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Forests, Volume 8, Issue 4 (April 2017)

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Traditional and Novel Indicators of Climate Change Impacts on European Forest Trees
Forests 2017, 8(4), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8040137
Received: 3 February 2017 / Revised: 18 April 2017 / Accepted: 20 April 2017 / Published: 24 April 2017
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Abstract
The concern for the fate of forest ecosystems under climate change demands the development of a prompt and effective system for detecting the impacts of pressure factors, such as rising temperatures, drought conditions, and extreme climatic events. In ongoing European monitoring programs, the
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The concern for the fate of forest ecosystems under climate change demands the development of a prompt and effective system for detecting the impacts of pressure factors, such as rising temperatures, drought conditions, and extreme climatic events. In ongoing European monitoring programs, the health condition of trees is only assessed visually as a matter of course and there is limited evidence that enhanced crown defoliation implies physiological disturbance and reduced tree growth. The progress of the research makes it possible to apply methods developed in experimental conditions in forests for the fast and reliable assessment of impacts and of stress conditions. In this review, we analyze the most promising indicators of tree and forest health (at individual plant and ecosystem levels) for their potential application in forest ecosystems and their ability to support and integrate the traditional visual assessment, provide information on influential factors, and improve the prediction of stand dynamics and forest productivity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Screening of Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) Cultivars for Salinity Tolerance
Forests 2017, 8(4), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8040136
Received: 17 March 2017 / Revised: 14 April 2017 / Accepted: 20 April 2017 / Published: 22 April 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (3479 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is a major fruit tree in the Middle East and it is a plant considered to be tolerant to a variety of abiotic stresses, including salinity. However, the physiological basis of its salinity tolerance is not fully
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Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is a major fruit tree in the Middle East and it is a plant considered to be tolerant to a variety of abiotic stresses, including salinity. However, the physiological basis of its salinity tolerance is not fully known. The objective of this study was to screen Omani date palm cultivars for tolerance or susceptibility to salt stress. Seedlings from 10 commercially important date palm cultivars were subjected to 240 mM NaCl, and several physiological parameters related to salinity tolerance traits were evaluated upon treatment. The cultivars were divided into two groups based on the dry weight (DW) of their leaf and root tissues, a parameter which was used as an indication of healthy growth. The results revealed that photosynthesis, electrolyte leakage (EL), and the shoot K+/Na+ ratio were all significantly reduced in the susceptible cultivars. In addition, the relative water content was higher in the tolerant cultivars in comparison with the susceptible ones. These results suggest that although date palm is tolerant to high salinity, there is variation in tolerance among different cultivars. Shoot Na+ exclusion, photosynthesis, and membrane stability are apparently the main determinants of tolerance and can be used in salinity tolerance screening of date palm. The results have shown new very tolerant cultivars (Manoma and Umsila) that could serve as genetic resources for improved date palm tolerance to salinity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Chemical and Biochemical Properties of Soils Developed from Different Lithologies in Northwestern Spain (Galicia)
Forests 2017, 8(4), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8040135
Received: 15 March 2017 / Revised: 11 April 2017 / Accepted: 19 April 2017 / Published: 22 April 2017
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Abstract
Physical and chemical soil properties are generally correlated with the parent material, as its composition may influence the pedogenetic processes, the content of nutrients, and the element biocycling. This research studied the chemical and biochemical properties of the A horizon from soils developed
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Physical and chemical soil properties are generally correlated with the parent material, as its composition may influence the pedogenetic processes, the content of nutrients, and the element biocycling. This research studied the chemical and biochemical properties of the A horizon from soils developed on different rocks like amphibolite, serpentinite, phyllite, and granite under a relatively similar climatic regime from Galicia (northwest Spain). In particular, the effect of the parent material on soil evolution, organic carbon sequestration, and the hormone-like activity of humic and fulvic acids were tested. Results indicated that all the soils were scarcely fertile because of low concentrations of available P, exchangeable Ca (except for the soils on serpentinite and phyllite), and exchangeable K, but sequestered relevant quantities of organic carbon. The scarce soil fertility was common to all soils independently of the parent material, and we attributed this similarity to the pedogenetic pressure induced by the climatic conditions. Also, the hormone-like activity of humic and fulvic acids, similar for all the soils, was probably due to pedogenesis. We hypothesized that the hormone-like activity of the humic substances helps growth and diffusion of vegetation in low fertile soils and, consequently, soil organic carbon sequestration too. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Carbon Sequestration in Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Forest Company Dependencies and Impacts on Ecosystem Services: Expert Perceptions from China
Forests 2017, 8(4), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8040134
Received: 13 February 2017 / Revised: 3 April 2017 / Accepted: 19 April 2017 / Published: 22 April 2017
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Abstract
Global awareness of sustainability issues is growing rapidly, and business organizations are called to address wider social and environmental concerns along with economic performance. However, limited systematic knowledge exists on the interactions between forest industries and natural ecosystems. We thus investigated the role
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Global awareness of sustainability issues is growing rapidly, and business organizations are called to address wider social and environmental concerns along with economic performance. However, limited systematic knowledge exists on the interactions between forest industries and natural ecosystems. We thus investigated the role of ecosystem services in the context of China’s forest sector. A qualitative research approach was used to elicit company external expert viewpoints on the topic. Our analysis focused on three themes: (1) forest company dependencies and impacts on ecosystem services; (2) business risks arising from dependencies and impacts; and (3) risk response strategies. The interviewed 20 experts identified a series of forest company dependencies and impacts (including negative and positive impacts) on several ecosystem services. The extent of dependencies and impacts is largely influenced by the business portfolio of the company. The perceived business risks include intense competition and the consequently increasing price for natural resources, which would affect forest company business plans, costs and outputs. The suggested strategies for turning risks into opportunities include outsourcing wood, changing production focus, promoting industrial upgrading and implementing regular assessments of corporate dependencies and impacts on ecosystem services. The findings of our study can guide companies’ decision-making in managing forest ecosystems sustainably. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management Strategies for Forest Ecosystem Services)
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Open AccessArticle Assessing Impacts of Wood Utilisation Scenarios for a Lithuanian Bioeconomy: Impacts on Carbon in Forests and Harvested Wood Products and on the Socio-Economic Performance of the Forest-Based Sector
Forests 2017, 8(4), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8040133
Received: 17 January 2017 / Revised: 4 April 2017 / Accepted: 18 April 2017 / Published: 22 April 2017
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Abstract
Climate change and transition towards a bioeconomy are seen as both challenges and opportunities for the forest-based sector in Europe. Transition towards a bioeconomy will in most cases rely on intensified use of renewable resources and/or advancement in technology. However, how can the
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Climate change and transition towards a bioeconomy are seen as both challenges and opportunities for the forest-based sector in Europe. Transition towards a bioeconomy will in most cases rely on intensified use of renewable resources and/or advancement in technology. However, how can the intensified use of renewable resources be combined with climate change mitigation measures to increase carbon sinks in the forest-based sector? Additionally, what are the possible socio-economic and environmental impacts of intensified wood use? In this study, we examined the impacts of increased wood utilisation in Lithuania. The objective of this study was to assess the effects of increased domestic wood utilisation on: (i) employment; (ii) the economic performance of the sector; (iii) carbon in forest biomass and soil; and (iv) carbon in harvested wood products (HWP). The system boundaries were set in accordance with international greenhouse gas reporting to include only domestic wood flows. We assessed alternative wood utilisation scenarios using a forest resource model and a tool to assess sustainability impacts of (wood) value chains, using country specific data on wood (carbon) flows. Our results indicate that increased wood use could lead to trade-offs between six selected indicators. Opportunities for employment and the economic performance of the forest-based sector improved in all scenarios due to increased wood utilisation. However, when forest fellings increased, the carbon stored in forests decreased, the carbon stored in HWP increased, but overall the total carbon stored in forests and HWP decreased. When considering also additional substitution effects until the year 2100, the scenario with reduced wood exports generated larger total climate change mitigation effects than the baseline. Our results suggest that increased wood utilisation might support Lithuania’s bioeconomy through increased socio-economic benefits. National positive climate change mitigation effects could be gained only if additional actions to utilise more domestic wood for long-life HWP will be taken. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Tree Height-Diameter Relationships in the Alpine Treeline Ecotone Compared with Those in Closed Forests on Changbai Mountain, Northeastern China
Forests 2017, 8(4), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8040132
Received: 24 February 2017 / Revised: 7 April 2017 / Accepted: 11 April 2017 / Published: 21 April 2017
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Abstract
Height-diameter relationship is one of the most important stature characteristics of trees. It will change with climatic conditions because height and diameter growth displays different sensitivities to climatic factors such as temperature. Detecting and understanding changes in the stature of trees growing along
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Height-diameter relationship is one of the most important stature characteristics of trees. It will change with climatic conditions because height and diameter growth displays different sensitivities to climatic factors such as temperature. Detecting and understanding changes in the stature of trees growing along altitudinal gradients up to their upper limits can help us to better understand the adaptation strategy of trees under global warming conditions. On Changbai Mountain in northeastern China, height-diameter datasets were collected for 2723 Erman’s birch (Betula ermanii Cham.) in the alpine treeline ecotone in 2006 and 2013, and for 888 Erman’s birch, spruce (Picea jezoensis Siebold & Zucc. Carr.), larch (Larix olgensis A. Henry), and fir (Abies nephrolepis Trautv. ex Maxim.) along an altitudinal gradient below the alpine treeline in 2006. These datasets were utilized to explore both changes in the stature of birch at the alpine treeline over time and variations in tree stature of different tree species across altitudes at a given time point (2006). Results showed that birch saplings (<140 cm in height) became stunted while birches with a height of >140 cm became more tapered in the alpine treeline ecotone. The stature of birch along the altitudinal gradient became more tapered from 1700 to 1900 m above see level (a.s.l.) and then became more stunted from 1900 to 2050 m a.s.l., with 1900 m a.s.l. being the altitudinal inflection point in this pattern. The treeline birch, due to its great temperature magnitude of distribution, displayed higher stature-plasticity in terms of its height-diameter ratio than the lower elevation species studied. The stature of birch is strongly modulated by altitude-related temperature but also co-influenced by other environmental factors such as soil depth and available water, wind speed, and duration and depth of winter snow cover. The high stature-plasticity of birch makes it fare better than other species to resist and adapt to, as well as to survive and develop in the harsh alpine environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Treeline Ecotone Dynamics)
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Open AccessArticle Red Alder-Conifer Stands in Alaska: An Example of Mixed Species Management to Enhance Structural and Biological Complexity
Forests 2017, 8(4), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8040131
Received: 30 January 2017 / Revised: 10 April 2017 / Accepted: 14 April 2017 / Published: 21 April 2017
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Abstract
There is worldwide interest in managing forests to improve biodiversity, enhance ecosystem services and assure long-term sustainability of forest resources. An increasingly important goal of forest management is to increase stand diversity and improve wildlife and aquatic habitat. Well-planned silvicultural systems containing a
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There is worldwide interest in managing forests to improve biodiversity, enhance ecosystem services and assure long-term sustainability of forest resources. An increasingly important goal of forest management is to increase stand diversity and improve wildlife and aquatic habitat. Well-planned silvicultural systems containing a mixture of broadleaf-conifer species have potential to enhance stand diversity and provide other ecosystem services earlier than typical even-aged conifer plantations. Here, we use the example of mixed Sitka spruce/western hemlock and red alder in young, managed stands in southeast Alaska to achieve these goals. We briefly describe the silvics of Sitka spruce, western hemlock and red alder plantations as pure conifer stands or pure broadleaf stands. Then, we synthesize studies of mixed red alder-Sitka spruce/western hemlock stands in southeast Alaska and present their potential for improving stand structural complexity, biodiversity and other ecosystem services over pure conifer forests. Finally, we discuss some of the opportunities and potential tradeoffs for managing mixed broadleaf-conifer stands for providing a number of natural resources and the influence of these broadleaf-conifer forests on ecosystem linkages and processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamics and Management of Boreal Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Urbanization Drives SOC Accumulation, Its Temperature Stability and Turnover in Forests, Northeastern China
Forests 2017, 8(4), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8040130
Received: 11 December 2016 / Revised: 14 April 2017 / Accepted: 15 April 2017 / Published: 20 April 2017
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Abstract
Global urbanization is a vital process shaping terrestrial ecosystems but its effects on forest soil carbon (C) dynamics are still not well defined. To clarify the effects of urbanization on soil organic carbon (SOC) variation, 306 soil samples were collected and analyzed under
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Global urbanization is a vital process shaping terrestrial ecosystems but its effects on forest soil carbon (C) dynamics are still not well defined. To clarify the effects of urbanization on soil organic carbon (SOC) variation, 306 soil samples were collected and analyzed under two urban–rural gradients, defined according to human disturbance time and ring road development in Changchun, northeast China. Forest SOC showed a linear increase with increasing human disturbance time from year 1900 to 2014 (13.4 g C m−2 year−1), and a similar trend was found for the ring road gradient. Old-city regions had the longest SOC turnover time and it increased significantly with increasing urbanization (p = 0.011). Along both urban–rural gradients SOC stability toward temperature variation increased with increasing urbanization, meaning SOC stability in old-city regions was higher than in new regions. However, none of the urban–rural gradients showed marked changes in soil basal respiration rate. Both Pearson correlation and stepwise regression proved that these urbanization-induced SOC patterns were closely associated with landscape forest (LF) proportion and soil electrical conductivity (EC) changes in urban–rural gradients, but marginally related with tree size and compositional changes. Overall, Changchun urbanization-induced SOC accumulation was 60.6–98.08 thousand tons, accounting for 12.8–20.7% of the total forest C biomass sequestration. Thus, China’s rapid urbanization-induced SOC sequestration, stability and turnover time, should be fully estimated when evaluating terrestrial C balance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Critical Habitat Elements, with an Emphasis on Coarse Woody Debris, Associated with Ant Presence or Absence in the Moist Cold Sub-Boreal Forests of the Interior of British Columbia
Forests 2017, 8(4), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8040129
Received: 28 March 2017 / Revised: 14 April 2017 / Accepted: 17 April 2017 / Published: 20 April 2017
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Abstract
Given both the ubiquity and ecological roles described for ants in British Columbia, an understanding of the habitat elements critical to predicting their presence is desirable. We used logistic regression to model the presence and absence of ants in sub-boreal lodgepole pine (
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Given both the ubiquity and ecological roles described for ants in British Columbia, an understanding of the habitat elements critical to predicting their presence is desirable. We used logistic regression to model the presence and absence of ants in sub-boreal lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia Engelm. ex S. Watson) forests of west-central British Columbia (BC). Methodological emphasis was placed on the association between ants and coarse woody debris (CWD) because of a high degree of utilization of this resource for nesting. Five species of ants, Camponotus herculeanus (L.), Formica aserva Forel, F. neorufibarbis Emery, Leptothorax muscorum (Nylander), and Myrmica alaskensis Wheeler, comprised approximately 90% of all captures in samples of CWD within five seral ages (2–3, 8–10, 13–15, 23–25 years post-harvest, and non-harvested stands). Seral age, presence of other ant colonies of the same species, decay class of CWD, its surface area, and whether the wood was downed woody debris (DWD) or a stump, were significant variables affecting ant presence or absence. These results are explained in the context of ant species autecology as it relates to living in cool climates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coarse Woody Debris of Forests in a Changing World)
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Open AccessArticle Long-Term Susceptibility of Even- and Uneven-Aged Northern Hardwood Stands to Partial Windthrow
Forests 2017, 8(4), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8040128
Received: 23 February 2017 / Revised: 3 April 2017 / Accepted: 18 April 2017 / Published: 20 April 2017
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Abstract
While uneven-aged silviculture may appear preferable to even-aged silviculture in terms of stand susceptibility to windthrow (major wind damage), the scientific evidence is equivocal on this issue, because the two systems do not operate over the same time frame. The goal of this
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While uneven-aged silviculture may appear preferable to even-aged silviculture in terms of stand susceptibility to windthrow (major wind damage), the scientific evidence is equivocal on this issue, because the two systems do not operate over the same time frame. The goal of this study was to evaluate the windthrow susceptibility of even- and uneven-aged stands over a 100-year period. Susceptibility to windthrow of North American hardwood stands was evaluated by coupling a stand growth model (Forest Vegetation Simulator, or FVS) to stem windthrow probability equations from the literature. This coupling was straightforward given that FVS provides the diameter at breast height (DBH) of each tree within a stand over the simulation period. Windthrow susceptibility equations also use DBH to calculate stem windthrow probability. Our results show that average loss due to windthrow under uneven-aged management can be twice that observed under even-aged management at moderate wind severity for sugar maple-dominated stands. This result should be interpreted with caution because of the impossibility in our simulations of considering differences in tree form development between the two approaches. Nevertheless, this study clearly shows that even-/uneven-aged silviculture comparisons should be made on a long-term basis since uneven-aged stands are continuously susceptible to windthrow, while even-aged stands tend to be little affected by windthrow in their early developmental stages. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sydowia polyspora Dominates Fungal Communities Carried by Two Tomicus Species in Pine Plantations Threatened by Fusarium circinatum
Forests 2017, 8(4), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8040127
Received: 6 March 2017 / Revised: 12 April 2017 / Accepted: 17 April 2017 / Published: 20 April 2017
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Abstract
Bark beetles (Coleoptera, Scolytinae) carry a diverse filamentous fungal community sometimes acting as vectors or carriers of phytopathogens. In this study, mycobiota carried by two Tomicus species (Tomicus piniperda and Tomicus destruens) were investigated through (i) morphological and molecular identification of
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Bark beetles (Coleoptera, Scolytinae) carry a diverse filamentous fungal community sometimes acting as vectors or carriers of phytopathogens. In this study, mycobiota carried by two Tomicus species (Tomicus piniperda and Tomicus destruens) were investigated through (i) morphological and molecular identification of taxa; (ii) taxonomic richness, diversity, evenness, dominance and phoresy indices; (iii) ecological network analysis and (iv) statistical co-occurrence analysis. The studied mycobiota were formed by eleven taxa and showed a moderate fungal diversity with low evenness. The fungus Sydowia polyspora was significantly abundant and dominated the community. All the fungal taxa were randomly associated. Both insect species (T. piniperda and T. destruens) were collected from plantations of Pinus radiata infected by Fusarium circinatum. The ecological factors that could drive community ecology and phoretic links between fungi and bark beetles are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Unsustainability Risk Causality in a Private Industrial Forest: An Institutional Analysis of Factors Affecting Stand Ecosystem Services in Kochi Prefecture, Japan
Forests 2017, 8(4), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8040126
Received: 7 March 2017 / Revised: 3 April 2017 / Accepted: 17 April 2017 / Published: 19 April 2017
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Abstract
Much research in recent years has analyzed the ecosystem service aspect of forests, while highlighting the need for sustainable forests. Forest management mechanisms at an inter-institutional level in Japan have been identified to hinder the implementation of forest management that is focused on
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Much research in recent years has analyzed the ecosystem service aspect of forests, while highlighting the need for sustainable forests. Forest management mechanisms at an inter-institutional level in Japan have been identified to hinder the implementation of forest management that is focused on the equal production of ecosystem services. This study presents an institutional analysis of unsustainability risk causality in a private industrial forest in Kochi Prefecture, Japan, from an ecosystem perspective incorporating common ecosystem service hazards that affect the sustainability functions of forests. This was performed with the aim to offer a basis for a less complicated analysis of ecosystem service hazards in industrial forests and to provide causal clarity at different institution levels. It was found that due to Japan’s systematic top-down forest management approach with the law at the top, vertical relationships cause direct and indirect negative horizontal relationships at each institutional level. To mitigate vertical and horizontal effects, institutional adaptions must be performed to address a combination of satisfier and hygiene factors. Under current conditions of non-enforceable forest policy, objectives and decisions regarding policy and management instruments at the national level must be integrated. This requires effective and adaptive multi-level institutional governance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle REDD+ Contribution to Well-Being and Income Is Marginal: The Perspective of Local Stakeholders
Forests 2017, 8(4), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8040125
Received: 2 February 2017 / Revised: 15 March 2017 / Accepted: 23 March 2017 / Published: 19 April 2017
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Abstract
In addition to being a global strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from tropical deforestation, Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) intends to protect and improve the well-being and income of local stakeholders. The intention is to provide livelihood support in exchange
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In addition to being a global strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from tropical deforestation, Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) intends to protect and improve the well-being and income of local stakeholders. The intention is to provide livelihood support in exchange for local stakeholder involvement in protecting forests. Eleven years after the launch of REDD+ at COP 11 in Montreal, the degree of success in meeting well-being and income goals is examined in six countries (Brazil, Peru, Cameroon, Tanzania, Indonesia, Vietnam) at 22 initiatives, 149 villages, and approximately 4000 households through a counter-factual approach. Half the villages and households are inside and half are outside the sphere of REDD+. Measurements are made at two points in time (2010–2012, and 2013–2014). This paper focuses on measurement of the subjective perception of local stakeholders. The study finds that REDD+ has not contributed significantly to perceived well-being and income sufficiency, in spite of the fact that most households have not only engaged with REDD+ interventions, but view them favorably. REDD+’s limited achievement to date is due to unavailability of funding, among other obstacles. Recommendations are made for enhanced attention to well-being and income sufficiency in the event that REDD+ eventually takes off. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Distribution of Soil Organic Carbon in Riparian Forest Soils Affected by Frequent Floods (Southern Québec, Canada)
Forests 2017, 8(4), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8040124
Received: 10 February 2017 / Revised: 1 April 2017 / Accepted: 14 April 2017 / Published: 19 April 2017
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Abstract
Measuring soil organic carbon (SOC) in riparian forest soils affected by floods is crucial for evaluating their concentration and distribution along hydrological gradients (longitudinal and transversal). Hydromorphological factors (e.g., sedimentation vs. erosion, size of floodplain, flood recurrence) may be the cause of major
[...] Read more.
Measuring soil organic carbon (SOC) in riparian forest soils affected by floods is crucial for evaluating their concentration and distribution along hydrological gradients (longitudinal and transversal). Hydromorphological factors (e.g., sedimentation vs. erosion, size of floodplain, flood recurrence) may be the cause of major variations in the concentration of organic matter and SOC in soils and could have a direct impact on C levels in soil profiles. For this study, SOC concentrations were assessed in riparian soils collected along transects perpendicular to the riverbanks which cross through inundated and non-inundated zones. Other soil properties (e.g., acidity, nitrogen, texture, bulk density) that may affect the concentration of SOC were also considered. The main purpose of this study was to assess SOC concentrations in soils subjected to flooding with those outside the flood zones, and also measure various soil properties (in surface soils and at various depths ranging from 0 to 100 cm) for each selected area. Across the various areas, SOC shows marked differences in concentration and spatial distribution, with the lowest values found in mineral soils affected by successive floods (recurrence of 0–20 years). SOC at 0–20 cm in depth was significantly lower in active floodplains (Tukey HSD test), with average values of 2.29 ± 1.64% compared to non-inundated soils (3.83 ± 2.22%). The proportion of C stocks calculated in soils (inundated vs. non-inundated zones) was significantly different, with average values of 38.22 ± 10.40 and 79.75 ± 29.47 t·ha−1, respectively. Flood frequency appears to be a key factor in understanding the low SOC concentrations in floodplain soils subjected to high flood recurrence (0–20 years). Full article
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Open AccessReview Look Down to See What’s Up: A Systematic Overview of Treefall Dynamics in Forests
Forests 2017, 8(4), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8040123
Received: 1 March 2017 / Revised: 12 April 2017 / Accepted: 14 April 2017 / Published: 17 April 2017
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Abstract
The study of treefall and its after-effects is a common theme in studies of forest structure and local dynamics, yet its value as descriptor of broader-scale ecological dynamics is rarely explored. Here we synthesize the most highly cited literature on treefalls, from 1985
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The study of treefall and its after-effects is a common theme in studies of forest structure and local dynamics, yet its value as descriptor of broader-scale ecological dynamics is rarely explored. Here we synthesize the most highly cited literature on treefalls, from 1985 to 2016 (in three-year blocks), highlighting the importance of the causes, characteristics and consequences of such events. We then ask how this knowledge might contribute to the broader conceptual model of forest dynamics, and develop two conceptual models, which we use to illustrate both the classic and alternative views of how forests ‘work’. Treefalls are one of the few ‘integrating’ attributes of forests, because of their ubiquity and longevity, and therefore can inform a variety of processes (e.g., tree mortality, turnover rates, structural impacts, recruitment, and fire frequency) due to their impacts occurring simultaneously over space (patterns), and time (legacy effects). The substantial knowledge that already exists on localized treefall dynamics should be combined with more integrative approaches to studying forest ecosystems, to investigate landscape-scale patterns of treefall and reconstruct past disturbance events. Full article
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