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Special Issue "Sustainability in the Mountains Region"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2017

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Nabin K. Malakar

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: societal applications of remote sensing and artificial intelligence techniques
Guest Editor
Dr. Rajan Ghimire

New Mexico State University, Clovis, NM 88101, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: soil management and conservation; climate change and agricultural sustainability
Guest Editor
Dr. Jhalendra Rijal

University of California Cooperative Extension, Modesto, CA 95358 USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: sustainable agriculture; integrated pest and disease management; pesticide use and effect to human health and environment
Guest Editor
Dr. Pradeep Wagle

USDA-ARS Grazinglands Research Laboratory, El Reno, Oklahoma, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: surface–atmosphere interactions; remote sensing; ecology; ecosystems; climate change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Mountains are a part of the global biodiversity repository, play a vital role in maintaining global ecosystems, while supporting millions of people. In the meantime, they are the most vulnerable ecosystems. Changes in the environment and economic priorities in past few decades have considerably influenced the livelihood and sustainability of mountains globally. The effects of changing climate and other socioeconomic factors on mountains can affect the densely populated and underdeveloped regions to an inconceivable scale. It is, therefore, important that we study the impacts of climate change, changes in economic priorities of the mountain residents, and increasing non-conventional values of mountain ecosystems and its inhabitants. Moreover, the factors affecting the sustainable livelihood of mountain inhabitants need to be carefully studied to assess the short and long-term impacts, and to develop a long-term strategy for improving the livelihood of the residents in the face of the changes.

This Special Issue will feature peer-reviewed papers from the international conference on “Mountains in the Changing World (MoChWo)”, to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal, on 1–2 October, 2016 (http://conference.kias.org.np). The conference and the Special Issue aim to provide a forum for international/national scholars, researchers, policy makers, and students with an opportunity to share their research findings and knowledge related to various aspects of mountains. We are open to submissions from outside the conference that address the relevant topics in general.

The range of relevant topics include:

  • Environmental, economic and social sustainability
  • Land use and land cover monitoring, natural disaster and risk assessment
  • Decision making and societal impacts, policy and management strategies for sustainable development
  • Citizen science and trainings
  • Remote sensing, and mapping of resources
  • Data fusion, and data visualization relevant to sustainability issues
  • Innovation in renewable and alternative energy
  • Pesticide uses and sustainable agriculture
  • Organic farming

We welcome papers from broadly defined topics that are relevant to the theme of the Special Issue.

Dr. Nabin K Malakar
Dr. Rajan Ghimire
Dr. Jhalendra Rijal
Dr. Pradeep Wagle
Guest Editors

Submission

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. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as 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 refereed through a 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).

Keywords

  • Mountains
  • Climate Change
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Development
  • Ecosystem
  • Remote Sensing
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Societal Applications

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Topographic Correction of Landsat TM-5 and Landsat OLI-8 Imagery to Improve the Performance of Forest Classification in the Mountainous Terrain of Northeast Thailand
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 258; doi:10.3390/su9020258
Received: 10 November 2016 / Revised: 7 February 2017 / Accepted: 9 February 2017 / Published: 12 February 2017
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Abstract
The accurate mapping and monitoring of forests is essential for the sustainable management of forest ecosystems. Advancements in the Landsat satellite series have been very useful for various forest mapping applications. However, the topographic shadows of irregular mountains are major obstacles to accurate
[...] Read more.
The accurate mapping and monitoring of forests is essential for the sustainable management of forest ecosystems. Advancements in the Landsat satellite series have been very useful for various forest mapping applications. However, the topographic shadows of irregular mountains are major obstacles to accurate forest classification. In this paper, we test five topographic correction methods: improved cosine correction, Minnaert, C-correction, Statistical Empirical Correction (SEC) and Variable Empirical Coefficient Algorithm (VECA), with multisource digital elevation models (DEM) to reduce the topographic relief effect in mountainous terrain produced by the Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM)-5 and Operational Land Imager (OLI)-8 sensors. The effectiveness of the topographic correction methods are assessed by visual interpretation and the reduction in standard deviation (SD), by means of the coefficient of variation (CV). Results show that the SEC performs best with the Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) 30 m × 30 m DEM. The random forest (RF) classifier is used for forest classification, and the overall accuracy of forest classification is evaluated to compare the performances of the topographic corrections. Our results show that the C-correction, SEC and VECA corrected imagery were able to improve the forest classification accuracy of Landsat TM-5 from 78.41% to 81.50%, 82.38%, and 81.50%, respectively, and OLI-8 from 81.06% to 81.50%, 82.38%, and 81.94%, respectively. The highest accuracy of forest type classification is obtained with the newly available high-resolution SRTM DEM and SEC method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Mountains Region)
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Open AccessArticle Characterizing and Assessing the Agricultural Land Use Intensity of the Beijing Mountainous Region
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1180; doi:10.3390/su8111180
Received: 26 May 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 31 October 2016 / Published: 16 November 2016
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Abstract
Recently, land use and land cover change have received increased attention, and an approach is required that can assess agricultural land use intensity on a general basis. This study demonstrated the usefulness of a tool for characterizing and assessing agricultural land use intensity
[...] Read more.
Recently, land use and land cover change have received increased attention, and an approach is required that can assess agricultural land use intensity on a general basis. This study demonstrated the usefulness of a tool for characterizing and assessing agricultural land use intensity in Beijing mountainous region. An emergy analysis and principal component analysis (PCA) were adopted to obtain agricultural input and output intensity data. Correlation and regression analyses were used to study the relationship among land capability, agricultural input, output intensity, and agricultural system sustainability. Ultimately, the agricultural land use intensity types in the Beijing mountainous region were identified through a cluster analysis. The results produced five indices of agricultural input intensity and five indices of output intensity. Non-renewable energy was the overwhelming input, and grain, meat, eggs, and vegetables were the major outputs of the agricultural system. The results also showed that there was better natural land quality, higher input intensity, greater output intensity, and lower agricultural system sustainability. Eight types of agricultural intensity were classified and assessed, and they may be used to evaluate and monitor sustainable land use and provide baseline measurements of land use intensity for land use analyses and change detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Mountains Region)
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Open AccessArticle An Assessment of Productivity Patterns of Grass-Dominated Rangelands in the Hindu Kush Karakoram Region, Pakistan
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 961; doi:10.3390/su8090961
Received: 15 June 2016 / Revised: 26 August 2016 / Accepted: 29 August 2016 / Published: 22 September 2016
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Abstract
Rangelands in the Hindu Kush Karakoram region provide a resource base for nomadic livestock grazing, which is one of the major traditional livelihood practices in the area. The present study assessed the spatiotemporal patterns and trends of rangelands using satellite remote-sensing time-series data.
[...] Read more.
Rangelands in the Hindu Kush Karakoram region provide a resource base for nomadic livestock grazing, which is one of the major traditional livelihood practices in the area. The present study assessed the spatiotemporal patterns and trends of rangelands using satellite remote-sensing time-series data. Moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS)-based normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data, collected at fortnightly intervals over 12 years (2001–2012), were used as a proxy for the vegetation conditions of the grasslands. The analysis revealed that rangeland productivity increased with increasing elevation up to the sub-alpine zone, which had a higher productivity than the moist temperate zone and humid sub-tropical zone. The high sub-alpine productivity was attributed to seasonal amplitude and the extended length of the growing season in the phenological cycle. In the temporal analysis of productivity, the majority of the area exhibited improvements in vegetation conditions, which were strongest in the humid sub-tropical zones and weakest in the alpine zones. The sub-alpine grasslands were found to be the most productive and heterogeneous habitat; however, the relatively strong negative temporal trend in productivity in this zone indicates ongoing degradation in these rangelands. Thus, special attention is needed for the sustainable management of rangelands in the sub-alpine zones of the Hindu Kush Karakoram region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Mountains Region)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Balancing Economic Development and Environmental Conservation for a New Governance of Alpine Areas
Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 802; doi:10.3390/su8080802
Received: 23 June 2016 / Revised: 5 August 2016 / Accepted: 9 August 2016 / Published: 15 August 2016
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Abstract
In the Alpine environment, Man has always been directly dependent on mountain ecosystems. Social mechanisms have created specific models of governance, capable of assuring the persistence of ecosystems and their capacity to provide essential goods and services. In recent decades, however, dramatic changes
[...] Read more.
In the Alpine environment, Man has always been directly dependent on mountain ecosystems. Social mechanisms have created specific models of governance, capable of assuring the persistence of ecosystems and their capacity to provide essential goods and services. In recent decades, however, dramatic changes have occurred, such as climate change and changes in land use. The complexity common to all linked human-natural environment systems is extremely marked in the Alpine areas and this makes it difficult to understand how resilient these systems may be. Many research questions arise, in particular as to the comprehension and quantification of the impact of changes on the capacity of ecosystems to produce goods and services in a sustainable way, and the possibility of local mechanisms of governance to adapt to both current and future changes. Reasons and effects of change are analysed from the perspective of the specific issues of governance. The importance of the Ecosystems Services (ESs) concept is acknowledged and the necessity for a dynamic assessment of ESs, taking into account people’s values and expectations, is particularly stressed. Through a careful analysis of selected papers and case studies, the main gaps in current knowledge are identified and directions for further research are provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Mountains Region)
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