Open AccessArticle
Spatial and Temporal Characteristics of Road Networks and Urban Expansion
Land 2017, 6(2), 30; doi:10.3390/land6020030 -
Abstract
Urban expansion has become a widespread trend in developing countries. Road networks are an extremely important factor driving the expansion of urban land and require further study. To investigate the relationship between road networks and urban expansion, we selected Beijing, New York, London,
[...] Read more.
Urban expansion has become a widespread trend in developing countries. Road networks are an extremely important factor driving the expansion of urban land and require further study. To investigate the relationship between road networks and urban expansion, we selected Beijing, New York, London, and Chicago as study areas. First, we obtained urban land use vector data through image interpretation using a remote sensing (RS) and geographic information systems (GIS) platform and then used overlay analysis to extract information on urban expansion. A road network density map was generated using the density analysis tool. Finally, we conducted a spatial statistical analysis between road networks and urban expansion and then systematically analyzed their distribution features. In addition, the Urban Expansion-Road Network Density Model was established based on regression analysis. The results indicate that (1) the road network density thresholds of Beijing, New York, London, and Chicago are 18.9 km/km2, 37.8 km/km2, 57.0 km/km2, and 64.7 km/km2, respectively, and urban expansion has an inverted U-curve relationship with road networks when the road network density does not exceed the threshold; (2) the calculated turning points for urban expansion indicate that urban expansion initially accelerates with increasing road network density but then decreases after the turning point is reached; and (3) when the road density exceeds the threshold, urban areas cease to expand. The correlation between urban expansion and road network features provides an important reference for the future development of global cities. Understanding road network density offers some predictive capabilities for urban land expansion, facilitates the avoidance of irregular expansion, and provides new ideas for addressing the inefficient utilization of land. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Historical Analysis of Riparian Vegetation Change in Response to Shifting Management Objectives on the Middle Rio Grande
Land 2017, 6(2), 29; doi:10.3390/land6020029 -
Abstract
Riparian ecosystems are valuable to the ecological and human communities that depend on them. Over the past century, they have been subject to shifting management practices to maximize human use and ecosystem services, creating a complex relationship between water policy, management, and the
[...] Read more.
Riparian ecosystems are valuable to the ecological and human communities that depend on them. Over the past century, they have been subject to shifting management practices to maximize human use and ecosystem services, creating a complex relationship between water policy, management, and the natural ecosystem. This has necessitated research on the spatial and temporal dynamics of riparian vegetation change. The San Acacia Reach of the Middle Rio Grande has experienced multiple management and river flow fluctuations, resulting in threats to its riparian and aquatic ecosystems. This research uses remote sensing data, GIS, a review of management decisions, and an assessment of climate to both quantify how riparian vegetation has been altered over time and provide interpretations of the relationships between riparian change and shifting climate and management objectives. This research focused on four management phases from 1935 to 2014, each highlighting different management practices and climate-driven river patterns, providing unique opportunities to observe a direct relationship between river management, climate, and riparian response. Overall, we believe that management practices coupled with reduced surface river-flows with limited overbank flooding influenced the compositional and spatial patterns of vegetation, including possibly increasing non-native vegetation coverage. However, recent restoration efforts have begun to reduce non-native vegetation coverage. Full article
Figures

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Factors Influencing Perceptions and Use of Urban Nature: Surveys of Park Visitors in Delhi
Land 2017, 6(2), 27; doi:10.3390/land6020027 -
Abstract
Urban green spaces provide important recreational, social and psychological benefits to stressed city residents. This paper aims to understand the importance of parks for visitors. We focus on Delhi, the world’s second most populous city, drawing on 123 interviews with park visitors in
[...] Read more.
Urban green spaces provide important recreational, social and psychological benefits to stressed city residents. This paper aims to understand the importance of parks for visitors. We focus on Delhi, the world’s second most populous city, drawing on 123 interviews with park visitors in four prominent city parks. Almost all respondents expressed the need for more green spaces. Visitors valued parks primarily for environmental and psychological/health benefits. They had limited awareness of biodiversity, with one out of three visitors unable to identify tree species and one out of four visitors unable to identify animal species frequenting the park. Most of the daily visitors lived within 0.5 km of these parks, but a small fraction of visitors traveled over 10 km to visit these major parks, despite having smaller neighbourhood parks in their vicinity. This study demonstrates the importance of large, well-maintained, publicly accessible parks in a crowded city. The results can help to better plan and design urban green spaces, responding to the needs and preferences of urban communities. This research contributes to the severely limited information on people’s perceptions of and requirements from urban nature in cities of the Global South. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Agricultural Land Fragmentation at Urban Fringes: An Application of Urban-To-Rural Gradient Analysis in Adelaide
Land 2017, 6(2), 28; doi:10.3390/land6020028 -
Abstract
One of the major consequences of expansive urban growth is the degradation and loss of productive agricultural land and agroecosystem functions. Four landscape metrics—Percentage of Land (PLAND), Mean Parcel Size (MPS), Parcel Density (PD), and Modified Simpson’s Diversity Index (MSDI)—were calculated for 1
[...] Read more.
One of the major consequences of expansive urban growth is the degradation and loss of productive agricultural land and agroecosystem functions. Four landscape metrics—Percentage of Land (PLAND), Mean Parcel Size (MPS), Parcel Density (PD), and Modified Simpson’s Diversity Index (MSDI)—were calculated for 1 km × 1 km cells along three 50 km-long transects that extend out from the Adelaide CBD, in order to analyze variations in landscape structures. Each transect has different land uses beyond the built-up area, and they differ in topography, soils, and rates of urban expansion. Our new findings are that zones of agricultural land fragmentation can be identified by the relationships between MPS and PD, that these occur in areas where PD ranges from 7 and 35, and that these occur regardless of distance along the transect, land use, topography, soils, or rates of urban growth. This suggests a geometry of fragmentation that may be consistent, and indicates that quantification of both land use and land-use change in zones of fragmentation is potentially important in planning. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Analysis of Urban Green Spaces Based on Sentinel-2A: Case Studies from Slovakia
Land 2017, 6(2), 25; doi:10.3390/land6020025 -
Abstract
Urban expansion and its ecological footprint increases globally at an unprecedented scale and consequently, the importance of urban greenery assessment grows. The diversity and quality of urban green spaces (UGS) and human well-being are tightly linked, and UGS provide a wide range of
[...] Read more.
Urban expansion and its ecological footprint increases globally at an unprecedented scale and consequently, the importance of urban greenery assessment grows. The diversity and quality of urban green spaces (UGS) and human well-being are tightly linked, and UGS provide a wide range of ecosystem services (e.g., urban heat mitigation, stormwater infiltration, food security, physical recreation). Analyses and inter-city comparison of UGS patterns and their functions requires not only detailed information on their relative quantity but also a closer examination of UGS in terms of quality and land use, which can be derived from the land cover composition and spatial structure. In this study, we present an approach to UGS extraction from newly available Sentinel-2A satellite imagery, provided in the frame of the European Copernicus program. We investigate and map the spatial distribution of UGS in three cities in Slovakia: Bratislava, Žilina and Trnava. Supervised maximum likelihood classification was used to identify UGS polygons. Based on their function and physiognomy, each UGS polygon was assigned to one of the fifteen classes, and each class was further described by the proportion of tree canopy and its ecosystem services. Our results document that the substantial part of UGS is covered by the class Urban greenery in family housing areas (mainly including privately-owned gardens) with the class abundance between 17.7% and 42.2% of the total UGS area. The presented case studies showed the possibilities of semi-automatic extraction of UGS classes from Sentinel-2A data that may improve the transfer of scientific knowledge to local urban environmental monitoring and management. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Modeling Future Urban Sprawl and Landscape Change in the Laguna de Bay Area, Philippines
Land 2017, 6(2), 26; doi:10.3390/land6020026 -
Abstract
This study uses a spatially-explicit land-use/land-cover (LULC) modeling approach to model and map the future (2016–2030) LULC of the area surrounding the Laguna de Bay of Philippines under three different scenarios: ‘business-as-usual’, ‘compact development’, and ‘high sprawl’ scenarios. The Laguna de Bay is
[...] Read more.
This study uses a spatially-explicit land-use/land-cover (LULC) modeling approach to model and map the future (2016–2030) LULC of the area surrounding the Laguna de Bay of Philippines under three different scenarios: ‘business-as-usual’, ‘compact development’, and ‘high sprawl’ scenarios. The Laguna de Bay is the largest lake in the Philippines and an important natural resource for the population in/around Metro Manila. The LULC around the lake is rapidly changing due to urban sprawl, so local and national government agencies situated in the area need an understanding of the future (likely) LULC changes and their associated hydrological impacts. The spatial modeling approach involved three main steps: (1) mapping the locations of past LULC changes; (2) identifying the drivers of these past changes; and (3) identifying where and when future LULC changes are likely to occur. Utilizing various publically-available spatial datasets representing potential drivers of LULC changes, a LULC change model was calibrated using the Multilayer Perceptron (MLP) neural network algorithm. After calibrating the model, future LULC changes were modeled and mapped up to the year 2030. Our modeling results showed that the ‘built-up’ LULC class is likely to experience the greatest increase in land area due to losses in ‘crop/grass’ (and to a lesser degree ‘tree’) LULC, and this is attributed to continued urban sprawl. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Governance of Land Use Planning to Reduce Fire Risk to Homes Mediterranean France and California
Land 2017, 6(2), 24; doi:10.3390/land6020024 -
Abstract
Wildfire is a natural part of forested Mediterranean systems. As humans continue to live and build housing in these areas, wildfire is a constant threat to homes and lives. The goal of this paper is to describe aspects of land-use planning that are
[...] Read more.
Wildfire is a natural part of forested Mediterranean systems. As humans continue to live and build housing in these areas, wildfire is a constant threat to homes and lives. The goal of this paper is to describe aspects of land-use planning that are used to reduce wildfire risk in institutionally divergent regions; southern France and California. By reviewing relevant legislation and planning documents and conducting in person interviews with fire and planning professionals, we identify the institutions which participate in land use planning to reduce fire risk and the key laws and regulations that guide planning decisions. Our results indicate that France has a more centralized system for planning for fire, with national level entities heavily involved in local land use planning. California, on the other hand sees almost no federal oversite, and, while state law requires local plans to include wildfire risk, most fine grain decisions are left to local planners and decision makers. In both regions, however, we see a reliance on technical support provided from outside local jurisdictions. Increased coordination between local, regional, and national governments could improve land use planning in both locations. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Forest Cover Changes in Lao Tropical Forests: Physical and Socio-Economic Factors are the Most Important Drivers
Land 2017, 6(2), 23; doi:10.3390/land6020023 -
Abstract
Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) has been experiencing significant forest depletion since the 1980s, but there is little evidence to demonstrate the major causes and underlying drivers for the forest cover changes. In this study, we investigated the relationship between forest cover decrease
[...] Read more.
Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) has been experiencing significant forest depletion since the 1980s, but there is little evidence to demonstrate the major causes and underlying drivers for the forest cover changes. In this study, we investigated the relationship between forest cover decrease and increase in the south of Lao PDR between 2006 and 2012 and selected physical and socio-economic factors. We used a map of forest cover changes derived from analysis of Landsat ETM+ imagery in 2006 and 2012, together with socio-economic and physical environmental data from the national authorities. The study area has experienced noticeable forest cover changes: both forest decreases and increases were unevenly distributed throughout the region. Logistic regression models were used to test relationships between forest cover decrease or increase and selected physical and socio-economic factors. Forest clearance was associated strongly with elevation, distance to main roads and shifting cultivation practices. Meanwhile, forest cover increase was more likely to correlate with rubber plantations. Native forest and shifting cultivation lands were vulnerable to being converted into rubber plantations. This research provides much-needed information on which to base forestry policy and decision making to minimize and prevent current deforestation, as well as manage potential risks in the future. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Do Community-Managed Forests Work? A Biodiversity Perspective
Land 2017, 6(2), 22; doi:10.3390/land6020022 -
Abstract
Community-managed reserves (CMRs) comprise the fastest-growing category of protected areas throughout the tropics. CMRs represent a compromise between advocates of nature conservation and advocates of human development. We ask whether CMRs succeed in achieving the goals of either. A fixed reserve area can
[...] Read more.
Community-managed reserves (CMRs) comprise the fastest-growing category of protected areas throughout the tropics. CMRs represent a compromise between advocates of nature conservation and advocates of human development. We ask whether CMRs succeed in achieving the goals of either. A fixed reserve area can produce only a finite resource supply, whereas human populations exploiting them tend to expand rapidly while adopting high-impact technologies to satisfy rising aspirations. Intentions behind the establishment of CMRs may be admirable, but represent an ideal rarely achieved. People tied to the natural forest subsist on income levels that are among the lowest in the Amazon. Limits of sustainable harvesting are often low and rarely known prior to reserve creation or respected thereafter, and resource exhaustion predictably follows. Unintended consequences typically emerge, such as overhunting of the seed dispersers, pollinators, and other animals that provide services essential to perpetuating the forest. CMRs are a low priority for governments, so mostly operate without enforcement, a laxity that encourages illegal forest conversion. Finally, the pull of markets can alter the “business plan” of a reserve overnight, as inhabitants switch to new activities. The reality is that we live in a hyperdynamic world of accelerating change in which past assumptions must continually be re-evaluated. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Can Community Forests Be Compatible With Biodiversity Conservation in Indonesia?
Land 2017, 6(1), 21; doi:10.3390/land6010021 -
Abstract
Forest lands in Indonesia are classified as state lands and subject to management under agreements allocated by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. There has been a long-standing tension between the ministry and local communities who argue that they have traditionally managed large
[...] Read more.
Forest lands in Indonesia are classified as state lands and subject to management under agreements allocated by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. There has been a long-standing tension between the ministry and local communities who argue that they have traditionally managed large areas of forest and should be allowed to continue to do so. A series of recent legal and administrative decisions are now paving the way for the allocation of forests to local communities. There is a hypothesis that the communities will protect the forests against industrial conversion and that they will also conserve biodiversity. This hypothesis needs to be closely examined. Conservation of biodiversity and management for local benefits are two different and potentially conflicting objectives. This paper reviews examples of forests managed by local communities in Indonesia and concludes that there is very limited information available on the conservation of natural biodiversity in these forests. I conclude that more information is needed on the status of biodiversity in community managed forests. When forests are allocated for local management, special measures need to be in place to ensure that biodiversity values are monitored and maintained. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Understanding Land Use and Land Cover Dynamics from 1976 to 2014 in Yellow River Delta
Land 2017, 6(1), 20; doi:10.3390/land6010020 -
Abstract
Long-term intensive land use/cover changes (LUCCs) of the Yellow River Delta (YRD) have been happening since the 1960s. The land use patterns of the LUCCs are crucial for bio-diversity conservation and/or sustainable development. This study quantified patterns of the LUCCs, explored the systematic
[...] Read more.
Long-term intensive land use/cover changes (LUCCs) of the Yellow River Delta (YRD) have been happening since the 1960s. The land use patterns of the LUCCs are crucial for bio-diversity conservation and/or sustainable development. This study quantified patterns of the LUCCs, explored the systematic transitions, and identified wetland change trajectory for the period 1976–2014 in the YRD. Landsat imageries of 1976, 1984, 1995, 2006, and 2014 were used to derive nine land use classes. Post classification change detection analysis based on enhanced transition matrix was applied to identify land use dynamics and trajectory of wetland change. The five cartographic outputs for changes in land use underlined major decreases in natural wetland areas and increases in artificial wetland and non-wetland, especially aquafarms, salt pans and construction lands. The systematic transitions in the YRD were wetland degradation, wetland artificialization, and urbanization. Wetland change trajectory results demonstrated that the main wetland changes were wetland degradation and wetland artificialization. Coastline change is the subordinate reason for natural wetland degradation in comparison with human activities. The results of this study allowed for an improvement in the understanding of the LUCC processes and enabled researchers and planners to focus on the most important signals of systematic landscape transitions while also allowing for a better understanding of the proximate causes of changes. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Characterizing Spatial Neighborhoods of Refugia Following Large Fires in Northern New Mexico USA
Land 2017, 6(1), 19; doi:10.3390/land6010019 -
Abstract
The spatial patterns resulting from large fires include refugial habitats that support surviving legacies and promote ecosystem recovery. To better understand the diverse ecological functions of refugia on burn mosaics, we used remotely sensed data to quantify neighborhood patterns of areas relatively unchanged
[...] Read more.
The spatial patterns resulting from large fires include refugial habitats that support surviving legacies and promote ecosystem recovery. To better understand the diverse ecological functions of refugia on burn mosaics, we used remotely sensed data to quantify neighborhood patterns of areas relatively unchanged following the 2011 Las Conchas fire. Spatial patterns of refugia measured within 10-ha moving windows varied across a gradient from areas of high density, clustered in space, to sparsely populated neighborhoods that occurred in the background matrix. The scaling of these patterns was related to the underlying structure of topography measured by slope, aspect and potential soil wetness, and spatially varying climate. Using a nonmetric multidimensional scaling analysis of species cover data collected post-Las Conchas, we found that trees and forest associates were present across the refugial gradient, but communities also exhibited a range of species compositions and potential functions. Spatial patterns of refugia quantified for three previous burns (La Mesa 1977, Dome 1996, Cerro Grande 2000) were dynamic between fire events, but most refugia persisted through at least two fires. Efforts to maintain burn heterogeneity and its ecological functions can begin with identifying where refugia are likely to occur, using terrain-based microclimate models, burn severity models and available field data. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Multi-Criteria Assessment of Land Cover Dynamic Changes in Halgurd Sakran National Park (HSNP), Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Using Remote Sensing and GIS
Land 2017, 6(1), 18; doi:10.3390/land6010018 -
Abstract
Halgurd Sakran National Park (HSNP) is Iraq’s first designated national park, located in the Kurdistan Region, which has suffered multiple armed conflicts over the past decades. This study assesses how vegetation dynamics have affected the landscape structure and composition of the core zone
[...] Read more.
Halgurd Sakran National Park (HSNP) is Iraq’s first designated national park, located in the Kurdistan Region, which has suffered multiple armed conflicts over the past decades. This study assesses how vegetation dynamics have affected the landscape structure and composition of the core zone of the park over the last 31 years. Spatio-temporal changes in land cover were mapped for three points in time using remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and landscape metrics. Land cover changes were mapped using random forest classifications of satellite images from Landsat 5 TM, Landsat 7 ETM+, and Landsat 8 LDCM acquired in 1984, 1998, and 2015. Five landscape pattern metrics were analysed at class and landscape levels in order to quantify landscape patterns arising from land use and land cover (LULC) change in HSNP using FRAGSTATS 4.2. These landscape pattern metrics were patch metrics, area metrics, shape metrics interspersion/juxtaposition and contagion metrics and diversity metrics. Significant changes in cultivated areas after 1991 were observed, which indicate the role of anthropogenic activities in land cover change. Areas of bare surface and forest lands declined and became more fragmented in 1984 and 1998 while, at the same time, cultivated areas increased, with a continuing fragmentation of pasture land. Internal migration of people was one of the major drivers of LULC change. The results reveal that significant LULC changes in terms of composition and spatial structure over the 31-year period have occurred in the designated protected area. Landscape metrics were able to assess the trend of spatial patchiness over the studied period. A discussion of the significance of changes in land use systems for understanding the causes and consequences of change is provided. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Identifying Employment Subcenters: The Method of Exponentially Declining Cutoffs
Land 2017, 6(1), 17; doi:10.3390/land6010017 -
Abstract
The standard method of identifying subcenters is due to Giuliano and Small. While simple, robust and easy to apply, because it uses absolute employment density and employment cutoffs, it identifies “too few” subcenters at the metropolitan periphery. This paper presents a straight forward
[...] Read more.
The standard method of identifying subcenters is due to Giuliano and Small. While simple, robust and easy to apply, because it uses absolute employment density and employment cutoffs, it identifies “too few” subcenters at the metropolitan periphery. This paper presents a straight forward modification to this method aimed at remedying this weakness. The modification entails using cutoffs that decline exponentially with distance from the metropolitan center, thereby giving consideration to the employment density of a location relative to that of its locality. In urban studies, there is a long history of estimating employment density “gradients”, the exponential rate at which employment density declines with distance from the metropolitan center. These density gradients differ substantially across metropolitan areas and across time for a particular metropolitan area. Applying our method to Los Angeles, Calgary and Paris, we have found that using cutoffs that decline exponentially at one-half the estimated density gradients achieves an appealing balance between subcenters identified close to the metropolitan center and those identified at the metropolitan periphery. Many other methods of subcenter identification have been proposed that use sophisticated econometric procedures. Our method should appeal to practitioners who are looking for a simple method to apply. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Resistance and Contingent Contestations to Large-Scale Land Concessions in Southern Laos and Northeastern Cambodia
Land 2017, 6(1), 16; doi:10.3390/land6010016 -
Abstract
Over the last decade, there have been considerable concerns raised regarding the social and environmental impacts of large-scale land concessions for plantation development in various parts of the world, especially in the tropics, including in Laos and Cambodia. However, there is still much
[...] Read more.
Over the last decade, there have been considerable concerns raised regarding the social and environmental impacts of large-scale land concessions for plantation development in various parts of the world, especially in the tropics, including in Laos and Cambodia. However, there is still much to learn about the various connections and interactions associated with reactions to what are often referred to as “land grabs”, and the ways they are associated or not associated with broader social movements and networks opposed to land grabbing. There is also the need to develop language for discussing these circumstances, something I aim to contribute to in this article. Here, I present four different cases of types of resistance, or what I refer to as contingent contestations, to land concessions in southern Laos and northeastern Cambodia (two from each country), focusing on the perspectives and associated strategies of smallholder farmers, but without ignoring broader issues. I consider the roles of locals in these contestations, through emphasizing the importance of histories, identities/ethnicities, politics, and geography in determining the types of responses to these land deals that emerge, and the strategies that are adopted for contesting these developments. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessEssay
Anthropogenic Landscapes, Human Action and the Process of Co-Construction with other Species: Making Anthromes in the Anthropocene
Land 2017, 6(1), 15; doi:10.3390/land6010015 -
Abstract
We are in the Anthropocene. For millennia, human actions have been shaping the world to the degree that they are inscribed in the geological and ecological record. Recently, this has been occurring with increasing speed and influence. This means we need to be
[...] Read more.
We are in the Anthropocene. For millennia, human actions have been shaping the world to the degree that they are inscribed in the geological and ecological record. Recently, this has been occurring with increasing speed and influence. This means we need to be asking integrative and effective questions about the world and how we relate to and in it. Human niche construction has broad and deep effects not just on landscapes and environments, but on the myriad of other beings sharing space with us. Humans are self-appointed ecosystem managers and lead actors in seeking sustainability for planetary and local ecosystems. In order to accomplish this, we need to better understand how anthromes are shaped, inhabited and altered. To this end, we present two different examples of anthropogenic landscapes; one in Ethiopia and one in Bali, Indonesia. These are landscapes that are co-constructed by multiple species through complex webs of ecologies, economies and histories and represent the way that humans are drawn into relationships with non-humans; relationships which in turn alter landscapes. Full article
Open AccessReview
Characterizing Islandscapes: Conceptual and Methodological Challenges Exemplified in the Mediterranean
Land 2017, 6(1), 14; doi:10.3390/land6010014 -
Abstract
Islands across the world have evolved at the interface between land and sea, thus comprising landscapes and seascapes. Many islands have also been influenced by anthropogenic factors, which have given rise to mosaics of anthromes (sensu Ellis and Ramankutty). These elements of
[...] Read more.
Islands across the world have evolved at the interface between land and sea, thus comprising landscapes and seascapes. Many islands have also been influenced by anthropogenic factors, which have given rise to mosaics of anthromes (sensu Ellis and Ramankutty). These elements of landscapes, seascapes, and cultural impacts in varied proportions, generate unique environments which merit a unique term: islandscapes. The use of the term islandscape is advocated as the only term which encompasses all of the constituent components of an island, in a holistic manner. The aim of the paper is to evaluate the applicability of existing landscape and seascape character assessment methodologies in an island context, and to propose a methodological framework for mapping the space which defines the term ‘islandscape’. The challenges and opportunities stemming from the use of the term are exemplified with reference to the Mediterranean islands. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Toward a Global Classification of Coastal Anthromes
Land 2017, 6(1), 13; doi:10.3390/land6010013 -
Abstract
Given incontrovertible evidence that humans are the most powerful agents of environmental change on the planet, research has begun to acknowledge and integrate human presence and activity into updated descriptions of the world’s biomes as “anthromes”. Thus far, a classification system for anthromes
[...] Read more.
Given incontrovertible evidence that humans are the most powerful agents of environmental change on the planet, research has begun to acknowledge and integrate human presence and activity into updated descriptions of the world’s biomes as “anthromes”. Thus far, a classification system for anthromes is limited to the terrestrial biosphere. Here, I present a case for the consideration and validity of coastal anthromes. Every coastal environment on Earth is subject to direct and indirect human modification and disturbance. Despite the legacy, ubiquity, and pervasiveness of human interactions with coastal ecosystems, coastal anthromes still lack formal definition. Following the original argument and framework for terrestrial anthromes, I outline a set of coastal anthrome classifications that dovetail with terrestrial and marine counterparts. Recognising coastal environments as complex and increasingly vulnerable anthropogenic systems is a fundamental step toward understanding their modern dynamics—and, by extension, realising opportunities for and limits to their resilience. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Estate Crops More Attractive than Community Forests in West Kalimantan, Indonesia
Land 2017, 6(1), 12; doi:10.3390/land6010012 -
Abstract
Smallholder farmers and indigenous communities must cope with the opportunities and threats presented by rapidly spreading estate crops in the frontier of the agricultural market economy. Smallholder communities are subject to considerable speculation by outsiders, yet large-scale agriculture presents tradeoffs that they must
[...] Read more.
Smallholder farmers and indigenous communities must cope with the opportunities and threats presented by rapidly spreading estate crops in the frontier of the agricultural market economy. Smallholder communities are subject to considerable speculation by outsiders, yet large-scale agriculture presents tradeoffs that they must navigate. We initiated a study in Sintang, West Kalimantan in 2012 and have returned annually for the last four years, building the baselines for a longer-term landscape approach to reconciling conservation and development tradeoffs in situ. Here, the stakeholders are heterogeneous, yet the land cover of the landscape is on a trajectory towards homogenous mono-cropping systems, primarily either palm oil or rubber. In one village on the frontier of the agricultural market economy, natural forests remain managed by the indigenous and local community but economics further intrude on forest use decisions. Conservation values are declining and the future of the forest is uncertain. As such, the community is ultimately attracted to more economically attractive uses of the land for local development oil palm or rubber mono-crop farms. We identify poverty as a threat to community-managed conservation success in the face of economic pressures to convert forest to intensive agriculture. We provide evidence that lucrative alternatives will challenge community-managed forests when prosperity seems achievable. To alleviate this trend, we identify formalized traditional management and landscape governance solutions to nurture a more sustainable landscape transition. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Late Neolithic Agriculture in Temperate Europe—A Long-Term Experimental Approach
Land 2017, 6(1), 11; doi:10.3390/land6010011 -
Abstract
Long-term slash-and-burn experiments, when compared with intensive tillage without manuring, resulted in a huge data set relating to potential crop yields, depending on soil quality, crop type, and agricultural measures. Cultivation without manuring or fallow phases did not produce satisfying yields, and mono-season
[...] Read more.
Long-term slash-and-burn experiments, when compared with intensive tillage without manuring, resulted in a huge data set relating to potential crop yields, depending on soil quality, crop type, and agricultural measures. Cultivation without manuring or fallow phases did not produce satisfying yields, and mono-season cropping on freshly cleared and burned plots resulted in rather high yields, comparable to those produced during modern industrial agriculture - at least ten-fold the ones estimated for the medieval period. Continuous cultivation on the same plot, using imported wood from adjacent areas as fuel, causes decreasing yields over several years. The high yield of the first harvest of a slash-and-burn agriculture is caused by nutrient input through the ash produced and mobilization from the organic matter of the topsoil, due to high soil temperatures during the burning process and higher topsoil temperatures due to the soil’s black surface. The harvested crops are pure, without contamination of any weeds. Considering the amount of work required to fight weeds without burning, the slash-and-burn technique yields much better results than any other tested agricultural approach. Therefore, in dense woodland, without optimal soils and climate, slash-and-burn agriculture seems to be the best, if not the only, feasible method to start agriculture, for example, during the Late Neolithic, when agriculture expanded from the loess belt into landscapes less suitable for agriculture. Extensive and cultivation with manuring is more practical in an already-open landscape and with a denser population, but its efficiency in terms of the ratio of the manpower input to food output, is worse. Slash-and-burn agriculture is not only a phenomenon of temperate European agriculture during the Neolithic, but played a major role in land-use in forested regions worldwide, creating anthromes on a huge spatial scale. Full article
Figures

Figure 1