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Environments, Volume 5, Issue 11 (November 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Micro-solar organic Rankine cycle (ORC) systems can provide electric and thermal energy effectively [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Copper Complexation by Dissolved Organic Matter in arid Soils: A Voltametric Study
Environments 2018, 5(11), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5110125
Received: 24 October 2018 / Revised: 15 November 2018 / Accepted: 18 November 2018 / Published: 20 November 2018
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Abstract
A voltammetric method was used to estimate the complexing capacity of water extracts from both desert soils sampled at the root zone of creosote and salt cedar plants, and in soils from interspace or background regions where no vegetative influence was apparent. The
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A voltammetric method was used to estimate the complexing capacity of water extracts from both desert soils sampled at the root zone of creosote and salt cedar plants, and in soils from interspace or background regions where no vegetative influence was apparent. The copper complexing capacity of water extracts of these desert soils was influenced by contact time and pH. In soils from the root zones of creosote and salt cedar plant, copper complexation capacities at pH 8 were from 5 µM to 60 µM after five min contact periods, while 18 h contact periods yielded copper complexation capacities of 40 µM–80 µM. Soils with no vegetative influence had copper complexing capacities of less the 2 µM. The copper complexing capacities of these soils are well correlated with the concentration of organic carbon in the water extract (r2 = 0.86). The abundance of soluble organic matter in the root zone of desert shrubs has the potential to control the solution speciation of Cu2+. The formation of soluble complexes should also have an important influence on the plant uptake and transport of copper, as well as other heavy metals in the root zones of desert shrubs and beyond. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Bioremediation of Polluted Soil Sites with Crude Oil Hydrocarbons Using Carrot Peel Waste
Environments 2018, 5(11), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5110124
Received: 6 September 2018 / Revised: 14 November 2018 / Accepted: 15 November 2018 / Published: 17 November 2018
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Abstract
The biostimulation potentials of carrot peel waste and carob kibbles for bioremediation of crude petroleum-oil polluted soil were investigated. Temperature, pH, moisture, total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH), and changes in microbial counts during 45 days were monitored when 4 mL of carrot peel waste
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The biostimulation potentials of carrot peel waste and carob kibbles for bioremediation of crude petroleum-oil polluted soil were investigated. Temperature, pH, moisture, total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH), and changes in microbial counts during 45 days were monitored when 4 mL of carrot peel waste or carob kibbles media were added to 200 g of crude oil polluted soil samples. Gas chromatography-flame ionization detection (GC-FID) was used to compare hydrocarbon present in the crude oil polluted soil and in pure fuel, composition of crude oil polluted soil was analyzed by X-ray diffraction (XRD), and the TPH was measured by distillation using distiller mud. The results showed that, at the end of experiments, the concentration of TPH decreased in crude oil polluted soil containing carrot peel waste with a percentage of 27 ± 1.90% followed by crude oil polluted soil containing carob kibbles (34 ± 1.80%) and in the unamended control soil (36 ± 1.27%), respectively. The log [Colony Forming Unit (CFU)/g] of total heterotrophic bacteria in the crude oil polluted soil increased from 10.46 ± 0.91 to 13.26 ± 0.84 for carrot peel waste, from 11.01 ± 0.56 to 11.99 ± 0.77 for carob kibbles and from 8.18 ± 0.39 to 8.84 ± 0.84 for control, respectively. Such results demonstrated that carrot peel could be used to enhance activities of the microbial hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria during bioremediation of crude petroleum-oil polluted soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioremediation of Contaminated Soils)
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Open AccessArticle Reaction of Ion Exchange Resins with Fenton’s Reagent
Environments 2018, 5(11), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5110123
Received: 12 September 2018 / Revised: 10 November 2018 / Accepted: 13 November 2018 / Published: 15 November 2018
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Abstract
One of the most common treatment methods for spent ion exchange resins is their immobilization in cement, which reduces the release of radionuclides into the environment. Although this method is efficient, it considerably increases the final volume of the waste due to its
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One of the most common treatment methods for spent ion exchange resins is their immobilization in cement, which reduces the release of radionuclides into the environment. Although this method is efficient, it considerably increases the final volume of the waste due to its low incorporation capacity. This work aims to evaluate the degradation of ion exchange resins by the Fenton process (H2O2/Fe2+). The resin evaluated was a mixture of cationic and anionic resins, both non-radioactive. The reactions were conducted by varying the catalyst concentration (25, 50, 100, and 150 mmol L−1) and the volume of hydrogen peroxide. Three different temperatures were evaluated by varying the flow of reactants, which were 50, 60, and 70 °C. Cement specimens were prepared from the treated solutions and two parameters were assessed—namely, final setting time and axial compressive strength. The results showed that the experimental conditions were suitable to dissolve the resins, and the Fe3+ produced as precipitate during the experiments increased the resistance of the final product. The immobilized product complied with the limits established by regulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Oxidation Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Adoption and the Role of Fertilizer Trees and Shrubs as a Climate Smart Agriculture Practice: The Case of Salima District in Malawi
Environments 2018, 5(11), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5110122
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 2 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 November 2018 / Published: 10 November 2018
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Abstract
Fertilizer trees and shrubs can improve degraded soil and avert the impacts of climate change on smallholder farmers in Malawi. This paper analyses the roles of fertilizer trees and shrubs and factors that determine adoption, as well as the intensity of use of
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Fertilizer trees and shrubs can improve degraded soil and avert the impacts of climate change on smallholder farmers in Malawi. This paper analyses the roles of fertilizer trees and shrubs and factors that determine adoption, as well as the intensity of use of fertilizer on trees and shrubs in maize-based farming systems using the Tobit model. A household survey involving 250 smallholder farmers was conducted in Salima district, Malawi. The analysis shows that adopters of fertilizer trees and shrubs considered fertility improvement, shade, source of food and erosion control as main roles of fertilizer trees and shrubs. The Tobit model shows that households with relatively more land are more likely to adopt fertilizer trees and shrubs than those with small land sizes. Adoption is higher among farmers who had been exposed to fertilizer trees and shrubs for longer periods than others had. Land tenure, education and availability of labor also influence the adoption of fertilizer trees and shrubs. Results further show that household and farm characteristics and availability of extension services explain the current adoption rates of tree-fertilizer technologies. Our findings can guide effective targeting of farmers to ensure higher adoption and sustainability of fertilizer-tree and shrub technology for climate-smart agriculture among the smallholder farmers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Ecosystem Services)
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Open AccessArticle Community Perceptions of Ecosystem Services and the Management of Mt. Marsabit Forest in Northern Kenya
Environments 2018, 5(11), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5110121
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 18 October 2018 / Accepted: 1 November 2018 / Published: 5 November 2018
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Abstract
Identifying and characterizing ecosystem services (ES) has been shown to have an important role in sustainable natural resource management. However, understanding communities’ perspectives is critical in determining opportunities and constraints for ES management in multi-use landscapes. To do so, a study was conducted
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Identifying and characterizing ecosystem services (ES) has been shown to have an important role in sustainable natural resource management. However, understanding communities’ perspectives is critical in determining opportunities and constraints for ES management in multi-use landscapes. To do so, a study was conducted around Mt. Marsabit forest, a multiuse landscape in Kenya. Using stratification, participants from 11 administrative locations adjacent to the forest were selected. A total of 265 households were interviewed using semi-structured questionnaires. The study analyzed local communities’ perceptions of ES derived from the forest and their involvement in its management. Respondents identified trees, forage, water, fallback land cultivation, aesthetic enjoyment, and shade as key services derived from the forest. However, overexploitation of forest resources has led to degradation. Degradation and insecurity were perceived as the major threats to the ecosystem. The local communities were minimally involved in developing governance structures or management of this forest. Family size, education level, and age were important predictors of level of involvement in management. Lack of involvement in the forest management may have largely contributed to the unsustainable extraction of resources by local communities. We suggest that meaningful engagement of communities in the management of this forest will be critical to its sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Spectroscopic and Voltammetric Analysis of Platinum Group Metals in Road Dust and Roadside Soil
Environments 2018, 5(11), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5110120
Received: 17 September 2018 / Revised: 21 October 2018 / Accepted: 28 October 2018 / Published: 2 November 2018
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Abstract
The emission of toxic compounds by increasing anthropogenic activities affects human health and the environment. Heavy road traffic and mining activities are the major anthropogenic activities contributing to the presence of metals in the environment. The release of palladium (Pd), platinum (Pt), and
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The emission of toxic compounds by increasing anthropogenic activities affects human health and the environment. Heavy road traffic and mining activities are the major anthropogenic activities contributing to the presence of metals in the environment. The release of palladium (Pd), platinum (Pt), and rhodium (Rh) into the environment increases the levels of contamination in soils, road sediments, airborne particles, and plants. These Pd, Pt, and Rh in road dusts can be soluble and enter aquatic environment posing a risk to environment and human health. The aim of this study is to determine the levels of Pd, Pt, and Rh with spectroscopy and voltammetric methods. Potential interferences by other metal ions (Na(I), Fe(III), Ni(II), Co(II)) in voltammetric methods have also been investigated in this study. At all the sampling sites very low concentrations of Pd, Pt, and Rh were found at levels that range from 0.48 ± 0.05 to 5.44 ± 0.11 ng/g (dry weight (d.wt)) for Pd(II), with 17.28 ± 3.12 to 81.44 ± 3.07 pg/g (d.wt) for Pt(II), and 14.34 ± 3.08 to 53.35 ± 4.07 pg/g (d.wt) for Rh(III). The instrumental limit of detection for Pd, Pt, and Rh for Inductively Coupled Plasma Quadrupole-based Mass Spectrometry (ICP-QMS) analysis was found to be 3 × 10−6 µg/g, 3 × 10−6 µg/g and 1 × 10−6 µg/g, respectively. In the case of voltammetric analysis the instrumental limit of detection for Pd(II), Pt(II), and Rh(III) for differential pulse adsorptive stripping voltammetry was found to be 7 × 10−8 µg/g, 6 × 10−8 µg/g, and 2 × 10−7 µg/g, respectively. For the sensor application, good precision was obtained due to consistently reproduced the measurements with a reproducibility of 6.31% for Pt(II), 7.58% for Pd(II), and 5.37% for Rh(III) (n = 10). The reproducibility for ICP-QMS analysis were 1.58% for Pd(II), 1.12% for Pt(II), and 1.37% for Rh(III) (n = 5). In the case of repeatability for differential pulse adsorptive stripping voltammetry (DPAdSV) and ICP-QMS, good standard deviations of 0.01 for Pd(II); 0.02 for Pt(II), 0.009 for Rh(III) and 0.011 for Pd, 0.019 for Pt and 0.013 for Rh, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Toxicology of Trace Metals)
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Open AccessArticle Multi-Country Analysis on Energy Savings in Buildings by Means of a Micro-Solar Organic Rankine Cycle System: A Simulation Study
Environments 2018, 5(11), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5110119
Received: 4 October 2018 / Revised: 29 October 2018 / Accepted: 31 October 2018 / Published: 2 November 2018
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Abstract
In this paper, the smart management of buildings energy use by means of an innovative renewable micro-cogeneration system is investigated. The system consists of a concentrated linear Fresnel reflectors solar field coupled with a phase change material thermal energy storage tank and a
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In this paper, the smart management of buildings energy use by means of an innovative renewable micro-cogeneration system is investigated. The system consists of a concentrated linear Fresnel reflectors solar field coupled with a phase change material thermal energy storage tank and a 2 kWe/18 kWth organic Rankine cycle (ORC) system. The microsolar ORC was designed to supply both electricity and thermal energy demand to residential dwellings to reduce their primary energy use. In this analysis, the achievable energy and operational cost savings through the proposed plant with respect to traditional technologies (i.e., condensing boilers and electricity grid) were assessed by means of simulations. The influence of the climate and latitude of the installation was taken into account to assess the performance and the potential of such system across Europe and specifically in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, U.K., and Sweden. Results show that the proposed plant can satisfy about 80% of the overall energy demand of a 100 m2 dwelling in southern Europe, while the energy demand coverage drops to 34% in the worst scenario in northern Europe. The corresponding operational cost savings amount to 87% for a dwelling in the south and at 33% for one in the north. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Energy Management for a Sustainable Built Environment)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of the Methodologic Assumptions of the NOM-020-ENER-2011—Mexican Residential Building Standard
Environments 2018, 5(11), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5110118
Received: 20 August 2018 / Revised: 20 October 2018 / Accepted: 30 October 2018 / Published: 1 November 2018
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Abstract
In Mexico, residents of low income housing mainly achieve thermal comfort through mechanical ventilation and electrical air conditioning systems. Though government and private efforts have risen to meet an increasing demand for social housing, the average construction quality and thermal comfort of new
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In Mexico, residents of low income housing mainly achieve thermal comfort through mechanical ventilation and electrical air conditioning systems. Though government and private efforts have risen to meet an increasing demand for social housing, the average construction quality and thermal comfort of new housing stock has decreased over the years. Various programs and regulations have been implemented to address these concerns, including the 2011 residential building standard NOM-020-ENER-2011. This standard attempts to limit heat gains in residential buildings, in order to reduce the energy consumption required from cooling systems, and was intended to be applied throughout Mexico. NOM-020-ENER-2011, however, divides the country into just four climatic zones and only considers the energy use of cooling systems, disregarding heating costs. The recommendations of this policy are thus inadequate for the many regions in Mexico that have mild to moderate winters. This study discusses the assumptions and calculations that underlie NOM-020-ENER-2011, identifying several problems and recommending specific changes to the standard that would lead to greater comfort and lower energy use throughout Mexico. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Energy Management for a Sustainable Built Environment)
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Open AccessArticle UV Sensitization of Nitrate and Sulfite: A Powerful Tool for Groundwater Remediation
Environments 2018, 5(11), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5110117
Received: 3 September 2018 / Revised: 23 October 2018 / Accepted: 26 October 2018 / Published: 31 October 2018
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Abstract
Groundwater contamination by nitrate and organic chemicals (for example, 1,4-dioxane) is a growing worldwide concern. This work presents a new approach for simultaneously treating nitrate and 1,4-dioxane, which is based on the ultra-violet (UV) sensitization of nitrate and sulfite, and the production of
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Groundwater contamination by nitrate and organic chemicals (for example, 1,4-dioxane) is a growing worldwide concern. This work presents a new approach for simultaneously treating nitrate and 1,4-dioxane, which is based on the ultra-violet (UV) sensitization of nitrate and sulfite, and the production of reactive species. Specifically, water contaminated with nitrate and 1,4-dioxane is irradiated by a UV source (<250 nm) at relatively high doses, to sensitize in situ nitrate and generate OH•. This leads to the oxidation of 1,4-dioxane (and other organics) and the (undesired) production of nitrite as an intermediate. Subsequently, sulfite is added at an optimized time-point, and its UV sensitization produces hydrated electrons that react and reduces nitrite. Our results confirm the effectivity of the proposed treatment: UV irradiation of nitrate (at >5 mg N/L) efficiently degraded 1,4-dioxane, while producing nitrite at levels higher than its maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 1 mg N/L in drinking water. Adding sulfite to the process after 10 min of irradiation reduces the concentration of nitrite without affecting the degradation rate of 1,4-dioxane. The treated water contained elevated levels of sulfate; albeit at much lower concentration than its MCL. Treating water contaminated with nitrate and organic chemicals (often detected concomitantly) typically requires several expensive treatment processes. The proposed approach presents a cost-effective alternative, employing a single system for the treatment of nitrate and organic contaminants. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Modified Spacer on Flow Pattern in Narrow Spacer-Filled Channels for Spiral-Wound Membrane Modules
Environments 2018, 5(11), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5110116
Received: 7 September 2018 / Revised: 24 October 2018 / Accepted: 25 October 2018 / Published: 28 October 2018
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Abstract
A modified spacer, which was constructed with arched filaments and zigzag filaments, was designed to improve vortex shedding and generate a directional change in flow patterns of membrane modules, especially in the vicinity of the feed spacer filament, which is most affected by
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A modified spacer, which was constructed with arched filaments and zigzag filaments, was designed to improve vortex shedding and generate a directional change in flow patterns of membrane modules, especially in the vicinity of the feed spacer filament, which is most affected by fouling. A unit cell was investigated by using a three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model for hydrodynamic simulation. The results of CFD simulations were carried out for the fluid flow in order to understand the effect of the modified spacer on vortices to the performance of arched filaments at different distances. From 2D velocity vectors and shear stress contour mixing, the flow pattern and dead zone flushing were depicted. The ratio of low shear stress area to the total area increased with the inlet velocity closed to 20%. The energy consumption with respect to flow direction for the arched filament was 80% lower than that in the zigzag filament. Compared with previous commercial spacers’ simulation, the friction factor was lower when the main flow was normal to the arched filament and the modified friction factor was close to the commercial spacers. The homogenization was realized through the flow pattern created by the modified spacer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Applications of Membrane Technology)
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Open AccessArticle Fast Aqueous Biodegradation of Highly-Volatile Organic Compounds in a Novel Anaerobic Reaction Setup
Environments 2018, 5(11), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5110115
Received: 17 September 2018 / Revised: 19 October 2018 / Accepted: 24 October 2018 / Published: 27 October 2018
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Abstract
The present work explores the biodegradation of some emerging pollutants (EPs) in an anaerobic slowly-agitated up-flow packed-bed reactor (USPBR) filled with biological activated carbon (BAC). Chlorobenzene (CB) and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) were selected as volatile organic compounds (VOC) and major constituents of many
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The present work explores the biodegradation of some emerging pollutants (EPs) in an anaerobic slowly-agitated up-flow packed-bed reactor (USPBR) filled with biological activated carbon (BAC). Chlorobenzene (CB) and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) were selected as volatile organic compounds (VOC) and major constituents of many pesticides. Experiments carried out in continuous operation showed that bioconversion up to 90% was achieved for CB and 2,4-D, at space times below 0.6 h and 1.2 h, respectively, at ambient temperature. Overall, removal rates of 0.89 g L−1 d−1 and 0.46 g L−1 d−1 were obtained for CB and 2,4-D, respectively. These results revealed that the degradation of CB and 2,4-D in this anaerobic configuration of bioreactor is an efficient and fast process. The Michaelis–Menten model properly describes the degradation process for CB. Above initial concentrations of 100 mg L−1, 2,4-D presented a considerable inhibitory effect over the biofilm. For this reason, a substrate inhibition factor was included in the Michaelis–Menten equation; the expanded model presented a good fitting to the experimental data, regardless of the inlet concentration. Therefore, USPBR-BAC combination showed to be a highly efficient system for the biodegradation of such compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Odor and VOCs: Human Perception, Sensing, and Treatment)
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Open AccessProject Report Water Footprint (ISO 14046) in Latin America, State of the Art and Recommendations for Assessment and Communication
Environments 2018, 5(11), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5110114
Received: 15 September 2018 / Revised: 19 October 2018 / Accepted: 21 October 2018 / Published: 26 October 2018
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Abstract
Due to the importance of water management, and good governance for humanity’s wellbeing and future, the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda has established the global Water Goal (SDG 6). Mobilization of the different sectors is required. The private sector has an important role, and
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Due to the importance of water management, and good governance for humanity’s wellbeing and future, the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda has established the global Water Goal (SDG 6). Mobilization of the different sectors is required. The private sector has an important role, and it is increasingly aware of the substantial water risks for business. Thus, it is timely to quantify and monitor potential environmental impacts with an international standard (ISO 14046:2014), in order to prioritize investments to reduce the direct and indirect impacts from water uses within the production of goods and services. The objectives of this project were: (1) To scale knowledge, networking and generate leadership through exchanges among 43 professionals from 14 Latin American countries; (2) to develop recommendations to improve coherence in the quantification, verification and communication of the water footprint in the region; and (3) to structure and publish the recommendations, available tools/methods and key challenges in open access guidelines. This effort resulted in an active and continuous-growth community for water footprint practice in Latin America. This article describes the process to achieve the Regional Guidelines and other results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint in Life Cycle Assessment: From Theory to Practice)
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Open AccessArticle Value Chain of Charcoal Production and Implications for Forest Degradation: Case Study of Bié Province, Angola
Environments 2018, 5(11), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5110113
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 9 October 2018 / Accepted: 23 October 2018 / Published: 26 October 2018
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Abstract
Forest degradation and forest loss threaten the survival of many species and reduce the ability of forests to provide vital services. Clearing for agriculture in Angola is an important driver of forest degradation and deforestation. Charcoal production for urban consumption as a driver
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Forest degradation and forest loss threaten the survival of many species and reduce the ability of forests to provide vital services. Clearing for agriculture in Angola is an important driver of forest degradation and deforestation. Charcoal production for urban consumption as a driver of forest degradation has had alarming impacts on natural forests, as well as on the social and economic livelihood of the rural population. The charcoal impact on forest cover change is in the same order of magnitude as deforestation caused by agricultural expansion. However, there is a need to monitor the linkage between charcoal production and forest degradation. The aim of this paper is to investigate the sequence of the charcoal value chain as a systematic key to identify policies to reduce forest degradation in the province of Bié. It is a detailed study of the charcoal value chain that does not stop on the production and the consumption side. The primary data of this study came from 330 respondents obtained through different methods (semi-structured questionnaire survey and market observation conducted in June to September 2013–2014). A logistic regression (logit) model in IBM SPSS Statistics 24 (IBM Corp, Armonk, NY, USA) was used to analyze the factors influencing the decision of the households to use charcoal for domestic purposes. The finding indicates that 21 to 27 thousand hectares were degraded due to charcoal production. By describing the chain of charcoal, it was possible to access the driving factors for charcoal production and to obtain the first-time overview flow of charcoal from producers to consumers in Bié province. The demand for charcoal in this province is more likely to remain strong if government policies do not aim to employ alternative sources of domestic energy. Full article
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