Protection, Ecological Restoration and Sustainable Management of Natural Forest: Theory and Technology

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (24 November 2023) | Viewed by 12192

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Key Laboratory of Tree Breeding and Cultivation of National Forestry and Grassland Administration, Beijing 100091, China
Interests: forest management theory and technology; forest structure; natural forest dynamics

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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

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Guest Editor
College of Forestry, Guangxi University, Nanning, 530004, China
Interests: forest structure diversity; forest spatial structure and functions; individual-based forest ecology and management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A natural forest is the evolution product of long-term interaction between forest organisms and their natural environment. It has high biodiversity, complex community structure, rich habitat characteristics, and good ecosystem stability. It plays an extremely important and irreplaceable role in ensuring agricultural and animal husbandry production, maintaining biodiversity, protecting the ecological environment, mitigating natural disasters, and adjusting the global carbon balance and biogeochemical cycle. The research on natural forest protection, ecological restoration, and sustainable management is of great significance to the global natural forest resources. This Special Issue aims to provide a useful reference for the protection, restoration and sustainable management of natural forests.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Structure and function;
  • Natural forest succession dynamics;
  • Diversity of natural forests (including plants, animals, microorganisms, structures, etc.);
  • Growth pattern;
  • Carbon fixation and carbon cycle;
  • Hydrological ecology;
  • Ecological restoration technology and effect evaluation;
  • Protection and sustainable management technology, etc.

Dr. Zhonghua Zhao
Prof. Dr. Yi Ding
Dr. Hongxiang Wang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • natural forest
  • forest structure
  • function
  • succession dynamics
  • forest biodiversity
  • growth pattern
  • hydrological ecology
  • ecological restoration
  • protection and sustainable management

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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17 pages, 4129 KiB  
Article
Use of Functional Traits to Distinguish Successional Guilds of Tree Species for Restoring Forest Ecosystems
by Benjapan Manohan, Dia Panitnard Shannon, Pimonrat Tiansawat, Sutthathorn Chairuangsri, Jutatip Jainuan and Stephen Elliott
Forests 2023, 14(6), 1075; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14061075 - 23 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1669
Abstract
Forest ecosystem restoration involves establishing mixes of tree species representing various successional stages of the reference forest. When selecting species, conceptualizing successional status as a gradient of guilds is more appropriate than the conventional binary classification of pioneer and climax species. Therefore, we [...] Read more.
Forest ecosystem restoration involves establishing mixes of tree species representing various successional stages of the reference forest. When selecting species, conceptualizing successional status as a gradient of guilds is more appropriate than the conventional binary classification of pioneer and climax species. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that functional traits can be used to distinguish successional guilds among tree species, planted to test the framework species method of restoration. Values of 13 non-intercorrelated traits of 28 species, derived from field measurements and databases, were analyzed by cluster analysis and rank scoring. Cluster analysis grouped species into six guilds. For rank scoring, negative (from 0 to −2) and positive scores (from 0 to +2) were assigned to each trait, according to their association with early or late succession, respectively. Seven guilds were distinguished from the total scores. This novel technique placed species evenly along a gradient, with 13 and 15 species attaining negative and positive total scores, respectively. Cross-validation between the two techniques was high, signifying the robustness of using functional traits to distinguish successional guilds. Functional traits, therefore, provide a powerful tool to inform species selection when planning forest restoration. However, their wider use depends on greater availability of functional trait data for more tree species. Full article
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17 pages, 9987 KiB  
Article
Effects of Tree Diversity, Functional Composition, and Large Trees on the Aboveground Biomass of an Old-Growth Subtropical Forest in Southern China
by Yaoyi Wang, Zheng Song, Xiongqing Zhang and Hongxiang Wang
Forests 2023, 14(5), 994; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14050994 - 11 May 2023
Viewed by 1655
Abstract
Forest aboveground biomass (AGB) plays an important role in regulating the global carbon cycle and is thus an essential component of ecosystem functioning. In the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF), studies have shown that many biotic factors (e.g., species, functional traits, [...] Read more.
Forest aboveground biomass (AGB) plays an important role in regulating the global carbon cycle and is thus an essential component of ecosystem functioning. In the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF), studies have shown that many biotic factors (e.g., species, functional traits, and large trees) and abiotic factors have significant impacts on AGB. However, the relative strength of these affecting factors remains unclear. In this study, we analyzed woody plants (diameter at breast height [DBH] ≥ 1 cm) within a 1.6 ha plot in an old-growth subtropical natural forest in southern China. We used structural equation models to test the effects of tree diversity (species, phylogenetic, functional, and size inequality), functional composition, large trees, and environmental factors (topography, soil nutrients, and understory light) on AGB. Our results indicated that size inequality, the community-weighted mean of maximum DBH (CWM_MDBH), and large trees had significant, positive effects on AGB (p < 0.001), while lower soil phosphorus content was found to promote an increase in AGB. Furthermore, large trees, which were mostly composed of dominant tree species, were the main driver of AGB, and the effect of functional composition (e.g., CWM_MDBH) on AGB was substantially reduced by large trees. We argue that the selection effect plays a key role in regulating BEF relationships in subtropical natural forests and conclude that retaining large-diameter trees and dominant species, along with sustaining a complex stand structure, are key measures for improving productivity. Full article
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21 pages, 4876 KiB  
Article
Microbial Community and Enzyme Activity of Forest Plantation, Natural Forests, and Agricultural Land in Chilean Coastal Cordillera Soils
by Yessica Rivas, Humberto Aponte, Diego Rivera-Salazar, Francisco Matus, Oscar Martínez, Carolina Encina and Jorge Retamal-Salgado
Forests 2023, 14(5), 938; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14050938 - 03 May 2023
Viewed by 1619
Abstract
Despite the global expansion of forest plantations in Chile, their effect on biology properties of soil has still been only scarcely studied. Land use change in the Chilean Coastal Cordillera (36° to 40° S) is mainly attributed to the conversion of native forest [...] Read more.
Despite the global expansion of forest plantations in Chile, their effect on biology properties of soil has still been only scarcely studied. Land use change in the Chilean Coastal Cordillera (36° to 40° S) is mainly attributed to the conversion of native forest to agriculture and forest plantations (Eucalyptus globulus and Pinus radiata de Don). The aim of this paper was to evaluate the changes in microbial composition (PCR-DGGE) and enzyme activity after the substitution of a native forest (e.g., Nothofagus spp.) by fast-growing exotic species and cropping. The most important factors that influence the abundance and diversity of bacteria and the fungi community were the soil organic matter (SOM) content, phosphorous (P-Olsen), calcium (Ca), boron (B), and water-holding capacity. These variables can better predict the microbial community composition and its enzymatic activity in the surface Ah horizon. Land use change also affected chemical soil properties of biogeochemical cycles. However, to deeply understand the connection between chemical and physical soil factors and microbial community composition, more research is needed. On the other hand, the expansion of forest plantations in Chile should be subject to legislation aimed to protect the biological legacy as a strategy for forest productivity as well as the soil microbial biodiversity. Full article
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10 pages, 2973 KiB  
Article
Diurnal and Sex Ratio Flight Activity of Rare Cavity-Dweller Eucnemis capucina Ahrens, 1812 (Coleoptera: Eucnemidae) in Lowland Deciduous Forest: Case Study from Czech Republic
by Oto Nakládal, Jiří Synek and Václav Zumr
Forests 2023, 14(4), 720; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14040720 - 31 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1027
Abstract
The cavity-dwelling saproxylic beetles are very poorly studied because of their hidden way of life, and they are threatened by forest management. Eucnemis capucina is a rare and sporadic species in all of its distribution area. This species is associated with old hollow [...] Read more.
The cavity-dwelling saproxylic beetles are very poorly studied because of their hidden way of life, and they are threatened by forest management. Eucnemis capucina is a rare and sporadic species in all of its distribution area. This species is associated with old hollow trees, which may be why it is on the red lists of many European countries; however, this association could be an indicator of diverse forest structure. We monitored diurnal and seasonal flight activity with intercept flight traps installed on massive ash trees during three seasons. The observed peak of seasonal activity was in May and June. Contrasting most eucnemids, E. capucina is clearly a daytime species, with flight activity between 8:00 and 20:00 and peaking at 14:20. The peak of flight activity is the same for both sexes, but males are more active at the beginning and end of the flight period compared to females. An unequal sex ratio 1.91:1 (F:M) of captured individuals was recorded. The increasing body size of females affected the number of eggs in the body of adult females. The average potential fecundity of a female was 54 eggs, 10 eggs per 1 mm of female body length. The eggs themselves were oval in shape and only the length of the eggs correlated to the body size of the females; the width did not change with body size and did not correlate with egg length, either. We also confirmed that even a single hollow tree can host high numbers or whole populations of rare species and, thus, have a high conservation value. Our study may help better understand the biology of cavity-dwelling beetles and their active life. Full article
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20 pages, 8568 KiB  
Article
Quantifying the Potential Vegetation Distribution under Climate Change: The Case of Cryptomeria fortunei in Dongting Lake Watershed, China
by Lintong Huang, Mingke Luo, Xia Jiang, Peng Zhang, Hongxiang Wang, Fengtian Hong, Ning He, Wenxian Guo and Yong Niu
Forests 2023, 14(3), 614; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030614 - 19 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1458
Abstract
Potential vegetation distribution is an important study in environmental sciences. We utilized the Mixed Least Squares–Total Least Squares (MLS-TLS) method and the Signal Mode Decomposition method and the Ecological Niche model to identify the inter-correlations of internal climate change factors and constructed an [...] Read more.
Potential vegetation distribution is an important study in environmental sciences. We utilized the Mixed Least Squares–Total Least Squares (MLS-TLS) method and the Signal Mode Decomposition method and the Ecological Niche model to identify the inter-correlations of internal climate change factors and constructed an environmental factor response regression model. We identified the resonance periods and trend relationships among climate factors (temperature, precipitation, and evapotranspiration) and found that the evapotranspiration of the watershed interferes with the correlation between temperature and precipitation on a five-year scale. The specific change degree of extreme climate indicators in the region was quantified by the Range of Variability Approach, among which the precipitation indicators were all below 33% (low change). There were significant differences between the key bioclimatic variables and Aspect of the development of suitable vegetation habitats. The difference between the Aspect and average daily air temperature is the main contributor to the spatial distribution of vegetation, and the mutual contribution is 76.19%. Our regression model can effectively simulate the potential distribution of vegetation (r = 0.854). Compared to the MaxEnt model, our regression model can quantitatively and intuitively provide suitable habitat values for Cryptomeria fortunei at any given location in the basin. Under future scenarios (2021–2040), suitable habitat for Cryptomeria fortunei in the eastern and western regions of the basin is projected to deteriorate further. The research results can provide some help for policymakers to eliminate the potential adverse effects of future climate change on regional ecology. Full article
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18 pages, 5844 KiB  
Article
Use of Drone RGB Imagery to Quantify Indicator Variables of Tropical-Forest-Ecosystem Degradation and Restoration
by Kyuho Lee, Stephen Elliott and Pimonrat Tiansawat
Forests 2023, 14(3), 586; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030586 - 16 Mar 2023
Viewed by 2165
Abstract
Recognizing initial degradation levels is essential to planning effective measures to restore tropical forest ecosystems. However, measuring indicators of forest degradation is labour-intensive, time-consuming, and expensive. This study explored the use of canopy-height models and orthophotos, derived from drone-captured RGB images, above sites [...] Read more.
Recognizing initial degradation levels is essential to planning effective measures to restore tropical forest ecosystems. However, measuring indicators of forest degradation is labour-intensive, time-consuming, and expensive. This study explored the use of canopy-height models and orthophotos, derived from drone-captured RGB images, above sites at various stages of degradation in northern Thailand to quantify variables related to initial degradation levels and subsequent restoration progression. Stocking density (R2 = 0.71) and relative cover of forest canopy (R2 = 0.83), ground vegetation (R2 = 0.71) and exposed soil + rock (R2 = 0.56) correlated highly with the corresponding ground-survey data. However, mean tree height (R2 = 0.31) and above-ground carbon density (R2 = 0.45) were not well correlated. Differences in correlation strength appeared to be site-specific and related to tree size distribution, canopy openness, and soil exposure. We concluded that drone-based quantification of forest-degradation indicator variables is not yet accurate enough to replace conventional ground surveys when planning forest restoration projects. However, the development of better geo-referencing in parallel with AI systems may improve the accuracy and cost-effectiveness of drone-based techniques in the near future. Full article
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Review

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16 pages, 9132 KiB  
Review
A Bibliometric Analysis of the Impact of Ecological Restoration on Carbon Sequestration in Ecosystems
by Juncong Liu, Weichang Gao, Taoze Liu, Liangyu Dai, Linjing Wu, Haiying Miao and Cheng Yang
Forests 2023, 14(7), 1442; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14071442 - 13 Jul 2023
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1355
Abstract
Ecological restoration, as a vital means of effectively enhancing the carbon sink function of ecosystems, is currently the subject of active research by scientists. Researchers are actively exploring how to scientifically assess the response mechanisms of ecosystem carbon reservoirs during the process of [...] Read more.
Ecological restoration, as a vital means of effectively enhancing the carbon sink function of ecosystems, is currently the subject of active research by scientists. Researchers are actively exploring how to scientifically assess the response mechanisms of ecosystem carbon reservoirs during the process of ecological restoration. In this study, CiteSpace 6.1.(R3 and R6) literature visualization software was employed to conduct data mining on 1566 research articles published from 1996 to 2022, focusing on the impact of ecological restoration on ecosystem carbon reservoirs, as recorded in the Web of Science core database. The analysis involved visualizing various aspects, including the countries involved, research institutions, publication output, research hotspots, and cutting-edge research areas. The research indicates that China holds significant influence in the study of the impact of ecological restoration on ecosystem carbon reservoirs. The literature covers a wide range of research directions and encompasses rich content on the subject matter. The current research focuses on ecological restoration, and its impact on the carbon sink function of ecosystems mainly revolves around four key themes: “the carbon sequestration potential of ecological restoration”, “technological approaches to enhancing the carbon sink function of ecological restoration”, “the importance of assessing carbon sink in terrestrial ecosystems”, and “characteristics of carbon sources/sinks in terrestrial ecosystems”. Currently, the development of research findings on the impact of ecological restoration on the carbon reservoirs of ecosystems is progressing rapidly. Novel research theories, methodologies, and scientific techniques are emerging, necessitating the continuous monitoring and investigation of scholarship in this field. It is crucial to integrate ongoing global environmental-change factors, ensuring the continuity of research and observations and, thus, furnishing robust data support for the assessment and computation of ecosystem carbon sinks. Full article
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