Sustainability2014, 6(4), 2379-2391; doi:10.3390/su6042379 - published online 23 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The promotion of sustainable tourism models has been widely debated; many pages have been devoted to the attempt to provide the subject with a strong theoretical base and coherent structure. This said, it is still the case that, although such frameworks are crucial for the development of appropriate planning and policy instruments, their actual implementation continue to be fraught with difficulties. These problems are exacerbated when sustainable tourism entails development opportunities which require the support of the local community and the management of natural resources which are typically common goods. Under these circumstances, new management structures, which can both satisfy the needs of the local community and ensure the appropriate stewardship of the natural resources, must be created. Management solutions are not always easy to define and often need to be considered within a general framework, based on which individual cases are then formulated. This study analyses the connections between models of sustainable tourism and natural resource management considering the forest landscape case. This relationship is first examined from a theoretical perspective and then within a case study, in order to highlight the dual approach—both general and within a specific context.
Sustainability2014, 6(4), 2357-2378; doi:10.3390/su6042357 - published online 23 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Groundwater has received increasing attention as an important strategic water resource for adaptation to climate change. In this regard, the separation of baseflow from streamflow and the analysis of recession curves make a significant contribution to integrated river basin management. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) RECESS model adopting the master-recession curve (MRC) method can enhance the accuracy with which baseflow may be separated from streamflow, compared to other baseflow-separation schemes that are more limited in their ability to reflect various watershed/aquifer characteristics. The RECESS model has been widely used for the analysis of hydrographs, but the applications using RECESS were only available through Microsoft-Disk Operating System (MS-DOS). Thus, this study aims to develop a web-based RECESS model for easy separation of baseflow from streamflow, with easy applications for ungauged regions. RECESS on the web derived the alpha factor, which is a baseflow recession constant in the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), and this variable was provided to SWAT as the input. The results showed that the alpha factor estimated from the web-based RECESS model improved the predictions of streamflow and recession. Furthermore, these findings showed that the baseflow characteristics of the ungauged watersheds were influenced by the land use and slope angle of watersheds, as well as by precipitation and streamflow.
Sustainability2014, 6(4), 2338-2356; doi:10.3390/su6042338 - published online 22 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Current governance of regional scale water management systems in the United States has not placed them on a path toward sustainability, as conflict and gridlock characterize the social arena and ecosystem services continue to erode. Changing climate may continue this trajectory, but it also provides a catalyst for renewal of ecosystems and a window of opportunity for change in institutions. Resilience provides a bridging concept that predicts that change in ecological and social systems is often dramatic, abrupt, and surprising. Adapting to the uncertainty of climate driven change must be done in a manner perceived as legitimate by the participants in a democratic society. Adaptation must begin with the current hierarchical and fragmented social-ecological system as a baseline from which new approaches must be applied. Achieving a level of integration between ecological concepts and governance requires a dialogue across multiple disciplines, including ecologists with expertise in ecological resilience, hydrologists and climate experts, with social scientists and legal scholars. Criteria and models that link ecological dynamics with policies in complex, multi-jurisdictional water basins with adaptive management and governance frameworks may move these social-ecological systems toward greater sustainability.
Sustainability2014, 6(4), 2320-2337; doi:10.3390/su6042320 - published online 21 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In the field of tourism, the development of tourist attractions is gradually playing a crucial role in tourism economy, regional economy and national economy. While tourism economy is stimulated by growing demand, tourist attractions have been facing the situation that ecological environment is becoming fragile and environmental protection is increasingly difficult in China. As low-carbon economy is highlighted more than ever before, how to develop green economy, how to apply theories and technologies, which are related to low-carbon economy, to push forward decarbonation, to protect the ecological environment, and to boost the development of tourism economy have become the core problems for the sustainable development of tourist attractions system. In addition, this system has drawn the attention of scholars and practitioners in recent years. On the basis of low-carbon economy, this paper tries to define the decarbonated development goals and the connotation of tourist attractions system. In addition, it also discusses system structure associated with system dynamics and system engineering, and constructs system simulation model. In the end, a case study is conducted, that is, to predict the development trend of Jiuzhai Valley by adopting the constructed system so as to extend the previous research on low-carbon tourism and to guide the decarbonated development in tourist attractions.
Sustainability2014, 6(4), 2300-2319; doi:10.3390/su6042300 - published online 21 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Thailand is located in Southeast Asia and is a country that was affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) epidemics during 2003–2004. Nevertheless, the Thai government’s issuance policy of strict control and prevention of the disease has resulted in efficient disease control of avian influenza (AI). Poultry farmers have been both positively and negatively affected by this policy. There are three poultry cluster models worthy of attention in Thailand: (1) egg chicken poultry clusters over ponds; (2) egg chicken poultry clusters in coops raised from the ground and managed by a cooperative; and (3) poultry clusters in closed coops under contract with the private sector. Following the AI epidemics, additional poultry husbandry and biosecurity systems were developed, thereby generating income and improving the quality of life for poultry farmers. Nevertheless, raising large clusters of poultry in the same area results in disadvantages, particularly problems with both air and water pollution, depending upon the environments of each poultry model. Furthermore, the government’s policy for controlling AI during epidemics has had a negative effect on the relationship between officials and farmers, due to poultry destruction measures.
Sustainability2014, 6(4), 2281-2299; doi:10.3390/su6042281 - published online 21 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Currently, a series of ecological environmental problems have been brought about by high-intensity intervention of human beings, and ecological security is regarded as one of the most important national survival strategies. A methodology of urban eco-security evaluation has been introduced, including a conceptual framework of pressure-state-response (PSR) model, setting-up of the indicator system of urban eco-security evaluation (ISUESE) and empirical research. By virtue of the mean-deviation method, the weight coefficient of every indicator is confirmed. It has been found that the top three indicators are: per capita area of paved road, per capita area of cultivated land and green coverage rate of built-up area, which has a relatively prominent status in he urban ecological security. A calculation procedure of fuzzy comprehensive evaluation (FCE) method is applied in empirical research. The Mianyang statistical data during the period of 2005–2012 shows that eco-security keeps a favorable trend, but criticality security and slight insecurity are dominant. It has also been found that insecurity membership degree (MD) of environment pressure accounts for a very large proportion of total pressure. Membership degrees of criticality security and security in environment state are increasing gradually, and as far as environment response is concerned, security is significantly increased.