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

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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; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7011081
Received: 26 July 2014 / Revised: 24 December 2014 / Accepted: 9 January 2015 / Published: 20 January 2015
Cited by 6 | 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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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; https://doi.org/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
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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; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7011028
Received: 5 December 2014 / Accepted: 12 January 2015 / Published: 19 January 2015
Cited by 6 | 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 Understanding and Enhancing Soil Biological Health: The Solution for Reversing Soil Degradation
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 988-1027; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010988
Received: 13 November 2014 / Revised: 12 December 2014 / Accepted: 12 January 2015 / Published: 19 January 2015
Cited by 31 | 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
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Open AccessArticle Development of a Meteorological Risk Map for Disaster Mitigation and Management in the Chishan Basin, Taiwan
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 962-987; https://doi.org/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)
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Open AccessArticle Economic and Financial Comparison between Organic and Conventional Farming in Sicilian Lemon Orchards
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 947-961; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010947
Received: 11 November 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2015 / Published: 16 January 2015
Cited by 18 | 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 Burhanpur Cultural Landscape Conservation: Inspiring Quality for Sustainable Regeneration
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 932-946; https://doi.org/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
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Open AccessArticle Urban and Rural MSW Stream Characterization for Separate Collection Improvement
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 916-931; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010916
Received: 28 November 2014 / Accepted: 9 January 2015 / Published: 14 January 2015
Cited by 12 | 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)
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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; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010898
Received: 10 November 2014 / Accepted: 8 January 2015 / Published: 14 January 2015
Cited by 13 | 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)
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Open AccessArticle Methodology for Assessing Daylighting Design Strategies in Classroom with a Climate-Based Method
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 880-897; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010880
Received: 9 October 2014 / Accepted: 16 December 2014 / Published: 13 January 2015
Cited by 5 | 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)
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Open AccessReview The Soil Degradation Paradox: Compromising Our Resources When We Need Them the Most
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 866-879; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010866
Received: 19 November 2014 / Accepted: 7 January 2015 / Published: 13 January 2015
Cited by 11 | 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
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Open AccessArticle Measuring Corporate Sustainability Performance
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 851-865; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010851
Received: 14 October 2014 / Accepted: 17 December 2014 / Published: 13 January 2015
Cited by 11 | 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
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Open AccessArticle Making Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) Work for Development in Tropical Countries
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 831-850; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010831
Received: 12 September 2014 / Accepted: 7 January 2015 / Published: 13 January 2015
Cited by 3 | 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)
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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; https://doi.org/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
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Open AccessArticle Landscape Valuation of Environmental Amenities throughout the Application of Direct and Indirect Methods
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 794-810; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010794
Received: 13 October 2014 / Accepted: 4 January 2015 / Published: 12 January 2015
Cited by 13 | 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
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