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Land, Volume 4, Issue 3 (September 2015) , Pages 541-913

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Open AccessArticle
Disentangling Values in the Interrelations between Cultural Ecosystem Services and Landscape Conservation—A Case Study of the Ifugao Rice Terraces in the Philippines
Land 2015, 4(3), 888-913; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4030888
Received: 4 June 2015 / Revised: 6 August 2015 / Accepted: 17 August 2015 / Published: 23 September 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3551 | PDF Full-text (1903 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In the past few years, there has been a growing amount of research on economic quantifications and valuations of ecosystem services (ES) in agricultural systems. However, little attention has been given to cultural ESs (CES) in general and their link to the landscape [...] Read more.
In the past few years, there has been a growing amount of research on economic quantifications and valuations of ecosystem services (ES) in agricultural systems. However, little attention has been given to cultural ESs (CES) in general and their link to the landscape in particular. This paper tries to tackle this gap with a case study on the Ifugao Rice Terraces of the Philippines. The study aims to understand the interrelations between the different CESs and their relationships with the landscape. Besides contributing to knowledge about the degradation of the rice terraces, this study was conducted in order to discuss at a theoretical level how CESs and their relationship with the landscape must be addressed in ES management and policy decisions. The methodological approach includes a combination of semi-structured interviews (n = 60) and a perception survey (n = 66). The results reveal that CESs, apart from being interrelated, are also responsible for and affected by the degradation of the rice terraces, which is why they are important factors to consider in ecosystem conservation. This paper finally provides policy recommendations for the empirical case and demonstrates the importance of connecting CES analysis with landscape studies looking at agricultural systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agro(Eco)System Services—Supply and Demand from Fields to Society)
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Open AccessArticle
The Anatomy of Medium-Scale Farm Growth in Zambia: What Are the Implications for the Future of Smallholder Agriculture?
Land 2015, 4(3), 869-887; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4030869
Received: 26 May 2015 / Revised: 24 July 2015 / Accepted: 10 September 2015 / Published: 18 September 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2278 | PDF Full-text (15030 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Lost in the debates about the appropriate scale of production to promote agricultural growth in Africa is the rapid expansion of medium-scale farmers. Using Zambia as a case study, this article explores the causes and consequences of this middle-tier transformation on the future [...] Read more.
Lost in the debates about the appropriate scale of production to promote agricultural growth in Africa is the rapid expansion of medium-scale farmers. Using Zambia as a case study, this article explores the causes and consequences of this middle-tier transformation on the future of small-scale agriculture. Combining political economic analysis with household survey data, this article examines the relationships between the growth in medium-scale farmers and changing conditions of land access, inequality, and alienation for small-scale farmers. Growth of medium-scale farmers is associated with high land inequality and rapid land alienation in high potential agricultural areas. This growth is shown to be partially driven by wage earner investment in land acquisition and is leading to substantial under-utilization of agricultural land. These processes are both limiting agricultural growth potential and foreclosing future options for an inclusive agricultural development strategy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Institutional Synergies in Customary Land Markets—Selected Case Studies of Large-Scale Land Acquisitions (LSLAs) in Ghana
Land 2015, 4(3), 842-868; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4030842
Received: 16 June 2015 / Revised: 25 August 2015 / Accepted: 7 September 2015 / Published: 17 September 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1798 | PDF Full-text (2873 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Synergies among land institutions and institutional changes impact on land markets and in guaranteeing agro-based employment, capital injection, local economic development and infrastructural improvement. Increasingly, these institutions have come under pressure and there are concerns about their functional capacities and implications on land [...] Read more.
Synergies among land institutions and institutional changes impact on land markets and in guaranteeing agro-based employment, capital injection, local economic development and infrastructural improvement. Increasingly, these institutions have come under pressure and there are concerns about their functional capacities and implications on land markets. This paper discusses institutional synergies and its impacts on customary land markets under large-scale land acquisitions for agro-investments in Ghana. From the study, it was identified that the government of Ghana has maintained a non-interfering stance in customary land markets so as to protect the sanctity and independence of customary land institutions. Also, land transactions were found characterised by lack of transparency, information sharing, participation and accountability. For an efficient and effective management of LSLAs in Ghana, there is the need for a functioning institutional collaboration and one-stop-shop approach to streamline the apparent complex processes of acquiring agricultural land. The roles of customary custodians such as chiefs and Tendaamba should be critically reviewed and re-aligned according to local customs to make the institutions more accountable, consultative and transparent, while curtailing their enormous powers in land administration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Model-Based Synthesis of Locally Contingent Responses to Global Market Signals
Land 2015, 4(3), 807-841; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4030807
Received: 2 July 2015 / Revised: 2 September 2015 / Accepted: 7 September 2015 / Published: 16 September 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2223 | PDF Full-text (80053 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Rural livelihoods and the land systems on which they depend are increasingly influenced by distant markets through economic globalization. Place-based analyses of land and livelihood system sustainability must then consider both proximate and distant influences on local decision-making. Thus, advancing land change theory [...] Read more.
Rural livelihoods and the land systems on which they depend are increasingly influenced by distant markets through economic globalization. Place-based analyses of land and livelihood system sustainability must then consider both proximate and distant influences on local decision-making. Thus, advancing land change theory in the context of economic globalization calls for a systematic understanding of the general processes as well as local contingencies shaping local responses to global signals. Synthesis of insights from place-based case studies is a path forward for developing such systematic knowledge. This paper introduces a generalized agent-based modeling framework for model-based synthesis to investigate the relative importance of structural versus agent-level factors in driving land-use and livelihood responses to changing global market signals. Six case-study sites that differed in environmental conditions, market access and influence, and livelihood settings were analyzed. Stronger market signals generally led to intensification and/or expansion of agriculture or increased non-farm labor, while changes in agents’ risk attitudes prompted heterogeneous local responses to global market signals. These results demonstrate model-based synthesis as a promising approach to overcome many of the challenges of current synthesis methods in land change science and identify generalized as well as locally contingent responses to global market signals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economic Globalization, Telecoupling and Land Change)
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Open AccessArticle
Stakeholder Strategies for Sustainability Impact Assessment of Land Use Scenarios: Analytical Framework and Identifying Land Use Claims
Land 2015, 4(3), 778-806; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4030778
Received: 8 June 2015 / Revised: 21 August 2015 / Accepted: 7 September 2015 / Published: 14 September 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4661 | PDF Full-text (1759 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Despite scientific progress in operationalizing sustainable development (SD), it is still hampered by methodological challenges at the regional level. We developed a framework to analyse stakeholder based, SD targets for future land use, which are characterized by different impact levels and spatial references. [...] Read more.
Despite scientific progress in operationalizing sustainable development (SD), it is still hampered by methodological challenges at the regional level. We developed a framework to analyse stakeholder based, SD targets for future land use, which are characterized by different impact levels and spatial references. The framework allows for the analysis of land use demands in the context of SD. We identified societal use targets in north-eastern Germany, particularly for the area type’s lowland fens and irrigation fields, represented through strategy documents. We used frame analysis to aggregate and condense the targets into land use claims. Results present a framework for the ex-ante Sustainability Impact Assessment of land use changes at the regional level and the determination and regionalization of the future societal demand for land use functions. For future land use at the regional level, manifold land use claims exist, but on smaller scales, area-specific targets are less apparent. Six key main-use claims and 44 side-use claims were identified at the regional level and for area types. Possible trade-offs among land use claims for land use functions can be identified at each governance level. Implications of the methodological approach are discussed according to moving development targets and SD as multi-sector and multi-level governance issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agro(Eco)System Services—Supply and Demand from Fields to Society)
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Open AccessArticle
Land Change Regimes and the Evolution of the Maize-Cattle Complex in Neoliberal Mexico
Land 2015, 4(3), 754-777; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4030754
Received: 30 May 2015 / Revised: 8 August 2015 / Accepted: 14 August 2015 / Published: 21 August 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2112 | PDF Full-text (9760 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
How globalization impacts native land cover has become an important issue in studies addressing environmental change, which draw explicit attention to processes of cause and effect operating over significant distances. The literature shows that globalization constitutes an important underlying driver of both deforestation [...] Read more.
How globalization impacts native land cover has become an important issue in studies addressing environmental change, which draw explicit attention to processes of cause and effect operating over significant distances. The literature shows that globalization constitutes an important underlying driver of both deforestation and forest transition via demographic and economic phenomena such as migration and remittance flows. Yet, little is known about how global forces mold the spatial structure of agro-commodity production and how this impacts the balance of forces affecting land change at the meso-scale, within the boundaries of the nation-state. The research presented here fills this gap by examining production networks for Mexico, a large OECD country with complex land change dynamics that has recently experienced a dramatic opening to the world economy. Specifically, we consider how maize and beef commodity chains evolved over the past few decades into a highly interdependent maize-cattle complex, and suggest linkages to patterns of land change at the national scale. Using land cover maps for 1993, 2002, and 2012, at the national scale, governmental statistics and datasets, interviews with key informants, and field observations the article provides an analysis of the impact of neoliberal reforms on the changing geography of beef and maize production, and argues that this process underlies the evolution of Mexico’s land change regime, both before and after the NAFTA reforms. As such, the article presents an account, and a case for further research on the topic of how teleconnections are constituted by spatially-extensive food production networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economic Globalization, Telecoupling and Land Change)
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Open AccessArticle
Ecological Recycling Agriculture to Enhance Agro-Ecosystem Services in the Baltic Sea Region: Guidelines for Implementation
Land 2015, 4(3), 737-753; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4030737
Received: 29 April 2015 / Revised: 5 August 2015 / Accepted: 6 August 2015 / Published: 20 August 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2316 | PDF Full-text (761 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Eutrophication caused by agriculture is an increasing ecological threat to the Baltic Sea. Modern, resource-efficient farming systems based on integrated plant and animal production, effective nutrient recycling and low external inputs can enhance multiple agro-ecosystem services, resulting in reduced pollution. Practical examples of [...] Read more.
Eutrophication caused by agriculture is an increasing ecological threat to the Baltic Sea. Modern, resource-efficient farming systems based on integrated plant and animal production, effective nutrient recycling and low external inputs can enhance multiple agro-ecosystem services, resulting in reduced pollution. Practical examples of such farming systems are not widespread. Therefore, the Baltic Ecological Recycling Agriculture and Society (BERAS) Implementation project aimed to foster this systemic shift. In this paper, agronomic strategies are described to improve nitrogen (N) efficiency for the conversion to ecological recycling agriculture (ERA). First, N farm gate balances of 22 farms in conversion are presented. They showed a large variation from −9 to 90 kg∙N∙ha−1∙a−1. Then, the use of guidelines and advisory tools to improve the nitrogen efficiency is described. The legume estimation trainer and nitrogen budget calculator help assess and optimize the nitrogen supply from legumes under farming conditions. The application of the crop rotation planning tool “ROTOR” guides advisors and farmers to identify agronomically and environmentally sound rotations. The tools can help overcome key agronomic constraints by implementing ERA. The necessity of accompanying measures from policy and the need to change food consumption patterns are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agro(Eco)System Services—Supply and Demand from Fields to Society)
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Open AccessArticle
Modelling the Potential of Integrated Vegetation Bands (IVB) to Retain Stormwater Runoff on Steep Hillslopes of Southeast Queensland, Australia
Land 2015, 4(3), 711-736; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4030711
Received: 13 February 2015 / Revised: 27 July 2015 / Accepted: 11 August 2015 / Published: 20 August 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1874 | PDF Full-text (19870 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Rainfall intensity is predicted to increase under a changing climate, leading to increased risks of hillslope erosion, downstream sedimentation and flooding. For many catchments used for grazing and agricultural land uses, it will become increasingly important to maintain ecohydrological functioning despite climatic extremes. [...] Read more.
Rainfall intensity is predicted to increase under a changing climate, leading to increased risks of hillslope erosion, downstream sedimentation and flooding. For many catchments used for grazing and agricultural land uses, it will become increasingly important to maintain ecohydrological functioning despite climatic extremes. One means to achieve this is through strategic reforestation using locally endemic species, in spatial configurations that effectively intercept, retain or and redistribute overland flows. This paper adopts a modelling approach for investigating the potential of one such design termed “integrated vegetation bands” (IVB), to increase the retention of runoff across steep hillslopes, particularly in the sub-tropics where rainstorms are becoming increasingly intense. A spatially distributed simulation model (MIKE-SHE) was applied to a steep, grazed catchment (Maronghi Creek catchment, Southeast Queensland, Australia) to compare stormwater runoff characteristics between: (1) the existing pasture land cover; and (2) a series of hypothetical IVB added across this pasture land. The IVB were approximately 20 m wide, and configured at 5% gradient towards ridgelines. Results for estimates of overland flow depth and infiltration (spatial), and accumulative water balance (temporal), confirm that the area of hillslope retaining > 10 mm/day more runoff increased by 22% under IVB compared to the pasture land use. Excluding the IVB themselves, the area of hillslope where runoff retention increased was 11%. During the most intense rainfall, IVB held up to 25% greater water depth and had 10% greater infiltration at the hillslope scale. At the sub-catchment scale, discharge decreased by 7% and infiltration increased by 23%. The findings for sub-tropical landscapes presented here are consistent with studies conducted in temperate regions. Based on the results of this preliminary modelling work, the IVB concept has been established as a paired-catchment field trial in a high rainfall catchment in Southeast Queensland, Australia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Function and Land Use Change)
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Open AccessArticle
Livestock and Ecosystem Services: An Exploratory Approach to Assess Agri-Environment-Climate Payments of RDP in Trentino
Land 2015, 4(3), 688-710; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4030688
Received: 27 April 2015 / Revised: 6 August 2015 / Accepted: 6 August 2015 / Published: 13 August 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1733 | PDF Full-text (1530 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The identification of an appropriate justification for Agri-Environment-Climate (AEC) payments is a crucial issue in the new Rural Development Programme (RDP). Given the environmental importance of grasslands in Trentino (Italy), the Management Authority in charge of the RDP decided to integrate an approach [...] Read more.
The identification of an appropriate justification for Agri-Environment-Climate (AEC) payments is a crucial issue in the new Rural Development Programme (RDP). Given the environmental importance of grasslands in Trentino (Italy), the Management Authority in charge of the RDP decided to integrate an approach based on Ecosystem Services (ES) into the calculation of AEC payments. The paper presents the methodology used for this approach as well as the preliminary results. The first step entails building a probabilistic model for the ES, named Sustainable Fodder Production. Model outputs are then integrated with the accounting results based on the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) database (2009–2012) with the aim of calculating the additional costs and income waived due to the environmental commitments deriving from the sustainable management of permanent grassland in livestock farming. Sustainability measures imply more extensive management practices that maintain meadows in a healthy state. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agro(Eco)System Services—Supply and Demand from Fields to Society)
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Open AccessArticle
Modelling Deforestation and Land Cover Transitions of Tropical Peatlands in Sumatra, Indonesia Using Remote Sensed Land Cover Data Sets
Land 2015, 4(3), 670-687; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4030670
Received: 9 March 2015 / Revised: 18 July 2015 / Accepted: 30 July 2015 / Published: 10 August 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2641 | PDF Full-text (22344 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In Southeast Asia land use change associated with forest loss and degradation is a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is of particular concern where deforestation occurs on peat soils. A business-as-usual (BAU) land change model was developed using Dinamica EGO© [...] Read more.
In Southeast Asia land use change associated with forest loss and degradation is a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is of particular concern where deforestation occurs on peat soils. A business-as-usual (BAU) land change model was developed using Dinamica EGO© for a REDD+ Demonstration Activity area in south-east Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia containing Berbak National Park (NP). The model output will be used as baseline land change predictions for comparison with alternative land cover management scenarios as part of a REDD+ feasibility study. The study area is approximately 376,000 ha with approximately 50% on peat soils. The model uses published 2000 and 2010 land cover maps as input and projects land cover change for thirty years until 2040. The model predicted that under a BAU scenario the forest area, 185,000 ha in 2010, will decline by 37% by 2040. In protected forest areas, approximately 50% of the study area, forest cover will reduce by 25%. Peat swamp forest will reduce by almost 37%. The greatest land cover category increases are plantation/regrowth areas (which includes oil palm) and open areas which each increase by 30,000 ha. These results indicate that the site has great potential as an Indonesian REDD+ Demonstration Activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Emission Reductions and Removals in Tropical Forests)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Above-Ground Biomass of Borneo Forests through a New Data-Fusion Approach Combining Two Pan-Tropical Biomass Maps
Land 2015, 4(3), 656-669; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4030656
Received: 17 April 2015 / Revised: 22 July 2015 / Accepted: 31 July 2015 / Published: 4 August 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2701 | PDF Full-text (5530 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study investigates how two existing pan-tropical above-ground biomass (AGB) maps (Saatchi 2011, Baccini 2012) can be combined to derive forest ecosystem specific carbon estimates. Several data-fusion models which combine these AGB maps according to their local correlations with independent datasets such as [...] Read more.
This study investigates how two existing pan-tropical above-ground biomass (AGB) maps (Saatchi 2011, Baccini 2012) can be combined to derive forest ecosystem specific carbon estimates. Several data-fusion models which combine these AGB maps according to their local correlations with independent datasets such as the spectral bands of SPOT VEGETATION imagery are analyzed. Indeed these spectral bands convey information about vegetation type and structure which can be related to biomass values. Our study area is the island of Borneo. The data-fusion models are evaluated against a reference AGB map available for two forest concessions in Sabah. The highest accuracy was achieved by a model which combines the AGB maps according to the mean of the local correlation coefficients calculated over different kernel sizes. Combining the resulting AGB map with a new Borneo land cover map (whose overall accuracy has been estimated at 86.5%) leads to average AGB estimates of 279.8 t/ha and 233.1 t/ha for forests and degraded forests respectively. Lowland dipterocarp and mangrove forests have the highest and lowest AGB values (305.8 t/ha and 136.5 t/ha respectively). The AGB of all natural forests amounts to 10.8 Gt mainly stemming from lowland dipterocarp (66.4%), upper dipterocarp (10.9%) and peat swamp forests (10.2%). Degraded forests account for another 2.1 Gt of AGB. One main advantage of our approach is that, once the best fitting data-fusion model is selected, no further AGB reference dataset is required for implementing the data-fusion process. Furthermore, the local harmonization of AGB datasets leads to more spatially precise maps. This approach can easily be extended to other areas in Southeast Asia which are dominated by lowland dipterocarp forest, and can be repeated when newer or more accurate AGB maps become available. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Emission Reductions and Removals in Tropical Forests)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Vegetation Dynamics in Relation to Shifting Inundation and Fire Regimes: Disentangling Environmental Variability from Land Management Decisions in a Southern African Transboundary Watershed
Land 2015, 4(3), 627-655; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4030627
Received: 5 April 2015 / Revised: 18 June 2015 / Accepted: 14 July 2015 / Published: 27 July 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3099 | PDF Full-text (9601 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Increasing temperatures and wildfire incidence and decreasing precipitation and river runoff in southern Africa are predicted to have a variety of impacts on the ecology, structure, and function of semi-arid savannas, which provide innumerable livelihood resources for millions of people. This paper builds [...] Read more.
Increasing temperatures and wildfire incidence and decreasing precipitation and river runoff in southern Africa are predicted to have a variety of impacts on the ecology, structure, and function of semi-arid savannas, which provide innumerable livelihood resources for millions of people. This paper builds on previous research that documents change in inundation and fire regimes in the Chobe River Basin (CRB) in Namibia and Botswana and proposes to demonstrate a methodology that can be applied to disentangle the effect of environmental variability from land management decisions on changing and ecologically sensitive savanna ecosystems in transboundary contexts. We characterized the temporal dynamics (1985–2010) of vegetation productivity for the CRB using proxies of vegetation productivity and examine the relative importance of shifts in flooding and fire patterns to vegetation dynamics and effects of the association of phases of the El Niño—Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on vegetation greenness. Our results indicate that vegetation in these semi-arid environments is highly responsive to climatic fluctuations and the long-term trend is one of increased but heterogeneous vegetation cover. The increased cover and heterogeneity during the growing season is especially noted in communally-managed areas of Botswana where long-term fire suppression has been instituted, in contrast to communal areas in Namibia where heterogeneity in vegetation cover is mostly increasing primarily outside of the growing season and may correspond to mosaic early dry season burns. Observed patterns of increased vegetation productivity and heterogeneity may relate to more frequent and intense burning and higher spatial variability in surface water availability from both precipitation and regional inundation patterns, with implications for global environmental change and adaptation in subsistence-based communities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Approach for Simulating Soil Loss from an Agro-Ecosystem Using Multi-Agent Simulation: A Case Study for Semi-Arid Ghana
Land 2015, 4(3), 607-626; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4030607
Received: 19 December 2014 / Accepted: 19 June 2015 / Published: 24 July 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2601 | PDF Full-text (3795 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Soil loss is not limited to change from forest or woodland to other land uses/covers. It may occur when there is agricultural land-use/cover modification or conversion. Soil loss may influence loss of carbon from the soil, hence implication on greenhouse gas emission. Changing [...] Read more.
Soil loss is not limited to change from forest or woodland to other land uses/covers. It may occur when there is agricultural land-use/cover modification or conversion. Soil loss may influence loss of carbon from the soil, hence implication on greenhouse gas emission. Changing land use could be considered actually or potentially successful in adapting to climate change, or may be considered maladaptation if it creates environmental degradation. In semi-arid northern Ghana, changing agricultural practices have been identified amongst other climate variability and climate change adaptation measures. Similarly, some of the policies aimed at improving farm household resilience toward climate change impact might necessitate land use change. The heterogeneity of farm household (agents) cannot be ignored when addressing land use/cover change issues, especially when livelihood is dependent on land. This paper therefore presents an approach for simulating soil loss from an agro-ecosystem using multi-agent simulation (MAS). We adapted a universal soil loss equation as a soil loss sub-model in the Vea-LUDAS model (a MAS model). Furthermore, for a 20-year simulation period, we presented the impact of agricultural land-use adaptation strategy (maize cultivation credit i.e., maize credit scenario) on soil loss and compared it with the baseline scenario i.e., business-as-usual. Adoption of maize as influenced by maize cultivation credit significantly influenced agricultural land-use change in the study area. Although there was no significant difference in the soil loss under the tested scenarios, the incorporation of human decision-making in a temporal manner allowed us to view patterns that cannot be seen in single step modeling. The study shows that opening up cropland on soil with a high erosion risk has implications for soil loss. Hence, effective measures should be put in place to prevent the opening up of lands that have high erosion risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agent-Based Modelling and Landscape Change) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
How to Make a Barranco: Modeling Erosion and Land-Use in Mediterranean Landscapes
Land 2015, 4(3), 578-606; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4030578
Received: 23 April 2015 / Revised: 24 June 2015 / Accepted: 1 July 2015 / Published: 14 July 2015
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Abstract
We use the hybrid modeling laboratory of the Mediterranean Landscape Dynamics (MedLanD) Project to simulate barranco incision in eastern Spain under different scenarios of natural and human environmental change. We carry out a series of modeling experiments set in the Rio Penaguila valley [...] Read more.
We use the hybrid modeling laboratory of the Mediterranean Landscape Dynamics (MedLanD) Project to simulate barranco incision in eastern Spain under different scenarios of natural and human environmental change. We carry out a series of modeling experiments set in the Rio Penaguila valley of northern Alicante Province. The MedLanD Modeling Laboratory (MML) is able to realistically simulate gullying and incision in a multi-dimensional, spatially explicit virtual landscape. We first compare erosion modeled in wooded and denuded landscapes in the absence of human land-use. We then introduce simulated small-holder (e.g., prehistoric Neolithic) farmer/herders in six experiments, by varying community size (small, medium, large) and land management strategy (satisficing and maximizing). We compare the amount and location of erosion under natural and anthropogenic conditions. Natural (e.g., climatically induced) land-cover change produces a distinctly different signature of landscape evolution than does land-cover change produced by agropastoral land-use. Human land-use induces increased coupling between hillslopes and channels, resulting in increased downstream incision. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agent-Based Modelling and Landscape Change) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Transitions in Land Use Architecture under Multiple Human Driving Forces in a Semi-Arid Zone
Land 2015, 4(3), 560-577; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4030560
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 25 June 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 9 July 2015
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Abstract
The present study aimed to detect the main shifts in land-use architecture and assess the factors behind the changes in typical tropical semi-arid land in Burkina Faso. Three sets of time-series LANDSAT data over a 23-year period were used to detect land use [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to detect the main shifts in land-use architecture and assess the factors behind the changes in typical tropical semi-arid land in Burkina Faso. Three sets of time-series LANDSAT data over a 23-year period were used to detect land use changes and their underpinning drivers in multifunctional but vulnerable ecologies. Group discussions in selected villages were organized for mapping output interpretation and collection of essential drivers of change as perceived by local populations. Results revealed profound changes and transitions during the study period. During the last decade, shrub and wood savannahs exhibited high net changes (39% and −37% respectively) with a weak net positive change for cropland (only 2%,) while cropland and shrub savannah exhibited high swap (8% and 16%). This suggests that the area of cropland remained almost unchanged but was subject to relocation, wood savannah decreased drastically, and shrub savannah increased exponentially. Cropland exhibited a null net persistence while shrub and wood savannahs exhibited positive and negative net persistence (1.91 and −10.24), respectively, indicating that there is movement toward agricultural intensification and wood savannah tended to disappear to the benefit of shrub savannah. Local people are aware of the changes that have occurred and support the idea that illegal wood cutting and farming are inappropriate farming practices associated with immigration; absence of alternative cash generation sources, overgrazing and increasing demand for wood energy are driving the changes in their ecosystems. Policies that integrate restoration and conservation of natural ecosystems and promote sustainable agroforestry practices in the study zone are highly recommended. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring Long-Term Impact of Grazing Management on Land Degradation in the Socio-Ecological System of Asteroussia Mountains, Greece
Land 2015, 4(3), 541-559; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4030541
Received: 17 February 2015 / Revised: 17 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 3 July 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2317 | PDF Full-text (3561 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The socio-ecological system dominated by pastureland in the Asteroussia Mountains (Crete, Greece) was analyzed over a long time interval (1945–2010) to identify the most relevant system’s characteristics and changes. Vegetation cover and land-uses have been quantified by analyzing aerial photographs exploring the whole [...] Read more.
The socio-ecological system dominated by pastureland in the Asteroussia Mountains (Crete, Greece) was analyzed over a long time interval (1945–2010) to identify the most relevant system’s characteristics and changes. Vegetation cover and land-uses have been quantified by analyzing aerial photographs exploring the whole study period. Soil characteristics have been assessed by carrying out an extensive field survey for the last reference year (2010) and by estimating the average soil loss for the past period using the PESERA soil erosion model validated by field measurements. Based on environmental, social and economic attributes, three major periods characterizing the socio-ecological system of Asteroussia Mountains have been distinguished. During the first and second period, the land was satisfactorily managed with moderate–low soil erosion rates despite the adverse (prevailing) soil, topographic and climate conditions for vegetation growth. The third time interval featured a rapid growth in the livestock density causing increased soil erosion rates, loss in plant productivity, and a generalized over-exploitation of natural resources. As a consequence, the desertification process has significantly increased in the last period. The analysis of the long-term evolution of socio-ecological system provided evidence to understand the main drivers of land degradation and to recommend mitigation policies specifically addressing Mediterranean pastureland. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Function and Land Use Change)
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