Browsing by Subject "INTENSIFICATION"

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  • Timberlake, Thomas P.; Cirtwill, Alyssa R.; Baral, Sushil C.; Bhusal, Daya R.; Devkota, Kedar; Harris-Fry, Helen A.; Kortsch, Susanne; Myers, Samuel S.; Roslin, Tomas; Saville, Naomi M.; Smith, Matthew R.; Strona, Giovanni; Memmott, Jane (2022)
    1. Smallholder farmers are some of the poorest and most food insecure people on Earth. Their high nutritional and economic reliance on home--grown produce makes them particularly vulnerable to environmental stressors such as pollinator loss or climate change which threaten agricultural productivity. Improving smallholder agriculture in a way that is environmentally sustainable and resilient to climate change is a key challenge of the 21st century. 2. Ecological intensification, whereby ecosystem services are managed to increase agricultural productivity, is a promising solution for smallholders. However, smallholder farms are complex socio-ecological systems with a range of social, ecological and environmental factors interacting to influence ecosystem service provisioning. To truly understand the functioning of a smallholder farm and identify the most effective management options to support household food and nutrition security, a holistic, systems-based understanding is required. 3. In this paper, we propose a network approach to understand, visualise and model the complex interactions occurring among wild species, crops and people on smallholder farms. Specifically, we demonstrate how networks may be used to (a) identify wild species with a key role in supporting, delivering or increasing the resilience of an ecosystem service; (b) quantify the value of an ecosystem service in a way that is relevant to the food and nutrition security of smallholders; and (c) understand the social interactions that influence the management of shared ecosystem services. 4. Using a case study based on data from rural Nepal, we demonstrate how this framework can be used to connect wild plants, pollinators and crops to key nutrients consumed by humans. This allows us to quantify the nutritional value of an ecosystem service and identify the wild plants and pollinators involved in its provision, as well as providing a framework to predict the effects of environmental change on human nutrition. 5. Our framework identifies mechanistic links between ecosystem services and the nutrients consumed by smallholder farmers and highlights social factors that may influence the management of these services. Applying this framework to smallholder farms in a range of socio-ecological contexts may provide new, sustainable and equitable solutions to smallholder food and nutrition security.
  • Herzon, Irina; Marja, Riho; Le Viol, Isabelle; Menshikova, Svetlana; Kondratyev, Aleksander (2018)
    Use of community trait-based metrics has been increasingly implemented for achieving an integrated view of biodiversity in conservation planning. We examined the extent, to which the use of community metrics based on species traits reflecting plausible sensitivity to change would contribute to our understanding of landscape characteristics of importance to the conservation of farmland birds in a poorly studied region of Northwest Russia. We collected species data on farmland from 230 transects covering a total 215 km for each year of 2008, 2010 and 2011 and analysed them using generalised linear mixed modelling. We derived community indices from species traits of habitat specialisation, trophic position, relative brain size and body mass. By relating these indices to the numbers of all species regarded farmland and Species of European Conservation Concern (SPEC), and by analysing them against the type of field and occurrence in typical non-cropped landscape elements, we showed consistent, albeit weak, congruence among the taxonomic and trait-based community descriptors. All community descriptors had their lowest estimates in arable fields. Community specialisation was the highest in open abandoned fields, which confirms the importance of such fields as refuges for regionally specialised species. Pastures were characterised by the highest community biomass, which indicates a particularly good resource base. Presence of ditches, of all non-cropped elements, had the strongest positive relationship with the community descriptors. The SPEC number strongly correlated with the overall species richness of farmland birds. A relatively weak congruence between taxonomic and trait-based community descriptors highlights their cornplementarity in understanding the underlying mechanisms of community changes. However, similarity in patterns among field types means that, under the current level of production in the region, accounting for the species richness of farmland birds seems to be sufficient to rapidly assess community sensitivity to agricultural change.
  • Abdi, Abdulhakim; Carrié, Romain; Sidemo-Holm, William; Cai, Zhanzhang; Boke Olén, Niklas; Smith, Henrik G; Eklundh, Lars; Ekroos, Johan Edvard (2021)
    Increasing land-use intensity is a main driver of biodiversity loss in farmland, but measuring proxies for land-use intensity across entire landscapes is challenging. Here, we develop a novel method for the assessment of the impact of land-use intensity on biodiversity in agricultural landscapes using remote sensing parameters derived from the Sentinel-2 satellites. We link crop phenology and productivity parameters derived from time-series of a two-band enhanced vegetation index with biodiversity indicators (insect pollinators and insect-pollinated vascular plants) in agricultural fields in southern Sweden, with contrasting land management (i.e. conventional and organic farming). Our results show that arable land-use intensity in cereal systems dominated by spring-sown cereals can be approximated using Sentinel-2 productivity parameters. This was shown by the significant positive correlations between the amplitude and maximum value of the enhanced vegetation index on one side and farmer reported yields on the other. We also found that conventional cereal fields had 17% higher maximum and 13% higher amplitude of their enhanced vegetation index than organic fields. Sentinel-2 derived parameters were more strongly correlated with the abundance and species richness of bumblebees and the richness of vascular plants than the abundance and species richness of butterflies. The relationships we found between biodiversity and crop production proxies are consistent with predictions that increasing agricultural land-use intensity decreases field biodiversity. The newly developed method based on crop phenology and productivity parameters derived from Sentinel-2 data serves as a proof of concept for the assessment of the impact of land-use intensity on biodiversity over cereal fields across larger areas. It enables the estimation of arable productivity in cereal systems, which can then be used by ecologists and develop tools for land managers as a proxy for land-use intensity. Coupled with spatially explicit databases on agricultural land-use, this method will enable crop-specific cereal productivity estimation across large geographical regions.
  • Käyhkö, Janina (2019)
    Agriculture in the Nordic countries is a sector, where farmers are facing climatic challenges first-hand with little policy guidance on climate change adaptation or climate risk management. Adaptation practices emerging at the farm scale have potentially harmful outcomes that can erode the agricultural sustainability. So far, farm scale decision-making on adaptation measures is scarcely studied, and a thorough assessment of risk perceptions underlying adaptation decision-making is required in the Nordic context to inform adaptation policy planning. In this qualitative case study, the climate risk perceptions of Nordic farmers and agricultural extension officers are examined. As a result, a typology of risk responses is presented, showing three dominant patterns within highly dynamic and contextual adaptation processes at farm scale: risk aversive, opportunity-seeking and experimental. The typology represents the variation within adaptation processes that further stress the need for participatory adaptation policy development in agriculture.
  • Kinnula, Sari; Toivonen, Marjaana; Soinne, Helena; Joona, Juuso; Kivela, Jukka (2020)
    There is a great need for sustainable fertilisers and soil amendments, as current fertilisation practices negatively affect the environment. Pulp mill sludges (PMS) could provide a means to replace fertilisers made using non-renewable resources while adding slowly decomposing organic material to the soil and utilising nutrients from the forest industry. This study tested the effects of composted and lime-stabilised mixed PMS (CPMS and LPMS) on wheat (Triticum aestivum) yields and residual effect on oat (Avena sativa) yields in the boreal region. A two-year field experiment included two CPMS and two LPMS treatments all with additional mineral fertilisation, a mineral fertiliser treatment, and a zero-control treatment. All the fertilisers increased yields. There were no differences in crop yields between CPMS, LPMS and mineral fertiliser treatments. However, some quality characteristics and nitrogen (N) uptake were lower with all or some PMS compared with mineral fertilisation. This result suggests that part of the mineral fertilisation for cereals could be replaced by using PMS, but more information on N mineralisation from sludges is needed.
  • Singh, Jaswinder; Cameron, Erin; Reitz, Thomas; Schädler, Martin; Eisenhauer, Nico (2021)
    Abstract The impacts of climate change on biodiversity can be modulated by other changing environmental conditions, e.g. induced by land-use change. The potential interactive effects of climate change and land use have rarely been studied for soil organisms. To test the effects of changing climatic conditions and land use on soil invertebrates, we examined earthworm communities across different seasons in different grassland-use types (intensively managed grassland, extensively managed meadow, and extensively managed sheep pasture).We predicted that the strength of climate change effects would vary with season and land use. Overall, extracted earthworm populations showed the strongest variations in response to the season, indicating major differences in activity patterns and extraction efficiency, while climate change and different grassland-use types had fewer and weaker effects. Future climate, characterized by slightly higher precipitation in spring and fall but a strong reduction during the summer, had positive effects on the abundance of extracted adult earthworms in spring but then reduced the abundance of active earthworms across the remaining seasons. In contrast, the total biomass of juveniles tended to be consistently lower under future climate conditions. Earthworm species responded differently to the climate change and different grassland management types, and these species-specific responses further varied strongly across seasons. Intensive grassland management had negative effects, due to plant community composition, while sheep grazing favoured earthworm populations, due to dung deposition. There were only limited interactive effects between climate and land use, which thus did not support our main hypothesis. Nevertheless, these results highlight the complex and context-dependent responses of earthworm communities and activity patterns to climate change, with potential consequences for long-term population dynamics and crucial ecosystem functions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  • Sutcliffe, Laura M. E.; Batary, Peter; Kormann, Urs; Baldi, Andras; Dicks, Lynn V.; Herzon, Irina; Kleijn, David; Tryjanowski, Piotr; Apostolova, Iva; Arlettaz, Raphael; Aunins, Ainars; Aviron, Stephanie; Balezentiene, Ligita; Fischer, Christina; Halada, Lubos; Hartel, Tibor; Helm, Aveliina; Hristov, Iordan; Jelaska, Sven D.; Kaligaric, Mitja; Kamp, Johannes; Klimek, Sebastian; Koorberg, Pille; Kostiukova, Jarmila; Kovacs-Hostyanszki, Aniko; Kuemmerle, Tobias; Leuschner, Christoph; Lindborg, Regina; Loos, Jacqueline; Maccherini, Simona; Marja, Riho; Mathe, Orsolya; Paulini, Inge; Proenca, Vania; Rey-Benayas, Jose; Sans, F. Xavier; Seifert, Charlotte; Stalenga, Jaroslaw; Timaeus, Johannes; Toeroek, Peter; van Swaay, Chris; Viik, Eneli; Tscharntke, Teja (2015)
    A large proportion of European biodiversity today depends on habitat provided by low-intensity farming practices, yet this resource is declining as European agriculture intensifies. Within the European Union, particularly the central and eastern new member states have retained relatively large areas of species-rich farmland, but despite increased investment in nature conservation here in recent years, farmland biodiversity trends appear to be worsening. Although the high biodiversity value of Central and Eastern European farmland has long been reported, the amount of research in the international literature focused on farmland biodiversity in this region remains comparatively tiny, and measures within the EU Common Agricultural Policy are relatively poorly adapted to support it. In this opinion study, we argue that, 10years after the accession of the first eastern EU new member states, the continued under-representation of the low-intensity farmland in Central and Eastern Europe in the international literature and EU policy is impeding the development of sound, evidence-based conservation interventions. The biodiversity benefits for Europe of existing low-intensity farmland, particularly in the central and eastern states, should be harnessed before they are lost. Instead of waiting for species-rich farmland to further decline, targeted research and monitoring to create locally appropriate conservation strategies for these habitats is needed now.
  • Santangeli, Andrea; Arroyo, Beatriz; Millon, Alexandre; Bretagnolle, Vincent (2015)
    Modern farming practices threaten wildlife in different ways, and failure to identify the complexity of multiple threats acting in synergy may result in ineffective management. To protect ground-nesting birds in farmland, monitoring and mitigating impacts of mechanical harvesting is crucial. Here, we use 6years of data from a nationwide volunteer-based monitoring scheme of the Montagu's harrier, a ground-nesting raptor, in French farmlands. We assess the effectiveness of alternative nest protection measures and map their potential benefit to the species. We show that unprotected nests in cultivated land are strongly negatively affected by harvesting and thus require active management. Further, we show that protection from harvesting alone (e.g. by leaving a small unharvested buffer around the nest) is impaired by post-harvest predation at nests that become highly conspicuous after harvest. Measures that simultaneously protect from harvesting and predation (by adding a fence around the nest) significantly enhance nest productivity. The map of expected gain from nest protection in relation to available volunteers' workforce pinpoints large areas of high expected gain from nest protection that are not matched by equally high workforce availability. This mismatch suggests that the impact of nest protection can be further improved by increasing volunteer efforts in key areas where they are low relative to the expected gain they could have.Synthesis and applications. This study shows that synergistic interplay of multiple factors (e.g. mechanical harvesting and predation) may completely undermine the success of well-intentioned conservation efforts. However, identifying areas where the greatest expected gains can be achieved relative to effort expended can minimize the risk of wasted volunteer actions. Overall, this study underscores the importance of citizen science for collecting large-scale data useful for producing science and ultimately informs large-scale evidence-based conservation actions within an adaptive management framework. This study shows that synergistic interplay of multiple factors (e.g. mechanical harvesting and predation) may completely undermine the success of well-intentioned conservation efforts. However, identifying areas where the greatest expected gains can be achieved relative to effort expended can minimize the risk of wasted volunteer actions. Overall, this study underscores the importance of citizen science for collecting large-scale data useful for producing science and ultimately informs large-scale evidence-based conservation actions within an adaptive management framework.
  • Larsen, Rikke Hebo; Rank, Cecilie Utke; Grell, Kathrine; Moller, Lisbeth Norgaard; Overgaard, Ulrik Malthe; Kampmann, Peter; Nersting, Jacob; Degn, Matilda; Nielsen, Stine Nygaard; Holst, Helle; Albertsen, Birgitte Klug; Wehner, Peder Skov; Callesen, Michael Thude; Kanerva, Jukka; Frandsen, Thomas Leth; Als-Nielsen, Bodil; Hjalgrim, Lisa Lyngsie; Schmiegelow, Kjeld (2021)
    Maintenance therapy containing methotrexate and 6-mercaptopurine is essential to cure acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Cytotoxicity is elicited by incorporation of thioguanine nucleotides into DNA (DNA-TG), and higher leukocyte DNA-TG is associated with increased relapse-free survival. As 6-thioguanine provides 6-fold higher cytosolic levels of thioguanine nucleotides than does 6-mercaptopurine, we added low-dose 6-thioguanine to methotrexate/6-mercaptopurine maintenance therapy to explore if this combination results in significantly higher DNA-TG. The target population of the "Thiopurine Enhanced ALL Maintenance therapy" (TEAM) study was 30 patients with non-high-risk ALL, aged 1-45 years on methotrexate/6-mercaptopurine maintenance therapy receiving no other systemic chemotherapy. Incremental doses of 6-thioguanine were added to methotrexate/6-mercaptopurine maintenance therapy (starting 6-thioguanine dose: 2.5 mg/m(2)/day, maximum: 12.5 mg/m(2)/day). The primary endpoint was DNA-TG increments. Thirty-four patients were included, and 30 patients completed maintenance therapy according to the TEAM strategy. Of these 30 patients, 26 (87%) tolerated 10.0-12.5 mg/m(2)/day as the maximum 6-thioguanine dose. TEAM resulted in significantly higher DNA-TG levels compared to those in both TEAM patients before their inclusion in TEAM (on average 251 fmol/mu g DNA higher [95% confidence interval: 160-341; P
  • Manzano, Pablo; White, Shannon R. (2019)
    The general public is increasingly critical of extensive, ruminant-dominated systems for their attributed high greenhouse gas emissions. However, advocates of low input, grass-fed systems present them as paradigmatic sustainable production systems because of their biodiversity, land use, rural development and animal welfare benefits. We reconcile both analyses by proposing to assess baseline emissions in grazed ecosystems. We show that policies aiming at transitioning grass-fed systems towards fodder-based (concentrate- or grain-based) systems can be ineffective at reducing emissions because wild ruminants or termites fill livestock's ecological niche. Climate change policies targeting livestock should carefully evaluate derived emissions scenarios.
  • Dias, Fabio Boeira; Fiedler, R.; Marsland, S. J.; Domingues, C. M.; Clement, L.; Rintoul, S. R.; Mcdonagh, E. L.; Mata, M. M.; Savita, A. (2020)
    Ocean heat storage due to local addition of heat ("added'') and due to changes in heat transport ("redistributed'') were quantified in ocean-only 2xCO2 simulations. While added heat storage dominates globally, redistributionmakes important regional contributions, especially in the tropics. Heat redistribution is dominated by circulation changes, summarized by the super-residual transport, with only minor effects from changes in vertical mixing. While previous studies emphasized the contribution of redistribution feedback at high latitudes, this study shows that redistribution of heat also accounts for 65% of heat storage at low latitudes and 25% in the midlatitude (35 degrees-50 degrees S) Southern Ocean. Tropical warming results from the interplay between increased stratification and equatorward heat transport by the subtropical gyres, which redistributes heat from the subtropics to lower latitudes. The Atlantic pattern is remarkably distinct from other basins, resulting in larger basin-average heat storage. Added heat storage is evenly distributed throughout midlatitude Southern Ocean and dominates the total storage. However, redistribution stores heat north of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current in the Atlantic and Indian sectors, having an important contribution to the peak of heat storage at 45 degrees S. Southern Ocean redistribution results from intensified heat convergence in the subtropical front and reduced stratification in response to surface heat, freshwater, and momentum flux perturbations. These results highlight that the distribution of ocean heat storage reflects both passive uptake of heat and active redistribution of heat by changes in ocean circulation processes. The redistributed heat transportmust therefore be better understood for accurate projection of changes in ocean heat uptake efficiency, ocean heat storage, and thermosteric sea level.
  • Reckling, Moritz; Bergkvist, Goran; Watson, Christine A.; Stoddard, Frederick L.; Bachinger, Johann (2020)
    Crop production in Europe is intensive, highly specialized and responsible for some negative environmental impacts, raising questions about the sustainability of agricultural systems. The (re)integration of grain legumes into European agricultural systems could contribute to the transition to more sustainable food production. While the general benefits from legume cultivation are widely known, there is little evidence on how to re-design specific cropping systems with legumes to make this option more attractive to farmers. The objectives of this study were to describe the constraints and opportunities of grain legume production perceived by farmers, explain the agronomic impacts of current grain legume cropping, explore technical options to improve grain legume agronomy, and to re-design current grain legume cropping systems in a participatory process with farmers. A co-design approach was implemented with farmers, advisors and scientists on 25 farms in northern Germany, that were part of two large demonstration networks of about 170 farms supporting grain legumes across Germany. We used the DEED research cycle (Describe, Explain, Explore and Design) as a conceptual framework combining on-farm research, crop rotation modelling, and on-station experiments. From it, we identified nine agronomic practices that either were novel or confirmed known strategies under new conditions, to re-design grain legume cropping systems at the field and farm level. The practices included (i) inter-row hoeing, (ii) direct seeding into a cover-crop, (iii) species-specific inoculation, (iv) cover crops to reduce leaching, (v) reduced tillage, (vi) soybean for increased gross margins, (vii) cultivars for food and feed use, (viii) flexible irrigation, (ix) grain legumes with cover crop to enhance subsequent crop yields. We also demonstrate how to complement knowledge of farmers' perceptions (Describe step) and formal knowledge from classical on-station experiments and modelling (Explain step) with on-farm research including the local views of farmers (Explore step) to identify tailored options for specific farm contexts rather than prescriptive solutions (Design step) to intensify legume production. This approach therefore contrasts with traditional methods that are often solely participatory and qualitative or model/experimental-based and quantitative. Hence, our results provide new insights in how to re-design cropping systems using a combination of participatory and quantitative approaches. While participatory approaches are common in developing countries, this study shows their potential in an industrialized context with large-scale farmers in Europe. These novel findings can be used as a starting point for further adaptations of cropping systems and contribute to making grain legume production economically and environmentally more sustainable.
  • Li, Honghong; Penttinen, Petri; Mikkonen, Anu; Stoddard, Frederick L.; Lindstrom, Kristina (2020)
    Pastures are an important part of crop and food systems in cold climates. Understanding how fertilization and plant species affect soil bacterial community diversity and composition is the key for understanding the role of soil bacteria in sustainable agriculture. To study the response of soil bacteria to different fertilization and cropping managements, a 3-year (2013-2015) field study was established. In the split-plot design, fertilizer treatment (unfertilized control, organic fertilizer, and synthetic fertilizer) was the main plot factor, and plant treatment [clear fallow, red clover (Trifolium pratense), timothy (Phleum pratense), and a mixture of red clover and timothy] was the sub-plot factor. Soil bacterial community diversity and composition, soil properties, and crop growth were investigated through two growing seasons in 2014 and 2015, with different nitrogen input levels. The community diversity measures (richness, Shannon diversity, and Shannon evenness) and composition changed over time (P<0.05) and at different time scales. The community diversity was lower in 2014 than in 2015. The temporal differences were greater than the differences between treatments. The overall correlations of Shannon diversity to soil pH, NO3-, NH4+, and surplus nitrogen were positive and that of bacterial richness to crop dry matter yield was negative (P<0.05). The major differences in diversity and community composition were found between fallow and planted treatments and between organic and synthetic fertilizer treatments. The differences between the planted plots were restricted to individual operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Soil moisture, total carbon content, and total nitrogen content correlated consistently with the community composition (P<0.05). Compared to the unfertilized control, the nitrogen fertilizer loading enhanced the temporal change of community composition in pure timothy and in the mixture more than that in red clover, which further emphasizes the complexity of interactions between fertilization and cropping treatments on soil bacteria.