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Birmensdorf, Switzerland

Karali E.,University of Edinburgh | Karali E.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici CMCC | Brunner B.,Social research Evaluation and Concepts | Doherty R.,University of Edinburgh | And 2 more authors.
Human Ecology | Year: 2013

Identifying and interpreting the heterogeneity of farmer behaviour is becoming increasingly important in support of policy- and decision-making goals. This paper explores whether observed differences in farming practices can be interpreted from the heterogeneity of farmer behaviour. Farmer attitudes and objectives were analysed using a combination of principal components and cluster analysis applied to responses to statements in a telephone-based survey. Respondents were classified into four profiles; business-oriented, lifestylers, multifunctionalists and traditionalists. Each profile differed in terms of farm management practices, the amount of land farmers either managed or owned, the existence of successors and the importance placed on household members in providing information. The results suggest that knowledge of farmer behavioural profiles could support more targeted policy development that accounts for alternative farmer goals. However, similarities were also found between the profiles, suggesting that farmer behaviour would be better interpreted as a dynamic set of identities, rather than as static profiles. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York. Source


Zell J.,WSL | Bosch B.,FVA | Kandler G.,FVA
European Journal of Forest Research | Year: 2014

The commitment to report greenhouse gas emissions requires an estimation of biomass stocks and their changes in forests. When this was first done, representative biomass functions for most common tree species were very often not available. In Germany, an estimation method based on solid volume was developed (expansion procedure). It is easy to apply because the required information is available for nearly all relevant tree species. However, the distributions of neither parameters nor prediction intervals are available. In this study, two different methods to estimate above-ground biomass for Norway spruce (Picea abies), European beech (Fagus sylvatica), and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) are compared. First, an approach based on information from the literature was used to predict above-ground biomass. It is basically the same method used in greenhouse gas reporting in Germany and was applied with prior and posterior parameters. Second, equations for direct estimation of biomass with standard regression techniques were developed. A sample of above-ground biomass of trees was measured in campaigns conducted previously to the third National Forest Inventory in Germany (2012). The data permitted the application of Bayesian calibration (BC) to estimate posterior distribution of the parameters for the expansion procedure. Moreover, BC enables the calculation of prediction intervals which are necessary for error estimations required for reporting. The two methods are compared with regard to predictive accuracy via cross-validation, under varying sample sizes. Our findings show that BC of the expansion procedure performs better, especially when sample size is small. We therefore encourage the use of existing knowledge together with small samples of observed biomass (e.g., for rare tree species) to gain predictive accuracy in biomass estimation. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source


Karali E.,University of Edinburgh | Brunner B.,Social research Evaluation and Concepts | Doherty R.,University of Edinburgh | Hersperger A.,WSL | Rounsevell M.,University of Edinburgh
Human Ecology | Year: 2014

This paper identifies the factors that either constrain or facilitate farmer decisions to participate in environmental management practices in Switzerland. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore participation in agro-environmental schemes (AES) and the application of organic farming (OF) in the north of Switzerland. Seventeen factors were found to influence farmer decisions to participate in environmental management practices, demonstrating that their decisions were not solely driven by economic incentives. Social and political factors, household and individual profile characteristics as well as concern for the natural environment were all shown to affect the way in which farmers made decisions, but financial considerations remained important, suggesting that environmental participation resulted mainly from the need to adapt to recent agricultural policy reforms with associated subsidies. Although policy was shown to encourage environmentally-friendly farm management and the achievement of ecological benefits, there is no evidence to suggest that this reflects a long-term shift in 'green' farmer attitudes rather than short-term opportunism. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York. Source


News Article | December 15, 2015
Site: http://www.fastcompany.com

On July 19, Mick Fanning and Julian Wilson were paddling out at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa to face each other in the finals of a World Surf League event. Suddenly, during the live broadcast and before either had caught a wave, a shark popped up behind Fanning. What happened next lasted only a few seconds: Fanning struggled, disappeared under the water and out of sight, then popped up quickly and climbed on the back of a jet ski that had made its way over to help. The champion surfer got away with just a snapped surf leash strap and a close call. The World Surf League understandably expressed its relief at Fanning's safety, and its gratitude to the South African safety crew's quick response. The event was covered breathlessly by CNN, BBC, and other major media around the world, and the WSL's YouTube clip of it alone has more than 22 million views. Given that level of exposure, it should come as no surprise that the WSL's new global marketing campaign is dubbed "You Can't Script This," and uses the sport's inherent unpredictability—like, say, a shark attack—as its primary selling point. It's the first major marketing campaign for the WSL, which was born out of a 2014 rebrand of the Association of Surfing Professionals, two years after it had been acquired by ZoSea Media Holdings, and put under the new leadership of former NFL exec Paul Speaker and Terry Hardy, a former manager of legendary surfer Kelly Slater. From the start that deal was about making pro surfing a broader sport that would attract a mainstream audience. Unless there's a shark attack, you'll rarely see surfing highlights on SportsCenter or other sports coverage alongside the NBA, NFL, or MLB, but the WSL has used its app and overall digital presence to build an impressive and sizable global audience. Its 2015 Pipe Masters event attracted more than 10 million fan visits so far, according to WSL. And the league is hoping that tapping into the power of unpredictability will further boost its numbers and reach. "I think it resonates because it has a feeling of this moment is special and unique, and this moment in pro surfing may not happen again," says WSL chief marketing officer Scott Hargrove. "In a basketball game, the court is always the same size, and the nets are always 10-feet high. In surfing the waves could be 60-feet high one day, or 20-foot barrel waves the next, it’s completely different than traditional sports and I’d argue it’s that unpredictability that makes it so compelling." Hargrove says that the momentum behind surfing overall has incredible potential for the WSL. He says that over the last decade participation has gone up 50%, and when you ask kids 13 to 25 what spot they want to learn, surfing is the No. 1 choice. According to WSL research, there is 125 million people interested in the sport. Here's how the brand hopes to reach them. Perhaps the WSL's biggest strengths right now are the combination of its target audience and how it engages with the brand. "We’ve got a very strong millennial core, it’s global with roughly half our fans coming in from mobile devices," says Hargrove. "Out of the gate ownership really focused on getting the product right. When they acquired it, we always had great surfers, venues and content, but the broadcast just wasn’t there. so we’ve invested heavily in making the broadcast professional quality, the latest technology, so I’d argue if you tune in it’s a world-class sports broadcast but across multiple platforms." But the brand's isn't resting on its digital-first laurels. In April, the WSL signed a multi-year broadcast deal with the Globosat network in Brazil that will bring WSL events to 50 million Brazilian viewers. For each event, the WSL has a three-part social strategy that Hargrove says it tailored to specific platforms. "First is anticipation, 'Are you ready? It’s coming,' that kind of thing, with a heavy focus on app downloads," says Hargrove. "Second, is when we’re live and at that point the social team starts driving snackable content." On Facebook that means putting a strong emphasis on video highlights from every perfect 10, every heat, and getting fans caught up on the action and the day’s coverage in five minutes. For the Instagram feed, it’s about using stylish photos to bring to life the exotic location, the ocean, and the chaos. And on Twitter it’s all about real-time coverage. "Then we hold back the third wave of creative for something epic, a particular day where the waves are huge, or there’s two legendary surfers facing off in a heat," says Hargrove. "That’s the rhythm to any given event. Obviously we’re constantly re-evaluating, but that cadence has worked for us this year." Right now, the biggest challenge facing the WSL is finding the right balance to satisfy and stoke both the core surfing community and a more mainstream audience. A glance at the comments on any Surfer article about the WSL will quickly illustrate the conflicted feelings among surfers. "The surfing core can be a prickly, insular group," says Hargrove. "There’s often a feeling of, ‘We don’t want to be exploited, we don’t want to be too big.’ So we have to be very careful in treating that audience the right way to remain authentic and never lose sight of that core. At the same time, we have a real goal of continuing to bring the sport to new audiences around the world. We just have to do it in a way that feels authentic to both, and 'Chaos Theory' does that."


News Article | September 7, 2016
Site: http://www.chromatographytechniques.com/rss-feeds/all/rss.xml/all

The mutualistic relationship between tree roots and ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi has been shaping forest ecosystems since their inception. ECM fungi are key players supporting the growth, health and stress tolerance of forest trees globally, such as oak, pine, spruce, birch and beech, and help boost the productivity of bioenergy feedstock trees, including poplar and willow. The most common ECM fungus is Cenococcum geophilum, found in subtropical through arctic zones and especially in extreme environments. It is also the only mycorrhizal fungus in the Dothideomycetes, a large class comprised of some 19,000 fungal species, many of them plant pathogens. To learn more about what ectomycorrhizal characteristics are dominant in Cenococcum geophilum, a team led by researchers at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, and including researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI), a DOE Office of Science User Facility, compared its genome with the genomes of close relatives Lepidopterella palustris and Glonium stellatum, neither of which are ECM fungi. The study was published online September 7 in Nature Communications. They found specific adaptations in the C. geophilum transcriptome -- the set of its messenger RNA molecules that reflects actual biochemical activity by the fungus -- that could help their hosts be more resistant to drought stress, a finding that could be useful in developing more plant feedstocks for bioenergy amidst the changing climate. As part of a comparative genomic analysis done through the Mycorrhizal Genomics Initiative (MGI) headed by study senior author Francis Martin of INRA, the DOE JGI sequenced C. geophilum and its close relative Lepidopterella palustris, and annotated both of these genomes and another close relative, Glonium stellatum. “We showed that the genome of C. geophilum, the only known mycorrhizal symbiont within the largest fungal class Dothideomycetes, acquired the same genomic adaptations to the mycorrhizal lifestyle over generations as the previously sequenced ectomycorrhizal basidiomycetes,” Martin said. “These include a strikingly reduced number of plant cell wall degrading enzymes (PCWDEs) and a large set of symbiosis-induced lineage-specific genes, including dozen of mycorrhiza-induced small secreted effector-like proteins (MiSSPs).” Unlike free-living saprotrophs, fungi that get their nutrients from decomposing organic matter in forest soils and so require PCWDEs, Cenoccocum has come to rely heavily on its hosts for its carbon nutrition. Noting that the root tips of C. geophilum are highly resistant to dessication, one of the team’s key findings is that two of the three most highly induced C. geophilum genes in symbiosis code for water channels. “The regulation of these water channel genes is fine-tuned under drought conditions and they might therefore play a key role in drought adaptation of host plants,” said first author Martina Peter of the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL. “C. geophilum population genomics should shed light on the mechanisms of host and environmental adaptation,” the team wrote in their paper. “It should facilitate the identification of drought-adapted C. geophilum strains, which can be used to efficiently support their host trees threatened by the forecasted increase in drought periods in many parts of the world.”

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