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Special Issue "Human-Induced Global Change"


A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. B. L. Turner II

Gilbert F. White Professor of Environment and Society School of the Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning & School of Sustainability PO Box 87014, Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
Fax: +1 480 965 8313
Interests: human-environment relationships; land change science; sustainability; tropical forests; ancient Maya

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The questions of global environmental change increasingly enlarge and fuse with those of sustainability. This research expansion and orientation is registered by the 2012 London symposium, “Planet Under Pressure: New Knowledge Towards Solutions”, sponsored by the major international global environmental change programs (i.e., IGBP, DIVERSITAS, IHDP, EESP, WCRP). Sustainability science and the knowledge-solutions in question are predicated on an understanding through an examination of coupled human-environment systems (or social-ecological systems) in which the interactions of the two subsystems frames the research question.

A large portion of such work undertaken to date—often under such labels as resilience, vulnerability, land change science, landscape ecology, or conservation biology—employs remotely sensed data and analyses. For the most part, the biophysical subsystem has received the majority of attention compared to the human subsystem. This special issue of Remote Sensing explores questions of coupled system dynamics in which the human subsystem plays an important role. The collective works may address such themes as the

  • human drivers of the biophysical subsystem
  • feedbacks of the biophysical system on the human drivers
  • human responses to biophysical change
  • synergy and tradeoffs between environmental services and human outcomes
  • subsystem dynamics affecting the resilience or vulnerability of coupled system

as applied to a wide range of topics, such as

  • land change
  • landscape design
  • climate change
  • urban morphology
  • urban-rural linkages
  • food production

Prof. Dr. B.L. Turner II
Guest Editor

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Open AccessArticle Forest Cover Changes in Tropical South and Central America from 1990 to 2005 and Related Carbon Emissions and Removals
Remote Sens. 2012, 4(5), 1369-1391; doi:10.3390/rs4051369
Received: 21 March 2012 / Revised: 24 April 2012 / Accepted: 26 April 2012 / Published: 11 May 2012
Cited by 32 | PDF Full-text (1008 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
This paper outlines the methods and results for monitoring forest change and resulting carbon emissions for the 1990–2000 and 200–2005 periods carried out over tropical Central and South America. To produce our forest change estimates we used a systematic sample of medium [...] Read more.
This paper outlines the methods and results for monitoring forest change and resulting carbon emissions for the 1990–2000 and 200–2005 periods carried out over tropical Central and South America. To produce our forest change estimates we used a systematic sample of medium resolution satellite data processed to forest change maps covering 1230 sites of 20 km by 20 km, each located at the degree confluence. Biomass data were spatially associated to each individual sample site so that annual carbon emissions could be estimated. For our study area we estimate that forest cover in the study area had fallen from 763 Mha (s.e. 10 Mha) in 1990 to 715 Mha (s.e. 10 Mha) in 2005. During the same period other wooded land (i.e., non-forest woody vegetation) had fallen from 191 Mha (s.e. 5.5 Mha) to 184 Mha (s.e. 5.5 Mha). This equates to an annual gross loss of 3.74 Mha∙y−1 of forests (0.50% annually) between 1990 and 2000, rising to 4.40 Mha∙y−1 in the early 2000s (0.61% annually), with Brazil accounting for 69% of the total losses. The annual carbon emissions from the combined loss of forests and other wooded land were calculated to be 482 MtC∙y−1 (s.e. 29 MtC∙y−1) for the 1990s, and 583 MtC∙y−1 (s.e. 48 MtC∙y−1) for the 2000 to 2005 period. Our maximum estimate of sinks from forest regrowth in tropical South America is 92 MtC∙y−1. These estimates of gross emissions correspond well with the national estimates reported by Brazil, however, they are less than half of those reported in a recent study based on the FAO country statistics, highlighting the need for continued research in this area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human-Induced Global Change)
Open AccessArticle Dynamics of a Coupled System: Multi-Resolution Remote Sensing in Assessing Social-Ecological Responses during 25 Years of Gas Field Development in Arctic Russia
Remote Sens. 2012, 4(4), 1046-1068; doi:10.3390/rs4041046
Received: 13 February 2012 / Revised: 4 April 2012 / Accepted: 6 April 2012 / Published: 17 April 2012
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (2862 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Hydrocarbon exploration has been underway in the north of West Siberia for several decades. Giant gas fields on the Yamal Peninsula are expected to begin feeding the Nord Stream pipeline to Western Europe in late 2012. Employing a variety of high- to very high-resolution satellite-based sensors, we have followed the establishment and spread of Bovanenkovo, the biggest and first field to be developed. Extensive onsite field observations and measurements of land use and land cover changes since 1985 have been combined with intensive participant observation in all seasons among indigenous Nenets reindeer herders and long-term gas field workers during 2004–2007 and 2010–2011. Time series and multi-resolution imagery was used to build a chronology of the gas field’s development. Large areas of partially or totally denuded tundra and most forms of expanding infrastructure are readily tracked with Landsat scenes (1985, 1988, 2000, 2009, 2011). SPOT (1993, 1998) and ASTER (2001) were also used. Quickbird-2 (2004) and GeoEye (2010) were most successful in detecting small-scale anthropogenic disturbances as well as individual camps of nomadic herders moving in the vicinity of the gas field. For assessing gas field development the best results are obtained by combining lower resolution with Very High Resolution (VHR) imagery (spatial resolution < 5 m) and fieldwork. Nenets managing collective and privately owned herds of reindeer have proven adept in responding to a broad range of intensifying industrial impacts at the same time as they have been dealing with symptoms of a warming climate. Here we detail both the spatial extent of gas field growth and the dynamic relationship between Nenets nomads and their rapidly evolving social-ecological system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human-Induced Global Change)

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