Publications

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

2021

Abstract

Abandonment of agricultural land is a process described from different regions of many industrialized countries. Given the current focus on land use, land use change and food security, it appears highly relevant to develop improved tools to identify and monitor the dynamics of agricultural land abandonment. In particular, the temporal aspect of abandonment needs to be assessed and discussed. In this study, we used the detailed information available through the Norwegian subsidy claim database and analyzed the history of use of unique land parcels through a fourteen-year period. We developed and tested five different statistics identifying these land parcels, their temporal dynamics and the extent of occurrence. What became apparent was that a large number of land parcels existing in the database as agricultural land were taken out of production, but then entered into production again at a later stage. We believe that this approach to describe the temporal dynamics of land abandonment, including how it can be measured and mapped, may contribute to the understanding of the dynamics in land abandonment, and thus also contribute to an improved understanding of the food production system.

2020

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate genetic diversity within and between lines at the Norwegian live poultry gene bank as well as assessing the conservation value in an international context. Eight lines including the national breed, Jærhøns, were genotyped with the 600K Affymetrix® Axiom® Chicken Genotyping Array. The white egg layers were generally more inbred than the brown layers. Comparative analyses were carried out with 72 international populations of different origins. The lines that were last bred for commercial production in Norway, Norbrid, are clearly separated from the rest of the international set and more closely related to the current commercial lines. The brown egg layer Norbrid 7 has the highest relative contribution to genetic diversity. The Norwegian genebank lines are of conservation value in a national and international perspective, as they all add genetic diversity to the global set.

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The abstract classification system Nature in Norway (NiN) has detailed ecological definitions of a high number of ecosystem units, but its applicability in practical vegetation mapping is unknown because it was not designed with a specific mapping method in mind. To investigate this further, two methods for mapping – 3D aerial photographic interpretation of colour infrared photos and field survey – were used to map comparable neighbouring sites of 1 km2 in Hvaler Municipality, south-eastern Norway. The classification accuracy of each method was evaluated using a consensus classification of 160 randomly distributed plots within the study sites. The results showed an overall classification accuracy of 62.5% for 3D aerial photographic interpretation and 82.5% for field survey. However, the accuracy varied for the ecosystem units mapped. The classification accuracy of ecosystem units in acidic, dry and open terrain was similar for both methods, whereas classification accuracy of calcareous units was highest using field survey. The mapping progress using 3D aerial photographic interpretation was more than two times faster than that of field survey. Based on the results, the authors recommend a method combining 3D aerial photographic interpretation and field survey to achieve effectively accurate mapping in practical applications of the NiN system.

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Aim: Distribution modelling is a useful approach to obtain knowledge about the spatial distribution of biodiversity, required for, for example, red-list assessments. While distribution modelling methods have been applied mostly to single species, modelling of communities and ecosystems (EDM; ecosystem-level distribution modelling) produces results that are more directly relevant for management and decision-making. Although the choice of predictors is a pivotal part of the modelling process, few studies have compared the suitability of different sets of predictors for EDM. In this study, we compare the performance of 50 single environmental variables with that of 11 composite landscape gradients (CLGs) for prediction of ecosystem types. The CLGs represent gradients in landscape element composition derived from multivariate analyses, for example “inner-outer coast” and “land use intensity.” Location: Norway. Methods: We used data from field-based ecosystem-type mapping of nine ecosystem types, and environmental variables with a resolution of 100 × 100 m. We built nine models for each ecosystem type with variables from different predictor sets. Logistic regression with forward selection of variables was used for EDM. Models were evaluated with independently collected data. Results: Most ecosystem types could be predicted reliably, although model performance differed among ecosystem types. We identified significant differences in predictive power and model parsimony across models built from different predictor sets. Climatic variables alone performed poorly, indicating that the current climate alone is not sufficient to predict the current distribution of ecosystems. Used alone, the CLGs resulted in parsimonious models with relatively high predictive power. Used together with other variables, they consistently improved the models. Main conclusions: Our study highlights the importance of variable selection in EDM. We argue that the use of composite variables as proxies for complex environmental gradients has the potential to improve predictions from EDMs and thus to inform conservation planning as well as improve the precision and credibility of red lists and global change assessments.conservation planning, distribution modelling, ecosystem classification, ecosystem types, IUCN Red List of Ecosystems, landscape gradients, spatial prediction, species response curves

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Young forest stands and clearcuts in the boreal forest created by modern forestry practices along with meadows of abandoned summer farms may contribute as feeding areas for beef cattle. The patchy distribution and varying quality and diversity of forage on such unimproved lands may affect cattle productivity. Weight gain of 336 beef cows and 270 calves free-ranging during three summer grazing seasons was monitored in boreal forests of southeastern Norway, stocked at either high (0.16 cows ha-1) and low (0.04 cows ha-1) stocking densities. We used linear mixed effect models for assessing intrinsic correlates of weight gain in cows and calves in the two areas. Habitat use and home range size of a subsample of 53 cows were monitored by using GPS collars programmed to log locations at 5 min. intervals during the grazing season. Additional extrinsic correlates of weight gain for the subsampled cows using a linear mixed model were also tested. Average weight gain of beef cows grazing at the low stocking density was positive among cows of early maturing breeds (represented by Hereford) gaining 24 ± 2.8 kg ( ± SE), while cows of late maturing breeds (mainly represented by Charolais) had an average weight loss of 9 ± 8.4 kg. The average weight gain was negative for beef cows of both early (Herefords) and late maturing breeds (mainly represented by Charolais but also Limousin and Simmental) at the high stocking density. Within both breed groups, there was a negative relationship between breed-specific average weight of cows at turnout and weight gain during the grazing period, while a prolonged grazing period was slightly positively related to weight gain. There was no relationship between weight gain and home range size and proportion of grazing habitat for the 53 cows fitted with GPS collars. Higher weight gains in calves of the low compared to the high stocking density area was found. However, there was no breed effect of weight gain in calves. Across study areas, spring-born suckler calves gained more weight than autumn-born calves (92 ± 1.7 kg vs. 65 ± 4.4 kg). Also, there were higher weight gains for springborn bull-calves than spring-born heifers (100 ± 2.4 kg vs. 94 ± 2.2 kg). Overall, the results indicate that it is possible to achieve acceptable weight gains for cattle grazing coniferous forest by finding breeds suitable for these extensive areas and stocking at moderate densities.

Abstract

Skog er viktig i Norge. Det er uttalt politisk vilje til å styrke skogens bidrag for økonomisk verdiskaping i landbruket og for å nå viktige mål knyttet til energi, klima, miljøverdier og økosystemtjenester. Skogressursene er viktige for å opprettholde et bærekraftig landbruk og matproduksjon over hele landet, ettersom inntekt fra skogen bidrar til den totale inntekten for mange aktive bønder. Skogene er også viktige for rekreasjon og for folkehelsa. Skogtregenetiske ressurser i Norge brukes i produksjonsskogbruk, til skogplanting etter hogst og på annet areal, eller til treslagsskifte. De brukes også til juletreproduksjon, til landskapsformål eller i parker og hager....

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Abstract

The Norwegian sheep industry is based on utilization of “free” rangeland pasture resources. Use of mountain pastures is dominating, with about two million sheep grazing these pastures during summer. Regional challenges related to e.g., loss of sheep to large carnivores make farmers think differently. The Norwegian coastline is among the longest globally and is scattered with islets and islands. Alone along the coast of Nordland county, it is estimated more than 14,000 islands. Use of islands for summer pasture is an alternative but there is a limited knowledge about such a management system. In this study, we examined lambs' average daily gain on island pastures at the coast of Norway. In total 230 lambs on three islands (Sandvær, Sjonøya, and Buøya), with varying pasture quality and stocking rate, for 3 years (2012, 2013, and 2014). At Sandvær as much as 92% of the island was characterized as high nutritional value while at Sjonøya and Buøya only 15%, was characterized high nutritional value. We found an average daily lamb growth rate of 0.320 kg d−1. Lambs on Sandvær had a higher daily gain (P < 0.05) than those on Sjonøya and Buøya, and lambs' average daily gain was significantly lower (P < 0.05) in 2013 compared to 2012 and 2014. We conclude that with a dynamic and adaptive management strategy there is a potential to utilize islands for sheep grazing during summer.