188 research outputs found

    Health and wellbeing benefits of conservation in New Zealand

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    Abstract: Despite a long-held popular belief that nature is ‘healthy’ for people, exactly how or even whether this is true has only recently been subject to scientific scrutiny. This report reviews key literature relevant to the relationship between conservation and health and wellbeing (HWB) benefits, with a particular focus on public conservation areas (PCAs) managed by the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC). The review takes a broad approach both to the types of natural environments that may offer HWB benefits and to the scope of HWB.Overall, there is a large body of internationally relevant modern research that suggests that exposure to natural environments has direct positive effects on human HWB. However, much of this research was either anecdotal or descriptive. Of the relatively small number of experimental studies that have rigorously tested differences between natural and non-natural settings, many of the positive effects were not statistically significant or related to very small sample groups. Therefore, further investigation of activities undertaken in PCAs and their HWB outcomes is required to better understand conservation/human HWB relationships in New Zealand. The report identifies sources of data and expertise that are required to further analyse the relationships between conservation investment and human health, discusses the value of conservation investment as measured by health outcomes, and describes measures that would improve the alignment between conservation management and potential HWB benefits in New Zealand. Recommendations focus on requirements for research relevant to New Zealand natural areas, and the need for an integrated approach between DOC, other managers of public natural areas, and managers and stakeholders in the health and volunteering sectors

    Integrated land use options for the Aotearoa New Zealand low-emissions ‘careful revolution’

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    The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019 is a welcome start on the path towards a low-emissions future for Aotearoa New Zealand, but it is not much more than a set of targets and some tools. There are also so many potential alternative tools and processes now on offer that we face the additional significant risk of an unsystematic effort, without enough focus to secure an optimal pathway. Most of the needed tools and processes involve decisions about land use. This article outlines various options for well-integrated land use policies for Aotearoa New Zealand that in sum attempt to address the land use-related lowemissions challenge in a coherent way. The analysis is built around seven key integrative themes: an Aotearoa New Zealand world view and identity; sustainable low-emissions dietary and nutrition policy; integrated lower-emissions farming, forestry and freight transport; natural capital’s contribution to wellbeing; integrated catchment approaches; resilient cities; and meta-integration. Without significant effort on the integration of these and many other components of the required ‘careful revolution’, the revolution will be neither careful nor successful

    Accelerating Monte Carlo simulations with an NVIDIA® graphics processor

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    Modern graphics cards, commonly used in desktop computers, have evolved beyond a simple interface between processor and display to incorporate sophisticated calculation engines that can be applied to general purpose computing. The Monte Carlo algorithm for modelling photon transport in turbid media has been implemented on an NVIDIA® 8800gt graphics card using the CUDA toolkit. The Monte Carlo method relies on following the trajectory of millions of photons through the sample, often taking hours or days to complete. The graphics-processor implementation, processing roughly 110 million scattering events per second, was found to run more than 70 times faster than a similar, single-threaded implementation on a 2.67 GHz desktop computer

    Berufliche Ausbildung jugendlicher Rehabilitanden

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    "Von 1982 bis 1987 haben 91 241 behinderte Jugendliche im Alter bis unter 25 Jahren eine Berufsausbildung begonnen, die im Rahmen der Anordnung Rehabilitation der Bundesanstalt für Arbeit finanziert wurde. Der Bericht über Strukturen, Verlauf und Erfolg der beruflichen Erstausbildung beruht auf Ergebnisse der Auswertung der 'Statistik über berufliche Rehabilitation-St 37' der Bundesanstalt für Arbeit. 77% der Jugendlichen Rehabilitanden schlossen ihre berufliche Ausbildung auf Anhieb mit Erfolg ab. 21% schieden vorzeitig aus, 2% bestanden die Prüfung nicht. Die meisten Jugendlichen, nämlich 77%, absolvieren ihre Berufsausbildung in einem anerkannten Ausbildungsberuf, die anderen in einer Ausbildung nach § 48 BBiG bzw. § 42 b HwO. 61% der Ausbildungen erfolgen in einem Betrieb, 23% in einem Berufsbildungswerk, die restlichen 16% in einer sonstigen überbetrieblichen Reha-Einrichtung. Unter den Jugendlichen stellen die Lernbehinderten mit 63% die größte Behindertengruppe. Nur 34% aller jugendlichen Rehabilitanden sind Frauen, allerdings sind auch nur 39% aller Sonderschüler weiblichen Geschlechts." (Autorenreferat)Rehabilitanden, Lernbehinderte, Jugendliche, berufliche Rehabilitation - Erfolgskontrolle, Rehabilitationsverlauf - Determinanten, Ausbildungserfolg, Berufsausbildung, Ausbildungsabbruch, Ausbildungsberufe, Geschlechterverteilung, Behinderungsart, Sonderausbildungsgang

    Vegetation and Landscape Dynamics in Eastern Taranaki Hill Country

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    An ecological study of hill country landscapes in eastern Taranaki, New Zealand, was undertaken as part of a project concerning the implications of long-term soil mantle changes for sustainable land use. The study was undertaken in a 417 km2 area comprising uplifted and steeply dissected soft Tertiary sediments with a predominantly sandstone lithology. Rapid European settlement in the 1890s modified the natural vegetation cover greatly, so that most remaining forest in the study area occurs in patches surrounded by a matrix of pastoral land. Vegetational and successional patterns and environmental variation : The pattern of woody vegetation was investigated by extensive reconnaissance sampling incorporating semi-quantitative analysis of canopy cover, followed by intensive, environmentally stratified sampling. The vegetation was classified on a structural and floristic basis into 19 units of forest, treeland, scrub and shrubland. The effect of environmental variation on vegetation composition was investigated by reciprocal averaging ordination (DECORANA). The first ordination axis was correlated to vegetation structure and canopy height and was interpreted as a complex disturbance gradient relating to time since disturbance. The second and third axes were related to soil fertility and topographical gradients. Forest plots were dominated by Beilschmiedia tawa and Weinmannia racemosa and had basal area values of up to >250 m2/ha. Basal area, stem and seedling density varied greatly between vegetation structural groups. Regeneration of woody vegetation following various types of disturbance: The disturbance regime was comprehensively documented. Main factors of natural disturbance are landslide erosion and windthrow; main factors of cultural disturbance are direct clearance by felling and burning, and introduced animals. A chronology is presented of successional pathways for about 400 years following major disturbance. Succession proceeds through shrubland and scrub stages dominated by treeferns, Leptospermwn scoparium or other broadleaved woody shrubs, through treeland, to broadleaved forest dominated firstly by W. racemosa or Knightia excelsa, then by B. tawa. Podocarp trees are generally only prominent after a long period of uninterrupted succession. Seedling recruitment, mortality and growth were monitored for 2 years. Seedling dynamics varied considerably between and within sampling plots, some of which contained small exclosures that excluded possums and goats. The effects of introduced animals on seedling recruitment and vegetation growth is strongly modified by microtopography. Most dominant species showed continuous regeneration at the scale of the whole study area, despite local discontinuities. This pattern was consistent with a model of interrpted gap-phase regeneration, which may be widely applicable to New Zealand lowland forests. The vegetation turnover time is in the order of 150-250 years, a period consistent with comparable temperate forest ecosystems. The successional pathway is primarily dependent on topography, previous site history and location and area of disturbance. The existence of residual-soils on landslide scars, variations in plant propagule supply, and rapid loss of soil from steep slopes cleared for agriculture, all suggest that a rigid distinction between primary and secondary succession in the study area is not appropriate. Hillslope processes underlying vegetation and landscape change: Hillslope processes were studied in five 0.1 ha plots in which slope profiles were measured, vegetation and microtopography mapped in detail, vegetation age assessed and soil properties investigated. Ground surface age was assessed as an interpretation of the above data. Mean surface age was c. 450 years, but some swales had a surface age of several thousand years. There was a significant correlation between surface age and soil depth, soil depth increase being faster and continuing for much longer under forest than under pasture. Observations were made of near-surface erosion processes such as soil creep. A model of hillslope erosion is outlined, involving periodic evacuation of swales by landslides and refilling of swales by near-surface erosion. Evidence of past environments supports a fluvial origin for swales in an early Ohakean (glacial maximum) or pre-Ohakean period of high erosion. A concluding synthesis of vegetation, topography and soils emphasises the importance of selecting appropriate temporal and spatial scales at which to study landscape processes

    Complete Genome Sequencing of Acinetobacter sp. Strain LoGeW2-3, Isolated from the Pellet of a White Stork, Reveals a Novel Class D Beta-Lactamase Gene

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    Whole-genome sequencing of Acinetobacter sp. strain LoGeW2-3, isolated from the pellet of a white stork (Ciconia ciconia), reveals the presence of a plasmid of 179,399 bp encoding a CRISPR-Cas (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats and associated genes) system of the I-F type, and the chromosomally encoded novel class D beta-lactamase OXA-568

    Constrained Willmore Surfaces

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    Constrained Willmore surfaces are conformal immersions of Riemann surfaces that are critical points of the Willmore energy W=H2W=\int H^2 under compactly supported infinitesimal conformal variations. Examples include all constant mean curvature surfaces in space forms. In this paper we investigate more generally the critical points of arbitrary geometric functionals on the space of immersions under the constraint that the admissible variations infinitesimally preserve the conformal structure. Besides constrained Willmore surfaces we discuss in some detail examples of constrained minimal and volume critical surfaces, the critical points of the area and enclosed volume functional under the conformal constraint.Comment: 17 pages, 8 figures; v2: Hopf tori added as an example, minor changes in presentation, numbering changed; v3: new abstract and appendix, several changes in presentatio

    Uncertainty contributions to low-flow projections in Austria

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    The main objective of the paper is to understand the contributions to the uncertainty in low-flow projections resulting from hydrological model uncertainty and climate projection uncertainty. Model uncertainty is quantified by different parameterisations of a conceptual semi-distributed hydrologic model (TUWmodel) using 11 objective functions in three different decades (1976&ndash;1986, 1987&ndash;1997, 1998&ndash;2008), which allows for disentangling the effect of the objective function-related uncertainty and temporal stability of model parameters. Climate projection uncertainty is quantified by four future climate scenarios (ECHAM5-A1B, A2, B1 and HADCM3-A1B) using a delta change approach. The approach is tested for 262 basins in Austria. <br><br> The results indicate that the seasonality of the low-flow regime is an important factor affecting the performance of model calibration in the reference period and the uncertainty of <i>Q</i><sub>95</sub> low-flow projections in the future period. In Austria, the range of simulated <i>Q</i><sub>95</sub> in the reference period is larger in basins with a summer low-flow regime than in basins with a winter low-flow regime. The accuracy of simulated <i>Q</i><sub>95</sub> may result in a range of up to 60 % depending on the decade used for calibration. <br><br> The low-flow projections of Q<sub>95</sub> show an increase of low flows in the Alps, typically in the range of 10–30 % and a decrease in the south-eastern part of Austria mostly in the range &minus;5 to &minus;20 % for the climate change projected for the future period 2021&ndash;2050, relative the reference period 1978&ndash;2007. The change in seasonality varies between scenarios, but there is a tendency for earlier low flows in the northern Alps and later low flows in eastern Austria. The total uncertainty of <i>Q</i><sub>95</sub> projections is the largest in basins with a winter low-flow regime and, in some basins the range of <i>Q</i><sub>95</sub> projections exceeds 60 %. In basins with summer low flows, the total uncertainty is mostly less than 20 %. The ANOVA assessment of the relative contribution of the three main variance components (i.e. climate scenario, decade used for model calibration and calibration variant representing different objective function) to the low-flow projection uncertainty shows that in basins with summer low flows climate scenarios contribute more than 75 % to the total projection uncertainty. In basins with a winter low-flow regime, the median contribution of climate scenario, decade and objective function is 29, 13 and 13 %, respectively. The implications of the uncertainties identified in this paper for water resource management are discussed

    Outcomes From A Peer Tutor Model For Teaching Technology To Older Adults

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    A key component of social work ethics is social justice and equitable access to resources. Increasingly, this includes access to technology. This study addresses issues related to the \u27digital divide\u27 by testing a peer tutor model (Technology and Aging Project, TAP2) to teach adults aged 60 and older how to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as email, the internet, online chat rooms and discussion groups, internet-based support groups, and voice technology and webcams. Participants from the control group of a previous programme, TAP1 (N = 19) participated in a six-month computer training programme. Six participants who had successfully completed the TAP1 training were selected to be peer tutors. Data were collected from tutors and learners at baseline, three months, six months and nine months (three months after the end of training). The current study reports on learner outcomes only. Measures include computer, social support, and mental health-related outcomes. Learners reported a significant and consistent increase over time in their confidence completing certain computer-related tasks and their overall use of ICTs. Mental health and social support outcomes did not change. Overall, the peer tutor model appeared to be at least as effective as the previous staff-directed model