217 research outputs found

    The blurred boundaries of ecological, sustainable, and agroecological intensification: a review

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    International audienceAbstractThe projected human population of nine billion by 2050 has led to ever growing discussion of the need for increasing agricultural output to meet estimated food demands, while mitigating environmental costs. Many stakeholders in agricultural circles are calling for the intensification of agriculture to meet these demands. However, it is neither clear nor readily agreed upon what is meant by intensification. Here, we compare the three major uses, ‘ecological intensification’, ‘sustainable intensification’ and ‘agroecological intensification’, by analysing their various definitions, principles and practices, and also their historical appearance and evolution. We used data from the scientific literature, the grey literature, the websites of international organizations and the Scopus and FAOLEX databases. Our major findings are: (1) sustainable intensification is the most frequently used term so far. (2) The three concepts ecological intensification, sustainable intensification and agroecological intensification overlap in terms of definitions, principles and practices, thus creating some confusion in their meanings, interpretations and implications. Nevertheless, some differences exist. (3) Sustainable intensification is more widely used and represents in many cases a rather generalised category, into which most current farming practices can be put so long as sustainability is in some way addressed. However, despite its wider use, it remains imprecisely defined. (4) Ecological and agroecological intensification do introduce some major nuances and, in general, more explicitly stated definitions. For instance, ecological intensification emphasizes the understanding and intensification of biological and ecological processes and functions in agroecosystem. (5) The notion of agroecological intensification accentuates the system approach and integrates more cultural and social perspectives in its concept. (6) Even if some boundaries can be seen, confusion is still predominant in the use of these terms. These blurred boundaries currently contribute to the use of these terms for justifying many different kinds of practices and interventions. We suggest that greater precision in defining the terms and the respective practices proposed would indicate more clearly what authors or institutions are aiming at with the proposed intensification. In this sense, we provide new definitions for all three intensification concepts based on the earlier ones

    A One‐Step Biofunctionalization Strategy of Electrospun Scaffolds Enables Spatially Selective Presentation of Biological Cues

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    To recapitulate the heterogeneous complexity of tissues in the human body with synthetic mimics of the extracellular matrix (ECM), it is important to develop methods that can easily allow the selective functionalization of defined spatial domains. Here, a facile method is introduced to functionalize microfibrillar meshes with different reactive groups able to bind biological moieties in a one‐step reaction. The resulting scaffolds prove to selectively support a differential neurite growth after being seeded with dorsal root ganglia. Considering the general principles behind the method developed, this is a promising strategy to realize enhanced biomimicry of native ECM for different regenerative medicine applications

    A one-step biofunctionalization strategy of electrospun scaffolds enables spatially selective presentation of biological cues

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    To recapitulate the heterogeneous complexity of tissues in our body with synthetic mimics of the extracellular matrix (ECM), it is important to develop methods that can easily allow the selective functionalization of defined spatial domains. Here, we introduce a facile method to functionalize microfibrillar meshes with different reactive groups able to bind biological moieties in a one-step reaction. The resulting scaffolds proved to selectively support a differential neurite growth after being seeded with dorsal root ganglia. Considering the general principles behind the method developed, this is a promising strategy to realize enhanced biomimicry of native ECM for different regenerative medicine applications

    Topology of chalcogen chains

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    We investigate the topological properties of the helical atomic chains occurring in elemental selenium and tellurium. We postulate a realistic model that includes spin-orbit interaction and show this to be topologically non-trivial, with a topological invariant protected by a crystalline symmetry. We describe the end-states, which are orbitally polarized, with an orbital density modulation strongly peaked at the edge. Furthermore, we propose a simplified model that decomposes into three orbital chains, allowing us to define a topological invariant protected by a crystalline symmetry. We contrast this result with recent observations made for the orbital Su-Schrieffer-Heeger model containing a pp-orbital zigzag chain.Comment: 10 figure

    Good Pastures, Good Meadows: Mountain Farmers’ Assessment, Perceptions on Ecosystem Services, and Proposals for Biodiversity Management

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    An ongoing decrease in habitat and species diversity is occurring in many areas across Europe, including in grasslands in mountain areas, calling for adapted biodiversity management and measures. In this context, we carried out 79 interviews with grassland farmers in five alpine mountain regions in Germany, France, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. We analyzed farmers’ perceptions about the functions and services of their grasslands, how they qualify “good” grasslands, which grassland management practices have changed over the last 10 years, and proposals to increase species diversity on the farm. They related them primarily to cultural ecosystem services, secondly to provisioning services, and thirdly to regulating and supporting services. Good pastures or meadows were mostly related to composition, quality of forage and productivity, structural criteria, and certain characteristics of soils and topography. The measures for increasing biodiversity that were most frequently proposed were upgrading of forest edges, planting hedges or fruit trees, less or late grassland cutting, reduction or omission of fertilization, and more general extensification of farm productions. Factors hindering the implementation of these measures were mainly increased workload, insufficient time, and a lack of financial means or support to cover additional costs for biodiversity management. These factors have to be taken specifically into account for future policies for enhanced biodiversity management of grasslands, also beyond mountainous areas. Overall, we found that farmers have good but varying knowledge about biodiversity management of their grasslands, but also different perspectives on how to improve it. Here, local initiatives that bring together farmers and flora or fauna specialists to exchange knowledge could be designed and used in participatory pilot schemes to enhance the implementation of improved biodiversity management

    A simple biodiversity assessment scheme supporting nature-friendly farm management

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    Farmers are important actors for regional development and biodiversity protection. Agri-environment-climate measures (AECM) are therefore a central tool of the European Union to support its biodiversity conservation policy. AECM generally reward farmers for fulfilling predefined management actions or avoiding specific practices. In contrast, result oriented AECM are intended to reward farmers for the outcome of nature friendly management practices. This approach gives more flexibility in management and hence promotes farmers engagement and autonomy. Besides educational activities and agricultural advisory services farmers need user friendly tools to assess biodiversity in order to meet result oriented AECM. Thus, we present a biodiversity assessment scheme for farmland using a set of indicators, which covers different aspects of biodiversity (flower colour index, butterfly abundance, landscape structuring degree, patch diversity index, aggregated biodiversity index) and can be applied at different spatial scales. The assessment scheme is applied on 44 farms in five countries (France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and Austria). To evaluate its appropriateness the relationship between the indicators and land-use intensity and plant species richness is investigated. Grasslands with low land-use intensity are more colourful grasslands, have significantly more butterflies and a higher aggregated biodiversity index than moderately and intensively used grasslands. The influence of management intensity on the landscape structuring degree is not significant. All indicators correlate with plant species richness at all spatial scales. The proposed assessment scheme serves as a tool for the detection of differences in biodiversity resulting from land-use practices, and can assist the monitoring of ROMs

    Ergebnisorientierte Massnahmen zur Förderung der BiodiversitĂ€t in der Berglandwirtschaft - Ein Handbuch fĂŒr die Politik

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    Das Handbuch enthĂ€lt: - Eine EinfĂŒhrung in ergebnisorientierte Massnahmen Projekt MERIT - Einen Überblick ĂŒber die Vor- und Nachteile ergebnisorientierte Massnahmen - Wissenschaftlich fundierte Empfehlungen fĂŒr die Gestaltung, Umsetzung und Governance ergebnisorientierter BiodiversitĂ€tsfördermassnahmen in der Berglandwirtschaft - Beispiel von ergebnisorientierten Massnahmen in Europ
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