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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: 15 December 2017

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 (4 papers)

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Research

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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; doi:10.3390/su9101658
Received: 27 July 2017 / Revised: 26 August 2017 / Accepted: 13 September 2017 / Published: 21 September 2017
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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
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Open AccessArticle Ancient Irrigation Canals Mapped from Corona Imageries and Their Implications in Juyan Oasis along the Silk Road
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1283; doi:10.3390/su9071283
Received: 30 May 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 18 July 2017 / Published: 23 July 2017
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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
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Open AccessArticle Mapping the Soil Texture in the Heihe River Basin Based on Fuzzy Logic and Data Fusion
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1246; doi:10.3390/su9071246
Received: 12 June 2017 / Revised: 10 July 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 17 July 2017
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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
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Review

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Open AccessReview Status of Underutilised Crops in South Africa: Opportunities for Developing Research Capacity
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1569; doi:10.3390/su9091569
Received: 28 July 2017 / Revised: 30 August 2017 / Accepted: 31 August 2017 / Published: 6 September 2017
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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
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