Human Influence (human + influence)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

The Role of Climate and Human Influences in the Dry-Up of the Jinci Springs, China,

Yonghong Hao
Abstract:, One of the largest karst springs in North China, the Jinci Springs, dried up and has remained dry since 1994. We develop a correlation analysis with time-lag and a regression analysis with time-lag to study the relation between spring flow and precipitation. This allows us to obtain a better understanding of karst hydrological processes by differentiating the contribution of variation in precipitation from anthropogenic impacts on the dry-up of Jinci Springs. We divided the karstic hydrological processes into two phases: pre-1961 and post-1961. In the first phase (i.e., 1954-1960) the groundwater recharge was affected by precipitation alone, and in the second phase (i.e., 1961-1994) the groundwater recharge was influenced by both precipitation and human activities. Using precipitation and groundwater recharge data in the first phase, we set up a groundwater recharge model with time-lags. By running the time-lags model, we acquired the groundwater recharge likely to occur under the sole effect of precipitation in the second phase. Using a water-balance calculation, we conclude that the groundwater recharge exhibited statistical stationarity, and the Jinci Springs dry-up was the result of anthropogenic activities. At least three specific types of anthropogenic activities contributed to the drying-up of Jinci Springs: (1) groundwater pumping accounts for 51%, (2) the dewatering from coal mining accounts for 33%, (3) and dam-building 14%. The drying-up of Jinci Springs meant that the groundwater drained from the aquifer's fractures, and subsequently changed the structure of the karst aquifer. Although groundwater exploitation has been reduced, the flow at Jinci Springs has not reoccurred. [source]

Human influences on rates of phenotypic change in wild animal populations

Abstract Human activities can expose populations to dramatic environmental perturbations, which may then precipitate adaptive phenotypic change. We ask whether or not phenotypic changes associated with human-disturbed (anthropogenic) contexts are greater than those associated with more ,natural' contexts. Our meta-analysis is based on more than 3000 rates of phenotypic change in 68 ,systems', each representing a given species in a particular geographical area. We find that rates of phenotypic change are greater in anthropogenic contexts than in natural contexts. This difference may be influenced by phenotypic plasticity , because it was evident for studies of wild-caught individuals (which integrate both genetic and plastic effects) but not for common-garden or quantitative genetic studies (which minimize plastic effects). We also find that phenotypic changes in response to disturbance can be remarkably abrupt, perhaps again because of plasticity. In short, humans are an important agent driving phenotypic change in contemporary populations. Although these changes sometimes have a genetic basis, our analyses suggest a particularly important contribution from phenotypic plasticity. [source]

Spatial, environmental and human influences on the distribution of otter (Lutra lutra) in the Spanish provinces

Ana Márcia Barbosa
Abstract In a previous survey of otters (Lutra lutra L. 1758) in Spain, different causes were invoked to explain the frequency of the species in each province. To find common causes of the distribution of the otter in Spain, we recorded a number of spatial, environmental and human variables in each Spanish province. We then performed a stepwise linear multiple regression of the proportion of positive sites of otter in the Spanish provinces separately on each of the three groups of variables. Geographic longitude, January air humidity, soil permeability and highway density were the variables selected. A linear regression of the proportion of otter presence on these variables explained 62.4% of the variance. We then used the selected variables in a partial regression analysis to specify which proportions of the variation are explained exclusively by spatial, environmental and human factors, and which proportions are attributable to interactions between these components. Pure environmental effects accounted for only 5.5% of the variation, while pure spatial and pure human effects explained 18% and 9.7%, respectively. Shared variation among the components totalled 29.2%, of which 10.9% was explained by the interaction between environmental and spatial factors. Human factors explained globally less variance than spatial and environmental ones, but the pure human influence was higher than the pure environmental one. We concluded that most of the variation in the proportion of occurrences of otter in Spanish provinces is spatially structured, and that environmental factors have more influence on otter presence than human ones; however, the human influence on otter distribution is less structured in space, and thus can be more disruptive. This effect of large infrastructures on wild populations must be taken into account when planning large-scale conservation policies. [source]

Past distribution and ecology of the cork oak (Quercus suber) in the Iberian Peninsula: a pollen-analytical approach

J. S. Carrión
Abstract., This study presents pollen-analytical data from continental and offshore Iberian Peninsula sites that include pollen curves of Quercus suber, to provide information on the past distribution and ecology of the cork oak (Q. suber). Results centre on a new pollen record of Navarrés (Valencia, eastern Spain), which shows that the cork oak survived regionally during the Upper Pleistocene and was important during a mid-Holocene replacement of a local pine forest by Quercus -dominated communities. This phenomenon appears linked to the recurrence of fire and reinforces the value of the cork oak for reforestation programmes in fire-prone areas. In addition to Navarrés, other Late Quaternary pollen sequences (Sobrestany, Casablanca-Almenara, Padul, SU 8103, SU8113, 8057B) suggest last glacial survival of the cork oak in southern and coastal areas of the Peninsula and North Africa. Important developments also occur from the Late Glacial to the middle Holocene, not only in the west but also in the eastern Peninsula. It is suggested that, in the absence of human influence, Q. suber would develop in non-monospecific forests, sharing the arboreal stratum both with other sclerophyllous and deciduous Quercus and Pinus species. [source]

PERSPECTIVE: Linking concepts in the ecology and evolution of invasive plants: network analysis shows what has been most studied and identifies knowledge gaps

Sonia Vanderhoeven
Abstract In recent decades, a growing number of studies have addressed connections between ecological and evolutionary concepts in biologic invasions. These connections may be crucial for understanding the processes underlying invaders' success. However, the extent to which scientists have worked on the integration of the ecology and evolution of invasive plants is poorly documented, as few attempts have been made to evaluate these efforts in invasion biology research. Such analysis can facilitate recognize well-documented relationships and identify gaps in our knowledge. In this study, we used a network-based method for visualizing the connections between major aspects of ecology and evolution in the primary research literature. Using the family Poaceae as an example, we show that ecological concepts were more studied and better interconnected than were evolutionary concepts. Several possible connections were not documented at all, representing knowledge gaps between ecology and evolution of invaders. Among knowledge gaps, the concepts of plasticity, gene flow, epigenetics and human influence were particularly under-connected. We discuss five possible research avenues to better understand the relationships between ecology and evolution in the success of Poaceae, and of alien plants in general. [source]

Streamwater quality as affected by wild fires in natural and manmade vegetation in Malaysian Borneo

Anders Malmer
Abstract In 1998 a wild fire struck a paired catchment research area under long-term monitoring of hydrological and nutrient budgets. Streamwater quality as concentrations of dissolved and suspended particulate matter was monitored during 1·5,2·5 years after the fire in streams from seven different catchments. As the catchments, due to earlier experimental treatments, had different vegetations, varying effects related to different fire intensities were observed. The highest, mean stormflow, suspended sediment concentrations resulted from intensive fire in secondary vegetation that had experienced severe soil disturbance in previous treatments (crawler tractor timber extraction 10 years earlier). Stormflow concentrations were typically still about 400 mg l,1 in 1999 (10,21 months after the fire), which was about the maximum recorded concentration in streams during initial soil disturbance in 1988. Forest fire in natural forest resulted in less than half as high stormflow concentrations. For dissolved elements in streamwater there was a positive relation between fuel load (and fire intensity) and concentration and longevity of effects. Stream baseflow dissolved nutrient concentrations were high in the months following the fire. Mean baseflow K concentrations were 8,15 mg l,1 in streams draining catchments with intensive fire in secondary vegetation with large amounts of fuel. After controlled fire for forest plantation establishment in 1988 corresponding concentrations were 3,5 mg l,1, and after forest fire in natural forest in this study about 2 mg l,1. This study shows differences in response from controlled fire for land management, forest fire in natural forests and wild fires in manmade vegetations. These differences relate to resistance and resilience to fire for the involved ecosystems. There is reason to believe that wild fires and repeated wild fires during or after droughts, in successions caused by human influence, may lead to larger losses of ecosystem nutrient capital from sites compared with forest fires in natural forests. As fire in the humid tropics becomes more common, in an increasingly spatially fragmented landscape, it will be important to be aware of these differences. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Roadside conditions as predictor for wildlife crossing probability in a Central African rainforest

Christiaan A. Van Der Hoeven
Abstract The negative effects of roads on wildlife in tropical rainforests are poorly understood. Road construction has high priority in Africa, while negative impacts of roads on wildlife movement often are neglected. This study aims at providing information on the effects of roads on crossing behaviour of rainforest wildlife. The probability that wildlife would cross forest roads was analysed for association with ten different factors that were linked to road presence or construction. Factors were divided into three classes: vegetation cover, topography and human influence. A trackplot survey was done in southern Cameroon, Africa. Trackplots were laid along a 32 km unpaved logging road that intersects Campo-Ma'an National Park. Tracks of several species were found frequently (e.g. genets and porcupines); while others were found only sporadically (e.g. forest duikers and apes). The actual physical obstacles found along the road (e.g. logs, banks, etc.) were highly negatively correlated with crossing probabilities. For all wildlife species high vegetation cover was positively correlated to crossing probability. This study indicates that roads have a large impact on wildlife, and suggests which factors could be altered during road construction and maintenance in order to mitigate these impacts. Résumé Les effets négatifs des routes sur la faune sauvage des forêts tropicales sont mal compris. La construction de routes est une toute grande priorité en Afrique mais on néglige souvent les impacts négatifs des routes sur les déplacements de la faune. Cette étude cherche à fournir des informations sur les effets des routes sur les animaux des forêts pluviales qui les traversent. Nous avons analysé la probabilité que la faune traverse les routes en fonction de dix facteurs différents liés à la présence ou à la construction de routes. Ces facteurs furent divisés en trois classes: couverture végétale, topographie et influence humaine. Des parcelles échantillons furent définies dans le sud du Cameroun, Afrique pour y déceler les traces. Ces parcelles se trouvaient le long d'une piste forestière non macadamisée qui traverse le Parc National de Campo-Ma'an. On a souvent observé des traces de plusieurs espèces (ex. genettes et porcs-épics) alors que d'autres (ex. céphalophes de forêt et grands singes) ne se voyaient que sporadiquement. Les obstacles physiques rencontrés le long de la route (ex. troncs, remblais, etc.) étaient en forte corrélation négative avec la probabilité de traverser. Pour toutes les espèces sauvages, une végétation dense était positivement liée à la probabilité de traverser. Cette étude indique que les routes ont un grand impact sur la faune sauvage et indique quels facteurs pourraient être modifiés lors de la construction et de l'entretien des routes pour atténuer ces impacts. [source]

Anthropogenic influences on population sizes, age and growth of naturalized rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss, in Kenya

Charles C. Ngugi
Abstract Riverine fishery in Kenya has witnessed profound changes since the 1950s, especially after independence (in 1963) when watersheds on the south-eastern slopes of Mt Kenya were opened up for settlement. In particular, rainbow trout populations have declined essentially resulting from anthropogenic changes through over-exploitation and/or degraded habitats. While there still are self-sustaining rainbow trout populations in this stream among others they are in decline an indication that changes that have occurred on the watershed have altered their sizes, age and growth. The study was carried out in the Sagana, a third-order stream, which rises at about 4000 m altitude on the south-eastern slope of Mt Kenya, to obtain and document information on population sizes, age and growth of rainbow trout populations and to relate them with those recorded in the 1950s when trout streams were pristine (with little human influence). Stations were fished bi-monthly from 1996 to 1998 and later for 6 months in 2002. Information on age and growth was obtained by use of annual marks, tagging fish of known age, and by validating their age using captive fish of known age. The minimum mean back-calculated length at age for age one rainbow trout was 13.09 cm in upstream station and 15.10 cm for downstream stations. However, there was no significant difference in mean back-calculated lengths at age for all years between fish in upstream and downstream stations (t -test, t = ,0.01, P = 0.99). Although female fish showed higher mean annual back-calculated length increments than males, there was no significant difference in mean back-calculated lengths at age between sexes (t -test, t = ,0.27, P = 0.80). The rate of growth in length was rapid for 1-year-old fish and declined in the second and third years. This study observed that most of the fish were small with only a few reaching more than 2 years of age because of overfishing. There are good reasons for optimism about the future of trout populations in this stream but concerted efforts are required to rehabilitate them. If trout populations are to increase, a management strategy is required to reduce fishing pressure and to maintain stream fishery against competing needs for resources in the catchments. Résumé Une pêcherie riveraine kényane a été témoin de profonds changements depuis les années 1950, spécialement après l'indépendance (en 1963) lorsque les lignes de partage des eaux des versants sud-est du mont Kenya ont été ouvertes aux installations humaines. Les populations de truites arc-en-ciel ont particulièrement décliné, essentiellement suite aux changements anthropogéniques, surexploitations et/ou habitats dégradés. S'il existe encore des populations auto-suffisantes de truites arc-en-ciel dans ce cours d' eau, entre autres, elles sont en diminution, une indication que les changements qui ont touché la ligne de partage des eaux ont affecté leur taille, leur âge moyen et leur croissance. Cette étude a été réalisée dans la Sangana, un cours d'eau de troisième ordre sur le versant sud-est du mont Kenya, afin d'obtenir et de documenter des informations sur la taille de la population, l'âge et la croissance des populations de truites arc-en-ciel et les comparer à celles qui ont été relevées dans les années 1950, lorsque les rivières à truites étaient intactes (avec très peu d'influences humaines). On a pêché tous les deux mois dans les stations depuis 1996 jusqu'à fin 1.998 et plus tard, pendant six mois en 2002. Les informations sur l'âge et la croissance ont été obtenues par l'utilisation de marques annuelles, en marquant des poissons d'âge connu et en validant leur âge par comparaison avec des poissons captifs d'âge connu. La moyenne minimum de longueur par rétro-calcul aux différents âges pour une truite arc-en-ciel était de 13,09 cm dans une station en amont et 15,10 dans une station en aval. Cependant, toutes ces années, il n'y avait pas de différence significative de longueur par rétro-calcul aux différents âges entre les poissons des stations d'amont et d'aval (test de t, t = ,0,01, P = 0,99). Même si les femelles présentaient une plus forte augmentation moyenne de longueur par rétro-calcul que les mâles, il n'y avait pas de différence significative dans les longueurs moyennes obtenues par rétro-calcul aux différents âges entre les sexes (test de t, t = ,027, P = 0.80). Le taux de croissance en longueur était rapide pour un poisson d'un an et diminuait la deuxième et la troisième années. Cette étude a observé que la plupart des poissons sont petits et que peu atteignent l'âge de deux ans à cause de la sur-pêche. Il y a de bonnes raisons d'être optimistes pour l'avenir des populations de poissons de ce cours d'eau, mais il faut des efforts concertés pour la réhabiliter. Si l'on veut que les populations de truites augmentent, il faut adopter une stratégie de gestion pour réduire la pression de la pêche tout en maintenant la pêche dans le cours d'eau pour répondre aux besoins de ces ressources dans les stations. [source]

Barley yellow dwarf viruses (BYDVs) preserved in herbarium specimens illuminate historical disease ecology of invasive and native grasses

Summary 1In plant invasion ecology, viruses and other pathogens are often considered in terms of the enemy release hypothesis, which predicts that plants become invasive in new ranges if they escape pathogens from their home range. However, pathogens may sometimes facilitate host spread rather than hinder it. 2Previously, we hypothesized that apparent competition mediated by barley and cereal yellow dwarf viruses (Luteoviridae: BYDVs, CYDVs) may have facilitated historical grassland invasion in California, USA, where Eurasian grasses displaced native grasses in the 18th and 19th centuries (the disease facilitation hypotheses). However, this could have happened only if the viruses were present during the invasion, which is unknown. 3To investigate the historical ecology of BYDVs in California grasses, we analysed preserved virus infections in herbarium specimens and used the historical virus sequences to determine rough time estimates of relevant phylogenetic events. 4The historical viral RNA sequences we identified in invasive and native grasses date from 1917 and are among the oldest recovered from plants thus far and the oldest from North America. 5Herbarium evidence and phylogenetic analysis suggest that BYDVs were likely to have been present in wild grasses during the California grassland invasion and to have shared some functional characteristics with present-day isolates, supporting the disease facilitation hypothesis. 6We found evidence of virus spread from California to Australia (or, less likely, from Australia to California) in the late 19th century, when much horticultural exchange occurred, as well as potential correspondence in the timing of virus diversification events and the beginning of extensive human exchange between the Old and New Worlds. 7Synthesis. Increasing evidence indicates that viruses are important in the ecology of grasslands and may, in some cases, mediate apparent competition among species. Historical data provide essential insight into plant virus ecology and suggest the need to examine human influence on plant virus diversification and spread within natural ecosystems. [source]

Evidence for Changing Flood Risk in New England Since the Late 20th Century,

Mathias J. Collins
Abstract:, Long-term flow records for watersheds with minimal human influence have shown trends in recent decades toward increasing streamflow at regional and national scales, especially for low flow quantiles like the annual minimum and annual median flows. Trends for high flow quantiles are less clear, despite recent research showing increased precipitation in the conterminous United States over the last century that has been brought about primarily by an increased frequency and intensity of events in the upper 10th percentile of the daily precipitation distribution , particularly in the Northeast. This study investigates trends in 28 long-term annual flood series for New England watersheds with dominantly natural streamflow. The flood series are an average of 75 years in length and are continuous through 2006. Twenty-five series show upward trends via the nonparametric Mann-Kendall test, 40% (10) of which are statistically significant (p < 0.1). Moreover, an average standardized departures series for 23 of the study gages indicates that increasing flood magnitudes in New England occurred as a step change around 1970. The timing of this is broadly synchronous with a phase change in the low frequency variability of the North Atlantic Oscillation, a prominent upper atmospheric circulation pattern that is known to effect climate variability along the United States east coast. Identifiable hydroclimatic shifts should be considered when the affected flow records are used for flood frequency analyses. Special treatment of the flood series can improve the analyses and provide better estimates of flood magnitudes and frequencies under the prevailing hydroclimatic condition. [source]

Species and structural diversity of church forests in a fragmented Ethiopian Highland landscape

Alemayehu Wassie
Abstract Question: Thousands of small isolated forest fragments remain around churches ("church forests") in the almost completely deforested Ethiopian Highlands. We questioned how the forest structure and composition varied with altitude, forest area and human influence. Location: South Gondar, Amhara National Regional State, Northern Ethiopia. Methods: The structure and species composition was assessed for 810 plots in 28 church forests. All woody plants were inventoried, identified and measured (stem diameter) in seven to 56 10 m x 10-m plots per forest. Results: In total, 168 woody species were recorded, of which 160 were indigeneous. The basal area decreased with tree harvest intensity; understorey and middle-storey density (<5 cm DBH trees) decreased with grazing; overstorey density (>5 cm DBH trees) increased with altitude. The dominance of a small set of species increased with altitude and grazing intensity. Species richness decreased with altitude, mainly due to variation in the richness of the overstorey community. Moreover, species richness in the understorey decreased with grazing intensity. Conclusions: We show how tree harvesting intensity, grazing intensity and altitude contribute to observed variations in forest structure, composition and species richness. Species richness was, however, not related to forest area. Our study emphasizes the significant role played by the remaining church forests for conservation of woody plant species in North Ethiopian Highlands, and the need to protect these forests for plant species conservation purposes. [source]

Spatial structure along an altitudinal gradient in the Italian central Alps suggests competition and facilitation among coniferous species

Emanuele Lingua
Abstract Questions: What is the structure of the anthropogenic upper forest-grassland ecotone and are there differences in the spatial relationships between the tree species involved? Location: Valfurva Valley, Italian central Alps. Methods: We conducted a spatial distribution and structure analysis in three 1-ha permanent plots along an altitudinal gradient, from the treeline to the sub-alpine forest. We reconstructed the age structure from cores from each individual with diameter > 4 cm at 50 cm height. Results: All tree species and age classes examined had a clumped structure. The cluster tendency was more evident at the treeline where the environmental conditions are more severe. In the sub-alpine forest there was a repulsion between Pinus cembra and Pinus mugo but at the treeline P. cembra was frequently found downslope from P. mugo. Conclusions: Although human influence has been the main driving force in shaping the present forest structure, in the last few decades natural dynamics have become the predominant force acting on forest structure and processes, showing a higher magnitude as altitude increases. Our results emphasize the existence of facilitating and interfering mechanisms between different species. P. cembra seems to be favoured compared to the other tree species. [source]

Negative native,exotic diversity relationship in oak savannas explained by human influence and climate

OIKOS, Issue 9 2009
Patrick L. Lilley
Recent research has proposed a scale-dependence to relationships between native diversity and exotic invasions. At fine spatial scales, native,exotic richness relationships should be negative as higher native richness confers resistance to invasion. At broad scales, relationships should be positive if natives and exotics respond similarly to extrinsic factors. Yet few studies have examined both native and exotic richness patterns across gradients of human influence, where impacts could affect native and exotic species differently. We examined native,exotic richness relationships and extrinsic drivers of plant species richness and distributions across an urban development gradient in remnant oak savanna patches. In sharp contrast to most reported results, we found a negative relationship at the regional scale, and no relationship at the local scale. The negative regional-scale relationship was best explained by extrinsic factors, surrounding road density and climate, affecting natives and exotics in opposite ways, rather than a direct effect of native on exotic richness, or vice versa. Models of individual species distributions also support the result that road density and climate have largely opposite effects on native and exotic species, although simple life history traits (life form, dispersal mode) do not predict which habitat characteristics are important for particular species. Roads likely influence distributions and species richness by increasing both exotic propagule pressure and disturbance to native species. Climate may partially explain the negative relationship due to differing climatic preferences within the native and exotic species pools. As gradients of human influence are increasingly common, negative broad-scale native,exotic richness relationships may be frequent in such landscapes. [source]

Mapping continuous fields of forest alpha and beta diversity

Hannes Feilhauer
Abstract Question: How to map continuous fields of forest alpha and beta diversity in remote areas, based on easily accessible spatial data. Location: Kyrgyzstan/Central Asia. Methods: The study relied on a combination of predictive mapping and remote sensing. Punctual measurements of alpha diversity were linked to topography and reflectance using regression models. For beta diversity, ordination techniques were employed to extract major vegetation gradients. Scores on the ordination axes were regressed against topography as well as reflectance and subsequently mapped. Beta diversity was mapped as spatial turnover rate along these axes. Results: The diversity maps quantified species counts and turnover in a spatially contiguous manner while taking into account fuzzy transitions. The variance explained by regression models ranged from 51% to 61% in cross-validation. Many of the observed differences were caused by differences in species shares. The occurrence of walnut, in particular, showed a negative relation to woody species numbers. Conclusion: Mapping biodiversity in remote areas can be based on easily accessible spatial data in combination with a set of calibration field samples. With regard to human influence on walnut dominance, a total removal of human land use would be counterproductive in terms of diversity conservation. The results of this study highlight the need for comprehensive analyses of diversity patterns that include spatially contiguous quantifications of species numbers, shares and turnover rates. [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]

Anthropogenic warming of central England temperature

David J. Karoly
Abstract The variability of central England temperature (CET) at inter annual, decadal and 50-year time scales, as simulated by the HadCM3 model, agrees well with its observed variability over the period 1700,1900. The observed warming in annual-mean CET of about 1.0 °C since 1950 is very unlikely to be due to natural climate variations and is consistent with the response to anthropogenic (ANT) forcing, demonstrating a significant human influence on this warming. © Crown Copyright 2006. Reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Spatial, environmental and human influences on the distribution of otter (Lutra lutra) in the Spanish provinces

Ana Márcia Barbosa
Abstract In a previous survey of otters (Lutra lutra L. 1758) in Spain, different causes were invoked to explain the frequency of the species in each province. To find common causes of the distribution of the otter in Spain, we recorded a number of spatial, environmental and human variables in each Spanish province. We then performed a stepwise linear multiple regression of the proportion of positive sites of otter in the Spanish provinces separately on each of the three groups of variables. Geographic longitude, January air humidity, soil permeability and highway density were the variables selected. A linear regression of the proportion of otter presence on these variables explained 62.4% of the variance. We then used the selected variables in a partial regression analysis to specify which proportions of the variation are explained exclusively by spatial, environmental and human factors, and which proportions are attributable to interactions between these components. Pure environmental effects accounted for only 5.5% of the variation, while pure spatial and pure human effects explained 18% and 9.7%, respectively. Shared variation among the components totalled 29.2%, of which 10.9% was explained by the interaction between environmental and spatial factors. Human factors explained globally less variance than spatial and environmental ones, but the pure human influence was higher than the pure environmental one. We concluded that most of the variation in the proportion of occurrences of otter in Spanish provinces is spatially structured, and that environmental factors have more influence on otter presence than human ones; however, the human influence on otter distribution is less structured in space, and thus can be more disruptive. This effect of large infrastructures on wild populations must be taken into account when planning large-scale conservation policies. [source]

Contemporary landscape burning patterns in the far North Kimberley region of north-west Australia: human influences and environmental determinants

T. Vigilante
Abstract Aim, This study of contemporary landscape burning patterns in the North Kimberley aims to determine the relative influences of environmental factors and compare the management regimes occurring on Aboriginal lands, pastoral leases, national park and crown land. Location, The study area is defined at the largest scale by Landsat Scene 108,70 that covers a total land area of 23,134 km2 in the North Kimberley Bioregion of north-west Australia, including the settlement of Kalumburu, coastline between Vansittart Bay in the west and the mouth of the Berkeley River in the east, and stretching approximately 200 km inland. Methods, Two approaches are applied. First, a 10-year fire history (1990,1999) derived from previous study of satellite (Landsat-MSS) remote sensing imagery is analysed for broad regional patterns. And secondly, a 2-year ground-based survey of burning along major access roads leading to an Aboriginal community is used to show fine-scale burning patterns. anova and multiple regression analyses are used to determine the influence of year, season, geology, tenure, distance from road and distance from settlement on fire patterns. Results, Satellite data indicated that an average of 30.8% (±4.4% SEM) of the study area was burnt each year with considerable variability between years. Approximately 56% of the study area was burnt on three or more occasions over the 10-year period. A slightly higher proportion of burning occurred on average in the late dry season (17.2 ± 3.6%), compared with the early dry season (13.6 ± 3.3%). The highest fire frequency occurred on basalt substrates, on pastoral tenures, and at distances 5,25 km from roads. Three-way anova demonstrated that geological substrate and land use were the most significant factors influencing fire history, however a range of smaller interactions were also significant. Analysis of road transects, originating from an Aboriginal settlement, showed that the timing of fire and geology type were the most significant factors affecting the pattern of area burnt. Of the total transect area, 28.3 ± 2.9% was burnt annually with peaks in burning occurring into the dry season months of June, August and September. Basalt uplands (81.2%) and lowlands (30.1%) had greater areas burnt than sandstone (12.3%) and sands (17.7%). Main conclusions, Anthropogenic firing is constrained by two major environmental determinants; climate and substrate. Seasonal peaks in burning activity in both the early and late dry season relate to periods of optimal fire-weather conditions. Substrate factors (geology, soils and physiognomy) influence vegetation-fuel characteristics and the movement of fire in the landscape. Basalt hills overwhelmingly supported the most frequent wildfire regime in the study region because of their undulating topography and relatively fertile soils that support perennial grasslands. Within these spatial and temporal constraints people significantly influenced the frequency and extent of fire in the North Kimberley thus tenure type and associated land uses had a significant influence on fire patterning. Burning activity is high on pastoral lands and along roads and tracks on some tenure types. While the state government uses aerial control burning and legislation to try to restrict burning to the early dry season across all geology types, in practice burning is being conducted across the full duration of the dry season with early dry season burning focused on sandstone and sand substrates and late dry season burning focused on basalt substrates. There is greater seasonal and spatial variation in burning patterns on landscapes managed by Aboriginal people. [source]

Diversity and composition of trees and shrubs in Kasagala forest: a semiarid savannah woodland in central Uganda

Samson Gwali
Abstract The diversity and composition of trees and shrubs of ,5 cm diameter at breast height (DBH) were investigated in Kasagala woodland in central Uganda using 1 ha permanent sample plots. A total of 2745 trees and shrubs with a mean stem density of 686 ha,1 were recorded. These included 69 tree species belonging to 28 families and 47 genera. There was a larger number of small stems compared with that of larger stems. There was significant variation in stem size class distribution between the plots (F = 3.14, P = 0.027). The variation in stem densities (counts) across different size classes was significant (F = 8.31, P < 0.001). Species diversity was higher in the low lands compared with that in the elevated sites in the woodland. The species encountered were unevenly distributed across the plots. Species abundance was not significantly different across the sample plots (F = 2.63, P = 0.053). We suggest that the structure of the forest is typical of any regenerating forest, but other human influences may have played a part in the dominance of size classes <10 cm DBH. The causes of the present status and composition of the woodland require further investigation. Résumé La diversité et la composition des arbres et arbustes de plus de 5 cm dbh ont étéétudiées dans la forêt de Kasagala, au centre de l'Ouganda, en utilisant des parcelles échantillons permanentes d'un hectare. On a relevé la présence de 2745 arbres et arbustes, avec une densité moyenne de 686 troncs ha,1. Ceux-ci comprenaient 69 espèces d'arbres appartenant à 28 familles et à 47 genres. Il y avait un plus grand nombre de petits troncs que de gros. Il y avait une variation significative de la distribution des classes de taille entre les parcelles (F = 3.14, P = 0.027). La variation de la densité des troncs (comptages) entre les différentes classes de taille était significative (F = 8.31, P < 0.001). La diversité des espèces était plus grande dans les terres basses que dans les sites plus élevés dans la forêt. Les espèces rencontrées étaient distribuées de façon inégale entre les parcelles. L'abondance des espèces n'était pas significativement différente selon les parcelles échantillons (F = 2.63, P = 0.053). Nous suggérons que la structure de la forêt est typique de toute forêt en voie de régénération, mais que d'autres influences humaines peuvent avoir joué un rôle dans la dominance des classes de taille <10 cm dbh. Les raisons du statut et de la composition actuels de la forêt requièrent de nouvelles investigations. [source]

Ecosystem science and human,environment interactions in the Hawaiian archipelago

Summary 1Tansley's ecosystem concept remains a vital framework for ecological research in part because the approach facilitates interdisciplinary analyses of ecological systems. 2Features of the Hawaiian Islands , particularly the nearly orthogonal variation in many of the factors that control variation among ecosystems elsewhere , make the archipelago a useful model system for interdisciplinary research designed to understand fundamental controls on the state and dynamics of ecosystems, and their consequences for human societies. 3Analyses of rain forest sites arrayed on a substrate age gradient from c. 300 years to over 4 million years across the Hawaiian archipelago demonstrate that the sources of calcium and other essential cations shift from > 80% rock-derived in young sites to > 80% derived from marine aerosol on substrates older than 100 000 years. Rock-derived phosphorus is retained longer within ecosystems, but eventually long-distance transport of continental dust from Asia becomes the most important source of phosphorus. 4A biogeochemical feedback from low nutrient availability to efficient resource use by trees to slow decomposition and nutrient regeneration accentuates the geochemically driven pattern of low phosphorus availability and phosphorus limitation to net primary productivity in the oldest site. 5Variations in ecosystem biogeochemistry across the archipelago shaped the development and sustainability of Polynesian agricultural systems in the millennium between their discovery of Hawai'i and contact by Europeans. Irrigated pondfields were largely confined to stream valleys on the older islands, while rain-fed dryland systems occupied a narrow zone of fertile, well-watered soils on the younger islands. 6The ecosystem approach often represents the most appropriate level of organization for analyses of human influences on ecological systems; it can play a central role in the design and analysis of alternative agricultural, industrial and residential systems that could reduce the human footprint on the Earth. [source]

Relative Importance of Intrinsic, Extrinsic, and Anthropic Factors in the Geomorphic Zonation of the Trinity River, Texas,

Jonathan D. Phillips
Phillips, Jonathan D., 2010. Relative Importance of Intrinsic, Extrinsic, and Anthropic Factors in the Geomorphic Zonation of the Trinity River, Texas. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 46(4): 807-823. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2010.00457.x Abstract:, The Trinity River, Texas, was characterized according to its geologic framework, valley width and confinement, slope, sinuosity, channel-floodplain connectivity, and flow regime, leading to the identification of 18 hinge points along the 638 km study area where major transitions in two or more criteria occur. These, and effects of human agency, avulsions, and sea level rise, delineate 21 river styles or zones. Each zone was evaluated with respect to dominant factors determining its geomorphological characteristics: geology/lithology, tectonics, Holocene sea level rise, meandering, cutoffs and other lateral channel changes, avulsions, valley constrictions by alluvial terraces, and paleomeander depressions. Direct human influences (a large impoundment and water withdrawals) are also evident. Entropy of the relationships between these controls and the geomorphological zones shows that all the controls are significant, and each accounts for 4-15% of the total entropy. Geologic controls, lateral channel changes, and constriction by terraces are the three most influential controls, illustrating that controls on river morphology include extrinsic boundary conditions, active process-form interrelationships, and inherited features. Extrinsic and intrinsic controls each account for about a third of the entropy, but the latter includes antecedent features as well as active channel dynamics, underscoring the importance of historical contingency even in alluvial rivers. [source]

Biophysical and human influences on plant species richness in grasslands: Comparing variegated landscapes in subtropical and temperate regions

S. Mcintyre
Abstract A survey of grassy woodlands in the Queensland subtropics was conducted, recording herbaceous species richness at 212 sites on three properties (2756 ha). A range of habitats typical of cattle grazing enterprises was sampled and site variables included lithology, slope position, tree density, soil disturbance, soil enrichment and grazing. Results were compared with a previously published survey of temperate grasslands. Lithology, slope position and tree density had relatively minor effects on plant species richness, although in both surveys there was some evidence of lower species richness on the more fertile substrates. Soil disturbance and soil enrichment significantly reduced the richness of native species in both surveys, while exotic species were insensitive (subtropics) or increased (temperate) with disturbance. Rare native species were highly sensitive to disturbances, including grazing, in the temperate study. Although some trends were similar for rare species in the subtropics, the results were not significant and there were complex interactions between grazing, lithology and slope position. Grazing did not have a negative effect on native species richness, except in the closely grazed patches within pastures, and then only on the most intensively developed property. At the scale recorded (30 m2), the native pastures, roadsides and stock routes sampled in the subtropics appear to be among the most species-rich grasslands ever reported, both nationally and globally. Native species richness was approximately 50% higher than the temperate survey figures across all the comparable habitats. While there are no clear reasons for this result, potential explanations are proposed. [source]