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Summary

The aim of WEQUAL project (WEb service centre for QUALity multidimensional design and tele-operated monitoring of Green Infrastructures) is the development of a system that is able to support a quick environmental monitoring of riparian areas subjected to the realization of new green infrastructures (GI). The Wequal’s idea is to organize a service center able to manage both the Web Platform and the whole data collection and analysis processes. Through a personal account, the final user (designer, technician, researcher) can get access to the service and requires the evaluation of alternatives GI projects. On the Web Platform, a set of algorithms runs in order to calculate, through automatic procedures, all the ecological criteria required to evaluate a quality environmental index that describes the eco-morphological value of the monitored riparian areas. For this aim, the WEQUI index was developed, which uses 15 indicators that are easy to monitor. In this paper, the approach for environmental data collection and the procedures to perform the automatic assessment of two of the ecological criteria are described. For the computation, the implemented algorithms use data including the vegetation indexes, Digital Terrain Model (DTM), Digital Surface Model (DSM) and a 3D point cloud classification. All the raw data are collected by UAVs (Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle) equipped with a 3D Lidar, multispectral camera and RGB camera. Interpreting all the raw data collected by these sensors, using a multi-attribute approach, the WEQUI index is assessed. The computed ecological index is then used to assess the riparian environmental quality at ex-ante and ex-post river stabilization works. This index, integrated with additional not-technical or not-ecological indicators such as investment required, maintenance costs or social acceptance, can be used in multicriteria analyses in order to evaluate the intervention from a wider point of view. The platform is expected to be attractive for GI designers and policy makers by providing a shared environment, which is able to integrate the method of detection and evaluation of complex indexes and a multidimensional evaluation supported by an expert guide.

Summary

This work aims to develop an automatic system capable of providing objective information about the bloom charge in an apple orchard in order to manage flower-thinning activities. The article presents and discusses the use of a mobile lab (ByeLab) equipped with several optical sensors to carry out a site-specific bloom charge assessment in apple trees. The data collected by the sensors were processed by a specific algorithm implemented in MatLab®. Investigations of the flower reflectance signature indicated that the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is the most suitable parameter to distinguish leaves from flowers. Pure flowers produce NDVI values slightly negative or at least very near to 0. Despite the homogeneous behavior of the NDVI flower response, OptRx™ sensors, which provide an average assessment of an area, were not able to highlight a significant correlation between the number of flowers and the NDVI values. In the future, further studies will be conducted to assess if other techniques based on image analyses can provide better and more sensitive results regarding the bloom charge assessment. Such results could then be used as a reference in automating machines for thinning operations according to a site-specific approach.

Summary

Multiple runs of a river basin model produced information about water allocation under different users’ priorities, creating a set of allocation scenarios as possible decision alternatives. To identify the most desired scenario that will, expectedly, be more readily accepted and implemented, involvement of stakeholders and reaching the consensus among them in evaluating scenarios are essential. This article describes methodology for integrating multi-criteria optimization as an efficient tool for the evaluation of scenarios in a group context, with river basin simulation-optimization models. Methodology was developed within the scope of the bilateral project Serbia–Portugal, and it consisted of five phases: defining the preference schemes of allocation, running the ACQUANET model, evaluating the criteria and strategies with analytic hierarchy process, aggregation and initial search for consensus in subgroups, and obtaining the final consensus converged result (best management strategy). The approach was tested on the water allocation problem in the Nadela watershed in Vojvodina Province in Serbia, with participation of 23 stakeholders. Promising results recommended the approach for the testing in different conditions in the area near Bragança in northeast Portugal (Sabor watershed).

Abstract

To date according to the registration work, the number of the Russian desman determined actually is 588 individuals in Mordovia. Based on extrapolation, the total desman population in Mordovia is about 1,400 individuals. We may assume that the most of the desman population is concentrated on floodplain lakes and reclamation canals. The highest density of the desman population in Mordovia was recorded in Krasnoslobodsky and Temnikovsky Districts (10.5 and 8.2 burrows per km, respectively). About 400 animals may live on the shore of the rivers Vad, Partsa, Yavas, Vindrey, Nuluy, and Kundybolka. The mean value of density of the desman population on the rivers was 0.9 burrows per km of the coastline, which corresponded to habitat quality class IV (0.5–5 burrows per km). The distribution of habitats across river basins is extremely uneven. The main part of the desman population is restricted to the Moksha basin (more than 1,350 individuals), and in the Alatyr basin (left tributary of the Sura River) just twenty individuals were recorded.

Abstract

The effects of fall and spring prescribed fires on large seedlings (0.3 to 1.3 m height) of oak and other hardwood species three years after a shelterwood harvest were examined in Richland Furnace and Zaleski State Forests in southern Ohio. Fall and spring burns appeared to be more deleterious to red oaks (Quercus rubra L., Q. velutina Lam., Q. coccinea Muenchh.) than white oaks (Q. alba L., Q. prinus L.). Red oak experienced reductions in numbers and canopy volume after spring burns, and canopy reductions after fall burns. White oak experienced small increases in numbers of stems after both fall and spring burns, and an increase in the canopy volume after fall burns, but a slight decrease after spring burns. Yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.), a major oak competitor prior to fire, experienced dramatic reductions in the number of regenerating stems and canopy volume after both fall and spring burns. On the other hand, red maple (Acer rubrum L.) experienced large increases in the number of regenerating stems and canopy volume after both fall and spring burns. Based on importance value, the oak species remained relatively unchanged after both fall and spring burns. Yellow-poplar became the least dominant species after spring burns and the second to last dominant species after fall burns.

Abstract

This study investigated the environmental factors affecting functional traits, which have been shown to be important for species assembly in diverse forest stands on limestone hills in northern Thailand. We established 54 plots of 400 m2 in three forest sites (lower, middle, and upper) established along an altitudinal gradient on a limestone hill. The functional traits were assessed and then linked to environmental factors governing forest composition. Results indicated that elevation, rocky outcroppings, and sunlight were important factors affecting functional trait diversity at the study site. Areas with high values of these three factors exhibited increased community-level leaf size, specific leaf area, and leaf thickness, all of which are associated with light-demanding species. However, in areas with low values of these three factors, we observed increased community-level wood density and maximum plant height, which are characteristic of shade-tolerant species. Elevation also positively affected functional dispersion and functional richness values, indicating a wide functional trait space in higher elevation areas, but lower areas exhibited a narrower functional trait space. We suggest that combining a trait-based approach with environmental factors can reveal patterns of species composition in limestone forests.

Summary

Crop residues are targeted as energy sources and feedstock for diverse products. A six-year lasting investigation, aiming to determine the yield potentials of crop residues of mostly grown field crops wheat, soybean and corn in the province Vojvodina (Serbia), was performed. The three levels of potentials were distinguished: theoretical, technical and sustainable. Two seasonal weather conditions were distinguished – common and dry, and their impact on the biomass yield was analyzed. The yields were expressed as absolute and relative to grain yield since the grain yield is always measured, and is available in national statistics. During common seasons, technical potentials were about 56% for wheat, 45% for soybean and 41 or 51% for the two considered corn stover collection procedures. For dry seasons, the technical potential of all considered crops was reduced to between 30 and 50%. On field remained aboveground residual biomass and its relative (to grain) amount, which was between 43 and 60%, was defined. It was concluded that the defining of sustainable potentials is a very complex task. Besides the aforementioned, measures aimed to preserve soil fertility, some overlooked issues in the literature and practice were listed and commented on.

Abstract

Private forest owners are increasingly responsible for providing an extensive range of goods and services from their forests, as there are around 100,000 forest owners in Estonia. In order to support forest owners in providing these services, the state has continuously backed the forestry sector and established a public-private partnership with forest owners’ associations as well as their umbrella organisations and cooperatives. The aim of this paper is to identify the service and information needs of private forest owners in the context of this established support system. Using a survey sample of 757 respondents, we found that in regard to informational needs more focus should be put on forest management activities, i.e. on available information about service providers’ contacts, prices, options and principles for selling harvesting rights and timber. Furthermore, joint timber sales as a service should be further developed and focused on. While forest owners ranked highly both the information about financial support and the specific measures, they found the system sometimes too complicated. Both in terms of information and service importance-performance, forest owners indicated certification as a low-priority topic. Whilst interest representation in policy processes was indicated as a very important service, its performance was rated quite modestly indicating slight dissatisfaction with the current arrangements. There are also several socio-demographic attributes of forest owners that influence their needs for information and services about forest management. However, a better understanding of these attributes might help develop the system further.

Summary

Industrial revolution and modernization of agriculture in Croatia and Slavonia began in mid-19th century and evolved at a slower pace compared to the other countries of the Austrian Empire. The main reasons were lack of capital, shortage of good river- and land traffic routes, slowness in the construction of railways, slowness in the introduction of steam engines, lack of skilled workforce and extensive farming. The second agricultural crisis in Europe, which lasted from 1873 until 1895, motivated large holdings in Croatia and Slavonia to introduce steam engines and machines for the purpose of rationalization of agricultural production. Locomobiles were mostly represented on holdings with over 575.5 ha. The then country of Slavonia, as an eminently agrarian region and the main source of wheat was leader in the use of steam engines, steam ploughs and steam-powered machines in agriculture. The locomobile was used in agriculture until the mid-20th century and was discontinued with the growing use of tractors with internal combustion engine and the use of combine harvesters. Until 1918, Croatian lands were a part of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.