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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    Crop pollination management needs flower-visitor monitoring and target values
    Garibaldi, Lucas A. ; Sáez, Agustín ; Aizen, Marcelo A. ; Fijen, Thijs ; Bartomeus, Ignasi - \ 2020
    Journal of Applied Ecology 57 (2020)4. - ISSN 0021-8901 - p. 664 - 670.
    agricultural management - bees - biodiversity - crop yield - decision-making - ecological intensification - farming practices - pollination

    Despite the crucial importance of biotic pollination for many crops, land managers rarely monitor the levels of crop pollination needed to guide farming decisions. The few existing pollination recommendations focus on a particular number of honeybee or bumblebee hives per crop area, but these guidelines do not accurately predict the actual pollination services that crops receive. We argue that pollination management for pollinator-dependent crops should be based on direct measures of pollinator activity. We describe a protocol to quickly perform such a task by monitoring flower visitation rates. We provide target values of visitation rates for crop yield maximization for several important crops by considering the number of visits per flower needed to ensure full ovule fertilization. If visitation rates are well below or above these target values, corrective measures should be taken. Detailed additional data on visitation rates for different species, morpho-species, or groups of species and/or flower-visitor richness can improve pollination estimates. Synthesis and applications. We present target values of visitation rates for some globally important pollinator-dependent crops and provide guidance on why monitoring the number and diversity of pollinators is important, and how this information can be used for decision-making. The implementation of flower monitoring programmes will improve management in many aspects, including enhanced quality and quantity of crop yield and a more limited spillover of managed (often exotic) pollinators from crop areas into native habitats, reducing their many potential negative impacts.

    Brain size affects responsiveness in mating behaviour to variation in predation pressure and sex ratio
    Corral-López, Alberto ; Romensky, Maksym ; Kotrschal, Alexander ; Buechel, Severine D. ; Kolm, Niclas - \ 2020
    Journal of Evolutionary Biology 33 (2020)2. - ISSN 1010-061X - p. 165 - 177.
    decision-making - guppies - OSR - Poecilia reticulata - sexual behaviour - sexual selection - skill

    Despite ongoing advances in sexual selection theory, the evolution of mating decisions remains enigmatic. Cognitive processes often require simultaneous processing of multiple sources of information from environmental and social cues. However, little experimental data exist on how cognitive ability affects such fitness-associated aspects of behaviour. Using advanced tracking techniques, we studied mating behaviours of guppies artificially selected for divergence in relative brain size, with known differences in cognitive ability, when predation threat and sex ratio was varied. In females, we found a general increase in copulation behaviour in when the sex ratio was female biased, but only large-brained females responded with greater willingness to copulate under a low predation threat. In males, we found that small-brained individuals courted more intensively and displayed more aggressive behaviours than large-brained individuals. However, there were no differences in female response to males with different brain size. These results provide further evidence of a role for female brain size in optimal decision-making in a mating context. In addition, our results indicate that brain size may affect mating display skill in male guppies. We suggest that it is important to consider the association between brain size, cognitive ability and sexual behaviour when studying how morphological and behavioural traits evolve in wild populations.

    A critical assessment of the wicked problem concept: relevance and usefulness for policy science and practice
    Termeer, Catrien J.A.M. ; Dewulf, Art ; Biesbroek, Robbert - \ 2019
    Policy and Society 38 (2019)2. - ISSN 1449-4035 - p. 167 - 179.
    decision-making - Governance - policy - wicked problems

    The concept of wicked problems has served as an inspiration for research in a variety of research fields but has also contributed to conceptual confusion through the various ways in which it has been defined and used. In this special issue, a number of ontological, theoretical and methodological issues are discussed. First, while its use as a buzzword has undermined precise conceptual definition, recent work goes beyond the wicked versus tame dichotomy and conceptualizes wickedness as a matter of degree, differentiates between dimensions of wickedness and emphasizes the relational character of problem definitions. Second, new and existing governance approaches have often been unproblematically proposed as ways to solve wicked problems, while only imperfect solutions, partial solutions or small wins are achievable in practice. Third, the concept of wicked problems has had little direct impact on policy theories, and while some argue that the analysis of wicked problems should be mainstreamed in public policy thinking, others propose to reject the concept and rely on existing policy theories. Fourth, as a concept used in policy practice, wicked problems tend to provoke either paralysis or an overestimation of what policy can do about wicked problems. Possible ways forward include (1) leaving the concept behind; (2) using the wicked problems literature as knowledge base to understand when and why policy and governance approaches fail; and (3) developing dimensions of wicked problems (i.e. conflict, complexity and uncertainty) into more analytically precise research tools and linking them with more closely with contemporary policy science developments.

    Returning information back to fishers: Graphical and numerical literacy of small-scale Indonesian tuna fishers
    Neitzel, Sophie ; Zwieten, P.A.M. van; Hendriksen, A. ; Duggan, Deirdre ; Bush, S.R. - \ 2017
    Fisheries Research 196 (2017). - ISSN 0165-7836 - p. 96 - 105.
    numerical and graphical literacy - scientific information displays - communication - small-scale fisheries - decision-making - tuna
    Developing world fishers are often assumed unable to comprehend fisheries management information because of their poor numerical and graphical literacy. This study questions this assumption by assessing the extent to which small-scale tuna fishers in Indonesia engaged in enumeration programs are able to understand, interpret and find value in the data collected from them when presented in graphical and numerically-aggregated forms. The analysis was based on structured interviews held with twenty tuna hand-line fishers on Buru Island, Maluku, Indonesia. We found that scientific displays such as graphs, tables and maps are understandable even for semi-literate fishers. Different forms of displays have more or less relevance and value for them in reflexive way. The sequence in which scientific displays are presented also matters, indicating that displays should be presented and explained in gradations from simple to more complex forms. Overall, however, the results show that face-to-face explanation remains necessary when communicating graphical and numerical information to fishers. Further attention should be given to forms of communication with fishers that allow for more reflexive decision-making and a shift to user-centric information systems. The ongoing development of mobile technologies aimed at incentivizing fishers to engage with and contribute to data and information collection, would benefit from selecting suitable information displays, presenting these in a guided sequence, and monitoring how fishers use this information to make decisions on the water.
    The moderating effect of motivation on health-related decision-making
    Berezowska, Aleksandra ; Fischer, Arnout R.H. ; Trijp, Hans van - \ 2017
    Psychology and Health 32 (2017)6. - ISSN 0887-0446 - p. 665 - 685.
    adoption - autonomous motivation - controlled motivation - decision-making - personalised nutrition - risk-benefit trade-off
    Objective: This study identifies how autonomous and controlled motivation moderates the cognitive process that drives the adoption of personalised nutrition services. The cognitive process comprises perceptions of privacy risk, personalisation benefit, and their determinants. Design: Depending on their level of autonomous and controlled motivation, participants (N = 3453) were assigned to one of four motivational orientations, which resulted in a 2 (low/high autonomous motivation) × 2 (low/high controlled motivation) quasi-experimental design. Results: High levels of autonomous motivation strengthened the extent to which: (1) the benefits of engaging with a service determined the outcome of a risk-benefit trade-off; (2) the effectiveness of a service determined benefit perceptions. High levels of controlled motivation influenced the extent to which: (1) the risk of privacy loss determined the outcome of a risk-benefit trade-off; (2) controlling personal information after disclosure and perceiving the disclosed personal information as sensitive determined the risk of potential privacy loss. Conclusion: To encourage the adoption of personalised dietary recommendations, for individuals with high levels of autonomous motivation emphasis should be on benefits and its determinants. For those with high levels of controlled motivation, it is important to focus on risk-related issues such as information sensitivity.
    Greening flood protection through knowledge processes : lessons from the Markermeer dikes project in the Netherlands
    Janssen, Stephanie ; Tatenhove, J.P.M. van; Mol, A.P.J. ; Otter, H.S. - \ 2017
    Regional Environmental Change 17 (2017)2. - ISSN 1436-3798 - p. 551 - 563.
    knowledge arrangements - flood protection - greening flood protection - climate change - decision-making
    Greening flood protection (GFP) is increasingly recognized as an adaptive and flexible approach to water management that is well suited to addressing uncertain futures associated with climate change. In the last decade, GFP knowledge and policies have developed rapidly, but implementation has been less successful and has run into numerous barriers. In this paper, we address the challenge of realizing green flood protection goals by specifically considering knowledge in the decision-making of a Dutch flood protection project in Lake Markermeer. In this project, an ecological knowledge arrangement and a traditional flood protection knowledge arrangement are compared and their interactions analysed. The analysis provides insight into the specific difficulties of implementing GFP measures and identifies ways to realize GFP goals. The primary challenge is twofold: First, a self-reinforcing cycle of knowledge production and decision-making in the flood protection domain inhibits the introduction of innovative and multifunctional approaches such as GFP; second, the distribution of power is severely unbalanced in terms of ecological enhancement and flood protection, favouring the latter. Implementation of GFP requires structural change and the integration of ecological and flood protection knowledge and policy. Potentially rewarding routes towards this integration are the exploration of shared interests in GFP and the creation of mutual dependency between knowledge arrangements. The case study and the insights it provides show that GFP is far from mainstream practice and that implementation requires serious effort and courage to break with historical practices.
    Género y toma de decisiones en el hogar en pueblos rurales de Laos : implicancias para los medios de vida en desarrollo hidroeléctrico
    Weeratunge, Nireka ; Joffre, Olivier ; Senaratna Sellamuttu, Sonali ; Bouahom, Bounthanom ; Keophoxay, Anousith - \ 2016
    Gender, Place & Culture : a Journal of Feminist Geography 23 (2016)11. - ISSN 0966-369X - p. 1599 - 1614.
    decision-making - Gender - households - hydropower development - Lao PDR - livelihoods

    Hydropower development with concomitant changes in water and land regimes often results in livelihood transformation of affected people, entailing changes in intra-household decision-making upon which livelihood strategies are based. Economic factors underlying gender dimensions of household decision-making have been studied rigorously since the 1970s. However, empirical data on gender and decision-making within households, needed for evidence-based action, remain scarce. This is more so in hydropower contexts. This article explores gender and livelihood-related decision-making within rural households in the context of hydropower development in Lao PDR. Based on a social well-being conceptual approach with data from a household survey and qualitative interviews, it focuses on household decisions in an ethnic minority resettlement site soon after displacement, from an interpretive perspective. The article, first, aims to assess the extent to which household decision-making is gendered and secondly, to understand the complex reasoning behind household decisions, especially the relevance of material, relational, and subjective factors. It argues that while most household decisions are ostensibly considered as ‘joint’ in the study site, the nuanced nature of gendered values, norms, practices, relations, attitudes, and feelings underlying these decisions are important to assessing why households might or might not adopt livelihood interventions proposed by hydropower developers.

    Social proof in the supermarket: Promoting healthy choices under low self-control conditions
    Salmon, S.J. ; Vet, E. de; Adriaanse, M.A. ; Fennis, B.M. ; Veltkamp, M. ; Ridder, D.T.D. de - \ 2015
    Food Quality and Preference 45 (2015). - ISSN 0950-3293 - p. 113 - 120.
    limited-resource account - ego depletion - physical-activity - decision-making - strength model - united-states - food choices - behavior - consumption - motivation
    Under low self-control conditions, people often favor tempting but unhealthy food products. Instead of fighting against low self-control to reduce unhealthy food choices, we aim to demonstrate in a field study that heuristic decision tendencies can be exploited under these conditions. To do so a healthy product was associated with a social proof heuristic, referring to the tendency to adopt the option preferred by others. A healthy low-fat cheese was promoted with banners stating it was the most sold cheese in that supermarket. A state of low self-control was experimentally induced in the supermarket, and compared to a high self-control condition. Participants low in self-control were more likely to buy the low-fat cheese, when this product was associated with the social proof heuristic, compared to when it was not. This suggests that under low self-control conditions, presenting social proof cues may benefit healthy purchases.
    Effects of technical interventions on flexibility of farming systems in Burkina Faso: Lessons for the design of innovations in West Africa
    Andrieu, N. ; Descheemaeker, K.K.E. ; Sanou, T. ; Chia, E. - \ 2015
    Agricultural Systems 136 (2015). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 125 - 137.
    crop-livestock systems - sub-saharan africa - climate-change - smallholder farmers - coping strategies - modeling approach - decision-making - constraints - uncertainty - variability
    African farmers have always been exposed to climatic and economic variability and have developed a range of coping strategies. Such strategies form part of flexible farm management, an ability that may prove very valuable in the face of future climate change and market dynamics. The generally low productivity of African smallholder farming systems is usually addressed by research and development institutions by a variety of solutions for improving farm performance. However, changes to the system may affect the flexibility of farms and thus their ability to cope with variability. We quantified the added value of being flexible and how this flexibility is affected by technical changes, such as composting and cattle fattening recurrently proposed and promoted by research and development institutions and projects. The study was conducted in two villages of the agro-pastoral area of Burkina Faso, where livestock, cereals and cotton are the main farming activities. A whole-farm simulation model was developed based on information gathered during focus group meetings with farmers and detailed individual monitoring of farmers' practices. The model simulates farmers' decision rules governing the management of the cropping and livestock farm components, as well as crop and livestock production and farm gross margin. Using the existing decision rules, current farm performance was simulated by assessing the cereal balance, the fodder balance and the whole farm gross margin. Then, by comparing the mean and the coefficient of variation of these indicators resulting from (a) the existing decision rules (baseline scenario) and (b) a set of less flexible rules (rigid scenario), the added value of flexible management was revealed. The adoption of composting practices allowed a slight increase in gross margin associated with a decrease in its between-year variability in comparison with conventional practices. Cattle fattening only led to a higher gross margin in the years with high rainfall and low input prices when no management practices were used to limit dependence on external input. This kind of technical change thus requires increased management agility by farmers to deal with climatic and economic variability. We conclude that assessing the impact of technical interventions not only in terms of productivity but also in terms of changes in flexibility is useful for a better understanding of potential adoption of technical changes
    When Interaction Flows: An Exploration of Collective Creative Processes on a Collaborative Governance Board
    Oortmerssen, L.A. van; Woerkum, C.M.J. van; Aarts, N. - \ 2015
    Group & Organization Management 40 (2015)4. - ISSN 1059-6011 - p. 500 - 528.
    decision-making - team creativity - model - perspective - controversy - innovation - consensus - trust - field
    There is a growing awareness of the significance of collective creativity in dealing with the complex problems typical of today’s rapidly changing society. Whereas studies on collective creativity provide insight into what happens during creative episodes in terms of a changing meaning of the interaction content, they do not explain what happens in the conversational interaction process. To shed light on this, we introduce and define the concept of interaction flow. Interaction flow was observed during creative episodes in the board meetings of Platform Inspire, an innovation-oriented collaborative governance board in Western Europe. The concept of interaction flow makes collective creative episodes more observable and offers points of attention for facilitating these episodes. Keywords creativity, communication, collaboration, group or team dynamics
    Do you like what you see? The role of first fixation and total fixation duration in consumer choice
    Laan, L.N. van der; Hooge, I.T.C. ; Ridder, D.T.D. de; Viergever, M.A. ; Smeets, P.A.M. - \ 2015
    Food Quality and Preference 39 (2015)2015. - ISSN 0950-3293 - p. 46 - 55.
    gaze bias - visual-attention - decision-making - eyetracking data - eye-movements - food - preference - system - brain - vmpfc
    Although there has been recent growing interest in the associations between measures of visual attention and consumer choice, there is still uncertainty about the role of the first fixation in consumer choice and the factors that drive total fixation duration. The study aimed (1) to investigate the influence of the first fixation on consumer choice, and (2) to disentangle two factors driving total fixation duration, namely preference formation (the process of establishing a preference for one of the items of the choice set) and the decision goal (task instruction). Participants chose between two products while their eye movements were measured. To investigate the influence of first fixation location on choice, first fixation location was manipulated in half of the trials. To disentangle effects of preference formation and the decision goal, participants selected either the product they wanted, or the product they did not want. Our findings showed that manipulating the first fixation towards an alternative did not influence its likelihood of being chosen. Although total fixation duration was mainly determined by the decision goal, it was also influenced by preference formation. The results provide important implications for the interpretation of eye tracking results and in-store marketing.
    Methods for uncertainty propagation in life cycle assessment
    Groen, E.A. ; Heijungs, R. ; Bokkers, E.A.M. ; Boer, I.J.M. de - \ 2014
    Environmental Modelling & Software 62 (2014). - ISSN 1364-8152 - p. 316 - 325.
    sensitivity-analysis - decision-making - lca - model - input - simulation - inventory - output
    Life cycle assessment (LCA) calculates the environmental impact of a product over its entire life cycle. Uncertainty analysis is an important aspect in LCA, and is usually performed using Monte Carlo sampling. In this study, Monte Carlo sampling, Latin hypercube sampling, quasi Monte Carlo sampling, analytical uncertainty propagation and fuzzy interval arithmetic were compared based on e.g. convergence rate and output statistics. Each method was tested on three LCA case studies, which differed in size and behaviour. Uncertainty propagation in LCA using a sampling method leads to more (directly) usable information compared to fuzzy interval arithmetic or analytical uncertainty propagation. Latin hypercube and quasi Monte Carlo sampling provide more accuracy in determining the sample mean than Monte Carlo sampling and can even converge faster than Monte Carlo sampling for some of the case studies discussed in this paper.
    From explanation to application: introducing a practice-oriented ecosystem services evaluation (PRESET) model adapted to the context of landscape planning and management
    Haaren, C. von; Albert, C. ; Barkmann, J. ; Groot, R.S. de; Spangenberg, J. ; Schroeter-Schlaack, C. ; Hansjuergens, B. - \ 2014
    Landscape Ecology 29 (2014)8. - ISSN 0921-2973 - p. 1335 - 1346.
    decision-making - framework
    The development and use of the conceptual framework of ecosystem services (ES) has been very successful in supporting the broad diffusion and application of ES within science and policy communities. However, most of the currently proposed interpretations of the framework neither correlate to environmental planning nor to decision-making contexts at the local and regional scale, which is a potential reason for the slow adoption and practice of the ES conceptual framework. This paper proposes a practice-oriented ES evaluation (PRESET) model specifically adapted to the requirements of local and regional planning and decision-making contexts, and discusses its potential benefits and implications for practice. Through the usage of PRESET we suggest making a distinction between 'offered ES', 'utilized ES', 'human input', and 'ES benefits' as relevant information for decision-making. Furthermore, we consider it important to link these decision-support categories to different value dimensions relevant in planning and management practice. PRESET provides guidance to inject the ES concept into planning, but needs to be implemented together with concrete assessment methods, indicators and data. The planning strategic benefits of using PRESET include its reference to existing legislative objectives, avoiding the risk that monetized ES values might dominate decision-making, clarification of human contributions, and easier identification of land use conflicts and synergies. Examples are given for offered and utilized ES, as well as for respective evaluation approaches and instruments of implementation.
    Emotions in Advice Taking: The Roles of Agency and Valence
    Hooge, I.E. de; Verlegh, P.W.J. ; Tzioti, S.C. - \ 2014
    Journal of Behavioral Decision Making 27 (2014)3. - ISSN 0894-3257 - p. 246 - 258.
    decision-making - expert advice - cognitive appraisals - improving judgment - moral emotions - anger - information - consumption - behavior - aggression
    Recently, advice taking has received attention in decision-making research, and some studies suggest that emotions may play a role in this process. Yet a clear account of how emotions influence advice taking is lacking. The current research introduces a parsimonious explanation by suggesting that such effects can be predicted on the basis of two emotion dimensions: valence (positivity or negativity) and agency (self-focused versus other-focused). In five experiments with different emotion inductions and different measures for advice taking, the effects of positive emotions such as gratitude and pride and of negative emotions such as anger and shame on advice taking were studied. The findings reveal that emotion valence and agency exert an influence on advice taking and that this interaction effect is mediated by the perceived ability of the advisor. Together, these findings provide a unique theoretical and empirical contribution to our understanding of emotions in advice taking.
    Predicting consumer behavior with two emotion appraisal dimensions: Emotion valence and agency in gift giving
    Hooge, I.E. de - \ 2014
    International Journal of Research in Marketing 31 (2014)4. - ISSN 0167-8116 - p. 380 - 394.
    cognitive appraisals - positive emotions - consumption emotions - decision-making - cooperation - gratitude - guilt - love - feelings - exchange
    Decades of emotion research have demonstrated the unique influences of many specific emotions on consumer behaviors. These countless numbers of emotion effects can make it difficult to understand the role of emotions in consumer behavior. The current research introduces a parsimonious framework that can predict the effects of emotions on the consumer behavior of gift giving with just two appraisal dimensions: valence and agency. A series of studies examining gift giving reveals that positive emotions exert positive effects on gift giving, independent of their agency. In contrast, agency does predict the effects of negative emotions on gift giving. Negative self-caused emotions increase gift giving, whereas negative other-caused emotions decrease gift giving. These findings seem to hold for inactive and active emotions, and for uncertain and certain emotions. Together, these findings make a unique theoretical and empirical contribution to the understanding of emotions in gift giving. Moreover, it provides a pragmatic framework for both academics and practitioners.
    The Methodologies of Empowerment? A Systematic Review of the Deployment of Participation in the Coastal Zone Management Literature
    Puente Rodriguez, D. - \ 2014
    Coastal Management 42 (2014)5. - ISSN 0892-0753 - p. 426 - 446.
    marine protected areas - integrated coastal - wadden sea - resource-management - ocean management - decision-making - climate-change - governance - knowledge - policy
    Participation (e.g., stakeholder involvement) has become a central concept in the practice of environmental and coastal zone management. Research has shown that the integration of participation in coastal zone management has positive ecological and social outcomes. In the literature, however, participation is often reported in an unstructured and uncritical manner. Therefore, to find out whether and how there is a useful way to structure and characterize the way the coastal zone management literature deals with participation, we have conducted a literature review. The review was conducted and the literature structured through three central dimensions of participation, namely: power, knowledge, and (visions of) nature. The article concludes that this structured approach to participation enables us to study more systematically the role of participation and might facilitate the governance and learning processes of coastal networks.
    A technical investigation on tools and concepts for sustainable management of the subsurface in The Netherlands.
    Griffioen, J. ; Wensem, J. van; Oomes, J.L. ; Barends, F. ; Breunese, J. ; Bruining, H. ; Olsthoorn, T. ; Stams, A.J.M. ; Stoel, A.E. van der - \ 2014
    Science of the Total Environment 485-486 (2014). - ISSN 0048-9697 - p. 810 - 819.
    risk-assessment - groundwater sustainability - resources management - decision-making - mining-industry - european-union - water - storage - policy - framework
    In response to increasing use of the subsurface, there is a need to modernise policies on sustainable use of the subsurface. This holds in particular for the densely populated Netherlands. We aimed to analyse current practice of subsurface management and the associated pressure points and to establish a conceptual overview of the technical issues related to sustainable management of the subsurface. Case studies on the exploitation of subsurface resources (including spatial use of the subsurface) were analysed, examining social relevance, environmental impact, pressure points and management solutions. The case studies ranged from constructing underground garages to geothermal exploitation. The following issues were identified for the technological/scientific aspects: site investigation, suitability, risk assessment, monitoring and measures in the event of failure. Additionally, the following general issues were identified for the administrative aspects: spatial planning, option assessment, precaution, transparency, responsibility and liability. These issues were explored on their technological implications within the framework of sustainable management of the subsurface. This resulted into the following key aspects: (1) sustainability assessment, (2) dealing with uncertainty and (3) policy instruments and governance. For all three aspects, different options were identified which might have a legal, economic or ethical background. The technological implications of these backgrounds have been identified. A set of recommendations for sustainable management of the subsurface resources (incl. space) was established: (1) management should be driven by scarcity, (2) always implement closed loop monitoring when the subsurface activities are high-risk, (3) when dealing with unknown features and heterogeneity, apply the precautionary principle, (4) responsibility and liability for damage must be set out in legislation and (5) sustainability should be incorporated in all relevant legislation and not only in environmental legislation. Other aspects to be considered are the reversibility of the impacts from subsurface activities and the abandonment of installations.
    An ex ante analysis on the use of activity meters for automated estrus detection, to invest or not to invest?
    Rutten, C.J. ; Steeneveld, W. ; Inchaisri, C. ; Hogeveen, H. - \ 2014
    Journal of Dairy Science 97 (2014)11. - ISSN 0022-0302 - p. 6869 - 6887.
    timed artificial-insemination - dairy farms - decision-making - information-technology - reproductive programs - stochastic simulation - cows - cattle - herds - model
    The technical performance of activity meters for automated detection of estrus in dairy farming has been studied, and such meters are already used in practice. However, information on the economic consequences of using activity meters is lacking. The current study analyzes the economic benefits of a sensor system for detection of estrus and appraises the feasibility of an investment in such a system. A stochastic dynamic simulation model was used to simulate reproductive performance of a dairy herd. The number of cow places in this herd was fixed at 130. The model started with 130 randomly drawn cows (in a Monte Carlo process) and simulated calvings and replacement of these cows in subsequent years. Default herd characteristics were a conception rate of 50%, an 8-wk dry-off period, and an average milk production level of 8,310 kg per cow per 305 d. Model inputs were derived from real farm data and expertise. For the analysis, visual detection by the farmer (“without” situation) was compared with automated detection with activity meters (“with” situation). For visual estrus detection, an estrus detection rate of 50% and a specificity of 100% were assumed. For automated estrus detection, an estrus detection rate of 80% and a specificity of 95% were assumed. The results of the cow simulation model were used to estimate the difference between the annual net cash flows in the “with” and “without” situations (marginal financial effect) and the internal rate of return (IRR) as profitability indicators. The use of activity meters led to improved estrus detection and, therefore, to a decrease in the average calving interval and subsequent increase in annual milk production. For visual estrus detection, the average calving interval was 419 d and average annual milk production was 1,032,278 kg. For activity meters, the average calving interval was 403 d and the average annual milk production was 1,043,398 kg. It was estimated that the initial investment in activity meters would cost €17,728 for a herd of 130 cows, with an additional cost of €90 per year for the replacement of malfunctioning activity meters. Changes in annual net cash flows arising from using an activity meter included extra revenues from increased milk production and number of calves sold, increased costs from more inseminations, calvings, and feed consumption, and reduced costs from fewer culled cows and less labor for estrus detection. These changes in cash flows were caused mainly by changes in the technical results of the simulated dairy herds, which arose from differences in the estrus detection rate and specificity between the “with” and “without” situations. The average marginal financial effect in the “with” and “without” situations was €2,827 for the baseline scenario, with an average IRR of 11%. The IRR is a measure of the return on invested capital. Investment in activity meters was generally profitable. The most influential assumptions on the profitability of this investment were the assumed culling rules and the increase in sensitivity of estrus detection between the “without” and the “with” situation.
    Activation in inhibitory brain regions during food choice correlates with temptation strength and self-regulatory success in weight-concerned women
    Laan, L.N. van der; Ridder, D.T.D. de; Viergever, M.A. ; Smeets, P.A.M. - \ 2014
    Frontiers in Neuroscience 8 (2014). - ISSN 1662-4548 - 11 p.
    lateral orbitofrontal cortex - cognitive dietary restraint - scales valid measures - neural responses - decision-making - frontal-cortex - human volition - data suggest - sex matters - behavior
    Food choices constitute a classic self-control dilemma involving the trade-off between immediate eating enjoyment and the long term goal of being slim and healthy, especially for weight-concerned women. For them, decision-making concerning high (HE) and low energy (LE) snacks differs when it comes to the need for self-control. In line, our first study aim was to investigate which brain regions are activated during food choices during HE compared to LE energy snacks in weight-concerned women. Since it is particularly difficult to resist HE snacks when they are very tasty, our second aim was to investigate in which brain regions choice-related activation varies with the food's tastiness. Our third aim was to assess in which brain regions choice-related activation varies with individual differences in self-regulatory success. To this end, 20 weight-concerned women indicated for 100 HE or LE snacks whether they wanted to eat them or not, while their brains were scanned using fMRI. HE snacks were refused more often than equally-liked LE snacks. HE snack choice elicited stronger activation in reward-related brain regions [medial to middle orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), caudate]. Highly tasty HE snacks were more difficult to resist and, accordingly, activation in inhibitory areas (inferior frontal gyrus, lateral OFC) was negatively associated with tastiness. More successful self-controllers showed increased activation in the supplementary motor area during HE food choices. In sum, the results suggest that HE snacks constitute a higher reward for weight-concerned women compared to (equally-liked) LE snacks, and that activation during food choice in brain regions involved in response inhibition varied with tastiness and individual differences in self-regulatory success. These findings advance our understanding of the neural correlates of food choice and point to new avenues for investigating explanations for self-regulatory failure.
    Integrating ecosystem services in landscape planning: requirements, approaches and impacts
    Albert, C. ; Aronson, J. ; Fürst, C. ; Opdam, P. - \ 2014
    Landscape Ecology 29 (2014)8. - ISSN 0921-2973 - p. 1277 - 1285.
    decision-making - sustainability - science
    Despite growing knowledge of ecosystem services (ES), and heightened awareness of their political and socio-economic relevance, mainstreaming and implementing ES in landscape planning and decision-making are still in their infancy. The objective of this special issue, therefore, is to explore requirements for, approaches to, and potential impacts of, integrating ES in landscape planning and management. The issue includes three key research themes: (i) Requirements and interests of planners and decision-makers for integrating ES in different application contexts, (ii) Approaches to applying ES in (participatory) planning, and (iii) Potential impacts of integrating ES in policy and decision-making. These themes are addressed by 12 papers that refer to case studies in Africa, Australia, and Europe. Four lessons are highlighted: (i) Information on ES is considered useful by many practitioners, but the type, production and communication of ES information need to be adapted to the specific context of a planning case; (ii) A broad range of approaches are available for integrating the ES concept in (participatory) planning with different and complementary contributions to decision-support; (iii) Effectively integrating ES in planning requires careful scoping of the context, objectives and capacities; (iv) Integrating ES in planning can effectively support the co-production of relevant knowledge and the collaboration of diverse actors. A new research field of ‘Planning-for-ES Science’ is emerging which focuses on, among other issues, the critical evaluation of real-world case studies of applying the ES concept in different fields of practice.
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