Special Issue "Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecology and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Angela Lo Monaco
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture and Forest Science, University of Tuscia. Via San Camillo de Lellis snc, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
Interests: wood characterisation; wood anatomy; wood modification; wood coating; mechanical testing; physical testing; wood properties; wood quality; tree growth; forest products; forest resource management; sustainability; wood in cultural heritage; wood in religious art
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Paolo Cantiani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Research Centre for Forestry and Wood, Arezzo, Italy
Interests: silviculture; forest planning; forest management; regeneration processes; Mediterranean pine forests

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Forests are natural or seminatural systems that can generate services and products that humans use directly or indirectly. Forest management involves economic, legal, and social aspects, as well as scientific and technical aspects. This includes management for wood or no-wood products, ecosystems services, dead wood, and other forest resource values, such as recreation, tourism, water, wildlife, as well as biomass for energy and carbon accumulation, also taking into account the increase in the rate of climate change in the next years. Timber extraction, plantation of tree species, roads, and pathways through forests are complementary elements, but not secondary to forest management.

The goal of this Special Issue is to provide a compendium of documents that scientifically evaluate the effects of different sustainable management approaches on services and products expected from forests, with respect to maintenance of biological diversity.

Prof. Dr. Angela Lo Monaco
Dr. Paolo Cantiani
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Timber quality
  • Dead wood
  • Forest road
  • Timber extraction
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Biomass growth
  • Forest management planning

Published Papers (20 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth
Forests 2021, 12(9), 1253; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12091253 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 462
Abstract
Forests are natural or semi-natural systems that can generate services and products that humans use directly or indirectly [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Article
The Structure and Composition of Puerto Rico’s Urban Mangroves
Forests 2020, 11(10), 1119; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11101119 - 21 Oct 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1188
Abstract
This study characterizes the structure and composition of mangrove forests across urban gradients in Puerto Rico. It then uses a suite of hydrologic, water chemistry, and land cover variables to test for the relative importance of urban intensity alongside flooding and water chemistry [...] Read more.
This study characterizes the structure and composition of mangrove forests across urban gradients in Puerto Rico. It then uses a suite of hydrologic, water chemistry, and land cover variables to test for the relative importance of urban intensity alongside flooding and water chemistry in explaining observed variability in forest structure and composition. Three separate statistical tests suggest a significant but limited influence of urbanness on forest composition and structure. In the most urban sites, the diameters of the largest trees were 27% larger, but all structural measurements were best explained by surface water chemistry, primarily nitrogen concentrations. Concentrations of ammonium and total Kjeldahl nitrogen best explained stem density, tree girth and canopy height. The most urban forests also contained 5.0 more species per hectare, on average, than the least urban forests, and simple regression suggests that urban metrics were the most powerful predictors of forest composition. The most urban forests were more dominated by Laguncularia racemosa, while both Avicennia germinans and Rhizophora mangle were found to be less abundant in the most urban sites, a trend that may be linked to the influence of precipitation and tidal connectivity on porewater salinity across the urban gradient. In multiple regression, no statistical difference was detected in the importance of surrounding land cover, flooding, or water quality in explaining the variance in either composition or structural metrics. This suggests that while a given forest metric may be strongly linked to either land cover, water quality, or flooding, all three are likely important and should be considered when characterizing these forests. With more human dependents in urban areas, the provisioning of important ecosystem services may be influenced by land use variables in addition to the more commonly measured metrics of water chemistry and flooding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Article
Soil Disturbance Induced by Silvicultural Treatment in Chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) Coppice and Post-Disturbance Recovery
Forests 2020, 11(10), 1053; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11101053 - 29 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 661
Abstract
Chestnut forests represent an important environmental and landscape element in Europe, especially in the hill regions of southern Europe. In Italy, the total surface amount of chestnut forests is slightly expanded with 788,408 hectares, but orchards show a dramatic reduction (147,586 hectares or [...] Read more.
Chestnut forests represent an important environmental and landscape element in Europe, especially in the hill regions of southern Europe. In Italy, the total surface amount of chestnut forests is slightly expanded with 788,408 hectares, but orchards show a dramatic reduction (147,586 hectares or 20% of the total) and timber-producing stands a comparable expansion (605,888 hectares or 80%). The coppice management actually applied is considered one of the oldest forms of sustainable forest management. Over the years, coppice highlighted its versatility, resilience and multifunctionality. In this management system, in consideration of the “frequent” cutting cycles, special attention must be paid to forestry operations, because tree damage and soil compaction can trigger fungal disease and soil erosion. Frequent and repeated machine traffic increases the risk for soil degradation derived from compaction, topsoil removal and general disturbance. This study covered different forest areas and mechanization levels, in order to evaluate if the extent, type and severity of soil disturbance changed with site characteristics and logging technique. Furthermore, the study sought to obtain a better knowledge about the recovery time required for restoring the original soil properties after a disturbance has occurred. The findings showed that physical, chemical, and biological soil features were only partially disturbed by the coppicing and again that a high level of specialized mechanization does not generate heavier soil impact compared with the smaller and lighter machines deployed under the traditional and intermediate mechanization scenarios. Soil recovery in the impacted areas is already measurable one year after harvest and may be complete within the eight year—that is halfway through the standard rotation applied in the region to chestnut coppice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Article
Biomass Allocation to Resource Acquisition Compartments Is Affected by Tree Density Manipulation in European Beech after Three Decades
Forests 2020, 11(9), 940; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11090940 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 992
Abstract
This study reports on an investigation of fine root and foliage productivity in forest stands dominated by European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) and exposed to contrasting intensities of mature forest harvesting. The main aim of this study was to consider the long-term [...] Read more.
This study reports on an investigation of fine root and foliage productivity in forest stands dominated by European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) and exposed to contrasting intensities of mature forest harvesting. The main aim of this study was to consider the long-term effects of canopy manipulation on resource acquisition biomass compartments in beech. We made use of an experiment established in 1989, when five different light availability treatments were started in plots within a uniform forest stand, ranging from no reduction in tree density to full mature forest removal. We measured fine root standing stock in the 0–30 cm soil layer by coring in 2013 and then followed annual fine root production (in-growth cores) and foliage production (litter baskets) in 2013–2015. We found that the plot where the tree density was reduced by 30% had the lowest foliage and the highest fine root production. In 2013, this plot had the highest fine root turnover rate (0.8 year−1), while this indicator of fine root dynamics was much lower in the other four treatments (around 0.3 year−1). We also found that the annual fine root production represented around two thirds of annual foliage growth on the mass basis in all treatments. While our findings support the maintenance of source and sink balance in woody plants, we also found a long-lasting effect of tree density manipulation on investment into resource acquisition compartments in beech forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Article
Impact of Stand Density and Tree Social Status on Aboveground Biomass Allocation of Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris L.
Forests 2020, 11(7), 765; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11070765 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1027
Abstract
Stand density changes due to aging and thinning interventions. At the same time, the social status of trees develops and varies due to different genetic conditions as well as access to nutrients and light. Trees growing in diverse conditions gain their social status [...] Read more.
Stand density changes due to aging and thinning interventions. At the same time, the social status of trees develops and varies due to different genetic conditions as well as access to nutrients and light. Trees growing in diverse conditions gain their social status in the stand, which, in the end, influences their development and biomass allocation. The objective of this research was to discover if stand density or tree social status has an impact on a tree’s aboveground biomass allocation. The study was carried out in five premature and five mature pine stands, growing in the same soil conditions. The selected sample stands had a different growing density, from low to high. In each sample stand, 10 trees were selected to represent a different social status, according to the Schädelin classification. There were 100 trees felled in total (50 in the premature stands and 50 in the mature stands), for which the dry biomass of the stem, living and dead branches, needles, and cones was determined. The results showed that stand density only had an impact on the branches’ biomass fraction but not the stem and foliage fractions, while social status had an impact on all the fractions. Dominant and codominant trees, as well as those with developed crowns, had a smaller share of the stem and higher share of branches in comparison with trees of a lower social status. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Article
Short-Term Recovery of Residual Tree Damage during Successive Thinning Operations
Forests 2020, 11(7), 731; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11070731 - 04 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 679
Abstract
In this study, damage to residual trees during thinning performed by motor-manual felling and whole tree skidding was studied in a loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) plantation. Forest intervention was carried out in 2016 and tree wounds were studied and examined over [...] Read more.
In this study, damage to residual trees during thinning performed by motor-manual felling and whole tree skidding was studied in a loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) plantation. Forest intervention was carried out in 2016 and tree wounds were studied and examined over a period of three years. The results indicated that 8% of the residual trees suffered damage, of which 52% was caused by felling operations and 48% by extraction operations. Among the damaged trees, 13% had damage to the root system, 53% to the bole, and 34% to the crown area. The average wound size at the time of occurrence was 71.3 cm2. This was found to be reduced to 54.4 cm2 after a three year period. Wound intensity decreased with higher wound height and increased size. Three years after wound occurrence, only 6.6% were closed, 90.6% were still open, and 2.8% were decayed. The diameter growth in damaged trees was 1.7% lower than in undamaged trees (p > 0.05). Damage to the root system of residual trees reduced diameter growth by 3% (p < 0.05). Intensive wounds (damaged wood) caused a reduction of 22.7% in diameter growth (p < 0.01). In addition, the diameter growth in trees with decayed wounds was 27.4% lower than unwounded trees (p < 0.01). Pre-harvest planning, directional tree felling, marking of the extraction path before logging operations, employment of skilled logging workers, and post-harvest assessment of damaged residual trees are essential implementations in timber plantations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Article
Comparison of Allometric Equation and Destructive Measurement of Carbon Storage of Naturally Regenerated Understory in a Pinus rigida Plantation in South Korea
Forests 2020, 11(4), 425; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11040425 - 09 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 831
Abstract
The forest understory plays an important role in the carbon and nutrient cycling and forest stability, but cost-efficient quantification of its biomass remains challenging. Most of the existing biomass allometric equations have been developed and designed only for mature forest trees (i.e., Diameter [...] Read more.
The forest understory plays an important role in the carbon and nutrient cycling and forest stability, but cost-efficient quantification of its biomass remains challenging. Most of the existing biomass allometric equations have been developed and designed only for mature forest trees (i.e., Diameter at breast height (DBH) ≥ 10 cm), and those for trees with DBH less than 10 cm are not readily available. In this study, we compared the biomass by plant component (i.e., foliage, branch, and stem) measured by a destructive method with those estimated by the existing biomass allometric equations for understory trees with DBH less than 10 cm in a Pinus rigida plantation. We also developed an allometric biomass equation for the identified understory tree species, namely, Quercus variabilis, Quercus acutissima, Quercus mongolica, Quercus serrata, and Carpinus laxiflora. The estimated biomass using allometric equations for foliage, branch, and stem was lower than the values obtained using the destructive method by 64%, 41%, and 18%, respectively. The biomass allometric equations developed in this study showed high coefficients of determination (mean R2 = 0.970) but varied depending on species and tree part (range: 0.824–0.984 for foliage, 0.825–0.952 for branch, and 0.884–0.999 for the stem, respectively). The computed biomass of the understory vegetation was 22.9 Mg ha−1, representing 12.0% of the total biomass of the P. rigida plantation. The present study demonstrates that understory trees with DBH less than 10 cm account for a considerable portion of carbon stock in forest ecosystems, and therefore suggests that more biomass allometric equations should be optimized for small-DBH trees to improve forest carbon stock estimation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Article
Taper Function for Pinus nigra in Central Italy: Is a More Complex Computational System Required?
Forests 2020, 11(4), 405; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11040405 - 05 Apr 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 825
Abstract
Stem tapers are mathematical functions modelling the relative decrease of diameter (rD) as the relative height (rH) increase in trees and can be successfully used in precision forest harvesting. In this paper, the diameters of the stem at various height of 202 Pinus [...] Read more.
Stem tapers are mathematical functions modelling the relative decrease of diameter (rD) as the relative height (rH) increase in trees and can be successfully used in precision forest harvesting. In this paper, the diameters of the stem at various height of 202 Pinus nigra trees were fully measured by means of an optical relascope (CRITERION RD 1000) by adopting a two-steps non-destructive strategy. Data were modelled with four equations including a linear model, two polynomial functions (second and third order) and the Generalised Additive Model. Predictions were also compared with the output from the TapeR R package, an object-oriented tool implementing the β-Spline functions and widely used in the literature and scientific research. Overall, the high quality of the database was detected as the most important driver for modelling with algorithms almost equivalent each other. The use of a non-destructive sampling method allowed the full measurement of all the trees necessary to build a mathematical function properly. The results clearly highlight the ability of all the tested models to reach a high statistical significance with an adjusted-R squared higher than 0.9. A very low mean relative absolute error was also calculated with a cross validation procedure and small standard deviation were associated. Substantial differences were detected with the TapeR prediction. Indeed, the use of mixed models improved the data handling with outputs not affected by autocorrelation which is one of the main issues when measuring trees profile. The profile data violate one of the basic assumptions of modelling: the independence of sampled units (i.e., autocorrelation of measured values across the stem of a tree). Consequently, the use of simple parametric equations can only be a temporary resource before more complex built-in apps are able to allow basic users to exploit more powerful modelling techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Article
Structure and Dynamics of Deadwood in Pine and Oak Stands and their Role in CO2 Sequestration in Lowland Forests of Central Italy
Forests 2020, 11(3), 253; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11030253 - 26 Feb 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 918
Abstract
There are many data values describing deadwood in primary forests, however, there is much less information concerning managed forests, particularly in the Mediterranean area. Whole non-living woody biomass (deadwood) is the main component of forest types that plays a vital role in improving [...] Read more.
There are many data values describing deadwood in primary forests, however, there is much less information concerning managed forests, particularly in the Mediterranean area. Whole non-living woody biomass (deadwood) is the main component of forest types that plays a vital role in improving and maintaining biodiversity. The dynamics of deadwood and CO2 sequestration by deadwood were examined in three Mediterranean lowland forests: pine forest Pinus pinea L.), evergreen oak forest (Quercus ilex and Quercus suber L.), and deciduous oak forest (Quercus cerris L.). The aim of this study was to carry out a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the deadwood to gather useful information for the Mediterranean forest management, and to provide some useful data that can be integrated into the methods of estimation for carbon stored in dead components of Mediterranean forest types. The investigations focused on the characterization of the deadwood, to determine which traits are dominant and their potentially functionality within the forest type. Results indicated the deciduous oak type had the highest amount of stand volume (379 m3/ha), deadwood volume (161.8 m3/ha), and C storage (31.43 t/ha). The major component of dead wood was the standing dead trees or snags. There was a higher volume of deadwood in the deciduous oak forest than in the pine and evergreen oak forests. In addition, the deciduous oak forest had a higher snag creation index, a higher fallen log creation index, and a higher past management index compared to pine and evergreen oak forest types. Deadwood volume increased as the decay class in the deciduous oak forest increased, while this trend decreased in the evergreen oak and pine forests. The amount of deadwood was affected by the forest type and forest management regime. Dynamic and past management of deadwood indices indicated that their structure was still in the initial phase of creation and decay in the pine and evergreen oak forests. A comparison with other studies on similar forest types brought out that the variation range of the main parameters for the management of deadwood fell within the variation of the parameters studied. However, the values of these parameters cover a broad range. The population of each forest type is extremely sensitive to the different evolutionary periods of the forest dynamics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Article
Post-Harvest Evaluation of Soil Physical Properties and Natural Regeneration Growth in Steep-Slope Terrains
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1034; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f10111034 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 950
Abstract
Protection of forest soils during harvesting operations is necessary to reduce damage and accelerate recovery time. The current study aims to evaluate soil physical properties, natural regeneration, and its recovery process in treatments including slope gradient, traffic intensity and skid trail after long [...] Read more.
Protection of forest soils during harvesting operations is necessary to reduce damage and accelerate recovery time. The current study aims to evaluate soil physical properties, natural regeneration, and its recovery process in treatments including slope gradient, traffic intensity and skid trail after long periods of time, after ceasing the timber harvesting operations. The most recent skidding operations within each 5 years recovery period were studied for a chronosequence of 20 years. Soil samples were taken in abandoned skid trails and data were recorded on naturally regenerated species and density. The results revealed that most soil disturbances occurred on the slopes >20%, as well as the highest levels of traffic intensity. Bulk density and penetration resistance were still higher than the control area, with a significant difference between them, while total porosity was partially recovered. Twenty years after the skidding operation, soil bulk density and penetration resistance were 13.2% and 23.7% higher than the control area, while total porosity was 9.78% lower the than value of the control area. Seedlings of 50–150 cm and >150 cm in height on skid trails had significantly lower density than those in the control. The number of seedlings per m2 was less than the control area in all skid trails and for all height classes. The proportion of seedlings present in low traffic intensity was higher than in medium and high traffic intensities. The findings confirmed that full recovery rates are lengthy, and more time than 20 years is required to fully recover, especially with regards to penetration resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Article
The Influences of Disturbance Histories and Soil Properties on Aboveground Biomass through Plant Functional Traits in a Tropical Rainforest
Forests 2019, 10(9), 774; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f10090774 - 06 Sep 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 975
Abstract
Research Highlights: We try to evaluate the relative contribution of environmental factors and functional traits on aboveground biomass in a species rich tropical forest ecosystem after a 40-years natural recovery. Background and Objectives: Functional traits have a potential to incorporate community dynamics into [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: We try to evaluate the relative contribution of environmental factors and functional traits on aboveground biomass in a species rich tropical forest ecosystem after a 40-years natural recovery. Background and Objectives: Functional traits have a potential to incorporate community dynamics into the impacts of disturbance histories or environmental conditions on ecosystem functioning, but few studies have been conducted to understand these processes. Materials and Methods: We measured plant functional traits and soil properties in the tropical montane rainforests on Hainan Island, China, which had experienced different disturbance histories (clear cutting, selective logging, and old-growth) 40 years ago. A structural equation model was used to elucidate how disturbance histories and soil factors influence aboveground biomass (AGB) across different size classes (saplings, treelets, and adult trees) through plant functional traits. Results: The results demonstrated logging stimulated seedling establishment but decreased AGB of adult trees and wood density at community-level (CWM_WD) of sapling and adult tree. Generally, CWM_WD of sapling, treelet, and adult tree decreased linearly with the increasing of specific leaf area at community-level (CWM_SLA) in old-growth forest and these two disturbed forests. Moreover, CWM_SLA explained more variation of CWM_WD with increasing intensity of logging within sapling, treelet, and adult tree. CWM_SLA and CWM_WD not only responded to environmental conditions and disturbance intensity but also affected AGB in all size classes; meanwhile, CWM_SLA was a major driver of AGB. CWM_SLA had a stronger effect on AGB in sapling and treelet classes than on the adult tree class. Conclusions: Our results suggested that disturbance history and environmental factors could directly or indirectly affect ecosystem functioning through plant functional traits. Functional traits always had a stronger effect on AGB than environmental conditions. Moreover, CWM_SLA is a key trait that can be used to link the relationship between environmental conditions and AGB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Article
Morphology, Growth and Architecture Response of Beech (Fagus orientalis Lipsky) and Maple Tree (Acer velutinum Boiss.) Seedlings to Soil Compaction Stress Caused by Mechanized Logging Operations
Forests 2019, 10(9), 771; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f10090771 - 05 Sep 2019
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 1317
Abstract
The Caspian forests of Iran were monitored and evaluated for forest natural regeneration after logging activities for more than a decade. This large area has a substantial ecological, environmental and socio-economic importance. Ground based skidding is the most common logging method in these [...] Read more.
The Caspian forests of Iran were monitored and evaluated for forest natural regeneration after logging activities for more than a decade. This large area has a substantial ecological, environmental and socio-economic importance. Ground based skidding is the most common logging method in these forests and soil compaction is the most critical consequence of this method. One of the current main topics and important emerging issue in forest research of the last decade are discussed in this study. Soil compaction has major influences on growth and/or mortality rates of forest seedlings. This study has lasted for over ten years so as to have a clear overview related to forest natural regeneration after logging activities. We monitored and evaluated physical soil properties (bulk density, penetration resistance and total porosity) and their effects on maple and beech seedlings on 10-year-old skid trails in the Iranian Caspian forests. Results obtained from evaluating the impact of skid trails within the aforementioned three soil physical parameters were significant; bulk density increased by 12.6% on log skidded routes (between two skidder tires on skid trail) and 36.1% on tire tracks, compared to non-skid trails (1.19 g/cm3), penetration resistance increased by 68% on log skidded routes and 220% on tire tracks, compared to non-skid trails (0.25 MPa), total porosity decreased by 12.8% on log skidded routes and 30.9% on tire tracks, compared to non-skid trails (54%). Among the morphological parameters, lateral root length (LRL) and root penetration depth (RPD) showed the highest decrease at soil compaction compared to the control (decrease in LRL: 60% in maple and 44% in beech; decrease in RPD: 56% in both maple and beech); the main response of growth parameters to soil compaction was found in roots (decrease in dry mass of 36% both in maple and beech); architectural parameters were also influenced by soil compaction, and the response of both seedling species was more evident in the ratio of main root to stem length (RRS) (reduction in RRS 42% in maple, 33% in beech); the ratio of RPD to main root length (RPL) also showed a great reduction (reduction in RPL 20% in maple 33% in beech). Physical soil properties, changes in other environmental properties of skid trails, created differences in beech and maple seedling growth between the skid trails and non-skid trails. This was closely related to the physiological characteristics of the two species studied. Beech seedlings reacted well to a moderate uncovering but they needed little disturbed soil, even if there was a very mixed bedding. Maple seedlings reacted better than beech seedlings to the uncovering and soil disturbance. The effects of the skid trail on morphology, growth and architecture of maple seedlings in the Hyrcanian beech forests showed that the maple, as a seedling, is a suitable species for maintaining the physical properties of skid trails after logging operations in the beech stands in the Caspian forests of Iran. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Article
Exploring Nonlinear Intra-Annual Growth Dynamics in Fagus sylvatica L. Trees at the Italian ICP-Forests Level II Network
Forests 2019, 10(7), 584; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f10070584 - 13 Jul 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1486
Abstract
The European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) is a widely distributed tree species across Europe, highly sensitive to climate change and global warming. This study illustrates results of a 5-year monitoring time period from eight sites of the ICP-Forests Level II (intensive monitoring [...] Read more.
The European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) is a widely distributed tree species across Europe, highly sensitive to climate change and global warming. This study illustrates results of a 5-year monitoring time period from eight sites of the ICP-Forests Level II (intensive monitoring network) along the Italian latitudinal gradient. The tree-level relationship between tree growth dynamics and environmental factors, including seasonal climate fluctuations were investigated by means of tree-level Generalized Additive Mixed Models (GAMMs). Model results revealed that climate was responsible for just a portion of the variability in beech growth dynamics. Even if climatic predictors were highly significant in almost all sites, the model explained nearly 30% of the total variance (with just a maximum value of 71.6%), leaving the remaining variance unexplained and likely connected with forest management trajectories applied to each site (e.g., aged coppice and fully grown high forest). Climate change scenarios were then applied to predict site-specific future responses. By applying climate change scenarios, it was predicted that central and northern Italy would face similar climatic conditions to those currently detected at southern latitudes. A special case study was represented by VEN1 plot (Veneto, Northern Italy) whose current and future climate regimes were grouped in a unique and separated cluster. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Article
The Phenological Growth Stages of Sapindus mukorossi According to BBCH Scale
Forests 2019, 10(6), 462; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f10060462 - 28 May 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2037
Abstract
Sapindus mukorossi is a native tree in southern China that has multiple useful functions, including high landscaping, ecological, esthetic, and economic values. More importantly, its fruits are being rapidly developed as raw materials for bioenergy and saponin production in southern China. To provide [...] Read more.
Sapindus mukorossi is a native tree in southern China that has multiple useful functions, including high landscaping, ecological, esthetic, and economic values. More importantly, its fruits are being rapidly developed as raw materials for bioenergy and saponin production in southern China. To provide a standardized phenological description of the species, this study firstly used the BBCH (Biologische Bundesanstalt, Bundessortenamt und CHemische Industrie) scale. In total, eight principal stages—i.e., bud, leaf and shoot development, inflorescence emergence, flowering, fruit development, fruit maturity, senescence and beginning of dormancy—and 58 secondary stages were described. It ranges from vegetative bud dormancy to the onset of the next beginning of the dormancy, using a two-digit numerical coding system. In addition to the descriptions, we provide photographic images of some major developmental stages to standardize morphological characteristics and the phenological observation of S. mukorossi. This study will be an asset for biological researches and cultivation management in Sapindus, and will provide valuable information for other fruit trees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Article
Effects of Planting Density on Soil Bulk Density, pH and Nutrients of Unthinned Chinese Fir Mature Stands in South Subtropical Region of China
Forests 2019, 10(4), 351; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f10040351 - 20 Apr 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1739
Abstract
Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook) is a fast-growing evergreen conifer with high-quality timber and is an important reforestation and commercial tree species in southern China. Planting density affects the productivity of Chinese fir plantations. To study the effect of five different [...] Read more.
Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook) is a fast-growing evergreen conifer with high-quality timber and is an important reforestation and commercial tree species in southern China. Planting density affects the productivity of Chinese fir plantations. To study the effect of five different planting densities and soil depth on soil nutrient contents of a mature C. lanceolata plantation, the soil nutrient contents (soil depths 0–100 cm) of 36-year-old mature Chinese fir plantations under five different planting densities denoted A (1667 trees·ha−1), B (3333 trees·ha−1), C (5000 trees·ha−1), D (6667 trees·ha−1), and E (10,000 trees·ha−1) were measured in Pingxiang county, Guangxi province, China. Samples were collected from the soil surface down to a one meter depth from each of 45 soil profiles, and soil samples were obtained at 10 different soil depths of 0–10, 10–20, 20–30, 30–40, 40–50, 50–60, 60–70, 70–80, 80–90, and 90–100 cm. Twelve soil physical and chemical indicators were analyzed. The results showed that: (1) as planting density increased, the organic matter, organic carbon, total N and P, available N, effective Fe, and bulk density decreased. Soil pH, total K, and effective K increased with increasing planting density. Planting density did not significantly influence the exchangeable Ca and Mg. (2) Soil organic matter; organic carbon; total N and P; effective N, P, and K; exchangeable Ca and Mg; effective Fe content; and bulk density decreased with increasing soil depth. This pattern was particularly evident in the top 30 cm of the soil. (3) Excessively high planting density is not beneficial to the long-term maintenance of soil fertility in Chinese fir plantations, and the planting density of Chinese fir plantations should be maintained below 3333 stems·ha−1 (density A or B) to maintain soil fertility while ensuring high yields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Article
Growth, Biomass Production and Root Development of Chinese fir in Relation to Initial Planting Density
Forests 2019, 10(3), 236; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f10030236 - 07 Mar 2019
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 1681
Abstract
Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb) Hook) is a commercially valuable timber species that is widely planted in southern China and accounts for 6.1% of the global plantation forests. However, appropriate planting density that ensures high plantation productivity is largely unexplored in this [...] Read more.
Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb) Hook) is a commercially valuable timber species that is widely planted in southern China and accounts for 6.1% of the global plantation forests. However, appropriate planting density that ensures high plantation productivity is largely unexplored in this species. The aim of the study was to examine tree growth, biomass production, and its allocation among different organs in relation to initial planting density, and to examine whether planting density has an impact on root development. Mortality, diameter at breast height and tree-height of all trees were determined and measured in wider (2.36 × 2.36 m), intermediate (1.83 × 1.83 m) and narrow (1.44 × 1.44 m) spacing with stand density of 1450 trees ha−1, 2460 trees ha−1 and 3950 trees ha−1, respectively. In each stand, three plots of 20 × 20 m at a distance of 500 m were delineated as the sampling unit. Biomass was determined by destructive sampling of trees in each stand and developing allometric equations. Root morphological traits and their spatial distribution were also determined by carefully excavating the root systems. The results showed an increase in diameter of trees with decreasing stand density while tree height was independent of stand density. Biomass production of individual trees was significantly (p < 0.05) less in high-density stand (32.35 ± 2.98 kg tree−1) compared to low-density stand (44.72 ± 4.96 kg tree−1) and intermediate-density stand (61.35 ± 4.78 kg tree−1) while stand biomass production differed significantly in the order of intermediate (67.63 ± 5.14 t ha−1) > high (57.08 ± 3.13 t ha−1) > low (27.39 ± 3.42 t ha−1) stand density. Both average root length and root volume were significantly (p < 0.05) lower in the high-density stand than stands with low and intermediate density. Analysis of spatial distribution of root systems revealed no overlap between roots of neighboring trees in the competition zone in low-density stand, a subtle overlap in the intermediate density stand and larger overlap in the high-density stand. It can be concluded that better growth and biomass production in intermediate density stand could be explained by better root structural development coupled with minimal competition with understory vegetation and between trees; thus intermediate stand density can be optimal for sustaining long-term productivity and may reduce the management cost in the early phase of the plantation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Article
Biomass Accumulation and Carbon Sequestration in an Age-Sequence of Mongolian Pine Plantations in Horqin Sandy Land, China
Forests 2019, 10(2), 197; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f10020197 - 22 Feb 2019
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1734
Abstract
The Mongolian pine (Pinus sylvestris L. var. mongolica Litv.) was first introduced to the southeastern Horqin sandy land in the mid-1950s. Since then, it has been widely planted and has become the most important conifer species in Northern China, providing significant ecological, [...] Read more.
The Mongolian pine (Pinus sylvestris L. var. mongolica Litv.) was first introduced to the southeastern Horqin sandy land in the mid-1950s. Since then, it has been widely planted and has become the most important conifer species in Northern China, providing significant ecological, economic and social benefits. However, its function in sequestering carbon at different developmental stages has been little studied. In this study, twenty plots inventory and destructive sampling of eight trees were conducted in 12-, 19-, 34-, 48- and 58-year-old Mongolian pine stands of China. Allometric biomass equations (ABEs) for tree components were established and used to determine the magnitude and distribution of tree biomass and carbon density. The carbon density of the understory, forest floor and soil was also determined. The ABEs with age as the second variable could simply and accurately determine the biomass of plantation tree branches, foliage and fruit, which were considerably influenced by age. With increasing stand age, the proportion of stem biomass to total tree biomass increased from 22.2% in the 12-year-old stand to 54.2% in the 58-year-old stand, and the proportion of understory biomass to total ecosystem biomass decreased, with values of 7.5%, 4.6%, 4.4%, 4.1% and 3.0% in the five stands. The biomass of the forest floor was 0.00, 1.12, 2.04, 6.69 and 3.65 Mg ha−1 in the five stands. The ecosystem carbon density was 40.2, 73.4, 92.9, 89.9 and 87.3 Mg ha−1 in the 12-, 19-, 34-, 48-, and 58-year-old stands, in which soil carbon density accounted for the largest proportion, with values of 67.4%, 76.8%, 73.2%, 63.4%, and 57.7% respectively. The Mongolian pine had the potential for carbon sequestration during its development, especially in the early stages, however, in the later growth stage, the ecosystem carbon density decreased slightly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Article
Timber and Branch Volume Prediction: Effects of Stand and Site Characteristics on Dendromass and Timber-To-Branch Volume Ratio of Norway Spruce in Managed Forests
Forests 2019, 10(2), 144; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f10020144 - 10 Feb 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1182
Abstract
The objective of this study was to develop the models that predict both timber and branch volumes of Norway spruce (Picea abies/L./Karst.), the most abundant tree species in Europe, and determine the relationships among timber and branch volumes and various site [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to develop the models that predict both timber and branch volumes of Norway spruce (Picea abies/L./Karst.), the most abundant tree species in Europe, and determine the relationships among timber and branch volumes and various site and stand characteristics. The data used in this study come from 76 sample plots in the different stands and site conditions across Norway spruce forests in the Czech Republic. Timber volume was determined by Huber’s formula and branch volume (logging residue) was determined by drying and weighing of 10 samples from the 10-chipped trees on each sample plot, meaning that a total of 760 samples were analyzed. The results showed that timber volume was significantly positively correlated with branch volume, mean diameter at breast height (mean DBH) per sample plot, mean height per sample plot, slope of sample plot, and stand age, but negatively correlated with stand stocking. The branch volume was more significantly affected by stand stocking than timber volume. The timber-to-branch volume ratio (TBR) reached the mean value of 3.7 (±0.14 SE) and significantly increased with increasing elevation. The trees on the nutrient-rich sites were characterized by higher branch volume, while TBR reached higher values on the acid sites. Site quality class had a significant effect only on the branch volume production. Compared to the timber volume (root mean square error, RMSE = 3.6176; adjusted coefficient of determination, R2adj = 0.7310), the branch volume was relatively poorly described by the model (RMSE = 1.928; R2adj = 0.2517). The volume prediction models show that timber volumes increase with increasing slope and branch volume increases with decreasing site quality class. For effective forest management practice, the highest branch volume in favor of timber production is characterized for lowland forests with stand stocking ≤60% (TBR 1.5), while the highest share of timber volume (TBR 9.5) can be reached in the mountains with a full stand stocking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Article
Effects of Fertilization Ratios and Frequencies on the Growth and Nutrient Uptake of Magnolia wufengensis (Magnoliaceae)
Forests 2019, 10(1), 65; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f10010065 - 15 Jan 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1621
Abstract
Through this study, the most suitable fertilization ratio, amount and frequency were determined, providing a scientific reference for further fertilization management for Magnolia wufengensis (Magnoliaceae) seedlings. Fertilization is an important cultivation and management measure to maintain forest seedling health and rapid growth. However, [...] Read more.
Through this study, the most suitable fertilization ratio, amount and frequency were determined, providing a scientific reference for further fertilization management for Magnolia wufengensis (Magnoliaceae) seedlings. Fertilization is an important cultivation and management measure to maintain forest seedling health and rapid growth. However, improper fertilization can also have unexpected effects: inhibiting seedling growth, increasing the cost of production and contaminating the environment. Thus, to explore the most suitable fertilization treatment for Magnolia wufengensis growth, one-year-old Magnolia wufengensis seedlings and the orthogonal design method were used in this study. Three different fertilization frequencies were used combined with 9 NPK ratios. The growth index, chlorophyll content, nutrient content in tissues, nutrient transport efficiency, nutrient uptake, and soil properties were analyzed. Fertilization can increase chlorophyll content, promoting the vegetative growth and biomass accumulation of Magnolia wufengensis. Fertilization reduced the proportion of root biomass to whole plant biomass, resulting in an increase in stem biomass with little effect on leaf biomass. Additionally, fertilization also increased the proportion of N in roots, P in stems and K in leaves. Under fertilization, the K transport efficiency was higher than that of N and P. Furthermore, there was a positive correlation between the nutrient use efficiencies of N and K. Overall, the effects of six fertilizer applications were much better than those of four and eight fertilizer applications on the promotion of vegetative growth, biomass and nutrient accumulation, nutrient uptake and transport efficiency. The results showed that six fertilizer applications with an NPK ratio of 3:2:1 as follows: N application at 480 mg/plant, P application at 320 mg/plant, and K application at 160 mg/plant was the most suitable fertilization method for plant growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Review

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Review
A Review of the Role of Forests and Agroforestry Systems in the FAO Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) Programme
Forests 2020, 11(8), 860; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f11080860 - 07 Aug 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1545
Abstract
Traditional agroforestry systems have received increasing attention in recent decades for their multifunctional role and as a sustainable development model for rural areas. At the international level, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) programme in [...] Read more.
Traditional agroforestry systems have received increasing attention in recent decades for their multifunctional role and as a sustainable development model for rural areas. At the international level, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) programme in 2002 with the aim of identifying agricultural systems of global importance; preserving landscapes, agrobiodiversity and traditional knowledge; applying the dynamic conservation principles while promoting sustainable development. The aim of the research is to carry out a review of the inscription dossiers of all the 59 sites already included in the GIAHS programme, in order to analyze the role of forests and agroforestry systems. Moreover, the main traditional management techniques have been identified and briefly described, as traditional forest-related knowledge is particularly important for sustainable forest management. Forests and agroforestry systems have been found to be important or crucial in about half of the sites. The main role assigned to forests and agroforestry systems in GIAHS proposals is related to the production of timber, fuelwood and by-products for the local communities according to sustainable and traditional management techniques. Among these, they also play important roles in hydrogeological protection, water regulation and biodiversity maintenance, representing examples both of human adaptation to different environments and of resilient systems that could help to face global challenges such as hydrogeological risk and climate change. The review of the GIAHS inscription dossiers also highlighted the lack of a uniform approach in dealing with forest issues, especially for what concern the description of management plans and the relation with protected areas or forest planning instruments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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