Special Issue "Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2018
Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Modica
Dipartimento di Agraria, Università degli Studi Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria, Loc. Feo di Vito, I-89122, Reggio Calabria, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: land use planning; landscape change trajectories; multicriteria evaluation; geomatics; ecological networks
Prof. Dr. Andrea De Montis
Dipartimento di Agraria, University of Sassari, viale Italia, 39, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Phone: +39 3209225566
Fax: +39 079 229243
Interests: landscape planning; regional planning; environmental evaluation; multicriteria evaluation; complex networks
Landscape is the dynamic result of the interactions between human activities and natural drivers. It is our living natural and cultural heritage and has an important public interest. The achievement of sustainable land use involves a balanced and harmonious fulfillment of three well-known pillars: Social needs, economic development, and environmental protection. Thus, a major issue in contemporary rural governance is the correct compromise between land use expansion and intensification for satisfying ever-growing human-needs—a major driver of habitat and natural resources loss—and the decline of rural populations and traditional land uses, leading to the abandonment of marginal areas. Moreover, rural/urban landscapes are still undergoing rapid changes connected to the loss of agricultural land, resulting in a mix of fragmented ecosystems.
With respect to the argument above, this Special Issue welcomes theoretical and case study contributions dealing with sustainable landscape governance at local and regional scales. Typical contributions deal with natural areas, rural landscapes, urban landscapes, metropolitan regions, ecosystem services, and human-environment systems around the world. Innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to the support of community-based landscape governance in rural as well as urban/rural areas are very much encouraged. We also welcome papers from broadly defined topics that are relevant to the theme of this Special Issue.Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Modica
Prof. Dr. Andrea De Montis
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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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 1400 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.
- sustainable land uses
- green infrastructures in urban/rural environments
- sustainable landscapes and indicators
- planning for sustainability
- landscape change trajectories
- ecosystem services
- rural governance
The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.
Title: Sustainable Rural Governance against Eucalyptus Invasion in Galicia (NW Iberian Peninsula)
Authors: Diego Cidrás, Rubén C. Lois and Valerià Paül
Affiliation: Department of Geography, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Abstract: Researchers, planners and decision makers admit the need to take into account the social conflicts inherent to invasive species management in order to minimise controversy and promote ecological, social and even economic improvements. These conflicts are mainly based on differences in values systems, while stakeholders and decision makers’ risk perceptions tend to be lesser influential on them. Hence, the clash of values systems can reproduce antithetical policies in environmental management. Eucalyptus expansion started in Galicia in the mid-20th century. It has been accentuated in the last few decades (27,639 hectares in 1973 and 287,983 hectares in 2009). The massive exploitation of this tree is mainly promoted by the regional pulp industry. Beyond the economical power of this industry, policies led by the Spanish Franco regime and the Galician government (devolved in the early 1980s) have boosted this forestry model based on a monoculture of Eucalyptus plantations. In this context, social and political anti-Eucalyptus sectors contest the widespread policies by promoting alternative non-governmental forest management models. This response is worth analysing given that it allows considering emerging alternative models of sustainable rural governance. Two case studies will be analysed: on the one hand, a planning initiative led by a local government; on the other hand, the substitution of Eucalyptus plantations by vineyards in a particular communal land. The methodological approach will be based on the Structured Decision Making (SDM) method, as proposed by Gregory et al. (2012). In this respect, qualitative data (interviews, controlled observation) developed to understand the case-studies will be combined with statistical records in order to set the spatial and economic dimensions of Eucalyptus expansion in Galicia. The results are discussed with the purpose of examining to what extent the case studies imply a new model of rural governance and, in this respect, are transferrable to other realities.
Title: Population-based Simulation of Urban Growth—The Italian Case Study
Authors: Federico Amato, Claudia Cosentino and Beniamino Murgante
Affiliation: School of Engineering, University of Basilicata, Potenza, Italy
Abstract: Land take is one of the most studied phenomena in land use science. The growing attention of both scientists and decision-makers toward the issue of urban growth is justified by dramatic negative effects caused by anthropogenic activities on land use, indeed. Within this context, researchers developed and explored several models to forecast land use changes, some of which are able to establish excellent scenario-based prediction of urban growth. However, there is still a lack of operative and user-friendly tools to be integrated into standard urban planning procedures. This paper explores the features of the recently published model FUTURES, integrated into the GRASSGIS environment, which generates urban growth simulation based on a plethora of driving variables. Specifically, the model has been applied to the case study of the Italian national territory. Hence, the aim of this work was analysing the importance of population dynamics into the process of urban growth. Results will show how, despite the importance given over the last decades to demographic aspects in defining urban policies, additional factors shall be considered in planning processes to overcome the housing issues currently experienced in Italy.
Title: Identifying Mismatches in the Provision of Urban Ecosystem Services to Support Spatial Planning. A Case Study on Food Supply and Recreation in La Havana, Cuba
Authors: Maria Susana Orta Ortiz and Davide Geneletti
Affiliation: Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento, Italy
Abstract: How can urban green spaces contribute to the quality of life in cities? What is the current flow of ecosystem services provided by green space? How does it (mis)match with the existing demand? This study develops a methodology to answer these questions by spatially comparing capacity, flow and demand components of urban ecosystem services, in order to identify existing mismatches. Ecosystem services mismatches are defined as the differences in quantity between the capacity of ecosystems to provide services, the actual use of services, and the demand for services. Specifically, mismatches occur when urban dwellers consume more than ecosystems can provide (i.e., unsustainable uptake mismatch) or when this consumption rate is not enough to meet the demand of ES (i.e. unsatisfied demand mismatch). The identification of mismatches suggests a deficit of ES benefits and hence, a reduced contribution of green areas to the resilience of cities. Furthermore, the unsustainable use of ES may jeopardize their provision on the long term, thus reducing resilience. The method is applied to a case study in the city of La Havana, Cuba focusing on food supply and recreation.
Our results allow identifying vulnerable areas in term of unsatisfied demand and unsustainable uptake. This information can support the design of suitable strategies aimed at increasing citizens’ accessibility to urban ecosystem services while preserving their future provision, ultimately achieving more resilient cities.
Title: The Fourth Regime of Open Space
Authors: Hubert Gulinck, Ernesto Marcheggiani, Anna Verhoeve, Kirsten Bomans, Valerie Dewaelheyns and Andrea Galli
Affiliation: Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven, (Belgium
Abstract: This article reinterprets open space as the theater of adaptive regimes in the interfering wakes of two major waves of transformation: the agricultural and the urban transformation. Each wave corresponds to a transitional stage from one set to another set of value regime, which by the agents of the transformation is interpreted as a major value increase. The current struggle for space and the difficult interpretations of quality and sustainability can be explained as expressions of competition between value regimes. These value regimes tend to be driven and perpetuated by customary paradigms of land use planning and management (urban planning, ecology, agronomy etc.). Land use sectors ask for rather unambiguous definitions and clear use rights of land use categories and zoning, leaving limited possibility for interaction, mixed regimes and innovative multifunctional land use. New service demands, new sustainability and resilience urgencies challenge these customary land use planning paradigms and their rules and instruments.
This paper acknowledges a third wave and consequent fourth regime. This regime seeks overall increased sustainability and resilience in open spaces, stressing the strategic importance of unsealed soils and other life conditioning substrates. Different existing land use models such as "transition towns", "agroforestry" and many more, can be interpreted as fourth regime examples, but altogether there is need for more coordination or integration to turn the third wave concept into a real "wave". A specific target is to scan territories for characteristics and values according to the prevailing regimes, and assess each unit in terms of third wave transition opportunities, even within active uses that may be at odds with customary rules and expectations.
This will be illustrated for cases of illegal intake of farmland for non-agricultural activities, and for domestic gardens as missing category in customary rural and land use policy.
Title: Towards Spatial Composite Indicators
Authors: Daniele Trogu and Michele Campagna
Affiliation: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Architecture, University of Cagliari, Italy
Abstract: Composite Indicators (CIs) have recently become a popular decision-support tool in policy-making. They are usually developed to give concise measures of complex phenomena that encompass simultaneous effects of the reality.
Despite growing diffusion of the use of CI, in current research little or no attention has generally been paid to make value of the spatial dimension of input data and final indicator score.
Nowadays the spatial dimension of data plays a crucial role in analysis thanks to recent development in spatial data infrastructures which enabled seamless access to a large amount of geographic information. In addition, the recent developments in spatial statistical techniques made possible to better understand the presence of spatial effects among data, spatial dependence and spatial heterogeneity. These advances are improving our ability to understand the spatial dimension of information which is crucial to obtain a more robust representation of the territorial reality, and therefore to earn deeper knowledge of territorial dynamics in order to inform decisions in spatial planning and policy-making.
The use of spatial data, combined with spatial statistical techniques implemented in GIS, offers unprecedented opportunities for the spatialization of traditional methods and techniques for building CIs.
This work proposes the integration of spatial multivariate analysis and the use of spatial data to extend existing state of the art methods for CIs, as a novel step towards the construction of Spatial Composite Indicators.
The proposal of an original method for the creation of spatial composite indicators is tested on a rural landscape case study, which was chosen both for the complexity of its spatial characteristics, and for the relevance for design and decision-making in regional landscape planning.
Title: The Visual Quality of the Landscape as Viewed From Motorways
Authors: Belén Martín, Rosa Arce, Isabel Otero and Manuel Loro
Affiliation: Departamento de Ingeniería y Gestión Forestal y Ambiental, ETSI Montes, Forestal y del Medio Natural, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Spain
Abstract: Motorways are big infrastructures that alter the territory’s environmental resources but also constitute an important resource through which the individual comes into contact with the landscape. Landscape integration of motorways is related to its layout design and construction as well as to the aesthetic details in minor structures (design and construction materials) and treatment of embankments and landscape plantings. In this paper we test the following hypothesis: the elements of the motorways are relevant for landscape quality perception, and the aesthetic characteristics of minor infrastructures and planting are relevant in the quality of the landscape perceived from the roads.
These research questions were tested by comparing the visual quality of the landscapes captured in 128 photographs taken from sections of motorways in Spain. We compared the results obtained from (a) using visual landscape quality model proposed by Cañas (1995), and (b) the landscape preferences of the public determined using a survey to 737 people.
The results show correlation between the landscape quality values obtained using the model and the landscape preferences expressed by the public. We also found that the presence of the elements of the motorway and their aesthetic characteristics are significant in the users’ perception. These results might be employed in the decision-making process surrounding the investments to be made in landscape integration of new and existing motorways.
Title: Satellite Data as Indicator of Forest Dieback in a Mediterranean Coastal Broadleaf Oak Forest
Authors: Fabio Recanatesi, Chiara Giuliani and Maria Nicolina Ripa
Affiliation: Department of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences (DAFNE), University of Tuscia, Italy
Abstract: The utilization of remote sensing techniques for monitoring terrestrial ecosystems is often constrained by problems of resolution in space and by their frequency, particularly in Mediterranean environments these features represent a limiting factor in health forest condition analysis.
The current work deals with the use of the Sentinel-2 images, provided by European Space Agency (ESA), to produce diachronical NDVI data series characterising broadleaved forests decline in a protected area in the metropolitan area of Rome. To this aim, we used diachronic NDVI index, by application of multi spectral images and field observations, to monitor health status in a broadleaf oak forest that recently was involved by a rapid decline.
The monitoring performed allowed us to map in risk classes the oak forest and at the same time to provide data concerning the localization of areas that present strong decline. In this way we provided manage information for a correct planning of forestry thinning useful to preserve the forest not involved in the decline process.
Title: Landscape Regeneration in a Natura 2000 Site in Sicily through the Territorial Implementation of a Pilot Project on a Company Scale
Authors: Giovanna Tomaselli, Patrizia Russo, Lara Riguccio, Marzia Quattrone and Alessandro D’Emilio
Affiliation: Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Building and Land Engineering Section, University of Catania, Italy
Abstract: Those rural landscapes within areas that are part of the Natura 2000 network (European Ecological Network), are particularly sensitive, so that any anthropic action could cause the compromise of protected habitats, if not accurately evaluated.
Among all economic activities, agriculture can coexist with the natural character of protected areas and can be included among those ecosystem services whose adoption is desired by current European policies, provided that is conducted according to sustainable techniques.
Otherwise, agriculture could cause loss of biodiversity and landscape quality. One of the most striking case occurred on the southern coast of Sicily, where there is the largest SCI (Site of Community Importance) and SPA (Special Protection Area) site of the region.
Here, the important dune system was seamlessly occupied by greenhouses, so endangering habitats that guarantee the survival of endemic species, such as the Leopoldia gussonei.
The aim of this study is to assess the landscape and environmental benefits that can be achieved following the transformation of the landscape as proposed in the ambit of the LIFE Leopoldia project through two documents: (i) a master plan which outlines a new landscape asset of the area that takes into account the need to protect biodiversity, while not excluding the practice of an ecologically compatible agriculture and (ii) a pilot project of a plot of land managed with techniques of sustainable agriculture, proposed as a business model.
The assessment was carried out for those areas inside the master plan covered by greenhouses, in the hypothesis of their conversion according to the model of the pilot project.
Specifically, the main metric, visual and agro-environmental indicators were identified in order to assess the landscape and environmental pressure.
Subsequently, these indicators were valued both in the actual state and after the hypothesized conversion. The comparison of the obtained values allowed to determine the gain in environmental and landscape terms.
Title: Integrating Ecosystem and Urban Services in Policy-Making at Local Scale: The SOFA Framework
Authors: Sara Antognelli, Marco Vizzari and Catharina J.E. Schulp
Affiliation: Department of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences, University of Perugia, Italy
Abstract: Despite ecosystem services having been broadly studied in scientific literature, they are still hardly integrated in policy-making and landscape management. The lack of operative tools for their application is a main limiting factor upon operationalization. In this work, a local study area was identified as a case study where a framework including 53 liveability services produced by biophysical, socioeconomic subsystem, or by their interaction, was developed for assessing local liveability. All the services were characterized in terms of need to access their service benefiting area (the geographical unit where the services benefits consumers) from the use regions (the usual location of users). Moreover, the type of service providing area (the geographical unit where the service is produced) was also classified and characterized. Such analysis, together with empirical observations, helped to identify spatial relationships between Service Providing Areas, Service Benefiting Areas, and Use Regions. In addition to a list of detailed information about each service included in the framework, a scheme representing the different Services benefiting Areas types and a final flow diagram synthesizing the spatial organization of service flow were designed for applying the methodology in other study areas for supporting landscape planners. Two examples shows the practical applicability in policymaking of the whole framework for supporting different aspects of local decision-making.
Title: Adopting a Community-Based Governance Approach in the Azores’ Food System
Authors: Paola Andrea Hernández and Maria Helena Marques Enes Guimarães
Affiliation: ICAAM—Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais Mediterrânicas, Universidade de Évora, Portugal
Abstract: The Autonomous Region of the Azores’ (ARA) food system is unsustainable, defragmented and can be characterized as a centrally-governed scheme with a short-sighted strategy, highly dependent on subsidies, without the capacity for self-reflection, and with an urgency to set priorities. The Azores is classified as a predominantly rural region, whose fundamental pillar of the economy is agriculture. Fieldwork in Terceira Island (Hernández, 2016) revealed concerns over the sector’s profitability and pinpointed stakeholders’ appeal for a more inclusive, community-based, and adaptable food system. This paper presents issues on governance in ARA from a multi-stakeholder perspective, and proposes a community-based governance approach to ensure the food system’s resilience, adequacy and sustainability. It inquires the setup and factors leading to the (in)consistencies and contradictions throughout the arrangement in ARA; the opportunities of adopting a community-based governance approach; and, who is to collaborate, and how, in the making of a more sustainably governed food system in the Azores. It first describes the layout of the food scheme in the Azores; then, it explores contributions within community-based governance; and, finally, it presents ARA’s stakeholders’ visions on how to govern the food system more sustainably.
Title: A Rural Village Fight in Flanders: From Participatory Planning to Environmental Impact Assessment with Ecosystem Services
Corr. Author: Leone, Michael
Affiliation: Research group Nature & Society, Institute of nature and Forest research, Havenlaan 88 bus 73, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Abstract: The Maarkebeek is a socio-ecological system with competing spatial demands: agriculture, nature, flood control and urban infrastructure. To implement new flood control areas, the province administration led an inclusive landscape vision process with all relevant stakeholders. The concept of ecosystem services was applied to inventory local values and evaluate scenarios. Application of local ES as a baseline for this process prove to be successful in addressing the agriculture-nature conflict, adapting the vision to local values and validating proposed scenarios with stakeholders. This generated public support and led to inclusion of local ES as formal criteria for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). However, at this point, the process was blocked by disputes over public support, decision making mandates and administrators withdrawing support to the participatory approach at the first sign of conflict. We analyse this story in detail and propose do’s and don’ts for ongoing and future projects.
Title: When Dairy Farming, Nature, Tourism and Erosion are Linked to Each Other—An Integrated Territorial-Based Approach to Overcome Landscape Decline
Corr. Authors: Mortelmans, Dieter and Turkelboom, Francis
Affiliation: Research group Nature & Society, Institute of nature and Forest research, Havenlaan 88 bus 73, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Abstract: The Voeren region in Eastern Belgium is famous for its attractive cultural landscapes and its rich biodiversity. However, there are strong indications that this unique landscape is under threat. The main reason is that the family-based dairy farms face severe challenges, due to low international market prices and the heavy impact of government regulations. This has resulted in a decline of permanent pastures and removal of hedgerows, which will affect the touristic sector, biodiversity conservation and the risk for erosion and downslope flooding. As all these sectors are interrelated via landscape interactions, it became evident that pursuing single-sectorial objectives will only accelerate the on-going decline of the landscape quality. Via a multi-sector consultation process it was agreed that the typical cultural landscape of Voeren can only be sustained if there is a prospect for grass-based dairy farmers. Two major strategies were identified to turn the tide: 1) creating added value for the milk produced by grass-based dairy farming, and 2) developing governance processes and instruments for territorial-adapted development. The proposed strategy is expected to be relevant for similar cultural landscapes in Europe.