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2022 (326)

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Background Inflammation is a double-edged sword in the pathophysiology of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The global rise in the prevalence of T2DM in one hand, and poor disease control with currently-available treatments on the other hand, along with an increased tendency towards the use of natural products make scientists seek herbal medicines for the management of diabetes and its complications by reducing C-reactive protein (CRP) as an inflammatory marker. Purpose To systematically review the literature to identify the efficacy of various medicinal plants with antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties considering their effect on CRP in animal models of T2DM. Study design systematic review. Methods Electronic databases including PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science and Cochran Library were searched using the search terms “herbal medicine”, “diabetes”, “c-reactive protein”, “antioxidants” till August 2021. The quality of evidence was assessed using the Systematic Review Centre for Laboratory animal Experimentation (SYRCLE's) tool. The study protocol was registered in PROSPERO with an ID number CRD42020207190. A manual search to detect any articles not found in the databases was also made. The identified studies were then critically reviewed and relevant data were extracted and summarized. Results Among total of 9904 primarily-retrieved articles, twenty-three experimental studies were finally included. Our data indicated that numerous herbal medicines, compared to placebo or hypoglycemic medications, are effective in treatment of diabetes and its complications through decreasing CRP concentrations and oxidative stresses levels. Medicinal plants including Psidium guajava L., Punica granatum L., Ginkgo biloba L., Punica granatum L., Dianthus superbusn L.. Moreover, Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms, Curcuma longa L., Azadirachta indica A. Juss., Morus alba L., and Ficus racemosa L. demonstrated potential neuroprotective effects in animal models of diabetes. Conclusion Hypoglycemic medicinal plants discussed in this review seem to be promising regulators of CRP, and oxidative stress. Thus, these plants are suitable candidates for management of diabetes’ complications. Nevertheless, further high-quality in vivo studies and clinical trials are required to confirm these effects.

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To mitigate climate change, several European countries have launched policies to promote the development of a renewable resource-based bioeconomy. These bioeconomy strategies plan to use renewable biological resources, which will increase timber and biomass demands and will potentially conflict with multiple other ecosystem services provided by forests. In addition, these forest ecosystem services (FES) are also influenced by other, different, policy strategies, causing a potential mismatch in proposed management solutions for achieving the different policy goals. We evaluated how Norwegian forests can meet the projected wood and biomass demands from the international market for achieving mitigation targets and at the same time meet nationally determined targets for other FES. Using data from the Norwegian national forest inventory (NFI) we simulated the development of Norwegian forests under different management regimes and defined different forest policy scenarios, according to the most relevant forest policies in Norway: national forest policy (NFS), biodiversity policy (BIOS), and bioeconomy policy (BIES). Finally, through multi-objective optimization, we identified the combination of management regimes matching best with each policy scenario. The results for all scenarios indicated that Norway will be able to satisfy wood demands of up to 17 million m3 in 2093. However, the policy objectives for FES under each scenario caused substantial differences in terms of the management regimes selected. We observed that BIES and NFS resulted in very similar forest management programs in Norway, with a dominance of extensive management regimes. In BIOS there was an increase of set aside areas and continuous cover forestry, which made it more compatible with biodiversity indicators. We also found multiple synergies and trade-offs between the FES, likely influenced by the definition of the policy targets at the national scale.

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In the context of global change, the integration of non-native tree (NNT) species into European forestry is increasingly being discussed. The ecological consequences of increasing use or spread of NNTs in European forests are highly uncertain, as the scientific evidence is either constraint to results from case studies with limited spatial extent, or concerns global assessments that lack focus on European NNTs. For either case, generalisations on European NNTs are challenging to draw. Here we compile data on the impacts of seven important NNTs (Acacia dealbata, Ailanthus altissima, Eucalyptus globulus, Prunus serotina, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Quercus rubra, Robinia pseudoacacia) on physical and chemical soil properties and diversity attributes in Europe, and summarise commonalities and differences. From a total of 103 publications considered, studies on diversity attributes were overall more frequent than studies on soil properties. The effects on soil properties varied greatly among tree species and depended on the respective soil property. Overall, increasing (45%) and decreasing (45%) impacts on soil occurred with similar frequency. In contrast, decreasing impacts on biodiversity were much more frequent (66%) than increasing ones (24%). Species phylogenetically distant from European tree species, such as Acacia dealbata, Eucalyptus globulus and Ailanthus altissima, showed the strongest decreasing impacts on biodiversity. Our results suggest that forest managers should be cautious in using NNTs, as a majority of NNT stands host fewer species when compared with native tree species or ecosystems, likely reflected in changes in biotic interactions and ecosystem functions. The high variability of impacts suggests that individual NNTs should be assessed separately, but NNTs that lack European relatives should be used with particular caution.

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Chapter 9 begins with a brief introduction followed by a conceptual framework showing the linkages and interactions between different institutional, market, and policy factors affecting adoption of climate-neutral and resilient farming systems in the agriculture sector. The chapter then discusses the barriers for adoption, which operate at various levels in the value chains (VCs). The role played by stakeholders (VC actors, farmers’ group, research, government agencies, and donors) in the farmers’ adoption and the dynamics and partnerships to be developed between different VC actors for upscaling CNRFS is analyzed. Experiences from case studies in Africa (Kenya and Rwanda) are shared, demonstrating how strategies to overcome weaknesses and adoption barriers in the selected value chain together with the support of multi-actor partnerships. Toward the end, some concluding remarks and policy recommendations for upscaling CNRFS are provided.

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This chapter provides a comprehensive review of various integrated pest management (IPM) measures in combination with bio-based interventions, and physical and cultural practices that provide proven benefits for biodiversity, ecosystem services, and climate mitigation. The chapter illustrates the importance of digital technologies that represent another line of promising solutions to counter the environmental costs of crop production systems and enhance climate neutrality. Such solutions include precision farming with threshold-based and spatially targeted application of pesticides. A key factor to bridge gaps between scientific knowledge and practical implementation of IPM measures is the continuous involvement, training, and co-design of solutions with farmers’ communities and other stakeholders.

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In Chapter 2, the authors focus on the importance of precision-based soil and nutrient management practices tested on rice farms in the eastern part of India and the potential for reducing GHG emissions. This is highly relevant for countries such as India, Vietnam, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Thailand with large areas under rice production, where the use of excess amounts of fertilizer and chemicals, especially nitrogen fertilizer, is a serious problem for the environment and health of people. The chapter shows the importance and benefits from the use of tools ranging from the simple leaf colour chart to innovative digital tools and their relevance to improve nutrient use efficiency. The chapter towards the end provides guidelines/models and policy recommendations for upscaling precision soil and nutrient management in rice systems and other related food crops.

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Chapter 6 provides a summary of research findings from the case studies in India that showed significant benefits of another climate-smart rice system, namely the direct seeded rice (DSR), which shows positive outcomes compared to puddled transplanted rice in terms of (i) higher water productivity, (ii) reduction in labour and production costs, and (iii) lower methane emissions. However, there are some challenges for adopting DSR which include poor weed control, need for specific water and nutrient management, availability of suitable varieties for DSR, increased damage by soil pathogens and nutrient disorders, especially N and micronutrients. Possible solutions to overcome these challenges that will make it easier for adoption by farmers will be analysed in this chapter. Field data/evidence from India and other previous studies under both dry and wet conditions were presented to support the solutions. The options for scaling up DSR combined by need-based farmer trainings, accessibility to good quality seeds, availability and use of drum seeders and selective herbicides were discussed.

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Chapter 8 provides a comprehensive review of literature pertaining to agroecological (AE) farming approaches/practices and knowledge driven from stakeholders’ and scientific studies. The review identifies the major drivers, barriers, gaps, and opportunities of AE practices in the context of African farming systems. The chapter presents the best combinations of AE practices as alternative approaches to the current unsustainable farming practices. Experiences from Zambia and other countries where selected AE practices are being implemented by farmers with the support of diverse stakeholders are shared in the chapter. Further, key ecological, social, and economic indicators developed in the countries are also discussed. The chapter analyses how the AE practices contribute to the reduction of GHG emissions and at the same time address the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), e.g., SDG 2 (food and nutrition security), SDG 12 (sustainable food production and consumption), SDG 13 (climate action), and SDG 15 (life on land).

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How can agroecological research methods effectively engage smallholder farmers, who provide over half of the world’s food supply, and whose farm management activities have significant impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services? This question is highly relevant in Malawi where the research took place, but in other low-income countries in Africa with mostly agrarian populations, in which multi-scalar processes drive high food insecurity, alongside declining biodiversity, worsening land degradation and climate change. We analyse an innovative transdisciplinary agroecological approach that attempts to bridge the science-practice-policy gap by examining the potential of agro-ecological measures to enhance functional biodiversity and ecosystem services. This study involves a longitudinal, case-control and participatory research design in a region where thousands of farmers have experimented with agroecological practices, e.g., legume intercropping, composting, and botanical sprays. Innovative transdisciplinary agroecological research activities involved farmer participatory research, ecological monitoring and field experiments, social science methods (both qualitative and quantitative), participatory methodologies (public participatory Geographic Information Systems - PPGIS and scenario planning and testing) and stakeholder engagement to foster science-policy linkages. We discuss the theoretical and methodological implications of this novel transdisciplinary and participatory approach about pluralism, decolonial and translational ecological research to foster sustainability and climate resilience of tropical farming systems.

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The categories and concepts in the existing official land-use maps have been under improvements over recent years; however, this study from Nordland, northern Norway, shows that they continue to pose several dilemmas when aiming to better capture the impacts of multiple land uses on reindeer herding. While these developments have done much to better communicate the presence of reindeer herding to developers and planners, there remain significant challenges to achieve best practices. In particular, the confluence of multiple landscape features, for instance, roads, farmland, ecoregions, tenure, pastures, tourism paths and cabins, may have interactions that create cumulative impacts that do not “add up” neatly across map layers. Migration routes, herding routes, and resting areas have been introduced in these maps. In collaboration with reindeer herders, this article analyses how to enrich mapping practices by for example including bottlenecks, parallel to increased attention to influence zones and avoidance zones, as important emergent impacts of multiple interacting features of the landscape. Our research reveals how local knowledge developed by herders through their “presence in the landscape” is better capable of accounting for interactions and cumulative dimensions of landscape features. Through our participatory mapping approach with Sámi reindeer herders, we focus on ways of combining reindeer herders’ knowledge and GIS maps and demonstrate the potential in collaborative work between herders and policymakers in generating a richer understanding of land-use change. We conclude that the practical knowledge of people inhabiting and living with the landscape and its changing character generates a rich understanding of cumulative impacts and can be harnessed for improved land-use mapping and multi-level governance.

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Background Since the late 1800s, an unknown number of common pheasants and grey partridges from captive bred stocks have been released in Norwegian nature. The birds are released to be used for training of pointing dogs. The import, keeping and release of gamebirds, as well as the management of release sites, have been largely unregulated. The consequences to biodiversity, animal health and welfare have not been investigated. The Norwegian Environment Agency (NEA) and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA) have jointly requested the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment (VKM) for a scientific opinion on the release of common pheasants and grey partridges for pointing dog training regarding consequences for biodiversity, animal welfare of the released birds and health of the released birds as well as wild birds to which pathogens may be transmitted. VKM was further asked to suggest risk reducing measures for biodiversity and animal welfare. Methods VKM established a project group with expertise within avian ecology, landscape ecology, population biology, wildlife veterinary medicine and animal welfare. The group conducted systematic literature searches, scrutinized the resulting literature, and supplemented by other relevant articles and reports. In the absence of Norwegian studies, VKM used literature from other countries where common pheasants and grey partridges (and in some cases other gamebirds), are released, as references. The project group applied observation data of common pheasants and grey partridges in Norway for the period 2000-2022, presented by the Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre (NBIC). In the assessments, VKM assumed that the release of birds will be in the same order of magnitude as in previous years (a few thousand birds annually on a national level). The number of release sites and the density of released birds per site are unknown. Increasing the number and density of birds would also increase the probability of negative effects and the severity of the consequences. VKM assessed the impacts of released common pheasants and grey partridges on competition, predation, hybridization, transmission of disease, herbivory and indirect impacts through interactions with other species (predator abundance and pathogen-mediated competition). VKM also assessed the impact on biodiversity in a 50-year perspective. Furthermore, VKM discusses how the birds’ welfare might be impacted by rearing, transport, release and exposure to pointing dogs. Finally, VKM provides a list of relevant diseases and assessed their potential impact on animal health during transport, rearing and release. Results and conclusions VKMs assessment show that there are several risks to biodiversity, animal health, and animal welfare from the release of captive bred common pheasants and grey partridges in Norway. The risk of increased competition for food, particularly in winter, with birds with similar niches as common pheasants and grey partridges, is low on a national scale and moderat on a local scale. This is particularly so for yellowhammer, Emberiza citronella, a species categorized as vulnerable on the national red list due to its progressive population decline caused by reduced availability of food during winter. There is a moderate risk for predation on invertebrates and negative impacts on flora. Indirectly, activities connected to the release of birds may lead to moderate risks of altered predator abundance and disease-mediated competition. VKM concludes that the ecological impacts will be more severe for redlisted species present within the release areas for common pheasants and grey partridges. Repeated release of common pheasants and grey partridges can lead to high risk of disease transmission to wild birds. .............

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Proper treatment of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) waste is challenge as it is not easily degraded and incineration can lead to environmental issue as it will produce toxic chemicals. In this study, a hydrothermal carbonization approach was applied to treat PVC waste. The influence of exogenous additives on dechlorination efficiency of PVC were evaluated. The results showed that, with exogenous additive, substitution, elimination, dehydration and aromatization reaction were enhanced during hydrothermal carbonization. The maximum dechlorination efficiency of 97.50% was achieved with the mass ratio of 1.4% between rice straw and PVC resin at hydrothermal carbonization temperature 240℃ for 120min. The calorific value of hydrothermal charcoal was relatively higher (39.57MJ/kg ± 0.40MJ/kg), indicating a good combustion process. This study presented a novel and sustainable approach, which could convert PVC-waste as a form of solid fuel.

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Coconut production is significantly constrained by a wide variety of pests. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that management of these pests is influenced by gender differences. Therefore, there was a need to assess farmers' knowledge about coconut pests, farm-level pest management strategies, and institutions offering training to farmers to develop an ecologically sound management strategy. To achieve this research need, we surveyed six coconut-growing districts, three each from the Western and Central Regions of Ghana, using face-to-face interviews, discussions, and direct observations. In addition, a multistage sampling technique was used to sample the coconut farmers. The sample population for each town was determined using a proportional to population size approach. The sample population was randomly drawn from each town/village using a sampling frame based on the agricultural sector records. The results showed that a majority of the farmers mentioned Oryctes monoceros as the most important coconut pest. Significantly more females than males mentioned weaver birds in their plantations (P = 0.035). The number of women who did not mention any of the pests was significantly higher than that of men (P = 0.007). There was a significant difference between male and female farmers who used indigenous knowledge (i.e., knowledge accumulated by an indigenous [local] population over generations of living in a certain area) (P = 0.018) for pest management. However, pest management strategies did not vary in the Central Region. Our results showed a significant difference between male and female farmers who did not use any of the management strategies, suggesting that future studies and training should consider gender in developing sustainable pest management strategies for the pests.

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Rainforests are continuously threatened by various anthropogenic activities. In addition, the ever-changing climate severely impacts the world’s rainforest cover. The consequences of these are paid back to human at a higher cost. Nevertheless, little or no significant attention was broadly given to this critical environmental issue. The World Heritage Sinharaja Rainforest in Sri Lanka is originating news on its forest cover due to human activities and changing climates. The scientific analysis is yet to be presented on the related issues. Therefore, this paper presents a comprehensive study on the possible impact on the Sinharaja Rainforest due to changing climate. Landsat images with measured rainfall data for 30 years were assessed and the relationships are presented. Results showcased that the built-up areas have drastically been increased over the last decade in the vicinity and the declared forest area. The authorities found the issues are serious and a sensitive task to negotiate in conserving the forest. The rainfall around the forest area has not shown significant trends over the years. Therefore, the health of forest cover was not severely impacted. Nevertheless, six cleared-up areas were found inside the Singaraja Rainforest under no human interactions. This can be due to a possible influence from the changing climate. This was justified by the temporal variation of Land Surface Temperature (LST) assessments over these six cleared-up areas. Therefore, the World Heritage rainforest is threatened due to human activities and under the changing climate change. Hence, the conservation of the Sinharaja Rainforest would be challenging in the future.

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Weeds are one of the biggest problems that modern agriculture is facing worldwide due to the impact they have on crop productivity. Thus, there is a necessity to develop crop varieties with herbicide resistance or tolerance, which would provide cost-effective tools for helping farmers control weeds in the field. Development of herbicide-tolerant crops was initially based on conventional plant breeding and transgenic technology. In recent years, the emerging genome technologies, including ZFNs (zinc-finger nucleases), TALENs (transcription activator-like effector nucleases), and CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat), provide us a new way for crop improvement through precise manipulation of endogenous genes in the plant genomes. Among these, CRISPR technologies, including nuclease systems, base editors, and prime editors, are really promising in creating novel crop germplasms with herbicide tolerance as they are simple, easy to use, and highly efficient. In this review, we briefly summarize the latest development and breakthroughs of CRISPR technologies in creating herbicide-tolerant crops. Finally, we discuss the future applications of CRISPR technologies in developing herbicide-tolerant crops.

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At request from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA), VKM has identified food groups and food items consumed by the Norwegian population that are relevant for monitoring regarding content of one or more undesirable chemical substances (Figure 1). Undesirable chemical substances were defined as chemical substances in food that may constitute a potential health risk. VKM has created a knowledge base (an Excel file) as a tool for planning and prioritising monitoring of foods and undesirable chemical substances. The substance groups included in the knowledge base are flavourings, food additives, metals and metalloids, natural toxins, persistent organic pollutants, process-induced contaminants, substances in food contact materials, substances in food supplements, and trace elements. More than 40 different substances were included. Food items that are known contributors to exposure to an undesirable chemical substance were identified from quantitative and qualitative data, mainly from EFSA opinions and VKM risk assessments. Four national dietary surveys were used for identification of food items and food groups habitually eaten by the Norwegian population. The habitual diet was used to identify potential unknown sources of the substances. The information on known and unknown sources was compiled in a knowledge base comprised of 456 “undesirable chemical substance/food item” pairs that were identified to be relevant for monitoring. For each “undesirable chemical substance/food item” pair, the following information are included in the knowledge base: - Food category - Contribution to total exposure, including degree of contribution - Origin of occurrence data, and availability of Norwegian occurrence data - Remarks regarding sampling - Sources of the undesirable chemical substances in food - Risk (a combined score for hazard and exposure) Sampling of food is a complex area. Careful planning of the sampling strategy is needed and several parameters should be taken into consideration, depending on the properties of the chemical substance and the food item. Generic guidelines on sampling strategy, including sample number and frequency, have been provided in the report. Key words: VKM, health risk, monitoring, Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment, Norwegian Food Safety Authority, undesirable chemical substance.

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Key words: VKM, risk assessment, Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment, Norwegian Environment Agency, potential toxic elements (PTEs), fertiliser, soil improver, fertiliser products, growing media, circular economy, circulation of organic fertilisers, arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium Cr(tot) (Cr(III) and Cr(VI)), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni), zinc (Zn). Background and purpose of the report The potentially toxic elements (PTE) arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium Cr(tot) (Cr(III) and Cr(VI)), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni) and zinc (Zn) occur as ingredients or contaminants in many fertilisers, soil improvers, engineered soil and growing media. Application of these fertiliser products might represent a risk towards the environment, farm animals and humans, particularly when applied annually over several years. The present risk assessment evaluates the application of selected fertilisers according to certain scenarios for representative Norwegian agricultural areas, from Troms in the North to Ås in Southeastern and Time in Southwestern Norway, with different soil properties, precipitation and PTE concentration in present agricultural soil. There is an increasing trend to produce locally (e.g. in urban farming) and home-grown vegetables that are cultivated in engineered soil and growth media. The maximum levels (MLs) set for PTEs in different organic fertilisers, engineered soil and growing media for use in urban farming, home growing and the cultivation of vegetables and garden fruits, and a set of MLs also for application in agricultural cultivation of crops, have been evaluated. Environmental fate processes and the transfer of PTEs have been modelled and the environmental risks for terrestrial and aquatic organisms, including from secondary poisoning have been estimated. Potential risks to humans and farmed animals by increased exposure to PTEs from, respectively, agriculturally produced crops, vegetables cultivated at home and urban farming or forage and grazing have been evaluated. The recycling of nutrients is urgently needed to achieve circular economy, but the derived sustainable products have to be safe, which requires the introduction of and adherence to science-based maximum levels of unwanted substances (e.g. pollutants). This assessment evaluates consequences of the application of different fertiliser products: mineral P fertilisers, manure from cattle, pig, poultry and horse, fish sludge, digestates and sewage sludge - in order to identify PTE sources with potential environmental, animal and human health risks, and to evaluate the appropriateness of the current MLs regarding different applications of organic-based fertilisers, engineered soil and growing media at present, and in a 100-year perspective. Approach and methods applied The approach for environmental and health risk assessments builds on previous work performed for hazardous substances in soil (e.g. VKM 2019, VKM 2014, VKM, 2009, Six and Smolders, 2014). Concentrations of PTEs in soil over time were calculated using a mass balance model, which considers the input by atmospheric deposition, use of fertilisers and soil improvers, as well as loss by leaching, run-off and plant uptake. The resulting first-order differential equation was solved analytically and implemented into Excel®. Run-off and loss by leaching were estimated from data on precipitation, infiltrating fraction and run-off fraction of the water under consideration of the distribution coefficient Kd for the concentration ratio of bulk soil-to-water. This Kd value takes aging sufficiently into account and is thus more realistic than those derived from batch tests. The Kd was estimated separately for each region using established regression equations, with soil pH, organic matter content and clay content as predictors. ...........

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An intensive planting of ‘Celina’ pears on quince ‘Adams’ rootstock was established in May 2015 at NIBIO Ullensvang, western Norway. Five training systems (super spindles, trees with two leaders parallel to the row directions, slender spindles, and V-hedges of trees with 2 or with 4 leaders) were evaluated. Row distance was 3.5 m, and planting distance was 1.0 m except for super spindle trees and V-hedge with two leaders (0.5 m). Cultivars ‘Anna’ and ‘Fritjof’, used as pollinizers, were evenly distributed in the orchard and had good overlapping in flowering time. To get a faster establishment, the trees were headed back in winter 2016 when the formation of the different training systems was started. The first fruits were harvested in 2018. Due to unfavorable pollination conditions, fruit set in 2018 was very low. Average yields varied between 2.7 t ha‑1 for the super spindle trees to 10 t ha‑1 for the spindle trees. As a result of ample flowering and optimum pollination conditions, fruit set in 2019 was excellent, and average yields varied between 17 t ha‑1 for the 2-leader trees planted parallel to the row direction to 47 t ha‑1 for the 2-leader V-hedge trees. Fruit size was inversely related to fruit number per tree. Fruit weight depended on crop load per canopy volume and varied between 130 g for the two smallest trees (super spindles and 2-leader V-hedge system) and 180 g for the 2-leader trees planted parallel to the row direction. Soluble solid contents were high (11% on average), with no differences between training systems. After three cropping years, the spindle trees and V-hedge with 4 leaders per tree were the most productive systems per tree. However, the super spindle and 2-leader V-hedge system with twice the number of trees were the most productive systems per hectare.

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Peatlands have acted as net CO2 sinks over millennia, exerting a global climate cooling effect. Rapid warming at northern latitudes, where peatlands are abundant, can disturb their CO2 sink function. Here we show that sensitivity of peatland net CO2 exchange to warming changes in sign and magnitude across seasons, resulting in complex net CO2 sink responses. We use multiannual net CO2 exchange observations from 20 northern peatlands to show that warmer early summers are linked to increased net CO2 uptake, while warmer late summers lead to decreased net CO2 uptake. Thus, net CO2 sinks of peatlands in regions experiencing early summer warming, such as central Siberia, are more likely to persist under warmer climate conditions than are those in other regions. Our results will be useful to improve the design of future warming experiments and to better interpret large-scale trends in peatland net CO2 uptake over the coming few decades.

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Novel species of fungi described in this study include those from various countries as follows: Argentina, Colletotrichum araujiae on leaves, stems and fruits of Araujia hortorum. Australia, Agaricus pateritonsus on soil, Curvularia fraserae on dying leaf of Bothriochloa insculpta, Curvularia millisiae from yellowing leaf tips of Cyperus aromaticus, Marasmius brunneolorobustus on well-rotted wood, Nigrospora cooperae from necrotic leaf of Heteropogon contortus, Penicillium tealii from the body of a dead spider, Pseudocercospora robertsiorum from leaf spots of Senna tora, Talaromyces atkinsoniae from gills of Marasmius crinis-equi and Zasmidium pearceae from leaf spots of Smilax glyciphylla. Brazil, Preussia bezerrensis fromair. Chile, Paraconiothyrium kelleni from the rhizosphere of Fragaria chiloensis subsp. chiloensis f. chiloensis. Finland, Inocybe udicola onsoilinmixedforest with Betula pendula, Populus tremula, Picea abies and Alnus incana. France, Myrmecridium normannianum on dead culm of unidentified Poaceae. Germany, Vexillomyces fraxinicola from symptomless stem wood of Fraxinus excelsior. India, Diaporthe limoniae on infected fruit of Limonia acidissima, Didymella naikii on leaves of Cajanus cajan, and Fulvifomes mangroviensis on basal trunk of Aegiceras corniculatum. Indonesia, Penicillium ezekielii from Zea mays kernels. Namibia, Neocamarosporium calicoremae and Neocladosporium calicoremae on stems of Calicorema capitata, and Pleiochaeta adenolobi on symptomatic leaves of Adenolobus pechuelii. Netherlands, Chalara pteridii on stems of Pteridium aquilinum, Neomackenziella juncicola (incl. Neomackenziella gen. nov.)and Sporidesmiella junci from dead culms of Juncus effusus. Pakistan, Inocybe longistipitata on soil in a Quercus forest. Poland, Phytophthora viadrina from rhizosphere soil of Quercus robur, and Septoria krystynae on leaf spots of Viscum album. Portugal (Azores), Acrogenospora stellata on dead wood or bark. South Africa, Phyllactinia greyiae on leaves of Greyia sutherlandii and Punctelia anae on bark of Vachellia karroo. Spain, Anteaglonium lusitanicum on decaying wood of Prunus lusitanica subsp. lusitanica, Hawksworthiomyces riparius from fluvial sediments, Lophiostoma carabassense endophytic in roots of Limbarda crithmoides, and Tuber mohedanoi from calcareussoils. Spain (Canary Islands), Mycena laurisilvae on stumps and woody debris. Sweden, Elaphomyces geminus from soil under Quercus robur. Thailand, Lactifluus chiangraiensis on soil under Pinus merkusii, Lactifluus nakhonphanomensis and Xerocomus sisongkhramensis on soil under Dipterocarpus trees. Ukraine, Valsonectria robiniae on dead twigs of Robinia hispida. USA, Spiralomyces americanus (incl. Spiralomyces gen. nov.) from office air. Morphological and culture characteristics are supported by DNA barcodes.

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Climate-smart sustainable management of agricultural soil is critical to improve soil health, enhance food and water security, contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity preservation, and improve human health and wellbeing. The European Joint Programme for Soil (EJP SOIL) started in 2020 with the aim to significantly improve soil management knowledge and create a sustainable and integrated European soil research system. EJP SOIL involves more than 350 scientists across 24 Countries and has been addressing multiple aspects associated with soil management across different European agroecosystems. This study summarizes the key findings of stakeholder consultations conducted at the national level across 20 countries with the aim to identify important barriers and challenges currently affecting soil knowledge but also assess opportunities to overcome these obstacles. Our findings demonstrate that there is significant room for improvement in terms of knowledge production, dissemination and adoption. Among the most important barriers identified by consulted stakeholders are technical, political, social and economic obstacles, which strongly limit the development and full exploitation of the outcomes of soil research. The main soil challenge across consulted member states remains to improve soil organic matter and peat soil conservation while soil water storage capacity is a key challenge in Southern Europe. Findings from this study clearly suggest that going forward climate-smart sustainable soil management will benefit from (1) increases in research funding, (2) the maintenance and valorisation of long-term (field) experiments, (3) the creation of knowledge sharing networks and interlinked national and European infrastructures, and (4) the development of regionally-tailored soil management strategies. All the above-mentioned interventions can contribute to the creation of healthy, resilient and sustainable soil ecosystems across Europe.

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Motorsport is known for its high tire wear due to speed, cornering, and high acceleration/deceleration activities. However, studies on the generation of microplastics from racetracks are rare. This study aimed at quantifying microplastics concentrations in topsoil (0–5 cm) along a racetrack. The results showed that rubber materials (RM) and tire reinforcement microplastics (TRMP) were deposited in the soil along the racetrack. Concentrations of the two microplastics were affected by the distance from the edge of the racetrack (highest concentrations within 20 cm from the track) and track alignment (highest concentrations at the start/finish area). In addition, a weak correlation was observed between the concentrations of the two microplastics, suggesting the effect of track alignment on the type of microplastics abraded. The results also showed that coarser microplastics (1000–5000 μm) dominate the size distribution of microplastics along a racetrack. The findings of this study may provide racetrack managers with basic information for designing microplastic-controlling solutions. While additional studies are required to map environmental effects and policy measures, our initial results suggest that motorsport is of concern in terms of microplastics release to the environment.

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Global warming is predicted to change the growth conditions for plants and crops in regions at high latitudes (>60° N), including the Arctic. This will be accompanied by alterations in the composition of natural plant and pest communities, as herbivorous arthropods will invade these regions as well. Interactions between previously non-overlapping species may occur and cause new challenges to herbivore attack. However, plants growing at high latitudes experience less herbivory compared to plants grown at lower latitudes. We hypothesize that this finding is due to a gradient of constitutive chemical defense towards the Northern regions. We further hypothesize that higher level of defensive compounds is mediated by higher level of the defense-related phytohormone jasmonate. Because its biosynthesis is light dependent, Arctic summer day light conditions can promote jasmonate accumulation and, hence, downstream physiological responses. A pilot study with bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) plants grown under different light regimes supports the hypothesis.

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Climate change results in longer growing season, benefitting forage crop production in northern Norway. Wild goose populations take advantage of the increased access to this high-quality feed. European goose populations are increasing, triggering conflicts and economical losses for farmers. A warmer climate may open for higher yielding seed mixtures, with better tolerance against goose grazing. We tested eight different seed mixtures by adding five forage species in various combinations to a traditional, commercial seed mixture in a randomized block design, three replicates. Goose grazing was simulated by weekly cutting small plots (0.25 m2) fixed within 10.5 m2 larger plots. Cumulated biomass in the weekly cut small plots was compared to total yields from the large plots, harvested twice according to normal practice. No significant differences in biomass accumulation between seed mixtures of the weekly cut plots were identified, possibly due to large variation between replicates, harvest years and cutting regime. However, results indicate that several of the new mixtures containing Dactylis glomerata are higher yielding and tolerate intensified cutting better than the traditional mixtures. This suggests that traditional, commercial seed mixtures are not the best for grasslands subjected to intensive geese grazing. goose grazing, Northern Norway, Dactylis glomerata, field study, simulated grazing

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The impact of weather, soil and management on yield and nutritive value of grassland can be evaluated using process-based simulation models. These models may be calibrated using data on biomass, leaf area and other characteristics acquired from drones, hand-held devices, and satellites. The objective of this study was to compare the prediction accuracy of the BASGRA model calibrated with grassland data from Northern Norway obtained in 2016 and 2017. The data were acquired either from: (1) ground registrations; or (2) a hand-held spectrometer and satellites. Data on crude protein and fibre content from NIRS analyses were used in both calibrations. Daily air temperature, precipitation, relative air humidity, wind speed and solar radiation that were input to the BASGRA simulations were taken from The Norwegian Meteorological Institute and The Agrometeorology Norway network. Information about soil texture, cutting regime and N fertilization was obtained from farmers and advisers. The differences between simulated and observed biomass, and crude protein and fibre content were similar after the two calibrations. Observed crude protein and fibre content were simulated with a higher accuracy than biomass for both types of calibration data.

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In Norway, the effect of drainage on grassland yields has received little attention for decades. Low levels of drainage may be a reason for low grassland production. Therefore, a drainage experiment was established in a western Norwegian ley, on a sandy silt soil with a high capacity for water storage. The plots had six- and twelve-metres drain spacing, as well as an undrained treatment. For each drainage treatment there were two or three cuts per year, and fertilization of 190 or 290 kg N yr-1 ha-1. Drainage intensity gave a small significant increase in yield. N loss in drainage water increased with drainage intensity. The small herbage yield increase is unlikely by itself to justify drainage, but the drainage installation might still be worthwhile due to increased N efficiency and a more manageable risk of compaction. Precise quantification of the hydrological effects is hard to make due to the inherent soil variability.

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Several studies conclude that permanent and temporary swards are equally productive, given equal management. In Norway, one experimental field trial has been maintained since 1974 (Fureneset; 61°18’N, 5°4’E). This ongoing experiment includes long-term/permanent ley (no-tillage over 25 and 45 years) next to temporary leys reseeded regularly. The objective of the study was to test reseeding/ renovation methods that may maintain long-term forage productivity. We hypothesized that sod seeding after chemical fallowing improves grassland productivity equally to that from reseeding after ploughing. In 2017, the frequently ploughed treatments, and half of the 25-year-old sward, were renewed by ploughing and reseeding with grass-clover seed mixtures. The second half of the 25-year-old sward was chemically fallowed and sod-seeded. The treatments included three different fertilizer strategies: mineral fertilizer (210 N kg ha-1) and cattle slurry in combination with mineral fertilizer (210 and 340 kg total-N kg ha-1). On average for four production years (2018-2021) the dry matter yield (DMY) of permanent sod-seeded 25-year-old ley was about 11 t ha-1, and these yields were equal to swards renewed by ploughing and reseeding.

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1. Little attention has been paid to phylogenetic diversity during restoration initiatives. Because plant phylogenetic distance can be a surrogate for functional diversity, its consideration could foster the restoration of degraded areas. 2. This study investigates the influence of species richness and phylogenetic relatedness during early restoration of a riparian forest located between the Atlantic Forest and semi-arid ecosystems in NE Brazil. The restoration experiment was established along a perennial stream in Monte Alegre, RN, investigating the significance of species richness and phylogenetic diversity for sapling survival and growth of the restored communities. 3. We used phylogenetic information on 47 tree species naturally occurring at the study site. The resulting phylogenetic tree had a basal node with three major clades. To implement the experiment, three species from each clade were randomly selected, resulting in nine species (from five families). We defined five levels of diversity: (i) no planting, (ii) monoculture, (iii) three phylogenetically related species (same clade), (iv) three phylogenetically distant species (different clades) and (v) nine species. The experiment consisted of 96 (12 m × 10 m) plots established along the two margins of the stream. Overall, 1656 saplings (20–50 cm) were planted in September 2015 (184 per species). We tested whether the survival and growth of saplings are influenced by the number of species planted and phylogenetic distance among them. 4. We assessed plant mortality and growth during two consecutive years (2016 and 2017). Survival was lower but relative growth was higher for plants near the stream. After controlling for differences in initial size, plots with phylogenetically distant species produced significantly taller plants, but only when occurring near the stream. Diversity treatments did not influence plant survival, while initial size determined plant survival and growth. 5. Our findings show that greater phylogenetic distance led to increased plant growth, probably, because of the presence of functionally divergent species that use resources in a complementary way. Therefore, plant phylogenetic relatedness should be considered during the design of restored communities to improve the outcomes of future restoration initiatives.

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Cattle production is constantly threatened by diseases like East Coast fever, also known as theileriosis, caused by the protozoan parasite Theileria parva which is transmitted by ticks such as the brown ear tick, Rhipicephalus appendiculatus. To reduce the extensive use of chemical acaricides, fungal-based microbial control agents such as Metarhizium anisopliae have been tested and show promising results against R. appendiculatus both in field and in semi-field experiments in Africa. However, no known endeavors to link the spatial distribution of R. appendiculatus to climatic variables important for the successful application of M. anisopliae in selected East African countries exists. This work therefore aims to improve the successful application of M. anisopliae against R. appendiculatus by designing a temperature-dependent model for the efficacy of M. anisopliae against three developmental stages (larvae, nymphs, adults) of R. appendiculatus. Afterward a spatial prediction of potential areas where this entomopathogenic fungus might cause a significant epizootic in R. appendiculatus population in three selected countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda) in Eastern Africa were generated. This can help to determine whether the temperature and rainfall at a local or regional scale might give good conditions for application of M. anisopliae and successful microbial control of R. appendiculatus.

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Despite the availability of improved antiviral therapies, infection with Hepatitis B virus (HBV) remains a3 significant health issue, as a curable treatment is yet to be discovered. Current HBV vaccines relaying on the efficient expression of the small (S) envelope protein in yeast and the implementation of mass vaccination programs have clearly contributed to containment of the disease. However, the lack of an efficient immune response in up to 10% of vaccinated adults, the controversies regarding the seroprotection persistence in vaccine responders and the emergence of vaccine escape virus mutations urge for the development of better HBV immunogens. Due to the critical role played by the preS1 domain of the large (L) envelope protein in HBV infection and its ability to trigger virus neutralizing antibodies, including this protein in novel vaccine formulations has been considered a promising strategy to overcome the limitations of S only-based vaccines. In this work we aimed to combine relevant L and S epitopes in chimeric antigens, by inserting preS1 sequences within the external antigenic loop of S, followed by production in mammalian cells and detailed analysis of their antigenic and immunogenic properties. Of the newly designed antigens, the S/preS116–42 protein assembled in subviral particles (SVP) showed the highest expression and secretion levels, therefore, it was selected for further studies in vivo. Analysis of the immune response induced in mice vaccinated with S/preS116–42- and S-SVPs, respectively, demonstrated enhanced immunogenicity of the former and its ability to activate both humoral and cellular immune responses. This combined activation resulted in production of neutralizing antibodies against both wild-type and vaccine-escape HBV variants. Our results validate the design of chimeric HBV antigens and promote the novel S/preS1 protein as a potential vaccine candidate for administration in poor-responders to current HBV vaccines.

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1. In community ecology, unconstrained ordination can be used to indirectly explore drivers of community composition, while constrained ordination can be used to directly relate predictors to an ecological community. However, existing constrained ordination methods do not explicitly account for community composition that cannot be explained by the predictors, so that they have the potential to misrepresent community composition if not all predictors are available in the data. 2. We propose and develop a set of new methods for ordination and joint species distribution modelling (JSDM) as part of the generalized linear latent variable model (GLLVM) framework, that incorporate predictors directly into an ordination. This includes a new ordination method that we refer to as concurrent ordination, as it simultaneously constructs unconstrained and constrained latent variables. Both unmeasured residual covariation and predictors are incorporated into the ordination by simultaneously imposing reduced rank structures on the residual covariance matrix and on fixed-effects. 3. We evaluate the method with a simulation study, and show that the proposed developments outperform canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) for Poisson and Bernoulli responses, and perform similar to redundancy analysis (RDA) for normally distributed responses, the two most popular methods for constrained ordination in community ecology. Two examples with real data further demonstrate the benefits of concurrent ordination, and the need to account for residual covariation in the analysis of multivariate data. 4. This article contextualizes the role of constrained ordination in the GLLVM and JSDM frameworks, while developing a new ordination method that incorporates the best of unconstrained and constrained ordination, and which overcomes some of the deficiencies of existing classical ordination methods.

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Frequent occurrences of high levels of Fusarium mycotoxins have been recorded in Norwegian oat grain. To elucidate the influence of tillage operations on the development of Fusarium and mycotoxins in oat grain, we conducted tillage trials with continuous oats at two locations in southeast Norway. We have previously presented the content of Fusarium DNA detected in straw residues and air samples from these fields. Grain harvested from ploughed plots had lower levels of Fusarium langsethiae DNA and HT-2 and T-2 toxins (HT2 + T2) compared to grain from harrowed plots. Our results indicate that the risk of F. langsethiae and HT2 + T2 contamination of oats is reduced with increasing tillage intensity. No distinct influence of tillage on the DNA concentration of Fusarium graminearum and Fusarium avenaceum in the harvested grain was observed. In contrast to F. graminearum and F. avenaceum, only limited contents of F. langsethiae DNA were observed in straw residues and air samples. Still, considerable concentrations of F. langsethiae DNA and HT2 + T2 were recorded in oat grain harvested from these fields. We speculate that the life cycle of F. langsethiae differs from those of F. graminearum and F. avenaceum with regard to survival, inoculum production and dispersal.

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Purpose: Due to environmental concerns, there is a demand to reduce the use of peat as a growing medium for horticultural crops. Simultaneously, there is an interest to recycle organic waste materials in the form of compost. This study aimed to document effects on growth, yield, and fruit quality of tomato plants when cultivated in a sewage digestate-based compost in a subirrigation container system. Materials and methods: The compost used in this experiment consisted of 30% hygienised sewage digestate from biogas extraction and 70% garden waste. The treatments were 100% compost, a peat mix and mixtures of the two in 25/75, 50/50 and 75/25 ratios. Results and conclusion: Considering the contrast in chemical and physical properties of the treatments, variations in growth, yield and quality were expected. The plants differed in leaf area and number of leaves, but there were no differences in yield or quality of the tomato fruits. It is assumed that this is in great part due to the remediating effects of subirrigation with an ideal nutrient solution, and the use of pre-established plants. Further research should focus on benefits of this cultivation system for use in sustainable horticulture in combination with recycled organic waste.

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Tilstanden hoderisting hos hest (Equine headshaking syndrome) har vært kjent lenge, men har uklar etiologi. Vi rekrutterte eiere av hester med hoderisting til å delta i en internettbasert undersøkelse, der informasjon om hoderisting og en lenke til selve spørreskjemaet ble spredt i relevante blader og nettsider. De 333 svarene gir informasjon om hesten, dens oppstalling og bruk, og om hvordan hoderistingen arter seg. Eierne ble spurt om sine formeninger om årsaker, om de hadde gjort tiltak, og i så fall effekt av disse. Materialet omfatter hester av ulike raser og brukstyper, omtrent like mange hopper og vallaker, og nesten 80 % var eldre enn fem år. Mer enn én av tre hester ble holdt i enkeltvis både inne og ute. Vel halvparten oppga at hoderistingen forekommer minst én gang daglig, og 61,4 % sa at det skjer under bruk av hesten. Mer enn hver femte (20,7 %) hest hadde hoderisting grad 3 eller høyere, som innebærer at bruken av hesten er ubehagelig og at den er vanskelig å kontrollere. Rundt 30 % oppga hoderisting av alvorlighetsgrad 0, som betyr at hoderistingen ikke oppstår under bruk og heller ikke påvirker ride- og kjørbarhet. Flertallet av eierne var usikre på årsaker og utløsende faktorer, mens andre mente at insekter, værforhold, hodelag, frustrasjon og utålmodighet kunne utløse hoderisting. Mange hadde forsøkt ulike tiltak og behandlinger, med varierende effekt. Denne studien understøtter at hoderisting trolig er et felles symptom for flere underliggende årsaker. Siden smerte kan være involvert, bør tilstanden tas alvorlig av hensyn til dyrevelferden.

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There is an increasing need in the aquaculture industry for more sustainable and functional feed concepts for marine finfish. This study provides results for the effect of alternative feed formulations on health status, welfare parameters, sensory analysis, and growth performance in European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) over an 83-day feeding trial. Fish were fed twice a day with five experimental diets. A control diet (control) and four different alternative feed concepts rich in processed animal proteins (PAP), other alternative ingredients (NOPAP), and a positive (NOPAP+) and negative (PAP−) formulation were tested. All alternative formulations contained hydrolysates from aquaculture by-products and macroalgae. The results indicate that the alternative feed concepts are more sustainable alternatives compared with the commercial diet. Equally interesting, the alternative formulations did not affect the sensory analysis of the fillet quality or the animal welfare. These are increasingly important factors in aquaculture products and, accordingly, also in the formulation of new feeds. Feed concepts that are not only more sustainable in their production, have shorter transportation distances, recycle the resources (usage of by-products), and have no adverse effect on growth or welfare parameters are highly needed. Therefore, the experimental diets tested in this study are a win-win concept for future seabass aquaculture production.

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Purpose To explore the structures and processes within agricultural advisory organisations that may enhance absorptive capacity (AC) and determine how organisations develop their AC. Design/methodology/approach A qualitative explorative case study of advisory services in Norway, which are structured as farmer cooperatives. Interviews, document analysis, and internet information are applied. Findings Strong social mechanisms are needed to realise the potential AC in an organisation. Advisory organisations with incorporated research and development (R&D) can translate findings from both their own research projects and external sources, which increases their absorptive capacity and boosts service innovation. Further, systematic emphasis on continuous learning strengthens AC, as do networking and internal communications. Practical implications By improving the incorporation of R&D, continuous learning and networking, advisory service organisations can benefit from the Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System (AKIS). Ultimately farmers can receive more updated and relevant services for their farms. Theoretical implications Incorporation of R&D, continuous learning and networking are significant social integration mechanisms that can improve a firm’s AC. Originality/value Previous studies on AC have shown that it is important for innovation. This paper sheds additional light on how AC can be improved.

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Vaccinium berries are regarded as “superfoods” owing to their high concentrations of anthocyanins, flavonoid metabolites that provide pigmentation and positively affect human health. Anthocyanin localization differs between the fruit of cultivated highbush blueberry (V. corymbosum) and wild bilberry (V. myrtillus), with the latter having deep red flesh coloration. Analysis of comparative transcriptomics across a developmental series of blueberry and bilberry fruit skin and flesh identified candidate anthocyanin regulators responsible for this distinction. This included multiple activator and repressor transcription factors (TFs) that correlated strongly with anthocyanin production and had minimal expression in blueberry (non-pigmented) flesh. R2R3 MYB TFs appeared key to the presence and absence of anthocyanin-based pigmentation; MYBA1 and MYBPA1.1 co-activated the pathway while MYBC2.1 repressed it. Transient overexpression of MYBA1 in Nicotiana benthamiana strongly induced anthocyanins, but this was substantially reduced when co-infiltrated with MYBC2.1. Co-infiltration of MYBC2.1 with MYBA1 also reduced activation of DFR and UFGT, key anthocyanin biosynthesis genes, in promoter activation studies. We demonstrated that these TFs operate within a regulatory hierarchy where MYBA1 activated the promoters of MYBC2.1 and bHLH2. Stable overexpression of VcMYBA1 in blueberry elevated anthocyanin content in transgenic plants, indicating that MYBA1 is sufficient to upregulate the TF module and activate the pathway. Our findings identify TF activators and repressors that are hierarchically regulated by SG6 MYBA1, and fine-tune anthocyanin production in Vaccinium. The lack of this TF module in blueberry flesh results in an absence of anthocyanins.

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Biosynthesis of phytochemicals in leaves of Brassica can be initiated by abiotic factors. The aim of the study was to investigate elicitor treatments to add value to waste of cabbage. A leaf waste fraction from industrial trimming of head cabbage was exposed to UV radiation (250–400 nm, 59 and 99 kJ∙m−2, respectively), photosynthetic active radiation (PAR, 400–700 nm, 497 kJ∙m−2), and ultrasound in water bath (35 kHz, at 15, 30 and 61 kJ∙l−1 water), in order to improve nutraceutical concentration. UV was more effective than PAR to increase the level of flavonols (2 to 3-fold higher) and hydroxycinnamate monosaccharides (1 to 10-fold higher). PAR was three times as effective as UV to increase anthocyanins. Interaction of PAR + UV increased antioxidant activity (30%), the content of five phenolics (1.4 to 10-fold higher), and hydroxycinnamic monosaccharides (compared with PAR or UV alone). Indoles were reduced (40–52%) by UV, but the other glucosinolates (GLS) were unaffected. Ultrasound did not influence any parameters. The results are important for white cabbage by-products by demonstrating that UV + PAR can be successfully used as an effectual tool to increase important phenolics and antioxidant activity of waste fraction leaves without an adverse effect on the main GLS.

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Light spectral quality is known to affect flavonoid biosynthesis during fruit ripening. However, the response of fruits to different light conditions, when ripening autonomously from the parent plant (detached), has been less explored. In this study, we analyzed the effect of light quality on detached and naturally ripening (attached) non-climacteric wild bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) fruits accumulating high amounts of anthocyanins and flavonols. Our results indicated contrasting responses for the accumulation of phenolic compounds in the berries in response to red and blue light treatments. For detached berries, supplemental blue light resulted in the highest accumulation of anthocyanins, while naturally ripening berries had elevated accumulation under supplemental red light treatment. Both red and blue supplemental light increased the expression levels of all the major structural genes of the flavonoid pathway during ripening. Notably, the key regulatory gene of anthocyanin biosynthesis, VmMYBA1, was found to express fivefold higher under blue light treatment in the detached berries compared to the control. The red light treatment of naturally ripening berries selectively increased the delphinidin branch of anthocyanins, whereas in detached berries, blue light increased other anthocyanin classes along with delphinidins. In addition, red and far-red light had a positive influence on the accumulation of flavonols, especially quercetin and myricetin glycoside derivatives, in both ripening conditions. Our results of differential light effects on attached and detached berries, which lacks signaling from the mother plant, provide new insights in understanding the light-mediated regulatory mechanisms in non-climacteric fruit ripening.

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The genus Ceratocystiopsis (Ophiostomatales, Ascomycota) includes 21 species, which can be found mainly in association with bark beetles in the Northern Hemisphere. A survey of Ceratocystiopsis species associated with bark beetles infesting Picea abies and Pinus sylvestris in Norway yielded 126 isolates, representing Ceratocystiopsis neglecta and Ceratocystiopsis rollhanseniana, and four species described herein as Ceratocystiopsis chalcographii, Ceratocystiopsis debeeria, Ceratocystiopsis norroenii and Ceratocystiopsis troendelagii. The new taxa were morphologically characterised and phylogenetically analysed on the basis of sequence data of multiple loci (ITS, LSU, beta-tubulin (TUB2), calmodulin (CAL) and translation elongation factor 1-alpha (TEF1) genes). Ceratocystiopsis norroenii and C. rollhanseniana were the most frequently isolated species, and the latter species had the wider vector range.

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1. Spatial resources accessible for the derivation of biodiversity indicators of the class ecosystem structure are sparse and disparate, and their integration into computer algorithms for biodiversity monitoring remains problematic. We describe ecochange as an R-package that integrates spatial analyses with a monitoring workflow for computing routines necessary for biodiversity monitoring. 2. The ecochange comprises three modules for data integration, statistical analysis and graphics. The first module currently downloads and integrates diverse remote sensing products belonging to the essential biodiversity class of structure. The module for statistical analysis calculates RasterStack ecosystem-change representations across areas of interest; this module also allows focusing on species habitats while deriving changes in a variety of indicators, including ecosystem areas, conditional entropy and fractal dimension indices. The graphics module produces level and bar plots that ease the development of indicator reports. 3. Its functionality is described with an example workflow to calculate ecosystem-class areas and conditional entropy across an area of interest contained in the package documentation. 4. We conclude that ecochange features procedures necessary to derive ecosystem structure indicators integrating the retrieval of spatially explicit data with the use of workflows to calculate/visualize biodiversity indicators at the national/regional scales.

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Giant panda could have bamboo as their exclusive diet for about 2 million years because of the contribution of numerous enzymes produced by their gut bacteria, for instance laccases. Laccases are blue multi-copper oxidases that catalyze the oxidation of a broad spectrum of phenolic and aromatic compounds with water as the only byproduct. As a “green enzyme,” laccases have potential in industrial applications, for example, when dealing with degradation of recalcitrant biopolymers, such as lignin. In the current study, a bacterial laccase, Lac51, originating from Pseudomonas putida and identified in the gut microbiome of the giant panda’s gut was transiently expressed in the non-food plant Nicotiana benthamiana and characterized. Our results show that recombinant Lac51 exhibits bacterial laccase properties, with optimal pH and temperature at 7–8 and 40°C, respectively, when using syringaldazine as substrate. Moreover, we demonstrate the functional capability of the plant expressed Lac51 to oxidize lignin using selected lignin monomers that serve as substrates of Lac51. In summary, our study demonstrates the potential of green and non-food plants as a viable enzyme production platform for bacterial laccases. This result enriches our understanding of plant-made enzymes, as, to our knowledge, Lac51 is the first functional recombinant laccase produced in plants.

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Tree diameter increment (ΔDBH) and total tree height increment (ΔHT) are key components of a forest growth and yield model. A problem in complex, multi-species forests is that individual tree attributes such as ΔDBH and ΔHT need to be characterized for a large number of distinct woody species of highly varying levels of occurrence. Based on more than 2.5 million ΔDBH observations and over 1 million ΔHT records from up to 60 tree species and genera, respectively, this study aimed to improve existing ΔDBH and ΔHT equations of the Acadian Variant of the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS-ACD) using a revised method that utilize tree species as a random effect. Our study clearly highlighted the efficiency and flexibility of this method for predicting ΔDBH and ΔHT. However, results also highlighted shortcomings of this approach, e.g., reversal of plausible parameter signs as a result of combining fixed and random effects parameter estimates after extending the random effect structure by incorporating North American ecoregions. Despite these potential shortcomings, the newly developed ΔDBH and ΔHT equations outperformed the ones currently used in FVS-ACD by reducing prediction bias quantified as mean absolute bias and root mean square error by at least 11% for an independent dataset and up to 41% for the model development dataset. Using the revised ΔDBH and ΔHT estimates, greater prediction accuracy in individual tree aboveground live carbon mass estimation was also found in general but performance varied with dataset and accuracy metric examined. Overall, this analysis highlights the importance and challenges of developing robust ΔDBH and ΔHT equations across broad regions dominated by mixed-species, managed forests.

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Clarireedia spp., Fusarium culmorum, and Microdochium nivale are destructive and widespread fungal pathogens causing turfgrass disease. Chemical control is a key tool for managing these diseases on golf greens but are most effective when used in a manner that reduces overall inputs, maximizes fungicide efficacy, and minimizes the risk of fungicide resistance. In this study, sensitivity to eight commonly used fungicides was tested in 13 isolates of Clarireedia spp., F. culmorum, and M. nivale via in vitro toxicity assays. Fungicide sensitivity varied significantly among the three species, with isolates of F. culmorum showing the least sensitivity. The sensitivity of M. nivale to all tested fungicides was high (with the exception of tebuconazole), but only four fungicides (Banner Maxx®, Instrata® Elite, Medallion TL, and Switch® 62,5 WG) suppressed the growth of M. nivale completely at a concentration of 1% of the recommended dose. All three fludioxonil-containing fungicides either alone (Medallion TL) or in combination with difeconazole (Instrata® Elite) or cyprodinil (Switch® 62,5 WG) had the same high efficacy against isolates of both M. nivale and Clarireedia spp. On average, the Clarireedia isolates tested in this study showed high sensitivity to the tested fungicides, except for Heritage (azoxystrobin). The observed variation in sensitivity among isolates within the same fungal species to different fungicides needs further investigation, as an analysis of the differences in fungal growth within each fungal group revealed a significant isolate × fungicide interaction (p < .001).

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Sustainable phosphorus use is essential in golf course management to prevent eutrophication and overconsumption. The study aimed to investigate if phosphorus fertilization can be reduced without negative effects on turf quality. We compared two P fertilization recommendations based on soil analyses, one based on the annual nitrogen rate, and a zero-P control. The recommendations were the “minimum level of sustainable nutrition” (MLSN), which aims to keep treatment soil levels above 18 mg P kg–1 dry soil (Mehlich-3); the “sufficiency level of available nutrition” (SLAN), in which the threshold for excluding P fertilization is >54 mg P kg–1 dry soil (Mehlich-3); and “Scandinavian precision fertilization” (SPF), which recommends applying P at 12% of the annual N rate. The treatments were compared via monthly assessments of turf quality and the coverage of sown species and annual bluegrass (Poa annua L.) from 2017 to 2020 on five golf courses from Germany, Sweden, China, Norway, and the Netherlands. MLSN and SPF significantly reduced soil P at all sites compared with SLAN recommendations. Turf quality showed no significant differences. The results from the mixed creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.)–annual bluegrass green showed a 2 to 4% increase in annual bluegrass coverage with P fertilization over the zero-P treatments. The MLSN guideline is recommended for sustainable P fertilization on established greens with low P sorption capacity under diverse climatic and management conditions. The SPF may result in application of excess P to soils with high Mehlich-3 values, as soil analyses are not considered.

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Ifølge Norsk rødliste for arter (Artsdatabanken 2015) er per 1. august 2015 377 karplanter i fastlands-Norge truet. For en sjettedel av disse, hovedsakelig fjellplanter, er klimaendringer nevnt som den viktigste trusselen. Overvåking av forekomst og utbredelse av disse artene og relevante naturtyper er viktig for bevaring og forvaltning av det biologiske mangfoldet. Dette er spesielt viktig i de mest sårbare landskapene, som den alpine og arktiske sonen.

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Viruses are omnipresent, yet the knowledge on drivers of viral prevalence in wild host populations is often limited. Biotic factors, such as sympatric managed host species, as well as abiotic factors, such as climatic variables, are likely to impact viral prevalence. Managed and wild bees, which harbor several multi-host viruses with a mostly fecal–oral between-species transmission route, provide an excellent system with which to test for the impact of biotic and abiotic factors on viral prevalence in wild host populations. Here we show on a continental scale that the prevalence of three broad host viruses: the AKI-complex (Acute bee paralysis virus, Kashmir bee virus and Israeli acute paralysis virus), Deformed wing virus, and Slow bee paralysis virus in wild bee populations (bumble bees and solitary bees) is positively related to viral prevalence of sympatric honey bees as well as being impacted by climatic variables. The former highlights the need for good beekeeping practices, including Varroa destructor management to reduce honey bee viral infection and hive placement. Furthermore, we found that viral prevalence in wild bees is at its lowest at the extreme ends of both temperature and precipitation ranges. Under predicted climate change, the frequency of extremes in precipitation and temperature will continue to increase and may hence impact viral prevalence in wild bee communities.

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I dette kapittelet sammenlikner vi organisatoriske utfordringer knyttet til norsk og svensk forvaltning av dyrevelferd. Norge og Sverige prioriterer begge dyrevelferd, har omfattende dyrevelferdslovgivning på plass og er underlagt de samme EU-forpliktelsene på dyrevelferdsområdet (Sverige som EU-medlem, Norge som del av EØS). I Norge er ansvaret for dyrevelferd plassert i ett statlig tilsyn – Mattilsynet. Dette tilsynet har ansvar for inspeksjoner over hele landet, både i slakterier og hos dyreholdere, og har videre ansvar for å utarbeide og komme med forslag om nytt regelverk. Sverige har en forvaltningstradisjon med større autonomi lagt til fagmyndighetene. Ansvaret for dyrevelferd er fordelt på to sentrale statlige fagmyndigheter – Livsmedelsverket og Jordbruksverket – og på 21 regionale statlige myndigheter (länsstyrelser). I dette kapittelet viser vi hvordan slike forskjeller i organisering kan få konsekvenser for en koordinert og konsistent forvaltning av dyrevelferdslovgivningen.

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Dette kapittelet ser nærmere på hvilke mulige konsekvenser organiseringen av Mattilsynet kan ha for håndtering av dyrevelferdsarbeidet. To begreper står sentralt: helhetlighet og enhetlighet. Helthetlig forvaltning viser til et felles og klart ansvar for tilsyn som kan styrke forvaltningens samlede evne og kapasitet til å ivareta dyrenes velferd. Enhetlig forvaltning viser til både virkemidler som kan fremme lik forståelse og anvendelse av dyrevelferdsregelverket, og virkemidler som kan fremme faglig kalibrering blant de ansatte, dvs. omforent forståelse av faglige kriterier for vurdering av regelbrudd. Kapittelet viser på den ene siden hvordan Mattilsynet er blitt endret i retning av en mer helthetlig og enhetlig forvaltning, og på den andre siden hvordan Mattilsynet fortsatt har utfordringer knyttet til å oppnå lik og koordinert praksis, både innenfor og på tvers av regioner. Samtidig påpekes behovet for å ivareta inspektørenes rom for skjønn. Det finnes ikke toppstyrte svar på alle problemstillinger i tilsynsarbeidet. Hvis dyrevelferdslovens målsettinger skal realiseres, er det også behov for å vurdere den enkelte sak ut fra den spesifikke konteksten den oppstår i.

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Hvilke oppfatninger og holdninger har husdyrprodusenter til dyrevelferd, lovverk og tilsyn? Vi besvarer spørsmålet ved hjelp av data fra kvalitative intervjuer og en omfattende spørreundersøkelse blant norske husdyrprodusenter. Dataene viser at styringssystemet og dyrevelferdslovens formål har gjennomgående støtte i næringen. Å følge lovverket anses i stor grad som en moralsk plikt blant produsentene. Produsentene aksepterer tilsyn og mener Mattilsynet fyller en nødvendig oppgave. De opplever at inspektører flest opptrer på en akseptabel måte. De fleste produsentene har betydelig grad av tillit til Mattilsynet som etat. Samtidig finnes varierende oppfatninger av hva god dyrevelferd er, og negative opplevelser av tilsynet er ikke uvanlige. Tilsynets maktbruk oppleves i en del tilfeller som uforholdsmessig og lite enhetlig. God mellommenneskelig samhandling ved stedlig tilsyn fremstår som en nøkkel til en god relasjon mellom næring og tilsyn. Dataene understøtter argumentet om at veiledning kan spille en viktig rolle i effektiv iverksetting av lovverket.

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Bosetningsmønsteret var tidligere knyttet til forekomst av spesielle ressurser, for eksempel mineraler eller transportknutepunkt. Koblingen til transportknutepunkt er fortsatt viktig, mens koblingen til ressursforekomster er mindre relevant i dag. Tettstedene flyttes imidlertid ikke, og de historiske føringene beholder sin betydning. Felles for de fleste tettsteder var at de hadde god tilgang på jordbruksprodukter fra sine nære omgivelser. Som en følge av dette oppstår det raskt konflikter knyttet til jordbruksareal når tettsteder vokser. Med et begrenset jordbruksareal totalt, og et ønske om å konsentrere befolkningen nær eksisterende tjenester og infrastruktur, oppstår det raskt målkonflikter knyttet til areal. Majoriteten av befolkningen her i landet bor nå i tettsteder, men er det samsvar mellom tettstedenes arealvekst og deres befolkningsvekst? Ved bruk av informasjon om arealbruk, befolkningsutvikling og endring i dette over tid, samt geografiske analyser (GIS), har vi sett nærmere på hvilke tettsteder som vokser i henholdsvis areal og befolkning. Resultatene viser tydelig at det er høy grad av samsvar mellom hvor det er jordbruksareal, og hvor det er bosetning. Vi ser også at flertallet av tettsteder (70 %) vokser i areal. Når det gjelder befolkningsvekst, er bildet sammensatt. Omtrent 25 % av tettstedene har en negativ befolkningsutvikling i den undersøkte perioden. Vi finner at det ikke er en entydig kobling mellom areal- og befolkningsvekst, og diskuterer hvordan dette kan få betydning for forvaltningen av jordbruksareal fremover. I korte trekk ser vi ingen tegn til at jordvernkonflikter vil bli historie innen overskuelig fremtid. Dette mener vi bør føre til en debatt rundt hvordan fremtidig befolknings- og arealvekst skal foregå samtidig som jordvernet blir ivaretatt.

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Parts of the limited agricultural land area in Norway are taken up by buildings, roads, and other permanent changes every year. A method that detects such changes immediately after they have taken place is required in order to monitor the agricultural areas closely. To that end, Sentinel-2 satellite image time series (SITS) acquired during the summer of 2019 were used to detect the agricultural areas taken up by permanent changes such as buildings and roads. A deep-learning algorithm using 1D convolutional neural network (CNN), with the convolution in the temporal dimension, was applied to the SITS data. The training data was collected from the building footprints dataset filtered using a mono-temporal image aided with the areal resource map (AR5). The deep-learning model was trained and evaluated before being used for prediction in two regions of Norway. Procedures to reduce overfitting of the model to the training data were also implemented. The trained model showed a high level of accuracy and robustness when evaluated based on a test dataset kept out of the training process. The trained model was then used to predict new built-up areas in agricultural fields in two Sentinel-2 tiles. The prediction was able to detect areas taken by new buildings, roads, parking areas and other similar changes. The prediction was then evaluated with respect to the existing building footprints after a few post-processing procedures. A high percentage of the buildings were detected by the method, except for small buildings. The details of the methods and the results obtained, together with brief discussion, are presented in this paper.

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Population densities of several cervid species have increased in recent decades in North America and Europe, and cervids frequently eat and damage agricultural crops. Competition and depletion of natural food resources are the main mechanisms for the density-dependent decline in vital rates of large herbivores. The extent to which access to agricultural crops can buffer density effects in cervid populations, however, is unknown. Agricultural grasslands cover more than a third of the European agricultural area, and red deer (Cervus elaphus) use these grasslands in many European countries. Over the past few decades, such grasslands have been subject to management intensification (with renewal and fertilization) in some areas and abandonment (no longer being harvested) in other areas. We used generalized linear mixed-effects models to examine the development of body masses of red deer in Norway during a period of population density increase in 16 local management units with different availability of cultivated grasslands (0.87–6.44%) in a region with active management of grasslands (Tingvoll, n = 5,780, 2000–2019) and a region with ongoing abandonment (Hitra, n = 10,598, 2007–2020). There was a consistent decline in the body mass of red deer linked to increased population density in both regions. A higher proportion of agricultural grassland was linked to higher body mass and lower density effects in both sexes and across all age classes. There is a link between body mass, survival, and reproduction. Therefore, the buffering of density effects of access to agricultural crops will fuel cervid population growth and lead to less natural regulation of abundance, making it more difficult to control dense cervid populations by harvesting.

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This study investigates the combined impacts of climate change and agricultural conservation on the magnitude and uncertainty of nutrient loadings in the Maumee River Watershed, the second-largest watershed of the Laurentian Great Lakes. Two scenarios — baseline agricultural management and increased agricultural conservation — were assessed using an ensemble of five Soil and Water Assessment Tools driven by six climate models. The increased conservation scenario included raising conservation adoption rates from a baseline of existing conservation practices to feasible rates in the near future based on farmer surveys. This increased adoption of winter cover crops on 6%–10% to 60% of cultivated cropland; subsurface placement of phosphorus fertilizers on 35%–60% to 68% of cultivated cropland; and buffer strips intercepting runoff from 29%–34% to 50% of cultivated cropland. Increased conservation resulted in statistically significant (p ≤ 0.05) reductions in annual loads of total phosphorus (41%), dissolved reactive phosphorus (18%), and total nitrogen (14%) under the highest emission climate scenario (RCP 8.5). While nutrient loads decreased with increased conservation relative to baseline management for all watershed models, different conclusions on the true effectiveness of conservation under climate change may be drawn if only one watershed model was used.

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Background Biochar-based fertilizer products (BCF) have been reported to increase both crop yield and N-use efficiency. Such positive effects are often assumed to result from the slow-release of N adsorbed on BCF structures. However, a careful review of the literature suggests that actual mechanisms remain uncertain, which hampers the development of efficient BCF products. Scope Here, we aim at reviewing BCF mechanisms responsible for enhanced N uptake by plants, and evaluate the potential for further improvement. We review the capacity of biochar structures to adsorb and release N forms, the biochar properties supporting this effect, and the methods that have been proposed to enhance this effect. Conclusions Current biochar products show insufficient sorption capacity for the retention of N forms to support the production of slow-release BCFs of high enough N concentration. Substantial slow-release effects appear to require conventional coating technology. Sorption capacity can be improved through activation and additives, but currently not to the extent needed for concentrated BCFs. Positive effects of commercial BCFs containing small amount of biochar appear to result from pyrolysis-derived biostimulants. Our review highlights three prospects for improving N retention: 1) sorption of NH3 gas on specifically activated biochar, 2) synergies between biochar and clay porosities, which might provide economical sorption enhancement, and 3) physical loading of solid N forms within biochar. Beyond proof of concept, quantitative nutrient studies are needed to ascertain that potential future BCFs deliver expected effects on both slow-release and N use efficiency.

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Members of the Vaccinium genus bear fruits rich in anthocyanins, a class of red-purple flavonoid pigments that provide human health benefits, although the localization and concentrations of anthocyanins differ between species: blueberry (V. corymbosum) has white flesh, while bilberry (V. myrtillus) has red flesh. Comparative transcriptomics between blueberry and bilberry revealed that MYBPA1.1 and MYBA1 strongly correlated with the presence of anthocyanins, but were absent or weakly expressed in blueberry flesh. MYBPA1.1 had a biphasic expression profile, correlating with both proanthocyanidin biosynthesis early during fruit development and anthocyanin biosynthesis during berry ripening. MYBPA1.1 was unable to induce anthocyanin or proanthocyanidin accumulation in Nicotiana benthamiana, but activated promoters of flavonoid biosynthesis genes. The MYBPA1.1 promoter is directly activated by MYBA1 and MYBPA2 proteins, which regulate anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, respectively. Our findings suggest that the lack of VcMYBA1 expression in blueberry flesh results in an absence of VcMYBPA1.1 expression, which are both required for anthocyanin regulation. In contrast, VmMYBA1 is well expressed in bilberry flesh, up-regulating VmMYBPA1.1, allowing coordinated regulation of flavonoid biosynthesis genes and anthocyanin accumulation. The hierarchal model described here for Vaccinium may also occur in a wider group of plants as a means to co-regulate different branches of the flavonoid pathway.

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A series of 131I tracer experiments have been conducted at two research stations in Norway, one coastal and one inland to study radioiodine transfer and dynamics in boreal, agricultural ecosystems. The hypothesis tested was that site specific and climatological factors, along with growth stage, would influence foliar uptake of 131I by grass and its subsequent loss. Results showed that the interception fraction varied widely, ranging from 0.007 to 0.83 over all experiments, and showing a strong positive correlation with biomass and stage of growth. The experimental results were compared to various models currently used to predict interception fractions and weathering loss. Results provided by interception models varied in the range of 0.5–2 times of the observed values. Regarding weathering loss, it was demonstrated that double exponential models provided a better fit with the experimental results than single exponential models. Normalising the data activity per unit area to remove bio-dilution effects, and assuming a constant single loss rate gave weathering half-times of 22.8 ± 38.3 and 10.2 ± 8.2 days for the inland and coastal site, respectively. Whilst stable iodine concentrations in grass and soil were significantly higher (by approximately a factor of 5 and 7 times for grass and soil respectively) at the coastal compared to the inland site, it was not possible to deconvolute the influence of this factor on the temporal behaviour of 131I. Nonetheless, stable iodine data allowed us to establish an upper bound on the soil to plant transfer of radioiodine via root uptake and to establish that the pathway was of minor importance in defining 131I activity concentrations in grass compared to direct contamination via interception. Climatological factors (precipitation, wind-speed and temperature) appeared to affect the dynamics of 131I in the system, however the decomposition of these collective influences into specific contributions from each factor remains unresolved and requires further study. The newly acquired data on the interception and weathering of radioiodine in boreal, agricultural ecosystems and the reparametrized models developed from this, substantially improve the toolbox available for Norwegian emergency preparedness in the event of a nuclear accident.

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Tree-killing bark beetles in conifer forests vector symbiotic fungi that are thought to help the beetles kill trees. Fungal symbionts emit diverse volatile blends that include bark beetle semiochemicals involved in mating and host localization. In this study, all 12 tested fungal isolates emitted beetle semiochemicals when growing in medium amended with linoleic acid. These semiochemicals included the spiroacetals chalcogran, trans-conophthorin and exo-brevicomin, as well as 2-methyl-3-buten-1-ol, the main aggregation pheromone component of the spruce bark beetle Ips typographus. The emission of these compounds was affected by the type of fatty acid present (linoleic vs. oleic acid). Accumulating evidence shows that the fatty acid composition in conifer bark can facilitate colonization by bark beetles and symbiotic fungi, whereas the fatty acid composition of non-host trees can be detrimental for beetle larvae or fungi. We hypothesize that beetles probe the fatty acid composition of potential host trees to test their suitability for beetle development and release of semiochemicals by symbiotic fungi.

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The increasing disturbances in monocultures around the world are testimony to their instability under global change. Many studies have claimed that temporal stability of productivity increases with species richness, although the ecological fundamentals have mainly been investigated through diversity experiments. To adequately manage forest ecosystems, it is necessary to have a comprehensive understanding of the effect of mixing species on the temporal stability of productivity and the way in which it is influenced by climate conditions across large geographical areas. Here, we used a unique dataset of 261 stands combining pure and two-species mixtures of four relevant tree species over a wide range of climate conditions in Europe to examine the effect of species mixing on the level and temporal stability of productivity. Structural equation modelling was employed to further explore the direct and indirect influence of climate, overyielding, species asynchrony and additive effect (i.e. temporal stability expected from the species growth in monospecific stands) on temporal stability in mixed forests. We showed that by adding only one tree species to monocultures, the level (overyielding: +6%) and stability (temporal stability: +12%) of stand growth increased significantly. We identified the key effect of temperature on destabilizing stand growth, which may be mitigated by mixing species. We further confirmed asynchrony as the main driver of temporal stability in mixed stands, through both the additive effect and species interactions, which modify between-species asynchrony in mixtures in comparison to monocultures. Synthesis and applications. This study highlights the emergent properties associated with mixing two species, which result in resource efficient and temporally stable production systems. We reveal the negative impact of mean temperature on temporal stability of forest productivity and how the stabilizing effect of mixing two species can counterbalance this impact. The overyielding and temporal stability of growth addressed in this paper are essential for ecosystem services closely linked with the level and rhythm of forest growth. Our results underline that mixing two species can be a realistic and effective nature-based climate solution, which could contribute towards meeting EU climate target policies.

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Aquaponic systems are engineered ecosystems combining aquaculture and plant production. Nutrient rich water is continuously circulating through the system from aquaculture tanks. A biofilter with nitrifying bacteria breaks down fish metabolism ammonia into nitrite and nitrate, which plants and makes the aquaculture wastewater into valued organic fertiliser for the plants, containing essential macro and micro elements. At the same time, the plants are cleaning the water by absorbing ammonia from the fish tanks before it reaches dangerous levels for the aquatic animals. In principle, the only external input is energy, mainly in the form of light and heat, but fish food is also commonly provided. Growing fish food is potentially feasible in a closed loop system, hence aquaponic systems can possibly be an important source of proteins and other important nutrition when, for example, colonising other planets in the future. Fully autonomous aquaponic systems are currently not available. This work aims at minimising manual labour related to cleaning pipes for water transport. The cleaning process must be friendly to both plants and aquatic animals. Hence, in this work, pure mechanical cleaning is adopted. A novel belt-driven continuum robot capable of travelling through small/medium diameter pipes and manoeuvring branches and bends, is designed and tested. The robot is modular and can be extended with different cleaning modules through an interface providing CAN-bus network and electric power. The flexible continuum modules of the robot are characterised. Experimental results demonstrate that the robot is able to travel through pipes with diameters varying from 50 mm to 75 mm, and also capable of handling T-branches of up to 90∘.

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Grey mold caused by the necrotrophic fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea can affect leaves, flowers, and berries of strawberry, causing severe pre- and postharvest damage. The defense elicitor β-aminobutyric acid (BABA) is reported to induce resistance against B. cinerea and many other pathogens in several crop plants. Surprisingly, BABA soil drench of woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca) plants two days before B. cinerea inoculation caused increased infection in leaf tissues, suggesting that BABA induce systemic susceptibility in F. vesca. To understand the molecular mechanisms involved in B. cinerea susceptibility in leaves of F. vesca plants soil drenched with BABA, we used RNA sequencing to characterize the transcriptional reprogramming 24 h post-inoculation. The number of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in infected vs. uninfected leaf tissue in BABA-treated plants was 5205 (2237 upregulated and 2968 downregulated). Upregulated genes were involved in pathogen recognition, defense response signaling, and biosynthesis of secondary metabolites (terpenoid and phenylpropanoid pathways), while downregulated genes were involved in photosynthesis and response to auxin. In control plants not treated with BABA, we found a total of 5300 DEGs (2461 upregulated and 2839 downregulated) after infection. Most of these corresponded to those in infected leaves of BABA-treated plants but a small subset of DEGs, including genes involved in ‘response to biologic stimulus‘, ‘photosynthesis‘ and ‘chlorophyll biosynthesis and metabolism’, differed significantly between treatments and could play a role in the induced susceptibility of BABA-treated plants.

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Key message: Using satellite-based maps, Ceccherini et al. (Nature 583:72-77, 2020) report abruptly increasing harvested area estimates in several EU countries beginning in 2015. Using more than 120,000 National Forest Inventory observations to analyze the satellite-based map, we show that it is not harvested area but the map’s ability to detect harvested areas that abruptly increases after 2015 in Finland and Sweden. Keywords: Global Forest Watch, Landsat, Remote sensing, National Forest Inventory, Greenhouse Gas Inventory

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There is an increased interest in identifying beneficial compounds of plant origin that can be added to animal diets to improve animal performance and have a health-promoting effect. In the present study, nine herb species of the Norwegian wild flora or which can be cultivated in Norway were selected for phytogenic evaluation (hops, maral root, mint, oregano, purslane, rosemary, roseroot, sweet wormwood, yarrow). Dried herbs were sequentially extracted with dichloromethane (DCM), ethanol (EtOH) and finally water (H2O) by ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE). The UAE protocol was found to be more rational than conventional Soxhlet with respect to DCM extraction. Total extraction yield was found to be highest for oregano (Origanum vulgare) with 34.4 g 100−1 g dry matter (DM). H2O-extracts gave the highest yields of the three solvents, with up to 25 g 100−1 g DM for purslane (Portulaca oleracea ssp. sativa) and mint (Mentha piperita). EtOH- and H2O-extracts were the most efficient extracts with respect to free radical scavenging capacity (ABTS (=2,2-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid), and oregano, mint, hops (Humulus lupulus) and maral root-leaves (Leuzea carthamoides) were found to be the most efficient antioxidant sources. Hops (EtOH-extract) contained α- and β-acids, xanthohumols, chlorogenic acid and the hitherto unreported 3-O-glucosides of kaempferol and quercetin. Maral root-leaves contained among other compounds hexosides of the 6-hydroxy- and 6-methoxy-kaempferol and -quercetin, whereas roseroot (Rosea rhodiola) revealed contents of rosavin, rhodiosin and rhodionin. Sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua) contained chlorogenic acid and several derivatives thereof, scopoletin and poly-methylated flavones (eupatin, casticin, chrysoplenetin). Antimicrobial potential of different plant extracts was demonstrated against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria using the indicator organisms Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli, and the Atlantic salmon bacterial pathogens Moritella viscosa, Tenacibaculum finnmarkense and Aliivibrio wodanis. DCM extracts possessed the highest activities. Data demonstrate the potential ability of herb extracts as natural antimicrobials. However, future safety studies should be performed to elucidate any compromising effect on fish health.

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Forest management is an important tool for GHG mitigation by representing three carbon pools: living biomass, forest soil, and wood-based products. Additionally, increasing attention has been given to the potential for wood products to substitute fossil-intensive products as a climate mitigation strategy. The goal of this paper is to analyse the theoretical GHG effects of fully replacing four common non-wood products with wood-based products of ‘low’ and ‘high’ technology options that have a similar functionality: (1) Spruce particle board substituting polyurethane (PU) foam insulation board; (2) spruce cross-laminated timber beam (CLT) substituting steel beam; (3) birch energy wood substituting electric heating; and (4) birch plywood substituting plaster board. The analysis was based on forestry in Western Norway as a case study, where forests typically consist of naturally generated birch and expanding areas of planted Norway spruce. In this study we compare wood products derived from paired stands of Norway spruce and downy birch. The analysis showed that spruce gave a higher theoretical substitution effect relative to birch for the selected pairs of woody and non-woody products. CLT substituting steel beam gave the highest substitution effect, approximately 15% higher than particle board substituting PU foam board. The theoretical substitution effect in mass units of carbon per kg wood product for the two spruce wood products was approximately 17 times higher relative to substituting Norwegian hydro energy-based electric heating, whereas plywood substituting plaster board may in fact increase GHG emissions. As the gross emissions were relatively similar for the birch plywood and the spruce particle board, the major substitution effect was related to the avoided emission of the non-woody product rather than to the tree species per se. The paper concludes that the choice of product to be substituted was the key factor that determined the final substitution effects. Furthermore, the study showed that transportation was the single most important factor that affected the emissions between planting and delivery of the timber at production gate. The analysis enables informed decisions related to CO2-emissions at the various steps from tree planting to wood conversion, and underline the importance of informed decision related to the choice of substitution products.

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Seaweed is considered a potentially sustainable source of protein for human consumption, and rapid, accurate methods for determining seaweed protein contents are needed. Seaweeds contain substances which interfere with common protein estimation methods however. The present study compares the Lowry and BCA protein assays and protein determination by N-ratios to more novel spectroscopic methods. Linear regression of the height or the integrated area under the Amide II band of diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy (DRIFTS) was used to predict seaweed protein with good prediction performance. Partial least squares regression (PLSR) was performed on both DRIFTS and near-infrared (NIR) spectra, with even higher prediction accuracy. Spectroscopy performed similar to or better than the calculated N-ratio of 4.14 for protein prediction. These spectral prediction methods require minimal sample preparation and chemical use, and are easy to perform, making them environmentally sustainable and economically viable for rapid estimation of seaweed protein.

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Berries of the genus Vaccinium are highly valued health-beneficial superfoods, which are commonly subjected to adulteration and mixed with each other, or with other common berry species. A quantitative DNA-based method utilizing a chip-based digital polymerase chain reaction (dPCR) technique was developed for identifying and quantifying wild lingonberry (V. vitis-idaea) and cultivated American cranberry (V. macrocarpon). The dPCR method with species-specific primers for mini-barcoding was designed based on the indel regions found in the trnI-CAU–trnL-CAA locus in the chloroplast genome. The designed primers were able to amplify only target species, enabling to distinguish the two closely related species with good sensitivity. Our results illustrated the ability of the method to identify lingonberry and American cranberry DNA using PCR without the need for probes or further sequencing. The dPCR method could also quantify the DNA copy number in mixed samples. Based on this study, the method provides a basis for a simple, fast, and sensitive quantitative authentication analysis of lingonberry and American cranberry by dPCR. Moreover, it can also provide a platform for authentication analyses of other plant species as well by utilizing the indel regions of chloroplast genomes.

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Bilberry fruit is regarded as one of the best natural sources of anthocyanins and is widely explored for its health-beneficial compounds. Besides anthocyanins, one of the major attributes that determine the berry quality is the accumulation of sugars that provide sweetness and flavor to ripening fruit. In this study, we have identified 25 sugar metabolism-related genes in bilberry, including invertases (INVs), hexokinases (HKs), fructokinases (FKs), sucrose synthases (SSs), sucrose phosphate synthases (SPSs), and sucrose phosphate phosphatases (SPPs). The results indicate that isoforms of the identified genes are expressed differentially during berry development, suggesting specialized functions. The highest sugar content was found in ripe berries, with fructose and glucose dominating accompanied by low sucrose amount. The related enzyme activities during berry development and ripening were further analyzed to understand the molecular mechanism of sugar accumulation. The activity of INVs in the cell wall and vacuole increased toward ripe berries. Amylase activity involved in starch metabolism was not detected in unripe berries but was found in ripe berries. Sucrose resynthesizing SS enzyme activity was detected upon early ripening and had the highest activity in ripe berries. Interestingly, our transcriptome data showed that supplemental irradiation with red and blue light triggered upregulation of several sugar metabolism-related genes, including α- and β-amylases. Also, differential expression patterns in responses to red and blue light were found across sucrose, galactose, and sugar-alcohol metabolism. Our enzymological and transcriptional data provide new understanding of the bilberry fruit sugar metabolism having major effect on fruit quality.

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The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), has now become a pest of global concern. Originally known to be endemic to the Western Hemisphere, its first detection in Africa was followed by spectacular outbreaks and spread to almost all sub-Saharan countries. The rapid incursion of S. frugiperda on maize (Zea mays L.; Poaceae) fields in Africa highlighted a crucial need for a comprehensive assessment of integrated pest management strategies in most smallholder farms. However, these strategies cannot successfully function without efficient monitoring and surveillance efforts. These trapping studies were designed to provide an indication as to whether pheromone trap-lure combinations and simple changes in landscape and agricultural practices might mitigate fall armyworm infestations. Our data show that the commercially available Unitrap was the most effective design for fall armyworm captures among the traps tested. The inexpensive home-made 2 L jar trap was capable of consistently collecting fall armyworm during the first season of relatively moderate fall armyworm density. However, the number of fall armyworm captured by home-made trap were several fold lower than by the Unitrap under all conditions, and almost no fall armyworm was captured during the second season by home-made 2 L jar when fall armyworm density was low. Substantial differences were observed among the pheromone blends with respect to numbers of fall armyworm and non-targets captured. The 4-component blend attracted the most fall armyworm under all conditions. The 2-component blend was the most selective, with no non-target species found during the second season experiments.

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Norwegian-grown peas and faba beans are a healthier alternative to meat and dairy products, which are over-consumed in Norway, hence these legumes represent an interesting alternative as food protein source in Norway. However, the environmental impact of these legumes compared to other protein sources has not been studied, in detail. Hence this study, where the environmental impact of this plant protein was analysed and compared to other main protein sources in the Norwegian diet, covers a research gap. The method used was Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and a large range of impacts was covered. The climate impact for dried grain legumes were 0.55–0.57 kg CO2-eq/kg, The climate impact for dried grain legumes were 0.55–0.57 kg CO2-eq/kg, which is much lower than ruminant meat (19–38 kg CO2-eq/kg), other meat (3.6–4.2 kg CO2-eq/kg), seafood (0.8–22 kg CO2-eq/kg), dairy products (1.2–22 kg CO2-eq/kg products) and cereals (0.66–0.72 kg CO2-eq/kg product). The same trend was found for all impact categories studied. The same pattern was found when comparing the environmental impacts of grain legumes in intermediate and finished products. An evaluation of the nutrient content showed that there is no trade-off between health and environment but the effect of lower protein digestibility and anti-nutritional compounds in legumes remains to be investigated quantitatively. The study indicates that legumes are a more sustainable source of dietary protein than animal protein sources. It is recommended that more research should be done on social and economic sustainability should be done to get at more complete picture of the sustainability of these grain legumes.

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Norwegian sheep production is based on the use of free outfield grazing resources in the mountains and forests in summer. Lamb prices are strongest at the beginning of the slaughter season in August and then begin to gradually decline, reaching a lower plateau in mid-October. Seasonal pricing provides incentives to get slaughter lambs to market early. The objective of this study was to examine how outfield summer pasture quality, time of collection from the outfields, and inclusion of annual forage crops in the diet of finishing lambs influence optimal farm plans and profitability in Norwegian forage-based sheep production systems at varying levels of farmland availability (varying from 15 to 25 ha with 20 ha as the basis). A linear programming model was developed for sheep production systems in the mountainous areas of Southern Norway. Input-output relationships incorporated into the model included data from field experiments with grasses for annual and perennial use, observed performance of lambs and ewes at pastures, a feed planning tool for the indoor season, and expert judgements. The model maximised total gross margin of farms with a housing capacity of 200 ewes. The results suggested that with more land available, drafting older and heavier lambs for slaughter was profitable. The lighter lambs at weaning were usually drafted much later and at the same or heavier carcass weights than the heavy lambs at weaning because of seasonal pricing. Higher quality outfield summer pastures increased lamb live weights at weaning. Annual profits improved considerably with rich summer pastures compared to poor summer pastures. Early collection was always less profitable than normal time of collection because greater prices for lambs sold could not offset losses from the additional feed costs incurred and a possibly smaller flock. Speeding up the growth rate of finishing lambs by offering annual forage crops in addition to grazed grass was usually more profitable than grass only. Only for rich summer pastures and normal time of collection at low land availability was use of annual forage crops unprofitable.

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Major development projects along rivers, like reservoirs and other hydraulic structures, have changed not only river discharges but also sediment transport. Thus, changes in river planforms can be observed in such rivers. In addition, river centerline migrations can be witnessed. The Mahaweli River is the longest in Sri Lanka, having the largest catchment area among the 103 major river basins in the country. The river has been subjected to many development projects over the last 50 years, causing significant changes in the river discharge and sediment transport. However, no research has been carried out to evaluate the temporal and spatial changes in planforms. The current seeks to qualitatively analyze the river planform changes of the Lower Mahaweli River (downstream to Damanewewa) over the past 30 years (from 1991 to 2021) and identify the major planform features and their spatiotemporal changes in the lower Mahaweli River. Analyzing the changes in rivers requires long-term data with high spatial resolution. Therefore, in this research, remotely sensed Landsat satellite data were used to analyze the planform changes of Lower Mahaweli River with a considerably high resolution (30 m). These Landsat satellite images were processed and analyzed using the QGIS mapping tool and a semi-automated digitizing tool. The results show that major changes in river Mahaweli occurred mainly in the most downstream sections of the selected river segment. Further, the river curvature was also comparatively high downstream of the river. An oxbow lake formation was observed over time in the most downstream part of the Mahaweli River after 2011. Centerline migration rates were also calculated with the generated river centerlines. It was found that the rates were generally lower than about 30 m per year, except for at locations where river meandering was observed. The main limitations of this study were the possible misclassifications due to the resolution of images and obstructions caused by cloud cover in the Landsat images. To achieve more accurate estimates, this study could be developed further with quantitative mathematical analysis by also considering the sediment dynamics of the Mahaweli River.

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The success of the mollusc-parasitic nematode, Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita (Schneider) Andrássy (Rhabditida: Rhabditidae), as a biological control agent in Europe has led to worldwide interest in phasmarhabditids as biocontrol agents. In this study, the mass culture potential of three phasmarhabditids, namely Phasmarhabditis papillosa, Phasmarhabditis kenyaensis and Phasmarhabditis bohemica, was assessed. In addition, ten bacterial candidates, consisting of seven associated with slugs and three associated with entomopathogenic nematodes, were investigated. The bacteria were tested for their ability to cause mortality to Deroceras invadens, as well as to support nematode growth. Initial mortality studies demonstrated that Kluyvera, Aeromonas and Pseudomonas spp. (AP3) caused 100% mortality when they were injected into the haemocoel of D. invadens. However, in growth studies, Pseudomonas sp. (AP4) was found to be the most successful bacterium, leading to recovery and reproduction in almost all nematode species, except for P. kenyaensis. In flask studies, P. bohemica, which showed exceptional growth with Pseudomonas sp. (AP1), was chosen for further investigation. The effect of inoculating flasks with different concentrations of Pseudomonas sp. (AP1), as well as with different concentrations of P. bohemica, was evaluated by assessing the nematode populations for 14 days. The results indicated that the lowest, 1% (v/v), bacteria inoculation led to higher total nematode and to infective juvenile (IJ) yield, with flasks with the highest IJ inoculum (3000 IJs/ml) having a positive effect on the total number of nematodes and IJs in cultures of P. bohemica. This study presents improvements for the mass-culturing of nematodes associated with molluscs.

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Norway spruce is a major industrial tree species in Fennoscandia and future productivity of the species must be secured by matching the variation in adaptation of the species with suitable sites for optimized performance. An appropriate transfer model for forest reproductive material (FRM) is crucial for regeneration of productive forests in the changing climatic conditions that are predicted to occur in Fennoscandia. We have developed a transfer model for prediction of height of Norway spruce in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, using data acquired from 438 progeny and provenance trials with 1919 genetic entries of local and transferred origins. Transfer of genetic material at a given site was expressed in terms of the difference in daylength (photoperiod) between the site and its origin. This variable best reflected the nonlinear response to transfer that has been commonly reported in previous studies. Apart from the transfer variable, the height prediction model included the age of material when height measurements were acquired, annual temperature sum over 5 °C, precipitation during the vegetation period, and interaction terms between test site and transfer variables. The results show that long northward transfers (4-5° latitude) seem to be optimal for relatively mild sites in southern parts of the countries where growing season is longer, and shorter northward transfers (2-4° latitude) for harsher northern sites with shorter growing seasons. The transfer model also predicts that southward transfers of Norway spruce would result in height growth reductions. The developed model provides foundations for development of common or national recommendations for genetically improving Norway spruce material in Fennoscandia.

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This work aims to determine the effect of genotype x environment (GxE) interaction that influence blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) fruit quality. We applied metabolomics-driven analysis on fruits from four cultivars grown in contrasting European-locations over two seasons. By integrating metabolomics and sensory analysis, we also defined specific metabolic signatures associated with consumer acceptance. Our results showed that rainfall is a crucial factor associated with accumulation of delphinidin- and cyanidin-3-O-glucoside, the two mayor blackcurrant pigments meanwhile temperature affects the main organic acid levels which can be decisive for fruit taste. Sensorial analysis showed that increases in terpenoid and acetate ester volatiles were strongly associated with higher appreciation score, while proacacipetalin, a cyanogenic-glycoside, was positively associated to bitter taste. Our results pave the way for the selection of high-quality cultivars and suitable production sites for blackcurrant cultivation.

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Many wild animals perceive humans as predators, and human disturbance,especially in the form of hunting, triggers antipredatory behavior among prey.Yet, knowledge of how game species react to different types of human distur-bance and adapt to repeated disturbances is limited. We investigated howdisturbance in the form of a solitary human approacher (stalker) impactedbehavior (flight response and short-term habitat use) of 28 GPS-collared reddeer (Cervus elaphus) in two populations with contrasting population densitiesin Norway. We studied how the behavioral response differed: (1) with season(pre-hunting vs. hunting); (2) by consecutive approaches within a day;(3) among replicated experiments within the same season; and (4) betweentwo regions with contrasting densities of red deer. The average flight initiationdistance (FID) increased by 15% during the hunting season, and consecutiveapproaches within the same day caused the red deer to move 49% longerdistances. Flight initiation distance was longer in the high-density population,while escape distance was longer in the low-density population. Red deermoved out of their weekly home range after 52% approaches, and after theonset of hunting season, time spent outside the home range increased by 89%.Red deer preferred denser resting sites after the disturbance and animal siteshad shorter sighting distance and higher canopy cover than control plots.Tree density and canopy cover at animal sites increased at the onset of huntingseason, from first to second approach within day, and after replicated experi-ments within season. Our results suggest that red deer preferred dense restingsites, especially in the hunting season. However, these animal sites had thesame amount of the favorable forage plant bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), indi-cating no clear food–cover trade-off in selection of habitat. Our study showedthat onset of hunting initiates stronger fear responses in red deer, which mayin turn affect red deer distribution and harvesting efficiency

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Prey species may display anti-predatory behavior, i.e., flight, increased vigilance, and decreased feeding, in response to the true presence of a predator or to the implied presence of a predator through, e.g., acoustic cues. In this study, we investigated the anti-predatory reactions of moose (Alces alces) to acoustic stimuli related to hunting, at saltlick stones, a known attractant. In before-during-after-control-impact experiments, we compared the behavioral responses of individuals to: (i) two hunting-related acoustic stimuli—hunting dog barking and human speaking; (ii) nonpredatory acoustic stimuli—bird sounds and; and (iii) no acoustic stimulus (control). We asked: (1) How does the probability of moose leaving the site differ depending on the stimulus they are exposed to?; (2) What affect do the acoustic stimuli have on the amount of time moose spend vigilant, feeding, or away from the site?; and (3) What affect do the stimuli have on the time between events at a site? We found that when exposed to the human stimulus, moose left the sites in 75% of the events, which was significantly more often compared to the dog (39%), bird (24%), or silent (11%) events. If moose did not leave the site, they spent more time vigilant, and less time feeding, particularly when exposed to a dog or human stimulus. Furthermore, moose spent the most time away from the site and took the longest to visit the site again after a human stimulus. Moose were also more likely to leave the site when exposed to the bird stimulus than during silent controls. Those that remained spent more time vigilant, but their behaviors returned to baseline after the bird stimulus ended. These findings suggest that acoustic stimuli can be used to modify the behavior of moose; however, reactions towards presumably threatening and nonthreatening stimuli were not as distinct as we had expected.

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Large areas of forests are annually damaged or destroyed by outbreaking insect pests. Understanding the factors that trigger and terminate such population eruptions has become crucially important, as plants, plant-feeding insects, and their natural enemies may respond differentially to the ongoing changes in the global climate. In northernmost Europe, climate-driven range expansions of the geometrid moths Epirrita autumnata and Operophtera brumata have resulted in overlapping and increasingly severe outbreaks. Delayed density-dependent responses of parasitoids are a plausible explanation for the 10-year population cycles of these moth species, but the impact of parasitoids on geometrid outbreak dynamics is unclear due to a lack of knowledge on the host ranges and prevalences of parasitoids attacking the moths in nature. To overcome these problems, we reviewed the literature on parasitism in the focal geometrid species in their outbreak range and then constructed a DNA barcode reference library for all relevant parasitoid species based on reared specimens and sequences obtained from public databases. The combined recorded parasitoid community of E. autumnata and O. brumata consists of 32 hymenopteran species, all of which can be reliably identified based on their barcode sequences. The curated barcode library presented here opens up new opportunities for estimating the abundance and community composition of parasitoids across populations and ecosystems based on mass barcoding and metabarcoding approaches. Such information can be used for elucidating the role of parasitoids in moth population control, possibly also for devising methods for reducing the extent, intensity, and duration of outbreaks.

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The parameters from full-scale biogas plants are highly nonlinear and imbalanced, resulting in low prediction accuracy when using traditional machine learning algorithms. In this study, a hybrid extreme learning machine (ELM) model was proposed to improve prediction accuracy by solving imbalanced data. The results showed that the best ELM model had a good prediction for validation data (R2 = 0.972), and the model was developed into the software (prediction error of 2.15 %). Furthermore, two parameters within a certain range (feed volume (FV) = 23–45 m3 and total volatile fatty acids of anaerobic digestion (TVFAAD) = 1750–3000 mg/L) were identified as the most important characteristics that positively affected biogas production. This study combines machine learning with data-balancing techniques and optimization algorithms to achieve accurate predictions of plant biogas production at various loads.

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The material properties of wood are intimately tied to the amount of moisture contained in the wood cell walls. The moisture content depends on the environmental conditions, i.e. temperature and relative humidity, but also on material characteristics of the wood itself. The exact mechanisms governing moisture equilibrium between wood cell walls and environmental conditions remain obscure, likely because multiple material characteristics have been proposed to be involved. In this study, we used a data exploration approach to illuminate the important wood characteristics determining the cell wall moisture content in the full moisture range. Specimens of nine different wood species (two softwoods and seven hardwoods) were examined in terms of their material characteristics at multiple scales and their cell wall moisture content was measured in equilibrium with both hygroscopic conditions and at water-saturation. By statistical analysis, the chemical composition was found to be the most important predictor of the cell wall moisture content in the full moisture range. For the other wood characteristics the importance differed between the low moisture range and the humid and saturated conditions. In the low moisture range, the cellulose crystallinity and hydroxyl accessibility were found to be important predictors, while at high moisture contents the microfibril orientation in the S1 and S3 layers of the cell walls was important. Overall, the results highlighted that no single wood characteristic were decisive for the cell wall moisture content, and each of the predictors identified by the analysis had only a small effect in themselves on the cell wall moisture content. Wood characteristics with a major effect on the cell wall moisture content were, therefore, not identified.

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Invasive species are leading causes of biodiversity loss and economic damage. Prevention and management of invasions requires risk assessments based on ecological knowledge for species of potential concern. Interactions between introduced species and heterospecifics in the recipient community may affect the likelihood of establishment through biotic resistance and facilitation and are therefore important predictors of invasion risk. Experimentally exposing one species to another to observe their interactions is not always safe or practical, and containment facilities offer artificial environments which may limit the number of species and the types of interactions that may be tested. To predict biotic resistance and facilitation in a more natural setting, we deployed traps with pheromone lures in the field to mimic the presence of two potentially invasive spruce bark beetles, the European Ips typographus (tested in eastern Canada), and the North American Dendroctonus rufipennis (tested in Norway). We identified and counted possible predators, competitors, and facilitators that were captured in the traps. In eastern Canada, possible predators and competitors responded strongly to I. typographus lures, suggesting the potential for considerable biotic resistance. In Norway, D. rufipennis lures prompted little response by predators or competitors, suggesting that D. rufipennis may experience reduced biotic resistance in Europe. Dendroctonus rufipennis was also attracted to I. typographus pheromone, which may encourage facilitation between these species through cooperative mass attack on trees. Our findings will inform invasive-species risk assessments for I. typographus and D. rufipennis and highlight useful methods for predicting interactions between species that rely heavily on semiochemical communication.

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Ongoing efforts focus on quantifying plastic pollution and describing and estimating the related magnitude of exposure and impacts on human and environmental health. Data gathered during such work usually follows a receptor perspective. However, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) represents an emitter perspective. This study examines existing data gathering and reporting approaches for field and laboratory studies on micro- and nanoplastics (MNPs) exposure and effects relevant to LCA data inputs. The outcomes indicate that receptor perspective approaches do not typically provide suitable or sufficiently harmonised data. Improved design is needed in the sampling, testing and recording of results using harmonised, validated and comparable methods, with more comprehensive reporting of relevant data. We propose a three-level set of requirements for data recording and reporting to increase the potential for LCA studies and models to utilise data gathered in receptor-oriented studies. We show for which purpose such data can be used as inputs to LCA, particularly in life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods. Implementing these requirements will facilitate proper integration of the potential environmental impacts of plastic losses from human activity (e.g. litter) into LCA. Then, the impacts of plastic emissions can eventually be connected and compared with other environmental issues related to anthropogenic activities.

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Soils form the basis for agricultural production and other ecosystem services, and soil management should aim at improving their quality and resilience. Within the SoilCare project, the concept of soil-improving cropping systems (SICS) was developed as a holistic approach to facilitate the adoption of soil management that is sustainable and profitable. SICS selected with stakeholders were monitored and evaluated for environmental, sociocultural, and economic effects to determine profitability and sustainability. Monitoring results were upscaled to European level using modelling and Europe-wide data, and a mapping tool was developed to assist in selection of appropriate SICS across Europe. Furthermore, biophysical, sociocultural, economic, and policy reasons for (non)adoption were studied. Results at the plot/farm scale showed a small positive impact of SICS on environment and soil, no effect on sustainability, and small negative impacts on economic and sociocultural dimensions. Modelling showed that different SICS had different impacts across Europe—indicating the importance of understanding local dynamics in Europe-wide assessments. Work on adoption of SICS confirmed the role economic considerations play in the uptake of SICS, but also highlighted social factors such as trust. The project’s results underlined the need for policies that support and enable a transition to more sustainable agricultural practices in a coherent way.

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Accurate and non-destructive diagnosis of crop nitrogen (N) surplus and deficit status based on N nutrition index (NNI) is crucially important for the success of precision N management to improve N use efficiency (NUE) and reduce negative environmental impacts. However, due to the variability of the reflectance data obtained from different active crop sensors and complexity of the environmental and management conditions for regional applications, accurate determination of crop N status and topdressing N rate only using active canopy sensor data is very challenging. The objectives of this study were to (1) develop an in-season N status diagnosis and recommendation model based on NNI prediction using multi-source data fusion with machine learning, and (2) evaluate the accuracy of N diagnosis and recommendation in terms of rice yield and NUE under diverse on-farm conditions. Thirty plot experiments and thirteen on-farm experiments were conducted in Qixing Farm, Jiansanjiang, Northeast China from 2008 to 2018, and the dataset was used for the model calibration, validation, and evaluation. Two indirect and one direct NNI prediction methods using simple regression, stepwise multiple linear regression (SMLR) and random forest regression (RFR) were compared for N diagnosis and then integrated into N recommendation model. The results indicated that combining environmental and agronomic variables with crop sensor data improved the SMLR and RFR model performance by 1–16% and 9–40% over the corresponding models only using crop sensor data, respectively. The direct NNI prediction approach achieved slightly better N status diagnostic accuracy (areal agreement = 84% and Kappa statistics = 0.71) than indirect NNI prediction strategies based on plant N uptake and ΔN estimation (areal agreement = 81% and Kappa statistics = 0.67) or aboveground biomass and plant N uptake estimation (areal agreement = 77% and Kappa statistics = 0.58) across plot experiments and diverse on-farm conditions, based on multi-source data fusion with random forest regression models. About 82% of recommended N rates by the developed integrated in-season rice N diagnosis and recommendation model were within ±10 kg ha−1 of the measured economic optimum N rate across different varieties, environmental conditions and transplanting densities. Precision rice management based on in-season N diagnosis and recommendation decreased N rates and increased N partial factor productivity (PFPN) by 23% over regional optimum rice management, and significantly increased yield (7–11%) and PFPN (33–77%) over farmer's management. More studies are needed to develop in-season N diagnosis and recommendation strategies for applications across different regions and combine them with integrated precision rice management strategies for food security and sustainable development.

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Understanding the changes in climate and land use/land cover (LULC) over time is important for developing policies for minimizing the socio-economic impacts of riverine floods. The present study evaluates the influence of hydro-climatic factors and anthropogenic practices related to LULC on floods in the Kelani River Basin (KRB) in Sri Lanka. The gauge-based daily precipitation, monthly mean temperature, daily discharges, and water levels at sub-basin/basin outlets, and both surveyed and remotely sensed inundation areas were used for this analysis. Flood characteristics in terms of mean, maximum, and number of peaks were estimated by applying the peak over threshold (POT) method. Nonparametric tests were also used to identify the climatic trends. In addition, LULC maps were generated over the years 1988–2017 using Landsat images. It is observed that the flood intensities and frequencies in the KRB have increased over the years. However, Deraniyagala and Norwood sub-basins have converted to dry due to the decrease in precipitation, whereas Kithulgala, Holombuwa, Glencourse, and Hanwella showed an increase in precipitation. A significant variation in atmospheric temperature was not observed. Furthermore, the LULC has mostly changed from vegetation/barren land to built-up in many parts of the basin. Simple correlation and partial correlation analysis showed that flood frequency and inundation areas have a significant correlation with LULC and hydro-climatic factors, especially precipitation over time. The results of this research will therefore be useful for policy makers and environmental specialists to understand the relationship of flood frequencies with the anthropogenic influences on LULC and climatic factors.

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Cuticle is the first layer protecting plants against external biotic and abiotic factors and is responsive to climatic factors as well as determined by genetic adaptations. In this study, the chemical composition of bilberry fruit cuticular wax was investigated through a latitudinal gradient from Latvia (56°N 24°E) through Finland (65°N 25°E) to northern Norway (69°N 18°E) in two seasons 2018 and 2019. Changes in the major cuticular wax compounds, including triterpenoids, fatty acids, alkanes, aldehydes, ketones, and primary alcohols, were detected by GC-MS analysis. Generally, a decreasing trend in the proportion of triterpenoids from southern to northern latitudes, accompanied with an increase in proportion of fatty acids, aldehydes, and alkanes, in bilberry fruit cuticular wax was observed. A correlation analysis between climatic factors with proportion of wax compounds indicated that temperature was the main factor affecting the cuticular wax composition in bilberries. A controlled phytotron experiment with southern and northern bilberry ecotypes confirmed the major effect of temperature on bilberry fruit cuticular wax load and composition. Elevated temperature increased wax load most in berries of northern ecotypes. The level of triterpenoids was higher, while levels of fatty acids and alkanes were lower, in wax of bilberry fruits ripened at 18°C compared to 12°C in both northern and southern ecotypes. Based on our results, it can be postulated that the predicted increase in temperature due to climate change leads to alterations in fruit cuticular wax load and composition. In northern ecotypes, the alterations were especially evident.

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Water is a key element for wood performance, as water molecules interact with the wood structure and affect important material characteristics such as mechanical properties and durability. Understanding wood-water interactions is consequently essential for all applications of wood, including the design of wood materials with improved durability by chemical modification. In this work, we used Raman micro-spectroscopy in combination with a specially designed moisture chamber to map molecular groups in wood cell walls under controlled moisture conditions in the hygroscopic range. We analyzed both untreated and chemically modified (acetylated to achieve two different spatial distributions of acetyl groups within the cell wall) Norway spruce wood. By moisture conditioning the specimens successively to 5, 50, and 95% relative humidity using deuterium oxide (D2O), we localized the moisture in the cell walls as well as distinguished between hydroxyl groups accessible and inaccessible to water. The combination of Raman micro-spectroscopy with a moisturizing system with deuterium oxide allowed unprecedented mapping of wood-water interactions. The results confirm lower moisture uptake in acetylated samples, and furthermore showed that the location of moisture within the cell wall of acetylated wood is linked to the regions where acetylation is less pronounced. The study demonstrates the local effect that targeted acetylation has on moisture uptake in wood cell walls, and introduces a novel experimental set-up for simultaneously exploring sub-micron level wood chemistry and moisture in wood under hygroscopic conditions.

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One part of aquaculture sustainability is reducing the environmental footprint of aquaculture feeds. For European aquaculture, this means finding feed ingredients that are produced within the economic community, and that are not in conflict with human consumption. This is especially challenging when formulating diets for carnivorous fish such as turbot with low tolerance to fishmeal replacement that are both nutritious and economically and environmentally sustainable. Therefore, we investigated the effects of two novel and innovative feed formulation concepts on growth and feed performance and the nutritional status of market-sized turbot in a recirculating aquaculture system. In a 16-week feeding trial, 440 turbot (300 ± 9 g) were fed twice a day with a control diet (CTRL), based on a commercial formulation, and four experimental diets. The experimental diets were designed to investigate the effects of two formulations concepts based on sustainable terrestrial plant proteins (NoPAP) or processed animal proteins (PAP) and of 30% and 60% fishmeal replacement with emerging feed ingredients (fisheries by-products, insect meal and fermentation biomass). Turbot from the CTRL group had a similar growth and feed performance than fish fed the NoPAP30 formulation, with a significant decline of performance in the fish fed both PAP formulations and the NoPAP60. Comparing the two formulation concepts with each other the voluntary feed intake and protein efficiency ratio on tank basis as well as the individual weight gain and relative growth rate was significantly higher in the fish from the NoPAP groups than PAP groups. Furthermore, the apparent digestibility of nutrients and minerals was significantly reduced in the fish fed with the diets with 30% and 60% fishmeal replacement level compared to the fish from the CTRL group. In conclusion, the performance of the fish fed the NoPAP30 formulation concept highlights the potential of the used combination of sustainable ingredients, such as fisheries by-products, insect meal, microbial biomass and plant protein for turbot. Furthermore, this study shows that turbot has a higher tolerance to the incorporation of plant and insect protein than of processed animal protein.

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The use of Bayesian networks (BN) for environmental risk assessment has increased in recent years as they offer a more transparent way to characterize risk and evaluate uncertainty than the traditional risk assessment paradigms. In this study, a novel probabilistic approach applying a BN for risk calculation was further developed and explored by linking the calculation a risk quotient to alternative future scenarios. This extended version of the BN model uses predictions from a process-based pesticide exposure model (World Integrated System for Pesticide Exposure - WISPE) in the exposure characterization and toxicity test data in the effect characterization. The probability distributions for exposure and effect are combined into a risk characterization (i.e. the probability distribution of a risk quotient), a common measure of the exceedance of an environmentally safe exposure threshold. The BN model was used to account for variabilities of the predicted pesticide exposure in agricultural streams, and inter-species variability in sensitivity to the pesticide among freshwater species. In Northern Europe, future climate scenarios typically predict increased temperature and precipitation, which can be expected to cause an increase in weed infestations, plant disease and insect pests. Such climate-related changes in pest pressure in turn can give rise to altered agricultural practices, such as increased pesticide application rates, as an adaptation to climate change. The WISPE model was used to link a set of scenarios consisting of two climate models, three pesticide application scenarios and three periods (year ranges), for a case study in South-East Norway. The model was set up for the case study by specifying environmental factors such as soil properties and field slope together with chemical properties of pesticides to predict the pesticide exposure in streams adjacent to the agricultural fields. The model was parameterized and evaluated for five selected pesticides: the three herbicides clopyralid, fluroxypyr-meptyl, and 2-(4-chloro-2-methylphenoxy) acetic acid (MCPA), and the two fungicides prothiocanzole and trifloxystrobin. This approach enabled the calculation and visualization of probability distribution of the risk quotients for the future time horizons 2050 and 2085. The risk posed by the pesticides were in general low for this case study, with highest probability of the risk quotient exceeding 1 for the two herbicides fluroxypyr-meptyl and MCPA. The future climate projections used here resulted in only minor changes in predicted exposure concentrations and thereby future risk. However, a stronger increase in risk was predicted for the scenarios with increased pesticide application, which can represent an adaptation to a future climate with higher pest pressures. In the current study, the specific BN model predictions were constrained by an existing set of climate projections which represented only one IPCC scenario (A1B) and two climate models. Further advancement of the BN modelling demonstrated herein, including more recent climate scenarios and a larger set of climate models, is anticipated to result in more relevant risk characterization also for future climate conditions. This probabilistic approach will have the potential to aid targeted management of ecological risks in support of future research, industry and regulatory needs.

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There is debate on which tree species can sustain forest ecosystem services in a drier and warmer future. In Europe, the use of non-native timber species, such as Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii [Mirb.] Franco), is suggested as a solution to mitigate climate change impacts because of their high growth resilience to drought. However, the biogeographical, climatic and ecological limits for widely planted timber species still need to be defined. Here, we study the growth response to climate variables and drought of four Douglas fir plantations in northern Spain subjected to contrasting climate conditions. Further, we measure wood density in one of the sites to obtain a better understanding of growth responses to climate. Correlative analyses and simulations based on the Vaganov–Shaskin process-based model confirm that growth of Douglas fir is constrained by warm and dry conditions during summer and early autumn, particularly in the driest study site. Minimum wood density increased in response to dry spring conditions. Therefore, planting Douglas fir in sites with a marked summer drought will result in reduced growth but a dense earlywood. Stands inhabiting dry sites are vulnerable to late-summer drought stress and can act as “sentinel plantations”, delineating the tolerance climate limits of timber species.

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Traditional pear cultivars are increasingly in demand by consumers because of their excellent taste, the possibility of use in sustainable food production systems, convenience as raw materials for obtaining products of high nutritional quality, and perceived health benefits. In this study, individual sugars, organic acids, and polyphenols in the fruits of nine traditional and one commercial pear cultivar during two growing seasons were determined by HPLC. A significant influence of cultivars, growing years, and their interaction on the content of analyzed primary and secondary metabolites was determined. The commercial pear cultivar ‘Président Drouard’ and traditional cultivars ‘Dolokrahan’, ‘Budaljača’, and ‘Krakača’ had a lower content of all analyzed sugars. Overall, traditional pear cultivars had higher total polyphenols in the peel and pulp than ‘Président Drouard’, with the exception ‘Takiša’ and ‘Ahmetova’. High polyphenol content detected in ‘Budaljača’, ‘Dolokrahan’, and ‘Krakača’ shows the utilization value of traditional pear germplasm. The obtained data can serve as practical supporting data for the use of traditional pears in the neutraceutical, pharmaceutical, and food industries.

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In this study, we investigated if a steam treatment program used to produce disease-free strawberry transplants has the potential to also eliminate strawberry mite (Phytonemus pallidus) and two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae). Crowns of strawberry plants collected in a commercial field, containing young, folded leaves with all life stages of P. pallidus, and strawberry leaf discs on water agar with T. urticae with non-diapausing adult females and eggs from a laboratory rearing, were exposed to warm aerated steam in a steam cabinet in a series of four experimental runs over 2 years. The steam treatments constituted of a 1-h pre-treatment with 37 °C steam followed by a 1-h recovery period at 21–25 °C, and then a main steam treatment at 44 °C for either 2, 4 (both P. pallidus and T. urticae) or 6 h (the more heat tolerant T. urticae only). After steaming, the plant material with P. pallidus or T. urticae were incubated at 21–25 °C until survival was assessed after 1–6 days, depending on the mite species and life-stage. Non-steamed plant material with mites was used as controls. The 4-h treatment killed all P. pallidus eggs, larvae and adults, and the 2-h treatment killed all individuals in all three stages except for one egg in one of the runs. There were no or minor effects of the steam treatments on T. urticae adult and egg survival. Based on these results, the tested steam treatments may be used to eliminate the strawberry mite but not the two-spotted spider mite from strawberry planting material.

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According to the plant stress hypothesis, population peaks of herbivores such as moths are caused by plant stress factors that force plants to reallocate stored defensive proteins to transportable and easily digestive N-compounds. A suggested plant stress factor is ionization caused by cosmic ray muons, which are modulated by the 9.3-year lunar nodal phase cycle, solar activity, and atmospheric pressure. Vascular plants are more sensitive to ionization than are bryophytes, and woody plants are more sensitive than are herbaceous plants, but the difference may be less during dormancy in winter. We selected the 14 most common moth species from a 30-year light-trapping study in southern Norway to test whether the fluctuation patterns of species from three different feeding guilds were correlated with lunar/solar cycles, or with atmospheric pressure in winter, when muon fluxes are higher than in other seasons. The population indices of three species feeding on deciduous woody plants were positively correlated with the lunar nodal phase index, and there was a similar tendency for the remaining three species. No positive correlations with the lunar index were found for species feeding on herbs or mosses. For nine species, that is, from all three guilds, there was a significant negative correlation between the population index and winter atmospheric pressure in the previous year. The results are in accordance with predictions deduced from the cosmic ray hypothesis, but thorough investigations of the proposed physiological mechanisms are needed for the hypothesis to be widely accepted.

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The study was performed with apple cultivar ‘Rubin’ grafted onto dwarf ‘P60’ rootstock at the experimental orchard of the Institute of Horticulture, Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, between 2016 and 2020. The orchard was planted in 2010. Planting distances were 1.25×3.5 m. Seven treatments of tree vigour control were established, including combinations of mechanical pruning, tree trunk incision and application of prohexadione-calcium (Pro-Ca). The strongest growth was recorded for the control treatment, where slender spindle trees were maintained manually. Significantly, the shortest shoots grew where mechanical pruning was applied. A tendency for higher yield was recorded for mechanical pruning treatments. Trunk incision and summer pruning exhibited significantly lower fruit mean weight and diameter. Multiple applications of Pro-Ca increased fruit weight. Less colored fruits were obtained for mechanical pruning treatments

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In 2017, two multi-location apple rootstock trials were established at 16 sites in 12 European countries. The evaluations are performed by members of the EUFRIN (European Fruit Research Institute Network) Apple & Pear Variety & Rootstock Testing Working Group. Two separate trials were arranged, grouping rootstocks into dwarf and semi-dwarf rootstocks according to the expected vigour; ‘Galaval’ was used as scion cultivar. The trial of dwarf rootstocks includes ‘G.11’ and ‘G.41’ (US), ‘EM_02’, ‘EM_03’, ‘EM_04’, ‘EM_05’ and ‘EM_06’ (UK), ‘62-396-B10®‘ (Russia), ‘P 67’ (Poland), ‘PFR4’ and ‘PFR5’ (New Zealand) and ‘Cepiland-Pajam®2’ as control. The trial of semi-dwarf rootstocks includes ‘G.202’ and ‘G.935’ (US), ‘PFR1’ and ‘PFR3’ (New Zealand), ‘EM_01’ (UK) and ‘G.11’ as a control for both trials. Part of the rootstocks (from dwarf and semi-dwarf rootstock trials) was planted in replanting conditions to test their tolerance to apple replant disease. All test trees came from the same nursery, and a common standardised evaluation protocol was used. Based on preliminary results averaged across sites, dwarf rootstocks can be ranked in terms of vigour in the following order: ‘EM_04’ < ‘EM_03’, ‘EM_05’ < ‘62-396-B10®’, ‘P 67’, ‘EM_02’, ‘G.11’ < ‘G.41’, ‘Cepiland-Pajam®2’ < ‘EM_06’, ‘PFR4’ < ‘PFR5’. On average, semi-dwarf rootstocks can be ranked in terms of vigour in the following order: ‘G11’ < ‘G.935’, ‘G.202’ < ‘PFR3’, ‘EM_01’ < ‘PFR1’. The highest cumulative yield in the young orchard was registered for trees on ‘PFR5’, ‘PFR4’, ‘G.11’, ‘G.41’, ‘Cepiland-Pajam®2’ and ‘EM_02’, while the lowest production was found for trees on ‘EM_04’. In the group of semi-dwarf rootstocks, the highest yield was on ‘PFR3’, ‘G.935’ and ‘PFR1’. Rootstocks also had a significant effect on fruit weight and fruit quality parameters. Results from the young orchards revealed interactions between sites and rootstock, potentially leading to site-specific rootstock choice based on the combination of rootstock, soil conditions and climate.

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Knowledge of the temporal variation in reproductive success and its key driving factors is crucial in predicting animal population persistence. Few studies have examined the effects of a range of explanatory factors operating simultaneously on the same population over a long period. Based on 41 years of monitoring (1979–2019), we tested prevailing hypotheses about drivers of annual variation in breeding success in two sympatric species of boreal forest grouse—the capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) and the black grouse (T. tetrix)—in a 45 km2 boreal forest landscape. From counts in early August, we measured breeding success (chicks/hen) along with potential determining factors. We formulated five main hypotheses on causes of variation (hen condition, chick weather, chick food, predation, demographic characteristics) and derived 13 associated explanatory variables for analysis. We first tested the five hypotheses separately and then used model selection (AICc) to rank the best predictive models irrespective of hypotheses. Lastly, we used path analysis to illuminate potential causal relationships. Barring demographic characteristics, all hypotheses were supported, most strongly for chick food and predation. Among predictor variables, chick food (insect larvae and bilberry fruit crops), vole and fox abundances, the winter-NAO index, and temperature after hatching, had the strongest effect sizes in both species. Precipitation after hatching had no detectable effect. Model selection indicated bottom-up factors to be more important than predation, but confounding complicated interpretation. Path analysis suggested that the high explanatory power of bilberry fruiting was due not only to its direct positive effect on chick food quality but also to an indirect positive effect on vole abundance, which buffers predation. The two components of breeding success—proportion of hens with broods and number of chicks per brood—were uncorrelated, the former having the strongest effect. The two components had different ecological correlates that often varied asynchronously, resulting in overall breeding success fluctuating around low to moderate levels. Our study highlights the complexity of key explanatory drivers and the importance of considering multiple hypotheses of breeding success. Although chick food appeared to equal or surpass predation in explaining the annual variation in breeding success, predation may still be the overall limiting factor. Comparative and experimental studies of confounded variables (bilberry fruiting, voles, and larvae) are needed to disentangle causes of variation in breeding success of boreal forest grouse.

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Satellite Rainfall Products (SRPs) are now in widespread use around the world as a better alternative for scarce observed rain gauge data. Upon proper analysis of the SRPs and observed rainfall data, SRP data can be used in many hydrological applications. This evaluation is very much necessary since, it had been found that their performances vary with different areas of interest. This research looks at the three prominent river basins; Malwathu, Deduru, and Kalu of Sri Lanka and evaluates six selected SRPs, namely, IMERG, TRMM 3B42, TRMM 3B42-RT, PERSIANN, PERSIANN-CCS, PERSIANN-CDR against 15+ years of observed rainfall data with the use of several indices. Four Continuous Evaluation Indices (CEI) such as Root Mean Square Error (RMSE), Percentage Bias (PBIAS), Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient (r), and Nash Sutcliffe Efficiency (NSE) were used to evaluate the accuracy of SRPs and four Categorical Indices (CI) namely, Probability of Detection (POD), Critical Success Index (CSI), False Alarm Ratio (FAR) and Proportion Correct (PC) was used to evaluate the detection and prediction accuracy of the SRPs. Then, the Mann–Kendall Test (MK test) was used to identify trends in the datasets and Theil’s and Sens Slope Estimator to quantify the trends observed. The study of categorical indicators yielded varying findings, with TRMM-3B42 performing well in the dry zone and IMERG doing well in the wet zone and intermediate zone of Sri Lanka. Regarding the CIs in the three basins, overall, IMERG was the most reliable. In general, all three basins had similar POD and PC findings. The SRPs, however, underperformed in the dry zone in terms of CSI and FAR. Similar findings were found in the CEI analysis, as IMERG gave top performance across the board for all four CEIs in the three basins. The three basins’ overall weakest performer was PERSIANN-CCS. The trend analysis revealed that there were very few significant trends in the observed data. Even when significant trends were apparent, the SRP projections seldom captured them. TRMM-3B42 RT had the best trend prediction performance. However, Sen’s slope analysis revealed that while the sense of the trend was properly anticipated, the amplitude of the prediction significantly differed from that of the observed data.

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Fish waste (FW) contains large amounts of protein and is a challenging feedstock for biogas production due to possible H₂S and ammonia generation. Adding FeCl3 to an anaerobic digester can precipitate H₂S. Mackinawite and greigite are conductive and magnetic substances formed from H₂S precipitation. Direct interspecies electron transfer (DIET) can be stimulated by developing these conductive materials and by applying an external magnetic force. In this study, FW was digested in batch reactors and exposed to magnets magnetic fields from 3 to 115 mT. The results showed that the use of magnetic fields could increase the biomethane yield by up to 36 %. XRD analyses showed that mackinawite and greigite were accumulating in the solid phase in digesters added FeCl3. Genetic analysis of the microbial community suggested that applying a magnetic field not only increased the relative abundance of protein-hydrolyzing bacteria but also potentially improved methane production through DIET.

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Barnyard grass [Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) Beauv] is a competitive C4 weed species that is widely distributed throughout the world. Although it originated in warm climatic conditions, currently, it is found in Europe as far north as Norway. This study aimed to compare the phenological development of plants from different climatic conditions in varying environmental conditions. To represent the contrasting climatic conditions within Europe, seeds were collected in Norway and Italy, and distributed to the study participants, to be sown at 10 different sites as two common populations. In addition to that, seeds of two to three local populations were collected near each of the sites. The development of the plants was monitored in a pot experiment set up under field conditions. The time to reach heading in the first year of the experiment was 77.6% faster (ranging from 45.9 to 98.3% on average) in the Norwegian than in the Italian population. However, in the leaf development stage, the difference between the common populations was smaller by, 23.5% on average (0–46.7%) and was mostly not significant. Our results indicate that different E. crus-galli ecotypes, characterized by differences in their phenological development, evolved within the distribution area of this species in Europe. However, the early development of the plants progressed with negligible differences between populations. The findings reported here can be used to adapt existing models from one region to regions with different climatic conditions for use in decision support systems and for research into plant population dynamics.

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Fishbones contain significant amounts of plant nutrients. Fish residues may be preserved by acidification to pH < 4, which may affect the chemical extractability, and the plant availability of nutrients when applied as fertilisers. Grinded bone material from cod (Gadus morhua) heads was mixed with formic acid to investigate if this would increase the concentrations of ammonium lactate–acetate (AL)-extractable nutrients. Two degrees of fineness of fishbones (coarse 2–4 mm; fine < 0.71 mm) were compared at pH 3.0 and 4.0 plus a water control in a laboratory study over 55 days. Samples for measurement of AL-extractable P, Ca, Mg and K were taken on day 2, 15, 34 and 55. Whereas more formic acid and thereby lower pH clearly increased the concentrations of AL-extractable calcium (Ca-AL) and magnesium (Mg-AL), AL-extractable phosphorus (P-AL) was only significantly increased in finely grinded bones at pH 3. After 34 days at pH 3, 6% of the total content of P was extracted by AL in fine fishbones. In the water control, about 1% of the P was extracted, possibly from phospholipids. This P-AL concentration was well above P-AL extracted from acidified coarse fishbones (pH 3 and 4) and from fine fishbones acidified to pH 4. With acidification, about 30% of total Ca and 100% of total Mg were extracted by AL, and the Ca-AL and Mg-AL concentrations were closely correlated. A possible reason for lower P-AL in coarse fishbones at pH 3 and 4, and in fine fishbones at pH 4 than in water controls may be a precipitation of apatite from phospholipids and dissolved calcium.

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Background Spring hunting for ducks (Lodden in Northern Sami) is part of the Sami hunting and trapping culture. In Norway, this traditional hunting has been permitted in Kautokeino Municipality in accordance with the exception provision in the Wildlife Act Section 15, with quotas for males of several duck species. However, hunting in the spring may be in conflict with the Nature Diversity Act's principle for species management, saying (quote from Section 15): “Unnecessary harm and suffering caused to animals occurring in the wild and their nests, lairs and burrows shall be avoided. Likewise, unnecessary pursuing of wildlife shall be avoided.” Furthermore, in accordance with international legislation and agreements, the Wildlife Act (Section 9) states that the hunting season should not be set to the nesting and breeding season for the species in question. The Norwegian Environment Agency (NEA) asked VKM to (1) assess risk and risk-reducing measures on biodiversity and animal welfare when conducting spring hunting of ducks. The terms of reference were additionally clarified by the NEA to include assessments of the risks associated with hunting quotas of up to 150, 300, and 500 male individuals, on the populations of mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), tufted duck (Aythya fuligula), velvet scoter (Melanitta fusca), common scoter (Melanitta nigra), long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis), and red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator). VKM was furthermore asked to (2) point out risk-reducing measures in scenarios with hunting bags corresponding to the mentioned quotas of all the six species. Method VKM appointed a project group to answer the request from NEA and assess the risks to biodiversity and animal welfare posed by spring hunting for adult male ducks. The project group narrowed down the scope of the biodiversity risk assessment to encompass risks for local populations of six target species: mallard, tufted duck, velvet scoter, common scoter, long-tailed duck, and red-breasted merganser, and non-target migratory waterbirds. Negative impacts on biodiversity was defined as negative effects on population viability. The VKM project group gathered data from publications retrieved from literature searches and reports from Kautokeino municipality to the Finnmark Estate (Finnmarkseiendommen), which were made available to the group by the Norwegian Environment Agency. Hunting statistics were acquired from Statistics Norway (Statistisk sentralbyrå; SSB). During the assessment, several critical knowledge gaps and uncertainties were identified. The main obstacle for assessment of the impact of spring hunting on viability of local populations in Kautokeino, is the lack of data on relevant population sizes and demographic rates for the six target species. The available population estimates are partly based on almost 30-year-old bird counts. In addition, knowledge about spatial and temporal distributions of each species, combined with local or remote-sensed data on ice breakup, is needed to estimate the proportion of the population being effectively hunted in early spring when ducks are congregating on available ice-free waters. Such knowledge, combined with information about where, when, how and by how many hunters the hunting is performed, is also critical for sound assessments of risk to biodiversity and harm to bird welfare. Improved data on hunting bags (reliable, spatially explicit, and detailed) and frequency of wounding and crippling is also needed to provide accurate assessments. The project group performed modelling of harvest scenarios for a range of conditions (e.g., number of birds harvested, reduced breeding success caused by indirect effects of disturbance, environmental stochasticity, and spatial variation in habitat) to assess how sensitive the populations are to different parameters and model assumptions. ..............................

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SiTree is a flexible, cross-platform, open-source framework for individual-tree simulators intended to facilitate accurate and flexible analyses of forest growth and yield, or more generally forest dynamics simulations. SiTree provides generic functionality to build customized individual-tree simulators using additional user-written code. In the forestry literature there are a wide variety of individual models that describe the different parts of forest growth and dynamics and new models are continuously developed and published. The aim of SiTree is to provide a broad community of R-users within forestry with an easily adaptable individual-tree simulator framework and an easily accessible tool for testing and combining new and existing models describing parts of forest growth dynamics.

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The latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG) is one of the most recognized global patterns of species richness exhibited across a wide range of taxa. Numerous hypotheses have been proposed in the past two centuries to explain LDG, but rigorous tests of the drivers of LDGs have been limited by a lack of high-quality global species richness data. Here we produce a high-resolution (0.025° × 0.025°) map of local tree species richness using a global forest inventory database with individual tree information and local biophysical characteristics from ~1.3 million sample plots. We then quantify drivers of local tree species richness patterns across latitudes. Generally, annual mean temperature was a dominant predictor of tree species richness, which is most consistent with the metabolic theory of biodiversity (MTB). However, MTB underestimated LDG in the tropics, where high species richness was also moderated by topographic, soil and anthropogenic factors operating at local scales. Given that local landscape variables operate synergistically with bioclimatic factors in shaping the global LDG pattern, we suggest that MTB be extended to account for co-limitation by subordinate drivers.

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Water table conditions in drained peatlands affect peat decomposition, fluvial carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, and plant growth in oil palm plantations. This study illustrates the spatial heterogeneity of soil moisture profiles in cultivated tropical peat under oil palm plantation and uncultivated secondary forest, using maps. At a study plot under each land use the geographical coordinates of sampling points, tree locations and other features were recorded. Peat soil samples were taken at depths of 0–50 cm, 50–100 cm, 100–150 cm and 150–200 cm, and their moisture contents were determined. Overall, soil moisture content was higher in secondary forest than in oil palm plantation due to land management activities such as drainage and peat compaction in the latter. Significant differences were observed between the topsoil (0–50 cm) and deeper soil layers under both land uses. Soil moisture maps of the study plots interpolated using geographical information system (GIS) software were used to visualise the spatial distributions of moisture content in soil layers at different depths (0–50 cm, 50–100 cm, 100–150 cm, 150–200 cm). Moisture content in the 0–50 cm soil layer appeared to be inversely related to elevation, but the correlation was not statistically significant. On the other hand, there was a significant positive correlation between soil moisture content and the diameters of oil palm trunks. Palm trees with negative growth of trunk diameter were mostly located in subplots which were relatively dry and/or located near drains. The results of this study indicate that soil moisture mapping using GIS could be a useful tool in improving the management of peatland to promote oil palm growth.

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Zoogenic faecal contamination of the environment is one of the indices included in the evaluation of ecological threats, health hazards and adverse impacts on various ecosystems. The risks and environmental concerns are associated with the fact that faeces of wild and domesticated animals constitute the largest source of environmental loading of enteropathogens associated with transmission of zoonotic diseases (enteric zoonoses). Although sick animals are more likely to transmit pathogens, healthy ones can also be the carriers and defecate them into the environment. This is of particular importance given the close human-animal interactions and health effects resulting from human and ecological exposures to faecal hazards from companion and farm animals. We have therefore set out to investigate whether healthy equines can carry and defecate human infectious pathogens. For this purpose, we set up a pilot study to examine the faecal DNA of horses using culture-independent molecular diagnostics – fluorescent probe-based quantitative real-time PCR. Our results revealed that among a total of 23 horses, 6 were found to carry Campylobacter jejuni (C. jejuni), and 5 had Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium). Moreover, Enterococcus faecalis (E. faecalis) was found in 14 horses, while 19 were positive for Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens). Furthermore, the frequently reported protozoan parasites in livestock, Cryptosporidium parvum (C. parvum) and Giardia lamblia (G. lamblia), were discovered in 8 and 7 samples, respectively. This pilot study shed new light on the phenomenon of healthy horses carrying C. jejuni and other human-health-related enteropathogens.

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Planted filters are often used to remove pesticides from runoff water. However, the detailed fate of pesticides in the planted filters still remains elusive. This hampers an accurate assessment of environmental risks of the pesticides related to their fate and thereby development of proper mitigation strategies. In addition, a test system for the chemical fate analysis including plants and in particular for planted filters is not well established yet. Therefore, we developed a microcosm test to simulate the fate of pesticide in planted filters, and applied 2-13C,15N-glyphosate as a model pesticide. The fate of 2-13C,15N-glyphosate in the planted microcosms over 31 day-incubation period was balanced and compared with that in the unplanted microcosms. The mass balance of 2-13C,15N-glyphosate turnover included 13C mineralization, degradation products, and the 13C and 15N incorporation into the rhizosphere microbial biomass and plants. We observed high removal of glyphosate (> 88%) from the water mainly due to adsorption on gravel in both microcosms. More glyphosate was degraded in the planted microcosms with 4.1% of 13C being mineralized, 1.5% of 13C and 3.8% of 15N being incorporated into microbial biomass. In the unplanted microcosms, 1.1% of 13C from 2-13C,15N-glyphosate was mineralized, and only 0.2% of 13C and 0.1% of 15N were assimilated into microbial biomass. The total recovery of 13C and 15N was 81% and 85% in planted microcosms, and 91% and 93% in unplanted counterparts, respectively. The microcosm test was thus proven to be feasible for mass balance assessments of the fate of non-volatile chemicals in planted filters. The results of such studies could help better manage and design planted filters for pesticide removal.

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Plant selection for rain gardens along streets and roads in cold climates can be complicated, as the plants are subjected to combined stresses including periodic inundation, de-icing salts, road dust, splashes of water from the road, freezing and thawing of soil, and periods with ice cover during the winter. The purpose of this study was to identify species suited to grow in these conditions and determine their optimal placement within roadside rain gardens. Thirty-one herbaceous perennial species and cultivars were planted in real-scale rain gardens in a street in Drammen (Norway) with supplemental irrigation, and their progress was recorded during the following three growing seasons. The study highlights considerable differences between species’ adaptation to roadside rain gardens in cold climates, especially closest to the road. Some candidate species/cultivars had a high survival rate in all rain garden positions and were developed well. These were: Amsonia tabernaemontana, Baptisia australis, Calamagrostis × acutiflora ‘Overdam’, Hemerocallis ‘Camden Gold Dollar’, Hemerocallis ‘Sovereign’, Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus, Hosta ‘Sum & Substance’, Iris pseudacorus and Liatris spicata ‘Floristan Weiss’. Other species/cultivars appeared to adapt only to certain parts of the rain garden or had medium tolerance. These were: Calamagrostis brachytricha, Carex muskingumensis, Eurybia × herveyi ‘Twilight’, Hakonechloa macra, Hosta ‘Francee’, Hosta ‘Striptease’, Liatris spicata ‘Alba’, Lythrum salicaria ‘Ziegeunerblut’, Molinia caerulea ‘Moorhexe’, Molinia caerulea ‘Overdam’, and Sesleria autumnalis. Species/cultivars that showed high mortality and poor development at all rain garden positions should be avoided in roadside cold climate rain gardens. These include Amsonia orientalis, Aster incisus ‘Madiva’, Astilbe chinensis var. tacquettii ‘Purpurlanze’, Chelone obliqua, Dryopteris filix-mas, Eurybia divaricata, Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Helenium ‘Pumilum Magnificum’, Luzula sylvatica, Polygonatum multiflorum and Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Apollo’. The study also found considerable differences between cultivars within the same species, especially for Hosta cvv. and Liatris spicata. Further investigations are needed to identify the cultivars with the best adaption to roadside rain gardens in cold climates.

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The remote sensing of the biophysical and biochemical parameters of crops facilitates the preparation of application maps for variable-rate nitrogen fertilization. According to comparative studies of machine learning algorithms, Gaussian process regression (GPR) can outperform more popular methods in the prediction of crop status from hyperspectral data. The present study evaluates GPR model accuracy in the context of spring wheat dry matter, nitrogen content, and nitrogen uptake estimation. Models with the squared exponential covariance function were trained on images from two hyperspectral cameras (a frenchFabry–Pérot interferometer camera and a push-broom scanner). The most accurate predictions were obtained for nitrogen uptake (R2=0.75–0.85, RPDP=2.0–2.6). Modifications of the basic workflow were then evaluated: the removal of soil pixels from the images prior to the training, data fusion with apparent soil electrical conductivity measurements, and replacing the Euclidean distance in the GPR covariance function with the spectral angle distance. Of these, the data fusion improved the performance while predicting nitrogen uptake and nitrogen content. The estimation accuracy of the latter parameter varied considerably across the two hyperspectral cameras. Satisfactory nitrogen content predictions (R2>0.8, RPDP>2.4) were obtained only in the data-fusion scenario, and only with a high spectral resolution push-broom device capable of capturing longer wavelengths, up to 1000 nm, while the full-frame camera spectral limit was 790 nm. The prediction performance and uncertainty metrics indicated the suitability of the models for precision agriculture applications. Moreover, the spatial patterns that emerged in the generated crop parameter maps accurately reflected the fertilization levels applied across the experimental area as well as the background variation of the abiotic growth conditions, further corroborating this conclusion.

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Light exposure of potatoes induces formation of both chlorophyll (greening) and of toxic glycoalkaloids (GAs). Greening leads to rejection by consumers and thus to food waste and economic loss. The aim of this study was to (1) study light sensitivity with respect to colour changes and GA development for different Norwegian grown potato cultivars stored at 20 °C and (2) evaluate the light protective effect of selected packaging materials on colour development in cv. Folva at 6 °C and 20 °C. Potatoes of seven cultivars were stored under LED illumination for 4 days at 20 °C. Changes in colour were measured during storage by Minolta Chroma meter and by visually assessing the limit for unacceptable change of colour. The tested cultivars became unacceptable at different times (24–60 h) and differed both in absolute colour values and relative changes of values. The levels of total glycoalkaloids in cultivars with and without light exposure did not correspond well to the changes in colour. Potatoes of cultivar Folva were packaged in materials with different light barrier properties, followed by LED illumination for 4 days at 20 °C and 18 days at 6 °C. None of the tested packaging types provided sufficient protection from light. All potatoes at 20 °C were unacceptably green after 2 days in light (16 h/day) while the potatoes at 6 °C were unacceptably green after 9 days. Packaging material for potatoes cv. Folva should aim for a total light transmittance below 0.02 W/m2 to avoid development of green colour during light exposure at 20 °C in grocery stores.

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The reported annual temperature increase and significant precipitation drop in Armenia impact the country’s ecosystems and biodiversity. The present study surveyed the geographical distribution of the local wild beet species under the ongoing climate change conditions. We showed that B. lomatogona, B. corolliflora and B. macrorhiza are sensitive to climate change and were affected to various degrees, depending on their location. The most affected species was B. lomatogona, which is at the verge of extinction. Migration for ca. 90 and 200–300 m up the mountain belt was recorded for B. lomatogona and B. macrorhiza, respectively. B. corolliflora was found at 100–150 m lower altitudes than in the 1980s. A general reduction in the beet’s population size in the native habitats was observed, with an increased number of plants within the populations, recorded for B. corolliflora and B. macrorhiza. A new natural hybrid Beta x intermedium Aloyan between B. corolliflora and B. macrorhiza was described and confirmed using chloroplast DNA trnL-trnF intergenic spacer (LF) and partially sequenced alcohol dehydrogenase (adh) of nuclear DNA. An overview of the wild beets reported in Armenia with the taxonomic background, morphological features, and distribution is provided. Conservation measures for preservation of these genetic resources are presented.

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Background: Gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) control is traditionally achieved with the use of anthelmintic drugs, however due to regulations in organic farming and the rise in anthelmintic resistance, alternatives are sought after. A promising alternative is the use of bioactive plant feeding due to the presence of plant secondary metabolites (PSMs) such as proanthocyanidins (PAs). This study focussed on the perennial shrub heather (Ericaceae family), a plant rich in PAs, highly abundant across Europe and with previously demonstrated anthelmintic potential. Methods: In vitro assays were used to investigate heather’s anthelmintic efficacy against egg hatching and larval motility. Heather samples were collected from five European countries across two seasons, and extracts were tested against two GIN species: Teladorsagia circumcincta and Trichostrongylus colubriformis. Polyphenol group‑specific ultraperformance liquid chromatography‑tandem mass spectrometry analysis was performed to identify relevant polyphenol subgroups present, including the PA concentration and size and ratio of the subunits. Partial least squares analysis was performed to associate efficacy with variation in PSM composition. Results: Heather extracts reduced egg hatching of both GIN species in a dose‑dependent manner by up to 100%, while three extracts at the highest concentration (10 mg/ml) reduced larval motility to levels that were not signifi‑ cantly different from dead larvae controls. PAs, particularly the procyanidin type, and flavonol derivatives were associ‑ ated with anthelmintic activity, and the particular subgroup of polyphenols associated with the efficacy was depend‑ ent on the GIN species and life stage. Conclusions: Our results provide in vitro evidence that heather, a widely available plant often managed as a weed in grazing systems, has anthelmintic properties attributed to various groups of PSMs and could contribute to sustainable GIN control in ruminant production systems across Europe.

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Host-specialist parasites of endangered large vertebrates are in many cases more endangered than their hosts. In particular, low host population densities and reduced among-host transmission rates are expected to lead to inbreeding within parasite infrapopulations living on single host individuals. Furthermore, spatial population structures of directly-transmitted parasites should be concordant with those of their hosts. Using population genomic approaches, we investigated inbreeding and population structure in a host-specialist seal louse (Echinophthirius horridus) infesting the Saimaa ringed seal (Phoca hispida saimensis), which is endemic to Lake Saimaa in Finland, and is one of the most endangered pinnipeds in the world. We conducted genome resequencing of pairs of lice collected from 18 individual Saimaa ringed seals throughout the Lake Saimaa complex. Our analyses showed high genetic similarity and inbreeding between lice inhabiting the same individual seal host, indicating low among-host transmission rates. Across the lake, genetic differentiation among individual lice was correlated with their geographic distance, and assignment analyses revealed a marked break in the genetic variation of the lice in the middle of the lake, indicating substantial population structure. These findings indicate that movements of Saimaa ringed seals across the main breeding areas of the fragmented Lake Saimaa complex may in fact be more restricted than suggested by previous population-genetic analyses of the seals themselves.

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The Pasvik River experiences chemical, physical, and biological stressors due to the direct discharges of domestic sewage from settlements located within the catchment and runoff from smelter and mine wastes. Sediments, as a natural repository of organic matter and associated contaminants, are of global concern for the possible release of pollutants in the water column, with detrimental effects on aquatic organisms. The present study was aimed at characterizing the riverine benthic microbial community and evaluating its ecological role in relation to the contamination level. Sediments were sampled along the river during two contrasting environmental periods (i.e., beginning and ongoing phases of ice melting). Microbial enzymatic activities, cell abundance, and morphological traits were evaluated, along with the phylogenetic community composition. Amplified 16S rRNA genes from bacteria were sequenced using a next-generation approach. Sediments were also analyzed for a variety of chemical features, namely particulate material characteristics and concentration of polychlorobiphenyls, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and pesticides. Riverine and brackish sites did not affect the microbial community in terms of main phylogenetic diversity (at phylum level), morphometry, enzymatic activities, and abundance. Instead, bacterial diversity in the river sediments appeared to be influenced by the micro-niche conditions, with differences in the relative abundance of selected taxa. In particular, our results highlighted the occurrence of bacterial taxa directly involved in the C, Fe, and N cycles, as well as in the degradation of organic pollutants and toxic compounds.

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The European Union (EU) Water Framework Directive is of paramount importance for water management. According to the legal text, coordination with other directives like the Floods Directive is imperative and motivated by potential synergy effects. In this paper, the degree to which such coordination is achieved is evaluated for five Nordic and Baltic countries. The evaluation is based on legal documents, management plans, as well as on organizational structure in the five countries. The results show that the coordination between the Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive (or flood management for Norway's case), have been successful for Estonia and Lithuania, whereas Norway, Finland, and especially Sweden need to improve more.

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Raspberries are considered valuable fruits due to their high levels of nutrients and phytochemicals, which have many beneficial effects on humans. As many external factors affect the composition of these fruits (the type of cultivation, soil characteristics, ripeness, storage time and post-harvest technologies, cultivar/genotype, and climatic conditions), the goal of this study was to analyze different raspberry cultivars grown in Norway. Considering that Norway is a country with specific climatic conditions, as well as has a limited period of fruit vegetation, another important goal of this study was also to compare raspberries from different Norwegian areas, as well as different grown cultivars. Modern analytical techniques, such as high-performance anion-exchange liquid chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection (HPEAC-PAD), ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detector coupled to triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (UHPLC-DAD MS/MS), and inductively coupled plasma–optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES), provided a detailed examination of the raspberry extract samples. Based on their high levels of minerals (especially N, P, and K), organic acids (predominantly citric and malic acids), sugars (glucose, fructose, sucrose, and galactose), and polyphenols (ellagic acid, syringic acid, quercetin, and rutin), Norwegian raspberries could be considered fruits with increased health-beneficial compounds. The chemical composition of the studied cultivars depended on the locality of growth.

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At times of crisis, home gardening has often been sought out as a potential solution for threats to food security and as a measure to increase socio-psychological effects, such as public sense of self-efficacy, trust in the government and care for one’s wellbeing. The objective of this study was to investigate if home gardening increased during the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring/summer of 2020 and to provide socio-psychological insights into the explanatory factors of such an increase. An explanatory theoretical model of home gardening was proposed and tested to analyse whether home gardening is correlated to food security concerns, and if so, to what extent. A non-representative survey was conducted in five European countries (Slovenia, Norway, Estonia, Switzerland, and Iceland) using snowball sampling via social media networks, reaching 1144 participants. The results showed the pandemic did prove to be an important psychological push towards home gardening prompted by food security concerns. Measured as loose as introducing at least one new gardening activity during COVID-19, this study found an approximately 10% increase in home gardening during the first wave of COVID-19 in the sample population, which was skewed towards educated, female, middle-class Europeans.

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Digestate, a by-product from anaerobic digestion of organic materials such as animal manure, is considered a suitable plant fertilizer. However, due to its bulkiness and low economic value, it is costly to transport over long distances and store for long periods. Refinement processes to valorize digestate and facilitate its handling as a fertilizer include precipitation of phosphorus-rich mineral compounds, such as struvite and calcium phosphates, membrane filtration methods that concentrate plant nutrients in organic products, and carbonization processes. However, phosphorus retention efficiency in output products from these processes can vary considerably depending on technological settings and characteristics of the digestate feedstock. The effects of phosphorus in plant fertilizers (including those analogous or comparable to refined digestate products) on agronomic productivity have been evaluated in multiple experiments. In this review, we synthesized knowledge about different refinement methods for manure-based digestate as a means to produce phosphorus fertilizers, thereby providing the potential to increase phosphorus retention in the food production chain, by combining information about phosphorus flows in digestate refinement studies and agronomic fertilizer studies. It was also sought to identify the range, uncertainty, and potential retention efficiency by agricultural crops of the original phosphorus amount in manure-based digestate. Refinement chains with solid/wet phase separation followed by struvite or calcium phosphate precipitation or membrane filtration of the wet phase and carbonization treatments of the solid phase were included. Several methods with high potential to extract phosphorus from manure-based wet phase digestate in such a way that it could be used as an efficient plant fertilizer were identified, with struvite precipitation being the most promising method. Synthesis of results from digestate refinement studies and agronomic fertilizer experiments did not support the hypothesis that solid/wet separation followed by struvite precipitation, or any other refinement combination, results in higher phosphorus retention than found for unrefined digestate. Further studies are needed on the use of the phosphorus in the solid phase digestate, primarily on phosphorus-rich soils representative of animal-dense regions, to increase understanding of the role of digestate refinement (particularly struvite precipitation) in phosphorus recycling in agricultural systems.

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The greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in the European Union (EU) are mainly caused by human activity from five sectors—power, industry, transport, buildings, and agriculture. To tackle all these challenges, the EU actions and policies have been encouraging initiatives focusing on a holistic approach but these initiatives are not enough coordinated and connected to reach the much needed impact. To strengthen the important role of regions in climate actions, and stimulate wide stakeholders’ engagement including citizens, a conceptual framework for enabling rapid and far-reaching climate actions through multi-sectoral regional adaptation pathways is hereby developed. The target audience for this framework is composed by regional policy makers, developers and fellow scientists. The scale of the framework emphasizes the regional function as an important meeting point and delivery arena for European and national climate strategies and objectives both at urban and rural level. The framework is based on transformative and no-regret measures, prioritizing the Key Community Systems (KCS) that most urgently need to be protected from climate impacts and risks.

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River meandering and anabranching have become major problems in many large rivers that carry significant amounts of sediment worldwide. The morphodynamics of these rivers are complex due to the temporal variation of flows. However, the availability of remote sensing data and geographic information systems (GISs) provides the opportunity to analyze the morphological changes in river systems both quantitatively and qualitatively. The present study investigated the temporal changes in the river morphology of the Deduru Oya (river) in Sri Lanka, which is a meandering river. The study covered a period of 32 years (1989 to 2021), using Landsat satellite data and the QGIS platform. Cloud-free Landsat 5 and Landsat 8 satellite images were extracted and processed to extract the river mask. The centerline of the river was generated using the extracted river mask, with the support of semi-automated digitizing software (WebPlotDigitizer). Freely available QGIS was used to investigate the temporal variation of river migration. The results of the study demonstrated that, over the past three decades, both the bend curvatures and the river migration rates of the meandering bends have generally increased with time. In addition, it was found that a higher number of meandering bends could be observed in the lower (most downstream) and the middle parts of the selected river segment. The current analysis indicates that the Deduru Oya has undergone considerable changes in its curvature and migration rates.

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Hydrologic models are indispensable tools for water resource planning and management. Accurate model predictions are critical for better water resource development and management decisions. Single-site model calibration and calibrating a watershed model at the watershed outlet are commonly adopted strategies. In the present study, for the first time, a multi-site calibration for the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) in the Kelani River Basin with a catchment area of about 2340 km2 was carried out. The SWAT model was calibrated at five streamflow gauging stations, Deraniyagala, Kithulgala, Holombuwa, Glencourse, and Hanwella, with drainage areas of 183, 383, 155, 1463, and 1782 km2, respectively, using three distinct calibration strategies. These strategies were, utilizing (1) data from downstream and (2) data from upstream, both categorized here as single-site calibration, and (3) data from downstream and upstream (multi-site calibration). Considering the performance of the model during the calibration period, which was examined using the statistical indices R2 and NSE, the model performance at Holombuwa was upgraded from “good” to “very good” with the multi-site calibration technique. Simultaneously, the PBIAS at Hanwella and Kithulgala improved from “unsatisfactory” to “satisfactory” and “satisfactory” to “good” model performance, while the RSR improved from “good” to “very good” model performance at Deraniyagala, indicating the innovative multi-site calibration approach demonstrated a significant improvement in the results. Hence, this study will provide valuable insights for hydrological modelers to determine the most appropriate calibration strategy for their large-scale watersheds, considering the spatial variation of the watershed characteristics, thereby reducing the uncertainty in hydrologic predictions.

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Transpiration makes up the bulk of total evaporation in forested environments yet remains challenging to predict at landscape-to-global scales. We harnessed independent estimates of daily transpiration derived from co-located sap flow and eddy-covariance measurement systems and applied the triple collocation technique to evaluate predictions from big leaf models requiring no calibration. In total, four models in 608 unique configurations were evaluated at 21 forested sites spanning a wide diversity of biophysical attributes and environmental backgrounds. We found that simpler models that neither explicitly represented aerodynamic forcing nor canopy conductance achieved higher accuracy and signal-to-noise levels when optimally configured (rRMSE = 20%; R2 = 0.89). Irrespective of model type, optimal configurations were those making use of key plant functional type dependent parameters, daily LAI, and constraints based on atmospheric moisture demand over soil moisture supply. Our findings have implications for more informed water resource management based on hydrological modeling and remote sensing.

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Heterogeneity of structure can increase mechanical stability, stress resistance and resilience, biodiversity and many other functions and services of forest stands. That is why many silvicultural measures aim at enhancing structural diversity. However, the effectiveness and potential of structuring may depend on the site conditions. Here, we revealed how the stand structure is determined by site quality and results from site-dependent partitioning of growth and mortality among the trees. We based our study on 90 mature, even-aged, fully stocked monocultures of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) sampled in 21 countries along a productivity gradient across Europe. A mini-simulation study further analyzed the site-dependency of the interplay between growth and mortality and the resulting stand structure. The overarching hypothesis was that the stand structure changes with site quality and results from the site-dependent asymmetry of competition and mortality. First, we show that Scots pine stands structure across Europe become more homogeneous with increasing site quality. The coefficient of variation and Gini coefficient of stem diameter and tree height continuously decreased, whereas Stand Density Index and stand basal area increased with site index. Second, we reveal a site-dependency of the growth distribution among the trees and the mortality. With increasing site index, the asymmetry of both competition and growth distribution increased and suggested, at first glance, an increase in stand heterogeneity. However, with increasing site index, mortality eliminates mainly small instead of all-sized trees, cancels the size variation and reduces the structural heterogeneity. Third, we modelled the site-dependent interplay between growth partitioning and mortality. By scenario runs for different site conditions, we can show how the site-dependent structure at the stand level emerges from the asymmetric competition and mortality at the tree level and how the interplay changes with increasing site quality across Europe. Our most interesting finding was that the growth partitioning became more asymmetric and structuring with increasing site quality, but that the mortality eliminated predominantly small trees, reduced their size variation and thus reversed the impact of site quality on the structure. Finally, the reverse effects of mode of growth partitioning and mortality on the stand structure resulted in the highest size variation on poor sites and decreased structural heterogeneity with increasing site quality. Since our results indicate where heterogeneous structures need silviculture interventions and where they emerge naturally, we conclude that these findings may improve system understanding and modelling and guide forest management aiming at structurally rich forests.

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Many forestry roles have changed from being manual tasks with a high physical workload to being a machine operator task with a high mental workload. Automation can support a decrease in mental fatigue by removing tasks that are repetitive and monotonous for the operators. Cable yarding presents an ideal opportunity for early adoption of automation technology; specifically the carriage movement along a defined corridor. A Valentini V-850 cable yarder was used in an Italian harvesting setting, in order to gauge the ergonomic benefit of carriage control automation. The study showed that automating yarder carriage movements improved the ergonomic situation of the workers directly involved in the related primary tasks. However, the caveat is that improving one work task may negatively affect the other work tasks, and therefore introducing automation to a worksite must be done after considering all impacts on the whole system. Practitioner summary: Automation decreased the winch operator’s mental workload while improving overall productivity. At the same time, the mental and physiological workload of the operator tasked with bucking were slightly increased. Ideally, winch automation should be coupled with bucking mechanisation to balance the intervention and boost both operator well-being and productivity.

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Despite the importance of vegetation uptake of atmospheric gaseous elemental mercury (Hg(0)) within the global Hg cycle, little knowledge exists on the physiological, climatic, and geographic factors controlling stomatal uptake of atmospheric Hg(0) by tree foliage. We investigate controls on foliar stomatal Hg(0) uptake by combining Hg measurements of 3569 foliage samples across Europe with data on tree species' traits and environmental conditions. To account for foliar Hg accumulation over time, we normalized foliar Hg concentration over the foliar life period from the simulated start of the growing season to sample harvest. The most relevant parameter impacting daily foliar stomatal Hg uptake was tree functional group (deciduous versus coniferous trees). On average, we measured 3.2 times higher daily foliar stomatal Hg uptake rates in deciduous leaves than in coniferous needles of the same age. Across tree species, for foliage of beech and fir, and at two out of three forest plots with more than 20 samples, we found a significant (p<0.001) increase in foliar Hg values with respective leaf nitrogen concentrations. We therefore suggest that foliar stomatal Hg uptake is controlled by tree functional traits with uptake rates increasing from low to high nutrient content representing low to high physiological activity. For pine and spruce needles, we detected a significant linear decrease in daily foliar stomatal Hg uptake with the proportion of time during which water vapor pressure deficit (VPD) exceeded the species-specific threshold values of 1.2 and 3 kPa, respectively. The proportion of time within the growing season during which surface soil water content (ERA5-Land) in the region of forest plots was low correlated negatively with foliar Hg uptake rates of beech and pine. These findings suggest that stomatal uptake of atmospheric Hg(0) is inhibited under high VPD conditions and/or low soil water content due to the regulation of stomatal conductance to reduce water loss under dry conditions. Other parameters associated with forest sampling sites (latitude and altitude), sampled trees (average age and diameter at breast height), or regional satellite-observation-based transpiration product (Global Land Evaporation Amsterdam Model: GLEAM) did not significantly correlate with daily foliar Hg uptake rates. We conclude that tree physiological activity and stomatal response to VPD and soil water content should be implemented in a stomatal Hg model to assess future Hg cycling under different anthropogenic emission scenarios and global warming.

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Aim: In this study, we tested plant community-based management methods to reduce the abundance of the invasive native plant Jacobaea aquatica (marsh ragwort). As J. aquatica mainly occurs in species-rich wet grasslands, our aim was to define management measures that do not reduce the conservation value of the resident communities. Location: Data were collected from 20 independent sites which varied in productivity and management intensity across the pre-alpine Allgäu region (South Germany). Methods: We monitored effects of temporary abandonment and decreased mowing intensity in very low- and low-productive sites, as well as of decreased mowing and fertilization at moderately productive sites. Abundances of J. aquatica and the co-occurring species were recorded at start and end of two experiments (2018–2021: very low- and low-productive conservation grasslands; 2017–2020: moderately productive agricultural grasslands), while functional traits data of all species were gathered from the literature and specific databases. Generalized linear mixed-effects models (GLMMs) were used to analyse the effects of management intensity on the abundance of J. aquatica, functional diversity and species richness of the resident communities. Results: At all productivity levels, the abundance of J. aquatica declined under reduced management. Changes in community composition and species richness of the resident community were less pronounced than the reduction of J. aquatica, but species richness declined under lowest management intensities. Thus, moderate reduction in management intensity provided the most benefits in terms of reduction of J. aquatica, and maintenance of species richness and composition of the resident plant community. Conclusions: Reducing management intensity in wet grasslands decreases the abundance of J. aquatica and thus is a suitable method to control this species. As plant community responses were only partially consistent, management plans must account for the productivity of invaded sites. To avoid negative effects on grassland biodiversity, only moderate suppression of J. aquatica is recommended.