Land Use Practices (land + use_practice)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Constructing Vulnerability: The Historical, Natural and Social Generation of Flooding in Metropolitan Manila

DISASTERS, Issue 3 2003
Greg Bankoff
Flooding is not a recent hazard in the Philippines but one that has occurred throughout the recorded history of the archipelago. On the one hand, it is related to a wider global ecological crisis to do with climatic change and rising sea levels but on the other hand, it is also the effect of more localised human activities. A whole range of socio-economic factors such as land use practices, living standards and policy responses are increasingly influencing the frequency of natural hazards such as floods and the corresponding occurrence of disasters. In particular, the reason why flooding has come to pose such a pervasive risk to the residents of metropolitan Manila has its basis in a complex mix of inter-relating factors that emphasise how the nature of vulnerability is constructed through the lack of mutuality between environment and human activity over time. This paper examines three aspects of this flooding: first, the importance of an historical approach in understanding how hazards are generated; second, the degree of interplay between environment and society in creating risk; and third, the manner in which vulnerability is a complex construction. [source]

What shapes Eurasian lynx distribution in human dominated landscapes: selecting prey or avoiding people?

ECOGRAPHY, Issue 4 2009
Mathieu Basille
In the multi-use landscape of southern Norway, the distribution of lynx is likely to be determined both by the abundance of their favoured prey , the roe deer , and the risk associated with the presence of humans because most lynx mortalities are caused by humans (recreational harvest, poaching, vehicle collisions). We described the distribution of the reproductive portion of the lynx population based on snow-track observations of females with dependent kittens collected over 10,yr (1997,2006) in southern Norway. We used the ecological-niche factor analysis to examine how lynx distribution was influenced by roe deer, human activity, habitat type, environmental productivity and elevation. Our first prediction that lynx should be found in areas of relatively high roe deer abundance was supported. However, our second prediction that lynx should avoid human activity was rejected, and lynx instead occupied areas more disturbed in average than those available (with the exception of the most densely occupied areas). Lynx, however, avoided the most disturbed areas and our third prediction of a trade-off between abundance of prey and avoidance of human activity was supported. On the one hand, roe deer in the most disturbed areas benefit to a large extent from current human land use practices, potentially allowing them to escape predation from lynx. On the other hand, the situation is not so favourable for the predators who are restricted in competition refuges with medium to low prey densities. The consequence is that lynx conservation will have to be achieved in a human modifed environment where the potential for a range of conflicts and high human-caused mortality will remain a constant threat. [source]

Differential effects of elevated nutrient and sediment inputs on survival, growth and biomass of a common larval fish species (Dorosoma cepedianum)

Summary 1. Elevated allochthonous inputs of nutrients and sediments to aquatic ecosystems are associated with eutrophication and sedimentation. Reservoirs receive substantial subsidies of nutrients and sediments from catchments due to their large catchment : lake area ratios. We examined the effect of elevated subsidies of sediments and/or dissolved nutrients on the success (survival, growth, biomass and condition factor) of larval gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum), a widespread and dominant omnivorous fish in reservoir ecosystems. 2. We simulated allochthonous agricultural subsides by manipulating dissolved nutrients and sediment inputs in a 2 × 2 factorial design in experimental mesocosms. We predicted that larval fish success would be greater under elevated nutrients. However, we propose two alternative hypotheses with respect to the overall effect of allochthonous sediment inputs. If sediment inputs negatively affect larval gizzard feeding success, larval success would be highest when only nutrients are added and lowest when only sediments are added (+N > +N+S , C > +S). If high turbidity enhances larval foraging activity (due to greater contrast between prey and background), we predict that larval success would be highest when both subsidy types (nutrients and sediment) are elevated, intermediate when either nutrients or sediments are added and the lowest when no subsidies are added (+N+S > +N , +S > C). 3. Our results indicate that elevated nutrient and sediment conditions enhanced larval gizzard shad biomass, but the overall nutrient addition effect was greater than the sediment addition effect (+N , +N+S > +S > C). We observed differential effects of nutrient and sediment inputs on larval survival, growth and condition factors. 4. The enhancement of fish biomass in elevated nutrients (+N, +N+S) relative to control conditions was associated with improved gizzard shad survival and not greater growth. The enhancement of fish biomass in the elevated sediment treatment (+S) relative to the control conditions was caused by an increase in survival that more than compensated for a negative effect of sediment addition on growth. 5. Our findings support the recommendation that reservoir management practices must consider the links between land use practices and food web dynamics. Our results suggest that reduction of subsidies of nutrients and sediments to productive reservoirs would decrease survival of larval gizzard shad due to lower food availability. [source]

Fire history and the global carbon budget: a 1°× 1° fire history reconstruction for the 20th century

Florent Mouillot
Abstract A yearly global fire history is a prerequisite for quantifying the contribution of previous fires to the past and present global carbon budget. Vegetation fires can have both direct (combustion) and long-term indirect effects on the carbon cycle. Every fire influences the ecosystem carbon budget for many years, as a consequence of internal reorganization, decomposition of dead biomass, and regrowth. We used a two-step process to estimate these effects. First we synthesized the available data available for the 1980s or 1990s to produce a global fire map. For regions with no data, we developed estimates based on vegetation type and history. Second, we then worked backwards to reconstruct the fire history. This reconstruction was based on published data when available. Where it was not, we extrapolated from land use practices, qualitative reports and local studies, such as tree ring analysis. The resulting product is intended as a first approximation for questions about consequences of historical changes in fire for the global carbon budget. We estimate that an average of 608 Mha yr,1 burned (not including agricultural fires) at the end of the 20th century. 86% of this occurred in tropical savannas. Fires in forests with higher carbon stocks consumed 70.7 Mha yr,1 at the beginning of the century, mostly in the boreal and temperate forests of the Northern Hemisphere. This decreased to 15.2 Mha yr,1 in the 1960s as a consequence of fire suppression policies and the development of efficient fire fighting equipment. Since then, fires in temperate and boreal forests have decreased to 11.2 Mha yr,1. At the same time, burned areas increased exponentially in tropical forests, reaching 54 Mha yr,1 in the 1990s, reflecting the use of fire in deforestation for expansion of agriculture. There is some evidence for an increase in area burned in temperate and boreal forests in the closing years of the 20th century. [source]


James D. Wickham
ABSTRACT: Bacterial contamination of surface waters is attributed to both urban and agricultural land use practices and is one of the most frequently cited reasons for failure to meet standards established under the Clean Water Act (CWA) (P.L. 92,500). Statewide modeling can be used to determine if bacterial contamination occurs predominantly in urban or agricultural settings. Such information is useful for directing future monitoring and allocating resources for protection and restoration activities. Logistic regression was used to model the likelihood of bacterial contamination using watershed factors for the state of Maryland. Watershed factors included land cover, soils, topography, hydrography, locations of septic systems, and animal feeding operations. Results indicated that bacterial contamination occurred predominantly in urban settings. Likelihood of bacterial contamination was highest for small watersheds with well drained and erodible soils and a high proportion of urban land adjacent to streams. The number of septic systems and animal feeding operations and the amount of agricultural land were not significant explanatory factors. The urban infrastructure tends to "connect" more of the watershed to the stream network through the creation of roads, storm sewers, and wastewater treatment plants. This may partly explain the relationship between urbanization and bacterial contamination found in this study. [source]

Salinity-related desertification and management strategies: Indian experience

G. Singh
Abstract High concentration of salts in the rootzone soil limits the productivity of nearly 953 million ha of productive land in the world. Australia, followed by Asia, has the largest area under salinity and sodicity. Most of the salt-affected soils and brackish ground water resources are confined to arid and semiarid regions and are the causative factors for triggering the process of desertification. The problem of salinity and sodicity has degraded about 6·73 million ha area in India. Secondary salinization associated with introduction of irrigation in dry areas like Thar desert in the western part of the country and Sharda Sahayak in Central India have caused desertification due to rise of salts with the rise in ground water level. Large scale cultivation of prawns using sea water in coastal Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere rendered about 2.1 million ha area unfit for agriculture. Similarly, 30,84 per cent ground water in north-western states of the country is either saline and /or brackish and is unfit for irrigation. Use of marginal quality water for irrigation has rendered several thousand ha of productive land unfit for cultivation. The Central Soil Salinity Research Institute was established in 1969 at Karnal to develop sustainable and eco-friendly technologies for reclamation and management of salt-affected soils and judicious use of marginal quality waters. The institute has developed location-specific techniques for reversion of salinity related desertification in India. Salient findings of research during the last three decades and more are presented in this review. This paper deals with (a) classification, nature and extent of salt-affected soils and poor quality water in India, (b) case studies/socio-economic concerns of salinity related desertification, (c) chemical, hydrological and biological approaches in use for rehabilitation of salt-affected soils, (d) guidelines for safe and productive use of marginal quality ground water through cyclic and mixed mode and precision irrigation techniques, (e) successful rehabilitation case studies, (f) alternate land use practices such as raising forest plantations, horticulture, agroforestry, high value medicinal, aromatic and flowering crops, etc., (g) technological, social, economic and environmental impacts and (h) future line of research. Issues requiring policy initiatives to halt salinity-related desertification are also discussed in this review paper. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Land-use legacies in a central Appalachian forest: differential response of trees and herbs to historic agricultural practices

James M. Dyer
Abstract Question: Are contemporary herb and tree patterns explained by historic land use practices? If so, are observed vegetation patterns associated with life-history characteristics, soil properties, or other environmental variables? Location: Southeastern Ohio, USA. Methods: Using archival records, currently forested sites were identified with distinct land use histories: cultivated, pasture (but not plowed), and reference sites which appear to have never been cleared. Trees were recorded by size and species on twenty 20 m × 20 m plots; percent cover was estimated for each herb species in nested 10 m × 10 m plots. Environmental characteristics were noted, and soil samples analysed for nutrient availability and organic matter. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling ordination was performed separately on both tree and herb datasets to graphically characterize community composition among plots. Life-history traits were investigated to explain observed compositional differences. Results: Vegetation patterns were explained by current environmental gradients, especially by land-use history. Cultivated and pasture sites had similar tree composition, distinct from reference sites. Herb composition of pasture and reference sites was similar and distinct from cultivated sites, suggesting the ,tenacity' of some forest herbs on formerly cleared sites. Tilling removes rhizomatous species, and disfavors species with unassisted dispersal. These life-history traits were underrepresented on cultivated sites, although ant-dispersed species were not. Conclusions: Historic land-use practices accounted for as much variation in species composition as environmental gradients. Furthermore, trees and herbs responded differently to past land-use practices. Life-history traits of individual species interact with the nature of disturbance to influence community composition. [source]

Effects of cover reduction on mulgara Dasycercus cristicauda (Marsupialia: Dasyuridae), rodent and invertebrate populations in central Australia: Implications for land management

Abstract This study investigates the effect of cover reduction on the mulgara, Dasycercus cristicauda, a small marsupial classified as vulnerable to extinction, which occurs in areas of central Australia dominated by hummock grasslands. Loss or degradation of spinifex has been implicated in population declines of this species previously, but the importance of cover in maintaining quality habitat remains speculative. To determine the effect on D. cristicauda of cover reduction, caused by the harvesting of spinifex, we monitored population changes and changes in prey resources (rodents and invertebrates) before and after spinifex harvesting took place at a site near the Ayers Rock Resort, Northern Territory, Australia. Ten plots, each of 8.75 ha, were established and sampled from May 1994 to October 1995. Harvesting took place on five plots in August 1994, which reduced spinifex cover from 46 to 21% and the amount of spinifex >0.25 m high from 42 to 2%. Harvesting did not significantly affect the number of D. cristicauda known to be alive or captured despite other studies indicating that cover is an important habitat attribute. There was also no evidence that cover reduction impacted on the biomass of the invertebrate food resources. However, there was a significant reduction in the number of rodents captured. The lack of a response to cover reduction by D. cristicauda is possibly because the cover of Triodia remained high enough (above 15%) to sustain animals, and harvested areas were relatively small. This study therefore suggests that D. cristicauda can tolerate a moderate local reduction in cover of its preferred habitat. However, it remains possible that other land use practices that cause severe reduction of cover (including clearing for mining or fire prevention, grazing which may result in spinifex reduction through trampling, and fire management) will have more dramatic effects on D. cristicauda. Evaluation of such effects should be a priority for future research. [source]