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Environments, Volume 6, Issue 6 (June 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) To assess the ecosystem ecological health in grazing lands, an Ecological Health Index (EHI) was [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Current Status of Las Tablas de Daimiel National Park Wetland and Actions Required for Conservation
Environments 2019, 6(6), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060075
Received: 31 May 2019 / Revised: 14 June 2019 / Accepted: 19 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
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Abstract
Wetlands are complex ecosystems that play multiple roles. ‘Las Tablas de Daimiel National Park’ (TDNP) undoubtedly plays a role in several ecosystem services and provides a connection between nature, farmers, scientists, residents, and other stakeholders. The state of degradation and/or vulnerability of this [...] Read more.
Wetlands are complex ecosystems that play multiple roles. ‘Las Tablas de Daimiel National Park’ (TDNP) undoubtedly plays a role in several ecosystem services and provides a connection between nature, farmers, scientists, residents, and other stakeholders. The state of degradation and/or vulnerability of this ecosystem (with a series of socio-economic implications) have led the publication of numerous articles. The work reported here provides a description of the growing importance of this wetland within the rural landscapes of La Mancha and emphasizes its state of degradation, mainly since pedological point of view. In this way, particular attention is required to assure the conservation of the Tablas of Daimiel Wetland; thus, several measures are proposed to improve the conservation of this area as to control and prohibit any dumping of any type of waste in the park or in its vicinity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Diatom Assemblages in Close Proximity to Mining Activities in Nunavik, Northern Quebec (Canada)
Environments 2019, 6(6), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060074
Received: 14 May 2019 / Revised: 12 June 2019 / Accepted: 14 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
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Abstract
Nunavik (Northern Quebec, Canada) is experiencing a mining boom. While several studies have been conducted in the region in relation to climate change, the effects of mining have received much less attention. In this study, we explored the use of biofilms in natural [...] Read more.
Nunavik (Northern Quebec, Canada) is experiencing a mining boom. While several studies have been conducted in the region in relation to climate change, the effects of mining have received much less attention. In this study, we explored the use of biofilms in natural streams as an indicator of potential stress on living organisms caused by metal contamination from nickel mining activities. More specifically, we assessed diatom assemblages and the presence of teratologies (morphologic abnormalities) as a response to metals in streams located in close proximity to mining sites. Metal concentrations (as well as other cations), anions and pH values varied markedly among stations. Different diatom assemblage structures (four biotypes, i.e., groups of samples with similar diatom species composition) were observed depending on the level and the type of contamination. The frequency of diatom teratologies was higher in metal contaminated sites. The present study lays the foundation for bioassessment of metal contamination in low Arctic streams using diatom-based approaches, and will serve as a point in time reference for future evaluation of ecosystems degradation or recovery in Nunavik. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Microbial Ecotoxicology)
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Open AccessReview
Sustainability Assessment of Green Asphalt Mixtures: A Review
Environments 2019, 6(6), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060073
Received: 18 May 2019 / Revised: 10 June 2019 / Accepted: 14 June 2019 / Published: 20 June 2019
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Abstract
During recent decade, the pavement sustainability has received much attention by road agencies, companies, governments and research institutes. The aim of this paper is to introduce and evaluate the sustainability of the technologies developed or underdeveloped to address environmental issues of asphalt mixtures, [...] Read more.
During recent decade, the pavement sustainability has received much attention by road agencies, companies, governments and research institutes. The aim of this paper is to introduce and evaluate the sustainability of the technologies developed or underdeveloped to address environmental issues of asphalt mixtures, and the waste materials and by-products that can be recycled and reused in asphalt production. Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) technology, the most popular waste materials to substitute neat binder (crumb rubber modifier (CRM), recycled plastic (RP), vacuum tower bottoms (VTB)) and/or virgin aggregates (reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP), reclaimed asphalt shingles (RAs), construction and demolition (C and D) wastes, steel and copper slags), and bio-binders were evaluated with respect to their environmental and economic benefits and engineering performance as the main components of pavement sustainability. The performance evaluation was carried out by examining rutting, moisture susceptibility, thermal and fatigue cracking resistance. Two main environmental impacts, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission, and energy consumption were considered to study the environmental effects of these technologies and materials. Additionally, the economic effect was investigated considering initial cost and long-term benefit. Results of investigation illustrated that although each individual technology and waste material is valuable in terms of performance and/or the environment, specific combinations such as WMA + RAP, WMA + CRM, RAP + CRM, and WMA + CRM + RAP lead to further benefits. Notably, these combinations suffer from a lack of comprehensive economic analysis, thus, their sustainability cannot be fully assessed and is prone to future studies. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Environmental Impacts of Infrastructure Development under the Belt and Road Initiative
Environments 2019, 6(6), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060072
Received: 1 May 2019 / Revised: 13 June 2019 / Accepted: 14 June 2019 / Published: 19 June 2019
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Abstract
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is the largest infrastructure scheme in our lifetime, bringing unprecedented geopolitical and economic shifts far larger than previous rising powers. Concerns about its environmental impacts are legitimate and threaten to thwart China’s ambitions, especially since there is [...] Read more.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is the largest infrastructure scheme in our lifetime, bringing unprecedented geopolitical and economic shifts far larger than previous rising powers. Concerns about its environmental impacts are legitimate and threaten to thwart China’s ambitions, especially since there is little precedent for analysing and planning for environmental impacts of massive infrastructure development at the scale of BRI. In this paper, we review infrastructure development under BRI to characterise the nature and types of environmental impacts and demonstrate how social, economic and political factors can shape these impacts. We first address the ambiguity around how BRI is defined. Then we describe our interdisciplinary framework for considering the nature of its environmental impacts, showing how impacts interact and aggregate across multiple spatiotemporal scales creating cumulative impacts. We also propose a typology of BRI infrastructure, and describe how economic and socio-political drivers influence BRI infrastructure and the nature of its environmental impacts. Increasingly, environmental policies associated with BRI are being designed and implemented, although there are concerns about how these will translate effectively into practice. Planning and addressing environmental issues associated with the BRI is immensely complex and multi-scaled. Understanding BRI and its environment impacts is the first step for China and countries along the routes to ensure the assumed positive socio-economic impacts associated with BRI are sustainable. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Changing Climatic Factors Favor Dengue Transmission in Lahore, Pakistan
Environments 2019, 6(6), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060071
Received: 6 April 2019 / Revised: 12 June 2019 / Accepted: 14 June 2019 / Published: 17 June 2019
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Abstract
Dengue fever (DF) is a national health problem in Pakistan. It has become endemic in Lahore after its recent reemergence in 2016. This study investigates the impacts of climatic factors (temperature and rainfall) on DF transmission in the district of Lahore through statistical [...] Read more.
Dengue fever (DF) is a national health problem in Pakistan. It has become endemic in Lahore after its recent reemergence in 2016. This study investigates the impacts of climatic factors (temperature and rainfall) on DF transmission in the district of Lahore through statistical approaches. Initially, the climatic variability was explored using a time series analysis on climatic factors from 1970 to 2012. Furthermore, ordinary and multiple linear regression analyses were used to measure the simulating effect of climatic factors on dengue incidence from 2007 to 2012. The time series analysis revealed significant annual and monthly variability in climatic factors, which shaped a dengue-supporting environment. It also showed a positive temporal relationship between climatic factors and DF. Moreover, the regression analyses revealed a substantial monthly relationship between climatic factors and dengue incidence. The ordinary linear regression of rainfall versus dengue showed monthly R2 = 34.2%, whereas temperature versus dengue presented R2 = 38.0%. The multiple regression analysis showed a monthly significance of R2 = 44.6%. Consequently, our study shows a substantial synergism between dengue and climatic factors in Lahore. The present study could help in unveiling new ways for health prediction modeling of dengue and might be applicable in other subtropical and temperate climates. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of the Type of Gas-Permeable Membrane in Ammonia Recovery from Air
Environments 2019, 6(6), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060070
Received: 7 May 2019 / Revised: 5 June 2019 / Accepted: 14 June 2019 / Published: 16 June 2019
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Abstract
Animal production is one of the largest contributors to ammonia emissions. A project, “Ammonia Trapping”, was designed to recover gaseous ammonia from animal barns in Spain. Laboratory experiments were conducted to select a type of membrane most suitable for gaseous ammonia trapping. Three [...] Read more.
Animal production is one of the largest contributors to ammonia emissions. A project, “Ammonia Trapping”, was designed to recover gaseous ammonia from animal barns in Spain. Laboratory experiments were conducted to select a type of membrane most suitable for gaseous ammonia trapping. Three types of gas-permeable membranes (GPM), all made of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE), but with different diameter (3.0 to 8.6 mm), polymer density (0.45 to 1.09), air permeability (2 to 40 L·min−1·cm2), and porosity (5.6 to 21.8%) were evaluated for their effectiveness to recover gas phase ammonia. The ammonia evolved from a synthetic solution (NH4Cl + NaHCO3 + allylthiourea), and an acidic solution (1 N H2SO4) was used as the ammonia trapping solution. Replicated tests were performed simultaneously during a period of 7 days with a constant flow of acidic solution circulating through the lumen of the tubular membrane. The ammonia recovery yields were higher with the use of membranes of greater diameter and corresponding surface area, but they were not affected by the large differences in material density, porosity, air permeability, and wall thickness in the range evaluated. A higher fluid velocity of the acidic solution significantly increased—approximately 3 times—the mass NH3–N recovered per unit of membrane surface area and time (N-flux), from 1.7 to 5.8 mg N·cm−2·d−1. Therefore, to optimize the effectiveness of GPM system to capture gaseous ammonia, the appropriate velocity of the circulating acidic solution should be an important design consideration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Phytostabilization of Zn and Cd in Mine Soil Using Corn in Combination with Biochars and Manure-Based Compost
Environments 2019, 6(6), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060069
Received: 30 April 2019 / Revised: 3 June 2019 / Accepted: 5 June 2019 / Published: 13 June 2019
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Abstract
Mining activities could produce a large volume of spoils, waste rocks, and tailings, which are usually deposited at the surface and become a source of metal pollution. Phytostabilization of the mine spoils could limit the spread of these heavy metals. Phytostabilization can be [...] Read more.
Mining activities could produce a large volume of spoils, waste rocks, and tailings, which are usually deposited at the surface and become a source of metal pollution. Phytostabilization of the mine spoils could limit the spread of these heavy metals. Phytostabilization can be enhanced by using soil amendments such as manure-based biochars capable of immobilizing metal(loid)s when combined with plant species that are tolerant of high levels of contaminants while simultaneously improving properties of mine soils. However, the use of manure-based biochars and other organic amendments for mine spoil remediation are still unclear. In this greenhouse study, we evaluated the interactive effect of biochar additions (BA) with or without the manure-based compost (MBC) on the shoots biomass (SBY), roots biomass (RBY), uptake, and bioconcentration factor (BCF) of Zn and Cd in corn (Zea mays L.) grown in mine soil. Biochar additions consisting of beef cattle manure (BCM); poultry litter (PL); and lodge pole pine (LPP) were applied at 0, 2.5, and 5.0% (w/w) in combination with different rates (0, 2.5, and 5.0%, w/w) of MBC, respectively. Shoots and roots uptake of Cd and Zn were significantly affected by BA, MBC, and the interaction of BA and MBC. Corn plants that received 2.5% PL and 2.5% BCM had the greatest Cd and Zn shoot uptake, respectively. Corn plants with 5% BCM had the greatest Cd and Zn root uptake. When averaged across BA, the greatest BCF for Cd in the shoot of 92.3 was from the application of BCM and the least BCF was from the application of PL (72.8). Our results suggest that the incorporation of biochar enhanced phytostabilization of Cd and Zn with concentrations of water-soluble Cd and Zn lowest in soils amended with manure-based biochars while improving the biomass productivity of corn. Overall, the phytostabilization technique and biochar additions have the potential to be combined in the remediation of heavy metals polluted soils. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
1,2,3,4-Tetrahydropyrimidine Derivative for Selective and Fast Uptake of Cadmium Ions from Aqueous Solution
Environments 2019, 6(6), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060068
Received: 14 May 2019 / Revised: 29 May 2019 / Accepted: 7 June 2019 / Published: 10 June 2019
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Abstract
The aim of this work was to evaluate the performance of a 1,2,3,4-tetrahydropyrimidine derivative as a powerful heterocyclic compound for the elimination of Cd(II) ions from aqueous solutions. The tetrahydropyrimidine derivative was prepared during 30 min of milling by planetary ball mill with [...] Read more.
The aim of this work was to evaluate the performance of a 1,2,3,4-tetrahydropyrimidine derivative as a powerful heterocyclic compound for the elimination of Cd(II) ions from aqueous solutions. The tetrahydropyrimidine derivative was prepared during 30 min of milling by planetary ball mill with a ball-to-powder mass ratio of 8:1 and a rotation speed of 750 rpm. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and infrared (IR) were used to identify the obtained tetrahydropyrimidine derivatives. Furthermore, batches of experiments were carried out to establish the adsorption equilibrium, kinetics, and thermodynamic variables of the tetrahydropyrimidine derivatives for toxic heavy Cd(II) ions. The adsorption data were simulated by applying the Langmuir manner, the Freundlich equation, the pseudo-first-order and pseudo-second-order equations. The adsorption procedure was discovered to be very influenced by PH. The removal of heavy metal ions reached a maximum value quickly within 6 min and the adsorption data better adjusted the Langmuir isotherm than that of the Freundlich isotherm. The maximum Cd(II) ions adsorption capacity was approximated to be 151.16 mg g−1 at 328 K and a pH of 6 to 7. It was found that the adsorption kinetics of Cd(II) ions obeyed pseudo-second-order adsorption kinetics. The examination of the thermodynamic variables of tetrahydropyrimidine derivative showed a spontaneous endothermic adsorption procedure. Otherwise, positive entropy values put forward a rise in the randomness at the solid-solution interface when heavy metal ions are adsorbed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ecological Health Index: A Short Term Monitoring Method for Land Managers to Assess Grazing Lands Ecological Health
Environments 2019, 6(6), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060067
Received: 7 May 2019 / Revised: 31 May 2019 / Accepted: 3 June 2019 / Published: 10 June 2019
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Abstract
Grazing lands should be monitored to ensure their productivity and the preservation of ecosystem services. The study objective was to investigate the effectiveness of an Ecological Health Index (EHI) for assessing ecosystem ecological health in grazing lands. The EHI was developed by synthesizing [...] Read more.
Grazing lands should be monitored to ensure their productivity and the preservation of ecosystem services. The study objective was to investigate the effectiveness of an Ecological Health Index (EHI) for assessing ecosystem ecological health in grazing lands. The EHI was developed by synthesizing existing vegetation and soil cover indicators. We implemented long-term transects at 44 farms from two ecological regions in Patagonia, the Humid Magellan Steppe (HMS) (n = 24) and Subandean Grasslands (SG) (n = 20), to collect data on established quantifiable vegetative and soil measurements and the EHI. Using known quantifiable measures, the HMS had numerically greater species richness compared to SG. Similarly, the average percentage of total live vegetation was more favorable in HMS. Correlating the EHI with these known quantifiable measures demonstrated positive correlations with species richness, the percentage of total live vegetation and carrying capacity and was negatively correlations with bare ground. These results suggest that EHI could be a useful method to detect the ecological health and productivity in grazing lands. Overall, we conclude that EHI is an effective short-term monitoring approach that ranchers could implement annually to monitor grazing lands and determine the impacts of ranch decision-making on important ecosystem indicators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Ecosystem Services)
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Open AccessArticle
Use of CaO Loaded Mesoporous Alumina for Defluoridation of Potable Groundwater Containing Elevated Calcium Levels
Environments 2019, 6(6), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060066
Received: 6 April 2019 / Revised: 24 May 2019 / Accepted: 4 June 2019 / Published: 9 June 2019
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Abstract
Defluoridation in the presence of high calcium levels in potable groundwater is paramount, as the consumption of groundwater enriched with fluoride, and calcium has been implicated in causing chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) in Sri Lanka. CaO loaded mesoporous alumina (COMA) [...] Read more.
Defluoridation in the presence of high calcium levels in potable groundwater is paramount, as the consumption of groundwater enriched with fluoride, and calcium has been implicated in causing chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) in Sri Lanka. CaO loaded mesoporous alumina (COMA) offers a great potential for defluoridation of potable water, but the effectiveness of COMA in the presence of calcium has not been investigated. This study, therefore, focuses on the investigation of the suitability of COMA for the defluoridation of potable water with high calcium levels. Mesoporous alumina was successfully functionalized with CaO to synthesize nano-level COMA with an optimum dosage for defluoridation being 2 g L−1. The amount of fluoride adsorbed increased (2.4–19.5 mg g−1) with the increase of the initial fluoride concentration (5–40 mg L−1), and the residual fluoride levels (0.8–1.47 mg L−1) were within the range specified by the WHO for drinking water. The amount of fluoride adsorbed by COMA varied between 6.50 and 7.97 mg g−1 with initial calcium levels between 0 and 1500 mg L−1, indicating that defluoridation was effective in the presence of high calcium levels. The fluoride adsorption was best fitted with the Langmuir model with a maximum monolayer capacity of COMA being 17.83 mg g−1, and adsorption kinetics fitted with the pseudo-2nd order model indicating strong covalent bonding by way of chemisorption. Thus, COMA can be effectively utilized as an adsorbent material in defluoridation efforts in areas prevalent with CKDu in the presence of high fluoride (15 mg L−1) and calcium (1500 mg L−1) levels. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Solar Sharing for Both Food and Clean Energy Production: Performance of Agrivoltaic Systems for Corn, A Typical Shade-Intolerant Crop
Environments 2019, 6(6), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060065
Received: 16 May 2019 / Revised: 28 May 2019 / Accepted: 1 June 2019 / Published: 4 June 2019
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Abstract
The purpose of this research was to examine the performance of agrivoltaic systems, which produce crops and electricity simultaneously, by installing stilt-mounted photovoltaic (PV) panels on farmland. As PV power stations enjoy remarkable growth, land occupation with the purpose of establishing solar farms [...] Read more.
The purpose of this research was to examine the performance of agrivoltaic systems, which produce crops and electricity simultaneously, by installing stilt-mounted photovoltaic (PV) panels on farmland. As PV power stations enjoy remarkable growth, land occupation with the purpose of establishing solar farms will intensify the competition for land resources between food and clean energy production. The results of this research showed, however, that the stilt-mounted agrivoltaic system can mitigate the trade-off between crop production and clean energy generation even when applied to corn, a typical shade-intolerant crop. The research was conducted at a 100-m2 experimental farm with three sub-configurations: no modules (control), low module density, and high module density. In each configuration, 9 stalks/m2 were planted 0.5 m apart. The biomass of corn stover grown in the low-density configuration was larger than that of the control configuration by 4.9%. Also, the corn yield per square meter of the low-density configuration was larger than that of the control by 5.6%. The results of this research should encourage more conventional farmers, clean energy producers, and policy makers to consider adopting stilt-mounted PV systems, particularly in areas where land resources are relatively scarce. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Designer Biochars Impact on Corn Grain Yields, Biomass Production, and Fertility Properties of a Highly-Weathered Ultisol
Environments 2019, 6(6), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060064
Received: 24 April 2019 / Revised: 28 May 2019 / Accepted: 1 June 2019 / Published: 4 June 2019
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Abstract
There are mixed reports for biochars’ ability to increase corn grain and biomass yields. The objectives of this experiment were to conduct a three-year corn (Zea mays L.) grain and biomass production evaluation to determine soil fertility characteristics after designer biochars were [...] Read more.
There are mixed reports for biochars’ ability to increase corn grain and biomass yields. The objectives of this experiment were to conduct a three-year corn (Zea mays L.) grain and biomass production evaluation to determine soil fertility characteristics after designer biochars were applied to a highly weathered Ultisol. The amendments, which consisted of biochars and compost, were produced from 100% pine chips (PC); 100% poultry litter (PL); PC:PL 2:1 blend; PC mixed 2:1 with raw switchgrass (Panicum virgatum; rSG) compost; and 100% rSG compost. All treatments were applied at 30,000 kg/ha to a Goldsboro loam sandy (Fine-loamy, siliceous, sub-active, thermic Aquic Paleudult). Annual topsoil samples were collected in 5-cm depth increments (0 to 15-cm deep) and pH was measured along with Mehlich 1 phosphorus (M1 P) and potassium (M1 K) contents. After three years of corn production, there was no significant improvement in the annual mean corn grain or biomass yields. Biochar, which was applied from PL and PC:PL 2:1 blend, significantly increased M1 P and M1 K concentrations down to 10-cm deep, while the other biochar and compost treatments showed mixed results when the soil pH was modified. Our results demonstrated that designer biochar additions did not accompany higher corn grain and biomass productivity. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Estimating High-Resolution Groundwater Storage from GRACE: A Random Forest Approach
Environments 2019, 6(6), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060063
Received: 10 May 2019 / Revised: 30 May 2019 / Accepted: 1 June 2019 / Published: 4 June 2019
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Abstract
Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) data have become a widely used global dataset for evaluating the variability in groundwater storage for the different major aquifers. Moreover, the application of GRACE has been constrained to the local scale due to lower spatial resolution. [...] Read more.
Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) data have become a widely used global dataset for evaluating the variability in groundwater storage for the different major aquifers. Moreover, the application of GRACE has been constrained to the local scale due to lower spatial resolution. The current study proposes Random Forest (RF), a recently developed unsupervised machine learning method, to downscale a GRACE-derived groundwater storage anomaly (GWSA) from 1° × 1° to 0.25° × 0.25° in the Northern High Plains aquifer. The RF algorithm integrated GRACE to other satellite-based geospatial and hydro-climatological variables, obtained from the Noah land surface model, to generate a high-resolution GWSA map for the period 2009 to 2016. This RF approach replicates local groundwater variability (the combined effect of climatic and human impacts) with acceptable Pearson correlation (0.58 ~ 0.84), percentage bias (−14.67 ~ 2.85), root mean square error (15.53 ~ 46.69 mm), and Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (0.58 ~ 0.84). This developed RF model has significant potential to generate finer scale GWSA maps for managing groundwater at both local and regional scales, especially for areas with sparse groundwater monitoring wells. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Management of Tropical River Basins and Reservoirs under Water Stress: Experiences from Northeast Brazil
Environments 2019, 6(6), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060062
Received: 18 April 2019 / Revised: 16 May 2019 / Accepted: 28 May 2019 / Published: 4 June 2019
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Abstract
Due to global warming, a reduction in available water will occur in many watersheds and conflicts concerning water use will take place. This situation is already typical in semi-arid areas, where many reservoirs have been constructed for water storage. Increased energy demands and [...] Read more.
Due to global warming, a reduction in available water will occur in many watersheds and conflicts concerning water use will take place. This situation is already typical in semi-arid areas, where many reservoirs have been constructed for water storage. Increased energy demands and climate change have led to severe and increasing pressure on aquatic systems. Today, the environmental policies of many countries, such as Brazil, give priority to constructing new reservoirs for hydropower use, and an adopted reservoir and river basin management plan must minimize environmental impacts. Moreover, the production of energy plants will promote more requirements for new dam projects. The Itaparica reservoir is 30 years old, located in the São Francisco river in Northeast Brazil, and is the focus of an environmental study. The article focus of investigations is on the environmental and social impacts after the construction of Itaparica reservoir, governance difficulties, and adopted actions to minimize those impacts. Significant environmental impacts are recognizable, such as increased sedimentation in the inflow area, damage to the lakeshore zone by operational water level variation, water losses by evaporation and infiltration, and degradation of inundated vegetation. Furthermore, a trophic upsurge has been registered with severe eutrophication processes, such as the occurrence of cyanobacteria, oxygen deficit in the hypolimnion, and mass development of macrophytes (Egeria densa). With the creation of the dam there was compulsory displacement of the population of the municipalities around Itaparica reservoir with consequent difficulties of adaptation in the new spaces. Furthermore, there was de-structuring of social relation networks, loss of arable land and improvements, and small and insufficient indemnities for land. In this context, concepts for an advanced reservoir management under consideration of water scarcity are presented and discussed. This study aims to contribute to sustainable reservoir management Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental and Water Resources Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Temporal and Spatial Study of Water Quality and Trophic Evaluation of a Large Tropical Reservoir
Environments 2019, 6(6), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060061
Received: 10 May 2019 / Revised: 30 May 2019 / Accepted: 1 June 2019 / Published: 4 June 2019
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Abstract
A water quality study was carried out at the Adolfo López Mateos (ALM) reservoir, one of the largest tropical reservoirs in Mexico, located within an intensive agricultural region. In this study, the seasonal and spatial variations of nine water quality parameters were evaluated [...] Read more.
A water quality study was carried out at the Adolfo López Mateos (ALM) reservoir, one of the largest tropical reservoirs in Mexico, located within an intensive agricultural region. In this study, the seasonal and spatial variations of nine water quality parameters were evaluated at four different sites along the reservoir semiannually over a period of seven years (2012–2018), considering the spring (dry) and fall (rainy) seasons. An analysis of variance was performed to compare the mean values of the water quality parameters for the different sampling sites. Then, a multiparametric classification analysis was carried out to estimate the spatial density of the sampling points by using a probabilistic neural network (PNN) classifier. The observations (seasonal and spatial) of the water quality parameters at the ALM reservoir revealed no significant influence. The trophic status was evaluated using the Carlson Modified Trophic State Index, finding the trophic state of the reservoir at the mesotrophic level, with nitrogen being the limiting nutrient. The PNN revealed neural interactions between total suspended solids (TSS) and the other four parameters, indicating that the concentration ranges of five parameters are equally distributed and classified. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Use of Sentinel-3 Imagery to Monitor Cyanobacterial Blooms
Environments 2019, 6(6), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060060
Received: 6 May 2019 / Revised: 23 May 2019 / Accepted: 1 June 2019 / Published: 3 June 2019
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Abstract
Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CHABs) have been a concern for aquatic systems, especially those used for water supply and recreation. Thus, the monitoring of CHABs is essential for the establishment of water governance policies. Recently, remote sensing has been used as a tool [...] Read more.
Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CHABs) have been a concern for aquatic systems, especially those used for water supply and recreation. Thus, the monitoring of CHABs is essential for the establishment of water governance policies. Recently, remote sensing has been used as a tool to monitor CHABs worldwide. Remote monitoring of CHABs relies on the optical properties of pigments, especially the phycocyanin (PC) and chlorophyll-a (chl-a). The goal of this study is to evaluate the potential of recent launch the Ocean and Land Color Instrument (OLCI) on-board the Sentinel-3 satellite to identify PC and chl-a. To do this, OLCI images were collected over the Western part of Lake Erie (U.S.A.) during the summer of 2016, 2017, and 2018. When comparing the use of traditional remote sensing algorithms to estimate PC and chl-a, none was able to accurately estimate both pigments. However, when single and band ratios were used to estimate these pigments, stronger correlations were found. These results indicate that spectral band selection should be re-evaluated for the development of new algorithms for OLCI images. Overall, Sentinel 3/OLCI has the potential to be used to identify PC and chl-a. However, algorithm development is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Remote Sensing and GIS in Environmental Studies)
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Open AccessCommunication
Framework for Assessment of Eco-Safe Rural Roads in Panchase Geographic Region in Central–Western Nepal Hills
Environments 2019, 6(6), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060059
Received: 9 April 2019 / Revised: 19 May 2019 / Accepted: 21 May 2019 / Published: 30 May 2019
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Abstract
Rural roads are important for the communities in the hilly areas of Nepal as they introduce livelihood opportunities at the local level, and provide better access to the healthcare, education, and resources. Yet, most of the rural roads in Nepal are unplanned and [...] Read more.
Rural roads are important for the communities in the hilly areas of Nepal as they introduce livelihood opportunities at the local level, and provide better access to the healthcare, education, and resources. Yet, most of the rural roads in Nepal are unplanned and non-engineered, and these roads are often closed for many months during and after the monsoon. Such roads require huge investments, especially post-monsoon, to clear debris and to keep them operational. In parallel, there is evidence that such roads lead to a large number of slope failures and accelerated sedimentation, which degrade the environment and ecosystem services. To remedy such roadside slope failures, eco-engineering practices were tested and demonstrated in partnership with three communities in the Panchase Region of the Nepal’s Central–Western hills. Eco-engineering is a hybrid approach, combining civil engineering works for drainage and slope stability, with the plantation of deep-rooted vegetation. It is one activity contributing to nature-based solutions (NbS) for the sustainable and long-term operation of the rural roads in the Panchase geographic region. This paper describes the inter-disciplinary and community-based research, monitoring, and evaluation methods applied, including the establishment of onsite demonstration plots and rhizotrons in which key performance indicator (KPI) analysis of plant species was performed. The results demonstrated the effectiveness of eco-engineering for reducing risk, while creating ecological co-benefits along rural roads (or eco-safe roads) in hilly areas. Based on this research, an “eco-safe rural road assessment framework” was developed, outlining the systematic process to be followed for the design of eco-safe rural roads for more sustainable road construction and maintenance. The eco-engineering practices which are being promoted by this framework were accepted by communities and could be further implemented by local government bodies and upscaled in other similar hilly areas around the country. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Uptake of Trace Elements in Leaves of the Larrea Tridentata (DC.) Coville in Desert Washes of an Arid Environment
Environments 2019, 6(6), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060058
Received: 7 May 2019 / Revised: 24 May 2019 / Accepted: 28 May 2019 / Published: 29 May 2019
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Abstract
Trace elements (As, Cd, Cr, Pb, Ba, Fe, Al, Mn and Ba) were uptaken by the leaves of the creosote bush (Larrea tridentata (DC.) Coville) in Nelson, Nevada, although at low concentrations. Samples were collected up-gradient of the mine tailings, the tailings, [...] Read more.
Trace elements (As, Cd, Cr, Pb, Ba, Fe, Al, Mn and Ba) were uptaken by the leaves of the creosote bush (Larrea tridentata (DC.) Coville) in Nelson, Nevada, although at low concentrations. Samples were collected up-gradient of the mine tailings, the tailings, and down gradient from the source to measure spatial distribution. Data show that trace elements (As, Ba, Cr, Hg, Se) enter L. tridentata through root tissues, migrating to leaf tissue, but at significantly lower levels than that of the source sediments. Metalloid (As and Se) concentrations in the leaf tissues ranged from non-detect to greater than 44 mg kg−1 As and non-detect to over 34 mg kg−1 Se. For trace metals, Hg ranged from non-detect to 0.14 mg kg−1; Ba from 1.74 to 4.12 mg kg−1; and Cr from non-detect to 6.18 mg kg−1 while Ag, Cd, and Pb were not detected in the plant leaves. When comparing the ratio of sediment metal concentration to plant metal concentrations, the Techatticup Wash contained the highest levels of trace elements in the leaves of the L. tridentata, followed by the Carnation Wash, with the Eagle Wash containing the lowest concentrations of trace elements. Full article
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