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Land, Volume 9, Issue 6 (June 2020) – 38 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) This study aimed at estimating forest aboveground biomass (AGB) in the Central Kalimantan tropical [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Soil Properties and Biomass Attributes in a Former Gravel Mine Area after Two Decades of Forest Restoration
Land 2020, 9(6), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060209 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 595
Abstract
The ongoing global deforestation resulting from anthropogenic activities such as unsustainable agriculture and surface mining threatens biodiversity and decreases both soil carbon and above-ground biomass stocks. In this study, we assessed soil properties and below- and above-ground biomass attributes in a restored former [...] Read more.
The ongoing global deforestation resulting from anthropogenic activities such as unsustainable agriculture and surface mining threatens biodiversity and decreases both soil carbon and above-ground biomass stocks. In this study, we assessed soil properties and below- and above-ground biomass attributes in a restored former gravel mine area in Ghana two decades after active restoration with potted plants and fresh topsoil. We compared conditions to four alternative land-use types (unrestored abandoned gravel mine, arable land, semi-natural forest, and natural forest) representing pre- and post-disturbance as well as natural reference states. We hypothesized that soil properties and related levels of below- and above-ground biomass in the restored area share similarities with the natural reference systems and thereby are indicative of a trajectory towards successful restoration. Eight replicated subareas in each land-use type were assessed for a set of soil parameters as well as below- and above-ground biomass attributes. The soil properties characteristic for the restored area differed significantly from pre-restoration stages, such as the abandoned gravel site, but did not differ significantly from properties in the natural forest (except for bulk density and base saturation). Above-ground biomass was lower in the restored area in comparison to the reference natural forests, while differences were not significant for below-ground biomass. Silt and effective cation exchange capacity were closely related to above-ground biomass, while below-ground biomass was related to soil organic carbon, bulk density, and potassium concentration in soils. Our results suggest that major steps towards successful restoration can be accomplished within a relatively short period, without the wholesale application of topsoil. Improving soil conditions is a vital tool for the successful development of extensive vegetation cover after surface mining, which also affects carbon sequestration by both above- and below-ground biomass. We emphasize that the use of reference systems provides critical information for the monitoring of ecosystem development towards an expected future state of the restored area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Transformation and Changes in Land Use Intensity)
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Open AccessArticle
Bottom-Up Perspectives on the Re-Greening of the Sahel: An Evaluation of the Spatial Relationship between Soil and Water Conservation (SWC) and Tree-Cover in Burkina Faso
Land 2020, 9(6), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060208 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 248
Abstract
The Re-Greening of the West African Sahel has attracted great interdisciplinary interest since it was originally detected in the mid-2000s. Studies have investigated vegetation patterns at regional scales using a time series of coarse resolution remote sensing analyses. Fewer have attempted to explain [...] Read more.
The Re-Greening of the West African Sahel has attracted great interdisciplinary interest since it was originally detected in the mid-2000s. Studies have investigated vegetation patterns at regional scales using a time series of coarse resolution remote sensing analyses. Fewer have attempted to explain the processes behind these patterns at local scales. This research investigates bottom-up processes driving Sahelian greening in the northern Central Plateau of Burkina Faso—a region recognized as a greening hot spot. The objective was to understand the relationship between soil and water conservation (SWC) measures and the presence of trees through a comparative case study of three village terroirs, which have been the site of long-term human ecology fieldwork. Research specifically tests the hypothesis that there is a positive relationship between SWC and tree cover. Methods include remote sensing of high-resolution satellite imagery and aerial photos; GIS procedures; and chi-square statistical tests. Results indicate that, across all sites, there is a significant association between SWC and trees (chi-square = 20.144, p ≤ 0.01). Decomposing this by site, however, points out that this is not uniform. Tree cover is strongly associated with SWC investments in only one village—the one with the most tree cover (chi-square = 39.098, p ≤ 0.01). This pilot study concludes that SWC promotes tree cover but this is heavily modified by local contexts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysing and Applying Stakeholder Perceptions to Improve Protected Area Governance in Ugandan Conservation Landscapes
Land 2020, 9(6), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060207 - 25 Jun 2020
Viewed by 395
Abstract
Given the diversity of active institutions and stakeholders in a landscape, and the difficulties in ensuring inclusive decision-making, evaluating landscape governance can help surface and address underlying issues. In the context of two protected area landscapes in Uganda, where landscape approaches are being [...] Read more.
Given the diversity of active institutions and stakeholders in a landscape, and the difficulties in ensuring inclusive decision-making, evaluating landscape governance can help surface and address underlying issues. In the context of two protected area landscapes in Uganda, where landscape approaches are being implemented through a wider project on landscape governance, we analyse stakeholder perceptions of inclusive decision-making and then use this evaluation to stimulate dialogue amongst stakeholder groups in each landscape. We ask, how can capturing, analysing, and collaboratively applying people’s perceptions address inclusive decision-making in landscape governance? We collected and analysed perceptions using SenseMaker®, a software package that enables analysis of micronarratives (stories) from the field based on how respondents classify their own stories, using triads, dyads, stones, and multiple-choice questions. This self-categorisation by the respondent reduces bias in the analysis and allows the micronarrative to be cross-examined in a variety of ways when analysed using Sensemaker. This analysis created an integrated view of the stakeholder’s perceptions about inclusive decision-making in landscape governance. The results show large portions of the respondents feel their voices are neglected, and management of the landscape is poor in Mount Elgon, while in Agoro-Agu, it is the opposite trend. During a community feedback process, reasons for these trends were discussed and solutions proposed. Some of the underlying factors include historical relationships with park authorities and displacement during park creation. To more precisely answer our research question, one could have extended stays in the communities studied in these landscapes, using ethnographic methods including interviews and participant observation; nonetheless, our method, including the feedback process, was an innovative and important way to confront our findings with the informants directly and foster collaborative action. We conclude that understanding people’s perceptions, including through participatory feedback, can significantly inform and improve management decisions, help resolve conflicts, and facilitate dialogue between different stakeholders in the landscape. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Steering Energy Transitions through Landscape Governance: Case of Mathare Informal Settlement, Nairobi, Kenya
Land 2020, 9(6), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060206 - 23 Jun 2020
Viewed by 243
Abstract
Poor households in urban informal settlements face a big challenge in accessing clean energy for cooking, heating, and lighting. We use Kenya’s Mathare informal settlement as a landscape site to better understand how cross-sector collaboration can enhance access to sustainable energy in informal [...] Read more.
Poor households in urban informal settlements face a big challenge in accessing clean energy for cooking, heating, and lighting. We use Kenya’s Mathare informal settlement as a landscape site to better understand how cross-sector collaboration can enhance access to sustainable energy in informal settlements. We also demonstrate that academics are well-placed in facilitating multi-stakeholder engagements between community members, experts, and policy actors. This is pursued by drawing on the results of two energy research projects (CoDEC and AfriCLP). We employ a landscape governance framework to re-conceptualise the findings from the CoDEC and AfriCLP projects. Specifically, we use the ecological, socio-cultural, and political dimensions of landscape governance to discuss the relationships between energy demands and other landscape issues in the case study. In conclusion, the paper recommends landscape governance as a promising approach for integrating energy issues with other competing landscape interests, while also encouraging cross-sector collaboration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Channels of Labour Control in Organic Farming: Toward a Just Agroecological Transition for Sub-Saharan Africa
Land 2020, 9(6), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060205 - 22 Jun 2020
Viewed by 411
Abstract
Agroecological farming has long been described as more fulfilling than conventional agriculture, in terms of farmers’ labour and sense of autonomy. These assumptions must be reconsidered with adequate theoretical perspectives and with the empirical experience of recent studies. This paper introduces the concept [...] Read more.
Agroecological farming has long been described as more fulfilling than conventional agriculture, in terms of farmers’ labour and sense of autonomy. These assumptions must be reconsidered with adequate theoretical perspectives and with the empirical experience of recent studies. This paper introduces the concept of channels of labour control in agriculture based on four initiatives in Senegalese agroecological horticulture. We build on Bourdieu’s theory of social fields to elaborate a framework that articulates multiple channels of labour control with the type of capital or surplus values structuring power relations during labour processes. Although each of the four agroecological initiatives place a clear emphasis on improving farmers’ well-being, various top-down channels of labour control exist, maintaining most farmworkers as technical demonstrators rather than agents of transformation. These constraints stem from dependence on foreign funding, enforcement of uncoordinated organic standards, and farmers’ incorporation of cultural values through interplays of knowledge and symbolic power with initiative promotors. Pressure on agricultural workers is exacerbated by the context of the neo-liberalisation of Senegalese agriculture and increasingly difficult climatic conditions. A more holistic approach of agroecological initiatives is needed, including the institutionalisation of protected markets for their products, farmers’ inclusion in agroecosystem governance and inclusiveness in the co-production of agroecological knowledge, taking cultural patterns of local communities into account. Recent attempts to scale-up and politicise agroecology through farmers’ organisations, advocacy NGOs, and municipalities may offer new perspectives for a just agroecological transition in sub-Saharan Africa. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Land Conversion for Tourism Development under Vietnam’s Ambiguous Property Rights over Land
Land 2020, 9(6), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060204 - 22 Jun 2020
Viewed by 513
Abstract
The paper aims to explore the process of land conversion for tourism development in Vietnam, under the present ambiguous and insecure property rights system. Four case studies in different geographical areas were selected to analyse land conversion and land compensation for tourism projects [...] Read more.
The paper aims to explore the process of land conversion for tourism development in Vietnam, under the present ambiguous and insecure property rights system. Four case studies in different geographical areas were selected to analyse land conversion and land compensation for tourism projects before and after the implementation of the new land law in 2013. The findings of this study show that, in the present legal system of land and property rights, the rights of local people are not sufficiently guaranteed due to the decisive role of the State not only in defining compensation prices for land in the case of compulsory land acquisition but also in determining whether tourism projects are in the public’s interest or not (thus deciding the appropriate land conversion approach as well as affecting price negotiations). The research also found that, although a voluntary land conversion approach (when the project is not in the public’s interest), based on the 2013 Land Law, offers land users a better negotiation position and a higher compensation payment, possibly reducing land-related conflicts between the State and land users, ambiguity over property rights in fact increased due to the government’s substantial discretion to choose between ‘public purpose’ and ‘economic purpose.’ The paper concludes with questioning whether the present legal basis for compulsory land acquisition is future proof since urbanisation pressure is likely to increase, which may lead to even more land conflicts in the near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Responsible and Smart Land Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Intangibles of Rural Development. The Case Study of La Vera (Extremadura, Spain)
Land 2020, 9(6), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060203 - 20 Jun 2020
Viewed by 338
Abstract
In the early 1990s, with the Leader Initiative, the European Commission intended to apply a new development model in order to encourage the economic diversification of the rural world. The expectations raised by the first Leader Initiative motivated Spain to approve the Proder [...] Read more.
In the early 1990s, with the Leader Initiative, the European Commission intended to apply a new development model in order to encourage the economic diversification of the rural world. The expectations raised by the first Leader Initiative motivated Spain to approve the Proder Program to allow those regions that had not been beneficiaries of the aforementioned initiative to put similar projects into practice. This kind of program has various characteristics, which have been widely studied from a theoretical point of view. Nevertheless, empirical studies that analyze the relevance of those characteristics (especially the intangible ones) are less frequent. The main objective of this research is, precisely, to study how these intangibles materialize in the implementation of a rural development strategy. For this, a qualitative methodology based on a case study of the La Vera region is adopted. The results show that these intangible characteristics obtain a disparate valuation from the local promoters. While aspects such as the management system or the contribution of these programs to regional identity are well valued, others, such as the participation of the population in development processes, do not seem to reach the expectations. This study gives some proposals for the evaluation of these characteristics. Full article
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Drought Impacts, Coping Responses and Adaptation in the UK Outdoor Livestock Sector: Insights to Increase Drought Resilience
Land 2020, 9(6), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060202 - 18 Jun 2020
Viewed by 340
Abstract
Drought has detrimental impacts on crop and livestock farming systems worldwide, but less attention has been given to outdoor livestock systems, particularly in humid temperate regions. This research evaluated how an intense drought in 2018 impacted the UK livestock sector and the responses [...] Read more.
Drought has detrimental impacts on crop and livestock farming systems worldwide, but less attention has been given to outdoor livestock systems, particularly in humid temperate regions. This research evaluated how an intense drought in 2018 impacted the UK livestock sector and the responses adopted by key actors, though a combination of analysis of weekly agricultural trade publications and semi-structured interviews with livestock farmers. Drought impacts centred on feed and fodder availability, animal productivity and welfare, farm economics, and farmer well-being, with strong inter-dependencies observed. Most drought responses by farmers were reactive short-term coping strategies to address feed shortages, with three main strategies applied: management of available grazing and feed; selling livestock to reduce feed demand and to obtain income; and buying-in additional feed. Few longer-term adaptive measures were identified due to a range of constraints. Moving forwards, the UK livestock sector needs to convert the learning from the reactive measures implemented in 2018 into pro-active drought planning approaches. The current political changes in the UK also provides a unique opportunity for agricultural policy to better reward the desirable nationally- and locally-important non-market services or public goods that livestock farming provides. Together, these should support increased drought resilience in livestock farming and increased farming viability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Structural Variations in the Composition of Land Funds at Regional Scales across Russia
Land 2020, 9(6), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060201 - 17 Jun 2020
Viewed by 472
Abstract
In recent decades, Russia has experienced substantial transformations in agricultural land tenure. Post-Soviet reforms have shaped land distribution patterns but the impacts of these on agricultural use of land remain under-investigated. On a regional scale, there is still a knowledge gap in terms [...] Read more.
In recent decades, Russia has experienced substantial transformations in agricultural land tenure. Post-Soviet reforms have shaped land distribution patterns but the impacts of these on agricultural use of land remain under-investigated. On a regional scale, there is still a knowledge gap in terms of knowing to what extent the variations in the compositions of agricultural land funds may be explained by changes in the acreage of other land categories. Using a case analysis of 82 of Russia’s territories from 2010 to 2018, the authors attempted to study the structural variations by picturing the compositions of regional land funds and mapping agricultural land distributions based on ranking “land activity”. Correlation analysis of centered log-ratio transformed compositional data revealed that in agriculture-oriented regions, the proportion of cropland was depressed by agriculture-to-urban and agriculture-to-industry land loss. In urbanized territories, the compositions of agricultural land funds were predominantly affected by changes in the acreage of industrial, transportation, and communication lands. In underpopulated territories in the north and far east of Russia, the acreages of cropland and perennial planting were strongly correlated with those of disturbed and barren lands. As the first attempt at such analysis in Russia, the conversion of cadastral classification data into land-rating values enabled the identification of region-to-region mismatches between the cadaster-based mapping and ranking-based distribution of agricultural lands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Roles for Landscape Ecology in Future Farming Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
From Rural Spaces to Peri-Urban Districts: Metropolitan Growth, Sparse Settlements and Demographic Dynamics in a Mediterranean Region
Land 2020, 9(6), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060200 - 17 Jun 2020
Viewed by 348
Abstract
Considering settlement characteristics and population dynamics together over multiple spatio-temporal scales, the present study analyzes the spatial distribution of sparse settlements and population surrounding a large city in Southern Europe (Athens, Greece), in relation with long-term metropolitan growth and recent economic downturns. Results [...] Read more.
Considering settlement characteristics and population dynamics together over multiple spatio-temporal scales, the present study analyzes the spatial distribution of sparse settlements and population surrounding a large city in Southern Europe (Athens, Greece), in relation with long-term metropolitan growth and recent economic downturns. Results of the analysis identify regional-scale processes of urban compaction during economic expansion (2000s) with incorporation of scattered settlements in a high-density urban fabric, and moderate urban dispersion affecting low-density, peripheral areas in the subsequent period of recession (2010s). However, more heterogeneous dynamics were observed at the local scale. With economic expansion, a slight increase in the number of settlements was observed in local districts experiencing intense sprawl in earlier decades. With recession, a slight decrease in the number of settlements was, in turn, recorded in some rural districts surrounding compact urban centers, likely acting as local hotspots of urban re-densification. Given the multiplicity of socioeconomic factors involved, our findings highlight how urban development follows sequential phases of compaction and dispersion, based on locally differentiated spatial regimes characterizing settlement expansion and population growth. Sustainable urban management should face more actively with increasingly fragmented settlement dynamics at the fringe, prefiguring an appropriate spatial balance between urban centers and sparse settlements in light of recent demographic trends. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Land Engineering Consolidates Degraded Sandy Land for Agricultural Development in the Largest Sandy Land of China
Land 2020, 9(6), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060199 - 17 Jun 2020
Viewed by 255
Abstract
Sandification has become a major obstacle to China’s regional farmland protection, economic development, and ecological civilization construction. It is urgent to adopt advanced ideas and practical actions to reverse the sandy land. Structural consolidation theory was introduced to rehabilitate sandy land into farmland [...] Read more.
Sandification has become a major obstacle to China’s regional farmland protection, economic development, and ecological civilization construction. It is urgent to adopt advanced ideas and practical actions to reverse the sandy land. Structural consolidation theory was introduced to rehabilitate sandy land into farmland by soil body building, soil layer reconstruction, and soil quality improvement. A field experiment was conducted in Mu Us Sandy Land to explore the effects of blended guest materials (red clay and loess) with sand at four volume ratios (1:1, 1:2, 1:3 and 1:5) on crop yields, soil properties, and root growth. Red clay and loess significantly increased clay and silt contents and regulated the soil total nitrogen concentration and organic matter content during the critical growth stage of maize. Red clay and loess had a significant promotion of maize and soybean yields at a volume ratio of 1:3. The maximum potato yield was 42,501 and 37,332 kg ha−1 in red clay treatment at a volume ratio of 1:5 and in loess treatment at a volume ratio of 1:3, respectively. Lowest root biomass in surface soil and surface/subsoil root biomass ratio mediated maize growth in red clay treatment. Red clay was considered as the better material to rehabilitate sandy land and develop agriculture in the long-term according to the engineering costs and crop yields. Water sustainable utilization strategies and potential popularization areas of sandy land structural consolidation should be enhanced in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Soil-Sediment-Water Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Glacial Rock Flour as Soil Amendment in Subarctic Farming in South Greenland
Land 2020, 9(6), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060198 - 15 Jun 2020
Viewed by 377
Abstract
Agriculture in subarctic regions is limited by a short and cold growing season. With warming in the region, the number of growing days and, consequently, the potential for agricultural intensification and expansion may increase. However, subarctic soils are typically acidic, low in plant-available [...] Read more.
Agriculture in subarctic regions is limited by a short and cold growing season. With warming in the region, the number of growing days and, consequently, the potential for agricultural intensification and expansion may increase. However, subarctic soils are typically acidic, low in plant-available nutrients, and coarsely textured, so they require soil amendment prior to intensification. This is the case in South Greenland, where we tested the use of glacial rock flour (GRF) produced by glaciers as a soil amendment. An experiment was made on a farm in South Greenland during the 2019 summer to quantify the short-term effect of applying GRF to a field dominated by perennial timothy grass. Three treatments were compared to control sites (n = 5): 20 t GRF ha−1 without conventional NPK-fertilizer, as well as 20 and 40 t GRF ha−1 in combination with 25% NPK-fertilizer. The experiment showed no significant response in biomass production (aboveground and belowground) for the plots treated with GRF only. The low rate of GRF combined with 25% NKP showed a marked and significant increase in yield in contrast to a high GRF rate with NPK, which resulted in a significant reduction in yields. The chemical composition of the plants versus soil and GRF showed that the plant uptake of nutrients was significantly higher for NPK-fertilized plots, as expected, but no differences were found between GRF-treated plots and the control plots with respect to nutrient availability or pH in the soil. We conclude that adding water and fertilizer has the potential to increase yields in South Greenland, but applying glacial rock flour as a short-term agricultural supplement needs to be further investigated before it can be recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Soil-Sediment-Water Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Characteristics of Soil Parameters of Agricultural Land Use Types, Their Location and Development Forecast
Land 2020, 9(6), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060197 - 15 Jun 2020
Viewed by 335
Abstract
In this paper we point out the basic soil parameters characterizing current arable land, permanent grassland, vineyards, and orchards in Slovakia. While the area of permanent land use types is more or less stable, there is a noticeable decrease in the area of [...] Read more.
In this paper we point out the basic soil parameters characterizing current arable land, permanent grassland, vineyards, and orchards in Slovakia. While the area of permanent land use types is more or less stable, there is a noticeable decrease in the area of arable land. In Slovakia, arable land is located mainly on the plain. The value of its production potential is 67 points (the highest quality soil has 100 points). Permanent grassland is found at higher altitudes on slopes, with a higher gravel content, and the value of their production potential is 35 points. Vineyards are predominantly located in the warm regions of southern Slovakia on the middle slopes. These soils are generally loamy, without significant gravel content, and the value of their production potential is 59 points. Most orchards are located on the plains. The soils are predominantly loamy and deep, without significant gravel content, and the value of their production potential is 63 points. Characteristics of agricultural land use types were determined using vector databases of soil parameters obtained from Soil Science and Conservation Research Institute information systems and a current vector layer for identification of agriculturally used soils, the Land Parcel Identification System, using geographic information systems. Moreover, our analysis tries to determine what developments can be expected in the use of four agricultural land use types. The modeling assumptions concern the future performance of these variables using exponential smoothing and Box–Jenkins methodology. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Land Consolidation at the Household Level in the Red River Delta, Vietnam
Land 2020, 9(6), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060196 - 14 Jun 2020
Viewed by 356
Abstract
Land consolidation is an effective solution for the hindrances in agricultural production and rural development caused by land fragmentation. In the Red River Delta of Vietnam, where land is still highly fragmented, the application of land consolidation is required. By using a bottom-up [...] Read more.
Land consolidation is an effective solution for the hindrances in agricultural production and rural development caused by land fragmentation. In the Red River Delta of Vietnam, where land is still highly fragmented, the application of land consolidation is required. By using a bottom-up approach, the paper aims to clarify the effect of land consolidation on farm households in selected communities (as case studies) of two provinces (Hung Yen and Vinh Phuc) in the Red River Delta. With the primary structured and semi-structured interview method, 172 household questionnaires and 22 in-depth questionnaires (from local officials) were collected. The results indicated that land consolidation could either change the spatial structure or expand the area of land parcels, facilitate the conversion of crop structure, increase household incomes, accelerate mechanization in agricultural production, and create more job opportunities for agricultural laborers. However, we also found that the land consolidation process conducted in the case studies is inadequate and lacks integration with other related policies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Perception of Ecosystem Services in Constituting Multi-Functional Landscapes in Slovakia
Land 2020, 9(6), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060195 - 12 Jun 2020
Viewed by 305
Abstract
Landscape provides many services for human wellbeing through its mosaic of ecosystems. Although different landscape spatial structures limit some access to these services for local residents, their demand for landscape benefits creates a crucial component in landscape planning. Herein, we evaluate the ecosystem [...] Read more.
Landscape provides many services for human wellbeing through its mosaic of ecosystems. Although different landscape spatial structures limit some access to these services for local residents, their demand for landscape benefits creates a crucial component in landscape planning. Herein, we evaluate the ecosystem service supply from landscape structures in four different areas of Slovakia and we identify the public preferences for these services. This evaluation was assisted by expert-based ecosystem services (ES) matrix assessment and feedback from experts and key local stakeholders. The associated land cover assessment revealed that although forests are the most important for ES delivery, followed by extensive agricultural mosaics, cultural services have the highest average supply value. In contrast, the experts and local stakeholders considered that provisioning services were the most important of all ES groups because of products available from arable land. The overall public awareness of benefits provided by nature proved relatively high, and this is a good sign for the development of multi-functional landscapes. The comparison of study sites revealed that even stakeholders living in intensively used land, with its overall low ES supply, assessed ES as very important in general. The general public could therefore be included in environmental planning to promote a more multi-functional landscape. In addition, the analysis herein will communicate gained insights to the local planners and decision-makers and confirm the importance of this ES participatory approach using top-down methodology. This may require the following measures in Slovakia: establishing an interdisciplinary group of experts for regular assessment of strategic landscape planning documents and regulatory instruments, developing key directives which establish well-balanced participatory procedures, improving open local government, and supporting down-scaled implementation of integrated landscape planning in cooperation with local action groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifunctional landscapes)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Quantifying the Economic Value of Ecosystem Services in Oil Palm Dominated Landscapes in Riau Province in Sumatra, Indonesia
Land 2020, 9(6), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060194 - 11 Jun 2020
Viewed by 396
Abstract
Ecosystem services in oil palm plantations owned by smallholders in four villages in the Riau Province, Indonesia were identified and valued. Nine provisioning, three regulating and maintenance, one cultural ecosystem service, and a single ecosystem dis-service, were identified from interviews with 62 farming [...] Read more.
Ecosystem services in oil palm plantations owned by smallholders in four villages in the Riau Province, Indonesia were identified and valued. Nine provisioning, three regulating and maintenance, one cultural ecosystem service, and a single ecosystem dis-service, were identified from interviews with 62 farming households. Direct and indirect market valuation methods were used to estimate the total economic value (TEV) of these services, which averaged USD 6520 ha−1 year−1 (range = USD 2970–7729 ha−1 year−1). The values of provisioning services were USD 4331 ha−1 year−1 (range = USD 2263–5489 ha−1 year−1), regulating and maintenance services were valued at USD 1880 ha−1 year−1 (range of USD 707–3110 ha−1 year−1), and cultural services were USD 309 ha−1 year−1. We conclude that identifying and valuing ecosystem services offers an opportunity to improve the environmental and economic sustainability of smallholders in oil palm landscapes in Indonesia. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Tropical PeatLand Forest Biomass Estimation Using Polarimetric Parameters Extracted from RadarSAT-2 Images
Land 2020, 9(6), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060193 - 10 Jun 2020
Viewed by 716
Abstract
This paper was aimed at estimating the forest aboveground biomass (AGB) in the Central Kalimantan tropical peatland forest, Indonesia, using polarimetric parameters extracted from RadarSAT-2 images. Six consecutive acquisitions of RadarSAT-2 full polarimetric data were acquired and polarimetric parameters were extracted. The backscattering [...] Read more.
This paper was aimed at estimating the forest aboveground biomass (AGB) in the Central Kalimantan tropical peatland forest, Indonesia, using polarimetric parameters extracted from RadarSAT-2 images. Six consecutive acquisitions of RadarSAT-2 full polarimetric data were acquired and polarimetric parameters were extracted. The backscattering coefficient ( σ o ) for HH, HV, VH, and VV channels was computed respectively. Entropy (H) and alpha ( α ) were computed using eign decomposition. In order to understand the scattering behavior, Yamaguchi decomposition was performed to estimate surface scattering ( γ s u r f ) and volume scattering ( γ v o l ) components. Similarly following polarimetric indices were computed; Biomass Index (BMI), Canopy Structure Index (CSI), Volume Scattering Index (VSI), Radar Vegetation Index (RVI) and Pedestal Height ( p h ). The PolSAR parameters were evaluated in terms of their temporal consistency, inter-dependence, and suitability for forest aboveground biomass estimation across rainy and dry conditions. Regression analysis was performed between referenced biomass measurements and polarimetric parameters; VSI, H, RVI, p h , and γ v o l were found significantly correlated with AGB. Biomass estimation was carried out using significant models. Resultant models were validated using field-based AGB measurements. Validation results show a significant correlation between measured and referenced biomass measurements with temporal consistency over the acquisition time period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiscale Geospatial Approaches for Landscape Ecology)
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Open AccessArticle
Landscape-Ecological Approach to Spatial Planning as a Tool to Minimize Socio-Ecological Conflicts: Case Study of Agrolandscape in the Taiga Zone of Russia
Land 2020, 9(6), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060192 - 10 Jun 2020
Viewed by 338
Abstract
Landscape heterogeneity generates significant influences on economic activity. Present-day publications in landscape planning focus more and more on a participatory approach and a communication process. By contrast, we focus on nature-based criteria aimed at proper adaptation of planning decisions to natural landscape patterns. [...] Read more.
Landscape heterogeneity generates significant influences on economic activity. Present-day publications in landscape planning focus more and more on a participatory approach and a communication process. By contrast, we focus on nature-based criteria aimed at proper adaptation of planning decisions to natural landscape patterns. The paper proposes the framework aimed at considering geographical context, matter flows, and dynamic processes in projecting ecological network and perfect sites for various land use types as well as for choosing appropriate technologies. We use the example of a river basin in the taiga zone of European Russia, partially used for forestry and traditional agriculture. A landscape map, space images, and geochemical data are used to provide rationales for the necessary emergent effects resulting from proper proportions, neighborhoods, buffers, and shapes for lands use units. The proposed spatial arrangement of land use types and technologies ensures the coordination of socio-economic and ecological interests and preserves zonal background conditions, including runoff, soils, migration routes, and biodiversity. The allocation of arable lands and cutovers is aimed at minimizing undesirable matter flows that could cause qualitative changes in the geochemical environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Landscapes - Challenges and Solutions to Landscape Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Utilizing Remotely Sensed Observations to Estimate the Urban Heat Island Effect at a Local Scale: Case Study of a University Campus
Land 2020, 9(6), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060191 - 10 Jun 2020
Viewed by 873
Abstract
The urban heat island (UHI) effect has become a significant focus of research in today’s era of climate change, and a key consideration for the next generation of urban planning focused on green and livable cities. UHI has traditionally been measured using in [...] Read more.
The urban heat island (UHI) effect has become a significant focus of research in today’s era of climate change, and a key consideration for the next generation of urban planning focused on green and livable cities. UHI has traditionally been measured using in situ data and ground-based measurements. However, with the increased availability of satellite-based thermal observations of the Earth, remotely sensed observations are increasingly being utilized to estimate surface urban heat island (SUHI), using land surface temperature (LST) as a critical indicator, due to its spatial coverage. In this study, we estimated LST based on Landsat-8 observations to demonstrate the relationship between LST and the characteristics of the land use and land cover on the campus of King Abdulaziz University (KAU), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. We found a consistent variation of between 7 and 9 degrees Celsius for LST across campus, spanning all summer and winter seasons between 2014 and 2019. The LST correlates strongly with both green vegetation and built-up land cover, with a slightly stronger correlation with the latter. The relationship between LST and green vegetation has a notable seasonality, with higher correlation in the summer seasons compared to the winter seasons. Our study also found an overall increase in LST between 2014 and 2019, due to intentional changes in the built-up land cover, for example from the conversion of natural green surfaces to artificial surfaces. The findings of this study highlight the utility of the remotely sensed observation of LST to assess the SUHI phenomenon and can be used to inform future planning aimed at securing green and livable urban areas in the face of a changing climate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Land–Climate Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Rural Land Use Change Driven by Informal Industrialization: Evidence from Fengzhuang Village in China
Land 2020, 9(6), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060190 - 09 Jun 2020
Viewed by 329
Abstract
This study investigates the spatial expansion process, the de facto land use change, and their endogenous driving forces in the village of Fengzhuang since the 1990s. Fengzhuang is a specialized village in Hebei, North China, in which above 80% of rural residents are [...] Read more.
This study investigates the spatial expansion process, the de facto land use change, and their endogenous driving forces in the village of Fengzhuang since the 1990s. Fengzhuang is a specialized village in Hebei, North China, in which above 80% of rural residents are engaged in the manufacturing of mahogany furniture. Land use data were extracted from a participatory rural appraisal (PRA) survey conducted in 2014–2015. The results suggest that the land in Fengzhuang has been expanding rapidly under the influence of the informal furniture industry. The villagers transform their residential areas into family workshops and factories for the production of furniture. Most rural areas officially marked as residential are, in effect, used for industrial production, resulting in the informality of land use and circulation. The in-depth survey also reveals that the informality of the furniture industry, the bottom-up process of land development, and the evolution of government regulation are the major reasons leading to the de facto change of land use in Fengzhuang. This study offers a microscopic perspective of land use change, which helps to explore the formation and change of rural land use and actual functions, as well as the mechanisms behind them. These findings are expected to provide some implications for improving rural development strategies, rural planning, and governance in China’s specialized villages such as Fengzhuang. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Landscape Strategy-Making and Collaboration. The Hills of Northern Mors, Denmark; A Case of Changing Focus and Scale
Land 2020, 9(6), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060189 - 09 Jun 2020
Viewed by 300
Abstract
This paper focuses on a three-year rural landscape strategy-making process, which was driven by a Danish municipality and involved a large number of stakeholders. The project was part of an action research program aimed at developing new approaches to collaborative landscape planning. Gaining [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on a three-year rural landscape strategy-making process, which was driven by a Danish municipality and involved a large number of stakeholders. The project was part of an action research program aimed at developing new approaches to collaborative landscape planning. Gaining experiences with such approaches was part of this aim. During the course of the project, the focus and scale of the strategy changed significantly. The process developed in interesting ways in respect to three dimensions of collaborative landscape planning: collaboration, scale, and public goods. After a brief review of the three dimensions and their links to landscape planning, the case story is unfolded in three sections: (1) The planning process, (2) the process outcome (the strategy), and (3) the aftermath in terms of critical reflections from participating planners and local stakeholders. The process and outcome of the landscape strategy-making process is discussed in the context of collaboration, scale, and public goods, including a brief outline of the lessons learned. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Landscapes - Challenges and Solutions to Landscape Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of the Process of Academic Education on Differences in Landscape Perception between the Students of Environmental Engineering and Civil Engineering
Land 2020, 9(6), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060188 - 08 Jun 2020
Viewed by 294
Abstract
As technical and technological progress takes place, there is dissonance between teaching good engineering and technological techniques and respect for the landscape. Engineering students are educated to act as initiators and performers of activities that change space. The purpose of this study is [...] Read more.
As technical and technological progress takes place, there is dissonance between teaching good engineering and technological techniques and respect for the landscape. Engineering students are educated to act as initiators and performers of activities that change space. The purpose of this study is to answer question regarding how the engineering students recognize problems related to shaping the landscape. In the years 2012–2015, surveys were conducted in a group of 274 students of the University in their final year of environmental engineering and civil engineering studies, in order to find the main characteristics related to the problem. Students tended to assess the landscape in a manner determined by their education in natural science—emphasizing the division between the well-shaped natural landscape and the malformed anthropogenic one. There were differences between the groups of students—civil engineering students noticed the qualities of architectural objects and shaped greenery in their perception of the landscape in urban areas more often than the environmental engineering students did. There were no differences in the perception of the landscape in rural areas. The harmonious landscape was described as rural, modern, undeveloped and common. The landscape regarded as degraded was built-up and common. There were no changes in the perception of the landscape resulting from the educational profile among the environmental engineering students. The time has come to change methods of teaching the students of engineering and technical sciences about the landscape. This should result in an improvement in their perception of landscape phenomena. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Nexus between Peri-Urban Transformation and Customary Land Rights Disputes: Effects on Peri-Urban Development in Trede, Ghana
Land 2020, 9(6), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060187 - 05 Jun 2020
Viewed by 504
Abstract
Typically, peri-urban areas are havens and vulnerable receptors of customary land rights (CLRs) disputes due to the intrusion of urban activities or an uncoordinated mix of both. Although it is a dictum that CLRs cause setbacks to socioeconomic and spatial development, there seems [...] Read more.
Typically, peri-urban areas are havens and vulnerable receptors of customary land rights (CLRs) disputes due to the intrusion of urban activities or an uncoordinated mix of both. Although it is a dictum that CLRs cause setbacks to socioeconomic and spatial development, there seems to be a paucity of empirical studies on the effects of the CLRs disputes on the development of peri-urban areas, especially in developing countries, such as Ghana. This study addresses this issue by establishing a link between peri-urban transformation and emerging CLRs disputes, while assessing the effects of these disputes on the development of peri-urban areas. The study adopted a problem-centered mixed methods approach with a focus on the case of Trede, a town in Ghana transitioning from rural to urban status. Findings reveal that the changes leading to enhancing of peri-urban transformation are also the same changes inducing CLRs disputes in the area. It was found that the implementation of a local land use plan is a critical driver of CLRs disputes in Trede. A land-use plan implemented as a major step in converting rural lands into urban plots, triggered tenurial changes, land market development, high land values, loss of agricultural land, etc., which become recipes for the CLRs disputes in the study area. These CLRs disputes have hatched detrimental consequences on the economic, social, and physical developmental trajectories of Trede. As a way forward, the study proposes measures for peri-urban land management and CLRs dispute prevention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land, Women, Youths, and Land Tools or Methods)
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Open AccessArticle
Ecotourism Market Segmentation in Bali, Indonesia: Opportunities for Implementing REDD+
Land 2020, 9(6), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060186 - 05 Jun 2020
Viewed by 286
Abstract
Ecotourism has been promoted in many regions of Indonesia as a viable platform for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+) by providing incentives to local communities for their forest conservation efforts. This study aims to find opportunities for [...] Read more.
Ecotourism has been promoted in many regions of Indonesia as a viable platform for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+) by providing incentives to local communities for their forest conservation efforts. This study aims to find opportunities for implementing REDD+ in Bali through ecotourism market segmentation analysis, and to provide policy implications to other developing countries under similar circumstances. The results indicate that two clusters—“nature-seeking responsible tourists” and “wellness-seeking responsible tourists”—were selected as Bali’s target clusters. Since both have higher motivation and a more responsible attitude than other clusters, they are capable of not only sustaining a symbiotic relationship between the ecotourism destination and the visitor, but also attracting potential tourists with similar characteristics, ultimately contributing to the sustainable tourism business in the region. In conclusion, building a marketing strategy based on the understanding of the tourists will promote forest conservation effectively, while also playing an important role in REDD+ implementation by bringing sustainable tourism income to the local community. Full article
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceReview
Developing a Landscape Design Approach for the Sustainable Land Management of Hill Country Farms in New Zealand
Land 2020, 9(6), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060185 (registering DOI) - 03 Jun 2020
Viewed by 332
Abstract
Landscape modification associated with agricultural intensification has brought considerable challenges for the sustainable development of New Zealand hill country farms. Addressing these challenges requires an appropriate approach to support farmers and design a better landscape that can have beneficial environmental outcomes whilst ensuring [...] Read more.
Landscape modification associated with agricultural intensification has brought considerable challenges for the sustainable development of New Zealand hill country farms. Addressing these challenges requires an appropriate approach to support farmers and design a better landscape that can have beneficial environmental outcomes whilst ensuring continued profitability. In this paper we suggest using geodesign and theories drawn from landscape ecology to plan and design multifunctional landscapes that offer improved sustainability for hill country farm systems and landscapes in New Zealand. This approach suggests that better decisions can be made by considering the major landscape services that are, and could be, provided by the landscapes in which these farm systems are situated. These important services should be included in future landscape design of hill country by creating a patterning and configuration of landscape features that actively maintains or restores important landscape functioning. This will help to improve landscape health and promote landscape resilience in the face of climate change. Through illustrating the potential of this type of approach for wider adoption we believe that the proposed conceptual framework offers a valuable reference for sustainable farm system design that can make an important contribution to advancing environmental management globally as well as in New Zealand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Roles for Landscape Ecology in Future Farming Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling the Collaborative Evolution of Urban Land Considering Urban Interactions under Intermediate Intervention, in the Urban Agglomeration in the Middle Reaches of the Yangtze River in China
Land 2020, 9(6), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060184 - 03 Jun 2020
Viewed by 261
Abstract
As the dominant area in regional competitions, the urban agglomeration has experienced a dramatic urban land evolution, which has had a significant impact on regional socio-economic development and ecological environment. Conventional simulation models mainly explore the dynamic change of urban land based on [...] Read more.
As the dominant area in regional competitions, the urban agglomeration has experienced a dramatic urban land evolution, which has had a significant impact on regional socio-economic development and ecological environment. Conventional simulation models mainly explore the dynamic change of urban land based on the situation of a single city. The urban interactions, which linked separate cities into an organic urban agglomeration area, have not been sufficiently concerned, especially the urban interaction in the context of intermediate intervention. In this paper, we employ the radiation model to measure the urban interaction under intermediate intervention, and further spatially explicitly express the spatial network and influence of such an interaction. A simulation model coupling improved urban interaction is proposed to model the collaborative evolution of urban land in urban agglomeration by considering the influence of improved urban interactions into the basic framework of the cellular automata model. Taking the urban agglomeration in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River in China as a case study, the validity and suitability of the model are evaluated. The results show that, the proposed simulation model exhibits better performance in capturing the networked evolution of urban land. Considering urban interactions under intermediate intervention is necessary for modeling the collaborative evolution of urban land in urban agglomeration areas. The distribution of the urban interaction’s influence can be a beneficial reference for guiding the optimal allocation of urban land in a networked way. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Creating a Map of the Social Functions of Urban Green Spaces in a City with Poor Availability of Spatial Data: A Sociotope for Lodz
Land 2020, 9(6), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060183 - 02 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 322
Abstract
Many cities lack complex spatial databases that can answer the question “What does a given green space offer?” This complicates the lives of inhabitants, planners, and local authorities. One of the ways to obtain a complex picture of urban green spaces is to [...] Read more.
Many cities lack complex spatial databases that can answer the question “What does a given green space offer?” This complicates the lives of inhabitants, planners, and local authorities. One of the ways to obtain a complex picture of urban green spaces is to link multiple data sources. This article presents such an attempt to link multiple data sources to obtain a map of the social functions of urban green spaces in a city without a comprehensive spatial database on urban green spaces. We do so by adapting a method of mapping the social functions of urban green spaces—sociotope mapping—to the Central-Eastern European city of Lodz (Poland). Our results feature a map of the main social functions of urban green spaces (divided into five categories: nature, physical activity, social, play, and aesthetics) and GIS databases, with spatially explicit information on the 48 attributes of 196 urban green spaces in Lodz. According to our results, the greatest effort in sociotope mapping involves collecting data from different sources as it requires collaborating with various stakeholders—the owners of the data. Our study fits into the general trend of linking official data from municipal records with additional data on inhabitants’ preferences for urban green space planning and management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Urban Contexts and Urban-Rural Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing How Land-Cover Change Associated with Urbanisation Affects Ecological Sustainability in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area, Ghana
Land 2020, 9(6), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060182 - 01 Jun 2020
Viewed by 610
Abstract
Intensive land-cover changes (LCC) driven by unplanned urbanisation continue to threaten the sustainability of ecological assets in many cities in Africa. Evaluating the nature and processes of these changes is key to understanding the extent to which ecological instability may be affecting sustainability [...] Read more.
Intensive land-cover changes (LCC) driven by unplanned urbanisation continue to threaten the sustainability of ecological assets in many cities in Africa. Evaluating the nature and processes of these changes is key to understanding the extent to which ecological instability may be affecting sustainability futures. This study employed integrated remote sensing, GIS, land accounting techniques and utilisation of high-resolution Quickbird and Worldview 2 images to analyse actual (2008–2017) and future (2017–2030) LCC and explored implications for ecological sustainability in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area, Ghana. After mapping and classifying actual LCC, multi-layer perception (MLP) neural network and Markov chain were employed to predict future LCC for the year 2030. The results indicate that the built-up area increased substantially from 27% in 2008 to 46% in 2017 and is expected to rise to 73% by 2030. In contrast, open-space (10%), forestlands (5%) and grassland/farmlands (49%) decreased progressively (2008–2030). In effect, these land-cover types experienced area turnover ˃100% during the actual and predicted period, indicating high vulnerability of natural land cover to urban growth, ecological degradation and resource depletion. These findings highlight significant implications of LCC for ecological sustainability in the study area. A proactive land-cover/use management plan is necessary to ensure sustainable urban development and ecological land conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Land Systems and Global Change)
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Open AccessArticle
Peace, Land, and Bureaucracy in Colombia: An Analysis of the Implementation of the Victims and Land Restitution Law from a Multiscale Perspective of State Bureaucracies
Land 2020, 9(6), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060181 - 01 Jun 2020
Viewed by 327
Abstract
This article presents an analysis of the complexities implied by the implementation of the Colombian land restitution policy, as an example of the way in which the state works in its day-to-day practice. The document highlights the role played by the bureaucracy of [...] Read more.
This article presents an analysis of the complexities implied by the implementation of the Colombian land restitution policy, as an example of the way in which the state works in its day-to-day practice. The document highlights the role played by the bureaucracy of “land” in the management of the so-called post-conflict setting. It is constructive in showing the multiscale nature of the state, whose operation cannot be understood outside the various levels and scales that compose it. This conception is very well exemplified by the typology of the bureaucracies to which it resorts in order to explain the different meanings of notions, such as “conflict,” “land” or “victim,” for the public officials according to the position they fill in the institutional architecture of restitution. By analyzing the research findings, the author reveals that it is emotional, rather than material, benefits that condense the state’s role in the Colombian post-conflict period. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Mixed Approach for Multi-Scale Assessment of Land System Dynamics and Future Scenario Development on the Vaucluse Department (Southeastern France)
Land 2020, 9(6), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060180 - 01 Jun 2020
Viewed by 307
Abstract
The Mediterranean Basin is at the same time a region of stark social and ecological contrasts and a global biodiversity hotspot, where complex local evolving land use and land cover patterns compose the region’s landscapes. In this context, we aimed for a specific [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean Basin is at the same time a region of stark social and ecological contrasts and a global biodiversity hotspot, where complex local evolving land use and land cover patterns compose the region’s landscapes. In this context, we aimed for a specific case study of the southeast of France, to assess land and farming systems’ dynamics, to identify their underlying drivers, and to propose possible shared future scenarios for local policies’ implementation. We based our analyses on a mixed approach and operated at downscale from territorial to local scale. First, we applied a quantitative statistical approach for the Vaucluse department. Then, we identified a subzone of the study area and pursued a local analysis through a qualitative and participative approach based on stakeholders’ knowledge. The study highlighted two main dynamics in land and farming systems that involve several changes. The first one is a process of land abandonment, strongly connected to a peri-urbanization process in some areas or to the loss of traditional farming systems in others. The second one is a process of specialization, at both territorial and farm levels, that corresponds to an intensification process and is linked to vineyards’ expansion dynamic with a landscape homogenizing effect. Full article
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