Abstract: This review of the study “Road to Dawei”, conducted by WWF Greater Mekong, seeks to assess economic, social and environmental impacts of road construction between Kanchanaburi, Thailand and Dawei, Myanmar. It also aims to identify relevant Green Economy policy interventions that would enhance the sustainable use and conservation of natural capital, which is considered to be a foundation for sustainable and inclusive economic development. In particular, the study concentrates on the identification of feedback loops, delays and nonlinearity in order to properly map the socio-economic and environmental system analysed and inform decision making. Results are presented for three different scenarios both for Myanmar and for Thailand. Simulation results show that a conventional approach to road construction is likely to have positive economic impacts in the region, especially in the short term, but also negative consequences for the integrity of the ecosystem, which in turn might also negatively impact on the investment itself and its economic outcomes in the medium and longer term. Further, results indicate that green economy interventions would mitigate environmental risks by creating synergies across sectors, systemically.
Abstract: Islands present sustainable energy growth challenges due to a number of reasons such as remoteness, limited energy resources, vulnerability to external events and strong dependence on international trade agreements. In particular, the Dodecanese Islands of the Aegean Sea cover their electricity needs mostly on the basis of autonomous conventional stations, consuming significant quantities of imported oil annually. Renewable energy sources (RES) penetration increase addresses the global requirements towards a carbon neutral environment, and wind farms (WFs) are among the most well-known green electricity-production alternatives. The study explores wind power installation potential of the Dodecanese Islands and the storage or interconnection options, based on the national and European legislative framework and the international scientific literature. The major finding is that, due to the high wind potential of the area, the National policy and targets focus on the installation of great RES power at Greek islands. Hence, private interests, who are willing to carry out the electrical interconnection of islands to the mainland, serve the same objective. Both scientific and business proposals overcome the local wind power installation capacity and neglect local specifics and needs.
Abstract: Previous field research on the Horqin Sandy Land (China), which has suffered from severe desertification during recent decades, revealed how land use on a sand-dune topography affects both land degradation and restoration. This study aimed to depict the spatial distribution of local land use in order to shed more light on previous field findings regarding policies on a broader scale. We performed the following analyses with Panchromatic Remote-sensing Instrument for Stereo Mapping (PRISM) and Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer type 2 (AVNIR-2) images of Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS): (1) object-based classification to discriminate preliminary classification of land-use types that were approximately differentiated by ordinary pixel-based analysis with spectral information; (2) digital photogrammetry to generate a digital surface model (DSM) with adequately high accuracy to represent undulating sand-dune topography; (3) geographic information system (GIS) analysis to classify major topographic types with the digital surface model (DSM); and (4) overlay of the two classification results to depict the local land-use types. The overall accuracies of the object-based and GIS-based classifications were high, at 93% (kappa statistic: 0.84) and 89% (kappa statistic: 0.81), respectively. The resultant local land-use map represents areas covered in previous field studies, showing where and how land degradation and restoration are likely to occur. This research can contribute to future environmental surveys, models, and policies in the study area.
Abstract: This study aimed to determine the potential of naturally occurring Cretan brake fern (Pteris cretica) as a biomarker and hyperaccumulator in an abandoned mine in Southwest Japan. This species is a known hyperaccumulator of As. Total concentrations of heavy metals and As were determined in the shoots and roots of plants collected from inside and outside of the mine area. The results indicate that As and Pb in the shoots of P. cretica reached 1290 and 3840 mg/kg dry weight, respectively, which is classified as hyperaccumulation. The metal uptake intensity in the shoots indicates that P. cretica is a biomarker for As, Pb, and Zn. Furthermore, the metal concentrations, and bioconcentration and translocation factors indicate that P. cretica is a good candidate for phytoremediation of sites that are contaminated with As and Pb.
Abstract: This paper discusses the driving forces (DFs) of informal urbanization (IU) in the greater Cairo metropolitan region (GCMR) using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). The IU patterns in the GCMR have been extremely influenced by seven DFs: geographical characteristics, availability of life facilities, economic incentives, land demand and supply, population increase, administrative function, and development plans. This research found that these forces vary significantly in how they influence urban growth in the three study sectors, namely, the middle, north, and south areas in the western part of the GCMR. The forces with the highest influence were economic incentives in the middle sector, population increase in the north sector, and the administrative function in the south sector. Due to the lower availability of buildable land in the middle sector, the land demand and supply force had a lesser influence in this sector compared to in the north and south sectors. The development plans force had medium influence in all sectors. The geographical characteristics force had little influence in both the middle and the north sectors, but higher influence than economic incentives, availability of life facilities, and development plans in the south sector. Because of the spatial variances in life facilities organizations in the GCMR, the life facilities availability force had little effect on IU in the south sector.