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Journal Forests

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Published: 15 February 2020
by MDPI
Forests, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/f11020222

Abstract:Research Highlights: I sought to disentangle the influences of tree age, growth rate, and dwarf mistletoe infection on resin duct defenses in lodgepole pine, Pinus contorta Douglas ex Loudon, revealing the presence of direct positive and indirect negative effects of mistletoe on defenses. Background and Objectives: For protection against natural enemies, pines produce and store oleoresin (resin) in ‘resin ducts’ that occur throughout the tree. Dwarf mistletoe, Arceuthobium americanum Nutt. ex Engelm. (hereafter “mistletoe”), is a widespread parasitic plant affecting the pines of western North America. Infection by mistletoe can suppress pine growth and increase the probability of insect attack—possibly due to a reduction in resin duct defenses or in the potency of chemical defenses at higher levels of mistletoe infection, as reported in Pinus banksiana Lamb. However, the influence of mistletoe infection on defenses in other pine species remains unclear. I hypothesized that mistletoe infection would induce greater resin duct defenses in P. contorta while simultaneously suppressing annual growth, which was expected to reduce defenses. Materials and Methods: Using increment cores from P. contorta trees occurring in a subalpine forest of Colorado, USA, I quantified tree age, annual growth, annual resin duct production (#/annual ring), and cross-sectional area (mm2 of resin ducts/annual ring). Results: Mistletoe infection increased with tree age and had a direct positive relationship with resin duct defenses. However, mistletoe infection also had an indirect negative influence on defenses via the suppression of annual growth. Conclusions: Through the combined direct and indirect effects, mistletoe infection had a net positive impact on resin duct production but a net negative impact on the total resin duct area. This finding highlights the complexity of pine defense responses to natural enemies and that future work is needed to understand how these responses influence overall levels of resistance and the risk of mortality.
Published: 15 February 2020
by MDPI
Forests, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/f11020223

Abstract:High-value timber species such as monarch birch (Betula maximowicziana Regel), castor aralia (Kalopanax septemlobus (Thunb.) Koidz), and Japanese oak (Quercus crispula Blume) play important ecological and economic roles in forest management in the cool temperate mixed forests in northern Japan. The accurate measurement of their tree height is necessary for both practical management and scientific reasons such as estimation of biomass and site index. In this study, we investigated the similarity of individual tree heights derived from conventional field survey, digital aerial photographs derived from unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV-DAP) data and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data. We aimed to assess the applicability of UAV-DAP in obtaining individual tree height information for large-sized high-value broadleaf species. The spatial position, tree height, and diameter at breast height (DBH) were measured in the field for 178 trees of high-value broadleaf species. In addition, we manually derived individual tree height information from UAV-DAP and LiDAR data with the aid of spatial position data and high resolution orthophotographs. Tree heights from three different sources were cross-compared statistically through paired sample t-test, correlation coefficient, and height-diameter model. We found that UAV-DAP derived tree heights were highly correlated with LiDAR tree height and field measured tree height. The performance of individual tree height measurement using traditional field survey is likely to be influenced by individual species. Overall mean height difference between LiDAR and UAV-DAP derived tree height indicates that UAV-DAP could underestimate individual tree height for target high-value timber species. The height-diameter models revealed that tree height derived from LiDAR and UAV-DAP could be better explained by DBH with lower prediction errors than field measured tree height. We confirmed the applicability of UAV-DAP data for obtaining the individual tree height of large-size high-value broadleaf species with comparable accuracy to LiDAR and field survey. The result of this study will be useful for the species-specific forest management of economically high-value timber species.
Published: 14 February 2020
by MDPI
Forests, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/f11020216

Abstract:Increases in bioavailable nitrogen (N) level can impact the soil carbon (C) sequestration in many forest ecosystems through its influences on litter decomposition and soil respiration (Rs). This study aims to detect whether the litter management can affect the influence of N addition on Rs. We conducted a one-year field experiment in a camphor forest of central-south China to investigate the responses of available N status and soil Rs to N addition and litter manipulation. Four N addition plots (NH4NO3; 0, 5, 15, 30 g N m−2 year−1 as N0, N1, N2, N3, respectively) were established with three nested litter treatments: natural litter input (CK), double litter input (LA), and non-litter input (LR). We found a short-lived enhancement effect of N addition on soil (NO3-N)and net nitrification (RN), but not on (NH4-N), net ammonification (RA), or mineralization (RM). N addition also decreased Rs in CK spots, but not in LA or LR spots, in which the negative effects of N additions on Rs were alleviated by either litter addition or reduction. A priming effect was also observed in LA treatments. A structural equation modeling analysis showed that litter treatments had direct positive effects on soil available N contents and Rs, which suggested that litter decomposition may benefit from litter management when N is not a limiting factor in subtropical forests.
Published: 14 February 2020
by MDPI
Forests, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/f11020217

Abstract:Wildland fire occurrence is highly variable in time and space, and in the United States where total area burned can vary substantially, acquiring resources (firefighters, engines, aircraft, etc.) to respond to fire demand is an important consideration. To determine the composition and scale of this set of suppression resources managers may utilize data produced by past supply and demand information. The key challenge with this approach is that there is currently no clear system of record to track suppression resource supply and demand, and there are potential pitfalls within existing systems that may provide misleading information regarding the true levels of resource scarcity. In this manuscript, we investigate the issue of resource scarcity by examining two key resources that operations personnel have identified as both high value and scarce: type 1 firefighting crews and large airtankers. We examine data from the Resource Ordering and Status System and analyze the level of resource scarcity indicated by these data over the 2014–2018 fire seasons. We focus on data metrics with potential utility for managers responsible for annual national-level decisions regarding crew and airtanker acquisition; some of these metrics are already used to inform such decisions. We examine the limitations of each metric and suggest new metrics that could more accurately reflect true resource use and scarcity. Such metrics could lead to a substantially improved decision-making process.
Published: 14 February 2020
by MDPI
Forests, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/f11020218

Abstract:Grafting, cutting, and pruning are important horticultural techniques widely used in the establishment of clonal forestry. After the application of these techniques, some properties of the plants change, however, the underlying molecular mechanisms are still unclear. In our previous study, 27 age-related transcripts were found to be expressed differentially between the juvenile vegetative (1- and 2-year-old) and adult reproductive (25- and 50-year-old) phases of Larix kaempferi. Here, we re-analyzed the 27 age-related transcripts, cloned their full-length cDNA sequences, and measured their responses to grafting, cutting, and pruning. After sequence analysis and cloning, 20 transcription factors were obtained and annotated, most of which were associated with reproductive development, and six (LaAGL2-1, LaAGL2-2, LaAGL2-3, LaSOC1-1, LaAGL11, and LaAP2-2) showed regular expression patterns with L. kaempferi aging. Based on the expression patterns of these transcription factors in L. kaempferi trees subjected to grafting, cutting, and pruning, we concluded that (1) cutting and pruning rejuvenate the plants and change their expression, and the effects of cutting on gene expression are detectable within 14 years, although the cutting seedlings are still maturing during these years; (2) within three months after grafting, the rootstock is more sensitive to grafting than the scion and readily becomes mature with the effect of the scion, while the scion is not readily rejuvenated by the effect of the rootstock; and (3) LaAGL2-2 and LaAGL2-3 are more sensitive to grafting, while LaAP2-2 is impervious to it. These findings not only provide potential molecular markers to assess the state of plants but also aid in studies of the molecular mechanisms of rejuvenation.
Published: 14 February 2020
by MDPI
Forests, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/f11020219

Abstract:In karst landscapes, soil CO2 is a key factor in weathering processes and carbon cycling, where its distribution and migration characteristics directly affect fluxes in carbon source–sink dynamics. We measured the CO2 emission and dissolution rates of carbonate tablets in calcareous soil developed from limestone and red soil developed from clastic rock, in karst and non-karst subtropical forests, in Guilin, southwest China between 2015 and 2018, to analyze their CO2 transfer characteristics and source–sink effects. The results showed similar average soil respiration rates between calcareous soil and red soil, with an average CO2 emission flux of 1305 and 1167 t C km−2 a−1, respectively. Carbonate tablet dissolution rates were bidirectional with increasing depth and were greater in red soil than calcareous soil, averaging 13.88 ± 5.42 and 7.20 ± 2.11 mg cm−2 a−1, respectively. CO2 concentration was bidirectional with increasing soil depth, reaching a maximum at the base of the soil–atmosphere interface (50–60 cm), and the bidirectional gradient was more distinctive in red soil. Change in the carbon isotope value of soil CO2 was also bidirectional in calcareous soils, for which the overall average was 0.87‰ heavier in calcareous than red soil. The carbon sink in calcareous soil in karst regions was estimated to be 11.97 times that of red soil in non-karst regions, whereas its role as a carbon source is just 1.12 times that of red soil, thus indicating the key role of karst soil in the reduction of atmospheric CO2.
Published: 14 February 2020
by MDPI
Forests, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/f11020220

Abstract:Background and Objectives: in Sweden during 2016, 71.6 million metric tonnes (t) of forest biomass (roundwood and forest fuels) were transported by truck, corresponding to approximately 15% of all national goods truck transport. To reduce the environmental impact of forest product transports and meet Swedish climate goals, the use of 90 t high-capacity transport (HCT) trucks on well-chosen routes has been identified as one potential measure. The objective was, therefore, to develop a method of finding the geographical occurrence of potential roundwood HCT corridors for 90 t trucks, as well as estimating their environmental and economic potential in comparison to the conventional 74 t-truck transport system for Swedish conditions. Materials and Methods: the study used data from actual roundwood transports during 2016 along with a digitalization of the Swedish road network (National Road Database, SNVDB) for corridor identification. In four steps we: 1) identified supportive networks, 2) identified flow supporting corridors on the technically supportive networks, 3) applied a calibrated route finder (CRF) to route relevant transports both directly from the landing to the receiver and via the corridor, gathering drive distance information and, for example, 4) analyzed transports fuel consumption and potential CO2 savings. Results: Results showed there was annual potential for 25 HCT corridors throughout Sweden to employ 20 90 t trucks to transport 2.5 Mt of roundwood, reducing up to 5500 t of CO2 and €3.1 M in fuel costs. Conclusions: the study reinforces previous studies’ findings concerning economic and environmental potential using HCT vehicles and identifies terminal establishment and management costs as a bottleneck in successful large-scale implementation of HCT corridors.
Published: 14 February 2020
by MDPI
Forests, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/f11020221

Abstract:Research Highlights: Our study highlights a new, simple, and effective method for studying the habitat use by beavers in Canadian boreal forests. Information regarding the presence of beaver colonies and their habitat occupation is essential for proper forest management and damage prevention in the boreal forest. Background and Objectives: The North American beaver (Castor canadensis) is a major element of natural disturbance, altering the dynamics and structure of boreal forest landscapes. Beaver-related activities also affect human infrastructure, cause floods, and lead to important monetary losses for forestry industries. Our study aimed to determine the spatiotemporal patterns of beaver occupation of lodges over time. Materials and Methods: Using a dendroecological approach to date browsing activity, we studied the occupation of two lodges per water body for eight water bodies located in the boreal forest of Québec, Canada. Results: Three sites showed alternating patterns of lodge use (occupation) over time, three sites (37.5%) demonstrated no alternating patterns of use, and two sites (25%) presented unclear patterns of lodge use. Conclusions: Alternating patterns of lodge use can be linked to food depletion and the need to regenerate vegetation around lodges, while non-alternating patterns may be related to fluctuations in water levels, the specific shrub and tree species surrounding the lodges, the size of the beaver territory, and the number of lodges present on a water body.
Published: 13 February 2020
by MDPI
Forests, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/f11020213

Abstract:Research Highlights: Ongoing land-use change and climate change in wet tropical forests can potentially drive shifts in tree species composition, representing a change in individual species within a functional group, tropical evergreen trees. The impacts on the global carbon cycle are potentially large, but unclear. We explored the differential effects of species within this functional group, in comparison with the effects of climate change, using the Century model as a research tool. Simulating effects of individual tree species on biome-level biogeochemical cycles constituted a novel application for Century. Background and Objectives: A unique, long-term, replicated field experiment containing five evergreen tree species in monodominant stands under similar environmental conditions in a Costa Rican wet forest provided data for model evaluation. Our objectives were to gain insights about this forest’s biogeochemical cycles and effects of tree species within this functional group, in comparison with climate change. Materials and Methods: We calibrated Century, using long-term meteorological, soil, and plant data from the field-based experiment. In modeling experiments, we evaluated effects on forest biogeochemistry of eight plant traits that were both observed and modeled. Climate-change simulation experiments represented two climate-change aspects observed in this region. Results: Model calibration revealed that unmodeled soil processes would be required to sustain observed P budgets. In species-traits experiments, three separate plant traits (leaf death rate, leaf C:N, and allocation to fine roots) resulted in modeled biomass C stock changes of >50%, compared with a maximum 21% change in the climate-change experiments. Conclusions: Modeled ecosystem properties and processes in Century were sensitive to changes in plant traits and nutrient limitations to productivity. Realistic model output was attainable for some species, but unusual plant traits thwarted predictions for one species. Including more plant traits and soil processes could increase realism, but less-complex models provide an accessible means for exploring plant-soil-atmosphere interactions.
Published: 13 February 2020
by MDPI
Forests, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/f11020214

Abstract:The possible negative impacts of flow regulation on riparian zone conditions can be observed due to the disruption of the natural flow regime in reservoirs. In spite of considerable literature on the qualitative effects of external disturbances on riparian health indicators (RHIs), quantitative evaluations of such changes induced by pressure are rare in the literature. Our study evaluated the effects of pressure indicators on the RHIs, and the responses of RHIs relevant to the riparian zones of the Three Gorges Dam Reservoir (TGDR), China, by using the field-based approach. This paper is a component of a large project—rapid appraisal of riparian condition for the TGDR, China. The analysis has compared pressures (13 indicators) and RHIs (27 indicators) determined from the transects (259) identified throughout the TGDR (within 15 counties) by categorizing into upstream, midstream, and downstream. By using basic statistical techniques (Kruskal-Wallis tests and Pearson’s correlation), pressure indicators were found to significantly differently influence RHIs for the categorized three sections of the riparian zones of the TGDR. The correlation analysis confirmed that the pressure indicators correlated (range of r = −0.496–0.971) with the RHIs (enlisted as habitat, plant cover, regeneration, erosion, and exotic parameters). Moreover, pressure indicators were found to have a highly significant influence on erosion and habitat parameters, but moderate effects on plant cover, exotic and regeneration parameters. In addition, the highest relative effect of the pressure indicators was detected in the upstream transects, whereas the lowest was in the downstream transects. Agglomerative Hierarchical Cluster analysis also confirmed the substantial dissimilarity in the upstream transects, whereas significant similarities were identified between midstream and downstream transects. These results may be particularly important in the planning stages, to help administrators and planners form better priorities and treatments for reach-scale conservation and restoration of wide-ranging riparian zones.
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