Contribution of ecosystem services to air quality and climate change mitigation policies: The case of urban forests in Barcelona, Spain

Baro F., Chaparro L., Gomez-Baggethun E., Langemeyer J., Nowak D.J., Terradas J. (2014) Contribution of ecosystem services to air quality and climate change mitigation policies: The case of urban forests in Barcelona, Spain. Ambio. 43: 466-479.
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Doi: 10.1007/s13280-014-0507-x

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Mounting research highlights the contribution of ecosystem services provided by urban forests to quality of life in cities, yet these services are rarely explicitly considered in environmental policy targets. We quantify regulating services provided by urban forests and evaluate their contribution to comply with policy targets of air quality and climate change mitigation in the municipality of Barcelona, Spain. We apply the i-Tree Eco model to quantify in biophysical and monetary terms the ecosystem services "air purification," "global climate regulation,"and the ecosystem disservice "air pollution" associated with biogenic emissions. Our results show that the contribution of urban forests regulating services to abate pollution is substantial in absolute terms, yet modest when compared to overall city levels of air pollution and GHG emissions. We conclude that in order to be effective, green infrastructure-based efforts to offset urban pollution at the municipal level have to be coordinated with territorial policies at broader spatial scales. ©The Author(s) 2014.

Llegeix més

Stochastic optimal foraging: Tuning intensive and extensive dynamics in random searches

Bartumeus F., Raposo E.P., Viswanathan G.M., Da Luz M.G.E. (2014) Stochastic optimal foraging: Tuning intensive and extensive dynamics in random searches. PLoS ONE. 9: 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106373

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Recent theoretical developments had laid down the proper mathematical means to understand how the structural complexity of search patterns may improve foraging efficiency. Under information-deprived scenarios and specific landscape configurations, Lévy walks and flights are known to lead to high search efficiencies. Based on a one-dimensional comparative analysis we show a mechanism by which, at random, a searcher can optimize the encounter with close and distant targets. The mechanism consists of combining an optimal diffusivity (optimally enhanced diffusion) with a minimal diffusion constant. In such a way the search dynamics adequately balances the tension between finding close and distant targets, while, at the same time, shifts the optimal balance towards relatively larger close-to-distant target encounter ratios. We find that introducing a multiscale set of reorientations ensures both a thorough local space exploration without oversampling and a fast spreading dynamics at the large scale. Lévy reorientation patterns account for these properties but other reorientation strategies providing similar statistical signatures can mimic or achieve comparable efficiencies. Hence, the present work unveils general mechanisms underlying efficient random search, beyond the Lévy model. Our results suggest that animals could tune key statistical movement properties (e.g. enhanced diffusivity, minimal diffusion constant) to cope with the very general problem of balancing out intensive and extensive random searching. We believe that theoretical developments to mechanistically understand stochastic search strategies, such as the one here proposed, are crucial to develop an empirically verifiable and comprehensive animal foraging theory. © 2014 Bartumeus et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Llegeix més

Local vegetation trends in the sahel of mali and senegal using long time series FAPAR satellite products and field measurement (1982-2010)

Brandt M., Verger A., Diouf A.A., Baret F., Samimi C. (2014) Local vegetation trends in the sahel of mali and senegal using long time series FAPAR satellite products and field measurement (1982-2010). Remote Sensing. 6: 2408-2434.
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Doi: 10.3390/rs6032408

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Local vegetation trends in the Sahel of Mali and Senegal from Geoland Version 1 (GEOV1) (5 km) and the third generation Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies (GIMMS3g) (8 km) Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (FAPAR) time series are studied over 29 years. For validation and interpretation of observed greenness trends, two methods are applied: (1) a qualitative approach using in-depth knowledge of the study areas and (2) a quantitative approach by time series of biomass observations and rainfall data. Significant greening trends from 1982 to 2010 are consistently observed in both GEOV1 and GIMMS3g FAPAR datasets. Annual rainfall increased significantly during the observed time period, explaining large parts of FAPAR variations at a regional scale. Locally, GEOV1 data reveals a heterogeneous pattern of vegetation change, which is confirmed by long-term ground data and site visits. The spatial variability in the observed vegetation trends in the Sahel area are mainly caused by varying tree-and land-cover, which are controlled by human impact, soil and drought resilience. A large proportion of the positive trends are caused by the increment in leaf biomass of woody species that has almost doubled since the 1980s due to a tree cover regeneration after a dry-period. This confirms the re-greening of the Sahel, however, degradation is also present and sometimes obscured by greening. GEOV1 as compared to GIMMS3g made it possible to better characterize the spatial pattern of trends and identify the degraded areas in the study region. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Llegeix més

European mixed forests: Definition and research perspectives

Bravo-Oviedo A., Pretzsch H., Ammer C., Andenmatten E., Barbati A., Barreiro S., Brang P., Bravo F., Coll L., Corona P., Den Ouden J., Ducey M.J., Forrester D.I., Giergiczny M., Jacobsen J.B., Lesinski J., Löf M., Mason B., Matovic B., Metslaid M., Morneau F., Motiejunaite J., O’Reilly C., Pach M., Ponette Q., Del Rio M., Short I., Skovsgaard J.P., Soliño M., Spathelf P., Sterba H., Stojanovic D., Strelcova K., Svoboda M., Verheyen K., Von Lüpke N., Zlatanov T. (2014) European mixed forests: Definition and research perspectives. Forest Systems. 23: 518-533.
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Doi: 10.5424/fs/2014233-06256

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Aim of study: We aim at (i) developing a reference definition of mixed forests in order to harmonize comparative research in mixed forests and (ii) briefly review the research perspectives in mixed forests. Area of study: The definition is developed in Europe but can be tested worldwide. Material and methods: Review of existent definitions of mixed forests based and literature review encompassing dynamics, management and economic valuation of mixed forests. Main results: A mixed forest is defined as a forest unit, excluding linear formations, where at least two tree species coexist at any developmental stage, sharing common resources (light, water, and/or soil nutrients). The presence of each of the component species is normally quantified as a proportion of the number of stems or of basal area, although volume, biomass or canopy cover as well as proportions by occupied stand area may be used for specific objectives. A variety of structures and patterns of mixtures can occur, and the interactions between the component species and their relative proportions may change over time. The research perspectives identified are (i) species interactions and responses to hazards, (ii) the concept of maximum density in mixed forests, (iii) conversion of monocultures to mixed-species forest and (iv) economic valuation of ecosystem services provided by mixed forests. Research highlights: The definition is considered a high-level one which encompasses previous attempts to define mixed forests. Current fields of research indicate that gradient studies, experimental design approaches, and model simulations are key topics providing new research opportunities. © 2014 Ministerio de Agricultura Pesca y Alimentacion. All rights reserved.

Llegeix més

Evaluating the importance of trophobiosis in a Mediterranean ant community: a stable isotope analysis

Brewitt K., Pinol J., Werner C., Beyschlag W., Espadaler X., Perez Hidalgo N., Platner C. (2014) Evaluating the importance of trophobiosis in a Mediterranean ant community: a stable isotope analysis. Insectes Sociaux. : 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1007/s00040-014-0375-1

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Trophobiosis between aphids (Aphididae, Hemiptera) and ants (Formicidae, Hymenoptera) is considered to provide an important source of nutrition for ants by aphid honeydew and aphids themselves used as prey. However, little is known about nutrient fluxes and the relative importance of trophobiosis for different ant species. Combining direct contact observations between ants and aphids with stable isotope analyses of distinct multitrophic sample sets (soil, plant, aphid, and ant), we aimed at disentangling the importance of trophobiosis in a Mediterranean food web and possible feedbacks on the functional diversity of ants in a species-rich organic Citrus plantation. We analyzed δ13C- and δ15N-values of sample sets for fertilized and natural soil, using the fertilizer as natural isotope label. The results showed trophic relationships between 18 host plant species, 22 aphid species, and 7 ant species. Direct observation revealed at least 40 different plant–aphid combinations and 25 aphid–ant combinations with a marked range of δ15N-values. However, the δ13C and δ15N isotope ratios still reflected the trophic levels. A significant correlation occurred between the isotope ratios of aphids and their host plants. However, no relationship was found between aphids and ants or between plants and ants revealing that many ant species do not exhibit a close relationship with their trophobiotic partners. Isotopic data allowed us to separate ant species into trophic functional groups and showed the relevance of other food resources. The applied fertilizer shifted the isotopic baseline for the whole trophic system. By combining the stable isotope analysis with the exact origin of the samples, we avoided a misleading interpretation of the high isotopic range of species. Thus, we emphasize the importance of considering a baseline in stable isotope food web studies.

Llegeix més

Reorientation patterns in central-place foraging: Internal clocks and klinokinesis

Campos D., Bartumeus F., Mendez V., Espadaler X. (2014) Reorientation patterns in central-place foraging: Internal clocks and klinokinesis. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 11: 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1098/rsif.2013.0859

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We study central-place foraging patterns of Aphaenogaster senilis ants at a population level by video framing individual ant trajectories in a circular arena with a nest connected to its centre. The ants naturally leave and enter the nest and forage generating non-trivial movement patterns around the nest. Our data analysis indicated that the trajectories observed can be classified into two strategies: the risk-averse strategy, which involves wandering around the nest without departing far from it and the riskprone strategy, which involves long exploration paths with periodic returns to the central region, nearby the nest. We found that both risk-prone and risk-averse strategies exhibit qualitatively the same reorientation patterns, with the time between consecutive reorientations covering a wide range of scales, and fitting a stretched exponential function. Nevertheless, differences in the temporal scales and the time variability of such reorientation events differ, together with other aspects of motion, such as average speed and turns. Our results give experimental evidence that the internal mechanisms driving reorientations in ants tend to favour frequently long relocations, as theory predicts for efficient exploration in patchy landscapes, but ants engaged in central-place foraging can modulate such behaviour to control distances from the nest. Previous works on the species support the idea that risk-prone and risk-averse strategies may reflect actual differences between individuals age and experience; these factors (age and experience) should be then relevant in modulating the internal reorientation clocks. To support the validity of our findings, we develop a random-walk model combining stretched exponential reorientation clocks with klinokinesis that fits the time length and the travelled distance distributions of the observed trajectories. © 2013 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

Llegeix més

A resource-based modelling framework to assess habitat suitability for steppe birds in semiarid Mediterranean agricultural systems

Cardador L., De Caceres M., Bota G., Giralt D., Casas F., Arroyo B., Mougeot F., Cantero-Martiez C., Moncunill J., Butler S.J., Brotons L. (2014) A resource-based modelling framework to assess habitat suitability for steppe birds in semiarid Mediterranean agricultural systems. PLoS ONE. 9: 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0092790

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European agriculture is undergoing widespread changes that are likely to have profound impacts on farmland biodiversity. The development of tools that allow an assessment of the potential biodiversity effects of different land-use alternatives before changes occur is fundamental to guiding management decisions. In this study, we develop a resource-based model framework to estimate habitat suitability for target species, according to simple information on species' key resource requirements (diet, foraging habitat and nesting site), and examine whether it can be used to link land-use and local species' distribution. We take as a study case four steppe bird species in a lowland area of the north-eastern Iberian Peninsula. We also compare the performance of our resource-based approach to that obtained through habitat-based models relating species' occurrence and land-cover variables. Further, we use our resource-based approach to predict the effects that change in farming systems can have on farmland bird habitat suitability and compare these predictions with those obtained using the habitat-based models. Habitat suitability estimates generated by our resource-based models performed similarly (and better for one study species) than habitat based-models when predicting current species distribution. Moderate prediction success was achieved for three out of four species considered by resource-based models and for two of four by habitat-based models. Although, there is potential for improving the performance of resource-based models, they provide a structure for using available knowledge of the functional links between agricultural practices, provision of key resources and the response of organisms to predict potential effects of changing land-uses in a variety of context or the impacts of changes such as altered management practices that are not easily incorporated into habitat-based models. © 2014 Cardador et al.

Llegeix més

Large-scale recruitment limitation in Mediterranean pines: The role of Quercus ilex and forest successional advance as key regional drivers

Carnicer J., Coll M., Pons X., Ninyerola M., Vayreda J., Penuelas J. (2014) Large-scale recruitment limitation in Mediterranean pines: The role of Quercus ilex and forest successional advance as key regional drivers. Global Ecology and Biogeography. 23: 371-384.
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Doi: 10.1111/geb.12111

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Aim: Large-scale patterns of limitations in tree recruitment remain poorly described in the Mediterranean Basin, and this information is required to assess the impacts of global warming on forests. Here, we unveil the existence of opposite trends of recruitment limitation between the dominant genera Quercus and Pinus on a large scale and identify the key ecological drivers of these diverging trends. Location: Spain Methods: We gathered data from the Spanish National Forest inventory to assess recruitment trends for the dominant species (Pinus halepensis, Pinus pinea, Pinus pinaster, Pinus nigra, Pinus sylvestris, Pinus uncinata, Quercus suber, Quercus ilex, Quercus petraea, Quercus robur, Quercus faginea and Quercus pyrenaica). We assessed the direct and indirect drivers of recruitment by applying Bayesian structural equation modelling techniques. Results: Severe limitations in recruitment were observed across extensive areas for all Pinus species studied, with recruitment failure affecting 54-71% of the surveyed plots. In striking contrast, Quercus species expanded into 41% of the plots surveyed compared to only 10% for Pinus and had a lower local recruitment failure (29% of Quercus localities compared to 63% for Pinus species). Bayesian structural equation models highlighted the key role of the presence of Q.ilex saplings and the increase in the basal area of Q.ilex in limiting recruitment in five Pinus species. The recruitment of P.sylvestris and P.nigra showed the most negative trends and was negatively associated with the impacts of fire. Main conclusions: This study identified Q.ilex, the most widespread species in this area, as a key driver of recruitment shifts on a large scale, negatively affecting most pine species with the advance of forest succession. These results highlight that the future expansion/contraction of Q.ilex stands with ongoing climate change will be a key process indirectly controlling the demographic responses of Pinus species in the Mediterranean Basin. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Llegeix més

Global biodiversity, stoichiometry and ecosystem function responses to human-induced C-N-P imbalances

Carnicer J., Sardans J., Stefanescu C., Ubach A., Bartons M., Asensio D., Penuelas J. (2014) Global biodiversity, stoichiometry and ecosystem function responses to human-induced C-N-P imbalances. Journal of Plant Physiology. : 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2014.07.022

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Global change analyses usually consider biodiversity as a global asset that needs to be preserved. Biodiversity is frequently analysed mainly as a response variable affected by diverse environmental drivers. However, recent studies highlight that gradients of biodiversity are associated with gradual changes in the distribution of key dominant functional groups characterized by distinctive traits and stoichiometry, which in turn often define the rates of ecosystem processes and nutrient cycling. Moreover, pervasive links have been reported between biodiversity, food web structure, ecosystem function and species stoichiometry. Here we review current global stoichiometric gradients and how future distributional shifts in key functional groups may in turn influence basic ecosystem functions (production, nutrient cycling, decomposition) and therefore could exert a feedback effect on stoichiometric gradients. The C-N-P stoichiometry of most primary producers (phytoplankton, algae, plants) has been linked to functional trait continua (i.e. to major axes of phenotypic variation observed in inter-specific analyses of multiple traits). In contrast, the C-N-P stoichiometry of higher-level consumers remains less precisely quantified in many taxonomic groups. We show that significant links are observed between trait continua across trophic levels. In spite of recent advances, the future reciprocal feedbacks between key functional groups, biodiversity and ecosystem functions remain largely uncertain. The reported evidence, however, highlights the key role of stoichiometric traits and suggests the need of a progressive shift towards an ecosystemic and stoichiometric perspective in global biodiversity analyses.

Llegeix més

Air temperature-driven CO2 consumption by rock weathering at short timescales: Evidence from a Holocene lake sediment record

Catalan J., Pla-Rabes S., Garcia J., Camarero L. (2014) Air temperature-driven CO2 consumption by rock weathering at short timescales: Evidence from a Holocene lake sediment record. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 136: 67-79.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2014.04.005

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The role that air temperature plays in the interaction between atmospheric CO2 levels and continental rock weathering at relatively short time scales is still a matter of debate. Laboratory studies reveal a strong dependence of mineral dissolution on temperature, but field comparisons among watersheds under different climate conditions often indicate correlations with other environmental factors. Using a paleolimnological approach, here we show that there has been an extremely good coupling between rock weathering, water alkalinity (CO2 consumption), and air temperature during the last 10,000years at sub-millennial time scales in a small watershed of silicate bedrock and scarce vegetation. The calculation of apparent activation energy for the weathering reaction (as a means to describe the temperature dependence of the process) provides a value (Ea=67±7kJmol-1) that is comparable to those found for silicate rocks similar to those in the watershed in laboratory experiments and some field studies. Our results provide evidence that regulatory constraints between air temperature, atmospheric CO2 and silicate rock weathering can be fine-tuned at geological timescales and may not be negligible in the current context of global change. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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