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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    Trends in chemical pollution and ecological status of Lake Ziway, Ethiopia: a review focussing on nutrients, metals and pesticides
    Merga, L.B. ; Mengistie, A.A. ; Faber, J.H. ; Brink, P.J. Van den - \ 2020
    African Journal of Aquatic Science (2020). - ISSN 1608-5914
    African lakes - agriculture - ecological effect - ecosystem services - spatio-temporal variation - urbanisation - water quality

    Aquatic ecosystems contribute to human well-being by delivering ecosystem services, but their protection has been given low priority in Africa. Lake Ziway in the Ethiopian Rift Valley basin provides services including irrigation, drinking water and fish food in the region. This paper reviews the biological resources and spatio- temporal variation of water quality of the lake focussing on nutrients, metals and pesticides. Lake Ziway is under increasing agricultural and urban pressure and is exhibiting deteriorating trends in several water quality and ecological parameters. Nutrients and trace metals, including PO43−, NO3−, NH4+, Ca2+, Cu and Ni of the lake have shown increasing temporal trends in concentration. Spatially, higher values of major parameters (e.g. NO3, NH4+, K, Na and electrical conductivity) were observed at shoreline sites near floriculture farming. The water quality of the lake exceeded guideline values for drinking water (alkalinity and Fe) and for aquatic life (NH +, Fe, Cr, Cu and Se). The recently reported pesticides in the lake possibly cause ecological and human health effect. Accordingly, agriculture and urbanisation are affecting water quality of Lake Ziway, with likely negative effects on human health and the lake ecosystem function unless appropriate interventions are taken. Our results may be useful in assessing other African lakes subject to similar anthropogenic pressures in their catchments.

    Examining Health of Wetlands with Multiple Ecosystem Services as Targets in China’s Coastal Regions
    Zhou, Yangming ; Dou, Yuehan ; Yu, Xiubo ; Zhang, Li ; Huang, Chong ; Wang, Yuyu ; Li, Xiaowei ; Li, He ; Jia, Yifei ; Bakker, Martha ; Carsjens, Gerrit Jan ; Zhou, Yan ; Duan, Houlang - \ 2020
    Chinese Geographical Science 30 (2020)4. - ISSN 1002-0063 - p. 600 - 613.
    coastal zones - ecosystem services - Wetland Health Index (WHI) - wetland utilization

    Coastal zones are key interconnectors of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Due to the degradation and fragmentation of coastal wetlands, there is an urgent need to develop assessment methodology to compare the health of wetland ecosystems at different spatial scales. This will help efficiently develop and implement protections using easy-to-access ecosystem health data. This study aims to understand the spatial distribution of coastal and inland wetland health for China’s coastal regions. A Wetland Health Index (WHI) was developed to provide a basis for policy and decision making. Four utilization models—Long Term Model, Open Model, Nature Reserve Model, and Protected and Economic Model—were defined in the context of China’s coastal regions to specifically examine wetland health. Results show that the average WHI score was 63.6 with the range of 44.8–84.3 for 35 National Nature Reserves (NNRs), and the southern NNRs generally performed better than the northern NNRs. The wetlands in the southern provinces/municipalities are relatively healthier than their northern counterparts. The competent authority has slight influence on WHI scores but duration of conservation establishment does not show a clear correlation. With increasing economic activity, the differences in health conditions (WHI scores) of China’s coastal regions also increase. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or economic intensification does not relate to WHI scores. Appropriate trade-offs between wetland management and economic development could contribute to improve health conditions, conservation and utilization of coastal and inland wetlands.

    Seagrass coastal protection services reduced by invasive species expansion and megaherbivore grazing
    James, Rebecca K. ; Christianen, Marjolijn J.A. ; Katwijk, Marieke M. van; Smit, Jaco C. de; Bakker, Elisabeth S. ; Herman, Peter M.J. ; Bouma, Tjeerd J. - \ 2020
    Journal of Ecology 108 (2020)5. - ISSN 0022-0477 - p. 2025 - 2037.
    coastal protection - conservation - ecosystem services - exotic species - marine ecology - marine vegetation - storm resilience - tropical ecology

    Seagrasses provide an important ecosystem service by creating a stable erosion-resistant seabed that contributes to effective coastal protection. Variable morphologies and life-history strategies, however, are likely to impact the sediment stabilization capacity of different seagrass species. We question how opportunistic invasive species and increasing grazing by megaherbivores may alter sediment stabilization services provided by established seagrass meadows, using the Caribbean as a case study. Utilizing two portable field-flumes that simulate unidirectional and oscillatory flow regimes, we compared the sediment stabilization capacity of natural seagrass meadows in situ under current- and wave-dominated regimes. Monospecific patches of a native (Thalassia testudinum) and an invasive (Halophila stipulacea) seagrass species were compared, along with the effect of three levels of megaherbivore grazing on T. testudinum: ungrazed, lightly grazed and intensively grazed. For both hydrodynamic regimes, the long-leaved, dense meadows of the climax species, T. testudinum provided the highest stabilization. However, the loss of above-ground biomass by intensive grazing reduced the capacity of the native seagrass to stabilize the surface sediment. Caribbean seagrass meadows are presently threatened by the rapid spread of the invasive opportunistic seagrass, H. stipulacea. The dense meadows of H. stipulacea were found to accumulate fine sediment, and thereby, appear to be effective in reducing bottom shear stress during calm periods. This fine sediment within the invasive meadows, however, is easily resuspended by hydrodynamic forces, and the low below-ground biomass of H. stipulacea make it susceptible to uprooting during storm events, potentially leaving large regions vulnerable to erosion. Overall, this present study highlights that intensive megaherbivore grazing and opportunistic invasive species threaten the coastal protection services provided by mildly grazed native species. Synthesis. Seagrass meadows of dense, long-leaved species stabilize the sediment surface and maintain the seabed integrity, thereby contributing to coastal protection. These services are threatened by intensive megaherbivore grazing, which reduces the stability of the surface sediment, and opportunistic invasive species, which are susceptible to uprooting in storms and thereby can leave the seabed vulnerable to erosion.

    Leidraad beheersing eikenprocessierups uitgebracht: De EPR
    Spijker, J.H. - \ 2020
    Stadswerk (2020)4. - ISSN 0927-7641 - p. 11 - 13.
    invasive species - well-being - health - trees - Quercus robur - ecosystem services
    Vorig jaar hebben we ervaren dat de eikenprocessierups onze gezondheid en ons welbevinden aanzienlijk kan schaden. Wat is een effectieve aanpak om de overlast te beheersen zonder onnodig hoge beheerkosten te maken? De ‘Leidraad beheersing eikenprocessierups’ die onlangs werd uitgebracht, geeft antwoorden.
    Integrative policy development for healthier people and ecosystems : A European case analysis
    White, Piran C.L. ; Guégan, Jean François ; Keune, Hans ; Bell, Sian De; Geijzendorffer, Ilse R. ; Hermans, Tia ; Prieur-Richard, Anne Hélène ; Iroegbu, Chinny ; Stone, Dave ; Vanwambeke, Sophie ; Vries, Sjerp de; Ford, Adriana ; Graham, Hilary - \ 2020
    Area 52 (2020)3. - ISSN 0004-0894 - p. 495 - 504.
    biodiversity - cross-sectoral policy - ecosystem services - environment - evidence - public health

    There is growing evidence of the inter-relationships between ecosystems and public health. This creates opportunities for the development of cross-sectoral policies and interventions that provide dual benefits to public health and to the natural environment. These benefits are increasingly articulated in strategy documents at national and regional level, yet implementation of integrative policies on the ground remains limited and fragmented. Here, we use a workshop approach to identify some features of this evidence–implementation gap based on policy and practice within a number of western European countries. The driving forces behind some recent moves towards more integrative policy development and implementation show important differences between countries, reflecting the non-linear and complex nature of the policy-making process. We use these case studies to illustrate some of the key barriers to greater integrative policy development identified in the policy analysis literature. Specific barriers we identify include: institutional barriers; differing time perspectives in public health and ecosystem management; contrasting historical development of public health and natural environment disciplinary policy agendas; an incomplete evidence base relating investment in the natural environment to benefits for public health; a lack of appropriate outcome measures including benefit–cost trade-offs; and finally a lack of integrative policy frameworks across the health and natural environment sectors. We also identify opportunities for greater policy integration and examples of good practice from different countries. However, we note there is no single mechanism that will deliver integrative policy for healthier people and ecosystems in all countries and situations. National governments, national public agencies, local governments, research institutions, and professional bodies all share a responsibility to identify and seize opportunities for influencing policy change, whether incremental or abrupt, to ensure that ecosystems and the health of society are managed so that the interests of future generations, as well as present generations, can be protected.

    The contribution of semi-natural habitats to biological control is dependent on sentinel prey type
    McHugh, Niamh M. ; Moreby, Steve ; Lof, Marjolein E. ; Werf, Wopke Van der; Holland, John M. - \ 2020
    Journal of Applied Ecology 57 (2020)5. - ISSN 0021-8901 - p. 914 - 925.
    agroecology - aphids - biological control - ecosystem services - landscape ecology - semi-natural habitat - sentinel - surrogate prey

    It is widely recognized that landscape factors affect the biological control of weed seeds and insect pests in arable crops, but landscape effects have been found to be inconsistent between studies. Here, we compare six different types of sentinels (surrogate prey that was either live insects or seeds) to measure the effects of semi-natural habitats at field to landscape scales on levels of biological control in winter wheat in the UK. Sentinels were located in fields adjacent to three boundary types: grassy margin, hedgerows or woodland to study the local scale effects and in landscapes of varying heterogeneity in study areas of 1-km radius. Overall, mean levels of predation were higher for most insect prey (60.8%) located on the ground compared to the crop (12.2%) and was lower for seeds (5.8%). Predation of sentinels on the ground was attributed to generalist predators. Semi-natural habitats had both positive and negative effects at field and landscape scales, but the response varied with the sentinel type. Herbaceous linear semi-natural habitats had positive effects at local scales for Calliphora vomitoria and Sitobion avenae sentinels and provide evidence that farmers can introduce linear herbaceous features to benefit biological control. In contrast, our distance-weighted kernel models identified a positive relationship between woody habitats and the predation of C. vomitoria and Chenopodium album. Natural aphid infestations were lower in landscapes with more semi-natural habitat. Synthesis and applications. Sentinels may be sensitive enough to detect variation in levels of biological control influenced by semi-natural habitats, but this study confirms that landscape effects differ for different types of sentinel prey. This implies that it may not be possible to categorize landscapes as pest suppressive using a single sentinel type. Future studies should therefore consider using multiple sentinels to give a better perspective on predation intensity. The resulting recommendations for farm management include planting woodland adjacent wheat fields infested with seed predators and positioning herbaceous linear habitats adjacent wheat fields infested with Sitobion avenae, particularly if fields are bordered by woody liner habitats due to their association with decreased S. avenae predation.

    Understanding Landscape Multifunctionality in a Post-forest Frontier: Supply and Demand of Ecosystem Services in Eastern Amazonia
    Pinillos, Daniel ; Bianchi, Felix J.J.A. ; Poccard-Chapuis, Rene ; Corbeels, Marc ; Tittonell, Pablo ; Schulte, Rogier P.O. - \ 2020
    Frontiers in Environmental Science 7 (2020). - ISSN 2296-665X
    ecosystem services - land use - land-use pathways - landscape multi-functionality - pedo-morphology - policy targets

    Sustainable food production requires approaches that reconcile agricultural production with the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. While the contribution of agriculture to the provision of individual ecosystem services has received considerable scientific attention, little is known about the extent to which tropical landscapes can meet societal expectations related to food production and environmental sustainability simultaneously. We assessed how the spatial configuration of pedo-morphology and land uses influences the provision of three soil-based ecosystem services in eastern Amazonia: carbon storage (CS), habitat for biodiversity (HB), and agricultural commodity production (CP). We use the Functional Land Management framework to assess the supply and demand of these ecosystem services in a spatially explicit manner to identify areas of (mis)matches and trade-offs in the municipality of Paragominas, Brazil. The supply of ecosystem services was informed by a literature review for the various combinations of pedo-morphological characteristics and land uses in the region. The demand for ecosystem services was mapped based on federal and state policy targets. Mapping the supply and demand of CS indicated that half of the carbon in the region is stored in remnants of undisturbed forest which cover only a third of the municipality. Demand for HB in terms of forested area is met but it does not guarantee safeguarding biodiversity. Roughly a third of the territory shows scarce quality of HB even when compliant with legislation. Concerning CP, we identified areas where both supply and the demand to increase production are relative high due to road access and lower intensification costs. The demand for agricultural production can eventually incentivize the expansion of agriculture on fertile soils, which could compromise environmental targets. Our results suggest that the simultaneous delivery of multiple ecosystem services may require land-use pathways that combine land sparing and sharing approaches. Our analysis can inform integrated land-use planning initiatives where, historically, the supply and demand for CP have been the single dominant driver for the current landscape configuration.

    Oil Palm Agroforestry Can Achieve Economic and Environmental Gains as Indicated by Multifunctional Land Equivalent Ratios
    Khasanah, Nikmatul ; Noordwijk, Meine van; Slingerland, Maja ; Sofiyudin, Mohammad ; Stomph, Dienke ; Migeon, Adrien F. ; Hairiah, Kurniatun - \ 2020
    Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 3 (2020). - ISSN 2571-581X
    carbon footprint - cocoa - ecosystem services - intercropping - land equivalent ratio (LER) - oil palm - pepper - WaNuLCAS model

    Driven by increased global demand for vegetable oil in the food and biofuel sectors, oil palm plantations based on monoculture technology have expanded into lowland tropical forests. Interest in diversified, mixed oil palm systems is increasing as these might increase efficiency of the use of land and other resources, reduce farmer risk, and decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit product. Land Equivalent Ratio for provisioning services (LERP) values above 1.0 show that at least some diversified systems use land more efficiently than monocultures and are thus “land sparing,” where monoculture LERP cannot exceed 1.0. Diversification also modifies climate and water regulating functions (“land sharing”) relative to a forest reference, as indicated in the LERR index. A “multifunctional” LERM indicator combines both; land sparing plus land sharing effects jointly determine expected regulating services. Empirical assessment of multiple ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes is assisted by models that synthesise process-based knowledge, especially for perennial systems where well-designed experiments require a full production cycle, and are costly and scarce. Agroforestry models explore spacing, intercropping and soil management options, predicting harvestable yields, impacts on water flows, nutrient leaching, and greenhouse gas emissions. We used the process-based Water, Nutrient and Light Capture in Agroforestry System (WaNuLCAS) model to explore mixed oil palm + cocoa and oil palm + pepper intercrop systems with modified (“double row”) planting patterns for Indonesian contexts and estimated consequences for the carbon footprint. The oil palm + cocoa intercrop provided a high LERP (1.4), while also replenishing more ground water and having a lower C footprint. This combination also has a return to labour equal to that in oil palm monocultures and a higher benefit cost ratio than the oil palm + pepper combination that maximizes Net Present Value. Oil palm + cocoa systems are also less sensitive to price uncertainty for oil palm, and buffer for oil palm and cocoa production risks, assumed to be independent of each other. Considerable economic and environmental system improvements appear to be feasible through mixed oil palm systems and diversification as a pathway to intensification deserves full attention of research and policy development.

    Testing the Various Pathways Linking Forest Cover to Dietary Diversity in Tropical Landscapes
    Baudron, Frédéric ; Tomscha, Stephanie A. ; Powell, Bronwen ; Groot, Jeroen C.J. ; Gergel, Sarah E. ; Sunderland, Terry - \ 2019
    Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 3 (2019). - ISSN 2571-581X
    ecosystem services - hidden hunger - multifunctional landscapes - nutrition - structural equation modeling

    A diverse diet is important to address micronutrient deficiencies and other forms of malnutrition, one of the greatest challenges of today's food systems. In tropical countries, several studies have found a positive association between forest cover and dietary diversity, although the actual mechanisms of this has yet to be identified and quantified. Three complementary pathways may link forests to diets: a direct pathway (e.g., consumption of forest food), an income pathway (income from forest products used to purchase food from markets), and an agroecological pathway (forests and trees sustaining farm production). We used piece-wise structural equation modeling to test and quantify the relative contribution of these three pathways for households in seven tropical landscapes in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nicaragua, and Zambia. We used survey data from 1,783 households and determined forest cover within a 2-km radius of each household. The quality of household diets was assessed through four indicators: household dietary diversity and consumption of fruits, vegetables, and meat, based on a 24-h recall. We found evidence of a direct pathway in four landscapes (Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ethiopia, and Zambia), an income pathway in none of the landscapes considered, and an agroecological pathway in three landscapes (Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Indonesia). We also found evidence of improved crop and livestock production with greater forest cover in five landscapes (Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, and Indonesia). Conversely, we found negative associations between forest cover and crop and livestock production in three landscapes (Cameroon, Indonesia, and Zambia). In addition, we found evidence of forest cover being negatively related to at least one indicator of diet quality in three landscapes (Indonesia, Nicaragua, and Zambia) and to integration to the cash economy in three landscapes (Cameroon, Ethiopia, and Nicaragua). This is one of the first studies to quantify the different mechanisms linking forest cover and diet. Our work illuminates the fact that these mechanisms can vary significantly from one site to another, calling for site-specific interventions. Our results also suggest that the positive contributions of forests to rural livelihoods cannot be generalized and should not be idealized.

    Land-Management Options for Greenhouse Gas Removal and Their Impacts on Ecosystem Services and the Sustainable Development Goals
    Smith, Pete ; Adams, Justin ; Beerling, David J. ; Beringer, Tim ; Calvin, Katherine V. ; Fuss, Sabine ; Griscom, Bronson ; Hagemann, Nikolas ; Kammann, Claudia ; Kraxner, Florian ; Minx, Jan C. ; Popp, Alexander ; Renforth, Phil ; Vicente Vicente, Jose Luis ; Keesstra, Saskia - \ 2019
    Annual Review of Environment and Resources 44 (2019). - ISSN 1543-5938 - p. 255 - 286.
    afforestation/reforestation - BECCS - biochar - bioenergy with carbon capture and storage - carbon dioxide removal - CDR - ecosystem services - greenhouse gas removal - Nature's Contributions to People - NCPs - negative emission technology - NET - SDG - soil carbon sequestration - terrestrial enhanced weathering - UN Sustainable Development Goals - wetland restoration

    Land-management options for greenhouse gas removal (GGR) include afforestation or reforestation (AR), wetland restoration, soil carbon sequestration (SCS), biochar, terrestrial enhanced weathering (TEW), and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). We assess the opportunities and risks associated with these options through the lens of their potential impacts on ecosystem services (Nature's Contributions to People; NCPs) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We find that all land-based GGR options contribute positively to at least some NCPs and SDGs. Wetland restoration and SCS almost exclusively deliver positive impacts. A few GGR options, such as afforestation, BECCS, and biochar potentially impact negatively some NCPs and SDGs, particularly when implemented at scale, largely through competition for land. For those that present risks or are least understood, more research is required, and demonstration projects need to proceed with caution. For options that present low risks and provide cobenefits, implementation can proceed more rapidly following no-regrets principles.

    Effectiveness of agri-environmental management on pollinators is moderated more by ecological contrast than by landscape structure or land-use intensity
    Marja, Riho ; Kleijn, David ; Tscharntke, Teja ; Klein, Alexandra Maria ; Frank, Thomas ; Batáry, Péter - \ 2019
    Ecology Letters 22 (2019)9. - ISSN 1461-023X - p. 1493 - 1500.
    Agri-environmental schemes - bees - biodiversity - butterflies - ecosystem services - flower strips - hoverflies - land-use intensity - meta-analysis

    Agri-environment management (AEM) started in the 1980s in Europe to mitigate biodiversity decline, but the effectiveness of AEM has been questioned. We hypothesize that this is caused by a lack of a large enough ecological contrast between AEM and non-treated control sites. The effectiveness of AEM may be moderated by landscape structure and land-use intensity. Here, we examined the influence of local ecological contrast, landscape structure and regional land-use intensity on AEM effectiveness in a meta-analysis of 62 European pollinator studies. We found that ecological contrast was most important in determining the effectiveness of AEM, but landscape structure and regional land-use intensity played also a role. In conclusion, the most successful way to enhance AEM effectiveness for pollinators is to implement measures that result in a large ecological improvement at a local scale, which exhibit a strong contrast to conventional practices in simple landscapes of intensive land-use regions.

    Dossier Nature Based Solutions
    Spijker, J.H. - \ 2019
    Wageningen : Groen Kennisnet
    urban planning - ecosystem services - urban areas - greening - health - heat resistance - trees - climatic change - water holding capacity - biodiversity - population education - mobility - well-being - gardens - air pollution
    Het leefbaar houden van steden en dorpen is een belangrijke uitdaging van deze tijd. Daarnaast zorgt klimaatverandering voor een toenemende vraag naar slimme oplossingen om in te spelen op extremere weersomstandigheden. Het vergroenen van steden en dorpen biedt niet alleen een oplossing voor klimaatgerelateerde problemen, maar bevordert ook het woonplezier en de gezondheid van bewoners. Dit dossier laat zien hoe slimme groene oplossingen kunnen helpen bij de inrichting en het beheer van woongebieden ter bevordering van de leefbaarheid en klimaatadaptatie. Thema's zoals biodiversiteit, adaptatie en mitigatie komen aan bod.
    Nature Based Solutions
    Spijker, J.H. - \ 2019
    urban planning - urban areas - ecosystem services - greening - health - water - heat resistance - trees - climatic change - water holding capacity - biodiversity - stress - population education - mobility
    Voor de uitdagingen van de stad 21e eeuw: 25 jaar VBG, Wageningen 22 maart 2019
    Local perceptions of ecosystem services and protection of culturally protected forests in southeast China
    Gao, Hong ; Xiao, Yi ; Koppen, C.S.A. Van; Ouyang, Zhiyun - \ 2018
    Ecosystem Health and Sustainability 4 (2018)12. - ISSN 2096-4129 - p. 299 - 309.
    Conservation - culturally protected forests - ecosystem services - informal rules - local community

    Introduction: Culturally protected forests (CPFs), preserved and managed by local people on the basis of traditional practices and beliefs, have social and ecological functions. Local residents’ perceptions were investigated in three types of CPFs (community forests, ancestral temple forests, and cemetery forests) in five villages in southeast China. In semi-structured interviews (232 questionnaires), residents were asked about their perceptions concerning ecosystem services and protection of CPFs. Outcomes: The survey results showed that resource utilization was not high in CPFs than in forests without culturally protected. Important ecosystem services provided by CPFs included air quality improvement, water retention, recreation, and aesthetic value. Respondents were satisfied with different cultural services provided by CPFs, including aesthetic value of community forests, ecotourism of ancestral temple forests, and cultural heritage of cemetery forests. Informal rules and traditional customs were used as the main measures to govern forests in daily life; however, the most effective measures, in order of importance, were setting fines or punishment by laws, using informal rules and village regulations, or protection by government agencies. Only half of the respondents were willing to pay for maintaining ecosystem services of CPFs, but 77.8% respondents were willing to spend time on protection. From apolicy perspective, educational programs were as important as traditions, and they are crucial to explain the ecological importance of CPFs. Conclusion: The conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services of CPFs will benefit if government agencies consider incorporating CPFs into policy and legislative frameworks, maintain CPFs as collectively owned forests, and introduce ecological compensation mechanisms.

    Groen en welbevinden : Hoe kan het groen in de directe woonomgeving bijdragen aan het welbevinden van verschillende bewoners?
    Vries, S. de - \ 2018
    Wageningen : Wageningen University & Research - 57 p.
    public green areas - health - ecosystem services - physical activity - social cooperation - study - youth - health indicators
    Limiting the high impacts of Amazon forest dieback with no-regrets science and policy action
    Lapola, David M. ; Pinho, Patricia ; Quesada, Carlos A. ; Strassburg, Bernardo B.N. ; Rammig, Anja ; Kruijt, Bart ; Brown, Foster ; Ometto, Jean P.H.B. ; Premebida, Adriano ; Marengo, José A. ; Vergara, Walter ; Nobre, Carlos A. - \ 2018
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 115 (2018)46. - ISSN 0027-8424 - p. 11671 - 11679.
    adaptation - agriculture - ecosystem services - hydroelectricity generation - migration

    Large uncertainties still dominate the hypothesis of an abrupt large-scale shift of the Amazon forest caused by climate change [Amazonian forest dieback (AFD)] even though observational evidence shows the forest and regional climate changing. Here, we assess whether mitigation or adaptation action should be taken now, later, or not at all in light of such uncertainties. No action/later action would result in major social impacts that may influence migration to large Amazonian cities through a causal chain of climate change and forest degradation leading to lower river-water levels that affect transportation, food security, and health. Net-present value socioeconomic damage over a 30-year period after AFD is estimated between US dollar (USD) $957 billion (×109) and $3,589 billion (compared with Gross Brazilian Amazon Product of USD $150 billion per year), arising primarily from changes in the provision of ecosystem services. Costs of acting now would be one to two orders of magnitude lower than economic damages. However, while AFD mitigation alternatives-e.g., curbing deforestation-are attainable (USD $64 billion), their efficacy in achieving a forest resilience that prevents AFD is uncertain. Concurrently, a proposed set of 20 adaptation measures is also attainable (USD $122 billion) and could bring benefits even if AFD never occurs. An interdisciplinary research agenda to fill lingering knowledge gaps and constrain the risk of AFD should focus on developing sound experimental and modeling evidence regarding its likelihood, integrated with socioeconomic assessments to anticipate its impacts and evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of mitigation/adaptation options.

    Biological control of an invasive pest eases pressures on global commodity markets
    Wyckhuys, K.A.G. ; Zhang, W. ; Prager, S.D. ; Kramer, D.B. ; Delaquis, E. ; Gonzalez, C.E. ; Werf, W. van der - \ 2018
    Environmental Research Letters 13 (2018)9. - ISSN 1748-9318
    biological control - ecosystem services - invasion biology - social-ecological systems - sustainable intensification - tele-coupling

    In an increasingly globalized world, invasive species cause major human, financial, and environmental costs. A cosmopolitan pest of great concern is the cassava mealybug Phenacoccus manihoti (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae), which invaded Asia in 2008. Following its arrival, P. manihoti inflicted measurable yield losses and a 27% drop in aggregate cassava production in Thailand. As Thailand is a vital exporter of cassava-derived commodities to China and supplies 36% of the world's internationally-traded starch, yield shocks triggered price surges and structural changes in global starch trade. In 2009 a biological control agent was introduced in Asia-the host-specific parasitoid, Anagyrus lopezi (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae). This parasitoid had previously controlled the cassava mealybug in Africa, and its introduction in Asia restored yield levels at a continent-wide scale. Trade network and price time-series analyses reveal how both mealybug-induced production loss and subsequent parasitoid-mediated yield recovery coincided with price fluctuations in futures and spot markets, with important cascading effects on globe-spanning trade networks of (cassava) starch and commodity substitutes. While our analyses may not imply causality, especially given the concurrent 2007-2011 food crises, our results do illuminate the important interconnections among subcomponents of the global commodity system. Our work underlines how ecologically-based tactics support resilience and safeguard primary productivity in (tropical) agro-ecosystems, which in turn help stabilize commodity markets in a similar way as pesticide-centered approaches. Yet, more importantly, (judiciously-implemented) biological control can deliver ample 'hidden' environmental and human-health benefits that are not captured by the prices of globally-traded commodities.

    Data from: Crop pests and predators exhibit inconsistent responses to surrounding landscape composition
    Karp, Daniel S. ; Chaplin-Kramer, Rebecca ; Meehan, Timothy D. ; Martin, Emily A. ; DeClerck, Fabrice ; Grab, Heather ; Gratton, Claudio ; Hunt, Lauren ; Larsen, Ashley E. ; Martínez-Salinas, Alejandra ; Bianchi, F.J.J.A. ; Werf, W. van der - \ 2018
    University of California
    agroecology - biological control - natural enemies - pest control - pest - ecosystem services - landscape
    The idea that noncrop habitat enhances pest control and represents a win–win opportunity to conserve biodiversity and bolster yields has emerged as an agroecological paradigm. However, while noncrop habitat in landscapes surrounding farms sometimes benefits pest predators, natural enemy responses remain heterogeneous across studies and effects on pests are inconclusive. The observed heterogeneity in species responses to noncrop habitat may be biological in origin or could result from variation in how habitat and biocontrol are measured. Here, we use a pest-control database encompassing 132 studies and 6,759 sites worldwide to model natural enemy and pest abundances, predation rates, and crop damage as a function of landscape composition. Our results showed that although landscape composition explained significant variation within studies, pest and enemy abundances, predation rates, crop damage, and yields each exhibited different responses across studies, sometimes increasing and sometimes decreasing in landscapes with more noncrop habitat but overall showing no consistent trend. Thus, models that used landscape-composition variables to predict pest-control dynamics demonstrated little potential to explain variation across studies, though prediction did improve when comparing studies with similar crop and landscape features. Overall, our work shows that surrounding noncrop habitat does not consistently improve pest management, meaning habitat conservation may bolster production in some systems and depress yields in others. Future efforts to develop tools that inform farmers when habitat conservation truly represents a win–win would benefit from increased understanding of how landscape effects are modulated by local farm management and the biology of pests and their enemies.
    Review: Make ruminants green again - How can sustainable intensification and agroecology converge for a better future?
    Dumont, B. ; Groot, J.C.J. ; Tichit, M. - \ 2018
    Animal 12 (2018)s2. - ISSN 1751-7311 - p. s210 - s219.
    ecosystem services - efficiency - food systems - redesign - sustainability

    Livestock farming systems provide multiple benefits to humans: protein-rich diets that contribute to food security, employment and rural economies, capital stock and draught power in many developing countries and cultural landscape all around the world. Despite these positive contributions to society, livestock is also the centre of many controversies as regards to its environmental impacts, animal welfare and health outcomes related to excessive meat consumption. Here, we review the potentials of sustainable intensification (SI) and agroecology (AE) in the design of sustainable ruminant farming systems. We analyse the two frameworks in a historical perspective and show that they are underpinned by different values and worldviews about food consumption patterns, the role of technology and our relationship with nature. Proponents of SI see the increase in animal protein demand as inevitable and therefore aim at increasing production from existing farmland to limit further encroachment into remaining natural ecosystems. Sustainable intensification can thus be seen as an efficiency-oriented framework that benefits from all forms of technological development. Proponents of AE appear more open to dietary shifts towards less animal protein consumption to rebalance the whole food system. Agroecology promotes system redesign, benefits from functional diversity and aims at providing regulating and cultural services. We analyse the main criticisms of the two frameworks: Is SI sustainable? How much can AE contribute to feeding the world? Indeed, in SI, social justice has long lacked attention notably with respect to resource allocation within and between generations. It is only recently that some of its proponents have indicated that there is room to include more diversified systems and food-system transformation perspectives and to build socially fair governance systems. As no space is available for agricultural land expansion in many areas, agroecological approaches that emphasise the importance of local production should also focus more on yield increases from agricultural land. Our view is that new technologies and strict certifications offer opportunities for scaling-up agroecological systems. We stress that the key issue for making digital science part of the agroecological transition is that it remains at a low cost and is thus accessible to smallholder farmers. We conclude that SI and AE could converge for a better future by adopting transformative approaches in the search for ecologically benign, socially fair and economically viable ruminant farming systems.

    Comparison of ecosystem services provided by grasslands with different utilization patterns in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
    Du, Bingzhen ; Zhen, Lin ; Hu, Yunfeng ; Yan, Huimin ; Groot, Rudolf de; Leemans, Rik - \ 2018
    Journal of Geographical Sciences 28 (2018)10. - ISSN 1009-637X - p. 1399 - 1414.
    ecosystem services - grasslands utilization pattern - household livelihoods - natural resource management - soil - vegetation

    Although several previous studies in Inner Mongolia examined the effects of ecological conservation on the delivery of ecosystem services, they were often limited in scope (few ecosystem services were assessed) and often suffered from confounding by spatial variation. In this study, we examined the impact of conservation measures (changes in grassland utilization patterns) on the provision of selected ecosystem services in three types of grasslands (meadow steppe in Hulun Buir, typical steppe in Xilin Gol, and semi-desert steppe in Ordos) in Inner Mongolia. We examined five utilization patterns: no use (natural grasslands), light use, moderate use, intensive use, and recovery sites (degraded sites protected from further use). Through household surveys and vegetation and soil surveys, we measured the differences in ecosystem services among the different grassland utilization patterns. We also identified spatial factors that confounded the quantification of ecosystem services in different types of grasslands. We found that light use generally provided high levels of ecosystem services in meadow steppe and typical steppe, with the main differences in the supporting ecosystem services. Surprisingly, we found no consistently positive impacts of strict conservation activities across the sites, since the results varied spatially and with respect to differences in the land-use patterns. Our study suggests that appropriate grassland utilization patterns can enhance the supply of ecosystem services and reduce negative effects on both household livelihoods and the environment.

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