Advertisement

Ecosystems

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 573–586 | Cite as

How to Replicate the Functions and Biodiversity of a Threatened Tree Species? The Case of Fraxinus excelsior in Britain

  • Ruth J. MitchellEmail author
  • Robin J. Pakeman
  • Alice Broome
  • Joan K. Beaton
  • Paul E. Bellamy
  • Rob W. Brooker
  • Chris J. Ellis
  • Alison J. Hester
  • Nick G. Hodgetts
  • Glenn R. Iason
  • Nick A. Littlewood
  • Gabor Pozsgai
  • Scot Ramsay
  • David Riach
  • Jenni A. Stockan
  • Andy F. S. Taylor
  • Steve Woodward
Article

Abstract

The suitability of alternative tree species to replace species that are either threatened by pests/disease or at risk from climate change is commonly assessed by their ability to grow in a predicted future climate, their resistance to disease and their production potential. The ecological implications of a change in tree species are seldom considered. Here, we develop and test 3 methods to assess the ecological suitability of alternative trees. We use as our case study the systematic search for an alternative tree species to Fraxinus excelsior (currently declining throughout Europe due to Hymenoscyphus fraxineus). Those trees assessed as most similar to F. excelsior in selected ecosystem functions (decomposition, leaf litter and soil chemistry) (Method A) were least similar when assessed by the number of ash-associated species that also use them (Method B) and vice versa. Method C simultaneously assessed ecosystem functions and species use, allowing trade-offs between supporting ecosystem function and species use to be identified. Using Method C to develop hypothetical scenarios of different tree species mixtures showed that prioritising ecosystem function and then increasing the mixture of tree species to support the greatest number of ash-associated species possible, results in a mixture of trees more ecologically similar to F. excelsior than by simply mixing tree species together to support the greatest number of ash-associated species. We conclude that establishing alternative tree species results in changes in both ecosystem function and species supported and have developed a general method to assess suitability that simultaneously integrates both ecosystem function and the ‘number of species supported’.

Keywords

adaptive forest management ash dieback Chalara climate change Fraxinus excelsior tree diseases 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The initial work was funded by Defra, Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural Resources Wales, Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission. The data were then further analysed and Method C developed as part of the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) Strategic Research Programme.

Supplementary material

10021_2015_9953_MOESM1_ESM.docx (69 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 69 kb)

References

  1. Baral H-O, Queloz V, Hosoya T. 2014. Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, the correct scientific name for the fungus causing ash dieback in Europe. IMA Fungus 5:79–80.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Broadmeadow MSJ, Ray D, Samuel CJA. 2005. Climate change and the future for broadleaved tree species in Britain. Forestry 78:145–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Broome A, Mitchell RJ, Harmer R. 2014. Ash dieback and biodiversity loss: can management make broadleaved woodlands more resilient? Q J For 108:241–8.Google Scholar
  4. Cappaert D, McCullough DG, Poland TM, Siegert NW. 2005. Emerald Ash Borer in North America: a research and regulatory challenge. Am Entomol 51:152–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cools N, Vesterdal L, Vos B, Vanguelova E, Hansen K. 2014. Tree species is the major factor explaining C:N ratios in European forest soils. For Ecol Manage 31:3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Defra. 2013. Chalara Management Plan. Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs.Google Scholar
  7. Defra. 2014. Tree Health Management Plan. Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs.Google Scholar
  8. Drossler L, Overgaard R, Eko PM, Gemmel P, Böhlenius H. 2015. Early development of pure and mixed tree species plantations in Snogeholm, southern Sweden. Scand J For Res 30:304–16.Google Scholar
  9. Ellis CJ, Coppins BJ, Hollingsworth PM. 2012. Lichens under threat from ash dieback. Nature 491:672.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Ellison AM, Bank MS, Clinton BD, Colburn EA, Elliott K, Ford CR, Foster DR, Kloeppel BD, Knoepp JD, Lovett GM, Mohan J, Orwig DA, Rodenhouse NL, Sobczak WV, Stinson KA, Stone JK, Swan CM, Thompson J, Von Holle B, Webster JR. 2005. Loss of foundation species: consequences for the structure and dynamics of forested ecosystems. Front Ecol Environ 3:479–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Evans J. 1984. Silviculture of Broadleaved Woodlands. Forestry Commission Bulletin 62. H.M.S.O., London.Google Scholar
  12. Gordon AG. 1964. The nutrition and growth of ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) in natural stands in the English Lake District as related to edaphic site factors. J Ecol 52:169–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Grime JP. 1998. Benefits of plant diversity to ecosystems: immediate, filter and founder effects. J Ecol 86:902–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Husson F, Josse J, Le S, Mazet J. 2011. FactoMineR: Multivariate Exploratory Data Analysis and Data Mining with R. R package version 1.16. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=FactoMineR.
  15. Husson F, Josse J. 2010. missMDA: Handling missing values with/in multivariate data analysis (principal component methods). R package version 1.2. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=missMDA.
  16. Jacobs DF. 2007. Toward development of silvical strategies for forest restoration of American chestnut (Castanea dentata) using blight-resistant hybrids. Biol Conserv 137:497–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Joyce PM. 1998. Growing broadleaves. Dublin: COFORD.Google Scholar
  18. Kjær ED, McKinney LV, Nielsen LR, Hansen LN, Hansen JK. 2012. Adaptive potential of ash (Fraxinus excelsior) populations against the novel emerging pathogen Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus. Evol Appl 5:219–28.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  19. Kurz WA, Dymond CC, Stinson G, Rampley GJ, Neilson ET, Carroll AL, Ebata T, Safranyik L. 2008. Mountain pine beetle and forest carbon feedback to climate change. Nature 452:987–90.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Langenbruch C, Helfrich M, Flessa H. 2012. Effects of beech (Fagus sylvatica), ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and lime (Tilia spec.) on soil chemical properties in a mixed deciduous forest. Plant Soil 352:389–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lohmus A, Runnel K. 2014. Ash dieback can rapidly eradicate isolated epiphyte populations in production forests: a case study. Biol Conserv 169:185–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mason WL, Connolly T. 2014. Mixtures with spruce species can be more productive than monocultures: evidence from the Gisburn experiment in Britain. Forestry 87:209–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Meason DF, Mason WL. 2014. Evaluating the deployment of alternative species in planted conifer forests as a means of adaptation to climate change-case studies in New Zealand and Scotland. Ann For Sci 71:239–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and human well-being: biodiversity synthesis. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute.Google Scholar
  25. Mitchell RJ, Beaton JK, Bellamy PE, Broome A, Chetcuti J, Eaton S, Ellis CJ, Gimona A, Harmer R, Hester AJ, Hewison RL, Hodgetts NG, Iason GR, Kerr G, Littlewood NA, Newey S, Potts JM, Pozsgai G, Ray D, Sim DA, Stockan JA, Taylor AFS, Woodward S. 2014a. Ash dieback in the UK: a review of the ecological and conservation implications and potential management options. Biol Conserv 175:95–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mitchell RJ, Broome A, Harmer R, Beaton JK, Bellamy PE, Brooker RW, Duncan R, Ellis CJ, Hester AJ, Hodgetts NG, Iason GR, Littlewood NA, Mackinnon M, Pakeman R, Pozsgai G, Ramsey S, Riach D, Stockan JA, Taylor AFS, Woodward S. 2014b. Assessing and addressing the impacts of ash dieback on UK woodlands and trees of conservation importance (Phase 2). Natural England Commissioned Reports, Number 151, Natural England, Peterborough.Google Scholar
  27. Morecroft MD, Stokes VJ, Taylor ME, Morison JIL. 2008. Effects of climate and management history on the distribution and growth of sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) in a southern British woodland in comparison to native competitors. Forestry 81:59–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Natural England. 2014. NECR151 edition 1—a spreadsheet of ash-associated biodiversity. http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/5273931279761408.
  29. Nicholls PH. 1981. Spatial analysis of forest growth. Forestry Commission Occasional Paper, 12, Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  30. Park A, Puettmann K, Wilson E, Messier C, Kames S, Amalesh D. 2014. Can boreal and temperate forest management be adapted to the uncertainties of 21st century climate change? Crit Rev Plant Sci 33:251–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pautasso M, Aas G, Queloz V, Holdenrieder O. 2013. European ash (Fraxinus excelsior) dieback—a conservation biology challenge. Biol Conserv 158:37–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Perks MP, Harrison AJ, Bathgate SJ. 2007. Establishment Management Information System (EMIS): delivering good practice advice on tree establishment in the uplands of Britain. In: K.M. Reynolds and others, Eds. Sustainable forestry: from monitoring and modelling to knowledge management and policy science. CAB International, Wallingford, pp. 412–24.Google Scholar
  33. Poland TM, McCullough DG. 2006. Emerald ash borer: invasion of the Urban forest and the threat to North America’s ash resource. J For 104:118–24.Google Scholar
  34. Potter C, Harwood T, Knight J, Tomlinson I. 2011. Learning from history, predicting the future: the UK Dutch elm disease outbreak in relation to contemporary tree disease threats. Phil Trans R Soc B 366:1966–74.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  35. Preston CD, Pearman DA, Dine TD. 2002. New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Pretzsch H. 2013. Facilitation and competition in mixed species forests analyzed along an ecological gradient. Nova Acta Leopold 391:159–74.Google Scholar
  37. Pyatt DG, Ray D, Fletcher J. 2001. An ecological site classification for forestry in Great Britain: bulletin 124. Edinburgh: Forestry Commission.Google Scholar
  38. R Development Core Team (2010). R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna. ISBN 3-900051-07-0, URL http://www.R-project.org/.
  39. Rasche L, Fahse L, Bugmann H. 2013. Key factors affecting the future provision of tree-based forest ecosystem goods and services. Clim Change 118:579–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ray D, Bathgate S, Moseley D, Taylor P, Nicoll B, Pizzirani S, Gardiner B. 2014. Comparing the provision of ecosystem services in plantation forests under alternative climate change adaptation management options in Wales. Reg Environ Change. doi: 10.1007/s10113-014-0644-6.Google Scholar
  41. Ray D, Broome AC. 2007. An information retrieval system to support management of Habitats and Rare Priority and Protected Species(HaRPPS) in Britain. In: Reynolds K, Thomson A, Köhl M, Shannon M, Ray D, Rennolls K, Eds. Sustainable forestry: from monitoring and modelling to knowledge management and policy science. Wallingford: CAB International. Google Scholar
  42. Ray D, Morison J, Broadmeadow M. 2010. Climate change: impacts and adaptation in England’s woodlands. Forestry Commission Research Note 201.Google Scholar
  43. Rodwell J, Patterson G. 1994. Creating new native woodlands. Forestry Commission Bulletin 112. London: HMSO. p 74.Google Scholar
  44. Rodwell JS. 1991. British Plant Communities, Volume 1, Woodlands and Scrub. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Sturrock RN, Frankel SJ, Brown AV, Hennon PE, Kliejunas JT, Lewis KJ, Worrall JJ, Woods AJ. 2011. Climate change and forest diseases. Plant Pathol 60:133–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Taylor CMA. 1991. Forest Fertilisation in Britain. Forestry Commission Bulletin, Volume 9. HMSO, London.Google Scholar
  47. van Mantgem PJ, Stephenson NL, Byrne JC, Daniels LD, Franklin JF, Fulé PZ, Harmon ME, Larson AJ, Smith JM, Taylor AH, Veblen TT. 2009. Widespread increase of tree mortality rates in the Western United States. Science 323:521–4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Vesterdal L, Elberling B, Christiansen JR, Callesen I, Schmidt IK. 2012. Soil respiration and rates of soil carbon turnover differ among six common European tree species. For Ecol Manage 264:185–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. VSN International. 2013. GenStat Reference Manual (Release 16), Part 1 Summary. Hemel Hempstead: VSN International.Google Scholar
  50. Wilson SM. 2014. Living with climate change: mediterranean trees and agroforestry in Britain? Q J For 108:90–101.Google Scholar
  51. Wingfield MJ, Hammerbacher A, Ganley RJ, Steenkamp ET, Gordon TR, Wingfield BD. 2008. Pitch canker caused by Fusarium circinatum—a growing threat to pine plantations and forests worldwide. Aust Plant Pathol 37:319–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth J. Mitchell
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robin J. Pakeman
    • 1
  • Alice Broome
    • 2
  • Joan K. Beaton
    • 1
  • Paul E. Bellamy
    • 3
  • Rob W. Brooker
    • 1
  • Chris J. Ellis
    • 4
  • Alison J. Hester
    • 1
  • Nick G. Hodgetts
    • 5
  • Glenn R. Iason
    • 1
  • Nick A. Littlewood
    • 1
  • Gabor Pozsgai
    • 1
  • Scot Ramsay
    • 1
  • David Riach
    • 1
  • Jenni A. Stockan
    • 1
  • Andy F. S. Taylor
    • 1
    • 6
  • Steve Woodward
    • 6
  1. 1.The James Hutton InstituteAberdeenUK
  2. 2.Forest Research, Northern Research StationMidlothianUK
  3. 3.RSPB Centre for Conservation ScienceThe Royal Society for the Protection of BirdsSandyUK
  4. 4.Royal Botanic Garden EdinburghEdinburghUK
  5. 5.Bryophyte Consultant, Cuillin ViewsPortreeUK
  6. 6.Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Institute of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK

Personalised recommendations