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[en] Legal and policy initiatives to address the environmental dimensions of armed conflicts and their impact on people, ecosystems and sustainable development are highly dependent on the availability of environmental data from conflict-affected areas. Socio-political and security conditions in these areas often impede data collection, while traditional models of post-conflict environmental assessments are limited in scope. In response, an increasing range of actors is utilising remote sensing and open source data collection to identify and estimate health and ecological risks during and after conflicts. This paper considers the role of participatory citizen science methodologies in complementing both remote monitoring and post-conflict assessments. It examines existing models and mechanisms for environmental data collection and utilisation in conflict contexts, and the extent to which the core values and principles of citizen science are transferable. We find that ‘civilian science’ is feasible and could be well-suited to conflict conditions. In addition to addressing gaps in data collection, it may also empower communities affected by environmental degradation, enhance their environmental human rights, supplement the often limited monitoring capacity of governmental agencies and facilitate cooperation and peacebuilding. The paper concludes by proposing methodological approaches for three common forms of environmental degradation associated with armed conflicts.
[en] In this paper, 329 Landsat images combined with the Deeply Clear Water Extraction Index were applied to delineate boundaries of Hongjiannao Lake during 1986–2018. The net shoreline movement (NSM) and linear regression rate (LRR) achieved by Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS) were employed to depict the distance and rate change of lake shorelines. Based on the waterline method and lake boundaries, the water levels were derived from ASTER GDEM V2. Water volume variations were evaluated using the combination of lake area and water level. The variations in Hongjiannao Lake can be grouped into three stages: (i) The lake area, water level, and volume variations slightly declined from 57.25 km2, 1211.15 m, and − 0.0220 km3 in 1986 to 56.36 km2, 1210.66 m, and − 0.036 km3 in 1997, respectively. The average degradation distance (NSM) and rate (LRR) of lake shorelines were 74.26 m and 3.48 m/a, respectively. Although these three aspects slightly decreased, they maintained a stable high level due to stability of natural factors. (ii) A rapid decrease in these three aspects during 1998–2015 was expressed by rates of − 1.15 km2/a (the total decrease was − 21.72 km2), − 0.18 m/a (the total decrease was − 3.45 m), and − 0.0068 km3/a (the total decrease was − 0.1419 km3), respectively. The average shrinkage distance (NSM) and rate (LRR) of lake boundaries were 1049.35 m and 55.00 m/a, respectively, and gradually intensifying human activities were the leading factor. (iii) These three aspects increased from 31.75 km2, 1207.03 m, and − 0.1852 km3 in 2016 to 36.19 km2, 1207.23 m, and − 0.1883 km3, respectively, in 2018. The average enlargement distance (NSM) and rate (LRR) of lake shorelines were 196.87 m and 67.85 m/a, respectively, mainly caused by closing of small mines, sluicing activities, and increase in annual precipitation.
[en] We analyzed data from 1138 wetland sites across the conterminous United States (US) as part of the 2011 National Wetland Condition Assessment (NWCA) to investigate the response of indicators of wetland quality to indicators of human disturbance at regional and continental scales. The strength and nature of these relationships in wetlands have rarely been examined over large regions, due to the paucity of large-scale datasets. Wetland response indicators were a multimetric index of vegetation condition (VMMI), percent relative cover of alien plant species, soil lead and phosphorus, and water column total nitrogen and total phosphorus. Site-level disturbance indices were generated from field observations of disturbance types within a circular 140-m radius area around the sample point. Summary indices were calculated representing disturbances for ditching, damming, filling/erosion, hardening, vegetation replacement, and vegetation removal. Landscape-level disturbance associated with agricultural and urban land cover, roads, and human population were based on GIS data layers quantified in 200, 500, and 1000-m circular buffers around each sample point. Among these three buffer sizes, the landscape disturbance indicators were highly correlated and had similar relationships with the response indictors. Consequently, only the 1000-m buffer data were used for subsequent analyses. Disturbance-response models built using only landscape- or only site-level disturbance variables generally explained a small portion of the variance in the response variables (R2 < 0.2), whereas models using both types of disturbance data were better at predicting wetland responses. The VMMI was the response variable with the strongest relationship to the disturbances assessed in the NWCA (national model R2 = 0.251). National multiple regression models for the soil and water chemistry and percent alien cover responses to disturbance indices were not significant. The generally low percentage of significant models and the wide variation in predictor variables suggests that stressor-response relationships vary considerably across the diversity of wetland types and landscape settings found across the conterminous US. Logistic regression modeling was more informative, resulting in significant national and regional models predicting site presence/absence of alien species and/or the concentration of lead in wetland soils above background.
[en] The Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for selenium in the freshwater drainages to Newport Bay, California, is being developed based on selenium concentration in the tissues of fish and bird eggs. This paper demonstrates the use of fish mesocosms and monitoring results to facilitate the comparisons of selenium contamination across fish species and areas of the watershed with differing fish assemblages. In this watershed, mosquitofish dominate across all the small, upper watershed drainages while sunfish family species dominate in deeper, ponded reaches of the lower watershed. Mesocosms were used to hold mosquitofish in ponds where they did not occur to compare their concentrations of bioaccumulated selenium to the tissue selenium of resident bluegill sunfish of the same pond. The caged fish were allowed to bioaccumulate selenium over time to achieve tissue concentrations at equilibrium conditions to compare as a ratio to resident bluegill. Those results were compared to the ratio of tissue concentrations from a later sampling of the same pond when the two species were found to co-occur for the first time. The ratios were brought into agreement only after altering assumptions of time to achieve equilibrium in bioaccumulated selenium for the transplanted mosquitofish and extrapolation of the mesocosm results. The technique demonstrates important considerations for the use of mesocosms to facilitate comparisons between allopatric species in terms of selenium bioaccumulation. A careful consideration of trophic level of the caged fish was found to be critical in setting the total time of bioaccumulation as part of the experimental design needed to achieve equilibrium tissue concentrations.
[en] Our aim was to assess local population exposure to heavy metals resulting from soil and vegetable contamination in Tarnaveni, Romania, an area located near a former chemical factory. We collected residential soil and vegetable samples from Tarnaveni and measured chromium (Cr), lead (Pb), and manganese (Mn) levels by atomic absorption spectrometry. We evaluated the relationship between soil and vegetable metals and the distance from the shuttered chemical factory, and calculated the hazard index to assess local population metal exposure via contaminated vegetable ingestion. Soil metal concentrations ranged between 15.6 and 525.8 mg/kg for total Cr, between 25.4 and 559.5 mg/kg for Pb, and between 363.1 and 1389.6 mg/kg for Mn. We found average concentrations of 17.8 mg/kg for total Cr, 2.2 mg/kg for Pb, and 116.6 mg/kg for Mn in local vegetables. We found soil concentrations for all three metals that exceeded normal background levels according to Romanian regulations (Pb exceeded 100 mg/kg in some of the samples), as well as measurable concentrations of metals in all analyzed vegetable samples. These preliminary data underscore a need for a more extensive investigation into associated adverse health effects in the exposed population.
[en] The concept of green manufacturing is emerging as a means of enhancing a firm’s competitiveness through intelligent systems and process improvement to eliminate adverse effects on the environment. However, environmental performance (EPA) is challenging from the decision-making perspective because of difficulty determining and prioritising the proper factors that have significant effect on a firm’s EPA. This study was conducted with the objective of enhancing the effectiveness of the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) to assess EPA by integrating exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factory analysis to validate suitable criteria and sub-criteria. A questionnaire survey was employed as a tool to collect data from 341 managers of Thailand and Taiwan’s food industry and the AHP approach used for normalisation, ranking, and simulation of sensitivity analysis. The results obtained indicate that quality policy, quality assurance, and quality control, respectively, are the three most important factors in the measurement of EPA, whereas organisational support in innovativeness is assigned the lowest priority. Based on simulations for sensitivity analysis, the results can be applied to guide managers’ decisions in the course of steering their firms towards sustainable manufacturing.
[en] Subtropical scrub forests in Pakistan have diminished by about 75% over the last hundred years, mainly due to indiscriminate exploitation and invasion by exotics species. Lack of initiatives, awareness, and research in utilizing the techniques used for accelerating natural forest succession is resulting in further degradation of the remaining forests. To promote active restoration with local communities and governmental authorities, a restoration scheme was piloted between 2010 and 2016 to examine enrichment population effects. Over 4,000 saplings of two woody climax species, Acacia modesta and Olea ferruginea, raised from seeds of local provenance, were planted in three subjectively selected trial plots representing various stages of degradation, covering a total area of about 4 ha. The results showed an overall 46% survival rate, accompanied by natural regeneration. Comparative analyses of the trial plots have shown variations which were strongly site specific, in addition, it also helped in gauging compliance of the site coordinators in implementing restoration measures as an effective management tool. This study provided an opportunity to appreciate the differences in terms of interventions used for implementing ecological restoration across landscape in the degraded scrub forests.
[en] Land use conflict is a complex problem driven by a myriad of risk factors as a result of rapid socioeconomic development and urbanization. Analyzing the spatial characteristics of land use conflict and identifying its risk factors using statistical models will help us to better understand the causes and effects of the land use conflicts for sustainable management of the limited land resources under the pressure of rapid urbanization. In this study, regression models including multiple linear regression (MLR), spatial autoregressive (SAR), and geographically weighted regression (GWR) models were employed to identify risk factors for the land use spatial conflicts in the Urban Agglomeration around Hangzhou Bay (UAHB) of China in the past 25 years. Our results showed that the overall extent and the higher-level land use spatial conflicts were actually on the decline, and their spatial autocorrelation has been weakening in the UAHB. The key risk factors that mainly caused the land use spatial conflicts in the UHAB appeared to be different at the global and local scales. This knowledge should help urban managers and policymakers to be better informed when developing pertinent land use policies at the regional and local levels. This study also underlined the importance of considering spatial autocorrelation and scale effects when identifying the risk factors for land use spatial conflicts. The lessons learned from this particular context can be extended to other areas under rapid urbanization to assess and better manage their land resources for sustainable use. .
[en] In this paper, we explore the dynamics of surface runoff formation in an outdoor experimental plot, Cape Fear, by reporting the relationships among rainfall, runoff, and soil moisture for 101 rainfall-runoff events observed in the time span of more than five years (January 2014–March 2019). Cape Fear is a recently developed 7 × 7 m2 experimental plot that combines features from both small scale facilities and catchment-scale experimental hillslopes, thus leveraging observation of major hydrological variables at high temporal and spatial resolution. Despite the small dimension and simplicity of the plot, the relations among hydrological variables are unexpectedly quite spread. Experimental results seem to suggest that Cape Fear runoff response presents an increasing and non-linear relationship with rainfall, with a surface runoff coefficient increasing for higher rainfall. Direct runoff apparently increases with soil moisture, while initial abstraction seems not to be influenced by rainfall and is found to decrease with increasing soil moisture. Observations suggest that complex interactions between soil moisture conditions and rainfall pattern properties modulate the plot response.
[en] Human health is “at risk” from exposure to sub-lethal elemental occurrences at a local and or regional scale. This is of global concern as good-quality drinking water is a basic need for our wellbeing. In the present study, the “probability kriging,” a geostatistical method that has been used to predict the risk magnitude of the areas where the probability of dissolved mercury concentration (dHg) is higher than the World Health Organization (WHO) permissible limit. The method was applied to geochemical data of dHg concentration in 100 drinking groundwater samples of Lucknow monitoring area (1222 km2) located within the Ganga Alluvial Plain, India. Threefold (high to extreme risk) and twofold (moderate risk) higher dHg concentration values than the WHO permissible limit were observed in all of the groundwater samples. The generated prediction map using the probability kriging method shows that the probability of exceedance of dHg is the highest in the northwestern part of the Lucknow monitoring area due to anthropogenic interferences. The hotspots with high to very high probability are potentially alarming in the urban sector where 32.4% of the total population is residing in 6.8% of the total area. Interpolation of local estimates results in an easily readable and communicable human health risk map. It may help to consider substantial remediation measures for managing drinking water resources of the Ganga Alluvial Plain, which is among the anthropogenic mercury emission–dominated regions of the world.