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Forests, Volume 14, Issue 3 (March 2023) – 218 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Climate change is expected to lead to higher temperatures in the Mediterranean region of northern California in the Sierra Nevada. Dendroclimatic studies typically focus on large, old trees, but there is relatively limited understanding of how climatic sensitivity can vary with trees of different sizes. This study compared radial growth responses of small-, medium-, and large-diameter mixed conifer species in the Sierra Nevada to different climate variables. The results indicated that larger trees may be more sensitive to climate than smaller trees and they may carry those effects into the following year. View this paper
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14 pages, 3679 KiB  
Article
Land-Use Types Regulate Se:Cd Ratios of Natural Seleniferous Soil Derived from Different Parent Materials in Subtropical Hilly Areas
by Chunxia Sun, Qinlei Rong, Xi Guo, Jiaxin Guo, Yi Chen, Yihua Chang, Jie Chen, Qin Zhang, Chunhuo Zhou, Haisheng Cai and Xiaomin Zhao
Forests 2023, 14(3), 656; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030656 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1236
Abstract
As natural selenium (Se)-rich soil in China is generally characterized by a high geological background of cadmium (Cd), the safe utilization of such seleniferous soil remains a challenge. The accumulating evidence shows that the threshold value of the Se:Cd ratio is a determinant [...] Read more.
As natural selenium (Se)-rich soil in China is generally characterized by a high geological background of cadmium (Cd), the safe utilization of such seleniferous soil remains a challenge. The accumulating evidence shows that the threshold value of the Se:Cd ratio is a determinant of regulating Cd accumulation in plants. However, the factors modulating the soil’s Se:Cd ratio in selenium-enriched regions are not well understood. Here, a comprehensive study aimed at quantitatively analyzing the effects of land-use types, parent-material types, and soil properties on the distribution and influencing factors of Se, Cd, and the Se:Cd ratios. According to land use and parent-material types, 77 soil samples were collected in Yuanzhou District, a typical naturally seleniferous area in the subtropical hilly area. The results suggested that, compared with quaternary red clays (qrc), the Se content of soils derived from river and lake sediments (rls) and weathered acidic crystalline rocks (wacr) decreased by 5.81%–19.75%, while the weathered quartzite (wq)-derived soils was increased significantly. The soil Cd content in an orchard was significantly reduced compared with that in a paddy field. A redundancy analysis (RDA) revealed that SOM, Total K, and Total P significantly affected the changes in Se and Cd contents. In addition, the land-use type had the most significant effect on the Se:Cd ratio, with a regression coefficient of −0.6999 analyzed by the binary logistic regression model (p < 0.05). Furthermore, pH and Total K were the critical soil properties in controlling the Se:Cd ratio. The study indicated that the Se:Cd ratio in natural selenium-rich soil was mainly regulated by land-use types. Therefore, it is a feasible measure to regulate the Se:Cd ratio by using agronomic practices, mainly regulating soil pH, for the safe utilization of selenium-rich soil with a high Cd background. Full article
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12 pages, 5524 KiB  
Article
Disturbance Caused by Animal Logging to Soil Physicochemical and Biological Features in Oak Coppices: A Case-Study in Central Italy
by Francesco Latterini, Rachele Venanzi, Walter Stefanoni and Rodolfo Picchio
Forests 2023, 14(3), 655; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030655 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1437
Abstract
Firewood extraction by mule forwarding is still common in oak coppices in Central and Southern Italy. This is due to the scarce presence of aerial extraction systems such as cable yarders. Considering the importance of forest soil for all ecosystem services, the evaluation [...] Read more.
Firewood extraction by mule forwarding is still common in oak coppices in Central and Southern Italy. This is due to the scarce presence of aerial extraction systems such as cable yarders. Considering the importance of forest soil for all ecosystem services, the evaluation of the disturbance that a given extraction system has on the forest soil is a fundamental aspect in the framework of sustainable forest management. Therefore, this study was developed to assess the disturbance caused to the physicochemical and biological features of soil and to coppice after mule logging according to the standards of silvicultural treatment, as well as the recovery time needed after the logging intervention. Four cutting blocks located in Central Italy represented the study area, one cutting block represented the unharvested control, while the others were logged 3 years (CB-2019), 8 years (CB-2014) and 10 years (CB-2012) prior to the field surveys. In each harvested cutting block the soil was subdivided into disturbed soil (DIST—mule trails) and low disturbance soil (LD—area within the harvested cutting block not affected by mule passage). This experimental design assessed the disturbance caused by logging operations by mules (DIST soil) and the silvicultural treatment (LD soil) to soil physicochemical (bulk density, penetration resistance, shear resistance, and soil organic matter) and biological properties (soil microarthropod community evaluated with the QBS-ar index). The results revealed a significant disturbance in the mule trails for all the investigated variables. The disturbance was particularly strong for the QBS-ar index, with values which were lower than half of those of the control area. Furthermore, no recovery process was evident even after 10 years from the logging interventions. Instead, values of the various parameters became worse with time after harvesting. On the other hand, no marked disturbance was revealed in LD soil, except for a significant decrease in soil organic matter. Although this is a preliminary evaluation that needs to be confirmed with further study, this trial suggested that mule logging cannot be considered a fully low-impact approach to forest operations and that studies with a longer time span after harvesting are needed to assess the recovery process in the mule trails. Full article
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18 pages, 3079 KiB  
Article
Potential Use of Two Forest Species (Salix alba and Casuarina glauca) in the Rhizofiltration of Heavy-Metal-Contaminated Industrial Wastewater
by Malek Bousbih, Mohammed S. Lamhamedi, Mejda Abassi, Damase P. Khasa and Zoubeir Béjaoui
Forests 2023, 14(3), 654; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030654 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1666
Abstract
The discharge of raw industrial wastewater (IWW) into ecosystems is a major environmental problem that adversely affects water quality, soil physicochemical properties, the food chain and, therefore, human health. Injection of treated IWW into irrigation and “fertigation” systems is an ecological, sustainable and [...] Read more.
The discharge of raw industrial wastewater (IWW) into ecosystems is a major environmental problem that adversely affects water quality, soil physicochemical properties, the food chain and, therefore, human health. Injection of treated IWW into irrigation and “fertigation” systems is an ecological, sustainable and economical approach for its appropriate disposal. Seedlings of two forest species (Salix alba, Casuarina glauca) were grown hydroponically and subjected to 25% diluted IWW and control (tap water) treatments for 35 days. Morphological and physiological traits were evaluated, including leaf symptoms, stem and root dry masses, leaf water potential, relative water content, chlorophyll content, photosystem II efficiency, hydrogen peroxide, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, bioaccumulation and translocation factor estimates and removal efficiency for various heavy metals. Application of 25% IWW stress affected many aspects of plant morphology: chlorosis and necrosis in leaves, epinasty, leaf curling, early leaf senescence and root browning. In both species, the 25% IWW treatment reduced leaf, stem and root dry masses relative to controls. S. alba exhibited greater removal capacity for heavy metal ions and could be effective as a remediator of toxic-metal-polluted industrial effluent water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Production in Forest Nurseries and Field Performance of Seedlings)
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20 pages, 4190 KiB  
Article
Comparative Genomics Analysis of Ganoderma Orthologs Involved in Plant-Pathogenesis
by Chai-Ling Ho
Forests 2023, 14(3), 653; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030653 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1610
Abstract
Ganoderma species are producers of bioactive secondary metabolites and lignin degraders. A few Ganoderma species are known to be plant pathogens that attack economically important trees. In this study, comparative genomics analysis was conducted on the proteome of ten Ganoderma species/strains, focusing on [...] Read more.
Ganoderma species are producers of bioactive secondary metabolites and lignin degraders. A few Ganoderma species are known to be plant pathogens that attack economically important trees. In this study, comparative genomics analysis was conducted on the proteome of ten Ganoderma species/strains, focusing on the proteins that have been reported to be involved in plant-pathogenesis in other fungi. Fungal trophic lifestyle prediction of these Ganoderma species/strains supported that G. boninense (a potent pathogen to oil palm) is a hemibiotrophic fungus while the other Ganoderma species/strains analyzed were predicted to be saprophytes or a symbiont based on their Carbohydrate-Active Enzyme (CAZyme) contents. Although these Ganoderma species/strains were demonstrated to share many CAZymes and secondary metabolite core gene clusters, individual species may produce unique CAZymes and secondary metabolite core genes that determine their lifestyles, host-specificity, and potential as a producer of bioactive secondary metabolites. Ortholog groups that are related to fungal virulence from seven Ganoderma species/strains including those involved in lignin degradation, mycotoxin, siderophore and ergosterol biosynthesis, and virulence were summarized. Potential effectors were predicted from the proteome of these Ganoderma species/strains, and putative effectors that were being expressed in G. boninense in oil palm roots but not found in other species were identified. The findings provide a useful resource to further analyze plant-pathogenesis and wood degradation activities of these Ganoderma species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Health)
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14 pages, 5210 KiB  
Article
Monitoring Illegal Logging Using Google Earth Engine in Sulawesi Selatan Tropical Forest, Indonesia
by A. Mujetahid, Munajat Nursaputra and Andang Suryana Soma
Forests 2023, 14(3), 652; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030652 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2393
Abstract
Forest destruction has been found to be the cause of natural disasters in the form of floods, landslides in the rainy season, droughts in the dry season, climate change, and global warming. The high rate of forest destruction is caused by various factors, [...] Read more.
Forest destruction has been found to be the cause of natural disasters in the form of floods, landslides in the rainy season, droughts in the dry season, climate change, and global warming. The high rate of forest destruction is caused by various factors, including weak law enforcement efforts against forestry crimes, such as illegal logging events. However, in Indonesia, illegal logging is only discovered when the perpetrator has distributed the wood products. The lack of monitoring of the overall condition of the forest has an impact on the current high level of forest destruction. Through this research, the problems related to environmental damage due to illegal logging will be described through remote sensing technology, which is currently mainly developed on the basis of artificial intelligence and machine learning, namely Google Earth Engine (GEE). Monitoring of illegal logging events will be analysed using Sentinel 1 and 2 data. Obtaining satellite imagery with relatively small cloud cover for tropical regions, such as Indonesia, is remarkably difficult. This difficulty is due to the presence of a radar sensor on Sentinel 1 images that can penetrate clouds, allowing for observation of the forest condition even in the presence of clouds. Using the random forest classification algorithm of the GEE platform, data on forest conditions in 2021 were obtained, covering an area of 2,843,938.87 ha or 63% of the total area of Sulawesi Selatan Province. An analysis using a map of the function of forest areas revealed that of the current forest area, 38.46% was non-forest estates and 61.54% was forest areas. The continued identification of illegal logging events also found 1971 spots of forest change events in the vulnerable time of the first period (January–April) with the second period (April–August), and 1680 spots of forest change events in the vulnerable period of the second period (April–August) with the third period (September–December), revealing a total incident area of 7599.28 ha. Full article
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13 pages, 12618 KiB  
Article
One-Step Process for the Fabrication of Hydrophobic and Dimensional Stable Wood Using Functionalized Silica Nanoparticles
by Miklós Bak, Dávid Takács, Rita Rákosa, Zsolt István Németh and Róbert Németh
Forests 2023, 14(3), 651; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030651 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2433
Abstract
The aim of this research was to improve the dimensional stability of wood through bulk hydrophobization, as a result of impregnation with fluorinated silica nanoparticles. The wood species European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) were used. [...] Read more.
The aim of this research was to improve the dimensional stability of wood through bulk hydrophobization, as a result of impregnation with fluorinated silica nanoparticles. The wood species European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) were used. The characterization of the modified wood was performed using analytical methods, including scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. The effect of fluorinated silica nanoparticles on the anti-swelling efficiency, water uptake, equilibrium moisture content, and water contact angle were investigated. The surface of the cell walls was discontinuously covered with fluorinated silica nanoparticles forming a rough surface coating. The presence of the hydrophobic silica nanoparticles improved the dimensional stability by permanently increasing the hydrophobicity of wood, besides a low weight percent gain. Furthermore, the treatment significantly decreased the equilibrium moisture content and water uptake. The modified wood surfaces showed significantly higher water contact angles, which was the main reason of the improved dimensional stability. Full article
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15 pages, 4867 KiB  
Article
Transcriptome Sequencing and Analysis of Genes Related to Disease Resistance in Pinus thunbergii
by Yu Zhang, Guicai Du, Qunqun Guo, Guosong Dong, Min Wang, Tingting Zhang and Ronggui Li
Forests 2023, 14(3), 650; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030650 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1259
Abstract
Pinus thunbergii (P. thunbergii) is a gymnosperm with important economic and ecological value. In order to investigate the diagnosis and defense mechanism of P. thunbergii against Bursaphelenchus xylophilus (the pinewood nematode, PWN), the needles of P. thunbergii seedlings on the fifth [...] Read more.
Pinus thunbergii (P. thunbergii) is a gymnosperm with important economic and ecological value. In order to investigate the diagnosis and defense mechanism of P. thunbergii against Bursaphelenchus xylophilus (the pinewood nematode, PWN), the needles of P. thunbergii seedlings on the fifth day after being infected by PWN were taken as samples for transcriptome sequencing analysis. Compared with the control group, 647 genes were differentially expressed in the treatment group, of which 277 genes were upregulated and 370 genes were downregulated. Enrichment analysis showed that most of these differentially expressed genes were abundant in the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, pathogen interaction and hormone signal transduction. In addition, among the differential genes, NBS-LRR genes, thiamine-metabolizing enzymes, phenylalanine ammonia lyase and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase were screened and analyzed. The analysis of the response of P. thunbergii to PWN stress and its disease resistance genes lays a foundation for the breeding of disease-resistant P. thunbergii in the future. Full article
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11 pages, 1000 KiB  
Article
Quercus suber Allometry in the West Mediterranean Basin
by Catarina Jorge, Margarida Tomé, Ricardo Ruiz-Peinado, Lobna Zribi and Joana Amaral Paulo
Forests 2023, 14(3), 649; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030649 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2051
Abstract
The necessity for accurate biomass estimates is greater than ever for the sustainable management of forest resources, which is an increasingly pressing matter due to climate change. The most used method to estimate biomass for operational purposes is through allometric equations. Typically, each [...] Read more.
The necessity for accurate biomass estimates is greater than ever for the sustainable management of forest resources, which is an increasingly pressing matter due to climate change. The most used method to estimate biomass for operational purposes is through allometric equations. Typically, each country develops their own models to be applied at the local scale because it is more convenient. But, for Quercus suber, a joint regional model can be more beneficial, since the species is distributed across the Mediterranean and is challenging to account for due to felling limitations and the nature of mature cork biomass itself. We found that these characteristics are reflected in the biomass datasets and compatibility was, perhaps, the largest impediment to such a model. The use of dummy variables to differentiate between countries, as well as compromises in the limits of biomass compartments, allowed us to develop two joint models to estimate aboveground biomass in Portugal, Spain and Tunisia. One model as a function of diameter and another as a function of diameter and total tree height. In addition, we developed a separate model for roots (modelling efficiency of fitting = 0.89), since it was not possible to assure additivity of the whole tree. All coefficients were estimated using Seemingly Unrelated Regressions (SUR) and model fitting assured additivity in the aboveground compartments—leaves and woody biomass (modelling efficiency of fitting = 0.89 and 0.93, respectively). This work proves that it is possible to have a biologically sound and efficient model for the three countries, despite differences in the observed allometric patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Estimating and Modeling Aboveground and Belowground Biomass)
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13 pages, 2992 KiB  
Review
Bibliometric Analysis of Forestry Research in Mexico Published by Mexican Journals
by Alberto Santillán-Fernández, Nehemias Vásquez-Bautista, Luis Marcelino Pelcastre-Ruiz, Carlos Antonio Ortigoza-García, Edgar Padilla-Herrera, Alfredo Esteban Tadeo-Noble, Eugenio Carrillo-Ávila, José Francisco Juárez-López, Javier Enrique Vera-López and Jaime Bautista-Ortega
Forests 2023, 14(3), 648; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030648 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1724
Abstract
There is scarce research assessing the productivity of scientific articles on forestry topics. The objective of this study was to analyze the scientific production on forestry topics that originated in Mexico and were published in Mexican journals from 1996 to 2019 and to [...] Read more.
There is scarce research assessing the productivity of scientific articles on forestry topics. The objective of this study was to analyze the scientific production on forestry topics that originated in Mexico and were published in Mexican journals from 1996 to 2019 and to identify the causes that determine the impact factor of such publications and the space-time evolution of forestry research in Mexico. In addition, to analyze whether researchers tend to publish in journals published by their affiliation institutions. The study considered 2384 scientific articles from seven journals belonging to category VI of Biotechnology and Agricultural Sciences listed in the Journals Classification System by the National Council of Science and Technology that publishes forestry topics. Bibliometric indicators were generated through text mining and analysis of co-authorship networks. It was found that forestry research in Mexico from 1996 to 2019 presented exponential growth in the number of publications. Forestry scientific production was concentrated in the center of the country. It was dominated by researchers from three of 122 institutions: Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias (13.88%), Colegio de Postgraduados (12.50%), and Universidad Autonoma Chapingo (10.44%). The journals with the highest number of publications were: Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Forestales (26.51%), Revista Chapingo Serie Ciencias Forestales y del Ambiente (20.34%), and Madera y Bosques (18.88%). Results show that forestry researchers in Mexico published mostly in journals edited by their affiliation institutions, which restricts constructive criticism of peer review and increases academic endogamy. Also showed the need to generate more forestry research for the southeast of the country on topics such as climate change, carbon capture, forest biometry, and remote perception, which are relevant aspects when we consider that no published research evaluated the development of the forestry sector in Mexico. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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18 pages, 1309 KiB  
Review
Recent Trends and Future Challenges for Lichen Biomonitoring in Forests
by Luisa Frati and Giorgio Brunialti
Forests 2023, 14(3), 647; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030647 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2387
Abstract
Currently, forest ecosystems are often located in remote areas, far from direct sources of air pollution. Nonetheless, they may be affected by different types of atmospheric deposition, which can compromise their health and inner balance. Epiphytic lichens respond to air pollution and climate [...] Read more.
Currently, forest ecosystems are often located in remote areas, far from direct sources of air pollution. Nonetheless, they may be affected by different types of atmospheric deposition, which can compromise their health and inner balance. Epiphytic lichens respond to air pollution and climate change, and they have been widely adopted as ecological indicators, mainly in urban and industrial areas, while forest ecosystems are still underrepresented. However, in recent years, their use has become increasingly widespread, especially in the context of long-term monitoring programs for air pollution in forests. In this review, we provide a critical analysis of the topic from the point of view of the different methodological approaches based on lichen responses adopted in forest ecosystems. Further, we discuss the main challenges posed by the current global change scenario. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomonitoring with Lichens and Mosses in Forests)
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19 pages, 2618 KiB  
Article
Estimation of Biomass and Carbon Sequestration Potential of Dalbergia latifolia Roxb. and Melia composita Willd. Plantations in the Tarai Region (India)
by Neha Chopra, Lalit Mohan Tewari, Ashish Tewari, Zishan Ahmad Wani, Mohd Asgher, Shreekar Pant, Sazada Siddiqui and Ayesha Siddiqua
Forests 2023, 14(3), 646; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030646 - 21 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1724
Abstract
This study was carried out in the Tarai region of Uttarakhand, India to estimate the carbon stock and sequestration potential of Dalbergia latifolia and Melia composita plantations of different ages (4 and 6 years old). A total of 14 regression equations using one [...] Read more.
This study was carried out in the Tarai region of Uttarakhand, India to estimate the carbon stock and sequestration potential of Dalbergia latifolia and Melia composita plantations of different ages (4 and 6 years old). A total of 14 regression equations using one variable, dbh (diameter at breast height), were primarily selected for both of the tree species component-wise. Tree density was 880 and 960 individuals ha−1 in D. latifolia and M. composita monoplantations, respectively. These equations were statistically significant (p < 0.01, p < 0.05) at 95% confidence interval. The total biomass of trees, shrubs, and herbs at the different-aged plantations varied from 68.86 to 145.14 Mg ha−1, 1.29 to 2.41 Mg ha−1, and 1.14 to 3.68 Mg ha−1, respectively. Among the studied plantations, the maximum total biomass of 145.14 Mg ha−1 was recorded at the M. composita plantation (7 years old), resulting in the maximum carbon stock of 68.94 Mg C ha−1. Total NPP ranged from 5.6 Mg ha−1yr−1 to 16.01 Mg ha−1yr−1 for both plantations of different ages. The carbon sequestration in the M. composita 7-year-old plantation was 7.6 Mg Cha−1yr−1. Quantified carbon sequestration among different tree components must be considered for tree-level inventories for carbon trading schemes when determining the long-term carbon pools under the Paris agreement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Estimation and Carbon Stocks in Forest Ecosystems—Volume II)
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48 pages, 13507 KiB  
Review
Why Healthy Pine Seedlings Die after They Leave the Nursery
by David B. South, Tom E. Starkey and Al Lyons
Forests 2023, 14(3), 645; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030645 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3455
Abstract
Artificial regeneration is successful when high-performing seedlings are transported with care to the planting site, stored for a short period in an environment without desiccation or fungal growth, and planted in a deep hole, so roots are in contact with moist soil. One [...] Read more.
Artificial regeneration is successful when high-performing seedlings are transported with care to the planting site, stored for a short period in an environment without desiccation or fungal growth, and planted in a deep hole, so roots are in contact with moist soil. One of the requirements for success is the ability to avoid common planting mistakes. Due, in part, to the use of container stock plus an increase in rainfall, the average first-year survival of pine seedlings (89%) in the southern United States is about 15% greater now than 45 years ago. However, when survival is less than 50% six months after planting, some landowners seek reimbursement for their loss. Some assume poor seedling quality was the cause without realizing that anaerobic soils or sudden freeze events, shallow planting holes, pruning roots, a lack of rain or underground insects can kill pines. With a focus on pines planted in the southern United States, we list non-nursery factors that have killed seedlings in North America, Africa and Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Production in Forest Nurseries and Field Performance of Seedlings)
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36 pages, 28070 KiB  
Review
The Macroscopic Structure of Wood
by Flavio Ruffinatto, Francesco Negro and Alan Crivellaro
Forests 2023, 14(3), 644; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030644 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 5193
Abstract
Understanding the macroscopic structure of wood and its formation is essential to identifying wood and evaluating its properties and quality. Depending on genetic background, environmental conditions, and tree developmental stage, the macroscopic structure of wood can vary greatly and produce specific macroscopic signatures. [...] Read more.
Understanding the macroscopic structure of wood and its formation is essential to identifying wood and evaluating its properties and quality. Depending on genetic background, environmental conditions, and tree developmental stage, the macroscopic structure of wood can vary greatly and produce specific macroscopic signatures. Here, a comprehensive outline of the wood’s macroscopic structure and the features that can be used to identify wood by macroscopic examination is presented. The planes of observations are first depicted, and the fundamental differences between softwoods and hardwoods are outlined. Then, all the different cell characteristics, arrangements, and distributions that can be macroscopically observed are illustrated with their influence on wood figure and texture and non-anatomical features. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews on Structure and Physical and Mechanical Properties of Wood)
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16 pages, 1286 KiB  
Essay
The Impact of Grassroots Forestry Institutions on Forest Carbon Sequestration: Evidence from China’s Collective Forests
by Shuqiang Li, Li Gao, Khan Hassan Saif and Hua Li
Forests 2023, 14(3), 643; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030643 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1070
Abstract
Many countries have established grassroots forestry institutions to manage and protect small-scale forestry resources and provide technology and services to private foresters. Since the inception of township forestry workstations (TFWs) in China almost 70 years ago, TFW has supported resource protection and forest [...] Read more.
Many countries have established grassroots forestry institutions to manage and protect small-scale forestry resources and provide technology and services to private foresters. Since the inception of township forestry workstations (TFWs) in China almost 70 years ago, TFW has supported resource protection and forest property reform. In this paper, we employ fixed effect models to test the effects of TFW on collective forest carbon density and provide evidence for improving the quality of collective forests. Our results demonstrate that TFWs in China improve the carbon density of collective forests by performing forestry management and service functions. However, significant differences in TFWs exist under different management systems, and the dual leadership township forestry workstation (D_TWF) is more effective in increasing the carbon density of collective forests. The management system’s heterogeneity directly affects its performance, with D_TWF performing better management functions and the single leadership township forestry workstation (S_TWF) performing better service functions. These results underscore the importance of reforming the TFW management system in accordance with local conditions. In areas with abundant forest resources, the TFW’s management system should shift to single leadership (jurisdictional or vertical management). In forest resource-scarce regions, the TFW’s management system should change to dual leadership. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Changes in the Value of Forest Resources: Impacts of Human Activities)
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20 pages, 3403 KiB  
Article
Contribution of Tree Size and Species on Aboveground Biomass across Land Cover Types in the Taita Hills, Southern Kenya
by Edward Amara, Hari Adhikari, James M. Mwamodenyi, Petri K. E. Pellikka and Janne Heiskanen
Forests 2023, 14(3), 642; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030642 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1833
Abstract
Tropical landscapes comprise a variety of land cover (LC) types with characteristic canopy structure and tree species. Depending on the LC type, large-diameter trees and certain tree species can contribute disproportionately to aboveground biomass (AGB), and these patterns are not described at landscape-level [...] Read more.
Tropical landscapes comprise a variety of land cover (LC) types with characteristic canopy structure and tree species. Depending on the LC type, large-diameter trees and certain tree species can contribute disproportionately to aboveground biomass (AGB), and these patterns are not described at landscape-level in LC type specific studies. Therefore, we investigated the impact of large trees and tree species on AGB across a range of LC types in Taita Hills, Kenya. Data included 239 field plots from seven LC types: Montane forest, Plantation forest, Mixed forest, Riverine forest, Bushland, Grassland, and Cropland and homestead. Our results show that the contribution of large trees (DBH > 60 cm) on AGB was greatest in Riverine forest, Montane forest and Mixed forest (34–87%). Large trees were also common in Plantation forests and Cropland and homestead. Small trees (DBH < 20 cm) covered less than 10% of the total AGB in all forest types. In Grassland, and Cropland and homestead, smaller DBH classes made a greater contribution. Bushland differed from other classes as large trees were rare. Furthermore, the results show that each LC type had characteristic species with high AGB. In the Montane and Mixed forest, Albizia gummifera contributed 21.1% and 18.3% to AGB, respectively. Eucalyptus spp., exotic species planted in the area, were important in Mixed and Plantation forests. Newtonia hildebrandtii was the most important species in Riverine forests. In Bushland, Acacia mearnsii, species with invasive character, was abundant among trees with DBH < 30 cm. Vachellia tortillis, a common species in savannahs of East Africa, made the largest contribution in Grassland. Finally, in Cropland and homestead, Grevillea robusta was the most important species (>25% of AGB). Our results highlight the importance of conserving large trees and certain species to retain AGB stocks in the landscape. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that exotic tree species, even though invasive, can have large contribution to AGB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Estimation and Carbon Stocks in Forest Ecosystems)
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25 pages, 6460 KiB  
Article
Use of an Arboretum and DNA Barcoding for the Detection and Identification of Leaf-Mining Insects on Alien Woody Plants
by Natalia I. Kirichenko, Stanislav Gomboc, Barbara Piškur and Maarten de Groot
Forests 2023, 14(3), 641; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030641 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1746
Abstract
Arboreta serve as effective tools for identifying alien insect pests and novel trophic associations. In this study, we used an arboretum in Slovenia to survey woody plants and identify both alien and native leaf miners. The leaves and twigs of 50 woody plant [...] Read more.
Arboreta serve as effective tools for identifying alien insect pests and novel trophic associations. In this study, we used an arboretum in Slovenia to survey woody plants and identify both alien and native leaf miners. The leaves and twigs of 50 woody plant species and their cultivars were examined for characteristic damage. We used an integrative approach that combined identification based on leaf mines and DNA barcoding of the larvae and pupae found in the mines. In total, 62 leaf-mining species were identified, including eight alien species, of which the heliozelid Coptodisca lucifluella (Clemens, 1860) and the agromyzid Cerodontha unisetiorbita Zlobin, 1992 were documented for Slovenia for the first time. Additionally, three presumably native Gracillariidae moths Phyllocnistis labyrinthella (Bjerkander, 1790), P. ramulicola Langmaid & Corley, 2007 and P. saligna (Zeller, 1839) represented the first record for Slovenia. Furthermore, we documented 23 novel-to-science trophic associations, 20 of which involved native insects and alien woody plants, primarily from Asia. This study highlights the importance of arboreta and botanical gardens for the interception of invasive alien insects and the early detection of trophic shifts of native insects to alien plants, which can aid in predicting their potential spread. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diagnostics of Forest Pest Insects)
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13 pages, 3267 KiB  
Article
Hydroclimate Variations across North-Central China during the Past 530 Years and Their Relationships with Atmospheric Oscillations
by Shuyuan Kang, Jingjing Liu and Jianglin Wang
Forests 2023, 14(3), 640; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030640 - 21 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1069
Abstract
Detailed study of historical drought events in North-Central China (NCC) is important to understand current hydroclimate variability in the background of global warming. Here, we combined 12 published tree-ring chronologies and 12 dryness/wetness indices (DWI) to reconstruct dry and wet climate variability across [...] Read more.
Detailed study of historical drought events in North-Central China (NCC) is important to understand current hydroclimate variability in the background of global warming. Here, we combined 12 published tree-ring chronologies and 12 dryness/wetness indices (DWI) to reconstruct dry and wet climate variability across NCC. These 24 proxy records showed similarly significant responses to warm season (May–June–July–August–September, MJJAS) moisture signals. A new 530-year-long reconstruction of self-calibrating Palmer Drought Severity Index (scPDSI) values for the warm season in NCC was determined using a nested principal component regression (PCR) approach. The new reconstruction shows significant correlations with the instrumental MJJAS scPDSI data across NCC during the period AD 1901–2012. The reconstructed MJJAS scPDSI revealed seven severe dry/wet events from AD 1470 to 2012. The periods AD 1701–1727 and AD 1985–2011 represent the longest dry periods, and the drought during the 1920s is identified as the most severe one over the past 530 years. Our reconstruction shows significant interannual spectral peaks at the frequency domain of 2–7 years, together with relatively weaker decadal frequencies of 16, 24, and 78 years. The results of superposed epoch analysis (SEA) show that extreme North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) years may modulate drought variability in NCC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Meteorology and Climate Change)
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24 pages, 9051 KiB  
Article
A Novel 3D Tree-Modeling Method of Incorporating Small-Scale Spatial Structure Parameters in a Heterogeneous Forest Environment
by Linlong Wang, Huaiqing Zhang, Huacong Zhang, Tingdong Yang, Jing Zhang and Yang Liu
Forests 2023, 14(3), 639; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030639 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1365
Abstract
Currently, 3D tree modeling in a highly heterogeneous forest environment remains a significant challenge for the modeler. Previous research has only focused on morphological characteristics and parameters, overlooking the impact of micro-environmental factors (e.g., spatial-structural diversification and habitat heterogeneity) and providing less structural [...] Read more.
Currently, 3D tree modeling in a highly heterogeneous forest environment remains a significant challenge for the modeler. Previous research has only focused on morphological characteristics and parameters, overlooking the impact of micro-environmental factors (e.g., spatial-structural diversification and habitat heterogeneity) and providing less structural information about the individual tree and decreasing the applicability and authenticity of 3D tree models in a virtual forest. In this paper, we chose a mixed-forest conversion of Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) plantations in a subtropical region of China as our study subject and proposed a novel 3D tree-modeling method based on a structural unit (TMSU). Our approach modified traditional rule-based tree modeling (RTM) by introducing a nonlinear mixed-effect model (NLME) to study the coupling response between the spatial structures and morphological characteristics (e.g., tree height (H), height-to-crown base (HCB), and crown width (CW)) of three dominant trees (e.g., Cunninghamia lanceolata (SM), Machilus pauhoi (BHN), and Schima superba (MH)) and develop a prediction model of the morphological characteristic by incorporating forest-based structural parameters. The results showed that: (1) The NLME model in TMSU was found to better fit the data and predict the morphological characteristics than the OLS model in RTM. As compared to the RTM morphological model, the prediction accuracy of the TMSU model of morphological features was improved by 10.4%, 3.02%, and 17.8%, for SM’s H, HCB, and CW, respectively; 6.5%, 7.6%, and 8.9% for BHN’s H, HCB, and CW, respectively; and 13.3%, 15.7%, and 13.4% for MH’s H, HCB, and CW, respectively. (2) The spatial-structural parameters of crowding (Ci), mingling (Mi), and dominance (Ui) had a significant impact on the morphological characteristics of SM, BHN, and MH in TMSU. The degree of crowding, for example, had a positive relationship with tree height, height-to-crown base, and crown width in SM, BHN, and MH; under the same crowding conditions, mingling was positively correlated with tree crown width in SM, and dominance was positively correlated with tree height but negatively correlated with height-to-crown base in BHN; under the same crowding and mingling, dominance was positively correlated with height-to-crown base in MH. (3) Using 25 scenes based on the value class of Ci,Mi for SM, 25 scenes based on the value class of Ci,Ui for BHN, and 125 scenes based on the value class of Ci,Mi,Ui for MH, we generated the model libraries for the three dominating species based on TMSU. As a result, our TSMU method outperformed the traditional 3D tree-modeling method RTM in a complex and highly heterogeneous spatial structure of a forest stand, and it provided more information concerning the spatial structure based on the neighborhood relationships than the simple morphological characteristics; a higher morphological prediction accuracy with fewer parameters; and the relationship between the spatial-structural parameters and the morphological characteristics of a reference tree. Full article
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13 pages, 982 KiB  
Article
Rockrose Land Management: Contribution of Periodic Harvesting to Increase Value and to Control Cistus ladanifer L. Shrublands
by David Franco Frazão, José Carlos Gonçalves, Amélia M. Silva and Fernanda Delgado
Forests 2023, 14(3), 638; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030638 - 21 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1379
Abstract
Cistus ladanifer L. (Cistaceae) occupies extensive areas as a dominant species (shrublands) or is associated to other major forest typologies in the Iberian Peninsula. Cistus ladanifer shrublands are mostly present in oligotrophic lands with little valorisation and management and as they develop over [...] Read more.
Cistus ladanifer L. (Cistaceae) occupies extensive areas as a dominant species (shrublands) or is associated to other major forest typologies in the Iberian Peninsula. Cistus ladanifer shrublands are mostly present in oligotrophic lands with little valorisation and management and as they develop over the years (up to 20-years-old) they promote the ignition and perpetuation of fire. To contribute to the proper management and valorisation of such systems, a 5-year-old dense shrubland was evaluated for its labdanum resin, seeds, and biomass productivity using different non-destructive harvest periodicities (annual and biennial) and seasons (early, mid-, and late summer), in a two-year case-study. Annual harvest modality maximized labdanum resin productivity (reaching 230 ± 50 kg∙ha−1∙2 years−1 at late summer) and photosynthetic biomass productivity. In contrast, a biennial harvest yielded significant amounts of more diversified products. It maximized seeds productivity (reaching 75 ± 41 kg∙ha−1∙2 years−1 independently of the summer season) and lignified biomass. However, it also reached a labdanum resin productivity of 134 ± 20 kg∙ha−1∙2 yearrs−1 at late summer and a photosynthetic biomass productivity around two times lower than the annual harvest. In this study, we propose two modalities of periodic harvest to be considered as proper long cycle management practices of rockrose lands. It intends to minimize fire risks, break the vegetation auto-succession mechanism, and increase profit from non-productive lands based on three direct outputs with a myriad of applications and valorisation pathways. Full article
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16 pages, 5104 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Potential Applications of the Noninvasive Reporter Gene RUBY in Plant Genetic Transformation
by Jingjing Yu, Shiling Deng, Han Huang, Jinhui Mo, Zeng-Fu Xu and Yi Wang
Forests 2023, 14(3), 637; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030637 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 5470
Abstract
Betalains can be conveniently observed and quantified and, accordingly, have the potential as naked-eye visual screening reporters during plant transformation. RUBY is a new reporter system that uses “2A” peptides to fuse three key genes, CYP76AD1, DODA, and glucosyl transferase, [...] Read more.
Betalains can be conveniently observed and quantified and, accordingly, have the potential as naked-eye visual screening reporters during plant transformation. RUBY is a new reporter system that uses “2A” peptides to fuse three key genes, CYP76AD1, DODA, and glucosyl transferase, for betalain biosynthesis, and has been successfully used for transformation of rice, Arabidopsis, and cotton, but its potential applications in the genetic transformation of various other plant species remain to be verified. In this study, RUBY was transferred into the hairy roots of Plukenetia volubilis and Nicotiana benthamiana, and was transferred into Arabidopsis by the floral-dip method. The expression levels of CYP76AD1, DODA, and glucosyl transferase were detected by RT−PCR and RT−qPCR, the relationship between the expression level of RUBY and red coloration was analyzed, and the genetic stability of RUBY in transgenic Arabidopsis was studied. The results showed that the expression of RUBY could reconstruct the betalain biosynthesis pathway in the hairy roots of P. volubilis, N. benthamiana, and Arabidopsis plants, indicating that it has the potential for versatile use across species. As a reporter, betalain did not affect callus induction, plant regeneration, development, or fertility. However, when used in plant transformation for observation and visual screening, it needed to accumulate to a certain extent to show red coloration, and it was positively correlated with gene expression. In general, RUBY is a convenient reporter for plant transformation, and has no obvious side effects during plant growth and development. However, the potential application of RUBY for visual screening is highly determined by the expression level, and further improvement is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Genetics and Molecular Biology)
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11 pages, 3184 KiB  
Article
Co-Combustion Investigation of Wood Pellets Blended with FFP2 Masks: Analysis of the Ash Melting Temperature
by Nikola Čajová Kantová, Michal Holubčík, Alexander Čaja, Juraj Trnka, Peter Hrabovský and Pavol Belány
Forests 2023, 14(3), 636; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030636 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 928
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic brought a period of high consumption of protective masks and an increase in their waste. Therefore, it was necessary to look at possibilities for their disposal. This article is focused on the disposal of FFP2 masks in the form of [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought a period of high consumption of protective masks and an increase in their waste. Therefore, it was necessary to look at possibilities for their disposal. This article is focused on the disposal of FFP2 masks in the form of pellets blended with sawdust. Further, their ash melting behavior was observed. The method of ash preparation can impact the resulting values of melting temperatures. Therefore, this article investigates the resulting values of ash melting temperatures determined during different ash preparations, such as temperatures (550 °C and 815 °C) and ash size (non-sifted, smaller than 50 µm and 100 µm). All measured deformation temperatures were higher than 1100 °C and even higher than 1200 °C for some samples. Moreover, the presence of FFP2 masks in pellets only insignificantly affected the values of melting temperatures compared to pure wood pellets. The measured values also showed that increasing the temperature of ash preparation from 550 to 815 °C can increase the resulting values of melting temperature. The most significant proportion of the fraction size on the resulting melting temperatures was observed for beech with 5% and 10% of masks at an ash temperature of 550 °C and for spruce with 10% of masks at an ash temperature of 815 °C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Science and Technology of Lignocellulosic Materials)
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13 pages, 1197 KiB  
Review
Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Walp Applications for Enhancing Soil Fertility and Crop Nutritional Qualities: A Review
by Emmanuel Oladeji Alamu, Michael Adesokan, Segun Fawole, Busie Maziya-Dixon, Tesfai Mehreteab and David Chikoye
Forests 2023, 14(3), 635; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030635 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 5970
Abstract
Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Walp is a well-known agroforestry leguminous tree that provides multiple benefits in different agroecological zones. Its apparent versatility is seen in improving animal feed, cleaning environmental wastes, and healing inflammations. It was also found to have significant benefits [...] Read more.
Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Walp is a well-known agroforestry leguminous tree that provides multiple benefits in different agroecological zones. Its apparent versatility is seen in improving animal feed, cleaning environmental wastes, and healing inflammations. It was also found to have significant benefits in agroforestry due to its ability to enhance soil fertility through nitrogen fixation and green manure. However, this article reviews the use of Gliricidia sepium to improve soil fertility and crop agronomic and nutritional properties. Google Scholar, PubMed, and Science Direct were the databases consulted for the relevant articles used in this review. Trees and leaves of G. sepium, either used as mulch, biochar, or intercropped, have enhanced soil fertility indicators, such as total soil carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, available phosphorus, pH, cation exchange capacity, and soil organic matter in different farming systems. Its immense positive performance in improving the yield of crops led to an economic advantage for low-income farmers. G. sepium can also lower the use of mineral fertilizer as its adoption grows, leading to a greener environment in the agricultural sector. The review concluded that there is a plethora of research on the effect of Gliricidia on maize yield enhancement; hence further investigations should be conducted on using Gliricidia sepium as a green fertilizer to improve yields and the nutritional properties of other crops. Full article
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12 pages, 1131 KiB  
Article
Nematodes Consume Four Species of a Common, Wood-Decay Fungus
by Abigail Ferson-Mitchell, Lynn Carta, John-Erich Haight and George Newcombe
Forests 2023, 14(3), 634; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030634 - 21 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1016
Abstract
Since nitrogen is in short supply in wood yet relatively plentiful in the bodies of nematodes, wood-decay fungi have been thought to be nematophagous. In an earlier study, we confirmed the nematophagy of two species of wood-decay fungi (Pleurotus ostreatus and P. [...] Read more.
Since nitrogen is in short supply in wood yet relatively plentiful in the bodies of nematodes, wood-decay fungi have been thought to be nematophagous. In an earlier study, we confirmed the nematophagy of two species of wood-decay fungi (Pleurotus ostreatus and P. pulmonarius), although we also found nematode species that could turn the tables and consume Pleurotus. In this study, we tested interactions between nematode species and Fomitopsis, another genus of common wood-decay fungi. Four geographically distinct isolates, or provenances, within each of four species (i.e., the European F. pinicola and three North American species: F. ochracea, F. schrenkii, and F. mounceae) were confronted with a total of twenty nematode species (twenty-four strains) in four experiments. Nematophagy was observed much less frequently in Fomitopsis than in Pleurotus: only 31 of the 516 interactions (6%), overall, resulted in nematophagy by a Fomitopsis isolate, whereas with Pleurotus, the result was 16 of 28 (57%). In contrast, all 20 species of nematode here were capable of mycophagy and dominated interactions with all isolates of Fomitopsis overall. Clearly, not all wood-decay fungi are as strongly nematophagous as the Pleurotus species. Perhaps arboreal nematodes even tend towards mycophagy, given the limiting nitrogen in wood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Biodiversity)
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16 pages, 7530 KiB  
Article
Predicting Distribution and Range Dynamics of Three Threatened Cypripedium Species under Climate Change Scenario in Western Himalaya
by Naveen Chandra, Gajendra Singh, Ishwari Datt Rai, Arun Pratap Mishra, Mohd. Yahya Kazmi, Arvind Pandey, Jeewan Singh Jalal, Romulus Costache, Hussein Almohamad, Motrih Al-Mutiry and Hazem Ghassan Abdo
Forests 2023, 14(3), 633; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030633 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1711
Abstract
Climate change and anthropogenic pressure have significantly contributed to the decline of biodiversity worldwide, particularly in mountain ecosystems such as the Himalaya. In addition to being relatively sensitive to disturbances, orchids may also respond more quickly to climate change impacts than other plant [...] Read more.
Climate change and anthropogenic pressure have significantly contributed to the decline of biodiversity worldwide, particularly in mountain ecosystems such as the Himalaya. In addition to being relatively sensitive to disturbances, orchids may also respond more quickly to climate change impacts than other plant species. Because of their complex biology and anthropogenic pressures on their habitat in the Himalayan region, lady’s slipper orchids are considered to be a highly vulnerable group of orchids. In the present study, we examine the effect of climate change on the distribution of three threatened Cypripedium species (Cypripedium cordigerum, Cypripedium elegans, and Cypripedium himalaicum), utilizing ecological niche modeling for present and future climatic scenarios to identify key environmental determinants and population parameters. A community climate system model (CCSM ver. 4) was used to identify suitable distribution areas for future scenarios. Based on the least correlated characteristics of the species bioclimatic, topographical, and physiological characteristics, the species’ climatic niche was determined. According to the results, the true skill statistic (TSS), area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC), and Cohen’s kappa provide more reliable predictions. Precipitation during the wettest month and precipitation during the coldest quarter are the primary climatic variables that influence the distribution of suitable areas. A total of 192 km2 of the area was estimated to be suitable for all three species under current climate conditions. Under future climate conditions, the model predicts a trivial increase in suitable habitat areas with a shift toward the northwest. However, highly suitable habitat areas will be severely diminished. There are currently highly suitable habitats in Tungnath and the Valley of Flowers, but due to climatic factors, the habitats will become unsuitable in the future. Additionally, under future climatic scenarios, viable habitats will be identified for priority conservation to cope with the effects of climate change and anthropogenic activities. In light of these findings, conservation methods for the target species may be designed that will be successful and have the potential to prevent local extinctions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Climate Warming and Disturbances on Forest Ecosystems)
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17 pages, 1318 KiB  
Article
Assessment of the Impact of Industry-Related Air Emission of Arsenic in the Soils of Forest Ecosystems
by Mikhail V. Shabanov, Maksim S. Marichev, Tatiana M. Minkina, Saglara S. Mandzhieva and Dina G. Nevidomskaya
Forests 2023, 14(3), 632; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030632 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1213
Abstract
The soils of forest ecosystems are often affected by the industrial activity of mining and metallurgical enterprises, and insufficiently investigated for the content of pollutants due to enterprise emissions. Some pollutants, such as arsenic, are transported over long distances by these emissions. To [...] Read more.
The soils of forest ecosystems are often affected by the industrial activity of mining and metallurgical enterprises, and insufficiently investigated for the content of pollutants due to enterprise emissions. Some pollutants, such as arsenic, are transported over long distances by these emissions. To analyze this connection, the present study was conducted on the eastern slope of Mount Yurma, the Southern Urals, Russia, to determine the content of arsenic in the soils of mountain forest areas in the impact zone of the copper smelter (Karabash). The physical and chemical parameters, total content of arsenic, mineralogical composition of silt, and concentration of arsenic in the silty fraction in soils located at different altitudes were determined using atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques. The soils under study are physico-chemically and chemically acidic in the upper horizons with a pH of 3.26 to 4.05. The carbon of organic matter decreases with depth from 7.98 to 0.06%. Exchangeable Ca and Mg cations in the range of 2.6–8.6 mg-eq per 100 g of soil were determined. The mineralogical composition of the silty fraction consists mainly of quartz and aluminosilicates. Following an analysis of the arsenic content in the above-ground leaf litter, the bioconcentration factor (BCF) was calculated. Arsenic exceeding Clarke concentrations was recorded. In all upper soil horizons, concentrations of total arsenic exceeded background values by 3.7–5.2 times, with maximum values in the horizons A—25.3 mg/kg, in the horizons O—64.4 mg/kg. The obtained BCF > 1 data points to the biological arsenic accumulation by plants and, as a result, its input into the soil via industrial emissions from the smelter. It was found that the silty fraction plays a special role in the accumulation of arsenic in the studied soils. Accumulation of arsenic occurred mainly due to the secondary minerals of Ca and Mg. Differences in the accumulation of arsenic in the forest litter depending on the plant association were noted. The obtained results could serve as a guideline for monitoring the areas around the enterprise and enhancing the understanding of pollutants’ distribution in the soils of remote areas and mountain landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pollution, Heavy Metal, and Emerging Threats in Forest Soil)
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11 pages, 2476 KiB  
Technical Note
A Novel Simplified Protocol for Pre-Processing Whole Wood Samples for Stable Isotope Analysis in Tree Rings
by Osvaldo Pericolo, Camilla Avanzi, Andrea Piotti, Francesco Ripullone and Paola Nola
Forests 2023, 14(3), 631; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030631 - 20 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1239
Abstract
In the context of climate change, the stable isotope analysis of tree rings may play a crucial role in deciphering the eco-physiological mechanisms underlying forest decline and dieback phenomena. However, this technique is often considered expensive, time-consuming, and with several methodological constraints. Specifically, [...] Read more.
In the context of climate change, the stable isotope analysis of tree rings may play a crucial role in deciphering the eco-physiological mechanisms underlying forest decline and dieback phenomena. However, this technique is often considered expensive, time-consuming, and with several methodological constraints. Specifically, milling and transferring the material from jars to vials during the different steps of sample preparation involve risk of contamination among samples and loss of sample material. When dealing with declining trees (i.e., trees affected by loss of vitality with strong percentage of defoliation and reduction in growth) and trees subjected to extreme events or negative pointer years (characterized by extremely narrow ring) the sample preparation is particularly difficult because of scarce amount of wood material. In such a case, pooling rings from several years to achieve the minimum weight of wood is often necessary, thus losing information at the annual resolution. In order to overcome such limitations, we developed a novel protocol for quick and accurate whole-wood pre-processing, testing it on oak tree rings of different widths taken from living trees. The main novelty introduced by our protocol was freezing tree-ring samples at −80 °C and milling multiple samples at a time by using a 24-tube plate. The results showed that our novel simplified protocol significantly reduced the pre-processing time with respect to the standard protocol (12 vs. 284 sec/sample), while achieving the same wood particle size, limiting the loss of wood material and reducing the risk of contamination among samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Resilience and Resistance to Climate Change)
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14 pages, 34665 KiB  
Article
Paleo Distribution and Habitat Risks under Climate Change of Helleborus thibetanus
by Xiaohua Shi, Lihui Mao, Miao Sun, Guangying Ma and Kaiyuan Zhu
Forests 2023, 14(3), 630; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030630 - 20 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1129
Abstract
As an endemic species and the only Helleborus species in China, Helleborus thibetanus is highly valued in medicinal and ornamental applications, and basic research is needed for its further resource conservation and utilization. Considering the interesting disjunct distribution of the genus Helleborus, [...] Read more.
As an endemic species and the only Helleborus species in China, Helleborus thibetanus is highly valued in medicinal and ornamental applications, and basic research is needed for its further resource conservation and utilization. Considering the interesting disjunct distribution of the genus Helleborus, we focus on the distribution pattern of H. thibetanus in this research. Based on species distribution models using three different algorithms (MaxEnt, RF, and FDA), we constructed a robust ensemble model and predicted potential distributions under different scenarios: current situation, paleo periods since the Last Glacial Maximum, and simulations of climate change in the 2070s. The habitat suitability of H. thibetanus across geography and scenarios was further analyzed by calculating regional areas and centroids. The results showed that H. thibetanus is currently distributed in southern Shaanxi and northern Sichuan, while central and southern Sichuan used to be suitable 14 thousand years ago but gradually became unsuitable, which may reflect the population decrease in Sichuan and the population expansion in Shaanxi over the last 14 thousand years. Our results showed that current populations are under limited extinction pressure in the soft climate change scenario (ssp126), but most populations in Shaanxi are under extinction pressure in the hardy situation scenario (ssp585). Fortunately, northern Sichuan is predicted to be relatively stable under climate change (both ssp126 and ssp585), and regions in western Sichuan and eastern Qinghai are predicted to become newly suitable for H. thibetanus. These findings should be helpful for the further conservation and utilization of H. thibetanus and also help us understand the history of the conjunct distribution pattern of the Helleborus genus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling Forest Response to Climate Change)
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4 pages, 636 KiB  
Editorial
Landslides in Forests around the World: Causes and Mitigation
by Haijia Wen, Weile Li, Chong Xu and Hiromu Daimaru
Forests 2023, 14(3), 629; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030629 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1213
Abstract
Landslides are a common natural disaster in forested mountainous regions [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landslides in Forests around the World: Causes and Mitigation)
13 pages, 2825 KiB  
Article
The Identification and Expression Analysis of the Liriodendron chinense (Hemsl.) Sarg. SOD Gene Family
by Ya Chen, Hua Wu, Zhaodong Hao, Liming Zhu, Lu Lu, Jisen Shi and Jinhui Chen
Forests 2023, 14(3), 628; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030628 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1937
Abstract
Superoxide dismutase (oxide dismutase) is an enzyme synthesized via the expression of SOD-related genes. It is the first line of defense against oxygen free radicals, and it widely exists in the cytoplasm, chloroplasts, and mitochondria. However, the SOD gene family of woody plant [...] Read more.
Superoxide dismutase (oxide dismutase) is an enzyme synthesized via the expression of SOD-related genes. It is the first line of defense against oxygen free radicals, and it widely exists in the cytoplasm, chloroplasts, and mitochondria. However, the SOD gene family of woody plant Liriodendron chinense has not been studied. To reveal the potential role of SOD genes, we systematically identified and analyzed the SOD gene family of L. chinense, and investigated the transcriptional responses of LcSOD genes to several abiotic stresses, including cold, heat, and drought. A total of eight SOD genes were identified, namely, five Cu/Zn-SODs, two Fe-SODs, and one Mn-SOD, and they were divided into two subgroups according to phylogenetic analysis, gene structure, and conserved motifs. Cis-acting element analysis reveals various hormones and stress respond as cis-acting elements in the promoters of LcSODs. Gene expression analysis shows that most LcSOD genes were in response to abiotic stresses at the transcriptional level. These results help in clarifying the function of LcSOD genes under abiotic stresses, and provide potential targets for the improvement in abiotic stress tolerance in the endangered L. chinense. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Genetics and Molecular Biology)
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32 pages, 57751 KiB  
Article
Constructing a Forest Color Palette and the Effects of the Color Patch Index on Human Eye Recognition Accuracy
by Wenjing Han, Chang Zhang, Cheng Wang and Luqin Yin
Forests 2023, 14(3), 627; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030627 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1691
Abstract
As the first visual element, color is the most attractive in the forest landscape. There are various kinds of forest colors; however, the human eye’s ability to recognize them is limited. In order to combine color composition and human eye recognition ability to [...] Read more.
As the first visual element, color is the most attractive in the forest landscape. There are various kinds of forest colors; however, the human eye’s ability to recognize them is limited. In order to combine color composition and human eye recognition ability to quantify forest colors more appropriately and to improve the ornamental effect of forest color landscapes more precisely, we have constructed a forest color palette using k-means clustering based on the color information of 986 forest images from 40 national forest parks in China. The differences in color recognition accuracy and sensitivity among populations and colors were analyzed. The effect of forest color patch indices on color identification accuracy for interior and distant forest landscapes was also explored. The results were as follows: (1) forest color could be divided into eight color families—orange, yellow, yellow-green, green, blue-green, blue, purple, and red. (2) For humans, the recognition accuracy was highest for green and lowest for blue-green. (3) For interior forest landscapes, the mean area proportion and fractal dimension of the color patches showed significant positive effects on color recognition accuracy, whereas the number and density of color patches showed significant negative effects. For distant forest landscapes, the density and Shannon’s diversity index of the color patches showed significant positive effects for color recognition accuracy, whereas the number, edge density, division index, and cohesion of the color patches showed significant negative effects. We thus suggest that it is necessary to increase the complexity of the color patch shape when creating interior forest landscapes and to focus on the diversity and balance of color matching when creating distant forest landscapes. In future studies, the collection pathways for forest images should be expanded, and color information extraction algorithms that incorporate human perception should be selected. This will improve the data available for forest color studies and enable the construction of a more accurate forest color palette. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Urban Forestry and Sustainable Environments)
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