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Pellegrino D.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Schirpke U.,Institute for Alpine Environment | Marino D.,University of Molise
Journal of Environmental Planning and Management | Year: 2016

In Europe, biodiversity conservation relies on the Natura 2000 network. However, it is often difficult to ensure the favourable conservation status of species and habitats due to scarce financial resources. Therefore, we examined the current management strategies and conditions of three Italian Natura 2000 sites based on a questionnaire and stakeholder meetings. Additionally, we qualitatively assessed the potential of ecosystem services provision. Then an A'WOT analysis was carried out to identify and highlight internal and external factors affecting natural and semi-natural ecosystems and the socio-economic context, aiming to propose new instruments and approaches for effective management. The analysis revealed opportunities for developing tourism and the high potential of regulating services, whereas the bureaucratic burden and a lack of funding threaten the attainment of biodiversity conservation goals. Thus, we propose that payments for ecosystem services should be considered to support the effective management of Natura 2000 sites. © 2016 University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Haida C.,AlpS GmbH | Haida C.,University of Innsbruck | Rudisser J.,University of Innsbruck | Tappeiner U.,University of Innsbruck | Tappeiner U.,Institute for Alpine Environment
Regional Environmental Change | Year: 2015

Facing the challenges of global and regional changes, society urgently needs applicable and broadly accepted tools to effectively manage and protect ecosystem services (ES). This requires knowing which ES are perceived as important. We asked decision-makers from different thematic backgrounds to rank 25 ES on the basis of their importance for society. To test whether perceptions are varying across regions, we surveyed three Alpine regions in Austria and Italy. The ranking of importance showed a high variability amongst experts but was not influenced by region or thematic background. ES that satisfy physiological needs (‘fresh water’, ‘food’, ‘air quality regulation’) were indicated as most important. ES that relate to safety and security needs were ranked in the middle field, whereas cultural ES were perceived as less important. We used principal component analysis (PCA) to identify ES bundles based on perception of importance. In order to investigate whether research intensity follows the perceived importance, we related the interviews with a comprehensive literature review. ‘Global climate regulation’, ‘food’, ‘biodiversity’, ‘fresh water’ and ‘water quality’ were studied most often. Although ‘habitat’, ‘energy’, ‘primary production’, ‘tourism’, ‘water cycle’, and ‘local climate regulation’ were ranked as important by decision-makers, they did not receive corresponding research attention. We conclude that more interaction between research and stakeholders is needed to promote a broader application and understanding of the ES concept in practice. The use of ES bundles could help to manage its inherent complexity and facilitate its application. © 2015 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

Scolozzi R.,University of Minho | Schirpke U.,Institute for Alpine Environment | Detassis C.,IASMA Fondazione Edmund Machinery | Abdullah S.,Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei | And 2 more authors.
Landscape Research | Year: 2015

Alpine environments are increasingly appreciated by nature-based tourism, notwithstanding recent economic crises. To benefit from this and maintain the attractiveness of a tourist destination, it is important to recognise the values of landscapes. We developed and tested a qualitative spatial valuation methodology, integrating existing quantitative survey methods, to support destination management and landscape planning at the local level. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and a mapping exercise at a nature-based tourism destination in northern Italy. In identifying and mapping tourists’ perceived landscape values and related threats, we also considered tourist profiles, experiences and preferences. The results indicated three tourist types (active seniors, families and sportive visitors). They identified five different landscape values (scenic, outdoor activity, aesthetic, historical-cultural and tranquillity) and seven categories of threats (urbanisation, lack of maintenance, congestion, visual and/or acoustic disturbance, pollution, overuse, and traffic). The maps show diverse ‘tourism landscapes’ and provide useful insights into sites with high value or with potential conflict between rival uses, which can effectively ground proposals for the management of valued sites and support local spatial planning to maintain perceived landscape values. © 2014, Landscape Research Group Ltd.

Pasolli L.,Institute for Applied Remote Sensing | Notarnicola C.,Institute for Applied Remote Sensing | Bertoldi G.,Institute for Alpine Environment | Della Chiesa S.,Institute for Alpine Environment | And 5 more authors.
European Journal of Soil Science | Year: 2014

Summary: This paper presents the results of a two-year experiment carried out in mountain areas on soil moisture retrieval from remotely sensed images. In particular, fully polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) RADARSAT and single polarization ASAR images were used. During acquisitions of SAR over the test area in Alto Adige, Südtirol region, northern Italy, extensive field measurements were carried out to characterize the area in terms of soil moisture variability, vegetation cover and soil properties. The area is equipped with 17 meteorological stations that also provide information on soil moisture on an hourly basis. To deal with the process of soil moisture retrieval from SAR images in this challenging environment, an advanced algorithm based on the support vector regression (SVR) technique and the integration of ancillary data were successfully proposed. The selected method was also combined with an innovative multi-objective strategy for model selection. The results indicate that the use of polarimetric features such as horizontal-horizontal polarization (HH) and horizontal-vertical polarization (HV) channels improves the estimation of SMC in the mountain area investigated, in particular because the HV channel contributes to disentangling the effect of vegetation on the radar signal. The root mean square error (RMSE) indicates accuracy of retrieval for soil moisture values of around 5%, which is well within the requirements for estimating soil moisture from remotely sensed data. This work was carried out with the main aim of demonstrating the feasibility of soil moisture retrieval in mountain areas with high-resolution images in view of the upcoming Sentinel 1 mission. © 2014 British Society of Soil Science.

Mao L.,University of Santiago de Chile | Dell'Agnese A.,Free University of Bozen Bolzano | Huincache C.,University of Santiago de Chile | Penna D.,Free University of Bozen Bolzano | And 6 more authors.
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms | Year: 2014

Sediment transport during flood events often reveals hysteretic patterns because flow discharge can peak before (counterclockwise hysteresis) or after (clockwise hysteresis) the peak of bedload. Hysteresis in sediment transport has been used in the literature to infer the degree of sediment availability. Counterclockwise and clockwise hysteresis have been in fact interpreted as limited and unlimited sediment supply conditions, respectively. Hysteresis has been mainly explored for the case of suspended sediment transport, but it was rarely reported for bedload transport in mountain streams. This work focuses on the temporal variability of bedload transport in an alpine catchment (Saldur basin, 18.6 km2, Italian Alps) where bedload transport was monitored by means of an acoustic pipe sensor which detects the acoustic vibrations induced by particles hitting a 0.5m-long steel pipe. Runoff dynamics are dominated by snowmelt in late spring/early summer, mostly by glacier melt in late summer/early autumn, and by a combination of the snow and glacier melt in mid-summer. The results indicate that hysteretic patterns during daily discharge fluctuations are predominantly clockwise during the snowmelt period, likely due to the ready availability of unpacked sediments within the channel or through bank erosion in the lower part of the basin. On the contrary, counterclockwise hysteresis tend to be more frequent during late glacier melting period, possibly due to the time lag needed for sediment provided by the glacial and peri-glacial area to be transported to the monitoring section. However, intense rainfall events occurring during the glacier melt period generated predominantly clockwise hysteresis, thus indicating the activation of different sediment sources. These results indicate that runoff generation processes play a crucial role on sediment supply and temporal availability in mountain streams. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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