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Land, Volume 12, Issue 8 (August 2023) – 169 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): In this manuscript, we undertake a systematic review and transdisciplinary synthesis of research outputs from the Landscape Decisions Programme (LDP). The LDP is a large Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) programme funded by United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI), aiming at delivering better, evidence-based decisions within the United Kingdom’s landscapes through research collaborations with policy, businesses, and land management partners to work towards a holistic decision-making framework that will inform how land can be used better. The study proposed grounded decision principles for the improved integration of evidence to inform landscape decisions, so that landscape governance results in a sustainable and multifunctional landscape in an inclusive and socially acceptable manner. View this paper
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11 pages, 1093 KiB  
Article
Biochar Aged for Five Years Altered Carbon Fractions and Enzyme Activities of Sandy Soil
by Yuxin Zhang, Wenqi Ma, Xia Sun, Jingbailun Jiang, Dianpeng Li, Guangmu Tang, Wanli Xu and Hongtao Jia
Land 2023, 12(8), 1645; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081645 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1158
Abstract
Biochar applied to soil has been considered as an effective tool for mitigation of atmospheric carbon dioxide emission and enhancement of carbon storage in soil, which may also enhance soil quality. However, the effect of biochar aged for 5 years on the different [...] Read more.
Biochar applied to soil has been considered as an effective tool for mitigation of atmospheric carbon dioxide emission and enhancement of carbon storage in soil, which may also enhance soil quality. However, the effect of biochar aged for 5 years on the different carbon fractions and enzyme activities as well as its changes, is not well understood in the cropland sandy soil of northern China. Therefore, a field trial was carried out in 2014 with biochar applied once at 0, 5.25, 10.50, 21.00 and 42.00 g·kg−1 (BC0, BC1, BC2, BC3, and BC4, respectively). We evaluated the influence of biochar addition to the changes in soil organic carbon (SOC), labile carbon pools (readily oxidized carbon, dissolved organic carbon, and microbial biomass carbon) and enzyme activities (invertase, urease, and catalase). Biochar significantly increased SOC (122.00%) and altered the content of labile carbon (increased ROC, DOC and MBC by 71.29%, 10.35%, and 900.00%, respectively). Soil urease and invertase activities increased by 55.81% and 46.76%, respectively, with an increase in biochar application rate, but catalase activity significantly decreased by 31.79%. The values of the geometric means of labile carbon (0.88) and enzyme activities (2.39) for the BC3 treatment were higher than others, which indicated that the biochar application rate of 21.00 g·kg−1 is suggested for the sandy soil. Our results suggest that the application of biochar in sandy soil for five years increased soil carbon sequestration, changed enzyme activities and ameliorated soil quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soils for the Future)
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20 pages, 889 KiB  
Article
Urban Regeneration, Rent Regulation and the Private Rental Sector in Portugal: A Case Study on Inner-City Lisbon’s Social Sustainability
by Sónia Alves, Alda Botelho Azevedo, Luís Mendes and Katielle Silva
Land 2023, 12(8), 1644; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081644 - 21 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1784
Abstract
Rent regulation has a significant impact on tenant–landlord relations and the overall functioning of the private rented sector. Different forms of rent regulation—in relation to rent levels, rent increases, security of tenure, etc.—also affect the quality, the social composition and, ultimately, the size [...] Read more.
Rent regulation has a significant impact on tenant–landlord relations and the overall functioning of the private rented sector. Different forms of rent regulation—in relation to rent levels, rent increases, security of tenure, etc.—also affect the quality, the social composition and, ultimately, the size of the private rented sector. Together they affect the character of much urban regeneration and renewal. The introduction in Portugal of more flexible rent regimes that aimed to gradually replace open-ended tenancies with freely negotiated contracts led researchers to classify the country as a free market system. In this paper, by using a mixed methods approach that combined desk-based research with census data and in-depth interviews, we test the) classification of Portugal’s rented sector as a free market against empirical evidence and examine the impacts of the main rent regulation regimes on social sustainability-oriented urban regeneration. Our results show that open-ended contracts, which were signed before the 1990s, still account for a significant part of the private rented sector, thus the classification of Portugal’s rent regulation regime as a free-market system does not capture the country’s most significant features. This is particularly evident in inner-city Lisbon, where various extreme rent regimes (in terms of contract duration, tenant security and prices) coexist, giving rise to tensions between housing quality and demographic shifts that threaten the overall social sustainability of the city. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Regeneration in Mediterranean Landscapes)
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20 pages, 6137 KiB  
Article
Identification of Key Areas and Early-Warning Points for Ecological Protection and Restoration in the Yellow River Source Area Based on Ecological Security Pattern
by Shiru Wang, Qian Song, Jianyun Zhao, Zhibo Lu and Haoxiang Zhang
Land 2023, 12(8), 1643; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081643 - 21 Aug 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1218
Abstract
The Yellow River Source Area is located in the ecological protection and restoration area of the Sanjiangyuan in China, which has been deteriorating as a result of human-caused overgrazing and the grassland destruction caused by plateau rats and rabbits, as well as the [...] Read more.
The Yellow River Source Area is located in the ecological protection and restoration area of the Sanjiangyuan in China, which has been deteriorating as a result of human-caused overgrazing and the grassland destruction caused by plateau rats and rabbits, as well as the influence of other natural factors. The Yellow River Source Area is an important area that implements ecological restoration and protection in the Three Rivers Source Region, where the ecologically vulnerable areas that are of great significance to the implementation of ecological restoration in national land space should be identified and the early warning should be extended. This measure can help us identify potential ecological problems and take timely and targeted protection measures to ensure the health and sustainable development of the ecosystem in the Yellow River Source Area. Therefore, an in-depth understanding of the ecological vulnerability of the Yellow River Source Area and the establishment of an early warning mechanism are of vital importance for the protection and restoration of the ecology of the national space in the Yellow River Source Area. Aiming to comprehensively delimit ecological restoration areas in the Yellow River Source Area and provide an early warning, this study applies the MSPA method to identify ecological source areas and uses a patch importance index to identify the importance of ecological source areas, along with extracting potential ecological corridors by using the MCR model, screening important ecological corridors by using the gravity model as a criterion, and simulating land cover changes in 2030 under the limitations of ecological security pattern by using the PLUS model. The results show that: (1) 154 potential ecological corridors were extracted based on the MCR model, with a total length of 7891.90. (2) The total area of the landscape types in the Yellow River Source Area was 12,301 based on MSPA analysis, including the 6899.57 of core area. (3) Based on the PLUS model, the area of farmland and forest in the study area will decrease, while the grassland area will increase. According to the studies, the grassland in the study area expands in a circular pattern towards the surrounding wetland and water area, threatening the ecological sources and corridors. In summary, the study delimits one protection zone in the ecological source land and two core ecological restoration zones and points out the early warning points in the ecological protection space. The delimitation and instruction provide specific spatial guidance for the protection and restoration of ecosystems in order to promote ecological sustainability. Full article
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25 pages, 6722 KiB  
Article
Research on Vegetation Ecological Security in Arid Region Mountain Front River Valleys Based on Ecological Water Consumption and Water Demand
by Xiangshou Dong, Shihang Hu, Quanzhi Yuan, Yaowen Kou, Shujun Li, Wei Deng and Ping Ren
Land 2023, 12(8), 1642; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081642 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 926
Abstract
The central region of the Eurasian continent is widely affected by arid conditions, but the valleys in front of the mountains nurture ecosystems consisting of forests, shrubs, and grasslands. Preserving the ecological balance in these arid valley areas is an essential aspect of [...] Read more.
The central region of the Eurasian continent is widely affected by arid conditions, but the valleys in front of the mountains nurture ecosystems consisting of forests, shrubs, and grasslands. Preserving the ecological balance in these arid valley areas is an essential aspect of water resource planning and management. This study utilizes calculations of vegetation’s ecological water consumption and water requirements to quantitatively simulate groundwater levels. These simulated levels are then compared with the threshold depth suitable for vegetation, ultimately leading to the development of an ecological security assessment method for valley areas. The results show the following: (1) During 30 years, the water demand of river valley vegetation increased slowly, and the overall stability is about 4.82 × 108 m3. Among them, the ecological water demand of grassland is the largest. The water demand from June to August is about 68% of the whole year. (2) The results indicate that over a period of 30 years, the groundwater levels in the valley area have shown a gradual decline. The rate of decline in groundwater levels is approximately twice as fast in areas farther away from the river compared to areas closer to the river. The decline in groundwater levels typically begins in May each year. During the period of valley flooding in June, there is a temporary rise in water levels, followed by a continued decline afterwards. (3) The study area has a significant proportion of groundwater suitable areas, accounting for approximately 65% on average annually. Over the course of 30 years, the area experiencing groundwater deficiency has increased from 31% to 37%. (4) Over the past 30 years, the ratio of annual vegetation water consumption to water demand in the river valley has been slowly decreasing, and the vegetation growth status has changed from good growth to normal growth. (5) In the past 30 years, the area of ecological quality areas has decreased significantly, and most of them have been transformed into general areas. The area of ecologically fragile areas is increasing, and the area of fencing protected areas is slowly declining. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Ecological Risk in Mountain Areas)
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16 pages, 8425 KiB  
Article
Long-Term Monitoring of Tree Population Dynamics in Desert Ecosystems: Integrating Field and Satellite Data
by Sivan Isaacson, Jhonathan E. Ephrath, Shimon Rachmilevitch, Dan G. Blumberg, Benny Shalmon, Ofir Katz and Shimrit Maman
Land 2023, 12(8), 1640; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081640 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 860
Abstract
Arid environments are characterized by rare rain events that are highly variable, as a result of which plant populations often exhibit episodic recruitment and mortality dynamics. However, direct records and observations of such events are rare because of the slow development of woody [...] Read more.
Arid environments are characterized by rare rain events that are highly variable, as a result of which plant populations often exhibit episodic recruitment and mortality dynamics. However, direct records and observations of such events are rare because of the slow development of woody species. In this study, we described how a decrease in annual precipitation affected acacia tree population dynamics in two hydrological regime types: small wadis and salt flats. This study combines 15 years of continuous, yearly field monitoring of individual acacia trees and data from a historical Corona satellite image, which has extended the time scope of the research. Results indicate that the annual mortality of acacia trees in small wadis reflects the cumulative effective rain events in the preceding five years, whereas the population on the salt flats was not affected by annual rainfall fluctuations. Moreover, in small wadis, rain events of less than 8 mm did not increase acacia tree survival rates. The mortality pattern and dynamics of each plot was unique, suggesting unsynchronized mortality and recruitment episodes on a regional scale. Mortality in all plots was documented both in “old” trees (i.e., recognized in 1968) and “new” trees (not recognized in 1968), but varied highly between plots. More than 50% of the dead trees recorded at the sites had died during the previous dry period (2000–2010). Combining field monitoring and historical satellite image data provided a unique database of acacia population dynamics. This record revealed the response of the acacia population to climate fluctuations and a period of episodic mortality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Desert Ecosystems and Landscapes: Structure, Functioning and Threats)
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26 pages, 1803 KiB  
Article
The Effects of the Low-Carbon Pilot City Program on Green Innovation: Evidence from China
by Jinchao Huang, Shuang Meng and Jiajie Yu
Land 2023, 12(8), 1639; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081639 - 21 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1373
Abstract
This study examines the effectiveness of the low-carbon pilot city program in promoting green innovation outcomes in China. Using a time-varying difference-in-differences model based on 277 cities from 2003 to 2019, this study finds that the implementation of the low-carbon pilot city program [...] Read more.
This study examines the effectiveness of the low-carbon pilot city program in promoting green innovation outcomes in China. Using a time-varying difference-in-differences model based on 277 cities from 2003 to 2019, this study finds that the implementation of the low-carbon pilot city program has a positive and significant impact on city-level green innovation outcomes. The policy effect is heterogeneous across different urban infrastructure characteristics, including geographic location, city scale, factor endowment, carbon emission intensity, and ICT infrastructure. This study provides important insights into the effectiveness of low-carbon policies in promoting green innovation and has important implications for policymakers and practitioners who are interested in promoting sustainable development in emerging economies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Territorial Infrastructures, Real Estate and Socio-Economic Impacts)
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23 pages, 2066 KiB  
Article
The Enhancement of Special-Use Real Estate Properties: The Case of Hospital Facilities
by Marta Dell’Ovo, Francesca Torrieri, Alessandra Oppio, Stefano Capolongo, Marco Gola and Andrea Brambilla
Land 2023, 12(8), 1638; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081638 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1270
Abstract
In the Italian context, public investments for the redevelopment and securing of the National Health Service’s real estate assets are a crucial topic in the context of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) within the Next Generation Italian strategy. The paper proposes [...] Read more.
In the Italian context, public investments for the redevelopment and securing of the National Health Service’s real estate assets are a crucial topic in the context of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) within the Next Generation Italian strategy. The paper proposes the evaluation of alternative scenarios for accessing financing under the NRRP with respect to the criterion of the technically efficient solution, i.e., the solution that minimizes investment costs while respecting time obligations. The methodology proposed refers to the Cost approach with specific reference to the Depreciated Replacement Cost Method (DRC) in order to estimate the market value in different scenarios. The approach is applied to a case study located in the Piedmont Region, where alternatives are compared with respect to both budget constraints and the timeframe for accessing financing. Given the growing concern for urban regeneration and “public city” rearrangement as an answer to the ongoing global changes, making investments in special-use real estate properties has become a central and challenging issue both in the public and private decision domains. Full article
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15 pages, 4452 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Spatial Functions and Scale Effects of “Production–Living–Ecological” Space in Hainan Island
by Yuchen Peng, Qiaolin Luan and Changsheng Xiong
Land 2023, 12(8), 1637; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081637 - 21 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 894
Abstract
The identification, evaluation, and spatial distribution of “Production–Living–Ecological” space (PLEs) have been widely studied, but there is still little attention paid to whether their distribution characteristics will vary with scale changes. This article takes the organic whole of the PLEs composed of production [...] Read more.
The identification, evaluation, and spatial distribution of “Production–Living–Ecological” space (PLEs) have been widely studied, but there is still little attention paid to whether their distribution characteristics will vary with scale changes. This article takes the organic whole of the PLEs composed of production space, living space, and ecological space on Hainan Island as the research object. Starting from the perspective of spatial heterogeneity, it quantitatively evaluates its spatial functions and explores the regularities of its aggregation and coordination characteristics with changes in scale, revealing the evolution of its distribution pattern with changes in scale. The results show that: (1) The distribution of PLEs in Hainan Island has obvious heterogeneity. The functional values of production and living space are distributed in a pattern of high in the south and north, low in the middle; The ecological space shows a high distribution pattern in the middle and low around it. (2) The PLEs in Hainan Island is significantly affected by scale effects. The degree of aggregation decreases as the scale increases, with the ecological space showing the most obvious downward trend, the living space showing a weaker downward trend and the production space being moderate. (3) The overall level of coupling-coordination of PLEs in Hainan Island is low, which decreases as the scale increases, with 500 m × 500 m being the peak value. The research results of this article indicate that there are scale effects in the functional distribution characteristics of PLEs, which can provide decision support for the national spatial planning at different scales. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Land Planning and Landscape Architecture)
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27 pages, 11628 KiB  
Article
Research on Evaluation Elements of Urban Agricultural Green Bases: A Causal Inference-Based Approach
by Yuchong Long, Zhengwei Cao, Yan Mao, Xinran Liu, Yan Gao, Chuanzhi Zhou and Xin Zheng
Land 2023, 12(8), 1636; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081636 - 20 Aug 2023
Viewed by 982
Abstract
The construction of agricultural green bases is an important part of sustainable agricultural development. This paper takes urban agriculture green bases in Shanghai as an example, choosing base construction elements, production, and ecological construction elements, as well as status assessment elements as evaluation [...] Read more.
The construction of agricultural green bases is an important part of sustainable agricultural development. This paper takes urban agriculture green bases in Shanghai as an example, choosing base construction elements, production, and ecological construction elements, as well as status assessment elements as evaluation indicators, in order to construct an evaluation system for urban agriculture green bases. Using a Bayesian network, typical urban agricultural green bases in six agricultural districts of Shanghai were evaluated. The construction of the evaluation system was analyzed by using intervention, counterfactual inference, and other methods to analyze the correlation and importance of the indicators. The results show that there are differences among the bases in various indicators, but they all reach a high level overall; base construction elements as well as production and ecological construction elements are the main factors affecting the level of urban agricultural green bases; improving the base management system (BMS), innovativeness (IN), and economic benefits (EBs) are key ways to improve the production capacity of agriculture green bases. Green base construction should pay attention to top-level design, coordinate the planning of industrial layout, technical mode, scientific and technological support, and supporting policies. Based on the conclusion, this paper provides some useful recommendations for creating urban agriculture green bases, which help promote urban agriculture transformation, upgrading, and coordinating development between urban and rural areas. Full article
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17 pages, 8832 KiB  
Article
Spatiotemporal Relationships between Ecosystem Health and Urbanization on the Tibetan Plateau from a Coupling Coordination Perspective
by Yu Hu, Tong Wu, Luo Guo and Shidong Zhang
Land 2023, 12(8), 1635; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081635 - 20 Aug 2023
Viewed by 764
Abstract
A complex relationship exists between natural environmental and urban systems. This study focuses on the province of Qinghai, which is a major part of the Tibetan Plateau. For the period 1995–2020, we explore the relationships between ecosystem health and urbanization. We established an [...] Read more.
A complex relationship exists between natural environmental and urban systems. This study focuses on the province of Qinghai, which is a major part of the Tibetan Plateau. For the period 1995–2020, we explore the relationships between ecosystem health and urbanization. We established an indicator system for ecosystem health and urbanization and quantitatively analyzed the spatiotemporal pattern of coupling coordination between the two. It shows that between 1995 and 2020, the urbanization level in Qinghai showed a continuous upward trend, with the urbanization index in 2020 increasing by 147.20% compared to 1995. The level of ecosystem health also showed an upward trend, with the ecosystem health index (EHI) value in 2020 increasing by 3.31% compared to 1995. The coupling coordination degree between ecosystem health and urbanization in Qinghai increased year-on-year. Areas with high coupling coordination between ecosystem health and urbanization basically overlapped with areas with high urbanization, and the area gradually increased during the study period. Locations with slightly unbalanced development were located on the periphery of high coupling-coordination areas, and that area expanded in the years covered in this study. The low coupling-coordination areas were located in the northwest and southwest of Qinghai, bounded by the Qinghai-Tibet Highway. These results can support the evaluation of ecosystem health and urbanization on the Tibetan Plateau and high-altitude river source areas similar to Qinghai in China and elsewhere, contributing to sustainable land use policy. Full article
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28 pages, 10752 KiB  
Article
The Role of the Master Plan in City Development, Latakia Master Plan in an International Context
by Nebras Khadour, Albert Fekete and Máté Sárospataki
Land 2023, 12(8), 1634; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081634 - 20 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3805
Abstract
The master plan has been a critical instrument for shaping the development of cities worldwide. This article delves into the impact of a well-designed master plan on shaping and transforming the structure of a city, while also exploring the various aspects that can [...] Read more.
The master plan has been a critical instrument for shaping the development of cities worldwide. This article delves into the impact of a well-designed master plan on shaping and transforming the structure of a city, while also exploring the various aspects that can be adapted in different contexts and conditions. The article aims to highlight how an effective master plan can drive development, guide urban growth, and offer a comprehensive framework for decision-making. Specifically, this study analyses the Latakia (SY) master plan, which was proposed in 2008, and compares it with the master plans of Barcelona (ES) and Montpellier (FR), two cities with significant experience in master planning. The analysis was conducted using several key criteria, such as general vision, housing policies, urban mobility, and green network. The results showed that urban development strategies in the Latakia master plan were of limited efficiency range compared to the other case studies, as it focused on tourism and economic development rather than providing an approach for sustainable city development. Therefore, this study recommends revising the development strategies of the Latakia master plan and addressing its limitations to improve the city’s structure, increase its sustainability, and quality of life. This article contributes to the existing body of knowledge on master planning by providing a critical evaluation of urban development strategies and offering a roadmap for future master plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Urban Land Use and Spatial Analysis)
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30 pages, 13456 KiB  
Article
Distribution Characteristics and Influencing Factors of the National Comprehensive Disaster-Reduction Demonstration Community in China
by Haoran Su, Chang Liu, Donghui Dai, Wenkai Chen, Zhen Zhang and Yaowu Wang
Land 2023, 12(8), 1633; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081633 - 20 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1192
Abstract
Establishing the National Comprehensive Disaster-Reduction Demonstration Community (NCDDC) is crucial for enhancing comprehensive disaster risk reduction at the grassroots level in China. Studying the distribution characteristics and influencing factors of NCDDCs can guide future NCDDC layout optimization and related policy adjustments. Using the [...] Read more.
Establishing the National Comprehensive Disaster-Reduction Demonstration Community (NCDDC) is crucial for enhancing comprehensive disaster risk reduction at the grassroots level in China. Studying the distribution characteristics and influencing factors of NCDDCs can guide future NCDDC layout optimization and related policy adjustments. Using the standard deviation ellipse, nearest neighbor index, kernel density, spatial autocorrelation, and Geodetector, we analyzed the spatiotemporal distribution characteristics of NCDDCs in China from 2008 to 2021 and detected their influencing factors. The findings are as follows: (1) NCDDCs exhibit an uneven distribution at different scales, including spatial, urban–rural, and county scales. (2) The spatial distribution of NCDDCs mainly follows a northwest–southeast pattern during 2008–2014 and shows a northeast–southwest trend after 2014. (3) The positive spatial correlation and spatial agglomeration of NCDDCs increase annually. (4) NCDDCs show a concentrated and contiguous distribution pattern in 2021, based on “core density zone–ring-core decreasing area–ring-core expansion group–Ɔ-shaped area–belt-shaped area”. (5) The main factors affecting the NCDDC distribution are hospital density, road density, GDP density, and population density, with factors’ interactions exhibiting bilinear and nonlinear enhancement effects. This study reveals the NCDDC spatiotemporal distribution characteristics and its influence mechanism, providing a scientific basis for future NCDDC layout optimization and related policy adjustments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Planning, Sustainability and Disaster Risk Reduction)
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17 pages, 3245 KiB  
Article
How to Rebalance the Land-Use Structure after Large Infrastructure Construction? From the Perspective of Government Attention Evolution
by Junbo Gao, Xinyi Zhang, Chao Yu, Zhifei Ma, Jianwu Sun and Yujie Guan
Land 2023, 12(8), 1632; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081632 - 20 Aug 2023
Viewed by 867
Abstract
Large infrastructure projects play a crucial role in regional development but can also negatively impact cultivated-land protection. This study focuses on the role of local governments in land-use conflicts and the rebalancing of land-use structures during large infrastructure construction. Using the construction of [...] Read more.
Large infrastructure projects play a crucial role in regional development but can also negatively impact cultivated-land protection. This study focuses on the role of local governments in land-use conflicts and the rebalancing of land-use structures during large infrastructure construction. Using the construction of a reservoir in the Huaihe River as a case study, the research examines the evolution of government attention and the process of township local governments promoting land-use adjustment. The findings reveal that local governments go through a process of “Create–Reinforce–Adjust–Delivery” in their attention to reservoir construction to maximize their interests. Attention fluctuates in terms of reservoir construction, cultivated-land protection, and immigration-development assistance. Biased land-use decisions were made at different stages, leading to four stages of rebalancing efforts: “Generation–Challenge–Marked effect–Continuous negative impact”. This process provides insights into land-use decision-making and the rebalancing of land-use structure. The study suggests that the superior government should guide local governments to enhance attention to cultivated-land protection through laws and policies, while local governments should focus on the quality protection of cultivated land and mitigate the negative impact of rebalancing efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Land Use and Rural Development)
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24 pages, 9839 KiB  
Article
Carbon Storage in Cropland Soils: Insights from Iowa, United States
by Jim Jordahl, Marshall McDaniel, Bradley A. Miller, Michael Thompson, Sebastian Villarino and Lisa A. Schulte
Land 2023, 12(8), 1630; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081630 - 19 Aug 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2648
Abstract
The restoration of soil organic matter (SOM, as measured by soil organic carbon (SOC)) within the world’s agricultural soils is imperative to sustaining crop production and restoring other ecosystem services. We compiled long-term studies on the effect of management practices on SOC from [...] Read more.
The restoration of soil organic matter (SOM, as measured by soil organic carbon (SOC)) within the world’s agricultural soils is imperative to sustaining crop production and restoring other ecosystem services. We compiled long-term studies on the effect of management practices on SOC from Iowa, USA—an agricultural region with relatively high-quality soil data—to highlight constraints on detecting changes in SOC and inform research needed to improve SOC measurement and management. We found that strip-tillage and no-tillage increased SOC by 0.25–0.43 Mg C ha−1 yr−1 compared to losses of 0.24 to 0.46 Mg C ha−1 yr−1 with more intensive tillage methods. The conversion of cropland to perennial grassland increased SOC by 0.21–0.74 Mg C ha−1 yr−1. However, diversifying crop rotations with extended rotations, and supplementing synthetic fertilizer with animal manure, had highly variable and inconsistent effects on SOC. The improved prediction of changes in SOC requires: the use of methods that can identify and disentangle multiple sources of variability; looking beyond total SOC and toward systematic collection of data on more responsive and functionally relevant fractions; whole-profile SOC monitoring; monitoring SOC in long-term studies on the effect of multiple conservation practices used in combination; and deeper collaboration between field soil scientists and modelers. Full article
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18 pages, 2843 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Land-Use Policies in Preventing the Risk of Coastal Flooding: Coastal Regions of Helsinki and Espoo
by Faegheh Amani Fard, Kirsikka Riekkinen and Havu Pellikka
Land 2023, 12(8), 1631; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081631 - 18 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1099
Abstract
Effectively resolving environmental problems often involves not only technical solutions but also examining and potentially reforming the political and institutional frameworks that govern how societies relate to the environment. Coastal flooding due to rising sea levels, for example, poses a significant threat to [...] Read more.
Effectively resolving environmental problems often involves not only technical solutions but also examining and potentially reforming the political and institutional frameworks that govern how societies relate to the environment. Coastal flooding due to rising sea levels, for example, poses a significant threat to waterfront areas. Land-use regulations represent an effective means of mitigating this risk. Despite the multitude of strategies developed for tackling similar problems, relatively few have concentrated on assessing the effectiveness of land-use policies in managing such issues. This study examines a framework for evaluating the effectiveness of land-use policies in preventing sea flood risks in the capital regions of Finland. While the focus of this research is on the coastal regions of the cities of Helsinki and Espoo, its implications extend internationally. By integrating Geographical Information System (GIS) and simulation tools, we simulate future land-use scenarios based on values that reflect the effects of land-use policies. This framework can be applied to other coastal regions worldwide facing similar challenges. Using land cover data and GeoSOS-FLUS software, land-use simulations of the target areas were generated. Land-use planning performance in the target areas exhibited positive changes, as fewer vulnerable land-use types were located within the sea flood risk zones in 2018 compared to 2000. This simulation also shows a strong similarity to actual land-use in 2018, confirming the framework’s reliability. This paper presents a novel framework for evaluating the effectiveness of land-use policies in mitigating coastal flooding risks, focusing on the coastal regions of Helsinki and Espoo, Finland. By integrating GIS and simulation tools, the research demonstrates the utility of these tools in tracking land-use changes and analyzing policy impacts, enabling a nuanced assessment of policy effectiveness. Furthermore, the study highlights the importance of local knowledge and a localized approach to policy development, contributing to a deeper understanding of complex issues in urban planning and land-use management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Future Scenarios of Land Use and Land Cover Change)
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28 pages, 3114 KiB  
Article
Does the Opening of High-Speed Railway Improve High-Quality Economic Development in the Yangtze River Delta, China?
by Chiming Guan, Liuying Chen and Danyang Li
Land 2023, 12(8), 1629; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081629 - 18 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1056
Abstract
The Yangtze River Delta (YRD) is the area with the densest high-speed railway (HSR) network in China, and it leads the high-quality economic development (HQED) in the country. HSR plays an important role in regional development. However, research on the impact of the [...] Read more.
The Yangtze River Delta (YRD) is the area with the densest high-speed railway (HSR) network in China, and it leads the high-quality economic development (HQED) in the country. HSR plays an important role in regional development. However, research on the impact of the HSR on HQED is notably limited. Theoretically, this study develops an analytical framework for the mechanism of the HSR’s influence on HQED. Empirically, it calculates the HQED index and then investigates the impact of the HSR on HQED and the regional discrepancies across cities in the YRD, based on data from 2011 to 2019 using the difference-in-differences model. The results show: (1) The mechanism lies in that the HSR improves urban accessibility, accelerates the flow of the production factors, and enhances the allocation efficiency of the input factors. (2) The distribution of the HQED level presents an obvious circular pattern, with Shanghai and Suzhou at the centre, showing the prominent principle of distance decay. (3) Both the regression model and the robustness tests show that the HSR significantly promotes HQED in the YRD. Additionally, the economic development, foreign capital spent, financial level, industry advancement, and living standard are conducive to HQED. (4) The results of the heterogeneity test reveal that the HSR has an obviously varied impact on HQED in cities depending on their size and location. The HSR has a significant promotional effect on HQED in cities with a large population and those far away from a provincial city. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Regional Sustainable Development of Yangtze River Delta, China II)
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13 pages, 816 KiB  
Article
Short-Term Effect of Different Inputs of Organic Amendments from Olive Oil Industry By-Products on Soil Organic Carbon and Physical Properties
by Nadia Vignozzi, Maria Costanza Andrenelli, Alessandro Elio Agnelli, Angelo Fiore and Sergio Pellegrini
Land 2023, 12(8), 1628; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081628 - 18 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 842
Abstract
Maintaining adequate levels of soil organic matter in Mediterranean agro-ecosystems is a pressing need due to the increasing evidence of climate change. The use of by-products of the olive oil industry as organic amendments could contribute to this goal. We report the results [...] Read more.
Maintaining adequate levels of soil organic matter in Mediterranean agro-ecosystems is a pressing need due to the increasing evidence of climate change. The use of by-products of the olive oil industry as organic amendments could contribute to this goal. We report the results of a 2-year research carried out in southern Italy on a clay loam soil for evaluating the effects of different olive oil industry by-products on soil organic carbon and other related soil characteristics. The treatments were: (i) Olive mill wastewater (OMW), (ii) compost from olive pomace (CP1), (iii) compost from olive pomace in double quantity (CP2), and (iv) organo-mineral fertilizer (OMF). Soil samples, collected at a depth of 0–20 cm, were analyzed for total organic carbon (TOC), its extractable (TEC) and humic fractions (HC), and aggregate stability (Ist). In addition, soil macroporosity, water retention, and penetration resistance (PR) were evaluated. CP1 induced the largest increase in soil TOC, TEC, and HC content, and a significant improvement in Ist; the addition of a large quantity of organic carbon (CP2) did not determine a proportional increase in soil organic matter content. The aggregate stability of the CP2 was the lowest; nevertheless, the characterization of macroporosity indicated an improvement of soil structure functionality. With respect to control (OMF), OMW had a significant decrease in Ist and an increase in PR of the uppermost soil layer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Health and Well-Being: Sources, Effects and Remediation)
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15 pages, 2887 KiB  
Article
Is Historical Cartography a Useful Tool for Landscape Analysis? A Perspective from Inland Spain (Zorita de los Canes, Guadalajara) from the Middle Ages to the Present
by Pilar Diarte-Blasco and Manuel Castro-Priego
Land 2023, 12(8), 1627; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081627 - 18 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 873
Abstract
Historical cartography continues to be an essential resource in developing strategies for the analysis of anthropised landscapes. In recent years, the digitisation and conversion of a large number of pre-20th-century maps to modern geographic coordinate systems and data hierarchisation in GIS-integrated databases have [...] Read more.
Historical cartography continues to be an essential resource in developing strategies for the analysis of anthropised landscapes. In recent years, the digitisation and conversion of a large number of pre-20th-century maps to modern geographic coordinate systems and data hierarchisation in GIS-integrated databases have opened up huge possibilities. In this paper, we highlight some of the advantages and issues that we observed in using historical cartography in the Iberian Peninsula heartlands by comparing archaeological data, textual sources and maps and various levels of information obtained for our area of study: the southeast of the present-day province of Guadalajara, Spain. Using the longue durée approach conceptualised by Fernand Braudel (1976), historical cartography enabled us to delve deeper into two essential aspects, land use and the road network, while providing elements of diachrony that suggest changes in the landscape in specific and disruptive periods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilience in Historical Landscapes)
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14 pages, 2542 KiB  
Article
Quantitative Evaluation of the Impact of Vegetation Restoration and Climate Variation on Runoff Attenuation in the Luan River Basin Based on the Extended Budyko Model
by Shuaijun Yue, Junchang Huang, Yali Zhang, Weiqiang Chen, Yulong Guo, Mingyue Cheng and Guangxing Ji
Land 2023, 12(8), 1626; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081626 - 18 Aug 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 836
Abstract
The occurrence of water scarcity and extreme hydrological events is becoming increasingly frequent worldwide. The river runoff process, as an important link in the water cycle of a basin, is an essential content of the study of hydrological processes in the basin. Vegetation [...] Read more.
The occurrence of water scarcity and extreme hydrological events is becoming increasingly frequent worldwide. The river runoff process, as an important link in the water cycle of a basin, is an essential content of the study of hydrological processes in the basin. Vegetation is an influencing factor closely related to hydrological processes in a watershed. This article quantitatively analyzes the impact of vegetation restoration and climate variation on runoff in the Luan River Basin from 1982 to 2018. Firstly, trend analysis was conducted on runoff depth, precipitation, the Normalized Vegetation Index (NDVI), and reference evaporation. Then, Mann–Kendall mutation analysis and Pettitt mutation analysis were used to identify the year of runoff mutation. Finally, a Budyko model was constructed to quantitatively analyze the impact of vegetation and climate change on the runoff of the Luan River. The results showed that: (1) The runoff reduction rate of the Luan River was 1.2437 mm/a. The precipitation was increasing at a rate of 0.6977 mm/a. The reference evaporation rate decreased at a rate of 0.0977 mm/a. The annual growth rate of the Budyko parameter (n) was 0.0283. The annual growth rate of NDVI was 0.0022. (2) The coefficient of determination in the functional equation (a = 14.74, b = −3.4105) for NDVI and Budyko parameter (n) was 0.3297 (p < 0.01). (3) The contributions of Pr, ET0, NDVI, and (n) to reduced flow were −17.49%, 1.46%, 35.25%, and 80.78%, respectively. The increase in vegetation would lead to a decrease in runoff. This study can clarify the impact of vegetation restoration on water resource security in the Luan River Basin. Full article
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21 pages, 5677 KiB  
Article
Beyond Colonial Boundaries: Reimagining the Rozvi through Landscapes, Identities and Indigenous Epistemologies
by Lesley Hatipone Machiridza and Russell Kapumha
Land 2023, 12(8), 1625; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081625 - 18 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1630
Abstract
The land, ‘things’/objects, and memory in the form of narratives and metaphors are intricately bound together. They all constitute the iconography of a shared set of ideas, beliefs, feelings, values, practices, and performances that objectify collective identities. Respectively, these complex entangled tangible and [...] Read more.
The land, ‘things’/objects, and memory in the form of narratives and metaphors are intricately bound together. They all constitute the iconography of a shared set of ideas, beliefs, feelings, values, practices, and performances that objectify collective identities. Respectively, these complex entangled tangible and spiritual/invisible indices of identities situated in places deserve special archaeological devotion. However, since African archaeology and history remains trapped in Eurocentric colonial metanarratives, indigenous epistemologies and ontologies have somehow remained on the margins of knowledge production processes. This deliberate erasure and silencing continues to impede archaeology’s capacity to explore hidden meanings and values that people imbue to places and landscapes through time. Owing to this setback, multiple precolonial group identities in parts of Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, and Mozambique such as Torwa, Twamamba, Rozvi, Singo, and Venda, among others, remain vague and subjectively tied to the archaeology of Butua/Torwa (AD 1400–1644) and Rozvi (AD 1685–1830) state systems. The failure to read the landscape as both a repository of memory and an agent for collective identities continues to compound our archaeological challenges. Against this background, Rozvi oral narratives and the Insiza cluster Khami-phase sites in southwestern Zimbabwe are subjected to renewed scrutiny. Following a critical review of colonial archives and Rozvi traditions, it turned out that instead of contradicting ‘science’, oral traditions actually amplify our reading of the archaeological record, only if handled properly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Archaeological Landscape and Settlement II)
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18 pages, 3628 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Rural Location on Farmers’ Livelihood in the Loess Plateau: Local, Urban–Rural, and Interconnected Multi-Spatial Perspective Research
by Yin Wang, Dian Min, Wenli Ye, Kongsen Wu and Xinjun Yang
Land 2023, 12(8), 1624; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081624 - 18 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1568
Abstract
With the strengthening of regional and urban–rural interactions, farmers’ livelihood activities are becoming increasingly complex, and environmental factors that influence farmers’ livelihoods have multi-spatial effects. Consequently, comprehending farmers’ livelihoods from a multi-spatial perspective is imperative. Based on surveys conducted in 65 villages and [...] Read more.
With the strengthening of regional and urban–rural interactions, farmers’ livelihood activities are becoming increasingly complex, and environmental factors that influence farmers’ livelihoods have multi-spatial effects. Consequently, comprehending farmers’ livelihoods from a multi-spatial perspective is imperative. Based on surveys conducted in 65 villages and 451 households in Jia County on the Loess Plateau, China, rural locations were deconstructed into natural, traffic, and positional advantages to explore the relationships and mechanisms between the rural environment and farmers’ livelihood stability from local, urban–rural, and interconnected multi-spatial perspectives. We found that 77% of the villages achieved a moderate or high Rural Location Advantage Index (RLAI) rating; 45% still lack natural advantages and are mainly located in hilly and sandy areas because of the fragile ecological environment of the Loess Plateau. Additionally, the Livelihood Stability Index (LSI) was moderate overall, but with significant spatial heterogeneity, and 72% of farmers possess strong transition capacity and have shifted away from relying on monoculture as their primary livelihood strategy. While a certain coupling correspondence exists between the LSI and RLAI, the interaction is intricate rather than a simple linear agglomeration process. The spatial variation in the LSI results from the superposition or interaction of multi-spatial location factors. The rural–urban spatial location factors are the key control element of the LSI and the interaction between rural–urban and local spatial location factors has the greatest influence on the LSI. It is simple for interconnected spatial location factors to produce a scale correlation effect, and have non-negligible effects on farmers’ livelihoods when they interact with other spatial location factors. Understanding the impact of rural location on farmers’ livelihood from a multi-spatial perspective is of great practical significance for identifying the causes of spatial heterogeneity in livelihoods and enhancing multi-level policy coordination on rural revitalization and livelihood security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Land Use and Rural Development)
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3 pages, 179 KiB  
Book Review
Book Review: Melbourne, S. Refining Nature: The Landscape Architecture of Peter Walker, 2nd ed.; Birkhäuser: Basel, Switzerland, 2022; ISBN: 978-3-0356-2548-6
by Laleh Dehghanifarsani, Mohammad Reza Khalilnezhad and Majid Amani-Beni
Land 2023, 12(8), 1623; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081623 - 18 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 756
Abstract
Throughout the historical development of built landscape design, the process of creating and shaping landscape structures has demanded extensive expertise, creativity, and a profound comprehension of landscape design history [...] Full article
20 pages, 25536 KiB  
Article
Assessment of the Ecological Condition of Informal Settlements Using the Settlement Surface Ecological Index
by Naledzani Mudau and Paidamwoyo Mhangara
Land 2023, 12(8), 1622; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081622 - 17 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1088
Abstract
To manage urban ecological ecosystems adequately, understanding the urban areas’ biophysical characteristics is required. This study developed a settlement surface ecological index (SSEI) using tree, soil, impervious surface and grass covers, land surface temperature (LST), and soil moisture derived from Satellite Pour L’Observation [...] Read more.
To manage urban ecological ecosystems adequately, understanding the urban areas’ biophysical characteristics is required. This study developed a settlement surface ecological index (SSEI) using tree, soil, impervious surface and grass covers, land surface temperature (LST), and soil moisture derived from Satellite Pour L’Observation de la Terre (SPOT) 7 and Landsat 8 satellite images. The assessment of the SSEI was conducted over twelve sites of 300 m by 300 m. The selected sites contained formal and informal settlements of varying building densities. The SSEI values ranged from −0.3 to 0.54. Seven assessed areas are in the worst ecological condition with an SSEI below zero. Only three settlement types had an SSEI index value of 0.2 and above, and two of these areas were informal settlements. The formal low-density settlement with higher tree coverage displayed the highest index value of 0.54, slightly higher than the medium-density informal settlement. Overall, there is no significant difference in the SSEI values between the surface ecological condition of formal and informal settlements. The results achieved in this study can be used to understand urban ecology better and develop urban greening strategies at a city or settlement level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Morphology, Sustainability, and Regional Development)
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21 pages, 5693 KiB  
Article
Study on the Spatiotemporal Evolution of the “Contraction–Expansion” Change of the Boundary Area between Two Green Belts in Beijing Based on a Multi-Index System
by Fangzhi Zhan, Zhicheng Liu and Boya Wang
Land 2023, 12(8), 1621; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081621 - 17 Aug 2023
Viewed by 906
Abstract
In serving as a pivotal strategy for curbing urban sprawl, large-scale urban green belts, being a significant constituent of the urban green space, have been ubiquitously employed in the scheming and fabrication of green space systems in global megacities. Nevertheless, the disregard for [...] Read more.
In serving as a pivotal strategy for curbing urban sprawl, large-scale urban green belts, being a significant constituent of the urban green space, have been ubiquitously employed in the scheming and fabrication of green space systems in global megacities. Nevertheless, the disregard for research into the independent alteration mechanism of urban green space, coupled with the reactive approach of planning and construction and the singularity of quantitative indices, has engendered challenges in the creation of urban green belts. This paper presents an investigation into the juncture zone of two green belts in Beijing as a case study, erecting a “contraction–expansion” flux model of its green space and gauging the transformational traits of the green space in light of its spatial–temporal evolution with regards to its quantity, space, and connectivity among others. Findings reveal that between 2005 and 2012, the green space in Beijing underwent an approximately 20% alteration, with the green belt intersection zone’s green space area experiencing a dual trajectory shift of “expansion-contraction”. This shift was primarily characterized by expansion before 2015 and contraction from 2015 onwards. Concerning spatial attributes, patterns of expansion and aggregation were discernible in scattered distribution, whereas contraction and aggregation were evident in mass and spaced distribution. Spatial stability was influenced by the change model, marked by a shift in the center of gravity from a “north-south-east” orientation to a “northwest-southeast” direction. At the connectivity stratum, noticeable variations were witnessed in both the overall and local connectivity levels pre- and post-2015. Regarding individual connectivity, three vital nodes of stable linear connectivity were identified, playing a decisive role in defining the dispersion of crucial corridors within the area of study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Land Planning and Landscape Architecture)
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16 pages, 671 KiB  
Article
Time as the Enemy? Disjointed Timelines and Uneven Rhythms of Indigenous Collective Land Titling in Paraguay and Cambodia
by Cari Tusing and Esther Leemann
Land 2023, 12(8), 1620; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081620 - 17 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1347
Abstract
Indigenous Land law reforms in Paraguay and Cambodia proposed collective land titling to secure land tenure through community ownership. When we look at land formalization through a temporal lens, we see the on-the-ground dynamics of how communal title may or may not be [...] Read more.
Indigenous Land law reforms in Paraguay and Cambodia proposed collective land titling to secure land tenure through community ownership. When we look at land formalization through a temporal lens, we see the on-the-ground dynamics of how communal title may or may not be achieved by examining the ethnographic case studies of Guarani and Bunong land titling. We argue that the temporality of land titling processes creates disjointed, shifting timelines mediated by relationships of power and disrupted by fast-tracked private and state concessions. This uneven relationship between time and titling interrupts, undermines and fragments Indigenous land possession with serious ecological and livelihood impacts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Insights on Tenure Security in the Global South)
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18 pages, 2751 KiB  
Article
Impact of Climate on the Carbon Sink Capacity of Ecological Spaces: A Case Study from the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei Urban Agglomeration
by Xinyan Wang, Kaiping Wang, Yunlu Zhang, Jingran Gao and Yiming Xiong
Land 2023, 12(8), 1619; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081619 - 17 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1116
Abstract
Climate plays a significant role in shaping ecosystem-level carbon sinks. Research on the mechanisms of climate impacts on carbon sinks can contribute to the achievement of carbon neutrality. Investigating the mechanisms by which climate impact on carbon sinks in ecological spaces in the [...] Read more.
Climate plays a significant role in shaping ecosystem-level carbon sinks. Research on the mechanisms of climate impacts on carbon sinks can contribute to the achievement of carbon neutrality. Investigating the mechanisms by which climate impact on carbon sinks in ecological spaces in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei region, one of the most important urban clusters in China, is of great significance. This study employed spatial autocorrelation and econometric models to explore how various climatic factors impact net primary productivity (which is used to represent carbon sink capacity) on a spatial scale. We found an increasing trend in NPP across the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei urban agglomeration from 2000 to 2020, with marked spatial clustering. Climatic factors exhibited the best fit with the spatial Durbin model, except for average annual precipitation. The remaining factors had significant effects on NPP, showing spatial spillover effects. Results also showed that the average annual temperature, evaporation, and relative humidity had positive impacts on NPP at a local scale but adverse effects at a regional scale. Average annual sunshine duration and the ground temperature had negative effects on NPP locally but promoted effects regionally. Furthermore, the average annual wind speed negatively impacted both local- and regional-scale NPP. This research provides insights into how climate affects carbon sinks on a small spatial scale, offering important references for making policy decisions and improving the accuracy of carbon cycling simulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Land–Climate Interactions)
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21 pages, 4885 KiB  
Article
Examining the Decoupling of Economic Growth with Land Expansion and Carbon Emissions in Zhejiang Province, China
by Zepan Li, Zhangwei Lu, Lihua Xu, Yijun Shi, Qiwei Ma, Yaqi Wu, Yu Cao and Boyuan Sheng
Land 2023, 12(8), 1618; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081618 - 17 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 933
Abstract
Coordinating the interrelationships among economic growth, land resource utilization, and carbon emissions is critical for promoting high-quality economic growth and achieving sustainable urban progress. According to the gravity model and the Tapio decoupling model, this study examined the decoupling relationships of economic growth [...] Read more.
Coordinating the interrelationships among economic growth, land resource utilization, and carbon emissions is critical for promoting high-quality economic growth and achieving sustainable urban progress. According to the gravity model and the Tapio decoupling model, this study examined the decoupling relationships of economic growth with land expansion and carbon emissions in Zhejiang Province during the period of 2002–2017. We found that (1) The economic gravity center and the built-up area gravity center generally shifted towards the northwest; however, the carbon emission gravity center initially shifted towards the northwest and then towards the southwest. The spatial coupling between the economic gravity center and the built-up area gravity center exhibited a tendency of ‘first weakening, then strengthening, and last weakening’, whereas the spatial coupling between the economic gravity center and the carbon emission gravity center displayed a tendency of ‘first strengthening and then weakening’. (2) The decoupling of economic growth and land expansion is weak at every stage with effective controls on land expansion. However, in recent years, the phenomenon of ‘expansive negative decoupling’ has become prevalent in counties and cities surrounding the central city. The decoupling of economic growth and carbon emissions steadily increased at each stage, first ‘expansive coupling and expansive negative decoupling’, then ‘weak decoupling’, and finally ‘strong decoupling’. The urban low-carbon transformation effect is remarkable. (3) Zhejiang Province should prioritize addressing the regional imbalance and state instability in the decoupling relationships. It is crucial to comprehensively consider the natural resource endowment, macro-policy factors, and urban development orientation of counties and cities while implementing differentiated planning and control strategies, which will promote regional coordination and comprehensive, high-quality development in all areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Land Consolidation and Land Ecology)
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25 pages, 5659 KiB  
Review
The Relationship between Rural Sustainability and Land Use: A Bibliometric Review
by Leng Liu, Bo Liu, Wei Song and Hao Yu
Land 2023, 12(8), 1617; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081617 - 16 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2351
Abstract
Faced with substantial environmental, societal, and economic challenges, the matters of rural sustainability and land use have emerged as pivotal global concerns. Amidst the rapid phenomenon of urbanization, the escalating requisites for sustenance, energy, and natural resources have engendered profound pressure upon rural [...] Read more.
Faced with substantial environmental, societal, and economic challenges, the matters of rural sustainability and land use have emerged as pivotal global concerns. Amidst the rapid phenomenon of urbanization, the escalating requisites for sustenance, energy, and natural resources have engendered profound pressure upon rural landscapes and ecosystems. The attainment of sustainability within rural regions assumes a paramount role, encompassing not only the advancement of these rural domains but also holding pivotal significance in addressing critical global concerns such as climate change, biodiversity depletion, and the eradication of poverty. In order to gain a thorough understanding of the implications associated with rural sustainability and land use, this study undertakes a bibliometric analysis of 1746 articles sourced from the Web of Science database. The analysis unveils a multitude of pivotal revelations. Primarily, the domain exhibits a conspicuous trajectory of expansion in publications spanning the period from 1990 to 2023, thereby alluding to a substantial reservoir of potential for subsequent advancement. Secondly, high-frequency keywords encompass sustainability, land use, agriculture, ecosystem services, and China. Thirdly, the field encompasses four primary research directions, namely the impact of rural land use and land cover changes on biodiversity, adaptive capacity, and vulnerability in rural sustainable development; the interplay between rural land use changes and rural agricultural development; and land management for rural sustainability. Fourthly, the evolution of research hotspots focuses on three main areas: rural sustainability and biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services, rural sustainability and land management and impacts, and the impacts of climate change and human activities on rural sustainability. Finally, future research should focus on sustainable multifunctional agriculture and rural land management, continue to pay attention to the social dimensions of rural sustainability, and emphasize the role of ecosystem services and natural capital in sustainable rural development. The results of this study can provide a reference for grasping the current situation, research directions, and development trends in the field of rural sustainability and land use. Full article
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20 pages, 4120 KiB  
Article
Improving Dryland Urban Land Cover Classification Accuracy Using a Classical Convolution Neural Network
by Wenfei Luan, Ge Li, Bo Zhong, Jianwei Geng, Xin Li, Hui Li and Shi He
Land 2023, 12(8), 1616; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081616 - 16 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 949
Abstract
Reliable information of land cover dynamics in dryland cities is crucial for understanding the anthropogenic impacts on fragile environments. However, reduced classification accuracy of dryland cities often occurs in global land cover data. Although many advanced classification techniques (i.e., convolutional neural networks (CNN)) [...] Read more.
Reliable information of land cover dynamics in dryland cities is crucial for understanding the anthropogenic impacts on fragile environments. However, reduced classification accuracy of dryland cities often occurs in global land cover data. Although many advanced classification techniques (i.e., convolutional neural networks (CNN)) have been intensively applied to classify urban land cover because of their excellent performance, specific classification models focusing on typical dryland cities are still scarce. This is mainly attributed to the similar features between urban and non-urban areas, as well as the insufficient training samples in this specific region. To fill this gap, this study trained a CNN model to improve the urban land classification accuracy for seven dryland cities based on rigorous training sample selection. The assessment showed that our proposed model performed with higher overall accuracy (92.63%) than several emerging land cover products, including Esri 2020 Land Cover (75.55%), GlobeLand30 (73.24%), GLC_FCS30-2020 (69.68%), ESA WorldCover2020 (64.38%), and FROM-GLC 2017v1 (61.13%). In addition, the classification accuracy of the dominant land types in the CNN-classified data exceeded the selected products. This encouraging finding demonstrates that our proposed architecture is a promising solution for improving dryland urban land classification accuracy and compensating the deficiency of large-scale land cover mapping. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Land Use and Land Cover Mapping)
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27 pages, 1894 KiB  
Article
Does Labor Transfer Improve Farmers’ Willingness to Withdraw from Farming?—A Bivariate Probit Modeling Approach
by Xiuling Ding, Qian Lu, Lipeng Li, Apurbo Sarkar and Hua Li
Land 2023, 12(8), 1615; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081615 - 16 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1365
Abstract
Because of the increased expansion of the non-agricultural industry spurred on by vigorous urbanization, labor migration or transfer from farm to urban regions is to become more predominant in China. Studying the effect of labor transfer on farmers’ willingness to withdraw from land [...] Read more.
Because of the increased expansion of the non-agricultural industry spurred on by vigorous urbanization, labor migration or transfer from farm to urban regions is to become more predominant in China. Studying the effect of labor transfer on farmers’ willingness to withdraw from land is conducive to deepening the understanding of the reality of the “separation of human and farmland”. As most rural livelihoods, directly and indirectly, depend upon farming, the socio-economic impact of leaving the homestead fosters profound research value. Moreover, it would provide a decision-making reference for the government to improve the design of the rural land withdrawal system and related support policies. This article uses the survey data of 953 farmers in Shaanxi, Sichuan, and Anhui, China, to empirically analyze labor transfer’s effect on farmers’ willingness to withdraw from farmland. We construct a bivariate Probit model by eliminating the endogenous issue to craft its findings. This study outlines its findings: (i) 61.805% of the farmers were unwilling, and 18.048% were willing to withdraw from the contracted land and homestead. While 12.067% of the farmers were only willing to withdraw from the contracted land, 8.080% of the farmers were only willing to withdraw from the homestead. Further testing found a positive correlation between farmers’ willingness to withdraw from contracted land and the homestead. (ii) The overall labor transfer of households can increase the willingness of farmers to quit contracted land and homestead farming. The incomplete labor transfer of households can improve the willingness of farmers to quit contracted land. Still, it has no significant impact on the willingness of farmers to quit their homesteads. The family’s complete labor transfer incentivizes farmers’ willingness to withdraw from contracted land and the homestead, which is more potent than incomplete family labor transfer. (iii) Incomplete labor transfer of female households has an incentive effect on farmers’ willingness to quit contracted land, and the effect is more robust than that of incomplete household labor transfer. Seemingly, complete female labor transfer of households has an incentive effect on farmers’ willingness to quit contracted land and the homestead, and the effect is stronger than the complete labor transfer of the family. Because of this, the government should respect the wishes of farmers and strengthen the effective connection and mutual promotion between the homestead and contracted land withdrawal policy. Moreover, pay concentrated attention to the vital role of different types of labor transfer, and targeted labor transfer mechanisms should be used to guide farmers in an orderly manner. Full article
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