Ecological Questions 2022-07-11T14:02:48+02:00 Agnieszka Piernik Open Journal Systems <p>An International Journal on Controversial Problems of Ecology. Published 4 times a year in free of charge open access model.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Q2 in ranking of Scopus </strong></span></p> <p><strong>EQ SCOPUS CiteScore 2021 1.9 </strong></p> <p><strong>JCR </strong><strong>Web of Science™ Journal Citation Indicator (JCI) 2021 0.260 </strong></p> <p><strong>Special Issue</strong><br /><a href=""><strong>“Exploring the scientific literature on controversial and timely ecological questions”</strong></a><br />Last submission date: <strong>October 30th, 2022. </strong>See announcements.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> Density or variability: is it time for a paradigm shift in ecology? 2022-05-19T13:31:22+02:00 Janusz Uchmanski <p>In ecology, the paradigm of density is commonly used. It is used to construct mathematical models and to plan and interpret ecological experiments. This leads to mathematical models using differential equations in ecology. It seems, however, due the fundamental discontinuity in ecological systems, which appears in the form of discrete individuals in the population, we should use in models of population dynamics a paradigm that speaks of the variability of these individuals and the discontinuity of basic demographic processes in populations. This should result in the further development of individual-based modelling in ecology as well as the development of experimental individual-based ecology. The paradigm of dependence on density in a slightly altered form and the assumption of the continuity of ecological processes can continue to be used in those branches of ecology that deal with the cycling of matter and the flow of energy through ecological systems.</p> 2022-07-04T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Janusz Uchmanski Assessment of Urban Sprawl in Sargodha City using Remotely Sense Data 2022-05-31T21:32:00+02:00 Humayun Ashraf Muhammad Mobeen Muhammad Miandad Mehtab Ahmed Khan Ghani Rahman Saira Munawar <p>The current study focuses on tracking urban sprawl in one of the rapidly growing cities of Pakistan i.e., Sargodha. The secondary cities have the capacity to persuade people from rural areas to relocate. In this regard, the current study is unique in that it will give a comprehensive analysis of urban sprawl of Sargodha City. The remotely sensed data is used for this purpose. The study is primarily based on the collecting of both primary and secondary data. For the last 30 years, from 1987 to 2017, primary data was gathered from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the Global Land Cover Facility (GLCF). ERDAS Imagine 2013 is used to classify land use using remotely sensed data. The Kappa Coefficient was used to compute the accuracy assessment of classified maps. Maps are used to depict a comparative analysis of urban sprawl in the city. In addition, regression analysis and simple statistical computations are also utilised to assess dynamic changes in urban sprawl. From 1987 to 2017, a 10-year interval was used to measure change in built-up land using an equation. According to the findings of the study, Sargodha City has experienced considerable changes in land use patterns. This current study is beneficial for policymakers to design the city in a well-planned manner. The appropriate design of cities can pave the way for higher living standards in rapidly growing cities of Pakistan.</p> 2022-07-04T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Humayun Ashraf, Muhammad Mobeen, Muhammad Miandad, Mehtab Ahmed, Ghani Rahman, Saira Munawar Allelopathic effects of sunflower water extract integrated with affinity herbicide on weed control and wheat yield 2022-07-05T07:05:33+02:00 Muhammad Tahir Jatoi Samreen Riaz Ahmed Altaf Hussain Lahori Volodymyr Sydorenko Ambreen Afzal Muhammad Nawaz Kandhro Sarwat Haider Janveri Haider Bux Jatio Zaheer Ahmed Jatoi Sajjad Ali Panhwar Andrii Pruskyi <p>The aim of present study was to investigate the allelopathic impact of sunflower water extract integrated with affinity herbicide on weed management and production of wheat variety TD-1 under field condition. The trial was carried out in a three replicated and the average plot size was kept at 3x5m (15 m<sup>2</sup>). The obtained data showed that the all the treatments considerably (P&lt;0.05) minimized weed density, weed fresh weight, weed dry weight and weed control up to 90.33, 89.31, 89.61, 90.33% with application of sunflower water extract (1:10) @ 20 L ha<sup>-1</sup> (One spray at 25 DAS) + Affinity 50 WP @ 0.75 kg ha<sup>-1</sup> (One spray at 25 DAS) than control treatment. The application of sunflower water extract (1:10) @ 20 L ha<sup>-1</sup> (One spray at 25 DAS) + Affinity 50 WP @ 0.75 kg ha<sup>-1</sup> (One spray at 25 DAS) significantly increased number of tillers (32.34%), plant height (14.59%), spike length (27.89%), grains spike<sup>-1</sup> (16.80%), grain weight plant<sup>-1</sup> (47%), seed index (19.60%) and grain yield (51%) of wheat as compared with control. Overall results indicated that the sunflower water extract integrated with herbicide can be successfully used to control the narrow and broad leaves in wheat crop.</p> 2022-07-05T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Muhammad Tahir Jatoi, Samreen Riaz Ahmed, Altaf Hussain Lahori, Volodymyr Sydorenko, Ambreen Afzal, Muhammad Nawaz Kandhro, Sarwat Haider Janveri, Haider Bux Jatio, Zaheer Ahmed Jatoi, Sajjad Ali Panhwar, Andrii Pruskyi Extreme environments as reservoirs of invasive plants: the case of the garbage dump in Huehuetlan El Grande, Puebla, Mexico 2021-02-26T20:12:50+01:00 David Martínez-Moreno Jenaro Reyes-Matamoros Francisco Basurto-Peña <p>The study aimed to highlight the role of extreme environments (so-called because of the high accumulation of nutrients and other harmful products) as sites of reservoirs of invasive plants, taking as an example the community "dump" of the municipal seat of Huehuetlan el Grande, Puebla, Mexico. The results show that 56 species belonging to 52 genera and 25 families were found; the families with the highest number of species were Asteraceae and Solanaceae. The species found are from 30 different countries, being America and Ecuador with a greater number of records. According to the origin of sites, use, industrial possibilities and, if they are wild or cultivated species, it was found that there were 14 species on the roadside: 11 weeds, 9 cultivated, 8 forage, one with industrial possibilities and one threatened. The correlation analysis showed that only the number of species vs. precipitation had significant differences. It is a fact that the conditions of the "community garbage dump" represent an opportunity for invasive species to survive and persist in the seed bank, waiting for adequate conditions to germinate and settle in increasingly larger areas, favored by the growing deterioration that human activity has caused in recent years.</p> 2022-07-05T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Ecological Questions Modern use of modified Sequencing Batch Reactor in wastewater Treatment 2022-07-11T14:02:48+02:00 Afzal Hussain Khan Hassan Ahmad Rudayni Anis Ahmad Chaudhary Mohd Imran Sergij Vambol <p>If wastes are not properly managed, it may seep into the earth and aquifers, polluting both the surface and the water table. For public health reasons, leachate is considered a major environmental hazard due of its poisonous and hardy components. Because of this, it must be collected and processed adequately before being released into nature. Currently, there is no single unit procedure for appropriate leachate treatment since traditional wastewater treatment techniques are unable to degrade harmful chemicals contained in the leachate to a suitable level. Consequently, there has been an increase in the study of various leachate treatment procedures in order to maximise operational versatility. Various strategies have been used to degrade the leachate based on its properties, discharge requirements, technological possibilities, regulatory restrictions, and cost concerns. Sequencing batch reactor (SBR) treatment systems for landfill leachate were lauded for their operating flexibility, shock load resilience, and high biomass retention in the interest of long-term sustainability for the environment. Therefore, the current work objective is a deeper study of the features of SBR to identify prospects and unresolved problems in this process. The content analysis method of scientific publications from rating journals indexed in Scopus, PubMed, ScienceDirect, ResearchGate, Google Scholar on the totality of the keywords of this study in various combinations was applied; selection and synthesis of the main characteristics SBR to identify gaps in this area and prospects for future research. An in-depth analysis of the benefits and drawbacks of different leachate degrading processes is provided in this article. The role of integrated leachate treatment technologies with SBR was also highlighted. The effects of various materials, techniques, tactics, and configurations on leachate treatment were also explored in the paper. Critiqued SBR system environmental and operational factors were addressed. Readers of this work are expected to get a better understanding of SBR studies for leachate treatment and to use this information as a guide for their own research in this field. It uses the fill and draw activated sludge system with clarifier and intermittent aeration mode, where all the metabolic reactions and the separation of solid-liquid takes place in a unit tank through a timed control sequence in a non-steady state, variable capacity and suspended growth biological wastewater treatment system. The simultaneous nitrification, denitrification, and phosphorus removal are made possible by combining anaerobic and aerobic processes.</p> 2022-07-11T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Elephant’s activities elicited biodiversity disturbance in Omo Biosphere Reserve, Nigeria 2021-11-05T16:17:27+01:00 OLUDARE AGBOOLA Andre Jacques Molou Aderopo Akinsoji Stephen Oyedeji <p>Disturbance by herbivores occurs in most of the natural ecosystems and influence species diversity and vegetation structure. This study compares the vegetation of elephant (disturbed) zone (EZ) and non-elephant (undisturbed) zone (NEZ) in the Omo biosphere reserve to assess the effect of elephant browsing on the vegetation. Woody species densities, basal area, importance value and species diversity were determined from twenty sampling plots (20 m x 20 m) established randomly each in the EZ and NEZ. The result of floristic composition shows more species were in the NEZ than EZ. The species diversity reduced by 3.3% in EZ. Sorensen index of similarity of the two communities was 62%. <em>Celtis zenkeri</em> (74.75) and<em> Diospyros dendo</em> (51.1) dominated the species in the EZ while <em>Gmelina arborea </em>(127.35) and <em>Funtumia africana</em> (16.63) were the dominant species in the NEZ. Browsing of elephants directly influence species composition, diversity and structure in the forest ecosystem leading to loss of biodiversity.</p> 2022-07-11T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2022 OLUDARE AGBOOLA, Andre Jacques Molou, Aderopo Akinsoji, Stephen Oyedeji Exploring what motivates the development of upcycling practices. 2022-06-13T18:43:29+02:00 José María Martín Martín María José Ruiz Martos Andrés Morales Pachón Sara Calvo Martínez <div><span lang="EN-US">Faced with an aggressive production model with the use of resources, initiatives such as upcycling arise that seek to extend the life of products. This paper analyzes the role of individuals’ principles and values as driving factors, something that has not been studied in depth to date. The study is based on a field work in which 830 subjects from 180 countries have participated in a survey, from September 2019 to September 2020. This large sample of participants at the international level is one of the key contributions of the work, since it allows us to contrast conclusions from the few previous works and issue new ones based on the sequence of analysis described below, which broadens the empirical base in this field of study. The data so collected was analysed using the statistical software Stata and estimating standard multiple linear regressions, ordered logit and logit regressions. The findings confirmed the chain of actions - doing, frequency, entrepreneurship - is decisively conditioned by personal values and principles. This sequence of analysis constitutes the main contribution of our work. With regards to entrepreneurship, this work provides evidence that having the intention to start up an upcycling business is more likely when individuals consider upcycling important for them and report themselves as having a high probability of upcycling; but it is less likely among women and the older age groups (more than 55 years old).</span></div> 2022-07-23T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2022 José María Martín Martín, María José Ruiz Martos, Andrés Morales Pachón, Sara Calvo Martínez Investigation of heavy metal contamination and ecological and health risks in farmland soils from southeastern phosphate plateaus of Khouribga (Morocco) 2022-06-14T01:53:05+02:00 Ahmed Barakat Rida Khellouk Widad Ennaji Hassan Mosaid <p>The present study was conducted in the SE area of phosphate plateaus (Khouribga) located in central Morocco. It attempted to assess the heavy metal (HM) (Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Zn) contamination in the farmland soils and their potential ecological hazard and non-non-carcinogenic risks using various pollution indices, magnetic susceptibility (MS), and Geographical Information System (GIS) methods. A total of 41 soil samples were collected and analyzed for pH, electrical conductivity (EC), grain-size, organic matter (OM), calcium carbonate (CaCO<sub>3</sub>), and MS and HM elements. The results showed a mean dominance order of Zn&gt;Cr&gt;Cu&gt;Pb&gt;Cd where mean concentrations of HMs, except Pb, exceeded their local background and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) permissible guidelines. The values of geo-accumulation index (Igeo), nemerow pollution index (<em>PI</em>), and pollution load index (<em>PLI</em>) revealed significant high level of HM contamination in soils. The MS values showed a spatial distribution pattern similar to those of HMs, attesting the ability of the MS method for mapping the contaminated soils. Agricultural and mining activities and geologic materials were the main sources of HM accumulation. According to the potential ecological risk index (<em>RI</em>) (195.93&lt;<em>RI</em>&lt;1092.53), the soil samples had moderate (65.85%) to high ecological (34.15%) risk. The hazard index (<em>HI</em>) showed that adults and children are not exposed to non-carcinogenic risk from the studied HMs, apart from two soil samples where Cd posed health risks to children compared to the other studied HMs. The statistical results revealed that soils are polluted by anthropogenic activities. Accordingly, effective agricultural practices that respect the environment, including the reduction of inputs as fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides should be required to guarantee the safety of cropland and the residents in the studied area. Hence, the findings from this study provided some useful information for soil pollution control and management in the study area.</p> 2022-08-17T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Ahmed Barakat, Rida Khellouk, Widad Ennaji, Hassan Mosaid Small-scale biogas plants in Vietnam: How are affected by policy issues? 2022-06-20T14:27:08+02:00 Sheriff Noi Marek Jelínek Hynek Roubik <p>Both developed and developing countries are working towards creating an emission free planet. Vietnam, as one of the highest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, has implemented several policies to curtail this phenomenon. Most of these policies are geared towards the development of renewable energy technologies such as biogas. The country’s policy on environmental protection, clean energy, climate change, and rural development has been based on small-scale biogas programs and projects. However, how are these small-scale biogas plants affected by arising policy issues? To answer this question, an intensive literature review was conducted and accompanied by a consultation with biogas experts with a focus on Vietnam. The data collected were analysed using the policy cycle analytical approach. The results showed that several policy instruments, such as the price of other conventional fuels and feed-in-tariffs, affect small-scale biogas plants. Furthermore, thousands of small-scale biogas plants have been installed due to good policies such as the Vietnam National Biogas Program. Finally, funding remains the biggest barrier to biogas policy amendments and implementation; the several biogas programs implemented over the decade could have yielded more positive impact if financial barriers like co-financing by the beneficiaries were set up more appropriately. In addition, new policies in the future will favour mid- to large-scale biogas plants rather than small-scale biogas plants. This policy implication threatens the sustainability of small-scale biogas plants; therefore, policy makers must be adroit in addressing policy issues that affect biogas production in Vietnam.</p> 2022-08-17T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Sheriff Noi, Marek Jelínek, Hynek Roubik Changes in the agro-technique cultivation of barley as an adaptation to climate change. 2022-06-02T17:17:12+02:00 Adrian Maho Gjergji Mero Ferdinant Maho <p>Agricultural crops productivity depends on the optimum degree of genetic factors, climate, soil and the level of agro-technology. These factors are changing constantly. The study is focused in a multi-year analysis of the climatic indicators in the region of Korça, by analysing the impact of these changes on the performance of morphological, physiological and production indicators of barley cultivars. The experimental part of the study identified the most suitable barley cultivars and planting period in response to climate changes. The observed data for the time period 2018–2021, and their comparison with a 30-year range period 1961–1990, indicated an increase by 1.8°C of the average atmosphere temperature. During the years of the study, the annual average amount of precipitation has shown not significant changes, but is observed less rainy days with high intensity. The application of the integrated Bagnoulus &amp; Gaussen method indicated that the drought period has increased. From the study it is concluded that climatic factors affect the development of plants not separately but integrated. The period with the greatest influence of ecological factors on the production of different genotypes of barley occurs in the months May – June, a period where the plant is in the ripening stage. The main factor identified, in terms of adaptation to climate change, is the planting of barley in October compared to March, applied in previous practices. Different barley genotypes manifest different degrees of response to climate changes.</p> 2022-08-17T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Adrian Maho, Gjergji Mero, Ferdinant Maho Substrates based on composted sewage sludge for land recultivation 2022-05-30T12:26:48+02:00 Uliana Storoshchuk Myroslav Malovanyy Ivan Tymchuk <p>Increasing a large amounts of sewage sludge in Ukraine is an urgent environmental problem that requires the selection of an effective strategy for their disposal. The usage of sludge composting technology leads to the restoration of sludge as a resource and is cost-effective and environmentally sustainable compared to the method of landfilling. The purpose of this research is to carry out bioindication tests of growth substrates based on composted sewage sludge with the subsequent possibility of their usage in the technology of recultivation of landfills for municipal solid waste. The experiment was performed on four types of compost with different modifications of the natural sorbent - zeolite. During the experiment the average percentage of germination of polygamous ryegrass plants (<em>Lolium perenne </em>L.) was determined in the investigated substrates. The mass and length of the aboveground part of the plant and roots were also measured. The results showed that the addition of natural sorbent to substrates has a positive effect on growth and development of plants.</p> <p>This investigation was conducted in accordance with the current norms of national standards of Ukraine: DSTU 7369 (2013), "Wastewater. Requirements for wastewater and its sediments for irrigation and fertilization"; DSTU ISO 11269-1 (2004), "Soil quality. Determination of the effect of pollutants on soil flora. Part 1: Method for determining the inhibitory effect on a root growth"; DSTU ISO 11269-2 (2002), "Soil quality. Determination of the effect of pollutants on soil flora. Part 2: Effects of Chemicals on Germination and Growth of Higher Plants". The experiment was conducted on four types of compost with different modifications of the natural sorbent - zeolite in percentage amounts: 0; 2.5; 5; 7.5, dark-grey gilded soil was used as a control element. In the experiment, the average percentage of germination of polygamous ryegrass plants (<em>Lolium perenne </em>L.) on the studied substrates was determined. The mass and length of the aboveground part of the plant and roots were also measured.</p> <p>The first sprouts of ryegrass began to appear on the 7th day of the experiment. The highest average value on the seventh day of germination was 90% in the control sample with 5% of sorbent content and in K2 substrate in the sample with 7.5% sorbent content. However, the germination of plants in substrates K3 and K4 occurred later compared with substrates K1, K2, and control. For substrate K1 in the sample with a sorbent content of 5%, plant germination was the highest and was 100%. The highest average value of ryegrass stem length is observed in variant K4 in the sample with 0% zeolite content and in variant K1 in the sample without zeolite content the lowest average value of stem length was observed. The K3 and K4 variants have a more developed root system compared to other variants.</p> <p>Based on the obtained data it can be assumed that the most optimal universal component for creating a growth substrate is variant K3 (mixture of "newly picked" and "old" SS) which has not so developed aboveground part but has very branched root system that allows to adapt to various environmental factors and in combination with a small proportion of natural sorbents can be effective for the recultivation of MSW landfills, which in its turn minimizes the need to use a fertile soil layer.</p> 2022-08-17T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Uliana Storoshchuk , Myroslav Malovanyy, Ivan Tymchuk The effect of temperature change on metabolism: separating biological and chemical reactions 2022-02-09T14:43:01+01:00 Krzysztof Rychert <p>Life-detection experiments carried out in extraterrestrial locations provided inconclusive results whether processes observed were biological or chemical. In this study, the typical effect of temperature on metabolic rates is described and a life-detection method that is easy to perform is proposed. The method comprises observing changes in microbial metabolic rates after temperature shift. The method was demonstrated by experiments on aquatic microorganisms in the Gulf of Gdansk (Baltic Sea). First experiment, in which temperature was shifted within the temperature range encountered at the sampling site, demonstrated a typical Q<sub>10</sub> coefficient (2.84). The experiment in which temperature was shifted beyond the environmental temperature range provided an unexpectedly low Q<sub>10</sub> coefficient (1.44), which indicated that excessive temperature exerted an inhibitory effect on metabolism. This response is not expected for chemical reactions, but it is typical for biological processes. In summary, a pair of properly-tailored experiments permitted separating biological and chemical reactions.</p> 2022-08-17T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Krzysztof Rychert