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See detailForest cover correlates with good biological water quality. Insights from a regional study (Wallonia, Belgium)
Brogna, Delphine; Dufrêne, Marc ULiege; Michez, Adrien ULiege et al

in Journal of Environmental Management (2018), 211

Abstract Forested catchments are generally assumed to provide higher quality water in opposition to agricultural and urban catchments. However, this should be tested in various ecological contexts and ... [more ▼]

Abstract Forested catchments are generally assumed to provide higher quality water in opposition to agricultural and urban catchments. However, this should be tested in various ecological contexts and through the study of multiple variables describing water quality. Indeed, interactions between ecological variables, multiple land use and land cover (LULC) types, and water quality variables render the relationship between forest cover and water quality highly complex. Furthermore, the question of the scale at which land use within stream catchments most influences stream water quality and ecosystem health remains only partially answered. This paper quantifies, at the regional scale and across five natural ecoregions of Wallonia (Belgium), the forest cover effect on biological water quality indices (based on diatoms and macroinvertebrates) at the riparian and catchment scales. Main results show that forest cover – considered alone – explains around one third of the biological water quality at the regional scale and from 15 to 70% depending on the ecoregion studied. Forest cover is systematically positively correlated with higher biological water quality. When removing spatial, local morphological variations, or population density effect, forest cover still accounts for over 10% of the total biological water quality variation. Partitioning variance shows that physico-chemical water quality is one of the main drivers of biological water quality and that anthropogenic pressures often explain an important part of it (shared or not with forest cover). The proportion of forest cover in each catchment at the regional scale and across all ecoregions but the Loam region is more positively correlated with high water quality than when considering the proportion of forest cover in the riparian zones only. This suggests that catchment-wide impacts and a fortiori catchment-wide protection measures are the main drivers of river ecological water quality. However, distinctive results from the agricultural and highly human impacted Loam region show that riparian forests are positively linked to water quality and should therefore be preserved. [less ▲]

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See detailWalloon researchers on ecosystem services... What's up?
Maebe, Laura ULiege; Authelet, Manon ULiege; Breyne, Johanna ULiege et al

Poster (2017, December 12)

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See detailLinking Forest Cover to Water Quality: A Multivariate Analysis of Large Monitoring Datasets
Brogna, Delphine; Michez, Adrien ULiege; Jacobs, Sander et al

in Water (2017), 9(3), 176

Forested catchments are generally assumed to provide higher quality water. However, this hypothesis must be validated in various contexts as interactions between multiple land use and land cover (LULC ... [more ▼]

Forested catchments are generally assumed to provide higher quality water. However, this hypothesis must be validated in various contexts as interactions between multiple land use and land cover (LULC) types, ecological variables and water quality variables render this relationship highly complex. This paper applies a straightforward multivariate approach on a typical large monitoring dataset of a highly managed and densely populated area (Wallonia, Belgium; 10-year dataset), quantifying forest cover effects on nine physico-chemical water quality variables. Results show that forest cover explains about one third of the variability of water quality and is positively correlated with higher quality water. When controlling for spatial autocorrelation, forest cover still explains 9% of water quality. Unlike needle-leaved forest cover, broad-leaved forest cover presents an independent effect from ecological variables and explains independently 4.8% of water quality variability while it shares 5.8% with cropland cover. This study demonstrates clear independent effects of forest cover on water quality, and presents a method to tease out independent LULC effects from typical large multivariate monitoring datasets. Further research on explanatory variables, spatial distribution effects and water quality datasets could lead to effective strategies to mitigate pollution and reach legal targets. [less ▲]

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See detailHow does forest cover impact water flows and ecosystem services? Insights from real-life catchments in Wallonia (Belgium)
Brogna, Delphine; Vincke, Caroline; Brostaux, Yves ULiege et al

in Ecological Indicators (2017), 72

While planet boundaries are being crossed and ecosystems degraded, the Ecosystem Service (ES) conceptrepresents a potential decision-making tool for improved natural resources management. The main aimof ... [more ▼]

While planet boundaries are being crossed and ecosystems degraded, the Ecosystem Service (ES) conceptrepresents a potential decision-making tool for improved natural resources management. The main aimof this paper is to assess the impact of forest cover on water related ES in Wallonia (Belgium) in termsof quantity and timing. We developed an approach based on easily accessible data, monitored in severalcountries and using straightforward statistical methods. This led us to study ES at “real-life” catchmentsscale: 22 catchments – from 30 to 250 km2– with mixed land covers were studied. We approached thewater supply and flood protection services through 5 indicators extracted from 10 hydrological years(2005–2014) discharge data series. These were computed annually and seasonally (vegetation periodfrom March to September and “non-vegetation” period the rest of the year). The water supply wasassessed through the specific volume Vs, the baseflow index BFI and the specific discharge exceeded95% of the time Q95s whereas the flood protection service was approached through the specific dis-charge exceeded 5% of the time Q05s and the flashiness index FI. Our study gives two main insights. First,statistical analyses show that forest cover negatively impact water supply when studying annual and“non-vegetation” period flows in general (Vs) but positively when studying low flows (Q95s). Regardingflood protection a slightly negative impact of forest cover on high flows (Q05s) was highlighted in the“non-vegetation” period. Results also show a negative impact of forests annually and in the vegetationperiod on the flashy behaviour of the catchment thus a positive impact on the flood protection ES. The“year” effect is overall highly significant testifying the importance of climatic factors. Rainfall is oftensignificant and can be considered as a main driver of these ES. Secondly, analyzing the quality of themodels produced and the results overall we assume that other variables characterizing the catchmentssuch as topography or soil types do play a significant role in the delivery of these ES. This questions theuse of land cover proxies in assessing and mapping of hydrological ES at a complex landscape scale. Wethus recommend further research to keep improving land cover proxies if they are used. [less ▲]

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See detailEcosystem services in Wallonie ... What's up?
Maebe, Laura ULiege; Pipart, Nathalie; Dendoncker, Nicolas et al

Poster (2016, December 13)

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See detailEcosystem services in Wallonie ... What's up?
Maebe, Laura ULiege; Nathalie, Pipart; Brogna, Delphine et al

Poster (2016, September 20)

In Wallonia, a growing amount of projects on ecosystem services (ES) are conducted. These projects implement the ES concept at different spatial scales (ranging from the country scale to the plot scale ... [more ▼]

In Wallonia, a growing amount of projects on ecosystem services (ES) are conducted. These projects implement the ES concept at different spatial scales (ranging from the country scale to the plot scale), focus on some particular ES or consider all of them and finally, rely on one or multiple valuation types (i.e. biophysical, social and economic). With their multiple dimensions they feed each other with reflexions and methods. The aim of the stand is to give an overview of these ongoing projects taking place in Wallonia. Their similarities and common objectives will be highlighted on posters while their specificities will be presented by means of games, activities, quiz, etc. We hope to stimulate discussions and debates on our methods and results, to foster networking and knowledge exchange. Hereunder, we give a short overview of these projects to give hints on the diversity addressed by our stand. At the Belgian scale, BELBEES, a project funded by BELSPO, aims to identify the factors responsible for the decline of wild bees. Different hypotheses are tested, including the impact of land-use changes and the reduction of floral resources availability at geographical and temporal scales. The results will allow tracking historical community-level changes in pollination service at a biogeographical scale. Such initiative is a step forward in the perspective of ecosystem service mapping. In Wallonia, various projects on ES are underway: Wal-ES, a federating platform between the Walloon administrations and the scientists, aims to create and disseminate decision support tools based on the ecosystem services concept. In order to build the common core for these tools, Wal-ES defines a conceptual framework, an integrated ecosystem services valuation framework and a database regrouping all the information needed to assess ES in Wallonia. This platform helps to conduct a practical application of its integrated ES valuation framework to land planning at a local scale. This application aims to define a methodology for impact assessment of land-consolidation plans based on ES while testing it on a case study covering three municipalities in Wallonia. LIFE IN QUARRIES aims to develop biodiversity and ecosystem services in Walloon active quarries. One of its actions is the assessment and the monitoring of ES provided by a quarry regarding the restoration, maintenance and management of the nature undertaken during the project. BIOECOSYS project is focused on qualitative and quantitative assessment of ecosystem services provided by grasslands according to their management and their territorial context. The field study aims to determine production services under different soils and climatic conditions while the goal of the regional study is the mapping of several ES (production and regulation services). Other projects focus on a more regional or local scale: The first one studies the impact of forest cover on regulating services at the regional scale. This study investigates the impact of forest cover on hydrological services (i.e. water supply, water damage mitigation) in terms of quantity, timing and quality. The methods studying the impact of forest cover on water quality and carbon storage regulation service will be presented as well as the results of the impact of forest cover on the quantity and timing aspects. Secondly, a PhD project is looking at sown wildflower strips in agricultural fields. In the project, it is tested whether increasing the functional diversity of the flower mixtures used in wildflower strips can be a tool to optimize pollination and biodiversity support services. Another PhD research project is underway, willing to explore the relationships between biodiversity, functional diversity and the delivery of ecosystem services (pest control and pollination) in agricultural landscapes. This project aims at identifying the role of landscape and its ecological infrastructures (mainly Agro-Environment Schemes) on the species and functional traits composition of different arthropods assemblages. We will then link these diversity patterns to the provisioning of the ecosystem services of interest. Ongoing work also addresses agricultural practices, by analysing the contribution of agroecological farming systems to the delivery of ecosystem services. This project relies on an integrated valuation including both a biophysical and a social valuation. Focusing on the same fields as the above project, this one attempts to develop an innovative method to assess ecosystem services in agricultural fields by means of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones). [less ▲]

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See detailA new valuation school: Integrating diverse values of nature in resource and land use decisions
Jacobs, Sander; Dendoncker; Martin-Lopez, Berta et al

in Ecosystem Services (2016), 22

We are increasingly confronted with severe social and economic impacts of environmental degradation all over the world. From a valuation perspective, environmental problems and conflicts originate from ... [more ▼]

We are increasingly confronted with severe social and economic impacts of environmental degradation all over the world. From a valuation perspective, environmental problems and conflicts originate from trade-offs between values. The urgency and importance to integrate nature's diverse values in decisions and actions stand out more than ever. Valuation, in its broad sense of ‘assigning importance’, is inherently part of most decisions on natural resource and land use. Scholars from different traditions -while moving from heuristic interdisciplinary debate to applied transdisciplinary science- now acknowledge the need for combining multiple disciplines and methods to represent the diverse set of values of nature. This growing group of scientists and practitioners share the ambition to explore how combinations of ecological, socio-cultural and economic valuation tools can support real-life resource and land use decision-making. The current sustainability challenges and the ineffectiveness of single-value approaches to offer relief demonstrate that continuing along a single path is no option. We advocate for the adherence of a plural valuation culture and its establishment as a common practice, by contesting and complementing ineffective and discriminatory single-value approaches. In policy and decision contexts with a willingness to improve sustainability, integrated valuation approaches can be blended in existing processes, whereas in contexts of power asymmetries or environmental conflicts, integrated valuation can promote the inclusion of diverse values through action research and support the struggle for social and environmental justice. The special issue and this editorial synthesis paper bring together lessons from pioneer case studies and research papers, synthesizing main challenges and setting out priorities for the years to come for the field of integrated valuation. [less ▲]

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See detailLiDAR derived ecological integrity indicators for riparian zones: Application to the Houille river in Southern Belgium/Northern France
Michez, Adrien ULiege; Piégay, Hervé; Toromanoff, François ULiege et al

in Ecological Indicators (2013), 34(0), 627-640

Riparian zones are central landscape features providing several ecosystem services and are exceptionally rich in biodiversity. Despite their relatively low area coverage, riparian zones consequently ... [more ▼]

Riparian zones are central landscape features providing several ecosystem services and are exceptionally rich in biodiversity. Despite their relatively low area coverage, riparian zones consequently represent a major concern for land and water resource managers confirmed within several European directives. These directives involve effective multi-scale monitoring to assess their conditions and their ability to carry out their functions. The objective of this research was to develop automated tools to provide from a single aerial LiDAR dataset new mapping tools and keystone riparian zone attributes assessing the ecological integrity of the riparian zone at a network scale (24 km reach). Different metrics were extracted from the original LiDAR point cloud, notably the Digital Terrain Model and Canopy Height Model rasters, allowing the extraction of riparian zones attributes such as the wetted channel (0.89 m; mean residual) and floodplain extents (6.02 m; mean residual). Different riparian forest characteristics were directly extracted from these layers (patch extent, overhanging character, longitudinal continuity, relative water level, mean and relative standard deviation of tree height). Within the riparian forest, the coniferous stands were distinguished from deciduous and isolated trees, with high accuracy (87.3 %, Kappa Index). Going further the mapping of the indicators, our study proposed an original approach to study the riparian zone attributes within different buffer width, from local scale (50 m long channel axis reach) to a network scale (ca 2 km long reaches), using a disaggregation/re-agraggation process. This novel approach, combined to graphical presentations of the results allow natural resource managers to visualise the variation of upstream-downstream attributes and to identify priority action areas. In the case study, results showed a general decrease of the riparian forests when the river crosses built-up areas. They also highlighted the lower flooding frequency of riparian forest patches in habitats areas. Those results showed that LiDAR data can be used to extract indicators of ecological integrity of riparian zones in temperate climate zone. They will enable the assessment of the ecological integrity of riparian zones to be undertaken at the regional scale (13000 km, completely covered by an aerial LIDAR survey in 2013). [less ▲]

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See detailTélédétection spatiale de l'occupation du Sol en Wallonie
Bonnet, Stéphanie ULiege; Brogna, Delphine; Piron, Julie et al

Report (2010)

1- Analyse de la qualité radiométrique de la couche ORTHOS_DGA (Unité de Géomatique) 2-Mise au point d’une stratégie d’acquisition d’images HR destinées à être utilisées en complément de la couche ORTHOS ... [more ▼]

1- Analyse de la qualité radiométrique de la couche ORTHOS_DGA (Unité de Géomatique) 2-Mise au point d’une stratégie d’acquisition d’images HR destinées à être utilisées en complément de la couche ORTHOS_DGA (Unité de Géomatique) -3 Production d’une couche de différence d’altitude entre le MNS_DGA et un MNT (Unité de Géomatique - GRFMN) 4- Préparation d’une base de données d’objets de référence (GRFMN) 5- Mise au point des procédures de segmentation d’images (GRFMN) 6- Préparation de la base de données « images » (GRFMN) 7- Analyses thématiques (GRFMN – Unité de Géomatique) 8- Intégration des données produites dans la base de données géographique de la Région wallonne (Unité de Géomatique - GRFMN) 9- Recommandations pour les réalisations des futures couches « image satellitale HR » de la Wallonie (Unité de Géomatique - GRFMN) [less ▲]

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