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Special Issue "Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
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
Phone: +39-0965-1694261
Fax: +39-0965-312681
Interests: land use planning; landscape change trajectories; multicriteria evaluation; geomatics; ecological networks
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Andrea De Montis

Dipartimento di Agraria, University of Sassari, viale Italia, 39, 07100 Sassari, Italy
E-Mail
Phone: +39 3209225566
Fax: +39 079 229243
Interests: landscape planning; regional planning; environmental evaluation; multicriteria evaluation; complex networks

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

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
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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.

Keywords

  • sustainable land uses
  • green infrastructures in urban/rural environments
  • sustainable landscapes and indicators
  • planning for sustainability
  • landscape change trajectories
  • ecosystem services
  • rural governance

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Peri-Urbanization and Rurbanization in Leiria City: the Importance of a Planning Framework
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2501; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072501
Received: 16 May 2018 / Revised: 20 June 2018 / Accepted: 11 July 2018 / Published: 17 July 2018
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Abstract
The objective of this study is to evaluate the spatial and temporal dynamics of land use in the city of Leiria, which is located in central Portugal, and its relation to the planning framework. The analysis is based on land-use change recognition in
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The objective of this study is to evaluate the spatial and temporal dynamics of land use in the city of Leiria, which is located in central Portugal, and its relation to the planning framework. The analysis is based on land-use change recognition in the period 1958–2011, calculation of the stability grade indicator, the losses and gains between classes, and the rate of artificialization. The results show an increase of the artificial areas, namely in continuous and discontinuous urban fabric, contrasting with a continuous decrease of the agricultural land-use classes, giving origin to peri-urbanization and rurbanization processes. We can also observe a large fragmentation of the landscape in the city of Leiria, representing rapid urban expansion that is fundamentally related to the increase of residential and industrial areas, and afterwards, tertiary growth. This study also demonstrated the relation of a land-use and planning framework that works as a driving force for land-use changes. This underlines the importance of strategic regional planning instruments in managing urban sprawl and the artificialization processes of medium-sized cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Assessing Mismatches in the Provision of Urban Ecosystem Services to Support Spatial Planning: A Case Study on Recreation and Food Supply in Havana, Cuba
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2165; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072165
Received: 7 May 2018 / Revised: 4 June 2018 / Accepted: 21 June 2018 / Published: 25 June 2018
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Abstract
Integrating information about how ecosystem services (ES) are provided and benefited from in spatial planning is essential to enhance quality of life in urban areas. This study aims to assess mismatches in the provision of urban ES. Specifically, it compares the amount of
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Integrating information about how ecosystem services (ES) are provided and benefited from in spatial planning is essential to enhance quality of life in urban areas. This study aims to assess mismatches in the provision of urban ES. Specifically, it compares the amount of services that urban dwellers currently benefit from with the capacity of green spaces to provide service and the ES demand, in order to assess two mismatches: “unsustainable flow” and “unsatisfied demand”, respectively. We focus on two ES, recreation and food supply, and conduct an empirical study in two adjacent municipalities of the city of Havana, Cuba. The methodological approach includes: the identification of services providing and demanding areas; and the quantification of mismatches by carrying out a spatial comparison between critical capacity and flow, and demand and flow. Results show that urban green spaces may be potentially exposed to overcrowding. Concerning food supply, a mismatch between demand and flow emerged in both of the municipalities. The assessment can support planners in addressing the sustainable use of green spaces and the equitable distribution of ES benefits. However, its applicability requires a deep understanding of local specificities, including demand levels, accessibility to ES, and sustainability thresholds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle The Fourth Regime of Open Space
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2143; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072143
Received: 12 March 2018 / Revised: 8 June 2018 / Accepted: 12 June 2018 / Published: 23 June 2018
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Abstract
This article reinterprets open space as the theatre of adaptive regimes in the interfering wakes of two major waves of transformation: the agricultural and the urban transformation. The aim of the wave regime concept is to accommodate traditional and emerging land uses in
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This article reinterprets open space as the theatre of adaptive regimes in the interfering wakes of two major waves of transformation: the agricultural and the urban transformation. The aim of the wave regime concept is to accommodate traditional and emerging land uses in a logical scheme of co-existing regimes separated by transition waves in space and time. 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 a 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 is illustrated for cases of illegal intake of farmland for non-agricultural activities and for domestic gardens as a missing category in customary rural and land use policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle A Geographical Analysis of the Poverty Causes in China’s Contiguous Destitute Areas
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1895; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061895
Received: 25 April 2018 / Revised: 2 June 2018 / Accepted: 4 June 2018 / Published: 6 June 2018
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Abstract
One of the most critical development problems in China is the existence of a considerable number of contiguous destitute areas (also known as regional poverty), and the causes behind such regional poverty might structurally differ by geographical characteristics. To deal with the problem,
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One of the most critical development problems in China is the existence of a considerable number of contiguous destitute areas (also known as regional poverty), and the causes behind such regional poverty might structurally differ by geographical characteristics. To deal with the problem, this paper, based on the “Three Nature” theory of New Economic Geography, first establishes an analytical index system of poverty causes, and then uses the gray relational method to identify the causes of poverty in 14 contiguous destitute areas. The results show that, at present, the main poverty causes in the mountain areas in eastern part of China, such as the Dabie mountain area, the Yanshan-Taihang mountain area and the southern Greater Khingan mountain area, are the shortage of human capital and information technology. In contrast, the main factors behind regional poverty in the central mountain areas such as the LuoXiao mountain area, the Lvliang mountain area and the Wuling mountain area are poor transport, locational and other natural factors. The western mountain regions such as Tibet, Tibetan areas in four provinces, South Xinjiang’s three districts and the West Yunnan border area are especially affected by natural endowments, but each area’s specific cause for poverty is different from one another. Finally, this paper discusses relevant policy issues regarding the fact that poverty causes are different by distinct natural factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle Towards Spatial Composite Indicators: A Case Study on Sardinian Landscape
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1369; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051369
Received: 27 March 2018 / Revised: 22 April 2018 / Accepted: 23 April 2018 / Published: 27 April 2018
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Abstract
Composite Indicators (CIs) recently earned popularity as decision-support tool in policy-making for their ability to give concise measures of complex phenomena. Despite growing diffusion of the use of CI in policy-making, current research has barely addressed the issue of the spatial dimension of
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Composite Indicators (CIs) recently earned popularity as decision-support tool in policy-making for their ability to give concise measures of complex phenomena. Despite growing diffusion of the use of CI in policy-making, current research has barely addressed the issue of the spatial dimension of input data and of final indicator scores. Nowadays the spatial dimension of data plays a crucial role in analysis, thanks to recent developments in spatial data infrastructures which has enabled seamless access to a large amount of geographic information. In addition, recent developments in spatial statistical techniques are facilitating the understanding of 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 insights of territorial dynamics in order to inform decisions in spatial planning and policy-making. This paper proposes an original method for the integration of spatial multivariate analysis and the use of spatial data to extend existing state of the art methods for CIs, as a step towards the construction of Spatial Composite Indicators. The method was successfully tested on a landscape planning case study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle Assessing the Effect of Spatial Proximity on Urban Growth
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1308; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051308
Received: 15 March 2018 / Revised: 17 April 2018 / Accepted: 19 April 2018 / Published: 24 April 2018
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Abstract
Land-Use/Cover Change (LUCC) reacts to demographic pressures, economic trends, or improved transport networks. Urban growth with implications on LUCC patterns can be measured using a diversity of methods. Our study derives from Tobler’s first law of geography: ‘everything is related to everything else,
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Land-Use/Cover Change (LUCC) reacts to demographic pressures, economic trends, or improved transport networks. Urban growth with implications on LUCC patterns can be measured using a diversity of methods. Our study derives from Tobler’s first law of geography: ‘everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant ones’. We identified and measured the influence of neighbouring distance on urban growth from the edge of existing urban areas. For that, we have developed a method, built using the NetLogo software tool, which we called Land-use chAnge and Neighbouring Distance (LAND). We selected Torres Vedras (Portugal) to conduct our case study due to its increasing urban development in the past few years. The periods of analysis were 1995–2010, 1995–2007, and 2007–2010. The results have shown the influence and the effect of strong spatial correlation between the proximity of existing artificial surfaces and the emergence of new ones. The understanding of the patterns of urban growth is helpful to plan forward land developments. This method can be used to write guidelines for decision makers to monitor urban expansion and define spatial planning priorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle Simulating Spatial-Temporal Changes of Land-Use Based on Ecological Redline Restrictions and Landscape Driving Factors: A Case Study in Beijing
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1299; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041299
Received: 18 March 2018 / Revised: 19 April 2018 / Accepted: 20 April 2018 / Published: 23 April 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2916 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A change in the usage of land is influenced by a variety of driving factors and policies on spatial constraints. On the basis of considering the conventional natural and socio-economic indicators, the landscape pattern indicators were considered as new driving forces in the
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A change in the usage of land is influenced by a variety of driving factors and policies on spatial constraints. On the basis of considering the conventional natural and socio-economic indicators, the landscape pattern indicators were considered as new driving forces in the conversion of land use and its effects at small regional extent (CLUE-S) model to simulate spatial and temporal changes of land-use in Beijing. Compared with traditional spatial restrictions characterized by small and isolated areas, such as forest parks and natural reserves, the ecological redline areas increase the spatial integrity and connectivity of ecological and environmental functions at a regional scale, which were used to analyze the distribution patterns and behaviors of land use conversion in the CLUE-S model. The observed results indicate that each simulation scenario has a Kappa coefficient of more than 0.76 beyond the threshold value of 0.6 and represents high agreements between the actual and simulated land use maps. The simulation scenarios including landscape pattern indicators are more accurate than those without consideration of these new driving forces. The simulation results from using ecological redline areas as space constraints have the highest precision compared with the unrestricted and traditionally restricted scenarios. Therefore, the CLUE-S model based on the restriction of ecological redline and the consideration of landscape pattern factors has shown better effectiveness in simulating the future land use change. The conversion of land use types mainly occurred between construction land and cropland during the period from 2010 to 2020. Meanwhile, a large number of grasslands are being changed to construction lands in the mountain towns of northwest Beijing and large quantities of water bodies have disappeared and been replaced by construction lands due to rapid urbanization in the eastern and southern plains. To improve the sustainable use of land resources, it is necessary to adopt the construction and development mode of satellite towns rather than encouraging a disorderly expansion of downtown areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle Landscape Greening Policies-based Land Use/Land Cover Simulation for Beijing and Islamabad—An Implication of Sustainable Urban Ecosystems
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1049; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041049
Received: 22 February 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 28 March 2018 / Published: 2 April 2018
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Abstract
City green infrastructure (CGI) makes cities more resilient and sustainable, as required by the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goal 11–Sustainable Cities and Communities. Based on the CGI policies of Beijing, land use/land cover (LULC) changes of two Asian capitals, Beijing, China and
[...] Read more.
City green infrastructure (CGI) makes cities more resilient and sustainable, as required by the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goal 11–Sustainable Cities and Communities. Based on the CGI policies of Beijing, land use/land cover (LULC) changes of two Asian capitals, Beijing, China and Islamabad, Pakistan, are simulated. LULC maps for 2010 and 2015 are developed by applying object-based image analysis (OBIA) to Landsat imagery. Dynamics of land system (DLS) model was used to simulate the LULC changes for 2020 and 2025 under three scenarios: (1) business-as-usual (BAU); (2) urban green space work plan (UGWP); and (3) landscape and greening policies (LGP). Results reveal that DLS is efficient than other simulation models. The BAU scenario predicts an overall expansion in Beijing’s greenery, while Islamabad will encounter a decline by 7.3 km2 per year. Under the UGWP scenario, urban green spaces and other vegetation area of Beijing will expand by 7.6 km2, while, for Islamabad, vegetation degradation rate will slow down to 6.9 km2 per year. The LGP scenario envisage a massive increase of 23.5 km2 per year in green resources of Beijing and Islamabad’s green land loss rate will further slowdown to 6.1 km2 per year. It is inferred from the results that vegetation degradation in Islamabad need to lessen by implementing LGP policy after basic amendments according to the local conditions and available resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle Integrating Ecosystem and Urban Services in Policy-Making at the Local Scale: The SOFA Framework
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1017; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041017
Received: 15 March 2018 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 28 March 2018 / Published: 29 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6146 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Despite ecosystem services having been broadly studied in the 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 of such operationalization. In this work, a framework including
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Despite ecosystem services having been broadly studied in the 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 of such operationalization. In this work, a framework including 53 livability services produced by the biophysical and socioeconomic subsystem, or by their interaction, was developed considering a local study area. All the services were characterized in terms of the need to access their Service Benefiting Areas (SBAs, the geographical units where the services benefit consumers) from the Use Regions (URs, the usual location of users). Moreover, the Service-Providing Areas (SPAs, the geographical unit where the service is produced) were also classified and characterized. Such analysis, together with empirical observations, helped to classify the spatial relationships between the SPAs, SBAs and URs of each service. In addition to a list of detailed information about all the services included in the framework, a visual scheme representing the different SBA types and an operational flow diagram synthesizing the spatial organization of service flow were designed to apply the methodology in other study areas. Two examples show the practical applicability in policy-making of the whole framework for supporting different aspects of local decision-making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle Identification of Population Growth and Distribution, Based on Urban Zone Functions
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 930; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10040930
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
Population growth and distribution are still widely seen from the perspective of urban areas. Though the city has many zones with various functions, so comes the question, what zone will have population growth and hold the highest population growth distribution? And why would
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Population growth and distribution are still widely seen from the perspective of urban areas. Though the city has many zones with various functions, so comes the question, what zone will have population growth and hold the highest population growth distribution? And why would residents choose that zone? The study was conducted in Bandar Lampung, Indonesia, using population data from 2004 to 2011 (8 years) and urban zoning data from government documents. The results show that the conservation zone has the highest population growth and receives the highest population growth distribution. This result is confirmed by a cross section survey of respondents who live in the conservation zone. The survey results show that purchase, wide land, environment, and native inhabitants are variables affecting the population’s choice of the conservation zone as their residential location. The study also shows that the zones with the highest population do not automatically have the highest population growth and accommodate the highest population increase. Population analysis using the zonation system can help us better understand population growth and population growth distribution in urban areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle Impacts of Urbanization of Mountainous Areas on Resources and Environment: Based on Ecological Footprint Model
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 765; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030765
Received: 19 January 2018 / Revised: 3 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 March 2018 / Published: 11 March 2018
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Abstract
The rapid urbanization has exerted tremendous pressure on natural systems in mountains. As a measure of sustainable use of natural resources, ecological footprint is an important basis for judging whether the development of a country or region is within the bio-capacity. Taking Dali
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The rapid urbanization has exerted tremendous pressure on natural systems in mountains. As a measure of sustainable use of natural resources, ecological footprint is an important basis for judging whether the development of a country or region is within the bio-capacity. Taking Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture as an example, this study comprehensively analyzes the impact of human activities on mountain resources and environment from the three aspects of urbanization, land use and ecological carrying capacity. The results show that Dali Prefecture with the urbanization rate of 33% is still in the accelerated stage of urbanization. The urban space presents the core-periphery feature, and the central city is the focus of human existence and living activities. The per capita ecological footprint is 1.14 ha higher than the ecological carrying capacity, meaning Dali Prefecture has an ecological deficit. This indicates that there is an uncoordinated state between urbanization and environment. Arable land is the main source of per capita ecological footprint in the prefecture. However, the urban expansion overly occupies the arable land in the plain sub-region, leading the arable land to an ecological deficit state. In the future, the development of the mountainous area should focus on the protection of arable land and choose a new sustainable path. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle Analyzing the Decoupling between Rural-to-Urban Migrants and Urban Land Expansion in Hubei Province, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 345; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020345
Received: 1 January 2018 / Revised: 21 January 2018 / Accepted: 21 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
Rapid urbanization in China has caused a large number of rural-to-urban migrants (RUMs) and rapid urban land expansion (ULE). Understanding the relationship between RUMs and ULE has important implications for urban sustainable development. This study explored the spatial patterns of RUMs and ULE
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Rapid urbanization in China has caused a large number of rural-to-urban migrants (RUMs) and rapid urban land expansion (ULE). Understanding the relationship between RUMs and ULE has important implications for urban sustainable development. This study explored the spatial patterns of RUMs and ULE in Hubei Province from 2009 to 2014, and analyzed the relationship between the two using a decoupling model. The results show that: (1) a large proportion of the rural population migrated to urban areas in Hubei Province from 2009 to 2014, and the distribution of RUMs was uneven: developed areas attracted more RUMs than undeveloped regions; (2) the urban land in Hubei Province increased rapidly from 2009 to 2014, and the urban land use in Hubei Province was extensive and inefficient; (3) the decoupling types between RUMs and ULE in Hubei Province were dominated by expansive negative and weak decoupling; (4) according to the changes in per capita urban land area and decoupling types, the coordination relationship between RUMs and ULE in Hubei Province was divided into eight types, and while the relationship between RUMs and ULE in most areas were coordinated and beneficial to urban land intensive use, the rest were uncoordinated. Finally, reasonable implications for urban sustainable development and new land use policy were put forward. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle Factors Influencing Farmers’ Adoption of Soil and Water Control Technology (SWCT) in Keita Valley, a Semi-Arid Area of Niger
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020288
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 26 December 2017 / Accepted: 27 December 2017 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
The Ader Doutchi Maggia in Niger, as with other Sahelian zones, undergoes a process of climatic deterioration, which combines with the growing social and economic needs of the increasing population and causes a general economic crisis. Land degradation due to biophysical factors requires
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The Ader Doutchi Maggia in Niger, as with other Sahelian zones, undergoes a process of climatic deterioration, which combines with the growing social and economic needs of the increasing population and causes a general economic crisis. Land degradation due to biophysical factors requires that priority action is given to land reclamation and soil conservation and to activities intended to increase agricultural production. This paper takes a look at socio-economic and established factors affecting the adoption of soil and water control technology (SWCT) in Keita valley, a semi-arid area in the central of Niger. Well-designed questionnaire survey on key agents was used to gather the indispensable data from farm ménages. The binary dichotomous logistic regression model prognosticated six factors to be affecting the adoption of soil and water control technology in Keita. These variables cover the gender of the respondent, age of the household’s head, income evolution within the family, small craft referring to off farm income, training provides by local institutions, use of credit and, possession of full rights on land and its resources. The results revealed that diffusion of adoption from local organized community is a good alternative to increase the adoption of soil and water control technology in Keita valley agriculture system in Niger. Researchers and policy makers should conceive proper strategies and agenda reflecting the farmers’ interest, position and restriction in advocating new technologies for greater assumption and adoption by the farmers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle Modelling the Spatial Expansion of Green Manure Considering Land Productivity and Implementing Strategies
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010225
Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 5 January 2018 / Accepted: 11 January 2018 / Published: 17 January 2018
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Abstract
In modern sustainable agriculture, green manuring is increasingly emphasized for a reasonable land use management. However, the expansion of green manure is affected by a range of factors, such as soil geophysical properties and human intervention. This paper proposes an approach of spatial
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In modern sustainable agriculture, green manuring is increasingly emphasized for a reasonable land use management. However, the expansion of green manure is affected by a range of factors, such as soil geophysical properties and human intervention. This paper proposes an approach of spatial modelling to understand the mechanisms that influence green manure expansion and map the future distribution of green manure intercropped in the orchards in the Pinggu District, Beijing, China. We firstly classified the orchards into five grades according to a land productivity evaluation, and then considered two strategies for implementing green manure. Two scenarios were designed to represent the strategies: prioritizing low-productivity orchards to promote green manure intercropping (scenario 1) and prioritizing high-productivity orchards to promote green manure intercropping (scenario 2). The spatial expansion of green manure for 2020 was simulated at a resolution of a 100 × 100 m grid in the CLUE-S (the Conversion of Land Use and its Effects at the Small Region Extent) model. The two strategies led to quite different spatial patterns of green manure, although they were applied to the same areas. As a result, the spatial pattern of green manuring of scenario 1 was more concentrated than that of scenario 2. To summarize, the modelled outcomes identified the driving factors that affect green manure expansion at a grid scale, whereas the implementing strategies directly determined the spatial arrangements of green manuring at a regional scale. Therefore, we argue that the assessment of the driving factors and the prediction of the future distribution of green manuring are crucial for informing an extensive use of green manure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Patterns and the Regional Differences of Rural Settlements in Jilin Province, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2170; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122170
Received: 24 September 2017 / Revised: 21 November 2017 / Accepted: 21 November 2017 / Published: 25 November 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (4699 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The spatial patterns of rural settlements are important for understanding the drivers of land use change and the relationship between human activity and environmental processes. It has been suggested that the clustering of houses decreases the negative effects on the environment and promotes
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The spatial patterns of rural settlements are important for understanding the drivers of land use change and the relationship between human activity and environmental processes. It has been suggested that the clustering of houses decreases the negative effects on the environment and promotes the development of the countryside, but few empirical studies have quantified the spatial distribution patterns of houses. Our aim was to explore the regional differences in rural settlement patterns and expand our understanding of their geographic associations, and thus contribute to land use planning and the implementation of the policy of “building a new countryside”. We used spatial statistical methods and indices of landscape metrics to investigate different settlement patterns in three typical counties within different environments in Jilin Province, Northeast China. The results indicated that rural settlements in these three counties were all clustered, but to a varied degree. Settlement density maps and landscape metrics displayed uniformity of the settlement distributions within plain, hill, and mountainous areas. Influenced by the physical environment, the scale, form, and degree of aggregation varied. Accordingly, three types of rural settlements were summarized: a low-density, large-scale and sparse type; a mass-like and point-scattered type; and a low-density and high cluster-like type. The spatial patterns of rural settlements are the result of anthropogenic and complex physical processes, and provide an important insight for the layout and management of the countryside. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of the Tourism’s Potential as a Sustainable Development Instrument in Terms of Annual Stability: Application to Spanish Rural Destinations in Process of Consolidation
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1692; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101692
Received: 12 September 2017 / Revised: 18 September 2017 / Accepted: 19 September 2017 / Published: 22 September 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (324 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tourism has established itself as an instrument that supports the sustainable development of rural destinations and has both, negative and positive effects. The annual instability of the flow of visitors, known as tourist seasonality, contributes to the intensification of some of these negative
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Tourism has established itself as an instrument that supports the sustainable development of rural destinations and has both, negative and positive effects. The annual instability of the flow of visitors, known as tourist seasonality, contributes to the intensification of some of these negative effects. In this work, we perform an analysis on the evolution of the seasonality intensity during the process of consolidation of the Spanish rural destinations, designed to improve the knowledge about the tourist activity’s capacity to generate a sustainable development alternative steady throughout the year. To guarantee an accurate measurement, we propose the use of a synthetic indicator as a methodological innovation, such as the Method of Distance Pena DP2, that brings together the supply and demand variables. We can observe that tourist seasonality is restrained in smaller destinations that experience a growth in terms of tourists’ arrivals, so it is associated with the early stages of the consolidation process. However, the destinations with a lower seasonality level do not match with those that welcome a larger number of visitors. Those destinations with the potential to obtain more benefits because of their level of consolidation do not have the necessary annual stability to provide employment and income in a steady way throughout the year. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)

Planned Papers

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.

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