Publications

NIBIOs employees contribute to several hundred scientific articles and research reports every year. You can browse or search in our collection which contains references and links to these publications as well as other research and dissemination activities. The collection is continously updated with new and historical material.

2019

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Abstract

The notion of the Anthropocene does not fit well into the frame of scientific disciplines. The proposed onset of a new geological epoch has become closely linked with human history and with notions such as purposeful human actions. Purposefulness, however, is also subject to interpretation in the humanities and does not fit into analytical methods in Earth sciences. Scholars have taken up this challenge and engage with Earth scientists in public discourse on the Anthropocene. Due to the lack of a common frame of reference, discussions suffer from incompatible abstractions, notions, methods and results. Here, we propose an abstract model-framework facilitating communication between Earth scientists and scholars. In Earth sciences, models are often employed to provide a representation of an independent reality which imposes limits to growth. In the humanities, self-reference and reflexivity of modernity at all scales including the globe becomes a key issue. In the former view models can be decomposed and locally tested, in the latter models and concepts involving human action need to be considered in all their contextual and semantic relations. Typically, such concepts, for example in anthropology, do not come in a mathematical language. Nevertheless, we suggest that a common reference can be sought in an abstract model language, rather than in realistic models. Category theory and formal notions developed in computer science may provide such an abstract framework to accommodate the apparently incompatible views of models and concepts, which are considered as successful by their respective home disciplines. Diverse models such as examples from game theory (economics), from dynamic system theory (Earth science) and from a classification of ethnocosmologies (anthropology) can be formulated as different instances within a joint and abstract framework. Such a framework allows to investigate implications of the Anthropocene for logical similarities with past environmental events by seeking historical analogies (for example with the great oxygenation event) or formulating consistency requirements for the future (for example by defining sustainability). The prize for the common basis is a strict ‘epistemic hygiene’, avoiding most ontological assumptions and criticisms which often appear as dear to Earth scientists and scholars, but which may prevent a more fruitful exchange on an urgent interdisciplinary topic

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Abstract

Preferential flow may become significant in partially frozen soils because infiltration can occur through large, initially air-filled pores surrounded by a soil matrix with limited infiltration capacity. The objectives of this study were to develop and evaluate a dual-permeability approach for simulating water flow and heat transport in macroporous soils undergoing freezing and thawing. This was achieved by introducing physically based equations for soil freezing and thawing into the dual-permeability model MACRO. Richards’ equation and the heat flow equation were loosely coupled using the generalized Clapeyron equation for the soil micropore domain. Freezing and thawing of macropore water is governed by a first-order equation for energy transfer between the micropore and macropore domains. We assumed that macropore water was unaffected by capillary forces, so that water in macropores freezes at 0°C. The performance of the model was evaluated for four test cases: (i) redistribution of water in the micropore domain during freezing, (ii) a comparison between the first-order energy transfer approach and the heat conduction equation, (iii) infiltration and water flow in frozen soil with an initially air-filled macropore domain, and (iv) thawing from the soil surface during constant-rate rainfall. Results show that the model behaves in accordance with the current understanding of water flow and heat transport in frozen macroporous soil. To improve modeling of water and heat flow in frozen soils, attention should now be focused on providing experimental data suitable for evaluating models that account for macropore flow.

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Abstract

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data have gained interest for a variety of remote sensing applications, given the capability of SAR sensors to operate independent of solar radiation and day/night conditions. However, the radiometric quality of SAR images is hindered by speckle noise, which affects further image processing and interpretation. As such, speckle reduction is a crucial pre-processing step in many remote sensing studies based on SAR imagery. This study proposes a new adaptive de-speckling method based on a Gaussian Markov Random Field (GMRF) model. The proposed method integrates both pixel-wised and contextual information using a weighted summation technique. As a by-product of the proposed method, a de-speckled pseudo-span image, which is obtained from the least-squares analysis of the de-speckled multi-polarization channels, is also produced. Experimental results from the medium resolution, fully polarimetric L-band ALOS PALSAR data demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm compared to other well-known de-speckling approaches. The de-speckled images produced by the proposed method maintainthe mean value of the original image in homogenous areas, while preserving the edges of features in heterogeneous regions. In particular, the equivalent number of look (ENL) achieved using the proposed method improves by about 15% and 47% compared to the NL-SAR and SARBM3D de-speckling approaches, respectively. Other evaluation indices, such as the mean and variance of the ratio image also reveal the superiority of the proposed method relative to other de-speckling approaches examined in this study.

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Abstract

Crop wild relatives (CWR) can provide one solution to future challenges on food security, sustainable agriculture and adaptation to climate change. Diversity found in CWR can be essential for adapting crops to these new demands. Since the need to improve in situ conservation of CWR has been recognized by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (2010) and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (2011–2020), it is important to develop ways to safeguard these important genetic resources. The Nordic flora includes many species related to food, forage and other crop groups, but little has been done to systematically secure these important wild resources. A Nordic regional approach to CWR conservation planning provided opportunities to network, find synergies, share knowledge, plan the conservation and give policy inputs on a regional level. A comprehensive CWR checklist for the Nordic region was generated and then prioritized by socio-economic value and utilization potential. Nordic CWR checklist was formed of 2553 taxa related to crop plants. Out of these, 114 taxa including 83 species were prioritized representing vegetable, cereal, fruit, berry, nut and forage crop groups. The in situ conservation planning of the priority CWR included ecogeographic and complementarity analyses to identify a potential network of genetic reserve sites in the region. Altogether 971,633 occurrence records of the priority species were analysed. A minimum number of sites within and outside existing conservation areas were identified that had the potential to support a maximum number of target species of maximum intraspecific diversity.

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Abstract

Sentinel plants, plants in exporting countries that are inspected at regular intervals for signs and symptoms of invertebrate pests and microbial pathogens, are a promising tool for detecting and identifying harmful organisms of woody plants prior to their introduction into importing countries. Monitoring of sentinel plants reveals crucial information for pest risk analyses and the development of mitigation measures. The establishment of sentinel plants requires the import and plantation of non-native plants, which may be affected by the laws, regulations and administrative procedures in the individual countries. To evaluate the feasibility of sentinel plants as a global approach, this study aimed to summarise regulations and administrative procedures that affect the establishment of sentinel plants using non-native plants in countries worldwide. Information about national regulations of import and planting of non-native plant species was collected through a questionnaire survey, conducted among national representatives to the International Plant Protection Convention. Over 40 countries responded. The results show that legislations and regulations should not be major obstacles for a global use of the sentinel plants approach. However, the few existing experiences show that it can be complicated in practice. Here we describe the current state of art of the procedures that should be adopted to establish sentinel plants and we propose a strategy to circumvent the shortcomings resulting from the lack of a specific regulation.

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Abstract

During the past twenty years, the Nordic countries (Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway) have introduced a range of measures to reduce losses of nitrogen (N) to air and to aquatic environment by leaching and runoff. However, the agricultural sector is still an important N source to the environment, and projections indicate relatively small emission reductions in the coming years. The four Nordic countries have different priorities and strategies regarding agricultural N flows and mitigation measures, and therefore they are facing different challenges and barriers. In Norway farm subsidies are used to encourage measures, but these are mainly focused on phosphorus (P). In contrast, Denmark targets N and uses control regulations to reduce losses. In Sweden and Finland, both voluntary actions combined with subsidies help to mitigate both N and P. The aim of this study was to compare the present situation pertaining to agricultural N in the Nordic countries as well as to provide recommendations for policy instruments to achieve cost effective abatement of reactive N from agriculture in the Nordic countries, and to provide guidance to other countries. To further reduce N losses from agriculture, the four countries will have to continue to take different routes. In particular, some countries will need new actions if 2020 and 2030 National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NECD) targets are to be met. Many options are possible, including voluntary action, regulation, taxation and subsidies, but the difficulty is finding the right balance between these policy options for each country. The governments in the Nordic countries should put more attention to the NECD and consult with relevant stakeholders, researchers and farmer's associations on which measures to prioritize to achieve these goals on time. It is important to pick remaining low hanging fruits through use of the most cost effective mitigation measures. We suggest that N application rate and its timing should be in accordance with the crop need and carrying capacity of environmental recipients. Also, the choice of application technology can further reduce the risk of N losses into air and waters. This may require more region-specific solutions and knowledge-based support with tailored information in combination with further targeted subsidies or regulations.