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Forest Biodiversity, Conservation and Sustainability – Series II

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2023) | Viewed by 14498

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Laboratory of Silviculture, Department of Forestry and Natural Environment, Faculty of Geotechnical Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
Interests: forest ecology; silviculture; ecological restoration; biodiversity conservation
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Forests demonstrate a high degree of biodiversity, being thought to comprise the most diverse ecosystems on land, as most of the terrestrial species in the world dwell there. Forest biodiversity is interlinked to a web of other socio-economic factors, providing an array of goods and services that range from timber and non-timber forest resources to mitigating climate change and conservation of genetic resources; therefore, it is innately linked to ecosystem and human well-being. However, forest biodiversity decrease is a crucial and ongoing environmental issue last decades.

This Special Issue on Forest Biodiversity (FB), which is the continuing issue of the former Special Issue, Forest Biodiversity, Conservation and Sustainability, will include emerging issues for understanding FB and its conservation, such as ecological processes, disturbances, climate change and ecosystems resilience, structural complexity and ecosystem functions, ecological theories and silvicultural practices, and stability of FB. It will also include papers that focus on the indicators and methods for assessing and monitoring forest biodiversity, evaluation of practices, silvicultural treatments and management methods aiming at biodiversity conservation, conservation of forest biodiversity in protected areas, treatments of endangered or threaten forest habitats, and sustainable management of forest resources.

Prof. Dr. Petros Ganatsas
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are 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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2400 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

  • Ecological processes and forest biodiversity 
  • Forest biodiversity, climate change and ecosystems resilience 
  • Indicators and methods for assessing and monitoring forest biodiversity 
  • Ecological theories and silvicultural practices 
  • Silvicultural treatments aiming at biodiversity conservation 
  • Methods for conservation of forest biodiversity in protected areas 
  • Structural complexity and ecosystem functions 
  • Treatments of endangered or threaten forest habitats 
  • Sustainable management of forest resources 
  • Conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 3971 KiB  
Article
Mapping the Species Richness of Woody Plants in Republic of Korea
by Junhee Lee, Youngjae Yoo, Raeik Jang and Seongwoo Jeon
Sustainability 2023, 15(7), 5718; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15075718 - 24 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 934
Abstract
As climate change continues to impact the planet, the importance of forests is becoming increasingly emphasized. The International Co-operative Program on the Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests (ICP Forests) has been monitoring and assessing forests in 40 countries since [...] Read more.
As climate change continues to impact the planet, the importance of forests is becoming increasingly emphasized. The International Co-operative Program on the Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests (ICP Forests) has been monitoring and assessing forests in 40 countries since 1985. In Republic of Korea, the first Forest Health Management (FHM) survey was a nationwide sample point assessment conducted between 2011 and 2015. However, there are limitations in representing the health of forests that occupy 63.7% of Korea’s land area due to the nature of sample point surveys, which survey a relatively small area. Accordingly, a species richness map was created to promote species diversity in forest health evaluations in Republic of Korea. The map was created using data from the first FHM survey, which examined 28 factors with 12 survey indicators in four categories: tree health, vegetation health, soil health, and atmospheric health. We conducted an ensemble modeling of species distribution for woody plant species that are major habitats in Republic of Korea. To select the species, we used the first FHM survey data and chose those with more than 100 sample points, resulting in a total of 11 species. We then created the species richness map of Republic of Korea by overlaying their distributions. To verify the accuracy of the derived map, an independent verification was conducted using statistical verification and external data from the National Natural Environment Survey. To support forest management that accounts for climate change adaptation, the derived species richness map was validated based on the vegetation climate distribution map of the Korean Peninsula, which was published by the Korea National Arboretum. The map confirmed that species richness is highest around the boundary of the deciduous forest in the central temperate zone and lowest around the evergreen and deciduous mixed forest in the southern temperate zone. By establishing this map, it was possible to confirm the spatial distribution of species by addressing the limitations of direct surveys, which are unable to represent all forests. However, it is important to note that not all factors of the first FHM survey were considered during the spatialization process, and the target area only includes Republic of Korea. Thus, further research is necessary to expand the target area and include additional items. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Biodiversity, Conservation and Sustainability – Series II)
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17 pages, 1773 KiB  
Article
Exploring Biodiversity and Disturbances in the of Peri-Urban Forests of Thessaloniki, Greece
by Lydia-Maria Petaloudi, Petros Ganatsas and Marianthi Tsakaldimi
Sustainability 2022, 14(14), 8497; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14148497 - 11 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1346
Abstract
Forests host important plant biodiversity. Nevertheless, due to climate change and human disturbances, the floristic quality of forest ecosystems is degraded. Greek peri-urban forests biodiversity is threatened by anthropogenic activities such as forest fragmentation, pollution, garbage, etc. Measurement of biodiversity status and the [...] Read more.
Forests host important plant biodiversity. Nevertheless, due to climate change and human disturbances, the floristic quality of forest ecosystems is degraded. Greek peri-urban forests biodiversity is threatened by anthropogenic activities such as forest fragmentation, pollution, garbage, etc. Measurement of biodiversity status and the floristic quality assessment can be used to estimate the degree of forest degradation caused by anthropogenic disturbances. In this study, we compared and evaluated six forest ecosystem types in the peri-urban forests of Thessaloniki, northern Greece, by using Shannon’s biodiversity index as well as and α and β diversity Sørensen indices. Furthermore, we recorded the prevailing anthropogenic disturbances and compared the plant families and the ruderal species appearing in each forest ecosystem. Finally, the average conservatism value (C value) of the plant species found in each ecosystem was determined in order to calculate the ecosystem floristic quality index. Analysis of the results showed that the floristic and ecological parameters tested greatly vary among ecosystems. Broadleaf forests of higher altitude hosted the greatest biodiversity, and the higher floristic quality index and plant conservation value. On the contrary, most disturbances and most ruderal species were recorded in ecosystems of lower altitude, adjacent to the city (Pinus brutia forest and Maqui vegetation), the least disturbed ecosystems were found in the steep slopes (Castanea sativa forest). Most ruderal species found belonged to the Asteraceae and Rosaceae families. Accessibility and attractiveness of stands were positively correlated with disturbances. Insufficient management, lack of protection measures, and littering removal contribute to the increase in the level of disturbance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Biodiversity, Conservation and Sustainability – Series II)
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19 pages, 5418 KiB  
Article
From Seed to Seedling: Influence of Seed Geographic Provenance and Germination Treatments on Reproductive Material Represented by Seedlings of Robinia pseudoacacia
by Andreea M. Roman, Alina M. Truta, Irina M. Morar, Oana Viman, Catalina Dan, Adriana F. Sestras, Liviu Holonec, Monica Boscaiu and Radu E. Sestras
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 5654; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14095654 - 07 May 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1820
Abstract
The influence of the geographical origin of eight Romanian provenances of Robinia pseudoacacia on the characteristics of seeds, germination, and growth of seedlings in young stages of life was analyzed. Four experiments were undertaken to test seed germination (thermal treatment at distinct temperatures, [...] Read more.
The influence of the geographical origin of eight Romanian provenances of Robinia pseudoacacia on the characteristics of seeds, germination, and growth of seedlings in young stages of life was analyzed. Four experiments were undertaken to test seed germination (thermal treatment at distinct temperatures, mechanical scarification, acetone 90%, and biostimulator). The germination percentage showed that scarification treatment provided the best results among all treatments (41.7%). Seeds soaked in water at 100 °C provided the second-highest germination rate. Furthermore, the same two treatments also assured the highest values for the seedlings’ length. There were registered significant differences among the provenances for the analyzed characteristics, the seed germination capacity, and the growth rate of the seedlings in the first years of life. The study highlighted the resources that could ensure good quality of the reproductive forest material, which can be used in new afforestation and breeding programs. Pearson correlations and multivariate analysis provided interesting and useful information about R. pseudoacacia provenances and 13 characteristics of the seeds and seedlings, highlighting the relationship among them. The results could be of interest for the efficient use of forest genetic resources and the obtention of quality reproductive material in black locust. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Biodiversity, Conservation and Sustainability – Series II)
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23 pages, 4439 KiB  
Article
Forest Structure and Composition under Contrasting Precipitation Regimes in the High Mountains, Western Nepal
by Kishor Prasad Bhatta, Anisha Aryal, Himlal Baral, Sujan Khanal, Amul Kumar Acharya, Chanthavone Phomphakdy and Rinzin Dorji
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7510; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137510 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4693
Abstract
The high mountains stretch over 20.4% of Nepal’s land surface with diverse climatic conditions and associated vegetation types. An understanding of tree species and forest structural pattern variations across different climatic regions is crucial for mountain ecology. This study strived to carry out [...] Read more.
The high mountains stretch over 20.4% of Nepal’s land surface with diverse climatic conditions and associated vegetation types. An understanding of tree species and forest structural pattern variations across different climatic regions is crucial for mountain ecology. This study strived to carry out a comparative evaluation of species diversity, main stand variables, and canopy cover of forests with contrasting precipitation conditions in the Annapurna range. Firstly, climate data provided by CHELSA version 1.2, were used to identify distinct precipitation regimes. Lamjung and Mustang were selected as two contrasting precipitation regions, and have average annual precipitation of 2965 mm and 723 mm, respectively. Stratified random sampling was used to study 16 plots, each measuring 500 m2 and near the tree line at an elevation range of 3000 to 4000 m across different precipitation conditions. In total, 870 trees were identified and measured. Five hemispherical photos using a fisheye lens were taken in each plot for recording and analyzing canopy cover. Margalef’s index was used to measure species richness, while two diversity indices: the Shannon–Wiener Index and Simpson Index were used for species diversity. Dominant tree species in both study regions were identified through the Important Value Index (IVI). The Wilcoxon rank-sum test was employed to determine the differences in forest structure and composition variables between the two precipitation regimes. In total, 13 species were recorded with broadleaved species predominating in the high precipitation region and coniferous species in the low precipitation region. Higher species richness and species diversity were recorded in the low precipitation region, whereas the main stand variables: basal area and stem density were found to be higher in the high precipitation region. Overall, an inverse J-shaped diameter distribution was found in both precipitation regions signifying uneven-aged forest. A higher proportion of leaning and buttressed trees were recorded in the high precipitation region. However, similar forest canopy cover conditions (>90%) were observed in both study regions. The findings of this research provide a comprehensive narrative of tree species and forest structure across distinct precipitation regimes, which can be crucial to administrators and local people for the sustainable management of resources in this complex region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Biodiversity, Conservation and Sustainability – Series II)
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14 pages, 4528 KiB  
Article
Topographic Effects on the Spatial Species Associations in Diverse Heterogeneous Tropical Evergreen Forests
by Nguyen Hong Hai, Yousef Erfanifard, Van Bac Bui, Trinh Hien Mai, Any Mary Petritan and Ion Catalin Petritan
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2468; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052468 - 25 Feb 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2340
Abstract
Studying spatial patterns and habitat association of plant communities may provide understanding of the ecological mechanisms and processes that maintain species coexistence. To conduct assessments of correlation between community compositions and habitat association, we used data from two topographically different plots with 2 [...] Read more.
Studying spatial patterns and habitat association of plant communities may provide understanding of the ecological mechanisms and processes that maintain species coexistence. To conduct assessments of correlation between community compositions and habitat association, we used data from two topographically different plots with 2 ha area in tropical evergreen forests with the variables recorded via grid systems of 10 × 10 m subplots in Northern-Central Vietnam. First, we tested the relationship between community composition and species diversity indices considering the topographical variables. We then assessed the interspecific interactions of 20 dominant plant species using the nearest-neighbor distribution function, Dij(r), and Ripley’s K-function, Kij(r). Based on the significant spatial association of species pairs, indices of interspecific interaction were calculated by the quantitative amounts of the summary statistics. The results showed that (i) community compositions were significantly influenced by the topographic variables and (ii) almost 50% significant pairs of species interactions were increased with increasing spatial scales up to 10–15 m, then declined and disappeared at scales of 30–40 m. Segregation and partial overlap were the dominant association types and disappeared at larger spatial scales. Spatial segregation, mixing, and partial overlap revealed the important species interactions in maintaining species coexistence under habitat heterogeneity in diverse forest communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Biodiversity, Conservation and Sustainability – Series II)
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18 pages, 2719 KiB  
Article
Quantifying the Effect of Crown Vertical Position on Individual Tree Competition: Total Overlap Index and Its Application in Sustainable Forest Management
by Boheng Wang, Yuankun Bu, Guanhu Tao, Chenran Yan, Xiaolu Zhou, Weizhong Li, Pengxiang Zhao, Yanzheng Yang and Ruikun Gou
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7498; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187498 - 11 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2092
Abstract
Competition is an essential driving factor that influences forest community sustainability, yet measuring it poses several challenges. To date, the Competition Index (CI) has generally been the tool of choice for quantifying actual competition. In this study, we proposed using the Total Overlap [...] Read more.
Competition is an essential driving factor that influences forest community sustainability, yet measuring it poses several challenges. To date, the Competition Index (CI) has generally been the tool of choice for quantifying actual competition. In this study, we proposed using the Total Overlap Index (TOI), a CI in which the Area Overlap (AO) index has been adapted and modified to consider the “shading” and “crowding” effects in the vertical dimension. Next, based on six mixed forest plots in Xiaolong Mountain, Gansu, China, we assessed the results to determine the TOI’s evaluation capability. Individual-tree simulation results showed that compared to the modified Area Overlap index (AOM), the TOI has superior quantification capability in the vertical direction. The results of the basal area increment (BAI) model showed that the TOI offers the best evaluation capability among the four considered CIs in mixed forest (with Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) of 1041.60 and log-likelihood (LL) of −511.80 in the model fitting test, mean relative error of −28.67%, mean absolute percent error of 117.11%, and root mean square error of 0.7993 in cross-validation). Finally, the TOI was applied in the Kaplan–Meier survival analysis and Cox proportional-hazards analysis. The Kaplan–Meier survival analysis showed a significant difference between the low- (consisting of trees with the TOI lower than 1) and high-competition (consisting of trees with the TOI higher than 1) groups’ survival and hazard curves. Moreover, the results of the Cox proportional-hazards analysis exhibited that the trees in the low-competition group only suffered 34.29% of the hazard risk that trees in the high-competition group suffered. Overall, the TOI expresses more dimensional information than other CIs and appears to be an effective competition index for evaluating individual tree competition. Thus, the competition status quantified using this method may provide new information to guide policy- and decision-makers in sustainable forest management planning projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Biodiversity, Conservation and Sustainability – Series II)
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