Human Impact (human + impact)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Life Sciences

Selected Abstracts

Assessing Human Impact of Organizational Crises: Reliability and Validity of the Triage Assessment Scale for Organizations (TAS:O)

Christian Conte
The present study evaluated the reliability and validity of the Triage Assessment Survey: Organizations (TAS:O), a 27-item, 5-point, Likert summated rating scale. One hundred and seventeen participants responded to the TAS:O after reading mild, moderate, marked and severe organizational crisis scenarios. The overall Cronbach's alpha and split-half reliability were both .93. Confirmatory factor analysis revealed three factors, supporting the hypothesis that the TAS:O is comprised of three distinct factors (i.e., Affect, Behavior, and Cognition). An analysis of variance provided evidence that the TAS:O has the capacity to distinguish among mild, moderate, marked, and severe crises. Because this research is the first to evaluate the TAS:O, further studies are needed to strengthen confidence in the psychometric properties of this scale. [source]

Human Impacts on Ancient Marine Ecosystems

MARINE ECOLOGY, Issue 3 2009
Michael Stachowitsch
No abstract is available for this article. [source]

Interactions of the Major Biogeochemical Cycles: Global Change and Human Impacts

No abstract is available for this article. [source]

Human impact , the last nail in the coffin for ancient plants?

Simon E. Connor
First page of article [source]

Human impacts on the species,area relationship in reef fish assemblages

Derek P. Tittensor
Abstract The relationship between species richness and area is one of the oldest, most recognized patterns in ecology. Here we provide empirical evidence for strong impacts of fisheries exploitation on the slope of the species,area relationship (SAR). Using comparative field surveys of fish on protected and exploited reefs in three oceans and the Mediterranean Sea, we show that exploitation consistently depresses the slope of the SAR for both power-law and exponential models. The magnitude of change appears to be proportional to fishing intensity. Results are independent of taxonomic resolution and robust across coral and rocky reefs, sampling protocols and statistical methods. Changes in species richness, relative abundance and patch occupancy all appear to contribute to this pattern. We conclude that exploitation pressure impacts the fundamental scaling of biodiversity as well as the species richness and spatial distribution patterns of reef fish. We propose that species,area curves can be sensitive indicators of community-level changes in biodiversity, and may be useful in quantifying the human imprint on reef biodiversity, and potentially elsewhere. [source]

Extinction vulnerability in marine populations

Nicholas K Dulvy
Abstract Human impacts on the world's oceans have been substantial, leading to concerns about the extinction of marine taxa. We have compiled 133 local, regional and global extinctions of marine populations. There is typically a 53-year lag between the last sighting of an organism and the reported date of the extinction at whatever scale this has occurred. Most disappearances (80%) were detected using indirect historical comparative methods, which suggests that marine extinctions may have been underestimated because of low-detection power. Exploitation caused most marine losses at various scales (55%), followed closely by habitat loss (37%), while the remainder were linked to invasive species, climate change, pollution and disease. Several perceptions concerning the vulnerability of marine organisms appear to be too general and insufficiently conservative. Marine species cannot be considered less vulnerable on the basis of biological attributes such as high fecundity or large-scale dispersal characteristics. For commercially exploited species, it is often argued that economic extinction of exploited populations will occur before biological extinction, but this is not the case for non-target species caught in multispecies fisheries or species with high commercial value, especially if this value increases as species become rare. The perceived high potential for recovery, high variability and low extinction vulnerability of fish populations have been invoked to avoid listing commercial species of fishes under international threat criteria. However, we need to learn more about recovery, which may be hampered by negative population growth at small population sizes (Allee effect or depensation) or ecosystem shifts, as well as about spatial dynamics and connectivity of subpopulations before we can truly understand the nature of responses to severe depletions. The evidence suggests that fish populations do not fluctuate more than those of mammals, birds and butterflies, and that fishes may exhibit vulnerability similar to mammals, birds and butterflies. There is an urgent need for improved methods of detecting marine extinctions at various spatial scales, and for predicting the vulnerability of species. [source]

Landscape features and crustacean prey as predictors of the Southern river otter distribution in Chile.

M. A. Sepúlveda
Abstract Understanding the processes that affect freshwater ecosystems at the watershed level is fundamental for the conservation and management of river otters. During 2 consecutive years, we surveyed the occurrence of the Southern river otter Lontra provocax and its main prey (crustaceans) in a watershed of 9900 km2 in the Chilean temperate forest. We modeled predator and prey distributions with a variety of statistical techniques by relating a set of environmental predictors to species occurrence records. Otter and crustaceans were associated with areas of intermediate to low human disturbance with a mosaic of riparian vegetation densities, mainly at low altitudes. The singularity of the Andean Range, with a very marked elevation gradient and oligotrophic watercourses in the higher areas, created more vulnerable conditions for otter presence because prey abundances were limited in those areas. Human impacts affected otter populations at a landscape scale through the presence of main roads, as these were mostly located in lower parts of the watershed where otters have their primary habitat. These results point to the importance of land management and protection of low-elevation areas where otters still occur to ensure the long-term viability of its freshwater populations. [source]

Reconstructing the history of human impacts on coastal biodiversity in Chile: constraints and opportunities

Marcelo M. Rivadeneira
Abstract 1.Although Chile is at the forefront in evaluating experimentally the importance of human harvesting impacts on coastal biodiversity, there are no evaluations of such impacts on a long-term historical basis (tens to thousands of years). Different types of archival information (i.e. contemporaneous, archaeological, and palaeontological) were used to carry out a research programme based on the historical assessment of the impacts and intensity of resource extraction on coastal biodiversity along the Chilean coast. 2.In addition to recent scientific literature, different sources of contemporaneous information (e.g. museum collections, old reports and accounts) can reveal the human impacts observed in the more recent past. Furthermore, the large number of prehistoric shell middens along the entire Chilean coast offer access to ,11 000 years of history along the entire coast, although the faunal composition, structure, and dynamics of most of them remain largely unstudied. 3.Finally, the rich and widespread fossil record of some marine groups provides the opportunity to reconstruct the structure and dynamics of benthic communities during different phases of human influence (e.g. pre-human, prehistoric harvesting, and modern harvesting). 4.Preliminary comparisons of fossil versus modern bivalve assemblages suggest marked changes in the species composition. Human impacts seem very recent and shifts in the structure of benthic assemblages may have occurred only a few centuries/decades ago. 5.In contrast, prehistoric harvesting, although intense, was apparently not enough to cause a profound impact on coastal ecosystems. The approach herein envisaged can provide the basis to build a historical baseline to evaluate the human impacts on the coastal biodiversity in the region. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

On the importance of patch attributes, environmental factors and past human impacts as determinants of perennial plant species richness and diversity in Mediterranean semiarid steppes

Fernando T. Maestre
ABSTRACT Richness and diversity of perennial plant species were evaluated in 17 Stipa tenacissima steppes along a degradation gradient in semiarid SE Spain. The main objective of the study was to evaluate the relative importance of historical human impacts, small-scale patch attributes and environmental factors as determinants of perennial plant species richness and diversity in S. tenacissima steppes, where vegetation is arranged as discrete plant patches inserted on a bare ground matrix. Partial least squares regression was used to determine the amount of variation in species richness and diversity that could be significantly explained by historical human impacts, patch attributes, and environmental factors together and separately. They explained up to 89% and 69% of the variation in species richness and diversity, respectively. In both cases, the predictive power of patch attributes models was higher than that of models consisting of abiotic characteristics and variables related to human impact, suggesting that patch attributes are the major determinants of species richness and diversity in semiarid S. tenacissima steppes. However, patch attributes alone are not enough to explain the observed variation in species richness and diversity. The area covered by late-successional sprouting shrubs and the distance between consecutive patches were the most influencing individual variables on species richness and diversity, respectively. The implications of these results for the management of S. tenacissima steppes are discussed. [source]

Faunal makeup of wild bees and their flower utilization in a semi-urbanized area in central Japan

Abstract The species composition of wild bees and their flower utilization patterns were surveyed from April to November in 1996 in a semi-urbanized area adjacent to Sugao Marsh, Ibaraki, central Japan. A total of 750 individuals belonging to 43 species in six families were collected. The most dominant family was Halictidae, for which 13 species and 251 individuals were collected. The most dominant species was Colletes patellatus (120 individuals) of the Colletidae. The results at Sugao were compared with those obtained from three other areas of Ibaraki Prefecture, which have similar climatic conditions, yet have different environmental characteristics in terms of human impact. The four sites in Ibaraki can be classified into two groups: the first comprising Sugao and Mito in cultivated and/or human-dwelling areas, and the second comprising Yamizo and Gozen'yama, in forest areas with more natural elements. The number of species at Sugao was the smallest among the four study sites. On the other hand, the values for species evenness at Sugao were the second-highest of the four study sites. These findings show that the different characteristics of different bee communities reflect their local environmental conditions, including their floral compositions. The bees visited 36 flower species in 20 families, and 70.7% of all individuals studied visited Compositae flowers. The heavy utilization of composite flowers is possibly because of the existence of a simplified flora consisting of a few dominant composite plant species. Among these plants, Solidago altissima and Lactuca indica made large contributions to supporting autumn bees, especially Colletes patellatus and Colletes perforator, which are solitary and oligolectic on Compositae. [source]

Semiparametric approaches to flow normalization and source apportionment of substance transport in rivers

Per Stĺlnacke
Abstract Statistical analysis of relationships between time series of data exhibiting seasonal variation is often of great interest in environmental monitoring and assessment. The present study focused on regression models with time-varying intercept and slope parameters. In particular, we derived and tested semiparametric models in which rapid interannual and interseasonal variation in the intercept were penalized in the search for a model that combined a good fit to data with smoothly varying parameters. Furthermore, we developed a software package for efficient estimation of the parameters of such models. Test runs on time series of runoff data and riverine loads of nutrients and chloride in the Rhine River showed that the proposed smoothing methods were particularly useful for analysis of time-varying linear relationships between time series of data with both seasonal variation and temporal trends. The predictivity of the semiparametric models was superior to that of conventional parametric models. In addition, normalization of observed annual loads to mean or minimum runoff produced smooth curves that provided convincing evidence of human impact on water quality. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Sorption of phosphorus in field-moist and air-dried samples from four weakly developed cultivated soil profiles

T. PeltovuoriArticle first published online: 9 FEB 200
Summary Sorption of phosphorus (P) in complete soil profiles in northern Europe is not adequately documented. I measured the sorption in genetic horizons of four cultivated soils (Inceptisols, Spodosol) in Finland using both field-moist and air-dried soil samples, fitted modified Freundlich equations (Q = a × Ib , q) to the data, and presented the results in quantity/intensity (Q/I) graphs. Least-squares-estimates for the parameters of the modified Freundlich equation (a, b, q) were found to be imprecise measures of sorption. Values derived from the fitted equations (the amount of P sorbed at the P concentration of 2 mg litre,1 and P buffering capacity at the same concentration) were more precise. Both were correlated with concentrations of oxalate-extractable iron and aluminium. In all soils, there was a distinct difference in sorption between the fertilized Ap horizons and the subsurface horizons, which retained P strongly. Most of the sorption capacity was located in the B horizons at depths between 0.3 and 0.7 m. The results demonstrate the effects of soil-forming processes and human impact on the sorption of P in the soils. Drying the samples prior to the sorption experiments altered the shape of the Q/I graphs. It increased dissolution of P at small P concentrations, sorption at large P concentrations, and the estimates for P buffering capacity. The effects of drying soil samples on the results and the imprecision of the parameters estimated with the modified Freundlich equation should be taken into account when interpreting results of Q/I experiments. [source]

Assessing biotic integrity in a Mediterranean watershed: development and evaluation of a fish-based index

Abstract, Biological indicators for Mediterranean rivers are poorly developed. This study evaluates the effectiveness of the Index of Biotic Integrity approach (IBI) with fish assemblages in the Guadiana catchment, a typical Mediterranean watershed in Southern Portugal. Reference sites were selected from a set of 95 sites, using a multivariate approach. Fifty-five candidate metrics were screened for range, responsiveness, precision and redundancy. Final metrics included: proportion of native fish, number of intolerant and intermediate species, number of invertivore native fish, number of phyto-lithophilic and polyphilic species, and catches of exotics. The IBI scores correlated with composite gradients of human impact and differed significantly between reference and non-reference sites. Application of the IBI to an independent validation set with 123 sites produced results congruent with the development set and repeatable assessments at 22 sites showed concordance in IBI scoring. This application highlights the effectiveness of the IBI approach even with fish assemblages of limited diversity and ecological specialisation as in Mediterranean streams. [source]

A comparison of bacteria and benthic invertebrates as indicators of ecological health in streams

Summary 1. We set out to evaluate the reliability of bacterial communities as an indicator of freshwater ecological health. 2. Samples of epilithic biofilm were taken over a 1-year period from four streams, each impacted by varying degrees of human modification. The bacteria within each sample were characterised using a whole community DNA fingerprinting technique (automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis). Spatial and temporal differences in community structure between samples were visualised using multi-dimensional scaling and quantified using permutational multivariate anova. Macrobenthic invertebrates, which are commonly used as indicators of stream ecological health, were also sampled for comparison. 3. Multivariate analysis revealed a clear gradient in macroinvertebrate community structure between sites exposed to increased human impact. Bacterial communities, however, could only distinguish the most impacted site from the remainder. 4. Additional research is required to increase the sensitivity of bacterial community analyses before endorsing their use as an indicator of freshwater ecological health. [source]

Comparison of frog assemblages between urban and non-urban habitats in the upper Blue Mountains of Australia

Summary 1. World wide, and in Australia, many frog populations have declined over the last two decades. The present study was undertaken to determine whether urbanization has affected frog diversity and abundance. 2. Five urban sites were paired with non-urban sites. Urban sites were in Katoomba and Blackheath, and were subject to physical environmental disturbance and impacted by storm water pollution due to urban runoff. Non-urban sites were in the Blue Mountains National Park and were effectively subject to no human impact. 3. Water quality at urban sites was typical of sites polluted with sewage, while non-urban sites exhibited water quality typical of ,pristine' natural bushland streams. 4. Six species were found at urban sites (Litoria peronii, Litoria dentata, Litoria verreauxii, Limnodynastes dumerilii, Limnodynastes peronii, Crinia signifera), with up to four species present at a site. Only one species (C. signifera) was recorded at non-urban sites, and frogs were absent from most non-urban sites. 5. The situation in non-urban sites mirrors the trend of decline observed in other montane regions. Surprisingly, frog abundance and diversity were higher in urban habitats, running counter to this trend. 6. We hypothesize that the salts, detergents and other chemicals in urban wastewaters provide frogs with a level of protection against disease, particularly chytridiomycosis. [source]


ABSTRACT. A study of sandstorms in the Loess Plateau and neighbouring areas is based on observations of sandstorms and precipitation. Through analysis of the relationship between the mean annual number of sandstorms and the mean annual precipitation, an original sandstorm zone and a secondary high-frequency zone of sandstorms have been defined. The latter is mainly formed as a result of human activities, such as vegetation destruction and waste-land cultivation, and not because of climatic change. The secondary sandstorm zone is located 350,500 km away from the original sandstorm zone, reflecting the fact that the sandstorm zone in the Loess Plateau area has shifted 350,500 km to the southeast, in response to human impact. Some abrupt change has been found in the area where the mean annual precipitation is 270 mm, where the original sandstorm zone ends and a secondary zone of high-frequency sandstorms begins. This transition area can be regarded as an abnormally unstable area. This study shows that destruction of the vegetation can cause changes in the environment similar to those attributed to climatic change. [source]

An Initial Analysis of River Discharge and Rainfall in Coastal New South Wales, Australia Using Wavelet Transforms

H. Kirkup
In many coastal catchments of south eastern New South Wales, Australia, changes in river morphology are a response to human impact superimposed on spatial and temporal patterns of variability in precipitation and discharge. Understanding, and preferably quantifying, spatial and temporal patterns of hydrologic variability are essential to understanding natural changes, and to separate these from artificial changes in river systems. Prediction and management of water resources are also dependent upon this understanding. We assess the variability in precipitation and discharge using the wavelet transform which projects the time series of data into a three dimensional surface of frequency, amplitude and time. The analysis reveals that changes across time often reflect changes in individual seasons and may be linked to changes in particular seasonal atmospheric circulation systems. Strong perturbations in the analysis of one catchment are consistent with documented, geomorphically-effective, flooding sequences. The characteristics of the series in the transformed data reveal interesting differences at certain times and scales which may be a reflection of changes in larger scale atmospheric processes. [source]

Regeneration patterns and persistence of the fog-dependent Fray Jorge forest in semiarid Chile during the past two centuries

Abstract The persistence of rainforest patches at Fray Jorge National Park (FJNP) in semiarid Chile (30°40,S), a region receiving approximately 147 mm of annual rainfall, has been a source of concern among forest managers. These forests are likely dependent on water inputs from oceanic fog and their persistence seems uncertain in the face of climate change. Here, we assessed tree radial growth and establishment during the last two centuries and their relation to trends in climate and canopy disturbance. Such evaluation is critical to understanding the dynamics of these semiarid ecosystems in response to climate change. We analyzed forest structure of six forest patches (0.2,22 ha) in FJNP based on sampling within 0.1 ha permanent plots. For the main canopy species, the endemic Aextoxicon punctatum (Aextoxicaceae), we used tree-ring analysis to assess establishment periods, tree ages, growing trends and their relation to El Nińo Southern Oscillation (ENSO), rainfall, and disturbance. The population dynamics of A. punctatum can be described by a continuous regeneration mode. Regeneration of A. punctatum was sensitive to different canopy structures. Growth release patterns suggest the absence of large scale human impact. Radial growth and establishment of A. punctatum were weakly correlated with rainfall and ENSO. If water limits forests patch persistence, patches are likely dependent on the combination of fog and rain water inputs. Forest patches have regenerated continuously for at least 250 years, despite large fluctuations in rainfall driven by ENSO and a regional decline in rainfall during the last century. Because of the positive influence on fog interception, forest structure should be preserved under any future climate scenario. Future research in FJNP should prioritize quantifying the long-term trends of fog water deposition on forests patches. Fog modeling is crucial for understanding the interplay among physical drivers of water inputs under climate change. [source]

Contrasting response of native and alien plant species richness to environmental energy and human impact along alpine elevation gradients

GLOBAL ECOLOGY, Issue 6 2009
Lorenzo Marini
ABSTRACT Aim, We tested whether the species,energy and species,human relationships vary between native and both naturalized and casual alien species richness when other environmental variables had been taken into account. Location, Trento Province, a region (c. 6200 km2) on the southern border of the European Alps (Italy), subdivided into 156 contiguous (c. 37.5 km2) cells and ranging in elevation from 66 to 3769 m. Methods, Data were separated into three subsets, representing richness of natives, naturalized aliens and casual aliens and separately related to temperature, human population and various environmental correlates of plant species diversity. We applied ordinary least squares and simultaneous autoregressive regressions to identify potential contrasting responses of the three plant status subsets and hierarchical partitioning to evaluate the relative importance of the predictor variables. Results, Variation in alien plant species richness along the region was almost entirely explained by temperature and human population density. The relationships were positive but strongly curvilinear. Native species richness was less strongly related to either factor but was positively related to the presence of calcareous bedrock. Native species richness had a decelerating positive relationship with temperature (R2= 55%), whereas naturalized and casual aliens had a positive accelerating relationship explaining 86% and 62% of the variation in richness, respectively. Native species richness had a positive decelerating relationship with population density (R2= 42%), whilst both alien subsets had a positive accelerating relationship. Main conclusions, Alien species richness was higher in areas with the most rich and diverse assemblages of native species. Areas at high altitudes are not especially prone to alien invasion due to energy constraints, low propagule pressure and disturbance, even considering a potential increased in temperature. Thus, if we consider future environmental change, we should expect a stronger response of aliens than natives in the currently warm, urbanized, low-altitude areas than in cold, high-altitude areas where human population density is low. [source]

The use of size,frequency diagrams to characterize prehistoric fish catches and to assess human impact on inshore fisheries

Foss Leach
Abstract Archaeological collections of fish bones from previously excavated sites in New Zealand are being re-examined and selected bones measured in order to estimate original fish size, reconstruct prehistoric fish catches and assess human impact on the fishery over the course of about 800 years of New Zealand prehistory. Several problems hamper this research, such as small sample sizes, lack of significant stratigraphy at many sites, inconsistent field collection strategies and failure to retain all of the material after initial analysis. Although some common fish species show a significant decline in mean size between pre-European and early historic samples on the one hand, and modern populations on the other, we have found little support for the common belief that there was a decline in mean fish size during the pre-European period. We have observed increases over time in the mean size of snapper (Pagrus auratus), blue cod (Parapercis colias) and undifferentiated species of Labridae from several sites scattered throughout New Zealand. Distinguishing between changes in fish population structures owing to natural processes, such as surface sea water changes, and those which are the result of human over-fishing is not simple, because both processes can operate simultaneously. We draw on modern fish quota management models to separate these processes. Important factors for each species are inshore biomass and the recruitment rate at different temperature regimes. In the case of blue cod, we find that there are signs in the catch diagrams of changes in fishing technology, and that 30,80% of catches are undersized fish in terms of modern management criteria. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Assessing and predicting the relative ecological impacts of disturbance on habitats with different sensitivities

Summary 1Methods for assessing habitat sensitivity to human impacts are needed to gauge the sustainability of existing impacts, develop spatial management plans and support meaningful environmental impact assessments. These methods should be quantitative, validated, repeatable and applicable at the scales of impact and management. 2Existing methods for assessing the sensitivity of marine habitats to human impacts have tended to rely on expert judgement and/or scoring systems. They are neither validated, quantitative nor repeatable. 3We have developed a method that meets the criteria for assessing the sensitivity of seabed habitats to physical disturbance, and delineating and mapping habitat sensitivity at large spatial scales (>105 km2). The method assumes that sensitivity is related to the recovery time of production or biomass, as predicted using a size-based model that takes account of the effects of natural disturbance. 4As trawling disturbance is a major and widespread direct human impact on shelf seas, this was used as an example of anthropogenic physical disturbance. We mapped habitat sensitivity to trawling in 9-km2 boxes across an area of 125 000 km2 in the North Sea. 5Habitat sensitivities varied widely, and a trawling frequency of 5 year,1 in the least-sensitive habitat had the same ecological effect as a trawling frequency of 0·3 year,1 in the most-sensitive habitat (based on production). When trawling effort was held constant but redirected to the least-sensitive habitats, the existing impacts on production and biomass were reduced by 36% and 25%, respectively. 6Synthesis and applications. The method described in this paper enables managers to predict the implications of changing patterns of human impact on seabed habitats when establishing spatial management plans. In the context of fisheries management, this will support the identification and selection of fishing grounds that minimize the adverse ecological effects of fishing; the selection of closed areas (both representative and highly sensitive); the comparison of management options that might reduce the overall environmental impacts of fishing; and any future steps towards the application of environmental impact assessment in advance of fishery development. [source]

Hemeroby, urbanity and ruderality: bioindicators of disturbance and human impact

M. O. Hill
Summary 1Species vary according to whether they benefit from or are harmed by disturbance and intensive human activity. This variation can be quantified by indices of disturbance and unnaturalness. 2An urban flora was characterized by comparing quadrat data from cities with several large data sets from the countryside. Existing scales of species response to disturbance and unnaturalness, ruderality (a plant's ability to survive in disturbed conditions) and hemeroby (a measure of human impact) were contrasted with derived scales based on the number of associated annuals and aliens and with ,urbanity', defined as the proportion of urban land in the vicinity of each quadrat. 3Species presence data were available from 26 710 quadrats distributed through Great Britain, with urban sites only in central England. Satellite imagery was used to measure the proportion of urban land cover in the vicinity of each quadrat; 2595 quadrats were located in 1-km squares having at least 40% cover of urban land. 4The 20 species having highest urbanity were all alien to Britain, comprising 12 neophytes and eight archaeophytes. 5Of the 20 most frequent species in quadrats situated in 1-km squares with at least 40% urban land cover, 18 were natives. The two exceptions were Artemisia vulgaris , an archaeophyte, and Senecio squalidus , a neophyte. 6Both ruderal and hemerobic species, as usually defined, include many non-urban arable species. The hemeroby scale of Kowarik (1990 ), designed for Berlin, does not work well in Britain. 7The proportion of associated annuals (annuality) and the proportion of associated neophytes (alien richness or xenicity) can be developed into good indices. The annuality scale is very well defined because annuals tend to occur with other annuals. Plants with high annuality are mostly arable weeds. 8Urban specialists in central England are, with a few exceptions, character-species of the phytosociological classes Artemisietea , Galio-Urticetea and Stellarietea . Most of them have numerous non-urban associates and they do not form a very well defined group. They have intermediate levels of annuality combined with relatively high levels of xenicity. 9While it is possible to develop indices of hemeroby, urbanity and ruderality, these concepts are relatively complicated. Annuality and xenicity are simpler measures that can complement Ellenberg values, but definitive values for Great Britain would require additional data from southern England. [source]

Methods for evaluating human impact on soil microorganisms based on their activity, biomass, and diversity in agricultural soils

Rainer Georg Joergensen
Abstract The present review is focused on microbiological methods used in agricultural soils accustomed to human disturbance. Recent developments in soil biology are analyzed with the aim of highlighting gaps in knowledge, unsolved research questions, and controversial results. Activity rates (basal respiration, N mineralization) and biomass are used as overall indices for assessing microbial functions in soil and can be supplemented by biomass ratios (C : N, C : P, and C : S) and eco-physiological ratios (soil organic C : microbial-biomass C, qCO2, qNmin). The community structure can be characterized by functional groups of the soil microbial biomass such as fungi and bacteria, Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, or by biotic diversity. Methodological aspects of soil microbial indices are assessed, such as sampling, pretreatment of samples, and conversion factors of data into biomass values. Microbial-biomass C (µg (g soil),1) can be estimated by multiplying total PLFA (nmol (g soil),1) by the FPLFA -factor of 5.8 and DNA (µg (g soil),1) by the FDNA -factor of 6.0. In addition, the turnover of the soil microbial biomass is appreciated as a key process for maintaining nutrient cycles in soil. Examples are briefly presented that show the direction of human impact on soil microorganisms by the methods evaluated. These examples are taken from research on organic farming, reduced tillage, de-intensification of land-use management, degradation of peatland, slurry application, salinization, heavy-metal contamination, lignite deposition, pesticide application, antibiotics, TNT, and genetically modified plants. [source]

A high-resolution pollen and geochemical analysis of late Holocene human impact and vegetation history in southern Cumbria, England,

Paul M. V. Coombes
Abstract The historic era, which in Cumbria begins with the Roman invasion of AD 71, is a frequently neglected period in palaeoecological research, but its study can bring benefits in improving knowledge of landscape history and in understanding the significance and limitations of palaeoecological records. Pollen and geochemical data are presented for late Holocene records from Deer Dyke and Hulleter Mosses in southern Cumbria. The records show initially low levels of anthropogenic impact, followed by a phase of forest clearance and mixed agriculture from the 7th to 11th centuries AD. The timing of these clearances suggests that they were initially Anglo-Saxon in origin, rather than Norse. Further clearances in the 16th century AD are interpreted as a response to monastic dissolution and late Tudor population pressures; the landscapes reached their contemporary form following extensive clearances in the 17th century AD. Silicon and titanium concentrations at Deer Dyke Moss were used to reconstruct past levels of atmospheric dust loading, which is broadly related to soil erosion. Geochemical influx was found to peak during periods of landscape transition rather than from established land use. This relationship with pollen data is thought to reflect the predominantly low levels of anthropogenic impact in the region, which changes as substantial woodland clearances during the 16th century AD and continuous land use pressure since then have greatly increased the supply of airborne dust. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Late Quaternary vegetation, climate and fire dynamics inferred from the El Tiro record in the southeastern Ecuadorian Andes,

Holger Niemann
Abstract In order to study the stability and dynamics of mountain rainforest and paramo ecosystems, including the biodiversity of these ecosystems, the Holocene and late Pleistocene climate and fire variability, and human impact in the southeastern Ecuadorian Andes, we present a high-resolution pollen record from El Tiro Pass (2810,m elevation), Podocarpus National Park. Palaeoenvironmental changes, investigated by pollen, spores and charcoal analysis, inferred from a 127,cm long core spanning the last ca. 21,000,cal. yr BP, indicate that grass-paramo was the main vegetation type at the El Tiro Pass during the late Pleistocene period. The grass-paramo was rich in Poaceae, Plantago rigida and Plantago australis, reflecting cold and moist climatic conditions. During the early Holocene, from 11,200 to 8900,cal. yr BP, subparamo and upper mountain rainforest vegetation expanded slightly, indicating a slow warming of climatic conditions during this period. From 8900 to 3300,cal. yr BP an upper mountain rainforest developed at the study site, indicated by an increase in Hedyosmun, Podocarpaceae, Myrsine and Ilex. This suggests a warmer climate than the present day at this elevation. The modern subparamo vegetation became established since 3300,cal. yr BP at El Tiro Pass. Fires, probably anthropogenic origin, were very rare during the late Pleistocene but became frequent after 8000,cal. yr BP. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Holocene climate change in the eastern Mediterranean region: a comparison of stable isotope and pollen data from Lake Gölhisar, southwest Turkey,

Warren J. Eastwood
Abstract Stable isotope and pollen data from Gölhisar Gölü, a small intramontane lake located in southwest Turkey, provide complementary records of Holocene climate change. Modern oxygen and hydrogen isotope water data are used as a means of comparing present-day isotope composition of the lake water to the past oxygen isotope composition of the lake water as calculated from 18O/16O ratios in calcite precipitated in the summer months. Despite the lake system being chemically dilute, the modern isotope data clearly establish that the lake water is evaporated in relation to its spring input, suggesting that the palaeo data can be interpreted primarily in terms of changing precipitation/evaporation ratios. ,18O and ,13C values from authigenic calcite through the Holocene show predominantly negative values indicating climatic conditions wetter than today. Particularly notable are low (depleted) isotope values during the earliest Holocene (ca. 10,600,8800 cal. yr. BP), a period for which pollen data imply drier conditions than at present. This divergence between pollen-inferred and stable isotope palaeoclimate data is found in other east Mediterranean lake sediment records, and suggests that vegetation may have taken several millennia to reach climatic equilibrium at the start of the Holocene. Isotopic fluctuations during the early-to-mid Holocene (8800,5100 cal. yr. BP) suggest oscillations between aridity and humidity. Higher ,18O and ,13C values for the second half of the Holocene indicate generally drier conditions than during the period before ca.5100 cal. yr BP although there is some evidence for increased humidity coinciding with pollen evidence for increasing human impact and intensification of agriculture, notably during the so-called Bey,ehir Occupation Phase (Classical and early Byzantine periods). The modern trend towards aridity started about 1300 yr ago. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Holocene vegetation and land-use changes in response to climatic changes in the forelands of the southwestern Alps, Italy,

Walter Finsinger
Abstract The Holocene sediment of Lago Piccolo di Avigliana (Piedmont, Italy, 356,m,a.s.l.) was dated by 14C and analysed for pollen to reconstruct the vegetation history of the area. The early- and mid-Holocene pollen record shows environmental responses to centennial-scale climatic changes as evidenced by independent palaeoclimatic proxies. When human impact was low or negligible, continental mixed-oak forests decreased at ca. 9300 BC in response to the early-Holocene Preboreal climatic oscillation. Abies alba expanded in two phases, probably in response to higher moisture availability at ca. 6000 and ca. 4000 BC, while Fagus expanded later, possibly in response to a climatic change at 3300 BC. During and after the Bronze Age five distinct phases of intensified land use were detected. The near synchroneity with the land-use phases detected in wetter regions in northern and southern Switzerland points to a common forcing factor in spite of cultural differences. Increasing minerogenic input to the lake since 1000 BC coincided with Late Bronze,Iron Age technical innovations and probably indicate soil erosion as a consequence of deforestation in the lake catchment. The highest values for cultural indicators occurred at 700,450 and at 300,50 BC, coinciding with periods of high solar activity (inferred from ,14C). This suggests that Iron Age land use was enhanced by high solar activity, while re-occupation of partly abandoned areas after crises in earlier periods match better with the GRIP stable isotope record. On the basis of our data and comparison with independent palaeoclimatic proxies we suggest that precipitation variation was much more important than temperature oscillations in driving vegetation and societal changes throughout the Holocene. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Environmental change and peatland forest dynamics in the Lake Sentarum area, West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Gusti Anshari
Abstract Four short pollen and charcoal records from sites within and around Lake Pemerak on the margins of the Danau (Lake) Sentarum National Park in inland West Kalimantan, supported by modern surface samples from the Reserve, provide a partial picture of lowland equatorial vegetation and environments over at least the last 40,000 years. They demonstrate general stability in the distribution of wetland and ombrotrophic (or raised) peatlands through the recorded period with dominance throughout of peatland and swamp forest. However, there was marked variation in sediment accumulation rates and in the floristic composition of the vegetation. The period prior to the last glacial maximum appears to have been the time of most active peatland growth and contrasts with the perception, from previous studies on largely coastal and subcoastal peatlands in Indonesia, that the Holocene was the time of major tropical peat accumulation. A general increase in charcoal, just prior to about 30,000 years ago, suggests that burning became more frequent, and is attributed to initial human impact rather than climate change. The subsequent latest Pleistocene period, embracing the Last Glacial Maximum, is marked by a peak in montane,submontane rainforest taxa, strongly indicating a substantial lowering of temperature. It appears that much of the Holocene is not recorded but recommencement of peat accumulation is evident within the last few thousand years. At the time of fieldwork access to the central part of the Lake Sentarum system was inhibited by strong El Nińo drought conditions, but this area has the potential to provide a longer and more continuous history of environmental change for the region. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Anthropogenic changes in the landscape of west Java (Indonesia) during historic times, inferred from a sediment and pollen record from Teluk Banten

Sander van der Kaars
Abstract Palynological and charcoal analyses of shallow marine core 98-28 from the northern coastal area of West Java provide a regional vegetation history during the last few centuries. Reliable chronostratigraphical control is provided by 210Pb analyses and the occurrence of the 1883 Krakatau ash/tsunami layer as a time marker. The results permit the distinction of four successive stages, reflecting increased disturbance and land clearance, with some evidence for the presence of deciduous lowland forests in the Banten area during the early Holocene. The establishment of coconut and pine plantations and the severe loss of biodiversity in the last few decennia are also echoed in the pollen record. The effect of the Krakatau eruption was insignificant compared with human impact on vegetation in the Banten area. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

A late Holocene record of arid events from the Cuzco region, Peru

Alex Chepstow-Lusty
Abstract The small recently infilled lake basin of Marcacocha (13°13,S, 72°12,W, 3355,m) in the Cuzco region of Peru has a morphology and location that renders it extremely sensitive to environmental change. A record of vegetation, human impact and climatic change during the past 4200,yr has been obtained from a highly organic core taken from the centre of the basin. Sustained arid episodes that affected the Peruvian Andes may be detectable using the proxy indicator of sedge (Cyperaceae) pollen abundances. As the lake-level was lowered during sustained drier conditions, the local catchment was colonised by Cyperaceae, whereas during lake floods, they retreated or were submerged and pollen production was correspondingly reduced. Drier episodes during prehistoric times occurred around 900,bc, 500,bc, ad 100 and ad 550, with a longer dry episode occurring from ad 900 to 1800. Evidence from the independently derived Quelccaya ice-core record and the archaeological chronology for the Cuzco region appears to support the climatic inferences derived from the sedge data. Many of these aridity episodes appear to correspond with important cultural changes in the Cuzco region and elsewhere in the Central Andes. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]