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Environments, Volume 7, Issue 3 (March 2020) – 6 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Mixed-species plantations in the form of “rainforestation” is being practiced in the Philippines and can restore multiple forest ecosystem services to address landscape restoration. Tree growth, carbon stocks, and volume are comparable with the remaining naturally regenerating logged forests. The tree species number is also similar with logged forests, making mixed-species plantations a suitable multifunctional tool for landscape connectivity and restoration. View this paper.
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Article
Preliminary Study on Mini-Modus Device Designed to Oxygenate Bottom Anoxic Waters without Perturbing Polluted Sediments
Environments 2020, 7(3), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7030023 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2341
Abstract
The Tangential Guanabara Bay Aeration and Recovery (TAGUBAR) project derives its origins from a Brazilian government decision to tackle the planning and management challenges related to the restoration of some degraded aquatic ecosystems such as Guanabara Bay (state of Rio de Janeiro), Vitória [...] Read more.
The Tangential Guanabara Bay Aeration and Recovery (TAGUBAR) project derives its origins from a Brazilian government decision to tackle the planning and management challenges related to the restoration of some degraded aquatic ecosystems such as Guanabara Bay (state of Rio de Janeiro), Vitória Bay, and Espírito Santo Bay (state of Espírito Santo). This was performed by using the successful outcomes of a previous Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Directorate General for Cooperation and Development (i.e., Direttore Generale alla Cooperazione allo Sviluppo, MFA–DGCS) cooperation program. The general objective of the program was to contribute to the economic and social development of the population living around Guanabara, Vitória, and Espírito Santo Bays, while promoting the conservation of their natural resources. This objective was supposed to be achieved by investing money to consolidate the local authorities’ ability to plan and implement a reconditioning program within a systemic management framework in severely polluted ecosystems such as Guanabara Bay, where sediments are highly contaminated. Sediments normally represent the final fate for most contaminants. Therefore, it would be highly undesirable to perturb them, if one wishes to avoid contaminant recycling. In this context, we explored a bench-scale novel technology, called the module for the decontamination of units of sediment (MODUS), which produces an oxygenated water flow directed parallel to the sediment floor that is aimed to create “tangential aeration” of the bottom water column. The purpose of this is to avoid perturbing the top sediment layer, as a flow directed toward the bottom sediment would most probably resuspend this layer. Three kinds of tests were performed to characterize a bench-scale version of MODUS (referred to as “mini-MODUS”) behavior: turbulence–sediment resuspension tests, hydrodynamic tests, and oxygenation–aeration tests. In order to understand the functioning of the mini-MODUS, we needed to eliminate as many variables as possible. Therefore, we chose a static version of the module (i.e., no speed for the mini-MODUS as well as no water current with respect to the bottom sediment and no flume setting), leaving dynamic studies for a future paper. The turbulence tests showed that the water enters and exits the mini-MODUS mouths without resuspending the sediment surface at all, even if the sediment is very soft. Water flow was only localized very close to both mouth openings. Hydrodynamic tests showed an interesting behavior. An increase of low air flows produced a sharp linear increase of the water flow. However, a plateau was quickly reached and then no further increase of water flow was observed, implying that for a certain specific geometry of the equipment and for the given experimental conditions, an increase in the air flow does not produce any reduction of the residence time within the aeration reactor. Oxygenation–aeration tests explored three parameters that were deemed to be most important for our study: the oxygen global transfer coefficient, KLa; the oxygenation capacity, OC; and the oxygenation efficiency, OE%. An air flow increase causes an increase of both KLa and OC, while OE% decreases (no plateau was observed for KLa and OC). The better air flow would be a compromise between high KLa and OC, with no disadvantageous OE%, a compromise that will be the topic of the next paper. Full article
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Article
Experimental Procedure for Fifth Generation (5G) Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Measurement and Maximum Power Extrapolation for Human Exposure Assessment
Environments 2020, 7(3), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7030022 - 17 Mar 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 4605
Abstract
The fifth generation (5G) technology has been conceived to cover multiple usage scenarios from enhanced mobile broadband to ultra-reliable low-latency communications (URLLC) to massive machine type communications. However, the implementation of this new technology is causing increasing concern over the possible impact on [...] Read more.
The fifth generation (5G) technology has been conceived to cover multiple usage scenarios from enhanced mobile broadband to ultra-reliable low-latency communications (URLLC) to massive machine type communications. However, the implementation of this new technology is causing increasing concern over the possible impact on health and safety arising from exposure to electromagnetic field radiated by 5G systems, making imperative the development of accurate electromagnetic field (EMF) measurement techniques and protocols. Measurement techniques used to assess the compliance with EMF exposure limits are object to international regulation. The basic principle of the assessment is to measure the power received from a constant radio frequency source, typically a pilot signal, and to apply a proper extrapolation factor. This kind of approach is standardized for 2G, 3G, and 4G technologies, but is still under investigation for 5G technology. Indeed, the use of flexible numerologies and advanced Time Division Duplexing (TDD) and spatial multiplexing techniques, such as beam sweeping and Massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO), requires the definition of new procedures and protocols for EMF measurement of 5G signals. In this paper a procedure for an accurate estimation of the instant maximum power received from a 5G source is proposed. The extrapolation technique is based on the introduction of proper factors that take into account the effect of the TDD and of the sweep beam in the measured value of the 5G signal level. Preliminary experimental investigation, based on code domain measurement of appropriate broadcast channels, and carried out in a controlled environment are reported, confirming the effectiveness of the proposed approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Agents: Measurement Methods, Modelling and Mitigations)
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Article
The Air Quality Perception of Residents in the Metropolitan Zone of Acapulco Who Live Around Intersections with Intense Traffic
Environments 2020, 7(3), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7030021 - 06 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2537
Abstract
Air pollution is a global environmental problem that affects the population. This work demonstrates the perception of air quality by the population of the urban area of the municipality of Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico. To meet the objective, a survey of 36 questions was [...] Read more.
Air pollution is a global environmental problem that affects the population. This work demonstrates the perception of air quality by the population of the urban area of the municipality of Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico. To meet the objective, a survey of 36 questions was applied to a sample of 382 people living in the main crossing points of vehicles, where there is more traffic and more severe pollutant concentration problems. We decided to apply the grouping method within a radius of 500 m around the selected intersections, where 95% of the respondents are aware that the air they breathe has a certain degree of contamination. Full article
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Article
Towards Forest Landscape Restoration Programs in the Philippines: Evidence from Logged Forests and Mixed-Species Plantations
Environments 2020, 7(3), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7030020 - 05 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4408
Abstract
With only 7.01 million hectares of remaining forested areas in the Philippines, there is an urgency to protect these areas, while also implementing restoration strategies to increase forest cover and improve forest functionality. In this study, we assess how the so called “rainforestation” [...] Read more.
With only 7.01 million hectares of remaining forested areas in the Philippines, there is an urgency to protect these areas, while also implementing restoration strategies to increase forest cover and improve forest functionality. In this study, we assess how the so called “rainforestation” approach, attempts to implement close-to-nature restoration strategies in humid tropic areas. One of the main objectives of the “rainforestation” approach as a form of a mixed-species plantation is the rehabilitation of structural and floristic integrity similar to natural conditions. We compared study areas located in the provinces of Leyte and Southern Leyte composed of logged forests (temporary plots), with logged forests on a permanent research plot and with mixed-species plantations. Basal area, carbon stocks, volume and biological diversity between study areas were calculated and compared, both for static and dynamic data. Results from the static data indicate that carbon stocks (89.30 t ha−1) and volume (262.56 m3 ha−1) of the mixed-species plantations (“rainforestation” approach) is significantly lower than that of the logged forests. However, when it comes to the capacity of the study areas for potential increments, the mixed-species plantations are not significantly different on basal area increment (0.99 m2 ha−1 yr−1), carbon stock increment (3.67 t ha−1 yr−1) and total volume increment (10.47 m3 ha−1 yr−1) as compared to the logged forests’ capacity (basal area—1.08 m2 ha−1 yr−1, carbon—4.06 t ha−1 yr−1 and total volume—11.98 m3 ha−1 yr−1). The species composition was only partly comparable to logged forests of the region, but overall tree species richness is high in comparison to classical plantation approaches. Previously logged forests are able to recover fast reaching surprisingly high values of carbon stocks and potential commercial timber volume. Our study indicates that “rainforestation” cannot fully replace the functionality of natural forests, but can provide a surprisingly multifunctional tool for landscape restoration, providing both timber and non-timber ecosystem services. Full article
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Review
Addressing Environmental Change through Emergent Integrated Environmental Observatories: A Case Study in the Czech Republic
Environments 2020, 7(3), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7030019 - 05 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3024
Abstract
A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that we have entered the Anthropocene Epoch. Many assert that society has exceeded sustainable ecological planetary boundaries and that altered biogeophysical processes are no longer reversible to natural rates of ecosystem functioning. To properly and successfully [...] Read more.
A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that we have entered the Anthropocene Epoch. Many assert that society has exceeded sustainable ecological planetary boundaries and that altered biogeophysical processes are no longer reversible to natural rates of ecosystem functioning. To properly and successfully address societal needs for the future, more holistic and complex methods need to be applied at various spatial and temporal scales. The increasingly interconnected nature of human and natural environments—from individuals to large megacities and entire continents and from cells through ecosystems to the biosphere as a whole (e.g., as seen in the carbon cycle)—demand new and often interdisciplinary and international approaches to address emerging global challenges. With that perspective in mind, the Czech Republic’s National Climate Program was established in 1991 with the aim to understand the impact of global environmental change on society. The National Climate Program was updated in 2017 to formulate a new Climate Protection Policy. Here, we outline the multifaceted problems that climate change poses for the Czech Republic, as well as a new scientific infrastructure and approaches directed to better understanding the effects of climate change on our ecosystems, water resources, urban environment, agriculture, human health, and general economy. Full article
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Article
Seasonal Variability of the Acoustic Climate of Ski Resorts in the Aosta Valley Territory
Environments 2020, 7(3), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7030018 - 25 Feb 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2821
Abstract
The Aosta Valley is an alpine region in north-west Italy that is characterized by a high level of naturalness, with extensive uninhabited areas that are distant from artificial sound sources. The Aosta Valley Regional Environmental Protection Agency (ARPA-VdA) has been particularly sensitive to [...] Read more.
The Aosta Valley is an alpine region in north-west Italy that is characterized by a high level of naturalness, with extensive uninhabited areas that are distant from artificial sound sources. The Aosta Valley Regional Environmental Protection Agency (ARPA-VdA) has been particularly sensitive to the preservation of the soundscape, which is considered an integral part of the landscape, since the laws on noise pollution were first introduced. The nature of the ski areas in the Aosta mountains, which undergoes changes throughout the year, is surely of great importance, especially during the winter season, when the number of visitors is particularly high. In fact, during the winter, the sounds of nature are replaced by those produced by recreation and sports activities. Mountain and snow tourism, which are developed in sensitive environmental contexts in the Aosta Valley, are sectors of immense social and economic importance. Much of this tourism takes place in ski resorts. Three mountain areas with different characteristics, in terms of attendance and recreational/sport activities, have been examined in this paper, as part of a collaboration between ARPA-VdA and the Politecnico di Torino. Acoustic measurements were performed in order to identify the seasonal variations of sound emissions from both natural and anthropic sound sources. In addition to the standard environmental acoustic descriptors foreseen by European legislation (LAeq, Ln, Lden, etc.), the harmonica (IH) index, which provides a quantitative evaluation of the acoustic quality on a zero to ten numerical scale, was used to qualify the acoustic climate of the three areas. The results presented in the paper provide useful information on a relevant subject—the preservation of the acoustic quality of a mountain area of touristic importance—which has been scarcely investigated so far. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Agents: Measurement Methods, Modelling and Mitigations)
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