastidiosa was rapidly changing the LST of the olive groves into values to those of farmland, with a difference in LST reduced to less than a third from the time when the bacterium was identified in Apulia six years ago. The change generated by X. fastidiosa started in 2009 and showed more or less constant behavior after 2010 without substantial variation; therefore, this can serve as the index of a static situation, which can indicate non-recovery or non-transformation of the dying olive groves. Failure to restore the initial environmental conditions can be connected with the slow progress of the uprooting and replacing infected plants, probably due to attempts to save the historic aspect of the landscape by looking for solutions that avoid uprooting the diseased plants. This suggests that social-ecological systems have to be more responsive to phytosanitary epidemics and adapt to ecological processes, which cannot always be easily controlled, to produce more resilient landscapes and avoid unwanted transformations. Full article
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Article
Productivity of Eucalyptus pellita in Sumatra: Acacia mangium Legacy, Response to Phosphorus, and Site Variables for Guiding Management
Forests 2021, 12(9), 1186; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12091186 - 01 Sep 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
We report on experimental studies conducted in South Sumatra with interrelated objectives to (i) examine the trends in production covering 30 years, including three rotations of Acacia mangium followed by Eucalyptus pellita which replaced A. mangium for managing the widespread threat of diseases; [...] Read more.
We report on experimental studies conducted in South Sumatra with interrelated objectives to (i) examine the trends in production covering 30 years, including three rotations of Acacia mangium followed by Eucalyptus pellita which replaced A. mangium for managing the widespread threat of diseases; (ii) understand the effects of inter-rotation slash and litter management applied to acacia (legacy effects) on E. pellita growth; (iii) assess the long term changes in the top soil layer arising from above; (iv) evaluate, through a network of experiments, across the landscape, the nature and extent of growth responses to additional phosphorus. This data was also used to explore some of the critical site and stand variables which determine the variations in productivity and responses to management. The current growth rates of E. pellita are lower than those achieved in A. mangium. The management-legacy effects by conserving site resources provides a sustainable base for the growth of E. pellita, but for further increase in productivity, additional management actions are necessary. Changes in soil pH, carbon, N and extractable P were relatively small after four rotations. Supply of P at planting gave wood volume gains at harvest, ranging from 16 to 66% across sites. The plinthite layer in the soil profile was related to productivity, with higher growth rates of E. pellita occurring when the plinthite was at deeper layers. There is much scope for increasing productivity per unit area in this landscape, and available knowledge can be synthesized into a package of best practices for application. Management should aim to improve the quality of inter-rotation management to ensure more than 90% survival, and fast growth rates during the first 2 years. We provide a framework for further research and for refining management to produce the much needed additional domestic wood supply for the local industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Production Sustainability of Tropical Forest Plantations)
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Article
Effects of Spatial Boreal Forest Harvesting Practices on Efficiency through a Benchmarking Approach in Eastern Canada
Forests 2021, 12(8), 1108; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12081108 - 19 Aug 2021
Abstract
In eastern Canada, harvesting practices and spatial organization of harvested sites are modulated according to ecosystem forest management objectives. We determined how spatial organization affects efficiency by evaluating wood procurement costs. A comparative analysis of efficiency was presented using a non-parametric technique, i.e., [...] Read more.
In eastern Canada, harvesting practices and spatial organization of harvested sites are modulated according to ecosystem forest management objectives. We determined how spatial organization affects efficiency by evaluating wood procurement costs. A comparative analysis of efficiency was presented using a non-parametric technique, i.e., data envelopment analysis (DEA), which allows multiple variable analyses of different factors. A database of 50 harvested sites during the period 2015–2018, located along a north-south latitudinal gradient between 46° to 50°, was constructed with variables describing spatial organization (roads and dispersion of patches) and operational aspects (wood procurement costs). The evaluated financial efficiencies show high values greater than 70%. The causes of inefficiency were dispersion of the patches, distance to the mill, and the number of kilometers of built roads. When efficiency values were arranged by latitudinal location, northern sites exhibited a lower value of overall and scale efficiency due to the high values in the wood harvested, and developed road density of the zone. Full article
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Article
Enhancement of Wood Biological Resistance and Fire Retardant Properties after Laccase Assisted Enzymatic Grafting
Forests 2021, 12(8), 1102; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12081102 - 18 Aug 2021
Abstract
Several treatments of wood, based on laccase assisted grafting, were evaluated in this paper. Firstly, the efficacy of lignosulfonate and kraft lignin from Eucalyptus spp. as a wood preservative was assessed. Both ligno products were anchored to wood surfaces via laccase treatment in [...] Read more.
Several treatments of wood, based on laccase assisted grafting, were evaluated in this paper. Firstly, the efficacy of lignosulfonate and kraft lignin from Eucalyptus spp. as a wood preservative was assessed. Both ligno products were anchored to wood surfaces via laccase treatment in order to avoid leaching. Moreover, some of these wood preservative treatments were completed with the addition of silver nanoparticles. For comparison, a commercial product was also analyzed in terms of its fungal decay resistance during surface application, in accordance to use class 3, CEN EN 335. Secondly, the anchoring of a flame retardant based on tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBPA) was attempted, to limit the dispersion of this toxic substance from treated wood. In both cases, kraft lignin and lignosulfonate showed an improvement in wood durability, even after leaching. However, the addition of silver nanoparticles did not improve the efficacy. On the other hand, the efficacy of TBBPA as a flame retardant was not improved by grafting it with laccase treatment or by adding O2, a co-factor of laccase. Full article
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Article
Spatial Patterns of ‘Ōhi‘a Mortality Associated with Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death and Ungulate Presence
Forests 2021, 12(8), 1035; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12081035 - 04 Aug 2021
Abstract
Effective forest management, particularly during forest disturbance events, requires timely and accurate monitoring information at appropriate spatial scales. In Hawai‘i, widespread ‘ōhi‘a (Metrosideros polymorpha Gaud.) mortality associated with introduced fungal pathogens affects forest stands across the archipelago, further impacting native ecosystems already under [...] Read more.
Effective forest management, particularly during forest disturbance events, requires timely and accurate monitoring information at appropriate spatial scales. In Hawai‘i, widespread ‘ōhi‘a (Metrosideros polymorpha Gaud.) mortality associated with introduced fungal pathogens affects forest stands across the archipelago, further impacting native ecosystems already under threat from invasive species. Here, we share results from an integrated monitoring program based on high resolution (<5 cm) aerial imagery, field sampling, and confirmatory laboratory testing to detect and monitor ‘ōhi‘a mortality at the individual tree level across four representative sites on Hawai‘i island. We developed a custom imaging system for helicopter operations to map thousands of hectares (ha) per flight, a more useful scale than the ten to hundreds of ha typically covered using small, unoccupied aerial systems. Based on collected imagery, we developed a rating system of canopy condition to identify ‘ōhi‘a trees suspected of infection by the fungal pathogens responsible for rapid ‘ōhi‘a death (ROD); we used this system to quickly generate and share suspect tree candidate locations with partner agencies to rapidly detect new mortality outbreaks and prioritize field sampling efforts. In three of the four sites, 98% of laboratory samples collected from suspect trees assigned a high confidence rating (n = 50) and 89% of those assigned a medium confidence rating (n = 117) returned positive detections for the fungal pathogens responsible for ROD. The fourth site, which has a history of unexplained ‘ōhi‘a mortality, exhibited much lower positive detection rates: only 6% of sampled trees assigned a high confidence rating (n = 16) and 0% of the sampled suspect trees assigned a medium confidence rating (n = 20) were found to be positive for the pathogen. The disparity in positive detection rates across study sites illustrates challenges to definitively determine the cause of ‘ōhi‘a mortality from aerial imagery alone. Spatial patterns of ROD-associated ‘ōhi‘a mortality were strongly affected by ungulate presence or absence as measured by the density of suspected ROD trees in fenced (i.e., ungulate-free) and unfenced (i.e., ungulate present) areas. Suspected ROD tree densities in neighboring areas containing ungulates were two to 69 times greater than those found in ungulate-free zones. In one study site, a fence line breach occurred during the study period, and feral ungulates entered an area that was previously ungulate-free. Following the breach, suspect ROD tree densities in this area rose from 0.02 to 2.78 suspect trees/ha, highlighting the need for ungulate control to protect ‘ōhi‘a stands from Ceratocystis-induced mortality and repeat monitoring to detect forest changes and resource threats. Full article
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Article
Assessing Forest Structural and Topographic Effects on Habitat Productivity for the Endangered Apennine Brown Bear
Forests 2021, 12(7), 916; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12070916 - 14 Jul 2021
Abstract
Any forest management potentially affects the availability and quality of resources for forest-dwelling wildlife populations, including endangered species. One such species is the Apennine brown bear, a small and unique population living in the central Apennines of Italy. The conservation of this relict [...] Read more.
Any forest management potentially affects the availability and quality of resources for forest-dwelling wildlife populations, including endangered species. One such species is the Apennine brown bear, a small and unique population living in the central Apennines of Italy. The conservation of this relict bear population is hampered by the lack of knowledge of the fine-scale relationships between productivity of key foods and forest structure, as this prevents the design and implementation of effective forest management plans. To address this issue, we sampled the main structural stand attributes within the bear’s range and used multivariate generalized linear mixed models in a Bayesian framework to relate forest structural attributes to proxies of productivity of key bear foods. We found that hard mast was positively associated with both forest typology and high forest system, but negatively related to both the time elapsed since the last forest utilization and the amount of deadwood. The availability of soft-mast producing species was positively related to past forestry practices but negatively associated with steep slopes historically managed with high tree densities and a low silvicultural disturbance. Our findings also suggest that herb cover was negatively affected by terrain steepness and basal area, while herb productivity was positively affected by northern and southern exposure. Additionally, richness of forest ants was associated with forests characterized by low volume and high density. Our findings confirm that the productivity of natural bear foods is strongly affected by forest structural and topographical characteristics and are relevant as preliminary information for forest management practices to support the long-term conservation of Apennine bears. Full article
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Article
From Acid Rain to Low Precipitation: The Role Reversal of Norway Spruce, Silver Fir, and European Beech in a Selection Mountain Forest and Its Implications for Forest Management
Forests 2021, 12(7), 894; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12070894 - 08 Jul 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Research Highlights: We make use of long term observation data from a selection forest in Bavaria. Despite the changing environmental conditions, stand level productivity remains constant over time. Maintaining species and structural diversity by forest management can contribute to resilient forest ecosystems. Background [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: We make use of long term observation data from a selection forest in Bavaria. Despite the changing environmental conditions, stand level productivity remains constant over time. Maintaining species and structural diversity by forest management can contribute to resilient forest ecosystems. Background and Objectives: Forests in mountains are similarly affected by environmental changes like those in northern latitudes as species are closer to the edge of their ecological niche. There are recent studies that report species-specific responses to climate change in unmanaged, mono-layered mountain mixed forests. We analyze how environmental changes modify the growth of multi-layered, managed selection forest, which are often targeted for stabilization and risk prevention. We pose the central hypothesis that different species-specific susceptibility to disturbances and structural diversity contribute to ecosystem stability. Materials and Methods: Based on the long-term experiment Freyung 129 in the montane zone of the Bavarian Forest, Germany we analyze long term chronologies of periodic single tree and stand growth of Norway Spruce, silver fir, and European beech in dependence of environmental factors and forest management. Results: First, we show that despite environmental changes in terms of air pollution and drought stress, productivity at stand level persists constantly because of structural diversity and species traits. Second, we show that the species-specific contribution to total stand growth and growth distribution among stem diameter classes may change over time; the species interactions balance total growth. Third, we reveal a role reversal of tree species growth pattern. N. spruce was superior in growth in the first half and was replaced by s. fir in the second half of the survey period. Fourth, we identify the interplay of different stress factors on species-specific growth as the main cause for species-specific asynchronous but growth stabilizing reaction pattern. Finally, we show that density regulation was limited in its impacts to mitigate prevailing stress factors. Conclusions: We discuss the reasons for the observed stability of productivity. We interpret results, where especially the diversity of species and structure typical for selection forests result in stable productivity and wider plateau of the density-productivity relationship, and the suitability of the selection forest concept for risk prevention and stress resilience. We conclude that species composition and stand structure of selection forestry in mixed mountain contribute to climate smart forestry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate-Smart Forestry (CSF) in Mountain Regions)
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Article
How to Evaluate Downed Fine Woody Debris Including Logging Residues?
Forests 2021, 12(7), 881; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12070881 - 06 Jul 2021
Abstract
Volume or biomass estimates of downed woody debris are crucial for numerous applications such as forest carbon stock assessment, biodiversity assessments, and more recently for environmental evaluations of biofuel harvesting practices. Both fixed-area sampling (FAS) and line-intersect sampling (LIS) are used in forest [...] Read more.
Volume or biomass estimates of downed woody debris are crucial for numerous applications such as forest carbon stock assessment, biodiversity assessments, and more recently for environmental evaluations of biofuel harvesting practices. Both fixed-area sampling (FAS) and line-intersect sampling (LIS) are used in forest inventories and ecological studies because they are unbiased and accurate methods. Nevertheless, most studies and inventories take into account only coarse woody debris (CWD, >10 cm in diameter), although fine woody debris (FWD) can account for a large part of the total downed biomass. We compared the LIS and FAS methods for FWD volume or biomass estimates and evaluated the influence of diameter and wood density measurements, plot number and size. We used a Test Zone (a defined surface area where a complete inventory was carried out, in addition to FAS and LIS), a Pilot Stand (a forest stand where both LIS and FAS methods were applied) and results from 10 field inventories in deciduous temperate forest stands with various conditions and amounts of FWD. Both methods, FAS and LIS, provided accurate (in trueness and precision) volume estimates, but LIS proved to be the more efficient. Diameter measurement was the main source of error: using the mean diameter, even by diameter class, led to an error for volume estimates of around 35%. On the contrary, wood density measurements can be simplified without much influence on the accuracy of biomass estimates (use of mean density by diameter class). We show that the length and number of transects greatly influences the estimates, and that it is better to apply more, shorter transects than fewer, longer ones. Finally, we determined the optimal methodology and propose a simplification of some measurements to obtain the best time-precision trade-off for FWD inventories at the stand level. Full article
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Article
A Test of the Relationship between Sap Flow and Evapotranspiration, Normalized via Leaf Area, under Non-Limiting Soil Moisture
Forests 2021, 12(7), 875; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12070875 - 02 Jul 2021
Abstract
Sap flow is the movement of fluid within plants, whereas reference evapotranspiration (ETo) occurs external to plants as the transfer of water vapor from a hypothetical grass crop. Yet, on daily time scales, and when soil moisture is non-limiting, sap [...] Read more.
Sap flow is the movement of fluid within plants, whereas reference evapotranspiration (ETo) occurs external to plants as the transfer of water vapor from a hypothetical grass crop. Yet, on daily time scales, and when soil moisture is non-limiting, sap flow has a positive linear relationship with ETo. Furthermore, the E2.88 model hypothesises that sap flow (Q) is equal to ETo when parameters are normalized by leaf area (AL) via the following relationship: Q/AL = ETo/2.88. The value of 2.88 is the supposed leaf area index of the hypothetical grass in the ETo model. Therefore, the E2.88 model potentially provides a null or expected value of sap flow based on independent ETo parameters and leaf area. A test of the E2.88 model was conducted via three sap flow methods (dual method approach [DMA], heat ratio [HRM], and Tmax method) on the measurement of three woody species: Pyrus communis L. (var. Beurre Bosc Pear), Syzygium floribundum F. Muell. (Weeping Lilly Pilly), and Syzygium paniculatum Gaertn. (Lilly Pilly). A data compilation of the literature expanded the sample size to include additional species. The measured trees and data compilation found a strong, positive correlation between sap flow and ETo normalized by leaf area. However, the interpretation of the results was dependent on the sap flow method. The DMA had an average accuracy of 1.6%, whereas the HRM and Tmax significantly underestimated and overestimated sap flow, respectively. This study suggested that sap flow can be reliably estimated from accurate leaf area and ETo measurements and when other variables, such as soil moisture, are non-limiting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
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Article
Investigating the Role of Restoration Plantings in Introducing Disease—A Case Study Using Phytophthora
Forests 2021, 12(6), 764; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12060764 - 10 Jun 2021
Abstract
Translocating plants to natural habitats is a long-standing conservation practice but is growing in magnitude to deliver international targets to mitigate climate change and reverse biodiversity loss. Concurrently, outbreaks of novel plant pests and pathogens are multiplying with increased global trade network connectivity [...] Read more.
Translocating plants to natural habitats is a long-standing conservation practice but is growing in magnitude to deliver international targets to mitigate climate change and reverse biodiversity loss. Concurrently, outbreaks of novel plant pests and pathogens are multiplying with increased global trade network connectivity and larger volumes of imported plants, raising concerns that restoration plantings may act as introductory disease pathways. We used UK common juniper, subject since ~1995 to conservation plantings and now experiencing significant mortality from the non-native pathogen Phytophthora austrocedri Gresl. & E. M. Hansen, as an example species to explore the availability of monitoring data that could be used to assess disease risks posed by planting. We compiled spatial records of juniper planting including qualitative data on sources of planting material, propagation settings and organization types that managed planting projects. We found that juniper planting activity expanded every decade since 1990 across the UK and while not all planting resulted in outbreaks, 19% of P. austrocedri detections were found within 2 km of a known planting. We highlight the scale and diversity of organizations raising and planting juniper, as well as the lack of source material traceability, and suggest that cross-sector collaboration and changes in practice are required to reduce the risks of pathogen introduction posed by restoration planting. Full article
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Article
Simulating the Effects of Intensifying Silviculture on Desired Species Yields across a Broad Environmental Gradient
Forests 2021, 12(6), 755; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12060755 - 08 Jun 2021
Abstract
In the past two decades, forest management has undergone major paradigm shifts that are challenging the current forest modelling architecture. New silvicultural systems, guidelines for natural disturbance emulation, a desire to enhance structural complexity, major advances in successional theory, and climate change have [...] Read more.
In the past two decades, forest management has undergone major paradigm shifts that are challenging the current forest modelling architecture. New silvicultural systems, guidelines for natural disturbance emulation, a desire to enhance structural complexity, major advances in successional theory, and climate change have all highlighted the limitations of current empirical models in covering this range of conditions. Mechanistic models, which focus on modelling underlying ecological processes rather than specific forest conditions, have the potential to meet these new paradigm shifts in a consistent framework, thereby streamlining the planning process. Here we use the NEBIE (a silvicultural intervention scale that classifies management intensities as natural, extensive, basic, intensive, and elite) plot network, from across Ontario, Canada, to examine the applicability of a mechanistic model, ZELIG-CFS (a version of the ZELIG tree growth model developed by the Canadian Forest Service), to simulate yields and species compositions. As silvicultural intensity increased, overall yield generally increased. Species compositions met the desired outcomes when specific silvicultural treatments were implemented and otherwise generally moved from more shade-intolerant to more shade-tolerant species through time. Our results indicated that a mechanistic model can simulate complex stands across a range of forest types and silvicultural systems while accounting for climate change. Finally, we highlight the need to improve the modelling of regeneration processes in ZELIG-CFS to better represent regeneration dynamics in plantations. While fine-tuning is needed, mechanistic models present an option to incorporate adaptive complexity into modelling forest management outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Simulation Models of the Dynamics of Forest Ecosystems)
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Article
Developmental Dynamics of Gilbertiodendron dewevrei (Fabaceae) Drive Forest Structure and Biomass in the Eastern Congo Basin
Forests 2021, 12(6), 738; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12060738 - 04 Jun 2021
Abstract
Patterns of structural change associated with monodominant tropical forest complexes have remained enigmatic for decades. Here, we extend previous efforts in presenting a longitudinal, local-scale analysis of forest dynamics in central Africa. Using four 10-ha census plots measured across three time periods (959,312 [...] Read more.
Patterns of structural change associated with monodominant tropical forest complexes have remained enigmatic for decades. Here, we extend previous efforts in presenting a longitudinal, local-scale analysis of forest dynamics in central Africa. Using four 10-ha census plots measured across three time periods (959,312 stems ≥1 cm DBH), we analyzed changes in a number of biometrical attributes for four distinct forest types capturing the developmental gradient from mixed species forest to Gilbertiodendron dewevrei-dominated forest. We modeled above-ground biomass (AGB), basal area (BA), and stem density across all species, and diameter at breast height (DBH), recruitment, and mortality for Gilbertiodendron dewevrei. We hypothesized that trends in these attributes are consistent with a slow spread of Gilbertiodendron dewevrei into adjacent mixed species forest. We identified statistically significant increases in AGB and BA across sites and positive, though nonsignificant, increases in AGB and BA for most forest types. DBH and relative recruitment increased significantly for Gilbertiodendron dewevrei stems, while relative mortality did not. When looking from mixed species to transitional to monodominant forest types, we found a statistically significant pattern of developmental aggradation and net expansion of monodominant forest. We do not attribute this to atmospheric forcing but to a combination of (a) landscape-scale recovery or response to widespread disturbance (primarily historical fires), (b) Gilbertiodendron dewevrei’s ectomycorrhizal association, and (c) Gilbertiodendron dewevrei’s exceptional stress tolerance traits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Article
sUAS for 3D Tree Surveying: Comparative Experiments on a Closed-Canopy Earthen Dam
Forests 2021, 12(6), 659; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12060659 - 22 May 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Defined as “personal remote sensing”, small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) have been increasingly utilized for landscape mapping. This study tests a sUAS procedure of 3D tree surveying of a closed-canopy woodland on an earthen dam. Three DJI drones—Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 Pro, and [...] Read more.
Defined as “personal remote sensing”, small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) have been increasingly utilized for landscape mapping. This study tests a sUAS procedure of 3D tree surveying of a closed-canopy woodland on an earthen dam. Three DJI drones—Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 Pro, and M100/RedEdge-M assembly—were used to collect imagery in six missions in 2019–2020. A canopy height model was built from the sUAS-extracted point cloud and LiDAR bare earth surface. Treetops were delineated in a variable-sized local maxima filter, and tree crowns were outlined via inverted watershed segmentation. The outputs include a tree inventory that contains 238 to 284 trees (location, tree height, crown polygon), varying among missions. The comparative analysis revealed that the M100/RedEdge-M at a higher flight altitude achieved the best performance in tree height measurement (RMSE = 1 m). However, despite lower accuracy, the Phantom 4 Pro is recommended as an optimal drone for operational tree surveying because of its low cost and easy deployment. This study reveals that sUAS have good potential for operational deployment to assess tree overgrowth toward dam remediation solutions. With 3D imaging, sUAS remote sensing can be counted as a reliable, consumer-oriented tool for monitoring our ever-changing environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Forests Inventory and Management)
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Article
Genetic Diversity and Population Genetic Structure of Ancient Platycladus orientalis L. (Cupressaceae) in the Middle Reaches of the Yellow River by Chloroplast Microsatellite Markers
Forests 2021, 12(5), 592; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12050592 - 09 May 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Ancient trees are famous for their life spans of hundreds or even thousands of years. These trees are rare, a testament to history and are important for scientific research. Platycladus orientalis, with the longest life span and a beautiful trunk, has become [...] Read more.
Ancient trees are famous for their life spans of hundreds or even thousands of years. These trees are rare, a testament to history and are important for scientific research. Platycladus orientalis, with the longest life span and a beautiful trunk, has become the most widely planted tree species and is believed to be sacred in China. Extensive declines in habitat area and quality pose the greatest threats to the loss of genetic diversity of ancient P. orientalis trees in the middle reaches of the Yellow River. Strengthening the protection of P. orientalis genetic resources is of great significance for the long-term development of reasonable conservation and breeding strategies. To better understand the genetic diversity and population structure of P. orientalis, we successfully analyzed four polymorphic chloroplast simple sequence repeat (cpSSR) loci and applied them to diversity and population structure analyses of 202 individuals from 13 populations in the middle reaches of the Yellow River. Based on the cpSSR data, 16 alleles were detected across 202 individuals, and a moderate level of genetic diversity was inferred from the genetic diversity parameters (H = 0.367 and AR = 1.964). The mean pairwise genetic differentiation coefficient (Fst) between populations was 0.153, indicating relatively high genetic population differentiations. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed that only 8% of the variation occurred among populations. Structure analysis divided the 13 P. orientalis populations into two groups with no significant geographic population structure, which was consistent with the unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA) and Mantel test results. These results may indicate that transplanting and cultivation by ancient human activities are the main factors responsible for the revealed pattern of genetic differentiation of ancient P. orientalis populations. Our research is of great significance for the future establishment of protection schemes and scientific breeding of P. orientalis. Full article
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Article
A STELLA-Based Model to Simultaneously Predict Hydrological Processes, N Uptake and Biomass Production in a Eucalyptus Plantation
Forests 2021, 12(5), 515; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12050515 - 21 Apr 2021
Abstract
Eucalyptus is one of the fastest growing hardwoods for bioenergy production. Currently, few modeling tools exist to simultaneously estimate soil hydrological processes, nitrogen (N) uptake, and biomass production in a eucalyptus plantation. In this study, a STELLA (Structural Thinking and Experiential Learning Laboratory [...] Read more.
Eucalyptus is one of the fastest growing hardwoods for bioenergy production. Currently, few modeling tools exist to simultaneously estimate soil hydrological processes, nitrogen (N) uptake, and biomass production in a eucalyptus plantation. In this study, a STELLA (Structural Thinking and Experiential Learning Laboratory with Animation)-based model was developed to meet this need. After the model calibration and validation, a simulation scenario was developed to assess eucalyptus (E. grandis × urophylla) annual net primary production (ANPP), woody biomass production (WBP), water use efficiency (WUE), and N use efficiency (NUE) for a simulation period of 20 years. Simulation results showed that a typical annual variation pattern was predicted for water use, N uptake, and ANPP, increasing from spring to fall and decreasing from fall to the following winter. Overall, the average NUE during the growth stage was 700 kg/kg. To produce 1000 kg eucalyptus biomass, it required 114.84 m3 of water and 0.92 kg of N. This study suggests that the STELLA-based model is a useful tool to estimate ANPP, WBP, WUE, and NUE in a eucalyptus plantation. Full article
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Article
Genome-Wide Characterization of Dirigent Proteins in Populus: Gene Expression Variation and Expression Pattern in Response to Marssonina brunnea and Phytohormones
Forests 2021, 12(4), 507; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12040507 - 19 Apr 2021
Abstract
Marssonina brunnea causes a major disease that limits poplar growth. Lignin and lignan play essential roles in protecting plants from various biological stresses. Dirigent (DIR) proteins are thought to control the stereoselective coupling of coniferyl alcohol in the formation of lignan and lignin. [...] Read more.
Marssonina brunnea causes a major disease that limits poplar growth. Lignin and lignan play essential roles in protecting plants from various biological stresses. Dirigent (DIR) proteins are thought to control the stereoselective coupling of coniferyl alcohol in the formation of lignan and lignin. DIR family members have been well studied in several plant species, but no previous detailed genome-wide analysis has been carried out in forest trees, such as poplar. We identified 40 PtDIR genes in Populus trichocarpa and classified them into three subgroups (DIR-a, DIR-b/d, and DIR-e) based on phylogenetic analyses. These genes are distributed on 11 poplar chromosomes, and 80% of PtDIRs (32/40) are intronless. The cis-element analysis inferred that PtDIRs possess many types of biological and abiotic stress-response cis-elements. We also analyzed intra- and inter-specific collinearity, which provided deep insights into the evolutionary characteristics of the poplar DIR genes. Analyses of the protein tertiary structure and critical amino acid residues showed that PtDIR7–10 and PtDIR13–16, which belong to the DIR-a subfamily, might be involved in the regio- and stereo-selectivity of bimolecular phenoxy radical coupling in poplars. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) analysis revealed different expression patterns for the PtDIR genes of P. trichocarpa and the PeDIR genes of ‘Nanlin 895’ in various tissues. Additionally, we analyzed responses of PeDIRs to M. brunnea and different phytohormone treatments (abscisic acid, salicylic acid, methyl jasmonate, and ethylene) in ‘Nanlin 895’. The results showed that at least 18 genes responded strongly to M. brunnea, and these PeDIRs also showed significant responses to phytohormones. These results suggest that DIR genes are involved in the poplar defense response against M. brunnea, and this study will provide fundamental insights for future research on poplar DIR genes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Genetics and Molecular Biology)
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Article
Rapid Detection of Pine Pathogens Lecanosticta acicola, Dothistroma pini and D. septosporum on Needles by Probe-Based LAMP Assays
Forests 2021, 12(4), 479; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12040479 - 14 Apr 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
Needle blights are serious needle fungal diseases affecting pines both in natural and productive forests. Among needle blight agents, the ascomycetes Lecanosticta acicola, Dothistroma pini and D. septosporum are of particular concern. These pathogens need specific, fast and accurate diagnostics since they [...] Read more.
Needle blights are serious needle fungal diseases affecting pines both in natural and productive forests. Among needle blight agents, the ascomycetes Lecanosticta acicola, Dothistroma pini and D. septosporum are of particular concern. These pathogens need specific, fast and accurate diagnostics since they are regulated species in many countries and may require differential management measures. Due to the similarities in fungal morphology and the symptoms they elicit, these species are hard to distinguish using morphological characteristics. The symptoms can also be confused with those caused by insects or abiotic agents. DNA-based detection is therefore recommended. However, the specific PCR assays that have been produced to date for the differential diagnosis of these pathogens can be applied only in a well-furnished laboratory and the procedure takes a relatively long execution time. Surveillance and forest protection would benefit from a faster diagnostic method, such as a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay, which requires less sophisticated equipment and can also be deployed directly on-site using portable devices. LAMP assays for the rapid and early detection of L. acicola, D. pini and D. septosporum were developed in this work. Species-specific LAMP primers and fluorescent assimilating probes were designed for each assay, targeting the beta tubulin (β-tub2) gene for the two Dothistroma species and the elongation factor (EF-1α) region for L. acicola. Each reaction detected its respective pathogen rapidly and with high specificity and sensitivity in DNA extracts from both pure fungal cultures and directly from infected pine needles. These qualities and the compatibility with inexpensive portable instrumentation position these LAMP assays as an effective method for routine phytosanitary control of plant material in real time, and they could profitably assist the management of L. acicola, D. pini and D. septosporum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology, Identification and Management of Forest Diseases)
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Article
Effect of Temperature and Exposure Time on Cambium Cell Viability In Vitro for Eucalyptus Species
Forests 2021, 12(4), 445; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12040445 - 06 Apr 2021
Abstract
(1) Research Highlights: Thermal damage to cambium cells of Eucalyptus held in vitro was recorded at sublethal temperatures (40 °C–50 °C) when the duration of exposure extends beyond 2.5 min up to 5 min. (2) Background and Objectives: During a forest fire, heat [...] Read more.
(1) Research Highlights: Thermal damage to cambium cells of Eucalyptus held in vitro was recorded at sublethal temperatures (40 °C–50 °C) when the duration of exposure extends beyond 2.5 min up to 5 min. (2) Background and Objectives: During a forest fire, heat can be transferred through tree bark potentially impacting viability of vascular cambium cells and the perennial growth of the tree. With the increased temperature of the cambium, cells are known to lose viability at temperatures exceeding 60 °C. However, it is possible that extended exposure to temperatures below 60 °C may also impair cell viability. This study aimed to identify the effect of the temperature and exposure time interaction on the cambium cell viability of Eucalyptus, a genus widely distributed in natural forests and commercial plantations globally. (3) Methods: Excised cambium-phloem tissue sections from three Eucalyptus species (Messmate–E. obliqua L’Hér., Narrow-leaf peppermint–E. radiata Sieber ex DC. and Swamp gum–E. ovata Labill.) were exposed in vitro to a series of temperature–time treatments (40 °C, 50 °C, 60 °C, 70 °C for 1 min, 2.5 min, and 5 min) and tested for cell viability using a tetrazolium reduction method. (4) Results: Cell viability of cambium cells decreased with increased temperature and exposure times for all three Eucalyptus species. Longer exposure to sublethal temperatures of 40 °C to 50 °C showed statistically similar results to shorter exposure to lethal temperatures (>50 °C). (5) Conclusions: Longer exposure to sublethal temperatures (40 °C–50 °C) caused irreversible thermal damage to cambium cells of Eucalyptus when tested in vitro, further refining our understanding of raised temperature on cell viability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
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Article
Crown Structure Explains the Discrepancy in Leaf Phenology Metrics Derived from Ground- and UAV-Based Observations in a Japanese Cool Temperate Deciduous Forest
Forests 2021, 12(4), 425; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12040425 - 01 Apr 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) provide a new platform for monitoring crown-level leaf phenology due to the ability to cover a vast area while offering branch-level image resolution. However, below-crown vegetation, e.g., understory vegetation, subcanopy trees, and the branches of neighboring trees, along with [...] Read more.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) provide a new platform for monitoring crown-level leaf phenology due to the ability to cover a vast area while offering branch-level image resolution. However, below-crown vegetation, e.g., understory vegetation, subcanopy trees, and the branches of neighboring trees, along with the multi-layered structure of the target crown may significantly reduce the accuracy of UAV-based estimates of crown leaf phenology. To test this hypothesis, we compared UAV-derived crown leaf phenology results against those based on ground observations at the individual tree scale for 19 deciduous broad-leaved species (55 individuals in total) characterized by different crown structures. The mean crown-level green chromatic coordinate derived from UAV images poorly explained inter- and intra-species variations in spring leaf phenology, most probably due to the consistently early leaf emergence in the below-crown vegetation. The start dates for leaf expansion and end dates for leaf falling could be estimated with an accuracy of <1-week when the influence of below-crown vegetation was removed from the UAV images through visual interpretation. However, a large discrepancy between the phenological metrics derived from UAV images and ground observations was still found for the end date of leaf expansion (EOE) and start date of leaf falling (SOF). Bayesian modeling revealed that the discrepancy for EOE increased as crown length and volume increased. The crown structure was not found to contribute to the discrepancy in SOF value. Our study provides evidence that crown structure is a pivotal factor to consider when using UAV photography to reliably estimate crown leaf phenology at the individual tree-scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Inventory, Modeling and Remote Sensing)
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Article
A Novel Tree Biomass Estimation Model Applying the Pipe Model Theory and Adaptable to UAV-Derived Canopy Height Models
Forests 2021, 12(2), 258; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12020258 - 23 Feb 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
Aiming to develop a new tree biomass estimation model that is adaptable to airborne observations of forest canopies by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), we applied two theories of plant form; the pipe model theory (PMT) and the statical model of plant form as [...] Read more.
Aiming to develop a new tree biomass estimation model that is adaptable to airborne observations of forest canopies by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), we applied two theories of plant form; the pipe model theory (PMT) and the statical model of plant form as an extension of the PMT for tall trees. Based on these theories, tree biomass was formulated using an individual tree canopy height model derived from a UAV. The advantage of this model is that it does not depend on diameter at breast height which is difficult to observe using remote-sensing techniques. We also proposed a treetop detection method based on the fractal geometry of the crown and stand. Comparing surveys in plantations of Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica D. Don) and Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa Endl.) in Japan, the root mean square error (RMSE) of the estimated stem volume was 0.26 m3 and was smaller than or comparative to that of models using different methodologies. The significance of this model is that it contains only one empirical parameter to be adjusted which was found to be rather stable among different species and sites, suggesting the wide adaptability of the model. Finally, we demonstrated the potential applicability of the model to light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data which can provide vertical leaf density distribution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Inventory, Modeling and Remote Sensing)
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Article
Influence of Agisoft Metashape Parameters on UAS Structure from Motion Individual Tree Detection from Canopy Height Models
Forests 2021, 12(2), 250; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12020250 - 22 Feb 2021
Cited by 3
Abstract
Applications of unmanned aerial systems for forest monitoring are increasing and drive a need to understand how image processing workflows impact end-user products’ accuracy from tree detection methods. Increasing image overlap and making acquisitions at lower altitudes improve how structure from motion point [...] Read more.
Applications of unmanned aerial systems for forest monitoring are increasing and drive a need to understand how image processing workflows impact end-user products’ accuracy from tree detection methods. Increasing image overlap and making acquisitions at lower altitudes improve how structure from motion point clouds represents forest canopies. However, only limited testing has evaluated how image resolution and point cloud filtering impact the detection of individual tree locations and heights. We evaluate how Agisoft Metashape’s build dense cloud Quality (image resolution) and depth map filter settings influence tree detection from canopy height models in ponderosa pine forests. Finer resolution imagery with minimal filtering provided the best visual representation of vegetation detail for trees of all sizes. These same settings maximized tree detection F-score at >0.72 for overstory (>7 m tall) and >0.60 for understory trees. Additionally, overstory tree height bias and precision improve as image resolution becomes finer. Overstory and understory tree detection in open-canopy conifer systems might be optimized using the finest resolution imagery that computer hardware enables, while applying minimal point cloud filtering. The extended processing time and data storage demands of high-resolution imagery must be balanced against small reductions in tree detection performance when down-scaling image resolution to allow the processing of greater data extents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forestry Applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) 2020)
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Article
Drought and Pathogen Effects on Survival, Leaf Physiology, Oxidative Damage, and Defense in Two Middle Eastern Oak Species
Forests 2021, 12(2), 247; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12020247 - 21 Feb 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
The charcoal disease agents, Biscogniauxia mediterranea and Obolarina persica are two latent, ascomycetous oak pathogens in the Middle Eastern Zagros forests, where they have devastating effects, particularly during drought. Under greenhouse conditions, we investigated the effects of the two charcoal disease agents individually [...] Read more.
The charcoal disease agents, Biscogniauxia mediterranea and Obolarina persica are two latent, ascomycetous oak pathogens in the Middle Eastern Zagros forests, where they have devastating effects, particularly during drought. Under greenhouse conditions, we investigated the effects of the two charcoal disease agents individually and in combination with drought on survival, growth, foliar gas-exchange, pigment content, oxidative stress and the antioxidant response of Quercus infectoria and Q. libani, two of the dominant tree species in this region. Commonly, the strongest negative effects emerged in the drought–pathogen interaction treatments. Q. infectoria showed less severe lesions, higher survival, more growth, and less leaf loss than Q. libani under combined biotic and abiotic stress. In both oak species, the combination of pathogen infection and drought resulted in more than 50% reduction in foliar gas-exchange parameters with partial recovery over time in Q. infectoria suggesting a superior defense system. Indeed, enhanced foliar anthocyanin, total soluble protein and glutathione concentrations imply an upregulation of the antioxidant defense system in Q. infectoria under stress while none of these parameters showed a significant treatment response in Q. libani. Consequently, Q. infectoria foliage showed no significant increase in superoxide, lower lipoxygenase activity, and less electrolyte leakage compared to the highly elevated levels seen in Q. libani indicating oxidative damage. Our findings indicate greater drought tolerance and pathogen resilience in Q. infectoria compared to Q. libani. Under future climate scenarios, we therefore expect changes in forest community structure driven by a decline in Q. libani and closely associated organisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
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Article
Diversity of Phytophthora Species Detected in Disturbed and Undisturbed British Soils Using High-Throughput Sequencing Targeting ITS rRNA and COI mtDNA Regions
Forests 2021, 12(2), 229; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12020229 - 17 Feb 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
Disease outbreaks caused by introduced Phytophthora species have been increasing in British forests and woodlands in recent years. A better knowledge of the Phytophthora communities already present in the UK is of great importance when developing management and mitigation strategies for these diseases. [...] Read more.
Disease outbreaks caused by introduced Phytophthora species have been increasing in British forests and woodlands in recent years. A better knowledge of the Phytophthora communities already present in the UK is of great importance when developing management and mitigation strategies for these diseases. To do this, soils were sampled in “disturbed” sites, meaning sites frequently visited by the public, with recent and new plantings or soil disturbances versus more “natural” forest and woodland sites with little disturbance or management. Phytophthora diversity was assessed using high-throughput Illumina sequencing targeting the widely accepted barcoding Internal Transcribed Spacer 1 (ITS1) region of rRNA and comparing it with the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) gene. Isolation of Phytophthora was run in parallel. Nothophytophthora spp. and Phytophthora spp. were detected in 79 and 41 of the 132 locations of the 14 studied sites when using ITS or COI, respectively. A total of 20 Phytophthora amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) were assigned to known Phytophthora species from eight clades (1a, 2, 2b, 3a, 5, 6b, 7a, 8b, 8c, 8d, 10a, and 10b) and 12 ASVs from six clades (1a, 2c, 3a, 3b, 6b, 7a, 8b, 8c, and 8d) when using ITS or COI, respectively. Only at two locations were the results in agreement for ITS, COI, and isolation. Additionally, 21 and 17 unknown Phytophthora phylotypes were detected using the ITS and COI, respectively. Several Phytophthora spp. within clades 7 and 8, including very important forest pathogens such as P. austrocedri and P. ramorum, were identified and found more frequently at “disturbed” sites. Additionally, eight ASVs identified as Nothophytophthora spp. were detected representing the first report of species within this new genus in Britain. Only three species not known to be present in Britain (P. castaneae, P. capsici, and P. fallax) were detected with the ITS primers and not with COI. To confirm the presence of these or any potential new Phytophthora species, sites should be re-sampled for confirmation. Additionally, there is a need to confirm if these species are a threat to British trees and try to establish any eradication measures required to mitigate Phytophthora spread in Britain. Full article
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Article
In-Depth Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of Endangered Peruvian Amazon Rosewood Germplasm Using Genotyping by Sequencing (GBS) Technology
Forests 2021, 12(2), 197; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12020197 - 08 Feb 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Research studies on conservative genetics of endangered plants are very important to establish the management plans for the conservation of biodiversity. Rosewood is an evergreen tree of the Amazon region and its essential oil has great acceptance in the medical and cosmetic industry. [...] Read more.
Research studies on conservative genetics of endangered plants are very important to establish the management plans for the conservation of biodiversity. Rosewood is an evergreen tree of the Amazon region and its essential oil has great acceptance in the medical and cosmetic industry. The present study aimed to explore the genetic diversity and population structure of 90 rosewood accessions collected from eight localities of Peruvian Amazon territory through DArTseq markers. A total of 7485 informative markers resulted from genotyping by sequencing (GBS) analysis were used for the molecular characterization of rosewood germplasm. Mean values of various calculated diversity parameters like observed number of alleles (1.962), the effective number of alleles (1.669), unbiased expected heterozygosity (0.411), and percent polymorphism (93.51%) over the entire germplasm showed the existence of a good level of genetic variations. Our results showed that the Mairiricay population was more diverse compared to the rest of the populations. Tamshiyacu-2 and Mairiricay-15 accessions were found genetically distinct accessions. The analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) reflected maximum variations (75%) are due to differences within populations. The implemented clustering algorithms, i.e., STRUCTURE, neighbor-joining analysis and principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) separated the studied germplasm on the basis of their geographical locations. Diversity indices for STRUCTURE-based populations showed that subpopulation A is more diverse population than the rest of the populations, for such reason, individuals belonging to this subpopulation should be used for reintroduction or reinforcement plans of rosewood conservation. We envisage that molecular characterization of Peruvian rosewood germplasm with DArTseq markers will provide a platform for the conservation, management and restoration of endangered rosewood in upcoming years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
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Article
Xylem and Phloem Formation Dynamics in Quercus ilex L. at a Dry Site in Southern Italy
Forests 2021, 12(2), 188; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12020188 - 07 Feb 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
Quercus ilex L. dieback has been recently reported at numerous Mediterranean sites. Wood and phloem formation dynamics and tree-ring series of anatomical traits can be used to evaluate growth conditions of trees. We monitored cambial activity in Q. ilex trees growing at a [...] Read more.
Quercus ilex L. dieback has been recently reported at numerous Mediterranean sites. Wood and phloem formation dynamics and tree-ring series of anatomical traits can be used to evaluate growth conditions of trees. We monitored cambial activity in Q. ilex trees growing at a site in southern Italy in order to assess how xylem and phloem production are affected by harsh seasonal climatic variation during a dry year. We followed xylogenesis by counting the number of cambial cells and detecting the occurrence of post-cambial cells throughout the year. As phloem did not show clear growth rings and boundaries between them, we followed the development of phloem fibres—their morphological traits during development and the distance from the cambium served as a reference point to evaluate the phloem production during the year. We detected a multimodal pattern in cambial activity, with wood production in three periods of the year and consequent formation of intra-annual density fluctuations (IADFs). The lowest production of xylem cells was observed in the dry late spring and summer period (likely due to the low water availability), while the highest occurred in autumn (the wettest period). Although we could not differentiate between early and late phloem, the analysis of phloem traits was useful to follow the dynamics of phloem production, which is generally difficult in Mediterranean tree species. We found cambial production of phloem throughout the year, even in the periods without xylem production. The results showed that if tree growth was constrained by environmental limitations, the ratio between xylem to phloem cells decreased and, in the most severely affected trees, more cells were formed preferentially in the phloem compared to xylem. We also briefly report the way in which to solve technical problems with tissue preparation due to extreme hardness and to the peculiar structure of Q. ilex wood and outer bark. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wood Formation and Environmental Constraints: Multiscale Approach)
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Article
Natural Drying and Chemical Characteristics of Hybrid Poplar Firewood Produced from Agricultural Bioenergy Buffers in Southern Québec, Canada
Forests 2021, 12(2), 122; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12020122 - 23 Jan 2021
Abstract
Implementing bioenergy buffers on farmland using fast-growing tree species could reduce firewood harvest pressure in woodlots and increase forest connectivity, while improving carbon sequestration, phytoremediation, stream habitats, soil stabilization and hydrological regulation. The objective of the study was to evaluate the natural drying [...] Read more.
Implementing bioenergy buffers on farmland using fast-growing tree species could reduce firewood harvest pressure in woodlots and increase forest connectivity, while improving carbon sequestration, phytoremediation, stream habitats, soil stabilization and hydrological regulation. The objective of the study was to evaluate the natural drying and chemical characteristics of hybrid poplar firewood produced from bioenergy buffers, and to compare these characteristics with those of native species harvested in adjacent woodlots. In Trial A, 110 cm-long unsplit logs (a feedstock for biomass furnaces) were produced to evaluate the effect of log diameter class on firewood quality. In this trial, hybrid poplar firewood characteristics were also compared with Populus tremuloides, Acer rubrum and Fraxinus americana. In Trial B, the effect of hybrid poplar genotype and cover treatment was evaluated on the moisture content of short split logs (40 cm long). Firewood of satisfactory quality was produced on a yearly cycle for short split logs, and on a biannual cycle for long unsplit logs. Covering short split log cords with metal sheeting lowered the final moisture content (from 20.7% to 17.3%) and reduced its variability, while genotype did not significantly affect final moisture content. In Trial A, larger-diameter logs from hybrid poplar had lower element concentrations, but slightly higher moisture content after two years. A two-fold variation in N concentration was observed between diameter classes, suggesting that burning larger poplar logs would minimize atmospheric N pollution. Heating value, carbon and calcium concentrations increased following the seasoning of hybrid poplar firewood. After the first seasoning year outdoors, hybrid poplar had the highest moisture content (33.1%) compared to native species (24.1–29.5%). However, after the second seasoning year in an unheated warehouse, the opposite was observed (14.3% for hybrid poplar vs. 15.0–21.5% for native species). Heating value, carbon and nitrogen concentrations were similar between tree species, while high phosphorus and base cation concentrations characterized hybrid poplar, suggesting higher ash production. Poplar bioenergy buffers could provide a complementary source of firewood for heating in the fall and in the spring, when the heat demand is lower than during cold winter months. Full article
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Article
Wood Products for Cultural Uses: Sustaining Native Resilience and Vital Lifeways in Southeast Alaska, USA
Forests 2021, 12(1), 90; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12010090 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Ongoing revitalization of the >5000-year-old tradition of using trees for vital culture and heritage activities including carving and weaving affirms Alaska Native resilience. However, support for these sustained cultural practices is complicated by environmental and political factors. Carving projects typically require western redcedar [...] Read more.
Ongoing revitalization of the >5000-year-old tradition of using trees for vital culture and heritage activities including carving and weaving affirms Alaska Native resilience. However, support for these sustained cultural practices is complicated by environmental and political factors. Carving projects typically require western redcedar (Thuja plicata) or yellow cedar (Callitropsis nootkatensis) trees more than 450 years of age—a tree life stage and growth rate inconsistent with current even-aged forest management strategies. Herein, we qualitatively assess the significance of wood products to rural communities and Indigenous cultures with implications for natural heritage sustainability. In partnership with Alaska Native Tribes, we engaged local youth programs to lead community discussions throughout southeast Alaska to provide specificity to the suite of cultural activities linked to regional forest lands. Results from 58 discussions across 11 southeast Alaska communities (primarily Alaska Native participants) highlighted the cultural importance of forest products including totem poles, dugout canoes, longhouses, woven hats, and woven baskets. Findings indicated spiritual well-being, health, education, tourism, and livelihood significance attributed to these products. Participant-suggested management strategies for increasing supply and expanding access to trees on public lands included: engaging local artisans in forest planning, selecting and delivering specific trees to roads as part of ongoing timber sales, allowing bark removal prior to forest-timber sales, simplifying the tree-acquisition permit process, and setting aside cultural forest groves to sustain trees seven generations into the future. By facilitating discussions, this study fostered relevant place-based youth and community engagement, benefiting youth and enhancing community knowledge transfer while simultaneously summarizing the significance of forest products for resilient culture and heritage activities. Forest management plans aiming to support Alaska Native lifeways may benefit from improved understanding of Indigenous perspectives and worldviews; designation of “culture market values” and “culture targets” can help deliver a broad array of ecosystem services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Ecosystem Services and Products)
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Article
Penetration of Different Liquids in Wood-Based Composites: The Effect of Adsorption Energy
Forests 2021, 12(1), 63; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12010063 - 07 Jan 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
The penetration properties of three different liquids on the surface of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and particleboard panels were studied. Water, as a polar liquid, was compared to two other less polar liquids (namely, ethanol and kerosene) with significantly larger molecules. Measurement of penetration [...] Read more.
The penetration properties of three different liquids on the surface of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and particleboard panels were studied. Water, as a polar liquid, was compared to two other less polar liquids (namely, ethanol and kerosene) with significantly larger molecules. Measurement of penetration time and wetted area demonstrated significantly higher values for water in comparison with the other two liquids, in both composite types. Calculation of adsorption energies, as well as adsorption distances, of the three liquid molecules on hemicellulose showed higher potentiality of water molecules in forming bonds on hemicellulose. However, comparison of the adsorption energies of cellulose with hemicellulose indicated a higher impact of the formation of bonds between hydroxyl groups in water and cellulose in hindering the penetration of water molecules into the composite textures. It was concluded that the formation of strong and stable bonds between the hydroxyl groups in water and cellulose resulted in a significant increase in penetration time and wetted area. Full article
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Article
Smaller and Isolated Grassland Fragments Are Exposed to Stronger Seed and Insect Predation in Habitat Edges
Forests 2021, 12(1), 54; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12010054 - 02 Jan 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
Habitat fragmentation threatens terrestrial arthropod biodiversity, and thereby also leads to alterations of ecosystem functioning and stability. Predation on insects and seeds by arthropods are two very important ecological functions because of their community-structuring effects. We addressed the effect of fragment connectivity, fragment [...] Read more.
Habitat fragmentation threatens terrestrial arthropod biodiversity, and thereby also leads to alterations of ecosystem functioning and stability. Predation on insects and seeds by arthropods are two very important ecological functions because of their community-structuring effects. We addressed the effect of fragment connectivity, fragment size, and edge effect on insect and seed predation of arthropods. We studied 60 natural fragments of two grassland ecosystems in the same region (Hungarian Great Plain), 30 forest-steppes, and 30 burial mounds (kurgans). The size of fragments were in the range of 0.16–6.88 ha for forest-steppe and 0.01–0.44 ha for kurgan. We used 2400 sentinel arthropod preys (dummy caterpillars) and 4800 seeds in trays for the measurements. Attack marks on dummy caterpillars were used for predator identification and calculation of insect predation rates. In the case of seeds, predation rates were calculated as the number of missing or damaged seeds per total number of exposed seeds. Increasing connectivity played a role only in generally small kurgans, with a negative effect on insect and seed predation rates in the edges. In contrast, fragment size moderated edge effects on insect and seed predation rates in generally large forest-steppes. The difference between edges and centres was more pronounced in small than in large fragments. Our study emphasizes the important role of landscape and fragment-scale factors interacting with edge effect in shaping ecosystem functions in natural grassland fragments of modified landscapes. Managing functional landscapes to optimize the assessment of ecosystem functions and services needs a multispatial scale approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatial Heterogeneity of Forest-Steppes)
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Article
Impact of Precipitation and Temperature Variability of the East Asian Summer Monsoon (EASM) on Annual Radial Increment of Selected Tree Species in Northeast China
Forests 2020, 11(10), 1093; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11101093 - 14 Oct 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
A dendroclimatological approach was used to analyze growth responses of the tree species Pinus tabuliformis Carr., Larix gmelinii Rupr., Picea asperata Mast. and Quercus mongolica Fisch. ex Ledeb. in a region of temperate climate in Northeast China. Annual radial increment (ARI) measurements from [...] Read more.
A dendroclimatological approach was used to analyze growth responses of the tree species Pinus tabuliformis Carr., Larix gmelinii Rupr., Picea asperata Mast. and Quercus mongolica Fisch. ex Ledeb. in a region of temperate climate in Northeast China. Annual radial increment (ARI) measurements from stem cross-sections were used to identify the effects of precipitation, air temperature and standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI) on tree growth under monsoon-related conditions. We analyzed the ARI of 144 trees from 49 forest stands and applied response function and moving correlation analysis as well as a linear mixed-effects model to detect climate signal in the tree-ring series. Analyses of climate-growth relations confirmed the influence of monsoon intensities on ARI, especially in the months of May to July of the current year. Particularly in times of a weak monsoon, the preceding autumn months significantly affect the ARI. The positive effect of precipitation in times of a strong monsoon and the negative effect of air temperature-indicating increased evapotranspiration-in times of a weak monsoon alternate. An increase in drought sensitivity of the ARI was found, especially after long dry periods. The results revealed for L. gmelinii the highest climate sensitivity, with ARI more strongly influenced by precipitation in the monsoon-related months, whereas Q. mongolica was most drought tolerant and recovered quicker after growth depression. P. asperata and P. tabuliformis were located in between. Our findings provide evidence for a strong influence of the periodically fluctuating monsoon intensities on the ARI of all investigated tree species. Our results support decision-making for forest management under anticipated climate change, especially for tree species selection, in the climate sensitive region of Northeast China. Full article
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Transparency Index of the Supplying Countries’ Institutions and Tree Cover Loss: Determining Factors of EU Timber Imports?
Forests 2020, 11(9), 1009; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11091009 - 19 Sep 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Illegal logging and the associated deforestation have serious consequences for biodiversity, the climate, the economy and society. The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) prohibits the placing of illegally harvested timber or timber products on the market. The objective of this paper is to analyse [...] Read more.
Illegal logging and the associated deforestation have serious consequences for biodiversity, the climate, the economy and society. The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) prohibits the placing of illegally harvested timber or timber products on the market. The objective of this paper is to analyse the recent evolution of EU imports of these products from the international market, in order to check how the transparency index of the supplying countries’ institutions and tree cover loss have influenced this trajectory. To that end, a panel data model is estimated with 228 observations from 38 exporting countries between 2012 and 2017. The results show that EU timber imports have a direct association with the transparency index and an inverse relationship with tree cover loss; both these relationships are highly significant at the one-percent level. Other significant factors are the performance of the EU construction sector (as a proxy for timber demand) and timber supply. In the short and medium-term, Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) signed between the EU and non-EU timber-producing countries have a negative influence on the supply to EU member states. This study presents an analysis of EU timber imports after the implementation of the EUTR, providing specific conclusions that can inform policymakers’ efforts to foster sustainable forest management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Economics, Policy, and Social Science)
Article
Forest Landscape Restoration—What Generates Failure and Success?
Forests 2020, 11(9), 938; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11090938 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 16
Abstract
Research Highlights: The global Forest Landscape Restoration ambitions could be impaired by projects that ignore key principles such as the engagement of local communities in decision making and implementation, equitable benefit sharing, and monitoring for adaptive management. This entails the danger of continued [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: The global Forest Landscape Restoration ambitions could be impaired by projects that ignore key principles such as the engagement of local communities in decision making and implementation, equitable benefit sharing, and monitoring for adaptive management. This entails the danger of continued degradation, disappointed local stakeholders, and ultimately, project failure. Other projects face technical problems related to tree establishment and nursery production. Background and Objectives: There are high hopes for Forest and Landscape Restoration to regain ecosystem integrity and enhance human well-being in deforested and degraded areas. We highlight various problems and success factors experienced during project implementation on a global scale. Materials and Methods: We use data from a global online survey to identify common obstacles and success factors for the implementation of forest restoration. Results: While the majority of respondents reported successful projects, others indicate drastic problems and failed projects. Major obstacles to forest restoration experienced by survey respondents were a lack of local stakeholder involvement and a mismatch between goals of local communities and restoration managers, as well as environmental, anthropogenic, and technical barriers to tree regeneration. Conclusions: When local communities, their goals, and needs are disregarded in project planning and implementation, as reported from various cases in our survey and the limited available literature, there is a risk of project failure. Failed projects and disappointed stakeholders, as well as discouraged funders and policy-makers, could lessen the momentum of global forest restoration ambitions. Adhering to key principles of Forest and Landscape Restoration can promote much-needed community support, with the potential to overcome barriers to forest regeneration and enable communities for the protection, management, and monitoring of the restored forests beyond the limited project and funding periods. Research is needed to gain a better understanding of the perception of local communities towards restoration activities. Further studies on the implementation of forest restoration at the intersection of environmental factors, socioeconomic conditions, forest regeneration/silviculture, and nursery production are needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Article
Multi-Decadal Forest-Cover Dynamics in the Tropical Realm: Past Trends and Policy Insights for Forest Conservation in Dry Zone of Sri Lanka
Forests 2020, 11(8), 836; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11080836 - 01 Aug 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
Forest-cover change has become an important topic in global biodiversity conservation in recent decades because of the high rates of forest loss in different parts of the world, especially in the tropical region. While human interventions are the major cause, natural disasters also [...] Read more.
Forest-cover change has become an important topic in global biodiversity conservation in recent decades because of the high rates of forest loss in different parts of the world, especially in the tropical region. While human interventions are the major cause, natural disasters also contribute to forest cover changes. During the past decades, several studies have been conducted to address different aspects of forest cover changes (e.g., drivers of deforestation, degradation, interventions) in different parts of the world. In Sri Lanka, increasing rates of forest loss have been recorded during the last 100 years on a regional basis, especially in the dry zone. However, Sri Lanka needs detailed studies that employ contemporary data and robust analytical tools to understand the patterns of forest cover changes and their drivers. The dry zone of Sri Lanka encompasses 59% of the total land area of the country, ergo, the most extensive forest cover. Our study analyzed forest cover dynamics and its drivers between 1992 and 2019. Our specific objectives included (i) producing a forest cover map for 2019, (ii) analyzing the spatiotemporal patterns of forest cover changes from 1992 to 2019, and (iii) determining the main driving forces. Landsat 8 images were used to develop forest-cover maps for 2019, and the rest of the forest cover maps (1992, 1999, and 2010) were obtained from the Forest Department of Sri Lanka. In this study, we found that the dry zone had undergone rapid forest loss (246,958.4 ha) during the past 27 years, which accounts for 8.0% of the net forest cover changes. From 2010 to 2019, the rates of forest loss were high, and this can be associated with the rapid infrastructure development of the country. The findings of this study can be used as a proxy to reform current forest policies and enhance the forest sustainability of the study area. Full article
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Article
Challenges and Solutions for Non-Timber Forest Product Businesses in Finland–An Application of the SODA Analysis
Forests 2020, 11(7), 753; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11070753 - 12 Jul 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
This study aims to present a holistic image of the strategic development needs and potential solutions within the Finnish non-timber forest product (NTFP) business sector and demonstrate a new hybrid methodology for collaborative strategy formulation. The perceived challenges and solutions were collected with [...] Read more.
This study aims to present a holistic image of the strategic development needs and potential solutions within the Finnish non-timber forest product (NTFP) business sector and demonstrate a new hybrid methodology for collaborative strategy formulation. The perceived challenges and solutions were collected with the 635 group-working method in a nationwide series of NTFP actor workshops. The analysis applied the Strategic Option Development and Analysis (SODA) approach and the formal network analysis. Business actors emphasised two complex and interrelated aims of development at the core of the business activity: (1) to improve the profitability of the NTFP business and (2) to facilitate the growth of the sector. The present bottleneck is perceived in the raw material acquisition and productising, and many wider development themes, such as business logic and sustainability, received little attention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Economics, Policy, and Social Science)
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Article
Processed Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) Food Products in Malawi: From Poor Men’s to Premium-Priced Specialty Food?
Forests 2020, 11(6), 698; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11060698 - 23 Jun 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
The baobab tree (Adansonia digitata L.) is an important source of non-timber forest products in sub-Saharan Africa. Its fruits contain high amounts of vitamin C, calcium, and dietary fibre. In addition, other parts of the tree are traditionally used for human consumption, [...] Read more.
The baobab tree (Adansonia digitata L.) is an important source of non-timber forest products in sub-Saharan Africa. Its fruits contain high amounts of vitamin C, calcium, and dietary fibre. In addition, other parts of the tree are traditionally used for human consumption, particularly during lean seasons. In line with the increasing demand for natural, healthy, and nutritious food products, the baobab has great potential to contribute to human nutrition and rural livelihoods. In Malawi, where demand for baobab has substantially increased within the last decade, baobab fruits are being processed into a variety of food and non-food products, such as fruit juice, ice-lollies, sweets, and cosmetics. Yet, information on the sociodemographic background and quality preferences of baobab consumers is scanty. The current study, therefore, aimed to (1) map the diversity of baobab products available in Malawi; (2) determine consumer segments and their preferences for the most common baobab food products; and (3) examine the contribution of major attributes of processed baobab food products on their price. We employed a mixed-methods approach including the analysis of 132 baobab products and a survey of 141 consumers in formal and informal retail outlets, adopting multistage and purposive sampling. Qualitative and quantitative data were analysed using cluster analysis, cross tabulation, and hedonic regression. Results pointed to two distinct consumer segments for baobab food products, largely following the formal–informal product divide currently existing in Malawi. Both segments clearly differed with regard to preferred product attributes. We also showed that extrinsic product attributes such as packaging quality, labelling, conformity with food standards, or health claims provided distinct differentiation potential for baobab food manufacturers. In addition to providing empirical evidence for the transition of baobab food products into higher-value market segments, our results can help food processing enterprises to improve the composition and marketing of their baobab products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Article
Plasticity of Root Traits under Competition for a Nutrient-Rich Patch Depends on Tree Species and Possesses a Large Congruency between Intra- and Interspecific Situations
Forests 2020, 11(5), 528; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11050528 - 09 May 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Belowground competition is an important structuring force in terrestrial plant communities. Uncertainties remain about the plasticity of functional root traits under competition, especially comparing interspecific vs. intraspecific situations. This study addresses the plasticity of fine root traits of competing Acer pseudoplatanus L. and [...] Read more.
Belowground competition is an important structuring force in terrestrial plant communities. Uncertainties remain about the plasticity of functional root traits under competition, especially comparing interspecific vs. intraspecific situations. This study addresses the plasticity of fine root traits of competing Acer pseudoplatanus L. and Fagus sylvatica L. seedlings in nutrient-rich soil patches. Seedlings’ roots were grown in a competition chamber experiment in which root growth (biomass), morphological and architectural fine roots traits, and potential activities of four extracellular enzymes were analyzed. Competition chambers with one, two conspecific, or two allospecific roots were established, and fertilized to create a nutrient ‘hotspot’. Interspecific competition significantly reduced fine root growth in Fagus only, while intraspecific competition had no significant effect on the fine root biomass of either species. Competition reduced root nitrogen concentration and specific root respiration of both species. Potential extracellular enzymatic activities of β-glucosidase (BG) and N-acetyl-glucosaminidase (NAG) were lower in ectomycorrhizal Fagus roots competing with Acer. Acer fine roots had greater diameter and tip densities under intraspecific competition. Fagus root traits were generally more plastic than those of Acer, but no differences in trait plasticity were found between competitive situations. Compared to Acer, Fagus roots possessed a greater plasticity of all studied traits but coarse root biomass. However, this high plasticity did not result in directed trait value changes under interspecific competition, but Fagus roots grew less and realized lower N concentrations in comparison to competing Acer roots. The plasticity of root traits of both species was thus found to be highly species- but not competitor-specific. By showing that both con- and allospecific roots had similar effects on target root growth and most trait values, our data sheds light on the paradigm that the intensity of intraspecific competition is greater than those of interspecific competition belowground. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation of Root System to Environment)
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Article
Coconut Coir as a Sustainable Nursery Growing Media for Seedling Production of the Ecologically Diverse Quercus Species
Forests 2020, 11(5), 522; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11050522 - 07 May 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Peat, a non-sustainable resource, is still predominately used in forest nurseries. Coconut coir might provide an alternative, renewable, and reliable growing media but few studies have evaluated this media type in forest nurseries. We assessed the influence of pure coir, in combination with [...] Read more.
Peat, a non-sustainable resource, is still predominately used in forest nurseries. Coconut coir might provide an alternative, renewable, and reliable growing media but few studies have evaluated this media type in forest nurseries. We assessed the influence of pure coir, in combination with various fertilization regimes, on the growth and physiology of three ecologically diverse Quercus species seedlings (Q. robur, Q. pubescens, and Q. ilex) during nursery cultivation. Seedlings were grown using peat and pure coir in combination with three fertilization treatments (standard, K-enriched, and P-enriched). Data were collected for: (1) growth and physiological traits; (2) detailed above- and below-ground morphological traits by destructive analysis; and (3) NPK content in leaves, shoot and roots, and in the growing media, following cultivation. Peat and coir in combination with the various fertilization treatments affected above- and below-ground morphology and, to a lesser extent, the physiological traits of Quercus seedlings. Large effects of the substrate occurred for most morphological variables, with peat being more effective than coir in all studied species. Fertilization also produced significant differences. The effect of K-enriched fertilization on plant growth was clear across the three species and the two growing media. P-enriched fertilization in peat was the only combination that promoted a higher amount of this element in the tissues at the end of cultivation. Despite their smaller size, seedlings produced in coir were compatible with standard Quercus forest stocktype size, and showed a proportionally higher root system development and fibrosity. Our results suggest that coir can be used as an alternative substrate to grow Quercus species seedlings, and that fertilization can offset coir deficiencies in chemical properties. As several functional traits drive planting performance under varying environmental conditions. according to the Target Plant Concept, coir might thus serve as an acceptable material for seedling cultivation in some cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Scientific Basis of the Target Plant Concept)
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Article
A Comparison of Fire Weather Indices with MODIS Fire Days for the Natural Regions of Alaska
Forests 2020, 11(5), 516; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11050516 - 03 May 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Research Highlights: Flammability of wildland fuels is a key factor influencing risk-based decisions related to preparedness, response, and safety in Alaska. However, without effective measures of current and expected flammability, the expected likelihood of active and problematic wildfires in the future is difficult [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: Flammability of wildland fuels is a key factor influencing risk-based decisions related to preparedness, response, and safety in Alaska. However, without effective measures of current and expected flammability, the expected likelihood of active and problematic wildfires in the future is difficult to assess and prepare for. This study evaluates the effectiveness of diverse indices to capture high-risk fires. Indicators of drought and atmospheric drivers are assessed along with the operational Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System (CFFDRS). Background and Objectives: In this study, 13 different indicators of atmospheric conditions, fuel moisture, and flammability are compared to determine how effective each is at identifying thresholds and trends for significant wildfire activity. Materials and Methods: Flammability indices are compared with remote sensing characterizations that identify where and when fire activity has occurred. Results: Among these flammability indicators, conventional tools calibrated to wildfire thresholds (Duff Moisture Code (DMC) and Buildup Index (BUI)), as well as measures of atmospheric forcing (Vapor Pressure Deficit (VPD)), performed best at representing the conditions favoring initiation and size of significant wildfire events. Conventional assessments of seasonal severity and overall landscape flammability using DMC and BUI can be continued with confidence. Fire models that incorporate BUI in overall fire potential and fire behavior assessments are likely to produce effective results throughout boreal landscapes in Alaska. One novel result is the effectiveness of VPD throughout the state, making it a potential alternative to FFMC among the short-lag/1-day indices. Conclusions: This study demonstrates the societal value of research that joins new academic research results with operational needs. Developing the framework to do this more effectively will bring science to action with a shorter lag time, which is critical as we face growing challenges from a changing climate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Article
Modeling and Monitoring of Wood Moisture Content Using Time-Domain Reflectometry
Forests 2020, 11(4), 479; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11040479 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Time-domain reflectometry (TDR) can monitor the moisture content (MC) of water saturated logs stored in wet-decks where the MC exceeds the range that can be measured using traditional moisture meters (>50%). For this application to become routine, it is required that TDR monitoring [...] Read more.
Time-domain reflectometry (TDR) can monitor the moisture content (MC) of water saturated logs stored in wet-decks where the MC exceeds the range that can be measured using traditional moisture meters (>50%). For this application to become routine, it is required that TDR monitoring of wet-decks occurs after establishment, and tools are needed that automate data collection and analysis. We developed models that predict wood MC using three-rod epoxy encased TDR probes inserted into the transverse surface of bolts (prior wet-deck studies were installed on the tangential surface). Models were developed for southern pine, sweetgum, yellow poplar, hickory, red oak, and white oak using a Campbell Scientific TDR100. For each species, at least 37 bolts were soaked for a minimum of three months and then air dried with TDR waveforms, and MC was periodically recorded. Calibrations were developed between MC and the TDR signal using nonlinear mixed effects models. Fixed effects ranged from excellent (southern pine R2 = 0.93) to poor (red oak R2 = 0.36, hickory R2 = 0.38). Independent of wood species, random effects all had a R2 greater than 0.80, which indicates that TDR detects changes in MC at the individual sample level. Use of TDR combined with a datalogger was demonstrated in an operational wet-deck that monitored changes in MC over 12 months, and in a laboratory trial where bolts were exposed to successive wet-dry cycles over 400 days. Both applications demonstrated the utility of TDR to monitor changes in wood MC in high MC environments where periodic measurement is not feasible due to operational safety concerns. Because a saturated TDR reading indicates a saturated MC, and because of the relatively accurate random effects found here, developing individual species models is not necessary for monitoring purposes. Therefore, application of TDR monitoring can be broadly applied for wet-decks, regardless of the species stored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Wood Science and Forest Products)
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Article
Coffee, Farmers, and Trees—Shifting Rights Accelerates Changing Landscapes
Forests 2020, 11(4), 480; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11040480 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Deforestation and biodiversity loss in agroecosystems are generally the result of rational choices, not of a lack of awareness or knowledge. Despite both scientific evidence and traditional knowledge that supports the value of diverse production systems for ecosystem services and resilience, a trend [...] Read more.
Deforestation and biodiversity loss in agroecosystems are generally the result of rational choices, not of a lack of awareness or knowledge. Despite both scientific evidence and traditional knowledge that supports the value of diverse production systems for ecosystem services and resilience, a trend of agroecosystem intensification is apparent across tropical regions. These transitions happen in spite of policies that prohibit such transformations. We present a participatory modelling study run to (1) understand the drivers of landscape transition and (2) explore the livelihood and environmental impacts of tenure changes in the coffee agroforestry systems of Kodagu (India). The components of the system, key actors and resources, and their interactions were defined with stakeholders, following the companion modelling (ComMod) approach. The underlying ecological processes driving the system were validated through expert knowledge and scientific literature. The conceptual model was transformed into a role-playing game and validated by eight workshops with a total of 57 participants. Two scenarios were explored, a No Policy Change as baseline, and a Restitution of Rights where rights to cut the native trees are handed over to farmers. Our results suggest that the landscape transition is likely to continue unabated unless there is a change to the current policy framework. However, the Restitution of Rights risks speeding up the process rather than reversing it, as inter alia, the differential growth rate between exotic and native tree species, kick in. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Article
A Local Initiative to Achieve Global Forest and Landscape Restoration Challenge—Lessons Learned from a Community-Based Forest Restoration Project in Biliran Province, Philippines
Forests 2020, 11(4), 475; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11040475 - 23 Apr 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
Forest and landscape restoration in the tropics is often undertaken by groups of smallholders and communities whose livelihoods are primarily agricultural and forest-based. In the Philippines, the implementation of forest restoration programs involving people’s organizations showed mixed results. We present a case study [...] Read more.
Forest and landscape restoration in the tropics is often undertaken by groups of smallholders and communities whose livelihoods are primarily agricultural and forest-based. In the Philippines, the implementation of forest restoration programs involving people’s organizations showed mixed results. We present a case study of a pilot community-based forest restoration project that was undertaken in Biliran Province to understand the impediments, and pilot test interventions to improve restoration outcomes. The project was designed using systems thinking, employing smallholder-based best-practice, and applying the principles of a participatory approach. The results revealed that the initial participation of smallholders is mostly driven by short-term financial incentives. However, long-term commitment to managing the trees is attributed mainly to sustainable livelihood, land and tree rights, equitable sharing of benefits, strong leadership, effective governance and improved human and social capitals. The support of extension officers, use of high-quality seedlings, and participation of women are essential for community-based forest restoration success. Key lessons from our research could contribute to fulfilling the forest and landscape restoration commitments of developing countries in the tropics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest and Landscape Restoration—Making it Happen)
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Article
Eutypella parasitica and Other Frequently Isolated Fungi in Wood of Dead Branches of Young Sycamore Maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) in Slovenia
Forests 2020, 11(4), 467; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11040467 - 20 Apr 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Eutypella parasitica R.W. Davidson and R.C. Lorenz is the causative agent of Eutypella canker of maple, a destructive disease of maples in Europe and North America. The fungus E. parasitica infects the trunk through a branch stub or bark wound. Because the fungal [...] Read more.
Eutypella parasitica R.W. Davidson and R.C. Lorenz is the causative agent of Eutypella canker of maple, a destructive disease of maples in Europe and North America. The fungus E. parasitica infects the trunk through a branch stub or bark wound. Because the fungal community may have an impact on infection and colonization by E. parasitica, the composition of fungi colonizing wood of dead branches of sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) was investigated in five sampling sites in Slovenia. Forty samples from each sampling site were collected between the November 2017 and March 2018 period. Isolations were made from the wood in the outer part of dead branches and from discoloured wood in the trunk that originated from a dead branch. Pure cultures were divided into morphotypes, and one representative culture per morphotype was selected for further molecular identification. From a total of 2700 cultured subsamples, 1744 fungal cultures were obtained, which were grouped into 212 morphotypes. The investigated samples were colonized by a broad spectrum of fungi. The most frequently isolated species were Eutypa maura (Fr.) Sacc., Eutypa sp. Tul. and C. Tul., Fusarium avenaceum (Fr.) Sacc., Neocucurbitaria acerina Wanas., Camporesi, E.B.G. Jones and K.D. Hyde and E. parasitica. In this study, we distinguished species diversity and the fungal community. There were no significant differences in the diversity of fungal species between the five sampling sites, and branch thickness did not prove to be a statistically significant factor in fungal species diversity. Nevertheless, relatively low Jaccard similarity index values suggested possible differences in the fungal communities from different sampling sites. This was confirmed by an analysis of similarities, which showed that the isolated fungal community distinctly differed between the five sampling sites and between the different isolation sources. Eutypella parasitica was isolated from all five investigated sampling sites, although Eutypella cankers were observed in only three sampling sites, indicating the possibility of asymptomatic infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Pathogens in Forest Ecosystems)
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Article
The Possibility of Propolis Extract Application in Wood Protection
Forests 2020, 11(4), 465; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11040465 - 20 Apr 2020
Cited by 10
Abstract
Nowadays, there is a growing interest in extending the service life of wood and wood products by applying natural substances that are harmless to humans and the environment. In this paper, propolis was used as an eco-friendly wood preservative. The aim of this [...] Read more.
Nowadays, there is a growing interest in extending the service life of wood and wood products by applying natural substances that are harmless to humans and the environment. In this paper, propolis was used as an eco-friendly wood preservative. The aim of this study was to determine the resistance of Scots pine wood treated with the propolis extract against brown-rot fungus Coniophora puteana. The wood biodegradation was assessed by gravimetric method, as well as by the analysis of ergosterol concentration in decayed wood and by the determination of changes in the wood structure by means of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The results indicated that the impregnation of wood with propolis extract above 12% concentration limited fungal decay. The mass loss of wood treated with 18.9% propolis extract was 2.3% and was over 21 times lower than that for untreated wood. The analysis of ergosterol content and the changes in wood structure also confirmed that the propolis extract above 12% concentration protected wood against decay caused by C. puteana. Moreover, the propolis extract used in wood impregnation was rich in phenolic compounds, mainly chrysin, pinocembrin and galangin, which possess antimicrobial activity. The obtained results indicate that the extract of Polish propolis can be a promising natural wood preservative, safe for humans and the natural environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Wood Science and Forest Products)
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Article
Impact of Invasive Tree Species on Natural Regeneration Species Composition, Diversity, and Density
Forests 2020, 11(4), 456; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11040456 - 17 Apr 2020
Cited by 16
Abstract
Invasive tree species decrease ecosystem resilience with negative impacts on natural regeneration. The influence of alien tree species on ecosystems is unevenly recognized and does not always account for different habitat specificity. We assessed the impacts of the three most frequent invasive tree [...] Read more.
Invasive tree species decrease ecosystem resilience with negative impacts on natural regeneration. The influence of alien tree species on ecosystems is unevenly recognized and does not always account for different habitat specificity. We assessed the impacts of the three most frequent invasive tree species in European forests: Prunus serotina Ehrh., Quercus rubra L., and Robinia pseudoacacia L. on natural regeneration diversity, species composition, and density. We hypothesized that invaded forest types, in comparison with non-invaded, will differ in terms of species composition, will have lower taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic diversity of natural regeneration, and will have lower densities of native tree species. We used a set of 189 study plots (200 m2) in a systematic design, established in various forest types in Wielkopolski National Park (West Poland). We analyzed impacts of forest type, accounting for soil C:N ratio, soil pH, and light availability on natural regeneration (woody species up to 0.5 m height) species composition, diversity, and density. We found an overlap of species composition among invaded and non-invaded forests and low impacts of invasive species on taxonomic diversity and functional richness. We found no impacts on phylogenetic diversity and other functional diversity components. In contrast, we found that the natural regeneration of forest-forming tree species reached lower densities in invaded than non-invaded forest types. However, sub-canopy and shrub species reached higher densities in invaded than non-invaded forest types. We confirmed that invasive tree species affect natural regeneration by decreasing the regeneration density of native tree species (in eight of nine tree species studied), species composition homogenization, and supporting natural regeneration of sub-canopy and shrub species. Therefore, the restoration of invaded forests requires eradication of invasive tree species to decrease propagule pressure and to stop decreases in the abundance of native tree species’ natural regeneration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Effects of Species Invasions and Dispersal on Forest Communities)
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Article
Aiming for Sustainability and Scalability: Community Engagement in Forest Payment Schemes
Forests 2020, 11(4), 444; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11040444 - 15 Apr 2020
Abstract
Community-based forest monitoring is seen as a way both to improve community engagement and participation in national environmental payment schemes and climate mitigation priorities and to implement reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement [...] Read more.
Community-based forest monitoring is seen as a way both to improve community engagement and participation in national environmental payment schemes and climate mitigation priorities and to implement reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+). There is a strong assumption among community-based monitoring advocates that community monitoring is a desirable approach. However, it is unclear why community members would want to participate in their own surveillance or be involved in a program likely to limit livelihood uses of forest areas and possibly even sanction them based on the data provided. This paper explores these issues by examining three communities involved in Peru’s Conditional Direct Transfer Program, in which indigenous communities are compensated for protecting communal forests through various mechanisms, including forest monitoring. The case studies focus specifically on communities that received smartphones and were trained in their use for monitoring. The results affirm the importance that benefits outweigh the costs of local participation to sustain motivation. They also point to key factors supporting the legitimacy of the program, specifically to overcome historical tensions between the state and indigenous communities. These include the nature of engagement by program implementers and the importance of building trust over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Economics, Policy, and Social Science)
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Article
Distance from the Forest Edge Influences Soil Fungal Communities Colonizing a Reclaimed Soil Borrow Site in Boreal Mixedwood Forest
Forests 2020, 11(4), 427; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11040427 - 09 Apr 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Soil fungi are important components of boreal forest ecosystems; for example, saprotrophic fungi regulate nutrient cycling, and mycorrhizal species facilitate nutrient uptake by plants. This study aimed to assess soil fungal communities in a reclaimed area and an adjacent natural mixedwood forest and [...] Read more.
Soil fungi are important components of boreal forest ecosystems; for example, saprotrophic fungi regulate nutrient cycling, and mycorrhizal species facilitate nutrient uptake by plants. This study aimed to assess soil fungal communities in a reclaimed area and an adjacent natural mixedwood forest and to identify the distribution of taxa available for seedling colonization. Soil fungal microbiomes were assessed along three transects (from 10 m inside the interior of the undisturbed forest to 40 m inside the reclaimed area) and in the roots of small aspen within the natural forest. Using high-throughput deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequencing of internal transcribed spacer amplicons, a total of 2796 unique fungal taxa were detected across fine roots, forest floor, and mineral soils collected along the transects, whereas 166 taxa were detected in the aspen roots from the natural forest. Within the interior of the forest, ectomycorrhizal fungi were more common, whereas in the reclaimed areas, arbuscular mycorrhizae and saprophytes were more common. This survey showed that natural areas of adjacent undisturbed forest can act as a source of ectomycorrhizal fungi for dispersal into reclaimed areas. Notably, soil fungal taxa colonizing the root systems of small aspen included species that are specifically associated with soils from the undisturbed forest (primarily ectomycorrhizae) or the reclaimed clearing (saprotrophs and plant pathogens). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Mycorrhizas in Forest Structure and Dynamics)
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Article
Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Community Forest Management: Evolution and Limitations in Mexican Forest Law, Policy and Practice
Forests 2020, 11(4), 403; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11040403 - 03 Apr 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Community forest management (CFM) is often a field of encounter between knowledge systems, where a conventional forestry blueprint is frequently applied in contexts rich in traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). This is the case in Mexico, a bioculturally diverse country and a reference of [...] Read more.
Community forest management (CFM) is often a field of encounter between knowledge systems, where a conventional forestry blueprint is frequently applied in contexts rich in traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). This is the case in Mexico, a bioculturally diverse country and a reference of community forestry. Based on a review of laws, policies, literature, and empirical examples, we explore technical, epistemological, political, and contextual dimensions associated with the inclusion and exclusion of TEK in CFM in Mexico. Our analysis is composed of three steps: (1) A diachronic analysis of how TEK and associated practices have been considered by federal forest laws and codes (1960–2018), (2) a diachronic analysis of the scope of conventional forestry and its evolution in time and space, and (3) situated examples illustrating the inclusion and exclusion of TEK in CFM. We argue that: (1) Legal recognition of TEK as a concept does not necessarily entail the legal recognition of all traditional management practices; (2) the inclusion of TEK in CFM is heterogeneous across communities, ecosystems, regions, products and historical trajectories; and (3) different traditional practices are not equally integrated in CFM: traditional practices that contradict the spatial segregation of activities (i.e., land sparing) favored by conventional forestry tend to be less easily accepted or ignored by government institutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Economics, Policy, and Social Science)
Article
Change Detection and Land Suitability Analysis for Extension of Potential Forest Areas in Indonesia Using Satellite Remote Sensing and GIS
Forests 2020, 11(4), 398; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11040398 - 02 Apr 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
The objective of this research was to detect changes in forest areas and, subsequently, the potential forest area that can be extended in the South Sumatra province of Indonesia, according to the Indonesian forest resilience classification zones. At first, multispectral satellite remote sensing [...] Read more.
The objective of this research was to detect changes in forest areas and, subsequently, the potential forest area that can be extended in the South Sumatra province of Indonesia, according to the Indonesian forest resilience classification zones. At first, multispectral satellite remote sensing datasets from Landsat 7 ETM+ and Landsat 8 OLI were classified into four classes, namely urban, vegetation, forest and waterbody to develop Land Use/Land Cover (LULC) maps for the year 2003 and 2018. Secondly, criteria, namely distance from rivers, distance from roads, elevation, LULC and settlements were selected and the reclassified maps were produced from each of the criteria for the land suitability analysis for forest extension. Thirdly, the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) was incorporated to add expert opinions to prioritize the criteria referring to potential areas for forest extension. In the change detection analysis, Tourism Recreation Forest (TRF), Convertible Protection Forest (CPF) and Permanent Production Forest (PPF) forest zones had a decrease of 20%, 13% and 40% in area, respectively, in the forest class from 2003 to 2018. The Limited Production Forest (LPF) zone had large changes and decreased by 72% according to the LULC map. In the AHP method, the influential criteria had higher weights and ranked as settlements, elevation, distance from roads and distance from rivers. CPF, PPF and LPF have an opportunity for extension in the highly suitable classification (30%) and moderately suitable classification (41%) areas, to increase coverage of production forests. Wildlife Reserve Forests (WRFs) have potential for expansion in the highly suitable classification (30%) and moderately suitable classification (52%) areas, to keep biodiversity and ecosystems for wildlife resources. Nature Reserve Forests (NRFs) have an opportunity for extension in the highly suitable classification (39%) and moderately suitable classification (48%) areas, to keep the forests for nature and biodiversity. In case of TRF, there is limited scope to propose a further extension and is required to be managed with collaboration between the government and the community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Inventory, Modeling and Remote Sensing)
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Article
A Systematic Map of Agroforestry Research Focusing on Ecosystem Services in the Asia-Pacific Region
Forests 2020, 11(4), 368; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11040368 - 26 Mar 2020
Cited by 12
Abstract
Agroforestry is an intensive land management system that integrates trees into land already used for crop and animal farming. This provides a diverse range of ecosystem services by bridging the gaps between agriculture, forestry, and animal husbandry. It is an important approach to [...] Read more.
Agroforestry is an intensive land management system that integrates trees into land already used for crop and animal farming. This provides a diverse range of ecosystem services by bridging the gaps between agriculture, forestry, and animal husbandry. It is an important approach to improve the environmental, economic, and social benefits of complex social–ecological systems in the Asia-Pacific region. This paper aims to examine the research trends in agroforestry and the current state of knowledge, as well as the research gaps in the ecosystem services of agroforestry in this region. A systematic mapping methodology was applied, where analysis units were academic articles related to agroforestry practices in the Asia-Pacific region. The articles published between 1970 and 2018 were collected through the international specialized academic database, SCOPUS. They were coded according to the types of agroforestry practices and ecosystem services. The research result indicates silvorable systems, especially plantation crop combinations, tree management, habitats for species, biological controls, and maintenance of genetic diversity and gene-pools, are the most prominent in the agroforestry research from the Asia-Pacific region. Approximately 60% of all research articles include case studies from India, China, Indonesia, and Australia. Research on agroforestry has changed following the international discourse on climate change and biodiversity. Therefore, this systematic map improves our understanding of the nature, volume, and characteristics of the research on ecosystem services with regard to agroforestry in the Asia-Pacific region. It provides scholars with a springboard for further meta-analysis or research on agroforestry and ecosystem services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systematic Approach to Agroforestry Policies and Practices in Asia)
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