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Special Issue "New Insights into Climate Sensitivity of Forest Growth, Health, and Disturbance: Vulnerability, Resilience, and Change"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 July 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Glenn Juday

Department of Forest Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks O'Neill Bldg, Fairbanks, AK 99775-0800, USA
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The forested area of the Earth has decreased to about half of the pre-civilization amount. At the same time, progress in establishing and maintaining forest land management systems provides a basis for achieving long term forest sustainability. Now, however, climate change poses a number of challenges to sustaining Earth’s forests. Over the past few decades, the observed changes in Earth’s climate have taken a number of forms, including hotter droughts, increased growing season length, diminished intensity of cold weather, extreme events, premature loss of winter cold tolerance, and altered precipitation patterns. Many of these changes involve climatic factors that are the principal direct controls over the growth and performance of tree species. Other climatic changes influence forest disturbance regimes, such as wildland fire or insect outbreaks. All the changes interact with subtle, sophisticated, and often unknown adaptive capacity in tree species or forest systems, and the capacity of humans to manage forest systems. The purpose of this Special Issue of Forests is to capture and highlight well documented examples of the multiple changes in forest growth, health, or survival that have occurred in diverse species, forest types, and regions as the result of climate change. Manuscripts are invited from any of the relevant fields of study. Studies that project future forest conditions should be directly associated with original empirical research in the manuscript.

Dr. Glenn Juday
Guest Editor

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

  • Adaptation
  • adaptive management
  • climate change
  • climate sensitivity
  • conservation
  • forest change
  • forest decline
  • forest disturbance
  • forest management
  • forest migration
  • tree growth
  • tree mortality
  • tree recruitment

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Variations of Climate-Growth Response of Major Conifers at Upper Distributional Limits in Shika Snow Mountain, Northwestern Yunnan Plateau, China
Forests 2017, 8(10), 377; doi:10.3390/f8100377
Received: 11 July 2017 / Revised: 26 September 2017 / Accepted: 27 September 2017 / Published: 4 October 2017
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Abstract
Improved understanding of climate-growth relationships of multiple species is fundamental to understanding and predicting the response of forest growth to future climate change. Forests are mainly composed of conifers in Northwestern Yunnan Plateau, but variations of growth response to climate conditions among the
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Improved understanding of climate-growth relationships of multiple species is fundamental to understanding and predicting the response of forest growth to future climate change. Forests are mainly composed of conifers in Northwestern Yunnan Plateau, but variations of growth response to climate conditions among the species are not well understood. To detect the growth response of multiple species to climate change, we developed residual chronologies of four major conifers, i.e., George’s fir (Abies georgei Orr), Likiang spruce (Picea likiangensis (Franch.) E.Pritz.), Gaoshan pine (Pinus densata Mast.) and Chinese larch (Larix potaninii Batalin) at the upper distributional limits in Shika Snow Mountain. Using the dendroclimatology method, we analyzed correlations between the residual chronologies and climate variables. The results showed that conifer radial growth was influenced by both temperature and precipitation in Shika Snow Mountain. Previous November temperature, previous July temperature, and current May precipitation were the common climatic factors that had consistent influences on radial growth of the four species. Temperature in the previous post-growing season (September–October) and moisture conditions in the current growing season (June–August) were the common climatic factors that had divergent impacts on the radial growth of the four species. Based on the predictions of climate models and our understanding of the growth response of four species to climate variables, we may understand the growth response to climate change at the species level. It is difficult to predict future forest growth in the study area, since future climate change might cause both increases and decreases for the four species and indirect effects of climate change on forests should be considered. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Functional Response Trait Analysis Improves Climate Sensitivity Estimation in Beech Forests at a Trailing Edge
Forests 2017, 8(9), 324; doi:10.3390/f8090324
Received: 15 July 2017 / Revised: 25 August 2017 / Accepted: 27 August 2017 / Published: 31 August 2017
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Abstract
Functional response traits influence the ability of species to colonize and thrive in a habitat and to persist under environmental challenges. Functional traits can be used to evaluate environment-related processes and phenomena. They also help to interpret distribution patterns, especially under limiting ecological
[...] Read more.
Functional response traits influence the ability of species to colonize and thrive in a habitat and to persist under environmental challenges. Functional traits can be used to evaluate environment-related processes and phenomena. They also help to interpret distribution patterns, especially under limiting ecological conditions. In this study, we investigate landscape-scale functional distribution responses of beech forests in a climatic transitional zone in Europe. We construct empirical density distribution responses for beech forests by applying coping-resilience-failure climatic traits based on 27 bioclimatic variables, resulting in prevalence-decay-exclusion distribution response patterns. We also perform multivariate exploratory cluster analysis to reveal significant sets of response patterns from the resilience and adaptation aspects. Temperature-related distribution responses presented a prevalence-dominated functional pattern, with Annual mean temperature indicating the most favorable adaptation function. Precipitation indices showed climate-limited response patterns with the dominance of extinction function. Considering regional site-specific climate change projections, these continental beech forests could regress moderately due to temperature increase in the near future. Our results also suggest that both summer and winter precipitation could play a pivotal role in successful resilience. Functions and variables that indicate climate sensitivity can serve as a useful starting point to develop adaptation measures for regional forest management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Integrating Climate Change and Land Use Impacts to Explore Forest Conservation Policy
Forests 2017, 8(9), 321; doi:10.3390/f8090321
Received: 16 June 2017 / Revised: 13 August 2017 / Accepted: 27 August 2017 / Published: 30 August 2017
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Abstract
This study uses a scenario-based approach to ask what are the varying impacts to forest extent and biodiversity from sixteen climate change and forest conversion scenario combinations, and what do they suggest about future forest conservation policy directions? We projected these combinations onto
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This study uses a scenario-based approach to ask what are the varying impacts to forest extent and biodiversity from sixteen climate change and forest conversion scenario combinations, and what do they suggest about future forest conservation policy directions? We projected these combinations onto existing forests in South Korea and grouped them into four forest categories. We used species distribution models for 1031 climate vulnerable plant species as a biodiversity index, and found that species richness loss due to forest conversion could be reduced significantly by deploying the scenarios which preserve forest areas that are climatically suitable for these species. Climate-suitable forest areas declined sharply and moved northward as future temperatures increase, and climate-suitable areas lost the highest proportion of forest extent under the current trend of forest conversion. We suggest climate refugia, defined as existing forests with suitable future climates, be protected from land use conversion as a way to preserve forest biodiversity. These spatially explicit results can be used for developing forest conservation policies, and the methods may be applicable to other forested regions. However, planners should consider the assumptions and uncertainties of climate projections, species distribution models, and land use trends when addressing forest biodiversity conservation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Climate Response of Larch and Birch Forests across an Elevational Transect and Hemisphere-Wide Comparisons, Kamchatka Peninsula, Russian Far East
Forests 2017, 8(9), 315; doi:10.3390/f8090315
Received: 14 July 2017 / Revised: 12 August 2017 / Accepted: 21 August 2017 / Published: 27 August 2017
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Abstract
Kamchatka’s forests span across the peninsula’s diverse topography and provide a wide range of physiographic and elevational settings that can be used to investigate how forests are responding to climate change and to anticipate future response. Birch (Betula ermanii Cham.) and larch
[...] Read more.
Kamchatka’s forests span across the peninsula’s diverse topography and provide a wide range of physiographic and elevational settings that can be used to investigate how forests are responding to climate change and to anticipate future response. Birch (Betula ermanii Cham.) and larch (Larix gmelinii (Rupr.) Kuzen) were sampled at eight new sites and together with previous collections were compared with monthly temperature and precipitation records to identify their climate response. Comparisons show that tree-ring widths in both species are primarily influenced by May through August temperatures of the current growth year, and that there is a general increase in temperature sensitivity with altitude. The ring-width data for each species were also combined into regional chronologies. The resulting composite larch chronology shows a strong resemblance to a Northern Hemisphere (NH) tree-ring based temperature reconstruction with the larch series tracking NH temperatures closely through the past 300 years. The composite birch ring-width series more closely reflects the Pacific regional coastal late summer temperatures. These new data improve our understanding of the response of forests to climate and show the low frequency warming noted in other, more continental records from high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Also evident in the ring-width record is that the larch and birch forests continue to track the strong warming of interior Kamchatka. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Spatio-Temporal Linkages between Declining Arctic Sea-Ice Extent and Increasing Wildfire Activity in the Western United States
Forests 2017, 8(9), 313; doi:10.3390/f8090313
Received: 15 June 2017 / Revised: 4 August 2017 / Accepted: 23 August 2017 / Published: 26 August 2017
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Abstract
We examined relationships between monthly Arctic sea-ice extent (ASIE) and annual wildfire activity for seven regions in the western United States during 1980–2015 to determine if spatio-temporal linkages exist between ASIE, upper-level flow, and surface climatic conditions conducive to western U.S. wildfire activity.
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We examined relationships between monthly Arctic sea-ice extent (ASIE) and annual wildfire activity for seven regions in the western United States during 1980–2015 to determine if spatio-temporal linkages exist between ASIE, upper-level flow, and surface climatic conditions conducive to western U.S. wildfire activity. Winter ASIE had significant (p < 0.05) negative relationships with annual wildfire area burned (rs = −0.391 − −0.683), with the strongest relationship occurring in the Northern Rockies. We explored spatial linkages between ASIE and 300-hPa flow (+), temperature (+), precipitation (−), and soil moisture (+) using monthly values of ASIE and gridded values for the climatic parameters. Relationships were best expressed between January ASIE and conditions in the current-year July over the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies. Reduced wintertime ASIE is teleconnected with increased ridging in summertime 300-hPa flow over the western U.S., resulting in warmer and drier conditions during peak fire season. Our findings suggest that reductions in ASIE are one of the driving forces behind the increasing annual trend (>36,000 ha) in area burned in the western U.S. since 1980. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Climate-Induced Northerly Expansion of Siberian Silkmoth Range
Forests 2017, 8(8), 301; doi:10.3390/f8080301
Received: 15 June 2017 / Revised: 20 July 2017 / Accepted: 10 August 2017 / Published: 16 August 2017
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Abstract
Siberian silkmoth (Dendrolimus sibiricus Tschetv.) is a dangerous pest that has affected nearly 2.5 × 106 ha of “dark taiga” stands (composed of Abies sibirica, Pinus sibirica and Picea obovata) within the latitude range of 52°–59° N. Here we
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Siberian silkmoth (Dendrolimus sibiricus Tschetv.) is a dangerous pest that has affected nearly 2.5 × 106 ha of “dark taiga” stands (composed of Abies sibirica, Pinus sibirica and Picea obovata) within the latitude range of 52°–59° N. Here we describe a current silkmoth outbreak that is occurring about half degree northward of its formerly documented outbreak range. This outbreak has covered an area of about 800 thousand ha with mortality of conifer stands within an area of about 300 thousand ha. The primary outbreak originated in the year 2014 within stands located on gentle relatively dry southwest slopes at elevations up to 200 m above sea level (a.s.l.) Then the outbreak spread to the mesic areas including northern slopes and the low-elevation forest belts along the Yenisei ridge. Within the outbreak area, the northern Siberian silkmoth population has reduced generation length from two to one year. Our study showed that the outbreak was promoted by droughts in prior years, an increase of the sum of daily temperatures (t > +10 °C), and a decrease in ground cover moisture. Within the outbreak area, secondary pests were also active, including the aggressive Polygraphus proximus bark borer beetle. The outbreak considered here is part of the wide-spread (panzonal) Siberian silkmoth outbreak that originated during 2014–2015 with a range of up to 1000 km in southern Siberia. Our work concludes that observed climate warming opens opportunities for Siberian silkmoth migration into historically outbreak free northern “dark taiga” stands. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Recent Patterns in Climate, Vegetation, and Forest Water Use in California Montane Watersheds
Forests 2017, 8(8), 278; doi:10.3390/f8080278
Received: 12 May 2017 / Revised: 30 June 2017 / Accepted: 29 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
California has recently experienced one of the worst droughts on record, negatively impacting forest ecosystems across the state. As a major source of the region’s water supply, it is important to evaluate the vegetation and water balance response of these montane forested watersheds
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California has recently experienced one of the worst droughts on record, negatively impacting forest ecosystems across the state. As a major source of the region’s water supply, it is important to evaluate the vegetation and water balance response of these montane forested watersheds to climate variability across the range of rain- to snow-dominated precipitation regimes. The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and the Standardized Runoff Index (SRI) were used to capture the hydrologic drought signal, and MODIS vegetation indices (i.e., the normalized difference vegetation index and the enhanced vegetation index) were used to evaluate the vegetation and evapotranspiration response in three headwater catchments. The study catchments comprised a low elevation rain-dominated site (Caspar Creek) on the northern California coast, a mid-elevation site with a mix of rain and snow (Providence Creek) in the California Sierra Nevada, and a high elevation snow-dominated site (Bull Creek) in the Sierra Nevada. Lowest SPI values occurred in the third drought year of 2014 for all sites. Lowest SRI was in 2014 for Caspar, but in 2015 for Providence and Bull, reflecting differences in snowpack-delayed runoff and subsurface storage capacity between the lower and higher elevation watersheds. The most accurate water balance closure using evapotranspiration estimates from vegetation indices was within 10% of measured precipitation at snow-dominated Bull. The rain-dominated Caspar watershed had the highest vegetation index values and annual evapotranspiration, with the lowest variability over the previous 13 years (2004–2016). Vegetation index values and annual evapotranspiration decreased with increasing elevation and snow contribution to precipitation. Both snow-influenced Sierra Nevada watersheds showed elevated vegetation and evapotranspiration responses to interannual climate variability. There remains a need for institutional support to expand long-term observations in remote forested mountain watersheds to monitor and research these changing and extreme environmental conditions in source watershed regions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Barriers to the Adoption of Alley Cropping as a Climate-Smart Agriculture Practice: Lessons from Maize Cultivation among the Maya in Southern Belize
Forests 2017, 8(7), 260; doi:10.3390/f8070260
Received: 9 May 2017 / Revised: 14 July 2017 / Accepted: 17 July 2017 / Published: 21 July 2017
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Abstract
Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is proposed as a necessity, as the agricultural sector will need to adapt to resist future climatic change, to which high emissions from the sector contribute significantly. This study, which is an exploratory case study based on qualitative interviews and
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Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is proposed as a necessity, as the agricultural sector will need to adapt to resist future climatic change, to which high emissions from the sector contribute significantly. This study, which is an exploratory case study based on qualitative interviews and field observations, investigates the barriers to making a CSA-adjustment in maize production among Maya communities in southern Belize. The adjustment is alley cropping, which is a low-input adjustment that has the potential to result in both adaptation and mitigation benefits, and furthermore, to enhance food security. The findings show that a CSA-adjustment in small-scale maize production in Maya villages in southern Belize is possible in principle, though several barriers can make the overall climate-smart objective difficult to implement in practice. The barriers are of a proximate and indirect nature, exist at different spatial scales, and involve various levels of governance. The barriers are shown to be land tenure, market access, and changes in the traditional culture, however, these barriers are not homogenous across the villages in the region. To break down the barriers an overall district-level strategy is possible, but the toolbox should contain a wide variety of approaches. These could happen, for instance, through alterations to land tenure and the land taxation system nationally, enhancement of the agricultural extension system to ease access to knowledge and input at the district level, and support to a less complex governance structure at the village level. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Separating Trends in Whitebark Pine Radial Growth Related to Climate and Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreaks in the Northern Rocky Mountains, USA
Forests 2017, 8(6), 195; doi:10.3390/f8060195
Received: 28 April 2017 / Revised: 30 May 2017 / Accepted: 31 May 2017 / Published: 3 June 2017
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Abstract
Drought and mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) outbreaks have affected millions of hectares of high-elevation conifer forests in the Northern Rocky Mountains during the past century. Little research has examined the distinction between mountain pine beetle outbreaks and climatic influence on
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Drought and mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) outbreaks have affected millions of hectares of high-elevation conifer forests in the Northern Rocky Mountains during the past century. Little research has examined the distinction between mountain pine beetle outbreaks and climatic influence on radial growth in endangered whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis Engelm.) ecosystems. We used a new method to explore divergent periods in whitebark pine radial growth after mountain pine beetle outbreaks across six sites in western Montana. We examined a 100-year history of mountain pine beetle outbreaks and climate relationships in whitebark pine radial growth to distinguish whether monthly climate variables or mountain pine outbreaks were the dominant influence on whitebark pine growth during the 20th century. High mortality of whitebark pines was caused by the overlapping effects of previous and current mountain pine beetle outbreaks and white pine blister rust infection. Wet conditions from precipitation and snowpack melt in the previous summer, current spring, and current summer benefit whitebark pine radial growth during the following growing season. Whitebark pine radial growth and climate relationships were strongest in sites less affected by the mountain pine beetle outbreaks or anthropogenic disturbances. Whitebark pine population resiliency should continue to be monitored as more common periods of drought will make whitebark pines more susceptible to mountain pine beetle attack and to white pine blister rust infection. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Drought Influence over Radial Growth of Mexican Conifers Inhabiting Mesic and Xeric Sites
Forests 2017, 8(5), 175; doi:10.3390/f8050175
Received: 23 April 2017 / Revised: 11 May 2017 / Accepted: 16 May 2017 / Published: 19 May 2017
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Abstract
Drought is a major constraint of forest productivity and tree growth across diverse habitat types. In this study, we investigated the drought responses of four conifer species growing within two locations of differing elevation and climatic conditions in northern Mexico. Two species were
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Drought is a major constraint of forest productivity and tree growth across diverse habitat types. In this study, we investigated the drought responses of four conifer species growing within two locations of differing elevation and climatic conditions in northern Mexico. Two species were selected at a mesic site (Cupressus lusitanica Mill., Abies durangensis Martínez) and the other two species were sampled at a xeric site (Pinus engelmannii Carr., Pinus cembroides Zucc.). Using a dendrochronological approach, we correlated the radial-growth series of each species and the climatic variables. All study species positively responded to wet-cool conditions during winter and spring. Despite the close proximity of species at a mesic site, A. durangensis had high responsiveness to hydroclimatic variability, but C. lusitanica was not responsive. At the xeric site, P. engelmannii and P. cembroides were very responsive to drought severity, differentiated only by the longer time scale of the response to accumulated drought of P. engelmannii. The responsiveness to hydroclimate and drought of these tree species seems to be modulated by site conditions, or by the functional features of each species that are still little explored. These findings indicate that differentiating between mesic and xeric habitats is a too coarse approach in diverse forests with a high topographic heterogeneity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Earlywood and Latewood Widths of Picea chihuahuana Show Contrasting Sensitivity to Seasonal Climate
Forests 2017, 8(5), 173; doi:10.3390/f8050173
Received: 28 March 2017 / Revised: 15 May 2017 / Accepted: 16 May 2017 / Published: 18 May 2017
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Abstract
The existence of endangered tree species in Mexico necessitates an understanding of their vulnerability to the predicted climate changes (warming and drying trends). In this study, the sensitivity to climate of earlywood (EW) and latewood (LW) widths of the
[...] Read more.
The existence of endangered tree species in Mexico necessitates an understanding of their vulnerability to the predicted climate changes (warming and drying trends). In this study, the sensitivity to climate of earlywood (EW) and latewood (LW) widths of the threatened Picea chihuahuana was determined. The response of EW and LW to climate variables (maximum temperature, minimum temperature, precipitation, evaporation, and a drought index) was analyzed by means of correlation analysis using dendrochronology over the period of 1950–2015. EW and LW production were enhanced by cool and wet conditions during winter prior to the start of growing season. During the growing season, EW and LW production increased in response to cool spring and summer conditions, respectively; temperatures and year-round evaporation, excluding summer and the previous drought in the period prior to the growing season. EW was sensitive to seasonal drought, which is a concern considering the predicted aridification trends for the study area. These results provide further knowledge on the dendroecological potential of Picea chihuahuana. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Influence of Monsoon Climate on Latewood Growth of Southwestern Ponderosa Pine
Forests 2017, 8(5), 140; doi:10.3390/f8050140
Received: 16 March 2017 / Revised: 11 April 2017 / Accepted: 19 April 2017 / Published: 25 April 2017
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Abstract
The North American Monsoon delivers warm season precipitation to much of the southwestern United States, yet the importance of this water source for forested ecosystems in the region is not well understood. While it is widely accepted that trees in southwestern forests use
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The North American Monsoon delivers warm season precipitation to much of the southwestern United States, yet the importance of this water source for forested ecosystems in the region is not well understood. While it is widely accepted that trees in southwestern forests use winter precipitation for earlywood production, the extent to which summer (monsoon season) precipitation supports latewood production is unclear. We used tree ring records, local climate data, and stable isotope analyses (δ18O) of water and cellulose to examine the importance of monsoon precipitation for latewood production in mature ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Dougl.) in northern Arizona. Our analyses identified monsoon season vapor pressure deficit (VPD) and Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) as significant effects on latewood growth, together explaining 39% of latewood ring width variation. Stem water and cellulose δ18O analyses suggest that monsoon precipitation was not directly used for latewood growth. Our findings suggest that mature ponderosa pines in this region utilize winter precipitation for growth throughout the entire year. The influence of monsoon precipitation on growth is indirect and mediated by its effect on atmospheric moisture stress (VPD). Together, summer VPD and antecedent soil moisture conditions have a strong influence on latewood growth. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of Textural Differentiations in Forest Resources in Romania Using Fractal Analysis
Forests 2017, 8(3), 54; doi:10.3390/f8030054
Received: 30 January 2017 / Revised: 19 February 2017 / Accepted: 22 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (9113 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Deforestation and forest degradation have several negative effects on the environment including a loss of species habitats, disturbance of the water cycle and reduced ability to retain CO2, with consequences for global warming. We investigated the evolution of forest resources from
[...] Read more.
Deforestation and forest degradation have several negative effects on the environment including a loss of species habitats, disturbance of the water cycle and reduced ability to retain CO2, with consequences for global warming. We investigated the evolution of forest resources from development regions in Romania affected by both deforestation and reforestation using a non-Euclidean method based on fractal analysis. We calculated four fractal dimensions of forest areas: the fractal box-counting dimension of the forest areas, the fractal box-counting dimension of the dilated forest areas, the fractal dilation dimension and the box-counting dimension of the border of the dilated forest areas. Fractal analysis revealed morpho-structural and textural differentiations of forested, deforested and reforested areas in development regions with dominant mountain relief and high hills (more forested and compact organization) in comparison to the development regions dominated by plains or low hills (less forested, more fragmented with small and isolated clusters). Our analysis used the fractal analysis that has the advantage of analyzing the entire image, rather than studying local information, thereby enabling quantification of the uniformity, fragmentation, heterogeneity and homogeneity of forests. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Mixing It Up: The Role of Hybridization in Forest Management and Conservation under Climate Change
Forests 2017, 8(7), 237; doi:10.3390/f8070237
Received: 16 May 2017 / Revised: 20 June 2017 / Accepted: 23 June 2017 / Published: 4 July 2017
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Abstract
Forest tree hybrid zones provide a wealth of novel genetic variation that can be harnessed to safeguard populations in changing climates. In the past 30 years, natural and artificial forest hybrid zones have facilitated significant contributions to selective breeding programs, conservation, and our
[...] Read more.
Forest tree hybrid zones provide a wealth of novel genetic variation that can be harnessed to safeguard populations in changing climates. In the past 30 years, natural and artificial forest hybrid zones have facilitated significant contributions to selective breeding programs, conservation, and our understanding of the evolutionary processes and mechanisms that influence the maintenance of species and community interactions. This review highlights advances in these areas using forest hybrid zones. Taking examples from well-known genera, including eucalypt, poplar, oak and spruce, this review details the important role hybrid zones play in managing conservation of genetic variation, the environmental and non-environmental factors that influence barriers to reproduction, and the impact that genetic ancestry may have on community biodiversity. Given increasing concern surrounding species adaptability under rapidly changing conditions, we describe how the study of forest hybrid zones, using quantitative and genomic approaches, can facilitate conservation of genetic diversity and long-term species management. Full article
Open AccessReview An Updated Review of Dendrochronological Investigations in Mexico, a Megadiverse Country with a High Potential for Tree-Ring Sciences
Forests 2017, 8(5), 160; doi:10.3390/f8050160
Received: 2 April 2017 / Revised: 30 April 2017 / Accepted: 5 May 2017 / Published: 9 May 2017
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Abstract
Dendrochronology is a very useful science to reconstruct the long-term responses of trees and other woody plants forming annual rings in response to their environment. The present review considered Mexico, a megadiverse country with a high potential for tree-ring sciences given its high
[...] Read more.
Dendrochronology is a very useful science to reconstruct the long-term responses of trees and other woody plants forming annual rings in response to their environment. The present review considered Mexico, a megadiverse country with a high potential for tree-ring sciences given its high climatic and environmental variability. We reviewed papers considering Mexican tree species that were published from 2001 to 2016. Most of these studies examined tree species from temperate forests, mainly in the pine and fir species. The review included 31 tree species. The most intensively sampled family and species were the Pinaceae and Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziessi (Mirb.) Franco), respectively. Some threatened tree species were also studied. Dendrochronological investigations were mainly conducted in northern and central Mexico, with Durango being the most sampled state. The reviewed studies were mostly developed for hydroclimatic reconstructions, which were mainly based on the tree-ring width as a proxy for the climate. Tree-ring studies were carried out in both national and foreign institutions. Our review identified relevant research gaps for dendrochronologists such as: (i) biomes which are still scarcely studied (e.g., tropical dry forests) and (ii) approaches still rarely applied to Mexican forests as dendroecology. Full article
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