Sustainability2016, 8(8), 718; doi:10.3390/su8080718 (registering DOI) - published 27 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Ecosystem services have become a critical issue in the environmental literature, however knowledge on whether women and men similarly value ecosystem services is still nascent. We aim at advancing the understanding of the relation between gender and environmental perceptions through the analysis of values assigned by women and men to ecosystem services supplied by home gardens in Vall Fosca (Catalan Pyrenees, north-eastern Spain). We found that women give a higher value than men to all ecosystem services. Overall, women’s valuation of the full range of ecosystem services provided by home gardens was 7.55% higher than men’s valuation. Gender socialization influences the way people interact with and value the environment, including highly managed environments such as home gardens. We argue that considering gendered differences in ecosystem services valuation may lead to policies more effective in enhancing ecosystem services provision.
Sustainability2016, 8(8), 705; doi:10.3390/su8080705 - published 26 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The importance of environmental consequences due to diverse substances that are emitted during the production of concrete is recognized, but environmental performance tends to be evaluated separately from the economic performance and durability performance of concrete. In order to evaluate concrete from the perspective of sustainable development, evaluation technologies are required for comprehensive assessment of environmental performance, economic performance, and durability performance based on a concept of sustainable development called the triple bottom line (TBL). Herein, an assessment method for concrete eco-efficiency is developed as a technique to ensure the manufacture of highly durable and eco-friendly concrete, while minimizing both the load on the ecological environment and manufacturing costs. The assessment method is based on environmental impact, manufacturing costs, and the service life of concrete. According to our findings, eco-efficiency increased as the compressive strength of concrete increased from 21 MPa to 40 MPa. The eco-efficiency of 40 MPa concrete was about 50% higher than the eco-efficiency of 24 MPa concrete. Thus eco-efficiency is found to increase with an increasing compressive strength of concrete because the rate of increase in the service life of concrete is larger than the rate of increase in the costs. In addition, eco-efficiency (KRW/year) was shown to increase for all concrete strengths as mixing rates of admixtures (Ground Granulated Blast furnace Slag) increased to 30% during concrete mix design. However, when the mixing rate of admixtures increased to 40% and 60%, the eco-efficiency dropped due to rapid reduction in the service life values of concrete to 74 (year/m3) and 44 (year/m3), respectively.
Sustainability2016, 8(8), 710; doi:10.3390/su8080710 - published 26 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: To determine the effects of straw incorporation on soil nutrients, enzyme activity, and aggregates in tobacco fields, we conducted experiments with different amounts of wheat and maize straw in Zhucheng area of southeast Shandong province for three years (2010–2012). In the final year of experiment (2012), straw incorporation increased soil organic carbon (SOC) and related parameters, and improved soil enzyme activity proportionally with the amount of straw added, except for catalase when maize straw was used. And maize straw incorporation was more effective than wheat straw in the tobacco field. The percentage of aggregates >2 mm increased with straw incorporation when measured by either dry or wet sieving. The mean weight diameter (MWD) and geometric mean diameter (GMD) in straw incorporation treatments were higher than those in the no-straw control (CK). Maize straw increased soil aggregate stability more than wheat straw with the same incorporation amount. Alkaline phosphatase was significantly and negatively correlated with soil pH. Sucrase and urease were both significantly and positively correlated with soil alkali-hydrolysable N. Catalase was significantly but negatively correlated with soil extractable K (EK). The MWD and GMD by dry sieving had significantly positive correlations with SOC, total N, total K, and EK, but only significantly correlated with EK by wet sieving. Therefore, soil nutrients, metabolic enzyme activity, and aggregate stability might be increased by increasing the SOC content through the maize or wheat straw incorporation. Moreover, incorporation of maize straw at 7500 kg·hm−2 was the best choice to enhance soil fertility in the tobacco area of Eastern China.
Sustainability2016, 8(8), 709; doi:10.3390/su8080709 - published 26 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The goal of this research is to investigate the factors that affect carsharing demand. As a proxy for carsharing demand, the number of (booking) transactions made by carsharing users is counted based on the data from one of the two major carsharing operators in Seoul, Korea. In order to identify the factors influencing station-based carsharing usage, multiple linear regression modeling was performed with the number of carsharing transactions as a dependent variable and with the three groups of independent variables: Built environment, demographic, and transportation variables. Instead of using the locations of the pods, this study uses the residential locations of carsharing users who made transactions, and the final result analyzing 420 districts shows that six variables significantly influence carsharing usage. Carsharing demand is high in an area where a higher proportion of building floor area is used for business, and which has a higher proportion of young residents in their 20s and 30s. It can also be predicted that the area with more registered cars and less subway entrances will show higher carsharing demand. The analysis result also suggests that providing additional carsharing pods, especially pods that utilize city owned public parking facilities, will help promote carsharing usage. This research establishes a basis for future research efforts to forecast carsharing demand and to identify areas with high potential, especially in major Asian cities.
Sustainability2016, 8(8), 708; doi:10.3390/su8080708 - published 26 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: As the shale gas revolution expands globally, the future potential and economic profits of overseas shale gas reserves have attracted the interest of Chinese investors. Overseas shale gas development is becoming an investment hotspot for Chinese oil companies. However, this multibillion-dollar venture is surrounded by a complex and uncertain environment. Therefore, this paper carries out an integrated and publicly available model for assessing risk in overseas shale gas investments. The purpose of this model is to address the index weight calculation and risk ranking and provide investor with risk information. In view of this, the comprehensive weights are obtained based on an analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and entropy weight methods; and the Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) method is performed to rank target countries. First, the paper identities five categories of risks with full consideration of the economic risk, political risk, geological risk, technological risk, and internal managements risk. Based on the risk identification, the assessment index system is established and valued. Secondly, China is taken as an example nation to use this model to prove the effectiveness of the proposed model and help the investor make wise decisions. According to the results, low-risk countries, such as Canada, Argentina, United States, and Algeria can be considered to be future key targets of shale gas investment abroad, while investors should be more cautious of high-risk countries such as South Africa and Brazil. Finally, policy recommendations are proposed to optimize the overseas shale gas investments from both the government and investor perspectives.
Sustainability2016, 8(8), 702; doi:10.3390/su8080702 - published 26 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The basis for implementing demands for a green city is the use of, among other things, innovative “clean” technologies. However, it is mostly and directly connected to the increased use of electric energy. Green transport is an appropriate example of this. By contrast, conventional sources of energy (e.g., based on coal) have a very negative impact on people and the environment. Therefore, this article mentions an attempt to solve a complex problem of employing renewable energy sources (RES) as an element of the “green city” system. The research was carried out on the basis of a feasibility study (decision game) for the location of a wind farm in the vicinity of the city of Szczecin, Poland. When constructing the decision models, multiple-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) methods were applied, especially analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and preference ranking organization method for enrichment evaluation (PROMETHEE).