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Special Issue "Variations in Forest Water-Use Efficiency in the Anthropocene: From Leaf to Global Analyses"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecology and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 24 January 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Rossella Guerrieri

Guest Editor
Alma Mater Studiorum 鈥 University of Bologna, DISTAL, via Fanin 46, 40127 Bologna, Italy
Interests: tree physiology; forest ecology; carbon, nitrogen and water cycling; stable isotopes; dendrochronology; water-use efficiency; phyllosphere
Prof. Dr. Kim Novick

Guest Editor
O鈥橬eill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University 鈥 Bloomington; 702 N. Walnut Grove Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47408 USA
Interests: forest ecology; ecosystem carbon and water cycling; biometeorology
Prof. Dr. Teresa E. Gimeno

Guest Editor
Basque Centre for Climate change (BC3), 48940, Leioa, Spain; IKERBASQUE, Basque Foundation for Science, 48008, Bilbao, Spain
Interests: ecophysiology; photosynthesis; transpiration; climate change; elevated CO2

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Forests play a central role in controlling Eearth’s climate, hydrology and biogeochemical cycles. Tree canopies remove about a third of anthropogenically derived carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, thus slowing the pace of global warming. CO2 uptake, however, is inextricably linked to water loss via transpiration, a key process in the global water cycle. Transpiration accounts for 60%–80% of terrestrial evapotranspiration, and has significant effects on heat partitioning and energy exchange between vegetation and the atmosphere, with important feedbacks to climate. Understanding how global change drivers (including intensification of extreme climate events, increase in atmospheric CO2, land use change and nitrogen deposition) influence the trade-off between photosynthesis and transpiration is paramount for a holistic perspective on future forest function and climate mitigation potential. Water-use efficiency (WUE)—the ratio of photosynthesis to transpiration—is a key physiological metric that lies at the core of ecosystem functioning, as it explicitly links the water and carbon cycles. The response of forest WUE to climate and anthropogenic factors has been extensively investigated over recent decades. However, our ability to elucidate variations in WUE and their underlying mechanisms across species and ecosystems is still limited, particularly when trying to reconcile observations across spatial scales and broad eco-climatic gradients. In an effort to synthesize our current understanding and identify future research directions, this special issue aims to collect original papers exploring variations in WUE and their underlying mechanisms in response to global change drivers across scales (tree, ecosystem, biome and global), using multiple tools (leaf gas exchanges, stable carbon isotopes in plant materials, sap flow, eddy covariance, remote sensing data and modelling) and approaches, including manipulation experiments, long-term cross-site monitoring approaches or meta-analyses. Contributions in the form of reviews or perspectives are also welcome.  

Prof. Dr. Rossella Guerrieri
Prof. Dr. Kim Novick
Prof. Dr. Teresa E. Gimeno
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, . Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • water-use efficiency
  • photosynthesis
  • transpiration
  • stomatal conductance
  • climate change
  • atmospheric deposition
  • stable isotopes
  • eddy covariance

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Impact of Recent Climate Change on Water-Use Efficiency Strategies of Larix sibirica in the Altai-Sayan Mountain Range
by , , , and
Forests 2020, 11(10), 1103; - 17 Oct 2020
Abstract
A strong increase in the mean annual air temperature during the past 50 years by up to 0.54 °C was recorded in the Altai region (45°–52° N; 84°–99° E) compared to the global value of 0.07 °C over the period 1901–2008. The impact [...] Read more.
A strong increase in the mean annual air temperature during the past 50 years by up to 0.54 °C was recorded in the Altai region (45°–52° N; 84°–99° E) compared to the global value of 0.07 °C over the period 1901–2008. The impact of the climatic changes on the hydrology are complex in these mountainous forest ecosystems and not fully understood. We aim to reveal differences in the intrinsic water-use efficiencies (iWUE) strategy by larch (Larix sibirica Ledeb.) derived from stable carbon isotopes at contrasting sites, ranging from the steppe (Ersin, Chadan) to high-elevation (Mongun, Koksu) sites of the Altai over the past century. The iWUE trends increased rapidly for all study sites except Chadan, where a decreasing trend after 2010 has been observed. This decline can be related to increased amount of precipitation compared to increased drought at the other sites. In general, the iWUE is increased up to 14% (1985–2019 compared to 1919–1984), which is lower compared to other studies across the globe likely due to harsh climatic conditions. Vapor pressure deficit and maximal air temperature are impacting Siberian larch significantly and affecting their iWUE differently at the high-elevated and steppe sites of the Altai over the past century. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Both Mature Patches and Expanding Areas of Juniperus thurifera Forests Are Vulnerable to Climate Change But for Different Reasons
by , and
Forests 2020, 11(9), 960; - 01 Sep 2020
Abstract
Research Highlights: Water use efficiency (WUE) varied along a gradient of Juniperus thurifera (L.) forest expansion, being higher in recently colonised areas. Background and Objectives: WUE is a classic physiological process of plants that reflects the compromise between carbon assimilation and water loss [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: Water use efficiency (WUE) varied along a gradient of Juniperus thurifera (L.) forest expansion, being higher in recently colonised areas. Background and Objectives: WUE is a classic physiological process of plants that reflects the compromise between carbon assimilation and water loss and has a profound influence on their performance in water-limited environments. Forest expansion in Mediterranean regions associated with land abandonment can influence the WUE of plants due to the existence of two opposing gradients: one of favourable–unfavourable environmental conditions and another one of increased–decreased intraspecific competition, the former increasing and the latter decreasing towards the expanding front. The main objective of this study was to elucidate how the WUE of Juniperus thurifera varied along the stages of forest expansion and to provide insight on how this variation is influenced by intraspecific competition and abiotic factors. Materials and Methods: Seventeen plots at different distances from the mature forest core were selected at three sites located in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula. For 30 individuals within each plot, we measured biometric characteristics, age, tree vigour, and C/N ratio in leaves, and the leaf carbon isotope signature (δ13C (‰)) as a proxy for WUE. Around each individual, we scored the percentage cover of bare soil, stoniness, conspecifics, and other woody species. Results: WUE of J. thurifera individuals varied along the forest expansion gradient, being greater for the individuals at the expanding front than for those at the mature forest. WUE was influenced by the cover of conspecifics, tree age, and C/N ratio in leaves. This pattern reveals that less favourable environmental conditions (i.e., rocky soils and higher radiation due to lower vegetation cover) and younger trees at the expanding front are associated with increased WUE. The increased cover of conspecifics decreases irradiance at the mature forest, involving milder stress conditions than at the expanding front. Conclusions: Lower WUE in mature forests due to more favourable conditions and higher WUE due to abiotic stress at expanding fronts revealed high constraints on water economy of this tree species in these two contrasting situations. Climate change scenarios bringing increased aridity are a serious threat to Juniperus thurifera forests, affecting both mature and juvenile populations although in different ways, which deserve further research to fully unveil. Full article
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