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Land, Volume 8, Issue 5 (May 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Recreation and tourism are important ways by which people derive benefits from natural [...] Read more.
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Open AccessReview
Land Conservation in the Gulf of Mexico Region: A Comprehensive Review of Plans, Priorities, and Efforts
Received: 29 April 2019 / Revised: 10 May 2019 / Accepted: 21 May 2019 / Published: 23 May 2019
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Abstract
An unprecedented land conservation effort is presently underway in the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Region (GCR) due to an influx of funds from settlements related to the 2012 RESTORE Act. A complete understanding of the priorities of the states in the GCR is [...] Read more.
An unprecedented land conservation effort is presently underway in the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Region (GCR) due to an influx of funds from settlements related to the 2012 RESTORE Act. A complete understanding of the priorities of the states in the GCR is critical to ensure that land conservation planning efforts are implemented effectively and efficiently. The paper reviews past, current, and future land conservation priorities in the GCR to inform strategic planning efforts. This review catalogs an extensive list of projects and plans proposed and implemented at federal, state, county, and city levels with direct ties to land conservation during the past 20 years. Comprehensive restoration goals proposed by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration (Restore) Council were used as a framework for grouping priorities within conservation plans and projects. Plans were first compiled via internet searches and expert sources, then a series of eight stakeholder charrettes were held across the GCR states to validate the catalog and add missing projects and plans. A geospatial web tool was developed using the Restore Council goal framework to allow for the identification and exploration of plans in the GCR. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Landscape Notions among Greek Engineering Students: Exploring Landscape Perceptions, Knowledge and Participation
Received: 14 March 2019 / Revised: 1 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 20 May 2019
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Abstract
The objective of this paper is to explore and critically analyze the basic notions of landscape and their change through time, among Greek engineering students, from all academically formative years of their undergraduate studies, at the Technical University of Crete. Specifically, it probes [...] Read more.
The objective of this paper is to explore and critically analyze the basic notions of landscape and their change through time, among Greek engineering students, from all academically formative years of their undergraduate studies, at the Technical University of Crete. Specifically, it probes into their perspectives vis-à-vis the landscape at large and their everyday-life landscapes in particular, regarding their landscape perceptions, behavior, and education. This study takes place in two stages (2012 and 2017) and is placed in the context of continued scientific investigation into the interrelationships of various “publics” with various types of landscapes and landscape development ideas, perceptions, and preferences—and specifically those professionals-in-the-making who are bound to become key future agents in Greek landscape stewardship. Our aims serve the European Landscape Convention’s purposes of landscape research, education, and awareness-raising; they also cater to the need for geographically targeted place-specific application of the European Landscape Convention (ELC). Our findings reaffirm widely and long-held landscape notions, emphasizing the natural, the visual, and the aesthetic in landscape perception and conceptualization, but also point to landscape education deficiencies in the Greek educational system. These constitute significant findings in the context of the country’s efforts to lay out the blueprints for its future landscapes, by contributing to Greek lay landscape awareness and conscience building, but especially by informing future landscape-related professionals. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Review of Libyan Soil Databases for Use within an Ecosystem Services Framework
Received: 25 February 2019 / Revised: 14 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 18 May 2019
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Abstract
Ecosystem services (ESs) are increasingly being used by many countries around the world as a framework for addressing the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This review article of the usability of Libyan soil databases for ESs and SDGs is the first [...] Read more.
Ecosystem services (ESs) are increasingly being used by many countries around the world as a framework for addressing the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This review article of the usability of Libyan soil databases for ESs and SDGs is the first of its kind for North Africa. The objectives of the article are to: describe the available soil resources of Libya in relation to an ES framework; provide examples of the usability of Libyan soil databases for ES applications (e.g., provisioning, Healthy Eating Plate), and describe some of the typical disservices in the country. Desertification, salinization, and limited freshwater resources are the largest challenges (disservices) for agriculture and future development in Libya. Seawater intrusion in coastal areas due to rising sea levels has resulted in high concentrations of salts in irrigation waters, which can lead to low soil productivity. These challenges can be addressed by integrating Libyan soil resources into a market that transforms resources into goods and services to meet human demand in a sustainable manner, with non-market institutions mediating the interactions between humans and the environment. If Libyan soil resources are taken into account by both market and non-market institutions, it will lead to more efficient use of soil resources and also should enable the implementation of innovative strategies, such as integrated farming systems, non-soil-based agricultural production (e.g., hydroponics), and alternative farming practices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Role of the Perceived Impact of Climate Change on National Adaptation Policy: The Case of Rice Farming in Indonesia
Received: 12 March 2019 / Revised: 2 May 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 10 May 2019
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Abstract
Climate change (CC) is one of the primary threats to the agricultural sector in developing countries. Several empirical studies have shown that the implementation of adaptation practices can reduce the adverse effects of CC. The likelihood of farmers performing adaptation practices is mostly [...] Read more.
Climate change (CC) is one of the primary threats to the agricultural sector in developing countries. Several empirical studies have shown that the implementation of adaptation practices can reduce the adverse effects of CC. The likelihood of farmers performing adaptation practices is mostly influenced by the degree of CC impact that they perceive. Thus, we identified the characteristics of farmers that affect the degree of the CC impact that they perceive. We used data from the Indonesian Rice Farm Household survey consisting of 87,330 farmers. An ordered probit regression model was used to estimate the effect of each variable on the degree of the perceived impact of CC. The results of this study confirm those of previous empirical studies. Several variables that have been identified as having a positive effect on farmer adaptation practices, such as farmer education, land tenure, irrigation infrastructure, cropping system, chemical fertilizer application, access to extension services, and participation in farmer groups, negatively affect the degree of the perceived impact of CC. However, a different result was found in the estimation of the gender variable. We found that female farmers have a higher CC resilience and ability to withstand climatic shocks and risks than male farmers. Female farmers have a more positive perception of future farming conditions than male farmers. We recommend the implementation of a national adaptation policy that use and expand the channel of agricultural extension services to deliver the planned adaptation policy, and prioritizes farmers with insecure land tenure. Additionally, we encourage the increasing of female involvement in the CC adaptation practices and decision-making processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Vegetation and Land Surface Dynamics in a Changing Climate)
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Open AccessArticle
What Happened to the Forests of Sierra Leone?
Received: 28 March 2019 / Revised: 25 April 2019 / Accepted: 1 May 2019 / Published: 9 May 2019
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Abstract
The last National Forest Inventory of Sierra Leone took place more than four decades ago in 1975. There appears to be no legal definition of “forest” in Sierra Leone and it is sometimes unclear whether reports are referring to the forest as a [...] Read more.
The last National Forest Inventory of Sierra Leone took place more than four decades ago in 1975. There appears to be no legal definition of “forest” in Sierra Leone and it is sometimes unclear whether reports are referring to the forest as a “land use” or a “land cover”. Estimates of forest loss in the Global Forest Resource Assessment Country Reports are based on the estimated rate during the period 1975 to 1986, and this has not been adjusted for the effects of the civil war, economic booms and busts, and the human population doubling (from about three million in 1975 to over seven million in 2018). Country estimates as part of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) Global Forest Assessment for 2015 aggregate several classes that are not usually considered as “forest” in normal discourse in Sierra Leone (for example, mangrove swamps, rubber plantations and Raphia palm swamps). This paper makes use of maps from 1950, 1975, and 2000/2 to discuss the fate of forests in Sierra Leone. The widely accepted narrative on forest loss in Sierra Leone and generally in West Africa is that it is rapid, drastic and recent. We suggest that the validity of this narrative depends on how you define “forest”. This paper provides a detailed description of what has happened, and at the same time, offers a different view on the relationship between forests and people than the ideas put forward by James Fairhead and Melissa LeachIf we are going to progress the debate about forests in West Africa, up-to-date information and the involvement of all stakeholders are needed to contribute to the debate on what to measure. Otherwise, the decades-old assumption that the area of forest in Sierra Leone lies between less than 5% and more than 75%, provides an error margin that is not useful. This, therefore, necessitates a new forest inventory. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Cash Crop Suitability Assessment Using Parametric, AHP, and FAHP Methods
Received: 16 April 2019 / Revised: 28 April 2019 / Accepted: 6 May 2019 / Published: 8 May 2019
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Abstract
Cash crops, which include eucalyptus, play an important role in Thailand in wood utilization. Consequently, cash crops have become a significant driving force in land use changes and low crop yield; thus, the development of an accurate cash crop suitability model is needed. [...] Read more.
Cash crops, which include eucalyptus, play an important role in Thailand in wood utilization. Consequently, cash crops have become a significant driving force in land use changes and low crop yield; thus, the development of an accurate cash crop suitability model is needed. The aim of this study is to evaluate the land suitability of cash crops, such as eucalyptus, which is based on Multi Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) in Nakhon Ratchasima Province in Thailand. Parametric, classical Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP), and fuzzy AHP (FAHP) approaches integrated with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are compared to accomplish this. Parametric approaches equally allocate importance to all factors. AHP assigns the distribution of important factors using expert opinions. FAHP accounts for the uncertainty in expert opinions, and the triangular (Tri) and trapezoidal (Tra) approaches are compared. The results demonstrated that Trapezoidal Fuzzy AHP (TraFAHP) could classify and map cash crop suitability with 90.16% accuracy, which is a higher overall accuracy than the other approaches that are based on reference map validation. Therefore, we recommend the TraFAHP method for accurately identifying cash crop suitability. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Could Social Farming Be a Strategy to Support Food Sovereignty in Europe?
Received: 12 February 2019 / Revised: 26 April 2019 / Accepted: 26 April 2019 / Published: 30 April 2019
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Abstract
Food sovereignty (FS) aims to obtain value-added products in proximity agriculture (PA) in order to achieve food security in a country. Social farming (SF) can help to develop this PA as well as favoring integration of people at risk of social exclusion (RSE). [...] Read more.
Food sovereignty (FS) aims to obtain value-added products in proximity agriculture (PA) in order to achieve food security in a country. Social farming (SF) can help to develop this PA as well as favoring integration of people at risk of social exclusion (RSE). The methodology includes a review of the literature, a survey of 161 SF projects in Catalonia, and ten selected in-depth interviews. “Social Return on Investment” (SROI) methodology is also applied to assess the efficiency of the projects analyzed. The results show the economic, social, and environmental viability of the majority of the SF projects which, also favored by FS and PA, allows the development of innovative experiences and sustainable forms of governance. SF has been carried out in different ways in European countries, although with the common aims of benefitting people at RSE, and using the natural environment and PA through projects basically promoted by Third Sector entities. Management of these projects is in the hands of foundations and non-profit companies making top-down decisions, and in cooperatives and associations, where decision-making is bottom-up. It can be concluded that the promotion of SF can favor PA, and therefore, FS in Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue European Landscapes and Quality of Life)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Experiences from a National Landscape Monitoring Programme—Maintaining Continuity Whilst Meeting Changing Demands and Opportunities
Received: 11 March 2019 / Revised: 11 April 2019 / Accepted: 26 April 2019 / Published: 30 April 2019
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Abstract
Over the past few decades, there has been increasing interest in recording landscape change. Monitoring programmes have been established to measure the scope, direction and rate of change, and assess the consequences of changes for multiple interests, such as biodiversity, cultural heritage and [...] Read more.
Over the past few decades, there has been increasing interest in recording landscape change. Monitoring programmes have been established to measure the scope, direction and rate of change, and assess the consequences of changes for multiple interests, such as biodiversity, cultural heritage and recreation. The results can provide feedback for multiple sectors and policy domains. Political interests may change over time, but long-term monitoring demands long-term funding. This requires that monitoring programmes remain relevant and cost-efficient. In this paper, we document experiences from 20 years of the Norwegian Monitoring Programme for Agricultural Landscapes—the ‘3Q Programme’. We explain how data availability and demands for information have changed over time, and how the monitoring programme has been adapted to remain relevant. We also discuss how methods of presentation influence the degree of knowledge transfer to stakeholders, in particular to policy makers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue European Landscapes and Quality of Life)
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Open AccessArticle
Beyond Fires and Deforestation: Tackling Land Subsidence in Peatland Areas, a Case Study from Riau, Indonesia
Received: 27 March 2019 / Revised: 20 April 2019 / Accepted: 25 April 2019 / Published: 30 April 2019
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Abstract
Peatland plays an important ecological and economic role in many countries all over the world. At the same time, due to various human and non-human interventions, peatland is also a fragile ecosystem, which is currently facing severe problems, such as deforestation, fires, and [...] Read more.
Peatland plays an important ecological and economic role in many countries all over the world. At the same time, due to various human and non-human interventions, peatland is also a fragile ecosystem, which is currently facing severe problems, such as deforestation, fires, and peat subsidence. Peat subsidence is currently one of the most severe but least recognized issues. Because of its interconnectedness with other peatland problems, peat subsidence intensifies when there is a lack of proper interventions. In this paper, types of problems that arise along with and from peat subsidence and how various actors deal with it are going to be analysed. This paper illustrates an example from peatland areas in Indonesia and addresses two questions: (1) what kinds of problems are related to peat subsidence? In addition, (2) how do various actors deal with peat subsidence and what are the consequences of their interventions? Based on in-depth interviews with key persons from government institutions and NGOs, followed by focus group discussions with communities, analyses of policies, and desk study, this research discovered that peat subsidence is a hidden problem that is highly interconnected with other peatland problems that have caused severe physical-environment and socioeconomic impacts. While various actors have taken numerous interventions to deal with deforestation and fires, those concerning peat subsidence are still limited. Since dealing with peatland problems as a whole requires an ecosystem-based intervention, a more comprehensive approach is needed to manage peat subsidence. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Long-Term Monitoring of Protected Cultural Heritage Environments in Norway: Development of Methods and First-Time Application
Received: 11 March 2019 / Revised: 11 April 2019 / Accepted: 15 April 2019 / Published: 27 April 2019
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Abstract
Norway has a political goal to minimize the loss of cultural heritage due to removal, destruction or decay. On behalf of the national Directorate for Cultural Heritage, we have developed methods to monitor Cultural Heritage Environments. The complementary set of methods includes (1) [...] Read more.
Norway has a political goal to minimize the loss of cultural heritage due to removal, destruction or decay. On behalf of the national Directorate for Cultural Heritage, we have developed methods to monitor Cultural Heritage Environments. The complementary set of methods includes (1) landscape mapping through interpretation of aerial photographs, including field control of the map data, (2) qualitative and quantitative initial and repeat landscape photography, (3) field recording of cultural heritage objects including preparatory analysis of public statistical data, and (4) recording of stakeholder attitudes, perceptions and opinions. We applied these methods for the first time to the historical clustered farm settlement of Havrå in Hordaland County, West Norway. The methods are documented in a handbook and can be applied as a toolbox, where different monitoring methods or frequency of repeat recording may be selected, dependent on local situations, e.g., on the landscape character of the area in focus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue European Landscapes and Quality of Life)
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Open AccessArticle
Can Traditional Authority Improve the Governance of Forestland and Sustainability? Case Study from the Congo (DRC)
Received: 13 March 2019 / Revised: 16 April 2019 / Accepted: 23 April 2019 / Published: 26 April 2019
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Abstract
With about 107 million hectares of moist forest, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a perfect paradox of a natural resources endowed country caught in repeated economic and socio-political crises. Democratic Republic of Congo possesses about 60% of the Congo basin’s forest [...] Read more.
With about 107 million hectares of moist forest, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a perfect paradox of a natural resources endowed country caught in repeated economic and socio-political crises. Democratic Republic of Congo possesses about 60% of the Congo basin’s forest on which the majority of its people rely for their survival. Even if the national forest land in the countryside is mainly exploited by local populations based on customary rights, they usually do not have land titles due to the fact that the state claims an exclusive ownership of all forest lands in the Congo basin including in DRC. The tragedy of “bad governance” of natural resources is often highlighted in the literature as one of the major drivers of poverty and conflicts in DRC. In the forest domain, several studies have demonstrated that state bureaucracies cannot convincingly improve the governance of forestland because of cronyism, institutional weaknesses, corruption and other vested interests that govern forest and land tenure systems in the country. There are however very few rigorous studies on the role of traditional leaders or chiefdoms in the governance of forests and land issues in the Congo basin. This research aimed at addressing this lack of knowledge by providing empirical evidence through the case study of Yawalo village, located around the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo. From a methodological perspective, it used a mixed approach combining both qualitative (field observations, participatory mapping, interviews, focal group discussions, and desk research,) and quantitative (remote sensing and statistics) methods. The main findings of our research reveal that: (i) vested interests of traditional rulers in the DRC countryside are not always compatible with a sustainable management of forestland; and (ii) influential users of forestland resources at the local level take advantage of traditional leaders’ weaknesses—lack of autonomy and coercive means, erratic recognition of customary rights, and poor legitimacy—to impose illegal hunting and uncontrolled forest exploitation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land, Land Use and Social Issues)
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Open AccessArticle
The Geographic Spread and Preferences of Tourists Revealed by User-Generated Information on Jeju Island, South Korea
Received: 29 March 2019 / Revised: 17 April 2019 / Accepted: 22 April 2019 / Published: 26 April 2019
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Abstract
Recreation and tourism are important ways that people interact with and derive benefits from natural environments. Understanding how and where nature provides recreational opportunities and benefits is necessary for management decisions that impact the environment. This study develops and tests an approach for [...] Read more.
Recreation and tourism are important ways that people interact with and derive benefits from natural environments. Understanding how and where nature provides recreational opportunities and benefits is necessary for management decisions that impact the environment. This study develops and tests an approach for mapping tourism patterns, and assessing people’s preferences for cultural and natural landscapes, using user-generated geographic content. The volume of geotagged images and tweets shared publicly on Flickr and Twitter and proprietary mobile phone traffic provided by a telecommunications company, are used to map visitation rates to potential tourist destinations across Jeju Island, South Korea. We find that densities of social media posts and mobile phone traffic are all correlated with ticket sales and counts of gate entries at tourist sites. Using multivariate linear regression, we measure the degree to which attributes of the natural and built environment explain variation in visitation rates, and find that tourists to Jeju Island prefer to recreate near beaches, sea cliffs, golf courses and hiking trails. We conclude that high-resolution and spatially-explicit visitation data provided by user-generated content open the door for statistical models that can quantify recreation demand. Managers and practitioners could combine these flexible and relatively inexpensive user-generated data with more traditional survey data to inform sustainable tourism development plans and policy decisions. These methods are especially useful in the context of landscape or regional-scale ecosystem service assessments, where there is a need to map the multiple ecological, economic, and cultural benefits of the environment. Full article
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