Abstract: Cabbage (Brassicaceae) is one of the most frequently consumed exotic vegetables in Benin and also the most affected by insects. To meet growing food demand, farmers rely heavily on synthetic pesticides that are harmful for themselves, consumers and the environment. Integrated pest management has been proposed as the means to improve vegetable productivity and quality in many developing countries. One approach is to substitute pesticides with physical barriers to insects, like nets. Here, we assess consumers’ perceptions about cabbage and their purchasing behavior towards cabbage that was produced using these nets in two major cities in Benin. Results indicate that consumers are aware of the health risks associated with intensive use of pesticides but were not able to recognize the quality difference between cabbage produced under nets from those using pesticides. All consumers were willing to pay a price premium for cabbage with minimized pesticides residues compared with conventionally produced cabbage, the average premium being 38%. Women, older, highly educated consumers and those able to distinguish cabbage qualities were willing to pay the most. We suggest that farmers will obtain higher prices if their production of cabbage with preferred characteristics is accompanied by an improved marketing strategy.
Abstract: Global climate change is projected to adversely impact freshwater resources, and in many settings these impacts are already apparent. In Nigeria, these impacts can be especially severe because of limited adaptive capacity. Understanding the knowledge and attitudes of current and future Nigerian decision-makers is important to preparing Nigeria for climate change impacts. This paper examines the knowledge and attitudes of university students and government officials about the causes, effects, and priority given to climate change in Nigeria. Paper surveys were distributed to 379 study participants in Akwa Ibom and Lagos states of Nigeria. The findings reveal that approximately 90% of study participants believe that human activities are a significant cause of climate change, with no significant difference between ministry officials’ and students’ responses. Participants were less knowledgeable about the effects of climate change on Nigeria as a whole, but more aware of impacts relevant to Southern Nigeria, where study sites were located. Personal experience seemed to play a role in the knowledge and attitudes of respondents. Due to the varied climate of the country, campaigns to ensure comprehensive knowledge of climate change impacts to the entire country may be helpful.
Abstract: Jordan is characterized as a “water scarce” country. Therefore, conserving ecosystem services such as water regulation and soil retention is challenging. In Jordan, rainwater harvesting has been adapted to meet those challenges. However, the spatial composition and configuration features of a target landscape are rarely considered when selecting a rainwater-harvesting site. This study aimed to introduce landscape spatial features into the schemes for selecting a proper water-harvesting site. Landscape metrics analysis was used to quantify 10 metrics for three potential landscapes (i.e., Watershed 104 (WS 104), Watershed 59 (WS 59), and Watershed 108 (WS 108)) located in the Jordanian Badia region. Results of the metrics analysis showed that the three non–vegetative land cover types in the three landscapes were highly suitable for serving as rainwater harvesting sites. Furthermore, Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) was used to prioritize the fitness of the three target sites by comparing their landscape metrics. Results of AHP indicate that the non-vegetative land cover in the WS 104 landscape was the most suitable site for rainwater harvesting intervention, based on its dominance, connectivity, shape, and low degree of fragmentation. Our study advances the water harvesting network design by considering its landscape spatial pattern.
Abstract: A two-year study was conducted to assess how mulch influences weed dynamics following imposition of different fertilization treatments under three crop establishment options: (i) conventional; (ii) ripping; and (iii) basin, in a two-year maize-legume rotation. Eight treatments were imposed within each crop establishment option and received maize stover mulch applied at 0% or 30% cover before planting maize (Zea mays) or cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) as test crops. Maize received nitrogen (N) at 35, 90, or 120 kg·ha−1 and phosphorus (P) at 14 or 26 kg·ha−1 applied alone or in combination with 4 or 7 t cattle manure·ha−1, while cowpea received 8 or 17 N·kg·ha−1 and similar P rates to maize. Results indicated that both weed biomass and diversity were influenced more by fertilization than method of crop establishment. On treatments under high fertilizer application rates, or previously planted to cowpea weed biomass ranged between 220 and 400 g·m−2 under mulch and 370–510 g·m−2 (no mulch). Here species richness ranged between 7–16 and was dominated by dicotyledons. This was in contrast to biomass ranges of 75–200 g·m−2 in the low fertilized and control plots, where only one or two grass types dominated. Overall, weed densities were 6% to 51% higher under conventional tillage compared to the two conservation agriculture (CA) options, although the data indicated that mulch significantly (p < 0.05) depressed weed density by up to 70%. We concluded that mulching could be a potential mechanism for reducing weeding labor costs for smallholders and the general environmental and health concerns associated with the use of herbicides in CA systems.
Abstract: Chemical modifications of clay to remove methylene blue (MB) from aqueous solutions at room temperature were compared. Natural bentonite (NC) was modified by cation exchange with hexadecyltrimethylammonium chloride (HC), bencyltriethylammonium chloride (BC), and tetramethylammonium chloride (TC) to reverse the surface polarity of the hydrophilic bentonite. The adsorption of MB was studied and fitted by the adsorption theories of Langmuir, Freundlich, Dubinin-Radushkevich, and Temkin. Equilibrium parameters were calculated, indicating that chemical modification did not improve the adsorption, due to the electrostatic adsorption mechanism. Specific surface area was determined, reporting the following trend: NC > TC > BC > HC. Isotherms show that TC is the best modified clay for the adsorption of MB with a capacity of 217 mg/g. Adsorbents were characterized by SEM and the determination of their point zero charge, indicating a charge reversal at pH 9.5 and a heterogeneous surface that is optimum for the adsorption of molecules and ions onto their surfaces.