Science.gov

Sample records for biodiversity impact assessment

  1. Treatment of biodiversity issues in impact assessment of electricity power transmission lines: A Finnish case review

    SciTech Connect

    Soederman, Tarja . E-mail: tarja.soderman@ymparisto.fi

    2006-05-15

    The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process concerning the route of a 400 kV power transmission line between Loviisa and Hikiae in southern Finland was reviewed in order to assess how biodiversity issues are treated and to provide suggestions on how to improve the effectiveness of treatment of biodiversity issues in impact assessment of linear development projects. The review covered the whole assessment process, including interviews of stakeholders, participation in the interest group meetings and review of all documents from the project. The baseline studies and assessment of direct impacts in the case study were detailed but the documentation, both the assessment programme and the assessment report, only gave a partial picture of the assessment process. All existing information, baseline survey and assessment methods should be addressed in the scoping phase in order to promote interaction between all stakeholders. In contrast to the assessment of the direct effects, which first emphasized impacts on the nationally important and protected flying squirrel but later expanded to deal with the assessment of impacts on ecologically important sites, the indirect and cumulative impacts of the power line were poorly addressed. The public was given the opportunity to become involved in the EIA process. However, they were more concerned with impacts on their properties and less so on biodiversity and species protection issues. This suggests that the public needs to become more informed about locally important features of biodiversity.

  2. Biodiversity Impact Assessment of roads: an approach based on ecosystem rarity

    SciTech Connect

    Geneletti, Davide

    2003-05-01

    Biodiversity has become one of the central environmental issues in the framework of recent policies and international conventions for the promotion of sustainable development. The reduction of habitat worldwide is currently considered as the main threat to biodiversity conservation. Transportation infrastructures, and above all road networks, are blamed for highly contributing to the decrease in both the quantity and the quality of natural habitat. Therefore, a sound Biodiversity Impact Assessment (BIA) in road planning and development needs to be coupled to other commonly considered aspects. This paper presents an approach to contribute to BIA of road projects that focuses on one type of impact: the direct loss of ecosystems. The first step consists in mapping the different ecosystem types, and in evaluating their relevance for biodiversity conservation. This is based on the assessment of ecosystem's rarity. Rarity is a measure of how frequently an ecosystem type is found within a given area. Its relevance is confirmed by the fact that the protection of rare ecosystems is often considered as the single most important function of biodiversity conservation. Subsequently, the impact of a road project can be quantified by spatially computing the expected losses of each ecosystem type. To illustrate the applicability of the methodology, a case study is presented dealing with the assessment of alternative routes for a highway development in northern Italy.

  3. Assessing the impacts of livestock production on biodiversity in rangeland ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Alkemade, Rob; Reid, Robin S; van den Berg, Maurits; de Leeuw, Jan; Jeuken, Michel

    2013-12-24

    Biodiversity in rangelands is decreasing, due to intense utilization for livestock production and conversion of rangeland into cropland; yet the outlook of rangeland biodiversity has not been considered in view of future global demand for food. Here we assess the impact of future livestock production on the global rangelands area and their biodiversity. First we formalized existing knowledge about livestock grazing impacts on biodiversity, expressed in mean species abundance (MSA) of the original rangeland native species assemblages, through metaanalysis of peer-reviewed literature. MSA values, ranging from 1 in natural rangelands to 0.3 in man-made grasslands, were entered in the IMAGE-GLOBIO model. This model was used to assess the impact of change in food demand and livestock production on future rangeland biodiversity. The model revealed remarkable regional variation in impact on rangeland area and MSA between two agricultural production scenarios. The area of used rangelands slightly increases globally between 2000 and 2050 in the baseline scenario and reduces under a scenario of enhanced uptake of resource-efficient production technologies increasing production [high levels of agricultural knowledge, science, and technology (high-AKST)], particularly in Africa. Both scenarios suggest a global decrease in MSA for rangelands until 2050. The contribution of livestock grazing to MSA loss is, however, expected to diminish after 2030, in particular in Africa under the high-AKST scenario. Policies fostering agricultural intensification can reduce the overall pressure on rangeland biodiversity, but additional measures, addressing factors such as climate change and infrastructural development, are necessary to totally halt biodiversity loss. PMID:22308313

  4. Assessing the impacts of livestock production on biodiversity in rangeland ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Alkemade, Rob; Reid, Robin S.; van den Berg, Maurits; de Leeuw, Jan; Jeuken, Michel

    2013-01-01

    Biodiversity in rangelands is decreasing, due to intense utilization for livestock production and conversion of rangeland into cropland; yet the outlook of rangeland biodiversity has not been considered in view of future global demand for food. Here we assess the impact of future livestock production on the global rangelands area and their biodiversity. First we formalized existing knowledge about livestock grazing impacts on biodiversity, expressed in mean species abundance (MSA) of the original rangeland native species assemblages, through metaanalysis of peer-reviewed literature. MSA values, ranging from 1 in natural rangelands to 0.3 in man-made grasslands, were entered in the IMAGE-GLOBIO model. This model was used to assess the impact of change in food demand and livestock production on future rangeland biodiversity. The model revealed remarkable regional variation in impact on rangeland area and MSA between two agricultural production scenarios. The area of used rangelands slightly increases globally between 2000 and 2050 in the baseline scenario and reduces under a scenario of enhanced uptake of resource-efficient production technologies increasing production [high levels of agricultural knowledge, science, and technology (high-AKST)], particularly in Africa. Both scenarios suggest a global decrease in MSA for rangelands until 2050. The contribution of livestock grazing to MSA loss is, however, expected to diminish after 2030, in particular in Africa under the high-AKST scenario. Policies fostering agricultural intensification can reduce the overall pressure on rangeland biodiversity, but additional measures, addressing factors such as climate change and infrastructural development, are necessary to totally halt biodiversity loss. PMID:22308313

  5. High-resolution assessment of land use impacts on biodiversity in life cycle assessment using species habitat suitability models.

    PubMed

    de Baan, Laura; Curran, Michael; Rondinini, Carlo; Visconti, Piero; Hellweg, Stefanie; Koellner, Thomas

    2015-02-17

    Agricultural land use is a main driver of global biodiversity loss. The assessment of land use impacts in decision-support tools such as life cycle assessment (LCA) requires spatially explicit models, but existing approaches are either not spatially differentiated or modeled at very coarse scales (e.g., biomes or ecoregions). In this paper, we develop a high-resolution (900 m) assessment method for land use impacts on biodiversity based on habitat suitability models (HSM) of mammal species. This method considers potential land use effects on individual species, and impacts are weighted by the species' conservation status and global rarity. We illustrate the method using a case study of crop production in East Africa, but the underlying HSMs developed by the Global Mammals Assessment are available globally. We calculate impacts of three major export crops and compare the results to two previously developed methods (focusing on local and regional impacts, respectively) to assess the relevance of the methodological innovations proposed in this paper. The results highlight hotspots of product-related biodiversity impacts that help characterize the links among agricultural production, consumption, and biodiversity loss. PMID:25584628

  6. Assessing land-use impacts on biodiversity using an expert systems tool

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Crist, P.J.; Kohley, T.W.; Oakleaf, J.

    2000-01-01

    Habitat alteration, in the form of land-use development, is a leading cause of biodiversity loss in the U.S. and elsewhere. Although statutes in the U.S. may require consideration of biodiversity in local land-use planning and regulation, local governments lack the data, resources, and expertise to routinely consider biotic impacts that result from permitted land uses. We hypothesized that decision support systems could aid solution of this problem. We developed a pilot biodiversity expert systems tool (BEST) to test that hypothesis and learn what additional scientific and technological advancements are required for broad implementation of such a system. BEST uses data from the U.S. Geological Survey's Gap Analysis Program (GAP) and other data in a desktop GIS environment. The system provides predictions of conflict between proposed land uses and biotic elements and is intended for use at the start of the development review process. Key challenges were the development of categorization systems that relate named land-use types to ecological impacts, and relate sensitivities of biota to ecological impact levels. Although the advent of GAP and sophisticated desktop GIS make such a system feasible for broad implementation, considerable ongoing research is required to make the results of such a system scientifically sound, informative, and reliable for the regulatory process. We define a role for local government involvement in biodiversity impact assessment, the need for a biodiversity decision support system, the development of a prototype system, and scientific needs for broad implementation of a robust and reliable system.

  7. Application of network method as a tool for integrating biodiversity values in Environmental Impact Assessment.

    PubMed

    Monavari, Masoud; Fard, Samaneh M B

    2011-01-01

    Highway construction or expansion projects are among major activities of economic development especially in developing countries. However, road development consistently can lead to major damages to the environment, including habitat fragmentation and ecological instabilities and a considerable threat to fauna and flora. At this point, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in road developments is needed to address and evaluate the ecological issues in decision-making. The object of this study is to strengthen the consideration of ecological issues, i.e., biodiversity in the existing EIA tools. This paper regards a network method as a means to make informed planning decisions by the lessons from a case study. The results indicate that network method is well suited to be applied in ecological impacts assessment. However, some limitations such as complexity and time consumed make casual networks unpopular. Also, impact of traffic noise on acoustic communication (wildlife and human) was performed. It has been shown that sound level for human is much higher than admissible standards. Finally, the study expresses some mitigation measures to improve the acquisition for environmental impact assessment process. PMID:20174866

  8. Accounting for uncertainty factors in biodiversity impact assessment: lessons from a case study

    SciTech Connect

    Geneletti, D.; Beinat, E.; Chung, C.F.; Fabbri, A.G.; Scholten, H.J

    2003-07-01

    For an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to effectively contribute to decision-making, it must include one crucial step: the estimation of the uncertainty factors affecting the impact evaluation and of their effect on the evaluation results. Knowledge of the uncertainties better orients the strategy of the decision-makers and underlines the most critical data or methodological steps of the procedure. Accounting for uncertainty factors is particularly relevant when dealing with ecological impacts, whose forecasts are typically affected by a high degree of simplification. By means of a case study dealing with the evaluation of road alternatives, this paper explores and discusses the main uncertainties that are related to the typical stages of a biodiversity impact assessment: uncertainty in the data that are used, in the methodologies that are applied, and in the value judgments provided by the experts. Subsequently, the effects of such uncertainty factors are tracked back to the result of the evaluation, i.e., to the relative performance of the project alternatives under consideration. This allows to test the sensitivity of the results, and consequently to provide a more informative ranking of the alternatives. The papers concludes by discussing the added-value for decision-making provided by uncertainty analysis within EIA.

  9. Using biodiversity methods to assess the impacts of oil and gas development in tropical rain forests

    SciTech Connect

    Reagan, D.P.; Silva del Poso, X. |

    1995-06-01

    Oil and gas development in tropical rain forests has attracted international attention because of the potentially adverse effects on the forest ecosystems. Biodiversity is a topic of particular concern, but is difficult to assess for small areas of disturbance. In July 1992 we used light traps to compare insect diversity at canopy and ground level as a means of detecting the impacts of an exploratory well site and related facilities within mature Amazonian rain forest in the Oriente Province of Ecuador. Replicate samples were collected at the well site, in a nearby area of agricultural development, and in a reference site within mature forest. Species richness was determined, and diversity indices were calculated for each set of samples. Results indicated that changes in diversity could be detected in the canopy and at ground level at the well site, but that the reduction in diversity was small. Biological diversity was substantially reduced in the area of agricultural development. Limitations and possible applications of this approach are discussed.

  10. Impacts of climate change on biodiversity, ecosystems, and ecosystem services: technical input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Staudinger, Michelle D.; Grimm, Nancy B.; Staudt, Amanda; Carter, Shawn L.; Stuart, F. Stuart, III; Kareiva, Peter; Ruckelshaus, Mary; Stein, Bruce A.

    2012-01-01

    Ecosystems, and the biodiversity and services they support, are intrinsically dependent on climate. During the twentieth century, climate change has had documented impacts on ecological systems, and impacts are expected to increase as climate change continues and perhaps even accelerates. This technical input to the National Climate Assessment synthesizes our scientific understanding of the way climate change is affecting biodiversity, ecosystems, ecosystem services, and what strategies might be employed to decrease current and future risks. Building on past assessments of how climate change and other stressors are affecting ecosystems in the United States and around the world, we approach the subject from several different perspectives. First, we review the observed and projected impacts on biodiversity, with a focus on genes, species, and assemblages of species. Next, we examine how climate change is affecting ecosystem structural elements—such as biomass, architecture, and heterogeneity—and functions—specifically, as related to the fluxes of energy and matter. People experience climate change impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems as changes in ecosystem services; people depend on ecosystems for resources that are harvested, their role in regulating the movement of materials and disturbances, and their recreational, cultural, and aesthetic value. Thus, we review newly emerging research to determine how human activities and a changing climate are likely to alter the delivery of these ecosystem services. This technical input also examines two cross-cutting topics. First, we recognize that climate change is happening against the backdrop of a wide range of other environmental and anthropogenic stressors, many of which have caused dramatic ecosystem degradation already. This broader range of stressors interacts with climate change, and complicates our abilities to predict and manage the impacts on biodiversity, ecosystems, and the services they support. The second cross-cutting topic is the rapidly advancing field of climate adaptation, where there has been significant progress in developing the conceptual framework, planning approaches, and strategies for safeguarding biodiversity and other ecological resources. At the same time, ecosystem-based adaptation is becoming more prominent as a way to utilize ecosystem services to help human systems adapt to climate change. In this summary, we present key findings of the technical input, focusing on themes that can be found throughout the report. Thus, this summary takes a more integrated look at the question of how climate change is affecting our ecological resources, the implications for humans, and possible response strategies. This integrated approach better reflects the impacts of climate in the real world, where changes in ecosystem structure or function will alter the viability of different species and the efficacy of ecosystem services. Likewise, adaptation to climate change will simultaneously address a range of conservation goals. Case studies are used to illustrate this complete picture throughout the report; a snapshot of one case study, 2011 Las Conchas, New Mexico Fire, is included in this summary.

  11. Basin-wide Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystems and Biodiversity

    EPA Science Inventory

    Mekong ecosystems are under pressure from a number of "drivers", including rapid economic development, population growth, unsustainable resource use, and climate change. Ecological modeling can help assess vulnerability and impacts of these drivers on the Lower Mekong Basin.

  12. [Expertise and biodiversity: the environmental impact assessment in the context of Natura 2000 network].

    PubMed

    Makowiak, Jessica

    2014-03-01

    Natura 2000 network, established by the Habitats directive, states that "any plan or project likely to have a significant effect on a Natura 2000 site, shall undergo an appropriate assessment to determine its implications for the site". The safeguards set out in this article are triggered not by a certainty but by a likelihood of significant effects. The paradox clearly appears: the significant implications of a project can be assessed only through an impact assessment process. So the administration and the judge are asked, inevitably, to participate to the building of the definition of practical aspect of expertise. PMID:25073331

  13. Improving consideration of biodiversity in NEPA assessments

    SciTech Connect

    Hirsch, A. )

    1993-01-01

    Loss of biological diversity is a major national, as well as global, environmental problem. Several federal agencies have begun to develop strategies to conserve biodiversity, but most agencies have not done so. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) can play an important role in assessing losses and identifying mitigating measures. In most cases, environmental impact assessments have addressed components of biodiversity, such as endangered species, rather than provided the more comprehensive assessments that will be required over the long run. Strategies to conserve biodiversity must be developed on a regional, landscape, or ecosystem scale, taking into account cumulative effects of development. Such strategies can also provide the framework for project-specific NEPA assessments. Progress in applying the pragmatic methods, techniques, and strategies that are now emerging will be limited by the recognition and priority agencies are willing to assign to biodiversity conservation in their programs. Despite current efforts, a more specific legislative mandate probably will be needed to assure adequate action to minimize losses of biological resources.

  14. Assessing biodiversity funding during the sixth extinction.

    PubMed

    Amato, George; DeSalle, Rob

    2012-08-01

    Funding for understanding biodiversity on this planet has had a checkered and unsatisfactory history. There have been some true successes in developing models for assessing biodiversity, but satisfactory governmental and international support has been piecemeal and unsatisfactory. A true solution to the biodiversity crisis will require greater attention from governmental and international funding agencies. PMID:22674583

  15. Anthropic Risk Assessment on Biodiversity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Piragnolo, M.; Pirotti, F.; Vettore, A.; Salogni, G.

    2013-01-01

    This paper presents a methodology for risk assessment of anthropic activities on habitats and species. The method has been developed for Veneto Region, in order to simplify and improve the quality of EIA procedure (VINCA). Habitats and species, animals and plants, are protected by European Directive 92/43/EEC and 2009/147/EC but they are subject at hazard due to pollution produced by human activities. Biodiversity risks may conduct to deterioration and disturbance in ecological niches, with consequence of loss of biodiversity. Ecological risk assessment applied on Natura 2000 network, is needed to best practice of management and monitoring of environment and natural resources. Threats, pressure and activities, stress and indicators may be managed by geodatabase and analysed using GIS technology. The method used is the classic risk assessment in ecological context, and it defines the natural hazard as influence, element of risk as interference and vulnerability. Also it defines a new parameter called pressure. It uses risk matrix for the risk analysis on spatial and temporal scale. The methodology is qualitative and applies the precautionary principle in environmental assessment. The final product is a matrix which excludes the risk and could find application in the development of a territorial information system.

  16. Use of benthic biodiversity for assessing the impact of shrimp farming on environment.

    PubMed

    Murugesan, P; Ajithkumar, T T; Khan, S Ajmal; Balasubramanian, T

    2009-09-01

    An attempt was made to find out the impact of shrimp farm discharges on benthic diversity in the discharge point of a shrimp farm. The duration of the study was one culture period right from stocking to harvest. The results revealed that the values of environmental entities were in the safe levels. As regards nutrients, maximum value of TOC and phosphorus were recorded in the sample collected after harvest and minimum in the sample collected during culture. BIO-ENV method revealed that nitrogen, sediment salinity and TOC were manifested as best variable combination explaining faunal distribution. Polychaetes are the dominant group (50%) with 13 species followed by crustaceans (32%) with 10 species, gastropods (10%) with 2 species and bivalves (8%) with 3 species. The faunal density was found to vary in relation to months as observed in the samples which were collected during various seasons in the other areas of estuary. In line with this, diversity values were also paralleled to the faunal density. In a nut shell, the study revealed no negative impact of shrimp farming to the estuarine benthic biota. PMID:20143720

  17. Impacts of river water consumption on aquatic biodiversity in life cycle assessment--a proposed method, and a case study for Europe.

    PubMed

    Tendall, Danielle M; Hellweg, Stefanie; Pfister, Stephan; Huijbregts, Mark A J; Gaillard, Gérard

    2014-03-18

    In the context of climate change and food provisioning for a growing global population, the impacts of water consumption on aquatic biodiversity (e.g., river water consumption for irrigation) should be considered in Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA). A previous LCIA method quantifying the potential impacts of river water consumption on fish biodiversity, using a species-discharge relationship (SDR), constituted an essential first step. This method is however limited in terms of regionalization and taxa considered, and predicts the potential risk of local species loss only. Here, we address these shortcomings by developing region-specific SDRs for Europe at various scales (continent, country, and eco-region), and including macro-invertebrate biodiversity. SDR exponents vary from 0.06 to 0.45 between regions, underlining the importance of such regionalization. Furthermore, we provide a new regionalized method which considers the location of water consumption within a river basin, by integrating the concept of longitudinal river zonation. This involves the use of a novel measure of potential loss of species richness, standardizing local species loss to an equivalent of global extinction and reflecting species vulnerability. The new method is applied in a Swiss case-study. The consideration of the location of water consumption within a basin was found to be of high importance in the assessment: potential species loss varied between 4.22 × 10(-3) and 3.95 × 10(-1) species (2 orders of magnitude) depending on location. This work thus provides enhancements in the assessment of potential impacts of river water consumption on aquatic biodiversity and contributes to the ecological relevance of the method. PMID:24506171

  18. Toward meaningful end points of biodiversity in life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Curran, Michael; de Baan, Laura; De Schryver, An M; Van Zelm, Rosalie; Hellweg, Stefanie; Koellner, Thomas; Sonnemann, Guido; Huijbregts, Mark A J

    2011-01-01

    Halting current rates of biodiversity loss will be a defining challenge of the 21st century. To assess the effectiveness of strategies to achieve this goal, indicators and tools are required that monitor the driving forces of biodiversity loss, the changing state of biodiversity, and evaluate the effectiveness of policy responses. Here, we review the use of indicators and approaches to model biodiversity loss in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), a methodology used to evaluate the cradle-to-grave environmental impacts of products. We find serious conceptual shortcomings in the way models are constructed, with scale considerations largely absent. Further, there is a disproportionate focus on indicators that reflect changes in compositional aspects of biodiversity, mainly changes in species richness. Functional and structural attributes of biodiversity are largely neglected. Taxonomic and geographic coverage remains problematic, with the majority of models restricted to one or a few taxonomic groups and geographic regions. On a more general level, three of the five drivers of biodiversity loss as identified by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment are represented in current impact categories (habitat change, climate change and pollution), while two are missing (invasive species and overexploitation). However, methods across all drivers can be greatly improved. We discuss these issues and make recommendations for future research to better reflect biodiversity loss in LCA. PMID:21047114

  19. Combined impacts of global changes on biodiversity across the USA.

    PubMed

    Bellard, C; Leclerc, C; Courchamp, F

    2015-01-01

    Most studies of the effects of global changes on biodiversity focus on a single threat, but multiple threats lead to species extinction. We lack spatially explicit assessments of the intensity of multiple threats and their impacts on biodiversity. Here, we used a novel metric of cumulative threats and impacts to assess the consequences of multiple threats on 196 endemic species across the USA. We predict that large areas with high cumulative impact scores for amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles will be concentrated in the eastern part of the USA by the 2050 s and 2080  . These high cumulative impact values are due mainly to the presence of invasive species, climate change, cropland and pasture areas; additionally, a significant proportion of endemic species are vulnerable to some of these threats where they occur. This analysis provides a useful means of identifying where conservation measures and monitoring programs that should consider multiple threats should be implemented in the future. PMID:26149694

  20. Biodiversity in environmental assessment-current practice and tools for prediction

    SciTech Connect

    Gontier, Mikael . E-mail: gontier@kth.se; Balfors, Berit . E-mail: balfors@kth.se; Moertberg, Ulla . E-mail: mortberg@kth.se

    2006-04-15

    Habitat loss and fragmentation are major threats to biodiversity. Environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment are essential instruments used in physical planning to address such problems. Yet there are no well-developed methods for quantifying and predicting impacts of fragmentation on biodiversity. In this study, a literature review was conducted on GIS-based ecological models that have potential as prediction tools for biodiversity assessment. Further, a review of environmental impact statements for road and railway projects from four European countries was performed, to study how impact prediction concerning biodiversity issues was addressed. The results of the study showed the existing gap between research in GIS-based ecological modelling and current practice in biodiversity assessment within environmental assessment.

  1. Plant biodiversity impacts on soil stability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gould, Iain; Quinton, John; Bardgett, Richard

    2014-05-01

    In recent times, growing threats to global biodiversity have raised awareness from the scientific community, with particular interest on how plant diversity impacts on ecosystem functioning. In the field of plant-soil interactions, much work has been done to research the implications of species loss, primarily focussing on biological processes such as plant productivity, microbial activity and carbon cycling. Consequently, virtually nothing is known about how plant diversity might impact on soil physical properties, and what mechanisms might be involved. This represents a serious gap in knowledge, given that maintaining soils with good structural integrity can reduce soil erosion and water pollution, and can lead to improved plant yield. Therefore, there is a need for a greater understanding of how plant communities and ecological interactions between plant roots and soils can play a role in regulating soil physical structure. Soil aggregation is an important process in determining soil stability by regulating soil water infiltration and having consequences for erodibility. This is influenced by both soil physical constituents and biological activity; including soil organic carbon content, microbial growth, and increased plant rooting. As previously mentioned, plant diversity influences carbon dynamics, microbial activity and plant growth, therefore could have substantial consequences for soil aggregate stability. Here, we present results from a series of plant manipulation experiments, on a range of scales, to understand more about how plant diversity could impact on soil aggregate stability. Soils from both a plant manipulation mesocosm experiment, and a long term biodiversity field study, were analysed using the Le Bissonnais method of aggregate stability breakdown. Increasing plant species richness was found to have a significant positive impact on soil aggregate stability at both scales. In addition to this, the influence of species identity, functional group identity, and root traits were also investigated. Studying at the interface of ecology and soil physics, this work aims to provide scope for a new direction in soil biodiversity studies.

  2. [Impact of pesticides on biodiversity in agricultural areas].

    PubMed

    Wu, Chunhua; Chen, Xin

    2004-02-01

    Large amount application of pesticides caused a lot of ecological and environmental problems, among which, the impact of pesticides on biodiversity was most important. In this paper, an overview of the impacts of pesticides on biodiversity in agricultural areas, including the community structure of insects, populations of soil invertebrates and microorganisms, and plant communities was provided, and the reasonable use of pesticides and the measures of protecting biodiversity in agricultural areas were also put forward. PMID:15146653

  3. Combined impacts of global changes on biodiversity across the USA

    PubMed Central

    Bellard, C.; Leclerc, C.; Courchamp, F.

    2015-01-01

    Most studies of the effects of global changes on biodiversity focus on a single threat, but multiple threats lead to species extinction. We lack spatially explicit assessments of the intensity of multiple threats and their impacts on biodiversity. Here, we used a novel metric of cumulative threats and impacts to assess the consequences of multiple threats on 196 endemic species across the USA. We predict that large areas with high cumulative impact scores for amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles will be concentrated in the eastern part of the USA by the 2050 s and 2080 s. These high cumulative impact values are due mainly to the presence of invasive species, climate change, cropland and pasture areas; additionally, a significant proportion of endemic species are vulnerable to some of these threats where they occur. This analysis provides a useful means of identifying where conservation measures and monitoring programs that should consider multiple threats should be implemented in the future. PMID:26149694

  4. Phylogenetic biodiversity assessment based on systematic nomenclature

    PubMed Central

    Crozier, Ross H; Dunnett, Lisa J; Agapow, Paul-Michael

    2007-01-01

    Biodiversity assessment demands objective measures, because ultimately conservation decisions must prioritize the use of limited resources for preserving taxa. The most general framework for the objective assessment of conservation worth are those that assess evolutionary distinctiveness, e.g. Genetic (Crozier 1992) and Phylogenetic Diversity (Faith 1992), and Evolutionary History (Nee & May 1997). These measures all attempt to assess the conservation worth of any scheme based on how much of the encompassing phylogeny of organisms is preserved. However, their general applicability is limited by the small proportion of taxa that have been reliably placed in a phylogeny. Given that phylogenizaton of many interesting taxa or important is unlikely to occur soon, we present a framework for using taxonomy as a reasonable surrogate for phylogeny. Combining this framework with exhaustive searches for combinations of sites containing maximal diversity, we provide a proof-of-concept for assessing conservation schemes for systematized but un-phylogenised taxa spread over a series of sites. This is illustrated with data from four studies, on North Queensland flightless insects (Yeates et al. 2002), ants from a Florida Transect (Lubertazzi & Tschinkel 2003), New England bog ants (Gotelli & Ellison 2002) and a simulated distribution of the known New Zealand Lepidosauria (Daugherty et al. 1994). The results support this approach, indicating that species, genus and site numbers predict evolutionary history, to a degree depending on the size of the data set. PMID:19325850

  5. Testing a Scandinavian Biodiversity Assessment Tool in an African Desert Environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burke, Antje; Kyläkorpi, Lasse; Rydgren, Bernt; Schneeweiss, Rainer

    2008-10-01

    Life cycle assessment-based environmental product declarations (EPDs) require the inclusion of biodiversity impacts across the entire supply chain. The objective of this study is to test the applicability of a Scandinavian biodiversity assessment tool, developed specifically for use with EPD applications, in an African desert environment, linking the industry types power generation and mining. For this purpose, a GIS-based spatial analysis tool—the biotope method—was adapted to a framework approach which allowed the selection of more suitable, site-specific biodiversity indicators. The biotope method provides a step-by-step process of defining system boundaries, mapping biotopes, categorizing biotopes based on site-specific indicators, and evaluating change in biotope status “before” and “after” the impact. The development of site-specific indicators was piloted in this study and determined by the affected ecosystem and the status of knowledge on biodiversity in this geographic area. Thus plants were used as indicators for biodiversity, and red-list status and endemism constituted the prime criteria for conservation value of plants. This in turn represented the key criterion for classifying biotopes. The tested biodiversity assessment tool has potential for application in different environments and operational settings but leaves room for improvement by including secondary impacts in the assessment and using a wider range of taxa for indicators of biodiversity.

  6. Biodiversity

    SciTech Connect

    Janetos, Anthony C.; Hansen, Lara; Inouye, David; Kelly, Brendan; Meyerson, Laura; Peterson, Bill; Shaw, Rebecca

    2008-05-27

    This synthesis and assessment report bulds on extensive scientific literature and series of recent assessments of the historical and potential impacts of climate change and climate variability on managed and unmanaged ecosystems.

  7. Assessing wave energy effects on biodiversity: the wave hub experience.

    PubMed

    Witt, M J; Sheehan, E V; Bearhop, S; Broderick, A C; Conley, D C; Cotterell, S P; Crow, E; Grecian, W J; Halsband, C; Hodgson, D J; Hosegood, P; Inger, R; Miller, P I; Sims, D W; Thompson, R C; Vanstaen, K; Votier, S C; Attrill, M J; Godley, B J

    2012-01-28

    Marine renewable energy installations harnessing energy from wind, wave and tidal resources are likely to become a large part of the future energy mix worldwide. The potential to gather energy from waves has recently seen increasing interest, with pilot developments in several nations. Although technology to harness wave energy lags behind that of wind and tidal generation, it has the potential to contribute significantly to energy production. As wave energy technology matures and becomes more widespread, it is likely to result in further transformation of our coastal seas. Such changes are accompanied by uncertainty regarding their impacts on biodiversity. To date, impacts have not been assessed, as wave energy converters have yet to be fully developed. Therefore, there is a pressing need to build a framework of understanding regarding the potential impacts of these technologies, underpinned by methodologies that are transferable and scalable across sites to facilitate formal meta-analysis. We first review the potential positive and negative effects of wave energy generation, and then, with specific reference to our work at the Wave Hub (a wave energy test site in southwest England, UK), we set out the methodological approaches needed to assess possible effects of wave energy on biodiversity. We highlight the need for national and international research clusters to accelerate the implementation of wave energy, within a coherent understanding of potential effects-both positive and negative. PMID:22184674

  8. Assessing biodiversity loss due to land use with Life Cycle Assessment: are we there yet?

    PubMed Central

    Souza, Danielle M; Teixeira, Ricardo FM; Ostermann, Ole P

    2015-01-01

    Ecosystems are under increasing pressure from human activities, with land use and land-use change at the forefront of the drivers that provoke global and regional biodiversity loss. The first step in addressing the challenge of how to reverse the negative outlook for the coming years starts with measuring environmental loss rates and assigning responsibilities. Pinpointing the global pressures on biodiversity is a task best addressed using holistic models such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). LCA is the leading method for calculating cradle-to-grave environmental impacts of products and services; it is actively promoted by many public policies, and integrated as part of environmental information systems within private companies. LCA already deals with the potential biodiversity impacts of land use, but there are significant obstacles to overcome before its models grasp the full reach of the phenomena involved. In this review, we discuss some pressing issues that need to be addressed. LCA mainly introduces biodiversity as an endpoint category modeled as a loss in species richness due to the conversion and use of land over time and space. The functional and population effects on biodiversity are mostly absent due to the emphasis on species accumulation with limited geographic and taxonomical reach. Current land-use modeling activities that use biodiversity indicators tend to oversimplify the real dynamics and complexity of the interactions of species among each other and with their habitats. To identify the main areas for improvement, we systematically reviewed LCA studies on land use that had findings related to global change and conservation ecology. We provide suggestion as to how to address some of the issues raised. Our overall objective was to encourage companies to monitor and take concrete steps to address the impacts of land use on biodiversity on a broader geographical scale and along increasingly globalized supply chains. PMID:25143302

  9. Temperature impacts on deep-sea biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Yasuhara, Moriaki; Danovaro, Roberto

    2016-05-01

    Temperature is considered to be a fundamental factor controlling biodiversity in marine ecosystems, but precisely what role temperature plays in modulating diversity is still not clear. The deep ocean, lacking light and in situ photosynthetic primary production, is an ideal model system to test the effects of temperature changes on biodiversity. Here we synthesize current knowledge on temperature-diversity relationships in the deep sea. Our results from both present and past deep-sea assemblages suggest that, when a wide range of deep-sea bottom-water temperatures is considered, a unimodal relationship exists between temperature and diversity (that may be right skewed). It is possible that temperature is important only when at relatively high and low levels but does not play a major role in the intermediate temperature range. Possible mechanisms explaining the temperature-biodiversity relationship include the physiological-tolerance hypothesis, the metabolic hypothesis, island biogeography theory, or some combination of these. The possible unimodal relationship discussed here may allow us to identify tipping points at which on-going global change and deep-water warming may increase or decrease deep-sea biodiversity. Predicted changes in deep-sea temperatures due to human-induced climate change may have more adverse consequences than expected considering the sensitivity of deep-sea ecosystems to temperature changes. PMID:25523624

  10. Biodiversity

    SciTech Connect

    Dobson, A. ); Carper, R. )

    1993-10-30

    Traditional herbalists act as a first-level screen for plants which may contain chemicals with significant pharmaceutical potential. Unfortunately, the destruction of rain forests is likely to lead to the extinction of many plant species before their potential can be explored. 165,000 km[sup 2] of tropical forest and 90,000 km[sup 2] of range land are destroyed or degraded each year, an annual attrition rate of about 1% for tropical forest. If these losses continue until only land set aside in parks is left, 66% of plant and 69% of animal species may be lost. The burning of forests to clear land for human settlement also makes a significant contribution to the greenhouse gases that are raising global mean temperatures. There are synergisms--here between rainforest destruction, loss of biodiversity, and global climate change--with potential impacts on health. Some aspects will be explored more fully in the contributions on vector-borne diseases and direct impacts and in the collaborative review of monitoring with which the series ends.

  11. Road-networks, a practical indicator of human impacts on biodiversity in Tropical forests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hosaka, T.; Yamada, T.; Okuda, T.

    2014-02-01

    Tropical forests sustain the most diverse plants and animals in the world, but are also being lost most rapidly. Rapid assessment and monitoring using remote sensing on biodiversity of tropical forests is needed to predict and evaluate biodiversity loss by human activities. Identification of reliable indicators of forest biodiversity and/or its loss is an urgent issue. In the present paper, we propose the density of road networks in tropical forests can be a good and practical indicator of human impacts on biodiversity in tropical forests through reviewing papers and introducing our preliminary survey in peninsular Malaysia. Many previous studies suggest a strong negative impact of forest roads on biodiversity in tropical rainforests since they changes microclimate, soil properties, drainage patterns, canopy openness and forest accessibility. Moreover, our preliminary survey also showed that even a narrow logging road (6 m wide) significantly lowered abundance of dung beetles (well-known bio-indicator in biodiversity survey in tropical forests) near the road. Since these road networks are readily to be detected with remote sensing approach such as aerial photographs and Lider, regulation and monitoring of the road networks using remote sensing techniques is a key to slow down the rate of biodiversity loss due to forest degradation in tropical forests.

  12. Landscape ecological assessment: a tool for integrating biodiversity issues in strategic environmental assessment and planning.

    PubMed

    Mrtberg, U M; Balfors, B; Knol, W C

    2007-03-01

    To achieve a sustainable development, impacts on biodiversity of urbanisation, new infrastructure projects and other land use changes must be considered on landscape and regional scales. This requires that important decisions are made after a systematic evaluation of environmental impacts. Landscape ecology can provide a conceptual framework for the assessment of consequences of long-term development processes like urbanisation on biodiversity components, and for evaluating and visualising the impacts of alternative planning scenarios. The aim of this paper was to develop methods for integrating biodiversity issues in planning and strategic environmental assessment in an urbanising environment, on landscape and regional levels. In order to test developed methods, a case study was conducted in the region of Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, and the study area embraced the city centre, suburbs and peri-urban areas. Focal species were tested as indicators of habitat quality, quantity and connectivity in the landscape. Predictive modelling of habitat distribution in geographic information systems involved the modelling of focal species occurrences based on empirical data, incorporated in a landscape ecological decision support system. When habitat models were retrieved, they were applied on future planning scenarios in order to predict and assess the impacts on focal species. The scenario involving a diffuse exploitation pattern had the greatest negative impacts on the habitat networks of focal species. The scenarios with concentrated exploitation also had negative impacts, although they were possible to mitigate quite easily. The predictions of the impacts on habitats networks of focal species made it possible to quantify, integrate and visualise the effects of urbanisation scenarios on aspects of biodiversity on a landscape level. PMID:16574306

  13. Quantifying Land Use Impacts on Biodiversity: Combining Species-Area Models and Vulnerability Indicators.

    PubMed

    Chaudhary, Abhishek; Verones, Francesca; de Baan, Laura; Hellweg, Stefanie

    2015-08-18

    Habitat degradation and subsequent biodiversity damage often take place far from the place of consumption because of globalization and the increasing level of international trade. Informing consumers and policy makers about the biodiversity impacts "hidden" in the life cycle of imported products is an important step toward achieving sustainable consumption patterns. Spatially explicit methods are needed in life cycle assessment to accurately quantify biodiversity impacts of products and processes. We use the Countryside species-area relationship (SAR) to quantify regional species loss due to land occupation and transformation for five taxa and six land use types in 804 terrestrial ecoregions. Further, we calculate vulnerability scores for each ecoregion based on the fraction of each species' geographic range (endemic richness) hosted by the ecoregion and the IUCN assigned threat level of each species. Vulnerability scores are multiplied with SAR-predicted regional species loss to estimate potential global extinctions per unit of land use. As a case study, we assess the land use biodiversity impacts of 1 kg of bioethanol produced using six different feed stocks in different parts of the world. Results show that the regions with highest biodiversity impacts differed markedly when the vulnerability of species was included. PMID:26197362

  14. Impact of sludge deposition on biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Manzetti, Sergio; van der Spoel, David

    2015-11-01

    Sludge deposition in the environment is carried out in several countries. It encompasses the dispersion of treated or untreated sludge in forests, marsh lands, open waters as well as estuarine systems resulting in the gradual accumulation of toxins and persistent organic compounds in the environment. Studies on the life cycle of compounds from sludge deposition and the consequences of deposition are few. Most reports focus rather on treatment-methods and approaches, legislative aspects as well as analytical evaluations of the chemical profiles of sludge. This paper reviews recent as well as some older studies on sludge deposition in forests and other ecosystems. From the literature covered it can be concluded that sludge deposition induces two detrimental effects on the environment: (1) raising of the levels of persistent toxins in soil, vegetation and wild life and (2) slow and long-termed biodiversity-reduction through the fertilizing nutrient pollution operating on the vegetation. Since recent studies show that eutrophication of the environment is a major threat to global biodiversity supplying additional nutrients through sludge-based fertilization seems imprudent. Toxins that accumulate in the vegetation are transferred to feeding herbivores and their predators, resulting in a reduced long-term survival chance of exposed species. We briefly review current legislation for sludge deposition and suggest alternative routes to handling this difficult class of waste. PMID:26318179

  15. [Biodiversity and civil liability: the role of assessment].

    PubMed

    Boutonnet, Mathilde

    2014-03-01

    The purpose of this paper is to make the link between expertise and biodiversity through the civil liability Law. Indeed, since Erika Case (Cour de Cassation, Crim. 25 septembre 2012), this Law recognised the ecological damage. This one is defined as an damage caused to Nature and especially Biodiversity. Thus, the expertise has to play a major role. In this paper, two roles are studied: first all all, the expertise allows to assess the damage of Biodiversity itself, to define and to prove it. Secondly, the expertise is an instrument which is very important for prescribing the measures of compensation, in kind or pecuniary compensation. PMID:25073326

  16. Spatial patterns of agricultural expansion determine impacts on biodiversity and carbon storage

    PubMed Central

    Chaplin-Kramer, Rebecca; Sharp, Richard P.; Mandle, Lisa; Sim, Sarah; Johnson, Justin; Butnar, Isabela; Milà i Canals, Llorenç; Eichelberger, Bradley A.; Ramler, Ivan; Mueller, Carina; McLachlan, Nikolaus; Yousefi, Anahita; King, Henry; Kareiva, Peter M.

    2015-01-01

    The agricultural expansion and intensification required to meet growing food and agri-based product demand present important challenges to future levels and management of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Influential actors such as corporations, governments, and multilateral organizations have made commitments to meeting future agricultural demand sustainably and preserving critical ecosystems. Current approaches to predicting the impacts of agricultural expansion involve calculation of total land conversion and assessment of the impacts on biodiversity or ecosystem services on a per-area basis, generally assuming a linear relationship between impact and land area. However, the impacts of continuing land development are often not linear and can vary considerably with spatial configuration. We demonstrate what could be gained by spatially explicit analysis of agricultural expansion at a large scale compared with the simple measure of total area converted, with a focus on the impacts on biodiversity and carbon storage. Using simple modeling approaches for two regions of Brazil, we find that for the same amount of land conversion, the declines in biodiversity and carbon storage can vary two- to fourfold depending on the spatial pattern of conversion. Impacts increase most rapidly in the earliest stages of agricultural expansion and are more pronounced in scenarios where conversion occurs in forest interiors compared with expansion into forests from their edges. This study reveals the importance of spatially explicit information in the assessment of land-use change impacts and for future land management and conservation. PMID:26082547

  17. Spatial patterns of agricultural expansion determine impacts on biodiversity and carbon storage.

    PubMed

    Chaplin-Kramer, Rebecca; Sharp, Richard P; Mandle, Lisa; Sim, Sarah; Johnson, Justin; Butnar, Isabela; Milà I Canals, Llorenç; Eichelberger, Bradley A; Ramler, Ivan; Mueller, Carina; McLachlan, Nikolaus; Yousefi, Anahita; King, Henry; Kareiva, Peter M

    2015-06-16

    The agricultural expansion and intensification required to meet growing food and agri-based product demand present important challenges to future levels and management of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Influential actors such as corporations, governments, and multilateral organizations have made commitments to meeting future agricultural demand sustainably and preserving critical ecosystems. Current approaches to predicting the impacts of agricultural expansion involve calculation of total land conversion and assessment of the impacts on biodiversity or ecosystem services on a per-area basis, generally assuming a linear relationship between impact and land area. However, the impacts of continuing land development are often not linear and can vary considerably with spatial configuration. We demonstrate what could be gained by spatially explicit analysis of agricultural expansion at a large scale compared with the simple measure of total area converted, with a focus on the impacts on biodiversity and carbon storage. Using simple modeling approaches for two regions of Brazil, we find that for the same amount of land conversion, the declines in biodiversity and carbon storage can vary two- to fourfold depending on the spatial pattern of conversion. Impacts increase most rapidly in the earliest stages of agricultural expansion and are more pronounced in scenarios where conversion occurs in forest interiors compared with expansion into forests from their edges. This study reveals the importance of spatially explicit information in the assessment of land-use change impacts and for future land management and conservation. PMID:26082547

  18. Biodiversity impacts from salinity increase in a coastal wetland.

    PubMed

    Amores, Maria José; Verones, Francesca; Raptis, Catherine; Juraske, Ronnie; Pfister, Stephan; Stoessel, Franziska; Antón, Assumpció; Castells, Francesc; Hellweg, Stefanie

    2013-06-18

    A Life Cycle Impact Assessment method was developed to evaluate the environmental impact associated with salinity on biodiversity in a Spanish coastal wetland. The developed characterization factor consists of a fate and an effect factor and equals 3.16 × 10(-1) ± 1.84 × 10(-1) PAF · m(3) · yr · m(-3) (PAF: Potentially Affected Fraction of species) indicating a "potential loss of 0.32 m(3) ecosystem" for a water consumption rate of 1 m(3) · yr(-1). As a result of groundwater consumption with a rate of 1 m(3) · yr(-1), the PAF in the lost cubic meter of ecosystem equals 0.05, which has been proposed as the maximum tolerable effect to keep the ecosystem intact. The fate factor was calculated from seasonal water balances of the wetland Albufera de Adra. The effect factor was obtained from the fitted curve of the potentially affected fraction of native wetland species due to salinity and can be applied to other wetlands with similar species composition. In order to test the applicability of the characterization factor, an assessment of water consumption of greenhouse crops in the area was conducted as a case study. Results converted into ecosystem quality damage using the ReCiPe method were compared to other categories. While tomatoes are responsible for up to 30% of the impact of increased salinity due to water consumption on ecosystem quality in the studied area, melons have the largest impact per tonne produced. PMID:23597228

  19. Mitigation for one & all: An integrated framework for mitigation of development impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services

    SciTech Connect

    Tallis, Heather; Kennedy, Christina M.; Ruckelshaus, Mary; Goldstein, Joshua; Kiesecker, Joseph M.

    2015-11-15

    Emerging development policies and lending standards call for consideration of ecosystem services when mitigating impacts from development, yet little guidance exists to inform this process. Here we propose a comprehensive framework for advancing both biodiversity and ecosystem service mitigation. We have clarified a means for choosing representative ecosystem service targets alongside biodiversity targets, identified servicesheds as a useful spatial unit for assessing ecosystem service avoidance, impact, and offset options, and discuss methods for consistent calculation of biodiversity and ecosystem service mitigation ratios. We emphasize the need to move away from area- and habitat-based assessment methods for both biodiversity and ecosystem services towards functional assessments at landscape or seascape scales. Such comprehensive assessments more accurately reflect cumulative impacts and variation in environmental quality, social needs and value preferences. The integrated framework builds on the experience of biodiversity mitigation while addressing the unique opportunities and challenges presented by ecosystem service mitigation. These advances contribute to growing potential for economic development planning and execution that will minimize impacts on nature and maximize human wellbeing. - Highlights: • This is the first framework for biodiversity and ecosystem service mitigation. • Functional, landscape scale assessments are ideal for avoidance and offsets. • Servicesheds define the appropriate spatial extent for ecosystem service mitigation. • Mitigation ratios should be calculated consistently and based on standard factors. • Our framework meets the needs of integrated mitigation assessment requirements.

  20. Aquatic biodiversity assessment for the lazy.

    PubMed

    Hoffmann, Constanze; Schubert, Grit; Calvignac-Spencer, Sébastien

    2016-02-01

    The world is covered in DNA. In any ecosystem, extracellular DNA fragments can be found that once formed the genomes of a variety of micro- and macroorganisms. A few years ago, it was proposed to use this environmental DNA (eDNA) as a source of information on local vertebrate biodiversity (Ficetola et al. ; Taberlet et al. ). This idea offered an elegant solution to take up the gauntlet of rapidly increasing monitoring needs. Coupled with barcoding efforts, it promised to be cost-efficient in many respects, for example man-hours and taxonomic expertise. Ecologists and conservation biologists with an interest in aquatic ecosystems have enthusiastically adopted and pioneered this new method, producing dozens of eDNA studies. Most of these studies have, however, focused on a single or a few aquatic species. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Valentini et al. () move the field a step further by demonstrating that metabarcoding approaches - which simultaneously target large groups of organisms such as amphibians or fish - can match and sometimes even outperform other inventory methods. PMID:26876232

  1. Biodiversity

    SciTech Connect

    Wilson, E.O.; Peter, F.M.

    1988-01-01

    In tropical forests, on coral reefs, and in other threatened habitats, countless plant, animal, and microbial species face possible extinction - their names unknown, their numbers uncounted, their value unreckoned. Although popular attention has focused on the plight of more visible and widely known species like the whooping crane or the African elephant, most-experts agree that the loss of less-obvious organisms could be much more devastating. This is the subject of the volume. It calls attention to a most urgent global problem: the rapidly accelerating loss of plant and animal species to increasing human-population pressure and the demands of economic development. The book explores biodiversity from a wide variety of viewpoints.

  2. Minimizing the biodiversity impact of Neotropical oil palm development.

    PubMed

    Gilroy, James J; Prescott, Graham W; Cardenas, Johann S; Castañeda, Pamela González del Pliego; Sánchez, Andrés; Rojas-Murcia, Luis E; Medina Uribe, Claudia A; Haugaasen, Torbjørn; Edwards, David P

    2015-04-01

    Oil palm agriculture is rapidly expanding in the Neotropics, at the expense of a range of natural and seminatural habitats. A key question is how this expansion should be managed to reduce negative impacts on biodiversity. Focusing on the Llanos of Colombia, a mixed grassland-forest system identified as a priority zone for future oil palm development, we survey communities of ants, dung beetles, birds and herpetofauna occurring in oil palm plantations and the other principal form of agriculture in the region--improved cattle pasture--together with those of surrounding natural forests. We show that oil palm plantations have similar or higher species richness across all four taxonomic groups than improved pasture. For dung beetles, species richness in oil palm was equal to that of forest, whereas the other three taxa had highest species richness in forests. Hierarchical modelling of species occupancy probabilities indicated that oil palm plantations supported a higher proportion of species characteristic of forests than did cattle pastures. Across the bird community, occupancy probabilities within oil palm were positively influenced by increasing forest cover in a surrounding 250 m radius, whereas surrounding forest cover did not strongly influence the occurrence of other taxonomic groups in oil palm. Overall, our results suggest that the conversion of existing improved pastures to oil palm has limited negative impacts on biodiversity. As such, existing cattle pastures of the Colombian Llanos could offer a key opportunity to meet governmental targets for oil palm development without incurring significant biodiversity costs. Our results also highlight the value of preserving remnant forests within these agricultural landscapes, protecting high biodiversity and exporting avian 'spill-over' effects into oil palm plantations. PMID:25175402

  3. Assessing global marine biodiversity status within a coupled socio-ecological perspective.

    PubMed

    Selig, Elizabeth R; Longo, Catherine; Halpern, Benjamin S; Best, Benjamin D; Hardy, Darren; Elfes, Cristiane T; Scarborough, Courtney; Kleisner, Kristin M; Katona, Steven K

    2013-01-01

    People value the existence of a variety of marine species and habitats, many of which are negatively impacted by human activities. The Convention on Biological Diversity and other international and national policy agreements have set broad goals for reducing the rate of biodiversity loss. However, efforts to conserve biodiversity cannot be effective without comprehensive metrics both to assess progress towards meeting conservation goals and to account for measures that reduce pressures so that positive actions are encouraged. We developed an index based on a global assessment of the condition of marine biodiversity using publically available data to estimate the condition of species and habitats within 151 coastal countries. Our assessment also included data on social and ecological pressures on biodiversity as well as variables that indicate whether good governance is in place to reduce them. Thus, our index is a social as well as ecological measure of the current and likely future status of biodiversity. As part of our analyses, we set explicit reference points or targets that provide benchmarks for success and allow for comparative assessment of current conditions. Overall country-level scores ranged from 43 to 95 on a scale of 1 to 100, but countries that scored high for species did not necessarily score high for habitats. Although most current status scores were relatively high, likely future status scores for biodiversity were much lower in most countries due to negative trends for both species and habitats. We also found a strong positive relationship between the Human Development Index and resilience measures that could promote greater sustainability by reducing pressures. This relationship suggests that many developing countries lack effective governance, further jeopardizing their ability to maintain species and habitats in the future. PMID:23593188

  4. Assessing Global Marine Biodiversity Status within a Coupled Socio-Ecological Perspective

    PubMed Central

    Selig, Elizabeth R.; Longo, Catherine; Halpern, Benjamin S.; Best, Benjamin D.; Hardy, Darren; Elfes, Cristiane T.; Scarborough, Courtney; Kleisner, Kristin M.; Katona, Steven K.

    2013-01-01

    People value the existence of a variety of marine species and habitats, many of which are negatively impacted by human activities. The Convention on Biological Diversity and other international and national policy agreements have set broad goals for reducing the rate of biodiversity loss. However, efforts to conserve biodiversity cannot be effective without comprehensive metrics both to assess progress towards meeting conservation goals and to account for measures that reduce pressures so that positive actions are encouraged. We developed an index based on a global assessment of the condition of marine biodiversity using publically available data to estimate the condition of species and habitats within 151 coastal countries. Our assessment also included data on social and ecological pressures on biodiversity as well as variables that indicate whether good governance is in place to reduce them. Thus, our index is a social as well as ecological measure of the current and likely future status of biodiversity. As part of our analyses, we set explicit reference points or targets that provide benchmarks for success and allow for comparative assessment of current conditions. Overall country-level scores ranged from 43 to 95 on a scale of 1 to 100, but countries that scored high for species did not necessarily score high for habitats. Although most current status scores were relatively high, likely future status scores for biodiversity were much lower in most countries due to negative trends for both species and habitats. We also found a strong positive relationship between the Human Development Index and resilience measures that could promote greater sustainability by reducing pressures. This relationship suggests that many developing countries lack effective governance, further jeopardizing their ability to maintain species and habitats in the future. PMID:23593188

  5. Harmonizing the assessment of biodiversity effects from land and water use within LCA.

    PubMed

    Verones, Francesca; Huijbregts, Mark A J; Chaudhary, Abhishek; de Baan, Laura; Koellner, Thomas; Hellweg, Stefanie

    2015-03-17

    Addressing biodiversity impacts in life cycle assessment (LCA) has recently been significantly improved. Advances include the consideration of several taxa, consideration of vulnerability of species and ecosystems, global coverage and spatial differentiation. To allow a comparison of biodiversity impacts of different stressors (e.g., land and water use), consistent approaches for assessing and aggregating biodiversity impacts across taxa are needed. We propose four different options for aggregating impacts across taxa and stressors: equal weight for species, equal weight for taxa and two options with special consideration of species' vulnerability. We apply the aggregation options to a case study of coffee, tea and sugarcane production in Kenya for the production of 1 kg of crop. The ranking between stressors (land vs water use) within each crop and also of the overall impact between crops (coffee>sugarcane>tea) remained the same when applying the different aggregation options. Inclusion of the vulnerability of species had significant influence on the magnitude of results, and potentially also on the spatial distribution of impacts, and should be considered. PMID:25719255

  6. A Fragile Cornucopia: Assessing the Status of U.S. Biodiversity.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stein, Bruce A.

    2001-01-01

    Presents a national status assessment of biodiversity for the United States. Discusses a catalog of biodiversity, the condition of species, and the legacy of extinctions in the area. Provides information for many of the states. (DDR)

  7. Impact of land use on the biodiversity integrity of the moist sub-biome of the grassland biome, South Africa.

    PubMed

    O'Connor, T G; Kuyler, P

    2009-01-01

    South Africa's moist grassland harbours globally significant biodiversity, supplies essential ecosystem services, supports crop and livestock agriculture, forestry and settlement, yet is poorly conserved. Ongoing transformation and limited opportunity for expanding the protected area network require instead that biodiversity conservation is 'mainstreamed' within other land uses. This exercise sought to identify the relative compatibility of 10 land uses (conservation, livestock or game ranching, tourism/recreation, rural settlement, dryland cropping, irrigated cropping, dairy farming, plantation forestry, and urban settlement) with maintaining biodiversity integrity. This was assessed using 46 indicators for biodiversity integrity that covered landscape composition, structure, and functioning. Data was integrated into a single measure per land use through application of the analytic hierarchy process, with supporting information gained from interviews with experts. The rank order of importance amongst indicators was landscape structure, functioning and composition. Consistent differences among land uses for all three categories revealed two clear groupings. Conservation, livestock or game ranching had the lowest impact and retained substantial natural asset, while that for tourism/recreation was intermediate. All other land uses had a severe impact. Impact on biodiversity integrity depended mainly on the extent of transformation and fragmentation, which accounted for the greatest impact on habitats and species, and impairment of landscape functioning. It is suggested that a strategic intervention for maintaining biodiversity integrity of moist grassland is to support livestock or game ranching and limit ongoing urban sprawl. PMID:18082314

  8. A meta-analysis of soil biodiversity impacts on the carbon cycle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Graaff, M.-A.; Adkins, J.; Kardol, P.; Throop, H. L.

    2014-11-01

    Loss of biodiversity can impact ecosystem functioning, such as altering carbon (C) cycling rates. Soils are the largest terrestrial C reservoir, containing more C globally than the biotic and atmospheric pools together. As such, soil C cycling, and the processes controlling it, have the potential to affect atmospheric CO2 concentrations and subsequent climate change. Despite the growing evidence of links between plant diversity and soil C cycling, there is a dearth of information on whether similar relationships exist between biodiversity of soil organisms (microbes and soil fauna) and C cycling. This is despite increasing recognition that soil communities display high levels of both taxonomic and functional diversity and are key drivers of fluxes of C between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems. Here, we used meta-analysis and regression analysis to quantitatively assess how soil biodiversity affects soil C cycling pools and processes (i.e., soil C respiration, litter decomposition, and plant biomass). We compared the response of pool amd process variables to changes in biodiversity both within and across trophic groups of organisms. Overall, loss of soil diversity significantly reduced soil C respiration (-27.5%) and plant tissue decomposition (-18%), but did not affect above- and belowground plant biomass. Detailed analyses showed that loss of within-group biodiversity significantly reduced soil C respiration, while loss of across-group diversity did not. Decomposition was negatively affected by losses of both within-group and across-group diversity. Further, loss of microbial diversity strongly reduced soil C respiration (-41%). In contrast, plant tissue decomposition was negatively affected by loss of soil faunal diversity, but was unaffected by loss of microbial diversity. Taken together, our findings show that loss of soil biodiversity can strongly affect soil C cycling processes, and highlight the importance of diversity across organismal groups for maintaining full C cycling functionality. However, our understanding of the complex relationships between soil biodiversity and C cycling processes is currently limited by the sheer number of methodological concerns associated with these studies, which can greatly overestimate or underestimate the impact of soil biodiversity on soil C cycling. These limitations present challenges to extrapolation to natural field settings. Future studies should attempt to further elucidate the relative importance of taxonomic diversity vs. functional diversity.

  9. Detectability Counts when Assessing Populations for Biodiversity Targets

    PubMed Central

    Petrovan, Silviu O.; Ward, Alastair I.; Wheeler, Philip

    2011-01-01

    Efficient, practical and accurate estimates of population parameters are a necessary basis for effective conservation action to meet biodiversity targets. The brown hare is representative of many European farmland species: historically widespread and abundant but having undergone rapid declines as a result of agricultural intensification. As a priority species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, it has national targets for population increase that are part of wider national environmental indicators. Previous research has indicated that brown hare declines have been greatest in pastural landscapes and that gains might be made by focussing conservation effort there. We therefore used hares in pastural landscapes to examine how basic changes in survey methodology can affect the precision of population density estimates and related these to national targets for biodiversity conservation in the UK. Line transects for hares carried out at night resulted in higher numbers of detections, had better-fitting detection functions and provided more robust density estimates with lower effort than those during the day, due primarily to the increased probability of detection of hares at night and the nature of hare responses to the observer. Hare spring densities varied widely within a single region, with a pooled mean of 20.6 hares km−2, significantly higher than the reported national average of hares in pastures of 3.3 hares km−2. The high number of encounters allowed us to resolve hare densities at site, season and year scales. We demonstrate how survey conduct can impact on data quantity and quality with implications for setting and monitoring biodiversity targets. Our case study of the brown hare provides evidence that for wildlife species with low detectability, large scale volunteer-based monitoring programmes, either species specific or generalist, might be more successfully and efficiently carried out by a small number of trained personnel able to employ methods that maximise detectability. PMID:21980343

  10. Detectability counts when assessing populations for biodiversity targets.

    PubMed

    Petrovan, Silviu O; Ward, Alastair I; Wheeler, Philip

    2011-01-01

    Efficient, practical and accurate estimates of population parameters are a necessary basis for effective conservation action to meet biodiversity targets. The brown hare is representative of many European farmland species: historically widespread and abundant but having undergone rapid declines as a result of agricultural intensification. As a priority species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, it has national targets for population increase that are part of wider national environmental indicators. Previous research has indicated that brown hare declines have been greatest in pastural landscapes and that gains might be made by focussing conservation effort there. We therefore used hares in pastural landscapes to examine how basic changes in survey methodology can affect the precision of population density estimates and related these to national targets for biodiversity conservation in the UK. Line transects for hares carried out at night resulted in higher numbers of detections, had better-fitting detection functions and provided more robust density estimates with lower effort than those during the day, due primarily to the increased probability of detection of hares at night and the nature of hare responses to the observer. Hare spring densities varied widely within a single region, with a pooled mean of 20.6 hares km(-2), significantly higher than the reported national average of hares in pastures of 3.3 hares km(-2). The high number of encounters allowed us to resolve hare densities at site, season and year scales. We demonstrate how survey conduct can impact on data quantity and quality with implications for setting and monitoring biodiversity targets. Our case study of the brown hare provides evidence that for wildlife species with low detectability, large scale volunteer-based monitoring programmes, either species specific or generalist, might be more successfully and efficiently carried out by a small number of trained personnel able to employ methods that maximise detectability. PMID:21980343

  11. A meta-analysis of soil biodiversity impacts on the carbon cycle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Graaff, M.-A.; Adkins, J.; Kardol, P.; Throop, H. L.

    2015-03-01

    Loss of biodiversity impacts ecosystem functions, such as carbon (C) cycling. Soils are the largest terrestrial C reservoir, containing more C globally than the biotic and atmospheric pools together. As such, soil C cycling, and the processes controlling it, has the potential to affect atmospheric CO2 concentrations and subsequent climate change. Despite the growing evidence of links between plant diversity and soil C cycling, there is a dearth of information on whether similar relationships exist between soil biodiversity and C cycling. This knowledge gap occurs even though there has been increased recognition that soil communities display high levels of both taxonomic and functional diversity and are key drivers of fluxes of C between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems. Here, we used meta-analysis and regression analysis to quantitatively assess how soil biodiversity affects soil C cycling pools and processes (i.e., soil C respiration, litter decomposition, and plant biomass). We compared the response of process variables to changes in diversity both within and across groups of soil organisms that differed in body size, a grouping that typically correlates with ecological function. When studies that manipulated both within- and across-body size group diversity were included in the meta-analysis, loss of diversity significantly reduced soil C respiration (-27.5%) and plant tissue decomposition (-18%) but did not affect above- or belowground plant biomass. The loss of within-group diversity significantly reduced soil C respiration, while loss of across-group diversity did not. Decomposition was negatively affected both by loss of within-group and across-group diversity. Furthermore, loss of microbial diversity strongly reduced soil C respiration (-41%). In contrast, plant tissue decomposition was negatively affected by loss of soil faunal diversity but was unaffected by loss of microbial diversity. Taken together, our findings show that loss of soil biodiversity strongly impacts on soil C cycling processes, and highlight the importance of diversity across groups of organisms (e.g., primary consumers and secondary decomposers) for maintaining full functionality of C cycle processes. However, our understanding of the complex relationships between soil biodiversity and C cycling processes is currently limited by the sheer number of methodological concerns associated with these studies, which can greatly overestimate or underestimate the impact of soil biodiversity on soil C cycling, challenging extrapolation to natural field settings. Future studies should attempt to further elucidate the relative importance of taxonomic diversity (species numbers) versus functional diversity.

  12. Integrating ecological risk assessments across levels of organization using the Franklin-Noss model of biodiversity

    SciTech Connect

    Brugger, K.E.; Tiebout, H.M. III

    1994-12-31

    Wildlife toxicologists pioneered methodologies for assessing ecological risk to nontarget species. Historically, ecological risk assessments (ERAS) focused on a limited array of species and were based on a relatively few population-level endpoints (mortality, reproduction). Currently, risk assessment models are becoming increasingly complex that factor in multi-species interactions (across trophic levels) and utilize an increasingly diverse number of ecologically significant endpoints. This trend suggests the increasing importance of safeguarding not only populations of individual species, but also the overall integrity of the larger biotic systems that support them. In this sense, ERAs are in alignment with Conservation Biology, an applied science of ecological knowledge used to conserve biodiversity. A theoretical conservation biology model could be incorporated in ERAs to quantify impacts to biodiversity (structure, function or composition across levels of biological organization). The authors suggest that the Franklin-Noss model for evaluating biodiversity, with its nested, hierarchical approach, may provide a suitable paradigm for assessing and integrating the ecological risk that chemical contaminants pose to biological systems from the simplest levels (genotypes, individual organisms) to the most complex levels of organization (communities and ecosystems). The Franklin-Noss model can accommodate the existing ecotoxicological database and, perhaps more importantly, indicate new areas in which critical endpoints should be identified and investigated.

  13. An index based on the biodiversity of cetacean species to assess the environmental status of marine ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Azzellino, Arianna; Fossi, Maria Cristina; Gaspari, Stefania; Lanfredi, Caterina; Lauriano, Giancarlo; Marsili, Letizia; Panigada, Simone; Podestà, Michela

    2014-09-01

    The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires the assessment of the environmental status in relation to human pressures. In this study the biodiversity of the cetacean community is proposed as MSFD descriptor of the environmental status and its link with anthropogenic pressures is investigated. Functional groups are generally favoured over indicator species since they are thought to better reflect to anthropogenic stressors. Cetaceans are in many situations the most well known component of pelagic ecosystems. Their habitat requirements are known and can be used to evaluate the theoretical biodiversity that should be expected in a certain area. The deviations between the theoretical biodiversity and the actual biodiversity may be used to detect the impacts of human activities. Based on this analysis fishery resulted to be by far the most significant of the existing pressures. Among all the species, bottlenose dolphin was found the most correlated with the fishery sector dynamics. PMID:25016937

  14. Assessing paleo-biodiversity using low proxy influx.

    PubMed

    Blarquez, Olivier; Finsinger, Walter; Carcaillet, Christopher

    2013-01-01

    We developed an algorithm to improve richness assessment based on paleoecological series, considering sample features such as their temporal resolutions or their volumes. Our new method can be applied to both high- and low-count size proxies, i.e. pollen and plant macroremain records, respectively. While pollen generally abounds in sediments, plant macroremains are generally rare, thus leading to difficulties to compute paleo-biodiversity indices. Our approach uses resampled macroremain influxes that enable the computation of the rarefaction index for the low influx records. The raw counts are resampled to a constant resolution and sample volume by interpolating initial sample ages at a constant time interval using the age∼depth model. Then, the contribution of initial counts and volume to each interpolated sample is determined by calculating a proportion matrix that is in turn used to obtain regularly spaced time series of pollen and macroremain influx. We applied this algorithm to sedimentary data from a subalpine lake situated in the European Alps. The reconstructed total floristic richness at the study site increased gradually when both pollen and macroremain records indicated a decrease in relative abundances of shrubs and an increase in trees from 11,000 to 7,000 cal BP. This points to an ecosystem change that favored trees against shrubs, whereas herb abundance remained stable. Since 6,000 cal BP, local richness decreased based on plant macroremains, while pollen-based richness was stable. The reconstructed richness and evenness are interrelated confirming the difficulty to distinguish these two aspects for the studies in paleo-biodiversity. The present study shows that low-influx bio-proxy records (here macroremains) can be used to reconstruct stand diversity and address ecological issues. These developments on macroremain and pollen records may contribute to bridge the gap between paleoecology and biodiversity studies. PMID:23776556

  15. A freshwater biodiversity hotspot under pressure - assessing threats and identifying conservation needs for ancient Lake Ohrid

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kostoski, G.; Albrecht, C.; Trajanovski, S.; Wilke, T.

    2010-12-01

    Immediate conservation measures for world-wide freshwater resources are of eminent importance. This is particularly true for so-called ancient lakes. While these lakes are famous for being evolutionary theatres, often displaying an extraordinarily high degree of biodiversity and endemism, in many cases these biota are also experiencing extreme anthropogenic impact. Lake Ohrid, a major European biodiversity hotspot situated in a trans-frontier setting on the Balkans, is a prime example for a lake with a magnitude of narrow range endemic taxa that are under increasing anthropogenic pressure. Unfortunately, evidence for a "creeping biodiversity crisis" has accumulated over the last decades, and major socio-political changes have gone along with human-mediated environmental changes. Based on field surveys, monitoring data, published records, and expert interviews, we aimed to (1) assess threats to Lake Ohrids' (endemic) biodiversity, (2) summarize existing conservation activities and strategies, and (3) outline future conservation needs for Lake Ohrid. We compiled threats to both specific taxa (and in cases to particular species) as well as to the lake ecosystems itself. Major conservation concerns identified for Lake Ohrid are: (1) watershed impacts, (2) agriculture and forestry, (3) tourism and population growth, (4) non-indigenous species, (5) habitat alteration or loss, (6) unsustainable exploitation of fisheries, and (7) global climate change. Among the major (well-known) threats with high impact are nutrient input (particularly of phosphorus), habitat conversion and silt load. Other threats are potentially of high impact but less well known. Such threats include pollution with hazardous substances (from sources such as mines, former industries, agriculture) or climate change. We review and discuss institutional responsibilities, environmental monitoring and ecosystem management, existing parks and reserves, biodiversity and species measures, international conservation activities, and ongoing research on conservation and raising of public awareness. Following this summary, we evaluate the status quo and future of Lake Ohrid and its biota. A comprehensive conservation strategy should include measures that result in an immediate reduction of nutrient input, particularly with phosphorus, in order to slow down the ongoing eutrophication process. The existing watershed management should become more effective. Implementation and particularly with a view to the enforcement of national laws should be enhanced. Increased research on the lakes' limnology, biodiversity, and conservation management practices are necessary. The latter research should identify conservation priorities. Public awareness should be enhanced. Facing these parallel needs to protect the unique biodiversity of Lake Ohrid, we suggest urging (a) implementation and enforcement of the General Management Plan that would ensure long-term integrated and sustainable use of the lake and its watershed, (b) scientific studies on ecology, biodiversity and effects of human impact, (c) the establishment of Core Conservation areas (CCA), including underwater reserves, and (d) Coastal Zone Management (CZM) areas that would constitute buffer zones for the CCAs around the lake. Given the number of identified threats, it is clear that only concerted international action can stop or at least slow down further degradation of Lake Ohrid and the creeping biodiversity crisis already evident. All conservation activities should, among others, ultimately lead to a trans-boundary major conservation area of the Ohrid-Prespa region that would allow long-term integration of both humans and nature.

  16. Biogenic CO2 fluxes, changes in surface albedo and biodiversity impacts from establishment of a miscanthus plantation.

    PubMed

    Jørgensen, Susanne V; Cherubini, Francesco; Michelsen, Ottar

    2014-12-15

    Depletion in oil resources and environmental concern related to the use of fossil fuels has increased the interest in using second generation biomass as alternative feedstock for fuels and materials. However, the land use and land use change for producing second generation (2G) biomass impacts the environment in various ways, of which not all are usually considered in life cycle assessment. This study assesses the biogenic CO2 fluxes, surface albedo changes and biodiversity impacts for 100 years after changing land use from forest or fallow land to miscanthus plantation in Wisconsin, US. Climate change impacts are addressed in terms of effective forcing, a mid-point indicator which can be used to compare impacts from biogenic CO2 fluxes and albedo changes. Biodiversity impacts are assessed through elaboration on two different existing approaches, to express the change in biodiversity impact from one human influenced state to another. Concerning the impacts from biogenic CO2 fluxes, in the case of conversion from a forest to a miscanthus plantation (case A) there is a contribution to global warming, whereas when a fallow land is converted (case B), there is a climate cooling. When the effects from albedo changes are included, both scenarios show a net cooling impact, which is more pronounced in case B. Both cases reduce biodiversity in the area where the miscanthus plantation is established, though most in case A. The results illustrate the relevance of these issues when considering environmental impacts of land use and land use change. The apparent trade-offs in terms of environmental impacts further highlight the importance of including these aspects in LCA of land use and land use changes, in order to enable informed decision making. PMID:25194521

  17. Anthropogenic impacts on tropical forest biodiversity: a network structure and ecosystem functioning perspective

    PubMed Central

    Morris, Rebecca J.

    2010-01-01

    Huge areas of diverse tropical forest are lost or degraded every year with dramatic consequences for biodiversity. Deforestation and fragmentation, over-exploitation, invasive species and climate change are the main drivers of tropical forest biodiversity loss. Most studies investigating these threats have focused on changes in species richness or species diversity. However, if we are to understand the absolute and long-term effects of anthropogenic impacts on tropical forests, we should also consider the interactions between species, how those species are organized in networks, and the function that those species perform. I discuss our current knowledge of network structure and ecosystem functioning, highlighting empirical examples of their response to anthropogenic impacts. I consider the future prospects for tropical forest biodiversity, focusing on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in secondary forest. Finally, I propose directions for future research to help us better understand the effects of anthropogenic impacts on tropical forest biodiversity. PMID:20980318

  18. A freshwater biodiversity hotspot under pressure - assessing threats and identifying conservation needs for ancient Lake Ohrid

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kostoski, G.; Albrecht, C.; Trajanovski, S.; Wilke, T.

    2010-07-01

    Freshwater habitats and species living in freshwater are generally more prone to extinction than terrestrial or marine ones. Immediate conservation measures for world-wide freshwater resources are thus of eminent importance. This is particularly true for so called ancient lakes. While these lakes are famous for being evolutionary theatres, often displaying an extraordinarily high degree of biodiversity and endemism, in many cases these biota are also experiencing extreme anthropogenic impact. Lake Ohrid, the European biodiversity hotspot, is a prime example for a lake with a magnitude of narrow range endemic taxa that are under increasing anthropogenic pressure. Unfortunately, evidence for a "creeping biodiversity crisis" has accumulated over the last decades, and major socio-political changes have gone along with human-mediated environmental changes. Based on field surveys, monitoring data, published records, and expert interviews, we aimed to (1) assess threats to Lake Ohrids' (endemic) biodiversity, (2) summarize existing conservation activities and strategies, and (3) outline future conservation needs for Lake Ohrid. We compiled threats to both specific taxa (and in cases to particular species) as well as to the lake ecosystems itself. Major conservation concerns identified for Lake Ohrid are: (1) watershed impacts, (2) agriculture and forestry, (3) tourism and population growth, (4) non-indigenous species, (5) habitat alteration or loss, (6) unsustainable exploitation of fisheries, and (7) global climate change. Of the 11 IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) threat classes scored, seven have moderate and three severe impacts. These latter threat classes are energy production and mining, biological resource use, and pollution. We review and discuss institutional responsibilities, environmental monitoring and ecosystem management, existing parks and reserves, biodiversity and species measures, international conservation activities, and ongoing research on conservation and raising of public awareness. Following this summary, we evaluate the status quo and future of Lake Ohrid and its biota. Given the number of identified threats, it is clear that only concerted international action can stop or at least slow down further degradation of Lake Ohrid and the creeping biodiversity crisis already evident. A comprehensive conservation strategy should include measures that result in an immediate reduction of pollution, particularly with phosphorous, in order to slow down the ongoing eutrophication process. The existing watershed management should become more effective. Implementation and particularly with a view to the enforcement of national laws should be enhanced. Increased research on the lakes' limnology, biodiversity, and conservation management practices are necessary. The latter research should identify conservation priorities. Public awareness should be enhanced. Facing these parallel needs to protect the unique biodiversity of Lake Ohrid, we suggest urging (a) implementation and enforcement of the General Management Plan that would ensure long-term integrated and sustainable use of the lake and its watershed, (b) scientific studies on ecology, biodiversity and effects of human impact, (c) the establishment of Core Conservation areas (CCA), including underwater reserves, and (d) Coastal Zone Management (CZM) areas that would constitute buffer zones for the CCA around the lake. These activities should, among others, ultimately lead to a trans-boundary major conservation area of the Ohrid-Prespa region that would allow long-term integration of both humans and nature.

  19. Road ecology in environmental impact assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Karlson, Mårten Mörtberg, Ulla Balfors, Berit

    2014-09-15

    Transport infrastructure has a wide array of effects on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and road and railway networks are increasingly being associated with a loss of biodiversity worldwide. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) are two legal frameworks that concern physical planning, with the potential to identify, predict, mitigate and/or compensate transport infrastructure effects with negative impacts on biodiversity. The aim of this study was to review the treatment of ecological impacts in environmental assessment of transport infrastructure plans and projects. A literature review on the topic of EIA, SEA, biodiversity and transport infrastructure was conducted, and 17 problem categories on the treatment of biodiversity were formulated by means of a content analysis. A review of environmental impact statements and environmental reports (EIS/ER) produced between 2005 and 2013 in Sweden and the UK was then conducted using the list of problems as a checklist. The results show that the treatment of ecological impacts has improved substantially over the years, but that some impacts remain problematic; the treatment of fragmentation, the absence of quantitative analysis and that the impact assessment study area was in general delimited without consideration for the scales of ecological processes. Actions to improve the treatment of ecological impacts could include improved guidelines for spatial and temporal delimitation, and the establishment of a quantitative framework including tools, methods and threshold values. Additionally, capacity building and further method development of EIA and SEA friendly spatial ecological models can aid in clarifying the costs as well as the benefits in development/biodiversity tradeoffs. - Highlights: • The treatment of ecological impacts in EIA and SEA has improved. • Quantitative methods for ecological impact assessment were rarely used • Fragmentation effects were recognized but not analysed.

  20. Inferential monitoring of global change impact on biodiversity through remote sensing and species distribution modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sangermano, Florencia

    2009-12-01

    The world is suffering from rapid changes in both climate and land cover which are the main factors affecting global biodiversity. These changes may affect ecosystems by altering species distributions, population sizes, and community compositions, which emphasizes the need for a rapid assessment of biodiversity status for conservation and management purposes. Current approaches on monitoring biodiversity rely mainly on long term observations of predetermined sites, which require large amounts of time, money and personnel to be executed. In order to overcome problems associated with current field monitoring methods, the main objective of this dissertation is the development of framework for inferential monitoring of the impact of global change on biodiversity based on remotely sensed data coupled with species distribution modeling techniques. Several research pieces were performed independently in order to fulfill this goal. First, species distribution modeling was used to identify the ranges of 6362 birds, mammals and amphibians in South America. Chapter 1 compares the power of different presence-only species distribution methods for modeling distributions of species with different response curves to environmental gradients and sample sizes. It was found that there is large variability in the power of the methods for modeling habitat suitability and species ranges, showing the importance of performing, when possible, a preliminary gradient analysis of the species distribution before selecting the method to be used. Chapter 2 presents a new methodology for the redefinition of species range polygons. Using a method capable of establishing the uncertainty in the definition of existing range polygons, the automated procedure identifies the relative importance of bioclimatic variables for the species, predicts their ranges and generates a quality assessment report to explore prediction errors. Analysis using independent validation data shows the power of this methodology to redefine species ranges in a more biophysically reasonable way. If a specific variable is important for a species, a change in that variable is likely to impact the species. Chapter 3 presents a methodology to identify the impact of environmental changes on 6362 species of mammals, amphibians and birds of South America, based on per-species measures of sensitivity, marginality, range restriction and trends in remotely sensed bioclimatic variables. Maps of the impact of environmental changes on vertebrates of South America were generated, with the Andes, Patagonia and the Atlantic Forest experiencing the strongest impact of environmental change in this over the past quarter century. Contributions of this dissertation include the development of new range polygons for all mammals, amphibians and birds of South America, as well as a methodology to re-draw the polygons in any other region of the world. This dataset is essential for both biodiversity analysis and conservation prioritization. Other contributions are the generation of maps of impact of global change on biodiversity, together with a framework for the development and updating of those maps. Conservation and monitoring agencies will find this research useful not only for the selection of new conservation areas but also for prioritizing areas for field monitoring.

  1. Estimating biodiversity impacts without field surveys: A case study in northern Borneo.

    PubMed

    Kitzes, Justin; Shirley, Rebekah

    2016-02-01

    In many regions of the world, biodiversity surveys are not routinely conducted prior to activities that lead to land conversion, such as development projects. Here we use top-down methods based on global range maps and bottom-up methods based on macroecological scaling laws to illuminate the otherwise hidden biodiversity impacts of three large hydroelectric dams in the state of Sarawak in northern Borneo. Our retrospective impact assessment finds that the three reservoirs inundate habitat for 331 species of birds (3 million individuals) and 164 species of mammals (110 million individuals). A minimum of 2100 species of trees (900 million individuals) and 17 700 species of arthropods (34 billion individuals) are estimated to be affected by the dams. No extinctions of bird, mammal, or tree species are expected due to habitat loss following reservoir inundation, while 4-7 arthropod species extinctions are predicted. These assessment methods are applicable to any data-limited system undergoing land-use change. PMID:26169084

  2. ASSESSING THE INFLUENCE OF THE SOLAR ORBIT ON TERRESTRIAL BIODIVERSITY

    SciTech Connect

    Feng, F.; Bailer-Jones, C. A. L.

    2013-05-10

    The terrestrial record shows a significant variation in the extinction and origination rates of species during the past half-billion years. Numerous studies have claimed an association between this variation and the motion of the Sun around the Galaxy, invoking the modulation of cosmic rays, gamma rays, and comet impact frequency as a cause of this biodiversity variation. However, some of these studies exhibit methodological problems, or were based on coarse assumptions (such as a strict periodicity of the solar orbit). Here we investigate this link in more detail, using a model of the Galaxy to reconstruct the solar orbit and thus a predictive model of the temporal variation of the extinction rate due to astronomical mechanisms. We compare these predictions as well as those of various reference models with paleontological data. Our approach involves Bayesian model comparison, which takes into account the uncertainties in the paleontological data as well as the distribution of solar orbits consistent with the uncertainties in the astronomical data. We find that various versions of the orbital model are not favored beyond simpler reference models. In particular, the distribution of mass extinction events can be explained just as well by a uniform random distribution as by any other model tested. Although our negative results on the orbital model are robust to changes in the Galaxy model, the Sun's coordinates, and the errors in the data, we also find that it would be very difficult to positively identify the orbital model even if it were the true one. (In contrast, we do find evidence against simpler periodic models.) Thus, while we cannot rule out there being some connection between solar motion and biodiversity variations on the Earth, we conclude that it is difficult to give convincing positive conclusions of such a connection using current data.

  3. Molecular markers for the assessment of chicken biodiversity

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Three main aspects of chicken biodiversity are dealt within this report: (a) cluster analysis based on autosomal microsatellites, (b) microsatellites on the sex chromosomes, and (c) SNP-based biodiversity. (a) Cluster analysis of autosomal microsatellites: We used 29 microsatellites to genotype 2000...

  4. INDICATORS FOR MONITORING AND ASSESSING BIODIVERSITY: A HIERARCHIAL APPROACH

    EPA Science Inventory

    Biodiversity is presently a minor consideration in environmental policy. t has been regarded as too broad and vague a concept to be applied to real world regulatory and management problems. The three primary attributes of biodiversity recognized by Jerry Franklin - composition, s...

  5. Assessing macroinvertebrate biodiversity in freshwater ecosystems: advances and challenges in DNA-based approaches

    EPA Science Inventory

    Assessing the biodiversity of macroinvertebrate faunas in freshwater ecosystems is an essential component of both basic ecological inquiry and applied ecological assessments. Aspects of taxonomic diversity and composition in freshwater communities are widely used to quantify wate...

  6. Towards a collaborative, global infrastructure for biodiversity assessment

    PubMed Central

    Guralnick, Robert P; Hill, Andrew W; Lane, Meredith

    2007-01-01

    Biodiversity data are rapidly becoming available over the Internet in common formats that promote sharing and exchange. Currently, these data are somewhat problematic, primarily with regard to geographic and taxonomic accuracy, for use in ecological research, natural resources management and conservation decision-making. However, web-based georeferencing tools that utilize best practices and gazetteer databases can be employed to improve geographic data. Taxonomic data quality can be improved through web-enabled valid taxon names databases and services, as well as more efficient mechanisms to return systematic research results and taxonomic misidentification rates back to the biodiversity community. Both of these are under construction. A separate but related challenge will be developing web-based visualization and analysis tools for tracking biodiversity change. Our aim was to discuss how such tools, combined with data of enhanced quality, will help transform today's portals to raw biodiversity data into nexuses of collaborative creation and sharing of biodiversity knowledge. PMID:17594421

  7. The Development of a Biodiversity Literacy Assessment Instrument. Report to the National Environmental Education Training Foundation.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC.

    This report provides information about the program evaluation study of a national biodiversity education program for youth in the United States known as "Windows on the World" launched by the World Wildlife Fund. The curriculum development project is organized into four phases: (1) a biodiversity needs assessment; (2) the development of…

  8. The impact of chemical pollution on biodiversity and ecosystem services: the need for an improved understanding

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) provided a framework that acknowledges biodiversity as one key factor for ensuring the continuous supply of ecosystem services, facilitating ecosystem stability and consequently as a critical basis for sustainable development. The close...

  9. Recent Trends in Local-Scale Marine Biodiversity Reflect Community Structure and Human Impacts.

    PubMed

    Elahi, Robin; O'Connor, Mary I; Byrnes, Jarrett E K; Dunic, Jillian; Eriksson, Britas Klemens; Hensel, Marc J S; Kearns, Patrick J

    2015-07-20

    The modern biodiversity crisis reflects global extinctions and local introductions. Human activities have dramatically altered rates and scales of processes that regulate biodiversity at local scales. Reconciling the threat of global biodiversity loss with recent evidence of stability at fine spatial scales is a major challenge and requires a nuanced approach to biodiversity change that integrates ecological understanding. With a new dataset of 471 diversity time series spanning from 1962 to 2015 from marine coastal ecosystems, we tested (1) whether biodiversity changed at local scales in recent decades, and (2) whether we can ignore ecological context (e.g., proximate human impacts, trophic level, spatial scale) and still make informative inferences regarding local change. We detected a predominant signal of increasing species richness in coastal systems since 1962 in our dataset, though net species loss was associated with localized effects of anthropogenic impacts. Our geographically extensive dataset is unlikely to be a random sample of marine coastal habitats; impacted sites (3% of our time series) were underrepresented relative to their global presence. These local-scale patterns do not contradict the prospect of accelerating global extinctions but are consistent with local species loss in areas with direct human impacts and increases in diversity due to invasions and range expansions in lower impact areas. Attempts to detect and understand local biodiversity trends are incomplete without information on local human activities and ecological context. PMID:26166784

  10. Molecular microbial biodiversity assessment: a biological indicator of soil health.

    PubMed

    Alkorta, Itziar; Amezaga, Ibone; Albizu, Isabel; Aizpurua, Ana; Onaindia, Miren; Buchner, Virginia; Garbisu, Carlos

    2003-01-01

    The soil performs a variety of key functions: (i) provides the food, fuel, and fiber needs of the world's population, (ii) regulates the quality of the air and water, (iii) decomposes organic wastes, (iv) recycles nutrients, and (v) acts as a sink for pollutants (including global gases). Soil degradation is increasingly recognized as an urgent environmental issue and a crucial need exists for the capacity to evaluate soil health. After all, soil health is a key component in sustaining the different world's ecosystems and the myriad of natural and socioeconomic systems they support. In this respect, soil health has been defined as the "continued capacity of a specific kind of soil to function as a vital living system, within natural or managed ecosystem boundaries, to sustain plant and animal productivity, to maintain or enhance the quality of air and water environments, and to support human health and habitation". A biological indicator is an organism, a part of an organism, or a community of organisms, used to obtain information about environmental quality. The assessment of microbial biodiversity has the potential to provide useful insight into the health and functioning of soil. Our inability to culture most microorganisms that are present in soils has, until recently, impaired studying the relationships between the structure and the function of soil microbial communities. This shortcoming has been recently overcome by using several molecular techniques that allow the detection, enumeration, and characterization of soil microorganisms without cultivation. PMID:14531477

  11. Assessing biodiversity of boreal forests with imaging spectrometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeLancey, E.; Gamon, J. A.

    2013-12-01

    Recently, imaging spectrometry employing high spectral resolution has been applied to vegetation diversity assessment. A foundation for these studies is the idea of plant optical type, which is affected by canopy structure, leaf traits, and phenology. This study proposes that the optical variation of a forest canopy is strongly correlated to the vegetation diversity. Using data collected with an imaging spectrometer (pixel size 1m, and usable spectral range 400-900nm), flown over the North Saskatchewan River Valley, Edmonton, Alberta, we show that metrics of biodiversity (species richness and Simpson's Index of 30x30m plots) are strongly correlated to metrics of optical diversity (Optical Diversity Indices). These optical diversity indices (ODIs) were built using linear models correlating diversity indices to a combination of variables, which included: the standard deviation of NDVI (NDVIsd), PRI (PRIsd), principal component 1 (PC1sd), and principal component 2 (PC2sd). Three variations of ODIs were built based upon vegetation indices, principal components, and a combination of vegetation indices and principal components. Correlation values were 0.70, 0.80, and 0.86 respectively. In further analyses, PC1 was correlated to the green and NIR wavelengths where PC2 was correlated with blue and red chlorophyll absorption wavelengths. Variation in optical diversity was also clearly visible in spectra and airborne imagery. These indices show that spectral regions used to track the photosynthetic activity (PC2, PRI, and NDVI) and green canopy structure of plants (NDVI, and PC1) can be used to differentiate optical types in a way that yields information on biodiversity. Further experimental studies involving diversity manipulation are needed to answer the mechanisms behind optical diversity. Further testing of optical diversity across many ecosystems is also needed to develop operational methods to survey large areas from and aircraft or satellite. Two contrasting vegetation diversity plots. The left column is a low diversity (SR3) plot while the right plot has middle range diversity (SR6). The top panel is the first principal component of variation (red=high values, and blue=low values). The middle panel shows the average spectra for the plot (black line) and one standard deviation above and below the average (green). The bottom panel shows the correlation between species richness and ODI#3.

  12. Impacts of climate change on the future of biodiversity

    PubMed Central

    Leadley, Paul; Thuiller, Wilfried; Courchamp, Franck

    2013-01-01

    Many studies in recent years have investigated the effects of climate change on the future of biodiversity. In this review, we first examine the different possible effects of climate change that can operate at individual, population, species, community, ecosystem and biome scales, notably showing that species can respond to climate change challenges by shifting their climatic niche along three non-exclusive axes: time (e.g., phenology), space (e.g., range) and self (e.g., physiology). Then, we present the principal specificities and caveats of the most common approaches used to estimate future biodiversity at global and sub-continental scales and we synthesize their results. Finally, we highlight several challenges for future research both in theoretical and applied realms. Overall, our review shows that current estimates are very variable, depending on the method, taxonomic group, biodiversity loss metrics, spatial scales and time periods considered. Yet, the majority of models indicate alarming consequences for biodiversity, with the worst-case scenarios leading to extinction rates that would qualify as the sixth mass extinction in the history of the earth. PMID:22257223

  13. Impacts of climate change on the future of biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Bellard, Cline; Bertelsmeier, Cleo; Leadley, Paul; Thuiller, Wilfried; Courchamp, Franck

    2012-04-01

    Many studies in recent years have investigated the effects of climate change on the future of biodiversity. In this review, we first examine the different possible effects of climate change that can operate at individual, population, species, community, ecosystem and biome scales, notably showing that species can respond to climate change challenges by shifting their climatic niche along three non-exclusive axes: time (e.g. phenology), space (e.g. range) and self (e.g. physiology). Then, we present the principal specificities and caveats of the most common approaches used to estimate future biodiversity at global and sub-continental scales and we synthesise their results. Finally, we highlight several challenges for future research both in theoretical and applied realms. Overall, our review shows that current estimates are very variable, depending on the method, taxonomic group, biodiversity loss metrics, spatial scales and time periods considered. Yet, the majority of models indicate alarming consequences for biodiversity, with the worst-case scenarios leading to extinction rates that would qualify as the sixth mass extinction in the history of the earth. PMID:22257223

  14. Wildfires in Bamboo-Dominated Amazonian Forest: Impacts on Above-Ground Biomass and Biodiversity

    PubMed Central

    Barlow, Jos; Silveira, Juliana M.; Mestre, Luiz A. M.; Andrade, Rafael B.; Camacho D'Andrea, Gabriela; Louzada, Julio; Vaz-de-Mello, Fernando Z.; Numata, Izaya; Lacau, Sébastien; Cochrane, Mark A.

    2012-01-01

    Fire has become an increasingly important disturbance event in south-western Amazonia. We conducted the first assessment of the ecological impacts of these wildfires in 2008, sampling forest structure and biodiversity along twelve 500 m transects in the Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve, Acre, Brazil. Six transects were placed in unburned forests and six were in forests that burned during a series of forest fires that occurred from August to October 2005. Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR) calculations, based on Landsat reflectance data, indicate that all transects were similar prior to the fires. We sampled understorey and canopy vegetation, birds using both mist nets and point counts, coprophagous dung beetles and the leaf-litter ant fauna. Fire had limited influence upon either faunal or floral species richness or community structure responses, and stems <10 cm DBH were the only group to show highly significant (p = 0.001) community turnover in burned forests. Mean aboveground live biomass was statistically indistinguishable in the unburned and burned plots, although there was a significant increase in the total abundance of dead stems in burned plots. Comparisons with previous studies suggest that wildfires had much less effect upon forest structure and biodiversity in these south-western Amazonian forests than in central and eastern Amazonia, where most fire research has been undertaken to date. We discuss potential reasons for the apparent greater resilience of our study plots to wildfire, examining the role of fire intensity, bamboo dominance, background rates of disturbance, landscape and soil conditions. PMID:22428035

  15. Alien mammals in Europe: updated numbers and trends, and assessment of the effects on biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Genovesi, Piero; Carnevali, Lucilla; Alonzi, Anna; Scalera, Riccardo

    2012-09-01

    This study provides an updated picture of mammal invasions in Europe, based on detailed analysis of information on introductions occurring from the Neolithic to recent times. The assessment considered all information on species introductions, known extinctions and successful eradication campaigns, to reconstruct a trend of alien mammals' establishment in the region. Through a comparative analysis of the data on introduction, with the information on the impact of alien mammals on native and threatened species of Europe, the present study also provides an objective assessment of the overall impact of mammal introductions on European biodiversity, including information on impact mechanisms. The results of this assessment confirm the constant increase of mammal invasions in Europe, with no indication of a reduction of the rate of introduction. The study also confirms the severe impact of alien mammals, which directly threaten a significant number of native species, including many highly threatened species. The results could help to prioritize species for response, as required by international conventions and obligations. PMID:22938522

  16. Incorporating biodiversity considerations into environmental impact analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1993-01-01

    The report presents the results of consultations by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) concerning the consideration of biological diversity in analyses prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The report is intended to provide background on the emerging, complex subject of biodiversity, outline some general concepts that underlie biological diversity analysis and management, describe how the issue is currently addressed in NEPA analyses, and provide options for agencies undertaking NEPA analyses that consider biodiversity. The report does not establish new requirements for such analyses. It is not, and should not be viewed as, formal CEQ guidance on the matter, nor are the recommendations in the report intended to be legally binding. The report does not mean to suggest the biodiversity analyses should be included in every NEPA document, without regard to the degree of potential impact on biodiversity of the action under review.

  17. Social challenge of biodiversity conservation

    SciTech Connect

    Castilleja, G.; Poole, P.J.; Geisler, C.C.; Davis, S.H.

    1993-12-31

    ;Contents: Introduction; Opportunities for Collaboration between the Global Environment Facility and Non-Governmental Organizations; Indigenous Peoples and Biodiversity Protection; and Adapting Social Impact Assessment to Protected Area Development.

  18. Improving marine biodiversity offsetting: A proposed methodology for better assessing losses and gains.

    PubMed

    Bas, Adeline; Jacob, Céline; Hay, Julien; Pioch, Sylvain; Thorin, Sébastien

    2016-06-15

    Although the limitations of implementing the mitigation hierarchy have been widely discussed in scientific literature, these studies have drawn mainly on feedback concerning terrestrial ecosystems. In the case of development projects in marine and coastal environments, certain issues must be tackled to improve existing practice. This article focuses on the methodologies used to assess both the ecological losses resulting from a development project and the ecological gains generated by an offset measure. The originality of this article is to propose a standardized, operational approach regardless of the development project and the ecosystem impacted that (i) enhances avoidance and reduction efforts and (ii) assesses biodiversity offset needs based on data available in Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs). The proposed hybrid method combines a multi-criteria analysis of the state of the environment, inspired by the Unified Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM), and a more accurate assessment at indicator level inspired by Habitat Equivalency Analysis (HEA). The steps of the method, from the selection of biophysical indicators to offset sizing, are described and are then applied to two EIA case studies: one related to a port extension and the other to an offshore wind farm. PMID:27019359

  19. Impacts on Coralligenous Outcrop Biodiversity of a Dramatic Coastal Storm

    PubMed Central

    Teixidó, Núria; Casas, Edgar; Cebrián, Emma; Linares, Cristina; Garrabou, Joaquim

    2013-01-01

    Extreme events are rare, stochastic perturbations that can cause abrupt and dramatic ecological change within a short period of time relative to the lifespan of organisms. Studies over time provide exceptional opportunities to detect the effects of extreme climatic events and to measure their impacts by quantifying rates of change at population and community levels. In this study, we show how an extreme storm event affected the dynamics of benthic coralligenous outcrops in the NW Mediterranean Sea using data acquired before (2006–2008) and after the impact (2009–2010) at four different sites. Storms of comparable severity have been documented to occur occasionally within periods of 50 years in the Mediterranean Sea. We assessed the effects derived from the storm comparing changes in benthic community composition at sites exposed to and sheltered from this extreme event. The sites analyzed showed different damage from severe to negligible. The most exposed and impacted site experienced a major shift immediately after the storm, represented by changes in the species richness and beta diversity of benthic species. This site also showed higher compositional variability immediately after the storm and over the following year. The loss of cover of benthic species resulted between 22% and 58%. The damage across these species (e.g. calcareous algae, sponges, anthozoans, bryozoans, tunicates) was uneven, and those with fragile forms were the most impacted, showing cover losses up to 50 to 100%. Interestingly, small patches survived after the storm and began to grow slightly during the following year. In contrast, sheltered sites showed no significant changes in all the studied parameters, indicating no variations due to the storm. This study provides new insights into the responses to large and rare extreme events of Mediterranean communities with low dynamics and long-lived species, which are among the most threatened by the effects of global change. PMID:23326496

  20. Phylogenetic and Functional Metagenomic Profiling for Assessing Microbial Biodiversity in Environmental Monitoring

    PubMed Central

    Kisand, Veljo; Valente, Angelica; Lahm, Armin; Tanet, Gerard; Lettieri, Teresa

    2012-01-01

    Decisions guiding environmental management need to be based on a broad and comprehensive understanding of the biodiversity and functional capability within ecosystems. Microbes are of particular importance since they drive biogeochemical cycles, being both producers and decomposers. Their quick and direct responses to changes in environmental conditions modulate the ecosystem accordingly, thus providing a sensitive readout. Here we have used direct sequencing of total DNA from water samples to compare the microbial communities of two distinct coastal regions exposed to different anthropogenic pressures: the highly polluted Port of Genoa and the protected area of Montecristo Island in the Mediterranean Sea. Analysis of the metagenomes revealed significant differences in both microbial diversity and abundance between the two areas, reflecting their distinct ecological habitats and anthropogenic stress conditions. Our results indicate that the combination of next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies and bioinformatics tools presents a new approach to monitor the diversity and the ecological status of aquatic ecosystems. Integration of metagenomics into environmental monitoring campaigns should enable the impact of the anthropogenic pressure on microbial biodiversity in various ecosystems to be better assessed and also predicted. PMID:22952724

  1. Phylogenetic and functional metagenomic profiling for assessing microbial biodiversity in environmental monitoring.

    PubMed

    Kisand, Veljo; Valente, Angelica; Lahm, Armin; Tanet, Gerard; Lettieri, Teresa

    2012-01-01

    Decisions guiding environmental management need to be based on a broad and comprehensive understanding of the biodiversity and functional capability within ecosystems. Microbes are of particular importance since they drive biogeochemical cycles, being both producers and decomposers. Their quick and direct responses to changes in environmental conditions modulate the ecosystem accordingly, thus providing a sensitive readout. Here we have used direct sequencing of total DNA from water samples to compare the microbial communities of two distinct coastal regions exposed to different anthropogenic pressures: the highly polluted Port of Genoa and the protected area of Montecristo Island in the Mediterranean Sea. Analysis of the metagenomes revealed significant differences in both microbial diversity and abundance between the two areas, reflecting their distinct ecological habitats and anthropogenic stress conditions. Our results indicate that the combination of next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies and bioinformatics tools presents a new approach to monitor the diversity and the ecological status of aquatic ecosystems. Integration of metagenomics into environmental monitoring campaigns should enable the impact of the anthropogenic pressure on microbial biodiversity in various ecosystems to be better assessed and also predicted. PMID:22952724

  2. A technology framework to analyse the Climate Change impact on biodiversity species distribution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nativi, S.; Khalsa, S. J.; Geller, G. N.; O'Tuama, E.; Thomas, D.; Mazzetti, P.; Santoro, M.

    2009-04-01

    Several biodiversity application scenarios require modeling the impact of climate change on species distribution. For this purpose, heterogeneous data resources and modeling services are required to interoperate. An information technology and service framework to study the Climate Change impact on biodiversity species distribution is presented. This framework allows the development of relevant biodiversity application scenarios. These draw on data and information exchange from a series of systems interconnected through SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) applying established international standards as well as Community interoperability arrangements. The overall system architecture consists of six main logical components: - Biodiversity Data Provider: a component which is able to provide biodiversity data. - Climatological Data Provider: a component which is able to provide climatological data. - Catalog: a component which is able to perform queries on the available biodiversity and climatological datasets. - Model Provider: a component which is able to run ENM (Ecological Niche Models) on the selected biodiversity and climatological datasets. - Use Scenario Controller: a component which acts as a workflow controller implementing the business process of a typical biodiversity scenario. It is controlled by the user through the GUI. - Graphical User Interface (GUI): The component for user interaction. It controls the workflow manager to perform the required operations for implementing the biodiversity basic scenario. These components play the three typical roles of a SOA where Consumers discover Providers through a Registry. In our framework Data and Model providers are the Service Providers; the GUI-Controller pair acts as a Consumer and the Catalog plays the role of the Registry. Where necessary it also acts as a Broker between Consumer and Providers. This fourth component is necessary for heterogeneous and federated systems. The framework was conceived and successfully experimented in the GEOSS Interoperability Process Pilot Project (IP3) and demonstrated at the IV Ministerial summit in Cape Town -November 2007. Presently, the framework is used for the GEOSS Architecture Implementation Pilot project -phase 2. The usage case of the impact of climate change on the distribution of Pikas in North America is presented and discussed. This usage case is based on research being done at the University of Colorado. The used presence datasets were collected by the Scientist and from the GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility) Data Portal. Climate datasets were discovered and collected by the WMO publications and distribution system.

  3. Concluding remarks: overall impacts on biodiversity and future perspectives for conservation in the Pantanal biome.

    PubMed

    Alho, C J R

    2011-04-01

    The Pantanal biome is characterised by seasonal flooding which determines specific ecosystem processes, with the occurrence of adapted plants and animals to the annual shrinking and expansion of habitats due to the seasonal hydrological regime. Biodiversity abundance varies during the dry and wet seasons. The Pantanal's biodiversity is a fundamental component of ecosystem services for human society, including nutrient cycling, fish production, ecotourism, carbon storage, flood control, among others, which are relevant to regional and global environmental consequences. The biome has been impacted by the conversion of natural vegetation into agricultural fields and pasture for cattle raising, with alteration and loss of natural habitats and biodiversity. Major negative impacts occur in uplands, with drastic deforestation of savanna vegetation, where main rivers feeding the Pantanal have their springs. This article discusses future needs and priorities for ecological research, in order to better understand the biome's natural system, to achieve conservation and sustainable use. PMID:21537607

  4. Reconciling timber extraction with biodiversity conservation in tropical forests using reduced-impact logging

    PubMed Central

    Bicknell, Jake E; Struebig, Matthew J; Davies, Zoe G; Baraloto, Christopher

    2015-01-01

    Over 20% of the world's tropical forests have been selectively logged, and large expanses are allocated for future timber extraction. Reduced-impact logging (RIL) is being promoted as best practice forestry that increases sustainability and lowers CO2 emissions from logging, by reducing collateral damage associated with timber extraction. RIL is also expected to minimize the impacts of selective logging on biodiversity, although this is yet to be thoroughly tested. We undertake the most comprehensive study to date to investigate the biodiversity impacts of RIL across multiple taxonomic groups. We quantified birds, bats and large mammal assemblage structures, using a before-after control-impact (BACI) design across 20 sample sites over a 5-year period. Faunal surveys utilized point counts, mist nets and line transects and yielded >250 species. We examined assemblage responses to logging, as well as partitions of feeding guild and strata (understorey vs. canopy), and then tested for relationships with logging intensity to assess the primary determinants of community composition. Community analysis revealed little effect of RIL on overall assemblages, as structure and composition were similar before and after logging, and between logging and control sites. Variation in bird assemblages was explained by natural rates of change over time, and not logging intensity. However, when partitioned by feeding guild and strata, the frugivorous and canopy bird ensembles changed as a result of RIL, although the latter was also associated with change over time. Bats exhibited variable changes post-logging that were not related to logging, whereas large mammals showed no change at all. Indicator species analysis and correlations with logging intensities revealed that some species exhibited idiosyncratic responses to RIL, whilst abundance change of most others was associated with time. Synthesis and applications. Our study demonstrates the relatively benign effect of reduced-impact logging (RIL) on birds, bats and large mammals in a neotropical forest context, and therefore, we propose that forest managers should improve timber extraction techniques more widely. If RIL is extensively adopted, forestry concessions could represent sizeable and important additions to the global conservation estate – over 4 million km2. PMID:25954054

  5. Indices for assessing coral reef fish biodiversity: the need for a change in habits.

    PubMed

    Loiseau, Nicolas; Gaertner, Jean-Claude

    2015-09-01

    We present the first representative and quantified overview of the indices used worldwide for assessing the biodiversity of coral reef fishes. On this basis, we discuss the suitability and drawbacks of the indices most widely used in the assessment of coral fish biodiversity. An extensive and systematic survey of the literature focused on coral reef fish biodiversity was conducted from 1990 up to the present. We found that the multicomponent aspect of biodiversity, which is considered as a key feature of biodiversity for numerous terrestrial and marine ecosystems, has been poorly taken into account in coral reef fish studies. Species richness is still strongly dominant while other diversity components, such as functional diversity, are underestimated even when functional information is available. We also demonstrate that the reason for choosing particular indices is often unclear, mainly based on empirical rationales and/or the reproduction of widespread habits, but generally with no clear relevance with regard to the aims of the studies. As a result, the most widely used indices (species richness, Shannon, etc.) would appear to be poorly suited to meeting the main challenges facing the monitoring of coral reef fish biodiversity in the future. Our results clearly show that coral reef scientists should rather take advantage of the multicomponent aspect of biodiversity. To facilitate this approach, we propose general guidelines to serve as a basis for the selection of indices that provide complementary and relevant information for monitoring the response of coral reef fish biodiversity in the face of structuring factors (natural or anthropic). The aim of these guidelines was to achieve a better match between the properties of the selected indices and the context of each study (e.g. expected effect of the main structuring factors, nature of data available). PMID:26445656

  6. Assessing macroinvertebrate biodiversity in freshwater ecosystems: Advances and challenges in dna-based approaches

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pfrender, M.E.; Ferrington, L.C., Jr.; Hawkins, C.P.; Hartzell, P.L.; Bagley, M.; Jackson, S.; Courtney, G.W.; Larsen, D.P.; Creutzburg, B.R.; Levesque, C.A.; Epler, J.H.; Morse, J.C.; Fend, S.; Petersen, M.J.; Ruiter, D.; Schindel, D.; Whiting, M.

    2010-01-01

    Assessing the biodiversity of macroinvertebrate fauna in freshwater ecosystems is an essential component of both basic ecological inquiry and applied ecological assessments. Aspects of taxonomic diversity and composition in freshwater communities are widely used to quantify water quality and measure the efficacy of remediation and restoration efforts. The accuracy and precision of biodiversity assessments based on standard morphological identifications are often limited by taxonomic resolution and sample size. Morphologically based identifications are laborious and costly, significantly constraining the sample sizes that can be processed. We suggest that the development of an assay platform based on DNA signatures will increase the precision and ease of quantifying biodiversity in freshwater ecosystems. Advances in this area will be particularly relevant for benthic and planktonic invertebrates, which are often monitored by regulatory agencies. Adopting a genetic assessment platform will alleviate some of the current limitations to biodiversity assessment strategies. We discuss the benefits and challenges associated with DNA-based assessments and the methods that are currently available. As recent advances in microarray and next-generation sequencing technologies will facilitate a transition to DNA-based assessment approaches, future research efforts should focus on methods for data collection, assay platform development, establishing linkages between DNA signatures and well-resolved taxonomies, and bioinformatics. ?? 2010 by The University of Chicago Press.

  7. Hydropower and Developmental Projects on Himalayan Region: Impact on Biodiversity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Uniyal, Vp

    2010-05-01

    The hydel potential of the Beas basin is estimated to be 4,050 mw with significant contribution of Parbati, one of the major tributaries of river Beas in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. The potential of river Parbati has been harnessed in three stages comprising Stage-I (750 MW), Stage-II (800 MW) and Stage-III (501 MW). These projects are being planned to be implemented by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC). NHPC has planned development of the basin with construction of Stage-II initially, and completion of balance investigations of Stage-I and Stage-III before taking up these for construction. The Parbati stage-II is a run-of-the-river scheme to harness hydro potential of the lower reaches of the river Parbati. The project is "Inter basin transfer" type. The river is being diverted at village Pulga in Parbati valley by a diversion tunnel and the powerhouse is being constructed in Sainj valley, adjacent to the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP). A gross head of 859 m between Pulga and Suind will be utilized for generating 800 MW power. The project proposes a total network of 80.75 km roads to be constructed in dam complex, Sheelagarh complex, power house complex. Considerable loss of wildlife and biodiversity in three valleys is expected to occur. The construction of proposed diversion dam near Pulga in Parbati valley will result in significant loss of upper temperate forested habitats (2700-2900 m). This habitats is characterized by upper temperate coniferous forests and its associated understory vegetation that are home of many endangered floral and faunal species such as: Himalayan musk deer, serow, goral, black bear, common leopard, Western tragopan, cheer pheasant, koklass and monal pheasant. These habitats are now being lost on a permanent basis due to construction of dam and human pressure.

  8. Global forecasts of urban expansion to 2030 and direct impacts on biodiversity and carbon pools

    PubMed Central

    Seto, Karen C.; Güneralp, Burak; Hutyra, Lucy R.

    2012-01-01

    Urban land-cover change threatens biodiversity and affects ecosystem productivity through loss of habitat, biomass, and carbon storage. However, despite projections that world urban populations will increase to nearly 5 billion by 2030, little is known about future locations, magnitudes, and rates of urban expansion. Here we develop spatially explicit probabilistic forecasts of global urban land-cover change and explore the direct impacts on biodiversity hotspots and tropical carbon biomass. If current trends in population density continue and all areas with high probabilities of urban expansion undergo change, then by 2030, urban land cover will increase by 1.2 million km2, nearly tripling the global urban land area circa 2000. This increase would result in considerable loss of habitats in key biodiversity hotspots, with the highest rates of forecasted urban growth to take place in regions that were relatively undisturbed by urban development in 2000: the Eastern Afromontane, the Guinean Forests of West Africa, and the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka hotspots. Within the pan-tropics, loss in vegetation biomass from areas with high probability of urban expansion is estimated to be 1.38 PgC (0.05 PgC yr−1), equal to ∼5% of emissions from tropical deforestation and land-use change. Although urbanization is often considered a local issue, the aggregate global impacts of projected urban expansion will require significant policy changes to affect future growth trajectories to minimize global biodiversity and vegetation carbon losses. PMID:22988086

  9. Disease invasion: impacts on biodiversity and human health

    PubMed Central

    Cunningham, Andrew A.; Dobson, Andrew P.; Hudson, Peter J.

    2012-01-01

    An introduction to the theme issue that includes papers that identify how, where and why infectious diseases in wildlife emerge, while also addressing their possible conservation impacts. PMID:22966135

  10. Biodiversity, ecosystem functions and services in environmental risk assessment: introduction to the special issue.

    PubMed

    Schäfer, Ralf B

    2012-01-15

    This Special Issue focuses on the questions if and how biodiversity, ecosystem functions and resulting services could be incorporated into the Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA). Therefore, three articles provide a framework for the integration of ecosystem services into ERA of soils, sediments and pesticides. Further articles demonstrate ways how stakeholders can be integrated into an ecosystem service-based ERA for soils and describe how the current monitoring could be adapted to new assessment endpoints that are directly linked to ecosystem services. Case studies show that the current ERA may not be protective for biodiversity, ecosystem functions and resulting services and that both pesticides and salinity currently adversely affect ecosystem functions in the field. Moreover, ecological models can be used for prediction of new protection goals and could finally support their implementation into the ERA. Overall, the Special Issue stresses the urgent need to enhance current procedures of ERA if biodiversity, ecosystem functions and resulting services are to be protected. PMID:21943721

  11. Quantifying habitat impacts of natural gas infrastructure to facilitate biodiversity offsetting

    PubMed Central

    Jones, Isabel L; Bull, Joseph W; Milner-Gulland, Eleanor J; Esipov, Alexander V; Suttle, Kenwyn B

    2014-01-01

    Habitat degradation through anthropogenic development is a key driver of biodiversity loss. One way to compensate losses is “biodiversity offsetting” (wherein biodiversity impacted is “replaced” through restoration elsewhere). A challenge in implementing offsets, which has received scant attention in the literature, is the accurate determination of residual biodiversity losses. We explore this challenge for offsetting gas extraction in the Ustyurt Plateau, Uzbekistan. Our goal was to determine the landscape extent of habitat impacts, particularly how the footprint of “linear” infrastructure (i.e. roads, pipelines), often disregarded in compensation calculations, compares with “hub” infrastructure (i.e. extraction facilities). We measured vegetation cover and plant species richness using the line-intercept method, along transects running from infrastructure/control sites outward for 500 m, accounting for wind direction to identify dust deposition impacts. Findings from 24 transects were extrapolated to the broader plateau by mapping total landscape infrastructure network using GPS data and satellite imagery. Vegetation cover and species richness were significantly lower at development sites than controls. These differences disappeared within 25 m of the edge of the area physically occupied by infrastructure. The current habitat footprint of gas infrastructure is 220 ± 19 km2 across the Ustyurt (total ∼ 100,000 km2), 37 ± 6% of which is linear infrastructure. Vegetation impacts diminish rapidly with increasing distance from infrastructure, and localized dust deposition does not conspicuously extend the disturbance footprint. Habitat losses from gas extraction infrastructure cover 0.2% of the study area, but this reflects directly eliminated vegetation only. Impacts upon fauna pose a more difficult determination, as these require accounting for behavioral and demographic responses to disturbance by elusive mammals, including threatened species. This study demonstrates that impacts of linear infrastructure in regions such as the Ustyurt should be accounted for not just with respect to development sites but also associated transportation and delivery routes. PMID:24455163

  12. Spatial patterns of biodiversity in the Black Sea: An assessment using benthic polychaetes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Surugiu, Victor; Revkov, Nikolai; Todorova, Valentina; Papageorgiou, Nafsika; Valavanis, Vasilis; Arvanitidis, Christos

    2010-06-01

    The current study broadens the biodiversity information available for the Black Sea and neighbouring regions and improves our knowledge about the polychaete biogeographic patterns to be discerned in them. There appears to be a well-defined zoogeocline from the Marmara Sea and Bosphorus Strait to the inner parts of the region (Azov Sea), depicted both as a multivariate pattern and in terms of species (or taxa) numbers. The emergent multivariate pattern complies, to a certain extent, with Jakubova's (1935) views: three main sectors can be defined in the basin: (a) Prebosphoric, (b) the Black Sea and, (c) the Azov Sea, whereas the Bosphorus Strait and Marmara Sea show less faunal affinities with the afore-mentioned sectors. Patterns derived both from the cosmopolitan and Atlanto-Mediterranean species closely follow the one coming from the polychaete species and genera inventories. As a general trend, species numbers decrease along with the decrease in salinity towards the inner parts of the region. The trend is homologous to that seen in the benthic invertebrate inventories of all the major European semi-enclosed regional seas. Salinity and food availability appear to be the dominant abiotic factors correlated, though weakly, with the various patterns deriving from the taxonomic/zoogeographic categories. With the exception of the Anatolia, polychaete inventories from all sectors appear to be random samples of the total inventory of the region, in terms of taxonomic distinctness values. Therefore, these sectoral inventories can be used for future biodiversity/environmental impact assessment studies. A massive invasion of Mediterranean species after the opening of the Black Sea, in the lower Quaternary period, appears to be the likely biogeographic mechanism through which the old Sarmatic fauna was almost completely replaced by species of marine origin.

  13. Assessing vertebrate biodiversity in a kelp forest ecosystem using environmental DNA.

    PubMed

    Port, Jesse A; O'Donnell, James L; Romero-Maraccini, Ofelia C; Leary, Paul R; Litvin, Steven Y; Nickols, Kerry J; Yamahara, Kevan M; Kelly, Ryan P

    2016-01-01

    Preserving biodiversity is a global challenge requiring data on species' distribution and abundance over large geographic and temporal scales. However, traditional methods to survey mobile species' distribution and abundance in marine environments are often inefficient, environmentally destructive, or resource-intensive. Metabarcoding of environmental DNA (eDNA) offers a new means to assess biodiversity and on much larger scales, but adoption of this approach for surveying whole animal communities in large, dynamic aquatic systems has been slowed by significant unknowns surrounding error rates of detection and relevant spatial resolution of eDNA surveys. Here, we report the results of a 2.5 km eDNA transect surveying the vertebrate fauna present along a gradation of diverse marine habitats associated with a kelp forest ecosystem. Using PCR primers that target the mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene of marine fishes and mammals, we generated eDNA sequence data and compared it to simultaneous visual dive surveys. We find spatial concordance between individual species' eDNA and visual survey trends, and that eDNA is able to distinguish vertebrate community assemblages from habitats separated by as little as ~60 m. eDNA reliably detected vertebrates with low false-negative error rates (1/12 taxa) when compared to the surveys, and revealed cryptic species known to occupy the habitats but overlooked by visual methods. This study also presents an explicit accounting of false negatives and positives in metabarcoding data, which illustrate the influence of gene marker selection, replication, contamination, biases impacting eDNA count data and ecology of target species on eDNA detection rates in an open ecosystem. PMID:26586544

  14. Standardized Assessment of Biodiversity Trends in Tropical Forest Protected Areas: The End Is Not in Sight

    PubMed Central

    O'Brien, Timothy; Alvarez-Loayza, Patricia; Boekee, Kelly; Campos-Arceiz, Ahimsa; Eichberg, David; Espinosa, Santiago; Fegraus, Eric; Fletcher, Christine; Gajapersad, Krisna; Hallam, Chris; Hurtado, Johanna; Jansen, Patrick A.; Kumar, Amit; Larney, Eileen; Lima, Marcela Guimarães Moreira; Mahony, Colin; Martin, Emanuel H.; McWilliam, Alex; Mugerwa, Badru; Ndoundou-Hockemba, Mireille; Razafimahaimodison, Jean Claude; Romero-Saltos, Hugo; Rovero, Francesco; Salvador, Julia; Santos, Fernanda; Sheil, Douglas; Spironello, Wilson R.; Willig, Michael R.; Winarni, Nurul L.; Zvoleff, Alex; Andelman, Sandy J.

    2016-01-01

    Extinction rates in the Anthropocene are three orders of magnitude higher than background and disproportionately occur in the tropics, home of half the world’s species. Despite global efforts to combat tropical species extinctions, lack of high-quality, objective information on tropical biodiversity has hampered quantitative evaluation of conservation strategies. In particular, the scarcity of population-level monitoring in tropical forests has stymied assessment of biodiversity outcomes, such as the status and trends of animal populations in protected areas. Here, we evaluate occupancy trends for 511 populations of terrestrial mammals and birds, representing 244 species from 15 tropical forest protected areas on three continents. For the first time to our knowledge, we use annual surveys from tropical forests worldwide that employ a standardized camera trapping protocol, and we compute data analytics that correct for imperfect detection. We found that occupancy declined in 22%, increased in 17%, and exhibited no change in 22% of populations during the last 3–8 years, while 39% of populations were detected too infrequently to assess occupancy changes. Despite extensive variability in occupancy trends, these 15 tropical protected areas have not exhibited systematic declines in biodiversity (i.e., occupancy, richness, or evenness) at the community level. Our results differ from reports of widespread biodiversity declines based on aggregated secondary data and expert opinion and suggest less extreme deterioration in tropical forest protected areas. We simultaneously fill an important conservation data gap and demonstrate the value of large-scale monitoring infrastructure and powerful analytics, which can be scaled to incorporate additional sites, ecosystems, and monitoring methods. In an era of catastrophic biodiversity loss, robust indicators produced from standardized monitoring infrastructure are critical to accurately assess population outcomes and identify conservation strategies that can avert biodiversity collapse. PMID:26785119

  15. Standardized Assessment of Biodiversity Trends in Tropical Forest Protected Areas: The End Is Not in Sight.

    PubMed

    Beaudrot, Lydia; Ahumada, Jorge A; O'Brien, Timothy; Alvarez-Loayza, Patricia; Boekee, Kelly; Campos-Arceiz, Ahimsa; Eichberg, David; Espinosa, Santiago; Fegraus, Eric; Fletcher, Christine; Gajapersad, Krisna; Hallam, Chris; Hurtado, Johanna; Jansen, Patrick A; Kumar, Amit; Larney, Eileen; Lima, Marcela Guimarães Moreira; Mahony, Colin; Martin, Emanuel H; McWilliam, Alex; Mugerwa, Badru; Ndoundou-Hockemba, Mireille; Razafimahaimodison, Jean Claude; Romero-Saltos, Hugo; Rovero, Francesco; Salvador, Julia; Santos, Fernanda; Sheil, Douglas; Spironello, Wilson R; Willig, Michael R; Winarni, Nurul L; Zvoleff, Alex; Andelman, Sandy J

    2016-01-01

    Extinction rates in the Anthropocene are three orders of magnitude higher than background and disproportionately occur in the tropics, home of half the world's species. Despite global efforts to combat tropical species extinctions, lack of high-quality, objective information on tropical biodiversity has hampered quantitative evaluation of conservation strategies. In particular, the scarcity of population-level monitoring in tropical forests has stymied assessment of biodiversity outcomes, such as the status and trends of animal populations in protected areas. Here, we evaluate occupancy trends for 511 populations of terrestrial mammals and birds, representing 244 species from 15 tropical forest protected areas on three continents. For the first time to our knowledge, we use annual surveys from tropical forests worldwide that employ a standardized camera trapping protocol, and we compute data analytics that correct for imperfect detection. We found that occupancy declined in 22%, increased in 17%, and exhibited no change in 22% of populations during the last 3-8 years, while 39% of populations were detected too infrequently to assess occupancy changes. Despite extensive variability in occupancy trends, these 15 tropical protected areas have not exhibited systematic declines in biodiversity (i.e., occupancy, richness, or evenness) at the community level. Our results differ from reports of widespread biodiversity declines based on aggregated secondary data and expert opinion and suggest less extreme deterioration in tropical forest protected areas. We simultaneously fill an important conservation data gap and demonstrate the value of large-scale monitoring infrastructure and powerful analytics, which can be scaled to incorporate additional sites, ecosystems, and monitoring methods. In an era of catastrophic biodiversity loss, robust indicators produced from standardized monitoring infrastructure are critical to accurately assess population outcomes and identify conservation strategies that can avert biodiversity collapse. PMID:26785119

  16. Mapping Biodiversity.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC.

    This document features a lesson plan that examines how maps help scientists protect biodiversity and how plants and animals are adapted to specific ecoregions by comparing biome, ecoregion, and habitat. Samples of instruction and assessment are included. (KHR)

  17. Analysing biodiversity and conservation knowledge products to support regional environmental assessments.

    PubMed

    Brooks, Thomas M; Akçakaya, H Resit; Burgess, Neil D; Butchart, Stuart H M; Hilton-Taylor, Craig; Hoffmann, Michael; Juffe-Bignoli, Diego; Kingston, Naomi; MacSharry, Brian; Parr, Mike; Perianin, Laurence; Regan, Eugenie C; Rodrigues, Ana S L; Rondinini, Carlo; Shennan-Farpon, Yara; Young, Bruce E

    2016-01-01

    Two processes for regional environmental assessment are currently underway: the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) and Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Both face constraints of data, time, capacity, and resources. To support these assessments, we disaggregate three global knowledge products according to their regions and subregions. These products are: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Key Biodiversity Areas (specifically Important Bird &Biodiversity Areas [IBAs], and Alliance for Zero Extinction [AZE] sites), and Protected Planet. We present fourteen Data citations: numbers of species occurring and percentages threatened; numbers of endemics and percentages threatened; downscaled Red List Indices for mammals, birds, and amphibians; numbers, mean sizes, and percentage coverages of IBAs and AZE sites; percentage coverage of land and sea by protected areas; and trends in percentages of IBAs and AZE sites wholly covered by protected areas. These data will inform the regional/subregional assessment chapters on the status of biodiversity, drivers of its decline, and institutional responses, and greatly facilitate comparability and consistency between the different regional/subregional assessments. PMID:26881749

  18. Analysing biodiversity and conservation knowledge products to support regional environmental assessments

    PubMed Central

    Brooks, Thomas M.; Akçakaya, H. Resit; Burgess, Neil D.; Butchart, Stuart H.M.; Hilton-Taylor, Craig; Hoffmann, Michael; Juffe-Bignoli, Diego; Kingston, Naomi; MacSharry, Brian; Parr, Mike; Perianin, Laurence; Regan, Eugenie C.; Rodrigues, Ana S.L.; Rondinini, Carlo; Shennan-Farpon, Yara; Young, Bruce E.

    2016-01-01

    Two processes for regional environmental assessment are currently underway: the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) and Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Both face constraints of data, time, capacity, and resources. To support these assessments, we disaggregate three global knowledge products according to their regions and subregions. These products are: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Key Biodiversity Areas (specifically Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas [IBAs], and Alliance for Zero Extinction [AZE] sites), and Protected Planet. We present fourteen Data citations: numbers of species occurring and percentages threatened; numbers of endemics and percentages threatened; downscaled Red List Indices for mammals, birds, and amphibians; numbers, mean sizes, and percentage coverages of IBAs and AZE sites; percentage coverage of land and sea by protected areas; and trends in percentages of IBAs and AZE sites wholly covered by protected areas. These data will inform the regional/subregional assessment chapters on the status of biodiversity, drivers of its decline, and institutional responses, and greatly facilitate comparability and consistency between the different regional/subregional assessments. PMID:26881749

  19. Biodiversity assessment using hierarchical agglomerative clustering and spectral unmixing over hyperspectral images.

    PubMed

    Medina, Ollantay; Manian, Vidya; Chinea, J Danilo

    2013-01-01

    Hyperspectral images represent an important source of information to assess ecosystem biodiversity. In particular, plant species richness is a primary indicator of biodiversity. This paper uses spectral variance to predict vegetation richness, known as Spectral Variation Hypothesis. Hierarchical agglomerative clustering is our primary tool to retrieve clusters whose Shannon entropy should reflect species richness on a given zone. However, in a high spectral mixing scenario, an additional unmixing step, just before entropy computation, is required; cluster centroids are enough for the unmixing process. Entropies computed using the proposed method correlate well with the ones calculated directly from synthetic and field data. PMID:24132230

  20. The role of sustained observations in tracking impacts of environmental change on marine biodiversity and ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Mieszkowska, N.; Sugden, H.; Firth, L. B.; Hawkins, S. J.

    2014-01-01

    Marine biodiversity currently faces unprecedented threats from multiple pressures arising from human activities. Global drivers such as climate change and ocean acidification interact with regional eutrophication, exploitation of commercial fish stocks and localized pressures including pollution, coastal development and the extraction of aggregates and fuel, causing alteration and degradation of habitats and communities. Segregating natural from anthropogenically induced change in marine ecosystems requires long-term, sustained observations of marine biota. In this review, we outline the history of biological recording in the coastal and shelf seas of the UK and Ireland and highlight where sustained observations have contributed new understanding of how anthropogenic activities have impacted on marine biodiversity. The contributions of sustained observations, from those collected at observatories, single station platforms and multiple-site programmes to the emergent field of multiple stressor impacts research, are discussed, along with implications for management and sustainable governance of marine resources in an era of unprecedented use of the marine environment. PMID:25157190

  1. The role of sustained observations in tracking impacts of environmental change on marine biodiversity and ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Mieszkowska, N; Sugden, H; Firth, L B; Hawkins, S J

    2014-09-28

    Marine biodiversity currently faces unprecedented threats from multiple pressures arising from human activities. Global drivers such as climate change and ocean acidification interact with regional eutrophication, exploitation of commercial fish stocks and localized pressures including pollution, coastal development and the extraction of aggregates and fuel, causing alteration and degradation of habitats and communities. Segregating natural from anthropogenically induced change in marine ecosystems requires long-term, sustained observations of marine biota. In this review, we outline the history of biological recording in the coastal and shelf seas of the UK and Ireland and highlight where sustained observations have contributed new understanding of how anthropogenic activities have impacted on marine biodiversity. The contributions of sustained observations, from those collected at observatories, single station platforms and multiple-site programmes to the emergent field of multiple stressor impacts research, are discussed, along with implications for management and sustainable governance of marine resources in an era of unprecedented use of the marine environment. PMID:25157190

  2. Reduced-impact logging and biodiversity conservation: a case study from Borneo.

    PubMed

    Edwards, David P; Woodcock, Paul; Edwards, Felicity A; Larsen, Trond H; Hsu, Wayne W; Benedick, Suzan; Wilcove, David S

    2012-03-01

    A key driver of rain forest degradation is rampant commercial logging. Reduced-impact logging (RIL) techniques dramatically reduce residual damage to vegetation and soils, and they enhance the long-term economic viability of timber operations when compared to conventionally managed logging enterprises. Consequently, the application of RIL is increasing across the tropics, yet our knowledge of the potential for RIL also to reduce the negative impacts of logging on biodiversity is minimal. We compare the impacts of RIL on birds, leaf-litter ants, and dung beetles during a second logging rotation in Sabah, Borneo, with the impacts of conventional logging (CL) as well as with primary (unlogged) forest. Our study took place 1-8 years after the cessation of logging. The species richness and composition of RIL vs. CL forests were very similar for each taxonomic group. Both RIL and CL differed significantly from unlogged forests in terms of bird and ant species composition (although both retained a large number of the species found in unlogged forests), whereas the composition of dung beetle communities did not differ significantly among forest types. Our results show little difference in biodiversity between RIL and CL over the short-term. However, biodiversity benefits from RIL may accrue over longer time periods after the cessation of logging. We highlight a severe lack of studies investigating this possibility. Moreover, if RIL increases the economic value of selectively logged forests (e.g., via REDD+, a United Nations program: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries), it could help prevent them from being converted to agricultural plantations, which results in a tremendous loss of biodiversity. PMID:22611854

  3. A modelling approach for the assessment of the effects of Common Agricultural Policy measures on farmland biodiversity in the EU27.

    PubMed

    Overmars, Koen P; Helming, John; van Zeijts, Henk; Jansson, Torbjörn; Terluin, Ida

    2013-09-15

    In this paper we describe a methodology to model the impacts of policy measures within the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on farm production, income and prices, and on farmland biodiversity. Two stylised scenarios are used to illustrate how the method works. The effects of CAP measures, such as subsidies and regulations, are calculated and translated into changes in land use and land-use intensity. These factors are then used to model biodiversity with a species-based indicator on a 1 km scale in the EU27. The Common Agricultural Policy Regionalised Impact Modelling System (CAPRI) is used to conduct the economic analysis and Dyna-CLUE (Conversion of Land Use and its Effects) is used to model land use changes. An indicator that expresses the relative species richness was used as the indicator for biodiversity in agricultural areas. The methodology is illustrated with a baseline scenario and two scenarios that include a specific policy. The strength of the methodology is that impacts of economic policy instruments can be linked to changes in agricultural production, prices and incomes, on the one hand, and to biodiversity effects, on the other - with land use and land-use intensity as the connecting drivers. The method provides an overall assessment, but for detailed impact assessment at landscape, farm or field level, additional analysis would be required. PMID:23708145

  4. Biodiversity assessment in incomplete inventories: leaf litter ant communities in several types of Bornean rain forest.

    PubMed

    Pfeiffer, Martin; Mezger, Dirk

    2012-01-01

    Biodiversity assessment of tropical taxa is hampered by their tremendous richness, which leads to large numbers of singletons and incomplete inventories in survey studies. Species estimators can be used for assessment of alpha diversity, but calculation of beta diversity is hampered by pseudo-turnover of species in undersampled plots. To assess the impact of unseen species, we investigated different methods, including an unbiased estimator of Shannon beta diversity that was compared to biased calculations. We studied alpha and beta diversity of a diverse ground ant assemblage from the Southeast Asian island of Borneo in different types of tropical forest: diperocarp forest, alluvial forest, limestone forest and heath forests. Forests varied in plant composition, geology, flooding regimes and other environmental parameters. We tested whether forest types differed in species composition and if species turnover was a function of the distance between plots at different spatial scales. As pseudo-turnover may bias beta diversity we hypothesized a large effect of unseen species reducing beta diversity. We sampled 206 ant species (25% singletons) from ten subfamilies and 55 genera. Diversity partitioning among the four forest types revealed that whereas alpha species richness and alpha Shannon diversity were significantly smaller than expected, beta-diversity for both measurements was significantly higher than expected by chance. This result was confirmed when we used the unbiased estimation of Shannon diversity: while alpha diversity was much higher, beta diversity differed only slightly from biased calculations. Beta diversity as measured with the Chao-Sørensen or Morisita-Horn Index correlated with distance between transects and between sample points, indicating a distance decay of similarity between communities. We conclude that habitat heterogeneity has a high influence on ant diversity and species turnover in tropical sites and that unseen species may have only little impact on calculation of Shannon beta diversity when sampling effort has been high. PMID:22815799

  5. Biodiversity losses and conservation trade-offs: Assessing future urban growth scenarios for a North American trade corridor

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Villarreal, Miguel; Norman, Laura M.; Wallace, Cynthia S.A.; Boykin, Kenneth

    2013-01-01

    The Sonoran Desert and Apache Highlands ecoregions of North America are areas of exceptionally high plant and vertebrate biodiversity. However, much of the vertebrate biodiversity is supported by only a few vegetation types with limited distributions, some of which are increasingly threatened by changing land uses. We assessed the impacts of two future urban growth scenarios on biodiversity in a binational watershed in Arizona, USA and Sonora, Mexico. We quantified and mapped terrestrial vertebrate species richness using Wildlife Habitat Relation models and validated the results with data from National Park Service biological inventories. Future urban growth, based on historical trends, was projected to the year 2050 for 1) a “Current Trends” scenario and, 2) a “Megalopolis” scenario that represented a transnational growth corridor with open-space conservation attributes. Based on Current Trends, 45% of existing riparian woodland (267 of 451species), and 34% of semi-desert grasslands (215 of 451 species) will be lost, whereas, in the Megalopolis scenario, these types would decline by 44% and 24% respectively. Outcomes of the two models suggest a trade-off at the taxonomic class level: Current Trends would reduce and fragment mammal and herpetofauna habitat, while Megalopolis would result in loss of avian-rich riparian habitat.

  6. Impact of offshore gas platforms on the structural and functional biodiversity of nematodes.

    PubMed

    Fraschetti, S; Guarnieri, G; Gambi, C; Bevilacqua, S; Terlizzi, A; Danovaro, R

    2016-04-01

    The Mediterranean Sea hosts hundreds of offshore gas platforms, whose activity represents a potential threat to marine ecosystems. Evidence from several studies indicates that nematodes can be highly sensitive to changes in the environmental quality. Here, we investigated the response of nematode assemblages to the presence of offshore gas platforms (located in the central Mediterranean Sea) in terms of spatial heterogeneity, structural and functional diversity. Since the effect of the investigated offshore platforms on macrofaunal assemblages were previously assessed by Terlizzi et al. (2008), the study provided also the opportunity to compare the response of different benthic compartments to the same impact related to fossil fuel extraction on marine environments. The platforms had a significant impact on nematode assemblages up to 1000 m distance from the structure. The effects were evident in term of: a) more homogeneous spatial distribution of nematode assemblages, b) increased trophic diversity of deposit feeders and c) changes in life strategies with an increase of opportunistic species in sediments closer to the platforms. Such effects seemed to be related to the dimension of the platform structures, rather than to chemical pollution or changes in food availability. These findings suggest that the platforms exert a physical alteration of the surrounding environment that is reflected by altered structural and functional traits of nematode biodiversity. The use of nematodes for monitoring the effects of the platforms only partially matched with the results obtained using macrofauna, providing further insights on potential outcomes on the functional response of marine assemblages to fossil fuel extraction. PMID:26878347

  7. The PREDICTS database: a global database of how local terrestrial biodiversity responds to human impacts.

    PubMed

    Hudson, Lawrence N; Newbold, Tim; Contu, Sara; Hill, Samantha L L; Lysenko, Igor; De Palma, Adriana; Phillips, Helen R P; Senior, Rebecca A; Bennett, Dominic J; Booth, Hollie; Choimes, Argyrios; Correia, David L P; Day, Julie; Echeverría-Londoño, Susy; Garon, Morgan; Harrison, Michelle L K; Ingram, Daniel J; Jung, Martin; Kemp, Victoria; Kirkpatrick, Lucinda; Martin, Callum D; Pan, Yuan; White, Hannah J; Aben, Job; Abrahamczyk, Stefan; Adum, Gilbert B; Aguilar-Barquero, Virginia; Aizen, Marcelo A; Ancrenaz, Marc; Arbeláez-Cortés, Enrique; Armbrecht, Inge; Azhar, Badrul; Azpiroz, Adrián B; Baeten, Lander; Báldi, András; Banks, John E; Barlow, Jos; Batáry, Péter; Bates, Adam J; Bayne, Erin M; Beja, Pedro; Berg, Åke; Berry, Nicholas J; Bicknell, Jake E; Bihn, Jochen H; Böhning-Gaese, Katrin; Boekhout, Teun; Boutin, Céline; Bouyer, Jérémy; Brearley, Francis Q; Brito, Isabel; Brunet, Jörg; Buczkowski, Grzegorz; Buscardo, Erika; Cabra-García, Jimmy; Calviño-Cancela, María; Cameron, Sydney A; Cancello, Eliana M; Carrijo, Tiago F; Carvalho, Anelena L; Castro, Helena; Castro-Luna, Alejandro A; Cerda, Rolando; Cerezo, Alexis; Chauvat, Matthieu; Clarke, Frank M; Cleary, Daniel F R; Connop, Stuart P; D'Aniello, Biagio; da Silva, Pedro Giovâni; Darvill, Ben; Dauber, Jens; Dejean, Alain; Diekötter, Tim; Dominguez-Haydar, Yamileth; Dormann, Carsten F; Dumont, Bertrand; Dures, Simon G; Dynesius, Mats; Edenius, Lars; Elek, Zoltán; Entling, Martin H; Farwig, Nina; Fayle, Tom M; Felicioli, Antonio; Felton, Annika M; Ficetola, Gentile F; Filgueiras, Bruno K C; Fonte, Steven J; Fraser, Lauchlan H; Fukuda, Daisuke; Furlani, Dario; Ganzhorn, Jörg U; Garden, Jenni G; Gheler-Costa, Carla; Giordani, Paolo; Giordano, Simonetta; Gottschalk, Marco S; Goulson, Dave; Gove, Aaron D; Grogan, James; Hanley, Mick E; Hanson, Thor; Hashim, Nor R; Hawes, Joseph E; Hébert, Christian; Helden, Alvin J; Henden, John-André; Hernández, Lionel; Herzog, Felix; Higuera-Diaz, Diego; Hilje, Branko; Horgan, Finbarr G; Horváth, Roland; Hylander, Kristoffer; Isaacs-Cubides, Paola; Ishitani, Masahiro; Jacobs, Carmen T; Jaramillo, Víctor J; Jauker, Birgit; Jonsell, Mats; Jung, Thomas S; Kapoor, Vena; Kati, Vassiliki; Katovai, Eric; Kessler, Michael; Knop, Eva; Kolb, Annette; Kőrösi, Ádám; Lachat, Thibault; Lantschner, Victoria; Le Féon, Violette; LeBuhn, Gretchen; Légaré, Jean-Philippe; Letcher, Susan G; Littlewood, Nick A; López-Quintero, Carlos A; Louhaichi, Mounir; Lövei, Gabor L; Lucas-Borja, Manuel Esteban; Luja, Victor H; Maeto, Kaoru; Magura, Tibor; Mallari, Neil Aldrin; Marin-Spiotta, Erika; Marshall, E J P; Martínez, Eliana; Mayfield, Margaret M; Mikusinski, Grzegorz; Milder, Jeffrey C; Miller, James R; Morales, Carolina L; Muchane, Mary N; Muchane, Muchai; Naidoo, Robin; Nakamura, Akihiro; Naoe, Shoji; Nates-Parra, Guiomar; Navarrete Gutierrez, Dario A; Neuschulz, Eike L; Noreika, Norbertas; Norfolk, Olivia; Noriega, Jorge Ari; Nöske, Nicole M; O'Dea, Niall; Oduro, William; Ofori-Boateng, Caleb; Oke, Chris O; Osgathorpe, Lynne M; Paritsis, Juan; Parra-H, Alejandro; Pelegrin, Nicolás; Peres, Carlos A; Persson, Anna S; Petanidou, Theodora; Phalan, Ben; Philips, T Keith; Poveda, Katja; Power, Eileen F; Presley, Steven J; Proença, Vânia; Quaranta, Marino; Quintero, Carolina; Redpath-Downing, Nicola A; Reid, J Leighton; Reis, Yana T; Ribeiro, Danilo B; Richardson, Barbara A; Richardson, Michael J; Robles, Carolina A; Römbke, Jörg; Romero-Duque, Luz Piedad; Rosselli, Loreta; Rossiter, Stephen J; Roulston, T'ai H; Rousseau, Laurent; Sadler, Jonathan P; Sáfián, Szabolcs; Saldaña-Vázquez, Romeo A; Samnegård, Ulrika; Schüepp, Christof; Schweiger, Oliver; Sedlock, Jodi L; Shahabuddin, Ghazala; Sheil, Douglas; Silva, Fernando A B; Slade, Eleanor M; Smith-Pardo, Allan H; Sodhi, Navjot S; Somarriba, Eduardo J; Sosa, Ramón A; Stout, Jane C; Struebig, Matthew J; Sung, Yik-Hei; Threlfall, Caragh G; Tonietto, Rebecca; Tóthmérész, Béla; Tscharntke, Teja; Turner, Edgar C; Tylianakis, Jason M; Vanbergen, Adam J; Vassilev, Kiril; Verboven, Hans A F; Vergara, Carlos H; Vergara, Pablo M; Verhulst, Jort; Walker, Tony R; Wang, Yanping; Watling, James I; Wells, Konstans; Williams, Christopher D; Willig, Michael R; Woinarski, John C Z; Wolf, Jan H D; Woodcock, Ben A; Yu, Douglas W; Zaitsev, Andrey S; Collen, Ben; Ewers, Rob M; Mace, Georgina M; Purves, Drew W; Scharlemann, Jörn P W; Purvis, Andy

    2014-12-01

    Biodiversity continues to decline in the face of increasing anthropogenic pressures such as habitat destruction, exploitation, pollution and introduction of alien species. Existing global databases of species' threat status or population time series are dominated by charismatic species. The collation of datasets with broad taxonomic and biogeographic extents, and that support computation of a range of biodiversity indicators, is necessary to enable better understanding of historical declines and to project - and avert - future declines. We describe and assess a new database of more than 1.6 million samples from 78 countries representing over 28,000 species, collated from existing spatial comparisons of local-scale biodiversity exposed to different intensities and types of anthropogenic pressures, from terrestrial sites around the world. The database contains measurements taken in 208 (of 814) ecoregions, 13 (of 14) biomes, 25 (of 35) biodiversity hotspots and 16 (of 17) megadiverse countries. The database contains more than 1% of the total number of all species described, and more than 1% of the described species within many taxonomic groups - including flowering plants, gymnosperms, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, beetles, lepidopterans and hymenopterans. The dataset, which is still being added to, is therefore already considerably larger and more representative than those used by previous quantitative models of biodiversity trends and responses. The database is being assembled as part of the PREDICTS project (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems - http://www.predicts.org.uk). We make site-level summary data available alongside this article. The full database will be publicly available in 2015. PMID:25558364

  8. The PREDICTS database: a global database of how local terrestrial biodiversity responds to human impacts

    PubMed Central

    Hudson, Lawrence N; Newbold, Tim; Contu, Sara; Hill, Samantha L L; Lysenko, Igor; De Palma, Adriana; Phillips, Helen R P; Senior, Rebecca A; Bennett, Dominic J; Booth, Hollie; Choimes, Argyrios; Correia, David L P; Day, Julie; Echeverría-Londoño, Susy; Garon, Morgan; Harrison, Michelle L K; Ingram, Daniel J; Jung, Martin; Kemp, Victoria; Kirkpatrick, Lucinda; Martin, Callum D; Pan, Yuan; White, Hannah J; Aben, Job; Abrahamczyk, Stefan; Adum, Gilbert B; Aguilar-Barquero, Virginia; Aizen, Marcelo A; Ancrenaz, Marc; Arbeláez-Cortés, Enrique; Armbrecht, Inge; Azhar, Badrul; Azpiroz, Adrián B; Baeten, Lander; Báldi, András; Banks, John E; Barlow, Jos; Batáry, Péter; Bates, Adam J; Bayne, Erin M; Beja, Pedro; Berg, Åke; Berry, Nicholas J; Bicknell, Jake E; Bihn, Jochen H; Böhning-Gaese, Katrin; Boekhout, Teun; Boutin, Céline; Bouyer, Jérémy; Brearley, Francis Q; Brito, Isabel; Brunet, Jörg; Buczkowski, Grzegorz; Buscardo, Erika; Cabra-García, Jimmy; Calviño-Cancela, María; Cameron, Sydney A; Cancello, Eliana M; Carrijo, Tiago F; Carvalho, Anelena L; Castro, Helena; Castro-Luna, Alejandro A; Cerda, Rolando; Cerezo, Alexis; Chauvat, Matthieu; Clarke, Frank M; Cleary, Daniel F R; Connop, Stuart P; D'Aniello, Biagio; da Silva, Pedro Giovâni; Darvill, Ben; Dauber, Jens; Dejean, Alain; Diekötter, Tim; Dominguez-Haydar, Yamileth; Dormann, Carsten F; Dumont, Bertrand; Dures, Simon G; Dynesius, Mats; Edenius, Lars; Elek, Zoltán; Entling, Martin H; Farwig, Nina; Fayle, Tom M; Felicioli, Antonio; Felton, Annika M; Ficetola, Gentile F; Filgueiras, Bruno K C; Fonte, Steven J; Fraser, Lauchlan H; Fukuda, Daisuke; Furlani, Dario; Ganzhorn, Jörg U; Garden, Jenni G; Gheler-Costa, Carla; Giordani, Paolo; Giordano, Simonetta; Gottschalk, Marco S; Goulson, Dave; Gove, Aaron D; Grogan, James; Hanley, Mick E; Hanson, Thor; Hashim, Nor R; Hawes, Joseph E; Hébert, Christian; Helden, Alvin J; Henden, John-André; Hernández, Lionel; Herzog, Felix; Higuera-Diaz, Diego; Hilje, Branko; Horgan, Finbarr G; Horváth, Roland; Hylander, Kristoffer; Isaacs-Cubides, Paola; Ishitani, Masahiro; Jacobs, Carmen T; Jaramillo, Víctor J; Jauker, Birgit; Jonsell, Mats; Jung, Thomas S; Kapoor, Vena; Kati, Vassiliki; Katovai, Eric; Kessler, Michael; Knop, Eva; Kolb, Annette; Kőrösi, Ádám; Lachat, Thibault; Lantschner, Victoria; Le Féon, Violette; LeBuhn, Gretchen; Légaré, Jean-Philippe; Letcher, Susan G; Littlewood, Nick A; López-Quintero, Carlos A; Louhaichi, Mounir; Lövei, Gabor L; Lucas-Borja, Manuel Esteban; Luja, Victor H; Maeto, Kaoru; Magura, Tibor; Mallari, Neil Aldrin; Marin-Spiotta, Erika; Marshall, E J P; Martínez, Eliana; Mayfield, Margaret M; Mikusinski, Grzegorz; Milder, Jeffrey C; Miller, James R; Morales, Carolina L; Muchane, Mary N; Muchane, Muchai; Naidoo, Robin; Nakamura, Akihiro; Naoe, Shoji; Nates-Parra, Guiomar; Navarrete Gutierrez, Dario A; Neuschulz, Eike L; Noreika, Norbertas; Norfolk, Olivia; Noriega, Jorge Ari; Nöske, Nicole M; O'Dea, Niall; Oduro, William; Ofori-Boateng, Caleb; Oke, Chris O; Osgathorpe, Lynne M; Paritsis, Juan; Parra-H, Alejandro; Pelegrin, Nicolás; Peres, Carlos A; Persson, Anna S; Petanidou, Theodora; Phalan, Ben; Philips, T Keith; Poveda, Katja; Power, Eileen F; Presley, Steven J; Proença, Vânia; Quaranta, Marino; Quintero, Carolina; Redpath-Downing, Nicola A; Reid, J Leighton; Reis, Yana T; Ribeiro, Danilo B; Richardson, Barbara A; Richardson, Michael J; Robles, Carolina A; Römbke, Jörg; Romero-Duque, Luz Piedad; Rosselli, Loreta; Rossiter, Stephen J; Roulston, T'ai H; Rousseau, Laurent; Sadler, Jonathan P; Sáfián, Szabolcs; Saldaña-Vázquez, Romeo A; Samnegård, Ulrika; Schüepp, Christof; Schweiger, Oliver; Sedlock, Jodi L; Shahabuddin, Ghazala; Sheil, Douglas; Silva, Fernando A B; Slade, Eleanor M; Smith-Pardo, Allan H; Sodhi, Navjot S; Somarriba, Eduardo J; Sosa, Ramón A; Stout, Jane C; Struebig, Matthew J; Sung, Yik-Hei; Threlfall, Caragh G; Tonietto, Rebecca; Tóthmérész, Béla; Tscharntke, Teja; Turner, Edgar C; Tylianakis, Jason M; Vanbergen, Adam J; Vassilev, Kiril; Verboven, Hans A F; Vergara, Carlos H; Vergara, Pablo M; Verhulst, Jort; Walker, Tony R; Wang, Yanping; Watling, James I; Wells, Konstans; Williams, Christopher D; Willig, Michael R; Woinarski, John C Z; Wolf, Jan H D; Woodcock, Ben A; Yu, Douglas W; Zaitsev, Andrey S; Collen, Ben; Ewers, Rob M; Mace, Georgina M; Purves, Drew W; Scharlemann, Jörn P W; Purvis, Andy

    2014-01-01

    Biodiversity continues to decline in the face of increasing anthropogenic pressures such as habitat destruction, exploitation, pollution and introduction of alien species. Existing global databases of species’ threat status or population time series are dominated by charismatic species. The collation of datasets with broad taxonomic and biogeographic extents, and that support computation of a range of biodiversity indicators, is necessary to enable better understanding of historical declines and to project – and avert – future declines. We describe and assess a new database of more than 1.6 million samples from 78 countries representing over 28,000 species, collated from existing spatial comparisons of local-scale biodiversity exposed to different intensities and types of anthropogenic pressures, from terrestrial sites around the world. The database contains measurements taken in 208 (of 814) ecoregions, 13 (of 14) biomes, 25 (of 35) biodiversity hotspots and 16 (of 17) megadiverse countries. The database contains more than 1% of the total number of all species described, and more than 1% of the described species within many taxonomic groups – including flowering plants, gymnosperms, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, beetles, lepidopterans and hymenopterans. The dataset, which is still being added to, is therefore already considerably larger and more representative than those used by previous quantitative models of biodiversity trends and responses. The database is being assembled as part of the PREDICTS project (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems – http://www.predicts.org.uk). We make site-level summary data available alongside this article. The full database will be publicly available in 2015. PMID:25558364

  9. Biodiversity conservation and NEPA

    SciTech Connect

    Southerland, M.T. )

    1993-01-01

    The Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have recently developed new guidelines to facilitate the consideration of biodiversity in the preparation and review of environmental impact assessments. The purpose of these efforts is to facilitate the incorporation of biodiversity considerations into the ecological analyses of all federal agencies. Because federal decisions requiring environmental impact assessments under NEPA affect hundreds of millions of federal and non-federal lands and waters, improved consideration of the impacts of federal activities is essential to stemming the loss of biological diversity in the United States. The designation of ecosystems or habitats'' of concern is a useful first step identifying risks to biodiversity. After reviewing the status and trends of habitats within eight major regions of the US, the EPA guidelines identify habitats contributing to regional and global biodiversity such as remnant prairies, riparian habitats, and old-growth forests. This document also discusses how the impacts on habitats vary with the different activities of land conversion, timber harvesting, grazing, mining, and water management.

  10. Biodiversity and biological impact of ocean disposal of carbon dioxide

    SciTech Connect

    Shirayama, Yoshihisa

    1998-07-01

    Five major characteristics of deep-sea organisms that are relevant to the carbon dioxide ocean sequestration are pointed out. They are (1) low biological activities, (2) long life span, (3) high sensitivity to the environmental disturbance, (4) high species diversity, and (5) low density. These characteristics suggest the deep-sea species are sensitive to the environmental disturbance, and once they are damaged, they may easily become extinct or it might take a long time to recover. To get public acceptance for ocean sequestration of carbon dioxide, the authors need a reliable assessment of its affects on the deep-sea ecosystem based on an accurate model. For a better modeling, data regarding the long-term (chronic) effect of slightly increased concentration of carbon dioxide on the deep-sea organisms are prerequisite. Precise data regarding such biological characteristics can be obtained only from in-situ experiments. To develop a system for ecophysiological in-situ experiments of deep-sea organisms is thus as important as solving the technological problems related to the ocean sequestration of carbon dioxide.

  11. Forestry impacts on the hidden fungal biodiversity associated with bryophytes.

    PubMed

    Davey, Marie L; Kauserud, Håvard; Ohlson, Mikael

    2014-10-01

    Recent studies have revealed an unexpectedly high, cryptic diversity of fungi associated with boreal forest bryophytes. Forestry practices heavily influence the boreal forest and fundamentally transform the landscape. However, little is known about how bryophyte-associated fungal communities are affected by these large-scale habitat transformations. This study assesses to what degree bryophyte-associated fungal communities are structured across the forest successional stages created by current forestry practices. Shoots of Hylocomium splendens were collected in Picea abies dominated forests of different ages, and their associated fungal communities were surveyed by pyrosequencing of ITS2 amplicons. Although community richness, diversity and evenness were relatively stable across the forest types and all were consistently dominated by ascomycete taxa, there was a marked shift in fungal community composition between young and old forests. Numerous fungal operational taxonomic units (OTUs) showed distinct affinities for different forest ages. Spatial structure was also detected among the sites, suggesting that environmental gradients resulting from the topography of the study area and dispersal limitations may also significantly affect bryophyte-associated fungal community structure. This study confirms that Hylocomium splendens hosts an immense diversity of fungi and demonstrates that this community is structured in part by forest age, and as such is highly influenced by modern forestry practices. PMID:25056806

  12. Old and new challenges in using species diversity for assessing biodiversity

    PubMed Central

    Chiarucci, Alessandro; Bacaro, Giovanni; Scheiner, Samuel M.

    2011-01-01

    Although the maintenance of diversity of living systems is critical for ecosystem functioning, the accelerating pace of global change is threatening its preservation. Standardized methods for biodiversity assessment and monitoring are needed. Species diversity is one of the most widely adopted metrics for assessing patterns and processes of biodiversity, at both ecological and biogeographic scales. However, those perspectives differ because of the types of data that can be feasibly collected, resulting in differences in the questions that can be addressed. Despite a theoretical consensus on diversity metrics, standardized methods for its measurement are lacking, especially at the scales needed to monitor biodiversity for conservation and management purposes. We review the conceptual framework for species diversity, examine common metrics, and explore their use for biodiversity conservation and management. Key differences in diversity measures at ecological and biogeographic scales are the completeness of species lists and the ability to include information on species abundances. We analyse the major pitfalls and problems with quantitative measurement of species diversity, look at the use of weighting measures by phylogenetic distance, discuss potential solutions and propose a research agenda to solve the major existing problems. PMID:21768157

  13. How Well Does LCA Model Land Use Impacts on Biodiversity?-A Comparison with Approaches from Ecology and Conservation.

    PubMed

    Curran, Michael; de Souza, Danielle Maia; Antón, Assumpció; Teixeira, Ricardo F M; Michelsen, Ottar; Vidal-Legaz, Beatriz; Sala, Serenella; Milà I Canals, Llorenç

    2016-03-15

    The modeling of land use impacts on biodiversity is considered a priority in life cycle assessment (LCA). Many diverging approaches have been proposed in an expanding literature on the topic. The UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative is engaged in building consensus on a shared modeling framework to highlight best-practice and guide model application by practitioners. In this paper, we evaluated the performance of 31 models from both the LCA and the ecology/conservation literature (20 from LCA, 11 from non-LCA fields) according to a set of criteria reflecting (i) model completeness, (ii) biodiversity representation, (iii) impact pathway coverage, (iv) scientific quality, and (v) stakeholder acceptance. We show that LCA models tend to perform worse than those from ecology and conservation (although not significantly), implying room for improvement. We identify seven best-practice recommendations that can be implemented immediately to improve LCA models based on existing approaches in the literature. We further propose building a "consensus model" through weighted averaging of existing information, to complement future development. While our research focuses on conceptual model design, further quantitative comparison of promising models in shared case studies is an essential prerequisite for future informed model choice. PMID:26830787

  14. Hydrologic drivers of tree biodiversity: The impact of climate change (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rodriguez-Iturbe, I.; Konar, M.; Muneepeerakul, R.; Azaele, S.; Bertuzzo, E.; Rinaldo, A.

    2009-12-01

    Biodiversity of forests is of major importance for society. The possible impact of climate change on the characteristics of tree diversity is a topic of crucial importance with relevant implications for conservation campaigns and resource management. Here we present the main results of the expected biodiversity changes in the Mississippi-Missouri River Basin (MMRS) and two of its subregions under different scenarios of possible climate change. A mechanistic neutral metapopulation model is developed to study the main drivers of large scale biodiversity signatures in the MMRS system. The region is divided into 824 Direct Tributary Areas (DTAs), each one characterized by its own habitat capacity. Data for the spatial occurrence of the 231 species present in the system is taken from the US Forest Service Inventory and Analysis Database. The model has permeable boundaries to account for immigration from the regions surrounding the MMRS. The model accounts for key aspects of ecological dynamics (e.g., birth, death, speciation, and migration) and is fundamentally driven by the mean annual precipitation characteristic of each of the DTAs in the system. It is found that such a simple model, with only four parameters, yields an excellent representation of the observed local species richness (LSR), between-community (β) diversity, and species rank-occupancy function. The mean annual rainfall of each DTA is then changed according to the climate scenarios and new habitat capacities are thus obtained throughout the MMRS and its subregions. The resulting large-scale biodiversity signatures are computed and compared with those of the present scenario, showing that there are very important changes arising from the climate change conditions. For the dry scenarios, it is shown that there is a considerable decrease of species richness, both at local and regional scales, and a contraction of species' geographic ranges. These findings link the hydrologic and ecological dynamics of the MMRS under climate change conditions and are important for a comprehensive evaluation of the climate change impacts over the United States.

  15. Biodiversity impacts ecosystem productivity as much as resources, disturbance, or herbivory

    PubMed Central

    Tilman, David; Reich, Peter B.; Isbell, Forest

    2012-01-01

    Although the impacts of the loss of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning are well established, the importance of the loss of biodiversity relative to other human-caused drivers of environmental change remains uncertain. Results of 11 experiments show that ecologically relevant decreases in grassland plant diversity influenced productivity at least as much as ecologically relevant changes in nitrogen, water, CO2, herbivores, drought, or fire. Moreover, biodiversity became an increasingly dominant driver of ecosystem productivity through time, whereas effects of other factors either declined (nitrogen addition) or remained unchanged (all others). In particular, a change in plant diversity from four to 16 species caused as large an increase in productivity as addition of 54 kg?ha?1?y?1 of fertilizer N, and was as influential as removing a dominant herbivore, a major natural drought, water addition, and fire suppression. A change in diversity from one to 16 species caused a greater biomass increase than 95 kg?ha?1?y?1 of N or any other treatment. Our conclusions are based on >7,000 productivity measurements from 11 long-term experiments (mean length, ? 13 y) conducted at a single site with species from a single regional species pool, thus controlling for many potentially confounding factors. Our results suggest that the loss of biodiversity may have at least as great an impact on ecosystem functioning as other anthropogenic drivers of environmental change, and that use of diverse mixtures of species may be as effective in increasing productivity of some biomass crops as fertilization and may better provide ecosystem services. PMID:22689971

  16. Biodiversity impacts ecosystem productivity as much as resources, disturbance, or herbivory.

    PubMed

    Tilman, David; Reich, Peter B; Isbell, Forest

    2012-06-26

    Although the impacts of the loss of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning are well established, the importance of the loss of biodiversity relative to other human-caused drivers of environmental change remains uncertain. Results of 11 experiments show that ecologically relevant decreases in grassland plant diversity influenced productivity at least as much as ecologically relevant changes in nitrogen, water, CO(2), herbivores, drought, or fire. Moreover, biodiversity became an increasingly dominant driver of ecosystem productivity through time, whereas effects of other factors either declined (nitrogen addition) or remained unchanged (all others). In particular, a change in plant diversity from four to 16 species caused as large an increase in productivity as addition of 54 kg ha(-1) y(-1) of fertilizer N, and was as influential as removing a dominant herbivore, a major natural drought, water addition, and fire suppression. A change in diversity from one to 16 species caused a greater biomass increase than 95 kg ha(-1) y(-1) of N or any other treatment. Our conclusions are based on >7,000 productivity measurements from 11 long-term experiments (mean length, ~ 13 y) conducted at a single site with species from a single regional species pool, thus controlling for many potentially confounding factors. Our results suggest that the loss of biodiversity may have at least as great an impact on ecosystem functioning as other anthropogenic drivers of environmental change, and that use of diverse mixtures of species may be as effective in increasing productivity of some biomass crops as fertilization and may better provide ecosystem services. PMID:22689971

  17. Integrating diverse scientific and practitioner knowledge in ecological risk analysis: a case study of biodiversity risk assessment in South Africa.

    PubMed

    Dana, G V; Kapuscinski, A R; Donaldson, J S

    2012-05-15

    Ecological risk analysis (ERA) is a structured evaluation of threats to species, natural communities, and ecosystem processes from pollutants and toxicants and more complicated living stressors such as invasive species, genetically modified organisms, and biological control agents. Such analyses are typically conducted by a narrowly-focused group of scientific experts using technical information. We evaluate whether the inclusion of more diverse experts and practitioners in ERA improved the ecological knowledge base about South African biodiversity and the potential impacts of genetically modified (GM) crops. We conducted two participatory ERA workshops in South Africa, analyzing potential impacts of GM maize on biodiversity. The first workshop involved only four biological scientists, who were joined by 18 diverse scientists and practitioners in the second, and we compared the ERA process and results between the two using descriptive statistics and semi-structured interview responses. The addition of diverse experts and practitioners led to a more comprehensive understanding of biological composition of the agro-ecosystem and a more ecologically relevant set of hazards, but impeded hazard prioritization and the generation of precise risk assessment values. Results suggest that diverse participation can improve the scoping or problem formulation of the ERA, by generating an ecologically robust set of information on which to base the subsequent, more technical risk assessment. The participatory ERA process also increased the transparency of the ERA by exposing the logic and rationale for decisions made at each step. PMID:22266478

  18. Scale matters: the impact of organic farming on biodiversity at different spatial scales.

    PubMed

    Gabriel, Doreen; Sait, Steven M; Hodgson, Jenny A; Schmutz, Ulrich; Kunin, William E; Benton, Tim G

    2010-07-01

    There is increasing recognition that ecosystems and their services need to be managed in the face of environmental change. However, there is little consensus as to the optimum scale for management. This is particularly acute in the agricultural environment given the level of public investment in agri-environment schemes (AES). Using a novel multiscale hierarchical sampling design, we assess the effect of land use at multiple spatial scales (from location-within-field to regions) on farmland biodiversity. We show that on-farm biodiversity components depend on farming practices (organic vs. conventional) at farm and landscape scales, but this strongly interacts with fine- and coarse-scale variables. Different taxa respond to agricultural practice at different spatial scales and often at multiple spatial scales. Hence, AES need to target multiple spatial scales to maximize effectiveness. Novel policy levers may be needed to encourage multiple land managers within a landscape to adopt schemes that create landscape-level benefits. PMID:20482572

  19. Bottle Traps and Dipnetting: Evaluation of two Sampling Techniques for Assessing Macroinvertebrate Biodiversity in Depressional Wetlands.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Serieyssol, C. A.; Bouchard, R. W.; Sealock, A. W.; Rufer, M. M.; Chirhart, J.; Genet, J.; Ferrington, L. C.

    2005-05-01

    Dipnet (DN) sampling is routinely employed for macroinvertebrate bioassessments, however it has been shown that some taxa are more effectively sampled with activity traps, commonly called Bottle Traps (BT). In 2001, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency used both DN and BT sampling in nine depressional wetlands in the North Central Hardwood Forest Ecoregion to evaluate macroinvertebrate biodiversity for the purpose of assessing water quality and developing biological criteria. Both methods, consisting of five bottle trap samples and two dip net samples per wetland, were collected from each of two sites in each wetland. To determine the performance of each method in documenting biodiversity, we compared taxa and their abundances by wetland, for each type of sample. DN sampling was more effective, with 44 of 140 macroinvertebrate taxa only identified from DN, compared to 14 only from BT. By contrast, BT more effectively collected leeches and beetles, especially active swimmers such as Tropisternus and several genera of Dytiscidae. However, taxa richness patterns for BT and DN were not strongly correlated. Consequently, we conclude these two sampling methods complement each other, providing a better overall picture of macroinvertebrate biodiversity, and should be used jointly when investigating macroinvertebrate biodiversity in depressional wetlands.

  20. Assessing the Primary Data Hosted by the Spanish Node of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)

    PubMed Central

    Otegui, Javier; Ariño, Arturo H.; Encinas, María A.; Pando, Francisco

    2013-01-01

    In order to effectively understand and cope with the current ‘biodiversity crisis’, having large-enough sets of qualified data is necessary. Information facilitators such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) are ensuring increasing availability of primary biodiversity records by linking data collections spread over several institutions that have agreed to publish their data in a common access schema. We have assessed the primary records that one such publisher, the Spanish node of GBIF (GBIF.ES), hosts on behalf of a number of institutions, considered to be a highly representative sample of the total mass of available data for a country in order to know the quantity and quality of the information made available. Our results may provide an indication of the overall fitness-for-use in these data. We have found a number of patterns in the availability and accrual of data that seem to arise naturally from the digitization processes. Knowing these patterns and features may help deciding when and how these data can be used. Broadly, the error level seems low. The available data may be of capital importance for the development of biodiversity research, both locally and globally. However, wide swaths of records lack data elements such as georeferencing or taxonomical levels. Although the remaining information is ample and fit for many uses, improving the completeness of the records would likely increase the usability span for these data. PMID:23372828

  1. Why evolutionary biologists should get seriously involved in ecological monitoring and applied biodiversity assessment programs

    PubMed Central

    Brodersen, Jakob; Seehausen, Ole

    2014-01-01

    While ecological monitoring and biodiversity assessment programs are widely implemented and relatively well developed to survey and monitor the structure and dynamics of populations and communities in many ecosystems, quantitative assessment and monitoring of genetic and phenotypic diversity that is important to understand evolutionary dynamics is only rarely integrated. As a consequence, monitoring programs often fail to detect changes in these key components of biodiversity until after major loss of diversity has occurred. The extensive efforts in ecological monitoring have generated large data sets of unique value to macro-scale and long-term ecological research, but the insights gained from such data sets could be multiplied by the inclusion of evolutionary biological approaches. We argue that the lack of process-based evolutionary thinking in ecological monitoring means a significant loss of opportunity for research and conservation. Assessment of genetic and phenotypic variation within and between species needs to be fully integrated to safeguard biodiversity and the ecological and evolutionary dynamics in natural ecosystems. We illustrate our case with examples from fishes and conclude with examples of ongoing monitoring programs and provide suggestions on how to improve future quantitative diversity surveys. PMID:25553061

  2. Environmental screening tools for assessment of infrastructure plans based on biodiversity preservation and global warming (PEIT, Spain)

    SciTech Connect

    Garcia-Montero, Luis G.

    2010-04-15

    Most Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) research has been concerned with SEA as a procedure, and there have been relatively few developments and tests of analytical methodologies. The first stage of the SEA is the 'screening', which is the process whereby a decision is taken on whether or not SEA is required for a particular programme or plan. The effectiveness of screening and SEA procedures will depend on how well the assessment fits into the planning from the early stages of the decision-making process. However, it is difficult to prepare the environmental screening for an infrastructure plan involving a whole country. To be useful, such methodologies must be fast and simple. We have developed two screening tools which would make it possible to estimate promptly the overall impact an infrastructure plan might have on biodiversity and global warming for a whole country, in order to generate planning alternatives, and to determine whether or not SEA is required for a particular infrastructure plan.

  3. Development of innovative tools for understanding marine biodiversity and assessing good environmental status, within the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Borja, Angel; Uyarra, María C.

    2014-05-01

    Marine natural resources and ecosystem services constitute the natural capital that supports economies, societies and individual well-being. Good governance requires a quantification of the interactions and trade-offs among ecosystem services and understanding of how biodiversity underpins ecosystem functions and services across time, scales and sectors. Marine biodiversity is a key descriptor for the assessment within the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), approved in 2008, which comprises a total of 11 descriptors. However, the relationships between pressures from human activities and climatic influences and their effects on marine biological diversity are still only partially understood. Hence, these relationships need to be better understood in order to fully achieve a good environmental status (GEnS), as required by the MSFD. This contribution is based upon the FP7 EU project DEVOTES (DEVelopment Of innovative Tools for understanding marine biodiversity and assessing good Environmental Status), which focus on developing innovative conceptual frameworks, methods and coherent, shared protocols to provide consistent datasets and knowledge at different scales, within four regional seas (Black Sea, Mediterranean, Atlantic and Baltic Sea). This project is developing innovative approaches to valuate biodiversity and ecosystem services and to develop public goods and sustainable economic activities from them. The research will benefit sea users and stakeholders, and will contribute to assess and monitor the environmental status of marine waters. The main objectives are: (i) to improve our understanding of the impact of human activities and variations associated to climate on marine biodiversity, (ii) to test indicators (referred in the Commission Decision on GEnS) and develop new ones for assessment at several ecological levels (species, habitat, ecosystems) and for the characterization and status classification of the marine waters, (iii) to develop, test and validate, on the basis of observations, innovative integrative modelling tools in order to further strengthen our understanding of ecosystem and biodiversity changes in space and time. The resultant models are being developed for implementation as operational tools for managers, decision takers and policy makers. The project is contributing (i) to enable the adaptive development of management (ecosystem-based management approach) strategies and management measures as a result of their implementation taking into account the role of industry and relevant stakeholders, (ii) to provide economic assessment of the consequences of management practices, (iii) to identify the barriers (socio-economic and legislative) that prevent the GES to be achieved (e.g. eutrophication), (iv) to provide a set of policy options for the relevant authorities. In addition the project should propose and demonstrate the utility of innovative monitoring systems capable of providing data on a range of parameters, efficiently and effectively, that may be used as indicators of good environmental status. This contribution presents a summary of most of these aspects.

  4. Biodiversity Monitoring at the Tonle Sap Lake of Cambodia: A Comparative Assessment of Local Methods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seak, Sophat; Schmidt-Vogt, Dietrich; Thapa, Gopal B.

    2012-10-01

    This paper assesses local biodiversity monitoring methods practiced in the Tonle Sap Lake of Cambodia. For the assessment we used the following criteria: methodological rigor, perceived cost, ease of use (user friendliness), compatibility with existing activities, and effectiveness of intervention. Constraints and opportunities for execution of the methods were also considered. Information was collected by use of: (1) key informant interview, (2) focus group discussion, and (3) researcher's observation. The monitoring methods for fish, birds, reptiles, mammals and vegetation practiced in the research area have their unique characteristics of generating data on biodiversity and biological resources. Most of the methods, however, serve the purpose of monitoring biological resources rather than biodiversity. There is potential that the information gained through local monitoring methods can provide input for long-term management and strategic planning. In order to realize this potential, the local monitoring methods should be better integrated with each other, adjusted to existing norms and regulations, and institutionalized within community-based organization structures.

  5. Assessing land-use effects on water quality, in-stream habitat, riparian ecosystems and biodiversity in Patagonian northwest streams.

    PubMed

    Miserendino, María Laura; Casaux, Ricardo; Archangelsky, Miguel; Di Prinzio, Cecilia Yanina; Brand, Cecilia; Kutschker, Adriana Mabel

    2011-01-01

    Changes in land-use practices have affected the integrity and quality of water resources worldwide. In Patagonia there is a strong concern about the ecological status of surface waters because these changes are rapidly occurring in the region. To test the hypothesis that greater intensity of land-use will have negative effects on water quality, stream habitat and biodiversity we assessed benthic macroinvertebrates, riparian/littoral invertebrates, fish and birds from the riparian corridor and environmental variables of 15 rivers (Patagonia) subjected to a gradient of land-use practices (non-managed native forest, managed native forest, pine plantations, pasture, urbanization). A total of 158 macroinvertebrate taxa, 105 riparian/littoral invertebrate taxa, 5 fish species, 34 bird species, and 15 aquatic plant species, were recorded considering all sites. Urban land-use produced the most significant changes in streams including physical features, conductivity, nutrients, habitat condition, riparian quality and invertebrate metrics. Pasture and managed native forest sites appeared in an intermediate situation. The highest values of fish and bird abundance and diversity were observed at disturbed sites; this might be explained by the opportunistic behavior displayed by these communities which let them take advantage of increased trophic resources in these environments. As expected, non-managed native forest sites showed the highest integrity of ecological conditions and also great biodiversity of benthic communities. Macroinvertebrate metrics that reflected good water quality were positively related to forest land cover and negatively related to urban and pasture land cover. However, by offering stream edge areas, pasture sites still supported rich communities of riparian/littoral invertebrates, increasing overall biodiversity. Macroinvertebrates were good indicators of land-use impact and water quality conditions and resulted useful tools to early alert of disturbances in streams. Fish and birds having a greater ability of dispersion and capacity to move quickly from disturbances would reflect changes at a higher scale. PMID:21094515

  6. Fifteen forms of biodiversity trend in the Anthropocene.

    PubMed

    McGill, Brian J; Dornelas, Maria; Gotelli, Nicholas J; Magurran, Anne E

    2015-02-01

    Humans are transforming the biosphere in unprecedented ways, raising the important question of how these impacts are changing biodiversity. Here we argue that our understanding of biodiversity trends in the Anthropocene, and our ability to protect the natural world, is impeded by a failure to consider different types of biodiversity measured at different spatial scales. We propose that ecologists should recognize and assess 15 distinct categories of biodiversity trend. We summarize what is known about each of these 15 categories, identify major gaps in our current knowledge, and recommend the next steps required for better understanding of trends in biodiversity. PMID:25542312

  7. Role of DNA barcoding in marine biodiversity assessment and conservation: An update.

    PubMed

    Trivedi, Subrata; Aloufi, Abdulhadi A; Ansari, Abid A; Ghosh, Sankar K

    2016-03-01

    More than two third area of our planet is covered by oceans and assessment of marine biodiversity is a challenging task. With the increasing global population, there is a tendency to exploit marine resources for food, energy and other requirements. This puts pressure on the fragile marine environment and necessitates sustainable conservation efforts. Marine species identification using traditional taxonomical methods is often burdened with taxonomic controversies. Here we discuss the comparatively new concept of DNA barcoding and its significance in marine perspective. This molecular technique can be useful in the assessment of cryptic species which is widespread in marine environment and linking the different life cycle stages to the adult which is difficult to accomplish in the marine ecosystem. Other advantages of DNA barcoding include authentication and safety assessment of seafood, wildlife forensics, conservation genetics and detection of invasive alien species (IAS). Global DNA barcoding efforts in the marine habitat include MarBOL, CeDAMar, CMarZ, SHARK-BOL, etc. An overview on DNA barcoding of different marine groups ranging from the microbes to mammals is revealed. In conjugation with newer and faster techniques like high-throughput sequencing, DNA barcoding can serve as an effective modern tool in marine biodiversity assessment and conservation. PMID:26980996

  8. Role of DNA barcoding in marine biodiversity assessment and conservation: An update

    PubMed Central

    Trivedi, Subrata; Aloufi, Abdulhadi A.; Ansari, Abid A.; Ghosh, Sankar K.

    2015-01-01

    More than two third area of our planet is covered by oceans and assessment of marine biodiversity is a challenging task. With the increasing global population, there is a tendency to exploit marine resources for food, energy and other requirements. This puts pressure on the fragile marine environment and necessitates sustainable conservation efforts. Marine species identification using traditional taxonomical methods is often burdened with taxonomic controversies. Here we discuss the comparatively new concept of DNA barcoding and its significance in marine perspective. This molecular technique can be useful in the assessment of cryptic species which is widespread in marine environment and linking the different life cycle stages to the adult which is difficult to accomplish in the marine ecosystem. Other advantages of DNA barcoding include authentication and safety assessment of seafood, wildlife forensics, conservation genetics and detection of invasive alien species (IAS). Global DNA barcoding efforts in the marine habitat include MarBOL, CeDAMar, CMarZ, SHARK-BOL, etc. An overview on DNA barcoding of different marine groups ranging from the microbes to mammals is revealed. In conjugation with newer and faster techniques like high-throughput sequencing, DNA barcoding can serve as an effective modern tool in marine biodiversity assessment and conservation. PMID:26980996

  9. Environmental Impact Assessment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Castrilli, Joseph; Block, Elizabeth

    1975-01-01

    Increasing concern with pollution and the energy crisis surfaced the need for environmental impact assessment. Certain requirements for such statements have been identified by different Canadian groups. Among them are the need for total citizen involvement and the utilization of these statements, once completed. (MA)

  10. Community Impact Assessment Handbook.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Northern Alberta Development Council, Peace River.

    This handbook is intended for communities that wish to undertake their own community impact assessment (CIA). The goal is to enable communities to plan for changes before they occur, so they can cope with changes when they do occur. CIA involves forecasting and evaluating the full range of unintended consequences for the community of development…

  11. Biodiversity Performs!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC.

    This document features a lesson plan in which students work in teams to act out different ecosystem services, describe several free services that biodiversity provides to human, and explain how these services make life on earth possible. Samples of instruction and assessment are included. (KHR)

  12. Biodiversity assessment among two Nebraska prairies: a comparison between traditional and phylogenetic diversity indices

    PubMed Central

    Aust, Shelly K.; Ahrendsen, Dakota L.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Background Conservation of the evolutionary diversity among organisms should be included in the selection of priority regions for preservation of Earth’s biodiversity. Traditionally, biodiversity has been determined from an assessment of species richness (S), abundance, evenness, rarity, etc. of organisms but not from variation in species’ evolutionary histories. Phylogenetic diversity (PD) measures evolutionary differences between taxa in a community and is gaining acceptance as a biodiversity assessment tool. However, with the increase in the number of ways to calculate PD, end-users and decision-makers are left wondering how metrics compare and what data are needed to calculate various metrics. New information In this study, we used massively parallel sequencing to generate over 65,000 DNA characters from three cellular compartments for over 60 species in the asterid clade of flowering plants. We estimated asterid phylogenies from character datasets of varying nucleotide quantities, and then assessed the effect of varying character datasets on resulting PD metric values. We also compared multiple PD metrics with traditional diversity indices (including S) among two endangered grassland prairies in Nebraska (U.S.A.). Our results revealed that PD metrics varied based on the quantity of genes used to infer the phylogenies; therefore, when comparing PD metrics between sites, it is vital to use comparable datasets. Additionally, various PD metrics and traditional diversity indices characterize biodiversity differently and should be chosen depending on the research question. Our study provides empirical results that reveal the value of measuring PD when considering sites for conservation, and it highlights the usefulness of using PD metrics in combination with other diversity indices when studying community assembly and ecosystem functioning. Ours is just one example of the types of investigations that need to be conducted across the tree of life and across varying ecosystems in order to build a database of phylogenetic diversity assessments that lead to a pool of results upon which a guide through the plethora of PD metrics may be prepared for use by ecologists and conservation planners. PMID:26312052

  13. Towards a meaningful assessment of marine ecological impacts in life cycle assessment (LCA).

    PubMed

    Woods, John S; Veltman, Karin; Huijbregts, Mark A J; Verones, Francesca; Hertwich, Edgar G

    2016-01-01

    Human demands on marine resources and space are currently unprecedented and concerns are rising over observed declines in marine biodiversity. A quantitative understanding of the impact of industrial activities on the marine environment is thus essential. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a widely applied method for quantifying the environmental impact of products and processes. LCA was originally developed to assess the impacts of land-based industries on mainly terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. As such, impact indicators for major drivers of marine biodiversity loss are currently lacking. We review quantitative approaches for cause-effect assessment of seven major drivers of marine biodiversity loss: climate change, ocean acidification, eutrophication-induced hypoxia, seabed damage, overexploitation of biotic resources, invasive species and marine plastic debris. Our review shows that impact indicators can be developed for all identified drivers, albeit at different levels of coverage of cause-effect pathways and variable levels of uncertainty and spatial coverage. Modeling approaches to predict the spatial distribution and intensity of human-driven interventions in the marine environment are relatively well-established and can be employed to develop spatially-explicit LCA fate factors. Modeling approaches to quantify the effects of these interventions on marine biodiversity are less well-developed. We highlight specific research challenges to facilitate a coherent incorporation of marine biodiversity loss in LCA, thereby making LCA a more comprehensive and robust environmental impact assessment tool. Research challenges of particular importance include i) incorporation of the non-linear behavior of global circulation models (GCMs) within an LCA framework and ii) improving spatial differentiation, especially the representation of coastal regions in GCMs and ocean-carbon cycle models. PMID:26826362

  14. Impact of Tannery Effluent on the Self-purification Capacity and Biodiversity Level of a River.

    PubMed

    Mengistie, Embialle; Ambelu, Argaw; Van Gerven, Tom; Smets, Ilse

    2016-03-01

    The present study investigates the impact of tannery effluents on the self-purification capacity and the local macroinvertebrate community of one natural stream. As the concentration of chromium and sulfide increased from up- to downstream sites, the reduction of suspended solids, 5-days biological oxygen demand (BOD5), chemical oxygen demand and nitrification capacity decreased by 61 %, 21 %, 30 % and 74 %, respectively. Similarly, the share of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera on the macroinvertebrate community decreased from 24 % to 0 %. Also the diversity (Simpson's) index and the correlation between the physicochemical parameters, BOD5 reduction, the macroinvertebrate abundance and the chromium concentration underpin the importance of the contamination by tannery effluents for the degradation of the stream habitat quality. In conclusion, although the physicochemical parameters indicate that the self-purification of the river can be maintained for a certain stream section, the biodiversity of the river is severely compromised. PMID:26781632

  15. Impact of Globalization on Sugarcane Pests, Biodiversity and the Environment: A Review of the 2009 Entomology Workshop

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The 7th International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists (ISSCT) Entomology Workshop was held from 20 to 24 April 2009 in San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina under the theme: “Impact of Globalization on Sugar Cane Pests, Biodiversity and the Environment”. Technical sessions held over three days were g...

  16. Assessing biodiversity on the farm scale as basis for ecosystem service payments.

    PubMed

    von Haaren, Christina; Kempa, Daniela; Vogel, Katrin; Rüter, Stefan

    2012-12-30

    Ecosystem services payments must be based on a standardised transparent assessment of the goods and services provided. This is especially relevant in the context of EU agri-environmental programs, but also for organic-food companies that foster environmental services on their contractor farms. Addressing the farm scale is important because land users/owners are major recipients of payments and they could be more involved in data generation and conservation management. A standardised system for measuring on-farm biodiversity does not yet exist that concentrates on performance indicators and includes farmers in generating information. A method is required that produces ordinal or metric scaled assessment results as well as management measures. Another requirement is the ease of application, which includes the ease of gathering input data and understandability. In order to respond to this need, we developed a method which is designed for automated application in an open source farm assessment system named MANUELA. The method produces an ordinal scale assessment of biodiversity that includes biotopes, species, biotope connectivity and the influence of land use. In addition, specific measures for biotope types are proposed. The open source geographical information system OpenJump is used for the implementation of MANUELA. The results of the trial applications and robustness tests show that the assessment can be implemented, for the most part, using existing information as well as data available from farmers or advisors. The results are more sensitive for showing on-farm achievements and changes than existing biotope-type classifications. Such a differentiated classification is needed as a basis for ecosystem service payments and for designing effective measures. The robustness of the results with respect to biotope connectivity is comparable to that of complex models, but it should be further improved. Interviews with the test farmers substantiate that the assessment methods can be implemented on farms and they are understood by farmers. PMID:22996001

  17. Trophic and Non-Trophic Interactions in a Biodiversity Experiment Assessed by Next-Generation Sequencing

    PubMed Central

    Tiede, Julia; Wemheuer, Bernd; Traugott, Michael; Daniel, Rolf; Tscharntke, Teja; Ebeling, Anne; Scherber, Christoph

    2016-01-01

    Plant diversity affects species richness and abundance of taxa at higher trophic levels. However, plant diversity effects on omnivores (feeding on multiple trophic levels) and their trophic and non-trophic interactions are not yet studied because appropriate methods were lacking. A promising approach is the DNA-based analysis of gut contents using next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies. Here, we integrate NGS-based analysis into the framework of a biodiversity experiment where plant taxonomic and functional diversity were manipulated to directly assess environmental interactions involving the omnivorous ground beetle Pterostichus melanarius. Beetle regurgitates were used for NGS-based analysis with universal 18S rDNA primers for eukaryotes. We detected a wide range of taxa with the NGS approach in regurgitates, including organisms representing trophic, phoretic, parasitic, and neutral interactions with P. melanarius. Our findings suggest that the frequency of (i) trophic interactions increased with plant diversity and vegetation cover; (ii) intraguild predation increased with vegetation cover, and (iii) neutral interactions with organisms such as fungi and protists increased with vegetation cover. Experimentally manipulated plant diversity likely affects multitrophic interactions involving omnivorous consumers. Our study therefore shows that trophic and non-trophic interactions can be assessed via NGS to address fundamental questions in biodiversity research. PMID:26859146

  18. Trophic and Non-Trophic Interactions in a Biodiversity Experiment Assessed by Next-Generation Sequencing.

    PubMed

    Tiede, Julia; Wemheuer, Bernd; Traugott, Michael; Daniel, Rolf; Tscharntke, Teja; Ebeling, Anne; Scherber, Christoph

    2016-01-01

    Plant diversity affects species richness and abundance of taxa at higher trophic levels. However, plant diversity effects on omnivores (feeding on multiple trophic levels) and their trophic and non-trophic interactions are not yet studied because appropriate methods were lacking. A promising approach is the DNA-based analysis of gut contents using next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies. Here, we integrate NGS-based analysis into the framework of a biodiversity experiment where plant taxonomic and functional diversity were manipulated to directly assess environmental interactions involving the omnivorous ground beetle Pterostichus melanarius. Beetle regurgitates were used for NGS-based analysis with universal 18S rDNA primers for eukaryotes. We detected a wide range of taxa with the NGS approach in regurgitates, including organisms representing trophic, phoretic, parasitic, and neutral interactions with P. melanarius. Our findings suggest that the frequency of (i) trophic interactions increased with plant diversity and vegetation cover; (ii) intraguild predation increased with vegetation cover, and (iii) neutral interactions with organisms such as fungi and protists increased with vegetation cover. Experimentally manipulated plant diversity likely affects multitrophic interactions involving omnivorous consumers. Our study therefore shows that trophic and non-trophic interactions can be assessed via NGS to address fundamental questions in biodiversity research. PMID:26859146

  19. Contribution of natural history collection data to biodiversity assessment in national parks

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Connell, A.F., Jr.; Gilbert, A.T.; Hatfield, J.S.

    2004-01-01

    There has been mounting interest in the use of museum and herbaria collections to assess biodiversity; information is often difficult to locate and access, however, and few recommendations are available for effectively using natural history collections. As part of an effort to inventory vertebrates and vascular plants in U.S. national parks, we searched manually and by computer for specimens originating within or adjacent to 14 parks throughout the northeastern United States. We compared the number of specimens located to collection size to determine whether there was any effect on detection rate of specimens. We evaluated the importance of park characteristics (e.g., age since establishment, size, theme [natural vs. cultural]) for influencing the number of specimens found in a collection. We located >31,000 specimens and compiled associated records (hereafter referred to as specimens) from 78 collections; >9000 specimens were park-significant, originating either within park boundaries or in the local township where the park was located. We found >2000 specimens by means of manual searches, which cost $0.001?0.15 per specimen searched and $0.81?151.95 per specimen found. Collection effort appeared relatively uniform between 1890 and 1980, with low periods corresponding to significant sociopolitical events. Detection rates for specimens were inversely related to collection size. Although specimens were most often located in collections within the region of interest, specimens can be found anywhere, particularly in large collections international in scope, suggesting that global searches will be necessary to evaluate historical biodiversity. Park characteristics indicated that more collecting effort occurred within or adjacent to larger parks established for natural resources than in smaller historical sites. Because many institutions have not yet established electronic databases for collections, manual searches can be useful for retrieving specimens. Our results show that thorough, systematic searching of natural history collections for park-significant specimens can provide a historical perspective on biodiversity for park managers.

  20. Assessing Fishing and Marine Biodiversity Changes Using Fishers' Perceptions: The Spanish Mediterranean and Gulf of Cadiz Case Study

    PubMed Central

    Coll, Marta; Carreras, Marta; Ciércoles, Cristina; Cornax, Maria-José; Gorelli, Giulia; Morote, Elvira; Sáez, Raquel

    2014-01-01

    Background The expansion of fishing activities has intensively transformed marine ecosystems worldwide. However, available time series do not frequently cover historical periods. Methodology Fishers' perceptions were used to complement data and characterise changes in fishing activity and exploited ecosystems in the Spanish Mediterranean Sea and Gulf of Cadiz. Fishers' interviews were conducted in 27 fishing harbours of the area, and included 64 fishers from ages between 20 to >70 years old to capture the experiences and memories of various generations. Results are discussed in comparison with available independent information using stock assessments and international convention lists. Principal Findings According to fishers, fishing activity substantially evolved in the area with time, expanding towards deeper grounds and towards areas more distant from the coast. The maximum amount of catch ever caught and the weight of the largest species ever captured inversely declined with time. Fishers (70%) cited specific fishing grounds where depletion occurred. They documented ecological changes of marine biodiversity during the last half of the century: 94% reported the decline of commercially important fish and invertebrates and 61% listed species that could have been extirpated, with frequent mentions to cartilaginous fish. Declines and extirpations were in line with available quantitative evaluations from stock assessments and international conventions, and were likely linked to fishing impacts. Conversely, half of interviewed fishers claimed that several species had proliferated, such as cephalopods, jellyfish, and small-sized fish. These changes were likely related to trophic cascades due to fishing and due to climate change effects. The species composition of depletions, local extinctions and proliferations showed differences by region suggesting that regional dynamics are important when analysing biodiversity changes. Conclusions/Significance Using fishers' perceptions, fishing and ecological changes in the study area were documented. The recovery of local ecological knowledge provides valuable information complementing quantitative monitoring and evaluation surveys. PMID:24465644

  1. Health equity impact assessment.

    PubMed

    Povall, Susan L; Haigh, Fiona A; Abrahams, Debbie; Scott-Samuel, Alex

    2014-12-01

    The World Health Organization's Commission on Social Determinants of Health has called for 'health equity impact assessments' of all economic agreements, market regulation and public policies. We carried out an international study to clarify if existing health impact assessment (HIA) methods are adequate for the task of global health equity assessments. We triangulated data from a scoping review of the international literature, in-depth interviews with health equity and HIA experts and an international stakeholder workshop. We found that equity is not addressed adequately in HIAs for a variety of reasons, including inadequate guidance, absence of definitions, poor data and evidence, perceived lack of methods and tools and practitioner unwillingness or inability to address values like fairness and social justice. Current methods can address immediate, 'downstream' factors, but not the root causes of inequity. Extending HIAs to cover macro policy and global equity issues will require new tools to address macroeconomic policies, historical roots of inequities and upstream causes like power imbalances. More sensitive, participatory methods are also required. There is, however, no need for the development of a completely new methodology. PMID:23449601

  2. Improving biodiversity assessment of anuran amphibians using DNA barcoding of tadpoles. Case studies from Southeast Asia.

    PubMed

    Grosjean, Stéphane; Ohler, Annemarie; Chuaynkern, Yodchaiy; Cruaud, Corinne; Hassanin, Alexandre

    2015-05-01

    Amphibian populations are dramatically declining, while their inventory is far from being achieved. Tadpoles are usually overlooked from biodiversity survey, whereas their consideration will optimize species counts and knowledge of their ecological and developmental requirements is essential in conservation planning. Two mitochondrial markers, 16S (397 new sequences obtained) and COI (343 new sequences obtained), are used to test DNA barcoding on a set of larval and adult Asian amphibians represented by 83 recognized species from 65 sites. The advantages and drawbacks of each marker are assessed, COI barcoding being advocated for global DNA barcoding, whereas 16S suits for taxonomically or geographically restricted DNA barcoding. About half of the collected tadpoles were badly identified or incompletely named in the field. All tadpole sequences (except one case of probable introgressive hybridization) were correctly assigned to their respective species. Finally six clusters of tadpole sequences without conspecific adults were revealed, stressing the importance of collecting and taking into account tadpoles in biodiversity survey and conservation planning. PMID:25936275

  3. Monitoring conservation effectiveness in a global biodiversity hotspot: the contribution of land cover change assessment.

    PubMed

    Joseph, Shijo; Blackburn, George Alan; Gharai, Biswadip; Sudhakar, S; Thomas, A P; Murthy, M S R

    2009-11-01

    Tropical forests, which play critical roles in global biogeochemical cycles, radiation budgets and biodiversity, have undergone rapid changes in land cover in the last few decades. This study examines the complex process of land cover change in the biodiversity hotspot of Western Ghats, India, specifically investigating the effects of conservation measures within the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary. Current vegetation patterns were mapped using an IRS P6 LISS III image and this was used together with Landsat MSS data from 1973 to map land cover transitions. Two major and divergent trends were observed. A dominant degradational trend can be attributed to agricultural expansion and infrastructure development while a successional trend, resulting from protection of the area, showed the resilience of the system after prolonged disturbances. The sanctuary appears susceptible to continuing disturbances under the current management regime but at lower rates than in surrounding unprotected areas. The study demonstrates that remotely sensed land cover assessments can have important contributions to monitoring land management strategies, understanding processes underpinning land use changes and helping to inform future conservation strategies. PMID:18821022

  4. Assessment of regional-scale primary production in terrestrial ecosystems to estimate the possible influence of future climate change on biodiversity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Noda, Hibiki; Nishina, Kazuya; Ito, Akihiko

    2015-04-01

    In recent decades, climate change including global warming has progressed worldwide and their influences on ecosystem structure and function that provide various goods and services to humans' well-being are of the greatest concerns. The ecosystem function and services are tightly coupled with the biodiversity particularly via food web and biogeochemical cycles, and here carbon is one of the central elements that also affect atmospheric CO2 concentration. Therefore mechanistic and quantitative understandings of the consequences among on-going climate change, ecosystem function, and biodiversity are urgent issues for seeking a better adaptation strategy. In order to tackle such tasks in the current environmental and ecological sciences, efforts have been made by numerous scientists and/or organizations to clarify the current status of and threats to biodiversity, responses of biogeochemical cycles to meteorological variables, and to construct climate change scenarios considering economic activities. However, to gain insights into the possible influence of climate change on biodiversity via altered ecosystem functions over broad temporal and spatial scales ranging from past to near-future periods and from landscape to global scales, further efforts to find the consequences are required, since the assessment of the influence of climate change on biodiversity is straightforward but difficult. For decades in climate change science, carbon flux between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems has attracted intensive attention as it connects the atmosphere and biosphere. Carbon flux in the biosphere is not only a process of biogeochemical material flux but also is an element to drive biological and ecological processes in ecosystems via food web beginning from photosynthetic carbon fixation by plants. Therefore focusing on photosynthetic production by plants, i.e. primary production of the ecosystem, may help us to estimate the possible influence of climate change on biodiversity. Photosynthetic carbon fixation, namely gross primary production (GPP), is a fundamental process of ecosystems and known to be highly sensitive to meteorological changes including radiation, temperature, precipitation and CO2 concentration. Thus analysis of the effect of future climate change on ecosystem GPP in a biogeographical region, which is important from the viewpoint of the biodiversity conservation, such as "biodiversity hotspot" and "Global 200 Ecoregion", might enable us to discuss the relevance between climate change and biodiversity. In ISI-MIP (Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project) phase 1, we have estimated GPP by seven global biome models under future climate based on four RCPs (Representative Concentration Pathways for 2.6, 4.5, 6.0, and 8.5 W/m2 stabilization targets) and five global climate models. In present study, we analyzed these outputs to reveal the effect of future climate change on the ecosystem GPP in several biodiversity hotspots and will discuss the relevance between the climate change and biodiversity.

  5. A generic approach to integrate biodiversity considerations in screening and scoping for EIA

    SciTech Connect

    Slootweg, Roel; Kolhoff, Arend

    2003-10-01

    The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) requires parties to apply environmental impact assessment (EIA) to projects that potentially negatively impact on biodiversity. As members of the International Association of Impact Assessment, the authors have developed a conceptual framework to integrate biodiversity considerations in EIA. By defining biodiversity in terms of composition, structure, and key processes, and by describing the way in which human activities affect these so-called components of biodiversity, it is possible to assess the potential impacts of human activities on biodiversity. Furthermore, the authors have translated this conceptual framework in generic guidelines for screening and scoping in impact assessment. Countries can use these generic guidelines to further operationalise the framework within the existing national procedures for impact assessment. This paper is fully coherent and partly overlapping with the guidelines recently adopted by the CBD, but differs in the sense that it provides more scientific background and is less policy-oriented.

  6. Impacts of Digital Imaging versus Drawing on Student Learning in Undergraduate Biodiversity Labs

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Basey, John M.; Maines, Anastasia P.; Francis, Clinton D.; Melbourne, Brett

    2014-01-01

    We examined the effects of documenting observations with digital imaging versus hand drawing in inquiry-based college biodiversity labs. Plant biodiversity labs were divided into two treatments, digital imaging (N = 221) and hand drawing (N = 238). Graduate-student teaching assistants (N = 24) taught one class in each treatment. Assessments…

  7. Mitigating Nitrogen Deposition Impacts on Biodiversity in California: Generating Funding for Weed Management

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weiss, S. B.

    2013-12-01

    The impacts of atmospheric nitrogen deposition on biodiversity are widespread and profound; N-inputs have far exceeded any historical range of variability and are altering ecosystem structure and function worldwide. Overwhelming scientific evidence documents acute threats to numerous California ecosystems and imperiled species through increased growth of invasive annual grasses and forbs, yet policy responses lag far behind the science. Since 2001, a confluence of several projects (gas-fired powerplants and highway improvements) in Santa Clara County set powerful precedents for mitigation of N-deposition impacts on ecosystems via the Endangered Species Act, with a focus on the Bay checkerspot butterfly. These projects have culminated in the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan, a 50-year $665,000,000 mitigation plan to conserve and manage habitat for 19 target species. Elsewhere, powerplants in San Diego and Contra Costa Counties have provided mitigation funds for habitat restoration and weed management. Building on these precedents, the California Invasive Plant Council, California Native Plant Society, and other groups are forming a coalition to extend this mitigation across California to generate money for weed management. Key elements of this incipient campaign include: 1) education of regulatory agencies, activists, and decision-makers about the threat; 2) generation of standard EIR comments with project specifics for developments that increase traffic or generate nitrogen emissions; 3) encouraging state and federal wildlife agencies to raise the issue in consultations and Habitat Conservation Plans; 4) policy and legal research to chart a course through the regulatory and political landscape; 5) collating research on impacts and development of tools to document those impacts; 6) media outreach, and 7) coalition building. The main mitigation strategy is funding for local weed management and stewardship groups through fees. There is a desperate need for stable long-term funding of weed management on parks, preserves and other wildlands, and mitigating N-deposition could provide one major source.

  8. Habitat engineering by the invasive zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas) in a boreal coastal lagoon: impact on biodiversity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zaiko, Anastasija; Daunys, Darius; Olenin, Sergej

    2009-03-01

    Habitat engineering role of the invasive zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas) was studied in the Curonian lagoon, a shallow water body in the SE Baltic. Impacts of live zebra mussel clumps and its shell deposits on benthic biodiversity were differentiated and referred to unmodified (bare) sediments. Zebra mussel bed was distinguished from other habitat types by higher benthic invertebrate biomass, abundance, and species richness. The impact of live mussels on biodiversity was more pronounced than the effect of shell deposits. The structure of macrofaunal community in the habitats with >103 g/m2 of shell deposits devoid of live mussels was similar to that found within the zebra mussel bed. There was a continuous shift in species composition and abundance along the gradient ‘bare sediments—shell deposits—zebra mussel bed’. The engineering impact of zebra mussel on the benthic community became apparent both in individual patches and landscape-level analyses.

  9. Automated DNA-based plant identification for large-scale biodiversity assessment.

    PubMed

    Papadopoulou, Anna; Chesters, Douglas; Coronado, Indiana; De la Cadena, Gissela; Cardoso, Anabela; Reyes, Jazmina C; Maes, Jean-Michel; Rueda, Ricardo M; Gómez-Zurita, Jesús

    2015-01-01

    Rapid degradation of tropical forests urges to improve our efficiency in large-scale biodiversity assessment. DNA barcoding can assist greatly in this task, but commonly used phenetic approaches for DNA-based identifications rely on the existence of comprehensive reference databases, which are infeasible for hyperdiverse tropical ecosystems. Alternatively, phylogenetic methods are more robust to sparse taxon sampling but time-consuming, while multiple alignment of species-diagnostic, typically length-variable, markers can be problematic across divergent taxa. We advocate the combination of phylogenetic and phenetic methods for taxonomic assignment of DNA-barcode sequences against incomplete reference databases such as GenBank, and we developed a pipeline to implement this approach on large-scale plant diversity projects. The pipeline workflow includes several steps: database construction and curation, query sequence clustering, sequence retrieval, distance calculation, multiple alignment and phylogenetic inference. We describe the strategies used to establish these steps and the optimization of parameters to fit the selected psbA-trnH marker. We tested the pipeline using infertile plant samples and herbivore diet sequences from the highly threatened Nicaraguan seasonally dry forest and exploiting a valuable purpose-built resource: a partial local reference database of plant psbA-trnH. The selected methodology proved efficient and reliable for high-throughput taxonomic assignment, and our results corroborate the advantage of applying 'strict' tree-based criteria to avoid false positives. The pipeline tools are distributed as the scripts suite 'BAGpipe' (pipeline for Biodiversity Assessment using GenBank data), which can be readily adjusted to the purposes of other projects and applied to sequence-based identification for any marker or taxon. PMID:24666885

  10. The Multiple Impacts of Tropical Forest Fragmentation on Arthropod Biodiversity and on their Patterns of Interactions with Host Plants

    PubMed Central

    Benítez-Malvido, Julieta; Dáttilo, Wesley; Martínez-Falcón, Ana Paola; Durán-Barrón, César; Valenzuela, Jorge; López, Sara; Lombera, Rafael

    2016-01-01

    Tropical rain forest fragmentation affects biotic interactions in distinct ways. Little is known, however, about how fragmentation affects animal trophic guilds and their patterns of interactions with host plants. In this study, we analyzed changes in biotic interactions in forest fragments by using a multitrophic approach. For this, we classified arthropods associated with Heliconia aurantiaca herbs into broad trophic guilds (omnivores, herbivores and predators) and assessed the topological structure of intrapopulation plant-arthropod networks in fragments and continuous forests. Habitat type influenced arthropod species abundance, diversity and composition with greater abundance in fragments but greater diversity in continuous forest. According to trophic guilds, coleopteran herbivores were more abundant in continuous forest and overall omnivores in fragments. Continuous forest showed a greater diversity of interactions than fragments. Only in fragments, however, did the arthropod community associated with H aurantiaca show a nested structure, suggesting novel and/or opportunistic host-arthropod associations. Plants, omnivores and predators contributed more to nestedness than herbivores. Therefore, Heliconia-arthropod network properties do not appear to be maintained in fragments mainly caused by the decrease of herbivores. Our study contributes to the understanding of the impact of fragmentation on the structure and dynamics of multitrophic arthropod communities associated with a particular plant species of the highly biodiverse tropical forests. Nevertheless, further replication of study sites is needed to strengthen the conclusion that forest fragmentation negatively affects arthropod assemblages. PMID:26731271

  11. The Multiple Impacts of Tropical Forest Fragmentation on Arthropod Biodiversity and on their Patterns of Interactions with Host Plants.

    PubMed

    Benítez-Malvido, Julieta; Dáttilo, Wesley; Martínez-Falcón, Ana Paola; Durán-Barrón, César; Valenzuela, Jorge; López, Sara; Lombera, Rafael

    2016-01-01

    Tropical rain forest fragmentation affects biotic interactions in distinct ways. Little is known, however, about how fragmentation affects animal trophic guilds and their patterns of interactions with host plants. In this study, we analyzed changes in biotic interactions in forest fragments by using a multitrophic approach. For this, we classified arthropods associated with Heliconia aurantiaca herbs into broad trophic guilds (omnivores, herbivores and predators) and assessed the topological structure of intrapopulation plant-arthropod networks in fragments and continuous forests. Habitat type influenced arthropod species abundance, diversity and composition with greater abundance in fragments but greater diversity in continuous forest. According to trophic guilds, coleopteran herbivores were more abundant in continuous forest and overall omnivores in fragments. Continuous forest showed a greater diversity of interactions than fragments. Only in fragments, however, did the arthropod community associated with H aurantiaca show a nested structure, suggesting novel and/or opportunistic host-arthropod associations. Plants, omnivores and predators contributed more to nestedness than herbivores. Therefore, Heliconia-arthropod network properties do not appear to be maintained in fragments mainly caused by the decrease of herbivores. Our study contributes to the understanding of the impact of fragmentation on the structure and dynamics of multitrophic arthropod communities associated with a particular plant species of the highly biodiverse tropical forests. Nevertheless, further replication of study sites is needed to strengthen the conclusion that forest fragmentation negatively affects arthropod assemblages. PMID:26731271

  12. Trophic status and meiofauna biodiversity in the Northern Adriatic Sea: Insights for the assessment of good environmental status.

    PubMed

    Bianchelli, Silvia; Pusceddu, Antonio; Buschi, Emanuela; Danovaro, Roberto

    2016-02-01

    The Descriptor 5 (Eutrophication) of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive aims at preventing the negative effects of eutrophication. However, in coastal systems all indicators based on water column parameters fail in identifying the trophic status and its effects on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. We investigated benthic trophic status, in terms of sedimentary organic matter quantity, composition and quality, along with meiofaunal abundance, richness of taxa and community composition in three coastal sites (N Adriatic Sea) affected by different levels of anthropogenic stressors. We show that, on the basis of organic matter quantity and composition, the investigated areas can be classified from oligo-to mesotrophic, whereas using meiofauna as a descriptor, their environmental quality ranged from sufficient to moderately impacted. Our results show that the benthic trophic status based on organic matter variables, is not sufficient to provide a sound assessment of the environmental quality in marine coastal ecosystems. However, data reported here indicate that the integration of the meiofaunal variable allows providing robust assessments of the marine environmental status. PMID:26562451

  13. Pollination ecology and the possible impacts of environmental change in the Southwest Australian Biodiversity Hotspot

    PubMed Central

    Phillips, Ryan D.; Hopper, Stephen D.; Dixon, Kingsley W.

    2010-01-01

    The Southwest Australian Biodiversity Hotspot contains an exceptionally diverse flora on an ancient, low-relief but edaphically diverse landscape. Since European colonization, the primary threat to the flora has been habitat clearance, though climate change is an impending threat. Here, we review (i) the ecology of nectarivores and biotic pollination systems in the region, (ii) the evidence that trends in pollination strategies are a consequence of characteristics of the landscape, and (iii) based on these discussions, provide predictions to be tested on the impacts of environmental change on pollination systems. The flora of southwestern Australia has an exceptionally high level of vertebrate pollination, providing the advantage of highly mobile, generalist pollinators. Nectarivorous invertebrates are primarily generalist foragers, though an increasing number of colletid bees are being recognized as being specialized at the level of plant family or more rarely genus. While generalist pollination strategies dominate among insect-pollinated plants, there are some cases of extreme specialization, most notably the multiple evolutions of sexual deception in the Orchidaceae. Preliminary data suggest that bird pollination confers an advantage of greater pollen movement and may represent a mechanism for minimizing inbreeding in naturally fragmented populations. The effects of future environmental change are predicted to result from a combination of the resilience of pollination guilds and changes in their foraging and dispersal behaviour. PMID:20047877

  14. Performance comparison of genetic markers for high-throughput sequencing-based biodiversity assessment in complex communities.

    PubMed

    Zhan, Aibin; Bailey, Sarah A; Heath, Daniel D; Macisaac, Hugh J

    2014-09-01

    Metabarcode surveys of DNA extracted from environmental samples are increasingly popular for biodiversity assessment in natural communities. Such surveys rely heavily on robust genetic markers. Therefore, analysis of PCR efficiency and subsequent biodiversity estimation for different types of genetic markers and their corresponding primers is important. Here, we test the PCR efficiency and biodiversity recovery potential of three commonly used genetic markers - nuclear small subunit ribosomal DNA (18S), mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and 16S ribosomal RNA (mt16S) - using 454 pyrosequencing of a zooplankton community collected from Hamilton Harbour, Ontario. We found that biodiversity detection power and PCR efficiency varied widely among these markers. All tested primers for COI failed to provide high-quality PCR products for pyrosequencing, but newly designed primers for 18S and 16S passed all tests. Furthermore, multiple analyses based on large-scale pyrosequencing (i.e. 1/2 PicoTiter plate for each marker) showed that primers for 18S recover more (38 orders) groups than 16S (10 orders) across all taxa, and four vs. two orders and nine vs. six families for Crustacea. Our results showed that 18S, using newly designed primers, is an efficient and powerful tool for profiling biodiversity in largely unexplored communities, especially when amplification difficulties exist for mitochondrial markers such as COI. Universal primers for higher resolution markers such as COI are still needed to address the possible low resolution of 18S for species-level identification. PMID:24655333

  15. Biodiversity Pressure Maps to evaluate the impact of land use and land cover change on Endangered Ecological Communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chisholm, L. A.; Gill, N.

    2014-12-01

    The dynamics of biodiversity are associated with human activities such as land use and land cover change (LULCC). An integrated spatial approach to identify the effects of LULCC is helpful to determine the impact or pressure of human activities on biodiversity. The concept of creating 'biodiversity pressure maps' includes the use of spatial technologies (remote sensing, GIS) over time on areas of sensitivity, for example, areas classified as endangered ecological communities (EEC). The use of a cross-tabulation matrix often forms the basis of creating pressure maps, yet spatial datasets appropriate as input are not always available. The focus of this study was to investigate and evaluate spatial datasets and cross-tabulation techniques useful for producing biodiversity pressure maps. A method will be presented in the form of a case study for an area in the Shoalhaven Local Government Area on the south coast of NSW, Australia. This area is a focus of investigation of the spatial distribution of invasive plants and landholder management practices.

  16. A Hierarchical Classification of Benthic Biodiversity and Assessment of Protected Areas in the Southern Ocean

    PubMed Central

    Douglass, Lucinda L.; Turner, Joel; Grantham, Hedley S.; Kaiser, Stefanie; Constable, Andrew; Nicoll, Rob; Raymond, Ben; Post, Alexandra; Brandt, Angelika; Beaver, Daniel

    2014-01-01

    An international effort is underway to establish a representative system of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean to help provide for the long-term conservation of marine biodiversity in the region. Important to this undertaking is knowledge of the distribution of benthic assemblages. Here, our aim is to identify the areas where benthic marine assemblages are likely to differ from each other in the Southern Ocean including near-shore Antarctica. We achieve this by using a hierarchical spatial classification of ecoregions, bathomes and environmental types. Ecoregions are defined according to available data on biogeographic patterns and environmental drivers on dispersal. Bathomes are identified according to depth strata defined by species distributions. Environmental types are uniquely classified according to the geomorphic features found within the bathomes in each ecoregion. We identified 23 ecoregions and nine bathomes. From a set of 28 types of geomorphic features of the seabed, 562 unique environmental types were classified for the Southern Ocean. We applied the environmental types as surrogates of different assemblages of biodiversity to assess the representativeness of existing MPAs. We found that 12 ecoregions are not represented in MPAs and that no ecoregion has their full range of environmental types represented in MPAs. Current MPA planning processes, if implemented, will substantially increase the representation of environmental types particularly within 8 ecoregions. To meet internationally agreed conservation goals, additional MPAs will be needed. To assist with this process, we identified 107 spatially restricted environmental types, which should be considered for inclusion in future MPAs. Detailed supplementary data including a spatial dataset are provided. PMID:25032993

  17. Biodiversity assessment at multiple scales: Linking remotely sensed data with field information

    PubMed Central

    Nagendra, Harini; Gadgil, Madhav

    1999-01-01

    We examine the efficacy of a scheme of multiscale assessment of biodiversity linking remote sensing on larger spatial scales with localized field sampling. A classification of ecological entities from biosphere to individual organisms in the form of a nested hierarchy is employed, such that entities at any level are differentiated in terms of their composition/configuration involving entities at the next lower level. We employ the following hierarchy: biosphere (1014 m2), ecoregions (1011–1012 m2), ecomosaics (108–1010 m2), ecotopes (103–106 m2), and individual organisms (10−4–102 m2). Focusing on a case study of West Coast–Western Ghats ecoregion (1.7 × 1011 m2) from India, we demonstrate that remotely sensed data permit discrimination of 205 patches of 11 types of sufficiently distinctive ecomosaics (108–1010 m2) through unsupervised classification by using distribution parameters of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, with a pixel size of 3.24 × 106 m2. At the ecomosaic scale, Indian Remote Sensing LISS-2 satellite data with a pixel size of 103 m2 permit discrimination of ≈30 types of sufficiently distinctive ecotopes on the basis of supervised classification. Field investigations of angiosperm species distributions based on quadrats of 1–102 m2 in one particular landscape of 27.5 × 106 m2 show that the seven ecotope types distinguished in that locality are significantly different from each other in terms of plant species composition. This suggests that we can effectively link localized field investigations of biodiversity with remotely sensed information to permit extrapolations at progressively higher scales. PMID:10430911

  18. Assessing Conservation Values: Biodiversity and Endemicity in Tropical Land Use Systems

    PubMed Central

    Waltert, Matthias; Bobo, Kadiri Serge; Kaupa, Stefanie; Montoya, Marcela Leija; Nsanyi, Moses Sainge; Fermon, Heleen

    2011-01-01

    Despite an increasing amount of data on the effects of tropical land use on continental forest fauna and flora, it is debatable whether the choice of the indicator variables allows for a proper evaluation of the role of modified habitats in mitigating the global biodiversity crisis. While many single-taxon studies have highlighted that species with narrow geographic ranges especially suffer from habitat modification, there is no multi-taxa study available which consistently focuses on geographic range composition of the studied indicator groups. We compiled geographic range data for 180 bird, 119 butterfly, 204 tree and 219 understorey plant species sampled along a gradient of habitat modification ranging from near-primary forest through young secondary forest and agroforestry systems to annual crops in the southwestern lowlands of Cameroon. We found very similar patterns of declining species richness with increasing habitat modification between taxon-specific groups of similar geographic range categories. At the 8 km2 spatial level, estimated richness of endemic species declined in all groups by 21% (birds) to 91% (trees) from forests to annual crops, while estimated richness of widespread species increased by +101% (trees) to +275% (understorey plants), or remained stable (- 2%, butterflies). Even traditional agroforestry systems lost estimated endemic species richness by - 18% (birds) to - 90% (understorey plants). Endemic species richness of one taxon explained between 37% and 57% of others (positive correlations) and taxon-specific richness in widespread species explained up to 76% of variation in richness of endemic species (negative correlations). The key implication of this study is that the range size aspect is fundamental in assessments of conservation value via species inventory data from modified habitats. The study also suggests that even ecologically friendly agricultural matrices may be of much lower value for tropical conservation than indicated by mere biodiversity value. PMID:21298054

  19. Toward an integrated monitoring framework to assess the effects of tropical forest degradation and recovery on carbon stocks and biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Bustamante, Mercedes M C; Roitman, Iris; Aide, T Mitchell; Alencar, Ane; Anderson, Liana O; Aragão, Luiz; Asner, Gregory P; Barlow, Jos; Berenguer, Erika; Chambers, Jeffrey; Costa, Marcos H; Fanin, Thierry; Ferreira, Laerte G; Ferreira, Joice; Keller, Michael; Magnusson, William E; Morales-Barquero, Lucia; Morton, Douglas; Ometto, Jean P H B; Palace, Michael; Peres, Carlos A; Silvério, Divino; Trumbore, Susan; Vieira, Ima C G

    2016-01-01

    Tropical forests harbor a significant portion of global biodiversity and are a critical component of the climate system. Reducing deforestation and forest degradation contributes to global climate-change mitigation efforts, yet emissions and removals from forest dynamics are still poorly quantified. We reviewed the main challenges to estimate changes in carbon stocks and biodiversity due to degradation and recovery of tropical forests, focusing on three main areas: (1) the combination of field surveys and remote sensing; (2) evaluation of biodiversity and carbon values under a unified strategy; and (3) research efforts needed to understand and quantify forest degradation and recovery. The improvement of models and estimates of changes of forest carbon can foster process-oriented monitoring of forest dynamics, including different variables and using spatially explicit algorithms that account for regional and local differences, such as variation in climate, soil, nutrient content, topography, biodiversity, disturbance history, recovery pathways, and socioeconomic factors. Generating the data for these models requires affordable large-scale remote-sensing tools associated with a robust network of field plots that can generate spatially explicit information on a range of variables through time. By combining ecosystem models, multiscale remote sensing, and networks of field plots, we will be able to evaluate forest degradation and recovery and their interactions with biodiversity and carbon cycling. Improving monitoring strategies will allow a better understanding of the role of forest dynamics in climate-change mitigation, adaptation, and carbon cycle feedbacks, thereby reducing uncertainties in models of the key processes in the carbon cycle, including their impacts on biodiversity, which are fundamental to support forest governance policies, such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. PMID:26390852

  20. Biodiversity impact of the aeolian periglacial geomorphologic evolution of the Fontainebleau Massif (France)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thiry, M.; Liron, M. N.

    2009-04-01

    Landscape features The geomorphology of the Fontainebleau Massif is noteworthy for its spectacular narrow ridges, up to 10 km long and 0.5 km wide, armored by tightly cemented sandstone lenses and which overhang sandy depressions of about 50m. Denudation of the sandstone pans lead to a highly contrasted landscape, with sandstone ridges ("platières") towering sandy depressions ("vallées") and limestone plateaus ("monts"). This forms the geological frame of the spectacular sceneries of the Fontainebleau Massif (Thiry & Liron, 2007). Nevertheless, there is little know about the erosive processes that have built-up these landscapes. Periglacial processes, and among them aeolian ones, appear significant in the development of the Fontainebleau Massif physiography. The periglacial aeolian geomorphology Dunes and dune fields are known since long and cover about 15% to 25% of the Fontainebleau Massif. The aeolian dunes developed as well on the higher parts of the landscape, as well as in the lower parts of the landscape. The dunes are especially well developed in the whole eastern part of the massif, whereas the western part of the massif is almost devoid of dunes. Nevertheless, detailed mapping shows that dunes can locally be found in the western district, they are of limited extension, restricted to the east facing backslope of outliers. Loamy-sand covers the limestone plateaus of the "monts". The loam cover is of variable thickness: schematically thicker in the central part of the plateaus, where it my reach 3 m; elsewhere it may thin down to 0,20-0,30 m, especially at the plateau edges. Blowout hollows are "negative" morphologies from where the sand has been withdrawed. Often these blowouts are decametric sized and well-delimited structures. Others, more complex structures, are made up of several elongated hectometric hollows relaying each other from and which outline deflation corridor more than 1 km long. A characteristic feature of these blowout hollows is the erosion of the sand beneath the bordering sandstone benches, resulting in overhangs. These structures are the most common in the western district of the Fontainebleau Massif. Ponds develop on the tightly silicified and impermeable sandstone pans that form the "platières". There are permanent ponds and temporary wet zones, formed of interconnected or isolated depressions. The origin of these ponds has to be questioned with regard to the landscape shaping. Their origin is directly bound to the hollowing of uncemented, sandy zones, within the sandstone pans forming the "platières". Erosion by runoff cannot be considered; the only way to hollow them out is by deflation processes. No direct dating of the Quaternary dune and loess deposits of the Fontainebleau Massif exists. Nevertheless, dating of paleopodzols interlayered between drift sands, pond deposits and bones within congelifracts allow relating these periglacial features with the end of the last glacial period. For now, there is no dating to assess what belongs to older glacial periods. Distribution of the aeolian patterns The Fontainebleau Massif displays noteworthy morphological diversities in the various districts of the forest. Some of these differentiations result from geological features, but most of them are related to erosion processes, and among them deflation processes leaved different imprints in the western and eastern districts of the Fontainebleau Massif. The topography played an important role controlling the aeolian processes. Deflation was important in the westerly upwind district. In the westerly front face, aeolian erosion was activated by turbulences around the topographic obstacles. The reliefs funneled the winds and gave rise to swirls that hollow the blowouts. This area displays the sharpest and more chiseled landforms of the massif. Moreover, the sandstone scarps at the edge of the "platières" are high and uncovered, with frequent overhangs. The collapsed sandstone blocks of the "chaos" are imposing, with blocks piling up and rising well off the sandy slopes. The sandstone "platières" are mostly bare as say above. Downwind, in the eastern district, the landforms are more subdued. The deflation is less extensive, the sandstone scarps and chaos are partly sanded up, with drift sand amassing at the lee side of the scarps. The "platières" have a sand cover that favours often the development of a tree stratum composed almost entirely of pine and birch trees. Aeolian landforms and biodiversity Despite the Atlantic climate forest cover and the human interventions, the imprints of the aeolian features inherited from the Quaternary periglacial climates still mark deeply the Fontainebleau landscapes. The aeolian actions command partly the present-day relief and vegetation biodiversity: (1) Tall oak and beech groves on the plateaus and in the lowlands covered with fine calcareous sand dunes and loess on which develop brown soils (prevailing in the eastern district of the massif); (2) Birch, pine trees and herbaceous stratum on the dry and acidic podzols established on the quartzose Fontainebleau Sand forming the windup scraps, sandstone chaos and associated dunes (dominant in the western district); (3) And finally dry moors with calluna, heather and birch on the sandstone "platières" stripped off by the aeolian deflation together with wet and peaty moors with sphagnum and moor-grass in the blowout depressions. The opposition between the western and the eastern districts of the massif was even more pronounced a few centuries ago, before man intervened vigorously to wooden the western area with massive import of pine trees. This phytogeographical diversity of the landscape is directly inherited from the periglacial aeolian actions and contributes to the striking biodiversity of the Fontainebleau Massif. The biological richness of the Fontainebleau Massif has been noticed as soon as 1664 (Barillon d'Amoncourt, 1664) and today have been inventoried 6.000 vegetable species among them 1350 flowering plants, some 460 mosses, about 500 algae, 675 lichens, 2.700 fungus, plus the insects, the birds, the mammals and batrachians (Testut et al., 1998). This exceptional biodiversity has been recognized in 1998 by the creation of a reserve of "Man and Biosphere" under the aegis of UNESCO. The "platières" landscapes are of special interest for biodiversity. The acidic soils on the sandstone "platières" are mainly covered by Atlantic moors. The dry moors with Calluna vulgaris and Erica cinerea relate to the Ulici-Ericion cinereae and the wet peaty moors are linked to the Ulici-Ericion tetralicis (Habitats 31.11 and 31.2 of the Corine Biotope Code). These dry and peaty moors interweave in a complex patchwork depending on the local, even metric scale, topography and soil moisture. The main interest in the flora of the "platières" lies in the vegetation of the network of pools, which develop in the sandstone depressions (Liron & Thiry, 2005). These wet zones include seven Natural Habitats of Community interest and nearly twenty protected plants species. The temporary ponds (Habitat 22.31 of the Corine Biotope Code), with an irregular hydraulic regime, favor a suite of annual plants, outstanding "intermittent" species, such as the endemic Franco-Iberian Ranunculus nodiflorus. In the acidic and oligotrophic waters of the permanent pools develop Utricularia australis along with Potamogeton polygonifolius. The peaty zones are valuable for their bryophyte biodiversity. For example thirteen species of Sphagnum (30 % of the European flora) have been recorded including Sphagnum magellanicum which is a rare species in the lowlands. There is also a wealth of bryophytes and lichens on the strata, with for instance fifty species of the lichen genus Cladonia. This species richness is strengthened by the limited area of the "platières" which represent only 15-20% of the whole massif. Main biodiversity interest is related to the almost bare "platières" of the western district eroded by deflation. The eastern platières that have a more continuous sand cover are support much less wet zones and only very few sites with protected plant species. Therefore, aeolian landscape evolution still triggers development and distribution of peculiar ecological sites. It suits to continue and to deepen the cartographic studies and the inventories to highlight these very particular landscapes of the Fontainebleau Massif and to protect them. Indeed, with 17 millions visitors per year, the problems are now mainly of managing natural areas, let them accessible, while protecting them. In the future, with forecasted climatic changes, a main concern will be how to preserve the biodiversity, knowing that the foresters manage generally the forest with a 150 years plan. Education and awareness campaign of the public and of the local actors of the sustainable development are essential, they require the knowledge of these fragile environments inherited from the past. References Barillon d'Amoncourt P., 1664-1665. Réformation générale de la forest de Bière et des autres bois dépendants de la maîtrise des Eaux et Forets du Baillage de Melun établie à Fontainebleau. Archives Départementales de Seine et Marne, France. Liron M.N., Thiry M., 2005, Peaty micro-zones on the sandstone ridges of the Fontainebleau Massif (France): hydrology and vegetation biodiversity. in : Ch. Ries & Y. Krippel (eds.), Sandstone landscapes in Europe. Past, Present and Future. Proceedings of the 2nd Intern. Conference on Sandstone Landscapes, Vianden (Luxembourg), 25-28 may 2005, Ferrantia, Luxembourg, 44, p. 215-220. Testut A., Hermeline M., Rey G., 1998. Lettres de la Forêt. Fontainebleau, abcédaire photographique. Textuel Ed., Paris, 223 p. Thiry M., Liron M.N., 2007, Fontainebleau Sandstones (France). In : Härtel H., Cílek V., Herben T., Jackson A. and Williams R. (eds.): Sandstone Landscapes.- Academia, Praha, p. 359-361.

  1. Livestock biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Hoffmann, I

    2010-04-01

    This paper describes the institutional background against which invasiveness is considered with regard to livestock genetic diversity. The human-made nature and extensive spread of a few domesticated animal species for global food production is a feature of agricultural diversity that complicates the simple, negative view of invasive species. The different impacts of livestock species on natural biodiversity, of breed diversity within species, and of within-breed diversity on agricultural biodiversity are discussed. Livestock production continues to threaten natural biodiversity. The increasing demand for food of animal origin, the productivity and technology differentials, as well as the information and awareness bias, tend to favour international high-output breeds over local breeds. This will increase their 'invasiveness' in the market economy if current policy distortions continue. Several measures are proposed to control genetic erosion through uncontrolled gene flow. Countries are responsible not only for control of invasive alien species under the Convention on Biological Diversity but also for sustainable use and conservation of animal genetic resources, and for food security; they must balance trade-offs between these broad policy objectives. PMID:20617649

  2. [Hurricanes and tropical coastal biodiversity].

    PubMed

    Salazar-Vallejo, Sergio I

    2002-06-01

    Tropical coastal biodiversity has been modulated by tropical storms during a long time and it is currently facing a heavy human impact. The purpose of this review is to compile the available information to improve our understanding of hurricane impacts and to promote the establishment of coastal landscape monitoring, because that is the best way to assess these impacts. Although generalizations on hurricane effects are elusive, some historical dynamics and temporal relationships are included and some details are presented on the impacts by resuspension and movement of sediments, storm waves, and breaking off of coral reef organisms. Some effects on marine turtles and coastal forests are also briefly pointed out. PMID:12298275

  3. Bird biodiversity assessments in temperate forest: the value of point count versus acoustic monitoring protocols.

    PubMed

    Klingbeil, Brian T; Willig, Michael R

    2015-01-01

    Effective monitoring programs for biodiversity are needed to assess trends in biodiversity and evaluate the consequences of management. This is particularly true for birds and faunas that occupy interior forest and other areas of low human population density, as these are frequently under-sampled compared to other habitats. For birds, Autonomous Recording Units (ARUs) have been proposed as a supplement or alternative to point counts made by human observers to enhance monitoring efforts. We employed two strategies (i.e., simultaneous-collection and same-season) to compare point count and ARU methods for quantifying species richness and composition of birds in temperate interior forests. The simultaneous-collection strategy compares surveys by ARUs and point counts, with methods matched in time, location, and survey duration such that the person and machine simultaneously collect data. The same-season strategy compares surveys from ARUs and point counts conducted at the same locations throughout the breeding season, but methods differ in the number, duration, and frequency of surveys. This second strategy more closely follows the ways in which monitoring programs are likely to be implemented. Site-specific estimates of richness (but not species composition) differed between methods; however, the nature of the relationship was dependent on the assessment strategy. Estimates of richness from point counts were greater than estimates from ARUs in the simultaneous-collection strategy. Woodpeckers in particular, were less frequently identified from ARUs than point counts with this strategy. Conversely, estimates of richness were lower from point counts than ARUs in the same-season strategy. Moreover, in the same-season strategy, ARUs detected the occurrence of passerines at a higher frequency than did point counts. Differences between ARU and point count methods were only detected in site-level comparisons. Importantly, both methods provide similar estimates of species richness and composition for the region. Consequently, if single visits to sites or short-term monitoring are the goal, point counts will likely perform better than ARUs, especially if species are rare or vocalize infrequently. However, if seasonal or annual monitoring of sites is the goal, ARUs offer a viable alternative to standard point-count methods, especially in the context of large-scale or long-term monitoring of temperate forest birds. PMID:26038728

  4. Bird biodiversity assessments in temperate forest: the value of point count versus acoustic monitoring protocols

    PubMed Central

    Willig, Michael R.

    2015-01-01

    Effective monitoring programs for biodiversity are needed to assess trends in biodiversity and evaluate the consequences of management. This is particularly true for birds and faunas that occupy interior forest and other areas of low human population density, as these are frequently under-sampled compared to other habitats. For birds, Autonomous Recording Units (ARUs) have been proposed as a supplement or alternative to point counts made by human observers to enhance monitoring efforts. We employed two strategies (i.e., simultaneous-collection and same-season) to compare point count and ARU methods for quantifying species richness and composition of birds in temperate interior forests. The simultaneous-collection strategy compares surveys by ARUs and point counts, with methods matched in time, location, and survey duration such that the person and machine simultaneously collect data. The same-season strategy compares surveys from ARUs and point counts conducted at the same locations throughout the breeding season, but methods differ in the number, duration, and frequency of surveys. This second strategy more closely follows the ways in which monitoring programs are likely to be implemented. Site-specific estimates of richness (but not species composition) differed between methods; however, the nature of the relationship was dependent on the assessment strategy. Estimates of richness from point counts were greater than estimates from ARUs in the simultaneous-collection strategy. Woodpeckers in particular, were less frequently identified from ARUs than point counts with this strategy. Conversely, estimates of richness were lower from point counts than ARUs in the same-season strategy. Moreover, in the same-season strategy, ARUs detected the occurrence of passerines at a higher frequency than did point counts. Differences between ARU and point count methods were only detected in site-level comparisons. Importantly, both methods provide similar estimates of species richness and composition for the region. Consequently, if single visits to sites or short-term monitoring are the goal, point counts will likely perform better than ARUs, especially if species are rare or vocalize infrequently. However, if seasonal or annual monitoring of sites is the goal, ARUs offer a viable alternative to standard point-count methods, especially in the context of large-scale or long-term monitoring of temperate forest birds. PMID:26038728

  5. Scoping for Social Impact Assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Branch, Kristi M.; Ross, Helen

    2000-12-01

    Social assessment combines research, analytic, and participatory processes to identify, describe, and interpret changes in the ?human environment? that result from any of a wide variety of change agents -- projects, policies, or planning activities. Scoping for social impact assessment draws upon these same three processes - research, analysis, and participation - to: - Disclose information about the proposed action, preliminary estimates of impacts, and plans for the decision making and assessment effort - Initiate dialogue with the interested and potentially affected publics and decision makers - Establish the focus and level of detail of the assessment, identify particular issues that need to be addressed, and clarify how potentially affected publics will be consulted and involved. This chapter describes the function and key objectives of the scoping process, explains the assessment framework and the conventions and issues that set the context for the scoping process, provides some suggestions about how to plan and conduct scoping for a social assessment, and discusses some of the key issues that must be addressed in designing an effective scoping process for social impact assessment. Our approach recognises that social scientists may be involved in assessment tasks that involve other disciplinary areas. This may be an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA, the analysis of the impacts of policies or plans, or the combination of impact assessment with planning), or a planning process.

  6. Citation Patterns of a Controversial and High-Impact Paper: Worm et al. (2006) “Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services”

    PubMed Central

    Branch, Trevor A.

    2013-01-01

    Citation patterns were examined for Worm et al. 2006 (Science 314∶787–790), a high-impact paper that focused on relationships between marine biodiversity and ecosystem services. This paper sparked much controversy through its projection, highlighted in the press release, that all marine fisheries would be collapsed by 2048. Analysis of 664 citing papers revealed that only a small percentage (11%) referred to the 2048 projection, while 39% referred to fisheries collapse in general, and 40% to biodiversity and ecosystem services. The 2048 projection was mentioned more often in papers published soon after the original paper, in low-impact journals, and in journals outside of fields that would be expected to focus on biodiversity. Citing papers also mentioned the 2048 projection more often if they had few authors (28% of single-author papers vs. 2% of papers with 10 or more authors). These factors suggest that the more knowledgeable the authors of citing papers were about the controversy over the 2048 projection, the less likely they were to refer to it. A noteworthy finding was that if the original authors were also involved in the citing papers, they rarely (1 of 55 papers, 2%) mentioned the 2048 projection. Thus the original authors have emphasized the broader concerns about biodiversity loss, rather than the 2048 projection, as the key result of their study. PMID:23437224

  7. Environmental Impact Assessment: A Procedure.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stover, Lloyd V.

    Prepared by a firm of consulting engineers, this booklet outlines the procedural "whys and hows" of assessing environmental impact, particularly for the construction industry. Section I explores the need for environmental assessment and evaluation to determine environmental impact. It utilizes a review of the National Environmental Policy Act and…

  8. Impact of biodiversity loss on production in complex marine food webs mitigated by prey-release

    PubMed Central

    Fung, Tak; Farnsworth, Keith D.; Reid, David G.; Rossberg, Axel G.

    2015-01-01

    Public concern over biodiversity loss is often rationalized as a threat to ecosystem functioning, but biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) relations are hard to empirically quantify at large scales. We use a realistic marine food-web model, resolving species over five trophic levels, to study how total fish production changes with species richness. This complex model predicts that BEF relations, on average, follow simple Michaelis–Menten curves when species are randomly deleted. These are shaped mainly by release of fish from predation, rather than the release from competition expected from simpler communities. Ordering species deletions by decreasing body mass or trophic level, representing ‘fishing down the food web’, accentuates prey-release effects and results in unimodal relationships. In contrast, simultaneous unselective harvesting diminishes these effects and produces an almost linear BEF relation, with maximum multispecies fisheries yield at ≈40% of initial species richness. These findings have important implications for the valuation of marine biodiversity. PMID:25799523

  9. Impacts of European livestock production: nitrogen, sulphur, phosphorus and greenhouse gas emissions, land-use, water eutrophication and biodiversity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leip, Adrian; Billen, Gilles; Garnier, Josette; Grizzetti, Bruna; Lassaletta, Luis; Reis, Stefan; Simpson, David; Sutton, Mark A.; de Vries, Wim; Weiss, Franz; Westhoek, Henk

    2015-11-01

    Livestock production systems currently occupy around 28% of the land surface of the European Union (equivalent to 65% of the agricultural land). In conjunction with other human activities, livestock production systems affect water, air and soil quality, global climate and biodiversity, altering the biogeochemical cycles of nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon. Here, we quantify the contribution of European livestock production to these major impacts. For each environmental effect, the contribution of livestock is expressed as shares of the emitted compounds and land used, as compared to the whole agricultural sector. The results show that the livestock sector contributes significantly to agricultural environmental impacts. This contribution is 78% for terrestrial biodiversity loss, 80% for soil acidification and air pollution (ammonia and nitrogen oxides emissions), 81% for global warming, and 73% for water pollution (both N and P). The agriculture sector itself is one of the major contributors to these environmental impacts, ranging between 12% for global warming and 59% for N water quality impact. Significant progress in mitigating these environmental impacts in Europe will only be possible through a combination of technological measures reducing livestock emissions, improved food choices and reduced food waste of European citizens.

  10. Biodiversity of Jinggangshan Mountain: The Importance of Topography and Geographical Location in Supporting Higher Biodiversity

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Gang; Huang, Fang-Fang; Liu, Jin-Gang; Liao, Wen-Bo; Wang, Ying-Yong; Ren, Si-Jie; Chen, Chun-Quan; Peng, Shao-Lin

    2015-01-01

    Diversity is mainly determined by climate and environment. In addition, topography is a complex factor, and the relationship between topography and biodiversity is still poorly understood. To understand the role of topography, i.e., altitude and slope, in biodiversity, we selected Jinggangshan Mountain (JGM), an area with unique topography, as the study area. We surveyed plant and animal species richness of JGM and compared the biodiversity and the main geographic characteristics of JGM with the adjacent 4 mountains. Gleason’s richness index was calculated to assess the diversity of species. In total, 2958 spermatophyte species, 418 bryophyte species, 355 pteridophyte species and 493 species of vertebrate animals were recorded in this survey. In general, the JGM biodiversity was higher than that of the adjacent mountains. Regarding topographic characteristics, 77% of JGM’s area was in the mid-altitude region and approximately 40% of JGM’s area was in the 10°–20° slope range, which may support more vegetation types in JGM area and make it a biodiversity hotspot. It should be noted that although the impact of topography on biodiversity was substantial, climate is still a more general factor driving the formation and maintenance of higher biodiversity. Topographic conditions can create microclimates, and both climatic and topographic conditions contribute to the formation of high biodiversity in JGM. PMID:25763820

  11. Application of SNPs for assessing biodiversity and phylogeny among yeast strains.

    PubMed

    Ben-Ari, G; Zenvirth, D; Sherman, A; Simchen, G; Lavi, U; Hillel, J

    2005-12-01

    We examined the efficacy of single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers for the assessment of the phylogeny and biodiversity of Saccharomyces strains. Each of 32 Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains was genotyped at 30 SNP loci discovered by sequence alignment of the S. cerevisiae laboratory strain SK1 to the database sequence of strain S288c. In total, 10 SNPs were selected from each of the following three categories: promoter regions, nonsynonymous and synonymous sites (in open reading frames). The strains in this study included 11 haploid laboratory strains used for genetic studies and 21 diploids. Three non-cerevisiae species of Saccharomyces (sensu stricto) were used as an out-group. A Bayesian clustering-algorithm, Structure, effectively identified four different strain groups: laboratory, wine, other diploids and the non-cerevisiae species. Analysing haploid and diploid strains together caused problems for phylogeny reconstruction, but not for the clustering produced by Structure. The ascertainment bias introduced by the SNP discovery method caused difficulty in the phylogenetic analysis; alternative options are proposed. A smaller data set, comprising only the nine most polymorphic loci, was sufficient to obtain most features of the results. PMID:16175193

  12. DNA barcoding for effective biodiversity assessment of a hyperdiverse arthropod group: the ants of Madagascar

    PubMed Central

    Smith, M. Alex; Fisher, Brian L; Hebert, Paul D.N

    2005-01-01

    The role of DNA barcoding as a tool to accelerate the inventory and analysis of diversity for hyperdiverse arthropods is tested using ants in Madagascar. We demonstrate how DNA barcoding helps address the failure of current inventory methods to rapidly respond to pressing biodiversity needs, specifically in the assessment of richness and turnover across landscapes with hyperdiverse taxa. In a comparison of inventories at four localities in northern Madagascar, patterns of richness were not significantly different when richness was determined using morphological taxonomy (morphospecies) or sequence divergence thresholds (Molecular Operational Taxonomic Unit(s); MOTU). However, sequence-based methods tended to yield greater richness and significantly lower indices of similarity than morphological taxonomy. MOTU determined using our molecular technique were a remarkably local phenomenon—indicative of highly restricted dispersal and/or long-term isolation. In cases where molecular and morphological methods differed in their assignment of individuals to categories, the morphological estimate was always more conservative than the molecular estimate. In those cases where morphospecies descriptions collapsed distinct molecular groups, sequence divergences of 16% (on average) were contained within the same morphospecies. Such high divergences highlight taxa for further detailed genetic, morphological, life history, and behavioral studies. PMID:16214741

  13. Spatial Variation in Fine Sediment Transfer and the Impact on Biodiversity: The River Esk, North Yorkshire UK.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bracken, L. J.; Warburton, J.

    2006-12-01

    Land use change, including the resulting changes in fine sediment supply, is seen as the most significant threat to global biodiversity (Sala et al. 2000). Silt is important for three reasons; firstly, it can act as a pollutant itself in silting up gravel spawning beds of fishes such as salmonids (Walling et al. 2003). Secondly it can have detrimental effects on conservation species such as freshwater pearl mussels through direct and indirect effects (pearl mussels rely on juvenile salmonids for lifecycle completion). Thirdly, sediment associated transport of nutrients and pollutants can result in long-term pollution problems detrimental to most species (Walling et al. 2001). However, some key conservation species such as lampreys require abundant silt for the larval lifecycle stage, as well as gravel for adult spawners. Hence, a plentiful silt supply and transport in river systems is not necessarily detrimental to some key biodiversity elements, but may be more damaging for others. This debate is compounded by a lack of data on silt in river systems. This paper; i) introduces Time Integrated Mass Flux Samples (TIMS) as a cheap, effective and efficient method of collecting data on spatial variations in fine sediment transfer; ii) presents data for variations in loads and specific yields of fine sediment in the River Esk (North Yorkshire, UK) and; iii) links these patterns of silt transfer to potential impacts of biodiversity and salmonids.

  14. Global biodiversity assessment and hyper-cryptic species complexes: more than one species of elephant in the room?

    PubMed

    Adams, Mark; Raadik, Tarmo A; Burridge, Christopher P; Georges, Arthur

    2014-07-01

    Several recent estimates of global biodiversity have concluded that the total number of species on Earth lies near the lower end of the wide range touted in previous decades. However, none of these recent estimates formally explore the real "elephant in the room", namely, what proportion of species are taxonomically invisible to conventional assessments, and thus, as undiagnosed cryptic species, remain uncountable until revealed by multi-gene molecular assessments. Here we explore the significance and extent of so-called "hyper-cryptic" species complexes, using the Australian freshwater fish Galaxias olidus as a proxy for any organism whose taxonomy ought to be largely finalized when compared to those in little-studied or morphologically undifferentiated groups. Our comprehensive allozyme (838 fish for 54 putative loci), mtDNA (557 fish for 605 bp of cytb), and morphological (1963-3389 vouchers for 17-58 characters) assessment of this species across its broad geographic range revealed a 1500% increase in species-level biodiversity, and suggested that additional taxa may remain undiscovered. Importantly, while all 15 candidate species were morphologically diagnosable a posteriori from one another, single-gene DNA barcoding proved largely unsuccessful as an a priori method for species identification. These results lead us to draw two strong inferences of relevance to estimates of global biodiversity. First, hyper-cryptic complexes are likely to be common in many organismal groups. Second, no assessment of species numbers can be considered "best practice" in the molecular age unless it explicitly includes estimates of the extent of cryptic and hyper-cryptic biodiversity. [Galaxiidae; global estimates; hyper-diverse; mountain galaxias; species counts; species richness.]. PMID:24627185

  15. The impact of logging on biodiversity and carbon sequestration in tropical forests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cazzolla Gatti, R.

    2012-04-01

    Tropical deforestation is one of the most relevant environmental issues at planetary scale. Forest clearcutting has dramatic effect on local biodiversity, on the terrestrial carbon sink and atmospheric GHGs balance. In terms of protection of tropical forests selective logging is, instead, often regarded as a minor or even positive management practice for the ecosystem and it is supported by international certifications. However, few studies are available on changes in the structure, biodiversity and ecosystem services due to the selective logging of African forests. This paper presents the results of a survey on tropical forests of West and Central Africa, with a comparison of long-term dynamics, structure, biodiversity and ecosystem services (such as the carbon sequestration) of different types of forests, from virgin primary to selectively logged and secondary forest. Our study suggests that there is a persistent effect of selective logging on biodiversity and carbon stock losses in the long term (up to 30 years since logging) and after repeated logging. These effects, in terms of species richness and biomass, are greater than the expected losses from commercial harvesting, implying that selective logging in West and Central Africa is impairing long term (at least until 30 years) ecosystem structure and services. A longer selective logging cycle (>30 years) should be considered by logging companies although there is not yet enough information to consider this practice sustainable.

  16. Rapid Biodiversity Assessment and Monitoring Method for Highly Diverse Benthic Communities: A Case Study of Mediterranean Coralligenous Outcrops

    PubMed Central

    Kipson, Silvija; Fourt, Maïa; Teixidó, Núria; Cebrian, Emma; Casas, Edgar; Ballesteros, Enric; Zabala, Mikel; Garrabou, Joaquim

    2011-01-01

    Increasing anthropogenic pressures urge enhanced knowledge and understanding of the current state of marine biodiversity. This baseline information is pivotal to explore present trends, detect future modifications and propose adequate management actions for marine ecosystems. Coralligenous outcrops are a highly diverse and structurally complex deep-water habitat faced with major threats in the Mediterranean Sea. Despite its ecological, aesthetic and economic value, coralligenous biodiversity patterns are still poorly understood. There is currently no single sampling method that has been demonstrated to be sufficiently representative to ensure adequate community assessment and monitoring in this habitat. Therefore, we propose a rapid non-destructive protocol for biodiversity assessment and monitoring of coralligenous outcrops providing good estimates of its structure and species composition, based on photographic sampling and the determination of presence/absence of macrobenthic species. We used an extensive photographic survey, covering several spatial scales (100s of m to 100s of km) within the NW Mediterranean and including 2 different coralligenous assemblages: Paramuricea clavata (PCA) and Corallium rubrum assemblage (CRA). This approach allowed us to determine the minimal sampling area for each assemblage (5000 cm2 for PCA and 2500 cm2 for CRA). In addition, we conclude that 3 replicates provide an optimal sampling effort in order to maximize the species number and to assess the main biodiversity patterns of studied assemblages in variability studies requiring replicates. We contend that the proposed sampling approach provides a valuable tool for management and conservation planning, monitoring and research programs focused on coralligenous outcrops, potentially also applicable in other benthic ecosystems. PMID:22073264

  17. Secondary impact hazard assessment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1986-01-01

    A series of light gas gun shots (4 to 7 km/sec) were performed with 5 mg nylon and aluminum projectiles to determine the size, mass, velocity, and spatial distribution of spall and ejecta from a number of graphite/epoxy targets. Similar determinations were also performed on a few aluminum targets. Target thickness and material were chosen to be representative of proposed Space Station structure. The data from these shots and other information were used to predict the hazard to Space Station elements from secondary particles resulting from impacts of micrometeoroids and orbital debris on the Space Station. This hazard was quantified as an additional flux over and above the primary micrometeoroid and orbital debris flux that must be considered in the design process. In order to simplify the calculations, eject and spall mass were assumed to scale directly with the energy of the projectile. Other scaling systems may be closer to reality. The secondary particles considered are only those particles that may impact other structure immediately after the primary impact. The addition to the orbital debris problem from these primary impacts was not addressed. Data from this study should be fed into the orbital debris model to see if Space Station secondaries make a significant contribution to orbital debris. The hazard to a Space Station element from secondary particles above and beyond the micrometeoroid and orbital debris hazard is categorized in terms of two factors: (1) the 'view factor' of the element to other Space Station structure or the geometry of placement of the element, and (2) the sensitivity to damage, stated in terms of energy. Several example cases were chosen, the Space Station module windows, windows of a Shuttle docked to the Space Station, the habitat module walls, and the photovoltaic solar cell arrays. For the examples chosen the secondary flux contributed no more than 10 percent to the total flux (primary and secondary) above a given calculated critical energy. A key assumption in these calculations is that above a certain critical energy, significant damage will be done. This is not true for all structures. Double-walled, bumpered structures are an example for which damage may be reduced as energy goes up. The critical energy assumption is probably conservative, however, in terms of secondary damage. To understand why the secondary impacts seem to, in general, contribute less than 10 percent of the flux above a given critical energy, consider the case of a meteoroid impact of a given energy on a fixed, large surface. This impact results in a variety of secondary particles, all of which have much less energy than the original impact. Conservation of energy prohibits any other situation. Thus if damage is linked to a critical energy of a particle, the primary flux will always deliver particles of much greater energy. Even if all the secondary particles impacted other Space Station structures, none would have a kinetic energy more than a fraction of the primary impact energy.

  18. Biodiversity Assessment of the Fishes of Saba Bank Atoll, Netherlands Antilles

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Jeffrey T.; Carpenter, Kent E.; Van Tassell, James L.; Hoetjes, Paul; Toller, Wes; Etnoyer, Peter; Smith, Michael

    2010-01-01

    Biodiversity surveys were conducted on Saba Bank, Netherlands Antilles, to assess ichthyofaunal richness and to compare with published surveys of other Caribbean localities. The primary objective was to estimate the total species richness of the Saba Bank ichthyofauna. A variety of sampling techniques was utilized to survey the fish species of both the visually accessible megafauna and the camouflaged and small-sized species comprising the cryptic ichthyofauna. Based on results presented herein, the number of species known on Saba Bank is increased from 42 previously known species to 270 species. Expected species-accumulation curves demonstrate that the current estimate of species richness of fishes for Saba Bank under represents the actual richness, and our knowledge of the ichthyofauna has not plateaued. The total expected fish-species richness may be somewhere between 320 and 411 species. The Saba Bank ichthyofaunal assemblage is compared to fish assemblages found elsewhere in the Caribbean. Despite the absence of shallow or emergent shore habitats like mangroves, Saba Bank ranks as having the eighth highest ichthyofaunal richness of surveyed localities in the Greater Caribbean. Some degree of habitat heterogeneity was evident. Fore-reef, patch-reef, and lagoonal habitats were sampled. Fish assemblages were significantly different between habitats. Species richness was highest on the fore reef, but 11 species were found only at lagoonal sites. A comprehensive, annotated list of the fishes currently known to occur on Saba Bank, Netherland Antilles, is provided and color photographs of freshly collected specimens are presented for 165 of the listed species of Saba Bank fishes to facilitate identification and taxonomic comparison with similar taxa at other localities. Coloration of some species is shown for the first time. Preliminary analysis indicates that at least six undescribed new species were collected during the survey and these are indicated in the annotated list. PMID:20505760

  19. DNA Barcoding Simplifies Environmental Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Crops in Biodiverse Regions

    PubMed Central

    Nzeduru, Chinyere V.; Ronca, Sandra; Wilkinson, Mike J.

    2012-01-01

    Transgenes encoding for insecticidal crystal (Cry) proteins from the soil-dwelling bacterium Bacillus Thuringiensis have been widely introduced into Genetically Modified (GM) crops to confer protection against insect pests. Concern that these transgenes may also harm beneficial or otherwise valued insects (so-called Non Target Organisms, NTOs) represents a major element of the Environmental Risk Assessments (ERAs) used by all countries prior to commercial release. Compiling a comprehensive list of potentially susceptible NTOs is therefore a necessary part of an ERA for any Cry toxin-containing GM crop. In partly-characterised and biodiverse countries, NTO identification is slowed by the need for taxonomic expertise and time to enable morphological identifications. This limitation represents a potentially serious barrier to timely adoption of GM technology in some developing countries. We consider Bt Cry1A cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) in Nigeria as an exemplar to demonstrate how COI barcoding can provide a simple and cost-effective means of addressing this problem. Over a period of eight weeks, we collected 163 insects from cowpea flowers across the agroecological and geographic range of the crop in Nigeria. These individuals included 32 Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) spanning four Orders and that could mostly be assigned to genus or species level. They included 12 Lepidopterans and two Coleopterans (both potentially sensitive to different groups of Cry proteins). Thus, barcode-assisted diagnoses were highly harmonised across groups (typically to genus or species level) and so were insensitive to expertise or knowledge gaps. Decisively, the entire study was completed within four months at a cost of less than 10,000 US$. The broader implications of the findings for food security and the capacity for safe adoption of GM technology are briefly explored. PMID:22567120

  20. DNA barcoding simplifies environmental risk assessment of genetically modified crops in biodiverse regions.

    PubMed

    Nzeduru, Chinyere V; Ronca, Sandra; Wilkinson, Mike J

    2012-01-01

    Transgenes encoding for insecticidal crystal (Cry) proteins from the soil-dwelling bacterium Bacillus Thuringiensis have been widely introduced into Genetically Modified (GM) crops to confer protection against insect pests. Concern that these transgenes may also harm beneficial or otherwise valued insects (so-called Non Target Organisms, NTOs) represents a major element of the Environmental Risk Assessments (ERAs) used by all countries prior to commercial release. Compiling a comprehensive list of potentially susceptible NTOs is therefore a necessary part of an ERA for any Cry toxin-containing GM crop. In partly-characterised and biodiverse countries, NTO identification is slowed by the need for taxonomic expertise and time to enable morphological identifications. This limitation represents a potentially serious barrier to timely adoption of GM technology in some developing countries. We consider Bt Cry1A cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) in Nigeria as an exemplar to demonstrate how COI barcoding can provide a simple and cost-effective means of addressing this problem. Over a period of eight weeks, we collected 163 insects from cowpea flowers across the agroecological and geographic range of the crop in Nigeria. These individuals included 32 Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) spanning four Orders and that could mostly be assigned to genus or species level. They included 12 Lepidopterans and two Coleopterans (both potentially sensitive to different groups of Cry proteins). Thus, barcode-assisted diagnoses were highly harmonised across groups (typically to genus or species level) and so were insensitive to expertise or knowledge gaps. Decisively, the entire study was completed within four months at a cost of less than 10,000 US$. The broader implications of the findings for food security and the capacity for safe adoption of GM technology are briefly explored. PMID:22567120

  1. Assessing the impact of health technology assessment.

    PubMed

    Jacob, R; McGregor, M

    1997-01-01

    Methodology for evaluation of impact of health technology assessments (HTAs) is outlined and its use illustrated by applying it to 21 HTAs produced by CETS. Impact on policies and technology diffusion was identified in documents, through interviews, questionnaires, and use of data banks. There was evidence that all but three reports influenced policy and that cost-minimization studies caused savings of between $16 million and $27 million annually. Precise estimates of impact will seldom be possible, but systematic documentation of effects is feasible. PMID:9119625

  2. Assessing Cross-Media Impacts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Reiquam, Howard; And Others

    1975-01-01

    Using 1000 MW coal-fired central power stations as an example, the impacts upon other media (land, air, water) are analyzed when controls are imposed on one medium. The development of a methodology for assessing the cross-media impact of specific control technologies or strategies is illustrated. (Author/BT)

  3. Spatial variability of recent sedimentation in Lake Ohrid (Albania/Macedonia) - a complex interplay of natural and anthropogenic factors and their possible impact on biodiversity patterns

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vogel, H.; Wessels, M.; Albrecht, C.; Stich, H.-B.; Wagner, B.

    2010-05-01

    Lake Ohrid is likely of Pliocene age and thus commonly referred to as the oldest existing lake in Europe. In this study spatial variability of recent sediment composition is assessed using >50 basin wide distributed surface sediment samples. Analysis of biogeochemical bulk parameters, selected metals, pigment concentrations as well as grain size distributions revealed a significant spatial heterogeneity in surface sediment composition. It implies that sedimentation in Lake Ohrid is controlled by an interaction of multiple natural and anthropogenic factors and processes. Major factors controlling surface sediment composition are related to differences in geological catchment characteristics, anthropogenic land use, and a counter-clockwise rotating surface water current. In some instances processes controlling sediment composition also seem to impact distribution patterns of biodiversity, which suggests a common interaction of processes responsible for both patterns.

  4. Conservation Planning for Offsetting the Impacts of Development: A Case Study of Biodiversity and Renewable Energy in the Mojave Desert

    PubMed Central

    Kreitler, Jason; Schloss, Carrie A.; Soong, Oliver; Hannah, Lee; Davis, Frank W.

    2015-01-01

    Balancing society’s competing needs of development and conservation requires careful consideration of tradeoffs. Renewable energy development and biodiversity conservation are often considered beneficial environmental goals. The direct footprint and disturbance of renewable energy, however, can displace species’ habitat and negatively impact populations and natural communities if sited without ecological consideration. Offsets have emerged as a potentially useful tool to mitigate residual impacts after trying to avoid, minimize, or restore affected sites. Yet the problem of efficiently designing a set of offset sites becomes increasingly complex where many species or many sites are involved. Spatial conservation prioritization tools are designed to handle this problem, but have seen little application to offset siting and analysis. To address this need we designed an offset siting support tool for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) of California, and present a case study of hypothetical impacts from solar development in the Western Mojave subsection. We compare two offset scenarios designed to mitigate a hypothetical 15,331 ha derived from proposed utility-scale solar energy development (USSED) projects. The first scenario prioritizes offsets based precisely on impacted features, while the second scenario offsets impacts to maximize biodiversity conservation gains in the region. The two methods only agree on 28% of their prioritized sites and differ in meeting species-specific offset goals. Differences between the two scenarios highlight the importance of clearly specifying choices and priorities for offset siting and mitigation in general. Similarly, the effects of background climate and land use change may lessen the durability or effectiveness of offsets if not considered. Our offset siting support tool was designed specifically for the DRECP area, but with minor code modification could work well in other offset analyses, and could provide continuing support for a potentially innovative mitigation solution to environmental impacts. PMID:26529595

  5. Conservation planning for offsetting the impacts of development: a case study of biodiversity and renewable energy in the Mojave Desert

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kreitler, Jason R.; Schloss, Carrie A.; Soong, Oliver; Lee Hannah; Davis, Frank W.

    2015-01-01

    Balancing society’s competing needs of development and conservation requires careful consideration of tradeoffs. Renewable energy development and biodiversity conservation are often considered beneficial environmental goals. The direct footprint and disturbance of renewable energy, however, can displace species’ habitat and negatively impact populations and natural communities if sited without ecological consideration. Offsets have emerged as a potentially useful tool to mitigate residual impacts after trying to avoid, minimize, or restore affected sites. Yet the problem of efficiently designing a set of offset sites becomes increasingly complex where many species or many sites are involved. Spatial conservation prioritization tools are designed to handle this problem, but have seen little application to offset siting and analysis. To address this need we designed an offset siting support tool for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) of California, and present a case study of hypothetical impacts from solar development in the Western Mojave subsection. We compare two offset scenarios designed to mitigate a hypothetical 15,331 ha derived from proposed utility-scale solar energy development (USSED) projects. The first scenario prioritizes offsets based precisely on impacted features, while the second scenario offsets impacts to maximize biodiversity conservation gains in the region. The two methods only agree on 28% of their prioritized sites and differ in meeting species-specific offset goals. Differences between the two scenarios highlight the importance of clearly specifying choices and priorities for offset siting and mitigation in general. Similarly, the effects of background climate and land use change may lessen the durability or effectiveness of offsets if not considered. Our offset siting support tool was designed specifically for the DRECP area, but with minor code modification could work well in other offset analyses, and could provide continuing support for a potentially innovative mitigation solution to environmental impacts.

  6. Conservation Planning for Offsetting the Impacts of Development: A Case Study of Biodiversity and Renewable Energy in the Mojave Desert.

    PubMed

    Kreitler, Jason; Schloss, Carrie A; Soong, Oliver; Hannah, Lee; Davis, Frank W

    2015-01-01

    Balancing society's competing needs of development and conservation requires careful consideration of tradeoffs. Renewable energy development and biodiversity conservation are often considered beneficial environmental goals. The direct footprint and disturbance of renewable energy, however, can displace species' habitat and negatively impact populations and natural communities if sited without ecological consideration. Offsets have emerged as a potentially useful tool to mitigate residual impacts after trying to avoid, minimize, or restore affected sites. Yet the problem of efficiently designing a set of offset sites becomes increasingly complex where many species or many sites are involved. Spatial conservation prioritization tools are designed to handle this problem, but have seen little application to offset siting and analysis. To address this need we designed an offset siting support tool for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) of California, and present a case study of hypothetical impacts from solar development in the Western Mojave subsection. We compare two offset scenarios designed to mitigate a hypothetical 15,331 ha derived from proposed utility-scale solar energy development (USSED) projects. The first scenario prioritizes offsets based precisely on impacted features, while the second scenario offsets impacts to maximize biodiversity conservation gains in the region. The two methods only agree on 28% of their prioritized sites and differ in meeting species-specific offset goals. Differences between the two scenarios highlight the importance of clearly specifying choices and priorities for offset siting and mitigation in general. Similarly, the effects of background climate and land use change may lessen the durability or effectiveness of offsets if not considered. Our offset siting support tool was designed specifically for the DRECP area, but with minor code modification could work well in other offset analyses, and could provide continuing support for a potentially innovative mitigation solution to environmental impacts. PMID:26529595

  7. Amelioration of biodiversity impacts of genetically modified crops: predicting transient versus long-term effects.

    PubMed Central

    Freckleton, R. P.; Stephens, P. A.; Sutherland, W. J.; Watkinson, A. R.

    2004-01-01

    It has been suggested that genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops may benefit biodiversity because spraying of crops may be delayed until later in the growing season, allowing weeds to grow during the early part of the year. This provides an enhanced resource for arthropods, and potentially benefits birds that feed on these. Thus, this technology could enhance biodiversity. Using a review of weed phenologies and a population model, we show that many weeds are unlikely to benefit because spraying is generally delayed insufficiently late in the season to allow most to set seed. The positive effects on biodiversity observed in trials lasting one or two seasons are thus likely to be transient. For one weed of particular significance (Chenopodium album, fat hen) we show that it is unlikely that the positive effects observed could be maintained by inputs of seed during other parts of the rotation. However, we find preliminary evidence that if spraying can be ceased earlier in the season, then a viable population of late-emerging weeds could be maintained. This strategy could benefit weeds in both genetically modified (GM) and non-GM crops, but would probably lead to reduced inputs in GM systems compared with conventional ones. PMID:15058445

  8. Interactive effects of warming, eutrophication and size structure: impacts on biodiversity and food-web structure.

    PubMed

    Binzer, Amrei; Guill, Christian; Rall, Björn C; Brose, Ulrich

    2016-01-01

    Warming and eutrophication are two of the most important global change stressors for natural ecosystems, but their interaction is poorly understood. We used a dynamic model of complex, size-structured food webs to assess interactive effects on diversity and network structure. We found antagonistic impacts: Warming increases diversity in eutrophic systems and decreases it in oligotrophic systems. These effects interact with the community size structure: Communities of similarly sized species such as parasitoid-host systems are stabilized by warming and destabilized by eutrophication, whereas the diversity of size-structured predator-prey networks decreases strongly with warming, but decreases only weakly with eutrophication. Nonrandom extinction risks for generalists and specialists lead to higher connectance in networks without size structure and lower connectance in size-structured communities. Overall, our results unravel interactive impacts of warming and eutrophication and suggest that size structure may serve as an important proxy for predicting the community sensitivity to these global change stressors. PMID:26365694

  9. When is the best time to sample aquatic macroinvertebrates in ponds for biodiversity assessment?

    PubMed

    Hill, M J; Sayer, C D; Wood, P J

    2016-03-01

    Ponds are sites of high biodiversity and conservation value, yet there is little or no statutory monitoring of them across most of Europe. There are clear and standardised protocols for sampling aquatic macroinvertebrate communities in ponds, but the most suitable time(s) to undertake the survey(s) remains poorly specified. This paper examined the aquatic macroinvertebrate communities from 95 ponds within different land use types over three seasons (spring, summer and autumn) to determine the most appropriate time to undertake sampling to characterise biodiversity. The combined samples from all three seasons provided the most comprehensive record of the aquatic macroinvertebrate taxa recorded within ponds (alpha and gamma diversity). Samples collected during the autumn survey yielded significantly greater macroinvertebrate richness (76 % of the total diversity) than either spring or summer surveys. Macroinvertebrate diversity was greatest during autumn in meadow and agricultural ponds, but taxon richness among forest and urban ponds did not differ significantly temporally. The autumn survey provided the highest measures of richness for Coleoptera, Hemiptera and Odonata. However, richness of the aquatic insect order Trichoptera was highest in spring and lowest in autumn. The results illustrate that multiple surveys, covering more than one season, provide the most comprehensive representation of macroinvertebrate biodiversity. When sampling can only be undertaken on one occasion, the most appropriate time to undertake surveys to characterise the macroinvertebrate community biodiversity is during autumn, although this may need to be modified if other floral and faunal groups need to be incorporated into the sampling programme. PMID:26920128

  10. Studying Ancient Anthropogenic Impacts on Current Floral Biodiversity in the Southern Levant as reflected by the Philistine Migration.

    PubMed

    Frumin, Suembikya; Maeir, Aren M; Kolska Horwitz, Liora; Weiss, Ehud

    2015-01-01

    Human migrations across geographic boundaries can facilitate the introduction of new husbandry practices and dispersal of plants and animals, resulting in changes in biodiversity. As previously demonstrated, the 12th century BCE Philistine migration-to the southern Levantine littoral, involved the transportation of pigs from Europe, engendering long term genetic displacement of local Near Eastern haplotypes. Building on this, and combining biogeographical methods of Floral List comparisons with archaeological data, we have elucidated the Philistine impact on Southern Levantine floral ecosystems. We demonstrate that previously unexploited local plants were incorporated into the Philistine milieu, and new species were introduced-from Europe, the Aegean, Egypt and Mesopotamia -resulting in the earliest locally cultivated sycamore, cumin, coriander, bay tree and opium poppy. This research has highlighted the impact of past cultures on the formation of floral ecosystems and their long-term effects on contemporary local biological diversity. PMID:26304818

  11. Studying Ancient Anthropogenic Impacts on Current Floral Biodiversity in the Southern Levant as reflected by the Philistine Migration

    PubMed Central

    Frumin, Suembikya; Maeir, Aren M.; Kolska Horwitz, Liora; Weiss, Ehud

    2015-01-01

    Human migrations across geographic boundaries can facilitate the introduction of new husbandry practices and dispersal of plants and animals, resulting in changes in biodiversity. As previously demonstrated, the 12th century BCE Philistine migration–to the southern Levantine littoral, involved the transportation of pigs from Europe, engendering long term genetic displacement of local Near Eastern haplotypes. Building on this, and combining biogeographical methods of Floral List comparisons with archaeological data, we have elucidated the Philistine impact on Southern Levantine floral ecosystems. We demonstrate that previously unexploited local plants were incorporated into the Philistine milieu, and new species were introduced–from Europe, the Aegean, Egypt and Mesopotamia –resulting in the earliest locally cultivated sycamore, cumin, coriander, bay tree and opium poppy. This research has highlighted the impact of past cultures on the formation of floral ecosystems and their long-term effects on contemporary local biological diversity. PMID:26304818

  12. Impact of Fertilizing Pattern on the Biodiversity of a Weed Community and Wheat Growth

    PubMed Central

    Tang, Leilei; Cheng, Chuanpeng; Wan, Kaiyuan; Li, Ruhai; Wang, Daozhong; Tao, Yong; Pan, Junfeng; Xie, Juan; Chen, Fang

    2014-01-01

    Weeding and fertilization are important farming practices. Integrated weed management should protect or improve the biodiversity of farmland weed communities for a better ecological environment with not only increased crop yield, but also reduced use of herbicides. This study hypothesized that appropriate fertilization would benefit both crop growth and the biodiversity of farmland weed communities. To study the effects of different fertilizing patterns on the biodiversity of a farmland weed community and their adaptive mechanisms, indices of species diversity and responses of weed species and wheat were investigated in a 17-year field trial with a winter wheat-soybean rotation. This long term field trial includes six fertilizing treatments with different N, P and K application rates. The results indicated that wheat and the four prevalent weed species (Galium aparine, Vicia sativa, Veronica persica and Geranium carolinianum) showed different responses to fertilizer treatment in terms of density, plant height, shoot biomass, and nutrient accumulations. Each individual weed population exhibited its own adaptive mechanisms, such as increased internode length for growth advantages and increased light interception. The PK treatment had higher density, shoot biomass, Shannon-Wiener and Pielou Indices of weed community than N plus P fertilizer treatments. The N1/2PK treatment showed the same weed species number as the PK treatment. It also showed higher Shannon-Wiener and Pielou Indices of the weed community, although it had a lower wheat yield than the NPK treatment. The negative effects of the N1/2PK treatment on wheat yield could be balanced by the simultaneous positive effects on weed communities, which are intermediate in terms of the effects on wheat and weeds. PMID:24416223

  13. [Groundwater quality in two arid areas of Morocco: impact of pollution on biodiversity and paleogeographic implications].

    PubMed

    Boughrous, A A; Yacoubi Khebiza, M; Boulanouar, M; Boutin, C; Messana, G

    2007-11-01

    The biodiversity and the quality of subterranean waters have been comparatively studied in the Haouz plain near Marrakesh and in the Tafilalet, in south-eastern Morocco. For this purpose, physicochemical and faunistic analyses were carried out on the water of ten wells and springs located in the area of Marrakesh, and in Errachidia area respectively. In the wells of Marrakesh, the average stygobiologic diversity is relatively high in the wells located upstream the dumping from the city where the ground water presents low contents of nitrates and orthophosphates. In contrast, the wells located in the spreading zone of Marrakesh wastewaters are characterized by the scarcity or the absence of stygobitic species; in these latter wells, the water is highly polluted. It is rich in nitrates, nitrites, ammonium, and the conductivity is rather high. In the area of Errachidia the faunistic inventory gathers some ten species, some of which are living in hot springs. The subterranean water is highly mineralised. In the two studied areas, the biodiversity decreases when well water is locally polluted, and the subterranean fauna completely disappears if the degree of contamination is important. This relation between the biodiversity and water quality which had already appeared in surface water, is confirmed within the wells of Marrakech. The groundwater fauna of both two areas presents similarities in relation to their geological history, mainly the various marine cycles of marine transgressions-regressions, which were at the origin of the settlement of the ancestors of the extant species, and the Atlasic orogenesis which separated the common ancestral populations into two separated stocks, involving a different evolution of the ancestors and a resulting speciation by vicariance. PMID:18290539

  14. Biodiversity analysis of vegetation on the Nevada Test Site

    SciTech Connect

    W. K. Ostler; D. J. Hansen

    2000-06-30

    The Nevada Test Site (NTS), located in south-central Nevada, encompasses approximately 3,500 square kilometers and straddles two major North American deserts, Mojave and Great Basin. Transitional areas between the two desert types have been created by gradients in elevation, precipitation, temperature, and soils. From 1996 to 1998, more than 1,500 ecological landform units were sampled at the NTS for numerous biotic and abiotic parameters. The data provide a basis for spatial evaluations of biodiversity over landscape scales at the NTS. Biodiversity maps (species richness vs. species abundance) have been produced. Differences in biodiversity among ecoregions and vegetation alliances are presented. Spatial distribution maps of species' presence and abundance provide evidence of where transition zones occur and the resulting impact on biodiversity. The influences of abiotic factors, such as elevation, soil, and precipitation, on biodiversity are assessed.

  15. Please mind the gap - Visual census and cryptic biodiversity assessment at central Red Sea coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Pearman, John K; Anlauf, Holger; Irigoien, Xabier; Carvalho, Susana

    2016-07-01

    Coral reefs harbor the most diverse assemblages in the ocean, however, a large proportion of the diversity is cryptic and, therefore, undetected by standard visual census techniques. Cryptic and exposed communities differ considerably in species composition and ecological function. This study compares three different coral reef assessment protocols: i) visual benthic reef surveys: ii) visual census of Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) plates; and iii) metabarcoding techniques of the ARMS (including sessile, 106-500 μm and 500-2000 μm size fractions), that target the cryptic and exposed communities of three reefs in the central Red Sea. Visual census showed a dominance of Cnidaria (Anthozoa) and Rhodophyta on the reef substrate, while Porifera, Bryozoa and Rhodophyta were the most abundant groups on the ARMS plates. Metabarcoding, targeting the 18S rRNA gene, significantly increased estimates of the species diversity (p < 0.001); revealing that Annelida were generally the dominant phyla (in terms of reads) of all fractions and reefs. Furthermore, metabarcoding detected microbial eukaryotic groups such as Syndiniophyceae, Mamiellophyceae and Bacillariophyceae as relevant components of the sessile fraction. ANOSIM analysis showed that the three reef sites showed no differences based on the visual census data. Metabarcoding showed a higher sensitivity for identifying differences between reef communities at smaller geographic scales than standard visual census techniques as significant differences in the assemblages were observed amongst the reefs. Comparison of the techniques showed no similar patterns for the visual techniques while the metabarcoding of the ARMS showed similar patterns amongst fractions. Establishing ARMS as a standard tool in reef monitoring will not only advance our understanding of local processes and ecological community response to environmental changes, as different faunal components will provide complementary information but also improve the estimates of biodiversity in coral reef benthic communities. This study lays the foundations for further studies looking at integrating traditional reef survey methodologies with complementary approaches, such as metabarcoding, which investigate other components of the reef community. PMID:27149573

  16. How will oil palm expansion affect biodiversity?

    PubMed

    Fitzherbert, Emily B; Struebig, Matthew J; Morel, Alexandra; Danielsen, Finn; Brühl, Carsten A; Donald, Paul F; Phalan, Ben

    2008-10-01

    Oil palm is one of the world's most rapidly increasing crops. We assess its contribution to tropical deforestation and review its biodiversity value. Oil palm has replaced large areas of forest in Southeast Asia, but land-cover change statistics alone do not allow an assessment of where it has driven forest clearance and where it has simply followed it. Oil palm plantations support much fewer species than do forests and often also fewer than other tree crops. Further negative impacts include habitat fragmentation and pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions. With rising demand for vegetable oils and biofuels, and strong overlap between areas suitable for oil palm and those of most importance for biodiversity, substantial biodiversity losses will only be averted if future oil palm expansion is managed to avoid deforestation. PMID:18775582

  17. Health impact assessment in Korea

    SciTech Connect

    Kang, Eunjeong; Lee, Youngsoo; Harris, Patrick; Koh, Kwangwook; Kim, Keonyeop

    2011-07-15

    Recently, Health Impact Assessment has gained great attention in Korea. First, the Ministry of Environment introduced HIA within existing Environment Impact Assessment. Second, the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs began an HIA program in 2008 in alliance with Healthy Cities. In this short report, these two different efforts are introduced and their opportunities and challenges discussed. We believe these two approaches complement each other and both need to be strengthened. We also believe that both can contribute to the development of health in policy and project development and ultimately to improvements in the Korean population's health.

  18. Long-Term Impacts of Forest Ditching on Non-Aquatic Biodiversity: Conservation Perspectives for a Novel Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Remm, Liina; Lhmus, Piret; Leis, Mare; Lhmus, Asko

    2013-01-01

    Artificial drainage (ditching) is widely used to increase timber yield in northern forests. When the drainage systems are maintained, their environmental impacts are likely to accumulate over time and along accompanying management, notably after logging when new forest develops on decayed peat. Our study provides the first comprehensive documentation of long-term ditching impacts on terrestrial and arboreal biodiversity by comparing natural alder swamps and second-generation drained forests that have evolved from such swamps in Estonia. We explored species composition of four potentially drainage-sensitive taxonomic groups (vascular plants, bryophytes, lichens, and snails), abundance of species of conservation concern, and their relationships with stand structure in two-ha plots representing four management types (ranging from old growth to clearcut). We found that drainage affected plot-scale species richness only weakly but it profoundly changed assemblage composition. Bryophytes and lichens were the taxonomic groups that were most sensitive both to drainage and timber-harvesting; in closed stands they responded to changed microhabitat structure, notably impoverished tree diversity and dead-wood supply. As a result, natural old-growth plots were the most species-rich and hosted several specific species of conservation concern. Because the most influential structural changes are slow, drainage impacts may be long hidden. The results also indicated that even very old drained stands do not provide quality habitats for old-growth species of drier forest types. However, drained forests hosted many threatened species that were less site type specific, including early-successional vascular plants and snails on clearcuts and retention cuts, and bryophytes and lichens of successional and old forests. We conclude that three types of specific science-based management tools are needed to mitigate ditching effects on forest biodiversity: (i) silvicultural techniques to maintain stand structural complexity; (ii) context-dependent spatial analysis and planning of drained landscapes; and (iii) lists of focal species to monitor and guide ditching practices. PMID:23646179

  19. Long-term impacts of forest ditching on non-aquatic biodiversity: conservation perspectives for a novel ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Remm, Liina; Lõhmus, Piret; Leis, Mare; Lõhmus, Asko

    2013-01-01

    Artificial drainage (ditching) is widely used to increase timber yield in northern forests. When the drainage systems are maintained, their environmental impacts are likely to accumulate over time and along accompanying management, notably after logging when new forest develops on decayed peat. Our study provides the first comprehensive documentation of long-term ditching impacts on terrestrial and arboreal biodiversity by comparing natural alder swamps and second-generation drained forests that have evolved from such swamps in Estonia. We explored species composition of four potentially drainage-sensitive taxonomic groups (vascular plants, bryophytes, lichens, and snails), abundance of species of conservation concern, and their relationships with stand structure in two-ha plots representing four management types (ranging from old growth to clearcut). We found that drainage affected plot-scale species richness only weakly but it profoundly changed assemblage composition. Bryophytes and lichens were the taxonomic groups that were most sensitive both to drainage and timber-harvesting; in closed stands they responded to changed microhabitat structure, notably impoverished tree diversity and dead-wood supply. As a result, natural old-growth plots were the most species-rich and hosted several specific species of conservation concern. Because the most influential structural changes are slow, drainage impacts may be long hidden. The results also indicated that even very old drained stands do not provide quality habitats for old-growth species of drier forest types. However, drained forests hosted many threatened species that were less site type specific, including early-successional vascular plants and snails on clearcuts and retention cuts, and bryophytes and lichens of successional and old forests. We conclude that three types of specific science-based management tools are needed to mitigate ditching effects on forest biodiversity: (i) silvicultural techniques to maintain stand structural complexity; (ii) context-dependent spatial analysis and planning of drained landscapes; and (iii) lists of focal species to monitor and guide ditching practices. PMID:23646179

  20. Life Cycle Impact Assessment (videotape)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Originally developed for the US EPA Regions, this presentation is available to the general public via the internet. The presentation focuses on the basics of Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) including the ISO 14040 series framework and a quick overview of each of the steps wi...

  1. Biodiversity Prospecting.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sittenfeld, Ana; Lovejoy, Annie

    1994-01-01

    Examines the use of biodiversity prospecting as a method for tropical countries to value biodiversity and contribute to conservation upkeep costs. Discusses the first agreement between a public interest organization and pharmaceutical company for the extraction of plant and animal materials in Costa Rica. (LZ)

  2. Agricultural Biodiversity.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Postance, Jim

    1998-01-01

    The extinction of farm animals and crops is rarely brought up during discussions of endangered species and biodiversity; however, the loss of diversity in crops and livestock threatens the sustainability of agriculture. Presents three activities: (1) "The Colors of Diversity"; (2) "Biodiversity among Animals"; and (3) "Heirloom Plants." Discusses…

  3. The potential for biodiversity offsetting to fund effective invasive species control.

    PubMed

    Norton, David A; Warburton, Bruce

    2015-02-01

    Compensating for biodiversity losses in 1 location by conserving or restoring biodiversity elsewhere (i.e., biodiversity offsetting) is being used increasingly to compensate for biodiversity losses resulting from development. We considered whether a form of biodiversity offsetting, enhancement offsetting (i.e., enhancing the quality of degraded natural habitats through intensive ecological management), can realistically secure additional funding to control biological invaders at a scale and duration that results in enhanced biodiversity outcomes. We suggest that biodiversity offsetting has the potential to enhance biodiversity values through funding of invasive species control, but it needs to meet 7 key conditions: be technically possible to reduce invasive species to levels that enhance native biodiversity; be affordable; be sufficiently large to compensate for the impact; be adaptable to accommodate new strategic and tactical developments while not compromising biodiversity outcomes; acknowledge uncertainties associated with managing pests; be based on an explicit risk assessment that identifies the cost of not achieving target outcomes; and include financial mechanisms to provide for in-perpetuity funding. The challenge then for conservation practitioners, advocates, and policy makers is to develop frameworks that allow for durable and effective partnerships with developers to realize the full potential of enhancement offsets, which will require a shift away from traditional preservation-focused approaches to biodiversity management. PMID:25047072

  4. Similar diversity-disturbance responses to different physical impacts: three cases of small-scale biodiversity increase in the Belgian part of the North Sea.

    PubMed

    De Backer, Annelies; Van Hoey, Gert; Coates, Delphine; Vanaverbeke, Jan; Hostens, Kris

    2014-07-15

    Human activities at sea are still increasing. As biodiversity is a central topic in the management of our seas, it is important to understand how diversity responds to different disturbances related with physical impacts. We investigated the effects of three impacts, i.e. sand extraction, dredge disposal and offshore wind energy exploitation, on the soft-bottom macrobenthic assemblages in the Belgian part of the North Sea. We found similar diversity-disturbance responses, mainly related to the fact that different impacts caused similar environmental changes. We observed a sediment refinement which triggered a shift towards a heterogenic, dynamic (transitional) soft-bottom macrobenthic assemblage, with several species typically associated with muddy sands. This led to a local unexpected biodiversity increase in the impacted area. On a wider regional scale, the ever increasing human impacts might lead to a homogenization of the sediment, resulting in a more uniform, yet less diverse benthic ecosystem. PMID:24889315

  5. Assessing Undergraduate University Students' Level of Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviour towards Biodiversity: A Case Study in Cyprus

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nisiforou, Olympia; Charalambides, Alexandros George

    2012-01-01

    Biodiversity is a key resource as it provides both goods and services to society. However, humans value these resources differently, especially when biodiversity is exploited for its economic potential; a destruction on a scale rarely seen before. In order to decrease the threats that biodiversity is facing due to human activity, globally (climate

  6. Assessing Undergraduate University Students' Level of Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviour towards Biodiversity: A Case Study in Cyprus

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nisiforou, Olympia; Charalambides, Alexandros George

    2012-01-01

    Biodiversity is a key resource as it provides both goods and services to society. However, humans value these resources differently, especially when biodiversity is exploited for its economic potential; a destruction on a scale rarely seen before. In order to decrease the threats that biodiversity is facing due to human activity, globally (climate…

  7. Environmental impact assessment in Brazil

    SciTech Connect

    Fowler, H.G.; De Aguiar, A.M.D. . Dept. de Ecologia e Programa de Pos- graduac ao em Analise Ambiental)

    1993-05-01

    Brazilian environmental impact assessment (EIA) had a relatively late birth and is still far from being operative by international standards. Currently, geological, economic, and social considerations are more highly valued. Nevertheless, EIA has become important in shaping governmental policy. The state of Sao Paulo is responsible for 40% of all EIAs produced in Brazil, and the number of EIAs produced is proportional to stat population density.

  8. Issues associated with impact assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Jensen, L.D.

    1981-01-01

    Eight paired position papers on evaluating environmental impacts, management of water resources, and population-level vs ecosystem-level assessments are presented. State-of-the-art as well as case studies for monitoring entrainment of aquatic organisms resulting from power plant cooling system operations are discussed. Selected papers from poster sessions are included. Separate abstracts have been prepared for each paper for inclusion in the Energy Data Base.

  9. Health impact assessment of global climate change: expanding on comparative risk assessment approaches for policy making.

    PubMed

    Patz, Jonathan; Campbell-Lendrum, Diarmid; Gibbs, Holly; Woodruff, Rosalie

    2008-01-01

    Climate change is projected to have adverse impacts on public health. Cobenefits may be possible from more upstream mitigation of greenhouse gases causing climate change. To help measure such cobenefits alongside averted disease-specific risks, a health impact assessment (HIA) framework can more comprehensively serve as a decision support tool. HIA also considers health equity, clearly part of the climate change problem. New choices for energy must be made carefully considering such effects as additional pressure on the world's forests through large-scale expansion of soybean and oil palm plantations, leading to forest clearing, biodiversity loss and disease emergence, expulsion of subsistence farmers, and potential increases in food prices and emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Investigators must consider the full range of policy options, supported by more comprehensive, flexible, and transparent assessment methods. PMID:18173382

  10. Impacts of Intensive Logging on the Trophic Organisation of Ant Communities in a Biodiversity Hotspot

    PubMed Central

    Woodcock, Paul; Edwards, David P.; Newton, Rob J.; Vun Khen, Chey; Bottrell, Simon H.; Hamer, Keith C.

    2013-01-01

    Trophic organisation defines the flow of energy through ecosystems and is a key component of community structure. Widespread and intensifying anthropogenic disturbance threatens to disrupt trophic organisation by altering species composition and relative abundances and by driving shifts in the trophic ecology of species that persist in disturbed ecosystems. We examined how intensive disturbance caused by selective logging affects trophic organisation in the biodiversity hotspot of Sabah, Borneo. Using stable nitrogen isotopes, we quantified the positions in the food web of 159 leaf-litter ant species in unlogged and logged rainforest and tested four predictions: (i) there is a negative relationship between the trophic position of a species in unlogged forest and its change in abundance following logging, (ii) the trophic positions of species are altered by logging, (iii) disturbance alters the frequency distribution of trophic positions within the ant assemblage, and (iv) disturbance reduces food chain length. We found that ant abundance was 30% lower in logged forest than in unlogged forest but changes in abundance of individual species were not related to trophic position, providing no support for prediction (i). However, trophic positions of individual species were significantly higher in logged forest, supporting prediction (ii). Consequently, the frequency distribution of trophic positions differed significantly between unlogged and logged forest, supporting prediction (iii), and food chains were 0.2 trophic levels longer in logged forest, the opposite of prediction (iv). Our results demonstrate that disturbance can alter trophic organisation even without trophically-biased changes in community composition. Nonetheless, the absence of any reduction in food chain length in logged forest suggests that species-rich arthropod food webs do not experience trophic downgrading or a related collapse in trophic organisation despite the disturbance caused by logging. These food webs appear able to bend without breaking in the face of some forms of anthropogenic disturbance. PMID:23593302

  11. Assessing Local and Surrounding Threats to the Protected Area Network in a Biodiversity Hotspot: The Hengduan Mountains of Southwest China

    PubMed Central

    Ye, Xin; Liu, Guohua; Li, Zongshan; Wang, Hao; Zeng, Yuan

    2015-01-01

    Protected areas (PAs) not only serve as refuges of biodiversity conservation but are also part of large ecosystems and are vulnerable to change caused by human activity from surrounding lands, especially in biodiversity hotspots. Assessing threats to PAs and surrounding areas is therefore a critical step in effective conservation planning. We apply a threat framework as a means of quantitatively assessing local and surrounding threats to different types of PAs with gradient buffers, and to main ecoregions in the Hengduan Mountain Hotspot of southwest China. Our findings show that national protected areas (NPAs) have lower and significantly lower threat values (p<0.05) than provincial protected areas (PPAs) and other protected areas (OPAs), respectively, which indicates that NPAs are lands with a lower threat level and higher levels of protection and management. PAs have clear edge effects, as the proportion of areas with low threat levels decline dramatically in the 5-kilometer buffers just outside the PAs. However, NPAs suffered greater declines (58.3%) than PPAs (34.8%) and OPAs (33.4%) in the 5-kilometer buffers. Moreover, a significant positive correlation was found between the size of PAs and the proportion of areas with low threat levels that they contained in both PAs and PA buffers (p<0.01). To control or mitigate current threats at the regional scale, PA managers often require quantitative information related to threat intensities and spatial distribution. The threat assessment in the Hengduan Mountain Hotspot will be useful to policy makers and managers in their efforts to establish effective plans and target-oriented management strategies. PMID:26382763

  12. Backyard Biodiversity.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Thompson, Sarah S.

    2002-01-01

    Describes a field trip experience for the Earth Odyssey project for elementary school students focusing on biodiversity. Introduces the concept of diversity, field work, species richness, and the connection between animals and their habitat. (YDS)

  13. High-Throughput Sequencing-The Key to Rapid Biodiversity Assessment of Marine Metazoa?

    PubMed

    Mohrbeck, Inga; Raupach, Michael J; Martínez Arbizu, Pedro; Knebelsberger, Thomas; Laakmann, Silke

    2015-01-01

    The applications of traditional morphological and molecular methods for species identification are greatly restricted by processing speed and on a regional or greater scale are generally considered unfeasible. In this context, high-throughput sequencing, or metagenetics, has been proposed as an efficient tool to document biodiversity. Here we evaluated the effectiveness of 454 pyrosequencing in marine metazoan community analysis using the 18S rDNA: V1-V2 region. Multiplex pyrosequencing of the V1-V2 region was used to analyze two pooled samples of DNA, one comprising 118 and the other 37 morphologically identified species, and one natural sample taken directly from a North Sea zooplankton community. A DNA reference library comprising all species represented in the pooled samples was created by Sanger sequencing, and this was then used to determine the optimal similarity threshold for species delineation. The optimal threshold was found at 99% species similarity, with 85% identification success. Pyrosequencing was able to identify between fewer species: 67% and 78% of the species in the two pooled samples. Also, a large number of sequences for three species that were not included in the pooled samples were amplified by pyrosequencing, suggesting preferential amplification of some genotypes and the sensitivity of this approach to even low levels of contamination. Conversely, metagenetic analysis of the natural zooplankton sample identified many more species (particularly gelatinous zooplankton and meroplankton) than morphological analysis of a formalin-fixed sample from the same sampling site, suggesting an increased level of taxonomic resolution with pyrosequencing. The study demonstrated that, based on the V1-V2 region, 454 sequencing does not provide accurate species differentiation and reliable taxonomic classification, as it is required in most biodiversity monitoring. The analysis of artificially prepared samples indicated that species detection in pyrosequencing datasets is complicated by potential PCR-based biases and that the V1-V2 marker is poorly resolved for some taxa. PMID:26479071

  14. High-Throughput Sequencing—The Key to Rapid Biodiversity Assessment of Marine Metazoa?

    PubMed Central

    Mohrbeck, Inga; Raupach, Michael J.; Martínez Arbizu, Pedro; Knebelsberger, Thomas; Laakmann, Silke

    2015-01-01

    The applications of traditional morphological and molecular methods for species identification are greatly restricted by processing speed and on a regional or greater scale are generally considered unfeasible. In this context, high-throughput sequencing, or metagenetics, has been proposed as an efficient tool to document biodiversity. Here we evaluated the effectiveness of 454 pyrosequencing in marine metazoan community analysis using the 18S rDNA: V1-V2 region. Multiplex pyrosequencing of the V1-V2 region was used to analyze two pooled samples of DNA, one comprising 118 and the other 37 morphologically identified species, and one natural sample taken directly from a North Sea zooplankton community. A DNA reference library comprising all species represented in the pooled samples was created by Sanger sequencing, and this was then used to determine the optimal similarity threshold for species delineation. The optimal threshold was found at 99% species similarity, with 85% identification success. Pyrosequencing was able to identify between fewer species: 67% and 78% of the species in the two pooled samples. Also, a large number of sequences for three species that were not included in the pooled samples were amplified by pyrosequencing, suggesting preferential amplification of some genotypes and the sensitivity of this approach to even low levels of contamination. Conversely, metagenetic analysis of the natural zooplankton sample identified many more species (particularly gelatinous zooplankton and meroplankton) than morphological analysis of a formalin-fixed sample from the same sampling site, suggesting an increased level of taxonomic resolution with pyrosequencing. The study demonstrated that, based on the V1-V2 region, 454 sequencing does not provide accurate species differentiation and reliable taxonomic classification, as it is required in most biodiversity monitoring. The analysis of artificially prepared samples indicated that species detection in pyrosequencing datasets is complicated by potential PCR-based biases and that the V1-V2 marker is poorly resolved for some taxa. PMID:26479071

  15. Can ecosystem-scale translocations mitigate the impact of climate change on terrestrial biodiversity? Promises, pitfalls, and possibilities

    PubMed Central

    Boyer, Stéphane; Case, Bradley S.; Lefort, Marie-Caroline; Waterhouse, Benjamin R.; Wratten, Stephen D.

    2016-01-01

    Because ecological interactions are the first components of the ecosystem to be impacted by climate change, future forms of threatened-species and ecosystem management should aim at conserving complete, functioning communities rather than single charismatic species. A possible way forward is the deployment of ecosystem-scale translocation (EST), where above- and below-ground elements of a functioning terrestrial ecosystem (including vegetation and topsoil) are carefully collected and moved together. Small-scale attempts at such practice have been made for the purpose of ecological restoration. By moving larger subsets of functioning ecosystems from climatically unstable regions to more stable ones, EST could provide a practical means to conserve mature and complex ecosystems threatened by climate change. However, there are a number of challenges associated with EST in the context of climate change mitigation, in particular the choice of donor and receptor sites. With the aim of fostering discussion and debate about the EST concept, we  1) outline the possible promises and pitfalls of EST in mitigating the impact of climate change on terrestrial biodiversity and 2) use a GIS-based approach to illustrate how  potential source and receptor sites, where EST could be trialed and evaluated globally, could be identified. PMID:26989475

  16. Organic Farming: Biodiversity Impacts Can Depend on Dispersal Characteristics and Landscape Context

    PubMed Central

    Feber, Ruth E.; Johnson, Paul J.; Bell, James R.; Chamberlain, Dan E.; Firbank, Leslie G.; Fuller, Robert J.; Manley, Will; Mathews, Fiona; Norton, Lisa R.; Townsend, Martin; Macdonald, David W.

    2015-01-01

    Organic farming, a low intensity system, may offer benefits for a range of taxa, but what affects the extent of those benefits is imperfectly understood. We explored the effects of organic farming and landscape on the activity density and species density of spiders and carabid beetles, using a large sample of paired organic and conventional farms in the UK. Spider activity density and species density were influenced by both farming system and surrounding landscape. Hunting spiders, which tend to have lower dispersal capabilities, had higher activity density, and more species were captured, on organic compared to conventional farms. There was also evidence for an interaction, as the farming system effect was particularly marked in the cropped area before harvest and was more pronounced in complex landscapes (those with little arable land). There was no evidence for any effect of farming system or landscape on web-building spiders (which include the linyphiids, many of which have high dispersal capabilities). For carabid beetles, the farming system effects were inconsistent. Before harvest, higher activity densities were observed in the crops on organic farms compared with conventional farms. After harvest, no difference was detected in the cropped area, but more carabids were captured on conventional compared to organic boundaries. Carabids were more species-dense in complex landscapes, and farming system did not affect this. There was little evidence that non-cropped habitat differences explained the farming system effects for either spiders or carabid beetles. For spiders, the farming system effects in the cropped area were probably largely attributable to differences in crop management; reduced inputs of pesticides (herbicides and insecticides) and fertilisers are possible influences, and there was some evidence for an effect of non-crop plant species richness on hunting spider activity density. The benefits of organic farming may be greatest for taxa with lower dispersal abilities generally. The evidence for interactions among landscape and farming system in their effects on spiders highlights the importance of developing strategies for managing farmland at the landscape-scale for most effective conservation of biodiversity. PMID:26309040

  17. Organic Farming: Biodiversity Impacts Can Depend on Dispersal Characteristics and Landscape Context.

    PubMed

    Feber, Ruth E; Johnson, Paul J; Bell, James R; Chamberlain, Dan E; Firbank, Leslie G; Fuller, Robert J; Manley, Will; Mathews, Fiona; Norton, Lisa R; Townsend, Martin; Macdonald, David W

    2015-01-01

    Organic farming, a low intensity system, may offer benefits for a range of taxa, but what affects the extent of those benefits is imperfectly understood. We explored the effects of organic farming and landscape on the activity density and species density of spiders and carabid beetles, using a large sample of paired organic and conventional farms in the UK. Spider activity density and species density were influenced by both farming system and surrounding landscape. Hunting spiders, which tend to have lower dispersal capabilities, had higher activity density, and more species were captured, on organic compared to conventional farms. There was also evidence for an interaction, as the farming system effect was particularly marked in the cropped area before harvest and was more pronounced in complex landscapes (those with little arable land). There was no evidence for any effect of farming system or landscape on web-building spiders (which include the linyphiids, many of which have high dispersal capabilities). For carabid beetles, the farming system effects were inconsistent. Before harvest, higher activity densities were observed in the crops on organic farms compared with conventional farms. After harvest, no difference was detected in the cropped area, but more carabids were captured on conventional compared to organic boundaries. Carabids were more species-dense in complex landscapes, and farming system did not affect this. There was little evidence that non-cropped habitat differences explained the farming system effects for either spiders or carabid beetles. For spiders, the farming system effects in the cropped area were probably largely attributable to differences in crop management; reduced inputs of pesticides (herbicides and insecticides) and fertilisers are possible influences, and there was some evidence for an effect of non-crop plant species richness on hunting spider activity density. The benefits of organic farming may be greatest for taxa with lower dispersal abilities generally. The evidence for interactions among landscape and farming system in their effects on spiders highlights the importance of developing strategies for managing farmland at the landscape-scale for most effective conservation of biodiversity. PMID:26309040

  18. Agent-based modeling for the landuse change of hunter-gather societies and the impacts on biodiversity in Guyana

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iwamura, T.; Fragoso, J.; Lambin, E.

    2012-12-01

    The interactions with animals are vital to the Amerindian, indigenous people, of Rupunini savannah-forest in Guyana. Their connections extend from basic energy and protein resource to spiritual bonding through "paring" to a certain animal in the forest. We collected extensive dataset of 23 indigenous communities for 3.5 years, consisting 9900 individuals from 1307 households, as well as animal observation data in 8 transects per communities (47,000 data entries). In this presentation, our research interest is to model the driver of land use change of the indigenous communities and its impacts on the ecosystem in the Rupunini area under global change. Overarching question we would like to answer with this program is to find how and why "tipping-point" from hunting gathering society to the agricultural society occurs in the future. Secondary question is what is the implication of the change to agricultural society in terms of biodiversity and carbon stock in the area, and eventually the well-being of Rupunini people. To answer the questions regarding the society shift in agriculture activities, we built as simulation with Agent-Based Modeling (Multi Agents Simulation). We developed this simulation by using Netlogo, the programming environment specialized for spatially explicit agent-based modeling (ABM). This simulation consists of four different process in the Rupunini landscape; forest succession, animal population growth, hunting of animals, and land clearing for agriculture. All of these processes are carried out by a set of computational unit, called "agents". In this program, there are four types of agents - patches, villages, households, and animals. Here, we describe the impacts of hunting on the biodiversity based on actual demographic data from one village named Crush Water. Animal population within the hunting territory of the village stabilized but Agouti/Paca dominates the landscape with little population of armadillos and peccaries. White-tailed deers, Tapirs, Capybara exist but very low. This finding is well aligned with the hunting dataset - Agouti/Paca consists 27% of total hunting. Based on our simulation, it seems the dominance of Agouti/Paca among hunted animals shown in the field data can be explained solely by their high carrying capacity against human extraction (population density of the Paca/Agouti = 60 per square km, whereas other animals ranges 0.63 to 7). When we incorporate agriculture, the "rodentation" of the animal population toward Agouti/Paca becomes more obvious. This simulation shows the interactions of people and animals through land change and hunting, which were observed in our fields.

  19. Primary forests are irreplaceable for sustaining tropical biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Gibson, Luke; Lee, Tien Ming; Koh, Lian Pin; Brook, Barry W; Gardner, Toby A; Barlow, Jos; Peres, Carlos A; Bradshaw, Corey J A; Laurance, William F; Lovejoy, Thomas E; Sodhi, Navjot S

    2011-10-20

    Human-driven land-use changes increasingly threaten biodiversity, particularly in tropical forests where both species diversity and human pressures on natural environments are high. The rapid conversion of tropical forests for agriculture, timber production and other uses has generated vast, human-dominated landscapes with potentially dire consequences for tropical biodiversity. Today, few truly undisturbed tropical forests exist, whereas those degraded by repeated logging and fires, as well as secondary and plantation forests, are rapidly expanding. Here we provide a global assessment of the impact of disturbance and land conversion on biodiversity in tropical forests using a meta-analysis of 138 studies. We analysed 2,220 pairwise comparisons of biodiversity values in primary forests (with little or no human disturbance) and disturbed forests. We found that biodiversity values were substantially lower in degraded forests, but that this varied considerably by geographic region, taxonomic group, ecological metric and disturbance type. Even after partly accounting for confounding colonization and succession effects due to the composition of surrounding habitats, isolation and time since disturbance, we find that most forms of forest degradation have an overwhelmingly detrimental effect on tropical biodiversity. Our results clearly indicate that when it comes to maintaining tropical biodiversity, there is no substitute for primary forests. PMID:21918513

  20. Incorporating social concerns in environmental impact assessments

    SciTech Connect

    Wolfe, A.K.

    1990-03-01

    Social impact assessments most often focus on the population-driven impacts of projects. Such impacts may be insignificant when compared with social structural impacts of complex, controversial projects. This set of impacts includes social disruption, social group formation, and stigma effects. The National Environmental Policy Act does not explicitly call for assessment of, and assessors often are reluctant to address, these complex issues. This paper discusses why such impacts are critical to assess and gives examples of how they have been incorporated into environmental assessment documents. 6 refs.

  1. Assessing biodiversity in Nuevo Leon, Mexico: Are nature reserves the answer?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cantu, C.; Wright, R.G.; Scott, J.M.; Strand, Espen

    2004-01-01

    The Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, located in the northeastern portion of the country, currently has 26 state and three federal nature reserves covering approximately 4.5% of its land area. These reserves were established for a variety of reasons not necessarily related to conservation purposes. In 2000 in response to a growing concern about the lack of organized conservation reserve planning to protect the important biological and physical features of Mexico, the Mexican Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity proposed 12 new terrestrial reserves for Nuevo Leon. The new reserves, if established, would increase the proportion of protected lands in the state to almost 24% of the state's land area. We compiled a Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis using digital thematic maps of physical and ecological features to examine how well the existing and proposed reserves incorporated the major biological and physical features of the state. The existing reserves are located primarily in regions with elevations > 1,000-1,500 m, on less productive soils, and are dominated by pine and oak forest cover types. As a result, the state's dominant biotic region - low elevation coastal plain with xeric scrub vegetation - is disproportionately under represented in the current reserve system. The new reserves would expand the protection of biophysical resources throughout the state. However, the inclusion of important resources in the low elevation coastal lands would still be limited.

  2. Mosaic-Level Inference of the Impact of Land Cover Changes in Agricultural Landscapes on Biodiversity: A Case-Study with a Threatened Grassland Bird

    PubMed Central

    Moreira, Francisco; Silva, João P.; Estanque, Beatriz; Palmeirim, Jorge M.; Lecoq, Miguel; Pinto, Márcia; Leitão, Domingos; Alonso, Ivan; Pedroso, Rui; Santos, Eduardo; Catry, Teresa; Silva, Patricia; Henriques, Inês; Delgado, Ana

    2012-01-01

    Changes in land use/land cover are a major driver of biodiversity change in the Mediterranean region. Understanding how animal populations respond to these landscape changes often requires using landscape mosaics as the unit of investigation, but few previous studies have measured both response and explanatory variables at the land mosaic level. Here, we used a “whole-landscape” approach to assess the influence of regional variation in the land cover composition of 81 farmland mosaics (mean area of 2900 ha) on the population density of a threatened bird, the little bustard (Tetrax tetrax), in southern Portugal. Results showed that ca. 50% of the regional variability in the density of little bustards could be explained by three variables summarising the land cover composition and diversity in the studied mosaics. Little bustard breeding males attained higher population density in land mosaics with a low land cover diversity, with less forests, and dominated by grasslands. Land mosaic composition gradients showed that agricultural intensification was not reflected in a loss of land cover diversity, as in many other regions of Europe. On the contrary, it led to the introduction of new land cover types in homogenous farmland, which increased land cover diversity but reduced overall landscape suitability for the species. Based on these results, the impact of recent land cover changes in Europe on the little bustard populations is evaluated. PMID:22723899

  3. Impacts of bottom and suspended cultures of mussels Mytilus spp. on the surrounding sedimentary environment and macrobenthic biodiversity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ysebaert, Tom; Hart, Miron; Herman, Peter M. J.

    2009-03-01

    The aim of this study was to quantify the effect of bottom and suspended mussel cultures, cultured in different physical environments, on the sedimentary environmental conditions and thereby the biodiversity structure of the associated macrofaunal community. We compared two bottom cultures (Limfjorden: microtidal, wind-driven; Oosterschelde: macrotidal) and one suspended culture (Ria de Vigo in an upwelling coastal region). The sedimentary environmental conditions (mud fraction, POC, PON, phosphorus content, chl a breakdown products) were significantly elevated underneath and surrounding bottom and suspended cultures compared to culture-free sediments that were nearby and hydrodynamically similar. The relative change in environmental conditions was more pronounced in the Oosterschelde compared to Limfjorden, most likely due to differences in hydrodynamic forcing and characteristics of the mussel bed. The effect of the suspended cultures in Ria de Vigo on the surrounding sediments was influenced by local topographic and hydrodynamic conditions. The impact of mussels on the benthic community due to biodeposition was clearly seen in the community structure. The species composition changed from species which are typically present in sandy environments to more small opportunistic species, which are typically present in organically enriched sediments. The impact of bottom cultures on the benthic community due to changes in the habitat under the presence of mussels was positive, especially in the Oosterschelde where an increase in the number of epibenthic species was seen. The influence of bottom cultures on the sedimentary environment and on the macrobenthic community seems to be very local. Within the mussel site in Limfjorden, differences were detected between sites where none or almost no mussels were present with sites where mussels were very abundant.

  4. Environmental impact assessment of open pit mining in Iran

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Monjezi, M.; Shahriar, K.; Dehghani, H.; Samimi Namin, F.

    2009-07-01

    Mining is widely regarded as having adverse effects on environment of both magnitude and diversity. Some of these effects include erosion, formation of sinkhole, biodiversity loss and contamination of groundwater by chemical from the mining process in general and open-pit mining in particular. As such, a repeatable process to evaluate these effects primarily aims to diminish them. This paper applies Folchi method to evaluate the impact of open-pit mining in four Iranian mines that lacked previous geo-environmental assessment. Having key geologic resources, these mines are: Mouteh gold mine, Gol-e-Gohar and Chogart iron mines, and Sarcheshmeh copper mine. The environmental components can be defined as public health and safety, social relationships, air and water quality, flora and fauna hence, various impacting factors from the mining activities were estimated for each environmental component. For this purpose, each impacting factor was first given a magnitude, based solely on the range of possible scenarios. Thereafter, a matrix of weighted factors was derived to systematically quantify and normalize the effects of each impacting factor. The overall impact upon each individual environmental component was then calculated by summing the weighted rates. Here, Folchi method was applied to evaluate those environmental conditions. Based on the acquired results, the present paper finally concludes that amongst four case histories in Iran, Sarcheshmeh copper mine significantly affects the environment, with critical level of air pollution there.

  5. Noise impact on wildlife: An environmental impact assessment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bender, A.

    1977-01-01

    Various biological effects of noise on animals are discussed and a systematic approach for an impact assessment is developed. Further research is suggested to fully quantify noise impact on the species and its ecosystem.

  6. Net present biodiversity value and the design of biodiversity offsets.

    PubMed

    Overton, Jacob McC; Stephens, R T Theo; Ferrier, Simon

    2013-02-01

    There is an urgent need to develop sound theory and practice for biodiversity offsets to provide a better basis for offset multipliers, to improve accounting for time delays in offset repayments, and to develop a common framework for evaluating in-kind and out-of-kind offsets. Here, we apply concepts and measures from systematic conservation planning and financial accounting to provide a basis for determining equity across type (of biodiversity), space, and time. We introduce net present biodiversity value (NPBV) as a theoretical and practical measure for defining the offset required to achieve no-net-loss. For evaluating equity in type and space we use measures of biodiversity value from systematic conservation planning. Time discount rates are used to address risk of non-repayment, and loss of utility. We illustrate these concepts and measures with two examples of biodiversity impact-offset transactions. Considerable further work is required to understand the characteristics of these approaches. PMID:22956430

  7. Integrating movement ecology with biodiversity research - exploring new avenues to address spatiotemporal biodiversity dynamics.

    PubMed

    Jeltsch, Florian; Bonte, Dries; Pe'er, Guy; Reineking, Björn; Leimgruber, Peter; Balkenhol, Niko; Schröder, Boris; Buchmann, Carsten M; Mueller, Thomas; Blaum, Niels; Zurell, Damaris; Böhning-Gaese, Katrin; Wiegand, Thorsten; Eccard, Jana A; Hofer, Heribert; Reeg, Jette; Eggers, Ute; Bauer, Silke

    2013-01-01

    Movement of organisms is one of the key mechanisms shaping biodiversity, e.g. the distribution of genes, individuals and species in space and time. Recent technological and conceptual advances have improved our ability to assess the causes and consequences of individual movement, and led to the emergence of the new field of 'movement ecology'. Here, we outline how movement ecology can contribute to the broad field of biodiversity research, i.e. the study of processes and patterns of life among and across different scales, from genes to ecosystems, and we propose a conceptual framework linking these hitherto largely separated fields of research. Our framework builds on the concept of movement ecology for individuals, and demonstrates its importance for linking individual organismal movement with biodiversity. First, organismal movements can provide 'mobile links' between habitats or ecosystems, thereby connecting resources, genes, and processes among otherwise separate locations. Understanding these mobile links and their impact on biodiversity will be facilitated by movement ecology, because mobile links can be created by different modes of movement (i.e., foraging, dispersal, migration) that relate to different spatiotemporal scales and have differential effects on biodiversity. Second, organismal movements can also mediate coexistence in communities, through 'equalizing' and 'stabilizing' mechanisms. This novel integrated framework provides a conceptual starting point for a better understanding of biodiversity dynamics in light of individual movement and space-use behavior across spatiotemporal scales. By illustrating this framework with examples, we argue that the integration of movement ecology and biodiversity research will also enhance our ability to conserve diversity at the genetic, species, and ecosystem levels. PMID:25709820

  8. A framework for combining social impact assessment and risk assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Mahmoudi, Hossein; Environmental Sciences Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University, G.C. ; Renn, Ortwin; Vanclay, Frank; Hoffmann, Volker; Karami, Ezatollah

    2013-11-15

    An increasing focus on integrative approaches is one of the current trends in impact assessment. There is potential to combine impact assessment with various other forms of assessment, such as risk assessment, to make impact assessment and the management of social risks more effective. We identify the common features of social impact assessment (SIA) and social risk assessment (SRA), and discuss the merits of a combined approach. A hybrid model combining SIA and SRA to form a new approach called, ‘risk and social impact assessment’ (RSIA) is introduced. RSIA expands the capacity of SIA to evaluate and manage the social impacts of risky projects such as nuclear energy as well as natural hazards and disasters such as droughts and floods. We outline the three stages of RSIA, namely: impact identification, impact assessment, and impact management. -- Highlights: • A hybrid model to combine SIA and SRA namely RSIA is proposed. • RSIA can provide the proper mechanism to assess social impacts of natural hazards. • RSIA can play the role of ex-post as well as ex-ante assessment. • For some complicated and sensitive cases like nuclear energy, conducting a RSIA is necessary.

  9. PROTECTING BIODIVERSITY

    EPA Science Inventory

    At present, over 40% of the earth's land surface has been converted from its natural state to one dominated by human activities such as agriculture and development. The destruction and degradation of natural habitats has been clearly linked to the loss of biodiversity. Biodiver...

  10. Biodiversity Management

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Biodiversity management is summarized for the global chickpea (Cicer arietinum) crop germplasm held in genebanks as ex situ collections. Morphological diversity is presented with the range of variation reported from the global collections. The largest collections are held at international agricult...

  11. Anthropogenic impacts on the distribution and biodiversity of benthic macroinvertebrates and water quality of the Langat River, Peninsular Malaysia.

    PubMed

    Azrina, M Z; Yap, C K; Rahim Ismail, A; Ismail, A; Tan, S G

    2006-07-01

    A study of the impacts of anthropogenic activities on the distribution and biodiversity of benthic macroinvertebrates and water quality of the Langat River (Peninsular Malaysia) was conducted. Four pristine stations from the upstream and 4 stations at the downstream receiving anthropogenic impacts were selected along the river. For 4 consecutive months (March-June 1999), based on the Malaysian DOE (Malaysia Environmental Quality Report 2000, Department of Environment, Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment Malaysia. Maskha Sdn. Bhd. Kuala Lumpur, 86pp; Malaysia Environmental Quality Report 2001, Department of Environment, Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment Malaysia) water quality index classes, the upstream stations recorded significantly (P<0.05) higher Biological Monitoring Working Party scores and better water quality indices than those of the downstream. The total number of macrobenthic taxa and their overall richness indices and diversity indices were significantly (P<0.05) higher at the upstream stations (54 taxa) than at the downstream stations (5 taxa). The upstream of the Langat River was dominated by Ephemeroptera and chironomid dipterans while other orders found in small quantities included Trichoptera, Diptera, Plecoptera, Odonata, Ephemeraptera, Coleoptera, and Gastropoda. On the other hand, the downstream of the river was mainly inhabited by the resistant Oligochaeta worms Limnodrilus spp. and Branchiodrilus sp. and Hirudinea in small numbers. The relationships between the physicochemical and the macrobenthic data were investigated by Pearson correlation analysis and multiple stepwise regression analysis. These statistical analyses showed that the richness and diversity indices were generally influenced by the total suspended solids and the conductivity of the river water. This study also highlighted the impacts of anthropogenic land-based activities such as urban runoff on the distribution and species diversity of macrobenthic invertebrates in the downstream of the Langat River. The data obtained in this study supported the use of the bioindicator concept for Malaysian rivers. Some sensitive (Trichopteran caddisflies and Ephemeraptera) and resistant species (Oligochaeta such as Limnodrilus spp.) are identified as potential bioindicators of clean and polluted river ecosystems, respectively, for Malaysian rivers. PMID:15964072

  12. Scaling Disturbance Instead of Richness to Better Understand Anthropogenic Impacts on Biodiversity

    PubMed Central

    Mayor, Stephen J.; Cahill, James F.; He, Fangliang; Boutin, Stan

    2015-01-01

    A primary impediment to understanding how species diversity and anthropogenic disturbance are related is that both diversity and disturbance can depend on the scales at which they are sampled. While the scale dependence of diversity estimation has received substantial attention, the scale dependence of disturbance estimation has been essentially overlooked. Here, we break from conventional examination of the diversity-disturbance relationship by holding the area over which species richness is estimated constant and instead manipulating the area over which human disturbance is measured. In the boreal forest ecoregion of Alberta, Canada, we test the dependence of species richness on disturbance scale, the scale-dependence of the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, and the consistency of these patterns in native versus exotic species and among human disturbance types. We related field observed species richness in 1 ha surveys of 372 boreal vascular plant communities to remotely sensed measures of human disturbance extent at two survey scales: local (1 ha) and landscape (18 km2). Supporting the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, species richness-disturbance relationships were quadratic at both local and landscape scales of disturbance measurement. This suggests the shape of richness-disturbance relationships is independent of the scale at which disturbance is assessed, despite that local diversity is influenced by disturbance at different scales by different mechanisms, such as direct removal of individuals (local) or indirect alteration of propagule supply (landscape). By contrast, predictions of species richness did depend on scale of disturbance measurement: with high local disturbance richness was double that under high landscape disturbance. PMID:25951058

  13. Scaling disturbance instead of richness to better understand anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Mayor, Stephen J; Cahill, James F; He, Fangliang; Boutin, Stan

    2015-01-01

    A primary impediment to understanding how species diversity and anthropogenic disturbance are related is that both diversity and disturbance can depend on the scales at which they are sampled. While the scale dependence of diversity estimation has received substantial attention, the scale dependence of disturbance estimation has been essentially overlooked. Here, we break from conventional examination of the diversity-disturbance relationship by holding the area over which species richness is estimated constant and instead manipulating the area over which human disturbance is measured. In the boreal forest ecoregion of Alberta, Canada, we test the dependence of species richness on disturbance scale, the scale-dependence of the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, and the consistency of these patterns in native versus exotic species and among human disturbance types. We related field observed species richness in 1 ha surveys of 372 boreal vascular plant communities to remotely sensed measures of human disturbance extent at two survey scales: local (1 ha) and landscape (18 km2). Supporting the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, species richness-disturbance relationships were quadratic at both local and landscape scales of disturbance measurement. This suggests the shape of richness-disturbance relationships is independent of the scale at which disturbance is assessed, despite that local diversity is influenced by disturbance at different scales by different mechanisms, such as direct removal of individuals (local) or indirect alteration of propagule supply (landscape). By contrast, predictions of species richness did depend on scale of disturbance measurement: with high local disturbance richness was double that under high landscape disturbance. PMID:25951058

  14. Reconciling biodiversity and carbon conservation.

    PubMed

    Thomas, Chris D; Anderson, Barbara J; Moilanen, Atte; Eigenbrod, Felix; Heinemeyer, Andreas; Quaife, Tristan; Roy, David B; Gillings, Simon; Armsworth, Paul R; Gaston, Kevin J

    2013-05-01

    Climate change is leading to the development of land-based mitigation and adaptation strategies that are likely to have substantial impacts on global biodiversity. Of these, approaches to maintain carbon within existing natural ecosystems could have particularly large benefits for biodiversity. However, the geographical distributions of terrestrial carbon stocks and biodiversity differ. Using conservation planning analyses for the New World and Britain, we conclude that a carbon-only strategy would not be effective at conserving biodiversity, as have previous studies. Nonetheless, we find that a combined carbon-biodiversity strategy could simultaneously protect 90% of carbon stocks (relative to a carbon-only conservation strategy) and > 90% of the biodiversity (relative to a biodiversity-only strategy) in both regions. This combined approach encapsulates the principle of complementarity, whereby locations that contain different sets of species are prioritised, and hence disproportionately safeguard localised species that are not protected effectively by carbon-only strategies. It is efficient because localised species are concentrated into small parts of the terrestrial land surface, whereas carbon is somewhat more evenly distributed; and carbon stocks protected in one location are equivalent to those protected elsewhere. Efficient compromises can only be achieved when biodiversity and carbon are incorporated together within a spatial planning process. PMID:23279784

  15. Accounting for biodiversity in the dairy industry.

    PubMed

    Sizemore, Grant C

    2015-05-15

    Biodiversity is an essential part of properly functioning ecosystems, yet the loss of biodiversity currently occurs at rates unparalleled in the modern era. One of the major causes of this phenomenon is habitat loss and modification as a result of intensified agricultural practices. This paper provides a starting point for considering biodiversity within dairy production, and, although focusing primarily on the United States, findings are applicable broadly. Biodiversity definitions and assessments (e.g., indicators, tools) are proposed and reviewed. Although no single indicator or tool currently meets all the needs of comprehensive assessment, many sustainable practices are readily adoptable as ways to conserve and promote biodiversity. These practices, as well as potential funding opportunities are identified. Given the state of uncertainty in addressing the complex nature of biodiversity assessments, the adoption of generally sustainable environmental practices may be the best currently available option for protecting biodiversity on dairy lands. PMID:25817566

  16. The impact of shifts in marine biodiversity hotspots on patterns of range evolution: Evidence from the Holocentridae (squirrelfishes and soldierfishes).

    PubMed

    Dornburg, Alex; Moore, Jon; Beaulieu, Jeremy M; Eytan, Ron I; Near, Thomas J

    2015-01-01

    One of the most striking biodiversity patterns is the uneven distribution of marine species richness, with species diversity in the Indo-Australian Archipelago (IAA) exceeding all other areas. However, the IAA formed fairly recently, and marine biodiversity hotspots have shifted across nearly half the globe since the Paleogene. Understanding how lineages have responded to shifting biodiversity hotspots represents a necessary historic perspective on the formation and maintenance of global marine biodiversity. Such evolutionary inferences are often challenged by a lack of fossil evidence that provide insights into historic patterns of abundance and diversity. The greatest diversity of squirrelfishes and soldierfishes (Holocentridae) is in the IAA, yet these fishes also represent some of the most numerous fossil taxa in deposits of the former West Tethyan biodiversity hotspot. We reconstruct the pattern of holocentrid range evolution using time-calibrated phylogenies that include most living species and several fossil lineages, demonstrating the importance of including fossil species as terminal taxa in ancestral area reconstructions. Holocentrids exhibit increased range fragmentation following the West Tethyan hotspot collapse. However, rather than originating within the emerging IAA hotspot, the IAA has acted as a reservoir for holocentrid diversity that originated in adjacent regions over deep evolutionary time scales. PMID:25407924

  17. Biodiversity consequences of alternative future land use scenarios in Greater Yellowstone.

    PubMed

    Gude, Patricia H; Hansen, Andrew J; Jones, Danielle A

    2007-06-01

    Land use is rapidly expanding in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, primarily from growth in the number of rural homes. There is a need to project possible future land use and assess impacts on nature reserves as a guide to future management. We assessed the potential biodiversity impacts of alternative future land use scenarios in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. An existing regression-based simulation model was used to project three alternative scenarios of future rural home development. The spatial patterns of forecasted development were then compared to several biodiversity response variables that included cover types, species habitats, and biodiversity indices. We identified the four biodiversity responses most at risk of exurban development, designed growth management policies to protect these areas, and tested their effectiveness in two alternative future scenarios. We found that the measured biodiversity responses, including riparian habitat, elk winter range, migration corridors, and eight other land cover, habitat, and biodiversity indices, are likely to undergo substantial conversion (between 5% and 40%) to exurban development by 2020. Future habitat conversion to exurban development outside the region's nature reserves is likely to impact wildlife populations within the reserves. Existing growth management policies will provide minimal protection to biodiversity in this region. We identified specific growth management policies, including incentives to cluster future growth near towns, that can protect "at risk" habitat types without limiting overall growth in housing. PMID:17555214

  18. Relevance of cryptic fishes in biodiversity assessments: A case study at Buck Island Reef National Monument, St. Croix

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith-Vaniz, W.F.; Jelks, H.L.; Rocha, L.A.

    2006-01-01

    Because cryptic fishes are difficult to accurately survey, they are undersampled components of coral reef habitats, and their ecological roles have been generally ignored. Fifty-eight enclosed stations were sampled in shoreline, nearshore reef, lagoon, backreef, forereef, and bank/shelf habitats with an ichthyocide (rotenone) at Buck Island Reef National Monument, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Our samples included 55 families and 228 species, 60 previously unreported from St. Croix. Fish assemblages varied across habitat zones with the shoreline assemblage the most distinct. Only 8% of the species were present in all habitats. Multi-dimensional scaling plots of habitat characteristics and Bray-Curtis similarities of fish assemblages revealed similar patterns. Dominant and rare taxa are enumerated for each habitat sampled. Rotenone and visual census data are compared. While visual surveys accumulated more species per unit of effort, rotenone samples accumulated more species by area. Only 36% of the 228 species sampled with rotenone were visually detected, while 70% of the 115 species visually detected were also collected with rotenone. The use of rotenone is controversial but important for obtaining reasonably complete inventories of reef fishes. Misconceptions about rotenone and the advantages and limitations of alternative biodiversity assessment methods are discussed. ?? 2006 Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science of the University of Miami.

  19. Conceptualising the effectiveness of impact assessment processes

    SciTech Connect

    Chanchitpricha, Chaunjit; Bond, Alan; Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management School of Geo and Spatial Sciences, Internal Box 375, North West University

    2013-11-15

    This paper aims at conceptualising the effectiveness of impact assessment processes through the development of a literature-based framework of criteria to measure impact assessment effectiveness. Four categories of effectiveness were established: procedural, substantive, transactive and normative, each containing a number of criteria; no studies have previously brought together all four of these categories into such a comprehensive, criteria-based framework and undertaken systematic evaluation of practice. The criteria can be mapped within a cycle/or cycles of evaluation, based on the ‘logic model’, at the stages of input, process, output and outcome to enable the identification of connections between the criteria across the categories of effectiveness. This framework is considered to have potential application in measuring the effectiveness of many impact assessment processes, including strategic environmental assessment (SEA), environmental impact assessment (EIA), social impact assessment (SIA) and health impact assessment (HIA). -- Highlights: • Conceptualising effectiveness of impact assessment processes. • Identification of factors influencing effectiveness of impact assessment processes. • Development of criteria within a framework for evaluating IA effectiveness. • Applying the logic model to examine connections between effectiveness criteria.

  20. A critical assessment of marine aquarist biodiversity data and commercial aquaculture: identifying gaps in culture initiatives to inform local fisheries managers.

    PubMed

    Murray, Joanna M; Watson, Gordon J

    2014-01-01

    It is widely accepted that if well managed, the marine aquarium trade could provide socio-economic stability to local communities while incentivising the maintenance of coral reefs. However, the trade has also been implicated as having potentially widespread environmental impacts that has in part driven developments in aquaculture to relieve wild collection pressures. This study investigates the biodiversity in hobbyist aquaria (using an online survey) and those species currently available from an aquaculture source (commercial data and hobbyist initiatives) in the context of a traffic light system to highlight gaps in aquaculture effort and identify groups that require fisheries assessments. Two hundred and sixty nine species including clown fish, damsels, dotty backs, angelfish, gobies, sea horses and blennies, have reported breeding successes by hobbyists, a pattern mirrored by the European and US commercial organisations. However, there is a mismatch (high demand and low/non-existent aquaculture) for a number of groups including tangs, starfish, anemones and hermit crabs, which we recommend are priority candidates for local stock assessments. Hobbyist perception towards the concept of a sustainable aquarium trade is also explored with results demonstrating that only 40% of respondents were in agreement with industry and scientists who believe the trade could be an exemplar of a sustainable use of coral reefs. We believe that a more transparent evidence base, including the publication of the species collected and cultured, will go some way to align the concept of a sustainable trade across industry stakeholders and better inform the hobbyist when purchasing their aquaria stock. We conclude by proposing that a certification scheme established with government support is the most effective way to move towards a self-regulating industry. It would prevent industry "greenwashing" from multiple certification schemes, alleviate conservation concerns, and, ultimately, support aquaculture initiatives alongside well managed ornamental fisheries. PMID:25207538

  1. A Critical Assessment of Marine Aquarist Biodiversity Data and Commercial Aquaculture: Identifying Gaps in Culture Initiatives to Inform Local Fisheries Managers

    PubMed Central

    Murray, Joanna M.; Watson, Gordon J.

    2014-01-01

    It is widely accepted that if well managed, the marine aquarium trade could provide socio-economic stability to local communities while incentivising the maintenance of coral reefs. However, the trade has also been implicated as having potentially widespread environmental impacts that has in part driven developments in aquaculture to relieve wild collection pressures. This study investigates the biodiversity in hobbyist aquaria (using an online survey) and those species currently available from an aquaculture source (commercial data and hobbyist initiatives) in the context of a traffic light system to highlight gaps in aquaculture effort and identify groups that require fisheries assessments. Two hundred and sixty nine species including clown fish, damsels, dotty backs, angelfish, gobies, sea horses and blennies, have reported breeding successes by hobbyists, a pattern mirrored by the European and US commercial organisations. However, there is a mismatch (high demand and low/non-existent aquaculture) for a number of groups including tangs, starfish, anemones and hermit crabs, which we recommend are priority candidates for local stock assessments. Hobbyist perception towards the concept of a sustainable aquarium trade is also explored with results demonstrating that only 40% of respondents were in agreement with industry and scientists who believe the trade could be an exemplar of a sustainable use of coral reefs. We believe that a more transparent evidence base, including the publication of the species collected and cultured, will go some way to align the concept of a sustainable trade across industry stakeholders and better inform the hobbyist when purchasing their aquaria stock. We conclude by proposing that a certification scheme established with government support is the most effective way to move towards a self-regulating industry. It would prevent industry “greenwashing” from multiple certification schemes, alleviate conservation concerns, and, ultimately, support aquaculture initiatives alongside well managed ornamental fisheries. PMID:25207538

  2. Assessing state-wide biodiversity in the Florida Gap analysis project

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pearlstine, L.G.; Smith, S.E.; Brandt, L.A.; Allen, C.R.; Kitchens, W.M.; Stenberg, J.

    2002-01-01

    The Florida Gap (FI-Gap) project provides an assessment of the degree to which native animal species and natural communities are or are not represented in existing conservation lands. Those species and communities not adequately represented in areas being managed for native species constitute 'gaps' in the existing network of conservation lands. The United States Geological Survey Gap Analysis Program is a national effort and so, eventually, all 50 states will have completed it. The objective of FI-Gap was to provide broad geographic information on the status of terrestrial vertebrates, butterflies, skippers and ants and their respective habitats to address the loss of biological diversity. To model the distributions and potential habitat of all terrestrial species of mammals, breeding birds, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, skippers and ants in Florida, natural land cover was mapped to the level of dominant or co-dominant plant species. Land cover was classified from Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) satellite imagery and auxiliary data such as the national wetlands inventory (NWI), soils maps, aerial imagery, existing land use/land cover maps, and on-the-ground surveys, Wildlife distribution models were produced by identifying suitable habitat for each species within that species' range, Mammalian models also assessed a minimum critical area required for sustainability of the species' population. Wildlife species richness was summarized against land stewardship ranked by an area's mandates for conservation protection. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Measuring biodiversity and sustainable management in forests and agricultural landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Dudley, Nigel; Baldock, David; Nasi, Robert; Stolton, Sue

    2005-01-01

    Most of the world's biodiversity will continue to exist outside protected areas and there are also managed lands within many protected areas. In the assessment of millennium targets, there is therefore a need for indicators to measure biodiversity and suitability of habitats for biodiversity both across the whole landscape/seascape and in specific managed habitats. The two predominant land uses in many inhabited areas are forestry and agriculture and these are examined. Many national-level criteria and indicator systems already exist that attempt to assess biodiversity in forests and the impacts of forest management, but there is generally less experience in measuring these values in agricultural landscapes. Existing systems are reviewed, both for their usefulness in providing indicators and to assess the extent to which they have been applied. This preliminary gap analysis is used in the development of a set of indicators suitable for measuring progress towards the conservation of biodiversity in managed forests and agriculture. The paper concludes with a draft set of indicators for discussion, with suggestions including proportion of land under sustainable management, amount of produce from such land, area of natural or high quality semi-natural land within landscapes under sustainable management and key indicator species. PMID:15814357

  4. Risk assessment methodologies for biotechnology impact assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gillett, James W.

    1986-07-01

    By combining hazard assessment of effects of a potential biotechnology product with exposure assessments based on study of the genetically engineered organism's fate, conclusions may be reached about the risk involved in release of the product to the environment. In order to make this risk assessment, criteria (including regulatory endpoints) must be established and then developed further against a data base from well-accepted tests. Other aspects requiring research and development include test evaluation, quality assurance, statistical procedures, and methods of identifying and monitoring not only the nominal organism(s) in the products, but also any contaminating material or organisms to which the genetically engineered components may be transferred in the environment. Application of microcosm technology to testing of genetically engineered organisms is expected to be important, since these systems may be used safely to understand fate and effects prior to (or in place of) testing the product in the environment. Limitations in the use of microcosms may be offset by the cost-effectiveness and incisiveness of results, as has been shown for other pollutants. Risk management for biotechnology products currently lacks an adequate background, but components of the process exist or can be developed. New resources, in terms of personnel, training, facilities, and funding, will be needed in order to apply the risk assessment paradigm used for toxic chemicals and pesticides. We will need to know:

  5. Assessing biogeographic patterns in the changes in soil invertebrate biodiversity due to acidic deposition

    SciTech Connect

    Sugg, P.M.; Kuperman, R.G.; Loucks, O.L. |

    1995-09-01

    We are studying the response of soil faunal communities to a gradient in acidic deposition across midwestern hardwood forests. We have documented a pattern of population decrease and species loss for soil invertebrates along the acidification gradient. We now ask the following question: When confronted with apparent diversity changes along a region-wide pollution gradient, how can one assess the possibility of natural biogeographic gradients accounting for the pattern? As a first approximation, we use published range maps from taxonomic monographs to determine the percent of the regional fauna with ranges encompassing each site. For staphylinid beetles, range data show no sign of a biogeographic gradient. Yet for soil staphylinids, a large decrease is seen in alpha diversity (as species richness) from low to high acid dose sites (from 20 species to 8). Staphylinid species turnover is greatest in the transition from low to intermediate dose sites.

  6. Assessment of Helminth Biodiversity in Wild Rats Using 18S rDNA Based Metagenomics

    PubMed Central

    Tsai, Isheng J.; Palomares-Rius, Juan Emilio; Yoshida, Ayako; Ogura, Yoshitoshi; Hayashi, Tetsuya; Maruyama, Haruhiko; Kikuchi, Taisei

    2014-01-01

    Parasite diversity has important implications in several research fields including ecology, evolutionary biology and epidemiology. Wide-ranging analysis has been restricted because of the difficult, highly specialised and time-consuming processes involved in parasite identification. In this study, we assessed parasite diversity in wild rats using 18S rDNA-based metagenomics. 18S rDNA PCR products were sequenced using an Illumina MiSeq sequencer and the analysis of the sequences using the QIIME software successfully classified them into several parasite groups. The comparison of the results with those obtained using standard methods including microscopic observation of helminth parasites in the rat intestines and PCR amplification/sequencing of 18S rDNA from isolated single worms suggests that this new technique is reliable and useful to investigate parasite diversity. PMID:25340824

  7. Microsatellite marker-based assessment of the biodiversity of native bioethanol yeast strains.

    PubMed

    Antonangelo, Ana Teresa B F; Alonso, Diego P; Ribolla, Paulo E M; Colombi, Débora

    2013-08-01

    Although many Brazilian sugar mills initiate the fermentation process by inoculating selected commercial Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains, the unsterile conditions of the industrial sugar cane ethanol fermentation process permit the constant entry of native yeast strains. Certain of those native strains are better adapted and tend to predominate over the initial strain, which may cause problems during fermentation. In the industrial fermentation process, yeast cells are often exposed to stressful environmental conditions, including prolonged cell recycling, ethanol toxicity and osmotic, oxidative or temperature stress. Little is known about these S. cerevisiae strains, although recent studies have demonstrated that heterogeneous genome architecture is exhibited by some selected well-adapted Brazilian indigenous yeast strains that display high performance in bioethanol fermentation. In this study, 11 microsatellite markers were used to assess the genetic diversity and population structure of the native autochthonous S. cerevisiae strains in various Brazilian sugar mills. The resulting multilocus data were used to build a similarity-based phenetic tree and to perform a Bayesian population structure analysis. The tree revealed the presence of great genetic diversity among the strains, which were arranged according to the place of origin and the collection year. The population structure analysis revealed genotypic differences among populations; in certain populations, these genotypic differences are combined to yield notably genotypically diverse individuals. The high yeast diversity observed among native S. cerevisiae strains provides new insights on the use of autochthonous high-fitness strains with industrial characteristics as starter cultures at bioethanol plants. PMID:23765797

  8. Invasions, DNA barcodes, and rapid biodiversity assessment using ants of Mauritius

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background Using an understudied taxon (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) found on a tropical island (Mauritius) where native flora and fauna have been threatened by 400 years of habitat modification and introduced species, we tested whether estimated incidences of diversity and complementarity were similar when measured by standard morphological alpha-taxonomy or phylogenetic diversity (PD) based on a standardized mitochondrial barcode and corroborating nuclear marker. Results We found that costs related to site loss (considered loss of evolutionary history measured as loss of barcode PD) were not significantly different from predictions made either a) using standard morphology-based taxonomy, or b) measured using a nuclear marker. Integrating morphology and barcode results permitted us to identify a case of initially morphologically-cryptic variation as a new and endemic candidate species. However, barcode estimates of the relative importance of each site or network of sites were dramatically affected when the species in question was known to be indigenous or introduced. Conclusion This study goes beyond a mere demonstration of the rapid gains possible for diversity assessment using a standardized DNA barcode. Contextualization of these gains with ecological and natural history information is necessary to calibrate this wealth of standardized information. Without such an integrative approach, critical opportunities to advance knowledge will be missed. PMID:20003263

  9. Bias in assessments of marine microbial biodiversity in fosmid libraries as evaluated by pyrosequencing.

    PubMed

    Temperton, Ben; Field, Dawn; Oliver, Anna; Tiwari, Bela; Mühling, Martin; Joint, Ian; Gilbert, Jack A

    2009-07-01

    On the basis of 16S rRNA gene sequencing, the SAR11 clade of marine bacteria has an almost universal distribution, being detected as abundant sequences in all marine provinces. Yet, SAR11 sequences are rarely detected in fosmid libraries, suggesting that the widespread abundance may be an artefact of PCR cloning and that SAR11 has a relatively low abundance. Here the relative abundance of SAR11 is explored in both a fosmid library and a metagenomic sequence data set from the same biological community taken from fjord surface water from Bergen, Norway. Pyrosequenced data and 16S clone data confirmed an 11-15% relative abundance of SAR11 within the community. In contrast, not a single SAR11 fosmid was identified in a pooled shotgun sequence data set of 100 fosmid clones. This underrepresentation was evidenced by comparative abundances of SAR11 sequences assessed by taxonomic annotation and fragment recruitment. Analysis revealed a similar underrepresentation of low-GC Flavobacteriaceae. We speculate that a contributing factor towards the fosmid bias may be DNA fragmentation during preparation because of the low GC content of SAR11 sequences and other underrepresented taxa. This study suggests that, although fosmid libraries can be extremely useful, caution must be taken when directly inferring community composition from metagenomic fosmid libraries. PMID:19340085

  10. Biodiversity in the Anthropocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ellis, E. C.

    2012-12-01

    Humans have altered or replaced native ecosystems across more than three quarters of the terrestrial biosphere, creating new global patterns of biodiversity as a result of native species extinctions, domestication and anthropogenic introductions of nonnative species. These anthropogenic global changes in biodiversity have been portrayed as resulting primarily from recent and unprecedented human disturbances that are potentially indicative of catastrophic changes in the Earth system. Yet anthropogenic changes in species richness and community structure caused by human populations and their use of land have been widespread and profound in many regions since before the Holocene, and have been sustained for millennia in many regions, especially in the Temperate Zone. Beyond the anthropogenic megafaunal extinctions of the Pleistocene, habitat loss and fragmentation by agricultural land use has been sustained throughout the Holocene in many biomes at levels theoretically associated with major species extinctions. Anthropogenic patterns of species extinction differ greatly among taxa, with mammals and other larger fauna showing the greatest impacts. However, spatially explicit observations and models of contemporary global patterns of vascular plant species richness confirm that while native losses are likely significant across at least half of Earth's ice-free land, species richness has increased overall in most regional landscapes, mostly because nonnative species invasions tend to exceed native losses. Effective stewardship of biodiversity in the Anthropocene will require integrated global frameworks for observing, modeling and forecasting anthropogenic biodiversity change processes within the novel biotic communities created and sustained by human systems.; Percentage of terrestrial biomes converted to agricultural land over time. ; Conceptual diagram of biodiversity patterns associated with variations in population density, land use and land cover.

  11. Handbook for value-impact assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Heaberlin, S.W.; Burnham, J.B.; Gallucci, R.H.V.; Mullen, M.F.; Nesse, R.J.; Nieves, L.A.; Tawil, J.J.; Triplett, M.B.; Weakley, S.A.; Wusterbarth, A.R.

    1983-12-01

    The basic purpose of this handbook is to document a set of systematic procedures for providing information that can be used in performing value-impact assessments of Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulatory actions. The handbook describes a structured but flexible process for performing the assessment. Chapter 1 is an introduction to the value-impact assessment process. Chapter 2 describes the attributes most frequently affected by proposed NRC actions, provides guidance concerningthe appropriate level of effort to be devoted to the assessment, suggests a standard format for documenting the assessment, and discusses the treatment of uncertainty. Chapter 3 contains detailed methods for evaluating each of the attributes affected by a regulatory action. The handbook has five appendixes containing background information, technical data, and example applications of the value-impact assessment procedures. This edition of the handbook focuses primarily on assessing nuclear power reactor safety issues.

  12. Ohio Aquatic Gap Analysis-An Assessment of the Biodiversity and Conservation Status of Native Aquatic Animal Species

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Covert, S. Alex; Kula, Stephanie P.; Simonson, Laura A.

    2007-01-01

    The goal of the GAP Analysis Program is to keep common species common by identifying those species and habitats that are not yet adequately represented in the existing matrix of conservation lands. The Gap Analysis Program (GAP) is sponsored by the Biological Resources Discipline of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The Ohio Aquatic GAP (OH-GAP) is a pilot project that is applying the GAP concept to aquatic-specifically, riverine-data. The mission of GAP is to provide regional assessments of the conservation status of native animal species and to facilitate the application of this information to land-management activities. OH-GAP accomplished this through * mapping aquatic habitat types, * mapping the predicted distributions of fish, crayfish, and bivalves, * documenting the presence of aquatic species in areas managed for conservation, * providing GAP results to the public, planners, managers, policy makers, and researchers, and * building cooperation with multiple organizations to apply GAP results to state and regional management activities. Gap analysis is a coarse-scale assessment of aquatic biodiversity and conservation; the goal is to identify gaps in the conservation of native aquatic species. It is not a substitute for biological field studies and monitoring programs. Gap analysis was conducted for the continuously flowing streams in Ohio. Lakes, reservoirs, wetlands, and the Lake Erie islands were not included in this analysis. The streams in Ohio are in the Lake Erie and Ohio River watersheds and pass through six of the level III ecoregions defined by Omernik: the Eastern Corn Belt Plains, Southern Michigan/Northern Indiana Drift Plains, Huron/Erie Lake Plain, Erie Drift Plains, Interior Plateau, and the Western Allegheny Plateau. To characterize the aquatic habitats available to Ohio fish, crayfish, and bivalves, a classification system needed to be developed and mapped. The process of classification includes delineation of areas of relative homogeneity and labeling these areas using categories defined by the classification system. The variables were linked to the 1:100,000-scale streams of the National Hydrography Dataset of the USGS. Through discussions with Ohio aquatic experts, OH-GAP identified eight separate enduring physical features which, when combined, form the physical habitat type: * Shreve link (a measure of stream size) * Downstream Shreve link (a measure of stream connectivity and size) * Sinuosity * Gradient * Bedrock * Stream temperature * Character of glacial drift * Glacial-drift thickness Potential distribution models were developed for 130 fish, 70 bivalve, and 17 native crayfish species. These models are based on 5,686 fish, 4,469 crayfish, and 2,899 freshwater bivalve (mussels and clams) sampling locations, the variables describing the physical habitat types, and variables indicating the major drainage basins and Omernik's Level III ecoregion. All potential species distributions are displayed and analyzed at the 14-digit hydrologic unit (14-HUs), or subwatershed, level. Mainland Ohio contains 1,749 14-HUs. All statistics and conclusions, as well as spatial data, are discussed and presented in terms of these units. The Ohio Aquatic Gap Analysis Project compiled a map of public and private conservation lands and OH-GAP classified the lands into four status categories (status 1 through status 4) by the degree of protection offered based on management practices. A status of 1 denotes the highest, most permanent level of maintenance, and status 4 represents the lowest level of biodiversity management, or unknown status. The results of this mapping show that only about 3.7 percent of the state's land (4.3 percent if lakes and reservoirs are also included) is protected for conservation, either publicly or privately. Of this total, state agencies control about 52 percent, and Federal agencies control about 29 percent. Conservation areas that presently protect

  13. Scenarios for future biodiversity loss due to multiple drivers reveal conflict between mitigating climate change and preserving biodiversity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Powell, Thomas W. R.; Lenton, Timothy M.

    2013-06-01

    We assess the potential for future biodiversity loss due to three interacting factors: energy withdrawal from ecosystems due to biomass harvest, habitat loss due to land-use change, and climate change. We develop four scenarios to 2050 with different combinations of high or low agricultural efficiency and high or low meat diets, and use species-energy and species-area relationships to estimate their effects on biodiversity. In our scenarios, natural ecosystems are protected except when additional land is necessary to fulfil the increasing dietary demands of the global population. Biomass energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) is used as a means of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) from the atmosphere (and offsetting fossil fuel emissions). BECCS is based on waste biomass, with the addition of bio-energy crops only when already managed land is no longer needed for food production. Forecast biodiversity loss from natural biomes increases by more than a factor of five in going from high to low agricultural efficiency scenarios, due to destruction of productive habitats by the expansion of pasture. Biodiversity loss from energy withdrawal on managed land varies by a factor of two across the scenarios. Biodiversity loss due to climate change varies only modestly across the scenarios. Climate change is lowest in the ‘low meat high efficiency’ scenario, in which by 2050 around 660 million hectares of pasture are converted to biomass plantation that is used for BECCS. However, the resulting withdrawal of energy from managed ecosystems has a large negative impact on biodiversity. Although the effects of energy withdrawal and climate change on biodiversity cannot be directly compared, this suggests that using bio-energy to tackle climate change in order to limit biodiversity loss could instead have the opposite effect.

  14. Filling Gaps in Biodiversity Knowledge for Macrofungi: Contributions and Assessment of an Herbarium Collection DNA Barcode Sequencing Project

    PubMed Central

    Osmundson, Todd W.; Robert, Vincent A.; Schoch, Conrad L.; Baker, Lydia J.; Smith, Amy; Robich, Giovanni; Mizzan, Luca; Garbelotto, Matteo M.

    2013-01-01

    Despite recent advances spearheaded by molecular approaches and novel technologies, species description and DNA sequence information are significantly lagging for fungi compared to many other groups of organisms. Large scale sequencing of vouchered herbarium material can aid in closing this gap. Here, we describe an effort to obtain broad ITS sequence coverage of the approximately 6000 macrofungal-species-rich herbarium of the Museum of Natural History in Venice, Italy. Our goals were to investigate issues related to large sequencing projects, develop heuristic methods for assessing the overall performance of such a project, and evaluate the prospects of such efforts to reduce the current gap in fungal biodiversity knowledge. The effort generated 1107 sequences submitted to GenBank, including 416 previously unrepresented taxa and 398 sequences exhibiting a best BLAST match to an unidentified environmental sequence. Specimen age and taxon affected sequencing success, and subsequent work on failed specimens showed that an ITS1 mini-barcode greatly increased sequencing success without greatly reducing the discriminating power of the barcode. Similarity comparisons and nonmetric multidimensional scaling ordinations based on pairwise distance matrices proved to be useful heuristic tools for validating the overall accuracy of specimen identifications, flagging potential misidentifications, and identifying taxa in need of additional species-level revision. Comparison of within- and among-species nucleotide variation showed a strong increase in species discriminating power at 1–2% dissimilarity, and identified potential barcoding issues (same sequence for different species and vice-versa). All sequences are linked to a vouchered specimen, and results from this study have already prompted revisions of species-sequence assignments in several taxa. PMID:23638077

  15. The Biodiversity Informatics Potential Index

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Biodiversity informatics is a relatively new discipline extending computer science in the context of biodiversity data, and its development to date has not been uniform throughout the world. Digitizing effort and capacity building are costly, and ways should be found to prioritize them rationally. The proposed 'Biodiversity Informatics Potential (BIP) Index' seeks to fulfill such a prioritization role. We propose that the potential for biodiversity informatics be assessed through three concepts: (a) the intrinsic biodiversity potential (the biological richness or ecological diversity) of a country; (b) the capacity of the country to generate biodiversity data records; and (c) the availability of technical infrastructure in a country for managing and publishing such records. Methods Broadly, the techniques used to construct the BIP Index were rank correlation, multiple regression analysis, principal components analysis and optimization by linear programming. We built the BIP Index by finding a parsimonious set of country-level human, economic and environmental variables that best predicted the availability of primary biodiversity data accessible through the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) network, and constructing an optimized model with these variables. The model was then applied to all countries for which sufficient data existed, to obtain a score for each country. Countries were ranked according to that score. Results Many of the current GBIF participants ranked highly in the BIP Index, although some of them seemed not to have realized their biodiversity informatics potential. The BIP Index attributed low ranking to most non-participant countries; however, a few of them scored highly, suggesting that these would be high-return new participants if encouraged to contribute towards the GBIF mission of free and open access to biodiversity data. Conclusions The BIP Index could potentially help in (a) identifying countries most likely to contribute to filling gaps in digitized biodiversity data; (b) assisting countries potentially in need (for example mega-diverse) to mobilize resources and collect data that could be used in decision-making; and (c) allowing identification of which biodiversity informatics-resourced countries could afford to assist countries lacking in biodiversity informatics capacity, and which data-rich countries should benefit most from such help. PMID:22373233

  16. Interactive Effects of Nitrogen and Climate Change on Biodiversity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Porter, E. M.; Bowman, W. D.; Clark, C. M.; Compton, J. E.; Pardo, L. H.; Soong, J.

    2011-12-01

    Biodiversity has been described as the diversity of life on earth within species, between species and in ecosystems. Biodiversity contributes to regulating ecosystem services like climate, flood, disease, and water quality regulation. Biodiversity also supports and sustains ecosystem services that provide material goods like food, fiber, fuel, timber and water, and to non-material benefits like educational, recreational, spiritual, and aesthetic ecosystem services. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment estimated that the rate of biodiversity loss due to human activity in the last 50 years has been more rapid than at any other time in human history, and that many of the drivers of biodiversity loss are increasing. The strongest drivers of biodiversity loss include habitat loss, overexploitation, invasive species, climate change, and pollution, including pollution from reactive nitrogen. Of these stressors, climate change and reactive nitrogen from anthropogenic activities are causing some of the most rapid changes. Climate change is causing warming trends that result in consistent patterns of poleward and elevational range shifts of flora and fauna, causing changes in biodiversity. Warming has also resulted in changes in phenology, particularly the earlier onset of spring events, migration, and lengthening of the growing season, disrupting predator-prey and plant-pollinator interactions. In addition to warming, elevated carbon dioxide by itself can affect biodiversity by influencing plant growth, soil water, tissue stoichiometry, and trophic interactions. Nitrogen enrichment also impacts ecosystems and biodiversity in a variety of ways. Nitrogen enhances plant growth, but has been shown to favor invasive, fast-growing species over native species adapted to low nitrogen conditions. Although there have been a limited number of empirical studies on climate change and nitrogen interactions, inferences can be drawn from observed responses to each stressor by itself. For example, in certain arid ecosystems of southern California, elevated nitrogen has promoted invasions of annual non-native grasses. At the same time, a period of above-normal precipitation years has exacerbated the grass invasions. Increased grass cover has altered the hydrologic cycle of these areas and increased fire risk, ultimately leading to conversion of the ecosystem from diverse shrublands to less diverse grasslands. In addition to empirical studies, modeling can be used to simulate climate change and nitrogen interactions. The ForSAFE-VEG model, for example, has been used to examine climate change and nitrogen interactions in Rocky Mountain alpine vegetation communities. Results from both empirical studies and modeling indicate that nitrogen and climate change interact to drive losses in biodiversity greater than those caused by either stressor alone. Reducing inputs of anthropogenic reactive nitrogen may be an effective mitigation strategy for protecting biodiversity in the face of climate change.

  17. Biodiversity comparison between paired organic and conventional fields in Puducherry, India.

    PubMed

    Padmavathy, A; Poyyamoli, G

    2013-12-01

    Modern intensive chemical agriculture and its expansion have caused a dramatic decline in the agro-biodiversity throughout the world. Recently, accumulating evidences indicate that organic farming is a sustainable farming system that can potentially reduce the biodiversity loss and conserve biodiversity. This chapter investigates the impacts on biodiversity in paired organic and conventional agricultural plots, to determine whether organic agriculture can deliver biodiversity benefits including enhanced ecosystem services. The study assessed a wide range of taxa through different methods-plants by quadrates; soil microbes; earthworms by counting; butterflies and dragonflies by pollard walk method; other arthropods by visual searching and pitfall traps; reptiles by hand capture method; molluscs by hand picking and dredging; amphibians-frogs by direct sighted/visual encountered and birds by direct sighting, calls and variable width line-transect method. Habitat area, composition and management on organic fields were likely to favor higher levels of biodiversity by supporting more numbers of species, dominance and abundance across most taxa. Overall organic hedgerows harbored larger biodiversity during both pre-harvest and post harvest period. Species richness, dominance and abundance of most taxa are lost after harvest in both conventional and organic fields due lack of habit, habitat and microclimate. However, the magnitude of the response varied among the taxa. Organic fields are the systems less dependent on external inputs restore and rejuvenate environment resulting in higher biodiversity that promotes higher sustainable production on a long-term basis. PMID:24506034

  18. AIDA: Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheng, Andrew; Michel, Patrick; Ulamec, Stephan; Reed, Cheryl; Galvez, Andres; Carnelli, Ian

    On Feb. 15, 2013, an exceptionally close approach to Earth by the small asteroid 2012 DA14 was eagerly awaited by observers, but another small asteroid impacted Earth over Chelyabinsk, Russia the same day without warning, releasing several hundred kilotons TNT of energy and injuring over 1500 people. These dramatic events remind us of the needs to discover hazardous asteroids and to learn how to mitigate them. The AIDA mission is the first demonstration of a mitigation technique to protect the Earth from a potential asteroid impact, by performing a spacecraft kinetic impact on an asteroid to deflect it from its trajectory. We will provide an update on the status of parallel AIDA mission studies supported by ESA and NASA. AIDA is an international collaboration consisting of two independent but mutually supporting missions, one of which is the asteroid kinetic impactor, and the other is the characterization spacecraft which will orbit the asteroid system to monitor the deflection experiment and measure the results. These two missions are the NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), which is the kinetic impactor, and the European Space Agency's Asteroid Impact Monitoring (AIM) mission, which is the characterization spacecraft. The target of the AIDA mission will be a binary asteroid, in which DART will target the secondary, smaller member in order to deflect the binary orbit. The resulting period change can be measured to within 10% by ground-based observations. The asteroid deflection will be measured to higher accuracy, and additional results of the DART impact, like the impact crater, will be studied in great detail by the AIM mission. AIDA will return vital data to determine the momentum transfer efficiency of the kinetic impact and key physical properties of the target asteroid. The two mission components of AIDA, DART and AIM, are each independently valuable, but when combined they provide a greatly increased knowledge return. The AIDA mission will combine US and European space experience and expertise to address an international problem, the asteroid impact hazard. AIDA will also be a valuable precursor to human spaceflight to an asteroid, as it would return unique information on an asteroid's strength and internal structure and would be particularly relevant to a human mission for asteroid mitigation. AIDA will furthermore return fundamental new science data on impact cratering, surface properties and interior structure. AIDA will target the binary Near-Earth asteroid Didymos with two independently launched spacecraft, with the deflection experiment to occur in October, 2022.

  19. Impact assessment: Eroding benefits through streamlining?

    SciTech Connect

    Bond, Alan; School of Geo and Spatial Sciences, North-West University ; Pope, Jenny; Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute ; Morrison-Saunders, Angus; Environmental Science, Murdoch University ; Retief, Francois; Gunn, Jill A.E.

    2014-02-15

    This paper argues that Governments have sought to streamline impact assessment in recent years (defined as the last five years) to counter concerns over the costs and potential for delays to economic development. We hypothesise that this has had some adverse consequences on the benefits that subsequently accrue from the assessments. This hypothesis is tested using a framework developed from arguments for the benefits brought by Environmental Impact Assessment made in 1982 in the face of the UK Government opposition to its implementation in a time of economic recession. The particular benefits investigated are ‘consistency and fairness’, ‘early warning’, ‘environment and development’, and ‘public involvement’. Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Western Australia are the jurisdictions tested using this framework. The conclusions indicate that significant streamlining has been undertaken which has had direct adverse effects on some of the benefits that impact assessment should deliver, particularly in Canada and the UK. The research has not examined whether streamlining has had implications for the effectiveness of impact assessment, but the causal link between streamlining and benefits does sound warning bells that merit further investigation. -- Highlights: • Investigation of the extent to which government has streamlined IA. • Evaluation framework was developed based on benefits of impact assessment. • Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Western Australia were examined. • Trajectory in last five years is attrition of benefits of impact assessment.

  20. LIFE CYCLE IMPACT ASSESSMENT SOPHISTICATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    An international workshop was held in Brussels on 11/29-30/1998, to discuss LCIA Sophistication. LCA experts from North America, Europs, and Asia attended. Critical reviews of associated factors, including current limitations of available assessment methodologies, and comparison...

  1. ASSESSMENT OF ATMOSPHERIC DEPOSITION ECOLOGICAL IMPACTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    CAMD works with research scientists and organizations in the academic community to assess and better understand the impacts of atmospheric deposition of power sector pollutant emissions on terrestrial and aquatic (including freshwater and marine) ecosystems. See peer review pr...

  2. Integrating Ecosystem Services Into Health Impact Assessment

    EPA Science Inventory

    Health Impact Assessment (HIA) provides a methodology for incorporating considerations of public health into planning and decision-making processes. HIA promotes interdisciplinary action, stakeholder participation, and timeliness and takes into account equity, sustainability, and...

  3. Biodiversity Analysis of Vegetation on the Nevada Test Site

    SciTech Connect

    W. K. Ostler; D. J. Hansen

    2001-06-01

    The Nevada Test Site (NTS) located in south central Nevada encompasses approximately 3,561 square kilometers and straddles two major North American deserts, Mojave and Great Basin. Transitional areas between the two desert types have been created by gradients in elevation, precipitation, temperature, and soils. From 1996-1998, more than 1,500 ecological landform units were sampled at the NTS for numerous biotic and abiotic parameters. These data provide a basis for spatial evaluations of biodiversity over landscape scales at the NTS. Species diversity maps (species richness vs. species abundance) have been produced. Differences in ecosystem diversity at the ecoregion, alliance, association, and ecological landform unit levels are presented. Spatial distribution maps of species presence and abundance provide evidence of where transition zones occur and the resulting impact on biodiversity. The influences of abiotic factors (elevation, soil, precipitation) and anthropogenic disturbance on biodiversity are assessed.

  4. Environmental services of biodiversity.

    PubMed Central

    Myers, N

    1996-01-01

    Humans derive many utilitarian benefits from the environmental services of biotas and ecosystems. This is often advanced as a prime argument to support conservation of biodiversity. There is much to be said for this viewpoint, as is documented in this paper through a summary assessment of several categories of environmental services, including regulation of climate and biogeochemical cycles, hydrological functions, soil protection, crop pollination, pest control, recreation and ecotourism, and a number of miscellaneous services. It is shown that the services are indeed significant, whether in ecological or economic senses. Particularly important is the factor of ecosystem resilience, which appears to underpin many of the services. It should not be supposed, however, that environmental services stem necessarily and exclusively from biodiversity. While biodiversity often plays a key role, the services can also derive from biomass and other attributes of biotas. The paper concludes with a brief overview assessment of economic values at issue and an appraisal of the implications for conservation planning. PMID:11607645

  5. Devising an Environmental Impact Assessment Curriculum

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Catalano, Ralph A.

    1975-01-01

    The need for personnel trained in understanding environmental impact statements has become apparent. In an attempt to fill this need, the University of California developed a program designed to produce a select number of graduates qualified to assess environmental impact statements. (MA)

  6. Assessment for Learning: Effects and Impact

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flórez, María Teresa; Sammons, Pamela

    2013-01-01

    The idea that schools can impact positively on student outcomes is a crucial driver in the rise of interest in school improvement research and practice. This review focuses on assessment for learning. Assessment for learning (AfL)--where the first priority is to promote learning--is a key means of initiating improvement. This review proposes that…

  7. Great apes and biodiversity offset projects in Africa: the case for national offset strategies.

    PubMed

    Kormos, Rebecca; Kormos, Cyril F; Humle, Tatyana; Lanjouw, Annette; Rainer, Helga; Victurine, Ray; Mittermeier, Russell A; Diallo, Mamadou S; Rylands, Anthony B; Williamson, Elizabeth A

    2014-01-01

    The development and private sectors are increasingly considering "biodiversity offsets" as a strategy to compensate for their negative impacts on biodiversity, including impacts on great apes and their habitats in Africa. In the absence of national offset policies in sub-Saharan Africa, offset design and implementation are guided by company internal standards, lending bank standards or international best practice principles. We examine four projects in Africa that are seeking to compensate for their negative impacts on great ape populations. Our assessment of these projects reveals that not all apply or implement best practices, and that there is little standardization in the methods used to measure losses and gains in species numbers. Even if they were to follow currently accepted best-practice principles, we find that these actions may still fail to contribute to conservation objectives over the long term. We advocate for an alternative approach in which biodiversity offset and compensation projects are designed and implemented as part of a National Offset Strategy that (1) takes into account the cumulative impacts of development in individual countries, (2) identifies priority offset sites, (3) promotes aggregated offsets, and (4) integrates biodiversity offset and compensation projects with national biodiversity conservation objectives. We also propose supplementary principles necessary for biodiversity offsets to contribute to great ape conservation in Africa. Caution should still be exercised, however, with regard to offsets until further field-based evidence of their effectiveness is available. PMID:25372894

  8. Great Apes and Biodiversity Offset Projects in Africa: The Case for National Offset Strategies

    PubMed Central

    Kormos, Rebecca; Kormos, Cyril F.; Humle, Tatyana; Lanjouw, Annette; Rainer, Helga; Victurine, Ray; Mittermeier, Russell A.; Diallo, Mamadou S.; Rylands, Anthony B.; Williamson, Elizabeth A.

    2014-01-01

    The development and private sectors are increasingly considering “biodiversity offsets” as a strategy to compensate for their negative impacts on biodiversity, including impacts on great apes and their habitats in Africa. In the absence of national offset policies in sub-Saharan Africa, offset design and implementation are guided by company internal standards, lending bank standards or international best practice principles. We examine four projects in Africa that are seeking to compensate for their negative impacts on great ape populations. Our assessment of these projects reveals that not all apply or implement best practices, and that there is little standardization in the methods used to measure losses and gains in species numbers. Even if they were to follow currently accepted best-practice principles, we find that these actions may still fail to contribute to conservation objectives over the long term. We advocate for an alternative approach in which biodiversity offset and compensation projects are designed and implemented as part of a National Offset Strategy that (1) takes into account the cumulative impacts of development in individual countries, (2) identifies priority offset sites, (3) promotes aggregated offsets, and (4) integrates biodiversity offset and compensation projects with national biodiversity conservation objectives. We also propose supplementary principles necessary for biodiversity offsets to contribute to great ape conservation in Africa. Caution should still be exercised, however, with regard to offsets until further field-based evidence of their effectiveness is available. PMID:25372894

  9. Lac Télé structure, Republic of Congo: Geological setting of a cryptozoological and biodiversity hotspot, and evidence against an impact origin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Master, Sharad

    2010-11-01

    Lac Télé is a large lake, ˜5.6 km in diameter, with an ovoid shape, situated at 17°10'E, 1°20'N, in the great tropical rain forest region of the Republic of Congo. This lake has attracted widespread attention, mainly because of the legends among the local people that it harbours a strange animal known as the Mokele-Mbembe, but also because it is situated in a region that is a hotbed of biodiversity and conservation efforts with respect to various endangered mammalian species, including gorillas and chimpanzees. Because of its appearance, Lac Télé has been regarded as a possible meteorite impact structure. Various expeditions, studying cryptozoology, conservation ecology, biodiversity, and the impact hypothesis, have visited Lac Télé in the past several decades. The Lac Télé structure is located in the NW part of the intracratonic Congo Basin, in a region dominated by Holocene alluvium, dense tropical rain forest, and swamps which form part of the basin of the Likouala aux Herbes, a multi-branched meandering river flowing over very low gradients into the Sangha river, a major tributary of the Congo river. Previous bathymetric studies have shown that the average depth of Lac Télé is only 4 m, including organic-rich silty sediments. The structure is that of a flat-bottomed dish. Modelling of the Lac Télé as an impact structure indicates a number of features which ought to be present. The absence of any of these features, coupled with the irregular ovoid shape, the palynological record, and the location of the structure at the intersection of major regional lineaments, is regarded as evidence against the impact hypothesis. Lac Télé as an isolated lake ecosystem is not unique in the Congo Basin, and there are several other similar small shallow isolated lakes surrounded by rain forest and marshes, some of which formed by damming of drainage systems by neotectonic faults. It is suggested that the formation of Lac Télé may be related to its location over neotectonically reactivated regional lineaments, which are also seismically active. Lac Télé and other similar hydrologic systems may be biodiversity hotspots because they acted as refugia following neotectonic hydrological re-organization of the Congo Basin.

  10. Optimizing carbon storage and biodiversity protection in tropical agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Gilroy, James J; Woodcock, Paul; Edwards, Felicity A; Wheeler, Charlotte; Medina Uribe, Claudia A; Haugaasen, Torbjørn; Edwards, David P

    2014-07-01

    With the rapidly expanding ecological footprint of agriculture, the design of farmed landscapes will play an increasingly important role for both carbon storage and biodiversity protection. Carbon and biodiversity can be enhanced by integrating natural habitats into agricultural lands, but a key question is whether benefits are maximized by including many small features throughout the landscape ('land-sharing' agriculture) or a few large contiguous blocks alongside intensive farmland ('land-sparing' agriculture). In this study, we are the first to integrate carbon storage alongside multi-taxa biodiversity assessments to compare land-sparing and land-sharing frameworks. We do so by sampling carbon stocks and biodiversity (birds and dung beetles) in landscapes containing agriculture and forest within the Colombian Chocó-Andes, a zone of high global conservation priority. We show that woodland fragments embedded within a matrix of cattle pasture hold less carbon per unit area than contiguous primary or advanced secondary forests (>15 years). Farmland sites also support less diverse bird and dung beetle communities than contiguous forests, even when farmland retains high levels of woodland habitat cover. Landscape simulations based on these data suggest that land-sparing strategies would be more beneficial for both carbon storage and biodiversity than land-sharing strategies across a range of production levels. Biodiversity benefits of land-sparing are predicted to be similar whether spared lands protect primary or advanced secondary forests, owing to the close similarity of bird and dung beetle communities between the two forest classes. Land-sparing schemes that encourage the protection and regeneration of natural forest blocks thus provide a synergy between carbon and biodiversity conservation, and represent a promising strategy for reducing the negative impacts of agriculture on tropical ecosystems. However, further studies examining a wider range of ecosystem services will be necessary to fully understand the links between land-allocation strategies and long-term ecosystem service provision. PMID:24764180

  11. Education and biodiversity

    SciTech Connect

    Ahearn, S.K.

    1988-01-01

    This study focuses on the importance of developing educational programs about biological diversity in order to preserve it more effectively. The study is divided into two parts. Part I is a needs assessment consisting of the results of: (1) a survey and checklist of land management and education/interpretive practices in natural areas of the United States, (2) a study of ecology research reports, (3) interviews of scientists, land managers, and environmental educators in natural areas, and (4) an analysis of popular published environmental-education activity and curriculum guides. From this, a set of needs was identified for purposes of planning activities for teaching about biodiversity in natural areas. Part II consists of sample activities that represent ways to incorporate current knowledge of biodiversity into education/interpretive programming on nature preserves, parks, and wildlife refuges. The ideas focus mainly on developing an understanding of what biodiversity looks like, from the scale of the habitat to the landscape, and from the genetic level to the ecosystem level. The activities are grouped according to six major topics: open space, marine resources, energy, solid waste, surface waters, and freshwater wetlands, and groundwater.

  12. Global biodiversity: indicators of recent declines

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Butchart, Stuart H.M.; Walpole, Matt; Collen, Ben; Van Strien, Arco; Scharlemann, Jorn P.W.; Almond, Rosamunde E.A.; Baillie, Jonathan E.M.; Bomhard, Bastian; Brown, Claire; Bruno, John; Carpenter, Kent E.; Carr, Genevieve M.; Chanson, Janice; Chenery, Anna M.; Csirke, Jorge; Davidson, Nick C.; Dentener, Frank; Foster, Matt; Galli, Alessandro; Galloway, James N.; Genovesi, Piero; Gregory, Richard D.; Hockings, Marc; Kapos, Valerie; Lamarque, Jean-Francois; Leverington, Fiona; Loh, Jonathan; McGeoch, Melodie A.; McRae, Louise; Minasyan, Anahit; Morcillo, Monica Hernandez; Oldfield, Thomasina E.E.; Pauly, Daniel; Quader, Suhel; Revenga, Carmen; Sauer, John R.; Skolnik, Benjamin; Spear, Dian; Stanwell-Smith, Damon; Stuart, Simon N.; Symes, Andy; Tierney, Megan; Tyrrell, Tristan D.; Vie, Jean-Christophe; Watson, Reg

    2011-01-01

    In 2002, world leaders committed, through the Convention on Biological Diversity, to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. We compiled 31 indicators to report on progress toward this target. Most indicators of the state of biodiversity (covering species' population trends, extinction risk, habitat extent and condition, and community composition) showed declines, with no significant recent reductions in rate, whereas indicators of pressures on biodiversity (including resource consumption, invasive alien species, nitrogen pollution, overexploitation, and climate change impacts) showed increases. Despite some local successes and increasing responses (including extent and biodiversity coverage of protected areas, sustainable forest management, policy responses to invasive alien species, and biodiversity-related aid), the rate of biodiversity loss does not appear to be slowing.

  13. A multi-scale metrics approach to forest fragmentation for Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Kim, Eunyoung; Song, Wonkyong; Lee, Dongkun; Research Institute for Agriculture and Life Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-921

    2013-09-15

    Forests are becoming severely fragmented as a result of land development. South Korea has responded to changing community concerns about environmental issues. The nation has developed and is extending a broad range of tools for use in environmental management. Although legally mandated environmental compliance requirements in South Korea have been implemented to predict and evaluate the impacts of land-development projects, these legal instruments are often insufficient to assess the subsequent impact of development on the surrounding forests. It is especially difficult to examine impacts on multiple (e.g., regional and local) scales in detail. Forest configuration and size, including forest fragmentation by land development, are considered on a regional scale. Moreover, forest structure and composition, including biodiversity, are considered on a local scale in the Environmental Impact Assessment process. Recently, the government amended the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, including the SEA, EIA, and small-scale EIA, to require an integrated approach. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to establish an impact assessment system that minimizes the impacts of land development using an approach that is integrated across multiple scales. This study focused on forest fragmentation due to residential development and road construction sites in selected Congestion Restraint Zones (CRZs) in the Greater Seoul Area of South Korea. Based on a review of multiple-scale impacts, this paper integrates models that assess the impacts of land development on forest ecosystems. The applicability of the integrated model for assessing impacts on forest ecosystems through the SEIA process is considered. On a regional scale, it is possible to evaluate the location and size of a land-development project by considering aspects of forest fragmentation, such as the stability of the forest structure and the degree of fragmentation. On a local scale, land-development projects should consider the distances at which impacts occur in the vicinity of the forest ecosystem, and these considerations should include the impacts on forest vegetation and bird species. Impacts can be mitigated by considering the distances at which these influences occur. In particular, this paper presents an integrated environmental impact assessment system to be applied in the SEIA process. The integrated assessment system permits the assessment of the cumulative impacts of land development on multiple scales. -- Highlights: • The model is to assess the impact of forest fragmentation across multiple scales. • The paper suggests the type of forest fragmentation on a regional scale. • The type can be used to evaluate the location and size of a land development. • The paper shows the influence distance of land development on a local scale. • The distance can be used to mitigate the impact at an EIA process.

  14. Attitude: impact on pain assessment.

    PubMed

    Young, Jennifer Layman; Davidhizar, Ruth

    2008-01-01

    Nurses have many attitudes and beliefs about the means with which to navigate the road to pain relief for their patients. The use of an efficient and effective method to "light the path" has been extremely subjective in the past. There are reliable instruments than can be used effectively to measure and treat pain if they are used in the context of cultural appropriateness, a consistent healthcare team effort, and as part of a multidimensional approach. The utilization of the guidelines in this paper can provide direction for nurses to improve best practices and documentation in pain management, so that we may never have to say again "pain assessment instruments don't work. PMID:18655688

  15. A model-based evaluation of the impacts of urban expansion on flow variability and aquatic biodiversity in the Big River watershed in eastern Missouri (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Knouft, J.; Chu, M. L.

    2013-12-01

    Natural flow regimes in aquatic systems sustain biodiversity and provide support for basic ecological processes. Nevertheless, the hydrology of aquatic systems is heavily impacted by human activities including land use changes associated with urbanization. Small increases in urban expansion can greatly increase surface runoff while decreasing infiltration. These changes in land use can also affect aquifer recharge and alter streamflow, thus impacting water quality, aquatic biodiversity, and ecosystem productivity. However, there are few studies predicting the effects of various levels of urbanization on flow regimes and the subsequent impacts of these flow alterations on ecosystem endpoints at the watershed scale. We quantified the potential effects of varying degrees of urban expansion on the discharge, velocity, and water depth in the Big River watershed in eastern Missouri using a physically-based watershed model, MIKE-SHE, and a 1D hydrodynamic river model, MIKE-11. Five land cover scenarios corresponding to increasing levels of urban expansion were used to determine the sensitivity of flow in the Big River watershed to increasing urbanization. Results indicate that the frequency of low flow events decreases as urban expansion increases, while the frequency of average and high-flow events increases as urbanization increases. We used current estimates of flow from the MIKE-SHE model to predict variation in fish species richness at 44 sites across the watershed based on standardized fish collections from each site. This model was then used with flow estimates from the urban expansion hydrological models to predict potential changes in fish species richness as urban areas increase. Responses varied among sites with some areas predicted to experience increases in species richness while others are predicted to experience decreases in species richness. Taxonomic identity of species also appeared to influence results with the number of species of Cyprinidae (minnows) expected to increase across the watershed, while the number of species of Centrachidae (bass and sunfish) is expected to decrease across the watershed.

  16. Assessing biodiversity of a freshwater benthic macroinvertebrate community through non-destructive environmental barcoding of DNA from preservative ethanol

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Characterizing biodiversity in a habitat or in targeted taxonomically or socioeconomically important groups remains a challenge. Standard DNA-based biodiversity identification tools such as DNA barcoding coupled with high-throughput Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies are rapidly changing the landscape of biodiversity analysis by targeting various habitats and a wide array of organisms. However, effective use of these technological advances requires optimized protocols and benchmarking against traditional tools. Here we investigate the use of commonly used preservative ethanol as a non-destructive and inexpensive source of DNA for NGS biodiversity analysis of benthic macroinvertebrates. We used the preservative ethanol added to field collected organisms (live sorted bulk benthic samples) as a source of community DNA for NGS environmental barcoding. We directly compare this approach with a DNA barcode library generated using Sanger sequencing of all individuals separated from abenthic sample as well as with NGS environmental barcoding of DNA extracted from mixed/homogenized tissue specimens of the same benthic sample. We also evaluate a multiplex PCR strategy, as compared to commonly used single amplicon workflow, using three newly designed primer sets targeting a wide array of benthic macroinvertebrate taxa. Results Our results indicate the effectiveness of ethanol-based DNA in providing sequence information from 87% of taxa identified individually from mixture as compared to 89% in conventional tissue extracted DNA. Missing taxa in both DNA sources were from species with the lowest abundance (e.g. 1 individual) in the benthic mixture. Interestingly, we achieved 100% detection for taxa represented with more than 1% individuals in the mixture in both sources of DNA. Our multiplex amplification regime increased the detection as compared to any single primer set indicating the usefulness of using multiple primer sets in initial amplification of target genes. Conclusions Although NGS approaches have significantly increased the potential of using DNA information in biodiversity analysis, robust methods are needed to provide reliable data and alleviate sample-processing bottlenecks. Here we coupled non-destructive DNA access and a multiplex PCR approach in NGS environmental barcoding for effective data generation from benthic live-sorted samples collected in bulk and preserved in ethanol. Our study provides a possible solution to sampling and vouchering challenges in using benthic samples through next-generation environmental barcoding and facilitates wider utility of DNA information, especially species-specific DNA barcodes, in ecological and environmental studies and real-world applications such as biomonitoring programs. PMID:23259585

  17. [Cumulative impact assessment: problems and practice in China mainland and Hong Kong].

    PubMed

    Yang, K; Lam, K

    2001-01-01

    Including past, present and future impacts in environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the proposed action, it is the important property of cumulative impact assessment (CIA) that different from traditional EIA. It is also the main trend of EIA improvement. From the area of regulation demands, documentation practice, spatial and temporal boundary, key contents and mitigation measures, this paper analyses the status of CIA both of China Mainland and Hongkong in the practice of EIA. The author suggested that technical guidelines for cumulative effects assessment should be set up in China Mainland and Hongkong, CIA should be included in project, region and strategy environment assessment and cumulative impacts should be list clearly in EIA study executive summary and reported in a separate part of the environmental consequences section. Spatial and temporal boundaries and any cumulative impacts addressed within the CIA process should be provided evidence or analysis to support the conclusion. In order to prevent cumulative effects effectively, the focus on CIA should be put on biodiversity, social and economic impacts and global environmental effects. PMID:11382032

  18. Untapped potential of health impact assessment

    PubMed Central

    Krieger, Gary R; Divall, Mark J; Cissé, Guéladio; Wielga, Mark; Singer, Burton H; Tanner, Marcel; Utzinger, Jürg

    2013-01-01

    Abstract The World Health Organization has promoted health impact assessment (HIA) for over 20 years. At the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), HIA was discussed as a critical method for linking health to “green economy” and “institutional framework” strategies for sustainable development. In countries having a high human development index (HDI), HIA has been added to the overall assessment suite that typically includes potential environmental and social impacts, but it is rarely required as part of the environmental and social impact assessment for large development projects. When they are performed, project-driven HIAs are governed by a combination of project proponent and multilateral lender performance standards rather than host country requirements. Not surprisingly, in low-HDI countries HIA is missing from the programme and policy arena in the absence of an external project driver. Major drivers of global change (e.g. population growth and urbanization, growing pressure on natural resources and climate change) inordinately affect low- and medium-HDI countries; however, in such countries HIA is conspicuously absent. If the cloak of HIA invisibility is to be removed, it must be shown that HIA is useful and beneficial and, hence, an essential component of the 21st century’s sustainable development agenda. We analyse where and how HIA can become fully integrated into the impact assessment suite and argue that the impact of HIA must not remain obscure. PMID:23599554

  19. Untapped potential of health impact assessment.

    PubMed

    Winkler, Mirko S; Krieger, Gary R; Divall, Mark J; Cissé, Guéladio; Wielga, Mark; Singer, Burton H; Tanner, Marcel; Utzinger, Jürg

    2013-04-01

    The World Health Organization has promoted health impact assessment (HIA) for over 20 years. At the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), HIA was discussed as a critical method for linking health to "green economy" and "institutional framework" strategies for sustainable development. In countries having a high human development index (HDI), HIA has been added to the overall assessment suite that typically includes potential environmental and social impacts, but it is rarely required as part of the environmental and social impact assessment for large development projects. When they are performed, project-driven HIAs are governed by a combination of project proponent and multilateral lender performance standards rather than host country requirements. Not surprisingly, in low-HDI countries HIA is missing from the programme and policy arena in the absence of an external project driver. Major drivers of global change (e.g. population growth and urbanization, growing pressure on natural resources and climate change) inordinately affect low- and medium-HDI countries; however, in such countries HIA is conspicuously absent. If the cloak of HIA invisibility is to be removed, it must be shown that HIA is useful and beneficial and, hence, an essential component of the 21st century's sustainable development agenda. We analyse where and how HIA can become fully integrated into the impact assessment suite and argue that the impact of HIA must not remain obscure. PMID:23599554

  20. Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment mission: Kinetic impactor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheng, A. F.; Michel, P.; Jutzi, M.; Rivkin, A. S.; Stickle, A.; Barnouin, O.; Ernst, C.; Atchison, J.; Pravec, P.; Richardson, D. C.

    2016-02-01

    The Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission will be the first space experiment to demonstrate asteroid impact hazard mitigation by using a kinetic impactor to deflect an asteroid. AIDA is an international cooperation, consisting of two mission elements: the NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission and the ESA Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) rendezvous mission. The primary goals of AIDA are (i) to test our ability to perform a spacecraft impact on a potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroid and (ii) to measure and characterize the deflection caused by the impact. The AIDA target will be the binary near-Earth asteroid (65803) Didymos, with the deflection experiment to occur in late September, 2022. The DART impact on the secondary member of the binary at ~7 km/s is expected to alter the binary orbit period by about 4 minutes, assuming a simple transfer of momentum to the target, and this period change will be measured by Earth-based observatories. The AIM spacecraft will characterize the asteroid target and monitor results of the impact in situ at Didymos. The DART mission is a full-scale kinetic impact to deflect a 150 m diameter asteroid, with known impactor conditions and with target physical properties characterized by the AIM mission. Predictions for the momentum transfer efficiency of kinetic impacts are given for several possible target types of different porosities, using Housen and Holsapple (2011) crater scaling model for impact ejecta mass and velocity distributions. Results are compared to numerical simulation results using the Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics code of Jutzi and Michel (2014) with good agreement. The model also predicts that the ejecta from the DART impact may make Didymos into an active asteroid, forming an ejecta coma that may be observable from Earth-based telescopes. The measurements from AIDA of the momentum transfer from the DART impact, the crater size and morphology, and the evolution of an ejecta coma will substantially advance understanding of impact processes on asteroids.

  1. Impacts of nitrogen addition on plant biodiversity in mountain grasslands depend on dose, application duration and climate: a systematic review.

    PubMed

    Humbert, Jean-Yves; Dwyer, John M; Andrey, Aline; Arlettaz, Raphaël

    2016-01-01

    Although the influence of nitrogen (N) addition on grassland plant communities has been widely studied, it is still unclear whether observed patterns and underlying mechanisms are constant across biomes. In this systematic review, we use meta-analysis and metaregression to investigate the influence of N addition (here referring mostly to fertilization) upon the biodiversity of temperate mountain grasslands (including montane, subalpine and alpine zones). Forty-two studies met our criteria of inclusion, resulting in 134 measures of effect size. The main general responses of mountain grasslands to N addition were increases in phytomass and reductions in plant species richness, as observed in lowland grasslands. More specifically, the analysis reveals that negative effects on species richness were exacerbated by dose (ha(-1) year(-1) ) and duration of N application (years) in an additive manner. Thus, sustained application of low to moderate levels of N over time had effects similar to short-term application of high N doses. The climatic context also played an important role: the overall effects of N addition on plant species richness and diversity (Shannon index) were less pronounced in mountain grasslands experiencing cool rather than warm summers. Furthermore, the relative negative effect of N addition on species richness was more pronounced in managed communities and was strongly negatively related to N-induced increases in phytomass, that is the greater the phytomass response to N addition, the greater the decline in richness. Altogether, this review not only establishes that plant biodiversity of mountain grasslands is negatively affected by N addition, but also demonstrates that several local management and abiotic factors interact with N addition to drive plant community changes. This synthesis yields essential information for a more sustainable management of mountain grasslands, emphasizing the importance of preserving and restoring grasslands with both low agricultural N application and limited exposure to N atmospheric deposition. PMID:26010833

  2. Making Robust Policy Decisions Using Global Biodiversity Indicators

    PubMed Central

    Nicholson, Emily; Collen, Ben; Barausse, Alberto; Blanchard, Julia L.; Costelloe, Brendan T.; Sullivan, Kathryn M. E.; Underwood, Fiona M.; Burn, Robert W.; Fritz, Steffen; Jones, Julia P. G.; McRae, Louise; Possingham, Hugh P.; Milner-Gulland, E. J.

    2012-01-01

    In order to influence global policy effectively, conservation scientists need to be able to provide robust predictions of the impact of alternative policies on biodiversity and measure progress towards goals using reliable indicators. We present a framework for using biodiversity indicators predictively to inform policy choices at a global level. The approach is illustrated with two case studies in which we project forwards the impacts of feasible policies on trends in biodiversity and in relevant indicators. The policies are based on targets agreed at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in Nagoya in October 2010. The first case study compares protected area policies for African mammals, assessed using the Red List Index; the second example uses the Living Planet Index to assess the impact of a complete halt, versus a reduction, in bottom trawling. In the protected areas example, we find that the indicator can aid in decision-making because it is able to differentiate between the impacts of the different policies. In the bottom trawling example, the indicator exhibits some counter-intuitive behaviour, due to over-representation of some taxonomic and functional groups in the indicator, and contrasting impacts of the policies on different groups caused by trophic interactions. Our results support the need for further research on how to use predictive models and indicators to credibly track trends and inform policy. To be useful and relevant, scientists must make testable predictions about the impact of global policy on biodiversity to ensure that targets such as those set at Nagoya catalyse effective and measurable change. PMID:22815938

  3. AIR POLLUTION EFFECTS ON BIODIVERSITY

    EPA Science Inventory

    To address the issues of air pollution impacts on biodiversity, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental Research Laboratory in Corvallis, OR, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Fisheries Research Center in Leetown, and the Electric Power Research Institut...

  4. Scale issues in the assessment of ecological impacts using a GIS-based habitat model - A case study for the Stockholm region

    SciTech Connect

    Gontier, Mikael . E-mail: gontier@kth.se

    2007-07-15

    Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) provide two interlinked platforms for the assessment of impacts on biodiversity caused by human developments. Although it might be too early to draw conclusions on the efficiency of SEA to assess such impacts, a number of persistent problems have been identified in the case of EIA. Some of these shortcomings concern the lack of proper prediction and impact quantification, and the inadequate/insufficient assessment of cumulative effects. A number of problems are related to the scale(s) at which the assessment is performed. SEA may provide a more adequate framework than EIA to discuss scale-related issues (i.e. cumulative impacts) but it also requires the use of adapted tools. This paper presents a case study where a GIS-based habitat model for the lesser spotted woodpecker is tested, validated and applied to a planning scenario in the Stockholm region in Sweden. The results show that the method adopted offers great prospects to contribute to a better assessment of biodiversity-related impacts. Even though some limitations remain in the form of data requirement and interpretation of the results, the model produced continuous, quantified predictions over the study area and provided a relevant basis for the assessment of cumulative effects. Furthermore, this paper discusses potential conflicts between different scales involved in the assessment - related to administrative boundaries, ecological processes, data availability, the method adopted to perform the assessment and temporal aspects.

  5. Combination of beehive matrices analysis and ant biodiversity to study heavy metal pollution impact in a post-mining area (Sardinia, Italy).

    PubMed

    Satta, Alberto; Verdinelli, Marcello; Ruiu, Luca; Buffa, Franco; Salis, Severyn; Sassu, Antonio; Floris, Ignazio

    2012-11-01

    Mining activities represent a major source of environment contamination. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of bees and ants as bioindicators to detect the heavy metal impact in post-mining areas. A biomonitoring programme involving a combination of honeybee hive matrices analysis and ant biodiversity survey was conducted over a 3-year period. The experimental design involved three monitoring stations where repeated sampling activities focused on chemical detection of cadmium (Cd), chrome (Cr) and lead (Pb) from different matrices, both from hosted beehives (foraging bees, honey and pollen) and from the surrounding environment (stream water and soil). At the same time, ant biodiversity (number and abundance of species) was determined through a monitoring programme based on the use of pitfall traps placed in different habitats inside each mining site. The heavy metal content detected in stream water from the control station was always below the analytical limit of quantification. In the case of soil, the content of Cd and Pb from the control was lower than that of mining sites. The mean heavy metal concentrations in beehive matrices from mining sites were mainly higher than the control, and as a result of regression and discriminant analysis, forager bee sampling was an efficient environmental pollution bioindicator. Ant collection and identification highlighted a wide species variety with differences among habitats mostly associated with vegetation features. A lower variability was observed in the polluted landfill characterised by lack of vegetation. Combined biomonitoring with forager bees and ants represents a reliable tool for heavy metal environmental impact studies. PMID:22532121

  6. Big moving day for biodiversity? A macroecological assessment of the scope for assisted colonization as a conservation strategy under global warming

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Svenning, Jens-Christian; Fløjgaard, Camilla; Morueta-Holme, Naia; Lenoir, Jonathan; Normand, Signe; Skov, Flemming

    2009-11-01

    Future climate change constitutes a major threat to Earth's biodiversity. If anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, 21st century climate change is likely to exceed the natural adaptive capacity of many natural ecosystems and a large proportion of species may risk extinction. A recurrent finding is that the degree of negative impact depends strongly on the dispersal potential of the species. However, there is a growing realization that many, if not most species would be unlikely to disperse as fast and far as required. As a consequence, it has been proposed that species at risk should be actively translocated into unoccupied, but environmentally suitable areas that are likely to stay suitable over the next 100 or more years (assisted colonization or assisted migration). This solution is controversial, though, reflecting negative experiences with introduced exotics and probably also the traditional emphasis in conservation management on preserving a certain local, often historical situation with a static species composition, and a tendency among ecologists to think of biological communities as generally saturated with species. Using the European flora as a case study, we here estimate the main environmental controls of plant species richness, assess how the maximum observed species richness depends on these environmental controls, and based here on estimate how many species could at least be added to an area before further species additions would perhaps inevitably lead to corresponding losses locally. Our results suggest that there is substantial room for additional plant species across most areas of Europe, indicating that there is considerable scope for implementing assisted colonization as a proactive conservation strategy under global warming without necessarily implicating negative effects on the native flora in the areas targeted for establishment of translocated populations. Notably, our results suggest that 50% of the cells in Northern Europe, the likely target area for many translocations, could harbor at least 1/3 as many additional species as they have native species. However, we also emphasize that other, more traditional conservation strategies should also be strengthened, notably providing more space for nature and reducing nitrogen deposition to increase population resilience and facilitate unassisted colonization. Furthermore, any implementation of assisted colonization should be done cautiously, with a careful analysis on a species-by-species case.

  7. Highly diverse, poorly studied and uniquely threatened by climate change: an assessment of marine biodiversity on South Georgia's continental shelf.

    PubMed

    Hogg, Oliver T; Barnes, David K A; Griffiths, Huw J

    2011-01-01

    We attempt to quantify how significant the polar archipelago of South Georgia is as a source of regional and global marine biodiversity. We evaluate numbers of rare, endemic and range-edge species and how the faunal structure of South Georgia may respond to some of the fastest warming waters on the planet. Biodiversity data was collated from a comprehensive review of reports, papers and databases, collectively representing over 125 years of polar exploration. Classification of each specimen was recorded to species level and fully geo-referenced by depth, latitude and longitude. This information was integrated with physical data layers (e.g. temperature, salinity and flow) providing a visualisation of South Georgia's biogeography across spatial, temporal and taxonomic scales, placing it in the wider context of the Southern Hemisphere. This study marks the first attempt to map the biogeography of an archipelago south of the Polar Front. Through it we identify the South Georgian shelf as the most speciose region of the Southern Ocean recorded to date. Marine biodiversity was recorded as rich across taxonomic levels with 17,732 records yielding 1,445 species from 436 families, 51 classes and 22 phyla. Most species recorded were rare, with 35% recorded only once and 86% recorded <10 times. Its marine fauna is marked by the cumulative dominance of endemic and range-edge species, potentially at their thermal tolerance limits. Consequently, our data suggests the ecological implications of environmental change to the South Georgian marine ecosystem could be severe. If sea temperatures continue to rise, we suggest that changes will include depth profile shifts of some fauna towards cooler Antarctic Winter Water (90-150 m), the loss of some range-edge species from regional waters, and the wholesale extinction at a global scale of some of South Georgia's endemic species. PMID:21647236

  8. Highly Diverse, Poorly Studied and Uniquely Threatened by Climate Change: An Assessment of Marine Biodiversity on South Georgia's Continental Shelf

    PubMed Central

    Hogg, Oliver T.; Barnes, David K. A.; Griffiths, Huw J.

    2011-01-01

    We attempt to quantify how significant the polar archipelago of South Georgia is as a source of regional and global marine biodiversity. We evaluate numbers of rare, endemic and range-edge species and how the faunal structure of South Georgia may respond to some of the fastest warming waters on the planet. Biodiversity data was collated from a comprehensive review of reports, papers and databases, collectively representing over 125 years of polar exploration. Classification of each specimen was recorded to species level and fully geo-referenced by depth, latitude and longitude. This information was integrated with physical data layers (e.g. temperature, salinity and flow) providing a visualisation of South Georgia's biogeography across spatial, temporal and taxonomic scales, placing it in the wider context of the Southern Hemisphere. This study marks the first attempt to map the biogeography of an archipelago south of the Polar Front. Through it we identify the South Georgian shelf as the most speciose region of the Southern Ocean recorded to date. Marine biodiversity was recorded as rich across taxonomic levels with 17,732 records yielding 1,445 species from 436 families, 51 classes and 22 phyla. Most species recorded were rare, with 35% recorded only once and 86% recorded <10 times. Its marine fauna is marked by the cumulative dominance of endemic and range-edge species, potentially at their thermal tolerance limits. Consequently, our data suggests the ecological implications of environmental change to the South Georgian marine ecosystem could be severe. If sea temperatures continue to rise, we suggest that changes will include depth profile shifts of some fauna towards cooler Antarctic Winter Water (90–150 m), the loss of some range-edge species from regional waters, and the wholesale extinction at a global scale of some of South Georgia's endemic species. PMID:21647236

  9. Assessment of current and proposed nature reserves of Mexico based on their capacity to protect geophysical features and biodiversity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cantu, C.; Wright, R.G.; Scott, J.M.; Strand, Espen

    2004-01-01

    Mexico currently has 144 nature reserves covering approximately 9.1% of its land area. These reserves were established for a variety of reasons - often unrelated to the protection of biodiversity. In 2000 in response to a growing concern about the lack of organized conservation reserve planning to protect the important threatened biological and physical features of Mexico, the Mexican Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) proposed the establishment of 151 new reserves for Mexico covering 51,429,500 ha. We compiled a GIS analysis using digital thematic maps of physical and biological features to examine how the existing and proposed reserves serve to protect the biodiversity and physical features of the country. Using a conservation target of placing a minimum of 12% of the land area of each important biophysical feature in nature reserves, we found that the 144 existing nature reserves covering 18 million ha (9% of the country) only meet that target for elevation ranges >3000 m and areas with poor soils. These mountainous areas represent less than 1% of the country. The gaps in the existing nature reserves network occur mainly at lower and intermediate elevations (<3000 m) areas with xeric, tropical, and temperate ecosystems, and high productivity soils. The areas proposed by CONABIO increase the proportion of protected lands in the country to over 27% and most of the conservation targets for geophysical features, and land cover, categories are met. Whether this area would be sufficient to maintain viable populations and ecological integrity of species and ecosystems is unknown. Even with the new reserves, low elevation coastal lands would be below the conservation target in the nature reserves. To include a representative sample of these lands would be difficult as these are the same areas where the majority of people live. ?? 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Imbibing Wisdom of Environmental Impact Assessment.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Thomas, Ian

    1992-01-01

    Describes a learning module for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the relationship between EIA objectives and those of the module. Discusses constraints influencing the form of the subject and the range of possible training techniques. Presents details of the module's structure and comments on its approach. (Contains 16 references.) (MDH)

  11. An Assessment of the Impact of Climate Change in India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nair, K. S.

    2009-09-01

    National economy and life of millions of poor largely related to climate sensitive natural resource base and a densely populated 7500 Km long low-lying coastline make India highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Significant changes in the amount, intensity and seasonality of rainfall and extremes in temperature observed in different states are serious challenges to the securities in food, water and energy. Vagaries in monsoons and associated setbacks in agriculture that represents 35% GDP affect economy and rural life, leading to social issues like migration and spread of terrorism. Impact on forest affects the biodiversity, economy and life of tribals. Water availability in certain states has been falling sharply due to the changes in the amount as well as the seasonality of rainfall. Increase in rainfall intensity erodes topsoil in the Western Ghats Mountain and reduces the streamflow and reservoir capacity. Retreat of the Himalayan glaciers may add to the severity of hydrological extremes in the entire north India in the coming years. Irregular onset of monsoon and change in seasonality have already affected the plant biodiversity in the southern state of Kerala. Some seasonal plants became extinct because of the prolonged dry season. Almost all parts of India are increasingly becoming prone to floods or droughts. Drylands are potentially threatened by desertification. Changes in the frequency, intensity and track of cyclones and rising sea level are of serious concern in the coastal zones. Decreasing trend in fish catch in the southern coasts is linked to the changes in coastal circulation, SST and upwelling patterns. Coral environments also suffer from this. Cold waves and heat waves are becoming severe, extending to new regions and resulting in casualties. New viruses and vectors spread fatal deceases, expanding geographical extent. Climate change is likely to retard the present economic growth, because of the massive investment required for adaptation, mitigation and post-hazard recovery and resettlement measures. Providing basic necessities such as water, food and power, maintaining public health, implementing protective measures in the coastal zones and modifications in the urban infrastructure, especially in the coastal megacities become expensive. Impact of extremes on rails, roads and building are also becoming a major issue in the coastal zones and urban centres. Industrial sector is facing a threat from the falling reliable supply of water and power. However, procedure for the implementation of the strategies to mitigate the climate change impact and of the policy for the adaptation to climate change is slow. There are several hurdles for this, including various ecological, socio-economic, technical and political issues, alterations of the physical environment, inability of certain habitats and species to adapt to a new environment, abject poverty, lack of awareness, and the inefficient administrative mechanism. A comprehensive assessment of the shifts in regional climate and the impact of climate change on different facets of life in India, and of the current strategies and polices to face such challenges is made in this study. Suggestions for the improvement of the climate policy and adaptation strategy have been provided.

  12. A terrain-based paired-site sampling design to assess biodiversity losses from eastern hemlock decline

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Young, J.A.; Smith, D.R.; Snyder, C.D.; Lemarie, D.P.

    2002-01-01

    Biodiversity surveys are often hampered by the inability to control extraneous sources of variability introduced into comparisons of populations across a heterogenous landscape. If not specifically accounted for a priori, this noise can weaken comparisons between sites, and can make it difficult to draw inferences about specific ecological processes. We developed a terrain-based, paired-site sampling design to analyze differences in aquatic biodiversity between streams draining eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) forests, and those draining mixed hardwood forests in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (USA). The goal of this design was to minimize variance due to terrain influences on stream communities, while representing the range of hemlock dominated stream environments present in the park. We used geographic information systems (GIS) and cluster analysis to define and partition hemlock dominated streams into terrain types based on topographic variables and stream order. We computed similarity of forest stands within terrain types and used this information to pair hemlock-dominated streams with hardwood counterparts prior to sampling. We evaluated the effectiveness of the design through power analysis and found that power to detect differences in aquatic invertebrate taxa richness was highest when sites were paired and terrain type was included as a factor in the analysis. Precision of the estimated difference in mean richness was nearly doubled using the terrain-based, paired site design in comparison to other evaluated designs. Use of this method allowed us to sample stream communities representative of park-wide forest conditions while effectively controlling for landscape variability.

  13. Minidoka Dam Wildlife Impact Assessment: Final Report.

    SciTech Connect

    Martin, Robert C.; Meuleman, G. Allyn

    1989-03-01

    A wildlife impact assessment has been developed for the US Bureau of Reclamation's Minidoka Dam and Reservoir in south central Idaho. This assessment was conducted to fulfill requirements of the Fish and Wildlife Program. Specific objectives of this study included the following: select target wildlife species, and identify their current status and management goals; estimate the net effects on target wildlife species resulting from hydroelectric development and operation; recommend protection, mitigation, and enhancement goals for target wildlife species affected by hydroelectric development and operation; and consult and coordinate impact assessment activities with the Northwest Power Planning Council, Bonneville Power Administration, US Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee, and other entities expressing interest in the project. 62 refs., 2 figs., 11 tabs.

  14. Biodiversity and industry ecosystem management

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coleman, William G.

    1996-11-01

    The term biodiversity describes the array of interacting, genetically distinct populations and species in a region, the communities they comprise, and the variety of ecosystems of which they are functioning parts. Ecosystem health, a closely related concept, is described in terms of a process identifying biological indicators, end points, and values. The decline of populations or species, an accelerating trend worldwide, can lead to simplification of ecosystem processes, thus threatening the stability and sustainability of ecosystem services directly relevant to human welfare in the chain of economic and ecological relationships. The challenge of addressing issues of such enormous scope and complexity has highlighted the limitations of ecology-as-science. Additionally, biosphere-scale conflicts seem to lie beyond the scope of conventional economics, leading to differences of opinion about the commodity value of biodiversity and of the services that intact ecosystems provide. In the face of these uncertainties, many scientists and economists have adopted principles that clearly assign burdens of proof to those who would promote the loss of biodiversity and that also establish “near-trump” (preeminent) status for ecological integrity. Electric utility facilities and operations impact biodiversity whenever construction, operation, or maintenance of generation, delivery, and support facilities alters landscapes and habitats and thereby impacts species. Although industry is accustomed to dealing with broad environmental concerns (such as global warming or acid rain), the biodiversity issue invokes hemisphere-wide, regional, local, and site-specific concerns all at the same time. Industry can proactively address these issues of scope and scale in two main ways: first, by aligning strategically with the broad research agenda put forth by informed scientists and institutions; and second, by supporting focused management processes whose results will contribute incrementally to the broader agenda of rebuilding or maintaining biodiversity.

  15. Biodiversity and industry ecosystem management

    SciTech Connect

    Coleman, W.G.

    1996-11-01

    Biodiversity describes the array of interacting, genetically distinct populations and species in a region, the communities they are functioning parts. Ecosystem health is a process identifying biological indicators, end points, and values. The decline of populations or species, an accelerating trend worldwide, can lead to simplification of ecosystem processes, thus threatening the stability an sustainability of ecosystem services directly relevant to human welfare in the chain of economic and ecological relationships. The challenge of addressing issues of such enormous scope and complexity has highlighted the limitations of ecology-as-science. Additionally, biosphere-scale conflicts seem to lie beyond the scope of conventional economics, leading to differences of opinion about the commodity value of biodiversity and of the services that intact ecosystems provide. In the fact of these uncertainties, many scientists and economists have adopted principles that clearly assign burdens of proof to those who would promote the loss of biodiversity and that also establish {open_quotes}near-trump{close_quotes} (preeminent) status for ecological integrity. Electric utility facilities and operations impact biodiversity whenever construction, operation, or maintenance of generation, delivery, and support facilities alters landscapes and habitats and thereby impacts species. Although industry is accustomed to dealing with broad environmental concerns (such as global warming or acid rain), the biodiversity issue invokes hemisphere-side, regional, local, and site-specific concerns all at the same time. Industry can proactively address these issues of scope and scale in two main ways: first, by aligning strategically with the broad research agenda put forth by informed scientists and institutions; and second, by supporting focused management processes whose results will contribute incrementally to the broader agenda of rebuilding or maintaining biodiversity. 40 refs., 8 figs.

  16. Molecular and morphological assessment of Delma australis Kluge (Squamata: Pygopodidae), with a description of a new species from the biodiversity 'hotspot' of southwestern Western Australia.

    PubMed

    Maryan, Brad; Brennan, Ian G; Adams, Mark; Aplin, Ken P

    2015-01-01

    The Australian pygopodid lizard genus Delma is characterised by morphologically conservative but genetically divergent lineages and species. An initial assessment of molecular and morphological variation in Delma australis Kluge, 1974 throughout its main distribution in Western and South Australia reveals at least two undescribed species that are presently included under this epithet. Here we describe the most distinctive and easily diagnosed taxon of these, D. hebesa sp. nov., from the proteaceous scrub and mallee heath on the south coast sandplains of southwestern Western Australia. We also foreshadow the need for an expanded genetic framework to assist in unequivocally diagnosing additional candidate species in D. australis, which is redescribed herein and shown to be monophyletic for those specimens sampled, albeit displaying geographic variation in a range of molecular and morphological characters. Delma hebesa sp. nov. differs from all other described Delma species, including regional populations of D. australis, by a combination of molecular genetic markers, colouration and scalation. Based on phylogenetic affinities and shared morphologies, a D. australis species-group is proposed to accommodate D. australis, D. torquata and the new species described herein. The addition of another new vertebrate species from southwestern Western Australia, recognised globally as a biodiversity 'hotspot', underlines our lack of understanding of genetic diversity and evolutionary histories in this biodiverse region. PMID:25947694

  17. Lichens biomonitoring as feasible methodology to assess air pollution in natural ecosystems: combined study of quantitative PAHs analyses and lichen biodiversity in the Pyrenees Mountains.

    PubMed

    Blasco, María; Domeño, Celia; Nerín, Cristina

    2008-06-01

    The air quality in the Aragón valley, in the central Pyrenees, has been assessed by evaluation of lichen biodiversity and mapped by elaboration of the Index of Air Purity (IAP) based on observations of the presence and abundance of eight kinds of lichen with different sensitivity to air pollution. The IAP values obtained have been compared with quantitative analytical measures of 16 PAHs in the lichen Evernia prunastri, because this species was associated with a wide range of traffic exposure and levels of urbanization. Analyses of PAHs were carried out by the DSASE method followed by an SPE clean-up step and GC-MS analysis. The concentration of total PAHs found in lichen samples from the Aragón valley ranged from 692 to 6420 ng g(-1) and the PAHs profile showed predominance of compounds with three aromatic rings. The influence of the road traffic in the area has been shown because values over the median concentration of PAHs (>1092 ng g(-1)), percentage of combustion PAHs (>50%), and equivalent toxicity (>169) were found in lichens collected at places exposed to the influence of traffic. The combination of both methods suggests IAP as a general method for evaluating the air pollution referenced to PAHs because it can be correlated with the content of combustion PAHs and poor lichen biodiversity can be partly explained by the air pollution caused by specific PAHs. PMID:18335215

  18. Land Transformation and Occupation Impacts of Farming Practices for the Production of Soybean in Mato Grosso, Brazil, Using Life Cycle Impact Assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lathuilliere, M. J.; Miranda, E. J.; Couto, E. G.; Johnson, M. S.

    2014-12-01

    The state of Mato Grosso is the largest producer of soybean in Brazil with production continuously increasing since 2000 through a near tripling of cropland area under soybean cultivation. This increase in production has occurred by land cover transformation (extensification into natural ecosystems, e.g. forest to crop) and land use intensification (increase in area by conversion of already cleared land, e.g. pasture to crop), largely to satisfy international demand. In this study, we assess cradle-to-farm gate impacts of soybean production in Mato Grosso using life cycle impact assessment applied to data collected from 110 farms. We combine 21 impact indicators of land transformation and occupation (i.e. land use and land cover change) to show impacts of life cycle stages of production to land, air, water, resource use, biodiversity and ecosystem services. The greatest damage to human health and ecosystem quality came from land transformation which primarily takes place in the tropical forest (Amazon) and savanna (Cerrado/Cerradão) biomes. Soybean production in tropical forest landscapes has greater impacts on climate regulation, biotic production and groundwater recharge compared to production in native savanna areas, while impacts on biodiversity, erosion and soil water purification are roughly equivalent for tropical forest vs. savanna transformation and occupation. Soybean production practices showed hot spots of damage to environmental quality and resources from phosphorous fertilizer application and diesel consumption in machinery through impact pathways such as terrestrial and aquatic acidification and the use of non-renewable energy. Life cycle impact assessment modeling can provide further information into the production process to enlighten decision making with respect to impacts occurring along the soybean product supply chain.

  19. Biodiversity influences plant productivity through niche-efficiency.

    PubMed

    Liang, Jingjing; Zhou, Mo; Tobin, Patrick C; McGuire, A David; Reich, Peter B

    2015-05-01

    The loss of biodiversity is threatening ecosystem productivity and services worldwide, spurring efforts to quantify its effects on the functioning of natural ecosystems. Previous research has focused on the positive role of biodiversity on resource acquisition (i.e., niche complementarity), but a lack of study on resource utilization efficiency, a link between resource and productivity, has rendered it difficult to quantify the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship. Here we demonstrate that biodiversity loss reduces plant productivity, other things held constant, through theory, empirical evidence, and simulations under gradually relaxed assumptions. We developed a theoretical model named niche-efficiency to integrate niche complementarity and a heretofore-ignored mechanism of diminishing marginal productivity in quantifying the effects of biodiversity loss on plant productivity. Based on niche-efficiency, we created a relative productivity metric and a productivity impact index (PII) to assist in biological conservation and resource management. Relative productivity provides a standardized measure of the influence of biodiversity on individual productivity, and PII is a functionally based taxonomic index to assess individual species' inherent value in maintaining current ecosystem productivity. Empirical evidence from the Alaska boreal forest suggests that every 1% reduction in overall plant diversity could render an average of 0.23% decline in individual tree productivity. Out of the 283 plant species of the region, we found that large woody plants generally have greater PII values than other species. This theoretical model would facilitate the integration of biological conservation in the international campaign against several pressing global issues involving energy use, climate change, and poverty. PMID:25901325

  20. Roles of social impact assessment practitioners

    SciTech Connect

    Wong, Cecilia H.M. Ho, Wing-chung

    2015-01-15

    The effectiveness of social impact assessment (SIA) hinges largely on the capabilities and ethics of the practitioners, yet few studies have dedicated to discuss the expectations for these professionals. Recognising this knowledge gap, we employed the systemic review approach to construct a framework of roles of SIA practitioners from literature. Our conceptual framework encompasses eleven roles, namely project manager of SIA, practitioner of SIA methodologies, social researcher, social strategy developer, social impact management consultant, community developer, visionary, public involvement specialist, coordinator, SIA researcher, and educator. Although these roles have been stratified into three overarching categories, the project, community and SIA development, they are indeed interrelated and should be examined together. The significance of this study is threefold. First, it pioneers the study of the roles of SIA practitioners in a focused and systematic manner. Second, it informs practitioners of the expectations of them thereby fostering professionalism. Third, it prepares the public for SIAs by elucidating the functions and values of the assessment. - Highlights: • We adopt systematic review to construct a framework of roles of social impact assessment (SIA) practitioners from literature. • We use three overarching categorises to stratify the eleven roles we proposed. • This work is a novel attempt to study the work as a SIA practitioner and build a foundation for further exploration. • The framework informs practitioners of the expectations on them thus reinforcing professionalism. • The framework also prepares the public for SIAs by elucidating the functions and values of the assessment.

  1. Assessing Meaningful Impact: Moving Beyond the Numbers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buxner, S.; Bass, K.; Castori, P.; Wenger, M.

    2014-07-01

    Evaluation of program impacts is an essential part of program implementation from proposal writing, justifying expenses to funders, making improvements to programs, and demonstrating the value of program to stakeholders. Often, funding agencies ask for metrics but may not ask for more substantive outcomes. Alternatively, funding agencies are now asking for more and more evidence of program impacts resulting in broad questions about the type of assessments that are most appropriate for program evaluation. Assessing meaningful impacts presents no one-size-fits-all solution for all programs. Appropriate assessment is based on program goals, audience, activitie s, and resources. Panelists led a discussion about how to choose meaningful assessment for different situations, presenting examples from their own work. One of the best indicators of the value of a teacher professional development workshop is whether teachers can apply what they have learned to their classroom practice. Kristin Bass spoke about her experience documenting classroom implementation for the Galileo Educator Network (GEN) professional development project.

  2. Biodiversity of rangelands

    SciTech Connect

    West, N.E. )

    1993-01-01

    Biodiversity is a multifaceted phenomenon involving the variety of organisms present, the genetic differences among them, and the communities, ecosystems, and landscape patterns in which they occur. Society will increasingly value biodiversity and influence the passage of laws and writing of regulations involving biodiversity which rangeland managers will have to abide by over the coming decades. Even private and developing world rangelands will be affected. While taxonomic knowledge of vertebrates and vascular plants and their abundance, rarity, and distribution, in the developed nations is generally adequate, the same cannot be said of the developing world. Furthermore, adequate knowledge of invertebrates, nonvascular plants, and microbes is deficient everywhere. Although the basis of variation at all higher levels, genetic variation within rangeland species, even the major ones, has barely been assessed. Obtaining statistically adequate data on populations of rare species that are small and secretive is well nigh impossible. There are many means of measuring community diversity, but all of them are value laden. That is, choice of variables to measure and how they are indexed betrays what one considers are important. One should be more forthright in stating to the users the biases of these methods. There are many other, more useful ways to describe community-level diversity besides the traditional focus on species. Ungulate grazing is an important process in many ecosystems. Thus, removal of grazing destabilizes some systems. Livestock grazing will actually increase the chances of survival of some species. Sustainable development will depend on finding balance between use and protection, from range sites to landscapes, and even on a global basis. 120 refs., 5 figs., 1 tab.

  3. Pastures and biodiversity

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Farmers often plant monocultures or simple grass-legume mixtures in their pastures. Increased biodiversity in pastures may be one tool to improve sustainability and productivity. This fact sheet addresses some common questions regarding biodiversity in pastures. Very broadly, biodiversity refers to ...

  4. 40 CFR 227.22 - Assessment of impact.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 24 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Assessment of impact. 227.22 Section... FOR THE EVALUATION OF PERMIT APPLICATIONS FOR OCEAN DUMPING OF MATERIALS Impact of the Proposed Dumping on Other Uses of the Ocean § 227.22 Assessment of impact. The assessment of impact on other...

  5. A terrain-based paired-site sampling design to assess biodiversity losses from eastern hemlock decline.

    PubMed

    Young, John A; Smith, David R; Snyder, Craig D; Lemarie, David P

    2002-06-01

    Biodiversity surveys are often hampered by the inability to control extraneous sources of variability introduced into comparisons of populations across a heterogenous landscape. If not specifically accounted for a priori, this noise can weaken comparisons between sites, and can make it difficult to draw inferences about specific ecological processes. We developed a terrain-based, paired-site sampling design to analyze differences in aquatic biodiversity between streams draining eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) forests, and those draining mixed hardwood forests in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (USA). The goal of this design was to minimize variance due to terrain influences on stream communities, while representing the range of hemlock dominated stream environments present in the park. We used geographic information systems (GIS) and cluster analysis to define and partition hemlock dominated streams into terrain types based on topographic variables and stream order. We computed similarity of forest stands within terrain types and used this information to pair hemlock-dominated streams with hardwood counterparts prior to sampling. We evaluated the effectiveness of the design through power analysis and found that power to detect differences in aquatic invertebrate taxa richness was highest when sites were paired and terrain type was included as a factor in the analysis. Precision of the estimated difference in mean richness was nearly doubled using the terrain-based, paired site design in comparison to other evaluated designs. Use of this method allowed us to sample stream communities representative of park-wide forest conditions while effectively controlling for landscape variability. PMID:12108590

  6. Assessment and monitoring of long-term forest cover changes (1920-2013) in Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reddy, C. Sudhakar; Jha, C. S.; Dadhwal, V. K.

    2016-02-01

    Western Ghats are considered as one of the global biodiversity hotspots. There is an information gap on conservation status of the biodiversity hotspots. This study has quantified estimates of deforestation in the Western Ghats over a period of past nine decades. The classified forest cover maps for 1920, 1975, 1985, 1995, 2005 and 2013 indicates 95,446 (73.1%), 63,123 (48.4%), 62,286 (47.7%), 61,551 (47.2%), 61,511 (47.1%) and 61,511 km2 (47.1%) of the forest area, respectively. The rates of deforestation have been analyzed in different time phases, i.e., 1920-1975, 1975-1985, 1985-1995, 1995-2005 and 2005-2013. The grid cells of 1 km2 have been generated for time series analysis and describing spatial changes in forests. The net rate of deforestation was found to be 0.75 during 1920-1975, 0.13 during 1975-1985, 0.12 during 1985-1995 and 0.01 during 1995-2005. Overall forest loss in Western Ghats was estimated as 33,579 km2 (35.3% of the total forest) from 1920's to 2013. Land use change analysis indicates highest transformation of forest to plantations, followed by agriculture and degradation to scrub. The dominant forest type is tropical semi-evergreen which comprises 21,678 km2 (35.2%) of the total forest area of Western Ghats, followed by wet evergreen forest (30.6%), moist deciduous forest (24.8%) and dry deciduous forest (8.1%) in 2013. Even though it has the highest population density among the hotspots, there is no quantifiable net rate of deforestation from 2005 to 2013 which indicates increased measures of conservation.

  7. A biome-scale assessment of the impact of invasive alien plants on ecosystem services in South Africa.

    PubMed

    van Wilgen, B W; Reyers, B; Le Maitre, D C; Richardson, D M; Schonegevel, L

    2008-12-01

    This paper reports an assessment of the current and potential impacts of invasive alien plants on selected ecosystem services in South Africa. We used data on the current and potential future distribution of 56 invasive alien plant species to estimate their impact on four services (surface water runoff, groundwater recharge, livestock production and biodiversity) in five terrestrial biomes. The estimated reductions in surface water runoff as a result of current invasions were >3000 million m(3) (about 7% of the national total), most of which is from the fynbos (shrubland) and grassland biomes; the potential reductions would be more than eight times greater if invasive alien plants were to occupy the full extent of their potential range. Impacts on groundwater recharge would be less severe, potentially amounting to approximately 1.5% of the estimated maximum reductions in surface water runoff. Reductions in grazing capacity as a result of current levels of invasion amounted to just over 1% of the potential number of livestock that could be supported. However, future impacts could increase to 71%. A 'biodiversity intactness index' (the remaining proportion of pre-modern populations) ranged from 89% to 71% for the five biomes. With the exception of the fynbos biome, current invasions have almost no impact on biodiversity intactness. Under future levels of invasion, however, these intactness values decrease to around 30% for the savanna, fynbos and grassland biomes, but to even lower values (13% and 4%) for the two karoo biomes. Thus, while the current impacts of invasive alien plants are relatively low (with the exception of those on surface water runoff), the future impacts could be very high. While the errors in these estimates are likely to be substantial, the predicted impacts are sufficiently large to suggest that there is serious cause for concern. PMID:17765388

  8. AIDA: Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Michel, Patrick; Cheng, A.; Galvez, A.; Reed, C.; Carnelli, I.; Abell, P.; Ulamec, S.; Rivkin, A.; Biele, J.; Murdoch, N.

    2015-03-01

    AIDA (Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment) is a project of a joint mission demonstration of asteroid deflection and characterisation of the kinetic impact effects. It involves the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (with support from members of NASA centers including Goddard Space Flight Center, Johnson Space Center, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory), and the European Space Agency (with support from members of the french CNRS/Cte dAzur Observatory and the german DLR). This assessment will be done using a binary asteroid target. AIDA consists of two independent but mutually supporting mission concepts, one of which is the asteroid kinetic impactor and the other is the characterisation spacecraft. The objective and status of the project will be presented.

  9. An agenda for assessing and improving conservation impacts of sustainability standards in tropical agriculture.

    PubMed

    Milder, Jeffrey C; Arbuthnot, Margaret; Blackman, Allen; Brooks, Sharon E; Giovannucci, Daniele; Gross, Lee; Kennedy, Elizabeth T; Komives, Kristin; Lambin, Eric F; Lee, Audrey; Meyer, Daniel; Newton, Peter; Phalan, Ben; Schroth, Götz; Semroc, Bambi; Van Rikxoort, Henk; Zrust, Michal

    2015-04-01

    Sustainability standards and certification serve to differentiate and provide market recognition to goods produced in accordance with social and environmental good practices, typically including practices to protect biodiversity. Such standards have seen rapid growth, including in tropical agricultural commodities such as cocoa, coffee, palm oil, soybeans, and tea. Given the role of sustainability standards in influencing land use in hotspots of biodiversity, deforestation, and agricultural intensification, much could be gained from efforts to evaluate and increase the conservation payoff of these schemes. To this end, we devised a systematic approach for monitoring and evaluating the conservation impacts of agricultural sustainability standards and for using the resulting evidence to improve the effectiveness of such standards over time. The approach is oriented around a set of hypotheses and corresponding research questions about how sustainability standards are predicted to deliver conservation benefits. These questions are addressed through data from multiple sources, including basic common information from certification audits; field monitoring of environmental outcomes at a sample of certified sites; and rigorous impact assessment research based on experimental or quasi-experimental methods. Integration of these sources can generate time-series data that are comparable across sites and regions and provide detailed portraits of the effects of sustainability standards. To implement this approach, we propose new collaborations between the conservation research community and the sustainability standards community to develop common indicators and monitoring protocols, foster data sharing and synthesis, and link research and practice more effectively. As the role of sustainability standards in tropical land-use governance continues to evolve, robust evidence on the factors contributing to effectiveness can help to ensure that such standards are designed and implemented to maximize benefits for biodiversity conservation. PMID:25363833

  10. Can ecosystem-scale translocations mitigate the impact of climate change on terrestrial biodiversity? Promises, pitfalls, and possibilities: Ecosystem-scale translocations.

    PubMed

    Boyer, Stéphane; Case, Bradley S; Lefort, Marie-Caroline; Waterhouse, Benjamin R; Wratten, Stephen D

    2016-01-01

    Because ecological interactions are the first components of the ecosystem to be impacted by climate change, future forms of threatened-species and ecosystem management should aim at conserving complete, functioning communities rather than single charismatic species. A possible way forward is the deployment of ecosystem-scale translocation (EST), where above- and below-ground elements of a functioning terrestrial ecosystem (including vegetation and topsoil) are carefully collected and moved together. Small-scale attempts at such practice have been made for the purpose of ecological restoration. By moving larger subsets of functioning ecosystems from climatically unstable regions to more stable ones, EST could provide a practical means to conserve mature and complex ecosystems threatened by climate change. However, there are a number of challenges associated with EST in the context of climate change mitigation, in particular the choice of donor and receptor sites. With the aim of fostering discussion and debate about the EST concept, we  1) outline the possible promises and pitfalls of EST in mitigating the impact of climate change on terrestrial biodiversity and 2) use a GIS-based approach to illustrate how  potential source and receptor sites, where EST could be trialed and evaluated globally, could be identified. PMID:26989475

  11. Experience and lessons from health impact assessment for human rights impact assessment.

    PubMed

    Salcito, Kendyl; Utzinger, Jürg; Krieger, Gary R; Wielga, Mark; Singer, Burton H; Winkler, Mirko S; Weiss, Mitchell G

    2015-01-01

    As globalisation has opened remote parts of the world to foreign investment, global leaders at the United Nations and beyond have called on multinational companies to foresee and mitigate negative impacts on the communities surrounding their overseas operations. This movement towards corporate impact assessment began with a push for environmental and social inquiries. It has been followed by demands for more detailed assessments, including health and human rights. In the policy world the two have been joined as a right-to-health impact assessment. In the corporate world, the right-to-health approach fulfils neither managers' need to comprehensively understand impacts of a project, nor rightsholders' need to know that the full suite of their human rights will be safe from violation. Despite the limitations of a right-to-health tool for companies, integration of health into human rights provides numerous potential benefits to companies and the communities they affect. Here, a detailed health analysis through the human rights lens is carried out, drawing on a case study from the United Republic of Tanzania. This paper examines the positive and negative health and human rights impacts of a corporate operation in a low-income setting, as viewed through the human rights lens, considering observations on the added value of the approach. It explores the relationship between health impact assessment (HIA) and human rights impact assessment (HRIA). First, it considers the ways in which HIA, as a study directly concerned with human welfare, is a more appropriate guide than environmental or social impact assessment for evaluating human rights impacts. Second, it considers the contributions HRIA can make to HIA, by viewing determinants of health not as direct versus indirect, but as interrelated. PMID:26377091

  12. Children prioritize virtual exotic biodiversity over local biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Ballouard, Jean-Marie; Brischoux, François; Bonnet, Xavier

    2011-01-01

    Environmental education is essential to stem current dramatic biodiversity loss, and childhood is considered as the key period for developing awareness and positive attitudes toward nature. Children are strongly influenced by the media, notably the internet, about biodiversity and conservation issues. However, most media focus on a few iconic, appealing, and usually exotic species. In addition, virtual activities are replacing field experiences. This situation may curb children knowledge and concerns about local biodiversity. Focusing our analyses on local versus exotic species, we examined the level of knowledge and the level of diversity of the animals that French schoolchildren are willing to protect, and whether these perceptions are mainly guided by information available in the internet. For that, we collected and compared two complementary data sets: 1) a questionnaire was administered to schoolchildren to assess their knowledge and consideration to protect animals, 2) an internet content analysis (i.e. Google searching sessions using keywords) was performed to assess which animals are the most often represented. Our results suggest that the knowledge of children and their consideration to protect animal are mainly limited to internet contents, represented by a few exotic and charismatic species. The identification rate of local animals by schoolchildren was meager, suggesting a worrying disconnection from their local environment. Schoolchildren were more prone to protect "virtual" (unseen, exotic) rather than local animal species. Our results reinforce the message that environmental education must also focus on outdoor activities to develop conservation consciousness and concerns about local biodiversity. PMID:21829710

  13. Children Prioritize Virtual Exotic Biodiversity over Local Biodiversity

    PubMed Central

    Ballouard, Jean-Marie; Brischoux, François; Bonnet, Xavier

    2011-01-01

    Environmental education is essential to stem current dramatic biodiversity loss, and childhood is considered as the key period for developing awareness and positive attitudes toward nature. Children are strongly influenced by the media, notably the internet, about biodiversity and conservation issues. However, most media focus on a few iconic, appealing, and usually exotic species. In addition, virtual activities are replacing field experiences. This situation may curb children knowledge and concerns about local biodiversity. Focusing our analyses on local versus exotic species, we examined the level of knowledge and the level of diversity of the animals that French schoolchildren are willing to protect, and whether these perceptions are mainly guided by information available in the internet. For that, we collected and compared two complementary data sets: 1) a questionnaire was administered to schoolchildren to assess their knowledge and consideration to protect animals, 2) an internet content analysis (i.e. Google searching sessions using keywords) was performed to assess which animals are the most often represented. Our results suggest that the knowledge of children and their consideration to protect animal are mainly limited to internet contents, represented by a few exotic and charismatic species. The identification rate of local animals by schoolchildren was meager, suggesting a worrying disconnection from their local environment. Schoolchildren were more prone to protect “virtual” (unseen, exotic) rather than local animal species. Our results reinforce the message that environmental education must also focus on outdoor activities to develop conservation consciousness and concerns about local biodiversity. PMID:21829710

  14. AIDA: The Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Galvez, A.; Carnelli, I.; Michel, P.; Cheng, A. F.; Reed, C.; Ulamec, S.; Biele, J.; Abell, P.; Landis, R.

    2013-09-01

    The Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission, a joint effort of ESA, JHU/APL, NASA, OCA, and DLR, is the first demonstration of asteroid deflection and assessment via kinetic impact. AIDA consists of two independent but mutually supporting mission elements, one of which is the asteroid kinetic impactor and the other is the characterization spacecraft. These two missions are, respectively, JHU/APL's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) and the European Space Agency's Asteroid Investigation Mission (AIM) missions. As in the separate DART and AIM studies, the target of this mission is the binary asteroid [65803] Didymos in October, 2022. For a successful joint mission, one spacecraft, DART, would impact the secondary of the Didymos system while AIM would observe and measure any change in the relative orbit. AIM will be the first probe to characterise a binary asteroid, especially from the dynamical point of view, but also considering its interior and subsurface composition. The mission concept focuses on the monitoring aspects i.e., the capability to determine in-situ the key physical properties of a binary asteroid playing a role in the system's dynamic behavior. DART will be the first ever space mission to deflect the trajectory of an asteroid in a measurable way.- It is expected that the deflection can be measured as a change in the relative orbit period with a precision better than 10%. The joint AIDA mission will return vital data to determine the momentum transfer efficiency of the kinetic impact [1,2].

  15. Species for the screening assessment. Columbia River Comprehensive Impact Assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Becker, J.M.; Brandt, C.A.; Dauble, D.D.; Maughan, A.D.; O`Neil, T.K.

    1996-03-01

    Because of past nuclear production operations along the Columbia River, there is intense public and tribal interest in assessing any residual Hanford Site related contamination along the river from the Hanford Reach to the Pacific Ocean. The Columbia River Comprehensive Impact Assessment was proposed to address these concerns. The assessment of the Columbia River is being conducted in phases. The initial phase is a screening assessment of the risk, which addresses current environmental conditions for a range of potential uses. One component of the screening assessment estimates the risk from contaminants in the Columbia River to the environment. The objective of the ecological risk assessment is to determine whether contaminants from the Columbia River pose a significant threat to selected receptor species that exist in the river and riparian communities of the study area. This report (1) identifies the receptor species selected for the screening assessment of ecological risk and (2) describes the selection process. The species selection process consisted of two tiers. In Tier 1, a master species list was developed that included many plant and animal species known to occur in the aquatic and riparian systems of the Columbia River between Priest Rapids Dam and the Columbia River estuary. This master list was reduced to 368 species that occur in the study area (Priest Rapids Dam to McNary Dam). In Tier 2, the 181 Tier 1 species were qualitatively ranked based on a scoring of their potential exposure and sensitivity to contaminants using a conceptual exposure model for the study area.

  16. Wilderness and biodiversity conservation

    PubMed Central

    Mittermeier, R. A.; Mittermeier, C. G.; Brooks, T. M.; Pilgrim, J. D.; Konstant, W. R.; da Fonseca, G. A. B.; Kormos, C.

    2003-01-01

    Human pressure threatens many species and ecosystems, so conservation efforts necessarily prioritize saving them. However, conservation should clearly be proactive wherever possible. In this article, we assess the biodiversity conservation value, and specifically the irreplaceability in terms of species endemism, of those of the planet's ecosystems that remain intact. We find that 24 wilderness areas, all > 1 million hectares, are > 70% intact and have human densities of less than or equal to five people per km2. This wilderness covers 44% of all land but is inhabited by only 3% of people. Given this sparse population, wilderness conservation is cost-effective, especially if ecosystem service value is incorporated. Soberingly, however, most wilderness is not speciose: only 18% of plants and 10% of terrestrial vertebrates are endemic to individual wildernesses, the majority restricted to Amazonia, Congo, New Guinea, the Miombo-Mopane woodlands, and the North American deserts. Global conservation strategy must target these five wildernesses while continuing to prioritize threatened biodiversity hotspots. PMID:12930898

  17. Health impact assessment of liquid biofuel production.

    PubMed

    Fink, Rok; Medved, Sašo

    2013-01-01

    Bioethanol and biodiesel as potential substitutes for fossil fuels in the transportation sector have been analyzed for environmental suitability. However, there could be impacts on human health during the production, therefore adverse health effects have to be analyzed. The aim of this study is to analyze to what health risk factors humans are exposed to in the production of biofuels and what the size of the health effects is. A health impact assessment expressed as disability adjusted life years (DALYs) was conducted in SimaPro 7.1 software. The results show a statistically significant lower carcinogenic impact of biofuels (p < 0.05) than fossil fuels. Meanwhile, the impact of organic respirable compounds is smaller for fossil fuels (p < 0.05) than for biofuels. Analysis of inorganic compounds like PM₁₀,₂.₅, SO₂ or NO(x) shows some advantages of sugar beet bioethanol and soybean biodiesel production (p < 0.05), although production of sugarcane bioethanol shows larger impacts of respirable inorganic compounds than for fossil fuels (p < 0.001). Although liquid biofuels are made of renewable energy sources, this does not necessary mean that they do not represent any health hazards. PMID:22774773

  18. Environmental Impact Assessment and Space Activities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Viikari, L.

    Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a common tool for environment a l protection and management on Earth today, as prior assessment of the environmental consequences of planned activities. It is meant to provide the decision-makers with as comprehensive as possible information about the different environmental effects the proposed activity would entail, including alternative courses of action and the zero-alternative (i.e. the no action alternative). Additionally, plans for mitigation in respect of each alternative are to be outlined. The assessments take account of i.a. environmental impacts on ecosystems, diminution of aesthetic and scientific values, long-term or cumulative effects, as well as transfrontier implications. They also consider issues such as pollution control, environmental protection measures, reporting, post-project analysis, rehabilitation and so on. Also uncertainties in the assessment process are to be expressly presented. Most importantly, a common requirement also is that the results of the impact studies are presented in a way comprehensible to the g neral public,e too. Although the central aspect of the EIA is to provide the decision-makers with scientific information, the process also has other important implications. One of the most relevant of them is the involvement of those people potentially affected in some way by the proposed activity: most EIA systems require in some way the participation of the public, alongside with the relevant governmental authorities and other stake-holders. Such public involvement has various aims and goals: it may serve as a testimony to good governance in general, or be considered in more practical terms as improved planning, due to the concrete contribution of the public to the decision-making process. Obviously, it also is a tool for reducing conflict and developing wider support for the eventual decisions. In short, it enables the public to gain information about planned activities and influence these developments in way or another. In addition to national EIA regulations, there are also international agreements on EIA (i.a. the Espoo Convention) which establish their own EIA systems. In international law of outer space, environmental impact assessment is, however, not a well-established tool. The UN space treaties were drafted during a time when such consideratio ns were still not among the highest ranking items on national agendas. Therefore, these instruments fail to contain provisions regarding impact assessment, and also rest of the environmental content found in them is rather modest. The nearest equivalent to any impact assessment is contained in the Outer Space Treaty Article IX, namely the requirement of prior consultations in case of planned space activity or experiment that might cause "potentially harmful interference" with space activities of other St ates Parties. There also exist some applicable provisions on national level, such as the requirement of "formal assessment" on NASA programs of "[orbital] debris generation potential and debris mitigation options" in NASA Policy for Limiting Orbital Debris Generation (Art. 1.b). Also the national legislation of some space faring countries provides at least for the supply of some kind of information assessing the possible environmental consequences of proposed space activities. For instance, the Russian Statute on Lisencing Space Operations requires that for obtaining a license for space operation in the Russian Federation, the applicant has to supply, i.a. "documents confirming the safety of space operations (including ecological, fire and explosion safety) and the reliability of space equipment'"(Art.5.h). However, such provisions are obviously not enough for ensuring effective international regulation of the issue. The goal of this paper is to consider the usefulness of international environmental impact assessment for space activities. The space environment, however, is a unique arena in many ways. An obvious problem for any impact assessment are the deficiencies in knowledge about processes taking place in space in general. The outcome of proposed space activities therefore cannot necessarily be assessed in detail. In any case, outer space is a global common, and any adverse environmental effects of space utilization are therefore likely to be highly severe, irreversible and wide in scope. On the other hand, the tragedy of the commons problem render many nationally adopted strategies for combating adverse environmental consequences ineffective. Additionally, some principles applied on earth have not been as warmly welcomed among the space faring nations and other entities involved. For instance, it is still an issue under debate whether space has any intrinsic value or is merely a resource for human utilization. There is presently no permanent human settlement in space, and the environs thereby remain somew hat remote for the everyday lives of the vast majority of humankind. Space industry is, furthermore, highly commercialised and militarised area of international activity. Relevance of the precautionary principle and sustainable development, for instance, seem to rest therefore on a bit shakier ground while applied in outer space. Space faring nations and other entities seldom are very keen on distributing detailed information about their planned activities either. Also the fact that any activity taking place in outer space may be regarded ultra-hazardous, although during their normal operation the environmental harms usually are minor, renders for instance the due diligence principle, and the transboundary impact assessment duty it entails, somewhat less applicable. Nevertheless, sustainable development and precautionary principle are important issues for all space activities, too, and such goals would obviously necessitate better environmental protection. Additionally, democracy would seem to require the possibility of enhanced public participation, or at least more open distribution of information about human enterprises in space, too.However, the "public concerned" in space activities may cover the entire humanity, which would most likely direct the possible spatial EIA procedures into the auspices of the UN, with states representing their portion of the "public". Despite the peculiarities in assessing the potential impacts of space activities, Environmental Impact Assessment, modified to answer thes e particular features, would seem as a tool worth considering for the above objectives of enhanced environmental protection and public involvement. This is particularly true, as any adverse environmental impacts of space activities are highly difficult to mitigate, once they have materialized. For the above mentioned reasons, and for the fact that space activities are regulated for a major part on policy level, particularly Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) would seem a viable option. As distinct from the project EIA, the SEA means carrying out EIAs of plans themselves, i.e. it directly addresses the environmental implications of proposed strategies and policies. Formerly, the governmental authorities tended to regard SEA with suspicion because of the public interest groups involvement in policy making that the SEA entails. However, currently the SEA is a highly topical issue in the international arena, particularly because of the ongoing discussions within the United Nations Economic Commision for Europe about adopting a Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment to amend the Espoo Convention, and of the recent EU Directive (2001/42/EC) on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on t he environment. These instruments could also serve as feasible models for SEA in the outer space environment.

  19. Guidelines for Using Movement Science to Inform Biodiversity Policy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barton, Philip S.; Lentini, Pia E.; Alacs, Erika; Bau, Sana; Buckley, Yvonne M.; Burns, Emma L.; Driscoll, Don A.; Guja, Lydia K.; Kujala, Heini; Lahoz-Monfort, José J.; Mortelliti, Alessio; Nathan, Ran; Rowe, Ross; Smith, Annabel L.

    2015-10-01

    Substantial advances have been made in our understanding of the movement of species, including processes such as dispersal and migration. This knowledge has the potential to improve decisions about biodiversity policy and management, but it can be difficult for decision makers to readily access and integrate the growing body of movement science. This is, in part, due to a lack of synthesis of information that is sufficiently contextualized for a policy audience. Here, we identify key species movement concepts, including mechanisms, types, and moderators of movement, and review their relevance to (1) national biodiversity policies and strategies, (2) reserve planning and management, (3) threatened species protection and recovery, (4) impact and risk assessments, and (5) the prioritization of restoration actions. Based on the review, and considering recent developments in movement ecology, we provide a new framework that draws links between aspects of movement knowledge that are likely the most relevant to each biodiversity policy category. Our framework also shows that there is substantial opportunity for collaboration between researchers and government decision makers in the use of movement science to promote positive biodiversity outcomes.

  20. Relating costs to the user value of farmland biodiversity measurements.

    PubMed

    Targetti, S; Herzog, F; Geijzendorffer, I R; Pointereau, P; Viaggi, D

    2016-01-01

    The impact of agricultural management on global biodiversity highlights the need for farm-scale monitoring programmes capable of determining the performance of agriculture practices. Yet the identification of appropriate indicators is a challenging process and one that involves considering a number of different aspects and requirements. Besides the attention given to scientific effectiveness, relevant but less studied issues related to biodiversity measurements include the economic feasibility of monitoring programmes and the relevance of indicators for different end-users. In this paper, we combine an analytic assessment of costs and a stakeholder-based evaluation of the usefulness of a set of biodiversity-related parameters (habitat mapping, vegetation, bees, earthworms, spiders, and a farmer questionnaire) tested for scientific consistency in 12 European case studies and on more than 14,000 ha of farmland. The results point to the possibility of meeting the expectations of different end-users (administrators, farmers and consumers) with a common indicator set. Combining costs and usefulness also suggests the possibility of designing more efficient monitoring approaches involving private agencies and networks of volunteers and farmers for the field data collection at different stages of a monitoring programme. Although complex, such an approach would make it possible to enhance the effectiveness of available funds for farmland biodiversity monitoring. PMID:26457535

  1. Guidelines for Using Movement Science to Inform Biodiversity Policy.

    PubMed

    Barton, Philip S; Lentini, Pia E; Alacs, Erika; Bau, Sana; Buckley, Yvonne M; Burns, Emma L; Driscoll, Don A; Guja, Lydia K; Kujala, Heini; Lahoz-Monfort, José J; Mortelliti, Alessio; Nathan, Ran; Rowe, Ross; Smith, Annabel L

    2015-10-01

    Substantial advances have been made in our understanding of the movement of species, including processes such as dispersal and migration. This knowledge has the potential to improve decisions about biodiversity policy and management, but it can be difficult for decision makers to readily access and integrate the growing body of movement science. This is, in part, due to a lack of synthesis of information that is sufficiently contextualized for a policy audience. Here, we identify key species movement concepts, including mechanisms, types, and moderators of movement, and review their relevance to (1) national biodiversity policies and strategies, (2) reserve planning and management, (3) threatened species protection and recovery, (4) impact and risk assessments, and (5) the prioritization of restoration actions. Based on the review, and considering recent developments in movement ecology, we provide a new framework that draws links between aspects of movement knowledge that are likely the most relevant to each biodiversity policy category. Our framework also shows that there is substantial opportunity for collaboration between researchers and government decision makers in the use of movement science to promote positive biodiversity outcomes. PMID:26099570

  2. Biodiversity and climate change in relation to the Natura 2000 network

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harley, M.; de Soye, Y.; Dickson, B.; Tucker, G.; Keder, G.

    2009-04-01

    This project will provide the European Commission (EC) with an overview of the likely impacts of climate change on biodiversity in the European Union (EU), particularly within the Natura 2000 (N2K) network of protected areas, and indications of how the design and implementation of current policy might need to be adapted to ensure that the EU delivers its commitment to halt biodiversity loss by 2010 and beyond. The study will identify those species and associated habitats that are likely to be most vulnerable to climate change and the steps required to protect the integrity of the network from negative effects. The study will also assess the impacts of large-scale renewable energy schemes (wind parks, hydroelectric schemes and tidal barrages) on biodiversity and produce guidelines on the sorts of measures that might be used to maintain and protect N2K sites.

  3. Use of molecular tools in identification of philometrid larvae in fishes: technical limitations parallel our poor assessment of their biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Palesse, Stephanie; Meadors, Weatherly A; de Buron, Isaure; Roumillat, William A; Strand, Allan E

    2011-12-01

    The usefulness of the polymerase chain reaction with restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) and partial sequencing of the cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene was tested regarding the utility of these techniques in unraveling philometrid life cycles and, in particular, to determine putative paratenic host species. Our focus was to study three species of philometrids commonly found in the estuaries of South Carolina: Philometroides paralichthydis and Philometra overstreeti from the southern flounder, Paralichthys lethostigma and Philometra carolinensis from the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. A total of 473 fish in 19 species known to be potential prey of the spotted seatrout and the southern flounder were dissected. Of all nematode larvae found in the mesenteries of 53 fish of 10 species, 21 specimens were determined to be philometrids using PCR. The use of PCR-RFLP allowed the identification of larvae of P. carolinensis and P. overstreeti in the freshwater goby, Ctenogobius shufeldti, and P. overstreeti in mummichog, Fundulus heteroclitus. However, 12 RFLP profiles could not be matched to control species, thus demonstrating the limitation of this technique in areas where diversity of philometrids is not well known and higher than anticipated. Similarly, COI procedures provided unknown sequences that did not match those of nine philometrid species used as controls. We concluded that although both techniques showed some usefulness and promise, at this point, however, they demonstrate the need of increasing our knowledge of marine and estuarine philometrid biodiversity. PMID:21656267

  4. Non-Linear Interactions Determine the Impact of Sea-Level Rise on Estuarine Benthic Biodiversity and Ecosystem Processes

    PubMed Central

    Yamanaka, Tsuyuko; Raffaelli, David; White, Piran C. L.

    2013-01-01

    Sea-level rise induced by climate change may have significant impacts on the ecosystem functions and ecosystem services provided by intertidal sediment ecosystems. Accelerated sea-level rise is expected to lead to steeper beach slopes, coarser particle sizes and increased wave exposure, with consequent impacts on intertidal ecosystems. We examined the relationships between abundance, biomass, and community metabolism of benthic fauna with beach slope, particle size and exposure, using samples across a range of conditions from three different locations in the UK, to determine the significance of sediment particle size beach slope and wave exposure in affecting benthic fauna and ecosystem function in different ecological contexts. Our results show that abundance, biomass and oxygen consumption of intertidal macrofauna and meiofauna are affected significantly by interactions among sediment particle size, beach slope and wave exposure. For macrofauna on less sloping beaches, the effect of these physical constraints is mediated by the local context, although for meiofauna and for macrofauna on intermediate and steeper beaches, the effects of physical constraints dominate. Steeper beach slopes, coarser particle sizes and increased wave exposure generally result in decreases in abundance, biomass and oxygen consumption, but these relationships are complex and non-linear. Sea-level rise is likely to lead to changes in ecosystem structure with generally negative impacts on ecosystem functions and ecosystem services. However, the impacts of sea-level rise will also be affected by local ecological context, especially for less sloping beaches. PMID:23861863

  5. The Substantial First Impact of Bottom Fishing on Rare Biodiversity Hotspots: A Dilemma for Evidence-Based Conservation

    PubMed Central

    Cook, Robert; Fariñas-Franco, Jose M.; Gell, Fiona R.; Holt, Rohan H. F.; Holt, Terry; Lindenbaum, Charles; Porter, Joanne S.; Seed, Ray; Skates, Lucie R.; Stringell, Thomas B.; Sanderson, William G.

    2013-01-01

    This study describes the impact of the first passage of two types of bottom-towed fishing gear on rare protected shellfish-reefs formed by the horse mussel Modiolus modiolus (L.). One of the study sites was trawled and the other was scallop-dredged. Divers collected HD video imagery of epifauna from quadrats at the two study sites and directed infaunal samples from one site. The total number of epifaunal organisms was significantly reduced following a single pass of a trawl (90%) or scallop dredge (59%), as was the diversity of the associated community and the total number of M. modiolus at the trawled site. At both sites declines in anthozoans, hydrozoans, bivalves, echinoderms and ascidians accounted for most of the change. A year later, no recovery was evident at the trawled site and significantly fewer infaunal taxa (polychaetes, malacostracans, bivalves and ophuroids) were recorded in the trawl track. The severity of the two types of impact reflected the undisturbed status of the habitats compared to previous studies. As a ‘priority habitat’ the nature of the impacts described on M. modiolus communities are important to the development of conservation management policy and indicators of condition in Marine Protected Areas (EU Habitats Directive) as well as indicators of ‘Good Environmental Status’ under the European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Conservation managers are under pressure to support decisions with good quality evidence. Elsewhere, indirect studies have shown declines of M. modiolus biogenic communities in fishing grounds. However, given the protected status of the rare habitat, premeditated demonstration of direct impact is unethical or illegal in Marine Protected Areas. This study therefore provides a unique opportunity to investigate the impact from fishing gear whilst at the same time reflecting on the dilemma of evidence-based conservation management. PMID:23967063

  6. A mid-term analysis of progress toward international biodiversity targets.

    PubMed

    Tittensor, Derek P; Walpole, Matt; Hill, Samantha L L; Boyce, Daniel G; Britten, Gregory L; Burgess, Neil D; Butchart, Stuart H M; Leadley, Paul W; Regan, Eugenie C; Alkemade, Rob; Baumung, Roswitha; Bellard, Céline; Bouwman, Lex; Bowles-Newark, Nadine J; Chenery, Anna M; Cheung, William W L; Christensen, Villy; Cooper, H David; Crowther, Annabel R; Dixon, Matthew J R; Galli, Alessandro; Gaveau, Valérie; Gregory, Richard D; Gutierrez, Nicolas L; Hirsch, Tim L; Höft, Robert; Januchowski-Hartley, Stephanie R; Karmann, Marion; Krug, Cornelia B; Leverington, Fiona J; Loh, Jonathan; Lojenga, Rik Kutsch; Malsch, Kelly; Marques, Alexandra; Morgan, David H W; Mumby, Peter J; Newbold, Tim; Noonan-Mooney, Kieran; Pagad, Shyama N; Parks, Bradley C; Pereira, Henrique M; Robertson, Tim; Rondinini, Carlo; Santini, Luca; Scharlemann, Jörn P W; Schindler, Stefan; Sumaila, U Rashid; Teh, Louise S L; van Kolck, Jennifer; Visconti, Piero; Ye, Yimin

    2014-10-10

    In 2010, the international community, under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity, agreed on 20 biodiversity-related "Aichi Targets" to be achieved within a decade. We provide a comprehensive mid-term assessment of progress toward these global targets using 55 indicator data sets. We projected indicator trends to 2020 using an adaptive statistical framework that incorporated the specific properties of individual time series. On current trajectories, results suggest that despite accelerating policy and management responses to the biodiversity crisis, the impacts of these efforts are unlikely to be reflected in improved trends in the state of biodiversity by 2020. We highlight areas of societal endeavor requiring additional efforts to achieve the Aichi Targets, and provide a baseline against which to assess future progress. PMID:25278504

  7. 34 CFR 75.601 - Applicant's assessment of environmental impact.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... 34 Education 1 2012-07-01 2012-07-01 false Applicant's assessment of environmental impact. 75.601... Conditions Must Be Met by a Grantee? Construction § 75.601 Applicant's assessment of environmental impact. An applicant shall include with its application its assessment of the impact of the proposed construction...

  8. 34 CFR 75.601 - Applicant's assessment of environmental impact.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 34 Education 1 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Applicant's assessment of environmental impact. 75.601... Conditions Must Be Met by a Grantee? Construction § 75.601 Applicant's assessment of environmental impact. An applicant shall include with its application its assessment of the impact of the proposed construction...

  9. 34 CFR 75.601 - Applicant's assessment of environmental impact.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 34 Education 1 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Applicant's assessment of environmental impact. 75.601... Conditions Must Be Met by a Grantee? Construction § 75.601 Applicant's assessment of environmental impact. An applicant shall include with its application its assessment of the impact of the proposed construction...

  10. 34 CFR 75.601 - Applicant's assessment of environmental impact.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... 34 Education 1 2013-07-01 2013-07-01 false Applicant's assessment of environmental impact. 75.601... Conditions Must Be Met by a Grantee? Construction § 75.601 Applicant's assessment of environmental impact. An applicant shall include with its application its assessment of the impact of the proposed construction...

  11. 34 CFR 75.601 - Applicant's assessment of environmental impact.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... 34 Education 1 2014-07-01 2014-07-01 false Applicant's assessment of environmental impact. 75.601... Conditions Must Be Met by a Grantee? Construction § 75.601 Applicant's assessment of environmental impact. An applicant shall include with its application its assessment of the impact of the proposed construction...

  12. Essential biodiversity variables

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pereira, H.M.; Ferrier, S.; Walters, M.; Geller, G.N.; Jongman, R.H.G.; Scholes, R.J.; Bruford, M.W.; Brummitt, N.; Butchart, S.H.M.; Cardoso, A.C.; Coops, N.C.; Dulloo, E.; Faith, D.P.; Freyhof, J.; Gregory, R.D.; Heip, C.; Höft, R.; Hurtt, G.; Jetz, W.; Karp, D.S.; McGeoch, M.A.; Obura, D.; Onada, Y.; Pettorelli, N.; Reyers, B.; Sayre, R.; Scharlemann, J.P.W.; Stuart, S.N.; Turak, E.; Walpole, M.; Wegmann, M.

    2013-01-01

    Reducing the rate of biodiversity loss and averting dangerous biodiversity change are international goals, reasserted by the Aichi Targets for 2020 by Parties to the United Nations (UN) Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) after failure to meet the 2010 target (1, 2). However, there is no global, harmonized observation system for delivering regular, timely data on biodiversity change (3). With the first plenary meeting of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) soon under way, partners from the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON) (4) are developing—and seeking consensus around—Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs) that could form the basis of monitoring programs worldwide.

  13. Integrated Climate Change Impacts Assessment in California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cayan, D. R.; Franco, G.; Meyer, R.; Anderson, M.; Bromirski, P. D.

    2014-12-01

    This paper summarizes lessons learned from an ongoing series of climate change assessments for California, conducted by the scientific community and State and local agencies. A series of three Assessments have considered vulnerability and adaptation issues for both managed and natural systems. California's vulnerability is many faceted, arising because of an exceptionally drought prone climate, open coast and large estuary exposure to sea level rise, sensitive ecosystems and complex human footprint and economy. Key elements of the assessments have been a common set of climate and sea-level rise scenarios, based upon IPCC GCM simulations. Regionalized and localized output from GCM projections was provided to research teams investigating water supply, agriculture, coastal resources, ecosystem services, forestry, public health, and energy demand and hydropower generation. The assessment results are helping to investigate the broad range of uncertainty that is inherent in climate projections, and users are becoming better equipped to process an envelope of potential climate and impacts. Some projections suggest that without changes in California's present fresh-water delivery system, serious water shortages would take place, but that technical solutions are possible. Under a warmer climate, wildfire vulnerability is heightened markedly in some areas--estimated increases in burned area by the end of the 21st Century exceed 100% of the historical area burned in much of the forested areas of Northern California Along California coast and estuaries, projected rise in mean sea level will accelerate flooding occurrences, prompting the need for better education and preparedness. Many policymakers and agency personnel in California are factoring in results from the assessments and recognize the need for a sustained assessment process. An ongoing challenge, of course, is to achieve more engagement with a broader community of decision makers, and notably with the private sector.

  14. Groundwater resources impact assessment for triazine herbicides

    SciTech Connect

    Waldman, E.; Barrett, M.R.; Behl, E.

    1996-10-01

    The Environmental Fate and Ground Water Branch of EPA`s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) has conducted a Water Resources Impact Assessment of the potential for triazine herbicides to be transported to ground and surface waters (only ground-water is discussed in this paper). The herbicides discussed in this document include atrazine, cyanazine, simazine, and prometon. Part of OPP`s regulatory mission is to prevent contamination of ground and surface water resources resulting from the normal use of registered pesticides. OPP has recently produced several resource documents to support such activities at the federal, state, and local levels (e.g., the Pesticides and Ground-Water Strategy and the Pesticides in Ground Water Database). This Water Resources Impact Assessment will also be useful in assisting state and regional agencies in customizing risk reduction strategies and to implement proposed pollution prevention measures. Major conclusions include: Atrazine is the most frequently detected pesticide in ground water in virtually the entire Midwestern United States, and especially in Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. The Pesticides in Ground Water Database 1992 Report indicates that atrazine has been detected in 32 out of the 40 states that have reported monitoring data, and in 1,512 wells (6%) of the wells sampled. Based on EPA`s National Pesticide Survey (NPS), 4.7% of rural domestic drinking water wells in the U.S. (490,000 wells) are estimated to contain atrazine, mostly at concentrations less than 0.12 {mu}g/L (the MCL for atrazine is 3 {mu}g/L). Triazine herbicides other than atrazine (simazine, cyanazine, and prometon) have had much less impact on ground-water quality than atrazine, primarily because they are less intensively used.

  15. Comparing Two Approaches for Assessing Observation Impact

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Todling, Ricardo

    2013-01-01

    Langland and Baker introduced an approach to assess the impact of observations on the forecasts. In that approach, a state-space aspect of the forecast is defined and a procedure is derived ultimately relating changes in the aspect with changes in the observing system. Some features of the state-space approach are to be noted: the typical choice of forecast aspect is rather subjective and leads to incomplete assessment of the observing system, it requires availability of a verification state that is in practice correlated with the forecast, and it involves the adjoint operator of the entire data assimilation system and is thus constrained by the validity of this operator. This article revisits the topic of observation impacts from the perspective of estimation theory. An observation-space metric is used to allow inferring observation impact on the forecasts without the limitations just mentioned. Using differences of observation-minus-forecast residuals obtained from consecutive forecasts leads to the following advantages: (i) it suggests a rather natural choice of forecast aspect that directly links to the data assimilation procedure, (ii) it avoids introducing undesirable correlations in the forecast aspect since verification is done against the observations, and (iii) it does not involve linearization and use of adjoints. The observation-space approach has the additional advantage of being nearly cost free and very simple to implement. In its simplest form it reduces to evaluating the statistics of observationminus- background and observation-minus-analysis residuals with traditional methods. Illustrations comparing the approaches are given using the NASA Goddard Earth Observing System.

  16. STRATEGIES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF CLIMATE SCENARIOS FOR IMPACT ASSESSMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    In order to create a strategy for the development of climate scenarios for use in impact assessment, potential techniques of development were reviewed and the information needs of potential users assessed. vailable techniques were assessed through literature reviews and consultat...

  17. Assessing impacts of climate change on forests: The state of biological modeling

    SciTech Connect

    Dale, V.H.; Rauscher, H.M.

    1993-04-06

    Models that address the impacts to forests of climate change are reviewed by four levels of biological organization: global, regional or landscape, community, and tree. The models are compared as to their ability to assess changes in greenhouse gas flux, land use, maps of forest type or species composition, forest resource productivity, forest health, biodiversity, and wildlife habitat. No one model can address all of these impacts, but landscape transition models and regional vegetation and land-use models consider the largest number of impacts. Developing landscape vegetation dynamics models of functional groups is suggested as a means to integrate the theory of both landscape ecology and individual tree responses to climate change. Risk assessment methodologies can be adapted to deal with the impacts of climate change at various spatial and temporal scales. Four areas of research development are identified: (1) linking socioeconomic and ecologic models, (2) interfacing forest models at different scales, (3) obtaining data on susceptibility of trees and forest to changes in climate and disturbance regimes, and (4) relating information from different scales.

  18. Assessing Impacts of Climate Change on Forests: The State of Biological Modeling

    DOE R&D Accomplishments Database

    Dale, V. H.; Rauscher, H. M.

    1993-04-06

    Models that address the impacts to forests of climate change are reviewed by four levels of biological organization: global, regional or landscape, community, and tree. The models are compared as to their ability to assess changes in greenhouse gas flux, land use, maps of forest type or species composition, forest resource productivity, forest health, biodiversity, and wildlife habitat. No one model can address all of these impacts, but landscape transition models and regional vegetation and land-use models consider the largest number of impacts. Developing landscape vegetation dynamics models of functional groups is suggested as a means to integrate the theory of both landscape ecology and individual tree responses to climate change. Risk assessment methodologies can be adapted to deal with the impacts of climate change at various spatial and temporal scales. Four areas of research development are identified: (1) linking socioeconomic and ecologic models, (2) interfacing forest models at different scales, (3) obtaining data on susceptibility of trees and forest to changes in climate and disturbance regimes, and (4) relating information from different scales.

  19. Biodiversity influences plant productivity through niche–efficiency

    PubMed Central

    Liang, Jingjing; Zhou, Mo; Tobin, Patrick C.; McGuire, A. David; Reich, Peter B.

    2015-01-01

    The loss of biodiversity is threatening ecosystem productivity and services worldwide, spurring efforts to quantify its effects on the functioning of natural ecosystems. Previous research has focused on the positive role of biodiversity on resource acquisition (i.e., niche complementarity), but a lack of study on resource utilization efficiency, a link between resource and productivity, has rendered it difficult to quantify the biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationship. Here we demonstrate that biodiversity loss reduces plant productivity, other things held constant, through theory, empirical evidence, and simulations under gradually relaxed assumptions. We developed a theoretical model named niche–efficiency to integrate niche complementarity and a heretofore-ignored mechanism of diminishing marginal productivity in quantifying the effects of biodiversity loss on plant productivity. Based on niche–efficiency, we created a relative productivity metric and a productivity impact index (PII) to assist in biological conservation and resource management. Relative productivity provides a standardized measure of the influence of biodiversity on individual productivity, and PII is a functionally based taxonomic index to assess individual species’ inherent value in maintaining current ecosystem productivity. Empirical evidence from the Alaska boreal forest suggests that every 1% reduction in overall plant diversity could render an average of 0.23% decline in individual tree productivity. Out of the 283 plant species of the region, we found that large woody plants generally have greater PII values than other species. This theoretical model would facilitate the integration of biological conservation in the international campaign against several pressing global issues involving energy use, climate change, and poverty. PMID:25901325

  20. A Critical Review of Environmental Impact Statements in Sri Lanka with Particular Reference to Ecological Impact Assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Samarakoon, Miriya; Rowan, John S.

    2008-03-01

    This article critically reviews environmental assessment (EA) practices in Sri Lanka, with a particular focus on ecology. An overview is provided of the domestic and international influences which have shaped the administrative process which is currently a two-tiered scheme. An Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) provides a preliminary screening tool, prior to the requirement for a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). A comprehensive survey of Sri Lankan national archives showed that 463 EAs were completed in the period 1981 2005, with the bulk of these in the more populated Western and North Western Provinces. Two-thirds were IEE surveys, while the remaining third advanced to full EIA. A representative sample of 130 EAs (both IEEs and full EIAs) spanning a broad range of project types, scales, and environmental settings was selected to evaluate the quality of the ecological investigations within the published environmental impact statements (EISs). These were assigned into five classes of “explanatory power”, on the basis of their scientific content in relation to survey, analysis, and reporting of ecological interests. Within most EISs, the ecological impact assessment (EcIA) was restricted to the lowest two categories of ecological assessment, i.e., tokenistic presentation of reconnaissance-level species lists without further analysis of the development implications for individual organisms or communities. None of the assessments reviewed provided statistically rigorous analysis, which would be required if ecological impact studies are to include quantitative and testable predictions of impact, which could then be followed up by appropriate post-impact monitoring programs. Attention to key local issues such as biodiversity or ecosystem services, which also have strong social dimensions in the developing world, was also notably underrepresented. It was thus concluded that despite the existence of a sound legislative framework in Sri Lanka, the analysis contained within EISs generally fails to convey meaningful information to the relevant stakeholders and decision makers involved in protecting ecological interests and promoting sustainable development. The introduction of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is considered an important tool to strengthen the institutional capacity of Sri Lankan government to implement current regulations and, in particular, to combat the cumulative effects of incremental development.

  1. The impact of initial evenness on biodiversity maintenance for a four-species in silico bacterial community.

    PubMed

    Daly, Aisling J; Baetens, Jan M; De Baets, Bernard

    2015-12-21

    Initial community evenness has been shown to be a key factor in preserving the functional stability of an ecosystem, but has not been accounted for in previous modelling studies. We formulate a model that allows the initial evenness of the community to be varied in order to investigate the consequent impact on system diversity. We consider a community of four interacting bacterial species, and present a stochastic, spatial individual-based model simulating the ecosystem dynamics. Interactions take place on a two-dimensional lattice. The model incorporates three processes: reproduction, competition and mobility. In addition to variable initial evenness, multiple competition schemes are implemented, modelling various possible communities, which results in diverse coexistence and extinction scenarios. Simulations show that long-term system behaviour is strongly dependent on initial evenness and competition structure. The system is generally unstable; higher initial evenness has a small stabilizing effect on ecosystem dynamics by extending the time until the first extinction. PMID:26458785

  2. Rapid characterisation of vegetation structure to predict refugia and climate change impacts across a global biodiversity hotspot.

    PubMed

    Schut, Antonius G T; Wardell-Johnson, Grant W; Yates, Colin J; Keppel, Gunnar; Baran, Ireneusz; Franklin, Steven E; Hopper, Stephen D; Van Niel, Kimberley P; Mucina, Ladislav; Byrne, Margaret

    2014-01-01

    Identification of refugia is an increasingly important adaptation strategy in conservation planning under rapid anthropogenic climate change. Granite outcrops (GOs) provide extraordinary diversity, including a wide range of taxa, vegetation types and habitats in the Southwest Australian Floristic Region (SWAFR). However, poor characterization of GOs limits the capacity of conservation planning for refugia under climate change. A novel means for the rapid identification of potential refugia is presented, based on the assessment of local-scale environment and vegetation structure in a wider region. This approach was tested on GOs across the SWAFR. Airborne discrete return Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) data and Red Green and Blue (RGB) imagery were acquired. Vertical vegetation profiles were used to derive 54 structural classes. Structural vegetation types were described in three areas for supervised classification of a further 13 GOs across the region. Habitat descriptions based on 494 vegetation plots on and around these GOs were used to quantify relationships between environmental variables, ground cover and canopy height. The vegetation surrounding GOs is strongly related to structural vegetation types (Kappa = 0.8) and to its spatial context. Water gaining sites around GOs are characterized by taller and denser vegetation in all areas. The strong relationship between rainfall, soil-depth, and vegetation structure (R(2) of 0.8-0.9) allowed comparisons of vegetation structure between current and future climate. Significant shifts in vegetation structural types were predicted and mapped for future climates. Water gaining areas below granite outcrops were identified as important putative refugia. A reduction in rainfall may be offset by the occurrence of deeper soil elsewhere on the outcrop. However, climate change interactions with fire and water table declines may render our conclusions conservative. The LiDAR-based mapping approach presented enables the integration of site-based biotic assessment with structural vegetation types for the rapid delineation and prioritization of key refugia. PMID:24416149

  3. Rapid Characterisation of Vegetation Structure to Predict Refugia and Climate Change Impacts across a Global Biodiversity Hotspot

    PubMed Central

    Schut, Antonius G. T.; Wardell-Johnson, Grant W.; Yates, Colin J.; Keppel, Gunnar; Baran, Ireneusz; Franklin, Steven E.; Hopper, Stephen D.; Van Niel, Kimberley P.; Mucina, Ladislav; Byrne, Margaret

    2014-01-01

    Identification of refugia is an increasingly important adaptation strategy in conservation planning under rapid anthropogenic climate change. Granite outcrops (GOs) provide extraordinary diversity, including a wide range of taxa, vegetation types and habitats in the Southwest Australian Floristic Region (SWAFR). However, poor characterization of GOs limits the capacity of conservation planning for refugia under climate change. A novel means for the rapid identification of potential refugia is presented, based on the assessment of local-scale environment and vegetation structure in a wider region. This approach was tested on GOs across the SWAFR. Airborne discrete return Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) data and Red Green and Blue (RGB) imagery were acquired. Vertical vegetation profiles were used to derive 54 structural classes. Structural vegetation types were described in three areas for supervised classification of a further 13 GOs across the region. Habitat descriptions based on 494 vegetation plots on and around these GOs were used to quantify relationships between environmental variables, ground cover and canopy height. The vegetation surrounding GOs is strongly related to structural vegetation types (Kappa = 0.8) and to its spatial context. Water gaining sites around GOs are characterized by taller and denser vegetation in all areas. The strong relationship between rainfall, soil-depth, and vegetation structure (R2 of 0.8–0.9) allowed comparisons of vegetation structure between current and future climate. Significant shifts in vegetation structural types were predicted and mapped for future climates. Water gaining areas below granite outcrops were identified as important putative refugia. A reduction in rainfall may be offset by the occurrence of deeper soil elsewhere on the outcrop. However, climate change interactions with fire and water table declines may render our conclusions conservative. The LiDAR-based mapping approach presented enables the integration of site-based biotic assessment with structural vegetation types for the rapid delineation and prioritization of key refugia. PMID:24416149

  4. Biodiversity in forage stands

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Farmers often plant monocultures or simple grass-legume mixtures in their pastures. Increased biodiversity in pastures may be one tool to improve sustainability and productivity. For this production guide, we will focus on plant biodiversity because it is the most amenable to management in pastures....

  5. Hollow rhodoliths increase Svalbard's shelf biodiversity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Teichert, Sebastian

    2014-11-01

    Rhodoliths are coralline red algal assemblages that commonly occur in marine habitats from the tropics to polar latitudes. They form rigid structures of high-magnesium calcite and have a good fossil record. Here I show that rhodoliths are ecosystem engineers in a high Arctic environment that increase local biodiversity by providing habitat. Gouged by boring mussels, originally solid rhodoliths become hollow ecospheres intensely colonised by benthic organisms. In the examined shelf areas, biodiversity in rhodolith-bearing habitats is significantly greater than in habitats without rhodoliths and hollow rhodoliths yield a greater biodiversity than solid ones. This biodiversity, however, is threatened because hollow rhodoliths take a long time to form and are susceptible to global change and anthropogenic impacts such as trawl net fisheries that can destroy hollow rhodoliths. Rhodoliths and other forms of coralline red algae play a key role in a plurality of environments and need improved management and protection plans.

  6. Hollow rhodoliths increase Svalbard's shelf biodiversity

    PubMed Central

    Teichert, Sebastian

    2014-01-01

    Rhodoliths are coralline red algal assemblages that commonly occur in marine habitats from the tropics to polar latitudes. They form rigid structures of high-magnesium calcite and have a good fossil record. Here I show that rhodoliths are ecosystem engineers in a high Arctic environment that increase local biodiversity by providing habitat. Gouged by boring mussels, originally solid rhodoliths become hollow ecospheres intensely colonised by benthic organisms. In the examined shelf areas, biodiversity in rhodolith-bearing habitats is significantly greater than in habitats without rhodoliths and hollow rhodoliths yield a greater biodiversity than solid ones. This biodiversity, however, is threatened because hollow rhodoliths take a long time to form and are susceptible to global change and anthropogenic impacts such as trawl net fisheries that can destroy hollow rhodoliths. Rhodoliths and other forms of coralline red algae play a key role in a plurality of environments and need improved management and protection plans. PMID:25382656

  7. Status of Marine Biodiversity of the China Seas

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    China's seas cover nearly 5 million square kilometers extending from the tropical to the temperate climate zones and bordering on 32,000 km of coastline, including islands. Comprehensive systematic study of the marine biodiversity within this region began in the early 1950s with the establishment of the Qingdao Marine Biological Laboratory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Since that time scientists have carried out intensive multidisciplinary research on marine life in the China seas and have recorded 22,629 species belonging to 46 phyla. The marine flora and fauna of the China seas are characterized by high biodiversity, including tropical and subtropical elements of the Indo-West Pacific warm-water fauna in the South and East China seas, and temperate elements of North Pacific temperate fauna mainly in the Yellow Sea. The southern South China Sea fauna is characterized by typical tropical elements paralleled with the Philippine-New Guinea-Indonesia Coral triangle typical tropical faunal center. This paper summarizes advances in studies of marine biodiversity in China's seas and discusses current research mainly on characteristics and changes in marine biodiversity, including the monitoring, assessment, and conservation of endangered species and particularly the strengthening of effective management. Studies of (1) a tidal flat in a semi-enclosed embayment, (2) the impact of global climate change on a cold-water ecosystem, (3) coral reefs of Hainan Island and Xisha-Nansha atolls, (4) mangrove forests of the South China Sea, (5) a threatened seagrass field, and (6) an example of stock enhancement practices of the Chinese shrimp fishery are briefly introduced. Besides the overexploitation of living resources (more than 12.4 million tons yielded in 2007), the major threat to the biodiversity of the China seas is environmental deterioration (pollution, coastal construction), particularly in the brackish waters of estuarine environments, which are characterized by high productivity and represent spawning and nursery areas for several economically important species. In the long term, climate change is also a major threat. Finally, challenges in marine biodiversity studies are briefly discussed along with suggestions to strengthen the field. Since 2004, China has participated in the Census of Marine Life, through which advances in the study of zooplankton and zoobenthos biodiversity were finally summarized. PMID:23320065

  8. Status of marine biodiversity of the China seas.

    PubMed

    Liu, J Y

    2013-01-01

    China's seas cover nearly 5 million square kilometers extending from the tropical to the temperate climate zones and bordering on 32,000 km of coastline, including islands. Comprehensive systematic study of the marine biodiversity within this region began in the early 1950s with the establishment of the Qingdao Marine Biological Laboratory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Since that time scientists have carried out intensive multidisciplinary research on marine life in the China seas and have recorded 22,629 species belonging to 46 phyla. The marine flora and fauna of the China seas are characterized by high biodiversity, including tropical and subtropical elements of the Indo-West Pacific warm-water fauna in the South and East China seas, and temperate elements of North Pacific temperate fauna mainly in the Yellow Sea. The southern South China Sea fauna is characterized by typical tropical elements paralleled with the Philippine-New Guinea-Indonesia Coral triangle typical tropical faunal center. This paper summarizes advances in studies of marine biodiversity in China's seas and discusses current research mainly on characteristics and changes in marine biodiversity, including the monitoring, assessment, and conservation of endangered species and particularly the strengthening of effective management. Studies of (1) a tidal flat in a semi-enclosed embayment, (2) the impact of global climate change on a cold-water ecosystem, (3) coral reefs of Hainan Island and Xisha-Nansha atolls, (4) mangrove forests of the South China Sea, (5) a threatened seagrass field, and (6) an example of stock enhancement practices of the Chinese shrimp fishery are briefly introduced. Besides the overexploitation of living resources (more than 12.4 million tons yielded in 2007), the major threat to the biodiversity of the China seas is environmental deterioration (pollution, coastal construction), particularly in the brackish waters of estuarine environments, which are characterized by high productivity and represent spawning and nursery areas for several economically important species. In the long term, climate change is also a major threat. Finally, challenges in marine biodiversity studies are briefly discussed along with suggestions to strengthen the field. Since 2004, China has participated in the Census of Marine Life, through which advances in the study of zooplankton and zoobenthos biodiversity were finally summarized. PMID:23320065

  9. 40 CFR 227.19 - Assessment of impact.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 24 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Assessment of impact. 227.19 Section... FOR THE EVALUATION OF PERMIT APPLICATIONS FOR OCEAN DUMPING OF MATERIALS Impact of the Proposed Dumping on Esthetic, Recreational and Economic Values § 227.19 Assessment of impact. An overall...

  10. 40 CFR 227.22 - Assessment of impact.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... 227.22 Protection of Environment ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (CONTINUED) OCEAN DUMPING CRITERIA FOR THE EVALUATION OF PERMIT APPLICATIONS FOR OCEAN DUMPING OF MATERIALS Impact of the Proposed Dumping on Other Uses of the Ocean § 227.22 Assessment of impact. The assessment of impact on other...

  11. 40 CFR 227.22 - Assessment of impact.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... 227.22 Protection of Environment ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (CONTINUED) OCEAN DUMPING CRITERIA FOR THE EVALUATION OF PERMIT APPLICATIONS FOR OCEAN DUMPING OF MATERIALS Impact of the Proposed Dumping on Other Uses of the Ocean § 227.22 Assessment of impact. The assessment of impact on other...

  12. 40 CFR 227.22 - Assessment of impact.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... 227.22 Protection of Environment ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (CONTINUED) OCEAN DUMPING CRITERIA FOR THE EVALUATION OF PERMIT APPLICATIONS FOR OCEAN DUMPING OF MATERIALS Impact of the Proposed Dumping on Other Uses of the Ocean § 227.22 Assessment of impact. The assessment of impact on other...

  13. 40 CFR 227.22 - Assessment of impact.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 227.22 Protection of Environment ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (CONTINUED) OCEAN DUMPING CRITERIA FOR THE EVALUATION OF PERMIT APPLICATIONS FOR OCEAN DUMPING OF MATERIALS Impact of the Proposed Dumping on Other Uses of the Ocean § 227.22 Assessment of impact. The assessment of impact on other...

  14. Integrated environmental impact assessment: a Canadian example.

    PubMed Central

    Kwiatkowski, Roy E.; Ooi, Maria

    2003-01-01

    The Canadian federal process for environmental impact assessment (EIA) integrates health, social, and environmental aspects into either a screening, comprehensive study, or a review by a public panel, depending on the expected severity of potential adverse environmental effects. In this example, a Public Review Panel considered a proposed diamond mining project in Canada's northern territories, where 50% of the population are Aboriginals. The Panel specifically instructed the project proposer to determine how to incorporate traditional knowledge into the gathering of baseline information, preparing impact prediction, and planning mitigation and monitoring. Traditional knowledge is defined as the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and/or local communities developed from experience gained over the centuries and adapted to local culture and environment. The mining company was asked to consider in its EIA: health, demographics, social and cultural patterns; services and infrastructure; local, regional and territorial economy; land and resource use; employment, education and training; government; and other matters. Cooperative efforts between government, industry and the community led to a project that coordinated the concerns of all interested stakeholders and the needs of present and future generations, thereby meeting the goals of sustainable development. The mitigation measures that were implemented take into account: income and social status, social support networks, education, employment and working conditions, physical environments, personal health practices and coping skills, and health services. PMID:12894328

  15. Management implications of the biodiversity and socio-economic impacts of shrimp trawler by-catch in Bahía de Kino, Sonora, México.

    PubMed

    Meltzer, Lorayne; Blinick, Naomi S; Fleishman, Abram B

    2012-01-01

    The shrimp fishery is the most economically important fishery in Mexico. The trawler-based portion of this fishery results in high rates of by-catch. This study quantifies and describes the biodiversity of by-catch associated with trawling in the Bahía de Kino region of Sonora, Mexico. Data were collected from 55 trawls, on six boats, over 14 nights, during November of 2003, 2004, 2006-2009. By-catch rates within trawl samples averaged 85.9% measured by weight. A total of 183 by-catch species were identified during the course of this study, including 97 species of bony fish from 43 families, 19 species of elasmobranchs from 12 families, 66 species of invertebrates from eight phyla, and one species of marine turtle; seven of the documented by-catch species are listed on the IUCN Red List, CITES, or the Mexican NOM-059-ECOL-2010; 35 species documented in the by-catch are also targeted by local artisanal fishers. Some of the species frequently captured as juveniles in the by-catch are economically important to small-scale fishers in the region, and are particularly sensitive to overexploitation due to their life histories. This study highlights the need for further research quantifying the impacts of high levels of by-catch upon small-scale fishing economies in the region and presents strong ecological and economic rationale for by-catch management within the shrimp fishery of the Gulf of California. Site-specific by-catch management plans should be piloted in the Bahía de Kino region to address the growing momentum in national and international fisheries policy regimes toward the reduction of by-catch in shrimp fisheries. PMID:22719827

  16. Management Implications of the Biodiversity and Socio-Economic Impacts of Shrimp Trawler By-Catch in Bahía de Kino, Sonora, México

    PubMed Central

    Meltzer, Lorayne; Blinick, Naomi S.; Fleishman, Abram B.

    2012-01-01

    The shrimp fishery is the most economically important fishery in Mexico. The trawler-based portion of this fishery results in high rates of by-catch. This study quantifies and describes the biodiversity of by-catch associated with trawling in the Bahía de Kino region of Sonora, Mexico. Data were collected from 55 trawls, on six boats, over 14 nights, during November of 2003, 2004, 2006–2009. By-catch rates within trawl samples averaged 85.9% measured by weight. A total of 183 by-catch species were identified during the course of this study, including 97 species of bony fish from 43 families, 19 species of elasmobranchs from 12 families, 66 species of invertebrates from eight phyla, and one species of marine turtle; seven of the documented by-catch species are listed on the IUCN Red List, CITES, or the Mexican NOM-059-ECOL-2010; 35 species documented in the by-catch are also targeted by local artisanal fishers. Some of the species frequently captured as juveniles in the by-catch are economically important to small-scale fishers in the region, and are particularly sensitive to overexploitation due to their life histories. This study highlights the need for further research quantifying the impacts of high levels of by-catch upon small-scale fishing economies in the region and presents strong ecological and economic rationale for by-catch management within the shrimp fishery of the Gulf of California. Site-specific by-catch management plans should be piloted in the Bahía de Kino region to address the growing momentum in national and international fisheries policy regimes toward the reduction of by-catch in shrimp fisheries. PMID:22719827

  17. Catalysis-by-design impacts assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Fassbender, L L; Young, J K; Sen, R K

    1991-05-01

    Catalyst researchers have always recognized the need to develop a detailed understanding of the mechanisms of catalytic processes, and have hoped that it would lead to developing a theoretical predictive base to guide the search for new catalysts. This understanding allows one to develop a set of hierarchical models, from fundamental atomic-level ab-initio models to detailed engineering simulations of reactor systems, to direct the search for optimized, efficient catalyst systems. During the last two decades, the explosions of advanced surface analysis techniques have helped considerably to develop the building blocks for understanding various catalytic reactions. An effort to couple these theoretical and experimental advances to develop a set of hierarchical models to predict the nature of catalytic materials is a program entitled Catalysis-by-Design (CRD).'' In assessing the potential impacts of CBD on US industry, the key point to remember is that the value of the program lies in developing a novel methodology to search for new catalyst systems. Industrial researchers can then use this methodology to develop proprietary catalysts. Most companies involved in catalyst R D have two types of ongoing projects. The first type, what we call market-driven R D,'' are projects that support and improve upon a company's existing product lines. Project of the second type, technology-driven R D,'' are longer term, involve the development of totally new catalysts, and are initiated through scientists' research ideas. The CBD approach will impact both types of projects. However, this analysis indicates that the near-term impacts will be on market-driven'' projects. The conclusions and recommendations presented in this report were obtained by the authors through personal interviews with individuals involved in a variety of industrial catalyst development programs and through the three CBD workshops held in the summer of 1989. 34 refs., 7 figs., 7 tabs.

  18. Salvage logging in the montane ash eucalypt forests of the Central Highlands of Victoria and its potential impacts on biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Lindenmayer, D B; Ought, K

    2006-08-01

    The two major forms of disturbance in the montane ash eucalypt forests of the Central Highlands of Victoria (southeastern Australia) are clearfell logging and unplanned wildfires. Since the 1930s wildfire has been followed by intensive and extensive salvage-logging operations, which may proceed for many years after a wildfire has occurred. Although applied widely, the potential effects of salvage logging on native flora and fauna have been poorly studied. Our data indicate that the abundance of large trees with hollows is significantly reduced in forests subject to salvage harvesting. This has implications for thepersistence of an array of such cavity-using vertebrates as the endangered arboreal marsupial, Leadbeater's possum (Gymnobelidues leadbeateri). Salvage logging also reduces the prevalence of multiaged montane ash forests--places that typically support the highest diversity of arboreal marsupials and forest birds. Limited research has been conducted on the effects of salvage logging on plants; thus, we constructed hypotheses about potential impacts for further testing based on known responses to clearfell logging and key life history attributes. We predict many species, such as vegetatively resprouting tree ferns, will decline, as they do after clearfelling. We also suggest that seed regenerators, which typically regenerate well after fire or conventional clearfelling, will decline after salvage logging because the stimulation for germination (fire) takes place prior to mechanical disturbance (logging). Understoryplant communities in salvage-logged areas will be dominated by a smaller suite of species, and those that are wind dispersed, have viable soil-stored seed remaining after salvage logging, or have deep rhizomes are likely to be advantaged. We recommend the following improvements to salvage-logging policies that may better incorporate conservation needs in Victorian montane ash forests: (1) exemption of salvage logging from some areas (e.g., old-growth stands and places subject to only partial stand damage); (2) increased retention of biological legacies on burned areas through variations in the intensity of salvage logging; and (3) reduction in the levels of physical disturbance on salvage-logged areas, especially through limited seedbed preparation and mechanical disturbance. PMID:16922217

  19. Practitioners, professional cultures, and perceptions of impact assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Morgan, Richard K.; Hart, Andrew; Freeman, Claire; Coutts, Brian; Colwill, David; Hughes, Andrew

    2012-01-15

    The very nature of impact assessment (IA) means that it often involves practitioners from a very wide range of disciplinary and professional backgrounds, which open the possibility that how IA is perceived and practised may vary according to the professional background of the practitioner. The purpose of this study is to investigate the extent to which a practitioner's professional background influences their perceptions of the adequacy of impact assessment in New Zealand under the Resource Management Act (RMA). Information gathered concerned professional affiliations, training, understanding of impact assessment practise, and perceptions of adequacy in relation to impact assessment. The results showed a dominance of a legalistic, operational perspective of impact assessment under the Resource Management Act, across all the main professions represented in the study. However, among preparers of impact assessments there was clear evidence of differences between the four main professional groups - surveyors, planners, engineers and natural scientists - in the way they see the nature and purpose of impact assessment, the practical steps involved, and what constitutes adequacy. Similarly, impact assessment reviewers - predominantly planners and lawyers - showed variations in their expectations of impact assessment depending on their respective professional affiliation. Although in many cases the differences seem to be more of a matter of emphasis, rather than major disputes on what constitutes a good process, even those differences can add up to rather distinct professional cultures of impact assessment. The following factors are seen as leading to the emergence of such professional cultures: different professions often contribute in different ways to an impact assessment, affecting their perception of the nature and purpose of the process; impact assessment training will usually be a secondary concern, compared with the core professional training, which will be reflected in the depth and length of such training; and any impact assessment training provided within a profession will often have the 'cultural' imprint of that profession.

  20. COMBINING CLIMATE MODEL PREDICTIONS, HYDROLOGICAL MODELING, AND ECOLOGICAL NICHE MODELING ALGORITHMS TO PREDICT THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON AQUATIC BIODIVERSITY

    EPA Science Inventory

    The results of this research will provide a broad taxonomic and regional assessment of the impacts of climate change on aquatic species in the United States by producing predictions of current and future habitat quality for aquatic taxa based on multiple climate change scen...

  1. Projecting land-use change and its consequences for biodiversity in northern Thailand.

    PubMed

    Trisurat, Yongyut; Alkemade, Rob; Verburg, Peter H

    2010-03-01

    Rapid deforestation has occurred in northern Thailand over the last few decades and it is expected to continue. The government has implemented conservation policies aimed at maintaining forest cover of 50% or more and promoting agribusiness, forestry, and tourism development in the region. The goal of this paper was to analyze the likely effects of various directions of development on the region. Specific objectives were (1) to forecast land-use change and land-use patterns across the region based on three scenarios, (2) to analyze the consequences for biodiversity, and (3) to identify areas most susceptible to future deforestation and high biodiversity loss. The study combined a dynamic land-use change model (Dyna-CLUE) with a model for biodiversity assessment (GLOBIO3). The Dyna-CLUE model was used to determine the spatial patterns of land-use change for the three scenarios. The methodology developed for the Global Biodiversity Assessment Model framework (GLOBIO 3) was used to estimate biodiversity intactness expressed as the remaining relative mean species abundance (MSA) of the original species relative to their abundance in the primary vegetation. The results revealed that forest cover in 2050 would mainly persist in the west and upper north of the region, which is rugged and not easily accessible. In contrast, the highest deforestation was expected to occur in the lower north. MSA values decreased from 0.52 in 2002 to 0.45, 0.46, and 0.48, respectively, for the three scenarios in 2050. In addition, the estimated area with a high threat to biodiversity (an MSA decrease >0.5) derived from the simulated land-use maps in 2050 was approximately 2.8% of the region for the trend scenario. In contrast, the high-threat areas covered 1.6 and 0.3% of the region for the integrated-management and conservation-oriented scenarios, respectively. Based on the model outcomes, conservation measures were recommended to minimize the impacts of deforestation on biodiversity. The model results indicated that only establishing a fixed percentage of forest was not efficient in conserving biodiversity. Measures aimed at the conservation of locations with high biodiversity values, limited fragmentation, and careful consideration of road expansion in pristine forest areas may be more efficient to achieve biodiversity conservation. PMID:20131051

  2. Biodiversity, traditional medicine and public health: where do they meet?

    PubMed Central

    2007-01-01

    Given the increased use of traditional medicines, possibilities that would ensure its successful integration into a public health framework should be explored. This paper discusses some of the links between biodiversity and traditional medicine, and addresses their implications to public health. We explore the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services to global and human health, the risks which human impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity present to human health and welfare. PMID:17376227

  3. Assessing Impact Submissions for REF 2014: An Evaluation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Manville, Catriona; Guthrie, Susan; Henham, Marie-Louise; Garrod, Bryn; Sousa, Sonia; Kirtley, Anne; Castle-Clarke, Sophie; Ling, Tom

    2015-01-01

    The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). For the first time, part of the assessment included the wider impact of research. RAND Europe was commissioned to evaluate the assessment process of the impact element of REF submissions, and to explore the

  4. 76 FR 19110 - Published Privacy Impact Assessments on the Web

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-04-06

    ... SECURITY Office of the Secretary Published Privacy Impact Assessments on the Web AGENCY: Privacy Office... the Department. The assessments were approved and published on the Privacy Office's Web site between May 3, 2010 and January 7, 2011. DATES: The Privacy Impact Assessments are available on the DHS...

  5. Dung Beetle Community and Functions along a Habitat-Disturbance Gradient in the Amazon: A Rapid Assessment of Ecological Functions Associated to Biodiversity

    PubMed Central

    Braga, Rodrigo F.; Korasaki, Vanesca; Andresen, Ellen; Louzada, Julio

    2013-01-01

    Although there is increasing interest in the effects of habitat disturbance on community attributes and the potential consequences for ecosystem functioning, objective approaches linking biodiversity loss to functional loss are uncommon. The objectives of this study were to implement simultaneous assessment of community attributes (richness, abundance and biomass, each calculated for total-beetle assemblages as well as small- and large-beetle assemblages) and three ecological functions of dung beetles (dung removal, soil perturbation and secondary seed dispersal), to compare the effects of habitat disturbance on both sets of response variables, and their relations. We studied dung beetle community attributes and functions in five land-use systems representing a disturbance gradient in the Brazilian Amazon: primary forest, secondary forest, agroforestry, agriculture and pasture. All response variables were affected negatively by the intensification of habitat disturbance regimes, but community attributes and ecological functions did not follow the same pattern of decline. A hierarchical partitioning analysis showed that, although all community attributes had a significant effect on the three ecological functions (except the abundance of small beetles on all three ecological functions and the biomass of small beetles on secondary dispersal of large seed mimics), species richness and abundance of large beetles were the community attributes with the highest explanatory value. Our results show the importance of measuring ecological function empirically instead of deducing it from community metrics. PMID:23460906

  6. Dung beetle community and functions along a habitat-disturbance gradient in the Amazon: a rapid assessment of ecological functions associated to biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Braga, Rodrigo F; Korasaki, Vanesca; Andresen, Ellen; Louzada, Julio

    2013-01-01

    Although there is increasing interest in the effects of habitat disturbance on community attributes and the potential consequences for ecosystem functioning, objective approaches linking biodiversity loss to functional loss are uncommon. The objectives of this study were to implement simultaneous assessment of community attributes (richness, abundance and biomass, each calculated for total-beetle assemblages as well as small- and large-beetle assemblages) and three ecological functions of dung beetles (dung removal, soil perturbation and secondary seed dispersal), to compare the effects of habitat disturbance on both sets of response variables, and their relations. We studied dung beetle community attributes and functions in five land-use systems representing a disturbance gradient in the Brazilian Amazon: primary forest, secondary forest, agroforestry, agriculture and pasture. All response variables were affected negatively by the intensification of habitat disturbance regimes, but community attributes and ecological functions did not follow the same pattern of decline. A hierarchical partitioning analysis showed that, although all community attributes had a significant effect on the three ecological functions (except the abundance of small beetles on all three ecological functions and the biomass of small beetles on secondary dispersal of large seed mimics), species richness and abundance of large beetles were the community attributes with the highest explanatory value. Our results show the importance of measuring ecological function empirically instead of deducing it from community metrics. PMID:23460906

  7. Towards the global monitoring of biodiversity change.

    PubMed

    Pereira, Henrique M; David Cooper, H

    2006-03-01

    Governments have set the ambitious target of reducing biodiversity loss by the year 2010. The scientific community now faces the challenge of assessing the progress made towards this target and beyond. Here, we review current monitoring efforts and propose a global biodiversity monitoring network to complement and enhance these efforts. The network would develop a global sampling programme for indicator taxa (we suggest birds and vascular plants) and would integrate regional sampling programmes for taxa that are locally relevant to the monitoring of biodiversity change. The network would also promote the development of comparable maps of global land cover at regular time intervals. The extent and condition of specific habitat types, such as wetlands and coral reefs, would be monitored based on regional programmes. The data would then be integrated with other environmental and socioeconomic indicators to design responses to reduce biodiversity loss. PMID:16701487

  8. Application of Non-Human Biota Assessment Methodologies to the Assessment of Potential Impacts from a Nuclear Waste Repository

    SciTech Connect

    Smith, K.L.; Robinson, C.A.; Ikonen, A.T.K.

    2007-07-01

    The protection of the environment from the effects of ionising radiation has become increasingly more topical over the last few years as the intentions enshrined in international principles and agreements have become more binding through national and international law. For example, the Directive on impact of certain projects on the environment (EIA Directive 85/337/EEC) [CEC, 1985], amended in 1997 [CEC, 1997], places a mandatory requirement on all EU Member States to conduct environmental impact assessments for a range of project having potential impact on the environment, including radioactive waste disposal. Such assessments must consider humans, fauna and flora, the abiotic environment (soil, water, air), material assets and cultural heritage as well as the interactions between these factors. In Finland, Posiva Oy are responsible for the overall repository programme for spent nuclear fuel and, as such, are conducting the Safety Case Assessment for a proposed geological repository for nuclear waste. Within the European legislation framework, the Finnish regulatory body requires that the repository safety case assessment should include not only human radiological safety, but also an assessment of the potential impact upon populations of non-human biota. Specifically, the Safety Case should demonstrate that there will be: - no decline in the biodiversity of currently living populations; - no significant detriment to populations of fauna and flora; and, - no detrimental effects on individuals of domestic animals and rare plants and animals. At present, there are no internationally agreed criteria that explicitly address protection of the environment from ionising radiation. However, over recent years a number of assessment methodologies have been developed including, at a European level, the Framework for the Assessment of Environmental impact (FASSET) and Environmental Risks from Ionising Contaminants (ERICA). The International Committee on Radiation Protection (ICRP) have also proposed an approach to allow for assessments of potential impacts on non-human species, in its report in 2003. This approach is based on the development and use of a small set of reference animals and plants, with their associated dose models and data sets. Such approaches are broadly applicable to the Posiva Safety Case. However, the specific biota of concern and the current climatic conditions within Finland present an additional challenge to the assessment. The assessment methods most applicable to the Posiva Safety Case have therefore been reviewed in consideration of the regulatory requirements for the assessment and recommendations made on a suitable assessment approach. This has been applied within a test case and adaptations to the overall assessment method have been made to enable both population and individual impacts to be assessed where necessary. The test case has been undertaken to demonstrate the application of the recommended methodology, but also to identify data gaps, uncertainties and other specific issues associated with the application of an assessment method within the regulatory context. (authors)

  9. A landscape ecology approach identifies important drivers of urban biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Turrini, Tabea; Knop, Eva

    2015-04-01

    Cities are growing rapidly worldwide, yet a mechanistic understanding of the impact of urbanization on biodiversity is lacking. We assessed the impact of urbanization on arthropod diversity (species richness and evenness) and abundance in a study of six cities and nearby intensively managed agricultural areas. Within the urban ecosystem, we disentangled the relative importance of two key landscape factors affecting biodiversity, namely the amount of vegetated area and patch isolation. To do so, we a priori selected sites that independently varied in the amount of vegetated area in the surrounding landscape at the 500-m scale and patch isolation at the 100-m scale, and we hold local patch characteristics constant. As indicator groups, we used bugs, beetles, leafhoppers, and spiders. Compared to intensively managed agricultural ecosystems, urban ecosystems supported a higher abundance of most indicator groups, a higher number of bug species, and a lower evenness of bug and beetle species. Within cities, a high amount of vegetated area increased species richness and abundance of most arthropod groups, whereas evenness showed no clear pattern. Patch isolation played only a limited role in urban ecosystems, which contrasts findings from agro-ecological studies. Our results show that urban areas can harbor a similar arthropod diversity and abundance compared to intensively managed agricultural ecosystems. Further, negative consequences of urbanization on arthropod diversity can be mitigated by providing sufficient vegetated space in the urban area, while patch connectivity is less important in an urban context. This highlights the need for applying a landscape ecological approach to understand the mechanisms shaping urban biodiversity and underlines the potential of appropriate urban planning for mitigating biodiversity loss. PMID:25620599

  10. Assessing the impacts of climate change on natural resource systems

    SciTech Connect

    Frederick, K.D.; Rosenberg, N.J.

    1994-11-30

    This volume is a collection of papers addressing the theme of potential impacts of climatic change. Papers are entitled Integrated Assessments of the Impacts of Climatic Change on Natural Resources: An Introductory Editorial; Framework for Integrated Assessments of Global Warming Impacts; Modeling Land Use and Cover as Part of Global Environmental Change; Assessing Impacts of Climatic Change on Forests: The State of Biological Modeling; Integrating Climatic Change and Forests: Economic and Ecological Assessments; Environmental Change in Grasslands: Assessment using Models; Assessing the Socio-economic Impacts of Climatic Change on Grazinglands; Modeling the Effects of Climatic Change on Water Resources- A Review; Assessing the Socioeconomic Consequences of Climate Change on Water Resources; and Conclusions, Remaining Issues, and Next Steps.

  11. Fungal biodiversity to biotechnology.

    PubMed

    Chambergo, Felipe S; Valencia, Estela Y

    2016-03-01

    Fungal habitats include soil, water, and extreme environments. With around 100,000 fungus species already described, it is estimated that 5.1 million fungus species exist on our planet, making fungi one of the largest and most diverse kingdoms of eukaryotes. Fungi show remarkable metabolic features due to a sophisticated genomic network and are important for the production of biotechnological compounds that greatly impact our society in many ways. In this review, we present the current state of knowledge on fungal biodiversity, with special emphasis on filamentous fungi and the most recent discoveries in the field of identification and production of biotechnological compounds. More than 250 fungus species have been studied to produce these biotechnological compounds. This review focuses on three of the branches generally accepted in biotechnological applications, which have been identified by a color code: red, green, and white for pharmaceutical, agricultural, and industrial biotechnology, respectively. We also discuss future prospects for the use of filamentous fungi in biotechnology application. PMID:26810078

  12. Reconciling Biodiversity Conservation and Timber Production in Mixed Uneven-Aged Mountain Forests: Identification of Ecological Intensification Pathways

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lafond, Valentine; Cordonnier, Thomas; Courbaud, Benoît

    2015-11-01

    Mixed uneven-aged forests are considered favorable to the provision of multiple ecosystem services and to the conciliation of timber production and biodiversity conservation. However, some forest managers now plan to increase the intensity of thinning and harvesting operations in these forests. Retention measures or gap creation are considered to compensate potential negative impacts on biodiversity. Our objectives were to assess the effect of these management practices on timber production and biodiversity conservation and identify potential compensating effects between these practices, using the concept of ecological intensification as a framework. We performed a simulation study coupling Samsara2, a simulation model designed for spruce-fir uneven-aged mountain forests, an uneven-aged silviculture algorithm, and biodiversity models. We analyzed the effect of parameters related to uneven-aged management practices on timber production, biodiversity, and sustainability indicators. Our study confirmed that the indicators responded differently to management practices, leading to trade-offs situations. Increasing management intensity had negative impacts on several biodiversity indicators, which could be partly compensated by the positive effect of retention measures targeting large trees, non-dominant species, and deadwood. The impact of gap creation was more mitigated, with a positive effect on the diversity of tree sizes and deadwood but a negative impact on the spruce-fir mixing balance and on the diversity of the understory layer. Through the analysis of compensating effects, we finally revealed the existence of possible ecological intensification pathways, i.e., the possibility to increase management intensity while maintaining biodiversity through the promotion of nature-based management principles (gap creation and retention measures).

  13. Reconciling Biodiversity Conservation and Timber Production in Mixed Uneven-Aged Mountain Forests: Identification of Ecological Intensification Pathways.

    PubMed

    Lafond, Valentine; Cordonnier, Thomas; Courbaud, Benoît

    2015-11-01

    Mixed uneven-aged forests are considered favorable to the provision of multiple ecosystem services and to the conciliation of timber production and biodiversity conservation. However, some forest managers now plan to increase the intensity of thinning and harvesting operations in these forests. Retention measures or gap creation are considered to compensate potential negative impacts on biodiversity. Our objectives were to assess the effect of these management practices on timber production and biodiversity conservation and identify potential compensating effects between these practices, using the concept of ecological intensification as a framework. We performed a simulation study coupling Samsara2, a simulation model designed for spruce-fir uneven-aged mountain forests, an uneven-aged silviculture algorithm, and biodiversity models. We analyzed the effect of parameters related to uneven-aged management practices on timber production, biodiversity, and sustainability indicators. Our study confirmed that the indicators responded differently to management practices, leading to trade-offs situations. Increasing management intensity had negative impacts on several biodiversity indicators, which could be partly compensated by the positive effect of retention measures targeting large trees, non-dominant species, and deadwood. The impact of gap creation was more mitigated, with a positive effect on the diversity of tree sizes and deadwood but a negative impact on the spruce-fir mixing balance and on the diversity of the understory layer. Through the analysis of compensating effects, we finally revealed the existence of possible ecological intensification pathways, i.e., the possibility to increase management intensity while maintaining biodiversity through the promotion of nature-based management principles (gap creation and retention measures). PMID:26105969

  14. Developing the RIAM method (rapid impact assessment matrix) in the context of impact significance assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Ijaes, Asko; Kuitunen, Markku T.; Jalava, Kimmo

    2010-02-15

    In this paper the applicability of the RIAM method (rapid impact assessment matrix) is evaluated in the context of impact significance assessment. The methodological issues considered in the study are: 1) to test the possibilities of enlarging the scoring system used in the method, and 2) to compare the significance classifications of RIAM and unaided decision-making to estimate the consistency between these methods. The data used consisted of projects for which funding had been applied for via the European Union's Regional Development Trust in the area of Central Finland. Cases were evaluated with respect to their environmental, social and economic impacts using an assessment panel. The results showed the scoring framework used in RIAM could be modified according to the problem situation at hand, which enhances its application potential. However the changes made in criteria B did not significantly affect the final ratings of the method, which indicates the high importance of criteria A1 (importance) and A2 (magnitude) to the overall results. The significance classes obtained by the two methods diverged notably. In general the ratings given by RIAM tended to be smaller compared to intuitive judgement implying that the RIAM method may be somewhat conservative in character.

  15. Ecological impact assessment in data-poor systems: a case study on metapopulation persistence.

    PubMed

    Etienne, Rampal S; Vos, Claire C; Jansen, Michiel J W

    2003-12-01

    Legislation on the protection of biodiversity (e.g., European Union Habitat and Bird Directives) increasingly requires ecological impact assessment of human activities. However, knowledge and understanding of relevant ecological processes and species responses to different types of impact are often incomplete. In this paper we demonstrate with a case study how impact assessment can be carried out for situations where data are scarce but some expert knowledge is available. The case study involves two amphibian species, the great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) and the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita) in the nature reserve the Meinweg in the Netherlands, for which plans are being developed to reopen an old railway track called the Iron Rhine. We assess the effects of this railway track and its proposed alternatives (scenarios) on the metapopulation extinction time and the occupancy times of the patches for both species using a discrete-time stochastic metapopulation model. We quantify the model parameters using expert knowledge and extrapolated data. Because of our uncertainty about these parameter values, we perform a Monte Carlo uncertainty analysis. This yields an estimate of the probability distribution of the model predictions and insight into the contribution of each distinguished source of uncertainty to this probability distribution. We show that with a simple metapopulation model and an extensive uncertainty analysis it is possible to detect the least harmful scenario. The ranking of the different scenarios is consistent. Thus, uncertainty analysis can enhance the role of ecological impact assessment in decision making by making explicit to what extent incomplete knowledge affects predictions. PMID:15160900

  16. Determining Vulnerability Importance in Environmental Impact Assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Toro, Javier; Duarte, Oscar; Requena, Ignacio; Zamorano, Montserrat

    2012-01-15

    The concept of vulnerability has been used to describe the susceptibility of physical, biotic, and social systems to harm or hazard. In this sense, it is a tool that reduces the uncertainties of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) since it does not depend exclusively on the value assessments of the evaluator, but rather is based on the environmental state indicators of the site where the projects or activities are being carried out. The concept of vulnerability thus reduces the possibility that evaluators will subjectively interpret results, and be influenced by outside interests and pressures during projects. However, up until now, EIA has been hindered by a lack of effective methods. This research study analyzes the concept of vulnerability, defines Vulnerability Importance and proposes its inclusion in qualitative EIA methodology. The method used to quantify Vulnerability Importance is based on a set of environmental factors and indicators that provide a comprehensive overview of the environmental state. The results obtained in Colombia highlight the usefulness and objectivity of this method since there is a direct relation between this value and the environmental state of the departments analyzed. - Research Highlights: Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer The concept of vulnerability could be considered defining Vulnerability Importance included in qualitative EIA methodology. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer The use of the concept of environmental vulnerability could reduce the subjectivity of qualitative methods of EIA. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer A method to quantify the Vulnerability Importance proposed provides a comprehensive overview of the environmental state. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Results in Colombia highlight the usefulness and objectivity of this method.

  17. The biodiversity-dependent ecosystem service debt.

    PubMed

    Isbell, Forest; Tilman, David; Polasky, Stephen; Loreau, Michel

    2015-02-01

    Habitat destruction is driving biodiversity loss in remaining ecosystems, and ecosystem functioning and services often directly depend on biodiversity. Thus, biodiversity loss is likely creating an ecosystem service debt: a gradual loss of biodiversity-dependent benefits that people obtain from remaining fragments of natural ecosystems. Here, we develop an approach for quantifying ecosystem service debts, and illustrate its use to estimate how one anthropogenic driver, habitat destruction, could indirectly diminish one ecosystem service, carbon storage, by creating an extinction debt. We estimate that c. 2-21 Pg C could be gradually emitted globally in remaining ecosystem fragments because of plant species loss caused by nearby habitat destruction. The wide range for this estimate reflects substantial uncertainties in how many plant species will be lost, how much species loss will impact ecosystem functioning and whether plant species loss will decrease soil carbon. Our exploratory analysis suggests that biodiversity-dependent ecosystem service debts can be globally substantial, even when locally small, if they occur diffusely across vast areas of remaining ecosystems. There is substantial value in conserving not only the quantity (area), but also the quality (biodiversity) of natural ecosystems for the sustainable provision of ecosystem services. PMID:25430966

  18. Screening assessment and requirements for a comprehensive assessment: Volume 1, Draft. Columbia River comprehensive impact assessment

    SciTech Connect

    1997-04-01

    To evaluate the impact to the Columbia River from the Hanford Site-derived contaminants, the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Washington State Department of Ecology initiated a study referred to as the Columbia River Comprehensive Impact Assessment (CRCIA). To address concerns about the scope and direction of CRCIA as well as enhance regulator, tribal, stockholder, and public involvement, the CRCIA Management Team was formed in August 1995. The Team agreed to conduct CRCIA using a phased approach. The initial phase, includes two components: 1) a screening assessment to evaluate the potential impact to the river, resulting from current levels of Hanford-derived contaminants in order to support decisions on Interim Remedial Measures, and 2) a definition of the essential work remaining to provide an acceptable comprehensive river impact assessment. The screening assessment is described in Part I of this report. The essential work remaining is Part II of this report. The objective of the screening assessment is to identify areas where the greatest potential exists for adverse effects on humans or the environment. Part I of this report discusses the scope, technical approach, and results of the screening assessment. Part II defines a new paradigm for predecisional participation by those affected by Hanford cleanup decisions.

  19. Interbasin water transfer, riverine connectivity, and spatial controls on fish biodiversity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grant, Evan H. Campbell; Lynch, Heather J.; Muneepeerakul, Rachata; Muthukumarasamy, Arunachalam; Rodríguez-Iturbe, Ignacio; Fagan, William F.

    2012-01-01

    Background Large-scale inter-basin water transfer (IBWT) projects are commonly proposed as solutions to water distribution and supply problems. These problems are likely to intensify under future population growth and climate change scenarios. Scarce data on the distribution of freshwater fishes frequently limits the ability to assess the potential implications of an IBWT project on freshwater fish communities. Because connectivity in habitat networks is expected to be critical to species' biogeography, consideration of changes in the relative isolation of riverine networks may provide a strategy for controlling impacts of IBWTs on freshwater fish communities Methods/Principal Findings Using empirical data on the current patterns of freshwater fish biodiversity for rivers of peninsular India, we show here how the spatial changes alone under an archetypal IBWT project will (1) reduce freshwater fish biodiversity system-wide, (2) alter patterns of local species richness, (3) expand distributions of widespread species throughout peninsular rivers, and (4) decrease community richness by increasing inter-basin similarity (a mechanism for the observed decrease in biodiversity). Given the complexity of the IBWT, many paths to partial or full completion of the project are possible. We evaluate two strategies for step-wise implementation of the 11 canals, based on economic or ecological considerations. We find that for each step in the project, the impacts on freshwater fish communities are sensitive to which canal is added to the network. Conclusions/Significance Importantly, ecological impacts can be reduced by associating the sequence in which canals are added to characteristics of the links, except for the case when all 11 canals are implemented simultaneously (at which point the sequence of canal addition is inconsequential). By identifying the fundamental relationship between the geometry of riverine networks and freshwater fish biodiversity, our results will aid in assessing impacts of IBWT projects and balancing ecosystem and societal demands for freshwater, even in cases where biodiversity data are limited.

  20. Interbasin Water Transfer, Riverine Connectivity, and Spatial Controls on Fish Biodiversity

    PubMed Central

    Grant, Evan H. Campbell; Lynch, Heather J.; Muneepeerakul, Rachata; Arunachalam, Muthukumarasamy; Rodríguez-Iturbe, Ignacio; Fagan, William F.

    2012-01-01

    Background Large-scale inter-basin water transfer (IBWT) projects are commonly proposed as solutions to water distribution and supply problems. These problems are likely to intensify under future population growth and climate change scenarios. Scarce data on the distribution of freshwater fishes frequently limits the ability to assess the potential implications of an IBWT project on freshwater fish communities. Because connectivity in habitat networks is expected to be critical to species' biogeography, consideration of changes in the relative isolation of riverine networks may provide a strategy for controlling impacts of IBWTs on freshwater fish communities. Methods/Principal Findings Using empirical data on the current patterns of freshwater fish biodiversity for rivers of peninsular India, we show here how the spatial changes alone under an archetypal IBWT project will (1) reduce freshwater fish biodiversity system-wide, (2) alter patterns of local species richness, (3) expand distributions of widespread species throughout peninsular rivers, and (4) decrease community richness by increasing inter-basin similarity (a mechanism for the observed decrease in biodiversity). Given the complexity of the IBWT, many paths to partial or full completion of the project are possible. We evaluate two strategies for step-wise implementation of the 11 canals, based on economic or ecological considerations. We find that for each step in the project, the impacts on freshwater fish communities are sensitive to which canal is added to the network. Conclusions/Significance Importantly, ecological impacts can be reduced by associating the sequence in which canals are added to characteristics of the links, except for the case when all 11 canals are implemented simultaneously (at which point the sequence of canal addition is inconsequential). By identifying the fundamental relationship between the geometry of riverine networks and freshwater fish biodiversity, our results will aid in assessing impacts of IBWT projects and balancing ecosystem and societal demands for freshwater, even in cases where biodiversity data are limited. PMID:22470533

  1. Terrestrial vertebrate fauna surveys for the preparation of environmental impact assessments; how can we do it better? A Western Australian example

    SciTech Connect

    Thompson, Graham G. . E-mail: g.thompson@ecu.edu.au

    2007-01-15

    The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in 2002 released Position Statement, No. 3, Terrestrial Biological Surveys as an Element of Biodiversity Protection outlining how terrestrial fauna survey data are to be used and interpreted in the preparation of environmental impact assessments (EIA). In 2004, the EPA released its Guidance for the Assessment of Environmental Factors, Terrestrial Fauna Surveys for Environmental Impact Assessment in Western Australia, No. 56. This paper briefly assesses the adequacy of recent terrestrial fauna surveys undertaken to support publicly released EIAs and indicates that the EPA is not always adhering to its own position and guidance statements. This paper argues that the current fauna survey guidelines are in need of improvement. The approach and requirements of some other Australian states are briefly assessed to identify similarities and where improvements can be made to the Western Australian (WA) guidelines. This paper concludes with suggestions on how the process and the guidelines in WA can be revised to more adequately assess the impact of developments on terrestrial vertebrate biodiversity and ecosystem function. These suggestions may have relevance for other areas where fauna surveys are undertaken to support EIAs.

  2. Health impact assessment of urban waterway decisions.

    PubMed

    Korfmacher, Katrina Smith; Aviles, Katia; Cummings, B J; Daniell, William; Erdmann, Jared; Garrison, Valerie

    2015-01-01

    Health impact assessments (HIA) promote the consideration of health in a wide range of public decisions. Although each HIA is different, common pathways, evidence bases, and strategies for community engagement tend to emerge in certain sectors, such as urban redevelopment, natural resource extraction, or transportation planning. To date, a limited number of HIAs have been conducted on decisions affecting water resources and waterfronts. This review presents four recent HIAs of water-related decisions in the United States and Puerto Rico. Although the four cases are topically and geographically diverse, several common themes emerged from the consideration of health in water-related decisions. Water resource decisions are characterized by multiple competing uses, inter-institutional and inter-jurisdictional complexity, scientific uncertainty, long time scales for environmental change, diverse cultural and historical human values, and tradeoffs between private use and public access. These four case studies reveal challenges and opportunities of examining waterfront decisions through a "health lens". This review analyzes these cases, common themes, and lessons learned for the future practice of HIA in the waterfront zone and beyond. PMID:25547399

  3. Health Impact Assessment of Urban Waterway Decisions

    PubMed Central

    Korfmacher, Katrina Smith; Aviles, Katia; Cummings, B.J.; Daniell, William; Erdmann, Jared; Garrison, Valerie

    2014-01-01

    Health impact assessments (HIA) promote the consideration of health in a wide range of public decisions. Although each HIA is different, common pathways, evidence bases, and strategies for community engagement tend to emerge in certain sectors, such as urban redevelopment, natural resource extraction, or transportation planning. To date, a limited number of HIAs have been conducted on decisions affecting water resources and waterfronts. This review presents four recent HIAs of water-related decisions in the United States and Puerto Rico. Although the four cases are topically and geographically diverse, several common themes emerged from the consideration of health in water-related decisions. Water resource decisions are characterized by multiple competing uses, inter-institutional and inter-jurisdictional complexity, scientific uncertainty, long time scales for environmental change, diverse cultural and historical human values, and tradeoffs between private use and public access. These four case studies reveal challenges and opportunities of examining waterfront decisions through a “health lens”. This review analyzes these cases, common themes, and lessons learned for the future practice of HIA in the waterfront zone and beyond. PMID:25547399

  4. Environmental impact assessment: An international evaluation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hollick, Malcolm

    1986-03-01

    Experiences with environmental impact assessment (EIA) in a number of countries are discussed in the light of both explicit and implicit goals and objectives. Adequate environmental information is not always available to decision makers because of failure to apply EIA to all relevant decisions, the continuing inadequacies of prediction and evaluation techniques, the failure to consider alternatives adequately, and the bias of some EISs. EIA frequently results in changes to proposals and may result in stricter environmental management conditions in some cases, but some people regard it as a failure because it has not stopped development. Generally, EIA leads to better integration of environmental factors into project planning. Open procedures and freedom of information encourage responsiveness to EIA procedures, which can be weakened by discretionary powers and lack of access to the courts by public interest groups. However, legal standing may have side effects that offset its advantages. EIA can encourage cooperation and coordination between agencies but does not ensure them. Similarly, it can have a limited role in coordinating interstate and international policies. In the long term, the success of EIA depends on adequate monitoring, reassessment, and enforcement over the life of the project. EIA has generally opened up new opportunities for public participation, and may help to reduce conflict. EIA procedures need to be integrated with other environmental protection and development control programs, and various means exist for reducing its cost to developers and the public.

  5. Can retention forestry help conserve biodiversity? A meta-analysis

    PubMed Central

    Fedrowitz, Katja; Koricheva, Julia; Baker, Susan C; Lindenmayer, David B; Palik, Brian; Rosenvald, Raul; Beese, William; Franklin, Jerry F; Kouki, Jari; Macdonald, Ellen; Messier, Christian; Sverdrup-Thygeson, Anne; Gustafsson, Lena

    2014-01-01

    Industrial forestry typically leads to a simplified forest structure and altered species composition. Retention of trees at harvest was introduced about 25 years ago to mitigate negative impacts on biodiversity, mainly from clearcutting, and is now widely practiced in boreal and temperate regions. Despite numerous studies on response of flora and fauna to retention, no comprehensive review has summarized its effects on biodiversity in comparison to clearcuts as well as un-harvested forests. Using a systematic review protocol, we completed a meta-analysis of 78 studies including 944 comparisons of biodiversity between retention cuts and either clearcuts or un-harvested forests, with the main objective of assessing whether retention forestry helps, at least in the short term, to moderate the negative effects of clearcutting on flora and fauna. Retention cuts supported higher richness and a greater abundance of forest species than clearcuts as well as higher richness and abundance of open-habitat species than un-harvested forests. For all species taken together (i.e. forest species, open-habitat species, generalist species and unclassified species), richness was higher in retention cuts than in clearcuts. Retention cuts had negative impacts on some species compared to un-harvested forest, indicating that certain forest-interior species may not survive in retention cuts. Similarly, retention cuts were less suitable for some open-habitat species compared with clearcuts. Positive effects of retention cuts on richness of forest species increased with proportion of retained trees and time since harvest, but there were not enough data to analyse possible threshold effects, that is, levels at which effects on biodiversity diminish. Spatial arrangement of the trees (aggregated vs. dispersed) had no effect on either forest species or open-habitat species, although limited data may have hindered our capacity to identify responses. Results for different comparisons were largely consistent among taxonomic groups for forest and open-habitat species, respectively. Synthesis and applications. Our meta-analysis provides support for wider use of retention forestry since it moderates negative harvesting impacts on biodiversity. Hence, it is a promising approach for integrating biodiversity conservation and production forestry, although identifying optimal solutions between these two goals may need further attention. Nevertheless, retention forestry will not substitute for conservation actions targeting certain highly specialized species associated with forest-interior or open-habitat conditions. Our meta-analysis provides support for wider use of retention forestry since it moderates negative harvesting impacts on biodiversity. Hence, it is a promising approach for integrating biodiversity conservation and production forestry, although identifying optimal solutions between these two goals may need further attention. Nevertheless, retention forestry will not substitute for conservation actions targeting certain highly specialized species associated with forest-interior or open-habitat conditions. PMID:25552747

  6. Student Teachers' Understanding of the Terminology, Distribution, and Loss of Biodiversity: Perspectives from a Biodiversity Hotspot and an Industrialized Country

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fiebelkorn, Florian; Menzel, Susanne

    2013-08-01

    The loss of biodiversity is one of the most urgent global environmental problems of our time. Public education and awareness building is key to successful biodiversity protection. Knowledgeable and skilled student teachers are a key component for the successful implementation of biodiversity education in schools. Yet, little empirical evidence exists on teachers' detailed understanding of biodiversity. This study aimed to assess student teachers' conceptions of the terminology as well as their understanding of the distribution and loss of biodiversity. Data were collected from a qualitative in-depth interview study of student biology teachers from Costa Rica and Germany ( n = 24). Both verbal and visual methods were used to elicit responses. The results show that participants from both countries equated biodiversity with species diversity and had misconceptions about genetic diversity. Costa Rican student teachers seemed to have a more local perspective on biodiversity and unanimously described their local biodiversity as high, and under threat. In contrast, German teachers showed a more global view and were mostly uncertain about the level and threat status of local biodiversity. Prevailing associations explaining the global distribution and loss of biodiversity were heavily based on everyday assumptions, such as the presence/absence of humans, cities, and industries. Additionally, the transnational character of many of the socioeconomic drivers causing biodiversity loss was largely neglected. Although most participants were unfamiliar with the scientific concept of biodiversity hotspots, they implicitly used a naive biodiversity hotspots concept to explain the distribution and loss of global biodiversity. The results are discussed in terms of the educational implications.

  7. Coordinating for Arctic Conservation: Implementing Integrated Arctic Biodiversity Monitoring, Data Management and Reporting

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gill, M.; Svoboda, M.

    2012-12-01

    Arctic ecosystems and the biodiversity they support are experiencing growing pressure from various stressors (e.g. development, climate change, contaminants, etc.) while established research and monitoring programs remain largely uncoordinated, lacking the ability to effectively monitor, understand and report on biodiversity trends at the circumpolar scale. The maintenance of healthy arctic ecosystems is a global imperative as the Arctic plays a critical role in the Earth's physical, chemical and biological balance. A coordinated and comprehensive effort for monitoring arctic ecosystems is needed to facilitate effective and timely conservation and adaptation actions. The Arctic's size and complexity represents a significant challenge towards detecting and attributing important biodiversity trends. This demands a scaled, pan-arctic, ecosystem-based approach that not only identifies trends in biodiversity, but also identifies underlying causes. It is critical that this information be made available to generate effective strategies for adapting to changes now taking place in the Arctic—a process that ultimately depends on rigorous, integrated, and efficient monitoring programs that have the power to detect change within a "management" time frame. To meet these challenges and in response to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment's recommendation to expand and enhance arctic biodiversity monitoring, the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Working Group of the Arctic Council launched the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP). The CBMP is led by Environment Canada on behalf of Canada and the Arctic Council. The CBMP is working with over 60 global partners to expand, integrate and enhance existing arctic biodiversity research and monitoring efforts to facilitate more rapid detection, communication and response to significant trends and pressures. Towards this end, the CBMP has established three Expert Monitoring Groups representing major Arctic themes (Marine, Freshwater, and Terrestrial). Each group, representing a diversity of disciplines, is tasked with developing and implementing pan-arctic integrated biodiversity monitoring plans for the Arctic's ecosystems. To facilitate effective reporting and data management, the CBMP is developing a suite of indices and indicators and a web-based data portal that will be used to report on the current state of arctic biodiversity at various scales and levels of detail to suit a wide range of audiences (e.g. local Arctic communities, regional and national governments and the Convention on Biological Diversity). The current and planned CBMP biodiversity monitoring underpins these indicators and indices. The presentation will highlight the CBMP approach and provide some examples of how integrated monitoring, data management and reporting are leading to more informed decision-making.

  8. Improvement of agricultural life cycle assessment studies through spatial differentiation and new impact categories: case study on greenhouse tomato production.

    PubMed

    Antón, Assumpció; Torrellas, Marta; Núñez, Montserrat; Sevigné, Eva; Amores, Maria José; Muñoz, Pere; Montero, Juan I

    2014-08-19

    This paper presents the inclusion of new, relevant impact categories for agriculture life cycle assessments. We performed a specific case study with a focus on the applicability of spatially explicit characterization factors. The main goals were to provide a detailed evaluation of these new impact category methods, compare the results with commonly used methods (ReCiPe and USEtox) and demonstrate how these new methods can help improve environmental assessment in agriculture. As an overall conclusion, the newly developed impact categories helped fill the most important gaps related to land use, water consumption, pesticide toxicity, and nontoxic emissions linked to fertilizer use. We also found that including biodiversity damage due to land use and the effect of water consumption on wetlands represented a scientific advance toward more realistic environmental assessment of agricultural practices. Likewise, the dynamic crop model for assessing human toxicity from pesticide residue in food can lead to better practice in pesticide application. In further life cycle assessment (LCA) method developments, common end point units and normalization units should be agreed upon to make it possible to compare different impacts and methods. In addition, the application of site-specific characterization factors allowed us to be more accurate regarding inventory data and to identify precisely where background flows acquire high relevance. PMID:25032800

  9. Consequences of changing biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Chapin, F S; Zavaleta, E S; Eviner, V T; Naylor, R L; Vitousek, P M; Reynolds, H L; Hooper, D U; Lavorel, S; Sala, O E; Hobbie, S E; Mack, M C; Daz, S

    2000-05-11

    Human alteration of the global environment has triggered the sixth major extinction event in the history of life and caused widespread changes in the global distribution of organisms. These changes in biodiversity alter ecosystem processes and change the resilience of ecosystems to environmental change. This has profound consequences for services that humans derive from ecosystems. The large ecological and societal consequences of changing biodiversity should be minimized to preserve options for future solutions to global environmental problems. PMID:10821284

  10. Conserving Earth's Biodiversity. [CD-ROM and] Instructor's Manual.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    2000

    This CD-ROM is designed as an interactive learning tool to support teaching in highly interdisciplinary fields such as conservation of biodiversity. Topics introduced in the software include the impact of humans on natural landscapes, threats to biodiversity, methods and theories of conservation biology, environmental laws, and relevant economic

  11. The power of bioenergy-related standards to protect biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Hennenberg, K J; Dragisic, C; Haye, S; Hewson, J; Semroc, B; Savy, C; Wiegmann, K; Fehrenbach, H; Fritsche, U R

    2010-04-01

    The sustainable production of bioenergy is vital to avoiding negative impacts on environmental goods such as climate, soil, water, and especially biodiversity. We propose three key issues that should be addressed in any biodiversity risk-mitigation strategy: conservation of areas of significant biodiversity value; mitigation of negative effects related to indirect land-use change; and promotion of agricultural practices with few negative impacts on biodiversity. Focusing on biodiversity concerns, we compared principles and criteria set to address biodiversity and other environmental and social issues in seven standards (defined here as commodity-based standards or roundtables, or relevant European legislation): five voluntary initiatives related to bioenergy feedstocks, the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (United Kingdom), and the European Renewable Energy Source Directive. Conservation of areas of significant biodiversity value was fairly well covered by these standards. Nevertheless, mitigation of negative impacts related to indirect land-use change was underrepresented. Although the EU directive, with its bonus system for the use of degraded land and a subquota system for noncrop biofuels, offered the most robust standards to mitigate potential negative effects, all of the standards fell short in promoting agricultural practices with low negative impacts on biodiversity. We strongly recommend that each standard be benchmarked against related standards, as we have done here, and that efforts should be made to strengthen the elements that are weak or missing. This would be a significant step toward achieving a bioenergy industry that safeguards Earth's living heritage. PMID:20028415

  12. Conserving Earth's Biodiversity. [CD-ROM and] Instructor's Manual.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    2000

    This CD-ROM is designed as an interactive learning tool to support teaching in highly interdisciplinary fields such as conservation of biodiversity. Topics introduced in the software include the impact of humans on natural landscapes, threats to biodiversity, methods and theories of conservation biology, environmental laws, and relevant economic…

  13. Energy, water and fish: biodiversity impacts of energy-sector water demand in the United States depend on efficiency and policy measures.

    PubMed

    McDonald, Robert I; Olden, Julian D; Opperman, Jeffrey J; Miller, William M; Fargione, Joseph; Revenga, Carmen; Higgins, Jonathan V; Powell, Jimmie

    2012-01-01

    Rising energy consumption in coming decades, combined with a changing energy mix, have the potential to increase the impact of energy sector water use on freshwater biodiversity. We forecast changes in future water use based on various energy scenarios and examine implications for freshwater ecosystems. Annual water withdrawn/manipulated would increase by 18-24%, going from 1,993,000-2,628,000 Mm(3) in 2010 to 2,359,000-3,271,000 Mm(3) in 2035 under the Reference Case of the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Water consumption would more rapidly increase by 26% due to increased biofuel production, going from 16,700-46,400 Mm(3) consumption in 2010 to 21,000-58,400 Mm(3) consumption in 2035. Regionally, water use in the Southwest and Southeast may increase, with anticipated decreases in water use in some areas of the Midwest and Northeast. Policies that promote energy efficiency or conservation in the electric sector would reduce water withdrawn/manipulated by 27-36 m(3)GJ(-1) (0.1-0.5 m(3)GJ(-1) consumption), while such policies in the liquid fuel sector would reduce withdrawal/manipulation by 0.4-0.7 m(3)GJ(-1) (0.2-0.3 m(3)GJ(-1) consumption). The greatest energy sector withdrawal/manipulation are for hydropower and thermoelectric cooling, although potential new EPA rules that would require recirculating cooling for thermoelectric plants would reduce withdrawal/manipulation by 441,000 Mm(3) (20,300 Mm(3) consumption). The greatest consumptive energy sector use is evaporation from hydroelectric reservoirs, followed by irrigation water for biofuel feedstocks and water used for electricity generation from coal. Historical water use by the energy sector is related to patterns of fish species endangerment, where water resource regions with a greater fraction of available surface water withdrawn by hydropower or consumed by the energy sector correlated with higher probabilities of imperilment. Since future increases in energy-sector surface water use will occur in areas of high fish endemism (e.g., Southeast), additional management and policy actions will be needed to minimize further species imperilment. PMID:23185581

  14. Energy, Water and Fish: Biodiversity Impacts of Energy-Sector Water Demand in the United States Depend on Efficiency and Policy Measures

    PubMed Central

    McDonald, Robert I.; Olden, Julian D.; Opperman, Jeffrey J.; Miller, William M.; Fargione, Joseph; Revenga, Carmen; Higgins, Jonathan V.; Powell, Jimmie

    2012-01-01

    Rising energy consumption in coming decades, combined with a changing energy mix, have the potential to increase the impact of energy sector water use on freshwater biodiversity. We forecast changes in future water use based on various energy scenarios and examine implications for freshwater ecosystems. Annual water withdrawn/manipulated would increase by 18–24%, going from 1,993,000–2,628,000 Mm3 in 2010 to 2,359,000–3,271,000 Mm3 in 2035 under the Reference Case of the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Water consumption would more rapidly increase by 26% due to increased biofuel production, going from 16,700–46,400 Mm3 consumption in 2010 to 21,000–58,400 Mm3 consumption in 2035. Regionally, water use in the Southwest and Southeast may increase, with anticipated decreases in water use in some areas of the Midwest and Northeast. Policies that promote energy efficiency or conservation in the electric sector would reduce water withdrawn/manipulated by 27–36 m3GJ−1 (0.1–0.5 m3GJ−1 consumption), while such policies in the liquid fuel sector would reduce withdrawal/manipulation by 0.4–0.7 m3GJ−1 (0.2–0.3 m3GJ−1 consumption). The greatest energy sector withdrawal/manipulation are for hydropower and thermoelectric cooling, although potential new EPA rules that would require recirculating cooling for thermoelectric plants would reduce withdrawal/manipulation by 441,000 Mm3 (20,300 Mm3 consumption). The greatest consumptive energy sector use is evaporation from hydroelectric reservoirs, followed by irrigation water for biofuel feedstocks and water used for electricity generation from coal. Historical water use by the energy sector is related to patterns of fish species endangerment, where water resource regions with a greater fraction of available surface water withdrawn by hydropower or consumed by the energy sector correlated with higher probabilities of imperilment. Since future increases in energy-sector surface water use will occur in areas of high fish endemism (e.g., Southeast), additional management and policy actions will be needed to minimize further species imperilment. PMID:23185581

  15. Utility terrestrial biodiversity issues

    SciTech Connect

    Breece, G.A.; Ward, B.J.

    1996-11-01

    Results from a survey of power utility biologists indicate that terrestrial biodiversity is considered a major issued by only a few utilities; however, a majority believe it may be a future issue. Over half of the respondents indicated that their company is involved in some management for biodiversity, and nearly all feel that it should be a goal for resource management. Only a few utilities are funding biodiversity research, but a majority felt more research was needed. Generally, larger utilities with extensive land holdings had greater opportunities and resources for biodiversity management. Biodiversity will most likely be a concern with transmission rights-of-way construction and maintenance, endangered species issues and general land resource management, including mining reclamation and hydro relicensing commitments. Over half of the companies surveyed have established voluntary partnerships with management groups, and biodiversity is a goal in nearly all the joint projects. Endangered species management and protection, prevention of forest fragmentation, wetland protection, and habitat creation and protection are the most common partnerships involving utility companies. Common management practices and unique approaches are presented, along with details of the survey. 4 refs.

  16. The Impact of a Computerized Dietary Assessment on Nutrition Knowledge

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hensleigh, Katherine Elizabeth; Eddy, James M.; Wang, Min Qi; Dennison, Darwin; Chaney, J. Don

    2004-01-01

    In recent years, many health educators have integrated computer applications into their health education program interventions. The assessment of the impact of these interventions is limited. This study assessed the impact of the Pyramid Challenge nutrition software program on nutrition knowledge levels of students enrolled in traditional personal…

  17. The Biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea: Estimates, Patterns, and Threats

    PubMed Central

    Coll, Marta; Piroddi, Chiara; Steenbeek, Jeroen; Kaschner, Kristin; Ben Rais Lasram, Frida; Aguzzi, Jacopo; Ballesteros, Enric; Bianchi, Carlo Nike; Corbera, Jordi; Dailianis, Thanos; Danovaro, Roberto; Estrada, Marta; Froglia, Carlo; Galil, Bella S.; Gasol, Josep M.; Gertwagen, Ruthy; Gil, João; Guilhaumon, François; Kesner-Reyes, Kathleen; Kitsos, Miltiadis-Spyridon; Koukouras, Athanasios; Lampadariou, Nikolaos; Laxamana, Elijah; López-Fé de la Cuadra, Carlos M.; Lotze, Heike K.; Martin, Daniel; Mouillot, David; Oro, Daniel; Raicevich, Saša; Rius-Barile, Josephine; Saiz-Salinas, Jose Ignacio; San Vicente, Carles; Somot, Samuel; Templado, José; Turon, Xavier; Vafidis, Dimitris; Villanueva, Roger; Voultsiadou, Eleni

    2010-01-01

    The Mediterranean Sea is a marine biodiversity hot spot. Here we combined an extensive literature analysis with expert opinions to update publicly available estimates of major taxa in this marine ecosystem and to revise and update several species lists. We also assessed overall spatial and temporal patterns of species diversity and identified major changes and threats. Our results listed approximately 17,000 marine species occurring in the Mediterranean Sea. However, our estimates of marine diversity are still incomplete as yet—undescribed species will be added in the future. Diversity for microbes is substantially underestimated, and the deep-sea areas and portions of the southern and eastern region are still poorly known. In addition, the invasion of alien species is a crucial factor that will continue to change the biodiversity of the Mediterranean, mainly in its eastern basin that can spread rapidly northwards and westwards due to the warming of the Mediterranean Sea. Spatial patterns showed a general decrease in biodiversity from northwestern to southeastern regions following a gradient of production, with some exceptions and caution due to gaps in our knowledge of the biota along the southern and eastern rims. Biodiversity was also generally higher in coastal areas and continental shelves, and decreases with depth. Temporal trends indicated that overexploitation and habitat loss have been the main human drivers of historical changes in biodiversity. At present, habitat loss and degradation, followed by fishing impacts, pollution, climate change, eutrophication, and the establishment of alien species are the most important threats and affect the greatest number of taxonomic groups. All these impacts are expected to grow in importance in the future, especially climate change and habitat degradation. The spatial identification of hot spots highlighted the ecological importance of most of the western Mediterranean shelves (and in particular, the Strait of Gibraltar and the adjacent Alboran Sea), western African coast, the Adriatic, and the Aegean Sea, which show high concentrations of endangered, threatened, or vulnerable species. The Levantine Basin, severely impacted by the invasion of species, is endangered as well. This abstract has been translated to other languages (File S1). PMID:20689844

  18. The biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea: estimates, patterns, and threats.

    PubMed

    Coll, Marta; Piroddi, Chiara; Steenbeek, Jeroen; Kaschner, Kristin; Ben Rais Lasram, Frida; Aguzzi, Jacopo; Ballesteros, Enric; Bianchi, Carlo Nike; Corbera, Jordi; Dailianis, Thanos; Danovaro, Roberto; Estrada, Marta; Froglia, Carlo; Galil, Bella S; Gasol, Josep M; Gertwagen, Ruthy; Gil, João; Guilhaumon, François; Kesner-Reyes, Kathleen; Kitsos, Miltiadis-Spyridon; Koukouras, Athanasios; Lampadariou, Nikolaos; Laxamana, Elijah; López-Fé de la Cuadra, Carlos M; Lotze, Heike K; Martin, Daniel; Mouillot, David; Oro, Daniel; Raicevich, Sasa; Rius-Barile, Josephine; Saiz-Salinas, Jose Ignacio; San Vicente, Carles; Somot, Samuel; Templado, José; Turon, Xavier; Vafidis, Dimitris; Villanueva, Roger; Voultsiadou, Eleni

    2010-01-01

    The Mediterranean Sea is a marine biodiversity hot spot. Here we combined an extensive literature analysis with expert opinions to update publicly available estimates of major taxa in this marine ecosystem and to revise and update several species lists. We also assessed overall spatial and temporal patterns of species diversity and identified major changes and threats. Our results listed approximately 17,000 marine species occurring in the Mediterranean Sea. However, our estimates of marine diversity are still incomplete as yet-undescribed species will be added in the future. Diversity for microbes is substantially underestimated, and the deep-sea areas and portions of the southern and eastern region are still poorly known. In addition, the invasion of alien species is a crucial factor that will continue to change the biodiversity of the Mediterranean, mainly in its eastern basin that can spread rapidly northwards and westwards due to the warming of the Mediterranean Sea. Spatial patterns showed a general decrease in biodiversity from northwestern to southeastern regions following a gradient of production, with some exceptions and caution due to gaps in our knowledge of the biota along the southern and eastern rims. Biodiversity was also generally higher in coastal areas and continental shelves, and decreases with depth. Temporal trends indicated that overexploitation and habitat loss have been the main human drivers of historical changes in biodiversity. At present, habitat loss and degradation, followed by fishing impacts, pollution, climate change, eutrophication, and the establishment of alien species are the most important threats and affect the greatest number of taxonomic groups. All these impacts are expected to grow in importance in the future, especially climate change and habitat degradation. The spatial identification of hot spots highlighted the ecological importance of most of the western Mediterranean shelves (and in particular, the Strait of Gibraltar and the adjacent Alboran Sea), western African coast, the Adriatic, and the Aegean Sea, which show high concentrations of endangered, threatened, or vulnerable species. The Levantine Basin, severely impacted by the invasion of species, is endangered as well. This abstract has been translated to other languages (File S1). PMID:20689844

  19. An environmental impact assessment system for agricultural R and D

    SciTech Connect

    Rodrigues, Geraldo Stachetti; Campanhola, Clayton; Kitamura, Paulo Choji

    2003-03-01

    A strategic planning process has been implemented at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Agency (Embrapa) to introduce sustainable agriculture concepts in all steps of Research and Development (R and D). An essential part of the devised mission statement called for the impact assessment of all technology innovation resulting from R and D, under field conditions (ex-post). However, methods for impact assessment of technology innovations at the farmstead level appropriate for the institutional context were lacking. The environmental impact assessment (EIA) system (AMBITEC-AGRO) developed to attend that demand is composed by a set of weighing matrices constructed in an electronic spreadsheet. Impact indicators are evaluated in the field in an interview/survey, and weighed according to their spatial scale and importance toward effecting environmental impacts. The results of these weighing procedures are expressed graphically in the assessment spreadsheets. Finally, the indicator evaluations are composed into an Environmental Impact Index for the agricultural technology innovation.

  20. Assessing Environmental Impact: A Secondary School Learning Activity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nous, Albert P.

    This packet contains information on teaching about environmental impact. Background information is included on the role of environmental impact on our society and environmental risk is also discussed. Environmental impacts are studied using Stages of Assessment. Learning activities and seven lesson plans include: (1) "The Community Initiative";…

  1. Anthropogenic disturbances are key to maintaining the biodiversity of grasslands.

    PubMed

    Yuan, Z Y; Jiao, F; Li, Y H; Kallenbach, Robert L

    2016-01-01

    Although anthropogenic disturbances are often perceived as detrimental to plant biodiversity, the relationship between biodiversity and disturbance remains unclear. Opinions diverge on how natural diversity is generated and maintained. We conducted a large-scale investigation of a temperate grassland system in Inner Mongolia and assessed the richness-disturbance relationship using grazing intensity, the primary anthropogenic disturbance in the region. Vascular plant-species richness peaked at an intermediate level of anthropogenic disturbance. Our results support the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis, which provides a valid and useful measure of biodiversity at a metacommunity scale, indicating that anthropogenic disturbances are necessary to conserve the biodiversity of grassland systems. PMID:26903041

  2. Anthropogenic disturbances are key to maintaining the biodiversity of grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Yuan, Z. Y.; Jiao, F.; Li, Y. H.; Kallenbach, Robert L.

    2016-01-01

    Although anthropogenic disturbances are often perceived as detrimental to plant biodiversity, the relationship between biodiversity and disturbance remains unclear. Opinions diverge on how natural diversity is generated and maintained. We conducted a large-scale investigation of a temperate grassland system in Inner Mongolia and assessed the richness-disturbance relationship using grazing intensity, the primary anthropogenic disturbance in the region. Vascular plant-species richness peaked at an intermediate level of anthropogenic disturbance. Our results support the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis, which provides a valid and useful measure of biodiversity at a metacommunity scale, indicating that anthropogenic disturbances are necessary to conserve the biodiversity of grassland systems. PMID:26903041

  3. The use of multi-model ensembles from global climate models for impact assessment of climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Semenov, M. A.

    2009-04-01

    The IPCC 4th Assessment Report was based on large datasets of projections of future climate produced by eighteen modelling groups worldwide who performed a set of coordinated climate experiments in which numerous global climate models (GCMs) have been run for a common set of experiments and various emission scenarios. These datasets are freely available form the IPCC Data Distribution Centre (www.ipcc-data.org) and can be used by the research community to assess the impact of changing climate on various systems of interest including impacts on agricultural crops and natural ecosystems, biodiversity and plant diseases. Multi-model ensembles (MME) emphasize the uncertainty in climate predictions resulting from structural differences in the global climate model design as well as uncertainty to variations of initial conditions or model parameters. This paper describes a methodology based on a stochastic weather generator for linking MME of predictions from GCMs with process-based impact models to assess impacts of climate change on biological or ecological systems. The latest version of the LARS-WG weather generator is described which allows seamlessly generating daily site-specific climate scenarios worldwide by utilising local daily weather and MME from GCMs. Examples of impacts on wheat in Europe, based on MME, are discussed, including changes in severity of drought and heat stress around flowering.

  4. Health and impact assessment: Are we seeing closer integration?

    SciTech Connect

    Morgan, Richard K.

    2011-07-15

    Health has always had a place in wider impact assessment activities, from the earliest days of the National Environmental Policy Act in the United States. However, early thinking tended to focus on health protection and environmental health issues, especially in relation to the effects of pollution. The adoption of wider models of health was reflected in impact assessment circles from the early 1990s, with particular emphasis on an integrated approach to impact assessment, especially at the project level, which would see health impact assessment benefiting from working with other forms of impact assessment, such as social and ecological. Yet twenty years later, integration still seems a distant prospect in many countries. In this paper I examine the case for integrating health considerations within the wider IA process, discuss some of the problems that have historically restricted progress towards this end, and explore the degree to which impact assessment practitioners have been successful in seeking to improve the consideration of health in IA. In New Zealand, project-level impact assessment is based on an integrated model under the Resource Management Act. In addition, HIA was recognised in the early 1990s as a valuable addition to the toolkit for project assessment. Since then policy-level HIA has grown supported by extensive capacity building. If health is being integrated into wider impact assessment, it should be happening in New Zealand where so many enabling conditions are met. Three major project proposals from New Zealand are examined, to characterise the broad trends in HIA development in New Zealand in the last ten years and to assess the degree to which health concerns are being reflected in wider impact assessments. The findings are discussed in the context of the issues outlined in the early part of the paper.

  5. Molecular biodiversity of Red Sea demosponges.

    PubMed

    Erpenbeck, Dirk; Voigt, Oliver; Al-Aidaroos, Ali M; Berumen, Michael L; Büttner, Gabriele; Catania, Daniela; Guirguis, Adel Naguib; Paulay, Gustav; Schätzle, Simone; Wörheide, Gert

    2016-04-30

    Sponges are important constituents of coral reef ecosystems, including those around the Arabian Peninsula. Despite their importance, our knowledge on demosponge diversity in this area is insufficient to recognize, for example, faunal changes caused by anthropogenic disturbances. We here report the first assessment of demosponge molecular biodiversity from Arabia, with focus on the Saudi Arabian Red Sea, based on mitochondrial and nuclear ribosomal molecular markers gathered in the framework of the Sponge Barcoding Project. We use a rapid molecular screening approach on Arabian demosponge collections and analyze results in comparison against published material in terms of biodiversity. We use a variable region of 28S rDNA, applied for the first time in the assessment of demosponge molecular diversity. Our data constitutes a solid foundation for a future more comprehensive understanding of sponge biodiversity of the Red Sea and adjacent waters. PMID:26776057

  6. GEOSS AIP-2 Climate Change and Biodiversity Use Scenarios: Interoperability Infrastructures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nativi, Stefano; Santoro, Mattia

    2010-05-01

    In the last years, scientific community is producing great efforts in order to study the effects of climate change on life on Earth. In this general framework, a key role is played by the impact of climate change on biodiversity. To assess this, several use scenarios require the modeling of climatological change impact on the regional distribution of biodiversity species. Designing and developing interoperability infrastructures which enable scientists to search, discover, access and use multi-disciplinary resources (i.e. datasets, services, models, etc.) is currently one of the main research fields for the Earth and Space Science Informatics. This presentation introduces and discusses an interoperability infrastructure which implements the discovery, access, and chaining of loosely-coupled resources in the climatology and biodiversity domains. This allows to set up and run forecast and processing models. The presented framework was successfully developed and experimented in the context of GEOSS AIP-2 (Global Earth Observation System of Systems, Architecture Implementation Pilot- Phase 2) Climate Change & Biodiversity thematic Working Group. This interoperability infrastructure is comprised of the following main components and services: a)GEO Portal: through this component end user is able to search, find and access the needed services for the scenario execution; b)Graphical User Interface (GUI): this component provides user interaction functionalities. It controls the workflow manager to perform the required operations for the scenario implementation; c)Use Scenario controller: this component acts as a workflow controller implementing the scenario business process -i.e. a typical climate change & biodiversity projection scenario; d)Service Broker implementing Mediation Services: this component realizes a distributed catalogue which federates several discovery and access components (exposing them through a unique CSW standard interface). Federated components publish climate, environmental and biodiversity datasets; e)Ecological Niche Model Server: this component is able to run one or more Ecological Niche Models (ENM) on selected biodiversity and climate datasets; f)Data Access Transaction server: this component publishes the model outputs. This framework was assessed in two use scenarios of GEOSS AIP-2 Climate Change and Biodiversity WG. Both scenarios concern the prediction of species distributions driven by climatological change forecasts. The first scenario dealt with the Pikas specie regional distribution in the Great Basin area (North America). While, the second one concerned the modeling of the Arctic Food Chain species in the North Pole area -the relationships between different environmental parameters and Polar Bears distribution was analyzed. The scientific patronage was provided by the University of Colorado and the University of Alaska, respectively. Results are published in the GEOSS AIP-2 web site: http://www.ogcnetwork.net/AIP2develop.

  7. Impacts assessment for the National Ignition Facility

    SciTech Connect

    Bay Area Economics

    1996-12-01

    This report documents the economic and other impacts that will be created by the National Ignition Facility (NIF) construction and ongoing operation, as well as the impacts that may be created by new technologies that may be developed as a result of NIF development and operation.

  8. Valuation of ecotoxicological impacts from tributyltin based on a quantitative environmental assessment framework.

    PubMed

    Noring, Maria; Håkansson, Cecilia; Dahlgren, Elin

    2016-02-01

    In the scientific literature, few valuations of biodiversity and ecosystem services following the impacts of toxicity are available, hampered by the lack of ecotoxicological documentation. Here, tributyltin is used to conduct a contingent valuation study as well as cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of measures for improving the environmental status in Swedish coastal waters of the Baltic Sea. Benefits considering different dimensions when assessing environmental status are highlighted and a quantitative environmental assessment framework based on available technology, ecological conditions, and economic valuation methodology is developed. Two scenarios are used in the valuation study: (a) achieving good environmental status by 2020 in accordance with EU legislation (USD 119 household(-1) year(-1)) and (b) achieving visible improvements by 2100 due to natural degradation (USD 108 household(-1) year(-1)) during 8 years. The later scenario was used to illustrate an application of the assessment framework. The CBA results indicate that both scenarios might generate a welfare improvement. PMID:26178630

  9. Radiographic assessment of impacted teeth and associated pathosis prevalence

    PubMed Central

    El-Khateeb, Sara M.; Arnout, Eman A.; Hifnawy, Tamer

    2015-01-01

    Objectives: To assess the prevalence of both impaction and associated pathosis in a Saudi population in Al-Madinah, Saudi Arabia based on digital panoramic radiographs. Methods: This study was carried out from December 2013 to February 2015. Panoramic radiographs of 359 male patients attending the Oral Diagnosis Clinics, Faculty of Dentistry, Taibah University, Al-Madinah, Saudi Arabia were reviewed. All images were evaluated to determine the prevalence and pattern of impacted third molars and canines, and associated pathosis. Results: Among 359 panoramic radiographs examined, 124 patients had impacted teeth. The impacted mandibular third molars were the most prevalent impacted teeth, 77.6% had class II pattern of impaction. Among the impacted maxillary canines, 75% were mesioangular and among 66 impacted maxillary third molars, 63.6% had class C. Our study showed that 5.8% of Saudi patients had 3 or more impacted teeth, 13.1% had 2 impacted teeth, and 15.6% had one impacted tooth. Associated pathosis was found in 18.2% among impacted maxillary third molars, and 31.5% among impacted mandibular third molars. The incidence of impaction decreases with age. Conclusion: The prevalence and pattern of impacted third molars among Saudis are almost similar to other racial populations. The number of missing wisdom increases with age. Although the percentage of pathosis associated with impaction was considerably low, it is essential to carry you regular oral examinations to preserve asymptomatic impacted teeth in good health. PMID:26219449

  10. Assessing impacts of roads: Application of a standard assessment protocol

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Adaptive management of road networks depends on timely data that accurately reflect the impacts of network impacts on ecosystem processes and associated services. In the absence of reliable data, land managers are left with little more than observations and perceptions to support adaptive management...

  11. NITARP: Impact Assessment, 2005-2013

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rebull, Luisa M.; Gorjian, V.; Brinkworth, C.; Squires, G. K.; Burtnyk, K.

    2014-01-01

    NITARP, the NASA/IPAC Training in Archival Research Program, gets educators involved in authentic astronomical research. We partner small groups of educators with a mentor professional astronomer for a year-long original research project. The educators incorporate the experience into their classrooms and share their experience with other teachers. The teams echo the entire research process, from writing a proposal, to doing the research, to writing up and presenting the results at an AAS meeting. The educators incorporate this experience into their classroom. This program differs from other programs that we know of that get real astronomy data into the classroom in that: (a) Each team works on an original, unique project. There are no canned labs here! (b) Each team presents their results in posters at the AAS, in science sessions (not just outreach sessions). The posters are distributed throughout the meeting, in amongst other researchers' work; the participants are not "given a free pass" because they are teachers. (c) The 'product' of this project is the scientific result, not a curriculum packet. (d) Because the teachers work with students throughout this project, the teachers have already begun to adapt their project to fit in their classroom environment. This poster will describe the program, with highlights of an impact assessment survey conducted of NITARP alumni in June 2013. Including all forms of the project from 2004-2013, there have been 80 educator participants from 33 states; 40 of them responded to our survey. There have been 37 science and 42 education AAS posters presented by NITARP-affiliated educators and scientists (with 8 more expected to be presented at this meeting). There have been 5 refereed journal articles in professional astronomy research journals that directly involve NITARP teachers and scientists (Howell et al. 2006, Guieu et al. 2010, Howell et al. 2008, Rebull et al., 2011, 2013), and 2 more astronomy journal articles describing the software developed in conjunction with NITARP and its Spitzer (Laher et al. 2012ab). There is one more refereed article written by a NITARP alumni teacher for The Physics Teacher (Pereira et al. 2013).

  12. A qualitative method proposal to improve environmental impact assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Toro, Javier; Requena, Ignacio; Duarte, Oscar; Zamorano, Montserrat

    2013-11-15

    In environmental impact assessment, qualitative methods are used because they are versatile and easy to apply. This methodology is based on the evaluation of the strength of the impact by grading a series of qualitative attributes that can be manipulated by the evaluator. The results thus obtained are not objective, and all too often impacts are eliminated that should be mitigated with corrective measures. However, qualitative methodology can be improved if the calculation of Impact Importance is based on the characteristics of environmental factors and project activities instead on indicators assessed by evaluators. In this sense, this paper proposes the inclusion of the vulnerability of environmental factors and the potential environmental impact of project activities. For this purpose, the study described in this paper defined Total Impact Importance and specified a quantification procedure. The results obtained in the case study of oil drilling in Colombia reflect greater objectivity in the evaluation of impacts as well as a positive correlation between impact values, the environmental characteristics at and near the project location, and the technical characteristics of project activities. -- Highlights: • Concept of vulnerability has been used to calculate the importance impact assessment. • This paper defined Total Impact Importance and specified a quantification procedure. • The method includes the characteristics of environmental and project activities. • The application has shown greater objectivity in the evaluation of impacts. • Better correlation between impact values, environment and the project has been shown.

  13. The changing form of Antarctic biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Chown, Steven L; Clarke, Andrew; Fraser, Ceridwen I; Cary, S Craig; Moon, Katherine L; McGeoch, Melodie A

    2015-06-25

    Antarctic biodiversity is much more extensive, ecologically diverse and biogeographically structured than previously thought. Understanding of how this diversity is distributed in marine and terrestrial systems, the mechanisms underlying its spatial variation, and the significance of the microbiota is growing rapidly. Broadly recognizable drivers of diversity variation include energy availability and historical refugia. The impacts of local human activities and global environmental change nonetheless pose challenges to the current and future understanding of Antarctic biodiversity. Life in the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean is surprisingly rich, and as much at risk from environmental change as it is elsewhere. PMID:26108852

  14. The Impact of Assessment Tasks on Subsequent Examination Performance

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Van Gaal, Frank; De Ridder, Annemieke

    2013-01-01

    In this article, the impact of assessment tasks on examination result (measured by examination grades) is investigated. Although many describe the advantages of electronic assessment tasks, few studies have been undertaken which compare a traditional approach using a classical examination with a new approach using assessment tasks. The main

  15. Assessing Atmospheric Water Injection from Oceanic Impacts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pierazzo, E.

    2005-01-01

    Collisions of asteroids and comets with the Earth s surface are rare events that punctuate the geologic record. Due to the vastness of Earth s oceans, oceanic impacts of asteroids or comets are expected to be about 4 times more frequent than land impacts. The resulting injections of oceanic water into the upper atmosphere can have important repercussions on Earth s climate and atmospheric circulation. However, the duration and overall effect of these large injections are still unconstrained. This work addresses atmospheric injections of large amounts of water in oceanic impacts.

  16. Assessing impacts of roads: application of a standard assessment protocol

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Duniway, Michael C.; Herrick, Jeffrey E.

    2013-01-01

    Adaptive management of road networks depends on timely data that accurately reflect the impacts those systems are having on ecosystem processes and associated services. In the absence of reliable data, land managers are left with little more than observations and perceptions to support management decisions of road-associated disturbances. Roads can negatively impact the soil, hydrologic, plant, and animal processes on which virtually all ecosystem services depend. The Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health (IIRH) protocol is a qualitative method that has been demonstrated to be effective in characterizing impacts of roads. The goal of this study were to develop, describe, and test an approach for using IIRH to systematically evaluate road impacts across large, diverse arid and semiarid landscapes. We developed a stratified random sampling approach to plot selection based on ecological potential, road inventory data, and image interpretation of road impacts. The test application on a semiarid landscape in southern New Mexico, United States, demonstrates that the approach developed is sensitive to road impacts across a broad range of ecological sites but that not all the types of stratification were useful. Ecological site and road inventory strata accounted for significant variability in the functioning of ecological processes but stratification based on apparent impact did not. Analysis of the repeatability of IIRH applied to road plots indicates that the method is repeatable but consensus evaluations based on multiple observers should be used to minimize risk of bias. Landscape-scale analysis of impacts by roads of contrasting designs (maintained dirt or gravel roads vs. non- or infrequently maintained roads) suggests that future travel management plans for the study area should consider concentrating traffic on fewer roads that are well designed and maintained. Application of the approach by land managers will likely provide important insights into minimizing impacts of road networks on key ecosystem services.

  17. Industrial Assessment Center Program Impact Evaluation

    SciTech Connect

    Martin, M.A.

    2000-01-26

    This report presents the results of an evaluation of the U.S. Department of Energy's Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) Program. The purpose of this program is to conduct energy, waste, and productivity assessments for small to medium-sized industrial firms. Assessments are conducted by 30 university-based industrial assessment centers. The purpose of this project was to evaluate energy and cost savings attributable to the assessments, the trained alumni, and the Websites sponsored by this program. How IAC assessments, alumni, and Web-based information may influence industrial energy efficiency decision making was also studied. It is concluded that appreciable energy and cost savings may be attributed to the IAC Program and that the IAC Program has resulted in more active and improved energy-efficiency decision making by industrial firms.

  18. Biodiversity in cities needs space: a meta-analysis of factors determining intra-urban biodiversity variation.

    PubMed

    Beninde, Joscha; Veith, Michael; Hochkirch, Axel

    2015-06-01

    Understanding varying levels of biodiversity within cities is pivotal to protect it in the face of global urbanisation. In the early stages of urban ecology studies on intra-urban biodiversity focused on the urban-rural gradient, representing a broad generalisation of features of the urban landscape. Increasingly, studies classify the urban landscape in more detail, quantifying separately the effects of individual urban features on biodiversity levels. However, while separate factors influencing biodiversity variation among cities worldwide have recently been analysed, a global analysis on the factors influencing biodiversity levels within cities is still lacking. We here present the first meta-analysis on intra-urban biodiversity variation across a large variety of taxonomic groups of 75 cities worldwide. Our results show that patch area and corridors have the strongest positive effects on biodiversity, complemented by vegetation structure. Local, biotic and management habitat variables were significantly more important than landscape, abiotic or design variables. Large sites greater than 50 ha are necessary to prevent a rapid loss of area-sensitive species. This indicates that, despite positive impacts of biodiversity-friendly management, increasing the area of habitat patches and creating a network of corridors is the most important strategy to maintain high levels of urban biodiversity. PMID:25865805

  19. A knowledge-based approach to estimating the magnitude and spatial patterns of potential threats to soil biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Orgiazzi, Alberto; Panagos, Panos; Yigini, Yusuf; Dunbar, Martha B; Gardi, Ciro; Montanarella, Luca; Ballabio, Cristiano

    2016-03-01

    Because of the increasing pressures exerted on soil, below-ground life is under threat. Knowledge-based rankings of potential threats to different components of soil biodiversity were developed in order to assess the spatial distribution of threats on a European scale. A list of 13 potential threats to soil biodiversity was proposed to experts with different backgrounds in order to assess the potential for three major components of soil biodiversity: soil microorganisms, fauna, and biological functions. This approach allowed us to obtain knowledge-based rankings of threats. These classifications formed the basis for the development of indices through an additive aggregation model that, along with ad-hoc proxies for each pressure, allowed us to preliminarily assess the spatial patterns of potential threats. Intensive exploitation was identified as the highest pressure. In contrast, the use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture was considered as the threat with least potential. The potential impact of climate change showed the highest uncertainty. Fourteen out of the 27 considered countries have more than 40% of their soils with moderate-high to high potential risk for all three components of soil biodiversity. Arable soils are the most exposed to pressures. Soils within the boreal biogeographic region showed the lowest risk potential. The majority of soils at risk are outside the boundaries of protected areas. First maps of risks to three components of soil biodiversity based on the current scientific knowledge were developed. Despite the intrinsic limits of knowledge-based assessments, a remarkable potential risk to soil biodiversity was observed. Guidelines to preliminarily identify and circumscribe soils potentially at risk are provided. This approach may be used in future research to assess threat at both local and global scale and identify areas of possible risk and, subsequently, design appropriate strategies for monitoring and protection of soil biota. PMID:26745288

  20. Energy mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity: Synergies and antagonisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berry, P. M.; Paterson, J. S.

    2009-11-01

    In this paper we review the current impacts of different energy producers (and energy conservation) on biodiversity and investigate the potential for achieving positive biodiversity effects along with mitigation and adaptation objectives. Very few energy producers achieve all three aims - although it may be possible with careful choice of location and management. In some instances, energy conservation can provide mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity benefits. There is still a gap in knowledge regarding the effects of newer energy technologies on biodiversity. There is an additional concern that many supposedly 'green' renewable energy projects may actually harm biodiversity to such a degree that their overall human benefits are negated. The increasing understanding that ecosystem services are vital for human well-being though means that attempting positive mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity conservation in the energy sector should be an imperative goal for international policy. Whilst research into synergies between mitigation and adaptation is established, there has been very little that has examined the impacts on biodiversity as well. Further work is required to identify and provide evidence of the best ways of optimising mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity in the energy sector.

  1. Marine Biodiversity in Japanese Waters

    PubMed Central

    Fujikura, Katsunori; Lindsay, Dhugal; Kitazato, Hiroshi; Nishida, Shuhei; Shirayama, Yoshihisa

    2010-01-01

    To understand marine biodiversity in Japanese waters, we have compiled information on the marine biota in Japanese waters, including the number of described species (species richness), the history of marine biology research in Japan, the state of knowledge, the number of endemic species, the number of identified but undescribed species, the number of known introduced species, and the number of taxonomic experts and identification guides, with consideration of the general ocean environmental background, such as the physical and geological settings. A total of 33,629 species have been reported to occur in Japanese waters. The state of knowledge was extremely variable, with taxa containing many inconspicuous, smaller species tending to be less well known. The total number of identified but undescribed species was at least 121,913. The total number of described species combined with the number of identified but undescribed species reached 155,542. This is the best estimate of the total number of species in Japanese waters and indicates that more than 70% of Japan's marine biodiversity remains un-described. The number of species reported as introduced into Japanese waters was 39. This is the first attempt to estimate species richness for all marine species in Japanese waters. Although its marine biota can be considered relatively well known, at least within the Asian-Pacific region, considering the vast number of different marine environments such as coral reefs, ocean trenches, ice-bound waters, methane seeps, and hydrothermal vents, much work remains to be done. We expect global change to have a tremendous impact on marine biodiversity and ecosystems. Japan is in a particularly suitable geographic situation and has a lot of facilities for conducting marine science research. Japan has an important responsibility to contribute to our understanding of life in the oceans. PMID:20689840

  2. Biodiversity in urban habitat patches.

    PubMed

    Angold, P G; Sadler, J P; Hill, M O; Pullin, A; Rushton, S; Austin, K; Small, E; Wood, B; Wadsworth, R; Sanderson, R; Thompson, K

    2006-05-01

    We examined the biodiversity of urban habitats in Birmingham (England) using a combination of field surveys of plants and carabid beetles, genetic studies of four species of butterflies, modelling the anthropochorous nature of the floral communities and spatially explicit modelling of selected mammal species. The aim of the project was to: (i) understand the ecological characteristics of the biota of cities model, (ii) examine the effects of habitat fragment size and connectivity upon the ecological diversity and individual species distributions, (iii) predict biodiversity in cities, and (iv) analyse the extent to which the flora and fauna utilise the 'urban greenways' both as wildlife corridors and as habitats in their own right. The results suggest that cities provide habitats for rich and diverse range of plants and animals, which occur sometimes in unlikely recombinant communities. The studies on carabids and butterflies illustrated the relative importance of habitat quality on individual sites as opposed to site location within the conurbation. This suggests that dispersal for most of our urban species is not a limiting factor in population persistence, although elements of the woodland carabid fauna did appear to have some geographical structuring. Theoretical models suggested that dormice and water voles may depend on linear habitats for dispersal. The models also indicated that other groups, such as small and medium sized mammals, may use corridors, although field-based research did not provide any evidence to suggest that plants or invertebrates use urban greenways for dispersal. This finding indicates the importance of identifying a target species or group of species for urban greenways intended as dispersal routeways rather than as habitat in their own right. Their importance for most groups is rather that greenways provide a chain of different habitats permeating the urban environment. We suggest that planners can have a positive impact on urban biodiversity by slowing the pace of redevelopment and by not hurrying to tidy up and redevelop brownfield sites. PMID:16297440

  3. Assessing social impacts in urban waterfront regeneration

    SciTech Connect

    Sairinen, Rauno . E-mail: Rauno.Sairinen@tkk.fi; Kumpulainen, Satu . E-mail: satu.kumpulainen@saunalahti.fi

    2006-01-15

    The target of this article is to identify the social impacts of urban waterfront regeneration. For this purpose, four different dimensions of social impacts in urban waterfront planning are presented: resources and identity, social status, access and activities and waterfront experience. The four social dimensions refer to the different ways of experiencing and using the edges of the sea, lake or river to make an understanding of their qualities to the community. The contents of this typology are illustrated by analysing some basic features of three different newly built waterfront areas in Helsinki. The article is based on post-evaluation.

  4. Health impact assessment needs in south-east Asian countries.

    PubMed Central

    Caussy, Deoraj; Kumar, Priti; Than Sein, U.

    2003-01-01

    A situation analysis was undertaken to assess impediments to health impact assessment (HIA) in the South-East Asia Region of WHO (SEARO). The countries of the region were assessed on the policy framework and procedures for HIA, existing infrastructure required to support HIA, the capacity for undertaking HIA, and the potential for intersectoral collaboration. The findings show that environmental impact assessment (EIA) is being used implicitly as a substitute for HIA, which is not explicitly or routinely conducted in virtually all countries of the Region. Therefore, policy, infrastructure, capacity, and intersectoral collaboration need strengthening for the routine implementation of HIA. PMID:12894329

  5. Satellite Power System (SPS) environmental impacts, preliminary assessment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Livingston, F. R.

    1978-01-01

    Present power plant assessment factors are used to present satellite power system (SPS) impacts. In contrast to oil, gas, nuclear and coal fueled power plants, the SPS and hydroelectric power plants produce air, water, and solid waste emissions only during the construction phase. Land use impacts result from the placement of rectennas used for microwave receiving and rectifying. Air quality impacts of the SPS resulting from the construction phase amount to 0.405 metric tons per megawatt year. Solid wastes impacts are 0.108 metric tons per year of operation. Other impacts such as those caused by heavy lift launch vehicle sites are also discussed.

  6. Pricing commodity outpatient procedures assessing the impact.

    PubMed

    Cleverley, William O

    2015-10-01

    Hospitals should carefully consider all relevant factors before choosing to lower prices and payments for certain outpatient commodity services in an effort to remain competitive in their market. Key steps to take in the evaluation process include: Determining current profitability. Assessing profitability by payer class. Understanding overall cost positions. Assessing the relative payment terms of current commercial contracts. Determining the net revenue effect of proposed changes. PMID:26595979

  7. Impact of weather and climate scenarios on conservation assessment outcomes

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This paper reviews selected watershed studies of the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) and interprets findings from the perspective of potential climate change impacts on conservation outcomes. Primary foci are runoff, soil erosion, sediment transport, watershed sediment yield, and asso...

  8. Life Cycle Impact Assessment Research Developments and Needs

    EPA Science Inventory

    Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) developments are explained along with key publications which record discussions which comprised ISO 14042 and SETAC document development, UNEP SETAC Life Cycle Initiative research, and research from public and private research institutions. It ...

  9. International Developments in Environmental and Social Impact Assessment

    EPA Science Inventory

    The author has been involved in international developments in comprehensive impact assessment since 1995. During that time she has participated in ISO 14040 series development, initiated and co-chaired three international workshops, participated in Society of Environmental Toxic...

  10. LIFE CYCLE IMPACT ASSESSMENT: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE, II

    EPA Science Inventory

    Research within the field of Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) has greatly improved since the work of Heijungs and Guinee in 1992. Methodologies are currently available to address specific locations within North America, Europe, and Asia. Internationally, researchers are work...

  11. Relationships between Meiofaunal Biodiversity and Prokaryotic Heterotrophic Production in Different Tropical Habitats and Oceanic Regions

    PubMed Central

    Pusceddu, Antonio; Gambi, Cristina; Corinaldesi, Cinzia; Scopa, Mariaspina; Danovaro, Roberto

    2014-01-01

    Tropical marine ecosystems are among the most diverse of the world oceans, so that assessing the linkages between biodiversity and ecosystem functions (BEF) is a crucial step to predict consequences of biodiversity loss. Most BEF studies in marine ecosystems have been carried out on macrobenthic diversity, whereas the influence of the meiofauna on ecosystem functioning has received much less attention. We compared meiofaunal and nematode biodiversity and prokaryotic heterotrophic production across seagrass, mangrove and reef sediments in the Caribbean, Celebes and Red Seas. For all variables we report the presence of differences among habitats within the same region, and among regions within the same habitat. In all regions, the richness of meiofaunal taxa in reef and seagrass sediments is higher than in mangrove sediments. The sediments of the Celebes Sea show the highest meiofaunal biodiversity. The composition of meiofaunal assemblages varies significantly among habitats in the same region. The nematode beta diversity among habitats within the same region is higher than the beta diversity among regions. Although one site per habitat was considered in each region, these results suggest that the composition of meiofaunal assemblages varies primarily among biogeographic regions, whereas the composition of nematode assemblages varies more considerably among habitats. Meiofauna and nematode biodiversity and prokaryotic heterotrophic production, even after the removal of covariate effects linked with longitude and the quantity and nutritional quality of organic matter, are positively and linearly linked both across regions and within each habitat type. Our results confirm that meiofauna and nematode biodiversity may influence benthic prokaryotic activity, which, in turn, implies that diversity loss could have negative impacts on ecosystem functioning in these systems. PMID:24603709

  12. Focusing biodiversity research on the needs of decision makers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smythe, Katie D.; Bernabo, J. Christopher; Carter, Thomas B.; Jutro, Peter R.

    1996-11-01

    The project on Biodiversity Uncertainties and Research Needs (BURN) ensures the advancement of usable knowledge on biodiversity by obtaining input from decision makers on their priority information needs about biodiversity and then using this input to engage leading scientists in designing policy-relevant research. Decision makers articulated concerns related to four issues: significance of biodiversity; status and trends of biodiversity; management for biodiversity; and the linkage of social, cultural, economic, legal, and biological objectives. Leading natural and social scientists then identified the research required to address the decision makers' needs and determined the probability of success. The diverse group of experts reached consensus on several fundamental issues, helping to clarify the role of biodiversity in land and resource management. The BURN participants identified several features that should be incorporated into policy-relevant research plans and management strategies for biodiversity. Research and assessment efforts should be: multidisciplinary and integrative, participatory with stakeholder involvement, hierarchical (multiple scales), and problem- and region-specific. The activities should be focused regionally within a global perspective. Meta-analysis of existing data is needed on all fronts to assess the state of the science. More specifically, the scientists recommended six priority research areas that should be pursued to address the information needs articulated by decision makers: (1) characterization of biodiversity, (2) environmental valuation, (3) management for sustainability—for humans and the environment (adaptive management), (4) information management strategies, (5) governance and stewardship issues, and (6) communication and outreach. Broad recommendations were developed for each research area to provide direction for research planning and resource management strategies. The results will directly benefit those groups that require biodiversity research to address their needs—whether to develop policy, manage natural resources, or make other decisions affecting biodiversity.

  13. STRIP MINE DRAINAGE--AQUATIC IMPACT ASSESSMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    The overall objective of this research program is to demonstrate methodologies for predicting, on the basis of characteristics of the site to be mined, the impact of strip mining on downstream biotic communities. To accomplish this objective and provide data for model verificatio...