Publications by authors named "Jack H Faber"

10 Publications

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Priorities and opportunities in the application of the ecosystem services concept in risk assessment for chemicals in the environment.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Feb 17;651(Pt 1):1067-1077. Epub 2018 Sep 17.

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.

The ecosystem services approach has gained broad interest in regulatory and policy circles for use in ecological risk assessment. Whilst identifying several challenges, scientific experts from European regulatory authorities, the chemical industry and academia considered the approach applicable to all chemical sectors and potentially contributing to greater ecological relevance for setting and assessing environmental protection goals compared to current European regulatory frameworks for chemicals. These challenges were addressed in workshops to develop a common understanding across stakeholders on how the ecosystem services concept might be used in chemical risk assessment and what would need to be done to implement it. This paper describes the consensus outcome of those discussions. Knowledge gaps and research needs were identified and prioritised, exploring the use of novel approaches from ecology, ecotoxicology and ecological modelling. Where applicable, distinction is made between prospective and retrospective ecological risk assessment. For prospective risk assessment the development of environmental scenarios accounting for chemical exposure and ecological conditions was designated as a top priority. For retrospective risk assessment the top priority research need was development of reference conditions for key ecosystem services and guidance for their derivation. Both prospective and retrospective risk assessment would benefit from guidance on the taxa and measurement endpoints relevant to specific ecosystem services and from improved understanding of the relationships between measurement endpoints from standard toxicity tests and the ecosystem services of interest (i.e. assessment endpoints). The development of mechanistic models, which could serve as ecological production functions, was identified as a priority. A conceptual framework for future chemical risk assessment based on an ecosystem services approach is presented.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.09.209DOI Listing
February 2019

Advantages and challenges associated with implementing an ecosystem services approach to ecological risk assessment for chemicals.

Sci Total Environ 2018 Apr 18;621:1342-1351. Epub 2017 Oct 18.

Unilever, Safety & Environmental Assurance Centre, Colworth Science Park, Sharnbrook MK44 1LQ, UK.

The ecosystem services (ES) approach is gaining broad interest in regulatory and policy arenas for use in landscape management and ecological risk assessment. It has the potential to bring greater ecological relevance to the setting of environmental protection goals and to the assessment of the ecological risk posed by chemicals. A workshop, organised under the auspices of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Europe, brought together scientific experts from European regulatory authorities, the chemical industry and academia to discuss and evaluate the challenges associated with implementing an ES approach to chemical ecological risk assessment (ERA). Clear advantages of using an ES approach in prospective and retrospective ERA were identified, including: making ERA spatially explicit and of relevance to management decisions (i.e. indicating what ES to protect and where); improving transparency in communicating risks and trade-offs; integrating across multiple stressors, scales, habitats and policies. A number of challenges were also identified including: the potential for increased complexity in assessments; greater data requirements; limitations in linking endpoints derived from current ecotoxicity tests to impacts on ES. In principle, the approach was applicable to all chemical sectors, but the scale of the challenge of applying an ES approach to general chemicals with widespread and dispersive uses leading to broad environmental exposure, was highlighted. There was agreement that ES-based risk assessment should be based on the magnitude of impact rather than on toxicity thresholds. The need for more bioassays/tests with functional endpoints was recognized, as was the role of modelling and the need for ecological production functions to link measurement endpoints to assessment endpoints. Finally, the value of developing environmental scenarios that can be combined with spatial information on exposure, ES delivery and service provider vulnerability was recognized.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.10.094DOI Listing
April 2018

Soil networks become more connected and take up more carbon as nature restoration progresses.

Nat Commun 2017 02 8;8:14349. Epub 2017 Feb 8.

NIOO-KNAW, Microbial Ecology, Droevendaalsesteeg 10, Wageningen 6708 PB, The Netherlands.

Soil organisms have an important role in aboveground community dynamics and ecosystem functioning in terrestrial ecosystems. However, most studies have considered soil biota as a black box or focussed on specific groups, whereas little is known about entire soil networks. Here we show that during the course of nature restoration on abandoned arable land a compositional shift in soil biota, preceded by tightening of the belowground networks, corresponds with enhanced efficiency of carbon uptake. In mid- and long-term abandoned field soil, carbon uptake by fungi increases without an increase in fungal biomass or shift in bacterial-to-fungal ratio. The implication of our findings is that during nature restoration the efficiency of nutrient cycling and carbon uptake can increase by a shift in fungal composition and/or fungal activity. Therefore, we propose that relationships between soil food web structure and carbon cycling in soils need to be reconsidered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms14349DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5309817PMC
February 2017

Effects of land use intensity on the natural attenuation capacity of urban soils in Beijing, China.

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2015 Jul 1;117:89-95. Epub 2015 Apr 1.

Environmental Institute of Scientific Networks, Fliederweg 17, 49733 Haren/Erika, Germany.

Urban soils are major sinks that provide the services of attenuating and detoxifying environmental pollutants. This significant ecosystem service of urban soil can be evaluated by the natural attenuation capacity (NAC). In this research, we develop a method to calculate the natural pollutant attenuation capacity of urban soils on the basis of 5 chemical and physical measurements. By selecting municipal parks soils for reference, we assessed the spatial and temporal changes of NAC in Beijing city soils under influences of rapid urbanization. Results indicated that NAC was increasingly impacted by land use in the order: parks
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2015.03.018DOI Listing
July 2015

Land-use and land-management change: relationships with earthworm and fungi communities and soil structural properties.

BMC Ecol 2013 Dec 1;13:46. Epub 2013 Dec 1.

Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Maclean Building, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon OX10 8BB, UK.

Background: Change in land use and management can impact massively on soil ecosystems. Ecosystem engineers and other functional biodiversity in soils can be influenced directly by such change and this in turn can affect key soil functions. Here, we employ meta-analysis to provide a quantitative assessment of the effects of changes in land use and land management across a range of successional/extensification transitions (conventional arable → no or reduced tillage → grassland → wooded land) on community metrics for two functionally important soil taxa, earthworms and fungi. An analysis of the relationships between community change and soil structural properties was also included.

Results: Meta-analysis highlighted a consistent trend of increased earthworm and fungal community abundances and complexity following transitions to lower intensity and later successional land uses. The greatest changes were seen for early stage transitions, such as introduction of reduced tillage regimes and conversion to grassland from arable land. Not all changes, however, result in positive effects on the assessed community metrics. For example, whether woodland conversion positively or negatively affects community size and complexity depends on woodland type and, potentially, the changes in soil properties, such as pH, that may occur during conversion. Alterations in soil communities tended to facilitate subsequent changes in soil structure and hydrology. For example, increasing earthworm abundances and functional group composition were shown to be positively correlated with water infiltration rate (dependent on tillage regime and habitat characteristics); while positive changes in fungal biomass measures were positively associated with soil microaggregate stability.

Conclusions: These findings raise the potential to manage landscapes to increase ecosystem service provision from soil biota in relation to regulation of soil structure and water flow.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6785-13-46DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4219611PMC
December 2013

The practicalities and pitfalls of establishing a policy-relevant and cost-effective soil biological monitoring scheme.

Integr Environ Assess Manag 2013 Apr;9(2):276-84

Alterra, Wageningen UR, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

A large number of biological indicators have been proposed over the years for assessing soil quality. Although many of those have been applied in monitoring schemes across Europe, no consensus exists on the extent to which these indicators might perform best and how monitoring schemes can be further optimized in terms of scientific and policy relevance. Over the past decade, developments in environmental monitoring and risk assessment converged toward the use of indicators and endpoints that are related to soil functioning and ecosystem services. In view of the proposed European Union (EU) Soil Framework Directive, there is an urgent need to identify and evaluate indicators for soil biodiversity and ecosystem services. The recently started integrated project, Ecological Function and Biodiversity Indicators in European Soils (EcoFINDERS), aims to address this specific issue within the EU Framework Program FP7. Here, we 1) discuss how to use the concept of ecosystem services in soil monitoring, 2) review former and ongoing monitoring schemes, and 3) present an analysis of metadata on biological indicators in some EU member states. Finally, we discuss our experiences in establishing a logical sieve approach to devise a monitoring scheme for a standardized and harmonized application at European scale.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ieam.1398DOI Listing
April 2013

Ecological vulnerability in wildlife: application of a species-ranking method to food chains and habitats.

Environ Toxicol Chem 2010 Dec;29(12):2875-80

Centre for Ecosystem Studies, Alterra, Wageningen UR, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Nature development in The Netherlands is often planned on contaminated soils or sediments. This contamination may present a risk for wildlife species desired at those nature development sites and must be assessed by specific risk assessment methods. In a previous study, we developed a method to predict ecological vulnerability in wildlife species by using autecological data and expert judgment; in the current study, this method is further extended to assess ecological vulnerability of food chains and terrestrial and aquatic habitats typical for The Netherlands. The method is applied to six chemicals: Cd, Cu, Zn, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, chlorpyrifos, and ivermectin. The results indicate that species in different food chains differ in vulnerability, with earthworm-based food chains the most vulnerable. Within and between food chains, vulnerability varied with habitat, particularly at low trophic levels. The concept of habitat vulnerability was applied to a case study of four different habitat types in floodplains contaminated with cadmium and zinc along the river Dommel, The Netherlands. The alder floodplain forest habitat contained the most vulnerable species. The differences among habitats were significant for Cd. We further conclude that the method has good potential for application in mapping of habitat vulnerability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.336DOI Listing
December 2010

Soil biota community structure and abundance under agricultural intensification and extensification.

Ecology 2010 Feb;91(2):460-73

Wageningen University, Department of Soil Quality, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Understanding the impacts of agricultural intensification and extensification on soil biota communities is useful in order to preserve and restore biological diversity in agricultural soils and enhance the role of soil biota in agroecosystem functioning. Over four consecutive years, we investigated the effects of agricultural intensification and extensification (including conversion of grassland to arable land and vice versa, increased and decreased levels of mineral fertilization, and monoculture compared to crop rotation) on major soil biota group abundances and functional diversity. We integrated and compared effects across taxonomic levels to identify sensitive species groups. Conversion of grassland to arable land negatively affected both abundances and functional diversity of soil biota. Further intensification of the cropping system by increased fertilization and reduced crop diversity exerted smaller and differential effects on different soil biota groups. Agricultural intensification affected abundances of taxonomic groups with larger body size (earthworms, enchytraeids, microarthropods, and nematodes) more negatively than smaller-sized taxonomic groups (protozoans, bacteria, and fungi). Also functional group diversity and composition were more negatively affected in larger-sized soil biota (earthworms, predatory mites) than in smaller-sized soil biota (nematodes). Furthermore, larger soil biota appeared to be primarily affected by short-term consequences of conversion (disturbance, loss of habitat), whereas smaller soil biota were predominantly affected by long-term consequences (probably loss of organic matter). Reestablishment of grassland resulted in increased abundances of soil biota groups, but since not all groups increased in the same measure, the community structure was not completely restored. We concluded that larger-sized soil biota are more sensitive to agricultural intensification than smaller-sized soil biota. Furthermore, since larger-sized soil biota groups had lower taxonomic richness, we suggest that agricultural intensification exerts strongest effects on species-poor soil biota groups, thus supporting the hypothesis that biodiversity has an "insurance" function. As soil biota play an important role in agroecosystem functioning, altered soil biota abundances and functional group composition under agricultural intensification are likely to affect the functioning of the agroecosystem.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/09-0666.1DOI Listing
February 2010

Ecological vulnerability in wildlife: an expert judgment and multicriteria analysis tool using ecological traits to assess relative impact of pollutants.

Environ Toxicol Chem 2009 Oct;28(10):2233-40

Centre for Ecosystem Studies, Alterra, Wageningen UR, P.O. Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Nature development in The Netherlands often is planned on contaminated soils and sediments of former agricultural land and in floodplain areas; however, this contamination may present a risk to wildlife species desired at those nature development sites. Specific risk assessment methods are needed, because toxicological information is lacking for most wildlife species. The vulnerability of a species is a combination of its potential exposure, sensitivity to the type of pollutant, and recovery capacity. We developed a new method to predict ecological vulnerability in wildlife using autecological information. The analysis results in an ordinal ranking of vulnerable species. The method was applied to six representative contaminants: copper and zinc (essential metals, low to medium toxicity), cadmium (nonessential metal, high toxicity), DDT (persistent organic pesticide, high toxicity), chlorpyrifos (persistent organophosphate insecticide, high toxicity), and ivermectin (persistent veterinary pharmaceutical, low to medium toxicity). High vulnerability to the essential metals copper and zinc was correlated with soil and sediment habitat preference of a species and with r-strategy (opportunistic strategy suited for unstable environments). Increased vulnerability to the bioaccumulating substances cadmium and DDT was correlated with higher position of a species in the food web and with life span and K-strategy (equilibrium strategy suited for stable environments). Vulnerability to chlorpyrifos and ivermectin was high for species with a preference for soil habitats. The ecological vulnerability analysis has potential to further our abilities in risk assessment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1897/08-626.1DOI Listing
October 2009

Tenax extraction mimics benthic and terrestrial bioavailability of organic compounds.

Environ Toxicol Chem 2003 Oct;22(10):2258-65

Institute for Inland Water Management and Wastewater Treatment, P.O. Box 17, 8200 AA Lelystad, The Netherlands.

Biota to sediment accumulation factors (BSAFs) are widely used to describe the potential accumulation of organic contaminants in organisms. From field studies it is known that these BSAFs can vary dramatically between sediments of different origin, which is possibly explained by the variation in bioavailability of organic contaminants in sediments. In the present study it is shown that the variability in BSAF values for different sediment samples obtained at two Dutch freshwater sites could largely be explained by the variation in Tenax-extractable concentrations in these sediments. Variations of a factor of about 50 could be explained. The ratio between concentrations in biota and Tenax-extractable concentrations in sediment varied slightly between sediments and contaminant class, but was close to the theoretically expected value of 2. This is a strong indication that Tenax-extractable concentrations of contaminants in sediments are an excellent indicator of available concentrations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1897/02-488DOI Listing
October 2003