Luc Hens

Flemish Institute for Technological Research, Moll, Flanders, Belgium

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Publications (108)144.01 Total impact

  • Luc Hens
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    ABSTRACT: Increasing temperatures, melting ice caps, sea level rise, more frequent and more intense heat waves, rains and floods and changes in marine salinity gradients, are some of the most visible impacts of climate change today. These effects have resulted in recommendations by the international community (WSSD, 2002; IPCC, 2007; EU, 2009) that focuses on strategies and actions which go beyond the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and to include adaptation of societies to the consequences of the changes. This is a fundamental shift in environmental policy strategies which, as a rule, are targeted toward alleviating the fundamental causes, and not the results’ of pollution or resource use.This book is about adaptation to climate changes, merely in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, and about dealing with these changes at the local level. Most interestingly the book not only pays attention to the thematic hard core science and engineering aspects, but also to communication and tourism, ...
    Environment Development and Sustainability 12/2014; 16(6).
  • Luc Hens
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    ABSTRACT: The longer an effective policy on preventing and mitigating climate changes is delayed, the more the focus will shift to adaptation. While more research, theories, case studies, conferences, and publications can delay policy and action through “analysis paralysis,” they are useful and necessary for policy making and action. This book is part of this intellectual wave. The chapters are based on the selected contributions to the “First International Conference on Climate Change Adaptation,” which was held in Queensland, Australia, in 2010. The 33 chapters of the book reflect the state of the research art by the end of the last decennium. Interestingly, the book succeeds going beyond presenting proceedings.It starts from an analytical framework of the five principal challenges facing adaptation to climate changes today. They deal with the extent of the adaptation challenge, the degree to which transformation is required, the barriers encountered in implementing knowledge and experience on
    Environment Development and Sustainability 10/2014; 16(5).
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    Luc Hens
    Environment Development and Sustainability 04/2014; 16(2).
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    ABSTRACT: Vietnam is a coastal country projected to be heavily affected by climate change. Binh Thuan Province is part of the driest region of Vietnam and is prone to desertification. An expert panel participated in developing a Leopold matrix which allowed for identification of desertification impact factors on the province’s socioeconomic activities and assessment of the strength of cause–effect relationships in terms of magnitude and importance. Land use planning, surface water, and the length of the dry season are considered the most important causes, with the overall highest scores for both magnitude and importance in the cause–effect relationship. The largest effects of the different factors are perceived on water supply for agriculture and household use. Water availability and land use planning are important remedial action domains, while drought and land cover require monitoring to assess impacts. The indicators of cause and effect can be used in a longer-term general monitoring and assessment framework to combat desertification in the area.
    China Population Resources and Environment 03/2014; 12(1):57-67.
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    ABSTRACT: The urban quality of life (UQoL) from objective dimension was analyzed in the main Cuban cities. An Urban Quality of Life Index (UQoLI) was developed in collaboration with 60 experts (five in each city). These experts belong to one of two categories: in charge of the planning of the city and members of the Municipal Council of Administration. One hundred and forty-two directors of the Local District Administration also participated in the analysis. The UQoLI includes three dimensions: social services, economic performance, and urban services, the importance of which is weighed according to expert criteria. A Ranking of the studied cities, sorted by the UQoLI, shows a tendency of increase it UQoL in the west even and central regions. This tendency contradicts one of the foundations of the Cuban sustainable development framework, i.e., equity.
    Environment Development and Sustainability 02/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: To tackle environmental issues and ensure compliance with regulations, three ports in Vietnam and two ports in Cambodia implemented an Environmental Management System (EMS). The first steps of the EMS were completed during the period 2006–2007, with the establishment of the Port Environmental Policy, the Register of Environmental Aspects and an EMS Programme. Priorities in environmental protection have been identified for each of the ports. The initial assessment of the EMS, based on the documented EMS, was completed by experts from the ECOPORT Foundation, who issued a Port Environmental Review System (PERS) certificate for the ports. This paper presents an assessment of the implementation of the EMS through the eyes of various groups of port stakeholders. The second focus is on the manner of involving stakeholders in the EMS process, which has stakeholder participation as one of its core principles. The assessment was done via interviews with the environmental coordinators or managers at each port, as well as key port stakeholders. Eight groups of stakeholders are identified and classified into internal/external and voluntary/involuntary categories. Their salience is then assessed based on their legitimacy, power, urgency and proximity. The findings show that while ports are perceived as sources of environmental problems, they are also seen as important economic powerhouses. EMS is therefore needed at the ports to ensure their environmental performance is in line with their economic contribution. However, ports generally view other stakeholders as outsiders and exclude them from the process of designing environmental protection measures. Even though the stakeholders are strongly interested in contributing more to the process, there is no concrete plan for involving them in the management of the port.
    Journal of Cleaner Production 02/2014; 64:173–193. · 3.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To address the environmental impacts of tourism in protected areas, park managers need to understand the spatial distribution of tourist use. Standard monitoring measures (tourist surveys and counting and tracking techniques) are not sufficient to accomplish this task, in particular for off-road travel. This article predicts tourists′ spatial use patterns through an alternative approach: park accessibility measurement. Naismith's rule and geographical information system′s anisotropic cost analysis are integrated into the modeling process, which results in a more realistic measure of off-road accessibility than that provided by other measures. The method is applied to a mountainous United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site in northwest Yunnan Province, China, where there is increasing concern about potential impacts of unregulated tourist use. Based on the assumption that accessibility tends to attract more tourists, a spatial pattern of predicted off-road use by tourists is derived. This pattern provides information that can help park managers develop strategies that are effective for both tourism management and species conservation.
    Mountain Research and Development 01/2014; 34(2):107-117. · 0.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A quantitative assessment of the environmental impact of construction activities is useful to identify the main environmental impacts and to improve their environmental footprint. This study presents the life cycle assessment of an earthwork project. The results show that earthwork activities entail important environmental impacts; mainly energy consumption, global warming and human toxicity. This study proposes and implements cleaner production strategies, based on the hierarchy of waste management, to improve the environmental performance of the earthwork project. The approach allows reducing the amount of soil to be used by the earthwork project. Moreover both the diesel consumption and the greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by about 41%. This coincides with a saving of about 1.76 million dollars.
    Journal of Cleaner Production 05/2013; 47:368–376. · 3.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Most forest habitats in Cameroon support villages whose inhabitants are heavily reliant on the forests for their everyday needs. We assessed the socio-economic status and natural resource use of 3 villages bordering Mawambi Hills, an unprotected forest in southwest Cameroon, home to both the Critically Endangered Cross River gorilla Gorilla gorilla diehli and the Endangered Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee Pan troglodytes ellioti. This forest likely hosts one of the largest sub-populations of Cross River gorillas in Cameroon and is vulnerable to human influence given that it lies in close proximity to surrounding villages and is less hilly than other Cross River gorilla habitats. We show that employment opportunities in surrounding villages are rare, and people rely on agriculture and the collection of non-timber forest products (NTFPs), such as eru Gnetum spp. and bush mango Irvingia spp., for food and income. We also show that areas of heavy human activity coincide spatially with great ape nest sites and raise concerns about the potential impact of human activities on great ape survival at the site. We call for (1) sustainable harvesting and marketing of NTFPs, (2) the introduction of alternative livelihood opportunities (e.g. beekeeping and on-farm production of NTFPs), (3) active wildlife law enforcement to safeguard the persistence of great apes, and (4) the introduction of a community-based forest management programme that will enable communities to secure the rights to use and manage surrounding forest resources legally.
    Endangered Species Research 04/2013; 20:167-179. · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transport is an essential sector in modern societies. It connects economic sectors and industries. Next to its contribution to economic development and social interconnection, it also causes adverse impacts on the environment and results in health hazards. Transport is a major source of ground air pollution, especially in urban areas, and therefore contributes to the health problems, such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancer and physical injuries. This paper presents the results of a health risk assessment that quantifies the mortality and the diseases associated with particulate matter pollution resulting from urban road transport in Haiphong City, Vietnam. The focus is on the integration of modelling and geographic information system approaches in the exposure analysis to increase the accuracy of the assessment and to produce timely and consistent assessment results. The modelling was done to estimate traffic conditions and concentrations of particulate matters based on geo-referenced data. The study shows that health burdens due to particulate matter in Haiphong include 1,200 extra deaths for the situation in 2007. This figure can double by 2020 as the result of the fast economic development the city pursues. In addition, 51,000 extra hospital admissions and more than 850,000 restricted activity days are expected by 2020.
    Environmental Science and Pollution Research 01/2013; · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Only about 300 individuals of the Cross River gorilla (CRG; Gorilla gorilla diehli) survive today. The subspecies is endemic to approximately 12–14 sites at the Cameroon-Nigeria border, and is critically endangered. To understand survival prospects of the CRG at Mawambi Hills, Cameroon, a maximum entropy (MaxEnt) distribution model was used to predict the distribution of gorillas. Overall, 24% of the study area was predicted to be suitable for gorillas. The most important predictors of gorilla distribution were elevation as a surrogate for accessibility (52.4%), distance to nearby villages which represents proximity to anthropogenic disturbance (22.7%), and slope steepness as a proxy for security (19.4%). Gorillas mainly occupied slopes of steep hills and avoided areas of human disturbance. To evaluate the spatial relationship between gorilla distribution and human activities, the predicted habitat suitability map was overlaid with a kernel density map of human activities. A positive correlation was found between locations of human activity and suitable habitat for gorillas (r = 0.5). This suggests that anthropogenic pressures in previously unused forest areas are increasing as a result of resource depletion at lower altitudes, consequently putting the gorillas at greater risk. Conservation management plans that seek to reduce human encroachment into habitats preferred by gorillas such as steep hills will probably contribute to gorilla survival.
    Folia Primatologica 01/2013; 84(1):18-31. · 1.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam and the second largest city of the country, just behind Ho Chi Minh City. During the last two decades, Hanoi developed fast and expanded steadily. Since the city acquired large parts of the surrounding provinces in 2008, Hanoi tripled its size and doubled its population. The new development aims to spread the concentrated population and economic activities to alleviate the stress caused by pollution and the decreasing quality of life of the residents. Hanoi has a very fast growing fleet of motor vehicles, at the rate of 12% - 15% annually. The fast transition from bikes to motorcycles and to cars results in a most serious environmental burden in particular on the air quality and human health. This paper overviews the air quality and pollution caused by road traffic in central Hanoi (5 old districts) and the related health outcomes due to particulate matters (PM10 and PM2.5). It uses dose-response functions to quantify the number of extra deaths resulting from traffic-related particulate matters. The results are compared with those of other studies to assess the impacts of air pollution on human health in large, crowded and fast developing cities in Southeast Asia. Assessment of the health risk caused by traffic shows that mobility in Hanoi causes a high health burden. In 2009, mobility caused 3200 extra deaths by traffic related PM10. The result shows that health impacts due to air pollution are by far larger than the number of fatalities due to traffic accidents.
    Journal of Environmental Protection. 01/2013; 04(10):1165-1172.
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    ABSTRACT: Vietnam is one among five ranked countries with high-risk injury due to the phenomenon of climate change. Geographically, Binh Thuan, a coastal province, is located in the Southern Centre area. Currently, natural disasters have become more frequent, particularly drought. Desertification has become more serious. Besides the natural causes as described above, there are several affected by human activities such as high population and poverty, inappropriate cultivating technique, deforestation, ill-adopted legal framework, weak management capacity, lack of adequate knowledge, and a lack of awareness in local population. To assess risks of desertification for the Binh Thuan province (Vietnam), a risk assessment model based on a Leopold matrix was applied. As a result, a model of cause and effect showed six degrees of impacts of environmental and social conditions on the socio-economic developments from very highly to very unlikely significance. Risk assessment allows for a general figure of various impacts of desertification on the socio-economic developments in Binh Thuan, Vietnam.
    Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 01/2012; · 1.29 Impact Factor
  • Luc Hens
    Environment Development and Sustainability 01/2012; 14(2).
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    ABSTRACT: Desertification and drought affects approximately 300,000 ha of land in the southeastern provinces of Vietnam, much of which is located on agricultural land and forest in the Binh Thuan Province. The methodology for analysing mitigation and adaptation options follows a chain of risk approach that includes a spatio-temporal characterisation of (1) the hazard, (2) the bio-physical and socio-economic impact, (3) the vulnerability to different activities as related to land uses, and (4) risk management options. The present forms of land degradation include sand dune formation and severe erosion (63%), degradation due to laterisation (14%), salinisation (13%), and rock outcrops (10%). The climate is characterized by a distinct dry season with high temperatures, a lot of sunshine and a warm land wind resulting in high evapotranspiration rates. Delays in the onset of the rainy season, e.g. with 20 days in 2010, cause a shift in the growing season. Damages due to drought are estimated at hundreds billion VND (US 1 = VND 20,8900) and contribute to poverty in the rural areas. The current risk-exposure is exacerbated further by climate change. Combined effects of desertification and climate change cause increased degradation of natural resources including land cover. At the same time land use changes are crucial in influencing responses to climate change and desertification. A further SWOT analysis combined with spatio-temporal analysis for each of the major sectors (agriculture, forestry and nature protection, urban and rural development, water resources and fisheries, industry) demonstrates a series of adaptation and mitigation options. Land is a valuable and limited resource. An integrated approach to land use and management is therefore essential to combat environmental hazards such as desertification and climate change.
    EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts; 01/2012
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    ABSTRACT: In science findings which cannot be extrapolated to other settings are of little value. Recruitment methods vary widely across chronic whiplash studies, but it remains unclear whether this generates recruitment bias. The present study aimed to examine whether the recruitment method accounts for differences in health status, social support, and personality traits in patients with chronic whiplash-associated disorders (WAD). Two different recruitment methods were compared: recruiting patients through a local whiplash patient support group (group 1) and local hospital emergency department (group 2). The participants (n=118) filled in a set of questionnaires: the Neck Disability Index, Medical Outcome Study Short-Form General Health Survey, Anamnestic Comparative Self-Assessment measure of overall well-being, Symptom Checklist-90, Dutch Personality Questionnaire, and the Social Support List. The recruitment method (either through the local emergency department or patient support group) accounted for the differences in insufficiency, somatization, disability, quality of life, self-satisfaction, and dominance (all p values <.01). The recruitment methods generated chronic WAD patients comparable for psychoneurotism, social support, self-sufficiency, (social) inadequacy, rigidity, and resentment (p>.01). The recruitment of chronic WAD patients solely through patient support groups generates bias with respect to the various aspects of health status and personality, but not social support. In order to enhance the external validity of study findings, chronic WAD studies should combine a variety of recruitment procedures.
    Clinical Rheumatology 08/2011; 30(11):1481-9. · 2.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transition from acute whiplash injury to either recovery or chronicity and the development of chronic whiplash-associated disorders (WAD) remains a challenging issue for researchers and clinicians. The roles of social support and personality traits in long-term functioning following whiplash have not been studied concomitantly. The present study aimed to examine whether social support and personality traits are related to long-term functioning following whiplash. One hundred forty-three subjects, who had experienced a whiplash injury in a traffic accident 10-26 months before the study took place, participated. The initial diagnoses were a 'sprain of the neck' (ICD-9 code 847.0); only the outcome of grades I-III acute WAD was studied. Long-term functioning was considered within the biopsychosocial model: it was expressed in terms of disability, functional status, quality of life and psychological well-being. Participants filled out a set of questionnaires to measure the long-term functioning parameters (i.e. the Neck Disability Index, Medical Outcome Study Short-Form General Health Survey, Anamnestic Comparative Self-Assessment measure of overall well-being and the Symptom Checklist-90) and potential determinants of long-term functioning (the Dutch Personality Questionnaire and the Social Support List). The results suggest that social support (especially the discrepancies dimension of social support) and personality traits (i.e. inadequacy, self-satisfaction and resentment) are related to long-term functioning following whiplash injury (Spearman rho varied between 0.32 and 0.57; p < 0.01). Within the discrepancy dimension, everyday emotional support, emotional support during problems, appreciative support and informative support were identified as important correlates of long-term functioning. Future prospective studies are required to confirm the role of social support and personality traits in relation to long-term functioning following whiplash. For such studies, a broad view of long-term functioning within the biopsychological model should be applied.
    Clinical Rheumatology 02/2011; 30(7):927-35. · 2.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Monitoring and minimizing tourist’s water consumption is essential for the sustainable development of mountain destinations in the world. However, available data and a generally accepted protocol on such measurement are still limited. This study uses water footprint accounting to quantify tourist’s water demand in the Liming valley, a World Heritage site and a rapidly growing tourism destination in Northwest Yunnan, China. Both the water for direct and indirect use is taken into account based on the consumptive behavior of the tourists in the valley. Data were collected through guesthouse monitoring and a tourist survey in the 2005 tourist season. The results indicate that an average tourist leaves behind a footprint of 5.2 m3 on local water resources per day. Food production and waste dilution are the two most important water consumption factors. The results also show tourists consume more water than the local residents on per capita basis. This suggests more commitment is necessary to cope with this stress by individual tourists. Management implications to make water use more sustainable in mountain destinations are derived from this study. KeywordsTourism–Mountain destination–Water demand–Footprint accounting–Sustainable development–Northwest Yunnan
    Journal of Mountain Science 01/2011; 8(5):682-693. · 0.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sustainable development is a widespread concept. Indicator selection and sustainability assessment are basic methods to analyse the sustainable development process. This study aims to develop a software application to select indicators and to allocate weightings to the indicators and the sub-indexes, so that they can be listed in a sustainability assessment. The Visual Basic software is used to develop a software package based on Delphi, analytic hierarchy, normalization and combination processes. Software for sustainability assessment was developed. Thirty-five indicators are selected as a first step of which eight health indicators and eight environmental ones and their sub-indexes are given weightings. The indicators are normalized. Sub-indexes are combined into a composite sustainable development index. The model is validated showing the ‘main features’ of the sustainability situation on health and environmental aspects in the Quang Tri province during the period 2000–2005. The results support the decision-making process of the competent authorities.
    Environmental Modeling and Assessment 01/2011; · 0.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Traditional beliefs associated with the Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli) in Lebialem Division, Cameroon, were studied to establish the usefulness of incorporating these local belief systems into the conservation strategy for this critically endangered species. A survey was conducted in 2007 in five villages to assess local perceptions of human–gorilla totemic kinship practices and taboos against hunting and against eating of gorillas. Villages were selected based on their proximity to Cross River gorilla (CRG) habitat, with a total of 184 interviewer-administered questionnaires completed during a 4-week period. Eighty-six percent of people agreed that gorillas were totems (personal spiritual helpers or counterparts) of people living in the village. People who believed in human–gorilla totemic kinship practice did not eat or hunt gorillas, and they wanted gorillas to be protected in order to protect the practice. Most (87%), of the interviewees declared their support for gorilla conservation. The main motivation was the belief that when gorillas are killed, the human totemic counterpart will die as a result. Because of these traditions, the hunting of gorillas is taboo in all five villages surveyed. On the other hand, gorilla parts play a direct role in traditional medicine, and gorilla bones are valued as ingredients for traditional medicine. Also, general awareness and adherence to local totemic practices was found to be declining, particularly among young people (18–25 years). Despite the imminent decline in value of belief systems that led to the establishment of the hunting taboo, this taboo is still in place and has discouraged the hunting of gorillas. Where law enforcement is weak or near inexistent, these traditional restrictions could be critical to the continuing survival of a gorilla population. Reviving and promoting beliefs and practices conducive to gorilla conservation could foster positive attitudes and behavior and have the potential to encourage local support and participation in communities. However, care must be taken when selecting practices to promote, as some (for example the use of gorillas in traditional medicine) could encourage the killing of animals.
    ECOLOGY AND SOCIETY 01/2011; · 3.31 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

479 Citations
144.01 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011–2014
    • Flemish Institute for Technological Research
      Moll, Flanders, Belgium
  • 1975–2010
    • Free University of Brussels
      • • Human Ecology (MEKO)
      • • Department of Medical Genetics
      • • Laboratory for Anthropogenetics
      Brussels, BRU, Belgium
  • 2000
    • University of Campinas
      • Núcleo de Estudos e Pesquisas Ambientais (NEPAM)
      Conceição de Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
  • 1980–1981
    • Universitair Ziekenhuis Leuven
      • Department of Radiology
      Louvain, Flanders, Belgium
  • 1979
    • University of Leuven
      Louvain, Flanders, Belgium