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Articles from Science for Environment Policy

Articles from Science for Environment Policy

Science for Environment Policy: LIFE Projects

New tool assesses the effects of global change on water resources
Water resource management needs to adapt to changes in climate, water demand and land use. A new tool has been developed by the LIFE+ Water Change Project to assess these `global change´ impacts on water resources and inform decisions on optimal adaptation strategies. A recent study has applied the tool to a river basin in Spain.
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Bacterial remediation of groundwater depends on environmental conditions
New low cost methods using bacteria to remove toxic metals from groundwater have been investigated using both actual contaminated groundwater and artificially controlled systems. Environmental conditions, such as changing levels of acidity or alkalinity, can have a significant effect on the removal of toxins, results show.
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New wastewater treatment technology to produce less sludge
A major environmental challenge for wastewater treatment is the disposal of excess sludge produced during the process. The LIFE Perbiof project has been developing and testing a technology that will help to overcome this challenge. Results demonstrate it can perform highly effective treatment of municipal wastewater (removing 80% of the organic content) while producing low levels of sludge.
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Better management of construction waste needed to improve recycling rates in Lisbon
Management of waste from construction and demolition sites is a major concern, particularly in urban areas where large volumes of materials are generated. A recent study on the construction and demolition waste (CDW) produced in Lisbon, Portugal, suggests that improved municipal collection systems are needed to reduce the amount of waste ending up in landfill or illegal disposal sites.
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Environmental benefits of textile-reinforced concrete demonstrated
A new concrete-reinforcement system, used by the LIFE INSU-SHELL1 project, replaces steel rods with non-corrosive textile structures to reduce the amount of concrete needed in construction. This nearly halves the global warming potential of traditional steel-reinforced concrete which is the largest producer of CO2 emissions in the building industry.
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Boreal forests may benefit from controlled fires, depending on forest management
Controlled fires could help the regeneration capacity of some insects in regions of intensively managed forests, according to a recent study of Finnish forests that are part of an EU LIFE restoration project. Results indicated that fire can be an effective conservation measure but its impact depends on the region´s history and context.
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The quality of sheep grazing is not reduced by upland bog restoration
Restoration of upland bog habitats by blocking drainage channels has caused concern among some sheep farmers that this will reduce the quality of grazing areas. However, UK researchers have shown that drainage does not encourage growth of plants favoured by sheep, nor do sheep use drained areas more. Therefore they conclude such restoration measures are unlikely to detrimentally affect sheep grazing.
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The value of seed harboured in Mediterranean temporary ponds
Temporary ponds and their varying water levels provide the conditions for valuable wildlife habitat. A study in Crete, conducted under the LIFE-Nature project Actions for the Conservation of Mediterranean Temporary Ponds in Crete, has demonstrated these ponds contain varied collections of seeds and that these `seed banks´ could play an important role in vegetation recovery after droughts.
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Litter size of European mink less than half that of invasive American mink
The litter size of the endangered European mink is less than half of that of its main competitor, the invasive American mink, research shows. The higher fertility of the American mink may allow rapid population growth of this species, threatening European mink with extinction.
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Translocation for conservation: helping or harming wild populations?
The value of moving animals or plants from a stable population into one that is endangered or even extinct has been questioned, with some suggesting that it will mean that the new population is not well adapted to its environment. However, research on an endangered toad has shown that even when individuals were translocated from great distances, the population was able to genetically adapt to local conditions within a few generations.
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