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Abstract

As urbanization intensifies, urban ecosystems are increasingly under pressure from a range of threats. Horizon scanning has the potential to act as an early warning system, thereby initiating prompt discussion and decision making about threat mitigation. We undertook a systematic horizon scanning exercise, using a modified Delphi technique and experts from wide-ranging disciplines, to identify emerging threats in urban ecosystems. The 10 identified threats were generally associated with rapid advances in technology (eg solar panels, light-emitting diode lights, self-healing concrete) or with societal demands on urban nature (eg green prescriptions). Although many of the issues identified are also technological opportunities with recognized environmental benefits, we have highlighted emerging risks so that research and mitigation strategies can be initiated promptly. Given the accelerated rate of technological advancement and the increasing demands of urbanized populations, horizon scanning should be conducted routinely for urban ecosystems. Read More: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/10.1890/150229

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... These processes have evolved relying on cues from 24 h light/dark cycles in which light intensities do not surpass 0.3 lx at night during full moon (Manfrin, 2017;Rich and Longcore, 2006). The increase in night luminosity and the disruption of natural light cycles that ALAN entails can alter the natural response of organisms to light/dark cycles (Davies et al., 2014;Stanley et al., 2015;Ludvigsen et al., 2018;Zapata et al., 2019). ...
... The latter results support our working hypothesis and suggest that ALAN is detrimental to the late settlement process of both barnacle species. These results are in line with the growing number of studies documenting direct and indirect impacts of ALAN on coastal ecosystems (Gaston et al., 2012;Lyytimäki, 2013;Davies et al., 2014;Stanley et al., 2015;Duarte et al., 2019;Manríquez et al., 2019;Zapata et al., 2019;Lynn et al., 2021a). Our results are also in partial agreement with a previous study suggesting that ALAN might either increase or reduce barnacle recruitment depending on the species under analysis (Daniel, 1957). ...
Article
Many coastal processes are regulated by day/night cycles and are expected to be altered by Artificial Light at Night (ALAN). The goal of this study was to assess the influence of ALAN on the settlement rates of intertidal barnacles. A newly designed settlement plate equipped with a small central LED light source was used to quantify settlement rates in presence/absence of ALAN conditions. “ALAN plates” as well as regular settlement plates were deployed in the mid rocky intertidal zone. Both ALAN and control plates collected early and late settlers of the barnacles Notochthamalus scabrosus and Jehlius cirratus. Early settlers (pre-metamorphosis cyprids) were not affected by ALAN. By contrast, the density of late settlers (post-metamorphosis spats) was significantly lower in ALAN than in control plates for both species, suggesting detrimental ALAN impacts on the settlement process. The new ALAN plates represent an attractive and alternative methodology to study ALAN effects.
... Horizon scans are not conducted to fill a knowledge gap in the conventional research sense, but are used to explore arising trends and developments, with the intention of fostering innovation and facilitating proactive responses by researchers, managers, policymakers and other stakeholders 23 . Using a modified Delphi technique, which is a structured and iterative survey [23][24][25] (Fig. 2), we systematically collated and synthesized knowledge from 170 expert participants based in 35 countries (Extended Data Fig. 1). We designed the exercise to involve a large range of participants and to incorporate a diversity of perspectives 26 . ...
... A greater proportion of non-environmental participants (76%; n = 22/29) also scored the challenge 'Pollution will increase if RAS are unable to identify or clean up accidents (for example, spillages) that occur during automated maintenance/ construction of infrastructure' (item 32) above zero compared with those with environmental expertise (45%; n = 22/29) (Fisher's exact test: odds ratio = 0.26; 95% CI = 0.08-0. 79 (4) GI management (7) Street vegetation irrigation (8) Wilder landscapes (9) Smart buildings (10) Vehicle-animal collision detection (16) Animal deterrence (17) Roadworks and transport system management (21) Traffic system noise pollution declines (22) Lighting systems (23) Pollutant mm (24) Waste production mm (25) Environmental law compliance monitoring (26) Traffic system pollutant run-off reductions (33) Water infrastructure mm (34) Water pollution monitoring (35) River intervention mm (36) Human nature interaction increases (41) Pollution decreases enhance recreation (42) Education and citizen science (43) Leisure time increases (44) New employment opportunities in GI mm (45) Transport system and car ownership decreases (54) Wheel-less transport infrastructure (55) Built structure declines (56) Self-repairing built infrastructure (57) Ecosystem service mimicry (58) Pest and invasive species mm (64) Food for urban exploiter species reduces (65) Urban agriculture increases (70) Food waste mm (71) similar pattern was observed for item 38 'RAS will alter the hydrological microclimate (for example, temperature and light), altering aquatic communities and encouraging algal growth' . A significantly greater proportion of non-environmental compared with environmental participants (60% (n = 12/20) and 26% (n = 11/42), respectively) allocated scores above zero (Fisher's exact test; odds ratio = 0.24; 95% CI = 0.07-0.84; ...
Article
Technology is transforming societies worldwide. A major innovation is the emergence of robotics and autonomous systems (RAS), which have the potential to revolutionize cities for both people and nature. Nonetheless, the opportunities and challenges associated with RAS for urban ecosystems have yet to be considered systematically. Here, we report the findings of an online horizon scan involving 170 expert participants from 35 countries. We conclude that RAS are likely to transform land use, transport systems and human–nature interactions. The prioritized opportunities were primarily centred on the deployment of RAS for the monitoring and management of biodiversity and ecosystems. Fewer challenges were prioritized. Those that were emphasized concerns surrounding waste from unrecovered RAS, and the quality and interpretation of RAS-collected data. Although the future impacts of RAS for urban ecosystems are difficult to predict, examining potentially important developments early is essential if we are to avoid detrimental consequences but fully realize the benefits.
... Horizon scans are not conducted to fill a knowledge gap in the conventional research sense, but are used to explore arising trends and developments, with the intention of fostering innovation and facilitating proactive responses by researchers, managers, policymakers and other stakeholders 23 . Using a modified Delphi technique, which is a structured and iterative survey [23][24][25] (Fig. 2), we systematically collated and synthesized knowledge from 170 expert participants based in 35 countries (Extended Data Fig. 1). We designed the exercise to involve a large range of participants and to incorporate a diversity of perspectives 26 . ...
... A greater proportion of non-environmental participants (76%; n = 22/29) also scored the challenge 'Pollution will increase if RAS are unable to identify or clean up accidents (for example, spillages) that occur during automated maintenance/ construction of infrastructure' (item 32) above zero compared with those with environmental expertise (45%; n = 22/29) (Fisher's exact test: odds ratio = 0.26; 95% CI = 0.08-0. 79 (4) GI management (7) Street vegetation irrigation (8) Wilder landscapes (9) Smart buildings (10) Vehicle-animal collision detection (16) Animal deterrence (17) Roadworks and transport system management (21) Traffic system noise pollution declines (22) Lighting systems (23) Pollutant mm (24) Waste production mm (25) Environmental law compliance monitoring (26) Traffic system pollutant run-off reductions (33) Water infrastructure mm (34) Water pollution monitoring (35) River intervention mm (36) Human nature interaction increases (41) Pollution decreases enhance recreation (42) Education and citizen science (43) Leisure time increases (44) New employment opportunities in GI mm (45) Transport system and car ownership decreases (54) Wheel-less transport infrastructure (55) Built structure declines (56) Self-repairing built infrastructure (57) Ecosystem service mimicry (58) Pest and invasive species mm (64) Food for urban exploiter species reduces (65) Urban agriculture increases (70) Food waste mm (71) similar pattern was observed for item 38 'RAS will alter the hydrological microclimate (for example, temperature and light), altering aquatic communities and encouraging algal growth' . A significantly greater proportion of non-environmental compared with environmental participants (60% (n = 12/20) and 26% (n = 11/42), respectively) allocated scores above zero (Fisher's exact test; odds ratio = 0.24; 95% CI = 0.07-0.84; ...
Full-text available
Article
Technology is transforming societies worldwide. A major innovation is the emergence of robotics and autonomous systems(RAS), which have the potential to revolutionize cities for both people and nature. Nonetheless, the opportunities and challenges associated with RAS for urban ecosystems have yet to be considered systematically. Here, we report the findings of an online horizon scan involving 170 expert participants from 35 countries. We conclude that RAS are likely to transform land use, transport systems and human–nature interactions. The prioritized opportunities were primarily centred on the deployment of RAS for the monitoring and management of biodiversity and ecosystems. Fewer challenges were prioritized. Those that were emphasized concerns surrounding waste from unrecovered RAS, and the quality and interpretation of RAS-collected data. Although the future impacts of RAS for urban ecosystems are difficult to predict, examining potentially important developments early is essential if we are to avoid detrimental consequences but fully realize the benefits.
... Of particular note is the book Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting (2006) edited by Catherine Rich and Travis Longcore, who suggest in their introduction that this may be due to the diurnal bias of humans, and to the relatively recent increases in urbanisation and innovation in lighting technology. Subsequent publications have drawn further attention to the broad and increasing threat that artificial lighting poses to nature conservation and ecosystem services Holker et al. 2010b;Lyytimaki 2013;Navara and Nelson 2007;Stanley et al. 2015) and have called for greater research and synthesis (e.g. (Perkin et al. 2011). ...
... Subsequent publications have drawn attention to additional characteristics of lighting such as the degree of polarisation (Horvath et al.), flickering , and to the large-scale technological shift towards white LED street lighting (Stanley et al. 2015). Reviews have also been undertaken for specific groups such as bats (Stone et al. 2015) and on processes such as pollination (MacGregor 2015). ...
Technical Report
This report provides an overview of the findings from the project - Artificial Lighting and Biodiversity in Switzerland, funded by the Bundesamt für Umwelt (BAFU) and undertaken by Dr. James Hale and Prof. Raphaël Arlettaz at the University of Bern. The project began on the 1st October 2015 and was completed at the end of 2017. Its goal was to build solid foundations for sound assessments of lighting emissions in Switzerland, to support emerging research on the ecological impacts of artificial light emissions.
... While green prescriptions and recommendations on the frequency and duration of exposure to nature might seem helpful, or at least benign, Stanley et al. (2015) argue that considering nature in this way has detrimental consequences for biodiversity. Specifically, the growing numbers of people accessing green spaces only for health benefits, together with the promotion of health-related (including exercise) requirements within green space design, threatens biodiversity and the integrity of urban ecosystems. ...
... This is because green spaces are inevitably modified to accommodate human use. Examples include, pathways extended and widened, large flat areas (e.g., lawns) created for exercise groups, vegetation modified to enhance users' perceptions of safety, and artificial lighting installed for use outside daylight hours (Stanley et al., 2015). ...
... Researchers have also begun to link disturbance to RPA use. For example, potential for mortality and injury through collision, and disturbance of wildlife species are highlighted as an issue (Hodgson and Koh 2016;R€ ummler et al. 2016;Ditmer et al. 2015;Lambertucci, Shepard, and Wilson 2015;Stanley et al. 2015;Vas et al. 2015). ...
... The potential for disturbance is attributed to the low altitude presence, noise and prevalence of RPA. Similarly, disturbance may be a factor in any mass use such as the simultaneous deployment of fleets of 'swarming' drones that are being trialled in forest fire surveillance (Stanley et al. 2015;Merino et al. 2012). ...
Article
This paper analyses regulatory responses to rapid intensification of the use of drones/remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) in the context of wildlife protection. Benefits and disadvantages of the technology to wildlife are examined, before three key limitations in policy and law are identified: failure to address wildlife disturbance in RPA regulation; reliance upon insufficiently comprehensive existing wildlife protection legislation to manage disturbance effects; and limited species-specific research on disturbance. A New Zealand case study further reveals an inconsistent regulatory approach struggling to keep pace with innovation, inadequate regulatory capture of environmental effects due to exemption as “aircraft”, and no recognition that specific geographical locations, such as coastal areas, distinguished by recreational pressures and high numbers of threatened species require special consideration. Recommendations include acknowledging the impact on wildlife in policy, gap analysis of legal arrangements for protection from disturbance (including airspace), and adoption of minimum approach distances to threatened species.
... In the meantime, the increased cost-effectiveness of LEDs which are highly energy-efficient and have good luminous efficacy, will likely engender an exponential deployment of this technology in outdoor lighting in the coming decade (Zissis & Bertoldi 2014). As for many technological innovations, LEDs offer at the same time many opportunities to limit light pollution, but also major risk to increase it (Stanley et al. 2015). On one hand, they can allow light to be directed with unprecedented precision, and dimmed according to human rhythms of activity through the night (Kyba et al. 2014b). ...
... ). Furthermore, standard white-LEDs present an important peak of energy in the blue range which has major impacts on biodiversity and humans (Schroer & Hölker 2014;Stanley et al. 2015). This important content of blue wavelengths also increases the level of perceived sky brightness in the scotopic band (for dark-adapted eyes; . ...
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Thesis
Light pollution induced by the widespread use of nighttime artificial lighting is a global change affecting substantial part of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. As a result, major concerns have been raised about its hidden impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Light pollution has major impacts on the circadian and seasonal cycles of organisms, and on their movements and spatial distributions. As a whole, light pollution likely disrupts the spatiotemporal dynamics of biological communities and ecosystems. In this context, the aim of this PhD was to characterize the impacts of nighttime artificial lighting on bat activity (order: chiroptera) at multiple spatial scales in order to propose reduction measures that can effectively limit the adverse impacts of light pollution on biodiversity. We used bats as model species as they are nocturnal and directly exposed to light pollution and they are considered to be good indicators of the response of biodiversity to anthropogenic pressure.We first intended to characterize the extent of effect of light pollution at a landscape scale relative to major land-use pressures that are threatening biodiversity worldwide. Using a French national-scale citizen science database, we found that landscape-scale level of light pollution negatively affected common bat species, and that this effect was significantly stronger than the effect of impervious surfaces but weaker than the effect of intensive agriculture. This highlighted the crucial need to account for outdoor lighting in land-use planning in order to restore darkness in human-inhabited landscapes.Thus, through an in situ experiment, we investigated whether i) restoring darkness in a landscape for a part of the night through part-night lighting schemes, or ii) restraining the spatial extent of lighting at the vicinity of natural elements were effective options to enhance dark ecological corridors in human-inhabited landscapes. We found that part-night lighting schemes were unlikely to effectively mitigate the impacts of artificial lighting on light-sensitive species. However, we revealed that streetlights should be separated from ecological corridors by at least 50 m, and that the light trespass should be lower than 0.1 lux to allow their effective use by light-sensitive species.Overall, this PhD thesis revealed the major importance of addressing light pollution issues at multiple spatial scales to characterize its impacts on biodiversity. It also exposed the crucial importance of integrating outdoor lighting in land-use planning strategies and proposed to implement ecological criteria in future European standards for outdoor lighting.
... Anthropogenic stressors are now widely considered to be drivers of global changes in marine biodiversity (Bellard et al., 2012). Among these stressors, human-related disruption of natural light regimes, more specifically artificial light at night (hereafter ALAN), can alter the physiology and behavior of marine organisms (Stanley et al., 2015;Zapata et al., 2019;Marangoni et al., 2022;Lynn and Quijón, 2022). Examples include changes in circadian rhythms Lynn et al., 2021a), metabolic and reproductive rates (Gaston et al., 2013;Cohen and Putts, 2013), and settlement rates (Lynn et al., 2021a;Manríquez et al., 2021), among others. ...
Article
The influence of artificial light at night (ALAN) is becoming evident in marine sandy beaches. These habitats are dominated by species reliant on natural daylight/night regimes, making the identification of biological indicators a priority. We assessed the applicability of hemocyanin, an oxygen-transport protein in the hemolymph of many invertebrates, as an indicator of ALAN-related stress. Unlike total proteins, hemocyanins signal metabolic function and stress, so we expected them to increase in response to ALAN. We adapted spectrophotometry protocols to describe spatial variation in hemocyanins and total proteins in four populations of the talitroid amphipod Americorchestia longicornis. Then, a two-week experiment tested for changes in response to ALAN. Hemocyanin levels increased by 17 % and 40 % with respect to experimental controls after 7 and 14 d, respectively, and were higher than any measurements conducted in the field. These results suggest good prospects for hemocyanin as an indicator of ALAN effects.
... Trace metals lead, copper, and iron fluxes were highest during the month of October in the Bia, Tanoé, and Comoé rivers. The cadmium flux was highest during the month of October in the Bia and Comoé rivers, and during the months of February and December in the Tanoé River, indicating that contamination came Karthikeyan et al., 2018;Patel et al., 2018;Sarasiab et al., 2014;Sekabira et al., 2010;Soumahoro et al., 2021;Stanley et al., 2015). Once in aquatic systems, a substantial portion of trace metals is deposited readily in sediments. ...
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Article
Downstream water pollution resulting from anthropogenic pressures on upstream water can cause conflicts, especially in transboundary rivers basins. This study assessed trace metals cadmium, lead, copper, and iron total concentrations, fluxes, and the potential human health risks through ingestion or dermal contact of waters at the mouth of three West African transboundary rivers: the Comoé, Bia, and Tanoé rivers. The results showed highest total concentrations during the months of May and October and statistically comparable concentrations in the rivers. The fluxes discharged to the Atlantic Ocean through the Aby and Ebrie Lagoons are as high as average values found elsewhere in the World. Trace metals lead, copper, and iron fluxes were highest during the month of October in the Bia, Tanoé, and Comoé rivers. The cadmium flux was highest during the month of October in the Bia and Comoé rivers, and during the months of February and December in the Tanoé River, indicating that contamination came mainly from upstream waters and the draining of the river basins. The Pearson correlation analysis showed that the trace metals were mainly from anthropogenic sources including gold mining and agriculture. The total concentrations were lower than international guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, the potential human health risk assessment results suggest a significant likelihood of community exposure to harmful effects but not to cancers through water ingestion. This work recommends including small rivers when assessing global river metal fluxes to the ocean and also reducing upstream inputs from human activities to mitigate downstream river water pollution.
... It is well-known that light pollution is an environmental issue with clear economic implications Olsen et al., 2014). We are experiencing never seen growing light use but a drastic reduction remains an ongoing challenge without strong legislation, funding and guidelines/policies for stakeholders and inhabitants (Feder, 2005;Stanley et al., 2015). To date, research on the social-economic effects of light pollution has been neglected. ...
Article
Light pollution is the consequence of elevated lighting emitted by human-made artefacts to the lower atmosphere. Recently, there have been major advances in the assessment and mitigation of light pollution impacts on humans and the natural ecosystems. Severe negative impacts of light pollution have been highlighted while very few mitigation measures have been implemented. People (scientists, policymakers or stakeholders) interested in light pollution may not have a holistic perspective of the problem, and also there is a need for incorporating social and natural dimensions. Therefore, the main goal of this paper is to review the literature on light pollution using ISI Web of Science by paying attention to the (i) type of publication, year and journal; (ii) impacts on specific elements; (iii) location and (iv) methods used. Our results indicated that the elevated number of papers come from a diverse range of disciplines, methods, places and scales. It is clear that light pollution is getting enough attention from the scientific community but decisions on the implementation of mitigation measures are left with the stakeholders, ordinary inhabitants, policymakers and politicians. Nevertheless, light pollution is having impacts on the health of humans and the natural ecosystem as perceived by experts and inhabitants having divergent perspectives. Thus, light pollution is multifaceted but difficult to be faced, mitigated and not holistically understood. This review paper groups the total impacts of light pollution on the Earth presents some contradictory results, summarises mitigation measures, and provides specific future research directions.
... Given these potentially long-term and widespread consequences of the pandemic, researchers can use this extraordinary period as a 'global natural experiment' (Thomson, 2020) to gain novel insights into the complex processes and dynamics of these interactions and into possible strategies to manage them to best effect (see Box 1 for a list of priority research questions). Indeed, as discussed throughout this paper, the knowledge gained from such an approach could have the potential to inform the development of policies and strategies to address some of the most significant challenges related to human-nature interactions, such as minimising negative consequences of the health-associated demands on greenspace (Stanley et al., 2015), preventing the ongoing, widespread loss of positive human-nature interactions (Soga & Gaston, 2016), and mitigating human-wildlife conflicts in rural and suburban areas (Tsunoda & Enari, 2020). To take maximum advantage of this window of opportunity, therefore, we recommend that researchers, alongside policy-makers and practitioners (e.g., city planners, protected area managers and health professionals) establish testable hypotheses and, where possible, collect data sooner rather than later. ...
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Article
Abstract The coronavirus (COVID‐19) pandemic and the global response have dramatically changed people's lifestyles in much of the world. These major changes, as well as the associated changes in impacts on the environment, can alter the dynamics of the direct interactions between humans and nature (hereafter human–nature interactions) far beyond those concerned with animals as sources of novel human coronavirus infections. There may be a variety of consequences for both people and nature. Here, we suggest a conceptual framework for understanding how the COVID‐19 pandemic might affect the dynamics of human–nature interactions. This highlights three different, but not mutually exclusive, pathways: changes in (a) opportunity, (b) capability and (c) motivation. Through this framework, we also suggest that there are several feedback loops by which changes in human–nature interactions induced by the COVID‐19 pandemic can lead to further changes in these interactions such that the impacts of the pandemic could persist over the long term, including after it has ended. The COVID‐19 pandemic, which has had the most tragic consequences, can also be viewed as a ‘global natural experiment’ in human–nature interactions that can provide unprecedented mechanistic insights into the complex processes and dynamics of these interactions and into possible strategies to manage them to best effect. A free Plain Language Summary can be found within the Supporting Information of this article.
... One widespread stressor that has only recently gained public attention, particularly in coastal ecosystems, is artificial light at night (ALAN; Davies and Smyth, 2017;Davies et al., 2020). Many species rely on natural day/night cycles to guide various aspects of their behaviour and population dynamics, all of which can potentially be altered by ALAN (Gaston et al., 2012;Stanley et al., 2015;Ludvigsen et al., 2018;Zapata et al., 2019). Examples include ALANrelated changes in metabolic and reproductive rates (Gaston et al., 2013;Cohen and Putts, 2013), circadian rhythms Cohen et al., 2010;Duarte et al., 2019), and predator-prey interactions (Yuen and Bonebrake, 2017;Underwood et al., 2017). ...
Article
Human growth has caused an unprecedented increase in artificial light at night (ALAN). In coastal habitats, many species rely on day/night cycles to regulate various aspects of their life history and these cycles can be altered by this stressor. This study assessed the influence of ALAN on the early (cyprid) and late (spat) settlement stages of the acorn barnacle Semibalanus balanoides, a species widely distributed in natural and man-made coastal habitats of the North Atlantic. A newly designed settlement plate, originally for studies in rocky intertidal habitats in the southeast Pacific, was adapted to measure settlement rates on man-made habitats -wharf seawalls- located in Atlantic Canada. Plates equipped with a small LED diode powered by an internal battery (ALAN plates) were used to quantify settlement rates in comparison to plates lacking a light source (controls). These plates were deployed for 6 d in the mid-intertidal levels, where adult barnacles were readily visible. ALAN and control plates collected large number of settlers and showed to be suitable for this type of man-made habitats. The number of early settlers (cyprids) did not differ between plates but the number of late settlers (spat) was significantly lower in ALAN plates than in controls. These results suggest that light pollution has little influence on the early stages of the acorn barnacle settlement but is clearly detrimental to its late stages. As barnacles dominate in many natural and man-made hard substrates, it is likely that ALAN also has indirect effects on community structure.
... These species may sometimes be the only remaining examples of the original ecosystems in those modified landscapes (Norton & Reid 2013). Sustaining biodiversity in agroecosystems also has social value: for example, greener landscapes may provide human health benefits (Cox et al. 2017), such as preventing so-called "nature deficit disorder" (Stanley et al. 2015). ...
... However, the human exploitation of these ecosystems implies a significant potential environmental vulnerability, especially due to their geo-morphological setting (as semi-enclosed area) and their link to terrestrial inputs and continental run-off [3,4]. Indeed, the presence of trace metals in lagoons and coastal zones has been attributed mutually to natural events (volcanism, flash flood, wind transport, erosion) and anthropogenic processes (vehicle emission, industry, urbanization, construction activities, mining activities) [5][6][7][8]; for these reasons, lagoon sediments can act both as geogenic source and as a final sink for trace metals in the aquatic ecosystems [9,10]. They can be considered as good geo-indicators of marine environmental quality, since their status can alter benthos and the food chain, thus posing potential ecological risks [11,12]. ...
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Article
Surface sediments from Khnifiss lagoon (Morocco) were analyzed to evaluate the contamination degree of the area. Concentrations of V, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Cd, Hg, and Pb were determined on samples taken during the summer and the autumn of 2016. On the whole, higher concentrations were found in the summer season. The results revealed the following average concentrations (mg/kg), reported in descending order: Zn (51.7 ± 31.3) > V (38.8 ± 24.7) > Cr (26.6 ± 17.8) > Ni (16.5 ± 5.47) > As (8.50 ± 2.00) > Cu (6.60 ± 3.81) > Pb (6.13 ± 3.46) > Co (3.57 ± 2.09) > Cd (0.16 ± 0.11) > Hg (0.006 ± 0.001). Organic matter showed a positive significant correlation with some trace metals (mainly V, Cr, Co, Zn, Cd, Pb). Three pollution indices were calculated: Enrichment Factor (EF), Index of Geo−accumulation (Igeo), and Pollution Load Index (PLI). Minimal enrichments (for Zn, As, and Cd) were detected at some sampling points. Overall indices showed that the Khnifiss sediments can be classified as not contaminated, and that the trace metals amounts found are ascribable to the geogenic origin. The results of this work can be used as a starting point for further evaluations of trace metals distribution in Moroccan lagoons.
... Sommige vogels profiteren op hun beurt van dit tijdelijk verhoogd voedselaanbod rond en op de vensters van zulke gebouwen (Robertson et al. 2010). Ook zonnepanelen kunnen volgens eenzelfde principe waterinsecten misleidend aantrekken (Stanley et al. 2015, Szaz et al. 2016. Wanneer dieren leefgebied verkiezen dat niet deugt als habitat, hoewel er bruikbare alternatieven aanwezig zijn, spreken ecologen van een ecologische valstrik (Hale et al. 2016). ...
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Article
Our planet is urbanizing rapidly and Belgium (Flanders in particular) is characterized by a high degree of urbanization. Among biologists there is a growing interest to study the ecological and evolutionary consequences of urbanization since urban areas differ in multiple ways from the environments surrounding cities. During six years a consortium of Belgian biologists and their international network combined their efforts to study these impacts in a wide range of organisms, including both aquatic and terrestrial species and communities (e.g. bacteria, zooplankton, snails, butterflies and moths, grasshoppers, damselflies, fish, birds, etc.). This paper introduces the field of urban ecology and explores why evolutionary approaches are essential to unravel how organisms deal with these anthropogenic environmental conditions. We review in a highly selective way the ecological and evolutionary consequences of urbanization and introduce the aims and methods of the so called SPEEDY-project. More detailed case-studies from the project are presented in the other articles of this special volume on biodiversity and urbanization.
... obtaining knowledge about environmental issues from books and/or media developed) can be the primary information sources to learn about environmental issues for some people (Boubonari, Markos, and Kevrekidis 2013). There is an increasing number, and diversity, of opportunities for people to observe images of natural environments without actually participating in nature-based activities (Stanley et al. 2015). Some studies showed that schoolchildren in some regions prefer species they never experience in real life, just virtually, and they struggle to identify local wildlife (e.g. ...
Article
p style="text-align: justify;">Early childhood is a crucial period for the physical and cognitive development of children. A child's exposure to nature is proven to be beneficial in this period of human life. The aim of the present research was to investigate children’s play and physical activity on a traditional playground and on a forest (natural) playground. Twenty-five observations took place on the traditional playground, and twenty-five observations were recorded on the forest playground. Twenty-five participating preschool children were observed in both playgrounds, but not necessarily in the same order. Research findings confirmed important qualities of natural playgrounds that provide children with a wide range of playing and learning opportunities not available on other playgrounds. Children were playing more with different natural materials in the forest playground and they more frequently played different chasing games and hide and seek in the forest playground. Participating children were also more physically active on the forest playground, and boys were more active on the forest playground than girls. The research concludes that it is important for preschool teachers to use natural playgrounds frequently and with regularity. Research design in this article is also an example of how GPS trackers can be beneficial for educational research.</p
... obtaining knowledge about environmental issues from books and/or media developed) can be the primary information sources to learn about environmental issues for some people (Boubonari, Markos, and Kevrekidis 2013). There is an increasing number, and diversity, of opportunities for people to observe images of natural environments without actually participating in nature-based activities (Stanley et al. 2015). Some studies showed that schoolchildren in some regions prefer species they never experience in real life, just virtually, and they struggle to identify local wildlife (e.g. ...
Article
Acquiring observational competences is an important task in early science education. It helps children to make a transition from seeing to observing and developing scientific process skills and science concepts. Outdoor education is seen by many researchers as optimal way for learning about life sciences, therefore ongoing loss of human interactions with nature is viewed as one of the most fundamental challenges. Using quasi-experimental design, we evaluated the effectiveness of one educational program where participating preschool children learned about forest organisms through direct experiences in the forest (direct experiences) and the other program where children learned only in the classroom watching videos, books, played various table games, etc. (vicarious experiences). A total of 129 Slovene children aged 3-6 years were interviewed a week before, immediately after and six weeks after the end of the programs. Four tasks measuring their skills of observation were used in the interviews. The results indicate that both educational programs improved their scientific skills. Direct experiences lead to higher increase and persistence of acquired skills. Direct experiences are seen as crucial for development of specific scientific skills of observing and classifying forest organisms, but to certain extent some skills can be alternatively acquired through vicarious experiences.
... We compared arthropod density and trophic structure between field plots exposed to ALAN from white LEDs and plots not exposed to ALAN. Broad-spectrum light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were chosen for this study because they are becoming increasingly widespread in residential, municipal, and commercial settings (Stanley et al. 2015). The transition from older narrow spectrum lighting technology (e.g., sodium vapor lights) to broad-spectrum lighting technologies increases the ability to detect objects in broad range of animal taxa, but also might alter species interactions as the transition in lighting spectra increases disparities among trophic groups in visual ability (Davies et al. 2013). ...
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Article
Abstract Prior studies of how artificial light at night (ALAN) alters the abundances of herbivores, predators, and other trophic groups have yielded evidence of the alteration of energy and nutrient flows through ecosystems. Because the impacts of ALAN on arthropod assemblages may be context‐dependent, there is a need for more experimental work across a range of habitat types and time frames. To examine longer‐term impacts of ALAN on community and trophic structure, we experimentally manipulated ALAN in a grassland ecosystem and compared arthropod abundance and trophic structure between plots exposed to ALAN and plots exposed only to ambient light over two years. In 2015, arthropod density was 61% higher in plots with ALAN added than in plots with no ALAN added, but this difference was not statistically significant. In 2016, arthropod densities were nearly identical between plots with ALAN added and plots not exposed to ALAN. Contrasting with prior research on ground‐dwelling arthropods, we found no evidence that the effects of ALAN on abundance differed between herbivores and predators inhabiting the canopy of grassland vegetation. To better understand the ecological consequences of ALAN, we recommend experimental manipulation of ALAN in a variety of habitat types followed by repeated sampling of trophic structure over time frames that span multiple generations for the species within the focal community.
... Alternatively, an ecological perspective would result in the quantification of factors such as habitat diversity, species diversity, or ecological functions (for examples see Dallimer et al., 2012;Taylor & Hochuli, 2017). Although a human perspective of "quality" is needed to ensure that people will interact with greenspaces (and therefore nature), designing and managing greenspace purely from a human perspective might exclude species perceived as undesirable or threaten the ecological integrity of urban greenspaces (Stanley et al., 2015;van Heezik & Brymer, 2018). The reverse is true from an ecological perspective whereby species considered important for conservation my not reflect the type needed for psychological benefits (Gaston et al., 2018). ...
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Article
The past 35 years has seen an accumulation of empirical evidence suggesting a positive association between greenspace and mental health. Existing reviews of evidence are narrow in scope, and do not adequately represent the broad range of disciplines working in this field. This study is the first systematic map of studies investigating greenspace effects on mental health. A total of 6059 papers were screened for their relevance, 276 of which met inclusion criteria for the systematic map. The map revealed several methodological limitations hindering the practical applications of research findings to public health. Critically, the majority of studies used cross-sectional mental health data which makes causal inference about greenspace effects challenging. There are also few studies on the micro-features that make up greenspaces (i.e., their “quality”), with most focussing only on “quantity” effects on mental health. Moreover, few studies adopted a multi-scale approach, meaning there is little evidence about at which spatial scale(s) the relationship exists. A geographic gap in study location was also identified, with the majority of studies clustered in European countries and the USA. Future research should account for both human and ecological perspectives of “quality” using objective and repeatable measures, and consider the potential of scale-dependent greenspace effects to ensure that management of greenspace is compatible with wider scale biodiversity targets. To establish the greenspace and metal health relationship across a life course, studies should make better use of longitudinal data, as this enables stronger inferences to be made than more commonly used cross-sectional data.
... Although cities with historic connections to Western culture have typically had high cat ownership, the global domestic-cat population is increasing and now exceeds 600 million (Peterson et al. 2012;Stanley et al. 2015). This represents a growing threat to urban wildlife, and several cities have created policies or taken action to manage owned and feral cats to reduce their threat. ...
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Article
Cat ownership is increasing globally, representing a growing threat to urban wildlife. Although some cities have policies and strategies for managing owned cats, the companionship value placed on cats makes such management contentious. Prioritizing cat management in urban residential zones adjacent to large significant ecological areas (SEAs; areas designated on the basis of representativeness, threat status or rarity, diversity, connectedness, or uniqueness) could maximize return on management effort. Residents in these areas may place a relatively higher value on nature than residents in suburbs with minimal or no SEAs, and therefore may be comparatively more likely to perceive cats’ wildlife impacts as important. We used a quantitative survey to compare SEA and non-SEA suburbs’ residents’ attitudes towards cat impacts and management in Tāmaki Makaurau-Auckland, Aotearoa-New Zealand. Participants were asked to rate the importance of different feral and owned cat impacts, the importance of feral-cat control in different locations, and various ownership behaviors in terms of acceptability and best practice. SEA suburb residents placed more importance on wildlife predation impacts of feral cats and were more likely to regard 24-h cat confinement as best practice than non-SEA suburb residents. However, we also found that cat ownership and youth were negatively associated with perception of cat impacts, and owners were less likely to accept belled collars and cat confinement than nonowners. Therefore, although targeting SEA adjacent areas for cat management holds promise for reducing resident contention, proximity to such areas is a relatively minor influence for cat owners.
... Multifaceted policy interventions might provide synergistic and long-lasting benefits that counter the limitations of the more common reductionist and short-term approaches. For example, Stanley et al. [95] argue that policies that promote public health through the urban green infrastructure pose a threat to urban ecosystems, as it requires urban nature to become more 'people-friendly'. Examples of this are the construction of walkways, clearing of understory vegetation and preference for flat open spaces. ...
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Article
Urban nature is and will be the most common provider of nature interactions for humankind. The restorative benefits of nature exposure are renown and creating human habitats that simultaneously support people’s wellbeing and ecological sustainability is an urgent priority. In this study, we investigate how the relationship between environmental attitudes and healthy ecosystems influences restorative experiences combining a place-based online survey with geographical data on ecosystem health in Stockholm (Sweden). Using spatial regression, we predict the 544 restorative experiences (from 325 respondents), with people’s environmental attitudes, natural land covers, ecosystem health, and the statistical interactions among these variables as predictors. Our results show that restorative experiences can happen anywhere in the urban landscape, but when they occur in natural environments, the combined levels of biodiversity and ecological connectivity are better predicting factor than the mere presence of nature. That is, healthy ecosystems seem to be more important than just any nature for restorative experiences. Moreover, the statistical interaction between one’s environmental attitudes and natural environments predict almost all restorative experiences better than when these variables are independent predictors. This suggests that there is synergistic compatibility between environmental attitudes and healthy ecosystems that triggers restorative processes. We call this synergy regenerative compatibility. Regenerative compatibility is an unexploited potential that emerges when people’s attitudes and ecosystems are aligned in sustainability. We consider regenerative compatibility a valuable leverage point to transform towards ecologically sustainable and healthy urban systems. To this end, we encourage multifaceted policy interventions that regenerate human-nature relationships holistically rather than implement atomistic solutions.
... Sensory gardens have been shown to improve many aspects of children's and adults' lives [21]. "The relationship between children's ability to learn, our social relations, our productivity at work, our propensity to commit crime and indulge in self-harming lifestyle behaviors, our appreciation and stewardship of the environment and our psychological and physical health, have all been studied in relation to time spent outdoors in nature" [22] Regarding individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD, outdoor environments have been shown to help their attention span. Attention Restoration Theory (ART) often uses the natural environment to promote attention on desired tasks. ...
Conference Paper
Autism is a multifaceted neurological dysfunction which influences the four primary regions of sensory processing, communication mechanisms, social interaction skills, and whole child/self-esteem. Outdoor experience leads to less behavioral bonds in children and makes them ready to find solitude away from adults and others, occupy in the intended ventures or are in small, intimate groups. Sensory gardens have been shown to improve many aspects of children's and adults' lives. The relationship between children's ability to learn, social relations, productivity at work, propensity to commit the crime and indulge in self-harming lifestyle behaviors, appreciation, and stewardship of the environment and our psychological and physical health, have all been studied concerning time spent outdoors in nature". Access to adults has also been shown to help children connect to nature. This means that the outdoor, as well as the indoor spaces, are understood as crucial to autistics. This paper aims to show the effect of nature and establish guidelines for designing outdoor places for children with autism to make an improvement in their behavior and comfort in outdoor places.
... Freshwater performs many socioeconomic services, yet it is being threatened by heavymetal pollution (USEPA 2003;Ali et al. 2013;Jiang and Sun 2014;Benson et al. 2017). The presence of heavy metals in freshwater has been attributed to natural processes and anthropogenic activities such as industrial discharges, urbanization, mining, and agricultural and atmospheric deposition (Sekabira et al. 2010;Sarasiab et al. 2014;Stanley et al. 2015;Banunle et al. 2018;Karthikeyan et al. 2018;Patel et al. 2018). ...
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Article
Seasonal variations in mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), zinc (Zn), lead (Pb), arsenic (As), copper (Cu), and chromium (Cr) metal concentrations in 36 water and 36 sediment samples from River Tano were studied using Perkin Elmer atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AAS) between November 2016 and October 2017. Significantly higher metal concentrations were recorded in rainy season than dry season for both water and sediment except for Pb and Cd where sediment concentrations were higher in the dry season. Cu was detected only in the sediment samples. Spatially the source of the river is unpolluted for all the metals in both seasons but the midstream and downstream ends of the river were heavily polluted by Hg, Pb, and Cd. All the heavy metals studied except Zn exceeded the WHO standards for drinking water. In the sediment, Cd, Hg, and Cr concentrations exceeded the USEPA guidelines. Igeo and Concentration Factor analysis revealed unpolluted sediments in terms of Cu, Pb, As, and Cr. They were near the background concentrations but Hg and Cd were in the range of moderate to heavy pollution. All the metals correlated significantly among themselves to signify common source to the water. It thus remains risky to use untreated water from the midstream and downstream of River Tano for domestic purposes. Enforcement of the buffer zone policy is recommended to avert further deterioration of the river water and sediment qualities.
... The existing research literature that discusses the factors underlying urbanization and the ecological environment system has mainly emphasized the variables that influence single systems within urban areas and has assessed the impact of land conservation (Stott et al., 2015), land use change (Long et al., 2014), human demands (Stanley et al., 2016), vegetation coverage (Li et al., 2016), and the urban landscape (Chen and Yu, 2017) on regional systems. Previous analyses have also assessed the impacts of land reclamation , economic growth (Bai et al., 2012), and climate change (Gu et al., 2011) on regional urbanization systems as well as the impact of urbanization on energy consumption (Zhang and Lin, 2012), air quality (Han et al., 2014), socioeconomic sustainable development (Cao et al., 2014), urban multifunctional landscape (Peng et al., 2016) and ecosystem services (Delphin et al., 2016). ...
... Also, the incumbent lamp types, especially high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights, are being replaced by arrays of light-emitting diodes (LEDs; Gaston et al. 2015). The uptake of LED lighting can alter assemblages of nocturnal invertebrates (Davies et al. 2017) and is recognized as a key emerging threat to biodiversity in urban ecosystems due to the greater emission of blue light by LEDs compared to incumbent lighting technologies (Stanley et al. 2015). ...
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Article
Artificial light at night (ALAN) is an increasingly important driver of global change. Lighting directly affects plants, but few studies have investigated indirect effects mediated by interacting organisms. Nocturnal Lepidoptera are globally important pollinators, and pollen transport by moths is disrupted by lighting. Many street lighting systems are being replaced with novel, energy‐efficient lighting, with unknown ecological consequences. Using the wildflower Silene latifolia, we compared pollination success and quality at experimentally lit and unlit plots, testing two major changes to street lighting technology: in lamp type, from high‐pressure sodium lamps to light‐emitting diodes, and in lighting regime, from full‐night (FN) to part‐night (PN) lighting. We predicted that lighting would reduce pollination. S. latifolia was pollinated both diurnally and nocturnally. Contrary to our predictions, flowers under FN lighting had higher pollination success than flowers under either PN lighting or unlit controls, which did not significantly differ from each other. Lamp type, lighting regime, and distance from the light all significantly affected aspects of pollination quality. These results confirm that street lighting could affect plant reproduction through indirect effects mediated by nocturnal insects, and further highlight the possibility for novel lighting technologies to mitigate the effects of ALAN on ecosystems.
... Another group investigating insects declared "LED lighting increases the ecological impact of light pollution" [2]. A horizon scan of threats to urban ecosystems listed LEDs and the associated profusion of bright white light [3]. Most of these concerns, however, are based on the experience of the general public that LEDs used in outdoor lighting can only be blue-white -or on studies of instances where the switch to LEDs is in fact to high color temperature whites [4,5]. ...
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Article
The introduction and widespread uptake of LEDs as outdoor lighting has caused no small amount of concern amongst conservation biologists. The prevailing impression that LEDs are always blue-white is well founded as adoption of LEDs for streetlights were invariably high color temperatures and with the deterioration of phosphors the blue wavelengths penetrated even more. But LEDs do have characteristics that differentiate them from other light sources and may allow for the reduction of environmental effects of lighting on species and habitats: direction, duration, intensity, and spectrum. Travis Longcore, Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Architecture, sheds light on all these aspects.
... Estuaries and coastal wetlands provide vital ecosystem services by contributing to fisheries, water quality, carbon sequestration, coastal protection, and pollution control (Levin et al. 2001, Barbier et al. 2011. The introduction of ALAN poses a growing threat to estuarine biodiversity and ecosystem services in densely populated coastal habitats (Davies et al. 2014, Stanley et al. 2015. Assessments of ALAN in coastal environments are limited (Depledge et al. 2010), yet coastalestuarine ecosystems are often replete with lighting sources including urban centers, off-shore oil and fisheries operations, commercial and recreational vessels, and the scattering of light in the atmosphere and downcasting by clouds (Kyba et al. 2011). ...
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Article
Artificial lighting at night (ALAN) produced by urban, industrial, and roadway lighting, as well as other sources, has dramatically increased in recent decades, especially in coastal environments that support dense human populations. Artificial “lightscapes” are characterized by distinct spatial, temporal, and spectral patterns that can alter natural patterns of light and dark with consequences across levels of biological organization. At the individual level, ALAN can elicit a suite of physiological and behavioral responses associated with light-mediated processes such as diel activity patterns and predator-prey interactions. ALAN has also been shown to modify community composition and trophic structure, with implications for ecosystem-level processes including primary productivity, nutrient cycling, and the energetic linkages between aquatic and terrestrial systems. Here, we review the state of the science relative to the impacts of ALAN on estuaries, which is an important step in assessing the long-term sustainability of coastal regions. We first consider how multiple properties of ALAN (e.g., intensity and spectral content) influence the interaction between physiology and behavior of individual estuarine biota (drawing from studies on invertebrates, fishes, and birds). Second, we link individual- to community- and ecosystem-level responses, with a focus on the impacts of ALAN on food webs and implications for estuarine ecosystem functions. Coastal aquatic communities and ecosystems have been identified as a key priority for ALAN research, and a cohesive research framework will be critical for understanding and mitigating ecological consequences.
... Amongst these pollutants, light pollution was identified as an emerging (i.e. new and poorly known) threat to biodiversity Stanley et al., 2015). ...
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Thesis
The spatial extent of artificial light is increasing rapidly and significantly on Earth surface hence changing the nocturnal lightscape and threatening an important part of ecosystems. The rise in nighttime light levels induces a perturbation of the circadian rhythm and thus a modification of nocturnal, but also some diurnal, species behavior and interactions between species. Despite the spread of light pollution being of major concern, the knowledge gaps in this field limit the creation of regulations to reduce the impact of nighttime lighting on biodiversity. Therefore it is urgent to produce clear and practical information to build tools and define recommendations for land managers. In this context, the aim of the PhD thesis is to study the impact of light pollution on nocturnal fauna through two spatial scales in order to propose methods to evaluate and manage artificial light. We used bats as a model species as they are long-lived and nocturnal and thus highly impacted by light pollution. In addition, it has been shown that their population trends tend to reflect those of species lower in the trophic chain which makes them even more sensitive to anthropic pressures. First, we studied the effect of light pollution within cities. This spatial scale is both coherent with bats distance of movement and with the reality of public lighting management. Although some urban-adapted species living within large cities are considered to benefit from artificial light, this work showed that, at a scale including all aspects of bats daily travels, light has a negative effect on bats activity level. Also, even if a large part of light pollution is due to public lighting, the results show that private lighting should not be neglected. Beyond the impact on bat activity, artificial light can have a barrier effect when individuals are transiting and thus reduce the landscape connectivity. Whereas environmental policies are promoting the development of ecological corridors, not considering light pollution could significantly reduce their efficiency for nocturnal species. Modelling the link between biological data and landscape variables including light level allowed us to build adapted corridors for nocturnal species. This lead to the development of a tool to evaluate lighting scenarios that could be used prior to the implementation of a lighting plan in order to predict the impact it would have and hence adapt it to the local biodiversity issues. At a finer scale, it is necessary to understand which light characteristics are the most relevant levers of actions to formulate recommendations to limit light pollution impact on biodiversity. We carried a field work experiment in a protected area where conservation issues on bat species are even higher as the species most sensitive to light are protected there, together with their habitat, at the EU level. We worked at the interface between urban and semi-natural areas and showed that the illuminance was the most important light characteristic. Hence it is on this parameters that regulations should be applied in priority to limit the impact of light on areas that could potentially be used as corridors or dark refuges for sensitive species.
... Sommige vogels profiteren op hun beurt van dit tijdelijk verhoogd voedselaanbod rond en op de vensters van zulke gebouwen (Robertson et al. 2010). Ook zonnepanelen kunnen volgens eenzelfde principe waterinsecten misleidend aantrekken (Stanley et al. 2015, Szaz et al. 2016. Wanneer dieren leefgebied verkiezen dat niet deugt als habitat, hoewel er bruikbare alternatieven aanwezig zijn, spreken ecologen van een ecologische valstrik (Hale et al. 2016). ...
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Article
Our planet is urbanizing rapidly and Belgium (Flanders in particular) is characterized by a high degree of urbanization. Among biologists there is a growing interest to study the ecological and evolutionary consequences of urbanization since urban areas differ in multiple ways from the environments surrounding cities. During six years a consortium of Belgian biologists and their international network combined their efforts to study these impacts in a wide range of organisms, including both aquatic and terrestrial species and communities (e.g. bacteria, zooplankton, snails, butterflies and moths, grasshoppers, damselflies, fish, birds, etc.). This paper introduces the field of urban ecology and explores why evolutionary approaches are essential to unravel how organisms deal with these anthropogenic environmental conditions. We review in a highly selective way the ecological and evolutionary consequences of urbanization and introduce the aims and methods of the socalled SPEEDY-project. More detailed case-studies from the project are presented in the other articles of this special volume on biodiversity and urbanization.
... Media representations, such as high-quality nature documentaries focusing on rare and exotic species in wild natural surroundings, may increase appreciation of nature, but there is also a risk that people may devalue ordinary everyday landscapes, or even perceive them as a disservice. High-quality digital representations of nature can encourage people to stay inside in order to avoid the less desirable aspects of real-world nature experiences, including possible exposure to stinging and biting insects or to unpleasant odours, noise, and sights (Lyytimäki, 2012;Stanley et al., 2015). On the other hand, wireless communication and technologies in the realm of augmented reality provide unforeseen opportunities to make the benefits of urban trees more visible to the people visiting urban parks. ...
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Chapter
Ecosystem services provided by urban green areas have been recognised to an increasing degree following the turn of the millennium (MEA, 2003; Gómez-Baggethun and Barton, 2013). Urban trees in particular provide urban dwellers with a variety of ecosystem services (see Chapter 4 of this volume). However, urban trees are also the source of various types of harm, nuisance and costs. These ‘bad’ aspects may be labelled as ecosystem disservices. The concept of ecosystem disservice is a recent one and there is no widely agreed definition for it. On a general level, ecosystem disservices can be defined as the functions, processes and attributes generated by the ecosystem that result in perceived or actual negative impacts on human wellbeing (Shackleton et al., 2016). Both ecosystem services and disservices are inherently anthropogenic concepts, putting emphasis on the human valuation of ecosystem properties and functions. What is perceived as beautiful and beneficial by one person may be considered ugly, useless, unpleasant or unsafe by another. For example, biodiversity-rich, semi-natural areas inside city limits are often experienced as suffering from a lack of maintenance, as opposed to intensively maintained but biodiversity-poor urban parks.
... To date such exercises have tended to emphasise threats (e.g. Stanley et al. 2015) and barriers to adaptation (i.e. Keys et al. 2014;, However some potential threats can be reframed into opportunities for conservation, or some national trends can be used to identify benefits for biodiversity. ...
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Technical Report
https://www.nccarf.edu.au/sites/default/files/attached_files/NARP_update_Terrestrial_Biodiversity-2017.pdf This document delivers a resource for research providers to identify critical gaps of information needed by sectoral decision-makers; set research priorities based on these gaps, and identify capacity across the network that could be harnessed to conduct priority research that addresses stakeholders’ requirements and involvement. Strategic, cost effective actions are required to maximise potential benefits of management and the knowledge generated by research that addresses the questions described in this report will facilitate informed decisions and appropriate adaptation actions.NC
... These changes lead to reduced species and genetic diversity, biotic homogenization (McKinney 2006), and loss of ecological function and ecosystem services (Radford & James 2013). Numerous emerging threats, such as those associated with the uptake of LED lighting and energy-efficient (but cavity-free) homes, are likely to have further impacts (Stanley et al. 2015). These impacts are long-lasting with little option for reversal, making urbanization one of the greatest drivers of biodiversity loss (McKinney 2006). ...
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Article
Cities are increasingly considered important places for biodiversity conservation because they can harbor threatened species and because conservation in cities represents an opportunity to reconnect people with nature and the range of health and well-being benefits it provides. However, urbanization can be catastrophic for native species, and is a well-known threat to biodiversity worldwide. Urbanization impacts can be mitigated by urban design and development improvements, but take-up of these practices has been slow. There is an urgent need to incorporate existing ecological knowledge into a framework that can be used by planners and developers to ensure that biodiversity conservation is considered in decision-making processes. Here, we distill the urban biodiversity literature into five principles for biodiversity sensitive urban design (BSUD), ranging from creating habitat and promoting dispersal to facilitating community stewardship. We then present a framework for implementing BSUD aimed at delivering on-site benefits to biodiversity, and that is applicable across a range of urban development types and densities. We illustrate the application of the BSUD framework in two case studies focusing on the: (1) protection of an endangered vegetation remnant in a new low-density subdivision; and (2) persistence of an endangered reptile in an established suburban environment.
... The challenge is encouraging a greater proportion of the population to engage with the natural world around them. However, care needs to be taken, as a rise in the number of people accessing green spaces for health benefits might threaten urban ecosystems and the very health benefits that people seek (Stanley et al., 2015). Deconstructing types of nature experiences, as done here, is critical for guiding recommendations and policy to ensure that across the population the most people can benefit from interactions with nature. ...
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Article
As people live more urbanised lifestyles there is potential to lose daily contact with nature, diminishing access to the wide range of associated health benefits of interacting with nature. Experiences of nature vary widely across populations, but this variation is poorly understood. We surveyed 1023 residents of an urban population in the UK to measure four distinctly different nature interactions: indirect (viewing nature through a window at work and at home), incidental (spending time outside at work), intentional (time spent in private gardens) and intentional (time spent in public parks). Scaled-up to the whole study population, accumulation curves of the total number of hours per week that people were exposed to each type of nature interaction showed that 75% of nature interactions were experienced by half the population. Moreover, 75% of the interactions of a type where people were actually present in nature were experienced by just 32% of the population. The average hours each individual experienced nature per week varied across interactions: indirect (46.0±27.3 SD), incidental (6.4±12.7 SD), intentional-gardens (2.5±2.9 SD) and intentional-parks (2.3±2.7 SD). Experiencing nature regularly appears to be the exception rather than the norm, with a person’s connection to nature being positively associated with incidental and intentional experiences. This novel study provides baseline information regarding how an urban population experiences different types of nature. Deconstructing nature experience will pave the way for developing recommendations for targeted health outcomes.
... December 28, 2016 1 / 18 a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 [2,3]. Meanwhile, as suburban corridors fill in, core urban areas are becoming less green and more densely populated [4], with unknown effects on related ecosystem services [5,6]. Thus, if we wish to maintain biodiversity there is an urgent need to understand processes and mechanics involved in maintaining biodiversity in densely populated urban areas (2). ...
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Article
Understanding how to manage biodiversity in urban areas will become increasingly important as density of humans residing in urban centers increases and urban areas expand. While considerable research has documented the shifts in biodiversity along urbanization gradients, much less work has focused on how characteristics of dense urban centers, effectively novel environments, influence behavior and biodiversity. Urban bats in San Fran-cisco provide an opportunity to document changes in behavior and biodiversity to very high-density development. We studied (1) the distribution and abundance of bat foraging activity in natural areas; and (2) characteristics of natural areas that influence the observed patterns of distribution and foraging activity. We conducted acoustic surveys of twenty-two parks during 2008–2009. We confirmed the presence of four species of bats (Tadarida brasiliensis, Myotis yumanensis, Lasiurus blossevillii, and M. lucifugus). T. brasiliensis were found in all parks, while M. yumanensis occurred in 36% of parks. Results indicate that proximity to water, park size, and amount of forest edge best explained overall foraging activity. Proximity to water best explained species richness. M. yumanensis activity was best explained by reduced proportion of native vegetation as well as proximity to water. Activity was year round but diminished in December. We show that although bats are present even in very densely populated urban centers, there is a large reduction in species richness compared to that of outlying areas, and that most habitat factors explaining their community composition and activity patterns are similar to those documented in less urbanized environments.
... Like other SNS, natural features in urban areas are subject to a number of threats such as pollutants and effects of climate change. Stanley et al. (2015) have identified a number of emerging urban threats, such as: health-related demands on green space (leading to increased use and demand for artificial lighting for safety), scattered burial ashes/cremains (due to excessive additions of phosphate to the environment), and adverse effects on species habitat and behaviour from technology such as LED lights, solar panels, and drones. ...
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Article
Urban sacred natural sites are not well documented or understood as potential repositories of biological diversity or as critical components of local and indigenous tradition and cultural patrimony in urban areas. Virtually all research and activity on sacred natural sites thus far has focused on sites in non-urban areas, and most interest in sacred sites in urban areas has been on human-built heritage and structures. Minimal attention has been given to sacred natural sites that are in urban areas. These urban sacred natural sites may be connected to mainstream religions, or may exist where cities have developed on indigenous land and associated sacred sites. Given the lack of systematic study of urban sacred natural sites, we recommend further research, including: undertaking inventories; assessing biological features and their possible contributions to conservation; assessing the possible contribution of these sites to wider strategies; examining possible management and protection options; and promoting linkages to relevant global initiatives.
... Social and management constraints include lack of ecological knowledge, lack of social acceptance of management approaches, human-wildlife conflicts, and conflicting goals based on varied views and value systems (Kilvington et al. 1998;Gobster 2012). A horizon scan of emerging threats in urban ecosystems (Stanley et al. 2015) identified 10 threats associated with rapid advances in technology (e.g. solar panels, light emitting diode lights and self-healing concrete). ...
Article
In the last two decades, the research and practice of restoration in New Zealand has extended into urban ecosystems, where it presents unique challenges and opportunities. This account reviews the history and current state of ecological restoration in urban environments in a country with one of the longest traditions of restoration in the world.
... ..' (Article 2). Despite one-third of the New Zealand land area being protected as public conservation land, the population is disconnected on a day-to-day basis from natural environments with an increase in the prevalence of 'nature deficit disorder' among children (Stanley et al. 2015). In addition, immigration means that many 'new' New Zealanders do not have a relationship with New Zealand's natural environments. ...
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Article
If we are to make meaningful and measurable progress in restoring New Zealand's biological heritage by 2050, a range of fundamental issues need to be addressed. These relate not just to restoration science but also to building ecosystem resilience in the wider socio-economic and cultural context within which restoration occurs.
... Humans are rapidly becoming an urban species, with greater populations in urban areas [1], increasing size of these urban areas, and increasing number of very large urban areas [2]. As a consequence, much of what we know about cities is focused on how they grow and take shape [2,3], the strains that their growth puts on city infrastructure [4,5], the consequences for human and other faunal-floral inhabitants of these cities and their surroundings [1,[6][7][8][9][10][11], and governance which can either exacerbate or ease these transitions [12][13][14][15]. Indeed, political and economic incentives provide a powerful motivation for continuous growth [16]. ...
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Article
Shrinking cities are widespread throughout the world despite the rapidly increasing global urban population. These cities are attempting to transition to sustainable trajectories to improve the health and well-being of urban residents, to build their capacity to adapt to changing conditions and to cope with major events. The dynamics of shrinking cities are different than the dynamics of growing cities, and therefore intentional research and planning around creating sustainable cities is needed for shrinking cities. We propose research that can be applied to shrinking cities by identifying parallel challenges in growing cities and translating urban research and planning that is specific to each city's dynamics. In addition, we offer applications of panarchy concepts to this problem. The contributions to this Special Issue take on this forward-looking planning task through drawing lessons for urban sustainability from shrinking cities, or translating general lessons from urban research to the context of shrinking cities.
Thesis
To improve causality, this thesis used the counterfactual framework to develop two novel and statistically robust approaches to analyse the effect of urban greenspace on mental health. The first approach was a cross-sectional assessment that used statistical matching in addition to regression modelling to establish the effect of local public greenspace on a person’s mental health for those with and without a private garden. The second approach used longitudinal data in a Before-After Control Intervention study design to establish the effect of the change in different greenspace characteristics on mental health when a person moved between urban areas. Both these approaches were applied to the British Household Panel Survey – a nationally representative survey of Great Britain containing individual-level information on mental health and the socio-economic confounders of mental health. Findings from the first approach suggested that the effect of access to private greenspace on mental health outweighs the beneficial effects of access to public greenspace. Specifically, having a private domestic garden substantially reduced the maximum probability of poor mental health for men and women, regardless of their access to local public greenspace. The second approach highlighted the importance of greenspace quality and proximity for mental health. Bird species richness and distance to nearest greenspace, proxy measures for greenspace quality and proximity respectively, provided the most inference when modelling the effect of change in greenspace characteristics on mental health. Comparatively, measures of greenspace quantity and recognised standards and guidelines of greenspace access provided less inference than a model that did not include a measure of greenspace. Given these results, greenspace quality, proximity and access to private gardens should be a priority for future policies to improve the status of both urban greenspace and mental health in Great Britain.
Chapter
Defending consumer, business, and national food supply from intentional malicious attack is an essential public health and business resilience strategy that must be appropriately developed, be agile enough to address all potential threats and be built on strong knowledge of the industry sector and the mitigation strategies available. This chapter considers the present knowledge on food defense strategies, how they are developed using a risk based approach and how they can be applied within the food chain. At international, national and business level, food defense plans need to be designed, implemented and verified to ensure that they remain current and effective. There is still a significant knowledge gap when organizations are seeking to implement food defense plans and a need for greater capacity building to ensure that risk managers understand the methodological approaches that are currently being used, their value but their particular limitations too.
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Article
Drones are becoming more accessible and efficient. This article presents a review of recent scientific literature focusing on their use to study wildlife. The 250 publications consulted were grouped into one of 4 categories: wildlife surveys, the behavioural response of wildlife to drones, the study of wildlife behaviour and wildlife protection. The review highlighted the great potential of drones for helping in the survey of animals, especially birds and mammals, and it also revealed the developments underway to allow their use for studying aquatic fauna, amphibians, reptiles and insects. The main impacts of drones on animals are presented and, based on the available information, preliminary recommendations are made to limit their disturbance to wildlife. Drones have multiple advantages and the rapid development of this technology suggests that several of the current limits to their use will soon be overcome. Finally, elements of the Canadian regulations on the use of drones are presented. In conclusion, in the medium-term, drones have the potential to play a significant role in the protection and management of biodiversity.
Article
Artificial light at night (ALAN) causes a wide range of ecological impacts across diverse ecosystems. Most concentrated in urban areas, ALAN poses a particular risk to associated wildlife by disrupting physiology, behaviour and ultimately survival. This risk is predicted to shift as nighttime lightscapes in many cities undergo change. Globally, streetlights are currently being retrofitted with newer technologies that differ in the spectrum and intensity of their emissions, but there is a dearth of in situ urban experiments on the ecological impacts of this change. We monitored timing of dawn and dusk bird song; frequency of owl vocalisations; avian diversity, relative abundance and community composition; small invasive mammal and ground insect activity; and invertebrate relative abundance at 26 residential properties over an 18-month period that coincided with a retrofit from high-pressure sodium (HPS) to white light-emitting diode (LED) streetlights. Initiation time of dawn song was advanced or delayed for two bird species following the retrofit and backyard avian community composition was altered. Avian species richness, relative abundances of three bird species and ground insect activity increased in the presence of LED streetlights. No other retrofit effects were found. Our study suggests that retrofitting streetlights with white LEDs may lead to both positive and negative conservation outcomes for urban wildlife, but direct impacts are relatively small and may be mitigated by changes in lighting characteristics, such as dimming. Streetlight retrofits could provide an opportunity to reduce the impacts of ALAN on urban wildlife if intentionally designed with conservation benefits in mind.
Book
Towns and villages are sometimes viewed as minor, even quaint, spots, whereas this book boldly reconceptualizes these places as important dynamic environmental 'hotspots'. Multitudes of towns and villages with nearly half the world's population characterize perhaps half the global land surface. The book's pages feature ecological patterns, processes, and change, as well as human dimensions, both within towns and in strong connections and effects on surrounding agricultural land, forest land, and arid land. Towns, small to large, and villages are examined with spatial and cultural lenses. Ecological dimensions - water, soil and air systems, together with habitats, plants, wildlife and biodiversity - are highlighted. A concluding section presents concepts for making better towns and better land. From a pioneer in both landscape ecology and urban ecology, this highly international town ecology book opens an important frontier for researchers, students, professors, and professionals including environmental, town, and conservation planners.
Chapter
Availability of pure water is becoming scarce with the rapid industrialization and urbanization, and it’s the need of the hour to minimize contamination sources and develop decontamination methods that are least damaging. With the rapid increase in world population, the need to provide clean water for communities in 2050 will be much greater and challenging. Cleaning the environment using classical approaches can cost up to 400 billion US dollars, whereas cleaning heavy metal-contaminated sites within the USA only can cost up to 7.1 billion US dollars, and these conventional techniques seem quite costly; therefore scientists looked for other cost-effective approaches like bioremediation and phytoremediation. These approaches are not only cheaper but also eco-friendly. Removal of heavy metal pollutants from industrial wastewater using plant roots, a method commonly known as rhizofiltration, can save up to millions because of the ability of the plants to remove as much as 60% of their dry weight as toxic metals. Plants have been characterized as hyperaccumulators because of their ability to concentrate more than 1% of toxic metals within their organs, mostly leaves. Plants employ different metal uptake mechanisms and then can metabolize metals using plant reductases, etc. into less toxic forms sometimes releasing them as vapors in the atmosphere. Terrestrial plants are better for cleansing of soil, while aquatic plants can effectively be used for cleaning contaminated water. Macrophytes have been extensively reported as water-cleaning gurus; hydrophytes in constructed wetlands for water cleaning has been used for experimental purposes, and several studies claim their success in open field experiments as well. The chapter overviews the water pollution issue and discusses how plants can be used for phytoremediation by focusing on the strategies that are employed by these hyperaccumulator plant species.
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Consistent with the Land Urbanism and Green Infrastructure theme of this special issue of Land, the primary goal of this review is to provide a plain language overview of recent literature that reports on the psychological, physiological, general well-being, and wider societal benefits that humans receive as a result of experiencing public green infrastructure (PGI) and nature in urbanized landscapes. This enhanced well-being and the wider societal benefits that accrue to urban dwellers as a result of interacting with quality PGI contributes to the concept known as city or urban livability. The quantitative analysis and theoretical synthesis reported in this review can inform decision makers, stakeholders, and other PGI and urban nature (UN) researchers of the benefits that urban populations receive from experiencing quality PGI spaces and UN and the contribution those spaces make to the livability of urban areas. With diminishing opportunities for the acquisition of new public open space to increase PGI and re-establish UN near urban centers, the efficient management and continuous improvement of existing PGI and UN is essential to promote and foster opportunities for human-to-nature contact and the known benefits therein derived. In addition to identifying an increased research interest and publication of articles that report on the contribution of PGI spaces to urban livability over the past decade, the review identifies and reports on the seven focus areas of PGI-livability research and the six attributes of PGI spaces that the current literatures report as contributing to the livability of urbanized landscapes. After providing a quantitative analysis for the reporting of those research areas and PGI attributes and summarizing key findings reported in the literature regarding the contribution that PGI spaces make to urban livability, this review also identifies knowledge gaps in the published literature and puts forward recommendations for further research in this rapidly expanding multidisciplinary field of research and policy development.
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The Internet of Things is rapidly entering the lighting domain. An Internet of Lighting is expected to have significant benefits for its users, such as advanced automated lighting and personal lighting control. The OpenAIS project developed an IP-based lighting architecture and realized a large-scale pilot implementation of an IoT lighting system with advanced sensor-driven controls and user control in a real-life office. Two user control apps were developed and deployed in the open office, individual offices, and meeting rooms: a smartphone application for personal lighting control and an app for dedicated room control tablets. This article reports on an extensive study that evaluated peoples’ use and experiences with the lighting system. The results show that people appreciate personal lighting control and that they adjusted the lighting regularly using both the phone application and the control tablets. Furthermore, lighting control was experienced differently in different workplaces. In general, the level of lighting appraisal increased when more control was available. We argue that the flexibility will be a key success factor for improving the lighting experience, that human-in-the-loop control strategies need balanced automated system behavior and user control, and interfaces should support shared lighting control by including the social context.
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Article
This data descriptor summarizes the process applied and data gathered from the contents of 87 peer-reviewed papers/sources reporting on the contribution of public green infrastructure (PGI), in the form of public parks and urban nature spaces, in the context of city liveability and general human health and well-being. These papers were collected in a systematic literature review that informed the design of a questionnaire-based survey of PGI users in Perth, Western Australia. The survey explored visitor satisfaction with the amenities and facilities of the PGI space, and perceptions of the importance of such spaces for city liveability. Papers were sourced by searching over 15,000 databases, including all the major English language academic publishing houses, using the ProQuest Summon® service. Only English language peer-reviewed papers/editorial thought pieces/book chapters that were published since 2000 with the full text available online were considered for this review. The primary search, conducted in December 2016, identified 71 papers, and a supplementary search undertaken in June 2018 identified a further 16 papers that had become discoverable online after the completion of the initial search.
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From a crime prevention perspective, food crime remains a challenge. Whilst opportunity for crime can be reduced by implementing situational measures and addressing the potential perpetrators, their possible actions and criminal behaviour, the trade-offs which occur in the food supply chain that motivate such activity still remains complex. These heuristic factors have led, in this study, to the consideration of “pinch-points” where crime could occur as a result of capability, opportunity, motivation, rationalisation and supply chain pressure. Pinch-points can be addressed using the Food Crime Countermeasures Framework conceptualised in this paper. We argue that conventional anti-fraud measures—detection, deterrence and prevention—are essential to support food fraud risk assessments, as are continuous interventions and response strategies. The implementation of countermeasures that initially drive prevention and deterrence and where required, detection, intervention and response form the basis of our approach. Whilst this paper focuses on the UK, however, it should recognise that food crime is a global issue.
Article
Light pollution impacts both intra- and inter-specific interactions, such as interactions between mates and predator–prey interactions. In mobile organisms attracted to artificial lights, the effect of light pollution on these interactions may be intensified. If organisms are repelled by artificial lights, effects of light pollution on intra- and inter-specific interactions may be diminished as organisms move away. However, organisms repelled by artificial lights would likely lose suitable habitat as light pollution expands. Thus, we investigated how light pollution affects both net attraction or repulsion of organisms and effects on intra- and inter-specific interactions. In manipulative field studies using fireflies, we found that Photuris versicolor and Photinus pyralis fireflies were lured to artificial (LED) light at night and that both species were less likely to engage in courtship dialogues (bioluminescent flashing) in light-polluted field plots. Light pollution also lowered the mating success of P. pyralis. P. versicolor is known to prey upon P. pyralis by mimicking the flash patterns of P. pyralis, but we did not find an effect of light pollution on Photuris–Photinus predator–prey interactions. Our study suggests, that for some nocturnal insects, light-polluted areas may act as demographic traps, i.e., areas where immigration exceeds emigration and inhibition of courtship dialogues and mating reduces reproduction. Examining multiple factors affecting population growth in concert is needed to understand and mitigate impacts of light pollution on wildlife.
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Jaramillo and Destouni claim that freshwater consumption is beyond the planetary boundary, based on high estimates of water cycle components, different definitions of water consumption, and extrapolation from a single case study. The difference from our analysis, based on mainstream assessments of global water consumption, highlights the need for clearer definitions of water cycle components and improved models and databases. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
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How can the ecological consequences of the increasing use of airspace by humans be minimized? Over the past century, humans have increasingly used the airspace for purposes such as transportation, energy generation, and surveillance. Conflict with wildlife may arise from buildings, turbines, power lines, and antennae that project into space and from flying objects such as aircrafts, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones) (see the figure) (1–3). The resulting collision and disturbance risks profoundly affect species ecology and conservation (1, 4, 5). Yet, aerial interactions between humans and wildlife are often neglected when considering the ecological consequences of human activities.
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Over 30 years of research has shown that urban nature is a promising tool for enhancing the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the world's growing urban population. However, little is known about the type and amount of nature people require in order to receive different health benefits, preventing the development of recommendations for minimum levels of exposure and targeted city planning guidelines for public health outcomes. Dose-response modelling, when a dose of nature is modeled against a health response, could provide a key method for addressing this knowledge gap. In this overview, we explore how “nature dose” and health response have been conceptualized and examine the evidence for different shapes of dose-response curves. We highlight the crucial need to move beyond simplistic measures of nature dose to understand how urban nature can be manipulated to enhance human health.
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Residential development is a leading driver of land-use change, with important implications for biodiversity, ecosystem processes, and human well-being. We reviewed over 500 published scientific articles on the biophysical, economic, and social effects of residential development and open space in the US. We concluded that current knowledge of the effects of this type of development on social and natural systems is inadequate for achieving key objectives of sustainability, including a viable environment, a robust economy, and an equitable society. Most biophysical studies measured species- or population-level responses to development, rather than attempting to understand the mechanisms underlying these responses or the associated ecosystem processes. Economic and social studies were biased toward assessing the values and benefits to individual people, with little attention given to community-level effects. Of the small number of interdisciplinary studies – less than 3% of the total examined - many reported that development patterns with positive biophysical or economic outcomes were perceived negatively from a social perspective. As a result, we propose a research and action agenda that moves beyond current areas of specialization to design and maintain sustainable communities in an increasingly developed world.
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In a context of urban greening, vegetated façades offer a great potential to enhance urban biodiversity. Yet, little is known about the ecological drivers of such man-made ecosystems on assemblages. We assessed four types of façades: three types of vegetated-façades–CP (climbing plant façades), FL (felt layer façades) and SM (substrate module façades)–and concrete bare wall) as a control. On 33 façades located in and around Paris (France), we compared the effects of façade type with the area, the properties of the surrounding landscape on spider and beetle assemblages. The façade type showed major differences in their ecological, their floristic and their management specifications. CP were xerothermophilous habitats similar to cliffs, whereas SM and FL were damp and cool habitats, similar to vegetated waterfalls. These differences in local scale properties influenced more arthropod assemblages than landscape properties, which showed higher species richness and abundance in SM and lower ones in bare walls. Façade types clearly sheltered different beetles’ assemblages in terms of species and traits, including more affine to damp habitat in SM and FL than the other types. Despite the presence of few rare species of Northern France, the assemblages of spiders were dominated by generalist species. Our results show the capacity of vegetated façades to shelter arthropods and argue for their development in cities.
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Unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly called drones, are being increasingly used in ecological research, in particular to approach sensitive wildlife in inaccessible areas. Impact studies leading to recommendations for best practices are urgently needed. We tested the impact of drone colour, speed and flight angle on the behavioural responses of mallards Anas platyrhynchos in a semi-captive situation, and of wild flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) and common greenshanks (Tringa nebularia) in a wetland area. We performed 204 approach flights with a quadricopter drone, and during 80% of those we could approach unaffected birds to within 4 m. Approach speed, drone colour and repeated flights had no measurable impact on bird behaviour, yet they reacted more to drones approaching vertically. We recommend launching drones farther than 100 m from the birds and adjusting approach distance according to species. Our study is a first step towards a sound use of drones for wildlife research. Further studies should assess the impacts of different drones on other taxa, and monitor physiological indicators of stress in animals exposed to drones according to group sizes and reproductive status.
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There is mounting concern for the health of urban populations as cities expand at an unprecedented rate. Urban green spaces provide settings for a remarkable range of physical and mental health benefits, and pioneering health policy is recognizing nature as a cost-effective tool for planning healthy cities. Despite this, limited information on how specific elements of nature deliver health outcomes restricts its use for enhancing population health. We articulate a framework for identifying direct and indirect causal pathways through which nature delivers health benefits, and highlight current evidence. We see a need for a bold new research agenda founded on testing causality that transcends disciplinary boundaries between ecology and health. This will lead to cost-effective and tailored solutions that could enhance population health and reduce health inequalities.
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The planetary boundaries framework defines a safe operating space for humanity based on the intrinsic biophysical processes that regulate the stability of the Earth system. Here, we revise and update the planetary boundary framework, with a focus on the underpinning biophysical science, based on targeted input from expert research communities and on more general scientific advances over the past 5 years. Several of the boundaries now have a two-tier approach, reflecting the importance of cross-scale interactions and the regional-level heterogeneity of the processes that underpin the boundaries. Two core boundaries—climate change and biosphere integrity—have been identified, each of which has the potential on its own to drive the Earth system into a new state should they be substantially and persistently transgressed.
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In this article we review the current knowledge of the effects of urban expansion on bats and assess the potential of these mammals as bioindicators of urbanization. The response of bats to this process is highly species-specific: some species tolerate urban habitat or are even favoured by its roosting or foraging opportunities, others are affected by the loss or fragmentation of key natural habitat, or by the physical or chemical pollution associated with urbanization. Species responses generally translate into altered community structures, with few markedly dominating species. We propose different hypothetical models of bat fitness along an urbanization gradient and discuss why population density may not be an effective fitness proxy to assess the reactions of bats to urban expansion. We also propose that urban habitat may act as an ecological trap even for apparently synurbic species. Overall, bat sensitivity to urbanization makes these mammals promising candidates to track the effects of this process of land use change on the biota, but more studies, specifically tailored to explore this role, are needed.
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Artificial light at night is profoundly altering natural light cycles, particularly as perceived by many organisms, over extensive areas of the globe. This alteration comprises the introduction of light at night at places and times at which it has not previously occurred, and with different spectral signatures. Given the long geological periods for which light cycles have previously been consistent, this constitutes a novel environmental pressure, and one for which there is evidence for biological effects that span from molecular to community level. Here we provide a synthesis of understanding of the form and extent of this alteration, some of the key consequences for terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, interactions and synergies with other anthropogenic pressures on the environment, major uncertainties, and future prospects and management options. This constitutes a compelling example of the need for a thoroughly interdisciplinary approach to understanding and managing the impact of one particular anthropogenic pressure. The former requires insights that span molecular biology to ecosystem ecology, and the latter contributions of biologists, policy makers and engineers.
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Remnant urban forests are often popular sites for recreational activities such as hiking, biking and motorised recreation. This can result in the formation of extensive trail networks, fragmenting vegetation into patches separated by modified edge effects and ultimately contributing to the degradation of the ecosystem as a whole. Here we use a GIS approach to assess the extent and diversity of trail-based fragmentation across 17 remnants of endangered urban forest (total area 829 ha, Tall Open Blackbutt Forest) in southeast Queensland, Australia. Fourteen different trail types totalling 46.1 km were mapped with informal biking and hiking trails the most common (57%, 26.5 km). More than 47 ha (5.7%) of forest have been lost to trails and their edge effect, nearly equal to the area recently cleared for urban development. The degree of fragmentation in some remnants was in the same order of magnitude as found for some of the most popular nature-based recreation sites in the world. In localised areas, the fragmentation was particularly severe as a result of wide trails used by motorised recreation, but these trails were generally uncommon across the landscape (5%). Spatial regression revealed that the number of access points per remnant was positively correlated with the degree of fragmentation. We encourage more landscape-scale research into trail-based fragmentation due to its capacity to impact extensive areas of endangered ecosystems. Management should seek to minimise the creation of informal trails by hardening popular routes, instigating stakeholder collaboration and centralising visitor flow.
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Since the 1970s nighttime satellite images of the Earth from space have provided a striking illustration of the extent of artificial light. Meanwhile, growing awareness of adverse impacts of artificial light at night on scientific astronomy, human health, ecological processes and aesthetic enjoyment of the night sky has led to recognition of light pollution as a significant global environmental issue. Links between economic activity, population growth and artificial light are well documented in rapidly developing regions. Applying a novel method to analysis of satellite images of European nighttime lights over 15 years, we show that while the continental trend is towards increasing brightness, some economically developed regions show more complex patterns with large areas decreasing in observed brightness over this period. This highlights that opportunities exist to constrain and even reduce the environmental impact of artificial light pollution while delivering cost and energy-saving benefits.
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Changing ecosystem dynamics are increasing the threat of disease epidemics arising in wildlife populations. Several recent disease outbreaks have highlighted the critical need for understanding pathogen dynamics, including the role host densities play in disease transmission. In Australia, introduced feral cats are of immense concern because of the risk they pose to native wildlife through predation and competition. They are also the only known definitive host of the coccidian parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, the population-level impacts of which are unknown in any species. Australia’s native wildlife have not evolved in the presence of cats or their parasites, and feral cats may be linked with several native mammal declines and extinctions. In Tasmania there is emerging evidence that feral cat populations are increasing following wide-ranging and extensive declines in the apex predator, the Tasmanian devil, from a consistently fatal transmissible cancer.
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Anthropogenic noise is an important environmental stressor that is rapidly gaining attention among biologists, resource managers, and policy makers. Here we review a substantial literature detailing the impacts of noise on wildlife and provide a conceptual framework to guide future research. We discuss how several likely impacts of noise exposure have yet to be rigorously studied and outline how behavioral responses to noise are linked to the nature of the noise stimulus. Chronic and frequent noise interferes with animals’ abilities to detect important sounds, whereas intermittent and unpredictable noise is often perceived as a threat. Importantly, these effects can lead to fitness costs, either directly or indirectly. Future research should consider the range of behavioral and physiological responses to this burgeoning pollutant and pair measured responses with metrics that appropriately characterize noise stimuli. This will provide a greater understanding of the mechanisms that govern wildlife responses to noise and help in identifying practical noise limits to inform policy and regulation.
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Technological developments in municipal lighting are altering the spectral characteristics of artificially lit habitats. Little is yet known of the biological consequences of such changes, although a variety of animal behaviours are dependent on detecting the spectral signature of light reflected from objects. Using previously published wavelengths of peak visual pigment absorbance, we compared how four alternative street lamp technologies affect the visual abilities of 213 species of arachnid, insect, bird, reptile and mammal by producing different wavelength ranges of light to which they are visually sensitive. The proportion of the visually detectable region of the light spectrum emitted by each lamp was compared to provide an indication of how different technologies are likely to facilitate visually guided behaviours such as detecting objects in the environment. Compared to narrow spectrum lamps, broad spectrum technologies enable animals to detect objects that reflect light over more of the spectrum to which they are sensitive and, importantly, create greater disparities in this ability between major taxonomic groups. The introduction of broad spectrum street lamps could therefore alter the balance of species interactions in the artificially lit environment.
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Although the invention and widespread use of artificial light is clearly one of the most important human technological advances, the transformation of nightscapes is increasingly recognized as having adverse effects. Night lighting may have serious physiological consequences for humans, ecological and evolutionary implications for animal and plant populations, and may reshape entire ecosystems. However, knowledge on the adverse effects of light pollution is vague. In response to climate change and energy shortages, many countries, regions, and communities are developing new lighting programs and concepts with a strong focus on energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. Given the dramatic increase in artificial light at night (0 -20% per year, depending on geographic region), we see an urgent need for light pollution policies that go beyond energy efficiency to include human well-being, the structure and functioning of ecosystems, and inter-related socioeconomic consequences. Such a policy shift will require a sound transdisciplinary understanding of the significance of the night, and its loss, for humans and the natural systems upon which we depend. Knowledge is also urgently needed on suitable lighting technologies and concepts which are ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable. Unless managing darkness becomes an integral part of future conservation and lighting policies, modern society may run into a global self-experiment with unpredictable outcomes.
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Outdoor cats represent a global threat to terrestrial vertebrate conservation, but management has been rife with conflict due to differences in views of the problem and appropriate responses to it. To evaluate these differences we conducted a survey of opinions about outdoor cats and their management with two contrasting stakeholder groups, cat colony caretakers (CCCs) and bird conservation professionals (BCPs) across the United States. Group opinions were polarized, for both normative statements (CCCs supported treating feral cats as protected wildlife and using trap neuter and release [TNR] and BCPs supported treating feral cats as pests and using euthanasia) and empirical statements. Opinions also were related to gender, age, and education, with females and older respondents being less likely than their counterparts to support treating feral cats as pests, and females being less likely than males to support euthanasia. Most CCCs held false beliefs about the impacts of feral cats on wildlife and the impacts of TNR (e.g., 9% believed feral cats harmed bird populations, 70% believed TNR eliminates cat colonies, and 18% disagreed with the statement that feral cats filled the role of native predators). Only 6% of CCCs believed feral cats carried diseases. To the extent the beliefs held by CCCs are rooted in lack of knowledge and mistrust, rather than denial of directly observable phenomenon, the conservation community can manage these conflicts more productively by bringing CCCs into the process of defining data collection methods, defining study/management locations, and identifying common goals related to caring for animals.
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1. There is a widely recognized gap between the data generated by researchers and the information required by policy makers. In an effort to bridge the gap between conservation policy and science, we have convened in several countries multiple groups of policy makers, practitioners and researchers to identify priority information needs that can be met by new research in the social and natural sciences. 2. The exercises we have coordinated included identification of priority policy-relevant research questions in specific geographies (UK, USA, Canada); questions relating to global conservation; questions relating to global agriculture; policy opportunities in the United Kingdom; and emerging global conservation issues or ‘horizon scanning’. 3. We outline the exercises and describe our methods, which are based on principles of inclusivity, openness and democracy. Methods to maximize inclusiveness and rigour in such exercises include solicitation of questions and priorities from an extensive community, online collation of material, repeated voting and engagement with policy networks to foster uptake and application of the results. 4. These methods are transferable to a wide range of policy or research areas within and beyond the conservation sciences.
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Future-oriented technology analysis methods can play a significant role in enabling early warning signal detection and pro-active policy action which will help to better prepare policy- and decision-makers in today’s complex and inter-dependent environments. This paper analyses the use of different horizon scanning approaches and methods as applied in the Scanning for Emerging Science and Technology Issues project. A comparative analysis is provided as well as a brief evaluation the needs of policy-makers if they are to identify areas in which policy needs to be formulated. This paper suggests that the selection of the best scanning approaches and methods is subject to contextual and content issues. At the same time, there are certain issues which characterise horizon scanning processes, methods and results that should be kept in mind by both practitioners and policy-makers.
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Different conceptual perspectives converge to predict that if individuals are stressed, an encounter with most unthreatening natural environments will have a stress reducing or restorative influence, whereas many urban environments will hamper recuperation. Hypotheses regarding emotional, attentional and physiological aspects of stress reducing influences of nature are derived from a psycho-evolutionary theory. To investigate these hypotheses, 120 subjects first viewed a stressful movie, and then were exposed to color/sound videotapes of one of six different natural and urban settings. Data concerning stress recovery during the environmental presentations were obtained from self-ratings of affective states and a battery of physiological measures: heart period, muscle tension, skin conductance and pulse transit time, a non-invasive measure that correlates with systolic blood pressure. Findings from the physiological and verbal measures converged to indicate that recovery was faster and more complete when subjects were exposed to natural rather than urban environments. The pattern of physiological findings raised the possibility that responses to nature had a salient parasympathetic nervous system component; however, there was no evidence of pronounced parasympathetic involvement in responses to the urban settings. There were directional differences in cardiac responses to the natural vs urban settings, suggesting that attention/intake was higher during the natural exposures. However, both the stressor film and the nature settings elicited high levels of involuntary or automatic attention, which contradicts the notion that restorative influences of nature stem from involuntary attention or fascination. Findings were consistent with the predictions of the psycho-evolutionary theory that restorative influences of nature involve a shift towards a more positively-toned emotional state, positive changes in physiological activity levels, and that these changes are accompanied by sustained attention/intake. Content differences in terms of natural vs human-made properties appeared decisive in accounting for the differences in recuperation and perceptual intake.
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The alteration of natural cycles of light and dark by artificial light sources has deleterious impacts on animals and ecosystems. Many animals can also exploit a unique characteristic of light - its direction of polarization as a source of information. We introduce the term "polarized light pollution" (PLP) to focus attention on the ecological consequences of light that has been polarized through interaction with human-made objects. Unnatural polarized light sources can trigger maladaptive behaviors in polarization-sensitive taxa and alter ecological interactions. PLP is an increasingly common byproduct of human technology, and mitigating its effects through selective use of building materials is a realistic solution. Our understanding of how most species use polarization vision is limited, but the capacity of PLP to drastically increase mortality and reproductive failure in animal populations suggests that PLP should become a focus for conservation biologists and resource managers alike.
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The paper presents an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), consisting of several aerial vehicles and a central station, for forest fire monitoring. Fire monitoring is defined as the computation in real-time of the evolution of the fire front shape and potentially other parameters related to the fire propagation, and is very important for forest fire fighting. The paper shows how an UAS can automatically obtain this information by means of on-board infrared or visual cameras. Moreover, it is shown how multiple aerial vehicles can collaborate in this application, allowing to cover bigger areas or to obtain complementary views of a fire. The paper presents results obtained in experiments considering actual controlled forest fires in quasi-operational conditions, involving a fleet of three vehicles, two autonomous helicopters and one blimp.
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One of the major threats to biodiversity involves biological invasions with direct consequences on the stability of ecosystems. In this context, the role of parasites is not negligible as it may enhance the success of invaders. The red-eared slider, Trachemys scripta elegans, has been globally considered among the worst invasive species. Since its introduction through the pet trade, T. s. elegans is now widespread and represents a threat for indigenous species. Because T. s. elegans coexists with Emys orbicularis and Mauremys leprosa in Europe, it has been suggested it may compete with the native turtle species and transmit pathogens. We examined parasite transfer from American captive to the two native species that co-exist in artificial pools of a Turtle Farm in France. As model parasite species we used platyhelminth worms of the family Polystomatidae (Monogenea) because polystomes have been described from American turtles in their native range. Phylogenetic relationships among polystomes parasitizing chelonian host species that are geographically widespread show patterns of diversification more complex than expected. Using DNA barcoding to identify species from adult and/or polystome eggs, several cases of host switching from exotic to indigenous individuals were illustrated, corroborating that parasite transmission is important when considering the pet trade and in reintroduction programmes to reinforce wild populations of indigenous species.
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The reduction of modern commercially cremated remains into a fine powder negates the use of traditional methods of skeletal analysis. The literature on the use of cremains weight for estimating aspects of the biologic profile is limited, often with conflicting results. This study re-evaluates the value of weight in the assessment of biologic parameters from modern cremated remains. A sample of adults was collected in northern California (n = 756), with a cremains weight averaging 2737.1 g. Males were significantly heavier than females (mean = 3233.2 g versus mean = 2238.3 g, respectively; p<0.001). Comparison of this sample with other previously reported samples from southern California, Florida, and Tennessee indicates a consistent sex difference, with the most similar mean values to the Tennessee study. Although cremains weight decreases with age as expected, the relationship is weak; thus, cremains weight cannot accurately predict age-at-death. While sex estimation shows considerable accuracy (86.3% for males and 80.9% for females), sectioning points may be population specific.
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Previous research regarding the potential benefits of exposing individuals to surrogate nature (photographs and videos) has found that such immersion results in restorative effects such as increased positive affect, decreased negative affect, and decreased stress. In the current experiment, we examined whether immersion in a virtual computer-generated nature setting could produce restorative effects. Twenty-two participants were equally divided between two conditions, while controlling for gender. In each condition, participants performed a stress-induction task, and were then immersed in virtual reality (VR) for 10 minutes. The control condition featured a slide show in VR, and the nature experimental condition featured an active exploration of a virtual forest. Participants in the nature condition were found to exhibit increased positive affect and decreased stress after immersion in VR when compared to those in the control condition. The results suggest that immersion in virtual nature settings has similar beneficial effects as exposure to surrogate nature. These results also suggest that VR can be used as a tool to study and understand restorative effects.