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  • Open access
  • 118 Reads
Forest, forestry, and energy in Mongolia toward cleaner production

This review focuses on the current situation of energy resources and usage in Mongolia to reduce the air pollution problems caused by heavy and inefficient coal utilization by shifting to cleaner energy sources such as woody biomass while adopting global best practices. Due to increased urbanization and the development of the mining sector, the country's energy consumption increases 6-9% each year. Coal accounts for 90% of the total energy usage. Mongolia's forest is over-aged, and the deadwood accumulation accounts for 46.5 m3 per hectare. There is a potential for using unused forest resources as an alternative energy source. Firewood comprises approximately 80% of the country's total harvested wood. However, the firewood combusted in a primitive stove, which has less efficiency rate. For this reason, small to medium scale biomass-powered power plants can be introduced based on the availability of the resources.

Further studies on the availability are essential for the successful utilization of unused forest biomass in Mongolia. Lastly, the country is taking action to increase the share of renewable energy in total energy production up to 30% by 2030. Thus, the unused biomass utilization as a cleaner energy source aligns to expand renewable energy production in Mongolia.

  • Open access
  • 40 Reads
Pre-dispersive influence of predation on natural regeneration of Quercus robur L.

Many woody species, such as Quercus robur L., have interannual variability in seed production. This phenomenon, known as “masting” can make a few disadvantages for the natural regeneration by reducing recruitment opportunities in the years of low fruit production. Studies on seed production not only have shown significant variability between years but also among individuals. Our aim was quantifying the percentage of acorn losses for pre-dispersive predation. For this, we have been estimated for three years the number of acorns that reach the ground. Of all the acorns that produces the tree, only part reach the soil in perfect viability to germinate and establish itself as seedling. A significant number fall to the soil before completing its development, probably because failures during this process or by self-regulatory mechanisms of the tree itself, which only keeps the seeds that can withstand according to the resources at its disposal. Another important part is consumed by predators on the tree, and finally an even more important part of acorns is attacked and predated by insect larvae. In the oak species, most are coleopteran of the genus Curculio and lepidopteran of the genus Cydia. In years of abundant production, the acorns reach the ground, viable to germinate and establish themselves as seedlings, ranging between 5% and 33%. The larvae consume resources stored in the seed, reaching its maximum development when the acorn has completed its maturation and falls. The damages are not only caused by the direct consumption of cotyledons and embryo but, even in cases in which they remain intact, the larvae generate cavities and galleries in the seed, which facilitates entry of fungi, bacteria, and other insects. In conclusion, pre-dispersive acorns predation by insects, it could place itself as one of the main constraints for natural regeneration of Quercus species.

  • Open access
  • 60 Reads
Gender differentials in collection and commercialization of forest products in Malawi

Gender equality is viewed as a means as well as an end to achieving various development outcomes. Projections on the implications of gender gaps derived from agricultural crops indicate that closing these gaps has the potential of improving productivity and reducing global hunger by 30% and 17%, respectively. Contrary to agricultural chains, there is a high involvement of women in forest products chains. However, with increasing commercial potential, enterprises have been shown to switch from women to men’s domain. Given the recent commercialization patterns in forest products, we seek to empirically investigate the presence of gender gaps in utilization of forest products. Our paper analyses gender disparity in baobab collection and commercialisation in Malawi using a primary dataset from 864 baobab collectors. An exogenous switching treatment effect regression (ESTER) and multiple linear regression were applied in the empirical analysis.

Our findings show a significant gender gap in both the amount of whole fruit collected and the value of baobab pulp commercialized. Compared to male baobab managers (MBMs), the amount of whole fruit collected is significantly lower among female baobab managers (FBMs).

Results show that the gap in fruit collection between MBMs and FBMs is due to the observable characteristics (group membership) and unobservable characteristics (entrepreneurial ability) of the baobab manager. Similar patterns are also observed in the commercialization of baobab pulp. Hence, for women to make use of the business opportunity and income generating potential that collection and commercialization of baobab offers, they require support to be able to compete with men. This support would be most beneficial in terms of strengthening network density by coming up with programs that improves networking of women with collectors and between collectors and traders.

  • Open access
  • 45 Reads
Linking Fuel Moisture with Plant Physiology: Coupling a water balance model with a LFMC model to predict species-specific LFMC values.

Live Fuel Moisture Content (LFMC) is a critical determinant of forest flammability and thus fire behavior and severity in many ecosystems. Currently, LFMC is monitored through satellite remote sensing or inferred from drought indices. However, remote sensing only can estimate LFMC in real-time, and cannot be used to make future flammability predictions. On the other hand, drought indices lack to reliably quantify flammability outside the ecosystems for which they are calibrated and requires species-specific calibrations.

In this context we seek to couple Medfate (Caceres et al., 2015) a water balance model which uses meteorological, edaphic and forest inventory data to predict soil moisture dynamics, with Nolan et al., (2018) LFMC model in order to determine species specific LFMC values. To achieve it LFMC simulations were calibrated and validated using field data from an independent LFMC data base (Yebra et al., 2019). In all, we have analyzed more than 2250 LFMC data from seventeen different genus in 40 sites of the Iberian Peninsula, obtaining satisfactory results.

In conclusion we have linked fuel moisture with plant physiology to estimate LFMC values in a way that allow to make future predictions and to obtain species specific values.

  • Open access
  • 64 Reads
Detecting and Mapping the Influences of Vegetation Cover on Runoff and
Torrents in Khartoum State, Sudan

The study was carried out in Omdurman and Sharg El-Neel to map and detect how vegetation cover
impacts runoff and torrents. Satellite imageries of Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) of 1994-2009 and Operational Land Imager/Thermal Infrared Sensor (OLI/TIRS) of 2018 processed to derive proper land use. Furthermore, land cover (LULC), using hybrid classification and normalized differences vegetation index (NDVI) of the study area. The results revealed changes in LULC classes during the study period (1994, 2009, and 2018). Omdurman area showed that the vegetation cover for the years 1994, 2009, and 2018 was 3.2%, 3.1%, and 4.2%, respectively. The respective sandy soil ratio was 18.2%, 34.9%, and 27.6%. The water bodies found to cover only 0.5%, 0.5%, and 0.7%, respectively. These results indicated that the area of vegetation cover was less than other LULC. Contrary results from Sharg El-Neel revealed that the percentage of vegetation cover for the years 1994, 2009, and 2018 accounted for 31.4%, 41.3%, and 24.7%, respectively. For these years, the sandy soil ratios were 26.3%, 14.8%, and 38.3%, respectively. The water bodies covered 0.5%, 2 0.6% and 1.3% respectively. The research concluded that changes in vegetation cover status play a role in water runoff and torrent events in the study areas. The study recommends further studies to help produce robust plans that consist of LULC status to minimize the water-related risks and hazards.

  • Open access
  • 90 Reads
Could biostimulants with plant active compounds improve the tolerance to oxidative stress in Prosopis alba?

Biostimulants are considered as an important source of bioactive compounds that applied to plants can improve their stress tolerance and could enhance their crop quality traits. However, the activity of biostimulants obtained from plants is less known compared with other kind of biostimulants applied to plants. The aim of this work was to explore the potential of four phytoextracts derived from species with recognized antioxidant activity and/or rich in polysaccharides as plant biostimulants of seedlings of Prosopis alba. P. alba is an Argentinean native species widely distributed in arid and semi-arid areas which is relevant for the restoration and reforestation of degraded areas. The selected species for the natural extracts and their concentration were: Ilex paraguariensis (2% w/v), Larrea divaricata (2% w/v), Schinopsis lorentzii (2% w/v) and Aloe vera (0.1% w/v). In this study, the concentration of malondialdehyde (MDA), an oxidative stress biomarker, was measured every week in control and rustified seedlings along the rustification stage (RS) to monitor the oxidative stress condition. In a second assay, each natural extract was foliarly sprayed after 7 and 14 days since the beginning of the RS. MDA was measured at 21 days after RS begining as preliminary results showed a significant accumulation of MDA in rustified seedlings compared with control seedlings at this time. As main results, rustified seedlings sprayed with I. paraguariensis and L. divaricata showed lower MDA concentration than rustified seedlings without any extract application. Both extracts were characterized by their antioxidant activity. These results suggest that natural extracts of I. paraguariensis and L. divaricata could be considered potential plant biostimulant which reduce oxidative stress biomarkers in P. alba. Thus, in seedlings treated with these biostimulant extracts, the ROS increase rate due to RS seemed to be lower than its clearance rate by endogenous antioxidants.

  • Open access
  • 67 Reads
Spatial patterning of Gonystylus brunnescens in a Bornean forest

Improved understanding of spatial patterning in tropical forests can lead to a better insight into mechanisms underpinning ecological processes and species diversity. In this study, we examined the spatial patterns of Gonystylus brunnescens (Thymeliaceae) in two tropical forest sites of East Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo). Whilst Gonystylus bancanus has been well-studied due to its commercial importance, and anecdotal evidence suggests clumped distributions, other species in this genus have received far less interest. Analysis of spatial patterns of all life stages showed a broadly clumped distribution of stems although the association between seedlings and adult trees was less clear. This suggests clumped dispersal by animals away from adults. We also found differences between the two sites in terms of spatial patterns although this may be to do with the shape of the plots rather than underlying ecological processes. Overall, our data adds to our knowledge of the spatial patterns and ecological understanding of this little known, but widespread, genus.

  • Open access
  • 91 Reads
Spatial structure, biodiversity indicators and carbon stocks of the old-growth natural forests in the protected areas of the Ukrainian Carpathians

Intensive management in European forests in the 20th century resulted in the elimination of the old-growth natural forests on vast territories. Since then, the forests have been mainly cultivated, however, the spatial structure and tree species composition of the planted forests are simplified that makes the forests more vulnerable to diseases and disturbances. The old-growth natural forests that better suited for the local environmental conditions remained only in some isolated places or where the infrastructure was not developed. The old-growth natural forests can be used as etalon (model) forests for the reconstructed managed forests in similar environmental conditions. We studied spatial structure, biodiversity indicators, and carbon stocks of the old-growth natural forests in the protected areas of the Ukrainian Carpathians, in particular Nature Reserve ‘Gorgany’ and National Nature Park ‘Skole Beskids’, for setting forest management targets for the forest plantations in the region. We made detailed measurements on the experimental plots randomly selected from a regular grid and applied remote sensing data (Landsat and QuickBird) for upscaling the results to the whole territory. For selecting the locations for the experimental plots, we used data from the 2011 National Forest Inventory for choosing the potential stands with average age of more than 120 years. We estimated the carbon stocks from the forest inventory data, that performed for the experimental plots. For estimation of the biodiversity and spatial patterns of tree locations on the experimental plots, we employed Clark-Evans, Donnelly, Shannon, ‘angle’ and ‘differentiation’ indexes. At the end we present detailed results of our study and discuss a development of a database of parameters of old-growth natural forests and environmental parameters that could be used for setting forest management targets in different locations.

  • Open access
  • 65 Reads
Status and Condition of Stands of Colophospermum mopane (Mopane) in Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve, Malawi

A study on the status and condition of Colophospermum mopane stands was done in Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve (VMWR), Malawi. The study examined the spatial distribution of mopane, age /size structure of mopane, as well as elephant damage to C. mopane in VMWR. C. mopane trees were sampled during the dry season period of 2020 (i.e. August – November). For sampling, three sections of mopane within the reserve were categorised. A total of 109 plots measuring 20 m x 30 m each (i.e., section A – 39 sample plots; section B – 36 sample plots; section C – 34 sample plots) were randomly placed across the mopane sections. C. mopane variables, that is, tree height, basal area, tree density, shrub density, density of damaged plants and number of dead trees was recorded within each plot. Damage was also assessed and rated depending on the intensity of damage. A total of 2541 C. mopane trees were sampled and data was analysed using SPSS version 20 for Windows (SPSS Inc, Chicago, USA).

Results from the One-way ANOVA test (Tukey’s HSD test), indicated that all the measured variables (height, basal area, density of damaged plants and density of dead trees) except stocking density were not significantly different across the 3 sampled sections of mopane (P>0.05). Elephant damage was found to be low with 37.0% and there was no significant differences on the density as well as level of damage (P=0.340) across all mopane sections. For conservation, management should focus on controlling annual fires which currently appear to be a major threat especially to mopane of small stature. Also, herbivore populations should be continuously monitored in order to keep them within ranges that do not lead to C. mopane woodland degradation.

  • Open access
  • 81 Reads
Monitoring air spreading of Lecanosticta acicola: From the traps to the apps
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Pinus radiata suffers from a number of highly damaging diseases of which needle blights are the most serious ones affecting the tree health in Spain. The largest impact of needle diseases in the recorded history of Pinus radiata in the North of Spain, was from 2018 to 2020. The severity of the disease has led to a significant modification of the landscape derived from a serious reconsideration of silviculture in the forestry sector. Despite the fact that 3 species were detected in the studied area: Dothistroma needle blight (DNB), caused by D. septosporum and brown spot needle blight (BSNB) caused by Lecanosticta acicula, L. acicola are by far the most frequent and abundant. In order to minimize the infection of L. acicola through forest activities, it is important to understand the dynamics of spore dispersal and the favorable environmental conditions for the infection so that those activities that may work as measures to reduce the disease impact, may be temporarily displaced at times in which the effect of them could be more efficient against the disease. The objective of this study was to to quantify the precise amount, timing of air dispersal of spores of L. acicola in Pinus radiata ecosystem representative of the Atlantic climate, with the aim of modelling disease pressures and in the end to be able to predict disease risks in decision support systems of forest management. A total of 15 spore traps were placed in Pinus plantations. Captured spores and weather variables were modeled to analyze the spore abundance dependency to weather conditions and to create a management app available to forest owners and managers

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