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Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 1 (January 2015), Pages 1-1098

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Open AccessConcept Paper Retrofitting Housing with Lightweight Green Roof Technology in Sydney, Australia, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 1081-1098; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7011081
Received: 26 July 2014 / Revised: 24 December 2014 / Accepted: 9 January 2015 / Published: 20 January 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (8468 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The built environment contributes around half of total greenhouse gas emissions and with 87% of residential buildings that we will have by 2050 already built, it is vital to adopt sustainable retrofitting practices. The question is: what are the viable solutions? One answer
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The built environment contributes around half of total greenhouse gas emissions and with 87% of residential buildings that we will have by 2050 already built, it is vital to adopt sustainable retrofitting practices. The question is: what are the viable solutions? One answer may be green roof retrofitting. The environmental benefits include reduced operational carbon emissions, reduced urban heat island effect, increased bio-diversity, housing temperature attenuation and reduced stormwater run-off. The economic benefits are the reduced maintenance costs and lower running costs. The social gain is the creation of spaces where people have access to green areas. However, the barriers to retrofitting include the perceptions of structural adequacy, the risk of water damage, high installation and maintenance costs, as well as access and security issues. Many Australian and Brazilian residential buildings have metal sheet roofs, a lightweight material with poor thermal performance. During the summer, temperatures in Sydney and Rio de Janeiro reach 45 degrees Celsius, and in both cities, rainfall patterns are changing, with more intense downpours. Furthermore, many residential buildings are leased, and currently, tenants are restricted by the modifications that they can perform to reduce running costs and carbon emissions. This research reports on an experiment on two small-scale metal roofs in Sydney and Rio de Janeiro to assess the thermal performance of portable small-scale modules. The findings are that considerable variation in temperature was found in both countries, indicating that green roof retrofitting could lower the cooling energy demand considerably. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Spatio-Temporal Changes and Their Reasons to the Geopolitical Influence of China and the US in South Asia
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 1064-1080; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7011064
Received: 15 September 2014 / Revised: 8 January 2015 / Accepted: 12 January 2015 / Published: 20 January 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1137 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The current international society has entered an era of large-scale power transfer. Government interests have gradually transferred from national strength to national influence. As such, how to quantitatively present the fuzzy geopolitical influence (i.e., geo-influence) has attracted greater attention from scholars.
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The current international society has entered an era of large-scale power transfer. Government interests have gradually transferred from national strength to national influence. As such, how to quantitatively present the fuzzy geopolitical influence (i.e., geo-influence) has attracted greater attention from scholars. The proposed concept of geo-influence conforms to this trend of power structure change in international relations, and provides a reference for national sustainable development on the international stage. This study sets up an index system and a mathematical model of geopolitical influence, and explores the spatio-temporal changes of the geo-influence of China and the United States (US) in South Asia over the past decade. Three primary results are found as follows: (1) In general, the geo-influence of China and the US in South Asia increased between 2003 and 2012. In terms of growth rate, the geo-influence of China in South Asia grew much faster than that of the US; (2) The overall strength and geo-influence show non-linear relationships. Strong national overall strength does not necessarily mean that one country has the strongest geo-influence; (3) National geo-influence is inversely proportional to the friction of distance. The larger the friction of distance is, the smaller national geo-potential is, and vice versa. Full article
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Open AccessArticle New Framework of Sustainable Indicators for Outdoor LED (Light Emitting Diodes) Lighting and SSL (Solid State Lighting)
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 1028-1063; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7011028
Received: 5 December 2014 / Accepted: 12 January 2015 / Published: 19 January 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (808 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Light emitting diodes (LEDs) and SSL (solid state lighting) are relatively new light sources, but are already widely applied for outdoor lighting. Despite this, there is little available information allowing planners and designers to evaluate and weigh different sustainability aspects of LED/SSL lighting
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Light emitting diodes (LEDs) and SSL (solid state lighting) are relatively new light sources, but are already widely applied for outdoor lighting. Despite this, there is little available information allowing planners and designers to evaluate and weigh different sustainability aspects of LED/SSL lighting when making decisions. Based on a literature review, this paper proposes a framework of sustainability indicators and/or measures that can be used for a general evaluation or to highlight certain objectives or aspects of special interest when choosing LED/SSL lighting. LED/SSL lighting is reviewed from a conventional sustainable development perspective, i.e., covering the three dimensions, including ecological, economic and social sustainability. The new framework of sustainable indicators allow prioritization when choosing LED/SSL products and can thereby help ensure that short-term decisions on LED/SSL lighting systems are in line with long-term sustainability goals established in society. The new framework can also be a beneficial tool for planners, decision-makers, developers and lighting designers, or for consumers wishing to use LED/SSL lighting in a sustainable manner. Moreover, since some aspects of LED/SSL lighting have not yet been thoroughly studied or developed, some possible future indicators are suggested. Full article
Open AccessArticle Understanding and Enhancing Soil Biological Health: The Solution for Reversing Soil Degradation
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 988-1027; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010988
Received: 13 November 2014 / Revised: 12 December 2014 / Accepted: 12 January 2015 / Published: 19 January 2015
Cited by 37 | PDF Full-text (2143 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Our objective is to provide an optimistic strategy for reversing soil degradation by increasing public and private research efforts to understand the role of soil biology, particularly microbiology, on the health of our world’s soils. We begin by defining soil quality/soil health (which
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Our objective is to provide an optimistic strategy for reversing soil degradation by increasing public and private research efforts to understand the role of soil biology, particularly microbiology, on the health of our world’s soils. We begin by defining soil quality/soil health (which we consider to be interchangeable terms), characterizing healthy soil resources, and relating the significance of soil health to agroecosystems and their functions. We examine how soil biology influences soil health and how biological properties and processes contribute to sustainability of agriculture and ecosystem services. We continue by examining what can be done to manipulate soil biology to: (i) increase nutrient availability for production of high yielding, high quality crops; (ii) protect crops from pests, pathogens, weeds; and (iii) manage other factors limiting production, provision of ecosystem services, and resilience to stresses like droughts. Next we look to the future by asking what needs to be known about soil biology that is not currently recognized or fully understood and how these needs could be addressed using emerging research tools. We conclude, based on our perceptions of how new knowledge regarding soil biology will help make agriculture more sustainable and productive, by recommending research emphases that should receive first priority through enhanced public and private research in order to reverse the trajectory toward global soil degradation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Development of a Meteorological Risk Map for Disaster Mitigation and Management in the Chishan Basin, Taiwan
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 962-987; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010962
Received: 3 October 2014 / Accepted: 8 January 2015 / Published: 16 January 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (7251 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study involved developing a natural disaster risk assessment framework based on the consideration of three phases: a pre-disaster phase, disaster impact phase, and post-disaster recovery phase. The exposure of natural disasters exhibits unique characteristics. The interactions of numerous factors should be considered
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This study involved developing a natural disaster risk assessment framework based on the consideration of three phases: a pre-disaster phase, disaster impact phase, and post-disaster recovery phase. The exposure of natural disasters exhibits unique characteristics. The interactions of numerous factors should be considered in risk assessment as well as in monitoring environment to provide natural disaster warnings. In each phase, specific factors indicate the relative status in the area subjected to risk assessment. Three types of natural disaster were assessed, namely debris flows, floods, and droughts. The Chishan basin in Taiwan was used as a case study and the adequacy of the relocation of Xiaolin village was evaluated. Incorporating resilience into the assessment revealed that the higher the exposure is, the higher the resilience becomes. This is because highly populated areas are typically allocated enough resources to respond to disasters. In addition, highly populated areas typically exhibit high resilience. The application of this analysis in the policy of relocation of damaged village after disaster provides valuable information for decision makers to achieve the sustainability of land use planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
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Open AccessArticle Economic and Financial Comparison between Organic and Conventional Farming in Sicilian Lemon Orchards
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 947-961; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010947
Received: 11 November 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2015 / Published: 16 January 2015
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (711 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sicily has a long tradition in citrus fruit cultivations that with vineyard and olive tree represent the main Mediterranean tree crops. In this paper we have evaluated the economic and financial sustainability of lemon production, both in organic farming and in conventional farming;
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Sicily has a long tradition in citrus fruit cultivations that with vineyard and olive tree represent the main Mediterranean tree crops. In this paper we have evaluated the economic and financial sustainability of lemon production, both in organic farming and in conventional farming; the two systems differing just for inputs utilized in production process. Economic analysis has been carried out in a representative case study located in the Sicilian northwestern coast, considering an orchard economic life equal to 50 years. Results, which referred to one hectare area, showed both a higher economic and financial sustainability of organic farming respect to conventional farming. The higher profitability of organic farming was due to minor labor requirement and to greater market appreciation for organic products that granted a premium price respect to conventional prices. Moreover, greater profitability of organic farming and use of environmentally friendly inputs in production process make farms competitive and eco-friendly. Full article
Open AccessArticle Burhanpur Cultural Landscape Conservation: Inspiring Quality for Sustainable Regeneration
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 932-946; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010932
Received: 13 September 2014 / Accepted: 6 January 2015 / Published: 15 January 2015
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Abstract
The heritage landscape of Burhanpur has an architectural and horticultural composition, consisting of many historic gardens, a unique water management system, a sustainable planning and design framework, the use of landscape and topography with numerous heritage components and historical monuments, temples, tombs and
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The heritage landscape of Burhanpur has an architectural and horticultural composition, consisting of many historic gardens, a unique water management system, a sustainable planning and design framework, the use of landscape and topography with numerous heritage components and historical monuments, temples, tombs and mosques that are locally, regionally and nationally significant. Conserving Burhanpur as an inspirational model for other sites is not only a cultural heritage objective, but it is also a crucial component of the heritage-based sustainable regeneration of the landscape, because it is directly linked to environmental integrity, economic efficiency and resources for present and future generations. Although the last decade has witnessed vigorous efforts by the municipal corporation to preserve and develop Burhanpur by designating it as one of the heritage cities of the UNESCO—Indian Heritage Cities Network (in 2006), a coherent, holistic and sustainable heritage outcome has not been achieved. This paper proposes to harness the cultural landscape as an approach for the sustainable regeneration of Burhanpur heritage and takes a holistic approach to the interpretation of the historic district and natural landscape of the city, where historic buildings are located. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Urban and Rural MSW Stream Characterization for Separate Collection Improvement
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 916-931; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010916
Received: 28 November 2014 / Accepted: 9 January 2015 / Published: 14 January 2015
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (764 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the new legislation framework enacted by new member countries of the European Union (EU), the characterization of municipal solid waste (MSW) represents an important instrument for local governments and sanitation operators in setting and achieving targets for waste recycling and recovery. This
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In the new legislation framework enacted by new member countries of the European Union (EU), the characterization of municipal solid waste (MSW) represents an important instrument for local governments and sanitation operators in setting and achieving targets for waste recycling and recovery. This paper presents the results of a study conducted in accordance with the Romanian methodology for domestic wastes characterization ROMECOM, aiming to provide a proper basis for developing clear and realistic forecasts in current municipal waste management, based on MSW composition and generation rate. The analyzed MSW came both from areas where the waste is collected in mixed and separate ways, in urban and rural areas. The MSW composition by fraction is detailed for dense urban areas, urban areas, rural and touristic areas from Romania. Based on these results, the MSW composition was determined for the eight development regions in Romania, and a generation rate of 0.9·kgMSW inhabitant−1·day−1 for the urban region and 0.4·kgMSW inh−1·day−1 for the rural region was established. The calorific values of urban and rural areas were determined as 6801 kJ·kg−1 and 5613 kJ·kg−1, respectively. In the perspective of sustainable development in this technical area, based on the obtained results and on the prognosis made for the following years, two proposals for urban and rural areas were developed for MSW treating options improvement. The two systems are characterized by selective collection (different efficiencies for urban and rural areas) with subsequent recovery of the separated materials and energy recovery of the residual waste in a large-scale waste to energy (WTE) plant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Climate Change on the Yield and Cropping Area of Major Food Crops: A Case of Bangladesh
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 898-915; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010898
Received: 10 November 2014 / Accepted: 8 January 2015 / Published: 14 January 2015
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (742 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The crops that we grow for food need specific climatic conditions to show better performance in view of economic yield. A changing climate could have both beneficial and harmful effects on crops. Keeping the above view in mind, this study is undertaken to
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The crops that we grow for food need specific climatic conditions to show better performance in view of economic yield. A changing climate could have both beneficial and harmful effects on crops. Keeping the above view in mind, this study is undertaken to investigate the impacts of climate change (viz. changes in maximum temperature, minimum temperature, rainfall, humidity and sunshine) on the yield and cropping area of four major food crops (viz. Aus rice, Aman rice, Boro rice and wheat) in Bangladesh. Heteroskedasticity and autocorrelation consistent standard error (HAC) and feasible generalized least square (FGLS) methods were used to determine the climate-crop interrelations using national level time series data for the period of 1972–2010. Findings revealed that the effects of all the climate variables have had significant contributions to the yield and cropping area of major food crops with distinct variation among them. Maximum temperature statistically significantly affected all the food crops’ yield except Aus rice. Maximum temperature also insignificantly affected cropping area of all the crops. Minimum temperature insignificantly affected Aman rice but benefited other three crops’ yield and cropping area. Rainfall significantly benefitted cropping area of Aus rice, but significantly affected both yield and cropping area of Aman rice. Humidity statistically positively contributed to the yield of Aus and Aman rice but, statistically, negatively influenced the cropping area of Aus rice. Sunshine statistically significantly benefitted only Boro rice yield. Overall, maximum temperature adversely affected yield and cropping area of all the major food crops and rainfall severely affected Aman rice only. Concerning the issue of climate change and ensuring food security, the respective authorities thus should give considerable attention to the generation, development and extension of drought (all major food crops) and flood (particularly Aman rice) tolerant varieties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Methodology for Assessing Daylighting Design Strategies in Classroom with a Climate-Based Method
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 880-897; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010880
Received: 9 October 2014 / Accepted: 16 December 2014 / Published: 13 January 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (3145 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Considering the importance of daylight in the performance and well-being of the students, an investigation has been carried out in daylit classrooms. The objective was applying a methodology that integrates the daylight variations to know the annual lighting performance in typologies that resulted
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Considering the importance of daylight in the performance and well-being of the students, an investigation has been carried out in daylit classrooms. The objective was applying a methodology that integrates the daylight variations to know the annual lighting performance in typologies that resulted from passive design strategies in order to compare their performance. The context of the study was three zones of Chile: north, center and south. The study was done through a climate-based daylight modelling method using Radiance software. The interior illuminance was evaluated in relation to a target illuminance value (goal-oriented assessment), for which five intervals are defined: low, too low, in range, high and too high. The aim of the goal-oriented approach is to set a target range of values and assess the percentage of time over the year where each range is reached and the percentage of spaces in a temporal map within in range during the year. To see a compliance or non-compliance indicator, a category is proposed that considers the average annual illuminance “in range” over the year identifying which one is the most efficient. Finally, it is concluded that the information obtained is based on target ranges, which allows guiding the design decisions, effectively recognizing the annual performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessReview The Soil Degradation Paradox: Compromising Our Resources When We Need Them the Most
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 866-879; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010866
Received: 19 November 2014 / Accepted: 7 January 2015 / Published: 13 January 2015
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (1576 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Soil degradation can take many forms, from erosion to salinization to the overall depletion of organic matter. The expression of soil degradation is broad, and so too are the causes. As the world population nears eight billion, and the environmental uncertainty of climate
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Soil degradation can take many forms, from erosion to salinization to the overall depletion of organic matter. The expression of soil degradation is broad, and so too are the causes. As the world population nears eight billion, and the environmental uncertainty of climate change becomes more manifest, the importance of our soil resources will only increase. The goal of this paper is to synthesize the catalysts of soil degradation and to highlight the interconnected nature of the social and economic causes of soil degradation. An expected three billion people will enter the middle class in the next 20 years; this will lead to an increased demand for meat, dairy products, and consequently grain. As populations rise so do the economic incentives to convert farmland to other purposes. With the intensity and frequency of droughts and flooding increasing, consumer confidence and the ability of crops to reach yield goals are also threatened. In a time of uncertainty, conservation measures are often the first to be sacrificed. In short, we are compromising our soil resources when we need them the most. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Measuring Corporate Sustainability Performance
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 851-865; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010851
Received: 14 October 2014 / Accepted: 17 December 2014 / Published: 13 January 2015
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (1025 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of the present study is to examine and evaluate the evolving character of sustainability management in corporations, the significance of environmental protection and sustainability, and barriers to carrying out an incorporated and strategic firm-wide advance of social responsibility. In the present
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The aim of the present study is to examine and evaluate the evolving character of sustainability management in corporations, the significance of environmental protection and sustainability, and barriers to carrying out an incorporated and strategic firm-wide advance of social responsibility. In the present paper, we focus on the contribution of sustainability undertakings towards enhancing corporate performance, the financial involvements of sustainability position and operation, and the chief function of values in corporate policy. Our paper contributes to the literature by supplying proof of elements that lead to the triumph of business patterns for sustainable development, processes through which stakeholders are affecting corporate sustainability conduct, and the link between economic growth and the environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Making Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) Work for Development in Tropical Countries
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 831-850; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010831
Received: 12 September 2014 / Accepted: 7 January 2015 / Published: 13 January 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1588 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agricultural innovation in low-income tropical countries contributes to a more effective and sustainable use of natural resources and reduces hunger and poverty through economic development in rural areas. Yet, despite numerous recent public and private initiatives to develop capacities for agricultural innovation, such
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Agricultural innovation in low-income tropical countries contributes to a more effective and sustainable use of natural resources and reduces hunger and poverty through economic development in rural areas. Yet, despite numerous recent public and private initiatives to develop capacities for agricultural innovation, such initiatives are often not well aligned with national efforts to revive existing Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS). In an effort to improve coordination and responsiveness of Capacity Development (CD) initiatives, the G20 Agriculture Ministers requested the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to lead the development of a Tropical Agricultural Platform (TAP), which is designed to improve coherence and coordination of CD for agricultural innovation in the tropics. This paper presents a summary of the results obtained from three regional needs assessments undertaken by TAP and its partners. The surveyed tropical regions were Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Central America. The findings reveal a mismatch in all three regions between the external supply of primarily individual CD and the actual demand for institutional CD. The misalignment might be addressed by strengthening south-south and triangular collaboration and by improving the institutional capacities that would render national AIS more demand-oriented and responsive to the needs of smallholders in domestic agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Futures Analysis of Urban Land Use and Wetland Change in Saskatoon, Canada: An Application in Strategic Environmental Assessment
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 811-830; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010811
Received: 4 November 2014 / Accepted: 1 January 2015 / Published: 13 January 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2888 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents a scenario-based approach to strategic environmental assessment (SEA) for wetland trend analysis and land use and land cover (LUC) modeling in an urban environment. The application is focused on the Saskatoon urban environment, a rapidly growing urban municipality in Canada’s
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This paper presents a scenario-based approach to strategic environmental assessment (SEA) for wetland trend analysis and land use and land cover (LUC) modeling in an urban environment. The application is focused on the Saskatoon urban environment, a rapidly growing urban municipality in Canada’s prairie pothole region. Alternative future LUC was simulated using remote sensing data and city spatial planning documentation using a Markov Chain technique. Two alternatives were developed and compared for LUC change and threats to urban wetland sustainability: a zero alternative that simulated trends in urban development and wetland conservation under a business as usual scenario, in the absence of prescribed planning and zoning actions; and an alternative focused on implementation of current urban development plans, which simulated future LUC to account for prescribed wetland conservation strategies. Results show no improvement in future wetland conditions under the city’s planned growth and wetland conservation scenario versus the business as usual scenario. Results also indicate that a blanket wetland conservation strategy for the city may not be sufficient to overcome the historic trend of urban wetland loss; and that spatially distributed conservation rates, based on individual wetland water catchment LUC peculiarities, may be more effective in terms of wetland conservation. The paper also demonstrates the challenges to applied SEA in a rapidly changing urban planning context, where data are often sparse and inconsistent across the urban region, and provides potential solutions through LUC classification and prediction tools to help overcome data limitations to support land use planning decisions for wetland conservation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Landscape Valuation of Environmental Amenities throughout the Application of Direct and Indirect Methods
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 794-810; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010794
Received: 13 October 2014 / Accepted: 4 January 2015 / Published: 12 January 2015
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (1710 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Landscape design, construction and management should no longer be the result of superficial approaches based exclusively on designers’ and planners’ ideas. This research starts with the assumption that the aesthetic component constitutes an essential attribute for better understanding and evaluating landscapes. This study
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Landscape design, construction and management should no longer be the result of superficial approaches based exclusively on designers’ and planners’ ideas. This research starts with the assumption that the aesthetic component constitutes an essential attribute for better understanding and evaluating landscapes. This study analyzes the aesthetic quality and economic valuation of the Lower Guadiana river landscape, through the application of direct and indirect landscape evaluation methods. In order to gauge not only experts’ opinion, it is supported by the application of public participation techniques about the opinion and perceptions of the site visitors/users. The present research considered the analysis of six landscape subunits regarding landscape quality, fragility and visual absorption capacity. The obtained results showed that there are significant differences between the perceptions of the general public and experts’ analysis. Touristic Complexes and Golf Courses had high visual quality, while Agricultural and Production Areas had high visual fragility. Moreover, the performed analysis made clear that the combined use of landscape assessment methods is suited to this type of study, since it enables quantifying the value of existence, management and maintenance of a particular environmental assets and/or services. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Research on Rural Nonpoint Source Pollution in the Process of Urban-Rural Integration in the Economically-Developed Area in China Based on the Improved STIRPAT Model
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 782-793; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010782
Received: 26 June 2014 / Accepted: 31 December 2014 / Published: 12 January 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (746 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The process of urban-rural integration has led to severe ecological environmental pollution in rural areas of China, particularly in the economically-developed areas. This is an urgent issue to be solved. We select Jiangsu Province as a case study. From the perspective of the
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The process of urban-rural integration has led to severe ecological environmental pollution in rural areas of China, particularly in the economically-developed areas. This is an urgent issue to be solved. We select Jiangsu Province as a case study. From the perspective of the population, economic scale, energy consumption and financial support, we perform an empirical study of rural non-point source pollution problems in the process of urbanization based on the improved STIRPAT model. We apply the ridge regression method to avoid the multicollinearity of the variables in the STIRPAT model. The results show that the technological level, the size of the population and financial support are important factors affecting rural non-point source pollution. Therefore, we believe that technical progress, transformation of the mode of production and increasing the scale of financial support in rural areas are effective measures to solve the current rural nonpoint source pollution. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of the Reference Numerical Parameters of the Monthly Method in ISO 13790 Considering S/V Ratio
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 767-781; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010767
Received: 6 December 2014 / Accepted: 5 January 2015 / Published: 12 January 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (982 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many studies have investigated the accuracy of the numerical parameters in the application of the quasi steady-state calculation method. The aim of this study is to derive the reference numerical parameters of the ISO 13790 monthly method by reflecting the surface-to-volume (S/V) ratio
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Many studies have investigated the accuracy of the numerical parameters in the application of the quasi steady-state calculation method. The aim of this study is to derive the reference numerical parameters of the ISO 13790 monthly method by reflecting the surface-to-volume (S/V) ratio and the characteristics of the structures. The calculation process was established, and the parameters necessary to derive the reference numerical parameters were calculated based on the input data prepared for the established calculation processes. The reference numerical parameters were then derived through regression analyses of the calculated parameters and the time constant. The parameters obtained from an apartment building and the parameters of the international standard were both applied to the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) and EnergyPlus programs, and the results were analyzed in order to evaluate the validity of the results. The analysis revealed that the calculation results based on the parameters derived from this study yielded lower error rates than those based on the default parameters in ISO 13790. However, the differences were shown to be negligible in the case of high heat capacity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Building)
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Open AccessArticle Contextualism and Sustainability: A Community Renewal in Old City of Beijing
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 747-766; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010747
Received: 17 September 2014 / Accepted: 6 January 2015 / Published: 12 January 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4740 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The conception of contextualism in community planning emphasizes the integrity of architecture and its surroundings. It also implies the sustainability of landscape meaning within a community. In as much as planning theories have not mentioned how extensive the background of a community should
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The conception of contextualism in community planning emphasizes the integrity of architecture and its surroundings. It also implies the sustainability of landscape meaning within a community. In as much as planning theories have not mentioned how extensive the background of a community should be considered by a community planner, this paper will seek to answer this question. It considers Nanluoguxiang (NLGX), a community in the old city of Beijing, as the study area. Based on government documents, interviews of residents and also landscape observations in NLGX, this paper identifies the contextual practices in three renovation stages from the perspective of place uniqueness. The planners considered the background of NLGX at three different scales in its three renovation stages. In the last stage, they considered the entire country within the context of planning. NLGX has a unique image in Beijing, even within China. The image of it is the main market at the north end of the Grand Canal. The Grand Canal shows the spatial organization power of the ancient empire because it was the key food supply route for the capital. This is not only the cultural heritage of local residents of NLGX, but is also identified by other citizens in China. We conclude that an historical community can be preserved better by national funds if it has found a unique meaning of its landscape within a broader background. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Canadian STARS-Rated Campus Sustainability Plans: Priorities, Plan Creation and Design
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 725-746; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010725
Received: 7 November 2014 / Accepted: 29 December 2014 / Published: 9 January 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (711 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The use of integrated sustainability plans is an emerging trend in higher education institutions (HEIs) to set sustainability priorities and to create a work plan for action. This paper analyses the sustainability plans of 21 Canadian HEIs that have used the Sustainability Tracking,
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The use of integrated sustainability plans is an emerging trend in higher education institutions (HEIs) to set sustainability priorities and to create a work plan for action. This paper analyses the sustainability plans of 21 Canadian HEIs that have used the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). The plans were coded thematically with a focus on the sustainability goals, process of plan creation, and aspects of plan design outlined in the texts. This paper finds that sustainability goals focused on the environmental aspects of sustainability, while social and economic aspects were less emphasized. Further, most plans were described as being created through a broad stakeholder-consultation process, while fewer plans assigned timelines and parties responsible to sustainability goals. This paper contributes to our understanding of the priorities of Canadian HEI institutions at the end of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and is useful for practitioners interested in developing their own sustainability plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
Open AccessArticle History of East European Chernozem Soil Degradation; Protection and Restoration by Tree Windbreaks in the Russian Steppe
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 705-724; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010705
Received: 30 October 2014 / Accepted: 29 December 2014 / Published: 8 January 2015
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Abstract
The physiographic region of the Central Russian Upland, situated in the Central part of Eastern Europe, is characterized by very fertile grassland soils—Chernozems (Mollisols in the USDA taxonomy). However, over the last several centuries this region has experienced intense land-use conversion. The most
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The physiographic region of the Central Russian Upland, situated in the Central part of Eastern Europe, is characterized by very fertile grassland soils—Chernozems (Mollisols in the USDA taxonomy). However, over the last several centuries this region has experienced intense land-use conversion. The most widespread and significant land-use change is the extensive cultivation of these soils. As a result, Chernozems of the region that were some of the most naturally fertile soils in the world with thick A horizons had become, by the second half of the 19th century, weakly productive, with decreased stocks of organic matter. When not protected by plant cover, water and wind erosion degraded the open fields. The investigation of methods for rehabilitation and restoration of Chernozems resulted in the practice of afforestation of agricultural lands (mainly by windbreak planting). Preferences of agroforestry practices were initially connected with protection of cropland from wind and water erosion, improvement of microclimate for crop growth, and providing new refugia for wild animal and plant habitats. During the last several decades, tree windbreaks have begun to be viewed as ecosystems with great potential for atmospheric carbon sequestration, which plays a positive role in climate change mitigation. For the evaluation of windbreak influence on Chernozem soils, a study was developed with three field study areas across a climatic gradient from cool and wet in the north of the region to warm and dry in the south. Windbreak age ranged from 55–57 years. At each site, soil pits were prepared within the windbreak, the adjacent crop fields of 150 years of cultivation, and nearby undisturbed grassland. Profile descriptions were completed to a depth of 1.5 m. A linear relationship was detected between the difference in organic-rich surface layer (A + AB horizon) thickness of soils beneath windbreaks and undisturbed grasslands and a climate index, the hydrothermal coefficient (HTC). These results indicate that windbreaks under relatively cooler and wetter climate conditions are more favorable for organic matter accumulation in the surface soil. For the 0–100 cm layer of the Chernozems beneath windbreaks, an increase in organic C stocks comparable with undisturbed grassland soils (15–63 Mg·ha−1) was detected. Significant growth of soil organic matter stocks was identified not only for the upper 30 cm, but also for the deeper layer (30–100 cm) of afforested Chernozems. These findings illustrate that, in the central part of Eastern Europe, tree windbreaks improve soil quality by enhancing soil organic matter while providing a sink for atmospheric carbon in tree biomass and soil organic matter. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainability in Land Management: An Analysis of Stakeholder Perceptions in Rural Northern Germany
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 683-704; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010683
Received: 20 October 2014 / Accepted: 24 December 2014 / Published: 8 January 2015
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (925 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Successful sustainable land management efforts rely on stakeholder support and integration of stakeholder knowledge. This study explored the views of sustainable land management expressed by land use stakeholders and how these views contribute to land users’ self-perceptions. We examined stakeholder perceptions in four
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Successful sustainable land management efforts rely on stakeholder support and integration of stakeholder knowledge. This study explored the views of sustainable land management expressed by land use stakeholders and how these views contribute to land users’ self-perceptions. We examined stakeholder perceptions in four case study areas in rural northern Germany. The target groups consisted of representatives from (i) agriculture; (ii) forestry; (iii) water management and (iv) rural planning and development (“cross-sector” representatives). The data were gathered using 60 semi-structured interviews and were analyzed qualitatively. The results indicate that differences in perceptions are greater between stakeholder groups than between regions; regional land management issues shape the framework of negotiations and the redefinition of concepts, whereas stakeholder group affiliations shape mindsets. The economic dimension of sustainability was emphasized, particularly by land managers; however, the social dimension was underrepresented in the statements. Furthermore, there are considerable differences between stakeholder groups in terms of the ways in which the spatial and temporal scales of sustainable land use are perceived. This study underscores the importance of examining stakeholder knowledge and understanding the complexity of land management and its benefits such that consensual management strategies may be developed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Sustainability in 2014
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 668-682; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010668
Received: 7 January 2015 / Accepted: 7 January 2015 / Published: 7 January 2015
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Abstract
The editors of Sustainability would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2014:[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle Geoheritage at the Equator: Selected Geosites of São Tomé Island (Cameron Line, Central Africa)
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 648-667; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010648
Received: 2 December 2014 / Accepted: 30 December 2014 / Published: 7 January 2015
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (4133 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This work presents, for the first time, an overview of the rich geodiversity outcropping in the São Tomé island, one of the two islands that make up the archipelago of São Tomé and Príncipe, the second smallest state of Africa in area. Located
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This work presents, for the first time, an overview of the rich geodiversity outcropping in the São Tomé island, one of the two islands that make up the archipelago of São Tomé and Príncipe, the second smallest state of Africa in area. Located at the equator, in the alignment known as the “Cameroon Volcanic Line”, this archipelago represents a privileged area for the comparative study between oceanic and continental alkaline volcanism, and therefore between the subcontinental and suboceanic mantle. Ten geosites of São Tomé island were selected, described and evaluated on the basis of their geoheritage value and using a qualitative system of classification, which integrates both the meaning attributed to the objects by scientific communities and the public understanding of such meanings related to its social use. The selected geosites display different heritage values (documental, scenic, symbolic, iconographic and indicial) potentially usable for different purposes, namely scientific and educational, but mostly tourism. Geotourism can play a key role in the promotion of sustainable development in the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, and the geosites here described are likely to ground a geo-itinerary on this “pearl” of the Cameron Line. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Geomorphological Heritage)
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Open AccessArticle Labor Market Determinants of Migration Flows in Europe
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 634-647; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010634
Received: 14 October 2014 / Accepted: 15 December 2014 / Published: 7 January 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (686 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Considerable research attention has focused on the labor market impacts of immigration, the operation and competitiveness of the European Union (EU) labor market, and the expenditures and advantages of labor circulation for sending and receiving economies. The aim of the present study is
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Considerable research attention has focused on the labor market impacts of immigration, the operation and competitiveness of the European Union (EU) labor market, and the expenditures and advantages of labor circulation for sending and receiving economies. The aim of the present study is to examine and evaluate the negative social consequences arising from the mobility of workers, the social and economic drivers of migration, and the effect of immigration on natives’ labor market results such as wages and employment. Full article
Open AccessArticle Governing Sustainability Transitions: Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives and Regime Change in United States Agriculture
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 612-633; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010612
Received: 10 October 2014 / Accepted: 30 December 2014 / Published: 7 January 2015
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Abstract
Using a case study of US agriculture, this paper examines how governance affects sustainability transitions in socio-technical systems. The multi-level perspective (MLP) has become a leading framework for theorizing sustainability transitions in socio-technical systems. It posits that transitions to more sustainable socio-technical systems
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Using a case study of US agriculture, this paper examines how governance affects sustainability transitions in socio-technical systems. The multi-level perspective (MLP) has become a leading framework for theorizing sustainability transitions in socio-technical systems. It posits that transitions to more sustainable socio-technical systems are an outcome of external pressure at the landscape level and internal pressure emanating from niches. While the MLP is a robust analytical framework, it under-theorizes the role that governance plays in sustainability transitions. This paper addresses this research gap through examining three multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) that have developed sustainability metrics and standards for US agriculture: Field to Market; LEO-4000; and the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops. Applying a governance analytical framework, membership selection, decision-making procedures, and access to resources are found to affect the kinds of sustainability metrics developed, as well as their likely implementation. Specifically, the governance processes functioned to channel sustainability metrics towards ones that were congruent with the existing agrifood regime, and marginalize metrics that had the potential to disrupt regime processes. Thus, this article proposes that governance is a key component of sustainability transitions, and that current usage of MSIs in much of environmental governance may function to moderate sustainability transitions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural Governance)
Open AccessArticle Can the Concept of Integrative and Segregative Institutions Contribute to the Framing of Institutions of Sustainability?
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 584-611; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010584
Received: 18 February 2014 / Accepted: 21 November 2014 / Published: 7 January 2015
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Abstract
This paper begins with the question “What is special about those institutions that bring about sustainability”? In an attempt to answer this, I use the Institutions of Sustainability (IoS) framework, which structures sustainability analytically according to four main categories, namely: transactions, actors, institutions
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This paper begins with the question “What is special about those institutions that bring about sustainability”? In an attempt to answer this, I use the Institutions of Sustainability (IoS) framework, which structures sustainability analytically according to four main categories, namely: transactions, actors, institutions and governance structures. I then argue that sustainability has to do with balancing two sorts of costs an actor may face while being constrained by institutions. One is the costs from the integrative effects of institutions on his individual decision making. The other is the costs from the segregative effect of institutions. In this way, sustainability can be understood as societies’ compromise between institutions that integrate individual actors’ decisions in a wider system, holding them fully responsible for more or less all of the effects of their choices and those institutions that partly free individual decision makers from parts of such responsibilities. If a governance problem is characterized by a high degree of “decomposability”, segregative rules may be sufficient. The more a governance problem is characterized by complexity due to low modularity and high functional interdependencies, the more accurate integrative rules may be. The paper concludes by identifying “sustainability area of institutional embedding” as a regulative idea in understanding sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)
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Open AccessArticle Risk Assessment, Partition and Economic Loss Estimation of Rice Production in China
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 563-583; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010563
Received: 13 August 2014 / Accepted: 23 December 2014 / Published: 6 January 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2009 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agricultural risk, especially the risk assessment, partition and economic loss estimation of specific and main crops, maize, wheat and rice, is widely touted in China as a means of improving the effective productivity. The main objective of this article is to perform a
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Agricultural risk, especially the risk assessment, partition and economic loss estimation of specific and main crops, maize, wheat and rice, is widely touted in China as a means of improving the effective productivity. The main objective of this article is to perform a detailed analysis of the stability and comparative advantage of rice production in 30 provinces on the basis of relative rice production data from 2000 to 2012 in China. The non-parametric information diffusion model based on entropy theory was used to assess rice production risk. Accordingly, we divided the risk level with hierarchical cluster analysis. Then, we calculated the economic loss of rice production by the scenario analysis. The results show that, firstly, the national disaster risk of rice production is at a lower level. Secondly, there are significant differences in the stability, comparative advantage and risk probability of rice production among the 30 provinces. Thirdly, Shanxi province belongs to the high risk zone, 12 provinces belong to the middle risk zone and 17 provinces to the low risk zone. Finally, there is a proportional rate between the economic loss (yield loss) and disaster area (yield loss rate) of rice production. Therefore, we could obtain some significant policy suggestions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Designing and Validating a Model for Measuring Sustainability of Overall Innovation Capability of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 537-562; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010537
Received: 14 October 2014 / Accepted: 23 December 2014 / Published: 6 January 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1085 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The business environment is currently characterized by intensified competition at both the national and firm levels. Many studies have shown that innovation positively affect firms in enhancing their competitiveness. Innovation is a dynamic process that requires a continuous, evolving, and mastered management. Evaluating
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The business environment is currently characterized by intensified competition at both the national and firm levels. Many studies have shown that innovation positively affect firms in enhancing their competitiveness. Innovation is a dynamic process that requires a continuous, evolving, and mastered management. Evaluating the sustainability of overall innovation capability of a business is a major means of determining how well this firm effectively and efficiently manages its innovation process. A psychometrically valid scale of evaluating the sustainability of overall innovation capability of a firm is still insufficient in the current innovation literature. Thus, this study developed a reliable and valid scale of measuring the sustainability of overall innovation capability construct. The unidimensionality, reliability, and several validity components of the developed scale were tested using the data collected from 175 small and medium-sized enterprises in Iran. A series of systematic statistical analyses were performed. Results of the reliability measures, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, and several components of validity tests strongly supported an eight-dimensional (8D) scale of measuring the sustainability of overall innovation capability construct. The dimensions of the scale were strategic management, supportive culture and structure, resource allocation, communication and networking, knowledge and technology management, idea management, project development, and commercialization capabilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Leadership and Management)
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Open AccessArticle An Integrated Biomass Production and Conversion Process for Sustainable Bioenergy
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 522-536; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010522
Received: 22 September 2014 / Accepted: 29 December 2014 / Published: 6 January 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (710 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is not enough land for the current bioenergy production process because of its low annual yield per unit land. In the present paper, an integrated biomass production and conversion process for sustainable bioenergy is proposed and analyzed. The wastes from the biomass
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There is not enough land for the current bioenergy production process because of its low annual yield per unit land. In the present paper, an integrated biomass production and conversion process for sustainable bioenergy is proposed and analyzed. The wastes from the biomass conversion process, including waste water, gas and solid are treated or utilized by the biomass production process in the integrated process. Analysis of the integrated process including the production of water hyacinth and digestion for methane in a tropical area demonstrates several major advantages of the integrated process. (1) The net annual yield of methane per unit land can reach 29.0 and 55.6 km3/h for the present and future (2040) respectively, which are mainly due to the high yield of water hyacinth, high biomethane yield and low energy input. The land demand for the proposed process accounts for about 1% of the world’s land to meet the current global automobile fuels or electricity consumption; (2) A closed cycle of nutrients provides the fertilizer for biomass production and waste treatment, and thus reduces the energy input; (3) The proposed process can be applied in agriculturally marginal land, which will not compete with food production. Therefore, it may be a good alternative energy technology for the future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Self-Governance and Sustainable Common Pool Resource Management in Kyrgyzstan
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 496-521; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010496
Received: 30 October 2014 / Accepted: 23 December 2014 / Published: 5 January 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1208 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
How to best govern natural resources in order to enable a sustainable way of handling them is what both research and practice aim to achieve. Empirical findings from several studies indicate that resource users are able to successfully cooperate in the management of
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How to best govern natural resources in order to enable a sustainable way of handling them is what both research and practice aim to achieve. Empirical findings from several studies indicate that resource users are able to successfully cooperate in the management of common pool resources and solve social dilemmas through self-governance arrangements. The authors explore the potential success of self-governance in irrigation systems, focusing primarily on the factors influencing compliance of irrigation water users under self-crafted and self-enforced rules in two Kyrgyz communities. A field experiment is employed to provide insights and some quantitative empirical data, further complemented by qualitative methods (questionnaires, group discussions and interviews) to enhance the analysis of the findings about working rules in irrigation at the community level. The results show that Kyrgyz irrigation users of the selected communities generally respond better in a self-governance setting in terms of rules compliance, distribution efficiency and equity. Compliance and cooperative behavior depend on group as well as individual variables including communication, social norms and the legitimacy of rules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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