Special Issue "Geosciences and Future Earth"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jesus Martinez-Frias

Instituto de Geociencias, IGEO (CSIC-UCM), C/ Del Doctor Severo Ochoa 7, Facultad de Medicina (Edificio Entrepabellones 7 y 8), 28040 Madrid, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +34 91 3944829
Fax: +34 91 3944798
Interests: planetary geology; astrobiology; natural resources of near earth space and sustainability; geo and biomarkers; extreme environments and planetary habitability; geodiversity and biodiversity; natural hazards and planetary ecosystems; mineralogy; geoethics in earth and space sciences; geoeducation; science and technology for development; emerging sciences, cultural implications; new paradigms

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

One of the main issues related to geoscientists’ activities and duties is that we should face, not only the conventional subjects related to Earth sciences, but also other, much more leading-edge and interdisciplinary topics. These include the multifaceted interactions with life (in a broad sense), considering Earth’s history and evolution, natural hazards and environmental and sustainability problems, and reflecting the wide scope and societal, educational, ethical, and cultural implications of the crosscutting character of the complex interactions between humans and nature. These goals and challenges match well with the principal question regarding how the Earth system will change in the future. This Special Issue attempts to contribute, from geosciences, to the development of the Future Earth Initiative, which was launched during the UN Rio+20. We strongly encourage you to participate, and invite you to submit your manuscripts, including general and specialized reviews and research articles.

Prof. Dr. Jesus Martinez-Frias
Guest Editor

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. Geosciences is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Keywords

  • Earth System
  • Global environmental Change
  • Sustainability
  • Geo-biology
  • Education and ethics
  • Capacity building
  • Case studies
  • Predicting models
  • Social resilience
  • Public engagement
  • Development

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Ideal-Type Narratives for Engineering a Human Niche
Geosciences 2017, 7(1), 18; doi:10.3390/geosciences7010018
Received: 23 January 2017 / Revised: 17 March 2017 / Accepted: 20 March 2017 / Published: 22 March 2017
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Abstract
Humans have built an anthropocentric biogeosphere; called: ‘human niche’. Global change is part of this historical process of niche construction, which implies the intersection of the biogeosphere and the sphere of human activities of social, economic, cultural, and political natures. To construct these
[...] Read more.
Humans have built an anthropocentric biogeosphere; called: ‘human niche’. Global change is part of this historical process of niche construction, which implies the intersection of the biogeosphere and the sphere of human activities of social, economic, cultural, and political natures. To construct these intersections, modern-day societies deploy ‘engineered systems’ and build narratives to frame these activities with purpose. This essay describes: (i) perceptions of what ‘engineered systems’ are about, (ii) their context such as global change, human agency, and societal implications of applied geosciences, and (iii) related narratives on how to handle global change through the design of ‘engineered systems’. Subsequently, regarding underpinning insights, it is shown that they: (i) are well-known, were used in the past, and now may be applied to handle global change; (ii) enshrine a distinct choice on how human activities and the biogeosphere shall intersect; and (iii) can be described by a simple ideal-type scheme, which does not require detailed scientific-technical understanding. Subsequently, it is illustrated how this ideal-type scheme leads to different narratives about what kind of ‘engineered systems’ are preferred. It is concluded that such ideal-type narratives for a messy world may help a lay-public to choose between options regarding how to handle global change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geosciences and Future Earth)
Open AccessArticle Analysis of Climate and Topography Impacts on the Spatial Distribution of Vegetation in the Virunga Volcanoes Massif of East-Central Africa
Geosciences 2017, 7(1), 17; doi:10.3390/geosciences7010017
Received: 17 January 2017 / Revised: 17 March 2017 / Accepted: 19 March 2017 / Published: 22 March 2017
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Abstract
This paper aimed to investigate the influence of climatic and topographic factors on the distribution of vegetation in the Virunga Volcanoes Massif using GIS and remote sensing techniques. The climatic variables considered were precipitation, Land Surface Temperature (LST), and evapotranspiration (ET), whereas the
[...] Read more.
This paper aimed to investigate the influence of climatic and topographic factors on the distribution of vegetation in the Virunga Volcanoes Massif using GIS and remote sensing techniques. The climatic variables considered were precipitation, Land Surface Temperature (LST), and evapotranspiration (ET), whereas the topographic factors considered were elevation and aspect. The dataset consisted of MODIS NDVI data, satellite-delivered precipitation, ET, and the LST. A 2014 Landsat 8 OLI image was used to produce a vegetation map of the study area, while DEM was used to derive the elevation attributes and to calculate the aspect angles. Moran’s I and Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) Model was used to analyze the relationships between the climatic factors and NDVI changes over elevation and aspect. The results indicated that among the nine vegetation types inventoried in the area, the Mean NDVI varied from 0.33 to 0.59 and the optimal vegetation growth was found at an elevation between 2000 and 3900 m, with mean NDVI values larger than 0.50. The peak mean NDVI value of 0.59 was found at the elevation from 2100 to 2800 m. Vegetation growth was found to be more sensitive to elevation, as NDVI values were more varied at a lower elevation (<4000 m) than at a higher elevation (>4000 m). Considering the aspect, the greater vegetation growth was found in SE (132°, 148°), SW (182°, 186°), and NW (309.5°–337.5°), with mean NDVI values larger than 0.56. This indicated that vegetation was susceptible to better growth conditions in the lower elevation ranges and in shady areas. The vegetation NDVI in this study area was mostly uncorrelated with precipitation (R2 = 0.34), but was strongly correlated with LST (R2 = 0.99) and ET (R2 = 98). LST (≥18 °C) and ET (1286 mm/year−1) were found to provide optimal conditions for vegetation growth in the Virunga Volcanoes Massif. Empirically, the results concluded that elevation, aspect, LST, and ET are the main factors controlling the spatial distribution and vegetation growth in this area. This information is significantly helpful for biodiversity conservation and constitutes a valuable input to environmental and ecological research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geosciences and Future Earth)
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Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Handling of Human-Geosphere Intersections
Geosciences 2016, 6(1), 3; doi:10.3390/geosciences6010003
Received: 12 November 2015 / Revised: 15 December 2015 / Accepted: 16 December 2015 / Published: 6 January 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (187 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This essay introduces the notion of “human-geosphere intersections”, describes “engineering” as an aspect of anthropogenic global change, and reflects on particular “paradigms” that may govern human-geosphere intersections. Seen conceptually, engineering is undertaken to meet needs and preferences of people within a composite framework
[...] Read more.
This essay introduces the notion of “human-geosphere intersections”, describes “engineering” as an aspect of anthropogenic global change, and reflects on particular “paradigms” that may govern human-geosphere intersections. Seen conceptually, engineering is undertaken to meet needs and preferences of people within a composite framework of technological means, scientific insights, worldviews, and value system. Nowadays, the engineering of production systems, of consumption patterns, and of related intersections of human activities with the biotic and abiotic environments is a central feature of the anthropogenic global change process. In the last centuries, the cultural evolution of humankind took a development path that now is furthering an engineered planetary process to intersect properties of the geo-biosphere with the noosphere (“human-geosphere intersections”). Four paradigms, ”adjustment”, “dovetailing”, “decoupling” and “modulating” are discussed, which may frame the engineering of human-geosphere intersections. These paradigms convene different insights into how bio-geosphere and noosphere function, how to alter human-geosphere intersections, and how engineering mediates between both spheres. Whatever paradigm is retained to engineer human-geosphere intersections, geoscience know-how has to be part of the noosphere, and geo-ethics should provide an orientation how human activities and geosphere should intersect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geosciences and Future Earth)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview A Review of Advances in the Identification and Characterization of Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Using Geospatial Technologies
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 17; doi:10.3390/geosciences6020017
Received: 21 January 2016 / Revised: 9 March 2016 / Accepted: 15 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (506 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem (GDE) protection is increasingly being recognized as essential for the sustainable management and allocation of water resources. GDE services are crucial for human well-being and for a variety of flora and fauna. However, the conservation of GDEs is only possible
[...] Read more.
Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem (GDE) protection is increasingly being recognized as essential for the sustainable management and allocation of water resources. GDE services are crucial for human well-being and for a variety of flora and fauna. However, the conservation of GDEs is only possible if knowledge about their location and extent is available. Several studies have focused on the identification of GDEs at specific locations using ground-based measurements. However, recent progress in remote sensing technologies and their integration with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has provided alternative ways to map GDEs at a much larger spatial extent. This paper presents a review of the geospatial methods that have been used to map and delineate GDEs at spatial different extents. Additionally, a summary of the satellite sensors useful for identification of GDEs and the integration of remote sensing data with ground-based measurements in the process of mapping GDEs is presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geosciences and Future Earth)
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