Protecting a breed of sheep is simple when there is demand for its breed traits, but new market options are often hard to find. In general, grazing sheep are able to take over some viticultural work. Here, we address a new and promising integrated crop-livestock system that involves the integration of sheep in the vineyard during the growing season. Using sheep in a vineyard entails opportunities but also risks, such as the current lack of information, specifically in relation to breed traits. In our survey, we evaluated 26 breeds for their suitability for grazing as long as possible in Central European vineyards during the growing season. First, the breed traits required were identified. Then, 94 flock book breeders were interviewed about specific breed traits. The height of a sheep’s muzzle is particularly important for assessing the suitability of a breed, as it defines the potential impact on the foliage area during the growing season. To determine the height of the muzzle, 179 flock book animals were measured. We found that the most important breeding objective for a new breed of sheep is the inability to stand on two legs. Adult animals of the breed Shropshire, and among these especially the shorter-legged Danish type, and Southdown, show a widespread inability to stand on two legs. Ouessant sheep are able to do so, yet are suitable with some limitations. Due to their extraordinarily small size, their reach is limited, as is their grazing performance. Thus, three of the 26 breeds studied here seem suitable for use in the most widespread vine training systems of Central Europe during the growing season. Targeted breeding could further improve the suitability of sheep for viticulture. Our findings could help to protect breeds and breed traits.
The decline of biodiversity in general and of insect diversity in particular has been recognized as a major environmental problem in recent years. In this study, we analyze the distribution and the decline of populations of forester moths of the genus Jordanita in Central Europe since 1950 as a type example of the loss of grassland biodiversity, and discuss potential drivers causing this decline. Based on the extensive work in museums and private collections, a literature review and own observations, and including data as far back as 1834, this genus helps to understand the deeper reasons of insect population and biodiversity decline, as the well investigated six Central European species cover a broad range of extensive grassland habitats (fens to low‐production grassland and xerothermic steppes) from low altitudes to high alpine meadows. Therefore, they monitor processes relevant also to other, less investigated grassland species. Although there are differences in research intensity over time and in different natural areas, we show that in the whole of Central Europe, the populations of all six investigated Jordanita species broke down massively in the past decades, both in terms of number of populated habitats (about 400 recorded localities after the year 2000 compared with a total number of about 1600 at all times, cumulated for all six species) and in terms of number of individuals. On the other hand, some natural areas on a regional scale have more or less maintained their Jordanita populations, due to conservative land use and due to the early implementation of conservation and protection management plans. The reasons of decline are manifold and monitored in detail by the different species with their different habitat requirements. They comprise (1) loss of habitats due to land use changes (both intensification and abandonment), (2) loss of habitats due to urbanization and construction work, (3) loss of habitat networks to cope with small‐scale extinction events, (4) more intensive growth of grass at the expense of other plants in otherwise undisturbed habitats due to fertilization through the air (increased nitrogen levels due to human activities) and (5) use of pesticides. Jordanita species (Lepidoptera) as a proxy for grassland species in general show a strong decline in Central Europe since 1950 which is mainly related to changing agricultural landuse and destruction of habitats. This article reviews thousands of observations, shows the decline and discusses the reasons in detail.
Geotourism is one of the fastest growing tourism branches. Geoparks feature prominently in geotourism as well as geoeducation. Well-designed geotrails link local geology, geoheritage and geoeducation. Unfortunately many trails do not consider or insufficiently acknowledge recent didactic and touristic findings. As a result, they fail to interest a lay audience in geological phenomena, convey relevant information, and attract tourists to the region. A catalogue of state-of-the-art criteria for the evaluation of existing geotrails based on a case study of the UNESCO Global Geopark Swabian Alb (Germany) was elaborated by a comprehensive literature research and subsequently verified on the basis of selected model trails. Finally, recommendations for model geotrails were derived. The term “model” refers in this case to aspects of geoeducation as well as geotourism. Results showed considerable enhancements, but also the further necessity of improvements such as a stronger consideration of Education for sustainable Development (ESD), a better integration of the criteria of geo-interpretation as well as the opportunities and potentials offered by the to-date too scarcely used new technologies. Our surveys in the UGGp Swabian Alb largely coincide with the results of national and international research. Often it is merely small factors that differentiate an adequate and a model geotrail. Our checklist of criteria offers a good basis for these factors.
Incineration is one of the key technologies in disposal of municipal waste, which produces municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) residues with high valuable metal contents. The recycling strategy for the MSWI residues is typically focused on the recovery of scrap metals yielding processed municipal solid waste incineration residues (PIR) as the main byproduct. However, the PIR still contains valuable metals, particularly gold, which cannot be extracted by conventional methods. Here, we evaluated the feasibility of using the 0.5–2.0 mm grain size fraction of PIR containing 28.82 ± 1.62 mg/kg of gold as raw material for a two-stage extraction process. In the first stage the alkalic fine-grained PIR was acidified with a solution of 20% (v/v) of HCl-containing flue gas cleaning liquid that is obtained by the municipal waste incineration plant itself as a waste product. In the second stage we leached the acidified fine-grained PIR by thiourea with Fe ³⁺ as an oxidant. Application of the thiourea-Fe ³⁺ leaching system resulted in recovery of 16.4 ± 1.56 mg/kg of gold from the fine-grained PIR within 6 h of incubation. Due to high gold market prices, upscaling of the suggested technology can represent a suitable strategy for gold recovery from PIR and other MSWI residues.
Particulate matter emissions are a key issue of modern biomass boilers. A novel gas cleaning method using a metal mesh filter combined with water-based cleaning was developed and tested. The filter was tested batch-wise. Flue gas of a commercial 50-kW boiler was filtered until a pressure drop of 2000 Pa was reached. Afterwards, the filter was regenerated. The initial prototype used ultrasound in order to remove the filter cake from the filter candles. Regeneration was complete and, even after boiler malfunctions producing tar, the filter cake could still be removed. Given the good results, a second cleaning mode, flushing the filter candles with water, was tested. The results were as good as with ultrasonic cleaning. Peak mass collection efficiency was very high with 98 ± 2% (burning wood pellets). However, directly after cleaning, the first layer of filter cake has to be developed. In this initial phase, collection efficiency is low. Service time until maximum pressure drop was reached depended on the gas velocity. Using pellets as fuel, at a gas velocity of 66.6 m/h, 12-h service time was reached and 4.1 g dust was collected per square meter filter surface, while at 33.3 m/h, service time increased to 55 h and collected dust to 13.9 g/m2. Using low-quality wood chips, the raw gas dust loading was much higher but also the maximum loading of the filter was higher with 13.3 to 28.9 g dust separated per square meter. Still, the service time decreased to 3.4 respective 38 h. Peak collection efficiency increased to 99.5 ± 0.8%. The overall collection efficiency including the buildup of the filter cake depends on the gas velocity and fuel. It ranges from 74 ± 4 to 91 ± 1%. The feasibility of the filter concept could be proven, and further development towards a commercial application is in progress. Metal mesh filters with countercurrent cleaning showed a high potential given their simple and robust design, as well as high collection efficiency.
Background Chrysanthemum flowers [Ch. x morifolium (Ramat.) Hemsl. and Ch. indicum L.] are a globally used and pharmacologically interesting botanical drug, however, with variable product quality. Objective We aim at understanding the chemical variability of primary material available commercially based on different origins and associated quality problems like contamination with heavy metals. This needs to be assessed in the context of the current regulations for this botanical drug and associated problems. Material and Methods 15 C. indicum L. and 50 C. x morifolium (Ramat.) Hemsl., including a range of geographical cultivars recognized in China, samples from the USA, Europe and China were analyzed using High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC) to compare their general chemical profile. Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) was used to quantify heavy metal contamination. Results The: HPTLC fingerprints of C. indicum samples are clearly distinguishable from C. x morifolium. Fingerprints of samples from the same cultivars collected from markets in different countries (USA and China) show different patterns. Large variance of fingerprints within each cultivar group was observed. The heavy metal analysis showed excessive amounts of some harmful heavy metal in some commercial products with excessive cadmium being the most frequent problem. Conclusions The Chinese medicinal cultivars vary. Differences between samples sourced from the USA and China might be ascribable to geographical factors (e.g. soil composition), degradation during transport/storage or adulteration, but geographical differences should also be taken into account. Importantly, a much more detailed definition of the drug are needed for better quality control. In addition, with continuous contamination problem observed, a more widespread regulation is an essential requirement for better quality.
For many elusive insect species, which are difficult to cover by standard monitoring schemes, innovative survey methods are needed to gain robust data on abundance and population trends. We suggest a monitoring of overwintering larvae for the endangered nymphalid butterfly Limenitis reducta. We tested different removal and capture-mark-recapture (CMR) approaches in a field study in the "Alb-Donau" region, Germany. Classical removal and CMR studies require movement of the organisms under study, but in our approach, we replaced movement of the study organisms by random movement of multiple different surveyors. We tested the validity of the approach by comparing detection frequencies from our field data with simulated detections. Our results indicate that multi-surveyor removal/CMR techniques are suitable for estimating abundance of overwintering L. reducta larvae. Depending on surveyor experience, the average detection probability ranged between 16% for novices and 35% for experts. The uncertainty of population estimates increased with a decrease in personnel expenditure. Estimated larval densities on a spruce clear-cut varied between one and three individuals per 100 m2, probably related to habitat conditions. We suggest a CMR approach with three to four trained surveyors for the monitoring of L. reducta populations in the overwintering stage. Compared with previous sampling methods, our approach is a powerful tool with clear advantages: long survey period, estimates of the absolute population size accompanied by uncertainty measures, and estimates of overwinter mortality. The proposed method can be adapted and used for several different butterfly species, other insect taxa with specific immobile life stages, and some sessile organisms, for example, elusive plants, fungi, or corals.
The organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) is a complex material with different ingredients characterized by varying properties depending on parameters such as season or geographical region of origin. Consequently, studies on OFMSW are hard to compare due to the changing characteristics of the samples. Therefore, this article presents data on the physico-chemical composition of standardized, recipe-based OFMSW components divided into the categories “Paper”, “Green waste” and “Food waste”, and further subcategories. Data presented in this article include (1) dry matter, (2) organic dry matter, (3) C, H and N concentrations, (4) gross calorific values, (5) ash melting behavior, (6) specific biogas yield and (7) methane concentration. An application example of an experiment requiring the same starting material properties is represented by storage experiments, as performed within the original scientific article . Thus, this Data in Brief article also provides additional data on recipe-based storage experiments complementing the original article. The datasets cannot only be used to estimate biowaste potentials but they can also be used for the design and execution of experiments that require standardized OFMSW samples.
The production of resources e.g., copper (Cu) has induced many environmental issues worldwide, due to the growing demand to satisfy the world growing population. China, as the largest Cu production country in the world, deserves a special attention. However, the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)-based environmental profile of Cu produced in China remains unclear due to insufficient representativeness, inconsistency of methodologies applied, and absence of reliable upstream datasets. In the present study, this critical gap was filled using globally harmonized LCA methodologies and facility-level data, technologically representing 77% of China's total Cu production capacity, with consideration of environmental burden embedded in upstream raw materials. Environmental issues were prioritized using LCA weighting and normalization method, while key contributing factors were identified via Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA). Weighted and normalized results showed that Global Warming Potential (GWP) was found to be the priority issue whose contribution to the overall environmental impact reached up to 47%. LCIA results demonstrated that the environmental impacts of China Cu production were primarily caused by production process of raw materials (51%–66%), followed by fuels used for transport by sea and land (11%–22%) and electricity consumption (5%–12%), depending on impact categories. Based on the study results and the importance of GWP, special attention was given to energy systems and direct GWP relevant emissions, by investigating smelting technologies. Five ways towards a more environmentally improved Cu industry associated with the challenges to be addressed were put forward in the outlook (e.g., the use of green electricity can effectively reduce CO2 emission by 14%–29%).
Wood is a renewable fuel, however the combustion of wood can lead to significant dust emissions. The application of fabric filters is one possibility to ensure low particulate matter emissions. Nevertheless, these filters are so far not used for small-scale firing systems. In this work, the mitigation potential of a newly developed fabric filter concept with pulse-jet regeneration, based on a stainless-steel mesh was studied. The filter was tested on a commercially available 24 kW biomass boiler, which was operated with wood pellets and wood chips. Experiments showed a linear dependency of the separation efficiencies and clean gas concentrations on average pressure drop while a logarithmic dependency of the clean gas concentrations on an empirical factor k was proven. The filter showed good regenerability and dust separation efficiencies up to 83 % and 90 % during combustion of wood pellets and wood chips. The pulse-jet regeneration showed a short-time peak of dust emissions behind the filter which can represent between 24 and 60 % of the total dust emissions during a whole filtration cycle. Nevertheless, the application of different filters with 25 and 50 μm mesh size guarantees an efficient dust removal. In a first phase during filter cake formation, the concentrations can exceed the limit value, but once a filter cake had built up, the concentrations drop drastically below 0.01 g m⁻³. In summary, the filters show good regenerability and efficient dust separation and thus further development potential.
Abstract Introductions of non‐native species can pose serious threats to native populations and ecosystems. However, the impact of introduced species depends on intrinsic characteristics, local habitat conditions, and the interaction with native species. Case‐specific management strategies may therefore be required. Using phenotypic characters and molecular markers for species identification, we provide insights into an artificial hybrid zone between two closely related newt species, the native Triturus cristatus and the introduced T. carnifex, near Tübingen, south‐west Germany. Our analyses revealed a central Italian origin of the non‐native T. carnifex and suggested their sustained presence in the study area for at least six years, probably much longer. In some ponds, extensive hybridization with native T. cristatus was detected. However, we found no evidence for a displacement of the native species by its non‐native congener. The gradient from pure T. carnifex to pure T. cristatus currently extends over 7 km. A future expansion of the hybrid zone and swamping of a neighboring T. cristatus meta‐population appears unlikely under the local configuration of breeding ponds. We propose to monitor the hybrid zone using genetic markers for evaluating the direction and speed of gene flow, complemented by capture‐recapture studies to reveal trends in species‐specific population sizes. To protect the native T. cristatus, we recommend practitioners to maintain their habitats, for example, by preventing illegal release of gold fish, by counteracting early drying of the breeding ponds, and by regularly cutting back trees and shrubs along the shoreline.
Soil compaction is a major concern in the context of ensuring sustainable forest and agricultural management practices. Productivity gains during the last decades were also achieved by increasing mechanization. This change was associated with growing machine weights and impacts on trafficked soils. Up to now, knowledge about the resilience of compaction phenomena is still poor. At 11 forest sites on compaction-sensitive silt and loam substrates in the federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg (Germany), fine root distribution, macroporosity, and apparent gas diffusion coefficients were used to characterize the status of recovery from former soil compaction by machine impact. The time span of recovery at the investigated sites ranged from 6 to 37 years. The investigated soil physical parameters indicate the beginning of soil structure recovery in the wheel tracks, comprising the first 10 cm of soil depth at most sites that were trafficked 10 years or more before the investigation. Synchronously with this restructuring, fine root propagation has started to recover in the topsoils. However, a high persistence of damage was observed below that depth. A synoptic interpretation of the data led to the conclusion that time spans up to almost four decades are not sufficient for the restoration of soil functionality in formerly compacted soils characterized by silt loam texture and low activity of soil biota. In view of the long-lasting persistence of the negative compaction effects, soil protection strategies combined with monitoring of their strict compliance must be implemented into forest practice. In case of an insufficient natural recovery potential, active measures to accelerate the regaining of soil functionality in compacted soils at irregular wheel tracks should be considered in order to shorten the time spans of disturbed soil conditions.
Hydrothermal treatment (HTT) offers the potential to upgrade low-value biomass such as digestate (DG) or forest residue (FR) by producing solids and liquids for material use or energetic utilization. In this study, microwave-assisted HTT experiments with DG and FR as feedstocks were executed at different temperatures (130, 150, 170 °C) and with different holding times (30, 60, 90 min) to determine the influences on product properties (ash and elemental concentrations, calorific values and chemical compounds). In general, DG and FR reacted differently to HTT. For the DG solids, for instance, the ash concentration was reduced to 8.68%DM at 130 °C (initially 27.67%DM), and the higher heating value increased from 16.55 MJ/kgDM to 20.82 MJ/kgDM at 170 °C, while the FR solids were affected only marginally. Elements with importance for emissions in combustion were leached out in both HTT solids. The DG and FR liquids contained different chemical compounds, and the temperature or holding time affected their formation. Depending on the designated application of HTT, less severe conditions can deliver better results. It was demonstrated that different low-temperature HTT conditions already induce strong changes in the product qualities of DG and FR. Optimized interactions between process parameters (temperature, holding time and feedstock) might lead to better cost–benefit effects in HTT.
The mechanistic pathways connecting ocean-atmosphere variability and terrestrial productivity are well-established theoretically, but remain challenging to quantify empirically. Such quantification will greatly improve the assessment and prediction of changes in terrestrial carbon sequestration in response to dynamically induced climatic extremes. The jet stream latitude (JSL) over the North Atlantic-European domain provides a synthetic and robust physical framework that integrates climate variability not accounted for by atmospheric circulation patterns alone. Surface climate impacts of north-south summer JSL displacements are not uniform across Europe, but rather create a northwestern-southeastern dipole in forest productivity and radial-growth anomalies. Summer JSL variability over the eastern North Atlantic-European domain (5-40E) exerts the strongest impact on European beech, inducing anomalies of up to 30% in modelled gross primary productivity and 50% in radial tree growth. The net effects of JSL movements on terrestrial carbon fluxes depend on forest density, carbon stocks, and productivity imbalances across biogeographic regions. Here the authors show that extremes in the summer jet stream position over Europe create a beech forest productivity dipole between northwestern and southeastern Europe and can result in regional anomalies in forest carbon uptake and growth.
Food waste (FW) from households represents a major fraction of municipal waste and it is often collected in separate biowaste bins. Until waste collection is carried out, storage conditions in the biowaste bin influence FW properties. To draw conclusions for an optimized waste utilization in anaerobic digestion (AD), the aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of storage duration (20 to 40 days) and temperature (5 °C and 20 °C) on inherent energy potentials of household FW during aerobic and anaerobic storage. Therefore, physico-chemical parameters of recipe-based FW samples with reproducible initial compositions were monitored. After 20 days of aerobic storage, water contents (WC) were reduced from 61.9% to 39.5% (20 °C) and from 63.9% to 50.3% (5 °C) while organic dry matter (oDM) concentrations were lowered by 4.3% (20 °C) and 1.1% (5 °C). Increased pH-values of 6.6 (initially 5.5) were only measured for FW stored aerobically at 20 °C. In total, the energy potential was decreased by 31% (20 °C) and by 16% (5 °C). Thus, storage temperature and duration are crucial parameters for optimized aerobic FW storage leading to higher energy yields in AD. Instead, anaerobic storage of FW decreased pH-values to <5 while increasing WC in all samples (up to 67% at 20 °C). As oDM concentrations were preserved almost completely, the energy potential losses were only marginal proving that energy contents of FW could be preserved at household level. Consequently, energy yields in AD of FW could be increased through anaerobic storage conditions.
Water leaching and hydrothermal carbonization are tools to upgrade biomass residues for combustion. Water leaching reduces the ash content, which increases the heating value, while hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) increases heating value and ash content and decreases the organic fraction of the fuel. The objective of this study is to investigate, whether low temperature hydrothermal treatment (HTT) of biomass residues can combine the positive aspects of both treatments and avoid the negative aspects: a decrease of the ash content (leaching) instead of an increase (HTC) and a strong increase of the heating value by deoxygenation (HTC) instead of a low increase by ash reduction (leaching). Sawdust, conifer bark, black locust bark, green cuttings, and leaves were treated at 150 °C, 170 °C and 185 °C in a batch reactor. The impact of the three treatments on combustion properties, inorganic element reduction, and organic compound formation in the liquid phase were investigated. All biomass residues, except sawdust treated at 150 °C, showed increased heating values and reduced ash contents. The intensity of the heating value increases, and the reduction rates of selected ash elements were discussed, including a comparison of literature values and a short review on organic reaction and formation processes at low temperature and pressure conditions.
To achieve a sustainable circular economy for wood ash, the reuse of wood ash in agriculture and forestry is important. To evaluate the usability of ash from the combustion of natural as well as waste wood for application as fertilizer, wood fuel and corresponding ash fraction samples (n = 86) of four industrial wood-fired heat and power plants (>20 MW) were investigated. In different ash fractions, the concentrations of heavy metals (As, Cd, Pb, Ni, Tl, Zn) and plant nutrients (N, P, K, Ca) were assessed with regard to relevant legislation from the European Union and from selected European countries (Germany, Austria and Finland). Depending on fuel composition and combustion kinetics within the respective plants, the investigated ash fractions showed a wide range of nutrient and heavy metal contents. Apart from N which is mainly emitted with the flue gas, plant nutrients were present in substantial concentrations with mean values corresponding to 20% P, 55 % K and >95% Ca content compared to nutrient compound fertilizer. A direct application of most ash fractions from both natural and waste wood combustion is however not possible due to high contents of Cd, Pb and Ni. In order to develop the ash for secondary use, investigation for a suitable treatment process is necessary. An estimation of the nutrient recovery potential from industrial wood energy plants in southwest Germany showed that approx. 3.1% (P), 7.5% (K) and 22.8% (Ca) of raw material for fertilizers could be substituted by ash.
Arnica montana L. ( AM , Asteraceae) is a perennial, herbaceous vascular plant species of commercial importance. The flower heads’ pharmacological properties are attributed mainly to sesquiterpene lactones (SLs), with phenolic acids and flavonoids also considered of relevance. The botanical drug is still partly collected in different European mountain regions. The SL content can be influenced by genetic factors and environmental conditions (altitude, temperature and rainfall). Surprisingly, the influence of the soil on SL-content have rarely been investigated. However, the soil determines the occurrence, distribution and overall fitness of AM . Equally, environmental factors are crucial determinants for the biosynthesis and fluctuations in plant secondary metabolites. Therefore, different abiotic (pH, C/N ratio, base saturation, cation exchange capacity) and biotic (species richness, vegetation cover) parameters need to be assessed as potential drivers of the variable content of A M’s secondary metabolites. Consequently, we developed an in situ experimental design aiming to cover a wide range of soil pH conditions. We detected and investigated different AM populations growing in grassland on acidic soils, on siliceous as well as calcareous geologies within the same geographical region and altitudinal belt. The total SL content and most single SL contents of the AM flower heads differed significantly between the two geologies. AM flower heads of plants growing on loam on limestone showed a significant higher total SL content than the flower heads of plants growing in siliceous grasslands. Furthermore, the SL contents were significantly correlated with geobotanical species richness and vegetation cover pointing toward an effect of species interactions on the production of SLs. Moreover, the ratios of the main SLs helenalin to dihydrohelenalin esters were significantly correlated to environmental parameters indicating that SL composition might be a function of habitat conditions. The findings of this study shed light upon the often ignored, complex interactions between environmental conditions and plant secondary metabolites. We highlight the importance of both abiotic and biotic habitat parameters for SLs in AM .
Since the invention of treeshelters in Europe during the late 1970s new views on them have emerged. We identify critical challenges and propose new pathways towards a 'plastic-reduction strategy in forestry' by analysing available products on the European market, by raising questions on legal aspects at the end of their service life and by considering case studies of German plantations, calculating their costs with respect to subsidies. We point to new tools for complex decision-making with treeshelters and fencing as two selected protective measures. Our findings show that on the European market, there are 161 different types of treeshelters available. There are five groups of material types ranging from polypropylene and compostable plastics to shelters made from wood, paper or jute. As for most material types, there is not certification for biodegradation under outdoor temperate forest conditions. However, a recent survey from Germany reveals that collecting activities are insufficient and not in line with the laws for forestry, nature protection or the circular economy. An analysis of state subsidies for treeshelters show that in Germany oak plantations up to 85% of the total costs are subsidised. Moreover, the costs of removal have been integrated insufficiently and there are no provisions that force forest owners to remove materials after they have been used. A comprehensive strategy for European forestry should also consider innovation of new treeshelters that are made from fully bio-based material, are fully biodegradable under forest conditions, function as classical shelters and show better performance in life-cycle assessments. ARTICLE HISTORY
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