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Contents of Potentially Toxic Metals and Magnetic Susceptibility of Soils Along a Rural – Urban – Rural Gradient in Bratislava City (Slovakia)

Abstract

The concentrations of potentially toxic metals (As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Pb, Zn and Fe) and the values of magnetic susceptibility in surface soils were measured along NW-SE gradient in Bratislava city (rural – urban – rural soils). The results indicate that both the contents of potentially toxic metals (PTMs) and the values of magnetic susceptibility decrease with increasing distance from the city centre in both directions. Urban soils are enriched mainly in Cu, Hg, Pb and Zn. Their elevated concentrations in soils within the city are due to accumulation from anthropogenic activities. There was a statistically significant and positive correlation between the mean values of Tomlinson pollution load index (PLI) and the mean values of magnetic susceptibility in soil samples. This correlation shows that the monitoring of magnetic properties of soils can be used as a rapid and non-destructive tool for the effective determination of environmental pollution in urbanized regions affected by anthropogenic activities.

Open access
Ecological Risk Assessment Framework

Abstract

Purpose of this paper is to draft shot information about framework for ecological risk assessment compile according Guidelines and short description of phases from which this method consists. During description of particular procedures, the meaning of used terms is introduced and explained. The framework for risk assessment is presented as a useful tool for risk management and selection of available cleanup and remedy technologies, and costs of alternative actions.

Open access
On the Occurrence of the Introduced Pest Thrips simplex () (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) in Slovakia

Abstract

Exotic species introduction has recently increased European insect diversity in accordance with global climate change and international biological commodity trade, often with serious environmental and economic consequences for natural ecosystems as well as urban and farmland area. This short communication deals with the first official faunistic record of the gladiolus thrips Thrips simplex (Morison, 1930) (Thysanoptera, Thripidae) in Slovakia.

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Response of Tomato Plants (Solanum lycopersicum) to Stress Induced by Sb(III)

Abstract

Presented study evaluates effects of various Sb(III) concentrations on tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum) cultivated hydroponically. Visual symptoms of antimony toxicity were observed only at two highest applied concentrations (50 and 100 mg/L). Dry weight of aboveground parts decreased significantly in variants treated with 25, 50 and 100 mg/L Sb(III), by ~12, 35 and 65 %, respectively, in comparison to the control. Statistically significant decrease of chlorophyll a and b was observed only after application of two highest studied concentrations 50 and 100 mg/L Sb(III). On the other hand concentration of total carotenoids in leaves rose with increasing external Sb(III) concentration. High concentrations (50 and 100 mg/L) of Sb(III) in nutrient solution caused that protein content in leaves dropped by ~20 and 39% relative to control. Accumulation of antimony in roots was about 5- (10 mg/L) to 27-times (25 mg/L) greater than that in shoots. The highest BAF factor value determined for shoots was ~55 at 10 mg/L Sb(III) and for roots it was ~821 at 50 mg/L Sb(III). Translocation factor values were in whole studied concentration range 5 – 100 mg/L Sb(III) < 1. The most effective translocation of antimony from roots to shoots was observes for variants treated with 10 mg/L of Sb(III).

Open access
Structure Analysis and Diversity of Bacterial Community and their Resistance Determinants in a Nickel-Contaminated Soil in Southwest Slovakia

Abstract

In this study we aimed to analyse the structure and diversity of overall bacterial community and its resistance determinants from nickel-contaminated soil in Slovakia by both, cultivation-dependent and independent approaches. The phylogeny was reconstructed using partial sequences of 16S rRNA (16S rDNA) and heavy-metal resistance genes from separated isolates and bacterial clones. A total of 518 bacterial sequences obtained from both, isolates and clones, represented 266 species belonging to 8 bacterial phyla: Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Cyanobacteria, Firmicutes, Gemmatimonadetes, Proteobacteria (α-, β- and γ-classes), Verrucomicrobia, and one yet unclassified group. In addition, among isolates and clones, 49 different nccA-like genes were found in the final output. Majority of them were assigned to a system of transmembrane metal pumps. Our results demonstrate the fact that the nickel-contaminated soil is able to present very specific heavy-metal resistant bacterial community which can be used in different bioremediation processes.

Open access
Environmental Hermeneutics: Ethnic and Ecological Traditions in Aesthetic Dialogue with Nature

Abstract

The article presents dialogic attitude towards nature and focuses on the aesthetic form of interaction with environment via folklore and imaginative writing. The article analyzes the development of scientific thought from human ecology to environmental hermeneutics. Hermeneutic methodology is used in the field of “aesthetics of nature”, therefore, the author applies hermeneutic categories such as tradition, historically effective consciousness, hermeneutic circle, application to cultural heritage of one of Siberia’s natives and proves the advantages, heuristic value of these categories in analyzing dialogue with nature. Aesthetic dialogue with nature is studied on the example of ethnic and ecological traditions of the Buryat nomads, who historically migrated across Central Asia, nowadays live around Lake Baikal. The author argues that revitalizing ethnic and ecological traditions in folklore and contemporary national literature presents a hermeneutic dialogue with nature and considers it a valuable resource for ethical assumptions and ecological education for sustainable development.

Open access
Exploring Aesthetic Preferences in Rural Landscapes and the Relationship with Spatial Pattern Indices

Abstract

This study examines how local population, tourists and farmers relate to rural landscapes, by exploring visual landscape preferences and the influence of everyday landscapes on the research subjects. Results point towards an immense variability in visual landscape preferences amongst user groups living in or visiting the study area (Plana de l’Empordà, Girona, Spain). Tourists rate grasslands at the top of their preference list, local residents prefer orchards, and farmers favour fields of irrigated herbaceous crops; showing, altogether, that the user's relationship with the landscape determines their visual preferences. Results show that farmers prefer agriculture dominated scenes while local residents and tourists prefer scenes with equilibrium between agricultural and natural elements. Likewise, the presence of margins is widely appreciated aesthetically by all respondents. Furthermore, results underline the importance of landscapes that are familiar to the respondents.

Open access
The Importance of Linear Landscape Elements for Bats in a Farmland Area: The Influence of Height on Activity

Abstract

In the past 50 years, widespread removal of hedges and hedgerows in many European regions, with a consequent reduction in biodiversity, has occurred as a result of farming intensification. Acknowledging the ecological importance of linear farmland landscape elements, many agro-environmental schemes provide financial support for the management, conservation and reconstruction of hedges and hedgerows. The efficacy of such initiatives, also aimed at bat conservation, could be enhanced by including the role of hedges and hedgerows correlated to the variability of their physical structure and to the surrounding landscape context. Linear landscape elements are in fact of great importance to bats, whose flight activity tends to increase in proximity to hedges and hedgerows, used both during foraging and as commuting routes. Nevertheless, information concerning the correlation between various physical structures of hedges and flight and foraging techniques in bats is still lacking. The present study analyses the activity of bats along two different hedge types, with and without trees, and in open spaces, in an area of the Padana plane (North-western Italy) as a function of different flight behaviours.

Activity in bats appears higher along hedges than in open spaces but no significant differences are noted between the various hedge types under investigation. Foraging behaviour is primarily detected along hedges with trees but is lower along hedges without trees and in open spaces. This is particularly evident in bat species that have adapted to foraging in closed spaces surrounded by foliage (Myotis and Plecotus genera) or at the periphery of these environments (Pipistrellus genus), whereas it not seen species that forage in open spaces (Nyctalus genus). Hedge reconstruction aimed at bat conservation ought to, therefore, favour tall hedges with trees as opposed to low hedges without trees.

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Land and Forest Management by Land Use/ Land Cover Analysis and Change Detection Using Remote Sensing and GIS

Abstract

Remote sensing and Geographical Information System (GIS) are the most effective tools in spatial data analysis. Natural resources like land, forest and water, these techniques have proved a valuable source of information generation as well as in the management and planning purposes. This study aims to suggest possible land and forest management strategies in Chakia tahsil based on land use and land cover analysis and the changing pattern observed during the last ten years. The population of Chakia tahsil is mainly rural in nature. The study has revealed that the northern part of the region, which offers for the settlement and all the agricultural practices constitutes nearly 23.48% and is a dead level plain, whereas the southern part, which constitute nearly 76.6% of the region is characterized by plateau and is covered with forest. The southern plateau rises abruptly from the northern alluvial plain with a number of escarpments. The contour line of 100 m mainly demarcates the boundary between plateau and plain. The plateau zone is deeply dissected and highly rugged terrain. The resultant topography comprises of a number of mesas and isolated hillocks showing elevation differences from 150 m to 385 m above mean sea level. Being rugged terrain in the southern part, nowadays human encroachment are taking place for more land for the cultivation. The changes were well observed in the land use and land cover in the study region. A large part of fallow land and open forest were converted into cultivated land.

Open access
Rapid Assessment of Key Structural Elements of Different Vegetation Types of West African Savannas in Burkina Faso

Abstract

Estimations of Leaf Area Index (LAI) have recently gained attention due to the sensitivity to the effects of climate change and its impact on forest ecosystems. Hence, a study was conducted on the LAI estimation of four vegetation types: (i) gallery forests, (ii) woodland savannas, (iii) tree savannas, and (iv) shrub savannas, at two protected areas of Nazinga Game Ranch and Bontioli Nature Reserve, Burkina Faso. A relationship between LAI and Crown Diameter was also investigated at these two sites. Digital hemispherical photography was used for the LAI estimation. Crown diameters (CD) were determined perpendicular to each other and averaged for each tree and shrub. Overall results revealed that LAI ranged from 0-1.33 and the CD was recorded in the range of 0.46-11.01 m. The gallery forests recorded the highest mean LAI 1.33 ± 0.32 as well as the highest mean CD 7.69 ± 1.90 m. The LAI for the vegetation types were at their lower ends as the study was conducted in summer season, higher values are therefore expected in the wet season, as a significant correlation between LAI and precipitation has been emphasized by various studies. Continuous LAI monitoring and studies on various growth parameters of different vegetation types at the study sites are recommended towards enhanced monitoring and an ecologically feasible forest- and savanna-use and management to maintain essential ecosystem functions and services.

Open access