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Jürgen Dengler, Alla Aleksanyan, Didem Ambarlı, Idoia Biurrun, Iwona Dembicz, Anna Kuzemko, Péter Török, Stephen Venn and Michael Vrahnakis

Abstract

This report summarises the activities and achievements of the Eurasian Dry Grassland Group (EDGG) from January 2018 through July 2019. During the reported period, two Eurasian Grassland Conference (EGCs) took place: the 15th EGC in Sulmona, Italy, and the 16th EGC in Graz, Austria. The 11th and 12th EDGG Field Workshops studied vegetation diversity patterns in the inner alpine valleys of Austria and Switzerland, while the 13th Field Workshop was organised in Armenia. The formerly electronic newsletter of EDGG (Bulletin of the Eurasian Dry Grassland) was transformed into a peer-reviewed international journal, called Palaearctic Grasslands, which now is attracting both scientific and photographic contributions. Furthermore, the EDGG homepage was re-constructed with a new design and content management system. The EDGG has also finalised two grassland-related Special Features during the past 1.5 years in the international journals Tuexenia and Hacquetia, and contributed with eight chapters to the book Grasslands of the World: Diversity, Management and Conservation. The vegetation-plot database GrassPlot, containing standardised multi-scale data from Palaearctic grasslands and closely connected with EDGG, has developed well, as did some other regional and national grassland-focused databases.

Open access

Jürgen Dengler, Stefan Widmer, Eline Staubli, Manuel Babbi, Jamyra Gehler, Daniel Hepenstrick, Ariel Bergamini, Regula Billeter, Steffen Boch, Sven Rohrer and Iwona Dembicz

Abstract

The upper Rhone valley in the Swiss canton of Valais is one of the driest and most continental of the inner-alpine valleys and harbours a rich xerothermic flora. We studied syntaxonomy and ecology of dry grasslands and their species richness patterns. In 2018 we recorded 28 vegetation plots (10 m2) and three nested-plot series of 0.0001 to 100 m2 on the south-facing slopes above the village of Ausserberg. Mean richness of all species ranged from 1.7 on 1 cm2 to 47.3 on 100 m2, with little contribution of bryophytes and lichens. The species-area relationship for total richness closely followed a power function. Modified TWINSPAN yielded a three-cluster solution, which could easily be matched with three orders of the class Festuco-Brometea: Stipo pulcherrimae-Festucetalia pallentis (xeric, rocky), Festucetalia valesiacae (xeric, non-rocky) and Brachypodietalia pinnati (meso-xeric). The subdivision of the xeric types into two orders is new for Swiss dry grasslands, where these types up to now had been joined in a single alliance Stipo-Poion within the Festucetalia valesiacae.

Open access

Orsolya Valkó, Rocco Labadessa, Salza Palpurina, Sabina Burrascano, Atushi Ushimaru and Stephen Venn

Abstract

Palaearctic grasslands are diverse and dynamic ecosystems that are in the focus of ecology, conservation biology and agronomy. This special issue is dedicated to the biodiversity and conservation issues of Palaearctic grasslands and was initiated by the Eurasian Dry Grassland Group members attending the 14th Eurasian Dry Grassland Conference (EDGC) at Sulmona, Italy in 2018. The papers in this special issue cover a wide range of grassland ecosystems from mountain dry grasslands to lowland loess grasslands, feathergrass steppes and wet grasslands, and focus on the biodiversity values and conservation issues of Palaearctic grasslands. We believe that this compilation will contribute to a better understanding of the ecology of grasslands and support their more effective conservation.

Open access

Ali Najafifar, Jaafar Hosseinzadeh and Abdolali Karamshahi

Abstract

Soil moisture plays a key role in the ecological capability of arid and semi-arid woodland. Reducing soil moisture due to frequent droughts causes pest prevalence and disease outbreak and the consequence of forest dieback. On the other hand, soil moisture is strongly correlated with the amount of radiation received on the Earth’s surface. The sun’s radiation is traditionally described often by aspect and sometimes by toposhape. The use of the hillshade map for estimating solar radiation is possible through developing GIS. The present study aimed to compare the relationship and the ability of these indices to describe the phenomenon of arid and semi-arid woodland decline better and more accurately in a case study in the west of Iran. To this aim, the aspect and toposhape layers were generated in 5 and 12 classes, respectively. Then, the hillshade map in range of 0-255 was made during the peak of summer heat. The comparison of the dieback ratio in the three characteristic histograms showed that the shade index, unlike the other two indicators, had a significant effect on forest drought (R2=0.91 for linear equation and R2=0.94 for quadratic equation). The results indicated that the application of hillshade in describing and analysing ecological processes by relying on soil moisture such as woodland dieback is superior to the other two indicators. It is suggested that this index be used to obtain a risk model to predict woodlands dieback which are under the pressure of frequent droughts due to climate change or other mortal factors.

Open access

A. Radačovská, E. Bazsalovicsová and I. Králová-Hromadová

Summary

Diphyllobothriosis is a fish-borne parasitic zoonosis caused by so-called “broad tapeworms” or “fish tapeworms” of different genera of the order Diphyllobothriidea. Dibothriocephalus l atus (Linnaeus 1758), (syn. Diphyllobothrium latum), is a medically important type species of the genus, whose occurrence in various European regions is either regular, e.g. in the Alpine lakes region, or occasional and sporadic, e. g. in the Danube River region. For the latter, data on the detection of D. latus plerocercoids in the second intermediate fish host (European perch Perca fluviatilis), as well as in definitive hosts (human and dog), in which infection was directly linked to the consumption of infected fish from the Danube, were published more than 50 years ago. In order to assess the current situation, we aimed to find out whether D. latus is present in the natural environment of the Danube River. In total, 700 perch from five sampling sites in the Slovak part of the Danube River were examined. Plerocercoids were not detected in any fish examined, which leads to the conclusion that D. latus is currently not present in the studied aquatic environment.

Open access

F. D’Azeredo, M. Meira-Filho and T. M. Work

Summary

The present study proposes a new methodology for the quantification of parasite eggs in animal tissue. Quantification of parasites are important to understand epidemiology of spirorchiid infections in sea turtles, however different methodologies for quantifying Spirorchiidae eggs in turtle tissues have been used. The most representative way to quantify Spirorchiidae burdens in tissues is counting eggs / g of tissue, however, this method is very laborious. As an alternative, we propose quantifying number of Spirorchiidae eggs/area of tissue on a microscope slide. We compared this method to number of eggs / slide, a common metric of egg burden in turtle tissues. Both methods correlated well with eggs / g with eggs/mm2 of tissue having better correlation.

Open access

Mirosław Grzybowski

Abstract

This paper discusses threats of standing water habitats of high importance to the European Community in the Continental Biogeographical Region (CBR) of Europe, specifically in Poland, as a reference. The study covers five standing water habitats types distinguished in Natura 2000: 3110, 3130, 3140, 3150, 3160, occurring in 806 Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) in Poland. The most significant threats to standing water habitats in the Continental biogeographical region, result from human-induced changes in hydrological conditions that have modified whole natural systems. Based on multivariate analysis, we found that significant differences in the conservation status of the standing water habitats resulted from a variety of threats, pressures, and activities, among which the most significant are decreased and unstable water resources (3110, 3130, 3140, 3150, 3160), fishing and harvesting aquatic resources (3110, 3130, 3140, 3150, 3160), pollution from use of the catchment (3130, 3140, 3150), improper management and use of the agricultural catchment (3110, 3130, 3140, 3150, 3160) and forest catchment (3110, 3140, 3160), urbanisation, residential and commercial development (3150, 3140), transportation and service corridors (3140> 3160 > 3110, 3150), including parking areas (3140), changes in biocenotic evolution, succession, plant species composition (3110, 3130, 3140, 3150, 3160), succession of invasive species (3130), and more intense touristic exploration (3110, 3130, 3140, 3150, 3160). Only in the case of habitats 3110, 3130, 3140 changes in their conservation status have been associated with climate change.

Open access

T. M. L. Le, T. D. Nguyen, H. T. Nguyen, G. Liebanas, T. A. D. Nguyen and Q. P. Trinh

Summary

A new root-knot nematode, parasitizing Robusta coffee in Dak Lak Province, Western Highlands of Vietnam, is described as Meloidogyne moensi n. sp. Morphological and molecular analyses demonstrated that this species differs clearly from other previously described root-knot nematodes. Morphologically, the new species is characterized by a swollen body of females with a small posterior protuberance that elongated from ovoid to saccate; perineal patterns with smooth striae, continuous and low dorsal arch; lateral lines marked as a faint space or linear depression at junction of the dorsal and ventral striate; distinct phasmids; perivulval region free of striae; visible and wide tail terminus surrounding by concentric circles of striae; medial lips of females in dumbbell-shaped and slightly raised above lateral lips; female stylet is normally straight with posteriorly sloping stylet knobs; lip region of second stage juvenile (J2) is not annulated; medial lips and labial disc of J2 formed dumbbell shape; lateral lips are large and triangular; tail of J2 is conoid with rounded unstriated tail tip; distinct phasmids and hyaline; dilated rectum. Meloidogyne moensi n. sp. is most similar to M. africana, M. ottersoni by prominent posterior protuberance. Results of molecular analysis of rDNA sequences including the D2–D3 expansion regions of 28S rDNA, COI, and partial COII/16S rRNA of mitochondrial DNA support for the new species status.

Open access

Sheriza Mohd Razali, Ahmad Ainuddin Nuruddin and Marryanna Lion

Abstract

Mangroves critically require conservation activity due to human encroachment and environmental unsustainability. The forests must be conserving through monitoring activities with an application of remote sensing satellites. Recent high-resolution multispectral satellite was used to produce Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Tasselled Cap transformation (TC) indices mapping for the area. Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre (SPOT) SPOT-6 was employed for ground truthing. The area was only a part of mangrove forest area of Tanjung Piai which estimated about 106 ha. Although, the relationship between the spectral indices and dendrometry parameters was weak, we found a very significant between NDVI (mean) and stem density (y=10.529x + 12.773) with R2=0.1579. The sites with NDVI calculated varied from 0.10 to 0.26 (P1 and P2), under the environmental stress due to sand deposition found was regard as unhealthy vegetation areas. Whereas, site P5 with NDVI (mean) 0.67 is due to far distance from risk wave’s zone, therefore having young/growing trees with large lush green cover was regard as healthy vegetation area. High greenness indicated in TC means, the bands respond to a combination of high absorption of chlorophyll in the visible bands and the high reflectance of leaf structures in the near-infrared band, which is characteristic of healthy green vegetation. Overall, our study showed our tested WV-2 image combined with ground data provided valuable information of mangrove health assessment for Tanjung Piai, Johor, Malay Peninsula.

Open access

Woon Hang Lee, Saiful Arif Abdullah and Shukor Bin Md Nor

Abstract

Unabated land use changes in developing countries have imperilled the urban ecosystem resilience. An urban protected area is one of the critical systems to absorb disturbance regimes in the metropolitan area, but it is increasingly pressured by urbanization. Therefore, assessing their land use and landscape pattern changes are pivotal to identify the conservation capacity. We developed land use maps for Klang Gate, Bukit Kutu, and Sungai Dusun wildlife reserves to assess their spatial and temporal land use changes between 1988 and 2012. The degree of fragmentation, the intensity of human impact and structural connectedness for these wildlife reserves were also quantified. The findings revealed that Klang Gate which located adjacent to the highly urbanizing area experienced a very significant loss of forest while built-up area and commercial agriculture gradually encroached into the reserve. It also has a higher degree of fragmentation and human impact than the other two reserves. Human impact inside of Klang Gate was concomitant to the outside. However, Bukit Kutu almost undisturbed and Sungai Dusun was slightly intruded by commercial agriculture. The results help different stakeholders, such as managing authorities and policy planners to strategize new land use planning that utilize limited land-based resources for future economic and social development. As the findings showed that urban protected areas alone are not sufficient in maintaining the urban ecosystem; therefore new conservation planning that integrates other urban green spaces at their surrounding is critical to ameliorating the conservation on a long-term basis.