ISRN Forestry The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2014 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. Modeling Develops to Estimate Leaf Area and Leaf Biomass of Lagerstroemia speciosa in West Vanugach Reserve Forest of Bangladesh Thu, 17 Apr 2014 11:49:32 +0000 Leaf area and leaf biomass have an important influence on the exchange of energy, light interception, carbon cycling, plant growth, and forest productivity. This study showed development and comparison of models for predicting leaf area and leaf biomass of Lagerstroemia speciosa on the basis of diameter at breast height and tree height as predictors. Data on tree parameters were collected randomly from 312 healthy, well-formed tree species that were considered specifically for full tree crowns. Twenty-four different forms of linear and power models were compared in this study to select the best model. Two models (M10 and M22) for the estimation of leaf area and leaf biomass were selected based on , adjusted , root mean squared error, corrected akaike information criterion, Bayesian information criterion and Furnival’s index, and the three assumptions of linear regression. The models were validated with a test data set having the same range of DBH and tree height of the sampled data set on the basis of linear regression Morisita’s similarity index. So, the robustness of the models suggests their further application for leaf area and biomass estimation of L. speciosa in West Vanugach reserve forest of Bangladesh. Niamjit Das Copyright © 2014 Niamjit Das. All rights reserved. Estimation of Genetic and Phenotypic Parameters for Growth Traits in a Clonal Seed Orchard of Pinus kesiya in Malawi Tue, 26 Nov 2013 09:55:21 +0000 Genetic and phenotypic parameters for height, diameter at breast height (dbh), and volume were estimated for Pinus kesiya Royle ex Gordon clonal seed orchard in Malawi using an ASReml program, fitting an individual tree model. The data were from 88 clones assessed at 18, 23, 30, 35, and 40 years of age. Heritability estimates for height, dbh, and volume were moderate to high ranging from 0.19 to 0.54, from 0.14 to 0.53, and from 0.20 to 0.59, respectively, suggesting a strong genetic control of the traits at the individual level, among families, and within families. The genetic and phenotypic correlations between the growth traits were significantly high and ranged from 0.69 to 0.97 and from 0.60 to 0.95, respectively. This suggests the possibility of indirect selection in trait with direct selection in another trait. The predicted genetic gains showed that the optimal rotational age of the Pinus kesiya clonal seed orchard is 30 years; therefore, it is recommended to establish a new Pinus kesiya clonal seed orchard. However, selective harvest of clones with high breeding values in the old seed orchard should be considered so that the best parents in the old orchard can continue to contribute until the new orchard is well established. Edward Missanjo, Gift Kamanga-Thole, and Vidah Manda Copyright © 2013 Edward Missanjo et al. All rights reserved. Mixed Species Allometric Models for Estimating above-Ground Liana Biomass in Tropical Primary and Secondary Forests, Ghana Sat, 14 Sep 2013 12:40:41 +0000 The study developed allometric models for estimating liana stem and total above-ground (TAGB) biomass in primary and secondary forests in the Asenanyo Forest Reserve, Ghana. Liana biomass was determined for 50 individuals for each forest using destructive sampling. Various predictors involving liana diameter and length were run against liana biomass in regression analysis, and , RMSE, and Furnival's index of fit (FI) were used for model comparison. The equations comprised models fitted to untransformed and log-transformed data. Forest type had a significant influence () on liana allometric models in the current study, resulting in the development of forest-type-specific equations. There were significant and strong linear relationships between liana biomass and the predictors in both forests (). Liana diameter was a better predictor of biomass than liana length. Generally, the models which were based on log-transformed data showed better fit (higher FI values) than those fitted to untransformed data. Comparison of the site specific models in the current study with previously published models indicated that the models of the current study differed from the previous ones. This indicates the need for forest specific equations to be used for accurate determination of above-ground liana biomass. Patrick Addo-Fordjour and Zakaria B. Rahmad Copyright © 2013 Patrick Addo-Fordjour and Zakaria B. Rahmad. All rights reserved. An Overview of Indian Forestry Sector with REDD+ Approach Wed, 24 Jul 2013 13:30:16 +0000 Forest ecosystems cover large parts of the terrestrial land surface and are major components of the terrestrial carbon (C) cycle. The primary objective of REDD+ is to minimize the carbon emissions from deforestation in developing countries and enhance their carbon storage capacities through sustainable management programme. The recognition of REDD+ throughout the international community, its support by donors and promotion in the perspectives of the UNFCCC negotiations are mainly due to vital functions of forests in regulating the world’s climate. This paper gives an overview of REDD+ approach and its methodological guidance in context of Indian forestry sector. The strengthening of governance arrangements and institutions in India needs to integrate learning through piloting, adaptive management, and knowledge transfer. A phased approach for India for REDD+ implementation having safeguards for local communities and biodiversity along with a system of their reporting and capacity building has to be developed. Successfully designed REDD+ implementation in India entirely depends on a rigid, scalable, and reliable finance mechanism, technological assistance, and effective forest-related legislation along with transparent and equitable political momentum which has support of core stakeholder groups. Vandana Sharma and Smita Chaudhry Copyright © 2013 Vandana Sharma and Smita Chaudhry. All rights reserved. Effect of Minicutting Length and Leaf Area Reduction on Growth and Nutritional Status of Eucalypt Propagules Thu, 18 Jul 2013 11:26:17 +0000 Significant improvements to the technique of minicutting Eucalyptus clones have been reported in the literature. However, despite these recent efforts, studies addressing the proper size of minicuttings and the reduction of leaf area have not been well explored. Thus, the present study had the objective of evaluating the effects of the length of the minicuttings and the leaf area reduction on the growth and nutritional condition of Eucalyptus urophylla during propagation. The experiment was conducted for 90 days in the Plantar Reforestation Co. Nursery in the municipality of Curvelo, MG, using a randomized block design with 4 replicates in a factorial arrangement. The effects of 4 lengths of minicuttings (4, 6, 8, and 10 cm), 2 levels of leaf area reductions (0 and 50%), and 2 commercial clones were studied. The length of the minicuttings and the reduction of leaf area did not affect the nutritional status of the leaves, nor did the length affect the quality of the plants at the age of 90 days. The results indicate that it is unnecessary to reduce the leaf area for Eucalyptus propagation. Reynaldo Campos Santana, Sula Janaina Oliveira Fernandes, Miranda Titon, Aloisio Xavier, Priscila Fernandes de Souza, and Nairam Felix Barros Filho Copyright © 2013 Reynaldo Campos Santana et al. All rights reserved. Poverty Alleviation through Optimizing the Marketing of Garcinia kola and Irvingia gabonensis in Ondo State, Nigeria Sun, 14 Jul 2013 08:12:02 +0000 The paper examines poverty alleviation through optimizing the marketing of Garcinia kola and Irvingia gabonensis in Ondo State, Nigeria. Data for this study were collected using structured questionnaire. Two categories of pretested structured questionnaires were used to obtain information from the respondents (farmers and the marketers of the species). Data analysis was done using descriptive analysis, and Student t-test was used to compare the income generated by the producers and the marketers of the fruits of the tree species. In addition, analysis of variance (ANOVA), arranged in randomized complete block design, was employed to test the significance of price variable across the three market structures (i.e., farm gate price, rural market price, and urban market price). Marketing of forest fruits species is a profitable enterprise with an average profit of ₦19,123.37 per marketer per month. The analysis of variance for the two forest fruit species indicated that Irvingia gabonensis generated the highest annual income in rainforest ecosystem while Garcinia kola generated the highest annual income in derived savanna ecosystem. Major constraints militating against these forest fruit species are poor market access and infrastructure development. The paper recommended among other things that domestication and interventions of these forest fruit species should be encouraged for proper management and sustainability. A. D. Agbelade and J. C. Onyekwelu Copyright © 2013 A. D. Agbelade and J. C. Onyekwelu. All rights reserved. Genetic Structure of a Loblolly Pine Breeding Population at Brazil Tue, 04 Jun 2013 15:48:41 +0000 The genetic structure of a Brazilian loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) breeding population, represented by 120 open-pollinated families, was determined using Bayesian inference and genotypes of 15 microsatellite (simple sequence repeat (SSR)) loci in 1,130 seedling progeny. The 120 maternal parents had been phenotypically selected about 15 years ago for wood volume in five different forestry plantations (FPs) in the south of Brazil. Additional selection for wood volume, based on a previous progeny test, was applied to the first best (i) and second best (ii) tree per block within each family. We adopted a procedure of “learning samples” to find the most likely number of inferred genetic clusters () or ancestral populations. The first hypothesis that was rejected was that the most probable value of was coincident with the five FPs, since the FPs were, a priori, assumed to be from 5 different backgrounds or origins. It was used the familiar structure of the population to infer the genotypes of maternal ancestors. It was concluded that the maternal generation is the most likely to have been planted by the mixture of three different seed sources or origins, that there are five genetic groups () in the population of progeny, and that they have been formed from the occurrence of assortative mating and also from a strong pressure in the selection within families. The trees with the best genetic value (i) maintained a higher genetic variability when compared to the trees of second best performance (ii), with higher values of heterozygosity and of numbers of maternal alleles that were kept the same. The migration model that best explains the results is the contact zone model. The population differentiation () was 2-3 times higher in offspring than in relation to the maternal generation. The relevancy of the results and the way they were explored may be of value both for studies of population genetics, as for plant breeding programs, since they help monitoring the population's genetic variability during generations of selection. Juliane Rezende Mercer, Milena de Luna Alves Lima, Antonio Rioyei Higa, Chirlei Glienke, and Marina Isabel Mateus de Almeida Copyright © 2013 Juliane Rezende Mercer et al. All rights reserved. Using Multispectral Spaceborne Imagery to Assess Mean Tree Height in a Dryland Plantation Mon, 03 Jun 2013 08:13:05 +0000 This study presents an approach for low-cost mapping of tree heights at the landscape level. The proposed method integrates parameters related to landscape (slope, orientation, and topographic height), tree size (crown diameter), and competition (crown competition factor and age), and determines the mean stand tree height as a function of tree competitive capability. The model was calibrated and validated against a standard inventory dataset collected over a dryland planted forest in the eastern Mediterranean region. The validation of the model shows a high and significant level of correlation between measured and modeled datasets (; ), with almost negligible (less than 1 m) levels of absolute and relative errors. The validated model was implemented for mapping mean tree height on a per-pixel basis by using high-spatial-resolution satellite imagery. The resulting map was, in turn, validated against an independent dataset of ground measurements. The presented approach could help to reduce the need for fieldwork in compiling single-tree-based inventories and to apply surface-roughness properties to hydrometeorological studies and regional energy/water-balance evaluation. Michael Sprintsin, Pedro Berliner, Shabtai Cohen, and Arnon Karnieli Copyright © 2013 Michael Sprintsin et al. All rights reserved. Individual Growth Model for Eucalyptus Stands in Brazil Using Artificial Neural Network Mon, 15 Apr 2013 13:18:29 +0000 This work aimed to model the growth and yield of Eucalyptus stands located in northern Brazil, at the individual tree level, by using artificial neural networks (ANNs). Data from permanent plots were used for training the neural networks to predict tree height and diameter as well as mortality probability. Once trained, the networks were evaluated using an independent data set. The first group was composed of 33 plots (11 in each productive capacity class) and was used for artificial neural network training. In five measurements, this group totaled 8,735 cases (measurements of individual trees), as each plot had 53 trees on average throughout this evaluation. The second group was composed of 30 plots (10 in each productive capacity class) and was used for model validation. This group totaled 7,756 cases. Were tested different network architectures Multilayer Perceptron (MLP). Results revealed an underestimation bias for number of surviving trees. However, estimates of diameter, height, and volume per hectare were found to be accurate. This indicates that artificial neural networks are a viable alternative to the traditional growth and yield modeling approach in the forestry sector. Renato Vinícius Oliveira Castro, Carlos Pedro Boechat Soares, Helio Garcia Leite, Agostinho Lopes de Souza, Gilciano Saraiva Nogueira, and Fabrina Bolzan Martins Copyright © 2013 Renato Vinícius Oliveira Castro et al. All rights reserved. Spatial Dispersal of Douglas-Fir Beetle Populations in Colorado and Wyoming Wed, 27 Mar 2013 09:36:53 +0000 Bark beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) are mortality agents to multiple tree species throughout North America. Understanding spatiotemporal dynamics of these insects can assist management, prediction of outbreaks, and development of “real time” assessments of forest susceptibility incorporating insect population data. Here, dispersal of Douglas-fir beetle (Dendroctonus pseudotsugae Hopk.) is estimated over four regions within Colorado and Wyoming from 1994 to 2010. Infestations mapped from aerial insect surveys are utilized as a proxy variable for Douglas-fir beetle (DFB) activity and analyzed via a novel GIS technique that co-locates infestations from adjacent years quantifying distances between them. Dispersal distances of DFB infestations were modeled with a cumulative Gaussian function and expressed as a standard dispersal distance (SDD), the distance at which 68% of infestations dispersed in a given flight season. Average values of SDD ranged from under 1 kilometer for the region of northwestern Colorado to over 2.5 kilometers for infestations in Wyoming. A statistically significant relationship was detected between SDD and infestation area in the parent year, suggesting that host depletion and density-dependent factors may influence dispersal. Findings can potentially provide insight for managers—namely, likelihood of DFB infestation increase for locations within two to five kilometers of an existing infestation. John R. Withrow, John E. Lundquist, and José F. Negrón Copyright © 2013 John R. Withrow et al. All rights reserved. The Influence of Landscape and Microhabitat on the Diversity of Large- and Medium-Sized Mammals in Atlantic Forest Remnants in a Matrix of Agroecosystem and Silviculture Tue, 19 Mar 2013 13:31:25 +0000 Fragmentation and destruction of a habitat are strongly relevant aspects to determine the richness and the dynamics of the mammals in ecosystems. This study, developed from October, 2010 to July, 2011 in three Atlantic Forest remnants in Ipumirim, SC, Brazil, aims at identifying the diversity of large- and medium-sized nonflying mammals and verifying associations of the patterns obtained with features of the researched areas. The approximate measurement of the inventoried areas is 51 ha. The data collection of the mammal fauna was obtained through direct registers, with the use of a photographical trap, and indirect records through the search of material that indicated the presence of species. The total amount of species studied was 13, pertaining to nine families: Canidae (1), Cebidae (1), Dasyproctidae (1), Dasypodidae (2), Didelphidae (2), Felidae (2), Mustelidae (2), and Procyonidae (2). In addition, landscape data was obtained through the development of a chorological matrix of the areas and the data about the microhabitats. From these data, 20 models for analysis were stipulated and this selection was determined with the corrected Akaike Information Criterion (AICc). The aspect of greater influence on the magnitude of the obtained data was the degree of human occupation in the landscape. Juliano André Bogoni, Talita Carina Bogoni, Maurício Eduardo Graipel, and Jorge Reppold Marinho Copyright © 2013 Juliano André Bogoni et al. All rights reserved. Using the Contingent Grouping Method to Value Forest Attributes Mon, 11 Mar 2013 09:17:28 +0000 This paper presents the first application of a recently proposed stated preference valuation method called contingent grouping. The method is an alternative to other choice modeling methods such as contingent choice or contingent ranking. It was applied to an afforestation program in the northeast of Spain. The attributes included (and the marginal values estimated per individual) were allowing picnicking in the new forests (€2.47), sequestering 1000 tons of CO2 (€0.04), delaying the loss of land productivity by 100 years, due to erosion in the new forests area (€0.783), and allowing four-wheel driving (€6.5), which is perceived as a welfare loss. Pere Riera, Joan Mogas, and Raul Brey Copyright © 2013 Pere Riera et al. All rights reserved. Simple Method of Forest Type Inventory by Joining Low Resolution Remote Sensing of Vegetation Indices with Spatial Information from the Corine Land Cover Database Thu, 07 Mar 2013 15:28:08 +0000 The paper presents a simple, inexpensive, and effective method allowing for frequent classification of the forest type coniferous, deciduous, and mixed using medium and low resolution remote sensing images. The proposed method is based on the set of vegetation indices such as NDVI, LAI, FAPAR, and LAIxCab calculated from MODIS and MERIS satellite data. The method uses seasonal changes of the above-mentioned vegetation indices within annual cycle. The main idea was to collect and carefully analyse seasonal changes in vegetation indices in a given ecosystem type proven by a Corine Land Cover, 2006 database, and to compare them afterwards with those of a particular forest under study. Each type of a forest ecosystem has its own specific dynamics of development, thus enabling recognition of the type by comparing temporal changes of the proposed measures based on vegetation indices. Temporal measures of changes were created for selected reference stands by the ratios of particular indices determined in July and April, which are the middle and the beginning of a vegetation season in Poland, respectively. The analysed vegetation indices were additionally provided with chosen statistical measures. The statistical analyses were carried out for Poland’s main national parks which represent the natural stands of temperate climate. Jarosław J. Zawadzki, Karol Przeździecki, Karol Szymankiewicz, and Wojciech Marczewski Copyright © 2013 Jarosław J. Zawadzki et al. All rights reserved. Decomposition and Nutrient Release Dynamics of Ficus benghalensis L. Litter in Traditional Agroforestry Systems of Karnataka, Southern India Mon, 04 Mar 2013 11:58:26 +0000 Decomposition and nutrient release dynamics of leaf litter of Ficus benghalensis, a common agroforestry species in southern dry agroclimatic zone of Karnataka, were studied using the standard litter bag technique in surface and subsurface methods of application. Results revealed a marginally higher rate of decay in subsurface placement (22.5% of initial litter mass remaining after one year of decomposition) compared to surface treatment (28.3% of initial litter mass remaining). Litter quality (lignin content and lignin/N ratio) and climatic and soil conditions of the study site (monthly rainfall and soil moisture) were found to influence the rate of decomposition. Mineralisation of litter was found to be in the order K > N > P. The paper further discusses the implications of these results for rainfed farming in Mandya and emphasises the potential of F. benghalensis in reducing nutrient input costs for resource-poor dryland farmers. B. Dhanya, Syam Viswanath, and Seema Purushothaman Copyright © 2013 B. Dhanya et al. All rights reserved. Rethinking Rights and Interests of Local Communities in REDD+ Designs: Lessons Learnt from Current Forest Tenure Systems in Cameroon Sun, 17 Feb 2013 08:41:20 +0000 It is increasingly becoming clear that reforms based on the claims of local forest communities regarding the right to natural resources will be needed to adequately address issues of sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa. The current institutional and policy frameworks of Cameroon and other SSA countries have bestowed exclusive land tenure rights to the State, while curtailing access of local farmers to forest and forest-based resources on which they depend for a living. It is therefore unlikely that successful forest conservation and implementation of REDD+ can be possible without recognition and enforcement of customary tenure. This paper aimed to sense smallholders' perceptions on rights and risks in the current forestry policy arena linked with the climate change debate in Cameroon. Using semistructured questionnaires and focus group discussions about 7 key informants and 66 community forest users were investigated about the current tenure systems and the risks of related conflicts. Findings from the field provide empirical evidence on the sources of conflict. Based on failures and positive elements of community forestry, the lessons learnt could enrich the on-going REDD safeguard debates and serve as guiding milestones towards the effectiveness of this initiative across the country and the continent. S. Ngendakumana, E. G. Bachange, P. Van Damme, S. Speelman, D. Foundjem-Tita, Z. Tchoundjeu, A. Kalinganire, and S. B. Bandiaky Copyright © 2013 S. Ngendakumana et al. All rights reserved. Effect of Additives on Wood Pellet Physical and Thermal Characteristics: A Review Thu, 14 Feb 2013 17:15:30 +0000 Additives play a major role in wood pellet characteristics and are a subject of major interest as they act as binding agents for the biomass raw material. Past research has reported the use of lignosulphonate, dolomite, starches, potato flour and peel, and some motor and vegetable oils as additives for wood pellet production. This paper reviews the available research on the effect of different additives on wood pellets' physical and thermal characteristics. It was found that lignosulphonate and starch additives improve the mechanical durability but tend to reduce the calorific value of the wood pellets. Motor and vegetable oil additives increase the calorific value minimally but significantly increase carbon monoxide emissions. Corn starch and dolomite additives also significantly increase carbon monoxide emissions. In order to produce wood pellets with desired physical and thermal characteristics, a suitable additive with the right biomass material should be used. Dmitry Tarasov, Chander Shahi, and Mathew Leitch Copyright © 2013 Dmitry Tarasov et al. All rights reserved. Vulnerability of Trees to Climate Events in Temperate Forests of West Germany Tue, 12 Feb 2013 08:02:54 +0000 An improved understanding of the spatiotemporal climate/growth relationship of our forests is of particular importance for assessing the consequences of climate warming. A total of 67 stands of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), pedunculate oak (Quercus robur L.), sessile oak (Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl.), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), and spruce (Picea abies Karst.) from sites located in the transition zone from the lowlands to the low mountain ranges of West Germany have been analysed. A combination of pointer year and cluster analysis was used to find groups with similar growth anomaly patterns over the 1941–2000 period. Shifted reaction patterns especially characterise differences in the growth behaviour of the clusters. These are controlled by different reactions to the climate conditions in winter and spring and are determined by a complex system of forcing factors. Results of this study reflect the enormous importance of the length of the growing season. Increasing the duration of the vegetation period climate warming can change the climate/growth relationship of trees, thereby confounding climate reconstructions which use tree rings. Since forcing factors have been detected that are more important than the tree species, we recommend the application of growth-specific approaches for the analysis of tree species’ vulnerability to climate. Stefanie Fischer and Burkhard Neuwirth Copyright © 2013 Stefanie Fischer and Burkhard Neuwirth. All rights reserved. Sustaining Cavity-Using Species: Patterns of Cavity Use and Implications to Forest Management Sun, 03 Feb 2013 08:50:11 +0000 Many bird and mammal species rely on cavities in trees to rear their young or roost. Favourable cavity sites are usually created by fungi, so they are more common in older, dying trees that are incompatible with intensive fiber production. Forestry has reduced amounts of such trees to the extent that many cavity-using vertebrates are now designated “at risk.” The simple model of cavity use presented helps unite research findings, explain patterns of use, and clarify trade-offs that can, or cannot, be made in snag management. Predictions generated are tested using data from over 300 studies. Implications to forest management are derived from the tests, including the following: ensure sustained provision of dying and dead trees, retain both conifers and hardwoods and a range of size and age classes, sustain a range of decay classes, ensure that some large trees or snags are retained, promote both aggregated and dispersed retention of dead and dying trees, meet dead wood requirements for larger species where intensive fibre production is not emphasized, do not do the same thing everywhere, and limit salvage logging after tree mortality. The paper focuses on species breeding in the Pacific Northwest, but draws on data from throughout those species’ ranges. Fred L. Bunnell Copyright © 2013 Fred L. Bunnell. All rights reserved. Intercropping Cedrela odorata with Shrubby Crop Species to Reduce Infestation with Hypsipyla grandella and Improve the Quality of Timber Thu, 17 Jan 2013 14:08:52 +0000 Cultivation of Cedrela odorata, a valuable tropical hardwood species, is restricted by the mahogany shoot borer (Hypsipyla grandella), whose attacks reduce stem quality in forest plantations. This study investigated whether infestation rates would be reduced and growth performance improved by the intercropping of C. odorata tree seedlings with different crop rotations. The height increment achieved by C. odorata during the first two years was significantly stimulated by the intercropping of maize (Zea mays), pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan), and cassava (Manihot esculenta). Attacks of H. grandella were also considerably reduced in these treatments, compared to the control plots, while intercropping with beans and rice produced no improvement. The effect was particularly distinct when lateral competition between trees and crops was high. Accordingly stem quality was higher in the treatments featuring tall crops. Trees intercropped with C. cajan performed best in terms of height (276 cm ), survival (100% ±0), and quality (81% ±13.5 of trees with satisfying stem quality) after two years. We concluded that intercropping of tree seedlings which are susceptible to H. grandella with shrubby multipurpose species can improve both tree growth and timber quality and hence increase the attractiveness of such species for reforestation. Carola Paul and Michael Weber Copyright © 2013 Carola Paul and Michael Weber. All rights reserved. Factors Influencing Liana Species Richness and Structure following Anthropogenic Disturbance in a Tropical Forest, Ghana Wed, 16 Jan 2013 14:49:00 +0000 The study was conducted to determine the factors that influenced liana species richness and structure in forests of different disturbance intensities (high, moderate, and low disturbance forests) in the Southern Scarp Forest Reserve, Ghana. Within each forest, lianas (dbh  cm) were enumerated in six  m2 plots located along transects. Soil physicochemical properties and forest structure were determined within the plots. Liana species richness and abundance were significantly lower in the high disturbance forest () whereas basal area was significantly higher in the low disturbance forest (). Tree abundance and dbh significantly predicted liana species richness and structure in the study (). On the basis of the importance value index, three main liana communities, each corresponding with a forest type, were identified. Stepwise multiple regression analysis revealed that exchangeable magnesium and calcium, and total exchangeable bases were the main soil variables that affected liana species richness. Liana structure was influenced by the above-mentioned soil variables as well as exchangeable potassium and sodium, and pH. The present study has demonstrated that changes in liana species richness and structure following human disturbance may be due to variations in soil properties and forest structure. Patrick Addo-Fordjour, Philip El Duah, and David Kafui Kudjo Agbesi Copyright © 2013 Patrick Addo-Fordjour et al. All rights reserved. Determinants of Household Decision to Join Community Forest Associations: A Case Study of Kenya Thu, 10 Jan 2013 14:23:38 +0000 Forests contribute significantly to the livelihoods of forest adjacent communities. Under the Kenya's new Forest Act (2005), community participation in forest conservation is provided for through formation of Community Forest Associations (CFAs). This study focused on Ontukigo and Ngare Ndare CFAs involved in participatory management of Ontulili and Ngare Ndare forests in North Central Kenya. It aimed at identifying household factors associated with decision to participate in PFM and the differences between CFA and non-CFA members in their participation in forest conservation activities. Semi structured questionnaires were administered to randomly selected 80 CFA and 80 non-CFA members. Factors influencing household decision to join CFA included household size (, ), age (, ), number of cows (, ) and sheep (, ) owned by CFA (6.6) and non-CFA (4.2), farm size (, ) and forms of land tenure. Other factors included distance of homestead from forest (, ), sources of fodder (, ), access to forest products (, ), crop land (, ), and awareness of Forest Act 2005 (, ). Participation in forest conservation was positively influenced by CFA membership (, ). Majority of CFA members (80%) participated highly in forest patrol, fire control, tree nurseries, and tree planting activities. Josephine Kamene Musyoki, Jayne Mugwe, Kennedy Mutundu, and Mbae Muchiri Copyright © 2013 Josephine Kamene Musyoki et al. All rights reserved. Application of Earth Observation Technology to Site Selection and Development of Ecotourism Management Plans in Rural Ghana Thu, 03 Jan 2013 17:26:07 +0000 Production of development plans is vital for sustainable ecotourism development given the increasing competition for land to satisfy various human needs including agriculture, timber, and wood energy. Such human activities cause rapid destruction of wildlife habitat and loss of indigenous tree species. To enhance sustainable use of the flora and fauna to promote rural tourism in Ghana, seven eco-tourism sites have been surveyed to produce data for management plans to be developed for these sites. The survey focused on the status of flora and fauna at the sites, infrastructure, cultural dynamics, cross-border issues, and revenue mobilization. Key findings indicate lack of infrastructure at the sites and substantial loss of forest cover over seventeen years covered by the survey. Selase Kofi Adanu, Foster Kwami Mensah, Sesime Kofi Adanu, Dziwornu Kwami Adanu, and Kabila Abass Copyright © 2013 Selase Kofi Adanu et al. All rights reserved. Modelling Determinants of Tree Planting and Retention on Farm for Improvement of Forest Cover in Central Kenya Mon, 31 Dec 2012 17:32:25 +0000 Farm forestry has proved to be an important enterprise for small- and large-scale farmers worldwide. It has the potential of improving forest/tree cover across the globe. In Kenya, the forest cover is less than 2%. The country envisions achieving 10% forest cover over the next decade through promotion of farm forestry. However, the decision to plant trees on farmers’ land could be difficult. The study aimed to analyze the determinants of tree retention on farm for improvement of forest cover. Stratified and simple random sampling techniques were used in selecting 209 farmers. The results showed that sites, land size, age, education level, monthly income, tree management, extension services, availability of markets, harvesting regulation, and aesthetic and environmental motivation were significant determinants of tree retention. In particular, the chances of farmers who had gained technical skills in tree management were about 2.2 times higher to retain trees as compared to those who had not acquired such skills. Similarly, chances of farmers motivated to plant trees for environmental conservation were about 3.5 times higher to retain trees as compared to the group of farmers planting trees as a source of livelihood. These determinants would be instrumental in strengthening the current policies and reforms in forestry and agricultural sectors to enable Kenya to achieve 10% of forest cover. Vincent Onguso Oeba, Samuel C. J. Otor, James B. Kung’u, and M. N. Muchiri Copyright © 2012 Vincent Onguso Oeba et al. All rights reserved. The Functional Ecology and Diversity of Tropical Tree Assemblages through Space and Time: From Local to Regional and from Traits to Transcriptomes Thu, 13 Dec 2012 14:34:33 +0000 Tropical tree biodiversity motivates an extremely large amount of research and some of the most passionate debates in ecology and evolution. Research into tropical tree biodiversity generally has been very biased towards one axis of biodiversity-species diversity. Less work has focused on the functional diversity of tropical trees and I argue that this has greatly limited our ability to not only understand the species diversity in tropical tree assemblages, but their distributions through space and time. Increasingly plant ecologists have turned to measuring plant functional traits to estimate functional diversity and to uncover the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms underlying the distribution and dynamics of tropical trees. Here I review much of the recent work on functional traits in tropical tree community ecology. I will highlight what I believe are the most important findings and which research directions are not likely to progress in the future. I also argue that functionally based investigations of tropical trees are likely to be revolutionized in the coming years through the incorporation of functional genomic approaches. The paper ends with a discussion of three major research areas or areas in need of focus that could lead to rapid advances in functionally based investigations of tropical trees. Nathan G. Swenson Copyright © 2012 Nathan G. Swenson. All rights reserved. Geographic Patterns and Stand Variables Influencing Growth and Vigor of Populus tremuloides in the Sierra Nevada (USA) Thu, 06 Dec 2012 15:10:43 +0000 Awareness of geographic patterns and stand variables that influence tree growth will help forest managers plan appropriate management and monitoring strategies. We quantified influences of stand location, species composition, stand density, and tree size on aspen tree growth and vigor around the Lake Tahoe Basin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California and Nevada, USA. Radial growth data were taken from increment cores. Aspen trees on the south and west sides of the lake grew 20–25% faster than aspen in north and east side stands. Diameter growth at 2,400 m elevation was 58% of growth at 1,900 m near lake level. Aspen grew faster with less competition from neighbor trees. At any level of competition, aspen growth was slower beside conifer neighbors and correlated with crown ratio (CR: length of live crown relative to total tree height, a proxy for tree vigor). Analysis of independent CR data for 707 aspen trees in nine additional stands indicated that aspen had smaller crowns in the presence of greater competition, and that composition of neighbor trees also affected CR: aspen trees had shorter crowns in the presence of conifer at higher stand densities. Taken collectively, our analyses point towards a cascading decline in aspen growth and vigor incited by succession of aspen stands to conifers. Our findings suggest that conifer removal and stand density control in aspen-conifer stands at Lake Tahoe will enhance aspen growth and vigor. John-Pascal Berrill and Christa M. Dagley Copyright © 2012 John-Pascal Berrill and Christa M. Dagley. All rights reserved. Silver Fir Defoliation Likelihood Is Related to Negative Growth Trends and High Warming Sensitivity at Their Southernmost Distribution Limit Wed, 28 Nov 2012 08:09:19 +0000 Changes in radial growth have been used to estimate tree decline probability since they may indicate tree responses to long- and short-term stressors. We used visual assessments of crown defoliation, an indicator of decline, and retrospective tree-ring analyses to determine whether climate-growth sensitivity and tree growth rates may be used as predictors of tree die-off probability in Abies alba (silver fir) at the Spanish Pyrenees. We used climatic data to calculate standardized temperature and precipitation data and drought indexes. Basal area increment was measured for declining (defoliation > 50%) and nondeclining (defoliation < 50%) silver firs in stands with contrasting defoliation. Logistic regressions were applied to predict tree die-off. Since the early 1980s, a synchronised reduction in basal area increment was observed in declining trees. The basal area increment trend correctly classified 64% of declining trees and 94% of nondeclining trees. The growth sensitivity to water deficit, temperature, and a drought index also significantly predicted silver fir decline, but providing underestimated predictions. Our findings underscore the idea that long-term climatic warming seems to be a major driver of growth decline in silver fir. Ongoing growth reduction and enhanced mortality may promote vegetation shifts in declining Pyrenean A. alba forests. Juan Carlos Linares and J. Julio Camarero Copyright © 2012 Juan Carlos Linares and J. Julio Camarero. All rights reserved. Relative Contributions of Forest Vegetation, Land Cover, Topography and Climate in Explaining Fire Regime Patterns (1974–2005) in Peninsular Spain Wed, 21 Nov 2012 10:07:43 +0000 The relevance of forest fires as a major disturbance factor in vegetation composition, dynamics, and structure is increasing in several ecosystem types. In order to develop adaptation procedures and to strengthen the resilience under future altered fire regimes, it is important to gain a greater understanding of the factors involved in regional fire regimes. This paper evaluates the relative contributions of forest vegetation, land cover, topography, and climate in explaining the fire regime patterns. The analyses were performed independently for 15 territory types delimited according to potential vegetation criteria. Redundancy analysis was used to enable the simultaneous ordination of the response (fire regime) and the explanatory variables. The results reveal important differences among the 15 territories. The explained variance ranged from low to medium depending on the territory. However, for the five territories with greatest fire incidence, the variance explained was more than 39%. The proportion of territory covered by forest (derived from land cover information) was found to be the most relevant variable. Unexpectedly, the type of forest vegetation (derived from forest inventory data) appears to have played, at least in this approach and for some territories, a secondary role in explaining the registered fire regime patterns. Antonio Vázquez de la Cueva Copyright © 2012 Antonio Vázquez de la Cueva. All rights reserved. Mapping and Inventory of Forest Fires in Andhra Pradesh, India: Current Status and Conservation Needs Wed, 14 Nov 2012 09:58:27 +0000 Analyzing the spatial extent and distribution of forest fires is essential for sustainable forest management. The present study appraises the distribution of forest fires in one of the largest states in India, Andhra Pradesh, using satellite remote sensing. Advanced Wide Field Sensor (AWiFS) onboard on Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS P6) was used for mapping and analyzing the spatial extent of burnt areas. Comparative analysis was carried out with respect to different forest types, protected areas and across elevation zones to demarcate and identify the fire-affected areas. The results show that about 19% (8594 km2) of forest area were burnt in the state during 2009. Burnt area statistics for Protected Areas reveal that 24% of forest cover was affected by fire. Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve, the largest tiger reserve of the country, shows an area of 793 km2 (22%) under forest fire. Higher elevation areas which are predominantly dominated by savannah and woodlands experienced higher fire occurrence in comparison with lower elevation areas. Similarly, fires were prevalent near edges compared to core forest. Results of the study suggested that forests of Andhra Pradesh are prone to high fire occurrences and current fire regime poses a severe conservation threat to biodiversity both within and outside the Protected Areas. C. Sudhakar Reddy, P. Hari Krishna, K. Anitha, and Shijo Joseph Copyright © 2012 C. Sudhakar Reddy et al. All rights reserved. Variation in Woody Species Abundance and Distribution in and around Kibale National Park, Uganda Sun, 30 Sep 2012 09:17:36 +0000 Several protected areas in Uganda are increasingly facing encroachment making farmlands indispensable hubs for biodiversity conservation. A comparative study was conducted comprising a protected area in Kibale National Park and surrounding farmlands to establish how farmlands mimic the forest floristic structure. Study results show very low similarity between the forest and farmland ecosystems (). A total of 50 and 29 species were identified in the forest and, farmland, respectively; 8 were shared. Importance value indices of woody species in the forest ranged from 0.3 to 29.9 with Celtis durandii being the most important while those in the farmland were 1.9–79.2, Eucalyptus grandis, having the highest index. Woody species diversity and evenness were higher in the forest ecosystem (, ) compared to the farmland (, ). The 10–<20 cm diameter class was the lowest in both ecosystems. Communities adjacent to the park should be educated about the value of the park and conservation in general. Since adjacent farmlands provide important ecotones to the park, on-farm indigenous tree retention and planting are required. Further research on threatened species is needed to enhance conservation in and around KNP. Paul Okiror, Jane Chono, Antonia Nyamukuru, Jeremiah S. Lwanga, Phionah Sasira, and Paul Diogo Copyright © 2012 Paul Okiror et al. All rights reserved. Needle Damage Development in Norway Spruce Seedlings as Affected by Humidity, Temperature, and Gray Mold: A Preliminary Study Wed, 08 Aug 2012 09:20:51 +0000 Botrytis cinerea inoculation on 3- and 6-month-old Norway spruce seedlings was tested in combinations of temperature (15 and 25°C) and relative humidity (50 and 80%) in a growth chamber. Occurrence of needle damage was examined 11 days after the inoculation. Damage occurred more on inoculated than on control seedlings. Needle damage tended to occur proportionally more on the older seedlings and concentrating more on the tops of the shoot in the younger seedlings. The higher temperature suggested slightly more damage occurrence than the lower temperature did. The relative humidity did not appear to correlate with the damage outbreak. Surface wetness tended to increase the damage occurrence but so did also the vapour pressure deficit. At the lower relative humidity, the seedlings had to be irrigated more frequently, which increased the surface wetness. Thus, the results suggest that any irrigation method or other condition control that can provide low surface wetness on seedlings decreases needle damage by B. cinerea in forest nurseries. Raija-Liisa Petäistö and Juha Heiskanen Copyright © 2012 Raija-Liisa Petäistö and Juha Heiskanen. All rights reserved.