Current issue: 51(2)
Under compilation: 51(3)
Salix viminalis L. is an important shrub that has potential for use as a bioenergy crop, for phytoremediation of heavy metal contaminated soil and sewage sludge treatment. It is mainly distributed in the northeast of China, but the species has not yet been used a resource here. We examined the genetic diversity and population structure of populations from the Ergun basin and West Liao basin using 20 microsatellite markers. A high level of genetic diversity (Na = 16.45, He = 0.742) was detected for S. viminalis, and populations from the Ergun basin exhibited higher genetic diversity and private alleles numbers than the West Liao basin. The 12 populations could be divided into two clusters by both Bayesian analysis and UPGMA clustering which were consistent with the populations derived from the two basins. Moderate population differentiation (FST = 0.076) was shown in S. viminalis, and AMOVA analysis confirmed that most of the genetic variation (86.13%) was attributed to individual differences within populations, while 11.49% was attributed to differences between basins and 2.38% to differences within each basin. Significant correlations of FST/(1–FST) with log (geographic distance) among 12 populations (r = 0.634, p < 0.00) and 10 populations within the Ergun basin (r = 0.482, p = 0.0002) indicated that geographical distance was the principal factor influencing genetic structure. As most of genetic variation exist within populations, so protection measures should be focused on populations with higher genetic diversity and unique alleles, such as Tuli, Mordaga downstream, Zhadun1 and Genhe.
Genetically improved Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) are used extensively in operational Swedish forestry plantations to increase production. Depending on the genetic status of the plant material, the current estimated genetic gain in growth is in the range 10–20% for these species and this is expected to increase further in the near future. However, growth models derived solely from data relating to genetically improved material in Sweden are still lacking. In this study we investigated whether an individual tree growth model based on data from unimproved material could be used to predict the height increment in young trials of genetically improved Norway spruce and Scots pine. Data from 11 genetic experiments with large genetic variation, ranging from offspring of plus-trees selected in the late 1940s to highly improved clonal materials selected from well performing provenances were used. The data set included initial heights at the age of 7–15 years and 5-year increments for almost 2000 genetic entries and more than 20 000 trees. The evaluation indicated that the model based on unimproved trees predicted height development relatively well for genetically improved Norway spruce and there was no need to incorporate a genetic component. However, for Scots pine, the model needed to be modified. A genetic component was developed based on the genetic difference recorded within each trial, using mixed linear models and methods from quantitative genetics. By incorporating the genetic component, the prediction errors were significantly reduced for Scots pine. This study provides the first step to incorporate genetic gains into Swedish growth models and forest management planning systems.
Results on early survival, growth and shoot phenology of hybrid aspen (Populus tremula L. × P. tremuloides Michx.) and poplar clones (P. trichocarpa Torr. & A. Gray, P. balsamifera L., P. maximowiczii A. Henry and their hybrids) in 13 Scandinavian field trials are presented. The trials were established on forest land (7 sites) or former agricultural land (6 sites) within the latitude range of 56° to 65° N and were assessed 3–4 years after establishment. The main aim was to evaluate phenotypic and genetic differences related to early survival, growth and phenology for hybrid aspen and poplar for different site types and latitudes. Growth and survival was generally higher for hybrid aspen than poplar at all sites. The poor performance of poplar compared to hybrid aspen is likely due to climatic maladaptation or high soil acidity. The early growth performance of the species need to be confirmed at a higher age. The genetic variation and genetic control for growth, phenology and survival was in general intermediate to large indicating good possibilities for effective clonal selection. The genetic site x site correlations (rGE) for growth were for hybrid aspen mostly strong, indicating a weak genotype by environment interaction, while rGE were inconsistent for poplars.The result suggests that southern Sweden can be treated as a single test and utilization zone and in northern Sweden the region along the coast may be another zone. It is too early to make any corresponding conclusions for poplar. In addition, the result backs up the current recommendations for utilization of selected hybrid aspen and poplar regeneration material in Sweden.
Downy birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh.) stands on drained peatlands are often considered useless because they typically do not yield good-quality sawn timber. However, covering an area of ca. 0.5 million hectares and with total yields of up to 250 m3 ha–1, downy birch stands on peatlands in Finland have a potential for pulpwood and/or energy wood production. We examined the financial performance of alternative management regimes (with or without thinnings, different thinning intensities, several rotation lengths) combined with alternative harvesting methods (pulpwood, energy wood, or integrated, energy wood being delimbed stems or whole trees). We used data from 19 experimental stands, monitored for 20–30 years. For harvesting removals we considered both actual thinning removals and final-cutting removals with alternative timings that were based on the monitoring data. We assessed the profitability as a combination of the net present value of the birch generation and the bare land value of future generations of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.). The most profitable management was growing without thinnings until whole-tree final cutting at the stand age of 40–45 years with an advanced multi-tree harvesting method. In contrast, the standard method in whole-tree final cutting resulted in the lowest profitability, and an integrated method with the energy wood as delimbed stems was the best of the standard methods. Thinnings were unprofitable especially when aiming to produce energy wood, whereas aiming for pulpwood, light precommercial thinning was competitive. Commercial thinning at the traditional “pulpwood stage” had little effect on profitability. The best stand age for final cutting was 40–65 years – earlier for very dense stands and whole-tree energy wood harvesting with advanced method, later for precommercially thinned stands and pulpwood harvesting.
The objective of our study was to assess the genetic and morphological differentiation of European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus L.) in Lithuania based on DNA markers, skull and anther morphology. DNA was extracted from 79 culled individuals at 13 locations and genotyped at five nuclear microsatellite loci. Based on culling location, individuals were assigned to either a field (N = 43) or a forest ecotype (N = 36). Skull and antler morphometry was studied on 603 and 292 individuals, respectively. Results showed no significant genetic and skull morphology differentiation between the ecotypes. The forest ecotype tends to exhibit lower genetic diversity compared to the field ecotype, particularly for male individuals. The genetic differentiation of roe deer in Lithuania was significant based on the RST values, but not on the FST values. A STRUCTURE analyses revealed southern and northern genetic clusters, most likely affected by divergent gene flow. The country’s major rivers Nemunas and Neris are likely to increase differentiation between the clusters. ANOVA on skull morphology by gender and age indicated a significant effect of geographical location. Skull size (especially length) is greater in the northern part of the country. We also found significant effects of age, ecotype and geographical location on most of the roe deer male antler morphometric traits.
The literature on the most prominent forest damage related to even-aged and uneven-aged forest management regimes was reviewed. A questionnaire to expert researchers was conducted to estimate risks in even-aged and uneven-aged forest management chains in Finland. There are only a few empirical comparisons of damage risks in even- and uneven-aged stands in the literature. The results from the expert survey showed that the damage risks were higher in even-aged management in Norway spruce and Scots pine. However, the variation in the risks between individual chains and between individual causes was high. The highest risks in Scots pine were caused by moose (in even-aged chains) and harvesting damage (in uneven-aged chains). In Norway spruce, root rot caused the highest risks in both even-aged and uneven-aged chains. The higher risks in even-aged forestry are largely due to the many associated practices which favour various types of damage. However, there are some important exceptions: the damage risks may be higher in some uneven-aged stands, especially in Norway spruce stands infected with root rot where the utilization of undergrowth or natural regeneration can be risky. Moreover, the repeated thinnings in uneven-aged stands may lead to increased mechanical damage.
Tree stands in the boreal treeline ecotone are, in addition to climate change, impacted by disturbances such as fire, water-related disturbances and logging. We aim to understand how these disturbances affect growth, age structure, and spatial patterns of larch stands in the north-eastern Siberian treeline ecotone (lower Kolyma River region), an insufficiently researched region. Stand structure of Larix cajanderi Mayr was studied at seven sites impacted by disturbances. Maximum tree age ranged from 44 to 300 years. Young to medium-aged stands had, independent of disturbance type, the highest stand densities with over 4000 larch trees per ha. These sites also had the highest growth rates for tree height and stem diameter. Overall lowest stand densities were found in a polygonal field at the northern end of the study area, with larches growing in distinct “tree islands”. At all sites, saplings are significantly clustered. Differences in fire severity led to contrasting stand structures with respect to tree, recruit, and overall stand densities. While a low severity fire resulted in low-density stands with high proportions of small and young larches, high severity fires resulted in high-density stands with high proportions of big trees. At water-disturbed sites, stand structure varied between waterlogged and drained sites and latitude. These mixed effects of climate and disturbance make it difficult to predict future stand characteristics and the treeline position.
Accurate estimates of both above-ground biomass (AGB) and below-ground biomass (BGB) are essential for estimating carbon (C) balances at various geographical scales and formulating effective climate change mitigation programs. However, estimating BGB is challenging, particularly for forest ecosystems, so robust allometric equations are needed. To obtain such equations for savanna-woodlands of the West African north sudanian zone, we selected four common native woody species (Anogeissus leiocarpa (DC.) Guill. & Perr., Detarium microcarpum Guill. & Perr., Piliostigma thonningii (Schumach.) Milne-Redh. and Vitellaria paradoxa C.F. Gaertn.). At two sites in Burkina Faso, we determined the BGB of 30 trees of each of these species by excavation, and measured various above-ground dimensional variables. The root:shoot ratio varied widely among the species, from 0.1 to 3.4. Depending on the species, allometric equations based on stem basal area at 20 cm height, basal area at breast height and tree height explained 50–95% of the variation in BGB. The best generic equation we obtained, based on basal area at 20 cm, explained 60% of the variation in BGB across the species. Three previously published generic allometric equations underestimated BGB by 8 to 63%. The presented equations should significantly improve the accuracy of BGB estimates in savanna-woodlands and help avoid costly needs to excavate root systems.
Boom corridor thinning (BCT) has been proposed as a cost-effective technique for biomass thinning (BT) in young dense stands. The objective of this study was to determine how various BCT operations affect stand structure following biomass thinning and to compare the results with conventional selective thinning methods. Two series of field experiments were established; BCT 1-series: Three sites in south of Sweden (9 and 11 m in mean and dominating tree height) with five treatments, including a control, conventional selective thinning and three BCT treatments (1 m and 2 m wide corridors and selective BCT). The second BCT series: Three regions in Sweden (in the north, centre and in the south), with two stand sites in each region with different tree heights (4/9 m and 5/10 m in mean/dominating tree height). Treatments were control, pre-commercial thinning (PCT), conventional selective thinning and BCT (high and low thinning). Following the first biomass thinning, BCT regimes and selective thinning methods resulted in similar stand structures based on the number of possible future crop trees (>80 mm in diameter at breast height). However, BCT maintained a higher diversity of tree sizes as well as more stems per hectare, including deciduous species, than the selective thinning approaches. The stands after BCT should have more vertical complexity, especially when compared to pre-commercial thinning. The structural heterogeneity resulting from BCT may also increase stand biodiversity and ecosystem service values.
In the present study, the impact of geographical isolation and habitat conditions on genetic diversity and sexual reproduction was tested in four relict populations of dwarf birch Betula nana L. in Poland and Belarus. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) method revealed that the endangered central European stands were not genetically extirpated compared with the widespread localities from Finland and Russia, which can result from infrequent outcrossing events in long-living clonal populations. However, genetic clustering methods indicated significant differentiation of the Polish populations because of their small sizes and long-term geographical isolation. Considerable numbers of empty seeds were observed in both relict and central locations, although fully developed seeds germinated better in widespread populations. Analysis of groundwater chemical parameters indicated that two relict populations were significantly different from the remaining samples with respect to pH, electrical conductivity and concentrations of phosphorus ions, which can also influence the efficiency of sexual reproduction. In the light of results obtained it seems that endangered B. nana localities are relatively stable.
Exploring the possibility to produce nation-wide forest attribute maps using stereophotogrammetry of aerial images, the national terrain model and data from the National Forest Inventory (NFI). The study areas are four image acquisition blocks in mid- and south Sweden. Regression models were developed and applied to 12.5 m × 12.5 m raster cells for each block and validation was done with an independent dataset of forest stands. Model performance was compared for eight different forest types separately and the accuracies between forest types clearly differs for both image- and LiDAR methods, but between methods the difference in accuracy is small at plot level. At stand level, the root mean square error in percent of the mean (RMSE%) were ranging: from 7.7% to 10.5% for mean height; from 12.0% to 17.8% for mean diameter; from 21.8% to 22.8% for stem volume; and from 17.7% to 21.1% for basal area. This study clearly shows that aerial images from the national image program together with field sample plots from the NFI can be used for large area forest attribute mapping.
The ongoing climate change may have a distinct effect on Norway spruce growth, one of the most important tree species in European forest management. Therefore, the understanding and assessment of climate-growth relationship can help to reveal relevant patterns in temporal variability that may result in lower tree vitality and decline. The main objective of our study was to evaluate the long-term climate-growth variability of Norway spruce in south-eastern Norway, at the northern edge of the temperate zone. We sampled in total 270 dominant and co-dominant trees from 18 plots in south-eastern Norway. We analysed stem cores and evaluated crown condition parameters to assess the retrospective tree growth and vitality. Despite considerable differences in the crown parameters, high similarity among tree-ring width (TRW) series allowed compiling the regional tree-ring width chronology. Correlations between TRW and climate parameters showed temporal instability in their relationship during the period 1915–2012. While we did not detect any significant relationships between TRW and climate parameters in the first half of the study period (1915–1963), a significant correlation between TRW and spring precipitation was observed for the period 1964–2012. This shift appeared concurrent with temperatures reaching above-average values compared to the average of the climate normal period 1961–1990.
Polymorphisms at a set of eighteen nuclear (nSSR) and chloroplast (cpSSR) microsatellite loci were investigated in sixteen populations of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) derived from the provenance trial experiment and representative of the species distribution range and climatic zones in Poland. The patterns of genetic variation were compared to the reference samples from the species distribution in Europe and Asia. A similar level of genetic variation and no evidence of population structure was found among the Polish stands. They showed genetic similarity and homogenous patterns of allelic frequency spectra compared to the Northern European populations. Those populations were genetically divergent compared to the marginal populations from Turkey, Spain and Scotland. The population structure patterns reflect the phylogeography of the species and the divergence of populations that most likely do not share recent history. As the analysed provenance trial populations from Poland are diverged in phenotypic traits but are genetically similar, they could be used to test for selection at genomic regions that influence variation in quantitative traits.
Pruning was performed at midsummer in two genetically homogenous and managed planted silver birch stands in southern Sweden – one aged 9 and one aged 10 years. Wood defects were analysed 10 years thereafter, using the five uppermost twigs of the stems up to a height of 30 dm. The number of trees examined at each site was around 70, of which half were pruned. The main findings were that: a) compared to unpruned trees, pruned trees produced more defect-free wood outside the knots; b) most wood defects were found inside the knots; and c) wood defects like rot and bark ingrowth were similar for pruned and unpruned trees, while discolouration was marginally higher for pruned trees inside knots but similar outside knots. Overall, the results confirm previous findings that pruned birch trees will provide butt logs with higher value than unpruned trees.
Ungulate browsing results in important damages on the forests, affecting their structure, composition and development. In the present paper, we examine the occurrence of browsing damage in Norwegian forests, using data provided by the National Forest Inventory along several consecutive measurements (entailing the period 1995–2014). A portfolio of variables describing the stand, site and silvicultural treatments are analyzed using classification trees to retrieve combinations related to browsing damage. Our results indicate that the most vulnerable forest stands are young with densities below 1400 trees ha–1 and dominated by birch, pine or mixed species. In addition, stand diversity and previous treatments (e.g. thinnings) increase the damage occurrence and other variables, like stand size, could play a role on forest susceptibility to browsing occurrence although the latter is based on weaker evidence. The methods and results of our study can be applied to implement management measures aiming at reducing the browsing damages of forests.
Oceanic archipelagos provide an important platform from which to evaluate the effects of isolation and fragmentation on the genetic structure of species. As a result of oceanic isolation, such species usually show lower levels of genetic diversity and higher genetic differentiation than their mainland congeners. However, this is not necessarily the case for long distance dispersal species, whose genetic structure is not strictly defined by population isolation. We assessed the level and distribution of genetic diversity among Canarian populations of Juniperus turbinata in order to evaluate the influence of population isolation on its genetic structure. Using Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism markers, we analyzed molecular diversity among 175 individuals from five populations occurring across the Canary Island and three Moroccan populations. Principal Coordinate Analysis, neighbor joining clustering, AMOVA and Bayesian-based analysis were applied to examine population structure. Despite the documented habitat loss and decline in Canarian populations, Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism markers revealed levels of intra-population genetic diversity that were similar to those from mainland populations, and low levels of genetic differentiation. Bayesian analysis of population structure showed three main clusters, one comprising El Hierro population and a few individuals from several islands, a second cluster that grouped the remaining Canarian populations together, and a third cluster grouping Moroccan populations. Our results suggest that the main force driving the genetic structure of Canarian populations of J. turbinata is its capacity for long distance dispersal.
The purpose of this research is to establish time consumption and productivity when using Husqvarna 365 chainsaw for resinous tree felling in mountainous regions. The research was conducted in the Romanian Southern Carpathians, in two mixed spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) and fir (Abies alba Mill.) tree stands (S1 and S2). Only one team of workers, made up of a feller and an assistant, was used in the felling operation. This was divided into nine specific stages for which work times were measured. Work time structure used here includes WP – workplace time (PW – productive work time; SW – supportive work time, NT – non-work time) and NW – non-workplace time. The results indicated a productivity of 10.138 m3 h–1 (4.55 tree h–1) in S1 and of 11.374 m3 h–1 (4.33 tree h–1) in S2. Work time structure was WP 88.61% (PW 19.59%; SW 33.88%; NT 35.14%) and NW 11.39% in S1 and WP 83.77% (PW 17.66%; SW 30.73%; NT 35.38%) and NW 16.23% in S2. The results obtained showed that the power function best describes the relationship between productivity expressed by tree h–1 and breast height diameter (dbh) (R2 = 0.89 in S1 and R2 = 0.94 in S2). When productivity is expressed by m3 h–1 the results obtained in the case of power, exponential and linear functions are comparable (R2 = 0.65 to 0.67 in S1 and R2 = 0.81 to 0.92 in S2). Productivity is also influenced by stump diameter and the distance between trees. Their influence on productivity was emphasized by linear regression equations.
Although controlled release fertilizer (CRF) with single and multiple-layer coatings are extensively used in tree seedlings, studies that compare the impact of CRF type and application rate on seedling growth, nutrient storage, and, most importantly, outplanting performance, are lacking. In the current study, container-grown Pinus tabulaeformis Carr. (Chinese pine) seedlings were fertilized with commercial CRF with either one or multiple coating layers with equivalent formulation and longevity, at six rates ranging from 40 to 240 mg N seedling–1. Seedlings were sampled for dry mass, non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) content, and mineral nutrient status at the end of the growing season in the nursery, and subsequently outplanted for one season. Compared to Chinese pine seedlings fertilized with single-layer CRF treatments, seedlings treated with multiple-layer CRF had higher starch concentrations but reduced dry mass and N, P, K concentrations in the nursery, and reduced diameter growth in the field. Fertilization rates of 80 and 120 mg N seedling–1 generally yielded maximal plant dry mass and mineral nutrient content. Field survival peaked at 80 mg N seedling–1. Seedling growth, soluble sugar content, and starch concentration in the nursery and survival in the field consistently decreased at rates of 200 and 240 mg N seedling–1. In our study, optimal nursery and field performance of P. tabulaeformis were observed using single layer CRF at 80 mg N seedling–1 (3.3 g CRF l–1 media).
Chain flail delimbing and debarking may improve value recovery from small tree harvests, without renouncing the benefits of multi-tree processing. The technology is mature and capable of excellent performance, which has been documented in many benchmark studies. This paper offers new insights into the relationship between the performance of chain flail delimbing and debarking and such factors as tree volume, load volume, tree form and bark-wood bond strength (BWBS). The study was conducted in Chile, during the commercial harvesting of a Eucalyptus globulus Labill. plantation. In an observational study, researchers collected production data from over 780 work cycles, and work quality data from over 1000 individual trees. The analysis of these data shows that productivity is affected primarily by load volume. Work quality is affected by BWBS and by the number of trees in a load. Work quality degrades with increasing BWBS and tree number, since more trees tend to shield each other. Tree form has no effect on either productivity or work quality. Regression and probability functions are provided, and can be used for predictive purposes when trying to optimize current operations or to prospect the introduction of chain flail technology to new work environments.
In the southwestern pre-Saharan arid zone of Morocco, the endemic argan forest (Argania spinosa) had been almost completely destroyed in the 1960s due to intensive coal mining and mixed cereal-livestock farming. These activities turned out to be unviable and a massive rural exodus occurred in the 1970s. Local populations started to develop maintenance-free prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) cultivation at large scale in order to keep their land ownership rights, while reducing their traditional agropastoral activity. We conducted a survey in order to characterize the relationships between the age of prickly pear orchards and argan tree regeneration. We also explored facilitating factors, such as soil organic matter and mycorrhiza. Results showed a high positive correlation (r2 = 0.75, p < 0.001) between the age of prickly pear orchards and argan tree resprouts, but with differences depending on a continentality gradient. The soil organic matter content also showed highly significant differences (p < 0.001) depending on the age of the prickly pear plantation, while spora density did not show such differences. The recent high economic value attributed to prickly pear fruits, and to both argan and prickly pear seed oil, has given farmers the opportunity to develop a lucrative agricultural activity, while promoting the recovery of native vegetation. This situation constitutes a remarkable example of speculative agricultural development in a very harsh environment, in phase with ecological priorities for combating desertification. It could represent an alternative to the externally-generated projects sustained by high levels of public funding, with ecological, economic and social impacts which are sometimes questionable.
A significant amount of land area in the Central Anatolian Region of Turkey has saline-sodic soil properties. The aim of the current study was to use both soil amendment and tree to restore these degraded lands. The primary objective was to ameliorate soils by leaching excess sodium with gypsum and sulfur applications. Following soil treatments, salt cedar (Tamarix smyrnensis Bunge), Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia L.) and silver poplar (Populus alba L.) seedlings were planted on experimental and control sites to evaluate the effects of the treatments on survival and growth of these species. In the fall of 2013, three-year-old seedlings were planted using 1.5 × 1.5 m spacing on each plot. Survival rates were determined and height and diameter were measured at the end of September 2015. Second year infiltration measurements indicated that both chemical treatments had significantly increased the infiltration capacity of the soil (P = 0.0003). Soil infiltration capacity on gypsum treated sites was about 55% higher than on sulfur sites. Following the second growing season, salt cedar had the highest survival rates of 80%. Silver poplar had 36% survival rates across the treatments. Russian olive had 50 cm height growth on both gypsum and sulfur application sites vs. only 25 cm on controls. Diameters of Russian olive on gypsum and sulfur sites were about 9.3 mm vs. 5 mm on the controls. Silver poplars on gypsum treated sites grew 42% taller than controls. Salt cedar had no significant growth responses among treatments. With appropriate soil amendments, especially gypsum, Russian olive gave the best overall two-year results.
The article considers the relation of shifting cultivation to deforestation and degradation, and hence its impacts in terms of carbon emissions and sequestration potential. There is a need to understand these relationships better in the context of international policy on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). The article reviews the way in which shifting cultivation has been incorporated in global and national estimations of carbon emissions, and assembles the available information on shifting cultivation in Tropical Dry Forests (TDF) in Mexico, where it is widely practiced. It then takes the case of two villages, Tonaya and El Temazcal, which lie within the basin of the River Ayuquila in Jalisco, Mexico. Field data for the typical carbon stocks and fluxes associated with shifting cultivation are compared with stocks and fluxes associated with more intensive agricultural production in the same dry tropical forest area to highlight the carbon sequestration dynamics associated with the shortening and potential lengthening of the fallow cycles. The biomass density in the shifting cultivation system observed can reach levels similar to that of old growth forests, with old fallows (>20 years) having higher carbon stocks than old growth forests. Per Mg of maize produced, the biomass-related emissions from shifting cultivation in the traditional 12 year cycle are about three times those from permanent cultivation. We did not, however, take into account the additional emissions from inputs that result from the use of fertilizers and pesticides in the case of permanent agriculture. Shortening of the fallow cycle, which is occurring in the study area as a result of government subsidies, results in higher remaining stocks of carbon and lower emissions at the landscape level.
Environmental planning for of the maintenance of different conservation objectives should take into account multiple contrasting criteria based on alternative uses of the landscape. We develop new concepts and approaches to describe and measure conflicts among conservation objectives and for resolving them via multiobjective optimization. To measure conflicts we introduce a compatibility index that quantifies how much targeting a certain conservation objective affects the capacity of the landscape for providing another objective. To resolve such conflicts we find compromise solutions defined in terms of minimax regret, i.e. minimizing the maximum percentage of deterioration among conservation objectives. Finally, we apply our approach for a case study of management for biodiversity conservation and development in a forest landscape. We study conflicts between six different forest species, and we identify management solutions for simultaneously maintaining multiple species’ habitat while obtaining timber harvest revenues. We employ the method for resolving conflicts at a large landscape level across a long 50-years forest planning horizon. Our multiobjective approach can be an instrument for guiding hard choices in the conservation-development nexus with a perspective of developing decision support tools for land use planning. In our case study multiple use management and careful landscape level planning using our approach can reduce conflicts among biodiversity objectives and offer room for synergies in forest ecosystems.
Forest ecological restoration by burning is widely applied to promote natural, early-successional sites and increase landscape biodiversity. Burning is also used as a forest management practice to facilitate forest regeneration after clearcutting. Besides the desired goals, restoration burnings also affect soil biogeochemistry, particularly soil organic matter (SOM) and related soil carbon stocks but the long-term effects are poorly understood. However, in order to study these effects, a reliable estimate of spatial variability is first needed for effective sampling. Here we investigate spatial variability of SOM and vegetation features 13 years after burnings and in combination with variable harvest levels. We sampled four experimental sites representing distinct management and restoration treatments with an undisturbed control. While variability of vegetation cover and biomass was generally higher in disturbed sites, soil parameter variability was not different between the four sites. The joint ecological patterns of soil and vegetation parameters across the whole sample continuum support well the prior assumptions on the characteristic disturbance conditions within each of the study sites. We designed and employed statistical simulations as a means to plan prospective sampling. Sampling six forest sites for each treatment type with 30 independent soil cores per site would provide enough statistical power to adequately capture the impacts of burning on SOM based on the data we obtained here and statistical simulations. In conclusion, we argue that an informed design-based approach to documenting the ecosystem effects of forest burnings is worth applying both through obtaining new data and meta-analysing the existing.
Competitive interactions in clonal forestry are not well understood and this needs to be addressed to develop better deployment strategies. Eight juvenile Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carriére) clones were grown in monoclonal and clonal mixtures in a field experiment for three years to assess the effects of genetic diversity on shoot growth, above- and below-ground biomass partitioning and crown characteristics. Shoot elongation was measured throughout the growing season, while diameter was measured twice annually in May and December. After the third year, crown silhouette area was estimated from digitised images for one ramet per plot and ramets were then destructively harvested. Deployment × clone interactions were observed for tree height and diameter with reductions observed in mixed plots. Mixed plots had significantly greater height and diameter heterogeneity and more asymmetrical competition than monoclonal plots. Results from this study demonstrate that stem growth can be significantly altered when clones are planted in multi-clonal mixtures but for most clones, deployment-type will not significantly reduce their productivity.
This study evaluated the transformation of a Pinus tabuliformis Carrière forest into a near-natural forest after 60 years of natural development. The structure and soil characteristics of P. tabuliformis planted forest, the near-natural forest (coniferous-broadleaved P. tabuliformis mixed forest), and secondary forest (Quercus mongolica Fisch. ex Ledeb. forest) were compared. Tree, shrub and herb species diversity of the mixed and Q. mongolica forests was higher than that of the planted P. tabuliformis forest. Examination of soil characteristics revealed that compared to the pure pine forest, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) concentrations of the mixed and Q. mongolica forests increased in the forest floor and soil, but total carbon (C) concentration decreased in the forest floor, countered by increases in the soil. Furthermore, soil cation exchange capacity (CEC) and pH in the P. tabuliformis forest increased when deciduous broadleaved species were present. Total microbial biomass and bacterial biomass in the soils were greatest in the Q. mongolica forest, followed by the mixed, and then the P. tabuliformis forests. However, fungal biomass did not significantly differ among the three forests. Overall, the findings of this study suggest that different forest types can affect soil microbial biomass and community structure. Meanwhile, the natural development is recommended as a potential management alternative to near-natural transformation of a P. tabuliformis planted forest.
Castanea sativa Mill. is one of the most endangered tree species in Iran where it is represented by small fragmented populations in the north of the country. 18 simple sequence repeat (SSR) loci (10 nuclear and 8 chloroplastic) were used to evaluate the genetic diversity and population structure of C. sativa from the Hyrcanian forest. For nuclear SSR, the number of alleles detected per locus ranged from 1 to 5 and observed heterozygosity (HO) was between 0.125 and 1.000. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) indicated a high level of variation within populations (84%) and low levels between populations (16%). Based on structure analysis, the four studied populations were divided into two main clusters that have genetic distance Fst = 0.3. The Shafaroud population was separated in the first cluster, Siyahmazgi, Qalehroudkhan and Veysroud were placed in the second cluster. The UPGMA analysis confirmed the results of Structure analysis, separating the Shafaroud population from the others. The 8 chloroplast SSR loci used to screen the populations showed no polymorphism. In General, low nuclear genetic diversity, no polymorphism in cpDNA and considerable genetic differentiation among populations in short geographical distance represent a serious genetic erosion threat for C. sativa in the Hyrcanian forest, even hinting at an ongoing extinction vortex. Therefore, due to significant decline in genetic diversity, it is essential to introduce constraints protection upon the areas of distribution of all four populations of this species in Iran.
Picea abies seedlings were given three different fertilization treatments in the nutrient solution by varying the potassium:nitrogen (K:N) ratios (2.5, 3.0 or 3.9 g g–1). All fertilization treatments were combined with short-day (SD) treatment or no such treatment (control). Above- and belowground growth responses in the seedlings were analyzed. The SD treatment resulted in significantly reduced shoot height, compared to untreated control, irrespective of K:N ratio. No combination of photoperiod treatment or fertilization treatment affected the root collar diameter. In the current year root fraction with diameter < 0.5 mm, the highest K:N ratio led to significantly increased root length in control plants. In each 0.1 mm root diameter class up to 0.5 mm, the highest K:N ratio significantly stimulated root growth in control plants, while the effect was less evident for SD plants. SD treatment stimulated length growth in some fine root diameter classes. We conclude that SD treatment is a good and sufficient measure to reduce height growth without compromising fine root growth of P. abies seedlings. Fertilization treatment did not significantly improve aboveground growth in SD treated seedlings, and only limited effects on root growth was seen on control plants.
In trees, xylem must fulfil three important tasks: conducting water to leaves, storing nutrients and water, and supporting the trunk. The origin of the trunk, i.e., seed or basal bud that forms sprouts, and the growth site may affect xylem anatomy, differences of which can affect successful growth of trees. Both seedlings and sprouts of downy birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh.) from four different growth sites with two different soil media, peat and mineral soil, were studied. The diameter of fibres and vessels and the thickness of the double fibre wall were measured, and the number of vessels, rays and axial parenchyma cells was counted. The fibre wall:lumen ratio, vessel percentage area and vessel size:number ratio were calculated. Xylem from sprouts showed only occasionally more mature characteristics than that of seedlings. The number of rays was similar at all four sites, but differences were observed in all other studied characteristics between sites, particularly if soil type was different. The vessel size and number correlated with the number of axial parenchyma cells in juvenile wood, which emphasises the importance of their connections with storage cells particularly at this stage of growth. Good water conductivity was connected with weaker wood, particularly in maturing wood.
Mortality, stem growth and quality of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) originating from the six Swedish seed orchards and local Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) were estimated in four field trials established in the Komi Republic (north-west Russia). A randomized row-plot design with 6–12 replicates of each entry was used. The tree mortality was slightly higher for Scots pine than that for lodgepole pine, except for the lodgepole pine seed sources of the southern origins with lower survival. Scots pine stem quality was better than that of lodgepole pine, but the lodgepole pine stem growth was faster except the seed source of the southernmost origin. The lodgepole pine seed sources of northern origins had better stem growth (height, diameter at breast height and volume), while the effect of latitude on the quality traits was insignificant.
Pine forests are common in many European regions. Nonetheless, there are only a few studies on regeneration of plant species populations in nutrient-deficient pine habitats. Ancient temperate forests are perceived to be particularly important objects of environmental conservation, due to their ability to sustain a considerable number of rare and vulnerable species. In this paper, we present indicator species of ancient pine and mixed oak-pine forests, together with their trait profiles. Phytosociological relevés were collected from mature stands in the Masuria and Kurpie regions of central Poland. Forest persistence was determined on the basis of historical maps, with the data set divided into three categories. The indicator value of species was evaluated using Tichý and Chytrý’s phi coefficient. Functional response traits of indicator species were identified. Distinct groups of species with a preference for ancient forests can be determined. The dispersal-related traits significantly distinguish ancient forest indicators from other species found in nutrient-poor forest habitats. Since the low potential for long-distance dispersal hinders the establishment of new plant populations in isolated stands, we stress the need to avoid ancient forest clearance and fragmentation of woodland; afforestation should be located in the vicinity of ancient stands. Moreover, as recent forests have turned out to support several rare plant species, to maintain phytodiversity on a landscape level a mixture of ancient and recent forests, both managed and strictly protected, is needed.
Land degradation is widespread and a serious threat affecting the livelihoods of 1.5 billion people worldwide of which one sixth or 250 million people reside in drylands. Globally, it is estimated that 10–20% of drylands are already degraded and about 12 million ha are degraded each year. Driven by unsustainable land use practices, adverse climatic conditions and population increase, land degradation has led to decline in provision of ecosystem services, food insecurity, social and political instability and reduction in the ecosystem’s resilience to natural climate variability. Several global initiatives have been launched to combat land degradation, including rehabilitation of degraded drylands. This review aimed at collating the current state-of-knowledge about rehabilitation of degraded drylands. It was found that the prospect of restoring degraded drylands is technically promising using a suite of passive (e.g. area exclosure, assisted natural regeneration, rotational grazing) and active (e.g. mixed-species planting, framework species, maximum diversity, and use of nurse tree) rehabilitation measures. Advances in soil reclamation using biological, chemical and physical measures have been made. Despite technical advances, the scale of rehabilitation intervention is small and lacks holistic approach. Development of process-based models that forecast outcomes of the various rehabilitation activities will be useful tools for researchers and practitioners. The concept of forest landscape restoration approach, which operates at landscape-level, could also be adopted as the overarching framework for rehabilitation of degraded dryland ecosystems. The review identified a data gap in cost-benefit analysis of rehabilitation interventions. However, the cost of rehabilitation and sustainable management of drylands is opined to be lower than the losses that accrue from inaction, depending on the degree of degradation. Thus, local communities’ participation, incorporation of traditional ecological knowledge, clear division of tasks and benefits, strengthening local institutions are crucial not only for cost-sharing, but also for the long-term success of rehabilitation activities.
The paper first reviews the desertification/land degradation syndrome, the shortcomings of attempts to control it and the consequences of this failure, including to climate change and biodiversity. It then examines the experience gained by carbon and biodiversity offsets that helped adapting the offsetting principle to the context of land degradation, by emphasizing the restoration of the many already degraded lands on earth, as major component of the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) mechanism. LDN is a new voluntary and aspirational target of a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) under the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, aimed at neutralizing the rate of lands coming under degrading use of their productivity. This by balancing the ongoing added degradation with similar rate of restoring equivalent lands whose productivity had been already degraded. If extensively implemented, LDN would stabilize the global amount of productive land by 2030. This would increase global food security and reduce poverty of land users, thus contributing to global sustainability. This review maintains that the failure of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to reduce desertification triggered the emergence of LDN as a mechanism for addressing land degradation globally, rather than just desertification in the drylands. LDN accepted as target of a Sustainable Development Goal also legitimized UNCCD to lead and oversee the aspired process of achieving land degradation neutral world. This paper reviews the development of the LDN concept expressed in scientific deliberations and political advocacy, throughout the five years from inception in 2011 at the UNCCD Secretariat, to early 2016. It notes the fast and increasing acceptance of LDN, expressed in the initiation of implementation already in April 2015 by an increasing number of countries, and in the growing interest and engagement of scientists and policy-makers. But the paper also express concern regarding potential misuse of the concept.
Trees from the family Rosaceae play an important role in forest and agricultural ecosystems. Therefore, they are often an object of interest for both forest and horticultural tree breeders. Here, we present the utilization of an effective microsatellite (SSRs) genotyping method for wild cherry (Prunus avium L.) and verified the discriminatory power of the presented multiplex by genotyping 48 genetically distinctive individuals (plus-trees). Concerned loci were previously proven to be cross-compatible among various cultivars of cherry, hence, the method could have a broader utilization beyond to the field of forestry.
Our technique is based on post-PCR processing of 15 polymorphic SSRs loci amplified in three multiplex reactions with fluorescently labeled primers (6-FAM, VIC, PET and NED). All PCR products could be pooled and analyzed simultaneously (pseudo 15-plex). In order to make this approach feasible, we redefined sequences of several primers. Thus, utilizing modified primers provides non-overlapping amplicons of each fluorescent dye.
The forwarder loads processed wood and transports it to a landing. Productivity of forwarding could be improved by increasing driving speed, but difficult forest terrain limits this. According to current literature, crane work is the most time-consuming work element of forwarding, so improving crane work productivity is essential for improving forwarding productivity. One way to do this is through automation of recurrent boom movement patterns, or alternatively automation can be used to ease crane work. When using conventional boom control (CBC), the operator manually controls each of the independent boom joint movements and combines them to achieve a desired boom tip movement, but boom tip control (BTC) allows the operator to control boom tip movements directly. The objective of the present study was to examine whether BTC facilitates crane work and affects the slopes of learning curves for beginner-level forwarder operators. The study was carried out using a standardised test routine to evaluate effects of two fixed factors, system (levels: CBC, BTC) and point of time (four levels), on five dependent variables. Four of the five dependent variables measured ease of boom control and the fifth measured crane work productivity. The results showed that there were no significant differences in the slopes of learning curves between the systems but the BTC did increase crane work productivity and made boom control easier.
Use of fast-growing tree plantations on dedicated areas is proposed as a means of reconciling fibre production with conservation objectives. Success of this approach however requires fine-tuning silvicultural scenarios so that survival and growth are optimized while management and environmental costs are minimized. This is particularly challenging for hybrid larch (Larix × marschlinsii Coaz), a shade-intolerant species planted on fertile sites in Quebec (Canada) where legislation prevents the use of chemical herbicides. In this context, multiple motor-manual release treatments are often required, with high impacts on costs and social issues related to the scarcity of a qualified workforce. We established a split-split-plot design on a recently harvested site to assess the main and interaction effects of mechanical site preparation (MSP) intensity (five modalities of trenching or mounding), motor-manual release scenario (one or two treatments) and planting depth (0–3 cm or 3–10 cm) on hybrid larch seedling growth and survival six years after planting. Mechanical site preparation intensity and planting depth did not influence seedling growth after 6 years. The lack of significant interaction between MSP and release scenarios indicates that these operations should be planned independently. A more intensive MSP treatment cannot replace a second motor-manual release on fertile sites, as proposed to reduce costs. Our results also show the significant advantage of performing two motor-manual release treatments two years apart (the first one early in the scenario), over performing a single treatment. Our study provides silvicultural guidelines for the establishment of high-yield exotic larch plantations.