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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Open AccessArticle
Scenarios of Vegetable Demand vs. Production in Brazil: The Links between Nutritional Security and Small Farming
Land 2017, 6(3), 49; doi:10.3390/land6030049 -
Abstract
Dietary guidelines urge Brazilians to increase their consumption of raw vegetables. Yet key issues must be tackled by the government and civil society, not only to foster consumers’ appetite for healthier food, but more importantly to diminish the gaps between local demand and
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Dietary guidelines urge Brazilians to increase their consumption of raw vegetables. Yet key issues must be tackled by the government and civil society, not only to foster consumers’ appetite for healthier food, but more importantly to diminish the gaps between local demand and production, determined by food and land accessibility. We examine whether vegetable production in Brazil meets the demand to provide Brazilians the daily amount of fresh food recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). We developed demand scenarios in Brazil for 2008 and 2030, based on demand density maps built at the district level using production census surveys, household acquisition data, and population growth estimates. Results reveal an inherent inequality in vegetable consumption between the southern and central northern regions of Brazil that follows food insecurity regional indicators. Even in more urbanized regions and metropolitan areas, where the best balance between vegetable production and acquisition is found, simulated demand is far from WHO recommendations. A complementary discussion regarding land distribution and fresh food production supports our outlook on the weaknesses of existing rural policies for land reform and sustainable local fresh food production that directly affect demand and nutritional security. This work was the foundation to the Delivering Food Security on Limited Land (DEVIL) project in Brazil supported by Belmont Forum consortium. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Integration of Ecosystem Services in Planning: An Evaluation of the Nutrient Retention Model Using InVEST Software
Land 2017, 6(3), 48; doi:10.3390/land6030048 -
Abstract
Mapping ecosystem services (ES) increases the awareness of natural capital value, leading to building sustainability into decision-making processes. Recently, many techniques to assess the value of ES delivered by different scenarios of land use/land cover (LULC) are available, thus becoming important practices in
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Mapping ecosystem services (ES) increases the awareness of natural capital value, leading to building sustainability into decision-making processes. Recently, many techniques to assess the value of ES delivered by different scenarios of land use/land cover (LULC) are available, thus becoming important practices in mapping to support the land use planning process. The spatial analysis of the biophysical ES distribution allows a better comprehension of the environmental and social implications of planning, especially when ES concerns the management of risk (e.g., erosion, pollution). This paper investigates the nutrient retention model of InVEST software through its spatial distribution and its quantitative value. The model was analyzed by testing its response to changes in input parameters: (1) the digital terrain elevation model (DEM); and (2) different LULC attribute configurations. The paper increases the level of attention to specific ES models that use water runoff as a proxy of nutrient delivery. It shows that the spatial distribution of biophysical values is highly influenced by many factors, among which the characteristics of the DEM and its interaction with LULC are included. The results seem to confirm that the biophysical value of ES is still affected by a high degree of uncertainty and encourage an expert field campaign as the only solution to use ES mapping for a regulative land use framework. Full article
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Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Viet Nguyen, L., Tateishi, R., Kondoh, A., Sharma, R.C., Thanh Nguyen, H., Trong To, T. and Ho Tong Minh, D. (2016). Mapping Tropical Forest Biomass by Combining ALOS-2, Landsat 8, and Field Plots Data. Land, 5(4), 31.
Land 2017, 6(3), 47; doi:10.3390/land6030047 -
Abstract
The authors would like to correct the following errors in Figure 1 in [1]: In the original publication data source is wrong in “Figure 1. [...] Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Land‐Use and Land‐Cover Change in the Páramo of South‐Central Ecuador, 1979–2014
Land 2017, 6(3), 46; doi:10.3390/land6030046 -
Abstract
Land use and land cover were mapped between 3500 and 5000 meters above sea level m.a.s.l. in the Río Chambo basin in south-central Ecuador from Landsat MSS, TM, ETM and OLI imagery acquired between 1979 and 2014. The area mapped has been dominated
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Land use and land cover were mapped between 3500 and 5000 meters above sea level m.a.s.l. in the Río Chambo basin in south-central Ecuador from Landsat MSS, TM, ETM and OLI imagery acquired between 1979 and 2014. The area mapped has been dominated by páramo and a variety of agricultural land uses since 1979. The main land-use transitions have been from páramo to agriculture, native forest to páramo and agriculture, and agriculture back to páramo. Significant areas of páramo have remained unchanged over the 35-year period analyzed, while the area of native forest has declined and that of bare soil increased. Plantations of non-native timber species increased from 1979 to 1999, but their area has now declined. Most land-use transformations have occurred at lower elevations in the 3500–5000 m.a.s.l. range. This is particularly the case for the loss of native forest and the degradation of páramo and agriculture to areas of bare (eroded) soils. A drivers-based approach revealed that these land-use transformations were related to import substitution and afforestation policies geared toward internal markets, exports and environmental conservation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Socio-Ecological Dynamics of Human Responses in a Land Degradation-Affected Region: The Messara Valley (Crete, Greece)
Land 2017, 6(3), 45; doi:10.3390/land6030045 -
Abstract
This paper applies a resilience- and assemblage-based methodology to study the socio-ecological dynamics of human responses in the land degradation-affected Messara Valley (Crete, Greece) socio-ecological system, from 1950 to 2010. It posits that thesedynamics aredriven by changes in their effectiveness, called ‘socio-ecological fit’,
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This paper applies a resilience- and assemblage-based methodology to study the socio-ecological dynamics of human responses in the land degradation-affected Messara Valley (Crete, Greece) socio-ecological system, from 1950 to 2010. It posits that thesedynamics aredriven by changes in their effectiveness, called ‘socio-ecological fit’, to serve place- and time-specific goals. The socio-ecological fit expresses the degree to which the match among all the biophysical and human components of a Response Assemblage emerging in a socio-ecological system, maintains the socio-ecological resilience of this Assemblage. The socio-ecological resilience results is gauged by synthesizing three system-level properties (Resilience, Adaptability, Transformability) shaped by lower level properties that are assessed from available data. The reported application revealed that human responses (traditional land management, agricultural modernization and subsidized agriculture) and their effectiveness were driven by prioritizing economic and technological considerations that shaped the properties, socio-ecological resilience and fit of three main Response Assemblages formed over the study period, rather than combating land degradation. Agricultural modernization did not uniformly and necessarily lead to land degradation; the situated relationships among the components of the Response Assemblages determined its effects. The fit of future options can be assessed also to support rational land use planning. Refinements in the methodology include the development of techniques to: (a) assess and synthesize the properties of different components in order to improve assessments of socio-ecological resilience and fit and (b) study relationships among the properties of Response Assemblages emerging at different levels. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
From Producers to Consumers: The Challenges and Opportunities of Agricultural Development in Iraqi Kurdistan
Land 2017, 6(2), 44; doi:10.3390/land6020044 -
Abstract
Agriculture and rural life in the Middle East have gone through several changes in the past few decades. The region is characterized by high population growth, urbanization, and water scarcity, which poses a challenge to maintaining food security and production. This paper investigates
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Agriculture and rural life in the Middle East have gone through several changes in the past few decades. The region is characterized by high population growth, urbanization, and water scarcity, which poses a challenge to maintaining food security and production. This paper investigates agricultural and rural challenges in the Duhok governorate of Iraqi Kurdistan from biophysical, political, and socio-economic perspectives. Satellite data is used to study land use and productivity, while a review of government policies and interview data show the perspectives of the government and the local population. Our results reveal that these perspectives are not necessarily in line with each other, nor do they correspond well with the biophysical possibilities. While the government has been trying to increase agricultural productivity, satellite data show that yields have been declining since 2000. Furthermore, a lack of services in rural areas is driving people to cities to seek better opportunities, which means that the local population’s incentive to increase agricultural activity is low. Governmental plans suggest land extensification to increase production and self-sufficiency, but the land use classification shows little available land. Instead, we recommend supporting small-scale traditional agriculture development as a more sustainable and feasible alternative. Additionally, more resources need to be focused on improving rural infrastructure and services to increase access to education and health care as a means of gaining support from the local population. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Numerical Investigation of Aggregated Fuel Spatial Pattern Impacts on Fire Behavior
Land 2017, 6(2), 43; doi:10.3390/land6020043 -
Abstract
Landscape heterogeneity shapes species distributions, interactions, and fluctuations. Historically, in dry forest ecosystems, low canopy cover and heterogeneous fuel patterns often moderated disturbances like fire. Over the last century, however, increases in canopy cover and more homogeneous patterns have contributed to altered fire
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Landscape heterogeneity shapes species distributions, interactions, and fluctuations. Historically, in dry forest ecosystems, low canopy cover and heterogeneous fuel patterns often moderated disturbances like fire. Over the last century, however, increases in canopy cover and more homogeneous patterns have contributed to altered fire regimes with higher fire severity. Fire management strategies emphasize increasing within-stand heterogeneity with aggregated fuel patterns to alter potential fire behavior. Yet, little is known about how such patterns may affect fire behavior, or how sensitive fire behavior changes from fuel patterns are to winds and canopy cover. Here, we used a physics-based fire behavior model, FIRETEC, to explore the impacts of spatially aggregated fuel patterns on the mean and variability of stand-level fire behavior, and to test sensitivity of these effects to wind and canopy cover. Qualitative and quantitative approaches suggest that spatial fuel patterns can significantly affect fire behavior. Based on our results we propose three hypotheses: (1) aggregated spatial fuel patterns primarily affect fire behavior by increasing variability; (2) this variability should increase with spatial scale of aggregation; and (3) fire behavior sensitivity to spatial pattern effects should be more pronounced under moderate wind and fuel conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Monitoring Urban Growth and the Nepal Earthquake 2015 for Sustainability of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
Land 2017, 6(2), 42; doi:10.3390/land6020042 -
Abstract
The exodus of people from rural areas to cities brings many detrimental environmental, social and cultural consequences. Monitoring spatiotemporal change by referencing the historical timeline or incidence has become an important way to analyze urbanization. This study has attempted to attain the cross-sectional
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The exodus of people from rural areas to cities brings many detrimental environmental, social and cultural consequences. Monitoring spatiotemporal change by referencing the historical timeline or incidence has become an important way to analyze urbanization. This study has attempted to attain the cross-sectional analysis of Kathmandu valley that has been plagued by rampant urbanization over the last three decades. The research utilizes Landsat images of Kathmandu valley from 1976 to 2015 for the transition analysis of land use, land cover and urban sprawl for the last four decades. Results showed that the urban coverage of Kathmandu valley has tremendously increased from 20.19 km2 in 1976 to 39.47 km2 in 1989 to 78.96 km2 in 2002 to 139.57 km2 in 2015, at the cost of cultivated lands, with an average annual urban growth rate of 7.34%, 7.70% and 5.90% in each temporal interval, respectively. In addition, the urban expansion orientation analysis concludes the significant urban concentration in the eastern part, moderately medium in the southwest and relatively less in the western and northwest part of the valley. Urbanization was solely accountable for the exploitation of extant forests, fertile and arable lands and indigenous and cultural landscapes. Unattended fallow lands in suburban areas have compounded the problem by welcoming invasive alien species. Overlaying the highly affected geological formations within the major city centers displays that unless the trend of rapid, unplanned urbanization is discontinued, the future of Kathmandu is at the high risk. Since land use management is a fundamental part of development, we advocate for the appropriate land use planning and policies for sustainable and secure future development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Biodiversity in Locally Managed Lands
Land 2017, 6(2), 41; doi:10.3390/land6020041 -
Abstract
Decentralizing natural resource management to local people, especially in tropical countries, has become a trend. We review recent evidence for the impacts of decentralization on the biodiversity values of forests and forested landscapes, which encompass most of the biodiversity of the tropics. Few
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Decentralizing natural resource management to local people, especially in tropical countries, has become a trend. We review recent evidence for the impacts of decentralization on the biodiversity values of forests and forested landscapes, which encompass most of the biodiversity of the tropics. Few studies document the impact of decentralized management on biodiversity. We conclude that there may be situations where local management is a good option for biodiversity but there are also situations where this is not the case. We advocate increased research to document the impact of local management on biodiversity. We also argue that locally managed forests should be seen as components of landscapes where governance arrangements favor the achievement of a balance between the local livelihood values and the global public goods values of forests. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Landscape Archaeology and Sacred Space in the Eastern Mediterranean: A Glimpse from Cyprus
Land 2017, 6(2), 40; doi:10.3390/land6020040 -
Abstract
This article aims to raise issues for discussion about the change in the use and concept of sacred landscapes, which were originally constructed in the era of the Cypriot kings (the basileis), but then continued to function in a new imperial environment,
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This article aims to raise issues for discussion about the change in the use and concept of sacred landscapes, which were originally constructed in the era of the Cypriot kings (the basileis), but then continued to function in a new imperial environment, that of the rule of the Ptolemaic strategos and later of the Roman proconsul and the various Christian bishops. Our archaeological survey project in the Xeros river valley, titled ‘Settled and Sacred Landscapes of Cyprus’, reveals that these new politico-economic structures were also supported by the construction of symbolically charged sacred landscapes. Thus, while outlining the long history of the island as manifested from the diachronic study of Cypriot sacred landscapes, we identify three pivotal phases: first, the consolidation of the Cypriot polities and the establishment of a ‘full’ sacred landscape; second, the transition from segmented to unitary administration under the Ptolemaic and Roman imperial rule and the consolidation of a more ‘unified sacred landscape’; and finally, the establishment of a number of Christian bishoprics on the island and the movement back to a ‘full’ sacred landscape. Moving beyond the discipline of Cypriot archaeology, this contribution aims to serve as a paradigm for the implications that the employment of the ‘sacred landscapes’ concept may have when addressing issues of socio-political and socio-economic transformations. While it is very difficult to define or capture the concept of landscape in a pre-modern world, it offers a useful means by which to assess changing local conditions. We have also attempted to situate the term in archaeological thought, in order to allow the concept to become a more powerful investigative tool for approaching the past. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Detection of Land Subsidence in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, Using DInSAR Technique
Land 2017, 6(2), 39; doi:10.3390/land6020039 -
Abstract
Differential Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (DInSAR) is a remote sensing technique that is capable of detecting land surface deformation with centimeter accuracy. In this research, this technique was applied to two pairs of Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) Phased Array L-band SAR (PALSAR)
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Differential Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (DInSAR) is a remote sensing technique that is capable of detecting land surface deformation with centimeter accuracy. In this research, this technique was applied to two pairs of Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) Phased Array L-band SAR (PALSAR) data to detect land subsidence in the Kathmandu valley from 2007 to 2010. The result revealed several subsidence areas towards the center of the valley ranging from a maximum of 9.9 km2 to a minimum of 1 km2 coverage with a maximum velocity of 4.8 cm/year, and a minimum velocity of 1.1 cm/year, respectively. The majority of the subsidence was observed in old settlement areas with mixed use development. The subsidence depth was found to gradually increase from the periphery towards the center in almost all detected subsidence areas. The subsidence depth was found to be in a range of 1 cm to 17 cm. It was found that the concentration of deep water extraction wells was higher in areas with higher subsidence rates. It was also found that the detected subsidence area was situated over geological formations mainly consisting of unconsolidated fine-grained sediments (silica, sand, silt, clay and silty sandy gravel), which is the major factor affecting the occurrence of land subsidence due to groundwater extraction. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Review on Remote Sensing of Urban Heat and Cool Islands
Land 2017, 6(2), 38; doi:10.3390/land6020038 -
Abstract
The variation between land surface temperature (LST) within a city and its surrounding area is a result of variations in surface cover, thermal capacity and three-dimensional geometry. The objective of this research is to review the state of knowledge and current research to
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The variation between land surface temperature (LST) within a city and its surrounding area is a result of variations in surface cover, thermal capacity and three-dimensional geometry. The objective of this research is to review the state of knowledge and current research to quantify surface urban heat islands (SUHI) and surface urban cool islands (SUCI). In order to identify open issues and gaps remaining in this field, we review research on SUHI/SUCI, the models for simulating UHIs/UCIs and techniques used in this field were appraised. The appraisal has revealed some great progress made in surface UHI mapping of cities located in humid and vegetated (temperate) regions, whilst few studies have investigated the spatiotemporal variation of surface SUHI/SUCI and the effect of land use/land cover (LULC) change on LST in arid and semi-arid climates. While some progress has been made, models for simulating UHI/UCI have been advancing only slowly. We conclude and suggest that SUHI/SUCI in arid and semi-arid areas requires more in-depth study. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Status of National Legal Frameworks for Valuing Compensation for Expropriated Land: An Analysis of Whether National Laws in 50 Countries/Regions across Asia, Africa, and Latin America Comply with International Standards on Compensation Valuation
Land 2017, 6(2), 37; doi:10.3390/land6020037 -
Abstract
The challenges associated with determining fair compensation for expropriated land have been extensively discussed and debated among scholars, practitioners, policymakers, and the public. However, to date, a comprehensive study of national-level compensation procedures established by law considering whether such procedures meet internationally recognized
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The challenges associated with determining fair compensation for expropriated land have been extensively discussed and debated among scholars, practitioners, policymakers, and the public. However, to date, a comprehensive study of national-level compensation procedures established by law considering whether such procedures meet internationally recognized standards on compensation valuation has not been conducted. This article aims to bridge this gap by serving as a reference point and informing “fair compensation” debates among scholars, practitioners, and policymakers. This article examines national-level legal provisions on compensation in 50 countries/regions across Asia, Africa, and Latin America against a set of legal indicators that are based on international standards on the valuation of compensation. The legal indicators focus on the substantive and procedural requirements pertaining to the calculation of compensation. The indicators ask whether laws require assessors to account for various land values when calculating compensation, and whether there are legal processes in place that allow affected persons to negotiate compensation amounts, receive prompt payments, and hold governments accountable by appealing compensation decisions in courts or before tribunals. The results of the study show that most of the 50 countries/regions assessed do not have national laws that comply with internationally recognized standards on the valuation of compensation. Based on the findings from the legal indicator analysis, this paper presents a set of recommendations for reforming compensation procedures to bring them into conformity with international standards. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling Future Land Cover Changes and Their Effects on the Land Surface Temperatures in the Saudi Arabian Eastern Coastal City of Dammam
Land 2017, 6(2), 36; doi:10.3390/land6020036 -
Abstract
Over the past several decades, Saudi cities have experienced rapid urban developments and land use and land cover (LULC) changes. These developments will have numerous short- and long-term consequences including increasing the land surface temperature (LST) of these cities. This study investigated the
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Over the past several decades, Saudi cities have experienced rapid urban developments and land use and land cover (LULC) changes. These developments will have numerous short- and long-term consequences including increasing the land surface temperature (LST) of these cities. This study investigated the effects of LULC changes on the LST for the eastern coastal city of Dammam. Using Landsat imagery, the study first detected the LULC using the maximum likelihood classification method and derived the LSTs for the years 1990, 2002, and 2014. Using the classified results, it then modeled the future LULC for 2026 using the Cellular Automata Markov (CAM) model. Finally, using three thematic indices and linear regression analysis, it then modeled the LST for 2026 as well. The built-up area in Dammam increased by 28.9% between 1990 and 2014. During this period, the average LSTs for the LULC classes increased as well, with bare soil and built-up area having the highest LST. By 2026, the urban area is expected to encompass 55% of the city and 98% of the land cover is envisioned to have average LSTs over 41 °C. Such high temperatures will make it difficult for the residents to live in the area. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Quantifying the National Significance of Local Areas for Regional Conservation Planning: North Carolina’s Mountain Treasures
Land 2017, 6(2), 35; doi:10.3390/land6020035 -
Abstract
Conservation scientists recognize that additional protected areas are needed to maintain biological diversity and ecological processes. As regional conservation planners embark on recommending additional areas for protection in formal ecological reserves, it is important to evaluate candidate lands for their role in building
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Conservation scientists recognize that additional protected areas are needed to maintain biological diversity and ecological processes. As regional conservation planners embark on recommending additional areas for protection in formal ecological reserves, it is important to evaluate candidate lands for their role in building a resilient protected areas system of the future. Here, we evaluate North Carolina’s Mountain Treasures with respect to their (1) ecological integrity, (2) role in connecting existing core protected areas, (3) potential to diversify the ecosystem representation of reserves, and (4) role in maintaining hotspots of biologically-rich areas that are not well protected. Mountain Treasures represent a citizen inventory of roadless areas and serve as candidates for elevated levels of conservation protection on U.S. federal lands. We compared Mountain Treasures to other candidate lands throughout the country to evaluate their potential national significance. While the Mountain Treasures tended to be more impacted by human modifications than other roadless areas, they are as important as other roadless areas with respect to their role in connecting existing protected areas and diversifying representation of ecosystems in conservation reserves. However, Mountain Treasures tended to have a much higher biodiversity priority index than other roadless areas leading to an overall higher composite score compared to other roadless areas. Our analysis serves as an example of how using broad-scale datasets can help conservation planners assess the national significance of local areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Validation and Inter-Comparison of Spaceborne Derived Global and Continental Land Cover Products for the Mediterranean Region: The Case of Thessaly
Land 2017, 6(2), 34; doi:10.3390/land6020034 -
Abstract
Space agencies, international and national organisations and institutions recognize the importance of regularly updated and homogenized land cover information, in the context of both nomenclature and spatial resolution. Moreover, ensuring credibility to the users through validated products with transparent procedures is similarly of
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Space agencies, international and national organisations and institutions recognize the importance of regularly updated and homogenized land cover information, in the context of both nomenclature and spatial resolution. Moreover, ensuring credibility to the users through validated products with transparent procedures is similarly of great importance. To this end, this study contributes with a systematic accuracy performance evaluation of continental and global land cover layers. Confidence levels during validation and a weighted accuracy assessment were designed and applied. Google Earth imagery were employed to assess the accuracy of three land cover products for the years 2010 and 2012. Results indicate high weighted overall accuracy rates of 89, 90, and 86% for CORINE Land Cover 2012, GIO High Resolution Layers, and Globeland30 datasets, respectively. Moreover, their inter-comparison highlights notable differences especially for classes Artificial Surfaces and Water. The deviation of specific classes from the general producer’s and user’s accuracy trends were identified. It is concluded that the different aspects of the employed land cover products can be highlighted more transparently and objectively by integrating confidence levels during the reference data annotation, by employing a stratified sampling based on the several Corine Level-3 subclasses and by applying a weighted overall accuracy procedure. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Anthromes to Frame Scenario Planning for Landscape-Scale Conservation Decision Making
Land 2017, 6(2), 33; doi:10.3390/land6020033 -
Abstract
Complexities in the rates and patterns of change necessitate the consideration of alternate futures in planning processes. These scenarios, and the inputs and assumptions used to build them, should reflect both ecological and social contexts. Considering the regional landscape as an anthrome, a
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Complexities in the rates and patterns of change necessitate the consideration of alternate futures in planning processes. These scenarios, and the inputs and assumptions used to build them, should reflect both ecological and social contexts. Considering the regional landscape as an anthrome, a priori, assumes human needs and institutions have a fundamental role and place in these futures, but that institutions incorporate ecological limits in decision making. As a case study of conservation scenario planning under the anthrome paradigm, we used a suite of InVEST models to develop and explore land use and land cover scenarios and to measure the associated change in biodiversity and ecosystem services in a region where dense settlements are expanding into populated and residential woodland anthromes. While tradeoffs between benefits in alternative futures are unavoidable, we found that distinct conservation opportunities arise within and around the protected areas and in the heterogeneous urban core of the county. Reflecting on the process and subsequent findings, we discuss why anthromes can be a more suitable framing for scenarios used in conservation decision making and land use planning. Specifically, we discuss how starting with anthromes influenced assumptions about inputs and opportunities and the decisions related to the planning for human and natural systems. Full article
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