Publications

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

2019

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Abstract

Soil is one of the most species-rich habitats and plays a crucial role in the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. It is acknowledged that soils and their biota deliver many ecosystem services. However, up to now, cultural ecosystem services (CES) provided by soil biodiversity remained virtually unknown. Here we present a multilingual and multisubject literature review on cultural benefits provided by belowground biota in European forests. We found 226 papers mentioning impact of soil biota on the cultural aspects of human life. According to the reviewed literature, soil organisms contribute to all CES. Impact on CES, as reflected in literature, was highest for fungi and lowest for microorganisms and mesofauna. Cultural benefits provided by soil biota clearly prevailed in the total of the reviewed references, but there were also negative effects mentioned in six CES. The same organism groups or even individual species may have negative impacts within one CES and at the same time act as an ecosystem service provider for another CES. The CES were found to be supported at several levels of ecosystem service provision: from single species to two or more functional/taxonomical groups and in some cases morphological diversity acted as a surrogate for species diversity. Impact of soil biota on CES may be both direct – by providing the benefits (or dis-benefits) and indirect – through the use of the products or services obtained from these benefits. The CES from soil biota interacted among themselves and with other ES, but more than often, they did not create bundles, because there exist temporal fluctuations in value of CES and a time lag between direct and indirect benefits. Strong regionality was noted for most of CES underpinned by soil biota: the same organism group or species may have strong impact on CES (positive, negative or both) in some regions while no, minor or opposite effects in others. Contrarily to the CES based on landscapes, in the CES provided by soil biota distance between the ecosystem and its CES benefiting area is shorter (CES based on landscapes are used less by local people and more by visitors, meanwhile CES based on species or organism groups are used mainly by local people). Our review revealed the existence of a considerable amount of spatially fragmented and semantically rich information highlighting cultural values provided by forest soil biota in Europe.

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Abstract

Deforestation and forest degradation (D&D) in the tropics have continued unabated and are posing serious threats to forests and the livelihoods of those who depend on forests and forest resources. Smallholder farmers are often implicated in scientific literature and policy documents as important agents of D&D. However, there is scanty information on why smallholders exploit forests and what the key drivers are. We employed behavioral sciences approaches that capture contextual factors, attitudinal factors, and routine practices that shape decisions by smallholder farmers. Data was collected using household surveys and focus group discussions in two case study forests—Menagesha Suba Forest in Ethiopia and Maasai Mau Forest in Kenya. Our findings indicate that factors that forced farmers to engage in D&D were largely contextual, i.e., sociodemographic, production factors constraint, as well as policies and governance issues with some influences of routine practices such as wood extraction for fuelwood and construction. Those factors can be broadly aggregated as necessity-driven, market-driven, and governance-driven. In the forests studied, D&D are largely due to necessity needs and governance challenges. Though most factors are intrinsic to smallholders’ context, the extent and impact on D&D were largely aggravated by factors outside the forest landscape. Therefore, policy efforts to reduce D&D should carefully scrutinize the context, the factors, and the associated enablers to reduce forest losses under varying socioeconomic, biophysical, and resource governance conditions

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Abstract

Root and butt-rot (RBR) has a significant impact on both the material and economic outcome of timber harvesting, and therewith on the individual forest owner and collectively on the forest and wood processing industries. An accurate recording of the presence of RBR during timber harvesting would enable a mapping of the location and extent of the problem, providing a basis for evaluating spread in a climate anticipated to enhance pathogenic growth in the future. Therefore, a system to automatically identify and detect the presence of RBR would constitute an important contribution in addressing the problem without increasing workload complexity for the machine operator. In this study we developed and evaluated an approach based on RGB images to automatically detect tree-stumps and classify them as to the absence or presence of rot. Furthermore, since knowledge of the extent of RBR is valuable in categorizing logs, we also classify stumps to three classes of infestation; rot = 0%, 0% < rot < 50% and rot >= 50%. In this work we used deep learning approaches and conventional machine learning algorithms for detection and classification tasks. The results showed that tree-stumps were detected with precision rate of 95% and recall of 80%. Using only the correct output (TP) of the stump detector, stumps without and with root and butt-rot were correctly classified with accuracy of 83.5% and 77.5%. Classifying rot to three classes resulted in 79.4%, 72.4% and 74.1% accuracy for stumps with rot = 0%, 0% < rot < 50% and rot >= 50\%, respectively. With some modifications, the algorithm developed could be used either during the harvesting operation to detect RBR regions on the tree-stumps or as a RBR detector for post-harvest assessment of tree-stumps and logs.

Abstract

Although supporting high productivity, modern agriculture caused a long-term impact on natural trophic interactions, releasing pests from pressure linked with their natural enemies. Studies have demonstrated that volatiles released under herbivory can recruit natural enemies of pests from a distance. Here, we used a novel biodegradable formulation loaded with induced and food-signalling volatiles with the aim to attract the green lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea, and increase biological control of two cereal aphids Sitobion avenae and Rhopalosiphum padi. The new product consisted of a biodegradable matrix loaded with a 3-component blend of methyl salicylate, acetic acid and phenylacetaldehyde in a 1:1:1 ratio. Field experiments were carried out in a barley field in Norway. Single plants were provided with a 1 ml dollop of the new formulation or with a standard polyethylene emballage dispenser loaded with the same amount of compounds. The number of lacewing eggs and larvae as well as the attraction of additional natural enemies was recorded both on the treated and surrounding plants by visual inspection. At the same time, an assessment of aphid infestation was carried out. A higher local density of lacewing adults, eggs and larvae over an 8-week period was observed for both the standard and the biodegradable formulation in comparison with untreated plants. Chemical analysis of the volatiles emitted from the slow-release matrix showed an active emission of the blend over at least a 4-week period. Significant biological control of aphid was measured in the vegetation surrounding the odour source. Both aphid populations were significantly reduced, with no difference between the new and the standard treatment. While coccinellids and hoverflies were not affected by the treatment, a lower number of mummified aphids were measured in some of the treated plants in comparison with untreated ones. Results show the potential for semiochemical-based targeted attraction of lacewings to enhance biological control of aphids in a prevalent monoculture field setting. Additional studies are required to support the development of practical integrated pest management guidelines, including optimization of application density, threshold value for pest and natural enemies and practical recommendation for the establishment of non-crop vegetation within and around the crop.