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 (350)

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Berry fruits (such as strawberry – Fragaria × ananassa, raspberry – Rubus idaeus, blackberry – Rubus fruticosus, currants – Ribes sp., blueberry – Vaccinium sp., and many others) are known for their health benefits due to their richness in sugars, acids, vitamins, minerals, phenolics, and other nutrients. However, their contents are influenced by various factors, such as species, berry cultivar, ripeness, geographical origin, and growing conditions, and the type of extraction and processing of raw seed material. Generally, the berry industry for juice and fruit-wine production produces vast amounts of by-products (mostly seeds). Since berry seeds contain lipids, these by-products are very interesting as a raw material for oil production. As berry seed oil production generates certain waste, strategies towards reducing and valorizing need to be developed. Unlike beery fruits and berry seed oil, whose composition has been tested many times so far, berry seed oil by-products were the subject of a small number of published papers. Due to chemical richness and heterogeneity, it is expected that berry seed oil by-products to be promising natural bio-resource. Still, it is necessary to consider how many other biologically valuable compounds remain in seed waste.

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Persian walnut (or English walnut) growing dates back to 7000 BC in Persia, a gene center of Juglans regia L. The top leading countries in walnut production are China, the USA, and Iran accounting for ~75% of world production. Nuts are an essential component in human nutrition because their consumption provides the required amount of energy (720 kcal per 100 g of fruits), unsaturated fatty acids, carbohydrates, proteins, fibers, sterols, tocopherols, minerals (K, P, Ca, Mg, and Na), volatiles, and other bioactive constituents. In addition, walnut kernels are rich in oil (50–70%) and protein, depending on the cultivar, location, and irrigation rate. Although mostly consumed raw, walnut kernels are increasingly processed by cold pressing into light yellow edible oil used in foods as flavoring, like salad dressings or cooking. Walnut oil is especially valued for its high content of essential fatty acids (linoleic and linolenic acids) and micronutrients such as phytosterols, squalene, and other tree nut oils polyphenols, and tocopherols. As by-products, both shell and cold-pressed cake from walnut that remains after the cold pressing process of oil can be used in various ways (food, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, or textile industry). Especially residual walnut press cake is practical when used in food and in pharmacy, mostly integrated into other products. The reason for treating residual cake as a value-added product lies in the fact that defatted cake is generally rich in polar phenolic compounds and, as a source of natural antioxidants, is expected to show significant antioxidant activity. The most abundant polyphenols found in walnut oil cake are hydrolyzable tannins. In addition, press cake is rich in dietary fiber, protein, residual oil, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and tocopherol, all considered health-enhancing components. Therefore, by using walnut oil cake as a low-cost product, many aspects connected with the valorization of food wastes are covered, such as consumers' dietary habits, economy, and environmental protection.

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Survey-grade laser scanners suitable for drones (UAV-LS) allow the efficient collection of finely detailed three-dimensional (3D) information on tree structures allowing to resolve the complexity of the forest into discrete individual trees and species as well as into different component of the tree. Current developments are hindered by the limited availability of survey-grade UAV-LS data and by the lack of a publicly available benchmark dataset for developing and validating methods. We present a new benchmarking dataset composed of manually labelled UAV-LS data covering forests in different continents and eco-regions. Such data consists in single-tree point clouds, with each point classified as either stem, branches, and leaves. This benchmark dataset offers new possibilities to develop single-tree segmentation algorithms and validate existing ones.

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This assessment by the Environmental Effects Assessment Panel (EEAP) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) provides the latest scientific update since our most recent comprehensive assessment (Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences, 2019, 18, 595–828). The interactive effects between the stratospheric ozone layer, solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and climate change are presented within the framework of the Montreal Protocol and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We address how these global environmental changes affect the atmosphere and air quality; human health; terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems; biogeochemical cycles; and materials used in outdoor construction, solar energy technologies, and fabrics. In many cases, there is a growing influence from changes in seasonality and extreme events due to climate change. Additionally, we assess the transmission and environmental effects of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, in the context of linkages with solar UV radiation and the Montreal Protocol.

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Predicting N mineralization from green manure in different soil types during the cold season is instrumental for improving crop management with higher N use efficiency and reduced risks of N losses in a cool and humid climate. The objective of our work was to study the effects of low temperatures and soil type on the net nitrogen (N) mineralization and the relationship between N and carbon (C) mineralization from N-rich plant material. A silty clay loam and a sandy loam were incubated with or without clover leaves for 80 days at 0, 4, 8.5 or 15 ◦C. The results showed a substantial mineralization of N in clover leaves (7% of N added), unaffected by temperature, already on 3rd day. This was followed by net N immobilization for about 4 weeks in the clay soil, with similar tendencies in the sandy soil, and more severely at the higher than the lower temperatures. After 80 days of incubation, net N mineralization was only 13–22% of total N in clover leaves. The ratio of net mineralized N to C was higher at lower temperatures, and higher in the sandy than in the clay soil. After the immobilization period, the N mineralization increased, positively related to temperature, and the ratio of net mineralized N to C became constant. In conclusion, low temperature during the initial phase of mineralization altered the ratio between net N and C mineralization from easily decomposable plant material, and the net N mineralization occurred more rapidly in the sandy soil. The change in stoichiometry at low temperatures, as well as the modifying effect of soil type, should be considered when predicting N mineralization of N-rich plant material.

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Motivation Trait variation within species can reveal plastic and/or genetic responses to environmental gradients, and may indicate where local adaptation has occurred. Here, we present a dataset of rangewide variation in leaf traits from seven of the most ecologically and economically important tree species in Europe. Sample collection and trait assessment are embedded in the GenTree project (EU-Horizon 2020), which aims at characterizing the genetic and phenotypic variability of forest tree species to optimize the management and sustainable use of forest genetic resources. Our dataset captures substantial intra- and interspecific leaf phenotypic variability, and provides valuable information for studying the relationship between ecosystem functioning and trait variability of individuals, and the response and resilience of species to environmental changes. Main types of variable contained We chose morphological and chemical characters linked to trade-offs between acquisition and conservation of resources and water use, namely specific leaf area, leaf size, carbon and nitrogen content and their ratio, and the isotopic signature of stable isotope 13C and 15N in leaves. Spatial location and grain We surveyed between 18 and 22 populations per species, 141 in total, across Europe. Time period Leaf sampling took place between 2016 and 2017. Major taxa and level of measurement We sampled at least 25 individuals in each population, 3,569 trees in total, and measured traits in 35,755 leaves from seven European tree species, i.e. the conifers Picea abies, Pinus pinaster and Pinus sylvestris, and the broadleaves Betula pendula, Fagus sylvatica, Populus nigra and Quercus petraea. Software format The data files are in ASCII text, tab delimited, not compressed.

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Background Progress in the field of evolutionary forest ecology has been hampered by the huge challenge of phenotyping trees across their ranges in their natural environments, and the limitation in high-resolution environmental information. Findings The GenTree Platform contains phenotypic and environmental data from 4,959 trees from 12 ecologically and economically important European forest tree species: Abies alba Mill. (silver fir), Betula pendula Roth. (silver birch), Fagus sylvatica L. (European beech), Picea abies (L.) H. Karst (Norway spruce), Pinus cembra L. (Swiss stone pine), Pinus halepensis Mill. (Aleppo pine), Pinus nigra Arnold (European black pine), Pinus pinaster Aiton (maritime pine), Pinus sylvestris L. (Scots pine), Populus nigra L. (European black poplar), Taxus baccata L. (English yew), and Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl. (sessile oak). Phenotypic (height, diameter at breast height, crown size, bark thickness, biomass, straightness, forking, branch angle, fructification), regeneration, environmental in situ measurements (soil depth, vegetation cover, competition indices), and environmental modeling data extracted by using bilinear interpolation accounting for surrounding conditions of each tree (precipitation, temperature, insolation, drought indices) were obtained from trees in 194 sites covering the species’ geographic ranges and reflecting local environmental gradients. Conclusion The GenTree Platform is a new resource for investigating ecological and evolutionary processes in forest trees. The coherent phenotyping and environmental characterization across 12 species in their European ranges allow for a wide range of analyses from forest ecologists, conservationists, and macro-ecologists. Also, the data here presented can be linked to the GenTree Dendroecological collection, the GenTree Leaf Trait collection, and the GenTree Genomic collection presented elsewhere, which together build the largest evolutionary forest ecology data collection available.

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Across North America, forests dominated by Quercus rubra L. (northern red oak), a moderately shade-tolerant tree species, are undergoing successional replacement by shade-tolerant competitors. Under closed canopies, Q. rubra seedlings are unable to compete with these shade-tolerant species and do not recruit to upper forest strata. In Europe, natural regeneration of introduced Q. rubra is often successful despite the absence of fire, which promotes regeneration in the native range. Considering that understorey light availability is a major factor affecting recruitment of seedlings, we hypothesized that Q. rubra seedlings are more shade tolerant in the introduced range than in the native range. Morphological traits and biomass allocation patterns of seedlings indicative of shade tolerance were compared for Q. rubra and three co-occurring native species in two closed-canopy forests in the native range (Ontario, Canada) and introduced range (Baden-Württemburg, Germany). In the native range, Q. rubra allocated a greater proportion of biomass to roots, while in the introduced range, growth and allocation patterns favored the development of leaves. Q. rubra seedlings had greater annual increases in height, diameter and biomass in the introduced range. Q. rubra seedlings in the introduced range were also younger; however, they had a mean area per leaf and a total leaf area per seedling that were five times greater than seedlings in the native range. Such differences in morphological traits and allocation patterns support the hypothesis that Q. rubra expresses greater shade tolerance in the introduced range, and that natural regeneration of Q. rubra is not as limited by shade as in the native range. The ability of Q. rubra seedlings to grow faster under closed canopies in Europe may explain the discrepancy in regeneration success of this species in native and introduced ranges. Future research should confirm findings of this study over a greater geographical range in native and introduced ecosystems, and examine the genetic and environmental bases of observed differences in plant traits.

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Essential oils are liquid mixtures of volatile compounds extracted from plants. Their quality is usually controlled via gas chromatography (GC), although with limitations when adulterants are nonvolatile substances. The essential oils of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia Mill.), peppermint (Mentha piperita L.), patchouli (Pogostemon cablin Benth), and their adulterated versions were measured by GC coupled to flame ionization detector (GC-FID) and Raman spectroscopy. Canola oil, a nonvolatile substance, was used as the adulterant. The adulterated essential oils contained 1%, 3%, 5%, 10%, 15%, and 20% (v/v) of canola oil. Chromatograms of the adulterated essential oils containing 20% (v/v) of canola oil showed decrements in peak areas of the essential oil components, compared with peaks of the pure essential oils. The highest decrements were observed for the adulterated essential oil of patchouli. In general, detection of adulterated essential oils by simple visual inspection of the Raman features was difficult, due to slight differences observed in the spectra. Principal Components Analysis (PCA) allowed achieving a good spectral discrimination between pure and adulterated essential oils. These results suggest that Raman spectroscopy can overcome limitations of GC-based methods, thus becoming an interesting alternative and complementary technique for quality control of essential oils.

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In March 2021, following the annual International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) ratification vote on newly proposed taxa, the phylum Negarnaviricota was amended and emended. The phylum was expanded by four families (Aliusviridae, Crepuscuviridae, Myriaviridae, and Natareviridae), three subfamilies (Alpharhabdovirinae, Betarhabdovirinae, and Gammarhabdovirinae), 42 genera, and 200 species. Thirty-nine species were renamed and/or moved and seven species were abolished. This article presents the updated taxonomy of Negarnaviricota as now accepted by the ICTV.

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We synthesized 20 years of research to explain the interrelated processes that determine soil and plant responses to biochar. The properties of biochar and its effects within agricultural ecosystems largely depend on feedstock and pyrolysis conditions. We describe three stages of reactions of biochar in soil: dissolution (1–3 weeks); reactive surface development (1–6 months); and aging (beyond 6 months). As biochar ages, it is incorporated into soil aggregates, protecting the biochar carbon and promoting the stabilization of rhizodeposits and microbial products. Biochar carbon persists in soil for hundreds to thousands of years. By increasing pH, porosity, and water availability, biochars can create favorable conditions for root development and microbial functions. Biochars can catalyze biotic and abiotic reactions, particularly in the rhizosphere, that increase nutrient supply and uptake by plants, reduce phytotoxins, stimulate plant development, and increase resilience to disease and environmental stressors. Meta-analyses found that, on average, biochars increase P availability by a factor of 4.6; decrease plant tissue concentration of heavy metals by 17%–39%; build soil organic carbon through negative priming by 3.8% (range −21% to +20%); and reduce non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions from soil by 12%–50%. Meta-analyses show average crop yield increases of 10%–42% with biochar addition, with greatest increases in low-nutrient P-sorbing acidic soils (common in the tropics), and in sandy soils in drylands due to increase in nutrient retention and water holding capacity. Studies report a wide range of plant responses to biochars due to the diversity of biochars and contexts in which biochars have been applied. Crop yields increase strongly if site-specific soil constraints and nutrient and water limitations are mitigated by appropriate biochar formulations. Biochars can be tailored to address site constraints through feedstock selection, by modifying pyrolysis conditions, through pre- or post-production treatments, or co-application with organic or mineral fertilizers. We demonstrate how, when used wisely, biochar mitigates climate change and supports food security and the circular economy.

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A new species of Phasmarhabditis was isolated from the slug, Polytoxon robustum, from Nairobi, Kenya. The nematode was identified using morphological, morphometric, molecular and phylogenetic analyses. Phasmarhabditis kenyaensis n. sp. is characterised by an infective juvenile with the longest body length in the genus, measuring 1232 (1107-1336) μm, by the presence of males with a bursa bearing nine bilateral pairs of genital bursal papillae and one pair of papilliform phasmids flanking the tail, cephalate paired spicules, with an arc length of 71 (57-81) μm, as well as by females with a vulva located at the mid-body region and a conoid tail shape, with two phasmids located at ca 40% of the tail length. The molecular phylogeny of the new species, as inferred from its SSU (small subunit) rRNA gene, places P. kenyaensis n. sp. genetically close to undescribed phasmarhabditids from South Africa, suggesting an African grouping, while the D2-D3 (large ribosomal subunit) and ITS region analyses relate P. kenyaensis n. sp. to P. meridionalis, with weak bootstrap support. This is the third new Phasmarhabditis species described from the African continent, the new species bringing the total known complement of the genus to 14 species. A morphometric compendium to all species cultured in vivo is supplied.

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Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine) is the most widespread coniferous tree in the boreal forests of Eurasia, with major economic and ecological importance. However, its large and repetitive genome presents a challenge for conducting genome-wide analyses such as association studies, genetic mapping and genomic selection. We present a new 50K single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping array for Scots pine research, breeding and other applications. To select the SNP set, we first genotyped 480 Scots pine samples on a 407 540 SNP screening array and identified 47 712 high-quality SNPs for the final array (called ‘PiSy50k’). Here, we provide details of the design and testing, as well as allele frequency estimates from the discovery panel, functional annotation, tissue-specific expression patterns and expression level information for the SNPs or corresponding genes, when available. We validated the performance of the PiSy50k array using samples from Finland and Scotland. Overall, 39 678 (83.2%) SNPs showed low error rates (mean = 0.9%). Relatedness estimates based on array genotypes were consistent with the expected pedigrees, and the level of Mendelian error was negligible. In addition, array genotypes successfully discriminate between Scots pine populations of Finnish and Scottish origins. The PiSy50k SNP array will be a valuable tool for a wide variety of future genetic studies and forestry applications.

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In 2016, the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) endorsed The Arctic as a Food Producing Region research project. Involving research teams from Iceland, Norway, Canada, Greenland, and Russia, the objective of the project was to assess the potential for increased production and added value of foods originating from the Arctic, with the overarching aim of improving food security, while enhancing the social and economic conditions of Arctic communities. Although the Arctic was recognised as an important food-producing region, there was a shared sense that the Arctic was not meeting its full potential, either in terms of satisfying local food needs or for maximising its domestic or international export potential. Yet beyond speculation, much of which was informed by individual or anecdotal experience, there was little understanding of the current production capacities of Arctic food sectors or where opportunities may lie for sustainable growth. The aim of the project was, therefore, threefold: (1) complete an inventory of the current levels of Arctic food production in terms of products, volumes, revenues; (2) identify the constraints and opportunities for increased production value-added opportunities; and (3) identify potential pathways and new value chains for expanding Arctic food production and distribution opportunities. .............

Abstract

Soil surfactants are applied to alleviate soil water repellency (SWR). The ability of surfactants to improve turfgrass quality under dry conditions is well documented, but less information exists about their role in situations with water surplus. Our objective was to study responses to monthly application of the surfactant Qualibra (20 L ha–1) under dry and wet conditions on a sand-based green covered with creeping bentgrass. Dry conditions implied irrigation to field capacity (FC) once a week (FC1) in 2014 (a year with warm and dry weather from May through July) and deficit irrigation to 60% of FC once a week (DEF1) in 2015 (May through July cool and wet). Wet conditions implied excessive irrigation twice a week (EX2) with 50% more water than needed to replenish FC. The surfactant decreased the average soil water content of the surface 7.5 cm of the root zone from 0.193 to 0.168 m3 m–3 in 2014 and from 0.191 to 0.171 m3 m–3 in 2015. In 2015, the reduction in SWC was stronger with EX2 than with DEF1 irrigation, and this was accompanied by less organic matter accumulation on plots receiving EX2 irrigation. The surfactant reduced the water drop penetration time (WDPT) regardless of irrigation treatments, but improved turfgrass quality only with DEF1 irrigation in 2015. A harder playing surface due to Qualibra was not observed in 2014 and only at one out of six observations with EX2 irrigation in 2015. We conclude that surfactants imply various benefits depending on water supply.

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Crop residue incorporation is a common practice to increase or restore organic matter stocks in agricultural soils. However, this practice often increases emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O). Previous meta-analyses have linked various biochemical properties of crop residues to N2O emissions, but the relationships between these properties have been overlooked, hampering our ability to predict N2O emissions from specific residues. Here we combine comprehensive databases for N2O emissions from crop residues and crop residue biochemical characteristics with a random-meta-forest approach, to develop a predictive framework of crop residue effects on N2O emissions. On average, crop residue incorporation increased soil N2O emissions by 43% compared to residue removal, however crop residues led to both increases and reductions in N2O emissions. Crop residue effects on N2O emissions were best predicted by easily degradable fractions (i.e. water soluble carbon, soluble Van Soest fraction (NDS)), structural fractions and N returned with crop residues. The relationship between these biochemical properties and N2O emissions differed widely in terms of form and direction. However, due to the strong correlations among these properties, we were able to develop a simplified classification for crop residues based on the stage of physiological maturity of the plant at which the residue was generated. This maturity criteria provided the most robust and yet simple approach to categorize crop residues according to their potential to regulate N2O emissions. Immature residues (high water soluble carbon, soluble NDS and total N concentration, low relative cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin fractions, and low C:N ratio) strongly stimulated N2O emissions, whereas mature residues with opposite characteristics had marginal effects on N2O. The most important crop types belonging to the immature residue group – cover crops, grasslands and vegetables – are important for the delivery of multiple ecosystem services. Thus, these residues should be managed properly to avoid their potentially high N2O emissions.

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The complete chloroplast genome sequence of wild sea mallow Malva wigandii (=Lavatera maritima) was determined and characterized in this study. The genome is 158,162 bp long, containing a pair of inverted repeats regions (IRs) of 25,166 bp, which are separated by a large single-copy region of 86,860 bp and a small single-copy region of 20,970 bp. The sea mallow chloroplast genome has 131 known genes, including 85 protein-coding genes, eight ribosomal RNA genes, and 37 tRNA genes. The phylogenomic analysis showed that M. wigandii forms a cluster with Althaea officinalis with a strong bootstrap support and is sister to sequences belonging to the tribe Gossypieae. All of them are grouped in a lineage with other members of the subfamily Malvoideae. This newly sequenced chloroplast genome sequence provides useful genetic information to explore the origin and evolution of the Mediterranean radiation that gave rise to the generic alliance of Malva.

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WaterGAP is a global hydrological model that quantifies human use of groundwater and surface water as well as water flows and water storage and thus water resources on all land areas of the Earth. Since 1996, it has served to assess water resources and water stress both historically and in the future, in particular under climate change. It has improved our understanding of continental water storage variations, with a focus on overexploitation and depletion of water resources. In this paper, we describe the most recent model version WaterGAP 2.2d, including the water use models, the linking model that computes net abstractions from groundwater and surface water and the WaterGAP Global Hydrology Model (WGHM). Standard model output variables that are freely available at a data repository are explained. In addition, the most requested model outputs, total water storage anomalies, streamflow and water use, are evaluated against observation data. Finally, we show examples of assessments of the global freshwater system that can be achieved with WaterGAP 2.2d model output.

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The genus Metarhizium is composed of species used in biological control programs of agricultural pests worldwide. This genus includes common fungal pathogen of many insects and mites and endophytes that can increase plant growth. Metarhizium humberi was recently described as a new species. This species is highly virulent against some insect pests and promotes growth in sugarcane, strawberry, and soybean crops. In this study, we sequenced the genome of M. humberi, isolate ESALQ1638, and performed a functional analysis to determine its genomic signatures and highlight the genes and biological processes associated with its lifestyle. The genome annotation predicted 10633 genes in M. humberi, of which 92.0% are assigned putative functions, and ∼17% of the genome was annotated as repetitive sequences. We found that 18.5% of the M. humberi genome is similar to experimentally validated proteins associated with pathogen–host interaction. Compared to the genomes of eight Metarhizium species, the M. humberi ESALQ1638 genome revealed some unique traits that stood out, e.g., more genes functionally annotated as polyketide synthases (PKSs), overrepresended GO-terms associated to transport of ions, organic and amino acid, a higher percentage of repetitive elements, and higher levels of RIP-induced point mutations. The M. humberi genome will serve as a resource for promoting studies on genome structure and evolution that can contribute to research on biological control and plant biostimulation. Thus, the genomic data supported the broad host range of this species within the generalist PARB clade and suggested that M. humberi ESALQ1638 might be particularly good at producing secondary metabolites and might be more efficient in transporting amino acids and organic compounds.

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Forests are the dominant land cover in Nordic–Baltic countries, and forestry, the management of forests for improved ecosystem-service (ES) delivery, is an important contributor to sustainability. Forests and forestry support multiple United Nations Sustainability Goals (UN SDGs) and a number of EU policies, and can address conflicting environmental goals. Forests provide multiple ecosystem services and natural solutions, including wood and fibre production, food, clear and clean water and air, animal and plant habitats, soil formation, aesthetics, and cultural and social services. Carbon sequestered by growing trees is a key factor in the envisaged transition from a fossil-based to a biobased economy. Here, we highlight the possibilities of forest-based solutions to mitigate current and emerging societal challenges. We discuss forestry effects on forest ecosystems, focusing on the optimisation of ES delivery and the fulfilment of UN SDGs while counteracting unwanted effects. In particular, we highlight the trilemma of (i) increasing wood production to substitute raw fossil materials, (ii) increasing forest carbon storage capacity, and (iii) improving forest biodiversity and other ES delivery.

Abstract

This research aimed to determine if creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) can be used as an alternative to colonial bentgrass (Agrostis capillaris L.) in a mixture with red fescue [equal rates of Chewings fescue (Festuca rubra ssp. commutata Gaud.) and slender creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra ssp. littoralis [G. Mey.] Auquier)] on Nordic golf greens managed without pesticides. The two mixtures were compared in two experiments: Experiment 1 under the creeping bentgrass management regime (mowing height, 3 mm; fertilization, 15 g N m−2 yr−1) and Experiment 2 under the red fescue management regime (5 mm and 10 g N m−2 yr−1) at three sites during 2015–2018. A seed mixture of red fescue and velvet bentgrass (Agrostis canina L.) was included in Experiment 2 only. The results showed that red fescue plus creeping bentgrass produced greens of equal turfgrass quality and with less Microdochium patch than red fescue plus colonial bentgrass under both regimes. In Experiment 2, red fescue plus velvet bentgrass resulted in higher turfgrass quality than the other mixtures but was more susceptible to Microdochium patch than red fescue plus creeping bentgrass. Tiller counts in the mixed plots at Landvik showed that red fescue was not outcompeted by bentgrass in any of the mixtures and that it was easier to manipulate the balance between red fescue and bentgrass in the mixture with creeping bentgrass than that with colonial bentgrass. More research should be put into optimal management, especially irrigation and thatch control, of mixed red fescue–bentgrass greens.

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Dead greens in spring due to winterkill is common on Nordic golf courses. The objective of this research was to evaluate drop seeding, spike seeding and slit seeding of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.‘007’) and rough bluegrass (Poa trivialis L.) in comparison with an unseeded control treatment for reestablishment of annual bluegrass (Poa annua L.) putting greens after winterkill. Three trials were conducted on golf courses in Central Sweden (60–61° N, 15–16° E 70–170 m a.s.l.); two in 2017 with soil temperatures varying from 6 to 16 °C during the trial period, and one in 2018 with temperatures varying from 13 to 26 °C. On average for the three trials, turfgrass coverage 4 and 6 wk after seeding was better with spike seeding or slit seeding than with drop seeding which was not different from the unseeded control. Creeping bent grass and rough bluegrass coverage did not differ on average for three trials but slit seeded rough bluegrass had better coverage after 4 wk than any of the other treatments on average for the two trials in 2017. Together with the evaluation of seed mixtures in the SCANGREEN program, this research shows that slit seeding of rough bluegrass can be recommended for faster recovery of winterkilled annual bluegrass greens in central and northern parts of the Nordic countries. Rough bluegrass can either be seeded alone to enable faster golf course opening, or it can be seeded in mixture with creeping bentgrass as part of a long-term strategy to replace annual bluegrass with creeping bentgrass.

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Introduction Atlantic salmon in the River Klarälven in Sweden live the entire life in freshwater, undertaking feeding migrations to Lake Vänern. The upper part of the watershed is in Norway and comprises the River Trysilelva and associated rivers and lakes. Atlantic salmon previously lived in the Norwegian part of the watershed but were lost due to the construction of 11 hydropower stations that block the upstream migration from Vänern. The power stations also cause a high mortality among downstream migrating fish. Tagging studies showed that there is 71-84% mortality of juveniles (smolts) and 100% mortality of adults during downstream migration past the eight lowermost power stations. Extensive mitigation measures are needed to reduce the mortality of downstream migrants and reestablish a population that can reach areas in Norway naturally without being captured in Sweden and transported to Norway. In 2015, the total costs of establishing fishways bypassing the power stations and securing safe downstream migration was estimated to be 1000 million SEK. To compensate for a decline of salmon due to lost habitat, hatchery-produced juveniles have been released in the watershed for more than 100 years, and adult salmon have been captured in the lower reaches of Klarälven and released in upstream reaches. After the Höljes power station was built, 80% of the salmon transported upstream were released upstream of Höljes. In 1993, the Norwegian government stopped these releases due to the large mortality of downstream migrating fish at the power stations. The releases had already been stopped from late summer 1988 due to bacterial kidney disease (BKD) outbreaks in salmon populations in the watershed. Since 1988, transported fish have been released upstream of Edsforsen in Sweden, and have not been able to reach Norway. Aim of report The Norwegian Environment Agency asked VKM to carry out a risk assessment of three specified methods that can be used to reestablish salmon in the Norwegian part of the watershed. This risk assessment is pertinent because the occurrence of alien organisms and infectious agents have developed differently in the Swedish and Norwegian parts of the watershed after salmon became unable to migrate through the river system. In 2013, the fish parasite Gyrodactylus salaris was detected in Klarälven, but has not been recorded in Norwegian parts of the watershed. Here, we assess the risk of negative impacts on native biodiversity by importing Atlantic salmon eggs or live adults from Klarälven to Norway. Three methods of importing eggs or adults were assessed: I. Import of fertilised eggs to a local hatchery in Norway, which are planted in the river in the spring or hatched and released as juveniles or smolts. II. Import of fertilised eggs that will be used to establish a long-term broodstock in Norway using the gene bank model, from which eggs can be planted into the river, or transferred to a local hatchery with subsequent release of juveniles or smolts. III. Import of adult salmon spawners that are captured in the lower parts of Klarälven in Sweden, transported in tanks and released in the Norwegian parts of the watershed. Methods The risk assessment was based on a literature review and qualitative assessment of each of the three methods of importing eggs or adults. The risk of impacts on native biodiversity and ecosystems was assessed for infectious agents, including parasites, bacterial pathogens, and viruses, and for other alien species. For each of the infectious agents and alien species, the risk is based on the product of the magnitude of the potential negative impact to native biodiversity and ecosystems, and the likelihood that negative consequences occur. The risk assessment concludes in terms of low, moderate, or high risk. .......................

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An important goal across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and globally, is to foster a healthy nutrition. A strengthening of the diversity, sustainability, resilience and connectivity of food systems is increasingly seen as a key leverage point. Governance arrangements play a central role in connecting sustainable, resilient farming with healthy nutrition. In this article, we elaborate a framework for assessing, monitoring and improving the governance of food systems. Our focus is on food chains in six peri-urban and urban regions in SSA. A literature review on food chain governance and a mapping of current agri-food chains in the six regions provide the basis for the elaboration of an indicator-based assessment framework. The framework is adapted to the specific conditions of SSA and related goals. The assessment framework is then used to identify the challenges and opportunities in food chain governance in the six regions. The first testing of the framework indicates that the approach can help to identify disconnects, conflicting goals and tensions in food systems, and to formulate strategies for empowering agri-food chain actors in transitioning toward more efficient, equitable and sustainable agri-food systems. The article is concluded with a brief reflection on the strengths and weaknesses of the framework and suggests further testing and refinement.

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The aim of this study was to prove that under in vitro conditions, the adhesiveness of the callus between rootstock and scion, the development of callus cells at the points of fusion, and the presence of phenolic components are closely related to the level of (in) compatibility of the grafting combinations between Sato-zakura cherry cultivars (‘Amanogawa’, ‘Kanzan’, and ‘Kiku-shidare-zakura’) and commercial rootstocks. Prunus avium, Prunus ‘Colt’, Prunus mahaleb and Prunus serrulata were used as compatible and Prunus serotina and Pyrus communis ‘Pyrodwarf’ were used as two potentially incompatible rootstocks. The results indicated the significant manifestations of the early signs of the incompatibility on the callus junction. Phenols, as well as tissue senescence, were very precisely localized by toluidine blue and alcian blue as well as safranin staining, which can indicate the early signs of the callus incompatibility in some grafting unions. In the callus unions of Prunus avium with ‘Amanogawa’ and ‘Kiku-shidare-zakura’ the results of chemical analyses indicated that the existence of several flavonols, flavones and phenol acids could be involved in the incompatibility process in grafted combination. The detection of flavonol astragalin in the unions can be a biomarker of compatibility between scion and the rootstock, while some polyphenols, such as neochlorogenic acid, sinapic acid, ellagic acid, caffeic acid, baicalein, naringenin, apigenin and luteolin can be used as the indicators of graft incompatibility. p-coumaric acid and ferulic acid could be used for detection of delayed incompatibility.

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Pesticides in agricultural surface water runoff cause a major threat to freshwater systems. Installation of filter systems or constructed wetlands in areas of preferential run-off is a possible measure for pesticides abatement. To develop such systems, combinations of filter materials suitable for retention of both hydrophilic and hydrophobic organic pesticides were tested for pesticide removal in planted microcosms. The retention of six pesticides frequently detected in surface waters (bentazone, MCPA, metalaxyl, propiconazole, pencycuron, and imidacloprid) was evaluated in unplanted and planted pot experiments with novel bed material mixtures consisting of pumice, vermiculite, water super-absorbent polymer (SAP) for retention of ionic and water soluble pesticides, and synthetic hydrophobic wool for adsorption of hydrophobic pesticides. The novel materials were compared to soil with high organic matter content. The highest retention of the pesticides was observed in the soil, with a considerable translocation of pesticides into the plants, and low leaching potential, in particular for the hydrophobic compounds. However, due to the high retention of pesticides in soil, environmental risks related to their long term mobilization cannot be excluded. Mixtures of pumice and vermiculite with SAP resulted in high retention of i) water and ii) both hydrophilic and hydrophobic pesticides but with much lower leaching potential compared to the mineral systems without SAP. Mixtures of such materials may provide near natural treatment options in riparian strips and also for treatment of rainwater runoff without the need for water containment systems.

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The effects of climate change-induced ice melting on the microbial communities in different glacial-fed aquatic systems have been reported, but seasonal dynamics remain poorly investigated. In this study, the structural and functional traits of the aquatic microbial community were assessed along with the hydrological and biogeochemical variation patterns of the Arctic Pasvik River under riverine and brackish conditions at the beginning (May = Ice-melt (−)) and during the ice-melting season (July = Ice-melt (+)). The microbial abundance and morphometric analysis showed a spatial diversification between the riverine and brackish stations. Results highlighted different levels of microbial respiration and activities with different carbon and phosphorous utilization pathways, thus suggesting an active biogeochemical cycling along the river especially at the beginning of the ice-melting period. At Ice-melt (−), Gammaproteobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria were dominant in riverine and brackish stations, respectively. Conversely, at Ice-melt (+), the microbial community composition was more homogeneously distributed along the river (Gammaproteobacteria > Alphaproteobacteria > Bacteroidetes). Our findings provide evidence on how riverine microbial communities adapt and respond to seasonal ice melting in glacial-fed aquatic ecosystems.

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Long-term machine-derived data sets comprising 140,000 trees were collected from four harvesters of equal age and similar working conditions, into two machine size classes, viz. two Ponsse Bears and two smaller Ponsse Beavers. Productivity functions for each size class were modelled using a nonlinear mixed effects approach. Based on these functions, unit costs and their sensitivity to utilization rates and cost of capital were assessed. Results showed that despite considerably higher capital costs (32%) on the Bear, a 50% higher mean productivity resulted in a unit cost only 17% higher than the Beaver in a disadvantageous scenario (high interest rates and low utilisation), and a 6% lower unit cost than the Beaver in an advantageous scenario (low interest and high utilisation), within the range of tree sizes observed. Between these extremes, only marginal differences in unit costs were observed. This demonstrates that the difference in ownership and operating costs between larger and smaller harvesters is largely negated by the difference in productivity rates. These results can provide useful insight into timber harvester investment decisions. Harvesters from two adjacent size classes can be used interchangeably at the same unit cost within a wide range of tree sizes despite productivity differences. It should be noted that increased repair costs and an eventual reduction in expected economic lifetime on a smaller harvester, or the negative effects of using a larger harvester in smaller trees, e.g. thinning operations, were not taken into account in this work.

Abstract

This study aimed at estimating total forest above-ground net change (ΔAGB; Gg) over five years (2014–2019) based on model-assisted estimation utilizing freely available satellite imagery. The study was conducted for a boreal forest area (approx. 1.4 Mha) in Norway where bi-temporal national forest inventory (NFI), Sentinel-2, and Landsat data were available. Biomass change was modelled based on a direct approach. The precision of estimates using only the NFI data in a basic expansion estimator was compared to four different alternative model-assisted estimates using 1) Sentinel-2 or Landsat data, and 2) using bi- or uni-temporal remotely sensed data. We found that spaceborne optical data improved the precision of the purely field-based estimates by a factor of up to three. The most precise estimates were found for the model-assisted estimation using bi-temporal Sentinel-2 (standard error; SE = 1.7 Gg). However, the decrease in precision when using Landsat data was small (SE = 1.92 Gg). We also found that ΔAGB could be precisely estimated when remotely sensed data were available only at the end of the monitoring period. We conclude that satellite optical data can considerably improve ΔAGB estimates, when repeated and coincident field data are available. The free availability, global coverage, frequent update, and long-term time horizon make data from programs such as Sentinel-2 and Landsat a valuable data source for consistent and durable monitoring of forest carbon dynamics.

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The forestry sector is constantly looking for ways for making data-driven decisions and improving efficiency. The application of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA) allow the users to go beyond looking at simple key performance indicators. Benchmarking is one of the most common tools in business for improving efficiency and competitiveness. This study searched for benchmarking studies in Web of Science until December 2020. It reviewed 56 benchmarking studies in forestry and discusses the potential advantages of using benchmarking in forestry. More than 80% of the studies apply DEA. This review found that almost half of the benchmarking studies in forestry have attempted to estimate the efficiency of forest management organizations at regional scale, mostly being public or state-owned forest districts. A bit more than one-third of the studies have focused on benchmarking forest industries and one-fifth, benchmarking of forest operations. Forest management organizations mainly applied benchmarking for internal comparison and forest industries entirely focused on competitive benchmarking. Surprisingly, in most cases the studies do not necessarily overlap geographically with forest rich countries (e.g., Russian Federation or Brazil). A number of studies address multiple criteria. The future potential for applying automatic data transfer from harvest machines to interactive benchmarking systems are discussed. Finally, the paper discusses the advantages and weaknesses of benchmarking and future research on improving usefulness and usability of benchmarking in forest businesses.

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The European continent contains substantial areas of semi-natural habitats, mostly grasslands, which are among the most endangered habitats in Europe. Their continued existence depends on some form of human activity, for either production or conservation purposes, or both. We examined the share of semi-natural grasslands within the general grassland areas in boreal Europe. We reviewed research literature across the region to compile evidence on semi-natural grasslands and other semi-natural habitats, such as wooded pastures, in respect to a range of topics such as ecology, land-use change, socioeconomics, and production. We also explored drivers of the research agenda and outlined future research needs. Challenges are faced when defining and quantifying semi-natural habitats even across a restricted region. Agricultural development and other policies clearly impact the research agenda in various countries. There are recent signs of a shift from classical ecological studies toward more multidisciplinary and integrated research. To sufficiently address the threats faced by semi-natural habitats, political and research frameworks in the European Union should pay more attention to the social-ecological complexity inherent in their management and should support the engagement of various actors into participatory governance processes. This is in line with a full-farm approach implicit in high nature value farming systems.

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Accurate assessment of crop nitrogen (N) status and understanding the N demand are considered essential in precision N management. Chlorophyll fluorescence is unsusceptible to confounding signals from underlying bare soil and is closely related to plant photosynthetic activity. Therefore, fluorescence sensing is considered a promising technology for monitoring crop N status, even at an early growth stage. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the potential of using Multiplex® 3, a proximal canopy fluorescence sensor, to detect N status variability and to quantitatively estimate N status indicators at four key growth stages of maize. The sensor measurements were performed at different growth stages, and three different regression methods were compared to estimate plant N concentration (PNC), plant N uptake (PNU), and N nutrition index (NNI). The results indicated that the induced differences in maize plant N status were detectable as early as the V6 growth stage. The first method based on simple regression (SR) and the Multiplex sensor indices normalized by growing degree days (GDD) or N sufficiency index (NSI) achieved acceptable estimation accuracy (R2 = 0.73–0.87), showing a good potential of canopy fluorescence sensing for N status estimation. The second method using multiple linear regression (MLR), fluorescence indices and GDDs had the lowest modeling accuracy (R2 = 0.46–0.79). The third tested method used a non-linear regression approach in the form of random forest regression (RFR) based on multiple sensor indices and GDDs. This approach achieved the best estimation accuracy (R2 = 0.84–0.93) and the most accurate diagnostic result.

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Background Equatorward, rear-edge tree populations are natural monitors to estimate species vulnerability to climate change. According to biogeographical theory, exposition to drought events increases with increasing aridity towards the equator and the growth of southern tree populations will be more vulnerable to drought than in central populations. However, the ecological and biogeographical margins can mismatch due to the impact of ecological factors (topography, soils) or tree-species acclimation that can blur large-scale geographical imprints in trees responses to drought making northern populations more drought limited. Methods We tested these ideas in six tree species, three angiosperms (Fagus sylvatica, Quercus robur, Quercus petraea) and three gymnosperms (Abies alba, Pinus sylvestris and Pinus uncinata) by comparing rear-edge tree populations subjected to different degrees of aridity. We used dendrochronology to compare the radial-growth patterns of these species in northern, intermediate, and southern tree populations at the continental rear edge. Results and conclusions We found marked variations in growth variability between species with coherent patterns of stronger drought signals in the tree-ring series of the southern populations of F. sylvatica, P. sylvestris, and A. alba. This was also observed in species from cool-wet sites (P. uncinata and Q. robur), despite their limited responsiveness to drought. However, in the case of Q. petraea the intermediate population showed the strongest relationship to drought. For drought-sensitive species as F. sylvatica and P. sylvestris, southern populations presented more variable growth which was enhanced by cool-wet conditions from late spring to summer. We found a trend of enhanced vulnerability to drought in these two species. The response of tree growth to drought has a marked biogeographical component characterized by increased drought sensitivity in southern populations even within the species distribution rear edge. Nevertheless, the relationship between tree growth and drought varied between species suggesting that biogeographical and ecological limits do not always overlap as in the case of Q. petraea. In widespread species showing enhanced vulnerability to drought, as F. sylvatica and P. sylvestris, increased vulnerability to climate warming in their rear edges is forecasted. Therefore, we encourage the monitoring and conservation of such marginal tree populations.

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In this study, the microbiomes linked with the operational parameters in seven mesophilic full-scale AD plants mainly treating food waste (four plants) and sewage sludge (three plants) were analyzed. The results obtained indicated lower diversity and evenness of the microbial population in sludge digestion (SD) plants compared to food digestion (FD) plants. Candidatus Accumulibacter dominated (up to 42.1%) in SD plants due to microbial immigration from fed secondary sludge (up to 89%). Its potential activity in SD plants was correlated to H2 production, which was related to the dominance of hydrogenotrophic methanogens (Methanococcus). In FD plants, a balance between the hydrogenotrophic and methylotrophic pathways was found, while Flavobacterium and Levilinea played an important role during acidogenesis. Levilinea also expressed sensitivity to ammonia in FD plants. The substantial differences in hydraulic retention time (HRT), organic loading rate (OLR), and total ammonium nitrogen (TAN) among the studied FD plants did not influence the archaeal methane production pathway. In addition, the bacterial genera responsible for acetate production through syntrophy and homoacetogenesis (Smithella, Treponema) were present in all the plants studied.

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At northern latitudes, large spatial and temporal variation in the nutritional composition of available foods poses challenges to wild herbivores trying to satisfy their nutrient requirements. Studies conducted in mostly captive settings have shown that animals from a variety of taxonomic groups deal with this challenge by adjusting the amounts and proportions of available food combinations to achieve a target nutrient balance. In this study, we used proportions-based nutritional geometry to analyze the nutritional composition of rumen samples collected in winter from 481 moose (Alces alces) in southern Sweden and examine whether free-ranging moose show comparable patterns of nutrient balancing. Our main hypothesis was that wild moose actively regulate their rumen nutrient composition to offset ecologically imposed variation in the nutritional composition of available foods. To test this, we assessed the macronutritional composition (protein, carbohydrates, and lipids) of rumen contents and commonly eaten foods, including supplementary feed, across populations with contrasting winter diets, spanning an area of approximately 10,000 km2. Our results suggest that moose balanced the macronutrient composition of their rumen, with the rumen contents having consistently similar proportional relationship between protein and nonstructural carbohydrates, despite differences in available (and eaten) foods. Furthermore, we found that rumen macronutrient balance was tightly related to ingested levels of dietary fiber (cellulose and hemicellulose), such that the greater the fiber content, the less protein was present in the rumen compared with nonstructural carbohydrates. Our results also suggest that moose benefit from access to a greater variety of trees, shrubs, herbs, and grasses, which provides them with a larger nutritional space to maneuver within. Our findings provide novel theoretical insights into a model species for ungulate nutritional ecology, while also generating data of direct relevance to wildlife and forest management, such as silvicultural or supplementary feeding practices.

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The banana weevil (BW), Cosmopolites sordidus, is the main coleopteran pest of banana, causing up to 100% yield loss. In this study, we screened 20 isolates of entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) for the management of BW. In the lab, eight Beauveria bassiana isolates caused >50% mortality of the adult BW, whereas Metarhizium anisopliae and Isaria fumosorosea isolates were less pathogenic. B. bassiana isolates ICIPE 648, ICIPE 660 and ICIPE 273 were the most pathogenic, killing ≥80% of adult BW. B. bassiana isolate ICIPE 622 yielded the highest spores per BW cadaver (1.84 × 108 spores), followed by ICIPE 660, ICIPE 273 and ICIPE 648—1.17 × 108, 3.8 × 107 and 3.6 × 107 spores, respectively. ICIPE 273 had the shortest LT50 (5.3 days) followed by ICIPE 648 (9.8 days) and 660 (11.1 days). Similarly, the LC50 values for the three isolates were 5.18 × 107, 5.49 × 107 and 5.2 × 107 spores mL−1, respectively. In the field, ICIPE 273 and ICIPE 648 had the highest (31.3%) and lowest (20.8%) pathogenicity, respectively. This study indicates that the B. bassiana isolates ICIPE 273, ICIPE 648 and ICIPE 660 are potential candidates for the environmentally sustainable management of BW.

Abstract

Norwegian pear (Pyrus communis L.) production has been in decline for the last 25 years. This was mainly because of old cultivars, with low yields and poor consumer appeal, could not compete against strong competition from imported pears, mainly ‘Conference’. Since 1994, the Norwegian breeding company, Graminor Ltd., has released several new pear cultivars, which have been evaluated at NIBIO Ullensvang, western Norway. The first trial was planted in 1999 and included the Graminor Ltd. cultivars: ‘Ingeborg’, ‘Fritjof’ and ‘Anna’, which were bred by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. In 2002, a second trial was planted including Graminor Ltd. cultivars: ‘Kristina’, ‘Ingrid’ and ‘Celina’ and these were compared against a control, ‘Clara Frijs’. All scion cultivars were grafted on the semi-vigorous rootstock ‘Brokmal’ and grown for 8 years. In both trials, full bloom (~80% of flowers open) took place between 7 May + 3 days and 15 May + 4 days. Flowering was however, completed within a 7-day period in any one year, ensuring adequate overlap in flowering time between all cultivars. Over the final 4-year period all cultivars were evaluated, ‘Anna’, ‘Fritjof’, ‘Kristina’ and ‘Ingeborg’ all had moderate cumulative yields (64.7, 66.2, 36.1, and 30.4 kg·tree-1, respectively). Fruit weight (212 to 183g) and quality of all these cultivars was acceptable (11.2% ≤ TSS ≤ 11.8%; 0.16% ≤ acidity ≤ 0.22%). However, ‘Fritjof’ had many misshapen fruit and exhibited pre-harvest shriveling in several instances making it unacceptable for commercial plantings. ‘Clara Frijs’ and ‘Celina’ cumulative yields were low (12.5 and 21.2 kg per tree, respectively) and fruit were also small (172 to 161 g, respectively). However, due to the attractive cerise-blush ‘Celina’ (trademarked QTee®) pear is now widely planted in Norway and abroad and grafted on Quince rootstocks.

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Springs are ecosystems influenced by the exposure of groundwater at the Earth's surface. Springs are abundant and have played important, highly interactive ecological, cultural, and socio-economic roles in arid, mesic, and subaqueous environments throughout human evolution and history. However, springs also are widely regarded as being highly threatened by human impacts. Cantonati et al. (2020a) recommended increased global awareness of springs, including basic mapping, inventory and assessment of the distribution and ecological integrity of springs. We conducted a preliminary global analysis on the ecological integrity of springs by reviewing information on the distribution, ecohydrogeology, associated species, kinds and intensity of human uses, and level of ecological impairment of spring ecosystems. We reviewed information on an estimated 250,000 spring ecosystems among 78 countries across much of the world. Available literature on spring ecological integrity is sparse, widely scattered, and spatially erratic, with major gaps in knowledge. We report large differences in the quality and extent of information among countries and continents, with only moderate data availability even among developed countries, and limited information across most of the developing world. Among countries with available data, ecological impairment of springs is everywhere rampant, sometimes exceeding 90% in developed regions. Impairment among Holarctic nations is generally negatively related to distance from human development, elevation, and latitude, but such patterns are less evident in Africa, Australia, and South America. Declining trends in ecosystem condition, compounding threat factors, and spring-dependent population declines, extirpation, and extinctions of plants, invertebrates, fish, and herpetofauna are widely reported. Overall, available information indicates a global crisis in spring ecosystem integrity, with levels of ecosystem impairment ranging from Vulnerable to fully Collapsed. The threats to aquifers and the ecological integrity of springs vary spatially. Many springs are impaired by local impacts due to flow diversion, geomorphic alteration, land use practices, recreation impacts, and the introduction of non-native species. These threats can be reduced through education, rehabilitation of geomorphology and habitat quality, and species reintroductions if the supporting aquifer remains relatively intact. However, springs also are widely threatened by regional to global factors, including groundwater extraction and pollution, as well as climate change. Such coarse-scale, pre-emergence impacts negatively affect the sustainability of spring ecosystems and the aquifers that support them. Improving understanding and stewardship of springs will require much additional systematic inventory and assessment, improved information management, and reconsideration of basic conservation concepts (e.g., habitat connectivity), as well as cultural and socio-economic valuation. Substantial societal recognition, discussion, and policy reform are needed within and among nations to better protect and sustainably rehabilitate springs, their supporting aquifers, and the spring-dependent human and biotic populations that depend upon them.

Abstract

There is an increasing use of carcass detection dogs to find remains of dead livestock in Norwegian rangelands. But how effective are these dogs actually? • We compared the efficiency of approved carcass detection dog equipages (CDEs, i.e., dog and man) with people searching for sheep carcasses without dogs. • CDEs found significantly more carcasses than people without dogs, and kilometers traveled and minutes spent per carcass detection indicated that dogs were >3x as effective in their search. However, CDEs found only 1 in 4 of the carcasses laid out experimentally. • The training program for CDEs in Norway is now adjusted to improve the quality of the equipages. • The effort of sheep CDEs is important to Norwegian sheep farmers applying for compensation because of the increase in percentage of proven losses caused by protected carnivores. • In the future carcass detection dogs in Norway could be used for wildlife conservation and management tasks.

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The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment (VKM) initiated this work to examine the extent to which organisms developed by genome-editing technologies pose new challenges in terms of risk assessment. This report considers whether the risk assessment guidance on genetically modified organisms, developed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), can be applied to evaluate potential risks of organisms developed by genome editing. Background Gene technology has allowed for the transfer of genes between organisms and species, and thereby to design altered genotypes with novel traits, i.e. GMOs. A new paradigm started in the early 2000s with the development of genome-editing techniques. Unlike traditional genetic modification techniques resulting in insertion of foreign DNA fragments at random locations in the genome, the new genome-editing techniques additionally open for a few single nucleotide edits or short insertions/deletions at a targeted site in an organism’s genome. These new techniques can be applied to most types of organisms, including plants, animals and microorganisms of commercial interest. An important question is how the novel, genome-edited organisms should be evaluated with respect to risks to health and the environment. The European Court of Justice decided in 2018 to include genome-edited organisms in the GMO definition and hence in the regulatory system already in place. This implies that all products developed by genome-editing techniques must be risk-assessed within the existing regulatory framework for GMOs. The European and Norwegian regulatory frameworks regulate the production, import and placing on the market of food and feed containing, consisting of or produced from GMOs, as well as the release of GMOs into the environment. The assessment draws on guidance documents originally developed by EFSA for risk assessment of GMOs, which were drawn up mainly to address risks regarding insertion of transgenes. The new genome-editing techniques, however, provide a new continuum of organisms ranging from those only containing a minor genetic alteration to organisms containing insertion or deletion of larger genomic regions. Risk assessment of organisms developed by genome editing The present discourse on how new genome-editing techniques should be regulated lacks an analysis of whether risk assessment methodologies for GMOs are adequate for risk assessment of organisms developed through the use of the new genome-editing techniques. Therefore, this report describes the use of genome-editing techniques in food and feed production and discusses challenges in risk assessment with the regulatory framework. Specifically, this report poses the question as to whether the EFSA guidance documents are sufficient for evaluating risks to health and environment posed by genome-edited plants, animals and microorganisms. To address these questions, the report makes use of case examples relevant for Norway. These examples, intended for food and feed, include oilseed rape with a modified fatty acid profile, herbicide-tolerant and pest-resistant crops, sterile salmon, virus-resistant pigs and hornless cattle. The report considers all aspects of the stepwise approach as described in the EFSA guidance documents. Conclusions The inherent flexibility of the EFSA guidance makes it suitable to cover health and environmental risk assessments of a wide range of organisms with various traits and intended uses. Combined with the embedded case-by-case approach the guidance is applicable to genome-edited organisms. The evaluation of the guidance demonstrates that the parts of the health and environmental risk assessment concerned with novel traits (i.e. the phenotype of the organism) may be fully applied to all categories of genome-edited organisms. ............

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Background PROTEIN PHOSPHATASE 2A (PP2A) expression is crucial for the symbiotic association between plants and various microbes, and knowledge on these symbiotic processes is important for sustainable agriculture. Here we tested the hypothesis that PP2A regulatory subunits, especially B’φ and B’θ, are involved in signalling between plants and mycorrhizal fungi or plant-growth promoting bacteria. Results Treatment of tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum) with the plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) Azospirillum brasilense and Pseudomonas simiae indicated a role for the PP2A B’θ subunit in responses to PGPR. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi influenced B’θ transcript levels in soil-grown plants with canonical arbuscular mycorrhizae. In plant roots, transcripts of B’φ were scarce under all conditions tested and at a lower level than all other PP2A subunit transcripts. In transformed tomato plants with 10-fold enhanced B’φ expression, mycorrhization frequency was decreased in vermiculite-grown plants. Furthermore, the high B’φ expression was related to abscisic acid and gibberellic acid responses known to be involved in plant growth and mycorrhization. B’φ overexpressor plants showed less vigorous growth, and although fruits were normal size, the number of seeds per fruit was reduced by 60% compared to the original cultivar. Conclusions Expression of the B’θ gene in tomato roots is strongly influenced by beneficial microbes. Analysis of B’φ overexpressor tomato plants and established tomato cultivars substantiated a function of B’φ in growth and development in addition to a role in mycorrhization. Keywords: Abscisic acid, Azospirillum brasilense, Funneliformis mosseae, Gibberellin, Mycorrhiza, PP2A, PGPR, Pseudomonas simiae, Rhizophagus irregularis, Tomato

Abstract

Key words: VKM, risk assessment, Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment, Norwegian Food Safety Authority, Norwegian Environment Agency, Biowaste, Compost, Plant health, organic waste, Phytosanitary safety, Biogas, Alien organisms Introduction The Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA) and the Norwegian Environment Agency (NEA) have jointly asked the Norwegian Scientific Committee for food and environment for an assessment into treatment methods and validation methods for compost and digestate based on organic waste in relation to plant health and the spread of harmful alien organisms in Norway.  The Norwegian Food Safety Authority will use the report in its supervisory work over companies that produce compost and digestate. The assessment will also provide important input for the regulatory development of several current regulations including regulations on indicator organisms that are used to validate new methods and ensure adequate security with regards to the survival of plant pests. The Norwegian Environment Agency wants to establish whether the methods used in the composting of garden waste and other types of plant waste today are able to ensure that the finished product does not become a source for the spread of harmful alien organisms. This will form the basis for the Norwegian Environment Agency’s guidelines relating to the precautionary provisions in the regulation on alien organisms. This request is limited to an assessment of plant pests and harmful alien organisms (hereinafter alien organisms). The survival of infectious diseases harmful to people and animals is considered in separate assessments. Methods We have conducted initiating workshops for identifying relevant fundamental processes and parameters, of relevant organisms and of relevant search terms for the literature surveys, as well as for discussion and validation. Visits to composting facilities and contact with stakeholders in Norway were also conducted. This information was further implemented in an extensive literature search. This assessment include/encompass organic waste and other materials that are currently treated in biogas and composting facilities, including garden and park waste (incl. soil), plant waste from garden centres, etc., food waste and waste from the food and animal feed industry (including grain/seed husks and waste from enterprises which package and process potatoes and vegetables), manure, bulking agents used in composting facilities, and husks from contracted grain/seed cleaners for sowing. We have used a quantitative risk assessment. The level of confidence in the risk assessment is described, and uncertainties and data gaps identified. Furthermore, we have used re-submission commenting and external expert reviewing before final approval and publication. ...........

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Key words: VKM, risk assessment, Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment, Norwegian Food Safety Authority, biological control, Nematodes, Phasmarhabditis californica, Moraxella osloensis. Parasitic nematodes and associated bacteria are increasingly being used for biocontrol of molluscs. Functionally, it is the bacteria that kill and thus control the targeted pests, but the function of the bacteria is dependent on the nematodes, which should be regarded as vectors of biocontrol. Although the nematodes and the bacteria have a symbiotic relationship within such biocontrol formulations, it should be noted that they are not dependent on each other in the wild, but can establish separate populations which can be free-living or hosted by other organisms. The biocontrol product Nemaslug 2.0 contains the nematode Phasmarhabditis californica (strain P19D) and the bacterial symbiont Moraxella osloensis (unknown strain). The nematode was first described in 2016 and has never been reported in Norway. The lack of reports suggests that it is absent from Norway, but this conclusion comes with a high degree of uncertainty since there have been limited search efforts. The climatic thresholds of the nematode are not known, but its current distribution, spanning widely varying climates, suggests that it could survive and establish in Norway. Natural spread from currently known areas of establishment to natural habitats in Norway is ruled out due to the nematode’s limited dispersal capacity. However, human-assisted spread (e.g. via the use of biocontrol products) and establishment would be likely if Nemaslug 2.0 is allowed for use in open fields in Norway. Use of Nemaslug 2.0 in greenhouses and other enclosed areas is not likely to facilitate spread to natural habitats in Norway provided that residues are properly handled. However, deposition of product residues from greenhouses to outdoor areas may result in local establishment of the nematode in the vicinity of the deposition. Phasmarhabditis californica has a broad host range and may parasitize both rare/endangered and common mollusc species. However, there is no scientific evidence suggesting that the nematode can affect natural populations of molluscs in wild habitats, or otherwise have negative effects on biodiversity. The nematodes’ association with the bacteria Moraxella osloensis is most likely lost, or at least weakened, in natural habitats, suggesting that the nematode becomes less capable of killing its hosts in the wild. Phasmarhabditis californica is not capable of harming or infecting humans. The bacterial species Moraxella osloensis is already present in Norway in a few locations and at a low abundance, and it may be native to Norway. Little is known regarding its distribution in natural environments, but the literature shows that it can infect humans and other mammals. In humans with immunodeficiency or other comorbidities, M. osloensis can cause meningitis, vaginitis, sinusitis, bacteremia, endocarditis, and septic arthritis. The risk of infection in people handling Nemaslug 2.0 can probably be substantially reduced by protective clothing and appropriate handling. We are not aware of any reported health issues arising from use of the previous version of Nemaslug, which also contains M. osloensis. Different strains of M. osloensis are known to vary in their sensitivity to antibiotics, and likely in other traits too. Thus, the lack of information provided about the strain identity and specific characteristics of the strain used in Nemaslug 2.0 generates a high degree of uncertainty regarding its pathogenicity, climate tolerance, sensitivity to antibiotics etc.

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The high Arctic archipelago of Svalbard (74°–81° north) experiences extended periods of uninterrupted daylight in summer and uninterrupted night in winter, apparently relaxing the major driver for the evolution of circadian rhythmicity. Svalbard ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperborea) is the only year-round resident terrestrial bird species endemic to the high Arctic and is remarkably adapted to the extreme annual variation in environmental conditions. Here, we demonstrate that, although circadian control of behavior disappears rapidly upon transfer to constant light conditions, consistent with the loss of daily activity patterns observed during the polar summer and polar night, Svalbard ptarmigans nonetheless employ a circadian-based mechanism for photoperiodic timekeeping. First, we show the persistence of rhythmic clock gene expression under constant light within the mediobasal hypothalamus and pars tuberalis, the key tissues in the seasonal neuroendocrine cascade. We then employ a “sliding skeleton photoperiod” protocol, revealing that the driving force behind seasonal biology of the Svalbard ptarmigan is rhythmic sensitivity to light, a feature that depends on a functioning circadian rhythm. Hence, the unusual selective pressures of life in the high Arctic have favored decoupling of the circadian clock from organization of daily activity patterns, while preserving its importance for seasonal synchronization.

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We sow or plant vascular plant species on a large scale in revegetation and restoration projects in Norway today. Some of the species used are already found in Norway, but many of the species, subspecies or populations used though native are not local, that is, they are regionally alien. A regionally alien species is a species that is native to Norway (has been in Norway since 1800) somewhere in the country, but which has been spread by humans to places in Norway where they do not occur. In theory, and according to the Biodiversity Act, it is desirable to use local seeds or plants to preserve local biodiversity. The aim of this report is to define guidelines that helps prevent the planting of vascular plant species with a high potential for negative effects on local biodiversity. It is assumed that the native or local populations are better adapted to local environmental conditions than populations from other areas or regions, and the risk of harmful genetic changes is therefore considered small when using local plant and seed sources. Arriving at a common definition for the area within which plants are “local” is difficult, though; vascular plant species are numerous (3317 species in mainland Norway, of which more than half are alien species introduced after 1800, Artdatabanken 2015), have different growth forms, different environmental requirements, and different reproductive and dispersal ecology. Even closely related vascular plant species can differ in such characteristics and hence in the extent of the "place" or “area”. The dispersal ecology of a plant species is of great importance for whether the species has genetically distinct populations within its range or not. Different strategies (wind pollination vs. insect pollination, vegetative propagation vs. seed dispersal, large seeds vs. small seeds) have an impact on the degree of gene flow between populations and thus also how locally adapted the species is in different areas. Whether the species has primarily vegetative reproduction or whether it spreads mainly by means of seeds, and whether the seed dispersal takes place ballistically, with wind or water, or by zookori (attached to animals or eaten by animals) determines how far the species can spread and how large gene flow there is between different populations. Whether the species is pollinated by wind or by the help of insects also affects the degree of gene flow differently. In Norway, there is great variation in many biophysical and ecological conditions (climate, topography, hydrology, and geology) over relatively short distances. This means that species that grow only a few meters apart can grow under different environmental conditions. This large variation in environmental conditions - on different spatial scales - can give rise to local genetic adaptation. However, plants have been moved around the landscape for several hundred years by our livestock (as seeds in fur and hooves, and in faeces) from lowland pasture to mountain pasture and along traffic arteries across the country due to the extensive transport of animals and people. Over time, this has led to expanded geographical distribution for several species and increased gene flow between populations over relatively large distances. .............

Abstract

In total 14 cherry cultivars and advanced selections released by the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre (PARC-Summerland), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada were tested at NIBIO Ullensvang during 2010-2016. The scions were grafted on the dwarfing Gisela 5 rootstock and planted in high tunnels. Main phenological, vegetative growth and productivity characteristics and fruit quality parameters were evaluated and detailed information about the different cultivars and selections are presented. After comprehensive studies the cultivars ‘SPC 108’ and ‘Starblush’ are recommended for commercial fruit growing in Norway in addition to the main cultivar ‘Lapins’. ‘SPC 107’ is recommended for home gardens. The selection SPC 263 and ‘Sofia’ showed outstanding fruit quality parameters, but had low productivity due to stunted tree growth. Grafting on more vigorous rootstocks than Gisela 5 is recommended.

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Species turnover is ubiquitous. However, it remains unknown whether certain types of species are consistently gained or lost across different habitats. Here, we analysed the trajectories of 1827 plant species over time intervals of up to 78 years at 141 sites across mountain summits, forests, and lowland grasslands in Europe. We found, albeit with relatively small effect sizes, displacements of smaller- by larger-ranged species across habitats. Communities shifted in parallel towards more nutrient-demanding species, with species from nutrient-rich habitats having larger ranges. Because these species are typically strong competitors, declines of smaller-ranged species could reflect not only abiotic drivers of global change, but also biotic pressure from increased competition. The ubiquitous component of turnover based on species range size we found here may partially reconcile findings of no net loss in local diversity with global species loss, and link community-scale turnover to macroecological processes such as biotic homogenisation.

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Plant-parasitic nematodes (PPN) cause significant yield reduction in commercial pineapple (Ananas comosus) worldwide. In Kenya, few nematode studies have been conducted, although the main commercial pineapple producer has sole dispensation to use Telone II (1,3-Dichloropropene) indicating the magnitude of the nematode problem. This study was conducted with the aim to investigate the population densities and diversity of nematodes in two commercial plantations with two contrasting management practices. We additionally assessed the influence of crop age and compared this with nearby smallholder pineapple production systems. Soil and root samples were collected from fields of different ages in each commercial plantation and from 29 smallholder fields. A total of 18 genera were associated with pineapple, with a relatively greater diversity found in smallholder than commercial farms. The most prevalent genus was Meloidogyne spp. (M. javanica) followed by Helicotylenchus spp., Tylenchus spp. and Aphelenchoides spp. PPN densities were higher in relatively older fields of 24 and 36 months than from fallow and 3-month-old fields. Regression analysis additionally demonstrated the rise of PPN densities with age of pineapple fields, especially Meloidogyne spp., while free-living nematode densities declined. This study provides an indication of the high level of PPN infection in pineapple in Kenya, which would constitute an important factor contributing to low yields. The study confirms an obvious need for pineapple producers to control PPN to improve crop yields.

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Syngas from pyrolysis/gasification process is a mixture of CO, CO2 and H2, which could be converted to CH4, so called syngas biomethanation. Its development is obstructed due to the low productivity and CO inhibition. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility of using syngas as the only carbon source containing high CO concentration (40%) for biomethanation. Lab-scale thermophilic bioreactor inoculated with anaerobic sludge was operated continuously for over 900 h and the shift of microbial structure were investigated. Results showed that thermophilic condition was suitable for syngas biomethanation and the microbes could adapt to high CO concentration. Higher processing capacity of 12.6 m3/m3/d was found and volumetric methane yield of 2.97 m3/m3/d was observed. These findings could strengthen the theoretical basis of syngas biomethanation and support its industrialization in the future.

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Three subspecies of the ringed seal (Pusa hispida) are found in northeastern Europe: P. h. botnica in the Baltic Sea, P. h saimensis in Lake Saimaa in Finland, and P. h. ladogensis in Lake Ladoga in Russia. We investigated the poorly-known cestode helminth communities of these closely related but ecologically divergent subspecies using COI barcode data. Our results show that, while cestodes from the Baltic Sea represent Schistocephalus solidus, all worms from the two lakes are identified as Ligula intestinalis, a species that has previously not been reported from seals. The observed shift in cestode communities appears to be driven by differential availability of intermediate fish host species in marine vs. freshwater environments. Both observed cestode species normally infect fish-eating birds, so further work is required to elucidate the health and conservation implications of cestode infections in European ringed seals, whether L. intestinalis occurs also in marine ringed seals, and whether the species is able to reproduce in seal hosts. In addition, a deep barcode divergence found within S. solidus suggests the presence of cryptic diversity under this species name.

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The disease pressure from Pyrenophora teres, Rhynchosporium graminicola, and Ramularia collo–cygni varies widely between years and locations, which highlights the need for using risk models to avoid unnecessary use of fungicides. Three disease risk models were tested in thirty–three field trials during two seasons in five countries in order to validate and identify situations favourable for barley leaf blotch diseases in the Nordic–Baltic region. The tested models were: The Crop Protection Online (CPO), which uses number of days with precipitation (>1 mm), cultivar resistance and disease data as basis for risk assessments; the humidity model (HM) which signals a risk warning after 20 continuous hours with high humidity, and the Finnish net blotch model (WisuEnnuste), which calculates a risk based on previous crop, tillage method, cultivar resistance and weather parameters. The risk models mostly gave acceptable control of diseases and yield responses compared with untreated and reference treatments. In the dry season of 2018, the models recommended 88–96% fewer applications than the reference treatments, while in 2019, the number of applications was reduced by 0–76% compared to reference treatments. Based on yield increases, the recommendations were correct in 50–69% of the trials compared to one–treatment references and 69–80% of the trials when references used mainly two treatments.

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Marine macrophytes, including seagrasses and macroalgae, form the basis of diverse and productive coastal ecosystems that deliver important ecosystem services. Moreover, western countries increasingly recognize macroalgae, traditionally cultivated in Asia, as targets for a new bio-economy that can be both economically profitable and environmentally sustainable. However, seagrass meadows and macroalgal forests are threatened by a variety of anthropogenic stressors. Most notably, rising temperatures and marine heatwaves are already devastating these ecosystems around the globe, and are likely to compromise profitability and production security of macroalgal farming in the near future. Recent studies show that seagrass and macroalgae can become less susceptible to heat events once they have been primed with heat stress. Priming is a common technique in crop agriculture in which plants acquire a stress memory that enhances performance under a second stress exposure. Molecular mechanisms underlying thermal priming are likely to include epigenetic mechanisms that switch state and permanently trigger stress-preventive genes after the first stress exposure. Priming may have considerable potential for both ecosystem restoration and macroalgae farming to immediately improve performance and stress resistance and, thus, to enhance restoration success and production security under environmental challenges. However, priming methodology cannot be simply transferred from terrestrial crops to marine macrophytes. We present first insights into the formation of stress memories in both seagrasses and macroalgae, and research gaps that need to be filled before priming can be established as new bio-engineering technique in these ecologically and economically important marine primary producers.

Abstract

Allelochemicals, chemical cues that, among other things, mediate insect–plant interactions, such as host plant recognition, have attracted notable interest as tools for ecological control of pest insects. Advances have recently been made in methods for sampling and analyzing volatile compounds and technology for tracking insects in their natural habitat. However, progress in odor-mediated behavioral bioassays of insects has been relatively slow. This perspective highlights this odor-mediated insect behavior, particularly in a natural setting and considering the whole behavioral sequence involved in the host location, which is the key to understanding the mechanisms underlying host plant recognition. There is thus a need to focus on elaborate behavioral bioassays in future studies, particularly if the goal is to use allelochemicals in pest control. Future directions for research are discussed.

Abstract

Grassland farmers face ever increasing demands on their production systems and the quality of their grassland yields. Estimating pasture quality using traditional field methods is limited as it is time consuming and costly, and requires some destructive sampling. The field of remote sensing offers alternative tools and techniques to overcome some of the limitations and thereby help farmers to receive spatial continuous and near real-time information about grassland quality parameters. This review gives an overview about recent developments in the remote sensing-based estimation of three aspects of grassland quality: feed quality, biological nitrogen fixation by legumes, and the identification of unwanted plant species.

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This paper describes a tool that enables farmers to time harvests and target nitrogen (N) inputs in their forage production, according to the prevailing yield potential. Based on an existing grass growth model for forage yield estimation, a more detailed process-based model was developed, including a new nitrogen module. The model was tested using data from an experiment conducted in a grassland-rich region in central Norway and showed promising accuracy with estimated root mean square error (RMSE) of 50 and 130 g m-2 for dry matter yield in the trial. Three parameters were detected as highly sensitive to model output: initial value of organic N in the soil, fraction of humus in the initial organic N in the soil, and fraction of decomposed N mineralized. By varying these parameters within a range from 0.5 to 1.5 of their respective initial value, most of the within-field variation was captured. In a future step, remotely sensed information on model output will be included, and in-season model correction will be performed through re-calibration of the highly sensitive parameters.

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Cut-to-length harvesters collect detailed information on the dimensions and characteristics of individual harvested trees. When equipped with global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers and motion sensors, the obtained measurements can be linked to locations of single harvested trees, benefitting a range of forest inventory applications. We propose a way of georeferencing harvested trees using a Komatsu 931XC harvester, which measures and records the machine's bearing, crane angle and crane length for each harvested tree. We replaced the harvester’s standard GNSS receiver with a dual-antenna differential GNSS receiver. From the coordinates obtained, rotations calculated from the GNSS receiver and data on crane length, we determined the location of 285 trees harvested in eight final fellings in Norway. We compared the obtained locations to control measurements taken on the corresponding stumps directly after harvest using a differential GNSS receiver. The mean distance between planimetric coordinates of trees measured by the harvester and corresponding control measurements was 0.88 m with a standard deviation of 0.38 m. By correcting the crane lengths for systematic deviations between harvester and control locations, the mean distance was reduced to 0.79 m. This study shows that measurements of single harvested trees can be georeferenced with sub-meter accuracy, by mounting a differential GNSS receiver on a harvester and without installing additional sensors. The results also suggest that the positional accuracy can be further improved by measuring and recording the length of the telescopic boom, and that with minor adjustments, the system could be fully automated.

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In agricultural catchments, hydrological processes are highly linked to particle and nutrient loss and can lead to a degradation of the ecological status of the water. Global warming and land use changes influence the hydrological regime. This effect is especially strong in cold regions. In this study, we used long-term hydrological monitoring data (22–26 years) from small agricultural catchments in Norway. We applied a Mann–Kendall trend and wavelet coherence analysis to detect annual and seasonal changes and to evaluate the coupling between runoff, climate, and water sources. The trend analysis showed a significant increase in the annual and seasonal mean air temperature. In all sites, hydrological changes were more difficult to detect. Discharge increased in autumn and winter, but this trend did not hold for all catchments. We found a strong coherence between discharge and precipitation, between discharge and snow water equivalent and discharge and soil water storage capacity. We detected different hydrological regimes of rain and snow-dominated catchments. The catchments responded differently to changes due to their location and inherent characteristics. Our results highlight the importance of studying local annual and seasonal changes in hydrological regimes to understand the effect of climate and the importance for site-specific management plans.

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Several factors may define storability in root crops. In the following paper, preliminary results are presented from two experiments performed to test factors affecting storage quality of carrot. The study have focused on 1) soil loosening/soil compaction and 2) different cultivars of carrot and root age considered by the length of the growing period. The results so far indicate that the soil compaction had few effects on storability of carrot, but did seem to negatively affect the length of the carrot. Soil loosening reduced the occurrence of liquorice rot caused by Mycocentrospora acerina. Large differences were found in storability between the ten tested carrot cultivars and length of growing period tended to be negatively correlated to storability. We conclude that a number of precautions in carrot production may increase storability and thus economic performance.

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Plastic pollution is a widespread environmental problem that is currently one of the most discussed issues by scientists, policymakers and society at large. The potential ecotoxicological effects of plastic particles in a wide range of organisms have been investigated in a growing number of exposure studies over the past years. Nonetheless, many questions still remain regarding the overall effects of microplastics and nanoplastics on organisms from different ecosystem compartments, as well as the underlying mechanisms behind the observed toxicity. This chapter provides a comprehensive literature review on the ecotoxicological impacts of microplastics and nanoplastics in terrestrial and aquatic organisms in the context of particle characteristics, interactive toxicological effects, taxonomic gradients and with a focus on synergies with associated chemicals. Overall, a total of 220 references were reviewed for their fulfilment of specific quality criteria (e.g. experimental design, particle characteristics, ecotoxicological endpoints and findings), after which 175 were included in our assessment. The analysis of the reviewed studies revealed that organisms’ responses were overall influenced by the physicochemical heterogeneity of the plastic particles used, for which distinct differences were attributed to polymer type, size, morphology and surface alterations. On the other hand, little attention has been paid to the role of additive chemicals in the overall toxicity. There is still little consistency regarding the biological impacts posed by plastic particles, with observed ecotoxicological effects being highly dependent on the environmental compartment assessed and specific morphological, physiological and behavioural traits of the species used. Nonetheless, evidence exists of impacts across successive levels of biological organization, covering effects from the subcellular level up to the ecosystem level. This review presents the important research gaps concerning the ecotoxicological impacts of plastic particles in different taxonomical groups, as well as recommendations on future research priorities needed to better understand the ecological risks of plastic particles in terrestrial and aquatic environments.

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The regulatory network of R2R3 MYB transcription factors in anthocyanin biosynthesis is not fully understood in blue-coloured berries containing delphinidin compounds. We used blue berries of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) to comprehensively characterise flavonoid-regulating R2R3 MYBs, which revealed a new type of co-regulation in anthocyanin biosynthesis between members of MYBA-, MYBPA1- and MYBPA2-subgroups. VmMYBA1, VmMYBPA1.1 and VmMYBPA2.2 expression was elevated at berry ripening and by abscisic acid treatment. Additionally, VmMYBA1 and VmMYBPA1.1 expression was strongly downregulated in a white berry mutant. Complementation and transient overexpression assays confirmed VmMYBA1 and VmMYBA2 to induce anthocyanin accumulation. Promoter activation assays showed that VmMYBA1, VmMYBPA1.1 and VmMYBPA2.2 had similar activity towards dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR) and anthocyanidin synthase (ANS), but differential regulation activity for UDP-glucose flavonoid 3-O-glucosyltransferase (UFGT) and flavonoid 3′5′-hydroxylase (F3′5′H) promoters. Silencing of VmMYBPA1.1 in berries led to the downregulation of key anthocyanin and delphinidin biosynthesis genes. Functional analyses of other MYBPA regulators, and a member of novel MYBPA3 subgroup, associated them with proanthocyanidin biosynthesis and F3′5′H expression. The existence of 18 flavonoid-regulating MYBs indicated gene duplication, which may have enabled functional diversification among MYBA, MYBPA1 and MYBPA2 subgroups. Our results provide new insights into the intricate regulation of the complex anthocyanin profile found in blue-coloured berries involving regulation of both cyanidin and delphinidin branches.

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A key issue in food governance and public administration is achieving coordinated implementation of policies. This study addressed this issue by systematically comparing the governance of animal welfare in Norway and Sweden, using published papers, reports, and legal and other public information, combined with survey and interview data generated in a larger research project (ANIWEL). Governing animal welfare includes a number of issues that are relevant across different sectors and policy areas, such as ethical aspects, choice of legal tools, compliance mechanisms and achieving uniform control. Based on the challenges identified in coordinating animal welfare in Norway and Sweden, relevant organisational preconditions for achieving uniform and consistent compliance were assessed. The results showed that Sweden’s organisation may need more horizontal coordination, since its animal welfare management is divided between multiple organisational units (Swedish Board of Agriculture, National Food Agency and 21 regional County Administration Boards). Coordination in Norway is managed solely by the governmental agency Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA), which has the full responsibility for inspection and control of food safety, animal health, plant health, as well as animal welfare. Thus, Norway has better preconditions than Sweden for achieving uniformity in animal welfare administration. However, in Norway, the safeguards for the rule of law might be an issue, due to NFSA acting as de facto “inspector”, “prosecutor” and “judge”.

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Questions Which environmental factors influence fine-grain beta diversity of vegetation and do they vary among taxonomic groups? Location Palaearctic biogeographic realm. Methods We extracted 4,654 nested-plot series with at least four different grain sizes between 0.0001 m² and 1,024 m² from the GrassPlot database, covering a wide range of different grassland and other open habitat types. We derived extensive environmental and structural information for these series. For each series and four taxonomic groups (vascular plants, bryophytes, lichens, all), we calculated the slope parameter (z-value) of the power law species–area relationship (SAR), as a beta diversity measure. We tested whether z-values differed among taxonomic groups and with respect to biogeographic gradients (latitude, elevation, macroclimate), ecological (site) characteristics (several stress–productivity, disturbance and heterogeneity measures, including land use) and alpha diversity (c-value of the power law SAR). Results Mean z-values were highest for lichens, intermediate for vascular plants and lowest for bryophytes. Bivariate regressions of z-values against environmental variables had rather low predictive power (mean R² = 0.07 for vascular plants, less for other taxa). For vascular plants, the strongest predictors of z-values were herb layer cover (negative), elevation (positive), rock and stone cover (positive) and the c-value (U-shaped). All tested metrics related to land use (fertilization, livestock grazing, mowing, burning, decrease in naturalness) led to a decrease in z-values. Other predictors had little or no impact on z-values. The patterns for bryophytes, lichens and all taxa combined were similar but weaker than those for vascular plants. Conclusions We conclude that productivity has negative and heterogeneity positive effects on z-values, while the effect of disturbance varies depending on type and intensity. These patterns and the differences among taxonomic groups can be explained via the effects of these drivers on the mean occupancy of species, which is mathematically linked to beta diversity.

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Motivation Assessing biodiversity status and trends in plant communities is critical for understanding, quantifying and predicting the effects of global change on ecosystems. Vegetation plots record the occurrence or abundance of all plant species co-occurring within delimited local areas. This allows species absences to be inferred, information seldom provided by existing global plant datasets. Although many vegetation plots have been recorded, most are not available to the global research community. A recent initiative, called ‘sPlot’, compiled the first global vegetation plot database, and continues to grow and curate it. The sPlot database, however, is extremely unbalanced spatially and environmentally, and is not open-access. Here, we address both these issues by (a) resampling the vegetation plots using several environmental variables as sampling strata and (b) securing permission from data holders of 105 local-to-regional datasets to openly release data. We thus present sPlotOpen, the largest open-access dataset of vegetation plots ever released. sPlotOpen can be used to explore global diversity at the plant community level, as ground truth data in remote sensing applications, or as a baseline for biodiversity monitoring. Main types of variable contained Vegetation plots (n = 95,104) recording cover or abundance of naturally co-occurring vascular plant species within delimited areas. sPlotOpen contains three partially overlapping resampled datasets (c. 50,000 plots each), to be used as replicates in global analyses. Besides geographical location, date, plot size, biome, elevation, slope, aspect, vegetation type, naturalness, coverage of various vegetation layers, and source dataset, plot-level data also include community-weighted means and variances of 18 plant functional traits from the TRY Plant Trait Database. Spatial location and grain Global, 0.01–40,000 m². Time period and grain 1888–2015, recording dates. Major taxa and level of measurement 42,677 vascular plant taxa, plot-level records. Software format Three main matrices (.csv), relationally linked.

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Aims Understanding fine-grain diversity patterns across large spatial extents is fundamental for macroecological research and biodiversity conservation. Using the GrassPlot database, we provide benchmarks of fine-grain richness values of Palaearctic open habitats for vascular plants, bryophytes, lichens and complete vegetation (i.e., the sum of the former three groups). Location Palaearctic biogeographic realm. Methods We used 126,524 plots of eight standard grain sizes from the GrassPlot database: 0.0001, 0.001, 0.01, 0.1, 1, 10, 100 and 1,000 m2 and calculated the mean richness and standard deviations, as well as maximum, minimum, median, and first and third quartiles for each combination of grain size, taxonomic group, biome, region, vegetation type and phytosociological class. Results Patterns of plant diversity in vegetation types and biomes differ across grain sizes and taxonomic groups. Overall, secondary (mostly semi-natural) grasslands and natural grasslands are the richest vegetation type. The open-access file ”GrassPlot Diversity Benchmarks” and the web tool “GrassPlot Diversity Explorer” are now available online (https://edgg.org/databases/GrasslandDiversityExplorer) and provide more insights into species richness patterns in the Palaearctic open habitats. Conclusions The GrassPlot Diversity Benchmarks provide high-quality data on species richness in open habitat types across the Palaearctic. These benchmark data can be used in vegetation ecology, macroecology, biodiversity conservation and data quality checking. While the amount of data in the underlying GrassPlot database and their spatial coverage are smaller than in other extensive vegetation-plot databases, species recordings in GrassPlot are on average more complete, making it a valuable complementary data source in macroecology.

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Conversion of semi-natural habitats, such as field margins, fallows, hedgerows, grassland, woodlots and forests, to agricultural land could increase agricultural production and help meet rising global food demand. Yet, the extent to which such habitat loss would impact biodiversity and wild species is unknown. Here we survey species richness for four taxa (vascular plants, earthworms, spiders, wild bees) and agricultural yield across a range of arable, grassland, mixed, horticulture, permanent crop, for organic and non-organic agricultural land on 169 farms across 10 European regions. We find that semi-natural habitats currently constitute 23% of land area with 49% of species unique to these habitats. We estimate that conversion of semi-natural land that achieves a 10% increase in agricultural production will have the greatest impact on biodiversity in arable systems and the least impact in grassland systems, with organic practices having better species retention than non-organic practices. Our findings will help inform sustainable agricultural development.

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The Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) is one of the main wheat-production regions in India and the world. With climate change, wheat yields in this region will be affected through changes in temperature and precipitation and decreased water availability for irrigation, raising major concerns for national and international food security. Here we use a regional climate model and a crop model to better understand the direct (via changes in temperature and precipitation) and indirect (via a decrease in irrigation availability) impacts of climate change on wheat yields at four sites spread across different states of the IGP: Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The results show an increase in mean temperature and precipitation as well as maximum temperature during the growing season or Rabi season (November–April). The direct impact of climate change, via changes in temperature and precipitation, leads to wheat yield losses between −1% and −8% depending on the site examined. Then, the indirect impact of climate change is examined, considering the impact of climate change on water availability leading to a decrease in irrigation. In this case, the yield losses become significant and much higher, reaching −4% to −36% depending on the site examined and the irrigation regime chosen (6, 5, 3 or 1 irrigations). This work shows that the indirect impacts of climate change may be more detrimental than the direct climatic effects for the future wheat yields in the IGP. It also emphasizes the complexity of climatic risk and the necessity of integrating indirect impacts of climate change to fully assess how it affects agriculture and choose the adequate adaptation response.

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Conventional environmental risk assessment of chemicals is based on a calculated risk quotient, representing the ratio of exposure to effects of the chemical, in combination with assessment factors to account for uncertainty. Probabilistic risk assessment approaches can offer more transparency by using probability distributions for exposure and/or effects to account for variability and uncertainty. In this study, a probabilistic approach using Bayesian network modeling is explored as an alternative to traditional risk calculation. Bayesian networks can serve as meta-models that link information from several sources and offer a transparent way of incorporating the required characterization of uncertainty for environmental risk assessment. To this end, a Bayesian network has been developed and parameterized for the pesticides azoxystrobin, metribuzin, and imidacloprid. We illustrate the development from deterministic (traditional) risk calculation, via intermediate versions, to fully probabilistic risk characterization using azoxystrobin as an example. We also demonstrate the seasonal risk calculation for the three pesticides.

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Roadsides can harbour remarkable biodiversity; thus, they are increasingly considered as habitats with potential for conservation value. To improve construction and management of roadside habitats with positive effects on biodiversity, we require a quantitative understanding of important influential factors that drive both positive and negative effects of roads. We conducted meta-analyses to assess road effects on bird communities. We specifically tested how the relationship between roads and bird richness varies when considering road type, habitat characteristics and feeding guild association. Overall, bird richness was similar in road habitats compared to non-road habitats, however, the two apparently differ in species composition. Bird richness was lowered by road presence in areas with denser tree cover but did not differ according to road type. Richness differences between habitats with and without roads further depended on primary diet of species, and richness of omnivores was positively affected by road presence. We conclude that impacts of roads on bird richness are highly context-dependent, and planners should carefully evaluate road habitats on a case by case basis. This emphasizes the need for further studies that explicitly test for differences in species composition and abundance, to disentangle contexts where a road will negatively affect bird communities, and where it will not.

Abstract

Due to an EU directive making integrated pest management (IPM) mandatory, European farmers are expected to reduce their use of chemical pesticides, which may potentially increase production costs and risk of harvest loss. Less pesticide use is appreciated by many consumers and may generate a higher willingness to pay (WTP). However, IPM is a wide concept and it is difficult for consumers to distinguish between products with high and low risk of pesticide residues. As a result, consumers might use other characteristics, such as country of origin, for the identification of safer products. In this study, we investigate if a higher WTP for Norwegian strawberries is associated with a belief that they contain less pesticide residues than imported berries. We use regression analysis to estimate to what extent the difference in WTP for Norwegian and imported strawberries is correlated with various perceptions about strawberries. The analyses reveal that the stronger the belief that Norwegian strawberries have less pesticide risk than imported ones, the higher the WTP for Norwegian strawberries. This means that if consumers believe domestic farmers use little pesticides, domestic products might be able to sell at considerably higher prices than imports. Hence, it may be economically beneficial for farmers to keep pesticide use at a minimum. Furthermore, we find that consumers have a higher WTP for strawberries produced with less use of pesticides, although not pesticide-free, indicating that IPM is appreciated.

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Purpose Anaerobic digestion produces renewable energy, biogas, from organic residues, but also digestate, a valuable organic fertiliser. Previous studies have indicated that digestate contains ample plant available nitrogen (N), but there are also concerns about greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions after application of digestates to soil. The aim of this study was to compare digestate and undigested feedstock for fertiliser effect as well as greenhouse gas emissions during the next season. Methods Digestate and its feedstock, manure, were compared as N fertilisers for wheat. Mixing digestate with biochar before application was also tested. After harvest, soil samples were frozen and dried. Then GHG emissions immediately after a re-wetting of dry soil and after thawing of frozen soil were measured to determine emissions after a non-growing season (dry or cold). Results All N in digestate was plant available, while there was no significant N fertiliser effect of the undigested manure. N2O emissions were higher after a dry season than after freezing, but the undigested manure showed higher emissions during thawing than those detected during thawing of soils from any of the other treatments. Conclusion Anaerobic digestion makes N available to plants, and when residues with much N that is not plant available the first season are used, the risk of N2O emission next spring is high.

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Purpose of Review Outbreaks of tree-killing bark beetles have reached unprecedented levels in conifer forests in the northern hemisphere and are expected to further intensify due to climate change. In parts of Europe, bark beetle outbreaks and efforts to manage them have even triggered social unrests and political instability. These events have increasingly challenged traditional responses to outbreaks, and highlight the need for a more comprehensive management framework. Recent Findings Several synthesis papers on different aspects of bark beetle ecology and management exist. However, our understanding of outbreak drivers and impacts, principles of ecosystem management, governance, and the role of climate change in the dynamics of ecological and social systems has rapidly advanced in recent years. These advances are suggesting a reconsideration of previous management strategies. Summary We synthesize the state of knowledge on drivers and impacts of bark beetle outbreaks in Europe and propose a comprehensive context-dependent framework for their management. We illustrate our ideas for two contrasting societal objectives that represent the end-members of a continuum of forest management goals: wood and biomass production and the conservation of biodiversity and natural processes. For production forests, we propose a management approach addressing economic, social, ecological, infrastructural, and legislative aspects of bark beetle disturbances. In conservation forests, where non-intervention is the default option, we elaborate under which circumstances an active intervention is necessary, and whether such an intervention is in conflict with the objective to conserve biodiversity. Our approach revises the current management response to bark beetles in Europe and promotes an interdisciplinary social-ecological approach to dealing with disturbances.

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Oomycetes are spore-forming eukaryotic microbes responsible for infections in animal and plant species worldwide, posing a threat to natural ecosystems, biodiversity and food security. Genomics and transcriptomics approaches, together with host interaction studies, give promising results towards better understanding of the infection mechanisms in oomycetes and their general biology. Significant development and progress in oomycetes genomic studies have been achieved over the past decades but further understanding of molecular processes, gene regulations and infection mechanisms are still needed. The use of molecular tools such as CRISPR/Cas and RNAi helped elucidate some of the molecular processes involved in host invasion and infection both in plant and animal pathogenic oomycetes. These methods provide an opportunity for accurate and detailed functional analysis involving various fields of studies such as genomics, epigenomics, proteomics, and interactomics. Functional gene characterisation is essential for filling the knowledge gaps in dynamic biological processes. However, every method has both advantages and limitations that should be considered before choosing the best method for investigating a particular research question. Here we review transformation systems, gene silencing and gene editing techniques in oomycetes, how they function, in which species and what are their main advantages and disadvantages.

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Abstract

Studies of whole-plant responses of tomato to light environments are limited and cannot be extrapolated from observations of seedlings or short-term crops in growth chambers. Effects of artificial light sources like high pressure sodium (HPS) and light emitting diodes (LED) are mainly studied as supplement to sunlight in greenhouses. Since natural sunlight is almost neglectable in Norway during wintertime, we could study effects of different types of artificial light on crop growth and production in tomato. The goal of this experiment was to quantify the effects of artificial HPS top-light, installed at the top of the canopy, and LED inter-light, installed between plant rows, on fresh and dry matter production and fruit quality of greenhouse tomatoes under controlled and documented conditions. Our aim was to optimize yield under different light conditions, while avoiding an unfavourable source-sink balance. Tomato plants were grown under HPS top light with an installed capacity of 161, 242 and 272 W m−2 combined with LED inter-light with an installed capacity of 0, 60 or 120 W m−2. We used stem diameter as a trait to regulate air temperature in different light treatments in order to retain plant vigour. Results show that both HPS top light and LED inter-light increased tomato yield. However, the positive effect of supplemental LED inter-light decreased at higher amounts of HPS top light. Under the conditions in this experiment, with neglectable incoming solar radiation, an installed amount of 242 Watt m-2 HPS top light and a daily light integral (DLI) of 30 mol m-2 day-1 resulted in best light use efficiency (in gram fresh tomato per mol). Addition of LED inter-light to HPS top light reduced light use efficiency. Results show that winter production using artificial light in Norway is more energy efficient compared to production under sunlight in southern countries. Results can be used for modelling purposes.

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The utilization of detailed digital terrain models entails an enhanced basis for supporting sustainable forest management, including the reduction of soil impacts through predictions of site trafficability during mechanized harvesting operations. Since wet soils are prone to traffic-induced damages, soil moisture is incorporated into several systems for spatial predictions of trafficability. Yet, only few systems consider temporal dynamics of soil moisture, impeding the accuracy and practical value of predictions. The depth-to-water (DTW) algorithm calculates a cartographic index which indicates wet areas. Temporal dynamics of soil moisture are simulated by different DTW map-scenarios derived from set flow initiation areas (FIA). However, the concept of simulating seasonal moisture conditions by DTW map-scenarios was not analyzed so far. Therefore, we conducted field campaigns at six study sites across Europe, capturing time-series of soil moisture and soil strength along several transects which crossed predicted wet areas. Assuming overall dry conditions (FIA = 4.00 ha), DTW predicted 20% of measuring points to be wet. When a FIA of 1.00 ha (moist conditions) or 0.25 ha (wet conditions) were applied, DTW predicted 29% or 58% of points to be wet, respectively. De facto, 82% of moisture measurements were predicted correctly by the map-scenario for overall dry conditions – with 44% of wet measurements deviating from predictions made. The prediction of soil strength was less successful, with 66% of low values occurring on areas where DTW indicated dryer soils and subsequently a sufficient trafficability. The condition-specific usage of different map-scenarios did not improve the accuracy of predictions, as compared to static map-scenarios, chosen for each site. We assume that site-specific and non-linear hydrological processes compromise the generalized assumptions of simulating overall moisture conditions by different FIA.

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Abstract

There is increasing interest in developing urban design principles that incorporate good ecological management. Research on understanding the distribution and role of beneficial pollinating insects, in particular, is changing our view of the ecological value of cities. With the rapid expansion of the built environment comes a need to understand how insects may be affected in extensive urban areas. We therefore investigated insect pollinator capture rates in a rapidly growing and densely urbanized city (Melbourne, Australia). We identified a remnant native habitat contained within the expansive urban boundary, and established study sites at two nearby populated urban areas. We employed standard pan trap sampling techniques to passively sample insect orders in the different environments. Our results show that, even though the types of taxonomic groups of insects captured are comparable between locations, important pollinators like bees and hoverflies were more frequently captured in the remnant native habitat. By contrast, beetles (Coleoptera) and butterflies/moths (Lepidoptera) were more frequently observed in the urban residential regions. Our results suggest that the maintenance of native habitat zones within cities is likely to be valuable for the conservation of bees and the ecosystem services they provide.

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Abstract

Grassland biodiversity is declining due to climatic change, land-use intensification, and establishment of invasive plant species. Excluding or suppressing invasive species is a challenge for grassland management. An example is Jacobaea aquatica, an invasive native plant in wet grasslands of Central Europe, that is causing problems to farmers by being poisonous, overabundant, and fast spreading. This study aimed at testing designed grassland communities in a greenhouse experiment, to determine key drivers of initial J. aquatica suppression, thus dismissing the use of pesticides. We used two base communities (mesic and wet grasslands) with three plant traits (plant height, leaf area, seed mass), that were constrained and diversified based on the invader traits. Native biomass, community-weighted mean trait values, and phylogenetic diversity (PD) were used as explanatory variables to understand variation in invasive biomass. The diversified traits leaf area and seed mass, PD, and native biomass significantly affected the invader. High native biomass permanently suppressed the invader, while functional traits needed time to develop effects; PD effects were significant at the beginning of the experiment but disappeared over time. Due to complexity and temporal effects, community weighted mean traits proved to be moderately successful for increasing invasion resistance of designed grassland communities.

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Silverleaf is an important fungal trunk disease of fruit crops, such as Japanese plum (Prunus salicina). It is known that infection by Chondrostereum purpureum results in discolored wood, “silvered” foliage, and tree decline. However, effects on fruit yield and quality have not been assessed. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to determine C. purpureum pathogenicity on P. salicina and the effects on physiology, fruit yield, and quality, in Chile, in 2019 and 2020. Wood samples from affected plum trees were collected in the Chilean plum productive area. Fungi were isolated by plating wood sections from the necrosis margin on culture media. Morphological and molecular characteristics of the isolates corresponded to C. purpureum (98%). Representative isolates were inoculated from healthy plum plants and after 65-d incubation, wood necrotic lesions and silver leaves were visible. Fungi were reisolated, fulfilling Koch’s postulates. To determine Silverleaf effects, xylem water potential and fruit yield and quality were measured in healthy and Silverleaf-diseased plum trees ‘Angeleno’. Water potential was altered in diseased trees, and fruit yield was reduced by 51% (2019) and by 41% (2020) compared to fruit from healthy trees. Moreover, cover-colour, equatorial-diameter, and weight were reduced, and fruit were softer, failing to meet the criteria to be properly commercialized and exported to demanding markets.

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Abstract

Plant virus eradication is a prerequisite for the use of virus-free propagules for sustainable crop production. In contrast, virus preservation is required for all types of applied and basic research of viruses. Shoot tip cryopreservation can act as a double-edged strategy, facilitating either virus eradication or virus preservation in cryoderived plants. Here, we tested the efficacies of shoot tip cryopreservation for virus eradication and preservation in shallot (Allium cepa var. aggregatum). In vitro stock shallot shoots infected with onion yellow dwarf virus (OYDV) and shallot latent virus were thermotreated for 0, 2, and 4 weeks at a constant temperature of 36℃ before shoot tip cryopreservation. Results showed that viruses were preserved in recovered shoots when thermotherapy was not applied. Although thermotherapy lowered the regrowth levels of cryotreated shoot tips, the efficiency of virus eradication increased from 5% to 54%. Immunolocalization of OYDV and histological observation of cryotreated shoot tips showed the high frequency of virus preservation was due to the viral invasion of cells close to the apical meristem and the high proportion of cells surviving. Four weeks of thermotherapy drastically decreased the distribution of OYDV, as well as the percentage of surviving cells within the shoot tips, thereby promoting virus eradication. Virus-free plants obtained from combining thermotherapy with cryotherapy showed significantly improved vegetative growth and bulb production. The present study reports how thermotherapy can act as a trigger to facilitate either the safe preservation of Allium viruses or the production of virus-free shallot plants.

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Abstract

Cryopreservation is considered an ideal strategy for the long-term preservation of plant genetic resources. Significant progress was achieved over the past several decades, resulting in the successful cryopreservation of the genetic resources of diverse plant species. Cryopreservation procedures often employ in vitro culture techniques and require the precise control of several steps, such as the excision of explants, preculture, osmo- and cryoprotection, dehydration, freeze-thaw cycle, unloading, and post-culture for the recovery of plants. These processes create a stressful environment and cause reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced oxidative stress, which is detrimental to the growth and regeneration of tissues and plants from cryopreserved tissues. ROS-induced oxidative stresses were documented to induce (epi)genetic and somatic variations. Therefore, the development of true-to-type regenerants of the source germplasm is of primary concern in the application of plant cryopreservation technology. The present article provides a comprehensive assessment of epigenetic and genetic integrity, metabolic stability, and field performance of cryopreserved plants developed in the past decade. Potential areas and the directions of future research in plant cryopreservation are also proposed.

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Abstract

Limiting temperature rise below 2 °C requires large deployment of Negative Emission Technologies (NET) to capture and store atmospheric CO2. Compared to other types of NETs, biochar has emerged as a mature option to store carbon in soils while providing several co-benefits and limited trade-offs. Existing life-cycle assessment studies of biochar systems mostly focus on climate impacts from greenhouse gasses (GHGs), while other forcing agents, effects on soil emissions, other impact categories, and the implications of a large-scale national deployment are rarely jointly considered. Here, we consider all these aspects and quantify the environmental impacts of application to agricultural soils of biochar from forest residues available in Norway considering different scenarios (including mixing of biochar with synthetic fertilizers and bio-oil sequestration for long-term storage). All the biochar scenarios deliver negative emissions under a life-cycle perspective, ranging from -1.72 ± 0.45 tonnes CO2-eq. ha−1 yr−1 to -7.18 ± 0.67 tonnes CO2-eq. ha−1 yr−1 (when bio-oil is sequestered). Estimated negative emissions are robust to multiple climate metrics and a large range of uncertainties tested with a Monte-Carlo analysis. Co-benefits exist with crop yields, stratospheric ozone depletion and marine eutrophication, but potential trade-offs occur with tropospheric ozone formation, fine particulate formation, terrestrial acidification and ecotoxicity. At a national level, biochar has the potential to offset between 13% and 40% of the GHG emissions from the Norwegian agricultural sector. Overall, our study shows the importance of integrating emissions from the supply chain with those from agricultural soils to estimate mitigation potentials of biochar in specific regional contexts.

Abstract

There are neither volume nor velocity thresholds that define big data. Any data ranging from just beyond the capacity of a single personal computer to tera- and petabytes of data can be considered big data. Although it is common to use High Performance Computers (HPCs) and cloud facilities to compute big data, migrating to such facilities is not always practical due to various reasons, especially for medium/small analysis. Personal computers at public institutions and business companies are often idle during parts of the day and the entire night. Exploiting such computational resources can partly alleviate the need for HPC and cloud services for analysis of big data where HPC and cloud facilities are not immediate options. This is particularly relevant also during testing and pilot application before implementation on HPC or cloud computing. In this paper, we show a real case of using a local network of personal computers using open-source software packages configured for distributed processing to process remotely sensed big data. Sentinel-2 image time series are used for the testing of the distributed system. The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the monthly median band values are the variables computed to test and evaluate the practicality and efficiency of the distributed cluster. Computational efficiencies of the cluster in relation to different cluster setup, different data sources and different data distribution are tested and evaluated. The results demonstrate that the proposed cluster of local computers is efficient and practical to process remotely sensed data where single personal computers cannot perform the computation. Careful configurations of the computers, the distributed framework and the data are important aspects to be considered in optimizing the efficiency of such a system. If correctly implemented, the solution leads to an efficient use of the computer facilities and allows the processing of big, remote, sensing data without the need to migrate it to larger facilities such as HPC and cloud computing systems, except when going to production and large applications.

Abstract

Diameter at breast height (DBH) distributions offer valuable information for operational and strategic forest management decisions. We predicted DBH distributions using Norwegian national forest inventory and airborne laser scanning data and compared the predictive performances of linear mixed-effects (PPM), generalized linear-mixed (GLM), and k nearest-neighbor (NN) models. While GLM resulted in smaller prediction errors than PPM, both were clearly outperformed by NN. We therefore studied the ability of the NN model to improve the precision of stem frequency estimates by DBH classes in the 8.7 Mha study area using a model-assisted (MA) estimator suitable for systematic sampling. MA estimates yielded greater than or approximately equal efficiencies as direct estimates using field data only. The relative efficiencies (REs) associated with the MA estimates ranged between 0.95–1.47 and 0.96–1.67 for 2 and 6 cm DBH class widths, respectively, when dominant tree species were assumed to be known. The use of a predicted tree species map, instead of the observed information, decreased the REs by up to 10%.

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Abstract

EU aquaculture produces only a small fraction of the internal demand of aquatic foods, but boosting this activity must be done in compliance with high standards of environmental protection and social benefits, as fostered by the policies on circular economy recently launched by the EU. Nevertheless, the assessment of the environmental sustainability of aquaculture and other food production systems is complex, due to the different tools and approaches available. Moreover, the current EU regulatory framework may be restricting the options to implement some circular solutions. This paper examines the controversies related to the assessment of environmental impacts of aquaculture processes and the different available circular solutions, with a focus on the best options to valorize aquaculture side streams and how current regulatory burdens and gaps should be solved.

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Salmon processing commonly involves the skinning of fish, generating by-products that need to be handled. Such skin residues may represent valuable raw materials from a valorization perspective, mainly due to their collagen content. With this approach, we propose in the present work the extraction of gelatin from farmed salmon and further valorization of the remaining residue through hydrolysis. Use of different chemical treatments prior to thermal extraction of gelatin results in a consistent yield of around 5%, but considerable differences in rheological properties. As expected from a cold-water species, salmon gelatin produces rather weak gels, ranging from 0 to 98 g Bloom. Nevertheless, the best performing gelatins show considerable structural integrity, assessed by gel permeation chromatography with light scattering detection for the first time on salmon gelatin. Finally, proteolysis of skin residues with Alcalase for 4 h maximizes digestibility and antihypertensive activity of the resulting hydrolysates, accompanied by the sharpest reduction in molecular weight and higher content of essential amino acids. These results indicate the possibility of tuning salmon gelatin properties through changes in chemical treatment conditions, and completing the valorization cycle through production of bioactive and nutritious hydrolysates.

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Abstract

Impact of orchard management technologies on apple fruit internal quality was tested in several trials performed at the Institute of Horticulture, Lithuanian Research Center for Agriculture and Forestry during 2010-2019. Studies were focused mainly on the research of bioactive compounds: triterpenes and phenols. Studies included rootstocks, crop load regulation, planting distances, fruit position in the tree crown, geographical locations, regulation of tree vegetative growth by root pruning, trunk incision and prohexadione-calcium. ‘Auksis’ apple fruits on P 67 rootstock and ‘Ligol’ on P 61 and P 22 had the highest total phenol content, while the lowest total phenol content of both tested cultivars was recorded on M.9 and P 62 rootstocks. Increasing crop load on the tree led to significant increase of phenols and triterpenes. Higher fruit triterpene concentration was recorded on denser planted trees. Root pruning increased accumulation of phenols, while by the application of prohexadione-calcium the accumulation of phenols decreased significantly. Lower triterpene concentration was recorded when tree growth was controlled by trunk incision. Fruits from the top of the tree accumulated significantly higher amount of phenolic compounds, whereas fruits inside the tree crown were characterized by the highest amount of triterpene compounds. Colder climate during the vegetation and shorter vegetation period resulted in significantly higher accumulation of phenolic and triterpene compounds in apples grown in Estonia comparing to fruits grown in Poland. New scientific results on the impact of modern technologies on the changes of internal fruit quality parameters could increase consumption of apples.

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Abstract

Policy measures and management decisions aimed at enhancing the role of forests in mitigating climate change require reliable estimates of carbon (C)-stock dynamics in greenhouse gas inventories (GHGIs). The aim of this study was to assemble design-based estimators to provide estimates relevant for GHGIs using National Forest Inventory (NFI) data. We improve basic expansion (BE) estimators of living-biomass C-stock loss using only field data, by leveraging with remote sensing auxiliary data in model-assisted (MA) estimators. Our case studies from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Latvia covered an area of >70 Mha. Landsat-based forest cover loss (FCL) and one-time wall-to-wall airborne laser scanning (ALS) served as auxiliary data. ALS provided information on the C stock before a potential disturbance indicated by FCL. The use of FCL in MA estimators resulted in considerable efficiency gains, which in most cases were further increased by adding ALS. A doubling of efficiency was possible for national estimates and even larger efficiencies were observed at the subnational level. Average annual estimates were considerably more precise than pooled estimates of the NFI data from all years at once. The combination of remotely sensed and NFI field data yields reliable estimators, which is not necessarily the case when using remotely sensed data without reference observations.

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Abstract

Cell wall disrupted and dried Microchloropsis gaditana (Mg), Tetraselmis chui (Tc) and Chlorella vulgaris (Cv) microalgae biomasses, with or without ethanol pre‐treatment, were added to wheat bread at a wheat flour substitution level of 12%, to enrich bread protein by 30%. Baking performance, protein quality and basic sensory properties were assessed. Compared to wheat, Mg, Tc and Cv contain higher amounts of essential amino acids and their incorporation markedly improved protein quality in the bread (DIAAS 57–66 vs 46%). The incorporation of microalgae reduced dough strength and bread volume and increased crumb firmness. This was most pronounced for Cv and Tc but could be improved by ethanol treatment. Mg gave adequate dough strength, bread volume and crumb structure without ethanol treatment. To obtain bread of acceptable smell, appearance, and colour, ethanol treatment was necessary also for Mg as it markedly reduced the unpleasant smell and intense colour of all algae breads. Ethanol treatment reduced the relative content of lysine, but no other essential amino acids. However, it also had a negative impact on in vitro protein digestibility. Our results show that Mg had the largest potential for protein fortification of bread, but further work is needed to optimize pre‐processing and assess consumer acceptance.

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Abstract

Broad tapeworms (Diphyllobothriidea) are parasites whose adults are capable of infecting a wide range of freshwater, marine and terrestrial tetrapods including humans. Previous works examining the evolution of habitat and host use in this group have been hampered by the lack of a well-resolved phylogeny. In order to produce a robust phylogenetic framework for diphyllobothriideans, we sequenced the complete mitochondrial genome of 13 representatives, carefully chosen to cover the major clades, and two outgroup species representing the Spathebothriidea and Haplobothriidea. In addition, complementary data from the nuclear ribosomal operon was sequenced for 10 representative taxa. Mitogenomes and ssrDNA and lsrDNA were used towards elucidating the phylogenetic framework for the Diphyllobothriidea. The Cephalochlamydidae is confirmed as the earliest diverging diphyllobothriidean lineage, and Solenophoridae and Diphyllobothriidae are sister groups. We infer a probable freshwater origin of the diphyllobothriideans. The ancestral condition for life cycle complexity could not be unambiguously resolved. However, we infer exclusive use of a three-host life cycle following the origin of the Solenophoridae + Diphyllobothriidae. Regarding definitive host use, although we infer reptiles as the most likely ancestral condition, this result should be revisited with a more densely sampled phylogeny in future studies. Freshwater habitat is used by the early diverging lineages within the Solenophoridae + Diphyllobothriidae clade. For the latter, habitat use shifts between freshwater and marine environments, and definitive host use includes marine and terrestrial mammals and birds. We use mitochondrial genomes to distinguish Schistocephalus species occurring in different species of sticklebacks and demonstrate conspecificity of Ligula cf. intestinalis specimens collected from two Fennoscandian ringed seal subspecies.

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Abstract

Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) are semi-domesticated animals adapted to the challenging conditions of northern Eurasia. Adipose tissues play a crucial role in northern animals by altering gene expression in their tissues to regulate energy homoeostasis and thermogenic activity. Here, we perform transcriptome profiling by RNA sequencing of adipose tissues from three different anatomical depots: metacarpal (bone marrow), perirenal, and prescapular fat in Finnish and Even reindeer (in Sakha) during spring and winter. A total of 16,212 genes are expressed in our data. Gene expression profiles in metacarpal tissue are distinct from perirenal and prescapular adipose tissues. Notably, metacarpal adipose tissue appears to have a significant role in the regulation of the energy metabolism of reindeer in spring when their nutritional condition is poor after winter. During spring, genes associated with the immune system are upregulated in the perirenal and prescapular adipose tissue. Blood and tissue parameters reflecting general physiological and metabolic status show less seasonal variation in Even reindeer than in Finnish reindeer. This study identifies candidate genes potentially involved in immune response, fat deposition, and energy metabolism and provides new information on the mechanisms by which reindeer adapt to harsh arctic conditions.

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Abstract

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, forest regeneration management and policy in the Nordic–Baltic region (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) have gone through significant changes. For decades forest as a key natural resource was managed with main focus on timber production. However, several factors influenced shifting forest management, including forest regeneration to meet a wide range of society needs. This review study aims to reveal the historical development of forest regeneration identifying knowledge gaps and supporting decisions that promote sustainable regeneration of future forests. The development of forest regeneration management and policy in the Nordic–Baltic countries is analyzed through reforestation and afforestation practices as well as legislation aspects using a narrative review approach. Trends in forest regeneration practices within the region are identified and explored over a timeframe spanning from 1900 until today. Despite diverse forestry management structures and differing political, social situations, the study shows that forest regeneration development has followed similar patterns over time in all Nordic–Baltic region countries: extensive forestry, clear-cut forestry, retention forestry and currently evolving climate-adaptive forestry. Nevertheless, regional differences among the Nordic–Baltic countries, especially in forest regeneration-related legislation, were identified due to a mixture of international and local driving forces.

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Abstract

Sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) is a temperate fruit species whose production might be highly impacted by climate change in the near future. Diversity of plant material could be an option to mitigate these climate risks by enabling producers to have new cultivars well adapted to new environmental conditions. In this study, subsets of sweet cherry collections of 19 European countries were genotyped using 14 SSR. The objectives of this study were (i) to assess genetic diversity parameters, (ii) to estimate the levels of population structure, and (iii) to identify germplasm redundancies. A total of 314 accessions, including landraces, early selections, and modern cultivars, were monitored, and 220 unique SSR genotypes were identified. All 14 loci were confirmed to be polymorphic, and a total of 137 alleles were detected with a mean of 9.8 alleles per locus. The average number of alleles (N = 9.8), PIC value (0.658), observed heterozygosity (Ho = 0.71), and expected heterozygosity (He = 0.70) were higher in this study compared to values reported so far. Four ancestral populations were detected using STRUCTURE software and confirmed by Principal Coordinate Analysis (PCoA), and two of them (K1 and K4) could be attributed to the geographical origin of the accessions. A N-J tree grouped the 220 sweet cherry accessions within three main clusters and six subgroups. Accessions belonging to the four STRUCTURE populations roughly clustered together. Clustering confirmed known genealogical data for several accessions. The large genetic diversity of the collection was demonstrated, in particular within the landrace pool, justifying the efforts made over decades for their conservation. New sources of diversity will allow producers to face challenges, such as climate change and the need to develop more sustainable production systems.

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Abstract

Urban agriculture (UA) plays a key role in the circular metabolism of cities, as it can use water resources, nutrients, and other materials recovered from streams that currently leave the city as solid waste or as wastewater to produce new food and biomass. The ecosystem services of urban green spaces and infrastructures and the productivity of specific urban agricultural technologies have been discussed in literature. However, the understanding of input and output (I/O) streams of different nature-based solutions (NBS) is not yet sufficient to identify the challenges and opportunities they offer for strengthening circularity in UA. We propose a series of agriculture NBS, which, implemented in cities, would address circularity challenges in different urban spaces. To identify the challenges, gaps, and opportunities related to the enhancement of resources management of agriculture NBS, we evaluated NBS units, interventions, and supporting units, and analyzed I/O streams as links of urban circularity. A broader understanding of the food-related urban streams is important to recover resources and adapt the distribution system accordingly. As a result, we pinpointed the gaps that hinder the development of UA as a potential opportunity within the framework of the Circular City.

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Abstract

Soft rot Pectobacteriaceae (SRP) are ubiquitous on earth as there are records of findings from all continents where host plants are grown. This chapter describes information on soft rot diseases on these continents. For some countries, detailed information is provided by local experts on the SRP present, their economic damage, and the management strategies applied for their control. The focus of the chapter is mainly on SRP as causative agents of potato blackleg, although in specific cases details are provided on SRP in other host plants. In Europe, the SRP cause important economic losses mainly on potato, with most species described in the literature being found. In Latin America significant losses are also reported due to potato diseases caused by various Dickeya and Pectobacterium species, while in Australia and Oceania, recent outbreaks of D. dianthicola in potato have resulted in high economic losses. In Asia, however, SRP cause economic losses mainly in vegetable crops other than potato, while in North America SRP cause diseases on a wide range of crops (including potato and ornamental plants) in both field and storage. In Africa SRP are only known to occur in 17 of the 54 African countries but where it is known, potato is the most affected crop.

Abstract

The soft rot Pectobacteriaceae (SRP) infect a wide range of plants worldwide and cause economic damage to crops and ornamentals but can also colonize other plants as part of their natural life cycle. They are found in a variety of environmental niches, including water, soil and insects, where they may spread to susceptible plants and cause disease. In this chapter, we look in detail at the plants colonized and infected by these pathogens and at the diseases and symptoms they cause. We also focus on where in the environment these organisms are found and their ability to survive and thrive there. Finally, we present evidence that SRP may assist the colonization of human enteric pathogens on plants, potentially implicating them in aspects of human/animal as well as plant health.

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1. Ecological network structure is maintained by a generalist core of common species. However, rare species contribute substantially to both the species and functional diversity of networks. Capturing changes in species composition and interactions, measured as turnover, is central to understanding the contribution of rare and common species and their interactions. Due to a large contribution of rare interactions, the pairwise metrics used to quantify interaction turnover are, however, sensitive to compositional change in the interactions of, often rare, peripheral specialists rather than common generalists in the network. 2. Here we expand on pairwise interaction turnover using a multi-site metric that enables quantifying turnover in rare to common interactions (in terms of occurrence of interactions). The metric further separates this turnover into interaction turnover due to species turnover and interaction rewiring. 3. We demonstrate the application and value of this method using a host–parasitoid system sampled along gradients of environmental modification. 4. In the study system, both the type and amount of habitat needed to maintain interaction composition depended on the properties of the interactions considered, that is, from rare to common. The analyses further revealed the potential of host switching to prevent or delay species loss, and thereby buffer the system from perturbation. 5. Multi-site interaction turnover provides a comprehensive measure of network change that can, for example, detect ecological thresholds to habitat loss for rare to common interactions. Accurate description of turnover in common, in addition to rare, species and their interactions is particularly relevant for understanding how network structure and function can be maintained.

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Abstract

Climate change may result in increased root system stresses in strawberry cultivation, requiring cultivars with root and crown-related resistance and resiliency traits. Approaches to widen the genetic basis and improve tools for the incorporation of novel variation are relevant to plant breeding for changing climate. The pre-breeding project NORDFRUIT is a Nordic public-private-partnership project that aims to introduce novel genetic variation from new sources, support the use of existing genetic resources adapted to Nordic and Baltic cultivation conditions, and develop efficient tools to speed up germplasm evaluation in breeding programs for climate adaptation. Pre-evaluated genotypes of Fragaria chiloensis or Fragaria virginiana were used as parents in interspecific (species hybridization) crosses, re-creating the garden strawberry hybrid species, F. ×ananassa. The created F1 hybrid seedlings were propagated by runners for replicated phenotyping trials. A greenhouse assay to test root-shoot biomass partition, growth vigour and Phytophthora cactorum resistance in these small plants was scaled up from an earlier assay based on nutrient film technology (NFT). The observed variation in disease symptom appearance, root-shoot ratio, and root proliferation indicated promising traits in the strawberry hybrid material, to be exploited further in genomic studies and to develop genome-assisted resistance breeding. The on-going work also includes field testing of the same hybrid material to evaluate winter hardiness, powdery mildew incidence, and fruit traits.

Abstract

Compact and healthy seedlings of Brassica increase the crop production and improve vegetable quality. Different climatic conditions and extensive light can cause young plants to become elongated and spindly. We investigated the effects of end-of-day (EOD) treatment on plant height (cm) of the seedlings of three cultivars of each of the following species: cauliflower (‘Delfino’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Momentum’), broccoli (‘Achilles’, ‘Ironman’ and ‘Steel’), Brussels sprouts (‘Gladius’, ‘Brigitte’ and ‘Maximus’) and swede (‘Vigod’, ‘Vige’ and ‘Neve’) using red light (RL) with wavelength of 600 nm and intensity of 10 μmol m2 s‑1 as a supplement to natural light. All seedlings were planted in an experimental field. Yield of the mentioned species and vitamin C content were measured after harvest. Night EOD treatment resulted in 7% shorter and more compact plants in broccoli (p=0.04). There were yield differences (31-44%) among cultivars within the cauliflower (p=0.001), broccoli (p=0.01) and Brussels sprouts (p=0.001). There were significant differences in vitamin C content among cultivars in all four Brassica species (p<0.01). This study provides new information about the effect of night break treatment with red light on seedling length in broccoli, yield differences in cultivars of cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts and on vitamin C content in different cultivars of four studied Brassica species.

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Abstract

In recent decades, a combination of increasing demand and economic globalisation has created a global market for elasmobranch products, especially the highly prized shark fins for Asian markets. Morphological species identification, as well as traditional cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) barcoding of shark fins and other products, become challenging when in a processed state (such as dried or bleached shark fins). Here a mini-barcoding multiplex assay was applied to determine the species of origin in case studies from southern Africa involving confiscated shark fins in different states of processing. This highlights that the illegal shark fin trade in southern Africa to a large extent comprises threatened species. Matching of sequences of the confiscated fins against public databases revealed several threatened species, including the CITES-listed species Carcharodon carcharias, Carcharhinus longimanus, Isurus oxyrinchus, Rhynchobatus djiddensis and Sphyrna lewini. The findings highlight the need for improved trade monitoring, such as to eliminate illegal trade in shark fins, which can in part be achieved through more widespread genetic sampling of internationally traded products. However, a major limitation to DNA barcoding in general lies in the lack of curated voucher specimens available on public databases. To facilitate the application of molecular methods in a more comprehensive evaluation of elasmobranch trade regionally, a concerted effort to create reliable curated sequence data is recommended.

Abstract

Forest harvest residue is a low-competitive biomass feedstock that is usually left to decay on site after forestry operations. Its removal and pyrolytic conversion to biochar is seen as an opportunity to reduce terrestrial CO2 emissions and mitigate climate change. The mitigation effect of biochar is, however, ultimately dependent on the availability of the biomass feedstock, thus CO2 removal of biochar needs to be assessed in relation to the capacity to supply biochar systems with biomass feedstocks over prolonged time scales, relevant for climate mitigation. In the present study we used an assembly of empirical models to forecast the effects of harvest residue removal on soil C storage and the technical capacity of biochar to mitigate national-scale emissions over the century, using Norway as a case study for boreal conditions. We estimate the mitigation potential to vary between 0.41 and 0.78 Tg CO2 equivalents yr−1, of which 79% could be attributed to increased soil C stock, and 21% to the coproduction of bioenergy. These values correspond to 9–17% of the emissions of the Norwegian agricultural sector and to 0.8–1.5% of the total national emission. This illustrates that deployment of biochar from forest harvest residues in countries with a large forestry sector, relative to economy and population size, is likely to have a relatively small contribution to national emission reduction targets but may have a large effect on agricultural emission and commitments. Strategies for biochar deployment need to consider that biochar's mitigation effect is limited by the feedstock supply which needs to be critically assessed.

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Abstract

The common smooth-hound shark, Mustelus mustelus, is a widely distributed demersal shark under heavy exploitation from various fisheries throughout its distribution range. To assist in the development of appropriate management strategies, the authors evaluate stock structure, site fidelity and movement patterns along the species’ distribution in southern Africa based on a combination of molecular and long-term tag-recapture data. Eight species-specific microsatellite markers (N = 73) and two mitochondrial genes, nicotinamide adenine dehydrogenase subunit 4 and control region (N = 45), did not reveal any significant genetic structure among neighbouring sites. Nonetheless, tagging data demonstrate a remarkable degree of site fidelity with 76% of sharks recaptured within 50 km of the original tagging location. On a larger geographic scale, dispersal is governed by oceanographic features as demonstrated by the lack of movements across the Benguela-Agulhas transition zone separating the South-East Atlantic Ocean (SEAO) and South-West Indian Ocean (SWIO) populations. Microsatellite data supported very shallow ocean-based structure (SEAO and SWIO) and historical southward gene flow following the Agulhas Current, corroborating the influence of this dynamic oceanographic system on gene flow. Moreover, no movements between Namibia and South Africa were observed, indicating that the Lüderitz upwelling formation off the Namibian coast acts as another barrier to dispersal and gene flow. Overall, these results show that dispersal and stock structure of M. mustelus are governed by a combination of behavioural traits and oceanographic features such as steep temperature gradients, currents and upwelling systems.

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Abstract

Surface water runoff can export pesticides from agricultural fields into adjacent aquatic ecosystems, where they may pose adverse effects to organisms. Constructed wetlands (CWs) are widely used to treat agricultural runoff contaminated by pesticides, but the removal of hydrophilic pesticides is usually low. In this study, we suggest superabsorbent polymer (SAP), a cross-linked hydrophilic polymer, as a supplement to substrates of CWs and tested the hypothesis that SAP results in an enhanced removal of hydrophilic pesticides. Therefore, batch experiments were conducted to study the retention capacity of water-saturated SAP (w-SAP) for several hydrophilic pesticides. Retention of the pesticides on w-SAP was related to the ionization state and water solubility of the pesticides. The retention of neutral pesticides, imidacloprid, metalaxyl and propiconazole, was about 20% higher than that measured for anionic pesticides, bentazone, glyphosate and MCPA. The retention of the pesticides by w-SAP mainly resulted from their distribution in the gel-water phase of w-SAP, while less water soluble pesticides might have also been adsorbed on the molecular backbone of SAP. Furthermore, we tested the efficacy of w-SAP for treatment of runoff water contaminated by pesticides in lab-scale horizontal subsurface flow CWs. SAP in CWs improved the removal of the pesticides, including the recalcitrant ones. The removal enhancement was owing to the increase of hydraulic retention time and improvement of biodegradation. The removal of the pesticides in SAP containing CWs was > 93% for MCPA, glyphosate, and propiconazole, 62 – 99% for imidacloprid, 50 – 84% for metalaxyl, and 38 – 73% for bentazone. In the control gravel CWs, the removal was > 98% for glyphosate, generally > 83% for MCPA and propiconazole, 46 – 98% for imidacloprid, 32 – 97% for metalaxyl, and 9 – 96% for bentazone.

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Abstract

The adoption of site-specific weed management (SSWM) technologies by farmers is not aligned with the scientific achievements in this field. While scientists have demonstrated significant success in real-time weed identification, phenotyping and accurate weed mapping by using various sensors and platforms, the integration by farmers of SSWM and weed phenotyping tools into weed management protocols is limited. This gap was therefore a central topic of discussion at the most recent workshop of the SSWM Working Group arranged by the European Weed Research Society (EWRS). This insight paper aims to summarise the presentations and discussions of some of the workshop panels and to highlight different aspects of weed identification and spray application that were thought to hinder SSWM adoption. It also aims to share views and thoughts regarding steps that can be taken to facilitate future implementation of SSWM.

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Abstract

This study was conducted with the aim of developing fruit spirits by utilizing old (autochthonous) apple and pear cultivars that can be attractive to both consumers and producers. Consumers of spirits could enjoy the unique flavor, and producers could gain an opportunity for brand development. In total, eight old apple cultivars (Sarija, Žuja, Samoniklica, Prijedorska zelenika, Bobovec, Masnjača, Lijepocvjetka, and Šarenika) and three pear cultivars (Budaljača, Krakača, and Kalićanka) from Bosnia and Herzegovina were used for the spirits production and for characterizing the flavor of distillates. Golden Delicious was used as a representative of commercial apple cultivar. The aroma profile was conducted through the identification of minor volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and the sensory perception of spirits. Analysis of the VOCs was performed by gas chromatography mass spectroscopy (GC/MS) techniques after enrichment via solid-phase microextraction (SPME). Sensory evaluation was performed by 12 trained panelists. Overall, 35 minor volatile compounds were found in spirits: 13 esters, 7 alcohols, 6 acids, 5 terpenes, and 4 aldehydes. Significant differences were detected in the distribution and quantity of the VOCs, which were fruit cultivar-dependent. Spirits made from Šarenika apple cultivar showed the largest amount of all acids, especially short- and medium-chain fatty acids; however, this richness was not correlated with pleasant sensory attributes. Spirits obtained from Prijedorska zelenika and Masnjača apple cultivars had the best sensory attributes. Budeljača and Krakača pears are promising cultivars as flavoring in spirits production.

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Abstract

Apple production generates large amounts of apple pomace including seeds, leading to high transportation costs, public health hazards and undesirable odor. A new reuse strategy of this kind of waste could solve environmental issues and/or create unconventional sources of health beneficial products. In total, seeds from 75 apple cultivars grown in Norway (both domestic and international) have been analyzed for the first time for oil content and fatty acid profile together with tocopherols and carotenoids quantification in defatted seeds. Seeds from cultivar Håkonseple had the highest oil content (22.10%), with linoleic, oleic acid, and palmitic acid as the most abundant fatty acids. The levels of β-carotene and lycopene carotenoids and α-tocopherol were the highest in defatted seeds of the cultivar Sureple Grøn. Principal component analysis separated cultivars according to the total oil content. The Norwegian apple cultivars Håkonseple, Kviteple, Tolleivseple, Vinterrosenstrips, and Tokheimseple are recommended for obtaining vegetable oil due to their high oil contents, while cultivar Sureple Grøn can be separated due to its high levels of β-carotene, lycopene and total tocopherols.

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Abstract

Pollinating insects are an inherent part of most terrestrial ecosystems as they provide a crucial service for most angiosperms, including numerous important crops. A decrease in pollinator populations can therefore have severe consequences for both natural ecosystems and agricultural yields. Pesticide usage has been pointed out as one of the drivers behind pollinator declines. Globally, neonicotinoids are one of the most commonly used insecticides and studies have shown that exposure at sub-lethal levels can alter foraging behaviour, ultimately negatively affecting survival. Using a custom-made bumblebee colony monitoring system, we examined how the number and duration of foraging bouts of bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) on an individual level, and hive growth rate, was affected by exposure to low (6.5 µg/L) and high (10.6 µg/L) sub-lethal concentrations of the neonicotinoid clothianidin via nectar. We also examined possible interaction between clothianidin exposure and abiotic factors (temperature and precipitation), and its impact on foraging bout number and duration. Exposure to sublethal concentrations of clothianidin increased foraging bout duration in bumblebees. Furthermore, the foraging bout duration decreased with increasing temperature at both exposure concentrations, whereas the unexposed control group was not affected by temperature. Neither number of foraging bouts nor the daily rhythm of foraging bout duration was affected by clothianidin exposure or temperature. The foraging bout duration decreased with increasing precipitation in both exposed and non-exposed groups. However, we did not find any interaction between precipitation and exposure, suggesting that precipitation does not affect toxicity. Our study shows the importance of semi-natural experiments and accounting for ambient factors when assessing the risk that pesticide exposure may present to pollinators. We conclude that the effect of clothianidin exposure on bumblebee foraging behaviour is temperature sensitive and that local climatic conditions and future climate change scenarios should be considered in risk assessments of clothianidin and other insecticides.

Abstract

Potato contributes highly to the global food security. It is predicted that the production of this crop will be negatively affected by future climatic changes. Application of hydroponics for table potato production can mitigate crop loss in highly vulnerable regions. A preliminary small-scale case-study was performed to test theoretical perspectives of hydroponic production of table potatoes in wood fiber by comparing different fiber types and fertigation strategies. Potatoes were also grown in the field to obtain a reference control. Hydroponic production of potato in a stand-alone wood fiber resulted in ca. 200% higher yield, when compared to standard soil cultivation. However, the quality of the tubers was slightly reduced (lower dry matter content). Productivity of table potatoes was affected by the growing medium and fertigation strategy. Production of potatoes in wood fiber is possible and, in the future, might complement the conventional production systems, or even become an important alternative in locations where in-field cultivation is not possible. Nevertheless, the effect of wood fiber properties and the applied fertigation strategy on yield potential and tuber quality should be further studied. Optimization of these factors will be a topic of a following full-scale research.

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Abstract

Power-to-methane technology is a promising solution to facilitate the use of excess variable renewable energy for biomethane production. In this approach, hydrogen produced via electrolysis is used to upgrade raw biogas, which can be subsequently used as fuel or stored in the gas grid. Ex-situ biomethanation is an emerging technology that could potentially replace conventional energy-intensive biogas upgrading methods and allow CO2 utilization for biomethane production. This work provides a comprehensive overview on the current status of ex-situ biomethanation with particular attention to trickle bed reactor. The review includes description of ex-situ biomethanation and summarizes previous works on this topic. The key elements related to operational conditions, efficiency, and microbiology of ex-situ biomethanation using trickle bed reactor are described here. Additionally, the review highlights the technical and economic issues that have to be addressed for future development and large-scale implementation of ex-situ biomethanation.

Abstract

Understanding the quality of new raw material sources will be of great importance to ensure the development of a circular bioeconomy. Building up quality understanding of wood waste is an important step in this development. In this paper we probe two main questions, one substantial and one theoretical: What different understandings of wood waste quality exist and what significance do they have for the recycling and re-use of this waste fraction? And, what is the evolution of knowledge and sustainable practices of wood waste qualities a case of? The analysis is based on diverse perspectives and forms of methods and empirical material. Studies of policy documents, regulations, standards, etc. have been reviewed to uncover what kind of measures and concepts that have been important for governing and regulating wood waste handling. Interviews concerning wood and wood waste qualities have been conducted with key informants and people visiting recycling and waste management stations in Oslo and Akershus in Norway. By studying quality conceptions through the social birth, production, life, end-of-life and re-birth of wood products, we analyse socio-cultural conditions for sustainability. Furthermore we show how the evolution of knowledge and sustainable practices of wood waste qualities, in the meeting with standards and regulations, is a case of adaptation work in the evolution of Norwegian bioeconomy.

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Abstract

Water resources and associated ecosystems are becoming highly endangered due to ongoing global environmental changes. Spatial ecological modelling is a promising toolbox for understanding the past, present and future distribution and diversity patterns in groundwater-dependent ecosystems, such as fens, springs, streams, reed beds or wet grasslands. Still, the lack of detailed water chemistry maps prevents the use of reasonable models to be applied on continental and global scales. Being major determinants of biological composition and diversity of groundwater-dependent ecosystems, groundwater pH and calcium are of utmost importance. Here we developed an up-to-date European map of groundwater pH and Ca, based on 7577 measurements of near-surface groundwater pH and calcium distributed across Europe. In comparison to the existing European groundwater maps, we included several times more sites, especially in the regions rich in spring and fen habitats, and filled the apparent gaps in eastern and southeastern Europe. We used random forest models and regression kriging to create continuous maps of water pH and calcium at the continental scale, which is freely available also as a raster map (Hájek et al., 2020b; https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4139912). Lithology had a higher importance than climate for both pH and calcium. The previously recognised latitudinal and altitudinal gradients were rediscovered with much refined regional patterns, as associated with bedrock variation. For ecological models of distribution and diversity of many terrestrial ecosystems, our new map based on field groundwater measurements is more suitable than maps of soil pH, which mirror not only bedrock chemistry but also vegetation-dependent soil processes.

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Abstract

Plant diseases may survive and be spread by infected seeds. In this study we monitored the longevity of 14 seed-borne pathogens in 9 crop species commonly grown in the Nordic countries, in addition to a sample of sclerotia of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. The data from the first 30 years of a 100-year seed storage experiment located in a natural −3.5 °C environment (permafrost) in Svalbard, Norway, are presented. To date, the pathogens, tested by traditional seed health testing methods (freezing blotter, agar plates, growing on tests), have survived. Linear regression analyses showed that the seed infection percentages of Drechslera dictyoides in meadow fescue, Drechslera phlei in timothy, and Septoria nodorum in wheat were significantly reduced compared to the percentages at the start of the experiment (from 63% to 34%, from 70% to 65%, and from 15% to 1%, respectively), and that Phoma betae in beet had increased significantly (from 43% to 56%). No trends in the infection percentage were observed over the years in Drechslera spp. in barley (fluctuating between 30% and 64%) or in Alternaria brassicicola in cabbage (fluctuating between 82% and 99%), nor in pathogens with low seed infection percentages at the start of the experiment. A major part of the stored sclerotia was viable after 30 years. To avoid the spread of seed-borne diseases, it is recommended that gene banks implement routines that avoid the use of infected seeds.

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Abstract

In developing countries, over 50% of horticultural crops are lost after harvesting due to absense of or poor postharvest cold storage facilities. Cold storage facility is a critical component of the food supply chain and food security because it can extend the storage period of the perishable products; avoid glut and post-harvest losses, reducing transport bottlenecks. The objective of the study was to design and construct an evaporative cooling system to store horticultural products in a wide range of climatic conditions in Ethiopia. The design integrates direct evaporative cooling system and indirect evaporative cooling system with technical improvements and re-arrangements for continuous operation and handling purpose. After the design and construction work of the cooler was completed, its performance was tested and evaluated without product load at maximum mean annual temperature for five days. Finally, the performance and effect of the cooler on tomato shelf life and quality was evaluated by storing fresh tomatoes inside the cooler shelves. For comparison (control group), randomly selected fresh tomatoes were stored in a basket, which is a standard method that retailer display tomatoes in the market in the study area. A portable evaporative cooler was constructed from locally available and used materials and integrated with new temperature and relative humidity sensors. It had a capacity of 260 Kg (573.2 lb). The evaporative cooler resulted in a reduction in the maximum ambient temperature from 32.8°C (91.6°F) to 23.5°C (74.3°F) in the cooler. As the ambient temperature drops to 21.8°C (71.4°F), the temperature in the cooler reduced to 15°C (59°F). The cooler stabilized the relative humidity between 77- 88%. The newly designed and constructed evaporative cooler reduced the postharvest loss of tomato from 80 % in a traditional basket to 5% in the evaporative cooler. The cooler reduced the postharvest loss of tomato by 94%. It maintained the quality of the fresh tomatoes. In conclusion what we showed in this study was that we have refined the design and constructed a low cost and effective cooling system that can be used by poor retailers of vegetables and fruits. Evaporative cooler is an old and forgotten technology, if the design and construction are refined, it can be used to regulate temperature and relative humidity and used in different purposes especially for those who cannot afford to buy modern thermal regulation technologies.

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Abstract

Computer models use symbols in various ways adapted from mathematics, computer science, engineering and the natural sciences. Model applications in ecology often seek to represent future states of ecosystems, a task that has been difficult to achieve. Reflection upon the role of symbols in these models may help to disentangle the various sources and contributions to these perceptions of the environment. The modi of time (past, present, future) are here represented by corresponding forms of modelling as narration, performance, and simulation. All three occur in ecological modelling, and transitions between them may be indicative of modelling limits. Given the difficulties of representing the future of ecosystems and finding relevant analogies in the history of ecosystem use, the most challenging task for contemporary ecological models is to perform appropriately with respect to (Big) monitoring Data. We use an analogy between an environmental crisis in natural history and the current Anthropocene to demonstrate the limits of symbols in modelling which are intended to provide an abstract representation. A shift in emphasis on the engineering and computational aspect is proposed for organizing a sustainable human-environment relationship in the Anthropocene.

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Abstract

A better understanding of regional differentiation and local adaptation of rare arable plants is essential for the development of suitable methods for the reintroduction of these species. We set up F1 and F2 greenhouse experiments with 4–12 source populations of five rare arable plant species to test for genetically based differentiation in biomass production and phenology in South Germany. For three species, i.e. Arnoseris minima, Consolida regalis and Teesdalia nudicaulis, reciprocal transplant experiments were performed in arable fields to investigate local adaptation in plant establishment as well as biomass production to the northern or southern regions of three seed transfer zones. We found low regional differentiation, but provenance-specific responses to drought stress in Legousia speculum-veneris biomass and A. minima phenology. Moreover, little evidence was identified for local adaptation, while significant differences were seen in the performance between the transplant sites and study years, indicating a high phenotypic variability. Our results suggest that the current seed zones are suitable for the seed transfer of rare arable plants in the study region. Thus, there is a low risk of maladaptation when using autochthonous seed sources within the seed zones, but a high extinction risk of these species and their respective ecosystem functions if no active restoration is done, including transplant measures.

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Abstract

Greenhouses are complex systems whose size, shape, construction material, and equipment for climate control, lighting and heating can vary largely. The greenhouse design can, together with the outdoor weather conditions, have a large impact on the economic performance and the environmental consequences of the production. The aim of this study was to identify a greenhouse design out of several feasible designs that generated the highest net financial return (NFR) and lowest energy use for seasonal tomato production across Norway. A model-based greenhouse design method, which includes a module for greenhouse indoor climate, a crop growth module for yield prediction, and an economic module, was applied to predict the NFR and energy use. Observed indoor climate and tomato yield were predicted using the climate and growth modules in a commercial greenhouse in southwestern Norway (SW) with rail and grow heating pipes, glass cover, energy screens, and CO2-enrichment. Subsequently, the NFR and fossil fuel use of five combinations of these elements relevant to Norwegian conditions were determined for four locations: Kise in eastern Norway (E), Mære in midwestern Norway (MW), Orre in southwestern Norway (SW) and Tromsø in northern Norway (N). Across designs and locations, the highest NFR was 47.6 NOK m−2 for the greenhouse design with a night energy screen. The greenhouse design with day and night energy screens, fogging and mechanical cooling and heating having the lowest fossil energy used per m2 in all locations had an NFR of −94.8 NOK m−2. The model can be adapted for different climatic conditions using a variation in the design elements. The study is useful at the practical and policy level since it combines the economic module with the environmental impact to measure CO2 emissions.

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Abstract

While interspecific variation in microbiome composition can often be readily explained by factors such as host species identity, there is still limited knowledge of how microbiomes vary at scales lower than the species level (e.g., between individuals or populations). Here, we evaluated variation in microbiome composition of individual parasites among infrapopulations (i.e., populations of parasites of the same species living on a single host individual). To address this question, we used genome-resolved and shotgun metagenomic data of 17 infrapopulations (balanced design) of the permanent, bloodsucking seal louse Echinophthirius horridus sampled from individual Saimaa ringed seals Pusa hispida saimensis. Both genome-resolved and read-based metagenomic classification approaches consistently show that parasite infrapopulation identity is a significant factor that explains both qualitative and quantitative patterns of microbiome variation at the intraspecific level. This study contributes to the general understanding of the factors driving patterns of intraspecific variation in microbiome composition, especially of bloodsucking parasites, and has implications for understanding how well-known processes occurring at higher taxonomic levels, such as phylosymbiosis, might arise in these systems.

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Abstract

Knowing how and to what extent environmental parameters affect threatened species facilitates the understanding of their specific microhabitat requirements. In this study, we examined the response patterns of four threatened tropical plant species to variations in temperature, precipitation, and physiographic variables, and analyzed the relative contributions of environmental variables to the observed distributions of the species. The studied species are Bursera coyucensis, Cryosophila argentea, Guatteria anomala, and Vatairea lundellii and are cataloged into specific risk categories in the Mexican Official Standard NOM-059-SEMARNAT. Our findings suggest differences in ranges of temperature and precipitation (for example, C. argentea exhibited narrower ranges compared to G. anomala and V. lundellii in precipitation) and similarity in ranges of slope across species distributions. We also found that most species distributions respond non-linearly to variations in environmental variables. These results contribute to defining the environmental spaces of these species. The partial and combined effects of climatic variables, and the range of environmental distributions reported here, have intrinsic implications for the adaptation capacity, plasticity, and survival of these species to environmental variation. This information could be useful to promote conservation activities such as the creation of microhabitats with optimal environmental preferences through sustainable silviculture.

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Abstract

The Norwegian newly bred pear cultivar, ‘Celina/QTee®’, which was launched in 2010, has been released from the Norwegian breeding program. It derived from the combination ‘Colourée de Juillet’ × ‘Williams’. In Norway the flowering is medium to late in May and it ripens in the beginning of September. It has large attractive fruits with red blush and good fruit quality, storability and shelf life. Significant areas of ‘Celina’ cultivars are planted in other countries, mainly Europe. Generally, unfavourable environmental conditions for pear pollination during the Nordic spring can have a very negative effect on the yields in Norwegian pear orchards. Therefore, it is of considerable importance to interplant multiple suitable pollinizer genotypes together with the main cultivar. In order to find the right pollinizers besides following biology of fertilization, pollinizing efficacy using microsatellites were studied at NIBIO Ullensvang, western Norway. In this study, during 2017, seeds from fruits of the pear cultivar ‘Celina’ were extracted. The fruits were randomly harvested from five different orchards located in Ullensvang including NIBIO. Alongside the seeds, leaves were taken from the mother cultivar (‘Celina’) and five pear pollin