Conservation of Threatened Forest-Dwelling Species and Intact Forest Ecosystems

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 April 2022) | Viewed by 10840

Special Issue Editors

1. Laboratory of Plant Ecophysiology and Experimental Phytoecology of the Institute of Environmental and Agricultural Biology (X-BIO), Tyumen State University, Volodarskogo Street, 6, Tyumen, 625003 Tyumen Region, Russia
2. Joint Directorate of the Mordovia State Nature Reserve and National Park “Smolny” (Scientific Department), Krasnaya Street, 30, Saransk, 430005 Saransk, Republic of Mordovia, Russia
Interests: plant diversity; threatened plants; invasive alien plants; IUCN Red List; biodiversity & conservation; plant conservation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Joint Directorate of the Mordovia State Nature Reserve and National Park “Smolny”, 30 Krasnaya Str., 430005 Saransk, Republic of Mordovia, Russia
Interests: biodiversity conservation; insects; reptiles; amphibia; protected areas; nature conservation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The conservation of threatened forest-dwelling species is a key challenge to prevent biodiversity loss on a global scale. The deforestation processes could be counteracted due to the designation of protected areas around the world. Despite the wide recognition of protected areas as the main policy tool for intact ecosystem conservation, the extensive species extinction still occurs for both plants and animals. This Special Issue aims to explore the role of threatened forest-dwelling species’ conservation in global biodiversity loss, and discuss the effectiveness of the protected areas network in the conservation of intact forest ecosystems around the world. We invite contributions dealing with the benefits and challenges of forest biodiversity conservation in intact and managed ecosystems by presenting evidence of case studies from around the world representing different organisms, groups and types of conservation areas in forest management frameworks. As the establishment of protected areas is closely related to human perceptions and well-being, we warmly welcome studies of an interdisciplinary approach, exploring both ecological and socioeconomic impacts of protected forest areas and other conservation actions aimed to protect threatened forest-dwelling organisms. Papers submitted in this Special Issue are also expected to contribute in the ongoing academic and policy discussion regarding biodiversity extinction in Anthropocene and developing the new management tools linked with forest conservation proposed as more effective initiatives in protecting forest ecosystems and forest-dwelling plants and animals.

Dr. Anatoliy A. Khapugin
Dr. Alexander B. Ruchin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • threatened species
  • plants
  • animals
  • forest ecosystem
  • protected area
  • intact forests
  • endemic species
  • forest conservation
  • biodiversity conservation

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 2663 KiB  
Article
How Does Deforestation Affect the Growth of Cypripedium (Orchidaceae) Species? A Simulation Experiment in Northeast China
Forests 2022, 13(2), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13020166 - 22 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2255
Abstract
Due to wild habitat destruction, Cypripedium is among the most endangered groups in China. Determining how Cypripedium respond to environmental changes is curial to their conservation. However, less is known about the effect of deforestation on the growth of Cypripedium. In this [...] Read more.
Due to wild habitat destruction, Cypripedium is among the most endangered groups in China. Determining how Cypripedium respond to environmental changes is curial to their conservation. However, less is known about the effect of deforestation on the growth of Cypripedium. In this study, we selected four Cypripedium species in Northeast China, and conducted conservation-based transplantation simulating deforestation to explore the impact of increased light intensity on the growth of Cypripedium. After three years, the maximum net photosynthetic rate was decreased by 15.9%, 11.5%, 13.6% and 5.3% for C. calceolus L., C. guttatum Sw., C. macranthos Sw. and C.×ventricosum Sw., respectively, resulting in poor viability, manifesting as shorter and thinner shoots, and smaller leaves. Unexpectedly, no significant traits shifts were found in the roots across four species, which may be related to the long root lifespan and conservation. Our research confirmed that increased light intensity caused by deforestation would lead to an increase in respirate cost and a decrease in photosynthate accumulation, and consequently the recession of plant growth. Except for habitat loss, individual plant reduction caused by deforestation could be responsible for the population decline of Cypripedium. Full article
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21 pages, 2737 KiB  
Article
Helminths in Myomorph Rodents (Rodentia, Myomorpha) from the National Park “Smolny” and Its Surroundings (European Russia)
Forests 2021, 12(11), 1510; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12111510 - 01 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1556
Abstract
The National Park “Smolny” is a large forest area, located in the center of European Russia. The helminth fauna of myomorph rodents was studied for the first time within the National Park in 2018–2020. Rodents were examined by the method of complete helminthological [...] Read more.
The National Park “Smolny” is a large forest area, located in the center of European Russia. The helminth fauna of myomorph rodents was studied for the first time within the National Park in 2018–2020. Rodents were examined by the method of complete helminthological dissection. A total of 30 species of parasites were recorded in 11 rodent species: 6 trematodes, 11 cestodes and 13 nematodes. The trematode Plagiorchis maculosus (Rudolphi, 1802) was found in Clethrionomys glareolus (Schreber, 1780) from the Russian fauna for the first time. Clethrionomys glareolus and Microtus arvalis (Pallas, 1779) are new hosts for P. maculosus and metacestode Versteria mustelae (Gmelin, 1790), respectively. The most widespread and eurybiont rodent species have the most diverse and rich helminth fauna, such as C/ glareolus (14 species), Apodemus agrarius (Pallas, 1771) (12) and Sylvaemus uralensis (Pallas, 1811) (10). The helminth fauna is less diverse in Sylvaemus flavicollis (Melchior, 1834), M. arvalis (7 species each), Microtus agrestis (Linnaeus, 1761) (5), Microtus subterraneus (de Selys-Longchamps, 1836) (3), Sicista betulina (Pallas, 1779) (2) and Arvicola amphibius (Linnaeus, 1758) (1). Comparative analysis the helminth fauna of small rodents from the National Park “Smolny” with micromammals from other regions of European Russia revealed that the high similarity with other areas reaches the helminth fauna of M. subterraneus, S. flavicollis, S. uralensis, S. betulina, A. amphibius and M. agrestis. Full article
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11 pages, 3122 KiB  
Article
Environment Status Estimation of the Forest Communities Based on Floristic Surveys in the Mordovia State Nature Reserve, Russia
Forests 2021, 12(11), 1475; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12111475 - 28 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1237
Abstract
Environmental scales include species responsive to changes in environmental conditions. The present paper aims to apply floristic survey data to reveal environmental conditions in habitats studied in the Mordovia State Nature Reserve, European Russia. In total, 161 square plots were established within a [...] Read more.
Environmental scales include species responsive to changes in environmental conditions. The present paper aims to apply floristic survey data to reveal environmental conditions in habitats studied in the Mordovia State Nature Reserve, European Russia. In total, 161 square plots were established within a selected forest area. In each plot, all species were registered to conduct a further analysis. Then, average values of six environmental factors were calculated based on the Tsyganov environmental scale. Contour maps were created for four factors to demonstrate spatial changes through the study area. All study pots were assigned to seven habitat types during the field surveys. To test the correctness of the determined classification, a principal component analysis was performed based on Tsyganov’s environmental factors. Additionally, PERMANOVA was used to test the correctness of the habitat distinguishing. The results demonstrate that differences in environmental conditions among the majority (mires, coniferous forests, broadleaved forests, mixed forests) of the distinguished habitats are statistically significant, except for water bodies, forest gaps and roads, which have no significant differences in environmental factors compared with other habitats. We assume that this is caused by the very small sampling size for these habitat types. To obtain correct results, each habitat group should be represented by at least 3–4% samples of the whole sampling set. The main conclusion represents a simple way to assess the habitat environmental status based on floristic data. Based on Tsyganov’s environmental factors, the spatial distribution of only plant specialists can be recognised well. The allocation of plant generalists is impossible based on the proposed approach. Finally, the correctness of habitat classification based on dominated plants is well-testable using environmental conditions found on these sites. We also recommend the use of the here applied approach in plant ecology studies in the subzone of coniferous–deciduous forests of Eastern Europe. Full article
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8 pages, 2368 KiB  
Article
Damages to Himalayan White Pine (Pinus wallichiana) by Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus) in Kaghan Valley, Pakistan
Forests 2021, 12(8), 1130; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12081130 - 23 Aug 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2180
Abstract
Tree damage is one of the destructive behaviors of the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus G. (Baron) Cuvier, 1823), and this type of damage causes great economic loss to the forest. A survey about Himalayan white pine (Pinus wallichiana (A. B) [...] Read more.
Tree damage is one of the destructive behaviors of the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus G. (Baron) Cuvier, 1823), and this type of damage causes great economic loss to the forest. A survey about Himalayan white pine (Pinus wallichiana (A. B) Jacks, 1836) damages was conducted at Kaghan Valley, District Mansehra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Field surveys were carried out within five major sites of Kaghan Valley, including Manshi reserve forest, Kamal Bann reserve forest, Malkandi reserve forest, Noori Bichla reserve forest, and some Guzara forests. Line transects and diameter at breast height (DBH) methods were selected for data collection. Eighteen transects were placed in different sites of the valley. A total of (n = 201) affected trees were observed from eighteen transects, along with a total population of 1081 trees with the encounter rate (ER: 0.657) and the mean DBH is x¯ = 71.97 cm. Among total damages, the most severe (n = 39: 19.4%) were fully damaged with a greater encounter rate. Bark stripping was made during the late winter season and used as foodstuff when natural food is limited in the area. In severe cases, the bear-stripped bark encircles from the entire tree trunk, which results in the drying of trees and, finally, falls. Among all five sites, Manshi reserve forest was greatly affected, where the highest number (n = 76) of tree damage, and (n = 21) the entire diameter of trunks were damaged. People of the study area claimed that the black bear causes great forest damage, as well as crop destruction that leads to high economic loss. Full article
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18 pages, 16167 KiB  
Article
Assessing Forest Structural and Topographic Effects on Habitat Productivity for the Endangered Apennine Brown Bear
Forests 2021, 12(7), 916; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12070916 - 14 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2247
Abstract
Any forest management potentially affects the availability and quality of resources for forest-dwelling wildlife populations, including endangered species. One such species is the Apennine brown bear, a small and unique population living in the central Apennines of Italy. The conservation of this relict [...] Read more.
Any forest management potentially affects the availability and quality of resources for forest-dwelling wildlife populations, including endangered species. One such species is the Apennine brown bear, a small and unique population living in the central Apennines of Italy. The conservation of this relict bear population is hampered by the lack of knowledge of the fine-scale relationships between productivity of key foods and forest structure, as this prevents the design and implementation of effective forest management plans. To address this issue, we sampled the main structural stand attributes within the bear’s range and used multivariate generalized linear mixed models in a Bayesian framework to relate forest structural attributes to proxies of productivity of key bear foods. We found that hard mast was positively associated with both forest typology and high forest system, but negatively related to both the time elapsed since the last forest utilization and the amount of deadwood. The availability of soft-mast producing species was positively related to past forestry practices but negatively associated with steep slopes historically managed with high tree densities and a low silvicultural disturbance. Our findings also suggest that herb cover was negatively affected by terrain steepness and basal area, while herb productivity was positively affected by northern and southern exposure. Additionally, richness of forest ants was associated with forests characterized by low volume and high density. Our findings confirm that the productivity of natural bear foods is strongly affected by forest structural and topographical characteristics and are relevant as preliminary information for forest management practices to support the long-term conservation of Apennine bears. Full article
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