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Environments, Volume 2, Issue 2 (June 2015) , Pages 125-279

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Open AccessArticle
Do Relocated Villages Experience More Forest Cover Change? Resettlements, Shifting Cultivation and Forests in the Lao PDR
Environments 2015, 2(2), 250-279; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments2020250
Received: 30 December 2014 / Revised: 2 June 2015 / Accepted: 5 June 2015 / Published: 12 June 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2798 | PDF Full-text (3157 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study explores the relationships between forest cover change and the village resettlement and land planning policies implemented in Laos, which have led to the relocation of remote and dispersed populations into clustered villages with easier access to state services and market facilities. [...] Read more.
This study explores the relationships between forest cover change and the village resettlement and land planning policies implemented in Laos, which have led to the relocation of remote and dispersed populations into clustered villages with easier access to state services and market facilities. We used the Global Forest Cover Change (2000–2012) and the most recent Lao Agricultural Census (2011) datasets to assess forest cover change in resettled and non-resettled villages throughout the country. We also reviewed a set of six case studies and performed an original case study in two villages of Luang Prabang province with 55 households, inquiring about relocation, land losses and intensification options. Our results show that resettled villages have greater baseline forest cover and total forest loss than most villages in Laos but not significant forest loss relative to that baseline. Resettled villages are consistently associated with forested areas, minority groups, and intermediate accessibility. The case studies highlight that resettlement coupled with land use planning does not necessarily lead to the abandonment of shifting cultivation or affect forest loss but lead to a re-spatialization of land use. This includes clustering of forest clearings, which might lead to fallow shortening and land degradation while limited intensification options exist in the resettled villages. This study provides a contribution to studying relationships between migration, forest cover change, livelihood strategies, land governance and agricultural practices in tropical forest environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from 2014 Global Land Project (GLP) Asia Conference)
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Open AccessReview
A Review of Applicability and Effectiveness of Low Impact Development/Green Infrastructure Practices in Arid/Semi-Arid United States
Environments 2015, 2(2), 221-249; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments2020221
Received: 25 February 2015 / Revised: 29 April 2015 / Accepted: 5 May 2015 / Published: 8 June 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2644 | PDF Full-text (940 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urbanized areas of the southwestern/western United States are among the fastest growing in the nation and face multiple water resource challenges. Low impact development (LID)/green infrastructure (GI) practices are increasingly popular technologies for managing stormwater; however, LID is often not as common in [...] Read more.
Urbanized areas of the southwestern/western United States are among the fastest growing in the nation and face multiple water resource challenges. Low impact development (LID)/green infrastructure (GI) practices are increasingly popular technologies for managing stormwater; however, LID is often not as common in the southwest/west due to the lack of regulatory and/or economic drivers. There is also a lack of performance evaluation of these practices, particularly at the field scale. This study focused on investigating the hydrologic and pollutant removal performance of field-scale LID/GI systems in arid/semi-arid climates. Nine typical practices were reviewed: rainwater harvest system, detention pond, retention pond, bioretention, media filter, porous pavement, vegetated swale/buffer/strip, green roof, and infiltration trench, as well as integrated LIDs. We evaluate these practices by a cost-effectiveness analysis and also recommend best practices for the arid/semi-arid area. The analysis provides data support and insights for future implementation of LID/GI in the southwest/west. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Landscape Disturbance from Unconventional and Conventional Oil and Gas Development in the Marcellus Shale Region of Pennsylvania, USA
Environments 2015, 2(2), 200-220; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments2020200
Received: 2 January 2015 / Revised: 11 May 2015 / Accepted: 20 May 2015 / Published: 8 June 2015
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3873 | PDF Full-text (3016 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The spatial footprint of unconventional (hydraulic fracturing) and conventional oil and gas development in the Marcellus Shale region of the State of Pennsylvania was digitized from high-resolution, ortho-rectified, digital aerial photography, from 2004 to 2010. We used these data to measure the spatial [...] Read more.
The spatial footprint of unconventional (hydraulic fracturing) and conventional oil and gas development in the Marcellus Shale region of the State of Pennsylvania was digitized from high-resolution, ortho-rectified, digital aerial photography, from 2004 to 2010. We used these data to measure the spatial extent of oil and gas development and to assess the exposure of the extant natural resources across the landscape of the watersheds in the study area. We found that either form of development: (1) occurred in ~50% of the 930 watersheds that defined the study area; (2) was closer to streams than the recommended safe distance in ~50% of the watersheds; (3) was in some places closer to impaired streams and state-defined wildland trout streams than the recommended safe distance; (4) was within 10 upstream kilometers of surface drinking water intakes in ~45% of the watersheds that had surface drinking water intakes; (5) occurred in ~10% of state-defined exceptional value watersheds; (6) occurred in ~30% of the watersheds with resident populations defined as disproportionately exposed to pollutants; (7) tended to occur at interior forest locations; and (8) had >100 residents within 3 km for ~30% of the unconventional oil and gas development sites. Further, we found that exposure to the potential effects of landscape disturbance attributable to conventional oil and gas development was more prevalent than its unconventional counterpart. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Heavy Metal Concentrations in Maltese Potable Water
Environments 2015, 2(2), 186-199; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments2020186
Received: 28 March 2015 / Revised: 1 May 2015 / Accepted: 6 May 2015 / Published: 18 May 2015
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Abstract
This study evaluates the levels of aluminum (Al), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), lead (Pb), nickel (Ni) and zinc (Zn) in tap water samples of forty localities from around the Maltese Islands together with their corresponding service supply reservoirs. The [...] Read more.
This study evaluates the levels of aluminum (Al), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), lead (Pb), nickel (Ni) and zinc (Zn) in tap water samples of forty localities from around the Maltese Islands together with their corresponding service supply reservoirs. The heavy metal concentrations obtained indicated that concentrations of the elements were generally below the maximum allowed concentration established by the Maltese legislation. In terms of the Maltese and EU water quality regulations, 17.5% of the localities sampled yielded water that failed the acceptance criteria for a single metal in drinking water. Higher concentrations of some metals were observed in samples obtained at the end of the distribution network, when compared to the concentrations at the source. The observed changes in metal concentrations between the localities’ samples and the corresponding supply reservoirs were significant. The higher metal concentrations obtained in the samples from the localities can be attributed to leaching in the distribution network. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Harvesting Effects on Species Composition and Distribution of Cover Attributes in Mixed Native Warm-Season Grass Stands
Environments 2015, 2(2), 167-185; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments2020167
Received: 9 February 2015 / Revised: 20 April 2015 / Accepted: 7 May 2015 / Published: 18 May 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2185 | PDF Full-text (1199 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Managing grasslands for forage and ground-nesting bird habitat requires appropriate defoliation strategies. Subsequent early-summer species composition in mixed stands of native warm-season grasses (Indiangrass (IG, Sorghastrum nutans), big bluestem (BB, Andropogon gerardii) and little bluestem (LB, Schizachyrium scoparium)) responding to [...] Read more.
Managing grasslands for forage and ground-nesting bird habitat requires appropriate defoliation strategies. Subsequent early-summer species composition in mixed stands of native warm-season grasses (Indiangrass (IG, Sorghastrum nutans), big bluestem (BB, Andropogon gerardii) and little bluestem (LB, Schizachyrium scoparium)) responding to harvest intervals (treatments, 30, 40, 60, 90 or 120 d) and durations (years in production) was assessed. Over three years, phased May harvestings were initiated on sets of randomized plots, ≥90 cm apart, in five replications (blocks) to produce one-, two- and three-year-old stands. Two weeks after harvest, the frequencies of occurrence of plant species, litter and bare ground, diagonally across each plot (line intercept), were compared. Harvest intervals did not influence proportions of dominant plant species, occurrence of major plant types or litter, but increased that of bare ground patches. Harvest duration increased the occurrence of herbaceous forbs and bare ground patches, decreased that of tall-growing forbs and litter, but without affecting that of perennial grasses, following a year with more September rainfall. Data suggest that one- or two-year full-season forage harvesting may not compromise subsequent breeding habitat for bobwhites and other ground-nesting birds in similar stands. It may take longer than a year’s rest for similar stands to recover from such changes in species composition. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Mechanization of Conservation Agriculture for Smallholders: Issues and Options for Sustainable Intensification
Environments 2015, 2(2), 139-166; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments2020139
Received: 3 March 2015 / Revised: 14 April 2015 / Accepted: 17 April 2015 / Published: 6 May 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3752 | PDF Full-text (4066 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Conservation agriculture (CA) is an increasingly adopted production system to meet the goals of sustainable crop production intensification in feeding a growing world population whilst conserving natural resources. Mechanization (especially power units, seeders, rippers and sprayers) is a key input for CA and [...] Read more.
Conservation agriculture (CA) is an increasingly adopted production system to meet the goals of sustainable crop production intensification in feeding a growing world population whilst conserving natural resources. Mechanization (especially power units, seeders, rippers and sprayers) is a key input for CA and smallholder farmers often have difficulties in making the necessary investments. Donors may be able to provide mechanization inputs in the short term, but this is not a sustainable solution as a machinery input supply chain needs to be built up to continue availability after external interventions cease. Local manufacture should be supported, as was the case in Brazil, but this is a slow development process, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. A more immediate solution is to equip and train CA service provision entrepreneurs. With the right equipment, selected for the needs of their local clientele, and the right technical and business management training, such entrepreneurs can make a livelihood by supplying high quality CA and other mechanization services on a fully costed basis. Elements of the required training, based on extensive field experience, are provided. To catalyse the growth of CA providers’ business, the market can be stimulated for an initial period by issuing e-vouchers for services and inputs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Urban Heat Island (UHI) in Relation to Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI): A Comparative Study of Delhi and Mumbai
Environments 2015, 2(2), 125-138; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments2020125
Received: 15 December 2014 / Accepted: 2 April 2015 / Published: 15 April 2015
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 3623 | PDF Full-text (4026 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The formation and occurrence of urban heat island (UHI) is a result of rapid urbanization and associated concretization. Due to intensification of heat combined with high pollution levels, urban areas expose humans to unexpected health risks. In this context, the study aims at [...] Read more.
The formation and occurrence of urban heat island (UHI) is a result of rapid urbanization and associated concretization. Due to intensification of heat combined with high pollution levels, urban areas expose humans to unexpected health risks. In this context, the study aims at comparing the UHI in the two largest metropolitan cities of India, i.e., Delhi and Mumbai. The presence of surface UHI is analyzed using the Landsat 5 TM image of 5 May 2010 for Delhi and the 17 April 2010 image for Mumbai. The validation of the heat island is done in relation to the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) patterns. The study reveals that built-up and fallow lands record high temperatures, whereas the vegetated areas and water bodies exhibit lower temperatures. Delhi, an inland city, possesses mixed land use and the presence of substantial tree cover along roads; the Delhi Ridge forests and River Yamuna cutting across the city have a high influence in moderating the surface temperatures. The temperature reaches a maximum of 35 °C in West Delhi and a minimum of 24 °C in the east at the River Yamuna. Maximum temperature in East Delhi goes to 30 °C, except the border areas. North, Central and south Delhi have low temperatures (28 °C–31 °C), but the peripheral areas have high temperatures (36 °C–37 °C). The UHI is not very prominent in the case of Delhi. This is proven by the correlations of surface temperature with NDVI. South Delhi, New Delhi and areas close to River Yamuna have high NDVI and, therefore, record low temperatures. Mumbai, on the other hand, is a coastal city with lower tree cover than Delhi. The Borivilli National Park (BNP) is in the midst of dense horizontal and vertical growth of buildings. The UHI is much stronger where the heat is trapped that is, the built-up zones. There are four small rivers in Mumbai, which have low carrying capacity. In Mumbai suburban district, the areas adjoining the creeks, sea and the lakes act as heat sinks. The coastal areas in South Mumbai record temperatures of 28 °C–31 °C; the Bandra-Kurla Complex has a high range of temperature i.e., 31 °C–36 °C. The temperature witnessed at Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport is as high as 38 °C. The temperature is nearly 37 °C–38 °C in the Dorai region in the Mumbai suburban district. The BNP has varied vegetation density, and therefore, the temperature ranges from 27 °C–31 °C. Powai Lake, Tulsi Lake and other water bodies record the lowest temperatures (24 °C–26 °C). There exists a strong negative correlation between NDVI and UHI of Mumbai, owing to less coverage of green and vegetation areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from 2014 Global Land Project (GLP) Asia Conference)
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Environments EISSN 2076-3298 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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