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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

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

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.

Open access

Praveen Kumar Rai, Prafull Singh, Varun Narayan Mishra, Anisha Singh, Bhartendu Sajan and Arjun Pratap Shahi

Abstract

An assessment of Varuna river basin of India was performed to study the various drainage parameters in GIS platform. The delineation of drainage network is possible either physically from topographic sheets or with the help data of Digital Elevation Model (DEM) by methods for calculation techniques. Extraction of the basin and sub-basins, stream network has been produced to evaluate the drainage characteristics in the study zone. The entire Varuna river basin has been subdivided into 3 sub-watersheds and 41 morphometric parameters have been computed under four broad categories i.e. drainage network, basin geometry, drainage texture, and relief characteristics. The morphometric analysis has been performed and different parameters have been correlated with each other to understand their underlying connection and their role over the basin hydro geomorphology. The study discloses different types of morphometric analysis and how they influence the soil and topography of the basin. The investigation and estimation of basin morphometry and relief parameters in GIS will be of massive utility in catchment area advancement, understanding the watershed for natural resource evaluation, planning and administration at any scale. The outcomes thus generated equip us with significant knowledge and may also provide an input that are essential in decision making for watershed planning and drainage development of the watershed.

Open access

Martin Smola, Antonín Kusbach, Tadeáš Štěrba, Radim Adolt and Michal Nečas

Abstract

A forest management plan based on ecological principles and forest management sustainability was elaborated for the Domogt Sharyn Gol Company, Mongolia. We presented possibility of use of principles and methods traditionally utilized in forest management planning in the Czech Republic. A used methodology was adjusted for the forestry legislature in Mongolia.

A stratification of site characteristics and the forest development type concept was used as a framework for assessment of a forest property state via an operational forest inventory. A randomly generalized network of 354 inventory plots on the total area of 3 194 ha with spacing of 300 × 300 m was established for measurements of tree species, natural regeneration and a volume of lying deadwood.

We produced a text, table, graph, figure and map material consisted of areal, tree species and wood volume structuring including calculation of decenal logging, thinning treatments, plantation activities and natural regeneration support.

This forest management plan provides a feasible perspective not only towards immediate commercial benefits but also towards sustainability of forest yield and other ecological forest functions. This way of management planning is also a save way towards mitigation of current environmental issues in a Mongolian forest landscape.

Open access

Katarína Demková, Martin Hais and Magda Edwards-Jonášová

Abstract

Landscape structure is determined by human activities and natural processes. Despite both influences are described in many studies, there remains still question, how the landscape structure reflects the individual socio-economic predictors. To answer this question we compared landscape structure, with emphasis on non-forest woody vegetation, of two states, however, with common socio-economic and political history. Non-forest woody vegetation represents characteristic feature in rural landscape, which increases water retention, biodiversity and bio-migration using green structures. In our study we supposed, that non-forest woody vegetation will have high sensitivity to societal changes and nature conservation measures. On an example of border region in former Czechoslovakia we compared three classes of non-forest woody vegetation (solitaires, patches and linear elements) in three time horizons (1950, 1986, 2011). The most significant differences in spatial structure of non-forest woody vegetation between countries were in the number and area of solitaires, which decreased during the entire period. However, the largest solitaire decrease was in 1950-1986, mainly in correspondence with socialist collective farming. Moreover, the decrease was higher in the Slovak part compared to the Czech part. The primary reason for this was the removal of non-forest woody vegetation on one side and the joining crowns into bigger patches on the other side. The current trend of increasing area of patch and linear elements is related to natural succession. We assume that the main drivers of different development in non-forest woody vegetation in the border region after the split of Czechoslovakia were different management measures applied in nature and landscape conservation and social development.

Open access

Giurma-Handley Catrinel-Raluca, Telișcă Marius and Paerele Cosmin-Marian

Abstract

The concept of sustainable development resulted from the conciliation of three aspirations: economic and social development, protection of the state of environment and increasing the importance of environmental policies. In order to protect the water quality, the catchments are arranged by organizational, agricultural and technical measures and works that need to be applied both on the slopes and in the drainage network. The paper presents new concepts of authors to limit the liquid and solid runoff that could affect water quality as an indispensable factor for life.

Open access

Monica Dumitrașcu, Mihaela Lungu, Sorin Liviu Ștefănescu, Victoria Mocanu, Gabi Mirela Matei and Rodica Lazăr

Abstract

As low-input environmentally friendly agricultural practices are currently associated with the delivery of a wide range of public goods and socioeconomic benefits, the strategy of European Union in mitigating climate change effects, protecting environment and ensuring public health has, among others, focused around preserving the High Natural Value (HNV) areas. About a quarter of the land in Romania is potentially covered by HNV farming and eligible for associated support payments, mostly along the chain of the Carpathian Mountains. Since soil systematic data on HNV area are scarce, recent research developments currently undertake to build up a first national HNV soil data base.

Soil fertility state in a HNV payment eligible area of south-eastern Transylvania was studied in seven in-depth dug profiles and seven additional shallow dug profiles. Soil samples were taken by genetic horizons as well as agrochemical samples from the upper soil layers (0-20 cm). Physical, chemical, and microbiological analyses revealed that the studied soils have a medium clayey loamy texture, good fertility and are subject to an adequate HNV management in the area, as the analytical values mostly range in favorable intervals for plant growth and nutrition. Thus, soil reaction is moderately acid up to slightly alkaline in the presence of carbonates, the soil organic matter, generally well mineralized, reaches fair levels and the high and very high cation exchange capacity ensure good conditions for plants growth and nutrition whilst nitrogen and potassium supply is adequate. Phosphorus is the only element in short supply – a situation often encountered in Romania unfertilized soils. Soil bulk density and total porosity are also favorable for root growth and spreading and plant nutrition. Microorganisms’ activity is diverse and is also adequate for plant nutrition.

Open access

Gheorghe Romanescu

Abstract

Deposit salt in Romania has extremely important reserves, considered even inexhaustible at the current exploitation level. The biggest salt resources are found in the intra-Carpathian arch, represented by Transylvania and Maramures. Most sources of salt outcrops are disseminated on the edge of the Transylvania Depression, in the diapir folds formed following salt migration. The salt mines – Turda, Praid, Ocna Mures, Ocna Dej, Ocna Sibiu, Cojocna, Ocna Sugatag – represented an important source of incomes, reason for which important human settlements formed around them. All these localities have turned nowadays into balneal and climacteric resorts that fully use the beneficial effect of the atmosphere within galleries (Praid, Turda). The most important incomes from tourism are represented by the galleries of the mines of Turda (one of the 10 wonders of the modern world) and Praid. The balneal and climacteric resorts also developed around the salt lakes installed in the areas of collapsed mines: Sovata, Ocna Sibiu, Ocna Dej, Cojocna. The most well known human settlements and the most important balneal and climacteric resorts, implicitly, are disseminated on the external branch of the Transylvania Depression (Sovata, Praid, Ocna Mures, Baile Figa, Cojocna thermae, Ocna Dej, Ocna Sibiu) and of the Maramures Depression (Ocna Sugata, Costiui, Vad). The oldest mining exploitation is situated at Figa (county of Bistrita-Nasaud) was founded around the year AD 3000. From this point of view, it is one of the oldest mining exploitations on Earth. The existence of the world-important archaeological site can invigorate the development of the surrounding localities, but mostly of the city of Beclean.