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Sustainability, Volume 8, Issue 9 (September 2016)

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Open AccessArticle
An Assessment of Productivity Patterns of Grass-Dominated Rangelands in the Hindu Kush Karakoram Region, Pakistan
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 961; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090961
Received: 15 June 2016 / Revised: 26 August 2016 / Accepted: 29 August 2016 / Published: 22 September 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1538 | PDF Full-text (8184 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Rangelands in the Hindu Kush Karakoram region provide a resource base for nomadic livestock grazing, which is one of the major traditional livelihood practices in the area. The present study assessed the spatiotemporal patterns and trends of rangelands using satellite remote-sensing time-series data. [...] Read more.
Rangelands in the Hindu Kush Karakoram region provide a resource base for nomadic livestock grazing, which is one of the major traditional livelihood practices in the area. The present study assessed the spatiotemporal patterns and trends of rangelands using satellite remote-sensing time-series data. Moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS)-based normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data, collected at fortnightly intervals over 12 years (2001–2012), were used as a proxy for the vegetation conditions of the grasslands. The analysis revealed that rangeland productivity increased with increasing elevation up to the sub-alpine zone, which had a higher productivity than the moist temperate zone and humid sub-tropical zone. The high sub-alpine productivity was attributed to seasonal amplitude and the extended length of the growing season in the phenological cycle. In the temporal analysis of productivity, the majority of the area exhibited improvements in vegetation conditions, which were strongest in the humid sub-tropical zones and weakest in the alpine zones. The sub-alpine grasslands were found to be the most productive and heterogeneous habitat; however, the relatively strong negative temporal trend in productivity in this zone indicates ongoing degradation in these rangelands. Thus, special attention is needed for the sustainable management of rangelands in the sub-alpine zones of the Hindu Kush Karakoram region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Mountains Region)
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Open AccessReview
A Feasibility Test on Adopting Electric Vehicles to Serve as Taxis in Daejeon Metropolitan City of South Korea
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 964; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090964
Received: 5 July 2016 / Revised: 15 September 2016 / Accepted: 19 September 2016 / Published: 21 September 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1468 | PDF Full-text (841 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
For realizing sustainable development, EV (Electric Vehicle) is currently considered as one of the most promising alternative due to its cleanness and inexhaustibility. However, the development and dissemination of EV has stagnated because it faces major constraints such as battery performance and an [...] Read more.
For realizing sustainable development, EV (Electric Vehicle) is currently considered as one of the most promising alternative due to its cleanness and inexhaustibility. However, the development and dissemination of EV has stagnated because it faces major constraints such as battery performance and an excessively long charging time. Thus, this study examined the feasibility of using EVs as taxis by analyzing real data from a pilot project in Daejeon, a metropolitan city in South Korea for proposing the effective way to adopt EV. To reflect reality and improve accuracy, we adopted scenarios and assumptions based on in-depth interviews with groups of experts. The resulting initial benefit-to-cost (B/C) ratio for EV taxis is approximately 0.4, which is quite low compared to 0.7 for traditional taxis. However, after incorporating some further assumptions into the calculation, the B/C ratio shifts to approximately 0.7, which is more appropriate for EV adoption. For this improvement to be achieved, the dissemination of a charging infrastructure, improvement of the business model and policy support is strongly needed. Limitations to this work and potential areas for future study are also fully discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Multiple Specializations on Economic Performance in U.S. Metropolitan Areas
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 963; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090963
Received: 23 June 2016 / Revised: 13 September 2016 / Accepted: 14 September 2016 / Published: 21 September 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1159 | PDF Full-text (1064 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Scholars have recently been debating how economic structure affects regional economic performance. Regional economic structure typically indicates how the industries in regions are organized. The attribute of industrial organization in regions is typically measured by how the employment in a region is distributed [...] Read more.
Scholars have recently been debating how economic structure affects regional economic performance. Regional economic structure typically indicates how the industries in regions are organized. The attribute of industrial organization in regions is typically measured by how the employment in a region is distributed among various sectors. If the employment in a region is highly concentrated on a limited number of sectors, that region is industrially specialized. On the contrary, when the employment is more evenly distributed among various industries, that region is highly diversified in its industrial organization. In this context, some researchers recognized that diversity and specialization are not opposite concepts. Instead, they can coexist, for example in the form of diversified specializations. In this study, this body of literature was extended by formulating an indicator to measure the extent of multiple specializations in regional economies and by examining the effect of multiple specializations on regional economic performance. Empirical analysis showed that specializing in multiple industrial pursuits helped regions to achieve both faster and more stable economic growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
An Optimistic Analysis of the Means of Implementation for Sustainable Development Goals: Thinking about Goals as Means
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 962; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090962
Received: 5 February 2016 / Revised: 21 June 2016 / Accepted: 11 August 2016 / Published: 21 September 2016
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4093 | PDF Full-text (601 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A key but contentious aspect of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the means of implementation (MOI). Many developing countries emphasize the importance of international assistance while developed countries focus more on domestic financing and the private sector. The text of the SDGs includes [...] Read more.
A key but contentious aspect of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the means of implementation (MOI). Many developing countries emphasize the importance of international assistance while developed countries focus more on domestic financing and the private sector. The text of the SDGs includes a broad range of MOI. However, a discussion has arisen about whether countries should prioritize some goals over others due partly to concerns that MOI may be insufficient. In contrast, this article argues for a more optimistic outlook concerning MOI and the feasibility of achieving the SDGs. First, most SDGs and targets are themselves means—or intermediate goals—contributing to the achievement of other goals. The structure of the SDGs blurs the fact that different goals have different functions, such as providing resources or enabling environments. Greater focus on the interlinkages and synergies among goals could enhance the effectiveness of implementation and reduce costs. Second, integrated planning and implementation, needed for leveraging synergies among goals, will require enhanced capacity, particularly for governance and coordination. We argue that the strengthening of such capacity is a central MOI that requires more attention since it is a precondition for the effective mobilization and deployment of other MOI. Third, although upfront investments may seem high in absolute terms, financial feasibility is realistic when considering existing global financial stocks and flows and the expected benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5th World Sustainability Forum - Selected Papers)
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Open AccessCase Report
Sea-Level Rise and Land Subsidence: Impacts on Flood Projections for the Mekong Delta’s Largest City
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 959; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090959
Received: 21 June 2016 / Revised: 10 September 2016 / Accepted: 12 September 2016 / Published: 21 September 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3207 | PDF Full-text (12265 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The present paper demonstrates that inundation levels in the Mekong Delta’s largest city, Can Tho, are predominantly determined by ocean tides, sea-level rise, and land subsidence. Our analysis of inundation patterns projects that the duration of inundation at an important road in the [...] Read more.
The present paper demonstrates that inundation levels in the Mekong Delta’s largest city, Can Tho, are predominantly determined by ocean tides, sea-level rise, and land subsidence. Our analysis of inundation patterns projects that the duration of inundation at an important road in the city will continue to rise from the current total of 72 inundated days per year to 270 days by 2030 and 365 days by 2050. This is attributed to the combined influence of sea-level rise and land subsidence, which causes relative water level rises at a rate of 22.3 mm·yr−1. People in the Mekong Delta have traditionally lived with floods, and thus there is certain resilience among residents in coping with small floods. At present, daily maximum inundation depth, which is generally shallower than 10 cm on the road, seems to be still manageable; however, our analysis indicates that this will start drastically increasing in the coming decades and reach an average depth of 70 cm by 2050. Effective and well-planned actions to mitigate the effects of land subsidence and sea-level rise are urgently required, otherwise, local inhabitants will encounter an unmanageable increase in inundation depth and duration in the coming decades. This study, which considers both sea-level rise and land subsidence, suggests that inundation depth and duration are projected to rise much faster than those indicated by previous studies, which only consider sea-level rise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Development in China’s Coastal Area: Based on the Driver-Pressure-State-Welfare-Response Framework and the Data Envelopment Analysis Model
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 958; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090958
Received: 12 May 2016 / Revised: 12 September 2016 / Accepted: 16 September 2016 / Published: 21 September 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1260 | PDF Full-text (2251 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The economic development of China’s coastal areas is being constrained by resources and the environment, with sustainable development being the key to solving these problems. The data envelopment analysis (DEA) model is widely used to assess sustainable development. However, indicators used in the [...] Read more.
The economic development of China’s coastal areas is being constrained by resources and the environment, with sustainable development being the key to solving these problems. The data envelopment analysis (DEA) model is widely used to assess sustainable development. However, indicators used in the DEA model are not selected in a scientific and comprehensive manner, which may lead to unrepresentative results. Here, we use the driver-pressure-state-welfare-response (DPSWR) framework to select more scientific and comprehensive indicators for a more accurate analysis of efficiency in China’s coastal area. The results show that the efficiencies of most provinces and cities in China’s coastal area have a stable trend. In the time dimension, efficiency was rising before 2008, after which it decreased. In the spatial dimension, China’s coastal provinces and cities are divided into three categories: high efficiency, low efficiency, and greater changes in efficiency. By combining DPSWR and DEA, we produce reliable values for measuring efficiency, with the benefit of avoiding the incomplete selection of DEA indicators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Sustainability Performance of Organic Farms in Denmark
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 957; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090957
Received: 30 June 2016 / Revised: 16 August 2016 / Accepted: 17 September 2016 / Published: 21 September 2016
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2041 | PDF Full-text (1098 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The growth of organic agriculture in Denmark raises the interest of both producers and consumers in the sustainability performance of organic production. The aim of this study was to examine the sustainability performance of farms in four agricultural sectors (vegetable, dairy, pig and [...] Read more.
The growth of organic agriculture in Denmark raises the interest of both producers and consumers in the sustainability performance of organic production. The aim of this study was to examine the sustainability performance of farms in four agricultural sectors (vegetable, dairy, pig and poultry) using the sustainability assessment tool RISE 2.0. Thirty seven organic farms were assessed on 10 themes, including 51 subthemes. For one theme (water use) and 17 subthemes, a difference between sectors was found. Using the thresholds of RISE, the vegetable, dairy and pig sector performed positively for seven themes and the poultry sector for eight themes. The performance on the nutrient flows and energy and climate themes, however, was critical for all sectors. Moreover, the performance on the economic viability theme was critical for vegetable, dairy and pig farms. The development of a tool, including decisions, such as the selection of themes and indicators, reference values, weights and aggregation methods, influences the assessment results. This emphasizes the need for transparency and reflection on decisions made in sustainability assessment tools. The results of RISE present a starting point to discuss sustainability at the farm-level and contribute to an increase in awareness and learning about sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Strategic Transport Management Models—The Case Study of an Oil Industry
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 954; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090954
Received: 17 July 2016 / Revised: 25 August 2016 / Accepted: 14 September 2016 / Published: 21 September 2016
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2172 | PDF Full-text (2231 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The awareness of the need to preserve the environment and establish sustainable development evolved as the result of the development of the world economy and society. Transport plays a very important role in this process. It is recognized as one of the main [...] Read more.
The awareness of the need to preserve the environment and establish sustainable development evolved as the result of the development of the world economy and society. Transport plays a very important role in this process. It is recognized as one of the main factors in sustainable development strategy. Strategic transport management model is presented in this paper. It represents a comprehensive and complete strategic management process, beginning from the strategic analysis, then strategy formulation and its implementation to strategic control. What makes this model specific is the development of its phases using contemporary strategic management methods and MCDM (Multicriteria Decision Making) techniques. In this way, subjectivity is avoided and the decision-making process is impartial. To formulate sustainable transport strategy, the authors use a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) and the fuzzy Delphi method as the basis to evaluate impact factors. Fuzzy SWOT analysis is applied to formulate strategic options and the selection of optimal option is realized through DEMATEL (Decision-Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory)-based ANP (Analytic Network Process). The strategic transport management model is applied to Serbian Oil Industry (NIS) as a company engaged in the production and transport of oil and oil derivatives. The results presented in this paper have shown that this model can be successfully implemented in profit organizations. It also can be used to formulate strategies on the basis of scientific principles and create conditions for successful sustainable strategies implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Communicating Sustainability: An Operational Model for Evaluating Corporate Websites
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 950; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090950
Received: 15 August 2016 / Revised: 8 September 2016 / Accepted: 12 September 2016 / Published: 21 September 2016
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1889 | PDF Full-text (669 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The interest in corporate sustainability has increased rapidly in recent years and has encouraged organizations to adopt appropriate digital communication strategies, in which the corporate website plays a key role. Despite this growing attention in both the academic and business communities, models for [...] Read more.
The interest in corporate sustainability has increased rapidly in recent years and has encouraged organizations to adopt appropriate digital communication strategies, in which the corporate website plays a key role. Despite this growing attention in both the academic and business communities, models for the analysis and evaluation of online sustainability communication have not been developed to date. This paper aims to develop an operational model to identify and assess the requirements of sustainability communication in corporate websites. It has been developed from a literature review on corporate sustainability and digital communication and the analysis of the websites of the organizations included in the “Global CSR RepTrak 2015” by the Reputation Institute. The model identifies the core dimensions of online sustainability communication (orientation, structure, ergonomics, content—OSEC), sub-dimensions, such as stakeholder engagement and governance tools, communication principles, and measurable items (e.g., presence of the materiality matrix, interactive graphs). A pilot study on the websites of the energy and utilities companies included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index 2015 confirms the applicability of the OSEC framework. Thus, the model can provide managers and digital communication consultants with an operational tool that is useful for developing an industry ranking and assessing the best practices. The model can also help practitioners to identify corrective actions in the critical areas of digital sustainability communication and avoid greenwashing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
A Social-Ecological Framework for Urban Stewardship Network Research to Promote Sustainable and Resilient Cities
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 956; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090956
Received: 20 May 2016 / Revised: 16 August 2016 / Accepted: 14 September 2016 / Published: 20 September 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2445 | PDF Full-text (3428 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To realize more sustainable and resilient urban social-ecological systems, there is great need for active engagement from diverse public agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses, natural resource managers, scientists, and other actors. Cities present unique challenges and opportunities for sustainability and resilience, as issues and [...] Read more.
To realize more sustainable and resilient urban social-ecological systems, there is great need for active engagement from diverse public agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses, natural resource managers, scientists, and other actors. Cities present unique challenges and opportunities for sustainability and resilience, as issues and organizations are frequently intertwined in networks of relations. Understanding and leveraging the range of knowledge types, motivations, skills, and goals of diverse participants and their networks is fundamental to sustainable and resilient cities. As efforts to examine and understand urban stewardship networks continue to emerge, it is increasingly clear that there are no structured or systematic frameworks to guide the integration of social and ecological phenomena. Such a framework could facilitate planning new urban stewardship network research, and provide a basis for comparisons among cities and their urban stewardship networks. In this paper, we develop and present a social-ecological framework for examining and understanding urban stewardship networks. To illustrate this framework and provide examples of its prospective and evaluative utility, we use examples from the U.S. Forest Service’s Stewardship Mapping (STEW-MAP) network in the United States from Baltimore, MD, USA, New York City, NY, USA, San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA, and Seattle, WA, USA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Resilience and Urban Sustainability: From Research to Practice)
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Open AccessArticle
Moving from Adaptive to Transformative Capacity: Building Foundations for Inclusive, Thriving, and Regenerative Urban Settlements
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 955; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090955
Received: 31 May 2016 / Revised: 29 July 2016 / Accepted: 15 August 2016 / Published: 20 September 2016
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 2573 | PDF Full-text (3216 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The commitment to understanding the implications of a 1.5 °C global temperature warming limit has contributed to a growing realisation that transformative adaptation is necessary to avoid catastrophic environmental and social consequences. This is particularly the case in urban settlements where disconnection from [...] Read more.
The commitment to understanding the implications of a 1.5 °C global temperature warming limit has contributed to a growing realisation that transformative adaptation is necessary to avoid catastrophic environmental and social consequences. This is particularly the case in urban settlements where disconnection from the systems that support life is pervasive and injustice and inequality play out daily. This paper argues that in order to transform towards thriving social-ecological systems, transformative capacity needs to be strengthened. The paper builds on the rich literature of adaptive capacity, alongside concepts of transformation that are drawn from resilience theory, organisational change, and developmental psychology. Reconnection to life-support systems, agency, and social cohesion are put forward as three foundational aspects of transformative capacity. A transdisciplinary case study of the FLOW programme in the Bergrivier Municipality, South Africa, is used to explore how transformative capacity has been built in practice. The case study explores an innovative programme that works with unemployed urban youth, alongside the exploration and introduction of a community currency in the informal business sector, and strengthening cross-scalar interaction between the local municipality and youth. The paper suggests that working across sectors and scales in a transdisciplinary manner is a challenging endeavour but necessary for building inclusive, thriving, and regenerative urban settlements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Resilience and Urban Sustainability: From Research to Practice)
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Open AccessArticle
Voluntary Certification of Agricultural Products in Competitive Markets: The Consideration of Boundedly Rational Consumers
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 953; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090953
Received: 1 June 2016 / Revised: 6 September 2016 / Accepted: 13 September 2016 / Published: 20 September 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1060 | PDF Full-text (1127 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Market competition creates strategic incentives for firms to communicate private information about their own product quality through certification. Although voluntary certification has recently gained importance in the agricultural industry, information asymmetry is not always completely addressed. This study analyzes how the relative proportion [...] Read more.
Market competition creates strategic incentives for firms to communicate private information about their own product quality through certification. Although voluntary certification has recently gained importance in the agricultural industry, information asymmetry is not always completely addressed. This study analyzes how the relative proportion of boundedly rational consumers in the market influences the effectiveness of voluntary certification mechanisms by using a duopoly game model of high- and low-quality firms. The presented results show that a change in the proportion of boundedly rational consumers leads to different certification behaviors and a different market equilibrium. We also find that the existence of boundedly rational consumers is an important factor in the failure of voluntary certification. Indeed, when the relative proportion of such consumers is very high, voluntary certification is ineffective at improving market efficiency. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Hesitant Trapezoidal Fuzzy QUALIFLEX Method and Its Application in the Evaluation of Green Supply Chain Initiatives
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 952; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090952
Received: 27 August 2016 / Revised: 10 September 2016 / Accepted: 13 September 2016 / Published: 20 September 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1490 | PDF Full-text (1046 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper explores how to handle multiple criteria decision-making (MCDM) problems in which the criteria values of alternatives take the form of comparative linguistic expressions. Firstly, the new concept of hesitant trapezoidal fuzzy numbers (HTrFNs) is provided to model the semantics of the [...] Read more.
This paper explores how to handle multiple criteria decision-making (MCDM) problems in which the criteria values of alternatives take the form of comparative linguistic expressions. Firstly, the new concept of hesitant trapezoidal fuzzy numbers (HTrFNs) is provided to model the semantics of the comparative linguistic expressions. Then, the operational laws and the distance measures of HTrFNs are presented. Afterwards, a useful outranking method, the hesitant trapezoidal fuzzy QUALIFLEX method, is developed to handle the MCDM problems with hierarchical structure in the environment of HTrFN. At length, the proposed method is applied to evaluating green supply chain initiatives in order to achieve sustainable economic and environmental performance, and a case study concerned with a fashion retail chain is presented to demonstrate its feasibility and applicability, also, a comparative analysis with other relevant approaches is conducted to validate the effectiveness of the proposed method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Determining the Sustainability Factors and Performance of a Tourism Destination from the Stakeholders’ Perspective
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 951; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090951
Received: 12 June 2016 / Revised: 13 September 2016 / Accepted: 14 September 2016 / Published: 19 September 2016
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1481 | PDF Full-text (244 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The competitiveness of a tourism destination depends on the sustainability of its economic and environmental resources. The aim of this paper is to determine the key factors in achieving the sustainability of a tourism destination in relation to the performance obtained. A methodology [...] Read more.
The competitiveness of a tourism destination depends on the sustainability of its economic and environmental resources. The aim of this paper is to determine the key factors in achieving the sustainability of a tourism destination in relation to the performance obtained. A methodology based on the opinions of stakeholders is developed to determine the sustainability factors and performance in the tourism destination of Gran Canaria. The variables used in the study are related to the environmental resources, the principal agents in the tourism supply chain, the governance of the destination, and the complementary characteristics that improve the competitiveness of the tourism destination, as well as the dimensions that determine security. Performance is measured by stakeholders from two perspectives, the destination and the customers, in order to establish the main variables that will influence the destination’s sustainability. The key sustainability factors were identified, and a regression analysis determined that there was a positive influence on long-term performance. The results showed that the key factors that have a direct and significant relationship with performance are the key resources and supply chain, security, alternative leisure, and governance. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Flash Flood Hazard Susceptibility Mapping Using Frequency Ratio and Statistical Index Methods in Coalmine Subsidence Areas
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 948; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090948
Received: 23 May 2016 / Revised: 11 September 2016 / Accepted: 12 September 2016 / Published: 19 September 2016
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 2395 | PDF Full-text (13041 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study focused on producing flash flood hazard susceptibility maps (FFHSM) using frequency ratio (FR) and statistical index (SI) models in the Xiqu Gully (XQG) of Beijing, China. First, a total of 85 flash flood hazard locations (n = 85) were surveyed [...] Read more.
This study focused on producing flash flood hazard susceptibility maps (FFHSM) using frequency ratio (FR) and statistical index (SI) models in the Xiqu Gully (XQG) of Beijing, China. First, a total of 85 flash flood hazard locations (n = 85) were surveyed in the field and plotted using geographic information system (GIS) software. Based on the flash flood hazard locations, a flood hazard inventory map was built. Seventy percent (n = 60) of the flooding hazard locations were randomly selected for building the models. The remaining 30% (n = 25) of the flooded hazard locations were used for validation. Considering that the XQG used to be a coal mining area, coalmine caves and subsidence caused by coal mining exist in this catchment, as well as many ground fissures. Thus, this study took the subsidence risk level into consideration for FFHSM. The ten conditioning parameters were elevation, slope, curvature, land use, geology, soil texture, subsidence risk area, stream power index (SPI), topographic wetness index (TWI), and short-term heavy rain. This study also tested different classification schemes for the values for each conditional parameter and checked their impacts on the results. The accuracy of the FFHSM was validated using area under the curve (AUC) analysis. Classification accuracies were 86.61%, 83.35%, and 78.52% using frequency ratio (FR)-natural breaks, statistical index (SI)-natural breaks and FR-manual classification schemes, respectively. Associated prediction accuracies were 83.69%, 81.22%, and 74.23%, respectively. It was found that FR modeling using a natural breaks classification method was more appropriate for generating FFHSM for the Xiqu Gully. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Financial Risk Factor Analysis for Facility Gas Leakages of H2 and NG
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 944; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090944
Received: 28 June 2016 / Revised: 25 August 2016 / Accepted: 12 September 2016 / Published: 18 September 2016
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Abstract
Fuel cells may be the key to a more environmentally-friendly future because they emit low carbon dioxide per unit of energy supplied. However, little work has investigated the potential financial risks pertaining to fuel cell systems. Often used in the analysis of the [...] Read more.
Fuel cells may be the key to a more environmentally-friendly future because they emit low carbon dioxide per unit of energy supplied. However, little work has investigated the potential financial risks pertaining to fuel cell systems. Often used in the analysis of the safety of systems involving flammable or hazardous materials, risk factor analysis has recently been used to analyze the potential financial losses that may occur from industrial hazards. Therefore, this work undertakes a financial risk factor analysis to determine the costs of leakages of hydrogen and natural gas, which are used in fuel cell systems. Total leakage was calculated from an analysis of several leakage rates and modes. The impact of applying appropriate detection and prevention systems was also investigated. The findings were then used to analyze the consequences for various sections of the system and to calculate the overall cost based on facility outage or damage, and the cost of taking safety precautions. This provides a basis for comparison among proposed potential reactionary measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle
Green Economy Performance and Green Productivity Growth in China’s Cities: Measures and Policy Implication
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 947; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090947
Received: 21 July 2016 / Revised: 12 September 2016 / Accepted: 13 September 2016 / Published: 16 September 2016
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1908 | PDF Full-text (3335 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Resource depletion and environmental degradation have become serious challenges for China’s sustainable development. This paper constructs indicators to assess China’s green economy performance and green productivity growth, in which economic expansion, resource conservation and environmental protection need to be incorporated simultaneously. For this [...] Read more.
Resource depletion and environmental degradation have become serious challenges for China’s sustainable development. This paper constructs indicators to assess China’s green economy performance and green productivity growth, in which economic expansion, resource conservation and environmental protection need to be incorporated simultaneously. For this purpose, we combine non-radial directional distance function and meta-frontier Malmquist productivity to develop the indicators. The methodology also allows for the decomposition of driving forces of China’s green economy. Moreover, the dataset employed in this paper allows for the evaluation of 275 cities in China during the period 2003–2012. The main findings are as follows. First, most of China’s cities did not perform efficiently in terms of the green economy, with an average score of only 0.233. Second, the growth rate of green productivity is slower than real GDP, and the green productivity growth in China is only moderate. Third, innovation is the main driving force of China’s green productivity growth, but the central region lags behind when it comes to green innovation. Fourth, artificial local protectionism and transport limitations impede the progress of cities that perform ineffectively in the green economy. Based on our empirical findings, we provide policy implications and suggestions for enhancing China’s green economy performance and productivity growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessConcept Paper
The More, the Merrier: Why and How Employee-Driven Eco-Innovation Enhances Environmental and Competitive Advantage
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 946; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090946
Received: 30 June 2016 / Revised: 4 September 2016 / Accepted: 12 September 2016 / Published: 16 September 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1845 | PDF Full-text (241 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Innovative solutions are often conjured as a key factor for companies to come closer to the goal of ecological sustainability. Furthermore, proactive eco-innovation activities can encompass competitive advantages. Companies are therefore well advised to tap any available source of innovation. However, although employees’ [...] Read more.
Innovative solutions are often conjured as a key factor for companies to come closer to the goal of ecological sustainability. Furthermore, proactive eco-innovation activities can encompass competitive advantages. Companies are therefore well advised to tap any available source of innovation. However, although employees’ innovative capacity has often been described, to date, their manifold potentials for eco-innovation processes have hardly been examined in detail. The overarching research questions guiding this conceptual paper are why and how employee participation in eco-innovation processes can entail environmental and competitive advantages for companies. The authors introduce the concept of employee-driven eco-innovation (EDEI), defined here as ordinary employees’ voluntary engagement in innovation activities within an organizational context that, intentionally or not, lead to environmental improvements. This paper complements previous literature on employee-driven innovation (EDI) by applying it to the specific case of eco-innovation. In this context, employees’ comprehensive environmental competences resulting from “tacit knowledge”, “private consumer experience” and “green identity” are taken into account. In addition, we delineate critical intra-organizational factors for EDEI activities and illustrate green employees’ specific requirements in this regard. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Measuring Corporate Sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance Value Added
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 945; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090945
Received: 7 June 2016 / Accepted: 12 August 2016 / Published: 15 September 2016
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1942 | PDF Full-text (445 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of the paper is to propose a model for measuring sustainable value which would complexly assess environmental, social, and corporate governance contribution to value creation. In the paper the concept of the Sustainable Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance Value Added is [...] Read more.
The aim of the paper is to propose a model for measuring sustainable value which would complexly assess environmental, social, and corporate governance contribution to value creation. In the paper the concept of the Sustainable Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance Value Added is presented. The Sustainable Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance Value Added is based on the Sustainable Value Added model and combines weighted environmental, social, and corporate governance indicators with their benchmarks determined by Data Envelopment Analysis. Benchmark values of indicators were set for each company separately and determine the optimal combination of environmental, social, and corporate governance inputs to economic outcomes. The Sustainable Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance Value Added methodology is applied on real-life corporate data and presented through a case study. The value added of most of the selected companies was negative, even though economic indicators of all of them are positive. The Sustainable Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance Value Added is intended to help owners, investors, and other stakeholders in their decision-making and sustainability assessment. The use of environmental, social, and corporate governance factors helps identify the company’s strengths and weaknesses, and provides a more sophisticated insight into it than the one-dimensional methods based on economic performance alone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Research on the Green Purchase Intentions from the Perspective of Product Knowledge
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 943; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090943
Received: 30 July 2016 / Revised: 11 September 2016 / Accepted: 12 September 2016 / Published: 15 September 2016
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2269 | PDF Full-text (680 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Based on the theory of planned behavior, the moderating effects of product knowledge on the relationships between three independent variables and green purchase intentions were explored. Independent variables included green purchase attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavior control. After that, the difference of [...] Read more.
Based on the theory of planned behavior, the moderating effects of product knowledge on the relationships between three independent variables and green purchase intentions were explored. Independent variables included green purchase attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavior control. After that, the difference of moderating effects of product knowledge between convenience goods and shopping goods was further analyzed. The scales of the study passed the test of reliability and validity through confirmatory factor analysis, and 306 valid questionnaires were collected. The hypotheses were tested by stepwise regression analysis. The results of the study showed that product knowledge had a significant moderating effect on the relationship between three independent variables and green purchase intentions, and the explanatory power of three independent variables would decrease in the context of high product knowledge. Interesting conclusions were reached from the perspective of product classification. This study contributes to the literature by treating product knowledge as a moderating variable in the theory of planned behavior in the field of green purchase behavior and exploring from a new research angle—the perspective of product classification. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimal Solar Power System for Remote Telecommunication Base Stations: A Case Study Based on the Characteristics of South Korea’s Solar Radiation Exposure
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 942; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090942
Received: 15 July 2016 / Revised: 16 August 2016 / Accepted: 12 September 2016 / Published: 15 September 2016
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2527 | PDF Full-text (7027 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper aims to address both the sustainability and environmental issues for cellular base stations in off-grid sites. For cellular network operators, decreasing the operational expenditures of the network and maintaining profitability are important issues. Hence, this study addresses the feasibility of a [...] Read more.
This paper aims to address both the sustainability and environmental issues for cellular base stations in off-grid sites. For cellular network operators, decreasing the operational expenditures of the network and maintaining profitability are important issues. Hence, this study addresses the feasibility of a solar power system based on the characteristics of South Korean solar radiation exposure to supply the required energy to a remote cellular base station. The HOMER is used to determine the optimum size of the system components, to perform an energy production analysis, and to analyse the cost details of the project. The simulation results show that the proposed solar power system can achieve total operational expenditure savings of up to 48.6% by using sustainable and clean energy. This result means a significant long-term benefit can be achieved for cellular network operators. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
System Establishment and Method Application for Quantitatively Evaluating the Green Degree of the Products in Green Public Procurement
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 941; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090941
Received: 22 July 2016 / Revised: 18 August 2016 / Accepted: 22 August 2016 / Published: 14 September 2016
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1441 | PDF Full-text (232 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The government green purchase is widely considered to be an effective means of promoting sustainable consumption. However, how to identify the greener product is the biggest obstacle of government green purchase and it has not been well solved. A quantitative evaluation method is [...] Read more.
The government green purchase is widely considered to be an effective means of promoting sustainable consumption. However, how to identify the greener product is the biggest obstacle of government green purchase and it has not been well solved. A quantitative evaluation method is provided to measure the green degree of different products of the same use function with an indicator system established, which includes fundamental indicators, general indicators, and leading indicators. It can clearly show the products’ green extent by rating the scores of different products, which provides the government a tool to compare the green degree of different products and select greener ones. A comprehensive evaluation case of a project purchasing 1635 desk computers in Tianjin government procurement center is conducted using the green degree evaluation system. The environmental performance of the products were assessed quantitatively, and the evaluation price, which was the bid price minus the discount (the discount rate was according to the total scores attained by their environmental performance), and the final evaluation price ranking from low to high in turn is supplier C, D, E, A, and B. The winner, supplier C, was not the lowest bid price or the best environmental performance, but it performed well at both bid price and environmental performance so it deserved the project. It shows that the green extent evaluation system can help classify the different products by evaluating their environment performance including structure and connection technology, selection of materials and marks, prolonged use, hazardous substances, energy consumption, recyclability rate, etc. and price, so that it could help to choose the greener products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessReview
Impact and Mitigation of Nutrient Pollution and Overland Water Flow Change on the Florida Everglades, USA
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 940; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090940
Received: 18 July 2016 / Revised: 5 September 2016 / Accepted: 7 September 2016 / Published: 14 September 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3195 | PDF Full-text (2738 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A subtropical watershed and wetland covering nearly 47,000 km2 in the southeastern United States, the Florida Everglades is a degraded, human-dominated environment. As a unique and important ecosystem, the Everglades provide a variety of important environmental services for society and nature. Over [...] Read more.
A subtropical watershed and wetland covering nearly 47,000 km2 in the southeastern United States, the Florida Everglades is a degraded, human-dominated environment. As a unique and important ecosystem, the Everglades provide a variety of important environmental services for society and nature. Over the past century and a half, anthropogenic actions have severely impacted the Everglades by disrupting the natural water flow and causing water pollution. As a result, the native flora and fauna have been displaced, important habitats have been lost, invasive species have become prevalent, and water contaminant concentrations have increased. Accelerating efforts are being made towards preserving the Everglades ecosystem by restoring water flow and improving water quality. To explore this complex and important aquatic ecosystem, we critically review the relevant environmental history, major terrestrial and aquatic characteristics and dynamics, engineered changes to water flow, major sources and impacts of nutrient pollution, trends in system response to pollution and mitigation actions, and recent regulatory efforts driving restoration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle
Reporting on Long-Term Value Creation—The Example of Public Canadian Energy and Mining Companies
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 938; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090938
Received: 1 June 2016 / Revised: 2 August 2016 / Accepted: 6 September 2016 / Published: 14 September 2016
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2315 | PDF Full-text (695 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study empirically analyzes reporting on long-term value creation for Canadian public mining and energy companies. It represents an important first step in determining the quality of reporting and its determinants for large public companies. In this exploratory empirical study, a reporting quality [...] Read more.
This study empirically analyzes reporting on long-term value creation for Canadian public mining and energy companies. It represents an important first step in determining the quality of reporting and its determinants for large public companies. In this exploratory empirical study, a reporting quality scoring index was developed to measure disclosure quality of long-term value creation reporting. Content analysis was used to examine financial and sustainability reports for a sample of twenty Canadian public mining and energy companies. Corporate disclosure quality scores were then calculated by assessing the quality of reporting in four main categories. The findings suggest that overall disclosure quality on long-term value creation is still low. Companies disclosing higher quality information on long-term value creation are of bigger size, operate in the basic materials sector, have an independent board, are listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, experience higher stock volatility and use more words related to long-term value creation in their annual financial and non-financial reports. In order to increase and restore stakeholder trust and credibility as well as a tool to maintain stability, it is strongly recommended to introduce adequate mandatory standardization resulting in a set of internationally recognized reporting standards as well as a requirement for external assurance of reports. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Extended FMEA for Sustainable Manufacturing: An Empirical Study in the Non-Woven Fabrics Industry
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 939; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090939
Received: 30 July 2016 / Revised: 5 September 2016 / Accepted: 8 September 2016 / Published: 13 September 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2134 | PDF Full-text (1944 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) substantially facilitates the efforts of industrial manufacturers in prioritizing failures that require corrective actions to continuously improve product quality. However, the conventional approach fails to provide satisfactory explanation of the aggregate effects [...] Read more.
Failure modes and effects analysis ( F M E A ) substantially facilitates the efforts of industrial manufacturers in prioritizing failures that require corrective actions to continuously improve product quality. However, the conventional approach fails to provide satisfactory explanation of the aggregate effects of a failure from different perspectives such as technical severity, economic severity, and production capacity in some practical applications. To fulfill the existing gap in the F M E A literature, this paper proposes an extension by considering associated quality cost and the capability of failure detection system as additional determinants to signify the priority level for each failure mode. The quality cost and capacity are considered as key factors for sustainable survival and development of an industrial manufacturer in the fierce competition market these days. The performance of the extended scheme was tested in an empirical case at a non-woven fabrics manufacturer. Analytical results indicate that the proposed approach outperforms the traditional one and remarkably reduces the percentage of defective fabrics from about 2.41% before the trial period to 1.13%,thus significantly reducing wastes and increasing operation efficiency, thereby providing valuable advantages to improve organizational competition power for their sustainable growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitive and Sustainable Manufacturing in the Age of Globalization)
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Open AccessArticle
A Conceptual Framework for Circular Design
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 937; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090937
Received: 7 July 2016 / Revised: 25 August 2016 / Accepted: 8 September 2016 / Published: 13 September 2016
Cited by 46 | Viewed by 4993 | PDF Full-text (1517 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Design has been recognised in the literature as a catalyst to move away from the traditional model of take-make-dispose to achieve a more restorative, regenerative and circular economy. As such, for a circular economy to thrive, products need to be designed for closed [...] Read more.
Design has been recognised in the literature as a catalyst to move away from the traditional model of take-make-dispose to achieve a more restorative, regenerative and circular economy. As such, for a circular economy to thrive, products need to be designed for closed loops, as well as be adapted to generate revenues. This should not only be at the point of purchase, but also during use, and be supported by low-cost return chains and reprocessing structures, as well as effective policy and regulation. To date, most academic and grey literature on the circular economy has focused primarily on the development of new business models, with some of the latter studies addressing design strategies for a circular economy, specifically in the area of resource cycles and design for product life extension. However, these studies primarily consider a limited spectrum of the technical and biological cycles where materials are recovered and restored and nutrients (e.g., materials, energy, water) are regenerated. This provides little guidance or clarity for designers wishing to design for new circular business models in practice. As such, this paper aims to address this gap by systematically analysing previous literature on Design for Sustainability (DfX) (e.g., design for resource conservation, design for slowing resource loops and whole systems design) and links these approaches to the current literature on circular business models. A conceptual framework is developed for circular economy design strategies. From this conceptual framework, recommendations are made to enable designers to fully consider the holistic implications for design within a circular economy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Ecological Criteria of Biofuel Certification in Germany
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 936; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090936
Received: 16 June 2016 / Revised: 26 August 2016 / Accepted: 2 September 2016 / Published: 13 September 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1313 | PDF Full-text (1117 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The share of biofuels has increased significantly over the last decade, which has lead to several negative impacts on the environment. As a solution, several governments worldwide have promoted the use of certification systems, which have been implemented and in some cases have [...] Read more.
The share of biofuels has increased significantly over the last decade, which has lead to several negative impacts on the environment. As a solution, several governments worldwide have promoted the use of certification systems, which have been implemented and in some cases have even been established as mandatory regulations. Due to the focus of the public debate, standard-setting has mainly been limited to developing and newly industrializing countries. Hence, the issues of environmental impacts as a consequence of agricultural intensification in Germany has been given little attention, and the question whether existing biofuel certification systems sufficiently cover ecological issues remains. In order to answer this question, this study performs a benchmarking analysis of selected certification systems, whereby their ability to ensure ecological sustainability is evaluated and compared. The assessment reveals that the currently existing national ordinances, like Cross Compliance, are in many aspects insufficient to ensure sustainability. Contrarily, they often deter necessary discussions to tackle these issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Energy Conversion)
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Open AccessReview
Advancing Empirical Approaches to the Concept of Resilience: A Critical Examination of Panarchy, Ecological Information, and Statistical Evidence
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 935; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090935
Received: 11 April 2016 / Revised: 19 August 2016 / Accepted: 22 August 2016 / Published: 13 September 2016
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2361 | PDF Full-text (859 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Despite its ambiguities, the concept of resilience is of critical importance to researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers in dealing with dynamic socio-ecological systems. In this paper, we critically examine the three empirical approaches of (i) panarchy; (ii) ecological information-based network analysis; and (iii) statistical [...] Read more.
Despite its ambiguities, the concept of resilience is of critical importance to researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers in dealing with dynamic socio-ecological systems. In this paper, we critically examine the three empirical approaches of (i) panarchy; (ii) ecological information-based network analysis; and (iii) statistical evidence of resilience to three criteria determined for achieving a comprehensive understanding and application of this concept. These criteria are the ability: (1) to reflect a system’s adaptability to shocks; (2) to integrate social and environmental dimensions; and (3) to evaluate system-level trade-offs. Our findings show that none of the three currently applied approaches are strong in handling all three criteria. Panarchy is strong in the first two criteria but has difficulty with normative trade-offs. The ecological information-based approach is strongest in evaluating trade-offs but relies on common dimensions that lead to over-simplifications in integrating the social and environmental dimensions. Statistical evidence provides suggestions that are simplest and easiest to act upon but are generally weak in all three criteria. This analysis confirms the value of these approaches in specific instances but also the need for further research in advancing empirical approaches to the concept of resilience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Research on the Synergy Degree of Aboveground and Underground Space along Urban Rail Transit from the Perspective of Urban Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 934; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090934
Received: 1 June 2016 / Revised: 29 August 2016 / Accepted: 7 September 2016 / Published: 13 September 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1588 | PDF Full-text (3555 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Aboveground and underground spaces along the urban rail transit (AUSURT) are integral parts of the urban space. Collaborative planning of AUSURT can help to improve the efficiency of urban space use and boost urban sustainable development (USD). This paper attempts to conduct a [...] Read more.
Aboveground and underground spaces along the urban rail transit (AUSURT) are integral parts of the urban space. Collaborative planning of AUSURT can help to improve the efficiency of urban space use and boost urban sustainable development (USD). This paper attempts to conduct a study of the synergetic degree of AUSURT on the spatial level. From the perspective of USD, a synergy system of AUSURT is created firstly, which consists of four sub-systems: land use, traffic condition, population effect and underground space. Then, taking the Phase-I Project of Shenzhen Rail Transit as the example, this paper uses a sequential synergy degree model to calculate the order degrees of the sub-systems in 1999, 2005 and 2015. The system’s synergy degrees from 1999 to 2005, from 1999 to 2015 and from 2005 to 2015 are obtained next. The study shows that the order degrees of the sub-systems increase at varying speeds, and all develop to an ordered state, while the system’s synergy degree rises to 0.505 in 2015 from 0.179 in 2005, which will boost USD. Above all, the results of the study can reflect the laws of the synergetic evolution of AUSURT, providing scientific judgment and rational decision-making references for the collaborative planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Changes in Cropland Status and Their Driving Factors in the Koshi River Basin of the Central Himalayas, Nepal
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 933; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090933
Received: 2 June 2016 / Revised: 27 August 2016 / Accepted: 5 September 2016 / Published: 13 September 2016
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2766 | PDF Full-text (2136 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent decades, human activities have significantly transformed land use and land cover (LULC) and the environment of the Central Himalayas region. LULC is a major component of environmental and climatic research. The aim of this study was to determine the changes in [...] Read more.
In recent decades, human activities have significantly transformed land use and land cover (LULC) and the environment of the Central Himalayas region. LULC is a major component of environmental and climatic research. The aim of this study was to determine the changes in cropland status and its drivers in the Koshi River Basin (KRB) of the Central Himalayas region of Nepal between 1978 and 2010. The cropland status in 1978 was obtained from the Land Resources Mapping Project (LRMP) datasets. The cropland status in 1992 and 2010 was determined on the basis of satellite imagery, with an object-oriented classification method, together with field investigations. Advanced geographical tools were used for data processing and binary logistic regression models were used for the statistical analysis of potential driving factors of cropland change. A noticeable overall change in cropland area was found, with rapid increases from 1978 onward at differing rates and to different extents. The cropland area covered 7165 km2 in 1978. It peaked at 7867.49 km2 in 1992, and had reduced slightly (by 90 km2) to 7776.66 km2 by 2010. The change in cropland area was mainly related to four potential driving factors: topography (elevation, slope, and soil types), socioeconomics (population and foreign labor migration), climate (annual mean temperature and precipitation), and neighborhood factors (roads, rivers, and settlements). However, the effects of the different variables have occurred over various stages and at different rates. An understanding of long-term changes in cropland status in the KRB would be useful, and this could be extended to spatial reconstructions with the help of historical data, including cropland and climatic archives. Full article
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