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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/

    Land use is a crucial sector in delivering enhanced carbon sequestration globally. At the same time food production is a major source of global greenhouse gas emissions. As pressure mounts for all nations to increase their levels of ambition under the Paris Climate Agreement, so the pressure to radically reduce emissions from the agriculture sector and enhance carbon sequestration in the land use sector also ramps up. This trend is most clearly evident in the drive for “net zero” where unavoidable emissions, such as those from food production, are balanced by more sequestration via land use change. Here we examine some of the major risks, applicable safeguards, and potential pathways for agriculture and land use in realizing net zero. Using the UK as an example we highlight the importance of governance, finance, skills, research and technology, and society in this transition. We conclude that successful land use policy for net zero will require extremely demanding levels of integration and spatial resolution, and that the research community has a vital role to play in providing a robust evidence base for this. We also invoke the Cancun safeguards as a basis on which a more sustainable and just transition to net zero might be based. Finally, we warn of unintended distortions to policy and markets if the drive for net zero is too blinkered.

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    Frontiers in Climate
    Article . 2020 . Peer-reviewed
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    Frontiers in Climate
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    Frontiers in Climate
    Article . 2020
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      image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Edinburgh Research E...arrow_drop_down
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      image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
      Frontiers in Climate
      Article . 2020 . Peer-reviewed
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      Frontiers in Climate
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      Frontiers in Climate
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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: Johanna Riha; Alex Karabarinde; Gerald Ssenyomo; Steven Allender; +5 Authors

    BACKGROUND: Urban living is associated with unhealthy lifestyles that can increase the risk of cardiometabolic diseases. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where the majority of people live in rural areas, it is still unclear if there is a corresponding increase in unhealthy lifestyles as rural areas adopt urban characteristics. This study examines the distribution of urban characteristics across rural communities in Uganda and their associations with lifestyle risk factors for chronic diseases. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Using data collected in 2011, we examined cross-sectional associations between urbanicity and lifestyle risk factors in rural communities in Uganda, with 7,340 participants aged 13 y and above across 25 villages. Urbanicity was defined according to a multi-component scale, and Poisson regression models were used to examine associations between urbanicity and lifestyle risk factors by quartile of urbanicity. Despite all of the villages not having paved roads and running water, there was marked variation in levels of urbanicity across the villages, largely attributable to differences in economic activity, civil infrastructure, and availability of educational and healthcare services. In regression models, after adjustment for clustering and potential confounders including socioeconomic status, increasing urbanicity was associated with an increase in lifestyle risk factors such as physical inactivity (risk ratio [RR]: 1.19; 95% CI: 1.14, 1.24), low fruit and vegetable consumption (RR: 1.17; 95% CI: 1.10, 1.23), and high body mass index (RR: 1.48; 95% CI: 1.24, 1.77). CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that even across rural communities in SSA, increasing urbanicity is associated with a higher prevalence of lifestyle risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases. This finding highlights the need to consider the health impact of urbanization in rural areas across SSA. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.

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    Article . 2014
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    PLoS Medicine
    Article . 2014 . Peer-reviewed
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    PLoS Medicine
    Article . 2014
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      image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ CORE (RIOXX-UK Aggre...arrow_drop_down
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      Article . 2014
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      PLoS Medicine
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      PLoS Medicine
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      PLoS Medicine
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    Authors: Rosenthal, Orna; Wing, Alan M.; Wyatt, Jeremy L.; Punt, David; +3 Authors

    Background Intensive robot-assisted training of the upper limb after stroke can reduce motor impairment, even at the chronic stage. However, the effectiveness of practice for recovery depends on the selection of the practised movements. We hypothesized that rehabilitation can be optimized by selecting the movements to be practiced based on the trainee’s performance profile. Methods We present a novel principle (‘steepest gradients’) for performance-based selection of movements. The principle is based on mapping motor performance across a workspace and then selecting movements located at regions of the steepest transition between better and worse performance. To assess the benefit of this principle we compared the effect of 15 sessions of robot-assisted reaching training on upper-limb motor impairment, between two groups of people who have moderate-to-severe chronic upper-limb hemiparesis due to stroke. The test group (N = 7) received steepest gradients-based training, iteratively selected according to the steepest gradients principle with weekly remapping, whereas the control group (N = 9) received a standard “centre-out” reaching training. Training intensity was identical. Results Both groups showed improvement in Fugl-Meyer upper-extremity scores (the primary outcome measure). Moreover, the test group showed significantly greater improvement (twofold) compared to control. The score remained elevated, on average, for at least 4 weeks although the additional benefit of the steepest-gradients -based training diminished relative to control. Conclusions This study provides a proof of concept for the superior benefit of performance-based selection of practiced movements in reducing upper-limb motor impairment due to stroke. This added benefit was most evident in the short term, suggesting that performance-based steepest-gradients training may be effective in increasing the rate of initial phase of practice-based recovery; we discuss how long-term retention may also be improved. Trial registration ISRCTN, ISRCTN65226825, registered 12 June 2018 - Retrospectively registered, Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1186/s12984-019-0513-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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    Europe PubMed Central
    Article . 2019
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    Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
    Article . 2019 . Peer-reviewed
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      Europe PubMed Central
      Article . 2019
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      Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
      Article . 2019 . Peer-reviewed
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    Authors: Meizhi Li; Katikireddi, Srinivasa;

    Numerical data extraction for meta-analysis. (DOCX 17 kb)

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    Authors: Meng, Lin; Macleod, Catherine A.; Porr, Bernd; Gollee, Henrik;

    This paper presents a human-inspired approach to the design of bipedal robotic walking control, using information that appears to be intrinsic to human walking. We first investigated the correlation between ground contact information from the feet and leg muscle activity (EMG) in human walking. From this relationship filter functions were created which relate the sensory input to motor actions producing a minimal, nonlinear and robust robotic controller which incorporates hip, knee and ankle control. The developed control system was subsequently analysed by applying it to our bipedal robot "RunBot III", a minimalistic robotic walker designed without any central pattern generators (CPGs) or precise trajectory control. Our results demonstrated that this controller, which regards the function between the sensory input and motor output as a black box derived from human data, can generate stable robotic walking. This indicates that complex locomotion patterns can result from a simple model based on reflexes and supports the premise that human-inspired methods have the potential for use in the control of robotics or in the development of assistive devices for gait.

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    Article . 2018
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    Europe PubMed Central
    Article . 2018
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    Biological Cybernetics
    Article . 2018 . Peer-reviewed
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    Biological Cybernetics
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      Article . 2018
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      Biological Cybernetics
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    Authors: Claudia Arndt; Tom Misselbrook; Andres Vega; Ricardo González-Quintero; +3 Authors

    Agriculture is the largest source of ammonia (NH3) emissions. As NH3 is an indirect greenhouse gas, NH3 measurements are crucial to improving greenhouse gas emission inventory estimates. Moreover, NH3 emissions have wider implications for environmental and human health. Only a few studies have measured NH3 emissions from pastures in the tropics and subtropics and none has compared emissions to inventory estimates. The objectives of this study were to (1) measure NH3 emissions from dairy pastures in tropical and subtropical regions; (2) calculate NH3 emissions factors (EF) for each campaign; and (3) compare measured EF with those based on the 2006 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Tier 1, 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Tier 1, and the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme/European Environmental Agency (EMPE/EEA) Tier 2 inventory estimates. Pasture NH3 emissions were measured on 3 dairy farms in Costa Rica. On each dairy, NH3 emissions were measured twice during the wet season and once during the dry season using a micrometeorological integrated horizontal-flux mass-balance method. Emissions were measured from excreta (dung and urine) deposited by grazing cattle and the subsequent application of organic (slurry) or synthetic fertilizer (ammonium nitrate or urea). Measured EF for all campaigns [from grazing cattle excreta and any subsequent slurry or fertilizer application; 4.9 ± 0.9% of applied nitrogen (mean ± SE)] were similar to those of the EMEP/EEA Tier 2 approach (6.1 ± 0.9%; mean ± SE) and 4 times lower than 2006 IPCC and 2019 Refinement to 2006 IPCC Tier 1 default estimates (17.7 ± 1.4 and 18.2 ± 0.9%, respectively; mean ± SE). Measured EF for excreta deposited on pasture and excreta both deposited on pasture and slurry application [3.9 ± 2.1 and 4.2 ± 2.1% (mean ± 95% CI), respectively] were 5 times lower than default EF assumed by 2006 IPCC and 2019 Refinement to 2006 IPCC methodology (both 20 and 21%, respectively), whereas EMEP/EAA estimates were similar [6.0 and 4.6 ± 0.3% (mean ± 95% CI), respectively]. This suggests an overestimation of EF from excreta deposited on pasture and slurry applications in tropical and subtropical regions by IPCC methodologies. Furthermore, rainfall, which is not included as a parameter in the current EMEP/EEA Tier 2 methodology, appeared to reduce NH3 emissions, suggesting that accounting for this in the inventory methodologies could improve inventory estimates.

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    Journal of Dairy Science; Rothamsted Repository
    Other literature type . Article . 2020 . Peer-reviewed
    License: Elsevier Non-Commercial
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    Journal of Dairy Science
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      Journal of Dairy Science; Rothamsted Repository
      Other literature type . Article . 2020 . Peer-reviewed
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      Journal of Dairy Science
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    Authors: Ward Thompson, Catharine; Elizalde, Aldo; Cummins, Steven; Leyland, Alastair H.; +7 Authors

    High prevalence of poor mental health is a major public health problem. Natural environments may contribute to mitigating stress and enhancing health. However, there is little evidence on whether community-level interventions intended to increase exposure to natural environments can improve mental health and related behaviours. In the first study of its kind, we evaluated whether the implementation of a programme designed to improve the quality of, and access to, local woodlands in deprived communities in Scotland, UK, was associated with lower perceived stress or other health-related outcomes, using a controlled, repeat cross-sectional design with a nested prospective cohort. Interventions included physical changes to the woodlands and community engagement activities within the woodlands, with data collected at baseline (2013) and post-intervention (2014 and 2015). The interventions were, unexpectedly, associated with increased perceived stress compared to control sites. However, we observed significantly greater increases in stress for those living >500 m from intervention sites. Visits to nearby nature (woods and other green space) increased overall, and moderate physical activity levels also increased. In the intervention communities, those who visited natural environments showed smaller increases in stress than those who did not; there was also some evidence of increased nature connectedness and social cohesion. The intervention costs were modest but there were no significant changes in quality of life on which to base cost-effectiveness. Findings suggest factors not captured in the study may have contributed to the perceived stress patterns found. Wider community engagement and longer post-intervention follow-up may be needed to achieve significant health benefits from woodland interventions such as those described here. The study points to the challenges in evidencing the effectiveness of green space and forestry interventions to enhance health in urban environments, but also to potential benefits from more integrated approaches across health and landscape planning and management practice.

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    Article . 2019
    License: CC BY
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    Article . 2019
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    Europe PubMed Central
    Article . 2019
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    Sustainability
    Other literature type . Article . 2019 . Peer-reviewed
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    Article . 2019
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    Article . 2019
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      Article . 2019
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      Article . 2019
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      Europe PubMed Central
      Article . 2019
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      Other literature type . Article . 2019 . Peer-reviewed
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      Article . 2019
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      Article . 2019
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    Authors: William K. Smith; Erik J. Nelson; Justin A. Johnson; Stephen Polasky; +9 Authors

    Voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) are stakeholder-derived principles with measurable and enforceable criteria to promote sustainable production outcomes. While institutional commitments to use VSS to meet sustainable procurement policies have grown rapidly over the past decade, we still have relatively little understanding of the (i) direct environmental benefits of large-scale VSS adoption; (ii) potential perverse indirect impacts of adoption; and (iii) implementation pathways. Here, we illustrate and address these knowledge gaps using an ecosystem service modeling and scenario analysis of Bonsucro, the leading VSS for sugarcane. We find that global compliance with the Bonsucro environmental standards would reduce current sugarcane production area (−24%), net tonnage (−11%), irrigation water use (−65%), nutrient loading (−34%), and greenhouse gas emissions from cultivation (−51%). Under a scenario of doubled global sugarcane production, Bonsucro adoption would further limit water use and greenhouse gas emissions by preventing sugarcane expansion into water-stressed and high-carbon stock ecosystems. This outcome was achieved via expansion largely on existing agricultural lands. However, displacement of other crops could drive detrimental impacts from indirect land use. We find that over half of the potential direct environmental benefits of Bonsucro standards under the doubling scenario could be achieved by targeting adoption in just 10% of global sugarcane production areas. However, designing policy that generates the most environmentally beneficial Bonsucro adoption pathway requires a better understanding of the economic and social costs of VSS adoption. Finally, we suggest research directions to advance sustainable consumption and production. Significance Voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) may be an effective way to reduce the negative impacts of agriculture at regional to global scales. Here, we present an approach that highlights the potential of VSS to reduce some of the negative externalities associated with agriculture production. To illustrate this potential, we show that VSS could reduce the global environmental impacts from growing sugarcane. Further, most of this environmental benefit comes from targeting just 10% of production area. To realize these environmental gains, incentives for VSS adoption need to be sufficient to cover the costs of criteria compliance. Determining these costs and public and private-sector mechanisms for efficiently transferring VSS-adoption subsidies to farmers and millers are key future research needs.

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    Europe PubMed Central
    Article . 2019
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    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
    Article . 2019 . Peer-reviewed
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      Article . 2019
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      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
      Article . 2019 . Peer-reviewed
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    Authors: Barros, Murilla Vetroni; Salvador, Rodrigo; Gallego Schmid, Alejandro; Piekarski, Cassiano Moro;

    Unlike the linear model “take-make-use-dispose”, the circular economy model “grow-make-use-restore” intendsto potentiate material and energy flows within a system with the premise of increasing environmental gains.Moreover, circular economy practices can be alternatives for closing loops in companies from different sectors,with material-, waste-, and energy-related initiatives towards promoting greater internal value-adding. However,the lack of consistent tools for measuring circularity of processes and companies is a gap yet to be covered. Totackle this gap, this paper’s aims are: (i) to build a new tool, called Circular Flow, for generating greater internalvalue and competitive advantage in organizations and identify potential circular economy-related opportunitiesfor closing loops based on external flows, (ii) to apply the tool in a case study, an organization that presentsmaterial and energy (electricity) flows and exchanges with other organizations, and (iii) to discuss the integrationand potential opportunities for the tool in organizations. The novel, Circular Flow, tool is based on a setof circular graph visualizations, and quantitative circularity indicators. For the graphical visualization, thesoftware tool R (using the Circlize package) was used. The graphs aid the visualization of several interconnectedpieces of information, allowing to show all quantitative flows of inputs and outputs, intuitively showing the paths(origin and destination of each flow) within the boundaries of the system under study. The quantitative indicators,e.g. Circularity of the organization (Circ p) and Circularity of each process (Circ o), show a circularityindex ranging from 0% to 100%, which can be assessed at different levels. The criteria to select these indicatorsare based on quantities of inputs and outputs regarding mass and electricity. The tool has been applied in a casestudy of a rural property in southern Brazil, which region holds a tradition for milk and pig farming. The use ofthe tool showed the involvement of the rural property with its neighbors and with an agroindustrial cooperative.Keeping these flows within the system may increase environmental gains by reducing transportation, usingrenewable sources of energy, reducing costs, and boosting the generation of jobs and income in the region due tonew market opportunities and business models.

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    Waste Management
    Article . 2023 . Peer-reviewed
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      Waste Management
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    Authors: Song, Qingfeng; Chu, Chengcai; Parry, Martin A. J.; Zhu, Xin‐Guang;

    AbstractImproving canopy photosynthetic light use efficiency instead of leaf photosynthesis holds great potential to catalyze the next “green revolution”. However, leaves in a canopy experience different biochemical limitations due to the heterogeneities of microclimates and also physiological parameters. Mechanistic dynamic systems models of canopy photosynthesis are now available which can be used to design the optimal canopy architectural and physiological parameters to maximize CO2 uptake. Rapid development of modern crop genetics research now makes it possible to link such canopy models with genetic variations of crops to develop genetics‐based dynamic systems models of canopy photosynthesis. Such models can guide marker‐assisted breeding or genomic selection or engineering of crops to enhance light and nitrogen use efficiencies for different regions under future climate change scenarios.

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    Europe PubMed Central
    Article . 2016
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    Food and Energy Security
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    Food and Energy Security
    Article . 2016 . Peer-reviewed
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      Europe PubMed Central
      Article . 2016
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      Food and Energy Security
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      Food and Energy Security
      Article . 2016 . Peer-reviewed
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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/

    Land use is a crucial sector in delivering enhanced carbon sequestration globally. At the same time food production is a major source of global greenhouse gas emissions. As pressure mounts for all nations to increase their levels of ambition under the Paris Climate Agreement, so the pressure to radically reduce emissions from the agriculture sector and enhance carbon sequestration in the land use sector also ramps up. This trend is most clearly evident in the drive for “net zero” where unavoidable emissions, such as those from food production, are balanced by more sequestration via land use change. Here we examine some of the major risks, applicable safeguards, and potential pathways for agriculture and land use in realizing net zero. Using the UK as an example we highlight the importance of governance, finance, skills, research and technology, and society in this transition. We conclude that successful land use policy for net zero will require extremely demanding levels of integration and spatial resolution, and that the research community has a vital role to play in providing a robust evidence base for this. We also invoke the Cancun safeguards as a basis on which a more sustainable and just transition to net zero might be based. Finally, we warn of unintended distortions to policy and markets if the drive for net zero is too blinkered.

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    Frontiers in Climate
    Article . 2020 . Peer-reviewed
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    Frontiers in Climate
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    Frontiers in Climate
    Article . 2020
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      Frontiers in Climate
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    Authors: Johanna Riha; Alex Karabarinde; Gerald Ssenyomo; Steven Allender; +5 Authors

    BACKGROUND: Urban living is associated with unhealthy lifestyles that can increase the risk of cardiometabolic diseases. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where the majority of people live in rural areas, it is still unclear if there is a corresponding increase in unhealthy lifestyles as rural areas adopt urban characteristics. This study examines the distribution of urban characteristics across rural communities in Uganda and their associations with lifestyle risk factors for chronic diseases. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Using data collected in 2011, we examined cross-sectional associations between urbanicity and lifestyle risk factors in rural communities in Uganda, with 7,340 participants aged 13 y and above across 25 villages. Urbanicity was defined according to a multi-component scale, and Poisson regression models were used to examine associations between urbanicity and lifestyle risk factors by quartile of urbanicity. Despite all of the villages not having paved roads and running water, there was marked variation in levels of urbanicity across the villages, largely attributable to differences in economic activity, civil infrastructure, and availability of educational and healthcare services. In regression models, after adjustment for clustering and potential confounders including socioeconomic status, increasing urbanicity was associated with an increase in lifestyle risk factors such as physical inactivity (risk ratio [RR]: 1.19; 95% CI: 1.14, 1.24), low fruit and vegetable consumption (RR: 1.17; 95% CI: 1.10, 1.23), and high body mass index (RR: 1.48; 95% CI: 1.24, 1.77). CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that even across rural communities in SSA, increasing urbanicity is associated with a higher prevalence of lifestyle risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases. This finding highlights the need to consider the health impact of urbanization in rural areas across SSA. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.

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    Article . 2014
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    PLoS Medicine
    Article . 2014 . Peer-reviewed
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    PLoS Medicine
    Article . 2014
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