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Land, Volume 8, Issue 1 (January 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Land has traditionally been assumed to be a fixed production factor, both in terms of quantity [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Predicting Intensification on the Brazilian Agricultural Frontier: Combining Evidence from Lab-In-The-Field Experiments and Household Surveys
Received: 4 December 2018 / Revised: 24 December 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2019 / Published: 16 January 2019
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Abstract
The expansion of crop agriculture onto low productivity cattle pastures in the agricultural frontier of Brazil is a form of agricultural intensification that can help to contribute to global food and climate goals. However, the amount of pasture to crop conversion in the [...] Read more.
The expansion of crop agriculture onto low productivity cattle pastures in the agricultural frontier of Brazil is a form of agricultural intensification that can help to contribute to global food and climate goals. However, the amount of pasture to crop conversion in the region lags both agronomic and economic potential. We administered a survey in combination with a lab-in-the-field experiment to 559 farmers in Mato Grosso, Brazil. We used the results to explore behavioral determinants of pasture to crop conversion. We compared subjects’ choices across two rounds of a risk game meant to mimic the economic risk of decisions to convert pasture to crops. We found framing the risk game to concern agriculture profoundly altered subjects’ experimental choices. These discrepancies involved the majority of experimental subjects, and were highly heterogenous in nature. They were also somewhat predictive of subjects’ behavior converting pasture to cropland. Our findings indicate that farmers may make economic decisions involving agriculture and/or agricultural land differently from other economic decisions. Our finding are of relevance for research into the propensity of farmers to intensify and for policies seeking to influence rates of agricultural intensification. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle A Model for Estimating the Vegetation Cover in the High-Altitude Wetlands of the Andes (HAWA)
Received: 16 October 2018 / Revised: 8 January 2019 / Accepted: 9 January 2019 / Published: 15 January 2019
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Abstract
The natural salt meadows of Tilopozo in the hyperarid, Atacama Desert of northern Chile, which are located at approximately 2800 m above sea level, are under pressure from industrial activity, and cultivation and grazing by local communities. In this research, the land surface [...] Read more.
The natural salt meadows of Tilopozo in the hyperarid, Atacama Desert of northern Chile, which are located at approximately 2800 m above sea level, are under pressure from industrial activity, and cultivation and grazing by local communities. In this research, the land surface covered by salt meadow vegetation was estimated from normalized difference vegetation indices (NDVI) derived from Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM), Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM+) and Operational Land Imager (OLI) data from 1985 to 2016. The vegetated area of the Tilopozo salt meadows decreased by 34 ha over the 32-year period studied. Multiple regression models of the area covered by vegetation and climate data and groundwater depths were derived on an annual basis, as well as for both the dry and wet seasons and had R2 values of 83.0%, 72.8% and 92.4% respectively between the vegetated areas modeled and those estimated from remotely sensed data. These models are potentially useful tools for studies into the conservation of the Tilopozo salt meadows, as they provide relevant information on the state of vegetation and enable changes in vegetation in response to fluctuations in climate parameters and groundwater depths to be predicted. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Influence of Wind Energy and Biogas on Farmland Prices
Received: 11 December 2018 / Revised: 10 January 2019 / Accepted: 11 January 2019 / Published: 15 January 2019
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Abstract
In the context of the rapid development of renewable energy in Germany in the last decade, and increased concerns regarding its potential impacts on farmland prices, this paper investigates the impact of wind energy and biogas production on agricultural land purchasing prices. To [...] Read more.
In the context of the rapid development of renewable energy in Germany in the last decade, and increased concerns regarding its potential impacts on farmland prices, this paper investigates the impact of wind energy and biogas production on agricultural land purchasing prices. To quantify the possible impact of the cumulative capacity of wind turbines and biogas plants on arable land prices in Saxony-Anhalt, we estimate a community-based and a transaction-based model using spatial econometrics and ordinary least squares. Based on data from 2007 to 2016, our analysis shows that a higher cumulative capacity of wind turbines in communities leads to higher farmland transaction prices, though the effect is very small: if the average cumulative capacity of wind turbines per community doubles, we expect that farmland prices per hectare increase by 0.4%. Plots that are directly affected by a wind turbine or part of a regional development plan, however, experience strong price increases. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Gender, Educational Attainment, and Farm Outcomes in New Zealand
Received: 11 December 2018 / Revised: 9 January 2019 / Accepted: 9 January 2019 / Published: 14 January 2019
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Abstract
Empirical studies of farm outcomes that rely on survey data often find important roles for education and gender. However, relatively few studies consider either field of study or gender of the decision maker (as opposed to gender of the survey respondent). This paper [...] Read more.
Empirical studies of farm outcomes that rely on survey data often find important roles for education and gender. However, relatively few studies consider either field of study or gender of the decision maker (as opposed to gender of the survey respondent). This paper evaluates how the field of education and gender of decision makers correlate with profitability, farm management, future intentions, risk and norms, and adoption of novel technologies in New Zealand, explicitly accounting for the fact that many farming households make decisions jointly. Findings show that post-secondary education in a relevant field is a strong predictor of farm outcomes such as adoption of best management practices, plans to convert or intensify land use, risk tolerance, and adoption of novel technologies. Male sole decision makers (vis-à-vis joint decision makers) are more likely to have adopted best management practices and to have greater risk tolerance while female sole decision makers have adopted fewer novel technologies. These results have important implications for policy makers and extension officers who wish to encourage the uptake of best management practices and who wish to better understand future land-use change. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Efficiency of Vegetables Produced in Glasshouses: The Impact of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) in Land Management Decision Making
Received: 24 November 2018 / Revised: 7 January 2019 / Accepted: 10 January 2019 / Published: 13 January 2019
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Abstract
Glasshouse farming is one of the most intensive types of production of agricultural products. Via this process, consumers have the ability to consume mainly off-season vegetables and farmers are able to reduce operational risks, due to their ability to control micro-climate conditions. This [...] Read more.
Glasshouse farming is one of the most intensive types of production of agricultural products. Via this process, consumers have the ability to consume mainly off-season vegetables and farmers are able to reduce operational risks, due to their ability to control micro-climate conditions. This type of farming is quite competitive worldwide, this being the main reason for formulating and implementing assessment models measuring operational performance. The methodology used in this study is Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), which has wide acceptance in agriculture, among other sectors of the economy. The production protocols of four different vegetables—cucumber, eggplant, pepper, and tomato—were evaluated. Acreage (m2), crop protection costs (€), fertilizers (€), labor (Hr/year), energy (€), and other costs (€) were used as inputs. The turnover of every production unit (€) was used as the output. Ninety-eight agricultural holdings participated in this survey. The dataset was obtained by face-to-face interviews. The main findings verify the existence of significant relative deficiencies (including a mean efficiency score of 0.87) as regards inputs usage, as well as considerably different efficiency scores among the different cultivations. The most efficient of these was the eggplant production protocol and the least efficient was that used for the tomato. The implementation of DEA verified its utility, providing incentives for continuing to use this methodology for improving land management decision making. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Changes in Land Cover and Urban Sprawl in Ireland From a Comparative Perspective Over 1990–2012
Received: 9 November 2018 / Revised: 7 January 2019 / Accepted: 10 January 2019 / Published: 11 January 2019
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Abstract
In this article, we first summarise trends of land use changes and urbanisation in Ireland since 1990 using data from the Corine Land Cover program. In doing so, we compare the developments in Ireland with other European countries. Second, we propose a statistical [...] Read more.
In this article, we first summarise trends of land use changes and urbanisation in Ireland since 1990 using data from the Corine Land Cover program. In doing so, we compare the developments in Ireland with other European countries. Second, we propose a statistical test for the presence of sprawl using conditional and unconditional convergence tests. The two-part empirical analysis allows us to establish that Ireland has experienced a substantial loss of non-urban land in recent decades. Furthermore, a significant share of urban land use has been extended to remote areas, thereby exacerbating sprawl. Full article
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Open AccessReview Understanding Land in the Context of Large-Scale Land Acquisitions: A Brief History of Land in Economics
Received: 19 November 2018 / Revised: 30 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 January 2019 / Published: 10 January 2019
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Abstract
In economics, land has been traditionally assumed to be a fixed production factor, both in terms of quantity supplied and mobility, as opposed to capital and labor, which are usually considered to be mobile factors, at least to some extent. Yet, in the [...] Read more.
In economics, land has been traditionally assumed to be a fixed production factor, both in terms of quantity supplied and mobility, as opposed to capital and labor, which are usually considered to be mobile factors, at least to some extent. Yet, in the last decade, international investors have expressed an unexpected interest in farmland and in land-related investments, with the demand for land brusquely rising at an unprecedented pace. In spite of a fast-growing literature analyzing the variety of “spaces” affected by large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs), the contemporary process of “commodification” of land embedded in this phenomenon has taken present day economists by surprise. This paper reviews the evolution over time of the concept of land in economics and it suggests how different aspects of this evolution are relevant to the understanding of contemporary LSLAs. Rather than presuming to analyze in a systematic and comprehensive manner the immense literature in land economics, this article investigates what makes land a peculiar and complex commodity. Indeed, different branches of economic thought, at different moments in time, pointed out that the location of land in space matters; that land is a living and fundamental component of the ecosystem; that it is a valuable economic asset, and yet, it is often hard to value it in pure monetary terms; eventually, that land is intrinsically connected to societies, cultural and spiritual identities, mores, and institutions. Through a brief history of the evolution of the concept of land in economics, this paper identifies four broad categories—namely, space, economics, environment, and institutions—that help understanding land as a peculiar good. These four elements characterize land as a commodity, as well as its peculiarities, and constitute the prerequisites of a conceptual framework for the analysis and the understanding of the forces at play in the contemporary wave of large-scale land acquisitions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle New 1 km Resolution Datasets of Global and Regional Risks of Tree Cover Loss
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 6 December 2018 / Accepted: 4 January 2019 / Published: 10 January 2019
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Abstract
Despite global recognition of the social, economic and ecological impacts of deforestation, the world is losing forests at an alarming rate. Global and regional efforts by policymakers and donors to reduce deforestation need science-driven information on where forest loss is happening, and where [...] Read more.
Despite global recognition of the social, economic and ecological impacts of deforestation, the world is losing forests at an alarming rate. Global and regional efforts by policymakers and donors to reduce deforestation need science-driven information on where forest loss is happening, and where it may happen in the future. We used spatially-explicit globally-consistent variables and global historical tree cover and loss to analyze how global- and regional-scale variables contributed to historical tree cover loss and to model future risks of tree cover loss, based on a business-as-usual scenario. Our results show that (1) some biomes have higher risk of tree cover loss than others; (2) variables related to tree cover loss at the global scale differ from those at the regional scale; and (3) variables related to tree cover loss vary by continent. By mapping both tree cover loss risk and potential future tree cover loss, we aim to provide decision makers and donors with multiple outputs to improve targeting of forest conservation investments. By making the outputs readily accessible, we anticipate they will be used in other modeling analyses, conservation planning exercises, and prioritization activities aimed at conserving forests to meet national and global climate mitigation targets and biodiversity goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Monitoring Land Cover Change: Towards Sustainability)
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Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Land in 2018
Published: 8 January 2019
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Abstract
Rigorous peer-review is the corner-stone of high-quality academic publishing [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle Agricultural Expansion in the Brazilian Cerrado: Increased Soil and Nutrient Losses and Decreased Agricultural Productivity
Received: 27 September 2018 / Revised: 28 December 2018 / Accepted: 3 January 2019 / Published: 8 January 2019
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Abstract
While food and nutrition security are issues that national and international organizations are tackling, one of the central problems often overlooked is the essential role of soils in providing nutritious food. Soils are the base for food production and food security. However, the [...] Read more.
While food and nutrition security are issues that national and international organizations are tackling, one of the central problems often overlooked is the essential role of soils in providing nutritious food. Soils are the base for food production and food security. However, the majority of soils are in fair and poor conditions, with the most significant threats being erosion and loss of nutrients. In this study, we estimate the potential of soil loss, agricultural productivity loss, and nutrient loss for Brazil’s most important agricultural region, the Brazilian Cerrado, for the years 2000 and 2012. For this, we applied the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) model integrated with a geographical information system (GIS) to estimate annual soil loss rate and agricultural productivity loss, and used total nitrogen and total phosphorus in soil to estimate the annual nutrient loss rate caused by soil loss. All model factors and data were obtained from the literature. The results show that agricultural expansion in the Brazilian Cerrado is increasing the area of severe erosion, occasioning agricultural productivity decrease and soil nutrient depletion. The annual soil loss rate increased from 10.4 (2000) to 12.0 Mg ha−1 yr−1 (2012). Agricultural productivity loss occurred in more than 3 million hectares of crops and silviculture in 2000 and in more than 5.5 million hectares in 2012. Severely eroded areas lost between 13.1 and 25.9 times more nutrients than areas with low and moderate soil loss rates. These findings show that government policy should be directed to ensure the sustainable use of soils, mainly in agriculturally consolidated regions of the Brazilian Cerrado. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Food Systems Interactions in South America)
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Open AccessArticle A Nested Land Uses–Landscapes–Livelihoods Approach to Assess the Real Costs of Land-Use Transitions: Insights from Southeast Asia
Received: 3 November 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 4 January 2019 / Published: 7 January 2019
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Abstract
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is viewed as an effective way to mitigate climate change by compensating stewards of forested areas for minimizing forestland conversion and protecting forest services. Opportunity costs assess the cost of foregone opportunity when preserving the [...] Read more.
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is viewed as an effective way to mitigate climate change by compensating stewards of forested areas for minimizing forestland conversion and protecting forest services. Opportunity costs assess the cost of foregone opportunity when preserving the forest instead of investing in an alternative activity or resource use. This paper questions the calculation method of opportunity costs using averaged economic benefits and co-benefits of different land-use transitions. We propose a nested approach to land-use transitions at the interface between landscapes and livelihoods and assessing a wide range of potential socio-ecological costs and benefits. Combining household surveys and focus groups with participatory mapping, we applied the approach in villages of Laos, Vietnam and China positioned along a broad transition trajectory from subsistence shifting cultivation to intensive commercial agriculture. By looking beyond the economics of land use, we highlight important linkages between land-use changes and livelihood differentiation, vulnerability and inequalities. Our results show the importance of addressing the impacts of land-use transitions on a wide range of potential ecological and socioeconomic costs and benefits at multiple levels. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs), Aichi Target 11 and Canada’s Pathway to Target 1: Focusing Conservation on Reconciliation
Received: 30 November 2018 / Revised: 24 December 2018 / Accepted: 4 January 2019 / Published: 7 January 2019
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Abstract
This article provides analysis of the issues relating to movement towards new models for Indigenous-led conservation in light of Canada’s initiatives for greater protected areas representation through Target 1. We provide a background on Canada’s Pathway to Target 1, which is based on [...] Read more.
This article provides analysis of the issues relating to movement towards new models for Indigenous-led conservation in light of Canada’s initiatives for greater protected areas representation through Target 1. We provide a background on Canada’s Pathway to Target 1, which is based on Target 11 from the Aichi Biodiversity Targets set forth by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). We contemplate the past, present and future of colonization and reconciliation in Canada, and consider the influence of international declarations, programs and initiatives on the potential for the formation of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs). We then provide an analysis of “wicked problems” that Indigenous communities, governments, and other stakeholders in protected areas will need to navigate towards implementing the IPCA approach in Canada. We outline the different types of Indigenous involvement in protected areas and how they potentially fit within the principles for the development of IPCAs. We then turn our discussion to the need to refocus conservation on reconciliation by restoring nation-to-nation relationships and relationships between the land and peoples. The lessons we draw have potential parallels for other nation states, particularly those signatory to the CBD and with a colonial history, aiming for biodiversity conservation and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through IPCAs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Protected Areas)
Open AccessArticle Fractional Woody Cover Mapping of Texas Savanna at Landsat Scale
Received: 26 October 2018 / Revised: 6 December 2018 / Accepted: 4 January 2019 / Published: 5 January 2019
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Abstract
Texas savanna experienced substantial woody plant encroachment during the past several decades, resulting in habitat fragmentation and species loss. A detailed map of woody plant abundance and distribution in this area is critically needed for management purpose. This study endeavors to map the [...] Read more.
Texas savanna experienced substantial woody plant encroachment during the past several decades, resulting in habitat fragmentation and species loss. A detailed map of woody plant abundance and distribution in this area is critically needed for management purpose. This study endeavors to map the fractional woody cover of Texas savanna at Landsat scale (30 m) in an affordable way. The top of atmosphere reflectance, thermal bands, and NDVI layer of Web-Enabled Landsat Data (WELD) of 2012 were used as predictors, together with mean annual precipitation. Classification and Regression Trees (CART) were calibrated against training data of a whole range of fractional woody cover, which were derived from 1-m resolution digital orthophotos of 2012. Validation indicates a reasonable pixel level accuracy of the result fractional woody cover map, with a R-squared value of 0.45. Moreover, the result map clearly depicts the distribution of woody plants across the study area, as reflected by the orthophotos. Furthermore, this new map proves an improvement over the existing Landsat Vegetation Continuous Fields (VCF) tree cover product. The method developed here, combining remote sensing and statistical techniques, can contribute to savanna management through revealing the abundance and distribution of woody plants. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Future Land Use Change on Large Carnivores Connectivity in the Polish Carpathians
Received: 28 November 2018 / Revised: 19 December 2018 / Accepted: 28 December 2018 / Published: 4 January 2019
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Abstract
The Polish Carpathians, like many mountain areas in Europe, are currently facing dynamic land use changes that will shape their future landscapes. As there are many different possible scenarios of potential change, we compared three different land use scenarios up until the year [...] Read more.
The Polish Carpathians, like many mountain areas in Europe, are currently facing dynamic land use changes that will shape their future landscapes. As there are many different possible scenarios of potential change, we compared three different land use scenarios up until the year 2060 and assessed their impact on the potential habitat connectivity of two large carnivores—wolf (Canis lupus) and lynx (Lynx lynx). We first analysed the main directions of change within and outside the pan-European wildlife corridor located in the western part of the Polish Carpathians. Then we calculated and compared least-cost paths among randomly selected points for each land use scenario separately. Our results showed that the main direction of change—forest cover increase—may positively influence habitat connectivity for both wolf and lynx. However, due to the future spread of settlements, this positive impact might be locally limited. Therefore, to realise the potential conservation opportunities resulting from on-going land use changes, adequate orientation of spatial planning towards habitat connectivity is crucial. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Navigating Contested Winds: Development Visions and Anti-Politics of Wind Energy in Northern Kenya
Received: 13 November 2018 / Revised: 20 December 2018 / Accepted: 29 December 2018 / Published: 4 January 2019
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Abstract
State-led development visions and the accompanying large-scale investments at the geographical margins of Kenya rest on the potential of public–private partnerships to fast-tract sustainable development through accelerated investments. Yet, the conceptualisation, planning and implementation of these visions often deploy a depoliticising development discourse [...] Read more.
State-led development visions and the accompanying large-scale investments at the geographical margins of Kenya rest on the potential of public–private partnerships to fast-tract sustainable development through accelerated investments. Yet, the conceptualisation, planning and implementation of these visions often deploy a depoliticising development discourse that reinforces and expands long-standing misconceptions about the margins primarily directed at pastoral livelihoods and related communal land tenure. This paper illustrates how the implementation of a wind energy project employs the corporate strategies of depoliticising both land claims and development interventions. In Northern Kenya, private sector participation in large-scale wind energy infrastructure has created a complex development apparatus in which players are empowered to undertake the accelerated investments required to shape the delivery of the Kenya Vision 2030 in the region. An analysis of corporate actors’ strategies in the implementation of the contested wind farm presents a depoliticised framing of “low-cost green energy”, representations of pastoral land tenure and corporate social responsibility strategies through which dispossession is justified and legitimised. This case underscores the extent to which corporate counterresistance is shaped by the reproduction of a historical depoliticised discourse about pastoralism and communal tenure and challenges the traditional narrative of government hegemony against local resistance to large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs). Full article
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Open AccessArticle Can Multifunctional Landscapes Become Effective Conservation Strategies? Challenges and Opportunities From a Mexican Case Study
Received: 14 November 2018 / Revised: 23 December 2018 / Accepted: 28 December 2018 / Published: 3 January 2019
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Protected Areas (PA) are the main strategy for nature conservation. However, PA are not always efficient for ecological conservation and social wellbeing. A possible alternative for conservation in human-dominated landscapes are Multifunctional Landscapes (ML), which allow the coexistence of multiple objectives, such as [...] Read more.
Protected Areas (PA) are the main strategy for nature conservation. However, PA are not always efficient for ecological conservation and social wellbeing. A possible alternative for conservation in human-dominated landscapes are Multifunctional Landscapes (ML), which allow the coexistence of multiple objectives, such as nature conservation and resource use. Using the activity system framework, we analyzed whether the ML concept was an operative alternative to PA within an area of interest for conservation in Veracruz, Mexico. Activity systems refer to the set of productive strategies that result from the mobilization of resources and which, within particular environmental governance contexts, shape the landscape. To understand the challenges and opportunities of our case study, we: (1) delimited the landscape according to local conservation interests; and (2) analyzed the role of stakeholders in shaping this landscape. The delimited landscape included areas considered wildlife reservoirs and water provisioning zones. Our results suggested that the existence of local conservation areas (private and communal), combined with shaded-coffee agroforestry practices, made this region an example of ML. Although local conservation initiatives are perceived as more legitimate than top-down approaches, agreements amongst stakeholders are essential to strengthen environmental governance. In specific socio-ecological contexts, ML can be effective strategies for conservation through agroecosystems that maintain a high-quality landscape matrix, allowing nature preservation and delivering economic benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifunctional landscapes)
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Open AccessReview Conservation through Biocultural Heritage—Examples from Sub-Saharan Africa
Received: 30 November 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 23 December 2018 / Published: 2 January 2019
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In this paper, we review the potential of biocultural heritage in biodiversity protection and agricultural innovation in sub-Saharan Africa. We begin by defining the concept of biocultural heritage into four interlinked elements that are revealed through integrated landscape analysis. This concerns the transdisciplinary [...] Read more.
In this paper, we review the potential of biocultural heritage in biodiversity protection and agricultural innovation in sub-Saharan Africa. We begin by defining the concept of biocultural heritage into four interlinked elements that are revealed through integrated landscape analysis. This concerns the transdisciplinary methods whereby biocultural heritage must be explored, and here we emphasise that reconstructing landscape histories and documenting local heritage values needs to be an integral part of the process. Ecosystem memories relate to the structuring of landscape heterogeneity through such activities as agroforestry and fire management. The positive linkages between living practices, biodiversity and soil nutrients examined here are demonstrative of the concept of ecosystem memories. Landscape memories refer to built or enhanced landscapes linked to specific land-use systems and property rights. Place memories signify practices of protection or use related to a specific place. Customary protection of burial sites and/or abandoned settlements, for example, is a common occurrence across Africa with beneficial outcomes for biodiversity and forest protection. Finally, we discuss stewardship and change. Building on local traditions, inclusivity and equity are essential to promoting the continuation and innovation of practices crucial for local sustainability and biodiversity protection, and also offer new avenues for collaboration in landscape management and conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Protected Areas)
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Open AccessReview Evaluating Public Attitudes and Farmers’ Beliefs towards Climate Change Adaptation: Awareness, Perception, and Populism at European Level
Received: 26 November 2018 / Revised: 18 December 2018 / Accepted: 24 December 2018 / Published: 29 December 2018
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The scientific understanding of climate change is firmly established; it is occurring, it is primarily due to human activities, and it poses potentially serious risks to human and natural systems. Nevertheless, public understanding of this phenomenon varies widely among farmers and the public, [...] Read more.
The scientific understanding of climate change is firmly established; it is occurring, it is primarily due to human activities, and it poses potentially serious risks to human and natural systems. Nevertheless, public understanding of this phenomenon varies widely among farmers and the public, the two-target audience of this paper. This paper introduces two research questions: (1) How climate change is perceived by public-farmers’ nexus; and (2) How perception and populism (as a thin-ideology moved by social forces) interact? In order to address both questions, we review insights from different sources (literature, research projects, and public opinion services) over the last 10 years. The results proved how public experience of climate change is interdependent with the belief that climate change is happening. What is also notable is that the greater the years of farmers’ farming experiences, the greater the percentage rate of their climate change awareness. Differences among farmers and public perceptions were also noted. Uncertainty, coupled with skepticism, the media, and political will, are common findings when asking to farmers and the public for the main weaknesses in adaptation to climate change. However, scientific consensus, meteorological data, barriers to adaptation, and the role of technology are subjects in which both differ. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Re-Placing the Desert in the Conservation Landscape: Charisma and Absence in the Gobi Desert
Received: 1 December 2018 / Revised: 25 December 2018 / Accepted: 28 December 2018 / Published: 29 December 2018
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Across the Gobi Desert in China and Mongolia, millions of newly planted trees struggle to survive amid adverse ecological conditions. They were planted by a wide variety of actors in an attempt to protect, restore, or modify the local environment, despite evidence of [...] Read more.
Across the Gobi Desert in China and Mongolia, millions of newly planted trees struggle to survive amid adverse ecological conditions. They were planted by a wide variety of actors in an attempt to protect, restore, or modify the local environment, despite evidence of their negative consequences upon local ecosystems. This paper investigates how these afforestation projects both challenge and affirm recent theoretical work on conservation, while also providing key insights into the decision-making framework of land management across the world’s third largest desert region. This analysis, supported by evidence from corporate practice, government policy, and participant observation, builds primarily on the work of Jamie Lorimer and other authors who identify the charisma of certain species as a primary driver of contemporary conservation. But the case of afforestation in the Gobi is inadequately explained by a desire to protect individual species; rather, I show how the charisma at the level of the landscape influences conservation practice. I extend this analysis to suggest that the management of deserts worldwide may be mediated by their perception as absent or empty spaces, thus explaining projects like afforestation which seem to re-place rather than conserve. Using the framework of absence and presence to better understand land use and environmental governance could have implications extending well beyond the Gobi Desert. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arid Land Systems: Sciences and Societies)
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Open AccessArticle Water Tourism: A New Strategy for the Sustainable Management of Water-Based Ecosystems and Landscapes in Extremadura (Spain)
Received: 13 November 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 27 December 2018 / Published: 29 December 2018
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Water is an important element for the conservation of ecosystems and for human wellbeing. Recently, there has been a loss of awareness about the value of this resource, which requires scientific and practical action to encourage the rise of a new cultural attitude [...] Read more.
Water is an important element for the conservation of ecosystems and for human wellbeing. Recently, there has been a loss of awareness about the value of this resource, which requires scientific and practical action to encourage the rise of a new cultural attitude regarding water. Tourism gives water resources great potential, because it facilitates the development of such attractive resources, combining their protection with respectful use. However, studies that have explored the water tourism–territory relationship are still scarce. The objective of this work is to explore the current, touristic use of the aquifer sites in the Spanish region of Extremadura in order to determine whether these practices have the potential to generate new sensitivity about the value of water and its importance in socioeconomic development and environmental conservation. This research uses qualitative and quantitative methodologies, obtaining results that confirm the strategic role of water in the proper management of ecosystems and for the enhancement of human wellbeing. The empirical results show the beginning of a change in water-based tourism from both a supply- and demand-side perspectives. The conclusions suggest potential new measures that will facilitate a better understanding of the value of water, enhance the quality of life for everyone, and safeguard ecosystems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle ‘Un-Central’ Landscapes of NE-Africa and W-Asia—Landscape Archaeology as a Tool for Socio-Economic History in Arid Landscapes
Received: 6 November 2018 / Revised: 13 December 2018 / Accepted: 17 December 2018 / Published: 22 December 2018
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Abstract
Arid regions in the Old World Dry Belt are assumed to be marginal regions, not only in ecological terms, but also economically and socially. Such views in geography, archaeology, and sociology are—despite the real limits of living in arid landscapes—partly influenced by derivates [...] Read more.
Arid regions in the Old World Dry Belt are assumed to be marginal regions, not only in ecological terms, but also economically and socially. Such views in geography, archaeology, and sociology are—despite the real limits of living in arid landscapes—partly influenced by derivates of Central Place Theory as developed for European medieval city-based economies. For other historical time periods and regions, this narrative inhibited socio-economic research with data-based and non-biased approaches. This paper aims, in two arid Graeco-Roman landscapes, to show how far approaches from landscape archaeology and social network analysis combined with the “small world phenomenon” can help to overcome a dichotomic view on core places and their areas, and understand settlement patterns and economic practices in a nuanced way. With Hauran in Southern Syria and Marmarica in NW-Egypt, I revise the concept of marginality, and look for qualitatively and spatially defined relationships between settlements, for both resource management and social organization. This ‘un-central’ perspective on arid landscapes provides insights on how arid regions functioned economically and socially due to a particular spatial concept and connection with their (scarce) resources, mainly water. Full article
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