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Abstract

After the phasing out of leaded gasoline, Pb emissions to the atmosphere dramatically decreased, and other sources became more significant. The contribution of unleaded gasoline has not been sufficiently recognized; therefore, we evaluated the impact of Pb from unleaded gasoline in a relatively pristine area in Subarctic NE Norway. The influence of different endmembers (Ni slag and concentrate from the Nikel smelter in Russia, PM10 filters, and traffic) on the overall Pb emissions was determined using various environmental samples (snow, lichens, and topsoils) and Pb isotope tracing. We found a strong relationship between Pb in snow and the Ni smelter. However, lichen samples and most of the topsoils were contaminated by Pb originating from the current use of unleaded gasoline originating from Russia. Historical leaded and recent unleaded gasoline are fully distinguishable using Pb isotopes, as unleaded gasoline is characterized by a low radiogenic composition (206Pb/207Pb = 1.098 and 208Pb/206Pb = 2.060) and remains an unneglectable source of Pb in the region.

Abstract

Natural and rural land provides resources for the majority of ecosystem services we need. Typical provisioning services from these resources are timber logging, collection of berries, mushrooms and hunting. Typical regulating services are carbon storage, regulation of flooding and temperature, and typical cultural services are education, science and nature based tourism. The use of one ecosystem service always affects the other services. How can we evaluate how the various use of services affect each other? In our research group, we work innovatively with multi-criteria analyses to find ways of trading-off contradicting interests in ecosystem services. The red tread is to consider «all» sides of multiuse and thereby reduce conflicts between stakeholders. To achieve this, it is necessary to combine conventional valuation methods (market-oriented recourse-economy) and new socioecological approaches.

Abstract

Finding new ways to simultaneously account for monetary and non-monetary goals in ecosystem services is needed in order to establish a new modelling framework for the facilitation of trade-offs between competing stakeholder interests. The socioecological sustainability of an ecosystem service is dependent on the consent of the people in the area of the ESS. An important reason is that a given ecosystem service may have highly different value in different stakeholder cultures. In this aspect is also the understanding of disservices and hidden services. The kind and level of conflict tend to differ with location and the operational level of decision-making. It is crucial work to identify all linked subservices and organise them into a common framework for evaluation. In our research group (MULTIESS) we try to develop multi-criteria tools to assess the implications of prioritizing different interests on ecological, sociological and economic output. Similarly, changes in the human population and environment will interact and influence on the services and their values, demanding such parameters to be evaluated for the whole range of potential scenarios. We maintain that in order to make multi-criteria analyses (MCA) successful, service outputs and externalities must and can be measured in familiar terms (e.g. money, biomass) without the use of direct or stated pricing of non-commodities such as welfare, recreation or biodiversity.

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Abstract

The trans-border brown bear population of Pasvik-Inari-Pechenga (Norway-Finland-Russia) has been monitored using genetic analyses of feces collection since 2005. In addition, in 2007 and 2011, hair traps were systematically placed out in the area to collect hairs for genetic analysis, to more precisely determine the minimum numbers of bears in the area. In 2015, we repeated this hair trap study, using the exact same methodology as in 2007 and 2011, to make a direct comparison of the results from all the 3 study years. Brown bear DNA was detected in 158 of 209 hair samples (76%) obtained from hair traps in 2015 and for 136 of these samples, a complete DNA profile could be determined. We identified 26 different bears in 2015, 17 females and 9 males. We detected 16 bears in Norway, 5 bears in Finland and 9 bears in Russia. Thirteen of these 26 bears were previously unknown, 7 were detected in Norway, 2 in Finland and 4 in Russia. A comparison to the results from 2007 and 2011 showed that we detected more bears in hair traps in 2015 (26 bears) than in 2007 (24 bears) and 2011 (20 bears). We observed an increase in the total yield of hair samples in the traps in 2015 (209 samples) compared to 2007 (196 samples) and 2011 (88 samples). Four (16%) and seven (35%) of the bears caught in hair traps in 2007 and in 2011, respectively, were also recaptured in 2015. Additional samples (scats and hair) collected opportunistically in the field within the Russian and Finnish parts of the study area in 2015 detected 4 male bears and 1 female bear in the Russian part leading to a total of 14 bears identified in Russia, of which 8 bears were detected for the first time. Additional scat and hair samples from the field in Norway were not included in our study and comparisons between the systematic hair-trapping and opportunistic sampling in the field were not performed. However, the results indicate that both methods combined are currently the optimal approach to monitor brown bear numbers in an area.

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Abstract

Genetic methods based on sampling of feces and hairs to study brown bears have become the method of choice for many wildlife researchers and managers. Feces and hairs are the most common sample material for DNA identification of individual bears. While the collection of feces and hairs in the field is carried out in an opportunistic manner, hair-trapping can be applied systematically at specific locations. We have here tested a novel systematic method based on hair sampling on power poles. The method relies on the specific behavior of bears to mark, scratch, bite and scrub on power poles, and by this also leave some hairs behind. During late summer and autumn we have investigated 215 power poles in the Pasvik Valley and sampled 181 hair samples in 2013 and 57 in 2014. A total of 17.3% of the samples collected in 2013 and 12.3% in 2014 were positive on brown bear DNA. Our success rates are comparable to other studies, however, DNA quality/content in the hair samples was generally low. Based on other studies, the method could be improved by sampling during spring and early summer and to use shorter frequencies of 2 to 4 weeks between each sampling. Based on our results and previous studies, we can conclude that this sampling technique should be improved by the development of a more accurate and frequent sampling protocol. Hair sampling from power poles may then lead to improved potential to collect valuable samples and information, which would be more difficult to collect otherwise.

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Abstract

Noninvasively collected genetic data can be used to analyse large-scale connectivity patterns among populations of large predators without disturbing them, which may contribute to unravel the species’ roles in natural ecosystems and their requirements for long-term survival. The demographic history of brown bears (Ursus arctos) in Northern Europe indicates several extinction and recolonization events, but little is known about present gene flow between populations of the east and west. We used 12 validated microsatellite markers to analyse 1580 hair and faecal samples collected during six consecutive years (2005–2010) in the Pasvik Valley at 70_N on the border of Norway, Finland and Russia. Our results showed an overall high correlation between the annual estimates of population size (Nc), density (D), effective size (Ne) and Ne ⁄Nc ratio. Furthermore, we observed a genetic heterogeneity of _0.8 and high Ne ⁄Nc ratios of _0.6, which suggests gene flow from the east. Thus, we expanded the population genetic study to include Karelia (Russia, Finland), Va¨sterbotten (Sweden) and Troms (Norway) (477 individuals in total) and detected four distinct genetic clusters with low migration rates among the regions. More specifically, we found that differentiation was relatively low from the Pasvik Valley towards the south and east, whereas, in contrast, moderately high pairwise FST values (0.91–0.12) were detected between the east and the west. Our results indicate ongoing limits to gene flow towards the west, and the existence of barriers to migration between eastern and western brown bear populations in Northern Europe.

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Abstract

The trans-border brown bear population of Pasvik-Inari-Pechenga (Norway-Finland-Russia) has been monitored using genetic analyses of feces collection since 2005. In addition in 2007, hair traps were systematically placed out in the area to collect hairs for genetic analysis, to more precisely determine the minimum numbers of bears. In 2011, we repeated this hair trap study, using the exact same methodology as in 2007, to make a direct comparison of the results from the two years. Brown bear DNA was detected in 68 of 88 hair samples (77%) obtained from hair traps in 2011 and for 56 of these samples, a complete DNA profile could be determined. We identified 20 different bears in 2011, 12 females and 8 males. Only one bear was found in more than one country (Norway and Russia). We detected 11 bears in Norway, 7 bears in Finland and 3 bears in Russia in 2011. Four of these 20 bears were previously unknown, all four from Finland. A comparison of the results from 2007 and 2011 showed that we detected fewer bears in hair traps in 2011 (20 bears) than in 2007 (24 bears), but this modest difference may be coincidental. However, we observed a large drop in the yield of hair samples in the traps in 2011 compared to 2007 (88 versus 196 samples). This observation may be suggestive of some reduced activity of bears within the study area in 2011. In addition, only five (21%) of the bears caught in hair traps in 2007 were recaptured in 2011, which indicates a substantial turnover of individuals and may indicate that more frequent hair trapping monitoring would be beneficial to reliably track changes in the population. Additional samples (mainly scats) collected opportunistically in the field within the Russian and Finnish parts of the study area in 2011 detected four male bears in the Finnish part that had not been detected by hair traps. No additional samples from Norway were included to this study and any comparisons between the hair-trapping and opportunistic sampling at this point remains difficult. However, the results indicate that both methods combined are currently the most feasible methods to monitor brown bear numbers in an area.

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Abstract

There is limited knowledge on the brown bear (Ursus arctos) populations in the neighboring national parks Lemmenjoki in Finland and Øvre Anárjohka in Norway. Lemmenjoki is the largest National Park in Finland with its 2850 km2, while Øvre Anárjohka National Park is about 1390 km2. Studies of the bear population within this area are complicated by the fact that the area is one of the largest roadless and remote areas in Northern Europe. In this study we have applied the hair trap technique to monitor the brown bear populations of Øvre Anárjohka and Lemmenjoki during July and August of 2009.The study was limited to 850 km2 (34 hair traps in a 5 x 5 km grid, 20 % of the total area of the National Parks). The result was a total of 33 hair samples collected in the study period of 8 weeks (4 renewals of scent lure), which is on average 0.5 hair samples per trap/month. DNA from bears was detected in 28 of the samples (85%). We were able to analyze a complete genetic profile for 23 samples. Nine samples from the terrain were also included in the study, and in total we have identified 6 different bears within the study area. The average brown bear density for the study area was found to be 0.07 bears/10 km2, which is 3 times lower than in the neighboring population in Pasvik-Inari-Pechenga. The three bears identified at the Norwegian side of the border (two females and one male) had been previously detected in Øvre Anárjohka in Norway during 2005-2008, while the three males that were solely on the Finnish side had not been registered before. Comparison with previous monitoring data in Norway confirm that Øvre Anárjohka in Norway might be a low-density reproduction site for brown bears, while the study area in Lemmenjoki in Finland is sparsely populated by a few males. We recommend that a larger study should be performed in the area.