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Sustainability, Volume 12, Issue 3 (February-1 2020) – 531 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Small off-grid photovoltaic pumping irrigation systems with storage tanks are a sustainable, cost [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Potential Distribution of the Critically Endangered Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) in Different Land Covers of Nepal: Implications for Conservation
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1282; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031282 - 10 Feb 2020
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Abstract
Anthropogenic activities have driven many wildlife species towards extinction. Among these species, the geographic distributions of many are poorly documented, which can limit the effectiveness of conservation. The critically endangered Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) is experiencing population decline throughout its range due [...] Read more.
Anthropogenic activities have driven many wildlife species towards extinction. Among these species, the geographic distributions of many are poorly documented, which can limit the effectiveness of conservation. The critically endangered Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) is experiencing population decline throughout its range due to land-use changes and illegal trade for food and traditional medicine. Using distribution records and maximum entropy modeling, we predicted the potential distribution of the Chinese pangolin across Nepal. Most suitable potential habitats of the Chinese pangolin occurred in forest areas of the mid-hill region in central and eastern Nepal, followed by cultivated land. Almost all potential suitable habitats of the Chinese pangolin occurred outside of protected areas, and most of them were encroached upon by cultivated land, human settlements, and infrastructure developments. The results from this study provide baseline information on the potential suitable habitats of the Chinese pangolin in Nepal, which helps to develop site- and species-specific management plans and to identify priority areas to minimize the current threats to the pangolin and enhance the stewardship of species conservation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial-Temporal Variation in the Impacts of Urban Infrastructure on Housing Prices in Wuhan, China
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1281; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031281 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 242
Abstract
This study aims to investigate the spatial and temporal dynamics of housing prices associated with the urban infrastructure in Wuhan, China. The relationship between urban infrastructure and housing prices during rapid urbanization has drawn popular concerns. This article takes 619 residential communities during [...] Read more.
This study aims to investigate the spatial and temporal dynamics of housing prices associated with the urban infrastructure in Wuhan, China. The relationship between urban infrastructure and housing prices during rapid urbanization has drawn popular concerns. This article takes 619 residential communities during the period 2010 to 2018 in Wuhan’s main urban area as research units, and uses the geographically and temporally weighted regression (GTWR) model to study the spatial-temporal differentiation in the effects of urban infrastructure on housing prices. The results show that: 1) From 2010 to 2018, housing prices in Wuhan’s main urban area were generally on the rise, but the increment speed has shown an obvious periodic characteristic, the spatial distribution of housing prices has shown an obvious core and periphery distribution and the peak value area shifted from Hankou to Wuchang. 2) The influential factors of housing prices have significant spatiotemporal non-stationarity, while the impact, direction and intensity of the influential factors varies in time and space. Spatially, the influence factors show different differentiation rules for spatial distribution, and the influencing direction and strength of the urban infrastructure on housing prices are closely related to the spatial location, distribution density and the type of urban infrastructure. Temporally, the influencing strength of various urban facilities varies. This research will benefit both urban planners for optimizing urban facilities and policy-makers for formulating more specific housing policies, which ultimately contributes to urban sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Geography and Social Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Optimum Design of Hybrid Renewable Energy System for Sustainable Energy Supply to a Remote Island
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1280; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031280 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 224
Abstract
Renewable energy technologies can not only help in mitigating the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but it can also be very useful for electricity generation at remote locations, where no other means of power are available. The present study focuses on the techno-economic optimum [...] Read more.
Renewable energy technologies can not only help in mitigating the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but it can also be very useful for electricity generation at remote locations, where no other means of power are available. The present study focuses on the techno-economic optimum design of a small hybrid renewable energy system (HRES) consisting of wind-solar as primary energy sources. The HRES was modelled for a remote island (Deokjeok-do Island, South Korea) using real electricity consumption data for one complete year. A daily mean load of 24,720 kWh was entered at Deokjeok-do Island with a peak load of 2291.54 kW. Average annual values of wind speed and daily solar radiations were estimated to be 3.6 m/s (10 m height) and 4.13 kWh/m2, respectively. A total of 8760 simulations were performed to achieve the hourly load demand of the mentioned island. In order to deal with the surplus and electricity deficit, two different types of energy storage systems (ESS) were modelled i.e., battery and pumped hydro storage (PHS). Four different HRESs were also evaluated as the most suitable based on levelized cost of energy (LCOE) and net present cost (NPC). A detailed economic break-down of each component and the impact of different sensitivity variables on decision making have also been discussed in detail. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Conceptualisation of the Three-Dimensional Matrix of Collaborative Knowledge Barriers
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1279; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031279 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 228
Abstract
Nowadays, collaborative knowledge management (CKM) is well accepted as a decisive asset in the field of networked enterprises and supply chains. However, few knowledge management initiatives have been performed successfully because, in most cases, the barriers that hinder the CKM process are unknown [...] Read more.
Nowadays, collaborative knowledge management (CKM) is well accepted as a decisive asset in the field of networked enterprises and supply chains. However, few knowledge management initiatives have been performed successfully because, in most cases, the barriers that hinder the CKM process are unknown and misunderstood. Currently, the research reveals different uni- and bi-dimensional barriers’ classifications, however multi-dimensional approaches provide a better view of the complexity in the area of CKM. Therefore, this paper proposes the three-dimensional matrix of collaborative knowledge barriers taking into account: (i) perspectives; (ii) levels and (iii) barriers blocks to provide a reference way to audit the CKM barriers, and thus, in further research, focus on the corrections and adjustments to guarantee the success while implementing a CKM project. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Knowledge Management for the Sustainable Supply Chain)
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Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Relationship between the Industrial Structure and Atmospheric Environment by an Integrated System: A Case Study of Zhejiang, China
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1278; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031278 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 225
Abstract
Under the dual pressure of industrial structure upgrade and atmospheric environment improvement, China, in a transition period, is facing the challenge of coordinating the relationship between the industry and the environment system to promote the construction of a beautiful China. Based on system [...] Read more.
Under the dual pressure of industrial structure upgrade and atmospheric environment improvement, China, in a transition period, is facing the challenge of coordinating the relationship between the industry and the environment system to promote the construction of a beautiful China. Based on system theory and coupling coordination model, the interaction analysis framework between industrial structure (IS) and atmospheric environment (AE) was constructed. An integrated system with 24 indicators was established by the pressure–state–response (PSR) model of IS and level–quality–innovation (LQI) model of AE. Then, we analyzed trends observed in coupling coordination degree (CCD) and dynamic coupling coordination degree (DCCD) for 11 cities in Zhejiang Province, China, using statistical panel data collected from 2006 to 2017. Conclusions were as follows: (1) the 11 cities’ comprehensive level of the IS system shows a trend of stable increase, yet the comprehensive level of AE demonstrated a trend of fluctuation and transition. There are significant spatial variations among cities; (2) The CCD analysis results found that Hangzhou, Ningbo, and Wenzhou take the lead in realizing the transformation from barely coordinated development to superior coordinated pattern, while other cities were still in the stage of barely coordinated development; (3) the DCCD phase of 11 cities can be roughly divided into three types: upgraded—utmost development type (only Hangzhou), stable—harmonious development type (Wenzhou, Lishui, and Zhoushan) and transitional—harmonious development type (the remaining seven cities). This means, for most cities, the contradiction between the transformation process of IS and the AE has become increasingly prominent and intensified. Finally, three necessary and sustainable strategies were proposed to environmental policy makers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Estimating the Potential for Conservation and Farming in the Amazon and Cerrado under Four Policy Scenarios
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1277; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031277 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 373
Abstract
Since 2013, clearing rates have rapidly increased in the Amazon and Cerrado biomes. This acceleration has raised questions about the efficacy of current regional public and private conservation policies that seek to promote agricultural production while conserving remnants of natural vegetation. In this [...] Read more.
Since 2013, clearing rates have rapidly increased in the Amazon and Cerrado biomes. This acceleration has raised questions about the efficacy of current regional public and private conservation policies that seek to promote agricultural production while conserving remnants of natural vegetation. In this study, we assessed conservation and agricultural outcomes of four potential policy scenarios that represent perfect adherence to private sector, zero-deforestation commitments (i.e., the Amazon soy moratorium—ASM and the Amazon cattle agreements—CA) and to varying levels of implementation of the Brazilian Forest Code (FC). Under a zero-clearing scenario, we find that the extent of croplands as of 2017 within the two biomes (31 MHa) could double without further clearing if agriculture were to expand on all previously cleared land that is suitable for crops. Moreover, at least 47 MHa of land that is already cleared but unsuitable for crops would remain available for pasture. Under scenarios in which only legal clearing under the FC could occur, 51 MHa of additional natural vegetation could be cleared. This includes as many as 1 MHa of nonforest vegetation that could be cleared in the Amazon biome without triggering the ASM and CA monitoring systems. Two-thirds of the total vegetation vulnerable to legal clearing is located within the Cerrado biome, and 19 MHa of this land is suitable for cropland expansion. Legal clearing of all of these areas could reduce biodiversity persistence by 4% within the two biomes, when compared with the zero-clearing scenario, and release up to 9 PgCO2e, with the majority (75%) coming from the Cerrado biome. However, when we considered the potential outcomes of full implementation of the FC, we found that 22% (11 MHa) of the 51 MHa of vegetation subject to legal clearing could be protected through the environmental quotas market, while an additional 1 MHa should be replanted across the two biomes, predominantly in the Amazon biome (73% of the area subject to replanting). Together, quotas and replanting could prevent the release of 2 PgCO2e that would otherwise be emitted if all legal clearing occurred. Based on our results, we conclude that ongoing legal clearing could create additional space for cropland and cattle production beyond the substantial existing stocks of cleared areas but would significantly impair local carbon and biodiversity stocks. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Seismic Vulnerability Assessment of Historic Constructions in the Downtown of Mexico City
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1276; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031276 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 212
Abstract
Seismic risk is determined by the sum of multiple components produced by a certain seismic intensity, being represented by the seismic hazard, the structural vulnerability and the exposure of assets at a specified zone. Most of the methods and strategies applied to evaluate [...] Read more.
Seismic risk is determined by the sum of multiple components produced by a certain seismic intensity, being represented by the seismic hazard, the structural vulnerability and the exposure of assets at a specified zone. Most of the methods and strategies applied to evaluate the vulnerability of historic constructions are specialized in buildings with higher importance, either public or private, by relegating ordinary dwellings to a second plane. On account of this, this paper aims to present a seismic vulnerability assessment, considering a limited urban area of the Historic Downtown of Mexico City (La Merced Neighborhood), thus showing the analysis of 166 historic buildings. The seismic vulnerability assessment of the area was performed resorting to a simplified seismic vulnerability assessment method, composed of both qualitative and quantitative parameters. To better manage and analyze the human and economic exposure, the results were integrated into a Geographic Information System (GIS) tool, which allowed to map vulnerability and damage scenarios for different earthquake intensities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seismic Vulnerability Assessment at Urban Scale)
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Open AccessArticle
Who Is Connected with Whom? A Social Network Analysis of Institutional Interactions in the European CCA and DRR Landscape
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1275; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031275 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 203
Abstract
Communication and collaboration are critical for designing and implementing responses to climate change impacts and related disasters. This acknowledgement has increased interest in understanding social and institutional networks for climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR). In this study, we used [...] Read more.
Communication and collaboration are critical for designing and implementing responses to climate change impacts and related disasters. This acknowledgement has increased interest in understanding social and institutional networks for climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR). In this study, we used Social Network Analysis (SNA) to explore institutional interactions within and across the communities of the aforementioned domains in Europe. Firstly, we investigated the type and intensity of interactions. We calculated SNA metrics to assess the roles of different actors and applied cluster analysis to identify actors with similar patterns of connections. SNA showed that communication is often more intensive within the two communities, while collaboration is frequent around topics related to both CCA and DRR. Cluster analysis revealed that actors tied with DRR were more closely connected, while actors tied with CCA and those with mixed connections showed no obvious clustering affinity. The European Climate Adaptation Platform, Climate-ADAPT, had the highest value for various SNA metrics, reflecting its popularity in the network and its potential for enhancing interactions among its actors. Finally, SNA was complemented by qualitative interviews, which emphasised the importance of connecting CCA and DRR in organisational mission and vision statements. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Accurate Sizing of Residential Stand-Alone Photovoltaic Systems Considering System Reliability
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1274; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031274 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 192
Abstract
In rural areas or in isolated communities in developing countries it is increasingly common to install micro-renewable sources, such as photovoltaic (PV) systems, by residential consumers without access to the utility distribution network. The reliability of the supply provided by these stand-alone generators [...] Read more.
In rural areas or in isolated communities in developing countries it is increasingly common to install micro-renewable sources, such as photovoltaic (PV) systems, by residential consumers without access to the utility distribution network. The reliability of the supply provided by these stand-alone generators is a key issue when designing the PV system. The proper system sizing for a minimum level of reliability avoids unacceptable continuity of supply (undersized system) and unnecessary costs (oversized system). This paper presents a method for the accurate sizing of stand-alone photovoltaic (SAPV) residential generation systems for a pre-established reliability level. The proposed method is based on the application of a sequential random Monte Carlo simulation to the system model. Uncertainties of solar radiation, energy demand, and component failures are simultaneously considered. The results of the case study facilitate the sizing of the main energy elements (solar panels and battery) depending on the required level of reliability, taking into account the uncertainties that affect this type of facility. The analysis carried out demonstrates that deterministic designs of SAPV systems based on average demand and radiation values or the average number of consecutive cloudy days can lead to inadequate levels of continuity of supply. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Energies for Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
A Function-Based Approach for Life Cycle Management of Chemicals in the Textile Industry
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1273; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031273 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 199
Abstract
Consumer products such as clothes and footwear sometimes contain chemical substances with properties that pose a risk to human health and the environment. These substances, restricted by law or company policy, are in focus for chemicals management processes by textile retailers. However, complex [...] Read more.
Consumer products such as clothes and footwear sometimes contain chemical substances with properties that pose a risk to human health and the environment. These substances, restricted by law or company policy, are in focus for chemicals management processes by textile retailers. However, complex and non-transparent supply chains, and limited chemical knowledge, makes chemicals management challenging. Therefore, a function-based approach for life cycle management (LCM) of chemicals was developed, based on results of previous projects and evaluated using a two-step Delphi process. The resulting approach aims to help retailers identify and substitute hazardous substances in products, and consists of three parts: (i) a function-based chemicals management concept model for different levels of chemical information within the supply chain, (ii) tools for non-chemists which explain chemical information, and (iii) a continuous provision of knowledge to stakeholders (e.g., retailers) in a network. This approach is successfully implemented by over 100 retailers in the Nordic countries, providing the textile industry with practical and robust tools to manage and substitute hazardous chemicals in products and production processes. We conclude that the developed approach provides an explicit link, communication, and knowledge sharing between actors in the supply chain, which has proven important in chemicals LCM. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Rural Identity, Authenticity, and Sustainability in Italian Inner Areas
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1272; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031272 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 205
Abstract
This paper focuses on the sustainable development conditions in Italian Inner Areas. Italy’s Inner Areas are rural depopulated areas characterized by their distance from the main service centers of education, health, and mobility, according to the classification proposed by the National Strategy for [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on the sustainable development conditions in Italian Inner Areas. Italy’s Inner Areas are rural depopulated areas characterized by their distance from the main service centers of education, health, and mobility, according to the classification proposed by the National Strategy for Inner Areas in 2012. The inner and marginal areas are recently getting the interest of the market place and agricultural economics, as well as the attention of the regional and cohesion policies of national governments and the European Union. These places provide an intriguing perspective for a broader reflection on European peripheral areas and their development trajectories. The aim of this contribution is to interpret the determinants of the relationships between rural identity and perceptive components of authenticity, in order to understand the mechanisms by which they are positively reflected in socio-economic and environmental use, influencing in turn, the level of sustainability of territorial development. We found a specific role of the rural identity in the catalyzed phenomena of interaction between citizens/community and visitors/stakeholders, through the authenticity effect, identifying them as the basis of the spontaneous, bottom-up emersion of a symbolic platform, which characterizes the identification of a place brand and of the creation of the perception/destination of the inner territories’ characteristics. Finally, the paper discusses an Italian Inner Areas project promoted by the common engagement of local institutions and social and economic actors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability in Online Video Hosting Services: The Effects of Serendipity and Flow Experience on Prolonged Usage Time
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1271; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031271 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 193
Abstract
Online video hosting services have been a highly competitive e-commerce application in recent years. The service providers constantly seek viable ways for users to prolong usage time as a model for sustainable business development. In this study, we propose a framework to verify [...] Read more.
Online video hosting services have been a highly competitive e-commerce application in recent years. The service providers constantly seek viable ways for users to prolong usage time as a model for sustainable business development. In this study, we propose a framework to verify the impact of perceived serendipity on flow experience and prolong usage time. In addition, we verify the factors of online video platforms that affect perceived serendipity, such as enabled connections, introduced unexpected information, and induced curiosity. This study used questionnaires to survey YouTube users and analyzed 405 samples using the Structural Equation Model (SEM) method. The result shows that enabled connections and introduced unexpected information significantly affect perceived serendipity, which significantly impacts on the flow experience. Although induced curiosity does not significantly affect perceived serendipity, it directly affects the flow experience. Moreover, both perceived serendipity and flow experience positively affect intentions to prolong usage time. The results validate that serendipity is another antecedent of flow experience, and support the assumption that increasing the likelihood of perceived serendipity will affect users’ intention to prolong usage time in online video hosting services. The implication of research and discussions provides references for online video hosting service providers in marketing and operations. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Why Sustainable Development Requires Societal Innovation and Cannot Be Achieved without This
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1270; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031270 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 318
Abstract
This paper discusses the need for societal innovation as a systemic form of innovation for sustainable development. Sustainable development requires collective action from stakeholders in the form of system building activities, which in its turn requires societal innovation. Through societal innovation, based on [...] Read more.
This paper discusses the need for societal innovation as a systemic form of innovation for sustainable development. Sustainable development requires collective action from stakeholders in the form of system building activities, which in its turn requires societal innovation. Through societal innovation, based on multiple value creation, external costs are being prevented or reduced because of innovation-oriented explorations within a wider frame (a societal improvement perspective), ascertained by the actors. This requires design thinking and proper distribution of the costs and benefits, accepted by the participants. With this paper, we hope to advance the research agenda on societal innovation based on multi-actor improvement processes and associated intentional logics, as topics that are weakly theorized in the business literature on sustainable development and the sustainability transition literature. We are critical of triple helix models and models emphasizing shared value creation because these underestimate the importance of disinterest and conflicts of interests to be managed via multiple value creation on the basis of recursive multi-actor intentionality. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of Networks in Improving International Performance and Competitiveness: Perspective View of Open Innovation
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1269; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031269 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 193
Abstract
With perspective view of open innovation, this study examines how international networks form and evolve and the empirical relationships among antecedents of international network embeddedness, international performance, and sustainable competitiveness. Data from 356 small and medium-sized exporters (SMEs) in manufacturing or technology industries [...] Read more.
With perspective view of open innovation, this study examines how international networks form and evolve and the empirical relationships among antecedents of international network embeddedness, international performance, and sustainable competitiveness. Data from 356 small and medium-sized exporters (SMEs) in manufacturing or technology industries in South Korea are analyzed by structural equation modeling. It assumes that international network embeddedness plays a mediating role in the relationship between internationalization and related variables. This analysis indicates that information management and proximity significantly affect international performance, while cultural differences do not, and that international network embeddedness mediates relationships between information management and international performance, and proximity and international performance. The results imply that greater international network embeddedness increases SMEs’ international performance—information management and proximity play a pivotal role in embedding international networks and improving international performance. SMEs must establish and intensify international networks to improve international performance and seek to overcome limitations by developing international networks with the goal of entering international markets. Nevertheless, there is relatively little research on international network formation and embeddedness, especially for SMEs. This study determines network formation principles, determinants of international networks, and roles of international network embeddedness in relationships between the determinants and international performance. Notably, this study verifies a comprehensive model of international networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in 2nd IT Revolution with Dynamic Open Innovation)
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Open AccessArticle
Factors Affecting Farmers’ Access to Formal and Informal Credit: Evidence from Rural Afghanistan
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1268; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031268 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 221
Abstract
Adequate access to credit is necessary for the sustainable development of agriculture. This study uses a double hurdle model to investigate what affects farming households’ credit participation and amount, and a Probit model to find out credit constraints. For this purpose, the data [...] Read more.
Adequate access to credit is necessary for the sustainable development of agriculture. This study uses a double hurdle model to investigate what affects farming households’ credit participation and amount, and a Probit model to find out credit constraints. For this purpose, the data from a survey of 292 farming households in Afghanistan was utilized. The study finds that households obtain credit for their agricultural activities from various formal and informal sources. The results of the double hurdle model reveal that the financial activities of the households were positively determined by crop diversity, education, number of adults in a household, size of land, and access to extension. Non-agricultural income decreases the likelihood of participation. The results of the analysis of credit constraints indicate that formal credit did not help small-scale and remoter farming households; however, these households relied on informal credit, especially when they faced income shock. Furthermore, religious belief increased the chances of avoiding formal credit but not informal credit. It is suggested that formal credit should be expanded to rural areas, especially to small-scale farming households. Policy makers should also consider increasing access to extension. Formal financial institutions should provide Sharia-compliant credit, which increases the confidence level of households in using formal credit in Afghanistan. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Sustainability in Financial Industry)
Open AccessArticle
Entrepreneurship Education through Successful Entrepreneurial Models in Higher Education Institutions
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1267; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031267 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 273
Abstract
In higher education institutions, entrepreneurship learning based on successful entrepreneurial role models may promote education for sustainable development. Several theoretical perspectives, such as the human capital theory, the entrepreneurial self-efficacy and self-determination theory, argue that entrepreneurship education is positively correlated with entrepreneurial intentions [...] Read more.
In higher education institutions, entrepreneurship learning based on successful entrepreneurial role models may promote education for sustainable development. Several theoretical perspectives, such as the human capital theory, the entrepreneurial self-efficacy and self-determination theory, argue that entrepreneurship education is positively correlated with entrepreneurial intentions of students, as it provides adequate know-how and skills and motivates them to develop their entrepreneurial careers. In entrepreneurship education programmes, exposure to successful entrepreneurial models could be a significant factor for stimulating students’ confidence in their ability to start a business and for improving their attitudes towards entrepreneurship. This study aims (i) to identify characteristics viewed by students as being specific to a successful entrepreneur, (ii) to establish the influence of exposure to successful entrepreneurial role models (chosen by students) during entrepreneurship education classes on student entrepreneurial intentions, and (iii) to assess how such exposure influences the attitudes of students towards entrepreneurship. For this purpose, the authors ran a pilot experiment with 30 graduate students enrolled in a Business Creation course using a research methodology that combined qualitative techniques with quantitative measures. Content and statistical analyses were utilised to examine differences in student entrepreneurial intentions and attitudes towards entrepreneurship after being exposed to successful entrepreneurial models. Our study provides evidence that entrepreneurship education based on successful entrepreneurial role models may positively influence the entrepreneurial attitudes and intentions of students and could lead to higher orientation of student perception towards social benefits of entrepreneurship (new jobs) compared to financial ones (high income). However, our findings stress that if educators want to improve the efficiency of education focused on developing entrepreneurial skills, graduate programmes should be designed differently for business and non-business students, since studying successful entrepreneurial stories impacts these two groups differently. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Leadership and Education)
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Open AccessArticle
The History and Evolution: A Big Data Analysis of the National Innovation Systems in South Korea
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1266; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031266 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 217
Abstract
This study is a starting point to analyze South Korean national innovation systems (KNIS) using big data and provide insights for policy makers regarding how they implement the dynamic process of innovation systems. It examines KNIS that has developed over the past 14 [...] Read more.
This study is a starting point to analyze South Korean national innovation systems (KNIS) using big data and provide insights for policy makers regarding how they implement the dynamic process of innovation systems. It examines KNIS that has developed over the past 14 years from 2003 to 2016 during the governments of Roh Moo-hyun, Lee Myung-bak, and Park Geun-hye. The aim of this study is to evaluate the KNIS in three ways. The first way is to analyze the NIS of the three governments based on data of 470,000 national research and development (R&D) projects, following which the second way is to compare innovative outcomes of the three governments. The last way is to figure out the characteristics of the KNIS in innovative performance. Our analysis reveals that the KNIS was developed and evolved from 2003 to 2008, maintained until 2012, and gradually declined, even though national R&D investment increased for 14 years. Empirical evidence highlights that policies implemented for more than a decade do not effectively link to economic outcomes, resulting in an imbalance between innovation input and innovation output. This study further argues that the use of NIS concept in South Korea seems to be skewed towards measuring national performance from a narrower perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Big Data for Sustainable Anticipatory Computing)
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Open AccessArticle
Maximizing Total Profit of Thermal Generation Units in Competitive Electric Market by Using a Proposed Particle Swarm Optimization
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1265; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031265 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 190
Abstract
In the paper, a proposed particle swarm optimization (PPSO) is implemented for dealing with an economic load dispatch (ELD) problem considering the competitive electric market. The main task of the problem is to determine optimal power generation and optimal reserve generation of available [...] Read more.
In the paper, a proposed particle swarm optimization (PPSO) is implemented for dealing with an economic load dispatch (ELD) problem considering the competitive electric market. The main task of the problem is to determine optimal power generation and optimal reserve generation of available thermal generation units so that total profit of all the units is maximized. In addition, constraints, such as generation limit and reserve limit of each unit, power demand and reserve demand, must be exactly satisfied. PPSO is an improved version of conventional particle swarm optimization (PSO) by combining pseudo gradient method, constriction factor and a newly proposed position update method. On the other hand, in order to support PPSO to reach good results for the considered problem, a new constraint handling method (NCHM) is also proposed for determining maximum reserve generation and correcting reserve generation. Three test systems with 3, 10 and 20 units are employed to evaluate the real performance of PPSO. In addition to the comparisons with previous methods, salp swarm optimization (SSA), modified differential evolution (MDE) and eight other PSO methods are also implemented for comparisons. Through the result comparisons, two main contributions of the study are as follows: (1) NCHM is very effective for PSO methods to reach a high success rate and higher solution quality, (2) PPSO is more effective than other methods. Consequently, NCHM and PPSO are the useful combination for the considered problem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building Retrofit and Energy Optimization)
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Open AccessArticle
The Dependence Between Shear Strength Parameters and Microstructure of Subgrade Soil in Seasonal Permafrost Area
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1264; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031264 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 156
Abstract
Permafrost and seasonal permafrost are widely distributed in China and all over the world. The failure of soil is mainly shear failure, and the strength of soil mainly refers to the shear strength. The two most important parameters of shear strength are cohesion [...] Read more.
Permafrost and seasonal permafrost are widely distributed in China and all over the world. The failure of soil is mainly shear failure, and the strength of soil mainly refers to the shear strength. The two most important parameters of shear strength are cohesion and angle of internal friction. In order to ensure the sustainability of road construction in seasonal permafrost area, the microstructure of subgrade soil was observed and analyzed. First, three subgrade soils with different plasticity indices were prepared for triaxial test and scanning electron microscope (SEM). Then, these specimens underwent freezing–thawing (FT) cycles and were obtained shear strength parameters by triaxial shear test. Next, the microstructure images of soil were obtained by SEM, and the microstructure parameters of soil were extracted by image processing software. Finally, the correlation method was used to analyze the dependence between the shear strength parameters and the microstructure parameters. Results revealed that subgrade soils with a higher plasticity index had higher cohesion and lower angle of internal friction. In addition, with the increase of the number of FT cycles, the diameter and number of soil particles and pores tend to increase, while the roundness, fractal dimension and directional probabilistic entropy of particles decreased. With the increase of the plasticity index, the particle and pore diameter decreased, but the particle and pore number increased. Besides, particle roundness had the greatest influence on the cohesion and angle of internal friction of shear strength parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Soil Reuse in Civil Construction)
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Open AccessCommunication
Simultaneous Removal of Residual Sulfate and Heavy Metals from Spent Electrolyte of Lead-Acid Battery after Precipitation and Carbonation
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1263; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031263 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 179
Abstract
Spent electrolyte from lead-acid battery contains high concentrations of sulfate acid and heavy metals; therefore without proper handling, they might cause severe environmental pollution. A relatively high concentration of sulfate ions (approximately 3000 mg/L) and heavy metals still exists in the effluent even [...] Read more.
Spent electrolyte from lead-acid battery contains high concentrations of sulfate acid and heavy metals; therefore without proper handling, they might cause severe environmental pollution. A relatively high concentration of sulfate ions (approximately 3000 mg/L) and heavy metals still exists in the effluent even after precipitation with slaked lime and carbonation process, which need to be further processed to lower both the concentrations of sulfate and heavy metals for direct discharge. A process that involves the reduction of sulfate to sulfide with sulfate-reducing bacteria and precipitation of the excessive sulfide with Fe(OH)2 was adopted to dispose of the effluent after precipitation and carbonation for direct discharge. Thermodynamic calculations were adopted to narrow down the optimum experimental range and understand the precipitation mechanism. In the whole process, no new impurities nor ions were introduced and 99.2% of sulfate, 99.9% of sulfide, 99.1% of Ca and more than 94.6% of Pb and 99.8% of Cd were removed and the obtained effluent was safe to discharge. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Sustainable Approach to Innovation Adoption in Light-Rail Transport
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1262; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031262 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 203
Abstract
This article primarily aims to understand how the Light-Rail Transport (LRT) pricing and infrastructural innovations from a Chinese context have been adopted to the Addis-Ababa city context. Secondly, it wishes to show what were the economic, social, and environmental effects of these adapted [...] Read more.
This article primarily aims to understand how the Light-Rail Transport (LRT) pricing and infrastructural innovations from a Chinese context have been adopted to the Addis-Ababa city context. Secondly, it wishes to show what were the economic, social, and environmental effects of these adapted innovations on passenger service delivery and Multi-National Corporations (MNCs), and what effects the resident’s proximity had on commercial activities along the LRT route. Thirdly, it identified re-adaptations to a more sustainable LRT with respect to the passengers, MNCs, and residents. This study has revealed economic, social, and environmental effects that may influence innovation adoption, such as the following: reduction in carbon emissions; fare evasion; inconvenience; affordability; less revenue; less proximity to commercial activities; and an increase in travel distances for pedestrians. A mixed method for a single case study was used, including semi-structured interviews with light-rail experts and a passenger survey. The results show that economic sustainability factors account for 12 out of 14 sustainability factors and 2 out of 14 social and environmental sustainability factors. The results are intended to be used as a decision support system for innovation adoption in other cities with similar context, in order to develop a sustainable approach to LRT planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Transportation)
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Open AccessArticle
What Influences Adoption of Green Award Criteria in a Public Contract? An Empirical Analysis of 2018 European Public Procurement Contract Award Notices
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1261; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031261 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 185
Abstract
Green public procurement (GPP) is a policy tool aiming to achieve environmental protection and resource reservation via public procurement. After decades of adaptation, what promotes and hinders its uptake in public contracting remains difficult to discern. This research explores factors that influence the [...] Read more.
Green public procurement (GPP) is a policy tool aiming to achieve environmental protection and resource reservation via public procurement. After decades of adaptation, what promotes and hinders its uptake in public contracting remains difficult to discern. This research explores factors that influence the adoption of green award criteria, covering features of procurement procedures, purchasers, tenderers, and the business sectors through empirical analysis of Probit regression combined with a fixed term method. The data is contract award notices (CAN) from 33 countries in Europe in 2018. Our findings suggest that framework agreements, the medical products sector, the health and social services sector, and the business services sector are negatively correlated with whether a contract is green. On the other hand, the contract value, Government Procurement Agreement (GPA)coverage, joint procurement, competitive dialogue, negotiation with competition (with a call for competition), restricted procedure, transport equipment sector, and food sector can positively correlate with green contracts, or these factors increase the possibility of a contract being green. Explicit explanations on these relations are provided. This research identifies factors relating with and influencing the application of green award criteria in public contracts, which would inform public sectors on efficient resources allocation in terms of increasing green public procurement performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prospects and Challenges of Sustainable Public Purchasing)
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Open AccessArticle
Do Grazing Systems and Species Composition Affect Root Biomass and Soil Organic Matter Dynamics in Temperate Grassland Swards?
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1260; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031260 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 221
Abstract
Elevating soil organic matter (SOM) levels through changes in grassland management may contribute to lower greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and mitigate climate change. SOM dynamics of grassland soils may be affected by grazing systems and plant species composition. We analyzed the [...] Read more.
Elevating soil organic matter (SOM) levels through changes in grassland management may contribute to lower greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and mitigate climate change. SOM dynamics of grassland soils may be affected by grazing systems and plant species composition. We analyzed the effects of simulated grazing systems (continuous (CG), rotational (RG), and lenient strip grazing (LG)) and species composition (monocultures of perennial ryegrass fertilized (LP+) and unfertilized (LP−)), tall fescue (fertilized, FA+), and a mixture of these two species with white clover (fertilized, LFT+)) on root biomass and SOM dynamics in field experiments on loamy and sandy soils in the Netherlands. Dried cattle manure was added to all fertilized treatments. We hypothesized that SOM accumulation would be highest under CG and LG, and FA+ and LFT+ as a consequence of greater belowground biomass production. SOM was monitored after conversion from arable land for a period of two years (loamy and sandy soil) and five years (sandy soil). We found that management practices to increase SOM storage were strongly influenced by sampling depth and length of the grassland period. SOM increased significantly in nearly all fertilized treatments in the 0–60 cm layer. No differences between species compositions were found. However, when only the 30–60 cm soil layer was considered, significantly higher SOM increases were found under FA+, which is consistent with its greater root biomass than the other species. SOM increases tended to be higher under LG than RG. The results of this study suggest that it seems possible to comply with the 4-thousandth initiative during a period of five years with fertilized perennial ryegrass or tall fescue in monoculture after conversion from arable land. It remains to be investigated to which extent this sequestration of carbon can be maintained after converting grassland back to arable land. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Grazing Systems)
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Open AccessFeature PaperCommunication
A Regional Socio-Economic Life Cycle Assessment of a Bioeconomy Value Chain
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1259; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031259 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 249
Abstract
A bioeconomy tackles sustainable development at both the global and regional levels, as it relies on the optimized use of renewable bio-based resources for the provisioning of food, materials, and energy to meet societal demands. The effects of the bioeconomy can be best [...] Read more.
A bioeconomy tackles sustainable development at both the global and regional levels, as it relies on the optimized use of renewable bio-based resources for the provisioning of food, materials, and energy to meet societal demands. The effects of the bioeconomy can be best observed at a regional level, as it supports regional development and affects the social dimension of sustainability. In order to assess the social impacts of wood-based production chains with regional differentiation, the social life cycle assessment framework “RESPONSA” was established in 2018. We present an initial study, in which this method is applied to an exemplary production chain in a case study of laminated veneer lumber produced in central Germany. The results show a relatively better social performance compared to the reference economic sector, reflecting a relatively low rate of female employees as a major social hotspot. Several social opportunities are identified, in terms of health and safety, equal opportunities, and adequate remuneration, for the organization taking part in the value chain. Finally, considering the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a global normative framework, a number of additional indicators for RESPONSA, as well as further developments and recommendations regarding its application in other regions and the upcoming social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) guidelines, are identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Management for Sustainable Regional Development)
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Open AccessReview
Urban Vegetation in Air Quality Management: A Review and Policy Framework
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1258; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031258 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 228
Abstract
Recent episodes of high air pollution concentration levels in many Polish cities indicate the urgent need for policy change and for the integration of various aspects of urban development into a common platform for local air quality management. In this article, the focus [...] Read more.
Recent episodes of high air pollution concentration levels in many Polish cities indicate the urgent need for policy change and for the integration of various aspects of urban development into a common platform for local air quality management. In this article, the focus was placed on the prospects of improving urban air quality through proper design and protection of vegetation systems within local spatial planning strategies. Recent studies regarding the mitigation of air pollution by urban greenery due to deposition and aerodynamic effects were reviewed, with special attention given to the design guidelines resulting from these studies and their applicability in the process of urban planning. The conclusions drawn from the review were used to conduct three case studies: in Gdańsk, Warsaw, and Poznań, Poland. The existing local urban planning regulations for the management of urban greenery were critically evaluated in relation to the findings of the review. The results indicate that the current knowledge regarding the improvement of urban air quality by vegetation is not applied in the process of urban planning to a sufficient degree. Some recommendations for alternative provisions were discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Technologies in Air Treatment)
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Open AccessArticle
How Sustainable Are Land Use Tools? A Europe-Wide Typological Investigation
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1257; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031257 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 249
Abstract
Sustainable land use depends on both the socio-economic processes that trigger spatial development and the effectiveness of spatial governance tools that aim to regulate these processes. The ESPON Sustainable Urbanization and land-use Practices in European Regions (SUPER) research project aims to analyze the [...] Read more.
Sustainable land use depends on both the socio-economic processes that trigger spatial development and the effectiveness of spatial governance tools that aim to regulate these processes. The ESPON Sustainable Urbanization and land-use Practices in European Regions (SUPER) research project aims to analyze the main land-use dynamics in Europe, looking at and comparing the interventions implemented in the various countries in order to promote sustainability. In particular, a sample of 227 interventions was chosen from a total of 39 European countries. This paper analyzes them on the basis of four different variables: (i) the scale at which the interventions are conceived; (ii) the type of territories subject to them; (iii) the type of interventions; (iv) the type of instruments behind these interventions. On this basis, it develops a number of considerations concerning the effectiveness of the interventions implemented in Europe to promote more sustainable use of land. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Planning Techniques)
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Open AccessArticle
Blockchain Technology Adoption Behavior and Sustainability of the Business in Tourism and Hospitality SMEs: An Empirical Study
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1256; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031256 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 284
Abstract
This paper investigates the factors influencing the intention to adopt cryptocurrency payments among small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in tourism and hospitality through the lens of the technology acceptance model (TAM). This paper uses an original sample of 101 SMEs employing a total [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the factors influencing the intention to adopt cryptocurrency payments among small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in tourism and hospitality through the lens of the technology acceptance model (TAM). This paper uses an original sample of 101 SMEs employing a total of 15,831 people in Taiwan. Structural equation modeling is used to examine the joint effect of both internal and external factors influencing the intention to use cryptocurrency payments. Results show that (1) strategic orientation, owner/managers personal characteristics (self-efficacy and innovativeness) and social influence have a strong effect on the intention to adopt new technology; (2) perceived usefulness mediates the effects of strategic orientation and social influence; and (3) perceived ease of use mediates the effect of self-efficacy on the intention to adopt cryptocurrency payments. The present study is one of few empirical inquiries about cryptocurrency payment adoption among SMEs. This study extends the theoretical foundations of the TAM into the specific characteristics of SMEs. Limitations of the study are sample size and a single survey design. However, findings of this research on the cryptocurrency payment adoption offer practical implications for tourism stakeholders towards supporting SMEs competitiveness. The originality of this study is based on the fact that cryptocurrency payment is a new technology, and on the potential of cryptocurrency payments to disrupt the traditional way of operating tourism and hospitality SMEs. Hence the importance to consider major factors influencing SMEs’ intentions to adopt this technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of High Temperature and Inclination Angle on Mechanical Properties and Fracture Behavior of Granite at Low Strain Rate
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1255; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031255 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 190
Abstract
Comprehensive understanding of the effects of temperature and inclination angle on mechanical properties and fracture modes of rock is essential for the design of rock engineering under complex loads, such as the construction of nuclear waste repository, geothermal energy development and stability assessment [...] Read more.
Comprehensive understanding of the effects of temperature and inclination angle on mechanical properties and fracture modes of rock is essential for the design of rock engineering under complex loads, such as the construction of nuclear waste repository, geothermal energy development and stability assessment of deep pillar. In this paper, a novel inclined uniaxial compression (inclined UCS) test system was introduced to carry out two series of inclined uniaxial compression tests on granite specimens under various inclination angles (0–20°) and treated temperatures (25–800 °C) at 5° inclination. Experimental results revealed that the peak compression stress and elastic modulus gradually decreased, while peak shear stress increased nonlinearly with the increasing inclination angle; the peak compression and shear stress as well as elastic modulus slightly increased from 25 to 200 °C, then gradually decreased onwards with the increasing temperature. The effect of temperature on peak axial strain was the same as that on peak shear displacement. Acoustic emission (AE) results suggested that the relationship between crack initiation stress, inclination angle and treated temperature followed a similar trend as that of the peak compression stress and elastic modulus. Particularly, the crack initiation (CI) stress threshold and shear stress corresponding to CI threshold under 800 °C were only 7.4% of that under 200 °C and revealed a severe heat damage phenomenon, which was consistent with the results of the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with the appearance of a large number of thermal pores observed only under 800 °C. The failure modes tended to shear failure with the increasing inclination angle, indicating that the shear stress component can accelerate sliding instability of rocks. On the other hand, the failure patterns with different temperatures changed from combined splitting-shear failure (25–400 °C) to single shear failure (600 and 800 °C). The study results can provide an extremely important reference for underground thermal engineering construction under complex loading environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Issues in Civil Engineering and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Higher Academic Qualifications, Professional Training and Operating Performance of Audit Firms
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1254; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031254 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 203
Abstract
This study examines the association between professional training, higher academic qualifications (educational levels) and operating performance of audit firms in Taiwan. We particularly focus on the curvilinear effects of higher academic qualifications on operating performance. We group the total sample into three categories: [...] Read more.
This study examines the association between professional training, higher academic qualifications (educational levels) and operating performance of audit firms in Taiwan. We particularly focus on the curvilinear effects of higher academic qualifications on operating performance. We group the total sample into three categories: national, regional and local audit firms. Based on the theoretical framework in industrial economics, we establish a cross-sectional multiple regression equation to test our hypotheses. Both higher academic qualifications and professional training are positively related to the operating performance of audit firms. Professional training moderates the relation between higher academic qualifications and operating performance. Higher academic qualifications exhibit a curvilinear effect on operating performance with a reverse U-shaped relation for the national audit firms and a U-shaped relation for both regional and local audit firms. Due to data unavailability, some factors affecting the audit quality and operating performance are not included in our analysis, such as auditor teamwork, internal control system, operating policies and auditing procedures of audit firms. The findings that higher academic qualifications are positively associated with the operating performance of audit firms justify the educational policy of establishing institutes or graduate schools in accounting over the past two decades. Furthermore, audit firms skillfully exploit employees with higher academic qualifications to improve their operating performance. We are the first to document the moderating effects of professional training and the curvilinear association between higher academic qualifications and operating performance, contributing knowledge to related literature. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Vulnerability Assessment of Forest Fringe Villages of Madhya Pradesh, India for Planning Adaptation Strategies
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1253; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031253 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 244
Abstract
This study aims to assess the climate change vulnerability of forest fringe villages of Madhya Pradesh, India, and to identify the major drivers of vulnerability, which could help to develop effective adaptation strategies. A total of 325 households spread in 29 villages of [...] Read more.
This study aims to assess the climate change vulnerability of forest fringe villages of Madhya Pradesh, India, and to identify the major drivers of vulnerability, which could help to develop effective adaptation strategies. A total of 325 households spread in 29 villages of Hoshangabad, and Mandla districts were chosen for primary data collection during the summer of 2015. The selection of villages and households was carried out through stratified random sampling and systematic random sampling, respectively. The vulnerability index (score) was developed and analyzed with respect to the different socioeconomic parameters. The analysis revealed that it is not the social class of a household but the economic condition, level of education, and type of occupation/livelihood of the members of a household that are significant factors influencing the vulnerability of a household. Such findings suggest that government programs need to be designed to address the welfare of all social classes in the forest fringe villages. The study has significance in terms of providing a framework for prioritizing target households for different programs related to vulnerability reduction in the forest fringe areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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