Health services provision and geographic accessibility [Oferta de servicios de salud y accesibilidad geográfica]

Olivet M., Aloy J., Prat E., Pons X. (2008) Health services provision and geographic accessibility [Oferta de servicios de salud y accesibilidad geográfica]. Medicina Clinica. 131: 16-22.
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Doi: 10.1016/S0025-7753(08)76470-4

Resum:

This study describes the health services available in Catalonia, Spain as part of the situation analysis of the healthcare map, setting a starting point for the process of adapting services to the needs of the population. It also includes an analysis of the geographic accessibility to healthcare centres in the public health system, through the use of a geographic information system (GIS), with geo-referencing variables and calculations of travel times and distances. The principal results show,on one hand, the adaptation of the Catalan healthcare network to the distribution of the population, with a high level of geographic proximity of the services to the population, and a high degree of capillarity, principally in primary healthcare; and on the other hand, the importance that GIS tools and procedures may acquire in healthcareplanning is highlighted. © 2008 Elsevier España S.L.

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Are wildfires a disaster in the Mediterranean basin? A review

Pausas J.G., Llovet J., Rodrigo A., Vallejo R. (2008) Are wildfires a disaster in the Mediterranean basin? A review. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 17: 713-723.
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Doi: 10.1071/WF07151

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Evolutionary and paleoecological studies suggest that fires are natural in the Mediterranean basin. However, the important increase in the number of fires and area burned during the 20th century has created the perception that fires are disasters. In the present paper, we review to what extent fires are generating ecological disasters in the Mediterranean basin, in view of current fire regimes and the long-term human pressure on the landscapes. Specifically, we review studies on post-fire plant regeneration and soil losses. The review suggests that although many Mediterranean ecosystems are highly resilient to fire (shrublands and oak forest), some are fire-sensitive (e.g. pine woodlands). Observed erosion rates are, in some cases, relatively high, especially in high fire severity conditions. The sensitive ecosystems (in the sense of showing strong post-fire vegetation changes and soil losses) are mostly of human origin (e.g. extensive pine plantations in old fields). Thus, although many Mediterranean basin plants have traits to cope with fire, a large number of the ecosystems currently found in this region are strongly altered, and may suffer disasters. Post-fire disasters are not the rule, but they may be important under conditions of previous human disturbances. © IAWF 2008.

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An increasingly scented world

Peñuelas J. (2008) An increasingly scented world. New Phytologist. 180: 735-738.
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Doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2008.02658.x

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[No abstract available]

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Twentieth century changes of tree-ring δ13C at the southern range-edge of Fagus sylvatica: Increasing water-use efficiency does not avoid the growth decline induced by warming at low altitudes

Peñuelas J., Hunt J.M., Ogaya R., Jump A.S. (2008) Twentieth century changes of tree-ring δ13C at the southern range-edge of Fagus sylvatica: Increasing water-use efficiency does not avoid the growth decline induced by warming at low altitudes. Global Change Biology. 14: 1076-1088.
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Doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01563.x

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We aimed to gain knowledge on the changes in intrinsic water use efficiency (iWUE) in response to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations and climate change over the last century. We investigated the variation in the iWUE of mature Fagus sylvatica trees located in the higher, central and lower altitudinal forest limits (HFL, CFA and LFL) of one of the southernmost sites of beech distribution in Europe, the Montseny Mountains in Catalonia (northeast Spain), during the last century by analysing the δ13C of their tree rings. Pre- and post-maturation phases of the trees presented different trends in δ13C, Δ13C, Ci (internal CO2 concentration), iWUE and basal area increment (BAI). Moreover, these variables showed different trends and absolute values in the LFL than in the other altitudinal sites, CFA and HFL. Our results show the existence of an age effect on δ13C in the CFA and HFL (values increased by ca. 1.25‰ coinciding with the BAI suppression and release phases, previous to maturation). These age-related changes were not found in the LFL, whose beech trees arrived to maturation earlier and experienced drier conditions during the suppression phase. In the last 26 years of comparable mature trees, the increase of iWUE deduced from the Δ13C analyses was ca. 10% in LFL, ca. 6% in CFA and not significant in HFL. These results show that climate change towards more arid conditions accounted for these higher Δ13C-values and increases in the LFL more than the continuous increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. This increased iWUE in the LFL did not avoid a decline in growth in these lowest altitudes of this beech southern range-edge as a result of warming. Furthermore, since there was no apparent change in iWUE and growth in the beech forests growing in the more standard-adequate environments of higher altitudes in the last 26 years, the rate of sequestration of C into temperate ecosystems may not increase with increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations as predicted by most models based on short-term small scale experiments. © 2008 The Authors Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Age-specific, density-dependent and environment-based mortality of a short-lived perennial herb

Picó F.X., Retana J. (2008) Age-specific, density-dependent and environment-based mortality of a short-lived perennial herb. Plant Biology. 10: 374-381.
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Doi: 10.1111/j.1438-8677.2008.00044.x

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Density-independent and density-dependent processes affect plant mortality. Although less well understood, age-specific mortality can also play an important role in plant mortality. The goal of this study was to analyse several factors accounting for mortality in the Mediterranean short-lived perennial herb Lobularia maritima. We followed three cohorts of plants (from emergence to death) during 4 years in field conditions. We collected data on plant mortality of the effect of biotic agents (moth larvae and mycoplasma-like organisms, MLOs) and environmental variables. We also estimated density-dependent relationships affecting the fate of seedlings and adults. Results show that cohorts differed in their survival curves and ageing significantly increased mortality risk. Seedling mortality was density-dependent whereas adult mortality was not affected by density. MLO infection led to higher plant mortality whereas moth larvae attack did not affect plant mortality. In general, seedlings and adult plants experienced the highest mortality events in summer. We found, however, weak relationships between weather records and plant mortality. Age and size structures were not correlated. Overall, this study provides a comprehensive review of age-specific, density-dependent and density-independent factors that account for mortality of L. maritima plants throughout their life cycle in field conditions, highlighting the fact that age is an important factor in determining plant population dynamics. © 2008 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.

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Field use of an incubation box for improved emergence timing of Osmia lignaria populations used for orchard pollination

Pitts-Singer T.L., Bosch J., Kemp W.P., Trostle G.E. (2008) Field use of an incubation box for improved emergence timing of Osmia lignaria populations used for orchard pollination. Apidologie. 39: 235-246.
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Doi: 10.1051/apido:2007061

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Wintered populations of blue orchard bees, Osmia lignaria, may require incubation to time emergence to crop bloom. In this study, bee nests were placed in an almond (California) and an apple (Utah) orchard under two incubation treatments: in wood blocks and field incubation boxes. Loose cocoons were also placed in the boxes. Incubation boxes had heating units (set to max. temperature = 22°C) to increase or prolong daytime temperatures to higher than ambient (≥ 14°C higher in Utah). Bee emergence was monitored, and temperatures were recorded. The incubation boxes allowed for faster accumulation of heat units compared to wood blocks. Bees survived well under all conditions (>90% emergence). Compared to bees in wood blocks, females in incubation boxes required three days less in CA and eight days less in Utah for 50% emergence. Results show the utility of heated incubation boxes for shortening O. lignaria emergence time, helping to synchronize bee emergence with bloom initiation. © INRA/DIB-AGIB/ EDP Sciences, 2008.

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Precipitation-dependent flowering of Globularia alypum and Erica multiflora in Mediterranean shrubland under experimental drought and warming, and its inter-annual variability

Prieto P., Peñuelas J., Ogaya R., Estiarte M. (2008) Precipitation-dependent flowering of Globularia alypum and Erica multiflora in Mediterranean shrubland under experimental drought and warming, and its inter-annual variability. Annals of Botany. 102: 275-285.
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Doi: 10.1093/aob/mcn090

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• Background and Aims: Relationships between autumn flowering, precipitation and temperature of plant species of Mediterranean coastal shrublands have been described, but not analysed experimentally. These relationships were analysed for two species of co-occurring, dominant, autumn-flowering shrubs, Globularia alypum and Erica multiflora, over 4 years and in experimentally generated drought and warming conditions. The aim was to improve predictions about the responses and adaptations of flowering of Mediterranean vegetation to climate change. • Methods: Beginning of anthesis and date of maximum flowering intensity ('peak date') were monitored over 4 years (2001-2004) on a garrigue land type in the noth-east of the Iberian Peninsula. Two experimental treatments were applied, increased temperature (+0.73°C) and reduced soil moisture (-17%) relative to untreated plots. • Key Results: Flowering of Globularia alypum and Erica multiflora differed greatly between years depending on the precipitation of the previous months and the date of the last substantial rainfall (>10 mm). Globularia alypum flowered once or twice (unimodal or bimodal) as the result of differences in the distribution and magnitude of precipitation in late-spring and summer (when floral buds develop). The drought treatment delayed and decreased flowering of Globularia alypum in 2001 and delayed flowering in 2002. Warming extended the period between the beginning of flowering and the end of the second peak for autumn flowering in 2001 and also increased peak intensity in 2002. Flowering of Erica multiflora was unaffected by either treatment. • Conclusions: Autumn flowering of Globularia alypum and Erica multiflora is more dependent on water availability than on temperature. Considerable inter-annual plasticity in the beginning of anthesis and peak date and on unimodal or bimodal flowering constitutes a 'safe strategy' for both species in relation to varying precipitation and temperature. However, severe changes in precipitation in spring and summer may severely affect flowering of Globularia alypum but not Erica multiflora, thus affecting development/structure of the ecosystem if such conditions persist. © The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company. All rights reserved.

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Sulphur isotopes as tracers of the influence of a coal-fired power plant on a Scots pine forest in Catalonia (NE Spain)

Puig R., Àvila A., Soler A. (2008) Sulphur isotopes as tracers of the influence of a coal-fired power plant on a Scots pine forest in Catalonia (NE Spain). Atmospheric Environment. 42: 733-745.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2007.09.059

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Stable sulphur isotopes and major ionic composition were analysed in precipitation and throughfall samples from a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris, L.) forest near the Cercs coal-fired power plant (Catalonia, NE Spain). The purpose of the study was to determine the main sources of sulphur deposition on this pine forest. Sulphur isotope measurements from the SO2 power plant stack emissions were used to identify the isotopic signature of this source. Net throughfall fluxes of sulphur (26.1 kg S ha1 yr-1) and nitrogen (16.3 kg N ha-1 yr-1) were higher-5-25 times higher for S and 5-15 times for N-at this site than in other forests in Catalonia. Sulphur isotope analysis confirmed that the net throughfall fluxes of sulphur were mostly due to the dry deposition of the SO2 power plant emissions onto the pine canopies. Two potential atmospheric end-members were distinguished: regional background rainwater (δ34S=+7.2‰) and power plant emissions (δ34S=-2.8‰). By applying a two-component sulphur isotope mixing model, we found that during periods of low power plant activity (≤10 emission h day-1), 62% of the throughfall sulphate could be attributed to the power plant emissions. At higher activity periods (≥14 emission h day-1), this contribution rose to 73%. Although power plant contribution to bulk deposition was lower in both cases (34% and 45%), the possible influence of sulphate coming with long-range transport events from the polluted areas in the Mediterranean basin (δ34S≈0‰) was not discarded. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Response of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and pubescent oak (Quercus pubescens Willd.) to soil and atmospheric water deficits under Mediterranean moutain climate.

Poyatos R, Llorens P, Piñol J, Rubio C (2008) Response of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and pubescent oak (Quercus pubescens Willd.) to soil and atmospheric water deficits under Mediterranean moutain climate. Annals of Forest Science 65: 306

Phytotoxic effects of sewage sludge extracts on the germination of three plant species

Ramírez W.A., Domene X., Andrés P., Alcañiz J.M. (2008) Phytotoxic effects of sewage sludge extracts on the germination of three plant species. Ecotoxicology. 17: 834-844.
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Doi: 10.1007/s10646-008-0246-5

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In order to evaluate the ability of three types of extracts to explain the ecotoxicological risk of treated municipal sewage sludges, the OECD 208A germination test was applied using three plants (Lolium perenne L., Brassica rapa L., and Trifolium pratense L.). Three equivalent batches of sludge, remained as dewatered sludge, composted with plant remains and thermally dried, from an anaerobic waste water treatment plant were separated. Samples from these three batches were extracted in water, methanol, and dichloromethane. Plant bioassays were performed and the Germination Index (GI) for the three plants was evaluated once after a period of 10 days. Germination in extracts was always lower than the respective controls. The germination in composted sludge (GI 40.9-86.2) was higher than the dewatered (GI 2.9-45.8), or thermally dried sludges (GI 24.6-64.4). A comparison of the germination between types of extracts showed differences for dewatered sludge with the three plants, where the water and methanol extracts had significantly lower germination than the dichloromethane extract. A higher half maximal effective concentration (EC50) in composted extracts was established, mainly in the water extract (EC 50 431-490 g kg-1). On the contrary, the germination was strongly inhibited in the water extract of the dewatered sludge (EC50 14 g kg-1). The germination was positively correlated with the degree of organic matter stability of the parent sludge, and an inverse correlation was detected for total nitrogen, hydrolysable nitrogen and ammonium content. It is concluded that the phytotoxic effect of the water extract is more closely related to hydrophilic substances rather than lipophilic ones, and care must be taken with dewatered sludge application, especially with their aqueous eluates. Results obtained in this work show the suitability of the use of sludge extracts in ecotoxic assays and emphasize the relevance of sewage sludge stabilization by post-treatment processes. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

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