2,209 publications found
Sort by
Transdisciplinary science and the importance of Indigenous knowledge.

As we move ever closer to the brink of global environmental collapse, it is vital that we work collaboratively and collectively as global, national, and local communities to design multiscale change. Protecting future generations and reversing (or substantively slowing) the current trends require rapid sustainable progress at the required scale. It is more urgent than ever that we understand and more fully realize the power of transdisciplinary (Td) research to support sustainable practice. A defining factor of Td is the focus on collaboration and codesign and the extent that participation and attention to local context is integral to the knowledge building. Specifically, there is greater ability for community knowledge, values, and aspirations to influence and shape research inquiries to effect meaningful change in real-world decision-making and outcomes. Business-as-usual (BAU) approaches that perpetuate unequal knowledge sharing and dismiss other forms of knowledge beyond traditional science no longer suffice. Transdisciplinary approaches seek to achieve and support sustainable change, but the extent of transformation required to meet ecological protection and regenerative sustainability requires very different operating models for knowing and doing science than the limited traditions of positivist science. However, these powerful defaults and operating paradigms are more deeply ingrained than we might realize, and so challenges persist. This article illustrates how Td science differs from typical research paradigms, particularly in terms of the underlying epistemology; the focus on knowledge and/or power; attention to boundaries and scope; and the degree to which local knowledge, context, and community participation underpin the research process. Active conversations are required to better identify and overcome fundamental challenges for science and Td research approaches to support the necessary transformational change. Importantly, we suggest that Indigenous partnerships, knowledge, and values are vital in achieving the potential of Td research to provide transformational interventions to address complex social and environmental issues such as pollution. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2023;00:1-12. © 2023 SETAC.

Developing a composite index for urban ecosystem services (Hyrcanian forests-Gorgan).

The current era has been termed the "Anthropocene," because of the irreversible impact of human activities. Land use change and urban growth are examples of these disturbances leading to the reduction in many ecosystem services (ESs). The subject of this study, Gorgan, has undergone significant changes that significantly affected the area. Studying these changes and understanding their effects on the ecosystem is essential. An integrated method was used to investigate the process of changing the urban ESs over 35 years, considering the physical and ecological characteristics of the area. This marks the first time such a study has been conducted using the hexagonal unit. Then, the composite total ecosystem services (TESs) index was calculated from the modeled and quantified combination of six ESs, including water yield, flood volume, net primary production, soil retention, carbon sequestration, and air pollution removal. Thereafter, the ESs were mapped and evaluated across time and space. The TES is proposed as an appropriate measure for quantifying ES supply and can indicate the overall function of ESs. According to the findings, the TES value declined from 0.427 in 1985 to 0.247 in 2005 and declined to 0.192 in 2020. Moreover, the Hyrcanian forests were the main source of the highest TES in Gorgan city, whereas urban areas had the lowest levels. The shortage of ESs in the study area has resulted in various crises. These include reduced air quality, heightened flood risk, soil erosion, and ecological imbalances in urban regions. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2023;00:1-16. © 2023 Society of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry (SETAC).

The efficacy of biodiversity and ecosystem assessment approaches for informing a regenerative approach to built development.

The built environment, even at its "greenest," inevitably entails changing ecosystem structure and function. Multiple sustainable development tools and approaches are available to reduce environmental harm from built development. However, the reality that society exists within fully integrated socioecological systems, wholly interdependent on supporting ecosystems, is not yet adequately represented in regulation or supporting tools. Regenerative development seeks to address this interdependence in part by improving the health of supporting socioecological systems through the development process. We demonstrate the relevance of a series of approaches-Local Nature-Related Planning Policy (LNRPP), Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG), the Environmental Benefits from Nature Tool (EBN Tool), Nature Assessment Tool for Urban and Rural Environments (NATURE Tool), and Rapid Assessment of Wetland Ecosystem Services+ (RAWES+)-for their ability to meet their stated aims and objectives and how these relate to wider regenerative themes. A comparative analysis of the five approaches is done by applying them to a practical case study site, resulting in policy- and practice-relevant learning and recommendations. The research reveals current gaps in methodology, which can lead to adverse outcomes for sustainability. This is particularly clear for the spatial and temporal scales across which each approach operates. In addition, this research discusses the inherent limitations of taking a reductionist approach to examining complex systems. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2023;00:1-15. © 2023 The Authors. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry (SETAC).

Open Access
Identification of priority areas for water conservation in the Alto Iguaçu basin, Brazil.

Geoprocessing tools are great allies in the management of water resources, permitting the evaluation of several factors integrated into a multicriteria analysis. This improves the interpretation of the behavior of water and soil in hydrographic basins, allowing the delimitation of priority areas for actions. The objective of this study was to prepare a map of priority areas for water conservation in the Alto Iguaçu basin through a multicriteria analysis, aiming to assist in the management of water resources in the region. The priority map for water conservation was prepared using the weighted linear combination (WLC) method, considering the weight added to the factors that were obtained by the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) method. The method successfully identified priority areas for water conservation, where 40.7% of the Alto Iguaçu watershed was considered High priority and Very High priority, a number consistent with regional characteristics. The multicriteria analysis proved to be a flexible and easy to implement methodology, which can help managers when considering the trade-offs among several factors. The implementation of water conservation actions in areas that have been classified as being of High and Very High priority can benefit the regional ecosystem by controlling erosion, regulating the flow of water, and thus conserving the quantity and quality of water in the basin and its downstream region, benefiting the population and regional economics. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2023;00:1-12. © 2023 SETAC.

Spatiotemporal ecosystem services: Response to structural changes (A case study in Lahijan, Iran).

Structure and function are the inherent characteristics of each ecosystem providing various services such as clean air, extreme weather mitigation, and mental and physical well-being. The objective of this study is to develop a unified model combining Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services, ecological network (EN), and correlation analysis to investigate changes in ecosystem structure, function, and process. In this context, carbon sequestration, soil reduction, and flood risk mitigation were quantified from 2000 to 2020 and predicted for 2040 using the cellular automata and Markov chain (CA-Markov) model. Finally, correlation analysis was used to analyze the relationship over time between the land use (LU) classes and the components of the forest EN that provide and exchange desired ecosystem services (ESs). Thus, the changes in LU in the region in recent years led to significant reduction of ESs in the region as well as changes in the interaction between services. These changes, on the one hand, reduced the area of cores and increased isolated forest patches and, on the other hand, led to the horizontal expansion of cities and agricultural lands. If this trend continues, the decline in services provided by the ecosystem will persist into the future. Consequently, it can be said that structural changes in the ecosystem can lead to changes in the ESs. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2023;00:1-13. © 2023 SETAC.

Interspecies scaling of toxicity reference values in human health versus ecological risk assessments: A critical review.

Risk assessments that focus on anthropogenic chemicals in environmental media-whether considering human health or ecological effects-often rely on toxicity data from experimentally studied species to estimate safe exposures for species that lack similar data. Current default extrapolation approaches used in both human health risk assessments and ecological risk assessments (ERAs) account for differences in body weight between the test organisms and the species of interest, but the two default approaches differ in important ways. Human health risk assessments currently employ a default based on body weight raised to the three-quarters power. Ecological risk assessments for wildlife (i.e., mammals and birds) are typically based directly on body weight, as measured in the test organism and receptor species. This review describes differences in the experimental data underlying these default practices and discusses the many factors that affect interspecies variability in chemical exposures. The interplay of these different factors can lead to substantial departures from default expectations. Alternative methodologies for conducting more accurate interspecies extrapolations in ERAs for wildlife are discussed, including tissue-based toxicity reference values, physiologically based toxicokinetic and/or toxicodynamic modeling, chemical read-across, and a system of categorical defaults based on route of exposure and toxic mode of action. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2023;00:1-16. © 2023 SETAC.

Density-dependent population regulation in freshwater fishes and small mammals: A literature review and insights for Ecological Risk Assessment.

The regulation of populations through density dependence (DD) has long been a central tenet of studies of ecological systems. As an important factor in regulating populations, DD is also crucial for understanding risks to populations from stressors, including its incorporation into population models applied for this purpose. However, study of density-dependent regulation is challenging because it can occur through various mechanisms, and their identification in the field, as well as the quantification of the consequences on individuals and populations, can be difficult. We conducted a targeted literature review specifically focusing on empirical laboratory or field studies addressing negative DD in freshwater fish and small rodent populations, two vertebrate groups considered in pesticide Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA). We found that the most commonly recognized causes of negative DD were food (63% of 19 reviewed fish studies, 40% of 25 mammal studies) or space limitations (32% of mammal studies). In addition, trophic interactions were reported as causes of population regulation, with predation shaping mostly small mammal populations (36% of the mammal studies) and cannibalism impacting freshwater fish (26%). In the case of freshwater fish, 63% of the studies were experimental (i.e., with a length of weeks or months). They generally focused on the individual-level causes and effects of DD, and had a short duration. Moreover, DD affected mostly juvenile growth and survival of fish (68%). On the other hand, studies on small mammals were mainly based on time series analyzing field population properties over longer timespans (68%). Density dependence primarily affected survival in subadult and adult mammal stages and, to a lesser extent, reproduction (60% vs. 36%). Furthermore, delayed DD was often observed (56%). We conclude by making suggestions on future research paths, providing recommendations for including DD in population models developed for ERA, and making the best use of the available data. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2023;00:1-12. © 2023 Syngenta Crop Protection. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry (SETAC).

Aquatic macrophyte growth season in Central and Northern EU and the implications for aquatic macrophyte risk assessments for herbicides.

Under current EU regulation, the potential risks to aquatic organisms must be assessed for uses of plant protection products (PPPs) that may result in exposure to the environment. For herbicidal PPPs, aquatic macrophytes are often the most sensitive taxa. For some herbicidal modes of action, macrophytes may only be affected while they are actively growing. For the risk assessment, it is therefore useful to know whether application timings would result in surface water exposure during periods when aquatic macrophytes are actively growing (therefore potentially resulting in effects). Toxicity endpoints, which are based on studies with active growth, may be over-conservative for cases where exposure of PPPs will not co-occur with active macrophyte growth. A comprehensive literature search was performed, using systematic and manual approaches, with the aim of identifying the main active growth period for macrophytes in natural freshwater bodies in climates relevant to Central and Northern Zones of the EU. The results of the searches were initially screened to identify all potentially relevant references, for which a full evaluation was then performed. Reliability was assessed using the principles of the Klimisch scoring system. As part of the full evaluation, growth periods were identified for each macrophyte species studied. Finally, the extracted growth periods were considered together to determine an overall active growth period for aquatic macrophytes representative of Central and Northern EU zones. Based on this literature review, the active growth period identified for the majority of aquatic macrophyte species representative of Central and Northern EU Zones is April to September. Relating to the regulatory implication of these results, it may be possible to conclude a low risk for aquatic macrophytes if the predicted surface water exposure period for certain PPPs is demonstrated to be outside of the periods of active growth.

Incorporating climate projections in the environmental risk assessment of pesticides in aquatic ecosystems

ABSTRACTGlobal climate change will significantly impact the biodiversity of freshwater ecosystems, both directly and indirectly via the exacerbation of impacts from other stressors. Pesticides form a prime example of chemical stressors that are expected to synergise with climate change. Aquatic exposures to pesticides might change in magnitude due to increased runoff from agricultural fields, and in composition as application patterns will change due to changes in pest pressures and crop types. Any prospective chemical risk assessment that aims to capture the influence of climate change should properly and comprehensively account for the variabilities and uncertainties that are inherent to projections of future climate. This is only feasible if they probabilistically propagate extensive ensembles of climate model projections. However, current prospective risk assessments typically make use of process‐based models of chemical fate that do not typically allow for such high‐throughput application. Here we describe a Bayesian network model that does. It incorporates a two‐step univariate regression model based on a thirty‐day antecedent precipitation index, circumventing the need for computationally laborious mechanistic models. We show its feasibility and application potential in a case study with two pesticides in a Norwegian stream: the fungicide trifloxystrobin and herbicide clopyralid. Our analysis showed that variations in pesticide application rates as well as precipitation intensity lead to variations in in‐stream exposures. When relating to aquatic risks, the influence of these processes reduces and distributions of risk are dominated by effect‐related parameters. Predicted risks for clopyralid were negligible, but the probability of unacceptable future environmental risks due to exposure to trifloxystrobin (i.e., a risk quotient > 1) was 8‐12%. This percentage further increases to 30‐35% when a more conservative precautionary factor of 100 instead of 30 was used.