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Special Issue "Response of Tree Species to Abiotic Stresses in a Changing Environment"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 June 2017

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Fausto Manes

Department of Environmental Biology, Sapienza University of Rome, P.le Aldo Moro 5, Rome, Italy
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Guest Editor
Dr. Lina Fusaro

Department of Environmental Biology, Sapienza University of Rome, P.le Aldo Moro 5, Rome, Italy
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Guest Editor
Dr. Elisabetta Salvatori

Department of Environmental Biology, Sapienza University of Rome, P.le Aldo Moro, 5 – 00185 Rome, Italy
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

During the last decades, ecosystems have been subjected to rapid changes in environmental conditions and the intensity and duration of stress factors has increased. In the global changes scenario, in which stress events are expected to became more frequent and unpredictable, plants have to deal with multiple simultaneous stressors that affect their functional and structural traits. In addition, stressors due to climate change, such as prolonged drought, increase of temperature, alteration of seasonal meteorological patterns, excess of light (including UV radiation), also anthropogenic stressors insist on vegetation worldwide. Particulate matter, gaseous pollutants as tropospheric ozone, heavy metals, nitrogen deposition and accordingly soil acidification, soil salinity caused by overexploitation of groundwater, and also land-use changes, are among the major threats. These factors affect the health of ecosystems and their capacity to provide Ecosystem Services (ES), and, thus, to improve human well-being The effects of multiple stresses and their interaction can jeopardize the provisioning of many ES, in terms of quality, quantity and temporal continuity, in natural and urban context. Moreover, it has been proven that biodiversity also declines under the pressure of the current changing environment, and more studies are needed to define the effect of biodiversity loss on ecosystem health and services provision. Understanding how plants respond to the concurrent action of different stresses, is fundamental to develop a successful strategy to preserve biodiversity and ecosystems functionality.

Manuscripts dealing with these topics in different environmental context (natural and urban environment), adopting various experimental approaches (from leaf, organism, whole-plant to ecosystem levels) in field or controlled conditions are welcome.

Prof. Fausto Manes
Dr. Lina Fusaro
Dr. Elisabetta Salvatori
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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

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

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Global Changes
  • Air Pollution
  • Biodiversity
  • Natural Ecosystems
  • Ecosystem Services
  • Land Use and Sustainable Management
  • Urban and Periurban Forests
  • Green Infrastructure

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Cross-Talk between Physiological and Metabolic Adjustments Adopted by Quercus cerris to Mitigate the Effects of Severe Drought and Realistic Future Ozone Concentrations
Forests 2017, 8(5), 148; doi:10.3390/f8050148
Received: 31 January 2017 / Revised: 24 April 2017 / Accepted: 26 April 2017 / Published: 29 April 2017
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Abstract
Global climate change represents a moving target for plant acclimation and/or adaptation, especially in the Mediterranean basin. In this study, the interactions of severe drought (20% of the effective daily evapotranspiration) and O3 fumigation (80 ppb, 5 h day−1, for
[...] Read more.
Global climate change represents a moving target for plant acclimation and/or adaptation, especially in the Mediterranean basin. In this study, the interactions of severe drought (20% of the effective daily evapotranspiration) and O3 fumigation (80 ppb, 5 h day−1, for 28 consecutive days) on (i) photosynthetic performance, (ii) cell membrane stability, (iii) hydric relations, (iv) accumulation of compatible solutes, and (v) lipophilic antioxidant compounds were investigated in young Quercus cerris plants. In addition to the typical drought-induced stomatal closure, imposition of water withholding dramatically influenced the profile of stress-associated metabolites, i.e., abscisic acid (ABA), proline, and lipophilic antioxidants. However, plants were not able to delay or prevent the negative effects of water deficit, the greatest impacting factor in this study. This translated into a steep decline of photosynthetic efficiency, leaf hydration, and membrane fluidity and permeability. When water stress was coupled with O3, plants orchestrated cross-talk among ABA, proline, and sugar in fully-expanded mature leaves, partially leading to a premature senescence. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Urbanization Drives SOC Accumulation, Its Temperature Stability and Turnover in Forests, Northeastern China
Forests 2017, 8(4), 130; doi: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
[...] Read more.
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 Phenotypic Plasticity Explains Response Patterns of European Beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) Saplings to Nitrogen Fertilization and Drought Events
Forests 2017, 8(3), 91; doi:10.3390/f8030091
Received: 6 February 2017 / Revised: 7 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 20 March 2017
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Abstract
Abstract: Climate and atmospheric changes affect forest ecosystems worldwide, but little is known about the interactive effects of global change drivers on tree growth. In the present study, we analyzed single and combined effects of nitrogen (N) fertilization and drought events (D) on
[...] Read more.
Abstract: Climate and atmospheric changes affect forest ecosystems worldwide, but little is known about the interactive effects of global change drivers on tree growth. In the present study, we analyzed single and combined effects of nitrogen (N) fertilization and drought events (D) on the growth of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) saplings in a greenhouse experiment. We quantified morphological and physiological responses to treatments for one‐ and two‐year‐old plants. N fertilization increased the saplings’ aboveground biomass investments, making them more susceptible to D treatments. This was reflected by the highest tissue dieback in combined N and D treatments and a significant N × D interaction for leaf δ13C signatures. Thus, atmospheric N deposition can strengthen the drought sensitivity of beech saplings. One‐year‐old plants reacted more sensitively to D treatments than two‐year‐old plants (indicated by D‐induced shifts in leaf δ13C signatures of one‐year‐old and two‐year‐old plants by +0.5‰ and −0.2‰, respectively), attributable to their higher shoot:root‐ratios (1.8 and 1.2, respectively). In summary, the saplings’ treatment responses were determined by their phenotypic plasticity (shifts in shoot:root‐ratios), which in turn was a function of both the saplings’ age (effects of allometric growth trajectories = apparent plasticity) and environmental impacts (effects of N fertilization = plastic allometry). Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessFeature PaperReview Traditional and Novel Indicators of Climate Change Impacts on European Forest Trees
Forests 2017, 8(4), 137; doi: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
[...] Read more.
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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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Cross-talk between physiological and metabolic adjustments adopted by Quercus cerris under severe drought and ozone stress
Author: Cristina Nali
Abstract: Global climate change represents a moving target for plant acclimation and/or adaptation, especially in the Mediterranean basin. In this study, the interactions of drought (20% of the effective daily evapotranspiration) and O3 (80 ppb, 5 h d-1, for 28 consecutive days) on (i) photosynthetic performance, (ii) cell membrane stability, (iii) production of compatible solutes and (iv) antioxidative system were investigated in Quercus cerris. When only drought was applied, the synthesis of stress-associated metabolites was modified (abscisic acid, β-carotene and α-tocopherol increased, in comparison to controls) and leaf-intrinsic adjustments occurred (stomatal closure). However, Q. cerris was not able to delay or prevent the negative effect of drought, the most impacting factor in this study, on photosynthetic efficiency, water status, and membrane fluidity and permeability. O3 alone induced different quanti-qualitative responses in the defence system against a lower oxidative stress in comparison to drought. When it was applied after drought, plants of Q. cerris had higher capacities for osmotic adjustment and antioxidant protection (both ascribable to proline) and for these reasons, they were able to adjust and optimize their photosynthetic activity by increasing the tolerance to multiple stress conditions.

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