New special issue: Establishment of second-growth forests in human landscapes: ecological mechanisms and genetic consequences

We are launching the special issue “Establishment of second-growth forests in human landscapes: ecological mechanisms and genetic consequences”.

This special issue will gather articles arising from the ERA-NET BiodivERsA3 research project “Unraveling the Potential of Spontaneous Forest Establishment for Improving Ecosystem Functions and Services in Dynamic Landscapes (SPONFOREST)”.

Secondary forests are expanding in many parts of Europe following the widespread abandonment of agricultural land use. This phenomenon can contribute to the creation of multifunctional, diverse landscapes, yet it is often regarded rather as a challenge than an opportunity for landscape management and conservation. The BiodivERsA project SPONFOREST examines the potential of spontaneous forest establishment as a cost-effective and politically feasible tool for reinforcing networks of self-sustaining forests in fragmented rural landscapes. A broad spectrum of research approaches including remote sensing, dendroecology, demography, population genetics, and functional ecology, applied to various case studies from Mediterranean and temperate European landscapes, provides detailed insights into how new forest stands establish and which consequences the establishment process has for their character and functioning.

The SPONFOREST team during the project kick-off meeting early 2017 in Cestas, SW France. The consortium involves eight partners from five countries (Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, and Finland).


Our Guest Editors are Dr Arndt Hampe, Dr Irene Martín-Forés and Dr Raquel Alfaro-Sánchez.

Arndt Hampe is Director of Research at the Mixed Research Unit BIOGECO (INRA and University of Bordeaux) in Cestas, France. He is a forest ecologist and the coordinator of SPONFOREST.

Irene Martín-Forés is postdoctoral researcher in plant functional ecology at the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (CSIC) in Madrid, Spain.

Raquel Alfaro-Sánchez is postdoctoral researcher in dendroecology at the Centre de Recerca Ecològica i Aplicacions Forestals (CREAF) in Barcelona, Spain.

Deadline for online manuscript submission : 4 October 2019.

We would like to finish the reviewing and revision process of the submitted papers by January 2020 so the special issue could be completed in February 2020. Earlier papers will not have to wait for others and will be published directly online after final acceptation.

Authors must follow the instructions for authors available on Springer website and may use the templates available for the Title page and the Research article. Upon submission in Editorial Manager, authors must select SI: SPONFOREST as Article type to assign their manuscripts to the special issue.

We are looking forward to receiving your manuscript and ready to answer any questions sent to

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