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Environments, Volume 5, Issue 8 (August 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Higher education buildings have a considerable potential for energy savings if appropriate energy [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Resource Use Efficiency as a Climate Smart Approach: Case of Smallholder Maize Farmers in Nyando, Kenya
Environments 2018, 5(8), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5080093
Received: 25 June 2018 / Revised: 6 August 2018 / Accepted: 7 August 2018 / Published: 14 August 2018
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Abstract
To simultaneously enhance agricultural productivity and lower negative impacts on the environment, food systems need to be much more efficient in using resources such as land, water, and fertilizer. This study examines resource use efficiency of maize production among smallholder farmers in Nyando,
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To simultaneously enhance agricultural productivity and lower negative impacts on the environment, food systems need to be much more efficient in using resources such as land, water, and fertilizer. This study examines resource use efficiency of maize production among smallholder farmers in Nyando, Kenya. The main objective is to assess the degree of technical efficiency of smallholder farmers and identify the impact of so-called “climate smart practices” on technical efficiency. The method of Stochastic Frontier Analysis is used to simultaneously estimate a stochastic production frontier and a technical inefficiency effect model. Data for 324 subplots farmed by 170 households were available for this analysis. The study reveals that maize production in Nyando is associated with mean technical efficiency of 45% and that soil conservation practices such as residue management, legume intercropping, and improved varieties significantly increase farmers’ technical efficiency. Soil carbon is found to be a critical factor of production. These results imply that there is potential to more than double production using the same resources and that soil conservation practices can be very “climate smart,” at once increasing soil carbon, production, climate resilience, and technical efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Joule Heating Effects in Electrokinetic Remediation: Role of Non-Uniform Soil Environments: Temperature Profile Behavior and Hydrodynamics
Environments 2018, 5(8), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5080092
Received: 10 July 2018 / Revised: 31 July 2018 / Accepted: 2 August 2018 / Published: 7 August 2018
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Abstract
Electrokinetic remediation is a process in which a low-voltage direct-current electric field is applied across a section of contaminated soil to remove contaminants. In this work, the effect of Joule heating on the heat transfer and hydrodynamics aspects in a non-uniform environment is
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Electrokinetic remediation is a process in which a low-voltage direct-current electric field is applied across a section of contaminated soil to remove contaminants. In this work, the effect of Joule heating on the heat transfer and hydrodynamics aspects in a non-uniform environment is simulated. The proposed model is based on a rectangular capillary with non-symmetrical heat transfer conditions similar to those found in non-uniform soil environments. The mathematical and microscopic model described here uses two key parameters in addition to the Nusselt number: the ratio between the Nusselt numbers calculated at both walls of the capillary, named R, and a function of this variable and the Nusselt number, indicated by F(R, Nu). Illustrations describing the five key regimens for the system behavior are presented in terms of ranges for R and F(R, Nu) values, which indicate the key role of the parameter R in controlling the behaviors of the temperature and velocity profiles. Prediction, analysis, and illustration of five different regimes of flow complete the study, and conclusions are given to illustrate how the behavior of the system is affected. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evaluating Biodiversity Metric Response to Forecasted Land Use Change in the Northern Rio Grande Basin
Environments 2018, 5(8), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5080091
Received: 5 June 2018 / Revised: 2 August 2018 / Accepted: 5 August 2018 / Published: 7 August 2018
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Abstract
The effects of future land use change on arid and semi-arid watersheds in the American Southwest have important management implications. Seamless, national-scale land-use-change scenarios for developed land were acquired from the US Environmental Protection Agency Integrated Climate and Land Use Scenarios (lCLUS) project
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The effects of future land use change on arid and semi-arid watersheds in the American Southwest have important management implications. Seamless, national-scale land-use-change scenarios for developed land were acquired from the US Environmental Protection Agency Integrated Climate and Land Use Scenarios (lCLUS) project and extracted to fit the Northern Rio Grande River Basin, New Mexico relative to projections of housing density for the period from 2000 through 2100. Habitat models developed from the Southwest Regional Gap Analysis Project were invoked to examine changes in wildlife habitat and biodiversity metrics using five ICLUS scenarios. The scenarios represent a US Census base-case and four modifications that were consistent with the different assumptions underlying the A1, A2, B1, and B2 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change global greenhouse gas emission storylines. Habitat models for terrestrial vertebrate species were used to derive metrics reflecting ecosystem services or biodiversity aspects valued by humans that could be quantified and mapped. Example metrics included total terrestrial vertebrate species richness, bird species richness, threatened and endangered species, and harvestable species (e.g., waterfowl, big game). Overall, the defined scenarios indicated that the housing density and extent of developed lands will increase throughout the century with a resultant decrease in area for all species richness categories. The A2 Scenario, in general, showed greatest effect on area by species richness category. The integration of the land use scenarios with biodiversity metrics derived from deductive habitat models may prove to be an important tool for decision makers involved in impact assessments and adaptive planning processes. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial Preface: Special Issue on Sustainable Territorial Management
Environments 2018, 5(8), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5080090
Received: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 2 August 2018 / Published: 5 August 2018
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Territorial Management) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle Healthcare Waste Management: A Case Study from Sudan
Environments 2018, 5(8), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5080089
Received: 2 July 2018 / Revised: 23 July 2018 / Accepted: 27 July 2018 / Published: 5 August 2018
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Abstract
Healthcare waste (HCW) represents a major public health issue, especially in developing countries. Among HCW categories, sharps waste is one of the most hazardous. Exposure to needle-stick injuries can lead to blood-borne pathogens, therefore HCW should be managed in an effective manner. The
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Healthcare waste (HCW) represents a major public health issue, especially in developing countries. Among HCW categories, sharps waste is one of the most hazardous. Exposure to needle-stick injuries can lead to blood-borne pathogens, therefore HCW should be managed in an effective manner. The main aims of this study were to assess the current management of used needles and to suggest suitable recommendations for an improved and safer system for needle management in Khartoum, Sudan. The study showed that the management of both healthcare and home-generated HCW in Sudan is inefficient, as all wastes are mixed together and disposed of improperly, especially used needles. The study attributes this to many reasons, including lack of waste segregation at the source, lack of policies, failure of planning, inadequate training, lack of awareness of the hazardous nature of such kinds of waste, weak infrastructure, and a lack of suitable treatment technologies. The estimated average generated rate of HCW ranged from 0.38 to 0.87 kg/bed/day in 2009 and 2012, respectively. Such ineffective healthcare waste management HCWM, especially used needles, can put public health as well as the environment at risk, particularly waste workers, thus urgent action needs to be taken by all involved parties and at all levels. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of Aluminium Salt Dosing for Chemical Phosphorus Removal on the Settleability of Activated Sludge
Environments 2018, 5(8), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5080088
Received: 16 June 2018 / Revised: 24 July 2018 / Accepted: 25 July 2018 / Published: 29 July 2018
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Abstract
The use of metal salts like aluminium in the precipitation of phosphorus in activated sludge plants has increased considerably in recent years due to the need to achieve tighter discharge consents for phosphorus in treated wastewater effluent. The impact of aluminium salt (Al
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The use of metal salts like aluminium in the precipitation of phosphorus in activated sludge plants has increased considerably in recent years due to the need to achieve tighter discharge consents for phosphorus in treated wastewater effluent. The impact of aluminium salt (Al3+) dosing on the settleability of activated sludge as a function of zone settling velocity (ZSV) and stirred specific volume index (SSVI) were investigated in batch settleability tests over a three-year period. The results showed that ZSV increased with increasing dose of aluminium salt as SSVI decreased. This trend was observed for dosing concentrations of less than 100 mg/L. At a dose concentration >100 mg/L, the trend was reversed as ZSV decreased and SSVI increased. At dose concentrations of <100 mg/L, Al3+ helped in the bioaggregation of dispersed activated sludge flocs, thereby improving settleability. The surface morphology from the scanning electron microscope (SEM) images indicated that the initial potential of interfloc bridging, open floc formation, and spindly bulking noticed in the undosed activated sludge flocs were remarkably reduced as the flocs became more compacted after Al3+ treatment. At >100 mg/L of Al3+, the sludge settleability started to disintegrate due mainly to surface charge reversal linked to the formation of aluminium hydroxides and the resultant disintegration of the activated sludge floc structure. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The ‘Living Q’—An Interactive Method for Actor Engagement in Transnational Marine Spatial Planning
Environments 2018, 5(8), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5080087
Received: 5 June 2018 / Revised: 10 July 2018 / Accepted: 25 July 2018 / Published: 27 July 2018
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Abstract
The interaction of stakeholders is regarded key in modern environmental and spatial planning. Marine/maritime spatial planning (MSP) is an emerging marine policy domain, which is of great interest worldwide. MSP practices are characterized by diverse approaches and a lack of transnational cooperation. Actors
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The interaction of stakeholders is regarded key in modern environmental and spatial planning. Marine/maritime spatial planning (MSP) is an emerging marine policy domain, which is of great interest worldwide. MSP practices are characterized by diverse approaches and a lack of transnational cooperation. Actors with various backgrounds have to identify mismatches and synergies to jointly aim towards coherent and coordinated practices. The ‘Living Q’ is a communication method to make actors aware systematically about their viewpoints in an interactive, communicative and playful environment, while it draws on results of a proceeding ‘Q Methodology’ study. Results from ‘Living Q’ exercises with international expert’s groups from European Sea basins show that the method is capable to foster communication and interaction among actors participating in ‘Living Q’ exercises, while having the potential to generate added value to planning processes by actor interaction in a collaborative setting. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Coping with and Adapting to Climate Change: A Gender Perspective from Smallholder Farming in Ghana
Environments 2018, 5(8), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5080086
Received: 23 June 2018 / Revised: 21 July 2018 / Accepted: 21 July 2018 / Published: 25 July 2018
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Abstract
The negative impacts of climate change on agriculture could erode gains made toward gender equality in Ghana. Much of the literature on gender dimensions of climate change adaptation has focused on assessing differences in coping and adaptation practices of smallholder farmers. Mostly overlooked
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The negative impacts of climate change on agriculture could erode gains made toward gender equality in Ghana. Much of the literature on gender dimensions of climate change adaptation has focused on assessing differences in coping and adaptation practices of smallholder farmers. Mostly overlooked is whether gender influences influenced perception of effectiveness of adaptation practices and preferences for institutional support for future adaptation. Using key informant interviews, household surveys, and focus group discussions, we address these gaps by exploring coping and adaptation measures adopted by heads of farm households to counter climate change impacts on their livelihood activities and household well-being in the Guinea Savanna agroecological zone in Ghana. Additionally, we assessed the preferred institutional adaptation support of heads of farm households in adapting to future projected impacts. We find that female heads of farm households relied mainly on borrowed money from village savings and loans group as a coping measure; male heads of farm households depended primarily on sales of livestock. Varying planting and harvesting dates, crop diversification, and use of improved crop varieties were the major adaptation strategies adopted by farmers. We argue that provision of dams and/or dugouts, postharvest processing facilities, adaptation capacity-building resources, and improved access to markets and credit could enhance the adaptive capacity of male and female heads of farm households to mitigate projected climate change impacts on their livelihood activities and household well-being. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Ecosystem Services)
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Open AccessArticle Estimation of Energy Savings Potential in Higher Education Buildings Supported by Energy Performance Benchmarking: A Case Study
Environments 2018, 5(8), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5080085
Received: 6 June 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 24 July 2018
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Abstract
This paper presents results of work developed in the field of building energy benchmarking applied to the building stock of the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Portugal, based on a thorough energy performance characterisation of each of its buildings. To address the benchmarking of
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This paper presents results of work developed in the field of building energy benchmarking applied to the building stock of the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Portugal, based on a thorough energy performance characterisation of each of its buildings. To address the benchmarking of the case study buildings, an energy efficiency ranking system was applied. Following an energy audit of each building, they were grouped in different typologies according to the main end-use activities developed: Pedagogic buildings, canteens, residential buildings and office buildings. Then, an energy usage indicator was used to establish a metric to rank the buildings of each typology according to their energy efficiency. The energy savings potential was also estimated, based on the reference building energy usage indicator for each typology, and considering two different scenarios, yielding potential savings between 10% and 34% in final energy consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Energy Management for a Sustainable Built Environment)
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