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Abstract

Growth of forest plantations on soils causes changes in their properties. These changes, their behavior, and magnitude depend on the original soil characteristics and also on the effect of forest plantations being grown. In the steppe zone of Ukraine, Robinia pseudoacacia L. and Quercus robur L. are the woody species most widely used in planting of forest plantations on chernozem soil. Chernozem soil formed exclusively under zonal steppe vegetation and chernozem soil under Robinia pseudoacacia and Quercus robur plantations were studied in this work to analyze the changes in soil properties caused by growth of these tree species. Dry aggregate size distribution, density, particle density, total porosity, organic carbon content, cation exchange capacity, pH values, hydrolytic soil acidity and dry residue, and the available nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium content were analyzed. The studies found that Robinia pseudoacacia and Quercus robur plantations contribute to an increase in the share of aggregates 2–1 mm in size, as well as formation of aggregate fraction >10 mm, which are completely absent in the Calcic chernozem developed under the steppe vegetation. An increase in the density and particle density, as well as a decrease in the total porosity values were observed under the influence of forest stands studied. This is more common with chernozem under Q. robur plantation. It was found that the carbon percentage decreased in chernozem under the influence of Robinia pseudoacacia growth (on average, 0.4% by a meter-deep layer), but under Quercus robur planting it increased (on average 0.3% by meter-deep layer). Effect of Robinia pseudoacacia plantings on chernozem was also manifested by a decrease in cation exchange capacity (on average, 11 cmol/100 g by a meter-deep layer). The growth of R. pseudoacacia and Quercus robur plantations results in decrease of pH values (0.2 by a meter-deep layer) and increase of hydrolytic soil acidity and dry residue in chernozem water extract. Effect of Robinia pseudoacacia planting leads to a decrease in carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus content in chernozem. The change in chernozem properties under the influence of Quercus robur plantation is reflected in accumulation of these nutrients. Growth of Robinia pseudoacacia and Quercus robur plantations leads to a decrease in potassium reserves in chernozem, which may indicate its active uptake by these woody species. In general, Q. robur planting is characterized by a large positive effect on the physical and chemical properties of chernozem than Robinia pseudoacacia planting. The findings obtained serve as a ground for making a recommendation for growing Quercus robur plantations under climate conditions of the steppe zone of Ukraine in order to improve the zonal chernozems’ state and fertility.

Abstract

The aim of the research was to verify the functionality of the ecological network elements from the point of view of wildlife mammal migrations in the observed territory. Theoretical basis defines fragmentation of the landscape, the migrations of forest animals, ecological networks, and their connectivity. In the research territory, species such as Capreolus capreolus, Cervus elaphus, Sus scrofa, Vulpes vulpes, Castor fiber and Lepus europaeus were recognized. The result of the issue is the confirmation or reversal of the functionality of the ecological network elements of the forest animal migrations and the actual status in the observed area. In the contact areas of the Small Carpathians forests and the lowland areas, the research was carried out during 2015, 2016, and 2017. The results have shown that the game tends to migrate between the Small Carpathian forests and the adjacent lowland, but the migration potential is very limited because of the presence of strong migration barriers. Biocenters located in the monitored area provide a variety of conditions and are widely used by almost all species, and we consider them to be functional in terms of game migration. Biocorridors are problematic, whose functionality with regard to the migration of wildlife is considerably limited because of the location of the D2 highway and first- and second-class roads.

Abstract

Geospatial technology has an enormous capacity to analyze large and diversified datasets for evaluating the hidden spatial relationship which provides a better comprehension of the subject and helps significantly in policymaking and planning future strategies.

This study has examined the relationship among diversified remote sensing and GIS datasets such as GHG emission from cropland, rice cultivation area, agro-ecological region, Land use/Land cover (LULC) categories, long-term NDVI (1982−2006) based negative changes, agriculture vulnerability, drought-prone area and future (2021, 2050) climate change anomalies (RCP-6) of India for better understanding and knowledge of the GHG emission scenario, vegetation health, LULC, agriculture vulnerability, and future climate change impact. The LULC analysis revealed that 49.6% (1 628 959 km²) of the geographical area was found to be under category ‘cropland’. The 32.5% of the total cropland areas are used for rice cultivation whereas around 76% of this rice cultivation area is producing high GHG emission (>1000 Mg CO2 e/yr.). LULC categories ‘Cropland’ and ‘Plantation’ show the long-term (1982−2006) negative change equivalent to 19.7 and 70.2% respectively. Similarly, around 56% of LULC categories representing the forest show the long-term negative change whereas the maximum change (139 867 km²) was found in the category of ‘Deciduous Broadleaf Forest’. The 30.6% of the LULC category of ‘cropland’ falls in very high agriculture vulnerable areas whereas 31.7% of the same category falls in the drought-prone area. The significant increase in temperature and abrupt rainfall patterns were observed during Kharif and Rabi seasons in the future. Such variation of climate parameter in the future not only adversely affect the agriculture crop production but also the natural vegetation of India.

The outcomes of the present study would support the policymakers of India to implement the climate-smart agriculture (CSA) and REDD+ on an urgent priority based on a proper evaluation of the socio-economic condition of the poor people. It will certainly help in the reduction of GHG emission, forest amelioration, will bring the resilience in livelihood and mitigate the poverty among the rural communities for the betterment of people.

Abstract

We studied photosynthetic pigments in needles of Pісеа аbies and P. pungens in plantings exposed to aerotechnogenic influence of various levels in the big industrial center of steppe zone of Ukraine (Kryvyi Rih). We analyzed the pigment content in needles of the second year of life sampled from 30 to 40-year-old trees of both species in 6 monitoring sites for 5 months. For the needles of P. аbies and P. pungens from all the sites, we noticed the decreasing content of chlorophyll a (to 27.2 and 25.0%, respectively) and chlorophyll b (to 17.9 and 20.0%, respectively) from May till September, in comparison with background territory. At the same time, the content of carotenoids performing the protective function in photosynthetic reactions increased up to 26.1 and 24.0%, respectively. For P. аbies and P. pungens growing in conditions of intensive technogenic pressure, we ascertained that, during investigations, the sum of chlorophylls (a + b) rate decreased to 24.4 and 23.6%, respectively; ratio (a/b) decreased to 11.4 and 12.3%, respectively; ratio (chlorophylls [a + b]/carotenoids) also decreased to 30.1 and 38.0%, respectively, in comparison with plants from the least polluted site. It is shown that the most intensive negative influence on plantings is caused by industrial pollution and exhaust gases: the minimum or, more rarely, the maximum rates of pigment content appeared in needles of the plants exactly from these sites. Our research results demonstrate the feasibility of using the pigment complexes of P. аbies and P. pungens, with the assimilative apparatus sensitive to air pollution damage, as indicators of air environmental conditions.

Abstract

The construction of highways leads to several environmental and landscape impacts, including the fragmentation of natural habitats for many animal species. Highway projects are therefore generally accompanied by mobilisations from the inhabitants of the areas concerned and environmental associations. This work aims to model the potential impacts of a highway project in France on ecological networks and to study the reception of the results by the opponents of this project. We have adopted a three-step approach. First, a land-cover map of the study area was produced at a fine scale of 10 m resolution. Second, we developed a multi-species approach by defining fifteen species groups representative of different habitats of our study area. Third, the design of landscape graphs and the resulting calculation of connectivity metrics allowed mapping the impact of the highway on multi-species ecological connectivity. Reflexive feedback from comments on these results by the public during a mobilisation day against the highway project allows assessment of the relevance of such a modelling approach in this context.

Abstract

Providing a live data monitoring of raptor abundances and spatial localization of their most important nesting areas is very helpful in building a strong future study and applying a sound strategy for effective safeguarding of these emblematic species. Using geographic information system (GIS) and global positioning system (GPS) techniques, we investigated spatial patterns of raptors distribution in the northeastern areas of Algeria during two consecutive breeding seasons (2014 and 2015). The total area sampled (31,000 km2) host diverse raptor species (14 species), among them, the threatened species Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus; 108 individuals and 19 active nests) and red-footed falcon (Falco vespertinus; 12individuals). The value of the region is attested by the presence of an abundant population of nesting black kite (Milvus migrans; 337 individuals). The large-scale spatial analyses of the studied region illustrate certain similarities in nesting habitat selection among raptors. Almost all species (90% of 209 nests detected) preferred to nest within multispecies assemblages (20 raptor assemblages found) and occupied altitudinal rocky cliffs across the inland region (semi-arid zones) rather than coastal region (sub-humid zones). Among all raptor species, exclusively, the common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) is relatively synanthropic, because it was found to breed within cities (tolerate human activities). The raptor community in the coastal versus inland regions differed by 14%. The latter area seems to be more preferred in nest building, probably consequence of their semi-arid bioclimatic and landscapes characteristics, where high elevations and grasslands forming mosaics with Oak, Alpine, and Cedar forests are patchily distributed. The study is a first mapping database of important nesting sites dispatched across the northeastern areas of Algeria, and it can be effectively used in future complementary researches that aim to elucidate environmental factors that affect raptors life cycle.

Abstract

With a growing number of negative environmental burdens, several countries have increasingly begun to address the issue of environmental protection through a number of measures. Such measures include higher spending on public health, conservation of natural resources, less emission to the air, efficiency of waste sorting, reduction of water pollution, and groundwater. The contribution is based on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) values to perform a cluster analysis of selected countries - especially OECD (organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. The database needed for analysis is the EPI indicator for the years for 2008 to 2018. The result will be clusters that will include countries with similar results of the EPI indicators for the reference period. It will be important for us to track the position of the Slovak Republic in this analysis.

Abstract

As a type of natural energy resource, wind power is used in the modern implementation of wind-assisted technologies as a method for reducing the fuel consumption and environmental pollution of ocean-going ships. In order to promote the full usage of ocean wind energy for cargo ships, an innovative type of ship propulsion-assisted wing sail is proposed in this paper. The propulsion efficiency of this new wing sail can be increased by enlarging its area in both the transverse and vertical directions in good weather conditions, and it can be folded up automatically in poor weather conditions, improving the sailing safety of the ship. The sail parameters relating to the gaps and rotation angles between different parts of the wing sail are compared, and the values giving the best aerodynamic performance are identified using CFD simulation technology. The results for the lift and drag coefficients for the new wing sail at different attack angles are also compared with those of traditional aerofoil sails, including an arc-shaped rigid sail and a variable-camber sail proposed in 2015. From the viewpoint of the sailing performance of the vessel, our results demonstrate that this new type of wing sail has good aerodynamic performance and can reduce fuel costs for commercial vessels.

Abstract

The design of a floating, innovative device for river water aeration and conversion of mechanical energy to electrical energy required the analysis of a number of geometrical and dynamic features. Such an analysis may be carried out on the basis of existing methods of numerical fluid mechanics. Models of pressures, forces and torques characteristic for the conversion of watercourse energy were developed for two basic concepts of innovation. These pressures, forces and torques were calculated, designed, and experimentally determined for the variable geometric form and dimensions of the designed working elements of the innovative roller-blade turbine rotor.

Abstract

Drainage and peat extraction may have a negative impact on existing hydrological conditions and, consequently, on the conditions of wetland ecosystems. The aim of this study was to assess human impact on the studied Trzcińskie Mokradła Peatland by comparing the concentrations and trace element (Pb, Zn, Cu, Cr and Ni) pools in the study area (extracted vs. non-extracted areas of peatland). The concentration of trace elements in organic soils and their pools were analysed in relation to their depth in the soil profiles, content of organic matter, soil pH values and the degree of decomposition of organic materials (peat, mursh). Fifteen soil profiles (90 samples) were examined. The total soil elements content was determined after digestion in a mixture of HCl+HNO3. The element pools were calculated and expressed in g m−2 of soil in 0–30 cm and 30–50 cm layers. Soils showed acidic or slightly acidic reactions. The high concentrations of Pb and Zn were mainly observed in the upper horizons. The deeper layers enriched with mineral fractions were also enriched in metals like Cr and Ni.