Publications

NIBIOs employees contribute to several hundred scientific articles and research reports every year. You can browse or search in our collection which contains references and links to these publications as well as other research and dissemination activities. The collection is continously updated with new and historical material.

2020

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Abstract

Across the northern hemisphere, six species of aspen (Populus spp.) play a disproportionately important role in promoting biodiversity, sequestering carbon, limiting forest disturbances, and providing other ecosystem services. These species are illustrative of efforts to move beyond single-species conservation because they facilitate hundreds of plants and animals worldwide. This review is intended to place aspen in a global conservation context by focusing on the many scientific advances taking place in such biologically diverse systems. In this manner, aspen may serve as a model for other widespread keystone systems where science-based practice may have world implications for biodiversity conservation. In many regions, aspen can maintain canopy dominance for decades to centuries as the sole major broadleaf trees in forested landscapes otherwise dominated by conifers. Aspen ecosystems are valued for many reasons, but here we highlight their potential as key contributors to regional and global biodiversity. We present global trends in research priorities, strengths, and weaknesses based on, 1) a qualitative survey, 2) a systematic literature analysis, and 3) regional syntheses of leading research topics. These regional syntheses explore important aspen uses, threats, and research priorities with the ultimate intent of research sharing focused on sound conservation practice. In all regions, we found that aspen enhance biodiversity, facilitate rapid (re)colonization in natural and damaged settings (e.g., abandoned mines), and provide adaptability in changing environments. Common threats to aspen ecosystems in many, but not all, regions include effects of herbivory, land clearing, logging practices favoring conifer species, and projected climate warming. We also highlight regional research gaps that emerged from the three survey approaches above. We believe multi-scale research is needed that examines disturbance processes in the context of dynamic climates where ecological, physiological, and genetic variability will ultimately determine widespread aspen sustainability. Based on this global review of aspen research, we argue for the advancement of the “mega-conservation” strategy, centered on the idea of sustaining a set of common keystone communities (aspen) that support wide arrays of obligate species. This approach contrasts with conventional preservation which focuses limited resources on individual species residing in narrow niches.

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Abstract

A greenhouse climate-crop yield model was adapted to include additional climate modification techniques suitable for enabling sustainable greenhouse management at high latitudes. Additions to the model were supplementary lighting, secondary heating and heat harvesting technologies. The model: 1) included the impact of different light sources on greenhouse air temperature and tomato production 2) included a secondary heating system 3) calculated the amount of harvested heat whilst lighting was used. The crop yield model was not modified but it was validated for growing tomato in a semi-closed greenhouse equipped with HPS lamps (top-lights) and LED (inter-lights) in Norway. The combined climate-yield model was validated with data from a commercial greenhouse in Norway. The results showed that the model was able to predict the air temperature with sufficient accuracy during the validation periods with Relative Root Mean Square Error <10%. Tomato yield was accurately simulated in the cases under investigation, yielding a final production difference between 0.7% and 4.3%. Lack of suitable data prevented validation of the heat harvest sub-model, but a scenario is presented calculating the maximum harvestable heat in an illuminated greenhouse. Given the cumulative energy used for heating, the total amount of heating pipe energy which could be fulfilled with the heat harvestable from the greenhouse air was around 50%. Given the overall results, the greenhouse climate(-crop yield) model modified and presented in this study is considered accurate enough to support decisions about investments at farm level and/or evaluate beforehand the possible consequences of environmental policies.

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Abstract

This study provides a multi-attribute approach to support decisions by Norwegian crop farmers considering adopting innovative crop protection measures. In modelling choice among pest management strategies, we have accounted for both economic risks, risks to human health and risks to the environment. We used the Simple Multi-Attribute Rating Technique (SMART) to evaluate the results of a field trial comparing four different pest management strategies. In the trial, various pre-crops in year one were followed by two consecutive years of winter wheat. Two treatments had different levels of integrated pest management (IPM). IPM1 was the most innovative treatment and used less pesticides (i.e. herbicides, insecticides and fungicides) than IPM2. The third treatment (‘Worst Case’, WC) used pesticides routinely. The fourth treatment (‘No Plant Protection’, NPP) used no plant protection measures except one reduced dose of herbicide per year on winter wheat. Two main attributes were included in the SMART analysis, an economic indicator and a pesticide load indicator, each of which comprised a number of attributes at a subsidiary level. The results showed that the IPM1 and NPP strategies performed better than IPM2 and the WC strategies. However, the ranking of the pest management practices depended on the weighting of the two main attributes. Although the SMART analysis gave ordinal utility values, permitting only ranking of the alternatives, we were able to transform the results to measure financial differences between the alternatives.

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Abstract

Understanding the factors that determine species’ resistance to environmental change is of utmost importance for biodiversity conservation. Here we investigated how the abundances of marshland species are determined by niche properties and functional traits. We re-surveyed 150 vegetation plots that were first surveyed in 1973 in order to explore species abundance changes over time. We found that the mean water level in the habitats of most studied species decreased significantly from 1973 to 2012. Nine of 17 target species were identified as abundance decreasing species and the other eight as abundance increasing species. The comparisons of seven plant characteristics (niche position water level, plant height, and five leaf traits) showed that the decreasing species had a significantly higher value of optimum water level and marginally significantly lower leaf N contents and specific leaf area (SLA) than those in increasing species. The stepwise regression analysis showed that optimum water level and leaf N were the best predictors of abundance changes of marsh plant species, as well as that the effect of optimum water level was stronger than that of leaf N. Our findings demonstrated that niche properties may be important for forecasting changes in wetland plant communities over time.

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Abstract

1. Due to globalisation, trade and transport, the spread of alien species is increasing dramatically. Some alien species become ecologically harmful by threatening native biota. This can lead to irreversible changes in local biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and, ultimately, to biotic homogenisation. 2. We risk-assessed all alien plants, animals, fungi and algae, within certain delimitations, that are known to reproduce in Norway. Mainland Norway and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard plus Jan Mayen were treated as separate assessment areas. Assessments followed the Generic Ecological Impact Assessment of Alien Species (GEIAA) protocol, which uses a fully quantitative set of criteria. 3. A total of 1519 species were risk-assessed, of which 1183 were species reproducing in mainland Norway. Among these, 9% were assessed to have a severe impact, 7% high impact, 7% potentially high impact, and 49% low impact, whereas 29% had no known impact. In Svalbard, 16 alien species were reproducing, one of which with a severe impact. 4. The impact assessments also covered 319 so-called door-knockers, i.e. species that are likely to establish in Norway within 50 years, and 12 regionally alien species. Of the door-knockers, 8% and 10% were assessed to have a severe and high impact, respectively. 5. The impact category of most species was driven by negative interactions with native species, transformation of threatened ecosystems, or genetic contamination. The proportion of alien species with high or severe impact varied significantly across the different pathways of introduction, taxonomic groups, time of introduction, and the environments colonised, but not across continents of origin. 6. Given the large number of alien species reproducing in Norway and the preponderance of species with low impact, it is neither realistic nor necessary to eradicate all of them. Our results can guide management authorities in two ways. First, the use of quantitative assessment criteria facilitates the prioritisation of management resources across species. Second, the background information collected for each species, such as introduction pathways, area of occupancy and ecosystems affected, helps designing appropriate management measures.