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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).

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
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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 (10 papers)

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Research

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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
[...] Read more.
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
[...] Read more.
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
[...] Read more.
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
[...] Read more.
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
[...] Read more.
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
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1679 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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
[...] Read more.
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
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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
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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

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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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