Institute of Environmental Studies

Prague, Czech Republic

Institute of Environmental Studies

Prague, Czech Republic
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Hawken S.,University of New South Wales | Metternicht G.,Institute of Environmental Studies | Chang C.W.,National University of Singapore | Liew S.C.,National University of Singapore | Gupta A.,University of Wollongong
35th Asian Conference on Remote Sensing 2014, ACRS 2014: Sensing for Reintegration of Societies | Year: 2014

The semi-aquatic, aquatic and green spaces of emerging Southeast Asian mega-cities act as ecological infrastructure, providing diverse ecosystem services to rapidly, growing, urban populations. The cultural and natural biodiversity integrated within urban ecological infrastructure is a key to metropolitan sustainability. However, rapid urban development has left stream systems, urban agriculture, wetlands and urban forests as fragmented spaces vulnerable to future development. This paper addresses such issues by reviewing methods for mapping and monitoring urban ecological systems through multi-sensor earth observation for urban planning. The potential of various satellite sensors is discussed in relation to their ability to reveal different aspects of ecological infrastructure. We conclude that the synergistic combination of data from multiple sensors can provide more reliable and accurate information especially when classifying complex systems such as ecological infrastructure. The potential advantages of integrating information from multiple sensors include improved timeliness, complementarity, cost-effectiveness and better certainty when compared to information from single sensors. Classifications need to recognize the complexity of the urban-rural continuum and highly heterogeneous desakota environments. This issue is explored with reference to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Reading C.J.,UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology | Luiselli L.M.,Institute of Environmental Studies | Akani G.C.,Rivers State University of Science And Technology | Bonnet X.,CNRS Chizé Center for Biological Studies | And 5 more authors.
Biology Letters | Year: 2010

Long-term studies have revealed population declines in fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. In birds, and particularly amphibians, these declines are a global phenomenon whose causes are often unclear. Among reptiles, snakes are top predators and therefore a decline in their numbers may have serious consequences for the functioning of many ecosystems. Our results show that, of 17 snake populations (eight species) from the UK, France, Italy, Nigeria and Australia, 11 have declined sharply over the same relatively short period of time with five remaining stable and one showing signs of a marginal increase. Although the causes of these declines are currently unknown, we suspect that they are multi-faceted (such as habitat quality deterioration, prey availability), and with a common cause, e.g. global climate change, at their root. © 2010 The Royal Society.

Tidblad J.,Swerea Kimab Ab | Hicks K.,Stockholm Environment Institute | Kuylenstierna J.,Stockholm Environment Institute | Pradhan B.B.,ICIMOD | And 4 more authors.
Materials and Corrosion | Year: 2016

Carbon steel, zinc and limestone samples were exposed in Kathmandu for one year. Their corrosion was measured at ten locations and related to SO2, NO2, O3, HNO3 and PM concentrations and climatic factors. Corrosion rates vary considerably and are correlated mainly with the SO2 concentration. Estimated policy targets for SO2 are most stringent for limestone, in the range 3 to 6 μg m-3. The Kathmandu carbon steel and limestone samples matched a general pattern from exposures at more than twenty sites in Asia and Africa. At these Asian/African sites corrosion of copper is generally higher than corrosion of zinc. This is in contrast to experiences from European conditions where corrosion of zinc is higher than corrosion of copper. © 2015 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Pitzalis M.,Third University of Rome | Amore V.,Third University of Rome | Montalto F.,Third University of Rome | Luiselli L.,Institute of Environmental Studies | And 3 more authors.
Tropical Zoology | Year: 2016

A considerable part of community ecology literature questioned what are the main drivers of ecological relationships in an organismal community. We analysed this focal question by studying blister beetle (Meloidae) assemblages in Southern Africa. We explored the ecological distribution of 48 species across underlying bioclimatic (e.g. temperatures and precipitation regimes), environmental factors (biomes, vegetation structure) and the taxonomic heterogeneity of each groups inhabiting major biomes of Namibia across their main biological and ecological traits, by Canonical Correspondence in order to get an ordination plot. Monte Carlo methods were used to test for randomness of the data ordination. Ordination plot identified three main assemblages, one being constituted by strictly semiarid savannah species (camelthorn, mountain, karstweld, thornbush, mixed tree and shrub, dwarf shrub, mopane and forest savannahs), one much larger and less homogenous second assemblage, inclusive of more generalist species from Karoo and semi-desert habitats, living also in arid savannahs, and the third one including Nama Karoo species. All the three assemblages were taxonomically very heterogeneous, showing that phylogenetic relationships are probably less relevant than interspecific ecological relationships among species of the same group to determine present-day community structure in these animals. © 2016 Istituto per lo Studio degli Ecosistemi of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Firenze

Zapponi L.,Third University of Rome | Luiselli L.,Institute of Environmental Studies | Luiselli L.,University of Camerino | Cento M.,Rivers State University of Science And Technology | And 2 more authors.
Basic and Applied Ecology | Year: 2014

The role of the matrix for the functionality of residual patches and therefore for species persistence has been recently recognised. However its influence on assemblage structure and composition is still unclear. We studied the effect of both patch and matrix attributes on community assemblage structure and composition in a fragmented landscape of central Italy. We used bird assemblages as a study model. Birds were sampled in 24 wood patches and distribution patterns were analysed considering both assemblage and guild-level responses. Patch composition and structure together with landscape patterns quantified with GIS were used as explanatory variables. The assemblages appeared to be strongly influenced by the landscape context, both in terms of composition and configuration. The functional connectivity of the patches, in terms of amount of neighbouring borders between woods and hedgerows, the shape of the woods in the matrix, together with the age of the patches, expressed as tree diameter, acted as the essential determinants, and even if the assemblages presented a significant nested structure, seven out of 40 species showed an idiosyncratic distribution. The study of the association between functional guilds and environmental parameters highlighted the influence of ecological constraints on the occurrence of unexpected presences and absences, suggesting the ability of some species to perceive and exploit matrix habitats. The matrix holds the capability to at least mitigate the effects of isolation and habitat loss, and the semi-natural elements of the mosaic may represent a biodiversity reservoir in an otherwise deprived landscape. © 2014 Gesellschaft für Ökologie.

Capizzi D.,Regional Parks Agency | Luiselli L.,Institute of Environmental Studies | Luiselli L.,Niger Delta Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation Unit | Luiselli L.,Rivers State University of Science And Technology | Papi R.,Latium Region
Ecological Research | Year: 2015

Habitat loss and fragmentation are recognized as the main causes for the global biodiversity crisis. Most of the studies investigating the issue of habitat fragmentation in vertebrates are cross-sectional, whereas long-term studies are least available. We surveyed bird communities in 17 forest fragments (FF) and a single continuous forest stands (CF) in central Italy twice, 10 years apart (i.e. in 1996 and in 2006). All community parameters showed a contrasting pattern between 1996 and 2006, i.e. an increase of abundance and diversity measures in CF and a decrease or a stability of the same parameters in FF. Insectivorous and migratory bird species were the most prone to population declines associated with fragmented landscapes. Differences in species turnover between CF and FF were due to a higher extinction rate in the latter forest type. There was substantial population increase between 1996 and 2006, especially in FF, of opportunistic predator species like corvids. This fact may be responsible for the observed dropping in species number, evenness and diversity in FF. Hence, we conclude that, in FF, the bird community is far from being either stabilized or resilient, as it is rapidly evolving into a more simplified assemblage, dominated by generalist species. © 2015, The Ecological Society of Japan.

Pitzalis M.,Third University of Rome | Bologna M.A.,Third University of Rome | Luiselli L.,Institute of Environmental Studies | Luiselli L.,ENI S.p.A
Acta Oecologica | Year: 2013

We studied evenness and species richness in two assemblages of soil arthropods at six contiguous study plots in Mediterranean ecosystems of central Italy, three of these plots being burnt and three unburnt. We analysed these aspects of community structure by diversity-dominance diagrams comparisons made through analysis of covariance on respective slopes and ordinate intercepts. We observed consistent patterns in both Collembola and Oniscidea assemblages, either in burnt and unburnt plots. Evenness did not change among study plots and across habitats, either before or after fire, whereas species' composition was significantly altered by fire. Results from our study implied that evenness and species diversity are clearly affected in a different and independent way by fire. Hence, it is not acceptable to focus on only the evenness when looking at the effects of controlled fires for environmental management reasons. © 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS.

Jilkova V.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Jilkova V.,University of South Bohemia | Matejicek L.,Institute of Environmental Studies | Frouz Jan J.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Frouz Jan J.,Institute of Environmental Studies
European Journal of Soil Biology | Year: 2011

Several previous studies reported on how the chemistry of the wood ant nest differs from the chemistry of the surrounding soil. There is enhanced amount of nutrients and cations in the ant nest and pH also differs from the nest surroundings. In this contribution, we focused on changes in soil chemistry with distance from the nest. Samples of mineral soil 0-5 cm deep were taken in grid pattern at 1-19 m from six Formica polyctena nests in a spruce forest in the Czech Republic. Soil pH decreased with distance; pH decreased rapidly between 1 to about 8 m and then decreased more slowly. The decrease in pH corresponded with the increase in organic matter content with distance from the nest. Organic matter content was significantly and positively correlated with available Ca and K, i.e., available Ca and K increased with distance from the nest. The changes in organic matter content, pH, and available Ca were caused by ants collecting and using needles as building material. Wood ants can affect soil properties by rearranging organic matter, in nest surroundings. © 2010 Elsevier Masson SAS.

Pitzalis M.,Third University of Rome | Amore V.,Third University of Rome | Montalto F.,Third University of Rome | Luiselli L.,Institute of Environmental Studies | And 2 more authors.
European Journal of Entomology | Year: 2014

Ecologists have identified several correlates of biological rarity in animals. Among the various correlates identified so far, three are explored in this paper: (a) abundance is correlated with absolute body size in animals; (b) phylogenetically primitive taxa are overrepresented in samples of rare species; (c) more specialized species are rarer than less specialized species. Here we use Namibian blister beetles (Coleoptera: Meloidae) as a model system for exploring these issues. We used data from five field expeditions, which resulted in the identification of 891 beetles belonging to 76 species collected from 191 sites. 13% of the species accounted for over 50% of the individuals; 22% of all species were represented by singletons. Abundance patterns differed significantly among the different trophic categories, with non-pollinophagous (non-specialized) species being more abundant than weed-eaters and pollinophagous (specialized) species. Species of phylogenetically basal tribes were less abundant than those of more derived groups. Trophic category and phylogenesis did not have a synergic effect in determining the relative abundance of the species, and body size had no influence on their abundance.

Ganiyu A.,University of Technology Malaysia | Afeez O. S.,Institute of Environmental studies | Theophilus O.O. O.,Institute of Environmental studies
Jurnal Teknologi | Year: 2015

Value engineering (VE) is a structured team-oriented problem solving approach that can be applied throughout the lifecycle of a building project. However, the methodology is rarely applied in mechanical and electrical services (M&E) installations in buildings because clients are not aware of the potential benefits of adopting VE and different members of design team lack the requisite knowledge about VE methodology. As a result, a great deal of unnecessary cost is created due to the increasingly complex nature of M&E services in buildings leading to cost overruns and unhappy clients. The purpose of this study is to investigate the level of adoption of VE methodology in the design and installations of M&E services in buildings in Malaysian construction industry. The research method adopted is questionnaire survey to industry practitioners and inferential statistics was adopted for data analysis. Findings from the study show that, VE is not well appreciated in the industry and there is no structured approach adopted for its adoption for the procurement of mechanical and electrical services. Practitioners are of the opinion that implementation of VE could lead to: significant capital and life cycle cost savings in buildings generally; alignment of stakeholders and construction process improvement; improved client satisfaction, and shared understanding among key participants. An implementation framework was developed which emphasised on the need for early involvement of consultants and collaboration between the downstream supply chain for effective implementation of VE methodology on mechanical and electrical services. © 2015 Penerbit UTM Press. All rights reserved.

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