Recent studies have shown that conservation gains can be achieved when the spatial distributions of biological benefits and economic costs are incorporated in the conservation planning process. Using Alberta, Canada, as a case study we apply these techniques in the context of coarse-filter reserve design. Because targets for ecosystem representation and other coarse-filter design elements are difficult to define objectively we use a trade-off analysis to systematically explore the relationship between conservation targets and economic opportunity costs. We use the Marxan conservation planning software to generate reserve designs at each level of conservation target to ensure that our quantification of conservation and economic outcomes represents the optimal allocation of resources in each case. Opportunity cost is most affected by the ecological representation target and this relationship is nonlinear. Although petroleum resources are present throughout most of Alberta, and include highly valuable oil sands deposits, our analysis indicates that over 30% of public lands could be protected while maintaining access to more than 97% of the value of the region's resources. Our case study demonstrates that optimal resource allocation can be usefully employed to support strategic decision making in the context of land-use planning, even when conservation targets are not well defined.
Cites: Nature. 2000 May 11;405(6783):243-5310821285
Little attention has been devoted to the effects on children's respiratory health of exposure to sulphur dioxide (SO2) in ambient air from local industrial emissions. Most studies on the effects of SO(2) have assessed its impact as part of the regional ambient air pollutant mix.
To examine the association between exposure to stack emissions of SO(2) from petroleum refineries located in Montreal's (Quebec) east-end industrial complex and the prevalence of active asthma and poor asthma control among children living nearby.
The present cross-sectional study used data from a respiratory health survey of Montreal children six months to 12 years of age conducted in 2006. Of 7964 eligible households that completed the survey, 842 children between six months and 12 years of age lived in an area impacted by refinery emissions. Ambient SO(2) exposure levels were estimated using dispersion modelling. Log-binomial regression models were used to estimate crude and adjusted prevalence ratios (PRs) and 95% CIs for the association between yearly school and residential SO(2) exposure estimates and asthma outcomes. Adjustments were made for child's age, sex, parental history of atopy and tobacco smoke exposure at home.
The adjusted PR for the association between active asthma and SO(2) levels was 1.14 (95% CI 0.94 to 1.39) per interquartile range increase in modelled annual SO(2). The effect on poor asthma control was greater (PR=1.39 per interquartile range increase in modelled SO(2) [95% CI 1.00 to 1.94]).
Results of the present study suggest a relationship between exposure to refinery stack emissions of SO(2) and the prevalence of active and poor asthma control in children who live and attend school in proximity to refineries.
Arctic shipping and oil exploration are expected to increase, as sea ice extent is reduced. This enhances the risk for accidental oil spills throughout the Arctic, which emphasises the need to quantify potential consequences to the marine ecosystem and to evaluate risk and choose appropriate remediation methods. This study investigated the sensitivity of Arctic marine plankton to the water accommodated fraction (WAF) of heavy fuel oil. Arctic marine phytoplankton and copepods (Calanus finmarchicus) were exposed to three WAF concentrations corresponding to total hydrocarbon contents of 0.07?mg?l-1, 0.28?mg?l-1 and 0.55?mg?l-1. Additionally, the potential phototoxic effects of exposing the WAF to sunlight, including the UV spectrum, were tested. The study determined sub-lethal effects of WAF exposure on rates of key ecosystem processes: primary production of phytoplankton and grazing (faecal pellet production) of copepods. Both phytoplankton and copepods responded negatively to WAF exposure. Biomass specific primary production was reduced by 6, 52 and 73% and faecal pellet production by 18, 51 and 86% with increasing WAF concentrations compared to controls. The phototoxic effect reduced primary production in the two highest WAF concentration treatments by 71 and 91%, respectively. This experiment contributes to the limited knowledge of acute sub-lethal effects of potential oil spills to the Arctic pelagic food web.
Crude oil accidentally spilled into the marine environment undergoes natural weathering processes that result in oil components being dissolved into the water column or present in particulate form as dispersed oil droplets. Oil components dissolved in seawater are typically considered as more bioavailable to pelagic marine organisms and the main driver of crude oil toxicity, however, recent studies indicate that oil droplets may also contribute. The adhesion of crude oil droplets onto the eggs of pelagic fish species may cause enhanced transfer of oil components via the egg surface causing toxicity during the sensitive embryonic developmental stage. In the current study, we utilized an oil droplet dispersion generator to generate defined oil droplets sizes/concentrations and exposed Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) to investigate if the potential for dispersed oil droplets to adhere onto the surface of eggs was species-dependent. The influence of a commercial chemical dispersant on the adhesion process was also studied. A key finding was that the adhesion of oil droplets was significantly higher for haddock than cod, highlighting key differences and exposure risks between the two species. Scanning electron microscopy indicates that the differences in oil droplet adhesion may be driven by the surface morphology of the eggs. Another important finding was that the adhesion capacity of oil droplets to fish eggs is significantly reduced (cod 37.3%, haddock 41.7%) in the presence of the chemical dispersant.
The survey was conducted in a Canadian refinery where operators have been working rotating 12-hour shifts for 20 years. A multidisciplinary approach was adopted, based on 12 sources of data. Descriptive statistics and chronoergonomic observations were used. The most marked consequences of the schedule were observed among former shiftworkers. Among current shift workers, sleep deficit, chronic fatigue, health problems, and disruption of social and family life were the most serious effects observed. Aging and under-staffing, however, interact with schedule by necessitating overtime and reducing the actual number of rest days, which in turn affects fatigue and reliability. In the near future, the low replacement rate of the workforce and the limitations on reassignment of aging workers to day shifts will probably prevent the selection process from playing its "protective" role. Besides, with the 5-year delay of the retirement age, the harmful effects in older operators active over the next 5-10 years may prove greater than those observed in this study.
Social and economic instability induced a drastic increase in the incidence of diseases involving temporary disability among the oilmen of West Siberia in recent years. Multifactorial analysis disclosed the principal risk factors causing the formation of groups of subjects falling ill frequently and for a long time. The structure of risk factors in the multifactorial model of incidence of diseases with temporary disability has changed recently, reflecting the situation in Russia. The sanological approach to studies of morbidity helps effectively develop a system of complex measures aimed at primary prevention, which should be adapted to the local conditions. One approach is the creation of screening tests to be used in prophylactic check-ups, based on estimation of the threshold (critical) number of risk factors.
To assess whether working in an industrial harbor where an oil tank exploded was associated with more airway symptoms and lower lung function in men 1.5 years later.
In a cross-sectional study of 180 men, 18 to 67 years old, airway symptoms and lung function among men who worked in the industrial harbor at the time of the explosion was compared with those of working men with residence more than 20 km away. Regression analyses are adjusted for smoking, occupational exposure, atopy, recent infection, and age.
Exposed men had significantly more upper (ORirritated nose = 2.89 [95% confidence interval = 1.31 to 6.37]) and lower (ORdyspnea uphill = 3.79 [95% confidence interval = 1.69 to 8.46]) airway symptoms, and some indication of more reversible airway obstruction than unexposed workers.
Men working in an area with an oil tank explosion had more airway symptoms and indication of more airway obstruction 1.5 years after the event.