Research Articles (Forest and Wood Science)

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    Multi-product forwarder-based timber extraction : time consumption and productivity analysis of two forwarder models over multiple products and extraction distances
    (University of Zagreb, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology, 2020) Gagliardi, Kayla; Ackerman, Simon; Ackerman, Pierre
    Accurate predictions in forest operations can be used towards effective planning, costing, and maximizing the productivity of machines in mechanised cut-to-length (CTL) harvesting. There is a general and substantial gap in forwarder productivity data available for pine sawtimber in South Africa at present, and as the number of product assortments being harvested increase there is a need for more work to quantify the effects of extracting products of different dimensions. The aim of this study was to calculate the time consumption and productivity of two models of Ponsse forwarders (15 t and 20 t capacity) to consider and compare the effects of multiple variables including machine capabilities, product assortment, load size, extraction distance, and fuel consumption. Productivity averaged at 34.08 m3 per productive machine hour excluding delays longer than one minute (PMH1) for the smaller machine, and 55.94 m3 /PMH1 for the larger machine. Productivity and average log volume were strongly positively correlated. Regression models were created for each machine where load volume and extraction distance were both significant factors for predicting productivity. Average fuel consumption of the smaller machine was 15.55 l/PMH1 and 0.47 l/m3 , and 20.57 l/PMH1 and 0.43 l/m3 for the larger machine. The product with the largest volume was found to require the least fuel per m3 . The models developed could aid in predicting system productivity and potentially carbon emissions under similar conditions in a South African context of industrial plantation forestry.
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    Latitudinal gradients and ecological drivers of β-diversity vary across spatial scales in a temperate forest region
    (Wiley, 2020-03-12) Zhang, Chunyu; He, Fangliang; Zhang, Zhonghui; Zhao, Xiuhai; von Gadow, Klaus
    Aim: Our understanding of the mechanisms driving β-diversity is still rather rudimentary. This study evaluates the influences of environmental filtering versus spatial scale of regional communities on β-diversity across latitudes. Location: North-eastern China. Methods: The β-diversity was calculated in each regional community. The spatial extent of these “regional communities”, which included five or 10 plots, was ≤ 140 km. A random assembly null model was used to assess the effects of species abundance distribution on the β-diversity. Moreover, the deviation of observed β-diversity from a null model (called β-deviation) was also assessed. The variations of the β values were partitioned into environmental, latitudinal and their joint effects. Results: The observed β-diversity declined with increasing latitude, although the β-deviations showed a non-monotonic pattern as the latitude increased at two studied scales. All the regional communities consisting of five or 10 local plots exhibited significantly positive β-deviations. The total amount of variation in β-deviations explained by environmental and latitudinal variables increased dramatically with increasing scale. A significant pure environmental effect was observed at both scales, explaining 30% of the variation in β-deviation for regional communities consisting of five local plots and 58.7% for regional communities consisting of 10 local plots. The spatial variation in precipitation primarily accounted for the β-gradient. Main conclusions: This is one of the few multiscale analyses to investigate latitudinal patterns and driving mechanisms of tree β-diversity in temperate forests. The β-deviation showed a similar trend of change with latitude, but the variation of β-deviation explained by the environments and latitude was highly dependent on the scale of regional communities studied. Environmental filtering and the spatial scale of regional communities jointly accounted for the β-gradient, with environmental filtering appearing to determine the high variation of species turnover along the latitudinal gradient.
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    UAV-based forest health monitoring: a systematic review
    (MDPI, 2022-07) Ecke, Simon; Dempewolf, Jan; Frey, Julian; Schwaller, Andreas; Endres, Ewald; Klemmt, Hans-Joachim; Tiede, Dirk; Seifert, Thomas
    In recent years, technological advances have led to the increasing use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for forestry applications. One emerging field for drone application is forest health monitoring (FHM). Common approaches for FHM involve small-scale resource-extensive fieldwork combined with traditional remote sensing platforms. However, the highly dynamic nature of forests requires timely and repetitive data acquisition, often at very high spatial resolution, where conventional remote sensing techniques reach the limits of feasibility. UAVs have shown that they can meet the demands of flexible operation and high spatial resolution. This is also reflected in a rapidly growing number of publications using drones to study forest health. Only a few reviews exist which do not cover the whole research history of UAV-based FHM. Since a comprehensive review is becoming critical to identify research gaps, trends, and drawbacks, we offer a systematic analysis of 99 papers covering the last ten years of research related to UAV-based monitoring of forests threatened by biotic and abiotic stressors. Advances in drone technology are being rapidly adopted and put into practice, further improving the economical use of UAVs. Despite the many advantages of UAVs, such as their flexibility, relatively low costs, and the possibility to fly below cloud cover, we also identified some shortcomings: (1) multitemporal and long-term monitoring of forests is clearly underrepresented; (2) the rare use of hyperspectral and LiDAR sensors must drastically increase; (3) complementary data from other RS sources are not sufficiently being exploited; (4) a lack of standardized workflows poses a problem to ensure data uniformity; (5) complex machine learning algorithms and workflows obscure interpretability and hinders widespread adoption; (6) the data pipeline from acquisition to final analysis often relies on commercial software at the expense of open-source tools.
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    Agroforestry : an appropriate and sustainable response to a changing climate in Southern Africa?
    (MDPI, 2020-08-21) Sheppard, Jonathan P.; Reckziegel, Rafael Bohn; Borrass, Lars; Chirwa, Paxie W.; Cuaranhua, Claudio J.; Hassler, Sibylle K.; Hoffmeister, Svenja; Kestel, Florian; Maier, Rebekka; Mälicke, Mirko; Morhart, Christopher; Ndlovu, Nicholas P.; Veste, Maik; Funk, Roger; Lang, Friederike; Seifert, Thomas; Du Toit, Ben; Kahle, Hans-Peter
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Agroforestry is often discussed as a strategy that can be used both for the adaptation to and the mitigation of climate change e ects. The climate of southern Africa is predicted to be severely a ected by such changes. With agriculture noted as the continent’s largest economic sector, issues such as food security and land degradation are in the forefront. In the light of such concerns we review the current literature to investigate if agroforestry systems (AFS) are a suitable response to the challenges besetting traditional agricultural caused by a changing climate. The benefits bestowed by AFS are multiple, o ering ecosystem services, influence over crop production and positive impacts on rural livelihoods through provisioning and income generation. Nevertheless, knowledge gaps remain. We identify outstanding questions requiring further investigation such as the interplay between trees and crops and their combination, with a discussion of potential benefits. Furthermore, we identify deficiencies in the institutional and policy frameworks that underlie the adoption and stimulus of AFS in the southern African region. We uphold the concept that AFS remains an appropriate and sustainable response for an increased resilience against a changing climate in southern Africa for the benefit of livelihoods and multiple environmental values.
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    Plasticity of seasonal xylem and phloem production of Norway spruce along an elevational gradient
    (Springer, 2020-06-30) Miller, Tobias Walter; Stangler, Dominik Florian; Larysch, Elena; Seifert, Thomas; Spiecker, Heinrich; Kahle, Hans-Peter
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The understanding of the seasonality of phloem production, its dependence on climatic factors and potential tradeofs with xylem cell production is still limited. This study determined key tree-ring phenological events and examined the dynamics of phloem and xylem cell production of Norway Spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst) by sampling microcores during the growing seasons 2014 and 2015 along an elevational gradient (450 m, 750 m, 1250 m a.s.l.) in south-western Germany. The onset of phloem formation preceded xylem formation at each elevation by approximately 2 weeks, while cessation showed no clear diferences between the stands. Maximum rates of xylem and phloem cell production were observed around the summer solstice, independent of elevation. No linear pattern was found in the occurrence of phenological events along the elevational gradient. Phloem formation appeared to be less sensitive to environmental conditions since no diference was found in the number of produced sieve cells between the 2 years of study, whereas the ratio of xylem to phloem cells was signifcantly smaller in the year 2015 with summer drought. The total number of conducting, non-collapsed phloem cells did not culminate as expected at the time of the potential maximum assimilate production, but at the end of the growing season. Thus, interpretation of phloem formation should not be limited to the function of assimilate transport but should follow a more holistic view of structural–functional relationships of conductive tissues and tree physiological processes.