Special Issue "Forest Physiological and Ecological Processes: Ecophysiology from Molecules to Ecosystems"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 3 January 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Doug P. Aubrey
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, PO Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802, USA;
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, UGA, Athens, GA 30602, USA
Interests: ecophysiology; ecosystem ecology; silviculture; biogeochemistry
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Daniel Johnson
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
Interests: climate change; drought; photosynthesis; transpiration; cavitation; embolism; stomata and water relations
Dr. William M. Hammond
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Florida, Agronomy Department
Interests: physiological ecology; plant vascular function; dysfunction; failure

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Forests occupy ~30% of Earth’s terrestrial surface but account for ~50% of terrestrial plant productivity, ~45% of terrestrial carbon storage, and play similarly (disproportionately) important roles in other global biogeochemical cycles, thus providing myriad ecosystem services. Understanding how abiotic and biotic factors influence the physiology of forest organisms and how physiological mechanisms of forest organisms regulate ecosystem processes and biogeochemical cycles—in other words, the study of forest ecophysiology—is key to maintaining forest ecosystem services under intensifying natural and anthropogenic pressures. Forest organisms have a range of 22 orders of magnitude in mass, from the tiniest microbes to the largest tree, and ecophysiological techniques measure processes at spatial scales that span even more orders of magnitude in size, from tracing individual molecules to satellite imagery of regional, continental, and global landscapes. The empirical and modeling approaches used to study forest ecophysiology are similarly diverse. In this Special Issue, we broadly explore current research designed to improve our understanding of interactions between forest physiological mechanisms and ecosystem processes in both managed and unmanaged forest ecosystems worldwide. We welcome contributions reporting experimental results from a variety of techniques, including modeling, as well as theoretical results and topical reviews.

Dr. Doug Aubrey
Dr. Daniel Johnson
Dr. William M. Hammond
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. 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 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • abiotic
  • biogeochemistry
  • biotic
  • global change
  • physiological ecology
  • physiology

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Dynamic Changes in Plant Resource Use Efficiencies and Their Primary Influence Mechanisms in a Typical Desert Shrub Community
Forests 2021, 12(10), 1372; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/f12101372 - 09 Oct 2021
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Understanding plant resource use efficiencies (RUEs) and their tradeoffs in a desert shrub community, particularly as it concerns the usage of water, light, and nitrogen, remains an ecological imperative. Plant RUEs have been widely used as indicators to understand plant [...] Read more.
Understanding plant resource use efficiencies (RUEs) and their tradeoffs in a desert shrub community, particularly as it concerns the usage of water, light, and nitrogen, remains an ecological imperative. Plant RUEs have been widely used as indicators to understand plant acclimation processes to unfavorable environmental conditions. This study aimed to examine seasonal dynamics in RUEs in two widely distributed plant species in a typical desert shrub community (i.e., Artemisia ordosica and Leymus secalinus) based on in-situ measurements of leaf photosynthesis, specific leaf area (SLA), leaf nitrogen concentration (i.e., Nmass + Narea), and several site-related abiotic factors. Both species exhibited significant seasonal variation in RUEs, with a coefficient of variation (CV) >30% and seasonal divergence among the various RUEs. Seasonal divergence was largely controlled by variation in stomatal conductance (Gs), which was in turn influenced by variation in soil water content (SWC) and water vapor pressure deficit (VPD). RUEs between species converged, being positively correlated, yielding: (i) r2 = 0.40 and p < 0.01 for WUE; (ii) r2 = 0.18 and p < 0.01 for LUE; and (iii) r2 = 0.25 and p < 0.01 for NUE. RUEs for A. ordosica were mostly larger than those for L. secalinus, but less reactive to drought. This suggests A. ordosica was more conservative in its usage of available resources and was, therefore, better able to adapt to arid conditions. Resource use strategies between species differed in response to drought. Desert shrubs are projected to eventually replace grasses, as drought severity and duration increase with sustained regional climate change. Full article
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