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2021 (119)

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Mixed-species stands have been found to be more productive than would be expected from the performance of their component species in monocultures due to facilitation and complementarity between species, although these interactions depend on the combination of species present. Our study focuses on monospecific and mixed-species stands of Scots pine and Norway spruce using 20 triplets established in nine countries along a climatic gradient across Europe. Differences in mean tree and stand characteristics, productivity and stand structure were assessed. Basal area increment in mixed stands was 8% higher than expected while volume increment was only 2% greater. Scots pine trees growing in mixed-species stands showed 11% larger quadratic mean diameter, 7% larger dominant diameter, 17% higher basal area and 25% higher stand volume than trees growing in monospecific stands. Norway spruce showed only a non-significant tendency to lower mean values of diameters, heights, basal area, as well standing volume in mixtures than monocultures. Stand structure indices differed between mixed stands and monocultures of Scots pine showing a greater stratification in mixed-species stands. Furthermore, the studied morphological traits showed little variability for trees growing in monospecific stands, except for diameter at breast height, crown length and crown length ratio. For trees growing in mixed stands, all the morphological traits of the trees were identified as different. Some of these morphological traits were associated with relative productivity. Nevertheless, relative productivity in mixed-species stands was not related to site conditions.

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Mixed forests are suggested as a strategic adaptation of forest management to climate change. Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) are tree species of high economic and ecological value for European forestry. Both species coexist naturally in a large part of their distributions but there is a lack of knowledge on the ecological functioning of mixtures of these species and how to manage such stands. This paper analyses these species' intra-and inter-specific competition, including size-symmetric vs. size-asymmetric competition, and explore the effect of weather conditions on tree growth and competition. We studied basal area growth at tree level for Scots pine and Norway spruce in mixed versus pure stands in 22 triplets of fully-stocked plots along a broad range of ecological conditions across Europe. Stand inventory and increment cores provided insights into how species mixing modifies tree growth compared with neighbouring pure stands. Five different competition indices, weather variables and their interactions were included and checked in basal area growth models using a linear mixed model approach. Interspecific size-asymmetric competition strongly influenced growth for both tree species, and was modulated by weather conditions. However, species height stratification in mixed stands resulted in a greater tree basal area growth of Scots pine (10.5 cm 2 year − 1) than in pure stands (9.3 cm 2 year − 1), as this species occupies the upper canopy layer. Scots pine growth depended on temperature and drought, whereas Norway spruce growth was influenced only by drought. Interspecific site-asymmetric competition increased in cold winters for Scots pine, and decreased after a drought year for Nor-way spruce. Although mixtures of these species may reduce tree size for Norway spruce, our results suggest that this could be offset by faster growth in Scots pine. How inter-specific competition and weather conditions alter tree growth may have strong implications for the management of Scots pine-Norway spruce mixtures along the rotation period into the ongoing climate change scenario.

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Although artificial-selection experiments seem well suited to testing our ability to predict evolution, the correspondence between predicted and observed responses is often ambiguous due to the lack of uncertainty estimates. We present equations for assessing prediction error in direct and indirect responses to selection that integrate uncertainty in genetic parameters used for prediction and sampling effects during selection. Using these, we analyzed a selection experiment on floral traits replicated in two taxa of the Dalechampia scandens (Euphorbiaceae) species complex for which G-matrices were obtained from a diallel breeding design. After four episodes of bidirectional selection, direct and indirect responses remained within wide prediction intervals, but appeared different from the predictions. Combined analyses with structural-equation models confirmed that responses were asymmetrical and lower than predicted in both species. We show that genetic drift is likely to be a dominant source of uncertainty in typically-dimensioned selection experiments in plants and a major obstacle to predicting short-term evolutionary trajectories.

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Integrated pest management (IPM) was introduced in the 1960s as a response to increasing pesticide use and has since evolved from being understood mainly as an economic issue to also including environmental and human health considerations. The EU has made IPM mandatory for all farmers through the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive (SUD). Using a mixed-methods approach, this paper examines how Norwegian cereal farmers have responded to this requirement. The qualitative results show that most farmers have an understanding of IPM that goes beyond economic considerations only. The quantitative results display that farmers’ intrinsic motivation for IPM changed after introduction of the SUD. There is increased emphasis on using methods other than spraying, producing grain without traces of pesticides, and preventing pesticide resistance. Farmers’ self-reported knowledge of IPM increased, and 41% of farmers stated that they use IPM to a greater extent than before the SUD was introduced. These results demonstrate that mandatory IPM requirements have been a successful strategy for increasing farmers use of IPM in Norway. Clearer IPM provisions and increased intrinsic motivation for IPM among farmers will, however, be important to reduce the risks from pesticides further.

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Simple Summary Sugarcane, an important cash crop in Malawi, is susceptible to numerous insect pests, and many farmers rely heavily on chemical insecticides for their control. Biopesticides containing insect pathogens are used in several countries outside Malawi; however, the occurrence and use of insect pathogens is limited in Malawi. In this study, we evaluated the natural occurrence of insect pathogenic fungi in sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) and in soil samples from sugarcane fields in Chikwawa District, southern Malawi. Insect pathogenic fungi from soil were isolated by baiting using larvae of the greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella). Insect pathogenic fungi were also isolated from surface-sterilized sugarcane leaves, stems, and roots. We found three types of insect pathogenic fungi: Beauveria bassiana, Metarhizium spp., and Isaria spp. Beauveria bassiana and Isaria spp. were found mostly from sugarcane leaves and stems, while Metarhizium spp. was mainly found in soils. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of B. bassiana and Isaria spp. occurring naturally as endophytes in sugarcane. Further, it is the first report of B. bassiana, Isaria spp. and Metarhizium spp. in the soil of sugarcane fields in Africa. Abstract The natural occurrence of entomopathogenic fungal endophytes in sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) and in soil samples from sugarcane fields was evaluated in Chikwawa District, southern Malawi. Fungi from soil were isolated by baiting using Galleria mellonella larva. Fungal endophytes were isolated from surface-sterilized plant tissue sections. Forty-seven isolates resembled the genus Beauveria, 9 isolates were Metarhizium, and 20 isolates were Isaria. There was no significant difference in the number and type of fungal isolates collected from soil and from plant tissue. There was, however, a significant difference in the part of the plant where fungal species were isolated, which fungal species were isolated, and the number of fungal species isolated at each location. Phylogenetic analysis of 47 Beauveria isolates based on DNA sequencing of the Bloc intergenic region indicated that these isolates all belonged to B. bassiana and aligned with sequences of B. bassiana isolates of African and Neotropical origin. The Malawian B. bassiana isolates formed a distinct clade. No larvae died from infestation by multiple fungi. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of B. bassiana and Isaria spp. occurring naturally as endophytes in sugarcane. Further, it is the first report of B. bassiana, Isaria spp., and Metarhizium spp. in the soil of sugarcane fields in Africa.

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With large area of primary tropical rainforest converted into rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) plantation in Southeast Asia, it is necessary to examine the change in soil CO2 and CH4 emissions, and their underlying drivers in tropical rainforest (TRF) and rubber plantation. In TRF and RP in Xishuangbanna Southwest China, we measured the soil CO2 , CH4 , temperature, and water content once each week from 2003 to 2008, and twice weeks in 2013 and 2014. Additionally, the concentrations of soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) fractions from 2013 to 2014 were observed. Inputs of litter and live, dead, decomposed fine roots dynamics were also included. TRF transplanted to RP did not change significantly the annual soil CO2 emissions (TRF, 359 ± 91 and RP 352 ± 41 mg CO2 m−2 h−1) but decreased soil CH4 uptake significantly (TRF, −0.11 ± 0.18 mg CH4 m−2 h−1) RP, −0.020 ± 0.087 mg CH4 m−2 h−1). The most important influence on soil CO2 and CH4 emissions in the RP was the leaf area index and soil water content, respectively, whereas the soil water content, soil temperature, and dead fine roots were the most important factors in the TRF. Variations in the soil CO2 and CH4 caused by land-use transition were individually explained by soil temperature and fine root growth and decomposition, respectively. The results show that land-use change varied the soil CH4 and CO2 emission dynamics and drivers by the variation of soil environmental and plant's factors.

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Horticultural production systems are under pressure to find environmentally friendly growing media. Peat is currently the most popular substrate for fresh potted herbs production; however, this raw material is not sustainable due to the large amount of greenhouse gases released during its harvesting. Therefore, the goal of the study was to test the performance of various commercial wood fiber products and compare them with peat and coir in an ebb-and-flow production system with basil (Ocimum basilicum L. 'Marian'). Basil plants were grown in three different pot sizes (6, 9 and 12 cm in diameter) and under various fertigation regimes (EC 1, 2 and 3). Height and biomass of the plants were recorded when the best performing plants reached the commercial stage. The tallest plants and greatest biomass were produced in peat and coir, however, the results confirm that wood fiber can be a promising substrate alternative. Further research is needed to study, among others topics, how to modify some properties of wood fibers to fulfil their potential as a replacement for non-sustainable growing media in production of herbs in pots.

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In this study, the nutrient dynamic and growth performance of lettuce in a closed recirculating hydroponic system were investigated. Lettuce was grown in three parallel nutrient film technique (NFT) units, illuminated with LED-light. A balanced standard nutrient solution (NS) was used, and the electrical conductivity (EC) and pH were adjusted regularly to constant average values of 1.16 mS cm‑1 and 6.2 with standard deviations of ±0.12 and ±0.5, respectively. The volume of NS in each unit was kept at 20 L by adding refill solution to replace nutrient uptake and transpiration. Lettuce growth during the first six weeks in the NFT-system was normal and stable. After six weeks, a decrease in concentrations of N, P, and K was observed, with a corresponding decline in yield of lettuce. After ten weeks, lettuce weight at harvest was reduced by 56% in average compared to the control, and the concentrations of N, P and K in the NS were reduced by 54.5, 90.5 and 96.6%, respectively. Contrarily, more slowly absorbed nutrients like Ca, S, Zn, Cu, and B experienced increases by factors of 2.2, 2.9, 6.6, 4.9 and 2.5, respectively. The depletion and accumulation of nutrients in the NS were reflected in corresponding deficiency and excess levels of nutrients in leaf tissue compared to norm-values of healthy lettuce. The study showed that after six weeks, corresponding to a yield of 1 kg lettuce per 10 L tank volume of NS, the reduced growth implied that the recirculated NS should have been discharged and replaced, or a “tailor-made” refill solution should have been used to avoid depletion of some nutrients. Based on the foliar analysis and calculations of actual nutrient absorption rates, the composition of such a refill NS was suggested.

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Increasing atmospheric nitrogen deposition and climate change are considered the main factors accelerating the long-term growth of forests. Quantification of changes in growth rate can be extremely useful in monitoring and assessing the impact of climate change on site productivity. In this study, we carried out a country-wide analysis of long-term (100 years) dynamics and changes in the height growth rate and site index (SI) of Scots pine in Poland. To ensure representativeness we used a large sample of stem analysis trees collected on 312 plots selected using stratified sampling. To control the effect of site fertility and thus avoid the over-representation of older stands on infertile sites, we measured a range of soil properties that, together with environmental indicators characterising climatic conditions and topography, were used in growth trend modelling as explanatory variables. We found that trees planted in successive years have grown faster. The SI calculated for individual trees is linearly dependent on the year of germination and with increasing age of germination, the SI at the base age of 100 years has increased by 8.4 cm per year. Despite the differences in the growth dynamics of pines planted in different germination years, tree growth follows the same growth pattern. The observed continuous changes in site productivity correspond to an increase in the SI by over 29% between 1900 and 2000. A consequence of continuous changes in site conditions and height growth rate is ambiguity in derived SI values. Under changing site conditions, SI values calculated based on stand height and age depend not only on site productivity but also the year of germination. As a consequence, stands growing under identical site conditions show different SIs, which should be acknowledged if the SI is to be used in forest management. Therefore, determining the SI of newly established stands based on the SI of older generations requires the application of an amendment to account for stand age. Continuously improving our understanding of potential climate change impacts on forest ecosystems is essential and provide information to support forest managers seeking to develop effective adaptation measures and determine sustainable forestry production. As such, our results provide valuable support when making long-term decisions and developing effective adaptation strategies in forest management.

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The effect of agricultural practices on water quality of Old Woman Creek (OWC) watershed was evaluated in a hydrological model using the Parameter-elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM) climate data and 20 different global circulation models (GCMs) from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5). A hydrological model was set up in the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), while calibration was done using a Multi-Objective Evolutionary Algorithm and Pareto Optimization with PRISM climate data. Validation was done using the measured data from the USGS gage station at Berlin Road in the OWC watershed and water quality data were obtained from the water quality lab, Heidelberg University. Land use scenario simulations were conducted by varying percentages of agricultural land from 20% to 40%, 53.5%, 65%, and 80% while adjusting the forest area. A total of 105 simulations was run for the period 2015–2017: one with PRISM data and 20 with CMIP5 model data for each of the five land use classes scenarios. Ten variables were analyzed, including flow, sediment, organic nitrogen, organic phosphorus, mineral phosphorus, chlorophyll a, CBOD, dissolved oxygen, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus. For all the variables of interest, the average of the 20 CMIP5 simulation results show good correlation with the PRISM results with an underestimation relative to the PRISM result. The underestimation was insignificant in organic nitrogen, organic phosphorus, total nitrogen, chlorophyll a, CBOD, and total phosphorus, but was significant in CMIP5 flow, sediment, mineral phosphorus, and dissolved oxygen. A weak negative correlation was observed between agricultural land percentages and flow, and between agricultural land percentages and sediment, while a strong positive correlation was observed between agricultural land use and the water quality variables. A large increase in farmland will produce a small decrease in flow and sediment transport with a large increase in nutrient transport, which would degrade the water quality of the OWC estuary with economic implications.

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The biosynthesis of anthocyanins has been shown to be influenced by light quality. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the light-mediated regulation of fruit anthocyanin biosynthesis are not well understood. In this study, we analysed the effects of supplemental red and blue light on the anthocyanin biosynthesis in non-climacteric bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.). After 6 days of continuous irradiation during ripening, both red and blue light elevated concentration of anthocyanins, up to 12- and 4-folds, respectively, compared to the control. Transcriptomic analysis of ripening berries showed that both light treatments up-regulated all the major anthocyanin structural genes, the key regulatory MYB transcription factors and abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthetic genes. However, higher induction of specific genes of anthocyanin and delphinidin biosynthesis alongside ABA signal perception and metabolism were found in red light. The difference in red and blue light signalling was found in 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase (NCED), ABA receptor pyrabactin resistance-like (PYL) and catabolic ABA-8'hydroxylase gene expression. Red light also up-regulated expression of soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) domain transporters, which may indicate involvement of these proteins in vesicular trafficking of anthocyanins during fruit ripening. Our results suggest differential signal transduction and transport mechanisms between red and blue light in ABA-regulated anthocyanin and delphinidin biosynthesis during bilberry fruit ripening.

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It is not known to what degree growth and fruit yield are source-limited in everbearing strawberry plants. The growth and yield performance effect of bi-weekly removal of all runners and/or one or two leaves during the cropping season of tunnel-grown ‘Favori’ everbearing strawberry plants was determined. Plants were grown on a table-top system in an open plastic tunnel under natural light conditions in Norway from May to October. Removal of runners and leaves was bi-weekly from 5 June until 25 September. Fruits were harvested from 5 July to 7 October. Bi-weekly runner removal increased total and marketable yield and number and size of fruits, while increasing leaf thinning had the opposite effects. However, none of the treatments affected the fruit number and yield of the first fruiting flush. The treatments did not affect realization of the yield potential of the plants at planting, whereas the continued floral initiation and fruit growth were enhanced by runner removal. Increasing leaf thinning had the opposite effects. Both floral initiation and fruit growth in heavily flowering and fruiting everbearing strawberry are source-limited owing to the high fruit/leaf ratio of such plants.

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In the Arctic part of the Nordic region, cultivated crops need to specifically adapt to adverse and extreme climate conditions, such as low temperatures, long days, and a short growing season. Under the projected climate change scenarios, higher temperatures and an earlier spring thaw will gradually allow the cultivation of plants that could not be previously cultivated there. For millennia, Pea (Pisum sativum L.) has been a major cultivated protein plant in Nordic countries but is currently limited to the southern parts of the region. However, response and adaptation to the Arctic day length/light spectrum and temperatures are essential for the productivity of the pea germplasm and need to be better understood. This study investigated these factors and identified suitable pea genetic resources for future cultivation and breeding in the Arctic region. Fifty gene bank accessions of peas with a Nordic landrace or cultivar origin were evaluated in 2-year field trials at four Nordic locations in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Norway (55° to 69° N). The contrasting environmental conditions of the trial sites revealed differences in expression of phenological, morphological, crop productivity, and quality traits in the accessions. The data showed that light conditions related to a very long photoperiod partly compensated for the lack of accumulated temperature in the far north. A critical factor for cultivation in the Arctic is the use of cultivars with rapid flowering and maturation times combined with early sowing. At the most extreme site (69°N), no accession reached full maturation. Nonetheless several accessions, predominantly landraces of a northern origin, reached a green harvest state. All the cultivars reached full maturation at the sub-Arctic latitude in northern Sweden (63°N) when plants were established early in the season. Seed yield correlated positively with seed number and aboveground biomass, but negatively with flowering time. A high yield potential and protein concentration of dry seed were found in many garden types of pea, confirming their breeding potential for yield. Overall, the results indicated that pea genetic resources are available for breeding or immediate cultivation, thus aiding in the northward expansion of pea cultivation. Predicted climate changes would support this expansion.

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Given the increasing attention on the occurrence of microplastics in the environment, and the potential envi-ronmental threats they pose, there is a need for researchers to move quickly from basic understanding to applied science that supports decision makers in finding feasible mitigation measures and solutions. At the same time, they must provide sufficient, accurate and clear information to the media, public and other relevant groups (e.g., NGOs). Key requirements include systematic and coordinated research efforts to enable evidence-based decision making and to develop efficient policy measures on all scales (national, regional and global). To achieve this, collaboration between key actors is essential and should include researchers from multiple disciplines, policy-makers, authorities, civil and industry organizations, and the public. This further requires clear and informative communication processes, and open and continuous dialogues between all actors. Cross-discipline dialogues between researchers should focus on scientific quality and harmonization, defining and accurately communi-cating the state of knowledge, and prioritization of topics that are critical for both research and policy, with the common goal to establish and update action plans for holistic benefit. In Norway, cross-sectoral collaboration has been fundamental in supporting the national strategy to address plastic pollution. Researchers, stakeholders and the environmental authorities have come together to exchange knowledge, identify knowledge gaps, and set targeted and feasible measures to tackle one of the most challenging aspects of plastic pollution: microplastic. In this article, we present a Norwegian perspective on the state of knowledge on microplastic research efforts. Norway’s involvement in international efforts to combat plastic pollution aims at serving as an example of how key actors can collaborate synergistically to share knowledge, address shortcomings, and outline ways forward to address environmental challenges.

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To evaluate the performance of new wood-based products, reference wood species with known performances are included in laboratory and field trials. However, different wood species vary in their durability performance, and there will also be a within-species variation. The primary aim of this paper was to compare the material resistance against decay fungi and moisture performance of three European reference wood species, i.e., Scots pine sapwood (Pinus sylvestris), Norway spruce (Picea abies), and European beech (Fagus sylvatica). Wood material was collected from 43 locations all over Europe and exposed to brown rot (Rhodonia placenta), white rot (Trametes versicolor) or soft rot fungi. In addition, five different moisture performance characteristics were analyzed. The main results were the two factors accounting for the wetting ability (kwa) and the inherent protective properties of wood (kinh), factors for conversion between Norway spruce vs. Scots pine sapwood or European beech for the three decay types and four moisture tests, and material resistance dose (DRd) per wood species. The data illustrate that the differences between the three European reference wood species were minor, both with regard to decay and moisture performance. The results also highlight the importance of defined boundaries for density and annual ring width when comparing materials within and between experiments. It was concluded that with the factors obtained, existing, and future test data, where only one or two of the mentioned reference species were used, can be transferred to models and prediction tools that use another of the reference species

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Service life planning with timber requires reliable models for quantifying the effects of exposure-related parameters and the material-inherent resistance of wood against biotic agents. The Meyer-Veltrup model was the first attempt to account for inherent protective properties and the wetting ability of wood to quantify resistance of wood in a quantitative manner. Based on test data on brown, white, and soft rot as well as moisture dynamics, the decay rates of different untreated wood species were predicted relative to the reference species of Norway spruce (Picea abies). The present study aimed to validate and optimize the resistance model for a wider range of wood species including very durable species, thermally and chemically modified wood, and preservative treated wood. The general model structure was shown to also be suitable for highly durable materials, but previously defined maximum thresholds had to be adjusted (i.e., maximum values of factors accounting for wetting ability and inherent protective properties) to 18 instead of 5 compared to Norway spruce. As expected, both the enlarged span in durability and the use of numerous and partly very divergent data sources (i.e., test methods, test locations, and types of data presentation) led to a decrease in the predictive power of the model compared to the original. In addition to the need to enlarge the database quantity and improve its quality, in particular for treated wood, it might be advantageous to use separate models for untreated and treated wood as long as the effect of additional impact variables (e.g., treatment quality) can be accounted for. Nevertheless, the adapted Meyer-Veltrup model will serve as an instrument to quantify material resistance for a wide range of wood-based materials as an input for comprehensive service life prediction software.

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Durability-based designs with timber require reliable information about the wood properties and how they affect its performance under variable exposure conditions. This study aimed at utilizing a material resistance model (Part 2 of this publication) based on a dose–response approach for predicting the relative decay rates in above-ground situations. Laboratory and field test data were, for the first time, surveyed globally and used to determine material-specific resistance dose values, which were correlated to decay rates. In addition, laboratory indicators were used to adapt the material resistance model to in-ground exposure. The relationship between decay rates in- and above-ground, the predictive power of laboratory indicators to predict such decay rates, and a method for implementing both in a service life prediction tool, were established based on 195 hardwoods, 29 softwoods, 19 modified timbers, and 41 preservative-treated timbers.

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We compiled data from several independent, long-term silvicultural studies on USDA Forest Service experimental forests across a latitudinal gradient in the northeastern and north-central U.S.A. to evaluate factors influencing aboveground live-tree carbon sequestration and mortality. Data represent five sites with more than 70,000 repeated tree records spanning eight decades, five ecoregions, and a range of stand conditions. We used these data to test the relative influence of factors such as climate, treatment history (uneven-aged or no management), species composition, and stand structural conditions on aboveground live-tree carbon sequestration and mortality in repeatedly measured trees. Relative to no management, we found that uneven-aged management tended to have a positive effect on carbon sequestration at low stocking levels and in areas of favorable climate (expressed as a combination of growing season precipitation and annual growing degree days > 5 ◦C). In addition, losses of carbon from the aboveground live-tree pool due to tree mortality were lower in managed than unmanaged stands. These findings suggest that there may be conditions at which rate of sequestration in living trees is higher in stands managed with uneven-aged silviculture than in unmanaged stands, and that this benefit is greatest where climate is favorable.

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Vaccinium genus berries—wild bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) and cultivated highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L.)—are consumed worldwide, and their consumption has a trend of stable increase. Thus, considering their wide use in ethnomedicine, for juice and jam production, as functional food, as well as their use in preparations of extracts which have application potential in pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries, studies regarding the composition of these berries are of special importance. The aim of this study is to characterise the elemental and isotopic composition, as well as variation in element concentration in bilberries gathered from different sites in Northern Europe and in commercially available blueberry samples from across the World. Furthermore, our aim was to develop tools for authenticity and quality control of these berries. The elemental composition of berries was analysed using inductively coupled plasma with optical emission detection (ICP-OED), while isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) was used for the determination of isotope ratio values. The results demonstrated detectable differences between macro- and microelement values in bilberries. IRMS analysis of blueberries revealed significant differences in isotope ratios based on the place of origin, indicating the possibility to use this analytical method for authenticity testing. In none of the samples, pollution was detected, even though there were indications of different growth conditions and geochemical differences affecting bilberry composition.

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The maximum size-density relationship describes site carrying capacity, i.e., the maximum number of trees of a given size that can be stocked per unit area (self-thinning line). We analysed whether the self-thinning lines of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) have remained unchanged over time in South Germany, Norway and Finland, i.e., over a wide climatic gradient from Central Europe up to the Arctic circle. The analyses are based on long-term growth and yield experiments measured on individual tree basis over several decades, the oldest experiments established during the early 20th century. The stochastic frontier analysis was used to analyse changes in the species-specific self-thinning lines. The results show that the self-thinning lines have shifted upwards over time in all the regions. Thus, currently stands sustain higher stand densities than in the past. The increase of the maximum density for a given average stem size was more pronounced for pine than for spruce, but similar in all studied geographical regions. In addition, increasing site index was associated with increasing site carrying capacity for spruce and pine in all regions. The results imply that environmental changes have altered site properties in similar fashion across the whole study region. In practical forestry, increased site carrying capacity will reduce mortality and loss of growing stock.

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How aquatic primary productivity influences the carbon (C) sequestering capacity of wetlands is uncertain. We evaluated the magnitude and variability in aquatic C dynamics and compared them to net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) and ecosystem respiration (Reco) rates within calcareous freshwater wetlands in Everglades National Park. We continuously recorded 30-min measurements of dissolved oxygen (DO), water level, water temperature (Twater), and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). These measurements were coupled with ecosystem CO2 fluxes over 5 years (2012–2016) in a long-hydroperiod peat-rich, freshwater marsh and a short-hydroperiod, freshwater marl prairie. Daily net aquatic primary productivity (NAPP) rates indicated both wetlands were generally net heterotrophic. Gross aquatic primary productivity (GAPP) ranged from 0 to − 6.3 g C m−2 day−1 and aquatic respiration (RAq) from 0 to 6.13 g C m−2 day−1. Nonlinear interactions between water level, Twater, and GAPP and RAq resulted in high variability in NAPP that contributed to NEE. Net aquatic primary productivity accounted for 4–5% of the deviance explained in NEE rates. With respect to the flux magnitude, daily NAPP was a greater proportion of daily NEE at the long-hydroperiod site (mean = 95%) compared to the short-hydroperiod site (mean = 64%). Although we have confirmed the significant contribution of NAPP to NEE in both long- and short-hydroperiod freshwater wetlands, the decoupling of the aquatic and ecosystem fluxes could largely depend on emergent vegetation, the carbonate cycle, and the lateral C flux.

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The effect of the projected 21st century climate change on water quality in Old Woman Creek (OWC) watershed was evaluated using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) and the precipitation and temperature projections from three best Global Climate Circulation Model (GCM)l ensemble downloaded from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5). These three best GCMs (GFDL-ESM2M, MPI-ESM-MR, EC-EARTH) were identified as those closest to the multivariate ensemble average of twenty different GCM-driven SWAT simulations. Seasonal analysis was undertaken in historical (1985–2014), current to near future (2018–2045), mid-century (2046–2075), and late-century (2076–2100) climate windows. The hydrological model calibration was carried out using a multi-objective evolutionary algorithm and pareto optimization. Simulations were made for stream flow and nine water quality variables (sediment, organic nitrogen, organic phosphorus, mineral phosphorus, chlorophyll a, carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand, dissolved oxygen, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus) of interest. The average of twenty different CMIP5-driven SWAT simulation results showed good correlation for all the 10 variables with the PRISM-driven SWAT simulation results in the historical climate window (1985–2014). For the historical period, the result shows an over-estimation of flow, sediment, and organic nitrogen from January to March in simulations with CMIP5 inputs, relative to simulations with PRISM input. For the other climate windows, the simulation results show a progressive increase in stream flow with peak flow month shifting from April to March. The expected seasonal changes in each water quality variable have implications for the OWC estuary and Lake Erie water quality.

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Propionate and propionyl-CoA accumulation have been associated with the development of mitochondrial dysfunction. In this study, we show that propionate induces intestinal damage in zebrafish when fed a high-fat diet (HFD). The intestinal damage was associated with oxidative stress owing to compromised superoxide dismutase 2 (Sod2) activity. Global lysine propionylation analysis of the intestinal samples showed that Sod2 was propionylated at lysine 132 (K132), and further biochemical assays demonstrated that K132 propionylation suppressed Sod2 activity. In addition, sirtuin 3 (Sirt3) played an important role in regulating Sod2 activity via modulating de-propionylation. Finally, we revealed that intestinal oxidative stress resulting from Sod2 propionylation contributed to compositional change of gut microbiota. Collectively, our results in this study show that there is a link between Sod2 propionylation and oxidative stress in zebrafish intestines and highlight the potential mechanism of intestinal problems associated with high propionate levels.

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Chronic infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) remains a leading cause of liver-related pathologies and a global health problem, currently affecting more than 71 million people worldwide. The development of a prophylactic vaccine is much needed to complement the effective antiviral treatment available and achieve HCV eradication. Current strategies focus on increasing the immunogenicity of the HCV envelope glycoprotein E2, the major target of virus-neutralizing antibodies, by testing various expression systems or manipulating the protein conformation and the N-glycosylation pattern. Here we report the first evidence of successful production of the full-length HCV E2 glycoprotein in Nicotiana benthamiana, by using the Agrobacterium-mediated transient expression technology. Molecular and functional analysis showed that the viral protein was correctly processed in plant cells and achieved the native folding required for binding to CD81, one of the HCV receptors. N-glycan analysis of HCV-E2 produced in N. benthamiana and mammalian cells indicated host-specific trimming of mannose residues and possibly, protein trafficking. Notably, the plant-derived viral antigen triggered a significant immune response in vaccinated mice, characterized by the presence of antibodies with HCV-neutralizing activity. Together, our study demonstrates that N. benthamiana is a viable alternative to costly mammalian cell cultures for the expression of complex viral antigens and supports the use of plants as cost-effective production platforms for the development of HCV vaccines.

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Pratylenchus goodeyi appears to be the most prevalent nematode pest of enset in Ethiopia, where it can occur in extremely high densities. However, the damage to yield or how different enset cultivars react to the nematode has yet to be determined. The current study therefore sought to establish a first assessment of these reactions by enset to P. goodeyi infection. Determining pest resistant cultivars is an important task in developing management strategies. Our study evaluated nine enset cultivars to establish host response and identify potential sources of resistance. In addition, the pathogenicity of P. goodeyi was assessed on three enset cultivars. After 9 months’ growth, significant differences in final population densities (Pf) and reproduction factor (RF) were observed amongst the nine cultivars, with ‘Gefetanuwa’ the most susceptible (Pf = 25 799 and RF = 12.9), and similarly in a repeat experiment for 4.5 months (Pf = 126 534 and RF = 63.3). ‘Maziya’ and ‘Heila’ were the most resistant in the first experiment (Pf < 455 and RF < 0.2) as well as in the repeat, together with ‘Kellisa’ (Pf < 5255 and RF < 2.6). In the pathogenicity experiment four inoculum densities significantly affected the Pf and RF but not among the three cultivars ‘Maziya’, ‘Arkiya’ and ‘Heila’. This is the first known study to assess genotype reaction to P. goodeyi, which shows that there are significant differences in the reactions of different cultivars and that resistance appears to be present in enset.

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1. It is common practice for ecologists to examine species niches in the study of community composition. The response curve of a species in the fundamental niche is usually assumed to be quadratic. The centre of a quadratic curve represents a species' optimal environmental conditions, and the width its ability to tolerate deviations from the optimum. 2. Most multivariate methods assume species respond linearly to niche axes, or with a quadratic curve that is of equal width for all species. However, it is widely understood that some species have the ability to better tolerate deviations from their optimal environment (generalists) compared to other (specialist) species. Rare species often tolerate a smaller range of environments than more common species, corresponding to a narrow niche. 3. We propose a new method, for ordination and fitting Joint Species Distribution Models, based on Generalized Linear Mixed-effects Models, which relaxes the assumptions of equal tolerances. 4. By explicitly estimating species maxima, and species optima and tolerances per ecological gradient, we can better explore how species relate to each other.

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There are still uncertainties regarding the long-term impact of no-tillage farming practices on separate soil functions in the United Kingdom. This paper aimed to evaluate the chemical and physical processes in two different agricultural soils under no-tillage and conventional management practices to determine their impact on water related soil functions at field scale in the United Kingdom. The field-scale monitoring compares two neighboring farms with similar soil and topographic characteristics—one of the farms implemented no-tillage practices in 2013, while the second farm is under conventional soil management with moldboard plowing. Two soil types were evaluated under each farming practice: (1) a free-draining porous limestone, and (2) a lime-rich loamy soil with high silt and clay content. Field monitoring was undertaken over a two-year period and included nutrient analysis of surface and subsurface soil samples, bulk density, soil moisture, infiltration capacity, surface runoff, and analysis of phosphorus (P) and suspended solids in watercourses in close proximity to the test fields. The conversion to no-tillage changed the soil structure, leading to a higher bulk density and soil organic matter content and thereby increasing the soil moisture levels. These changes impacted the denitrification rates, reducing the soil nitrate (NO3) levels. The increased plant material cover under no-tillage increased the levels of soil phosphate (PO43–) and PO43– leaching. The extent to which soil functions were altered by farming practice was influenced by the soil type, with the free-draining porous limestone providing greater benefits under no-tillage in this study. The importance of including soils of different characteristics, texture, and mineralogy in the assessment and monitoring of farming practice is emphasized, and additionally the between field and in-field spatial variability (both across the field and with depth) highlighted the importance of a robust sampling strategy that encompasses a large enough sample to effectively reveal the impact of the farming practice.

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The biosynthesis of polyphenolic compounds in cabbage waste, outer green leaves of white head cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata subvar. alba), was stimulated by postharvest irradiation with UVB lamps or sunlight. Both treatments boosted the content of kaempferol and quercetin glycosides, especially in the basal leaf zone, as determined by the HPLC analysis of leaf extracts and by a non-destructive optical sensor. The destructive analysis of samples irradiated by the sun for 6 days at the end of October 2015 in Skierniewice (Poland) showed an increase of leaf flavonols by 82% with respect to controls. The treatment by a broadband UVB fluorescent lamp, with irradiance of 0.38 W m−2 in the 290–315 nm range (and 0.59 W m−2 in the UVA region) for 12 h per day at 17 °C along with a white light of about 20 μmol m−2 s−1, produced a flavonols increase of 58% with respect to controls. The kinetics of flavonols accumulation in response to the photochemical treatments was monitored with the FLAV non-destructive index. The initial FLAV rate under the sun was proportional to the daily radiation doses with a better correlation for the sun global irradiance (R2 = 0.973), followed by the UVA (R2 = 0.965) and UVB (R2 = 0.899) irradiance. The sunlight turned out to be more efficient than the UVB lamp in increasing the flavonols level of waste leaves, because of a significant role played by UVA and visible solar radiation in the regulation of the flavonoid accumulation in cabbage. The FLAV index increase induced on the adaxial leaf side was accompanied by a lower but still significant FLAV increase on the unirradiated abaxial side, likely due to a systemic signaling by mean of the long-distance movement of macromolecules. Our present investigation provides useful data for the optimization of postharvest photochemical protocols of cabbage waste valorization. It can represent a novel and alternative tool of vegetable waste management for the recovery of beneficial phytochemicals.

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Difenoconazole is a widely used triazole fungicide that has been frequently detected in the environment, but comprehensive study about its environmental fate and toxicity of potential transformation products (TPs) is still lacking. Here, laboratory experiments were conducted to investigate the degradation kinetics, pathways, and toxicity of transformation products of difenoconazole. 12, 4 and 4 TPs generated by photolysis, hydrolysis and soil degradation were identified via UHPLC-QTOF/MS and the UNIFI software. Four intermediates TP295, TP295A, TP354A and TP387A reported for the first time were confirmed by purchase or synthesis of their standards, and they were further quantified using UHPLC-MS/MS in all tested samples. The main transformation reactions observed for difenoconazole were oxidation, dechlorination and hydroxylation in the environment. ECOSAR prediction and laboratory tests showed that the acute toxicities of four novel TPs on Brachydanio rerio, Daphnia magna and Selenastrum capricornutum are substantially lower than that of difenoconazole, while all the TPs except for TP277C were predicted chronically very toxic to fish, which may pose a potential threat to aquatic ecosystems. The results are important for elucidating the environmental fate of difenoconazole and assessing the environmental risks, and further provide guidance for scientific and reasonable use.

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Red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) is the most important forage legume in the Nordic region, but its utilization is limited by poor persistency. The improvement of cultivated red clover can potentially take advantage of the numerous wild populations and landraces conserved in gene banks; however, there is often limited information available on the phenotypic and genetic characteristics of this material. We characterized 48 populations conserved at NordGen for a number of traits and compared them to commercial cultivars. The material was evaluated in field trials at four locations over two years and in an experiment under controlled conditions. Considerable variation was identified, with stem length, growth type and flowering date having the highest broad sense heritabilities. Traits related to plant size were strongly associated with late flowering and upright growth and differed between landraces/cultivars on the one hand and wild populations on the other. There was a large genotype by environment interaction on winter survival, which only partially correlated with freezing tolerance under controlled conditions. A majority of gene bank accessions exceeded the commercial cultivars in winter survival and freezing tolerance and can therefore be a genetic resource for future improvement of these traits. The phenotypic variation among accessions was associated with two main axes of climatic variation at the collection site. Petiole length of young plants under controlled conditions as well as plant size in the field increased with increasing summer temperature and decreasing summer precipitation, while number of leaves and an apparent vernalization requirement, recorded under controlled conditions, increased with decreasing annual and winter temperature. We discuss the implications these results have for collection, conservation and utilization of red clover genetic resources in the Nordic region.

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Soil depth represents a strong physiochemical gradient that greatly affects soil-dwelling microorganisms. Fungal communities are typically structured by soil depth, but how other microorganisms are structured is less known. Here, we tested whether depth-dependent variation in soil chemistry affects the distribution and co-occurrence patterns of soil microbial communities. This was investigated by DNA metabarcoding in conjunction with network analyses of bacteria, fungi, as well as other micro-eukaryotes, sampled in four different soil depths in Norwegian birch forests. Strong compositional turnover in microbial assemblages with soil depth was detected for all organismal groups. Significantly greater microbial diversity and fungal biomass appeared in the nutrient-rich organic layer, with sharp decrease towards the less nutrient-rich mineral zones. The proportions of copiotrophic bacteria, Arthropoda and Apicomplexa were markedly higher in the organic layer, while patterns were opposite for oligotrophic bacteria, Cercozoa, Ascomycota and ectomycorrhizal fungi. Network analyses indicated more intensive inter-kingdom co-occurrence patterns in the upper mineral layer (0–5 cm) compared to the above organic and the lower mineral soil, signifying substantial influence of soil depth on biotic interactions. This study supports the view that different microbial groups are adapted to different forest soil strata, with varying level of interactions along the depth gradient.

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Aquaculture has undergone rapid development in the past decades. It provides a large part of high-quality protein food for humans, and thus, a sustainable aquaculture industry is of great importance for the worldwide food supply and economy. Along with the quick expansion of aquaculture, the high fish densities employed in fish farming increase the risks of outbreaks of a variety of aquatic diseases. Such diseases not only cause huge economic losses, but also lead to ecological hazards in terms of pathogen spread to marine ecosystems causing infection of wild fish and polluting the environment. Thus, fish health is essential for the aquaculture industry to be environmentally sustainable and a prerequisite for intensive aquaculture production globally. The wide use of antibiotics and drug residues has caused intensive pollution along with risks for food safety and increasing antimicrobial resistance. Vaccination is the most effective and environmentally friendly approach to battle infectious diseases in aquaculture with minimal ecological impact and is applicable to most species of farmed fish. However, there are only 34 fish vaccines commercially available globally to date, showing the urgent need for further development of fish vaccines to manage fish health and ensure food safety. Plant genetic engineering has been utilized to produce genetically modified crops with desirable characteristics and has also been used for vaccine production, with several advantages including cost-effectiveness, safety when compared with live virus vaccines, and plants being capable of carrying out posttranslational modifications that are similar to naturally occurring systems. So far, plant-derived vaccines, antibodies, and therapeutic proteins have been produced for human and animal health. However, the development of plant-made vaccines for animals, especially fish, is still lagging behind the development of human vaccines. The present review summarizes the development of fish vaccines currently utilized and the suitability of the plant-production platform for fish vaccine and then addresses considerations regarding fish vaccine production in plants. Developing fish vaccines by way of plant biotechnology are significant for the aquaculture industry, fish health management, food safety, and human health.

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The CORINE Land Cover dataset for Norway for the reference year 2018 (CLC2018) was compared to detailed national land cover and land use data. This allowed us to describe the thematic composition of the CLC-polygons and aggregate the information into statistical profiles for each CLC-class. We compared the results to the class definitions found in the CLC mapping instructions, while considering the generalization and minimal mapping units required for CLC. The study showed that CLC2018 in general complied with the definitions. Non-conformities were mainly found for detailed and (in a Norwegian context) marginal classes. The classification can still be improved by complementing visual interpretation with classification based on the statistical profile of each polygon when detailed land use and land cover information is available. The use of auxiliary information at the polygon level can thus provide a better, thematically more accurate CLC dataset for use in European land monitoring.

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Previous application of the stochastic frontier model and subsequent measurement of the performance of the crop sector can be criticized for the estimated production function relying on the assumption that the underlying technology is the same for different agricultural systems. This paper contributes to estimating regional efficiency and the technological gap in Norwegian grain farms using the stochastic metafrontier approach. For this study, we classified the country into regions with district level of development and, hence, production technologies. The dataset used is farm-level balanced panel data for 19 years (1996–2014) with 1463 observations from 196 family farms specialized in grain production. The study used the true random effect model and stochastic metafrontier analysis to estimate region-level technical efficiency (TE) and technology gap ratio (TGR) in the two main grain-producing regions of Norway. The result of the analysis shows that farmers differ in performance and technology use. Consequently, the paper gives some regionally and farming system-based policy insights to increase grain production in the country to achieve self-sufficiency and small-scale farming in all regions.

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Scots pine exhibits variations in ray anatomy, which are poorly understood. Some ray parenchyma cells develop thick and lignified cell walls before heartwood formation. We hypothesized that some stands and trees show high numbers of lignified and thick-walled parenchyma cells early in the sapwood. Therefore, a microscopic analysis of Scots pine sapwood from four different stands in Northern Europe was performed on Safranin — Astra blue-stained tangential micro sections from outer and inner sapwood areas. Significant differences in lignification and cell wall thickening of ray parenchyma cells were observed in the outer sapwood between all of the stands for the trees analyzed. On a single tree level, the relative lignification and cell wall thickening of ray parenchyma cells ranged from 4.3% to 74.3% in the outer sapwood. In the inner sapwood, lignification and cell wall thickening of ray parenchyma cells were more frequent. In some trees, however, the difference in lignification and cell wall thickening between inner and outer sapwood was small since early lignification, and cell wall thickening was already more common in the outer sapwood. Ray composition and number of rays per area were not significantly different within the studied material. However, only one Scottish tree had a significantly higher number of ray parenchyma cells per ray. The differences discovered in lignification and cell wall thickening in ray parenchyma cells early in the sapwood of Scots pine are relevant for wood utilization in general and impregnation treatments with protection agents in particular.

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The separate and synergistic effects of land use and climate change on water quality variables in Old Woman Creek (OWC) watershed were evaluated using a hydrological model set up in Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) for the OWC watershed. Model calibration was done using a multi-objective evolutionary algorithm and pareto optimization. The Parameter-Elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM) climate data and the 20 different Global Circulation Models (GCMs) developed by the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase five (CMIP5) were used. Validation was done using the streamflow data from USGS gaging station and water quality data from the water quality lab, Heidelberg University. The simulation was divided into two land use scenarios: Scenario 1 for constant land use and Scenario 2 where land use was varied. Both land use simulations were run in four time periods to account for climate change: historical (1985–2014), current to near future (2018–2045), mid-century (2046–2075), and late-century (2076–2100) climate windows. For the historical period, the average of all the simulations made from the 20 different CMIP5 GCMs shows good agreement with the PRISM results for flow and the water quality variables of interest with smaller inter-model variability compared to PRISM results. For the other three climate windows, the results of Scenario 1 show an increase in flow and eight water quality variables (sediment (total suspended sediment), organic nitrogen, organic phosphorus (particulate p), mineral phosphorus (soluble reactive p), chlorophyll a, carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand (CBOD), dissolved oxygen, total nitrogen) across the climate windows but a slight decrease in one water quality variable, mineral phosphorus in the mid-century. The results of Scenario 2 show a greater increase in flow, and the eight water quality variables across the climate windows show a relatively larger decrease in one water quality variable (mineral phosphorus). The projected land use change has little impact compared to the projected climate change on OWC watershed in the 21st century.

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Enset (Ensete ventricosum), is a perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the family Musaceae, along with banana and plantain. Despite wild populations occurring in eastern, central and southern Africa, it is only in Ethiopia that the crop has been domesticated, where it is culturally and agriculturally symbolic as a food security crop. Although an under-researched orphan crop, enset serves as a staple food for about 20% of the Ethiopian population, comprising more than 20 million people, demonstrating its value in the country. Similar to banana and plantain, enset is heavily affected by plant-parasitic nematodes, with recent studies indicating record levels of infection by the root lesion nematode Pratylenchus goodeyi. Enset is propagated vegetatively using suckers that are purposely initiated from the mother corm. However, while banana and plantain suckers have proven to be a key source of nematode infection and spread, knowledge on the infection levels and role of enset suckers in nematode dissemination is lacking. Given the high levels of plant-parasitic nematodes reported in previous surveys, it is therefore speculated that planting material may act as a key source of nematode dissemination. To address this lack of information, we assessed enset planting material in four key enset growing zones in Ethiopia. A total of 340 enset sucker samples were collected from farmers and markets and analyzed for the presence of nematodes. Nematodes were extracted using a modified Baermann method over a period of 48 h. The root lesion nematode P. goodeyi was present in 100% of the samples, at various levels of infection. These conclusive results show that planting material is indeed a key source of nematode infection in enset, hence measures taken to ensure clean suckers for planting will certainly mitigate nematode infection and spread. The effect of nematode infection on yield and quality on enset remains to be investigated and would be a way forward to complement the nematode/disease studies conducted so far and add valuable knowledge to the current poorly known impact of pests and diseases.

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Process-based grass models (PBGMs) are widely used for predicting grass growth under potential climate change and different management practices. However, accurate predictions using PBGMs heavily rely on field observations for data assimilation. In data-limited areas, performing robust and reliable estimates of grass growth remains a challenge. In this paper, we incorporated satellite-based MODIS data products, including leaf area index, gross primary production and evapotranspiration, as an additional supplement to field observations. Popular data assimilation methods, including Bayesian calibration and the updating method ensemble Kalman filter, were applied to assimilate satellite derived information into the BASic GRAssland model (BASGRA). A range of different combinations of data assimilating methods and data availability were tested across four grassland sites in Norway, Finland and Canada to assess the corresponding accuracy and make recommendations regarding suitable approaches to incorporate MODIS data. The results demonstrated that optimizing the model parameters that are specific for grass species and cultivar should be targeted prior to updating model state variables. The MODIS derived data products were capable of constraining model’s simulations on phenological development and biomass accumulation by parameter optimization with its performance exceeding model outputs driven by default parameters. By integrating even a small number of field measurements into the parameter calibration, the model’s predictive accuracy was further improved - especially at sites with obvious biases in the input MODIS data. Overall, this comparative study has provided flexible solutions with the potential to strengthen the capacity of PBGMs for grass growth estimation in practical applications.

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Mechanistic models are useful tools for understanding and taking account of the complex, dynamic processes such as carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) turnover in soil and crop growth. In this study, the EU-Rotate_N model was first calibrated with measured C and N mineralization from nine potential fertilizer resources decomposing at controlled soil temperature and moisture. The materials included seaweeds, wastes from the food industry, food waste anaerobically digested for biogas production, and animal manure. Then the model’s ability to predict soil and crop data in a field trial with broccoli and potato was evaluated. Except for seaweed, up to 68% of added C and 54–86% of added N was mineralized within 60 days under controlled conditions. The organic resources fell into three groups: seaweed, high-N industrial wastes, and materials with high initial content of mineral N. EU-Rotate_N was successfully calibrated for the materials of industrial origin, whereas seaweeds, anaerobically digested food waste and sheep manure were challenging. The model satisfactorily predicted dry matter (DM) and N contents (root mean square; RMSE: 0.11–0.32) of the above-ground part of broccoli fertilized with anaerobically digested food waste, shrimp shell pellets, sheep manure and mineral fertilizers but not algal meal. After adjusting critical %N for optimum growth, potato DM and N contents were also predicted quite well (RMSE: 0.08–0.44). In conclusion, the model can be used as a learning and decision support tool when using organic materials as N fertilizer, preferably in combination with other models and information from the literature.

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Water consumption along value chains of goods and services has increased globally and led to increased attention on water footprinting. Most global water consumption is accounted for by evaporation (E), which is connected via bridges of atmospheric moisture transport to other regions on Earth. However, the resultant source–receptor relationships between different drainage basins have not yet been considered in water footprinting. Based on a previously developed data set on the fate of land evaporation, we aim to close this gap by using comprehensive information on evaporation recycling in water footprinting for the first time. By considering both basin internal evaporation recycling (BIER; >5% in 2% of the world’s basins) and basin external evaporation recycling (BEER; >50% in 37% of the world’s basins), we were able to use three types of water inventories (basin internal, basin external, and transboundary inventories), which imply different evaluation perspectives in water footprinting. Drawing on recently developed impact assessment methods, we produced characterization models for assessing the impacts of blue and green water evaporation on blue water availability for all evaluation perspectives. The results show that the negative effects of evaporation in the originating basins are counteracted (and partly overcompensated) by the positive effects of reprecipitation in receiving basins. By aggregating them, combined net impacts can be determined. While we argue that these offset results should not be used as a standalone evaluation, the water footprint community should consider atmospheric moisture recycling in future standards and guidelines.

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Background Bioenergy plays a key role in the transition to a sustainable economy in Europe, but its own sustainability is being questioned. We study the experiences of Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway, to find out whether the forest-based bioenergy chains developed in the four countries have led to unsustainable outcomes and how the countries manage the sustainability risks. Data were collected from a diversity of sources including interviews, statistical databases, the scientific literature, government planning documents and legislation. Results Sustainability risks of deforestation, degradation of forests, reduced carbon pools in forests, expensive biopower and heat, resource competition, and lack of acceptance at the local level are considered. The experience of the four countries shows that the sustainability risks can to a high degree be managed with voluntary measures without resorting to prescriptive measures. It is possible to add to the carbon pools of forests along with higher harvest volumes if the risks are well managed. There is, however, a marginal trade-off between harvest volume and carbon pools. Economic sustainability risks may be more challenging than ecological risks because the competitiveness order of renewable energy technologies has been reversed in the last decade. The risk of resource competition harming other sectors in the economy was found to be small and manageable but requires continuous monitoring. Local communities acting as bioenergy communities have been agents of change behind the most expansive bioenergy chains. A fear of non-local actors reaping the economic gains involved in bioenergy chains was found to be one of the risks to the trust and acceptance necessary for local communities to act as bioenergy communities. Conclusions The Nordic experience shows that it has been possible to manage the sustainability risks examined in this paper to an extent avoiding unsustainable outcomes. Sustainability risks have been managed by developing an institutional framework involving laws, regulations, standards and community commitments. Particularly on the local level, bioenergy chains should be developed with stakeholder involvement in development and use, in order to safeguard the legitimacy of bioenergy development and reconcile tensions between the global quest for a climate neutral economy and the local quest for an economically viable community. Keywords: Bioenergy, Sustainability, Risk assessment, Risk management, Nordic countries

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Late blight caused by Phytophthora infestans is a serious, worldwide disease on potato (Solanum tuberosum). Phytophthora infestans normally reproduces in a clonal manner, but in some areas, as the Nordic Countries, sexual reproduction has become the major determinant of the population structure. To improve the late blight forecasting in Norway, the process-based Nærstad model was developed. The model includes the structure of the underlying processes in the disease development, including spore production, spore release, spore survival and infection of P. infestans. It needs hourly weather records of air temperature, precipitation, relative humidity, leaf wetness and global radiation. The model contained 19 uncertain parameters, and from a sensitivity analysis, 12 were detected as weakly sensitive to model outputs and fixed to a nominal value within their prior boundaries. The remaining seven parameters were detected as more sensitive to model outputs and were parameterized using maximum a'posteriori (MAP) estimates, calculated through Bayesian calibration. The model was developed based on literature combined with field data of daily observed number of lesions on trap plants of the Bintje cultivar (late blight susceptible) at Ås during the seasons 2006-2008 and 2010-2011. It was further tested on daily observed number of lesions on trap plants of the cultivars Bintje, Saturna (medium susceptible) and Peik (medium resistant) at Ås during the seasons 2012-2015. For all three cultivars, the Nærstad model improved with a higher model accuracy compared to the existing HOSPO-model and the Førsund rules that both have shown relatively good correlation with blight development in field evaluations in Norway. The best accuracy was found for Bintje (0.83) closely followed by Saturna (0.79), whereas a much lower accuracy was detected for Peik (0.66).

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The relationship between the ecological success of needle pathogens of forest trees and species richness of co-inhabiting endophytic fungi is poorly understood. One of the most dangerous foliar pathogens of pine is Dothistroma septosporum, which is a widely spread threat to northern European forests. We sampled two Pinus sylvestris sites in Estonia and two in Norway in order to analyse the relations between the abundance of D. septosporum and overall fungal richness, specific fungal species composition, time of season, needle age and position in the canopy. In both countries, the overall species richness of fungi was highest in autumn, showing a trend of increase with needle age. The overall species richness in the second-year needles in Estonia and third-year needles in Norway was similar, suggesting that a critical colonization threshold for needle shed in P. sylvestris is breached earlier in Estonia than in Norway. The fungal species richness in P. sylvestris needles was largely affected by Lophodermium conigenum. Especially in older needles, the relative abundance of L. conigenum was significantly higher in spring compared to summer or autumn. The timing of recruitment and colonization mechanisms of different foliage endophytes are shortly discussed.

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The interest in old cultivars of apple trees, their fruit and processed products is growing worldwide. Studies on the qualitative and quantitative composition of biological compounds are important for the evaluation of the quality and nutritional properties of apple fruit. A variation in the qualitative and quantitative composition of triterpenic compounds was found in the fruit of apple cultivars included in the collection of National Plant Genetic Resources. A high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis showed that the fruit of the cultivar ‘Birutės pepinas’ had the highest total amount (5.17 ± 0.86 mg g-1) of triterpenic compounds. Higher total amounts of triterpenic compounds were also found in the fruit of apple cultivars ‘Tabokinė’ and ‘Panemunės baltasis’ (3.72 ± 0.57 and 4.25 ± 0.17 mg g-1, respectively). By the quantitative composition, triterpenic compounds in apple fruit were ranked in the following order: ursolic acid > oleanolic acid > corosolic acid > betulinic acid. The old apple cultivars ‘Birutės pepinas’, ‘Panemunės baltasis’ and ‘Tabokinė’ included in the collection of National Plant Genetic Resources have a potential for cultivation in industrial orchards and for the use of their apples, and processed apple products as natural functional foods rich in triterpenic compounds and adapted for medical purposes, including the prevention of various diseases. Key words: apple, old cultivars, triterpenic compounds.

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Norwegian plum production is characterized by climatic limitations, different flowering time, deficiently of wholly-adapted cultivars and appropriate pollen donors for cultivars that can be grown in this region. This study evaluated the progamic phase of fertilization and fruit set in four European plum cultivars (´Mallard´, ´Edda´, ´Jubileum´, and ´Reeves´) after crossing with different pollinizers over two years (2018/2019). Reproductive parameters, in vitro pollen germination, number of pollen tubes in the upper part of the style and locule of the ovary, number of pistils with ovule penetrated by pollen tube, fruit set in all crossing combinations, and fruit set in open pollination of pollen recipient cultivars showed different adaptability of both recipient and donor cultivars to the specific ecological conditions prevailing in Western Norway. The pollinizers ´Victoria´, ´Opal´ and ´Č. Lepotica´ proved to be a very good pollinizers for cultivar ´Jubileum´, while pollinizers ´R. C. Souffriau´ and ´Valor´ for the cultivar ´Reeves´. Cultivars ´Opal´, ´R. E. Prolific´ and ´Mallard´ are excellent pollinizers for ´Edda´ in conditions of higher temperatures during flowering period and post-flowering period. Cultivar ´Č. Lepotica´ proved to be the best pollinizer for ´Edda´ in conditions when the temperatures were lower. Cultivars ´Opal´ and ´R. E. Prolific´ can be considered as good pollinizers for ´Mallard´.

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Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are important in plant nutrient uptake, but their function is prone to environmental constraints including soil factors that may suppress AMF transfer of phosphorus (P) from the soil to the plant. The objective of this study was to disentangle the biotic and abiotic components of AMF-suppressive soils. Suppression was measured in terms of AMF-mediated plant uptake of 33P mixed into a patch of soil and treatments included soil sterilization, soil mixing, pH manipulation and inoculation with isolated soil fungi. The degree of suppression was compared to volatile organic compound (VOC) production by isolated fungi and to multi-element analysis of soils. For a selected suppressive soil, sterilization and soil mixing experiments confirmed a biotic component of suppression. A Fusarium isolate from that soil suppressed the AMF activity and produced greater amounts than other fungal isolates of the antimicrobial VOC trichodiene (a trichothecene toxin precursor), beta-chamigrene, alpha-cuprenene and p-xylene. These metabolites deserve further attention when unravelling the chemical background behind the suppression of AMF activity by soil microorganisms. For the abiotic component of suppression, soil liming and acidification experiments confirmed that suppression was strongest at low pH. The pH effect might be associated with changed availability of specific suppressive elements. Indeed 33P uptake from the soil patches correlated negatively to Al levels and Al toxicity seems to play a major role in the AMF suppressiveness at pH below 5.0–5.2. However, the documentation of a biotic component of suppression for both low and high pH soils leads to the conclusion that biotic and abiotic components of suppression may act in parallel in some soils. The current insight into the components of soil suppressiveness of the AMF activity aids to develop management practices that allow for optimization of AMF functionality.

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A major challenge in predicting species’ distributional responses to climate change involves resolving interactions between abiotic and biotic factors in structuring ecological communities. This challenge reflects the classical conceptualization of species’ regional distributions as simultaneously constrained by climatic conditions, while by necessity emerging from local biotic interactions. A ubiquitous pattern in nature illustrates this dichotomy: potentially competing species covary positively at large scales but negatively at local scales. Recent theory poses a resolution to this conundrum by predicting roles of both abiotic and biotic factors in covariation of species at both scales, but empirical tests have lagged such developments. We conducted a 15-y warming and herbivore-exclusion experiment to investigate drivers of opposing patterns of covariation between two codominant arctic shrub species at large and local scales. Climatic conditions and biotic exploitation mediated both positive covariation between these species at the landscape scale and negative covariation between them locally. Furthermore, covariation between the two species conferred resilience in ecosystem carbon uptake. This study thus lends empirical support to developing theoretical solutions to a long-standing ecological puzzle, while highlighting its relevance to understanding community compositional responses to climate change.

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This study investigated the potential of in-season airborne hyperspectral imaging for the calibration of robust forage yield and quality estimation models. An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and a hyperspectral imager were used to capture canopy reflections of a grass-legume mixture in the range of 450 nm to 800 nm. Measurements were performed over two years at two locations in Southeast and Central Norway. All images were subject to radiometric and geometric corrections before being processed to ortho-images, carrying canopy reflectance information. The data (n = 707) was split in two, using half the data for model calibration and the remaining half for validation. Several powered partial least squares regression (PPLSR) models were fitted to the reflectance data to estimate fresh (FM) and dry matter (DM) yields, as well as crude protein (CP), dry matter digestibility (DMD), neutral detergent fibre (NDF), and indigestible neutral detergent fibre (iNDF) content. Prediction performance of these models was compared with the prediction performance of simple linear regression (SLR) models, which were based on selected vegetation indices and plant height. The highest prediction accuracies for general models, based on the pooled data, were achieved by means of PPLSR, with relative root-mean-square errors of validation of 14.2% (2550 kg FM ha−1), 15.2% (555 kg DM ha−1), 11.7% (1.32 g CP 100 g−1 DM), 2.4% (1.71 g DMD 100 g−1 DM), 4.8% (2.72 g NDF 100 g−1 DM), and 12.8% (1.32 g iNDF 100 g−1 DM) for the prediction of FM, DM, CP, DMD, NDF, and iNDF content, respectively. None of the tested SLR models achieved acceptable prediction accuracies.

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Continuous light (CL) or a predominant nitrogen supply as ammonium (NH4+) can induce leaf chlorosis and inhibit plant growth. The similarity in injuries caused by CL and NH4+ suggests involvement of overlapping mechanisms in plant responses to these conditions; however, these mechanisms are poorly understood. We addressed this topic by conducting full factorial experiments with tomato plants to investigate the effects of NO3− or NH4+ supply under diurnal light (DL) or CL. We used plants at ages of 26 and 15 days after sowing to initiate the treatments, and we modulated the intensity of the stress induced by CL and an exclusive NH4+ supply from mild to strong. Under DL, we also studied the effect of nitrogen (N) deficiency and mixed application of NO3− and NH4+. Under strong stress, CL and exclusive NH4+ supply synergistically inhibited plant growth and reduced chlorophyll content. Under mild stress, when no synergetic effect between CL and NH4+ was apparent on plant growth and chlorophyll content, we found a synergetic effect of CL and NH4+ on the accumulation of several plant stress hormones, with an especially strong effect for jasmonic acid (JA) and 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC), the immediate precursor of ethylene, in xylem sap. This modulation of the hormonal composition suggests a potential role for these plant hormones in plant growth responses to the combined application of CL and NH4+. No synergetic effect was observed between CL and NH4+ for the accumulation of soluble carbohydrates or of mineral ions, indicating that these plant traits are less sensitive than the modulation of hormonal composition in xylem sap to the combined CL and NH4+ application. Under diurnal light, NH4+ did not affect the hormonal composition of xylem sap; however, N deficiency strongly increased the concentrations of phaseic acid (PA), JA, and salicylic acid (SA), indicating that decreased N concentration rather than the presence of NO3− or NH4+ in the nutrient solution drives the hormone composition of the xylem sap. In conclusion, N deficiency or a combined application of CL and NH4+ induced the accumulation of JA in xylem sap. This accumulation, in combination with other plant hormones, defines the specific plant response to stress conditions.

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Methyl jasmonate (MeJA) treatment elicits induced resistance (IR) against pests and diseases in Norway spruce (Picea abies). We recently demonstrated using mRNA-seq that this MeJA-IR is associated with both a prolonged upregulation of inducible defenses and defense priming. Gene expression can be regulated at both a transcrip-tional and post-transcriptional level by small RNAs, including microRNAs (miRNAs). Here we explore the effects of MeJA treatment and subsequent challenge by wounding on the Norway spruce miRNA transcriptome. We found clusters of prolonged down- or upregulated miRNAs as well as miRNAs whose expression was primed after MeJA treatment and subsequent wounding challenge. Differentially expressed miRNAs included miR160, miR167, miR172, miR319, and the miR482/2118 superfamily. The most prominent mRNA targets predicted to be differentially expressed by miRNA activity belonged to the nucleotide-binding site leucine-rich repeat (NBS- LRR) family. Among other predicted miRNA targets were genes regulating jasmonic acid biosynthesis. Our re-sults indicate that miRNAs have an important role in the regulation of MeJA-IR in Norway spruce.

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This paper analyses the frequency of the consumption of table potatoes in Norway. The analysis shows that the frequency of potato consumption is higher in older cohorts than in younger, and it declines over the life cycle. This indicates that the total consumption will continue to decrease as older potato eating cohorts are replaced with younger cohorts who eat potatoes less frequently. This is bad for food security, it is bad for nutritional health and it is bad for the environment. It is argued that nutritional and environmental organizations should work together to increase the status of the potato.

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The aim of this study was to demonstrate how aquacultural sludge can be processed and utilized as an organic nutrient solution (ONS) for hydroponic lettuce production. By using a previous developed method, approximately 80% of the processed sludge was reclaimed as a clear, nutrient-rich solution. The performance of the recovered nutrient solution on lettuce growth was assessed in a nutrient film hydroponic system. The results were compared to the results obtained using a conventional nutrient solution (CNS). Yield, fresh weight, water consumption, and nutrient and heavy metal content in leaf tissue were measured. In spite of a 16% lower average fresh weight obtained in ONS compared to the weight obtained in CNS, there was no statistical difference of the yield of lettuce among the two nutrient solutions. After the cultivation period, 90% of the lettuce heads grown in ONS exceeded the marked weight of 150 g. Foliar analysis revealed a similar or higher content of all nutrients, except of magnesium and molybdenum in the leaves of lettuce grown in the ONS compared to lettuce grown in the CNS. This study shows that nutrients recovered from aquacultural sludge can be utilized as fertilizer, thereby reducing the dependency on mineral fertilizer in hydroponic and aquaponic systems.

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Many herbaceous perennial plant species gain significant competitive advantages from their underground creeping storage and proliferation organs (CR), making them more likely to become successful weeds or invasive plants. To develop efficient control methods against such invasive or weedy creeping perennial plants, it is necessary to identify when the dry weight minimum of their CR (CR DWmin) occurs. Moreover, it is of interest to determine how the timing of CR DWmin differs in species with different light requirements at different light levels. The CR DWmin of Aegopodium podagraria, Elymus repens and Sonchus arvensis were studied in climate chambers under two light levels (100 and 250 μmol m−2 s−1), and Reynoutria japonica, R. sachaliensis and R. × bohemica under one light level (250 μmol m−2 s−1). Under 250 μmol m−2 s−1, the CR DWmin occurred before one fully developed leaf in R. sachaliensis, around 1–2 leaves in A. podagraria and E. repens and around four leaves in S. arvensis, R. japonica and R. × bohemica. In addition to reducing growth in all species, less light resulted in a higher shoot mass fraction in E. repens and S. arvensis, but not A. podagraria; and it delayed the CR DWmin in E. repens, but not S. arvensis. Only 65% of planted A. podagragra rhizomes produced shoots. Beyond the CR DWmin, Reynoutria spp. reinvested in their old CR, while the other species primarily produced new CR. We conclude that A. podagraria, R. sachaliensis and E. repens are vulnerable to control efforts at an earlier developmental stage than S. arvensis, R. japonica and R. × bohemica.

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BACKGROUND The southern armyworm (SAW) Spodoptera eridania (Stoll) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is native to the tropical Americas where the pest can feed on more than 100 plant species. SAW was recently detected in West and Central Africa, feeding on various crops including cassava, cotton, amaranth and tomato. The current work was carried out to predict the potential spatial distribution of SAW and four of its co-evolved parasitoids at a global scale using the maximum entropy (Maxent) algorithm. RESULTS SAW may not be a huge problem outside its native range (the Americas) for the time being, but may compromise crop yields in specific hotspots in coming years. The analysis of its potential distribution anticipates that the pest might easily migrate east and south from Cameroon and Gabon. CONCLUSION The models used generally demonstrate that all the parasitoids considered are good candidates for the biological control of SAW globally, except they will not be able to establish in specific climates. The current paper discusses the potential role of biological control using parasitoids as a crucial component of a durable climate-smart integrated management of SAW to support decision making in Africa and in other regions of bioclimatic suitability.

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Bio-communication occurs when living organisms interact with each other, facilitated by the exchange of signals including visual, auditory, tactile and chemical. The most common form of bio-communication between organisms is mediated by chemical signals, commonly referred to as ‘semiochemicals’, and it involves an emitter releasing the chemical signal that is detected by a receiver leading to a phenotypic response in the latter organism. The quality and quantity of the chemical signal released may be influenced by abiotic and biotic factors. Bio-communication has been reported to occur in both above- and below-ground interactions and it can be exploited for the management of pests, such as cyst nematodes, which are pervasive soil-borne pests that cause significant crop production losses worldwide. Cyst nematode hatching and successful infection of hosts are biological processes that are largely influenced by semiochemicals including hatching stimulators, hatching inhibitors, attractants and repellents. These semiochemicals can be used to disrupt interactions between host plants and cyst nematodes. Advances in RNAi techniques such as host-induced gene silencing to interfere with cyst nematode hatching and host location can also be exploited for development of synthetic resistant host cultivars.

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The widespread apicomplexan parasite Cryptosporidium parvum is responsible for severe gastrointestinal disease in humans and animals. The treatment options are limited, and the efficacy of available drugs is low. Bark contains condensed tannins (CT), which are bioactive compounds previously shown to inhibit parasite development. Here, we examined the anti-cryptosporidial properties of bark extract of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) against C. parvum by means of an in vitro growth inhibition test. We hypothesized that bark extracts would have dose-dependent inhibitory effects on the development of C. parvum in cell culture. Bark extracts from Scots pine extracted with acetone, methanol, and water as solvents, were investigated using human colorectal adenocarcinoma cells infected with C. parvum. Oocysts were inoculated onto the cell monolayer and bark extract was added at 7 different concentrations. Parasite growth inhibition was quantified by qPCR. The acetone and methanol extracts demonstrated a sigmoid dose-dependent inhibition of C. parvum. The IC50 values were 244.6 and 279.1 µg dry matter extract/mL, and 25.4 and 24.1 µg CT/mL, for acetone and methanol extracts, respectively. The IC50 for both extracts were similar, both with regards to the dry matter concentration of each extract and to CT concentrations. Given the limited treatment options available for Cryptosporidium spp., the evidence generated in our study encourages further investigation into the in vitro and in vivo effects of pine bark extracts against C. parvum.

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Extreme cold and frost cause significant stress to plants which can potentially be lethal. Low temperature freezing stress can cause significant and irreversible damage to plant cells and can induce physiological and metabolic changes that impact on growth and development. Low temperatures cause physiological responses including winter dormancy and autumn cold hardening in strawberry (Fragaria) species, and some diploid F. vesca accessions have been shown to have adapted to low-temperature stresses. To study the genetics of freezing tolerance, a F. vesca mapping population of 143 seedlings segregating for differential responses to freezing stress was raised. The progeny was mapped using ‘Genotyping-by-Sequencing’ and a linkage map of 2,918 markers at 851 loci was resolved. The mapping population was phenotyped for freezing tolerance response under controlled and replicated laboratory conditions and subsequent quantitative trait loci analysis using interval mapping revealed a single significant quantitative trait locus on Fvb2 in the physical interval 10.6 Mb and 15.73 Mb on the F. vesca v4.0 genome sequence. This physical interval contained 896 predicted genes, several of which had putative roles associated with tolerance to abiotic stresses including freezing. Differential expression analysis of the 896 QTL-associated gene predictions in the leaves and crowns from ‘Alta’ and ‘NCGR1363’ parental genotypes revealed genotype-specific changes in transcript accumulation in response to low temperature treatment as well as expression differences between genotypes prior to treatment for many of the genes. The putative roles, and significant interparental differential expression levels of several of the genes reported here identified them as good candidates for the control of the effects of freezing tolerance at the QTL identified in this investigation and the possible role of these candidate genes in response to freezing stress is discussed.

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A recurrent concern in nature conservation is the potential competition for forage plants between wild bees and managed honey bees. Specifically, that the highly sophisticated system of recruitment and large perennial colonies of honey bees quickly exhaust forage resources leading to the local extirpation of wild bees. However, different species of bees show different preferences for forage plants. We here summarize known forage plants for honey bees and wild bee species at national scale in Denmark. Our focus is on floral resources shared by honey bees and wild bees, with an emphasis on both threatened wild bee species and foraging specialist species. Across all 292 known bee species from Denmark, a total of 410 plant genera were recorded as forage plants. These included 294 plant genera visited by honey bees and 292 plant genera visited by different species of wild bees. Honey bees and wild bees share 176 plant genera in Denmark. Comparing the pairwise niche overlap for individual bee species, no significant relationship was found between their overlap and forage specialization or conservation status. Network analysis of the bee-plant interactions placed honey bees aside from most other bee species, specifically the module containing the honey bee had fewer links to any other modules, while the remaining modules were more highly inter-connected. Despite the lack of predictive relationship from the pairwise niche overlap, data for individual species could be summarized. Consequently, we have identified a set of operational parameters that, based on a high foraging overlap (>70%) and unfavorable conservation status (Vulnerable+Endangered+Critically Endangered), can guide both conservation actions and land management decisions in proximity to known or suspected populations of these species.

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Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) is a valued, minor component on northeastern California landscapes. It provides a wide range of ecosystem services and has been in decline throughout the region for the last century. This decline may be explained partially by the lack of fire on the landscape due to heavier fire suppression, as aspen benefit from fire that eliminates conifer competition and stimulates reproduction through root suckering. However, there is little known about how aspen stand area changes in response to overlapping fire. Our study area in northeastern California on the Lassen, Modoc and Plumas National Forests has experienced recent large mixed-severity wildfires where aspen was present, providing an opportunity to study the re-introduction of fire. We observed two time periods; a 52-year absence of fire from 1941 to 1993 preceding a 24-year period of wildfire activity from 1993 to 2017. We utilized aerial photos and satellite imagery to delineate aspen stands and assess conifer cover percent. We chose aspen stands in areas where wildfires overlapped (twice-burned), where only a single wildfire burned, and areas that did not burn within the recent 24-year period. We observed these same stands within the first period of fire exclusion for comparison (i.e., 1941–1993). In the absence of fire, all aspen stand areas declined and all stands experienced increases in conifer composition. After wildfire, stands that burned experienced a release from conifer competition and increased in stand area. Stands that burned twice or at high severity experienced a larger removal of conifer competition than stands that burned once at low severity, promoting expansion of aspen stand area. Stands with less edge:area ratio also expanded in area more with fire present. Across both time periods, stand movement, where aspen stand footprints were mostly in new areas compared to footprints of previous years, was highest in smaller stands. In the fire exclusion period, smaller stands exhibited greater loss of area and changes in location (movement) than in the return of fire period, highlighting their vulnerability to loss via succession to conifers in the absence of disturbances that provide adequate growing space for aspen over time.

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Conservation and management of large carnivores requires knowledge of female and male dispersal. Such information is crucial to evaluate the population’s status and thus manage ment actions. This knowledge is challenging to obtain, often incomplete and contradictory at times. The size of the target population and the methods applied can bias the results. Also, population history and biological or environmental influences can affect dispersal on differ ent scales within a study area. We have genotyped Eurasian lynx (180 males and 102 females, collected 2003–2017) continuously distributed in southern Finland (~23,000 km2 ) using 21 short tandem repeats (STR) loci and compared statistical genetic tests to infer local and sex-specific dispersal patterns within and across genetic clusters as well as geo graphic regions. We tested for sex-specific substructure with individual-based Bayesian assignment tests and spatial autocorrelation analyses. Differences between the sexes in genetic differentiation, relatedness, inbreeding, and diversity were analysed using popula tion-based AMOVA, F-statistics, and assignment indices. Our results showed two different genetic clusters that were spatially structured for females but admixed for males. Similarly, spatial autocorrelation and relatedness was significantly higher in females than males. How ever, we found weaker sex-specific patterns for the Eurasian lynx when the data were sepa rated in three geographical regions than when divided in the two genetic clusters. Overall, our results suggest male-biased dispersal and female philopatry for the Eurasian lynx in Southern Finland. The female genetic structuring increased from west to east within our study area. In addition, detection of male-biased dispersal was dependent on analytical methods utilized, on whether subtle underlying genetic structuring was considered or not, and the choice of population delineation. Conclusively, we suggest using multiple genetic approaches to study sex-biased dispersal in a continuously distributed species in which pop ulation delineation is difficult.

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Competition is ubiquitous in plant communities with various effects on plant fitness and community structure. A long-standing debate about different approaches to explain competition is the controversy between David Tilman and Philip Grime. Grime stated that the importance of competition relative to the impact of the environment increases along a productivity gradient, while Tilman argued that the intensity of competition is independent of productivity. To revisit this controversy, we assumed that the effects of plant–plant interactions are additive and applied the new competition indices by Díaz-Sierra et al. (2017) in a field experiment along a productivity gradient in S-Germany, using the rare arable plant Arnoseris minima as a study species. The ‘target technique' was applied, to separate the effects of root and shoot competition. The study plants were exposed to five competition treatments with three replicates in 18 sites, respectively. We investigated the expectation that root competition is more intense in unproductive sites than shoot competition. Additionally, we predicted survival to be less affected by competition than growth-related plant parameters. Using the biomass of individuals without competition as a proxy for site productivity there was a positive relationship with competition importance but no relationship with competition intensity when plants experienced full competition. Survival of the target plants was unaffected by competition. Root competition was the main mechanism determining the performance of the target plants, whereas the effect of shoot competition was relatively low albeit increasing with productivity. We conclude that when considering plant–plant interactions additive both Grime's and Tilman's theories can be supported.

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With a wide distribution range including Europe and Asia, Lotus (Leguminosae) represents the largest genus within Loteae. It is particularly diverse in the Mediterreanean region and in the five archipelagos of Macaronesia (Atlantic Ocean). However, little is known about the relationships among the 14 sections currently recognized within Lotus and about the timing and patterns of its colonization in the Macaronesian region. In this investigation, we use four DNA regions (nuclear ribosomal ITS plus three plastid regions) in the most comprehensive sampling of Lotus species to date (some endemic species within the Canary Islands were poorly represented in previous phylogenetic analyses) to infer relationships within this genus and to establish patterns of colonization in Macaronesia. Divergence time estimates and habitat reconstruction analyses indicate that Lotus likely diverged about 7.86 Ma from its sister group, but all colonization events to Macaronesia occurred more recently (ranging from the last 0.23 to 2.70 Ma). The diversification of Lotus in Macaronesia involved between four and six independent colonization events from four sections currently distributed in Africa and Europe. A major aspect shaping the current distribution of taxa involved intra-island colonization of mainly new habitats and inter-island colonization of mostly similar habitats, with Gran Canaria and Tenerife as the major sources of diversification and of further colonization events. Section Pedrosia is the most diverse in terms of colonization events, number of species, and habitat heterogeneity, including a back-colonization event to the continent. Subsections within Pedrosia radiated into diverse habitat types recently (late Pleistocene, ca 0.23–0.29 Ma) and additional molecular markers and sampling would be necessary to understand the most recent dispersal events of this group within the Canary Islands and Cape Verde.

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Most studies on the effects of tillage operations documented the effects of tillage on losses through surface runoff. On flat areas, the subsurface runoff is the dominating pathway for water, soil and nutrients. This study presents results from a five-year plot study on a flat area measuring surface and subsurface runoff losses. The treatments compared were (A) autumn ploughing with oats, (B) autumn ploughing with winter wheat and (C) spring ploughing with spring barley (n = 3). The results showed that subsurface runoff was the main source for soil (67%), total phosphorus (76%), dissolved reactive phosphorus (75%) and total nitrogen (89%) losses. Through the subsurface pathway, the lowest soil losses occurred from the spring ploughed plots. Losses of total phosphorus through subsurface runoff were also lower from spring ploughing compared to autumn ploughing. Total nitrogen losses were higher from autumn ploughing compared to other treatments. Losses of total nitrogen were more influenced by autumn ploughing than by a nitrogen surplus in production. Single extreme weather events, like the summer drought in 2018 and high precipitation in October 2014 were crucial to the annual soil and nutrient losses. Considering extreme weather events in agricultural management is a necessary prerequisite for successful mitigation of soil and nutrient losses in the future.

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Thermal modification is a well-established commercial technology for improving the dimensional stability and durability of timber. Numerous reviews of thermally modified timber (TMT) are to be found in the scientific literature, but until now a review of the influence of cell wall moisture content during the modification process on the properties of TMT has been lacking. This paper reviews the current state of knowledge regarding the hygroscopic and dimensional behaviour of TMT modified under dry (cell wall at nearly zero moisture content) and wet (cell wall contains moisture) conditions. After an overview of the topic area, the review explores the literature on the thermal degradation of the polysaccharidic and lignin components of the cell wall, as well as the role of extractives. The properties of TMT modified under wet and dry conditions are compared including mass loss, hygroscopic behaviour and dimensional stability. The role of hydroxyl groups in determining the hygroscopicity is discussed, as well as the importance of considering the mobility of the cell wall polymers and crosslinking when interpreting sorption behaviour. TMT produced under wet processing conditions exhibits behaviour that changes when the wood is subjected to water leaching post-treatment, which includes further weight loss, changes in sorption behaviour and dimensional stability, but without any further change in accessible hydroxyl (OH) content. This raises serious questions regarding the role that OH groups play in sorption behaviour.

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Dothistroma septosporum, the primary causal agent of Dothistroma needle blight, is one of the most significant foliar pathogens of pine worldwide. Its wide host and environmental ranges have led to its global success as a pathogen and severe economic damage to pine forests in many regions. This comprehensive global population study elucidated the historical migration pathways of the pathogen to reveal the Eurasian origin of the fungus. When over 3800 isolates were examined, three major population clusters were revealed: North America, Western Europe, and Eastern Europe, with distinct subclusters in the highly diverse Eastern European cluster. Modeling of historical scenarios using approximate Bayesian computation revealed the North American cluster was derived from an ancestral population in Eurasia. The Northeastern European subcluster was shown to be ancestral to all other European clusters and subclusters. The Turkish subcluster diverged first, followed by the Central European subcluster, then the Western European cluster, which has subsequently spread to much of the Southern Hemisphere. All clusters and subclusters contained both mating-types of the fungus, indicating the potential for sexual reproduction, although asexual reproduction remained the primary mode of reproduction. The study strongly suggests the native range of D. septosporum to be in Eastern Europe (i.e., the Baltic and Western Russia) and Western Asia.

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This study describes microbial and chemical source tracking approaches for water pollution in rural and urban catchments. Culturable faecal indicator bacteria, represented by Escherichia coli, were quantified. Microbial source tracking (MST) using host-specific DNA markers was applied to identify the origins of faecal contamination. Chemical source tracking (CST) was conducted to determine contaminants of emerging concern (CEC) of human/anthropogenic origin, including pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) and endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). In addition, the eutrophication-causing macronutrients nitrogen and phosphorus were studied. MST tests revealed both anthropogenic and zoogenic faecal origins, with a dominance of human sources in the urban stream; non-human/environmental sources were prevalent in the rural creek. CST analyses revealed a higher number of CECs in the urban stream than in the rural watercourse. Positive correlations between PPCPs and both E. coli and the human DNA marker were uncovered in the urban stream, while in the rural creek, PPCPs were only highly correlated with the anthropogenic marker. Interestingly, macronutrients were strongly associated with primary faecal pollution origins in both watercourses. This correlation pattern determines the main pollutant contributors (anthropogenic or zoogenic) to eutrophication.

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Information about forest background reflectance is needed for accurate biophysical parameter retrieval from forest canopies (overstory) with remote sensing. Separating under- and overstory signals would enable more accurate modeling of forest carbon and energy fluxes. We retrieved values of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) of the forest understory with the multi-angular Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF)/albedo data (gridded 500 m daily Collection 6 product), using a method originally developed for boreal forests. The forest floor background reflectance estimates from the MODIS data were compared with in situ understory reflectance measurements carried out at an extensive set of forest ecosystem experimental sites across Europe. The reflectance estimates from MODIS data were, hence, tested across diverse forest conditions and phenological phases during the growing season to examine their applicability for ecosystems other than boreal forests. Here we report that the method can deliver good retrievals, especially over different forest types with open canopies (low foliage cover). The performance of the method was found to be limited over forests with closed canopies (high foliage cover), where the signal from understory becomes too attenuated. The spatial heterogeneity of individual field sites and the limitations and documented quality of the MODIS BRDF product are shown to be important for the correct assessment and validation of the retrievals obtained with remote sensing.

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As the demand for proteins increases with growing populations, farmed seaweed is a potential option for use directly as an ingredient for food, feed, or other applications, as it does not require agricultural areas. In this study, a life cycle assessment was utilised to calculate the environmental performance and evaluate possible improvements of the entire value chain from production of sugar kelp seedings to extracted protein. The impacts of both technical- and biological factors on the environmental outcomes were examined, and sensitivity and uncertainty analyses were conducted to analyse the impact of the uncertainty of the input variables on the variance of the environmental impact results of seaweed protein production. The current production of seaweed protein was found to have a global warming potential (GWP) that is four times higher than that of soy protein from Brazil. Further, of the 23 scenarios modelled, two resulted in lower GWPs and energy consumption per kg of seaweed protein relative to soy protein. These results present possibilities for improving the environmental impact of seaweed protein production. The most important variables for producing seaweed protein with low environmental impact are the source of drying energy for seaweed, followed by a high protein content in the dry matter, and a high dry matter in the harvested seaweed. In the two best scenarios modelled in this study, the dry matter content was 20% and the protein content 19.2% and 24.3% in dry matter. This resulted in a lower environmental impact for seaweed protein production than that of soy protein from Brazil. These scenarios should be the basis for a more environmental protein production in the future.

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This study attempted to enhance sulfidogenic activity via sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) enrichment and minimize organic carbon loss by methanogen inhibition in the sulfidogenic stage of a two-stage anaerobic digestion system (TSADS). To enrich SRB in the sulfidogenic stage, batch tests were performed with various granular sludge pretreatments. Starvation was the most effective pretreatment, increasing SO42− removal and minimizing chemical oxygen demand (COD) loss by inhibiting methanogen activity. Microbial community analysis showed that Desulfovibrio, Desulfotomaculum, and Syntrophobacter were the dominant SRB in the sulfidogenic stage (5.0%, 3.1%, and 2.4%, respectively). This enabled SO42− reduction (86%) and volatile fatty acid production (55% of fed COD) at a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 4 h. Conversely, biogas with a reduced H2S content (110 ppmv) was produced in the methanogenic stage (HRT = 6 h). A granular sludge comparison revealed differences in their ecology, structure, and extracellular polymeric substance characteristics. Economic feasibility analysis demonstrated that TSADS can lead to a cost reduction of $80–90/1,000 m3 CH4 compared to single-stage anaerobic digestion.

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Identifying and characterizing cold responsive genes in Fragaria vesca associated with or responsible for low temperature tolerance is a vital part of strawberry cultivar development. In this study we have investigated the transcript levels of eight genes, two dehydrin genes, three putative ABA-regulated genes, two cold–inducible CBF genes and the alcohol dehydrogenase gene, extracted from leaf and crown tissues of three F. vesca genotypes that vary in cold tolerance. Transcript levels of the CBF/DREB1 transcription factor FvCBF1E exhibited stronger cold up-regulation in comparison to FvCBF1B.1 in all genotypes. Transcripts of FvADH were highly up-regulated in both crown and leaf tissues from all three genotypes. In the ‘ALTA’ genotype, FvADH transcripts were significantly higher in leaf than crown tissues and more than 10 to 20-fold greater than in the less cold-tolerant ‘NCGR1363’ and ‘FDP817’ genotypes. FvGEM, containing the conserved ABRE promoter element, transcript was found to be cold-regulated in crowns. Direct comparison of the kinetics of transcript and protein accumulation of dehydrins was scrutinized. In all genotypes and organs, the changes of XERO2 transcript levels generally preceded protein changes, while levels of COR47 protein accumulation preceded the increases in COR47 RNA in ‘ALTA’ crowns.

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Simple Summary The bird cherry-oat aphid and the fungal plant pathogen causing stagonospora nodorum blotch (SNB) are common pests of wheat. Plants are under constant attack by multiple pests and diseases but there are limited studies on the interaction between several pests on wheat. We therefore conducted controlled greenhouse and laboratory experiments to determine how these pests affected each other on a wheat plant. We found that aphid feeding predisposed wheat to fungal disease, but that aphids preferred and reproduced better on leaves that had not been infected by the fungal pathogen. These results are important to understand the interactions between multiple pests on wheat and how to develop new control strategies in future integrated pest management (IPM). Abstract Wheat plants are under constant attack by multiple pests and diseases. Until now, there are no studies on the interaction between the aphid Rhopalosiphum padi and the plant pathogenic fungus Parastagonospora nodorum causal agent of septoria nodorum blotch (SNB) on wheat. Controlled experiments were conducted to determine: (i) The preference and reproduction of aphids on P. nodorum inoculated and non-inoculated wheat plants and (ii) the effect of prior aphid infestation of wheat plants on SNB development. The preference and reproduction of aphids was determined by releasing female aphids on P. nodorum inoculated (SNB+) and non-inoculated (SNB−) wheat leaves. The effect of prior aphid infestation of wheat plants on SNB development was determined by inoculating P. nodorum on aphid-infested (Aphid+) and aphid free (Aphid−) wheat plants. Higher numbers of aphids moved to and settled on the healthy (SNB−) leaves than inoculated (SNB+) leaves, and reproduction was significantly higher on SNB− leaves than on SNB+ leaves. Aphid infestation of wheat plants predisposed the plants to P. nodorum infection and colonization. These results are important to understand the interactions between multiple pests in wheat and hence how to develop new strategies in future integrated pest management (IPM).

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This study documents volume increment and natural mortality in 1379 old boreal forests plots during four consecutive inventory cycles in the Norwegian national forest inventory. The stands age up to 100 years beyond recommended rotation length (close to economical optimal rotation length) and comprise a wide range of site productivity classes in both pine- and spruce-dominated forests. The annual gross volume increment was stable and nearly constant up to 50–100 years beyond economically optimal rotation length. In parallel, there was very low natural mortality (0.22–0.66% of standing volume) with minimal risk of stand collapse. Stands with satisfactory stocking had volume increment equal to or higher than the reference volume increment in managed stands harvested at recommended rotation length, while poorly stocked stands had inferior volume increment. From a climate change mitigation perspective, it seems to be a good strategy to extend the rotation length beyond what is currently recommended, provided that the stands have satisfactory stocking.

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The purpose of this research is to develop a method for estimating the spatially and temporally resolved moisture content of thermally modified Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) using remote sensing. Hyperspectral time series imaging in the NIR wavelength region (953–2516 nm) was used to gather information about the absorbance of eight thermally modified pine samples each minute as they dried during a period of approximately 20 h. After preprocessing the collected spectral data and identifying an appropriate wavelength selection, partial least squares regression (PLS) was used to map the absorbance data of each pine sample to a distribution of moisture contents within the samples at different time steps during the drying process. To enable separate studying and comparison of the drying dynamics taking place within the early- and latewood regions of the pine samples, the collected images were spatially segmented to separate between early- and latewood pixels. The results of the study indicate that the 1966–2244 nm region of a NIR spectrum, when preprocessed with extended multiplicative scatter correction and first order derivation, can be used to model the average moisture content of thermally modified pine using PLS. The methods presented in this paper allows for estimation and visualization of the intrasample spatial distribution of moisture in thermally modified pine wood.

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In this study, cuticular wax load, its chemical composition, and biosynthesis, was studied during development of wild type (WT) bilberry fruit and its natural glossy type (GT) mutant. GT fruit cuticular wax load was comparable with WT fruits. In both, the proportion of triterpenoids decreased during fruit development concomitant with increasing proportions of total aliphatic compounds. In GT fruit, a higher proportion of triterpenoids in cuticular wax was accompanied by a lower proportion of fatty acids and ketones compared to WT fruit as well as lower density of crystalloid structures on berry surfaces. Our results suggest that the glossy phenotype could be caused by the absence of rod-like structures in GT fruit associated with reduction in proportions of ketones and fatty acids in the cuticular wax. Especially CER26-like, FAR2, CER3-like, LTP, MIXTA, and BAS genes showed fruit skin preferential expression patterns indicating their role in cuticular wax biosynthesis and secretion.

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A new stubby-root nematode belonging to the Trichodorus sparsus complex was found in association with serious damage to Hill’s Yew hedges (Taxus x media ´Hillii´) in Oslo in 2017, characterised by chlorosis, wilting and loss of needles. T. hellalae n. sp. is about 800 μm long with medium-sized onchiostyle (55 μm, average), characterized in male by two ventromedian cervical papillae located beyond the onchiostyle region and with the secretory excretory pore (SE-pore) in between, in most type specimens, three ventromedian precloacal supplements with the posteriormost one opposite the anterior end of spicule manubrium and spicules 40 μm long (average) with widened manubrium, gradually tapered to a narrower blade without ornamentation of striae or bristles, but showing a minor indentation at level of posterior border of capsule of suspensor muscles. Gubernaculum with thickened keel-like posterior end and a thickened refractive anterior border. Females are characterised by a short pear-shaped vagina, less than 1/3rd of corresponding body width and very small rounded triangular vaginal sclerotized pieces in longitudinal optical section and vulva pore-like in ventral view; on each body side one sublateral body pore at about 3.5 body width anterior to vulva and one postadvulvar body pore. According to D2-D3 analyses, the Trichodorus hellalae n. sp. sequences are embedded in a maximally supported clade with several T. variabilis lineages. However, morphological and molecular species delimitation both support Trichodorus hellalae n. sp. as being a new species. Therefore, T. variabilis now appears to in fact consists of several cryptic species.

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The effect of cultivar and environmental variations and their interaction on anthocyanin components of strawberry were assessed for six cultivars grown in five locations from North to South of Europe in two different years. To evaluate the impact of latitude- and altitude-related factors, daily mean (Tmean), maximum (Tmax) and minimum (Tmin) temperature and global radiation accumulated for 3, 5, 10 and 15 days before fruit sampling, was analyzed. In general, fruits grown in the south were more enriched in total anthocyanin and pelargonidin-3-glucoside (pel-3-glc), the most abundant anthocyanin in strawberry. Principal component analysis (PCA) provided a separation of the growing locations within a cultivar due to latitudinal climatic differences, temporary weather changes before fruit collection and cultivation technique. PCA also depicted different patterns for anthocyanin distribution indicating a cultivar specific reaction on the environmental factors. The linear regression analysis showed that pel-3-glc was relatively less affected by these factors, while the minor anthocyanins cyanidin-3-glucoside, cyanidin-3-(6-O-malonyl)-glucoside, pelargonidin-3-rutinoside and pelargonidin-3-(6-O-malonoyl)-glucoside were sensitive to Tmax. The global radiation strongly increased cya-3-mal-glc in ‘Frida’ and pel-3-rut in ‘Frida’ and ‘Florence’. ‘Candonga’ accumulated less pel-3-glc and total anthocyanin with increased global radiation. The anthocyanin profiles of ‘Gariguette’ and ‘Clery’ were unaffected by environmental conditions.

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One of the goals in adopting more sustainable agricultural practices is to reduce green-house-gas emissions from current practices by replacing fossil-fuel-based heavy machinery with lighter, electrical ones. In a not-so-distant scenario where a single farmer owns a fleet of small electrical tractors/robots that can operate in an autonomous/semi-autonomous manner, this will bring along some logistic challenges. It will be highly impractical that the farmer follows each time a given vehicle moves to the charging point to manually charge it. We present in this paper the design and implementation of an autonomous charging station to be used for that purpose. The charging station is a combination of a holonomic mobile platform and a collaborative robotic arm. Vision-based navigation and detection are used in order to plug the power cable from the wall-plug to the vehicle and back to the wall-plug again when the vehicle has recharged its batteries or reached the required level to pursue its tasks in the field. A decision-tree-based scheme is used in order to define the necessary pick, navigate, and plug sequences to fulfill the charging task. Communication between the autonomous charging station and the vehicle is established in order to make the whole process completely autonomous without any manual intervention. We present in this paper the charging station, the docking mechanism, communication scheme, and the deployed algorithms to achieve the autonomous charging process for agricultural electrical vehicles. We also present real experiments performed using the developed platform on an electrical robot-tractor.

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Lonicera caerulea L. is an early fruit-bearing plant that originates from harsh environments. Raw materials contain a body of different phenolic origin compounds that determine the multidirectional antioxidant and pharmacological activities. The aim of this study was to comprehensively evaluate the phenolic composition, antioxidant capacities, vegetative, pomological, and sensory properties and their interrelations of selected L. caerulea cultivars, namely ‘Amphora’, ‘Wojtek’, ‘Iga’, ’Leningradskij Velikan’, ‘Nimfa’, ‘Indigo Gem’, ‘Tundra’, ‘Tola’, and fruit powders. Combined chromatographic systems were applied for the qualitative and quantitative profiling of 23 constituents belonging to the classes of anthocyanins, flavonols, flavones, proanthocyanidins, and phenolic acids. The determined markers of phytochemical profiles were cyanidin-3-glucoside, rutin, chlorogenic, and 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid. Anthocyanins and the predominant compound, cyanidin-3-glucoside, were the determinants of antioxidant activity. Cultivars ‘Amphora’, ‘Indigo Gem’, and ‘Tundra’ contained the greatest total amounts of identified phenolic compounds. Phenotypic characterization revealed the superiority of cultivars ‘Wojtek’ and ’Tundra’ compared to other cultivars, although ’Wojtek’ had low phenolic content and antioxidant activity and ’Tundra’ got lower sensory evaluation scores. Coupling the results of phenotypic and phytochemical characterization, cultivar ‘Tundra’ could be suitable for commercial plantations.

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The objective of this study was to determine morphological and anatomical leaf characteristics and stomatal traits of three European (Pyrus communis L.) cultivars, three Asian [Pyrus pyrifolia (Burm. f.) Nakai] pear cultivars together with one interspecies hybrid (P. pyrifolia × P. communis ‘Bartlett’) and link them with the resistance to pathogens. Pear trees were grown under the standard practice without irrigation. Fully developed leaves were picked from the middle part of the extension shoots at the beginning of the July. Leaf traits were measured on leaves picked the same day. Anatomy of leaves was determined under light microscopy (LM) while scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used for the examination of the stomata cells. Asian pear cultivars (‘Kousui’, ‘Nijisseiki’ and ‘Niitaka’) had much higher leaf parameters (width, length, stem length and leaf area) than the European cultivars (‘Conference’, ‘Williams Bartlett’, ‘Abbate Fetel’) and interspecies hybrid (‘Kieffer Seedling’). Midrib parameters (length and width) were the highest in ‘Kosui’ and ‘Nijisseiki’. Leaves of ‘Kieffer Seedling’ and ‘Abbate Fetel’ were the thickest, mainly due to increased palisade and spongy parenchyma thickness. The leaf stomata density significantly varied among the pear cultivars, ranging from 89.53 stomata mm‑2 (‘Nijisseiki’) up to 134.07 stomata mm‑2 (‘Housui’). SEM proved that Asian pear cultivars and ‘Kieffer Seedling’ shared ‘paracytic’ stomata type, while European pear cultivars had ‘anomocytic’ stomata type. Cluster analysis distinguished pear cultivars into two distinct groups, where European cultivars formed first sub-cluster and Asian together with ‘Kieffer Seedling’ second sub-cluster. Midrib traits and stomata type made a clear separation between the clusters. These results might suggest that thickness of midrib could be a huge barrier for Psylla sp. probing in Asian pears, thus representing one of the key factors in the resistance of these cultivars.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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