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Land, Volume 7, Issue 4 (December 2018)

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Open AccessArticle Assessing the Extent of Historical, Current, and Future Land Use Systems in Uganda
Received: 25 September 2018 / Revised: 25 October 2018 / Accepted: 27 October 2018 / Published: 8 November 2018
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Abstract
Sustainable land use systems planning and management requires a wider understanding of the spatial extent and detailed human-ecosystem interactions astride any landscape. This study assessed the extent of historical, current, and future land use systems in Uganda. The specific objectives were to (i)
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Sustainable land use systems planning and management requires a wider understanding of the spatial extent and detailed human-ecosystem interactions astride any landscape. This study assessed the extent of historical, current, and future land use systems in Uganda. The specific objectives were to (i) characterize and assess the extent of historical and current land use systems, and (ii) project future lan use systems. The land use systems were defined and classified using spatially explicit land use/cover layers for the years 1990 and 2015, while the future prediction (for the year 2040) was determined using land use systems datasets for both years through a Markov chain model. This study reveals a total of 29 classes of land use systems that can be broadly categorized as follows: three of the land use systems are agricultural, five are under bushland, four under forest, five under grasslands, two under impediments, three under wetlands, five under woodland, one under open water and urban settlement respectively. The highest gains in the land amongst the land use systems were experienced in subsistence agricultural land and grasslands protected, while the highest losses were seen in grasslands unprotected and woodland/forest with low livestock densities. By 2040, subsistence agricultural land is likely to increase by about 1% while tropical high forest with livestock activities is expected to decrease by 0.2%, and woodland/forest unprotected by 0.07%. High demand for agricultural and settlement land are mainly responsible for land use systems patchiness. This study envisages more land degradation and disasters such as landslides, floods, droughts, and so forth to occur in the country, causing more deaths and loss of property, if the rate at which land use systems are expanding is not closely monitored and regulated in the near future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Assessing the Spatial Drivers of Land Use and Land Cover Change in the Protected and Communal Areas of the Zambezi Region, Namibia
Received: 8 August 2018 / Revised: 31 August 2018 / Accepted: 3 September 2018 / Published: 7 November 2018
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Abstract
Understanding the patterns and drivers of land use and land cover (LULC) changes is fundamental for rational and specific planning for sustainable land management. Using remote sensing techniques, geographic information systems (GIS) and statistical modeling via multinomial logistic regression, we sought to identify
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Understanding the patterns and drivers of land use and land cover (LULC) changes is fundamental for rational and specific planning for sustainable land management. Using remote sensing techniques, geographic information systems (GIS) and statistical modeling via multinomial logistic regression, we sought to identify spatial variables that determine LULC change and their extent over time in the protected and communal areas of the Zambezi Region, Namibia. Multi-temporal satellite imagery of the Landsat series was used to map changes over a period of twenty-six years, divided into three stages (1984–1991, 1991–2000 and 2000–2010). Post classification change detection methodologies were used to determine conversions between LULC classes. Additionally, socio-economic characteristics of the area were used to identify drivers of changes. Four spatial drivers of LULC change that we identified included the distance to the nearest road, distance to settlements, population density and fire return periods. Population density, distance to settlements and fire return period were significantly associated with conversion from crop/grass land to crop/grass land and forest land to crop/grass, forest land to bare land and forest land to forest land in the protected area. In communal areas, distance to the road was found to significantly influence conversion from crop/grass land to crop/grass land. The study concluded that the influence of these drivers is attributable to distinct political and agro-demographical differences during the study period. Policy makers and planners need to take these drivers into consideration together with their subsidiaries to respond and make sound decisions regarding undesirable changes in LULC. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Institutional Functionality in Participatory Integrated Watershed Development of Tana Sub-Basin, Ethiopia
Received: 13 October 2018 / Revised: 29 October 2018 / Accepted: 2 November 2018 / Published: 6 November 2018
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Abstract
Sustaining watersheds that were developed through community mobilization are a major challenge in Ethiopia despite significant efforts to promote soil and water conservation technologies and approaches. This paper investigates the hypothesis that institutional rationality and functionality play an important role in developing enduring
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Sustaining watersheds that were developed through community mobilization are a major challenge in Ethiopia despite significant efforts to promote soil and water conservation technologies and approaches. This paper investigates the hypothesis that institutional rationality and functionality play an important role in developing enduring watersheds by comparing the good performing Model research watersheds and adjacent watersheds developed through extensively promoted community mobilization. A semi-qualitative research method was used by applying a multi-stage purposive sampling technique for selecting sample respondents. Based on the new institutional economic theory, twelve effective institutional indicators were devised for the evaluation. Questionnaires were designed and tested to solicit respondents’ perceptions on these indicators. Data were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney test. The results showed that significant differences were observed between the two watershed groups in relation to good interaction (p = 0.03) and technical rationality (p = 0.04). Most of the institutional characteristics and rationalities that led to better performance in the case of the Model research watershed were lacking in the community watersheds. In the Model watersheds, effective institutional characteristics and rationalities contributed to enhanced natural resource conservation, increased incomes, improved household food security, and provided additional social benefits. The most important lesson is that close follow-up and informed engagement leads to a speedy recovery and the sustainability of Community watersheds from implementing modest re-orientation of the existing institutional arrangements. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Navigating Multiple Tensions for Engaged Praxis in a Complex Social-Ecological System
Received: 18 September 2018 / Revised: 19 October 2018 / Accepted: 20 October 2018 / Published: 6 November 2018
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Abstract
Innovative, pragmatic approaches are needed to support sustainable livelihoods and landscape management in complex social-ecological systems (CSES) such as river catchments. In the Tsitsa River Catchment, South Africa, researchers and natural resource managers have come together to apply such innovative approaches. Since CSES
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Innovative, pragmatic approaches are needed to support sustainable livelihoods and landscape management in complex social-ecological systems (CSES) such as river catchments. In the Tsitsa River Catchment, South Africa, researchers and natural resource managers have come together to apply such innovative approaches. Since CSES are characterised by uncertainty and surprise, understanding and managing them requires a commitment to reflexive praxis and transdisciplinarity. Accordingly, we facilitated a collective reflection and learning process in the project team to deepen our understanding of praxis in CSES. Our findings indicate that CSES thinking created an enabling framing. However, building new linkages among diverse actors to put CSES thinking into practice is challenging, since it requires the development of novel working relationships. Existing institutional structures, power dynamics, and ways of working impose significant constraints. A deeper critical realist analysis of our findings revealed a metaphor which explains why this work is challenging. In this metaphor, the Tsitsa Project team is navigating a bumpy terrain of dialectic tensions. These are tensions for example between natural science and social science, and between science and indigenous knowledge. Based on this metaphor, we suggest an expanding role for scientists and managers, and recommend transformative social learning processes to support teams navigating such bumpy terrains. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Farmers’ Perceptions of Agricultural Land Abandonment in Rural Western New York State
Received: 30 August 2018 / Revised: 27 September 2018 / Accepted: 24 October 2018 / Published: 27 October 2018
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Abstract
Over the last century, the U.S. economy has favored large-scale agribusiness over small-scale farming. In some regions, this trend has led to the abandonment of cultivated land, and there is little scholarly literature that discusses how farmers are affected. The goal of this
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Over the last century, the U.S. economy has favored large-scale agribusiness over small-scale farming. In some regions, this trend has led to the abandonment of cultivated land, and there is little scholarly literature that discusses how farmers are affected. The goal of this study was to examine Allegany County (NY) farmers’ perceptions of abandoned land and associated correlates. The data were collected through surveys mailed to farmers in Allegany County in 2012. We found that the majority of farmers felt personally affected by abandoned land and expressed the greatest amount of dissatisfaction with the state of the U.S. economy and local, state, and national regulations, especially if they considered themselves Republican. These findings address the sociopolitical significance of abandoned land and contribute to an understanding of how abandoned land affects residents of rural communities who are typically left out of discussions on policies affecting their livelihoods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Land Abandonment: Patterns, Drivers and Consequences)
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Open AccessArticle Crowdsourced Street-Level Imagery as a Potential Source of In-Situ Data for Crop Monitoring
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 17 October 2018 / Accepted: 18 October 2018 / Published: 22 October 2018
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Abstract
New approaches to collect in-situ data are needed to complement the high spatial (10 m) and temporal (5 d) resolution of Copernicus Sentinel satellite observations. Making sense of Sentinel observations requires high quality and timely in-situ data for training and validation. Classical ground
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New approaches to collect in-situ data are needed to complement the high spatial (10 m) and temporal (5 d) resolution of Copernicus Sentinel satellite observations. Making sense of Sentinel observations requires high quality and timely in-situ data for training and validation. Classical ground truth collection is expensive, lacks scale, fails to exploit opportunities for automation, and is prone to sampling error. Here we evaluate the potential contribution of opportunistically exploiting crowdsourced street-level imagery to collect massive high-quality in-situ data in the context of crop monitoring. This study assesses this potential by answering two questions: (1) what is the spatial availability of these images across the European Union (EU), and (2) can these images be transformed to useful data? To answer the first question, we evaluated the EU availability of street-level images on Mapillary—the largest open-access platform for such images—against the Land Use and land Cover Area frame Survey (LUCAS) 2018, a systematic surveyed sampling of 337,031 points. For 37.78% of the LUCAS points a crowdsourced image is available within a 2 km buffer, with a mean distance of 816.11 m. We estimate that 9.44% of the EU territory has a crowdsourced image within 300 m from a LUCAS point, illustrating the huge potential of crowdsourcing as a complementary sampling tool. After artificial and built up (63.14%), and inland water (43.67%) land cover classes, arable land has the highest availability at 40.78%. To answer the second question, we focus on identifying crops at parcel level using all 13.6 million Mapillary images collected in the Netherlands. Only 1.9% of the contributors generated 75.15% of the images. A procedure was developed to select and harvest the pictures potentially best suited to identify crops using the geometries of 785,710 Dutch parcels and the pictures’ meta-data such as camera orientation and focal length. Availability of crowdsourced imagery looking at parcels was assessed for eight different crop groups with the 2017 parcel level declarations. Parcel revisits during the growing season allowed to track crop growth. Examples illustrate the capacity to recognize crops and their phenological development on crowdsourced street-level imagery. Consecutive images taken during the same capture track allow selecting the image with the best unobstructed view. In the future, dedicated crop capture tasks can improve image quality and expand coverage in rural areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Timacum Minus in Moesia Superior—Centrality and Urbanism at a Roman Mining Settlement
Received: 16 September 2018 / Revised: 17 October 2018 / Accepted: 19 October 2018 / Published: 22 October 2018
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Abstract
When applying traditional criteria of Roman urbanism, several settlements in the province of Moesia are not recognised as parts of the urban network. To avoid this, previous criteria of urbanism should be revised. This paper suggests revisions, which provide a more inclusive definition
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When applying traditional criteria of Roman urbanism, several settlements in the province of Moesia are not recognised as parts of the urban network. To avoid this, previous criteria of urbanism should be revised. This paper suggests revisions, which provide a more inclusive definition of urbanism: Thus, instead of focusing on administrative status and monumentality as primary markers of urbanity and urbanization, development factors for agglomeration and centrality are emphasized as decisive conditions for, and characteristics of, urban settlement. To provide a case study for this theoretical outline, the upper-Moesian mining settlement of Timacum Minus is evaluated by ideas derived from a critical appreciation of Walter Christaller’s central place theory. Timacum Minus did not have official settlement status and monumental character, yet, it developed as a central place in the unique landscape of the Timok valley. This was due to its location as a central road station, military post, and settlement along the important interregional Timok valley road as well as the site hierarchy as the base of the centralized administration of the Timok valley mining district. Hence, Timacum Minus displays different levels of centrality. Interestingly, the site only held these properties during the Roman Principate, although its central location and mining activities also existed in pre-Roman and post-Roman times. This demonstrates the significance of centrality mechanisms as determined by local and regional circumstances and historical conditions. Accordingly, it is argued that these circumstances and the diverse character as a central place also turned Timacum Minus into an urban site, irrespective of status and monumentality. This definition of the site provides not only an example of how to use central place theory in current archaeological thought but also possibilities for re-thinking urbanism in Roman Moesia. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Regional Socioeconomic Changes Affecting Rural Area Livelihoods and Atlantic Forest Transitions
Received: 27 September 2018 / Revised: 11 October 2018 / Accepted: 20 October 2018 / Published: 22 October 2018
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Abstract
Centuries of colonization of the Atlantic Forest biome in Brazil have led its native vegetation cover to be reduced to only 11.7%. On the other hand, regional land changes have fostered natural forest regeneration, since the 1960s, in the region of Paraíba Valley.
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Centuries of colonization of the Atlantic Forest biome in Brazil have led its native vegetation cover to be reduced to only 11.7%. On the other hand, regional land changes have fostered natural forest regeneration, since the 1960s, in the region of Paraíba Valley. A fieldwork survey in rural properties was conducted in three municipalities (n = 90, thirty in each municipality), to assess how forest transition is affected by the region’s socioeconomic development and biophysical dimensions of the landscape. To select the municipalities among thirty-four, we applied the modified Thompson Tau technique to detect outlier values for three selected variables: Natural forest cover, eucalyptus plantation cover, and municipal revenue. The outliers were dropped from consideration and the municipality with the maximum value for each variable was selected. Based on the survey and GIS analysis using land-cover maps, topography, and hydrology variables, we concluded that the diminished land-use pressure in the Paraíba Valley, a response to the regional economic development (e.g., increasing labor demand in urban areas pushing rural migration), resulted in the increase of the Atlantic forest cover. Interestingly enough, a counter-migration of people moving to rural areas as a newly valued amenity has the potential to reshape the rural landscape with positive outcomes to the Atlantic forest cover. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Transitions)
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Open AccessArticle Predicting the Potential Impact of Climate Change on Carbon Stock in Semi-Arid West African Savannas
Received: 2 September 2018 / Revised: 17 October 2018 / Accepted: 18 October 2018 / Published: 21 October 2018
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Abstract
West African savannas are experiencing rapid land cover change that threatens biodiversity and affects ecosystem productivity through the loss of habitat and biomass, and carbon emissions into the atmosphere exacerbating climate change effects. Therefore, reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in
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West African savannas are experiencing rapid land cover change that threatens biodiversity and affects ecosystem productivity through the loss of habitat and biomass, and carbon emissions into the atmosphere exacerbating climate change effects. Therefore, reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in these areas is critical in the efforts to combat climate change. For such restorative actions to be successful, they must be grounded on a clear knowledge of the extent to which climate change affects carbon storage in soil and biomass according to different land uses. The current study was undertaken in semi-arid savannas in Dano, southwestern Burkina Faso, with the threefold objective of: (i) identifying the main land use and land cover categories (LULCc) in a watershed; (ii) assessing the carbon stocks (biomass and soil) in the selected LULCc; and (iii) predicting the effects of climate change on the spatial distribution of the carbon stock. Dendrometric data (Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) and height) of woody species and soil samples were measured and collected, respectively, in 43 plots, each measuring 50 × 20 m. Tree biomass carbon stocks were calculated using allometric equations while soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks were measured at two depths (0–20 and 20–50 cm). To assess the impact of climate change on carbon stocks, geographical location records of carbon stocks, remote sensing spectral bands, topographic data, and bioclimatic variables were used. For projections of future climatic conditions, predictions from two climate models (MPI-ESM-MR and HadGEM2-ES) of CMIP5 were used under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 and modeling was performed using random forest regression. Results showed that the most dominant LULCc are cropland (37.2%) and tree savannas (35.51%). Carbon stocks in woody biomass were higher in woodland (10.2 ± 6.4 Mg·ha−1) and gallery forests (7.75 ± 4.05 Mg·ha−1), while the lowest values were recorded in shrub savannas (0.9 ± 1.2 Mg·ha−1) and tree savannas (1.6 ± 0.6 Mg·ha−1). The highest SOC stock was recorded in gallery forests (30.2 ± 15.6 Mg·ha−1) and the lowest in the cropland (14.9 ± 5.7 Mg·ha−1). Based on modeling results, it appears clearly that climate change might have an impact on carbon stock at horizon 2070 by decreasing the storage capacity of various land units which are currently suitable. The decrease was more important under HadGEM2-ES (90.0%) and less under MPI-ESM-MR (89.4%). These findings call for smart and sustainable land use management practices in the study area to unlock the potential of these landscapes to sequestering carbon. Full article
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Open AccessPerspective Understanding the Biodiversity Contributions of Small Protected Areas Presents Many Challenges
Received: 27 September 2018 / Revised: 17 October 2018 / Accepted: 18 October 2018 / Published: 20 October 2018
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Abstract
Small protected areas dominate some databases and are common features of landscapes, yet their accumulated contributions to biodiversity conservation are not well known. Small areas may contribute to global biodiversity conservation through matrix habitat improvement, connectivity, and preservation of localized ecosystems, but there
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Small protected areas dominate some databases and are common features of landscapes, yet their accumulated contributions to biodiversity conservation are not well known. Small areas may contribute to global biodiversity conservation through matrix habitat improvement, connectivity, and preservation of localized ecosystems, but there is relatively little literature regarding this. We review one database showing that the average size of nearly 200,000 protected areas in the United States is ~2000 ha and the median is ~20 ha, and that small areas are by far the most frequent. Overall, 95% and 49% of the records are less than the mean (1648 ha) and median (16 ha), respectively. We show that small areas are prevalent features of landscapes, and review literature suggesting how they should be studied and managed at multiple scales. Applying systematic conservation planning in a spatially hierarchical manner has been suggested by others and could help insure that small, local projects contribute to global goals. However, there are data and financial limitations. While some local groups practice ecosystem management and conservation planning, they will likely continue to protect what is “near and dear” and meet site-based goals unless there is better coordination and sharing of resources by larger organizations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Protected Areas)
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Government Policies and Corporate Land Grabs on Indigenous People’s Access to Common Lands and Livelihood Resilience in Northeast Cambodia
Received: 7 September 2018 / Revised: 9 October 2018 / Accepted: 17 October 2018 / Published: 19 October 2018
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Abstract
Cambodia has become a principal target of transnational (and domestic) land grabs over the past decade, mostly in the form of economic land concessions (ELCs). The northeastern part of the country—where the majority of Cambodia’s indigenous people reside—is a particular hotspot. In this
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Cambodia has become a principal target of transnational (and domestic) land grabs over the past decade, mostly in the form of economic land concessions (ELCs). The northeastern part of the country—where the majority of Cambodia’s indigenous people reside—is a particular hotspot. In this article, we discuss three policy mechanisms that the Cambodian government has employed to extend and legitimize land exclusions in the name of national economic development through the example of two indigenous villages in Srae Preah Commune, Mondulkiri Province. First, we show how the allocation of two ELCs has deprived indigenous communities of their communally managed land. Second, we examine how communal land titling processes have failed to provide indigenous villagers with effective legal mechanisms to counteract ELCs and land encroachment by internal migrants. Third, we elucidate how the promotion of cash crop production contributed to livelihood and land use transitions from a reliance on forest resources in 2003 to a dependence on cash crops in 2012 to a struggle to remain resilient amid a slump in crop prices in 2018. We conclude that the combination of these policies has undermined communal ownership and livelihood resilience under a situation of limited exit strategies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Cropland Abandonment in South African Smallholder Communal Lands: Land Cover Change (1950–2010) and Farmer Perceptions of Contributing Factors
Received: 6 August 2018 / Revised: 30 August 2018 / Accepted: 13 September 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
Despite agricultural land abandonment threatening the food security and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, it is pervasive globally and in developing countries. Yet land abandonment is an understudied aspect of land use change in social–ecological systems. Here we provide more information on this
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Despite agricultural land abandonment threatening the food security and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, it is pervasive globally and in developing countries. Yet land abandonment is an understudied aspect of land use change in social–ecological systems. Here we provide more information on this phenomenon by exploring cropland abandonment during 1950–2010 in four former South African ‘homelands’—part of the ‘Apartheid’ era racially-based land allocation programs—characterized by rural, smallholder farmers. Cropland abandonment 1950–2010 was widespread in all surveyed sites (KwaZulu: 0.08% year−1, Transkei: 0.13% year−1, Lebowa: 0.23% year−1, Venda: 0.28% year−1), with rates peaking between 1970 and 1990, with concomitant increases (up to 0.16% year−1) of woody vegetation cover at the expense of grassland cover. Active and past farmers attributed cropland abandonment to a lack of draught power, rainfall variability and droughts, and a more modernized youth disinclined to living a marginal agrarian lifestyle. We discuss the potential social and ecological implications of abandoned croplands at the local and regional scales, as the deagrarianization trend is unlikely to abate considering the failure of current South African national agricultural incentives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Land Abandonment: Patterns, Drivers and Consequences)
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Open AccessArticle Landscape Assessment and Economic Accounting in Wind Farm Programming: Two Cases in Sicily
Received: 18 August 2018 / Revised: 7 October 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
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In recent years, the scientific interest for the economic and landscape impact of wind farms has increased. This paper presents a useful GIS tool that allows for helping policymakers and investors to identify promising areas for wind power generation as well as landscape
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In recent years, the scientific interest for the economic and landscape impact of wind farms has increased. This paper presents a useful GIS tool that allows for helping policymakers and investors to identify promising areas for wind power generation as well as landscape impact and financial and economic sustainability of wind farms. The results of the research carried out for exploring the potential for wind energy in two territorial contexts of Sicily region are presented with the particular look at the possibilities of economic developing, stakeholders’ opportunities and obstacles in the policy, legal, and regulatory framework. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Market-Based Conservation for Better Livelihoods? The Promises and Fallacies of REDD+ in Tanzania
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 5 October 2018 / Accepted: 12 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
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Abstract
Governments, multilateral organisations, and international conservation NGOs increasingly frame nature conservation in terms that emphasise the importance of technically managing and economically valuing nature, and introducing markets for ecosystem services. New mechanisms, such as REDD+, have been incorporated in national-level policy reforms, and
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Governments, multilateral organisations, and international conservation NGOs increasingly frame nature conservation in terms that emphasise the importance of technically managing and economically valuing nature, and introducing markets for ecosystem services. New mechanisms, such as REDD+, have been incorporated in national-level policy reforms, and have been piloted and implemented in rural project settings across the Global South. By reflecting on my research on REDD+ implementation in two case study villages in Tanzania, the paper argues that the emergence and nature of market-based conservation are multi-faceted, complex, and more profoundly shaped by structural challenges than is commonly acknowledged. The paper identifies three particularly important challenges: the politics surrounding the establishment of community-based forest management; the mismatch between formal governance institutions and actual practices on the ground; and the fickleness of income from carbon sales and alternative livelihood opportunities. I argue that these challenges are not merely teething troubles, but they question fundamental assumptions of market-based conservation, more generally. I end with reference to better ideas for achieving sustainable development. Full article
Open AccessCommunication Characterizing the Spatial and Temporal Availability of Very High Resolution Satellite Imagery in Google Earth and Microsoft Bing Maps as a Source of Reference Data
Received: 20 August 2018 / Revised: 8 October 2018 / Accepted: 10 October 2018 / Published: 11 October 2018
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Very high resolution (VHR) satellite imagery from Google Earth and Microsoft Bing Maps is increasingly being used in a variety of applications from computer sciences to arts and humanities. In the field of remote sensing, one use of this imagery is to create
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Very high resolution (VHR) satellite imagery from Google Earth and Microsoft Bing Maps is increasingly being used in a variety of applications from computer sciences to arts and humanities. In the field of remote sensing, one use of this imagery is to create reference data sets through visual interpretation, e.g., to complement existing training data or to aid in the validation of land-cover products. Through new applications such as Collect Earth, this imagery is also being used for monitoring purposes in the form of statistical surveys obtained through visual interpretation. However, little is known about where VHR satellite imagery exists globally or the dates of the imagery. Here we present a global overview of the spatial and temporal distribution of VHR satellite imagery in Google Earth and Microsoft Bing Maps. The results show an uneven availability globally, with biases in certain areas such as the USA, Europe and India, and with clear discontinuities at political borders. We also show that the availability of VHR imagery is currently not adequate for monitoring protected areas and deforestation, but is better suited for monitoring changes in cropland or urban areas using visual interpretation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Assessing Local Indigenous Knowledge and Information Sources on Biodiversity, Conservation and Protected Area Management at Khuvsgol Lake National Park, Mongolia
Received: 4 September 2018 / Revised: 9 October 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 11 October 2018
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Abstract
Indigenous knowledge about biodiversity and conservation is valuable and can be used to sustainably manage protected areas; however, indigenous communities continue to be marginalized due to the belief that their values and behaviors do not align with the overarching mission of conservation. This
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Indigenous knowledge about biodiversity and conservation is valuable and can be used to sustainably manage protected areas; however, indigenous communities continue to be marginalized due to the belief that their values and behaviors do not align with the overarching mission of conservation. This paper explores the extent of local knowledge and awareness of biodiversity, conservation and protected area management of indigenous communities at Khuvsgol Lake National Park, Mongolia. We investigate current levels of biodiversity awareness and explore perceptions toward conservation values and park management governance. Most respondents had a high awareness of existing biodiversity and held positive attitudes toward nature conservation and protected areas; however, insufficient knowledge of park rules and low levels of trust between local residents and park authorities may undermine conservation objectives in the long run. We identify an unequal share of economic benefits from tourism and preferential treatment toward elite business owners as a source of conflict. Limited information channels and poor communication between local residents and park authorities are also a source for low-level participation in conservation activities. Leveraging the increasing use of information communication technology, such as mobile phones, can serve as a new mechanism for improved information sharing and transparent reporting between local communities, conservationists and protected area authorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Protected Areas)
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Open AccessArticle Combined Use of Optical and Synthetic Aperture Radar Data for REDD+ Applications in Malawi
Received: 13 August 2018 / Revised: 18 September 2018 / Accepted: 4 October 2018 / Published: 10 October 2018
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Abstract
Recent developments in satellite data availability allow tropical forest monitoring to expand in two ways: (1) dense time series foster the development of new methods for mapping and monitoring dry tropical forests and (2) the combination of optical data and synthetic aperture radar
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Recent developments in satellite data availability allow tropical forest monitoring to expand in two ways: (1) dense time series foster the development of new methods for mapping and monitoring dry tropical forests and (2) the combination of optical data and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data reduces the problems resulting from frequent cloud cover and yields additional information. This paper covers both issues by analyzing the possibilities of using optical (Sentinel-2) and SAR (Sentinel-1) time series data for forest and land cover mapping for REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) applications in Malawi. The challenge is to combine these different data sources in order to make optimal use of their complementary information content. We compare the results of using different input data sets as well as of two methods for data combination. Results show that time-series of optical data lead to better results than mono-temporal optical data (+8% overall accuracy for forest mapping). Combination of optical and SAR data leads to further improvements: +5% in overall accuracy for land cover and +1.5% for forest mapping. With respect to the tested combination methods, the data-based combination performs slightly better (+1% overall accuracy) than the result-based Bayesian combination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Monitoring Land Cover Change: Towards Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of Suitability of Tree Species for Bioenergy Production on Burned and Degraded Peatlands in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia
Received: 6 September 2018 / Revised: 26 September 2018 / Accepted: 29 September 2018 / Published: 7 October 2018
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Abstract
Large areas of deforested and degraded land, particularly degraded peatlands, need a viable long-term solution for restoration, ideally one that ensures energy security without compromising food security or biodiversity conversation. To address a knowledge gap on the most adaptive bioenergy crop(s) for degraded
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Large areas of deforested and degraded land, particularly degraded peatlands, need a viable long-term solution for restoration, ideally one that ensures energy security without compromising food security or biodiversity conversation. To address a knowledge gap on the most adaptive bioenergy crop(s) for degraded lands, this research project assessed the survival and growth performance of potential bioenergy crops to restore burned and degraded peatlands. Our methodology compared the bioenergy species with the potential to survive in extreme environments, i.e., gamal [Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Walp.], kaliandra (Calliandra calothyrsus Meissner), kemiri sunan [Reutealis trisperma (Blanco) Airy Shaw], and nyamplung (Calophyllum inophyllum L.). Observed parameters are plant survival rates, tree height, and circular stem growth. The experiment was conducted between March 2016 to February 2017 in a two-hectare demonstration plot on burned and degraded peatland in Buntoi village, Pulang Pisau, Central Kalimantan province. Using a split plot design, two treatments were given to each species, i.e., monoculture plantation and agroforestry (intercropped with Ananas comosus (L.) Merr.); with each treatment, the species were replicated on two separate plots. Results indicate that nyamplung is the most adoptable species followed by kemiri sunan, however both species performed very well under agroforestry treatment when compared with monoculture. Further study is needed to assess the productivity and associate biofuel yield. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Modeling Urban Encroachment on the Agricultural Land of the Eastern Nile Delta Using Remote Sensing and a GIS-Based Markov Chain Model
Received: 19 August 2018 / Revised: 27 September 2018 / Accepted: 29 September 2018 / Published: 1 October 2018
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Abstract
Historically, the Nile Delta has played an integral part in Egyptian civilization, as its fertile soils have been cultivated for centuries. The region offers a lush oasis among the expansive arid climate of Northern Africa; however, in recent decades, many anthropogenic changes to
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Historically, the Nile Delta has played an integral part in Egyptian civilization, as its fertile soils have been cultivated for centuries. The region offers a lush oasis among the expansive arid climate of Northern Africa; however, in recent decades, many anthropogenic changes to the environment have jeopardized Egypt’s agricultural productivity. Political instability and lack of sufficient regulations regarding urban growth and encroachment have put agricultural land in the area at risk. Advanced geospatial techniques were used to assess the rate at which urban areas are increasing within the region. A hybrid classification of Landsat satellite imagery for the eastern sector of the Nile Delta, between the years 1988 and 2017, was conducted to map major land-use and land-cover (LULC) classes. The statistical change analysis revealed that urban areas increased by 222.5% over the study period (29 years). Results indicated that urban areas are encroaching mainly on established agricultural lands within the Nile Delta. Most of the change has occurred within the past nine years, where approximately 235.60 km2 of the cultivated lands were transitioned to urban. Nonetheless, at the eastern delta flank, which is bordered by desert, analysis indicated that agricultural lands have experienced a considerable growth throughout the study period due to a major desert reclamation effort. Areas most at risk from future urban expansion were identified. A simulation of future urban expansion, using a Markov Chain algorithm, indicated that the extent to which urban area is simulated to grow in the region is 16.67% (277.3 km2) and 37.82% (843 km2) by the year 2026, and 2050, respectively. The methods used in this study are useful in assessing the rate of urban encroachment on agricultural lands and can be applied to similar at-risk areas in the regions if appropriate site-specific modifications are considered. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Effect of the Gully Land Consolidation Project on Soil Erosion and Crop Production on a Typical Watershed in the Loess Plateau
Received: 20 August 2018 / Revised: 24 September 2018 / Accepted: 28 September 2018 / Published: 30 September 2018
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Abstract
The Gully Land Consolidation Project (GLCP) was launched to create more arable land by excavating soil from the slopes on both sides of gullies, combined with simultaneous comprehensive gully prevention and control measures. The purpose of the GLCP is to increase crop production
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The Gully Land Consolidation Project (GLCP) was launched to create more arable land by excavating soil from the slopes on both sides of gullies, combined with simultaneous comprehensive gully prevention and control measures. The purpose of the GLCP is to increase crop production and reduce soil erosion to achieve ecological and agricultural sustainability. In this study, we assess the effects of the GLCP on soil erosion and crop production by studying the BaoChengGou Watershed in the Loess Plateau, primarily by means of high spatial-resolution satellite images (taken by the GF-1 and ZY-3 satellites) combined with the InVEST model and field investigations. Sloping cropland, sparse forestland, and natural grassland are the main land use types in the study area. After implementing the GLCP, consolidated land in the cropland increased by 7.35%, an increase that has come largely at the expense of grassland and forestland. The GLCP has markedly reduced soil erosion in the BaoChengGou Watershed, especially in the sense that soil erosion intensity was also reduced significantly in the project region on the whole, despite intensifying in certain places, such as excavated slopes; furthermore, it has improved crop yields in the study area by 10.9%. Comprehensive measurement shows the GLCP to be scientific, reasonable, and clearly efficacious. This study presents findings regarding the positive significance of the GLCP in promoting ecological and agricultural sustainability in the Loess Plateau. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Assessing Nature-Based Recreation to Support Urban Green Infrastructure Planning in Trento (Italy)
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 10 September 2018 / Accepted: 21 September 2018 / Published: 27 September 2018
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Abstract
Nature-based recreation is among the most relevant ecosystem services supplied by urban green infrastructure, affecting citizens’ physical and mental wellbeing. Providing adequate green spaces for nature-based recreation is among the main goals of urban planning, but commonly-used indicators offer a partial view on
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Nature-based recreation is among the most relevant ecosystem services supplied by urban green infrastructure, affecting citizens’ physical and mental wellbeing. Providing adequate green spaces for nature-based recreation is among the main goals of urban planning, but commonly-used indicators offer a partial view on the issue. Innovative methods and approaches, such as the ESTIMAP-recreation model, appear as promising ways to increase the quality of information available for decision-makers by considering both the range of green spaces that provide the service and the locally-specific demand. The article presents an application of the ESTIMAP-recreation model to the city of Trento (Italy), aimed at testing its adaptation to the local context and the potential improvements brought to urban planning. The comparison of the results with traditional indicators based on the availability and accessibility to urban parks shows significant differences in terms of priority of intervention across the city, with implications on planning decisions. The application demonstrates that innovative methods can enhance the understanding of nature-based recreation in cities beyond the focus on urban parks, revealing a wide portfolio of actions that planners can put in place to promote nature-based recreation through a multifunctional green infrastructure. Full article
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