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Helingerova M.,University of South Bohemia | Frouz J.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Frouz J.,Institute for Environmental Studies | Santruckova H.,University of South Bohemia
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2010

Microbial activity reflects soil conditions and degree of development. The aim of this study was to compare microbial properties of reclaimed and unreclaimed post-mining soil. Microbial biomass, microbial respiration, and cellulose decomposition were quantified in two chronosequences of post-mining sites located in the Sokolov brown-coal mining area. The first chronosequence consisted of five sites reclaimed with an alder plantation (Alnus glutinosa, Alnus incana), and the other consisted of five unreclaimed sites naturally colonized by local vegetation (especially Salix caprea, Betula pendula and Populus tremula). The spoil material of all the studied sites consisted of tertiary clays without any topsoil cover. Microbial respiration per unit of soil mass as well as per unit of soil area decreased as site age increased. Microbial biomass, whether expressed as a function of soil mass or area, increased with site age in both reclaimed and unreclaimed sites. When expressed per m2, proportion of deeper soil layers (5-10 cm) on overall microbial biomass in 0-10 cm layer increased with site age. This increase was more pronounced in reclaimed than in unreclaimed sites. Cellulose decomposition was highest in 8-year-old sites in the reclaimed chronosequence and in 17-21-year-old sites in the unreclaimed chronosequence. The cellulose decomposition rate was higher in reclaimed than in unreclaimed sites. In reclaimed sites, the decomposition rate depended on air temperature, while in unreclaimed sites other factors, such as moisture deficiency, seemed to drive decomposition rate in some locations. Overall, microbial activity increased faster in reclaimed than in unreclaimed sites, and this difference was most evident in younger sites. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Agency: Narcis | Branch: Project | Program: Completed | Phase: Social Sciences | Award Amount: | Year: 2007


Pesch U.,Technical University of Delft | Huitema D.,Institute for Environmental Studies | Hisschemoller M.,Institute for Environmental Studies
Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy | Year: 2012

In this paper we address the way boundary organizations can accommodate tensions in the science - politics interface. Literature on boundary organizations suggests that this type of organization can provide stability in science - politics interaction, but how these organizations function over a longer period of time is not a point of theoretical or empirical attention. We study a boundary organization, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (MNP), by analyzing the ideas that guided the foundation of the MNP and by analyzing two cases in which the MNP advised Dutch policy makers. In both cases the MNP had to adjust its boundary orientation because of changes in its institutional context. These findings show that the dynamics involved in boundary organizations should be included in academic research. We conclude by discussing two conceptual frameworks that may help to capture these dynamics: the notion of 'learning organizations' and a typology of roles of experts in politics. © 2012 Pion and its Licensors.

Brack W.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | Brack W.,RWTH Aachen | Ait-Aissa S.,INERIS | Burgess R.M.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | And 24 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2016

Aquatic environments are often contaminated with complex mixtures of chemicals that may pose a risk to ecosystems and human health. This contamination cannot be addressed with target analysis alone but tools are required to reduce this complexity and identify those chemicals that might cause adverse effects. Effect-directed analysis (EDA) is designed to meet this challenge and faces increasing interest in water and sediment quality monitoring. Thus, the present paper summarizes current experience with the EDA approach and the tools required, and provides practical advice on their application. The paper highlights the need for proper problem formulation and gives general advice for study design. As the EDA approach is directed by toxicity, basic principles for the selection of bioassays are given as well as a comprehensive compilation of appropriate assays, including their strengths and weaknesses. A specific focus is given to strategies for sampling, extraction and bioassay dosing since they strongly impact prioritization of toxicants in EDA. Reduction of sample complexity mainly relies on fractionation procedures, which are discussed in this paper, including quality assurance and quality control. Automated combinations of fractionation, biotesting and chemical analysis using so-called hyphenated tools can enhance the throughput and might reduce the risk of artifacts in laboratory work. The key to determining the chemical structures causing effects is analytical toxicant identification. The latest approaches, tools, software and databases for target-, suspect and non-target screening as well as unknown identification are discussed together with analytical and toxicological confirmation approaches. A better understanding of optimal use and combination of EDA tools will help to design efficient and successful toxicant identification studies in the context of quality monitoring in multiply stressed environments. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

de Boer J.,Institute for Environmental Studies | de Witt A.,Technical University of Delft | Aiking H.,Institute for Environmental Studies
Appetite | Year: 2016

This paper explores how the transition to a low-carbon society to mitigate climate change can be better supported by a diet change. As climate mitigation is not the focal goal of consumers who are buying or consuming food, the study highlighted the role of motivational and cognitive background factors, including possible spillover effects. Consumer samples in the Netherlands (n = 527) and the United States (n = 556) were asked to evaluate food-related and energy-related mitigation options in a design that included three food-related options with very different mitigation potentials (i.e. eating less meat, buying local and seasonal food, and buying organic food). They rated each option's effectiveness and their willingness to adopt it. The outstanding effectiveness of the less meat option (as established by climate experts) was recognized by merely 12% of the Dutch and 6% of the American sample. Many more participants gave fairly positive effectiveness ratings and this was correlated with belief in human causation of climate change, personal importance of climate change, and being a moderate meat eater. Willingness to adopt the less meat option increased with its perceived effectiveness and, controlling for that, it was significantly related to various motivationally relevant factors. The local food option appealed to consumer segments with overlapping but partly different motivational orientations. It was concluded that a transition to a low carbon society can significantly benefit from a special focus on the food-related options to involve more consumers and to improve mitigation. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

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