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Land, Volume 8, Issue 9 (September 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The future in Sub-Saharan Africa will be decisively shaped by urban growth and the dynamics of [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Satellite Soil Moisture Products in Mongolia and Their Relation to Grassland Condition
Land 2019, 8(9), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8090142 - 18 Sep 2019
Viewed by 296
Abstract
Monitoring of soil moisture dynamics provides valuable information about grassland degradation, since soil moisture directly affects vegetation cover. While the Mongolian soil moisture monitoring network is limited to the urban and protected natural areas, remote sensing data can be used to determine the [...] Read more.
Monitoring of soil moisture dynamics provides valuable information about grassland degradation, since soil moisture directly affects vegetation cover. While the Mongolian soil moisture monitoring network is limited to the urban and protected natural areas, remote sensing data can be used to determine the soil moisture status elsewhere. In this paper, we determine whether in situ and remotely sensed data in the unaccounted areas of Southwestern Mongolia are consistent with each other, by comparing Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) first passive L-band satellite data with in situ measurements. To evaluate the soil moisture products, we calculated the temporal, seasonal, and monthly average soil moisture content. We corrected the bias of SMOS soil moisture (SM) data using the in situ measured soil moisture with both the simple ratio and gamma methods. We verified the bias-corrected SMOS data with Nash–Sutcliffe method. The comparison results suggest that bias correction (of the simple ratio and gamma methods) enhances the reliability of the SMOS data, resulting in a higher correlation coefficient. We then examined the correlation between SMOS and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) index in the various ecosystems. Analysis of the SMOS and in situ measured soil moisture data revealed that spatial soil moisture distribution matches the rainfall events in Southwestern Mongolia for the period 2010 to 2015. The results illustrate that the bias-corrected, monthly-averaged SMOS data has a high correlation with the monthly-averaged NDVI (R2 > 0.81). Both NDVI and rainfall can be used as indicators for grassland monitoring in Mongolia. During 2015, we detected decreasing soil moisture in approximately 30% of the forest-steppe and steppe areas. We assume that the current ecosystem of land is changing rapidly from forest to steppe and also from steppe to desert. The rainfall rate is the most critical factor influencing the soil moisture storage capacity in this region. The collected SMOS data reflects in situ conditions, making it an option for grassland studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drought, Land Use and Soil)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Causes and Controlling Factors of Valley Bottom Gullies
Land 2019, 8(9), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8090141 - 17 Sep 2019
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Abstract
Valley bottomland provides diverse agricultural and ecosystem benefits. Due to concentrated flow paths, they are more vulnerable to gully erosion than hillslope areas. The objective of this review was to show what caused valley bottoms gullies and to present deficiencies in existing rehabilitation [...] Read more.
Valley bottomland provides diverse agricultural and ecosystem benefits. Due to concentrated flow paths, they are more vulnerable to gully erosion than hillslope areas. The objective of this review was to show what caused valley bottoms gullies and to present deficiencies in existing rehabilitation measures. From the literature review, we found the following general trends: watershed characteristics determine location of valley bottom gullies; an increase in water transported from the watershed initiates the formation of gullies; the rate of change of the valley bottom gullies, once initiated, depends on the amount of rainfall and the soil and bedrock properties. Especially in humid climates, the presence of subsurface flow greatly enhances bank slippage and advancement of gully heads. Valley bottom gully reclamation measures are generally effective in arid and semi-arid areas with the limited subsurface flow and deep groundwater tables, whereas, for (sub) humid regions, similar remedial actions are not successful as they do not account for the effects of subsurface flows. To ensure effective implementation of rehabilitation measures, especially for humid regions, an integrated landscape approach that accounts for the combined subsurface and surface drainage is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN))
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Open AccessArticle
Predicting Urban Expansion and Urban Land Use Changes in Nakhon Ratchasima City Using a CA-Markov Model under Two Different Scenarios
Land 2019, 8(9), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8090140 - 17 Sep 2019
Viewed by 282
Abstract
This study focused on the prediction of land-use changes in Nakhon Ratchasima city using a CA-Markov Model with GIS. Satellite images taken by Landsat-5 (1992), Landsat-7 (2002) and THEOS (2016) were used to predict land use in 2026. In 1992, the most proportion [...] Read more.
This study focused on the prediction of land-use changes in Nakhon Ratchasima city using a CA-Markov Model with GIS. Satellite images taken by Landsat-5 (1992), Landsat-7 (2002) and THEOS (2016) were used to predict land use in 2026. In 1992, the most proportion of land usage was built-up areas (47.76%) and followed by green areas (37.45%), bare lands (13.19%), and water bodies (1.60%), respectively. In 2002, the land use comprised built-up areas (56.04%), green areas (35.52%), bare lands (4.80%) and water bodies (3.63%). By 2016, urbanisation had changed the land use pattern, which comprised built-up areas (70.80%), green areas (20.78%), bare lands (6.37%), and water bodies (2.03%). The data were analysed using a change detection matrix and revealed an increase in built-up area at the expense of all other types, especially green areas. The results were in accordance with the prediction model created in two scenarios. Scenario 1 assumed city expansion following past trends, built-up areas (85.88%), green areas (11.67%), bare lands (2.15%), and water bodies (0.30%). Scenario 2 assumed city expansion in accordance with the national strategy, built-up areas (74.91%), green areas (15.77%), bare lands (8.48%), and water bodies (0.84%). The results indicated an expansion of built-up areas and a shrinking of green areas. In Scenario 2, urban expansion was less than in Scenario 1, and preserving the green area seemed more feasible due to governmental restrictions. The results indicated that planning the urbanisation according to the policies development plans, especially in specific areas, contributed to a more efficient urbanisation growth. The city should provide to promote the use of floor area ratio (FAR) and open space ratio (OSR) with urban planning measures as well as increasing the green areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Flooding and Land Use Change in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia
Land 2019, 8(9), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8090139 - 17 Sep 2019
Viewed by 480
Abstract
Flooding is a routine occurrence throughout much of the monsoonal tropics. Despite well-developed repertoires of response, agrarian societies have been ‘double exposed’ to intensifying climate change and agro-industrialization over the past several decades, often in ways that alter both the regularity of flood [...] Read more.
Flooding is a routine occurrence throughout much of the monsoonal tropics. Despite well-developed repertoires of response, agrarian societies have been ‘double exposed’ to intensifying climate change and agro-industrialization over the past several decades, often in ways that alter both the regularity of flood events and individual and community capacity for response. This paper engages these tensions by exploring everyday experiences of and responses to extreme flood events in a case study village in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia, which has also been the site of corporate oil palm development since 2010. We first reconstruct histories of extreme flood events along the Konawe’eha River using oral histories and satellite imagery, describing the role of these events in straining the terms of daily production and reproduction. We then outline the ways smallholder agriculturalists are responding to flood events through alterations in their land use strategies, including through the sale or leasing of flood-prone lands, the relocation of riverine vegetable production to hillside locations, and adoption of new cropping choices and management practices. We highlight the role of such responses as a driver of ongoing land use change, potentially in ways that increase systemic vulnerability to floods moving forward. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Designing a Blue-Green Infrastructure (BGI) Network: Toward Water-Sensitive Urban Growth Planning in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Land 2019, 8(9), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8090138 - 16 Sep 2019
Viewed by 604
Abstract
In a warming world, urban environmental stresses are exacerbated by population-increase-induced development of grey infrastructure that usually leaves minimal scope for blue (and green) elements and processes, potentially resulting in mismanagement of stormwater and flooding issues. This paper explores how urban growth planning [...] Read more.
In a warming world, urban environmental stresses are exacerbated by population-increase-induced development of grey infrastructure that usually leaves minimal scope for blue (and green) elements and processes, potentially resulting in mismanagement of stormwater and flooding issues. This paper explores how urban growth planning in the megacity of Dhaka, Bangladesh can be guided by a blue-green infrastructure (BGI) network that combines blue, green, and grey elements together to provide a multifunctional urban form. We take a three-step approach: First, we analyze the existing spatial morphology to understand potential locations of development and challenges, as well as the types of solutions necessary for water management in different typologies of urban densities. Next, we analyze existing and potential blue and green network locations. Finally, we propose the structural framework for a BGI network at both macro and micro scales. The proposed network takes different forms at different scales and locations and offers different types of flood control and stormwater management options. These can provide directions on Dhaka’s future urban consolidation and expansion with a balance of man-made and natural elements and enable environmental, social, spatial, financial, and governance benefits. The paper concludes with some practical implications and challenges for implementing BGI in Dhaka. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Land and Landscape; Linking Use, Experience and Property Development in Urban Areas
Land 2019, 8(9), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8090137 - 12 Sep 2019
Viewed by 330
Abstract
This article brings together the concepts of land and landscape, tightly linked in urban transformative situations, but rarely used for the purpose to strengthen strategic planning for sustainability. They are investigated as a combined base for land use deliberations, in early phases of [...] Read more.
This article brings together the concepts of land and landscape, tightly linked in urban transformative situations, but rarely used for the purpose to strengthen strategic planning for sustainability. They are investigated as a combined base for land use deliberations, in early phases of planning processes, in practices of different scale, especially in a European context, drawing on planning and landscape policies generally agreed upon, as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This article argues for taking into consideration the landscape as experienced human habitat, in relation to the understanding of land as both a common resource, and as pieces of property. This is motivated partly by the more or less global political trend and the turn from state interventions to individualistic capitalism (calling for new methods to solve common challenges), but also by a changing planning profession, increased collaborative planning processes, increased significance of public space as a scarce resource in densified cities, the need for holistic perspectives in sustainable urban development and the need for unifying concepts for urban and rural land at a local and regional scale. A new concept “around-scape” is suggested, in order to make visible the subjective binding between available perceived resources and spatial transformation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Land-Use and Land-Cover (LULC) Change Detection in Wami River Basin, Tanzania
Land 2019, 8(9), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8090136 - 08 Sep 2019
Viewed by 359
Abstract
Anthropogenic activities have substantially changed natural landscapes, especially in regions which are extremely affected by population growth and climate change such as East African countries. Understanding the patterns of land-use and land-cover (LULC) change is important for efficient environmental management, including effective water [...] Read more.
Anthropogenic activities have substantially changed natural landscapes, especially in regions which are extremely affected by population growth and climate change such as East African countries. Understanding the patterns of land-use and land-cover (LULC) change is important for efficient environmental management, including effective water management practice. Using remote sensing techniques and geographic information systems (GIS), this study focused on changes in LULC patterns of the upstream and downstream Wami River Basin over 16 years. Multitemporal satellite imagery of the Landsat series was used to map LULC changes and was divided into three stages (2000–2006, 2006–2011, and 2011–2016). The results for the change-detection analysis and the change matrix table from 2000 to 2016 show the extent of LULC changes occurring in different LULC classes, while most of the grassland, bushland, and woodland were intensively changed to cultivated land both upstream and downstream. These changes indicate that the increase of cultivated land was the result of population growth, especially downstream, while the primary socioeconomic activity remains agriculture both upstream and downstream. In general, net gain and net loss were observed downstream, which indicate that it was more affected compared to upstream. Hence, proper management of the basin, including land use planning, is required to avoid resources-use conflict between upstream and downstream users. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Controversial Connections: The Water-Energy-Food Nexus in the Blue Nile Basin of Ethiopia
Land 2019, 8(9), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8090135 - 05 Sep 2019
Viewed by 406
Abstract
The article takes hydro-development schemes in the Upper Blue Nile Basin of Ethiopia as an example to discuss the suitability and shortcomings of nexus approaches for the analysis of complex socio-ecological transformations. Based on critical theoretical debates and extensive field research in Ethiopia, [...] Read more.
The article takes hydro-development schemes in the Upper Blue Nile Basin of Ethiopia as an example to discuss the suitability and shortcomings of nexus approaches for the analysis of complex socio-ecological transformations. Based on critical theoretical debates and extensive field research in Ethiopia, the paper broadens the nexus perspective by integrating the three analytical dimensions of time, space, and power. The empirical material comes from a case study of the Fincha-Amerti-Neshe scheme that was implemented in three consecutive stages over almost half a century, combining dams, hydro-power plants, large-scale sugar cane plantations, and a factory for sugar production. The empirical findings follow the historical stages of the scheme and their physical outcomes, which affected much more than just water, energy, and food. The paper explores socio-ecological transformations along the analytical dimensions of time, scale, and power. First, it views time and temporality as essential aspects of change and calls for a more systematic recognition of the historical context out of which development trajectories and current nexus situations have emerged. Second, it takes a cross-scalar perspective to explain how local land use is influenced by regional and global drivers. And third, it emphasizes the importance of asymmetric power structures to explain the dynamics of hydro-developments and their social consequences. In conclusion, the paper calls for a “nexus-plus” perspective that is more sensitive to the historical and cross-scalar embeddedness of hydro-development, and which enables more inclusive and fair governance of scarce resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Water-Energy-Food Nexus: Progress and Prospects)
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Open AccessArticle
Participatory Mapping in a Developing Country Context: Lessons from South Africa
Land 2019, 8(9), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8090134 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 393
Abstract
Digital participatory mapping improves accessibility to spatial information and the way in which knowledge is co-constructed and landscapes co-managed with impoverished communities. However, many unintended consequences for social and epistemic justice may be exacerbated in developing country contexts. Two South African case studies [...] Read more.
Digital participatory mapping improves accessibility to spatial information and the way in which knowledge is co-constructed and landscapes co-managed with impoverished communities. However, many unintended consequences for social and epistemic justice may be exacerbated in developing country contexts. Two South African case studies incorporating Direct-to-Digital participatory mapping in marginalized communities to inform land-use decision-making, and the ethical challenges of adopting this method are discussed. Understanding the past and present context of the site and the power dynamics at play is critical to develop trust and manage expectations among research participants. When employing unfamiliar technology, disparate literacy levels and language barriers create challenges for ensuring participants understand the risks of their involvement and recognize their rights. The logistics of using this approach in remote areas with poor infrastructure and deciding how best to leave the participants with the maps they have co-produced in an accessible format present further challenges. Overcoming these can however offer opportunity for redressing past injustices and empowering marginalized communities with a voice in decisions that affect their livelihoods. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Farms or Forests? Understanding and Mapping Shifting Cultivation Using the Case Study of West Garo Hills, India
Land 2019, 8(9), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8090133 - 29 Aug 2019
Viewed by 920
Abstract
Attempts to study shifting cultivation landscapes are fundamentally impeded by the difficulty in mapping and distinguishing shifting cultivation, settled farms and forests. There are foundational challenges in defining shifting cultivation and its constituent land-covers and land-uses, conceptualizing a suitable mapping framework, and identifying [...] Read more.
Attempts to study shifting cultivation landscapes are fundamentally impeded by the difficulty in mapping and distinguishing shifting cultivation, settled farms and forests. There are foundational challenges in defining shifting cultivation and its constituent land-covers and land-uses, conceptualizing a suitable mapping framework, and identifying consequent methodological specifications. Our objective is to present a rigorous methodological framework and mapping protocol, couple it with extensive fieldwork and use them to undertake a two-season Landsat image analysis to map the forest-agriculture frontier of West Garo Hills district, Meghalaya, in Northeast India. We achieve an overall accuracy of ~80% and find that shifting cultivation is the most extensive land-use, followed by tree plantations and old-growth forest confined to only a few locations. We have also found that commercial plantation extent is positively correlated with shortened fallow periods and high land-use intensities. Our findings are in sharp contrast to various official reports and studies, including from the Forest Survey of India, the Wastelands Atlas of India and state government statistics that show the landscape as primarily forested with only small fractions under shifting cultivation, a consequence of the lack of clear definitions and poor understanding of what constitutes shifting cultivation and forest. Our results call for an attentive revision of India’s official land-use mapping protocols, and have wider significance for remote sensing-based mapping in other shifting cultivation landscapes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Integrating Participatory Methods and Remote Sensing to Enhance Understanding of Ecosystem Service Dynamics Across Scales
Land 2019, 8(9), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8090132 - 28 Aug 2019
Viewed by 543
Abstract
The value of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) for informing resource management has long been recognized; however, its incorporation into ecosystem services (ES) assessments remains uncommon. Often “top-down” approaches are utilized, depending on “expert knowledge”, that are not relevant to local resource users. Here [...] Read more.
The value of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) for informing resource management has long been recognized; however, its incorporation into ecosystem services (ES) assessments remains uncommon. Often “top-down” approaches are utilized, depending on “expert knowledge”, that are not relevant to local resource users. Here we propose an approach for combining participatory methods with remote sensing to provide a more holistic understanding of ES change. Participatory mapping in focus group discussions identified TEK regarding what ES were present, where, and their value to communities. TEK was then integrated with satellite imagery to extrapolate to the landscape-scale. We demonstrate our method for Nyangatom communities in the Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia, showing for the first time the ES impacts of regional environmental change, including the Gibe III dam, for communities in the Omo River basin. Results confirmed the collapse of flood-retreat cultivation associated with the loss of the annual Omo flood. Communities reported declines in many other provisioning ES, and these results were supported by satellite mapping, which showed substantial reductions in land covers with high ES value (shrubland and wetland), leading to consequent ES declines. Our mixed-methods approach has potential to be applied in other regions to generate locally relevant information for evaluating ES dynamics and improving management of natural resources. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Unravelling the Frontiers of Urban Growth: Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Land-Use Change and Urban Expansion in Greater Accra Metropolitan Area, Ghana
Land 2019, 8(9), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8090131 - 28 Aug 2019
Viewed by 446
Abstract
This study analyzed and assessed spatio-temporal dynamics of land-use change (LUC) and urban expansion (UE) within the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) of Ghana. This region serves as a case to illustrate how a major economic hub and political core area is experiencing [...] Read more.
This study analyzed and assessed spatio-temporal dynamics of land-use change (LUC) and urban expansion (UE) within the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) of Ghana. This region serves as a case to illustrate how a major economic hub and political core area is experiencing massive spatial transformations, resulting in uneven geographies of urban land expansion. Quickbird/Worldview-2 images for the years 2008 and 2017 were segmented and classified to produce LUC maps. LUC and UE were analyzed by post-classification change detection and spatial metrics, respectively. The results revealed an intensive decrease in open-space by 83.46 km2, brushland/farmland (194.29 km2) and waterbody/wetland (3.32 km2). Conversely, forestland and urban built-up area increased by 3.45 km2 and 277.62 km2. Urban extent expanded from 411.45 km2 (27%) in 2008 to 689.07 km2 (46%) in 2017 at a rate of 5.9% and an intensity of 2.06% with an expansion coefficient of 1.5%, indicating low-density urban sprawl. The spatial pattern turned out to be an uneven and spatially differentiated outward expansion, which materialized mainly in districts located within the urban peripheries but intensely towards eastern and western directions, being the frontier and the hotspots of urbanization. Overall, the findings bear important implications for regional spatial planning and development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Using Farmer Decision Rules for Mapping Historical Land Use Change Patterns from 1954 to 2007 in Rural Northwestern Vietnam
Land 2019, 8(9), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8090130 - 28 Aug 2019
Viewed by 384
Abstract
The present study revealed how local socioecological knowledge elucidated during participatory rural appraisals and historical remote sensing data can be combined for analyzing land use change patterns from 1954 to 2007 in northwestern Vietnam. The developed approach integrated farmer decision rules on cropping [...] Read more.
The present study revealed how local socioecological knowledge elucidated during participatory rural appraisals and historical remote sensing data can be combined for analyzing land use change patterns from 1954 to 2007 in northwestern Vietnam. The developed approach integrated farmer decision rules on cropping preferences and location, visual and supervised classification methods, and qualitative information obtained during various forms of participatory appraisals. The integration of historical remote sensing data (aerial photo, Landsat, LISS III) with farmer decision rules showed the feasibility of the proposed method to explain crop distribution patterns for the assessment period of 53 years. Our approach is beneficial for data-limited environments, which is a prevalent situation for many developing regions. The derived land use and crop type dataset was used for understanding how anthropogenic activities altered the study area of the Chieng Khoi commune during the assessment period of five decades, and what potential impact this can have on the natural resource base. The newly developed approach offers a methodological pathway that can be easily transferred to local government authorities for a better understanding of cropping transitions and agricultural expansion trends in data-limited rural landscapes. The detected land use change patterns and upland cropping expansion of more than two hundred percent in 53 years not only revealed the consequences of the interactions and feedback between farmers and their land, but further highlighted the urgent need for implementing sustainable land management practices in the case study watershed of the Chieng Khoi commune and northwestern Vietnam in general. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Wall-to-Wall Parcel-Level Mapping of Agricultural Land Abandonment in the Polish Carpathians
Land 2019, 8(9), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8090129 - 26 Aug 2019
Viewed by 451
Abstract
Accurate estimations of the extent of agricultural land abandonment (ALA) are critical to the sustainable management of agricultural resources and forestry, the understanding of ALA determinants, and the development of future agricultural policies. Although ALA is widespread in Europe, mapping it over large [...] Read more.
Accurate estimations of the extent of agricultural land abandonment (ALA) are critical to the sustainable management of agricultural resources and forestry, the understanding of ALA determinants, and the development of future agricultural policies. Although ALA is widespread in Europe, mapping it over large areas using remote sensing data is difficult as a result of the complexity of this phenomenon. This study aims to develop methods for a detailed wall-to-wall regional-scale mapping of ALA using vegetation height and secondary forest succession indicators. The rates and distribution of ALA were analyzed at the parcel and communal level in the Polish Carpathians using a high-resolution vegetation height model (VHM) derived from Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) point clouds and topographic data. Depending on the parcel-level secondary forest succession threshold (10, 20, and 50%), the regional ALA rates were 18.8, 9.0, and 2.1%, respectively. Regardless of the threshold, abandoned grasslands covered about three times more area than abandoned croplands. The highest ALA rates were observed in communes located in the western part of the study area, as well as east and south of Rzeszów. We found that areas receiving European Union Common Agricultural Policy payments very rarely showed signs of secondary forest succession and land abandonment. The developed method proved to be effective for detailed ALA mapping at various spatial scales. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Land Abandonment: Patterns, Drivers and Consequences)
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Open AccessEditorial
Land Use Planning for Natural Hazards
Land 2019, 8(9), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8090128 - 25 Aug 2019
Viewed by 408
Abstract
The Earth’s landscape has a complex evolution and is the result of the interactions involving surficial processes, climate, tectonic, and human activity [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Planning for Natural Hazards)
Open AccessArticle
Identifying Opportunities to Conserve Farm Ponds on Private Lands: Integration of Social, Ecological, and Historical Data
Land 2019, 8(9), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8090127 - 23 Aug 2019
Viewed by 345
Abstract
In some landscapes, effective conservation of wildlife habitat requires extending beyond the boundaries of reserves and addressing stewardship of private lands. This approach could be especially valuable for the conservation of farm ponds, which are abundant and serve key agricultural functions on private [...] Read more.
In some landscapes, effective conservation of wildlife habitat requires extending beyond the boundaries of reserves and addressing stewardship of private lands. This approach could be especially valuable for the conservation of farm ponds, which are abundant and serve key agricultural functions on private lands. Though farm ponds also provide wildlife habitat, little is known about how they are managed or how values and beliefs of their owners relate to their quality. To address this knowledge gap, we collected data on pond habitat quality and management using historical aerial imagery and high-resolution Google Earth satellite imagery of the Grand River Grasslands of southern Iowa and Northern Missouri. We also collected spatially congruent social data using a mail back survey sent to 456 landowners in the region (32.7% response rate). We used mixed-effects linear regression to link indicators of habitat quality to the survey results. We found that many ponds were permanent, accessible to cattle, in early successional states, and had little wetland vegetation, indicating a scarcity of suitable habitat for wildlife. At the same time, 35–57% of survey respondents said they would be willing to change their management to benefit aquatic organisms. Our analyses indicated that higher cover of cattails correlated with ownership by respondents who regarded row crops or income from agriculture as less important and ponds tended to be temporary if owned by respondents who had many ponds. Moving forward, large landowners and those willing to manage their land to benefit wildlife may constitute a core set of future partners for conservation efforts focused on improving pond habitat in the region. Full article
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