Open AccessArticle
Horse Welfare and Natural Values on Semi-Natural and Extensive Pastures in Finland: Synergies and Trade-Offs
Land 2017, 6(4), 69; doi:10.3390/land6040069 -
Abstract
In several regions in Europe, the horse is becoming a common grazer on semi-natural and cultivated grasslands, though the pasturing benefits for animals and biodiversity alike are not universally appreciated. The composition of ground vegetation on pastures determines the value of both the
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In several regions in Europe, the horse is becoming a common grazer on semi-natural and cultivated grasslands, though the pasturing benefits for animals and biodiversity alike are not universally appreciated. The composition of ground vegetation on pastures determines the value of both the forage for grazing animals as well as the biodiversity values for species associated with the pastoral ecosystems. We studied three pastures, each representing one of the management types in southern Finland (latitudes 60–61): semi-natural, permanent and cultivated grassland. All have been grazed exclusively by horses for several decades. We aimed to evaluate feeding values and horses’ welfare, on the one hand, and impacts of horses on biodiversity in boreal conditions, on the other. Though there were differences among the pastures, the nutritional value of the vegetation in all three pastures met the energy and protein needs of most horse categories through the whole grazing season. Some mineral concentrations were low compared to the requirements, and supplementation of Cu, Zn and Na is needed to balance the mineral intake. Only minor injuries or health problems were observed. All metrics of biological values, as well as number of species eaten by horses, were particularly high in a semi-natural pasture compared to other pasture types. The highest ratio of species cover preferred by horses to the total cover was found in the permanent pasture, while at the regularly re-seeded pasture, there was a particularly high cover of species, indicating low biodiversity values on grassland. There was, therefore, a trade-off between the quantity of forage and biological values in pastures, but not in quality. The results provide clear indication both for the suitability of the studied pasture types to horses and for grazing of horses for biodiversity management. In each pasture type, specific management is needed to simultaneously achieve objectives of adequate pasturing and biodiversity. The short duration (only one grazing season) must be considered when applying the results. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Agricultural Land Use Change after NAFTA in Central West Mexico
Land 2017, 6(4), 66; doi:10.3390/land6040066 -
Abstract
It has been suggested that agricultural land use change and modernization in agricultural production techniques are related to the loss of crop diversity. Two processes contribute to this loss; first is the replacement of landraces by modern varieties, and second is the abandonment
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It has been suggested that agricultural land use change and modernization in agricultural production techniques are related to the loss of crop diversity. Two processes contribute to this loss; first is the replacement of landraces by modern varieties, and second is the abandonment of traditional crops in favor of cash crops. We studied the expression of these processes in a region that is both an agro-biodiversity and cultural center and one of the most significant fruit exporters of Mexico. We analyzed agricultural change based on the transformation of cropping areas and the primary crops’ locations in Michoacán state. We examined the crop-harvested area statistics from 1950 to 2015, and identified 23 crops as the most important in terms of harvested area and monetary value. After NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), harvested area for nine crops changed significantly: seven crops increased, and two decreased. Positive trends were observed for commercial fruits oriented to export markets, and negative trends were observed for traditional crops. These crops, such as beans and maize, are important for food security. Additionally, we analyzed how these land-use and agricultural changes overlap in zones of maize planted-area change. Using a maize-race collection database, we identified three native maize races that could be at risk due to the abandonment of maize in favor of commercial crops. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Collaborative Research on the Ecology and Management of the ‘Wulo’ Monsoon Rainforest in Wunambal Gaambera Country, North Kimberley, Australia
Land 2017, 6(4), 68; doi:10.3390/land6040068 -
Abstract
Indigenous groups are increasingly combining traditional ecological knowledge and Western scientific approaches to inform the management of their lands. We report the outcomes of a collaborative research project focused on key ecological questions associated with monsoon vine thickets in Wunambal Gaambera country (Kimberley
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Indigenous groups are increasingly combining traditional ecological knowledge and Western scientific approaches to inform the management of their lands. We report the outcomes of a collaborative research project focused on key ecological questions associated with monsoon vine thickets in Wunambal Gaambera country (Kimberley region, Western Australia). The study mapped monsoon rainforests and analysed the environmental correlates of their current distribution, as well as the historical drivers of patch dynamics since 1949. Remote sensing was used to chart the effectiveness of an intervention designed to re-instate Aboriginal fire regimes according to customary principles. We identified the most vulnerable patches based on size, distance from neighbouring patches, and fire frequency. More than 6000 rainforest patches were mapped. Most were small (<1 ha), occurring predominantly on nutrient-rich substrates (e.g., basalt) and fire-sheltered topographic settings (e.g., slopes and valleys). Rainforests with low fire frequency and no cattle were more likely to expand into surrounding long-unburnt savannas. Frequent fires and cattle did not cause substantial contraction, although the latter affected rainforest understories through trampling. Fire management performed by Aboriginal rangers effectively shifted fire regimes from high-intensity late dry season fires to early dry season fires, particularly in areas with clusters of vulnerable rainforests. The remote sensing methods developed in this project are applicable to the long-term monitoring of rainforest patches on Aboriginal-managed land in North Kimberley, providing tools to evaluate the impacts of fire management, feral animal control, and climate change. The study confirmed the importance of the cattle-free and rarely burnt Bougainville Peninsula as one of the most important rainforest areas in Western Australia. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Global Hotspots of Conflict Risk between Food Security and Biodiversity Conservation
Land 2017, 6(4), 67; doi:10.3390/land6040067 -
Abstract
The global challenges of food security and biodiversity are rarely addressed together, though recently there has been an increasing awareness that the two issues are closely related. The majority of land available for agriculture is already used for food production, but despite the
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The global challenges of food security and biodiversity are rarely addressed together, though recently there has been an increasing awareness that the two issues are closely related. The majority of land available for agriculture is already used for food production, but despite the productivity gains, one in nine people worldwide are classified as food insecure. There is an increasing risk that addressing food insecurity through methods such as agricultural expansion or intensification could lead to biodiversity loss through destruction of habitats important for conservation. This analysis uses various indicators of biodiversity at a global scale, including biodiversity hotspots, total species richness, and threatened and endemic species richness. Areas where high biodiversity coexists with high food insecurity or a high risk of agricultural expansion, were examined and found to mainly occur in the tropics, with Madagascar standing out in particular. The areas identified are especially at risk of biodiversity loss, and so are global priorities for further research and for policy development to address food insecurity and biodiversity loss together. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Using Historical Maps within a GIS to Analyze Two Centuries of Rural Landscape Changes in Southern Italy
Land 2017, 6(3), 65; doi:10.3390/land6030065 -
Abstract
The current characteristics of a rural landscape may be better understood if suitable information related to its past is available. The availability of a Geographical Information System (GIS) can enable the analysis of landscape features in relation to several aspects, e.g., the evolution
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The current characteristics of a rural landscape may be better understood if suitable information related to its past is available. The availability of a Geographical Information System (GIS) can enable the analysis of landscape features in relation to several aspects, e.g., the evolution and mutual inter-relation among different ecosystems, the impact and sustainability of human activities, the visual characteristics of a landscape, etc. The analysis of geographical information, derived from historical maps, within a GIS could, therefore, prove to be a very powerful tool, for a better-informed decision-making and management of a rural landscape. With the aim to identify the land use changes in a rural area located in the Basilicata Region (Southern Italy), a territorial analysis was conducted through a GIS, in which data taken from historical maps—covering a period of 184 years, from 1829 to 2013—were implemented. Three-dimensional reconstruction of the rural landscape during different periods were obtained through digital terrain models (DTM). The land cover changes were also evaluated, demonstrating how they have affected the quality of the forest ecosystem in the area. The final results that were obtained comparing historical documents and current maps enabled the evaluation of the multi-temporal, morphological, and vegetation variations in this rural landscape. The analysis that was conducted has great potential for assessing and monitoring landscape diversity and typical changes of vegetation, even in different geographical locations, where appropriate interventions in landscape structures may be so planned. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Vegetation in Drylands: Effects on Wind Flow and Aeolian Sediment Transport
Land 2017, 6(3), 64; doi:10.3390/land6030064 -
Abstract
Drylands are characterised by patchy vegetation, erodible surfaces and erosive aeolian processes. Empirical and modelling studies have shown that vegetation elements provide drag on the overlying airflow, thus affecting wind velocity profiles and altering erosive dynamics on desert surfaces. However, these dynamics are
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Drylands are characterised by patchy vegetation, erodible surfaces and erosive aeolian processes. Empirical and modelling studies have shown that vegetation elements provide drag on the overlying airflow, thus affecting wind velocity profiles and altering erosive dynamics on desert surfaces. However, these dynamics are significantly complicated by a variety of factors, including turbulence, and vegetation porosity and pliability effects. This has resulted in some uncertainty about the effect of vegetation on sediment transport in drylands. Here, we review recent progress in our understanding of the effects of dryland vegetation on wind flow and aeolian sediment transport processes. In particular, wind transport models have played a key role in simplifying aeolian processes in partly vegetated landscapes, but a number of key uncertainties and challenges remain. We identify potential future avenues for research that would help to elucidate the roles of vegetation distribution, geometry and scale in shaping the entrainment, transport and redistribution of wind-blown material at multiple scales. Gaps in our collective knowledge must be addressed through a combination of rigorous field, wind tunnel and modelling experiments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Wolf and Bear Depredation on Livestock in Northern Sweden 1827–2014: Combining History, Ecology and Interviews
Land 2017, 6(3), 63; doi:10.3390/land6030063 -
Abstract
During the twenty-first century, large carnivores have increased in human dominated landscapes after being extinct or nearly extinct. This has resulted in increasing numbers of livestock killed by large carnivores. The intent of this paper is to give a land use-historical perspective on
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During the twenty-first century, large carnivores have increased in human dominated landscapes after being extinct or nearly extinct. This has resulted in increasing numbers of livestock killed by large carnivores. The intent of this paper is to give a land use-historical perspective on the recent livestock–carnivore conflict in boreal Sweden. More specifically we address: (1) depredation risks (livestock killed by carnivores) and (2) local knowledge of how to protect livestock from predation and whether it survived among pastoralists until the present. This study provides numeric information on carnivores, livestock and depredation, combined with oral information from summer farmers about livestock protection. We compare recent (since 1998) and historical (late nineteenth century) depredation rates in two Swedish counties. In Dalarna recent depredation rates are higher than historical rates while the opposite pattern is seen in Jämtland. Recent depredation rates in Dalarna are twice the recent rates in Jämtland, in contrast to the historical situation. Recent and historical depredation rates are of the same order. Summer farmers traditionally graze their livestock in forested areas where carnivores reside. Interviews show that traditional knowledge of how to protect livestock from carnivores was lost during the twentieth century, but recently new knowledge has developed leading to changes in summer farming practices. The carnivore–livestock situation today differs from the historical situation, not so much in levels of depredation, but mainly regarding the possibilities of farmers to face challenges associated with increasing carnivore populations. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Soy Expansion and Socioeconomic Development in Municipalities of Brazil
Land 2017, 6(3), 62; doi:10.3390/land6030062 -
Abstract
Soy occupies the largest area of agricultural land in Brazil, spreading from southern states to the Amazon region. Soy is also the most important agricultural commodity among Brazilian exports affecting food security and land use nationally and internationally. Here we pose the question
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Soy occupies the largest area of agricultural land in Brazil, spreading from southern states to the Amazon region. Soy is also the most important agricultural commodity among Brazilian exports affecting food security and land use nationally and internationally. Here we pose the question of whether soy expansion affects only economic growth or whether it also boosts socioeconomic development, fostering education and health improvements in Brazilian municipalities where it is planted. To achieve this objective, we divided more than 5000 municipalities into two groups: those with >300 ha of soy (soy municipalities) and those with <300 ha of soy (non-soy municipalities). We compared the Human Development Index (HDI) and the Gini coefficient for income for these two groups of municipalities in 1991, 2000, and 2010. We made such comparison at the municipality level for the whole country, but we also grouped the municipalities by major geographical regions and states. We found that the HDI was higher in soy municipalities, especially in the agricultural frontier. That effect was not so clear in more consolidated agricultural regions of the country. Soy municipalities also had a higher Gini coefficient for income than non-soy municipalities. We concluded that soy could be considered a precursor of socioeconomic development under certain conditions; however, it also tends to be associated with an increase in income inequality, especially in the agricultural frontier. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Fire Data as Proxy for Anthropogenic Landscape Change in the Yucatán
Land 2017, 6(3), 61; doi:10.3390/land6030061 -
Abstract
Fire is one of the earliest and most common tools used by humans to modify the earth surface. Landscapes in the Yucatán Peninsula are composed of a mosaic of old growth subtropical forest, secondary vegetation, grasslands, and agricultural land that represent a well-documented
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Fire is one of the earliest and most common tools used by humans to modify the earth surface. Landscapes in the Yucatán Peninsula are composed of a mosaic of old growth subtropical forest, secondary vegetation, grasslands, and agricultural land that represent a well-documented example of anthropogenic intervention, much of which involves the use of fire. This research characterizes land use systems and land cover changes in the Yucatán during the 2000–2010 time period. We used an active fire remotely sensed data time series from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), in combination with forest loss, and anthrome map sources to (1) establish the association between fire and land use change in the region; and (2) explore links between the spatial and temporal patterns of fire and specific types of land use practices, including within- and between-anthromes variability. A spatial multinomial logit model was constructed using fire, landscape configuration, and a set of commonly used control variables to estimate forest persistence, non-forest persistence, and change. Cross-tabulations and descriptive statistics were used to explore the relationships between fire occurrence, location, and timing with respect to the geography of land use. We also compared fire frequencies within and between anthrome groups using a negative binomial model and Tukey pairwise comparisons. Results show that fire data broadly reproduce the geography and timing of anthropogenic land change. Findings indicate that fire and landscape configuration is useful in explaining forest change and non-forest persistence, especially in fragmented (mosaicked) landscapes. Absence of fire occurrence is related usefully to the persistence of spatially continuous core areas of older growth forest. Fire has a positive relationship with forest to non-forest change and a negative relationship with forest persistence. Fire is also a good indicator to distinguish between anthrome groups (e.g., croplands and villages). Our study suggests that active fire data series are a reasonable proxy for anthropogenic land persistence/change in the context of the Yucatán and are useful to differentiate quantitatively and qualitatively between and within anthromes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Investigating Semi-Automated Cadastral Boundaries Extraction from Airborne Laser Scanned Data
Land 2017, 6(3), 60; doi:10.3390/land6030060 -
Abstract
Many developing countries have witnessed the urgent need of accelerating cadastral surveying processes. Previous studies found that large portions of cadastral boundaries coincide with visible physical objects, namely roads, fences, and building walls. This research explores the application of airborne laser scanning (ALS)
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Many developing countries have witnessed the urgent need of accelerating cadastral surveying processes. Previous studies found that large portions of cadastral boundaries coincide with visible physical objects, namely roads, fences, and building walls. This research explores the application of airborne laser scanning (ALS) techniques on cadastral surveys. A semi-automated workflow is developed to extract cadastral boundaries from an ALS point clouds. Firstly, a two-phased workflow was developed that focused on extracting digital representations of physical objects. In the automated extraction phase, after classifying points into semantic components, the outline of planar objects such as building roofs and road surfaces were generated by an α-shape algorithm, whilst the centerlines delineatiation approach was fitted into the lineate object—a fence. Afterwards, the extracted vector lines were edited and refined during the post-refinement phase. Secondly, we quantitatively evaluated the workflow performance by comparing results against an exiting cadastral map as reference. It was found that the workflow achieved promising results: around 80% completeness and 60% correctness on average, although the spatial accuracy is still modest. It is argued that the semi-automated extraction workflow could effectively speed up cadastral surveying, with both human resources and equipment costs being reduced Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Informal Urban Green Space: Residents’ Perception, Use, and Management Preferences across Four Major Japanese Shrinking Cities
Land 2017, 6(3), 59; doi:10.3390/land6030059 -
Abstract
Urban residents’ health depends on green infrastructure to cope with climate change. Shrinking cities could utilize vacant land to provide more green space, but declining tax revenues preclude new park development—a situation pronounced in Japan, where some cities are projected to shrink by
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Urban residents’ health depends on green infrastructure to cope with climate change. Shrinking cities could utilize vacant land to provide more green space, but declining tax revenues preclude new park development—a situation pronounced in Japan, where some cities are projected to shrink by over ten percent, but lack green space. Could informal urban green spaces (IGS; vacant lots, street verges, brownfields etc.) supplement parks in shrinking cities? This study analyzes residents’ perception, use, and management preferences (management goals, approaches to participatory management, willingness to participate) for IGS using a large, representative online survey (n = 1000) across four major shrinking Japanese cities: Sapporo, Nagano, Kyoto and Kitakyushu. Results show that residents saw IGS as a common element of the urban landscape and their daily lives, but their evaluation was mixed. Recreation and urban agriculture were preferred to redevelopment and non-management. For participative management, residents saw a need for the city administration to mediate usage and liability, and expected an improved appearance, but emphasized the need for financial and non-financial support. A small but significant minority (~10%) were willing to participate in management activities. On this basis, eight principles for participatory informal green space planning are proposed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Understanding Pollinator Habitat Conservation under Current Policy Using Economic Experiments
Land 2017, 6(3), 57; doi:10.3390/land6030057 -
Abstract
Pollinators provide critical ecosystems services vital to the production of numerous crops in the United States’ agricultural sector. However, the U.S. is witnessing a serious decline in the abundance and diversity of domestic and wild pollinators, which threatens U.S. food security. In response,
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Pollinators provide critical ecosystems services vital to the production of numerous crops in the United States’ agricultural sector. However, the U.S. is witnessing a serious decline in the abundance and diversity of domestic and wild pollinators, which threatens U.S. food security. In response, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has created the Pollinator Habitat Initiative (CP-42) to induce landowners to create quality habitat for pollinators by planting beneficial crops and wildflowers on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)-eligible land. Landowners’ potential conservation decisions under CP-42 and the resulting impact on land use decisions regarding crop production are not well-understood. We examine these issues by designing an economic experiment that simulates landowners’ decisions to enroll in CP-42. As our motivating example, we focus on how CP-42 might affect crop production patterns and the resulting returns in Goshen County, Wyoming. The results indicate that about 16% of CRP-eligible land would be enrolled. Based on the relatively low CP-42 payment, our subjects remove only lower value crops from production. Our results suggest that (1) all dry wheat and sunflower production and a portion of barley, corn, and dry beans could be taken out of production when transferred to pollinator habitat, and (2) that habitat fragmentation would likely occur, which would reduce the efficacy of pollination. Overall, our results suggest that there are significant limits to the overall effectiveness of the CP-42 policy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Efficiency of Conservation Agriculture Production Systems for Smallholders in Rain-Fed Uplands of India: A Transformative Approach to Food Security
Land 2017, 6(3), 58; doi:10.3390/land6030058 -
Abstract
With challenges from global climate change, it is imperative to enhance food production using climate-smart technologies and maximize farm efficiency. Fifty-six households in Rudhiapada and Badamahulidiha, Odisha, India were selected to evaluate farmers’ efficiency using conservation agriculture (CA) cropping system practices. Data envelopment
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With challenges from global climate change, it is imperative to enhance food production using climate-smart technologies and maximize farm efficiency. Fifty-six households in Rudhiapada and Badamahulidiha, Odisha, India were selected to evaluate farmers’ efficiency using conservation agriculture (CA) cropping system practices. Data envelopment analysis (DEA) and regression analysis were used to estimate farmer efficiency and the determinants of yield. Conventional tillage with the local maize cultivar was compared to reduced tillage with improved maize cultivar and maize intercropped with cowpea. Badamahulidiha outperformed Rudhiapada in yields for all cropping systems. This could be attributed to lower input use and exposure to NGO training. The current efficiency level of farmers’ productivity was between 0.4 and 0.7. Inputs such as labor, seed, and fertilizers were found to be significant in increasing yield except for female labor and phosphate. This finding suggests conservation agriculture cropping system is female friendly. The conservation agriculture cropping systems improved maize yields by 60% to 70% when compared to conventional farming system. Combining conservation agriculture practices with improving efficiency of farmers in optimal use of the inputs can contribute substantially to productivity, thus enhancing food security and nutrition in the face of climate change in India and other tropical areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Integrating Modelling Approaches for Understanding Telecoupling: Global Food Trade and Local Land Use
Land 2017, 6(3), 56; doi:10.3390/land6030056 -
Abstract
The telecoupling framework is an integrated concept that emphasises socioeconomic and environmental interactions between distant places. Viewed through the lens of the telecoupling framework, land use and food consumption are linked across local to global scales by decision-making agents and trade flows. Quantitatively
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The telecoupling framework is an integrated concept that emphasises socioeconomic and environmental interactions between distant places. Viewed through the lens of the telecoupling framework, land use and food consumption are linked across local to global scales by decision-making agents and trade flows. Quantitatively modelling the dynamics of telecoupled systems like this could be achieved using numerous different modelling approaches. For example, previous approaches to modelling global food trade have often used partial equilibrium economic models, whereas recent approaches to representing local land use decision-making have widely used agent-based modelling. System dynamics models are well established for representing aggregated flows and stores of products and values between distant locations. We argue that hybrid computational models will be useful for capitalising on the strengths these different modelling approaches each have for representing the various concepts in the telecoupling framework. However, integrating multiple modelling approaches into hybrid models faces challenges, including data requirements and uncertainty assessment. To help guide the development of hybrid models for investigating sustainability through the telecoupling framework here we examine important representational and modelling considerations in the context of global food trade and local land use. We report on the development of our own model that incorporates multiple modelling approaches in a modular approach to negotiate the trade-offs between ideal representation and modelling resource constraints. In this initial modelling our focus is on land use and food trade in and between USA, China and Brazil, but also accounting for the rest of the world. We discuss the challenges of integrating multiple modelling approaches to enable analysis of agents, flows, and feedbacks in the telecoupled system. Our analysis indicates differences in representation of agency are possible and should be expected in integrated models. Questions about telecoupling dynamics should be the primary driver in selecting modelling approaches, tempered by resource availability. There is also a need to identify appropriate modelling assessment and analysis tools and learn from their application in other domains. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Central Asian ‘Characteristics’ on China’s New Silk Road: The Role of Landscape and the Politics of Infrastructure
Land 2017, 6(3), 55; doi:10.3390/land6030055 -
Abstract
China’s $1 trillion One Belt, One Road (OBOR) infrastructure project has significant landscape, socio-economic, and political implications in recipient countries. To date, investigation has focused on Chinese motivation and plans rather than OBOR impact in host nations. This paper examines the programme from
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China’s $1 trillion One Belt, One Road (OBOR) infrastructure project has significant landscape, socio-economic, and political implications in recipient countries. To date, investigation has focused on Chinese motivation and plans rather than OBOR impact in host nations. This paper examines the programme from the perspective of two Central Asian states—Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan—that are at the heart of OBOR. We identify geographical factors that constrain infrastructure, recognise geopolitical contestation between Russia and China, address historical and cultural factors, and consider issues of institutional capacity and marginality that may be impediments to China’s initiative. The discussion then focuses on how OBOR may play out in Central Asian landscapes and suggests how to conceive and address the unprecedented transformation in the region’s built environment. Critical issues are that OBOR has not been grounded in the physical geography, practical understanding of OBOR’s impacts is missing, and the state-citizen-China nexus remains unexplored. As pivot nations, OBOR implementation in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan will showcase the Chinese programme’s strengths and highlight its weaknesses. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Dynamics of Urban Land Rent in Italian Regional Capital Cities
Land 2017, 6(3), 54; doi:10.3390/land6030054 -
Abstract
This research tries to interpret the results of the empirical analysis of urban land value variations from 1977 to 2012 in the regional Italian capital cities based on the well-known theory of urban land rent. The historical series to be analyzed were obtained
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This research tries to interpret the results of the empirical analysis of urban land value variations from 1977 to 2012 in the regional Italian capital cities based on the well-known theory of urban land rent. The historical series to be analyzed were obtained as the difference between the market value of a property and its cost of production. The paper shows, in quantitative terms, how differential and absolute rents will be translated into the dynamics of land values in relation to local specificities. The analysis of urban land rent evolution and the comparative study of the phenomenon compared to urban geography highlighted the difference among the various urban systems investigated and the criticalities generated by processes of transformation that have affected some Italian urban contexts. The difference is essentially explained by the different weight of macroeconomic variables, related to national and international contexts, and microeconomic variables, closely related to local demand and supply, in the process of rent formation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Sino-Brazilian Telecoupled Soybean System and Cascading Effects for the Exporting Country
Land 2017, 6(3), 53; doi:10.3390/land6030053 -
Abstract
The global food market makes international players intrinsically connected through the flow of commodities, demand, production, and consumption. Local decisions, such as new economic policies or dietary shifts, can foster changes in coupled human–natural systems across long distances. Understanding the causes and effects
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The global food market makes international players intrinsically connected through the flow of commodities, demand, production, and consumption. Local decisions, such as new economic policies or dietary shifts, can foster changes in coupled human–natural systems across long distances. Understanding the causes and effects of these changes is essential for agricultural-export countries, such as Brazil. Since 2000, Brazil has led the expansion of soybean planted area—19 million hectares, or 47.5% of the world’s increase. Soybean is among the major crop commodities traded globally. We use the telecoupling framework to analyze (i) the international trade dynamics between Brazil and China as the cause of the increased production of Brazilian soybean since 2000; (ii) and the cascading effects of the Sino-Brazilian telecoupled soybean system for Brazilian maize production and exports, with attention to consequences on domestic prices, availability, and risks associated with climatic extreme events. Census-based data at state and county levels, policy analysis, and interviews with producers and stakeholders guided our methodological approach. We identified that the Brazilian soybean production decreased maize single crop production and accelerated maize as a second crop following soybean, a practice that makes farmers more vulnerable to precipitation anomalies (e.g., rainfall shortage). In addition, the two-crop system of soybean/maize pressures the Brazilian maize market when unexpected events such as extreme droughts strike and when this results in a failed maize harvest in the second crop, most of which is for domestic consumption rather than export. Our study suggests the need to incorporate the telecoupling framework in land use decision-making and understanding landscape changes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparing Quantity, Allocation and Configuration Accuracy of Multiple Land Change Models
Land 2017, 6(3), 52; doi:10.3390/land6030052 -
Abstract
The growing numbers of land change models makes it difficult to select a model at the beginning of an analysis, and is often arbitrary and at the researcher’s discretion. How to select a model at the beginning of an analysis, when multiple are
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The growing numbers of land change models makes it difficult to select a model at the beginning of an analysis, and is often arbitrary and at the researcher’s discretion. How to select a model at the beginning of an analysis, when multiple are suitable, represents a critical research gap currently understudied, where trade-offs of choosing one model over another are often unknown. Repeatable methods are needed to conduct cross-model comparisons to understand the trade-offs among models when the same calibration and validation data are used. Several methods to assess accuracy have been proposed that emphasize quantity and allocation, while overlooking the accuracy with which a model simulates the spatial configuration (e.g., size and shape) of map categories across landscapes. We compared the quantity, allocation, and configuration accuracy of four inductive pattern-based spatial allocation land change models (SLEUTH, GEOMOD, Land Change Modeler (LCM), and FUTURES). We simulated urban development with each model using identical input data from ten counties surrounding the growing region of Charlotte, North Carolina. Maintaining the same input data, such as land cover, drivers of change, and projected quantity of change, reduces differences in model inputs and allows for focus on trade-offs in different types of model accuracy. Results suggest that these four land change models produce representations of urban development with substantial variance, where some models may better simulate quantity and allocation at the trade-off of configuration accuracy, and vice versa. Trade-offs in accuracy exist with respect to the amount, spatial allocation, and landscape configuration of each model. This comparison exercise illustrates the range of accuracies for these models, and demonstrates the need to consider all three types of accuracy when assessing land change model’s projections. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Geology on Landscape Typology in Jordan: Theoretical Understanding and Planning Implications
Land 2017, 6(3), 51; doi:10.3390/land6030051 -
Abstract
Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) has been introduced into Jordan through the MEDSCAPES project. The purpose of this project was to streamline landscape studies and integrate them into the land use planning practices in Jordan. Two areas within the Mediterranean and arid climatic zones
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Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) has been introduced into Jordan through the MEDSCAPES project. The purpose of this project was to streamline landscape studies and integrate them into the land use planning practices in Jordan. Two areas within the Mediterranean and arid climatic zones of the country were chosen as test areas for the methodology. These were the Yarmouk River drainage basin in the northwest of the country and the Mujib River area in the west of Jordan within the Dead Sea basin. Landscape Character Mapping resulted in 22 and 64 Land Description Units (LDUs) for the Yarmouk and Mujib areas, respectively, which were then classified into 14 landscape types. The factors which control the spatial distributions of these units are geology, land cover, landform, and settlements. However, the study suggests that the underlying geology, which influences topography, impacts indirectly on soil types, climate zones, and human activities, and hence has a predominant influence on the character of these units. Specifically, the transition between the Dead Sea Rift Valley and the adjacent highlands create variations in the topographical relief, climate, water availability, and human settlements. Implementation of LCA in Jordan has done much to highlight geological hazards, such as sinkholes, as constraints to development in certain areas. Here, we described how the LCA process could be implemented in Jordan and how this can help in improving land use management practices in the country. Full article
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Open AccessLetter
High-Resolution Vegetation Mapping in Japan by Combining Sentinel-2 and Landsat 8 Based Multi-Temporal Datasets through Machine Learning and Cross-Validation Approach
Land 2017, 6(3), 50; doi:10.3390/land6030050 -
Abstract
This paper presents an evaluation of the multi-source satellite datasets such as Sentinel-2, Landsat-8, and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) with different spatial and temporal resolutions for nationwide vegetation mapping. The random forests based machine learning and cross-validation approach was applied for evaluating
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This paper presents an evaluation of the multi-source satellite datasets such as Sentinel-2, Landsat-8, and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) with different spatial and temporal resolutions for nationwide vegetation mapping. The random forests based machine learning and cross-validation approach was applied for evaluating the performance of different datasets. Cross-validation with the rich-feature datasets—with a sample size of 390—showed that the MODIS datasets provided highest classification accuracy (Overall accuracy = 0.80, Kappa coefficient = 0.77) compared with Landsat 8 (Overall accuracy = 0.77, Kappa coefficient = 0.74) and Sentinel-2 (Overall accuracy = 0.66, Kappa coefficient = 0.61) datasets. As a result, temporally rich datasets were found to be crucial for the vegetation physiognomic classification. However, in the case of Landsat 8 or Sentinel-2 datasets, sample size could be increased excessively as around 9800 ground truth points could be prepared within 390 MODIS pixel-sized polygons. The increase in the sample size significantly enhanced the classification using Landsat-8 datasets (Overall accuracy = 0.86, Kappa coefficient = 0.84). However, Sentinel-2 datasets (Overall accuracy = 0.77, Kappa coefficient = 0.74) could not perform as much as the Landsat-8 datasets, possibly because of temporally limited datasets covered by the Sentinel-2 satellites so far. A combination of the Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 datasets slightly improved the classification (Overall accuracy = 0.89, Kappa coefficient = 0.87) than using the Landsat 8 datasets separately. Regardless of the fact that Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2 datasets have lower temporal resolutions than MODIS datasets, they could enhance the classification of otherwise challenging vegetation physiognomic types due to possibility of training a wider variation of physiognomic types at 30 m resolution. Based on these findings, an up-to-date 30 m resolution vegetation map was generated by using Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2 datasets, which showed better accuracy than the existing map in Japan. Full article
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