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Environments, Volume 3, Issue 1 (March 2016) – 8 articles

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Open AccessArticle
Consumer Perception of Environmental Harm and Willingness to Pay Environmental Handling Fees
Environments 2016, 3(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments3010008 - 18 Mar 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2860
Abstract
This study undertook a critical examination of the relationship between perception of environmental harm and consumer willingness to pay for environmental handling fees (EHF). This analysis was supplemented by asking study participants to indicate under what circumstances (and for what materials) they believe [...] Read more.
This study undertook a critical examination of the relationship between perception of environmental harm and consumer willingness to pay for environmental handling fees (EHF). This analysis was supplemented by asking study participants to indicate under what circumstances (and for what materials) they believe a visible fee is appropriate. This study found that there is a statistically significant correlation between willingness to pay environmental handling fees and the perceived environmental harm of the product on which the fee is applied. For items that respondents viewed as “innocuous to the environment” (i.e., “keyboards and mice”), they were relatively unwilling to pay an environmental handling fee. Conversely, for the full range of hazardous waste materials, consumers expressed a willingness to pay EHFs. With respect to fee visibility, respondents indicated that they preferred visible fees (at the sticker) for products that they perceived to be dangerous. There is a strong correlation between perceived environmental harm and whether fees should be visible. Consumers are not necessarily averse to paying an eco fee on products (be they hazardous waste, electronic waste, etc.), but their willingness to do so is almost entirely a function of whether they believe the product is environmentally burdensome. It is the recommendation of this study that promotion and education campaigns for environmental handling fees, particularly those surrounding waste electronics, place greater emphasis on environmental consequences of improper disposal. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mercury Accumulation, and the Mercury-PCB-Sex Interaction, in Lake Whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis)
Environments 2016, 3(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments3010007 - 09 Mar 2016
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3136
Abstract
We determined whole-fish Hg concentrations of 26 female and 34 male adult lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) from northern Lake Huron captured during November 2010. Subsampling from these 60 fish, Hg concentration was also determined in both somatic tissue and ovaries ( [...] Read more.
We determined whole-fish Hg concentrations of 26 female and 34 male adult lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) from northern Lake Huron captured during November 2010. Subsampling from these 60 fish, Hg concentration was also determined in both somatic tissue and ovaries (n = 5), while methylmercury (MeHg) concentration was determined in whole fish (n = 18). Bioenergetics modeling was used to assess the growth dilution effect on the difference in Hg concentrations between the sexes. Mean whole-fish Hg concentration in females (59.9 ng/g) was not significantly different from mean whole-fish Hg concentration in males (54.4 ng/g). MeHg accounted for 91% of the mercury found in the lake whitefish. Bioenergetics modeling results indicated that the growth dilution effect did not contribute to the difference in Hg concentrations between the sexes. We estimated that females increased in Hg concentration by 17.9%, on average, immediately after spawning due to release of eggs. Using polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) data for the same 60 lake whitefish from a previous study, we detected a significant interaction between sex and contaminant type (Hg or PCBs), which was attributable to males being significantly higher in PCB concentration than females. Males may be eliminating Hg at a faster rate than females. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecotoxicology of Freshwater Environments)
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Open AccessArticle
A Survey near Tambara along the Lower Zambezi River
Environments 2016, 3(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments3010006 - 25 Feb 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2752
Abstract
The paper reports a field investigation on a reach of the lower Zambezi River about 230–240 km downstream of the Cahora Bassa dam in the Republic of Mozambique. In the framework of a wider research program, bathymetric measures of the riverbed were performed [...] Read more.
The paper reports a field investigation on a reach of the lower Zambezi River about 230–240 km downstream of the Cahora Bassa dam in the Republic of Mozambique. In the framework of a wider research program, bathymetric measures of the riverbed were performed on a 10 km stretch of the river using an echo sounder, a GPS receiver, and an integrated navigation-acquisition system. Field observations and measures revealed a general agreement with macro-features of river morphology reported in early literature, dealing with the morphological response of the river to the construction of large dams, in the second half of the 20th century. Results hereby reported are some of the few examples of direct field measures in the lower Zambezi reported in literature, and could be used by researchers and practitioners either as a knowledge base for further surveys or as input data for validation and calibration of mathematical models and remote sensing observations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Exploiting High Resolution Multi-Seasonal Textural Measures and Spectral Information for Reedbed Mapping
Environments 2016, 3(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments3010005 - 25 Feb 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2574
Abstract
Reedbeds across the UK are amongst the most important habitats for rare and endangered birds, wildlife and organisms. However, over the past century, this valued wetland habitat has experienced a drastic reduction in quality and spatial coverage due to pressures from human related [...] Read more.
Reedbeds across the UK are amongst the most important habitats for rare and endangered birds, wildlife and organisms. However, over the past century, this valued wetland habitat has experienced a drastic reduction in quality and spatial coverage due to pressures from human related activities. To this end, conservation organisations across the UK have been charged with the task of conserving and expanding this threatened habitat. With this backdrop, the study aimed to develop a methodology for accurate reedbed mapping through the combined use of multi-seasonal texture measures and spectral information contained in high resolution QuickBird satellite imagery. The key objectives were to determine the most effective single-date (autumn or summer) and multi-seasonal QuickBird imagery suitable for reedbed mapping over the study area; to evaluate the effectiveness of combining multi-seasonal texture measures and spectral information for reedbed mapping using a variety of combinations; and to evaluate the most suitable classification technique for reedbed mapping from three selected classification techniques, namely maximum likelihood classifier, spectral angular mapper and artificial neural network. Using two selected grey-level co-occurrence textural measures (entropy and angular second moment), a series of experiments were conducted using varied combinations of single-date and multi-seasonal QuickBird imagery. Overall, the results indicate the multi-seasonal pansharpened multispectral bands (eight layers) combined with all eight grey level co-occurrence matrix texture measures (entropy and angular second moment computed using windows 3 × 3 and 7 × 7) produced the optimal reedbed (76.5%) and overall classification (78.1%) accuracies using the maximum likelihood classifier technique. Using the optimal 16 layer multi-seasonal pansharpened multispectral and texture combined image dataset, a total reedbed area of 9.8 hectares was successfully mapped over the three study sites. In conclusion, the study has demonstrated the value of utilizing multi-seasonal texture measures and pansharpened multispectral data for reedbed mapping. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Thermodynamic Analysis of Pyrolusite for Dry Flue Gas Desulfurization
Environments 2016, 3(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments3010004 - 25 Feb 2016
Viewed by 2497
Abstract
Various approaches to flue gas desulfurization by low-grade manganese and high efficiency desulfurization in sintering enterprises were investigated, and the predominance areas of the Mn/Fe-S-O system were constructed in this paper. Additionally, the areas in different temperatures were established based on the thermodynamic [...] Read more.
Various approaches to flue gas desulfurization by low-grade manganese and high efficiency desulfurization in sintering enterprises were investigated, and the predominance areas of the Mn/Fe-S-O system were constructed in this paper. Additionally, the areas in different temperatures were established based on the thermodynamic properties achieved from manuals. From the view of thermodynamics, manganese oxides were suitable and feasible for desulfurization at an appropriate temperature range from 393 K to 453 K (120 °C to 180 °C), which means that the SO2 of sintering flue gas could be removed directly without further cooling or heating. The analysis often showed that there was an overlap area of the Mn-S-O and Fe-S-O system, indicating that it would be a coexistence stability region of MnSO4 and Fe2O3, which provided a possibility of desulfurization by selective salvation without the sulfate and sulfide of iron forming. More importantly, the predominance areas of Mn/Fe-S-O would offer an attractive way of determining optimum experimental conditions for dry desulfurization by low-grade manganese resources. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimization of a Green Extraction/Inclusion Complex Formation Process to Recover Antioxidant Polyphenols from Oak Acorn Husks (Quercus Robur) Using Aqueous 2-Hydroxypropyl-β-Cyclodextrin/Glycerol Mixtures
Environments 2016, 3(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments3010003 - 02 Feb 2016
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2791
Abstract
Aqueous mixtures of glycerol and 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (CD), two non-toxic eco-friendly substances, were used as a means of extracting antioxidant polyphenols from oak acorn (Quercur robur) husks. The process was optimized by implementing a central composite (Box-Behnken) experimental design and [...] Read more.
Aqueous mixtures of glycerol and 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (CD), two non-toxic eco-friendly substances, were used as a means of extracting antioxidant polyphenols from oak acorn (Quercur robur) husks. The process was optimized by implementing a central composite (Box-Behnken) experimental design and response surface methodology, taking into consideration the critical parameters (independent variables) of glycerol concentration (Cgl), CD concentration (CCD) and temperature (T). The assessment of the extraction model was based on three responses: the total polyphenol yield (YTP), the antiradical activity (AAR) and the reducing power (PR). The model illustrated that YTP depended significantly on Cgl and CCD, but not on T, whereas both antioxidant properties considered (AAR and PR) were temperature-dependent. The maximum predicted YTP was 122.19 mg GAE per g dry husk weight, while the extract obtained under optimized conditions displayed strong antioxidant activity. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Environments in 2015
Environments 2016, 3(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments3010002 - 28 Jan 2016
Viewed by 1995
Abstract
The editors of Environments would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2015. [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Versatile Strip Seed Drill: A 2-Wheel Tractor-Based Option for Smallholders to Implement Conservation Agriculture in Asia and Africa
Environments 2016, 3(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments3010001 - 13 Jan 2016
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4302
Abstract
Smallholders in Asia and Africa require low-cost seed drills for minimal soil disturbance while establishing various crops. A seed drill that can be drawn by the widely-available two-wheel tractor (2WT) is an attractive option for mechanization of no-till in small-sized fields. The Versatile [...] Read more.
Smallholders in Asia and Africa require low-cost seed drills for minimal soil disturbance while establishing various crops. A seed drill that can be drawn by the widely-available two-wheel tractor (2WT) is an attractive option for mechanization of no-till in small-sized fields. The Versatile Strip Seed Drill (VSSD) was designed with the capacity to make up to 40 mm wide and 60 mm deep strips in untilled land along with seed and basal fertilizer application in a single-pass operation, while powered by the 8.95 to 11.93 kW 2WT. An important innovation of the VSSD was to fit the seed box with both fluted roller-type seed meters for delivery of sufficient small-size seeds to achieve adequate plant density per unit row length; and vertical disk-type seed meters for precision and spaced row planting of larger seeds. Both incessant seed dropping by fluted roller seed meters and spaced planting by vertical disk type seed meters provided optimum plant populations that were generally higher than in conventional, full-tillage plots with the same rate of hand broadcasted seed and fertilizers. Time required for crop establishment by VSSD ranged from 0.13 to 0.18 ha·h−1. When the VSSD was attached to the 2WT for crop establishment, the diesel fuel consumption varied from 4.4 to 6.1 L·ha−1, which was lower than for most 2WT-based planters previously used in Bangladesh. In on-farm multi-locations trials, wheat crops established with the VSSD had statistically similar grain yield compared to conventional tillage; however, significantly higher grain yield was obtained from mustard and lentil, by 14% and 19%, respectively. The VSSD is a unique, minimum-soil-disturbance multi-crop planter, and can be a platform on which to build conservation agriculture systems for small farms in Asia and Africa. Full article
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