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Land, Volume 8, Issue 4 (April 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The subdivision and development of rangelands near the US–Mexico border would affect multiple [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Göbekli Tepe: A Brief Description of the Environmental Development in the Surroundings of the UNESCO World Heritage Site
Received: 5 March 2019 / Revised: 11 April 2019 / Accepted: 18 April 2019 / Published: 24 April 2019
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Abstract
This contribution provides a first characterization of the environmental development for the surroundings of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Göbekli Tepe. We base our analyses on a literature review that covers the environmental components of prevailing bedrock and soils, model- and proxy-based [...] Read more.
This contribution provides a first characterization of the environmental development for the surroundings of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Göbekli Tepe. We base our analyses on a literature review that covers the environmental components of prevailing bedrock and soils, model- and proxy-based climatic development, and vegetation. The spatio-temporal scales that are covered are mainly the Eastern Mediterranean region and the Late Quaternary—whereby special attention is given to available data from the close vicinity of Göbekli Tepe. Information on Late Quaternary geomorphodynamics is largely absent for the environs of Göbekli Tepe, we therefore included remote sensing data, different terrain modeling approaches and field-based geomorphological mapping to gain insights into past process dynamics. The findings indicate that the environmental conditions at Göbekli Tepe during its time of occupation differed significantly from today, showing denser vegetation and a wide spread sediment cover. Different hypotheses are developed that aim to guide future research on environmental changes and their variations during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. These activities are crucial for a more profound understanding of the environment of the site, its potential perception by humans and therefore for the development of narratives on their landscape creation motives. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Food Systems and Their Impact on Common Pool Resources and Resilience
Received: 26 March 2019 / Revised: 16 April 2019 / Accepted: 18 April 2019 / Published: 23 April 2019
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Abstract
The ongoing expansion of agro-industrial food systems is associated with severe socio-ecological problems. For a closer look at the socio-ecological impacts, we analyze the capacity of six food systems to provide farm-based agroecosystem services with the Agroecosystem Service Capacity (ASC) approach. At the [...] Read more.
The ongoing expansion of agro-industrial food systems is associated with severe socio-ecological problems. For a closer look at the socio-ecological impacts, we analyze the capacity of six food systems to provide farm-based agroecosystem services with the Agroecosystem Service Capacity (ASC) approach. At the same time, we analyze how food systems affect the management of common pool resources (CPR). Our findings show that indigenous peoples and agroecological food systems can have up to three times the ASC-index of agro-industrial food systems. Through their contribution to the sustainable management of cultural landscapes with robust institutions for the management of CPRs, food systems contribute to socio-ecological integrity. On the other hand, regional and agro-industrial food systems with a lower ASC-index contribute less to socio-ecological integrity, and they undermine and open up common property institutions for robust CPR management. As a result, they appropriate (or grab) access to CPRs that are vital for food systems with higher ASC-indexes resulting from a robust management of CPRs. Strengthening a robust management of CPRs could put a halt to the ongoing expansion of food systems with a low ASC-index by replacing them with a high ASC-index to prevent an exacerbation of the current socio-ecological situation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A “Young Farmer Problem”? Opportunities and Constraints for Generational Renewal in Farm Management: An Example from Southern Europe
Received: 19 March 2019 / Revised: 5 April 2019 / Accepted: 18 April 2019 / Published: 23 April 2019
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Abstract
The existence of a “young farmer problem” in Europe has been recognized by scientists and policy-makers and is based on the widespread acknowledgement of the poor generational renewal rates in the farming sector and in particular in farmland management across the European Union. [...] Read more.
The existence of a “young farmer problem” in Europe has been recognized by scientists and policy-makers and is based on the widespread acknowledgement of the poor generational renewal rates in the farming sector and in particular in farmland management across the European Union. Despite existing support policy measures, young farmers (YF) face barriers which hamper the establishment and consolidation of their farming enterprises. Focusing on Alentejo (NUTS II), in Portugal, this paper identifies the difficulties YF face to accessing land, the high investment costs required to set up a farming unit, and the insufficient access to credit as the main reasons why young people are prevented from setting up their farming enterprises. Existing policy support measures targeting YF are widely perceived as inefficient with regard to triggering generational renewal. Hence, our findings suggest that not only is it necessary to pay greater attention to the complex question of land tenure, but that also the impact of policies implemented in the past should be examined in detail in order to develop and implement more effective measures that are sensitive to the different national and regional contexts. Full article
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Open AccessCase Report
Evaluation of Resource and Environmental Carrying Capacity of China’s Rapid-Urbanization Areas—A Case Study of Xinbei District, Changzhou
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 31 March 2019 / Accepted: 17 April 2019 / Published: 21 April 2019
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Abstract
The evaluation of resource and environmental carrying capacity (RECC) is the foundation for the rationale behind the arrangement of land spaces for production, living, and ecological uses. In this study, based on various natural, economic, and social factors, an integrated Multi-Factor assessment model [...] Read more.
The evaluation of resource and environmental carrying capacity (RECC) is the foundation for the rationale behind the arrangement of land spaces for production, living, and ecological uses. In this study, based on various natural, economic, and social factors, an integrated Multi-Factor assessment model was developed to evaluate the RECC of Xinbei district of Changzhou. Meanwhile, we also calculated the population carrying capacity estimation model restricted by food security. The study comprehensively analyzed the current status and land resource characteristics of a rapid urbanization area and the RECC restrictions for protection and development. The results indicate that the comprehensive carrying capacity of Xinbei showed distinct spatial heterogeneity, with a decreasing trend from the riverside protection area to urban areas, then to mountain areas. Combined with the secure food supply provided by future land resources, it was estimated that the population carrying index of Xinbei would be as high as 1.25 and 1.22 in 2035 and 2050, respectively, indicating that both years would experience a population overload. Therefore, an urgent adjustment to the structure and layout of territorial space and resources of the Xinbei District is necessary. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Transformations and Site Locations from a Landscape Archaeological Perspective: The Case of Neolithic Wagrien, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Received: 15 February 2019 / Revised: 15 April 2019 / Accepted: 17 April 2019 / Published: 21 April 2019
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Abstract
Societies undergo continuous dynamics and change. By investigating the spatial structure of societal remains and material culture, we tried to get insights into the processes of their landscapes creation. Ritual practices, economic strategies, or the societal structure are stored in the landscape as [...] Read more.
Societies undergo continuous dynamics and change. By investigating the spatial structure of societal remains and material culture, we tried to get insights into the processes of their landscapes creation. Ritual practices, economic strategies, or the societal structure are stored in the landscape as a form of cultural contextualization. We presumed that changes of these will be strongest during phases of transformation and investigated to which degree transformation processes are mirrored in the spatial structure of material remains. Absolute and relative locations were investigated using data from Neolithic domestic and ritual sites in Wagrien, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. The results showed that transformations have a different influence on ritual and domestic locations: There are no discernible influences on the choice of relative domestic site locations, in contrast to ritual sites, whose relative location changes as a result of sociocultural transformations. This illustrates the importance of cultural and socioeconomic functions of individual sites and shows that transformations, even when they impact the fundamental structure of a society, do act on different relative and absolute scales and spheres. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Land Plot Selection Rationale for the Location of Linear Facilities
Received: 25 March 2019 / Revised: 15 April 2019 / Accepted: 16 April 2019 / Published: 19 April 2019
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Abstract
Nowadays, the issue of land plot selection for linear facilities is relevant because of high land load rate world-wide. The given research into establishing a rationale for linear facilities location focuses on the determination of an optimum alternative. The method used is based [...] Read more.
Nowadays, the issue of land plot selection for linear facilities is relevant because of high land load rate world-wide. The given research into establishing a rationale for linear facilities location focuses on the determination of an optimum alternative. The method used is based on the expert analytic hierarchy process to improve the economic, technical and ecological justification of projects of land allocation for linear facilities of utility equipment. The method was applied in order to select a land plot for a gas pipeline. A number of factors have been proven to be crucial for decision-making, such as negative impact on agricultural activities, area and type of agricultural land, straightness of gas pipeline, construction costs, area of land with restricted use regime and to-be-reclaimed zones. A case study of land allocation for gas pipeline illustrates the solution of the task to find the most appropriate plot of land. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Rapid Urbanization and Public Housing Development on Urban Form and Density in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Received: 12 February 2019 / Revised: 11 April 2019 / Accepted: 16 April 2019 / Published: 18 April 2019
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Abstract
Urban development is occurring in many Sub-Saharan Africa cities and rapid urbanization is underway in the East African city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In an effort to address urban poverty and increase homeownership opportunities for low and middle-income residents, the City Administration of [...] Read more.
Urban development is occurring in many Sub-Saharan Africa cities and rapid urbanization is underway in the East African city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In an effort to address urban poverty and increase homeownership opportunities for low and middle-income residents, the City Administration of Addis Ababa initiated a large-scale housing development project in 2005. The project has resulted in the completion of 175,000 units within the city with 132,000 more under construction. To understand the impacts of both rapid growth and the housing program’s impact on the city’s urban form, we compared the type and distribution of land uses in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, between 2006 with 2016 using hand-digitized, ortho-rectified satellite images in Geographic Information Systems (GISs). While residential density has increased, overall density has decreased from 109 people/ha to 98 people/ha. We found that between 2006 and 2016, land occupied by residential housing increased from 33% to 39% and the proportion of informal housing decreased from 57% to 38%. Reflecting the country’s economic prosperity, there was a dramatic increase in the presence of single family housing, particularly on the city’s western side. In 2006, only 1% of residential areas were occupied by high-rise condominiums (4 floors or greater) and this increased to 11% by 2016. The majority of the new, higher density residential developments are located near the eastern edges of the city and this outlying location has significant implications for residents, infrastructure construction, and future development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Linking Arable Crop Occurrence with Site Conditions by the Use of Highly Resolved Spatial Data
Received: 27 February 2019 / Revised: 5 April 2019 / Accepted: 12 April 2019 / Published: 18 April 2019
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Abstract
Agricultural land use is influenced in different ways by local factors such as soil conditions, water supply, and socioeconomic structure. We investigated at regional and field scale how strong the relationship of arable crop patterns and specific local site conditions is. At field [...] Read more.
Agricultural land use is influenced in different ways by local factors such as soil conditions, water supply, and socioeconomic structure. We investigated at regional and field scale how strong the relationship of arable crop patterns and specific local site conditions is. At field scale, a logistic regression analysis for the main crops and selected site variables detected, for each of the analyzed crops, its own specific character of crop–site relationship. Some crops have diverging site relations such as maize and wheat, while other crops show similar probabilities under comparable site conditions, e.g., oilseed rape and winter barley. At the regional scale, the spatial comparison of clustered variables and clustered crop pattern showed a slightly stronger relationship of crop combination and specific combinations of site variables compared to the view of the single crop–site relationship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring the Relationships between Land Use and Ecosystem Services)
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Open AccessArticle
Modelling Development of Riparian Ranchlands Using Ecosystem Services at the Aravaipa Watershed, SE Arizona
Received: 26 March 2019 / Revised: 11 April 2019 / Accepted: 14 April 2019 / Published: 16 April 2019
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Abstract
This paper describes how subdivision and development of rangelands within a remote and celebrated semi-arid watershed near the US–Mexico border might affect multiple ecohydrological services provided, such as recharge of the aquifer, water and sediment yield, water quality, flow rates and downstream cultural [...] Read more.
This paper describes how subdivision and development of rangelands within a remote and celebrated semi-arid watershed near the US–Mexico border might affect multiple ecohydrological services provided, such as recharge of the aquifer, water and sediment yield, water quality, flow rates and downstream cultural and natural resources. Specifically, we apply an uncalibrated watershed model and land-change forecasting scenario to consider the potential effects of converting rangelands to housing developments and document potential changes in hydrological ecosystem services. A new method to incorporate weather data in watershed modelling is introduced. Results of introducing residential development in this fragile arid environment portray changes in the water budget, including increases in surface-water runoff, water yield, and total sediment loading. Our findings also predict slight reductions in lateral soil water, a component of the water budget that is increasingly becoming recognized as critical to maintaining water availability in arid regions. We discuss how the proposed development on shrub/scrub rangelands could threaten to sever imperative ecohydrological interactions and impact multiple ecosystem services. This research highlights rangeland management issues important for the protection of open space, economic valuation of rangeland ecosystem services, conservation easements, and incentives to develop markets for these. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Performance Analysis and Soil Quality Indexing for Dalbergia sissoo Roxb. Grown in Marginal and Degraded Land of Eastern Uttar Pradesh, India
Received: 17 February 2019 / Revised: 4 April 2019 / Accepted: 9 April 2019 / Published: 15 April 2019
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Abstract
The successful utilization of marginal and degraded lands for biomass and bioenergy production depends upon various factors such as climatic conditions, the adaptive traits of the tree species and their growth rate and respective belowground responses. The present study was undertaken to evaluate [...] Read more.
The successful utilization of marginal and degraded lands for biomass and bioenergy production depends upon various factors such as climatic conditions, the adaptive traits of the tree species and their growth rate and respective belowground responses. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the growth performance of a bioenergy tree (Dalbergia sissoo Roxb.) grown in marginal and degraded land of the Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh, India and to analyze the effect of D. sissoo plantations on soil quality improvement over the study years. For this, a soil quality index (SQI) was developed based on principal component analysis (PCA) to understand the effect of D. sissoo plantations on belowground responses. PCA results showed that among the studied soil variables, bulk density (BD), moisture content (MC), microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and soil urease activity (SUA) are the key variables critically influencing the growth of D. sissoo. The SQI was found in an increasing order with the growth period of D. sissoo. (i.e., from 0.419 during the first year to 0.579 in the fourth year). A strong correlation was also observed between the growth attributes (diameter at breast height, R2 = 0.870; and plant height, R2 = 0.861) and the soil quality (p < 0.01). Therefore, the developed SQI can be used as key indicator for monitoring the restoration potential of D. sissoo growing in marginal and degraded lands and also for adopting suitable interventions to further improve soil quality for multipurpose land restoration programs, thereby attaining land degradation neutrality and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Restoring Degraded Lands to Attain UN-SDGs)
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Open AccessArticle
Implementing Green Infrastructure in Spatial Planning in Europe
Received: 5 March 2019 / Revised: 8 April 2019 / Accepted: 11 April 2019 / Published: 13 April 2019
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Abstract
Interest in green infrastructure (GI) has grown in research, policy and planning in recent decades. The central idea behind GI is the understanding of the physical non-built-up environment as an infrastructure capable of delivering a wide variety of benefits to society, including the [...] Read more.
Interest in green infrastructure (GI) has grown in research, policy and planning in recent decades. The central idea behind GI is the understanding of the physical non-built-up environment as an infrastructure capable of delivering a wide variety of benefits to society, including the ability to preserve biodiversity; to provide food, feed, fuel and fibre; to adapt to and mitigate climate change and to contribute to enhanced human health and quality of life. The European Union (EU) has had a GI strategy since 2013, and member states are involved in several strategic and applied GI initiatives and projects. The aim of this study is to explore if and how the European strategy has been implemented. The study adds to the body of knowledge of current GI policies and measures in Europe via an online survey and insights into previous research. The survey reveals that GI is integrated into one or more policy sectors in all 32 countries covered. In 11 of the 32 countries, GI-specific policies are already in place or are being drawn up at a national level. In general, the respondents see the responsibility for GI policy and strategy as a matter of national governments and the implementation as a matter of local governments. They also see the LIFE+ and Horizon 2020 project funds, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), as the most important EU funding sources for the implementation of the GI strategy. The study also identifies availability of georeferenced information, zoning and biotope area factor as three of the spatial planning tools used to implement GI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue European Landscapes and Quality of Life)
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Open AccessArticle
Increasing Sugar Production in Indonesia through Land Suitability Analysis and Sugar Mill Restructuring
Received: 2 March 2019 / Revised: 4 April 2019 / Accepted: 5 April 2019 / Published: 8 April 2019
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Abstract
Indonesia is the fourth most populated country in the world with an annual population growth rate of 1.3%. This growth is accompanied by an increase in sugar consumption, which is occurring at an annual rate of 4.3%. The huge demand for sugar has [...] Read more.
Indonesia is the fourth most populated country in the world with an annual population growth rate of 1.3%. This growth is accompanied by an increase in sugar consumption, which is occurring at an annual rate of 4.3%. The huge demand for sugar has created a large gap between sugar production and demand. Indonesia became the world’s largest sugar importer in 2017–2018. Sugarcane farmers have an important role in sugar production. They are facing problems with declining sugarcane productivity and arable land decreasing. We aimed to understand the sugar production issue in Indonesia and to examine options to increase sugar production. To achieve these aims, a framework consisting of four steps was developed: Analysis of the current situation; problems identification; resolution; and delivering programs; and strategies. The main problems in sugar production in Indonesia were identified, including a stagnation in sugarcane harvest area, low sugarcane productivity, lack of good varieties, and inefficient sugar mills. Based on the identified problems, strategies to increase production were created. Two approaches need to be executed simultaneously: An increase in sugarcane planting area, and an increase in productivity and sugar yield. The first approach in increasing sugar production is the exploration of new sugarcane planting areas outside of Java both on existing agricultural land and in new areas. A land suitability analysis for the whole country was conducted based on a semi-detailed soil map. The main priority for development was the existing agricultural area via an integration system or existing crop exchange. The second approach is restructuring sugar factories through the revitalization of existing sugar mills and investment in the construction of new mills. The challenges that need to be addressed include land availability, provision of high-yielding varieties, and improving the efficiency of sugar mills. General strategies and medium-term programs are presented and discussed. These efforts, if well-executed, will boost Indonesia’s sugar production to meet its domestic demand by 2025, achieving competitiveness in the world market by 2045. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Migration, Youth, and Land in West Africa: Making the Connections Work for Inclusive Development
Received: 22 February 2019 / Revised: 2 April 2019 / Accepted: 4 April 2019 / Published: 8 April 2019
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Abstract
This paper presents the results of a short-term research project conducted in 2017/2018 on the various ways in which migration and land dynamics in West Africa are intertwined. Contrary to much conventional (policy) thinking in the European Union (EU) today, our point of [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of a short-term research project conducted in 2017/2018 on the various ways in which migration and land dynamics in West Africa are intertwined. Contrary to much conventional (policy) thinking in the European Union (EU) today, our point of departure is not that migration is the problem to be solved – nor that (access to) land is the straightforward means to discouraging migration. Drawing on local case studies in four West African countries, this research aims to shed light on the various relationships between migration and land, and to analyze to what extent they may contribute to or obstruct (local) inclusive and sustainable development in Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Benin. In doing so, we aim to offer food for thought concerning possible ways for making the connection between migration and land more fruitful and productive for as many people as possible, especially in relation to the opportunities and constraints facing different categories of West African youth. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mineral Fertiliser Adoption and Land Productivity: Implications for Securing Stable Rice Production in Northern Ghana
Received: 14 March 2019 / Revised: 1 April 2019 / Accepted: 4 April 2019 / Published: 7 April 2019
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Abstract
The promotion of farm innovations, such as mineral fertiliser, is one of the strategies for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of zero hunger and poverty alleviation in developing countries. However, the adoption of mineral fertilisers has been low in Africa, particularly in [...] Read more.
The promotion of farm innovations, such as mineral fertiliser, is one of the strategies for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of zero hunger and poverty alleviation in developing countries. However, the adoption of mineral fertilisers has been low in Africa, particularly in Ghana. The present study not only analyses the impact of mineral fertiliser on the land productivity of rice farmers in northern Ghana but also determines factors that are associated with the adoption of mineral fertilisers using a primary dataset from 470 rice farmers. The study employs endogenous switching regression and propensity score matching approaches in the empirical analysis. The result shows that the adoption of mineral fertiliser tends to significantly increase the land productivity of rice farmers by improving soil fertility and making nutrients readily available to rice crops. The empirical finding further indicates that the adoption of mineral fertiliser is positively influenced by land area, seed, improved rice variety and row planting whereas farmers’ location and market distance exert negative effects on mineral fertiliser adoption. To maximise the land productivity of farmers, it is imperative for agricultural policy interventions to promote mineral fertiliser application by targeting key policy variables such as getting fertiliser input market outlets closer to farmers. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Towards a Tool for Early Detection and Estimation of Forest Cuttings by Remotely Sensed Data
Received: 12 March 2019 / Revised: 1 April 2019 / Accepted: 2 April 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
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Abstract
Knowing the extent and frequency of forest cuttings over large areas is crucial for forest inventories and monitoring. Remote sensing has amply proved its ability to detect land cover changes, particularly in forested areas. Among various strategies, those focusing on mapping using classification [...] Read more.
Knowing the extent and frequency of forest cuttings over large areas is crucial for forest inventories and monitoring. Remote sensing has amply proved its ability to detect land cover changes, particularly in forested areas. Among various strategies, those focusing on mapping using classification approaches of remotely sensed time series are the most frequently used. The main limit of such approaches stems from the difficulty in perfectly and unambiguously classifying each pixel, especially over wide areas. The same procedure is of course simpler if performed over a single pixel. An automated method for identifying forest cuttings over a predefined network of sampling points (IUTI) using multitemporal Sentinel 2 imagery is described. The method employs normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) growth trajectories to identify the presence of disturbances caused by forest cuttings using a large set of points (i.e., 1580 “forest” points). We applied the method using a total of 51 S2 images extracted from the Google Earth Engine over two years (2016 and 2017) in an area of about 70 km2 in Tuscany, central Italy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Improved Change Detection with Trajectory-Based Approach: Application to Quantify Cropland Expansion in South Dakota
Received: 24 February 2019 / Revised: 29 March 2019 / Accepted: 2 April 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
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Abstract
The growing demand for biofuel production increased agricultural activities in South Dakota, leading to the conversion of grassland to cropland. Although a few land change studies have been conducted in this area, they lacked spatial details and were based on the traditional bi-temporal [...] Read more.
The growing demand for biofuel production increased agricultural activities in South Dakota, leading to the conversion of grassland to cropland. Although a few land change studies have been conducted in this area, they lacked spatial details and were based on the traditional bi-temporal change detection that may return incorrect rates of conversion. This study aimed to provide a more complete view of land conversion in South Dakota using a trajectory-based analysis that considers the entire satellite-based land cover/land use time series to improve change detection. We estimated cropland expansion of 5447 km2 (equivalent to 14% of the existing cropland area) between 2007 and 2015, which matches much more closely the reports from the National Agriculture Statistics Service—NASS (5921 km2)—and the National Resources Inventory—NRI (5034 km2)—than an estimation from the bi-temporal approach (8018 km2). Cropland gains were mostly concentrated in 10 counties in northern and central South Dakota. Urbanizing Lincoln County, part of the Sioux Falls metropolitan area, is the only county with a net loss in cropland area over the study period. An evaluation of land suitability for crops using the Soil Survey Geographic Database (SSURGO) indicated a scarcity in high-quality arable land available for cropland expansion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Monitoring Land Cover Change: Towards Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Expansion of Oil Palm Plantations in Indonesia’s Frontier: Problems of Externalities and the Future of Local and Indigenous Communities
Received: 11 February 2019 / Revised: 25 March 2019 / Accepted: 25 March 2019 / Published: 29 March 2019
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Abstract
The expansion of oil palm plantations in Papua province, Indonesia, involves the conversion of forests, among other land types in the landscapes, which are a source of clan members’ livelihoods. The way in which this expansion occurs makes it necessary to understand the [...] Read more.
The expansion of oil palm plantations in Papua province, Indonesia, involves the conversion of forests, among other land types in the landscapes, which are a source of clan members’ livelihoods. The way in which this expansion occurs makes it necessary to understand the factors associated with why companies look for frontier lands and what externalities are generated during both the land acquisition and plantation development periods. Using a spatial analysis of the concession areas, along with data from household surveys of each clan from the Auyu, Mandobo, and Marind tribes who release land to companies, we find that investors are motivated to profit from timber harvested from the clearing of lands for plantations, activity that is facilitated by the local government. Land acquisition and plantation development have resulted in externalities to indigenous landowners in the form of time and money lost in a series of meetings and consultations involving clan members and traditional elders. Other externalities include the reduced welfare of people due to loss of livelihoods, and impacts on food security. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Nexus between Displacement and Land Administration: The Case of Rwanda
Received: 10 February 2019 / Revised: 24 March 2019 / Accepted: 25 March 2019 / Published: 29 March 2019
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Abstract
In conflict situations, many people are displaced because of hostility and arms in the area. Displaced people are forced to leave behind their properties, and this in turn interrupts the relationship between people and their land. The emergency period in particular has been [...] Read more.
In conflict situations, many people are displaced because of hostility and arms in the area. Displaced people are forced to leave behind their properties, and this in turn interrupts the relationship between people and their land. The emergency period in particular has been identified as a weak point in the humanitarian response to land issues in post-conflict situations. In addition, during this period of response, most post-conflict governments do not prioritize land administration as an emergency issue due to other social, economic, security, and political challenges, which countries face in the immediate aftermath of the conflict. In the longer run, this results in post-conflict illegal land occupation, secondary occupation, numerous disputes and claims over land, and dysfunctional government institutions that legalize these illegal and secondary occupations. This research explores the nexus between displacement and land administration in a post-conflict context. It uses empirical data from fieldwork in Rwanda, and discusses how government interventions in land administration in emergency and early recovery periods of post-conflict situations affect future land administration during the reconstruction phase. The post-conflict Rwandan government envisaged proper land administration as a contributor to sustainable peace and security as it enhances social equity and prevents conflicts. Thus, it embarked on a nationwide systematic land registration program to register land all over the country with the aim of easing land administration practices and reducing successive land-related claims and disputes. However, the program faced many challenges, among which were continuous land claims and disputes. Our research anticipates these continued land claims and disputes are due to how land issues were handled in the emergency and early recovery period of the post-conflict Rwanda, especially during land sharing initiatives and Imidugudu (collective settlement policy). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Valuing Our National Parks: An Ecological Economics Perspective
Received: 25 March 2019 / Accepted: 26 March 2019 / Published: 29 March 2019
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Abstract
The annual budget for the United States National Park Service was roughly $3 billion in 2016. This is distributed amongst 405 National Parks, 23 national scenic and historic trails, and 60 wild and scenic rivers. Entrance fees and concessions generate millions of dollars [...] Read more.
The annual budget for the United States National Park Service was roughly $3 billion in 2016. This is distributed amongst 405 National Parks, 23 national scenic and historic trails, and 60 wild and scenic rivers. Entrance fees and concessions generate millions of dollars in income for the National Park Service; however, this metric fails to account for the total value of the National Parks. In failing to consider the value of the ecosystem services provided by the National Parks, we fail to quantify and appreciate the contributions our parks make to society. This oversight allows us to continue to underfund a valuable part of our natural capital and consequently damage our supporting environment, national heritage, monetary economy, and many of our diverse cultures. We explore a simple benefits transfer valuation of the United States’ national parks using National Land Cover Data from 2011 and ecosystem service values determined by Costanza et al. This produces an estimate suggesting the parks provide $98 billion/year in ecosystem service value. If the natural infrastructure ‘asset’ that is our national park system had a budget comparable to a piece of commercial real estate of this value, the annual budget of the National Park Service would be roughly an order of magnitude larger at something closer to $30 billion rather than $3 billion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring the Relationships between Land Use and Ecosystem Services)
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Open AccessArticle
Rent-Seeking Practices, Local Resource Curse, and Social Conflict in Uganda’s Emerging Oil Economy
Received: 27 January 2019 / Revised: 22 March 2019 / Accepted: 25 March 2019 / Published: 27 March 2019
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Abstract
We consider the different types of rent-seeking practices in emerging oil economies, and discuss how they contribute to social conflict and a local resource curse in the Albertine Graben region of Uganda. The rent-seeking activities have contributed to speculative behavior, competition for limited [...] Read more.
We consider the different types of rent-seeking practices in emerging oil economies, and discuss how they contribute to social conflict and a local resource curse in the Albertine Graben region of Uganda. The rent-seeking activities have contributed to speculative behavior, competition for limited social services, land grabbing, land scarcity, land fragmentation, food insecurity, corruption, and ethnic polarization. Local people have interpreted the experience of the consequent social impacts as a local resource curse. The impacts have led to social conflicts among the affected communities. Our research used a range of methods, including 40 in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, participant observation, and document analysis. We argue there is an urgent need by all stakeholders—including local and central governments, oil companies, local communities, and civil society organizations—to address the challenges before the construction of oil infrastructure. Stakeholders must work hard to create the conditions that are needed to avoid the resource curse; otherwise, Uganda could end up suffering from the Dutch Disease and Nigerian Disease, as has befallen other African countries. Full article
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