Consejeria de Medio Ambiente

Santa Cruz de la Palma, Spain

Consejeria de Medio Ambiente

Santa Cruz de la Palma, Spain
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Waldmann-Selsam C.,Karl May Str. 48 | Breunig H.,Baumhofstr. 39 | Balmori A.,Consejeria de Medio Ambiente
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2016

In the last two decades, the deployment of phone masts around the world has taken place and, for many years, there has been a discussion in the scientific community about the possible environmental impact from mobile phone base stations. Trees have several advantages over animals as experimental subjects and the aim of this study was to verify whether there is a connection between unusual (generally unilateral) tree damage and radiofrequency exposure. To achieve this, a detailed long-term (2006–2015) field monitoring study was performed in the cities of Bamberg and Hallstadt (Germany). During monitoring, observations and photographic recordings of unusual or unexplainable tree damage were taken, alongside the measurement of electromagnetic radiation. In 2015 measurements of RF-EMF (Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields) were carried out. A polygon spanning both cities was chosen as the study site, where 144 measurements of the radiofrequency of electromagnetic fields were taken at a height of 1.5 m in streets and parks at different locations. By interpolation of the 144 measurement points, we were able to compile an electromagnetic map of the power flux density in Bamberg and Hallstadt. We selected 60 damaged trees, in addition to 30 randomly selected trees and 30 trees in low radiation areas (n = 120) in this polygon. The measurements of all trees revealed significant differences between the damaged side facing a phone mast and the opposite side, as well as differences between the exposed side of damaged trees and all other groups of trees in both sides. Thus, we found that side differences in measured values of power flux density corresponded to side differences in damage. The 30 selected trees in low radiation areas (no visual contact to any phone mast and power flux density under 50 μW/m2) showed no damage. Statistical analysis demonstrated that electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone masts is harmful for trees. These results are consistent with the fact that damage afflicted on trees by mobile phone towers usually start on one side, extending to the whole tree over time. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Panagopoulos D.J.,Greek National Center For Scientific Research | Panagopoulos D.J.,Radiation and Environmental Biophysics Research Center | Panagopoulos D.J.,National and Kapodistrian University of Athens | Balmori A.,Consejeria de Medio Ambiente
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2017

Atmospheric electrical discharges during thunderstorms, and the related electromagnetic fields (EMFs)/waves called sferics, can be sensed by humans at long distances through a variety of symptoms, mainly headache, fatigue, etc. Up to today there is no explanation for this association. Sferics consist of partially polarized electromagnetic pulses with an oscillating carrier signal in the very low frequency (VLF) band and a pulse repetition frequency in the extremely low frequency (ELF) band. Their ELF intensity may reach ~ 5 mV/m at global ranges, and ~ 0.5 V/m at ~ 1000 km from the lightning. The health symptoms associated with sferics are also associated with antennas of mobile telephony base stations and handsets, which emit radio frequency (RF) radiation pulsed on ELF, and expose humans at similar or stronger electric field intensities with sferics. According to the Ion Forced-Oscillation mechanism, polarized ELF EMFs of intensities down to 0.1–1 mV/m are able to disrupt any living cell's electrochemical balance and function by irregular gating of electro-sensitive ion channels on the cell membranes, and thus initiate a variety of health symptoms, while VLF EMFs need to be thousands of times stronger in order to be able to initiate health effects. We examine EMFs from sferics in terms of their bioactivity on the basis of this mechanism. We introduce the hypothesis that stronger atmospheric discharges may reasonably be considered to be ~ 70% along a straight line, and thus the associated EMFs (sferics) ~ 70% polarized. We find that sferics mainly in the ELF band have adequate intensity and polarization to cause biological/health effects. We provide explanation for the effects of sferics on human/animal health on the basis of this mechanism. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.

Dana E.D.,Egmasa Consejeria de Medio Ambiente | Lopez-Santiago J.,Egmasa Consejeria de Medio Ambiente | Garcia-de-Lomas J.,Egmasa Consejeria de Medio Ambiente | Garcia-Ocana D.M.,Egmasa Consejeria de Medio Ambiente | And 2 more authors.
Aquatic Invasions | Year: 2010

Pacifastacus leniusculus (an invasive species in European water bodies) was detected for the first time in the Andalusia Region (S. Spain) in the year 2000. Since 2005, a continuous control management programme has been carried out by the Environmental Regional Government. Management efforts aimed to reduce the population size, to contain the dispersal and reduce the probability of deliberate translocation into other rivers caused by illegal captures. A combination of techniques was used, including crayfish traps, manual removal from artificial refuges and electrofishing. In the 2005-2009 period, 31 374 specimens were captured. The mean catch rate per worker and day declined from 30.4 ± 3.2 specimens in the first year to 9.8 ± 1.7 in the fourth year, therefore suggesting a sharp decrease in population size. Summer was the period of mating and maximum yields, whereas minimum yields were obtained in Winter, coinciding with egg incubation in burrows. The results obtained and the experience gained will provide essential baseline information for the future management of non-native crayfish in the region. © 2010 The Author(s).

Lopez-Lopez P.,University of Valencia | Lopez-Lopez P.,Biodiversity Conservation Group | Ferrer M.,Biodiversity Conservation Group | Madero A.,Consejeria de Medio Ambiente | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Background: Man-induced mortality of birds caused by electrocution with poorly-designed pylons and power lines has been reported to be an important mortality factor that could become a major cause of population decline of one of the world rarest raptors, the Spanish imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti). Consequently it has resulted in an increasing awareness of this problem amongst land managers and the public at large, as well as increased research into the distribution of electrocution events and likely mitigation measures. Methodology/Principal Findings: We provide information of how mitigation measures implemented on a regional level under the conservation program of the Spanish imperial eagle have resulted in a positive shift of demographic trends in Spain. A 35 years temporal data set (1974-2009) on mortality of Spanish imperial eagle was recorded, including population censuses, and data on electrocution and non-electrocution of birds. Additional information was obtained from 32 radio-tracked young eagles and specific field surveys. Data were divided into two periods, before and after the approval of a regional regulation of power line design in 1990 which established mandatory rules aimed at minimizing or eliminating the negative impacts of power lines facilities on avian populations. Our results show how population size and the average annual percentage of population change have increased between the two periods, whereas the number of electrocuted birds has been reduced in spite of the continuous growing of the wiring network. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that solving bird electrocution is an affordable problem if political interest is shown and financial investment is made. The combination of an adequate spatial planning with a sustainable development of human infrastructures will contribute positively to the conservation of the Spanish imperial eagle and may underpin population growth and range expansion, with positive side effects on other endangered species. © 2011 López-López et al.

Santiago-Moreno J.,INIA | Gomez-Brunet A.,INIA | Toledano-Diaz A.,INIA | Salas-Vega R.,Consejeria de Medio Ambiente | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Endocrinology | Year: 2012

This work examines the effect of testosterone secretion and photoperiod on seasonal changes in horn growth and sperm variables in the Iberian ibex Capra pyrenaica, here used as a model for polygynous wild bovids. The hypothesis that high levels of testosterone provide an endocrine signal that inhibits horn growth in autumn was tested by assessing the effect of cyproterone acetate CA, an anti-androgen, administered in October - coinciding with the period of natural increases in plasma testosterone concentrations - under different photoperiodic conditions natural photoperiod and artificial long days. The persistence of horn growth during autumn in all ibexes held under the long-day photoperiodic conditions clearly shows that horn growth regulation in the mating season is primarily modulated by day length and not by a fall in testosterone concentration. A retrospectively designed second experiment involving testosterone propionate TP administration in April when horns are growing was then undertaken to confirm that high levels of testosterone do not inhibit horn growth. Overall, the results strongly suggest that the rise in testosterone secretion during the autumn mating season does not act as an endocrine signal for the arrest of horn growth, although the rate of horn growth before the mating season may be related to springtime testosterone levels. A direct relationship was seen between the rate of horn growth and the incidence of sperm abnormalities. Neither CA treatment in October nor TP administration in April affected the studied sperm variables. By contrast, CA treatment plus artificial long days in autumn had a negative effect on sperm motility and sperm morphology. © 2012 Society for Endocrinology.

Rubiales J.M.,Technical University of Madrid | Ezquerra J.,Consejeria de Medio Ambiente | Munoz Sobrino C.,University of Vigo | Genova M.M.,Technical University of Madrid | And 3 more authors.
Quaternary Science Reviews | Year: 2012

Macrofossils and megafossils of different genera, which were found in twelve localities in the mountains of northwest Iberia, provide spatially precise evidence of their distribution in the region during the Holocene. Macrofossils were recovered from mires, eroded peat bogs and lakes, identified by their wood anatomy and dated using radiocarbon methods. Conifers (Pinus), deciduous trees (Betula, Salix, Quercus) and shrubs (Erica, Fabaceae) were identified. The findings of Pinus gr. sylvestris/nigra have special biogeographical significance. The available palaeoecological data from the Cantabrian Range and nearby mountains (Ancares and Courel) indicate that pines have grown during the Holocene over the highlands of the western part of the Cantabrian Range area as a natural vegetation element. Nevertheless, Pinus sylvestris is the only pine species that is currently present in the Cantabrian Mountains, and its natural distribution area is now limited to a few enclaves. In this study, we provide a number of conclusive findings demonstrating that the past distribution of Pinus gr. sylvestris/nigra in this region suffered an important range contraction during the last two millennia. Historical data also support this idea, as they strongly suggest that this species survived well into the historical period. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Reque J.A.,University of Valladolid | Martin E.,Consejeria de Medio Ambiente
Forest Systems | Year: 2015

Aim of the study: a) To present the trial-and-error approach followed in the design and patent of a manufactured seed and seedling protector effective against mice and voles, rabbits, wild boar and deer ( b) To assess the viability of direct oak seeding with and without protection in the complex acorn predation reality of post fire restoration and under-planting in existing pine afforestations. Study area: Northern Plateau of Spain, in an area of extreme acorn predation. Material and methods: We followed a classical trial-and-error approach for problem solving. Different modifications to a wire mesh screen cylinder were tested in subsequent trials aiming to evaluate the effects on acorn predation and early emerging plant survival and growth. The final protector is based on a thin wire mesh cylinder with three innovations: a truncated cone, a circular crown and a sphere compartment. Further we assessed the viability of direct oak seeding with and without protection in the complex acorn predation reality of post fire restoration and underplanting in existing pine afforestations. Main results: The manufactured seed protector was found to be effective against synergic attacks of mice, rodents, wild boars and herbivores. Survival of protected oak was 77% under canopies and 32% in open light conditions two years after sowing. Research highlights: Our results confirm the viability of direct oak seeding for woodland restoration if seed predation is controlled. © 2015 INIA.

Ortega-Martinez P.,Consejeria de Medio Ambiente | Agueda B.,Consejeria de Medio Ambiente | Fernandez-Toiran L.M.,Consejeria de Medio Ambiente | Fernandez-Toiran L.M.,University of Valladolid | Martinez-Pena F.,Consejeria de Medio Ambiente
Mycorrhiza | Year: 2011

The study of factors influencing the production and development of wild edible mushroom sporocarps is extremely important in the characterization of the fungi life cycle. The main objective of this work is to determine how tree age influences the speed of sporocarp growth of edible ectomycorrhizal fungi Boletus edulis and Lactarius deliciosus in a Pinus sylvestris stand. This study is based on information recorded on a weekly basis every autumn between 1995 and 2008 in a set of permanent plots in Spain. Sporocarps are collected weekly, and as a result, specimens may not have reached their maximum size. The study area is a monospecific P. sylvestris stand. Three age classes were considered: under 30 years, between 31 and 70 years, and over 70 years. Sporocarps of B. edulis and L. deliciosus grow faster in the first age class stands than in the other two, and in the second age class stands, sporocarps are more than 50% smaller. The average weight of the picked B. edulis sporocarps clearly varies in the three age classes considered, with its maximum in the first age class (127 g and 6.8 cm cap diameter), minimum in the second age class (68 g and 4.7 cm cap diameter), and showing a relative maximum in the third (79 g and 4.3 cm cap diameter). L. deliciosus sporocarps are on average larger in the first age class (48 g and 7.4 cm cap diameter), decreasing in the second (20 g and 5.8 cm cap diameter) and also in the third (21 g and 5.3 cm cap diameter). The results show the influence of tree age in speed of sporocarp growth for the two ectomycorrhizal species. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Balmori A.,Consejeria de Medio Ambiente
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2016

Radio transmitters and associated devices may induce negative effects that can bias the results of ongoing research. The main documented effects of radio transmitters on animals include reduced survival, decreased productivity, changes in behaviour and movement patterns and a biased sex ratio. The only factors that have claimed responsibility for these possible damages are the weight of the radio transmitter and associated devices, and the attachment type. The electromagnetic radiation produced by radio transmitters has not been considered so far in research. There have been no studies evaluating the effects of non-ionising electromagnetic radiation (radiofrequency signals) necessary for tracking, although the problems found were significantly associated with the length of time that animals had been carrying their radio transmitters. Similar problems as those in radiotracked animals have been found in numerous studies with animals exposed to radiofrequency radiation for a sufficient amount of time. Laboratory scientists investigating the orientation of animals know they have to shield the place where experiments are performed to prevent interference from man-made radiation, as anthropogenic signals may distort the results. It is paradoxical that, at the same time, field scientists investigating the movements and other aspects of animal biology are providing animals with radio transmitters that emit the same type of radiation, since this may affect the results concerning their orientation and movement. This paper identifies gaps in the knowledge that should be investigated in-depth. The possibility that the radiofrequency radiation from radiotracking devices is responsible for the findings should be considered. Considering this factor may allow researchers to best understand the long-term effects found. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Balmori A.,Consejeria de Medio Ambiente
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2015

The rate of scientific activity regarding the effects of anthropogenic electromagnetic radiation in the radiofrequency (RF) range on animals and plants has been small despite the fact that this topic is relevant to the fields of experimental biology, ecology and conservation due to its remarkable expansion over the past 20. years. Current evidence indicates that exposure at levels that are found in the environment (in urban areas and near base stations) may particularly alter the receptor organs to orient in the magnetic field of the earth. These results could have important implications for migratory birds and insects, especially in urban areas, but could also apply to birds and insects in natural and protected areas where there are powerful base station emitters of radiofrequencies. Therefore, more research on the effects of electromagnetic radiation in nature is needed to investigate this emerging threat. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

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