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Biodiversity 2020: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 May 2024 | Viewed by 46609

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Science, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Via Amendola 165/A, 70120 Bari, Italy
Interests: agrobiodiversity; vegetable production; greenhouse production; plant nutrition; soilless culture; vegetable quality; nitrate
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Food, Natural resources and Engineering (DAFNE), University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy
Interests: agriculture; soil fertility; plant nutrition; crop production; crop management; soil analysis; nutrient management; crop science; biofertilizers; field experimentation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Food, Natural resources and Engineering (DAFNE), University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy
Interests: horticulture and floriculture
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Institute of Sciences of Food Production, National Research Council of Italy, via Amendola 122/O, 70126 Bari, Italy
Interests: nutritional and sensorial evaluation of vegetables; biofortification of vegetables; food processing of vegetable products; gastronomy and Mediterranean diet; soilless cultivation technique; microgreens production; exploitation of underutilized crop and wild edible plant
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Special Issue includes a selection of papers that will be presented at the XIII National Conference on Biodiversity "Biodiversity 2020", that will be held from 8 to 11 September 2020 in Foggia (Italy).  (https://sites.google.com/unifg.it/biodiversity2020). The event, organized by the Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences (SAFE) of the University of Foggia, represents an important appointment for scientific debate among researchers, experts of national and international organizations and technicians of public administrations on the protection and valorization of biodiversity.

The conference program is based on various aspects of scientific research and policies, related to plant, animal, and microbial biological diversity for food and agriculture, as well as to natural ecosystems.

The main objectives of the conference are (1) to examine the urgent issues of biodiversity protection in a scenario of climate change and food insecurity; (2) to disseminate current knowledge in the identification, application, and development of strategies aimed at promoting the diversification in natural and anthropized systems, cultural, and food diversity; (3) to increase knowledge on the function, distribution, and abundance of biodiversity, to communicate scientific knowledge on biodiversity.

Prof. Pietro Santamaria
Prof. Conversa Giulia
Prof. Elia Antonio
Dr. Massimiliano Renna
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Biodiversity of terrestrial and aquatic agrosystems and ecosystems
  • Genomic evaluation of biodiversity
  • Biodiversity monitoring and conservation
  • Biodiversity and water systems regulation and quality
  • Pollination
  • Biodiversity and crop protection from pests/pathogens/weeds
  • Breeding and product quality of animal biodiversity
  • Biodiversity and regulation of natural events
  • Biodiversity, air quality, and climate mitigation
  • Biodiversity, climate change, and alien species
  • Biodiversity management on a territorial scale
  • Biodiversity, territory, and landscape
  • Biodiversity and historical rural landscapes
  • Biodiversity and agroforestry
  • Biodiversity in agrosilvopastoral systems
  • Biodiversity in urban, peri-urban, fringe areas
  • Biodiversity landscape enjoyment
  • Biodiversity and recovery of abandoned and marginal areas
  • Species/habitat conservation and regeneration of compromised environments
  • Biodiversity, ethnobotany, and traditional cultures and knowledge
  • Biodiversity, human wellbeing, and health
  • Biodiversity and human nutrition
  • Biodiversity and diversification of the diet
  • Wild plants properties and medicinal herbs
  • Value of biodiversity and of ecosystem services, economic and social impact
  • Policies on biodiversity

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

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26 pages, 12484 KiB  
Communication
The MicroBioDiverSar Project: Exploring the Microbial Biodiversity in Ex Situ Collections of Sardinia
by Elisabetta Daga, Marilena Budroni, Chiara Multineddu, Sofia Cosentino, Maura Deplano, Paolo Romano and Roberta Comunian
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8494; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158494 - 29 Jul 2021
Viewed by 2431
Abstract
In the last decades, biodiversity preservation has gained growing attention and many strategies, laws and regulations have been enacted by governments with this purpose. The MicroBioDiverSar (MBDS) project, the first one regarding microbiological resources, funded by the Italian Minister of Agricultural, Food and [...] Read more.
In the last decades, biodiversity preservation has gained growing attention and many strategies, laws and regulations have been enacted by governments with this purpose. The MicroBioDiverSar (MBDS) project, the first one regarding microbiological resources, funded by the Italian Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (Mipaaf) through the Law 194/2015, was aimed at surveying, cataloguing, and managing the microbial resources and the related information of three Sardinian collections (Agris BNSS, Uniss, and Unica). While microorganisms were reordered and inventoried, a federated database, accessible via the web, was designed by the bioinformatician of Ospedale Policlinico San Martino of Genova, according to both international standards and laboratory needs. The resulting MBDS collection boasts a great richness of microbial resources. Indeed, over 21,000 isolates, belonging to over 200 species of bacteria, yeasts, and filamentous fungi isolated from different matrices, mainly food, of animal and vegetable origin, collected in over 50 years, were included in the database. Currently, about 2000 isolates, belonging to 150 species, are available online for both the scientific community and agri-food producers. The huge work done allowed one to know the consistency and the composition of most of the patrimony of the Sardinian microbial collections. Furthermore, the MBDS database has been proposed as a model for other Italian collections that, as the MBDS partners, are part of the Joint Research Unit MIRRI-IT Italian collections network, with the aim of overcoming fragmentation, facing sustainability challenges, and improving the quality of the management of the collections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2020: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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21 pages, 4285 KiB  
Article
Autochthonous Natural Starter Cultures: A Chance to Preserve Biodiversity and Quality of Pecorino Romano PDO Cheese
by Luigi Chessa, Antonio Paba, Elisabetta Daga, Ilaria Dupré, Carlo Piga, Riccardo Di Salvo, Martino Mura, Margherita Addis and Roberta Comunian
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8214; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158214 - 22 Jul 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2206
Abstract
During Pecorino Romano PDO cheese production, scotta (residual whey from ricotta cheese manufacturing) or siero (whey) can be integrated with autochthonous starters, natural and composed of an indefinite number of species and strains, or commercial selected starters to obtain scotta/siero-innesto. In this [...] Read more.
During Pecorino Romano PDO cheese production, scotta (residual whey from ricotta cheese manufacturing) or siero (whey) can be integrated with autochthonous starters, natural and composed of an indefinite number of species and strains, or commercial selected starters to obtain scotta/siero-innesto. In this study, three biodiverse autochthonous natural starter cultures (SR30, SR56, and SR63) belonging to the Agris Sardegna BNSS microbial collection, composed of different strains belonging to the species Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, Enterococcus faecium, and Limosilactobacillus reuteri were lyophilized and combined into two starter mixes (A and B). The scotta/siero-innesto and the Pecorino Romano obtained using natural starters were compared with those obtained using commercial selected starters during three seasons of the cheesemaking campaign. Different pH and microbial compositions for the scotta/siero-innesto obtained using natural or commercial starters were found, attributable to their different biodiversity. The six-month-ripened cheese microbiota was influenced mostly by the season of cheesemaking, whereas physico-chemical and sensory analyses did not highlight differences among the products obtained. In general, no effect attributable to the type of scotta/siero-innesto used was observed, allowing the conclusion that natural starter cultures can be used also in industrial-scale production, ensuring high stability in the technological performances and preserving the microbial, chemical, and sensory characteristics of Pecorino Romano PDO cheese. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2020: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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12 pages, 307 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Bioactive Substances Content between Commercial and Wild-Type Isolates of Pleurotus eryngii
by Antonella Calabretti, Stefania M. Mang, Antonella Becce, Donato Castronuovo, Loriana Cardone, Vincenzo Candido and Ippolito Camele
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3777; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073777 - 29 Mar 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2273
Abstract
Mushrooms belonging to Pleurotus genus have been demonstrated to have important nutritional and medicinal value and their regular intake prevent many diseases, reduce the infection probability and increase immunity. In order to investigate the bioactive compounds produced by seven commercial (‘142 F’, ‘142 [...] Read more.
Mushrooms belonging to Pleurotus genus have been demonstrated to have important nutritional and medicinal value and their regular intake prevent many diseases, reduce the infection probability and increase immunity. In order to investigate the bioactive compounds produced by seven commercial (‘142 F’, ‘142 E’, ‘D+’, ‘V turbo’, ‘V 142’, ‘A 12’, ‘V 160’) and five wild-type (‘Albino 1107’, ‘Altamura 1603’, ‘Muro Lucano 139’, ‘Conversano 1250’, ‘Albino beige chiaro 1094’) P. eryngii isolates, the following qualitative analyses were performed: Total polyphenol content, antioxidant activity (EC50 of ABTS) and antiradical power (ARP) in fresh lyophilized and dry basidioma, and water content, β-glucans and phenolic compounds in fresh samples. Standard methods were employed for each of the above mentioned aims. Total polyphenol content was diverse among the P. eryngii isolates. In particular, an elevated polyphenolic content was found in fresh lyophilized P. eryngii samples of the commercial isolates ‘V 142’ followed by ‘A 12’. The highest antiradical activity (ARP) was obtained by ‘Muro Lucano 139’ isolate. Wild P. eryngii isolates were characterized by higher water and β-glucans contents compared to the commercial ones, and the highest values were registered for the ‘Albino beige chiaro 1094’ isolate. In conclusion, the present study allowed us to identify the commercial and wild-type P. eryngii isolates from the Basilicata region, with high nutritional and medicinal value based on their bioactive compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2020: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
15 pages, 772 KiB  
Article
Fungal Pretreatments on Non-Sterile Solid Digestate to Enhance Methane Yield and the Sustainability of Anaerobic Digestion
by Andrea Zanellati, Federica Spina, Luca Rollé, Giovanna Cristina Varese and Elio Dinuccio
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8549; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208549 - 15 Oct 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2384
Abstract
Fungi can run feedstock pretreatment to improve the hydrolysis and utilization of recalcitrant lignocellulose-rich biomass during anaerobic digestion (AD). In this study, three fungal strains (Coprinopsis cinerea MUT 6385, Cyclocybe aegerita MUT 5639, Cephalotrichum stemonitis MUT 6326) were inoculated in the non-sterile [...] Read more.
Fungi can run feedstock pretreatment to improve the hydrolysis and utilization of recalcitrant lignocellulose-rich biomass during anaerobic digestion (AD). In this study, three fungal strains (Coprinopsis cinerea MUT 6385, Cyclocybe aegerita MUT 5639, Cephalotrichum stemonitis MUT 6326) were inoculated in the non-sterile solid fraction of digestate, with the aim to further (re)use it as a feedstock for AD. The application of fungal pretreatments induced changes in the plant cell wall polymers, and different profiles were observed among strains. Significant increases (p < 0.05) in the cumulative biogas and methane yields with respect to the untreated control were observed. The most effective pretreatment was carried out for 20 days with C. stemonitis, causing the highest hemicellulose, lignin, and cellulose reduction (59.3%, 9.6%, and 8.2%, respectively); the cumulative biogas and methane production showed a 182% and 214% increase, respectively, compared to the untreated control. The increase in AD yields was ascribable both to the addition of fungal biomass, which acted as an organic feedstock, and to the lignocellulose transformation due to fungal activity during pretreatments. The developed technologies have the potential to enhance the anaerobic degradability of solid digestate and untap its biogas potential for a further digestion step, thus allowing an improvement in the environmental and economic sustainability of the AD process and the better management of its by-products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2020: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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15 pages, 2349 KiB  
Article
An Ecosystem Services Valuation Research Framework for Policy Integration in Developing Countries: A Case Study from Nepal
by Ram Prasad Acharya, Tek Narayan Maraseni and Geoff Cockfield
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8250; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198250 - 7 Oct 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2585
Abstract
Forest ecosystem services (ES) valuation research has increased exponentially in recent years, and scholars accept that such research could be useful in reshaping governments’ policies. Despite such scholarly efforts, the research outcomes have had limited application in actual policies and plans. This study [...] Read more.
Forest ecosystem services (ES) valuation research has increased exponentially in recent years, and scholars accept that such research could be useful in reshaping governments’ policies. Despite such scholarly efforts, the research outcomes have had limited application in actual policies and plans. This study explores reasons why ES valuation research recommendations are not reflected in policy processes and proposes a research framework which, when appropriately applied, would lead to the adoption of research findings. Literature review, semi-structured expert interviews (N = 29), and a workshop (N = 2), were used to achieve these objectives. Experts expressed that limited stakeholder engagement is the key factor hindering incorporation of ES research outcomes in policies and plans. We developed a framework that comprises four major components (inputs, actors, outcomes, impacts) and sets out the seven major steps involved in implementing this framework. Effective engagement of relevant stakeholders in each step is critical to integrate the ES research outcomes in policy and plans although this will demand a lengthy timeframe and a high investment requirement. Such engagement would create an environment of trust that enhances the acceptability of research outcomes among stakeholders. The acceptability of the research outcomes can increase ownership leading to more informed decision making, and ultimately yield desired outcomes in ES conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2020: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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13 pages, 2187 KiB  
Article
Preliminary Studies on Fungal Contamination of Two Rupestrian Churches from Matera (Southern Italy)
by Stefania Mirela Mang, Laura Scrano and Ippolito Camele
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6988; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176988 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2188
Abstract
The Sassi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its rupestrian churches, are richly decorated and visited by thousands of visitors every year. It is important to preserve this heritage which shows signs of deterioration due to abiotic and/or biotic factors. Aiming to carry [...] Read more.
The Sassi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its rupestrian churches, are richly decorated and visited by thousands of visitors every year. It is important to preserve this heritage which shows signs of deterioration due to abiotic and/or biotic factors. Aiming to carry out in the future an environmental-friendly restoration, a screening of the fungi present on walls and frescoes of two rupestrian churches “Santa Lucia alle Malve” and “La Madonna dei derelitti” located, respectively, in the “Sasso Caveoso” and in the “Sasso Barisano” was performed. Isolation and characterization of fungal species from investigated sites was carried out. Total genomic DNA (gDNA) was extracted from pure fungal cultures and subsequently utilized in PCRs using primers that amplify a portion of the ribosomal DNA (ITS5/ITS4) or the β-tubulin gene (Bt2a/Bt2b). The amplicons were directly sequenced. Obtained nucleotide sequences were compared to those present in the GenBank (NCBI) showing a very high similarity (99–100%) with the following species: Parengyodontium album, Alternaria alternata, Cladosporium cladosporioides, Lecanicillium psalliotae, Meyerozyma guilliermondii and Botryotrichum atrogriseum. All sequences from this study were deposited in the EMBL database. Detailed knowledge about fungi isolated from stone is indispensable not only to counter/reduce the structural and aesthetic damage but also to protect the health of both guardians and visitors who may develop different pathologies due to the spores diffused in the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2020: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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15 pages, 2706 KiB  
Article
Traditional Medicine Analysis and Sustainable Use of Korean Pond Wetland Plants in the Agricultural Landscape
by Jinkwan Son, Changhyun Kim, Minjung Park, Dukkyu Choi and Sung-Wook Yun
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 5963; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12155963 - 24 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3169
Abstract
This study surveyed the most commonly observed plants at 40 pond wetlands in rural villages in Korea and assessed their use patterns in traditional medicine (TM) with reference to the contents of the Korea Traditional Knowledge Portal (KTKP). In this survey, 457 taxa [...] Read more.
This study surveyed the most commonly observed plants at 40 pond wetlands in rural villages in Korea and assessed their use patterns in traditional medicine (TM) with reference to the contents of the Korea Traditional Knowledge Portal (KTKP). In this survey, 457 taxa in 108 families were identified. For these, there are use patterns in TM for 314 taxa; overall, 68.8% of the surveyed plants have uses in TM. The 314 taxa that have applications in TM involve 596 types of disease treatment and 771 types of efficacy. On average, for each taxon, there are 4.0 types of efficacy and 6.6 types of disease treatment. TM from 210 taxa have been described as applied to organs in 10 regions of the body: liver 123, lung 82, spleen 57, stomach 57, heart 45, large intestine 43, kidney 40, bladder 23, small intestine 16, and gall bladder 8. The results of this study will help support the conservation of pond wetlands that provide national biodiversity and various ecosystem services, by increasing the recognized value of pond wetlands even when they are no longer used in farming. Thus, this study can support educational materials for eco-experience and can be applied in the conservation of Korean pond wetlands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2020: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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29 pages, 1704 KiB  
Article
An Actor-Oriented Multi-Criteria Assessment Framework to Support a Transition towards Sustainable Agricultural Systems Based on Crop Diversification
by Ileana Iocola, Frederique Angevin, Christian Bockstaller, Rui Catarino, Michael Curran, Antoine Messéan, Christian Schader, Didier Stilmant, Florence Van Stappen, Paul Vanhove, Hauke Ahnemann, Jérémy Berthomier, Luca Colombo, Giovanni Dara Guccione, Emmanuel Mérot, Massimo Palumbo, Nino Virzì and Stefano Canali
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5434; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135434 - 6 Jul 2020
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 4256
Abstract
Crop diversification represents a key lever to support the development of sustainable agri-food systems. Knowledge on trade-offs and carry over effects from different crop diversification strategies is essential to inform agricultural stakeholders of potential costs and benefits. This knowledge is limited by existing [...] Read more.
Crop diversification represents a key lever to support the development of sustainable agri-food systems. Knowledge on trade-offs and carry over effects from different crop diversification strategies is essential to inform agricultural stakeholders of potential costs and benefits. This knowledge is limited by existing data and performance measures predominantly focused on single crops, rather than complete rotations. Moreover, sustainability performance indicators are often used for assessment purposes, rather than supporting stakeholder learning and actions. A new set of 32 indicators was developed to address these needs, and used to evaluate the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the diversified agricultural systems highlighted in the case studies, which are often characterized by data availability constraints. This approach was tested in France, Germany and Italy to determine a critical ex-post diagnosis of the existing systems, and for the assessment of ex-ante innovative scenarios. The results will be used to support these case studies in the identification and design of more sustainable agricultural systems. Although the framework is based on feasible and proxy indicators, the assessment outcomes have allowed local actors to reflect on the effects generated by the implemented crop diversification strategies. Key issues include trade-offs occurring between optimizing economic and environmental performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2020: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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20 pages, 2383 KiB  
Article
Salento Honey (Apulia, South-East Italy): A Preliminary Characterization by 1H-NMR Metabolomic Fingerprinting
by Chiara Roberta Girelli, Roberta Schiavone, Sebastiano Vilella and Francesco Paolo Fanizzi
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5009; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125009 - 18 Jun 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3105
Abstract
Honey is a natural sweet substance produced by honeybees from the nectar of flowers, plant secretions or plant-sucking insect excretions. Sugars and water constitute the major components, other minor components characterize the organoleptic and nutritional properties. To date, Salento (Apulia region, Italy) honey [...] Read more.
Honey is a natural sweet substance produced by honeybees from the nectar of flowers, plant secretions or plant-sucking insect excretions. Sugars and water constitute the major components, other minor components characterize the organoleptic and nutritional properties. To date, Salento (Apulia region, Italy) honey production is considerably threatened due to the suggested use of neonicotinoids in order to control the insect-vectored bacterium Xylella fastidiosa (subsp. pauca). Metabolomics based on Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy was used to describe, for the first time, the composition of honey samples from different Salento producers. Exploratory Principal Component Analysis (PCA) showed, among the observed clustering, a separation between light and dark honeys and a discrimination according to producers, both further analyzed by supervised multivariate analysis. According to the obtained data, although limited to small-scale emerging production, Salento honey shows at the molecular level, a range of specific characteristic features analogous to those exhibited by similar products originating elsewhere and appreciated by consumers. The impact on this production should therefore be carefully considered when suggesting extensive use of pesticides in the area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2020: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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14 pages, 691 KiB  
Article
Nutritional Characterization of Two Rare Landraces of Turnip (Brassica rapa. var. rapa) Tops and Their On-Farm Conservation in Foggia Province
by Giulia Conversa, Corrado Lazzizera, Anna Bonasia, Paolo La Rotonda and Antonio Elia
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3842; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093842 - 8 May 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2635
Abstract
The study of nutritional properties in landrace products and the general context of its cultivation site are crucial to designing a sustainable on-farm strategy for landrace conservation. The present study describes the main nutritional aspects of two Brassica rapa subspecies rapa landraces collected [...] Read more.
The study of nutritional properties in landrace products and the general context of its cultivation site are crucial to designing a sustainable on-farm strategy for landrace conservation. The present study describes the main nutritional aspects of two Brassica rapa subspecies rapa landraces collected in Puglia, Italy along with agroecological and socioeconomical traits where they are cultivated. The two B. rapa landraces (‘Cima di rapa dalla testa’ and ‘Cima di rapa antica’) are only found in sites at 700–800 m asl and in two landscape units (the Southern Daunian Mountains (SDM) and the Umbra Forest (UF), respectively) of the Foggia province. These rare landraces were selected by farmers to produce turnip greens/tops from ancient root turnip crops. They are named and consumed by local people in the same way as turnip tops of Brassica rapa subspecies sylvestris (‘Cima di rapa’), which are widely cultivated in Puglia. Compared to the most common ‘Cima di rapa’, the two highlighted landraces have a better nutritional profile linked to an improved content in antioxidant compounds—i.e., vitamin C (458 mg kg−1 FW), total phenols (347 mg ac. gallic equivalent kg−1 FW)—in glucosinolate (741 µmol kg FW−1, in ‘Cima di rapa antica’) and in minerals, such as K. Both landraces are deemed as having a high risk of erosion. Few exemplars are cultivated in marginal lands and urban/peri-urban areas (SDM), or in isolated sites within the UF, which is a special protection zone within Gargano National Park. However, natural, cultural, and recreational tourism are the main economic activities in both landscape units. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2020: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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13 pages, 618 KiB  
Article
Crop Pollination in Small-Scale Agriculture in Tanzania: Household Dependence, Awareness and Conservation
by Thomas Sawe, Anders Nielsen and Katrine Eldegard
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2228; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062228 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 4764
Abstract
Global economic value of agriculture production resulting from animal pollination services has been estimated to be $235–$577 billion. This estimate is based on quantification of crops that are available at the global markets, and mainly originates from countries with precise information about quantities [...] Read more.
Global economic value of agriculture production resulting from animal pollination services has been estimated to be $235–$577 billion. This estimate is based on quantification of crops that are available at the global markets, and mainly originates from countries with precise information about quantities of agriculture production, exports, and imports. In contrast, knowledge about the contribution of pollinators to household food and income in small-scale farming at local and regional scales is still lacking, especially for developing countries where the availability of agricultural statistics is limited. Although the global decline in pollinator diversity and abundance has received much attention, relatively little effort has been directed towards understanding the role of pollinators in small-scale farming systems, which feed a substantial part of the world’s population. Here, we have assessed how local farmers in northern Tanzania depend on insect-pollinated crops for household food and income, and to what extent farmers are aware of the importance of insect pollinators and how they can conserve them. Our results show that local farmers in northern Tanzania derived their food and income from a wide range of crop plants, and that 67% of these crops depend on animal pollination to a moderate to essential degree. We also found that watermelon—for which pollination by insects is essential for yield—on average contributed nearly 25% of household income, and that watermelons were grown by 63% of the farmers. Our findings indicate that local farmers can increase their yields from animal pollinated crops by adopting more pollinator-friendly farming practices. Yet, we found that local farmers’ awareness of pollinators, and the ecosystem service they provide, was extremely low, and intentional actions to conserve or manage them were generally lacking. We therefore urge agriculture authorities in Tanzania to act to ensure that local farmers become aware of insect pollinators and their important role in agriculture production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2020: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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Review

Jump to: Research, Other

16 pages, 2045 KiB  
Review
Fruit Quality Characters of Myrtle (Myrtus communis L.) Selections: Review of a Domestication Process
by Silvia Medda and Maurizio Mulas
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 8785; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13168785 - 6 Aug 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2278
Abstract
Interest in myrtle (Myrtus communis L.) by food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutic industries generated the integration of biomasses harvested from wild populations as raw materials with yields of cultivated orchards. The domestication process is reviewed considering shoot, fruit, and leaf biometric characters of [...] Read more.
Interest in myrtle (Myrtus communis L.) by food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutic industries generated the integration of biomasses harvested from wild populations as raw materials with yields of cultivated orchards. The domestication process is reviewed considering shoot, fruit, and leaf biometric characters of selections obtained in three steps of the program. The first step started in Sardinia (Italy) in 1995 by the analysis of wild germplasm variability. Seventy accessions were the object of the first studied population of mother plants. Agamic propagation tests, as well quality evaluations of fruit and leaves, were integrated into the first step. In the second step, a field of comparison of forty-two agamically propagated cultivars functional to biomass production and to food uses was planted and evaluated for phenotypic characters. In the third step, a new population of twenty selections was obtained by open cross-pollination of some of the cultivars and further phenotypic selection in seedling population. In this review, the three populations are compared for biometric shoot, leaves and fruit characters, in order to verify the pressure of domestication process on these traits. Wild populations showed high variability only partially used during the first step, while the hybridization may create new variability for use in the genetic improvement of myrtle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2020: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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18 pages, 280 KiB  
Review
Can Constructed Wetlands be Wildlife Refuges? A Review of Their Potential Biodiversity Conservation Value
by Chengxiang Zhang, Li Wen, Yuyu Wang, Cunqi Liu, Yan Zhou and Guangchun Lei
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1442; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041442 - 15 Feb 2020
Cited by 45 | Viewed by 7155
Abstract
The degradation of wetland ecosystems is currently recognized as one of the main threats to global biodiversity. As a means of compensation, constructed wetlands (CWs), which are built to treat agricultural runoff and municipal wastewater, have become important for maintaining biodiversity. Here, we [...] Read more.
The degradation of wetland ecosystems is currently recognized as one of the main threats to global biodiversity. As a means of compensation, constructed wetlands (CWs), which are built to treat agricultural runoff and municipal wastewater, have become important for maintaining biodiversity. Here, we review studies on the relationships between CWs and their associated biodiversity published over the past three decades. In doing so, we provide an overview of how wildlife utilizes CWs, and the effects of biodiversity on pollutant transformation and removal. Beyond their primary aim (to purify various kinds of wastewater), CWs provide sub-optimal habitat for many species and, in turn, their purification function can be strongly influenced by the biodiversity that they support. However, there are some difficulties when using CWs to conserve biodiversity because some key characteristics of these engineered ecosystems vary from natural wetlands, including some fundamental ecological processes. Without proper management intervention, these features of CWs can promote biological invasion, as well as form an ‘ecological trap’ for native species. Management options, such as basin-wide integrative management and building in more natural wetland components, can partially offset these adverse impacts. Overall, the awareness of managers and the public regarding the potential value of CWs in biodiversity conservation remains superficial. More in-depth research, especially on how to balance different stakeholder values between wastewater managers and conservationists, is now required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2020: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)

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13 pages, 713 KiB  
Opinion
Changing Agricultural Systems and Food Diets to Prevent and Mitigate Global Health Shocks
by Cécile Détang-Dessendre, Hervé Guyomard, Vincent Réquillart and Louis-Georges Soler
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6462; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166462 - 11 Aug 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3035
Abstract
No one would dispute that agricultural systems and food diets are not sustainable from an environmental and health point of view, and that increasing their sustainability must be a major objective of farm and food policies. Simultaneously, climatic, environmental, and health shocks are [...] Read more.
No one would dispute that agricultural systems and food diets are not sustainable from an environmental and health point of view, and that increasing their sustainability must be a major objective of farm and food policies. Simultaneously, climatic, environmental, and health shocks are likely to increase in the coming years. This note defends the idea of an additional double benefit of public policies, aiming at favoring environmentally friendly food systems and healthy diets through two channels: by reducing the risks of developing shocks and by limiting their negative impacts on populations when they occur. As a result, public policies should address, simultaneously and consistently, supply and demand issues. This is illustrated in the case of the European Union. Supply measures should favor the agro-ecological transition of agricultural systems through a more rigorous application of the polluter pays principle, implying notably the taxation of the main determinants of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions (cattle heads and nitrogen fertilizers) and biodiversity loss (mineral fertilizers, synthetic pesticides, and antibiotic treatments). This would send the right signals to farmers and would legitimize an extended use of the provider gets principle, allowing the remuneration of positive externalities. Demand measures should favor the adoption of healthier and environmentally friendly food diets by changing consumer behaviors through dietary recommendations, information campaigns, nutritional labeling, and fiscal instruments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity 2020: Agriculture, Environment and Wellbeing)
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