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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    Human-induced changes in Indonesian peatlands increase drought severity
    Taufik, M. ; Minasny, B. ; Mcbratney, A.B. ; Dam, J.C. Van; Jones, P.D. ; Lanen, H.A.J. Van - \ 2020
    Environmental Research Letters 15 (2020)8. - ISSN 1748-9318
    canalization - drought amplification - hydrological drought - land-use change - peat degradation

    Indonesian peatlands are critical to the global carbon cycle, but they also support a large number of local economies. Intense forest clearing and draining in these peatlands is causing severe ecological and environmental impacts. Most studies highlighted increased carbon emission in the region through drought and large-scale fires, further accelerating peatland degradation. Yet, little is known about the long-term impacts of human-induced disturbance on peatland hydrology in the tropics. Here we show that converting natural peat forests to plantations can significantly alter the hydrological system far worse than previously recognized, leading to amplified moisture stress and drought severity. This study quantified how human-induced changes to Indonesian peatlands have affected drought severity. Through field observations and modelling, we demonstrate that canalization doubled drought severity; logging and starting plantations even quadrupled drought severity. Recognizing the importance of peatlands to Indonesia, proper management, and rehabilitating peatlands remain the only viable option for continued plantation use.

    Valuing the effect of land use change on landscape services on the urban–rural fringe
    Zhou, Ting ; Kennedy, Erin ; Koomen, Eric ; Leeuwen, Eveline S. van - \ 2020
    Journal of Environmental Planning and Management (2020). - ISSN 0964-0568
    economic valuation - land-use change - lansdscape services - the Netherlands - urban–rural fringe

    The urban–rural fringe is a dynamic environment where urban expansion limits the provision of landscape services. Economic valuation of these services is proposed to quantify the impact of urbanisation and inform planners of the potential losses that attribute to these land-use changes. However, most evaluation methods remain controversial regarding shortcomings in providing reliable results. This study applies market price, contingent valuation and value transfer methods and compares their performance in assessing the economic impact of land-use changes on the urban–rural fringe of the Amstelland (the Netherlands). Results with these applied methods differ greatly due to their respective advantages in revealing use values or non-use values of landscape services and dependence on land-use change. Thus, results are sensitive to value types, the scarcity of landscape services, scale of the study area, and involved stakeholders. This paper reflects on the strengths and weaknesses of these methods in different planning contexts.

    Gully cut-and-fill cycles as related to agromanagement a historical curve number simulation in the Tigray Highlands
    Lanckriet, S. ; Frankl, A. ; Mesfin, G. ; Descheemaeker, K.K.E. ; Nyssen, J. - \ 2015
    Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 40 (2015)6. - ISSN 0197-9337 - p. 796 - 808.
    land-use change - northern ethiopian highlands - central belgium - old gullies - spatial-distribution - landscape evolution - late pleistocene - erosion rates - late holocene - level changes
    Gully cut-and-fill dynamics are often thought to be driven by climate and/or deforestation related to population pressure. However, in this case-study of nine representative catchments in the Northern Ethiopian Highlands, we find that neither climate changes nor deforestation can explain gully morphology changes over the twentieth century. Firstly, by using a Monte Carlo simulation to estimate historical catchment-wide curve numbers, we show that the landscape was already heavily degraded in the nineteenth and early twentieth century – a period with low population density. The mean catchment-wide curve number (> 80) one century ago was, under the regional climatic conditions, already resulting in considerable simulated historical runoff responses. Secondly, twentieth century land-cover and runoff coefficient changes were confronted with twentieth century changing gully morphologies. As the results show, large-scale land-cover changes and deforestation cannot explain the observed processes. The study therefore invokes interactions between authigenic factors, small-scale plot boundary changes, cropland management and sociopolitical forces to explain the gully cut processes. Finally, semi-structured interviews and sedistratigraphic analysis of three filled gullies confirm the dominant impact of (crop)land management (tillage, check dams in gullies and channel diversions) on gully cut-and-fill processes. Since agricultural land management – including land tenure and land distribution – has been commonly neglected in earlier related research, we argue therefore that it can be a very strong driver of twentieth century gully morphodynamics.
    Global carbon budget 2014
    Quéré, C. Le; Peters, W. ; Moriarty, R. ; Friedlingstein, P. - \ 2015
    Earth System Science Data 7 (2015)1. - ISSN 1866-3508 - p. 47 - 85.
    land-use change - environment simulator jules - co2 flux variability - mixed-layer scheme - earth system model - atmospheric co2 - dioxide emissions - interannual variability - terrestrial ecosystems - international-trade
    Accurate assessment of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and their redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and terrestrial biosphere is important to better understand the global carbon cycle, support the development of climate policies, and project future climate change. Here we describe data sets and a methodology to quantify all major components of the global carbon budget, including their uncertainties, based on the combination of a range of data, algorithms, statistics, and model estimates and their interpretation by a broad scientific community. We discuss changes compared to previous estimates, consistency within and among components, alongside methodology and data limitations. CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production (EFF) are based on energy statistics and cement production data, respectively, while emissions from land-use change (ELUC), mainly deforestation, are based on combined evidence from land-cover-change data, fire activity associated with deforestation, and models. The global atmospheric CO2 concentration is measured directly and its rate of growth (GATM) is computed from the annual changes in concentration. The mean ocean CO2 sink (SOCEAN) is based on observations from the 1990s, while the annual anomalies and trends are estimated with ocean models. The variability in SOCEAN is evaluated with data products based on surveys of ocean CO2 measurements. The global residual terrestrial CO2 sink (SLAND) is estimated by the difference of the other terms of the global carbon budget and compared to results of independent dynamic global vegetation models forced by observed climate, CO2, and land-cover-change (some including nitrogen–carbon interactions). We compare the mean land and ocean fluxes and their variability to estimates from three atmospheric inverse methods for three broad latitude bands. All uncertainties are reported as ±1s, reflecting the current capacity to characterise the annual estimates of each component of the global carbon budget. For the last decade available (2004–2013), EFF was 8.9 ± 0.4 GtC yr-1, ELUC 0.9 ± 0.5 GtC yr-1, GATM 4.3 ± 0.1 GtC yr-1, SOCEAN 2.6 ± 0.5 GtC yr-1, and SLAND 2.9 ± 0.8 GtC yr-1. For year 2013 alone, EFF grew to 9.9 ± 0.5 GtC yr-1, 2.3% above 2012, continuing the growth trend in these emissions, ELUC was 0.9 ± 0.5 GtC yr-1, GATM was 5.4 ± 0.2 GtC yr-1, SOCEAN was 2.9 ± 0.5 GtC yr-1, and SLAND was 2.5 ± 0.9 GtC yr-1. GATM was high in 2013, reflecting a steady increase in EFF and smaller and opposite changes between SOCEAN and SLAND compared to the past decade (2004–2013). The global atmospheric CO2 concentration reached 395.31 ± 0.10 ppm averaged over 2013. We estimate that EFF will increase by 2.5% (1.3–3.5%) to 10.1 ± 0.6 GtC in 2014 (37.0 ± 2.2 GtCO2 yr-1), 65% above emissions in 1990, based on projections of world gross domestic product and recent changes in the carbon intensity of the global economy. From this projection of EFF and assumed constant ELUC for 2014, cumulative emissions of CO2 will reach about 545 ± 55 GtC (2000 ± 200 GtCO2) for 1870–2014, about 75% from EFF and 25% from ELUC. This paper documents changes in the methods and data sets used in this new carbon budget compared with previous publications of this living data set (Le Quéré et al., 2013, 2014). All observations presented here can be downloaded from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis
    Unveiling soil degradation and desertification risk in the Mediterranean basin: a data mining analysis of the relationships between biophysical and socioeconomic factors in agro-forest landscapes
    Salvati, L. ; Kosmas, C. ; Kairis, O. ; Karavitis, C. ; Hessel, R. ; Ritsema, C.J. - \ 2015
    Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 58 (2015)10. - ISSN 0964-0568 - p. 1789 - 1803.
    land-use change - abandonment - erosion - vulnerability - performance - indicators - region - europe - system - spain
    Soil degradation and desertification processes in the Mediterranean basin reflect the interplay between environmental and socioeconomic drivers. An approach to evaluate comparatively the multiple relationships between biophysical variables and socioeconomic factors is illustrated in the present study using the data collected from 586 field sites located in five Mediterranean areas (Spain, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia and Morocco). A total of 47 variables were chosen to illustrate land-use, farm characteristics, population pressure, tourism development, rainfall regime, water availability, soil properties and vegetation cover, among others. A data mining approach incorporating non-parametric inference, principal component analysis and hierarchical clustering was developed to identify candidate syndromes of soil degradation and desertification risk. While field sites in the same study area showed a substantial similarity, the multivariate relationship among variables diverged among study areas. Data mining techniques proved to be a practical tool to identify spatial determinants of soil degradation and desertification risk. Our findings identify the contrasting spatial patterns for biophysical and socioeconomic variables, in turn associated with different responses to land degradation.
    Model collaboration for the improved assessment of biomass supply, demand, and impacts
    Wicke, B. ; Hilst, F. van der; Daioglou, V. ; Banse, M. ; Beringer, T. ; Gerssen-Gondelach, S. ; Heijnen, S. ; Karssenberg, D. ; Laborde, D. ; Lippe, M. ; Meijl, H. van; Nassar, A. ; Powell, J.P. ; Prins, A.G. ; Rose, S.N.K. ; Smeets, E.M.W. ; Stehfest, E. ; Tyner, W.E. ; Verstegen, J.A. ; Valin, H. ; Vuuren, D.P. van; Yeh, S. ; Faaij, A.P.C. - \ 2015
    Global change biology Bioenergy 7 (2015)3. - ISSN 1757-1693 - p. 422 - 437.
    land-use change - global agricultural markets - greenhouse-gas emissions - eu biofuel policies - bioenergy production - united-states - energy crops - trade-offs - bio-energy - ethanol
    Existing assessments of biomass supply and demand and their impacts face various types of limitations and uncertainties, partly due to the type of tools and methods applied (e.g., partial representation of sectors, lack of geographical details, and aggregated representation of technologies involved). Improved collaboration between existing modeling approaches may provide new, more comprehensive insights, especially into issues that involve multiple economic sectors, different temporal and spatial scales, or various impact categories. Model collaboration consists of aligning and harmonizing input data and scenarios, model comparison and/or model linkage. Improved collaboration between existing modeling approaches can help assess (i) the causes of differences and similarities in model output, which is important for interpreting the results for policy-making and (ii) the linkages, feedbacks, and trade-offs between different systems and impacts (e.g., economic and natural), which is key to a more comprehensive understanding of the impacts of biomass supply and demand. But, full consistency or integration in assumptions, structure, solution algorithms, dynamics and feedbacks can be difficult to achieve. And, if it is done, it frequently implies a trade-off in terms of resolution (spatial, temporal, and structural) and/or computation. Three key research areas are selected to illustrate how model collaboration can provide additional ways for tackling some of the shortcomings and uncertainties in the assessment of biomass supply and demand and their impacts. These research areas are livestock production, agricultural residues, and greenhouse gas emissions from land-use change. Describing how model collaboration might look like in these examples, we show how improved model collaboration can strengthen our ability to project biomass supply, demand, and impacts. This in turn can aid in improving the information for policy-makers and in taking better-informed decisions.
    A Multi-Criteria Index for Ecological Evaluation of Tropical Agriculture in Southeastern Mexico
    Huerta, E. ; Kampichler, C. ; Ochoa-Gaona, S. ; Jong, B. de; Hernandez-Daumas, S. ; Geissen, V. - \ 2014
    PLoS ONE 9 (2014)11. - ISSN 1932-6203
    land-use change - farming systems - sustainability indicators - cropping systems - soil properties - food security - fuzzy-logic - management - agroecosystems - biodiversity
    The aim of this study was to generate an easy to use index to evaluate the ecological state of agricultural land from a sustainability perspective. We selected environmental indicators, such as the use of organic soil amendments (green manure) versus chemical fertilizers, plant biodiversity (including crop associations), variables which characterize soil conservation of conventional agricultural systems, pesticide use, method and frequency of tillage. We monitored the ecological state of 52 agricultural plots to test the performance of the index. The variables were hierarchically aggregated with simple mathematical algorithms, if-then rules, and rule-based fuzzy models, yielding the final multi-criteria index with values from 0 (worst) to 1 (best conditions). We validated the model through independent evaluation by experts, and we obtained a linear regression with an r(2) = 0.61 (p = 2.4e-06, d.f. = 49) between index output and the experts' evaluation.
    Comparison of remote sensing and plant trait-based modelling to predict ecosystem services in subalpine grasslands
    Homolova, L. ; Schaepman, M.E. ; Lamarque, P. ; Clevers, J.G.P.W. ; Bello, F. de; Thuiller, W. ; Lavorel, S. - \ 2014
    Ecosphere 5 (2014)8. - ISSN 2150-8925
    land-use change - leaf chlorophyll content - imaging spectroscopy - water-content - aviris data - spectral reflectance - hyperspectral data - species richness - area index - vegetation
    There is a growing demand for spatially explicit assessment of multiple ecosystem services (ES) and remote sensing (RS) can provide valuable data to meet this challenge. In this study, located in the Central French Alps, we used high spatial and spectral resolution RS images to assess multiple ES based on underpinning ecosystem properties (EP) of subalpine grasslands. We estimated five EP (green biomass, litter mass, crude protein content, species diversity and soil carbon content) from RS data using empirical RS methods and maps of ES were calculated as simple linear combinations of EP. Additionally, the RS-based results were compared with results of a plant trait-based statistical modelling approach that predicted EP and ES from land use, abiotic and plant trait data (modelling approach). The comparison between the RS and the modelling approaches showed that RS-based results provided better insight into the fine-grained spatial distribution of EP and thereby ES, whereas the modelling approach reflected the land use signal that underpinned trait-based models of EP. The spatial agreement between the two approaches at a 20-m resolution varied between 16 and 22% for individual EP, but for the total ecosystem service supply it was only 7%. Furthermore, the modelling approach identified the alpine grazed meadows land use class as areas with high values of multiple ES (hot spots) and mown-grazed permanent meadows as areas with low values and only few ES (cold spots). Whereas the RS-based hot spots were a small subset of those predicted by the modelling approach, cold spots were rather scattered, small patches with limited overlap with the modelling results. Despite limitations associated with timing of assessment campaigns and field data requirements, RS offers valuable data for spatially continuous mapping of EP and can thus supply RS-based proxies of ES. Although the RS approach was applied to a limited area and for one type of ecosystem, we believe that the broader availability of high fidelity airborne and satellite RS data will promote RS-based assessment of ES to larger areas and other ecosystems.
    Estimating the opportunity costs of reducing carbon dioxide emissions via avoided deforestation, using integrated assessment modelling
    Overmars, K.P. ; Stehfest, E. ; Tabeau, A.A. ; Meijl, J.C.M. van; Beltran, A.M. ; Kram, T. - \ 2014
    Land Use Policy 41 (2014). - ISSN 0264-8377 - p. 45 - 60.
    land-use change - climate - degradation - forests - impact - policy
    Estimates show that, in recent years, deforestation and forest degradation accounted for about 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The implementation of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) is suggested to provide substantial emission reductions at low costs, although cost estimates show large uncertainty. Cost estimates can differ, as they depend on the approach chosen, for example: giving an economic stimulus to entire countries, taking landowners as actors in a REDD framework, or starting from protecting carbon-rich areas. This last approach was chosen for this analysis. Proper calculation of the economic cost requires an integrated modelling approach involving biophysical impact calculations and their associated economic effects. To date, only a few global modelling studies have applied such an approach. In modelling REDD measures, the actual implementation of REDD can take many forms, with implications for the results. This study assumes that non-Annex I countries will protect carbon-rich areas against deforestation, and therefore will refrain from using these areas as agricultural land. The opportunity costs of reducing deforestation within the framework of REDD were assessed using an integrated economic and land-use modelling approach comprising the global economic LEITAP model and the biophysical IMAGE model. One of the main methodological challenges is the representation of land use and the possibility to convert woodlands land into agricultural land. We endogenised the availability of agricultural land by introducing a flexible land supply curve, and represented the implementation of REDD policies as a reduction in the maximum amount of unmanaged land that potentially would be available for conversion to agriculture, in various regions in the world. In a series of model experiments, carbon-rich areas in non-Annex I countries were protected from deforestation. In each consecutive scenario the protected area was increased, starting off with the most carbon rich lands, worldwide systematically working down to areas with less carbon storage. The associated opportunity costs, expressed in terms of GDP reduction, were calculated with the economic LEITAP model. The resulting net reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from land-use change was calculated with the IMAGE model. From the sequence of experiments, marginal cost curves were constructed, relating carbon dioxide emission reductions to the opportunity costs. The results showed that globally a maximum of around 2.5 Gt carbon dioxide emissions could be avoided, annually. However, regional differences in opportunity costs are large and were found to range from about 0 to 3.2 USD per tonne carbon dioxide in Africa, 2 to 9 USD in South America and Central America, and 20 to 60 USD in Southeast Asia. These results are comparable to other studies that have calculated these costs, in terms of both opportunity costs and the regional distribution of emissions reduction.
    Integrating Stand and Soil Properties to Understand Foliar Nutrient Dynamics during Forest Succession Following Slash-and-Burn Agriculture in the Bolivian Amazon
    Broadbent, E.N. ; Zambrano, A.M.A. ; Asner, G.P. ; Soriano, M. ; Field, C.B. ; Souza, H.R. de; Pena Claros, M. ; Adams, R.I. ; Dirzo, R. ; Giles, L. - \ 2014
    PLoS ONE 9 (2014)2. - ISSN 1932-6203 - 23 p.
    carbon-isotope discrimination - tropical rain-forests - n-15 natural-abundance - northeastern costa-rica - below-ground carbon - land-use change - n-p ratios - secondary forest - organic-matter - brazilian amazon
    Secondary forests cover large areas of the tropics and play an important role in the global carbon cycle. During secondary forest succession, simultaneous changes occur among stand structural attributes, soil properties, and species composition. Most studies classify tree species into categories based on their regeneration requirements. We use a high-resolution secondary forest chronosequence to assign trees to a continuous gradient in species successional status assigned according to their distribution across the chronosequence. Species successional status, not stand age or differences in stand structure or soil properties, was found to be the best predictor of leaf trait variation. Foliar d13C had a significant positive relationship with species successional status, indicating changes in foliar physiology related to growth and competitive strategy, but was not correlated with stand age, whereas soil d13C dynamics were largely constrained by plant species composition. Foliar d15N had a significant negative correlation with both stand age and species successional status, – most likely resulting from a large initial biomass-burning enrichment in soil 15N and 13C and not closure of the nitrogen cycle. Foliar %C was neither correlated with stand age nor species successional status but was found to display significant phylogenetic signal. Results from this study are relevant to understanding the dynamics of tree species growth and competition during forest succession and highlight possibilities of, and potentially confounding signals affecting, the utility of leaf traits to understand community and species dynamics during secondary forest succession.
    Temperate forest development during secondary succession: effects of soil, dominant species and management
    Bose, A.K. ; Schelhaas, M. ; Mazerolle, M.J. ; Bongers, F. - \ 2014
    European Journal of Forest Research 133 (2014)3. - ISSN 1612-4669 - p. 511 - 523.
    organic-matter accumulation - net primary production - pinus-sylvestris l. - age-related decline - land-use change - scots pine - carbon sequestration - tree height - nitrogen mineralization - practical implications
    With the increase in abandoned agricultural lands in Western Europe, knowledge on the successional pathways of newly developing forests becomes urgent. We evaluated the effect of time, soil type and dominant species type (shade tolerant or intolerant) on the development during succession of three stand attributes: above-ground biomass, stand height (HT) and stem density (SD). Additionally, we compared above-ground biomass (AGB) in natural and planted forests, using ten chronosequences (8 from the literature and 2 from this study). Both AGB and HT increased over time, whereas SD decreased. HT, SD and AGB differed among species types. For example, birch had greater HT than alder, willow and ash at a similar age and had higher SD than pine and oak at a similar age. However, birch showed lower AGB than pine. HT and AGB differed among soil types. They were higher in rich soil than in poor soils. Comparative analysis between chronosequences showed an effect of the regeneration method (natural regeneration vs plantation) on above-ground biomass. Planted sites had higher AGB than natural regeneration. Time, soil type, species and regeneration method influenced the mechanism of stand responses during secondary succession. These characteristics could be used to clarify the heterogeneity and potential productivity of such spontaneously growing temperate forest ecosystems.
    Methods to determine the relative value of genetic traits in dairy cows to reduce greenhouse gas emissions along the chain
    Middelaar, C.E. van; Berentsen, P.B.M. ; Dijkstra, J. ; Arendonk, J.A.M. van; Boer, I.J.M. de - \ 2014
    Journal of Dairy Science 97 (2014)8. - ISSN 0022-0302 - p. 5191 - 5205.
    enteric methane emissions - life-cycle assessment - land-use change - economic values - milk-production - grazing behavior - farm-level - model - cattle - rumen
    Current decisions on breeding in dairy farming are mainly based on economic values of heritable traits, as earning an income is a primary objective of farmers. Recent literature, however, shows that breeding also has potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The objective of this paper was to compare 2 methods to determine GHG values of genetic traits. Method 1 calculates GHG values using the current strategy (i.e., maximizing labor income), whereas method 2 is based on minimizing GHG per kilogram of milk and shows what can be achieved if the breeding results are fully directed at minimizing GHG emissions. A whole-farm optimization model was used to determine results before and after 1 genetic standard deviation improvement (i.e., unit change) of milk yield and longevity. The objective function of the model differed between method 1 and 2. Method 1 maximizes labor income; method 2 minimizes GHG emissions per kilogram of milk while maintaining labor income and total milk production at least at the level before the change in trait. Results show that the full potential of the traits to reduce GHG emissions given the boundaries that were set for income and milk production (453 and 441 kg of CO2 equivalents/unit change per cow per year for milk yield and longevity, respectively) is about twice as high as the reduction based on maximizing labor income (247 and 210 kg of CO2 equivalents/unit change per cow per year for milk yield and longevity, respectively). The GHG value of milk yield is higher than that of longevity, especially when the focus is on maximizing labor income. Based on a sensitivity analysis, it was shown that including emissions from land use change and using different methods for handling the interaction between milk and meat production can change results, generally in favor of milk yield. Results can be used by breeding organizations that want to include GHG values in their breeding goal. To verify GHG values, the effect of prices and emissions factors should be considered, as well as the potential effect of variation between farm types.
    Coupling socio-economic factors and eco-hydrological processes using a cascade-modeling approach
    Odongo, V.O. ; Mulatu, D.W. ; Muthoni, F.K. ; Oel, P.R. van; Meins, F.M. ; Tol, C. van der; Skidmore, A.K. ; Groen, T.A. ; Becht, R. ; Onyando, J.O. ; Veen, A. van der - \ 2014
    Journal of Hydrology 518 (2014)Part A. - ISSN 0022-1694 - p. 49 - 59.
    land-use change - murray-darling basin - lake naivasha - population-dynamics - water availability - stream ecosystems - human impact - east-africa - kenya - rainfall
    Most hydrological studies do not account for the socio-economic influences on eco-hydrological processes. However, socio-economic developments often change the water balance substantially and are highly relevant in understanding changes in hydrological responses. In this study a multi-disciplinary approach was used to study the cascading impacts of socio-economic drivers of land use and land cover (LULC) changes on the eco-hydrological regime of the Lake Naivasha Basin. The basin has recently experienced substantial LULC changes exacerbated by socio-economic drivers. The simplified cascade models provided insights for an improved understanding of the socio-ecohydrological system. Results show that the upstream population has transformed LULC such that runoff during the period 1986–2010 was 32% higher than during the period 1961–1985. Cut-flower export volumes and downstream population growth explain 71% of the water abstracted from Lake Naivasha. The influence of upstream population on LULC and upstream hydrological processes explained 59% and 30% of the variance in lake storage volumes and sediment yield respectively. The downstream LULC changes had significant impact on large wild herbivore mammal species on the fringe zone of the lake. This study shows that, in cases where observed socio-economic developments are substantial, the use of a cascade-modeling approach, that couple socio-economic factors to eco-hydrological processes, can greatly improve our understanding of the eco-hydrological processes of a catchment.
    Agriculture and nature: Trouble and strife?
    Baudron, F. ; Giller, K.E. - \ 2014
    Biological Conservation 170 (2014). - ISSN 0006-3207 - p. 232 - 245.
    soil fertility management - agri-environment schemes - land-use change - biodiversity conservation - habitat fragmentation - food-production - tropical conservation - farmland biodiversity - protect biodiversity - organic agriculture
    Global demand for agricultural products is expected to double in the next decades, putting tremendous pressure on agriculture to produce more. The bulk of this increase will come from developing countries, which host most biodiversity-rich areas of the planet. Whilst most biodiversity is found in production landscapes shared with people, where agriculture represents an increasing threat, international conservation organisations continue to focus on the maintenance and expansion of the network of protected areas. When conservation organisations partner with agricultural programmes, they promote low input, extensive agriculture. Combined with the focus on protected areas, this may exacerbate rather than mitigate conflicts between biodiversity conservation and agricultural production. Two models have been proposed to increase agricultural production whilst minimising the negative consequences for biodiversity: ‘land sparing’ and ‘land sharing’. Although often polarized in debates, both are realistic solutions, depending on the local circumstances. We propose a number of criteria that could guide the choice towards one or the other. We conclude that general principles to be considered in both land sparing and land sharing are: managing spillover effects, maintaining resilience and ecosystem services, accounting for landscape structure, reducing losses and wastes, improving access to agricultural products in developing countries and changing consumption patterns in developed countries, and developing supportive markets and policies.
    Toward better application of minimum area requirements in conservation planning
    Pe’er, G. ; Tsianou, M.A. ; Franz, K.W. ; Matsinos, Y.G. ; Mazaris, A.D. ; Storch, D. ; Kopsova, L. ; Verboom, J. ; Baguette, M. ; Stevens, V.M. ; Henle, K. - \ 2014
    Biological Conservation 170 (2014). - ISSN 0006-3207 - p. 92 - 102.
    population viability analysis - home-range size - land-use change - body-size - extinction - mammals - birds - fragmentation - biodiversity - management
    The Minimum Area Requirements (MAR) of species is a concept that explicitly addresses area and therefore can be highly relevant for conservation planning and policy. This study compiled a comprehensive database of MAR estimates from the literature, covering 216 terrestrial animal species from 80 studies. We obtained estimates from (a) Population Viability Analyses (PVAs) which explored a range of area-related scenarios, (b) PVAs that provided a fixed value – either MAR or the minimum viable population size (MVP) alongside other area-relevant information, and (c) empirical studies of occupancy patterns in islands or isolated habitat patches across area. We assessed the explanatory power of life-history traits (body mass, feeding guild, generation length and offspring size), environmental variables (average precipitation and temperature), research approach and phylogenetic group on MAR estimates. PVAs exploring area showed strong correlation between MAR and body mass. One to two additional variables further improved the predictive power. PVA reporting fixed MAR, and occupancy-based studies, were better explained by the combination of feeding guild, climatic variables and additional life history traits. Phylogeny had a consistent but usually small contribution to the predictive power of models. Our work demonstrates that estimating the MAR across species and taxa is achievable but requires cautious interpretation. We further suggest that occupancy patterns are likely sensitive to transient dynamics and are therefore risky to use for estimating MAR. PVA-based evaluations enable considering time horizon and extinction probability, two aspects that are critical for future implementation of the MAR concept into policy and management.
    What drives sustainable biofuels? A review of indicator assessments of biofuel production systems involving smallholder farmer
    Florin, M.J. ; Ven, G.W.J. van de; Ittersum, M.K. van - \ 2014
    Environmental Science & Policy 37 (2014). - ISSN 1462-9011 - p. 142 - 157.
    soil fertility decline - land-use change - food security - jatropha plantations - developing-countries - rural livelihoods - farming systems - tamil-nadu - bio-energy - water-use
    The contribution of biofuel production to sustainable development in rural areas requires policy and practice that understands the opportunities and risks faced by smallholder farmers. Potential opportunities for smallholders include access to markets, access to employment, local infrastructure developments and spill over effects such as new agronomic knowledge. Potential threats include loss of land entitlements, social exclusion, environmental degradation, dependency upon the biofuel industry and diminished food security. Although a multitude of issues is acknowledged, many studies are focused on specific issues and knowledge remains fragmented. Further, much of the indicator-based literature does not acknowledge the importance of case-specificity nor the link between the processes and circumstances that drive indicator results. This article reviews indicator assessments of biofuel production involving smallholders and highlights the importance of holistically considering a range of social, economic and environmental criteria. Further this review stresses the need to link drivers with indicators. Drivers include decisions and circumstances of a biophysical, socio-economic and governance nature with relevance at field, farm and higher levels. The link between drivers and indicators is crucial to justify indicators and to identify the scope for policy to influence progress against indicators. A conceptual model is provided that summarises important processes determining sustainability of biofuel production involving smallholders. This model can also be used as a starting point for more detailed analysis capturing and quantifying relationships between specific drivers and indicators on a case-by-case basis. This type of analysis is particularly valuable in regions where biofuel policy and developments are unfolding and multiple stakeholders (e.g. smallholders, companies, NGOs and governments) are involved. We highlight that regulation and certification of biofuel production often needs to be complemented with improvements in governance structures and, that policy targeting smallholder involvement with biofuel production should account for a diversity of smallholder characteristics
    Evaluating the hydrological component of the new catchment-scale sediment delivery model LAPSUS-D
    Keesstra, S.D. ; Temme, A.J.A.M. ; Schoorl, J.M. ; Visser, S.M. - \ 2014
    Geomorphology 212 (2014). - ISSN 0169-555X - p. 97 - 107.
    soil-erosion model - land-use change - landscape evolution - mesoscale catchment - sensitivity-analysis - simulation-model - drainage basins - single-event - runoff - water
    Physically-based, catchment scale sediment delivery models have become increasingly complex, sophisticated and are suitable for a diverse range of environmental contexts. However, in their attempts to best represent the physical processes of erosion and deposition, these models require large and detailed input datasets. When such data are unavailable, annual sediment yield models are relied upon. However, in this class of models, widely available data such as daily precipitation and discharge are disregarded resulting in a reduction in temporal accuracy. To fill this scientific and management gap, the landscape evolution model LAPSUS was adapted (LAPSUS-D) for a meso-scale catchment to model sediment yield on a daily resolution. The water balance component within the model enables the calibration of the model in terms of water discharge with measured daily discharge at the outlet. This methodology is especially important when modeling sediment yield from catchments which are ungaged catchments in terms of sediment, but where hydrological data are available. As the simulation of sediment yield was the main objective of the study, the calibration focused on peak discharge. The focus on peak discharge provides insight into the capability of the model to generate, route and deliver sediment at the outlet of a meso-scale catchment. LAPSUS-D has daily temporal resolution and requires a 10 to 30 m pixel size DEM, soil map, land-use map and daily hydrological records (precipitation and discharge). In this paper we present the first assessment of the hydrological model performance and an analysis of the sensitivity of the model to input parameters. Our study site is a 23-km2 catchment in Upper Nysa Szalona, southwest Poland with temperate climate. Results show that the model can reliably predict peak discharge, which is expected in future studies to allow reliable estimates of sediment transport capacity, redistribution and yield.
    Influence of climate variables on the concentration of Escherichia coli in the Rhine, Meuse, and Drentse Aa during 1985–2010
    Vermeulen, L.C. ; Hofstra, N. - \ 2014
    Regional Environmental Change 14 (2014)1. - ISSN 1436-3798 - p. 307 - 319.
    fecal-indicator concentrations - land-use change - water-quality - air-temperature - risk-assessment - e. coil - disease - survival - river - cryptosporidium
    This study evaluates the relationship between the climate variables temperature and precipitation and the concentration of Escherichia coli bacteria in the Rhine, Meuse, and Drentse Aa for the period 1985–2010. Data from 4,679 E. coli concentration measurements spread over a total of 13 locations in these three river systems were used in this study. The variables water temperature, precipitation, and river discharge were correlated with E. coli measurements. Water temperature was found to correlate negatively, and this is in line with expectations that higher temperature increases microorganism die-off. Precipitation and discharge were found to correlate positively, and this is in line with expectations that runoff from agricultural lands brings along pathogens from manure and increases the chance of sewer overflows. The data of the Meuse were fit to a linear model that explained E. coli concentrations from a time component, the climate variables and a locations dummy variable, in order to assess the relative contribution of the different variables. This model had an R2 of 0.49, meaning that climate variables and location can account for nearly half of the observed variation in E. coli concentrations in surface water, even when other factors, such as land-use variables, are not taken into account. The effect of the different climate variables was found to differ with scale, with temperature being relatively important at a local scale, and discharge being mainly of importance at larger scales. From our results, we expect that climate change, mainly the projected increased precipitation, may increase E. coli concentrations overall. Other waterborne pathogens that follow similar transmission pathways as E. coli may be similarly impacted by climate change
    Management swing potential for bioenergy crops
    Davis, S.C. ; Boddey, R.M. ; Alves, B.J.R. ; Cowie, A.L. ; George, B.H. ; Ogle, S.M. ; Smith, P. ; Noordwijk, M. van; Wijk, M.T. van - \ 2013
    Global change biology Bioenergy 5 (2013)6. - ISSN 1757-1693 - p. 623 - 638.
    greenhouse-gas emissions - land-use change - life-cycle assessment - soil organic-carbon - miscanthus x giganteus - oil production systems - palm oil - mallee biomass - western-australia - mitigation options
    Bioenergy crops are often classified (and subsequently regulated) according to species that have been evaluated as environmentally beneficial or detrimental, but in practice, management decisions rather than species per se can determine the overall environmental impact of a bioenergy production system. Here, we review the greenhouse gas balance and management swing potential' of seven different bioenergy cropping systems in temperate and tropical regions. Prior land use, harvesting techniques, harvest timing, and fertilization are among the key management considerations that can swing the greenhouse gas balance of bioenergy from positive to negative or the reverse. Although the management swing potential is substantial for many cropping systems, there are some species (e.g., soybean) that have such low bioenergy yield potentials that the environmental impact is unlikely to be reversed by management. High-yielding bioenergy crops (e.g., corn, sugarcane, Miscanthus, and fast-growing tree species), however, can be managed for environmental benefits or losses, suggesting that the bioenergy sector would be better informed by incorporating management-based evaluations into classifications of bioenergy feedstocks.
    Urban soil organic carbon and its spatial heterogeneity in comparison with natural and agricultural areas in the Moscow region.
    Vasenev, V.I. ; Stoorvogel, J.J. ; Vasenev, I.I. - \ 2013
    Catena 107 (2013). - ISSN 0341-8162 - p. 96 - 102.
    land-use change - accumulation - systems - history - stocks - china
    Soils hold the largest carbon stock in terrestrial ecosystems. Soil organic carbon (SOC) is formed under a combination of bioclimatic and land-use conditions. Therefore, one would expect changes in SOC stocks with land use changes like urbanization. So far, the majority of regional studies on SOC stocks exclude urban areas. The urban environment has a unique set of specific features and processes (e.g., soil sealing, functional zoning, settlement history) that influence SOC stocks and its spatial variability. This study aims to improve our understanding of urban SOC in comparison with agricultural and natural areas for the Moscow region (Russia). SOC content was studied in different land use types, soils, and urban zones through stratified random sampling. Samples of topsoil (0–10 cm) and subsoil (10–150 cm) were taken at 155 locations. SOC contents were significantly higher in urban areas compared with non-urban areas (3.3 over 2.7%). Further analyses proved that the difference can be explained by the so-called “cultural layer”, which is the result of human residential activity and settlement history. SOC contents in the urban environment presented a very high spatial heterogeneity with standard deviations of urban SOC considerably higher than those for agricultural and natural areas. Soil depth, soil type and land-use factors had a significant influence on SOC variability determining more than 30% of the total variance. SOC contents in urban topsoil were mostly determined by soil type. In natural and agricultural areas soil type and land-use determined SOC contents. The results confirm the unique character of urban SOC and the need to reconsider established scientific and management views on regional SOC assessment, taking into account the role of urban carbon stocks.
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