Recent Submissions

  • Journal Article

    Adaptive Diversity of Beech Seedlings Under Climate Change Scenarios 

    Varsamis, Georgios; Papageorgiou, Aristotelis C.; Merou, Theodora; Takos, Ioannis; Malesios, Chrisovalantis; Manolis, Apostolos; Tsiripidis, Ioannis; Gailing, Oliver
    Frontiers in Plant Science 2019; 9: Art. 1918
    The ability of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) populations to adapt to the ongoing climate change is especially important in the southern part of Europe, where environmental change is expected to be more intense. In this study, we tested the existing adaptive potential of eight beech populations from two provenances in N.E. Greece (Evros and Drama) that show differences in their environmental conditions and biogeographical background. Seedling survival, growth and leaf phenological traits were selected as adaptive traits and were measured under simulated controlled climate change conditions in a growth chamber. Seedling survival was also tested under current conditions in the field. In the growth chamber, simulated conditions of temperature and precipitation for the year 2050 were applied for 3 years, under two different irrigation schemes, where the same amount of water was distributed either frequently (once every week) or non-frequently (once in 20 days). The results showed that beech seedlings were generally able to survive under climate change conditions and showed adaptive differences among provenances and populations. Furthermore, changes in the duration of the growing season of seedlings were recorded in the growth chamber, allowing them to avoid environmental stress and high selection pressure. Differences were observed between populations and provenances in terms of temporal distribution patterns of precipitation and temperature, rather than the average annual or monthly values of these measures. Additionally, different adaptive strategies appeared among beech seedlings when the same amount of water was distributed differently within each month. This indicates that the physiological response mechanisms of beech individuals are very complex and depend on several interacting parameters. For this reason, the choice of beech provenances for translocation and use in afforestation or reforestation projects should consider the small scale ecotypic diversity of the species and view multiple environmental and climatic parameters in connection to each other.
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  • Journal Article

    Model-based analysis of latent factors 

    Gregorius, Hans-Rolf
    Web Ecology 2018; 18(2) p.153-162
    The detection of community or population structure through analysis of explicit cause–effect modeling of given observations has received considerable attention. The complexity of the task is mirrored by the large number of existing approaches and methods, the applicability of which heavily depends on the design of efficient algorithms of data analysis. It is occasionally even difficult to disentangle concepts and algorithms. To add more clarity to this situation, the present paper focuses on elaborating the system analytic framework that probably encompasses most of the common concepts and approaches by classifying them as model-based analyses of latent factors. Problems concerning the efficiency of algorithms are not of primary concern here. In essence, the framework suggests an input–output model system in which the inputs are provided as latent model parameters and the output is specified by the observations. There are two types of model involved, one of which organizes the inputs by assigning combinations of potentially interacting factor levels to each observed object, while the other specifies the mechanisms by which these combinations are processed to yield the observations. It is demonstrated briefly how some of the most popular methods (Structure, BAPS, Geneland) fit into the framework and how they differ conceptually from each other. Attention is drawn to the need to formulate and assess qualification criteria by which the validity of the model can be judged. One probably indispensable criterion concerns the cause–effect character of the model-based approach and suggests that measures of association between assignments of factor levels and observations be considered together with maximization of their likelihoods (or posterior probabilities). In particular the likelihood criterion is difficult to realize with commonly used estimates based on Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithms. Generally applicable MCMC-based alternatives that allow for approximate employment of the primary qualification criterion and the implied model validation including further descriptors of model characteristics are suggested.
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  • Journal Article

    Morphometric characteristics and seasonal proximity to water of the Cypriot blunt-nosed viper Macrovipera lebetina lebetina (Linnaeus, 1758) 

    Jestrzemski, Daniel; Kuzyakova, Irina
    2018; 24(1): Art. 42
    Background The blunt-nosed viper Macrovipera lebetina (Linnaeus, 1758) is a medically important snake species in the Middle East. Its nominate subspecies Macrovipera l. lebetina is confined to Cyprus, where it is the only dangerously venomous snake species and heavily pursued. Despite the viper’s large size, data on its body mass and sex-specific morphological differences are scarce. It is commonly believed that M. l. lebetina prefers freshwater proximity during summer. Hence, we aimed at investigating M. l. lebetina sex-specific morphological differences and its possible attraction to freshwater bodies in late summer. Methods Morphometric characteristics, proximity to water and conservation status of M. l. lebetina were investigated in Paphos district (Cyprus) in 2014, 2015 and 2017. Vipers were caught in different habitats, examined morphologically for metric and meristic characters, and released back into their habitat. Additionally, local people were interviewed about the conservation situation of the species. Results Of 38 recorded blunt-nosed vipers, morphological characteristics were collected from 34 (10 adult males, 16 adult females, eight unsexed juveniles). Rounded total length (ToL) ranged from 23.5 cm to 133.0 cm and weight between 10 g and 1456 g. Adult males significantly exceeded adult females in tail length (TaL), ToL and head length (HL). No significant sex-specific differences were found in snout-vent length (SVL), head width (HW), weight or body condition index (BCI), nor for the ratios TaL / SVL, TaL / ToL, HL / SVL or HL / HW. Adult females from late summer (2015) had a significantly lower mean BCI than those from spring (2014). Distances of blunt-nosed vipers to the nearest water bodies (natural and artificial, respectively) did not differ significantly between spring (2014) and late summer (2015). There was also no significant difference between the distances of vipers to natural and to artificial water bodies in spring (and late summer). Conclusions Adult male blunt-nosed vipers exceed adult females in TaL, ToL and HL. Adult females are likely in a more vulnerable body condition in late summer than in spring. Periodic drying out of freshwater bodies in summer probably does not affect the species’ occurrence. Educational workshops and habitat conservation are recommended for reducing human-viper conflict.
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  • Journal Article

    Increased Forest Soil CO2 and N2O Emissions During Insect Infestation 

    Grüning, Maren; Germeshausen, Franziska; Thies, Carsten; l.-M.-Arnold, Anne
    Forests 2018; 9(10)
    Forest soils are major sinks of terrestrial carbon, but this function may be threatened by mass outbreak events of forest pests. Here, we measured soil CO2-C and N2O-N fluxes from a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) forest that was heavily infested by the nun moth (Lymantria monacha L.) and an adjacent noninfested (control) forest site during one year. In the infested forest, net emissions of CO2-C were higher during main defoliation, summer and autumn, while indications of increased N2O-N emissions were found at one sampling date. On basis of this, a microcosm incubation experiment with different organic matter treatments was conducted. Soil treatments with needle litter, insect feces plus needle litter, and insect feces showed 3.7-, 10.6-, and 13.5-fold higher CO2-C emissions while N2O-N of the insect feces plus needle litter, and insect feces treatment was 8.9-, and 10.4-fold higher compared with soil treatments without added organic matter (control). Hence, the defoliation in combination with high inputs of organic matter during insect outbreaks distinctly accelerate decomposition processes in pine forest soils, which in turn alters forests nutrient cycling and the functioning of forests as carbon sinks.
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  • Journal Article

    Early Detection and Identification of the Main Fungal Pathogens for Resistance Evaluation of New Genotypes of Forest Trees 

    Shestibratov, Konstantin; Baranov, Oleg; Subbotina, Natalya; Lebedev, Vadim; Panteleev, Stanislav; Krutovsky, Konstantin; Padutov, Vladimir
    Forests 2018; 9(12)
    he growing importance of forest plantations increases the demand for phytopathogen resistant forest trees. This study describes an effective method for early detection and identification of the main fungal phytopathogens in planting material of silver birch (Betula pendula) and downy birch (B. pubescens), based on the estimation of the size of the internal transcribed spacers (ITS1 and ITS2) in the 18S-5.8S-28S rDNA gene cluster, which are species-specific for most micromycetes. The electrophoretic assay of the ITS1 and ITS2 loci has allowed us to identify predominant phytopathogenic fungal species in downy and silver birch in planta. This new molecular genetic method can be used to screen birch and other forest trees for different fungal pathogens to evaluate disease resistance. This information can be useful in breeding new genotypes of forest trees, including transgenic clones with modified wood composition.
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  • Journal Article

    Genetic Diversity of Dominant Plant Species in Tropical Land-Use Systems in Sumatra, Indonesia 

    Breidenbach, Natalie; Rahayu, Sri; Siregar, Iskandar Z.; Siregar, Ulfah J.; Hamzah; Finkeldey, Reiner
    Tropical Conservation Science 2018; 11
    Biodiversity hotspots like tropical lowland rainforests in Sumatra are threatened by the agricultural expansion, which increases the deforestation rate in Indonesia, which is highest worldwide. Main land-use change drivers in Indonesia include the production of rubber and palm oil, both of which lead to a high forest conversion rate. In the remaining and degraded forest patches, species diversity has declined and species composition has been altered. Effects of habitat fragmentation and land-use change on genetic structure were frequently investigated at the species level and compared across plant species, but not for plant communities. In addition, the effect of land-use change on the genetic structure of plants has not yet been investigated. Using Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism marker, the genetic diversity of 112 dominant plant species was assessed in four different land-use systems in Sumatra: old growth tropical lowland rainforest, jungle rubber, rubber plantation, and oil palm plantation. The four systems were investigated in two regions with four replicates, respectively. Because of different species compositions, characterized by different life history traits, forest and jungle rubber plots showed the highest diversity level, while oil palm and rubber plantations showed the lower diversity levels. The two intensively managed plantation systems showed similar genetic diversity levels as the tree dominated systems but are dominated by mainly alien species. This indicates that oil palm and rubber plantations could not be identified as habitats of conservational value. The newly introduced collection and analysis approach presents a universally applicable method to investigate different ecosystems in their plant genetic diversity to support the identification of habitats with high conservational value.
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  • Journal Article

    Surface Preparation and Treatment for Large-Scale 3D-Printed Composite Tooling Coating Adhesion 

    Sauerbier, Philipp; Anderson, James; Gardner, Douglas
    Coatings 2018; 8(12): Art. 457
    Recent advances in large-scale thermoplastic additive manufacturing (AM), using fused deposition modelling (FDM), have shown that the technology can effectively produce large aerospace tools with common feed stocks, costing 2.3 $/kg, such as a 20% carbon-filled acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). Large-scale additive manufacturing machines have build-volumes in the range of cubic meters and use commercially available pellet feedstock thermoplastics, which are significantly cheaper (5–10 $/kg) than the filament feedstocks for desktop 3D printers (20–50 $/kg). Additionally, large-scale AM machines have a higher material throughput on the order of 50 kg/h. This enables the cost-efficient tool production for several industries. Large-scale 3D-printed tooling will be computerized numerical control (CNC)-machined and -coated, to provide a surface suitable for demolding the composite parts. This paper outlines research undertaken to review and improve the adhesion of the coating systems to large, low-cost AM composite tooling, for marine or infrastructure composite applications. Lower cost tooling systems typically have a lower dimensional accuracy and thermal operating requirements than might be required for aerospace tooling. As such, they can use lower cost commodity grade thermoplastics. The polymer systems explored in the study included polypropylene (PP), styrene-maleic anhydride (SMA), and polylactic acid (PLA). Bio-based filler materials were used to reduce cost and increase the strength and stiffness of the material. Fillers used in the study included wood flour, at 30% by weight and spray-dried cellulose nano-fibrils, at 20% by weight. Applicable adhesion of the coating was achieved with PP, after surface treatment, and untreated SMA and PLA showed desirable coating adhesion results. PLA wood-filled composites offered the best properties for the desired application and, furthermore, they have environment-friendly advantages
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  • Journal Article

    High Morphological Differentiation in Crown Architecture Contrasts with Low Population Genetic Structure of German Norway Spruce Stands 

    Caré, Oliver; Müller, Markus; Vornam, Barbara; Höltken, Aki; Kahlert, Karina; Krutovsky, Konstantin; Gailing, Oliver; Leinemann, Ludger
    Forests 2018; 9(12): Art. 752
    High elevation sites in the low mountain ranges in Germany are naturally covered by Norway spruce (Picea abies (Karst.) L.) stands. Historically, large scale anthropogenic range expansion starting in the mid to late 18th century had a huge impact on the forest composition throughout Germany. Utilisation and exploitation often led to artificial regeneration, mostly carried out using seeds from allochthonous provenances. Usually, autochthonous (natural) high elevation Norway spruce trees have narrow crown phenotypes, whereas lowland trees have broader crowns. Narrow crown phenotypes are likely the result of adaptation to heavy snow loads combined with high wind speeds. In the present study, neighbouring stand pairs of putative autochthonous and allochthonous origin with contrasting phenotypes in high elevation sites were investigated with 200 samples each. These stands are located in the Ore Mountains, the Thuringian Forest, and the Harz Mountains. Additionally, a relict population with the typical narrow high elevation phenotypes was sampled in Thuringia, known as “Schlossbergfichte”. The objective of the study was to quantify supposedly adaptive phenotypic differences in crown architecture and the genetic differentiation of 11 putatively neutral nuclear microsatellite markers (i.e., simple sequence repeats (nSSRs)). The high differentiation of morphological traits (PST = 0.952–0.989) between the neighbouring autochthonous and allochthonous stands of similar age contrasts with the very low neutral genetic differentiation (FST = 0.002–0.007; G″ST = 0.002–0.030), suggesting that directional selection at adaptive gene loci was involved in phenotypic differentiation. Comparing the regions, a small isolation by distance effect for the Harz Mountains was detected, suggesting landscape resistance restricting gene flow. Finally, the differentiation of the very old autochthonous (up to 250 years) stand “Schlossbergfichte” with typical high elevation phenotypes could cohere with the sampling of a relict genepool.
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  • Journal Article

    The Tragedy of Forestland Sustainability in Postcolonial Africa: Land Development, Cocoa, and Politics in Côte d’Ivoire 

    Ongolo, Symphorien; Kouamé Kouassi, Sylvestre; Chérif, Sadia; Giessen, Lukas
    Sustainability 2018; 10(12): Art. 4611
    Tropical countries are often blamed for not managing their natural resources sustainably. But what if overexploitation is inherent in political structures and policies—rooted in foreign colonial order—and is consistently detrimental in the contemporary use of forestlands? This article argues that post-colonial land development policies and related political interests seriously impede the sustainability of forest ecosystems in Côte d’Ivoire. Methodologically, the study builds on a historic contextualisation of forestland use policies in Sub-Saharan Africa, with Côte d’Ivoire serving as a case study. The results indicate that the increasing development of so-called rent crops clearly follows the historical dynamics of ‘land grabbing’ and a post-colonial agrarian model. This situation benefits agribusiness entrepreneurs and, more recently, sustainability standards. The study discusses the findings based on recent literature and empirical evidence. In conclusion, the post-colonial heritage and the manipulation of the related patterns by elites and policy-makers largely explains the present-day unsustainable forestland conversions in Côte d’Ivoire.
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  • Journal Article

    Diffusion limitations and Michaelis–Menten kinetics as drivers of combined temperature and moisture effects on carbon fluxes of mineral soils 

    Moyano, Fernando Esteban; Vasilyeva, Nadezda; Menichetti, Lorenzo
    Biogeosciences 2018; 15(16) p.5031-5045
    CO2 production in soils responds strongly to changes in temperature and moisture, but the magnitude of such responses at different timescales remains difficult to predict. Knowledge of the mechanisms leading to the often observed interactions in the effects of these drivers on soil CO2 emissions is especially limited. Here we test the ability of different soil carbon models to simulate responses measured in soils incubated at a range of moisture levels and cycled through 5, 20, and 35 C. We applied parameter optimization methods while modifying two structural components of models: (1) the reaction kinetics of decomposition and uptake and (2) the functions relating fluxes to soil moisture. We found that the observed interactive patterns were best simulated by a model using Michaelis–Menten decomposition kinetics combined with diffusion of dissolved carbon (C) and enzymes. In contrast, conventional empirical functions that scale decomposition rates directly were unable to properly simulate the main observed interactions. Our best model was able to explain 87% of the variation in the data. Model simulations revealed a central role of Michaelis– Menten kinetics as a driver of temperature sensitivity variations as well as a decoupling of decomposition and respiration C fluxes in the short and mid-term, with general sensitivities to temperature and moisture being more pronounced for respiration. Sensitivity to different model parameters was highest for those affecting diffusion limitations, followed by activation energies, the Michaelis–Menten constant, and carbon use efficiency. Testing against independent data strongly validated the model (R2 D 0:99) and highlighted the importance of initial soil C pool conditions. Our results demonstrate the importance of model structure and the central role of diffusion and reaction kinetics for simulating and understanding complex dynamics in soil C.
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  • Journal Article

    The Abundance of Fungi, Bacteria and Denitrification Genes during Insect Outbreaks in Scots Pine Forests 

    Grüning, Maren; Beule, Lukas; Meyer, Stephanie; Karlovsky, Petr; I.-M.-Arnold, Anne
    Forests 2018; 9(8): Art. 497
    Outbreaks of defoliating insects may affect microbial populations in forests and thereby mass balances and ecosystem functioning. Here, we investigated the microbial dynamics in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) forests during outbreaks of the nun moth (Lymantria monacha L.) and the pine-tree lappet (Dendrolimus pini L.). We used real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) to quantify genes that characterize bacterial and fungal abundance and the denitrification processes (nirK, nirS, nosZ clades I and II) in different forest compartments and we analyzed the C and N content of pine needles, insect feces, larvae, vegetation layers, organic layers, and mineral soil horizons. The infestation of the nun moth increased the bacterial abundance on pine needles, in the vegetation layer, and in the upper organic layer, while fungal populations were increased in the vegetation layer and upper organic layer during both outbreaks. In soil, the abundance of nirK increased after insect defoliation, while the C/N ratios decreased. nosZ clades I and II showed variable responses in different soil layers and to different defoliating insects. Our results illustrate changes in the microbial populations in pine forests that were infested by defoliating insects and changes in the chemical soil properties that foster these populations, indicating a genetic potential for increased soil N2O emissions during the defoliation peak of insect outbreak events.
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  • Journal Article

    Genetic Variation of European Beech Populations and Their Progeny from Northeast Germany to Southwest Switzerland 

    Müller, Markus; Cuervo-Alarcon, Laura; Gailing, Oliver; Rajendra, K.C.; Chhetri, Meena Suyal; Seifert, Sarah; Arend, Matthias; Krutovsky, Konstantin V.; Finkeldey, Reiner
    Forests 2018; 9(8): Art. 469
    Climate change can adversely affect the growth of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) across its entire distribution range. Therefore, knowledge of the adaptive potential of this species to changing climatic conditions is of foremost importance. Genetic diversity is the basis for adaptation to environmental stress, and the regeneration phase of forests is a key stage affecting genetic diversity. Nevertheless, little is known about the effect of climate change on the genetic diversity of adult trees compared to their progeny. Here, we present genetic diversity data for 24 beech populations ranging from northeast Germany to southwest Switzerland. Potentially adaptive genetic variation was studied using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers in candidate genes that are possibly involved in adaptive trait variation. In addition, more than 2000 adult trees and 3000 of their seedlings were genotyped with simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers to determine selectively neutral genetic diversity and differentiation among populations. All populations showed high SSR and SNP variation, and no differences in genetic diversity were found between adult trees and their offspring. The genetic differentiation between adults and seedlings within the same stands was also insignificant or very low. Therefore, we can conclude tentatively that the transfer of genetic variation among tree generations, currently, is not much affected by climate change, at least in the studied beech populations.
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  • Journal Article

    Impact of Non-Timber Forest Product Use on the Tree Community in North-Western Vietnam 

    Dao, Thi; Hölscher, Dirk
    Forests 2018; 9(7): Art. 431
    Trees providing non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are valuable forest resources, and their management can support conservation objectives. We analyzed the abundance of tree species providing NTFPs, recognized by local H’mong people, in both the strictly protected core zone and the low-intensity forest use buffer zone in north-western Vietnam. We identified 249 tree species, of which 48% were classified as NTFP species. The abundance of 35% of the NTFP tree species was significantly correlated with footpaths, indicating an influence of human activity. A multiple logistic regression model indicates that using NTFP trees for food, medicine, and root harvesting, increases the probability of an NTFP tree absence in the buffer zone. In contrast, the high density of species, and collections of fruit, leaf, and resin decrease the probability of an NTFP tree absence in the buffer zone. Further assessment with a logistic model indicated that NTFP use has lower impacts on the tree community than timber use. We think that the parameterized models will enable comparisons of different situations and forest types and be particularly helpful in evaluating potential changes in tree communities over time.
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  • Journal Article

    Native Plant Diversity and Composition Across a Pinus radiata D.Don Plantation Landscape in South-Central Chile—The Impact of Plantation Age, Logging Roads and Alien Species 

    Heinrichs, Steffi; Pauchard, Aníbal; Schall, Peter
    Forests 2018; 9(9): Art. 567
    Alien tree plantations are expanding globally with potential negative effects for native biodiversity. We investigated plant species diversity and composition in a Pinus radiata landscape in south-central Chile, a biodiversity hotspot, by sampling understory vegetation in different plantation age classes, along forest roads and in natural forest remnants in order to find effective conservation measures for native biodiversity. Plantations, including different age classes and roadsides, maintained high native species richness at the landscape scale but supported a completely different community composition than natural forests. Thus, natural forest remnants must be conserved as plantations cannot replace them. Certain natural forest species occurred frequently in mature plantations and can represent starting points for retaining natural elements in plantations. Generalist native and alien species benefited from plantation management, mainly in young plantations and along roadsides. Stand maturation and a closed canopy, though, reduced alien species occurrences within plantations. Along roads, shade-tolerant aliens should be monitored and removed as they can potentially invade natural forests. Native species conservation in plantations requires a holistic approach of the full mosaic of land uses including the protection of remaining natural forests, alien species monitoring along roadsides and patches with continuous canopy cover to reduce pressure by alien species.
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  • Journal Article

    Conversion of tropical forests to smallholder rubber and oil palm plantations impacts nutrient leaching losses and nutrient retention efficiency in highly weathered soils 

    Kurniawan, Syahrul; Corre, Marife D.; Matson, Amanda L.; Schulte-Bisping, Hubert; Utami, Sri Rahayu; van Straaten, Oliver; Veldkamp, Edzo
    Biogeosciences 2018; 15(16) p.5131-5154
    Conversion of forest to rubber and oil palm plantations is widespread in Sumatra, Indonesia, and it is largely unknown how such land-use conversion affects nutrient leaching losses. Our study aimed to quantify nutrient leaching and nutrient retention efficiency in the soil after land-use conversion to smallholder rubber and oil palm plantations. In Jambi province, Indonesia, we selected two landscapes on highly weathered Acrisol soils that mainly differed in texture: loam and clay. Within each soil type, we compared two reference land uses, lowland forest and jungle rubber (defined as rubber trees interspersed in secondary forest), with two converted land uses: smallholder rubber and oil palm plantations. Within each soil type, the first three land uses were represented by 4 replicate sites and the oil palm by three sites, totaling 30 sites. We measured leaching losses using suction cup lysimeters sampled biweekly to monthly from February to December 2013. Forests and jungle rubber had low solute concentrations in drainage water, suggesting low internal inputs of rock-derived nutrients and efficient internal cycling of nutrients. These reference land uses on the clay Acrisol soils had lower leaching of dissolved N and base cations (P D0.01–0.06) and higher N and base cation retention efficiency (P < 0.01–0.07) than those on the loam Acrisols. In the converted land uses, particularly on the loam Acrisol, the fertilized area of oil palm plantations showed higher leaching of dissolved N, organic C, and base cations (P < 0.01–0.08) and lower N and base cation retention efficiency compared to all the other land uses (P < 0.01–0.06). The unfertilized rubber plantations, particularly on the loam Acrisol, showed lower leaching of dissolved P (P D 0:08) and organic C (P < 0.01) compared to forest or jungle rubber, reflecting decreases in soil P stocks and C inputs to the soil. Our results suggest that land-use conversion to rubber and oil palm causes disruption of initially efficient nutrient cycling, which decreases nutrient availability. Over time, smallholders will likely be increasingly reliant on fertilization, with the risk of diminishing water quality due to increased nutrient leaching. Thus, there is a need to develop management practices to minimize leaching while sustaining productivity.
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  • Journal Article

    Spatial Distribution of Mucilage in the Rhizosphere Measured With Infrared Spectroscopy 

    Holz, Maire; Leue, Martin; Ahmed, Mutez A.; Benard, Pascal; Gerke, Horst H.; Carminati, Andrea
    Frontiers in Environmental Science 2018; 6: Art. 87
    Mucilage is receiving increasing attention because of its putative effects on plant growth, but so far no method is available to measure its spatial distribution in the rhizosphere.We tested whether the C-H signal related to mucilage fatty acids is detectable by infrared spectroscopy and if this method can be used to determine the spatial distribution of mucilage in the rhizosphere. Maize plants were grown in rhizoboxes filled with soil free of organic matter. Infrared measurements were carried out along transects perpendicular as well as axially to the root channels. The perpendicular gradients of the C-H proportions showed a decrease of C-H with increasing distance: 0.8mm apart from the root center the C-H signals achieved a level near zero. The measured concentrations of mucilage were comparable with results obtained in previous studies, which encourages the use of infrared spectroscopy to quantitatively image mucilage in the rhizosphere.
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  • Journal Article

    Mixed-species versus monocultures in plantation forestry: Development, benefits, ecosystem services and perspectives for the future 

    Liu, Corsa Lok Ching; Kuchma, Oleksandra; Krutovsky, Konstantin V.
    Global Ecology and Conservation 2018; 15
    Plantation forests are increasing rapidly in the world in order to alleviate deforestation and degradation of natural forests, along with providing various goods and services. While monoculture plantations have been the dominant type of plantation in practice and well-recorded in research, in the face of intensifying climate change and resource scarcity, there is a growing interest in mixed-species plantations. Agroforestry systems are also catching the attention of foresters, smallholders and landowners. However, there are relatively limited number of studies on successful species mixtures. This paper first reviews the progression of monocultures and mixed-species, followed by the comparisons of advantages, disadvantages and effects on the surrounding natural ecosystems between these two types of plantations. The paper further investigates combinations of species with complementary traits for efficient use of limiting resources associated with improvement in growth development and production of tree species, as well as examining some other challenges in mixed-species. In addition, it is helpful to select and combine tree/crop species in mixtures based on complementary traits that maximise positive and minimise negative interactions and using the advance molecular technologies for genetic analysis. With careful design and proper management, mixed-species plantations with two, three or four species can be more productive and have more advantages in biodiversity, economy and forest health over monocultures. Many researchers are still working on different projects to explore the potential benefits and to promote the applications of mixed-species plantations and agroforestry.
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  • Journal Article

    Tree Water Use Patterns as Influenced by Phenology in a Dry Forest of Southern Ecuador 

    Butz, Philipp; Hölscher, Dirk; Cueva, Eduardo; Graefe, Sophie
    Frontiers in Plant Science 2018; 9: Art. 945
    Tropical dry forests are composed of tree species with different drought coping strategies and encompass heterogeneous site conditions. Actual water use will be controlled by soil moisture availability. In a premontane dry forest of southern Ecuador, tree water use patterns of four tree species of different phenologies were studied along an elevational gradient, in which soil moisture availability increases with altitude. Main interest was the influence of variation in soil moisture, vapor pressure deficit, species (representing phenology), elevation, and tree diameter on water use. Special emphasis was put on the stem succulent, deciduous Ceiba trichistandra, as high water use rates and drought coping involving stem succulence was to be expected. Tree water use rates increased linearly with diameter across species at high soil water content. However, when soil moisture declined, sap flux densities of the species responded differently. The stem succulent, deciduous Ceiba and other deciduous tree species reduced sap flux sensitively, whereas sap flux densities of the evergreen (broad leaved) Capparis scabrida were increasing. This was also reflected in diurnal hysteresis loops of sap flux vs. vapor pressure deficit (VPD) of the air. Under dry soil conditions, Ceiba and other deciduous tree species had much smaller areas in the hysteresis loop, whereas the area of Capparis was largely enhanced compared to wet conditions. The evergreen Capparis potentially had access to deeper soil water resources as water use patterns suggest that top soil drought was tolerated. The deciduous species followed a drought avoidance strategy by being leafless in the dry season. The stem succulent deciduous Ceiba flushed leaves at the end of the dry season before the rainy season began and also re-flushed early in the dry season after a rain event; however, water use rates at this occasion remained low. Ceiba was also ready for fast and strong response in water use when conditions were most favorable during the wet season. The study thus indicates a strong influence of species' drought coping strategy on water use patterns in tropical dry forests.
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  • Journal Article

    Complete mitochondrial genome of a woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) from Maly Lyakhovsky Island (New Siberian Islands, Russia) and its phylogenetic assessment 

    Kornienko, Igor V.; Faleeva, Tatiana G.; Oreshkova, Natalia V.; Grigoriev, Semyon E.; Grigoreva, Lena V.; Simonov, Evgeniy P.; Kolesnikova, Anna I.; Putintseva, Yuliya A.; Krutovsky, Konstantin V.
    Mitochondrial DNA Part B 2018; 3(2) p.596-598
    We present a complete sequence and an annotation of the mitochondrial genome of the woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) found in 2012 on Maly Lyakhovsky Island (North-Eastern Siberia, Russia). The genome was 16,851 bp long and contained 13 protein-coding, 22 tRNA, and 2 rRNA genes. It was AT reach (61.3%) with A¼32.9%, T¼28.4%, C¼25.3%, and G¼13.4%.
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  • Journal Article

    Adapting Chinese Forest Operations to Socio-Economic Developments: What is the Potential of Plantations for Strengthening Domestic Wood Supply? 

    Hoffmann, Stephan; Jaeger, Dirk; Shuirong, Wu
    Sustainability 2018; 10(4) p.1-19: Art. 1042
    Over recent decades, China’s forestry sector went through a transition phase characterized by a management and institutional reform process, with a constant rethinking of the ecological and societal role of forests within a unique political system. Nevertheless, despite impressive achievements in forest restoration and conservation efforts, the enhancement of ecosystem services and forest area expansion through plantation development, China was not able to improve its domestic timber supply capacities according to its demands. Consequently, the continually growing wood processing industry is facing a severe demand-and-supply gap, causing high dependencies on timber imports. Outdated forest operations practices, dominated by manual labour, are not able to meet supply demands or to implement new silvicultural strategies for enhancing forest quality and productivity and are a widely unnoted disruption of a sustainable development. Therefore, this review presents the status quo of China’s forest operations sector, how it is shaped by forest policy reforms and recent socio-economic developments. In addition, suggestions are developed how the sector can progress through policy adaptations in order to develop sustainable timber supply capacities based on a domestic plantation sector.
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