Sustainability2014, 6(10), 7224-7241; doi:10.3390/su6107224 - published 17 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Biofuel plantations have been hyped as a means to reinvigorate Africa’s rural areas. Yet there is still apprehension about the negative environmental and social impacts of large-scale commercial biofuel production around rising food prices, land grabbing, ecological damage, and disruption of rural livelihoods. Given the extent of Jatropha curcas production in Ghana and Ethiopia and Castor bean (Ricinus communis) in Ethiopia, this paper presents the results of a study that assessed the socio-economic implications of industrial Jatropha plantations on local livelihoods in Ghana, and of industrial Jatropha and Castor plantations on local livelihoods in Ethiopia. This study used primary data collected from 234 households in Ghana and 165 in Ethiopia. The cultivation of Jatropha and Castor has had several important effects on local livelihoods in the study sites, most notably decreases in household landholdings due to the arrival of industrial Jatropha or Castor plantations; and the resulting changes these plantations have caused in household socio-economic status, food security, fallow periods, and fodder availability. We consider how a lack of meaningful consultation between local people, their traditional authorities and the biofuel company managers, along with shortcomings in each country’s broader land acquisition process and poor land use information, may have contributed to these overall negative effects on local livelihoods. We conclude by suggesting several ways that emerging biofuel industries could be improved from the perspective of local people and their livelihoods.
Sustainability2014, 6(10), 7197-7223; doi:10.3390/su6107197 - published 17 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In spite of the decreasing share of nuclear power all over the world, China resumed the approval of large-scale construction of nuclear power plants in 2012. However, influenced by the worldwide spreading anti-nuclear attitudes, people who live near nuclear power plants showed increasing concerns about nuclear risks. Consequently, the Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) syndrome of nuclear power plants should be evaluated prudently to support the healthy development of nuclear power in China. Based on the face-to-face survey data, this study estimates Chinese public willingness to pay (WTP) to avoid having nuclear power plants in the neighborhood. The respondents include both residents who currently live near and those who would live near nuclear power plants in the future. Considering the possible presence of the sample selection bias caused by protest responses, this paper constructs a two-step sample selection model with the protest responses and the double bounded dichotomous choice (DBDC) questions. Using the Contingent Valuation Method (CVM), we measure the effects of influencing factors of public WTP and study the decay of WTP with longer distances from nuclear power plants. The results suggest that most people are willing to pay higher electricity prices to avoid having nuclear power plants in the neighborhood. Comparing the WTP to avoid having nuclear power plants nearby with the current electricity price, we find that there is an increase of 56.7% and 69.1% of respondents’ WTP for a nuclear power plant located 80 km and 30 km, respectively.
Sustainability2014, 6(10), 7181-7196; doi:10.3390/su6107181 - published 17 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Voluntary cooperation and the support of stakeholders carry a major importance in the development of Model Forests. The identification of the support level of local organizations as stakeholders in the Bucak Model Forest initiative, located in the Mediterranean region of Turkey, constitutes the theme of this study. Within this scope, the views of the stakeholders comprising local government units (LGUs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), village councils (VCs), professional organizations (POs) and forest products enterprises (FPEs) located in the district of Bucak were collected by utilizing a survey technique. The data were analysed by using non-parametric statistical analyses due to the absence of a normal distribution. The results show that the information provided about the Model Forest concept to the stakeholders located in the district on the Bucak Model Forest initiative was identified as a factor impacting the support level. Moreover, it was also observed that the stakeholders were more willing to provide advisory support rather than financial support. NGOs and VCs were identified as stakeholders who could not provide financial support due to their restricted budgets. We discuss the benefits for a Model Forest initiative of establishing international cooperation to strengthen the local and regional sustainable development process.
Sustainability2014, 6(10), 7155-7180; doi:10.3390/su6107155 - published 16 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Currently, 58% of coal-fired power generation capacity is located in eastern China, where the demand for electricity is strong. Serious air pollution in China, in eastern regions in particular, has compelled the Chinese government to impose a ban on the new construction of pulverized coal power plants in eastern regions. Meanwhile, rapid economic growth is thirsty for electric power supply. As a response, China planned to build large-scale coal power bases in six western provinces, including Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Xinjiang, Ningxia and Gansu. In this paper, the water resource implication of the coal power base planning is addressed. We find that, in a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, water consumption for coal power generation in these six provinces will increase from 1130 million m3 in 2012 to 2085 million m3 in 2020, experiencing nearly a double growth. Such a surge will exert great pressure on water supply and lead to serious water crisis in these already water-starved regions. A strong implication is that the Chinese Government must add water resource constraint as a critical point in its overall sustainable development plan, in addition to energy supply and environment protection. An integrated energy-water resource plan with regionalized environmental carrying capacity as constraints should be developed to settle this puzzle. Several measures are proposed to cope with it, including downsizing coal power in western regions, raising the technical threshold of new coal power plants and implementing retrofitting to the inefficient cooling system, and reengineering the generation process to waterless or recycled means.
Sustainability2014, 6(10), 7142-7154; doi:10.3390/su6107142 - published 16 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The Great Green Wall (GGW) has been advocated as a means of reducing desertification in the Sahel through the planting of a broad continuous band of trees from Senegal to Djibouti. Initially proposed in the 1980s, the plan has received renewed impetus in light of the potential of climate change to accelerate desertification, although the implementation has been lacking in all but two of 11 countries in the region. In this paper, we argue that the GGW needs modifying if it is to be effective, obtain the support of local communities and leverage international support. Specifically, we propose a shift from planting trees in the GGW to utilizing shrubs (e.g., Leptospermum scoparium, Boscia senegalensis, Grewia flava, Euclea undulata or Diospyros lycioides), which would have multiple benefits, including having a faster growth rate and proving the basis for silvo-pastoral livelihoods based on bee-keeping and honey production.
Sustainability2014, 6(10), 7121-7141; doi:10.3390/su6107121 - published 16 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Research opinion on informatization is divided between two opposite poles—that it promotes or inhibits the spillover of regional economies. These conflicting viewpoints are called “the paradoxical geographies of the digital economy”. Information-based investment and diffusion of informatization contribute to breaking the economic space constraints caused by distance, leading to interregional spillover effects, according to the results of the Durbin model of spatial lag applied to Japanese regional data. Clearly, the local direct effects and the perimeter region’s indirect effects of informatization are both positive. This proves the existence of network externality, which causes increasing returns to scale. Extensive diffusion of information technology plays a significant role in the process, in addition to rapid accumulation and infiltration of information resources, which strengthens the information-based investment spillover effect. In this empirical analysis, evidence seems to support the view that informatization promotes economic development in Japan.