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Awad M.,National Council for Scientific Research
2016 IEEE International Multidisciplinary Conference on Engineering Technology, IMCET 2016 | Year: 2016

Supervised Artificial Neural Network such as Feed-forward Multi-layer Perceptron algorithm and advanced Remote sensing technologies play an important role in improving mapping process of various biophysical and biochemical vegetation parameters. Advanced knowledge of the crop status will help farmers, decision makers and policy makers to take precautions to reduce losses and to increase production. Leaf chlorophyll content of the crop can help to obtain information about the physiological status of the plant and it can help in studying of the carbon balance and responses to fertilizer (e.g., nitrogen) application. In this research, Leaf Chlorophyll Content (LCC) for winter wheat in a large area in Lebanon is estimated based on the technologies and algorithms listed earlier. The estimation process is based on the collected field measurements of reflectance data and chlorophyll content of the wheat by a very high resolution spectroradiometer and precise chlorophyll meter. Mathematical models for wheat crop chlorophyll content are created based on the collected data and a supervised Artificial Neural Network algorithm. The created mathematical models are used to investigate the status of the winter wheat crop throughout Lebanon using remote sensing data. The verification of the results is based on the collected LCC measurements using a chlorophyll meter during the same time a remote sensing satellite is imaging the study area. The verification of the results is based on computing the accuracies between the predicted and estimated LCC. The average accuracy of the new mathematical models is about 99.5%. © 2016 IEEE.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA | Phase: ICT-2007.9.2 | Award Amount: 1.12M | Year: 2009

The first objective of Join-MED is to create a sustainable network of ICT research organisations in the Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPC) and Europe, reinforcing the Research Cooperation between these two regions on a wider scale. To achieve this, Join-MED will organise a series of networking events in the MPC that will bring researchers from different MPC and EU together. Furthermore, it will support the creation of institutionalised networks on a cross-regional basis, suggesting appropriate methodologies for accomplishing this. To support all networking activities Join-MED will develop an interactive web-based directory of research organisations from both regions, the MPC and EU. To help unfold the potential of the research capacity across the MPC, where is still driven by national initiatives with very little cross-regional co-operation, Join-MED will promote closer research co-operation across the region. This will achieved by moving from country-focused networking events to cross-regional ones. The second objective of Join-MED is to support the Information Society policy dialogue and the co-ordination of national policies on international co-operation in the MPC. This will be achieved by for-mulating a harmonised MPC ICT policy and through an open dialogue, among the MPC as well as with Europe. Join-MED will establish close links with existing and emerging co-operation projects addressing the MPC, in particular the NCP Network, to exploit synergies with the different objectives they pursue, maximise impact and contribute to the definition of co-operation strategies.

Flueck W.T.,National Council for Scientific Research | Flueck W.T.,Atlántida Argentina University | Flueck W.T.,University of Basel
Biological Invasions | Year: 2010

Releasing alien mammals was considered positive in the past, but impacts were recognized as important already decades ago. Himalayan tahr were introduced to New Zealand (NZ), resulting in overt damage and continuous government control programs. Existing laws could not prevent NZ exports, and Argentina imports of tahr, although NZ authorities recommended against these imports. National and provincial legislation was possibly too complex, contradictory or incomplete to be enforced, or had loopholes such that tahr were imported to Argentina (2000, 2006). The estimated population in 2008 was 400-450 tahr. As even common travel routes are used to cross national borders in South America illegally with live ungulates, and enterprises importing tahr have been intercepted for illegally transporting wild ungulates previously, there are substantial risks that tahr might be released to new sites. As huge areas lack natural barriers, landscapes are very similar to NZ environments successfully invaded by tahr, and eradication or control are unfeasible, the future of Himalayan tahr in South America now hinges solely on releases or escapes. Importantly, the 2006 import was to Andean foothills which is an ecological time bomb. Considering climates, history of invasiveness in NZ, and low required propagule pressure, tahr could perform from 34°-55°S along the Andes. NZ still has many illegal liberations, thus it would be more difficult to contain illegal liberations in Argentina. It calls for more leadership and better standards by exporting countries, especially if they had the chance to experience the consequences of having received the exotic species earlier. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009.

Flueck W.T.,National Council for Scientific Research | Flueck W.T.,Atlántida Argentina University | Flueck W.T.,University of Basel
Biological Invasions | Year: 2010

A recent review on exotic cervids concluded that deer introduced to Patagonia impacted habitat and native huemul deer Hippocamelus bisulcus. I evaluate these assertions and amend information about this South American case study. Categorizing deer along narrow characteristics may be too restrictive to allow accurate predictions about interactions. More effective is considering the magnitude of plasticity (behavioral, phenotypic, genetic). The dichotomy of native versus exotic deer masks situations where prevailing ecological conditions are far from 'native', such as absence of predators, and such results from artificial settings have limitations. Studies used to contrast effects on vegetation from exotic red deer (Cervus elaphus) versus native huemul did not analyze native deer and provided no data to support conclusions in the review. Huemul were concluded to have high trophic overlap with red deer whose diet, however, was determined in another habitat where the food item of supposed major overlap was absent, and suggesting that red deer might cause exploitation competition was not supported by cited data. There was no mention that huemul are foremost exposed to livestock rather than exotic deer. Concluding that exotic prey including red deer increase predator density resulting in increased predation of huemul (apparent competition), was not supported by cited studies. To the contrary, high-density puma (Puma concolor) could not prevent guanaco (Lama guanicoe) from increasing >13-fold, nor that huemul expanded into these sites. Not only were those studies opposite to conclusions in the review, but none had studied huemul nor predator population trends. Data from little known species like huemul should be used with reservations when aiming at generalizations. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Makkouk K.M.,National Council for Scientific Research | Kumari S.G.,International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas | van Leur J.A.G.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Jones R.A.C.,University of Western Australia
Advances in Virus Research | Year: 2014

Cool-season grain legume crops become infected with a wide range of viruses, many of which cause serious diseases and major yield losses. This review starts by discussing which viruses are important in the principal cool-season grain legume crops in different parts of the world, the losses they cause and their economic impacts in relation to control. It then describes the main types of control measures available: host resistance, phytosanitary measures, cultural measures, chemical control, and biological control. Examples are provided of successful deployment of the different types of measures to control virus epidemics in cool-season grain legume crops. Next it emphasizes the need for integrated approaches to control because single control measures used alone rarely suffice to adequately reduce virus-induced yield losses in these crops. Development of effective integrated disease management (IDM) strategies depends on an interdisciplinary team approach to (i) understand the ecological and climatic factors which lead to damaging virus epidemics and (ii) evaluate the effectiveness of individual control measures. In addition to using virus-resistant cultivars, other IDM components include sowing virus-tested seed stocks, selecting cultivars with low seed transmission rates, using diverse phytosanitary or cultural practices that minimize the virus source or reduce its spread, and using selective pesticides in an environmentally responsible way. The review finishes by briefly discussing the implications of climate change in increasing problems associated with control and the opportunities to control virus diseases more effectively through new technologies. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

Bou Kheir R.,Lebanese University | Bou Kheir R.,University of Aarhus | Greve M.H.,University of Aarhus | Abdallah C.,National Council for Scientific Research | Dalgaard T.,University of Aarhus
Environmental Pollution | Year: 2010

Heavy metal contamination has been and continues to be a worldwide phenomenon that has attracted a great deal of attention from governments and regulatory bodies. In this context, our study proposes a regression-tree model to predict the concentration level of zinc in the soils of northern Lebanon (as a case study of Mediterranean landscapes) under a GIS environment. The developed tree-model explained 88% of variance in zinc concentration using pH (100% in relative importance), surroundings of waste areas (90%), proximity to roads (80%), nearness to cities (50%), distance to drainage line (25%), lithology (24%), land cover/use (14%), slope gradient (10%), conductivity (7%), soil type (7%), organic matter (5%), and soil depth (5%). The overall accuracy of the quantitative zinc map produced (at 1:50.000 scale) was estimated to be 78%. The proposed tree model is relatively simple and may also be applied to other areas. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Saliba N.A.,American University of Beirut | El Jam F.,American University of Beirut | El Tayar G.,American University of Beirut | Obeid W.,American University of Beirut | Roumie M.,National Council for Scientific Research
Atmospheric Research | Year: 2010

Being a semi-enclosed area, the Eastern Mediterranean region experiences high Particulate Matter (PM) levels that could be attributed to sources originating from the region and from long-range transported pollutants. In this study, a long-term evaluation of PM10 and PM2.5 mass concentrations reveals that averages of PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations collected between 2003 and 2007 in several different sites in Beirut exceeded the World Health Organization (WHO) PM10 and PM2.5 annual averages (20 and 10μgm-3, respectively). When compared to other sites in the region, levels fell in general outside the usual range for most other urban sites that are not directly affected by industrial activity. The average PM2.5/PM10 ratios were about 0.42, a value that is typical of urban sites. The overall averages for different seasons were higher in fall and summer as a result of low precipitations, the increase of dust storm activities in fall and the enhancement of sea and land breezes in summer, along with the increase in traffic activities (summer is a high touristic season). Using the HYSPLIT model for about 500 sampled days in Beirut, Lebanon, it was found that 60% of the wind comes from the N, NW and NE, while the remaining 40% comes from the S, SW and SE. Comparing the sources assigned to the pre- (BH) and post- (HH) 2006-war sites, it was found that aged dust increased by 64% in total PM10 and secondary aerosols by 150% in fine PM in HH over BH. Furthermore, much higher average percentages of sulfates and nitrates were determined in fine PMs in HH, indicating increased levels of their precursors NOx, SOx and Ca generated from a higher density of gasoline, diesel vehicles and construction debris. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Shaban A.,National Council for Scientific Research | Houhou R.,National Council for Scientific Research
Journal of Hydrology | Year: 2015

There is discrepancy in classifying Lebanon according to the different climatic zones; however, it is often described as a semi-arid region. Lately, Lebanon has been witnessing climatic oscillations in the meteorological parameters. The impact of these oscillations on water sector has been reflected also on energy-food nexus. Yet, there are a number of studies obtained to identify the climate of Lebanon, and they show contradictory results; especially these studies elaborated different datasets and applied diverse methods which often modeled only on large-scale regions. Therefore, the analysis of climatic data depended on complete and long-term climatic records that can be applied to assess the existing climatic status of Lebanon, as well as to assure whether Lebanon is under drought, humidity or it is oscillating between both. This study utilized considerable datasets, from different sources including the remotely sensed systems (e.g. TRMM). These datasets were interpolated and analyzed statistically according to De Martonne Aridity Index. Aiming to affirm the climatic attribute of Lebanon; however, ten climatic stations were investigated. They are with representative geographic setting and diverse time series in the coastal zone of Lebanon were investigated. Even though, Lebanon is known as a semi-arid region, yet results in this study show that the studied zone does not evidence any drought, since around 70% of the investigated years are characterized by semi-humid to humid climate. This climatic figure is well pronounced since rainfall rate exceeds 900. mm, average temperature rate is about 19. °C, and snow remains for a couple of months annually. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Makkouk K.,National Council for Scientific Research | Pappu H.,Washington State University | Kumari S.G.,International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas
Advances in Virus Research | Year: 2012

In the Mediterranean region, pea, bean, and faba bean production is affected by around 17 major viruses. These viruses do not have the same ecology and consequently require a variety of different preventive measures to control them. Some of these viruses have a narrow host range, such as Faba bean necrotic yellows virus (FBNYV), and others, such as Alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV) and Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV), a very wide host range. Such features are important when identifying sources of virus inoculum in a region, and the vectors can transmit viruses from natural reservoirs to the crop plants. Some of these viruses are seed borne and, consequently, can be disseminated long distances through infected seeds. Crop losses caused by these viruses are variable, depending on the sensitivity and susceptibility of the crop to infection. Host resistance genes have been identified for some of these viruses, but in others, such as FBNYV, no resistance genes in faba bean have been identified yet. Significant progress was made in developing precise methods for the identification of these viruses, and new virus problems are being identified every year. This chapter is not intended to be a review for pea, bean, and faba bean viruses, but rather focuses on the major viruses which affect these crops in the Mediterranean basin with focus on the progress made over the past two decades. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Awad M.,National Council for Scientific Research
International Arab Journal of Information Technology | Year: 2010

Image segmentation is an essential step in image processing. The goal of segmentation is to simplify and/or to change the representation of an image into a form easier to analyze. Many image segmentation methods are available but most of these methods are not suitable for satellite images and they require a priori knowledge. In order to overcome these obstacles, a new satellite image segmentation method is developed using an unsupervised artificial neural network method called Kohonen's self-organizing map and a threshold technique. Self-organizing map is used to organize pixels according to grey level values of multiple bands into groups then a threshold technique is used to cluster the image into disjoint regions, this new method is called TSOM. Experiments performed on two different satellite images confirm the stability, homogeneity, and the efficiency (speed wise) of TSOM method with comparison to the iterative self-organizing data analysis method. The stability and homogeneity of both methods are determined using a procedure selected from the functional model.

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