Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Modelling the distribution and compositional variation of plant communities at the continental scale
Jiménez-Alfaro, Borja ; Suárez-Seoane, Susana ; Chytrý, Milan ; Hennekens, Stephan M. ; Willner, Wolfgang ; Hájek, Michal ; Agrillo, Emiliano ; Álvarez-Martínez, Jose M. ; Bergamini, Ariel ; Brisse, Henry ; Brunet, Jörg ; Casella, Laura ; Dítě, Daniel ; Font, Xavier ; Gillet, François ; Hájková, Petra ; Jansen, Florian ; Jandt, Ute ; Kącki, Zygmunt ; Lenoir, Jonathan ; Rodwell, John S. ; Schaminée, Joop H.J. ; Sekulová, Lucia ; Šibík, Jozef ; Škvorc, Željko ; Tsiripidis, Ioannis - \ 2018
Diversity and Distributions 24 (2018)7. - ISSN 1366-9516 - p. 978 - 990.
community distribution models - ecosystem properties - extent of occurrence - generalized dissimilarity modelling - habitat conservation - plant communities - vegetation
Aim: We investigate whether (1) environmental predictors allow to delineate the distribution of discrete community types at the continental scale and (2) how data completeness influences model generalization in relation to the compositional variation of the modelled entities. Location: Europe. Methods: We used comprehensive datasets of two community types of conservation concern in Europe: acidophilous beech forests and base-rich fens. We computed community distribution models (CDMs) calibrated with environmental predictors to predict the occurrence of both community types, evaluating geographical transferability, interpolation and extrapolation under different scenarios of sampling bias. We used generalized dissimilarity modelling (GDM) to assess the role of geographical and environmental drivers in compositional variation within the predicted distributions. Results: For the two community types, CDMs computed for the whole study area provided good performance when evaluated by random cross-validation and external validation. Geographical transferability provided lower but relatively good performance, while model extrapolation performed poorly when compared with interpolation. Generalized dissimilarity modelling showed a predominant effect of geographical distance on compositional variation, complemented with the environmental predictors that also influenced habitat suitability. Main conclusions: Correlative approaches typically used for modelling the distribution of individual species are also useful for delineating the potential area of occupancy of community types at the continental scale, when using consistent definitions of the modelled entity and high data completeness. The combination of CDMs with GDM further improves the understanding of diversity patterns of plant communities, providing spatially explicit information for mapping vegetation diversity and related habitat types at large scales.
Classification of European and Mediterranean coastal dune vegetation
Marcenò, Corrado ; Guarino, Riccardo ; Loidi, Javier ; Herrera, Mercedes ; Isermann, Maike ; Knollová, Ilona ; Tichý, Lubomír ; Tzonev, Rossen T. ; Acosta, Alicia Teresa Rosario ; Fitzpatrick, Úna ; Iakushenko, Dmytro ; Janssen, John A.M. ; Jiménez-Alfaro, Borja ; Kacki, Zygmunt ; Keizer-Sedláková, Iva ; Kolomiychuk, Vitaliy ; Rodwell, John S. ; Schaminée, Joop H.J. ; Šilc, Urban ; Chytrý, Milan - \ 2018
Applied Vegetation Science (2018). - ISSN 1402-2001 - 27 p.
Ammophiletea - Biogeography - Expert system - Honckenyo-Elymetea - Koelerio-Corynephoretea canescentis - Phytosociology - Sand dune - Vegetation classification

Aims: Although many phytosociological studies have provided detailed local and regional descriptions of coastal dune vegetation, a unified classification of this vegetation in Europe and the Mediterranean Basin has been missing. Our aim is to produce a formalized classification of this vegetation and to identify the main factors driving its plant species composition at a continental scale. Location: Atlantic and Baltic coasts of Europe, Mediterranean Basin and the Black Sea region. Methods: We compiled a database of 30,759 plots of coastal vegetation, which were resampled to reduce unbalanced sampling effort, obtaining a data set of 11,769 plots. We classified these plots with TWINSPAN, interpreted the resulting clusters and used them for developing formal definitions of phytosociological alliances of coastal dune vegetation, which were included in an expert system for automatic vegetation classification. We related the alliances to climatic factors and described their biogeographic features and their position in the coastal vegetation zonation. We examined and visualized the floristic relationships among these alliances by means of DCA ordination. Results: We defined 18 alliances of coastal dune vegetation, including the newly described Centaureo cuneifoliae-Verbascion pinnatifidi from the Aegean region. The main factors underlying the differentiation of these alliances were biogeographic and macroclimatic contrasts between the Atlantic-Baltic, Mediterranean and Black Sea regions, along with ecological differences between shifting and stable dunes. The main difference in species composition was between the Atlantic-Baltic and Mediterranean-Black Sea regions. Within the former region, the main difference was driven by the different ecological conditions between shifting and stable dunes, whereas within the latter, the main difference was biogeographic between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Conclusions: The first formal classification of the European coastal dune vegetation was established, accompanied by an expert system containing the formal definitions of alliances, which can be applied to new data sets. The new classification system critically revised the previous concepts and integrated them into a consistent framework, which reflects the main gradients in species composition driven by biogeographic influences, macroclimate and the position of the sites in the coast-inland zonation of the dune systems. A revision of the class concept used in EuroVegChecklist is also proposed.

Alien plant invasions in European woodlands
Wagner, Viktoria ; Chytrý, Milan ; Jiménez-Alfaro, Borja ; Pergl, Jan ; Hennekens, Stephan ; Biurrun, Idoia ; Knollová, Ilona ; Berg, Christian ; Vassilev, Kiril ; Rodwell, John S. ; Škvorc, Željko ; Jandt, Ute ; Ewald, Jörg ; Jansen, Florian ; Tsiripidis, Ioannis ; Botta-Dukát, Zoltán ; Casella, Laura ; Attorre, Fabio ; Rašomavičius, Valerijus ; Ćušterevska, Renata ; Schaminée, Joop H.J. ; Brunet, Jörg ; Lenoir, Jonathan ; Svenning, Jens Christian ; Kącki, Zygmunt ; Petrášová-Šibíková, Mária ; Šilc, Urban ; García-Mijangos, Itziar ; Campos, Juan Antonio ; Fernández-González, Federico ; Wohlgemuth, Thomas ; Onyshchenko, Viktor ; Pyšek, Petr - \ 2017
Diversity and Distributions 23 (2017)9. - ISSN 1366-9516 - p. 969 - 981.
EUNIS - exotic - forest - invasive plants - life-form - neophyte - non-native - origin - tree
Aim: Woodlands make up a third of European territory and carry out important ecosystem functions, yet a comprehensive overview of their invasion by alien plants has never been undertaken across this continent. Location: Europe. Methods: We extracted data from 251,740 vegetation plots stored in the recently compiled European Vegetation Archive. After filtering (resulting in 83,396 plots; 39 regions; 1970–2015 time period), we analysed the species pool and frequency of alien vascular plants with respect to geographic origin and life-forms, and the levels of invasion across the European Nature Information System (EUNIS) woodland habitats. Results: We found a total of 386 alien plant species (comprising 7% of all recorded vascular plants). Aliens originating from outside of and from within Europe were almost equally represented in the species pool (192 vs. 181 species) but relative frequency was skewed towards the former group (77% vs. 22%) due, to some extent, to the frequent occurrence of Impatiens parviflora (21% frequency among alien plants). Phanerophytes were the most species-rich life-form (148 species) and had the highest representation in terms of relative frequency (39%) among aliens in the dataset. Apart from Europe (181 species), North America was the most important source of alien plants (109 species). At the local scale, temperate and boreal softwood riparian woodland (5%) and mire and mountain coniferous woodland (<1%) had the highest and lowest mean relative alien species richness (percentage of alien species per plot), respectively. Main conclusions: Our results indicate that European woodlands are prone to alien plant invasions especially when exposed to disturbance, fragmentation, alien propagule pressure and high soil nutrient levels. Given the persistence of these factors in the landscape, competitive alien plant species with a broad niche, including alien trees and shrubs, are likely to persist and spread further into European woodlands.
Diversity of lowland hay meadows and pastures in Western and Central Europe
Rodríguez-Rojo, Maria Pilar ; Jiménez-Alfaro, Borja ; Jandt, Ute ; Bruelheide, Helge ; Rodwell, John S. ; Schaminée, Joop H.J. ; Perrin, Philip M. ; Kacki, Zygmunt ; Willner, Wolfgang ; Fernández-González, Federico ; Chytrý, Milan - \ 2017
Applied Vegetation Science 20 (2017)4. - ISSN 1402-2001 - p. 702 - 719.
Grassland - Grazing - Management - Meadow - Mowing - Pasture - Phytosociology - Relevé - Vegetation classification - Vegetation database - Vegetation plot
Questions: Which are the main vegetation types of lowland hay meadows and pastures in Western and Central Europe? What are the main environmental gradients that drive patterns of species composition? Is it possible to classify these grasslands to phytosociological alliances that reflect management practices? Location: Western and Central Europe (excluding the Alps and Carpathians). Methods: A database of 21 400 vegetation plots of mesic grasslands across Western and Central Europe was compiled. After geographically stratified resampling, semi-supervised classification based on the K-means algorithm was applied to assign a subset of plots into 32 a priori association-level vegetation types and to search for new types within the subset of non-assigned plots. The vegetation plots assigned into the final vegetation types were submitted to another K-means classification to show the grouping into higher-level vegetation types. Results: A total of 36 associations were distinguished in the resampled subset of 8277 vegetation plots and were grouped into four large groups: (1) eutrophic and intensively managed hay meadows and permanent pastures; (2) nutrient-rich grasslands developed from recently abandoned fields or managed under irregular practices of mowing and manuring; (3) non-eutrophic lowland and submontane hay meadows; (4) extensively managed pastures and Atlantic grazed hay meadows. A PCoA of the associations of these four groups showed that extensively managed pastures were floristically more similar to non-eutrophic hay meadows than to permanent intensively managed pastures, which was more obvious in the Atlantic region than in Central Europe. Species composition of the lowland hay meadows was clearly differentiated according to biogeographic sectors. Other floristic differences were related to climate, altitude, soil base status and topography. Conclusions: This analysis challenges the traditional concept of mesic grassland alliances separating hay meadows from pastures. New classification should be based mainly on the differences in management intensity rather than in management practice. Consequently, nutrient-poor extensive pastures, which currently are not considered in the European Habitats Directive, should receive the same conservation attention as low-intensive hay meadows, because both types of vegetation can be equally species-rich and do not differ substantially in floristic composition from each other.
Pinus halepensis M. versus Quercus ilex subsp. Rotundifolia L. runoff and soil erosion at pedon scale under natural rainfall in Eastern Spain three decades after a forest fire
Cerdà, Artemi ; Lucas Borja, Manuel Esteban ; Úbeda, Xavier ; Martínez-Murillo, Juan Francisco ; Keesstra, Saskia - \ 2017
Forest Ecology and Management 400 (2017). - ISSN 0378-1127 - p. 447 - 456.
Aleppo pine - Holm oak - Mediterranean - Plots - Rainfall - Sediment delivery

Afforestation aims to recover the vegetation cover, and restore natural ecosystems. The plant species selected for restoration will determine species richness and the fate of the ecosystem. Research focussing on the impact of vegetation recovery on soil quality are abundant, especially on fire affected land and where rehabilitation, afforestation and restoration projects were carried out. However, little is known about how different plants species affect soil erosion and water losses, which are key factors that will impact the fate of the afforested land. Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis M.) is the species commonly used for afforestation in the Mediterranean and is very successful when natural recovery takes place, however, the original forests were composed of Holm oaks (Quercus ilex subsp. rotundifolia L.). There is little information about the hydrological and erosional impact of this change of vegetation cover stimulated by a millennia old forest use in the Mediterranean, and a century old afforestation policies and natural recovery as a consequence of land abandonment. To get insights in the effect of plant species on runoff generation and soil erosion, individual trees should be selected. Plots of 1 m2 are necessary to identify homogeneous patches, and were installed under Aleppo pine (4 plots) and Holm oaks (4 plots) in a 30(34)-years old plant cover recovered after a forest fire that took place in 1979. A raingauge was installed in the study site to characterize the rainfall. The soil erosion plots were built with metal borders and each plot drained to a collector (gutter) and a 60 L container to store the surface runoff. Runoff was measured after each rainfall event and sediment concentration was determined by desiccation. Results show that Aleppo pine covered soils yield six times more runoff (232 mm, 8.31%) than Holm oaks (40 mm, 1.4%) during the experimental period of 2010–2014, when rainfall amount 2,721.1 mm. Runoff sediment concentration was higher in the Aleppo pine plots (4.9 g l−1) than in the Holm oaks plots (2.6 g l−1). Soil erosion rate was ten times higher in Aleppo pine (2.6 Mg ha−1 y−1) than in Holm oaks (0.26 Mg ha−1 y−1).

Classification of European beech forests : a Gordian Knot?
Willner, Wolfgang ; Jiménez-Alfaro, Borja ; Agrillo, Emiliano ; Biurrun, Idoia ; Campos, Juan Antonio ; Čarni, Andraž ; Casella, Laura ; Csiky, János ; Ćušterevska, Renata ; Didukh, Yakiv P. ; Ewald, Jörg ; Jandt, Ute ; Jansen, Florian ; Kącki, Zygmunt ; Kavgacı, Ali ; Lenoir, Jonathan ; Marinšek, Aleksander ; Onyshchenko, Viktor ; Rodwell, John S. ; Schaminée, Joop H.J. ; Šibík, Jozef ; Škvorc, Željko ; Svenning, Jens Christian ; Tsiripidis, Ioannis ; Turtureanu, Pavel Dan ; Tzonev, Rossen ; Vassilev, Kiril ; Venanzoni, Roberto ; Wohlgemuth, Thomas ; Chytrý, Milan - \ 2017
Applied Vegetation Science 20 (2017)3. - ISSN 1402-2001 - p. 494 - 512.
Beech forest - Europe - Fagetalia sylvaticae - Fagion sylvaticae - Fagus sylvatica - Luzulo-Fagion sylvaticae - Syntaxonomy - TWINSPAN - Vegetation plot database

Questions: What are the main floristic patterns in European beech forests? Which classification at the alliance and suballiance level is the most convincing?. Location: Europe and Asia Minor. Methods: We applied a TWINSPAN classification to a data set of 24 605 relevés covering the whole range of Fagus sylvatica forests and the western part of Fagus orientalis forests. We identified 24 ‘operational phytosociological units’ (OPUs), which were used for further analysis. The position of each OPU along the soil pH and temperature gradient was evaluated using Ellenberg Indicator Values. Fidelity of species to OPUs was calculated using the phi coefficient and constancy ratio. We compared alternative alliance concepts, corresponding to groups of OPUs, in terms of number and frequency of diagnostic species. We also established formal definitions for the various alliance concepts based on comparison of the total cover of the diagnostic species groups, and evaluated alternative geographical subdivisions of beech forests. Results: The first and second division levels of TWINSPAN followed the temperature and soil pH gradients, while lower divisions were mainly geographical. We grouped the 22 OPUs of Fagus sylvatica forests into acidophytic, meso-basiphytic and thermo-basiphytic beech forests, and separated two OPUs of F. orientalis forests. However, a solution with only two ecologically defined alliances of F. sylvatica forests (acidophytic vs basiphytic) was clearly superior with regard to number and frequency of diagnostic species. In contrast, when comparing groupings with three to six geographical alliances of basiphytic beech forests, respectively, we did not find a strongly superior solution. Conclusions: We propose to classify F. sylvatica forests into 15 suballiances – three acidophytic and 12 basiphytic ones. Separating these two groups at alliance or order level was clearly supported by our results. Concerning the grouping of the 12 basiphytic suballiances into ecological or geographical alliances, as advocated by many authors, we failed to find an optimal solution. Therefore, we propose a multi-dimensional classification of basiphytic beech forests, including both ecological and geographical groups as equally valid concepts which may be used alternatively depending on the purpose and context of the classification.

Formalized classification of European fen vegetation at the alliance level
Peterka, Tomáš ; Hájek, Michal ; Jiroušek, Martin ; Jiménez-Alfaro, Borja ; Aunina, Liene ; Bergamini, Ariel ; Dítě, Daniel ; Felbaba-Klushyna, Ljuba ; Graf, Ulrich ; Hájková, Petra ; Hettenbergerová, Eva ; Ivchenko, Tatiana G. ; Jansen, Florian ; Koroleva, Natalia E. ; Lapshina, Elena D. ; Lazarević, Predrag M. ; Moen, Asbjørn ; Napreenko, Maxim G. ; Pawlikowski, Paweł ; Plesková, Zuzana ; Sekulová, Lucia ; Smagin, Viktor A. ; Tahvanainen, Teemu ; Thiele, Annett ; Biţǎ-Nicolae, Claudia ; Biurrun, Idoia ; Brisse, Henry ; Ćušterevska, Renata ; Bie, Els De; Ewald, Jörg ; FitzPatrick, Úna ; Font, Xavier ; Jandt, Ute ; Kącki, Zygmunt ; Kuzemko, Anna ; Landucci, Flavia ; Moeslund, Jesper E. ; Pérez-Haase, Aaron ; Rašomavičius, Valerijus ; Rodwell, John S. ; Schaminée, Joop H.J. ; Šilc, Urban ; Stančić, Zvjezdana ; Chytrý, Milan ; Schwabe-Kratochwil, Angelika - \ 2017
Applied Vegetation Science 20 (2017)1. - ISSN 1402-2001 - p. 124 - 142.
Biogeography - Ecological gradients - Endangered habitats - Mires - Relevés - Supervised vegetation classification - Unsupervised vegetation classification - Vegetation plots - Wetlands
Aims: Phytosociological classification of fen vegetation (Scheuchzerio palustris-Caricetea fuscae class) differs among European countries. Here we propose a unified vegetation classification of European fens at the alliance level, provide unequivocal assignment rules for individual vegetation plots, identify diagnostic species of fen alliances, and map their distribution. Location: Europe, western Siberia and SE Greenland. Methods: 29 049 vegetation-plot records of fens were selected from databases using a list of specialist fen species. Formal definitions of alliances were created using the presence, absence and abundance of Cocktail-based species groups and indicator species. DCA visualized the similarities among the alliances in an ordination space. The ISOPAM classification algorithm was applied to regional subsets with homogeneous plot size to check whether the classification based on formal definitions matches the results of unsupervised classifications. Results: The following alliances were defined: Caricion viridulo-trinervis (sub-halophytic Atlantic dune-slack fens), Caricion davallianae (temperate calcareous fens), Caricion atrofusco-saxatilis (arcto-alpine calcareous fens), Stygio-Caricion limosae (boreal topogenic brown-moss fens), Sphagno warnstorfii-Tomentypnion nitentis (Sphagnum-brown-moss rich fens), Saxifrago-Tomentypnion (continental to boreo-continental nitrogen-limited brown-moss rich fens), Narthecion scardici (alpine fens with Balkan endemics), Caricion stantis (arctic brown-moss rich fens), Anagallido tenellae-Juncion bulbosi (Ibero-Atlantic moderately rich fens), Drepanocladion exannulati (arcto-boreal-alpine non-calcareous fens), Caricion fuscae (temperate moderately rich fens), Sphagno-Caricion canescentis (poor fens) and Scheuchzerion palustris (dystrophic hollows). The main variation in the species composition of European fens reflected site chemistry (pH, mineral richness) and sorted the plots from calcareous and extremely rich fens, through rich and moderately rich fens, to poor fens and dystrophic hollows. ISOPAM classified regional subsets according to this gradient, supporting the ecological meaningfulness of this classification concept on both the regional and continental scale. Geographic/macroclimatic variation was reflected in the second most important gradient. Conclusions: The pan-European classification of fen vegetation was proposed and supported by the data for the first time. Formal definitions developed here allow consistent and unequivocal assignment of individual vegetation plots to fen alliances at the continental scale.
European Vegetation Archive (EVA) : An integrated database of European vegetation plots
Chytrý, Milan ; Hennekens, S.M. ; Jiménez-Alfaro, Borja ; Schaminée, J.H.J. ; Haveman, Rense ; Janssen, J.A.M. - \ 2016
Applied Vegetation Science 19 (2016)1. - ISSN 1402-2001 - p. 173 - 180.
Biodiversity informatics - Database - Ecoinformatics - European Vegetation Survey - International Association for Vegetation Science - Phytosociological data - Relevé - Vegetation database - Vegetation plot

The European Vegetation Archive (EVA) is a centralized database of European vegetation plots developed by the IAVS Working Group European Vegetation Survey. It has been in development since 2012 and first made available for use in research projects in 2014. It stores copies of national and regional vegetation- plot databases on a single software platform. Data storage in EVA does not affect on-going independent development of the contributing databases, which remain the property of the data contributors. EVA uses a prototype of the database management software TURBOVEG 3 developed for joint management of multiple databases that use different species lists. This is facilitated by the SynBioSys Taxon Database, a system of taxon names and concepts used in the individual European databases and their corresponding names on a unified list of European flora. TURBOVEG 3 also includes procedures for handling data requests, selections and provisions according to the approved EVA Data Property and Governance Rules. By 30 June 2015, 61 databases from all European regions have joined EVA, contributing in total 1 027 376 vegetation plots, 82% of them with geographic coordinates, from 57 countries. EVA provides a unique data source for large-scale analyses of European vegetation diversity both for fundamental research and nature conservation applications. Updated information on EVA is available online at

Report of the Working Group on Biodiversity Science (WGBIODIV)
Bianchi, Gabriella ; Borja, Angel ; Bos, O.G. - \ 2015
Copenhagen : ICES CM (Report / ICES WGBIODIV ICES CM 2015/SSGEPD:04) - 308 p.
Benthos distribution modelling and its relevance for marine ecoysystem management
Reiss, H. ; Birchenough, S.N.R. ; Borja, A. ; Buhl-Mortensen, L. ; Craeymeersch, J.A.M. - \ 2015
ICES Journal of Marine Science 72 (2015)2. - ISSN 1054-3139 - p. 297 - 315.
species distribution models - predicting suitable habitat - niche factor-analysis - sea-floor integrity - pseudo-absence data - western baltic sea - climate-change - north-sea - logistic-regression - spatial prediction
Marine benthic ecosystems are difficult to monitor and assess, which is in contrast to modern ecosystem-based management requiring detailed information at all important ecological and anthropogenic impact levels. Ecosystem management needs to ensure a sustainable exploitation of marine resources as well as the protection of sensitive habitats, taking account of potential multiple-use con¿icts and impacts over large spatial scales. The urgent need for large-scale spatial data on benthic species and communities resulted in an increasing application of distribution modelling (DM). The use of DM techniques enables to employ full spatial coverage data of environmental variables to predict benthic spatial distribution patterns. Especially, statistical DMs have opened new possibilities for ecosystem management applications, since they are straightforward and the outputs are easy to interpret and communicate. Mechanistic modelling techniques, targeting the fundamental niche of species, and Bayesian belief networks are the most promising to further improve DM performance in the marine realm. There are many actual and potential management applications of DMs in the marine benthic environment, these are (i) early warning systems for species invasion and pest control, (ii) to assess distribution probabilities of species to be protected, (iii) uses in monitoring design and spatial management frameworks (e.g. MPA designations), and (iv) establishing long-term ecosystem management measures (accounting for future climate-driven changes in the ecosystem). It is important to acknowledge also the limitations associated with DM applications in a marine management context as well as considering new areas for future DM developments. The knowledge of explanatory variables, for example, setting the basis for DM, will continue to be further developed: this includes both the abiotic (natural and anthropogenic) and the more pressing biotic (e.g. species interactions) aspects of the ecosystem. While the response variables on the other hand are often focused on species presence and some work undertaken on species abundances, it is equally important to consider, e.g. biological traits or benthic ecosystem functions in DM applications. Tools such as DMs are suitable to forecast the possible effects of climate change on benthic species distribution patterns and hence could help to steer present-day ecosystem management.
Grey Area Novel Foods: An Investigation into Criteria with Clear Boundaries
Sprong, C. ; Bosch, R. van den; Iburg, S. ; Moes, K. de; Paans, E. ; Sutherland Borja, S. ; Velde, H. van der; Kranen, H. van; Loveren, H. van; Meulen, B.M.J. van der; Verhagen, H. - \ 2014
European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety 4 (2014)4. - ISSN 2347-5641 - p. 342 - 363.
In the European Union novel foods are defined by the Novel Foods Regulation as food products and food ingredients that have not been consumed to a significant degree in the European Union before May 1997. However, there are new foods for some reason not considered as novel foods, although it may not be excluded that they differ from conventional foods to such an extent that an assessment of their safety prior to their entry to the market would be called for. Previously, we reported that this ‘grey area’ of novel foods exists and comprises: (1) food products or ingredients for which the current Novel Foods Regulation leaves too much space for different interpretations and (2) food products or ingredients that are not novel according to the current Novel Foods Regulation, because it contains gaps. This paper focuses on how to handle these interpretation differences and gaps and provides recommendations to improve these pitfalls of the current Novel Foods Regulation. To this end, we propose criteria with clear boundaries as part of an assessment tool to reduce the uncertainties in interpretation with respect to consumption to a significant degree in the European Union, which take into account the commercial availability, length, extent and frequency of use of the particular food/ingredient. In addition, biological relevant boundaries for the criteria regarding changes in the nutritional value, metabolism (better all aspects of absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion), and levels of undesirable substances are proposed for significant changes in the composition of foods due to changes in the production process. In addition, criteria are proposed to cover ambiguities and gaps in the Novel Foods Regulation dealing with food products and food ingredients obtained from 1) animals on a new feeding regime, 2) new varieties of organisms, 3) other growth stages of crops. Finally, a criterion that takes into account the total ingredient intake rather than single product intake is added to deal with the risk of overexposure to substances. Taken together, the proposed boundaries and criteria may contribute to diminishing the interpretation issues regarding the Novel Foods Regulation and thus to reducing the extent of the grey area of novel foods. - See more at:
Making Sense of Agrobiodiversity, Diet, and Intensification of Smallholder Family Farming in the Highland Andes of Ecuador
Oyarzun, P.J. ; Borja, R.M. ; Sherwood, S. ; Parra, V. - \ 2013
Ecology of Food and Nutrition 52 (2013)6. - ISSN 0367-0244 - p. 515 - 541.
nutrition - biodiversity - food - agriculture - validation - diversity - stability - recall - health - crops
Methods are needed for helping researchers and farmers to interactively describe and analyze local practices in search of opportunities for improving health, environment, and economy. The authors worked with smallholder family farmers in five Andean villages in Ecuador to apply participatory four-cell analysis (PFCA) in characterizing agrobiodiversity. Margelef and Shannon indices examined ecological richness and evenness, and a simplified 24-hour dietary recall characterized food consumption. Cross-analysis tested interactions among agrobiodiversity, farm size, and diet. Overall trends appeared to work against sustainable intensification, with notable heterogeneity and positive deviance found in the practices of relatively smaller enterprises, representing a potential resource for sustainable intensification. The suite of methods was determined useful for initiating researcher-farmer explorations of promising innovation pathways.
A comparative review of recovery processes in rivers, lakes, estuarine and coastal waters
Verdonschot, P.F.M. ; Spears, B.M. ; Feld, C.K. ; Brucet, S. ; Keizer-Vlek, H.E. ; Borja, A. ; Elliot, M. ; Kernan, M. ; Johnson, R.K. - \ 2013
Hydrobiologia 704 (2013)1. - ISSN 0018-8158 - p. 453 - 474.
large woody debris - long-term - stream restoration - climate-change - fresh-water - fish communities - marine systems - dam removal - ecological relationships - anthropogenic pressures
The European Water Framework Directive aims to improve ecological status within river basins. This requires knowledge of responses of aquatic assemblages to recovery processes that occur after measures have been taken to reduce major stressors. A systematic literature review comparatively assesses recovery measures across the four major water categories. The main drivers of degradation stem primarily from human population growth and increases in land use and water use changes. These drivers and pressures are the same in all four water categories: rivers, lakes, transitional and coastal waters. Few studies provide evidence of how ecological knowledge might enhance restoration success. Other major bottlenecks are the lack of data, effects mostly occur only in short-term and at local scale, the organism group(s) selected to assess recovery does not always provide the most appropriate response, the time lags of recovery are highly variable, and most restoration projects incorporate restoration of abiotic conditions and do not include abiotic extremes and biological processes. Restoration ecology is just emerging as a field in aquatic ecology and is a site, time and organism group-specific activity. It is therefore difficult to generalise. Despite the many studies only few provide evidence of how ecological knowledge might enhance restoration success.
Biochemical methane potential (BMP) of solid organic substrates: evaluation of anaerobic biodegradability using data from an international interlaboratory study
Raposo, F. ; Fernandez-Cegri, V. ; Rubia, M.A. de la; Borja, R. ; Beline, F. ; Cavinato, C. ; Demirer, G. ; Fernandez, B. ; Fernandez-Polanco, M. ; Frigon, J.C. ; Ganesh, R. ; Kaparaju, P. ; Koubova, J. ; Mendez, R. ; Menin, G. ; Peene, A. ; Scherer, P. ; Torrijos, M. ; Uellendahl, H. ; Wierinck, I. ; Wilde, V. de - \ 2011
Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology 86 (2011)8. - ISSN 0268-2575 - p. 1088 - 1098.
chemical oxygen-demand - waste feedstocks - energy crops - digestion - fermentation - parameters - components - fruits
BACKGROUND: This paper describes results obtained for different participating research groups in an interlaboratory study related to biochemical methane potential (BMP). In this research work, all experimental conditions influencing the test such as inoculum, substrate characteristics and experimental conditions were investigated. The study was performed using four substrates: three positive control substrates (starch, cellulose and gelatine), and one raw biomass material (mung bean) at two different inoculum to substrate ratios (ISR). RESULTS: The average methane yields for starch, cellulose, gelatine and mung bean at ISR of 2 and 1 were 350 +/- 33, 350 +/- 29, 380 +/- 42, 370 +/- 36 and 370 +/- 35 mL CH(4) g(-1) VS(added), respectively. The percentages of biotransformation of these substrates into methane were 85 +/- 8, 85 +/- 7, 88 +/- 9, 85 +/- 8 and 85 +/- 8%, respectively. On the other hand, the first-order rate constants obtained from the experimental data were 0.24 +/- 0.14, 0.23 +/- 0.15, 0.27 +/- 0.13, 0.31 +/- 0.17 and 0.23 +/- 0.13 d(-1), respectively. CONCLUSION: The influence of inocula and experimental factors was nearly insignificant with respect to the extents of the anaerobic biodegradation, while the rates differed significantly according to the experimental approaches. (C) 2011 Society of Chemical Industry
Making Sense of Epidemic Obesity in Ecuador: A Critical Social Perspective. Technical report for “Promising Agriculture and Food Policies and Innovations to Better Health and Nutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean”
Sherwood, S.G. ; Arce, A.M.G. ; Berti, P. ; Borja, R. ; Oyarzun, P. ; Bekkering, E. - \ 2011
Washington, D.C. : Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) - 28 p.
Report of the Working Group on Biodiversioty Science (WGBIODIV)
Bergstad, O.A. ; Borja, A. ; Bos, O.G. - \ 2011
Copenhagen : ICES (ICES CM 2011/SSGEF:02) - 94
Assessment and characterization of the diet of an isolated population in the Bolivian Andes
Berti, P.R. ; Jones, A.D. ; Cruz Agudo, Y. ; Larrea Macias, S. ; Borja, R. ; Sherwood, S.G. - \ 2010
American Journal of Human Biology 22 (2010)6. - ISSN 1042-0533 - p. 741 - 749.
fatty-acids - food - validation - community - children - recall
Objectives: The goal of this research is to characterize the composition and nutrient adequacy of the diets in the northern region of the Department of Potosí, Bolivia. Communities in this semiarid, mountainous region are isolated and impoverished having the highest rates of child malnutrition and under-five mortality in the Americas. Methods: A total of 2,222 twenty-four-hour dietary recalls were conducted in 30 communities during May and November 2006 and May and November 2007. Food composition data were compiled from diverse published sources and integrated with the recall data to estimate intakes of energy, protein, fat, carbohydrates, and seven micronutrients. Diets were characterized in terms of food sources, seasonality, and nutrient adequacy. Results: The diet relies heavily on the potato and other tubers (54% of dietary energy) and grains (30% of dietary energy). Although crop production is seasonal, off-season consumption of chuño helps to minimize seasonal fluctuations in dietary energy intake. Despite relative monotony, intakes of iron, vitamin C, most B vitamins, and vitamin A in adults are probably adequate; riboflavin, calcium, and vitamin A intakes in children are low. Nevertheless, extremely low dietary fat intakes (approximately 3–9% of dietary energy from fat) likely prevent adequate absorption of fat-soluble vitamins as well as lead to deficiencies of essential fatty acids. Conclusions: Dietary inadequacies, especially of fats, may explain much of the poor health observed in northern Potosí. An improved diet may be possible through increasing production and intake of local fat-rich food sources such as small animals. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Creating an oasis in the desert
Sherwood, S.G. ; Borja, R. - \ 2009
In: Most significant change stories from the Challenge Program on Water and Food / de Leon, C., Douthwaite, B., Alvarez, S., Colombo, Sri Lanka : CGIAR - Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF Working Paper 03) - p. 82 - 85.
Guidelines for the study of the epibenthos of subtidal environments
Rees, H.L. ; Bergman, M.J.N. ; Birchenough, S.N.R. ; Borja, A. ; Boois, I.J. de - \ 2009
Copenhagen : International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES techniques in marine environmental sciences No. 42) - 90
benthos - aquatische gemeenschappen - kustgebieden - getijden - aquatisch milieu - methodologie - aquatic communities - coastal areas - tides - aquatic environment - methodology
These Guidelines for the Study of the Epibenthos of Subtidal Environments document a range of sampling gears and procedures for epibenthos studies that meet a variety of needs. The importance of adopting consistent sampling and analytical practices is highlighted. Emphasis is placed on ship‐based techniques for surveys of coastal and offshore shelf environments, but diver‐assisted surveys are also considered.
Fine roots and ectomycorrhizas as indicators of environmental change.
Cudlin, P. ; Kieliszewska-Rokicka, B. ; Rudawska, M. ; Grebenc, T. ; Alberton, O. ; Lehto, T. ; Bakker, M.R. ; Borja, I. ; Konopka, B. ; Leski, T. ; Kraigher, H. ; Kuyper, T.W. - \ 2007
Plant Biosystems 141 (2007)3. - ISSN 1126-3504 - p. 406 - 425.
spruce picea-abies - pine pinus-sylvestris - experimental nitrogen addition - atmospheric carbon-dioxide - air ozone fumigation - sitchensis bong carr - norway spruce - scots pine - fagus-sylvatica - fungal communities
Human-induced and natural stress factors can affect fine roots and ectomycorrhizas. Therefore they have potential utility as indicators of environmental change. We evaluated, through meta-analysis, the magnitude of the effects of acidic deposition, nitrogen deposition, increased ozone levels, elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide, and drought on fine roots and ectomycorrhizal (ECM) characteristics. Ectomycorrhizal colonization was an unsuitable parameter for environmental change, but fine root length and biomass could be useful. Acidic deposition had a significantly negative impact on fine roots, root length being more sensitive than root biomass. There were no significant effects of nitrogen deposition or elevated tropospheric ozone on the quantitative root parameters. Elevated CO2 had a significant positive effect. Drought had a significantly negative effect on fine root biomass. The negative effect of acidic deposition and the positive effect of elevated CO2 increased over time, indicating that effects were persistent contrary the other factors. The meta-analysis also showed that experimental conditions, including both laboratory and field experiments, were a major source of variation. In addition to quantitative changes, environmental changes affect the species composition of the ectomycorrhizal fungal community.
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