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Resources, Volume 2, Issue 3 (September 2013), Pages 151-456

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Identifying Key Sectors and Measures for a Transition towards a Low Resource Economy
Resources 2013, 2(3), 151-166; doi:10.3390/resources2030151
Received: 2 May 2013 / Revised: 10 June 2013 / Accepted: 25 June 2013 / Published: 8 July 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (690 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A transition towards a low resource economy is unavoidable. This can be concluded from numerous initiatives which have been introduced recently. Methodologies and indicators are required in order to better assess the possibilities and challenges related to a transition towards a low [...] Read more.
A transition towards a low resource economy is unavoidable. This can be concluded from numerous initiatives which have been introduced recently. Methodologies and indicators are required in order to better assess the possibilities and challenges related to a transition towards a low resource economy. One of these is economy-wide material flow analysis (MFA). When MFA is connected to national economics accounts it enables the input-output analysis (IOA) of the economic structures causing material flows. In this study we used IO modelling and total flow analysis to identify industrial sectors with the highest material flows in Finland. The analysis exposed that in Finland most resource consumption is caused by the export industry, of which material intensity is low and does not produce significant value added, whereas the domestic construction sector, with notable resource flows, produces significant value added. A low resource economy requires significant and radical change in socio-technological systems and people’s mindsets. Due to the complexity of society and the diversity of the economy different types of measures are needed in order to achieve the change. We suggest some measures related to regulations, eco-design, material recycling and welfare for production, investments, services and individual consumption, for example. In the future, the transition towards a low resource economy needs radical changes, more innovations, policy support and actions on all societal levels. Full article
Open AccessArticle Collaborative Consumption: Towards a Resource-Saving Consumption Culture
Resources 2013, 2(3), 184-203; doi:10.3390/resources2030184
Received: 9 May 2013 / Revised: 26 June 2013 / Accepted: 9 July 2013 / Published: 30 July 2013
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (222 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Resource efficiency in production and technological innovations are inadequate for considerably reducing the current use of natural resources. Both social innovations and a complementary and equally valued strategy of sustainable consumption are required: goods must be used longer, and services that support [...] Read more.
Resource efficiency in production and technological innovations are inadequate for considerably reducing the current use of natural resources. Both social innovations and a complementary and equally valued strategy of sustainable consumption are required: goods must be used longer, and services that support collaborative consumption (CC) patterns must be extended. “Using rather than owning” strategies, such as product sharing, have the potential to conserve resources. Based on the results of different German studies, this article highlights the resource-saving potentials of CC patterns and recommendations proposed for policies and further research questions. The purpose of this paper is to show that a general resource-saving potential can be realized by “use rather than own” schemes, depending on the application field and the framework for implementation. CC is suitable for making a positive contribution to achieving the Factor 10 target by playing an important role in changing consumer patterns. Full article
Open AccessArticle European Hazelnut and Almond Genetic Resources: Safeguard and Traditional Uses
Resources 2013, 2(3), 204-212; doi:10.3390/resources2030204
Received: 4 June 2013 / Revised: 19 July 2013 / Accepted: 19 July 2013 / Published: 30 July 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (219 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The extensive worldwide interest in plant genetic resources regarding the opportunities offered by their use is clearly described by the objectives set out in both the Convention on Biological Biodiversity (CDB) and the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food [...] Read more.
The extensive worldwide interest in plant genetic resources regarding the opportunities offered by their use is clearly described by the objectives set out in both the Convention on Biological Biodiversity (CDB) and the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA). This article presents the European AGRI GEN RES SAFENUT project, including its methods and results, as an example of a resourceful strategy for reorganizing and sharing hazelnut and almond genetic resources. The project emphasizes how crucial it is to preserve not only genetic resources per se, but also the unique cultural value of the traditional and historical uses of hazelnut and almond genetic resources, which people have conserved and, in some cases, enhanced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equitable and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources)
Open AccessArticle How Policies Affect the Use of Plant Genetic Resources: The Experience of the CGIAR
Resources 2013, 2(3), 231-269; doi:10.3390/resources2030231
Received: 5 June 2013 / Revised: 12 July 2013 / Accepted: 18 July 2013 / Published: 19 August 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1169 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is growing recognition that sustainable intensification of agricultural production systems and their successful adaptation to changes in climate will depend upon the improved access to, and use of, genetic diversity. This paper analyzes how the collection, use and distribution of plant [...] Read more.
There is growing recognition that sustainable intensification of agricultural production systems and their successful adaptation to changes in climate will depend upon the improved access to, and use of, genetic diversity. This paper analyzes how the collection, use and distribution of plant genetic resources by the Consortium of International Research Centers of the CGIAR are influenced by international and national policies, treaties and agreements. Some concerns exist among CGIAR scientists about continued access to, and distribution of, plant genetic resources. Study findings point to an increasing influence of international and national policies and legal frameworks on the conservation and use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) by the CGIAR centers and the dissemination of CGIAR-improved germplasm first to partners in agricultural research organizations and then to final users of new plant varieties developed through research partnerships. This situation may, in the longer term, have a serious impact on the utilization of plant genetic diversity to cope with current and predicted challenges to agricultural production and, in particular, climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equitable and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources)
Open AccessArticle Total Material Requirement of Growing China: 1995–2008
Resources 2013, 2(3), 270-285; doi:10.3390/resources2030270
Received: 9 July 2013 / Revised: 4 August 2013 / Accepted: 9 August 2013 / Published: 20 August 2013
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Abstract
This article presents the accounts of China’s Total Material Requirement (TMR) during 1995–2008, which were compiled under the guidelines of Eurostat (2009) and with the Hidden Flow (HF) coefficients developed by the Wuppertal Institute. Subsequently, comparisons with previous studies are conducted. Using [...] Read more.
This article presents the accounts of China’s Total Material Requirement (TMR) during 1995–2008, which were compiled under the guidelines of Eurostat (2009) and with the Hidden Flow (HF) coefficients developed by the Wuppertal Institute. Subsequently, comparisons with previous studies are conducted. Using decomposition, we finally examine the influential factors that have changed the TMR of China. The main findings are the following: (1) During 1995–2008 China’s TMR increased from 32.7 Gt to 57.0 Gt. Domestic extraction dominated China’s TMR, but a continuous decrease of its shares can be observed. In terms of material types, excavation constituted the biggest component of China’s TMR, and a shift from biomass to metallic minerals is apparent; (2) Compared with two previous studies on China’s TMR, the amounts of TMR in this study are similar to the others, whereas the amounts of the used part of TMR (Direct Material Input, DMI) are quite different as a result of following different guidelines; (3) Compared with developed countries, China’s TMR per capita was much lower, but a continuous increase of this indicator can be observed; (4) Factors of Affluence (A) and Material Intensity (T), respectively, contributed the most to the increase and decrease of TMR, but the overall decrease effect is limited. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Estimation of the Private Value of Aquifer Recharge from Ephemeral Wetlands on the Texas High Plains
Resources 2013, 2(3), 286-302; doi:10.3390/resources2030286
Received: 19 June 2013 / Revised: 6 August 2013 / Accepted: 16 August 2013 / Published: 22 August 2013
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Abstract
Ecosystem services are benefits people derive from resources in ecosystems. Playa lakes in the Southern High Plains region of North America provide several ecosystem services for humans, including recharge to the Ogallala aquifer. The Ogallala aquifer occupies 450,000 km2, it [...] Read more.
Ecosystem services are benefits people derive from resources in ecosystems. Playa lakes in the Southern High Plains region of North America provide several ecosystem services for humans, including recharge to the Ogallala aquifer. The Ogallala aquifer occupies 450,000 km2, it is part of eight states, and provides irrigation water to over 25% of the irrigated land in the United States. The recharge provided by playas potentially makes them important and valuable in this region. We develop an econometric model (with spatial aspects) to determine how playas affect the water level of irrigation wells and estimate the economic value to farmers of playa ecosystem services in recharging the water in those wells. We find that, in some instances, additional playa surface area may have a small but statistically significant effect on well drawdown (and, we infer, on recharge) on nearby wells, but that the value of the additional water is likely too small to significantly affect private management decisions. Because of lack of appropriate data, these results are of only limited applicability. We therefore identify a need for more research on the effects of management of sedimentation of playa wetlands as a key component that may improve the findings reported here. Full article
Open AccessArticle Material Flows Resulting from Large Scale Deployment of Wind Energy in Germany
Resources 2013, 2(3), 303-334; doi:10.3390/resources2030303
Received: 16 June 2013 / Revised: 12 August 2013 / Accepted: 14 August 2013 / Published: 27 August 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (979 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The ambitious targets for renewable energies in Germany indicate that the steady growth of installed capacity of the past years will continue for the coming decades. This development is connected with significant material flows—primary material demand as well as secondary material flows. [...] Read more.
The ambitious targets for renewable energies in Germany indicate that the steady growth of installed capacity of the past years will continue for the coming decades. This development is connected with significant material flows—primary material demand as well as secondary material flows. These flows have been analyzed for Germany up to the year 2050 using a statistical model for the turbines’ discard patterns. The analysis encompasses the flows of bulk metals, plastics, and rare earths (required for permanent magnets in gearless converters). Different expansion scenarios for wind energy are considered as well as different turbine technologies, future development of hub height and rotor diameter, and an enhanced deployment of converters located offshore. In addition to the direct material use, the total material requirement has been calculated using the material input per service unit (MIPS) concept. The analysis shows that the demand for iron, steel, and aluminum will not exceed around 6% of the current domestic consumption. The situation for rare earths appears to be different with a maximum annual neodymium demand for wind energy converters corresponding to about a quarter of the overall 2010 consumption. It has been shown that by efficiently utilizing secondary material flows a net material demand reduction of up to two thirds by 2050 seems possible, (i.e., if secondary material flows are fully used to substitute primary material demand). Full article
Open AccessArticle Cattle Breeds: Extinction or Quasi-Extant?
Resources 2013, 2(3), 335-357; doi:10.3390/resources2030335
Received: 13 June 2013 / Revised: 31 July 2013 / Accepted: 10 August 2013 / Published: 27 August 2013
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Abstract
Uniquely selected breeds bred over thousands of years of domestication in a wide range of environments have been declared extinct over the last century. Still more breeds are at risk of becoming extinct and the rate continues to accelerate. Assessing the current [...] Read more.
Uniquely selected breeds bred over thousands of years of domestication in a wide range of environments have been declared extinct over the last century. Still more breeds are at risk of becoming extinct and the rate continues to accelerate. Assessing the current status and possible future dynamics of livestock breeds is therefore a critical step in the management of Animal Genetic Resources (AnGR). This study applies a qualitative approach to comprehensively analyze cattle genetic resources in selected countries in order to better understand the risk status of cattle breeds and those that need to be considered extinct and/or quasi-extant. The status of each breed, i.e., not at risk, critical, endangered and extinct, was verified using information available at the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS) web site, as well as cattle statistics (where available) and a breed survey. In most examples, breeds listed as extinct have played important roles in the development of new breeds, and should not be classified as extinct, unless proven otherwise, given that even breeds existing in vivo are developing. Therefore, a new risk status quasi-extant for this category of cattle breeds is suggested. In addition, based on the findings of this study, the concept of breed needs to be questioned as relates to it being a good measure of genetic diversity. Further investigations of the situation of cattle breeds (and other livestock species) in more countries/continents using similar categories are deemed necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equitable and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources)
Open AccessArticle Material Flow Cost Accounting as an Approach to Improve Resource Efficiency in Manufacturing Companies
Resources 2013, 2(3), 358-369; doi:10.3390/resources2030358
Received: 28 June 2013 / Revised: 9 August 2013 / Accepted: 15 August 2013 / Published: 3 September 2013
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (1221 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
What potentials do manufacturing companies have for identifying inefficiencies in their use of resources? Assessing the products with regard to their durability, functional usefulness, use of materials, etc. is only one aspect of the exercise. The actual production operations and the [...] Read more.
What potentials do manufacturing companies have for identifying inefficiencies in their use of resources? Assessing the products with regard to their durability, functional usefulness, use of materials, etc. is only one aspect of the exercise. The actual production operations and the search for in-plant inefficiencies represent the other. In Germany, the material flow cost accounting (MFCA) method was developed years ago to tackle this requirement. It evaluates material losses in the company in monetary terms and thus points up the economic benefit of resource efficiency. MFCA first achieved practical relevance and large-scale application in Japan. Now there is even an ISO standard on the method. The article outlines the process and presents typical examples. It explains how a methodological bridge can be built to assess the loss of material in ecological terms too. Full article
Open AccessArticle Multivariate Weibull Distribution for Wind Speed and Wind Power Behavior Assessment
Resources 2013, 2(3), 370-384; doi:10.3390/resources2030370
Received: 19 July 2013 / Revised: 5 August 2013 / Accepted: 23 August 2013 / Published: 3 September 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1283 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The goal of this paper is to show how to derive the multivariate Weibull probability density function from the multivariate Standard Normal one and to show its applications. Having Weibull distribution parameters and a correlation matrix as input data, the proposal is [...] Read more.
The goal of this paper is to show how to derive the multivariate Weibull probability density function from the multivariate Standard Normal one and to show its applications. Having Weibull distribution parameters and a correlation matrix as input data, the proposal is to obtain a precise multivariate Weibull distribution that can be applied in the analysis and simulation of wind speeds and wind powers at different locations. The main advantage of the distribution obtained, over those generally used, is that it is defined by the classical parameters of the univariate Weibull distributions and the correlation coefficients and all of them can be easily estimated. As a special case, attention has been paid to the bivariate Weibull distribution, where the hypothesis test of the correlation coefficient is defined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatial and Temporal Variation of the Wind Resource)
Open AccessArticle Acceptance of Mobile Phone Return Programmes for Increased Resource Efficiency by Young People—Experiences from a German Research Project
Resources 2013, 2(3), 385-405; doi:10.3390/resources2030385
Received: 5 May 2013 / Revised: 9 August 2013 / Accepted: 12 August 2013 / Published: 16 September 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (855 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The need for recycling obsolete mobile phones has significantly increased with their rapidly growing worldwide production and distribution. Return and recycling rates are quite low; people tend to keep old, unused phones at home instead of returning them for recycling or further [...] Read more.
The need for recycling obsolete mobile phones has significantly increased with their rapidly growing worldwide production and distribution. Return and recycling rates are quite low; people tend to keep old, unused phones at home instead of returning them for recycling or further use because of a lack of knowledge and acceptance of return programmes. Thus far, individual use and recycling behavior has not shown any trend towards more sustainable patterns. Consequently, an increased awareness is needed for the high environmental and social impact throughout the whole value chain of a mobile phone—there is simply a lack of information and knowledge regarding sustainability issues around the mobile phone. A teaching material was therefore developed in a German research project, based on the concept of the ecological rucksack, presenting comprehensive information about the value chain of a mobile phone. Its application in different schools led to an increased awareness and interest among pupils for the connection between sustainability, resources and mobile phones. Based on these research results, this paper analyses young people’s knowledge of sustainability issues linked to their mobile phones and their acceptance of more sustainable behavioral patterns regarding their mobile, including return and recycling programmes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Preferences for Management of Near-Shore Marine Ecosystems: A Choice Experiment in New Zealand
Resources 2013, 2(3), 406-438; doi:10.3390/resources2030406
Received: 30 July 2013 / Revised: 26 August 2013 / Accepted: 4 September 2013 / Published: 17 September 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (827 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is considerable interest in New Zealand in establishing “Customary Management Areas” (taiāpure and mātaitai) and Marine Reserves to support Māori cultural practices and restore declining biodiversity and fish stocks. Allocation of near-shore marine areas for these management systems potentially benefits the [...] Read more.
There is considerable interest in New Zealand in establishing “Customary Management Areas” (taiāpure and mātaitai) and Marine Reserves to support Māori cultural practices and restore declining biodiversity and fish stocks. Allocation of near-shore marine areas for these management systems potentially benefits the larger public, but it has often been vigorously opposed by recreational and commercial fishers. This paper reports estimates of the relative values held by the public toward four potentially conflicting uses of near-shore marine areas. These estimates come from a web-based choice survey completed by 1055 respondents recruited from throughout New Zealand. The response rate was especially high at 60%. We present results weighted to the characteristics of the population and test the results against a variety of well-known sources of survey bias. Scenario development suggests that some reallocation of near-shore marine areas to any of the management systems under discussion alternative to the status quo is likely to yield a welfare gain. A combination of marine reserves and taiāpure is most preferred. The exercise supports the use of discrete choice experiments to provide crucial information about difficult-to-quantify public values for aspects of management of near-shore marine areas, such as proposed taiāpure, mātaitai, or marine reserves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Service Valuation, Its Measurement and Uses)

Review

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Open AccessReview Recent Research Progress and Potential Uses of the Amphibian Xenopus as a Biomedical and Immunological Model System
Resources 2013, 2(3), 167-183; doi:10.3390/resources2030167
Received: 27 May 2013 / Revised: 30 June 2013 / Accepted: 6 July 2013 / Published: 18 July 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2897 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The amphibian Xenopus has long been a comparative model system of choice for a number of different biological research areas, including immunology. Specifically, the evolutionary distance between amphibians and mammals, including humans, allows for the study of both species-specific adaptations, as well [...] Read more.
The amphibian Xenopus has long been a comparative model system of choice for a number of different biological research areas, including immunology. Specifically, the evolutionary distance between amphibians and mammals, including humans, allows for the study of both species-specific adaptations, as well as conserved features of the immune system. Furthermore, the Xenopus genus includes species with multiple levels of polyploidy, thereby providing a unique model to study whole genome duplication and its effects thereof on individual genes. To better exploit this amphibian model, the development and innovative applications of novel research tools have been a priority. In this regard, recent advances in adapting the transgenesis approach to Xenopus have allowed for in vivo studies of the impact of loss and gain of function of specific genes at the level of the whole organism, further enhancing the potential uses of Xenopus as an important biomedical model system. This review highlights some of the major uses and applications of the Xenopus model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equitable and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources)
Figures

Open AccessReview Valuing Ecosystem Services for Coastal Wetland Protection and Restoration: Progress and Challenges
Resources 2013, 2(3), 213-230; doi:10.3390/resources2030213
Received: 16 June 2013 / Revised: 10 July 2013 / Accepted: 16 July 2013 / Published: 15 August 2013
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (692 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Coastal wetlands, such as marshes, mangroves and forested swamps, are in decline globally. Although considerable progress has been made in quantifying and valuing some of the key ecosystem goods and services provided by these habitats, fundamental challenges remain. The biggest challenge is [...] Read more.
Coastal wetlands, such as marshes, mangroves and forested swamps, are in decline globally. Although considerable progress has been made in quantifying and valuing some of the key ecosystem goods and services provided by these habitats, fundamental challenges remain. The biggest challenge is inadequate knowledge to link changes in ecosystem structure and function to the production of valuable goods and services. Another problem is that very few ecosystem services are marketed. This review discusses recent advances in overcoming these challenges. To illustrate key valuation issues, the paper introduces three case studies from the US Gulf Coast state of Louisiana: quantifying ecosystem services and the 2012 Master Plan for coastal Louisiana; valuing storm protection by marsh in southeast Louisiana; and oil spills and the Natural Resource Damage Assessment approach to wetland compensation in lieu of restoration. The paper concludes with some final remarks on the state of coastal wetland valuation for protection and restoration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Service Valuation, Its Measurement and Uses)
Open AccessReview Ecosystem Effects from Nutrient and Pesticide Pollutants: Catchment Care as a Solution
Resources 2013, 2(3), 439-456; doi:10.3390/resources2030439
Received: 8 July 2013 / Revised: 17 August 2013 / Accepted: 5 September 2013 / Published: 23 September 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (613 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agricultural chemicals include fertilisers (nitrogen and phosphorus) and biocides (herbicides, fungicides and insecticides). Environmental impacts in surface waters include algal blooms and disruption to ecological function. Strategies for protection of rivers from eutrophication include improved agricultural land management, conservation farming methods, recycling [...] Read more.
Agricultural chemicals include fertilisers (nitrogen and phosphorus) and biocides (herbicides, fungicides and insecticides). Environmental impacts in surface waters include algal blooms and disruption to ecological function. Strategies for protection of rivers from eutrophication include improved agricultural land management, conservation farming methods, recycling or retention of drainage and runoff water, and use of buffer strips and riparian vegetation for filtration. Reduction in pesticide use has been achieved by improved application technologies, precision farming, adoption of organic farming, and use of biological control methods. Australian river health audits show widespread deterioration, and protection using the “Polluter Pays Principle” is attractive. However, who should pay for environmental assessment, for adoption of new technologies or change in land use, and how will this be determined? Unfortunately, as demonstrated in two case studies on algal blooms and cotton pesticides, the links between pollutant source and environmental impact remain poorly understood, and the complexity of assessing environmental benefit of agricultural changes makes sheeting home the costs of pollution sources difficult. Alternatives to imposition of penalties include catchment-based targets and guidelines, benchmarking, and adoption of best management practice with an emphasis on incentives and encouragement. Many strategies for risk reduction in agricultural cropping systems are available for inclusion in a “Catchment Care” approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Service Valuation, Its Measurement and Uses)

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