Land2014, 3(1), 206-238; doi:10.3390/land3010206 - published online 6 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Tallgrass prairie once occupied 67.6 million hectares in the North American Midwest but less than 0.1% remains today. Consisting of more than 2200 ha, Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge (NSNWR) was established by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in the 5217 ha Walnut Creek watershed in Jasper County, Iowa. Large tracts of land are being converted from row crop agriculture to native prairie and savanna with the goal to restore the landscape to a semblance of the condition that existed prior to Euro-American settlement. Understanding hydrologic processes at the watershed scale has been a focus of research at NSNWR for nearly two decades and the purpose of this paper is to integrate research results from monitoring projects to assess the progress made towards restoring five key hydrologic components: the water balance, stream network, streamflow hydrograph, groundwater levels and water quality. Restoration of hydrology is severely challenged by the history of hydrologic changes that occurred in the basin during a century of intensive agricultural activity. We document measurable progress in restoring key hydrologic processes in some areas, particularly in upland catchments compared to the larger watershed scale and discuss the timeframe needed to observe changes at short- and long-term scales.
Land2014, 3(1), 204-205; doi:10.3390/land3010204 - published online 27 February 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The Editor-in-Chief and the editorial staff of Land would like to acknowledge the valuable work of the people listed below who have reviewed papers submitted to the journal during 2012 and 2103.
Land2014, 3(1), 188-203; doi:10.3390/land3010188 - published online 24 February 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Gendered relations in resource access and farming are two important intersecting themes of gender studies in a northern rural context. However, conventional analysis and perceptions of the economy conceal the contribution of women within families, in businesses and in the labor market. This article demonstrate the significance of capital to farming women’s engagement with agriculture using a Swedish case study, based on descriptive analyses of data from the Federation of Swedish Farmers. To disclose the embodiment of family farming, gendered control of land, business activities and farm incomes is analyzed. On this empirical basis, we argue for reconstitution of farm-related entrepreneurial research, rural development policies and rural gender studies from a new material feminist approach. Access to resources, typically land, together with social forces and embodied experiences constitute the basis of strategic focus and agency. We demonstrate that acknowledgement of access to resources in the research process and in the understanding of social relations, resistance and situated knowledge are essential.
Land2014, 3(1), 167-187; doi:10.3390/land3010167 - published online 20 February 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Biodiversity offsets can be an important tool for maintaining or enhancing environmental valuesin situations where development is sought despite negative environmental impacts. There are now approximately 45 compensatory mitigation programs for biodiversity impacts worldwide, with another 27 programs in development. While offsets have great potential as a conservation tool, their establishment requires overcoming a number of conceptual and methodological hurdles. In Australia, new policy changes at the national and state (i.e., Western Australia) level require that offsets follow a set of general principles: (1) Environmental offsets may not be appropriate for all projects and will only be considered after avoidance and mitigation options have been pursued; (2) Environmental offsets will be based on sound environmental information and knowledge; (3) Establishing goals for offsets requires an estimate of expected direct and indirect impacts; (4) Environmental offsets will be focused on longer term strategic outcomes; (5) Environmental offsets will be cost-effective, as well as relevant and proportionate to the significance of the environmental value being impacted. Here we focus on the challenges of determining and implementing offsets using a real world example from a voluntary offset process undertaken for Barrick Gold’s Kanowna Belle mine site in Western Australia to highlight those challenges and potential solutions.
Land2014, 3(1), 148-166; doi:10.3390/land3010148 - published online 12 February 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The urban transition that has emerged over the past quarter century poses new challenges for mapping land cover/land use change (LCLUC). The growing archives of imagery from various earth-observing satellites have stimulated the development of innovative methods for change detection in long-term time series. We tested two different multi-temporal remote sensing datasets and techniques for mapping the urban transition. Using the Red River Delta of Vietnam as a case study, we compared supervised classification of dense time stacks of Landsat data with trend analyses of an annual series of night-time lights (NTL) data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program-Operational Linescan System (DMSP-OLS). The results of each method were corroborated through qualitative and quantitative GIS analyses. We found that these two approaches can be used synergistically, combining the advantages of each to provide a fuller understanding of the urban transition at different spatial scales.
Land2014, 3(1), 131-147; doi:10.3390/land3010131 - published online 24 January 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In the United States, urbanization processes have resulted in a large variety—or “continuum”—of urban landscapes. One entry point for understanding the variety of landscape characteristics associated with different forms of urbanization is through a characterization of vegetative (green) land covers. Green land covers—i.e., lawns, parks, forests—have been shown to have a variety of both positive and negative impacts on human and environmental outcomes—ranging from increasing property values, to mitigating urban heat islands, to increasing water use for outdoor watering purposes. While considerable research has examined the variation of vegetation distribution within cities and related social and economic drivers, we know very little about whether or how the economic characteristics and policy priorities of green cities differ from those of “grey” cities—those with little green land cover. To address this gap, this paper seeks to answer the question how do the economic characteristics and policy priorities of green and grey cities differ in the United States? To answer this question, MODIS data from 2001 to 2006 are used to characterize 373 US cities in terms of their vegetative greenness. Information from the International City/County Management Association’s (ICMA) 2010 Local Government Sustainability Survey and 2009 Economic Development Survey are used to identify key governance strategies and policies that may differentiate green from grey cities. Two approaches for data analysis—ANOVA and decision tree analysis—are used to identify the most important characteristics for separating each category of city. The results indicate that grey cities tend to place a high priority on economic initiatives, while green cities place an emphasis on social justice, land conservation, and quality of life initiatives.