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1.
Warm mix asphalt use in Slovenia and in Europe : a review
Primož Pavšič, 2022, review article

Abstract: Recently, we have witnessed an extreme increase in the prices of energy and raw materials, on the one hand, and economic expansion, due to the business growth in construction sector, part of which is also the asphalt industry, on the other hand. The asphalt industry in particular is facing increasing challenges of economic acceptability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as improving working conditions. One of the possible solutions proved to be warm mix asphalts (WMA), which can be produced and compacted at reduced temperatures in comparison to hot mix asphalt (HMA). The beginnings of WMA technology in Europe date back to 1999, while in Slovenia the first field test was conducted in 2005. In the last two decades a numerous research and studies on the properties and technologies of WMA production have been conducted. According to EAPA (European Asphalt Pavement Association), the use of WMA cumulatively in Europe in period from 2013 to 2020 is slowly increasing, but the differences in WMA production in individual European countries are significant. The article presents an overview of WMA production techniques, their advantages and disadvantages and their usage in individual European countries in comparison to Slovenia.
Keywords: warm mix asphalt, pavement, environment, greenhouse gas emmissions
Published in DiRROS: 31.01.2024; Views: 77; Downloads: 44
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2.
Textile industry as a major source of microplastics in the environment
Branka Mušič, 2023, review article

Abstract: This review brings together data on the impact of (micro)plastics, on the environment. Critically evaluates studies on the use of various techniques for recycling textile plastic, which is a major polluter of the environment. In this review, let’s focus a bit more on industrial waste in the textile industry since it would be easiest possible to capture and recycle it again. We also discuss LCA studies, bottlenecks, and future perspectives, for a lower impact on the environment. The main challenges which make further recycling progress difficult are discussed, such as the lamination of textile fibers with metal, new textile fibers that appear as a result of rapid development, the difference in the density of textile fibers, low recycling efficiency, etc. Finally, the possible uses of more environmentally friendly polymers are shown, which can be an alternative to the current synthetic polymers. The results of the literature review showed that for the development of a sustainable textile industry, which would mitigate the impact of microplastics on the environment, from a long-term perspective, the integration of more intensive, complex decisions into the business models of manufacturing companies is necessary. The environmental consequences will be even more intense due to the massive releases of textile microfibers into the environment and excessive accumulation, therefore, in order to achieve the specific goals of sustainable development, a reduction in the production of microplastics is first required, which is only possible with a global partnership of all countries to achieve a specific goal on a global level.
Keywords: textile plastics, microplastics, environment, industrial textile waste, LCA, synthetic polymers alternative, recycling techniques
Published in DiRROS: 05.09.2023; Views: 210; Downloads: 125
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Are ecological niche optimum and width of forest plant species related to their functional traits?
Janez Kermavnar, Lado Kutnar, Aleksander Marinšek, Valerija Babij, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: The ecological niche is one of the central concepts in plant ecology. Understanding which biological traits influence plant niches remains limited, preventing large-scale generalizations. Using a representative pool of 94 herb-layer species frequently occurring in the Slovenian forest vegetation types and an extensive suite of 28 plant functional traits, we tested whether traits serve as predictors for the optimum and width of plant species ecological niche. Niche optimum (mean) and niche width (standard deviation) of each species were derived from community-level ecological indicator values for six environmental gradients, i.e., light, temperature, continentality, moisture, soil reaction and nutrients. We investigated relationships between niche parameters and functional traits through a random forest analysis to account for relatively high trait correlations. Our results suggest that niche optimum and width of forest plant species are related to their functional traits. The two niche parameters were best explained by similar set of traits; however, the relative importance of traits differed substantially. Traits associated with disturbances (frequency and severity), plant dispersal (seed mass, dispersal syndrome), leaf economics spectrum (specific leaf area) and life strategy (CSR scores) showed the highest overall significance in predicting niche optimum and width. Functional traits were, on average, better predictors for niche optimum (average variance explained across all six environmental factors: 20.2%) than for niche width (average variance explained: 7.7%). Intraspecific trait variability, not considered in this study, likely plays an important role in case of niche width. The analyses suggest that, while not all traits impact niche parameters to the same degree, it is crucial to consider traits representing different ecological dimensions and revealing leading patterns of trait coordination. We recommend that the relative importance of traits for species niche parameters should be tested on a larger spatial scale using broader pool of forest understory plants across Europe.
Keywords: ecological gradients, Ellenberg indicator values, Slovenian forest types, trait-environment relationship, understory plants
Published in DiRROS: 09.03.2023; Views: 382; Downloads: 217
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5.
Prediction of actual from climatic precipitation with data collected from northern Poland : a statistical approach
Jacek Barańczuk, Martina Zeleňáková, Hany F. Abd-Elhamid, Katarzyna Barańczuk, Salem S. Gharbia, Peter Blišťan, Cécil J. W. Meulenberg, Peter Kumer, Włodzimierz Golus, Maciej Markowski, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: Water is a basic element of the natural environment and the most important component in human water management. Rainfall is the main source of water. Therefore, determining the amount of precipitation reaching the ground using sensors is crucial information. Precise precipitation data are necessary for better modeling quality, as the observation data from weather stations are used as basics for weather model assessment. The authors compared precipitation from the Hellmann rain gauge (climatic precipitation, 1.0 m above the ground surface) measured throughout the year and the GGI 3000 rain gauge (actual precipitation on the ground level) measured from April to October. Measurement sequences from the years 2011–2020 were considered. The data for analysis were obtained from a weather station located in northern Poland. The authors analyzed the relationships between data from the two sensors. A comparative study showed that the measurements of actual precipitation are higher and there are strong relationships between actual and climatic rainfall (r = 0.99). Using the introduced coefficient it is possible to determine the full–year actual precipitation with high probability, taking into account the precipitation with a correction from the winter half-year and the actual precipitation from the summer half-year, which is of great importance in the calculation of the water balance.
Keywords: natural environment, climate change, precipitation, prediction, statistics, analysis, Poland
Published in DiRROS: 25.01.2023; Views: 343; Downloads: 205
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6.
Histology basics and cell death detection in honeybee tissue
Maja Ivana Smodiš Škerl, original scientific article

Abstract: Honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) inside the hive (nurse workers and other hive bees) and outside the hive (foragers) are exposed to climate and weather changes, various pesticides, pathogens, and malnutrition, mainly entering through the mouth and primarily affecting the digestive tracts of adult bees. To understand and prevent the effects of such external and internal stressors on honeybees, one useful research method is the immunohistochemical method. A basic protocol is described to prepare the midgut (ventriculus) and hypopharyngeal glands (HPGs) of adult bees for histological analysis. A detailed methodology is described to assess the level of cell damage and distinguish necrosis from programmed cell death (apoptosis) as a natural process of tissue regeneration. The results of adult honeybee treatment with oxalic acid and pesticides (insecticide and acaricide) and the determination of cell death in the ventriculus and HPGs are presented. The pros and cons of the methodology are also discussed.
Keywords: cell death, honeybee, histology, environment
Published in DiRROS: 08.07.2022; Views: 475; Downloads: 259
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7.
Advanced materials research for a green future
Bojan Podgornik, 2021, professional article

Keywords: advanced materials, research, metals, environment
Published in DiRROS: 06.05.2022; Views: 772; Downloads: 552
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8.
Variation in floristic and trait composition along environmental gradients in the herb layer of temperate forests in the transition zone between Central and SE Europe
Janez Kermavnar, Lado Kutnar, Aleksander Marinšek, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Species- and trait-environment linkages in forest plant communities continue to be a frequent topic in ecological research. We studied the dependence of floristic and functional trait composition on environmental factors, namely local soil properties, overstory characteristics, climatic parameters and other abiotic and biotic variables. The study area comprised 50 monitoring plots across Slovenia, belonging to the EU ICP Forests monitoring network. Vegetation was surveyed in accordance with harmonized protocols, and environmental variables were either measured or estimated during vegetation sampling. Significant predictors of species composition were identified by canonical correspondence analysis. Correlations between plant traits, i.e. plant growth habit, life form, flowering features and CSR signature, were examined with fourth-corner analysis and linear regressions. Our results show that variation in floristic composition was mainly explained by climatic parameters (mean annual temperature, mean annual precipitation), soil properties (pH) and tree layer-dependent light conditions. Trait composition was most closely related with tree layer characteristics, such as shade-casting ability (SCA, a proxy for light availability in the understory layer), tree species richness and tree species composition. Amongst soil properties, total nitrogen content and soil texture (proportion of clay) were most frequently correlated with different species traits or trait states. The CSR signature of herb communities was associated with tree layer SCA, soil pH and mean annual temperature. The floristic composition of the studied herb-layer vegetation depended on temperature and precipitation, which are likely to be influenced by ongoing climate change (warming and drying). Trait composition exhibited significant links to tree layer characteristics and soil conditions, which are in turn directly modified by forest management interventions.
Keywords: vegetation–environment relationship, floristic composition, life-history traits, herbaceous species, Slovenia
Published in DiRROS: 15.04.2022; Views: 584; Downloads: 359
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9.
Transition dates from earlywood to latewood and early phloem to late phloem in Norway Spruce
Jožica Gričar, Katarina Čufar, Klemen Eler, Vladimir Gryc, Hanuš Vavrčík, Martin De Luis, Peter Prislan, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Climate change will affect radial growth patterns of trees, which will result in different forest productivity, wood properties, and timber quality. While many studies have been published on xylem phenology and anatomy lately, little is known about the phenology of earlywood and latewood formation, also in relation to cambial phenology. Even less information is available for phloem. Here, we examined year-to-year variability of the transition dates from earlywood to latewood and from early phloem to late phloem in Norway spruce (Picea abies) from three temperate sites, two in Slovenia and one in the Czech Republic. Data on xylem and phloem formation were collected during 2009-2011. Sensitivity analysis was performed to determine the specific contribution of growth rate and duration on wood and phloem production, separately for early and late formed parts. We found significant differences in the transition date from earlywood to latewood between the selected sites, but not between growth seasons in trees from the same site. It occurred in the first week of July at PAN and MEN and more than two weeks later at RAJ. The duration of earlywood formation was longer than that of latewood formation; from 31.4 days at PAN to 61.3 days at RAJ. In phloem, we found differences in transition date from early phloem to late phloem also between the analysed growth seasons; from 2.5 weeks at PAN to 4 weeks at RAJ Compared to the transition from earlywood to latewood the transition from early phloem to late phloem occurred 25-64 days earlier. There was no significant relationship between the onset of cambial cell production and the transition dates. The findings are important to better understand the inter-annual variability of these phenological events in spruce from three contrasting temperate sites, and how it is reflected in xylem and phloem anatomy.
Keywords: Picea abies, xylem formation, phloem formation, cambium, tracheid, sieve cell, conifer, temperate environment
Published in DiRROS: 22.03.2021; Views: 1051; Downloads: 790
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