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Sustainability, Volume 11, Issue 18 (September-2 2019) – 327 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Despite the attempts of large, established companies to promote sustainability, many researchers [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Research on Deformation Characteristics of Using Silty Clay Modified by Oil Shale Ash and Fly Ash as the Subgrade Material after Freeze-Thaw Cycles
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5141; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185141 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 720
Abstract
To achieve the purposes of disposing industry solid wastes and enhancing the sustainability of subgrade life-cycle service performance in seasonally frozen regions compared to previous research of modified silty clay (MSC) composed of oil shale ash (OSA), fly ash (FA), and silty clay [...] Read more.
To achieve the purposes of disposing industry solid wastes and enhancing the sustainability of subgrade life-cycle service performance in seasonally frozen regions compared to previous research of modified silty clay (MSC) composed of oil shale ash (OSA), fly ash (FA), and silty clay (SC), we identified for the first time the axial deformation characteristics of MSC with different levels of cycle load number, dynamic stress ratio, confining pressure, loading frequency, and F-T cycles; and corresponding to the above conditions, the normalized and logarithmic models on the plastic cumulative strain prediction of MSC are established. For the effect of cycle load number, results show that the cumulative plastic strain of MSC after 1, 10, and 100 cycle loads occupies for 28.72%~35.31%, 49.86%~55.59%, and 70.87%~78.39% of those after 8000 cycle loads, indicating that MSC possesses remarkable plastic stability after 100 cycles of cycle loads. For the effect of dynamic stress ratio, confining pressure, loading frequency, and F-T cycles, results show that dynamic stress ratio and F-T cycles are important factors affecting the axial deformation of MSC after repeated cycle loads; and under the low dynamic stress ratio, increasing confining pressure and loading frequency have insignificant effect on the axial strain of MSC after 8000 loads. In term of the normalized and logarithmic models on the plastic cumulative strain prediction of MSC, they have a high correlation coefficient with testing data, and according to the above models, the predicted result shows that the cumulative plastic strain of MSC ranges from 0.38 cm to 2.71 cm, and these predicted values are within the requirements in the related standards of highway subgrades and railway, indicating that the cumulative plastic strain of MSC is small and MSC is suitable to be used as the subgrade materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Soil Reuse in Civil Construction)
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Open AccessArticle
A Multivariate Geomorphometric Approach to Prioritize Erosion-Prone Watersheds
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5140; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185140 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 796
Abstract
Soil erosion is considered one of the main degradation processes in ecosystems located in developing countries. In northern Mexico, one of the most important hydrological regions is the Conchos River Basin (CRB) due to its utilization as a runoff source. However, the CRB [...] Read more.
Soil erosion is considered one of the main degradation processes in ecosystems located in developing countries. In northern Mexico, one of the most important hydrological regions is the Conchos River Basin (CRB) due to its utilization as a runoff source. However, the CRB is subjected to significant erosion processes due to natural and anthropogenic causes. Thus, classifying the CRB’s watersheds based on their erosion susceptibility is of great importance. This study classified and then prioritized the 31 watersheds composing the CRB. For that, multivariate techniques such as principal component analysis (PCA), group analysis (GA), and the ranking methodology known as compound parameter (Cp) were used. After a correlation analysis, the values of 26 from 33 geomorphometric parameters estimated from each watershed served for the evaluation. The PCA defined linear-type parameters as the main source of variability among the watersheds. The GA and the Cp were effective for grouping the watersheds in five groups, and provided the information for the spatial analysis. The GA methodology best classified the watersheds based on the variance of their parameters. The group with the highest prioritization and erosion susceptibility included watersheds RH24Lf, RH24Lb, RH24Nc, and RH24Jb. These watersheds are potential candidates for the implementation of soil conservation practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Development of Water Systems Management)
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Open AccessArticle
The Concept of Financial Sustainability Measurement: A Case of Food Companies from Northern Europe
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5139; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185139 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 805
Abstract
A managerial approach to the financial sustainability of a company derives from the principle of value maximization for shareholders at an acceptable level of risk, using the best combination of investments and available sources of financing. The research presents the concept of financial [...] Read more.
A managerial approach to the financial sustainability of a company derives from the principle of value maximization for shareholders at an acceptable level of risk, using the best combination of investments and available sources of financing. The research presents the concept of financial sustainability measurement in the example of food companies from Northern Europe. We applied fuzzy logic to quantify complex interrelations among various financial factors and classify companies according to the level of their financial sustainability. A unique combination of factors formed a single complex indicator, which measured a relative level of financial sustainability of food companies. Considering the duality of financial sustainability in terms of risk and return, the relationship framework for synthetic evaluation included the vector of value and the vector of continuity that consisted of such variables as profitability, market capitalization, productivity, operating efficiency, debt, liquidity, interest coverage, and retained earnings. We received evidence that the level of financial sustainability of entities changed in 2005–2015 and was statistically different among sample companies. The proposed method can be applied as a practical tool in a decision-making process to evaluate financial sustainability or other aspects of business performance in larger groups of entities on the basis of various financial criteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Do Silvi-Medicinal Plantations Affect Tree Litter Decomposition and Nutrient Mineralization?
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5138; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185138 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 509
Abstract
In a silvi-medicinal system, the plant secondary metabolites (PSMs) released from medicinal herbs could affect tree litter decomposition and nutrient release. However, the specific effects of PSMs on arboreous litter decomposition are still not well understood. In this study, the extracts of nine [...] Read more.
In a silvi-medicinal system, the plant secondary metabolites (PSMs) released from medicinal herbs could affect tree litter decomposition and nutrient release. However, the specific effects of PSMs on arboreous litter decomposition are still not well understood. In this study, the extracts of nine types of medicinal herbs were used to treat Pinus armandii Franch. and Larix gmelinii (Rupr.) Kuzen. litter during a simulated half-year decomposition. The effects of the extracts on the decomposition and the N and P release of the conifer litter were investigated. The results indicated that most of the medicinal herb extracts significantly inhibited the late decomposition of P. armandii litter, whereas only two of them accelerated the entire decomposition process. Only a few significantly affected the decomposition of the L. gmelinii litter. Four of the nine types of extract significantly inhibited the N and P release of the P. armandii litter, while 3/9 and 6/9 inhibited the N and P release of the L. gmelinii litter, respectively. The accelerating effects of the extracts on the cellulase activity and the inhibitory effects on the polyphenol oxidase activity might be responsible for the early acceleration and late inhibition of litter decomposition, while the effects of the extracts on the activities of protease and phosphatase might not be the main reason for the inhibitory or accelerating effects on the N and P release. In general, the inhibitory effects of medicinal herbs on the nutrient cycling of ecosystems should be taken into consideration when building silvi-medicinal systems, especially in P. armandii forests. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Market Sentiment Trend, Investor Inertia, and Post-Earnings Announcement Drift: Evidence from Korea’s Stock Market
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5137; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185137 - 19 Sep 2019
Viewed by 567
Abstract
We investigated whether post-earnings announcement drift (PEAD) in the Korean stock market is related to investor inertial behavior under a directional trend in market sentiment. Given that investors tend to procrastinate due to their belief in the persistence of the current market’s condition [...] Read more.
We investigated whether post-earnings announcement drift (PEAD) in the Korean stock market is related to investor inertial behavior under a directional trend in market sentiment. Given that investors tend to procrastinate due to their belief in the persistence of the current market’s condition and thus underreact to earnings information, we examined whether this investor inertia influences the drift in stock price following an earnings announcement. Our findings show that when the market sentiment continues to shift upwardly (downwardly) over the pre- and post-earnings announcement period, positive (negative) drift occurs. Note that these results are robust to control for the effect of market sentiment at a specific point in time. We suggest that investors do not fully respond to new earnings information due to investor inertial behavior under the market sentiment with a consistent trend. Overall, our study sheds light on a determinant of PEAD as one of the market anomalies in terms of investors’ cognitive bias by documenting the relation between PEAD and investor inertia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
Sustainability Development of Knowledge-Intensive Business Services: Strategic Actions and Business Performance
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5136; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185136 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 512
Abstract
The recognition of the relevance of knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) is becoming especially acute in the European Union and even more important for many emerging economies. The objective of the present study is twofold: (1) to examine whether an empirically-based typology of sustainability [...] Read more.
The recognition of the relevance of knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) is becoming especially acute in the European Union and even more important for many emerging economies. The objective of the present study is twofold: (1) to examine whether an empirically-based typology of sustainability development can be constructed for KIBS; (2) to identify whether different development patterns are associated with different business performance outcomes. The empirical evidence is based on quantitative and firm-level data gathered through an email questionnaire which yielded 128 qualified responses from KIBS in the Czech Republic. The analysis is based on exploratory factor and cluster analysis to identify the cluster membership and to assess the relationship with performance outcomes it has been used the parametric test one-way ANOVA. Data analysis revealed that three distinct patterns types of KIBS exist, which were associated with different performance outcomes. With regard to the level of sustainable development, we found the conservative KIBS following market extension through a repositioning of existing and revised services, innovating KIBS following a new service development strategy focusing mainly on complements or line extension to existing services based on changes in technology and middle-ranged KIBS focusing on traditional strategy of comprehensiveness of services or “more services under one roof”. Innovating KIBS outperform other types of KIBS in all financial and non-financial parameters. The results have implications for practices involved in strategy development in services and useful for government efforts. The limitation of the research is done by focus on small companies, operating mainly in ICT and architectural and engineering services. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation Methods of Water Environment Safety and Their Application to the Three Northeast Provinces of China
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5135; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185135 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 600
Abstract
Focusing on the topic of water environment safety of China, this paper has selected the three northeast provinces of China as the research object due to their representativeness in economic development and resource security. By using the Entropy Weight Method, the Grey Correlation [...] Read more.
Focusing on the topic of water environment safety of China, this paper has selected the three northeast provinces of China as the research object due to their representativeness in economic development and resource security. By using the Entropy Weight Method, the Grey Correlation Analysis Method, and the Principal Component Analysis Method, this paper has first constructed a water environment safety evaluation system with 17 indicators from the economic, environmental, and ecological aspects. Furthermore, this paper has screened the initially selected indicators by the Principal Component Analysis Method and finally determined 11 indicators as the evaluation indicators. After indicator screening, this paper has adopted the improved Fuzzy Comprehensive Evaluation Method to evaluate the water environment safety of the three northeast provinces of China and obtained the change in water environment safety of different provinces from 2009 to 2017. The results show that the overall water environment safety of the region had improved first but worsened afterward, and that in terms of water safety level, Jilin Province ranked first, followed by Heilongjiang Province and Liaoning Province. The three factors that have the greatest impact on the water environment safety of the three provinces are: Liaoning—Chemical Oxygen Demand (score: 17.10), Per Capita Disposable Income (score: 13.50), and Secondary Industry Output (score: 11.50); Heilongjiang—Chemical Oxygen Demand (score: 18.64), Per Capita Water Resources (score: 12.75), and Concentration of Inhalable Particles (score: 10.89); Jilin—Per Capita Water Resources (score: 15.75), Chemical Oxygen Demand (score: 14.87), and Service Industry Output (score: 11.55). Based on analysis of the evaluation results, this paper has proposed corresponding policy recommendations to improve the water environment safety and promote sustainable development in the northeast provinces of China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Water Consumption and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Willingness to Pay More to Stay at a Boutique Hotel with an Environmental Management System. A Preliminary Study in Spain
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5134; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185134 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 834
Abstract
Since 1990, both people’s recognition of the need for sustainability around the world and environmental management systems in the tourism industry have been growing. Academic studies have primarily focused on the willingness of consumers to pay more to stay in major hotel chains, [...] Read more.
Since 1990, both people’s recognition of the need for sustainability around the world and environmental management systems in the tourism industry have been growing. Academic studies have primarily focused on the willingness of consumers to pay more to stay in major hotel chains, finding that the incorporation of environmental management systems (EMSs) is a way to save money by reducing costs, while improving the image and competitive advantage of these chains in the market. However, the aggregate environmental impact of tourism activity does not only depend on the practices of industry leaders. It also relates to the degree to which all stakeholders adopt these practices. Boutique hotels fall under the category of small-sized accommodation and are characterized by their size, independent management, and respect for the local environment. Hotel consumers display positive attitudes with respect to green hotel practices, which provides a starting point for motivating hotels to continue working on improving their environmental impact performance. For this reason, the objective of this paper is to determine whether boutique hotel clients are willing to pay more for a hotel with an environmental management system. Two dependence techniques are applied, logit regression and linear regression. The results show that the respondents’ age and income, as well as the strength of their environmental commitment, are determinant factors of whether clients would pay more to stay in a boutique hotel with an EMS. This preliminary study tries to investigate the “willingness to pay” in the Spanish boutique hotels. The originality of this article responds to the demand for a more holistic perspective on the hospitality sector, contributing to the understanding of hotel clients and their willingness to pay more for an EMS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development in the Hotel Industry)
Open AccessArticle
Monitoring the Carbon Footprint of Dry Bulk Shipping in the EU: An Early Assessment of the MRV Regulation
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5133; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185133 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 888
Abstract
Aiming at reducing CO2 emissions from shipping at the EU level, a system for monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) of CO2 emissions of ships was introduced in 2015 with the so-called ‘MRV Regulation’. Its stated objective was to produce accurate information [...] Read more.
Aiming at reducing CO2 emissions from shipping at the EU level, a system for monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) of CO2 emissions of ships was introduced in 2015 with the so-called ‘MRV Regulation’. Its stated objective was to produce accurate information on the CO2 emissions of large ships using EU ports and to incentivize energy efficiency improvements by making this information publicly available. On 1 July 2019, the European Commission published the relevant data for 10,880 ships that called at EU ports within 2018. This milestone marked the completion of the first annual cycle of the regulation’s implementation, enabling an early assessment of its effectiveness. To investigate the value of the published data, information was collected on all voyages performed within 2018 by a fleet of 1041 dry bulk carriers operated by a leading Danish shipping company. The MRV indicators were then recalculated on a global basis. The results indicate that the geographic coverage restrictions of the MRV Regulation introduce a significant bias, thus prohibiting their intended use. Nevertheless, the MRV Regulation has played a role in prompting the IMO to adopt its Data Collection System that monitors ship carbon emissions albeit on a global basis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Maritime Transport)
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Open AccessArticle
FAO CROPWAT Model-Based Irrigation Requirements for Coconut to Improve Crop and Water Productivity in Kerala, India
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5132; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185132 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 739
Abstract
The irrigation requirements for coconut in Kerala are general in nature. This study determined the irrigation requirements for coconut, using CROPWAT based on agro-ecological zones (AEZs) for proposing the recommendations. The irrigation recommendations are generated based on the climatic, soil, and crop characteristics. [...] Read more.
The irrigation requirements for coconut in Kerala are general in nature. This study determined the irrigation requirements for coconut, using CROPWAT based on agro-ecological zones (AEZs) for proposing the recommendations. The irrigation recommendations are generated based on the climatic, soil, and crop characteristics. The results showed that the irrigation requirements varied with the locations. Overall, for the state of Kerala, the irrigation requirements varied from 350 to 900 L of water per coconut palm, with the irrigation intervals ranging from three to nine days based on the AEZs. Moreover, this study also confirmed the variation of the water requirements observed within the districts. The quantity of water required per palm varied between 115 to 200 liters per day (LPD) per palm, which is lower than the existing recommendations of 175 to 300 LPD per palm. The proposed irrigation requirements appraised with the presently followed recommendations of the Kerala state, and its advantages discussed for improving the crop and water productivity. In nutshell, if the current recommendation is adopted, 30% of the water used for irrigation can be saved, as well as leading to an improvement in crop production. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Photovoltaic Expansion-Limit through a Net Energy Metering Scheme for Selected Malaysian Public Hospitals
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5131; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185131 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 829
Abstract
This paper presents an optimization approach in determining the expansion-limit of Renewable Distributed Generation (DG) capacity through a Net Energy Metering (NEM) scheme specifically for selected Malaysian public hospitals. In this study, the total line loss reduction was analyzed and set as the [...] Read more.
This paper presents an optimization approach in determining the expansion-limit of Renewable Distributed Generation (DG) capacity through a Net Energy Metering (NEM) scheme specifically for selected Malaysian public hospitals. In this study, the total line loss reduction was analyzed and set as the main objective function in the optimization process where an acceptance region for DG extensiveness was proposed via the lower total line loss outcome value. Solar photovoltaic (PV)-type DG unit (PV-DG) was identified as the type of DG used in this paper. Artificial Bee Colony (ABC) algorithm was chosen to alleviate such PV-DG optimization. The distribution network uses a bus and line data setup from the three selected Malaysian public hospitals prior to three different levels, i.e., National, State, and District level hospitals. MATLAB simulation result showed the PV-DG expansion capacity towards bigger scale and location bounded by the U-trajectory shape theory which resulted in a contradiction between NEM current maximum capacity requirement and actual PV-DG expansion-limit. These limitations were also found to be different among three different level hospitals, and the expansion-limit was tailored by their own distribution network parameters. Thus, this paper provides technical justification and gives the best option to the renewable energy (RE) developer for more effective PV-DG integration through the utilization of a NEM scheme. The importance of the study is portrayed in-depth towards achieving a more sensible and accurate way of estimating the outcome. This will encourage developers, building owners, and users in participating towards achieving potential benefits both in monetary and power system reliability improvement, specifically for Malaysian public hospital applications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Analysis of the Corporate Social Responsibility and the Industry 4.0 with Focus on the Youth Generation: A Sustainable Human Resource Management Framework
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5130; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185130 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1166
Abstract
The global movement around themes like sustainability on its triple bottom line and industry 4.0 allows for the establishment of a ground of connection with corporate responsibility towards society. This current research study was developed between 1 March 2019 to 2 September 2019, [...] Read more.
The global movement around themes like sustainability on its triple bottom line and industry 4.0 allows for the establishment of a ground of connection with corporate responsibility towards society. This current research study was developed between 1 March 2019 to 2 September 2019, through a literature review involving human resources and terms related to the concept of sustainability, industry 4.0, corporate social responsibility, and the youth generation. Its target audience is the world’s youth generation. Two proposals were created after the literature review and data collection, which allowed the elaboration of “an analysis of the corporate social responsibility and the industry 4.0 with focus in the youth generation: a sustainable human resource management framework.” Regarding conclusions, the authors of this research study contribute with theoretical and practical educational purposes to insert the youth citizen into society. This contribution also involves the work of companies on planning and preparing their staffs to develop activities in the communities in their neighborhood. Future studies are stimulated, which will allow the creation of new proposals to be presented, so that the nations can incorporate their youth people on the transitional job market and have a sustainable view for the future generations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Human Resource Management) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
How do Knowledge Management Practices Affect Sustainable Balanced Performance? Mediating Role of Innovation Practices
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5129; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185129 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 696
Abstract
The main purpose of this study is to investigate the mediating role of innovation practices (IP) amidst relations of knowledge management practices (KMP) and sustainable balanced performance (SBP). Furthermore, this research illustrates a comprehensive empirical study in the Iranian knowledge-based industrial companies that [...] Read more.
The main purpose of this study is to investigate the mediating role of innovation practices (IP) amidst relations of knowledge management practices (KMP) and sustainable balanced performance (SBP). Furthermore, this research illustrates a comprehensive empirical study in the Iranian knowledge-based industrial companies that are the manufacturers of advanced machineries and equipment. First- and second-order exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was done to confirm constructs validity. Then, relations among variables were studied by applying the partial least squares (PLS) technique to collected data from 104 industrial knowledge-based companies. The results obtained from the analysis supported all the research hypotheses. KPM significantly and strongly affects IP and SBP. Also, IP mediates the relations between KPM and SBP in industrial knowledge-based firms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
The Wooden Architecture Route as an Example of a Regional Tourism Product in Poland
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5128; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185128 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 494
Abstract
In the modern economy, there is a significant increase in interest in tourism, both at the level of states, regions, communes and individual places. Tourism is seen primarily as an opportunity for economic development, but also for social development and activation of local [...] Read more.
In the modern economy, there is a significant increase in interest in tourism, both at the level of states, regions, communes and individual places. Tourism is seen primarily as an opportunity for economic development, but also for social development and activation of local communities. Well-managed tourism can become a way to preserve and protect the natural, cultural and historical heritage of specific places or regions by exploring and nurturing it. Heritage elements become, on the one hand, attractions around which unique tourism products are created, and on the other hand, a kind of distinguishing feature of a given place or region, based on which local communities build their identity and sense of belonging. The concept of creating regional tourism products could integrate these two factors, i.e., tourism and heritage. The article presents the concept of a regional tourist product on the example of the Wooden Architecture Route (case study). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Tourism, Culture, and Heritage)
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling of Heat Transfer Coefficient in Solar Greenhouse Type Drying Systems
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5127; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185127 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 641
Abstract
As a sustainable energy source, solar energy is used in many applications. A greenhouse type dryer, which is a food drying system, directly benefits from solar energy. Convective heat transfer coefficient (hc) is an important parameter in food drying systems, [...] Read more.
As a sustainable energy source, solar energy is used in many applications. A greenhouse type dryer, which is a food drying system, directly benefits from solar energy. Convective heat transfer coefficient (hc) is an important parameter in food drying systems, in terms of system design and performance. Many parameters and equations are used to determine hc. However, as it is difficult to manually process and analyze large amounts of data and different formulations, machine learning algorithms are preferred. In this study, natural and forced convective solar greenhouse type dryers were designed. In a solar greenhouse type dryer, grape is dried in natural (GDNC) and forced convection (GDFC). For convective heat transfer coefficient (hc), predictive models were created using a multilayer perceptron (MLP)—which has many uses in drying applications, as mentioned in the literature—and decision tree (DT), which has not been used before in food drying applications. The machine learning algorithms and results of the estimated models are compared in this study. Error analyses were performed to determine the accuracy rates of the obtained models. As a result, the hc value of the dried grape product in a natural convective solar greenhouse type dryer was 11.3% higher than that of the forced type. The DT algorithm was found to be a more successful model than the MLP algorithm in estimating hc values in HDFC according to Root Mean Square Error. (RMSE = 0.0903). On the contrary, the MLP algorithm was more successful than the DT algorithm in estimating hc values in GDNC (RMSE = 0.0815). Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Effect of Biochar Used as Soil Amendment on Morphological Diversity of Collembola
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5126; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185126 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 574
Abstract
Biochar was reported to improve the chemical and physical properties of soil. The use of biochar as a soil amendment have been found to improve the soil structure, increase the porosity, decrease bulk density, as well increase aggregation and water retention. Knowing that [...] Read more.
Biochar was reported to improve the chemical and physical properties of soil. The use of biochar as a soil amendment have been found to improve the soil structure, increase the porosity, decrease bulk density, as well increase aggregation and water retention. Knowing that springtails (Collembola) are closely related to soil properties, the effect of biochar on morphological diversity of these organisms was evaluated. The main concept was the classification of springtails to the life-form groups and estimation of QBS-c index (biological quality index based on Collembola species). We conducted the field experiment where biochar was used as soil amendment in oilseed rape and maize crops. Wood-chip biochar from low-temperature (300 °C) flash pyrolysis was free from PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) and other toxic components. Results showed that all springtail life-form groups (epedaphic, hemiedaphic, and euedaphic) were positively affected after biochar application. The QBS-c index, which relates to springtails’ adaptation to living in the soil, was higher in treatments where biochar was applied. We can recommend the use of Collembola’s morphological diversity as a good tool for the bioindication of soil health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Production in Food and Agriculture Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Entrepreneurial Innovation Impact on Recycling Municipal Waste. A Panel Data Analysis at the EU Level
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5125; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185125 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 670
Abstract
Based on recent findings of the economic literature on the implications of entrepreneurial innovation for recycling municipal waste, this paper aims to examine the main factors of recycling municipal waste at the European Union (EU) level. In this study, the authors developed a [...] Read more.
Based on recent findings of the economic literature on the implications of entrepreneurial innovation for recycling municipal waste, this paper aims to examine the main factors of recycling municipal waste at the European Union (EU) level. In this study, the authors developed a linear regression model to analyze the relationship between business expenditure on research and development (R&D), private investments, gross domestic product (GDP) expenditures on R&D, resource productivity, and environmental taxes on the recycling rate of municipal waste (RRMW). In our analyses, we used data from the Statistical Office of the European Union (EUROSTAT) and five statistical hypotheses were validated through a multiple regression model with panel data using the statistical software EViews 11. The study was conducted in 27 European Union countries between 2010 and 2017. Our results indicate that business expenditure on R&D, private investments, GDP expenditures on R&D, and resource productivity have a direct and significant impact on the RRMW, while environmental taxes have a significant and inverse impact on the RRMW. These findings underline that public policies should be focused on increasing the use of private and public investments on R&D for recycling municipal waste. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Trends in Municipal Solid Waste Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Connectivity Study in Northwest Spain: Barriers, Impedances, and Corridors
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5124; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185124 - 19 Sep 2019
Viewed by 485
Abstract
Functional connectivity between habitats is a fundamental quality for species dispersal and genetic exchange throughout their distribution range. Brown bear populations in Northwest Spain comprise around 200 individuals separated into two sub-populations that are very difficult to connect. We analysed the fragmentation and [...] Read more.
Functional connectivity between habitats is a fundamental quality for species dispersal and genetic exchange throughout their distribution range. Brown bear populations in Northwest Spain comprise around 200 individuals separated into two sub-populations that are very difficult to connect. We analysed the fragmentation and connectivity for the Ancares-Courel Site of Community Importance (SCI) and its surroundings, including the distribution area for this species within Asturias and in the northwest of Castile and León. The work analysed the territory’s connectivity by using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The distance-cost method was used to calculate the least-cost paths with Patch Matrix. The Conefor Sensinode software calculated the Integral Connectivity Index and the Connectivity Probability. Locating the least-cost paths made it possible to define areas of favourable connectivity and to identify critical areas, while the results obtained from the connectivity indices led to the discovery of habitat patches that are fundamental for maintaining connectivity within and between different spaces. Three routes turned out to be the main ones connecting the northern (Ancares) and southern (Courel) areas of the SCI. Finally, this work shows the importance of conserving natural habitats and the biology, migration, and genetic exchange of sensitive species. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Premiums for Non-Sustainable and Sustainable Components of Market Volatility: Evidence from the Korean Stock Market
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5123; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185123 - 19 Sep 2019
Viewed by 497
Abstract
The study investigates the premiums expected for non-sustainable and sustainable components of market volatility in Korea during the August 1991 to December 2018 period. We decompose market volatility into non-sustainable and sustainable components and construct the factors that mimic the two respective components [...] Read more.
The study investigates the premiums expected for non-sustainable and sustainable components of market volatility in Korea during the August 1991 to December 2018 period. We decompose market volatility into non-sustainable and sustainable components and construct the factors that mimic the two respective components of market volatility. The portfolio analysis and Fama-MacBeth regressions reveal that both short- and long-term components are negative pricing factors in the Korean stock market. Specifically, stocks with higher sensitivities to the long-term volatility factor have lower average annual returns by approximately 14%, than stocks with lower sensitivities. This implies that stocks with high sensitivity to sustainable volatility provide a hedging opportunity against future uncertainty, and thus, investors are willing to pay an annual premium of 14% for such stocks. Our results are robust to variations in samples and methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Optimal Control Strategy for Variable Air Volume Air-Conditioning Systems Using Genetic Algorithms
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5122; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185122 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 605
Abstract
This study is aimed at developing a real-time optimal control strategy for variable air volume (VAV) air-conditioning in a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system using genetic algorithms and a simulated large-scale office building. The two selected control variables are the settings for [...] Read more.
This study is aimed at developing a real-time optimal control strategy for variable air volume (VAV) air-conditioning in a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system using genetic algorithms and a simulated large-scale office building. The two selected control variables are the settings for the supply air temperature and the duct static pressure to provide optimal control for the VAV air-conditioning system. Genetic algorithms were employed to calculate the optimal control settings for each control variable. The proposed optimal control conditions were evaluated according to the total energy consumption of the HVAC system based on its component parts (fan, chiller, and cold-water pump). The results confirm that the supply air temperature and duct static pressure change according to the cooling load of the simulated building. Using the proposed optimal control variables, the total energy consumption of the building was reduced up to 5.72% compared to under ‘normal’ settings and conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Energy Efficiency Solutions for Sustainable Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Evaluation of a Diesel Cogeneration System for Producing Power and Drying Aromatic Herbs
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5121; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185121 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 572
Abstract
The focus of this work was to evaluate the thermal performance of a cogeneration system used to produce power and dry aromatic herbs. The waste heat from the exhaust gases of the diesel engine was recovered to heat air using a thermosyphon heat [...] Read more.
The focus of this work was to evaluate the thermal performance of a cogeneration system used to produce power and dry aromatic herbs. The waste heat from the exhaust gases of the diesel engine was recovered to heat air using a thermosyphon heat exchanger. The heated air was employed in a convective tray dryer in order to dry Origanum vulgare, Mentha spicata, and Ocimum basilicum. The experiments were carried out at full load in a stationary compression ignition engine coupled to a generator. The maximum global energy efficiency of the cogeneration system was 40.14%, and the effectiveness of the heat exchanger achieved 39%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceReview
Agricultural Sustainability: A Review of Concepts and Methods
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5120; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185120 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1212
Abstract
This paper presents a methodological framework for the systematic literature review of agricultural sustainability studies. The framework synthesizes all the available literature review criteria and introduces a two-level analysis facilitating systematization, data mining, and methodology analysis. The framework was implemented for the systematic [...] Read more.
This paper presents a methodological framework for the systematic literature review of agricultural sustainability studies. The framework synthesizes all the available literature review criteria and introduces a two-level analysis facilitating systematization, data mining, and methodology analysis. The framework was implemented for the systematic literature review of 38 crop agricultural sustainability assessment studies at farm-level for the last decade. The investigation of the methodologies used is of particular importance since there are no standards or norms for the sustainability assessment of farming practices. The chronological analysis revealed that the scientific community’s interest in agricultural sustainability is increasing in the last three years. The most used methods include indicator-based tools, frameworks, and indexes, followed by multicriteria methods. In the reviewed studies, stakeholder participation is proved crucial in the determination of the level of sustainability. It should also be mentioned that combinational use of methodologies is often observed, thus a clear distinction of methodologies is not always possible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green, Closed Loop, Circular Bio-Economy)
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Open AccessArticle
Selective Adoption: How Port Authorities in Europe and West Africa Engage with the Globalizing ‘Green Port’ Idea
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5119; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185119 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 666
Abstract
The scholarly debate on ‘green ports’ since it emerged in the policy discourse of international maritime organizations has largely focused on exploring the economic benefits associated with implementing related policies and developing green guides and codes of conduct for port authorities. In contrast, [...] Read more.
The scholarly debate on ‘green ports’ since it emerged in the policy discourse of international maritime organizations has largely focused on exploring the economic benefits associated with implementing related policies and developing green guides and codes of conduct for port authorities. In contrast, it has received little attention how the green port idea and according measures are taken up and what role is played by contextual factors in places of such uptake. By engaging with the expanding literature on policy mobilities and drawing on empirical information collected through interviews with port officials from four ports in Europe and West Africa, we argue that context-specific factors strongly influence what we call the selective adoption of green port tools and measures for transitioning ports towards sustainability. They include environmental priorities, regulatory requirements, financial resources and the immediate areas of competence of port authorities, which all vary widely across regions and specific ports. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Welfare Economic Analysis of Lifting Water Subsidies for Banana Farms in Jordan
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5118; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185118 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 650
Abstract
Jordan is one of the four driest countries in the world. Due to rapid population growth, water demand distinctly exceeds supply. The tariff to cover operations and maintenance (OM) and depreciation costs will be JD 0.066 per cubic meter (1 JD = 1.41 [...] Read more.
Jordan is one of the four driest countries in the world. Due to rapid population growth, water demand distinctly exceeds supply. The tariff to cover operations and maintenance (OM) and depreciation costs will be JD 0.066 per cubic meter (1 JD = 1.41 US$) if billing and collection efficiencies were able to reach 100 percent. The current charges of irrigation water in the Jordan Valley are JD 0.011/M3.This study aims at evaluating the effect of lifting the irrigation water subsidy for bananas in the Jordan Valley on the producers’ income, the consumers’ expenditure, the government’s budget, and Jordanian society. The total area planted with banana trees in 2017 was 1533 ha producing about 73.9 thousand tons of bananas. Previous studies have focused on evaluating the effect of input subsidies on prices and quantities, while in this study we evaluate the monetary effect on lifting these subsidies. A partial market equilibrium model, which evaluates the consumer surplus and producer surplus, was used to analyze the welfare effect of lifting the subsidies for irrigation water for the banana farms in Jordan. All the relevant players in the irrigated banana sector in Jordan were analyzed in this study including: producers, consumers, taxpayers, and society. Welfare economic instruments such as consumer surplus, producer surplus, and economic efficiency have been applied in the analysis. The government revenue will increase during the selected years by JD 3.1 million, JD 4.5 million and JD 3.8 million respectively. The dead weight loss during the three years will be JD 23.2 thousand, JD 44.3 thousand and JD 38.6 thousand respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Drought on the Phenology, Growth, and Morphological Development of Three Urban Tree Species and Cultivars
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5117; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185117 - 18 Sep 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 771
Abstract
Under changing climatic conditions, drought may become a critical constraint for trees in urban areas, particularly at roadsides and highly paved squares. As healthy urban trees have proven to be an important mitigation and adaptation tool for climate change as well as a [...] Read more.
Under changing climatic conditions, drought may become a critical constraint for trees in urban areas, particularly at roadsides and highly paved squares. As healthy urban trees have proven to be an important mitigation and adaptation tool for climate change as well as a significant provider of ecosystem services, there is a need for planting species and cultivars capable of coping with the limited water supply. However, data on species’ and cultivars’ response to drought, particularly their water supplying root systems remains rare. To consider the whole plant responses to drought situations, we studied the growth and phenology of three frequently planted tree species and cultivars with a diameter of 5–6 cm during a one-year rainfall exclusion experiment conducted in a nursery field as well as the dry biomass of the compartments branch, stem, and root after excavation. Our results revealed that species’ and cultivars’ performance were linked to their within-plant carbon partitioning. A high tolerance to drought was noted for Acer campestre, with a particularly high ratio of root:shoot ratio, which made it presumably less susceptible to droughts. Tilia cordata ‘Greenspire’ was highly affected by the reduced water availability visible through prematurely leaf senescence, while Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’ suffered from losing a considerable part of its root biomass, which resulted in the lowest root:shoot ratio of all species and cultivars. This study demonstrated the need for investigating the reaction patterns of species and cultivars by considering both the above-and the below-ground plant parts. We recommend that, for future tree plantings at harsh and challenging urban sites, an important selection criterion should be species’ and cultivars’ capability to develop and retain strong and dense root systems even under limited water supply, as that is believed to be an important trait for drought tolerance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Management of Carbon Sequestration Service in Areas with High Development Pressure: Considering Land Use Changes and Carbon Costs
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5116; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185116 - 18 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 745
Abstract
In countries and regions where development projects are frequently implemented, there is a significant change in the value of carbon sequestration services according to land use and land cover (LULC) changes. In this study, we analyzed the changes in the carbon sequestration services [...] Read more.
In countries and regions where development projects are frequently implemented, there is a significant change in the value of carbon sequestration services according to land use and land cover (LULC) changes. In this study, we analyzed the changes in the carbon sequestration services which occurred due to the LULC changes over a 20 years period (1989–2009) in Korea where local development projects have been active, since 1990s. As a result, the total carbon stocks decreased by about 0.07 billion t C. Significant changes in the carbon stocks mostly occurred in areas where development projects were frequently implemented. The loss of economic value due to the changes in carbon stocks over 20 years was 4.7 trillion won (4159 million USD) when market price of carbon is applied. Therefore, in countries and regions where there is an active development, it is necessary to monitor the land-use changes with high carbon stocks, to reconsider the value of the carbon when making policy decisions which cause LULC changes, and to internalize social costs into the market prices. Especially at a local level, it is necessary to promote management policy based on carbon sequestration services in accordance with local conditions such as size and types of the changes in carbon stocks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sustainability and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
The Emergence of Mobility Inequality in Greater Jakarta, Indonesia: A Socio-Spatial Analysis of Path Dependencies in Transport–Land Use Policies
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5115; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185115 - 18 Sep 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 879
Abstract
Despite numerous studies suggesting a path-dependent relationship between transport–land use policies and urban structures, particularly on the emergence of car-oriented development, this connection has rarely been explained with spatial evidence. To address this gap, this paper investigated the historical and spatial urban transformation [...] Read more.
Despite numerous studies suggesting a path-dependent relationship between transport–land use policies and urban structures, particularly on the emergence of car-oriented development, this connection has rarely been explained with spatial evidence. To address this gap, this paper investigated the historical and spatial urban transformation of Greater Jakarta from three different time periods to understand today’s extensive use of and dependence on private vehicles. This study applied a multi-method approach of (1) historical literature review, (2) computational analysis of the street network using space syntax, and (3) visual analysis of video recordings to allow for a comprehensive insight into the socio-spatial aspects of urbanization as a path-dependent course. The findings indicate that Jakarta’s pedestrian network has been diminishing over time against the well-connected vehicular network. Furthermore, the remaining potential for walking cannot be actualized due to walking inconveniences at the street level. This suggests mobility inequality, since access to citywide urban functions is highly dependent on the access to private vehicles. It also provides spatial evidence that previous policies have had a long-term impact on socio-spatial structures. This paper contributes not only scientific reference for transport and mobility studies in the Southeast Asia region, but also a practical reference for urban planners and policy-makers on how to achieve sustainable development goals and to provide equal access for all. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Mobility: Interdisciplinary Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle
A Model-Based Estimation of Resource Use Efficiencies in Maize Production in Nigeria
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5114; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185114 - 18 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 561
Abstract
Food security is an increasingly serious problem worldwide, and especially in sub-Saharan Africa. As land and resources are limited and environmental problems caused by agriculture are worsening, more efficient ways to use the resources available must be found. The objective of this study [...] Read more.
Food security is an increasingly serious problem worldwide, and especially in sub-Saharan Africa. As land and resources are limited and environmental problems caused by agriculture are worsening, more efficient ways to use the resources available must be found. The objective of this study was to display the spatial variability in crop yield and resource use efficiencies across Nigeria and to give recommendations for improvement. Based on simulations from the crop model LINTUL5 we analyzed the influence of fertilizer application on the parameters Water Use Efficiency (WUE), Fertilizer Use Efficiency (FUE), and Radiation Use Efficiency (RUE) in maize. High spatial variability was observed, especially between the north and the south of the country. The highest potential for yield improvement was found in the south. While WUE and RUE increased with higher rates of fertilizer application, FUE decreased with higher rates. In order to improve these resource use efficiencies, we suggest optimizing management strategies, demand-oriented fertilizer application, and breeding for efficient traits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Reading Habits, Socioeconomic Conditions, Occupational Aspiration and Academic Achievement in Vietnamese Junior High School Students
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5113; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185113 - 18 Sep 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2965
Abstract
Reading practices play an important role in the learning process of students. Especially in a fast-changing world where knowledge about nature and society is in a constant state of flux, book reading helps students foster skills such as thinking, valuing, adaptability and creativity [...] Read more.
Reading practices play an important role in the learning process of students. Especially in a fast-changing world where knowledge about nature and society is in a constant state of flux, book reading helps students foster skills such as thinking, valuing, adaptability and creativity for sustainable development. This research study used a dataset of 1676 observations of junior high school students from Northern Vietnam to explore students’ academic achievement and its association with their reading passion, family socio economic condition, parental education and occupational aspiration. The empirical results show that higher grades in STEM-related subjects are predicted by reading interest (βReadbook = 0.425, p < 0.0001), with students who love reading books achieve higher score than those who take no interest in books. Remarkably, the education level of the mother strongly enhances academic performance, with β = 0.721 (p < 0.0001) in cases of mother having a university diploma or higher. Students coming from wealthy families are more likely to buy books whereas borrowing from the library is the main source of books for students who grow up in not-rich families. However, even among wealthy families, investment into buying books still rely more on personal interest, despite the aforementioned educational benefits of book reading, as evidenced by an over 7 percentage point disparity between the likelihood of purchasing books among wealthy-family students who took an interest in reading (45%) versus students of the same background who did not like to read (38.7%). The results present implications for education policy making with a vision towards United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Demand Function for Industrial Electricity: Evidence from South Korean Manufacturing Sector
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5112; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185112 - 18 Sep 2019
Viewed by 524
Abstract
Electricity is a crucial input to the industrial production of South Korea. Estimating the demand function for electricity in the manufacturing sector is an important task because electricity consumption in the manufacturing sector accounts for 56.3% of total electricity consumption in South Korea. [...] Read more.
Electricity is a crucial input to the industrial production of South Korea. Estimating the demand function for electricity in the manufacturing sector is an important task because electricity consumption in the manufacturing sector accounts for 56.3% of total electricity consumption in South Korea. Thus, this article tries to estimate the demand function for industrial electricity in the manufacturing sector of South Korea using cross-sectional data for analyzing the influence of manufacturing firms’ characteristics. To this end, 946 observations collected from a nationwide survey of manufacturing firms in 2018 are used and analyzed. As a robust approach, the least absolute deviations estimation method is applied to obtaining the demand function. The results show that the price elasticity and the sales amount elasticity of the industrial electricity demand are estimated to be −0.9206 and 0.2568, respectively, which are statistically significant at the 1% level. Furthermore, the economic benefits of industrial electricity consumption are computed to be 1.46 times as great as the price of electricity. The results of this study can be utilized in policy planning, making, and evaluation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Economics and Policy)
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