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Land, Volume 4, Issue 1 (March 2015) , Pages 1-254

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Open AccessArticle
High-Precision Land-Cover-Land-Use GIS Mapping and Land Availability and Suitability Analysis for Grass Biomass Production in the Aroostook River Valley, Maine, USA
Land 2015, 4(1), 231-254; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4010231
Received: 28 September 2014 / Revised: 15 February 2015 / Accepted: 16 March 2015 / Published: 20 March 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3320 | PDF Full-text (13774 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
High-precision land-cover-land-use GIS mapping was performed in four major townships in Maine’s Aroostook River Valley, using on-screen digitization and direct interpretation of very high spatial resolution satellite multispectral imagery (15–60 cm) and high spatial resolution LiDAR data (2 m) and the field mapping [...] Read more.
High-precision land-cover-land-use GIS mapping was performed in four major townships in Maine’s Aroostook River Valley, using on-screen digitization and direct interpretation of very high spatial resolution satellite multispectral imagery (15–60 cm) and high spatial resolution LiDAR data (2 m) and the field mapping method. The project not only provides the first-ever high-precision land-use maps for northern Maine, but it also yields accurate hectarage estimates of different land-use types, in particular grassland, defined as fallow land, pasture, and hay field. This enables analysis of potential land availability and suitability for grass biomass production and other sustainable land uses. The results show that the total area of fallow land in the four towns is 7594 hectares, which accounts for 25% of total open land, and that fallow plots equal to or over four hectares in size total 4870, or 16% of open land. Union overlay analysis, using the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soil data, indicates that only a very small percentage of grassland (4.9%) is on “poorly-drained” or “very-poorly-drained” soils, and that most grassland (85%) falls into the “farmland of state importance” or “prime farmland” categories, as determined by NRCS. It is concluded that Maine’s Aroostook River Valley has an ample base of suitable, underutilized land for producing grass biomass. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Detection of Shoreline and Land Cover Changes around Rosetta Promontory, Egypt, Based on Remote Sensing Analysis
Land 2015, 4(1), 216-230; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4010216
Received: 28 December 2014 / Revised: 5 February 2015 / Accepted: 27 February 2015 / Published: 17 March 2015
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3090 | PDF Full-text (17516 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Rosetta Promontory, Egypt has been suffering from a continuous erosion problem. The dramatic retreatment was observed during the last century. It is basically due to the construction of Aswan High Dam in 1964, which reduced the flow and sediment discharges. In this paper, [...] Read more.
Rosetta Promontory, Egypt has been suffering from a continuous erosion problem. The dramatic retreatment was observed during the last century. It is basically due to the construction of Aswan High Dam in 1964, which reduced the flow and sediment discharges. In this paper, four Landsat images (two Thematic Mapper and two Enhanced Thematic Mapper) covering the period from 1984 to 2014 were used. These Landsat images were radio-metrically and geometrically corrected, and then, multi-temporal post-classification analysis was performed to detect land cover changes, extracting shoreline positions to estimate shoreline change rates of the Nile delta coast around Rosetta Promontory. This method provides a viable means for examining long-term shoreline changes. Four categories, including seawater, developed (agriculture and urban), sabkhas (salt-flat), and undeveloped areas, were selected to evaluate their temporal changes by comparing the four selected images. Supervised classification technique was used with support vector machine algorithm to detect temporal changes. The overall accuracy assessment of this method ranged from 97% to 100%. In addition, the shoreline was extracted by applying two different techniques. The first method is based on a histogram threshold of Band 5, and the other uses the combination of histogram threshold of Band 5 and two band ratios (Band 2/Band 4 and Band 2/Band 5). For land cover change detection from 1984 to 2014, it was found that the developed area that increased by 9% although the land in the study area has been contracted by 1.6% due to coastal erosion. The shoreline retreat rate has decreased more than 70% from 1984 to 2014. Nevertheless, it still suffers from significant erosion with a maximum rate of 37 m/year. In comparison to ground survey and different remote sensing techniques, the established trend of shoreline change extracted using histogram threshold was found to be closely consistent with these studies rather than combining band ratio with histogram threshold. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Land Use Perspective of the Safeguarding Coastal Areas)
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping Vegetation Morphology Types in Southern Africa Savanna Using MODIS Time-Series Metrics: A Case Study of Central Kalahari, Botswana
Land 2015, 4(1), 197-215; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4010197
Received: 7 November 2014 / Revised: 26 February 2015 / Accepted: 4 March 2015 / Published: 10 March 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3233 | PDF Full-text (2742 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Savanna ecosystems are geographically extensive and both ecologically and economically important; they therefore require monitoring over large spatial extents. There are, in particular, large areas within southern Africa savanna ecosystems that lack consistent geospatial data on vegetation morphological properties, which is a prerequisite [...] Read more.
Savanna ecosystems are geographically extensive and both ecologically and economically important; they therefore require monitoring over large spatial extents. There are, in particular, large areas within southern Africa savanna ecosystems that lack consistent geospatial data on vegetation morphological properties, which is a prerequisite for biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of ecological resources. Given the challenges involved in distinguishing and mapping savanna vegetation assemblages using remote sensing, the objective of this study was to develop a vegetation morphology map for the largest protected area in Africa, the central Kalahari. Six vegetation morphology classes were developed and sample training/validation pixels were selected for each class by analyzing extensive in situ data on vegetation structural and functional properties, in combination with existing ancillary data and coarse scale land cover products. The classification feature set consisted of annual and intra annual matrices derived from 14 years of satellite-derived vegetation indices images, and final classification was achieved using an ensemble tree based classifier. All vegetation morphology classes were mapped with high accuracy and the overall classification accuracy was 91.9%. Besides filling the geospatial data gap for the central Kalahari area, this vegetation morphology map is expected to serve as a critical input to ecological studies focusing on habitat use by wildlife and the efficacy of game fencing, as well as contributing to sustainable ecosystem management in the central Kalahari. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Function and Land Use Change)
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Open AccessArticle
Valuation of Ecosystem Services from Wetlands Mitigation in the United States
Land 2015, 4(1), 182-196; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4010182
Received: 8 October 2014 / Revised: 17 February 2015 / Accepted: 28 February 2015 / Published: 6 March 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2397 | PDF Full-text (716 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Section 404 of the U.S. Clean Water Act includes most wetlands in its jurisdiction and requires wetland mitigation to compensate for permitted wetland losses. These mitigation wetlands can provide ecosystem services similar to original wetlands if properly constructed. Improvement of wetland monitoring requirements [...] Read more.
Section 404 of the U.S. Clean Water Act includes most wetlands in its jurisdiction and requires wetland mitigation to compensate for permitted wetland losses. These mitigation wetlands can provide ecosystem services similar to original wetlands if properly constructed. Improvement of wetland monitoring requirements coupled with economic assessment is critical for effective implementation of the mitigation policy. The economic assessment when left out of evaluation of mitigation policy could result in mitigation wetlands being given too little weight in policy decisions. Under the assumption that mitigation requirements reported in the Army Corps permit files represent actual wetland creation, ecosystem services value is estimated using a wetland benefit‑function transfer approach. Wetland mitigation requirements during 2010–2012 recorded in the Army Corps permit files is used for the analysis. The results indicate that cumulative ecosystem services value per acre per year is in the range of $5000 to $70,000, which translates to a nationwide annual aggregate benefit of $2.7 billion. Given the history of the ecosystem services not fully captured nor adequately quantified, the current analysis is an initial step in understanding the value of wetland mitigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Function and Land Use Change)
Open AccessArticle
Examining Social Adaptations in a Volatile Landscape in Northern Mongolia via the Agent-Based Model Ger Grouper
Land 2015, 4(1), 157-181; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4010157
Received: 27 December 2014 / Revised: 9 February 2015 / Accepted: 16 February 2015 / Published: 3 March 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2730 | PDF Full-text (1602 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The environment of the mountain-steppe-taiga of northern Mongolia is often characterized as marginal because of the high altitude, highly variable precipitation levels, low winter temperatures, and periodic droughts coupled with severe winter storms (known as dzuds). Despite these conditions, herders have inhabited [...] Read more.
The environment of the mountain-steppe-taiga of northern Mongolia is often characterized as marginal because of the high altitude, highly variable precipitation levels, low winter temperatures, and periodic droughts coupled with severe winter storms (known as dzuds). Despite these conditions, herders have inhabited this landscape for thousands of years, and hunter-gatherer-fishers before that. One way in which the risks associated with such a challenging and variable landscape are mitigated is through social networks and inter-family cooperation. We present an agent-based simulation, Ger Grouper, to examine how households have mitigated these risks through cooperation. The Ger Grouper simulation takes into account locational decisions of households, looks at fission/fusion dynamics of households and how those relate to environmental pressures, and assesses how degrees of relatedness can influence sharing of resources during harsh winters. This model, coupled with the traditional archaeological and ethnographic methods, helps shed light on the links between early Mongolian pastoralist adaptations and the environment. While preliminary results are promising, it is hoped that further development of this model will be able to characterize changing land-use patterns as social and political networks developed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agent-Based Modelling and Landscape Change) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessReview
Land Use and Wildfire: A Review of Local Interactions and Teleconnections
Land 2015, 4(1), 140-156; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4010140
Received: 17 November 2014 / Revised: 11 February 2015 / Accepted: 13 February 2015 / Published: 25 February 2015
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3238 | PDF Full-text (2808 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fire is a naturally occurring process of most terrestrial ecosystems as well as a tool for changing land use. Since the beginning of history humans have used fire as a mechanism for creating areas suitable for agriculture and settlement. As fires threaten human [...] Read more.
Fire is a naturally occurring process of most terrestrial ecosystems as well as a tool for changing land use. Since the beginning of history humans have used fire as a mechanism for creating areas suitable for agriculture and settlement. As fires threaten human dominated landscapes, fire risk itself has become a driver of landscape change, impacting landscapes through land use regulations and fire management. Land use changes also influence fire ignition frequency and fuel loads and hence alters fire regimes. The impact of these changes is often exacerbated as new land users demand alternative fire management strategies, which can impact land cover and management far from where land use change has actually occurred. This creates nuanced land use teleconnections between source areas for fires and economic cores, which demand and fund fire protection. Here we will review the role of fire and fire risk as a driver of land use change, the ways land use changes impact drivers of fire, and suggest that the integration of land use teleconnections into the fire/land use discussion can help us better understand and manage the complex interactions between fire and land use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Function and Land Use Change)
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Open AccessArticle
How Can Social Safeguards of REDD+ Function Effectively Conserve Forests and Improve Local Livelihoods? A Case from Meru Betiri National Park, East Java, Indonesia
Land 2015, 4(1), 119-139; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4010119
Received: 9 September 2014 / Revised: 19 January 2015 / Accepted: 4 February 2015 / Published: 24 February 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2645 | PDF Full-text (2203 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The National REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation-Plus) Strategy in Indonesia highlights the importance of local participation and the reform of land tenure in the success of forest conservation. National parks are a main target area for REDD+. National parks in [...] Read more.
The National REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation-Plus) Strategy in Indonesia highlights the importance of local participation and the reform of land tenure in the success of forest conservation. National parks are a main target area for REDD+. National parks in Indonesia have been suffering from forest destruction and conflicts between governments and local communities. This study investigated: (1) the historical process of developing the REDD+ project in collaboration with multiple stakeholders including government authorities, local NGOs, and local people; (2) the social and economic impacts of the REDD+ project on local people; and (3) the local awareness of and motivations to participate in the REDD+ project in Meru Betiri National Park in Indonesia. Interviews of stakeholders including village leaders, NGO staff, and park staff were conducted to obtain an overview of the REDD+ project in the national park. Interviews with a questionnaire were also conducted among randomly selected heads of households who participated or did not participate in the REDD+ project and lived adjacent to the national park. Our analysis revealed that participants in the project obtained the right to use illegally harvested bared lands for intercropping while planting trees to recover forest ecosystems inside the national park. This opportunity could have contributed to a drastic increase in income, particularly for economically disadvantaged people, and to the recovery of forest ecosystems. Although local people did not fully recognize the meaning of REDD+ or carbon credits, they were enthusiastic to join in managing and patrolling forests because of their satisfaction with the income generated by the national park. However, the challenge is how both the recovery of forests and income generation from the project can be maintained in a situation of insufficient funding from donors and unsettled arguments about the benefit of sharing carbon credits with local people. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Emission Reductions and Removals in Tropical Forests)
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Open AccessReview
Carbon Cycling, Climate Regulation, and Disturbances in Canadian Forests: Scientific Principles for Management
Land 2015, 4(1), 83-118; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4010083
Received: 24 September 2014 / Accepted: 9 January 2015 / Published: 21 January 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3098 | PDF Full-text (2272 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Canadian forests are often perceived as pristine and among the last remaining wilderness, but the majority of them are officially managed and undergo direct land use, mostly for wood harvest. This land use has modified their functions and properties, often inadvertently (e.g., age [...] Read more.
Canadian forests are often perceived as pristine and among the last remaining wilderness, but the majority of them are officially managed and undergo direct land use, mostly for wood harvest. This land use has modified their functions and properties, often inadvertently (e.g., age structure) but sometimes purposefully (e.g., fire suppression). Based on a review of the literature pertaining to carbon cycling, climate regulation, and disturbances from logging, fire, and insect outbreaks, we propose five scientific principles relevant for Canadian managed forests. Among these, a principle we wish to highlight is the need to properly account for the management-related fossil fuel emissions, because they will affect the global carbon cycle and climate for millennia unless massive atmospheric carbon dioxide removal becomes a reality. We also use these five principles to address questions of current interest to research scientists, forest managers, and policy makers. Our review focusses on total ecosystem carbon storage and various mechanisms through which forests affect climate, in particular albedo and aerosols forcings—including how disturbances influence all these elements—but also touches on other ecosystem goods and services. Our review underscores the importance of conducting >100-year time horizon studies of carbon cycling, climate regulation, and disturbances in Canadian managed forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Function and Land Use Change)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrating Forest Cover Change with Census Data: Drivers and Contexts from Bolivia and the Lao PDR
Land 2015, 4(1), 45-82; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4010045
Received: 1 August 2014 / Accepted: 12 December 2014 / Published: 20 January 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3548 | PDF Full-text (10331 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to explore possible links between forest cover change and characteristics of social-ecological systems at sub-national scale based mainly on census data. We assessed relationships between population density, poverty, ethnicity, accessibility and forest cover change during the last [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper is to explore possible links between forest cover change and characteristics of social-ecological systems at sub-national scale based mainly on census data. We assessed relationships between population density, poverty, ethnicity, accessibility and forest cover change during the last decade for four regions of Bolivia and the Lao PDR, combining a parcel-based with a cell-based approach. We found that accessibility is a key driver of forest cover change, yet it has the effect of intensifying other economic and policy-related underlying drivers, like colonization policies, cash crop demand, but also policies that lead to forest gain in one case. Poverty does not appear as a driver of deforestation, but the co-occurrence of poverty and forest loss driven by external investments appears critical in terms of social-ecological development. Ethnicity was found to be a moderate explanatory of forest cover change, but appears as a cluster of converging socio-economic characteristics related with settlement history and land resource access. The identification of such clusters can help ordering communities into a typology of social-ecological systems, and discussing their possible outcomes in light of a critical view on forest transition theory, as well as the relevance and predictive power of the variables assessed. Résumé: L’objectif de cet article est d’explorer les liens entre le changement de la couverture forestière et les caractéristiques des systèmes socio-écologiques à l’échelle nationale, principalement à l’aide de données de recensement. Nous avons évalué les relations entre la densité de population, la pauvreté, l’ethnicité, l’accessibilité et le changement de la couverture forestière pendant la dernière décennie pour quatre régions de Bolivie et du Laos, en combinant des approches par parcelles et par cellules. Nous avons constaté que l’accessibilité est un facteur clé du changement de la couverture forestière, tandis qu’elle a pour effet d'intensifier d'autres facteurs économiques et politiques sous-jacents, comme les politiques de colonisation, la demande de cultures de rente, mais aussi, dans un cas, des politiques conduisant à un accroissement de la forêt. La pauvreté n’apparait pas comme un facteur de déforestation, mais la co-occurrence de la pauvreté et de la perte de forêt entrainée par les investissements extérieurs semble critique en termes de développement socio-écologique. L'ethnicité se révèle être modérément explicative du changement de la couverture forestière, mais elle apparait comme un ensemble de caractéristiques socio-économiques convergentes liées à l'histoire de l’implantation humaine et à l'accès aux ressources foncières. L'identification de tels ensembles peut aider à classer les communautés selon une typologie des systèmes socio-écologiques, et à discuter leurs possibles impacts sur la forêt avec un point de vue critique sur la théorie de la transition forestière, ainsi que la pertinence et la puissance prédictive des variables évaluées. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Change Modeling: Connecting to the Bigger Picture)
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Open AccessReview
Soil and Water Conservation Strategies in Cape Verde (Cabo Verde in Portuguese) and Their Impacts on Livelihoods: An Overview from the Ribeira Seca Watershed
Land 2015, 4(1), 22-44; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4010022
Received: 28 August 2014 / Accepted: 22 December 2014 / Published: 14 January 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3795 | PDF Full-text (6252 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Severe land degradation has strongly affected both people’s livelihood and the environment in Cape Verde (Cabo Verde in Portuguese), a natural resource poor country. Despite the enormous investment in soil and water conservation measures (SWC or SLM), which are visible throughout the landscape, [...] Read more.
Severe land degradation has strongly affected both people’s livelihood and the environment in Cape Verde (Cabo Verde in Portuguese), a natural resource poor country. Despite the enormous investment in soil and water conservation measures (SWC or SLM), which are visible throughout the landscape, and the recognition of their benefits, their biophysical and socioeconomic impacts have been poorly assessed and scientifically documented. This paper contributes to filling this gap, by bringing together insights from literature and policy review, field survey and participatory assessment in the Ribeira Seca Watershed through a concerted approach devised by the DESIRE project (the “Desire approach”). Specifically, we analyze government strategies towards building resilience against the harsh conditions, analyze the state of land degradation and its drivers, survey and map the existing SWC measures, and assess their effectiveness against land degradation, on crop yield and people’s livelihood. We infer that the relative success of Cape Verde in tackling desertification and rural poverty owes to an integrated governance strategy that comprises raising awareness, institutional framework development, financial resource allocation, capacity building, and active participation of rural communities. We recommend that specific, scientific-based monitoring and assessment studies be carried out on the biophysical and socioeconomic impact of SLM and that the “Desire approach” be scaled-up to other watersheds in the country. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Land in 2014
Land 2015, 4(1), 19-21; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4010019
Received: 8 January 2015 / Accepted: 8 January 2015 / Published: 8 January 2015
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Abstract
The editors of Land would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2014:[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Globalland30 Mapping Capacity of Land Surface Water in Thessaly, Greece
Received: 13 November 2014 / Accepted: 17 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4234 | PDF Full-text (3030 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The National Geomatics Center of China (NGCC) produced Global Land Cover (GlobalLand30) maps with 30 m spatial resolution for the years 2000 and 2009–2010, responding to the need for harmonized, accurate, and high-resolution global land cover data. This study aims to assess the [...] Read more.
The National Geomatics Center of China (NGCC) produced Global Land Cover (GlobalLand30) maps with 30 m spatial resolution for the years 2000 and 2009–2010, responding to the need for harmonized, accurate, and high-resolution global land cover data. This study aims to assess the mapping accuracy of the land surface water layer of GlobalLand30 for 2009–2010. A representative Mediterranean region, situated in Greece, is considered as the case study area, with 2009 as the reference year. The assessment is realized through an object-based comparison of the GlobalLand30 water layer with the ground truth and visually interpreted data from the Hellenic Cadastre fine spatial resolution (0.5 m) orthophoto map layer. GlobCover 2009, GlobCorine 2009, and GLCNMO 2008 corresponding thematic layers are utilized to show and quantify the progress brought along with the increment of the spatial resolution, from 500 m to 300 m and finally to 30 m with the newly produced GlobalLand30 maps. GlobalLand30 detected land surface water areas show a 91.9% overlap with the reference data, while the coarser resolution products are restricted to lower accuracies. Validation is extended to the drainage network elements, i.e., rivers and streams, where GlobalLand30 outperforms the other global map products, as well. Full article
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