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Sustainability, Volume 8, Issue 5 (May 2016)

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Open AccessArticle
Using Envision to Assess the Sustainability of Groundwater Infrastructure: A Case Study of the Twin Oaks Aquifer Storage and Recovery Project
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 501; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050501
Received: 17 March 2016 / Revised: 22 April 2016 / Accepted: 16 May 2016 / Published: 23 May 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1625 | PDF Full-text (1243 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The ISI (Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure) Envision rating system is designed to be a comprehensive sustainability assessment that can be applied to a wide range of infrastructure projects, including water supply. With water supply resiliency, a prominent concern in many arid and semi-arid [...] Read more.
The ISI (Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure) Envision rating system is designed to be a comprehensive sustainability assessment that can be applied to a wide range of infrastructure projects, including water supply. With water supply resiliency, a prominent concern in many arid and semi-arid regions, the implementation of a water sustainability metric would be beneficial to both regulators and planners. This review seeks to assess the merit of applying Envision to water infrastructure projects specifically designed to enhance supply resiliency by retroactively rating the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) Twin Oaks Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) project. In this review, we find that the novelty and innovation inherent in ASR is largely overlooked by Envision, which often does not evaluate sector-specific concepts. Furthermore, the project-oriented focus of Envision does not analyze water supply systems, or any infrastructure system, as a whole. This paper proposes that a water specific sustainability index be used in conjunction with Envision, to more specifically address concerns for water supply. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Are Consumers Willing to Pay More for Sustainable Products? A Study of Eco-Labeled Tuna Steak
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 494; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050494
Received: 29 January 2016 / Revised: 14 May 2016 / Accepted: 16 May 2016 / Published: 23 May 2016
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2381 | PDF Full-text (1400 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A high demand for seafood leads to overfishing, harms the long-term health of seafood stocks, and threatens environmental sustainability in oceans. Sustainability certification is one of the major sustainability movements and is known as eco-labeling. For instance, in the tuna industry, leading tuna [...] Read more.
A high demand for seafood leads to overfishing, harms the long-term health of seafood stocks, and threatens environmental sustainability in oceans. Sustainability certification is one of the major sustainability movements and is known as eco-labeling. For instance, in the tuna industry, leading tuna brands have committed to protecting sea turtles by allowing the tracing of the source of their tuna “from catch to can.” This paper relies on an Internet survey on consumers from Kentucky conducted in July 2010. The survey investigates household-level tuna steak (sashimi grade) consumption and examines consumer preferences for eco-labeling (“Certified Turtle Safe” (CTS) in this study) while mimicking individuals’ seafood procurement processes. A random parameter logit model is utilized, and willingness-to-pay measures are calculated based on model estimation results. It was found that respondents on average preferred turtle-safe-labeled tuna steak and were likely to pay more for it; however, they were less likely to purchase wild-caught species, and insignificant results were found for pre-frozen. Moreover, significant heterogeneities were found across individuals regarding tuna steak purchases. The findings indicate evidence of public support for environmental friendliness, particularly with regard to eco-labeling. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Trans-Boundary Haze Pollution in Southeast Asia: Sustainability through Plural Environmental Governance
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 499; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050499
Received: 29 February 2016 / Revised: 4 May 2016 / Accepted: 13 May 2016 / Published: 21 May 2016
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2635 | PDF Full-text (413 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recurrent haze in Southeast Asian countries including Singapore is largely attributable to rampant forest fires in Indonesia due to, for example, extensive slash-and-burn (S & B) culture. Drawing on the “treadmill of production” and environmental governance approach, we examine causes and consequences of [...] Read more.
Recurrent haze in Southeast Asian countries including Singapore is largely attributable to rampant forest fires in Indonesia due to, for example, extensive slash-and-burn (S & B) culture. Drawing on the “treadmill of production” and environmental governance approach, we examine causes and consequences of this culture. We found that, despite some perceived benefits, its environmental consequences include deforestation, soil erosion and degradation, global warming, threats to biodiversity, and trans-boundary haze pollution, while the societal consequences comprise regional tension, health risks, economic and productivity losses, as well as food insecurity. We propose sustainability through a plural coexistence framework of governance for targeting S & B that incorporates strategies of incentives, education and community resource management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Integrated Approach to Explore the Relationship Among Economic, Construction Land Use, and Ecology Subsystems in Zhejiang Province, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 498; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050498
Received: 21 March 2016 / Revised: 7 May 2016 / Accepted: 16 May 2016 / Published: 21 May 2016
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1823 | PDF Full-text (2731 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Zhejiang Province, China is experiencing rapid urbanization, facing the challenge of coupling socioeconomic development and ecological conservation. This paper establishes a comprehensive index system to assess coordinating development of economic, construction land use (CLU), and ecology subsystems. A Granger test and a coupling [...] Read more.
Zhejiang Province, China is experiencing rapid urbanization, facing the challenge of coupling socioeconomic development and ecological conservation. This paper establishes a comprehensive index system to assess coordinating development of economic, construction land use (CLU), and ecology subsystems. A Granger test and a coupling coordination model were applied to explore the causal relationship and the coordinated development state among the three subsystems from 2000 to 2012. The results showed that: (1) changes in the integrated value of the economic subsystem were the Granger cause of changes in the ecology and CLU subsystems, and the changes in the integrated values of ecology and CLU was each other’s Granger cause; (2) the coupling coordination relationship of the integrated value for economic–CLU–ecology was constrained by the relationship between the economic and the CLU subsystems from 2000 to 2004, and that between the ecology and the economic subsystems was the impediment of the sustainable development of economic–CLU–ecology from 2004 to 2012. This research helps to identify approach to sustainable development through analyzing synergistic effects, interdependencies, and trade-offs among the integrated economic–CLU–ecology values, and to make significant contribution to urban planning policies in rapid urbanization region. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Biotech Approaches to Overcome the Limitations of Using Transgenic Plants in Organic Farming
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 497; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050497
Received: 16 March 2016 / Revised: 5 May 2016 / Accepted: 18 May 2016 / Published: 20 May 2016
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1813 | PDF Full-text (183 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Organic farming prohibits the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) inasmuch as their genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally. In actual fact, there is a conventional identity between GMOs and transgenic organisms, so that genetic modification [...] Read more.
Organic farming prohibits the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) inasmuch as their genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally. In actual fact, there is a conventional identity between GMOs and transgenic organisms, so that genetic modification methods such as somatic hybridization and mutagenesis are equalized to conventional breeding. A loophole in this system is represented by more or less innovative genetic engineering approaches under regulatory discussion, such as cisgenesis, oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis, and antisense technologies, that are redefining the concept of GMOs and might circumvent the requirements of the GMO legislation and, indirectly, of organic farming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Farming and Gene Manipulation)
Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Role of Public–Private Partnerships in Forest Protection
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050496
Received: 22 February 2016 / Revised: 16 May 2016 / Accepted: 17 May 2016 / Published: 20 May 2016
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1235 | PDF Full-text (402 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In 2010, the Swedish government established the Komet program—a pilot forest protection project that was initially implemented in five land areas. The Komet program was intended to complement existing formal protection measures by establishing partnerships with forest owners and industries to encourage these [...] Read more.
In 2010, the Swedish government established the Komet program—a pilot forest protection project that was initially implemented in five land areas. The Komet program was intended to complement existing formal protection measures by establishing partnerships with forest owners and industries to encourage these actors to take a greater interest in contributing to forest conservation efforts and Nature Conservation Agreements. Despite mixed results, the government subsequently chose to implement these partnerships nationwide, thereby institutionalizing the Komet program and making it into a regular component of forest management policy. This study examines how the program developed and became institutionalized. The theoretical role of public–private partnerships and their capacity to deliver collective goods are discussed. The empirical material primarily consists of interviews with key stakeholders from the pilot period and the present reference group. The results highlight the need to carefully consider past collaborative experiences together with existing motives relating to the role of partnerships in forest protection in order to achieve successful institutionalization. This will increase the government’s capacity to create the conditions for institutionalization and may facilitate the development of external interactions in partnerships, leading to the incorporation of various protection arrangements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessReview
Genetic Engineering and Sustainable Crop Disease Management: Opportunities for Case-by-Case Decision-Making
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 495; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050495
Received: 22 March 2016 / Revised: 11 May 2016 / Accepted: 13 May 2016 / Published: 20 May 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 6063 | PDF Full-text (769 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Genetic engineering (GE) offers an expanding array of strategies for enhancing disease resistance of crop plants in sustainable ways, including the potential for reduced pesticide usage. Certain GE applications involve transgenesis, in some cases creating a metabolic pathway novel to the GE crop. [...] Read more.
Genetic engineering (GE) offers an expanding array of strategies for enhancing disease resistance of crop plants in sustainable ways, including the potential for reduced pesticide usage. Certain GE applications involve transgenesis, in some cases creating a metabolic pathway novel to the GE crop. In other cases, only cisgenessis is employed. In yet other cases, engineered genetic changes can be so minimal as to be indistinguishable from natural mutations. Thus, GE crops vary substantially and should be evaluated for risks, benefits, and social considerations on a case-by-case basis. Deployment of GE traits should be with an eye towards long-term sustainability; several options are discussed. Selected risks and concerns of GE are also considered, along with genome editing, a technology that greatly expands the capacity of molecular biologists to make more precise and targeted genetic edits. While GE is merely a suite of tools to supplement other breeding techniques, if wisely used, certain GE tools and applications can contribute to sustainability goals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Employees’ Perceptions of Corporate Social Responsibility and Job Performance: A Sequential Mediation Model
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 493; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050493
Received: 3 February 2016 / Revised: 16 May 2016 / Accepted: 16 May 2016 / Published: 20 May 2016
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2704 | PDF Full-text (376 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In spite of the increasing importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and employee job performance, little is still known about the links between the socially responsible actions of organizations and the job performance of their members. In order to explain how employees’ perceptions [...] Read more.
In spite of the increasing importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and employee job performance, little is still known about the links between the socially responsible actions of organizations and the job performance of their members. In order to explain how employees’ perceptions of CSR influence their job performance, this study first examines the relationships between perceived CSR, organizational identification, job satisfaction, and job performance, and then develops a sequential mediation model by fully integrating these links. The results of structural equation modeling analyses conducted for 250 employees at hotels in South Korea offered strong support for the proposed model. We found that perceived CSR was indirectly and positively associated with job performance sequentially mediated first through organizational identification and then job satisfaction. This study theoretically contributes to the CSR literature by revealing the sequential mechanism through which employees’ perceptions of CSR affect their job performance, and offers practical implications by stressing the importance of employees’ perceptions of CSR. Limitations of this study and future research directions are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Design of Stirrer Impeller with Variable Operational Speed for a Food Waste Homogenizer
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 489; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050489
Received: 10 February 2016 / Revised: 2 May 2016 / Accepted: 11 May 2016 / Published: 20 May 2016
Viewed by 2497 | PDF Full-text (18691 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A conceptualized impeller called KIA is designed for impact agitation of food waste in a homogenizer. A comparative analysis of the performance of KIA is made with three conventional impeller types, Rushton, Anchor, and Pitched Blade. Solid–liquid mixing of a moisture-rich food waste [...] Read more.
A conceptualized impeller called KIA is designed for impact agitation of food waste in a homogenizer. A comparative analysis of the performance of KIA is made with three conventional impeller types, Rushton, Anchor, and Pitched Blade. Solid–liquid mixing of a moisture-rich food waste is simulated under various operational speeds, in order to compare the dispersions and thermal distributions at homogenous slurry conditions. Using SolidWorks, the design of the impellers employs an Application Programming Interface (API) which acts as the canvas for creating a graphical user interface (GUI )for automation of its assembly. A parametric analysis of the homogenizer, at varying operational speeds, enables the estimation of the critical speed of the mixing shaft diameter and the deflection under numerous mixing conditions and impeller configurations. The numerical simulation of the moisture-rich food waste (approximated as a Newtonian carrot–orange soup) is performed with ANSYS CFX v.15.0. The velocity and temperature field distribution of the homogenizer for various impeller rotational speeds are analyzed. It is anticipated that the developed model will help in the selection of a suitable impeller for efficient mixing of food waste in the homogenizer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
The Making of Sustainable Urban Development: A Synthesis Framework
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 492; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050492
Received: 29 February 2016 / Revised: 7 May 2016 / Accepted: 14 May 2016 / Published: 19 May 2016
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3304 | PDF Full-text (2441 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In a time of rapid climate change and environmental degradation, planning and building an ecologically sustainable environment have become imperative. In particular, urban settlements, as a densely populated built environment, are the center of attention. This study aims to build a clear and [...] Read more.
In a time of rapid climate change and environmental degradation, planning and building an ecologically sustainable environment have become imperative. In particular, urban settlements, as a densely populated built environment, are the center of attention. This study aims to build a clear and concise synthesis of sustainable urban development not only to serve as an essential reference for decision and policy makers, but also encourage more strategically organized sustainability efforts. The extensive similarities between environmental planning and a policy-making/decision-making/problem-solving process will be carefully examined to confirm the fundamental need to build a synthesis. Major global urban sustainability rankings/standards will be presented, discussed, and integrated to produce a holistic synthesis with ten themes and three dimensions. The study will assemble disparate information across time, space, and disciplines to guide and to facilitate sustainable urban development in which both environmental concerns and human wellbeing are addressed. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Abandonment, Ecological Assembly and Public Health Risks in Counter-Urbanizing Cities
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 491; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050491
Received: 7 April 2016 / Revised: 9 May 2016 / Accepted: 11 May 2016 / Published: 19 May 2016
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2057 | PDF Full-text (4718 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban landscapes can be transformed by widespread abandonment from population and economic decline. Ecological assembly, sometimes referred to as “greening”, following abandonment can yield valuable ecosystem services, but also can pose a risk to public health. Abandonment can elevate zoonotic vector-borne disease risk [...] Read more.
Urban landscapes can be transformed by widespread abandonment from population and economic decline. Ecological assembly, sometimes referred to as “greening”, following abandonment can yield valuable ecosystem services, but also can pose a risk to public health. Abandonment can elevate zoonotic vector-borne disease risk by favoring the hyperabundance of commensal pests and pathogen vectors. Though greater biodiversity in abandoned areas can potentially dilute vector-borne pathogen transmission, “greening” can elevate transmission risk by increasing movement of pathogen vectors between fragmented areas and by giving rise to novel human-wildlife interfaces. Idled and derelict infrastructure can further elevate disease risk from vector-borne and water-borne pathogens, which can build up in stagnant and unprotected water that maintenance and routine use of delivery or sanitation systems would otherwise eliminate. Thus, framing “greening” as inherently positive could result in policies and actions that unintentionally exacerbate inequalities by elevating risks rather than delivering benefits. As counter-urbanism is neither a minor pattern of urban development, nor a short-term departure from urban growth, homeowner and municipal management of abandoned areas should account for potential hazards to reduce health risks. Further socioecological assessments of public health risks following abandonment could better ensure the resilience and well-being of communities in shrinking cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustaining the Shrinking City: Concepts, Dynamics and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Economic Values and Resource Use
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050490
Received: 11 January 2016 / Revised: 2 May 2016 / Accepted: 13 May 2016 / Published: 18 May 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1627 | PDF Full-text (1289 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Absolute decoupling of GDP growth from resource use implies that economic output can be increased without simultaneously increasing input. The essential meaning of this proposition is that the economic values that represent the GDP can be realized by increasing resource efficiency. Given that [...] Read more.
Absolute decoupling of GDP growth from resource use implies that economic output can be increased without simultaneously increasing input. The essential meaning of this proposition is that the economic values that represent the GDP can be realized by increasing resource efficiency. Given that the GDP is first and foremost a measure of economic activity rather than welfare the possibility of absolute decoupling is theoretically limited. This paper demonstrates theoretically and empirically that economic values at the macroeconomic level are fundamentally determined by the use of production factors, primarily labor and physical capital. Technical innovations or efficiency gains increasing utility without raising the costs of production do not add to the GDP unless they stimulate investments in physical capital. Hence the neoclassical notion of productivity is only found to be relevant as a microeconomic concept. In practice, GDP growth is mostly explained by capital accumulation and a key question is whether or not capital accumulation can be decoupled from the use of materials and energy. This will determine the possibility of decoupling of GDP growth from resource use and environmental impact. Alternative measures of progress focusing on welfare rather than economic activity are more likely to achieve absolute decoupling. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impacts of Mining and Urbanization on the Qin-Ba Mountainous Environment, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 488; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050488
Received: 21 March 2016 / Revised: 12 May 2016 / Accepted: 13 May 2016 / Published: 18 May 2016
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2098 | PDF Full-text (5621 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Qin-Ba Ecological Functional Zone is a component of China’s ecological security pattern designed to protect the regional ecosystem and maintain biodiversity. However, due to the impact of mining and urban encroachment, the plight of a sustainable ecosystem in the Qin-Ba mountainous area [...] Read more.
The Qin-Ba Ecological Functional Zone is a component of China’s ecological security pattern designed to protect the regional ecosystem and maintain biodiversity. However, due to the impact of mining and urban encroachment, the plight of a sustainable ecosystem in the Qin-Ba mountainous area is deteriorating. This paper has used a remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) to examine the impacts of mining and urban encroachment on the environment in the Qin-Ba mountainous area. The results indicate that the total mined area in 2013 was 22 km2 and is predicted to escalate. Results also show that the ecosystems in Fengxian County, Shaanxi Province and Baokang County, Hubei Province were most severely affected by mining. Urbanization in the Qin-Ba mountainous area has seen an increase of 85.58 km2 in urban land use from 2010 to 2013. In addition, infrastructure development including airport construction, tourism resorts and real estate development in the Qin-Ba mountainous area has intensified environmental and biodiversity disturbances since large areas of forest have been cleared. Our results should provide insight and assistance to city planners and government officials in making informed decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle
A Non-Parametric Delphi Approach to Foster Innovation Policy Debate in Spain
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 487; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050487
Received: 28 February 2016 / Revised: 10 May 2016 / Accepted: 11 May 2016 / Published: 18 May 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1289 | PDF Full-text (299 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to identify some changes needed in Spain’s innovation policy to fill the gap between its innovation results and those of other European countries in lieu of sustainable leadership. To do this we apply the Delphi methodology to [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper is to identify some changes needed in Spain’s innovation policy to fill the gap between its innovation results and those of other European countries in lieu of sustainable leadership. To do this we apply the Delphi methodology to experts from academia, business, and government. To overcome the shortcomings of traditional descriptive methods, we develop an inferential analysis by following a non-parametric bootstrap method which enables us to identify important changes that should be implemented. Particularly interesting is the support found for improving the interconnections among the relevant agents of the innovation system (instead of focusing exclusively in the provision of knowledge and technological inputs through R and D activities), or the support found for “soft” policy instruments aimed at providing a homogeneous framework to assess the innovation capabilities of firms (e.g., for funding purposes). Attention to potential innovators among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and traditional industries is particularly encouraged by experts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
Synthesis of Household Yard Area Dynamics in the City of San Juan Using Multi-Scalar Social-Ecological Perspectives
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 481; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050481
Received: 20 January 2016 / Revised: 9 April 2016 / Accepted: 28 April 2016 / Published: 18 May 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2044 | PDF Full-text (4868 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban sustainability discourse promotes the increased use of green infrastructure (GI) because of its contribution of important ecosystem services to city dwellers. Under this vision, all urban green spaces, including those at the household scale, are valued for their potential contributions to a [...] Read more.
Urban sustainability discourse promotes the increased use of green infrastructure (GI) because of its contribution of important ecosystem services to city dwellers. Under this vision, all urban green spaces, including those at the household scale, are valued for their potential contributions to a city’s social-ecological functioning and associated benefits for human well-being. Understanding how urban residential green spaces have evolved can help improve sustainable urban planning and design, but it requires examining urban processes occurring at multiple scales. The interaction between social structures and ecological structures within the subtropical city of San Juan, the capital and the largest city of Puerto Rico, has been an important focus of study of the San Juan ULTRA (Urban Long-Term Research Area) network, advancing understanding of the city’s vulnerabilities and potential adaptive capacity. Here we provide a synthesis of several social-ecological processes driving residential yard dynamics in the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico, through the evaluation of empirical findings related to yard management decisions, yard area, and yard services. We emphasize the role of factors occurring at the household scale. Results are discussed within the context of shrinking cities using an integrated, multi-scalar, social-ecological systems framework, and consider the implications of household green infrastructure for advancing urban sustainability theory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustaining the Shrinking City: Concepts, Dynamics and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
The Public Value of Urban Vacant Land: Social Responses and Ecological Value
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 486; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050486
Received: 29 March 2016 / Revised: 6 May 2016 / Accepted: 10 May 2016 / Published: 17 May 2016
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2378 | PDF Full-text (6568 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study reviews scholarly papers and case studies on urban vacant land to gain a stronger understanding of its public value in terms of the ecological and social benefits it can bring. This literature review offers a conceptual overview of the potential benefits [...] Read more.
This study reviews scholarly papers and case studies on urban vacant land to gain a stronger understanding of its public value in terms of the ecological and social benefits it can bring. This literature review offers a conceptual overview of the potential benefits of vacant land with the goal of addressing gaps in knowledge about vacant land and to provide suggestions to planners and designers on how vacant properties can be integrated with other green infrastructure in cities. There are many opportunities to redevelop vacant land to enhance its ecological and social value, and many design professionals and scholars are becoming interested in finding new ways to exploit this potential, especially with regard to planning and design. A better appreciation of the public value of urban vacant land is vital for any effort to identify alternative strategies to optimize the way these spaces are utilized for both short-term and long-term uses to support urban regeneration and renewal. This study will help planners and designers to understand and plan for urban vacant land, leading to better utilization of these spaces and opening up alternative creative approaches to envisioning space and landscape design in our urban environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustaining the Shrinking City: Concepts, Dynamics and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability-Oriented Financial Resource Allocation in a Project Portfolio through Multi-Criteria Decision-Making
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 485; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050485
Received: 10 March 2016 / Revised: 12 May 2016 / Accepted: 13 May 2016 / Published: 17 May 2016
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1875 | PDF Full-text (839 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Modern portfolio theory attempts to maximize the expected return of a portfolio for a given level of portfolio risk, or equivalently minimize risk for a given level of expected return. The reality, however, shows that, when selecting projects to a portfolio and allocating [...] Read more.
Modern portfolio theory attempts to maximize the expected return of a portfolio for a given level of portfolio risk, or equivalently minimize risk for a given level of expected return. The reality, however, shows that, when selecting projects to a portfolio and allocating resources in the portfolio, an increasing number of organizations take into account other aspects as well. As a result of the sole purpose (risk-return), it offers only a partial solution for a sustainable organization. Existing project portfolio selection and resource allocation methods and models do not consider sustainability. Therefore, the aim of this article is to develop a sustainability-oriented model of financial resource allocation in a project portfolio by integrating a composite sustainability index of a project into Markowitz’s classical risk-return scheme (mean-variance model). The model was developed by applying multi-criteria decision-making methods. The practicability of the model was tested by an empirical study in a selected construction company. The proposed sustainability-oriented financial resource allocation model could be used in allocating financial resources in any type of business. The use of the model would not only help organisations to manage risk and achieve higher return but would also allow carrying out sustainable projects, thereby promoting greater environmental responsibility and giving more consideration to the wellbeing of future generations. Moreover, the model allows quantifying the impact of the integration of sustainability into financial resource allocation on the return of a portfolio. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Achieving a Carbon Neutral Society without Industry Contraction in the Five Major Steel Producing Countries
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 484; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050484
Received: 12 April 2016 / Revised: 9 May 2016 / Accepted: 11 May 2016 / Published: 17 May 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1628 | PDF Full-text (3270 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study analyzed the direct and indirect CO2 emissions of the energy-intensive basic metals industry, in particular steels, using the distributions of various energy sources, including coal/peat, oil, and electricity, from an input–output table. An analysis of five major steel producing countries [...] Read more.
This study analyzed the direct and indirect CO2 emissions of the energy-intensive basic metals industry, in particular steels, using the distributions of various energy sources, including coal/peat, oil, and electricity, from an input–output table. An analysis of five major steel producing countries indicated that direct CO2 emissions increased 1.4-fold and that indirect CO2 emissions increased by more than two-fold between 1995 and 2010. The elasticity of the CO2 emissions and the total energy costs indicated that Korea, Japan, and Germany are sensitive to energy sources from the electric power industry, whereas China and the US are more sensitive to energy sources pertaining to the coal and oil industry. Using the available forest area and photosynthesis, the potential neutralization ability of CO2 was estimated using the eco-CO2 index. The US yielded the highest CO2 neutralization ability of 66.1%, whereas Korea yielded a CO2 neutralization ability of 15%. Future trends of the 2030 eco-CO2 index revealed China and Korea will rapidly lose their neutralization ability resulting in a net negative neutralization ability if left unabated. The significant decline in the eco-CO2 index for the basic metals industry may be inhibited by utilizing bamboo wood charcoal for pulverized coal injection (PCI) in the steelmaking process. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling and Multi-Objective Optimization of NOx Conversion Efficiency and NH3 Slip for a Diesel Engine
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 478; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050478
Received: 8 April 2016 / Revised: 9 May 2016 / Accepted: 10 May 2016 / Published: 17 May 2016
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1904 | PDF Full-text (2513 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The objective of the study is to present the modeling and multi-objective optimization of NOx conversion efficiency and NH3 slip in the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) catalytic converter for a diesel engine. A novel ensemble method based on a support vector [...] Read more.
The objective of the study is to present the modeling and multi-objective optimization of NOx conversion efficiency and NH3 slip in the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) catalytic converter for a diesel engine. A novel ensemble method based on a support vector machine (SVM) and genetic algorithm (GA) is proposed to establish the models for the prediction of upstream and downstream NOx emissions and NH3 slip. The data for modeling were collected from a steady-state diesel engine bench calibration test. After obtaining the two conflicting objective functions concerned in this study, the non-dominated sorting genetic algorithm (NSGA-II) was implemented to solve the multi-objective optimization problem of maximizing NOx conversion efficiency while minimizing NH3 slip under certain operating points. The optimized SVM models showed great accuracy for the estimation of actual outputs with the Root Mean Squared Error (RMSE) of upstream and downstream NOx emissions and NH3 slip being 44.01 × 10−6, 21.87 × 10−6 and 2.22 × 10−6, respectively. The multi-objective optimization and subsequent decisions for optimal performance have also been presented. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Implications and Measurement of Energy Poverty across the European Union
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050483
Received: 4 April 2016 / Revised: 2 May 2016 / Accepted: 9 May 2016 / Published: 16 May 2016
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Abstract
Energy poverty, or the inability of households to afford adequate access to energy services, is an issue that can have a significant effect on the quality of life and even the state of health of individuals and even the overall development of a [...] Read more.
Energy poverty, or the inability of households to afford adequate access to energy services, is an issue that can have a significant effect on the quality of life and even the state of health of individuals and even the overall development of a nation. Since it was first brought into focus more than two decades ago in the UK, this topic has gradually gained the attention of academics and policy makers all across the EU and beyond. The current paper addresses the topic by providing not only a renewed discussion, but also an improved energy poverty indicator (with clear and relevant results at the EU level): the Compound Energy Poverty Indicator (CEPI). Moreover, knowing that the risk of poverty and social exclusion, efficiency of heating systems, total consumption of energy per household and rising energy prices tend to increase the severity of this problem in some countries, CEPI is then included into an econometric model so as to determine some possible factors that tend to put pressure on an already existing issue of energy poverty. The results of this research are expected to be relevant not only for academics (as it offers insights into the structure and severity of this topic within the European Union), but also for national and EU policymakers who are confronted in the field with the problem of sustainable development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
ELV Recycling Service Provider Selection Using the Hybrid MCDM Method: A Case Application in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 482; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050482
Received: 4 March 2016 / Revised: 11 May 2016 / Accepted: 11 May 2016 / Published: 16 May 2016
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1901 | PDF Full-text (2857 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the rapid depletion of natural resources and undesired environmental changes globally, more interest has been shown in the research of green supply chain practices, including end-of-life vehicle (ELV) recycling. The ELV recycling is mandatory for auto-manufacturers by legislation for the purpose of [...] Read more.
With the rapid depletion of natural resources and undesired environmental changes globally, more interest has been shown in the research of green supply chain practices, including end-of-life vehicle (ELV) recycling. The ELV recycling is mandatory for auto-manufacturers by legislation for the purpose of minimizing potential environmental damages. The purpose of the present research is to determine the best choice of ELV recycling service provider by employing an integrating hybrid multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) method. In this research, economic, environmental and social factors are taken into consideration. The linguistic variables and trapezoidal fuzzy numbers (TFNs) are applied into this evaluation to deal with the vague and qualitative information. With the combined weight calculation of criteria based on fuzzy aggregation and Shannon Entropy techniques, the normative multi-criteria optimization technique (FVIKOR method) is applied to explore the best solution. An application was performed based on the proposed hybrid MCDM method, and sensitivity analysis was conducted on different decision making scenarios. The present study provides a decision-making approach on ELV recycling business selection under sustainability and green philosophy with high robustness and easy implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability - Part II)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial Assessment of Cancer Incidences and the Risks of Industrial Wastewater Emission in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 480; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050480
Received: 1 February 2016 / Revised: 30 April 2016 / Accepted: 5 May 2016 / Published: 14 May 2016
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1659 | PDF Full-text (11855 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
China’s rapid economic growth and social transitions have deteriorated environmental conditions and caused further public health issues in last three decades. This study examines the complex mechanisms of how socioeconomic transitions and physical environmental conditions impact public health, especially with respect to increasing [...] Read more.
China’s rapid economic growth and social transitions have deteriorated environmental conditions and caused further public health issues in last three decades. This study examines the complex mechanisms of how socioeconomic transitions and physical environmental conditions impact public health, especially with respect to increasing cancer incidences in mainland China from a spatial-temporal perspective. Specifically, (1) spatial variations of seven types of cancer incidences were analyzed in relation to heavy metal emissions from industrial wastewater at the prefecture-level city scale from 2004 to 2009. Additionally; (2) spatial statistical methods were employed to explore the associations between health outcome, heavy metal emissions from industrial wastewater (arsenic, chromium, cadmium, mercury, lead), as well as socioeconomic transitions (industrialization, urbanization, globalization) and physical environmental factors (hydrology and vegetation coverage). Results showed a significant increase of cancer incidences between 2004 and 2009. Consistent with the spatial pattern of heavy metal emissions, cancer patient clusters were identified in both traditional industrial bases and newly industrialized economic zones, especially in major cities located at downstream watersheds, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenyang, and Wuhan. The results also revealed the double-edged effects of industrialization, economic growth, and urbanization on natural environment and human health. The findings provide informative knowledge of heavy metal pollution and cancer outbreaks in China and therefore offer valuable reference for authorities formulating regulations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Improving Freedom to Operate in Carrot Breeding through the Development of Eight Open Source Composite Populations of Carrot (Daucus carota L. var. sativus)
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050479
Received: 15 February 2016 / Revised: 2 May 2016 / Accepted: 10 May 2016 / Published: 14 May 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2971 | PDF Full-text (1537 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The intellectual property rights (IPR) landscape for plant germplasm has changed dramatically over the past 50 years, moving from the public domain into proprietary structures. Using carrot as a model crop, we explored the freedom to operate for plant breeding and research in [...] Read more.
The intellectual property rights (IPR) landscape for plant germplasm has changed dramatically over the past 50 years, moving from the public domain into proprietary structures. Using carrot as a model crop, we explored the freedom to operate for plant breeding and research in relation to the diversity present in 140 commercially available cultivars in the United States. To determine freedom to operate, we characterized the phenotypic and genotypic diversity across cultivars and the IPR that were associated with each cultivar. With 87 of the 95 cultivars that were not restricted by IPR, we developed eight diverse composite populations of carrot through two cycles of breeding that are meant to encompass the available diversity in commercial germplasm. These populations are being released through the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI, www.osseeds.org). This is the first example of crop germplasm that has been collected, characterized, and bred specifically for entry into an open source commons. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Production of Algal Biomass and Biofuels Using Swine Wastewater in North Carolina, US
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 477; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050477
Received: 8 March 2016 / Revised: 21 April 2016 / Accepted: 11 May 2016 / Published: 14 May 2016
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1923 | PDF Full-text (2300 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Algae were recently considered as a promising third-generation biofuel feedstock due to their superior productivity, high oil content, and environmentally friendly nature. However, the sustainable production became the major constraint facing commercial development of algal biofuels. For this study, firstly, a factorial experimental [...] Read more.
Algae were recently considered as a promising third-generation biofuel feedstock due to their superior productivity, high oil content, and environmentally friendly nature. However, the sustainable production became the major constraint facing commercial development of algal biofuels. For this study, firstly, a factorial experimental design was used to analyze the effects of the process parameters including temperatures of 8–25 °C, light intensity of 150–900 μmol·m−2s−1, and light duration of 6–24 h on the biomass yields of local alga Chlamydomonas debaryana in swine wastewater. The results were fitted with a quadratic equation (R2 = 0.9706). The factors of temperature, light duration, the interaction of light intensity-light duration, and the quadratic effect of temperature were statistically significant. When evaluating different scenarios for the sustainable production of algal biomass and biofuels in North Carolina, US, it showed that: (a) Growing C. debaryana in a 10-acre pond on swine wastewater under local weather conditions would yield algal biomass of 113 tonnes/year; (b) If all swine wastewater generated in North Carolina was treated with algae, it will require 137–485 acres of ponds, yielding biomass of 5048–10,468 tonnes/year and algal oil of 1010–2094 tonnes/year. Annually, hundreds of tonnes of nitrogen and phosphorus could be removed from swine wastewater. The required area is mainly dependent on the growth rate of algal species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessReview
Importance of Actors and Agency in Sustainability Transitions: A Systematic Exploration of the Literature
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 476; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050476
Received: 1 February 2016 / Revised: 2 May 2016 / Accepted: 4 May 2016 / Published: 13 May 2016
Cited by 48 | Viewed by 4062 | PDF Full-text (1302 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This article explores the role of actors and agency in the literature on sustainability transitions. We reviewed 386 journal articles on transition management and sustainability transitions listed in Scopus from 1995 to 2014. We investigate the thesis that actors have been neglected in [...] Read more.
This article explores the role of actors and agency in the literature on sustainability transitions. We reviewed 386 journal articles on transition management and sustainability transitions listed in Scopus from 1995 to 2014. We investigate the thesis that actors have been neglected in this literature in favor of more abstract system concepts. Results show that this thesis cannot be confirmed on a general level. Rather, we find a variety of different approaches, depending on the systemic level, for clustering actors and agency as niche, regime, and landscape actors; the societal realm; different levels of governance; and intermediaries. We also differentiate between supporting and opposing actors. We find that actor roles in transitions are erratic, since their roles can change over the course of time, and that actors can belong to different categories. We conclude by providing recommendations for a comprehensive typology of actors in sustainability transitions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Integrated Approach to “Sustainable Community-Based Tourism”
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 475; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050475
Received: 21 February 2016 / Revised: 17 April 2016 / Accepted: 4 May 2016 / Published: 13 May 2016
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 4063 | PDF Full-text (601 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Two rich knowledge domains have been evolving along parallel pathways in tourism studies: sustainable tourism (ST) and community-based tourism (CBT). Within both lie diverse definitions, principles, criteria, critical success factors and benefits sought or outcomes desired, advocated by different stakeholders ranging from quasi-governmental [...] Read more.
Two rich knowledge domains have been evolving along parallel pathways in tourism studies: sustainable tourism (ST) and community-based tourism (CBT). Within both lie diverse definitions, principles, criteria, critical success factors and benefits sought or outcomes desired, advocated by different stakeholders ranging from quasi-governmental and non-profit organizations to public-private sector and academic interests. This poses significant challenges to those interested in theory building, research and practice in the sustainable development and management of tourism. The paper builds on a previous article published in Sustainability by presenting an integrated framework based on a comprehensive, in-depth review and analysis of the tourism-related literature. The study reveals not just common ground and differences that might be anticipated, but also important sustainability dimensions that are lagging or require much greater attention, such as equity, justice, ethical and governance issues. A preliminary framework of “sustainable community-based tourism” (SCBT) is forwarded that attempts to bridge the disparate literature on ST and CBT. Critical directions forward are offered to progress research and sustainability-oriented practices towards more effective development and management of tourism in the 21st century. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management in Tourism and Hospitality)
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Open AccessArticle
A Hybrid Method of Analyzing Patents for Sustainable Technology Management in Humanoid Robot Industry
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 474; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050474
Received: 30 April 2016 / Revised: 9 May 2016 / Accepted: 9 May 2016 / Published: 12 May 2016
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1951 | PDF Full-text (1776 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A humanoid, which refers to a robot that resembles a human body, imitates a human’s intelligence, behavior, sense, and interaction in order to provide various types of services to human beings. Humanoids have been studied and developed constantly in order to improve their [...] Read more.
A humanoid, which refers to a robot that resembles a human body, imitates a human’s intelligence, behavior, sense, and interaction in order to provide various types of services to human beings. Humanoids have been studied and developed constantly in order to improve their performance. Humanoids were previously developed for simple repetitive or hard work that required significant human power. However, intelligent service robots have been developed actively these days to provide necessary information and enjoyment; these include robots manufactured for home, entertainment, and personal use. It has become generally known that artificial intelligence humanoid technology will significantly benefit civilization. On the other hand, Successful Research and Development (R & D) on humanoids is possible only if they are developed in a proper direction in accordance with changes in markets and society. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze changes in technology markets and society for developing sustainable Management of Technology (MOT) strategies. In this study, patent data related to humanoids are analyzed by various data mining techniques, including topic modeling, cross-impact analysis, association rule mining, and social network analysis, to suggest sustainable strategies and methodologies for MOT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Wu, C.; Shen, H.; Wang, K.; Shen, A.; Deng, J. and Gan, M. Landsat Imagery-Based Above Ground Biomass Estimation and Change Investigation Related to Human Activities. Sustainability 2016, 8, 159
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050473
Received: 9 May 2016 / Accepted: 9 May 2016 / Published: 12 May 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1432 | PDF Full-text (1714 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the published paper [1], Figures 5 and 6 were inadvertently exchanged in the PDF file.[...] Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Potential for Eco-Industrial Park Development in Moncton, New Brunswick (Canada): A Comparative Analysis
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 472; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050472
Received: 21 March 2016 / Revised: 2 May 2016 / Accepted: 6 May 2016 / Published: 12 May 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1614 | PDF Full-text (238 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Eco-industrial development projects are increasingly popular because of their ability to transform the traditional model of industrial parks into more sustainable forms of economic development. Still, few industrial parks worldwide have achieved the high degree of eco-transformation that characterizes eco-industrial parks (EIPs). Assessing [...] Read more.
Eco-industrial development projects are increasingly popular because of their ability to transform the traditional model of industrial parks into more sustainable forms of economic development. Still, few industrial parks worldwide have achieved the high degree of eco-transformation that characterizes eco-industrial parks (EIPs). Assessing the potential for eco-industrial development at the park or regional scale is an important step towards this goal. This study aimed to assess the potential for ecological development of a growing industrial park (Caledonia Industrial Estates (CIE), province of New Brunswick, Canada) following the principles of industrial ecology. A baseline survey of CIE businesses was conducted. The results were compared to results from similar assessments in three other industrial parks across Canada, located in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Saskatchewan. The main categories used for comparison were business variety and size, public transportation, green spaces, energy and material use, and environmental management organization. While showing that CIE has EIP potential, the results revealed similarities and differences between the industrial parks studied, some of which were related to barriers limiting the efficient use and sharing of resources. One way that was identified that could help CIE incorporate eco-industrial activities into their operations would be the appointment of an environmental management organization or a shared environmental manager. Strategies to foster EIP development, in general, are also identified. These findings, based on actual business experiences, can help determine which actions and activities are suitable for CIE and other business communities that consider eco-industrial development as their next phase. They are particularly relevant to industrial parks in a development or redevelopment phase. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Wetland Transitions and Protection under Rapid Urban Expansion: A Case Study of Pearl River Estuary, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 471; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8050471
Received: 26 February 2016 / Revised: 5 May 2016 / Accepted: 5 May 2016 / Published: 12 May 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1730 | PDF Full-text (3602 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Understanding wetland changes under urbanization is important for wetland management. In this study, net transition intensity (NTI) and total transition intensity (TTI) are presented to characterize wetland transitions based on spatial data obtained from Landsat satellite images of Pearl River estuary in South [...] Read more.
Understanding wetland changes under urbanization is important for wetland management. In this study, net transition intensity (NTI) and total transition intensity (TTI) are presented to characterize wetland transitions based on spatial data obtained from Landsat satellite images of Pearl River estuary in South China. NTI is commonly used to represent changes in absolute amounts for each class of wetland, while TTI reflects the internal transition activities and amounts. The third index, the urbanization intensity index (UII), is used to investigate the intensity and velocity of urban land expansion at the same time periods. The results show that one-third of the total wetland area was lost from 1979 to 2009 in the study area and seven types of estuarine wetlands were degraded. The basic pattern of wetland transition is from natural wetlands to constructed wetlands and then to urban lands. Intertidal mud and sand and paddy fields were the major natural and constructed wetlands, respectively, transferred to urban lands. The TTI value was generally greater than the NTI value for these wetlands. TTI >> NTI is an important indicator for wetland transitions under rapid urban expansion in the Pearl River estuary. Based on the integration of the two indices (NTI and TTI), a protection and management plan framework for the Pearl River estuary wetlands is proposed. This plan emphasizes the key and important zones and their different features, and includes actions that can be implemented in and around natural and constructed wetlands. Full article
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