Exhibition on Industrial Symbiosis and Circular Economy at ICTA-UAB

From 21 April to 5 May, the entrance hall of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) will be displaying the exhibition "Simbiosi Industrial: revaloritzem els recursos sobrants" (Industrial Symbiosis: revaluing spare resources).

An ERC Advanced Grant for EVOCLIM. Candidates invited for 3 senior and 4 junior research positions

Prof. Jeroen van den Bergh from ICTA-UAB was just awarded a prestigious ERC Advanced Grant for the project “Behavioral-evolutionary analysis of climate policy: Bounded rationality, markets and social interactions” (EVOCLIM).

Unrestricted Improvements in Fishing Technology Threaten the Future of Seafood

A study conducted by ICTA-UAB researcher Eric Galbraith shows that future improvement of fishing technology poses a threat for the global fishery that could be greater than climate change.

¿Son los Pirineos una barrera real para el transporte atmosférico de polen?

Los resultados del estudio llevado a cabo por Jordina Belmonte y Concepción de Linares, investigadoras expertas en botánica de la UAB, constatan que el polen de abedul, una de las especies principales de plantas que causan alergia en Europa Central y del Norte.

Ice age thermostat prevented extreme climate cooling

During the ice ages, an unidentified regulatory mechanism prevented atmospheric CO2 concentrations from falling below a level that could have led to runaway cooling, reports a study conducted by researchers of the ICTA-UAB and published online in Nature Geoscience this week.

The New Theory of Economic “Agrowth” Contributes to the Viability of Climate Policies

 ICTA-UAB researcher Jeroen van den Bergh publishes in Nature Climate Change a study in which he proposes a new economic theory compatible with the fight against climate change.

Map Commemorating Women’s Resistance to Extractivism and Defense of Life and Territory in Latin America

A map created by researchers at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB), the Latin-American Network of Women Defending Social and Environmental Rights and the Colombian NGO CENSAT-Agua Viva Friends of the Earth Colombia makes visible the struggles of women in Latin America against mining and in defense of life.

High levels of pollen expected this spring

Researchers at ICTA-UAB recently presented the predictions of pollen and spore levels for this spring.

European Project to Analyse the Effects of Waste Generated by Tourism on Mediterranean Islands

An European study involving the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma e Barcelona will address and propose solutions to the effects of the increase of waste generated by tourism on Mediterranean islands during the summer season.

El ICTA-UAB volverá Locos por la Naturaleza a 27 estudiantes de bachillerato

Un total de 27 estudiantes de bachillerato participan en la tercera edición del programa Locos por la Naturaleza que ofrece el Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) con la voluntad de promover el talento científico entre los jóvenes potenciando el conocimiento del medio natural y poniéndolos en contacto con los principales investigadores en la materia.

More Urban Green Needed in Barcelona to Have Positive Effects on Environmental Quality and Wellness

A PhD dissertation by Francesc Baró, from ICTA-UAB, quantifies and maps the benefits of urban and periurban green in Barcelona such as the improvement of air quality, climate change mitigation and opportunities for outdoor recreation.

New ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide'

The new ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide' it is at your disposal now. With this document, we aim to help you discover the basics of the PhD programme, ICTA-UAB’s structure, etc.

Social Relations, Success in Hunting and Good Health, Sources of Happiness for Indigenous People

Rural and indigenous people from the Global South push absolute income into the background as source of wellbeing.

Increase in motorcycles converts Barcelona into the European city with the highest number of motorbikes per inhabitant

A study by researchers of the ICTA-UAB and the UAB Department of Geography assesses the rise of motorcycles compared with the drop in cars in Barcelona in the past ten years.

More than One-Third of the Population Would Stop Economic Growth to Achieve Sustainability

A study by researchers of the Institut of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) assesses Spanish public opinion on economic growth, the environment and prosperity.

ICTA-UAB and ISGlobal Researchers Denounce Lack of Studies on the Harmful Health Effects of Oil Spills

A project led by ICTA-UAB, ISGlobal and the UAB Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in the Peruvian Amazon analyses the health effects of oil spills among people living close to oil extraction areas in developing countries.

Do Greener Cities Become More Unjust?

A new research project led by ICTA-UAB researcher Isabelle Anguelovski and funded by the European Union will assess the “green gentrification” process by which the creation of green urban amenities tends to attract the higher social classes and excludes the most vulnerable groups.

The ICTA-UAB Will Assess, in Collaboration with EU Staff, the Effectiveness of EU Sustainability Policies

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ICTA-UAB receives María de Maeztu Excellence Award

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology has received the award as a "María de Maeztu" Unit of Excellence 2015 from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO).
News
The Azores Islands were inhabited a century and a half before the Portuguese colonization, according to the fossil pollen found in a lake from São Miguel island

Date: 2017-02-28

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• Research involving the ICTA-UAB finds pollen of rye and other cereals in the sediments of Lago Azul and redefines the timing of human occupation of the Portuguese archipelago

• The study reconstructs the evolution of vegetation and landscape in the São Miguel Island during the last 700 years by studying the sediments of Lake Azul

• The paper, made by a multidisciplinary team of Spanish and Portuguese scientists, has been published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews


The Portuguese settled the Azores archipelago in 1449, according to the official chronology. But the analysis of the pollen present in the sediments of Lake Azul, in the São Miguel Island, suggests that the first settlers arrived to the archipelago, at least, 150 years before. This is the main conclusion of a study carried out by an international team of scientists, involving ICTA-UAB researcher Pere Masqué, that has been recently published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews.

The researchers extracted a sedimentary core from Lake Azul, in the São Miguel Island, from which they took about 60 samples for pollen analysis. "In the samples studied, we found pollen of rye and other cereals and also spores from fungi characteristic of the feces of domestic animals," says Valentí Rull, researcher at the Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera (ICTJA-CSIC), and Arantzazu Lara, from the Botanic Institute of Barcelona (IBB-CSIC), who carried out the pollen analyses and the vegetation reconstruction.

Carbon-14 dating allowed researchers to know the age of samples containing the first evidence of human presence, which resulted to date back to year 1300, almost a century and a half before the onset of the Portuguese colonization. Some maps from the XIV century already documented the existence of the archipelago, but it was considered still uninhabited.

"The pollen and fungal spores found in the sediments corresponding to year 1300 suggest us that there was already some small-scale farming and livestock activity around the lake by that time. It is possible that sailors made frequent stops in the island or that there were already small permanent or intermittent settlements around Lake Azul", adds Valentí Rull.

These settlements would have been established shortly after the last volcanic eruption, which occurred in the island around 1280. It is not known yet if humans inhabited the island before the eruption, an issue that should be verified in future studies.

The impact of colonization
The paper presents a reconstruction of the landscape and the vegetation of the São Miguel island during the last 700 years using the sediments of Lake Azul. Gonzalo Velho Cabral took possession of Santa María and São Miguel islands in 1432 but it was not until 1449 that the Kingdom of Portugal officially ordered the large-scale colonization of the archipelago. Until then, the São Miguel landscape was dominated by dense laurisilva forests, characteristic of the Azores.

The deforestation and further introduction of exotic species began after the arrival of the Portuguese settlers. This resulted in the total disappearance of the original laurisilvas.  Nowadays, the island's forests are dominated by exotic trees brought from Japan, Australia and the Mediterranean.

"In the samples corresponding to the period previous to the Portuguese settlement, we found at the same time the pollen corresponding to cereals and to laurisilva species. This indicates that the first settlements established in the island would not have modified the original vegetation, as it happened after 1449 ", says Valentí Rull.

The island of São Miguel is part of the eastern group of the Azores and is the largest and most populated island of the archipelago with more than 125,000 inhabitants.

The present study was carried out by researchers from ICTJA-CSIC, IBB-CSIC, the University of Barcelona (UB), the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) and the University of La Coruña, in conjunction with researchers from the universities of the Azores and Lisbon, and two Australian universities.

Reference article
Rull, V., et al. (2017), Vegetation and landscape dynamics under natural and anthropogenic forcing on the Azores Islands: A 700-year Pollen record from the São Miguel Island, Quaternary Science Reviews, 159, 155-168, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2017.01.021

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