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Braunisch V.,University of Bern | Braunisch V.,Forest Research Institute of Baden Wuerttemberg FVA | Home R.,Research Institute of Organic Agriculture | Pellet J.,University of Bern | And 2 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2012

A wide gap between research and practice hinders the implementation of biodiversity conservation recommendations. As subjects studied by conservation scientists might bear little relevance for implementation, surveys have identified and framed research questions relevant to conservation in practice. No attempts to prioritize these questions have yet been published, although it would provide invaluable information for steering practice-oriented research. We surveyed Swiss conservation practitioners with the aim of identifying and prioritizing their needs in terms of useful scientific information. A first inductive survey of a selected subgroup generated a list of relevant research questions that were reformulated to be generalizable to all main Swiss ecosystems. The resulting compiled questionnaire was submitted through an online platform to all officially registered practitioners who were asked to rate the importance to their own field of expertise of each question, to nominate possibly omitted, subsidiary questions and to specify "hot topics" typically relevant to their field. Most respondents operated in several ecosystems, which facilitated the identification of general and ecosystem-related research priorities. Generally, questions related to economic, societal and stakeholder conflicts were found to be more important than conceptual questions. Questions concerning single-species were rated higher than ecosystem-related questions. Subsidiary questions and hot topics were subsumed and integrated into a final catalogue of research questions. By identifying and framing scientific questions of both general practical relevance and specific regional importance, this study provides a practice-oriented research agenda and a basis for developing conjoint activities with the intention to bridge the gap between conservation science and action. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Aguilera E.,Pablo De Olavide University | Lassaletta L.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | Lassaletta L.,Complutense University of Madrid | Gattinger A.,Research Institute of Organic Agriculture | Gimeno B.S.,CIEMAT
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment | Year: 2013

Mediterranean croplands are seasonally dry agroecosystems with low soil organic carbon (SOC) content and high risk of land degradation and desertification. The increase in SOC is of special interest in these systems, as it can help to build resilience for climate change adaptation while contributing to mitigate global warming through the sequestration of atmospheric carbon (C). We compared SOC change and C sequestration under a number of recommended management practices (RMPs) with neighboring conventional plots under Mediterranean climate (174 data sets from 79 references). The highest response in C sequestration was achieved by those practices applying largest amounts of C inputs (land treatment and organic amendments). Conservation tillage practices (no-tillage and reduced tillage) induced lower effect sizes but significantly promoted C sequestration, whereas no effect and negative net sequestration rates were observed for slurry applications and unfertilized treatments, respectively. Practices combining external organic amendments with cover crops or conservation tillage (combined management practices and organic management) showed very good performance in C sequestration. We studied separately the changes in SOC under organic management, with 80 data sets from 30 references. The results also suggest that the degree of intensification in C input rate is the main driver behind the relative C accumulation in organic treatments. Thus, highest net C sequestration rates were observed in most eco-intensive groups, such as " irrigated" " horticulture" and controlled experiments (" plot scale" ). © 2013. Source

Willems H.,ETH Zurich | Kreuzer M.,ETH Zurich | Leiber F.,ETH Zurich | Leiber F.,Research Institute of Organic Agriculture
Small Ruminant Research | Year: 2014

The special quality of foods from alpine grazing systems concerning their fatty acid (FA) composition is well established. However, the contribution of different specific vegetation types and the animal's genotype to this alpine effect is still unclear. In the present study, the FA profiles of muscle and adipose tissue lipids were determined in lambs that had grazed either an intensively managed lowland pasture or one of three characteristic alpine vegetation types differing in plant species number and composition, forage quality and amount, and composition of phenolic compounds and FA. On each vegetation type and in two subsequent years, two groups of lambs (seven Engadine sheep, ES; and seven Valaisian Black Nose sheep, VS) grazed for 9 weeks and were subsequently slaughtered (total n=110 lambs). Forage samples, meat ( Longissimus dorsi muscle, LD) and perirenal adipose tissue were analysed for their FA composition. Forages were additionally analysed for contents of phenolic compounds. Although proportions of α-linolenic acid (C18:3. n-3) and linoleic acid (C18:2. n-6) in plant biomass were clearly higher in the lowland compared to the alpine vegetation, the proportions of these FA were increased in the adipose tissue of alpine grazing sheep by 20-87% and by 26-58% in muscle compared to lowland grazing, depending on the alpine vegetation type. The levels of these two FA in body tissues differed between lambs having grazed different alpine pastures and were clearly positively associated with the contents of phenolic compounds in the vegetation but not with its lipid composition. Compared to the lowland pasture, conjugated linoleic acid (C18:2. c9. t11) in the tissues was lower when the lambs grazed alpine pastures, but did not differ between the alpine vegetation types. Slight breed differences were found, with a trend for higher proportions of long chain polyunsaturated FA at cost of saturated and monounsaturated FA in the VS compared to the ES. In conclusion, vegetation type is an important factor determining the FA composition in lamb meat and differentiating the alpine effect in this respect. The data clearly suggest that the plant secondary compounds in the swards prevented part of C18:3. n-3 and C18:2. n-6 from being hydrogenated in the rumen. Tissue-specific differences in incorporation of C18:2. n-6 and C18:3. n-3 point to a physiological optimum level in the muscle but not in the adipose tissue. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

Kratz M.,Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center | Baars T.,Research Institute of Organic Agriculture | Guyenet S.,University of Washington
European Journal of Nutrition | Year: 2013

Purpose: To comprehensively review the data on the relationship between the consumption of dairy fat and high-fat dairy foods, obesity, and cardiometabolic disease. Methods: We have conducted a systematic literature review of observational studies on the relationship between dairy fat and high-fat dairy foods, obesity, and cardiometabolic disease. We have integrated these findings with data from controlled studies showing effects of several minor dairy fatty acids on adiposity and cardiometabolic risk factors, and data on how bovine feeding practices influence the composition of dairy fat. Results: In 11 of 16 studies, high-fat dairy intake was inversely associated with measures of adiposity. Studies examining the relationship between high-fat dairy consumption and metabolic health reported either an inverse or no association. Studies investigating the connection between high-fat dairy intake and diabetes or cardiovascular disease incidence were inconsistent. We discuss factors that may have contributed to the variability between studies, including differences in (1) the potential for residual confounding; (2) the types of high-fat dairy foods consumed; and (3) bovine feeding practices (pasture- vs. grain-based) known to influence the composition of dairy fat. Conclusions: The observational evidence does not support the hypothesis that dairy fat or high-fat dairy foods contribute to obesity or cardiometabolic risk, and suggests that high-fat dairy consumption within typical dietary patterns is inversely associated with obesity risk. Although not conclusive, these findings may provide a rationale for future research into the bioactive properties of dairy fat and the impact of bovine feeding practices on the health effects of dairy fat. © 2012 Springer-Verlag. Source

Stolz H.,Research Institute of Organic Agriculture | Stolze M.,Research Institute of Organic Agriculture | Janssen M.,University of Kassel | Hamm U.,University of Kassel
Food Quality and Preference | Year: 2011

As a result of continuous growth in the organic market, organic food is increasingly available in conventional retail outlets, where organic products are placed alongside both conventional and so called conventional-plus products. Conventional-plus products are food products with particular attributes that also apply to organic products, such as 'no artificial additives or flavours'. This overlap provokes the question whether conventional-plus products might compete with organic products.The aim of our study was to identify occasional organic consumers' preferences and underlying determinants in relation to organic, conventional and conventional-plus milk, fruit yoghurt and apples in Germany and Switzerland. To achieve these objectives, we conducted purchase simulations combined with face-to-face interviews. The data were analysed using contingency tables and multinomial logit models.In the purchase simulations, a large proportion of consumers who usually buy conventional products switched to conventional-plus products. This indicates that conventional-plus products compete with conventional rather than with organic products. Consumer attitudes towards the attributes 'from pasture-raised cows', 'no preventive use of antibiotics', 'no use of genetically modified organisms', 'organic production', 'domestic production' and 'higher price for higher quality' determined their preferences for organic, conventional and conventional-plus products. Differences in attitudes between organic and conventional buyers were generally larger than those between conventional-plus and conventional buyers. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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