Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 163

Search results for: forest

163 Machine Learning for Aiding Meningitis Diagnosis in Pediatric Patients

Authors: Karina Zaccari, Ernesto Cordeiro Marujo

Abstract:

This paper presents a Machine Learning (ML) approach to support Meningitis diagnosis in patients at a children’s hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The aim is to use ML techniques to reduce the use of invasive procedures, such as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collection, as much as possible. In this study, we focus on predicting the probability of Meningitis given the results of a blood and urine laboratory tests, together with the analysis of pain or other complaints from the patient. We tested a number of different ML algorithms, including: Adaptative Boosting (AdaBoost), Decision Tree, Gradient Boosting, K-Nearest Neighbors (KNN), Logistic Regression, Random Forest and Support Vector Machines (SVM). Decision Tree algorithm performed best, with 94.56% and 96.18% accuracy for training and testing data, respectively. These results represent a significant aid to doctors in diagnosing Meningitis as early as possible and in preventing expensive and painful procedures on some children.

Keywords: Machine Learning, Medical Diagnosis, gradient boosting, meningitis detection

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162 Lead and Cadmium Spatial Pattern and Risk Assessment around Coal Mine in Hyrcanian Forest, North Iran

Authors: Mahsa Tavakoli, Seyed Mohammad Hojjati, Yahya Kooch

Abstract:

In this study, the effect of coal mining activities on lead and cadmium concentrations and distribution in soil was investigated in Hyrcanian forest, North Iran. 16 plots (20×20 m2) were established by systematic-randomly (60×60 m2) in an area of 4 ha (200×200 m2-mine entrance placed at center). An area adjacent to the mine was not affected by the mining activity; considered as the controlled area. In order to investigate soil lead and cadmium concentration, one sample was taken from the 0-10 cm in each plot. To study the spatial pattern of soil properties and lead and cadmium concentrations in the mining area, an area of 80×80m2 (the mine as the center) was considered and 80 soil samples were systematic-randomly taken (10 m intervals). Geostatistical analysis was performed via Kriging method and GS+ software (version 5.1). In order to estimate the impact of coal mining activities on soil quality, pollution index was measured. Lead and cadmium concentrations were significantly higher in mine area (Pb: 10.97±0.30, Cd: 184.47±6.26 mg.kg-1) in comparison to control area (Pb: 9.42±0.17, Cd: 131.71±15.77 mg.kg-1). The mean values of the PI index indicate that Pb (1.16) and Cd (1.77) presented slightly polluted. Results of the NIPI index showed that Pb (1.44) and Cd (2.52) presented slight pollution and moderate pollution respectively. Results of variography and kriging method showed that it is possible to prepare interpolation maps of lead and cadmium around the mining areas in Hyrcanian forest. According to results of pollution and risk assessments, forest soil was contaminated by heavy metals (lead and cadmium); therefore, using reclamation and remediation techniques in these areas is necessary.

Keywords: Geostatistics, Heavy Metals, pollution indicators, traditional coal mining, Caspian forest

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161 Reduction of Plants Biodiversity in Hyrcanian Forest by Coal Mining Activities

Authors: Mahsa Tavakoli, Seyed Mohammad Hojjati, Yahya Kooch

Abstract:

Considering that coal mining is one of the important industrial activities, it may cause damages to environment. According to the author’s best knowledge, the effect of traditional coal mining activities on plant biodiversity has not been investigated in the Hyrcanian forests. Therefore, in this study, the effect of coal mining activities on vegetation and tree diversity was investigated in Hyrcanian forest, North Iran. After filed visiting and determining the mine, 16 plots (20×20 m2) were established by systematic-randomly (60×60 m2) in an area of 4 ha (200×200 m2-mine entrance placed at center). An area adjacent to the mine was not affected by the mining activity, and it is considered as the control area. In each plot, the data about trees such as number and type of species were recorded. The biodiversity of vegetation cover was considered 5 square sub-plots (1 m2) in each plot. PAST software and Ecological Methodology were used to calculate Biodiversity indices. The value of Shannon Wiener and Simpson diversity indices for tree cover in control area (1.04±0.34 and 0.62±0.20) was significantly higher than mining area (0.78±0.27 and 0.45±0.14). The value of evenness indices for tree cover in the mining area was significantly lower than that of the control area. The value of Shannon Wiener and Simpson diversity indices for vegetation cover in the control area (1.37±0.06 and 0.69±0.02) was significantly higher than the mining area (1.02±0.13 and 0.50±0.07). The value of evenness index in the control area was significantly higher than the mining area. Plant communities are a good indicator of the changes in the site. Study about changes in vegetation biodiversity and plant dynamics in the degraded land can provide necessary information for forest management and reforestation of these areas.

Keywords: Species Composition, traditional coal mining, Caspian forest, vegetation biodiversity

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160 The Carbon Footprint Model as a Plea for Cities towards Energy Transition: The Case of Algiers Algeria

Authors: Hachaichi Mohamed Nour El-Islem, Baouni Tahar

Abstract:

Environmental sustainability rather than a trans-disciplinary and a scientific issue, is the main problem that characterizes all modern cities nowadays. In developing countries, this concern is expressed in a plethora of critical urban ills: traffic congestion, air pollution, noise, urban decay, increase in energy consumption and CO2 emissions which blemish cities’ landscape and might threaten citizens’ health and welfare. As in the same manner as developing world cities, the rapid growth of Algiers’ human population and increasing in city scale phenomena lead eventually to increase in daily trips, energy consumption and CO2 emissions. In addition, the lack of proper and sustainable planning of the city’s infrastructure is one of the most relevant issues from which Algiers suffers. The aim of this contribution is to estimate the carbon deficit of the City of Algiers, Algeria, using the Ecological Footprint Model (carbon footprint). In order to achieve this goal, the amount of CO2 from fuel combustion has been calculated and aggregated into five sectors (agriculture, industry, residential, tertiary and transportation); as well, Algiers’ biocapacity (CO2 uptake land) has been calculated to determine the ecological overshoot. This study shows that Algiers’ transport system is not sustainable and is generating more than 50% of Algiers total carbon footprint which cannot be sequestered by the local forest land. The aim of this research is to show that the Carbon Footprint Assessment might be a relevant indicator to design sustainable strategies/policies striving to reduce CO2 by setting in motion the energy consumption in the transportation sector and reducing the use of fossil fuels as the main energy input.

Keywords: Energy Consumption, Carbon Footprint, biocapacity, ecological footprint assessment

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159 Proposal of Blue and Green Infrastructure for the Jaguaré Stream Watershed, São Paulo, Brazil

Authors: Juliana C. Alencar, Monica Ferreira do Amaral Porto

Abstract:

The blue-green infrastructure in recent years has been pointed out as a possibility to increase the environmental quality of watersheds. The regulation ecosystem services brought by these areas are many, such as the improvement of the air quality of the air, water, soil, microclimate, besides helping to control the peak flows and to promote the quality of life of the population. This study proposes a blue-green infrastructure scenario for the Jaguaré watershed, located in the western zone of the São Paulo city in Brazil. Based on the proposed scenario, it was verified the impact of the adoption of the blue and green infrastructure in the control of the peak flow of the basin, the benefits for the avifauna that are also reflected in the flora and finally, the quantification of the regulation ecosystem services brought by the adoption of the scenario proposed. A survey of existing green areas and potential areas for expansion and connection of these areas to form a network in the watershed was carried out. Based on this proposed new network of green areas, the peak flow for the proposed scenario was calculated with the help of software, ABC6. Finally, a survey of the ecosystem services contemplated in the proposed scenario was made. It was possible to conclude that the blue and green infrastructure would provide several regulation ecosystem services for the watershed, such as the control of the peak flow, the connection frame between the forest fragments that promoted the environmental enrichment of these fragments, improvement of the microclimate and the provision of leisure areas for the population.

Keywords: ecosystem services, Sustainable Drainage, urban waters, Blue and green infrastructure

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158 Restoring, Revitalizing and Recovering Brazilian Rivers: Application of the Concept to Small Basins in the City of São Paulo, Brazil

Authors: Juliana C. Alencar, Monica Ferreira do Amaral Porto

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Watercourses in Brazilian urban areas are constantly being degraded due to the unplanned use of the urban space; however, due to the different contexts of land use and occupation in the river watersheds, different intervention strategies are required to requalify them. When it comes to requalifying watercourses, we can list three main techniques to fulfill this purpose: restoration, revitalization and recovery; each one being indicated for specific contexts of land use and occupation in the basin. In this study, it was demonstrated that the application of these three techniques to three small basins in São Paulo city, listing the aspects involved in each of the contexts and techniques of requalification. For a protected watercourse within a forest park, renaturalization was proposed, where the watercourse is preserved in a state closer to the natural one. For a watercourse in an urban context that still preserves open spaces for its maintenance as a landscape element, an intervention was proposed following the principles of revitalization, integrating the watercourse with the landscape and the population. In the case of a watercourse in a harder context, only recovery was proposed, since the watercourse is found under the road system, which makes it difficult to integrate it into the landscape.

Keywords: Sustainable Drainage, River Restoration, river revitalization, river recovery

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157 Non-Timber Forest Products and Livelihood Linkages: A Case of Lamabagar, Nepal

Authors: Sandhya Rijal, Saroj Adhikari, Ramesh R. Pant

Abstract:

Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) have attracted substantial interest in the recent years with the increasing recognition that these can provide essential community needs for improved and diversified rural livelihood and support the objectives of biodiversity conservation. Nevertheless, various challenges are witnessed in their sustainable harvest and management. Assuming that sustainable management with community stewardship can offer one of the solutions to existing challenges, the study assesses the linkages between NTFPs and rural livelihood in Lamabagar village of Dolakha, Nepal. The major objective was to document the status of NTFPs and their contributions in households of Lamabagar. For status documentation, vegetation sampling was done using systematic random sampling technique. 30 plots of 10 m × 10 m were laid down in six parallel transect lines at horizontal distance of 160 m in two different community forests. A structured questionnaire survey was conducted in 76 households (excluding non-response rate) using stratified random sampling technique for contribution analysis. Likewise, key informant interview and focus group discussions were also conducted for data triangulations. 36 different NTFPs were recorded from the vegetation sample in two community forests of which 50% were used for medicinal purposes. The other uses include fodder, religious value, and edible fruits and vegetables. Species like Juniperus indica, Daphne bholua Aconitum spicatum, and Lyonia ovalifolia were frequently used for trade as a source of income, which was sold in local market. The protected species like Taxus wallichiana and Neopicrorhiza scrophulariiflora were also recorded in the area for which the trade is prohibited. The protection of these species urgently needs community stewardship. More than half of the surveyed households (55%) were depending on NTFPs for their daily uses, other than economic purpose whereas 45% of them sold those products in the market directly or in the form of local handmade products as a source of livelihood. NTFPs were the major source of primary health curing agents especially for the poor and unemployed people in the study area. Hence, the NTFPs contributed to livelihood under three different categories: subsistence, supplement income and emergency support, depending upon the economic status of the households. Although the status of forest improved after handover to the user group, the availability of valuable medicinal herbs like Rhododendron anthopogon, Swertia nervosa, Neopicrorhiza scrophulariiflora, and Aconitum spicatum were declining. Inadequacy of technology, lack of easy transport access, and absence of good market facility were the major limitations for external trade of NTFPs in the study site. It was observed that people were interested towards conservation only if they could get some returns: economic in terms of rural settlements. Thus, the study concludes that NTFPs could contribute rural livelihood and support conservation objectives only if local communities are provided with the easy access of technology, market and capital.

Keywords: Medicinal, contribution, subsistence, sustainable harvest

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156 Prediction Modeling of Alzheimer’s Disease and Its Prodromal Stages from Multimodal Data with Missing Values

Authors: M. Aghili, S. Tabarestani, C. Freytes, M. Shojaie, M. Cabrerizo, A. Barreto, N. Rishe, R. E. Curiel, D. Loewenstein, R. Duara, M. Adjouadi

Abstract:

A major challenge in medical studies, especially those that are longitudinal, is the problem of missing measurements which hinders the effective application of many machine learning algorithms. Furthermore, recent Alzheimer's Disease studies have focused on the delineation of Early Mild Cognitive Impairment (EMCI) and Late Mild Cognitive Impairment (LMCI) from cognitively normal controls (CN) which is essential for developing effective and early treatment methods. To address the aforementioned challenges, this paper explores the potential of using the eXtreme Gradient Boosting (XGBoost) algorithm in handling missing values in multiclass classification. We seek a generalized classification scheme where all prodromal stages of the disease are considered simultaneously in the classification and decision-making processes. Given the large number of subjects (1631) included in this study and in the presence of almost 28% missing values, we investigated the performance of XGBoost on the classification of the four classes of AD, NC, EMCI, and LMCI. Using 10-fold cross validation technique, XGBoost is shown to outperform other state-of-the-art classification algorithms by 3% in terms of accuracy and F-score. Our model achieved an accuracy of 80.52%, a precision of 80.62% and recall of 80.51%, supporting the more natural and promising multiclass classification.

Keywords: Alzheimer Disease, Multiclass Classification, random forest, support vector machine, missing data, eXtreme gradient boosting, early mild cognitive impairment, ADNI, late mild cognitive impairment

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155 Localization of Geospatial Events and Hoax Prediction in the UFO Database

Authors: Harish Krishnamurthy, Anna Lafontant, Ren Yi

Abstract:

Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) have been an interesting topic for most enthusiasts and hence people all over the United States report such findings online at the National UFO Report Center (NUFORC). Some of these reports are a hoax and among those that seem legitimate, our task is not to establish that these events confirm that they indeed are events related to flying objects from aliens in outer space. Rather, we intend to identify if the report was a hoax as was identified by the UFO database team with their existing curation criterion. However, the database provides a wealth of information that can be exploited to provide various analyses and insights such as social reporting, identifying real-time spatial events and much more. We perform analysis to localize these time-series geospatial events and correlate with known real-time events. This paper does not confirm any legitimacy of alien activity, but rather attempts to gather information from likely legitimate reports of UFOs by studying the online reports. These events happen in geospatial clusters and also are time-based. We look at cluster density and data visualization to search the space of various cluster realizations to decide best probable clusters that provide us information about the proximity of such activity. A random forest classifier is also presented that is used to identify true events and hoax events, using the best possible features available such as region, week, time-period and duration. Lastly, we show the performance of the scheme on various days and correlate with real-time events where one of the UFO reports strongly correlates to a missile test conducted in the United States.

Keywords: Feature Extraction, time-series clustering, hoax prediction, geospatial events

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154 Determination of Soil Loss by Erosion in Different Land Covers Categories and Slope Classes in Bovilla Watershed, Tirana, Albania

Authors: Valmir Baloshi, Fran Gjoka, Nehat Çollaku, Elvin Toromani

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As a sediment production mechanism, soil erosion is the main environmental threat to the Bovilla watershed, including the decline of water quality of the Bovilla reservoir that provides drinking water to Tirana city (the capital of Albania). Therefore, an experiment with 25 erosion plots for soil erosion monitoring has been set up since June 2017. The aim was to determine the soil loss on plot and watershed scale in Bovilla watershed (Tirana region) for implementation of soil and water protection measures or payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs. The results of erosion monitoring for the period June 2017 - May 2018 showed that the highest values of surface runoff were noted in bare land of 38829.91 liters on slope of 74% and the lowest values in forest land of 12840.6 liters on slope of 64% while the highest values of soil loss were found in bare land of 595.15 t/ha on slope of 62% and lowest values in forest land of 18.99 t/ha on slope of 64%. These values are much higher than the average rate of soil loss in the European Union (2.46 ton/ha/year). In the same sloping class, the soil loss was reduced from orchard or bare land to the forest land, and in the same category of land use, the soil loss increased with increasing land slope. It is necessary to conduct chemical analyses of sediments to determine the amount of chemical elements leached out of the soil and end up in the reservoir of Bovilla. It is concluded that PES programs should be implemented for rehabilitation of sub-watersheds Ranxe, Vilez and Zall-Bastar of the Bovilla watershed with valuable conservation practices.

Keywords: Watershed Management, Land Cover, ANOVA, slope, soil loss, Bovilla

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153 Diversity of Short-Horned Grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Caelifera) from Forested Region of Kolhapur District, Maharashtra, India of Northern Western Ghats

Authors: Sunil M. Gaikwad, Yogesh J. Koli, Gopal A. Raut, Ganesh P. Bhawane

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The present investigation was directed to study the diversity of short-horned grasshoppers from a forested area of Kolhapur district, Maharashtra, India, which is spread along the hilly terrain of the Northern Western Ghats. The collection was made during 2013 to 2015, and identified with the help of a reference collection of ZSI, Kolkata, and recent literature and dry preserved. The study resulted in the enumeration of 40 species of short-horned grasshoppers belonging to four families of suborder: Caelifera. The family Acrididae was dominant (27 species) followed by Tetrigidae (eight species), Pyrgomorphidae (four species) and Chorotypidae (one species). The report of 40 species from the forest habitat of the study region highlights the significance of the Western Ghats. Ecologically, short-horned grasshoppers are integral to food chains, being consumed by a wide variety of animals. The observations of the present investigation may prove useful for conservation of the Diversity in Northern Western Ghats.

Keywords: Diversity, Kolhapur, northern western Ghats, short-horned grasshoppers

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152 Analyzing the Changing Pattern of Nigerian Vegetation Zones and Its Ecological and Socio-Economic Implications Using Spot-Vegetation Sensor

Authors: B. L. Gadiga

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This study assesses the major ecological zones in Nigeria with the view to understanding the spatial pattern of vegetation zones and the implications on conservation within the period of sixteen (16) years. Satellite images used for this study were acquired from the SPOT-VEGETATION between 1998 and 2013. The annual NDVI images selected for this study were derived from SPOT-4 sensor and were acquired within the same season (November) in order to reduce differences in spectral reflectance due to seasonal variations. The images were sliced into five classes based on literatures and knowledge of the area (i.e. <0.16 Non-Vegetated areas; 0.16-0.22 Sahel Savannah; 0.22-0.40 Sudan Savannah, 0.40-0.47 Guinea Savannah and >0.47 Forest Zone). Classification of the 1998 and 2013 images into forested and non forested areas showed that forested area decrease from 511,691 km2 in 1998 to 478,360 km2 in 2013. Differencing change detection method was performed on 1998 and 2013 NDVI images to identify areas of ecological concern. The result shows that areas undergoing vegetation degradation covers an area of 73,062 km2 while areas witnessing some form restoration cover an area of 86,315 km2. The result also shows that there is a weak correlation between rainfall and the vegetation zones. The non-vegetated areas have a correlation coefficient (r) of 0.0088, Sahel Savannah belt 0.1988, Sudan Savannah belt -0.3343, Guinea Savannah belt 0.0328 and Forest belt 0.2635. The low correlation can be associated with the encroachment of the Sudan Savannah belt into the forest belt of South-eastern part of the country as revealed by the image analysis. The degradation of the forest vegetation is therefore responsible for the serious erosion problems witnessed in the South-east. The study recommends constant monitoring of vegetation and strict enforcement of environmental laws in the country.

Keywords: Ecology, Vegetation, degradation, NDVI, SPOT-vegetation

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151 Relevant LMA Features for Human Motion Recognition

Authors: Insaf Ajili, Malik Mallem, Jean-Yves Didier

Abstract:

Motion recognition from videos is actually a very complex task due to the high variability of motions. This paper describes the challenges of human motion recognition, especially motion representation step with relevant features. Our descriptor vector is inspired from Laban Movement Analysis method. We propose discriminative features using the Random Forest algorithm in order to remove redundant features and make learning algorithms operate faster and more effectively. We validate our method on MSRC-12 and UTKinect datasets.

Keywords: random forest, features reduction, human motion recognition, Discriminative LMA features

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150 Assessment of Tourist and Community Perception with Regard to Tourism Sustainability Indicators: A Case Study of Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest, Sri Lanka

Authors: L. P. K. Liyanage, N. R. P. Withana, A. L. Sandika

Abstract:

The purpose of this study was to determine tourist and community perception-based sustainable tourism indicators as well as Human Pressure Index (HPI) and Tourist Activity Index (TAI). Study was carried out in Sinharaja forest which is considered as one of the major eco-tourism destination in Sri Lanka. Data were gathered using a pre-tested semi-structured questionnaire as well as records from Forest department. Convenient sampling technique was applied. For the majority of issues, the responses were obtained on multi-point Likert-type scales. Visual portrayal was used for display analyzed data. The study revealed that the host community of the Kudawa gets many benefits from tourism. Also, tourism has caused negative impacts upon the environment and community. The study further revealed the need of proper waste management and involvement of local cultural events for the tourism business in the Kudawa conservation center. The TAI, which accounted to be 1.27 and monthly evolution of HPI revealed that congestion can be occurred in the Sinharaja rainforest during peak season. The results provide useful information to any party involved with tourism planning anywhere, since such attempts would be more effective once the people’s perceptions on these aspects are taken into account.

Keywords: sustainability indicators, Kudawa Conservation Center, Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest

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149 Different Formula of Mixed Bacteria as a Bio-Treatment for Sewage Wastewater

Authors: E. Marei, A. Hammad, S. Ismail, A. El-Gindy

Abstract:

This study aims to investigate the ability of different formula of mixed bacteria as a biological treatments of wastewater after primary treatment as a bio-treatment and bio-removal and bio-adsorbent of different heavy metals in natural circumstances. The wastewater was collected from Sarpium forest site-Ismailia Governorate, Egypt. These treatments were mixture of free cells and mixture of immobilized cells of different bacteria. These different formulas of mixed bacteria were prepared under Lab. condition. The obtained data indicated that, as a result of wastewater bio-treatment, the removal rate was found to be 76.92 and 76.70% for biological oxygen demand, 79.78 and 71.07% for chemical oxygen demand, 32.45 and 36.84 % for ammonia nitrogen as well as 91.67 and 50.0% for phosphate after 24 and 28 hrs with mixed free cells and mixed immobilized cells, respectively. Moreover, the bio-removals of different heavy metals were found to reach 90.0 and 50. 0% for Cu ion, 98.0 and 98.5% for Fe ion, 97.0 and 99.3% for Mn ion, 90.0 and 90.0% Pb, 80.0% and 75.0% for Zn ion after 24 and 28 hrs with mixed free cells and mixed immobilized cells, respectively. The results indicated that 13.86 and 17.43% of removal efficiency and reduction of total dissolved solids were achieved after 24 and 28 hrs with mixed free cells and mixed immobilized cells, respectively.

Keywords: bio-sorption heavy metals, biological desalination, immobilized bacteria, free cell bacteria, wastewater bio-treatment

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148 Valorization of Residues from Forest Industry for the Generation of Energy

Authors: M. A. Amezcua-Allieri, E. Torres, J. A. Zermeño Eguía-Lis, M. Magdaleno, L. A. Melgarejo, E. Palmerín, A. Rosas, D. López, J. Aburto

Abstract:

The use of biomass to produce renewable energy is one of the forms that can be used to reduce the impact of energy production. Like any other energy resource, there are limitations for biomass use, and it must compete not only with fossil fuels but also with other renewable energy sources such as solar or wind energy. Combustion is currently the most efficient and widely used waste-to-energy process, in the areas where direct use of biomass is possible, without the need to make large transfers of raw material. Many industrial facilities can use agricultural or forestry waste, straw, chips, bagasse, etc. in their thermal systems without making major transformations or adjustments in the feeding to the ovens, making this waste an attractive and cost-effective option in terms of availability, access, and costs. In spite of the facilities and benefits, the environmental reasons (emission of gases and particulate material) are decisive for its use for energy purpose. This paper describes a valorization of residues from forest industry to generate energy, using a case study.

Keywords: Bioenergy, Electricity, Life-cycle assessment, waste-to-energy, forest waste

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147 Landscape Pattern Evolution and Optimization Strategy in Wuhan Urban Development Zone, China

Authors: Feng Yue, Fei Dai

Abstract:

With the rapid development of urbanization process in China, its environmental protection pressure is severely tested. So, analyzing and optimizing the landscape pattern is an important measure to ease the pressure on the ecological environment. This paper takes Wuhan Urban Development Zone as the research object, and studies its landscape pattern evolution and quantitative optimization strategy. First, remote sensing image data from 1990 to 2015 were interpreted by using Erdas software. Next, the landscape pattern index of landscape level, class level, and patch level was studied based on Fragstats. Then five indicators of ecological environment based on National Environmental Protection Standard of China were selected to evaluate the impact of landscape pattern evolution on the ecological environment. Besides, the cost distance analysis of ArcGIS was applied to simulate wildlife migration thus indirectly measuring the improvement of ecological environment quality. The result shows that the area of land for construction increased 491%. But the bare land, sparse grassland, forest, farmland, water decreased 82%, 47%, 36%, 25% and 11% respectively. They were mainly converted into construction land. On landscape level, the change of landscape index all showed a downward trend. Number of patches (NP), Landscape shape index (LSI), Connection index (CONNECT), Shannon's diversity index (SHDI), Aggregation index (AI) separately decreased by 2778, 25.7, 0.042, 0.6, 29.2%, all of which indicated that the NP, the degree of aggregation and the landscape connectivity declined. On class level, the construction land and forest, CPLAND, TCA, AI and LSI ascended, but the Distribution Statistics Core Area (CORE_AM) decreased. As for farmland, water, sparse grassland, bare land, CPLAND, TCA and DIVISION, the Patch Density (PD) and LSI descended, yet the patch fragmentation and CORE_AM increased. On patch level, patch area, Patch perimeter, Shape index of water, farmland and bare land continued to decline. The three indexes of forest patches increased overall, sparse grassland decreased as a whole, and construction land increased. It is obvious that the urbanization greatly influenced the landscape evolution. Ecological diversity and landscape heterogeneity of ecological patches clearly dropped. The Habitat Quality Index continuously declined by 14%. Therefore, optimization strategy based on greenway network planning is raised for discussion. This paper contributes to the study of landscape pattern evolution in planning and design and to the research on spatial layout of urbanization.

Keywords: Landscape Architecture, ArcGIS, landscape pattern, optimization strategy, Erdas, landscape metrics

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146 A Ground Structure Method to Minimize the Total Installed Cost of Steel Frame Structures

Authors: Filippo Ranalli, Forest Flager, Martin Fischer

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This paper presents a ground structure method to optimize the topology and discrete member sizing of steel frame structures in order to minimize total installed cost, including material, fabrication and erection components. The proposed method improves upon existing cost-based ground structure methods by incorporating constructability considerations well as satisfying both strength and serviceability constraints. The architecture for the method is a bi-level Multidisciplinary Feasible (MDF) architecture in which the discrete member sizing optimization is nested within the topology optimization process. For each structural topology generated, the sizing optimization process seek to find a set of discrete member sizes that result in the lowest total installed cost while satisfying strength (member utilization) and serviceability (node deflection and story drift) criteria. To accurately assess cost, the connection details for the structure are generated automatically using accurate site-specific cost information obtained directly from fabricators and erectors. Member continuity rules are also applied to each node in the structure to improve constructability. The proposed optimization method is benchmarked against conventional weight-based ground structure optimization methods resulting in an average cost savings of up to 30% with comparable computational efficiency.

Keywords: cost-based structural optimization, multidisciplinary optimization of steel structures, cost-based topology and sizing optimization, steel frame ground structure optimization

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145 Extraction of Natural Colorant from the Flowers of Flame of Forest Using Ultrasound

Authors: Sunny Arora, Meghal A. Desai

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An impetus towards green consumerism and implementation of sustainable techniques, consumption of natural products and utilization of environment friendly techniques have gained accelerated acceptance. Butein, a natural colorant, has many medicinal properties apart from its use in dyeing industries. Extraction of butein from the flowers of flame of forest was carried out using ultrasonication bath. Solid loading (2-6 g), extraction time (30-50 min), volume of solvent (30-50 mL) and types of solvent (methanol, ethanol and water) have been studied to maximize the yield of butein using the Taguchi method. The highest yield of butein 4.67% (w/w) was obtained using 4 g of plant material, 40 min of extraction time and 30 mL volume of methanol as a solvent. The present method provided a greater reduction in extraction time compared to the conventional method of extraction. Hence, the outcome of the present investigation could further be utilized to develop the method at a higher scale.

Keywords: Taguchi method, butein, ultrasonic bath, flowers of flame of forest

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144 Forest Risk and Vulnerability Assessment: A Case Study from East Bokaro Coal Mining Area in India

Authors: Sujata Upgupta, Prasoon Kumar Singh

Abstract:

The expansion of large scale coal mining into forest areas is a potential hazard for the local biodiversity and wildlife. The objective of this study is to provide a picture of the threat that coal mining poses to the forests of the East Bokaro landscape. The vulnerable forest areas at risk have been assessed and the priority areas for conservation have been presented. The forested areas at risk in the current scenario have been assessed and compared with the past conditions using classification and buffer based overlay approach. Forest vulnerability has been assessed using an analytical framework based on systematic indicators and composite vulnerability index values. The results indicate that more than 4 km2 of forests have been lost from 1973 to 2016. Large patches of forests have been diverted for coal mining projects. Forests in the northern part of the coal field within 1-3 km radius around the coal mines are at immediate risk. The original contiguous forests have been converted into fragmented and degraded forest patches. Most of the collieries are located within or very close to the forests thus threatening the biodiversity and hydrology of the surrounding regions. Based on the vulnerability values estimated, it was concluded that more than 90% of the forested grids in East Bokaro are highly vulnerable to mining. The forests in the sub-districts of Bermo and Chandrapura have been identified as the most vulnerable to coal mining activities. This case study would add to the capacity of the forest managers and mine managers to address the risk and vulnerability of forests at a small landscape level in order to achieve sustainable development.

Keywords: Forest, Vulnerability, indicators, Coal Mining

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143 Inter-Specific Differences in Leaf Phenology, Growth of Seedlings of Cork OAK (Quercus suber L.), Zeen Oak (Quercus canariensis Willd.) and Their Hybrid Afares Oak (Quercus afares Pomel) in the Nursery

Authors: S. Mhamdi, O. Brendel, P. Montpied, K. Ben Yahia, N. Saouyah, B. Hasnaoui, E. Dreyer

Abstract:

Leaf Life Span (LLS) is used to classify trees into two main groups: evergreen and deciduous species. It varies according to the forms of life between taxonomic groups. Co-occurrence of deciduous and evergreen oaks is common in some Mediterranean type climate areas. Nevertheless, in the Tunisian forests, there is no enough information about the functional inter-specific diversity among oak species, especially in the mixed stand marked by the simultaneous presence of Q. suber L., Q. canariensis Willd. and their hybrid (Q. afares), the latter being an endemic oak species threatened with extinction. This study has been conducted to estimate the LLS, the relative growth rate, and the count of different growth flushes of samplings in semi-controlled conditions. Our study took 17 months, with an observation's interval of 4 weeks. The aim is to characterize and compare the hybrid species to the parental ones. Differences were observed among species, both for phenology and growth. Indeed, Q. suber saplings reached higher total height and number of growth flushes then Q. canariensis, while Q. afares showed much less growth flushes than the parental species. The LLS of parental species has exceeded the duration of the experiment, but their hybrid lost all leaves on all cohorts. The short LLSs of hybrid species are in accordance with this phenology in the field, but for Q. canariensis there was a contrast with observations in the field where phenology is strictly annual. This study allowed us to differentiate the hybrid from both parental species.

Keywords: Hybrid, Growth, seedlings, leaf life span, Q. afares Pomel, Q. suber L, evergreen, deciduous, Q. canariensis Willd

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142 Rapid Monitoring of Earthquake Damages Using Optical and SAR Data

Authors: Saeid Gharechelou, Ryutaro Tateishi

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Earthquake is an inevitable catastrophic natural disaster. The damages of buildings and man-made structures, where most of the human activities occur are the major cause of casualties from earthquakes. A comparison of optical and SAR data is presented in the case of Kathmandu valley which was hardly shaken by 2015-Nepal Earthquake. Though many existing researchers have conducted optical data based estimated or suggested combined use of optical and SAR data for improved accuracy, however finding cloud-free optical images when urgently needed are not assured. Therefore, this research is specializd in developing SAR based technique with the target of rapid and accurate geospatial reporting. Should considers that limited time available in post-disaster situation offering quick computation exclusively based on two pairs of pre-seismic and co-seismic single look complex (SLC) images. The InSAR coherence pre-seismic, co-seismic and post-seismic was used to detect the change in damaged area. In addition, the ground truth data from field applied to optical data by random forest classification for detection of damaged area. The ground truth data collected in the field were used to assess the accuracy of supervised classification approach. Though a higher accuracy obtained from the optical data then integration by optical-SAR data. Limitation of cloud-free images when urgently needed for earthquak evevent are and is not assured, thus further research on improving the SAR based damage detection is suggested. Availability of very accurate damage information is expected for channelling the rescue and emergency operations. It is expected that the quick reporting of the post-disaster damage situation quantified by the rapid earthquake assessment should assist in channeling the rescue and emergency operations, and in informing the public about the scale of damage.

Keywords: InSAR, Sentinel-1A data, Landsat-8, earthquake damage, rapid monitoring

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141 Heritage Tree Expert Assessment and Classification: Malaysian Perspective

Authors: B.-Y.-S. Lau, Y.-C.-T. Jonathan, M.-S. Alias

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Heritage trees are natural large, individual trees with exceptionally value due to association with age or event or distinguished people. In Malaysia, there is an abundance of tropical heritage trees throughout the country. It is essential to set up a repository of heritage trees to prevent valuable trees from being cut down. In this cross domain study, a web-based online expert system namely the Heritage Tree Expert Assessment and Classification (HTEAC) is developed and deployed for public to nominate potential heritage trees. Based on the nomination, tree care experts or arborists would evaluate and verify the nominated trees as heritage trees. The expert system automatically rates the approved heritage trees according to pre-defined grades via Delphi technique. Features and usability test of the expert system are presented. Preliminary result is promising for the system to be used as a full scale public system.

Keywords: Urban Forestry, Expert System, arboriculture, Delphi, heritage tree

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140 Extraction of Forest Plantation Resources in Selected Forest of San Manuel, Pangasinan, Philippines Using LiDAR Data for Forest Status Assessment

Authors: Mark Joseph Quinto, Roan Beronilla, Guiller Damian, Eliza Camaso, Ronaldo Alberto

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Forest inventories are essential to assess the composition, structure and distribution of forest vegetation that can be used as baseline information for management decisions. Classical forest inventory is labor intensive and time-consuming and sometimes even dangerous. The use of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) in forest inventory would improve and overcome these restrictions. This study was conducted to determine the possibility of using LiDAR derived data in extracting high accuracy forest biophysical parameters and as a non-destructive method for forest status analysis of San Manual, Pangasinan. Forest resources extraction was carried out using LAS tools, GIS, Envi and .bat scripts with the available LiDAR data. The process includes the generation of derivatives such as Digital Terrain Model (DTM), Canopy Height Model (CHM) and Canopy Cover Model (CCM) in .bat scripts followed by the generation of 17 composite bands to be used in the extraction of forest classification covers using ENVI 4.8 and GIS software. The Diameter in Breast Height (DBH), Above Ground Biomass (AGB) and Carbon Stock (CS) were estimated for each classified forest cover and Tree Count Extraction was carried out using GIS. Subsequently, field validation was conducted for accuracy assessment. Results showed that the forest of San Manuel has 73% Forest Cover, which is relatively much higher as compared to the 10% canopy cover requirement. On the extracted canopy height, 80% of the tree’s height ranges from 12 m to 17 m. CS of the three forest covers based on the AGB were: 20819.59 kg/20x20 m for closed broadleaf, 8609.82 kg/20x20 m for broadleaf plantation and 15545.57 kg/20x20m for open broadleaf. Average tree counts for the tree forest plantation was 413 trees/ha. As such, the forest of San Manuel has high percent forest cover and high CS.

Keywords: Lidar, Forest Inventory, carbon stock, tree count

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139 Model-Driven and Data-Driven Approaches for Crop Yield Prediction: Analysis and Comparison

Authors: Xiangtuo Chen, Paul-Henry Cournéde

Abstract:

Crop yield prediction is a paramount issue in agriculture. The main idea of this paper is to find out efficient way to predict the yield of corn based meteorological records. The prediction models used in this paper can be classified into model-driven approaches and data-driven approaches, according to the different modeling methodologies. The model-driven approaches are based on crop mechanistic modeling. They describe crop growth in interaction with their environment as dynamical systems. But the calibration process of the dynamic system comes up with much difficulty, because it turns out to be a multidimensional non-convex optimization problem. An original contribution of this paper is to propose a statistical methodology, Multi-Scenarios Parameters Estimation (MSPE), for the parametrization of potentially complex mechanistic models from a new type of datasets (climatic data, final yield in many situations). It is tested with CORNFLO, a crop model for maize growth. On the other hand, the data-driven approach for yield prediction is free of the complex biophysical process. But it has some strict requirements about the dataset. A second contribution of the paper is the comparison of these model-driven methods with classical data-driven methods. For this purpose, we consider two classes of regression methods, methods derived from linear regression (Ridge and Lasso Regression, Principal Components Regression or Partial Least Squares Regression) and machine learning methods (Random Forest, k-Nearest Neighbor, Artificial Neural Network and SVM regression). The dataset consists of 720 records of corn yield at county scale provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the associated climatic data. A 5-folds cross-validation process and two accuracy metrics: root mean square error of prediction(RMSEP), mean absolute error of prediction(MAEP) were used to evaluate the crop prediction capacity. The results show that among the data-driven approaches, Random Forest is the most robust and generally achieves the best prediction error (MAEP 4.27%). It also outperforms our model-driven approach (MAEP 6.11%). However, the method to calibrate the mechanistic model from dataset easy to access offers several side-perspectives. The mechanistic model can potentially help to underline the stresses suffered by the crop or to identify the biological parameters of interest for breeding purposes. For this reason, an interesting perspective is to combine these two types of approaches.

Keywords: Particle Swarm Optimization, Sensitivity Analysis, Crop Model, random forest, crop yield prediction, paramater estimation

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138 Load Forecasting in Microgrid Systems with R and Cortana Intelligence Suite

Authors: F. Lazzeri, I. Reiter

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Energy production optimization has been traditionally very important for utilities in order to improve resource consumption. However, load forecasting is a challenging task, as there are a large number of relevant variables that must be considered, and several strategies have been used to deal with this complex problem. This is especially true also in microgrids where many elements have to adjust their performance depending on the future generation and consumption conditions. The goal of this paper is to present a solution for short-term load forecasting in microgrids, based on three machine learning experiments developed in R and web services built and deployed with different components of Cortana Intelligence Suite: Azure Machine Learning, a fully managed cloud service that enables to easily build, deploy, and share predictive analytics solutions; SQL database, a Microsoft database service for app developers; and PowerBI, a suite of business analytics tools to analyze data and share insights. Our results show that Boosted Decision Tree and Fast Forest Quantile regression methods can be very useful to predict hourly short-term consumption in microgrids; moreover, we found that for these types of forecasting models, weather data (temperature, wind, humidity and dew point) can play a crucial role in improving the accuracy of the forecasting solution. Data cleaning and feature engineering methods performed in R and different types of machine learning algorithms (Boosted Decision Tree, Fast Forest Quantile and ARIMA) will be presented, and results and performance metrics discussed.

Keywords: time-series, features engineering methods for forecasting, energy demand forecasting, Azure Machine Learning

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137 Urban Greenery in the Greatest Polish Cities: Analysis of Spatial Concentration

Authors: Elżbieta Antczak

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Cities offer important opportunities for economic development and for expanding access to basic services, including health care and education, for large numbers of people. Moreover, green areas (as an integral part of sustainable urban development) present a major opportunity for improving urban environments, quality of lives and livelihoods. This paper examines, using spatial concentration and spatial taxonomic measures, regional diversification of greenery in the cities of Poland. The analysis includes location quotients, Lorenz curve, Locational Gini Index, and the synthetic index of greenery and spatial statistics tools: (1) To verify the occurrence of strong concentration or dispersion of the phenomenon in time and space depending on the variable category, and, (2) To study if the level of greenery depends on the spatial autocorrelation. The data includes the greatest Polish cities, categories of the urban greenery (parks, lawns, street greenery, and green areas on housing estates, cemeteries, and forests) and the time span 2004-2015. According to the obtained estimations, most of cites in Poland are already taking measures to become greener. However, in the country there are still many barriers to well-balanced urban greenery development (e.g. uncontrolled urban sprawl, poor management as well as lack of spatial urban planning systems).

Keywords: urban areas, greenery, regional spatial diversification and concentration, spatial taxonomic measure

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136 Ethno-Botanical Diversity and Conservation Status of Medicinal Flora at High Terrains of Garhwal (Uttarakhand) Himalaya, India: A Case Study in Context to Multifarious Tourism Growth and Peri-Urban Encroachments

Authors: Aravind Kumar

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The high terrains of Garhwal (Uttarakhand) Himalaya are the niches of a number of rare and endemic plant species of great therapeutic importance. However, the wild flora of the area is still under a constant threat due to rapid upsurge in human interferences, especially through multifarious tourism growth and peri-urban encroachments. After getting the status of a ‘Special State’ of the country since its inception in the year 2000, this newly borne State led to very rapid infrastructural growth and development. Consequently, its townships started expanding in an unmanaged way grabbing nearby agricultural lands and forest areas into peri-urban landscapes. Simultaneously, a boom in tourism and pilgrimage in the state and the infrastructural facilities raised by the government for tourists/pilgrims are destroying its biodiversity. Field survey revealed 242 plant species of therapeutic significance naturally growing in the area and being utilized by local inhabitants as traditional medicines. On conservation scale, 6 species (2.2%) were identified as critically endangered, 19 species (7.1%) as the endangered ones, 8 species (3.0%) under rare category, 17 species (6.4%) as threatened and 14 species (5.2%) as vulnerable. The Government of India has brought mega-biodiversity hot spots of the state under Biosphere Reserve, National Parks, etc. restricting all kinds of human interferences; however, the two most sacred shrines of Hindus and Sikhs viz. Shri Badrinath and Shri Hemkunt Sahib, and two great touristic attractions viz. Valley of Flowers and Auli-Joshimath Skiing Track oblige the government to maintain equilibrium between entries of visitors vis-à-vis biodiversity conservation in high terrains of Uttarakhand Himalaya.

Keywords: biodiversity conservation, ethno-botany, Garhwal (Uttarakhand) Himalaya, peri-urban encroachment, pilgrimage and tourism

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135 From Vertigo to Verticality: An Example of Phenomenological Design in Architecture

Authors: E. Osorio Schmied

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Architects commonly attempt a depiction of organic forms when their works are inspired by nature, regardless of the building site. Nevertheless it is also possible to try matching structures with natural scenery, by applying a phenomenological approach in terms of spatial operations, regarding perceptions from nature through architectural aspects such as protection, views, and orientation. This method acknowledges a relationship between place and space, where intentions towards tangible facts then become design statements. Although spaces resulting from such a process may present an effective response to the environment, they can also offer further outcomes beyond the realm of form. The hypothesis is that, in addition to recognising a bond between architecture and nature, it is also plausible to associate such perceptions with the inner ambient of buildings, by analysing features such as daylight. The case study of a single-family house in a rainforest near Valdivia, Chilean Patagonia is presented, with the intention of addressing the above notions through a discussion of the actual effects of inhabiting a place by way of a series of insights, including a revision of diagrams and photographs that assist in understanding the implications of this design practice. In addition, figures based on post-occupancy behaviour and daylighting performance relate both architectural and environmental issues to a decision-making process motivated by the observation of nature.

Keywords: Perception, Architecture, Nature, design statements

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134 Biotechonomy System Dynamics Modelling: Sustainability of Pellet Production

Authors: Andra Blumberga, Armands Gravelsins, Haralds Vigants, Dagnija Blumberga

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The paper discovers biotechonomy development analysis by use of system dynamics modelling. The research is connected with investigations of biomass application for production of bioproducts with higher added value. The most popular bioresource is wood, and therefore, the main question today is about future development and eco-design of products. The paper emphasizes and evaluates energy sector which is open for use of wood logs, wood chips, wood pellets and so on. The main aim for this research study was to build a framework to analyse development perspectives for wood pellet production. To reach the goal, a system dynamics model of energy wood supplies, processing, and consumption is built. Production capacity, energy consumption, changes in energy and technology efficiency, required labour source, prices of wood, energy and labour are taken into account. Validation and verification tests with available data and information have been carried out and indicate that the model constitutes the dynamic hypothesis. It is found that the more is invested into pellets production, the higher the specific profit per production unit compared to wood logs and wood chips. As a result, wood chips production is decreasing dramatically and is replaced by wood pellets. The limiting factor for pellet industry growth is availability of wood sources. This is governed by felling limit set by the government based on sustainable forestry principles.

Keywords: Bioenergy, biotechonomy, system dynamics modelling, wood pellets

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