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Special Issue "Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Yu-Pin Lin (Website)

Department of Bioenvironmental Systems Engineering, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei, 40617, Taiwan
Phone: 886-2-33663467
Fax: +86 2 23686980
Interests: spatial statistics and modeling in environmental and ecological systems; applications of GIS and remote sensing in environmental and ecological systems; freshwater monitoring and modeling; optimal environmental monitoring network design; landscape ecology in land-use management and planning; ecohydrology; groundwater modeling; land-use planning and modeling; soil heavy metal pollution assessment; multiscale analysis in environmental and ecological systems; system dynamic modeling in environmental systems; ecosystem services; system dynamic modeling; optimization techniques

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainable development covers environmental, social, and economic sectors. Environmentally sustainable development has to account for not only the ecosystem and biodiversity, but also environmental health and conservation. However, human activities consume environmental resources and undermine environmentally sustainable development. To identify these issues, the Global Land Project (GLP), a joint research project concerning land systems between the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and the International Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP), ambitiously aims to “measure, model[,] and understand the coupled human-environmental system”.
This Special Issue comprises of selected papers from the Global Land Project (GLP) Asia Conference, which will be held in Taipei, Taiwan on 24–26 September, 2014. The conference will identify and investigate contributions concerning “sustainable land use and ecosystem management”, “investigation[s] of the vulnerability and resilience [of] critical lands”, the “development of modeling and analy[tical] tools for land-use projects”, and other related topics. Papers selected for this Special Issue are subjected to a rigorous peer review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments, and applications in the area of environmentally sustainable development.

Prof. Dr. Yu-Pin Lin
Guest Editor

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 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • sustainability,
  • ecosystem services,
  • land use, vulnerability,
  • resilience
  • Identify the relationship between land use, ecosystem, and environmentally sustainable development
  • Investigation of the vulnerability and resilience of lands critical for an ecosystem
  • Quantify the vulnerability and resilience of different policy and management strategies concerning land use and ecosystems
  • Models and analytical tools for land use management and ecosystem services
  • Decision support systems for sustainable land uses and ecosystem services

Published Papers (18 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Changing Food Consumption Patterns and Impact on Water Resources in the Fragile Grassland of Northern China
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5628-5647; doi:10.3390/su7055628
Received: 29 December 2014 / Revised: 10 April 2015 / Accepted: 22 April 2015 / Published: 7 May 2015
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Abstract
A burgeoning population, pressing development needs and increasing household consumption are rapidly accelerating water use in direct and indirect ways. Increasingly, regions around the world face growing pressure on sustainable use of their water resources especially in arid and semi-arid regions, such [...] Read more.
A burgeoning population, pressing development needs and increasing household consumption are rapidly accelerating water use in direct and indirect ways. Increasingly, regions around the world face growing pressure on sustainable use of their water resources especially in arid and semi-arid regions, such as Northern China. The aim of this research is to obtain an overview of the cumulative water requirement for direct (domestic) water use and indirect water use for the basic food consumption of the households in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR), in order to reduce the pressure on grassland of Western China by encouraging sustainable water consumption. For indirect water use, we use VWC (virtual water content) analysis theory to analyze the total consumption package of 15 basic food types that were identified and quantified based on the household survey in 2011. In this survey, domestic water consumption data and food consumption data were collected from 209 representative households with spatial variation across three sub-regions (including meadow steppe in Hulun Buir, typical steppe in Xilin Gol, and semi-desert steppe in Ordos) and temporal variation from 1995 to 2010. The results show that the total amounts of food consumption per capita in three sub-regions all show an increasing trend, especially in Hulun Buir and Ordos. Compared to the direct water consumption, the indirect water consumption behind food production made up a major portion of total water consumption, which is affected (1) geographic locations (grassland types); (2) economic development levels and (3) grassland use policy measures. From 1995 to 2010, indirect water consumption displays a decreasing trend in Xilin Gol and Ordos due to the decrease of meat consumption and increase of fruit and vegetable consumption. When considering the amount of land per household, the grassland in Ordos still faces the great threat of high water consumption pressure. Such water consumption may affect water conservation services and productivity of grassland. Therefore, changing diet behavior and reducing the population can be considered options for sustainable use of water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Knowledge Brokerage for Impact Assessment of Land Use Scenarios in Inner Mongolia, China: Extending and Testing the FoPIA Approach
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5027-5049; doi:10.3390/su7055027
Received: 30 December 2014 / Revised: 2 April 2015 / Accepted: 16 April 2015 / Published: 24 April 2015
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Abstract
While land serves numerous societal functions and contributes to sustainable development, it is often unclear how these functions are affected by political decisions and common drivers of land use change, such as economic development, climate change and demographic change. This study evaluates [...] Read more.
While land serves numerous societal functions and contributes to sustainable development, it is often unclear how these functions are affected by political decisions and common drivers of land use change, such as economic development, climate change and demographic change. This study evaluates alternative land use scenarios in reference to a rural region of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (China), where various processes and decisions have historically triggered unsustainable development. The scientifically tested “Framework for Participatory Impact Assessment (FoPIA)” method is developed further to address specific features of the case study region, and its function as a knowledge-brokerage (KB) tool is evaluated. Three scenarios are developed and analysed in expert workshops. “Land intensification: Agriculture” and “Land intensification: Mining” scenarios are found to have mainly negative environmental and social effects and positive economic impacts, while the “Environmental conservation and tourism” scenario is found to more positively affect all three sustainability dimensions. Assessments of methodological phases show that the FoPIA primarily serves to establish the KB process and that the framework particularly benefits from early examinations of scientific results by policy makers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Resilience Assessment of Lowland Plantations Using an Ecosystem Modeling Approach
Sustainability 2015, 7(4), 3801-3822; doi:10.3390/su7043801
Received: 30 December 2014 / Revised: 20 March 2015 / Accepted: 25 March 2015 / Published: 31 March 2015
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Abstract
As afforestation programs of former farmlands take hold in Taiwan to achieve a variety of ecological and socio-economic values, it is becoming necessary to define best forest management. Hence, we simulated mixed stands of Cinnamomum camphora and Fraxinus griffithii planted through a [...] Read more.
As afforestation programs of former farmlands take hold in Taiwan to achieve a variety of ecological and socio-economic values, it is becoming necessary to define best forest management. Hence, we simulated mixed stands of Cinnamomum camphora and Fraxinus griffithii planted through a gradient of soil fertility and varying camphor/ash density ratios, but maintaining a fixed total stand density of 1500 trees ha−1. Total stand productivity was slightly lower in mixed stands than the combination of both monocultures in rich and poor sites. Maximum negative yield surpluses for 50-year old stands were 7 Mg ha−1 and 6 Mg ha−1 for rich and poor sites with a 1:1 camphor laurel/ash ratios. Maximum stand woody biomass in rich sites was reached in camphor laurel monocultures (120 Mg ha−1) and in poor sites for Himalayan ash monocultures (58 Mg ha−1). However, for medium-quality sites, a small yield surplus (11 Mg ha−1) was estimated coinciding with a maximum stand woody biomass of 95 Mg ha−1 for a 1:1 camphor laurel/ash density ratio. From an ecological resilience point of view, rotation length was more important than stand composition. Long rotations (100 years) could improve soil conditions in poor sites. In rich sites, short rotations (50 years) should be avoided to reduce risks or fertility loss. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle An Integrated Approach to Mitigation Wetland Site Selection: A Case Study in Gwacheon, Korea
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3386-3413; doi:10.3390/su7033386
Received: 19 December 2014 / Revised: 4 March 2015 / Accepted: 10 March 2015 / Published: 20 March 2015
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Abstract
This paper presents an integrated approach to mitigation wetland site selection using functional landscape connectivity and landscape structure. This approach enables landscape designers to evaluate the relative priorities of mitigation wetland areas based on functional landscape connectivity and wildlife mobility, as well [...] Read more.
This paper presents an integrated approach to mitigation wetland site selection using functional landscape connectivity and landscape structure. This approach enables landscape designers to evaluate the relative priorities of mitigation wetland areas based on functional landscape connectivity and wildlife mobility, as well as landscape structure, composition, and configuration. The least-cost path method is used to evaluate candidate sites for mitigation wetlands with regard to wildlife movement. A set of assessments for landscape indices using FRAGSTATS was applied to identify suitable mitigation wetland areas on the basis of landscape connectivity, composition, and configuration. The study was conducted in Gwacheon, Korea, where there are plans for regional development that will change the landscape. In the first step, a group of 14 candidate sites is identified via analysis of functional landscape connectivity using the least-cost path method. In the second step, candidate mitigation wetland areas are ranked according to landscape connectivity and composition. The five mitigation wetland areas that were found to be suitable were analyzed based on landscape configuration at the class level. This study demonstrates that functional landscape connectivity and landscape structure are important aspects to consider when identifying suitable sites for mitigation wetland planning and restoration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Low Carbon Footprint Routes for Bird Watching
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3290-3310; doi:10.3390/su7033290
Received: 4 October 2014 / Revised: 25 February 2015 / Accepted: 13 March 2015 / Published: 19 March 2015
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Abstract
Bird watching is one of many recreational activities popular in ecotourism. Its popularity, therefore, prompts the need for studies on energy conservation. One such environmentally friendly approach toward minimizing bird watching’s ecological impact is ensuring a reduced carbon footprint by using an [...] Read more.
Bird watching is one of many recreational activities popular in ecotourism. Its popularity, therefore, prompts the need for studies on energy conservation. One such environmentally friendly approach toward minimizing bird watching’s ecological impact is ensuring a reduced carbon footprint by using an economic travel itinerary comprising a series of connected routes between tourist attractions that minimizes transit time. This study used a travel-route planning approach using geographic information systems to detect the shortest path, thereby solving the problems associated with time-consuming transport. Based on the results of road network analyses, optimal travel-route planning can be determined. These methods include simulated annealing (SA) and genetic algorithms (GA). We applied two algorithms in our simulation research to detect which one is an appropriate algorithm for running carbon-routing algorithms at the regional scale. SA, which is superior to GA, is considered an excellent approach to search for the optimal path to reduce carbon dioxide and high gasoline fees, thereby controlling travel time by using the shortest travel routes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Cross-Scale and Cross-Level Dynamics: Governance and Capacity for Resilience in a Social-Ecological System in Taiwan
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2045-2065; doi:10.3390/su7022045
Received: 24 December 2014 / Revised: 29 January 2015 / Accepted: 9 February 2015 / Published: 13 February 2015
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Abstract
Resilience thinking has strongly influenced how people understand and pursue sustainability of linked social-ecological systems. Resilience thinking highlights the need to build capacity and manage general system properties in a complex, constantly changing world. I modified an analytical framework to address associations [...] Read more.
Resilience thinking has strongly influenced how people understand and pursue sustainability of linked social-ecological systems. Resilience thinking highlights the need to build capacity and manage general system properties in a complex, constantly changing world. I modified an analytical framework to address associations among cross-scale and cross-level dynamics, attributes of governance, and capacity to enhance resilience. The Danungdafu Forestation Area represents one of Taiwan’s most controvisal cases concerning land use, indigenous rights, and environmental issues. Analysis of this Taiwanese experience from a social-ecological perspective can show how current capacities for managing resilience are related to critical governance attributes. Analysis helped identify fundamental flaws in current governance and key issues needing to be addressed. The Danungdafu Forestation Area should transition towards a governance regime that is more participatory, deliberative, multi-layered, accountable, just, and networked. This can be done by developing an intermediate level institution that coordinates the cross-scale and cross-level interactions that better fit this social-ecological system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Coupling Intensive Land Use and Landscape Ecological Security for Urban Sustainability: An Integrated Socioeconomic Data and Spatial Metrics Analysis in Hangzhou City
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1459-1482; doi:10.3390/su7021459
Received: 23 October 2014 / Revised: 9 January 2015 / Accepted: 16 January 2015 / Published: 28 January 2015
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Abstract
Despite the unprecedented rate of urbanization throughout the world, human society is still facing the challenge of coordinating urban socioeconomic development and ecological conservation. In this article, we integrated socioeconomic data and spatial metrics to investigate the coupling relationship between intensive land [...] Read more.
Despite the unprecedented rate of urbanization throughout the world, human society is still facing the challenge of coordinating urban socioeconomic development and ecological conservation. In this article, we integrated socioeconomic data and spatial metrics to investigate the coupling relationship between intensive land use (ILU) system and landscape ecological security (LES) system for urban sustainable development, and to determine how these systems interact with each other. The values of ILU and LES were first calculated according to two evaluation subsystems under the pressure-state-response (PSR) framework. A coupling model was then established to analyze the coupling relationship within these two subsystems. The results showed that the levels of both subsystems were generally increasing, but there were several fluctuation changes in LES. The interaction in each system was time lagged; urban land use/cover change (LUCC) and ecosystem transformation were determined by political business cycles and influenced by specific factors. The coupling relationship underwent a coordinated development mode from 1992–2012. From the findings we concluded that the coupling system maintained a stable condition and underwent evolving threshold values. The integrated ILU and LES system was a coupling system in which subsystems were related to each other and internal elements had mutual effects. Finally, it was suggested that our results provided a multi-level interdisciplinary perspective on linking socioeconomic-ecological systems. The implications for urban sustainable development were also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Development of a Meteorological Risk Map for Disaster Mitigation and Management in the Chishan Basin, Taiwan
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 962-987; doi:10.3390/su7010962
Received: 3 October 2014 / Accepted: 8 January 2015 / Published: 16 January 2015
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Abstract
This study involved developing a natural disaster risk assessment framework based on the consideration of three phases: a pre-disaster phase, disaster impact phase, and post-disaster recovery phase. The exposure of natural disasters exhibits unique characteristics. The interactions of numerous factors should be [...] Read more.
This study involved developing a natural disaster risk assessment framework based on the consideration of three phases: a pre-disaster phase, disaster impact phase, and post-disaster recovery phase. The exposure of natural disasters exhibits unique characteristics. The interactions of numerous factors should be considered in risk assessment as well as in monitoring environment to provide natural disaster warnings. In each phase, specific factors indicate the relative status in the area subjected to risk assessment. Three types of natural disaster were assessed, namely debris flows, floods, and droughts. The Chishan basin in Taiwan was used as a case study and the adequacy of the relocation of Xiaolin village was evaluated. Incorporating resilience into the assessment revealed that the higher the exposure is, the higher the resilience becomes. This is because highly populated areas are typically allocated enough resources to respond to disasters. In addition, highly populated areas typically exhibit high resilience. The application of this analysis in the policy of relocation of damaged village after disaster provides valuable information for decision makers to achieve the sustainability of land use planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Developing a Cell-Based Spatial Optimization Model for Land-Use Patterns Planning
Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 9139-9158; doi:10.3390/su6129139
Received: 8 October 2014 / Revised: 2 December 2014 / Accepted: 3 December 2014 / Published: 9 December 2014
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Abstract
This study developed a cell-based spatial optimization model compatible with the ArcGIS platform, termed Dynamically Dimensioned Search Landscape Optimization Planning model (DDSLOP), for landscape planning. The development of the proposed model was based on the Dynamically Dimensioned Search Algorithm, which can efficiently [...] Read more.
This study developed a cell-based spatial optimization model compatible with the ArcGIS platform, termed Dynamically Dimensioned Search Landscape Optimization Planning model (DDSLOP), for landscape planning. The development of the proposed model was based on the Dynamically Dimensioned Search Algorithm, which can efficiently find an optimal global solution within the massive solution space inherent to multi-dimensional analysis. Therefore, the DDSLOP model can reveal landscape pattern scenarios suited to specific managerial purposes at a cellular level. To evaluate the DDSLOP model, we applied it to a landscape planning initiative that focused on the conservation of three bird species in the National Taiwan University Highland Experimental Farm (NTU-HEF). We compared the proposed model with the Land-Use Pattern Optimization-library (LUPOlib), which was used in the optimization of landscapes at a patch level. The results of the comparison revealed that our fine scale optimization method has better flexibility, and can therefore form landscape structures, which, overall, provides not only better individual habitats for the target species, but also landscape patterns that foster high habitat connectivity, both important aspects of conservation efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle The Impact of Green Space Changes on Air Pollution and Microclimates: A Case Study of the Taipei Metropolitan Area
Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 8827-8855; doi:10.3390/su6128827
Received: 25 August 2014 / Revised: 23 November 2014 / Accepted: 25 November 2014 / Published: 3 December 2014
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Abstract
In order to achieve a sustainable urban environment, the increase of green space areas is commonly used as a planning tool and adaptation strategy to combat environmental impacts resulting from global climate change and urbanization. Therefore, it is important to understand the [...] Read more.
In order to achieve a sustainable urban environment, the increase of green space areas is commonly used as a planning tool and adaptation strategy to combat environmental impacts resulting from global climate change and urbanization. Therefore, it is important to understand the change of green space areas and the derived impacts from the change. This research firstly applied space analysis and landscape ecology metrics to analyze the structure change of the pattern of green space area within the Taipei Metropolitan Area. Then, partial least squares were used to identify the consequences on microclimate and air pollution pattern caused by the changing pattern of green space areas within the districts of the Taipei Metropolitan Area. According to the analytical results, the green space area within Taipei Metropolitan Areas has decreased 1.19% from 1995 to 2007, but 93.19% of the green space areas have been kept for their original purposes. Next, from the landscape ecology metrics analysis, in suburban areas the linkages, pattern parameters, and space aggregation are all improving, and the fragmentation measure is also decreasing, but shape is becoming more complex. However, due to intensive land development in the city core, the pattern has becomes severely fragmented and decentralized causing the measures of the linkages and pattern parameters to decrease. The results from structural equation modeling indicate that the changing pattern of green space areas has great influences on air pollution and microclimate patterns. For instance, less air pollution, smaller rainfall patterns and cooler temperatures are associated with improvement in space aggregation, increasing the larger sized green space patch. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Spatial Pattern and the Process of Settlement Expansion in Jiangsu Province from 1980 to 2010, Eastern China
Sustainability 2014, 6(11), 8180-8194; doi:10.3390/su6118180
Received: 25 August 2014 / Revised: 28 October 2014 / Accepted: 6 November 2014 / Published: 18 November 2014
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Abstract
Human settlement expansion has very important effects on regional population migration, economic balance and ecosystem services. Understanding the evolution of settlement expansion and regional differences is significant for regional sustainability. The results showed that in the past 30 years, the urbanization rate [...] Read more.
Human settlement expansion has very important effects on regional population migration, economic balance and ecosystem services. Understanding the evolution of settlement expansion and regional differences is significant for regional sustainability. The results showed that in the past 30 years, the urbanization rate in Jiangsu province was lower. From 1980 to 2010, the expansion area of urban settlement was larger than that of rural settlement. Urban settlement expanded slowly from 1980 to 2005 and strongly from 2005 to 2010. Rural settlement expanded greatly from 1980 to 1995, and 37.14% of settlement was mostly on cropland. The type of urban settlement expansion from 1980 to 1995 and from 2000 to 2005 was compact expansion. Settlement expansion in the south of Jiangsu province was greater than that in the north of Jiangsu province. The spatial pattern of settlement in most cities was a cluster. In the past 30 years, urban and rural settlement expansion had significantly different impacts on the soil and water environment. Urban settlement expansion was great in the south of Jiangsu province and widened the economic and social gap between the south and north of Jiangsu province. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
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Open AccessArticle Economic Growth and Expansion of China’s Urban Land Area: Evidence from Administrative Data and Night Lights, 1993–2012
Sustainability 2014, 6(11), 7850-7865; doi:10.3390/su6117850
Received: 22 August 2014 / Revised: 23 October 2014 / Accepted: 31 October 2014 / Published: 6 November 2014
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Abstract
The relationship between economic growth, expansion of urban land area and the broader issue of cultivated land conversion in China has been closely examined for the late 1980s and 1990s. Much less is known about recent urban expansion and if the effects [...] Read more.
The relationship between economic growth, expansion of urban land area and the broader issue of cultivated land conversion in China has been closely examined for the late 1980s and 1990s. Much less is known about recent urban expansion and if the effects of economic growth on this expansion have changed over time. This paper updates estimates of urban expansion for China and examines the relationship with city economic growth for 1993–2012. To see if patterns are robust to different types of evidence, administrative data on the area of 225 urban cores are compared to estimates of brightly lit areas from remotely sensed night lights. The trend annual expansion rate in lit area is 8% and was significantly faster in the decade to 2002 than in the most recent decade. Expansion is slower according to administrative data, at just 5% per annum, with no change in unconditional expansion rates between decades, while conditional expansion rates have declined. The elasticity of area with respect to city economic output is about 0.3. Over time, expansion of urban land area is becoming less responsive to the growth of the local non-agricultural population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Assessment Framework and Decision—Support System for Consolidating Urban-Rural Construction Land in Coastal China
Sustainability 2014, 6(11), 7689-7709; doi:10.3390/su6117689
Received: 25 August 2014 / Revised: 12 October 2014 / Accepted: 17 October 2014 / Published: 3 November 2014
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Abstract
Urbanization transforms urban-rural landscape and profoundly affects ecological processes. To maintain a sustainable urbanization, two important issues of land-use need to be quantified: the comprehensive variation of urban-rural construction land and the specific models for consolidating these lands. The purpose of this [...] Read more.
Urbanization transforms urban-rural landscape and profoundly affects ecological processes. To maintain a sustainable urbanization, two important issues of land-use need to be quantified: the comprehensive variation of urban-rural construction land and the specific models for consolidating these lands. The purpose of this study is to develop a framework to assess the change of urban-rural construction land and build a decision-support system for consolidating these lands. Four sub-layers were first built in the assessment framework, including the characteristic layer, the coordination layer, the potential layer and the urgency layer. Each layer encompassed specific indices for evaluating the change of urban-rural construction land in different aspects. The entropy method was then applied to the data resources from Landsat TM (Thematic Mapper) images, statistical data and overall land-use and land consolidation planning of Nantong city in coastal China to allocate weightings to the indices in each sub-layer. Finally, the decision-support system was built based on the assessment results and the degree of importance for consolidating urban and rural construction land, respectively. The results of our study show an overall investigation and quantitative description of the change of urban-rural construction land and provide an effective framework for land consolidation and land use management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Application of Low-Phosphorous Fertilizers on Tea Plantations as a Novel Best Management Practice
Sustainability 2014, 6(10), 6985-6997; doi:10.3390/su6106985
Received: 14 August 2014 / Revised: 28 September 2014 / Accepted: 28 September 2014 / Published: 7 October 2014
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Abstract
Taipei Feitsui Reservoir supplies drinking water to more than five million citizens in northern Taiwan. The Feitsui Reservoir Administration and Tea Research and Extension Station have implemented a new pollution control measure for the use of low-phosphorous (low-P) fertilizers to prevent eutrophication. [...] Read more.
Taipei Feitsui Reservoir supplies drinking water to more than five million citizens in northern Taiwan. The Feitsui Reservoir Administration and Tea Research and Extension Station have implemented a new pollution control measure for the use of low-phosphorous (low-P) fertilizers to prevent eutrophication. In this study, we compared the quality of the soil, effluent and tea from two test fields. Low-P fertilizer was applied to one of the fields, and regular phosphorous fertilizer (regular-P) was applied to the other. The study period covered spring and winter seasons. The results showed that the investigated soil chemical properties were not influenced by either the low-P or regular-P fertilizers. The effluent quality was influenced by the precondition of the soil, which resulted in a larger average total phosphorous (TP) concentration in the low-P field. However, there was a decreasing trend in P concentration that amounted to approximately half of the average TP concentration in the regular-P field. The growth characteristics and yields were not significantly different between the two fields, but the taste and aroma of the tea from the low-P field was rated as superior to that of the regular-P field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Mechanisms of Forest Restoration in Landslide Treatment Areas
Sustainability 2014, 6(10), 6766-6780; doi:10.3390/su6106766
Received: 21 April 2014 / Revised: 12 September 2014 / Accepted: 15 September 2014 / Published: 29 September 2014
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Abstract
Reforestation after a landslide facilitates competition between herbaceous plants and arborous plants. Tangible variations in grassland areas in regions susceptible to landslides can only be found within collections of trees. A landslide area in the Sule Watershed was investigated. Relative illuminance results [...] Read more.
Reforestation after a landslide facilitates competition between herbaceous plants and arborous plants. Tangible variations in grassland areas in regions susceptible to landslides can only be found within collections of trees. A landslide area in the Sule Watershed was investigated. Relative illuminance results reveal that the Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana Kunth) biomass in this landslide area increases with relative illuminance. A comparison of regions with tree islands indicates that the size of the grassland areas decreased and the number of tree islands increased during 2005–2010. Furthermore, a germination experiment in a soil-seed bank indicates that more woody plant species exist around the tree island than in other areas in the landslide region. Trees in a tree island change the micro-climate of the landslide region, and they gather as many nutrients and as much moisture as possible, enabling vegetation to expand around the tree island. Additionally, the area with Rhodes grass and its biomass declined annually in the tree island region. Investigation results show that tree islands and soil-seed banks are suited to reforestation in landslide regions. The pioneering research will assist regional landslide management in Taiwan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Taiwan’s Ecological Footprint (1994–2011)
Sustainability 2014, 6(9), 6170-6187; doi:10.3390/su6096170
Received: 10 July 2014 / Revised: 11 August 2014 / Accepted: 1 September 2014 / Published: 10 September 2014
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Abstract
According to the 2011 edition of the National Footprint Accounts (NFA) published by the Global Footprint Network (GFN), humankind consumed the resources and services of 1.5 planets in 2008; the corresponding number in 1961 was 0.7 planets. North Americans have an ecological [...] Read more.
According to the 2011 edition of the National Footprint Accounts (NFA) published by the Global Footprint Network (GFN), humankind consumed the resources and services of 1.5 planets in 2008; the corresponding number in 1961 was 0.7 planets. North Americans have an ecological footprint of 8.7 global hectares per person whereas Africans have a footprint of only 1.4 global hectares per person. The global mean biological capacity is only 1.8 global hectares per person so human beings are overshooting ecological resources. The ecological footprint measures the resources that are consumed by humans from the biosphere, and serves as an index of the sustainability of development. The NFA includes the ecological footprints of over 200 countries and regions, but not Taiwan. Hence, Taiwan must establish and update its own ecological footprint databases. Ecological footprint is one indicator of the sustainability of development, and can be compared across nations. This study extends previous studies by analyzing Taiwan’s ecological footprint from 2008–2011. With reference to the ecological footprint accounts of the Global Footprint Network and the Taiwan’s ecological footprint analysis for 1997–2007, this study presents Taiwan’s ecological footprint from 2008–2011. Most of the data that are used herein are taken from the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Energy Agency, Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture and Taiwan’s National Development Council. The results thus obtained reveal that Taiwan’s ecological footprint from 2008–2011 exceeded that from 1997–2007. To respond to this trend toward un-sustainable development and to help Taiwan move toward sustainability, carbon reduction and energy saving policies should be implemented to effectively manage Taiwan’s ecological resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle An Improved Neural Network for Regional Giant Panda Habitat Suitability Mapping: A Case Study in Ya’an Prefecture
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4059-4076; doi:10.3390/su6074059
Received: 27 February 2014 / Revised: 17 June 2014 / Accepted: 17 June 2014 / Published: 26 June 2014
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Abstract
Expert knowledge is a combination of prior information and subjective opinions based on long-experience; as such it is often not sufficiently objective to produce convincing results in animal habitat suitability index mapping. In this study, an animal habitat assessment method based on [...] Read more.
Expert knowledge is a combination of prior information and subjective opinions based on long-experience; as such it is often not sufficiently objective to produce convincing results in animal habitat suitability index mapping. In this study, an animal habitat assessment method based on a learning neural network is proposed to reduce the level of subjectivity in animal habitat assessments. Based on two hypotheses, this method substitutes habitat suitability index with apparent density and has advantages over conventional ones such as those based on analytical hierarchy process or multivariate regression approaches. Besides, this method is integrated with a learning neural network and is suitable for building non-linear transferring functions to fit complex relationships between multiple factors influencing habitat suitability. Once the neural network is properly trained, new earth observation data can be integrated for rapid habitat suitability monitoring which could save time and resources needed for traditional data collecting approaches through extensive field surveys. Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) natural habitat in Ya’an prefecture and corresponding landsat images, DEM and ground observations are tested for validity of using the methodology reported. Results show that the method scores well in key efficiency and performance indicators and could be extended for habitat assessments, particularly of other large, rare and widely distributed animal species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)

Review

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Open AccessReview The Institutional Challenges of Payment for Ecosystem Service Program in China: A Review of the Effectiveness and Implementation of Sloping Land Conversion Program
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5564-5591; doi:10.3390/su7055564
Received: 25 December 2014 / Revised: 22 April 2015 / Accepted: 30 April 2015 / Published: 7 May 2015
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Abstract
This study is an overview of the effectiveness and institutional challenges of China’s Sloping Land Conversion Program (SLCP). The SLCP is the Chinese government’s largest Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) program and one of the largest PES programs in the world. From [...] Read more.
This study is an overview of the effectiveness and institutional challenges of China’s Sloping Land Conversion Program (SLCP). The SLCP is the Chinese government’s largest Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) program and one of the largest PES programs in the world. From an institutional perspective, the SLCP is particularly interesting because it represents a hybrid governance type that includes both voluntary and hierarchical (top-down) elements rather than traditional command-and-control approach. Our analysis is based on a literature review that encompasses 164 international scientific articles. To identify institutional challenges, we linked the results regarding the effectiveness of the program to its institutional aspects. Our SLCP case study highlights the dependence of the effectiveness of a governmental PES program on the specific regulatory institutional setting and the particular actors involved. Our results show that some institutional challenges undermine the anticipated advantages of PES (local participation) and eventually reshape the program outcomes through implementation process, particularly in cases of hybrid governance structures in which institutional requirements are as important as the design of the specific financial incentives. The collaboration between relevant government actors at different hierarchical levels, and specifically the motivations and interests of the government actors responsible for the implementation on the ground, play crucial roles. The SLCP can be an important milestone in environmental policy in China and the world, if more innovative elements of a theoretically ideal PES—such as local flexibility and self-interest (or at least the acceptance of the service providers supplying the relevant ecosystem services) can be strengthened. The environmental goals can be achieved in combination with greater self-interest of the applicable government actors on all hierarchical levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
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