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Resources, Volume 2, Issue 4 (December 2013), Pages 457-650

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Tree Crops, a Permanent Agriculture: Concepts from the Past for a Sustainable Future
Resources 2013, 2(4), 457-488; doi:10.3390/resources2040457
Received: 29 June 2013 / Revised: 26 August 2013 / Accepted: 26 August 2013 / Published: 30 September 2013
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Abstract
J. Russell Smith (1874–1966), a professor of geography at Columbia University, witnessed the devastation of soil erosion during his extensive travels. He first published his landmark text, Tree Crops, A Permanent Agriculture in 1929, in which he described the value of tree crops
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J. Russell Smith (1874–1966), a professor of geography at Columbia University, witnessed the devastation of soil erosion during his extensive travels. He first published his landmark text, Tree Crops, A Permanent Agriculture in 1929, in which he described the value of tree crops for producing food and animal feed on sloping, marginal, and rocky soils as a sustainable alternative to annual crop agriculture less suited to these lands. A cornerstone of his thesis was using wide germplasm collection and plant breeding to improve this largely underutilized and genetically unexploited group of plants to develop locally adapted, high-yielding cultivars for the many climatic zones of North America. Smith proposed an establishment of “Institutes of Mountain Agriculture” to undertake this work. For a variety of reasons, though, his ideas were not implemented to any great degree. However, our growing population’s increasing demands on natural resources and the associated environmental degradation necessitate that Smith’s ideas be revisited. In this review, his concepts, supported by modern scientific understanding and advances, are discussed and expanded upon to emphasize their largely overlooked potential to enhance world food and energy security and environmental sustainability. The discussion leads us to propose that his “institutes” be established worldwide and with an expanded scope of work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equitable and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources)
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Open AccessCommunication An Introduction to Environmentally-Extended Input-Output Analysis
Resources 2013, 2(4), 489-503; doi:10.3390/resources2040489
Received: 10 July 2013 / Revised: 24 August 2013 / Accepted: 17 September 2013 / Published: 30 September 2013
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (166 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Environmentally-extended input-output (EEIO) analysis provides a simple and robust method for evaluating the linkages between economic consumption activities and environmental impacts, including the harvest and degradation of natural resources. EEIO is now widely used to evaluate the upstream, consumption-based drivers of downstream environmental
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Environmentally-extended input-output (EEIO) analysis provides a simple and robust method for evaluating the linkages between economic consumption activities and environmental impacts, including the harvest and degradation of natural resources. EEIO is now widely used to evaluate the upstream, consumption-based drivers of downstream environmental impacts and to evaluate the environmental impacts embodied in goods and services that are traded between nations. While the mathematics of input-output analysis are not complex, straightforward explanations of this approach for those without mathematical backgrounds remain difficult to find. This manuscript provides a conceptual and intuitive introduction to the goals of EEIO, the principles and mathematics behind EEIO analysis and the strengths and limitations of the EEIO approach. The wider adoption of EEIO approaches will help researchers and policy makers to better measure, and potentially decrease, the ultimate drivers of environmental degradation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Resource Use of Wind Farms in the German North Sea—The Example of Alpha Ventus and Bard Offshore I
Resources 2013, 2(4), 504-516; doi:10.3390/resources2040504
Received: 3 July 2013 / Revised: 3 September 2013 / Accepted: 16 September 2013 / Published: 7 October 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1172 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The German government aims to obtain at least 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. One of the central steps to reach this target is the construction of deep sea offshore wind farms. The paper presents a material intensity analysis
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The German government aims to obtain at least 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. One of the central steps to reach this target is the construction of deep sea offshore wind farms. The paper presents a material intensity analysis of the offshore wind farms “Alpha Ventus” and “Bard Offshore I” under consideration of the grid connection. An additional onshore scenario is considered for comparison. The results show that offshore wind farms have higher resource consumption than onshore farms. In general, and in respect to the resource use of other energy systems, both can be tagged as resource efficient. Full article
Open AccessArticle Clermont Preferred Future: Stakeholder Reflections on a Community Foresight and Planning Initiative
Resources 2013, 2(4), 528-554; doi:10.3390/resources2040528
Received: 5 August 2013 / Revised: 25 September 2013 / Accepted: 26 September 2013 / Published: 23 October 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (826 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper demonstrates the potential of the mining industry to contribute to social development (community building, resilience and wellbeing) and to economic transitioning post-mining. A number of factors may facilitate the realisation of this potential, in particular community engagement activities that build community
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This paper demonstrates the potential of the mining industry to contribute to social development (community building, resilience and wellbeing) and to economic transitioning post-mining. A number of factors may facilitate the realisation of this potential, in particular community engagement activities that build community resilience and capacity to adapt to changing environments. This paper reviews a community foresight initiative, named Clermont Preferred Future (CPF), which is associated with a coal mine development in the town of Clermont in Queensland, Australia. The purpose of CPF, which was adopted in 2008 and is intended to continue to 2020, is to facilitate a transition to a prosperous and sustainable future by leveraging opportunities from coal mining while reducing dependence on the industry. CPF has been cited as a successful model of engagement and community development, and was highly commended in the Community Economic Development category at the 2011 Australian National Awards for Economic Development Excellence. This review draws on the experiences of stakeholders involved in CPF, and on foresight, community engagement, and community development literature. It identifies what has worked well, what has fallen short of the project’s rhetorical aspirations, and how processes and outcomes might be improved. It also trials artwork as an engagement tool. The findings are valuable for Clermont specifically, but also for the mining industry and mining communities more broadly, as well as for other industries in the context of community engagement and strategic planning. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Challenges for Implementing the Nagoya Protocol in a Multi-Level Governance Context: Lessons from the Belgian Case
Resources 2013, 2(4), 555-580; doi:10.3390/resources2040555
Received: 15 June 2013 / Revised: 30 September 2013 / Accepted: 8 October 2013 / Published: 23 October 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (273 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing is the latest protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Its implementation can lead to two fundamentally different processes: a market-oriented self-regulatory approach, which emphasizes the self-regulating capacity of the economic actors involved, or a
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The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing is the latest protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Its implementation can lead to two fundamentally different processes: a market-oriented self-regulatory approach, which emphasizes the self-regulating capacity of the economic actors involved, or a normative institutionalist approach, which focuses on the norms and formal rules of institutions that not only support and frame, but also shape and constrain the actions of the players acting within them. This paper analyzes the challenges related to the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in the specific case of Belgium, and evaluates the possibility of moving from a self-regulatory to an institutional approach of implementation, which we argue is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Protocol. This move is analyzed in the specific multi-level governance context characterizing the Nagoya Protocol, which has a natural tendency towards a market-oriented self-regulatory approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equitable and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources)
Open AccessArticle Calculating MIPS 2.0
Resources 2013, 2(4), 581-607; doi:10.3390/resources2040581
Received: 2 August 2013 / Revised: 24 September 2013 / Accepted: 11 October 2013 / Published: 25 October 2013
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1338 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The Wuppertal Institute developed, in the early 1990s, an input-oriented lifecycle-wide resource accounting method, the “Material Input per Service-Unit” concept (MIPS), today also referred to as “Material Footprint”. The official handbook applicable to products, services, and processes describes a MS Excel-based sequential approach
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The Wuppertal Institute developed, in the early 1990s, an input-oriented lifecycle-wide resource accounting method, the “Material Input per Service-Unit” concept (MIPS), today also referred to as “Material Footprint”. The official handbook applicable to products, services, and processes describes a MS Excel-based sequential approach for calculating MIPS. Today’s computing power, available to every researcher, and access to software and databases dedicated to lifecycle analysis make calculating MIPS using matrix inversion possible. This also opens up possibilities for enhancing MIPS-models programmatically: parameterizing the foreground and background systems, batch modeling for producing time series, and computational algorithms enhancing interpretation. The article provides (1) an overview of the methods and tools used for calculating MIPS from its origins to today, and (2) demonstrates some of the programmatically enhanced capabilities offered to MIPS-practitioners. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Environmentally Ineffective Way to Increase Resource Productivity: Evidence from the Italian Case on Transferring the Burden Abroad
Resources 2013, 2(4), 608-627; doi:10.3390/resources2040608
Received: 30 September 2013 / Revised: 21 November 2013 / Accepted: 25 November 2013 / Published: 4 December 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (285 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Policy has so far not taken full advantage of the tools offered by the “material flows” school of thought. Resource Productivity (RP) is amongst the normative concepts currently popular among policy makers the nearest one to Material Input Per Service unit (MIPS). However,
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Policy has so far not taken full advantage of the tools offered by the “material flows” school of thought. Resource Productivity (RP) is amongst the normative concepts currently popular among policy makers the nearest one to Material Input Per Service unit (MIPS). However, the RP concept falls substantially short of the MIPS idea, as it puts resource use in relation to the monetary value of production, while MIPS makes reference to services actually delivered by the products. Moreover, the indicator currently used by the European Commission for monitoring RP lacks in life-cycle perspective, which is essential in the MIPS concept. The present paper illustrates, by using Italian case evidence, some of the current RP indicator shortcomings and it discusses a possible alternative, by introducing the life-cycle perspective. In Italy, RP has grown faster than both energy and labour productivity since 1980. This apparently shows that Italy is moving in the right direction. However, a deeper and more extensive analysis regarding the country’s natural resource requirements is necessary before a conclusion can be drawn about the sustainability of the Italian socio-economic process. Therefore, on the one hand we disaggregate material consumption (i.e., the denominator of RP) into its components; on the other hand we extend the analysis to overall material requirements, including indirect material flows associated with international trade. These analyses, although limited to used materials (i.e., to resource requirements in Raw Material Equivalents), demonstrate that the Italian success in increasing RP is largely due to the transferring abroad of material flows and ecological burden. Full article
Open AccessArticle Conventional, Organic and Polycultural Farming Practices: Material Intensity of Italian Crops and Foodstuffs
Resources 2013, 2(4), 628-650; doi:10.3390/resources2040628
Received: 13 October 2013 / Revised: 30 November 2013 / Accepted: 2 December 2013 / Published: 9 December 2013
PDF Full-text (879 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Food system sustainability is a major issue of concern for policy makers. Feeding an increasing world population without compromising the endowment of natural resources or worsening the environmental crisis is, indeed, a major challenge. The need to boost sustainable and productive farming systems
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Food system sustainability is a major issue of concern for policy makers. Feeding an increasing world population without compromising the endowment of natural resources or worsening the environmental crisis is, indeed, a major challenge. The need to boost sustainable and productive farming systems and enhance resource efficiency has been acknowledged by European Union policy in its 2020 Strategy. This study assesses the impact of some Italian foodstuffs and agricultural products in terms of material requirement, using the Material Input Per Service unit (MIPS) indicator. The conventional, organic and post-organic agricultural practice called Ma-Pi polyculture is investigated. Results show that, in spite of higher yields obtained by conventional agriculture, material efficiency of organic crops and foodstuffs is generally higher. Moreover, a drastic enhancement of material efficiency is achievable using agronomic practices that minimize the employment of external inputs. As a tool for evaluating the environmental sustainability of agricultural products, MIPS allows focusing on a priority policy area, i.e., resource efficiency, which could be easily employed for driving agricultural systems towards a sustainable intensification. Data quality and availability of Material Input (MI) factors remains, however, a constraining issue for the applicability of the indicator. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview Benefit Transfer: A Review of Methodologies and Challenges
Resources 2013, 2(4), 517-527; doi:10.3390/resources2040517
Received: 2 August 2013 / Revised: 12 September 2013 / Accepted: 11 October 2013 / Published: 21 October 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (178 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
For policy makers, regulators and natural resource managers, the resources necessary for original empirical resource valuations are often unavailable. A common alternative to original valuation studies is the practice of benefit transfer—the use of an empirical value estimate or estimates from a previous
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For policy makers, regulators and natural resource managers, the resources necessary for original empirical resource valuations are often unavailable. A common alternative to original valuation studies is the practice of benefit transfer—the use of an empirical value estimate or estimates from a previous study or studies for application in a similar context. In order to reduce the error inherent in applying values from one parcel of land to another, researchers commonly use meta-analysis, or the “study of studies”, to provide a more thorough and statistically valid value estimate for use in a benefit transfer. In the practice of benefit transfer, much emphasis has been placed on improving the validity of values for transfer, but fewer studies have focused on the appropriate application of the established estimates. In this article, several often disregarded concerns that should be addressed when practicing benefit transfer are identified. A special focus is placed on spatial considerations and the recent progress that has been made to incorporate spatial trends. Geographic information systems (GIS) are advocated as a useful tool for incorporating the spatial aspects of benefit transfer. Consensuses and trends in the literature are acknowledged, and areas of potential improvement are highlighted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Service Valuation, Its Measurement and Uses)

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