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Environments, Volume 5, Issue 3 (March 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Analytical data related to trace contamination in three officinal plants from the Peruvian [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Adaptation to Climate Change in Panchase Mountain Ecological Regions of Nepal
Environments 2018, 5(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5030042
Received: 22 December 2017 / Revised: 8 March 2018 / Accepted: 8 March 2018 / Published: 13 March 2018
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2883 | PDF Full-text (2631 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Rural mountain communities in developing countries are considered particularly vulnerable to environmental change, including climate change. Forests and agriculture provide numerous ecosystem goods and services (EGS) to local communities and can help people adapt to the impacts of climate change. There is however [...] Read more.
Rural mountain communities in developing countries are considered particularly vulnerable to environmental change, including climate change. Forests and agriculture provide numerous ecosystem goods and services (EGS) to local communities and can help people adapt to the impacts of climate change. There is however poor documentation on the role of EGS in people’s livelihood and adaptation practices. This study in the rural Panchase Mountain Ecological Region of Nepal identifies practices being used to adapt to a changing environment through key informant interviews and focus group discussions. At the household level, livelihood diversification, changes in cropping patterns and farming practices, use of multipurpose plant species and income-generation activities were identified as adaptation strategies. Among major strategies at the community level were community forestry-based climate adaptation plans of action for forest and water resource management. Landscape-level adaptation strategies were large-scale collaborative projects and programs, such as Ecosystem-based Adaptation and Chitwan Annapurna Landscape conservation; which had implications at both the local and landscape-level. A proper blending and integration of adaptation strategies from individual households through to the community and to the landscape level is needed for implementing effective adaptation in the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Risk and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle
Management Recommendations for Improving Decentralized Wastewater Treatment by the Food and Beverage Industries in Nigeria
Environments 2018, 5(3), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5030041
Received: 8 December 2017 / Revised: 7 March 2018 / Accepted: 8 March 2018 / Published: 12 March 2018
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Abstract
The main aim of this study was to identify the enabling conditions that can lead to better wastewater management by industries (non-oil and gas sector) in Nigeria. The relevant data and information’s required for this study were obtained through semi-structured interviews with different [...] Read more.
The main aim of this study was to identify the enabling conditions that can lead to better wastewater management by industries (non-oil and gas sector) in Nigeria. The relevant data and information’s required for this study were obtained through semi-structured interviews with different stakeholders in the Nigerian environmental sector. The lack of financial capability, technical expertise, and environmental awareness was envisaged as the main reason for non-compliance. According to the results, the enabling conditions that can lead to better decentralized wastewater management are government support, improved legal and regulatory framework, increased capacity, and skills of the regulators and financial arrangements for implementing environmental policies and treatment technologies in polluting facilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil and Water Contamination, Remediation and Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle
Adapting to Climate Change: Lessons from Farmers and Peri-Urban Fringe Residents in South Australia
Environments 2018, 5(3), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5030040
Received: 16 January 2018 / Revised: 22 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 March 2018 / Published: 8 March 2018
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2481 | PDF Full-text (2273 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper reports on results from two major research projects conducted in South Australia. The first investigates adaptation to climate change in two of the state’s major grain and sheep farming regions, using semi-structured interviews and focus groups. The second uses a postal [...] Read more.
This paper reports on results from two major research projects conducted in South Australia. The first investigates adaptation to climate change in two of the state’s major grain and sheep farming regions, using semi-structured interviews and focus groups. The second uses a postal questionnaire and an internet-based survey of residents in the peri-urban fringes of Adelaide, the state capital, to examine knowledge of and attitudes to climate change and resulting adaptations, especially in the context of increasing risk of wildfires. The research on adaptation to climate change in agriculture focused on formal institutions (e.g., government agencies) and communities of practice (e.g., farm systems groups). Both groups noted that farmers autonomously adapt to various risks, including those induced by climate variability. The types and levels of adaptation varied among individuals partly because of barriers to adaptation, which included limited communication and engagement processes established between formal institutions and communities of practice. The paper discusses possibilities for more effective transfers of knowledge and information on climate change among formal institutions, communities of practice, trusted individual advisors and farmers. Research in the peri-urban fringe revealed that actions taken by individuals to mitigate and/or adapt to climate change were linked to the nature of environmental values held (or ecological worldview) and place attachment. Individuals with a strong place attachment to the study area (the Adelaide Hills) who possessed knowledge of and/or beliefs in climate change were most likely to take mitigating actions. This was also linked to previous experience of major risk from wildfires. The paper concludes by discussing prospects for developing co-management for reducing the impact of climate change across multiple groups in rural and peri-urban areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle
A Method to Estimate Students’ Exposure to Road Traffic Noise Events
Environments 2018, 5(3), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5030039
Received: 24 January 2018 / Revised: 27 February 2018 / Accepted: 1 March 2018 / Published: 5 March 2018
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Abstract
The correlation between exposure to traffic noise and students’ performance and annoyance has been investigated in literature mainly considering the relationship between indoor equivalent A-weighted sound pressure level (LAeq) and students’ cognitive impairment. Annoyance is frequently related to the effect of [...] Read more.
The correlation between exposure to traffic noise and students’ performance and annoyance has been investigated in literature mainly considering the relationship between indoor equivalent A-weighted sound pressure level (LAeq) and students’ cognitive impairment. Annoyance is frequently related to the effect of short-duration noise events characterized by high sound pressure levels, such as those due to aircraft fly-over and pass-by of buses, heavy trucks, motorcycles, or street sweepers. These noise events are often described, over specific measurement periods, in terms of maximum A-weighted sound pressure level, LAmax, or statistical levels, such as LA1 or LA10. This aspect is not considered in the noise maps drawn in accordance with the European Environmental Noise Directive, as they provide the LAeq only, determined over day, evening, and night periods. In this paper, students’ exposure to road traffic noise is analyzed by means of regression equations obtained by the authors between LAeq and A-weighted maximum and statistical levels due to road traffic noise. The traffic noise of 28 urban streets was monitored during the opening period of Italian schools. A method is described to estimate students’ exposure to noise from data made available on noise maps by the municipalities of metropolitan areas. The application of this method to the case study of Florence shows that almost 60% of students from municipal primary and lower secondary schools could be exposed to the maximum sound pressure level (SPL) inside the classroom greater than 55 dB(A) every hour, probably exceeding the typical background noise in classrooms by more than 10 dB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sound Environments)
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Open AccessArticle
Gardening the City: Addressing Sustainability and Adapting to Global Warming through Urban Agriculture
Environments 2018, 5(3), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5030038
Received: 21 January 2018 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 27 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2247 | PDF Full-text (228 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article envisions urban agriculture as a solution to address global warming by decreasing the urban heat island effect while also addressing many other urban sustainability issues, such as multi-functionality, creating new commons, amenities and ecosystem services, reinventing urbanity, encouraging community building by [...] Read more.
This article envisions urban agriculture as a solution to address global warming by decreasing the urban heat island effect while also addressing many other urban sustainability issues, such as multi-functionality, creating new commons, amenities and ecosystem services, reinventing urbanity, encouraging community building by growing local food, and enhanced water management. This article examines how urban design and planning can promote this solution to reconfigure more sustainable and resilient cities. A crucial aspect is that urban planning should evolve from its traditional prescriptive form to adaptive planning. An important point in adaptive planning is that anybody concerned should be associated with the decision-making process, which requires the involvement of citizens in the decisions that affect them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle
Integrated Approach to Sustainable Land Use Management
Environments 2018, 5(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5030037
Received: 21 December 2017 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 27 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
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Abstract
This article presents the integrated approach to sustainable land use management based on the assessment of land use and related land cover changes. Land use changes are conditioned by human activities producing changes in landscape cover and initiating processes which cause many environmental [...] Read more.
This article presents the integrated approach to sustainable land use management based on the assessment of land use and related land cover changes. Land use changes are conditioned by human activities producing changes in landscape cover and initiating processes which cause many environmental problems. It is therefore important to determine the drivers and causality of landscape changes which can then be negated to ensure sustainable land use management. The integrated landscape research approach is based on understanding landscape as a geo-ecosystem with natural, human, cultural, and historical potential. Our aim is to define the aspects of land use management which can regulate social development. The proposal for optimal land use is based on the interaction between natural capital, represented by the supply of natural regional resources and environmental conditions as well as demand represented by community need for development. The conflict between the supply of natural capital and demands lacking respect for landscape resources is an important determining factor in environmental and human problems. The integrated approach is focused on long-term rational utilization of the natural and cultural-historical resources, urban development, and the elimination of current environmental and socioeconomic problems as well as the prevention of new ones. Multi-criteria analysis is required for final environmental decision-making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Territorial Management) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating Presence Data versus Expert Opinions to Assess Occurrence, Habitat Preferences and Landscape Permeability: A Case Study of Butterflies
Environments 2018, 5(3), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5030036
Received: 9 February 2018 / Revised: 22 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
We explored how presence data and expert opinions performed with respect to identifying the ecological preferences and the spatial needs of six butterfly species in the Federal State of Saxony, Germany. We used presence records and a land-cover map. In parallel we used [...] Read more.
We explored how presence data and expert opinions performed with respect to identifying the ecological preferences and the spatial needs of six butterfly species in the Federal State of Saxony, Germany. We used presence records and a land-cover map. In parallel we used expert responses to evaluate the 40 land-cover types occurring in the map, in terms of both suitability and permeability for the six species. Presence data were translated into preferences through Ivlev’s electivity indices (IEI). Visual analysis of preference maps based on IEI showed a distinct pattern of suitable versus less suitable areas. Similarly, spatial analyses found that presence-points were closer to suitability areas based on IEI than those that were based on expert data. However, in case of mismatches between expert and presence-based evaluations, independent experts identified the expert evaluation as better and considered IEI outcomes as wrong. We found a medium to high correlation between land-cover class suitability and permeability based on expert opinions for all species. This indicates that expert evaluation of permeability is affiliated with habitat suitability. Integration of species-presence data and expert-knowledge about species could enhance our capabilities to understand and potentially map suitability while gathering information about suitability and permeability separately can improve species conservation planning. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Alkali-Activated Mortars for Sustainable Building Solutions: Effect of Binder Composition on Technical Performance
Environments 2018, 5(3), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5030035
Received: 7 November 2017 / Revised: 13 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2499 | PDF Full-text (3270 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is a growing interest in the construction sector in the use of sustainable binders as an alternative to ordinary Portland cement, the production of which is highly impacting on the environment, due to high carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption. Alkali-activated binders, [...] Read more.
There is a growing interest in the construction sector in the use of sustainable binders as an alternative to ordinary Portland cement, the production of which is highly impacting on the environment, due to high carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption. Alkali-activated binders, especially those resulting from low-cost industrial by-products, such as coal fly ash or metallurgical slag, represent a sustainable option for cement replacement, though their use is more challenging, due to some technological issues related to workability or curing conditions. This paper presents sustainable alkali-activated mortars cured in room conditions and based on metakaolin, fly ash, and furnace slag (both by-products resulting from local sources) and relevant blends, aiming at their real scale application in the building sector. The effect of binder composition—gradually adjusted taking into consideration technical and environmental aspects (use of industrial by-products in place of natural materials in the view of resources saving)—on the performance (workability, compressive strength) of different mortar formulations, is discussed in detail. Some guidelines for the design of cement-free binders are given, taking into consideration the effect of each investigated alumino-silicate component. The technical feasibility to produce the mortars with standard procedures and equipment, the curing in room conditions, the promising results achieved in terms of workability and mechanical performance (from 20.0 MPa up to 52.0 MPa), confirm the potential of such materials for practical applications (masonry mortars of class M20 and Md). The cement-free binders resulting from this study can be used as reference for the development of mortars and concrete formulations for sustainable building materials production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Friendly Geopolymer Composites)
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Open AccessEditorial
Blockchain with Artificial Intelligence to Efficiently Manage Water Use under Climate Change
Environments 2018, 5(3), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5030034
Received: 24 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2744 | PDF Full-text (158 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Assessments may underestimate the annual global water scarcity, driven by seasonal water availability and consumption distribution heterogeneity[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Contamination of Plants from Amazonia by Environmental Pollution
Environments 2018, 5(3), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5030033
Received: 9 February 2018 / Revised: 14 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 26 February 2018
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2486 | PDF Full-text (2851 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Analytical data concerning the contamination on three officinal plants due to Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), as organochlorine pesticides, are reported and discussed. Analyzed vegetation—“Graviola” (Annona muricata), “Mullaca” (Physalis angulata) and “Balsamina” (Impatiens balsamina)—comes from the Peruvian Amazonian [...] Read more.
Analytical data concerning the contamination on three officinal plants due to Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), as organochlorine pesticides, are reported and discussed. Analyzed vegetation—“Graviola” (Annona muricata), “Mullaca” (Physalis angulata) and “Balsamina” (Impatiens balsamina)—comes from the Peruvian Amazonian forest, and are well known for their numerous therapeutic properties. A portion of each vegetable sample (leaves) was submitted to extraction procedure with hexane-acetone (1:1, v/v) solution by using a continuous solid-liquid extraction. The extracts were analyzed by Gas Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) and Multi Reaction Monitoring (MRM) techniques. Obtained results show the presence of DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) and its breakdown products, as DDD (dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane) and DDE (dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene), while the hexachlorobenzene was found only in the “Graviola” (0.041 ng/g of dry weight (d.w.) net matter). The total POPs quantities were detected in the concentration range of ppb, varying from 0.349 and 0.614 ng/g d.w. for “Mullaca” and “Graviola”, respectively, up to 1.329 ng/g d.w. in the case of “Balsamina”. Recorded concentration trace values in the case of hexachlorobenzene could be an indication of a contamination of plants due to a probable short-range atmospheric transport pollution. The DDT contamination could be due to the use of DDT against malaria during the years 1992–1997 or to a probable usage of dicoflos and rothane insecticide in the harvesting area. Our analytical determinations exclude the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in all three investigated plant materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fate of Toxic Pollutants in the Environment)
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Open AccessEditorial
Ecoregional and Archetypical Considerations for National Responses to Food Security under Climate Change
Environments 2018, 5(3), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5030032
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 22 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 25 February 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2175 | PDF Full-text (154 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Agricultural Land Use Changes on Environments)
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