Special Issue "Information and Communication Technologies for Improving Monitoring and Management Schemes in Agricultural Environments"

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2017

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Yu-Pin Lin

Department of Bioenvironmental Systems Engineering, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei, 10617, Taiwan
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 886-2-33663467
Fax: +86 2 23686980
Interests: spatial statistics and modeling in environmental and ecological systems; applications of GIS and remote sensing in environmental and ecological systems; freshwater monitoring and modeling; optimal environmental monitoring network design; landscape ecology in land-use management and planning; ecohydrology; groundwater modeling; land-use planning and modeling; soil heavy metal pollution assessment; multiscale analysis in environmental and ecological systems; system dynamic modeling in environmental systems; ecosystem services; system dynamic modeling; optimization techniques
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Tsun-Kuo Chang

Department of Bioenvironmental Systems Engineering, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei, 40617, Taiwan
Website | E-Mail
Interests: water and wastewater treatment; agro-environmental management; water reuse for irrigation; soil remediation; applications of GIS in environmental resources management; soil and water engineering, environmental forensics
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Chihhao Fan

Department of Bioenvironmental Systems Engineering, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei, 10617, Taiwan
Website | E-Mail
Interests: river pollution control and water quality management; assessment of carrying capacity of water bodies; strategy for TMDL (total maximum daily load) implementation; watershed management; environmental chemistry; water and wastewater treatment; advanced oxidation processes; impact of macromolecule on AOP treatment efficiency; photo-catalytic oxidation of disinfection by-products in drinking water; transport and fate of environmental contaminants; quality assurance and conservation of agro-environment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In last two decades, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) with wireless sensors has improved a great deal and has been widely used in many fields, including in the improvement of living standards and activities, as well as environmental monitoring and management. Current ecosystem monitoring schemes of agricultural environments could profit immensely from ICT by extending our ability to develop, introduce and adopt innovative agricultural technologies and collaborate with research and stakeholders for the improvement of agricultural practices and environments. Accordingly, ICTs in agriculture can help stakeholders to secure healthy agricultural environments and increase irrigation efficiency, which would result in increased production efficiency and sustainability, not to mention secure food quality by providing information and knowledge sharing. Specific monitoring infrastructural changes can include things like automatic monitoring devices, indigenous wireless sensor nodes and gateways in agricultural networks. ICTs also provide real time monitoring data information such as water quality and quantity to stakeholders through mobile smart phone applications, sharing such data in real time can no doubt reduce agricultural pollution events a great deal. Recently, green ICTs have been discussed in reducing energy consumption that may be considered as a novel innovation for environmental sustainability. The proposed Special Issue will showcase recent studies in the field of developments and applications of green ICTs or ICTs in agricultural environmental monitoring and management, as well as assessments.

Prof. Dr. Yu-Pin Lin
Prof. Dr. Tsun-Kuo Chang
Prof. Dr. Chihho Fan
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Environments is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • development of ICT for agriculture monitoring
  • wireless water quality and quantity monitoring
  • cloud with ICT in agricultural environmental management
  • agriculture environmental Assessment
  • integration of mobile devices with ICT for monitoring improvement
  • applications of automatic monitoring devices with ITC
  • green ITC in agricultural environments

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Collaborative Conservation of a Socio-Ecological Production Landscape through ICT Tools
Environments 2017, 4(3), 63; doi:10.3390/environments4030063
Received: 14 July 2017 / Revised: 4 September 2017 / Accepted: 6 September 2017 / Published: 9 September 2017
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Abstract
Rural socio-ecological production landscape (SEPL) presents a mosaic combination of various use and spatial patterns. The rural SEPL claims conservation because it produces bundles of ecosystem services and well-being for people. However, due to the prevalent use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
[...] Read more.
Rural socio-ecological production landscape (SEPL) presents a mosaic combination of various use and spatial patterns. The rural SEPL claims conservation because it produces bundles of ecosystem services and well-being for people. However, due to the prevalent use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in recent years, we attempt to explore how the new ICT tool was employed to conserve the rural SEPL. This study targets four rural communities that the Balian River flows across in Sanzhi district, New Taipei city. These communities self-organized a river conservation patrol team and utilized LINE (an instant messaging software) group to manage the SEPL as well. We conducted mixed method research to collect their group conversation evidences including time, amount and content for basic quantitative analysis. Further, we adopted the qualitative in-depth interviews of key-informants to examine the characteristic of activities, the collaboration among communities and the benefits and issues during their action practices. The results show the ICT tools are indeed effective in assisting in social learning when conducting a cross-region of SEPL conservation activities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Development of ICT for Leaching Monitoring in Taiwan Agricultural LTER Stations
Environments 2017, 4(3), 47; doi:10.3390/environments4030047
Received: 28 April 2017 / Revised: 13 June 2017 / Accepted: 27 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
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Abstract
In order to study the groundwater subsidy from different cropping systems, leaching monitoring in Taiwan started in 2008 and implemented agricultural long-term ecological research (LTER) stations. Initially, leaching data was received by lysimeters, and then collected manually by laborers in the field twice
[...] Read more.
In order to study the groundwater subsidy from different cropping systems, leaching monitoring in Taiwan started in 2008 and implemented agricultural long-term ecological research (LTER) stations. Initially, leaching data was received by lysimeters, and then collected manually by laborers in the field twice per month. The cost of data collection and transmission is high, real-time monitoring is not possible, and maintenance of instruments is inefficient. In this study, the goal is to develop a data transmission path. ICT (Information and Communication Technology) with different data transmission schemes was applied to improve the efficiency and immediacy of data transfer from the field to the databases in labs. Between 2010 and 2017, four versions of ICT have been developed and applied in LTER stations. WiFi, 2.5G (General Packet Radio Service, GPRS), 3G/4G network transmission, and Arduino cores are applied in different ICT versions. The first version of data transmission used data loggers, developed by the original factory, with a lower cost of renovation of instruments. However, complicated transmission paths, diverse instruments, poor weather resistance, and lack of wireless functionality are the limitations of the first version. Those limitations had been overcome by the second and third versions by using 2.5G (GPRS) and 3G/4G network transmission, respectively. Nevertheless, these versions are limited to the processes of data compression and encryption transmission which were developed by the system vendors. In addition, data can only be collected through the webpage provided by the vendors, instead of being received directly from the database using SQL (Structured Query Language). This is inappropriate for advanced data treatment, organization, and analysis. Finally, the fourth version of data transmission has been developed using Arduino. This system allows redesigning of the data loggers and transmission instrument with more feasibility and flexibility. Radio Frequency (Radio frequency, RF) has been imported into the transmission path to receive data from diverse instruments with fewer data loggers. In conclusion, ICT technological advancement with its advantages of reasonable cost and high flexibility and feasibility, Arduino and other open source operation systems can be used to develop the data loggers and related instruments to meet the needs of users. Therefore, ICT is the most appropriate strategy to develop the long-term monitoring system in the field and to apply to other environment monitoring systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Leaf Wetness Evaluation Using Artificial Neural Network for Improving Apple Scab Fight
Environments 2017, 4(2), 42; doi:10.3390/environments4020042
Received: 29 April 2017 / Revised: 8 June 2017 / Accepted: 10 June 2017 / Published: 13 June 2017
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Abstract
Precision agriculture represents a promising technological trend in which governments and local authorities are increasingly investing. In particular, optimising the use of pesticides and having localised models of plant disease are the most important goals for the farmers of the future. The Trentino
[...] Read more.
Precision agriculture represents a promising technological trend in which governments and local authorities are increasingly investing. In particular, optimising the use of pesticides and having localised models of plant disease are the most important goals for the farmers of the future. The Trentino province in Italy is known as a strong national producer of apples. Apple production has to face many issues, however, among which is apple scab. This disease depends mainly on leaf wetness data typically acquired by fixed sensors. Based on the exploitation of artificial neural networks, this work aims to spatially extend the measurements of such sensors across uncovered areas (areas deprived of sensors). Achieved results have been validated comparing the apple scab risk of the same zone using either real leaf wetness data and estimated data. Thanks to the proposed method, it is possible to get the most relevant parameter of apple scab risk in places where no leaf wetness sensor is available. Moreover, our method permits having a specific risk evaluation of apple scab infection for each orchard, leading to an optimization of the use of chemical pesticides. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Applications of Information and Communication Technology for Improvements of Water and Soil Monitoring and Assessments in Agricultural Areas—A Case Study in the Taoyuan Irrigation District
Environments 2017, 4(1), 6; doi:10.3390/environments4010006
Received: 7 December 2016 / Revised: 9 January 2017 / Accepted: 9 January 2017 / Published: 17 January 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4616 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In order to guarantee high-quality agricultural products and food safety, efforts must be made to manage and maintain healthy agricultural environments under the myriad of risks that they face. Three central system components of sustainable agricultural management schemes are real-time monitoring, decision-making, and
[...] Read more.
In order to guarantee high-quality agricultural products and food safety, efforts must be made to manage and maintain healthy agricultural environments under the myriad of risks that they face. Three central system components of sustainable agricultural management schemes are real-time monitoring, decision-making, and remote access. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) systems are a convenient means of providing both these and other functions, such as wireless sensor networking, mobile phone applications, etc., to agricultural management schemes. ICT systems have significantly improved in recent years and have been widely used in many fields, including environmental monitoring and management. Moreover, ICT could benefit agricultural environment management by providing a platform for collaboration between researchers and stakeholders, thereby improving agricultural practices and environments. This article reviews and discusses the way in which ICT can efficiently improve monitoring systems and risk assessments of agricultural environment monitoring, as well as the technological and methodological improvements of ICT systems. Finally, we develop and apply an ICT system, referred to as the agricultural environment protection system—comprised of a cloud, six E-platforms, three mobile devices, automatic monitoring devices, indigenous wireless sensor nodes, and gateways in agricultural networks—to a case study in the Taoyuan irrigation district, which acts as a pilot area in Taiwan. Through the system, we use all available information from the interdisciplinary structured cloud database to classify the focal area into different agricultural environmental risk zones. We also conducted further analysis based on a hierarchical approach in order to classify the agricultural environments in the study area, to allocate additional sampling with resin packages and mobile devices, as well as to assist decision makers and stakeholders. The main contributions that the system provides include a technical innovation platform (suitable for integrating innovations), economic benefits, and societal benefits. Full article
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Other

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Open AccessOpinion Blockchain: The Evolutionary Next Step for ICT E-Agriculture
Environments 2017, 4(3), 50; doi:10.3390/environments4030050
Received: 10 May 2017 / Revised: 10 July 2017 / Accepted: 14 July 2017 / Published: 18 July 2017
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Abstract
Blockchain technology, while still challenged with key limitations, is a transformative Information and Communications Technology (ICT) that has changed our notion of trust. Improved efficiencies for agricultural sustainable development has been demonstrated when ICT-enabled farms have access to knowledge banks and other digital
[...] Read more.
Blockchain technology, while still challenged with key limitations, is a transformative Information and Communications Technology (ICT) that has changed our notion of trust. Improved efficiencies for agricultural sustainable development has been demonstrated when ICT-enabled farms have access to knowledge banks and other digital resources. UN FAO-recommended ICT e-agricultural infrastructure components are a confluence of ICT and blockchain technology requirements. When ICT e-agricultural systems with blockchain infrastructure are immutable and distributed ledger systems for record management, baseline agricultural environmental data integrity is safeguarded for those who participate in transparent data management. This paper reviewed blockchain-based concepts associated with ICT-based technology. Moreover, a model ICT e-agriculture system with a blockchain infrastructure is proposed for use at the local and regional scale. To determine context specific technical and social requirements of blockchain technology for ICT e-agriculture systems, an evaluation tool is presented. The proposed system and tool can be evaluated and applied to further developments of e-agriculture systems. Full article
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