About this Research Topic
Wind has significant and multi-scaled impacts on trees and forests. These impacts range from growth responses in individual trees to stand-replacing hurricane damage and the associated devastation across a diverse range of ecosystems. Research in this area has been carried out in multiple disciplines including forestry, meteorology, ecology and biomechanics. This Research Topic aims to bring together and synthesise research on the impact of wind on trees and forests in an ecological context.
Trees acclimate to their local wind environment through changes in their size, shape and material properties. Our understanding of these processes is mostly based on experiments with saplings and forestry plantations. Therefore we have limited knowledge about how acclimation to wind affects forest ecology, or how this interacts with other ecological processes.
Wind disturbances range from large landscape-scale events to single tree mortality, and the small events account for the majority of the changes in carbon storage. The key difficulty in disturbance studies is attribution. Remote sensing studies are able to detect disturbance events across multiple scales, but field studies are required to understand the mechanisms involved. Studies which bridge these scales, using a combination of field data and remote sensing, have great potential to improve our understanding of the relative importance of the drivers of mortality.
Wind damage modelling is mostly conducted at the stand-level and requires information on tree species, size and soil types. These models have proved highly valuable in the forestry industry, but stand-level models cannot capture the variability we find in a natural forest. This limits our understanding of competitive effects whereby particular species or growth strategies may be associated with a lower risk of wind damage. Individual-based models of wind damage risk could greatly improve our understanding of these important processes. In addition, tree damage models should be coupled with wind flow models (from gusts to hurricanes) to improve our understanding of these interactions.
In this Research Topic we aim to bring together knowledge acquired across separate disciplines to build a comprehensive picture of the effects of wind on trees and forests. Therefore, we encourage interdisciplinary projects and data syntheses to bridge divides in the “wind and trees” research community. We welcome submissions on wind-tree interactions including the following topics:
• Storm characteristics producing windthrows
• Wind damage risk measurements
• Remote sensing detection of wind damage
• Wind effects on open-grown trees
• Including wind in forest models
• Modelling wind flow over trees and forests
• Tree growth response to wind
• Tree regrowth following windthrow
Keywords: Wind, Trees, Forests, Ecosystem Impacts
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