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Special Issue "Community, Natural Resources, and Sustainability: An Interdisciplinary and International Dialogue"

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 October 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Hua Qin

Division of Applied Social Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: population and environment; vulnerability and adaptation to climate change; community and natural resources; risk and disaster; sustainable development; research methods and statistics
Guest Editor
Dr. Jessica D. Ulrich-Schad

Department of Sociology and Rural Studies, South Dakota State University, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: community; environment/natural resources; survey methodology; rural sociology
Guest Editor
Dr. David Matarrita-Cascante

Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: community sociology; amenity migration; resource dependent communities

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Natural resource-based communities (communities with intimate ties to natural resources) are uniquely situated in the intersection of human society and the environment. Community related theories and approaches have been increasingly employed by researchers from a range of disciplines to study natural resource use and management in both developing and developed country settings. Due to the diverse perspectives and interests involved in the study of community and natural resources, there are considerable variations in the conception of the core concept community, research methods, and empirical findings, while synthesis across disciplinary lineages and development contexts is largely limited. As a concrete dimension of sustainability and sustainable development, community sustainability provides an overarching framework to bridging and integrating research on the multifaceted community–resources nexus. This Special Issue seeks to engage an interdisciplinary and international dialogue on the interrelationships of society, natural resources, and sustainability at the community level. We invite theoretical, empirical, and methodological research articles as well as practice-based papers that address a variety of relevant topics including but not limited to: (1) the relationships between natural resource dependency and community sustainability (or more specific aspects such as community vulnerability/adaptation, community capitals, and community resilience); (2) community approaches to common-pool or public natural resource management (e.g., community-based natural resource management or community involvement in resource management); (3) the impacts of demographic change (e.g., labor out-migration and amenity migration) on community and natural resources; (4) community responses to natural resource-related shocks/stressors (e.g., floods, wildfires, and forest insect disturbances) or resource-based growth (e.g., energy or tourism development); and (5) community contextual effects on individual natural resource-related attitudes and behavior. Studies using an interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary approach, collaborative and comparative field-based research, and creative systematic reviews and meta-analyses are particularly encouraged.

Dr. Hua Qin
Dr. Jessica D. Ulrich-Schad
Dr. David Matarrita-Cascante
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

  • Community sustainability
  • Resource dependency
  • Natural resource management
  • Demographic change
  • Community impacts
  • Community context
  • Sustainable development

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Amenity/Lifestyle Migration in the Chilean Andes: Understanding the Views of “The Other” and Its Effects on Integrated Community Development
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1619; doi:10.3390/su9091619
Received: 11 August 2017 / Revised: 1 September 2017 / Accepted: 8 September 2017 / Published: 12 September 2017
PDF Full-text (271 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Within the context of domestic amenity/lifestyle migration, we are interested in understanding the way local rural residents and migrants: (1) view each other; and (2) how those views affect an integrated community development. Using alterity theory as a guiding framework, we engaged in
[...] Read more.
Within the context of domestic amenity/lifestyle migration, we are interested in understanding the way local rural residents and migrants: (1) view each other; and (2) how those views affect an integrated community development. Using alterity theory as a guiding framework, we engaged in a qualitative study to examine such views and their effects along the lines of three axes: an epistemological (what people know about the other), an axiological (how people value the other), and a praxeological (how people interact with the other) one in the Chilean community of Malalcahuello. Findings suggests that, overall, both types of residents know little of the other, have and constantly reproduce negative value judgments of the other, and relate only in mundane non-significant ways. We provide explanations of how these relate to the reported diminished community development efforts in town. Full article
Open AccessArticle Place-Based Rural Development and Resilience: A Lesson from a Small Community
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 889; doi:10.3390/su9060889
Received: 4 April 2017 / Revised: 20 May 2017 / Accepted: 22 May 2017 / Published: 24 May 2017
PDF Full-text (1036 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Community resilience is central to reshaping the role and functions of rural areas; and development has increasingly come about via the capacity of communities to be resilient in the face of challenges. When policies designed and adopted in rural areas are place-based; these
[...] Read more.
Community resilience is central to reshaping the role and functions of rural areas; and development has increasingly come about via the capacity of communities to be resilient in the face of challenges. When policies designed and adopted in rural areas are place-based; these policies should rely on resilient actors; belonging to resilient communities. The aim of this article is to focus on factors that can trigger or re-activate mechanisms that help to actively build resilience in areas that are heavily economically and socially impoverished using as a case study a very active and dynamic rural community. From the case study; three aspects emerge; all of which are closely interrelated; as having been particularly significant for building community resilience. The first was the rebuilding of previously frayed social ties within the community (growth of social capital and increased trust). The second was the ‘cascade effect’ of the first project started in the community; which led to the creation of many other initiatives. The third was the adoption of a systemic approach; able to bring together areas and sectors that had previously been disconnected (breaking down technical-legislative barriers). Full article
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Open AccessArticle Changing Community Variations in Perceptions and Activeness in Response to the Spruce Bark Beetle Outbreak in Alaska
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 67; doi:10.3390/su9010067
Received: 20 November 2016 / Revised: 24 December 2016 / Accepted: 28 December 2016 / Published: 6 January 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (692 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Local sociocultural processes including community perceptions and actions represent the most visible social impacts of various economic and environmental changes. Comparative community analysis has been used to examine diverse community perspectives on a variety of socioeconomic and environmental issues. However, as the temporal
[...] Read more.
Local sociocultural processes including community perceptions and actions represent the most visible social impacts of various economic and environmental changes. Comparative community analysis has been used to examine diverse community perspectives on a variety of socioeconomic and environmental issues. However, as the temporal dimension of community processes remains understudied, relatively little is known regarding how such community variations change over time. This study draws on longitudinal survey data from six communities on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska to explore temporal shifts in community differences in perceptions and activeness in response to forest disturbance associated with an extensive spruce bark beetle outbreak. The surveys were implemented in two phases over a 4-year study period. Results show that while community perceptions on the bark beetle condition waned and coalesced in some ways, significant differences remained or emerged with respect to other facets of local reactions. These shifting variances in community dimensions of the beetle disturbance were related to community positions along the beetle outbreak timeline and general community socioeconomic and biophysical situations (community context). The analysis also revealed community differences and contexts held an even more important role in predicting local responses to beetles in the re-survey. Taken together, findings from this research contribute a better understanding of the persistence and change in community variability as well as the continuity of community contextual effects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Use and Perception of Podium Gardens in Residential Neighborhoods in Hong Kong
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 57; doi:10.3390/su9010057
Received: 16 November 2016 / Revised: 28 December 2016 / Accepted: 29 December 2016 / Published: 1 January 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1830 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper examines how a residential podium garden design can enhance the use of a garden and the satisfaction of its users. Two public and private housing estates are selected to analyze and compare spatial use and the perception of space in podium
[...] Read more.
This paper examines how a residential podium garden design can enhance the use of a garden and the satisfaction of its users. Two public and private housing estates are selected to analyze and compare spatial use and the perception of space in podium gardens for public use. First, this paper explores the relationship between residential satisfaction and the physical conditions of podium gardens in public and private housing estates in Hong Kong. A total of 135 questionnaires are collected from two cohorts for each of these groups. People’s perceptions are compared with the physical conditions of the podium gardens. Second, this paper investigates how visibility and accessibility influence the quality and usability of podium gardens. The sense of community, safety and hygiene, and accessibility are examined and compared between public and private housing estate cohorts. In conclusion, opening a podium garden to public use can promote the degree of tolerance and enhance community cohesion. Regardless of whether a podium garden is open to the public or not, according to the responses, more people using the podium garden can increase its usability. Since public monitoring can enhance safety and hygiene, podium gardens should be highly visible from the surrounding buildings. A well-planned podium design thus can improve the social and physical qualities of living environments. Full article
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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: Amenity/Lifestyle Migration in the Chilean Andes: Understanding the Views of “The Other” and Its Effects on Integrated Community Development
Authors: David Matarrita-Cascante, Hugo Zunino, Johanna Sagner-Tapia
Affiliation: Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University
Abstract: Within the context of amenity/lifestyle migration, we are interested in understanding the way local rural residents and migrants 1) view each other and 2) how those views affect an integrated community development. Using alterity theory as a guiding framework, we engaged in a qualitative study to examine such views and their effects along the lines of three axes: an epistemological (what people know about the other), an axiological (how people value the other), and a praxeological (how people interact with the other) one in the Chilean community of Malalcahuello. Findings suggests that, overall, both types of residents know little of the other, have and constantly reproduce negative value judgements of the other, and relate only in mundane non-significant ways. We provide explanations of how these relate to the reported diminished community development efforts in town.

Title: Clans in Transition: Natural Resource Crises as Drivers of Societal Changes in Chinese Villages
Authors: Qidong Huang 1, Jiajun Xu 1, Yongping Wei 2
Affiliation: 1 School of Public Administration, Hohai University, China; 2 School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Queensland, Australia
Abstract: Clans in China's rural areas, in the traditional sense, are social organizations based on ties of consanguinity and geography. The order and rules followed by the clans are one of the most important informal systems in rural China. Clan members usually share similar social capital and natural resources and form basically unanimous interest groups. Societal relations in the rural areas have entered into a new stage of adjustment over the past decade. We use the case of a resource dependent village as an example to show how resource crises accelerate transition of clans and societal changes in Chinese villages. We observe some major changes both within and across clans. There is an apparent rise of “New Clanism” within clans, which gradually abandons the traditional idea of supremacy of clan interests and places family or personal interests at top priority. Meanwhile, clan boundaries get increasingly obscure since the integrity of clans is undermined by the rise of new interest groups across clans, but the boundaries still remain relatively clear due to the incomplete consistency of clan interests. Some clan elites and representatives of new interest groups get involved in village governance, which indicates that their goals have shifted from natural resources to social or political capital.

Title: Extending Interactional Theory to Re-materialize and Reinvigorate Community
Author: Paul Van Auken
Affiliation: Sociology and Environmental Studies Faculty, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Abstract: In periods of rapid social change people seek settings and relations they can more easily comprehend and manage. This may help to explain a renewed interest in community during a period of ever-intensifying globalization, technological advancement, environmental degradation, and disenchantment with modern life. It has manifested itself in a veritable explosion of farmers’ markets, the local economy movement, emergence of co-housing, time banks, and gift circles, and increased emphasis on community policing, new urbanism, devolution in government, community-based forestry, community gardening, and participatory planning in the U.S. and other settings in recent years. These trends seem to reflect collective efforts from a diversity of perspectives to address longstanding concern about “community lost”. Community is invoked in the scholarly realm as well, but there is no consensus about what it means 60 years after a literature review revealed 94 definitions in sociology alone. It has recently been argued to a wide audience that the study of community should be the primary aim of environmental sociology, for example, but the concept remains ill-defined and underutilized as a tool for analysis of social and environmental issues. Is “community” a tired buzzword? Is it a useful sociological concept in the 21st century? Why has the concept of community been underutilized in the literature of environmental sociology and sustainability studies? Based upon a literature review and data from several qualitative studies, I present a revamped framework of community rooted in the land itself. I argue that re-materializing community has the potential to not only add needed precision to the concept but also encourage its application to a variety of concerns, including more sustainable management of natural resources.

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