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Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 3 (March 2015), Pages 2274-3514

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Open AccessArticle Sustainability Education in Massive Open Online Courses: A Content Analysis Approach
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2274-2300; doi:10.3390/su7032274
Received: 28 November 2014 / Revised: 12 February 2015 / Accepted: 13 February 2015 / Published: 25 February 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (437 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to investigate the current status of sustainability education in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Sample MOOCs were searched for from seven popular platforms and three search engines. After screening, 51 courses were identified as the final sample.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the current status of sustainability education in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Sample MOOCs were searched for from seven popular platforms and three search engines. After screening, 51 courses were identified as the final sample. Course description, content outlines, reading materials, recommended textbooks and discussion threads were coded to obtain insights into sustainability education learning contents, pedagogical methods, and interaction situations. Results indicated that: (1) Edx and Coursera are platforms that incorporated the most sustainability-related courses, and most instructors were senior academics with the title of professor. American and European countries outperformed other English speaking countries as early birds in sustainability education using MOOCs. The average course length of our MOOC samples is 7.6 weeks, which is much shorter than a typical face-to-face college course; (2) Current MOOCs provided mainly introductory-level courses without prerequisites. Fourteen sustainability-related hot topics and five most popular textbooks were identified; (3) The pedagogical means used most frequently were discussion forums and lecture videos, while pedagogies such as team-based learning were not used to a large extent; (4) Learner interaction flourished in MOOCs, and sub-forums regarding Lecture Reflection, Welcome and Introduction were posted with most threads, replies, and votes. Our findings suggest that the MOOC is an innovative method in sustainability education and research. A variety of information and strategies could be used when preparing sustainability-related MOOCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Approaches in Education)
Open AccessArticle Regional Open Innovation Roadmapping: A New Framework for Innovation-Based Regional Development
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2301-2321; doi:10.3390/su7032301
Received: 24 November 2014 / Revised: 13 February 2015 / Accepted: 13 February 2015 / Published: 25 February 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1383 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To foster sustainable regional development, many regions rely on innovations. To safeguard the generation of innovations and their market introduction, companies have increasingly used technology roadmapping and open innovation. The project INNOrural (Innovations for sustainable rural development) expanded these concepts by applying them
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To foster sustainable regional development, many regions rely on innovations. To safeguard the generation of innovations and their market introduction, companies have increasingly used technology roadmapping and open innovation. The project INNOrural (Innovations for sustainable rural development) expanded these concepts by applying them to regions. This led to the rise of the “Regional Open Innovation Roadmapping” framework for innovation-based regional development (ROIR). This framework was tested by conducting two innovation roadmapping processes in the model region of Märkisch-Oderland (MOL), Germany: the certification of regional wood fuel and the establishment of a competence center for precision farming technology. Both innovation ideas were selected during the roadmapping process by applying a sustainability assessment. After 12 months, two complete roadmaps were ready for implementation. Key principles of ROIR were identified, including the use of a clear and replicable sustainability assessment method, the involvement of all relevant stakeholder groups in the early process and the cooperation between regional and subject experts. Generally, the broader adaptation of ROIR for additional regions will be useful. Nevertheless, the ROIR processes need to be evaluated in depth to develop a better understanding and to provide evidence of the benefits and limitations of this approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle Soil Quality Indices for Evaluating Smallholder Agricultural Land Uses in Northern Ethiopia
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2322-2337; doi:10.3390/su7032322
Received: 12 January 2015 / Revised: 11 February 2015 / Accepted: 15 February 2015 / Published: 27 February 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (771 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Population growth and increasing resource demands in Ethiopia are stressing and degrading agricultural landscapes. Most Ethiopian soils are already exhausted by several decades of over exploitation and mismanagement. Since many agricultural sustainability issues are related to soil quality, its assessment is very important.
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Population growth and increasing resource demands in Ethiopia are stressing and degrading agricultural landscapes. Most Ethiopian soils are already exhausted by several decades of over exploitation and mismanagement. Since many agricultural sustainability issues are related to soil quality, its assessment is very important. We determined integrated soil quality indices (SQI) within the surface 0–15 cm depth increment for three agricultural land uses: rain fed cultivation (RF); agroforestry (AF) and irrigated crop production (IR). Each land use was replicated five times within a semi-arid watershed in eastern Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. Using the framework suggested by Karlen and Stott (1994); four soil functions regarding soil’s ability to: (1) accommodate water entry (WE); (2) facilitate water movement and availability (WMA); (3) resist degradation (RD); and (4) supply nutrients for plant growth (PNS) were estimated for each land use. The result revealed that AF affected all soil quality functions positively more than the other land uses. Furthermore, the four soil quality functions were integrated into an overall SQI; and the values for the three land uses were in the order: 0.58 (AF) > 0.51 (IR) > 0.47 (RF). The dominant soil properties influencing the integrated SQI values were soil organic carbon (26.4%); water stable aggregation (20.0%); total porosity (16.0%); total nitrogen (11.2%); microbial biomass carbon (6.4%); and cation exchange capacity (6.4%). Collectively, those six indicators accounted for more than 80% of the overall SQI values. Full article
Open AccessArticle SAW Classification Algorithm for Chinese Text Classification
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2338-2352; doi:10.3390/su7032338
Received: 14 August 2014 / Revised: 18 December 2014 / Accepted: 1 February 2015 / Published: 27 February 2015
PDF Full-text (738 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Considering the explosive growth of data, the increased amount of text data’s effect on the performance of text categorization forward the need for higher requirements, such that the existing classification method cannot be satisfied. Based on the study of existing text classification technology
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Considering the explosive growth of data, the increased amount of text data’s effect on the performance of text categorization forward the need for higher requirements, such that the existing classification method cannot be satisfied. Based on the study of existing text classification technology and semantics, this paper puts forward a kind of Chinese text classification oriented SAW (Structural Auxiliary Word) algorithm. The algorithm uses the special space effect of Chinese text where words have an implied correlation between text information mining and text categorization for high-correlation matching. Experiments show that SAW classification algorithm on the premise of ensuring precision in classification, significantly improve the classification precision and recall, obviously improving the performance of information retrieval, and providing an effective means of data use in the era of big data information extraction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ubiquitous Green IT System for Sustainable Computing)
Open AccessArticle Retail Services and Pricing Decisions in a Closed-Loop Supply Chain with Remanufacturing
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2373-2396; doi:10.3390/su7032373
Received: 30 October 2014 / Accepted: 24 December 2014 / Published: 27 February 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1232 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Environmental and social responsibilities have led many manufacturers to used products recovery. Meanwhile, many manufacturers nowadays sell products via indirect retailer channels and direct Internet channels. This paper models a dual-channel closed-loop supply chain to improve the sustainability of products. We apply the
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Environmental and social responsibilities have led many manufacturers to used products recovery. Meanwhile, many manufacturers nowadays sell products via indirect retailer channels and direct Internet channels. This paper models a dual-channel closed-loop supply chain to improve the sustainability of products. We apply the two-stage optimization technique and the Nash game to examine the impacts of the retail services and the degree of customer loyalty to the retail channel on the pricing of players in a centralized and a decentralized dual-channel supply chain. Our results show that the retail services have a great impact on the manufacturer and the retailer’s pricing strategies. We also compare the differences of pricing strategies between a centralized and a decentralized dual-channel supply chain and suggest the optimal retail services and pricing decisions for the players in the supply chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development)
Open AccessArticle Tourists’ Perception of Haze Pollution and the Potential Impacts on Travel: Reshaping the Features of Tourism Seasonality in Beijing, China
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2397-2414; doi:10.3390/su7032397
Received: 2 October 2014 / Revised: 11 February 2015 / Accepted: 13 February 2015 / Published: 27 February 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1631 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Haze pollution has worsened and has received close attention by news agencies in the past two years. This type of environmental pollution might have a great effect on tourism image and the entire tourism industry of a destination. This study aimed to reveal
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Haze pollution has worsened and has received close attention by news agencies in the past two years. This type of environmental pollution might have a great effect on tourism image and the entire tourism industry of a destination. This study aimed to reveal the potential impacts of haze pollution on the tourism industry. Based on a case study in Beijing using questionnaires for potential tourists, awareness of haze pollution, impacts of haze pollution on travel and attitudes toward the impacts were discussed. The results indicated that haze pollution has a considerable potential impact on travel, and there are distinct differences among travel elements and tourism market segments. Due to its impacts, haze pollution could be taken into account in tourists’ decision-making processes, causing a portion of potential tourists to cancel tourism plans. As a result, tourist arrivals to similar destinations could decrease by a small margin, but the most significant impact could be on the temporal distribution of tourist arrivals, namely tourism seasonality, due to tourists’ “avoiding” psychology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle Lost in Transition or Geared for the S-Curve? An Analysis of Flemish Transition Trajectories with a Focus on Energy Use and Buildings
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2415-2436; doi:10.3390/su7032415
Received: 20 December 2014 / Revised: 18 January 2015 / Accepted: 16 February 2015 / Published: 27 February 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1503 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent years, many cities have adopted action plans to become climate neutral in the coming decades. Hereby, a strong motivational factor has been the goal to realize a win-win situation in the long term: climate neutrality and sustainable functioning are not only
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In recent years, many cities have adopted action plans to become climate neutral in the coming decades. Hereby, a strong motivational factor has been the goal to realize a win-win situation in the long term: climate neutrality and sustainable functioning are not only beneficial for the environment, but are equally beneficial for society and for the economy if well-integrated trajectories are adopted. Nevertheless, as actors across the fields start to implement these plans, many practical obstacles have arisen. These barriers are typical of a systemic transition: dominant practices are characterized by path dependencies, vast institutional frameworks and vested interests that are hard to break through. At the same time, relevant initiatives typically show some elements of uncertainty and a long term return, factors that make it difficult to attract financial investments. The present article addresses the state of the art for current transition experiments in the region of Flanders, Belgium, focusing on actions related to energy and buildings in cities. A brief overview of the state of affairs in several cities and provinces is presented, and some important opportunities and bottlenecks are identified. The resultant findings are tested against the framework of transition theory and related literature on the subject. Subsequently, a set of possible strategies to overcome the above mentioned barriers is formulated. These strategies focus on effectively mobilizing actors and investments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Development)
Open AccessArticle Low Carbon Urban Transitioning: From Local Experimentation to Urban Transformation?
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2437-2453; doi:10.3390/su7032437
Received: 23 December 2014 / Revised: 10 February 2015 / Accepted: 17 February 2015 / Published: 27 February 2015
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (711 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change mitigation remains a contested political and policy issue nationally in Australia. Nevertheless, Australian cities have been actively engaging with low carbon policy for well over a decade and numerous actions and programs have resulted. A question arises as to whether such
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Climate change mitigation remains a contested political and policy issue nationally in Australia. Nevertheless, Australian cities have been actively engaging with low carbon policy for well over a decade and numerous actions and programs have resulted. A question arises as to whether such initiatives can amount to a transition; a systemic change from one dominant fossil-fuel based socio-technical regime, to another, fossil-free based socio-technical regime. In this paper, we review the critical literature on low carbon governance and socio-technical transitions and present a set of criteria by which we propose it is possible to assess the emergence of and/or progress towards low carbon urban transition. We then apply this approach to a case study. The paper presents findings from a review of low carbon initiatives in Australia with a particular focus on Melbourne, Victoria exploring the policy context in which these initiatives and responses have emerged, the typical approaches adopted and the implications for urban change and governance. We examine the roles of, and relationships between, different levels of government, climate change alliances, community/environmental organisations and other actors, and assess progress of the urban low carbon transition. In so doing, we identify significant shortcomings and policy disconnects which we argue are limiting progress towards a low carbon future in Victoria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Development)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability Assessment of the Residential Land Use in Seven Boroughs of the Island of Montreal, Canada
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2454-2472; doi:10.3390/su7032454
Received: 18 December 2014 / Accepted: 16 February 2015 / Published: 27 February 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (3933 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
High resource utilization in the residential sector, and the associated environmental impacts, are central issues in the growth of urban regions. Land-use urban planning is a primary instrument for the proper development of cities; an important point is the consideration of the urban
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High resource utilization in the residential sector, and the associated environmental impacts, are central issues in the growth of urban regions. Land-use urban planning is a primary instrument for the proper development of cities; an important point is the consideration of the urban form’s influence on resource utilization intensity. Emergy synthesis, an energy-based methodological approach that allows the quantification and integration of both natural and human-generated flows interacting in urban environments, was used to assess sustainability of the residential land use of seven boroughs on the Island of Montreal. Natural resources, food, water, acquired goods and services, electricity and fuels were the main flows considered in the analysis. Results suggest that income, household size and distance to downtown are the variables affecting resource utilization intensity more noticeably and that allocation of green area coverage is an important parameter for controlling land use intensity. With the procedure used for calculating resource use intensity in the seven boroughs, it is possible to generate a tool to support urban planning decision-making for assessing sustainable development scenarios. Future research should consider urban green space potential for accommodating local waste treatment systems, acting as a greenhouse gas emissions sink and promoting human health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Development)
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Open AccessArticle Controversies Regarding Costs, Uncertainties and Benefits Specific to Shale Gas Development
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2473-2489; doi:10.3390/su7032473
Received: 24 November 2014 / Revised: 14 January 2015 / Accepted: 19 January 2015 / Published: 2 March 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1108 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The shale gas exploration and development is now a delicate and controversial subject. It is often assumed that unconventional exploration and extraction automatically brings prosperity for local, national and regional economies. In this paper, we argue that shale gas development requires a contextualized
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The shale gas exploration and development is now a delicate and controversial subject. It is often assumed that unconventional exploration and extraction automatically brings prosperity for local, national and regional economies. In this paper, we argue that shale gas development requires a contextualized understanding of regional issues. We are also trying to identify the opportunities and the risks of shale gas development in Eastern Europe (referring to Romania’s case) and offer a cost-benefit analysis model that may be of interest to any policymakers and investors. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Identification Key for Selecting Methods for Sustainability Assessments
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2490-2512; doi:10.3390/su7032490
Received: 2 December 2014 / Revised: 17 February 2015 / Accepted: 22 February 2015 / Published: 2 March 2015
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (1131 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Sustainability assessments can play an important role in decision making. This role starts with selecting appropriate methods for a given situation. We observed that scientists, consultants, and decision-makers often do not systematically perform a problem analyses that guides the choice of the method,
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Sustainability assessments can play an important role in decision making. This role starts with selecting appropriate methods for a given situation. We observed that scientists, consultants, and decision-makers often do not systematically perform a problem analyses that guides the choice of the method, partly related to a lack of systematic, though sufficiently versatile approaches to do so. Therefore, we developed and propose a new step towards method selection on the basis of question articulation: the Sustainability Assessment Identification Key. The identification key was designed to lead its user through all important choices needed for comprehensive question articulation. Subsequently, methods that fit the resulting specific questions are suggested by the key. The key consists of five domains, of which three determine method selection and two the design or use of the method. Each domain consists of four or more criteria that need specification. For example in the domain “system boundaries”, amongst others, the spatial and temporal scales are specified. The key was tested (retrospectively) on a set of thirty case studies. Using the key appeared to contribute to improved: (i) transparency in the link between the question and method selection; (ii) consistency between questions asked and answers provided; and (iii) internal consistency in methodological design. There is latitude to develop the current initial key further, not only for selecting methods pertinent to a problem definition, but also as a principle for associated opportunities such as stakeholder identification. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Influence of Environmental and Social Performance on Financial Performance: Evidence from Romania’s Listed Entities
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2513-2553; doi:10.3390/su7032513
Received: 4 December 2014 / Revised: 24 February 2015 / Accepted: 25 February 2015 / Published: 3 March 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (841 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Companies that are listed on a stock exchange should know that reporting only financial measures is not enough for ensuring sustainable development. To be truly competitive, they should also include information about environmental policies and about the benefits that the company offers to
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Companies that are listed on a stock exchange should know that reporting only financial measures is not enough for ensuring sustainable development. To be truly competitive, they should also include information about environmental policies and about the benefits that the company offers to its employees. The present research aims to provide information on how Romanian listed companies report environmental and social indicators and whether or not this has an impact on financial performance. We used a four time period panel fixed effect model for Romanian companies that are listed in the first category of the Bucharest Stock of Exchange. The results point out that increasing water, air and soil protection has a negative impact on current return on equity, while no effects were detected on return on assets and stock market returns. Other environmental variables such as gas, energy or sound were found not to be statistically significant. Training and benefits after retirement have a mixed effect on financial measures. The research correlates Romanian accounting regulation changes with companies’ characteristics and the influence of financial audit on financial performance, and concludes that increasing environmental and social protection could have an impact on financial performance in the long run, as positive correlation was detected between social or environmental performance and stock market returns one year after the changes occurred. Full article
Open AccessArticle Meeting the Electrical Energy Needs of a Residential Building with a Wind-Photovoltaic Hybrid System
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2554-2569; doi:10.3390/su7032554
Received: 11 December 2014 / Revised: 2 February 2015 / Accepted: 11 February 2015 / Published: 3 March 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1978 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A complete hybrid system including a photovoltaic cell, a wind turbine, and battery is modeled to determine the best approach for sizing the system to meet the electrical energy needs of a residential building. In evaluating system performance, the city of Tehran is
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A complete hybrid system including a photovoltaic cell, a wind turbine, and battery is modeled to determine the best approach for sizing the system to meet the electrical energy needs of a residential building. In evaluating system performance, the city of Tehran is used as a case study. Matlab software is used for analyzing the data and optimizing the system for the given application. Further, the cost of the system design is investigated, and shows that the electrical cost of the hybrid system in Tehran is 0.62 US$/kWh, which is 78% less expensive than a wind turbine system and 34% less expensive than a photovoltaic system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Neighborhood Sustainability Assessment: Evaluating Residential Development Sustainability in a Developing Country Context
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2570-2602; doi:10.3390/su7032570
Received: 12 December 2014 / Revised: 14 February 2015 / Accepted: 16 February 2015 / Published: 3 March 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (5373 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Rapid urbanization, improved quality of life, and diversified lifestyle options have collectively led to an escalation in housing demand in our cities, where residential areas, as the largest portion of urban land use type, play a critical role in the formation of sustainable
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Rapid urbanization, improved quality of life, and diversified lifestyle options have collectively led to an escalation in housing demand in our cities, where residential areas, as the largest portion of urban land use type, play a critical role in the formation of sustainable cities. To date there has been limited research to ascertain residential development layouts that provide a more sustainable urban outcome. This paper aims to evaluate and compare sustainability levels of residential types by focusing on their layouts. The paper scrutinizes three different development types in a developing country context—i.e., subdivision, piecemeal, and master-planned developments. This study develops a “Neighborhood Sustainability Assessment” tool and applies it to compare their sustainability levels in Ipoh, Malaysia. The analysis finds that the master-planned development, amongst the investigated case studies, possesses the potential to produce higher levels of sustainability outcomes. The results reveal insights and evidence for policymakers, planners, development agencies and researchers; advocate further studies on neighborhood-level sustainability analysis, and; emphasize the need for collective efforts and an effective process in achieving neighborhood sustainability and sustainable city formation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of an Educational Model Based on the Development of Sustainable Competencies in Basic Teacher Training in Spain
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2603-2622; doi:10.3390/su7032603
Received: 12 December 2014 / Revised: 25 February 2015 / Accepted: 25 February 2015 / Published: 3 March 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (788 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The environmental deterioration of the planet, caused by unsustainable development and an unfair model, requires global change on a political, social and environmental level. To boost this change, it is necessary to redirect education and, specifically, environmental education, to educate citizens so that
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The environmental deterioration of the planet, caused by unsustainable development and an unfair model, requires global change on a political, social and environmental level. To boost this change, it is necessary to redirect education and, specifically, environmental education, to educate citizens so that they are capable of making responsible decisions and behaving sustainably. The purpose of this study is to evaluate an educational teacher training model based on the development of sustainable competencies and on the solving of environmental problems. Its final aim is to search for a model that enables students to participate, individually and collectively, in the solution of socio-environmental problems in their surroundings, but without losing the global perspective, and that fosters sustainable life styles. To do so, a quasi-experimental quantitative research was performed with two pretest-posttest phases to compare the results of an active and participative methodology with another more expository one. The results show significant differences in the knowledge, attitudes and intention of the behavior of the aspiring teachers. Thus, this first analysis shows that the experiential educational model promotes and favors sustainable actions in higher education (the faculty of educational science, responsible for basic teacher training) more efficiently and could be the basis for future proposals in this field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Approaches in Education)
Open AccessArticle “Greening” the Youth Employment—A Chance for Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2623-2643; doi:10.3390/su7032623
Received: 21 November 2014 / Revised: 28 January 2015 / Accepted: 26 February 2015 / Published: 3 March 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (833 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Currently, at the European Union level, there has been an increase in unemployment, especially youth unemployment, as a result of certain imbalances in the labor market, exacerbated by the current financial and economic crisis. The sustainable economic development of each country is strongly
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Currently, at the European Union level, there has been an increase in unemployment, especially youth unemployment, as a result of certain imbalances in the labor market, exacerbated by the current financial and economic crisis. The sustainable economic development of each country is strongly influenced by the human resource in the context in which it is sought the creation of a strong, competitive and prosperous Europe. The human resource and especially young people are the most precious wealth of a nation. Therefore, solving the problem of youth unemployment is a matter of great concern and requires bringing to the forefront modern employment policies correlated with the economic reality, to which the EU attaches increasingly more importance, namely promoting green employment in a green economy. Our paper begins by analyzing the evolution, causes and differences recorded at the European Union level on the size and structure of youth unemployment and it ends with identifying some measures to reduce it, in the context of European sustainable development. The conclusions in our research highlight the importance of employment policies at both the micro and macro level and show the positive role of active policies, investment in education and green employment. Full article
Open AccessArticle Estimating Solar Irradiation Absorbed by Photovoltaic Panels with Low Concentration Located in Craiova, Romania
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2644-2661; doi:10.3390/su7032644
Received: 13 January 2015 / Revised: 9 February 2015 / Accepted: 13 February 2015 / Published: 4 March 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1131 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Solar irradiation is one of the important parameters that should be taken into consideration for the design and utilization of a photovoltaic system. Usually, the input parameters of a photovoltaic system are solar irradiation, the ambient environment temperature and the wind speed, and
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Solar irradiation is one of the important parameters that should be taken into consideration for the design and utilization of a photovoltaic system. Usually, the input parameters of a photovoltaic system are solar irradiation, the ambient environment temperature and the wind speed, and as a consequence most photovoltaic systems are equipped with sensors for measuring these parameters. This paper presents several mathematical models for solar irradiation assessment. The starting point is represented by the mathematical model of extraterrestrial irradiation, and resulting finally in the model for solar irradiation, absorbed by a low concentration photovoltaic panel. These estimating models of solar irradiation have been particularized for the Craiova, Romania, and have been verified through numerical simulation. Regarding terrestrial solar irradiation, four mathematical models have been adopted, namely Adnot, Haurwitz, Kasten and Empirical (EIM). Of these, the most appropriate for the Craiova location were the models Adnot and Empirical. Consequently, for the calculation of the solar irradiation absorbed by the photovoltaic (PV) panels with low concentration, these models have been taken into consideration. In this study, a comparative analysis was also carried out with respect to the solar irradiation absorbed by the PV panels without concentration and those with collectedness of the solar radiation. This analysis was based on the results of numerical simulation and experimental tests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Electrical Engineering)
Open AccessArticle A Network-Constrained Integrated Method for Detecting Spatial Cluster and Risk Location of Traffic Crash: A Case Study from Wuhan, China
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2662-2677; doi:10.3390/su7032662
Received: 6 November 2014 / Revised: 16 February 2015 / Accepted: 17 February 2015 / Published: 4 March 2015
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (2894 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Research on spatial cluster detection of traffic crash (TC) at the city level plays an essential role in safety improvement and urban development. This study aimed to detect spatial cluster pattern and identify riskier road segments (RRSs) of TC constrained by network with
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Research on spatial cluster detection of traffic crash (TC) at the city level plays an essential role in safety improvement and urban development. This study aimed to detect spatial cluster pattern and identify riskier road segments (RRSs) of TC constrained by network with a two-step integrated method, called NKDE-GLINCS combining density estimation and spatial autocorrelation. The first step is novel and involves in spreading TC count to a density surface using Network-constrained Kernel Density Estimation (NKDE). The second step is the process of calculating local indicators of spatial association (LISA) using Network-constrained Getis-Ord Gi* (GLINCS). GLINCS takes the smoothed TC density as input value to identify locations of road segments with high risk. This method was tested using the TC data in 2007 in Wuhan, China. The results demonstrated that the method was valid to delineate TC cluster and identify risk road segments. Besides, it was more effective compared with traditional GLINCS using TC counting as input. Moreover, the top 20 road segments with high-high TC density at the significance level of 0.1 were listed. These results can promote a better identification of RRS, which is valuable in the pursuit of improving transit safety and sustainability in urban road network. Further research should address spatial-temporal analysis and TC factors exploration. Full article
Open AccessArticle Addressing the Impact of Environmental Xenobiotics in Coal-Fired Flue Gas
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2678-2694; doi:10.3390/su7032678
Received: 20 December 2014 / Revised: 21 February 2015 / Accepted: 27 February 2015 / Published: 5 March 2015
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Abstract
Dangerous and unstable situations can result from the presence of environmental xenobiotics since their harmful effects on humans and ecosystems are often unpredictable, and building awareness of the environmental risk should be a main concern of humankind. The environmental xenobiotics in the flue
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Dangerous and unstable situations can result from the presence of environmental xenobiotics since their harmful effects on humans and ecosystems are often unpredictable, and building awareness of the environmental risk should be a main concern of humankind. The environmental xenobiotics in the flue gas from a fossil fuel-fired electrical generating station, such as particulate matter (PM), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and carbon dioxide (CO2), are analyzed in this study, since these xenobiotics are persistent pollutants. Mathematical models of the environmental pollutant vector, estimating the emission factors specific to fossil fuel combustion, are applied to the operation of thermal units in the Turceni electrical generating station, each of which produces a net electrical power of 330 MW. For each stack gas component in the pollutant vector, emission factors and pollutant concentrations are determined. A pattern is also examined depicting the mathematically modelled processes of resonant absorption of an environmental xenobiotic harmonic oscillation by an organism modulated as an absorbing oscillator structure. The xenobiotic concentration degree is represented through a spatial concentration vector, which allows further modelling and simulation of the oscillating regime of environmental xenobiotic absorption. Full article
Open AccessArticle Food Waste Generation at Household Level: Results of a Survey among Employees of Two European Research Centers in Italy and Germany
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2695-2715; doi:10.3390/su7032695
Received: 19 January 2015 / Revised: 26 February 2015 / Accepted: 2 March 2015 / Published: 5 March 2015
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (1522 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is a broad consensus in literature that private households are significant contributors to the total amount of food waste in the EU. Thus, any strategy to meaningfully combat food wastage must put the end consumer in the center of prevention activities. This
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There is a broad consensus in literature that private households are significant contributors to the total amount of food waste in the EU. Thus, any strategy to meaningfully combat food wastage must put the end consumer in the center of prevention activities. This requires deeper insights into people’s motivations to discard still edible food and knowledge about potential barriers to reduce wasting. This paper reports on results of an online survey among two European research centers in Italy (JRC/Ispra) and Germany (KIT/Karlsruhe). The focus of the survey was on households’ behaviors (shopping, eating, and food preparation habits) and its influence on the generation of food waste. Furthermore, reasons for the disposal of food as well as measures and technologies most needed to prevent wastage were discussed. The results of the survey are analyzed, especially with regard to two questions: (1) Are there considerable differences between Ispra and Karlsruhe? (2) Are there considerable similarities or inconsistencies with the results of previous studies? Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Eco-Environmental Stress in the Western Taiwan Straits Economic Zone
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2716-2729; doi:10.3390/su7032716
Received: 24 December 2014 / Revised: 14 February 2015 / Accepted: 26 February 2015 / Published: 5 March 2015
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Abstract
Eco-environmental stress refers to the pressure borne by the environment in sustaining the pre-existing non-industrialized state and/or in counteracting adverse impacts caused by natural and human factors. The present article introduces the concept, research progress, and method for assessing eco-environmental stress. An eco-environmental
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Eco-environmental stress refers to the pressure borne by the environment in sustaining the pre-existing non-industrialized state and/or in counteracting adverse impacts caused by natural and human factors. The present article introduces the concept, research progress, and method for assessing eco-environmental stress. An eco-environmental stress index (ESI) is established to assess the eco-environmental stress of 13 cities in the Western Taiwan Straits Economic Zone (hereafter referred to as the Economic Zone) during the period from 2000 to 2010. The research provides a reference for the strategic planning of industrial development and environmental protection. The results show that the overall eco-environmental stress of the Economic Zone was slight and did not have significant change during the past 10 years. The cities with the most severe eco-environmental stress are distributed in the north and south of the Economic Zone. Most areas of Fujian Province have a low degree of eco-environmental stress, a situation that is being constantly improved. The regions with high atmospheric and water pollutant emissions are concentrated in the northern, middle, and southern coastal regions of the Economic Zone. The pollutant emissions of coastal cities are higher than those of inland cities. In the future, ecological restoration and compensation mechanisms should be established for regions where environmental protection and remediation is urgently needed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Feasibility Study on an Evidence-Based Decision-Support System for Hospital Site Selection for an Aging Population
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2730-2744; doi:10.3390/su7032730
Received: 7 January 2015 / Revised: 24 February 2015 / Accepted: 28 February 2015 / Published: 6 March 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (5031 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An aging population has significant, dynamic and complex healthcare needs. Meeting such needs in a sustainable manner requires the capability to prioritize and project multiple relevant criteria (e.g., dynamic population health, treatment preferences, resources, technological changes and location of facilities). Most current decision-making
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An aging population has significant, dynamic and complex healthcare needs. Meeting such needs in a sustainable manner requires the capability to prioritize and project multiple relevant criteria (e.g., dynamic population health, treatment preferences, resources, technological changes and location of facilities). Most current decision-making processes for urban hospital site selection rely on a combination of experience and statistical data, yet they lack robustness and trending capabilities. This leads to tremendous efficiency implications, as it is not uncommon for hospitals to have a lifespan of more than 100 years after they are built. Our research team has developed an evidence-based decision-support system, enhanced with a Geographic Information System (GIS), that has the potential to overcome these limitations. This paper presents a feasibility demonstration of our framework through a retrospective case study of hospital site selection in Dallas, Texas, demonstrating its positive value in providing a foundation for informed healthcare resource allocation in the context of an aging population. Full article
Open AccessArticle Zero Emission Buildings in Korea—History, Status Quo, and Future Prospects
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2745-2767; doi:10.3390/su7032745
Received: 2 January 2015 / Revised: 17 February 2015 / Accepted: 28 February 2015 / Published: 6 March 2015
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Abstract
This paper discusses the history, status quo, and future prospects of Zero Emission Buildings (ZEBs) in the Republic of Korea. The advantages of, and requirements for ZEBs are described, concerning the factors of energy, water, nutrients, and biomass. ZEBs are characterized by net
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This paper discusses the history, status quo, and future prospects of Zero Emission Buildings (ZEBs) in the Republic of Korea. The advantages of, and requirements for ZEBs are described, concerning the factors of energy, water, nutrients, and biomass. ZEBs are characterized by net zero energy consumption through the minimization of the energy demand, as well as the onsite production and use of renewable energy. The direct water footprint is reduced by up to 100% through on-site water supply and wastewater management according to the principles of Sustainable Sanitation. The fresh water demand is reduced by using water saving technologies and by recycling of wastewater. Rainwater harvesting, utilization, and infiltration facilitates for onsite drinking water production. Nutrients and biomass from sanitation systems are recycled for local soil application. While traditional Korean buildings can be generally regarded as ZEBs, traditional know-how has been overlooked in the process of modernization and implementation of centralized infrastructure systems in the 20th century. However, the growing interest in sustainability issues in Korea since the beginning of the 21st century is reflected in a growing number of research and development activities, including the design, construction, and operation of ZEBs. The widespread implementation of ZEBs would significantly contribute to sustainable development in the Republic of Korea. Full article
Open AccessArticle Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development: Exploring the Student Teachers’ Views
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2768-2786; doi:10.3390/su7032768
Received: 10 November 2014 / Revised: 27 February 2015 / Accepted: 27 February 2015 / Published: 6 March 2015
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (694 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the context of higher education, over 100 universities have signed international declarations and have committed to embed sustainability within their operations, outreach, education and research. However, despite the declaration of good intentions and policy developments at the national, regional and international level,
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In the context of higher education, over 100 universities have signed international declarations and have committed to embed sustainability within their operations, outreach, education and research. However, despite the declaration of good intentions and policy developments at the national, regional and international level, little has been achieved in terms of embedding education for sustainable development holistically in the curriculum. To date, a number of research studies have focused on the perceptions and views of university students in relation to sustainable development knowledge, skills and competencies; however, few studies have focused on student teachers’ perceptions of education for sustainable development. The aim of this study was to explore the perceptions and views of a group of thirty-two student teachers in relation to education for sustainable development competencies. The research instrument used was a questionnaire. This study provides evidence on the education for sustainable development (ESD) competencies that student teachers would prioritize in a school project related to ESD: acquisition of knowledge and practical skills related to nature and natural sciences, to the detriment of other types of learning, such as the promotion of ethical values, positive attitudes towards sustainability and the management of emotions among their future primary school students. Existing ESD theoretical frameworks need to become more alive and integrated within the existing teacher education curriculum to promote the awareness and development of ESD competencies amongst student teachers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Approaches in Education)
Open AccessArticle Using the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct to Evaluate Green Supply Chain Management: An Empirical Study of Taiwan’s Computer Industry
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2787-2803; doi:10.3390/su7032787
Received: 7 November 2014 / Revised: 18 February 2015 / Accepted: 25 February 2015 / Published: 6 March 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (751 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Electronics companies throughout Asia recognize the benefits of Green Supply Chain Management (GSCM) for gaining competitive advantage. A large majority of electronics companies in Taiwan have recently adopted the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) Code of Conduct for defining and managing their social
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Electronics companies throughout Asia recognize the benefits of Green Supply Chain Management (GSCM) for gaining competitive advantage. A large majority of electronics companies in Taiwan have recently adopted the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) Code of Conduct for defining and managing their social and environmental responsibilities throughout their supply chains. We surveyed 106 Tier 1 suppliers to the Taiwanese computer industry to determine their environmental performance using the EICC Code of Conduct (EICC Code) and performed Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) on the 63/106 questionnaire responses collected. We test the results to determine whether differences in product type, geographic area, and supplier size correlate with different levels of environmental performance. To our knowledge, this is the first study to analyze questionnaire data on supplier adoption to optimize the implementation of GSCM. The results suggest that characteristic classification of suppliers could be employed to enhance the efficiency of GSCM. Full article
Open AccessArticle Study on the Thermal Effects and Air Quality Improvement of Green Roof
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2804-2817; doi:10.3390/su7032804
Received: 16 December 2014 / Revised: 26 February 2015 / Accepted: 27 February 2015 / Published: 6 March 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2957 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Heat island phenomenon and air quality deterioration issues are two major problems that have occurred during the process of urbanization, especially in developing countries. A number of measures have been proposed, among which roof greening is considered as a promising one due to
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Heat island phenomenon and air quality deterioration issues are two major problems that have occurred during the process of urbanization, especially in developing countries. A number of measures have been proposed, among which roof greening is considered as a promising one due to its outstanding performance in thermal effects as well as air quality improvement. A self-maintenance system, termed the Green Roof Manager (GRM), which comprises the irrigation and shadowing subsystems, is proposed in this paper, focusing on the automatic and reliable operation of the roof greening system rather than exploiting new plant species. A three month long experiment was set up, resulting in the observation that a 14.7% of, on average, temperature reduction can be achieved in summer after deploying the GRM system. During a 24-hour monitoring experiment the PM2.5 concentrations above the GRM was reduced by up to 14.1% over the bare roof. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Glass vs. Plastic: Life Cycle Assessment of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Bottles across Global Supply Chains
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2818-2840; doi:10.3390/su7032818
Received: 11 December 2014 / Revised: 23 February 2015 / Accepted: 2 March 2015 / Published: 9 March 2015
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (6767 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The environmental impacts of global food supply chains are growing with the need for their measurement and management. This paper explores the operations of a global supply chain for extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) according to a life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. The LCA
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The environmental impacts of global food supply chains are growing with the need for their measurement and management. This paper explores the operations of a global supply chain for extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) according to a life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. The LCA assessment methodology is applied to determine the environmental impact categories associated with the bottled EVOO life cycle, focusing on packaging decisions. The proposed analysis identifies the greatest environmental stressors of the EVOO supply chain, thereby supporting strategic and operative decisions toward more efficient and environmentally-friendly operations management and packaging choices. This paper quantifies the environmental categories of the impacts of global warming potential, ozone layer depletion, non-renewable energy use, acidification, eutrophication and photochemical smog, for the observed EVOO supply chain, given alternative packaging configurations, i.e., a glass bottle vs. a plastic bottle. The observed system includes the supply of EVOO, the EVOO processing and bottling, the supply of packaging, the distribution of final products to customers, the end-of-life (EOL) treatments regarding the management, recycling and the disposal of waste across a global supply chain. The findings from the LCA highlight the potential of PET bottles in reducing the environmental impact of EVOO supply chains and identifies hotspots of discussion for policy-makers, EVOO producers and consumers. Full article
Open AccessArticle Detection and Modeling of Vegetation Phenology Spatiotemporal Characteristics in the Middle Part of the Huai River Region in China
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2841-2857; doi:10.3390/su7032841
Received: 21 November 2014 / Revised: 3 March 2015 / Accepted: 4 March 2015 / Published: 9 March 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (4552 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Vegetation plays an important role in atmospheric, hydrologic and biochemical cycles and is an important indicator of the impact of climate and human factors on the environment. In this paper, a method, which combines the empirical orthogonal function (EOF) and temporal unmixing analysis
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Vegetation plays an important role in atmospheric, hydrologic and biochemical cycles and is an important indicator of the impact of climate and human factors on the environment. In this paper, a method, which combines the empirical orthogonal function (EOF) and temporal unmixing analysis (TUA) methods, is applied to monitor the phenological characteristcs and spatial distribution of vegetation phenology in the middle part of the Huai River region. Based on the variance and EOF curves, the EOF provides the number of phenology modes, information which is the basis for an accurate temporal unmixing model. The TUA describes the temporal vegetation phenological details and spatial distribution. Importantly, this approach does not require assumptions, prior information or pre-defined thresholds. The vegetation phenology curves derived from the MODIS EVI data using the combined EOF and TUA methods display much more detail than the curves from Landsat TM using spectral mixture analysis (SMA). Additionally, the vegetation phenology spatial distribution from MODIS EVI is consistent with the field survey data. The combination method of EOF and TUA can be used to monitor vegetation phenology spatiotemporal change in a large area from time series of MODIS EVI data. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Weather Variability on Crop Abandonment
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2858-2870; doi:10.3390/su7032858
Received: 22 September 2014 / Revised: 30 January 2015 / Accepted: 2 March 2015 / Published: 9 March 2015
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Abstract
In Zambia, every year some parts of the maize fields are abandoned post-planting. Reasons for this are not clearly known. In this paper, we examine the influence of soil and climatic factors on crop abandonment using a six-year (2007–2012) panel data by modeling
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In Zambia, every year some parts of the maize fields are abandoned post-planting. Reasons for this are not clearly known. In this paper, we examine the influence of soil and climatic factors on crop abandonment using a six-year (2007–2012) panel data by modeling the planted-to-harvested ratio (a good indicator of crop abandonment) using a fractional and linear approach. Therefore, for the first time, our study appropriately (as supported by the model specification tests that favour fractional probit over linear) models the fractional nature of crop abandonment. Regression results, which are not very different between the two specifications, indicate that, more than anything, high rainfall immediately after planting and inadequate fertilizer are the leading determinants of crop abandonment. In the agro-ecological region where dry planting takes place, low temperature during planting months negatively affects the harvested area. The results have implications on the sustainability of farming systems in the face of a changing climate. Full article
Open AccessArticle Risk Evaluation of a UHV Power Transmission Construction Project Based on a Cloud Model and FCE Method for Sustainability
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2885-2914; doi:10.3390/su7032885
Received: 13 October 2014 / Revised: 17 February 2015 / Accepted: 28 February 2015 / Published: 11 March 2015
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (1087 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In order to achieve the sustainable development of energy, Ultra High Voltage (UHV) power transmission construction projects are being established in China currently. Their high-tech nature, the massive amount of money involved, and the need for multi-agent collaboration as well as complex construction
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In order to achieve the sustainable development of energy, Ultra High Voltage (UHV) power transmission construction projects are being established in China currently. Their high-tech nature, the massive amount of money involved, and the need for multi-agent collaboration as well as complex construction environments bring many challenges and risks. Risk management, therefore, is critical to reduce the risks and realize sustainable development of projects. Unfortunately, many traditional risk assessment methods may not perform well due to the great uncertainty and randomness inherent in UHV power construction projects. This paper, therefore, proposes a risk evaluation index system and a hybrid risk evaluation model to evaluate the risk of UHV projects and find out the key risk factors. This model based on a cloud model and fuzzy comprehensive evaluation (FCE) method combines the superiority of the cloud model for reflecting randomness and discreteness with the advantages of the fuzzy comprehensive evaluation method in handling uncertain and vague issues. For the sake of proving our framework, an empirical study of “Zhejiang-Fuzhou” UHV power transmission construction project is presented. As key contributions, we find the risk of this project lies at a “middle” to “high” level and closer to a “middle” level; the “management risk” and “social risk” are identified as the most important risk factors requiring more attention; and some risk control recommendations are proposed. This article demonstrates the value of our approach in risk identification, which seeks to improve the risk control level and the sustainable development of UHV power transmission construction projects. Full article
Open AccessArticle Life Cycle Based Evaluation of Environmental and Economic Impacts of Agricultural Productions in the Mediterranean Area
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2915-2935; doi:10.3390/su7032915
Received: 29 January 2015 / Revised: 27 February 2015 / Accepted: 27 February 2015 / Published: 11 March 2015
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Abstract
In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) applied to estimate the cradle-to-grave environmental impact of agricultural products or processes. Furthermore, including in the analysis an economic evaluation, from the perspective of an integrated life cycle approach,
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In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) applied to estimate the cradle-to-grave environmental impact of agricultural products or processes. Furthermore, including in the analysis an economic evaluation, from the perspective of an integrated life cycle approach, appears nowadays as a fundamental improvement. In particular, Life Cycle Costing (LCC), is a method that could integrate financial data and cost information with metrics of life cycle approaches. In this study, LCA in conjunction with LCC methods were used, with the aim to evaluate the main cost drivers—environmental and economic—of five widely diffused and market-valued agricultural productions (organic tomato and pear, integrated wheat, apple and chicory) and to combine the results in order to understand the long-term externalities impacts of agricultural productions. Data obtained in local assessment show a wide margin of improvement of resources management at farms level in the short-term, but also allow for the investigation of future effects of environmental impacts not expressed in product price on the market. Reaching a real sustainable model for agriculture could be a value added approach firstly for farmers, but also for all the people who live in rural areas or use agricultural products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Social Investment, Economic Growth and Labor Market Performance: Case Study—Romania
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2961-2979; doi:10.3390/su7032961
Received: 15 November 2014 / Revised: 19 January 2015 / Accepted: 16 February 2015 / Published: 11 March 2015
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Abstract
A few years have passed since the financial crisis began with the bankruptcy of the American Lehman Brothers bank and few dare predict the moment when we will overcome the crisis. Chaotic human resource policy in the Romanian economy and complex taxation have
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A few years have passed since the financial crisis began with the bankruptcy of the American Lehman Brothers bank and few dare predict the moment when we will overcome the crisis. Chaotic human resource policy in the Romanian economy and complex taxation have lowered our chances to overcome it. Excessive income tax, massive layoffs, not always dictated by real needs in the private sector, hesitation in the government regarding the reorganization of an oversized public sector and the low productivity are only some obstacles in overcoming the crisis. People are a very important factor in the production process and in the success of a company. It is essential that modern organizations rethink their strategies, make long-term investments, and invest in people. Success and survival on the market greatly depend on the understanding of these facts and managers must be aware of their importance. Full article
Open AccessArticle Green and Blue Water Footprint Accounting for Dry Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) in Primary Region of Mexico
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3001-3016; doi:10.3390/su7033001
Received: 16 October 2014 / Revised: 6 March 2015 / Accepted: 6 March 2015 / Published: 12 March 2015
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Abstract
Water shortages are a key obstacle to the sustainable supply of food to the world population, since agriculture has the largest consumptive water use. The Water Footprint (WF) has been developed as a useful tool to assess the contribution of goods and activities
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Water shortages are a key obstacle to the sustainable supply of food to the world population, since agriculture has the largest consumptive water use. The Water Footprint (WF) has been developed as a useful tool to assess the contribution of goods and activities to water scarcity. This concept is being used around the world to improve agricultural water management. This paper analyzes climate data in order to estimate green and blue WFs for dry beans in the dry beans primary region of Mexico under both irrigation and dryland conditions. The quantification of green WF is very important in this area, since 95% of the crop is obtained in dryland conditions. Standard methodology was used to assess the crop WF. Five different sowing dates were considered: two for irrigation (15 April and 15 May) and three for dryland (1 and 15 July and 1 August). It was found that the optimum sowing date for dryland conditions is 1 August, with a WF of 1839 m3·Mg−1 (1 Mg equal to 1000 kg) in the sutheastern part of the region; nevertheless, results show that the largest green water availability occurs around the first days of July. Under irrigated conditions the best sowing date is 15 May, with a decrease in crop evapotranspiration of 10.1% in relation to 15 April; which means a reduction of 36.1% of blue water use in the northwestern region mainly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprints and Sustainable Water Allocation)
Open AccessArticle Improving Log Loading Efficiency for Improved Sustainable Transport within the Irish Forest and Biomass Sectors
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3017-3030; doi:10.3390/su7033017
Received: 12 November 2014 / Revised: 22 February 2015 / Accepted: 24 February 2015 / Published: 12 March 2015
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Abstract
In Ireland, timber and biomass haulage faces the challenge of transporting enough material within strict legal dimensions and gross vehicle weights restrictions for trucks and trailers. The objective of this study was to develop a method to control payload weight by knowing the
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In Ireland, timber and biomass haulage faces the challenge of transporting enough material within strict legal dimensions and gross vehicle weights restrictions for trucks and trailers. The objective of this study was to develop a method to control payload weight by knowing the moisture content of the wood. Weights, volumes, and moisture content were gathered from 100 truckloads of Sitka spruce pulpwood. Truck volume and weight utilization patterns were analyzed based on stacked volume, truck volume, and weights recorded from the weighbridge. Solid/bulk volume conversion factors for the truckloads were estimated indicating the truck’s solid volume capacity to be filled. Trucks were grouped into five conditions based on their configuration—volume capacity and legal maximum payload. A loaded volume fraction was estimated to assess the optimal volume capacity and stanchion height at which the trucks should be loaded. Results showed that 100% of the trucks presented volume underutilization, with a maximum of 27.5 m3 (only 39.85% volume capacity). In contrast, 67% of trucks were overweight while the remaining 33% were under the legal maximum weight. The average solid/bulk volume conversion factor was 0.66 ± 0.013 at 95% confidence level. Depending on the conditions, trucks can be filled to 100% of their volume capacity with wood at an MC from 29% to 55%. The minimum truck volume capacity utilization was 45%. This methodology can be used by truck hauliers, enabling them to determine in-forest the optimum volume and weight of wood to be transported by knowing the moisture content (MC), the wood specie, and using the height of the stanchions of the trailer as reference when loading the truck. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transportation and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle General Technical Approvals for Decentralised Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS)—The Current Situation in Germany
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3031-3051; doi:10.3390/su7033031
Received: 20 December 2014 / Revised: 5 March 2015 / Accepted: 5 March 2015 / Published: 13 March 2015
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Abstract
The use of decentralised, sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) for the treatment of stormwater runoff is becoming increasingly prevalent in Germany. Decentralised SUDS can offer a viable and attractive alternative to end of pipe treatment systems for stormwater runoff from urban areas. However,
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The use of decentralised, sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) for the treatment of stormwater runoff is becoming increasingly prevalent in Germany. Decentralised SUDS can offer a viable and attractive alternative to end of pipe treatment systems for stormwater runoff from urban areas. However, there is still some uncertainty regarding the long-term performance of SUDS, and the general legislative requirements for SUDS approval and testing. Whilst the allowable pollution levels in stormwater runoff that infiltrate into ground and/or water table are regulated across Germany by the Federal Soil Protection Law, there is presently no federal law addressing the discharge requirements for surface water runoff. The lack of clear guidance can make it difficult for planners and designers to implement these innovative and sustainable stormwater treatment systems. This study clarifies the current understanding of urban stormwater treatment requirements and new technical approval guidelines for decentralised SUDS devices in Germany. The study findings should assist researchers, designers and asset managers to better anticipate and understand the performance, effective life-spans, and the planning and maintenance requirements for decentralised SUDS systems. This should help promote even greater use of these systems in the future. Full article
Open AccessArticle Methodology for Evaluating the Rural Tourism Potentials: A Tool to Ensure Sustainable Development of Rural Settlements
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3052-3070; doi:10.3390/su7033052
Received: 5 November 2014 / Revised: 13 February 2015 / Accepted: 9 March 2015 / Published: 13 March 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1182 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper analyses potentials, challenges and problems of the rural tourism from the point of view of its impact on sustainable rural development. It explores alternative sources of income for rural people by means of tourism and investigates effects of the rural tourism
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The paper analyses potentials, challenges and problems of the rural tourism from the point of view of its impact on sustainable rural development. It explores alternative sources of income for rural people by means of tourism and investigates effects of the rural tourism on agricultural production in local rural communities. The aim is to identify the existing and potential tourist attractions within the rural areas in Southern Russia and to provide solutions to be introduced in particular rural settlements in order to make them attractive for tourists. The paper includes the elaboration and testing of a methodology for evaluating the rural tourism potentials using the case of rural settlements of Stavropol Krai, Russia. The paper concludes with a ranking of the selected rural settlements according to their rural tourist capacity and substantiation of the tourism models to be implemented to ensure a sustainable development of the considered rural areas. Full article
Open AccessArticle Willingness to Pay of Air Passengers for Carbon-Offset
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3071-3085; doi:10.3390/su7033071
Received: 29 October 2014 / Revised: 6 March 2015 / Accepted: 9 March 2015 / Published: 13 March 2015
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Abstract
An important source of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is the air transport sector, which accounts for approximately 2% of global GHG emissions. Therefore, reducing GHG emissions from aircrafts has become a major challenge for transportation authorities worldwide. In recent years, much research
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An important source of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is the air transport sector, which accounts for approximately 2% of global GHG emissions. Therefore, reducing GHG emissions from aircrafts has become a major challenge for transportation authorities worldwide. In recent years, much research has focused on tax ideas related to the CO2 emissions produced by air transport, such as the voluntary carbon offset (VCO). This study investigates the willingness of economy class air passengers to pay to compensate for the CO2 emissions produced during their journeys from Taiwan to Hong Kong. Together with the Spike model, a framework known as the contingent valuation (CV) method offers a way to investigate how much the air passenger would be willing to pay to offset a journey’s airplane-generated CO2 emissions. The Spike model was applied to address the problem of zero willingness to pay (WTP). The results obtained in this study are consistent with the results found in previous studies and therefore can provide valuable insights into pricing strategies for airlines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Scenario Analysis for Water Resources in Response to Land Use Change in the Middle and Upper Reaches of the Heihe River Basin
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3086-3108; doi:10.3390/su7033086
Received: 29 November 2014 / Revised: 12 February 2015 / Accepted: 9 March 2015 / Published: 13 March 2015
Cited by 23 | PDF Full-text (1772 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Water availability is at the core of sustainable socioeconomic development and ecological conservation along with global climate and land use changes, especially in the areas that experience water problems. This study investigated the impacts of land use change on surface runoff and water
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Water availability is at the core of sustainable socioeconomic development and ecological conservation along with global climate and land use changes, especially in the areas that experience water problems. This study investigated the impacts of land use change on surface runoff and water yield with scenario-based land use change in the upper and middle reaches of the Heihe River Basin, the second largest inland river basin in the arid region of northwestern China. Firstly, three land use structure scenarios were established, with different water utilization ratio levels (low-level, middle-level and high-level water utilization ratios). Then the spatial pattern of land uses was simulated with the Dynamic of Land System (DLS). Thereafter, the simulated land use data were used as the input data to drive the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model, keeping other input data unchanged to isolate the land use change impacts on surface runoff and water yield. The results showed that the forestland and grassland will expand along with the increase in water utilization ratio. The quick-response surface runoff would decrease significantly due to forest and grassland expansion, which may cause an overall decreasing trend of the water yield. This indicated the unreasonable allocation of water resources may exert negative impacts on the water yield even if the water utilization ratio is increased; therefore, water resources should be reasonably allocated for different land use demand, which is critical for sustainable development. The results of this study will be informative to decision makers for sustainable water resource and land management when facing land use change and an increasing demand for water resources in the Heihe River Basin. Full article
Open AccessArticle Modeling Thermal Comfort and Optimizing Local Renewal Strategies—A Case Study of Dazhimen Neighborhood in Wuhan City
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3109-3128; doi:10.3390/su7033109
Received: 18 December 2014 / Revised: 20 February 2015 / Accepted: 28 February 2015 / Published: 13 March 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (5804 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Modeling thermal comfort provides quantitative evidence and parameters for effective and efficient urban planning, design, and building construction particularly in a dense and narrow inner city, which has become one of many concerns for sustainable urban development. This paper aims to develop geometric
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Modeling thermal comfort provides quantitative evidence and parameters for effective and efficient urban planning, design, and building construction particularly in a dense and narrow inner city, which has become one of many concerns for sustainable urban development. This paper aims to develop geometric and mathematical models of wind and thermal comfort and use them to examine the impacts of six small-scale renewal strategies on the wind and thermal environment at pedestrian level in Dazhimen neighborhood, Wuhan, which is a typical case study of urban renewal project in a mega-city. The key parameters such as the solar radiation, natural convection, relative humidity, ambient crosswind have been incorporated into the mathematical models by using user-defined-function (UDF) method. Detailed temperature and velocity distributions under different strategies have been compared for the optimization of local renewal strategies. It is concluded that five rules generated from the simulation results can provide guidance for building demolition and reconstruction in a neighborhood and there is no need of large-scale demolition. Particularly, combining the local demolition and city virescence can both improve the air ventilation and decrease the temperature level in the study area. Full article
Open AccessArticle Multi-Temporal Patterns of Urban Heat Island as Response to Economic Growth Management
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3129-3145; doi:10.3390/su7033129
Received: 16 January 2015 / Revised: 25 February 2015 / Accepted: 26 February 2015 / Published: 16 March 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2238 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
For a reliable assessment of sustainability in big cities, it is imperative to evaluate urban ecosystem conditions and the environment of the cities undergoing economic growth. Urban green spaces are valuable sources of evapotranspiration, which is generated by trees and vegetation; these spaces
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For a reliable assessment of sustainability in big cities, it is imperative to evaluate urban ecosystem conditions and the environment of the cities undergoing economic growth. Urban green spaces are valuable sources of evapotranspiration, which is generated by trees and vegetation; these spaces mitigate urban heat islands in cities. Land surface temperature (LST) is closely related to the distribution of land-use and land-cover characteristics and can be used as an indicator of urban environment conditions and development. This study evaluates the patterns of LST distribution through time by employing the thermal spatial distribution signature procedure using thermal infrared data obtained from Landsat-5 Thematic Mapper. A set of 18 images, between 1985 and 2010, was used to study the urban environment during summer in 47 neighborhoods of Porto Alegre, Brazil. On a neighborhood scale, results show a non-linear inverse correlation (R² = 0.55) between vegetation index and LST. The overall average of the LST is 300.23 K (27.8 °C) with a standard deviation of 1.25 K and the maximum average difference of 2.83 K between neighborhoods. Results show that the Thermal Spatial Distribution Signature (TSDS) analysis can help multi-temporal studies for the evaluation of UHI through time. Full article
Open AccessArticle Street-Level Bureaucrats at Work: A Municipality-Level Institutional Analysis of Community-Based Natural Resource Management Implementation Practice in the Pasture Sector of Kyrgyzstan
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3146-3174; doi:10.3390/su7033146
Received: 9 September 2014 / Revised: 4 March 2015 / Accepted: 9 March 2015 / Published: 16 March 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (978 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The article looks into lowest-level policy implementers’ (street-level bureaucrats’) role in donor-initiated natural resource governance reforms. The article employs an institutional analysis framework with a specific policy implementation focus. A multiple case study reviews a resource user information campaign during the early phase
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The article looks into lowest-level policy implementers’ (street-level bureaucrats’) role in donor-initiated natural resource governance reforms. The article employs an institutional analysis framework with a specific policy implementation focus. A multiple case study reviews a resource user information campaign during the early phase of a community-based pasture management reform in Kyrgyzstan. It finds implementation rule simplification by policy implementers at the expense of full resource user involvement as a result of an insufficient contextual fit of the formal information rules. The results emphasize the need of well-designed implementation rules in order to ensure full and equitable resource user involvement in community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Bialaba Migrants from the Northern of Benin to Nigeria, in Search of Productive Land—Insights for Living with Climate Change
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3175-3203; doi:10.3390/su7033175
Received: 27 November 2014 / Revised: 25 February 2015 / Accepted: 26 February 2015 / Published: 17 March 2015
PDF Full-text (1583 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The concept of Environmental Migration has been broadly discussed by the international scientific community. Especially developing countries will have to develop strategies to cope with a rising number of people migrating at national and international levels due to climatic changes and environmental degradation.
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The concept of Environmental Migration has been broadly discussed by the international scientific community. Especially developing countries will have to develop strategies to cope with a rising number of people migrating at national and international levels due to climatic changes and environmental degradation. This paper will critically analyze the term Environmental Migration and sets it in relation to a case study conducted in northwest Benin in August/October of 2013 with Bialaba, analyzing their temporary migration pattern to Nigeria. The aim is to reveal current discussions on the term “Environmental Migration”/“Environmental Migrant” and to discuss its conceptual limits. The qualitative study in this working paper was conducted in the form of 36 interviews with farmers in the Dassari watershed North of Benin and surrounding villages as well as with stakeholders of the local government and NGOs active in the research area. Research results are presented in the following paper to clarify migration motives for the Bialaba of northwest Benin towards Nigeria aiming to stimulate discussions on the topic and to promote new research pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change Impacts on Inland Fisheries)
Open AccessArticle Livelihood Strategies in Shaxi, Southwest China: Conceptualizing Mountain–Valley Interactions as a Human–Environment System
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3204-3229; doi:10.3390/su7033204
Received: 17 January 2015 / Revised: 9 March 2015 / Accepted: 11 March 2015 / Published: 17 March 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1996 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper investigates the socio-ecological differences and interactions between upland and lowland areas in Shaxi Valley, Yunnan Province, Southwest China. As an analytical tool we used an extended Human–Environment System Framework by focusing particularly on the dynamics and sustainability of livelihood strategies and
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This paper investigates the socio-ecological differences and interactions between upland and lowland areas in Shaxi Valley, Yunnan Province, Southwest China. As an analytical tool we used an extended Human–Environment System Framework by focusing particularly on the dynamics and sustainability of livelihood strategies and mountain–valley interactions. Drawing from household surveys conducted in two mountain and two valley communities in 2005 and 2009, we show that the distinct income gap between mountain and valley households in 2005 ceased to exist in 2009. The main drivers for this development are the local tourist industry, persistent demand for forest resources, as well as local off-farm and seasonal migrant employment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle A Crossing Method for Quinoa
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3230-3243; doi:10.3390/su7033230
Received: 20 December 2014 / Revised: 8 March 2015 / Accepted: 11 March 2015 / Published: 17 March 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (8208 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As sustainable production of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) increases and its geographic range of cultivation expands, quinoa breeding will allow use of the crop’s wide genetic diversity for cultivar improvement and for adaptation to new agroecosystems and climactic regimes. Such breeding work
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As sustainable production of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) increases and its geographic range of cultivation expands, quinoa breeding will allow use of the crop’s wide genetic diversity for cultivar improvement and for adaptation to new agroecosystems and climactic regimes. Such breeding work will require a reliable technique for crossing quinoa plants using hand emasculation. The technique described herein focuses on the isolation of small flower clusters produced low on the plant, emasculation of male flowers, and subsequent pairing of the emasculated female parent with a male parent undergoing anthesis. Various traits, such as plant color, seed color, and axil pigmentation can be used to confirm the successful production of F1 plants. The manual hybridization technology provides a significant advantage over pairing plants and relying on chance cross-pollination, and has been successfully used to generate crosses between quinoa cultivars, as well as interspecific crosses between quinoa and Chenopodium berlandieri. This technology will help pave the way for the introduction and sustainable expansion of quinoa on a global scale across a wide range of target environments and diverse farming systems. Full article
Open AccessArticle Using Urban-Carrying Capacity as a Benchmark for Sustainable Urban Development: An Empirical Study of Beijing
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3244-3268; doi:10.3390/su7033244
Received: 15 November 2014 / Revised: 24 February 2015 / Accepted: 27 February 2015 / Published: 17 March 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2006 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainable urban development has been receiving growing concerns from both city managers and urban residents across the world. As a yardstick of sustainability, urban carrying capacity (UCC) is an important conceptual underpinning that guides local governments in promoting sustainable urban development. However, existing
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Sustainable urban development has been receiving growing concerns from both city managers and urban residents across the world. As a yardstick of sustainability, urban carrying capacity (UCC) is an important conceptual underpinning that guides local governments in promoting sustainable urban development. However, existing studies still lack consensus not only on the theoretical aspects, but also on the methodological issues for UCC monitoring and evaluation. A knowledge gap exists, which this paper fills. This study aims to develop a practical UCC assessment framework to guide urban development towards achieving sustainability. The quantitative-based assessment framework provides a set of measurable indicators and benchmarks for city managers to conduct routine monitoring on progress toward urban sustainability, and helps identify deficient areas, which urgently need resource allocation to improve UCC. Focusing on a case study of Beijing, this study demonstrates that the framework is useful in promoting urban sustainability. This framework provides rich implications for other city prototypes in China as the nation marches into the next phase of development. Full article
Open AccessArticle Transition Thinking Incorporated: Towards a New Discussion Framework on Sustainable Urban Projects
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3269-3289; doi:10.3390/su7033269
Received: 19 December 2014 / Revised: 5 March 2015 / Accepted: 5 March 2015 / Published: 18 March 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (698 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Today, cities worldwide are engaged in urban projects and activities in a concerted drive towards sustainable development. However, the concept of “sustainable urban projects” is inherently normative, subjective and ambiguous. Furthermore, the popularity of sustainable urban initiatives does not guarantee that increased pressure
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Today, cities worldwide are engaged in urban projects and activities in a concerted drive towards sustainable development. However, the concept of “sustainable urban projects” is inherently normative, subjective and ambiguous. Furthermore, the popularity of sustainable urban initiatives does not guarantee that increased pressure on dominant unsustainable urban systems will occur. In this article, we argue that strong urban debates on these initiatives and on urban sustainability are required to facilitate and stimulate urban systems towards a more socially just and environmentally sustainable future. When we say “urban debates” we mean substantive talks and detailed discussions about the type of cities we want to live in and about a shared understanding of sustainable urban projects and how they affect urban systems. We aim to contribute to that objective by developing a discussion framework on sustainable urban projects that frames sustainable development as a challenge that concentrates on both ecological and social concerns and that avoids a sole reliance on technology fixes. But above all, we also incorporate insights and findings from transition thinking to focus on radical changes or transformations of urban systems and to acknowledge the importance of so-called “niches”. In this article we describe the fundamentals, the surplus value and the utility of the framework. The article contains empirical material from a pilot-study in Ghent, Belgium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Development)
Open AccessArticle Low Carbon Footprint Routes for Bird Watching
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3290-3310; doi:10.3390/su7033290
Received: 4 October 2014 / Revised: 25 February 2015 / Accepted: 13 March 2015 / Published: 19 March 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (17416 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Bird watching is one of many recreational activities popular in ecotourism. Its popularity, therefore, prompts the need for studies on energy conservation. One such environmentally friendly approach toward minimizing bird watching’s ecological impact is ensuring a reduced carbon footprint by using an economic
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Bird watching is one of many recreational activities popular in ecotourism. Its popularity, therefore, prompts the need for studies on energy conservation. One such environmentally friendly approach toward minimizing bird watching’s ecological impact is ensuring a reduced carbon footprint by using an economic travel itinerary comprising a series of connected routes between tourist attractions that minimizes transit time. This study used a travel-route planning approach using geographic information systems to detect the shortest path, thereby solving the problems associated with time-consuming transport. Based on the results of road network analyses, optimal travel-route planning can be determined. These methods include simulated annealing (SA) and genetic algorithms (GA). We applied two algorithms in our simulation research to detect which one is an appropriate algorithm for running carbon-routing algorithms at the regional scale. SA, which is superior to GA, is considered an excellent approach to search for the optimal path to reduce carbon dioxide and high gasoline fees, thereby controlling travel time by using the shortest travel routes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Willingness to Pay for Carbon Sequestration and Co-Benefits of Forests in Turkey
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3311-3337; doi:10.3390/su7033311
Received: 27 October 2014 / Revised: 25 February 2015 / Accepted: 9 March 2015 / Published: 19 March 2015
PDF Full-text (1178 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Scientists express concern about increasing levels of greenhouse gases mainly due to fossil fuel consumption and deforestation. In response to the latter, policy-makers have introduced a range of policy measures to conserve and enhance forest ecosystems for carbon sequestration. The costs for policy
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Scientists express concern about increasing levels of greenhouse gases mainly due to fossil fuel consumption and deforestation. In response to the latter, policy-makers have introduced a range of policy measures to conserve and enhance forest ecosystems for carbon sequestration. The costs for policy measures to maintain ecosystem services can be calculated easily, but especially non-market/non-use benefits of forests are not easy to estimate. Economics can help designing climate change policies by eliciting public preferences on different attributes of climate change and carbon sequestration. This study was prepared for the purpose of identifying per capita consumer/equivalent surplus or maximum willingness to pay and the total economic value in relation to forests to be established in Turkey to reduce air pollution around cities, to prevent the adverse effects of climate change and to sequester carbon. The data for the estimation of maximum willingness to pay, total economic value and co-benefits of forests were collected with a questionnaire form prepared according to the contingent valuation method. Analyses have been conducted by correlation analysis and regression analysis. According to the analyses, per capita consumer/equivalent surplus or maximum willingness to pay to establish a new forest was estimated at US$ 23.52 on average, while total economic value was estimated at US$ 270,443,962.68. Full article
Open AccessArticle Estimating Potential GDP for the Romanian Economy and Assessing the Sustainability of Economic Growth: A Multivariate Filter Approach
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3338-3358; doi:10.3390/su7033338
Received: 28 November 2014 / Revised: 11 March 2015 / Accepted: 12 March 2015 / Published: 19 March 2015
PDF Full-text (1640 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the current context of economic recovery and rebalancing, the necessity of modelling and estimating the potential output and output gap emerges in order to assess the quality and sustainability of economic growth, the monetary and fiscal policies, as well as the impact
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In the current context of economic recovery and rebalancing, the necessity of modelling and estimating the potential output and output gap emerges in order to assess the quality and sustainability of economic growth, the monetary and fiscal policies, as well as the impact of business cycles. Despite the importance of potential GDP and the output gap, there are difficulties in reliably estimating them, as many of the models proposed in the economic literature are calibrated for developed economies and are based on complex macroeconomic relationships and a long history of robust data, while emerging economies exhibit high volatility. The object of this study is to develop a model in order to estimate the potential GDP and output gap and to assess the sustainability of projected growth using a multivariate filter approach. This trend estimation technique is the newest approach proposed by the economic literature and has gained wide acceptance with researchers and practitioners alike, while also being used by the IMF for Romania. The paper will be structured as follows. We first discuss the theoretical background of the model. The second section focuses on an analysis of the Romanian economy for the 1995–2013 time frame, while also providing a forecast for 2014–2017 and an assessment of the sustainability of Romania’s economic growth. The third section sums up the results and concludes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Long-Term Urban Growth and Land Use Efficiency in Southern Europe: Implications for Sustainable Land Management
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3359-3385; doi:10.3390/su7033359
Received: 26 November 2014 / Revised: 17 January 2015 / Accepted: 3 February 2015 / Published: 19 March 2015
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (2144 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The present study illustrates a multidimensional analysis of an indicator of urban land use efficiency (per-capita built-up area, LUE) in mainland Attica, a Mediterranean urban region, along different expansion waves (1960–2010): compaction and densification in the 1960s, dispersed growth along the coasts and
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The present study illustrates a multidimensional analysis of an indicator of urban land use efficiency (per-capita built-up area, LUE) in mainland Attica, a Mediterranean urban region, along different expansion waves (1960–2010): compaction and densification in the 1960s, dispersed growth along the coasts and on Athens’ fringe in the 1970s, fringe consolidation in the 1980s, moderate re-polarization and discontinuous expansion in the 1990s and sprawl in remote areas in the 2000s. The non-linear trend in LUE (a continuous increase up to the 1980s and a moderate decrease in 1990 and 2000 preceding the rise observed over the last decade) reflects Athens’ expansion waves. A total of 23 indicators were collected by decade for each municipality of the study area with the aim of identifying the drivers of land use efficiency. In 1960, municipalities with low efficiency in the use of land were concentrated on both coastal areas and Athens’ fringe, while in 2010, the lowest efficiency rate was observed in the most remote, rural areas. Typical urban functions (e.g., mixed land uses, multiple-use buildings, vertical profile) are the variables most associated with high efficiency in the use of land. Policies for sustainable land management should consider local and regional factors shaping land use efficiency promoting self-contained expansion and more tightly protecting rural and remote land from dispersed urbanization. LUE is a promising indicator reflecting the increased complexity of growth patterns and may anticipate future urban trends. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Integrated Approach to Mitigation Wetland Site Selection: A Case Study in Gwacheon, Korea
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3386-3413; doi:10.3390/su7033386
Received: 19 December 2014 / Revised: 4 March 2015 / Accepted: 10 March 2015 / Published: 20 March 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3464 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents an integrated approach to mitigation wetland site selection using functional landscape connectivity and landscape structure. This approach enables landscape designers to evaluate the relative priorities of mitigation wetland areas based on functional landscape connectivity and wildlife mobility, as well as
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This paper presents an integrated approach to mitigation wetland site selection using functional landscape connectivity and landscape structure. This approach enables landscape designers to evaluate the relative priorities of mitigation wetland areas based on functional landscape connectivity and wildlife mobility, as well as landscape structure, composition, and configuration. The least-cost path method is used to evaluate candidate sites for mitigation wetlands with regard to wildlife movement. A set of assessments for landscape indices using FRAGSTATS was applied to identify suitable mitigation wetland areas on the basis of landscape connectivity, composition, and configuration. The study was conducted in Gwacheon, Korea, where there are plans for regional development that will change the landscape. In the first step, a group of 14 candidate sites is identified via analysis of functional landscape connectivity using the least-cost path method. In the second step, candidate mitigation wetland areas are ranked according to landscape connectivity and composition. The five mitigation wetland areas that were found to be suitable were analyzed based on landscape configuration at the class level. This study demonstrates that functional landscape connectivity and landscape structure are important aspects to consider when identifying suitable sites for mitigation wetland planning and restoration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Indicator Policy Factsheets: A Knowledge Brokerage Tool
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3414-3429; doi:10.3390/su7033414
Received: 17 November 2014 / Revised: 12 March 2015 / Accepted: 13 March 2015 / Published: 20 March 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (873 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The concepts of sustainable development, quality of life, wellbeing, green growth, etc., and their assessment by various kinds of indicators (within the “Beyond GDP”, or later known as the “GDP and Beyond” movement) have become important features of the professional life of
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The concepts of sustainable development, quality of life, wellbeing, green growth, etc., and their assessment by various kinds of indicators (within the “Beyond GDP”, or later known as the “GDP and Beyond” movement) have become important features of the professional life of many researchers, administrators and even policy makers. The underlying concepts, as well as the indicators are very broad, are often closely linked or overlapping and are in a continuous process of development. Information about them is primarily available in a scientific form—hypotheses, models, scenarios and figures—seldom comprehensible for a broad spectrum of final users. Some recent surveys show that the proliferation of indicators and the complexity (and complicatedness) of the underlying concepts impede the willingness of policy makers to use them. One of the most viable and effective ways to overcome this barrier is to provide users with accurately targeted information about particular indicators. The article introduces “indicator policy factsheets” complementing the already developed and routinely used “indicator methodology sheets”; indicator policy factsheets contain specific and easy-to-obtain information supporting instrumental, conceptual and symbolic use of indicators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Resource Demand Growth and Sustainability Due to Increased World Consumption
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3430-3440; doi:10.3390/su7033430
Received: 7 November 2014 / Revised: 6 March 2015 / Accepted: 17 March 2015 / Published: 20 March 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2438 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The paper aims at continuing the discussion on sustainability and attempts to forecast the impossibility of the expanding consumption worldwide due to the planet’s limited resources. As the population of China, India and other developing countries continue to increase, they would also require
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The paper aims at continuing the discussion on sustainability and attempts to forecast the impossibility of the expanding consumption worldwide due to the planet’s limited resources. As the population of China, India and other developing countries continue to increase, they would also require more natural and financial resources to sustain their growth. We coarsely estimate the volumes of these resources (energy, food, freshwater) and the gross domestic product (GDP) that would need to be achieved to bring the population of India and China to the current levels of consumption in the United States. We also provide estimations for potentially needed immediate growth of the world resource consumption to meet this equality requirement. Given the tight historical correlation between GDP and energy consumption, the needed increase of GDP per capita in the developing world to the levels of the U.S. would deplete explored fossil fuel reserves in less than two decades. These estimates predict that the world economy would need to find a development model where growth would be achieved without heavy dependence on fossil fuels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability Aspects of Energy Conversion in Modern High-Speed Trains with Traction Induction Motors
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3441-3459; doi:10.3390/su7033441
Received: 14 January 2015 / Revised: 10 March 2015 / Accepted: 16 March 2015 / Published: 20 March 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1154 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Some aspects are illustrated of energy conversion processes during the operation of electric railway vehicles with traction induction motors, in order to support transport systems’ sustainability. Increasing efforts are being expended to enhance the sustainability of transportation technologies and systems. Since electric drive
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Some aspects are illustrated of energy conversion processes during the operation of electric railway vehicles with traction induction motors, in order to support transport systems’ sustainability. Increasing efforts are being expended to enhance the sustainability of transportation technologies and systems. Since electric drive systems are used with variable voltage variable frequency (VVVF) inverters and traction induction motors, these machines with appropriate controls can realize both traction and electric braking regimes for electric traction vehicles. In line with this idea, this paper addresses the operation sustainability of electric railway vehicles highlighting the chain of interactions among the main electric equipment on an electrically driven railway system supplied from an a.c. contact line: The contact line-side converter, the machine-side converter and the traction induction motor. The paper supports the findings that electric traction drive systems using induction motors fed by network-side converters and VVVF inverters enhance the sustainable operation of railway trains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Electrical Engineering)
Open AccessArticle Economic Impacts of Total Water Use Control in the Heihe River Basin in Northwestern China—An Integrated CGE-BEM Modeling Approach
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3460-3478; doi:10.3390/su7033460
Received: 19 November 2014 / Revised: 10 March 2015 / Accepted: 10 March 2015 / Published: 23 March 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1099 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper develops an integrated modeling approach combined with a top-down dynamic computable general equilibrium (CGE) model and a bottom-up bio-economic model (BEM) to study the economic impact of a total water use control policy in the Heihe river basin, northwestern China. The
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This paper develops an integrated modeling approach combined with a top-down dynamic computable general equilibrium (CGE) model and a bottom-up bio-economic model (BEM) to study the economic impact of a total water use control policy in the Heihe river basin, northwestern China. The integrated CGE-BEM model is regionally disaggregated with a variety of crops and livestock, and includes the responses of farmers and consequent feedback effects in the regional economic system. The results show that under the total water use control scenario, the water use structure is changed and water use efficiency is improved. The total water use control policy has limited negative impact on the regional economic growth with only a slightly lower growth rate of 13.38% compared with a growth rate of 14% by 2020 under a business as usual water use scenario. However, the total water use control policy has significant negative impacts on several sectors, especially agriculture and food processing. It is expected cropping systems will change through a replacement of water-intensive crops with water-efficient crops. Farmers’ incomes will decrease by 3.14%. In order to alleviate farmers’ income loss and deal with water use conflicts across different sectors and regions, the promotion of migration of surplus labor from agriculture to non-agricultural sectors and the improvement of water use efficiency in agriculture are needed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Innovation, Management Accounting and Control Systems, and International Performance
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3479-3492; doi:10.3390/su7033479
Received: 24 December 2014 / Revised: 26 February 2015 / Accepted: 17 March 2015 / Published: 23 March 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (688 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study analyzes how Management Accounting and Control Systems (MACS) facilitate the appropriation of the benefits of sustainable innovations in organizations. In particular, this paper examines the moderating role of different types of MACS in the relationships between sustainable innovation and international performance
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This study analyzes how Management Accounting and Control Systems (MACS) facilitate the appropriation of the benefits of sustainable innovations in organizations. In particular, this paper examines the moderating role of different types of MACS in the relationships between sustainable innovation and international performance at an organizational level. We collected survey data from 123 Spanish and Portuguese organizations. Partial Least Square was used to analyze the data. Results show that the effect of sustainable innovations on international performance is enhanced by contemporary rather than traditional types of MACS. Overall our findings show that MACS can help managers to develop and monitor organizational activities (e.g., costumer services and distribution activities), which support the appropriation of the potential benefits from sustainable innovation. This paper responds to recent calls for in-depth studies about the organizational mechanism that may enhance the success of sustainable innovation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development)
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Barriers of Corporate Social Responsibility Using an Analytical Hierarchy Process under a Fuzzy Environment—A Textile Case
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3493-3514; doi:10.3390/su7033493
Received: 29 October 2014 / Revised: 11 February 2015 / Accepted: 3 March 2015 / Published: 23 March 2015
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (764 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The ventilating crisis of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) issues in the textiles industry resulted in the engagement of many researchers in the analysis of CSR and its related factors throughout the globe. Some researchers in developed nations extend their policies beyond the boundary
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The ventilating crisis of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) issues in the textiles industry resulted in the engagement of many researchers in the analysis of CSR and its related factors throughout the globe. Some researchers in developed nations extend their policies beyond the boundary of CSR in the textiles industry, but some developing contexts are still limited to this boundary, including India, due to facts that have not yet been revealed. Hence, to fill this gap, this study reveals the factors that are resisting the implementation of CSR in the textiles industry with the assistance of a proposed model, and this model is validated with a case industry situated in southern India. Common barriers are collected through various reliable means, and among those common barriers, the essential barrier was identified with the assistance of the case industrial manager through an Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) under a fuzzy environment. The results show that financial constraints comprise the main barrier to the implementation of CSR in the Indian textiles industry, which is then further validated with feedback from case industry managers. This study offers both societal and scientific insights, identifies limitations, and provides an approach that may be extended in the future once additional factors are implemented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Fashion Business Operations)

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Open AccessReview The Status, Obstacles and Policy Recommendations of Shale Gas Development in China
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2353-2372; doi:10.3390/su7032353
Received: 7 November 2014 / Revised: 27 January 2015 / Accepted: 29 January 2015 / Published: 27 February 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (968 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Chinese government has introduced numerous policies and development plans to boost its shale gas industry in recent years. However, China’s shale gas exploration and development is still in the initial stage and has been confronted with many challenges. This paper systematically analyzes
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The Chinese government has introduced numerous policies and development plans to boost its shale gas industry in recent years. However, China’s shale gas exploration and development is still in the initial stage and has been confronted with many challenges. This paper systematically analyzes the current status of China’s shale gas industry from five aspects for the first time—resource situation, exploration and development status, policy and planning situation, technology status and international cooperation—then respectively elaborates on the different obstacles of shale gas development in the short run and the medium and long term. We argue that short-term barriers to the Chinese shale gas industry mainly include objective factors, such as geological and surface conditions, shale gas proven reserves, technology innovation and environmental concerns, while some man-made obstacles (except for water scarcity) may restrict shale gas development in the medium and long term. In order to better tackle the short-term challenges, this paper proposes policy recommendations from five perspectives: strengthening the investigation and evaluation of China’s shale gas resources; perfecting shale gas industry policy; establishing a national shale gas comprehensive experimental zone; enhancing scientific and technological research; and establishing a shale gas regulatory system with an emphasis on environmental protection and supervision. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessReview Present State and Trends of the Geoinformation Industry in China
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2871-2884; doi:10.3390/su7032871
Received: 28 December 2014 / Revised: 10 February 2015 / Accepted: 10 February 2015 / Published: 9 March 2015
PDF Full-text (710 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The geoinformation industry is a high-tech service industry based on modern surveying and mapping technologies, remote sensing technologies and satellite navigation and positioning technologies. In China, the geoinformation industry is an emerging strategic industry that has rapidly developed; it has played an increasingly
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The geoinformation industry is a high-tech service industry based on modern surveying and mapping technologies, remote sensing technologies and satellite navigation and positioning technologies. In China, the geoinformation industry is an emerging strategic industry that has rapidly developed; it has played an increasingly important role in the economy and society. This essay briefly introduces the present state of the international geoinformation industry. The state of the geoinformation industry enterprises in China from 2011 to 2013 is introduced. Although this industry has greatly progressed in China, problems and limitations still exist. The structure of the industry is not sustainable. The innovation capacity of Chinese enterprises is weak. Various market demands, increasing social investments, rapid progress in surveying, mapping and geoinformation technology and attention from the government are the main driving factors in this industry. Developing trends in the industry are proposed. Overall, the government will remain the main user of geoinformation applications, and enterprises will continue to merge and reorganize. Mobile geoinformation applications have broad prospects, and new business models will continue to emerge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development)
Open AccessReview North American Soil Degradation: Processes, Practices, and Mitigating Strategies
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2936-2960; doi:10.3390/su7032936
Received: 14 November 2014 / Revised: 23 February 2015 / Accepted: 27 February 2015 / Published: 11 March 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (2446 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Soil can be degraded by several natural or human-mediated processes, including wind, water, or tillage erosion, and formation of undesirable physical, chemical, or biological properties due to industrialization or use of inappropriate farming practices. Soil degradation occurs whenever these processes supersede natural soil
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Soil can be degraded by several natural or human-mediated processes, including wind, water, or tillage erosion, and formation of undesirable physical, chemical, or biological properties due to industrialization or use of inappropriate farming practices. Soil degradation occurs whenever these processes supersede natural soil regeneration and, generally, reflects unsustainable resource management that is global in scope and compromises world food security. In North America, soil degradation preceded the catastrophic wind erosion associated with the dust bowl during the 1930s, but that event provided the impetus to improve management of soils degraded by both wind and water erosion. Chemical degradation due to site specific industrial processing and mine spoil contamination began to be addressed during the latter half of the 20th century primarily through point-source water quality concerns, but soil chemical degradation and contamination of surface and subsurface water due to on-farm non-point pesticide and nutrient management practices generally remains unresolved. Remediation or prevention of soil degradation requires integrated management solutions that, for agricultural soils, include using cover crops or crop residue management to reduce raindrop impact, maintain higher infiltration rates, increase soil water storage, and ultimately increase crop production. By increasing plant biomass, and potentially soil organic carbon (SOC) concentrations, soil degradation can be mitigated by stabilizing soil aggregates, improving soil structure, enhancing air and water exchange, increasing nutrient cycling, and promoting greater soil biological activity. Full article

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Open AccessCase Report The Framework for KM Implementation in Product and Service Oriented SMEs: Evidence from Field Studies in Taiwan
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2980-3000; doi:10.3390/su7032980
Received: 24 January 2015 / Revised: 5 March 2015 / Accepted: 9 March 2015 / Published: 12 March 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1363 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Knowledge management (KM) is a core competency that determines the success of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in this knowledge-based economy. Instead of competing on the basis of physical and financial capital, the success of SMEs is influenced by the knowledge, experience and
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Knowledge management (KM) is a core competency that determines the success of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in this knowledge-based economy. Instead of competing on the basis of physical and financial capital, the success of SMEs is influenced by the knowledge, experience and skills of the owners and its employees. Unfortunately, many SMEs are still struggling with KM implementation due to lacking a comprehensive KM framework. This study aims to identify enablers for KM success and build up a framework for KM implementation in service and product oriented SMEs. By using multiple research methods, this study collects data from SMEs in Taiwan to prove our suggested enablers and reference KM framework. The suggested framework can provide useful assistance and guidance for holistic KM solutions. The K-object concept, which adopted the XML standard, may become a significant managerial and technical element in the KM practice. The enhanced KM framework mandates every employee’s participation in knowledge activities, not just some elite knowledge workers. The findings provide useful implications for researchers and practitioners by providing useful templates for implementing KM initiatives in different industries and more comprehensive framework for KM implementation in different types of SMEs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Leadership and Management)
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