Bulgarian Academy of Sciences signs with Pensoft to move Silva Balcanica journal to ARPHA

The first 2020 issue of the journal by the Academy’s Forest Research Institute is already online on a brand new and user-friendly website

The scholarly publisher and technology provider Pensoft welcomes the open-access, peer-reviewed international journal in forest science concerning the Balkan Peninsula, Central and Southern Europe Silva Balcanica to its self-developed publishing platform ARPHA. Having become the latest addition to the lengthy portfolio of scholarly outlets dedicated to the fields of ecology and biology for Pensoft and ARPHA, Silva Balcanica is now offering a wide range of benefits and services to its readers, authors, reviewers and editors alike.

Having already acquired its own glossy and user-friendly website provided by ARPHA, Silva Balcanica also takes advantage of the platform’s signature fast-track, end-to-end publishing system. In addition, the published content enjoys automated export of data to aggregators, as well as web-service integrations with major global indexing and archiving databases.

Silva Balcanica’s new website on ARPHA Platform. Visit athttps://silvabalcanica.pensoft.net 

Ever since its inception in 2001, the journal by the Forest Research Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (FRI-BAS), has been providing open access to the latest research in all aspects of forest ecosystems and landscapes of the Balkan Peninsula, and also Central and Southern Europe.

Silva Balcanica invites scientific analysis of practical results, as well as investigations, in the forest sciences, including forest ecology; forest soil science; forest genetics, tree breeding and plantation forestry; biometry and sylviculture; forest economy and management; forest entomology and pathology; ecology and management of game fauna, urban forestry and green infrastructure. Constructive critique addressing scientific publications or events in the field of forestry and forest science are also accepted.

In the first 2020 issue of Silva Balcanica, we can find a total of eight research papers, dealing with a range of various topics, including studies on local plant diversity, genetics, application of experimental designs for forestry research, ecosystem services, population dynamics, invasive pathogens and previously unknown populations of forest-dwelling insects. It brings together single-authored research contributions as well as international collaborative projects, with input from authors from Bulgaria, Greece, Northern Macedonia and Italy.

CEO and founder of both Pensoft and ARPHA Platform Prof. Lyubomir Penev comments:

“Silva Balcanica is an important scholarly outlet and also a remarkable example of international cooperation, inspired and maintained by curiosity, care and responsibility towards the unique, but fragile ecosystems this part of Europe hosts. This is why we take pride in having this particular journal joining our portfolio,”

Silva Balcanica’s Editorial Board says:

“The Scientific Council of the Forest Research Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences decided to begin publishing Silva Balcanica as an international series in 2001 and since 2014, Silva Balcanica has been published as an international journal.

We are honored to have as members of our Editorial Advisory Board eminent European professors and researchers in forestry and related sciences that join our efforts in pursuit of high quality scientific publishing.

We are confident that Silva Balcanica will unite the research of scientists and specialists in forestry from Southeastern, Central and Eastern Europe and beyond, and will help them in the processes of their European integration.”

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Visit the new website of Silva Balcanica at https://silvabalcanica.pensoft.net.

Poison ivy an unlikely hero in warding off exotic invaders?

Dozens of studies have looked at the effects of Japanese knotweed on natural communities in Europe and North America. Yet Bucknell University professor Chris Martine still felt there was something important to learn about what the plant was doing along the river in his own backyard.

“The more time I spent in the forests along the Susquehanna River, the more it seemed like something was really going wrong there,” said Martine. “In addition to the prevalence of this single invasive species, it looked like the very existence of these forests was under threat.”

What Martine noticed was similar to what local nature lovers and biologists with the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program were also starting to see: these forests, specifically those classified as Silver Maple Floodplain Forests, were not regenerating themselves where knotweed had taken a foothold.

In a new study published in the open access Biodiversity Data Journal, Martine and two recent Bucknell alumni conclude that Japanese knotweed has not only excluded nearly all of the native understory plant species in these forests, but it has prevented the trees already established in the canopy from leaving behind more of themselves.

“If you were to fly over these forests, or even look at a Google Earth image, you’d see a nice green canopy along the river consisting of mature silver maples, river birches, and sycamores,” explained Martine. “But below that canopy there is almost nothing for tens of feet before you reach an eight-to-twelve-foot-tall thicket of knotweed. Few new trees have been able to grow through that in the last 50-60 years and our surveys found that seedlings of these species are quite rare.”

The authors suggest that as mature trees die of natural causes over the next several decades and are not replaced, these systems will shift from tree-dominated riverbank habitats to “knotweed-dominated herbaceous shrublands” incapable of supporting a rich diversity of insects, birds, and other wildlife. Loss of trees in these habitats could likely also lead to riverbank erosion and increase the severity of flood events.

The few places where knotweed has not taken over offer a bit of hope, however, from an unlikely hero: poison-ivy, which Martine calls “perhaps the least popular plant in America.”

“What we see in the data is that poison-ivy often trades understory dominance with knotweed. That is, when knotweed isn’t the big boss, poison-ivy usually is. The difference is that whereas knotweed knocks everyone else out of the system, poison-ivy is more of a team player. Many other native plants can co-occur with it and it even seems to create microhabitats that help tree seedlings get established.”

The prevalence of poison-ivy in these sites didn’t go unnoticed by undergraduate Anna Freundlich, who collected most of the plant community data — more than 1,000 data points — in a single summer as a research fellow.

“Anna developed a pretty serious methodology for avoiding a poison-ivy rash that included long sleeves, long pants, gloves, duct tape, and an intense wash-down protocol,” said her research advisor, “and even after crawling through the plant for weeks she managed to never once get a rash.”

Martine cautions against too much optimism regarding the chances of one itch-inducing native plant saving the day, however.

“Righting this ship is going to require eradicating knotweed from some of these sites, and that won’t be easy work. It will take some hard manual labor. But it’s worth doing if we want to avoid the imminent ecological catastrophe. These forests really can’t afford another half-century of us letting knotweed run wild.”

Freundlich is a now pursuing a Master’s degree in plant ecology at the University of Northern Colorado. Lead author Matt Wilson, a Bucknell Master’s student at the time of the study who analyzed the dataset, now works for the Friends of the Verde River in Cottonwood, AZ.

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Original source:

Wilson M, Freundlich A, Martine C (2017) Understory dominance and the new climax: Impacts of Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) invasion on native plant diversity and recruitment in a riparian woodland. Biodiversity Data Journal 5: e20577. https://doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.5.e20577

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About Japanese knotweed:

Japanese knotweed is considered to be one of the toughest, most damaging and insidious plants in the world. Native to East Asia, the species has already established successfully in many parts throughout North America and Europe, where it can easily grow and invade private properties and homes. It is hardy enough to penetrate patios, house foundations and concrete. Given it spreads easily and can grow underground to a depth of 3 metres with a horizontal range of up to 7 metres, it is extremely difficult to eradicate and its treatment requires special attention. To find advice on recognition, hazards and treatment, you can check out The Ultimate Japanese Knotweed Guide.