Frontiers in Environmental Science

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ISSN / EISSN : 2296-665X / 2296-665X
Current Publisher: Frontiers Media SA (10.3389)
Total articles ≅ 1,021
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Örjan Berglund, Thomas Kätterer,
Frontiers in Environmental Science, Volume 9; doi:10.3389/fenvs.2021.630721

Northern peatlands are important carbon (C) reservoirs, storing about one-third of the global terrestrial soil C pool. Anthropogenic influences, such as drainage for agriculture and forestry, lower the originally high groundwater level, leading to peat aeration and decomposition. This is particularly reflected in significant losses of CO2, while fluxes of N2O and CH4 are generally considered of minor importance for the overall greenhouse gas (GHG) balance of cultivated peatlands in Scandinavia. Setting land aside from agricultural production has been proposed as a strategy to reduce GHG emissions from drained peatland, restore natural habitats, and increase C sequestration. However, the evidence for this is rather scarce unless drainage is terminated. In this study, we measured respiration using dark automatic chambers, and CO2, N2O, and CH4 fluxes using manual static chambers, on: 1) cultivated peatland and 2) adjacent set-aside peatland in Central Sweden. The set-aside site was found to be a greater source of respiration than the cultivated site, while higher N2O fluxes and lower CH4 uptake rates were observed for the cultivated site. However, to compare the full GHG balance and assess the abandonment of drained cultivated peatland, additional measures, such as gross primary production (GPP) but also dissolved organic C losses would have to be taken into account.
Lei Zhang, , , Fangzhong Shi, Nan Jiang, Zhiyong Yang, Zhenming Ji
Frontiers in Environmental Science, Volume 9; doi:10.3389/fenvs.2021.597971

Large-scale climate oscillations, particularly the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), have widespread influences on climate systems across the Tibetan Plateau (TP). It is understudied how the temporal changes in AMO and PDO affected growth of vegetation through modifying the local climatic factors in different areas across the TP. We used the AMO and PDO indices, gridded growing season mean temperature (TGS), cumulative precipitation (PGS), and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVIGS) data from 1982 to 2015 to investigate the temporal trends of these variables and the correlations of the TGS and PGS with each of the AMO and PDO indices as well as their correlations with the NDVIGS. The results showed that the warming of the TGS over the TP and the increases of the PGS in western, central, and northeastern areas of the TP may have been related to an increase of the AMO index and a decrease of the PDO index. Combining those relationships with the spatial patterns of the TGS-NDVIGS and PGS-NDVIGS correlations suggested that the changes of the AMO and PDO may have indirectly increased the NDVIGS in the central and northeastern areas of the TP by increasing TGS and PGS, in most parts of the southwestern TP by increasing PGS, and in the eastern and south-central regions of the TP by increasing TGS. In contrast, the decrease of the NDVIGS in some areas of the southeastern and southwestern TP may have been associated with a negative effect of warming as a result of changes in the AMO and PDO. These results highlight the indirect impacts of changes in large-scale climate oscillations on the growth of vegetation through modification of local climatic factors across the TP, and they suggest the substantial spatial heterogeneity of these impacts largely depends on the responses of vegetation to local climatic factors.
Gijs D. Breedveld, Mona C. Hansen, Sarah E. Hale, Ian J. Allan, Timo Hamers
Frontiers in Environmental Science, Volume 9; doi:10.3389/fenvs.2021.601300

Urbanization has resulted in increased contaminant run-off in densely populated areas. Climate change is expected to result in a higher frequency of extreme weather events including torrential rainfall and storms. The contaminant levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), chlorinated paraffins (CPF) and selected metals, in a small urban river were monitored during snow-melting and rainfall events to quantify the contribution to the contamination load of receiving waters of the inner Oslo fjord, Norway. Suspended particulate matter (SPM) was characterized with respect to levels of contaminants as well as toxic response using a battery of bioassays. The contaminant flux from the river to the fjord was quantified and assessed relative to sediment data. Historic data for near-shore sediment samples from the fjord were used to document urban input. The results show a clear episodic response in contaminant load emitted from the river to the fjord. The main historic input to the fjord was found to be PAH from pyrogenic sources like coal and wood burning as well as traffic. A significant reduction in the level of PAH was observed since the 1980s. The measured flux of CPF is consistent with on-going societal use despite a ban on the use of short chain CPF imposed in Norway from 2002.
Iqra Naeem, Talal Asif, Xuefeng Wu, Nazim Hassan, Liu Yiming, Hongjun Wang, Ling Wang,
Frontiers in Environmental Science, Volume 9; doi:10.3389/fenvs.2021.582409

Litter decomposition is a fundamental path for nutrient cycling in a natural ecosystem. However, it remains unclear how species diversity, including richness and evenness, affects the decomposition dynamics in the context of grassland degradation. Using a litter bag technique, we investigated the litter-mixing effects of two coexisting dominant species (Leymus chinensis Lc and Phragmites australis Pa), as monocultures and mixtures with evenness (Lc:Pa) from M1 (30:70%), M2 (50:50%), and M3 (70:30%), on decomposition processes over time (60 and 365 days). The litter bags were placed on the soil surface along a degradation gradient [near pristine (NP), lightly degraded (LD), and highly degraded (HD)]. We found that 1) mass loss in mixture compositions was significantly and positively correlated with initial nitrogen (N) and cellulose contents; 2) litter mixing (richness and evenness) influenced decomposition dynamics individually and in interaction with the incubation days and the degradation gradients; 3) in a general linear model (GLM), nonadditive antagonistic effects were more prominent than additive or neutral effects in final litter and nutrients except for carbon (C); and 4) in nutrients (C, N, lignin) and C/N ratio, additive effects shifted to nonadditive with incubation time. We speculated that the occurrence of nonadditive positive or negative effects varied with litter and nutrients mass remaining in each degraded gradient under the mechanism of initial litter quality of monoculture species, soil properties of experimental sites, and incubation time. Our study has important implications for grassland improvement and protection by considering species biodiversity richness, as well as species evenness.
Ankush Kaushik, , M. A Aswini, P. P. Panda, Garima Shukla, N. C. Gupta
Frontiers in Environmental Science, Volume 8; doi:10.3389/fenvs.2020.619174

Water-soluble species constitute a significant fraction (up to 60–70%) of the total aerosol loading in the marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL). The “indirect” effects, that is, climate forcing due to modification of cloud properties depend on the water-soluble composition of aerosols. Thus, the characterization of aerosols over the MABL is of greater relevance. Here, we present 1-year long aerosol chemical composition data of PM10 and PM2.5 at a costal location in the northeastern Arabian Sea (Goa; 15.45°N, 73.20°E, 56 m above the sea level). Average water-soluble ionic concentration (sum of anion and cation) is highest (25.5 ± 6.9 and 19.6 ± 5.8 μg·m−3 for PM10 and PM2.5, respectively) during winter season and lowest during post-monsoon (17.3 ± 9.1 and 14.4 ± 8.1 μg·m−3 for PM10 and PM2.5, respectively). Among water-soluble ionic spices, SO4 2- ion was found to be dominant species in anions and NH4 + is dominant in cations, for both PM10 and PM2.5 during all the seasons. These observations clearly hint to the contribution from anthropogenic emission and significant secondary inorganic species formation. Sea-salt (calculated based on Na+ and Cl−) concentration shows significant temporal variability with highest contribution during summer seasons in both fractions. Sea-salt corrected Ca2+, an indicator of mineral dust is found mostly during summer months, particularly in PM10 samples, indicates contribution from mineral dust emissions from arid/semiarid regions located in the north/northwestern India and southwest Asia. These observations are corroborated with back-trajectory analyses, wherein air parcels were found to derive from the desert area in summer and Indo-Gangetic Plains (a hot spot for anthropogenic emissions) during winter. In addition, we also observe the presence of nss-K+ (sea-salt corrected), for PM2.5, particularly during winter months, indicating influence of biomass burning emissions. The impact on aerosol chemistry is further assessed based on chloride depletion. Chloride depletion is observed very significant during post-monsoon months (October and November), wherein more than 80 up to 100% depletion is found, mediated by excess sulfates highlighting the role of secondary species in atmospheric chemistry. Regional scale characterization of atmospheric aerosols is important for their better parameterization in chemical transport model and estimation of radiative forcing.
, Pedro M. Félix, Paula Chainho, Joshua A. Heumüller, Ricardo F. de Lima, Filipe Ribeiro, Ana C. Brito
Frontiers in Environmental Science, Volume 9; doi:10.3389/fenvs.2021.501673

Mangroves are some of the most productive coastal systems on the planet and provide valuable ecosystem services (ES). They are especially important in threatened ecosystems and developing countries, where they are likely to have direct impacts on local communities. An approach based on ES allows assessing ecosystems across the domains of ecology, sociology and economy. This study focused on the evaluation of ES in mangroves and started by creating a comprehensive global list of mangrove ES based on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. These services were then quantified using the best available indicators for mangrove systems. The mangroves of Diogo Nunes, São João dos Angolares and Malanza, located in the São Tomé Island, were used to illustrate the challenges in applying ES indicators in this type of ecosystems. The obtained results confirmed that mangroves can provide important and diverse services. However, the high variability among mangrove systems affects their ability to deliver ES, requiring caution for the extrapolation across regions. This assessment emphasizes how the ES framework can be used as a tool to develop management plans that integrate conservation goals and human wellbeing.
, Kulbhushansingh Suryawanshi, Stephen Mark Redpath, Stanzin Namgail, Charudutt Mishra
Frontiers in Environmental Science, Volume 9; doi:10.3389/fenvs.2021.595169

People’s views and values for wild animals are often a result of their experiences and traditional knowledge. Local folklore represents a resource that can enable an understanding of the nature of human-wildlife interactions, especially the underlying cultural values. Using archival searches and semi-structured interviews, we collected narratives about the ibex (Capra sibirica) (n = 69), and its predators, the wolf (Canis lupus) (n = 52) and the snow leopard (Panthera uncia) (n = 43), in Ladakh, India. We compared these stories to those of a mythical carnivore called seng ge or snow lion (n = 19), frequently referenced in local Tibetan Buddhist folklore and believed to share many of the traits commonly associated with snow leopards (except for livestock depredation). We then categorized the values along social-cultural, ecological and psychological dimensions. We found that the ibex was predominantly associated with utilitarianism and positive symbolism. Both snow leopard and wolf narratives referenced negative affective and negative symbolic values, though more frequently in the case of wolves. Snow leopard narratives largely focused on utilitarian and ecologistic values. In contrast, snow lion narratives were mostly associated with positive symbolism. Our results suggest that especially for snow leopards and wolves, any potentially positive symbolic associations appeared to be overwhelmed by negative sentiments because of their tendency to prey on livestock, unlike in the case of the snow lion. Since these values reflect people’s real and multifarious interactions with wildlife, we recommend paying greater attention to understanding the overlaps between natural and cultural heritage conservation to facilitate human-wildlife coexistence.
, Joana Antunes, Viren Dhimmer, Filipa Bessa, Paula Sobral
Frontiers in Environmental Science, Volume 9; doi:10.3389/fenvs.2021.579127

Microplastics (MP) have been confirmed as emerging pollutants in the marine environment due to their ubiquity, bioavailability, persistence and potential toxicity. This study contributes with valuable data regarding the abundance and characteristics of the MP found in five species collected from Portugal. The mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis (n = 140) was collected from the Tagus estuary and Porto Covo coastal area, the peppery furrow shell Scrobicularia plana (n = 140) and the polychaete Marphysa sanguinea (n = 30) both from the Sado estuary, and Trachurus trachurus (n = 82) and Scomber colias (n = 82) fished off Figueira da Foz and Sesimbra. Soft tissues of all individuals were digested using a KOH (10%) solution, which allowed the extraction of MP. All studied species presented MP. In a total of 502 MP observed from all samples, 80% were fibers and 20% were fragments, with a size range of 73 μm–4,680 μm and blue was the most common color recorded (46%). The frequency of occurrence of MP was higher in T. trachurus (70%) and lowest in M. sanguinea (17%). MP abundance ranged from 0.30 ± 0.63 MP. ind−1 in S. plana, to 2.46 ± 4.12 MP. ind−1 in S. colias. No significant correlation was found between the individual biometric parameters and total MP, fibers and fragments ingested by each species. The FTIR analysis revealed that polyester and polyethylene were the most common polymers present. These results can be used as a reference for future studies regarding the use of indicator species for monitoring MP pollution in the coast of Portugal.
Ling Zhou,
Frontiers in Environmental Science, Volume 9; doi:10.3389/fenvs.2021.636270

This paper decomposes daily crude oil shocks into demand shock, supply shock and risk shock. Then, it employs Diebold and Yilmaz connectedness index approach to explore the differences for the time-varying effect of different types of structural shocks on new energy stock markets in China, Europe and the United States during the period 10 June 2009–30 October 2018. The new findings show that: 1) There are time-varying features of structural shocks to all new energy markets. 2) The crude oil demand shock and risk shock have a large explanatory ability on the returns of all new energy stock markets, while the crude oil supply shock has a small impact. 3) The influences of crude oil demand shocks on the market returns of new energy in China, Europe and the United States are 1.31%, 8.64%, and 4.47%, respectively; however, the affection of crude oil risk shocks to the market returns of new energy in the same markets are 3.17%, 7.91%, and 21.51%, respectively. 4) The crude oil demand shock and supply shock have little impact on any new energy market volatilities, but the effects of crude oil risk shocks to China and the United States’ new energy market volatilities are 2.44% and 3.14%, respectively.
Xuyang Wang, Yuqiang Li, Xinyuan Wang, Yulin Li, Jie Lian, Xiangwen Gong
Frontiers in Environmental Science, Volume 9; doi:10.3389/fenvs.2021.633020

China faces some of the most serious desertification in the world, leading to many problems. To solve them, large-scale ecological restoration projects were implemented. To assess their effectiveness, we analyzed normalized-difference vegetation index (NDVI) data derived from SPOT VEGETATION and gridded climate datasets from 1998 to 2015 to detect the degrees of desertification and the effects of human and climate drivers on vegetation dynamics. We found that NDVI of desertified areas generally decreased before 2000, then increased. The annual increase in NDVI was fixed dunes (0.0013) = semi-fixed dunes (0.0013) > semi-mobile dunes (0.0012) > gobi (gravel) desert (0.0011) > mobile dunes (0.0003) > saline–alkali land (0.0000). The proportions of the area of each desert type in which NDVI increased were fixed dunes (43.4%) > semi-mobile dunes (39.7%) > semi-fixed dunes (26.7%) > saline–alkali land (23.1%) > gobi desert (14.4%) > mobile dunes (12.5%). Thus, the vegetation response to the restoration efforts increased as the initial dune stability increased. The proportion of the area where desertification was dominated by temperature (1.8%) was far less than the area dominated by precipitation (14.1%). However, 67.6% of the change was driven by non-climatic factors. The effectiveness of the ecological restoration projects was significant in the Loess Plateau and in the Mu Us, Horqin, and Hulunbuir sandy lands. In contrast, there was little effect in the Badain Jaran, Ulan Buh, and Tengger deserts; in particular, vegetation cover has declined seriously in the Hunshandake Sandy Land and Alkin Desert Grassland. Thus, more or different ecological restoration must be implemented in these areas.
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