Browsing by Subject "ECOLOGICAL INTEGRITY"

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  • MacGregor-Fors, Ian; Falfan, Ina; Garcia-Arroyo, Michelle; Lemoine-Rodriguez, Richard; Gomez-Martinez, Miguel A.; Marin-Gomez, Oscar H.; Perez-Maqueo, Octavio; Equihua, Miguel (2022)
    To tackle urban heterogeneity and complexity, several indices have been proposed, commonly aiming to provide information for decision-makers. In this study, we propose a novel and customizable procedure for quantifying urban ecosystem integrity. Based on a citywide approach, we developed an easy-to-use index that contrasts physical and biological variables of urban ecosystems with a given reference system. The Urban Ecosystem Integrity Index (UEII) is the sum of the averages from the variables that make up its intensity of urbanization and biological components. We applied the UEII in a Mexican tropical city using land surface temperature, built cover, and the richness of native plants and birds. The overall ecosystem integrity of the city, having montane cloud, tropical dry, and temperate forests as reference systems, was low (-0.34 +/- SD 0.32), showing that, beyond its biodiverse greenspace network, the built-up structure highly differs from the ecosystems of reference. The UEII showed to be a flexible and easy-to-calculate tool to evaluate ecosystem integrity for cities, allowing for comparisons between or among cities, as well as the sectors/regions within cities. If used properly, the index could become a useful tool for decision making and resource allocation at a city level.
  • Luoto, Tomi P.; Leppänen, Jaakko Johannes; Weckström, Jan (2019)
    The Talvivaara/Terrafame multi-metal mining company is Europe’s largest nickel open cast mine, it is also known for the largest wastewater leakage in the Finnish mining history and a series of other accidents. In this paleolimnological study, influences of a recently constructed treated waste water discharge pipeline into Lake Nuasjärvi were investigated by analyzing past (pre-disturbance) and present community compositions of key aquatic organism groups, including diatoms, Cladocera and Chironomidae, along spatial (distance, water depth) gradients. In addition to defining ecological changes and impacts of saline mine waters in the lake, chironomids were used to quantitatively reconstruct bottom water oxygen conditions before and after the pipe installation (in 2015). The diatom and cladoceran communities, which reflect more the open-water habitat, showed only relatively minor changes throughout the lake, but a general decrease in diversity was observed within both groups. Chironomids, which live on substrates, showed more significant changes, including complete faunal turnovers and deteriorated benthic quality, especially at the sites close to the pipe outlet, where also chironomid diversity was almost completely lost. Furthermore, the reconstructed hypolimnetic oxygen values indicated a major oxygen decline and even anoxia at the sites near the pipe outlet. The limnoecological influence of the pipe decreased at sites located counter-flow or behind underwater barriers suggesting that the waste waters currently have location-specific impacts. Our study clearly demonstrates that whereas the upper water layers appear to have generally maintained their previous state, the deep-water layers close to the pipe outlet have lost their ecological integrity. Furthermore, the current hypolimnetic anoxia close to the pipe indicates enhanced lake stratification caused by the salinated mine waters. This study clearly exhibits the need to investigate different water bodies at several trophic levels in a spatiotemporal context to be able to reliably assess limnoecological impacts of mining.