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The role of the National Support Centre for Agriculture in the process of revitalization and renewal of the rural areas

Abstract

Rural development policy of Agricultural Property Stock (APS) of the State Treasury in Poland is run by the National Support Centre for Agriculture (until 31.08.2017 Agricultural Property Agency). In the article, on the example of the Braniewo municipality, the size and spatial distribution of land transferred from the Agricultural Property Stock (APS) of the State Treasury to the municipality was analysed. One of the most important goals associated with this was activities related to social aspects, often part of the revitalization and renewal of the rural areas. After Poland's accession to the European Union, it was possible to obtain subsidies that allowed the rural population to apply for financing projects, such as: road construction, creating school playgrounds or socio-cultural facilities. Authors also analysed examples of good practices in this area in the municipality of Braniewo, as a recommendation for other municipalities. Attempts have also been made to indicate the role of the National Support Centre for Agriculture in the transformation of the Polish countryside, with particular emphasis on the areas of former State Agricultural Farms.

Open access
Ship Maneuvering Prediction Using Grey Box Framework via Adaptive RM-SVM with Minor Rudder

Abstract

A grey box framework is applied to model ship maneuvering by using a reference model (RM) and a support vector machine (SVM) (RM-SVM). First, the nonlinear characteristics of the target ship are determined using the RM and the similarity rule. Then, the linear SVM adaptively fits the errors between acceleration variables of RM and target ship. Finally, the accelerations of the target ship are predicted using RM and linear SVM. The parameters of the RM are known and conveniently acquired, thus avoiding the modeling process. The SVM has the advantages of fast training, quick simulation, and no overfitting. Testing and validation are conducted using the ship model test data. The test case reveals the practicability of the RF-SVM based modeling method, while the validation cases confirm the generalization ability of the grey box framework.

Open access
Spatial variability and dynamics of soil pH, soil organic carbon and matter content: The case of the Wonji Shoa sugarcane plantation

Abstract

This study presents the spatial variability and dynamics of soil organic carbon (SOC), soil organic matter (SOM) and soil pH contents at the Wonji Shoa Sugar Estate (WSSE), Ethiopia. Soil samples were collected immediately after the sugarcane was harvested and then analysed for SOC, SOM and pH content using standard procedures. The analysis results showed that the pH value varied between 6.7–8.4 (neutral to moderately alkaline) and 7.3–8.5 (neutral to strongly alkaline) for the top and bottom soil profiles, respectively. The SOM content is in the range of 1.1–6.7% and 0.74–3.3% for the upper and lower soil layers, respectively. Nearly 45% of the samples demonstrated a SOM content below the desirable threshold (<2.1%) in the bottom layer and, hence, inadequate. Moreover, most of the topsoil layer (95%) has an SOM content exceeding the desirable limit and hence is categorized within the normal range. Interestingly, the SOC content showed a spatial variability in both the surface and sub-surface soil layers. A lower SOC and SOM content was found for the sub-soil in the south and southwestern part of the plantation. A further decline in the SOC and SOM content may face the estate if the current waterlogging condition continues in the future for a long period. Overall, the study result emphasizes the need to minimize the pre-harvest burning of sugarcane and action is needed to change the irrigation method to green harvesting to facilitate the SOC retention in the soil and minimize the greenhouse emission effect on the environment, hence improving soil quality in the long-term.

Open access
Water quality and microbial contamination status of Madawachchiya, Padaviya and Kebithigollewa areas in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka

Abstract

Typhoid or enteric fever is a worldwide infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella enterica. In Sri Lanka, 12,823 Salmonella positive cases were recorded and 133 cases were recorded from Anuradhapura district during 2005 to 2014. Therefore, the study was carried out to identify the microbiological and chemical contamination status of forty-four water sources in Anuradhapura area during October 2016. The study was focused to determine total coliform, faecal coliform, Salmonella spp. and Shigella spp. contamination along with some physico-chemical parameters of both ground and surface water. Sampling, transportation, and analysis were performed following standard protocols. Results of the study revealed that almost all sampling locations were contaminated with both total and E. coli bacteria and the values were not within the World Health Organization and Sri Lanka Standards drinking water quality standards. Around 32% of sampling locations were positive for Salmonella spp. and among them, 2 spring sampling locations are being highly used to extract water for drinking. However, Shigella spp. was not recorded during the study period. Majority of the sampling points were not within the Sri Lanka drinking water standards for COD and 25% sampling locations were recorded greater than 750 μS∙cm−1 conductivity. Also, 55% of locations recorded very hard water where the highest values were recorded in Padaviya. The tested other water quality parameters: NO2-N, NH3-N, and total phosphate (TP) concentrations were found within the Sri Lanka drinking water standards. PCA analysis revealed that sampling locations were grouped into three groups such as; well water, tank water and springs.

Open access
Young urban trees as important structures in the cultural heritage of cities – a case study from Prague

Abstract

Urban trees generate numerous ecosystem services, and these are often closely associated with the species, age and size of trees as well as with their vitality. Generally, the focus of urban and regional planning is aimed at very large trees, because very large trees are considered to be key green structures in an urban green infrastructure. However, there is a significant knowledge gap related to the importance of young trees in cities, despite their value in urban green spaces, greenways, parks, gardens, urban forests, and as components of green roofs and green walls. This study is the result of field mapping young trees in the urban area of the famous European historical city of Prague. Field mapping revealed a total of 40 individual young trees, or young tree groups, with cultural value in the study area of Prague. The results of this empirical study indicate that young trees (not just very large and old trees) can be very important structures for the provision of cultural ecosystem services in cities, and that they can be viewed as living cultural symbols. This is a new aspect in the awareness of the environmental and social roles of urban trees. This case study from Prague suggests that (i) young trees in urban areas need more attention from researchers and (ii) should be incorporated into urban planning as an important component of urban green infrastructure.

Open access
Able-bodied beggars on the street: perceived determinants of their prevalence and their targeted land uses in Ibadan metropolis, Nigeria

Abstract

This study examined the perceptions of able-bodied beggars to factors responsible for their prevalence and the land uses they occupied for their activities in Ibadan metropolis. Nigeria. Data were obtained from 117 (18, 12, 46, 13 and 28 in the areas of Sango, Iwo Road, Sabo, Challenge and Oja Oba, respectively) randomly selected able-bodied beggars using a structured questionnaire. The data were analyzed using percentages, mean index, standard deviation, chi-square and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). The study showed that 51.3% of the beggars were males; the youngest was 19 years old, while the oldest was 59 years. The average age of the beggars was 33 years. Further findings revealed that the average household size for the study area was 5, while the standard deviation was 2.6. The important perceived factors responsible for the prevalence of begging among the able-bodied beggars, measured on a 5-point Likert Scale, were homelessness (4.29), lack of skills for gainful employment (3.77), debt (3.64), meeting cost of education/children’s education (3.64), inability to secure a job (3.52) and lack of food (2.97). The study further revealed that the prevalence of begging among able-bodied beggars varied with land uses. Against this background, it was concluded that the information obtained on the socio-economic attributes of able-bodied beggars, perceived determinants of their prevalence and their targeted land uses could be utilized by policy-makers and urban planners to proffer lasting solutions to the menace of begging.

Open access
Analysis of distribution of precipitation duration and amounts in Legnica in the period of 1966–2015

Abstract

The paper presents the results of analysis of duration of precipitation sequences and the amounts of precipitation in individual sequences in Legnica. The study was aimed at an analysis of potential trends and regularities in atmospheric precipitations over the period of 1966–2015. On their basis a prediction attempt was made for trends in subsequent years. The analysis was made by fitting data to suitable distributions – the Weibull distribution for diurnal sums in sequences and the Pascal distribution for sequence durations, and then by analysing the variation of the particular indices such the mean value, variance and quartiles. The analysis was performed for five six-week periods in a year, from spring to late autumn, analysed in consecutive five-year periods. The trends of the analysed indices, observed over the fifty-year period, are not statistically significant, which indicates stability of precipitation conditions over the last half-century.

Open access
Analysis of land use/land cover change in Adei watershed, Central Highlands of Ethiopia

Abstract

Land use/land cover changes (LULCC) at Adei watershed (Ethiopia) over a period of 23 years (1986–2009) has been analysed from LANDSAT imagery and ancillary data. The patterns (magnitude and direction) of LULCC were quantified and the final land use/land cover maps were produced after a supervised classification with appropriate post-processing. Image analysis results revealed that the study area has undergone substantial LULCC, primarily a shift from natural cover into managed agro-systems, which is apparently attributed to the increasing both human and livestock pressure. Over the 23 years, the aerial coverage of forest and grass lands declined by 8.5% and 4.3%, respectively. On the other hand, agricultural and shrub lands expanded by 9.1% and 3.7%, respectively. This shows that most of the previously covered by forest and grass lands are mostly shifted to the rapidly expanding farm land use classes. The findings of this study suggested that the rate of LULCC over the study period, particularly deforestation due to the expansion of farmland need to be given due attention to maintain the stability and sustainability of the ecosystem.

Open access
The Analysis of the Chemical Composition of Precipitation During the Driest Year from the Last Decade

Abstract

In order to investigate the precipitation chemistry, studies were carried out from January 2013 to December 2013 in Odorheiu Secuiesc and Miercurea Ciuc, Eastern Carpathians, Romania. During a period of eleven years (2006 – 2016), 2013 was the driest year. The rainwater samples were analyzed for pH, major anions and cations. HCO3 concentrations were calculated based on the empirical relationship between pH and HCO3 . NH4 +, Ca2+, SO4 2− were the dominant ions in precipitation at both sites. The pH values varied from 6.75 to 7.46 Miercurea Ciuc, and from 6.69 to 7.67 in Odorheiu Secuiesc. The neutralization was mainly brought by Ca2+ and NH4 +. Estimated ratios of sea-salt fraction (SSF), non-sea-salt fraction (NSSF), and results from Spearman’s rank correlation and Principal Component Analysis (PCA), showed that the acidic ions (SO4 2−, NO3 ) were derived from anthropogenic activities, NH4 + from soil fertilization, while Ca2+, Mg2+, K+ originated from terrestrial source. These influence the precipitations ionic content, especially during droughts. Spatial variations and the rim effect of the Eastern Carpathians on precipitation chemistry is also shown.

Open access
Application of Geographic Information Systems for Flood Risk Analysis: A Case Study from Accra Metropolitan Area

Abstract

The main objective of the study was to identify high flood risk zones in AMA. The study also used questionnaires to assess local knowledge on what accounts for the high flood risk in their community. Spatial analysis techniques were used to model flood risk based on the following contributory factors; land cover, soil, drainage density, topography and proximity to rivers. The results show that high flood risk areas covered 46.3km2(20%), moderate risk area, 72.9km2(31.6%), low risk area 41.5km2(18%) and very low risk areas, about 6.7km2(2.9%). The high flood risk zones were low-lying areas below 50 meters above sea level and closely associated with poor drainage systems. People perceived not just low-lying areas as a paramount reason accounting for flooding but also very bad waste disposal habit of the public. These offsets the efforts of waste management companies to keep drains free of refuse.

Open access