Open AccessArticle
Recent Progress in Perennial Buckwheat Development
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 536; doi:10.3390/su10020536 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Grains in the genus Fagopyrum have benefits to human health and are an excellent gluten-free raw material. Of all cereal foods, this genus has the highest total content of amino-acid nutrients necessary for humans; nutrients that are resistant to digestion (protein and starch)
[...] Read more.
Grains in the genus Fagopyrum have benefits to human health and are an excellent gluten-free raw material. Of all cereal foods, this genus has the highest total content of amino-acid nutrients necessary for humans; nutrients that are resistant to digestion (protein and starch) resulting in their sustained release; higher dietary fiber content than key cereals, and is rich in a special healthy ingredient (flavonoids). Fagopyrum includes 24 species of which five are perennial. Among them, golden buckwheat (F.cymosum complex) is the most important perennial buckwheat, which is not only used in Chinese medicine, but also has great potential in healthy food crop. In order to provide some clues for perennial crop studies and their industry development, this paper presents the state of perennial buckwheat research in terms of taxonomy; natural chemical products and pharmacological and health functions; genetics and evolution; breeding; and product development and utilization. The great advances such as successful interspecific crossing and its subsequent new perennial buckwheat varieties will speed up the development of the perennial buckwheat industry. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Short-Term Effects of Rice Straw Biochar, Nitrogen and Phosphorus Fertilizer on Rice Yield and Soil Properties in a Cold Waterlogged Paddy Field
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 537; doi:10.3390/su10020537 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Crop productivity in cold waterlogged paddy fields can be constrained by chronic flooding stress and low temperature. Farmers typically use chemical fertilizer to improve crop production, but this conventional fertilization is not very effective in a cold waterlogged paddy field. Biochar amendment has
[...] Read more.
Crop productivity in cold waterlogged paddy fields can be constrained by chronic flooding stress and low temperature. Farmers typically use chemical fertilizer to improve crop production, but this conventional fertilization is not very effective in a cold waterlogged paddy field. Biochar amendment has been proposed as a promising management approach to eliminating these obstacles. However, little is known about the performance of biochar when combined with N fertilizer and P fertilizer in cold waterlogged soils. The aim of this study was, therefore, to assess the main effects and interactive effects of rice straw biochar, N and P fertilizer on rice growth and soil properties in a cold waterlogged paddy field. The field treatments consisted of a factorial combination of two biochar levels (0 and 2.25 t ha−1), two N fertilizer levels (120.0 and 180.0 kg ha−1) and two P fertilizer levels (37.5 and 67.5 kg ha−1) which were arranged in a randomized block design, with three replicates. Results confirmed that biochar application caused a significant increase in the soil pH due to its liming effect, while this application resulted in a significant decrease in soil exchangeable cations, such as exchangeable Ca, Mg, Al and base cations. The interactive effect of N fertilizer, P fertilizer and biochar was significant for soil total N. Moreover, a negative effect of biochar on the internal K use efficiency suggested that K uptake into rice may benefit from biochar application. According to the partial Eta squared values, the combined application of N fertilizer and biochar was as effective as pure P fertilization at increasing straw P uptake. The addition of biochar to farmers’ fertilization practice treatment (180.0 kg N ha−1, 67.5 kg P2O5 ha−1 and 67.5 kg K2O ha−1) significantly increased rice yield, mainly owing to improvements in grains per panicle. However, notable effects of biochar on rice yield and biomass production were not detected. More studies are required to assess the long-term behavior of biochar in a cold waterlogged paddy field. This study may lay a theoretical foundation for blended application of biochar with fertilizer in a cold waterlogged paddy field. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Family Businesses Transitioning to a Circular Economy Model: The Case of “Mercadona”
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 538; doi:10.3390/su10020538 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Sustainability addresses environmental and social issues affecting this and future generations. When family businesses perceive that the community is disrupted, recognize an environmental problem and respond by implementing new environmental policies or regulations, the family business’s socio-emotional values press to transition to a
[...] Read more.
Sustainability addresses environmental and social issues affecting this and future generations. When family businesses perceive that the community is disrupted, recognize an environmental problem and respond by implementing new environmental policies or regulations, the family business’s socio-emotional values press to transition to a more sustainable production system, such as the ‘Circular Economy.’ Drawing on the Dubin (1978) methodology—a paradigm for building models through deduction—we design a sustainable model, which shows family businesses’ responses to changes in the environment. It explains the reasons why family firms transition to the Circular Economy, based on the theory of Socio-Emotional Wealth (SEW). We check the model through the case study of the food retail leader in the Spanish market—Mercadona—which applies policies about energy, resources and waste to become a Circular Economy business model. Because of the strong family character of Mercadona, this case can be useful for the decision-making of other family businesses. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Analyzing the Effects of Car Sharing Services on the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 539; doi:10.3390/su10020539 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This study examines the environmental impacts of roundtrip car sharing services by investigating transportation behavior. Car sharing should contribute to reduced greenhouse gas GHG emissions; however, such schemes include both positive and negative environmental effects, including: (1) reduced CO2e (carbon dioxide
[...] Read more.
This study examines the environmental impacts of roundtrip car sharing services by investigating transportation behavior. Car sharing should contribute to reduced greenhouse gas GHG emissions; however, such schemes include both positive and negative environmental effects, including: (1) reduced CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) from substituting private vehicle use for more fuel-efficient car sharing vehicles, (2) increased CO2e as car-less individuals switch from public transit to car sharing vehicles and (3) reduced CO2e due to fewer vehicles. This study examines the impacts of this modal shift on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions using three types of models: a mixed logit model to analyze car sharing service preferences; a binary logit model to analyze whether individuals are willing to forgo vehicle ownership or planned purchases to use car sharing services; and a linear regression to determine how much private vehicle or public transportation use would be replaced by car sharing and the resulting effects on mobility. Total emissions from the current car sharing market equal 1,025,589.36 t CO2e/year. However, an increase in electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to 50% of the number of gasoline-fuel stations would increase the probability of electric car sharing vehicle use, thereby reducing emissions by 655,773 t CO2e. This study shows that forgoing vehicle purchases does not offset the increased GHG emissions caused by the shift from public transportation or private vehicle use to car sharing. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Actual and Balanced Stand Structure: Examples from Beech-Fir-Spruce Old-Growth Forests in the Area of the Dinarides in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 540; doi:10.3390/su10020540 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Old-growth forests are spontaneously developed forest ecosystems without direct human influence in which only natural processes take place. In this study we analyzed the structural sustainability of beech-fir-spruce old-growth forests on dolomite and limestone in the Bosnian Dinaric Mountains. The field work was
[...] Read more.
Old-growth forests are spontaneously developed forest ecosystems without direct human influence in which only natural processes take place. In this study we analyzed the structural sustainability of beech-fir-spruce old-growth forests on dolomite and limestone in the Bosnian Dinaric Mountains. The field work was carried out on permanent experimental plots of 1.0 hectare in size. Thereby, the diameters (d1.30) and the height (h) of all trees within the plots were measured. Based on the available literature, we hypothesized that the structure of old-growth forests provides sustainability through tree-size demographic equilibrium. Thus, the data collected were used to test possible differences between the actual and the theoretically balanced structure in the studied old-growth forests. Statistically significant difference in the actual structure between the two old-growth forests on limestone and dolomite was determined. However, both of them exhibited sustainable diameter distributions. These results point to the importance of preserving old-growth forests for future research as they exemplify the tree-size demographic sustainability and can thus serve as an appropriate reference to managed forests. Concretely, certain structural attributes from old-growth forests could be embedded into the management objectives for increased resilience of managed forests. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Impact of Sustainability Balanced Scorecard Types on Environmental Investment Decision-Making
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 541; doi:10.3390/su10020541 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Investment decision-making based on aspects of sustainability is gaining importance among organizations around the globe. In this context, there is a need for quality investment decisions, which require sufficient knowledge among organizational managers about managing sustainability information to achieve environmental objectives that meet
[...] Read more.
Investment decision-making based on aspects of sustainability is gaining importance among organizations around the globe. In this context, there is a need for quality investment decisions, which require sufficient knowledge among organizational managers about managing sustainability information to achieve environmental objectives that meet stakeholder expectations. This has led to the emergence of organizational performance measuring tools such as the Sustainability Balanced Scorecard, which integrates the environmental perspective into the traditional Balanced Scorecard. Using experimental research method, the objective of this study is to investigate the indirect effect of Eco-efficiency knowledge and Sustainability Balanced Scorecard knowledge as mediators influencing the relationship between Sustainability Balanced Scorecard types and their impact on environmental investment decision-making. Findings of the current research are based on 60 respondents who were randomly assigned to one of the following two types of Sustainability Balanced Scorecard architecture: (1) environmental data embedded within the traditional Balanced Scorecard perspectives; and (2) standalone environmental data as an additional fifth perspective along with the traditional Balanced Scorecard architecture. The traditional Balanced Scorecard without any information on environmental perspective is included in the experiment as the control condition. The findings indicate that the combined effect of eco-efficiency knowledge and Sustainability Balanced Scorecard knowledge has a significant positive influence on the relationship between the Balanced Scorecard type versus Sustainability Balanced Scorecard type and environmental investment decision-making. Full article
Open AccessArticle
China’s Confucius Institute in Indonesia: Mobility, Frictions and Local Surprises
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 530; doi:10.3390/su10020530 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
China’s cross-border language promotion body, the Confucius Institute (CI), has proliferated along with the mobility of Chinese capital and people worldwide. It embodies the ‘Going Out’ state strategy that promotes the global spread of Chinese capital, ideas, culture and people. Often seen as
[...] Read more.
China’s cross-border language promotion body, the Confucius Institute (CI), has proliferated along with the mobility of Chinese capital and people worldwide. It embodies the ‘Going Out’ state strategy that promotes the global spread of Chinese capital, ideas, culture and people. Often seen as a vehicle of China’s power and influence, the CI has attracted much suspicion and even rejection as compared to similar institutions of other states. This paper examines the mobility of the CI and the encountered frictions when it lands in particular places, problematizing the commonly assumed unidirectional impact of the cross-border institution as a mighty soft power instrument. Specifically, it analyses the frictions of the CI’s establishment in Indonesia, where racial and political narratives on China and Chinese-Indonesians have long prevailed. Three cases are presented: one at the national level in Jakarta and two at the local level in the cities of Bandung and Makassar. By elaborating how frictions are created, resisted and managed differently, this paper illustrates the interplay of actors and power relations in the mobility of the CI, which in turn gives rise to particular local surprises. This paper also underlines the role of the Chinese-Indonesian diaspora as important bridge-builders of their two homelands. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Spatial Decision Support System Framework for the Evaluation of Biomass Energy Production Locations: Case Study in the Regional Unit of Drama, Greece
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 531; doi:10.3390/su10020531 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Renewable Energy Sources are expected to play a very important role in energy production in the following years. They constitute an energy production methodology which, if properly enabled, can ensure energy sufficiency as well as the protection of the environment. Energy production from
[...] Read more.
Renewable Energy Sources are expected to play a very important role in energy production in the following years. They constitute an energy production methodology which, if properly enabled, can ensure energy sufficiency as well as the protection of the environment. Energy production from biomass in particular is a very common method, which exploits a variety of resources (wood and wood waste, agricultural crops and their by-products after cultivation, animal wastes, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and food processing wastes) for the production of energy. This paper presents a Spatial Decision Support System, which enables managers to locate the most suitable areas for biomass power plant installation. For doing this, fuzzy logic and fuzzy membership functions are used for the creation of criteria layers and suitability maps. In this paper, we use a Multicriteria Decision Analysis methodology (Analytical Hierarchy Process) combined with fuzzy system elements for the determination of the weight coefficients of the participating criteria. Then, based on the combination of fuzzy logic and theAnalytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), a final proposal is created thatdivides the area into four categories regarding their suitability forsupporting a biomass energy production power plant. For the two optimal locations, the biomass is also calculated.The framework is applied to theRegional Unit of Drama, which is situated in Northern Greece and is very well known for the area’s forest and agricultural production. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Quinoa Expansion in Peru and Its Implications for Land Use Management
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 532; doi:10.3390/su10020532 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) has gained prominence worldwide over recent years and suddenly Peru has emerged as a major player in the global quinoa market. This study aims to analyze the expansion of quinoa farming in Peru in the period 1995–2014 and
[...] Read more.
Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) has gained prominence worldwide over recent years and suddenly Peru has emerged as a major player in the global quinoa market. This study aims to analyze the expansion of quinoa farming in Peru in the period 1995–2014 and to discuss the changes in land-use the country has experienced as a result of the boom in the global demand for quinoa. Two statistical approaches, principal component analysis (PCA) and exponential smoothing, were applied in the data analysis to explore the evolution of the quinoa boom in Peru by periods and to forecast what the acreage expansion rate would have been if the boom had not occurred. The results show that the quinoa boom was responsible for an increase of 43% in the number of hectares planted with quinoa in 2014, in relation to the number predicted if there had been no boom. This provoked an acceleration of production in traditional quinoa farming areas and the extension of this activity to new regions. The consequences are already apparent in the land-use changes seen in Peru, namely the: (i) displacement; (ii) rebound; and (iii) cascade effects. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Hybrid Approach to Explore the Risk Dependency Structure among Agribusiness Firms
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 533; doi:10.3390/su10020533 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Although the risk management of agricultural firms is important, studies on the extreme risk dependence among agribusiness firms are minimal due to the diversity and complexity of the risks faced by agricultural firms. In this study, we developed a hybrid approach to analyse
[...] Read more.
Although the risk management of agricultural firms is important, studies on the extreme risk dependence among agribusiness firms are minimal due to the diversity and complexity of the risks faced by agricultural firms. In this study, we developed a hybrid approach to analyse and uncover the potential risk dependence among agricultural firms. We examined thirty-two agricultural companies to study their dependence structure for risk losses. Three primary findings emerged. First, risk dependence is strong with an average value of 0.96. Second, the dependence structure is hierarchical and includes two network communities. Third, some key agricultural firms were identified in the dependence structure. These key firms are critical for the transmission of negative impacts across agricultural firms. Correspondingly, we suggest measures and strategies (such as improving the level of technological innovation and joint risk resistance capability) to reduce the impact of risk dependence. Full article
Open AccessReview
Milk Protein Polymorphism Characterization: a Modern Tool for Sustainable Conservation of Endangered Romanian Cattle Breeds in the Context of Traditional Breeding
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 534; doi:10.3390/su10020534 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The paper aims to review literature data with respect to Romanian native cattle breeds which are considered at risk of extinction. In the last decades, the number of individuals of Romanian indigenous cows decreased significantly, as a consequence of the intensification and specialization
[...] Read more.
The paper aims to review literature data with respect to Romanian native cattle breeds which are considered at risk of extinction. In the last decades, the number of individuals of Romanian indigenous cows decreased significantly, as a consequence of the intensification and specialization of animal productions and agriculture modernization. Some of the native cattle breeds are already lost, due to their crossing with improved breeds. However, after the accession of Romania to the European Union, various preservation programs were initiated, and most of them included biochemical research and studies of molecular or quantitative genetics. All these, associated with the application of reproduction biotechnologies, give a chance to these animals, which are extremely valuable in terms of their genetic resistance to diseases and environmental factors. The reviewed literature on Romanian indigenous endangered cattle breeds confirms that these animals are carriers of a valuable gene pool, which can be kept and bred while applying different reproductive biotechnologies. Consequently, this paper raises awareness on two issues: the decrease of genetic diversity in two Romanian native cow breeds threatened with extinction (Grey Steppe and Romanian Pinzgauer); and the benefits of genetic diversity of the two breeds. Full article
Open AccessArticle
An Assessment Tool to Integrate Sustainability Principles into the Global Supply Chain
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 535; doi:10.3390/su10020535 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The integration of sustainability principles into the assessment of companies along the supply chains is a growing research area. However, there is an absence of a generally accepted method to evaluate corporate sustainability performance (CSP), and the models and frameworks proposed by the
[...] Read more.
The integration of sustainability principles into the assessment of companies along the supply chains is a growing research area. However, there is an absence of a generally accepted method to evaluate corporate sustainability performance (CSP), and the models and frameworks proposed by the literature present various important challenges to be addressed. A systematic literature review on the supply chain at the corporate level has been conducted, analyzing the main strengths and gaps in the sustainability assessment literature. Therefore, this paper aims to contribute to the development of this field by proposing an assessment framework a leading company can adopt to expand sustainability principles to the rest of the members of the supply chain. This proposal is based on best practices and integrates and shares efforts with key initiatives (for instance, the Organizational Environmental Footprint from the European Commission and United Nations Environment Programme and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry UNEP/SETAC); moreover, it overcomes important limitations of the current sustainability tools in a supply chain context consistent with the circular economy, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), planetary boundaries, and social foundation requirements. The results obtained create, on the one hand, new opportunities for academics; and, on the other hand, in further research, the use of this framework could be a means of actively engaging companies in their supply chains and of achieving the implementation of practical and comprehensive CSP assessment. Full article
Open AccessArticle
How does the Ecological Well-Being of Urban and Rural Residents Change with Rural-Urban Land Conversion? The Case of Hubei, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 527; doi:10.3390/su10020527 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Human well-being can be affected by the loss of ecosystem services from conversion of agricultural lands. Uncovering negative ecological consequences of rural-urban conversion is important for regulating rural-urban land conversion. This paper evaluates the impacts of rural-urban land conversion on the ecological well-being
[...] Read more.
Human well-being can be affected by the loss of ecosystem services from conversion of agricultural lands. Uncovering negative ecological consequences of rural-urban conversion is important for regulating rural-urban land conversion. This paper evaluates the impacts of rural-urban land conversion on the ecological well-being of different interest groups in China and makes policy recommendations for mitigating them. This research empirically quantifies and compares changes in the ecological well-being of rural and urban residents due to rural-urban land conversion and examines how transformation factors affect such changes in Hubei, China using the Fuzzy Synthetic Evaluation Model. Results show that compared with urban residents, rural resident ecological well-being level declines more obviously with rural-urban land conversion. Two socio-demographic characteristics, age and education level, as well as zoning characteristics, influence both rural and urban resident well-being changes. It is argued that there is a need for quantitative measurement of agricultural ecosystem services changes and that the construction of ecological compensation policies in areas undergoing rural-urban land conversion is essential for regulating rural-urban land conversion and for maintaining resident ecological well-being. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Can More Environmental Information Disclosure Lead to Higher Eco-Efficiency? Evidence from China
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 528; doi:10.3390/su10020528 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The present paper investigates the impact of pollution information transparency index (PITI) on eco-efficiency using a novel panel dataset covering 109 key environmental protection prefecture-level cities in China over the period 2008–2015. We apply an extended data envelopment analysis (DEA) model, simultaneously incorporating
[...] Read more.
The present paper investigates the impact of pollution information transparency index (PITI) on eco-efficiency using a novel panel dataset covering 109 key environmental protection prefecture-level cities in China over the period 2008–2015. We apply an extended data envelopment analysis (DEA) model, simultaneously incorporating metafrontier, undesirable outputs and super efficiency into slack-based measure (Meta-US-SBM) to estimate eco-efficiency. Then, the bootstrap Granger causality approach is utilized to test the unidirectional Granger causal relationship running from PITI to eco-efficiency. Results of DEA model show that there exist significant spatiotemporal disparities of eco-efficiency, on average, the eco-efficiency in eastern region is relative higher than those of central/western region. Estimates of ordinary least square (OLS) method, quantile regression, and spatial Durbin model document that the evidence of an inverted-U-shaped relation between PITI and eco-efficiency is supported, and the turning points vary from 0.3370 to 0.4540 with different model specifications. Finally, supplementary analysis of panel threshold model also supports the robust findings. Policy implications are presented based on the empirical results. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Development of a Liveable City Index (LCI) Using Multi Criteria Geospatial Modelling for Medium Class Cities in Developing Countries
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 520; doi:10.3390/su10020520 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In recent years, research and development on liveable cities has gained much attention due to the complexity and diversity of liveability standards. Due to the already-existing grand-scale developments commonly found in most capitals, research on liveability is often conducted in smaller semi-urban cities.
[...] Read more.
In recent years, research and development on liveable cities has gained much attention due to the complexity and diversity of liveability standards. Due to the already-existing grand-scale developments commonly found in most capitals, research on liveability is often conducted in smaller semi-urban cities. Using Khon Kaen District in Thailand as a case study, we have developed a Liveable City Index (LCI) based on residents’ opinions and experts’ recommendations with the integration of Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques. The first stage of the survey (out of three), identifies marked variations in attitudes towards the liveability of a city. The survey evaluates nine significant factors (Safety, Economy, Environment, Education, Health, Transportation, Recreation, Population Density, and Public Utility) through the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) for LCI development. The LCI map reveals that only 3.49% of the Khon Kaen area corresponds to the highest and high liveable city levels. This contradicts the earlier ranking of the city as the most liveable city in 2010, which was only based on economic factors. Moreover, the proposed method was applied to another area—the Muang district of Suphanburi in western Thailand—in order to test its reliability, and the results were found to be similar. This clearly supports the integration of residents’ participation in assessing the liveability of a city, and it is evident that this proposed approach can be adopted in other areas for LCI development. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Quantitative Evaluation of the Sustainable Development Capacity of Hydropower in China Based on Information Entropy
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 529; doi:10.3390/su10020529 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
A sustainable hydropower development was developed by using the information entropy and the Brusselator principle and was applied to the hydropower data of China. Macro social economic and ecological environmental viewpoints were taken into account. The entropy change of each subsystem in a
[...] Read more.
A sustainable hydropower development was developed by using the information entropy and the Brusselator principle and was applied to the hydropower data of China. Macro social economic and ecological environmental viewpoints were taken into account. The entropy change of each subsystem in a calendar year is analyzed to evaluate Chinese sustainable development capacity. It is found that the established model can effectively reflect the actual changes of sustainable development levels through the entropy change reaction system. Meanwhile, this model can demonstrate clearly how those indicators impact on the sustainable hydropower development and fill the absence of existing studies on sustainable hydropower development. Full article
Open AccessArticle
CSR Performance, Financial Reporting, and Investors’ Perception on Financial Reporting
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 522; doi:10.3390/su10020522 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This study examines whether socially responsible firms behave differently from other firms in their financial reporting. Specifically, we question whether firms that are better in their corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance also behave in a responsible manner to maintain their financial reporting quality
[...] Read more.
This study examines whether socially responsible firms behave differently from other firms in their financial reporting. Specifically, we question whether firms that are better in their corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance also behave in a responsible manner to maintain their financial reporting quality and whether the market rewards such responsible behaviors. Using data from S&P 500 US companies, we find that socially responsible firms are less likely to manage their earnings. However, we fail to find significant relationships between CSR and investors’ perceptions on earnings, measured by stock returns and earnings response coefficient. We interpret the results as investors not fully reflecting the benefits from CSR performance. Our findings are consistent with the notion that CSR activities are motivated by managers’ ethical incentives to serve the interests of stakeholders. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Perceptions and Attitudes Toward Eco-Toilet Systems in Rural Areas: A Case Study in the Philippines
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 521; doi:10.3390/su10020521 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Death due to diseases from poor sanitation is a serious global issue and it has become one of the priorities of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (i.e., SDG6). This SDG6 aims to provide adequate improved sanitation facilities to over 2.3 billion people
[...] Read more.
Death due to diseases from poor sanitation is a serious global issue and it has become one of the priorities of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (i.e., SDG6). This SDG6 aims to provide adequate improved sanitation facilities to over 2.3 billion people around the world who have no or limited access to sanitation, wherein more than two-thirds of these un-served people live in rural areas. One of the strategies for addressing this global issue is through emerging sustainable sanitation technologies such as the Eco-Toilet System (ETS), which uses small amounts of water or is even waterless and recovers nutrients from human waste thereby promoting water-energy conservation, improved sanitation and supplement nutrients essential to plant growth. Social acceptance, however, remains a key barrier in deploying the ETS. A social perception study on the use of the ETS was conducted in a rural community in Mulanay, Philippines. The researchers analyzed the proposed combined technology acceptance model and theory of planned behavior (C-TAM-TPB) using multiple linear regression and the Mann-Whitney U-test to evaluate the perceptions and attitudes of a rural community towards the use of the ETS. The results showed that more than 50% of the respondents are aware of the nutrient value of human excreta and believe that it is usable as fertilizer; however, less than 25% prefer to utilize it for food production. Results also indicate that the behavior of the users is driven by their attitude (β = 0.420, p-value < 0.010). Moreover, the Mann-Whitney U-test results revealed that people who are knowledgeable of the nutrient value of human excreta and are willing to collect them have more positive attitude towards the ETS. Full article
Open AccessPerspective
Investing in Natural and Nature-Based Infrastructure: Building Better Along Our Coasts
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 523; doi:10.3390/su10020523 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Abstract:Much of the United States’ critical infrastructure is either aging or requires significant repair, leaving U.S. communities and the economy vulnerable. Outdated and dilapidated infrastructure places coastal communities, in particular, at risk from the increasingly frequent and intense coastal storm events
[...] Read more.
Abstract:Much of the United States’ critical infrastructure is either aging or requires significant repair, leaving U.S. communities and the economy vulnerable. Outdated and dilapidated infrastructure places coastal communities, in particular, at risk from the increasingly frequent and intense coastal storm events and rising sea levels. Therefore, investments in coastal infrastructure are urgently needed to ensure community safety and prosperity; however, these investments should not jeopardize the ecosystems and natural resources that underlie economic wealth and human well-being. Over the past 50 years, efforts have been made to integrate built infrastructure with natural landscape features, often termed “green” infrastructure, in order to sustain and restore valuable ecosystem functions and services. For example, significant advances have been made in implementing green infrastructure approaches for stormwater management, wastewater treatment, and drinking water conservation and delivery. However, the implementation of natural and nature-based infrastructure (NNBI) aimed at flood prevention and coastal erosion protection is lagging. There is an opportunity now, as the U.S. government reacts to the recent, unprecedented flooding and hurricane damage and considers greater infrastructure investments, to incorporate NNBI into coastal infrastructure projects. Doing so will increase resilience and provide critical services to local communities in a cost-effective manner and thereby help to sustain a growing economy. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Coupling between Rural Development and Ecosystem Services, the Case of Fujian Province, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 524; doi:10.3390/su10020524 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
To reveal the relationship between rural development and ecosystem services and to assist in efforts to balance these factors, we used a coupling model to carry out a study of the relationship between rural development and ecosystem services in Fujian Province of China
[...] Read more.
To reveal the relationship between rural development and ecosystem services and to assist in efforts to balance these factors, we used a coupling model to carry out a study of the relationship between rural development and ecosystem services in Fujian Province of China during the years 2000 to 2015. First, we characterized the degree of rural development for each county in the province by calculating its index of relative rurality (IRR) and classified the counties into rural development types. Second, we calculated the values of three ecosystem services (ES) and overlapped them to get the sum of ES for each county. Third, we calculated the coupling and coupling coordination degree and analyzed the correlation between IRR and ES in the study area. The results showed that the mean value of IRR declined over the study period, was positively correlated with ES, and the correlation degree increased year by year. Meanwhile the degree of coupling was in the antagonistic stage, but tended to run in stage with a highly coordinated stage coupling coordination degree, if the business services type-counties were excluded. Although the overall coupling coordination degree was high, it declined yearly, which meant that rural development and ecosystem services increasingly lacked coordination. This paper supports and verifies some achievements of rural development programs in the research area, provides theoretical and decision-making support for coordinated rural development and ecosystem services protection in China, and provides a regional case study that could assist with similar research in other countries. Full article