Sustainability2014, 6(3), 1222-1249; doi:10.3390/su6031222 - published online 6 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The rise of the bioeconomy is usually associated with increased sustainability. However, various controversies suggest doubts about this assumed relationship. The objective of this paper is to identify different visions and the current understanding of the relationship between the bioeconomy and sustainability in the scientific literature by means of a systematic review. After a search in several databases, 87 scientific journal articles were selected for review. Results show that visions about the relationship between bioeconomy and sustainability differ substantially. Four different visions were identified, including: (1) the assumption that sustainability is an inherent characteristic of the bioeconomy; (2) the expectation of benefits under certain conditions; (3) tentative criticism under consideration of potential pitfalls; and (4) the assumption of a negative impact of the bioeconomy on sustainability. There is considerable attention for sustainability in the scientific bioeconomy debate, and the results show that the bioeconomy cannot be considered as self-evidently sustainable. In further research and policy development, good consideration should therefore be given to the question of how the bioeconomy could contribute to a more sustainable future. Furthermore, it is stressed that the bioeconomy should be approached in a more interdisciplinary or trans-disciplinary way. The consideration of sustainability may serve as a basis for such an approach.
Sustainability2014, 6(3), 1203-1221; doi:10.3390/su6031203 - published online 5 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The unprecedented rate and scale of activities, simulated by human abode in its entirety, is having large and accelerating effects on the integrity of biophysical elements of spatial capital, at local, regional, and global scales. Real appreciation of these effects demands a dramatic change in human manipulation of the spatial capital. Spatial capital can be viewed as processes or a complex matrix, in which not only our spatial but social, economic, and intellectual needs are embedded. Through an extensive synthesis of literature, this study strives to situate as well as manage human abode in context of spatial capital. It focuses on the need of crafting spatial governance, which secures today’s needs without compromising the needs of abode for our future generations. For harmonious human engagement with the spatial capital, we focused on following major requisites: (i) filling gaps in the understanding of processes of the respective spatial capital; (ii) integration of this intellectual capital; (iii) and spatial government supported by seamless institutionalisation, and governance processes in a global context. All modes of human abode are unique when analysed in the milieu of their social, economic, cultural, and intellectual yield, and their respective ecological footprint on spatial capital. An essential component of the sustainability of spatial capital is fundamental knowledge of the relevant biophysical processes, which yield the respective social, economic, cultural, and intellectual services we obtain from it. Action-oriented and integrated intellectual capital will yield the required awareness about the spatial capital, which when crystallised into proper institutions their processes will certainly produce promising outcomes for spatial management. Sustainable spatial constructs can only be produced through horizontal and vertical harmonization in governance institutions from the local to global level. It will not only help in the rehabilitation of the spatial capital but can also enhance it.
Sustainability2014, 6(3), 1191-1202; doi:10.3390/su6031191 - published online 5 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Food insecurity is a major challenge for Niger and for many African countries. The purpose of this study is to investigate the factors affecting household food security in Niger. Based on survey data covering 500 households, drought, high food prices, poverty, soil infertility, disease and insect attacks are reported by the respondents to be the main causes of food insecurity. The empirical results from logistic regression revealed that the gender of the head of household, diseases and pests, labor supply, flooding, poverty, access to market, the distance away from the main road and food aid are significant factors influencing the odds ratio of a household having enough daily rations. Another important finding is that female headed households are more vulnerable to food insecurity compared to male headed households. The findings of this study provide evidence that food insecurity continues to affect the Nigerien population.
Sustainability2014, 6(3), 1171-1190; doi:10.3390/su6031171 - published online 4 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Engaged research emphasizes researcher–stakeholder collaborations as means of improving the relevance of research outcomes and the chances for science-based decision-making. Sustainability science, as a form of engaged research, depends on the collaborative abilities and cooperative tendencies of researchers. We use an economic experiment to measure cooperation between university faculty, local citizens, and faculty engaged in a large sustainability science project to test a set of hypotheses: (1) faculty on the sustainability project will cooperate more with local residents than non-affiliated faculty, (2) sustainability faculty will have the highest level of internal cooperation of any group, and (3) that cooperation may vary due to academic training and culture in different departments amongst sustainability faculty. Our results demonstrate that affiliation with the sustainability project is not associated with differences in cooperation with local citizens or with in-group peers, but that disciplinary differences amongst sustainability faculty do correlate with cooperative tendencies within our sample. We also find that non-affiliated faculty cooperated less with each other than with faculty affiliated with the sustainability project. We conclude that economic experiments can be useful in discovering patterns of prosociality within institutional settings, and list challenges for further applications.
Sustainability2014, 6(3), 1153-1162; doi:10.3390/su6031153 - published online 28 February 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This research was conducted at the Africa Rice Sahel Regional Station (near Saint Louis, Senegal) during two wet seasons (i.e., July to November) in 2010 and 2011 with the aim of assessing the performances of introduced hybrid cultivars along with an inbred check cultivar under low input fertilizer levels. The five treatments used in this study were (a) the control (without any fertilizer application), (b) 37.5–4.4–8.3 kg N–P–K ha−1, (c) half of recommend application in Senegal (75–8.75–16.5 kg N–P–K ha−1), (d) 112.5–13.3–24.8 kg N–P–K ha−1, and (e) the recommended application in the country (150–17.5–33 kg N–P–K ha−1). There were significant year and cultivar effects for all traits. The fertilizer levels affected significantly most traits except panicle length and 1000-grain weight. The year × fertilizer level and year × cultivar interactions were significant for most traits, but the fertilizer level × cultivar and year × fertilizer level × cultivar interactions were not significant. Days to maturity, plant height, panicle per m2, and grain yield increased with increasing fertilizer levels during the two wet seasons. The grain yield of rice hybrids (bred by the International Rice Research Institute) was not significantly higher than that of the check cultivar widely grown in Senegal. The assessment of other rice hybrid germplasm showing more adaptability to low fertilizer levels will facilitate further hybrid cultivar development in Africa.