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Roesch A.,Institute for Sustainability science ISS
German Journal of Agricultural Economics

In future, standard output (SO) will be the economic variable used to define the target population from which the Swiss FADN sample is drawn. This study assesses the impact of the SO threshold on key economic variables at national level. The analysis demonstrates that raising the SO threshold will lead to higher average values of key economic variables such as work income per family labour unit. This result is confirmed by two entirely different approaches, the first of which takes the FADN data into account, and the second of which considers census data supplemented by imputed economic variables. Source

Baur I.,Institute for Sustainability science ISS | Binder C.R.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
Ecological Economics

Common property pastures (CPPs) in the Alps served as examples for successful self-governed resource use. During the past fewdecades, the situation has changed, and abandonment of marginal pastureswith subsequent forest regrowth has been widely observed. To better understand current drivers, challenges, and policy impacts on the sustainable governance of common property pastures, we present an application of Ostroms' general framework for analyzing social-ecological systems (SESs). We use system dynamics (SD) modeling to operationalize the SES framework for the case study region of Grindelwald, Switzerland. Based on formative scenario analysis, we identify four consistent simulation scenarios. The simulation results show that increasing loss of common property pastures and resulting afforestation can be expected. Scenario assessment shows that policy blueprints such as liberalization or increased government support do not halt but instead accelerate abandonment of common property pastures. We conclude by discussing options for sustainably governing CPPs. © 2015. Source

Zhang X.,Henan Agricultural University | Zhang X.,Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Li Y.,Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Romeis J.,Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences | And 4 more authors.

A rape seed pollen-based diet was developed and found to be suitable for use in a dietary exposure assay for Propylea japonica. Using the diet, we established and validated a dietary exposure assay by using the protease inhibitor E-64 as positive control. Dose-dependent responses were documented for all observed life-table parameters of P. japonica including survival, pupation and eclosion rates, development time and adult weight. Results suggested that the dietary assay can detect the effects of insecticidal compounds on the survival and development of P. japonica. Using the established dietary assay, we subsequently tested the toxicity of Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac and Cry1F proteins that are expressed by transgenic maize, cotton or rice plants to P. japonica larvae. The diet containing E-64 was included as a positive control. Survival and development of P. japonica larvae were not adversely affected when the diet contained purified Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac, or Cry1F at 500 mg/g diet representing a worst-case exposure scenario. In contrast, P. japonica larvae were adversely affected when the diet contained E-64. The bioactivity and stability of the Cry proteins in the diet and Cry protein uptake by the ladybird larvae were confirmed by bioassay with a Cry-sensitive insect species and by ELISA. The current study describes a suitable experimental system for assessing the potential effects of gut-active insecticidal compounds on ladybird beetle larvae. The experiments with the Cry proteins demonstrate that P. japonica larvae are not sensitive to Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac and Cry1F. Copyright: © 2014 Tondeleir et al. Source

Li Y.,Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Chen X.,Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Hu L.,Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Romeis J.,Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

The effects of insect-resistant genetically engineered rice producing Cry1C protein derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) on Chrysoperla sinica (Tjeder) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) were assessed in laboratory bioassays. Survival and development of C. sinica larvae were not adversely affected when the larvae were fed a diet containing purified Cry1C protein at 200μg/g fresh weight, representing a worst-case exposure scenario; in contrast, C. sinica larvae were adversely affected when the diet contained avidin or potassium arsenate. Life table parameters of C. sinica adults did not differ when the adults were fed with Bt or non-Bt rice pollen together with a 2-M sucrose solution. Life table parameters of C. sinica adults also did not differ when the adults were fed an artificial diet with or without purified Cry1C protein at a nominal concentration that was approximately 20 times higher than that in rice pollen; in contrast, C. sinica adults were adversely affected when the diet contained potassium arsenate. In all bioassays with lacewings, the bioactivity and stability of the Cry1C protein in the diet and Cry1C protein uptake by the lacewings were confirmed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and by bioassays with a Cry1C-sensitive lepidopteran. These results demonstrate that neither larvae nor adults of C. sinica are sensitive to Cry1C protein at concentrations higher than those encountered in the field, demonstrating that the growing of Bt rice producing Cry1C protein is unlikely to pose a risk to C. sinica. Environ Toxicol Chem 2014;33:1391-1397. © 2014 SETAC. Source

Hoekstra N.J.,Teagasc | Hoekstra N.J.,Institute for Sustainability science ISS | Finn J.A.,Teagasc | Hofer D.,Institute for Sustainability science ISS | And 2 more authors.

Increased incidence of drought, as predicted under climate change, has the potential to negatively affect grassland production. Compared to monocultures, vertical belowground niche complementarity between shallow- and deep-rooting species may be an important mechanism resulting in higher yields and higher resistance to drought in grassland mixtures. However, very little is known about the belowground responses in grassland systems and increased insight into these processes may yield important information both to predict the effect of future climate change and better design agricultural systems to cope with this. This study assessed the effect of a 9-week experimental summer drought on the depth of water uptake of two shallow-rooting species (Lolium perenne L. and Trifolium L.) and two deep-rooting species (Cichorium intybus L. and Trifolium pratense L.) in grassland monocultures and four-species mixtures by using the natural abundance δ18O isotope method. We tested the following three hypotheses: (1) drought results in a shift of water uptake to deeper soil layers, (2) deep-rooting species take up a higher proportion of water from deeper soil layers relative to shallow-rooting species, and (3) as a result of interspecific interactions in mixtures, the water uptake of shallow-rooting species becomes shallower when grown together with deep-rooting species and vice versa, resulting in reduced niche overlap. The natural abundance δ18O technique provided novel insights into the depth of water uptake of deep- and shallow- rooting grassland species and revealed large shifts in depth of water uptake in response to drought and interspecific interactions. Compared to control conditions, drought reduced the proportional water uptake from 0-10 cm soil depth (PCWU0-10) of L. perenne T. repens and C. intybus in monocultures by on average 54%. In contrast, the PCWU0-10 of T. pratense in monoculture increased by 44%, and only when grown in mixture did the PCWU0-10 of T. pratense decrease under drought conditions. In line with hypothesis (2), in monoculture, the PCWU0-10of shallow-rooting species L. perenne and T. repens was 0.53 averaged over the two drought treatments, compared to 0.16 for the deep-rooting C. intybus. Surprisingly, in monoculture, water uptake by T. pratense was shallower than for the shallow-rooting species (PCWU0-10 Combining double low line 0.68). Interspecific interactions in mixtures resulted in a shift in the depth of water uptake by the different species. As hypothesised, the shallow-rooting species L. perenne and T. repens tended to become shallower, and the deep-rooting T. pratense made a dramatic shift to deeper soil layers (reduction in PCWU0-10 of 58% on average) in mixture compared to monoculture. However, these shifts did not result in a reduction in the proportional similarity of the proportional water uptake from different soil depth intervals (niche overlap) in mixtures compared to monocultures. There was no clear link between interspecific differences in depth of water uptake and the reduction of biomass production under drought compared to control conditions (drought resistance). Cichorium intybus the species with water uptake from the deepest soil layers was one of the species most affected by drought. Interestingly, T. pratense which was least affected by drought, also had the greatest plasticity in depth of water uptake. This suggests that there may be an indirect effect of rooting depth on drought resistance, as it determines the potential plasticity in the depth of water uptake. © 2014 Author(s). Source

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