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Antwerpen, Belgium

Vranken L.,Catholic University of Leuven | Van Turnhout P.,Catholic University of Leuven | Van Den Eeckhaut M.,Catholic University of Leuven | Vandekerckhove L.,Flemish Government | Poesen J.,Catholic University of Leuven
Science of the Total Environment

Several regions around the globe are at risk of incurring damage from landslides, but only few studies have concentrated on a quantitative estimate of the overall damage caused by landslides at a regional scale. This study therefore starts with a quantitative economic assessment of the direct and indirect damage caused by landslides in a 2910km2 study area located west of Brussels, a low-relief region susceptible to landslides. Based on focus interviews as well as on semi-structured interviews with homeowners, civil servants and the owners and providers of lifelines such as electricity and sewage, a quantitative damage assessment is provided. For private properties (houses, forest and pasture land) we estimate the real estate and production value losses for different damage scenarios, while for public infrastructure the costs of measures to repair and prevent landslide induced damage are estimated. In addition, the increase in amenity value of forests and grasslands due to the occurrence of landslides is also calculated. The study illustrates that a minority of land (only 2.3%) within the study area is used for dwellings, roads and railway lines, but that these land use types are responsible for the vast majority of the economic damage due to the occurrence of landslides. The annual cost of direct damage due to landsliding amounts to 688,148€/year out of which 550,740€/year for direct damage to houses, while the annual indirect damage augments to 3,020,049€/year out of which 2,007,375€/year for indirect damage to real estate. Next, the study illustrates that the increase of the amenity value of forests and grasslands outweighs the production value loss. As such the study does not only provide quantitative input data for the estimation of future risks, but also important information for government officials as it clearly informs about the costs associated with certain land use types in landslide areas. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

van der Wal D.,Netherlands Institute of Ecology | Forster R.M.,Netherlands Institute of Ecology | Forster R.M.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | Rossi F.,Netherlands Institute of Ecology | And 5 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin

An experiment was performed to test an alternative dredging strategy for the Westerschelde estuary. Clean sand dredged from the navigation channel was disposed seawards of an eroding intertidal flat in order to modify morphology and hydrodynamics, improving the multi-channel system with ecologically productive shallow water habitat. Five years of intensive monitoring revealed that part of the disposed sediment moved slowly towards the flat, increasing the very shallow subtidal and intertidal area, as planned. The sand in the impact zone became gradually finer after disposal, possibly due to reduced current velocities. Nevertheless, no changes in macrobenthic biomass, density, species richness and composition were detected in the subtidal zone, also demonstrating rapid macrobenthic recovery. In the intertidal zone, no ecological effects could be revealed superimposed on trends associated with long-term sediment fining. Thus, despite morphological success and absence of detected negative ecological impacts of the experiment, new beneficial habitat was not created. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Langhans C.,Catholic University of Leuven | Govers G.,Catholic University of Leuven | Diels J.,Catholic University of Leuven | Leys A.,Flemish Government | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Hydrology

Many infiltration models rely on an effective hydraulic conductivity parameter (Ke) which is often determined in the field from rainfall simulation experiments on small plots. Ke can be defined as the spatially averaged infiltration capacity when the soil is 'field-saturated' and steady state is reached. Then it equals the infiltration rate (f), provided ponding occurs. When a homogeneous surface is assumed, with negligible ponding depth, Ke is constant and does not vary with rainfall intensity (r). We developed a drop infiltrometer that allows measuring Ke on small plots under simulated rainfall intensities that vary between experiments. Infiltration experiments were conducted on a winter wheat field in the Belgian Loess Belt and various surface and soil properties were measured. Furthermore, photos were taken of the soil surface during the infiltration experiments for the determination of the inundated surface fraction. The results of the experiments show that Ke is strongly dependent on rainfall intensity. In a statistical approach a dynamic Ke could be estimated with a function of rainfall intensity, tillage treatment, percentage residue cover and bulk density. Observations indicate that microtopography, surface fraction covered by a sedimentary seal and macroporosity interact with rainfall intensity, surface ponding and infiltration. We propose that Ke in physically based infiltration models should either be made dependent on dynamic state variables in a mechanistic way, such as ponding depth and water content or made dependent on rainfall intensity using an empirical relationship. With such adaptations, both surface runoff and erosion models might have more potential to deal with scale effects in runoff generation. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. Source

van Coillie F.,Ghent University | Delaplace K.,Intergraph | Gabriels D.,Ghent University | de Smet K.,Flemish Government | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Arid Environments

Soil erosion and desertification are the main problems faced by the Bou-Hedma National Park in South-Tunisia. Restoration of the original woodland cover, particularly by afforestation and reforestation with Acacia tortilis ssp. raddiana, has been recognized as efficient to combat further degradation of the environment in this protected area. In order to study effects of woodland restoration and future trends in Bou-Hedma, it is essential to accurately assess its current situation. This paper addresses a monotemporal assessment of the population structure of A. tortilis. An extensive field inventory was performed to provide deeper insight into the dendrometric characteristics of this keystone species. Next, a spatially explicit and repeatable method is developed to model key tree attributes like crown diameter, volume and tree height from which the structural composition of the A. tortilis population in the Bou Hedma National Park is derived. This method involves analysis of a very high resolution (VHR) GeoEye-1 image within an OBIA (Object-based Image Analysis) framework. The remote sensing (RS) results show that the population of A. tortilis is typified by an irregular population structure and confirm the findings of Noumi and Chaieb (2012) suggesting regressive population dynamics. The RS approach demonstrates potential for monitoring purposes in this particular setting of an arid environment. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Home > Press > Imec and Cloudtag Collaborate on High Quality Frictionless Wearables for Lifestyle Coaching: Next-generation health and fitness tracker Cloudtag TrackTM launched at CES 2016 Abstract: Cloudtag (CTAG:LN), the company that brings accurate data and personalization to the health, wellbeing and fitness markets, and imec, the world-leading nanoelectronics research center, today presented the first results of their collaboration on accurate frictionless wearable health solutions. Cloudtag TrackTM , a new wearable fitness tracker, that was launched today at CES 2016, combines fitness and health monitoring with design, to pave the way to innovation in fitness wearables as well as in the care, cure and prevention cycle by providing immediate access to accurate medical data and personalized feedback. Within the framework of their collaboration, imec develops algorithms for CloudTag’s wearable sensor devices that enable accurate monitoring of physiological parameters. At CES 2016, CloudTag has launched the Cloudtag TrackTM, its first wearable multisensor device. The Cloudtag TrackTM stands out among other wearable devices due to its unique combination of high user comfort with unparalleled data quality. The light and ultra-small device integrates imec’s proprietary algorithm that retrieves physiological parameters with an exceptionally high level of accuracy. Imec’s algorithm accurately recognizes activity, measures energy expenditure, heart rate and other physiological data. Cloudtag TrackTM can be tailored to match different needs and blends reliable technology with frictionless usability to improve the user experience and to help increase adoption. Cloudtag TrackTM gives immediate, accurate and personalized feedback on one’s lifestyle, enabling the individual to put unhealthy habits into perspective while persuading lifestyle changes to adopt healthier diet and activity habits. “Imec and Holst Centre develop ultra-small low-power, high-quality sensors and specialized algorithms that turn data into valuable knowledge, paving the way to next generation wearables that offer medical quality data monitoring in a frictionless way. These sophisticated wearables can support doctors in diagnosis and follow-up of illnesses, and they offer a huge opportunity in illness prevention by serving as a virtual personal coach,” stated Chris Van Hoof, program director of imec’s wearable health program. “Our collaboration with Cloudtag is an exciting example of how imec’s technology can support the industry in realizing the next generation of wearable devices.” "I am extremely pleased with this collaboration with imec, as I believe this firmly validates the joint work we are doing and the future of our relationship,” commented Amit Ben-Haim, CloudTag CEO. “This is underscored by the results of the collaboration, and in particular, the accuracy of imec’s algorithms to retrieve physiological parameters which provides us with a unique selling point. I look forward to our continued collaboration and to future product development.” About IMEC Imec performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics. Imec leverages its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in ICT, healthcare and energy. Imec delivers industry-relevant technology solutions. In a unique high-tech environment, its international top talent is committed to providing the building blocks for a better life in a sustainable society. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, US, China, India and Japan. Its staff of about 2,200 people includes almost 700 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2014, imec's revenue (P&L) totaled 363 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec.be. Stay up to date about what’s happening at imec with the monthly imec magazine, available for tablets and smartphones (as an app for iOS and Android), or via the website www.imec.be/imecmagazine Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a "stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.) and imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.) and imec India (Imec India Private Limited). About CloudTag CloudTag Inc (CTAG:LON) is a London Stock Exchange AIM listed company bringing accurate, medical-grade technology to the consumer health, wellbeing and fitness markets. CloudTag brings together world leaders in nano-electronics, medical technology, exercise and sport science, software development, mobile commerce and data analysis. CloudTag’s first product - a wearable fitness tracker that measures heart rate, energy expenditure, steps and many other metrics and can be worn on both the wrist and the chest - is founded on ten years of medical research, bringing proprietary sensoring technology both contact and contactless sensors to market and will be initially targeted at the weight loss and fitness markets. About Holst Centre Holst Centre is an independent open-innovation R&D centre that develops generic technologies for Wireless Autonomous Transducer Solutions and for Systems-in-Foil. A key feature of Holst Centre is its partnership model with industry and academia around shared roadmaps and programs. It is this kind of cross-fertilization that enables Holst Centre to tune its scientific strategy to industrial needs. Holst Centre was set up in 2005 by imec (Flanders, Belgium) and TNO (The Netherlands) with support from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Government of Flanders. It is named after Gilles Holst, a Dutch pioneer in Research and Development and first director of Philips Research. Located on High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Holst Centre benefits from the state-of-the-art on-site facilities. Holst Centre has over 180 employees from around 28 nationalities and a commitment from more than 45 industrial partners. Visit us at www.holstcentre.com For more information, please click If you have a comment, please us. Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

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