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Jan Dick, Amani Al-Assaf, Chris Andrews, Ricardo Díaz-Delgado, Elli Groner, Ľuboš Halada, Zita Izakovičová, Miklós Kertész, Fares Khoury, Dušanka Krasić, Kinga Krauze, Giorgio Matteucci, Viesturs Melecis, Michael Mirtl, Daniel E. Orenstein, Elena Preda, Margarida Santos-Reis, Rognvald I. Smith, Angheluta Vadineanu, Sanja Veselić and Petteri Vihervaara

Abstract

The identification of parameters to monitor the ecosystem services delivered at a site is fundamental to the concept’s adoption as a useful policy instrument at local, national and international scales. In this paper we (i) describe the process of developing a rapid comprehensive ecosystem service assessment methodology and (ii) test the applicability of the protocol at 35 long-term research (LTER) sites across 14 countries in the LTER-Europe network (www.lter-europe.net) including marine, urban, agricultural, forest, desert and conservation sites. An assessment of probability of occurrence with estimated confidence score using 83 ecosystem service parameters was tested. The parameters were either specific services like food production or proxies such as human activities which were considered surrogates for cultural diversity and economic activity. This initial test of the ecosystem service parameter list revealed that the parameters tested were relatively easy to score by site managers with a high level of certainty (92% scored as either occurring or not occurring at the site with certainty of over 90%). Based on this assessment, we concluded that (i) this approach to operationalise the concept of ecosystem services is practical and applicable by many sectors of civil society as a first screen of the ecosystem services present at a site, (ii) this study has direct relevance to land management and policy decision makers as a transparent vehicle to focus testing scenarios and target data gathering, but (iii) further work beyond the scale investigated here is required to ensure global applicability.

Open access

Fausat M. Ibrahim and Bashirat A. Ibrahim

Abstract

Equity is central to concerns over environmental sustainability. Gender and economic power constitute prime bases of inequalities in human society. Moreover, university education has the potential to produce ideal individuals equipped to advance noble causes including environmental sanity. Hence, this study was designed to examine how economic and gender orientation affects attitude towards environmental abuse among a group of Nigerian undergraduates. Structured questionnaire were self-administered to 1120 randomly selected respondents and 1098 were analyzed. Multi-item measures were used to assess variables. One way ANOVA, Brown-Forsythe's test and Spearman's correlation r were used to analyze data. Results show that the mean score for attitudes towards environmental abuse was high (5.38±0.87, min. = 1.0, max. = 7.0) but, the generic pattern for attitude was fairly environmentally friendly because only 56.7% of respondents scored the mean or above. Age, sex and marital status had no effect on their attitude (p > 0.05) but religion and field of study did (p < 0.05). Economic and gender orientations were significantly and positively related to attitude towards environmental abuse (p < 0.05). Being Muslim and Christian as opposed to being a practitioner of a traditional religion; and undertaking studies within the field of biology and life sciences as well as science and technology, as opposed to social sciences, humanities and arts, predisposes students to healthier attitudes towards environmental abuse. Collectivist economic orientation and egalitarian gender orientation predisposes students to a healthier attitude towards environmental abuse.

Open access

Łukasz Borek

Abstract

The paper presents the classification of the hydromorphological condition of the Breń River according to the River Habitat Survey (RHS). The research of the hydromorphological assessment of the Breń River, which is a right-bank tributary of the Vistula River and almost entirely flows through the area of the Dąbrowa Tarnowska district was conducted in June 2015. The research sites were situated on the border of the Tarnów Plateau and the Vistula Lowland. The Breń River in these sections flows through rural areas used for agricultural purposes with low-density housing. The analysis of qualitative parameters describing the morphological characteristics were based on two synthetic indices of stream quality: Habitat Quality Assesment (HQA) and Habitat Modification Score (HMS). The calculated numerical values of the two indices proved that the sections of the Breń River correspond with the third and fifth class, which means a moderate (III) and very bad (V) hydromorphological condition.

Open access

Kittiwet Kuntiyawichai, Quan V. Dau and Saengdavanh Inthavong

Abstract

Sustainable water resources management and community engagement are essential for water security. Referring to the above context, this study proposed to carry out an assessment of community engagement for irrigation water management in the Nam Haad Left Irrigation Project (NHLIP). The household and community level practices and the farmers’ levels of participation in irrigation water management of the NHLIP were carefully considered. From respondents’ responses, the results revealed that a husband-wife partnership plays a remarkable role in irrigation water management of the NHLIP for rice farming. The results also proved that most of the respondents engage with a high participation level in managing irrigation water of the NHLIP project as illustrated by a high score of 3.80 on the five-point Likert scale. To determine the significance of each activity on farmers’ levels of participation in irrigation water management of the NHLIP, a stepwise multiple regression analysis was employed and the standardized regression equation for determining overall participation levels can be presented as: Y = 0.538x 1 + 0.831x 8 + 0.534x 14 + 0.607x 18 + 7.572. Finally, the outcomes of this study indicated the willingness of participation in cooperating and supporting the activities related to the improvement and management of the NHLIP project.

Open access

Jana Spilková

Abstract

Child overweight and obesity represent a serious health problem worldwide. The Czech Republic now ranks the fourth most obese country in Europe and obesity and overweight is becoming more and more frequent in children and teenagers. This pilot study estimates the prevalence of obesity and overweight among Czech teenagers aged 14–15 years in terms of neighbourhood characteristics, and assesses the effects of neighbourhood environmental quality versus family or personal-level factors on teenage obesity and overweight. The results show that unsafe environments result in the risk of lesser physical activity of their inhabitants, but since the vast majority (92%) of the students felt safe in their neighbourhoods, mediation through safety of the neighbourhood is not at stake. Second, the housing estates demonstrate the most severe problems with both obesity and overweight and their built environments, but when perceptions of sporting facilities and similar opportunities for physical activity are factored in, they do not have low scores; therefore, mediation by physical activity is not a relevant response to the obesity problem. These findings imply that the most important obesogenic and obesoprotective factors are likely to be found within the family environment and personal life styles.

Open access

Łukasz Sarnowski, Zbigniew Podgórski and Dariusz Brykała

Abstract

The potential for using a standardized landscape evaluation method for planning a greenway in a young glacial area in northern Poland is evaluated in this paper. In the evaluation of visual landscape attractiveness (VLA), we took into account not only its natural but also its cultural components. The cultural components were divided into two groups, i.e. increasing and decreasing VLA scores. The sources of data needed for the evaluation included a Vector Smart Map level 2 (VMap L2), aerial photographs and a field survey. The newly-designated greenway links two landscape parks (which play the role of greenspaces) and runs along numerous lakes, forests, rivers, and objects of cultural heritage. The greenway is composed of existing local roads, allowing a more optimal utilisation of natural and cultural resources of the landscape, primarily those located between the selected greenspaces. Using this application, the idea of sustainable development can be implemented, and the overlapping protected areas will not be subject to devitalisation. The VLA method can facilitate multiple greenway designations in other areas.

Open access

Tomáš Bohdal, Josef Navrátil and František Sedláček

Abstract

Riparian stands along streams are important landscape elements – biocorridors, allowing the dispersal of many small terrestrial mammals. Streams are, however, also barriers limiting dispersal, which leads to isolation and population-genetic changes. Communities of small terrestrial mammals (Eulipotyphla, Rodentia) were studied in 2004 to 2006 on five watercourses of varying widths in Central European cultural landscape situated in South Bohemia (Czech Republic). In total, 547 individuals from 10 species were captured by the Capture-Mark-Recapture method (CMR). Yellow-necked mouse (Apodemus flavicollis) and bank voles (Myodes glareolus) were eu-dominant species at all locations. Species diversity and equitability rose with the degree of the barrier – proportional to the width of the stream.

The terrestrial mobility of selected species was also assessed. Apodemus flavicollis indicated overall highest values of mobility, and Myodes glareolus males also scored higher values, however, the width of the stream did not correlate with mobility in these species. The animals crossed water-courses on the order of tens of meters wide in the period of 3 months. The frequency of crossing of Apodemus flavicollis decreased exponentially with the width of the stream and was dependent on population density.

Open access

Lucia Kunáková

Abstract

The presence of water is one of the decisive factors of landscape’s natural potential. Water affects landscape’s predisposition for agricultural production, water supply available to the wide population and industry (the most important is the yield of water resources). Ponds, lakes and other water areas are zones of recreation and relaxation. Near sources mineral water, several world-famous spas were build. Waterways are also used to generate electricity. Geothermal underground water represents a very significant landscape potential. Determining hydrological potential of the area is important for the regional development. This paper assesses the landscape potential for water management regarding its surface waters in the micro-region Minčol. The micro-region was divided by a square grid, and for each square, we determined the appropriateness of this potential based on score points. The determining evaluation criteria were static reserves of surface water, waterway ranking and annual average discharge. First, we determined the significance (value) of individual criteria (classification characteristics), and then we calculated the values of individual classifiers, which were then multiplied by the value of the individual classifier intervals. The summary of points in each square belongs to a particular degree of suitability for water management based on surface waters. The potential was divided into five degrees (intervals): very unfavourable potential, unfavourable potential, moderately favourable potential, favourable potential and very favourable potential.

Open access

Harikesh N. Misra and Ashutosh Mishra

Abstract

It is said that small and intermediate size towns play a significant role in the socio-economic transformation of regional spaces through diffusion of innovations. It, however, has been hypothesized here that in this diffusion process the villages having better infrastructural facilities and services, play central role. For its analysis, the study takes the case of a region consisting of three administrative districts - Raebareli, Sultanpur and Pratapgarh, of the Uttar Pradesh state of India. These districts have remained in political focus since India’s independence and have elected two prime-ministers and some most influential politicians of their times in quest of development. However, the condition of development here is still deplorable. These districts have 22 statutory towns, and are least urbanized in the state. The towns are mainly administrative or market centres in nature serving surrounding villages by their backward and forward linkages. The study analyses ‘Z scores’ of select services to measure the level of development at block and village level, and portrays the spatial arrangement of towns in development setting of the region. The study observes that while towns are instrumental in promoting regional development, the role of ‘rurban’ centres (high service villages) in the process of diffusion of development is pivotal.

Open access

Peter Hanajík, Milan Zvarík, Hannu Fritze, Ivan Šimkovic and Róbert Kanka

Abstract

We studied soil PLFAs composition and specific soil properties among transect of small-scale fen in Stankovany, Slovakia. The aim of this study was to determine potential differences in the microbial community structure of the fen transect and reveal correlations among PLFAs and specific soil characteristics. PCA analyses of 43 PLFAs showed a separation of the samples along the axis largely influenced by i14:0, 16:1ω5, br17:0, 10Me16:0, cy17:0, cy17:1, br18:0 and 10Me17:0. We measured a high correlation of sample scores and distance from fen edge (Kendall’s test τ = 0.857, P < 0.01). Kendall’s test showed a negative correlation of PLFAs content (mol%) and distance from the fen border for Gram (+) bacteria, Actinomycetes, mid-chain branched saturated PLFAs and total PLFAs. The redundancy analysis of the PLFA data set for the eight samples using PLFAs as species and 21 environmental variables identified soil properties significantly associated with the PLFA variables, as tested by Monte Carlo permutation showing most significant environmental variables including dichlormethan extractables, water extractables, Klason lignin, acid-soluble lignin, holocellulose, total extractables, organic matter content, total PLFA amount, bacterial PLFA and total nitrogen negatively correlated to axis 1 and dry weight and carbonate carbon positively correlated to axis 1. The amounts of Klason lignin, acid-soluble lignin, holocellulose total extractables, total PLFA, bacterial PLFA and total nitrogen were significantly correlated positively to the distance from fen border while moisture and total carbonate carbon were correlated negatively.