23,271 research outputs found

    Changes in soil fertility and microbial communities following cultivation of native grassland in Horqin Sandy Land, China: a 60-year chronosequence

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    Background: Grassland conversion to cropland is a prevailing change of land use in traditionally nomadic areas, especially in the Mongolian Plateau. We investigated the effects of grassland conversion followed by continuous cultivation on soil properties and microbial community characteristics in Horqin Sandy Land, a typical agro-pastoral transition zone of Northern China. Soil samples were collected from the topsoil (upper 20 cm) across a 60-year cultivation chronosequence (5, 15, 25, 35 and 60 years) and unconverted native grassland. Soil physico-chemical properties were determined and high-throughput sequencing was used to assess microbial community diversity and composition. Results: Grassland cultivation resulted in changes to soil properties in both the short and longer term. Initially, it significantly increased soil bulk density (BD), electrical conductivity (EC), soil total nitrogen (TN), available phosphorus (AP) and available potassium (AK) concentrations, while reducing soil water content (SWC) and soil organic carbon content (SOC). Over the next 35–55 years of continuous cultivation, the trend for most of these characteristics was of reversion towards values nearer to those of native grassland, except for SOC which remained highly depleted. Cultivation of grassland substantially altered soil microbial communities at phylum level but there was no significant difference in microbial α-diversity between native grassland and any cropland. However, soil bacterial and fungal community structures at phylum level in the croplands of all cultivation years were different from those in the native grasslands. Heatmaps further revealed that bacterial and fungal structures in cropland tended to become more similar to native grassland after 15 and 25 years of cultivation, respectively. Redundancy analysis indicated that SOC, EC and BD were primary determinants of microbial community composition and diversity. Conclusions: These findings suggest that agricultural cultivation of grassland has considerable effects on soil fertility and microbial characteristics of Horqin Sandy Land. Intensive high-yield forage grass production is proposed as an alternative to avoid further native grassland reclamation, while meeting the grazing development needs in the ethnic minority settlements of eco-fragile regions

    Grasping nothing: a study of minimal ontologies and the sense of music

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    If music were to have a proper sense – one in which it is truly given – one might reasonably place this in sound and aurality. I contend, however, that no such sense exists; rather, the sense of music takes place, and it does so with the impossible. To this end, this thesis – which is a work of philosophy and music – advances an ontology of the impossible (i.e., it thinks the being of what, properly speaking, can have no being) and considers its implications for music, articulating how ontological aporias – of the event, of thinking the absolute, and of sovereignty’s dismemberment – imply senses of music that are anterior to sound. John Cage’s Silent Prayer, a nonwork he never composed, compels a rerethinking of silence on the basis of its contradictory status of existence; Florian Hecker et al.’s Speculative Solution offers a basis for thinking absolute music anew to the precise extent that it is a discourse of meaninglessness; and Manfred Werder’s [yearn] pieces exhibit exemplarily that music’s sense depends on the possibility of its counterfeiting. Inso-much as these accounts produce musical senses that take the place of sound, they are also understood to be performances of these pieces. Here, then, thought is music’s organon and its instrument

    Corporate Social Responsibility: the institutionalization of ESG

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    Understanding the impact of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) on firm performance as it relates to industries reliant on technological innovation is a complex and perpetually evolving challenge. To thoroughly investigate this topic, this dissertation will adopt an economics-based structure to address three primary hypotheses. This structure allows for each hypothesis to essentially be a standalone empirical paper, unified by an overall analysis of the nature of impact that ESG has on firm performance. The first hypothesis explores the evolution of CSR to the modern quantified iteration of ESG has led to the institutionalization and standardization of the CSR concept. The second hypothesis fills gaps in existing literature testing the relationship between firm performance and ESG by finding that the relationship is significantly positive in long-term, strategic metrics (ROA and ROIC) and that there is no correlation in short-term metrics (ROE and ROS). Finally, the third hypothesis states that if a firm has a long-term strategic ESG plan, as proxied by the publication of CSR reports, then it is more resilience to damage from controversies. This is supported by the finding that pro-ESG firms consistently fared better than their counterparts in both financial and ESG performance, even in the event of a controversy. However, firms with consistent reporting are also held to a higher standard than their nonreporting peers, suggesting a higher risk and higher reward dynamic. These findings support the theory of good management, in that long-term strategic planning is both immediately economically beneficial and serves as a means of risk management and social impact mitigation. Overall, this contributes to the literature by fillings gaps in the nature of impact that ESG has on firm performance, particularly from a management perspective

    Comedians without a Cause: The Politics and Aesthetics of Humour in Dutch Cabaret (1966-2020)

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    Comedians play an important role in society and public debate. While comedians have been considered important cultural critics for quite some time, comedy has acquired a new social and political significance in recent years, with humour taking centre stage in political and social debates around issues of identity, social justice, and freedom of speech. To understand the shifting meanings and political implications of humour within a Dutch context, this PhD thesis examines the political and aesthetic workings of humour in the highly popular Dutch cabaret genre, focusing on cabaret performances from the 1960s to the present. The central questions of the thesis are: how do comedians use humour to deliver social critique, and how does their humour resonate with political ideologies? These questions are answered by adopting a cultural studies approach to humour, which is used to analyse Dutch cabaret performances, and by studying related materials such as reviews and media interviews with comedians. This thesis shows that, from the 1960s onwards, Dutch comedians have been considered ‘progressive rebels’ – politically engaged, subversive, and carrying a left-wing political agenda – but that this image is in need of correction. While we tend to look for progressive political messages in the work of comedians who present themselves as being anti-establishment rebels – such as Youp van ‘t Hek, Hans Teeuwen, and Theo Maassen – this thesis demonstrates that their transgressive and provocative humour tends to protect social hierarchies and relationships of power. Moreover, it shows that, paradoxically, both the deliberately moderate and nuanced humour of Wim Kan and Claudia de Breij, and the seemingly past-oriented nostalgia of Alex Klaasen, are more radical and progressive than the transgressive humour of van ‘t Hek, Teeuwen and Maassen. Finally, comedians who present absurdist or deconstructionist forms of humour, such as the early student cabarets, Freek de Jonge, and Micha Wertheim, tend to disassociate themselves from an explicit political engagement. By challenging the dominant image of the Dutch comedian as a ‘progressive rebel,’ this thesis contributes to a better understanding of humour in the present cultural moment, in which humour is often either not taken seriously, or one-sidedly celebrated as being merely pleasurable, innocent, or progressively liberating. In so doing, this thesis concludes, the ‘dark’ and more conservative sides of humour tend to get obscured

    Indigenous Wāhine Talking Critically in the Museum Space

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    As greater numbers of community groups experience social disconnect, museums need to find better methods of engagement in order to remain relevant. We know that museums are no longer neutral spaces; in fact, they have a role to play in activism, which means they can shift their mission to support local communities celebrate and protect their Indigenous heritage (Drubay and Singhal 2020; Message 2018; Shelton 2013). What follows is a meditation by researchers in Aotearoa New Zealand who engage with Pacific-Indigenous concepts and museum practice in unique ways. Our big idea is to see “Oceania through Indigenous eyes” (Lagi-Maama 2019: 291) and, in particular, the eyes of Nālani Wilson-Hokowhitu with mo‘okū‘auhau to Kalapana, Hawai‘i, and Moloka‘i Nui a Hina; Maree Mills with whakapapa to Tongariro, Taupō, and Ngāti Tūwharetoa; and Rachel Yates, who hails from Vaisala, Sāmoa. As a collective, their curatorial talano kaōrero/mo‘olelo/stories connect to current debates in the museum world where local problems need local solutions. In this instance, Wilson-Hokowhitu and Mills share the ideas that shaped their mahi at Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato in Hamilton, and Yates has just finished a COVID-19 project as Curator of Pacific Cultures at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington.</jats:p

    父上の名まえ:トニ・モリスンの『ソロモンの歌』における黒人の父性および男らしさの表象

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    Socioeconomic Impact Assessment of the Red Palm Weevil in NENA Countries (The Case of Egypt and Saudi Arabia) Ex-post impact assessment (impact evaluation of the proposed interventions)

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    Date palms are trees of high importance across the NENA region due to their economic and cultural importance, and also for their importance as a renewable natural resource and as a provider of other ecosystem services. Since its arrival in the NENA region, a main date palm production region, RPW is causing widespread damage to date palm and affecting date palm production, which is having a significant impact on the livelihoods of farmers as well as the environment

    Sustainable natural resource management must recognise community diversity

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    Deforestation and overexploitation of mangrove forests are affecting the livelihoods of millions of families that rely on their ecosystem services. Understanding local perceptions about the status and threats to mangroves is therefore crucial in addressing this issue. This research aims to enhance understanding of how sociodemographic factors influence resource use and perceptions of environmental changes through a questionnaire survey (n = 592 households) in five locations in Lamu County, home to 62% of Kenya’s mangroves. The results highlight the variability of mangrove use, ecosystem service recognition, and perceptions and drivers of change across locations, which are influenced by sociodemographic factors such as gender, education, and occupation. Although 89% of respondents reported using mangrove products, only 56% were able to identify mangrove ecosystem services, with those without formal education being less likely to recognize them. Interestingly, 50% of respondents perceived an increase in mangrove cover, contrary to research showing mangrove loss in the area over the last decade. Results show that communities are diverse and perceptions vary between groups, suggesting that implementing uniform management measures may be incomplete or ineffective. Awareness campaigns and capacity-building efforts must be tailored to reduce misperceptions about the state of local resources and to address the specific needs and challenges faced by different groups. Recommendations made here are widely applicable to promote more inclusive and sustainable community engagement in the management of natural resources in developing countries worldwide
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