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  Subjects -> FORESTS AND FORESTRY (Total: 102 journals)
Acta Silvatica et Lignaria Hungarica     Open Access  
Advance in Forestry Research     Open Access   (Followers: 4)
Advances in Forestry Letters     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Advances in Forestry Science     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
African Journal of Sustainable Development     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 7)
Agrociencia     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
Agroforestry Systems     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 16)
Annals of Forest Science     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 4)
Appita Journal: Journal of the Technical Association of the Australian and New Zealand Pulp and Paper Industry     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 5)
Arboricultural Journal : The International Journal of Urban Forestry     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 6)
Arboriculture and Urban Forestry     Free   (Followers: 6)
Australian Forest Grower     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 2)
Australian Forestry     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 4)
Banko Janakari     Open Access  
Boletin de la Sociedad Argentina de Botanica     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Bosque     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Canadian Journal of Forest Research     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 27)
Canadian Journal of Plant Science     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 13)
Ciência Florestal     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
Ciencia forestal en México     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Colombia Forestal     Open Access  
Current Forestry Reports     Hybrid Journal  
Dissertationes Forestales     Open Access  
European Journal of Forest Research     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 4)
Expert Opinion on Environmental Biology     Hybrid Journal  
Floresta e Ambiente     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Folia Forestalia Polonica     Open Access  
Forest Ecology and Management     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 39)
Forest Pathology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 1)
Forest Phytophthoras     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Forest Policy and Economics     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 20)
Forest Research Papers     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
Forest Science     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 7)
Forest Science and Practice     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 5)
Forest Science and Technology     Partially Free   (Followers: 2)
Forest Systems     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
Foresta Veracruzana     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
Forestry Chronicle     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 10)
Forestry Letters     Open Access  
Forestry Studies : Metsanduslikud Uurimused     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 12)
Forests     Open Access   (Followers: 4)
Forests, Trees and Livelihoods     Partially Free   (Followers: 4)
Ghana Journal of Forestry     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 1)
Holzforschung     Hybrid Journal  
iForest : Biogeosciences and Forestry     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
Indian Forester     Full-text available via subscription  
INNOTEC : Revista del Laboratorio Tecnológico del Uruguay     Open Access  
International Forestry Review     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 7)
International Journal of Agriculture and Forestry     Open Access   (Followers: 4)
International Journal of Forest Engineering     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 1)
International Journal of Forest, Soil and Erosion     Open Access   (Followers: 4)
International Journal of Forestry Research     Open Access   (Followers: 5)
Journal of Agriculture, Forestry and the Social Sciences     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 4)
Journal of Biodiversity Management & Forestry     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 1)
Journal of Environmental Extension     Full-text available via subscription  
Journal of Forest and Livelihood     Full-text available via subscription  
Journal of Forest Economics     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 6)
Journal of Forest Products and Industries     Open Access  
Journal of Forest Research     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 3)
Journal of Forestry     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 9)
Journal of Forestry Research     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 6)
Journal of Horticulture and Forestry     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 16)
Journal of Research in Forestry, Wildlife and Environment     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Journal of Sustainable Forestry     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 8)
Journal of the Faculty of Forestry Istanbul University     Open Access  
Journal of Tropical Forestry and Environment     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Journal of Wood Chemistry and Technology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 7)
Journal of Wood Science     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 3)
Jurnal Manajemen Hutan Tropika     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
La Calera     Open Access  
Landscapes     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 20)
Lesnícky časopis     Open Access  
Maderas. Ciencia y tecnología     Open Access  
Mathematical and Computational Forestry & Natural-Resource Sciences     Free  
Natural Areas Journal     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 7)
New Forests     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 2)
New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Open Journal of Forestry     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
Pesquisa Florestal Brasileira     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Plant Science Bulletin     Free   (Followers: 8)
Quebracho. Revista de Ciencias Forestales     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Research Journal of Forestry     Open Access   (Followers: 4)
Revista Árvore     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
Revista Chapingo. Serie Ciencias Forestales y del Ambiente     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
Revista de Agricultura Neotropical     Open Access  
Revista Verde de Agroecologia e Desenvolvimento Sustentável     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
Revue forestière française     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 3)
Rwanda Journal     Full-text available via subscription  
Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 4)
Science, Technology and Arts Research Journal     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Silva Lusitana     Open Access  
Small-scale Forestry     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 3)
Southern African Forestry Journal     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 2)
Southern Forests : a Journal of Forest Science     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 5)
Tanzania Journal of Forestry and Nature Conservation     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 2)
Trees     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 5)
Turkish Journal of Agriculture and Forestry     Open Access  
Urban Forestry & Urban Greening     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 9)

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Journal Cover   Forests
  [SJR: 0.629]   [H-I: 8]   [4 followers]  Follow
  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
   ISSN (Print) 1999-4907
   Published by MDPI Homepage  [140 journals]
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2281-2295: Adaptation of Leaf Water Relations to
           Climatic and Habitat Water Availability

    • Authors: Patrick Mitchell, Anthony O'Grady
      Pages: 2281 - 2295
      Abstract: Successful management of forest systems requires a deeper understanding of the role of ecophysiological traits in enabling adaptation to high temperature and water deficit under current and anticipated changes in climate. A key attribute of leaf water relations is the water potential at zero turgor (πtlp), because it defines the operating water potentials over which plants actively control growth and gas exchange. This study examines the drivers of variation in πtlp with respect to species climate of origin and habitat water availability. We compiled a water relations database for 174 woody species occupying clearly delineated gradients in temperature and precipitation across the Australian continent. A significant proportion of the variability in πtlp (~35%) could be explained by climatic water deficit and its interaction with summertime maximum temperature, demonstrating the strong selective pressure of aridity and high temperature in shaping leaf water relations among Australian species. Habitat water availability (midday leaf water potential), was also a significant predictor of πtlp (R2 = 0.43), highlighting the importance of species ecohydrologic niche under a set of climatic conditions. Shifts in πtlp in response to both climatic and site-based drivers of water availability emphasises its adaptive significance and its suitability as a predictor of plant performance under future climatic change.
      PubDate: 2015-06-30
      DOI: 10.3390/f6072281
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 7 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2296-2306: Variation of Oriental Oak (Quercus
           variabilis) Leaf δ13C across Temperate and Subtropical China: Spatial
           Patterns and Sensitivity to Precipitation

    • Authors: Baoming Du, Hongzhang Kang, Yanhua Zhu, Xuan Zhou, Shan Yin, Paul Burgess, Chunjiang Liu
      Pages: 2296 - 2306
      Abstract: The concentration of the carbon-13 isotope (leaf δ13C) in leaves is negatively correlated with the mean annual precipitation (MAP) atlarge geographical scales. In this paper, we explain the spatial pattern of leaf δ13C variation for deciduous oriental oak (Quercus variabilis Bl.) across temperate and subtropical biomes and its sensitivity to climate factors such as MAP. There was a 6‰ variation in the leaf δ13C values of oak with a significant positive correlation with latitude and negative correlations with the mean annual temperature (MAT) and MAP. There was no correlation between leaf δ13C and altitude or longitude. Stepwise multiple regression analyses showed that leaf δ13C decreased 0.3‰ per 100 mm increase in MAP. MAP alone could account for 68% of the observed variation in leaf δ13C. These results can be used to improve predictions for plant responses to climate change and particularly lower rainfall.
      PubDate: 2015-06-30
      DOI: 10.3390/f6072296
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 7 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2307-2323: Enhanced Soil Carbon Storage under
           Agroforestry and Afforestation in Subtropical China

    • Authors: Guibin Wang, Clive Welham, Chaonian Feng, Lei Chen, Fuliang Cao
      Pages: 2307 - 2323
      Abstract: Soil carbon (C) in three Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba L.) agroforestry systems, afforestation (Ginkgo alone; G), and an agricultural cropping system were compared over a five-year period. The agroforestry systems were Ginkgo + Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) + Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.; GWP); Ginkgo + Mulberry (Morus alba L.; GM); and Ginkgo + Rapa (Brassica napus L.) + Peanut (GRP). The agricultural system consisted of wheat and peanut (WP). Total soil carbon (TSC), soil organic (SOC) and inorganic carbon (SIC), and the pools of five SOC chemical fractions were measured. TSC and SOC were always lower under WP than the G-based planting systems, and TSC in the latter increased significantly across years in the top 20 cm. Stocks of SIC under WP were significantly greater than the G-based systems, whereas SOC fractions tended to be lower. Most fractions increased across years but not in WP.
      PubDate: 2015-07-01
      DOI: 10.3390/f6072307
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 7 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2324-2344: Influence of Climate and Economic
           Variables on the Aggregated Supply of a Wild Edible Fungi (Lactarius

    • Authors: Oscar Alfranca, Roberto Voces, Luis Diaz-Balteiro
      Pages: 2324 - 2344
      Abstract: A mycological supply function of wild edible fungi is determined by a set of forest and economic variables, among which climate variables stand out. Focusing on wild mushroom picking with commercial value (Lactarius deliciosus (L.) Gray) as an example, the main objective of this paper is to obtain empirical evidence about the impact of meteorological and economic variables on the mushroom supply. A multidisciplinary vector error correction (VEC) model for mushroom supply is estimated. Coefficients for the Error Correction Term (ECT) are all significant, at the 0.01 significance level, both in the model for prices and for collected mushrooms. The value of the ECT coefficient in the equation for prices is −0.086 (t-value: −9.321), and for the collected mushroom equation is 0.499 (t-value: 3.913). The impact of precipitation on price changes is −0.104 (t-value: −1.66), and the impact of temperature on mushroom harvest picking is 0.605 (t-value: 3.07). We find that including climate factors to explain mushroom supply considerably strengthens the explanatory power of the model, and in some cases greatly changes the results.
      PubDate: 2015-07-06
      DOI: 10.3390/f6072324
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 7 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2345-2370: Ecological Conservation, Ecotourism, and
           Sustainable Management: The Case of Penang National Park

    • Authors: Sara Kaffashi, Alias Radam, Mad Shamsudin, Mohd Yacob, Nor Nordin
      Pages: 2345 - 2370
      Abstract: Penang National Park (PNP), as Malaysia’s smallest national park, is one of the few naturally forested areas left on Penang Island, in Peninsular Malaysia. The main objective was to analyse users’ preferences and willingness to pay to enhance improved management of PNP for the dual aim of conservation and recreation. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to analyse the formation of attitudes towards different aspects of PNP. Results showed that implementing enforcements with rules and regulations and imposing permits and charges on certain activities were the most influential variables of PNPs’ perceptions. The results of a random parameter logit model (RPL) demonstrated that visitors placed the highest value on having adequate information about PNP, and the second-highest value on improvements in the park’s ecological management. The welfare measure for improvement in management of PNP against status quo is estimated at about MYR 9. Results also showed that demand for better conservation and management of PNP is relatively price-inelastic. Simulations of the results showed, under a MYR10 admission fee, that improvement in management would have 96% of market share compared with status quo. This study concluded that visitor entrance fees can and ought to be introduced as a means of financing conservation initiatives and possibly preventing congestion.
      PubDate: 2015-07-07
      DOI: 10.3390/f6072345
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 7 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2371-2386: Assessing the Effect of Leaf Litter
           Diversity on the Decomposition and Associated Diversity of Fungal

    • Authors: Jing Gao, Fengfeng Kang, Tianyu Li, Xiaoshuai Song, Weihong Zhao, Xiaowen Yu, Hairong Han
      Pages: 2371 - 2386
      Abstract: Although the effect of litter mixture on decomposition has been well documented, few studies have examined the relationships between richness and relative abundance of leaf species in litter mixture and changes in universal fungal communities during the decomposition process in temperate forests. In this study, we used the litterbag method and included three leaf litter species, i.e., aspen (Populus davidiana Dode), birch (Betula platyphylla Sukaczev) and oak (Quercus mongolica Fischer ex Ledebour), to investigate the mass loss rate and diversity of universal fungal communities in each litter treatment, which were sampled in situ after 180, 240, 300 and 360 days of decomposition (between 2012 and 2013) in broadleaved mixed forests in Chinese temperate forests. Eight mixture proportions were examined: pure aspen litter (10A), pure birch litter (10B), pure oak litter (10O), 50% aspen litter mixed with 50% birch litter (5A:5B), 50% aspen litter mixed with 50% oak (5A:5O), 50% birch litter mixed with 50% oak litter (5B:5O), 10% birch litter mixed with 80% aspen litter and 10% oak litter (1B:8A:1O), 30% birch litter mixed with 40% aspen litter and 30% oak litter (3B:4A:3O). Over 360 days of decomposition, approximately 46.6%, 43.6%, 28.0%, 54.4%, 40.2%, 39.5%, 54.5% and 49.46% of litter mass was lost from 10A, 10B, 10O, 5A:5B, 5A:5O, 5B:5O, 1B:8A:1O and 3B:4A:3O, respectively. In addition, the number of fungal denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) bands showed a positive correlation with mass loss rate, indicating a positive feedback between leaf litter decomposition and universal fungal communities in the leaf litter. The results revealed that the 5A:5B, 1B:8A:1O and 3B:4A:3O litter mixtures had a synergistic effect on the litter mixture, while the 5A:5O and 5B:5O litter mixtures had a nearly neutral effect on the litter mixture. Thus, leaf litter species composition and relative abundance seem to be more important than leaf litter richness in driving the direction and magnitude of litter mixture decomposition.
      PubDate: 2015-07-14
      DOI: 10.3390/f6072371
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 7 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2387-2404: Low Nitrogen Retention in Soil and
           Litter under Conditions without Plants in a Subtropical Pine Plantation

    • Authors: Yanmei Xiong, Xingliang Xu, Hui Zeng, Huimin Wang, Fusheng Chen, Dali Guo
      Pages: 2387 - 2404
      Abstract: Soil acts as a major sink for added nitrogen (N) in forests, but it remains unclear about the capacity of soil to immobilize N under conditions without plant roots and whether added N interacts with ecosystem N to affect N retention. We added 15NH415NO3 to in situ soil columns (with leaching) and leaf litter (without leaching) of two tree species in a subtropical Pinus elliottii plantation. Soil and litter were collected three or eight months after N addition to measure concentrations of indigenous and exogenous N. About 70% of exogenous N was retained in soil three months after N addition, of which 65.9% were in inorganic forms. Eight months after N addition, 16.0% of exogenous N was retained in soil and 9.8%–13.6% was immobilized in litter. N addition increased the mineral release and nitrification of soil indigenous N. Loss of litter indigenous N was also increased by N addition. Our results suggest that N deposition on lands with low root activities or low soil carbon (C) contents may lead to increased N output due to low N immobilization. Moreover, the effects of added N on ecosystem indigenous N may decrease the capacity of soil and litter in N retention.
      PubDate: 2015-07-15
      DOI: 10.3390/f6072387
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 7 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2405-2423: Adapting Free, Prior, and Informed
           Consent (FPIC) to Local Contexts in REDD+: Lessons from Three Experiments
           in Vietnam

    • Authors: Thuy Pham, Jean-Christophe Castella, Guillaume Lestrelin, Ole Mertz, Dung Le, Moira Moeliono, Tan Nguyen, Hien Vu, Tien Nguyen
      Pages: 2405 - 2423
      Abstract: Free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) is a means of ensuring that people’s rights are respected when reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancing forest carbon stocks (REDD+) projects are established in developing countries. This paper examines how FPIC has been applied in three projects in Vietnam and highlights two key lessons learnt. First, as human rights and democracy are seen as politically sensitive issues in Vietnam, FPIC is likely to be more accepted by the government if it is built upon the national legal framework on citizen rights. Applying FPIC in this context can ensure that both government and citizen’s interests are achieved within the permitted political space. Second, FPIC activities should be seen as a learning process and designed based on local needs and preferences, with accountability of facilitators, two-way and multiple communication strategies, flexibility, and collective action in mind.
      PubDate: 2015-07-15
      DOI: 10.3390/f6072405
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 7 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2424-2449: Comparing the Costs and Revenues of
           Transformation to Continuous Cover Forestry for Sitka Spruce in Great

    • Authors: Owen Davies, Gary Kerr
      Pages: 2424 - 2449
      Abstract: Recently continuous cover forestry (CCF) has become an accepted approach to forest management in Britain, but uncertainty about its economic consequences may be a barrier to its wider use. A study was carried out to examine the costs and revenues of transforming a stand of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.) to CCF. The main conclusion is that transformation to CCF need not be more costly than clearfelling and replanting if natural regeneration is successful and the aim is to produce a simple canopy structure. The long-term value of transformation to a more complex canopy structure, with three or more strata, is lower and the extra costs need to be justified in terms of management objectives. The main output from the study is an analysis spreadsheet that empowers practitioners and policy makers to investigate the effects of costs, revenues and discount rates on estimates of net present value over 20 years, 100 years and in perpetuity, to suit local conditions. This paper summarises the method and results of the study in a British context, sets these in a wider international context, and considers the merits, applications and possible further developments of the approach.
      PubDate: 2015-07-15
      DOI: 10.3390/f6072424
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 7 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2450-2468: Occurrence of Density-Dependent Height
           Repression within Jack Pine and Black Spruce Populations

    • Authors: Peter Newton
      Pages: 2450 - 2468
      Abstract: The objective of this study was to investigate the occurrence of density-dependent height relationships in jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) and black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) populations. After assessing and ruling out the presence of consequential spatial correlation effects, the analysis consisted of analyzing the relationship between mean dominant height and initial planting density within 28 Nelder plots located in the central portion of the Canadian Boreal Forest Region. Employing remeasurement data obtained at periodic intervals (16, 20 and 40–41 years post-establishment) across a stand density gradient ranging from a minimum of 1425 stems/ha to a maximum of 28,621 stems/ha, graphical and simple linear regression analyses were used to quantify the stand height–density relationship by species, plot and measurement year. The results indicated the presence of density-dependent effects on height development for both species: 65% of the 83 jack pine relationships and 89% of the 27 black spruce relationships had significant (p ≤ 0.05) and negative slope values. In regards to jack pine for which the data permitted, the occurrence and magnitude of the observed height repression effect increased over time. The asymptotic height repression effect for jack pine was 24% greater than that for black spruce. The results are discussed within the context of the applicability of the density-independent height growth assumption and potential implications for site quality estimation and thinning response modeling.
      PubDate: 2015-07-16
      DOI: 10.3390/f6072450
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 7 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2469-2483: Molecular Identification of Phytoplasmas
           Infecting Diseased Pine Trees in the UNESCO-Protected Curonian Spit of

    • Authors: Deividas Valiunas, Rasa Jomantiene, Algirdas Ivanauskas, Indre Urbonaite, Donatas Sneideris, Robert Davis
      Pages: 2469 - 2483
      Abstract: Although mainly known as pathogens that affect angiosperms, phytoplasmas have recently been detected in diseased coniferous plants. In 2008–2014, we observed, in the Curonian Spit of Western Lithuania and in forests of Southern Lithuania (Varena district), diseased trees of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and mountain pine (Pinus mugo) with unusual symptoms similar to those caused by phytoplasmas. Diseased trees exhibited excessive branching, dwarfed reddish or yellow needles, dried shoots and ball-like structures. restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and nucleotide sequence analysis of 16S rRNA gene fragments revealed that individual trees were infected by Candidatus (Ca.) Phytoplasma pini-related strains (members of phytoplasma subgroup 16SrXXI-A) or by Ca. Phytoplasma asteris-related strains (subgroup 16SrI-A). Of the nearly 300 trees that were sampled, 80% were infected by phytoplasma. Ninety-eight percent of the positive samples were identified as Ca. Phytoplasma pini-related strains. Strains belonging to subgroup 16SrI-A were identified from only few trees. Use of an additional molecular marker, secA, supported the findings. This study provides evidence of large-scale infection of Pinus by Ca. Phytoplasma pini in Lithuania, and it reveals that this phytoplasma is more widespread geographically than previously appreciated. This is also the first report of phytoplasma subgroup 16SrI-A in pine trees.
      PubDate: 2015-07-17
      DOI: 10.3390/f6072469
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 7 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2484-2504: Drivers of CO2 Emission Rates from Dead
           Wood Logs of 13 Tree Species in the Initial Decomposition Phase

    • Authors: Tiemo Kahl, Kristin Baber, Peter Otto, Christian Wirth, Jürgen Bauhus
      Pages: 2484 - 2504
      Abstract: Large dead wood is an important structural component of forest ecosystems and a main component of forest carbon cycles. CO2 emissions from dead wood can be used as a proxy for actual decomposition rates. The main drivers of CO2 emission rates for dead wood of temperate European tree species are largely unknown. We applied a novel, closed chamber measurement technique to 360 dead wood logs of 13 important tree species in three regions in Germany. We found that tree species identity was with 71% independent contribution to the model (R2 = 0.62) the most important driver of volume-based CO2 emission rates, with angiosperms having on average higher rates than conifers. Wood temperature and fungal species richness had a positive effect on CO2 emission rates, whereas wood density had a negative effect. This is the first time that positive fungal species richness—wood decomposition relationship in temperate forests was shown. Certain fungal species were associated with high or low CO2 emission rates. In addition, as indicated by separate models for each tree species, forest management intensity, study region, and the water content as well as C and N concentration of dead wood influenced CO2 emission rates.
      PubDate: 2015-07-20
      DOI: 10.3390/f6072484
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 7 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1748-1762: Aerial Seeding: An Effective Forest
           Restoration Method in Highly Degraded Forest Landscapes of Sub-Tropic

    • Authors: Xin Xiao, Xiaohua Wei, Yuanqiu Liu, Xunzhi Ouyang, Qinglin Li, Jinkui Ning
      Pages: 1748 - 1762
      Abstract: Carbon stock is an important indicator of cumulative ecosystem productivity. Using this indicator, and based on field sampling data, this paper compared the long-term difference in carbon stocks between aerial seeding (AS) and natural regeneration (NR) forests of Pinus massoniana in sub-tropic forests, China, in order to assess the effectiveness of AS in a highly degraded forest landscape. The results showed that the carbon stocks of stems, branches, roots, and trees (including stems, branches, leaves, and roots) were 140%, 85%, 110%, and 110%, significantly higher (p < 0.05) in the NR forests than those in the AS forests at the ages of 11–20 years, respectively. In addition, the carbon stocks of understory, litter and soil were also 176%, 151%, and 77%, significantly higher (p < 0.05) in the NR forests than those in the AS forests at the same age range, respectively. However, with increasing age (i.e., >21 years), those differences became statistically insignificant (p > 0.05). The total carbon stocks of the two forest types also showed a similar pattern. Those results clearly demonstrate that AS was an effective mean for restoring carbon stocks in highly degraded areas, even though their early growth was lower than the NR forests, and thus can be applied in the regions where the areas with limited seed sources and road accessibility.
      PubDate: 2015-05-25
      DOI: 10.3390/f6061748
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1763-1778: Carbon Storage in a Eucalyptus
           Plantation Chronosequence in Southern China

    • Authors: Hu Du, Fuping Zeng, Wanxia Peng, Kelin Wang, Hao Zhang, Lu Liu, Tongqing Song
      Pages: 1763 - 1778
      Abstract: Patterns of carbon (C) allocation across different stages of stand development in Eucalyptus urophylla × E. grandis plantations are not well understood. In this study, we examined biomass and mineral soil C content in five development stages (1, 2, 3, 4–5, and 6–8 years old) of a Eucalyptus stand in southern China. The tree biomass C pool increased with stand age and showed a high annual rate of accumulation. Stems accounted for the highest proportion of biomass C sequestered. The C pool in mineral soil increased initially after afforestation and then declined gradually, with C density decreasing with soil depth. The upper 50 cm of soil contained the majority (57%–68%) of sequestered C. The other biomass components (shrubs, herbaceous plants, litter, and fine roots) accounted for <5% of the total ecosystem C pool. Total C pools in the Eucalyptus plantation ecosystem were 112.9, 172.5, 203.8, 161.1, and 162.7 Mg ha−1 in the five developmental stages, respectively, with most of the C sequestered below ground. We conclude that Eucalyptus plantations have considerable biomass C sequestration potential during stand development.
      PubDate: 2015-05-26
      DOI: 10.3390/f6061763
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1779-1809: Simulation of CO2 Fluxes in European
           Forest Ecosystems with the Coupled Soil-Vegetation Process Model

    • Authors: Saúl Molina-Herrera, Rüdiger Grote, Ignacio Santabárbara-Ruiz, David Kraus, Steffen Klatt, Edwin Haas, Ralf Kiese, Klaus Butterbach-Bahl
      Pages: 1779 - 1809
      Abstract: CO2 exchange processes in forest ecosystems are of profound ecological and economic importance, meaning there is a need for generally applicable simulation tools. However, process-based ecosystem models, which are in principal suitable for the task, are commonly evaluated at only a few sites and for a limited number of plant species. It is thus often unclear if the processes and parameters involved are suitable for model application at a regional scale. We tested the LandscapeDNDC forest growth module PnET (derived from the Photosynthetic / EvapoTranspiration model) with site-specific as well as multi-site calibrated parameters using independent data sets of eddy covariance measurements across a European transect. Although site-specific parametrization is superior (r2 for pooled Gross Primary Production (GPP) during calibration period: site-specific = 0.93, multi-site = 0.88; r2 for pooled Net Ecosystem Exchange (NEE) during calibration period: site-specific = 0.81, multi-site = 0.73), we show that general parameters are able to represent carbon uptake over periods of several years. The procedure has been applied for the three most dominant European tree species i.e., Scots pine, Norway spruce and European beech. In addition, we discuss potential model improvements with regard to the sensitivity of parameters to site conditions differentiated into climate, nutrient and drought influences.
      PubDate: 2015-05-28
      DOI: 10.3390/f6061779
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1810-1838: Forest Ecosystem Services: Issues and
           Challenges for Biodiversity, Conservation, and Management in Italy

    • Authors: Matteo Vizzarri, Roberto Tognetti, Marco Marchetti
      Pages: 1810 - 1838
      Abstract: Although forest ecosystems are fundamental sources of services and global biodiversity, their capacity to maintain these benefits in the future is potentially threatened by anthropogenic impacts such as climate change, land use, and unsustainable management practices. Thus far, studies focusing on forests and their services have gained less attention compared with studies on other biomes. Additionally, management practices may potentially undermine the capacity of forests to sustain biodiversity conservation and services in the future, especially outside protected areas. This study linked the concepts of biodiversity and forest ecosystem services at the national level in Italy. Through a downscaled review, we first analyzed management issues, challenges, and needs within the context of forest ecosystem services. We then carried out a survey on protected areas. The results show that forest biodiversity supports the provision of other services and, hence, needs to be preserved and supported by adaptive management practices. Current research on forest ecosystem services must extend policy trajectories to protected areas (i.e., National Parks) as centers of biodiversity and models of the sustainable use of resources.
      PubDate: 2015-05-28
      DOI: 10.3390/f6061810
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1839-1857: Sparse Density, Leaf-Off Airborne Laser
           Scanning Data in Aboveground Biomass Component Prediction

    • Authors: Ville Kankare, Jari Vauhkonen, Markus Holopainen, Mikko Vastaranta, Juha Hyyppä, Hannu Hyyppä, Petteri Alho
      Pages: 1839 - 1857
      Abstract: The demand for cost-efficient forest aboveground biomass (AGB) prediction methods is growing worldwide. The National Land Survey of Finland (NLS) began collecting airborne laser scanning (ALS) data throughout Finland in 2008 to provide a new high-detailed terrain elevation model. Similar data sets are being collected in an increasing number of countries worldwide. These data sets offer great potential in forest mapping related applications. The objectives of our study were (i) to evaluate the AGB component prediction accuracy at a resolution of 300 m2 using sparse density, leaf-off ALS data (collected by NLS) derived metrics as predictor variables; (ii) to compare prediction accuracies with existing large-scale forest mapping techniques (Multi-source National Forest Inventory, MS-NFI) based on Landsat TM satellite imagery; and (iii) to evaluate the accuracy and effect of canopy height model (CHM) derived metrics on AGB component prediction when ALS data were acquired with multiple sensors and varying scanning parameters. Results showed that ALS point metrics can be used to predict component AGBs with an accuracy of 29.7%–48.3%. AGB prediction accuracy was slightly improved using CHM-derived metrics but CHM metrics had a more clear effect on the estimated bias. Compared to the MS-NFI, the prediction accuracy was considerably higher, which was caused by differences in the remote sensing data utilized.
      PubDate: 2015-05-28
      DOI: 10.3390/f6061839
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1858-1877: Post-Fire Seedling Recruitment and
           Morpho-Ecophysiological Responses to Induced Drought and Salvage Logging
           in Pinus halepensis Mill. Stands

    • Authors: Daniel Moya, Jorge Heras, Francisco López-Serrano, Pablo Ferrandis
      Pages: 1858 - 1877
      Abstract: Salvage logging is the commonest post-fire emergency action, but has unclear ecological effects. In the Mediterranean Basin, drought periods and fire regimes are changing and forest management should be adapted. In summer 2009, a mid-high severity fire burned 968 ha of Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.) forest in southeast Spain, which was submitted to salvage logging six months later. In spring 2010, plots were set in untreated and logged areas to monitor the recruitment and survival of the main tree species and three companion species: Stipa tenacissima L. (resprouter), Cistus clusii Dunal and Rosmarinus officinalis L. (obligate seeders). We evaluated responses to different scenarios in relation to intensification of summer droughts and forest management to obtain differences in water stress, growth, and gas exchange to cope with summer drought. Drought was induced by using rain-exclusion shelters and recorded ecophysiological characteristics were obtained with a portable gas exchange system. The main tree species recruitment was poor, but companion species showed a high survival ratio. Lower water stress was found for obligate seeder seedlings, which was higher in logged areas with induced drought. The initial post-fire stage was similar for the studied areas. However, after two drought periods (2010 and 2011), significant differences were found in the morphological and ecophysiological responses. In the unmanaged area, the biggest size of individuals due to the most marked increases in height and coverage were observed mainly in resprouter S. tenacissima. In the area submitted to salvage logging, the growth ratios in plots with induced drought were lower, mainly for seeders. Greater productivity was related to higher transpiration, stomatal conductance, and net photosynthetic ratio, but lower water use efficiency was found in obligate seeders with no drought induction, and S. tenacissima obtained higher values in untreated areas. Our results confirm that both forest management and intensification of summer droughts influenced the resilience and productivity of the ecosystems in the short term. Adaptive forest management after fire can imply successful survival and recovery of plant communities in the mid to long term. This study provide a scientific basis to develop tools for the post-fire restoration of serotinous pine forests occurring in low-altitudinal areas of the Mediterranean Basin, prone to summer droughts and fire events.
      PubDate: 2015-05-29
      DOI: 10.3390/f6061858
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1878-1896: Short-Term Response of Native Flora to
           the Removal of Non-Native Shrubs in Mixed-Hardwood Forests of Indiana, USA

    • Authors: Joshua Shields, Michael Saunders, Kevin Gibson, Patrick Zollner, John Dunning, Michael Jenkins
      Pages: 1878 - 1896
      Abstract: While negative impacts of invasive species on native communities are well documented, less is known about how these communities respond to the removal of established populations of invasive species. With regard to invasive shrubs, studies examining native community response to removal at scales greater than experimental plots are lacking. We examined short-term effects of removing Lonicera maackii (Amur honeysuckle) and other non-native shrubs on native plant taxa in six mixed-hardwood forests. Each study site contained two 0.64 ha sample areas—an area where all non-native shrubs were removed and a reference area where no treatment was implemented. We sampled vegetation in the spring and summer before and after non-native shrubs were removed. Cover and diversity of native species, and densities of native woody seedlings, increased after shrub removal. However, we also observed significant increases in L. maackii seedling densities and Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) cover in removal areas. Changes in reference areas were less pronounced and mostly non-significant. Our results suggest that removing non-native shrubs allows short-term recovery of native communities across a range of invasion intensities. However, successful restoration will likely depend on renewed competition with invasive species that re-colonize treatment areas, the influence of herbivores, and subsequent control efforts.
      PubDate: 2015-05-29
      DOI: 10.3390/f6061878
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1897-1921: Impact of Nitrogen Fertilization on
           Forest Carbon Sequestration and Water Loss in a Chronosequence of Three
           Douglas-Fir Stands in the Pacific Northwest

    • Authors: Xianming Dou, Baozhang Chen, T. Black, Rachhpal Jassal, Mingliang Che
      Pages: 1897 - 1921
      Abstract: To examine the effect of nitrogen (N) fertilization on forest carbon (C) sequestration and water loss, we used an artificial neural network model to estimate C fluxes and evapotranspiration (ET) in response to N fertilization during four post-fertilization years in a Pacific Northwest chronosequence of three Douglas-fir stands aged 61, 22 and 10 years old in 2010 (DF49, HDF88 and HDF00, respectively). Results showed that N fertilization increased gross primary productivity (GPP) for all three sites in all four years with the largest absolute increase at HDF00 followed by HDF88. Ecosystem respiration increased in all four years at HDF00, but decreased over the last three years at HDF88 and over all four years at DF49. As a result, fertilization increased the net ecosystem productivity of all three stands with the largest increase at HDF88, followed by DF49. Fertilization had no discernible effect on ET in any of the stands. Consequently, fertilization increased water use efficiency (WUE) in all four post-fertilization years at all three sites and also increased light use efficiency (LUE) of all the stands, especially HDF00. Our results suggest that the effects of fertilization on forest C sequestration and water loss may be associated with stand age and fertilization; the two younger stands appeared to be more efficient than the older stand with respect to GPP, WUE and LUE.
      PubDate: 2015-05-29
      DOI: 10.3390/f6061897
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1922-1932: Nitrogen Transfer to Forage Crops from a
           Caragana Shelterbelt

    • Authors: Gazali Issah, Anthony Kimaro, John Kort, J. Knight
      Pages: 1922 - 1932
      Abstract: Caragana shelterbelts are a common feature of farms in the Northern Great Plains of North America. We investigated if nitrogen (N) from this leguminous shrub contributed to the N nutrition of triticale and oat forage crops growing adjacent to the shelterbelt row. Nitrogen transfer was measured using 15N isotope dilution at distances of 2 m, 4 m, 6 m, 15 m and 20 m from the shelterbelt. At 2 m caragana negatively impacted the growth of triticale and oat. At 4 m from the shelterbelt productivity was maximum for both forage crops and corresponded to the highest amount of N originating from caragana. The amount of N transferred from caragana decreased linearly with distance away from the shelterbelt, but even at 20 m from the shelterbelt row measureable amounts of N originating from caragana were detectable in the forage biomass. At 4 m from the shelterbelt approximately 40% of the N in both oat and triticale was from caragana, and at 20 m from the shelterbelt approximately 20% of the N in oat and 8% of the N in triticale was from caragana.
      PubDate: 2015-05-29
      DOI: 10.3390/f6061922
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1933-1948: Evaluating the Scenic Beauty of
           Individual Trees: A Case Study Using a Nonlinear Model for a Pinus
           Tabulaeformis Scenic Forest in Beijing, China

    • Authors: Bin Mao, Lan Gong, Chengyang Xu
      Pages: 1933 - 1948
      Abstract: The relationship between scenic beauty grade and measured tree indicators was studied through evaluation of 427 photos of individual Pinus tabulaeformis trees by using the scenic beauty estimation (SBE) method. Thirteen indices to reflect trunk, crown and stem-to-canopy ratios of individual trees were evaluated by invited students. Results showed that students preferred large diameters at breast height, full canopies and straight stems or some trees with minor crook stems. Tree height had a minor contribution to individual tree quality. Correlation analysis and factor analysis were employed to select indices and to integrate them into a comprehensive index. The stepwise method of nonlinear model incorporation of four comprehensive indices—tree crown form, stem-crown coordination, tree growth and stem for—were proven valuable in order to evaluate the scenic beauty of individual trees.
      PubDate: 2015-06-01
      DOI: 10.3390/f6061933
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1949-1965: Soil Chemical and Microbial Properties
           in a Mixed Stand of Spruce and Birch in the Ore Mountains
           (Germany)—A Case Study

    • Authors: Karoline Schua, Stefan Wende, Sven Wagner, Karl-Heinz Feger
      Pages: 1949 - 1965
      Abstract: A major argument for incorporating deciduous tree species in coniferous forest stands is their role in the amelioration and stabilisation of biogeochemical cycles. Current forest management strategies in central Europe aim to increase the area of mixed stands. In order to formulate statements about the ecological effects of mixtures, studies at the stand level are necessary. In a mixed stand of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) and silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) in the Ore Mountains (Saxony, Germany), the effects of these two tree species on chemical and microbial parameters in the topsoil were studied at one site in the form of a case study. Samples were taken from the O layer and A horizon in areas of the stand influenced by either birch, spruce or a mixture of birch and spruce. The microbial biomass, basal respiration, metabolic quotient, pH-value and the C and N contents and stocks were analysed in the horizons Of, Oh and A. Significantly higher contents of microbial N were observed in the Of and Oh horizons in the birch and in the spruce-birch strata than in the stratum containing only spruce. The same was found with respect to pH-values in the Of horizon and basal respiration in the Oh horizon. Compared to the spruce stratum, in the birch and spruce-birch strata, significantly lower values were found for the contents of organic C and total N in the A horizon. The findings of the case study indicated that single birch trees have significant effects on the chemical and microbial topsoil properties in spruce-dominated stands. Therefore, the admixture of birch in spruce stands may distinctly affect nutrient cycling and may also be relevant for soil carbon sequestration. Further studies of these functional aspects are recommended.
      PubDate: 2015-06-01
      DOI: 10.3390/f6061949
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1966-1981: Spatial Variation of Biomass Carbon
           Density in a Subtropical Region of Southeastern China

    • Authors: Weijun Fu, Zhuojing Fu, Hongli Ge, Biyong Ji, Peikun Jiang, Yongfu Li, Jiasen Wu, Keli Zhao
      Pages: 1966 - 1981
      Abstract: Spatial pattern information of forest biomass carbon (FBC) density in forest ecosystems plays an important role in evaluating carbon sequestration potentials and forest management. The spatial variation of FBC density in a subtropical region of southeastern China was studied using geostatistics combined with Moran’s I and geographical information systems (GIS). Forest biomass carbon density values were variable, ranging from 0.12 Mg ha−1 to 182.12 Mg ha−1, with an average of 27.33 Mg ha−1. The FBC density had the strongest positive correlation with forest age, followed by forest litter and elevation. The FBC density had significant positive spatial autocorrelation revealed by global Moran’s I. Clear spatial patterns were observed based on local Moran’s I. High FBC density values were mainly distributed in the northwestern and southwestern parts of Zhejiang province, which were related to adopting long-term policy of forest conservation in these areas, while low FBC density values located in the middle part and southeastern coastal area of the study area due to low forest coverage and intensive management of economic forests. The Moran’s I combined with geostatistical interpolation proved to be a useful tool for studying spatial variation of FBC density.
      PubDate: 2015-06-03
      DOI: 10.3390/f6061966
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1982-2013: Satellite-Based Derivation of
           High-Resolution Forest Information Layers for Operational Forest

    • Authors: Johannes Stoffels, Joachim Hill, Thomas Sachtleber, Sebastian Mader, Henning Buddenbaum, Oksana Stern, Joachim Langshausen, Jürgen Dietz, Godehard Ontrup
      Pages: 1982 - 2013
      Abstract: A key factor for operational forest management and forest monitoring is the availability of up-to-date spatial information on the state of forest resources. Earth observation can provide valuable contributions to these information needs. The German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate transferred its inherited forest information system to a new architecture that is better able to serve the needs of centralized inventory and planning services, down to the level of forest districts. During this process, a spatially adaptive classification approach was developed to derive high-resolution forest information layers (e.g., forest type, tree species distribution, development stages) based on multi-temporal satellite data. This study covers the application of the developed approach to a regional scale (federal state level) and the further adaptation of the design to meet the information needs of the state forest service. The results confirm that the operational requirements for mapping accuracy can, in principle, be fulfilled. However, the state-wide mapping experiment also revealed that the ability to meet the required level of accuracy is largely dependent on the availability of satellite observations within the optimum phenological time-windows.
      PubDate: 2015-06-03
      DOI: 10.3390/f6061982
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2014-2028: A Range-Wide Experiment to Investigate
           Nutrient and Soil Moisture Interactions in Loblolly Pine Plantations

    • Authors: Rodney Will, Thomas Fox, Madison Akers, Jean-Christophe Domec, Carlos González-Benecke, Eric Jokela, Michael Kane, Marshall Laviner, Geoffrey Lokuta, Daniel Markewitz, Mary McGuire, Cassandra Meek, Asko Noormets, Lisa Samuelson, John Seiler, Brian Strahm, Robert Teskey, Jason Vogel, Eric Ward, Jason West, Duncan Wilson, Timothy Martin
      Pages: 2014 - 2028
      Abstract: The future climate of the southeastern USA is predicted to be warmer, drier and more variable in rainfall, which may increase drought frequency and intensity. Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) is the most important commercial tree species in the world and is planted on ~11 million ha within its native range in the southeastern USA. A regional study was installed to evaluate effects of decreased rainfall and nutrient additions on loblolly pine plantation productivity and physiology. Four locations were established to capture the range-wide variability of soil and climate. Treatments were initiated in 2012 and consisted of a factorial combination of throughfall reduction (approximate 30% reduction) and fertilization (complete suite of nutrients). Tree and stand growth were measured at each site. Results after two growing seasons indicate a positive but variable response of fertilization on stand volume increment at all four sites and a negative effect of throughfall reduction at two sites. Data will be used to produce robust process model parameterizations useful for simulating loblolly pine growth and function under future, novel climate and management scenarios. The resulting improved models will provide support for developing management strategies to increase pine plantation productivity and carbon sequestration under a changing climate.
      PubDate: 2015-06-03
      DOI: 10.3390/f6062014
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2029-2046: Are Mixed Tropical Tree Plantations More
           Resistant to Drought than Monocultures?

    • Authors: Norbert Kunert, Alida Cárdenas
      Pages: 2029 - 2046
      Abstract: Tropical tree plantations usually consist of a single exotic fast growing species, but recent research describes positive effects on ecosystem functions from mixed tropical tree plantations. In this review, we present the current knowledge of drought resistance of tropical mixed species plantations and summarize preliminary evidence from a tree biodiversity experiment in Panama. Converting mono-specific stands into mixed ones may improve stand stability and might reduce increasing abiotic and biotic disturbances due to climate change. However, little is known about the extent to which tropical tree species or tropical tree communities can resist increasing disturbances in the short term, e.g., water limitations due to increasing dry season intensity or length, or about their resilience after such disturbances and their capacity to adapt to changing conditions in the long term. Studies relating drought resistance and resilience to community diversity are missing. Further, we highlight the urgent need for a multifactorial manipulative throughfall reduction experiment in tropical environments. The outcome of such studies would greatly assist the forestry sector in tropical regions to maintain highly productive and ecologically sound forest plantations in a changing climate.
      PubDate: 2015-06-05
      DOI: 10.3390/f6062029
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2047-2065: How do Light and Water Acquisition
           Strategies Affect Species Selection during Secondary Succession in Moist
           Tropical Forests?

    • Authors: Leonie Schönbeck, Madelon Lohbeck, Frans Bongers, Miguel Ramos, Frank Sterck
      Pages: 2047 - 2065
      Abstract: Pioneer tree species have acquisitive leaf characteristics associated with high demand of light and water, and are expected to be shade and drought intolerant. Using leaf functional traits (specific leaf area, photosynthetic rate, relative water content and stomatal conductance) and tree performance (mortality rate) in the field, we assessed how shade and drought tolerance of leaves are related to the species’ positions along a successional gradient in moist tropical forest in Chiapas, Mexico. We quantified morphological and physiological leaf shade and drought tolerance indicators for 25 dominant species that characterize different successional stages. We found that light demand decreases with succession, confirming the importance of light availability for species filtering during early stages of succession. In addition, water transport levels in the leaves decreased with succession, but high water transport did not increase the leaf’s vulnerability to drought. In fact, late successional species showed higher mortality in dry years than early successional ones, against suggestions from leaf drought tolerance traits. It is likely that pioneer species have other drought-avoiding strategies, like deep rooting systems and water storage in roots and stems. More research on belowground plant physiology is needed to understand how plants adapt to changing environments, which is crucial to anticipate the effects of climate change on secondary forests.
      PubDate: 2015-06-08
      DOI: 10.3390/f6062047
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2066-2081: Comparison of Suspended Branch and
           Direct Infestation Techniques for Artificially Infesting Hemlock Seedlings
           with the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid for Resistance Screening

    • Authors: Zaidee Powers, Albert Mayfield, John Frampton, Robert Jetton
      Pages: 2066 - 2081
      Abstract: The hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae Annand) is an invasive forest pest in eastern North America that has caused significant decline and mortality in populations of eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carr.) and Carolina hemlock (T. caroliniana Engelm.). The breeding of adelgid-resistant genotypes for reforestation activities is still in the early development phases, and most resistance screening programs have depended on labor-intensive direct artificial infestation techniques for introducing adelgids to target seedlings. We investigated the timing and effectiveness of a potentially less labor-intense suspended branch infestation technique compared to two levels of a direct infestation method. Results indicated that peak crawler emergence from adelgid infested hemlock branches occurred within a 10 to 14 day period and that crawler emergence was higher from non-hydrated compared to hydrated branches. Greater infestation pressure was achieved when using progrediens crawlers compared to sistens crawlers. In 2013, when the infestation attempts were most successful, the suspended branch technique induced the same or higher adelgid densities on target seedlings as the direct infestation techniques. Assuming an initial investment in infrastructure, the suspended branch approach could be a more time and cost effective method for inducing adelgid infestations for resistance screening of large numbers of candidate trees.
      PubDate: 2015-06-08
      DOI: 10.3390/f6062066
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2082-2091: Early Differential Responses of
           Co-dominant Canopy Species to Sudden and Severe Drought in a
           Mediterranean-climate Type Forest

    • Authors: Katinka Ruthrof, George Matusick, Giles Hardy
      Pages: 2082 - 2091
      Abstract: Globally, drought and heat-induced forest disturbance is garnering increasing concern. Species from Mediterranean forests have resistance and resilience mechanisms to cope with drought and differences in these ecological strategies will profoundly influence vegetation composition in response to drought. Our aim was to contrast the early response of two co-occurring forest species, Eucalyptus marginata and Corymbia calophylla, in the Northern Jarrah Forest of southwestern Australia, following a sudden and severe drought event. Forest plots were monitored for health and response, three and 16 months following the drought. Eucalyptus marginata was more susceptible to partial and complete crown dieback compared to C. calophylla, three months after the drought. However, resprouting among trees exhibiting complete crown dieback was similar between species. Overall, E. marginata trees were more likely to die from the impacts of drought, assessed at 16 months. These short-term differential responses to drought may lead to compositional shifts with increases in frequency of drought events in the future.
      PubDate: 2015-06-09
      DOI: 10.3390/f6062082
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2092-2108: Simulating the Effect of Climate Change
           on Vegetation Zone Distribution on the Loess Plateau, Northwest China

    • Authors: Guoqing Li, Zhongming Wen, Ke Guo, Sheng Du
      Pages: 2092 - 2108
      Abstract: A risk assessment of vegetation zone responses to climate change was conducted using the classical Holdridge life zone model on the Loess Plateau of Northwest China. The results show that there are currently ten vegetation zones occurring on the Loess Plateau (1950–2000), including alvar desert, alpine wet tundra, alpine rain tundra, boreal moist forest, boreal wet forest, cool temperate desert, cool temperate desert scrub, cool temperate steppe, cool temperate moist forest, warm temperate desert scrub, warm temperate thorn steppe, and warm temperate dry forest. Seventy years later (2070S), the alvar desert, the alpine wet tundra and the cool temperate desert will disappear, while warm temperate desert scrub and warm temperate thorn steppe will emerge. The area proportion of warm temperate dry forest will expand from 12.2% to 22.8%–37.2%, while that of cool temperate moist forest will decrease from 18.5% to 6.9%–9.5%. The area proportion of cool temperate steppe will decrease from 51.8% to 34.5%–51.6%. Our results suggest that future climate change will be conducive to the growth and expansion of forest zones on the Loess Plateau, which can provide valuable reference information for regional vegetation restoration planning and adaptive strategies in this region.
      PubDate: 2015-06-11
      DOI: 10.3390/f6062092
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2109-2124: Temporal Trends of Ecosystem Development
           on Different Site Types in Reclaimed Boreal Forests

    • Authors: Bradley Pinno, Virgil Hawkes
      Pages: 2109 - 2124
      Abstract: Forest development after land reclamation in the oil sands mining region of northern Alberta, Canada was assessed using long-term monitoring plots from both reclaimed and natural forests. The metrics of ecosystem development analyzed included measures of plant community structure and composition and soil nutrient availability. Early seral reclamation plots were grouped by site type (dry and moist-rich) and age categories, and these were compared with mature natural forests. There were few significant differences in ecosystem metrics between reclamation site types, but natural stands showed numerous significant differences between site types. Over time, there were significant changes in most plant community metrics such as species richness and cover of plant community groups (e.g., forbs, shrubs, and non-native species), but these were still substantially different from mature forests 20 years after reclamation. Available soil nitrogen did not change over time or by reclamation site type but available soil phosphorus did, suggesting that phosphorus may be a more suitable indicator of ecosystem development. The significant temporal changes in these reclaimed ecosystems indicate that studies of ecosystem establishment and development on reclaimed areas should be conducted over the long-term, emphasizing the utility of monitoring using long-term plot networks.
      PubDate: 2015-06-12
      DOI: 10.3390/f6062109
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2125-2147: Modeling of Two Different Water Uptake
           Approaches for Mono- and Mixed-Species Forest Stands

    • Authors: Martin Gutsch, Petra Lasch-Born, Felicitas Suckow, Christopher Reyer
      Pages: 2125 - 2147
      Abstract: To assess how the effects of drought could be better captured in process-based models, this study simulated and contrasted two water uptake approaches in Scots pine and Scots pine-Sessile oak stands. The first approach consisted of an empirical function for root water uptake (WU1). The second approach was based on differences of soil water potential along a soil-plant-atmosphere continuum (WU2) with total root resistance varying at low, medium and high total root resistance levels. Three data sets on different time scales relevant for tree growth were used for model evaluation: Two short-term datasets on daily transpiration and soil water content as well as a long-term dataset on annual tree ring increments. Except WU2 with high total root resistance, all transpiration outputs exceeded observed values. The strongest correlation between simulated and observed annual tree ring width occurred with WU2 and high total root resistance. The findings highlighted the importance of severe drought as a main reason for small diameter increment. However, if all three data sets were taken into account, no approach was superior to the other. We conclude that accurate projections of future forest productivity depend largely on the realistic representation of root water uptake in forest model simulations.
      PubDate: 2015-06-12
      DOI: 10.3390/f6062125
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2148-2162: A Stochastic Programming Model for Fuel
           Treatment Management

    • Authors: Mohannad Kabli, Jianbang Gan, Lewis Ntaimo
      Pages: 2148 - 2162
      Abstract: This work considers a two-stage stochastic integer programming (SIP) approach for optimizing fuel treatment planning under uncertainty in weather and fire occurrence for rural forests. Given a set of areas for potentially performing fuel treatment, the problem is to decide the best treatment option for each area under uncertainty in future weather and fire occurrence. A two-stage SIP model is devised whose objective is to minimize the here-and-now cost of fuel treatment in the first-stage, plus the expected future costs due to uncertain impact from potential fires in the second-stage calculated as ecosystem services losses. The model considers four fuel treatment options: no treatment, mechanical thinning, prescribed fire, and grazing. Several constraints such as budgetary and labor constraints are included in the model and a standard fire behavior model is used to estimate some of the parameters of the model such as fuel levels at the beginning of the fire season. The SIP model was applied to data for a study area in East Texas with 15 treatment areas under different weather scenarios. The results of the study show, for example, that unless the expected ecosystem services values for an area outweigh fuel treatment costs, no treatment is the best choice for the area. Thus the valuation of the area together with the probability of fire occurrence and behavior strongly drive fuel treatment choices.
      PubDate: 2015-06-15
      DOI: 10.3390/f6062148
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2163-2177: Natural Regeneration after Long-Term
           Bracken Fern Control with Balsa (Ochroma pyramidale) in the Neotropics

    • Authors: Samuel Levy-Tacher, Ivar Vleut, Francisco Román-Dañobeytia, James Aronson
      Pages: 2163 - 2177
      Abstract: In many parts of the Neotropics, deforested areas are often colonized by the highly competitive invasive bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum), which inhabits naturally regenerated forests and successional forests on abandoned farmland. Within the tropical forest region of Chiapas in southern Mexico, we implemented an experiment in 2005 to out-compete bracken fern infestation and reduce or eliminate live bracken rhizomes using several treatments: Direct sowing of balsa seeds (Ochroma pyramidale; Malvaceae), a traditional Lacandon treatment of scattering balsa seeds, transplanting balsa seedlings, and a control treatment (without balsa). For each treatment, we applied three different bracken weeding frequencies: No weeding, biweekly weeding, and monthly weeding. In this study, we present data gathered four years after establishing the experiment regarding: Bracken fern rhizome biomass, balsa density, basal area, height, density, species richness of naturally regenerating vegetation for all treatments, and bracken weeding frequencies. We also evaluated the importance of balsa and its regenerative attributes in controlling bracken fern by correlating it with remaining belowground live rhizome biomass. Living rhizome biomass was completely eradicated in all treatments with biweekly and monthly weeding. Density and species richness of a naturally regenerated species were negatively correlated with bracken fern rhizome biomass, and the density of this species was highest in areas with no rhizome biomass. Although balsa tree stands are effective short-term solutions for controlling rhizome biomass, the success of natural regeneration following balsa establishment can be critical to long-term elimination of bracken fern.
      PubDate: 2015-06-16
      DOI: 10.3390/f6062163
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2178-2198: Modelling Facilitates Silvicultural
           Decision-Making for Improving the Mitigating Effect of Beech (Fagus
           Sylvatica L.) Dominated Alpine Forest against Rockfall

    • Authors: Petra Kajdiž, Jurij Diaci, Jernej Rebernik
      Pages: 2178 - 2198
      Abstract: In southeast Europe, silvicultural measures for improving forest protective effects against rockfall are often based on unsystematic observation and experience. We compared formalised expert assessment of forest protective effects and silvicultural decision-making with an approach supported by modelling (Rockyfor3D, Rockfor.NET, shadow angle method). The case study was conducted in Fagus sylvatica dominated Alpine forests above the regional road leading to the Ljubelj pass, in Slovenia. We analysed rock sources, silent witnesses, forest structure and regeneration. Expert assessment indicated acceptable protection effects of the forest and their decline in the future. Modelling revealed several road sections endangered by rockfalls. It also indicated subtle differences between silvicultural alternatives: current forest, current forest with cable crane lines, selection forest and non-forested slope. This outcome may be due to short transition zones, small rock sizes, low rock source heights and low resolution of the digital elevation model. Modelling requires more initial input than formalised expert assessment but gives spatially explicit results that enable comparison of silvicultural alternatives, coordination of silviculture and forest operations, and delineation of protection forests. Modelling also supported prioritising of silvicultural measures, where the necessity of silvicultural measures increases with increasing rockfall susceptibility and decreasing long-term stability of stands.
      PubDate: 2015-06-19
      DOI: 10.3390/f6062178
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2199-2213: Growth and Nutrient Status of Foliage as
           Affected by Tree Species and Fertilization in a Fire-Disturbed Urban

    • Authors: Choonsig Kim, Jaeyeob Jeong, Jae-Hyun Park, Ho-Seop Ma
      Pages: 2199 - 2213
      Abstract: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the growth and macronutrient (C, N, P, K) status in the foliage of four tree species (LT: Liriodendron tulipifera L.; PY: Prunus yedoensis Matsumura; QA: Quercus acutissima Carruth; PT: Pinus thunbergii Parl.) in response to fertilization with different nutrient ratios in a fire-disturbed urban forest located in BongDaesan (Mt.), Korea. Two fertilizers (N3P8K1 = 113:300:37 kg·ha−1·year−1; N6P4K1 = 226:150:37 ha−1·year−1) in four planting sites were applied in April 2013 and March 2014. The growth and nutrient responses of the foliage were monitored six times for two years. Foliar growth and nutrient concentrations were not significantly different (p > 0.05) in response to different doses of N or P fertilizer, but the foliage showed increased N and P concentrations and content after fertilization compared with the control (N0P0K0). Foliar C and K concentrations were little affected by fertilization. Foliar nutrient concentrations and contents were significantly higher in PY and LT than in PT. The results suggest that the foliar N and P concentration could be used as a parameter to assess the nutrient environments of tree species restored in a fire-disturbed urban forest.
      PubDate: 2015-06-19
      DOI: 10.3390/f6062199
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2214-2240: Effect of Climate Change Projections on
           Forest Fire Behavior and Values-at-Risk in Southwestern Greece

    • Authors: Kostas Kalabokidis, Palaiologos Palaiologou, Evangelos Gerasopoulos, Christos Giannakopoulos, Effie Kostopoulou, Christos Zerefos
      Pages: 2214 - 2240
      Abstract: Climate change has the potential to influence many aspects of wildfire behavior and risk. During the last decade, Greece has experienced large-scale wildfire phenomena with unprecedented fire behavior and impacts. In this study, thousands of wildfire events were simulated with the Minimum Travel Time (MTT) fire growth algorithm (called Randig) and resulted in spatial data that describe conditional burn probabilities, potential fire spread and intensity in Messinia, Greece. Present (1961–1990) and future (2071–2100) climate projections were derived from simulations of the KNMI regional climate model RACMO2, under the SRES A1B emission scenario. Data regarding fuel moisture content, wind speed and direction were modified for the different projection time periods to be used as inputs in Randig. Results were used to assess the vulnerability changes for certain values-at-risk of the natural and human-made environment. Differences in wildfire risk were calculated and results revealed that larger wildfires that resist initial control are to be expected in the future, with higher conditional burn probabilities and intensities for extensive parts of the study area. The degree of change in the modeled Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index for the two time periods also revealed an increasing trend in frequencies of higher values for the future.
      PubDate: 2015-06-19
      DOI: 10.3390/f6062214
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2241-2260: Regulation of Water Use in the
           Southernmost European Fir (Abies pinsapo Boiss.): Drought Avoidance

    • Authors: Raúl Sánchez-Salguero, Cristina Ortíz, Felisa Covelo, Victoria Ochoa, Roberto García-Ruíz, José Seco, José Carreira, José Merino, Juan Linares
      Pages: 2241 - 2260
      Abstract: The current scenario of global warming has resulted in considerable uncertainty regarding the capacity of forest trees to adapt to increasing drought. Detailed ecophysiological knowledge would provide a basis to forecast expected species dynamics in response to climate change. Here, we compare the water balance (stomatal conductance, xylem water potential, needle osmotic adjustment) of Abies pinsapo, a relict drought-sensitive Mediterranean fir, along an altitudinal gradient. We related these variables to soil water and nutrient availability, air temperature, atmospheric water potential, and vapour pressure deficit during two consecutive years. Our results indicate that A. pinsapo closed stomata rapidly over a very narrow range of soil water availability and atmospheric dryness. This isohydric response during water stress suggests that this relict conifer relied on the plant hormone abscisic acid to maintain closed stomata during sustained drought, instead of needle desiccation to passively drive stomatal closure, needle osmotic adjustment or a plastic response of the xylem to different levels of water availability. Both the soil and foliar nutrient contents suggest that the studied populations are not limited by nutrient deficiencies, and drought was stronger in the warmer low-elevation areas.
      PubDate: 2015-06-19
      DOI: 10.3390/f6062241
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 2261-2280: Nonlinear Simultaneous Equations for
           Individual-Tree Diameter Growth and Mortality Model of Natural Mongolian
           Oak Forests in Northeast China

    • Authors: Wu Ma, Xiangdong Lei
      Pages: 2261 - 2280
      Abstract: A nonlinear equation system for individual tree diameter growth and mortality of natural Mongolian oak forests was developed based on 13,360 observations from 195 permanent sample plots in Northeast China. Weighted regression was used in a distance-independent diameter growth equation for dealing with heterocedasticity. Since diameter growth and mortality models have common predictors including the diameter at breast height (DBH), stand basal area (BA), basal-area-in-larger trees (BAL), and site index (SI), parameters were estimated using nonlinear three-stage least squares (N3SLS) and seemingly unrelated regression (SUR) which accounts for correlations of errors across models. The system equation provided better projection than individual fitting of the equation based on maximum likelihood estimation. Compared with the separate tree growth model, the simultaneous equations using N3SLS and SUR produced more efficient parameter estimation and smaller bias. Furthermore, N3SLS had more accurate projection. Overall, the simultaneous model will facilitate the growth and yield projection for better management of Mongolian oak forests in the region.
      PubDate: 2015-06-23
      DOI: 10.3390/f6062261
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 6 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1397-1421: An Exploratory Spatial Analysis of
           Social Vulnerability and Smoke Plume Dispersion in the U.S. South

    • Authors: Cassandra Gaither, Scott Goodrick, Bryn Murphy, Neelam Poudyal
      Pages: 1397 - 1421
      Abstract: This study explores the spatial association between social vulnerability and smoke plume dispersion at the census block group level for the 13 southern states in the USDA Forest Service’s Region 8. Using environmental justice as a conceptual basis, we use Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis to identify clusters or “hot spots” for the incidence of both higher than average socially marginal populations and plume dispersion. The larger health disparities and environmental justice literature suggests that lower income and minority populations in the U.S. face greater exposure than middle/upper income, non-minority populations to environmental pollutants; however, we are aware of only a few studies examining this relationship in the context of population exposure to wildfires or prescribed fires in the U.S. South, despite the high occurrence of wildfires in the region. Analyses were conducted across five ecoregions in the South and for winter and spring/summer seasons. Results by ecoregion show significant spatial clustering of high social vulnerability block groups in the vicinity of block groups with a high number of smoke plumes (i.e., “hot spots”). Overall, however, socially vulnerable communities are not exposed to more smoke than non-socially vulnerable communities. Data limitations and suggestions for further research are discussed.
      PubDate: 2015-04-24
      DOI: 10.3390/f6051397
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 5 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1422-1438: Modeling Forest Lightning Fire
           Occurrence in the Daxinganling Mountains of Northeastern China with MAXENT

    • Authors: Feng Chen, Yongsheng Du, Shukui Niu, Jinlong Zhao
      Pages: 1422 - 1438
      Abstract: Forest lightning fire is a recurrent and serious problem in the Daxinganling Mountains of northeastern China. Information on the spatial distribution of fire danger is needed to improve local fire prevention actions. The Maxent (Maximun Entropy Models), which is prevalent in modeling habitat distribution, was used to predict the possibility of lightning fire occurrence in a 1 × 1 km grid based on history fire data and environment variables in Daxinganling Mountains during the period 2005–2010.We used a jack-knife test to assess the independent contributions of lightning characteristics, meteorological factors, topography and vegetation to the goodness-of-fit of models and evaluated the prediction accuracy with the kappa statistic and AUC (receiver operating characteristic curve) analysis. The results showed that rainfall, number of strikes and lightning current intensity were major factors, and vegetation and geographic variable were secondary, in affecting lightning fire occurrence. The predicted model performs well in terms of accuracy, with an average AUC and maximum kappa value of 0.866 and 0.782, respectively, for the validation sample. The prediction accuracy also increased with the sample size. Our study demonstrated that the Maxent model can be used to predict lightning fire occurrence in the Daxinganling Mountains. This model can provide guidance to forest managers in spatial assessment of daily fire danger.
      PubDate: 2015-04-24
      DOI: 10.3390/f6051422
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 5 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1439-1453: Applying Effective Population Size
           Estimates of Kandelia obovata Sheue, Liu and Yong to Conservation and
           Restoration Management

    • Authors: Bing-Hong Huang, Yu Ruan, Jun-Qing Li, Pei-Chun Liao
      Pages: 1439 - 1453
      Abstract: Effective population size (Ne) is a crucial metric for evaluating the current status of genetic diversity and conservation management. Population of Kandelia obovata, a mangrove species that is patchily distributed along the estuaries off Southeastern China, is genetically structured. Here, we applied skyline analyses to infer the demographic history of K. obovata based on Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms (AFLP) data. Congruent trends of population growth rate among populations, but concurrent change in Ne estimates, were inferred in all populations. The recent rapid habitat expansion explains the high census population size but small Ne of populations in Northern Taiwan. Our study also revealed lower Ne of reforested populations than their sources. In silico demographic analyses simulate the small or biased sampling of seedlings for reforestation and revealed over 90% and 99% Ne reduction when only 1/2 and 1/10 samples were collected, respectively. These results emphasize the importance of a comprehensive sampling of seeds for restoration. Overall, this study rendered, not only the current Ne of K. obovata populations, but also indicates the importance of Ne estimation on restoration.
      PubDate: 2015-04-28
      DOI: 10.3390/f6051439
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 5 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1454-1475: Deciphering Corporate Governance and
           Environmental Commitments among Southeast Asian Transnationals: Uptake of
           Sustainability Certification

    • Authors: Jean-Marc Roda, Norfaryanti Kamaruddin, Rafael Tobias
      Pages: 1454 - 1475
      Abstract: Promoting tropical forest sustainability among corporate players is a major challenge. Many tools have been developed, but without much success. Southeast Asia has become a laboratory of globalization processes, where the development and success of agribusiness transnationals raises questions about their commitment to environmental concerns. An abundance of literature discusses what determines the behavior of Asian corporations, with a particular emphasis on cultural factors. Our hypothesis is that financial factors, such as ownership structure, may also have a fundamental role. We analyzed the audited accounts of four major Asian agribusiness transnationals. Using network analysis, we deciphered how the 931 companies relate to each other and determine the behavior of the transnationals to which they belong. We compared various metrics with the environmental commitment of these transnationals. We found that ownership structures reflect differences in flexibility, control and transaction costs, but not in ethnicities. Capital and its control, ownership structure, and flexibility explain 97% of the environmental behavior. It means that existing market-based tools to promote environmental sustainability do not engage transnationals at the scale where most of their behavior is determined. For the first time, the inner mechanisms of corporate governance are unraveled in agricultural and forest sustainability. New implications such as the convergence of environmental sustainability with family business sustainability emerged.
      PubDate: 2015-04-29
      DOI: 10.3390/f6051454
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 5 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1476-1499: Tools for Assessing the Impacts of
           Climate Variability and Change on Wildfire Regimes in Forests

    • Authors: Hety Herawati, José González-Olabarria, Arief Wijaya, Christopher Martius, Herry Purnomo, Rubeta Andriani
      Pages: 1476 - 1499
      Abstract: Fire is an intrinsic element of many forest ecosystems; it shapes their ecological processes, determines species composition and influences landscape structure. However, wildfires may: have undesirable effects on biodiversity and vegetation coverage; produce carbon emissions to the atmosphere; release smoke affecting human health; and cause loss of lives and property. There have been increasing concerns about the potential impacts of climate variability and change on forest fires. Climate change can alter factors that influence the occurrence of fire ignitions, fuel availability and fuel flammability. This review paper aims to identify tools and methods used for gathering information about the impacts of climate variability and change on forest fires, forest fuels and the probability of fires. Tools to assess the impacts of climate variability and change on forest fires include: remote sensing, dynamic global vegetation and landscape models, integrated fire-vegetation models, fire danger rating systems, empirical models and fire behavior models. This review outlines each tool in terms of its characteristics, spatial and temporal resolution, limitations and applicability of the results. To enhance and improve tool performance, each must be continuously tested in all types of forest ecosystems.
      PubDate: 2015-04-30
      DOI: 10.3390/f6051476
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 5 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1500-1515: An Area-Based Matrix Model for
           Uneven-Aged Forests

    • Authors: Ola Sallnäs, Ambros Berger, Minna Räty, Renats Trubins
      Pages: 1500 - 1515
      Abstract: In this paper a new concept for modeling uneven-aged forests (UEAF) is presented. The term UEAF in this article encloses all forests that deviate from the even-aged structure. The matrix model is area-based, in that the forest under study is described by a distribution of areas over fixed state-spaces spanned by stem number and volume per hectare classes. Dynamics is introduced as transitions of areas inside the state-space during the simulation. Harvesting activities and the occurrence of calamities are explicitly handled. The model is designed to be suitable for large-scale analyses. The concept was tested in an application to Austrian National Forest Inventory (NFI) data. Results shown, including a comparison to older inventory data, indicate that it is worth further elaborating on the concept and the model. The work will be continued and in the next step the model concept will be applied in several other countries.
      PubDate: 2015-04-30
      DOI: 10.3390/f6051500
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 5 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1516-1536: Multi-level Governance of Land Use
           Changes in the Brazilian Amazon: Lessons from Paragominas, State of

    • Authors: Marie-Gabrielle Piketty, René Poccard-Chapuis, Isabel Drigo, Emilie Coudel, Sophie Plassin, François Laurent, Marcelo Thâles
      Pages: 1516 - 1536
      Abstract: Land use governance in the Brazilian Amazon has undergone significant changes in the last decade. At the national level, law enforcement capacity has increased and downstream industries linked to commodity chains responsible for deforestation have begun to monitor some of their suppliers’ impacts on forests. At the municipal level, local actors have launched a Green Municipality initiative, aimed at eliminating deforestation and supporting green supply chains at the territorial level. In this paper, we analyze the land use transition since 2001 in Paragominas—the first Green Municipality—and discuss the limits of the governance arrangements underpinning these changes. Our work draws on a spatially explicit analysis of biophysical variables and qualitative information collected in interviews with key private and public stakeholders of the main commodity chains operating in the region. We argue that, up to now, the emerging multi-level scheme of land governance has not succeeded in promoting large-scale land use intensification, reforestation and rehabilitation of degraded lands. Moreover, private governance mechanisms based on improved product standards, fail to benefit from potential successful partnerships between the public and private sector at the territorial level. We propose a governance approach that adopts a broader territorial focus as a way forward.
      PubDate: 2015-04-30
      DOI: 10.3390/f6051516
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 5 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1537-1556: Effects of Temporal Dynamics, Nut Weight
           and Nut Size on Growth of American Chestnut, Chinese Chestnut and
           Backcross Generations in a Commercial Nursery

    • Authors: Cornelia Pinchot, Stacy Clark, Scott Schlarbaum, Arnold Saxton, Shi-Jean Sung, Frederick Hebard
      Pages: 1537 - 1556
      Abstract: Blight-resistant American chestnut (Castanea dentata) may soon be commercially available, but few studies have tested methods to produce high quality seedlings that will be competitive after planting. This study evaluated the performance of one American, one Chinese (C. mollissima), one second-generation backcross (BC3F2), and 10 third-generation backcross chestnut families (BC3F3). We examine growth over one year in a commercial tree nursery in east Tennessee. We examined relationships among nut size and weight and seedling growth, between germination timing and seedling survival, and between germination percentage and growth. Across the population tested, a 1 g increase in nut weight corresponded to a 6 cm increase in seedling height, a 0.5 mm increase in root collar diameter and one additional first order lateral root, but models had low predictive power. BC3F3 chestnuts grew similarly to American chestnuts, with substantial differences in growth among chestnut families within generation. Nuts that germinated by 23 April had greater than 1955 odds of surviving the first growing season than nuts that germinated in late May. American and backcross chestnut growth slowed in late June, presumably due to exhaustion of their cotyledons before leaf expansion. These results will help nursery managers refine cultural practices to maximize growth of backcross chestnuts.
      PubDate: 2015-04-30
      DOI: 10.3390/f6051537
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 5 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1557-1575: Lichen Monitoring Delineates
           Biodiversity on a Great Barrier Reef Coral Cay

    • Authors: Paul Rogers, Roderick Rogers, Anne Hedrich, Patrick Moss
      Pages: 1557 - 1575
      Abstract: Coral islands around the world are threatened by changing climates. Rising seas, drought, and increased tropical storms are already impacting island ecosystems. We aim to better understand lichen community ecology of coral island forests. We used an epiphytic lichen community survey to gauge Pisonia (Pisonia grandis R.BR.), which dominates forest conditions on Heron Island, Australia. Nine survey plots were sampled for lichen species presence and abundance, all tree diameters and species, GPS location, distance to forest-beach edge, and dominant forest type. Results found only six unique lichens and two lichen associates. A Multi-Response Permutation Procedures (MRPP) test found statistically distinct lichen communities among forest types. The greatest group differences were between interior Pisonia and perimeter forest types. Ordinations were performed to further understand causes for distinctions in lichen communities. Significant explanatory gradients were distance to forest edge, tree density (shading), and Pisonia basal area. Each of these variables was negatively correlated with lichen diversity and abundance, suggesting that interior, successionally advanced, Pisonia forests support fewer lichens. Island edge and presumably younger forests—often those with greater tree diversity and sunlight penetration—supported the highest lichen diversity. Heron Island’s Pisonia-dominated forests support low lichen diversity which mirrors overall biodiversity patterns. Lichen biomonitoring may provide a valuable indicator for assessing island ecosystems for conservation purposes regionally.
      PubDate: 2015-05-05
      DOI: 10.3390/f6051557
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 5 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1576-1597: Timing of Drought Triggers Distinct
           Growth Responses in Holm Oak: Implications to Predict Warming-Induced
           Forest Defoliation and Growth Decline

    • Authors: J. Camarero, Magí Franquesa, Gabriel Sangüesa-Barreda
      Pages: 1576 - 1597
      Abstract: Droughts negatively impact forests by reducing growth and increasing defoliation leading to forest dieback as the climate becomes warmer and drier. However, the timing and severity of droughts determine how differently or intensively water shortage affects primary (shoot and leaf formation) and secondary growth (stem radial growth based on tree-ring widths). We compare the impact of two severe droughts (2005, 2012), showing different climatic characteristics on the growth responses of three Mediterranean holm oak stands in northeastern Spain. We also quantify climate trends and drought severity. Then, we use remote sensing data to infer how those droughts impacted forest productivity. Both droughts were characterized by warm and dry spring conditions leading to reduced budburst, low shoot production, asynchrony in primary growth and decreased productivity and scarce radial growth, particularly in 2005. However, defoliation peaked in 2012 when radial growth showed minimum values and early spring and late summer temperatures reached maximum values. We discuss how uncoupled and resilient are the responses of primary and secondary growth to drought. Finally, these findings are used to gain insight into the drought-related drivers of defoliation in Spanish holm oak forests.
      PubDate: 2015-05-05
      DOI: 10.3390/f6051576
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 5 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1598-1612: Extinction Risk of Pseudotsuga Menziesii
           Populations in the Central Region of Mexico: An AHP Analysis

    • Authors: Javier López-Upton, J. Valdez-Lazalde, Aracely Ventura-Ríos, J. Vargas-Hernández, Vidal Guerra-de-la-Cruz
      Pages: 1598 - 1612
      Abstract: Within the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) framework, a hierarchical model was created considering anthropogenic, genetic and ecological criteria and sub-criteria that directly affect Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.)) risk of extinction in central Mexico. The sub-criteria values were standardized, weighted, and ordered by importance in a pairwise comparison matrix; the model was mathematically integrated to quantify the degree of extinction risk for each of the 29 populations present in the study area. The results indicate diverse levels of risk for the populations, ranging from very low to very high. Estanzuela, Presa Jaramillo, Peñas Cargadas and Plan del Baile populations have very low risk, with values less than 0.25. On the other hand, Vicente Guerrero, Morán, Minatitlán, La Garita and Tonalapa populations have very high risk (>0.35) because they are heavily influenced by anthropogenic (close to roads and towns), ecological (presence of exotic species and little or no natural regeneration) and genetic (presence of mature to overmature trees and geographic isolation) factors. In situ conservation activities, prioritizing their implementation in populations at most risk is highly recommended; in addition, germplasm collection for use of assisted gene flow and migration approaches, including artificial reforestation, should be considered in these locations.
      PubDate: 2015-05-05
      DOI: 10.3390/f6051598
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 5 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1613-1627: Assessment of Wooded Area Reduction by
           Airborne Laser Scanning

    • Authors: Thi Tran, Markus Hollaus, Ba Nguyen, Norbert Pfeifer
      Pages: 1613 - 1627
      Abstract: Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) data hold a great deal of promise in monitoring the reduction of single trees and forests with high accuracy. In the literature, the canopy height model (CHM) is the main input used frequently for forest change detection. ALS also has the key capability of delivering 3D point clouds, not only from the top canopy surface, but also from the entire canopy profile and also from the terrain. We investigated the use of two additional parameters, which exploit these capabilities for assessing the reduction of wooded area: Slope-adapted echo ratio (sER) and Sigma0. In this study, two ALS point cloud data sets (2005 and 2011) were used to calculate Digital Surface Model (DSM), sER, and Sigma0 in 1.5 km2 forest area in Vorarlberg, Austria. Image differencing was applied to indicate the change in the three difference models individually and in their combinations. Decision trees were used to classify the area of removed trees with the minimum mapping unit of 13 m2. The final results were evaluated by a knowledge-based manual digitization using completeness and correctness measures. The best result is achieved using the combination of sER and DSM, namely a correctness of 92% and a completeness of 85%.
      PubDate: 2015-05-07
      DOI: 10.3390/f6051613
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 5 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1628-1648: Variation in Trembling Aspen and White
           Spruce Wood Quality Grown in Mixed and Single Species Stands in the Boreal
           Mixedwood Forest

    • Authors: Francis De Araujo, James Hart, Shawn Mansfield
      Pages: 1628 - 1648
      Abstract: The Canadian boreal forest is largely represented by mixed wood forests of white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) and trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx). In this study, a total of 300 trees originating from three sites composed of trembling aspen and white spruce with varying compositions were investigated for wood quality traits: one site was composed mainly of aspen, one mainly of spruce and a third was a mixed site. Four wood quality traits were examined: wood density, microfibril angle (MFA), fibre characteristics, and cell wall chemistry. Social classes were also determined for each site in an attempt to provide a more in-depth comparison. Wood density showed little variation among sites for both species, with only significant differences occurring between social classes. The aspen site showed statistically lower MFAs than the aspen from the mixed site, however, no differences were observed when comparing spruce. Fibre characteristics were higher in the pure species sites for both species. There were no differences in carbohydrate contents across sites, while lignin content varied. Overall, the use of social classes did not refine the characterization of sites.
      PubDate: 2015-05-12
      DOI: 10.3390/f6051628
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 5 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1649-1665: Allelic Variation in Cinnamyl Alcohol
           Dehydrogenase (LoCAD) Associated with Wood Properties of Larix olgensis

    • Authors: Yanhong Wang, Qinbin Jia, Lei Zhang, Zhen Zhang, Hanguo Zhang
      Pages: 1649 - 1665
      Abstract: Cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD) catalyzes the key step in the lignin monomer biosynthesis pathway, but little is known about CADs in larch (Larix olgensis). Larch is one of the most important conifer plantation species and is used worldwide for reforestation and paper making. However, the presence of lignin is a significant barrier in the conversion of plant biomass to bioethanol. In the current study, 240 individuals from the Northeast Forest University provenance progeny trial population were evaluated, and 47 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified in the CAD gene. We used a candidate gene-based association mapping approach to identify CAD gene allelic variants that were associated with growth and wood property traits in L. olgensis. We found that LoCAD harbors high single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) diversity (πT = 0.00622 and θW = 0.00646). The results of an association analysis indicated that nine SNPs and six haplotypes were significantly associated with wood property and growth traits, explaining between 1.35% and 18.4% of the phenotypic variance. There were strong associations between SNP (g.590G > T) and SNP (g.1184A > T) in LoCAD. These SNPs might represent two quantitative trait nucleotides that are important for the analysis of lignin content.
      PubDate: 2015-05-12
      DOI: 10.3390/f6051649
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 5 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1666-1695: How Sensitive Are Ecosystem Services in
           European Forest Landscapes to Silvicultural Treatment?

    • Authors: Peter Biber, José Borges, Ralf Moshammer, Susana Barreiro, Brigite Botequim, Yvonne Brodrechtová, Vilis Brukas, Gherardo Chirici, Rebeca Cordero-Debets, Edwin Corrigan, Ljusk Eriksson, Matteo Favero, Emil Galev, Jordi Garcia-Gonzalo, Geerten Hengeveld, Marius Kavaliauskas, Marco Marchetti, Susete Marques, Gintautas Mozgeris, Rudolf Navrátil, Maarten Nieuwenhuis, Christophe Orazio, Ivan Paligorov, Davide Pettenella, Róbert Sedmák, Róbert Smreček, Andrius Stanislovaitis, Margarida Tomé, Renats Trubins, Ján Tuček, Matteo Vizzarri, Ida Wallin, Hans Pretzsch, Ola Sallnäs
      Pages: 1666 - 1695
      Abstract: While sustainable forestry in Europe is characterized by the provision of a multitude of forest ecosystem services, there exists no comprehensive study that scrutinizes their sensitivity to forest management on a pan-European scale, so far. We compile scenario runs from regionally tailored forest growth models and Decision Support Systems (DSS) from 20 case studies throughout Europe and analyze whether the ecosystem service provision depends on management intensity and other co-variables, comprising regional affiliation, social environment, and tree species composition. The simulation runs provide information about the case-specifically most important ecosystem services in terms of appropriate indicators. We found a strong positive correlation between management intensity and wood production, but only weak correlation with protective and socioeconomic forest functions. Interestingly, depending on the forest region, we found that biodiversity can react in both ways, positively and negatively, to increased management intensity. Thus, it may be in tradeoff or in synergy with wood production and forest resource maintenance. The covariables species composition and social environment are of punctual interest only, while the affiliation to a certain region often makes an important difference in terms of an ecosystem service’s treatment sensitivity.
      PubDate: 2015-05-13
      DOI: 10.3390/f6051666
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 5 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1696-1720: A New Collaborative Methodology for
           Assessment and Management of Ecosystem Services

    • Authors: Marina Segura, Concepción Maroto, Valerie Belton, Concepción Ginestar
      Pages: 1696 - 1720
      Abstract: Collaborative management is a new framework to help implement programmes in protected areas. Within this context, the aim of this work is twofold. First, to propose a robust methodology to implement collaborative management focused on ecosystem services. Second, to develop indicators for the main functions of ecosystem services. Decision makers, technical staff and other stakeholders are included in the process from the beginning, by identifying ecosystem services and eliciting preferences using the AHP method. Qualitative and quantitative data are then integrated into a PROMETHEE based method in order to obtain indicators for provisioning, maintenance and direct to citizens services. This methodology, which has been applied in a forest area, provides a tool for exploiting available technical and social data in a continuous process, as well as providing easy to understand graphical results. This approach also overcomes the difficulties found in prioritizing management objectives in a multiple criteria context with limited resources and facilitates consensus between all of the people involved. The new indicators define an innovative approach to assessing the ecosystem services from the supply perspective and provide basic information to help establish payment systems for environmental services and compensation for natural disasters.
      PubDate: 2015-05-13
      DOI: 10.3390/f6051696
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 5 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1721-1747: A Benchmark of Lidar-Based Single Tree
           Detection Methods Using Heterogeneous Forest Data from the Alpine Space

    • Authors: Lothar Eysn, Markus Hollaus, Eva Lindberg, Frédéric Berger, Jean-Matthieu Monnet, Michele Dalponte, Milan Kobal, Marco Pellegrini, Emanuele Lingua, Domen Mongus, Norbert Pfeifer
      Pages: 1721 - 1747
      Abstract: In this study, eight airborne laser scanning (ALS)-based single tree detection methods are benchmarked and investigated. The methods were applied to a unique dataset originating from different regions of the Alpine Space covering different study areas, forest types, and structures. This is the first benchmark ever performed for different forests within the Alps. The evaluation of the detection results was carried out in a reproducible way by automatically matching them to precise in situ forest inventory data using a restricted nearest neighbor detection approach. Quantitative statistical parameters such as percentages of correctly matched trees and omission and commission errors are presented. The proposed automated matching procedure presented herein shows an overall accuracy of 97%. Method based analysis, investigations per forest type, and an overall benchmark performance are presented. The best matching rate was obtained for single-layered coniferous forests. Dominated trees were challenging for all methods. The overall performance shows a matching rate of 47%, which is comparable to results of other benchmarks performed in the past. The study provides new insight regarding the potential and limits of tree detection with ALS and underlines some key aspects regarding the choice of method when performing single tree detection for the various forest types encountered in alpine regions.
      PubDate: 2015-05-15
      DOI: 10.3390/f6051721
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 5 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 859-878: Assisting Sustainable Forest Management
           and Forest Policy Planning with the Sim4Tree Decision Support System

    • Authors: Floris Dalemans, Paul Jacxsens, Jos Van Orshoven, Vincent Kint, Pieter Moonen, Bart Muys
      Pages: 859 - 878
      Abstract: As European forest policy increasingly focuses on multiple ecosystem services and participatory decision making, forest managers and policy planners have a need for integrated, user-friendly, broad spectrum decision support systems (DSS) that address risks and uncertainties, such as climate change, in a robust way and that provide credible advice in a transparent manner, enabling effective stakeholder involvement. The Sim4Tree DSS has been accordingly developed as a user-oriented, modular and multipurpose toolbox. Sim4Tree supports strategic and tactical forestry planning by providing simulations of forest development, ecosystem services potential and economic performance through time, from a regional to a stand scale, under various management and climate regimes. Sim4Tree allows comparing the performance of different scenarios with regard to diverse criteria so as to optimize management choices. This paper explains the concept, characteristics, functionalities, components and use of the current Sim4Tree DSS v2.5, which was parameterized for the region of Flanders, Belgium, but can be flexibly adapted to allow a broader use. When considering the current challenges for forestry DSS, an effort has been made towards the participatory component and towards integration, while the lack of robustness remains Sim4Tree’s weakest point. However, its structural flexibility allows many possibilities for future improvement and extension.
      PubDate: 2015-03-24
      DOI: 10.3390/f6040859
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 879-902: Implementing Continuous Cover Forestry in
           Planted Forests: Experience with Sitka Spruce (Picea Sitchensis) in the
           British Isles

    • Authors: William Mason
      Pages: 879 - 902
      Abstract: Planted forests of Sitka spruce, a non-native species from north-west America, are the major forest type in Great Britain and Ireland. Standard management involves even-aged stands, rotations of 40–50 years and a patch clear-felling system with artificial regeneration. However, forest policies support managing these forests for multifunctional objectives with increased diversity of species composition and stand structure. Continuous cover forestry (CCF) is an alternative silvicultural approach used to provide such diversity, but the amount of CCF forest is under 10% of the forest area, and less in Sitka spruce forests; This paper reviews research carried out in the last two decades to support the implementation of CCF in Sitka spruce planted forests; Stand structures and microclimate favouring natural regeneration are understood. Harvesting systems have been adapted for use in CCF stands, a single-tree growth model has been calibrated, comparative costs and revenues have been determined, and operational trials established. The interaction between thinning and wind stability in irregular stands is problematic, together with the lack of suitable species for growing in mixture with Sitka spruce; Introduction of an alternative silvicultural approach may take decades and must overcome technical challenges and cultural resistance.
      PubDate: 2015-03-24
      DOI: 10.3390/f6040879
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 903-913: Anomalies of the Austrian Forest Fire
           Regime in Comparison with Other Alpine Countries: A Research Note

    • Authors: Mortimer Müller, Harald Vacik, Eva Valese
      Pages: 903 - 913
      Abstract: In recent years, Austria has experienced highly variable forest fire activity with new record values regarding the number of fires and sizes of burned areas. Single seasons in 2011, 2012 and 2013 showed 20-year-peaks and significant differences regarding fire activity. A statistical overview of datasets from Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Slovenia is given, allowing a preliminary comparison between the Alpine countries. Higher temperatures in combination with local dry weather conditions are hypothesized as reasons for the observed anomalies. Further analysis will be done with new climatic data in high spatial resolution from the “AgroDroughtAustria” project to confirm these preliminary findings.
      PubDate: 2015-03-24
      DOI: 10.3390/f6040903
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 914-928: Localized Effects of Coarse Woody Material
           on Soil Oribatid Communities Diminish over 700 Years of Stand Development
           in Black-Spruce-Feathermoss Forests

    • Authors: Enrique Doblas-Miranda, Timothy Work
      Pages: 914 - 928
      Abstract: In the black-spruce clay-belt region of Western Québec, soil nutrients are limited due to paludification. Under paludified conditions, nutrient subsidies from decomposing surface coarse woody material (CWM) may be important particularly during the later stages of ecosystem development when deadwood from senescent trees has accumulated. For soil organisms, CWM can alter microclimatic conditions and resource availability. We compared abundance and species richness of oribatid mites below or adjacent to CWM across a chronosequence which spans ca. 700 years of stand development. We hypothesized that oribatid abundance and richness would be greater under the logs, particularly in later stages of forest development when logs may act as localized sources of carbon and nutrients in the paludified substrate. However, oribatid density was lower directly under CWM than adjacent to CWM but these differences were attenuated with time. We suggest that oribatids may be affected by soil compaction and also that such microarthropods are most likely feeding on recently fallen leaf litter, which may be rendered inaccessible by the presence of overlying CWM. This may also explain the progressive decline in oribatid density and diversity with time, which are presumably caused by decreases in litter availability due to self-thinning and Sphagnum growth. This is also supported by changes of different oribatid trophic groups, as litter feeders maintain different numbers relative to CWM with time while more generalist fungi feeders only show differences related to position in the beginning of the succession.
      PubDate: 2015-03-27
      DOI: 10.3390/f6040914
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 929-956: A Comparison of the Composition and
           Diversity of Tree Populations along a Hydrological Gradient in Floodplains
           (Southern Québec, Canada)

    • Authors: Jean-Sébastien Berthelot, Diane Saint-Laurent, Vernhar Gervais-Beaulac, Aurélien Présent
      Pages: 929 - 956
      Abstract: With the current climate changes, it is essential to understand the mechanisms that govern floods and flow regimes and their effects on the dynamics of riparian forests. The aim is to assess the effects of new hydrological conditions (increase in flood frequency) on forest stands subject to frequent floods. The sampling sites (total of 94 quadrats) are located in riverine woodlands, and the choice of location corresponds to the boundaries of the flood-risk zones established by official government maps. Our study shows that there are significant differences in the composition and diversity of forest communities following differences in the flood recurrence zones. In the active floodplains (i.e., recurrence interval of 0–20 years), the tree population stands are clearly distinguished from other intermediate flood zones (interval of 20–100 years). Differences are also noted in the structure of the communities, in particular in the frequent flood zones, which are characterized by a low renewal rate, low density and less-diversified forest stands. The frequent floods risk forest stand rejuvenation and creating decline as a result of increased tree mortality and the low renewal rate. With the expected increases in the number of flood events in the coming decades, there may be greater tree mortality and a gradual disappearance of the forest communities.
      PubDate: 2015-03-30
      DOI: 10.3390/f6040929
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 957-972: LAI Variability as a Habitat Feature
           Determining Reptile Occurrence: A Case Study in Large Forest Complexes in
           Eastern Poland

    • Authors: Tomasz Berezowski, Jakub Kośmider, Magdalena Greczuk, Jarosław Chormański
      Pages: 957 - 972
      Abstract: Reptile habitats are described using various indices. The definitions of such indices are crucial, as they are applied to habitat modelling for numerous species on local to continental scales. We examined the Leaf Area Index (LAI) for its value as a tool for determining reptile habitat. During measurements carried out in spring and summer months between 2011 and 2013, LAI values were assessed and surveys were conducted on reptile fauna at 11 survey sites in the Solska Forest and Roztocze National Parks areas in Eastern Poland. In total, six Squamata reptiles occurring in Poland were found. We determined that LAI can be utilized as a reptile habitat index, with reptile species associated with LAI seasonal variability as well as LAI range. Moreover, we found that the higher the LAI median value, the greater the variety of reptile species. These findings are useful for development of spatial models of habitats based on LAI as they point to the importance of its seasonal variation.
      PubDate: 2015-03-31
      DOI: 10.3390/f6040957
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 973-991: Available Nitrogen and Responses to
           Nitrogen Fertilizer in Brazilian Eucalypt Plantations on Soils of
           Contrasting Texture

    • Authors: Ana Pulito, José Leonardo de Moraes Gonçalves, Philip Smethurst, José Junior, Clayton Alcarde Alvares, José Henrique Tertulino Rocha, Ayeska Hübner, Luiz Fabiano de Moraes, Aline Miranda, Marcos Kamogawa, José Gava, Raul Chaves, Claudio Silva
      Pages: 973 - 991
      Abstract: Eucalyptus plantations have seldom responded to N fertilization in tropical and subtropical regions of Brazil. This implies that rates of N mineralization have been adequate to supply tree needs. However, subsequent crop rotations with low N fertilization may result in declining concentrations of organic and potentially mineralizable N (N0), and consequent loss of wood productivity. This study investigated (a) in situ N mineralization and N0 in soils of eucalypt plantations in São Paulo state, Brazil; (b) tree growth responses to N fertilizer applied 6–18 months after planting; and (c) the relationships between N0, other soil attributes and tree growth. We established eleven N fertilizer trials (maximum 240 kg ha−1 of N) in E. grandis and E. grandis x urophylla plantations. The soil types at most sites were Oxisols and Quartzipsamments, with a range of organic matter (18 to 55 g kg−1) and clay contents (8% to 67%) in the 0–20 cm layer. Concentrations of N0 were measured using anaerobic incubation on soil samples collected every three months (different seasons). The samples collected in spring and summer had N0 140–400 kg ha−1 (10%–19% total soil N), which were best correlated with soil texture and organic matter content. Rates of in situ net N mineralization (0–20 cm) ranged from 100 to 200 kg ha−1 year−1 and were not correlated with clay, total N, or N0. These high N mineralization rates resulted in a low response to N fertilizer application during the early ages of stand growth, which were highest on sandy soils. At the end of the crop rotation, the response to N fertilizer was negligible and non-significant at all sites.
      PubDate: 2015-04-02
      DOI: 10.3390/f6040973
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 992-1030: Evaluating the Ecological Integrity of
           Structural Stand Density Management Models Developed for Boreal Conifers

    • Authors: Peter Newton
      Pages: 992 - 1030
      Abstract: Density management decision-support systems (e.g., modular-based structural stand density management models (SSDMMs)), which are built upon the modeling platform used to develop stand density management diagrams, incorporate a number of functional relationships derived from forest production theory and quantitative ecology. Empirically, however, the ecological integrity of these systems has not been verified and hence the degree of their compliance with expected ecological axioms is unknown. Consequently, the objective of this study was to evaluate the ecological integrity of six SSDMMs developed for black spruce (Picea mariana) and jack pine (Pinus banksiana) stand-types (natural-origin and planted upland black spruce and jack pine stands, upland natural-origin black spruce and jack pine mixtures, and natural-origin lowland black spruce stands). The assessment included the determination of the biological reasonableness of model predictions by determining the degree of consistency between predicted developmental patterns and those expected from known ecological axioms derived from even-aged stand dynamics theoretical constructs, employing Bakuzis graphical matrices. Although the results indicated the SSDMMs performed well, a notable departure from expectation was a possible systematic site quality effect on the asymptotic yield-density relationships. Combining these results with confirmatory evidence derived from the literature suggest that the site-invariant self-thinning axiom may be untenable for certain stand-types.
      PubDate: 2015-04-07
      DOI: 10.3390/f6040992
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1031-1060: Taking Stock of Carbon Rights in REDD+
           Candidate Countries: Concept Meets Reality

    • Authors: Lasse Loft, Ashwin Ravikumar, Maria Gebara, Thu Pham, Ida Resosudarmo, Samuel Assembe, Jazmín Tovar, Esther Mwangi, Krister Andersson
      Pages: 1031 - 1060
      Abstract: In the discourses on who should benefit from national REDD+ implementation, rights-based approaches are prominent across various countries. Options on how to create viable property rights arrangements are currently being debated by scholars, policy makers and practitioners alike. Many REDD+ advocates argue that assigning carbon rights represents a solution to insecure individual and community property rights. But carbon rights, i.e., the bundle of legal rights to carbon sequestered in biomass, present their own set of theoretical and practical challenges. We assess the status and approaches chosen in emerging carbon-rights legislations in five REDD+ countries based on a literature review and country expert knowledge: Peru, Brazil, Cameroon, Vietnam and Indonesia. We find that most countries assessed have not yet made final decisions as to the type of benefit sharing mechanisms they intend to implement and that there is a lack of clarity about who owns rights to carbon as a property and who is entitled to receive benefits. However, there is a trend of linking carbon rights to land rights. As such, the technical and also political challenges that land tenure clarification has faced over the past decades will still need to be addressed in the context of carbon rights.
      PubDate: 2015-04-08
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041031
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1061-1082: Mid-Rotation Silviculture Timing
           Influences Nitrogen Mineralization of Loblolly Pine Plantations in the
           Mid-South USA

    • Authors: Michael Blazier, D. Scott, Ryan Coleman
      Pages: 1061 - 1082
      Abstract: Intensively managed loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) plantations often develop nutrient deficiencies near mid-rotation. Common silvicultural treatments for improving stand nutrition at this stage include thinning, fertilization, and vegetation control. It is important to better understand the influence of timing fertilization and vegetation control in relation to thinning as part of improving the efficiency of these practices. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of fertilization and vegetation control conducted within a year prior to thinning and within a year after thinning on soil N supply in mid-rotation loblolly pine plantations on a gradient of soil textures. Net N mineralization (Nmin) and exchangeable N were measured monthly. Fertilization increased annual Nmin at all sites irrespective of timing relative to thinning, with the increase more pronounced when combined with vegetation control. This finding suggests some management flexibility in the timing of mid-rotation fertilization relative to thinning for increasing soil N supply. However, the site with the highest total soil N and the lowest C:N ratio was more prone to NO3-N increases after fertilization conducted pre- and post-thinning. At all sites, fertilization with vegetation control promoted increases in NO3-N when done after thinning, which may indicate that this practice increased soil N supply to levels that exceeded stand N demand.
      PubDate: 2015-04-08
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041061
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1083-1093: Aboveground Biomass of Glossy Buckthorn
           is Similar in Open and Understory Environments but Architectural Strategy

    • Authors: Caroline Hamelin, Daniel Gagnon, Benoit Truax
      Pages: 1083 - 1093
      Abstract: The exotic shrub glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus) is a great concern among forest managers because it invades both open and shaded environments. To evaluate if buckthorn grows similarly across light environments, and if adopting different shapes contributes to an efficient use of light, we compared buckthorns growing in an open field and in the understory of a mature hybrid poplar plantation. For a given age, the relationships describing aboveground biomass of buckthorns in the open field and in the plantation were not significantly different. However, we observed a significant difference between the diameter-height relationships in the two environments. These results suggest a change in buckthorn’s architecture, depending on the light environment in which it grows. Buckthorn adopts either an arborescent shape under a tree canopy, or a shrubby shape in an open field, to optimally capture the light available. This architectural plasticity helps explain a similar invasion success for glossy buckthorn growing in both open and shaded environments, at least up to the canopy closure level of the plantation used for this study.
      PubDate: 2015-04-08
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041083
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1094-1106: Genetic Diversity and Population
           Structure of Toona Ciliata Roem. Based on Sequence-Related Amplified
           Polymorphism (SRAP) Markers

    • Authors: Pei Li, Xin Zhan, Qingmin Que, Wenting Qu, Mingqian Liu, Kunxi Ouyang, Juncheng Li, Xiaomei Deng, Junjie Zhang, Boyong Liao, Ruiqi Pian, Xiaoyang Chen
      Pages: 1094 - 1106
      Abstract: Sequence-related amplified polymorphism (SRAP) markers were used to investigate the genetic diversity among 30 populations of Toona ciliata Roem. sampled from the species’ distribution area in China. To analyze the polymorphism in the SRAP profiles, 1505 primer pairs were screened and 24 selected. A total of 656 SRAP bands ranging from 100 to 1500 bp were acquired, of these 505 bands (77%) were polymorphic. The polymorphism information content (PIC) values ranged from 0.32 to 0.45, with an average of 0.41. An analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) indicated that the most significant variation was attributable to differences among the populations and that variation within the populations was small. STRUCTURE analysis divided the 30 populations into two parts. The unweighted pair group method of arithmetic averages (UPGMA) clustering and principal coordinates analysis (PCoA) showed that the 30 populations could be classified into four types. The results demonstrate a clear geographical trend for T. ciliata in China and provide a theoretical basis for future breeding and conservation strategy of T. ciliata.
      PubDate: 2015-04-08
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041094
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1107-1120: Variation in the Growth Traits and Wood
           Properties of Hybrid White Poplar Clones

    • Authors: Huandi Ma, Youming Dong, Zhong Chen, Weihua Liao, Bingqi Lei, Kai Gao, Shanwen Li, Xinmin An
      Pages: 1107 - 1120
      Abstract: The physical and chemical properties of poplar clones largely determine their suitability for different applications. The main objective of this study was to investigate clonal variation in four hybrid poplar clones grown at three sites in North China and identify the superior clone. Study materials were collected from four clones of hybrid white poplar: Populus tomentosa “LM50”, used as the control; two clones (Yiyang-1 and Yiyang-2), new hybrids of (P. tomentosa × P. bolleana) × P. tomentosa “Truncata”; and Yiyang-3, a new hybrid of (P. tomentosa × P. bolleana) × P. tomentosa “LM50”. In total, 192 individuals from four hybrid clones were randomly chosen for sampling. The growth traits of four 7-year-old clones were examined at three sites. We also measured the wood properties of four 6-year-old clones at the Fengfeng nursery. Variation in the growth traits and the ranking of stem volumes differed among sites. Fiber traits and wood chemical components showed significant interclonal variation. With regard to the comprehensive growth rate, cellulose content, holocellulose content, and fiber traits, Yiyang-1 exhibited the best performance among the four hybrid poplar clones, indicating its utility as a raw material for pulp and papermaking.
      PubDate: 2015-04-08
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041107
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1121-1144: Tree-Level Harvest Optimization for
           Structure-Based Forest Management Based on the Species Mingling Index

    • Authors: Pete Bettinger, Mengping Tang
      Pages: 1121 - 1144
      Abstract: This novel research investigated the use of a heuristic process to inform tree-level harvest decisions guided by the need to maximize the interspersion of tree species across a forest. In the heuristic process, a species mingling value for each tree was computed using both (1) neighbors that were simply of a different species than the reference tree and (2) neighbors that were uniquely different species from both the reference tree and other neighbors of the reference tree. The tree-level species mingling value was averaged for the stand, which was then subject to a maximization process. Constraints included residual tree density levels and minimum tree volume harvest levels. In two case studies, results suggest that the species mingling index at the stand level can be significantly increased over randomly allocated harvest decisions using the heuristic process described. In the case studies, we illustrate how this type of process can inform management decisions by suggesting the distance between residual trees of similar species given the initial stand structure and the objectives and constraints. The work represents a unique tree-level optimization approach that one day may be of value as new technologies are developed to map the location of individual trees in a timely and efficient manner.
      PubDate: 2015-04-09
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041121
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1145-1156: Residual Long-Term Effects of Forest
           Fertilization on Tree Growth and Nitrogen Turnover in Boreal Forest

    • Authors: Fredrik From, Joachim Strengbom, Annika Nordin
      Pages: 1145 - 1156
      Abstract: The growth enhancing effects of forest fertilizer is considered to level off within 10 years of the application, and be restricted to one forest stand rotation. However, fertilizer induced changes in plant community composition has been shown to occur in the following stand rotation. To clarify whether effects of forest fertilization have residual long-term effects, extending into the next rotation, we compared tree growth, needle N concentrations and the availability of mobile soil N in young (10 years) Pinus sylvestris L. and Picea abies (L.) H. Karst. stands. The sites were fertilized with 150 kg·N·ha−1 once or twice during the previous stand rotation, or unfertilized. Two fertilization events increased tree height by 24% compared to the controls. Needle N concentrations of the trees on previously fertilized sites were 15% higher than those of the controls. Soil N mineralization rates and the amounts of mobile soil NH4-N and NO3-N were higher on sites that were fertilized twice than on control sites. Our study demonstrates that operational forest fertilization can cause residual long-term effects on stand N dynamics, with subsequent effects on tree growth that may be more long-lasting than previously believed, i.e., extending beyond one stand rotation.
      PubDate: 2015-04-10
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041145
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1157-1178: If Long-Term Resistance to a Spruce
           Beetle Epidemic is Futile, Can Silvicultural Treatments Increase
           Resilience in Spruce-Fir Forests in the Central Rocky Mountains?

    • Authors: Marcella Windmuller-Campione, James Long
      Pages: 1157 - 1178
      Abstract: Within the Central Rocky Mountains, spruce beetle populations have the potential to rapidly transition from endemic to epidemic levels in the spruce-fir (Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir) forest type. Conventional management has focused on creating resistance to spruce beetle outbreaks by manipulating the overstory density and composition. Three silvicultural treatments, single tree selection, group selection, and shelterwood with reserves, were established in a spruce-fir forest in northern Utah with the goals of increasing both resistance and resilience to outbreaks. Resistance and resilience metrics were explicitly defined. Pre-harvest and two post-harvest measurements were used to assess how the different silvicultural treatments influenced the metrics. The shelterwood with reserves was the only treatment to meet both the resistance and resilience criteria. This treatment, while not traditionally used, created a stand structure and composition that will be most resilient to climate induced increases in spruce beetle caused tree mortality. However, there will be a trade-off in composition and structure, especially Engelmann spruce, after a spruce beetle epidemic because the created structure is more uniform with fewer groups and gaps than commonly observed in spruce-fir forests. With changing climatic conditions, proactive forest management, such as the shelterwood with reserves in the spruce-fir forest type, is the best method for increasing short-term resistance and long-term resilience to spruce beetle outbreaks.
      PubDate: 2015-04-15
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041157
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1179-1194: Evaluation of a Smartphone App for
           Forest Sample Plot Measurements

    • Authors: Mikko Vastaranta, Eduardo Latorre, Ville Luoma, Ninni Saarinen, Markus Holopainen, Juha Hyyppä
      Pages: 1179 - 1194
      Abstract: We evaluated a smartphone app (TRESTIMATM) for forest sample plot measurements. The app interprets imagery collected from the sample plots using the camera in the smartphone and then estimates forest inventory attributes, including species-specific basal areas (G) as well as the diameter (DgM) and height (HgM) of basal area median trees. The estimates from the smartphone app were compared to forest inventory attributes derived from tree-wise measurements using calipers and a Vertex height measurement device. The data consist of 2169 measured trees from 25 sample plots (32 m × 32 m), dominated by Scots pine and Norway spruce from southern Finland. The root-mean-square errors (RMSEs) in the basal area varied from 19.7% to 29.3% and the biases from 11.4% to 18.4% depending on the number of images per sample plot and image shooting location. DgM measurement bias varied from −1.4% to 3.1% and RMSE from 5.2% to 11.6% depending on the tree species. Respectively, HgM bias varied from 5.0% to 8.3% and RMSE 10.0% to 13.6%. In general, four images captured toward the center of the plot provided more accurate results than four images captured away from the plot center. Increasing the number of captured images per plot to the analyses yielded only marginal improvement to the results.
      PubDate: 2015-04-15
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041179
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1195-1207: Can We Use Forest Inventory Mapping as a
           Coarse Filter in Ecosystem Based Management in the Black Spruce Boreal

    • Authors: Chafi Chaieb, Nicole Fenton, Benoit Lafleur, Yves Bergeron
      Pages: 1195 - 1207
      Abstract: Forest inventory mapping is used worldwide to describe forests at a large spatial scale via the delimitation of portions of the landscape that are structurally homogeneous. Consequently, there is a significant amount of descriptive forest data in forest inventory maps, particularly with the development of ecosystem classification, which represents a significant potential for use in ecosystem based management. With this study we propose to test whether forest inventory maps can be used to describe not only stand characteristics but also dynamic processes. The results indicate that stand types identifiable in forest inventory maps do not in fact represent unique developmental stages, but rather confound stands at multiple developmental stages that may be undergoing different ecological processes. The reasons for this are linked to both the interaction between succession, fire severity and paludification. Finally, some aspects of the process of forest inventory mapping itself contribute to the disjunction between forest types and forest succession. Given the low similarity between spruce mapping types and their actual description following forest inventories, it would be too ambitious to infer the dynamic aspects of spruce forest by map units.
      PubDate: 2015-04-15
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041195
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1208-1226: Predicting Effects of Climate Change on
           Habitat Suitability of Red Spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.) in the Southern
           Appalachian Mountains of the USA: Understanding Complex Systems Mechanisms
           through Modeling

    • Authors: Kyung Koo, Bernard Patten, Marguerite Madden
      Pages: 1208 - 1226
      Abstract: Alpine, subalpine and boreal tree species, of low genetic diversity and adapted to low optimal temperatures, are vulnerable to the warming effects of global climate change. The accurate prediction of these species’ distributions in response to climate change is critical for effective planning and management. The goal of this research is to predict climate change effects on the distribution of red spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP), eastern USA. Climate change is, however, conflated with other environmental factors, making its assessment a complex systems problem in which indirect effects are significant in causality. Predictions were made by linking a tree growth simulation model, red spruce growth model (ARIM.SIM), to a GIS spatial model, red spruce habitat model (ARIM.HAB). ARIM.SIM quantifies direct and indirect interactions between red spruce and its growth factors, revealing the latter to be dominant. ARIM.HAB spatially distributes the ARIM.SIM simulations under the assumption that greater growth reflects higher probabilities of presence. ARIM.HAB predicts the future habitat suitability of red spruce based on growth predictions of ARIM.SIM under climate change and three air pollution scenarios: 10% increase, no change and 10% decrease. Results show that suitable habitats shrink most when air pollution increases. Higher temperatures cause losses of most low-elevation habitats. Increased precipitation and air pollution produce acid rain, which causes loss of both low- and high-elevation habitats. The general prediction is that climate change will cause contraction of red spruce habitats at both lower and higher elevations in GSMNP, and the effects will be exacerbated by increased air pollution. These predictions provide valuable information for understanding potential impacts of global climate change on the spatiotemporal distribution of red spruce habitats in GSMNP.
      PubDate: 2015-04-15
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041208
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1227-1238: Stem Anatomy and Adventitious Root
           Formation in Cuttings of Angophora, Corymbia and Eucalyptus

    • Authors: Philippa Bryant, Stephen Trueman
      Pages: 1227 - 1238
      Abstract: Many plantation eucalypts are difficult to propagate from cuttings, and their rooted cuttings often possess very few adventitious roots. We microscopically examined the stem anatomy of cuttings from 12 species of eucalypts and we determined whether adventitious root formation in auxin-treated cuttings of four species was limited to particular positions around the vascular tissue. Most species contained a central pith that was arranged in a four-pointed stellate pattern. The surrounding vascular tissue was also arranged in a stellate pattern near the shoot apex but it developed a more rectangular shape at the outer phloem as the stems enlarged radially. Adventitious roots formed at, or slightly peripheral to, the vascular cambium, and they formed at both the corners and the sides of the rectangular-shaped vascular tissue. The study highlighted that auxin-treated eucalypt cuttings can produce roots at multiple positions around the vascular tissue and so propagation methods can aim to produce more than four adventitious roots per rooted cutting. Higher numbers of adventitious roots could improve the root system symmetry, stability, survival and growth rate of clonal eucalypt trees.
      PubDate: 2015-04-15
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041227
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1239-1255: Biomass, Carbon and Nutrient Storage in
           a 30-Year-Old Chinese Cork Oak (Quercus Variabilis) Forest on the South
           Slope of the Qinling Mountains, China

    • Authors: Yang Cao, Yunming Chen
      Pages: 1239 - 1255
      Abstract: Chinese cork oak (Quercus variabilis) forests are protected on a large-scale under the Natural Forest Protection (NFP) program in China to improve the ecological environment. However, information about carbon (C) storage to increase C sequestration and sustainable management is lacking. Biomass, C, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) storage of trees, shrubs, herb, litter and soil (0–100 cm) were determined from destructive tree sampling and plot level investigation in approximately 30-year old Chinese cork oak forests on the south slope of the Qinling Mountains. There was no significant difference in tree components’ biomass estimation, with the exception of roots, among the available allometric equations developed from this study site and other previous study sites. Leaves had the highest C, N and P concentrations among tree components and stems were the major compartments for tree biomass, C, N and P storage. In contrast to finding no difference in N concentrations along the whole soil profile, higher C and P concentrations were observed in the upper 0–10 cm of soil than in the deeper soil layers. The ecosystem C, N, and P storage was 163.76, 18.54 and 2.50 t ha−1, respectively. Soil (0–100 cm) contained the largest amount of C, N and P storage, accounting for 61.76%, 92.78% and 99.72% of the total ecosystem, followed by 36.14%, 6.03% and 0.23% for trees, and 2.10%, 1.19% and 0.03% for shrubs, herbs and litter, respectively. The equations accurately estimate ecosystem biomass, and the knowledge of the distribution of C, N and P storage will contribute to increased C sequestration and sustainable management of Chinese cork oak forests under the NFP program.
      PubDate: 2015-04-21
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041239
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1256-1273: Elevated Atmospheric CO2 Affects
           Ectomycorrhizal Species Abundance and Increases Sporocarp Production under
           Field Conditions

    • Authors: Douglas Godbold, Martina Vašutová, Anna Wilkinson, Magda Edwards-Jonášová, Michael Bambrick, Andrew Smith, Marian Pavelka, Pavel Cudlin
      Pages: 1256 - 1273
      Abstract: Anthropogenic activities during the last century have increased levels of atmospheric CO2. Forest net primary productivity increases in response to elevated CO2, altering the quantity and quality of carbon supplied to the rhizosphere. Ectomycorrhizal fungi form obligate symbiotic associations with the fine roots of trees that mediate improved scavenging for nutrients in exchange for a carbohydrate supply. Understanding how the community structure of ectomycorrhizal fungi is altered by climate change is important to further our understanding of ecosystem function. Betula pendula and Fagus sylvatica were grown in an elevated CO2 atmosphere delivered using free air carbon dioxide enrichment (FACE) under field conditions in the U.K., and Picea abies was grown under elevated CO2 in glass domes in the Czech Republic. We used morphotyping and sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer region of the fungal ribosomal operon to study ectomycorrhizal community structure. Under FACE, un-colonised roots tips increased in abundance for Fagus sylvatica, and during 2006, sporocarp biomass of Peziza badia significantly increased. In domes, ectomycorrhizal community composition shifted from short-distance and smooth medium-distance to contact exploration types. Supply and competition for carbon belowground can influence ectomycorrhizal community structure with the potential to alter ecosystem function.
      PubDate: 2015-04-21
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041256
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1274-1300: Non Destructive Method for Biomass
           Prediction Combining TLS Derived Tree Volume and Wood Density

    • Authors: Jan Hackenberg, Marc Wassenberg, Heinrich Spiecker, Dongjing Sun
      Pages: 1274 - 1300
      Abstract: This paper presents a method for predicting the above ground leafless biomass of trees in a non destructive way. We utilize terrestrial laserscan data to predict the volume of the trees. Combining volume estimates with density measurements leads to biomass predictions. Thirty-six trees of three different species are analyzed: evergreen coniferous Pinus massoniana, evergreen broadleaved Erythrophleum fordii and leafless deciduous Quercus petraea. All scans include a large number of noise points; denoising procedures are presented in detail. Density values are considered to be a minor source of error in the method if applied to stem segments, as comparison to ground truth data reveals that prediction errors for the tree volumes are in accordance with biomass prediction errors. While tree compartments with a diameter larger than 10 cm can be modeled accurately, smaller ones, especially twigs with a diameter smaller than 4 cm, are often largely overestimated. Better prediction results could be achieved by applying a biomass expansion factor to the biomass of compartments with a diameter larger than 10 cm. With this second method the average prediction error for Q. petraea could be reduced from 33.84% overestimation to 3.56%. E. fordii results could also be improved reducing the average prediction error from
      PubDate: 2015-04-21
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041274
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1301-1324: From Public to Private Standards for
           Tropical Commodities: A Century of Global Discourse on Land Governance on
           the Forest Frontier

    • Authors: Derek Byerlee, Ximena Rueda
      Pages: 1301 - 1324
      Abstract: Globalization and commodity exports have a long history in affecting land use changes and land rights on the tropical forest frontier. This paper reviews a century of social and environmental discourse around land issues for four commodities grown in the humid tropics—rubber, cocoa, oil palm and bananas. States have exercised sovereign rights over land and forest resources and the outcomes for deforestation and land rights of existing users have been quite varied depending on local institutional contexts and political economy. In the current period of globalization, as land use changes associated with tropical commodities have accelerated, land issues are now at center stage in the global discourse. However, efforts to protect forests and the rights of local communities and indigenous groups continue to be ad hoc and codification of minimum standards and their implementation remains a work in progress. Given a widespread failure of state directed policies and institutions to curb deforestation and protect land rights, the private sector, with the exception of the rubber industry, is emphasizing voluntary standards to certify sustainability of their products. This is an important step but expectations that they will effectively address concerns about the impact of tropical commodities expansion might be too high, given their voluntary nature, demand constraints, and the challenge of including smallholders. It is also doubtful that private standards can more than partially compensate for long standing weaknesses in land governance and institutions on the forest frontier.
      PubDate: 2015-04-21
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041301
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1325-1342: Source Material and Concentration of
           Wildfire-Produced Pyrogenic Carbon Influence Post-Fire Soil Nutrient

    • Authors: Lucas Michelotti, Jessica Miesel
      Pages: 1325 - 1342
      Abstract: Pyrogenic carbon (PyC) is produced by the thermal decomposition of organic matter in the absence of oxygen (O). PyC affects nutrient availability, may enhance post-fire nitrogen (N) mineralization rates, and can be a significant carbon (C) pool in fire-prone ecosystems. Our objectives were to characterize PyC produced by wildfires and examine the influence that contrasting types of PyC have on C and N mineralization rates. We determined C, N, O, and hydrogen (H) concentrations and atomic ratios of charred bark (BK), charred pine cones (PC), and charred woody debris (WD) using elemental analysis. We also incubated soil amended with BK, PC, and WD at two concentrations for 60 days to measure C and N mineralization rates. PC had greater H/C and O/C ratios than BK and WD, suggesting that PC may have a lesser aromatic component than BK and WD. C and N mineralization rates decreased with increasing PyC concentrations, and control samples produced more CO2 than soils amended with PyC. Soils with PC produced greater CO2 and had lower N mineralization rates than soils with BK or WD. These results demonstrate that PyC type and concentration have potential to impact nutrient dynamics and C flux to the atmosphere in post-fire forest soils.
      PubDate: 2015-04-21
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041325
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1343-1361: Effect of Planting Density on Knot
           Attributes and Branch Occlusion of Betula alnoides under Natural Pruning
           in Southern China

    • Authors: Chunsheng Wang, Zhigang Zhao, Sebastian Hein, Ji Zeng, Johanna Schuler, Junjie Guo, Wenfu Guo, Jie Zeng
      Pages: 1343 - 1361
      Abstract: Knot-related defects are the major cause of timber quality degradation, and diminishing this kind of defects is an important issue in forest management. For the purpose of clear-wood production, knot attributes and branch occlusion of Betula alnoides under natural pruning were investigated in a 14-year-old experimental plantation with five planting densities ranging from 500 to 3333 stems per hectare in southern China, and a total of 1325 occluded branches from 30 trees were sampled and dissected. The mean occluded branch diameter (OBD), radius of knots and branch insertion angle (IA) decreased significantly with increasing planting density. Planting with high stocking density significantly reduced the frequency of thick occluded branches (diameter ≥ 20 mm) while increasing the frequency of small ones (diameter < 10 mm). Branch occlusion time (OT) also tended to increase with decreasing planting density. The results of generalized linear mixed models showed that OBD was the major factor influencing OT, radius of dead portion of knot (RDP), total radius of knot (TRK) and IA. In addition, OT was positively correlated with RDP but negatively correlated with stem diameter growth rate during branch occlusion (SDGR). Silvicultural strategies with appropriate planting density for large-diameter clear-wood production of B. alnoides were discussed.
      PubDate: 2015-04-21
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041343
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1362-1379: Spatial Forest Harvest Scheduling for
           Areas Involving Carbon and Timber Management Goals

    • Authors: Lingbo Dong, Pete Bettinger, Zhaogang Liu, Huiyan Qin
      Pages: 1362 - 1379
      Abstract: Forest carbon sequestration has become an important ecological service for human society. Given the widespread attention paid to global climate change over the last few decades, a potential need has arisen to develop forest management plans that integrate carbon management and other spatial and non-spatial goals. The objective of this research was to develop a spatial forest planning process by which one could assess either a carbon stocks objective, a timber production objective, or a spatial objective related to the arrangement of forest management activities. This process was used to evaluate the maximization of (1) volume scheduled for harvest; (2) carbon stocks; and (3) spatial aggregation of the management activities through a utility function where all are equally weighted objectives. The process was employed for the development of 30-year plans for a forested landscape in northeast China that was approximately 120,000 ha in size. In addition, the sensitivity of the results with respect to four initial forest age structures was tested. Constraints mainly included those related to the need for an even flow of scheduled harvest volume and to the need to adhere to a maximum harvest opening size. The proposed scheduling process employed a simulated annealing algorithm to schedule harvests in an attempt to produce a high value of the utility function. Results showed that carbon stocks in the case study forests could significantly increase in the next 30 years under the proposed harvesting plans. Of the case study forest landscapes, the values of both the utility function and the computing time required were significantly different between different initial forest age structures (p < 0.05), i.e., the older forest landscape obtained the highest average solution value (0.6594 ± 0.0013) with the fastest processing speed (2.45 min per solution). For a fixed harvest level, the average carbon density (tons per hectare) at the end of planning horizon also increased by 4.48 ± 9.61 t/ha, 8.73 ± 10.85 t/ha, 2.99 ± 9.19 t/ha and 1.03 ± 9.77 t/ha when maximizing the total utility functions for the actual, young, normal and older forests, respectively, when compared those at their initial conditions. This heuristic spatial forest planning process can allow forest managers to examine a number of different management activities, for both timber production and carbon stocks, prior to selecting a preferred alternative.
      PubDate: 2015-04-21
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041362
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 1380-1396: Exploratory Assessment of a
           Company’s Due Diligence System against the EU Timber Regulation: A
           Case Study from Northwestern Russia

    • Authors: Maxim Trishkin, Eugene Lopatin, Timo Karjalainen
      Pages: 1380 - 1396
      Abstract: This study uses a company’s due diligence system (DDS) as an operational tool to ensure the origin of wood coming from northwestern Russia. The company exports a majority of its wood products to European Union (EU) countries, and its DDS consists of a statement of origin, geographical information, and field verification audits. Its DDS is assessed against the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR). Enforcement of the EUTR began in March 2013 and is compulsory for all companies importing wood-based material from outside the EU. The DDS must contain three key components: access to information on operator’s supply of timber or timber products placed on the market, a risk assessment, and a risk mitigation method. The workflow of the conformity assessment must include a literature review, statistical and field data collection, and further analysis of the requirements. Although enforcement of the EUTR began almost two years ago, there is little research on its implementation. This DDS system showed high functionality of its existing components corresponding with the general requirements of the standards developed by the Nature Ecology and People Consult (NepCon), a non-profit organization recognized as the monitoring organization by the European Commission. This wood origin system also meets the requirements of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification system, while maintaining full harmonization with the EUTR legislation. However, major obstacles persist in implementation of legislation by EU member states, in terms of interpretation of requirements, prosecutions and fines, and the role of third-party evidence.
      PubDate: 2015-04-22
      DOI: 10.3390/f6041380
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 4 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 594-612: Analysis of Unmanned Aerial System-Based
           CIR Images in Forestry—A New Perspective to Monitor Pest Infestation

    • Authors: Jan Lehmann, Felix Nieberding, Torsten Prinz, Christian Knoth
      Pages: 594 - 612
      Abstract: The detection of pest infestation is an important aspect of forest management. In the case of the oak splendour beetle (Agrilus biguttatus) infestation, the affected oaks (Quercus sp.) show high levels of defoliation and altered canopy reflection signature. These critical features can be identified in high-resolution colour infrared (CIR) images of the tree crown and branches level captured by Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). In this study, we used a small UAS equipped with a compact digital camera which has been calibrated and modified to record not only the visual but also the near infrared reflection (NIR) of possibly infested oaks. The flight campaigns were realized in August 2013, covering two study sites which are located in a rural area in western Germany. Both locations represent small-scale, privately managed commercial forests in which oaks are economically valuable species. Our workflow includes the CIR/NIR image acquisition, mosaicking, georeferencing and pixel-based image enhancement followed by object-based image classification techniques. A modified Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVImod) derived classification was used to distinguish between five vegetation health classes, i.e., infested, healthy or dead branches, other vegetation and canopy gaps. We achieved an overall Kappa Index of Agreement (KIA)   of 0.81 and 0.77 for each study site, respectively. This approach offers a low-cost alternative to private forest owners who pursue a sustainable management strategy.
      PubDate: 2015-03-02
      DOI: 10.3390/f6030594
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 3 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 613-635: The Influence of Parent Material on
           Vegetation Response 15 years after the Dude Fire, Arizona

    • Authors: Jackson Leonard, Alvin Medina, Daniel Neary, Aregai Tecle
      Pages: 613 - 635
      Abstract: This study examined the effects of two types of parent material, sandstone and limestone, on the response of vegetation growth after the 1990 Dude Fire in central Arizona. The operating hypothesis of the study was that, given the right conditions, severe wildfire can trigger vegetation type conversion. Overall, three patterns emerged: (1) oak density increased by 413% from unburned sites to burned sites, with the highest densities occurring on sandstone soils; (2) weeping lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula Nees), a very aggressive non-native grass species seeded after the fire, now makes up 81% of the total herbaceous cover in the burned area; and (3) bare ground cover is 150% higher and litter cover is 50% lower in the burned area. Soil analysis was not definitive enough to differentiate impacts between parent materials however it was useful in quantifying the long-term impact of the fire on soils. The results of this study support the idea that catastrophic fire events can trigger vegetation type conversion and that perennial, non-native species used in rehabilitation efforts can persist within the ecosystem for long periods of time. Hence, the recovery period needed for the Dude Fire site to revert back to a pine-oak dominated forest could be on the scale of many decades to centuries.
      PubDate: 2015-03-04
      DOI: 10.3390/f6030613
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 3 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 636-649: Influence of Tree Spacing on Soil Nitrogen
           Mineralization and Availability in Hybrid Poplar Plantations

    • Authors: Yafei Yan, Shengzuo Fang, Ye Tian, Shiping Deng, Luozhong Tang, Dao Chuong
      Pages: 636 - 649
      Abstract: Nitrogen (N) availability and mineralization are key parameters and transformation processes that impact plant growth and forest productivity. We hypothesized that suitable plantation spacing can lead to enhanced soil N mineralization and nitrification, which in turn promote tree growth. Studies were conducted to evaluate seasonal patterns of soil inorganic N pools as well as rates of nitrification and N mineralization of three soil layers under four tree spacing treatments. Results showed tree spacing significantly affected annual net N mineralization, whereas inorganic N content in surface soils was significantly affected by tree spacing only during the growing season. The total annual cumulative net N mineralization ranged from 80.3–136.0 mg·kg−1 in the surface soils (0–20 cm), whereas the cumulative net N mineralization of 6 × 6 m and 4.5 × 8 m spacings was 65% and 24% higher than that of the 5 × 5 m, respectively. In general, tree spacing would affect N availability in soil by altering N mineralization rates, while high annual N mineralization was found in soils of low density plantations, with higher rates in square spacing than rectangular spacing. The obtained results suggest that suitable spacing could lead to enhanced N mineralization, but seasonal variation of soil N mineralization may not only be directly related to plantation productivity but also to understory vegetation productivity.
      PubDate: 2015-03-04
      DOI: 10.3390/f6030636
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 3 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 650-669: Effects of Topographic and Soil Factors on
           Woody Species Assembly in a Chinese Subtropical Evergreen Broadleaved

    • Authors: Lijuan Zhao, Wenhua Xiang, Jiaxiang Li, Pifeng Lei, Xiangwen Deng, Xi Fang, Changhui Peng
      Pages: 650 - 669
      Abstract: Evergreen broadleaved forests in subtropical China contain a complicated structure of diverse species. The impact of topographic and soil factors on the assembly of woody species in the forest has been poorly understood. We used Ripley’s K(t) function to analyze the spatial patterns and associations of dominant species and residual analysis (RDA) to quantify the contribution of topography and soil to species assembly. The 1 ha plot investigated had 4797 stems with a diameter at breast height (dbh) larger than 1 cm that belong to 73 species, 55 genera, and 38 families. All stems of the entire forest and four late successional species exhibited a reversed J shape for dbh distribution, while two early successional species showed a unimodal shape. Aggregation was the major spatial pattern for entire forests and dominant species across vertical layers. Spatial associations between inter- and intra-species were mostly independent. Topographic and soil factors explained 28.1% of species assembly. The forest was close to late succession and showed the characteristics of diverse woody species, high regeneration capacity, and aggregated spatial patterns. Topographic and soil factors affected species assembly, but together they could only explain a small part of total variance.
      PubDate: 2015-03-06
      DOI: 10.3390/f6030650
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 3 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 670-691: Harvest Regulation for Multi-Resource
           Management, Old and New Approaches (Old and New)

    • Authors: Martin Mendoza, Juan Fajardo, Gonzalo Curiel, Francisco Domínguez, Maribel Apodaca, María Rodríguez-Camarillo, Jesús Zepeta
      Pages: 670 - 691
      Abstract: Current Mexican forest management is the product of a history that dates back to 1926. Earlier approaches were directly or indirectly aimed at attaining the normal forest model. Around 1980, multi-resource and environmental impact considerations were mandated for all private timber operations. Timber-oriented silviculture was deemed insufficient to take proper care of non-timber values in the forest. Concerns about water quality, biodiversity, and natural conservation were the motives for promoting voluntary best management practices, in 2012 and afterwards. In this research, two traditional Mexican forest management schemes, Sicodesi and Plan Costa, enhanced with best management practices, are compared to Mapa, a management method specifically designed to manage landscape attributes. Results from two successive forest inventories 10 and 13 years apart show that Sicodesi and Plan Costa, even when modified to comply with best management practices, failed to maintain proper stewardship of non-timber values. Mapa, however, employed multiple means to drive forest dynamics to fulfill multi-resource objectives, constrained by self-financing and competitive profitability. These capabilities in Mapa enabled some degree of control over non-timber values, but many more important processes occur beyond the property boundary, and beyond the planning scope considered in Mapa and all other forest planning methods.
      PubDate: 2015-03-09
      DOI: 10.3390/f6030670
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 3 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 692-707: Modeling the Potential Distribution of
           Picea chihuahuana Martínez, an Endangered Species at the Sierra Madre
           Occidental, Mexico

    • Authors: Victor Aguilar-Soto, Alicia Melgoza-Castillo, Federico Villarreal-Guerrero, Chistian Wehenkel, Carmelo Pinedo-Alvarez
      Pages: 692 - 707
      Abstract: Species distribution models (SDMs) help identify areas for the development of populations or communities to prevent extinctions, especially in the face of the global environmental change. This study modeled the potential distribution of the tree Picea chihuahuana Martínez, a species in danger of extinction, using the maximum entropy modeling method (MaxEnt) at three scales: local, state and national. We used a total of 38 presence data in the Sierra Madre Occidental. At the local scale, we compared MaxEnt with the reclassification and overlay method integrated in a geographic information system. MaxEnt generated maps with a high predictive capability (AUC > 0.97). The distribution of P. chihuahuana is defined by vegetation type and minimum temperature at national and state scales. At the local scale, both models calculated similar areas for the potential distribution of the species; the variables that better defined the species distribution were vegetation type, aspect and distance to water flows. Populations of P. chihuahuana have always been small, but our results show potential habitat greater than the area of the actual distribution. These results provide an insight into the availability of areas suitable for the species’ regeneration, possibly through assisted colonization.
      PubDate: 2015-03-12
      DOI: 10.3390/f6030692
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 3 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 708-733: Climate Adaptation in Swedish Forestry:
           Exploring the Debate and Policy Process, 1990–2012

    • Authors: Johanna Ulmanen, Åsa Swartling, Oskar Wallgren
      Pages: 708 - 733
      Abstract: This paper explores how climate change adaptation concerns were integrated into the Swedish forestry debate and policy process during the period of 1990–2012, and draws lessons on barriers and opportunities identified in this process. Using a framework focusing on “advocacy coalitions”, we analyze how the adaptation debate in the forestry sector evolved over the period; who the main advocates for and against adaptation were; and which main arguments and processes affected the debate and policy. The results show that academics advocating climate change adaptation, aided by outside influences, such as political pressure for adaptation responses and the negative impacts of the 2005 storm Gudrun, contributed to an increased general awareness and understanding of adaptation issues amongst forestry stakeholders. Nonetheless, the strong dominance of actors arguing for increased forest production and the limited number and relatively poor organization of adaptation advocates have acted as barriers to mainstreaming adaptation concerns into forestry policy and practice. The dominant coalitions and their values have also determined the direction of debate and policy. The main conclusions for policymakers aiming to further this integration process are the importance of stimulating adaptation coalitions and the value of creating arenas for multiple stakeholder learning about adaptation.
      PubDate: 2015-03-16
      DOI: 10.3390/f6030708
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 3 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 734-747: Colonization with Arbuscular Mycorrhizal
           Fungi Promotes the Growth of Morus alba L. Seedlings under Greenhouse

    • Authors: Nan Lu, Xia Zhou, Ming Cui, Meng Yu, Jinxing Zhou, Yongsheng Qin, Yun Li
      Pages: 734 - 747
      Abstract: Morus alba L. is an important tree species planted widely in China because of its economic value. In this report, we investigated the influence of two arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) species, Glomus mosseae and Glomus intraradices, alone and together, on the growth of M. alba L. seedlings under greenhouse conditions. The growth parameters and physiological performance of M. alba L. seedlings were evaluated 90 days after colonization with the fungi. The growth and physiological performance of M. alba L. seedlings were significantly affected by the AMF species. The mycorrhizal seedlings were taller, had longer roots, more leaves and a greater biomass than the non-mycorrhizae-treated seedlings. In addition, the AMF species-inoculated seedlings had increased root activity and a higher chlorophyll content compared to non-inoculated seedlings. Furthermore, AMF species colonization increased the phosphorus and nitrogen contents of the seedlings. In addition, simultaneous root colonization by the two AMF species did not improve the growth of M. alba L. seedlings compared with inoculation with either species alone. Based on these results, these AMF species may be applicable to mulberry seedling cultivation.
      PubDate: 2015-03-16
      DOI: 10.3390/f6030734
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 3 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 748-768: Achieving Conservation and Equity amidst
           Extreme Poverty and Climate Risk: The Makira REDD+ Project in Madagascar

    • Authors: Laura Brimont, Driss Ezzine-de-Blas, Alain Karsenty, Angélique Toulon
      Pages: 748 - 768
      Abstract: Achieving forest conservation together with poverty alleviation and equity is an unending challenge in the tropics. The Makira REDD+ pilot project located in northeastern Madagascar is a well-suited case to explore this challenge in conditions of extreme poverty and climatic vulnerability. We assessed the potential effect of project siting on the livelihoods of the local population and which households would be the most strongly impacted by conservation measures. Farmers living in hilly areas must resort to slash-and-burn agriculture (tavy) since a combination of topographic and climatic constraints, such as cyclones, makes permanent rice cultivation very difficult. These are the people who suffer most from conservation-related restriction measures. For practical reasons the project, unfortunately, did not target these farmers. The main focus was on communities with a lower cyclonic risk that are able to practice permanent rice agriculture in the lowlands. To reduce deforestation without violating the principles of equity, REDD+ projects in Madagascar need to better target populations facing high climatic risks and invest in efforts to improve the farmers’ agricultural systems.
      PubDate: 2015-03-18
      DOI: 10.3390/f6030748
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 3 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 769-793: Organic Carbon Accumulation in Topsoil
           Following Afforestation with Willow: Emphasis on Leaf Litter Decomposition
           and Soil Organic Matter Quality

    • Authors: Benoit Lafleur, Michel Labrecque, Alexandre Arnold, Nicolas Bélanger
      Pages: 769 - 793
      Abstract: Short-rotation intensive cultures (SRICs) of willows can potentially sequester carbon (C) in soil. However, there is limited information regarding the factors governing soil organic C (Corg) accumulation following afforestation. The objectives of this study were to: (i) determine whether willow leads to Corg accumulation in the topsoil (0–10 cm) two to six years after establishment in five SRICs located along a large climatic/productivity gradient in southern Quebec, and (ii) assess the influence of leaf litter decomposition and soil organic matter (OM) quality on Corg accumulation in the topsoil. Topsoil Corg concentrations and pools under SRICs were, on average, 25% greater than reference fields, and alkyls concentrations were higher under SRICs. On an annualized basis, Corg accumulation rates in the topsoil varied between 0.4 and 4.5 Mg ha−1 yr−1. Estimated annual litterfall C fluxes were in the same order of magnitude, suggesting that SRICs can accumulate Corg in the topsoil during early years due to high growth rates. Leaf litter decomposition was also related to Corg accumulation rates in the topsoil. It was positively correlated to growing season length, degree-days, and growing season average air and topsoil temperature (r > 0.70), and negatively correlated to topsoil volumetric water content (r = −0.55). Leaf litter decomposition likely occurred more quickly than that of plants in reference fields, and as it progressed, OM became more decay resistant, more stable and accumulated as Corg in the topsoil.
      PubDate: 2015-03-19
      DOI: 10.3390/f6030769
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 3 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 794-808: Carbon Storage and Allocation Pattern in
           Plant Biomass among Different Forest Plantation Stands in Guangdong, China

    • Authors: Yuanqi Chen, Zhanfeng Liu, Xingquan Rao, Xiaoling Wang, Chenfei Liang, Yongbiao Lin, Lixia Zhou, Xi-an Cai, Shenglei Fu
      Pages: 794 - 808
      Abstract: In order to understand how carbon storage and allocation patterns vary among plantation types, we estimated carbon allocation between above- and below-ground compartments in four subtropical plantations and a naturally recovered shrubland (as a control). Results indicated that the carbon storage and allocation pattern varied greatly among forest types and was highly dependent on specific traits of trees and understory vegetation. The fast-growing species, such as Eucalyptus urophylla, accumulated more carbon in plant biomass. The biomass carbon was about 1.9- and 2.2-times greater than the 10-species mixed plantation and Castanopsis hystrix plantations, respectively. Meanwhile, the plantations sequestered 1.5- to 3-times more carbon in biomass than naturally recovered shrubland. The carbon allocation pattern between above- and below-ground compartments also varied with plantation type and stand age. The ratio of tree root carbon to tree aboveground carbon decreased with stand age for Eucalyptus urophylla and the 10-species mixed plantation. In contrast, the ratio increased for Acacia crassicarpa. Our data suggested that planting the fast-growing species in the degraded land of subtropical China was an effective choice in terms of carbon sequestration. The information about carbon allocation patterns was also valuable for decision making in sustainable forest management and climate change mitigation.
      PubDate: 2015-03-19
      DOI: 10.3390/f6030794
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 3 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 809-826: China’s National Monitoring Program
           on Ecological Functions of Forests: An Analysis of the Protocol and
           Initial Results

    • Authors: Jun Yang, Guanghui Dai, Shurong Wang
      Pages: 809 - 826
      Abstract: Information on the ecological functions of forests is important for sustainable forest management. In this study, we introduced the national monitoring program which has been used in China to evaluate the overall health status and ecological functions of forests. We also compared it to similar monitoring programs operating in Europe and the United States of America. We revealed the strength and drawbacks of China’s monitoring program by analyzing the initial evaluation results. Our analysis showed that among the three programs, the European program gives the most detailed measurements of conditions of forests while the U.S. program generates the most detailed information on individual trees. In comparison, China’s monitoring program has a higher spatial resolution but is narrowly focused on trees and uses coarse classifications of indicators. The health status of forests in China suggested that more resources should be invested to improve the health of existing forests, especially plantations. The limitations in China’s monitoring program need to be addressed to improve the accuracy of future assessments.
      PubDate: 2015-03-19
      DOI: 10.3390/f6030809
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 3 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 827-838: Effects of Buffering Key Habitat for
           Terrestrial Salamanders: Implications for the Management of the Federally
           Threatened Red Hills Salamander (Phaeognathus hubrichti) and Other
           Imperiled Plethodontids

    • Authors: Joseph Apodaca, James Godwin
      Pages: 827 - 838
      Abstract: Forestry practices are placing ever increasing emphasis on sustainability and the maintenance of ecological processes, biodiversity, and endangered species or populations. Balancing timber harvest and the management of imperiled species presents a particularly difficult challenge during this shift, as we often know very little about these species’ natural history and how and why silviculture practices affect their populations. Accordingly, investigation of and improvement on current management practices for threatened species is imperative. We investigated the effectiveness of habitat buffers as a management technique for the imperiled Red Hills salamander (Phaeognathus hubrichti) by combining genetic, transect, and body-condition data. We found that populations where habitat buffers have been employed have higher genetic diversity and higher population densities, and individuals have better overall body condition. These results indicate that buffering the habitat of imperiled species can be an effective management tool for terrestrial salamanders. Additionally, they provide further evidence that leaving the habitat of imperiled salamanders unbuffered can have both immediate and long-term negative impacts on populations.
      PubDate: 2015-03-20
      DOI: 10.3390/f6030827
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 3 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 839-857: Gene Expression Differences between
           High-Growth Populus Allotriploids and Their Diploid Parents

    • Authors: Shiping Cheng, Xiaohu Zhu, Ting Liao, Yun Li, Pengqiang Yao, Yujing Suo, Pingdong Zhang, Jun Wang, Xiangyang Kang
      Pages: 839 - 857
      Abstract: Polyploid breeding is important in Populus genetic improvement programs because polyploid trees generally display increased height growth compared to their diploid parents. However, the genetic mechanism underlying this phenomenon remains unknown. In the present study, apical bud transcriptomes of vigorous, fast growing Populus allotriploid progeny genotypes and their diploid parents were sequenced and analyzed. We found that these allotriploids exhibited extensive transcriptomic diversity. In total, 6020 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were found when the allotriploid progeny and their parents were compared, among which 791 overlapped between the allotriploids and both parents. Many genes associated with cell differentiation and meristem development were preferentially expressed in apical buds of the fast growing Populus allotriploids compared to their diploid parents. In addition, many auxin-, gibberellin-, and jasmonic acid-related genes were also preferentially expressed in the allotriploids compared to their parents. Our findings show that allotriploidy can have considerable effects on duplicate gene expression in Populus. In particular we identified and considered DEGs that provide important clues for improving our mechanistic understanding of positive heterosis of vigor- and growth-related traits in Populus allotriploids.
      PubDate: 2015-03-23
      DOI: 10.3390/f6030839
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 3 (2015)
  • Forests, Vol. 6, Pages 858: Correction: Homyack, J.A. and Kroll, A.J. Slow
           Lives in the Fast Landscape: Conservation and Management of Plethodontid
           Salamanders in Production Forests of the United States. Forests 2014, 5,

    • Authors: Jessica Homyack, Andrew Kroll
      Pages: 858 - 858
      Abstract: The authors wish to correct a statement in the published paper [1], doi:10.3390/f5112750, website: After publication, we discovered that two numbers were mistakenly switched. Section, 4.1, should read “Oregon slender salamanders were detected in 144/420 (34%) plots and 101/378 (27%) plots in 2013 and 2014, respectively; ensatina salamanders were detected in 53/420 (13%) plots and 73/378 (19%) plots in 2013 and 2014, respectively”. The authors would like to apologize for any inconvenience caused to the readers by these changes.[...]
      PubDate: 2015-03-23
      DOI: 10.3390/f6030858
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 3 (2015)
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