NIBIO's Scientific Publications

This list contains articles, books and chapters that are published in authorised publication channels in The Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers. The register shows which scientific publications are recognized in the weighted funding model. The list is sorted by latest registered publication.

2021 (40)

Abstract

Key message Large-scale forest resource maps based on national forest inventory (NFI) data and airborne laser scanning may facilitate synergies between NFIs and forest management inventories (FMIs). A comparison of models used in such a NFI-based map and a FMI indicate that NFI-based maps can directly be used in FMIs to estimate timber volume of mature spruce forests. Context Traditionally, FMIs and NFIs have been separate activities. The increasing availability of detailed NFI-based forest resource maps provides the possibility to eliminate or reduce the need of field sample plot measurements in FMIs if their accuracy is similar. Aims We aim to (1) compare a timber volume model used in a NFI-based map and models used in a FMI, and (2) evaluate utilizing additional local sample plots in the model of the NFI-based map. Methods Accuracies of timber volume estimates using models from an existing NFI-based map and a FMI were compared at plot and stand level. Results Estimates from the NFI-based map were similar to or more accurate than the FMI. The addition of local plots to the modeling data did not clearly improve the model of the NFI-based map. Conclusion The comparison indicates that NFI-based maps can directly be used in FMIs for timber volume estimation in mature spruce stands, leading to potentially large cost savings.

Abstract

Hydroponic production of strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) in protected cultivation systems using substrates (growing media) is gaining popularity worldwide. Therefore, it is necessary to develop more sustainable growing media alternatives. This study focused on growth performance of strawberry plants grown in wood fibre from Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.), in comparison to two industry standards (peat and coco fibres). Plug (tray) plants of the June-bearing strawberry cultivar 'Malling Centenary' and bare root (WBH) plants of cultivar 'Sonata' were transplanted into three different growing media: peat (80%) and perlite (20%) mixture, coconut coir (100%) and Norway spruce wood fibre (100%). The plants received four fertigation strategies (various potassium and nitrogen concentrations) from flowering onwards. Throughout the production season ripe berries were harvested and frozen for later analyses of chemical composition. Plant architecture was also recorded after termination of the experiment. The results revealed that the most significant differences among the majority of the fruit and plant parameters were due to cultivar traits. Strawberries grown in wood fibre produced slightly smaller berries with elevated °Brix and dry matter compared to berries from plants grown in peat and coir. This was most likely caused by the common fertigation strategy applied to all substrates. Nevertheless, among the tested fertigation strategies, application of solutions with elevated potassium resulted in the highest sugar accumulation in berries grown in wood fibre substrate. In general, the experiment revealed relatively negligible differences between the growing media, and we therefore conclude that wood fibre from Norway spruce may be a viable alternative as a growing media in hydroponic strawberry production when the fertigation strategy is precisely adjusted.

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Abstract

There is little knowledge about photosynthesis in everbearing strawberry cultivars. We therefore grew three everbearing strawberry cultivars in daylight phytotron compartments at temperatures of 9, 15, 21 and 27°C and photoperiods of 10 h (SD) and 20 h (LD). After three weeks, the rates of dark respiration and photosynthesis and their acclimation were measured in 'Favouri'. Photosynthesis of plants grown in the various conditions was measured as CO2-uptake with an infrared gas analyzer at increasing irradiances (50-1000 µmol quanta m‑2 s‑1) and temperatures ranging from 9 to 27°C. In the dark, CO2-production (dark respiration) increased with increasing measuring temperature and was always largest in plants grown at low temperature (9°C) with no significant effect of photoperiod. Photosynthetic CO2-uptake was lowest at almost all irradiances in plants grown at 9°C, and with no clear effect of growth temperatures in the 15-27°C range. At saturating irradiances (500-1000 µmol), CO2-uptake increased with increasing measuring temperatures, reaching a plateau at about 21°C for plants grown at 15-27°C in SD and at 21-27°C in LD. For plants grown at 15°C in LD, the maximum CO2-uptake rate was obtained at 27°C. Light response curves showed that CO2-uptake increased with increasing irradiance and measuring temperatures and that the irradiance effect was markedly enhanced by increasing growth temperature. Maximum uptake rates were lowest for plants grown at 9°C at both photoperiods and highest for plants grown at 15°C in SD. Comparison of plants of 'Altess', 'Favouri' and 'Murano' at 500 µmol irradiance and 21°C revealed no significant differences in photosynthetic efficiency between the cultivars. Generally, the everbearing strawberry cultivars showed considerable photosynthetic plasticity to temperature within the 9-27°C range, although with an overall optimum at 15-21°C.

Abstract

Winter hardiness is the main factor limiting pear growing and the use of quince rootstocks under northeastern European climate conditions. Therefore, several cultivar and rootstock trials were performed from 1997 until 2015 at the Institute of Horticulture, Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry. Investigations of pear cultivars were conducted in 2005-2015. Twelve cultivars on QS1 rootstock were tested with the goal of finding an optimal replacement for cultivar ‘Conference’, which is not sufficiently winter hardy in the Baltic countries. The cultivar ‘Mramornaja’ showed desirable characteristics based on winter hardiness, productivity and fruit quality. Rootstock breeding was based on a winter hardy Cydonia × oblonga population and resulted in 3 registered rootstocks of K series in Lithuania. K series rootstocks were compared with QMA, QMC, Sydo, QS1, and Pyrus × communis. According to tree growth control and productivity only K11 was equal to QMA and the same as QS1. Other rootstock testing included Cydonia and Pyrus clonal and seedling rootstocks. ‘Pyrodwarf’ and OH×F333 rootstocks were too vigorous. QMC, Sydo and BA29 exhibited poor winter hardiness. The search for both pear cultivars and rootstocks adapted to northeastern European climatic conditions must be continued.

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Abstract

Reliable and efficient in-season nitrogen (N) status diagnosis and recommendation methods are crucially important for the success of crop precision N management (PNM). The accuracy of these methods has been found to be influenced by soil properties, weather conditions, and crop management practices. It is important to effectively incorporate these variables to improve in-season N management. Machine learning (ML) methods are promising due to their capability of processing different types of data and modeling both linear and non-linear relationships. The objectives of this study were to (1) determine the potential improvement of in-season prediction of corn N nutrition index (NNI) and grain yield by combining soil, weather and management data with active sensor data using random forest regression (RFR) as compared with Lasso linear regression (LR) using similar data and simple regression (SR) models only using crop sensor data; and (2) to develop a new in-season side-dress N fertilizer recommendation strategy at eighth to ninth leaf stage (V8-V9) of corn developement using the RFR model. Twelve site-year experiments examining corn N rates and planting densities were conducted in Northeast China. The GreenSeeker sensor data and corn NNI were collected at V8-V9 stage, and grain yield was determined at the harvest stage (R6). The soil information was obtained at planting and the weather data was measured throughout the growing season. The results indicated that corn NNI and grain yield were better predicted by combining soil, weather and management information with GreenSeeker sensor data using RFR model (R2 = 0.86 and 0.79) and LR model (R2 = 0.85 and 0.76) as compared with only using GreenSeeker sensor data (R2 = 0.66 and 0.62–63) based on the test dataset. An innovative in-season side-dress N recommendation strategy was developed using the RFR grain yield prediction model to simulate corn grain yield responses to a series of side-dress N rates at V8-V9 stage. Based on these response curves, site-, and year-specific optimum side-dress N rates can be determined. The scenario analysis results indicated that this RFR model-based in-season N recommendation strategy could recommend side-dress N rates similar to those based on measured agronomic optimum N rate (AONR) or economic optimum N rate (EONR), with root mean square error (RMSE) of 17 kg ha−1 and relative error (RE) of 14–15 %. It is concluded that combining soil, weather and management information with crop sensor data using RFR can significantly improve both in-season corn NNI and grain yield prediction and N management, compared with the approach based only on crop sensor data. More studies are needed to further improve and evaluate this approach under diverse on-farm conditions.

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The modification of wood involves extra processing over and above what is associated with un-modified material and this will involve an associated environmental impact. There is now a body of information on this due to the presence in the public domain of a number of environmental product declarations (EPDs). Using these data, it is possible to determine what the extra impact associated with the modification is. The process of modification results in a life extension of the product, which has implications regarding the storage of sequestered atmospheric carbon in the harvested wood products (HWP) materials’ pool and also extended maintenance cycles (e.g., longer periods between applying coatings). Furthermore, the life extension benefits imparted by wood modification need to be compared with the use of other technologies, such as conventional wood preservatives. This paper analysed the published data from a number of sources (peer-reviewed literature, published EPDs, databases) to compare the impacts associated with different modification technologies. The effect of life extension was examined by modelling the carbon flow dynamics of the HWP pool and determining the effect of different life extension scenarios. Finally, the paper examined the impact of different coating periods, and the extensions thereof, imparted by the use of different modified wood substrates.

Abstract

Conservation biological control (CBC) is a promising tool for ecological intensification that aims to establish resilient natural enemy populations that contribute to pest management with reduced use of pesticides and at the same time support native biodiversity in agroecosystems. Yet the impact of natural enemies in CBC is often limited due to missing resources such as food, habitat, and hibernation shelters. Here, we studied a CBC strategy that incorporates these essential resources combined with semiochemicals, focusing on how the common green lacewing can enhance biological control of aphids. In a 4-year field study conducted at three locations in the region of East Norway, we developed a CBC strategy combining the three measures ATTRACT (a ternary attractant that increase lacewing egg laying), FOOD (floral buffer strips), and SHELTER (insect hotels for overwintering survival) to increase aphid biological control in spring barley. We recorded the number of lacewings, ladybirds, hoverflies, parasitized aphid mummies, and the two cereal aphid species Sitobion avenae and Rhopalosiphum padi. Our CBC strategy resulted in a significant increase in lacewing activity and significant aphid suppression. At all three locations and over the 4-year period, aphid infestation was below the economic damage threshold in the field plots using CBC measures. In contrast, during two of the years, the density of the aphid infestation in the control plots was significantly above the damage threshold. We found evidence that use of the ternary attractant supported green lacewings but led to loss of ladybirds, hoverflies, and parasitoids, even though flower strips were used as alternative resources. Our study shows a promising increase in lacewing activity in the agricultural landscape and high biological control of aphids in barley. Long-term field studies are needed to evaluate the impact on non-target species and the agroecosystem before practical application of this approach can be considered.

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The demand for animal protein has increased considerably worldwide, especially in China, where large numbers of livestock and poultry are produced. Antibiotics have been widely applied to promote growth and prevent diseases. However, the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed has caused serious environmental and health risks, especially the wide spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which seriously affects animal and human health, food safety, ecosystems, and the sustainable future development of animal protein production. Unfortunately, AMR has already become a worldwide challenge, so international cooperation is becoming more important for combatting it. China’s efforts and determination to restrict antibiotic usage through law enforcement and effective management are of significance. In this review, we address the pollution problems of antibiotics; in particular, the AMR in water, soil, and plants caused by livestock and poultry manure in China. The negative impact of widespread and intensive use of antibiotics in livestock production is discussed. To reduce and mitigate AMR problems, we emphasize in this review the development of antibiotic substitutes for the era of antibiotic prohibition.

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Abstract

Helminth parasitic infections are common in small ruminants in Norway; infection is usually treated with anthelmintic drugs, but anthelmintic resistance is an increasing problem. It is necessary to identify strategies to reduce the use of anthelmintic drugs and mitigate the impact of anthelmintic resistance. Condensed tannin (CT)-rich forages have been shown to reduce the helminth burden in small ruminants, but these forages have limited cultivation potential in Scandinavia. A good source for CT in cold climatic regions may be the bark of several commercially utilized tree species. In the present study, we determined the content and characterized the type of CT in bark extracts of pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), spruce (Picea abies L.), and birch (Betula pubescens). Extracts of selected bark samples were tested for their anthelmintic efficacy against the ovine infectious nematode Teladorsagia circumcincta. Total CT content was higher in the bark from younger (10–40 years old) pine and spruce trees; it decreased with tree age in pine, whereas it remained relatively stable in the bark of spruce and birch. Pine trees consisted of 100% procyanidins, whereas prodelphinins were present in most spruce (4–17%) and all birch samples (5–34%). Our studies clearly showed that there is variation in the anthelmintic activity of water and acetone extracts of bark samples collected from various sites around Norway, as this was measured with two independent in vitro assays, the egg hatch and larvae motility assays. The anthelmintic activity of some extracts was consistent between the two assays; for example, extracts from the three samples with the highest CT content showed very high activity in both assays, whereas the extract from the sample with the lowest CT content showed the lowest activity in both assays. For other extracts, activity was not consistent across the assays, which could be attributed to the susceptibility of the different stages of the parasitic life cycle. We demonstrated that bark extracts from commercially used trees in Scandinavia have the potential to be used as alternatives to anthelmintics. Further work should focus on refining the associations between bark extracts and anthelmintic activity to identify the best strategies to reduce the input of anthelmintic drugs in livestock production systems.

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Abstract

Organisms use circadian rhythms to anticipate and exploit daily environmental oscillations. While circadian rhythms are of clear importance for inhabitants of tropic and temperate latitudes, its role for permanent residents of the polar regions is less well understood. The high Arctic Svalbard ptarmigan shows behavioral rhythmicity in presence of light-dark cycles but is arrhythmic during the polar day and polar night. This has been suggested to be an adaptation to the unique light environment of the Arctic. In this study, we examined regulatory aspects of the circadian control system in the Svalbard ptarmigan by recording core body temperature (Tb) alongside locomotor activity in captive birds under different photoperiods. We show that Tb and activity are rhythmic with a 24-h period under short (SP; L:D 6:18) and long photoperiod (LP; L:D 16:8). Under constant light and constant darkness, rhythmicity in Tb attenuates and activity shows signs of ultradian rhythmicity. Birds under SP also showed a rise in Tb preceding the light-on signal and any rise in activity, which proves that the light-on signal can be anticipated, most likely by a circadian system.

Abstract

Increased nutrient and soil losses from agricultural areas into water bodies constitute a global problem. Phosphorus is one of the main nutrients causing eutrophication in surface waters. In arable land, phosphorus losses are closely linked to sediment losses. Therefore, a better understanding of the sediment-runoff processes in agricultural areas is a key to reduce the eutrophication impacts and to implement mitigation measures. The objectives of this study were to identify dominant sediment runoff processes in cultivated grain-dominated catchments in a cold climate. We assessed continuous high-resolution turbidity data, temporal and spatial catchment properties and agricultural management data to describe and get a better understanding of the cause-relationship of sediment transfer in two small agricultural dominated catchments in southern Norway. The concentration-discharge pattern, index of connectivity and agricultural activities were considered with the wider aim to establish a link between field and catchment scale. The results showed that the dominant concentration-discharge pattern was a clockwise concentration-discharge (c-q) hysteresis in both catchments indicating that areas close to or in the stream gave the highest contribution to turbidity. The main driver for turbidity was discharge, though soil water storage capacity, rain intensity and former discharge events also played a role. Intensity of soil tillage and index of connectivity (likelihood of water and particles to be transported to the stream) impacted the c-q hysteresis index. Little vegetation cover and high intensity of soil tillage led to a high hysteresis index, which indicates a quick increase in turbidity following increased discharge. Other links between agricultural management and in stream data were difficult to interpret. The findings of this study provide information about discharge, field operations and vegetational status as drivers for turbidity and about the spatial distribution of sediment sources in two agricultural catchments in a cold climate. The understanding of sediment runoff processes is important, when implementing management actions to combat agricultural emissions to water most efficiently.

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Abstract

The spruce bark beetle Ips typographus is the most damaging pest in European spruce forests and has caused great ecological and economic disturbances in recent years. Although native to Eurasia, I. typographus has been intercepted more than 200 times in North America and could establish there as an exotic pest if it can find suitable host trees. Using in vitro bioassays, we compared the preference of I. typographus for its coevolved historical host Norway spruce (Picea abies) and two non-coevolved (naïve) North American hosts: black spruce (Picea mariana) and white spruce (Picea glauca). Additionally, we tested how I. typographus responded to its own fungal associates (conspecific fungi) and to fungi vectored by the North American spruce beetle Dendroctonus rufipennis (allospecific fungi). All tested fungi were grown on both historical and naïve host bark media. In a four-choice Petri dish bioassay, I. typographus readily tunneled into bark medium from each of the three spruce species and showed no preference for the historical host over the naïve hosts. Additionally, the beetles showed a clear preference for bark media colonized by fungi and made longer tunnels in fungus-colonized media compared to fungus-free media. The preference for fungus-colonized media did not depend on whether the medium was colonized by conspecific or allospecific fungi. Furthermore, olfactometer bioassays demonstrated that beetles were strongly attracted toward volatiles emitted by both con- and allospecific fungi. Collectively, these results suggest that I. typographus could thrive in evolutionary naïve spruce hosts if it becomes established in North America. Also, I. typographus could probably form and maintain new associations with local allospecific fungi that might increase beetle fitness in naïve host trees.

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex disease with a wide range of underlying susceptibility factors. Recently, dysregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) in RA have been reported in several immune cell types from blood. However, B cells have not been studied in detail yet. Given the autoimmune nature of RA with the presence of autoantibodies, CD19+ B cells are a key cell type in RA pathogenesis and alterations in CD19+ B cell subpopulations have been observed in patient blood. Therefore, we aimed to reveal the global miRNA repertoire and to analyze miRNA expression profile differences in homogenous RA patient phenotypes in blood-derived CD19+ B cells. Small RNA sequencing was performed on CD19+ B cells of newly diagnosed untreated RA patients (n=10), successfully methotrexate (MTX) treated RA patients in remission (MTX treated RA patients, n=18) and healthy controls (n=9). The majority of miRNAs was detected across all phenotypes. However, significant expression differences between MTX treated RA patients and controls were observed for 27 miRNAs, while no significant differences were seen between the newly diagnosed patients and controls. Several of the differentially expressed miRNAs were previously found to be dysregulated in RA including miR-223-3p, miR-486-3p and miR-23a-3p. MiRNA target enrichment analysis, using the differentially expressed miRNAs and miRNA-target interactions from miRTarBase as input, revealed enriched target genes known to play important roles in B cell activation, differentiation and B cell receptor signaling, such as STAT3, PRDM1 and PTEN. Interestingly, many of those genes showed a high degree of correlated expression in CD19+ B cells in contrast to other immune cell types. Our results suggest important regulatory functions of miRNAs in blood-derived CD19+ B cells of MTX treated RA patients and motivate for future studies investigating the interactive mechanisms between miRNA and gene targets, as well as the possible predictive power of miRNAs for RA treatment response.

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Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) yields are commonly affected by foliar infection by fungal pathogens. Of these, three wheat leaf blotch fungal diseases, septoria nodorum blotch (SNB), tan spot (TS) and septoria tritici blotch (STB), caused by Parastagonospora nodorum (Pn), Pyrenophora tritici-repentis (Ptr) and Zymoseptoria tritici (Zt), respectively, induce major yield losses. Infection results in necrotic areas on the leaf, and it is often difficult to determine the underlying causative pathogen from visible symptoms alone, especially in mixed infections. Here, a regional survey of 330 wheat samples collected across three seasons (years 2015–2017) from four north-west European countries was undertaken. Using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assays specific for each pathogen, as well as disease assessment of leaf materials, distinct regional differences were identified. Two-thirds (65%) of all samples harbored at least two of the three pathogens. Norway had high SNB abundance, but also showed mixed infections of SNB, TS and STB. In Germany, TS was prevalent, with STB also common. Danish samples commonly possessed all three pathogens, with STB prevalent, followed by TS and SNB. The UK had a major prevalence of STB with minimal occurrence of TS and SNB. Across all samples, qPCR identified Zt, Pn and Ptr in 90%, 54% and 57% of samples, respectively. For each pathogen, average disease levels via visual assessment showed modest positive correlation with fungal DNA concentrations (R2 = 0.13–0.32). Overall, our study highlights that the occurrence of mixed infection is common and widespread, with important implications for wheat disease management and breeding strategies.

Abstract

Leaf blotch diseases (LBD), such as Septoria nodorum bloch (Parastagnospora nodorum), Septoria tritici blotch (Zymoseptoria tritici) and Tan spot (Pyrenophora tritici-repentis) can cause severe yield losses (up to 50%) in Norwegian spring wheat (Triticum aestivum) and are mainly controlled by fungicide applications. A forecasting model to predict disease risk can be an important tool to optimize disease control. The association between specific weather variables and the development of LBD differs between wheat growth stages. In this study, a mathematical model to estimate phenological development of spring wheat was derived based on sowing date, air temperature and photoperiod. Weather factors associated with LBD severity were then identified for selected phenological growth stages by a correlation study of LBD severity data (17 years). Although information regarding host resistance and previous crop were added to the identified weather factors, two purely weather-based risk prediction models (CART, classification and regression tree algorithm) and one black box model (KNN, based on K nearest neighbor algorithm) were most accurate to predict moderate to high LBD severity (>5% infection). The predictive accuracy of these models (76–83%) was compared to that of two existing models used in Norway and Denmark (60 and 61% accuracy, respectively). The newly developed models performed better than the existing models, but still had the tendency to overestimate disease risk. Specificity of the new models varied between 49 and 74% compared to 40 and 37% for the existing models. These new models are promising decision tools to improve integrated LBD management of spring wheat in Norway.

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Sustainable nature management and ecosystem conservation depends critically on scientifically sound and stakeholder-relevant analytical frameworks for monitoring and assessing ecological condition. Several general frameworks are currently being developed internationally, including the Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBV), and the UN’s SEEA EEA Ecosystem Condition Typology (ECT). However, there has so far been few attempts to develop empirical implementations of these general frameworks, or to assess their applicability for environmental decision-making at national or regional scales. In this paper, we aim to fill this implementation gap by demonstrating a practical application of an empirically-based ecological condition assessment framework, the Index-Based Ecological Condition Assessment (IBECA). IBECA defines seven major classes of indicators of ecological condition, representing distinct ecosystem characteristics, and empirically synthesizes indicators for each of these characteristics from various monitoring data. We exemplify and explore the utility and robustness of IBECA using a case study from forest and alpine ecosystems in central Norway, and we investigate how IBECA aligns with the two international frameworks EBV and ECT. In particular, we analyze how the different approaches to categorize indicators into classes affect the assessment of ecological condition, both conceptually and using the case study indicators. We used eleven indicators for each of the two ecosystems and assessed the ecological condition according to IBECA for i) each individual indicator, ii) the seven ecosystem characteristics (indicator classes), and iii) a synthetic ecological condition value for the whole ecosystem. IBECA challenges key concepts of the international frameworks and illustrates practical challenges for national or regional level implementation. We identify three main strengths with the IBECA approach: i) it provides a transparent and management-relevant quantitative approach allowing assessment of spatio-temporal variation in ecological condition across indicators, characteristics and ecosystems, ii) the high degree of flexibility and transparency facilitates updating the ecological condition assessments, also back in time, as improved data and knowledge of indicators emerge, and iii) the quantitative and flexible procedure makes it a cost-effective approach suitable for fast management implementations. More generally, we stress the need for carefully choosing appropriate classification and aggregation approaches in ecological condition assessments, and for transparent and data-driven analytical approaches that can be adjusted as knowledge improves.

Abstract

Field-based monitoring of deer food availability and browsing on recruiting forest trees is a necessary but labour-intensive task. We explored how such estimates from a low-resolution multipurpose national forest inventory (NFI) (plot density 0.3 km−2) corresponded with estimates from local inventories that specifically and in greater detail monitor the availability of deer food and browsing intensity (LFI) (plot density 2–3 km−2). We used NFI and LFI data from 16 moose Alces alces ranges (mean area 276 ± SE 69 km2) in southern Norway. Only the height segment 30–130 cm of browsable trees could be obtained from the NFI data, while moose can browse trees from 30 to 300 cm in height. According to the LFI, the browse species did not have similar proportions of their browsable stems below 130 cm. Using only the stems from heights of 30–130 cm overestimated the availability of RAS (rowan, aspen and sallow) relative to birch (silver birch and downy birch) and Scots pine. The browsable biomass per stem of each species also varied between ranges, which introduces uncertainty to the food availability estimates that are based on stems only. Nevertheless, the NFI density of stems at 30–130 cm heights can be a useful index for species-specific comparisons of browse availability across ranges, because the variations between ranges in stem densities outweighed the biomass variations per stem. The NFI and LFI estimates of the species-specific densities of stems at 30–130 cm heights were significantly related and close to isometric (1:1), especially for RAS and pine. We did not find strong relationships between NFI and LFI in the browsing intensity (i.e. proportion of shoots that were browsed during the winter). The explained variation was only 11% (R2) for RAS (p = 0.281) and 32% for pine (p = 0.028). This was likely due to the small sample sizes of browsed trees in the NFI and methodological differences between the NFI and LFI in how browsing intensity is estimated. Conclusions Using data from national forest inventories can be an efficient but low-resolution way to monitor browse availability for deer, provided that the monitoring includes the full range of tree heights reachable for the deer (e.g., 30–300 cm for moose). It is also a prerequisite that the number of NFI plots is sufficient to cover the spatial variability of the area. Regarding browsing intensities, adjustments in both the NFI and LFI approaches are needed to make the two monitoring schemes more comparable.

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Abstract

Light and temperature are crucial factors for the annual growth rhythm of tree seedlings of the boreal and temperate zone. Dormant, vegetative winter buds are formed under short days (SD) and altered light quality. In the conifer Norway spruce, expression of FTL2 increases and PaCOL1-2 and PaSOC1 decrease under light regimes, inducing bud set. Although temperature is known to modulate the timing of bud set, information about combined effects of light climate and temperature on bud phenology and gene expression is limited. We studied the interactive effects of temperature (18, 22/24 °C) and day extension with blue (B), red (R) or far-red (FR) light or different R:FR ratios compared to SD on growth–dormancy cycling and expression of FTL2, PaCOL1-2 and PaSOC1 in Norway spruce seedlings. Day-extension with B light and all treatments involving FR light sustained shoot elongation, with increased growth at higher temperature. The R light treatment resulted in delayed/prevented bud set compared to SD, with more delay/prevented bud set at 24 °C than 18 °C. This was associated with lower PaFTL2-transcript levels at 24 °C and more rapid subsequent bud burst. For the growth-sustaining treatments (long days, FR and B light), the PaFTL2-transcript levels were generally lower and those of PaCO1-2 and PaSOC1 higher compared with SD and R light. In conclusion, our results demonstrate more reduced/prevented bud set and faster bud burst with increased temperature under day extension with R light, indicating less deep dormancy than at lower temperature. Also, sustained shoot elongation under the B light treatment (27 µmol m−2 s−1) in contrast to the lower B light-irradiances tested previously (≤13 µmol m−2 s−1), demonstrates an irradiance-dependent effect of day extension with B light.

Abstract

Genetic variation and phenotypic stability in Norway spruce were studied based on provenances, families, and clones planted in trials at 12 sites in four Nordic countries. The families were generated in a factorial cross between 10 parents of Norwegian origin and 10 parents of Eastern European origin, and the clones were propagated from seedlings within 20 of the same families. Traits analyzed were survival, proportion of trees with stem defects, and tree heights. Stability was analyzed by regression analyses with the genetic entries’ annual shoot increment as the dependent variable and the total site mean as an environmental index. Information about growth and phenology traits were available from short-term tests. For tree heights, significant variance components were present both among female and male parents, but not for their interactions, indicating that non-additive genetic effects are small. Genotype × environment interactions were significant at all three genetic levels, but their variance components had considerably lower values than the variance components estimated for the effects of families and clones. For the set of families of Norwegian origin, strong relationships were observed between the timing of annual shot elongation, mortality, and height growth. Large variation was found at all three genetic levels for phenotypic stability measured by regression coefficients. A positive relationship was present between the regression coefficient and the timing of annual shoot growth for families, indicating that later flushing families responded more to a high site index. The regression coefficient can be a useful supplement to the breeding value when selecting for superior and stable genotypes.

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Nursery-grown Norway spruce Picea abies seedlings are often heavily attacked by the pine weevil Hylobius abietis on clear-cuts the first years after planting. Because the seedlings are not resource-limited during the growing phase in the nursery they are expected to invest less in defence than naturally regenerated seedlings already present on the clear-cuts. The latter have had to cope with various environmental stressors that could make them invest more in defence. We tested if naturally regenerated plants have stronger chemical defences than nursery-grown plants. Nursery-grown plants were planted in-between naturally regenerated plants on fresh clear cuts, and phenolic and terpene compounds in the stem bark were measured after one growing season. To test both constitutive and inducible defences, plants were either wounded, painted with methyl jasmonate (MeJA) to induce defences, or given a combination of both treatments. Growth and pine weevil attacks of the plants were registered. Nursery-grown plants had higher total concentrations of phenolic compounds and lower concentrations of terpenes than naturally regenerated plants. These opposite responses were reflected in very different compound profiles in the two plant types. We suggest the differences between plant types to be results of differences in plant age, stress level, genetic origin or possibly a combination of these factors. Most compounds showed no response to wounding, MeJA-treatment or wounding and MeJA-treatment combined, but the terpenes 3-carene, eucalyptol, limonene and para-cymene had higher concentrations in MeJA-treated nursery-grown plants than in control plants. These compounds are known to be effective in conifer resistance against weevils and bark beetles. Overall, 27% of our 400 study plants had signs of pine weevil damage after 3 ½ months in the field. However, treatment or plant type had no significant effect on whether plants were attacked or not and this might have been a result of the relatively low overall level of attacks in this study. Further studies are needed to disentangle the importance of plant age, stress level, genetic origin and resource availability for chemical defence mechanisms of young Norway spruce plants, as strengthening the natural resistance of nursery plants may be increasingly important in a future with less pesticide use.

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Drought and heat events affect the uptake and sequestration of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems. Factors such as the duration, timing, and intensity of extreme events influence the magnitude of impacts on ecosystem processes such as gross primary production (GPP), i.e., the ecosystem uptake of CO2. Preceding soil moisture depletion may exacerbate these impacts. However, some vegetation types may be more resilient to climate extremes than others. This effect is insufficiently understood at the global scale and is the focus of this study. Using a global upscaled product of GPP that scales up in situ land CO2 flux observations with global satellite remote sensing, we study the impact of climate extremes at the global scale. We find that GPP in grasslands and agricultural areas is generally reduced during heat and drought events. However, we also find that forests, if considered globally, appear in general to not be particularly sensitive to droughts and heat events that occurred during the analyzed period or even show increased GPP values during these events. On the one hand, normal-to-increased GPP values are in many cases plausible, e.g., when conditions prior to the event have been particularly positive. On the other hand, however, normal-to-increased GPP values in forests may also reflect a lack of sensitivity in current remote-sensing-derived GPP products to the effects of droughts and heatwaves. The overall picture calls for a differentiated consideration of different land cover types in the assessments of risks of climate extremes for ecosystem functioning.

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Abstract

Cardiomyopathy syndrome (CMS) is a severe cardiac disease occurring in the grow-out sea phase of farmed Atlantic salmon with approximately 100 outbreaks annually in Norway. Piscine myocarditis virus (PMCV) is believed to be the causative agent of CMS. There is no vaccine available to control CMS, partially because PMCV withstands propagation in known cell cultures. In the present study, we selected the putative capsid protein of PMCV as the candidate antigen for immunization experiments and produced it in the plant Nicotiana benthamiana by transient expression. The recombinant PMCV antigen formed virus-like particles (VLPs). To evaluate the efficacy of the plant made VLP vaccine, a PMCV infection model was established. In an experimental salmon vaccination trial, the VLP vaccine triggered innate immunity, and indicative but not significant inhibition of viral replication in heart, spleen and kidney tissues was observed. Similarly, a reduction of inflammatory lesions in cardiomyocytes and subendocardial infiltration by mononuclear leukocytes were observed. Therefore, there was no difference in efficacy or immune response observed post the plant made PMCV VLP antigen vaccination. Taken together, this study has demonstrated that plant made VLP antigens should be investigated further as a possible platform for the development of PMCV antigens for a CMS vaccine.

Abstract

The size and location of agricultural fields that are in active use and the type of use during the growing season are among the vital information that is needed for the careful planning and forecasting of agricultural production at national and regional scales. In areas where such data are not readily available, an independent seasonal monitoring method is needed. Remote sensing is a widely used tool to map land use types, although there are some limitations that can partly be circumvented by using, among others, multiple observations, careful feature selection and appropriate analysis methods. Here, we used Sentinel-2 satellite image time series (SITS) over the land area of Norway to map three agricultural land use classes: cereal crops, fodder crops (grass) and unused areas. The Multilayer Perceptron (MLP) and two variants of the Convolutional Neural Network (CNN), are implemented on SITS data of four different temporal resolutions. These enabled us to compare twelve model-dataset combinations to identify the model-dataset combination that results in the most accurate predictions. The CNN is implemented in the spectral and temporal dimensions instead of the conventional spatial dimension. Rather than using existing deep learning architectures, an autotuning procedure is implemented so that the model hyperparameters are empirically optimized during the training. The results obtained on held-out test data show that up to 94% overall accuracy and 90% Cohen’s Kappa can be obtained when the 2D CNN is applied on the SITS data with a temporal resolution of 7 days. This is closely followed by the 1D CNN on the same dataset. However, the latter performs better than the former in predicting data outside the training set. It is further observed that cereal is predicted with the highest accuracy, followed by grass. Predicting the unused areas has been found to be difficult as there is no distinct surface condition that is common for all unused areas.

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Abstract

Grass clover crops were harvested with or without application of 4 L/t of a formic- and propionic acid-based silage additive and ensiled in one bunker silo and 6 round bales per treatment in each of three harvests. The study aimed to compare losses, grass silage quality and aerobic stability obtained either with round bales or precision chopped grass ensiled in bunker silos. Round bales were either sealed immediately or after delay until bunker silos were covered. Unpredicted rain showers during the three harvests gave crop DM as low as 194, 186 and 213 g/kg, respectively. Due to the lower pressure exerted on the crop by the baler than by packing vehicles in the bunkers, and the longer particle length in bales, densities in baled silage were much lower than in bunker silage, 531 vs 833 kg/m3 (P < 0.001), and 111 vs 164 kg DM/m3 (P < 0.001). Presumably due to early cell rupture and higher release of effluent caused by the applied acid, densities were higher in treated than in untreated silage, in bunkers 170 vs. 159 kg DM/m3 (P = 0.08), and in bales, 114 vs. 109 kg DM/m3 (P = 0.02). A much lower proportion of ensiled crop DM could be offered to livestock from bunkers than from round bales, 833 vs. 927 g/kg (P < 0.001). The amount of moulded, wasted silage DM was significantly higher in bunkers than in bales, 26 vs. 0.6 g/kg, (P < 0.001), and the sum of DM lost by crop respiration, effluent runoff, anaerobic fermentation, aerobic deterioration and gaseous losses was significantly higher from bunkers than bales, 141 vs. 72 g/kg (P < 0.002). Acid treatment caused only minor decreases in DM losses. It restricted acid fermentation and improved silage intake potential both in bunkers and bales (P < 0.001), and caused higher stability in bales (P < 0.009). High ethanol concentrations were found in acid treated bunker silage but not in treated bale silage. Also, a reduction in heat induced increases in fiber bound protein obtained by acid treatment in bales, but not in bunkers, suggested that the applied dosage was too low to restrict heating in bunkers, and favored yeast growth. The larger surface area susceptible to heating, and loss of ad ditive in effluent, make higher acid dosages, or a higher proportion of ingredients that inhibit yeast growth, necessary to low DM grass crops ensiled in bunkers.

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Abstract

The large surface area of bunker silos imposes challenges with heating caused by plant respiration during initial ensiling. This study aimed to explore if application of a formic- and propionic acid-based additive would improve grass silage quality, reduce losses, and increase aerobic stability in bunker silos. At each of three harvests, every second tractor load was filled with either untreated or acid treated precision chopped crop, and ensiled in each of two identical bunker silos, 6 m × 27 m with three 3.5 m high walls, without roof. Each load in both bunker silos was compacted by two packing machines. Initially, an 8.3 t farm tractor worked for 10 min. followed by a 14.5 t wheel loader for 10 min. Silos were filled to approximately half of their capacity. Due to showers during all three harvests, crop dry matter (DM) concentrations were only 195, 186 and 213 g/kg, respectively. During unloading for feeding, silage DM density and DM concentrations were respectively 7% and 5% higher (P <  0.01) in acid treated (A) than in control (C) silage. This was presumably due to early cell rupture caused by the applied acid, and thereby higher effluent release from A than C silage. Additive treatment did not influence the amount of wasted silage. Invisible losses, that included crop respiration, effluent runoff, anaerobic fermentation, aerobic deterioration from the silo face, and gaseous losses were numerically higher in A than C silos on fresh weight basis, but slightly lower on DM basis. The proportion of harvested crop DM that was offered to animals was 837 and 829 g/kg for A and C silage, respectively (NS). Additive treatment reduced the proportion of non-protein N in total N, restricted silage fermentation to lactic and acetic acid, reduced NH3-N-values, and increased ethanol fermentation (P <  0.01). Silage DM intake index was higher for A than C silage (P <  0.001). Aerobic stability was not significantly influenced by additive treatment. The concentration of spores of Clostridium tyrobutyricum in spot silage samples from bunker silo faces was low or moderate, and did not differ according to additive treatment. Silo shoulder and side samples contained, however, significantly higher spore concentrations than mid and top samples.

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Abstract

The circular economy concept promotes the recycling of agricultural waste. This study was aimed at investigating the effects of cattle horn shavings on apple tree nitrogen nutrition. Ligol apple trees on P 60 rootstock were the object of the study. The experiment was conducted in the experimental orchard of the Institute of Horticulture, Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, from 2015 to 2018. Two fertiliser rates were tested: 50 and 100 kg/ha N. Horn shavings (14.1% N) were applied at the end of autumn or at the beginning of vegetation in the spring and in one treatment 100 kg/ha N rate was divided into two equal parts and applied both in autumn and spring. The effects of the horn shavings were compared with the effects of ammonium nitrate (34.4% N) and the unfertilised treatment. The lowest mineral nitrogen content was found in the unfertilised orchard soil and the soil fertilised with horn shavings in the spring at 50 kg/ha N equivalent. In all other cases, the fertilisers increased the soil’s mineral nitrogen content. The lowest leaf nitrogen content was found in apple trees that grew in the unfertilised orchard soil or soil fertilised in the spring with 50 kg/ha N of horn shavings (1.58–2.13%). In other cases, leaf nitrogen content was higher (1.77–2.17%). The apple trees with the lowest leaf nitrogen content produced the smallest average yield (34.5–36.6 t/ha). The highest yield was recorded from fruit trees fertilised with 50 kg/ha N of ammonium nitrate applied in spring or horn shavings applied in autumn (42.4 and 41.4 t/ha, respectively). The influence of horn shavings on the other studied parameters was similar to that of ammonium nitrate. Horn shavings, like nitrogen fertiliser, could facilitate nitrogen nutrition management in apple trees, especially in organic orchards, where the use of synthetic fertilisers is prohibited.

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Abstract

While tire wear and tear is known to be a major source of microplastics in the environment, its monitoring is still hampered by the lack of analytical methods able to provide concentrations in environmental matrices. Tirewear particles (TWP) present in road runoff enter the drainage system through gully pots, built to prevent sediment deposition in the drainage system, and eventually protect downstream receiving waters. The aim of this study was to detect and quantify TWP in gully pot sediments, by using a novel method combining Simultaneous Thermal Analysis (STA), Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and Parallel Factor Analysis (PARAFAC). The method was applied to samples from five sites in Southern Norway, characterized by different traffic densities and patterns. The method involved no sample pretreatment, the whole sediment samplewas submitted to thermal decomposition in STA, and gases generated during pyrolysis were continuously transferred to FTIR. The FTIR data were arranged in a trilinearmulti-way dataset (samples × IR spectra wavenumber × pyrolysis temperature) and then analyzed by PARAFAC. The results showed that TWP concentrations in gully pots varied greatly across sites, ranging frombelow1 mgTWP/g sediment in streetswith the lowest traffic densities, to 150 mgTWP/g sediment at themost trafficked study site. The results also indicated that other traffic conditions, such as driving patterns influence TWP concentrations. Finally, by enabling quantification of TWP in gully pot sediments, the approach presented here supports environmental monitoring of TWP and safe disposal of gully pot sediments, which is critical for environmental pollution management.

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Abstract

Population fluctuations of small rodents are often synchronized over larger areas (>100 km) than what could be explained by dispersal, suggesting that the synchronizing factor is weather-related and possibly mediated through changes in food quality. Because bank vole (Myodes glareolus) populations usually peak 1 year after peaks in reproduction of the staple winter food plant bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), we tested for a possible link between food and spatial synchrony by comparing the synchrony in bank vole population indices and bilberry seed production indices between three study areas across about 20,000 km2 in South Norway during a four decade period (1979–2019). There were subperiods of spatial synchrony and asynchrony between the study areas in the fluctuations of bank vole numbers and bilberry seed production, with the latter part of the study period displaying more pronounced synchrony than the first and middle part. However, with a few marked exceptions, when vole fluctuations were spatially out of phase across study areas so was bilberry seed production. Thus, we conclude that bilberry seed production to a large extent explained the spatiotemporal synchronicity in bank vole population fluctuations. Although bilberry seed production seems to be a causal driver of vole fluctuations, it remains to be seen to what extent the chemical composition of bilberry plants influences vole performance. Finally, certain weather factors may still influence voles directly, or indirectly by triggering bilberry seed production.

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Abstract

A call to governments to enact a strategy for a sustainable food system is high on the global agenda. A sustainable food system presupposes a need to go beyond a view of the food system as linear and narrow, to comprehend the food system as dynamic and interlinked, which involves understanding social, economic and ecological outcomes and feedbacks of the system. As such, it should be accompanied by strategic, collaborative, transparent, inclusive, and reflexive agenda-setting process. The concepts of, directionality relating to an agreed vision for a future sustainable food system, and, reflexivity which describes the capacity for critical deliberation and responsiveness, are particularly important. Based on those concepts, this paper proposes an evaluative framework to assess tools and instruments applied during the agenda-setting stage. We apply the evaluative framework to recent food policy processes in Finland and Sweden, revealing that their agenda-setting design cannot be assessed as fully addressing both directionality and reflexivity, thus possibly falling short of the policy design needed for enable more transformative policy approaches.

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Abstract

Simple Summary: The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda has now become a pest of global importance. Its introduction and detection in Africa in 2016, and subsequent introduction and spread into Asia and Australia, has put several millions of food producers and maize farmers at risk. Not all pest management strategies are sustainable. Biological control with the use of parasitoid wasps is one of the durable and environmentally sound options. The present study was initiated to predict the habitats of high establishment potential of key parasitoids of FAW in South America, which might prove to be effective as classical biological control agents of FAW in regions where it is an invasive species under current and future climate scenarios. The prospective parasitoids are the following: Chelonus insularis, Cotesia marginiventris, Eiphosoma laphygmae, Telenomus remus and Trichogramma pretiosum. The results demonstrate overlapping habitat suitability areas of the pest and the parasitoids, suggesting promises for biological control options for the management of FAW under current and future climate scenarios. Abstract: The present study is the first modeling effort at a global scale to predict habitat suitability of fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda and its key parasitoids, namely Chelonus insularis, Cotesia marginiventris, Eiphosoma laphygmae, Telenomus remus and Trichogramma pretiosum, to be considered for biological control. An adjusted procedure of a machine-learning algorithm, the maximum entropy (Maxent), was applied for the modeling experiments. Model predictions showed particularly high establishment potential of the five hymenopteran parasitoids in areas that are heavily affected by FAW (like the coastal belt of West Africa from Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) to Nigeria, the Congo basin to Eastern Africa, Eastern, Southern and Southeastern Asia and some portions of Eastern Australia) and those of potential invasion risks (western & southern Europe). These habitats can be priority sites for scaling FAW biocontrol efforts. In the context of global warming and the event of accidental FAW introduction, warmer parts of Europe are at high risk. The effect of winter on the survival and life cycle of the pest in Europe and other temperate regions of the world are discussed in this paper. Overall, the models provide pioneering information to guide decision making for biological-based medium and long-term management of FAW across the globe.

Abstract

Plants with roots and soil clumps transported over long distances in plant trading can harbor plant pathogenic oomycetes, facilitating disease outbreaks that threaten ecosystems, biodiversity, and food security. Tools to detect the presence of such oomycetes with a sufficiently high throughput and broad scope are currently not part of international phytosanitary testing regimes. In this work, DNA metabarcoding targeting the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region was employed to broadly detect and identify oomycetes present in soil from internationally shipped plants. This method was compared to traditional isolation-based detection and identification after an enrichment step. DNA metabarcoding showed widespread presence of potentially plant pathogenic Phytophthora and Pythium species in internationally transported rhizospheric soil with Pythium being the overall most abundant genus observed. Baiting, a commonly employed enrichment method for Phytophthora species, led to an increase of golden-brown algae in the soil samples, but did not increase the relative or absolute abundance of potentially plant pathogenic oomycetes. Metabarcoding of rhizospheric soil yielded DNA sequences corresponding to oomycete isolates obtained after enrichment and identified them correctly but did not always detect the isolated oomycetes in the same samples. This work provides a proof of concept and outlines necessary improvements for the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) and metabarcoding as a standalone phytosanitary assessment tool for broad detection and identification of plant pathogenic oomycetes.

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Abstract

Simple Summary: One of the main insect pests in protected strawberry production are thrips, but little is known about which species of thrips are present in the production system. In this study, we identified the thrips species of adults and larvae present in two strawberry cultivars at a commercial strawberry farm in Denmark. The most abundant species found were Frankliniella intonsa, followed by Thrips tabaci. The abundance of thrips peaked in July (temperature range 18–23 ◦C, mean humidity 65%, mean precipitation 5 mm). More thrips were found in the earlier flowering cultivar. In order to optimize control of thrips, a fundamental first step is knowing which species are present on the target crop. Abstract: Thrips are a major pest in protected strawberry production. Knowledge of thrips species composition could be instrumental for improved thrips management, but very little is known about which species are present in strawberries grown in high-tunnels in Denmark. Thrips (adults and larvae) were sampled in two strawberry tunnels of the cultivars Murano and Furore from May to August 2018, in the middle and in the edges of the tunnels. The most abundant thrips species found in the tunnels were Frankliniella intonsa and Thrips tabaci adults. Frankliniella intonsa were also the most frequently found species of the immatures sampled, followed by T. tabaci larvae, and other species. The number of thrips differed between the two cultivars, sampling times and location in the tunnel. Frankliniella intonsa was more abundant in the middle of the tunnels, while T. tabaci was more abundant in the edge of the tunnels adjacent to the field margins. The number of thrips peaked by the end of July. Both chemical and biological control should consider species composition and occurrence; hence, a fundamental first step for thrips management is to identify the species present on the target crop.

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Abstract

Knowledge about the connectivity among natural populations is essential to identify management units for effective conservation actions. Conservation-minded management has led to the recovery of large carnivore populations in northern Europe, possibly restoring connectivity between the two separated, but expanding brown bear (Ursus arctos) populations on the Scandinavian peninsula to the west and Karelia, a part of the large Eurasian population, to the east. The degree of connectivity between these populations has been poorly understood, therefore we investigated the extent of connectivity between the two populations using autosomal microsatellites and Y chromosome haplotypes in 924 male bears (the dispersing sex), sampled during a period of 12 years (2005–2017) across the transborder area where these two populations meet. Our results showed that the two populations are not genetically isolated as reported in earlier studies. We detected recent asymmetrical gene flow at a rate (individuals per generation) of 4.6–5.5 (1%) from Karelia into Scandinavia, whereas the rate was approximately 27.1–34.5 (8%) in the opposite direction. We estimated historical gene flow of effective number of migrants to be between 1.7 and 2.5 between the populations. Analyses of Y chromosome markers supported these results. Successful recovery and expansion of both populations led to the restoration of connectivity, however, it is asymmetric, possibly due to different recovery histories and population densities. By aligning monitoring between neighboring countries, we were able to better understand the biological processes across the relevant spatial scale. Brown bear Genetic structure Male gene flow Microsatellites Migration Recovery Ursus arctos Wildlife monitoring Y chromosome

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The use of biomass from forest harvesting residues or stumps for bioenergy has been increasing in the northern European region in the last decade. The present analysis is a regional review from Nordic and UK coniferous forests, focusing on the effects of whole-tree harvesting (WTH) or whole-tree thinning (WTT) and of WTH followed by stump removal (WTH + S) on the forest floor and mineral soil, and includes a wider array of chemistry data than other existing meta-analyses. All intensified treaments led to significant decreases of soil organic carbon (SOC) stock and total N stock in the forest floor (FF), but relative responses compared with stem-only harvesting were less consistent in the topsoil (TS) and no effects were detected in the subsoil (SS). Exchangeable P was reduced in the FF and TS both after WTT and WTH, but significant changes in exchangeable Ca, K, Mg and Zn depended on soil layer and treatment. WTH significantly lowered pH and base saturation (BS) in the FF, but without apparent changes in cation exchange capacity (CEC). The only significant WTH-effects in the SS were reductions in CEC and BS. Spruce- and pine-dominated stands had comparable negative relative responses in the FF for most elements measured except Mg and for pH. Relative responses to intensified harvesting scaled positively with growing season temperature and precipitation for most variables, most strongly in FF, less in the TS, but almost never in the SS, but were negative for P and Al. The greater reduction in FF and TS for soil organic carbon after intensive harvesting decreased with time and meta-regression models predicted an average duration of 20–30 years, while many other chemical parameters generally showed linear effects for 30–45 years after intensified harvesting. Exchangeable acidity (EA), BS and pH all showed the reversed effect with time, i.e. an initial increase and then gradual decrease over 24–45 years. The subsoil never showed a significant temporal effect. Our results generally support greater reductions in nutrient concentrations, SOC and total N in forest soil after WTH compared with SOH in northern temperate and boreal forest ecosystems.

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Cultivated peatlands under drainage practices contribute significant carbon losses from agricultural sector in the Nordic countries. In this research, we developed the BASGRA-BGC model coupled with hydrological, soil carbon decomposition and methane modules to simulate the dynamic of water table level (WTL), carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) emissions for cultivated peatlands. The field measurements from four experimental sites in Finland, Denmark and Norway were used to validate the predictive skills of this novel model under different WTL management practices, climatic conditions and soil properties. Compared with daily observations, the model performed well in terms of RMSE (Root Mean Square Error; 0.06–0.11 m, 1.22–2.43 gC/m2/day, and 0.002–0.330 kgC/ha/day for WTL, CO2 and CH4, respectively), NRMSE (Normalized Root Mean Square Error; 10.3–18.3%, 13.0–18.6%, 15.3–21.9%) and Pearson's r (Pearson correlation coefficient; 0.60–0.91, 0.76–0.88, 0.33–0.80). The daily/seasonal variabilities were therefore captured and the aggregated results corresponded well with annual estimations. We further provided an example on the model's potential use in improving the WTL management to mitigate CO2 and CH4 emissions while maintaining grass production. At all study sites, the simulated WTLs and carbon decomposition rates showed a significant negative correlation. Therefore, controlling WTL could effectively reduce carbon losses. However, given the highly diverse carbon decomposition rates within individual WTLs, adding indi-cators (e.g. soil moisture and peat quality) would improve our capacity to assess the effectiveness of specificmitigation practices such as WTL control and rewetting.

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Abstract

Anthropogenic emissions of nitrogen (N) and sulphur (S) compounds and their long-range transport have caused widespread negative impacts on different ecosystems. Critical loads (CLs) are deposition thresholds used to describe the sensitivity of ecosystems to atmospheric deposition. The CL methodology has been a key science-based tool for assessing the environmental consequences of air pollution. We computed CLs for eutrophication and acidification using a European long-term dataset of intensively studied forested ecosystem sites (n = 17) in northern and central Europe. The sites belong to the ICP IM and eLTER networks. The link between the site-specific calculations and time-series of CL exceedances and measured site data was evaluated using long-term measurements (1990–2017) for bulk deposition, throughfall and runoff water chemistry. Novel techniques for presenting exceedances of CLs and their temporal development were also developed. Concentrations and fluxes of sulphate, total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) and acidity in deposition substantially decreased at the sites. Decreases in S deposition resulted in statistically significant decreased concentrations and fluxes of sulphate in runoff and decreasing trends of TIN in runoff were more common than increasing trends. The temporal developments of the exceedance of the CLs indicated the more effective reductions of S deposition compared to N at the sites. There was a relation between calculated exceedance of the CLs and measured runoff water concentrations and fluxes, and most sites with higher CL exceedances showed larger decreases in both TIN and H+ concentrations and fluxes. Sites with higher cumulative exceedance of eutrophication CLs (averaged over 3 and 30 years) generally showed higher TIN concentrations in runoff. The results provided evidence on the link between CL exceedances and empirical impacts, increasing confidence in the methodology used for the European-scale CL calculations. The results also confirm that emission abatement actions are having their intended effects on CL exceedances and ecosystem impacts.

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Abstract

Aiming for sustainable development of food value chains several assessment methods are developed, however it seems challenging to go from assessment to actual change. A solution proposed is increased stakeholder involvement also in the assessment phase. The perspective on sustainability varies depending on several variables, among which the geographical context where the producers are located. The perspective of the latter is of paramount importance as these are the actors on who, ultimately, possible changes towards sustainability depend. In this article, we applied a qualitative approach to investigate the farmers’ perspective on sustainability, in the horticultural production in Arctic Norway. We found that many of the premises for sustainable food production are present. The main challenges are lack of long-term planning, dependency of rented land as well as fluctuating yield and income. Producer’s network is essential for development as well as introduction of technical improvements. The study shows the importance of contextualisation of sustainability, as well as pointing at concerns about trade-offs between sustainability dimensions and themes in the proposed model. The research contributes to method development by demonstrating how a qualitative approach is a fruitful method to unravel the complexities of sustainability in food production.

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There is widespread agreement that society must urgently go over to renewable energy and that effective participation is crucial for a sustainable transition. Recent literature highlights that the quality of participatory planning is decisive for the acceptance of renewable energy technologies. However, social science research on the issue is dominated by single case studies and the quality of the participatory processes has been rarely studied across wider regional contexts. We present the results of a comparative qualitative inventory of innovative practices from 25 projects in 12 countries in three supra-national European regions. We assessed participation quality according to three analytical dimensions: rationale, inclusiveness, and participation level. An instrumental rationale, broad inclusiveness, and a participation level of consulting or informing was a combination that was commonly perceived as an innovative participatory practice in most regional contexts. We found a tendency towards more advanced practices in Western Europe, compared to Southern, and Eastern Europe. However, practices that were considered to be innovative in the latter regions still provide important lessons within their geographical contexts.

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Wildlife species living in proximity with humans often suffer from various anthropogenic factors. Here, we focus on the endangered Saimaa ringed seal (Pusa hispida saimensis), which lives in close connection with humans in Lake Saimaa, Finland. This unique endemic population has remained landlocked since the last glacial period, and it currently consists of only ~400 individuals. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the Saimaa ringed seal, identify the main risk factors and discuss the efficacy of conservation actions put in place to ensure its long-term survival. The main threats for this rare subspecies are bycatch mortality, habitat destruction and increasingly mild winters. Climate change, together with small population size and an extremely impoverished gene pool, forms a new severe threat. The main conservation actions and priorities for the Saimaa ringed seal are implementation of fishing closures, land-use planning, protected areas, and reduction of pup mortality. Novel innovations, such as provisioning of artificial nest structures, may become increasingly important in the future. Although the Saimaa ringed seal still faces the risk of extinction, the current positive trend in the number of seals shows that endangered wildlife populations can recover even in regions with considerable human inhabitation, when legislative protection is combined with intensive research, engagement of local inhabitants, and innovative conservation actions. Such multifaceted conservation approaches are needed in a world with a growing human population and a rapidly changing climate.

Abstract

Traditional landscape photographs reaching back until the second half of the nineteenth century represent a valuable image source for the study of long-term landscape change. Due to the oblique perspective and the lack of geographical reference, landscape photographs are hardly used for quantitative research. In this study, oblique landscape photographs from the Norwegian landscape monitoring program are georeferenced using the WSL Monoplotting Tool with the aim of evaluating the accuracy of point and polygon features. In addition, the study shows how the resolution of the chosen digital terrain model and other factors affect accuracy. Points mapped on the landscape photograph had a mean displacement of 1.52 m from their location on a corresponding aerial photograph, while mapped areas deviated on average 5.6% in size. The resolution of the DTM, the placement of GCPs and the angle of incidence were identified as relevant factors to achieve accurate geospatial data. An example on forest expansion at the abandoned mountain farm Flysetra in Mid-Norway demonstrates how repeat photography facilitates the georectification process in the absence of reliable ground control points (GCPs) in very old photographs.