Current issue: 54(2)
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.