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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    Survey data on Dutch farmers’ perceived resilience, risk management, risk preferences, and risk perceptions
    Slijper, H.T. ; Mey, Y. de; Poortvliet, P.M. ; Gielen-Meuwissen, M.P.M. - \ 2021
    farmers - resilience - robustness - adaptability - transformability - risk management - risk preferences - risk perceptions - risk behaviour
    This dataset contains data on Dutch farmers’ perceived resilience, risk management, risk preferences, and risk perceptions. It contains cleaned survey data from 926 Dutch farmers.
    Resilience of River Deltas in the Anthropocene
    Hoitink, A.J.F. ; Nittrouer, J.A. ; Passalacqua, P. ; Shaw, J.B. ; Langendoen, E.J. ; Huismans, Y. ; Maren, D.S. van - \ 2020
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 125 (2020)3. - ISSN 2169-9003
    deltas - morphodynamics - resilience - rivers - sea level rise - sediment transport

    At a global scale, delta morphologies are subject to rapid change as a result of direct and indirect effects of human activity. This jeopardizes the ecosystem services of deltas, including protection against flood hazards, facilitation of navigation, and biodiversity. Direct manifestations of delta morphological instability include river bank failure, which may lead to avulsion, persistent channel incision or aggregation, and a change of the sedimentary regime to hyperturbid conditions. Notwithstanding the in-depth knowledge developed over the past decades about those topics, existing understanding is fragmented, and the predictive capacity of morphodynamic models is limited. The advancement of potential resilience analysis tools may proceed from improved models, continuous observations, and the application of novel analysis techniques. Progress will benefit from synergy between approaches. Empirical and numerical models are built using field observations, and, in turn, model simulations can inform observationists about where to measure. Information theory offers a systematic approach to test the realism of alternative model concepts. Once the key mechanism responsible for a morphodynamic instability phenomenon is understood, concepts from dynamic system theory can be employed to develop early warning indicators. In the development of reliable tools to design resilient deltas, one of the first challenges is to close the sediment balance at multiple scales, such that morphodynamic model predictions match with fully independent measurements. Such a high ambition level is rarely adopted and is urgently needed to address the ongoing global changes causing sea level rise and reduced sediment input by reservoir building.

    Drivers of groundwater utilization in water-limited rice production systems in Nepal
    Urfels, Anton ; McDonald, Andrew J. ; Krupnik, Timothy J. ; Oel, Pieter R. van - \ 2020
    Water International 45 (2020)1. - ISSN 0250-8060 - p. 39 - 59.
    decision processes - Eastern Gangetic Plains - Groundwater irrigation - Nepal - resilience - smallholders

    Most rice farmers in Nepal’s Terai region do not fully utilize irrigation during breaks in monsoon rainfall. This leads to yield losses despite abundant groundwater resources and ongoing expansion of diesel pumps and tubewell infrastructure. We investigate this puzzle by characterizing delay factors governing tubewell irrigation across wealth and precipitation gradients. After the decision to irrigate, different factors delay irrigation by roughly one week. While more sustainable and inexpensive energy for pumping may eventually catalyze transformative change, we identify near-term interventions that may increase rice farmers’ resilience to water stress in smallholder-dominated farming communities based on prevailing types of irrigation infrastructure.

    Exploration of variance, autocorrelation, and skewness of deviations from lactation curves as resilience indicators for breeding
    Poppe, M. ; Veerkamp, R.F. ; Pelt, M.L. van; Mulder, H.A. - \ 2020
    Journal of Dairy Science 103 (2020)2. - ISSN 0022-0302 - p. 1667 - 1684.
    automatic milking system - dairy cow - milk yield - resilience - variance

    The ability of a cow to cope with environmental disturbances, such as pathogens or heat waves, is called resilience. To improve resilience through breeding, we need resilience indicators, which could be based on the fluctuation patterns in milk yield resulting from disturbances. The aim of this study was to explore 3 traits that describe fluctuations in milk yield as indicators for breeding resilient cows: the variance, autocorrelation, and skewness of the deviations from individual lactation curves. We used daily milk yield records of 198,754 first-parity cows, recorded by automatic milking systems. First, we estimated a lactation curve for each cow using 4 different methods: moving average, moving median, quantile regression, and Wilmink curve. We then calculated the log-transformed variance (LnVar), lag-1 autocorrelation (rauto), and skewness (Skew) of the daily deviations from these curves as resilience indicators. A genetic analysis of the resilience indicators was performed, and genetic correlations between resilience indicators and health, longevity, fertility, metabolic, and production traits were estimated. The heritabilities differed between LnVar (0.20 to 0.24), rauto (0.08 to 0.10), and Skew (0.01 to 0.02), and the genetic correlations among the indicators were weak to moderate. For rauto and Skew, genetic correlations with health, longevity, fertility, and metabolic traits were weak or the opposite of what we expected. Therefore, rauto and Skew have limited value as resilience indicators. However, lower LnVar was genetically associated with better udder health (genetic correlations from −0.22 to −0.32), better longevity (−0.28 to −0.34), less ketosis (−0.27 to −0.33), better fertility (−0.06 to −0.17), higher BCS (−0.29 to −0.40), and greater dry matter intake (−0.53 to −0.66) at the same level of milk yield. These correlations support LnVar as an indicator of resilience. Of all 4 curve-fitting methods, LnVar based on quantile regression systematically had the strongest genetic correlations with health, longevity, and fertility traits. Thus, quantile regression is considered the best curve-fitting method. In conclusion, LnVar based on deviations from a quantile regression curve is a promising resilience indicator that can be used to breed cows that are better at coping with disturbances.

    Implications of Allee effects for fisheries management in a changing climate: evidence from Atlantic cod
    Winter, Anna Marie ; Richter, Andries ; Eikeset, Anne Maria - \ 2020
    Ecological Applications 30 (2020)1. - ISSN 1051-0761
    Allee effect - Atlantic cod - climate - collapse - fisheries management - hysteresis - marginal effect - proactive management - recovery - regime shift - resilience - tipping points

    There are concerns that increasing anthropogenic stressors can cause catastrophic transitions in ecosystems. Such shifts have large social, economic, and ecological consequences and therefore have important management implications. A potential mechanism behind these regime shifts is the Allee effect, which describes the decline in realized per capita growth rate at small population density. With an age-structured population model for Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua, we illustrate how interactions between human-induced stressors, such as fishing and climate change, can worsen the impact of an Allee effect on populations by promoting hysteresis. Therefore, the risk of population collapse and recovery failure is exacerbated and the success of preventing and reverting collapse depends on the climate regime. We find that, in presence of the Allee effect, a fishing moratorium is only sufficient for recovery when sea surface temperature rise remains within 2°C and fishing is restricted within 10 yrs. If sea surface temperature rises beyond 2°C, even immediate banning of fishing is not sufficient to guarantee recovery. If fishing is not fully banned and a residual fishing pressure remains, the probability of recovery is further decreased, also in the absence of an Allee effect. The results underscore the decisive role of Allee effects for the management of depleted populations in an increasingly human-dominated world. Once the population collapses and its growth rate is suppressed, rebuilding measures will be squandered and collapse will very likely be irreversible. We therefore emphasize the need for proactive management involving precautionary, adaptive measures and reference points. Our studies shows that climate change has the potential to strengthen Allee effects, which could increasingly challenge fisheries management.

    Genetics and genomics of uniformity and resilience in livestock and aquaculture species: A review
    Souza Lung, Laiza Helena de; Carvalheiro, Roberto ; Rezende Neves, Haroldo Henrique de; Mulder, Herman Arend - \ 2020
    Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics 137 (2020)3. - ISSN 0931-2668 - p. 263 - 280.
    genetic control of residual variance - genetic heterogeneity of residual variance - micro-environmental sensitivity - resilience - uniformity

    Genetic control of residual variance offers opportunities to increase uniformity and resilience of livestock and aquaculture species. Improving uniformity and resilience of animals will improve health and welfare of animals and lead to more homogenous products. Our aims in this review were to summarize the current models and methods to study genetic control of residual variance, genetic parameters and genomic results for residual variance and discuss future research directions. Typically, the genetic coefficient of variation is high (median = 0.27; range 0–0.86) and the heritability of residual variance is low (median = 0.01; range 0–0.10). Higher heritabilities can be achieved when increasing the number of records per animal. Divergent selection experiments have supported the feasibility of selecting for high or low residual variance. Genomic studies have revealed associations in regions related to stress, including those from the heat shock protein family. Although the number of studies is growing, genetic control of residual variance is still poorly understood, but big data and genomics offer great opportunities.

    Cooling urban water environments. Design prototypes for design professionals
    Lenzholzer, Sanda - \ 2019
    urban climate - resilience - water bodies
    Whole Grain Wheat Consumption Affects Postprandial Inflammatory Response in a Randomized Controlled Trial in Overweight and Obese Adults with Mild Hypercholesterolemia in the Graandioos Study
    Hoevenaars, Femke P.M. ; Esser, Diederik ; Schutte, Sophie ; Priebe, Marion G. ; Vonk, Roel J. ; Brink, Willem J. van den; Kamp, Jan Willem van der; Stroeve, Johanna H.M. ; Afman, Lydia A. ; Wopereis, Suzan - \ 2019
    The Journal of Nutrition 149 (2019)12. - ISSN 0022-3166 - p. 2133 - 2144.
    (compromised) healthy subjects - challenge test - composite biomarkers - inflammation - liver - metabolic health - phenotypic flexibility - resilience - whole grain wheat

    BACKGROUND: Whole grain wheat (WGW) consumption is associated with health benefits in observational studies. However, WGW randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies show mixed effects. OBJECTIVES: The health impact of WGW consumption was investigated by quantification of the body's resilience, which was defined as the "ability to adapt to a standardized challenge." METHODS: A double-blind RCT was performed with overweight and obese (BMI: 25-35 kg/m2) men (n = 19) and postmenopausal women (n = 31) aged 45-70 y, with mildly elevated plasma total cholesterol (>5 mmol/L), who were randomly assigned to either 12-wk WGW (98 g/d) or refined wheat (RW). Before and after the intervention a standardized mixed-meal challenge was performed. Plasma samples were taken after overnight fasting and postprandially (30, 60, 120, and 240 min). Thirty-one biomarkers were quantified focusing on metabolism, liver, cardiovascular health, and inflammation. Linear mixed-models evaluated fasting compared with postprandial intervention effects. Health space models were used to evaluate intervention effects as composite markers representing resilience of inflammation, liver, and metabolism. RESULTS: Postprandial biomarker changes related to liver showed decreased alanine aminotransferase by WGW (P = 0.03) and increased β-hydroxybutyrate (P = 0.001) response in RW. Postprandial changes related to inflammation showed increased C-reactive protein (P = 0.001), IL-6 (P = 0.02), IL-8 (P = 0.007), and decreased IL-1B (P = 0.0002) in RW and decreased C-reactive protein (P < 0.0001), serum amyloid A (P < 0.0001), IL-8 (P = 0.02), and IL-10 (P < 0.0001) in WGW. Health space visualization demonstrated diminished inflammatory (P < 0.01) and liver resilience (P < 0.01) by RW, whereas liver resilience was rejuvenated by WGW (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Twelve-week 98 g/d WGW consumption can promote liver and inflammatory resilience in overweight and obese subjects with mildly elevated plasma cholesterol. The health space approach appeared appropriate to evaluate intervention effects as composite markers. This trial was registered at as NCT02385149.

    Institutions and the resilience of biobased production systems: the historical case of livestock intensification in the Netherlands
    Termeer, C.J.A.M. ; Feindt, P.H. ; Karpouzoglou, T.D. ; Poppe, K.J. ; Hofstede, G.J. ; Kramer, K. ; Ge, Lan ; Mathijs, Erik ; Meuwissen, M.P.M. - \ 2019
    Ecology and Society 24 (2019)4. - ISSN 1708-3087
    biobased production system - connects - institutions - livestock - resilience
    Disconnects between farming and urban systems are widely seen as impairing the resilience of biobased production systems (BBPSs). However, the institutional mechanisms that underlie these resilience problems are not well understood. In this explorative paper, which integrates elements from institutional and resilience theory, we develop a framework to analyze how institutionally shaped patterns of connects and disconnects affect the resilience of BBPs along the dimensions of robustness, adaptability, and transformability. This framework is applied to the historical case of pig livestock intensification in the Netherlands from 1870 to 2017. The case shows that institutions, successfully established in earlier periods, shape connects and disconnects in subsequent periods, thereby enabling and constraining resilience. A combination of perturbations, institutional layering, and shifts in ideational power is an important institutional mechanism for resilience. We conclude that building resilience requires a variety of reconnecting institutions and refraining from a focus on local reconnects or certification only.
    Matching scope, purpose and uses of planetary boundaries science
    Downing, Andrea S. ; Bhowmik, Avit ; Collste, David ; Cornell, Sarah E. ; Donges, Jonathan ; Fetzer, Ingo ; Häyhä, Tiina ; Hinton, Jennifer ; Lade, Steven ; Mooij, Wolf M. - \ 2019
    Environmental Research Letters 14 (2019)7. - ISSN 1748-9318
    footprints approach - global sustainability science - human dimensions - life cycle analysis - Planetary boundaries - resilience - safe operating space

    Background: The Planetary Boundaries concept (PBc) has emerged as a key global sustainability concept in international sustainable development arenas. Initially presented as an agenda for global sustainability research, it now shows potential for sustainability governance. We use the fact that it is widely cited in scientific literature (>3500 citations) and an extensively studied concept to analyse how it has been used and developed since its first publication. Design: From the literature that cites the PBc, we select those articles that have the terms 'planetary boundaries' or 'safe operating space' in either title, abstract or keywords. We assume that this literature substantively engages with and develops the PBc. Results: We find that 6% of the citing literature engages with the concept. Within this fraction of the literature we distinguish commentaries - that discuss the context and challenges to implementing the PBc, articles that develop the core biogeophysical concept and articles that apply the concept by translating to sub-global scales and by adding a human component to it. Applied literature adds to the concept by explicitly including society through perspectives of impacts, needs, aspirations and behaviours. Discussion: Literature applying the concept does not yet include the more complex, diverse, cultural and behavioural facet of humanity that is implied in commentary literature. We suggest there is need for a positive framing of sustainability goals - as a Safe Operating Space rather than boundaries. Key scientific challenges include distinguishing generalised from context-specific knowledge, clarifying which processes are generalizable and which are scalable, and explicitly applying complex systems' knowledge in the application and development of the PBc. We envisage that opportunities to address these challenges will arise when more human social dimensions are integrated, as we learn to feed the global sustainability vision with a plurality of bottom-up realisations of sustainability.

    Grazing management for more resilient mixed livestock farming systems on native grasslands of southern South America
    Modernel, Pablo ; Picasso, Valentin ; Carmo, Martin Do; Rossing, Walter A.H. ; Corbeels, Marc ; Soca, Pablo ; Dogliotti, Santiago ; Tittonell, Pablo - \ 2019
    Grass and Forage Science 74 (2019)4. - ISSN 0142-5242 - p. 636 - 649.
    drought - grazing management - livestock farming systems - native grasslands - resilience - Rio de la Plata grasslands

    Droughts in southern South America affect grazing systems in many ways. They reduce biomass productivity; decrease livestock feed intake, weight and reproductive performance; increase farmers’ costs; and reduce farm income. It was hypothesized that simple grazing management variables affect the resilience of grazing systems to droughts at the paddock and farm scales. The effects of grazing management on herbage and animal production were assessed at paddock level, and how technological and structural variables relate to the production and economic performances at farm level. Results of a grazing experiment controlling herbage allowance at paddock level showed that resistance of herbage accumulation and animal live weight to drought was significantly higher for paddocks with higher pre-drought herbage allowance than for those managed to low herbage allowance treatments. A strong positive linear relationship was found between pre-drought herbage height and resistance of herbage accumulation rate (p <.01). In a longitudinal study of nine farms in Uruguay, resistance of cow pregnancy rate to drought was positively correlated with cow pregnancy rate (r =.72, p =.02) and farm net income (r =.78, p =.02), and negatively correlated with sheep-to-cattle ratio (r = −.80, p =.01). These correlations suggest that farms with higher incomes and low proportions of sheep in the herd withstand drought better (in terms of pregnancy rate). Four common regional production strategies were identified that react differently when farmers face drought, and these results can aid farmers in those regions to design more resilient mixed livestock farming systems and can inform policymakers about effective strategies for mitigating drought impacts in the region.

    Exploring Ecosystem Network Analysis to Balance Resilience and Performance in Sustainable Supply Chain Design
    Miranda de Souza, Vitor ; Bloemhof-Ruwaard, J.M. ; Borsato, Milton - \ 2019
    International Journal of Advanced Operations Management 11 (2019)1/2. - ISSN 1758-938X - p. 26 - 45.
    resilience - ecosystem network analysis - sustainable supply chain - multi-objective programming
    Sustainable Supply Chain Design can be performed using optimization strategies for minimizing environmental impacts while maximizing profit. It is not clear how such strategies influence the resilience of a supply chain its ability to cope with disruptions without compromising its function. This research used the Ecosystem Network Analysis (ENA), a model from Ecological Economics, to evaluate the resilience during the design of a sugar beet supply chain. The Ɛ-constraint method was used to solve a multi-objective, mixed-integer linear programming model (MOMILP). Results showed that ENA results are compromised when the strategy of minimizing environmental impacts is used, due to the increased fragility of the configuration, compared with the configuration from the profit maximization strategy. Sensitivity analysis also revealed that, when the number of facilities is increased, ENA results improve while profit is decreased. ENA showed an interesting potential to support the pursuit of balance between resilience and performance, bringing insights during early design stages.
    Supplementary material from "Interactive effects of tree size, crown exposure and logging on drought-induced mortality"
    Shenkin, Alexander ; Bolker, Benjamin ; Pena Claros, Marielos ; Licona, Juan Carlos ; Ascarrunz, Nataly ; Putz, Francis E. - \ 2018
    University of Florida
    drought - tree mortality - climate change - tropical forest - logging - forest structure - resilience - climate adaptation
    Large trees in the tropics are reportedly more vulnerable to droughts than their smaller neighbours. This pattern is of interest due to what it portends for forest structure, timber production, carbon sequestration and multiple other values given that intensified El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events are expected to increase the frequency and intensity of droughts in the Amazon region. What remains unclear is what characteristics of large trees renders them especially vulnerable to drought-induced mortality and how this vulnerability changes with forest degradation. Using a large-scale, long-term silvicultural experiment in a transitional Amazonian forest in Bolivia, we disentangle the effects of stem diameter, tree height, crown exposure and logging-induced degradation on risks of drought-induced mortality during the 2004/2005 ENSO event. Overall, tree mortality increased in response to drought in both logged and unlogged plots. Tree height was a much stronger predictor of mortality than stem diameter. In unlogged plots, tree height but not crown exposure was positively associated with drought-induced mortality, whereas in logged plots, neither tree height nor crown exposure was associated with drought-induced mortality. Our results suggest that at the scale of a site, hydraulic factors related to tree height, not air humidity, are a cause of elevated drought-induced mortality of large trees in unlogged plots.This article is part of a discussion meeting issue ‘The impact of the 2015/2016 El Nino on the terrestrial tropical carbon cycle: patterns, mechanisms and implications'.
    Interactive effects of tree size, crown exposure and logging on drought-induced mortality
    Shenkin, Alexander ; Bolker, Benjamin ; Peña-Claros, Marielos ; Licona, Juan Carlos ; Ascarrunz, Nataly ; Putz, Francis E. - \ 2018
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Biological sciences 373 (2018)1760. - ISSN 0962-8436 - 10 p.
    climate change - drought - logging - resilience - tree mortality - tropical forest

    Large trees in the tropics are reportedly more vulnerable to droughts than their smaller neighbours. This pattern is of interest due to what it portends for forest structure, timber production, carbon sequestration and multiple other values given that intensified El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events are expected to increase the frequency and intensity of droughts in the Amazon region. What remains unclear is what characteristics of large trees render them especially vulnerable to drought-induced mortality and how this vulnerability changes with forest degradation. Using a large-scale, long-term silvicultural experiment in a transitional Amazonian forest in Bolivia, we disentangle the effects of stem diameter, tree height, crown exposure and logging-induced degradation on risks of drought-induced mortality during the 2004/2005 ENSO event. Overall, tree mortality increased in response to drought in both logged and unlogged plots. Tree height was a much stronger predictor of mortality than stem diameter. In unlogged plots, tree height but not crown exposure was positively associated with drought-induced mortality, whereas in logged plots, neither tree height nor crown exposure was associated with drought-induced mortality. Our results suggest that, at the scale of a site, hydraulic factors related to tree height, not air humidity, are a cause of elevated drought-induced mortality of large trees in unlogged plots.This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'The impact of the 2015/2016 El Niño on the terrestrial tropical carbon cycle: patterns, mechanisms and implications'.

    Indicators of resilience during the transition period in dairy cows : A case study
    Dixhoorn, I.D.E. van; Mol, R.M. de; Werf, J.T.N. van der; Mourik, S. van; Reenen, C.G. van - \ 2018
    Journal of Dairy Science 101 (2018)11. - ISSN 0022-0302 - p. 10271 - 10282.
    behavior - dairy cow - dynamic indicator - resilience - transition period
    The transition period is a demanding phase in the life of dairy cows. Metabolic and infectious disorders frequently occur in the first weeks after calving. To identify cows that are less able to cope with the transition period, physiologic or behavioral signals acquired with sensors might be useful. However, it is not yet clear which signals or combination of signals and which signal properties are most informative with respect to disease severity after calving. Sensor data on activity and behavior measurements as well as rumen and ear temperature data from 22 dairy cows were collected during a period starting 2 wk before expected parturition until 6 wk after parturition. During this period, the health status of each cow was clinically scored daily. A total deficit score (TDS) was calculated based on the clinical assessment, summarizing disease length and intensity for each cow. Different sensor data properties recorded during the period before calving as well as the period after calving were tested as a predictor for TDS using univariate analysis of covariance. To select the model with the best combination of signals and signal properties, we quantified the prediction accuracy for TDS in a multivariate model. Prediction accuracy for TDS increased when sensors were combined, using static and dynamic signal properties. Statistically, the most optimal linear combination of predictors consisted of average eating time, variance of daily ear temperature, and regularity of daily behavior patterns in the dry period. Our research indicates that a combination of static and dynamic sensor data properties could be used as indicators of cow resilience.
    Integrated Adaptation Tipping Points (IATPs) for urban flood resilience
    Ahmed, Farhana ; Khan, M.S.A. ; Warner, Jeroen ; Moors, Eddy ; Terwisscha van Scheltinga, Catharien - \ 2018
    Environment and Urbanization 30 (2018)2. - ISSN 0956-2478 - p. 575 - 596.
    Adaptation Tipping Point - Dhaka - flood risk management - modelling - resilience - social tipping point

    This paper applies an Adaptation Tipping Point (ATP) approach for the assessment of vulnerability to flooding in the city of Dhaka, Bangladesh. A series of rigorous modelling exercises for fluvial and pluvial flooding was conducted to identify the critical ATPs of the physical system, under both existing and proposed flood risk management strategies, for different urban and climate change scenarios. But a standalone assessment of the physical system’s ATPs is insufficient to gain a complete understanding of flood risks; community resilience also depends on people’s adaptability and the acceptance of risks by the community in question. Through participatory public consultations, this study determines the critical ATPs for community risk acceptance. The concept of the “Integrated Adaptation Tipping Point (IATP)”, introduced here, combines the accepted level of risk to the community with the ATPs for physical systems. This approach reveals that the assessed vulnerability to flooding increases when social tipping points are considered.

    A global climate niche for giant trees
    Scheffer, Marten ; Xu, Chi ; Hantson, Stijn ; Holmgren, Milena ; Los, Sietse O. ; Nes, Egbert H. van - \ 2018
    Global Change Biology 24 (2018)7. - ISSN 1354-1013 - p. 2875 - 2883.
    alternative ecosystem state - canopy height - LiDAR - precipitation temperate rainforest - remote sensing - resilience - threshold - tropical rainforest

    Rainforests are among the most charismatic as well as the most endangered ecosystems of the world. However, although the effects of climate change on tropical forests resilience is a focus of intense research, the conditions for their equally impressive temperate counterparts remain poorly understood, and it remains unclear whether tropical and temperate rainforests have fundamental similarities or not. Here we use new global data from high precision laser altimetry equipment on satellites to reveal for the first time that across climate zones ‘giant forests’ are a distinct and universal phenomenon, reflected in a separate mode of canopy height (~40 m) worldwide. Occurrence of these giant forests (cutoff height > 25 m) is negatively correlated with variability in rainfall and temperature. We also demonstrate that their distribution is sharply limited to situations with a mean annual precipitation above a threshold of 1,500 mm that is surprisingly universal across tropical and temperate climates. The total area with such precipitation levels is projected to increase by ~4 million km2 globally. Our results thus imply that strategic management could in principle facilitate the expansion of giant forests, securing critically endangered biodiversity as well as carbon storage in selected regions.

    Estimating the sustainability of towed fishing-gear impacts on seabed habitats: a simple quantitative risk assessment method applicable to data-limited fisheries
    Pitcher, C.R. ; Ellis, Nick ; Jennings, Simon ; Hiddink, Jan G. ; Mazor, Tessa ; Kaiser, Michel J. ; Kangas, Mervi I. ; Mcconnaughey, Robert A. ; Parma, Ana M. ; Rijnsdorp, Adriaan D. ; Suuronen, Petri ; Collie, Jeremy S. ; Amoroso, Ricardo ; Hughes, Kathryn M. ; Hilborn, Ray ; Freckleton, Robert - \ 2017
    Methods in Ecology and Evolution 8 (2017). - ISSN 2041-210X - p. 472 - 480.
    benthic fauna - depletion - ecological risk assessment - ecoystem-based fishery management - effects of trawling - recovery - resilience - sensivity - trawl footprints - vulnerability indicators
    1. Impacts of bottom fishing, particularly trawling and dredging, on seabed (benthic) habitats are commonly perceived to pose serious environmental risks. Quantitative ecological risk assessment can be used to evaluate actual risks and to help guide the choice of management measures needed to meet sustainability objectives. 2. We develop and apply a quantitative method for assessing the risks to benthic habitats by towed bottom-fishing gears. The meth od is based on a simple eq uation for relative benthic status (RBS), derived by solving the logistic population growth equation for the equilibrium state. Estimating RBS requires only maps of fishing intensity and habitat type – and parameters for impact and recovery rates, which may be taken from meta-analyses of multiple experimental studies of towed-gear impacts. The aggregate status of habitats in an assessed region is indicated by the distribution of RBS values for the region. The application of RBS is illustrated for a tropical shrimp-trawl fishery. 3. The status of trawled habitats and their RBS value depend on impact rate (depletion per trawl), recovery rate and exposure to tra wling. In the shrimp-trawl fishery region, gravel habitat was most sensitive, and though less exposed than sand or mudd y-sand, was most affected overall (regional RBS = 91% relative to un-trawled RBS = 100%). Muddy-sand was less sensitive, and though relatively most exposed, was less affected overall (RBS = 95%). Sand was most heavily trawled but least sensitive and least affected overall (RBS = 98%). Region-wide , >94% of habitat area had >80% RBS because most tra wling and impacts were confined to small areas. RBS was also applied to the region’s benthic invertebrate communities with similar results. 4. Conclu sions. Unlike qualitative or categorical trait-based risk assessments, the RBS method provides a quantitative estimate of status relative to an unimpacted baseline, with minimal requireme nts for input data. It could be applied to bottom-contact fish erie s world-wide, including situations where detailed data on characteristics of seabed habitats, or the abundance of seabed fauna are not available. The approach supports assessment against sustainability criteria and evaluation of alternative management strategies (e.g. closed areas, effort management, gear modifications).
    Repeated fires trap Amazonian blackwater floodplains in an open vegetation state
    Flores, Bernardo M. ; Fagoaga, Raquel ; Nelson, Bruce W. ; Holmgren, Milena - \ 2016
    Journal of Applied Ecology 53 (2016)5. - ISSN 0021-8901 - p. 1597 - 1603.
    drought - ecological transition - ecosystem shift - El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) - forest succession - igapó - recovery rates - resilience - tropical forests - wetlands

    Climate change may increase the occurrence of droughts and fires in the Amazon. Most of our understanding on how fire affects tropical ecosystems is based on studies of non-flooded forest–savanna ecotones. Nonetheless, tropical floodplain forests in the Amazon can burn severely during extreme droughts. The mechanisms slowing down forest regeneration in these ecosystems remain poorly understood and have never been assessed in the field. We studied the recovery of Amazonian blackwater floodplain forests after one and two fire events. We used Landsat images to map fire history and conducted field surveys to measure forest structure, tree species richness, tree seed bank and post-fire invasion of herbaceous plants. Sites burnt once had on average 0% trees, 6% tree seed abundance, 23% tree seed species richness and 8% root mat thickness compared to unburnt forests. In contrast, herbaceous cover increased from 0 to 72%. Nonetheless, forest structure and diversity recovered slowly towards pre-burn levels, except for tree seed banks that remained depleted even 15 years after fire. Sites burnt twice had on average 0% trees, 1% tree seed abundance, 3% tree seed species richness and 1% root mat thickness compared to unburnt forests. Herbaceous cover increased to 100%. Mean recovery of tree basal area was 50% slower and of root mat thickness 93% slower compared to recovery in sites burnt once. Tree seed banks did not recover at all, and herbaceous cover persisted close to 100% for more than 20 years after the second fire. Synthesis and applications. Our results indicate that after a second fire event, Amazonian blackwater floodplain forests lose their recovery capacity, and persist in a non-forested state dominated by herbaceous vegetation. Such fragility implies that preventing human ignited fires during drought episodes is a particularly important conservation strategy for these ecosystems.

    From conflict to resilience? Explaining recent changes in climate security discourse and practice
    Boas, I.J.C. ; Rothe, Delf - \ 2016
    Environmental Politics 25 (2016)4. - ISSN 0964-4016 - p. 613 - 632.
    resilience - climate politics - climate security - discourse analysis - United Kingdom
    The recent rise of resilience thinking in climate security discourse and practice is examined and explained. Using the paradigmatic case of the United Kingdom, practitioners’ understandings of resilience are considered to show how these actors use a resilience lens to rearticulate earlier storylines of climate conflict in terms of complexity, decentralisation, and empowerment. Practitioners in the climate security field tend to reinterpret resilience in line with their established routines. As a result, climate resilience storylines and practices turn out to be much more diverse and messy than is suggested in the conceptual literature. Building on these findings, the recent success of resilience thinking in climate security discourse is explained. Climate resilience – not despite but due to its messiness – is able to bring together a wide range of actors, traditionally standing at opposite ends of the climate security debate. Through resilience storylines, climate security discourse becomes something to which a wide range of actors, ranging from security to the development field, can relate.
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