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Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 1 (January 2015), Pages 1-1098

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review, Other

Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Sustainability in 2014
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 668-682; doi:10.3390/su7010668
Received: 7 January 2015 / Accepted: 7 January 2015 / Published: 7 January 2015
PDF Full-text (636 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The editors of Sustainability would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2014:[...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Open AccessArticle Spatiotemporal Changes of Farming-Pastoral Ecotone in Northern China, 1954–2005: A Case Study in Zhenlai County, Jilin Province
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 1-22; doi:10.3390/su7010001
Received: 3 June 2014 / Accepted: 12 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (2548 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Analyzing spatiotemporal changes in land use and land cover could provide basic information for appropriate decision-making and thereby plays an essential role in promoting the sustainable use of land resources, especially in ecologically fragile regions. In this paper, a case study was taken
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Analyzing spatiotemporal changes in land use and land cover could provide basic information for appropriate decision-making and thereby plays an essential role in promoting the sustainable use of land resources, especially in ecologically fragile regions. In this paper, a case study was taken in Zhenlai County, which is a part of the farming-pastoral ecotone of Northern China. This study integrated methods of bitemporal change detection and temporal trajectory analysis to trace the paths of land cover change for every location in the study area from 1954 to 2005, using published land cover data based on topographic and environmental background maps and also remotely sensed images including Landsat MSS (Multispectral Scanner) and TM (Thematic Mapper). Meanwhile, the Lorenz curve and Gini coefficient derived from economic models were also used to study the land use structure changes to gain a better understanding of human impact on this fragile ecosystem. Results of bitemporal change detection showed that the most common land cover transition in the study area was an expansion of arable land at the expense of grassland and wetland. Plenty of grassland was converted to other unused land, indicating serious environmental degradation in Zhenlai County during the past decades. Trajectory analysis of land use and land cover change demonstrated that settlement, arable land, and water bodies were relatively stable in terms of coverage and spatial distribution, while grassland, wetland, and forest land had weak stability. Natural forces were still dominating the environmental processes of the study area, while human-induced changes also played an important role in environmental change. In addition, different types of land use displayed different concentration trends and had large changes during the study period. Arable land was the most decentralized, whereas forest land was the most concentrated. The above results not only revealed notable spatiotemporal features of land use and land cover change in the time series, but also confirmed the applicability and effectiveness of the methodology in our research, which combined bitemporal change detection, temporal trajectory analysis, and a Lorenz curve/Gini coefficient in analyzing spatiotemporal changes in land use and land cover. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle The Informal Economy as a Catalyst for Sustainability
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 23-34; doi:10.3390/su7010023
Received: 13 September 2014 / Accepted: 17 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (671 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability typically involves the balancing of three major factors: the economy, the environment, and some notion of equity. Though the economy is already a key aspect, the recognition of the informal economy, seems to be absent from the many possible permutations of these
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Sustainability typically involves the balancing of three major factors: the economy, the environment, and some notion of equity. Though the economy is already a key aspect, the recognition of the informal economy, seems to be absent from the many possible permutations of these three. This paper will explore the various aspects of the informal economy and how it can make a considerable impact on achieving a more sustainable future. Specifically, this paper focuses on how the informal economy can encourage the sustainable use of goods, while offering an alternative to the regulated market economy. By supporting the informal sectors such as farmers markets, street vendors and non-market activities, a shift away from a car-dominated society and singular economic trajectory can begin. The informal sector can provide, social capital, promote local economies, create jobs and provide the need economic shift toward a sustainable future. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Spatial Optimization Model for Sustainable Land Use at Regional Level in China: A Case Study for Poyang Lake Region
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 35-55; doi:10.3390/su7010035
Received: 7 August 2014 / Accepted: 11 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (728 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Economic growth in China is accompanied by many problems, such as rapid deterioration of the environment and a sharp decline in the area of arable land. China’s current land-use planning system fails to deal with these problems, especially at the regional level. The
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Economic growth in China is accompanied by many problems, such as rapid deterioration of the environment and a sharp decline in the area of arable land. China’s current land-use planning system fails to deal with these problems, especially at the regional level. The lack of sustainable spatial allocation at regional level has become a pressing problem. This article aims to: (1) analyze the reason why sustainable land use at the regional level is difficult to achieve under the current Chinese land-use planning system; (2) put forward a regional optimization model for sustainable land use; and (3) explore the usefulness and possibility of the future application of the model in supporting land-use planning. The model has been applied in a case study for the Poyang Lake Region, Jiangxi Province in China. Based on predictions of the demand of land in 2015, three single-objective scenarios were constructed: food production oriented, nature conservation oriented and economic growth oriented. An optimized, multi-objective pattern of sustainable land use was achieved by integrating the three single-objective scenarios. The relevance and applicability of the model were discussed with planning experts and practitioners. The results indicate that the model can contribute to a more sustainable regional land-use planning in China. However, the results also show a need for further research on how to embed wider social and economic aspects in the model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of Industrial Transformation on Water Use Efficiency in Northwest Region of China
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 56-74; doi:10.3390/su7010056
Received: 8 October 2014 / Accepted: 8 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (1064 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
China has been stressing the needs of promoting regional sustainable development through industrial transformation. In the northwest region of China, which is faced with both urgent socioeconomic development and fragile ecological conditions, with water scarcity being one of the major characters, the relationship
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China has been stressing the needs of promoting regional sustainable development through industrial transformation. In the northwest region of China, which is faced with both urgent socioeconomic development and fragile ecological conditions, with water scarcity being one of the major characters, the relationship between industrial transformation and water use efficiency ought to be investigated. This paper conducted an empirical analysis of industry transformation’s impact on water use efficiency by using the Input-output analysis. First, we compiled an extended Input-output table with water use account; Second, the input-output analysis model was built based on the extended Input-output table; Then, a counterfactual experiment was performed to document the water use efficiency caused by industrial transformation; Finally, water use efficiency of different sectors in both northwest region of China as a whole and its five provinces were calculated. The results show that water use efficiency of northwest region of China is improved by optimizing industrial structure. Also, sectors with low water use efficiency but huge improvement potential were found out. Then policy implications for regional sustainable development and water resources management are provided at the end of the article. Full article
Open AccessArticle Impact Analysis of Air Pollutant Emission Policies on Thermal Coal Supply Chain Enterprises in China
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 75-95; doi:10.3390/su7010075
Received: 21 August 2014 / Accepted: 8 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (234 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Spurred by the increasingly serious air pollution problem, the Chinese government has launched a series of policies to put forward specific measures of power structure adjustment and the control objectives of air pollution and coal consumption. Other policies pointed out that the coal
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Spurred by the increasingly serious air pollution problem, the Chinese government has launched a series of policies to put forward specific measures of power structure adjustment and the control objectives of air pollution and coal consumption. Other policies pointed out that the coal resources regional blockades will be broken by improving transportation networks and constructing new logistics nodes. Thermal power takes the largest part of China’s total installed power generation capacity, so these policies will undoubtedly impact thermal coal supply chain member enterprises. Based on the actual situation in China, this paper figures out how the member enterprises adjust their business decisions to satisfy the requirements of air pollution prevention and control policies by establishing system dynamic models of policy impact transfer. These dynamic analyses can help coal enterprises and thermal power enterprises do strategic environmental assessments and find directions of sustainable development. Furthermore, the policy simulated results of this paper provide the Chinese government with suggestions for policy-making to make sure that the energy conservation and emission reduction policies and sustainable energy policies can work more efficiently. Full article
Open AccessArticle Topographical Characteristics of Agricultural Potential Productivity during Cropland Transformation in China
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 96-110; doi:10.3390/su7010096
Received: 4 September 2014 / Accepted: 15 December 2014 / Published: 24 December 2014
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Abstract
Terrain, an important limiting factor in land use change, strongly influences agricultural productivity. This study investigated the topographical characteristics of agricultural potential productivity of cropland transformations in China during the first decade of the 21st century, and explored the impacts of cropland transformations
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Terrain, an important limiting factor in land use change, strongly influences agricultural productivity. This study investigated the topographical characteristics of agricultural potential productivity of cropland transformations in China during the first decade of the 21st century, and explored the impacts of cropland transformations with different terrains on agricultural potential productivity as it relates to China’s national food supply. The results showed the production potential of cropland loss was much greater than that of cropland gain in most regions, and topographical characteristics of croplands losses and gains actually impacted the agricultural potential productivity in China. The losses in agricultural potential productivity was serious in regions with good terrain conditions, where the slope is lower than 5°, and the elevation is below 100 m, especially in the middle and lower Yangtze region and the Huang-Huai-Hai region. The situation for cropland loss with better quality, and expanded the worse was severe in China, and this is expected to negatively influence sustainable agricultural development in the future. This study suggests that researchers focus not only on the total area of expanded cropland but also on cropland quality, such as the different terrain conditions of the croplands, to avoid a loss in national agricultural productivity caused by the process of cropland transformation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Response of Seismically Isolated Steel Frame Buildings with Sustainable Lead-Rubber Bearing (LRB) Isolator Devices Subjected to Near-Fault (NF) Ground Motions
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 111-137; doi:10.3390/su7010111
Received: 4 September 2014 / Accepted: 17 December 2014 / Published: 24 December 2014
Cited by 20 | PDF Full-text (5936 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Base isolation has been used as one of the most wildly accepted seismic protection systems that should substantially dissociate a superstructure from its substructure resting on a shaking ground, thereby sustainably preserving entire structures against earthquake forces as well as inside non-structural integrities.
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Base isolation has been used as one of the most wildly accepted seismic protection systems that should substantially dissociate a superstructure from its substructure resting on a shaking ground, thereby sustainably preserving entire structures against earthquake forces as well as inside non-structural integrities. Base isolation devices can operate very effectively against near-fault (NF) ground motions with large velocity pulses and permanent ground displacements. In this study, comparative advantages for using lead-rubber bearing (LRB) isolation systems are mainly investigated by performing nonlinear dynamic time-history analyses with NF ground motions. The seismic responses with respects to base shears and inter-story drifts are compared according to the installation of LRB isolation systems in the frame building. The main function of the base LRB isolator is to extend the period of structural vibration by increasing lateral flexibility in the frame structure, and thus ground accelerations transferred into the superstructure can dramatically decrease. Therefore, these base isolation systems are able to achieve notable mitigation in the base shear. In addition, they make a significant contribution to reducing inter-story drifts distributed over the upper floors. Finally, the fact that seismic performance can be improved by installing isolation devices in the frame structure is emphasized herein through the results of nonlinear dynamic analyses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Development)
Open AccessArticle Global Sustainability Accounting—Developing EXIOBASE for Multi-Regional Footprint Analysis
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 138-163; doi:10.3390/su7010138
Received: 20 October 2014 / Accepted: 10 December 2014 / Published: 26 December 2014
Cited by 79 | PDF Full-text (1140 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Measuring progress towards sustainable development requires appropriate frameworks and databases. The System of Environmental-Economic Accounts (SEEA) is undergoing continuous refinement with these objectives in mind. In SEEA, there is a need for databases to encompass the global dimension of societal metabolism. In this
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Measuring progress towards sustainable development requires appropriate frameworks and databases. The System of Environmental-Economic Accounts (SEEA) is undergoing continuous refinement with these objectives in mind. In SEEA, there is a need for databases to encompass the global dimension of societal metabolism. In this paper, we focus on the latest effort to construct a global multi-regional input−output database (EXIOBASE) with a focus on environmentally relevant activities. The database and its broader analytical framework allows for the as yet most detailed insight into the production-related impacts and “footprints” of our consumption. We explore the methods used to arrive at the database, and some key relationships extracted from the database. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Enhancement of Land Tenure Relations as a Factor of Sustainable Agricultural Development: Case of Stavropol Krai, Russia
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 164-179; doi:10.3390/su7010164
Received: 5 November 2014 / Accepted: 15 December 2014 / Published: 26 December 2014
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Abstract
The aim of this paper is to give an overview and analyze the contemporary land tenure relations in Russia in view of their influences on economic viability of agricultural production. The paper investigates progress made toward the development of agricultural land market in
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The aim of this paper is to give an overview and analyze the contemporary land tenure relations in Russia in view of their influences on economic viability of agricultural production. The paper investigates progress made toward the development of agricultural land market in economies in transition. The research is made with emphasis on Stavropol Krai, agricultural region in the southern part of Russia. The authors retrospectively address land tenure relations in the region, analyze contemporary tendencies, and discover linkages between land tenure relations and sustainable agricultural development. The later concept is understood here as economic viability of agricultural production. The paper focuses on the potential approaches for resolving specific problem issues in the sphere of sustainable agricultural development through effective land tenure relations. The paper is concluded with the substantiation of methodology of land rent payment, the size of which is made conditional on land productivity and effectiveness of agricultural production. Full article
Open AccessArticle Factors Influencing the Conversion of Arable Land to Urban Use and Policy Implications in Beijing, China
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 180-194; doi:10.3390/su7010180
Received: 29 October 2014 / Accepted: 19 December 2014 / Published: 26 December 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (2056 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Rapid urban land expansion and the resulting arable land loss have put food security in China at risk. This paper investigates the characteristics and mechanism of arable land conversion in Beijing using a logistic model based on land-use data for 2001 and 2010.
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Rapid urban land expansion and the resulting arable land loss have put food security in China at risk. This paper investigates the characteristics and mechanism of arable land conversion in Beijing using a logistic model based on land-use data for 2001 and 2010. The results suggest that (1) arable land conversion tends to occur near built-up areas, city centers and major roads; (2) arable land that lies closer to irrigation canals and country roads is less likely to be converted to urban use; (3) arable land that is bigger in size and has a more regular shape has a lower probability of conversion to urban use; and (4) the Prime Farmland Protection policy and related land-use plan have played a positive role in preserving arable land, demonstrated by the probability for arable land conversion inside a prime farmland boundary is 63.9 percent less than for land outside the boundary. Based on these findings and on sustainable-development principles, we suggest that, rather than an exclusive focus on controlling the quantity of arable land, the location and characteristics of the arable land should be a primary consideration when designing urban policies and plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Carbon and Oxygen Balances in Urban Ecosystems Using Land Use/Land Cover and Statistical Data
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 195-221; doi:10.3390/su7010195
Received: 13 October 2014 / Accepted: 15 December 2014 / Published: 29 December 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (5212 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban areas play an important role in the global carbon cycle, and human-induced carbon emissions from urban areas urgently need to be reduced. Therefore, understanding the relationship between carbon sources and sinks is the first step toward mitigating the effect of urban areas
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Urban areas play an important role in the global carbon cycle, and human-induced carbon emissions from urban areas urgently need to be reduced. Therefore, understanding the relationship between carbon sources and sinks is the first step toward mitigating the effect of urban areas on climate change. Combined with the land use and land cover (LULC) empirical coefficients and statistical methods, urban carbon and oxygen balances in Beijing were evaluated. In this study, the carbon sequestration and oxygen emission capabilities of various LULC types were calculated, and the partitioning of carbon emissions and oxygen consumption in Beijing were estimated. The evaluation results indicated that the ecosystem services from the LULC in an area were not adequate to offset the urban carbon emissions and oxygen consumption. The areas with a high capacity for carbon sequestration and oxygen emissions were primarily distributed in the exurban districts of Beijing, and the carbon and oxygen balances in the exurban districts were superior to those of core urban areas. Industrial fossil fuel consumption dominated all of the human-induced carbon sources. The methods developed in this research were shown to be viable for the quantitative evaluation of urban ecosystem carbon and oxygen balances. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Citizens’ Views of Australia’s Future to 2050
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 222-247; doi:10.3390/su7010222
Received: 20 October 2014 / Accepted: 17 December 2014 / Published: 29 December 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1623 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In four focus group exercises involving both forecasting and backcasting approaches, we gave approximately 100 Australian citizens the opportunity to discuss likely, desirable and feared futures to 2050. The image they paint is both coherent and consistent. Education, governance, personal attitudes and societal
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In four focus group exercises involving both forecasting and backcasting approaches, we gave approximately 100 Australian citizens the opportunity to discuss likely, desirable and feared futures to 2050. The image they paint is both coherent and consistent. Education, governance, personal attitudes and societal trends, rather than specific events, are drivers of a future which is perceived as being largely shaped by human choices. Innovation is believed to be more necessary in novel social arrangements than in further technology. The most feared futures arise from an amplification of trends already at play in the present: economic growth at the expense of the environment and quality of life, lack of equity, poor government, corporate greed, commercialism and erosion of social values. Economic and material growth does not feature in the most desired futures which are local, inclusive, peaceful, equitable and in some cases frugal. The visions and scenarios developed find a place within established foresight frameworks and global political narratives, but seem to lie at the fringe of current media and short-term political discourse. These results should not be interpreted as representative of the overall Australian population, but suggest that extending the analysis to the broader community could provide significant insights and enrich the discussion of important societal choices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Analysis of Professional Perceptions of Criteria Contributing to Sustainable Housing Affordability
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 248-270; doi:10.3390/su7010248
Received: 13 October 2014 / Accepted: 17 December 2014 / Published: 29 December 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1332 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Housing affordability is a multi-dimensional issue, yet it is typically defined and assessed quite narrowly in terms of financial criteria. The housing affordability problem encompasses more than financial costs of housing and extends to larger issues of social wellbeing and sustainability. Accordingly, a
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Housing affordability is a multi-dimensional issue, yet it is typically defined and assessed quite narrowly in terms of financial criteria. The housing affordability problem encompasses more than financial costs of housing and extends to larger issues of social wellbeing and sustainability. Accordingly, a broader range of factors ought to be considered when defining and assessing affordability, particularly if more sustainable outcomes are desired from housing. A comprehensive system of criteria representing sustainable housing affordability, developed by the authors, is validated and analysed in this paper. The quantitative data analysis of surveys conducted with housing and planning professionals across the UK is used to determine stakeholder’s perceptions on the criteria contributing to sustainable housing affordability and to rank these criteria according to their importance. The paper establishes that professional opinions on this issue differ insignificantly across different regions of the UK, while it varies to some extent depending on the sector of housing industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle Stakeholder Visions for Biodiversity Conservation in Developing Countries
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 271-293; doi:10.3390/su7010271
Received: 16 August 2014 / Accepted: 23 December 2014 / Published: 29 December 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (710 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The 2014 Conference of the Parties (COP 12) for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was another step on the road to achieving the Aichi Targets the CBD agreed in 2010. It was also a key step on the way to making progress
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The 2014 Conference of the Parties (COP 12) for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was another step on the road to achieving the Aichi Targets the CBD agreed in 2010. It was also a key step on the way to making progress towards the vision of a more balanced relationship between people and the rest of biodiversity by 2050. Many key issues were left for this COP by negotiators from COP 11 and earlier meetings; such as settling financial issues, articulating clearly the Aichi Targets for national implementation by 2020, or providing clear guidance on capacity-building for developing states. This paper utilizes 22 stakeholder interviews taken at the 2012 Hyderabad COP to develop discussion of ongoing issues in the CBD negotiations. These interviews yielded a number of tractable policy opportunities available for the 2014 Conference to create significant space for developing countries to contribute effectively to global achievement of the Aichi Targets. Breakthroughs and developments at the COP, despite the inevitability of some difficult discussions, will be provided by developing country perspectives. Despite that potential traction, Ministers at the high-level segment noted that progress towards the Aichi targets is insufficient and recognizing there was still much to do on resource mobilization, reaffirmed their commitment to mobilize financial resources from all sources for the effective implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020. As we enter the second half of the 2011–2020 decade, developing countries must be placed at the center of efforts to improve sustainable use, conservation and benefit sharing of biodiversity around the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Fit for the Future? A New Approach in the Debate about What Makes Healthcare Systems Really Sustainable
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 294-312; doi:10.3390/su7010294
Received: 26 May 2014 / Accepted: 24 December 2014 / Published: 30 December 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (925 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As healthcare systems face enormous challenges, sustainability is seen as a crucial requirement for making them fit for the future. However, there is no consensus with regard to either the definition of the term or the factors that characterize a “sustainable healthcare system”.
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As healthcare systems face enormous challenges, sustainability is seen as a crucial requirement for making them fit for the future. However, there is no consensus with regard to either the definition of the term or the factors that characterize a “sustainable healthcare system”. Therefore, the aim of this article is twofold. First, it gives examples of the existing literature about sustainable healthcare systems and analyzes this literature with regard to its understanding of sustainability and the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches. The article then identifies crucial factors for sustainable healthcare systems, and the result, a conceptual framework consisting of five distinct and interacting factors, can be seen as a starting point for further research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Land Use/Land Cover Change Induced Impacts on Water Supply Service in the Upper Reach of Heihe River Basin
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 366-383; doi:10.3390/su7010366
Received: 17 October 2014 / Accepted: 24 December 2014 / Published: 31 December 2014
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (1023 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Heihe River Basin is the second largest inland river basin in China, where water supply service in the upper reach has greater influence on the sustainable development of middle and lower reaches. This study analyzed the influence of land use/land cover change (LUCC)
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Heihe River Basin is the second largest inland river basin in China, where water supply service in the upper reach has greater influence on the sustainable development of middle and lower reaches. This study analyzed the influence of land use/land cover change (LUCC) on the water supply service in the upper reach by carrying out scenario simulation. Firstly, we analyzed the LUCC and climate change in the upper reach during 1990–2005; then the water supply service, which was represented by the annual water yield, was estimated with the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST) model. Thereafter three scenarios (precipitation change and LUCC change combined, LUCC change only, and precipitation change only) were established to analyze the impacts of LUCC and precipitation change on the water yield. The results show that the LUCC exerted great influence on water yield, while the impact of precipitation change is even more significant than that of LUCC. Although there are still some uncertainties, the results of this study can still provide valuable reference information for ecological conservation and water resource management in the upper reach of the Heihe River Basin. Full article
Open AccessArticle Maize Production Responsiveness to Land Use Change and Climate Trends in Cameroon
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 384-397; doi:10.3390/su7010384
Received: 25 September 2014 / Accepted: 23 December 2014 / Published: 31 December 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (909 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Most studies on the responsiveness of maize production to various variables have dwelled on the responsiveness of maize production to variations in precipitation or temperature. This study seeks to verify the response of maize production in Cameroon to both climate trends and land
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Most studies on the responsiveness of maize production to various variables have dwelled on the responsiveness of maize production to variations in precipitation or temperature. This study seeks to verify the response of maize production in Cameroon to both climate trends and land use change. Therefore, for the first time, our study presents findings on the relative influence of both climate and land use change on maize production in Cameroon. The data used in this analysis are essentially time series data spanning the period 1961–2006. The data on quantity of maize produced, area of maize harvested and number of maize seeds planted was taken from (http://faostat.fao.org). The mean maize growing season temperature and precipitation data were collected from the 0.5° × 0.5° gridded collaborative datasets of the UNEP and the School of Geography and Environment at Oxford University and from the global crop calendar dataset. The data were analyzed using the average rate of change, detrended simulations, the multiple linear regression technique, correlation coefficient and the coefficient of determination. The results show that maize production in Cameroon is more likely responsive to land use change (forest area change) than rainfall and temperature. However, for the climatic variables, maize production is more responsive to temperature variations than precipitation. In other words, the greater the land use change (forest area loss) the more likely the long run losses in the current maize production gains while rising temperatures were found to be more suitable for maize production. Even though the 1990s marked the period of recovering rainfall levels in most of the Sahel, large fluctuations were still recorded. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Open AccessArticle Place, Capital Flows and Property Regimes: The Elites’ Former Houses in Beijing’s South Luogu Lane
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 398-421; doi:10.3390/su7010398
Received: 21 August 2014 / Accepted: 22 December 2014 / Published: 31 December 2014
PDF Full-text (3461 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Place is seen as a process whereby social and cultural forms are reproduced. This process is closely linked to capital flows, which are, in turn, shaped by changing property regimes. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the relationship between property regimes,
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Place is seen as a process whereby social and cultural forms are reproduced. This process is closely linked to capital flows, which are, in turn, shaped by changing property regimes. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the relationship between property regimes, capital flows and place-making. The goal of this paper is to highlight the role of changing property regimes in the production of place. Our research area is South Luogu Lane (SLL) in Central Beijing. We take elites’ former houses in SLL as the main unit of analysis in this study. From studying this changing landscape, we draw four main conclusions. First, the location of SSL was critical in enabling it to emerge as a high-status residential community near the imperial city. Second, historical patterns of capital accumulation influenced subsequent rounds of private investment into particular areas of SLL. Third, as laws relating to the ownership of land and real estate changed fundamentally in the early 1950s and again in the 1980s, the target and intensity of capital flows into housing in SLL changed too. Fourth, these changes in capital flow are linked to ongoing changes in the place image of SLL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Residential Solar PV Planning in Santiago, Chile: Incorporating the PM10 Parameter
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 422-440; doi:10.3390/su7010422
Received: 19 November 2014 / Accepted: 18 December 2014 / Published: 31 December 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (565 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper addresses an economic study of the installation of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels for residential power generation in Santiago, Chile, based on the different parameters of a PV system, such as efficiency. As a performance indicator, the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE)
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This paper addresses an economic study of the installation of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels for residential power generation in Santiago, Chile, based on the different parameters of a PV system, such as efficiency. As a performance indicator, the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) was used, which indicates the benefit of the facility vs. the current cost of electrical energy. In addition, due to a high level of airborne dusts typically associated with PM10, the effect of the dust deposition on PV panels’ surfaces and the effect on panel performance are examined. Two different scenarios are analyzed: on-grid PV plants and off-grid PV plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Implementing Integrated Water Resources Management in the Ebro River Basin: From Theory to Facts
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 441-464; doi:10.3390/su7010441
Received: 19 August 2014 / Accepted: 24 December 2014 / Published: 31 December 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (956 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this article, we analyze how successful the implementation of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in the Ebro river catchment (in Spain) has been. Our main aim is to show some gaps between theory and practice. This implies analyzing the political dimensions of
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In this article, we analyze how successful the implementation of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in the Ebro river catchment (in Spain) has been. Our main aim is to show some gaps between theory and practice. This implies analyzing the political dimensions of governance and their change and reflecting on the interface between governance and technical knowledge about water. We highlight problems, such as the lack of institutional coordination, blind spots in technical information and path dependences. Actual water management has led to plans for further irrigation even though water availability is, and is expected to continue, shrinking due to climate change and other local factors. To overcome these mismatches, we propose further synchronization, innovative ways of public participation and knowledge sharing between institutions and researchers. As a showcase, we portray a practical real example of a desirable institutional arrangement in one sub-catchment. Full article
Open AccessArticle Stationary Charging Station Design for Sustainable Urban Rail Systems: A Case Study at Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co., China
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 465-481; doi:10.3390/su7010465
Received: 7 November 2014 / Accepted: 29 December 2014 / Published: 5 January 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (3968 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In 2014, more than 43 cities in China were racing to construct their urban rail systems (including metro and light rail systems), recognizing that an urban rail system will be a good solution to the tough problems that they are faced with, including
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In 2014, more than 43 cities in China were racing to construct their urban rail systems (including metro and light rail systems), recognizing that an urban rail system will be a good solution to the tough problems that they are faced with, including traffic congestion and PM2.5 air pollution. On 22 August 2012, the first electric double-layer capacitor (EDLC) energy storage-type rail vehicle in the world was unveiled at Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co., China. The EDLC rail system has been considered a promising sustainable urban rail system, which is expected to further improve the energy efficiency and to reduce environmental pollution. The first commercial EDLC tram produced by Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co. has been applied at Guangzhou Metro Corp. recently. From the view point of scientific research, the system design and energy management of EDLC rail systems have been extensively studied in the literature, while the stationary charging station design for the EDLC energy storage-type urban rail vehicles has been rarely reported. Thus, the aim of this paper is to report a stationary charging station that has been successfully applied in the EDLC rail system produced by Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co., China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Electrical Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle Modelling the Potential Biogas Productivity Range from a MSW Landfill for Its Sustainable Exploitation
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 482-495; doi:10.3390/su7010482
Received: 21 September 2014 / Accepted: 18 November 2014 / Published: 5 January 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1264 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A model of biogas generation was modified and applied to the case of a sanitary landfill in Italy. The modifications considered the role of the temperature field normally established within each layer of waste. It must be pointed out the temperature affects the
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A model of biogas generation was modified and applied to the case of a sanitary landfill in Italy. The modifications considered the role of the temperature field normally established within each layer of waste. It must be pointed out the temperature affects the anaerobic biodegradation kinetics. In order to assess the effect of moisture on the waste biodegradation rate, on the bacteria process and then on the methane production, the model was compared with the LandGEM one. Information on the initial water content came from data concerning waste composition. No additional information about the hydrological balance was available. Thus, nine sets of kinetic constants, derived by literature, were adopted for the simulations. Results showed a significant variability of the maximal hourly biogas flows on a yearly basis, with consequences for the collectable amount during the operating period of a hypothetical engine. The approach is a useful tool to assess the lowest and highest biogas productivity in order to analyze the viability of biogas exploitation for energy purposes. This is useful also in countries that must plan for biogas exploitation from old and new landfills, as a consequence of developments in the waste sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Self-Governance and Sustainable Common Pool Resource Management in Kyrgyzstan
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 496-521; doi:10.3390/su7010496
Received: 30 October 2014 / Accepted: 23 December 2014 / Published: 5 January 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1208 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
How to best govern natural resources in order to enable a sustainable way of handling them is what both research and practice aim to achieve. Empirical findings from several studies indicate that resource users are able to successfully cooperate in the management of
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How to best govern natural resources in order to enable a sustainable way of handling them is what both research and practice aim to achieve. Empirical findings from several studies indicate that resource users are able to successfully cooperate in the management of common pool resources and solve social dilemmas through self-governance arrangements. The authors explore the potential success of self-governance in irrigation systems, focusing primarily on the factors influencing compliance of irrigation water users under self-crafted and self-enforced rules in two Kyrgyz communities. A field experiment is employed to provide insights and some quantitative empirical data, further complemented by qualitative methods (questionnaires, group discussions and interviews) to enhance the analysis of the findings about working rules in irrigation at the community level. The results show that Kyrgyz irrigation users of the selected communities generally respond better in a self-governance setting in terms of rules compliance, distribution efficiency and equity. Compliance and cooperative behavior depend on group as well as individual variables including communication, social norms and the legitimacy of rules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle An Integrated Biomass Production and Conversion Process for Sustainable Bioenergy
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 522-536; doi:10.3390/su7010522
Received: 22 September 2014 / Accepted: 29 December 2014 / Published: 6 January 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (710 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is not enough land for the current bioenergy production process because of its low annual yield per unit land. In the present paper, an integrated biomass production and conversion process for sustainable bioenergy is proposed and analyzed. The wastes from the biomass
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There is not enough land for the current bioenergy production process because of its low annual yield per unit land. In the present paper, an integrated biomass production and conversion process for sustainable bioenergy is proposed and analyzed. The wastes from the biomass conversion process, including waste water, gas and solid are treated or utilized by the biomass production process in the integrated process. Analysis of the integrated process including the production of water hyacinth and digestion for methane in a tropical area demonstrates several major advantages of the integrated process. (1) The net annual yield of methane per unit land can reach 29.0 and 55.6 km3/h for the present and future (2040) respectively, which are mainly due to the high yield of water hyacinth, high biomethane yield and low energy input. The land demand for the proposed process accounts for about 1% of the world’s land to meet the current global automobile fuels or electricity consumption; (2) A closed cycle of nutrients provides the fertilizer for biomass production and waste treatment, and thus reduces the energy input; (3) The proposed process can be applied in agriculturally marginal land, which will not compete with food production. Therefore, it may be a good alternative energy technology for the future. Full article
Open AccessArticle Designing and Validating a Model for Measuring Sustainability of Overall Innovation Capability of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 537-562; doi:10.3390/su7010537
Received: 14 October 2014 / Accepted: 23 December 2014 / Published: 6 January 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1085 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The business environment is currently characterized by intensified competition at both the national and firm levels. Many studies have shown that innovation positively affect firms in enhancing their competitiveness. Innovation is a dynamic process that requires a continuous, evolving, and mastered management. Evaluating
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The business environment is currently characterized by intensified competition at both the national and firm levels. Many studies have shown that innovation positively affect firms in enhancing their competitiveness. Innovation is a dynamic process that requires a continuous, evolving, and mastered management. Evaluating the sustainability of overall innovation capability of a business is a major means of determining how well this firm effectively and efficiently manages its innovation process. A psychometrically valid scale of evaluating the sustainability of overall innovation capability of a firm is still insufficient in the current innovation literature. Thus, this study developed a reliable and valid scale of measuring the sustainability of overall innovation capability construct. The unidimensionality, reliability, and several validity components of the developed scale were tested using the data collected from 175 small and medium-sized enterprises in Iran. A series of systematic statistical analyses were performed. Results of the reliability measures, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, and several components of validity tests strongly supported an eight-dimensional (8D) scale of measuring the sustainability of overall innovation capability construct. The dimensions of the scale were strategic management, supportive culture and structure, resource allocation, communication and networking, knowledge and technology management, idea management, project development, and commercialization capabilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Leadership and Management)
Open AccessArticle Risk Assessment, Partition and Economic Loss Estimation of Rice Production in China
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 563-583; doi:10.3390/su7010563
Received: 13 August 2014 / Accepted: 23 December 2014 / Published: 6 January 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2009 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agricultural risk, especially the risk assessment, partition and economic loss estimation of specific and main crops, maize, wheat and rice, is widely touted in China as a means of improving the effective productivity. The main objective of this article is to perform a
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Agricultural risk, especially the risk assessment, partition and economic loss estimation of specific and main crops, maize, wheat and rice, is widely touted in China as a means of improving the effective productivity. The main objective of this article is to perform a detailed analysis of the stability and comparative advantage of rice production in 30 provinces on the basis of relative rice production data from 2000 to 2012 in China. The non-parametric information diffusion model based on entropy theory was used to assess rice production risk. Accordingly, we divided the risk level with hierarchical cluster analysis. Then, we calculated the economic loss of rice production by the scenario analysis. The results show that, firstly, the national disaster risk of rice production is at a lower level. Secondly, there are significant differences in the stability, comparative advantage and risk probability of rice production among the 30 provinces. Thirdly, Shanxi province belongs to the high risk zone, 12 provinces belong to the middle risk zone and 17 provinces to the low risk zone. Finally, there is a proportional rate between the economic loss (yield loss) and disaster area (yield loss rate) of rice production. Therefore, we could obtain some significant policy suggestions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Can the Concept of Integrative and Segregative Institutions Contribute to the Framing of Institutions of Sustainability?
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 584-611; doi:10.3390/su7010584
Received: 18 February 2014 / Accepted: 21 November 2014 / Published: 7 January 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1393 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper begins with the question “What is special about those institutions that bring about sustainability”? In an attempt to answer this, I use the Institutions of Sustainability (IoS) framework, which structures sustainability analytically according to four main categories, namely: transactions, actors, institutions
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This paper begins with the question “What is special about those institutions that bring about sustainability”? In an attempt to answer this, I use the Institutions of Sustainability (IoS) framework, which structures sustainability analytically according to four main categories, namely: transactions, actors, institutions and governance structures. I then argue that sustainability has to do with balancing two sorts of costs an actor may face while being constrained by institutions. One is the costs from the integrative effects of institutions on his individual decision making. The other is the costs from the segregative effect of institutions. In this way, sustainability can be understood as societies’ compromise between institutions that integrate individual actors’ decisions in a wider system, holding them fully responsible for more or less all of the effects of their choices and those institutions that partly free individual decision makers from parts of such responsibilities. If a governance problem is characterized by a high degree of “decomposability”, segregative rules may be sufficient. The more a governance problem is characterized by complexity due to low modularity and high functional interdependencies, the more accurate integrative rules may be. The paper concludes by identifying “sustainability area of institutional embedding” as a regulative idea in understanding sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)
Open AccessArticle Governing Sustainability Transitions: Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives and Regime Change in United States Agriculture
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 612-633; doi:10.3390/su7010612
Received: 10 October 2014 / Accepted: 30 December 2014 / Published: 7 January 2015
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Abstract
Using a case study of US agriculture, this paper examines how governance affects sustainability transitions in socio-technical systems. The multi-level perspective (MLP) has become a leading framework for theorizing sustainability transitions in socio-technical systems. It posits that transitions to more sustainable socio-technical systems
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Using a case study of US agriculture, this paper examines how governance affects sustainability transitions in socio-technical systems. The multi-level perspective (MLP) has become a leading framework for theorizing sustainability transitions in socio-technical systems. It posits that transitions to more sustainable socio-technical systems are an outcome of external pressure at the landscape level and internal pressure emanating from niches. While the MLP is a robust analytical framework, it under-theorizes the role that governance plays in sustainability transitions. This paper addresses this research gap through examining three multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) that have developed sustainability metrics and standards for US agriculture: Field to Market; LEO-4000; and the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops. Applying a governance analytical framework, membership selection, decision-making procedures, and access to resources are found to affect the kinds of sustainability metrics developed, as well as their likely implementation. Specifically, the governance processes functioned to channel sustainability metrics towards ones that were congruent with the existing agrifood regime, and marginalize metrics that had the potential to disrupt regime processes. Thus, this article proposes that governance is a key component of sustainability transitions, and that current usage of MSIs in much of environmental governance may function to moderate sustainability transitions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural Governance)
Open AccessArticle Labor Market Determinants of Migration Flows in Europe
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 634-647; doi:10.3390/su7010634
Received: 14 October 2014 / Accepted: 15 December 2014 / Published: 7 January 2015
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Abstract
Considerable research attention has focused on the labor market impacts of immigration, the operation and competitiveness of the European Union (EU) labor market, and the expenditures and advantages of labor circulation for sending and receiving economies. The aim of the present study is
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Considerable research attention has focused on the labor market impacts of immigration, the operation and competitiveness of the European Union (EU) labor market, and the expenditures and advantages of labor circulation for sending and receiving economies. The aim of the present study is to examine and evaluate the negative social consequences arising from the mobility of workers, the social and economic drivers of migration, and the effect of immigration on natives’ labor market results such as wages and employment. Full article
Open AccessArticle Geoheritage at the Equator: Selected Geosites of São Tomé Island (Cameron Line, Central Africa)
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 648-667; doi:10.3390/su7010648
Received: 2 December 2014 / Accepted: 30 December 2014 / Published: 7 January 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (4133 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This work presents, for the first time, an overview of the rich geodiversity outcropping in the São Tomé island, one of the two islands that make up the archipelago of São Tomé and Príncipe, the second smallest state of Africa in area. Located
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This work presents, for the first time, an overview of the rich geodiversity outcropping in the São Tomé island, one of the two islands that make up the archipelago of São Tomé and Príncipe, the second smallest state of Africa in area. Located at the equator, in the alignment known as the “Cameroon Volcanic Line”, this archipelago represents a privileged area for the comparative study between oceanic and continental alkaline volcanism, and therefore between the subcontinental and suboceanic mantle. Ten geosites of São Tomé island were selected, described and evaluated on the basis of their geoheritage value and using a qualitative system of classification, which integrates both the meaning attributed to the objects by scientific communities and the public understanding of such meanings related to its social use. The selected geosites display different heritage values (documental, scenic, symbolic, iconographic and indicial) potentially usable for different purposes, namely scientific and educational, but mostly tourism. Geotourism can play a key role in the promotion of sustainable development in the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, and the geosites here described are likely to ground a geo-itinerary on this “pearl” of the Cameron Line. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Geomorphological Heritage)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability in Land Management: An Analysis of Stakeholder Perceptions in Rural Northern Germany
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 683-704; doi:10.3390/su7010683
Received: 20 October 2014 / Accepted: 24 December 2014 / Published: 8 January 2015
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (925 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Successful sustainable land management efforts rely on stakeholder support and integration of stakeholder knowledge. This study explored the views of sustainable land management expressed by land use stakeholders and how these views contribute to land users’ self-perceptions. We examined stakeholder perceptions in four
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Successful sustainable land management efforts rely on stakeholder support and integration of stakeholder knowledge. This study explored the views of sustainable land management expressed by land use stakeholders and how these views contribute to land users’ self-perceptions. We examined stakeholder perceptions in four case study areas in rural northern Germany. The target groups consisted of representatives from (i) agriculture; (ii) forestry; (iii) water management and (iv) rural planning and development (“cross-sector” representatives). The data were gathered using 60 semi-structured interviews and were analyzed qualitatively. The results indicate that differences in perceptions are greater between stakeholder groups than between regions; regional land management issues shape the framework of negotiations and the redefinition of concepts, whereas stakeholder group affiliations shape mindsets. The economic dimension of sustainability was emphasized, particularly by land managers; however, the social dimension was underrepresented in the statements. Furthermore, there are considerable differences between stakeholder groups in terms of the ways in which the spatial and temporal scales of sustainable land use are perceived. This study underscores the importance of examining stakeholder knowledge and understanding the complexity of land management and its benefits such that consensual management strategies may be developed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle History of East European Chernozem Soil Degradation; Protection and Restoration by Tree Windbreaks in the Russian Steppe
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 705-724; doi:10.3390/su7010705
Received: 30 October 2014 / Accepted: 29 December 2014 / Published: 8 January 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (4547 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The physiographic region of the Central Russian Upland, situated in the Central part of Eastern Europe, is characterized by very fertile grassland soils—Chernozems (Mollisols in the USDA taxonomy). However, over the last several centuries this region has experienced intense land-use conversion. The most
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The physiographic region of the Central Russian Upland, situated in the Central part of Eastern Europe, is characterized by very fertile grassland soils—Chernozems (Mollisols in the USDA taxonomy). However, over the last several centuries this region has experienced intense land-use conversion. The most widespread and significant land-use change is the extensive cultivation of these soils. As a result, Chernozems of the region that were some of the most naturally fertile soils in the world with thick A horizons had become, by the second half of the 19th century, weakly productive, with decreased stocks of organic matter. When not protected by plant cover, water and wind erosion degraded the open fields. The investigation of methods for rehabilitation and restoration of Chernozems resulted in the practice of afforestation of agricultural lands (mainly by windbreak planting). Preferences of agroforestry practices were initially connected with protection of cropland from wind and water erosion, improvement of microclimate for crop growth, and providing new refugia for wild animal and plant habitats. During the last several decades, tree windbreaks have begun to be viewed as ecosystems with great potential for atmospheric carbon sequestration, which plays a positive role in climate change mitigation. For the evaluation of windbreak influence on Chernozem soils, a study was developed with three field study areas across a climatic gradient from cool and wet in the north of the region to warm and dry in the south. Windbreak age ranged from 55–57 years. At each site, soil pits were prepared within the windbreak, the adjacent crop fields of 150 years of cultivation, and nearby undisturbed grassland. Profile descriptions were completed to a depth of 1.5 m. A linear relationship was detected between the difference in organic-rich surface layer (A + AB horizon) thickness of soils beneath windbreaks and undisturbed grasslands and a climate index, the hydrothermal coefficient (HTC). These results indicate that windbreaks under relatively cooler and wetter climate conditions are more favorable for organic matter accumulation in the surface soil. For the 0–100 cm layer of the Chernozems beneath windbreaks, an increase in organic C stocks comparable with undisturbed grassland soils (15–63 Mg·ha−1) was detected. Significant growth of soil organic matter stocks was identified not only for the upper 30 cm, but also for the deeper layer (30–100 cm) of afforested Chernozems. These findings illustrate that, in the central part of Eastern Europe, tree windbreaks improve soil quality by enhancing soil organic matter while providing a sink for atmospheric carbon in tree biomass and soil organic matter. Full article
Open AccessArticle Canadian STARS-Rated Campus Sustainability Plans: Priorities, Plan Creation and Design
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 725-746; doi:10.3390/su7010725
Received: 7 November 2014 / Accepted: 29 December 2014 / Published: 9 January 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (711 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The use of integrated sustainability plans is an emerging trend in higher education institutions (HEIs) to set sustainability priorities and to create a work plan for action. This paper analyses the sustainability plans of 21 Canadian HEIs that have used the Sustainability Tracking,
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The use of integrated sustainability plans is an emerging trend in higher education institutions (HEIs) to set sustainability priorities and to create a work plan for action. This paper analyses the sustainability plans of 21 Canadian HEIs that have used the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). The plans were coded thematically with a focus on the sustainability goals, process of plan creation, and aspects of plan design outlined in the texts. This paper finds that sustainability goals focused on the environmental aspects of sustainability, while social and economic aspects were less emphasized. Further, most plans were described as being created through a broad stakeholder-consultation process, while fewer plans assigned timelines and parties responsible to sustainability goals. This paper contributes to our understanding of the priorities of Canadian HEI institutions at the end of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and is useful for practitioners interested in developing their own sustainability plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
Open AccessArticle Contextualism and Sustainability: A Community Renewal in Old City of Beijing
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 747-766; doi:10.3390/su7010747
Received: 17 September 2014 / Accepted: 6 January 2015 / Published: 12 January 2015
PDF Full-text (4740 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The conception of contextualism in community planning emphasizes the integrity of architecture and its surroundings. It also implies the sustainability of landscape meaning within a community. In as much as planning theories have not mentioned how extensive the background of a community should
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The conception of contextualism in community planning emphasizes the integrity of architecture and its surroundings. It also implies the sustainability of landscape meaning within a community. In as much as planning theories have not mentioned how extensive the background of a community should be considered by a community planner, this paper will seek to answer this question. It considers Nanluoguxiang (NLGX), a community in the old city of Beijing, as the study area. Based on government documents, interviews of residents and also landscape observations in NLGX, this paper identifies the contextual practices in three renovation stages from the perspective of place uniqueness. The planners considered the background of NLGX at three different scales in its three renovation stages. In the last stage, they considered the entire country within the context of planning. NLGX has a unique image in Beijing, even within China. The image of it is the main market at the north end of the Grand Canal. The Grand Canal shows the spatial organization power of the ancient empire because it was the key food supply route for the capital. This is not only the cultural heritage of local residents of NLGX, but is also identified by other citizens in China. We conclude that an historical community can be preserved better by national funds if it has found a unique meaning of its landscape within a broader background. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of the Reference Numerical Parameters of the Monthly Method in ISO 13790 Considering S/V Ratio
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 767-781; doi:10.3390/su7010767
Received: 6 December 2014 / Accepted: 5 January 2015 / Published: 12 January 2015
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Abstract
Many studies have investigated the accuracy of the numerical parameters in the application of the quasi steady-state calculation method. The aim of this study is to derive the reference numerical parameters of the ISO 13790 monthly method by reflecting the surface-to-volume (S/V) ratio
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Many studies have investigated the accuracy of the numerical parameters in the application of the quasi steady-state calculation method. The aim of this study is to derive the reference numerical parameters of the ISO 13790 monthly method by reflecting the surface-to-volume (S/V) ratio and the characteristics of the structures. The calculation process was established, and the parameters necessary to derive the reference numerical parameters were calculated based on the input data prepared for the established calculation processes. The reference numerical parameters were then derived through regression analyses of the calculated parameters and the time constant. The parameters obtained from an apartment building and the parameters of the international standard were both applied to the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) and EnergyPlus programs, and the results were analyzed in order to evaluate the validity of the results. The analysis revealed that the calculation results based on the parameters derived from this study yielded lower error rates than those based on the default parameters in ISO 13790. However, the differences were shown to be negligible in the case of high heat capacity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Building)
Open AccessArticle Research on Rural Nonpoint Source Pollution in the Process of Urban-Rural Integration in the Economically-Developed Area in China Based on the Improved STIRPAT Model
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 782-793; doi:10.3390/su7010782
Received: 26 June 2014 / Accepted: 31 December 2014 / Published: 12 January 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (746 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The process of urban-rural integration has led to severe ecological environmental pollution in rural areas of China, particularly in the economically-developed areas. This is an urgent issue to be solved. We select Jiangsu Province as a case study. From the perspective of the
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The process of urban-rural integration has led to severe ecological environmental pollution in rural areas of China, particularly in the economically-developed areas. This is an urgent issue to be solved. We select Jiangsu Province as a case study. From the perspective of the population, economic scale, energy consumption and financial support, we perform an empirical study of rural non-point source pollution problems in the process of urbanization based on the improved STIRPAT model. We apply the ridge regression method to avoid the multicollinearity of the variables in the STIRPAT model. The results show that the technological level, the size of the population and financial support are important factors affecting rural non-point source pollution. Therefore, we believe that technical progress, transformation of the mode of production and increasing the scale of financial support in rural areas are effective measures to solve the current rural nonpoint source pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Special issue of Sustainable Asia Conference 2014)
Open AccessArticle Landscape Valuation of Environmental Amenities throughout the Application of Direct and Indirect Methods
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 794-810; doi:10.3390/su7010794
Received: 13 October 2014 / Accepted: 4 January 2015 / Published: 12 January 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1710 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Landscape design, construction and management should no longer be the result of superficial approaches based exclusively on designers’ and planners’ ideas. This research starts with the assumption that the aesthetic component constitutes an essential attribute for better understanding and evaluating landscapes. This study
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Landscape design, construction and management should no longer be the result of superficial approaches based exclusively on designers’ and planners’ ideas. This research starts with the assumption that the aesthetic component constitutes an essential attribute for better understanding and evaluating landscapes. This study analyzes the aesthetic quality and economic valuation of the Lower Guadiana river landscape, through the application of direct and indirect landscape evaluation methods. In order to gauge not only experts’ opinion, it is supported by the application of public participation techniques about the opinion and perceptions of the site visitors/users. The present research considered the analysis of six landscape subunits regarding landscape quality, fragility and visual absorption capacity. The obtained results showed that there are significant differences between the perceptions of the general public and experts’ analysis. Touristic Complexes and Golf Courses had high visual quality, while Agricultural and Production Areas had high visual fragility. Moreover, the performed analysis made clear that the combined use of landscape assessment methods is suited to this type of study, since it enables quantifying the value of existence, management and maintenance of a particular environmental assets and/or services. Full article
Open AccessArticle Futures Analysis of Urban Land Use and Wetland Change in Saskatoon, Canada: An Application in Strategic Environmental Assessment
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 811-830; doi:10.3390/su7010811
Received: 4 November 2014 / Accepted: 1 January 2015 / Published: 13 January 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2888 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents a scenario-based approach to strategic environmental assessment (SEA) for wetland trend analysis and land use and land cover (LUC) modeling in an urban environment. The application is focused on the Saskatoon urban environment, a rapidly growing urban municipality in Canada’s
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This paper presents a scenario-based approach to strategic environmental assessment (SEA) for wetland trend analysis and land use and land cover (LUC) modeling in an urban environment. The application is focused on the Saskatoon urban environment, a rapidly growing urban municipality in Canada’s prairie pothole region. Alternative future LUC was simulated using remote sensing data and city spatial planning documentation using a Markov Chain technique. Two alternatives were developed and compared for LUC change and threats to urban wetland sustainability: a zero alternative that simulated trends in urban development and wetland conservation under a business as usual scenario, in the absence of prescribed planning and zoning actions; and an alternative focused on implementation of current urban development plans, which simulated future LUC to account for prescribed wetland conservation strategies. Results show no improvement in future wetland conditions under the city’s planned growth and wetland conservation scenario versus the business as usual scenario. Results also indicate that a blanket wetland conservation strategy for the city may not be sufficient to overcome the historic trend of urban wetland loss; and that spatially distributed conservation rates, based on individual wetland water catchment LUC peculiarities, may be more effective in terms of wetland conservation. The paper also demonstrates the challenges to applied SEA in a rapidly changing urban planning context, where data are often sparse and inconsistent across the urban region, and provides potential solutions through LUC classification and prediction tools to help overcome data limitations to support land use planning decisions for wetland conservation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Making Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) Work for Development in Tropical Countries
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 831-850; doi:10.3390/su7010831
Received: 12 September 2014 / Accepted: 7 January 2015 / Published: 13 January 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1588 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agricultural innovation in low-income tropical countries contributes to a more effective and sustainable use of natural resources and reduces hunger and poverty through economic development in rural areas. Yet, despite numerous recent public and private initiatives to develop capacities for agricultural innovation, such
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Agricultural innovation in low-income tropical countries contributes to a more effective and sustainable use of natural resources and reduces hunger and poverty through economic development in rural areas. Yet, despite numerous recent public and private initiatives to develop capacities for agricultural innovation, such initiatives are often not well aligned with national efforts to revive existing Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS). In an effort to improve coordination and responsiveness of Capacity Development (CD) initiatives, the G20 Agriculture Ministers requested the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to lead the development of a Tropical Agricultural Platform (TAP), which is designed to improve coherence and coordination of CD for agricultural innovation in the tropics. This paper presents a summary of the results obtained from three regional needs assessments undertaken by TAP and its partners. The surveyed tropical regions were Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Central America. The findings reveal a mismatch in all three regions between the external supply of primarily individual CD and the actual demand for institutional CD. The misalignment might be addressed by strengthening south-south and triangular collaboration and by improving the institutional capacities that would render national AIS more demand-oriented and responsive to the needs of smallholders in domestic agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Open AccessArticle Measuring Corporate Sustainability Performance
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 851-865; doi:10.3390/su7010851
Received: 14 October 2014 / Accepted: 17 December 2014 / Published: 13 January 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1025 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of the present study is to examine and evaluate the evolving character of sustainability management in corporations, the significance of environmental protection and sustainability, and barriers to carrying out an incorporated and strategic firm-wide advance of social responsibility. In the present
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The aim of the present study is to examine and evaluate the evolving character of sustainability management in corporations, the significance of environmental protection and sustainability, and barriers to carrying out an incorporated and strategic firm-wide advance of social responsibility. In the present paper, we focus on the contribution of sustainability undertakings towards enhancing corporate performance, the financial involvements of sustainability position and operation, and the chief function of values in corporate policy. Our paper contributes to the literature by supplying proof of elements that lead to the triumph of business patterns for sustainable development, processes through which stakeholders are affecting corporate sustainability conduct, and the link between economic growth and the environment. Full article
Open AccessArticle Methodology for Assessing Daylighting Design Strategies in Classroom with a Climate-Based Method
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 880-897; doi:10.3390/su7010880
Received: 9 October 2014 / Accepted: 16 December 2014 / Published: 13 January 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (3145 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Considering the importance of daylight in the performance and well-being of the students, an investigation has been carried out in daylit classrooms. The objective was applying a methodology that integrates the daylight variations to know the annual lighting performance in typologies that resulted
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Considering the importance of daylight in the performance and well-being of the students, an investigation has been carried out in daylit classrooms. The objective was applying a methodology that integrates the daylight variations to know the annual lighting performance in typologies that resulted from passive design strategies in order to compare their performance. The context of the study was three zones of Chile: north, center and south. The study was done through a climate-based daylight modelling method using Radiance software. The interior illuminance was evaluated in relation to a target illuminance value (goal-oriented assessment), for which five intervals are defined: low, too low, in range, high and too high. The aim of the goal-oriented approach is to set a target range of values and assess the percentage of time over the year where each range is reached and the percentage of spaces in a temporal map within in range during the year. To see a compliance or non-compliance indicator, a category is proposed that considers the average annual illuminance “in range” over the year identifying which one is the most efficient. Finally, it is concluded that the information obtained is based on target ranges, which allows guiding the design decisions, effectively recognizing the annual performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Effects of Climate Change on the Yield and Cropping Area of Major Food Crops: A Case of Bangladesh
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 898-915; doi:10.3390/su7010898
Received: 10 November 2014 / Accepted: 8 January 2015 / Published: 14 January 2015
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (742 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The crops that we grow for food need specific climatic conditions to show better performance in view of economic yield. A changing climate could have both beneficial and harmful effects on crops. Keeping the above view in mind, this study is undertaken to
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The crops that we grow for food need specific climatic conditions to show better performance in view of economic yield. A changing climate could have both beneficial and harmful effects on crops. Keeping the above view in mind, this study is undertaken to investigate the impacts of climate change (viz. changes in maximum temperature, minimum temperature, rainfall, humidity and sunshine) on the yield and cropping area of four major food crops (viz. Aus rice, Aman rice, Boro rice and wheat) in Bangladesh. Heteroskedasticity and autocorrelation consistent standard error (HAC) and feasible generalized least square (FGLS) methods were used to determine the climate-crop interrelations using national level time series data for the period of 1972–2010. Findings revealed that the effects of all the climate variables have had significant contributions to the yield and cropping area of major food crops with distinct variation among them. Maximum temperature statistically significantly affected all the food crops’ yield except Aus rice. Maximum temperature also insignificantly affected cropping area of all the crops. Minimum temperature insignificantly affected Aman rice but benefited other three crops’ yield and cropping area. Rainfall significantly benefitted cropping area of Aus rice, but significantly affected both yield and cropping area of Aman rice. Humidity statistically positively contributed to the yield of Aus and Aman rice but, statistically, negatively influenced the cropping area of Aus rice. Sunshine statistically significantly benefitted only Boro rice yield. Overall, maximum temperature adversely affected yield and cropping area of all the major food crops and rainfall severely affected Aman rice only. Concerning the issue of climate change and ensuring food security, the respective authorities thus should give considerable attention to the generation, development and extension of drought (all major food crops) and flood (particularly Aman rice) tolerant varieties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Urban and Rural MSW Stream Characterization for Separate Collection Improvement
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 916-931; doi:10.3390/su7010916
Received: 28 November 2014 / Accepted: 9 January 2015 / Published: 14 January 2015
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (764 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the new legislation framework enacted by new member countries of the European Union (EU), the characterization of municipal solid waste (MSW) represents an important instrument for local governments and sanitation operators in setting and achieving targets for waste recycling and recovery. This
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In the new legislation framework enacted by new member countries of the European Union (EU), the characterization of municipal solid waste (MSW) represents an important instrument for local governments and sanitation operators in setting and achieving targets for waste recycling and recovery. This paper presents the results of a study conducted in accordance with the Romanian methodology for domestic wastes characterization ROMECOM, aiming to provide a proper basis for developing clear and realistic forecasts in current municipal waste management, based on MSW composition and generation rate. The analyzed MSW came both from areas where the waste is collected in mixed and separate ways, in urban and rural areas. The MSW composition by fraction is detailed for dense urban areas, urban areas, rural and touristic areas from Romania. Based on these results, the MSW composition was determined for the eight development regions in Romania, and a generation rate of 0.9·kgMSW inhabitant−1·day−1 for the urban region and 0.4·kgMSW inh−1·day−1 for the rural region was established. The calorific values of urban and rural areas were determined as 6801 kJ·kg−1 and 5613 kJ·kg−1, respectively. In the perspective of sustainable development in this technical area, based on the obtained results and on the prognosis made for the following years, two proposals for urban and rural areas were developed for MSW treating options improvement. The two systems are characterized by selective collection (different efficiencies for urban and rural areas) with subsequent recovery of the separated materials and energy recovery of the residual waste in a large-scale waste to energy (WTE) plant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Burhanpur Cultural Landscape Conservation: Inspiring Quality for Sustainable Regeneration
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 932-946; doi:10.3390/su7010932
Received: 13 September 2014 / Accepted: 6 January 2015 / Published: 15 January 2015
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Abstract
The heritage landscape of Burhanpur has an architectural and horticultural composition, consisting of many historic gardens, a unique water management system, a sustainable planning and design framework, the use of landscape and topography with numerous heritage components and historical monuments, temples, tombs and
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The heritage landscape of Burhanpur has an architectural and horticultural composition, consisting of many historic gardens, a unique water management system, a sustainable planning and design framework, the use of landscape and topography with numerous heritage components and historical monuments, temples, tombs and mosques that are locally, regionally and nationally significant. Conserving Burhanpur as an inspirational model for other sites is not only a cultural heritage objective, but it is also a crucial component of the heritage-based sustainable regeneration of the landscape, because it is directly linked to environmental integrity, economic efficiency and resources for present and future generations. Although the last decade has witnessed vigorous efforts by the municipal corporation to preserve and develop Burhanpur by designating it as one of the heritage cities of the UNESCO—Indian Heritage Cities Network (in 2006), a coherent, holistic and sustainable heritage outcome has not been achieved. This paper proposes to harness the cultural landscape as an approach for the sustainable regeneration of Burhanpur heritage and takes a holistic approach to the interpretation of the historic district and natural landscape of the city, where historic buildings are located. Full article
Open AccessArticle Economic and Financial Comparison between Organic and Conventional Farming in Sicilian Lemon Orchards
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 947-961; doi:10.3390/su7010947
Received: 11 November 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2015 / Published: 16 January 2015
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (711 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sicily has a long tradition in citrus fruit cultivations that with vineyard and olive tree represent the main Mediterranean tree crops. In this paper we have evaluated the economic and financial sustainability of lemon production, both in organic farming and in conventional farming;
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Sicily has a long tradition in citrus fruit cultivations that with vineyard and olive tree represent the main Mediterranean tree crops. In this paper we have evaluated the economic and financial sustainability of lemon production, both in organic farming and in conventional farming; the two systems differing just for inputs utilized in production process. Economic analysis has been carried out in a representative case study located in the Sicilian northwestern coast, considering an orchard economic life equal to 50 years. Results, which referred to one hectare area, showed both a higher economic and financial sustainability of organic farming respect to conventional farming. The higher profitability of organic farming was due to minor labor requirement and to greater market appreciation for organic products that granted a premium price respect to conventional prices. Moreover, greater profitability of organic farming and use of environmentally friendly inputs in production process make farms competitive and eco-friendly. Full article
Open AccessArticle Development of a Meteorological Risk Map for Disaster Mitigation and Management in the Chishan Basin, Taiwan
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 962-987; doi:10.3390/su7010962
Received: 3 October 2014 / Accepted: 8 January 2015 / Published: 16 January 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (7251 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study involved developing a natural disaster risk assessment framework based on the consideration of three phases: a pre-disaster phase, disaster impact phase, and post-disaster recovery phase. The exposure of natural disasters exhibits unique characteristics. The interactions of numerous factors should be considered
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This study involved developing a natural disaster risk assessment framework based on the consideration of three phases: a pre-disaster phase, disaster impact phase, and post-disaster recovery phase. The exposure of natural disasters exhibits unique characteristics. The interactions of numerous factors should be considered in risk assessment as well as in monitoring environment to provide natural disaster warnings. In each phase, specific factors indicate the relative status in the area subjected to risk assessment. Three types of natural disaster were assessed, namely debris flows, floods, and droughts. The Chishan basin in Taiwan was used as a case study and the adequacy of the relocation of Xiaolin village was evaluated. Incorporating resilience into the assessment revealed that the higher the exposure is, the higher the resilience becomes. This is because highly populated areas are typically allocated enough resources to respond to disasters. In addition, highly populated areas typically exhibit high resilience. The application of this analysis in the policy of relocation of damaged village after disaster provides valuable information for decision makers to achieve the sustainability of land use planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Understanding and Enhancing Soil Biological Health: The Solution for Reversing Soil Degradation
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 988-1027; doi:10.3390/su7010988
Received: 13 November 2014 / Revised: 12 December 2014 / Accepted: 12 January 2015 / Published: 19 January 2015
Cited by 23 | PDF Full-text (2143 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Our objective is to provide an optimistic strategy for reversing soil degradation by increasing public and private research efforts to understand the role of soil biology, particularly microbiology, on the health of our world’s soils. We begin by defining soil quality/soil health (which
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Our objective is to provide an optimistic strategy for reversing soil degradation by increasing public and private research efforts to understand the role of soil biology, particularly microbiology, on the health of our world’s soils. We begin by defining soil quality/soil health (which we consider to be interchangeable terms), characterizing healthy soil resources, and relating the significance of soil health to agroecosystems and their functions. We examine how soil biology influences soil health and how biological properties and processes contribute to sustainability of agriculture and ecosystem services. We continue by examining what can be done to manipulate soil biology to: (i) increase nutrient availability for production of high yielding, high quality crops; (ii) protect crops from pests, pathogens, weeds; and (iii) manage other factors limiting production, provision of ecosystem services, and resilience to stresses like droughts. Next we look to the future by asking what needs to be known about soil biology that is not currently recognized or fully understood and how these needs could be addressed using emerging research tools. We conclude, based on our perceptions of how new knowledge regarding soil biology will help make agriculture more sustainable and productive, by recommending research emphases that should receive first priority through enhanced public and private research in order to reverse the trajectory toward global soil degradation. Full article
Open AccessArticle New Framework of Sustainable Indicators for Outdoor LED (Light Emitting Diodes) Lighting and SSL (Solid State Lighting)
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 1028-1063; doi:10.3390/su7011028
Received: 5 December 2014 / Accepted: 12 January 2015 / Published: 19 January 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (808 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Light emitting diodes (LEDs) and SSL (solid state lighting) are relatively new light sources, but are already widely applied for outdoor lighting. Despite this, there is little available information allowing planners and designers to evaluate and weigh different sustainability aspects of LED/SSL lighting
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Light emitting diodes (LEDs) and SSL (solid state lighting) are relatively new light sources, but are already widely applied for outdoor lighting. Despite this, there is little available information allowing planners and designers to evaluate and weigh different sustainability aspects of LED/SSL lighting when making decisions. Based on a literature review, this paper proposes a framework of sustainability indicators and/or measures that can be used for a general evaluation or to highlight certain objectives or aspects of special interest when choosing LED/SSL lighting. LED/SSL lighting is reviewed from a conventional sustainable development perspective, i.e., covering the three dimensions, including ecological, economic and social sustainability. The new framework of sustainable indicators allow prioritization when choosing LED/SSL products and can thereby help ensure that short-term decisions on LED/SSL lighting systems are in line with long-term sustainability goals established in society. The new framework can also be a beneficial tool for planners, decision-makers, developers and lighting designers, or for consumers wishing to use LED/SSL lighting in a sustainable manner. Moreover, since some aspects of LED/SSL lighting have not yet been thoroughly studied or developed, some possible future indicators are suggested. Full article
Open AccessArticle Spatio-Temporal Changes and Their Reasons to the Geopolitical Influence of China and the US in South Asia
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 1064-1080; doi:10.3390/su7011064
Received: 15 September 2014 / Revised: 8 January 2015 / Accepted: 12 January 2015 / Published: 20 January 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1137 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The current international society has entered an era of large-scale power transfer. Government interests have gradually transferred from national strength to national influence. As such, how to quantitatively present the fuzzy geopolitical influence (i.e., geo-influence) has attracted greater attention from scholars.
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The current international society has entered an era of large-scale power transfer. Government interests have gradually transferred from national strength to national influence. As such, how to quantitatively present the fuzzy geopolitical influence (i.e., geo-influence) has attracted greater attention from scholars. The proposed concept of geo-influence conforms to this trend of power structure change in international relations, and provides a reference for national sustainable development on the international stage. This study sets up an index system and a mathematical model of geopolitical influence, and explores the spatio-temporal changes of the geo-influence of China and the United States (US) in South Asia over the past decade. Three primary results are found as follows: (1) In general, the geo-influence of China and the US in South Asia increased between 2003 and 2012. In terms of growth rate, the geo-influence of China in South Asia grew much faster than that of the US; (2) The overall strength and geo-influence show non-linear relationships. Strong national overall strength does not necessarily mean that one country has the strongest geo-influence; (3) National geo-influence is inversely proportional to the friction of distance. The larger the friction of distance is, the smaller national geo-potential is, and vice versa. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview Soil Degradation and Soil Quality in Western Europe: Current Situation and Future Perspectives
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 313-365; doi:10.3390/su7010313
Received: 6 November 2014 / Accepted: 19 December 2014 / Published: 31 December 2014
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (844 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The extent and causes of chemical, physical and biological degradation of soil, and of soil loss, vary greatly in different countries in Western Europe. The objective of this review paper is to examine these issues and also strategies for soil protection and future
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The extent and causes of chemical, physical and biological degradation of soil, and of soil loss, vary greatly in different countries in Western Europe. The objective of this review paper is to examine these issues and also strategies for soil protection and future perspectives for soil quality evaluation, in light of present legislation aimed at soil protection. Agriculture and forestry are the main causes of many of the above problems, especially physical degradation, erosion and organic matter loss. Land take and soil sealing have increased in recent decades, further enhancing the problems. In agricultural land, conservation farming, organic farming and other soil-friendly practices have been seen to have site-specific effects, depending on the soil characteristics and the particular types of land use and land users. No single soil management strategy is suitable for all regions, soil types and soil uses. Except for soil contamination, specific legislation for soil protection is lacking in Western Europe. The Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection in the European Union has produced valuable information and has encouraged the development of networks and databases. However, soil degradation is addressed only indirectly in environmental policies and through the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union, which promotes farming practices that support soil conservation. Despite these efforts, there remains a need for soil monitoring networks and decision-support systems aimed at optimization of soil quality in the region. The pressure on European soils will continue in the future, and a clearly defined regulatory framework is needed. Full article
Open AccessReview The Soil Degradation Paradox: Compromising Our Resources When We Need Them the Most
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 866-879; doi:10.3390/su7010866
Received: 19 November 2014 / Accepted: 7 January 2015 / Published: 13 January 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1576 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Soil degradation can take many forms, from erosion to salinization to the overall depletion of organic matter. The expression of soil degradation is broad, and so too are the causes. As the world population nears eight billion, and the environmental uncertainty of climate
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Soil degradation can take many forms, from erosion to salinization to the overall depletion of organic matter. The expression of soil degradation is broad, and so too are the causes. As the world population nears eight billion, and the environmental uncertainty of climate change becomes more manifest, the importance of our soil resources will only increase. The goal of this paper is to synthesize the catalysts of soil degradation and to highlight the interconnected nature of the social and economic causes of soil degradation. An expected three billion people will enter the middle class in the next 20 years; this will lead to an increased demand for meat, dairy products, and consequently grain. As populations rise so do the economic incentives to convert farmland to other purposes. With the intensity and frequency of droughts and flooding increasing, consumer confidence and the ability of crops to reach yield goals are also threatened. In a time of uncertainty, conservation measures are often the first to be sacrificed. In short, we are compromising our soil resources when we need them the most. Full article

Other

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Open AccessConcept Paper Retrofitting Housing with Lightweight Green Roof Technology in Sydney, Australia, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 1081-1098; doi:10.3390/su7011081
Received: 26 July 2014 / Revised: 24 December 2014 / Accepted: 9 January 2015 / Published: 20 January 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (8468 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The built environment contributes around half of total greenhouse gas emissions and with 87% of residential buildings that we will have by 2050 already built, it is vital to adopt sustainable retrofitting practices. The question is: what are the viable solutions? One answer
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The built environment contributes around half of total greenhouse gas emissions and with 87% of residential buildings that we will have by 2050 already built, it is vital to adopt sustainable retrofitting practices. The question is: what are the viable solutions? One answer may be green roof retrofitting. The environmental benefits include reduced operational carbon emissions, reduced urban heat island effect, increased bio-diversity, housing temperature attenuation and reduced stormwater run-off. The economic benefits are the reduced maintenance costs and lower running costs. The social gain is the creation of spaces where people have access to green areas. However, the barriers to retrofitting include the perceptions of structural adequacy, the risk of water damage, high installation and maintenance costs, as well as access and security issues. Many Australian and Brazilian residential buildings have metal sheet roofs, a lightweight material with poor thermal performance. During the summer, temperatures in Sydney and Rio de Janeiro reach 45 degrees Celsius, and in both cities, rainfall patterns are changing, with more intense downpours. Furthermore, many residential buildings are leased, and currently, tenants are restricted by the modifications that they can perform to reduce running costs and carbon emissions. This research reports on an experiment on two small-scale metal roofs in Sydney and Rio de Janeiro to assess the thermal performance of portable small-scale modules. The findings are that considerable variation in temperature was found in both countries, indicating that green roof retrofitting could lower the cooling energy demand considerably. Full article
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