Open AccessArticle
Prediction of Land Use Change in Long Island Sound Watersheds Using Nighttime Light Data
Land 2016, 5(4), 44; doi:10.3390/land5040044 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The Long Island Sound Watersheds (LISW) are experiencing significant land use/cover change (LUCC), which affects the environment and ecosystems in the watersheds through water pollution, carbon emissions, and loss of wildlife. LUCC modeling is an important approach to understanding what has happened in
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The Long Island Sound Watersheds (LISW) are experiencing significant land use/cover change (LUCC), which affects the environment and ecosystems in the watersheds through water pollution, carbon emissions, and loss of wildlife. LUCC modeling is an important approach to understanding what has happened in the landscape and what may change in the future. Moreover, prospective modeling can provide sustainable and efficient decision support for land planning and environmental management. This paper modeled the LUCCs between 1996, 2001 and 2006 in the LISW in the New England region, which experienced an increase in developed area and a decrease of forest. The low-density development pattern played an important role in the loss of forest and the expansion of urban areas. The key driving forces were distance to developed areas, distance to roads, and social-economic drivers, such as nighttime light intensity and population density. In addition, this paper compared and evaluated two integrated LUCC models—the logistic regression–Markov chain model and the multi-layer perception–Markov chain (MLP–MC) model. Both models achieved high accuracy in prediction, but the MLP–MC model performed slightly better. Finally, a land use map for 2026 was predicted by using the MLP–MC model, and it indicates the continued loss of forest and increase of developed area. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Historical and Current Niche Construction in an Anthropogenic Biome: Old Cultural Landscapes in Southern Scandinavia
Land 2016, 5(4), 42; doi:10.3390/land5040042 -
Abstract
Conceptual advances in niche construction theory provide new perspectives and a tool-box for studies of human-environment interactions mediating what is termed anthropogenic biomes. This theory is useful also for studies on how anthropogenic biomes are perceived and valued. This paper addresses these topics
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Conceptual advances in niche construction theory provide new perspectives and a tool-box for studies of human-environment interactions mediating what is termed anthropogenic biomes. This theory is useful also for studies on how anthropogenic biomes are perceived and valued. This paper addresses these topics using an example: “old cultural landscapes” in Scandinavia, i.e., landscapes formed by a long, dynamic and continuously changing history of management. Today, remnant habitats of this management history, such as wooded pastures and meadows, are the focus of conservation programs, due to their rich biodiversity and cultural and aesthetic values. After a review of historical niche construction processes, the paper examines current niche construction affecting these old cultural landscapes. Features produced by historical niche construction, e.g., landscape composition and species richness, are in the modern society reinterpreted to become values associated with beauty and heritage and species’ intrinsic values. These non-utilitarian motivators now become drivers of new niche construction dynamics, manifested as conservation programs. The paper also examines the possibility to maintain and create new habitats, potentially associated with values emanating from historical landscapes, but in transformed and urbanized landscapes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Land Use and Land Cover Change in the Bale Mountain Eco-Region of Ethiopia during 1985 to 2015
Land 2016, 5(4), 41; doi:10.3390/land5040041 -
Abstract
Anthropogenic factors are responsible for major land use and land cover changes (LULCC). Bale Mountain Eco-Region in Ethiopia is a biodiversity-rich ecosystem where such LULCC have occurred. The specific objectives of this study were to: (i) determine which LULC types gained or lost
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Anthropogenic factors are responsible for major land use and land cover changes (LULCC). Bale Mountain Eco-Region in Ethiopia is a biodiversity-rich ecosystem where such LULCC have occurred. The specific objectives of this study were to: (i) determine which LULC types gained or lost most as a result of the observed LULCC; (ii) identify the major drivers of the LULCC/deforestation; and (iii) assess the approximate amount of carbon stock removed as a result of deforestation during the study period. Remote sensing and GIS were used to analyze LULCC. Landsat images acquired in 1985, 1995, 2005, and 2015 were used. Additionally, data from the Central Statistics Agency on cropland expansion, and human and livestock population growth were analyzed and correlations were made. The results showed that forest lost 123,751 ha while farmland gained 292,294 ha. Farmland and urban settlement expansion were found to be major drivers of LULCC. Aboveground carbon stock removed from forest and shrubland was more than 24 million tons. In the future, allocation of land to different uses must be based on appropriate land use policies. Integrating biodiversity and ecosystem values for each land cover as per the UN Sustainable Development Goal (UN-SDG) 15.9 may be one of the mechanisms to limit unplanned expansion or invasion of one sector at the expense of another. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Accounting for the Drivers that Degrade and Restore Landscape Functions in Australia
Land 2016, 5(4), 40; doi:10.3390/land5040040 -
Abstract
Assessment and reporting of changes in vegetation condition at site and landscape scales is critical for land managers, policy makers and planers at local, regional and national scales. Land management, reflecting individual and collective values, is used to show historic changes in ecosystem
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Assessment and reporting of changes in vegetation condition at site and landscape scales is critical for land managers, policy makers and planers at local, regional and national scales. Land management, reflecting individual and collective values, is used to show historic changes in ecosystem structure, composition and function (regenerative capacity). We address the issue of how the resilience of plant communities changes over time as a result of land management regimes. A systematic framework for assessing changes in resilience based on measurable success criteria and indicators is applied using 10 case studies across the range of Australia’s agro-climate regions. A simple graphical report card is produced for each site showing drivers of change and trends relative to a reference state (i.e., natural benchmark). These reports enable decision makers to quickly understand and assimilate complex ecological processes and their effects on landscape degradation, restoration and regeneration. We discuss how this framework assists decision-makers explain and describe pathways of native vegetation that is managed for different outcomes, including maintenance, replacement, removal and recovery at site and landscape levels. The findings provide sound spatial and temporal insights into reconciling agriculture, conservation and other competing land uses. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Short-Term Projects versus Adaptive Governance: Conflicting Demands in the Management of Ecological Restoration
Land 2016, 5(4), 39; doi:10.3390/land5040039 -
Abstract
Drawing on a survey of large-scale ecological restoration initiatives, we find that managers face contradictory demands. On the one hand, they have to raise funds from a variety of sources through competitive procedures for individual projects. These projects require the specification of deliverable
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Drawing on a survey of large-scale ecological restoration initiatives, we find that managers face contradictory demands. On the one hand, they have to raise funds from a variety of sources through competitive procedures for individual projects. These projects require the specification of deliverable outputs within a relatively short project period. On the other hand, ecologists argue that the complexity of ecosystem processes means that it is not possible to know how to deliver predetermined outcomes and that governance should be adaptive, long-term and implemented through networks of stakeholders. This debate parallels a debate in public administration between New Public Management and more recent proposals for a new approach, sometimes termed Public Value Management. Both of these approaches have strengths. Projectification provides control and accountability to funders. Adaptive governance recognises complexity and provides for long-term learning, building networks and adaptive responses. We suggest an institutional architecture that aims to capture the major benefits of each approach based on public support dedicated to ecological restoration and long-term funding programmes. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Evidence for Biodiversity Conservation in Protected Landscapes
Land 2016, 5(4), 38; doi:10.3390/land5040038 -
Abstract
A growing number of protected areas are defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as protected landscapes and seascapes, or category V protected areas, one of six protected area categories based on management approach. Category V now makes up
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A growing number of protected areas are defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as protected landscapes and seascapes, or category V protected areas, one of six protected area categories based on management approach. Category V now makes up over half the protected area coverage in Europe, for instance. While the earliest category V areas were designated mainly for their landscape and recreational values, they are increasingly expected also to protect biodiversity. Critics have claimed that they fail to conserve enough biodiversity. The current paper addresses this question by reviewing available evidence for the effectiveness of category V in protecting wild biodiversity by drawing on published information and a set of case studies. Research to date focuses more frequently on changes in vegetation cover than on species, and results are limited and contradictory, suggesting variously that category V protected areas are better than, worse than or the same as more strictly protected categories in terms of conserving biodiversity. This may indicate that differences are not dramatic, or that effectiveness depends on many factors. The need for greater research in this area is highlighted. Research gaps include: (i) comparative studies of conservation success inside and outside category V protected areas; (ii) the contribution that small, strictly protected areas make to the conservation success of surrounding, less strictly protected areas—and vice versa; (iii) the effectiveness of different governance approaches in category V; (iv) a clearer understanding of the impacts of zoning in a protected area; and (v) better understanding of how to implement landscape approaches in and around category V protected areas. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Community-Conservation Conundrum: Is Citizen Science the Answer?
Land 2016, 5(4), 37; doi:10.3390/land5040037 -
Abstract
Public participation theory assumes that empowering communities leads to enduring support for new initiatives. The New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy, approved in 2000, embraces this assumption and includes goals for community involvement in resolving threats to native flora and fauna. Over the last 20
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Public participation theory assumes that empowering communities leads to enduring support for new initiatives. The New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy, approved in 2000, embraces this assumption and includes goals for community involvement in resolving threats to native flora and fauna. Over the last 20 years, community-based ecological restoration groups have proliferated, with between 600 and 4000 identified. Many of these groups control invasive mammals, and often include protection of native species and species reintroductions as goals. Such activities involve the groups in “wicked” problems with uncertain biological and social outcomes, plus technical challenges for implementing and measuring results. The solution might be to develop a citizen science approach, although this requires institutional support. We conducted a web-based audit of 50 community groups participating in ecological restoration projects in northern New Zealand. We found great variation in the quality of information provided by the groups, with none identifying strategic milestones and progress towards them. We concluded that, at best, many group members are accidental scientists rather than citizen scientists. Furthermore, the way community efforts are reflected in biodiversity responses is often unclear. The situation may be improved with a new approach to data gathering, training, and analyses. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Landscape Composition on the Abundance of Laodelphax striatellus Fallén in Fragmented Agricultural Landscapes
Land 2016, 5(4), 36; doi:10.3390/land5040036 -
Abstract
The spatial distribution of crop and non-crop habitats over segmented agricultural landscapes could be used as a means to reduce insect pest populations. Seven land cover categories such as wheat, rapeseed, vegetable, water, built-up, paved road, and unsurfaced road were extracted from GeoEye
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The spatial distribution of crop and non-crop habitats over segmented agricultural landscapes could be used as a means to reduce insect pest populations. Seven land cover categories such as wheat, rapeseed, vegetable, water, built-up, paved road, and unsurfaced road were extracted from GeoEye satellite images dating from late May to late June of 2010. Three diversity metrics and three evenness metrics were estimated from the abovementioned land cover categories for quantifying the effect of landscape composition on nymphal and adult Laodelphax striatellus Fallén. The degree of correlation between the proportion of crop cover and adjacent spatial scales (r: 0.651–0.983) was higher than the correlation between the proportion of crop cover and nonadjacent spatial scales (r: −0.255–0.896). While the degree of correlation between diversity indices and abundance of L. striatellus decreased gradually when the spatial scales varied from large (>100 m radius buffer) to small (<100 m). Our study suggests that when using natural biological pest control and ecological engineering practices in the rural-urban fringes, the crop field’s width should be less than 200 m and increasing vegetation diversity within such a scale will be helpful to regulate the insect pests under a certain density. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Terrestrial Species in Protected Areas and Community-Managed Lands in Arunachal Pradesh, Northeast India
Land 2016, 5(4), 35; doi:10.3390/land5040035 -
Abstract
Protected areas (including areas that are nominally fully protected and those managed for multiple uses) encompass about a quarter of the total tropical forest estate. Despite growing interest in the relative value of community-managed lands and protected areas, knowledge about the biodiversity value
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Protected areas (including areas that are nominally fully protected and those managed for multiple uses) encompass about a quarter of the total tropical forest estate. Despite growing interest in the relative value of community-managed lands and protected areas, knowledge about the biodiversity value that each sustains remains scarce in the biodiversity-rich tropics. We investigated the species occurrence of a suite of mammal and pheasant species across four protected areas and nearby community-managed lands in a biodiversity hotspot in northeast India. Over 2.5 years we walked 98 transects (half of which were resampled on a second occasion) across the four paired sites. In addition, we interviewed 84 key informants to understand their perceptions of species trends in these two management regimes. We found that protected areas had higher overall species richness and were important for species that were apparently declining in occurrence. On a site-specific basis, community-managed lands had species richness and occurrences comparable to those of a protected area, and in one case their relative abundances of mammals were higher. Interviewees indicated declines in the abundances of larger-bodied species in community-managed lands. Their observations agreed with our field surveys for certain key, large-bodied species, such as gaur and sambar, which generally occurred less in community-managed lands. Hence, the degree to which protected areas and community-managed lands protect wildlife species depends upon the species in question, with larger-bodied species usually faring better within protected areas. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Introduction: The Continued Importance of Smallholders Today
Land 2016, 5(4), 34; doi:10.3390/land5040034 -
Abstract
Smallholders remain an important part of human-environment research, particularly in cultural and political ecology, peasant and development studies, and increasingly in land system and sustainability science. This introduction to the edited volume explores land use and livelihood issues among smallholders, in several disciplinary
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Smallholders remain an important part of human-environment research, particularly in cultural and political ecology, peasant and development studies, and increasingly in land system and sustainability science. This introduction to the edited volume explores land use and livelihood issues among smallholders, in several disciplinary and subfield traditions. Specifically, we provide a short history of smallholder livelihood research in the human-environment tradition. We reflect on why, in an age of rapid globalization, smallholder land use and livelihoods still matter, both for land system science and as a reflection of concerns with inequality and poverty. Key themes that emerge from the papers in this volume include the importance of smallholder farming and land-use practices to questions of environmental sustainability, the dynamic reality of smallholder livelihoods, the challenges of vulnerability and adaptation in contemporary human-environment systems, and the structural and relative nature of the term “smallholder.” Overall these contributions show that smallholder studies are more pertinent than ever, especially in the face of global environmental change. Additionally, we argue that questions of smallholder identity, social difference, and teleconnections provide fertile areas of future research. We conclude that we need to re-envision who the smallholder is today and how this translates into modern human-environment smallholder studies. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Addressing the Externalities from Genetically Modified Pollen Drift on a Heterogeneous Landscape
Land 2016, 5(4), 33; doi:10.3390/land5040033 -
Abstract
Genetically modified (GM) crops have single or multiple genes introduced to obtain crop characteristics that cannot be obtained through conventional breeding. Pollen mediated gene flow from GM to non-GM crops causes some crops planted as non-GM to become GM, and this imposes economic
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Genetically modified (GM) crops have single or multiple genes introduced to obtain crop characteristics that cannot be obtained through conventional breeding. Pollen mediated gene flow from GM to non-GM crops causes some crops planted as non-GM to become GM, and this imposes economic losses on farmers who planted a non-GM crop but then have to sell the harvest on a GM market. The economic losses that result when both crops are grown together depend on the institutional arrangements and the type of property rights in place. We analyze how the spatial heterogeneity of a farmer’s fields affects the land allocation between buffers, the GM, and the non-GM crop based on cross-pollination and initial assignment of property rights. Greater spatial heterogeneity reduces the possibility of coexistence of crops on the landscape and increases the economic losses. Buffer zones enforced to reduce cross-pollination result in less coexistence on heterogeneous landscapes. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Drivers of Households’ Land-Use Decisions: A Critical Review of Micro-Level Studies in Tropical Regions
Land 2016, 5(4), 32; doi:10.3390/land5040032 -
Abstract
This paper reviews 91 recent empirical and theoretical studies that analyzed land-use change at the farm-household level. The review builds on a conceptual framework of land-use change drivers and conducts a meta-analysis. Results show that the conversion of forests into cultivated land or
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This paper reviews 91 recent empirical and theoretical studies that analyzed land-use change at the farm-household level. The review builds on a conceptual framework of land-use change drivers and conducts a meta-analysis. Results show that the conversion of forests into cultivated land or grassland, mainly used for agriculture or ranching, are most frequently analyzed. Only a small number of studies consider the transition of wetlands for agriculture and few cases deal with the conversion from agriculture into protected zones. Moreover, interactions between drivers add to the complexity of land-use change processes. These interrelationships are conditioned by institutions and policies. In particular, the market-oriented reforms adopted by many developing countries in the 1980s and 1990s seem to have had an important role in altering land use, while impacts of more recent policies need to be better explored. Many studies rely on small samples and face problems of internal validity. Despite these weaknesses, the literature points at micro-level economic growth, for example in income and capital endowments, as a strong catalyst of human induced land-use change. However, the review suggests that—across the different studies and cases—there is considerable heterogeneity in the relationship between these factors and land-use change. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping Tropical Forest Biomass by Combining ALOS-2, Landsat 8, and Field Plots Data
Land 2016, 5(4), 31; doi:10.3390/land5040031 -
Abstract
This research was carried out in a dense tropical forest region with the objective of improving the biomass estimates by a combination of ALOS-2 SAR, Landsat 8 optical, and field plots data. Using forest inventory based biomass data, the performance of different parameters
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This research was carried out in a dense tropical forest region with the objective of improving the biomass estimates by a combination of ALOS-2 SAR, Landsat 8 optical, and field plots data. Using forest inventory based biomass data, the performance of different parameters from the two sensors was evaluated. The regression analysis with the biomass data showed that the backscatter from forest object (σ°forest) obtained from the SAR data was more sensitive to the biomass than HV polarization, SAR textures, and maximum NDVI parameters. However, the combination of the maximum NDVI from optical data, SAR textures from HV polarization, and σ°forest improved estimates of the biomass. The best model derived by the combination of multiple parameters from ALOS-2 SAR and Landsat 8 data was validated with inventory data. Then, the best validated model was used to produce an up-to-date biomass map for 2015 in Yok Don National Park, which is an important conservation area in Vietnam. The validation results showed that 74% of the variation of in biomass could be explained by our model. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Patterns and Predictors of Recent Forest Conversion in New England
Land 2016, 5(3), 30; doi:10.3390/land5030030 -
Abstract
New England forests provide numerous benefits to the region’s residents, but are undergoing rapid development. We used boosted regression tree analysis (BRT) to assess geographic predictors of forest loss to development between 2001 and 2011. BRT combines classification and regression trees with machine
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New England forests provide numerous benefits to the region’s residents, but are undergoing rapid development. We used boosted regression tree analysis (BRT) to assess geographic predictors of forest loss to development between 2001 and 2011. BRT combines classification and regression trees with machine learning to generate non-parametric statistical models that can capture non-linear relationships. Based on National Land Cover Database (NLCD) maps of land cover change, we assessed the importance of the biophysical and social variables selected for full region coverage and minimal collinearity in predicting forest loss to development, specifically: elevation, slope, distance to roads, density of highways, distance to built land, distance to cities, population density, change in population density, relative change in population density, population per housing unit, median income, state, land ownership categories and county classification as recreation or retirement counties. The resulting models explained 6.9% of the variation for 2001–2011, 4.5% for 2001–2006 and 1.8% for 2006–2011, fairly high values given the complexity of factors predicting land development and the high resolution of the spatial datasets (30-m pixels). The two most important variables in the BRT were “population density” and “distance to road”, which together made up 55.5% of the variation for 2001–2011, 49.4% for 2001–2006 and 42.9% for 2006–2011. The lower predictive power for 2006–2011 may reflect reduced development due to the “Great Recession”. From our models, we generated high-resolution probability surfaces, which can provide a key input for simulation models of forest and land cover change. Full article
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Open AccessReview
How Are Feedbacks Represented in Land Models?
Land 2016, 5(3), 29; doi:10.3390/land5030029 -
Abstract
Land systems are characterised by many feedbacks that can result in complex system behaviour. We defined feedbacks as the two-way influences between the land use system and a related system (e.g., climate, soils and markets), both of which are encompassed by the land
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Land systems are characterised by many feedbacks that can result in complex system behaviour. We defined feedbacks as the two-way influences between the land use system and a related system (e.g., climate, soils and markets), both of which are encompassed by the land system. Land models that include feedbacks thus probably more accurately mimic how land systems respond to, e.g., policy or climate change. However, representing feedbacks in land models is a challenge. We reviewed articles incorporating feedbacks into land models and analysed each with predefined indicators. We found that (1) most modelled feedbacks couple land use systems with transport, soil and market systems, while only a few include feedbacks between land use and social systems or climate systems; (2) equation-based land use models that follow a top-down approach prevail; and (3) feedbacks’ effects on system behaviour remain relatively unexplored. We recommend that land system modellers (1) consider feedbacks between land use systems and social systems; (2) adopt (bottom-up) approaches suited to incorporating spatial heterogeneity and better representing land use decision-making; and (3) pay more attention to nonlinear system behaviour and its implications for land system management and policy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Urban Agriculture Oriented towards Self-Supply, Social and Commercial Purpose: A Typology
Land 2016, 5(3), 28; doi:10.3390/land5030028 -
Abstract
Urban agriculture, a dynamic multifunctional phenomenon, affects the spatial diversification of urban land use, its valorization and its governance. Literature acknowledges its contribution to the development of sustainable cities. The dimension and extent of this contribution depends significantly on the particular form and
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Urban agriculture, a dynamic multifunctional phenomenon, affects the spatial diversification of urban land use, its valorization and its governance. Literature acknowledges its contribution to the development of sustainable cities. The dimension and extent of this contribution depends significantly on the particular form and function of urban agriculture. However, the complexity of interests and dimensions is insufficiently covered by theory. This paper proposes a typology for urban agriculture, supporting both theory building and practical decision processes. We reviewed and mapped the diversity of the types of agriculture found along three beneficial dimensions (self-supply, socio-cultural, commercial) for product distribution scale and actors. We distinguish between ideal types, subtypes and mixed types. Our intention is to include a dynamic perspective in the typology of urban agricultural land use because transition processes between types are observable due to the existence of complex motivations and influences. In a pilot study of 52 urban agriculture initiatives in Germany, we tested the validity of the typology and discussed it with stakeholders, proving novelty and relevance for profiling discussions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Forest Management Regimes on Deforestation in a Central Indian Dry Deciduous Forest Landscape
Land 2016, 5(3), 27; doi:10.3390/land5030027 -
Abstract
This research examines the impact of forest management regimes, with various degrees of restriction, on forest conservation in a dry deciduous Indian forest landscape. Forest change is mapped using Landsat satellite images from 1977, 1990, 1999, and 2011. The landscape studied has lost
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This research examines the impact of forest management regimes, with various degrees of restriction, on forest conservation in a dry deciduous Indian forest landscape. Forest change is mapped using Landsat satellite images from 1977, 1990, 1999, and 2011. The landscape studied has lost 1478 km2 of dense forest cover between 1977 and 2011, with a maximum loss of 1002 km2 of dense forest between 1977 and 1990. The number of protected forest areas has increased, concomitant with an increase in restrictions on forest access and use outside protected areas. Interviews with residents of 20 randomly selected villages indicate that in the absence of alternatives, rather than reducing their dependence on forests, communities appear to shift their use to other, less protected patches of forest. Pressure shifts seem to be taking place as a consequence of increasing protection, from within protected areas to forests outside, leading to the creation of protected but isolated forest islands within a matrix of overall deforestation, and increased conflict between local residents and forest managers. A broader landscape vision for forest management needs to be developed, that involves local communities with forest protection and enables their decision-making on forest management outside strict protected areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Enhancement of Linear Agricultural Areas to Provide Invertebrates as Potential Food for Breeding Birds
Land 2016, 5(3), 26; doi:10.3390/land5030026 -
Abstract
Birds are an important part of the agricultural landscape, as having nature value, but also as pest control agents and bio-indicators for the health of the environment. Here we look at linear non-crop elements in agricultural areas as a potential source of food
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Birds are an important part of the agricultural landscape, as having nature value, but also as pest control agents and bio-indicators for the health of the environment. Here we look at linear non-crop elements in agricultural areas as a potential source of food for nestlings of avian species. We measured invertebrate availability as it relates to structural complexity at the local and landscape levels in three counties in central Illinois. Invertebrates were measured with taxonomic diversity, abundance, and estimated biomass during spring of 2012 and 2013. Our study shows that easily modifiable field edge characteristics have the greatest impact on invertebrate diversity and abundance, as compared to field and landscape features. This finding shows that a potential invertebrate food source as measured by both diversity and biomass, may be easily enhanced without changes to agricultural practices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis and Prediction of Land Use Changes Related to Invasive Species and Major Driving Forces in the State of Connecticut
Land 2016, 5(3), 25; doi:10.3390/land5030025 -
Abstract
Land use and land cover (LULC) patterns play an important role in the establishment and spread of invasive plants. Understanding LULC changes is useful for early detection and management of land-use change to reduce the spread of invasive species. The primary objective of
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Land use and land cover (LULC) patterns play an important role in the establishment and spread of invasive plants. Understanding LULC changes is useful for early detection and management of land-use change to reduce the spread of invasive species. The primary objective of this study is to analyze and predict LULC changes in Connecticut. LULC maps for 1996, 2001 and 2006 were selected to analyze past land cover changes, and then potential LULC distribution in 2018 was predicted using the Multi-Layer Perceptron Markov Chain (MLP_MC) model. This study shows that the total area of forest has been decreasing, mainly caused by urban development and other human activity in Connecticut. The model predicts that the study area will lose 5535 ha of deciduous forest and gain 3502 ha of built-up area from 2006 to 2018. Moreover, forests near built-up areas and agriculture lands appear to be more vulnerable to conversion. Changes in LULC may result in subtle spatial shifts in invasion risk by an abundant invasive shrub, Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii). The gain of developed areas at the landscape scale was most closely linked to increased future invasion risk. Our findings suggest that the forest conversion needs to be controlled and well managed to help mitigate future invasion risk. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Smallholders, Agrarian Reform, and Globalization in the Brazilian Amazon: Cattle versus the Environment
Land 2016, 5(3), 24; doi:10.3390/land5030024 -
Abstract
Smallholder farming in the Brazilian Amazon has changed markedly over the last few decades, following a pervasive swing to cattle production observed across the basin. These changes have brought opportunities for accumulating a modicum of wealth that were not available in the early
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Smallholder farming in the Brazilian Amazon has changed markedly over the last few decades, following a pervasive swing to cattle production observed across the basin. These changes have brought opportunities for accumulating a modicum of wealth that were not available in the early stages of colonization. At the same time, they have reconfigured livelihood systems away from diversified agriculture to a strong engagement with the cattle economy. They are also exposing smallholders to new forms of exploitation by transnational corporations, seeking to pass risk upstream to less powerful economic agents who provide inputs to production, such as calves. The case of Southeastern Pará provides a natural laboratory for investigating such phenomena, which the article considers through the presentation of data from field research conducted in the region over the past decade. Here, agrarian reform efforts have been particularly intense, and social movements have often espoused a green rhetoric in favor of diversified agriculture, even though smallholders show little interest in anything but cattle. Household level incentives promote Amazonia’s emergent cattle economy, demonstrating how global production networks have reached into the basin, where production relations between smallholders provisioning calves to large ranching operations often resemble what has been referred to in the literature as “contract farmingland grabs, given the exploitive terms of trade. Full article
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