Environmental disturbances

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  • A rock wall stands on a forest floor in New England. This wall was built when the United States was a young nation, by human hands. Between its origin (circa 1800) and now, there have been shifts in this scene – some marked, some less apparent. On both sides of the wall, a second-growth forest stands, having replaced virgin woods, removed in all likelihood well before the fence was put in place. On the boulders comprising the fence, lichen colonies have formed, a phenomenon requiring decades without disturbance. This structure likely used to mark the edge of a farm...

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  • Acknowledgements Governing Water (2004 – 2007) is a project funded by the European Commission. The aim is to raise awareness and promote dialogue on good governance, using water as a discussion issue, within and between communities in Fiji. More than 40 rural and urban communities on Viti Levu and Vanua Levu have participated in the Governing Water project. Through Governing Water, over 300 community facilitators and schoolteachers have been trained.

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  • The state of aquatic ecosystems reflects the general state of the biosphere. The situation in the biosphere affected by anthropogenic factors was characterized as “a slow explosion” (Fedorov 1987). The global change in the biosphere and climatic system of the Earth is a manifestation of this “slow explosion” (World Resources 1990–1991, Izrael et al. 1992).

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  • Natural disasters destroy more property and kill more people with each passing year. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, landslides, fires and other natural events are becoming more frequent and their consequences more devastating. Del Moral and Walker provide a comprehensive summary of the diverse ways in which natural disasters disrupt humanity and how humans cope. Burgeoning human numbers, shrinking resources and intensification of the consequences of natural disasters have produced a crisis of unparalleled proportions.

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  • Long-term challenges remain: continuing with structural reforms, maintaining rapid and steady economic growth and fiscal discipline, boosting employment, reining in the informal economy, and making progress with respect to EU accession. While the latter is expected to be a long and complicated process, it will remain a driving force for Turkey’s reform efforts. In addition, accelerating the reform process will be vital for a positive outlook. Recent political turmoil and upcoming local elections in 2009 could become a distraction for further reforms.

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  • Dualism is a dominant theory of life that considers reality to be a balance between two independent and fundamental principles: good and evil, mind and matter, nature and nurture. In the same manner we see the thread of dualism run through the ecology of parasitism: they can generate diversity but cause extinction, they may castrate a host but increase its growth rate, and they can stimulate an immune response but at the same time encourage a secondary chronic infection.

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  • During recent decades, attention and concern has been focused increasingly on the environmental impacts of human activities, especially industrial activities such as mining. The public perception of the mining industry has been tainted by a legacy of envi- ronmental damage from past practices combined with a number of highly publicized failures of metal min- ing tailings dams. As the scale of operations and the area disturbed by the mining industry continue to grow, so too has the public's concern over the indus- try's capacity to manage and mitigate environmental impacts.

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  • The cascade continues when utilities try to combat these and other threats by treating drinking water with chemical disinfectants such as chlorine. Treating algal contamination this way gives rise to carcinogenic disin- fection byproducts, whose levels typically spike during the summer months – when algae blooms peak. Com- monly used measures to reduce algal contamination add hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to water utilities’ treatment costs.

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  • Polyubiquitin receptors execute the targeting of polyubiquitylated proteins to the 26S proteasome. In vitro studies indicate that disturbance of the physiological balance among different receptor proteins impairs the prote-asomal degradation of polyubiquitylated proteins.

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  • A number of antibiotics have been reported to disturb the decoding process in prokaryotic translation and to inhibit the function of various natural ribozymes. We investigated the e€ect of several antibiotics on in vitro splicing of a eukaryotic nuclear pre-mRNA (b-globin). Of the eight antibiotics studied, erythromycin, Cl-tetracycline and streptomycinwere identi®ed as splicing inhibitors in nuclear HeLa cell extract. TheKi values were 160, 180 and 230lM, respectively.

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  • Because there is no clear definition of the asthma phenotype, researchers studying the development of this complex disease turn to characteristics that can be measured objectively, such as atopy (manifested as the presence of positive skin-prick tests or the clinical response to common environmental allergens), airway hyperresponsiveness (the tendency of airways to narrow excessively in response to triggers that have little or no effect in normal individuals), and other measures of allergic sensitization.

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  • Leading mining companies have taken up the chal- lenge and are pushing beyond minimum legal requirements through voluntary initiatives, to ensure their continued “license-to-operate” from the com- munity as well as increasing their competitive advantage through continuous, voluntary improve- ments in environmental performance. As with all mining activities, the extraction and bene- ficiation of phosphate rock and potash to produce mineral fertilizer raw material has the potential to cause environmental impacts.

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  • Construction activities have significant potential to have adverse environmental impacts. During this phase, often a large transient workforce is employed, workforce numbers tend to peak and material and equipment movements tend to be large. Impacts are typically related to land disturbance caused by earth- works, air emissions from dust, noise from equipment and construction activities and heavy volumes of traf- fic on access roads. In many cases, specialized third party companies and consultants conduct mine construction activities.

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  • Climate change is likely to aid the spread of invasive alien species, further threatening agricultural productivity and food security through spread of weeds, pests, and diseases of crops and livestock. The introduction of new and adaptable exotic species for agriculture and to meet increasing demands for biofuels, mariculture, aquaculture, and reforestation presents a particular challenge.

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