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Special Issue "The 24th IUFRO World Congress: Session 79 Sustainable Management of Spruce Dominated Ecosystems in Response to Climate Change"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (11 December 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Phillip G. Comeau

Professor - Silviculture and Stand Dynamics, University of Alberta, Dept. of Renewable Resources, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, 751 General Services Bldg., Edmonton, AB T6G 2H1, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +1 780 492 4323
Interests: silviculture; quantitative silviculture; mixedwood silviculture; vegetation management; silvicultural systems
Guest Editor
Dr. Bill Mason

Forestry Commission, Northern Research Station, Roslin EH25 9SY, Midlothian, Scotland, UK
E-Mail
Phone: +441314452176

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Spruce species are important in the world’s northern, mountain and temperate forests. While their wood is valued for many uses such as lumber, pulp and energy, spruce forests also provide a broad range of ecosystem services including recreation, watershed protection, carbon sequestration, biodiversity and habitat. While moderately shade tolerant, spruces have low tolerance to drought, high temperatures and fire which may become greater problems with climate change. In addition, warming climate may increase insect and disease risks. Consequently, climate change is likely to result in shifts in the distribution of spruce species across the northern hemisphere during the current century. This session will include discussion of the potential impacts of climate change on the distribution, growth and dynamics of natural and planted spruce forests and silvicultural, policy and planning options that may be available for sustainable management of spruce forests.

Prof. Dr. Phillip G. Comeau
Dr. Bill Mason
Guest Editor

Submission

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. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as 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 refereed through a 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 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The Influence of Stocking and Stand Composition on Productivity of Boreal Trembling Aspen-White Spruce Stands
Forests 2015, 6(12), 4573-4587; doi:10.3390/f6124387
Received: 19 October 2015 / Revised: 25 November 2015 / Accepted: 9 December 2015 / Published: 15 December 2015
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Abstract
We analyzed productivity, in terms of periodic annual increment (PAI) in volume, of pure and mixed unmanaged naturally regenerated boreal stands mainly comprised of Populus tremuloides Michx. (trembling aspen) and Picea glauca (Moench) Voss (white spruce) ranging from 25–260 years old, in Alberta,
[...] Read more.
We analyzed productivity, in terms of periodic annual increment (PAI) in volume, of pure and mixed unmanaged naturally regenerated boreal stands mainly comprised of Populus tremuloides Michx. (trembling aspen) and Picea glauca (Moench) Voss (white spruce) ranging from 25–260 years old, in Alberta, Canada. Measures of density, site occupancy (Reineke’s stand density index-SDI), height, and site quality were evaluated in non-linear regression models aiming to explain the variation in PAI for the separate component species and for the entire stand. Analyses also included examination of the influence of stand composition. Results indicated a positive effect of both density of deciduous trees and of the percentage of deciduous tree stand basal area on trembling aspen volume PAI. White spruce PAI was positively influenced by spruce and aspen basal area, although effects of aspen were small. Height of both aspen and spruce were the most consistent independent variables in the models tested. Maximum PAI was achieved in mixed stands when site occupancy of both species was at its maximum, indicating the ecological combining ability of these two species. Variation in maximum stocking densities (i.e., stockability) has a strong influence on increment in these forests and is a major factor leading to increased productivity of mixed compared to pure stands. Full article
Open AccessArticle If Long-Term Resistance to a Spruce Beetle Epidemic is Futile, Can Silvicultural Treatments Increase Resilience in Spruce-Fir Forests in the Central Rocky Mountains?
Forests 2015, 6(4), 1157-1178; doi:10.3390/f6041157
Received: 11 December 2014 / Revised: 6 April 2015 / Accepted: 8 April 2015 / Published: 15 April 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (790 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Within the Central Rocky Mountains, spruce beetle populations have the potential to rapidly transition from endemic to epidemic levels in the spruce-fir (Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir) forest type. Conventional management has focused on creating resistance to spruce beetle outbreaks by manipulating the
[...] Read more.
Within the Central Rocky Mountains, spruce beetle populations have the potential to rapidly transition from endemic to epidemic levels in the spruce-fir (Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir) forest type. Conventional management has focused on creating resistance to spruce beetle outbreaks by manipulating the overstory density and composition. Three silvicultural treatments, single tree selection, group selection, and shelterwood with reserves, were established in a spruce-fir forest in northern Utah with the goals of increasing both resistance and resilience to outbreaks. Resistance and resilience metrics were explicitly defined. Pre-harvest and two post-harvest measurements were used to assess how the different silvicultural treatments influenced the metrics. The shelterwood with reserves was the only treatment to meet both the resistance and resilience criteria. This treatment, while not traditionally used, created a stand structure and composition that will be most resilient to climate induced increases in spruce beetle caused tree mortality. However, there will be a trade-off in composition and structure, especially Engelmann spruce, after a spruce beetle epidemic because the created structure is more uniform with fewer groups and gaps than commonly observed in spruce-fir forests. With changing climatic conditions, proactive forest management, such as the shelterwood with reserves in the spruce-fir forest type, is the best method for increasing short-term resistance and long-term resilience to spruce beetle outbreaks. Full article
Open AccessArticle Can We Use Forest Inventory Mapping as a Coarse Filter in Ecosystem Based Management in the Black Spruce Boreal Forest?
Forests 2015, 6(4), 1195-1207; doi:10.3390/f6041195
Received: 11 December 2014 / Revised: 22 March 2015 / Accepted: 3 April 2015 / Published: 15 April 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1042 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Forest inventory mapping is used worldwide to describe forests at a large spatial scale via the delimitation of portions of the landscape that are structurally homogeneous. Consequently, there is a significant amount of descriptive forest data in forest inventory maps, particularly with the
[...] Read more.
Forest inventory mapping is used worldwide to describe forests at a large spatial scale via the delimitation of portions of the landscape that are structurally homogeneous. Consequently, there is a significant amount of descriptive forest data in forest inventory maps, particularly with the development of ecosystem classification, which represents a significant potential for use in ecosystem based management. With this study we propose to test whether forest inventory maps can be used to describe not only stand characteristics but also dynamic processes. The results indicate that stand types identifiable in forest inventory maps do not in fact represent unique developmental stages, but rather confound stands at multiple developmental stages that may be undergoing different ecological processes. The reasons for this are linked to both the interaction between succession, fire severity and paludification. Finally, some aspects of the process of forest inventory mapping itself contribute to the disjunction between forest types and forest succession. Given the low similarity between spruce mapping types and their actual description following forest inventories, it would be too ambitious to infer the dynamic aspects of spruce forest by map units. Full article
Open AccessArticle Predicting Effects of Climate Change on Habitat Suitability of Red Spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.) in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of the USA: Understanding Complex Systems Mechanisms through Modeling
Forests 2015, 6(4), 1208-1226; doi:10.3390/f6041208
Received: 14 January 2015 / Revised: 23 March 2015 / Accepted: 7 April 2015 / Published: 15 April 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1657 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Alpine, subalpine and boreal tree species, of low genetic diversity and adapted to low optimal temperatures, are vulnerable to the warming effects of global climate change. The accurate prediction of these species’ distributions in response to climate change is critical for effective planning
[...] Read more.
Alpine, subalpine and boreal tree species, of low genetic diversity and adapted to low optimal temperatures, are vulnerable to the warming effects of global climate change. The accurate prediction of these species’ distributions in response to climate change is critical for effective planning and management. The goal of this research is to predict climate change effects on the distribution of red spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP), eastern USA. Climate change is, however, conflated with other environmental factors, making its assessment a complex systems problem in which indirect effects are significant in causality. Predictions were made by linking a tree growth simulation model, red spruce growth model (ARIM.SIM), to a GIS spatial model, red spruce habitat model (ARIM.HAB). ARIM.SIM quantifies direct and indirect interactions between red spruce and its growth factors, revealing the latter to be dominant. ARIM.HAB spatially distributes the ARIM.SIM simulations under the assumption that greater growth reflects higher probabilities of presence. ARIM.HAB predicts the future habitat suitability of red spruce based on growth predictions of ARIM.SIM under climate change and three air pollution scenarios: 10% increase, no change and 10% decrease. Results show that suitable habitats shrink most when air pollution increases. Higher temperatures cause losses of most low-elevation habitats. Increased precipitation and air pollution produce acid rain, which causes loss of both low- and high-elevation habitats. The general prediction is that climate change will cause contraction of red spruce habitats at both lower and higher elevations in GSMNP, and the effects will be exacerbated by increased air pollution. These predictions provide valuable information for understanding potential impacts of global climate change on the spatiotemporal distribution of red spruce habitats in GSMNP. Full article
Open AccessArticle Modeling the Potential Distribution of Picea chihuahuana Martínez, an Endangered Species at the Sierra Madre Occidental, Mexico
Forests 2015, 6(3), 692-707; doi:10.3390/f6030692
Received: 10 December 2014 / Revised: 3 March 2015 / Accepted: 5 March 2015 / Published: 12 March 2015
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Abstract
Species distribution models (SDMs) help identify areas for the development of populations or communities to prevent extinctions, especially in the face of the global environmental change. This study modeled the potential distribution of the tree Picea chihuahuana Martínez, a species in danger of
[...] Read more.
Species distribution models (SDMs) help identify areas for the development of populations or communities to prevent extinctions, especially in the face of the global environmental change. This study modeled the potential distribution of the tree Picea chihuahuana Martínez, a species in danger of extinction, using the maximum entropy modeling method (MaxEnt) at three scales: local, state and national. We used a total of 38 presence data from the Sierra Madre Occidental. At the local scale, we compared MaxEnt with the reclassification and overlay method integrated in a geographic information system. MaxEnt generated maps with a high predictive capability (AUC > 0.97). The distribution of P. chihuahuana is defined by vegetation type and minimum temperature at national and state scales. At the local scale, both models calculated similar areas for the potential distribution of the species; the variables that better defined the species distribution were vegetation type, aspect and distance to water flows. Populations of P. chihuahuana have always been small, but our results show potential habitat greater than the area of the actual distribution. These results provide an insight into the availability of areas suitable for the species’ regeneration, possibly through assisted colonization. Full article
Open AccessArticle Variation in Wood Quality in White Spruce (Picea Glauca (Moench) Voss). Part I. Defining the Juvenile–Mature Wood Transition Based on Tracheid Length
Forests 2015, 6(1), 183-202; doi:10.3390/f6010183
Received: 8 November 2014 / Accepted: 19 December 2014 / Published: 8 January 2015
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Abstract
Estimations of transition age (TA) and juvenile wood proportion (JWP) are important for wood industries due to their impact on end-product quality. However, the relationships between analytical determination of TA based on tracheid length (TL) and recognized thresholds for adequate end products have
[...] Read more.
Estimations of transition age (TA) and juvenile wood proportion (JWP) are important for wood industries due to their impact on end-product quality. However, the relationships between analytical determination of TA based on tracheid length (TL) and recognized thresholds for adequate end products have not yet been established. In this study, we used three different statistical models to estimate TA in white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) based on TL radial variation. We compared the results with technological maturity. A two-millimeter threshold, previously suggested for good paper tear strength, was used. Tracheid length increased from pith to bark and from breast height to upper height. Juvenile wood (JW) was conical with the three models. At breast height, TA ranged from 11 to 27 years and JWP ranged from 15.3% to 47.5% across the three models. The linear mixed model produced more conservative estimates than the maximum-quadratic-linear (M_Q_L) model. Both the linear mixed model and the M_Q_L model produced more conservative TA estimates than the piecewise model. TA estimates by the MIXED model, and to a lesser extent by the M_Q_L model, were equivalent to those for real mature wood, whereas TA estimates by the piecewise model were considerably lower, falling into the transition wood area. Full article
Open AccessArticle Topography- and Species-Dependent Climatic Responses in Radial Growth of Picea meyeri and Larix principis-rupprechtii in the Luyashan Mountains of North-Central China
Forests 2015, 6(1), 116-132; doi:10.3390/f6010116
Received: 9 November 2014 / Accepted: 11 December 2014 / Published: 6 January 2015
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Abstract
Dendroecological techniques were used to examine the relationships between topographic aspects, climate factors and radial growth of Picea meyeri and Larix principis-rupprechtii in Luyashan Mountains, North-Central China. Four sites were selected at timberline and totally 67 trees and 134 cores were collected. Pearson
[...] Read more.
Dendroecological techniques were used to examine the relationships between topographic aspects, climate factors and radial growth of Picea meyeri and Larix principis-rupprechtii in Luyashan Mountains, North-Central China. Four sites were selected at timberline and totally 67 trees and 134 cores were collected. Pearson correlation and regression surface analysis were conducted to reveal the growth-climate relationships. The results indicated that the two species both showed significant negative correlations with temperature during preceding November on the two topographic aspects. On both slope aspects, growth of P. meyeri exhibited significant negative correlations with precipitation in current June, whereas growth of L. principis-rupprechtii showed significant negative correlations with precipitation in preceding September. On north-facing slope, tree growth was limited by low temperature in early growing season, which not shown on south-facing slope. If climate warming continues, L. principis-rupprechtii may be more favored and a reverse between relationships with temperature and precipitation maybe occur in growth of trees. Treeline position on the north-facing slope may possess a greater potential for elevation shifting than the south-facing slope. Our results supply useful information for discussing the potential effect of future climate on the forest growth in North-Central China. Full article
Open AccessArticle Conifer Recruitment in Trembling Aspen (Populus Tremuloides Michx.) Stands along an East-West Gradient in the Boreal Mixedwoods of Canada
Forests 2014, 5(11), 2905-2928; doi:10.3390/f5112905
Received: 7 August 2014 / Revised: 29 October 2014 / Accepted: 3 November 2014 / Published: 24 November 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2137 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ongoing climate change is likely to result in shifts in successional dynamics in boreal mixedwood stands. Using data from provincial forest inventory databases, we examined the occurrence and abundance of the regeneration of various coniferous species (white spruce, black spruce and balsam fir)
[...] Read more.
Ongoing climate change is likely to result in shifts in successional dynamics in boreal mixedwood stands. Using data from provincial forest inventory databases, we examined the occurrence and abundance of the regeneration of various coniferous species (white spruce, black spruce and balsam fir) along an east-west Canadian gradient in aspen-dominated stands. The interpretation of the results was based on environmental conditions, including climate, natural fire regime and human impacts. We found that conifer regeneration was present in aspen stands along the entire gradient, despite differences in climatic conditions and fire regimes between the west (warmer and drier, with large recurrent fires) and east (more humid with relatively long fire cycles). However, abundance and distribution varied from one conifer species to the next. The abundance of white spruce decreased towards the eastern end of the longitudinal gradient, while balsam fir and black spruce abundance decreased towards the west. Although abundance decreased, balsam fir and black spruce regeneration was still present in western Canada. This study shows that it is difficult to interpret the effects of climate change on conifer recruitment without accounting for the superimposed effects of human activities. Full article

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Implementing Continuous Cover Forestry in Planted Forests: Experience with Sitka Spruce (Picea Sitchensis) in the British Isles
Forests 2015, 6(4), 879-902; doi:10.3390/f6040879
Received: 15 January 2015 / Revised: 25 February 2015 / Accepted: 9 March 2015 / Published: 24 March 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (357 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Planted forests of Sitka spruce, a non-native species from north-west America, are the major forest type in Great Britain and Ireland. Standard management involves even-aged stands, rotations of 40–50 years and a patch clear-felling system with artificial regeneration. However, forest policies support managing
[...] Read more.
Planted forests of Sitka spruce, a non-native species from north-west America, are the major forest type in Great Britain and Ireland. Standard management involves even-aged stands, rotations of 40–50 years and a patch clear-felling system with artificial regeneration. However, forest policies support managing these forests for multifunctional objectives with increased diversity of species composition and stand structure. Continuous cover forestry (CCF) is an alternative silvicultural approach used to provide such diversity, but the amount of CCF forest is under 10% of the forest area, and less in Sitka spruce forests; This paper reviews research carried out in the last two decades to support the implementation of CCF in Sitka spruce planted forests; Stand structures and microclimate favouring natural regeneration are understood. Harvesting systems have been adapted for use in CCF stands, a single-tree growth model has been calibrated, comparative costs and revenues have been determined, and operational trials established. The interaction between thinning and wind stability in irregular stands is problematic, together with the lack of suitable species for growing in mixture with Sitka spruce; Introduction of an alternative silvicultural approach may take decades and must overcome technical challenges and cultural resistance. Full article
Open AccessReview Building Resilience into Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.) Forests in Scotland in Response to the Threat of Climate Change
Forests 2015, 6(2), 398-415; doi:10.3390/f6020398
Received: 9 December 2014 / Revised: 7 January 2015 / Accepted: 28 January 2015 / Published: 3 February 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (341 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is expected that a warming climate will have an impact on the future productivity of European spruce forests. In Scotland, Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.) dominates the commercial forestry sector and there is growing pressure to develop alternative management strategies
[...] Read more.
It is expected that a warming climate will have an impact on the future productivity of European spruce forests. In Scotland, Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.) dominates the commercial forestry sector and there is growing pressure to develop alternative management strategies to limit potential economic losses through climate change. This review considers management options to increase the resilience of Sitka spruce dominated forests in Scotland. Given the considerable uncertainty over the potential long-term impacts of climate change, it is recommended that Sitka spruce should continue to be planted where it already grows well. However, new planting and restocking should be established in mixtures where silviculturally practicable, even if no-thin regimes are adopted, to spread future risks of damage. Three potentially compatible species with Sitka spruce are western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.), grand fir (Abies grandis (Lamb.) Lindl.) and Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) and all form natural mixtures in its native range in North America. The predicted windier climate will require a range of management inputs, such as early cutting of extraction racks and early selective thinning, to improve stability. The potential to improve resilience to particularly abiotic damage through transforming even-aged stands into irregular structures and limiting the overall size of the growing stock is discussed. Full article

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