Ecosystem Degradation and Restoration: From Assessment to Practice

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 March 2024) | Viewed by 15459

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
College of Ecology and Environment, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu, China
Interests: biodiversity and conservation; ecosystem degradation and restoration; ecological planning
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Guest Editor
Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, China
Interests: ecosystem carbon/water/energy fluxes; grassland restoration
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Guest Editor
Ecology and Nature Conservation Institute, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing, China
Interests: forest restoration; community assemblage; biodiversity conservation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
School of Remote Sensing & Geomatics Engineering, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China
Interests: remote sensing for global changes; hyperspectral remote sensing; eco-environmental monitoring

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ecosystem degradation is a major challenge for sustainable development. How to assess its severity and take economic and effective measures to prevent the continuous deterioration is a common concern of the government, enterprises and academia. With the rapid accumulation of knowledge and data in recent years, ecosystem degradation assessment and restoration are increasingly carried out at different scales (from local to global) and on different aspects (e.g., vegetation, animal, and ecological process). Therefore, this Special Issue aims to explore the integration of methods and results from multi-scale ecosystem degradation assessment and the coordination of multi-dimensional restoration strategies concerning both nature and humans. Papers addressing the following topics are welcome: 1) papers assessing ecosystem degradation and resilience potential through multisource data (e.g., remote sensing, plants, animals, economy and society) at multiple scales; 2) papers assisting decision-making by simultaneously considering regional ecological restoration planning, local ecological restoration technology, and regional sustainable development goals; and 3) papers addressing the ecological degradation and restoration of human-dominated ecosystems, previously less-concerned taxonomic groups (e.g., insects and nematodes), and newly emerged ecological networks. Both theoretical and case studies will be published, with an emphasis on forest and grassland ecosystems.

Dr. Shengbin Chen
Prof. Dr. Changliang Shao 
Prof. Dr. Yi Ding
Dr. Bo Liu
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • ecological assessment
  • ecological conservation
  • ecosystem degradation
  • ecological design
  • ecological engineering
  • ecological planning
  • ecosystem resilience
  • ecological restoration
  • plantation
  • reforestation

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 6880 KiB  
Article
The Relationship between the Carbon Fixation Capacity of Vegetation and Cultivated Land Expansion and Its Driving Factors in an Oasis in the Arid Region of Xinjiang, China
by Mengting Sun, Hongnan Jiang, Jianhui Xu, Peng Zhou, Xu Li, Mengyu Xie and Doudou Hao
Forests 2024, 15(2), 262; https://doi.org/10.3390/f15020262 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 722
Abstract
In the process of agricultural development in arid and semi-arid areas, the carbon fixation capacity of vegetation can be affected to different degrees, but research on its driving factors is lacking. Consequently, this paper focuses on the Weiku Oasis in Xinjiang as its [...] Read more.
In the process of agricultural development in arid and semi-arid areas, the carbon fixation capacity of vegetation can be affected to different degrees, but research on its driving factors is lacking. Consequently, this paper focuses on the Weiku Oasis in Xinjiang as its research area, in which the carbon fixation capacity of vegetation is estimated with the chemical equation of a photochemical reaction, using methods such as linear system models and Geodetector to analyze the relationship between cropland expansion characteristics and the carbon fixation capacity of vegetation from 1990 to 2020. The influence of land-use changes on the space differentiation of carbon fixation was elucidated through a time series relationship, and the synergistic effects of nine influencing factors on the carbon fixation capacity during the process of vegetation changes were discussed. The results were as follows: (1) In the process of agricultural development, the proportions of cultivated land area and spatial agglomeration had significant negative correlations with carbon sequestration, and the significance was rising, but the effect of cultivated land area proportion was more significant. (2) Through temporal sequential cooperativity analysis, when other land-use types were converted into cultivated land, the carbon fixation capacity of vegetation suddenly and significantly decreased in the initial year of the transformation, but the effect of cultivated land reclamation on the carbon fixation capacity of vegetation did not have a significant time lag. Moreover, after a certain period of time, cultivated land can gradually recover part of its lost carbon fixation capacity. (3) Among the nine driving factors, potential evapotranspiration is the most prominent in explaining the carbon fixation capacity of vegetation. This single-factor pairwise interaction presents the relationship between bivariate enhancement and nonlinear enhancement. When terrain factors interact with other factors, the enhancement effect of the influence on the carbon fixation capacity of vegetation has an obvious promotion effect. However, the change in the carbon fixation capacity of vegetation is more significantly influenced by potential evapotranspiration and the interaction between the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and other factors. This research is helpful to understanding the basic theories related to the change in the carbon fixation capacity of vegetation during the process of agricultural development in arid and semi-arid areas, as well as providing theoretical reference for ecological environment construction and sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Degradation and Restoration: From Assessment to Practice)
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14 pages, 3847 KiB  
Article
Identification of Ecological Restoration Priority Areas Integrating Human Activity Intensity and Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis
by Hao Wang, Butian Tang, Wenyi Li, Weijuan Zhang, Jiamin Liu, Liwei Zhang and Lei Jiao
Forests 2023, 14(12), 2348; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14122348 - 29 Nov 2023
Viewed by 725
Abstract
Restoration action is critical to ensure a safe environment for humans. Reasonable planning is essential to optimize the efficiency of ecological restoration inputs and outputs when implementing restoration measures. In this study, a method that combines human activity intensity assessment and multi-criteria decision [...] Read more.
Restoration action is critical to ensure a safe environment for humans. Reasonable planning is essential to optimize the efficiency of ecological restoration inputs and outputs when implementing restoration measures. In this study, a method that combines human activity intensity assessment and multi-criteria decision analysis to determine ecological restoration priority (ERP) areas was developed to identify priority and feasible areas for ecological restoration in Shaanxi Province in 2020. The results showed that the total area involved in restoration feasibility assessment in Shaanxi is 10.89 × 104 km2. Among them, the percentage of regions with low feasibility (less than 0.2) is 68.86%, mainly located in Qinling area. High feasibility areas (more than 0.6) accounted for 2.47%, mainly located in the Loess Plateau area of northern Shaanxi. The spatial distribution of the human activity intensity is concentrated in urban areas and extended with the distribution of roads. In total, 10.69% of the regions showed high and very high intensity of human activity, including the Guanzhong urban agglomeration region. This study identified 6078 km2 and 671 km2 of medium and high ecological restoration priority areas, which are more concentrated in the north of the study area. The need for ecological restoration work is even more urgent in northern Shaanxi. In general, the framework in this study has spatially located the priority and feasible areas for restoration, and may provide a useful reference for landscape-scale spatial conservation planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Degradation and Restoration: From Assessment to Practice)
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24 pages, 10073 KiB  
Article
The Response of Carbon Stocks to Land Use/Cover Change and a Vulnerability Multi-Scenario Analysis of the Karst Region in Southern China Based on PLUS-InVEST
by Shuanglong Du, Zhongfa Zhou, Denghong Huang, Fuxianmei Zhang, Fangfang Deng and Yue Yang
Forests 2023, 14(12), 2307; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14122307 - 24 Nov 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 909
Abstract
Quantitatively revealing the response of carbon stocks to land use change (LUCC) and analyzing the vulnerability of ecosystem carbon stock (ECS) services are of great significance for maintaining the carbon cycle and ecological security. For this study, China’s Guizhou Province was the study [...] Read more.
Quantitatively revealing the response of carbon stocks to land use change (LUCC) and analyzing the vulnerability of ecosystem carbon stock (ECS) services are of great significance for maintaining the carbon cycle and ecological security. For this study, China’s Guizhou Province was the study area. Land use data in 2000, 2010, and 2020 were selected to explore the impacts of LUCC on carbon stocks in multiple scenarios by combining the PLUS and InVEST models and then analyzing the vulnerability of ECS services. The results show that forest land plays an important role in improving ECS services in karst plateau mountainous areas. In 2000–2020, forest land expansion offset the carbon stock reduced by the expansion of built-up land, greatly improving the regional ECS function. Following the natural trend (NT), the total carbon stock in Guizhou Province will decrease by 1.86 Tg; however, under ecological protection (EP) measures, the ECS service performs a positive function for LUCC. Focusing on socioeconomic development (ED) will increase the vulnerability of the regional ECS service. In the future, the forest land area size should be increased, and built-up land should be restricted to better improve the service function of ECS in karst plateau mountainous areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Degradation and Restoration: From Assessment to Practice)
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18 pages, 10012 KiB  
Article
The Ginkgo biloba L. in China: Current Distribution and Possible Future Habitat
by Ying Zhang, Jinbing Zhang, Li Tian, Yaohui Huang and Changliang Shao
Forests 2023, 14(12), 2284; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14122284 - 22 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1053
Abstract
With the increase in global temperature, the global change situation dominated by climate warming is becoming more and more serious. Climate change will cause differences in the suitable areas of species in different periods. Ginkgo biloba L., a rare and endangered wild plant [...] Read more.
With the increase in global temperature, the global change situation dominated by climate warming is becoming more and more serious. Climate change will cause differences in the suitable areas of species in different periods. Ginkgo biloba L., a rare and endangered wild plant protected at the national level in China, is the oldest relict plant in the world. Because of severe climate change, only China’s wild Ginkgo biloba has been preserved, yet China’s wild Ginkgo biloba population is facing extinction risk. Ginkgo biloba has rich ornamental value, application value, economic value, medicinal value and ecological value. Not only can it produce economic and ecological benefits, but it can also produce huge social benefits. Based on the data of Ginkgo biloba sample distribution, bioclimatic variables and soil variables, this paper uses the MaxEnt model to simulate Ginkgo biloba suitable area under current and future different climate scenarios, and analyzes the changes in the potential suitable area of Ginkgo biloba in the future through ArcGIS 10.6. The results are as follows: (1) the results simulated by the MaxEnt model are AUC > 0.9, showing that the simulation results have a high accuracy; (2) the min temperature of the coldest month, precipitation of the wettest month, elevation, and temperature seasonality are the main environmental variables affecting the change in the Ginkgo biloba suitable area; (3) under future climate scenarios, the suitable area of Ginkgo biloba is predicted to expand in the future, covering most of the south and some northeast regions, and moderate temperature and precipitation changes under climate change are conducive for the growth of Ginkgo biloba; and (4) in the future, the distribution center of the suitable area will move to the northeast. According to the conclusions in this paper, it is expected to provide theoretical reference for cultivation and management, sustainable utilization and solution of ecological environment problems of Ginkgo biloba. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Degradation and Restoration: From Assessment to Practice)
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18 pages, 11119 KiB  
Article
Predicting Habitat Suitability and Adaptation Strategies of an Endangered Endemic Species, Camellia luteoflora Li ex Chang (Ericales: Theaceae) under Future Climate Change
by Shutian Rong, Pengrui Luo, Hang Yi, Xi Yang, Linhan Zhang, Dan Zeng and Li Wang
Forests 2023, 14(11), 2177; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14112177 - 01 Nov 2023
Viewed by 944
Abstract
Camellia luteoflora Li ex Chang is an endangered plant endemic to the East Asian flora with high ornamental value as well as phylogenetic and floristic research value. Predicting the impact of climate change on its distribution and suitable habitat is crucial until scientific [...] Read more.
Camellia luteoflora Li ex Chang is an endangered plant endemic to the East Asian flora with high ornamental value as well as phylogenetic and floristic research value. Predicting the impact of climate change on its distribution and suitable habitat is crucial until scientific conservation measures are implemented. Based on seven environmental variables and 17 occurrence records, this study optimized the MaxEnt model using the kuenm data package to obtain the optimal parameter combinations (RM = 1.3, FC = LPT) and predicted the potential distribution pattern of C. luteoflora in various future periods. The results revealed that the mean diurnal range, temperature annual range, and precipitation of the wettest month were the influential factors determining the distribution pattern of C. luteoflora, contributing 60.2%, 14.4%, and 12.3% of the variability in the data, respectively. Under the current conditions, the area of suitable habitats for C. luteoflora was only about 21.9 × 104 km2. Overall, the suitable area around the C. luteoflora distribution points will shrink in a circular pattern in response to future global warming, but some potentially suitable distribution areas will expand and migrate to higher latitudes and the Hengduan Mountains region, representing a survival strategy for coping with climate change. It is hypothesized that the future climate refugia will be the highly suitable area and the Hengduan Mountains region. Furthermore, a retrospective validation method was employed to assess the reliability of the predictions and estimate the model’s predictive performance in the future. This study proposes a survival strategy and adaptation measures for C. luteoflora in response to climate change, and the proposed measures can be generalized for application in conservation planning and restoration processes. We also recommend that future studies incorporate factors such as the anthropogenic disturbances and associated socio-economic activities related to C. luteoflora into the model and to further predict the distribution pattern for C. luteoflora in response to historical climatic changes, tracing the evolutionary history of its population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Degradation and Restoration: From Assessment to Practice)
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15 pages, 2858 KiB  
Article
Changes in Leaf Functional Traits Driven by Environmental Filtration in Different Monsoon Tropical Forest Types
by Fuying Deng, Lijun Xiao, Jing Huang, Honghao Luo and Runguo Zang
Forests 2023, 14(10), 2101; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14102101 - 20 Oct 2023
Viewed by 882
Abstract
Disturbances have created heterogeneous habitats for secondary and old-growth forests. Under the assumption that ecologically similar species have similar functional traits, numerous studies have attempted to use trait-based approaches to infer the abiotic and biotic factors that drive variations in community composition across [...] Read more.
Disturbances have created heterogeneous habitats for secondary and old-growth forests. Under the assumption that ecologically similar species have similar functional traits, numerous studies have attempted to use trait-based approaches to infer the abiotic and biotic factors that drive variations in community composition across different forests. However, the relative importance of these drivers in monsoon forests remains poorly understood. In this study, we randomly selected 86 plots and classified them into three forest types according to environmental factors: 1—secondary forests: secondary forest habitats at high elevation; 2—ecotone forests: general recovery and elevation; and 3—old growth forests: old growth at low elevations. We then compared the species and six leaf functional trait variations across the three forests and assessed their relationships with 15 environmental factors. The results showed that secondary and ecotone forests with a conservative strategy, exhibiting high dry matter content and leaf carbon content, tended to persist in stressful habitats, such as nutrient-poor soil, whereas old growth forests invested in trait values related to rapid resource acquisition with high specific leaf area, leaf nitrogen content, leaf phosphorous content, and leaf potassium content. Species with functional trait values between the secondary, ecotone, and old growth forests had clear signatures of their different strategies to persist in assemblages under distinct and opposite environmental filters. These plots were classified into three forest types according to environmental factors: (1) secondary forest at high elevation; (2) ecotone forests at general elevation; and (3) old growth forests at low elevation. Recovery time and elevation, followed by soil nutrients and light capture, were the most important factors shaping species and functional trait variations across forests. These results have demonstrated that environmental filters select plant species with distinct traits and ecological strategies. Acquisitive traits indicate higher competitive ability and faster resource acquisition for forest species that occur in areas with high soil fertility. Meanwhile, conservative traits promote the resistance of secondary species to environmental stressors in low soil fertility, suggesting that analyzing leaf functional-based trait variations to understand plant ecological strategies along an environmental gradient may improve understanding of forest dynamics in tropical monsoon forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Degradation and Restoration: From Assessment to Practice)
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14 pages, 2224 KiB  
Article
Agroforestry Species Selection for Forest Rehabilitation in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Meta-Analysis on High-Level Taxonomy
by Wanjie Zhang, Kaiwen Su, Qing Wang, Li Yang, Weina Sun, Sailesh Ranjitkar, Lixin Shen, Roeland Kindt, Yuman Ji, Peter Marshall, Pak Sngoun Pisey and Yousry A. El-Kassaby
Forests 2023, 14(10), 2045; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14102045 - 12 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1107
Abstract
Agroforestry is important for forest management and rehabilitation in the southeast Asia-Pacific Region (APR), where economic issues, intensive land use, deforestation, and forest degradation are common. Species selection is a key process in establishing agroforestry systems. In this study, we reviewed the agroforestry [...] Read more.
Agroforestry is important for forest management and rehabilitation in the southeast Asia-Pacific Region (APR), where economic issues, intensive land use, deforestation, and forest degradation are common. Species selection is a key process in establishing agroforestry systems. In this study, we reviewed the agroforestry literature across eight economies within the southeast APR, documented the species used, and compared the existing systems to better understand the challenges and opportunities for the region’s agroforestry expansion. We conducted rule and Maptree analyses using 108 species, belonging to 95 genera and 49 families of plants, to unravel the various agroforestry practices in this region. We identified the most common plant families used in agroforestry combinations within each economy. We then divided the economies into three groups based on the most commonly used genera: (1) Thailand, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and Fiji (Hevea, Oryza, Eucalyptus, Acacia, and Zea); (2) Nepal and Yunnan China (Zea, Leucaena, Morus, and Hevea); and (3) Indonesia and the Philippines (Oryza, Hevea, Zea, and Brassica). Although this study focused on high-level taxonomic classification (family and genus), we believe that this work will fill the current knowledge gaps, offering guidance to economies in the southeast APR regarding species selection and the adoption of sustainable agroforestry practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Degradation and Restoration: From Assessment to Practice)
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17 pages, 3611 KiB  
Article
Forest Carbon Storage and Carbon Sequestration Potential in Shaanxi Province, China
by Qi Li, Xianli Xia, Xiaomei Kou, Le Niu, Fan Wan, Jianhua Zhu and Wenfa Xiao
Forests 2023, 14(10), 2021; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14102021 - 09 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1583
Abstract
The carbon storage of forest vegetation plays a crucial role in the terrestrial carbon budget. The objective of this study is to elucidate the current biomass carbon storage and sequestration capacity, as well as the future carbon sequestration potential of forest ecosystems in [...] Read more.
The carbon storage of forest vegetation plays a crucial role in the terrestrial carbon budget. The objective of this study is to elucidate the current biomass carbon storage and sequestration capacity, as well as the future carbon sequestration potential of forest ecosystems in Shaanxi Province of China, thus providing data support and policy references for sustainable forest management and the response of carbon sequestration to climate change. Based on the data obtained from the seventh and ninth forest resource inventories, the regional biomass conversion factors, and carbon measurement parameters, the biomass conversion factor method is employed to estimate the biomass storage and carbon sequestration capacity of forest ecosystems. (1) The total carbon storage of forest lands in Shaanxi Province was 285.20 Tg. The carbon storage of arbor forests, sparse woodlands, scattered forests, four-side trees, shrub woodland, and bamboo forests were 237.09 Tg, 2.93 Tg, 12.30 Tg, 5.98 Tg, 26.35 Tg, and 0.56 Tg, respectively. (2) Over the 10 years from the seventh (2005) to the ninth (2015) forest resource inventories, the carbon storage of forests increased from 207 Tg to 285 Tg, with a total increase of 78.01 Tg (37.65%), demonstrating a significant carbon sink function. (3) From 2015 to 2060, the carbon density of arbor forests will increase from 33.53 Mg/ha to 46.90 Mg/ha, and the carbon storage will increase from 237 Tg to 432 Tg. These results indicate that forests have significant net carbon sequestration capacity and can play an important role in achieving China’s carbon peak and carbon neutrality goals. Aiming for carbon neutrality, improving forest management, along with protecting and utilizing forest resources through technological innovation, will become the driving force for increasing carbon storage in Shaanxi Province in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Degradation and Restoration: From Assessment to Practice)
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23 pages, 9153 KiB  
Article
Dominance of Topography on Vegetation Dynamics in the Mt. Qomolangma National Nature Reserve: A UMAP and PLS-SEM Analysis
by Binni Xu, Jingji Li, Xiangjun Pei, Lijiao Bian, Tingbin Zhang, Guihua Yi, Xiaojuan Bie and Peihao Peng
Forests 2023, 14(7), 1415; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14071415 - 11 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1113
Abstract
The southern portion of the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau (QTP) and the central Himalayan region are home to the Mt. Qomolangma (Everest) National Nature Reserve (QNNR), which is the world’s highest nature reserve and is distinguished by delicate natural ecosystems and unique geographic features. Analyzing [...] Read more.
The southern portion of the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau (QTP) and the central Himalayan region are home to the Mt. Qomolangma (Everest) National Nature Reserve (QNNR), which is the world’s highest nature reserve and is distinguished by delicate natural ecosystems and unique geographic features. Analyzing regional vegetation trends, as well as the impacts of natural and anthropogenic variables on vegetation coverage, is crucial for local environmental protection and sustainable development. In this study, the variation patterns of the MOD13Q1 Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data were explored, and the responses of vegetation development to both natural and anthropogenic parameters were investigated by applying trend analysis and partial correlation analysis, as well as the partial least squares-structural equation model (PLS-SEM). To better comprehend the spatial characteristics and interrelationships between NDVI and various parameters under different vegetation types, the Uniform Manifold Approximation and Projection (UMAP) was employed for dimensionality reduction and visualization. The results illustrated that between 2000 and 2018, the reserve greened up at a rate of 0.00073/a (p < 0.05), with vegetation improvement areas accounting for 49.46%. The major climatic driver for the greening trend of vegetation was temperature. Topography (especially elevation) remains dominant in regulating vegetation development in the QNNR, despite a progressively growing impact of hydrothermal conditions on vegetation development. Additionally, the implementation of environmental initiatives has stifled the adverse impacts of human activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Degradation and Restoration: From Assessment to Practice)
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21 pages, 3838 KiB  
Article
Combining Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Scientific Observations to Support Mangrove Restoration in Madagascar
by Lalao Aigrette Ravaoarinorotsihoarana, Ismael Ratefinjanahary, Celestin Aina, Cicelin Rakotomahazo, Leah Glass, Lantoasinoro Ranivoarivelo and Thierry Lavitra
Forests 2023, 14(7), 1368; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14071368 - 03 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1571
Abstract
Local communities play a key role in ecosystem restoration due to their invaluable traditional ecological knowledge. While community-led mangrove restoration has been practiced in Madagascar for decades, the factors influencing the success of the restoration remains understudied. Despite the extensive local knowledge, the [...] Read more.
Local communities play a key role in ecosystem restoration due to their invaluable traditional ecological knowledge. While community-led mangrove restoration has been practiced in Madagascar for decades, the factors influencing the success of the restoration remains understudied. Despite the extensive local knowledge, the complexity of factors influencing restoration success requires outside technical expertise. This study aimed to investigate the drivers of mangrove restoration success in southwest Madagascar. The survival rate of mangroves planted from 2015 to 2022, including Rhizophora mucronata, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, and Ceriops tagal was assessed using the sampling methods for tree planting inventory with circular plots. R version 4.2.2 was used for descriptive statistics analysis. The correlation between the survival rate and plantation density, species composition, and number of participants was assessed using a Principal Component Analysis. As a result, the mean survival rate of the 440,990 planted mangroves, with a density of 4628 ± 317 trees/ha−1 was 82.5 ± 1.8%. Our study showed that plantation density and species composition are not correlated with survival rate. However, the survival rate is inversely correlated with the number of participants. The findings of this paper showed that both traditional ecological knowledge and scientific observations are vital to informing mangrove reforestation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Degradation and Restoration: From Assessment to Practice)
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17 pages, 8016 KiB  
Article
Ecosystem Functioning of the Loess Plateau in China from Vegetation Restoration Relied Largely on Climate
by Yixuan Wang, Gang Dong, Luping Qu, Zhitao Wu, Fangyuan Zhao and Changliang Shao
Forests 2023, 14(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14010027 - 23 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1859
Abstract
Climate change and anthropogenic replantation are supposed to greatly change vegetation coverage and ecosystem stability and functions, e.g., net primary productivity (NPP), evapotranspiration (ET) and water use efficiency (WUE). Our study compared WUE of nature- and human-induced forest cover increase on the Loess [...] Read more.
Climate change and anthropogenic replantation are supposed to greatly change vegetation coverage and ecosystem stability and functions, e.g., net primary productivity (NPP), evapotranspiration (ET) and water use efficiency (WUE). Our study compared WUE of nature- and human-induced forest cover increase on the Loess Plateau since 2000 using satellite-derived Vegetation Continuous Fields (VCF), NPP, ET. This study also applied over 30 years of model-based NPP and meteorological observations to compare the stability and changes brought up by the Grain for Green Project. The result showed that the average forest coverage fraction increased from 7.1% (~4.5 × 104 km2) in 2000 to 11.2% (~7.3 × 104 km2) in 2014. Artificial forest cover increase occupied 76.43% of the significantly increasing tree cover regions. The role of revegetation practice in NPP and ET became gradually more dominant than climate factors in artificial forests from the northern to the southern part of the Loess Plateau. For areas experiencing limited forest coverage increase, artificial forest areas showed higher WUE than natural forest areas under similar mean annual precipitation (MAP). The difference in stability was small between neighboring natural and artificial forest areas. The northwest of the Loess Plateau had an increasing resilience, whereas the south of the Plateau had an increased resistance to precipitation and temperature change. The higher dependency of the northern reforested areas on climate fluctuation indicates a growing threat of water scarcity to the sustainability of anthropogenic reforestation in semi-arid regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Degradation and Restoration: From Assessment to Practice)
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13 pages, 2899 KiB  
Article
The Adaptive Capacity of Alien and Rare Species in China
by Quanlai Zhou, Zhiming Xin, Yongcui Wang, Renhui Miao, Zhimin Liu, Lu Zong, Xuehua Li, Qun Ma, Wei Liang, Haibin Yu and Lixin Wang
Forests 2022, 13(12), 2005; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13122005 - 27 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1212
Abstract
Alien and rare plants tend to adapt to contrasting biotic and abiotic conditions. However, adaptability assessments of alien and rare plants using biological and habitat characteristics in stressful and disturbed environments are limited. We collected and demonstrated the biological and habitat characteristics and [...] Read more.
Alien and rare plants tend to adapt to contrasting biotic and abiotic conditions. However, adaptability assessments of alien and rare plants using biological and habitat characteristics in stressful and disturbed environments are limited. We collected and demonstrated the biological and habitat characteristics and assessed the adaptive capacity of alien and rare plants in China using the analytic hierarchy process. Biological characteristics, such as dispersal strategy, sexual and asexual reproduction modes, life form, and habitat characteristics (e.g., habitat type and distribution spatial extent), are important indicators of the adaptability of alien and rare plants to stressful and disturbed environments. Alien plants have a higher adaptive capacity to disturbed environments than rare plants, while rare plants have a higher adaptive capacity to stressful environments than alien plants. Stressful and disturbed environments constrain the adaptive capacity of alien and rare plants, respectively. However, the constraint on alien plants from stressful environments is weaker than that on rare plants from disturbed environments. Understanding the adaptive capacity of alien and rare plants will help researchers and policymakers develop strategies for preventing the invasion of alien plants as well as protecting rare and endangered plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Degradation and Restoration: From Assessment to Practice)
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