E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "Advanced Technology for Sustainable Development in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Guangwei Huang

Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Sophia University, Japan
E-Mail
Interests: integrated watershed management; sustainability from water perspective; water quality; flood risk management
Guest Editor
Dr. Xin Li

Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
Website | E-Mail
Interests: land data assimilation, application of remote sensing and GIS in hydrology, application of remote sensing and GIS in cryospheric research, integrated watershed study

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Arid and semi-arid regions account for almost one-third of the total area of the world and arid zones are now home to over two billion people, accounting for 35% of the world's population. Additionally, more than 90% of dryland inhabitants are in the developing world and 70% in rural areas. Approximately half of the poorest people in the world live in arid and semi-arid regions. Therefore, the global sustainability could not be achieved without the sustainability in arid and semi-arid regions.

This Special Issue aims at combining papers of high quality to highlight the state-of-the-art in sustainability research for arid and semi-arid regions. It is not a simple collection of papers, but a well-designed assemblage of important recent contributions with regard to sustainability in arid and semi-arid regions. The objective is to present readers with a clear picture of what directions the research efforts should be oriented and how to move forward. Here, we would like to invite submission on the following (non-exhaustive list) topics:

  • New theory and cutting-age technology for sustainable development in arid zones
  • Innovative policy and planning for drylands
  • Integrated watershed science and management for arid and semi-arid regions
  • Comparative studies on environmental management practices between different arid regions
  • Culture and life style in relation to sustainability in arid regions

Prof. Dr. Guangwei Huang
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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

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

  • Arid and semi-arid regions
  • Water scarcity
  • Water reuse
  • Dryland agriculture
  • Multi-agent modeling
  • Application of remote sensing and GIS
  • Culture and life style

Published Papers (11 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-11
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Integrating Extended Fourier Amplitude Sensitivity Test and Set Pair Analysis for Sustainable Development Evaluation from the View of Uncertainty Analysis
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2435; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072435
Received: 12 June 2018 / Revised: 29 June 2018 / Accepted: 6 July 2018 / Published: 12 July 2018
PDF Full-text (3513 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is of importance but great difficulty to objectively and quantitatively evaluate the sustainable development level, especially in the weight determination process and uncertainty evaluation. The traditional weight determination methods hardly reflect the coupling effect (interaction) among the indices. More importantly, conventional evaluation
[...] Read more.
It is of importance but great difficulty to objectively and quantitatively evaluate the sustainable development level, especially in the weight determination process and uncertainty evaluation. The traditional weight determination methods hardly reflect the coupling effect (interaction) among the indices. More importantly, conventional evaluation methods seldom consider the uncertainties of the indices in the index system. Thus, it is indispensable to apply a more comprehensive approach to solve these defects. This paper presents a new method to evaluate the sustainable development level. The approach integrates the advantages of the Extended Fourier Amplitude Sensitivity Test (EFAST) and Set Pair Analysis (SPA) (called EFAST-SPA). The EFAST algorithm is used to determine the indices’ weight, and the SPA is employed to handle the uncertain relations in the evaluation system and to calculate the sustainable development level. A quantitative evaluation on the agricultural sustainable development in the middle reaches of Heihe river has been conducted using the EFAST-SPA method. The results have been compared with the traditional entropy method and it was concluded that EFAST-SPA and entropy are highly in line with the actual development status. In most cases, the EFAST-SPA method can describe the development levels more accurately, which reflects a higher reliability and application value of this proposed approach. Moreover, the presented method deepens the understanding of sustainable development evaluation from the view of uncertainty analysis inside the evaluation system. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Oasis Sustainability Based on Emergy and Decomposition Analysis
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1856; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061856
Received: 21 March 2018 / Revised: 30 May 2018 / Accepted: 1 June 2018 / Published: 3 June 2018
PDF Full-text (1730 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The human welfare and sustainability of oases have received wide attention because of the fragility of the ecological environment and the instability of these systems. In this study, the sustainability level and the driving forces of emergy utilization in the Hotan Prefecture (in
[...] Read more.
The human welfare and sustainability of oases have received wide attention because of the fragility of the ecological environment and the instability of these systems. In this study, the sustainability level and the driving forces of emergy utilization in the Hotan Prefecture (in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China) from 2005 to 2015 were evaluated using the emergy approach combined with the logarithmic mean Divisia index (LMDI) method. The emergy analysis showed that non-renewable resources (N) accounted for a large proportion of net emergy (U). The Emergy Sustainability Index (ESI) continued to decline in the study period, implying increasing environmental stress. From a long-term perspective, the system’s development is not sustainable. According to the emergy analysis and the LMDI results, it is imperative to pursue the following aims: (1) increase the per capita gross domestic product (GDP) and labor productivity, (2) improve the efficiency of state investment and aid fund utilization, (3) enhance the area’s sustainability level and economic independence, and (4) protect the area’s fragile ecological environment. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Harvesting Water for Living with Drought: Insights from the Brazilian Human Coexistence with Semi-Aridity Approach towards Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 622; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030622
Received: 14 December 2017 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 31 January 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
PDF Full-text (800 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The Semi-Arid region of Brazil (SAB) has been periodically affected by moderate to extreme droughts, jeopardizing livelihoods and severely impacting the life standards of millions of family farmers. In the early 1990s the Human Coexistence with Semi-Aridity (HCSA) emerged as a development approach.
[...] Read more.
The Semi-Arid region of Brazil (SAB) has been periodically affected by moderate to extreme droughts, jeopardizing livelihoods and severely impacting the life standards of millions of family farmers. In the early 1990s the Human Coexistence with Semi-Aridity (HCSA) emerged as a development approach. The debate on HCSA is limited to Brazilian literature but as a technological and a bottom-up governance experience, researches on the topic could add some insights to international debate on living with drought. The present paper adopts an historical perspective on HCSA before discussing the main HCSA’s rainwater-harvesting methods found in two case studies in the SAB as a local appropriate and advanced technological package for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Qualitative analysis of 32 semi-structured interviews with key local stakeholders, 29 unstructured interviews with family farmers, and surveys in 499 family farms are used. The results show that regardless the highly adaptive potential, the technologies are adopted in differ rates among them and in between case studies chosen, influenced by non-technological factors and interacting the broader public policies context. Scaling up the HCSA’s technologies in the rural SAB is a development path towards the SDGs. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Three-Stage Data Envelopment Analysis of Agricultural Water Use Efficiency: A Case Study of the Heihe River Basin
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 568; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020568
Received: 3 December 2017 / Revised: 14 February 2018 / Accepted: 19 February 2018 / Published: 24 February 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (7785 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Aiming to inspect the water use-related situation in the Heihe River Basin, we used a three-stage data envelopment analysis to examine agricultural water use efficiency (WUE) and related issues in the Heihe River Basin from 2004 to 2012. This method calculates technical efficiency
[...] Read more.
Aiming to inspect the water use-related situation in the Heihe River Basin, we used a three-stage data envelopment analysis to examine agricultural water use efficiency (WUE) and related issues in the Heihe River Basin from 2004 to 2012. This method calculates technical efficiency (TE), pure technical efficiency (PTE), and scale efficiency (SE). Results show that water use-related efficiency varies according to scale. TE and SE decreased in the study area, while PTE increased. This means that the effects of pure technology on improving overall technology are very limited, and scale adjustment is vitally important to the agricultural production area in the Heihe River Basin. The results provide recommendations for decision-makers to plan the efficient use of water resources in arid and semiarid areas; in addition, this method will contribute to calculations of water use-related efficiency. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle An Empirical Study on Sustainable Agriculture Land Use Right Transfer in the Heihe River Basin
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 450; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020450
Received: 14 December 2017 / Revised: 4 February 2018 / Accepted: 5 February 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
PDF Full-text (1934 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agriculture land use right transfer (ALURT) is a new policy designed to meet the demand of the sustainable development of agriculture in China. In the Heihe river basin (HRB), ALURT has also recently been introduced to cope with the emerging challenges in agriculture.
[...] Read more.
Agriculture land use right transfer (ALURT) is a new policy designed to meet the demand of the sustainable development of agriculture in China. In the Heihe river basin (HRB), ALURT has also recently been introduced to cope with the emerging challenges in agriculture. In this paper, we empirically study the long-term viability of this new policy in HRB using a sustainability assessment. We collect the documents of ALURT contracts, statistical data of ALURT performance, and conduct interviews with its users. The main finding is that the centralized institutional structure of ALURT in HRB compromises its long-term viability. In particular, the power imbalance under the regulation of the intermediate agency, which causes the dissatisfaction of the participants, is threatening the application of the ALURT policy in the long run. Therefore, we suggest that the role of the intermediate agency in ALURT needs to be redefined, to better serve the sustainable development of agriculture in HRB. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle The Traditional Technological Approach and Social Technologies in the Brazilian Semiarid Region
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010025
Received: 15 September 2017 / Revised: 18 December 2017 / Accepted: 19 December 2017 / Published: 22 December 2017
PDF Full-text (13955 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There are different technological approaches to deal with the social-ecological adversities found in the Brazilian Semiarid region (BSA). They vary according to the interpretation of what the roots of these adversities and the causes of the resulting vulnerability are. This paper analyses two
[...] Read more.
There are different technological approaches to deal with the social-ecological adversities found in the Brazilian Semiarid region (BSA). They vary according to the interpretation of what the roots of these adversities and the causes of the resulting vulnerability are. This paper analyses two technological approaches to the BSA, the first provided by the government through public policies and the other driven by civil society. It focuses on the initiatives promoted by each approach during the 20th and 21st centuries, and discusses how they have enhanced or reduced the sustainability of the Brazilian Semiarid region. This assessment is based on document analysis, fieldwork and open/semi-structured interviews. The traditional technological approach did not reduce the social-ecological vulnerability of the BSA system or increase resilience of family farmers and of the deciduous forest, the most vulnerable parties. It has boosted development from a classical development perspective, promoting macro-infrastructure and growth, but also contributed to keep the same pattern of dependence of farmers. Social technologies have been promoting the BSA sustainability and can have a long-lasting impact if extensively applied. While the traditional approach mostly benefits large landowners, social technologies benefit family farmers, the deciduous forest and the entire social-ecological system. Full article
Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle Development of an Evapotranspiration Data Assimilation Technique for Streamflow Estimates: A Case Study in a Semi-Arid Region
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1658; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101658
Received: 27 July 2017 / Revised: 26 August 2017 / Accepted: 13 September 2017 / Published: 21 September 2017
PDF Full-text (8925 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Streamflow estimates are substantially important as fresh water shortages increase in arid and semi-arid regions where evapotranspiration (ET) is a significant contribution to the water balance. In this regard, evapotranspiration data can be assimilated into a distributed hydrological model (SWAT, Soil and Water
[...] Read more.
Streamflow estimates are substantially important as fresh water shortages increase in arid and semi-arid regions where evapotranspiration (ET) is a significant contribution to the water balance. In this regard, evapotranspiration data can be assimilated into a distributed hydrological model (SWAT, Soil and Water Assessment Tool) for improving streamflow estimates. The SWAT model has been widely used for streamflow estimations, but the applications combining SWAT and ET products were rare. Thus, this study aims to develop a SWAT-based evapotranspiration data assimilation system. In particular, SWAT is gridded at Hydrologic Response Unit (HRU) level to incorporate gridded ET products acquired from the remote sensing-based ETMonitor model. In the modeling case, Gridded SWAT (GSWAT) shows a good agreement of streamflow modeling with the original SWAT. Such a scant margin between them is due to the modeling domain mismatch caused by different HRU delineations. In the ET assimilation case, we carry out a synthetic data experiment to illustrate the state augmentation Direct Insertion (DI) method and a real data experiment for the upper Heihe River Basin. The results demonstrate the benefits of the ET assimilation for improving hydrologic processes representations. In the future, more remotely sensed data can be assimilated into the data assimilation system to provide more reliable hydrological predictions. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Ancient Irrigation Canals Mapped from Corona Imageries and Their Implications in Juyan Oasis along the Silk Road
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1283; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9071283
Received: 30 May 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 18 July 2017 / Published: 23 July 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (5297 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Historical records and archaeological discoveries have shown that prosperous agricultural activities developed in the ancient Juyan Oasis of northwestern China, an important oasis that once flourished on the ancient Silk Road. However, how the irrigation canals were distributed in historical time was unknown.
[...] Read more.
Historical records and archaeological discoveries have shown that prosperous agricultural activities developed in the ancient Juyan Oasis of northwestern China, an important oasis that once flourished on the ancient Silk Road. However, how the irrigation canals were distributed in historical time was unknown. Here, we identified and mapped the spatial distribution of ancient abandoned irrigation canals that were built using CORONA photographs and field inspections. This work found that ancient irrigation canals are large-scale and distributed throughout the desertified environment, with three hierarchical organization of first-, second-, and third-order irrigation canals (the total length of the first- and second-order-irrigation canals is dramatically more than 392 km). This study further indicates that ancient irrigation methods and modern irrigation systems in arid regions of China share the same basic irrigation design. New visual and fine-scale evidence and spatial distribution of irrigation canals are provided to illustrate the development of the ancient irrigated agriculture that occurred in the Juyan Oasis. This work is useful for readers who are interested in the construction and organization approaches of irrigation canals used in ancient irrigated agriculture in arid regions. It also has implications for how ancient people balance the relationships between human needs and the eco-environment using reasonable water management methods, especially for decision-making in the efficient usage of limited water resources in the arid inland river basin. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Mapping the Soil Texture in the Heihe River Basin Based on Fuzzy Logic and Data Fusion
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1246; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9071246
Received: 12 June 2017 / Revised: 10 July 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 17 July 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3664 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mapping soil texture in a river basin is critically important for eco-hydrological studies and water resource management at the watershed scale. However, due to the scarcity of in situ observation of soil texture, it is very difficult to map the soil texture in
[...] Read more.
Mapping soil texture in a river basin is critically important for eco-hydrological studies and water resource management at the watershed scale. However, due to the scarcity of in situ observation of soil texture, it is very difficult to map the soil texture in high resolution using traditional methods. Here, we used an integrated method based on fuzzy logic theory and data fusion to map the soil texture in the Heihe River basin in an arid region of Northwest China, by combining in situ soil texture measurement data, environmental factors, a previous soil texture map, and other thematic maps. Considering the different landscape characteristics over the whole Heihe River basin, different mapping schemes have been used to extract the soil texture in the upstream, middle, and downstream areas of the Heihe River basin, respectively. The validation results indicate that the soil texture map achieved an accuracy of 69% for test data from the midstream area of the Heihe River basin, which represents a much higher accuracy than that of another existing soil map in the Heihe River basin. In addition, compared with the time-consuming and expensive traditional soil mapping method, this new method could ensure greater efficiency and a better representation of the explicitly spatial distribution of soil texture and can, therefore, satisfy the requirements of regional modeling. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Sustainable Agriculture in the Arabian/Persian Gulf Region Utilizing Marginal Water Resources: Making the Best of a Bad Situation
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1364; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051364
Received: 12 March 2018 / Revised: 17 April 2018 / Accepted: 24 April 2018 / Published: 27 April 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (337 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
One way to encourage agricultural self-sufficiency in arid regions is to increase the productivity of conventional freshwater agriculture. Another way is to develop and implement novel strategies and technologies that do not deplete scarce freshwater. Here we describe several options for countries in
[...] Read more.
One way to encourage agricultural self-sufficiency in arid regions is to increase the productivity of conventional freshwater agriculture. Another way is to develop and implement novel strategies and technologies that do not deplete scarce freshwater. Here we describe several options for countries in the Gulf region to increase their agricultural production by taking advantage of a lesser used resource—marginal water. Marginal water can be treated sewage effluent, produced oilfield water, brackish groundwater or seawater. We describe how this resource can be used to grow salt-tolerant forage crops, microalgae and aquaculture crops. Policies needed to implement and/or scale-up such practices are also outlined. Full article
Open AccessReview Status of Underutilised Crops in South Africa: Opportunities for Developing Research Capacity
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1569; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9091569
Received: 28 July 2017 / Revised: 30 August 2017 / Accepted: 31 August 2017 / Published: 6 September 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2670 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Underutilised crops represent an important component of agro-biodiversity with potential to contribute to climate change adaptation, food security and sovereignty in poor rural areas. However, despite emerging research interest, they continue to occupy the peripheries of mainstream agriculture. There is a need to
[...] Read more.
Underutilised crops represent an important component of agro-biodiversity with potential to contribute to climate change adaptation, food security and sovereignty in poor rural areas. However, despite emerging research interest, they continue to occupy the peripheries of mainstream agriculture. There is a need to consolidate the gains made and propose a coherent strategy for translating underutilised crops into mainstream agriculture. The status of underutilised crops in South Africa (past, present and on-going research) was reviewed with a view to identifying existing gaps, opportunities and challenges for developing future research capacity. The review confirmed that several underutilised crops are drought tolerant, adapted to low levels of water use and thus suitable for cultivation in most marginal production areas typical of semi-arid and arid cropping systems. In addition, several are nutrient dense and could be used to improve dietary diversity among poor rural people. These characteristics make them ideal for inclusion in climate change adaptation and promotion of food sovereignty. There is need for a paradigm shift away from practices that have promoted a few major crops to an agro-ecology based land use classification system that recognises diversity and strengthens food networks. There is a need to identify those underutilised crops that show the greatest potential for success and can be fitted into semi-arid and arid cropping systems and prioritise them for future research, development and innovation. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Back to Top