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  • Open access
  • 78 Reads
Provisioning Ecosystem Services of Rhododendron rich forests in Western Himalayas

Himalayan forests are an important component of the global biodiversity and play a crucial role in maintaining the overall ecosystem balance. Rhododendron species belonging from the Ericaceae family are found at an altitude of 1500m-3000m in the Himalayan region and act as an important keystone species in the Himalayan ecosystem with high ecological and medicinal value. The present study focuses on highlighting the provisioning ecosystem services offered by the Rhododendron species which not only provide a range of services to the local community but its extraction for the commercial utilization provides many livelihood opportunities to the Himalayan native communities. However due to the high demand for the Rhododendron products and services there has been a rampant harvest of the species in the Himalayan region and as Rhododendron forests are an important keystone species in the Himalayas it is vital to maintain the forest health and vitality of the species as it plays a key role in maintaining the Himalayan ecosystem balance. Hence our research focuses on the assessment of the provisioning ecosystem services of Rhododendron species and to provide various conservation strategies for its sustainable utilization.

  • Open access
  • 36 Reads
Physico-chemical characterization of soil in a tropical landscape restored by a vegetal succession

The knowledge of the edaphic structure and the contribution of nutrients from soils of fluvial-volcanic origin in the development and change of plant species over time contributes to the understanding of the ecological dynamics of natural restoration processes inherent to the environmental sustainability of a territory. The objective was to evaluate the physicochemical composition of soils and their relationship with successional vegetation. The study was conducted in the area of influence of fluvial volcanic muds deposited by the eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano in 1985 in the municipality of Armero-Guayabal at 400 meters above sea level in the Central region of Colombia. In 10 plots established in the floristic characterization, samples composed of soil were obtained for each one. The physical variables of texture, porosity, humidity, color, apparent density, real density; and chemical variables of pH, organic matter, cation exchange capacity, major elements (P, Ca, Mg, K), minor elements (Na, Fe, Cu, Zn, Mn, B, S, Al), Al saturation, base saturation, Ca/Mg relation, (Ca+Mg)/K relation and Mg/K relation were analyzed; subsequently, a multivariate analysis between variables, and descriptive of the soil-vegetation relationship was carried out. Physically, there was a negative correlation between apparent density with %porosity and real density with humidity content; the texture was classified as sandy loam and the structure as granular-crumbly type. Chemically, there was a negative correlation between pH, Mg/K relation, (Ca+Mg)/K relation and Al saturation; a positive correlation between P, Mn, Ca, Zn, Fe, Mg, and base saturation; furthermore, Na and K did not show any interaction relationship. The predominant plant species are distributed in the families Fabaceae, Asteraceae, Malvaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Cyperaceae, and Poaceae. Currently, the physical and chemical characteristics of the soil present conditions that allow the establishment and continuation of successional vegetation with a dominance of tree and shrub growth habit.

  • Open access
  • 66 Reads
Interlocking Modular Insulation Panels


Socio-economic challenges, such as rural depopulation and unemployment, are shared throughout the south-western region of Europe. In addition, urban growth, population growth or recurrent natural disasters threaten the conservation and resilience of natural resources. Despite this, accumulated forest biomass increases the risks of natural disasters.

Wood and cork are local natural resources whose technical characteristics make them excellent raw materials for construction. Wood is not simply a light biological material whose processes of industrial transformation and production emit less greenhouse gas emissions than its competitors, but it also stores atmospheric carbon. In south-western Europe there are few wooden buildings in comparison to other European regions. Therefore, it is where the potential climate change mitigation through the substitution of materials is the biggest in comparison to other European regions.

Here we present the Interreg Sudoe IMIP project (Innovative Eco-Construction System Based on Interlocking Modular Insulation Wood & Cork-Based Panels) aimed to support the change towards a low carbon economy using bioproducts (wood and cork) for smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth with a special focus on the public construction sector.


An international consortium of 9 partners from Spain, France and Portugal with different legal natures and expertise collaborate to improve the energy efficiency policies in public buildings and homes through the implementation of networks and joint experimentation. The main objective of the IMIP project is to design, validate and implement an ecological construction system based on natural biological materials to improve energy efficiency in public buildings. The panels designed will be tested on certified labs to analyse their technical behaviour. Technical and economic evaluation as well as an environmental assessment will be carried out.

Results and discussion

One of the main expected results is an interconnected modular system of insulating panels made of wood and cork to improve energy efficiency of buildings, including their entire life cycle. This system will be applied in public buildings through four pilot actions: two in Spain, one in France and one in Portugal. Another expected result is a BIM (Building Information Modelling) plug-in to analyse the environmental benefits of bioproducts used in construction (carbon storage and substitute effect).

In addition, some of the most relevant products will be a roadmap towards an increased use of wood and cork in public buildings of South-West Europe, a roadmap for improving energy efficiency in public building through use of local bio-resources, and a technical sheet to be included in official recognized tools for policy implementation. Other products will be training courses, scientific publications, or the methodology description for panel installation.

This project will create several opportunities for the regional challenges. The promotion of smart growth focused on promoting a circular bioeconomy based on knowledge and innovation is an excellent opportunity for Small and Medium Enterprises located in rural areas of the south-western Europe. Cooperation between companies and research organizations to start new high value-added economic activities in rural areas can contribute to the creation of new job opportunities and increase social cohesion.

The high concentration of unused wood and cork resources in the region creates an opportunity to be used as raw material to produce innovative wood and cork-based products. Furthermore, the harvest of this biomass will reduce the risk of forest fires and will contribute to the improvement of sustainable forest management. The construction sector, due to its high impact, is a tractor sector with high potential benefits for the use of local renewable natural resources such as wood or cork.

This added value endowment of forest products in turn represents an opportunity for rural development and employment for local populations that could reverse the serious trend of depopulation suffered by rural communities.

  • Open access
  • 94 Reads
Simple height and volume equations for on-the-fly estimation of productivity in hybrid poplar (Populus x euroamericana) plantations in the Duero Basin (northwestern Spain)

Hybrid poplar plantations are becoming increasingly important as a source of income for farmers in the Duero Basin (northwestern Spain), as rural depopulation and farmers aging prevent them from planting other labourr-intensive crops. However, forest owners, usually elderly and without formal forestry backgrounds, lack of simple tools to estimate the size and volume of their plantations by themselves. Therefore, farmers are usually forced to rely on the estimates made by the timber companies that are buying their trees. With the objective of provide a simple but empowering tool for these forest owners, simple equations based only on diameter to estimate individual tree height, and volume were developed for the region. To do so, growth in height, diameter and volume were measured for 10 years (2009-2019) in 404 trees planted in three poplar plantations in Leon province. An average growth per tree of 1.66 cm/year in diameter, 1.52 m/year in height, and 0.03 m3/year in volume was estimated, which translated into annual volume growth of 13.02 m3/ha/year. However, annual volume growth was different among plots due to their fertility, with two plots reaching maximum growth around 13 years of tree age and another at 15 years, encompassing the typical productivity range in plantations in this region. Such data allowed developing simple lineal and exponential equations to estimate height and volume explaining 84% to 97% of the observed variability. Such equations can be easily implemented in any cellphone with a calculator, allowing forest owners to accurately estimate their timber existences by using only a regular measuring tape to measure tree diameter.

  • Open access
  • 134 Reads
DNA barcode of Eurycoma longifolia Jack (Simaroubaceae) from Sumatra, Indonesia based on trnL-F plastid sequence.

Eurycoma longifolia (Simaroubaceae) is a popular medicinal plant from the South-East Asian rainforest that often used as an aphrodisiac and anti malaria. The main supplies of E. longifolia from Indonesia are from Sumatra and Kalimantan. The increasing demand of this species for medinical industries has led to illegal export in Indonesia. This study was aimed to identify specific nucleotides as molecular identity of E. longifolia from Sumatra based on DNA sequences of trnL-F plastid gene. Twenty four samples of E. longifolia were collected from three populations in Sumatra to be sequenced. The aligned sequence of the trnL-F_is 960 bp, and is an A/T rich region (A: 30.0%, T: 34.3%, C: 16.8% and G: 18.8%). The homology search using BLASTn of the genbank NCBI showed that the nucleotide composition of E. longifolia used in this study was similar to E. longifolia MH751519.1 (100%) and KP995919.1 (99.76%), Simaba morettii MG599450.1 (99.76%), and E. apiculata GU593014.1 (99.76%). Close examination of the gene structure and composition showed that the DNA sequences or E. longifolia from Sumatra have five nucleotides variations that did not possesed by the reference E. longifolia from the genbank. These variations comprised four base substutions and one insertion-deletions event, and were occurred mostly in the trnL intron region. When a phylogenetic analysis was perfomed, its results confirmed the correct identity of the samples species by their position was at the same clade as the other E. longifolia. The results from this study is expected to assist identification of herbal medicine containing E. longifolia from Sumatra, Indonesia.

  • Open access
  • 146 Reads
Assessment of Carbon Sequestration Potential of Tree species in Amity University Campus Noida

Urban green spaces, particularly trees have a great potential to sequester carbon from the atmosphere and mitigate the impacts of climate change in cities. Large university campuses offer prominent space where such green spaces can be developed in order to offset the increasing greenhouse gas emissions, apart from other benefits. Amity University, Noida is spread over 60 acres with dense tree plantations in and around the campus. The present study is a sustainability initiative to inventory the tree species in the campus and assess their total carbon sequestration potential (CSP). The above and below ground biomass were estimated using the non-destructive sampling method. Individual trees in the campus were measured for their height and diameter at breast height (DBH) and estimates of carbon storage were done using allometric equations. There are a total of 45 different tree species within the campus with the total CSP equivalent to approximately 139.86 tons. The results also reveal that Ficus benjamina was the predominant species in the campus with CSP equivalent to 30.53 tons, followed by Alstonia scholaris with carbon storage of 16.38 tons. The study reports that the ratio of native to exotic species is 22:23 or almost 1:1. The present work highlights the role of urban forests or urban green spaces not only as ornamental and aesthetic plantations, but also in mitigating the impacts of climate change at a local level. Higher education institutes have an important role in expanding their green cover so as to act as local carbon sinks.

  • Open access
  • 112 Reads
Aboveground live and dead biomass distribution using allometric equation in the restored mines of the Western Macedonia Lignite Center

Forests and forest plantations are ranked first in storing carbon and play a substantial role in climate change mitigation. The assimilated carbon is stored in the above and below ground parts of the trees, in dead wood, in litter and in soil. The Greek electricity organization started to rehabilitate the restored areas after the end of the mining activity in the Lignite Center of Western Macedonia in the 80s by planting different tree species, mainly black locust. Today some of these plantations are almost forty years old and occupy more than 2,000 ha in total. The dominant planted species is the black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.), a fast-growing pioneer species, covering 95% of the planted area. Other planted species are Spartium junceum, and Cupresus arizonica, covering 2.45% and 1.44%, respectively.

The aim of this study was to measure and estimate the live and dead above ground biomass distribution across the planted areas. 215 sample plots of 100 m2 each were set up through systematic sampling in a grid dimension of 500 x 500 m. In each sample plot the tree species, dbh (cm), tree height and the height to live crown (m) were recorded for all trees. The above ground biomass was estimated using an exponential allometric model. The results have shown that in the Amyntaio mine field the above ground biomass ranges from 20.1 to 90.2 tn ha-1 and in the Ptolemaida from 11,6 to 75,8 tn ha-1. The spatial biomass distribution seems to show a trend to increase from Southeast to Northwest in Ptolemaida and from West to North in the Amyntaio mine field. The standing dead wood ranged from 0 to 19.8 tn ha-1 for Amyntaio, and 0 to 41.9 for Ptolemaida mine field respectively, and for the lying dead wood 0.5 to 19.5, and 0.5 to 66 tn ha-1. The overall decay degree in the quality scale from 1 to 5 was ranged as: 10% for 1, 27% for 2, 45% for 3, 17% for 4 and 1% for 5. The black locust shows a remarkable ability to survive and grow on disturbed sites such as the restored mines of the Lignite Center of Western Macedonia. It is very competitive compared to other planted species and has created the necessary forest environment for the natural regeneration of other, more shade tolerant and soil demanding species such as oaks and maples.

  • Open access
  • 44 Reads
Prediction of tree age distribution based on survival analysis in natural forests: a case study of preserved permanent plots in the University of Tokyo Hokkaido Forest, northern Japan

In forests, tree mortality is strongly determined by complex interactions between multiple biotic and abiotic factors, and analysis of tree mortality is widely implemented in forest management. However, age-based tree mortality remains poorly evaluated quantitatively at the stand scale. The objective of this study is to predict the age distribution of living and dead trees based on survival analyses. We used a combination of tree-ring and census data from the two preserved permanent plots in the University of Tokyo Hokkaido Forest in pan-mixed and sub-boreal natural forests, northern Hokkaido, Japan, to derive site-specific survival models. All the living trees (diameter at breast height ≥ 5 cm in 2000) were targeted to identify tree ages using a RESISTOGRAPH, a semi non-destructive device. Periodical tree age data with a 10-year age class were used during two observation periods of 2000–2009 and 2010–2019, and all the changes (i.e., death and new in-growth) during the periods were recorded. In the analyses, one plot was affected with a typhoon in 2016, so wind caused tree deaths were excluded from the plots to maintain the time stabilities of survival functions between the periods. The results showed that the parametric survival analysis with Weibull distribution successfully yielded the mortality rate, mortality probability, and survival probability in each plot. In addition, the calculated mean lifetime of each plot was facilitated to make decisions on the biological mortality of the uneven forest stands. Finally, we predicted the future age class distribution of living and dead trees of each plot based on the results of survival analyses and discussed its management implications.

  • Open access
  • 72 Reads
Evaluation of wood chipping efficiency through long-term monitoring

High volume of forest biomass can be available at roadside when whole three (WT) harvesting system is applied. Besides, salvage logging operations are favorable conditions to accumulate a large amount of low-quality biomass due to the recovery of damaged trees. In mountain regions, such as the Alps, the forest accessibility can be a significant constraint for the eco-efficiency of chipping operations. The present study aims to evaluate the sustainability of wood-chipping operations in mountain areas based on long-term monitoring. One chipper-truck was monitored during 114 working day using telemetry; different efficiency parameters were collected: machine position, collected using GNSS receiver, and engine parameters, collected using CAN Bus system. Efficiency parameters were used to compare different in-wood or landing configurations. The results show the influence of the different locations of the chipping sites according to the road network influence. The emission associated with frequent relocation and delays were 6.4 % of the total emissions.

  • Open access
  • 114 Reads
Needle senescence affects fire behavior in Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.) stands: a simulation study.

The brunt of the fire season in the Western Mediterranean Basin occurs at the beginning of July, when live fuel moisture content is near its maximum. We have tested whether a potential explanation to this conundrum lies in Aleppo pine needle senescence, which typically occurs in the weeks preceding the peak in burned area. Our objective was to simulate the effects of needle senescence on fire behavior.

We simulated the effects of needle senescence on canopy moisture and structure. Fire behavior was simulated across different phenological scenarios and for two highly contrasting Aleppo pine stand structures, a forest and a shrubland. Wildfire behavior simulations were done with BehavePlus6 across a wide range of wind speeds and of dead fine surface fuel moistures.

We have recorded that the transition from surface to passive crown fire occurred at lower wind speeds under simulated needle senescence in the forest and in the shrubland. Transitions to active crown fire only occurred in the shrubland under needle senescence. Maximum fire intensity and severity were always recorded in the needle senescence scenario.

In conclusion, we have shown evidence, for the first time to our knowledge, that Aleppo pine needle senescence may enhance the probability of crown fire development at the onset of the fire season, and it could partly explain the concentration of fire activity in early July in the Western Mediterranean Basin.