Recent Submissions

  • Journal Article

    Tree Species Shape Soil Bacterial Community Structure and Function in Temperate Deciduous Forests 

    Dukunde, Amélie; Schneider, Dominik; Schmidt, Marcus; Veldkamp, Edzo; Daniel, Rolf
    Frontiers in Microbiology 2019; 10: Art. 1519
    Amplicon-based analysis of 16S rRNA genes and transcripts was used to assess the effect of tree species composition on soil bacterial community structure and function in a temperate deciduous forest. Samples were collected from mono and mixed stands of Fagus sylvatica (beech), Carpinus betulus (hornbeam), Tilia sp. (lime), and Quercus sp. (oak) in spring, summer, and autumn. Soil bacterial community exhibited similar taxonomic composition at total (DNA-based) and potentially active community (RNA-based) level, with fewer taxa present at active community level. Members of Rhizobiales dominated at both total and active bacterial community level, followed by members of Acidobacteriales, Solibacterales, Rhodospirillales, and Xanthomonadales. Bacterial communities at total and active community level showed a significant positive correlation with tree species identity (mono stands) and to a lesser extent with tree species richness (mixed stands). Approximately 58 and 64% of indicator operational taxonomic units (OTUs) showed significant association with only one mono stand at total and active community level, respectively, indicating a strong impact of tree species on soil bacterial community composition. Soil C/N ratio, pH, and P content similarly exhibited a significant positive correlation with soil bacterial communities, which was attributed to direct and indirect effects of forest stands. Seasonality was the strongest driver of predicted metabolic functions related to C fixation and degradation, and N metabolism. Carbon and nitrogen metabolic processes were significantly abundant in spring, while C degradation gene abundances increased from summer to autumn, corresponding to increased litterfall and decomposition. The results revealed that in a spatially homogenous forest soil, tree species diversity and richness are dominant drivers of structure and composition in soil bacterial communities.
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  • Journal Article

    Analysis of Economic Feasibility of Ash and Maple Lamella Production for Glued Laminated Timber 

    Schlotzhauer, Philipp; Kovryga, Andriy; Emmerich, Lukas; Bollmus, Susanne; Van de Kuilen, Jan-Willem; Militz, Holger
    Forests 2019; 10(7): Art. 529
    Background and Objectives: In the near future, in Europe a raised availability of hardwoods is expected. One possible sales market is the building sector, where medium dense European hardwoods could be used as load bearing elements. For the hardwood species beech, oak, and sweet chestnut technical building approvals already allow the production of hardwood glulam. For the species maple and ash this is not possible yet. This paper aims to evaluate the economic feasibility of glulam production from low dimension ash and maple timber from thinnings. Therefore, round wood qualities and the resulting lumber qualities are assessed and final as well as intermediate yields are calculated. Materials and Methods: 81 maple logs and 79 ash logs cut from trees from thinning operations in mixed (beech) forest stands were visually graded, cant sawn, and turned into strength-graded glulam lamellas. The volume yield of each production step was calculated. Results: The highest volume yield losses occur during milling of round wood (around 50%) and “presorting and planning” the dried lumber (56–60%). Strength grading is another key process in the production process. When grading according to DIN 4074-5 (2008), another 40–50% volume loss is reported, while combined visual and machine grading only produces 7–15% rejects. Conclusions: Yield raise potentials were identified especially in the production steps milling, presorting and planning and strength grading.
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  • Journal Article

    Advanced Aboveground Spatial Analysis as Proxy for the Competitive Environment Affecting Sapling Development 

    Annighöfer, Peter; Seidel, Dominik; Mölder, Andreas; Ammer, Christian
    Frontiers in Plant Science 2019; 10: Art. 690
    Tree saplings are exposed to a competitive growth environment in which resources are limited and the ability to adapt determines general vitality and specific growth performance. In this study we analyzed the aboveground spatial neighborhood of oak [Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl.] and beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) saplings growing in Germany, by using hemispherical photography and terrestrial laser scanning as proxy for the competitive pressure saplings were exposed to. The hemispherical images were used to analyze the light availability and the three-dimensional (3D) point clouds from the laser scanning were used to assess the space and forest structure around the saplings. The aim was to increase the precision with which the biomass allocation, growth, and morphology of the saplings could be predicted by including more detailed information of their environment. The predictive strength of the models was especially increased through direct neighborhood variables (e.g., relative space filling), next to the light availability being the most important predictor variable. The biomass allocation patterns within the more light demanding oak were strongly driven by the space availability around the saplings. Diameter and height growth variables of both species reacted significantly to changes in light availability, and partly also to the neighborhood variables. The leaf morphology [as leaf-area ratio (LAR)] was also driven by light availability and decreased with increasing light availability. However, the branch morphology (as mean branch weight) could not be explained for oak and the model outcome for beech was hard to interpret. The results could show that individuals of the same species perform differently under constant light conditions but differing neighborhoods. Assessing the neighborhood of trees with highly precise measurement devices, like terrestrial laser scanners, proved to be useful. However, the primary response to a dense neighborhood seemed to be coping with a reduction of the lateral light availability aboveground, rather than responding to an increase of competition belowground. The results suggest continuing efforts to increase the precision with which plant environments can be described through innovative and efficient methods, like terrestrial laser scanning.
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  • Journal Article

    Indications of Genetic Admixture in the Transition Zone between Fagus sylvatica L. and Fagus sylvatica ssp. orientalis Greut. & Burd 

    Müller, Markus; Lopez, Precious Annie; Papageorgiou, Aristotelis C.; Tsiripidis, Ioannis; Gailing, Oliver
    Diversity 2019; 11(6): Art. 90
    Two subspecies of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) can be found in southeast Europe: Fagus sylvatica ssp. sylvatica L. and Fagus sylvatica ssp. orientalis (Lipsky) Greut. &Burd. (Fagus orientalis Lipsky). In a previous study, based on genetic diversity patterns and morphological characters, indications of hybridization between both subspecies were found in northeastern Greece, a known contact zone of F. sylvatica and F. orientalis. Nevertheless, potential genetic admixture has not been investigated systematically before. Here, we investigated genetic diversity and genetic structure of 14 beech populations originating from Greece and Turkey as well as of two reference F. sylvatica populations from Germany based on nine expressed sequence tag-simple sequence repeat (EST-SSR) markers. Very low genetic di erentiation was detected among F. sylvatica populations (mean GST: 0.005) as well as among F. orientalis populations (mean GST: 0.008), but substantial di erentiation was detected between populations of the two subspecies (mean GST: 0.122). Indications for hybridization between both subspecies were revealed for one population in Greece. One of the genetic markers showed specific allele frequencies for F. sylvatica and F. orientalis and may be used as a diagnostic marker in future studies to discriminate both subspecies.
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  • Journal Article

    Impact of Water Holding Capacity and Moisture Content of Soil Substrates on the Moisture Content of Wood in Terrestrial Microcosms 

    Brischke, Christian; Wegener, Friedrich L.
    Forests 2019; 10(6): Art. 485
    Terrestrial microcosms (TMCs) are frequently used for testing the durability of wood and wood-based materials, as well as the protective e ectiveness of wood preservatives. In contrary to experiments in soil ecology sciences, the experimental setup is usually rather simple. However, for service life prediction of wood exposed in ground, it is of imminent interest to better understand the di erent parameters defining the boundary conditions in TMCs. This study focused, therefore, on soil–wood–moisture interactions. Terrestrial microcosms were prepared from the same compost substrate with varying water holding capacities (WHCs) and soil moisture contents (MCsoil). Wood specimens were exposed to 48 TMCs with varying WHCs and MCsoil. The wood moisture content (MCwood) was studied as well as its distribution within the specimens. For this purpose, the compost substrate was mixed with sand and peat and its WHC was determined using two methods in comparison, i.e., the “droplet counting method” and the “cylinder sand bath method” in which the latter turned out advantageous over the other. The MCwood increased generally with rising MCsoil, but WHC was often negatively correlated with MCwood. The distance to water saturation Ssoil from which MCwood increased most intensively was found to be wood-species specific and might, therefore, require further consideration in soil-bed durability-testing and service life modelling of wood in soil contact.
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  • Journal Article

    Conversion of monoculture cropland and open grassland to agroforestry alters the abundance of soil bacteria, fungi and soil-N-cycling genes 

    Beule, Lukas; Corre, Marife D.; Schmidt, Marcus; Göbel, Leonie; Veldkamp, Edzo; Karlovsky, Petr
    PLOS ONE 2019; 14(6): Art. e0218779
    Integration of trees in agroforestry systems can increase the system sustainability compared to monocultures. The resulting increase in system complexity is likely to affect soil-N cycling by altering soil microbial community structure and functions. Our study aimed to assess the abundance of genes encoding enzymes involved in soil-N cycling in paired monoculture and agroforestry cropland in a Phaeozem soil, and paired open grassland and agroforestry grassland in Histosol and Anthrosol soils. The soil fungi-to-bacteria ratio was greater in the tree row than in the crop or grass rows of the monoculture cropland and open grassland in all soil types, possibly due to increased input of tree residues and the absence of tillage in the Phaeozem (cropland) soil. In the Phaeozem (cropland) soil, gene abundances of amoA indicated a niche differentiation between archaeal and bacterial ammonia oxidizers that distinctly separated the influence of the tree row from the crop row and monoculture system. Abundances of nitrate (napA and narG), nitrite (nirK and nirS) and nitrous oxide reductase genes (nosZ clade I) were largely influenced by soil type rather than management system. The soil types' effects were associated with their differences in soil organic C, total N and pH. Our findings show that in temperate regions, conversion of monoculture cropland and open grassland to agroforestry systems can alter the abundance of soil bacteria and fungi and soil-N-cycling genes, particularly genes involved in ammonium oxidation.
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  • Journal Article

    Modelling approaches for mixed forests dynamics prognosis. Research gaps and opportunities 

    Bravo, Felipe; Fabrika, Marek; Ammer, Christian; Barreiro, Susana; Bielak, Kamil; Coll, Lluis; Fonseca, Teresa; Kangur, Ahto; Löf, Magnus; Merganičová, Katarina; et al.
    Pach, MaciejPretzsch, HansStojanović, DejanSchuler, LauraPeric, SanjaRötzer, ThomasDel Río, MirenDodan, MartinaBravo-Oviedo, Andrés
    Forest Systems 2019; 28(1): Art. eR002
    Aim of study: Modelling of forest growth and dynamics has focused mainly on pure stands. Mixed-forest management lacks systematic procedures to forecast the impact of silvicultural actions. The main objective of the present work is to review current knowledge and forest model developments that can be applied to mixed forests. Material and methods: Primary research literature was reviewed to determine the state of the art for modelling tree species mixtures, focusing mainly on temperate forests. Main results: The essential principles for predicting stand growth in mixed forests were identified. Forest model applicability in mixtures was analysed. Input data, main model components, output and viewers were presented. Finally, model evaluation procedures and some of the main model platforms were described. Research highlights: Responses to environmental changes and management activities in mixed forests can differ from pure stands. For greater insight into mixed-forest dynamics and ecology, forest scientists and practitioners need new theoretical frameworks, different approaches and innovative solutions for sustainable forest management in the context of environmental and social changes.
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  • Research Data

    Data for: Eddy covariance measurements of the dual-isotope composition of evapotranspiration. Version 1 

    Braden-Behrens, Jelka
    Mendeley Data, 2019
    This supplementary material to the manuscript ' Eddy covariance measurements of the dual-isotope composition of evapotranspiration' includes all data used in figures in this manuscript as well as a discussion of effect of the storage of water vapor on net water vapor fluxes at the field site of our study.
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  • Journal Article

    Eddy covariance measurements of the dual-isotope composition of evapotranspiration 

    Braden-Behrens, Jelka; Markwitz, Christian; Knohl, Alexander
    Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 2019; 269-270 p.203-219
    Measurements of the isotopic composition of water vapor (H2O) provide valuable insights into the hydrological cycle, whereas eddy covariance (EC) measurements are widely used to quantify biosphere-atmosphere exchange processes. Yet, the direct combination of water isotope approaches and the EC method remains technically challenging. Here, we present the first EC measurements of δ18O and δD of evapotranspiration (ET) over the full growing season of a beech forest in central Germany. This EC implementation is based on 2 Hz measurements of the mole fraction and isotopic composition of water vapor (CH2O,v, δD and δ18O) with a customized version of a commercially available water vapor isotope analyzer. The isotopic composition of ET showed a seasonal variability from −19 to 0‰ for δ18OET and from −140 to −25‰ for δDET. The setup-specific limitations of our measurements yield a mean bias of 0.03 mmol m−2 s−1 of the measured net water flux. Spectral and cospectral analysis showed that high-frequency dampening was less pronounced for our EC setup (which was equipped with heated tubing) than for the standard EC setup at this site. Thus, we conclude that direct EC measurements of the isotopic composition of ET are feasible for both, δ18OET and δDET. We propose that EC-based measurements of the isotopic composition of ET are feasible to improve our understanding of the hydrological cycle, especially where flux gradient methods show limited applicability. Our simultaneous measurements of δDET and δ18OET reveal the difference between transpiration-dominated and evaporation-dominated periods. This study highlights the potential of simultaneous measurements of δ18OET and δDET.
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  • Journal Article

    Karst dolines provide diverse microhabitats for different functional groups in multiple phyla 

    Bátori, Zoltán; Vojtkó, András; Maák, István Elek; Lőrinczi, Gábor; Farkas, Tünde; Kántor, Noémi; Tanács, Eszter; Kiss, Péter János; Juhász, Orsolya; Módra, Gábor; et al.
    Tölgyesi, CsabaErdős, LászlóAguilon, Dianne JoyKeppel, Gunnar
    Scientific Reports 2019; 9(1)
    Fine-scale topographic complexity creates important microclimates that can facilitate species to grow outside their main distributional range and increase biodiversity locally. Enclosed depressions in karst landscapes (‘dolines’) are topographically complex environments which produce microclimates that are drier and warmer (equator-facing slopes) and cooler and moister (pole-facing slopes and depression bottoms) than the surrounding climate. We show that the distribution patterns of functional groups for organisms in two different phyla, Arthropoda (ants) and Tracheophyta (vascular plants), mirror this variation of microclimate. We found that north-facing slopes and bottoms of solution dolines in northern Hungary provided key habitats for ant and plant species associated with cooler and/or moister conditions. Contrarily, south-facing slopes of dolines provided key habitats for species associated with warmer and/or drier conditions. Species occurring on the surrounding plateau were associated with intermediate conditions. We conclude that karst dolines provide a diversity of microclimatic habitats that may facilitate the persistence of taxa with diverse environmental preferences, indicating these dolines to be potential safe havens for multiple phyla under local and global climate oscillations.
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  • Journal Article

    Assessment of early survival and growth of planted Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) seedlings under extreme continental climate conditions of northern Mongolia 

    Sukhbaatar, Gerelbaatar; Ganbaatar, Batsaikhan; Jamsran, Tsogtbaatar; Purevragchaa, Battulga; Nachin, Baatarbileg; Gradel, Alexander
    Journal of Forestry Research p.1-14
    Environmental factors play vital roles in successful plantation and cultivation of tree seedlings. This study focuses on problems associated with reforestation under extreme continental climatic conditions. The objectives were to assess relative seedling performance (survival and growth) with respect to plantation age, and to analyze the influence of specific climatic factors during the early stages of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) plantations. The study was carried out in reforested areas of the Tujyin Nars region of northern Mongolia on six Scots pine plantations ranging from 5 to 10 years. In each of the six plantations, five 900 m2 permanent sample plots were established and survival rates and growth performance measured annually over 7 years. Results show high variation in survival among the plantations (p < 0.001, F = 29.7). Seedling survival in the first year corresponded directly to the number of dry days in May. However, survival rate appeared to stabilize after the second year. The insignificant variation of height categories throughout the observation period indicated low competition among individuals. Two linear mixed-effect models show that height and radial growth were best explained by relative air humidity, which we consider to be a reliable indicator of site-specific water availability. Insufficient amounts and uneven distribution of rainfall pose a major threat during the first year of plantation establishment. Humidity and water availability are decisive factors for a successful seedling plantation. This highlights the impact of drought on forest plantations in northern Mongolia and the importance of developing climate resilient reforestation strategies.
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  • Journal Article

    Right on track? Performance of satellite telemetry in terrestrial wildlife research 

    Hofman, M. P. G.; Hayward, M. W.; Heim, M.; Marchand, P.; Rolandsen, C. M.; Mattisson, J.; Urbano, F.; Heurich, M.; Mysterud, A.; Melzheimer, J.; et al.
    Morellet, N.Voigt, U.Allen, B. L.Gehr, B.Rouco, C.Ullmann, W.Holand, Ø.Jørgensen, N. H.Steinheim, G.Cagnacci, F.Kroeschel, M.Kaczensky, P.Buuveibaatar, B.Payne, J. C.Palmegiani, I.Jerina, K.Kjellander, P.Johansson, Ö.LaPoint, S.Bayrakcismith, R.Linnell, J. D. C.Zaccaroni, M.Jorge, M. L. S.Oshima, J. E. F.Songhurst, A.Fischer, C.Mc Bride, R. T.Thompson, J. J.Streif, S.Sandfort, R.Bonenfant, C.Drouilly, M.Klapproth, M.Zinner, D.Yarnell, R.Stronza, A.Wilmott, L.Meisingset, E.Thaker, M.Vanak, A. T.Nicoloso, S.Graeber, R.Said, S.Boudreau, M. R.Devlin, A.Hoogesteijn, R.May-Junior, J. A.Nifong, J. C.Odden, J.Quigley, H. B.Tortato, F.Parker, D. M.Caso, A.Perrine, J.Tellaeche, C.Zieba, F.Zwijacz-Kozica, T.Appel, C. L.Axsom, I.Bean, W. T.Cristescu, B.Périquet, S.Teichman, K. J.Karpanty, S.Licoppe, A.Menges, V.Black, K.Scheppers, T. L.Schai-Braun, S. C.Azevedo, F. C.Lemos, F. G.Payne, A.Swanepoel, L. H.Weckworth, B. V.Berger, A.Bertassoni, A.McCulloch, G.Šustr, P.Athreya, V.Bockmuhl, D.Casaer, J.Ekori, A.Melovski, D.Richard-Hansen, C.van de Vyver, D.Reyna-Hurtado, R.Robardet, E.Selva, N.Sergiel, A.Farhadinia, M. S.Sunde, P.Portas, R.Ambarli, H.Berzins, R.Kappeler, P. M.Mann, G. K.Pyritz, L.Bissett, C.Grant, T.Steinmetz, R.Swedell, L.Welch, R. J.Armenteras, D.Bidder, O. R.González, T. M.Rosenblatt, A.Kachel, S.Balkenhol, N.
    PLOS ONE 2019; 14(5): Art. e0216223
    Satellite telemetry is an increasingly utilized technology in wildlife research, and current devices can track individual animal movements at unprecedented spatial and temporal resolutions. However, as we enter the golden age of satellite telemetry, we need an in-depth understanding of the main technological, species-specific and environmental factors that determine the success and failure of satellite tracking devices across species and habitats. Here, we assess the relative influence of such factors on the ability of satellite telemetry units to provide the expected amount and quality of data by analyzing data from over 3,000 devices deployed on 62 terrestrial species in 167 projects worldwide. We evaluate the success rate in obtaining GPS fixes as well as in transferring these fixes to the user and we evaluate failure rates. Average fix success and data transfer rates were high and were generally better predicted by species and unit characteristics, while environmental characteristics influenced the variability of performance. However, 48% of the unit deployments ended prematurely, half of them due to technical failure. Nonetheless, this study shows that the performance of satellite telemetry applications has shown improvements over time, and based on our findings, we provide further recommendations for both users and manufacturers.
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  • Journal Article

    Mortality of Different Populus Genotypes in Recently Established Mixed Short Rotation Coppice with Robinia pseudoacacia L. 

    Rebola-Lichtenberg, Jessica; Schall, Peter; Annighöfer, Peter; Ammer, Christian; Leinemann, Ludger; Polle, Andrea; Euring, Dejuan
    Forests 2019; 10(5): Art. 410
    Short rotation coppices play an increasing role in providing wooden biomass for energy. Mixing fast-growing tree species in short rotation coppices may result in complementary e ects and increased yield. The aim of this study was to analyze the e ect on mortality of eight di erent poplar genotypes (Populus sp.) in mixed short rotation coppices with three di erent provenances of the N-fixing tree species black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.). Pure and mixed stands were established at two sites of contrasting fertility. Survival of poplar was assessed for each tree two times a year, for a period of three years. In the first two years, high variation in mortality was observed between the genotypes, but no significant di erences between pure and mixed stands were identified. However, three years after planting, higher mortality rates were observed in the mixtures across all poplar genotypes in comparison to pure stands. The expected advantage on growth of combining an N-fixing tree with an N-demanding tree species, such as poplar, was overshadowed by the Robinia’s dominance and competitiveness.
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  • Journal Article

    Reconciling Canopy Interception Parameterization and Rainfall Forcing Frequency in the Community Land Model for Simulating Evapotranspiration of Rainforests and Oil Palm Plantations in Indonesia 

    Fan, Yuanchao; Meijide, Ana; Lawrence, David M.; Roupsard, Olivier; Carlson, Kimberly M.; Chen, Hsin‐Yi; Röll, Alexander; Niu, Furong; Knohl, Alexander
    Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 2019; 11(3) p.732-751
    By mediating evapotranspiration processes, plant canopies play an important role in the terrestrial water cycle and regional climate. Substantial uncertainties exist in modeling canopy water interception and related hydrological processes due to rainfall forcing frequency selection and varying canopy traits. Here we design a new time interpolation method “zero” to better represent convective‐type precipitation in tropical regions. We also implement and recalibrate plant functional type‐specific interception parameters for rainforests and oil palm plantations, where oil palms express higher water interception capacity than forests, using the Community Land Model (CLM) versions 4.5 and 5.0 with CLM‐Palm embedded. Reconciling the interception scheme with realistic precipitation forcing produces more accurate canopy evaporation and transpiration for both plant functional types, which in turn improves simulated evapotranspiration and energy partitioning when benchmarked against observations from our study sites in Indonesia and an extensive literature review. Regional simulations for Sumatra and Kalimantan show that industrial oil palm plantations have 18–27% higher transpiration and 15–20% higher evapotranspiration than forests on an annual regional average basis across different ages or successional stages, even though the forests experience higher average precipitation according to reanalysis data. Our land‐only modeling results indicate that current oil palm plantations in Sumatra and Kalimantan use 15–20% more water (mean 220 mm or 20 Gt) per year compared to lowland rainforests of the same extent. The extra water use by oil palm reduces soil moisture and runoff that could affect ecosystem services such as productivity of staple crops and availability of drinking water in rural areas.
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  • Journal Article

    Agroforestry creates carbon sinks whilst enhancing the environment in agricultural landscapes in Europe 

    Kay, Sonja; Rega, Carlo; Moreno, Gerardo; den Herder, Michael; Palma, João H.N.; Borek, Robert; Crous-Duran, Josep; Freese, Dirk; Giannitsopoulos, Michail; Graves, Anil; et al.
    Jäger, MareikeLamersdorf, NorbertMemedemin, DaniyarMosquera-Losada, RosaPantera, AnastasiaParacchini, Maria LuisaParis, PierluigiRoces-Díaz, José V.Rolo, VictorRosati, AdolfoSandor, MignonSmith, JoSzerencsits, ErichVarga, AnnaViaud, ValérieWawer, RafalBurgess, Paul J.Herzog, Felix
    Land Use Policy 2019; 83 p.581-593
    Agroforestry, relative to conventional agriculture, contributes significantly to carbon sequestration, increases a range of regulating ecosystem services, and enhances biodiversity. Using a transdisciplinary approach, we combined scientific and technical knowledge to evaluate nine environmental pressures in terms of ecosystem services in European farmland and assessed the carbon storage potential of suitable agroforestry systems, proposed by regional experts. First, regions with potential environmental pressures were identified with respect to soil health (soil erosion by water and wind, low soil organic carbon), water quality (water pollution by nitrates, salinization by irrigation), areas affected by climate change (rising temperature), and by underprovision in biodiversity (pollination and pest control pressures, loss of soil biodiversity). The maps were overlaid to identify areas where several pressures accumulate. In total, 94.4% of farmlands suffer from at least one environmental pressure, pastures being less affected than arable lands. Regional hotspots were located in north-western France, Denmark, Central Spain, north and south-western Italy, Greece, and eastern Romania. The 10% of the area with the highest number of accumulated pressures were defined as Priority Areas, where the implementation of agroforestry could be particularly effective. In a second step, European agroforestry experts were asked to propose agroforestry practices suitable for the Priority Areas they were familiar with, and identified 64 different systems covering a wide range of practices. These ranged from hedgerows on field boundaries to fast growing coppices or scattered single tree systems. Third, for each proposed system, the carbon storage potential was assessed based on data from the literature and the results were scaled-up to the Priority Areas. As expected, given the wide range of agroforestry practices identified, the carbon sequestration potentials ranged between 0.09 and 7.29 t C ha−1 a−1. Implementing agroforestry on the Priority Areas could lead to a sequestration of 2.1 to 63.9 million t C a−1 (7.78 and 234.85 million t CO2eq a−1) depending on the type of agroforestry. This corresponds to between 1.4 and 43.4% of European agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Moreover, promoting agroforestry in the Priority Areas would contribute to mitigate the environmental pressures identified there. We conclude that the strategic and spatially targeted establishment of agroforestry systems could provide an effective means of meeting EU policy objectives on GHG emissions whilst providing a range of other important benefits.
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  • Journal Article

    Seeking consensus in German forest conservation: An analysis of contemporary concepts 

    Demant, Laura; Meyer, Peter; Sennhenn-Reulen, Holger; Walentowski, Helge; Bergmeier, Erwin; Demant, Laura; Meyer, Peter; Sennhenn-Reulen, Holger; Walentowski, Helge; Bergmeier, Erwin
    Nature Conservation 2019; 35 p.1-23
    Setting operational conservation objectives is a major challenge for effective biodiversity conservation worldwide. To analyse forest conservation objectives in Germany in a transparent manner and to achieve a consistent and consensual framework, we systematically classified conservation objectives suggested in concepts by different stakeholders. We analysed 79 biodiversity and forest conservation concepts of different stakeholder groups at various scales and applied textual content analysis and Dirichlet regression to reach a high degree of transferability and applicability. Our analysis revealed a broad consensus concerning forest conservation across stakeholders and scales, albeit with slight differences in focus, but we detected a scale-related mismatch. A wide array of conservation objectives covered social, biotic and abiotic natural resources. Conservation of species, ecosystems and structural elements in forests were found to be of primary importance across stakeholders and scale levels. Shortcomings in the conservation concepts were found in addressing genetic diversity, abiotic resources and socio-cultural objectives. Our results show that problems in forest conservation may be rooted in trade-offs between aims, targeting mismatch across scale levels and insufficient implementation of objectives.
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  • Journal Article

    Mobile genetic elements explain size variation in the mitochondrial genomes of four closely-related Armillaria species 

    Kolesnikova, Anna I.; Putintseva, Yuliya A.; Simonov, Evgeniy P.; Biriukov, Vladislav V.; Oreshkova, Natalya V.; Pavlov, Igor N.; Sharov, Vadim V.; Kuzmin, Dmitry A.; Anderson, James B.; Krutovsky, Konstantin V.
    BMC Genomics. 2019 May 08;20(1):351
    Background Species in the genus Armillaria (fungi, basidiomycota) are well-known as saprophytes and pathogens on plants. Many of them cause white-rot root disease in diverse woody plants worldwide. Mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes) are widely used in evolutionary and population studies, but despite the importance and wide distribution of Armillaria, the complete mitogenomes have not previously been reported for this genus. Meanwhile, the well-supported phylogeny of Armillaria species provides an excellent framework in which to study variation in mitogenomes and how they have evolved over time. Results Here we completely sequenced, assembled, and annotated the circular mitogenomes of four species: A. borealis, A. gallica, A. sinapina, and A. solidipes (116,443, 98,896, 103,563, and 122,167 bp, respectively). The variation in mitogenome size can be explained by variable numbers of mobile genetic elements, introns, and plasmid-related sequences. Most Armillaria introns contained open reading frames (ORFs) that are related to homing endonucleases of the LAGLIDADG and GIY-YIG families. Insertions of mobile elements were also evident as fragments of plasmid-related sequences in Armillaria mitogenomes. We also found several truncated gene duplications in all four mitogenomes. Conclusions Our study showed that fungal mitogenomes have a high degree of variation in size, gene content, and genomic organization even among closely related species of Armillara. We suggest that mobile genetic elements invading introns and intergenic sequences in the Armillaria mitogenomes have played a significant role in shaping their genome structure. The mitogenome changes we describe here are consistent with widely accepted phylogenetic relationships among the four species.
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  • Journal Article

    The Role of Low Soil Temperature for Photosynthesis and Stomatal Conductance of Three Graminoids From Different Elevations 

    Göbel, Leonie; Coners, Heinz; Hertel, Dietrich; Willinghöfer, Sandra; Leuschner, Christoph
    Frontiers in Plant Science 2019; 10: Art. 330
    In high-elevation grasslands, plants can encounter periods with high air temperature while the soil remains cold, which may lead to a temporary mismatch in the physiological activity of leaves and roots. In a climate chamber experiment with graminoid species from three elevations (4400, 2400, and 250 m a.s.l.), we tested the hypothesis that soil temperature can influence photosynthesis and stomatal conductance independently of air temperature. Soil monoliths with swards of Kobresia pygmaea (high alpine), Nardus stricta (lower alpine), and Deschampsia flexuosa (upper lowland) were exposed to soil temperatures of 25, 15, 5, and -2°C and air temperatures of 20 and 10°C for examining the effect of independent soil and air temperature variation on photosynthesis, leaf dark respiration, and stomatal conductance and transpiration. Soil frost (-2°C) had a strong negative effect on gas exchange and stomatal conductance in all three species, independent of the elevation of origin. Leaf dark respiration was stimulated by soil frost in D. flexuosa, but not in K. pygmaea, which also had a lower temperature optimum of photosynthesis. Soil cooling from 15 to 5°C did not significantly reduce stomatal conductance and gas exchange in any of the species. We conclude that all three graminoids are able to maintain a relatively high root water uptake in cold, non-frozen soil, but the high-alpine K. pygmaea seems to be especially well adapted to warm shoot - cold root episodes, as it has a higher photosynthetic activity at 10 than 20°C air temperature and does not up-regulate leaf dark respiration upon soil freezing, as was observed in the grasses from warmer climates.
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  • Journal Article

    Drone-Based Assessment of Canopy Cover for Analyzing Tree Mortality in an Oil Palm Agroforest 

    Khokthong, Watit; Zemp, Delphine Clara; Irawan, Bambang; Sundawati, Leti; Kreft, Holger; Hölscher, Dirk
    Frontiers in Forests and Global Change 2019; 2: Art. 12
    Oil palm monocultures are highly productive, but there are widespread negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Some of these negative impacts might be mitigated by mixed-species tree interplanting to create agroforestry systems, but there is little experience with the performance of trees planted in oil palm plantations. We studied a biodiversity enrichment experiment in the lowlands of Sumatra that was established in a 6- to 12-year-old oil palm plantation by planting six tree species in different mixtures on 48 plots. Three years after tree planting, canopy cover was assessed by drone-based photogrammetry using the structure-from-motion technique. Drone-derived canopy cover estimates were highly correlated with traditional ground-based hemispherical photography along the equality line, indicating the usefulness and comparability of the approach. Canopy cover was further partitioned between oil palm and tree canopies. Thinning of oil palms before tree planting created a more open and heterogeneous canopy cover. Oil palm canopy cover was then extracted at the level of oil palms and individual trees and combined with ground-based mortality assessment for all 3,819 planted trees. For three tree species (Archidendron pauciflorum, Durio zibethinus, and Shorea leprosula), the probability of mortality during the year of the study was dependent on the amount of oil palm canopy cover. We regard the drone-based method for deriving and partitioning spatially explicit information as a promising way for many questions addressing canopy cover in ecological applications and the management of agroforestry systems.
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  • Journal Article

    Can Traditional Authority Improve the Governance of Forestland and Sustainability? Case Study from the Congo (DRC) 

    Majambu, Eliezer; Mampeta Wabasa, Salomon; Welepele Elatre, Camille; Boutinot, Laurence; Ongolo, Symphorien
    Land 2019; 8(5): Art. 74
    With about 107 million hectares of moist forest, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a perfect paradox of a natural resources endowed country caught in repeated economic and socio-political crises. Democratic Republic of Congo possesses about 60% of the Congo basin’s forest on which the majority of its people rely for their survival. Even if the national forest land in the countryside is mainly exploited by local populations based on customary rights, they usually do not have land titles due to the fact that the state claims an exclusive ownership of all forest lands in the Congo basin including in DRC. The tragedy of “bad governance” of natural resources is often highlighted in the literature as one of the major drivers of poverty and conflicts in DRC. In the forest domain, several studies have demonstrated that state bureaucracies cannot convincingly improve the governance of forestland because of cronyism, institutional weaknesses, corruption and other vested interests that govern forest and land tenure systems in the country. There are however very few rigorous studies on the role of traditional leaders or chiefdoms in the governance of forests and land issues in the Congo basin. This research aimed at addressing this lack of knowledge by providing empirical evidence through the case study of Yawalo village, located around the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo. From a methodological perspective, it used a mixed approach combining both qualitative (field observations, participatory mapping, interviews, focal group discussions, and desk research,) and quantitative (remote sensing and statistics) methods. The main findings of our research reveal that: (i) vested interests of traditional rulers in the DRC countryside are not always compatible with a sustainable management of forestland; and (ii) influential users of forestland resources at the local level take advantage of traditional leaders’ weaknesses—lack of autonomy and coercive means, erratic recognition of customary rights, and poor legitimacy—to impose illegal hunting and uncontrolled forest exploitation.
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