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Open access

Ashutosh Mishra

Abstract

Rural development aims at improving the quality of life of rural people, and in the process infrastructure variables play a crucial role. India is the second most populous country in the world and the majority of its population lives in rural areas. Rural development has been India’s prime concern ever since the time of independence, and several strategies and plans were implemented from time to time to achieve a better level of development. However, neither top-down, nor bottom-up strategies of development could bring the desired changes. This article attempts to identify some correlates of rural development and tries to understand why the desired level and pattern of development could not be achieved even after seven decades of the planning process. The study analyses the case of ‘Sadar’ development block of Pratapgarh district in Uttar Pradesh. The analysis of 10 selected variables reveals that there is a vast disparity in the level of development in the study area. However, the study shows that lack of basic education, health and credit facilities is the cause of this disparity and poor level of development. In view of the findings the author suggests that a ‘local resource-oriented development strategy’ should be adopted to ensure the holistic development of the rural areas.

Open access

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

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

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

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.

Open access

Peter Bezák and Magdaléna Bezáková

Abstract

Landscape represents appropriate spatial dimension for a study of ecosystems, especially due to ability to translate scientific knowledge into proper guidance for land use practice and enhancing the inclusion of local stakeholders in decision-making procedures. We tested social preferences method to reach initial and raw overview of the ecosystem services (ES) distribution and their values in the study areas. Perception of experts and local residents about capacities of relevant CORINE land cover (CLC) types to provide various ES was linked with Geographic Information System databases. We quantified the results on the basis of the mean values for each CLC type and the ES groups and these were interpreted also in spatial context. The expectation about perceptible capacities of forest to provide goods and services was fulfilled by responses of the experts, as was the expected difficulty to assess capacities of transitional woodland shrub or complex cultivation patterns. However, additional land cover types in question are meadows and pastures or discon-tinuous urban fabric. Mostly middle ranking values prevail in responses of local residents and uncertainty in the background is much greater comparing to the experts. On the other hand, rural people may better recognise diversified fow of services due to their everyday close connection to more ES. Large variation in the scores of some valued CLC classes in responses of the local residents and also experts seems resulting from lack of knowledge in the background and differences in viewpoint and appreciation. We understand the gaps in evaluating ES by the experts and resident population as good experience and key challenge for the further steps and fine-tuning of the research methods.

Open access

Nurul Huda Abdul, Che Salmah Md Rawi, Abu Hassan Ahmad and Salman Abdo Al-Shami

Abstract

Odonata larvae have been intensively used as bioindicators for freshwater pollution as their community structure closely follow changes in the environment and habitat settings. In this study, 28 taxa of Odonata larvae were collected from three stations (upper, middle and lower) of a polluted river in Malaysia. The upper river basin receives effluents from an oil palm plantation. However, the middle station is presumably contaminated with anthropogenic wastes. The lower station is found to receive polluted discharges from aquaculture outlet. Several environmental parameters of water and sediment were continuously measured during the study. The water parameters showed no significant differences amongst the three stations. The species richness of Odonata was 22, 24 and 20 in the upper, middle and lower stations, respectively. The abundance of Odonata was significantly different among the studied sites. The tolerant damselfly, Pseudagrion sp. (41.22%), and facultative dragonflies, Onychothemis sp. (17.12%), were the most dominant taxa along the river stations. Onychothemis sp. and Paragomphus capricornis were equally important at the upper station [Important Species Index (ISI) 25.3 and 24.2%, respectively]. Pseudagrion sp. only scored an ISI value of 9.7%. Pseudagrion sp., P. capricornis and Onychothemis sp. were dominant in the middle station (ISI: 41.2%, 25.9% and 10.9% respectively), and Pseudagrion sp., Onychothemis sp. and Prodasineura sp. dominated the areas with dense growth of submerged aquatic weeds Hydrilla sp. in the lower station (ISI: 47.9, 24.5 and 13.8%, respectively). On the basis of the variations in larval abundance and ISI values, microhabitats differences partly in response to different types of pollutions entering the water structured the Odonata communities in this river basin.

Open access

Chilka Saha, Saida Parveen, Joy Chakraborty, Soujita Pramanik and Gautam Aditya

Abstract

The life table characteristics of the invasive snail Physa acuta were assessed in the laboratory using the individuals occurring in a newly colonised area in Burdwan, West Bengal, India. Using the changes in the shell length and the body weight of the snails as surrogate, the population growth of the snails was estimated along with longevity and the fecundity schedule. The cohort of P. acuta lived for a maximum of 22 weeks with a life expectancy (ex) of 7.27 weeks and the age-specific survivorship being 0.825. Increment of the shell length of the snails complied with the von Bertalanffy growth equation, lt = 11.75(1 − exp−0.17(t−0.06)), and the observed and the expected data of the length at time t (lt) did not vary significantly (z score = 0.230; P = 0.818; n=20 pairs). Following attainment of sexual maturity between 28 and 42 days, oviposition continued till 20 weeks time, with 0.1-10 eggs laid by each individual. The eggs present per capsule remained between 01 and 11, whilst the net reproductive rate (R0), intrinsic rate of increase (rm) and the finite rate of increase (λ) were 116.07, 0.1 and 1.11, respectively. The observations are similar to those made earlier on the same species but from African and South American continents. The results of the present observation are pioneer in providing the initial studies about the life history of the invasive snail P. acuta in Indian context. Using the present information as a basis, further studies including long-term population monitoring should be initiated to understand the effects of the invasive snail P. acuta in the freshwater ecosystem of West Bengal, India.