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Special Issue "Sustainable Agriculture and Development"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Sanzidur Rahman

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: agricultural economics; productivity and efficiency; technological progress in agriculture; agriculture and energy interaction; sustainable livelihoods;poverty; rural non farm economy.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainable agriculture is rapidly emerging as an important discipline aimed at producing food and energy in a sustainable way for the growing human population and supporting inclusive growth and development. Sustainable agriculture is influenced by a host of social, economic and environmental factors, such as, food and fuel price movements, policies and institutions, poverty and nutrition, cultural change, climate change, water pollution, soil erosion, fertility loss, pest control, and erosion of biodiversity.

This Special Issue is aimed at soliciting original contributions from academics and researchers providing theoretical insights and/or empirical analysis, which address socio-economic and/or environmental dimensions of sustainable agriculture that can provide valuable lessons for the future. The Editor encourages submissions applying cross-disciplinary approaches and use of a variety of quantitative, qualitative and mixed methodologies in social sciences. The scope of submission includes original research and review articles that address the issues raised above.

Dr. Sanzidur Rahman
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

  • Climate change and sustainable agriculture
  • Sustainable agriculture and environment interactions
  • Sustainable agriculture and energy interactions
  • Technological progress and sustainable agriculture
  • Development, growth and sustainable agriculture
  • Policies, institutions and sustainable agriculture
  • Poverty, nutrition and sustainable agriculture
  • Culture, society and sustainable agriculture

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle A Web-Based Tool for Energy Balance Estimation in Multiple-Crops Production Systems
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 789; doi:10.3390/su9050789
Received: 13 December 2016 / Revised: 26 February 2017 / Accepted: 3 May 2017 / Published: 9 May 2017
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Abstract
Biomass production systems include multiple-crops rotations, various machinery systems, diversified operational practices and several dispersed fields located in a range of distances between the various facilities (e.g., storage and processing facilities). These factors diversify the energy and cost requirements of the system. To
[...] Read more.
Biomass production systems include multiple-crops rotations, various machinery systems, diversified operational practices and several dispersed fields located in a range of distances between the various facilities (e.g., storage and processing facilities). These factors diversify the energy and cost requirements of the system. To that effect, assessment tools dedicated a single-crop production based on average standards cannot provide an insight evaluation of a specific production system, e.g., for a whole farm in terms of energy and cost requirements. This paper is the continuation of previous work, which presents a web-based tool for cost estimation of biomass production and transportation of multiple-crop production. In the present work, the tool is extended to additionally provide the energy balance of the examined systems. The energy input includes the whole supply chain of the biomass, namely crop cultivation, harvesting, handling of biomass and transportation to the processing facilities. A case study involving a real crop production system that feeds a biogas plant of 200 kW was selected for the demonstration of the tool’s applicability. The output of the tool provides a series of indexes dedicated to the energy input and balance. The presented tool can be used for the comparison of the performance, in terms of energy requirements, between various crops, fields, operations practices, and operations systems providing support for decisions on the biomass production system design (e.g., allocation of crops to fields) and operations management (e.g., machinery system selection). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Willingness to Adopt Biochar in Agriculture: The Producer’s Perspective
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 655; doi:10.3390/su9040655
Received: 5 March 2017 / Revised: 28 March 2017 / Accepted: 8 April 2017 / Published: 24 April 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1090 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Most research on biochar has focused either on the mechanistic or the biophysical aspects, and there has been relatively little research into the social applicability and acceptance of biochar as a soil enhancer in agriculture. However, whether to adopt biochar in their practice
[...] Read more.
Most research on biochar has focused either on the mechanistic or the biophysical aspects, and there has been relatively little research into the social applicability and acceptance of biochar as a soil enhancer in agriculture. However, whether to adopt biochar in their practice is ultimately the farmers’ decision, and their willingness to do so is crucial. Here, we show the producer’s perspective on adopting biochar, using Polish farmers as a case study. Poland is an interesting case study because biochar has only recently attracted the attention of researchers, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders there. We performed standardized, semi-structured interviews with 161 Polish farmers to evaluate the socioeconomic potential of biochar application in practice. We found that 27% of the respondents claimed to be familiar with biochar. The respondents with a technical, non-agricultural level of education were most familiar with the term ‘biochar’ (36%), followed by the group of respondents with a higher-level agricultural education (31%). It was surprising that among the latter respondents, the majority (69%) did not know the term ‘biochar’, either in the context used for this study or in any other context. Twenty percent of the respondents expressed an interest in using biochar, while 43% were not willing to adopt it in their agricultural practice (37% ‘did not know yet’). If a farmer was familiar with the concept of sustainable agriculture, the probability of familiarity with biochar increased by 16% (p < 0.05). In addition, farmers interested in using biochar indicated that sustainable agriculture might improve the financial situation of their farms (52%). The perceived benefits of biochar that drive the willingness to adopt it included improved soil quality and increased income due to increased yields, while the constraints on its adoption were associated mainly with high costs. Our results also point to the necessity of information flow as well as engaging farmers in participatory research to adjust the research to their needs. Furthermore, our results highlight the importance of transparency with the farmers and appropriate dissemination and presentation of both the positive and the negative aspects of biochar adoption. We urge those studying biochar to engage in more interdisciplinary research and to go beyond laboratory and field research. Many innovations, even those that work, will not be adopted if socioeconomic considerations are not incorporated into the research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Peri-Urban Matters. Changing Olive Growing Patterns in Central Italy
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 638; doi:10.3390/su9040638
Received: 20 January 2017 / Revised: 11 April 2017 / Accepted: 14 April 2017 / Published: 18 April 2017
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Abstract
For centuries, olive growing has played a major role in the central regions of Italy, with hectares of olive groves surrounding hill towns and hamlets as part of a strong deep-rooted farming tradition. With reference to Lazio and Abruzzo, this article makes use
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For centuries, olive growing has played a major role in the central regions of Italy, with hectares of olive groves surrounding hill towns and hamlets as part of a strong deep-rooted farming tradition. With reference to Lazio and Abruzzo, this article makes use of historical documentation, geographical surveys and in-depth interviews with professionals and experts, in order to provide evidence of how olive growing, once of the mixed type, now with specialized cultivations, has somehow challenged the structural features of traditional landscapes. In some cases, this ancient farming tradition has been awarded the ‘Protected Designation of Origin Brand’ according to strict technical production policies. Besides intensive crops, today also practiced on flat ground, for some years now, olive trees have been cultivated by ‘hobby farmers’. This is frequent in fringe areas, threatened by urban sprawl, within small plots belonging to detached family homes conferring a sense of rural ‘revival’. Whether all these diverse settlement patterns are socially and economically sustainable is debatable. Definitely, such persistence in land use, which now and again can be read even as a material survival of certain tree specimens, allows for olive farming as an enduring cultural practice in the face of increasing urbanization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Agricultural Productivity Growth and the Role of Capital in South Asia (1980–2013)
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 470; doi:10.3390/su9030470
Received: 12 December 2016 / Revised: 12 March 2017 / Accepted: 19 March 2017 / Published: 21 March 2017
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Abstract
The study assessed agricultural sustainability in South Asia (i.e., Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Nepal) by computing multi-lateral multi-temporal Total Factor Productivity (TFP) indices and their six finer components (technical change, technical-, scale- and mix-efficiency changes, residual scale and residual mix-efficiency changes) and examined
[...] Read more.
The study assessed agricultural sustainability in South Asia (i.e., Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Nepal) by computing multi-lateral multi-temporal Total Factor Productivity (TFP) indices and their six finer components (technical change, technical-, scale- and mix-efficiency changes, residual scale and residual mix-efficiency changes) and examined the role of capital in driving TFP growth covering a 34-year period (1980–2013). Results revealed that all countries sustained agricultural productivity growth at variable rates with Bangladesh experiencing highest rate estimated @1.05% p.a. followed by India (0.52%), Pakistan (0.38%) and Nepal (0.06% p.a.). There were little or no variation in technical and scale efficiency changes among the countries. However, residual scale efficiency increased @0.44% p.a. in Bangladesh, 0.12% p.a. in Pakistan, remained unchanged in India and declined −0.39% p.a. in Nepal. Similarly, mix efficiency increased @0.44% in Bangladesh, remained unchanged in India and declined @−0.12% p.a.in Pakistan and −0.39% p.a. in Nepal. The major drivers of agricultural TFP growth were the levels of natural, human and technology capital endowments whereas financial capital and crop diversification had opposite effects. Policy implications include land and tenurial reforms aimed at consolidating farm operation size and smooth operation of the land rental market to improve natural capital, investments in education to improve human capital and agricultural R&D to enhance technology capital in order to boost agricultural productivity growth in South Asia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
Open AccessArticle Climate, Agroecology and Socio-Economic Determinants of Food Availability from Agriculture in Bangladesh, (1948–2008)
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 354; doi:10.3390/su9030354
Received: 10 November 2016 / Revised: 19 February 2017 / Accepted: 24 February 2017 / Published: 28 February 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (292 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper examines the impacts of prices, resources, technology, education, public investments, climatic variables and agroecology on Food Availability (FA) from domestic agriculture in Bangladesh using a panel data of 17 regions covering a 61-year period (1948–2008) by utilising a dynamic agricultural supply
[...] Read more.
The paper examines the impacts of prices, resources, technology, education, public investments, climatic variables and agroecology on Food Availability (FA) from domestic agriculture in Bangladesh using a panel data of 17 regions covering a 61-year period (1948–2008) by utilising a dynamic agricultural supply response framework and Generalised Methods of Moments (GMM) estimator. Results revealed that FA has increased at the rate of 1.32% p.a. with significant regional variations. Significant regional differences exist with respect to climatic variables, resources, Green Revolution (GR) technology and education. Among the output prices, rise in the prices of rice, vegetables and pulses significantly increase FA whereas an increase in spice price significantly reduces FA. Among the input prices, a rise in labour wage significantly increases FA. FA increases significantly with an increase in GR technology expansion, as expected. Among the resources, increases in average farm size and labour stock per farm significantly increase FA, as expected. Among the climatic factors, a rise in annual minimum temperature significantly increases FA. FA is also significantly influenced by agroecological characteristics. FA is significantly higher in Karatoa floodplain and Atrai Basin but significantly lower in Ganges Tidal floodplain. Major disasters/events (i.e., the Liberation War of 1971 and 1988 flood) also significantly reduced FA, as expected. The key conclusion is that, over the past six decades, Food Availability in Bangladesh was significantly shaped by changes in climate, agrocology, output prices, resources and GR technology diffusion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
Open AccessArticle Elimination Method of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA): A Simple Methodological Approach for Assessing Agricultural Sustainability
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 287; doi:10.3390/su9020287
Received: 10 November 2016 / Revised: 24 January 2017 / Accepted: 9 February 2017 / Published: 16 February 2017
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Abstract
In the present world context, there is a need to assess the sustainability of agricultural systems. Various methods have been proposed to assess agricultural sustainability. Like in many other fields, Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) has recently been used as a methodological approach for
[...] Read more.
In the present world context, there is a need to assess the sustainability of agricultural systems. Various methods have been proposed to assess agricultural sustainability. Like in many other fields, Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) has recently been used as a methodological approach for the assessment of agricultural sustainability. In this paper, an attempt is made to apply Elimination, a MCDA method, to an agricultural sustainability assessment, and to investigate its benefits and drawbacks. This article starts by explaining the importance of agricultural sustainability. Common MCDA types are discussed, with a description of the state-of-the-art method for incorporating multi-criteria and reference values for agricultural sustainability assessment. Then, a generic description of the Elimination Method is provided, and its modeling approach is applied to a case study in coastal Bangladesh. An assessment of the results is provided, and the issues that need consideration before applying Elimination to agricultural sustainability, are examined. Whilst having some limitations, the case study shows that it is applicable for agricultural sustainability assessments and for ranking the sustainability of agricultural systems. The assessment is quick compared to other assessment methods and is shown to be helpful for agricultural sustainability assessment. It is a relatively simple and straightforward analytical tool that could be widely and easily applied. However, it is suggested that appropriate care must be taken to ensure the successful use of the Elimination Method during the assessment process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Exploring the Factors Driving Seasonal Farmland Abandonment: A Case Study at the Regional Level in Hunan Province, Central China
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 187; doi:10.3390/su9020187
Received: 19 December 2016 / Accepted: 18 January 2017 / Published: 26 January 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (16472 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Farmland abandonment, including perennial and seasonal abandonment, is an important process of land use change that matters most to food security. Although there is a great deal of studies on farmland abandonment, seasonal abandonment, which is as serious as perennial abandonment, has attracted
[...] Read more.
Farmland abandonment, including perennial and seasonal abandonment, is an important process of land use change that matters most to food security. Although there is a great deal of studies on farmland abandonment, seasonal abandonment, which is as serious as perennial abandonment, has attracted little academic attention. This paper takes Hunan Province in central China as its study area and uses a spatial regression model to examine the driving factors of seasonal farmland abandonment at the county level. Our results show that farmland abandonment has striking spatial relativity, and there are two clustering zones with a high index of farmland abandonment (IFA) in the Dongting plain and the basin in south-central Hunan, while a clustering zone of low IFA can be found in the mountains of southwest Hunan. Farmland abandonment at the regional level is negatively affected by the land productive potentialities, proportion of mechanized planting, ratio of effective irrigation, and distance to provincial capital, while it is positively associated with the variables mountainous terrain, per capita farmland area, and labor shortage. Additionally, farmland abandonment is also affected by adjacent areas through its spatial dependence. In short, seasonal farmland abandonment is also driven integratedly by the socioeconomic and environmental dimensions and spatial interaction of farm abandonment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Potential of Vertical Hydroponic Agriculture in Mexico
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 140; doi:10.3390/su9010140
Received: 1 November 2016 / Revised: 11 January 2017 / Accepted: 13 January 2017 / Published: 20 January 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3035 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In 2050, Mexico’s population will reach 150 million people, about 80% of whom will likely live in urban centers. This increase in population will necessitate increased food production in the country. The lands classified as drylands in Mexico occupy approximately 101.5 million hectares,
[...] Read more.
In 2050, Mexico’s population will reach 150 million people, about 80% of whom will likely live in urban centers. This increase in population will necessitate increased food production in the country. The lands classified as drylands in Mexico occupy approximately 101.5 million hectares, or just over half the territory, limiting the potential for agricultural expansion. In addition to the problem of arid conditions in Mexico, there are conditions in other parts of the country related to low to very low water availability, resulting in pressure on the water resources in almost two-thirds of the country. Currently, agriculture uses 77% of the water withdrawn, primarily for food production. This sector contributes 12% of the total greenhouse gas emission (GHG) production in the country. Given the conditions of pressure on water and land resources in Mexico and the need to reduce the carbon footprint, vertical farming technology could offer the possibility for sustainable food production in the urban areas of the country in the coming years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Changing Structure and Sustainable Development for China’s Hog Sector
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 69; doi:10.3390/su9010069
Received: 7 November 2016 / Revised: 29 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 6 January 2017
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Abstract
Supply shortages and competitive disadvantages are the main problems faced by China’s hog sector. The non-essential import of pork products, triggered by competitive disadvantages, poses great challenges to hog farms. Structural changes are an important policy concern in China and elsewhere. Previous literature
[...] Read more.
Supply shortages and competitive disadvantages are the main problems faced by China’s hog sector. The non-essential import of pork products, triggered by competitive disadvantages, poses great challenges to hog farms. Structural changes are an important policy concern in China and elsewhere. Previous literature has ignored whether the ongoing structural changes from backyard to large farms can contribute to sustainable development. This study adopts the micro-level data of hog farms collected from Jiangsu Province, and uses a two-step metafrontier model and a primal system approach. The empirical results reveal that the ongoing structural changes are capable of boosting the growth in output in China’s hog sector, since the stronger increase in comparable technical efficiency compensates for the inappropriate technology. Furthermore, the ongoing structural changes are also beneficial in the reduction of production costs and in improving competitiveness in China’s hog sector. The decline in technical and allocative inefficiency costs, particularly for technical inefficiency costs, contributes to the cost advantage with the increasing farm size. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Social Innovation and Sustainable Rural Development: The Case of a Brazilian Agroecology Network
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 3; doi:10.3390/su9010003
Received: 28 September 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 16 December 2016 / Published: 22 December 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1390 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Food is central to human beings and their social life. The growing industrialization of the food system has led to a greater availability of food, along with an increasing risk perception and awareness in consumers. At the same time, there is an increasing
[...] Read more.
Food is central to human beings and their social life. The growing industrialization of the food system has led to a greater availability of food, along with an increasing risk perception and awareness in consumers. At the same time, there is an increasing resistance from citizens to the dominant model of production and a growing demand for healthy food. As a consequence, an increasing number of social networks have been formed worldwide involving the collaboration between producers and consumers. One of these networks, the Ecovida Agroecology Network, which operates in Southern Brazil, involves farming families, non-governmental organizations, and consumer organizations, together with other social actors. Using a qualitative approach based on participant observation and an analysis of documents, the article examines this network. The theoretical framework used is social innovation, which is commonly recognized as being fundamental in fostering rural development. Results show that Ecovida has instigated innovations that relate to its horizontal and decentralized structure, its participatory certification of organic food, and its dynamic relationship with the markets based on local exchanges and reciprocal relations. Furthermore, such innovation processes have been proven to impact on public sector policies and on the increasing cooperation between the social actors from rural and urban areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Emerging Development Pathways of Urban Livestock Production in Rapidly Growing West Africa Cities
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1199; doi:10.3390/su8111199
Received: 1 September 2016 / Revised: 15 November 2016 / Accepted: 16 November 2016 / Published: 19 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1178 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In this study, we try to capture the degree of specialization or integration, and of intensification or extensification, of (peri-) urban livestock production, along with the factors that influence such decisions and their impact on natural resource uses. A total of 181 and
[...] Read more.
In this study, we try to capture the degree of specialization or integration, and of intensification or extensification, of (peri-) urban livestock production, along with the factors that influence such decisions and their impact on natural resource uses. A total of 181 and 187 structured questionnaires were completed in livestock-keeping households in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and Tamale (Ghana). Categorical principal component and two-step cluster analysis were used to identify homogenous groups of livestock-keeping households. Cross tabulation and logistic regression analysis revealed factors that influence livestock husbandry, showing their impacts on resource use by livestock keepers in the two cities. A diversity of livestock species was kept, mostly integrated with crop farming. Yet, some households specialized in either sheep, pig or commercial milk production, and partly intensified their production. The decision to specialize and/or intensify livestock production is site-specific and influenced by the education level of the household head and security of land ownership. Higher inputs in livestock systems do not necessarily lead to higher outputs, and specialization inevitably leads to higher manure wastages. Therefore, links of livestock producers to crop farmers and markets for livestock manure must be strengthened to enable recycling of resources and limit negative externalities of specialized livestock production. Strategies need to be identified to improve livestock productivity by enhancing outputs as input use increases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial-Temporal Changes of Soil Organic Carbon Content in Wafangdian, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1154; doi:10.3390/su8111154
Received: 21 September 2016 / Revised: 5 November 2016 / Accepted: 6 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2682 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Soil organic carbon (SOC) plays an important role in soil fertility and the global carbon cycle. A better understanding of spatial-temporal changes of SOC content is essential for soil resource management, emission studies, and carbon accounting. In this study, we used a boosted
[...] Read more.
Soil organic carbon (SOC) plays an important role in soil fertility and the global carbon cycle. A better understanding of spatial-temporal changes of SOC content is essential for soil resource management, emission studies, and carbon accounting. In this study, we used a boosted regression trees (BRT) model to map distributions of SOC content in the topsoil (0–20 cm) and evaluated its temporal dynamics from 1990–2010 in Wafangdian City, northeast of China. A set of 110 (1990) and 127 (2010) soil samples were collected and nine environment variables (including topography and vegetation) were used. A 10-fold cross-validation was used to evaluate model performance as well as predictive uncertainty. Accuracy assessments showed that R2 of 0.53 and RMSE (Root-mean-square error) of 9.7 g∙kg−1 for 1990, and 0.55, and 5.2 g∙kg−1 for 2010. Elevation and NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) were the two important variables affecting SOC distribution. Results showed that mean SOC content decreased from 19 ± 14 to 18 ± 8 g∙kg−1 over a 20 year period. The maps of SOC represented a decreasing trend from south to north across the study area in both periods. Rapid urbanization and land-use changes were accountable for declining SOC levels. We believe predicted maps of SOC can help local land managers and government agencies to evaluate soil quality and assess carbon sequestration potential and carbon credits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Variation in Cropping Intensity in Northern China from 1982 to 2012 Based on GIMMS-NDVI Data
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1123; doi:10.3390/su8111123
Received: 18 July 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 1 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (16446 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cropping intensity is an important indicator of the intensity of cropland use and plays a very important role in food security. In this study, we reconstructed a normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) time-series from 1982 to 2012 using the Savitzky-Golay (S-G) technique and
[...] Read more.
Cropping intensity is an important indicator of the intensity of cropland use and plays a very important role in food security. In this study, we reconstructed a normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) time-series from 1982 to 2012 using the Savitzky-Golay (S-G) technique and used it to derive a multiple cropping index (MCI) combined with land use data. Spatial–temporal patterns of variation in the MCI of northern China were as follows: (1) The MCI in northern China increased gradually from north-west to south-east; from 1982 to 2012, the mean cropping index across grid-cells over the study area increased by 4.36% per 10 years (p < 0.001) with fluctuations throughout the study period; (2) The mean MCI across grid-cells over the whole of northern China increased from 107% to 115% with all provinces showing an increasing trend throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Aside from Tianjin, Hebei, Beijing, and Shandong, all provinces also displayed an increasing trend between the 1990s and 2000s. Arable slope played an important role in the variation of the MCI; regions with slope ≤3° and the regions with slope >3° were characterized by inverse temporal MCI trends; (3) Drivers of change in the MCI were diverse and varied across different spatial and temporal scales; the MCI was affected by the changing agricultural population, deployment of food policies, and methods introduced for maximizing farmer benefits. For the protection of national food security, measures are needed to improve the MCI. However, more attention should also be given to the negative impacts that these measures may have on agricultural sustainability, such as soil pollution by chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Sustainable Management of Plant Quarantine Pests: The Case of Olive Quick Decline Syndrome
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 659; doi:10.3390/su9040659
Received: 17 February 2017 / Revised: 19 April 2017 / Accepted: 19 April 2017 / Published: 21 April 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (300 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The disease outbreak of Xylella fastidiosa subsp. pauca strain CoDiRO (Complesso del Disseccamento Rapido dell’Olivo) in Salento (Apulia, South Italy) associated with severe cases of olive quick decline syndrome may represent not just a new disease paradigm, but a challenge for
[...] Read more.
The disease outbreak of Xylella fastidiosa subsp. pauca strain CoDiRO (Complesso del Disseccamento Rapido dell’Olivo) in Salento (Apulia, South Italy) associated with severe cases of olive quick decline syndrome may represent not just a new disease paradigm, but a challenge for policy formulation and science communication in plant pathology. Plant health management can be achieved by applying a technocratic model, in which objective science is thought to directly inform policy-making, or via decisionistic or inclusive models, in which scientific considerations drive risk assessment. Each could be applied to X. fastidiosa and CoDiRO strain management, thanks to consistent literature related to pathogen/host interactions, hosts, vectors, and diagnostic tools, reviewed here. However, consensus among stakeholders seems to be necessary in order to avoid plant health management failures or gridlocks, due to environmental, economic, and social implications in the X. fastidiosa threat. Here we discuss the role of consensus in building scientific opinion, reporting different approaches of governance after severe disease outbreaks in Europe. These case studies, and the available risk analysis for Xylella strains, should drive policy formulations towards more cooperative networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)

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