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Resources, Volume 11, Issue 8 (August 2022) – 10 articles

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Review
Resourcing Future Generations Requires a New Approach to Material Stewardship
Resources 2022, 11(8), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11080078 - 16 Aug 2022
Viewed by 523
Abstract
The paper aims to examine sector policies for securing mineral resources for future generations in ways that are economically, environmentally and socially responsible, guided by the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. This study proposes a roadmap for responsible [...] Read more.
The paper aims to examine sector policies for securing mineral resources for future generations in ways that are economically, environmentally and socially responsible, guided by the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. This study proposes a roadmap for responsible mineral production, looking at drivers and goals, trends in resource demand and supply, technological and responsibility issues as well as current solutions. We conclude that while adopting the principles of a circular economy by minimizing waste, improving design for recovery, recycling alone will not be sufficient to meet the demand for an increasingly complex range of metals, and consequently primary mining will be needed for the foreseeable future. Various authors have proposed top-down approaches for sustainable mineral sourcing and co-ordination of global supply, but there is no evidence of these being taken up. Instead, to accelerate the transition towards sustainable, responsible and low-carbon mineral production, we suggest there is a role for ‘material stewardship’ defined and implemented through the actions of various players in the life cycle or value chain of specific minerals and metals. That bottom-up process has begun, though there is as yet no common definition of the term. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 10th Anniversary of Resources)
Article
Coping Strategies, Cultural Practices and Policy Implications on Domestic Water Supply in an Erosion Susceptible Rural Community, Nigeria
Resources 2022, 11(8), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11080077 - 12 Aug 2022
Viewed by 470
Abstract
Solving water-related problems in remote regions, especially in the developing world, is context-specific and demands knowledge and attendant support of local processes and practices. Most rural communities in developing countries have basic water and other socioeconomic challenges common to them. However, the additional [...] Read more.
Solving water-related problems in remote regions, especially in the developing world, is context-specific and demands knowledge and attendant support of local processes and practices. Most rural communities in developing countries have basic water and other socioeconomic challenges common to them. However, the additional constraints that come with incessant landslides and gully erosion menace necessitates a holistic investigation of how the inhabitants of Nanka, a rural community in the southeastern part of Nigeria, tend to cope with shortages in the domestic water supply and other stress associated with water. This work tries to examine the domestic water coping strategies in the community in terms of water access, sources, practices, barriers, cultural influences, and other environmental issues. These factors were investigated through qualitative research methods. Major water sources in the community include surface sources, rainwater harvesting, and sachet water, while the main water coping practices are water storage, water sharing, and buying water from vendors. The current study further makes policy recommendations along the way forward. Full article
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Article
Absolute Environmental Sustainability of Materials Dissipation: Application for Construction Sector
Resources 2022, 11(8), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11080076 - 10 Aug 2022
Viewed by 554
Abstract
The materials used globally in the construction sector are projected to more than double in 2060, causing some to deplete. We argue that access to the services that the resources provide must be protected, thus implying that a carrying capacity (CC) for resource [...] Read more.
The materials used globally in the construction sector are projected to more than double in 2060, causing some to deplete. We argue that access to the services that the resources provide must be protected, thus implying that a carrying capacity (CC) for resource dissipation must be set. Dissipation accrues when the resource becomes inaccessible to users. The CC allows defining a maximum dissipation rate that allows to maintain those resources’ availability in the future. The CC of the dissipation of the resource may be operationalized to characterize the resource use impact, using absolute environmental sustainability assessments principles. The study makes it possible to determine a dissipation CC as the world dissipation rate that would enable all users to adapt to using an alternative resource before the material’s reserve is entirely dissipated. The allocation of a fraction of this CC to the building sector was performed using equal per capita and grandfathering sharing principles. Finally, we applied the method to the case of steel in a school life cycle. The results show that the actual dissipation rates of iron, copper and manganese in the building sector exceed the dissipation CC by 70%, 56% and 68%, respectively. However, aluminum dissipation is 90% less than the assigned CC. The allocation to schools shows that the results are influenced by the choice of allocation principle. The application in the case of steel use of the school life cycle shows an exceedance of the CC that decreases when increasing the building life span. Full article
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Article
Plant Biomass Conversion to Vehicle Liquid Fuel as a Path to Sustainability
Resources 2022, 11(8), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11080075 - 05 Aug 2022
Viewed by 532
Abstract
Biofuel such as linseed oil has an energy potential of 48.8 MJ/kg, which is much lower than fossil diesel fuel 57.14 MJ/kg. Existing biofuels need to increase the energy potential for use in traditional engines. Moreover, biofuel production demands cheap feedstock, for example, [...] Read more.
Biofuel such as linseed oil has an energy potential of 48.8 MJ/kg, which is much lower than fossil diesel fuel 57.14 MJ/kg. Existing biofuels need to increase the energy potential for use in traditional engines. Moreover, biofuel production demands cheap feedstock, for example, sawdust. The present paper shows that the technology to synthesize high-energy liquid vehicle fuels with a gross calorific value up to 53.6 MJ/kg from renewable sources of plant origin is possible. Slow pyrolysis was used to produce high-energy biofuel from sawdust and linseed oil. The proposed approach will allow not only to preserve the existing high-tech energy sources of high unit capacity based on the combustion of liquid fuels, but also to make the transition to reducing the carbon footprint and, in the future, to carbon neutrality by replacing fossil carbon of liquid hydrocarbon fuels with the carbon produced from biomass. Full article
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Article
Spatial Planning of the Coastal Marine Socioecological System—Case Study: Punta Carnero, Ecuador
Resources 2022, 11(8), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11080074 - 04 Aug 2022
Viewed by 757
Abstract
Marine-coastal ecosystems are productive and valuable habitats worldwide due to their significant contributions to human wellbeing. However, human activities, limited territorial planning, and unsustainable demand and consumption of natural goods and services put pressure on marine-coastal ecosystems. In this sense, marine-coastal planning is [...] Read more.
Marine-coastal ecosystems are productive and valuable habitats worldwide due to their significant contributions to human wellbeing. However, human activities, limited territorial planning, and unsustainable demand and consumption of natural goods and services put pressure on marine-coastal ecosystems. In this sense, marine-coastal planning is a management tool to contrast these forces because it manages different human activities on the coast and in the oceans over space and time, strengthening political, social, and tourist development and the economy of the territory. Our objective is to propose marine-coastal spatial planning strategies through an ecosystem-based approach for allocating a mangrove and estuarine zone conservation area. The study methodology is: (i) Compilation of information from the study area with an emphasis on regulations and protected areas. (ii) Analysis of human relations with marine-coastal ecosystems. (iii) Mapping and zoning of the conservation area. (iv) Analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats and threats, weaknesses, opportunities, strengths (SWOT–TWOS) matrix to recommend strategies and guarantee the viability of marine-coastal protection. The results show zoning maps of the sector proposed as a conservation area comprising mangroves and an estuarine zone. It also approaches governance strategies or conservation management measures and protection of the marine-coastal space. Finally, as a recommendation, we propose improvements to the current municipal ordinances, guaranteeing the management and protection of the study area, and furthering achievements in the comprehensive development of land-use planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resources of Urban Green Spaces and Sustainable Development)
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Article
Wise Management or Mismatch? Lessons from Japan
Resources 2022, 11(8), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11080073 - 03 Aug 2022
Viewed by 399
Abstract
As a precious resource, wetlands support human life in various profound ways, either explicitly or implicitly. However, the values of wetlands have not been sufficiently recognized and greatly appreciated. Their management approaches are often sectoral, and wise use of wetlands is still more [...] Read more.
As a precious resource, wetlands support human life in various profound ways, either explicitly or implicitly. However, the values of wetlands have not been sufficiently recognized and greatly appreciated. Their management approaches are often sectoral, and wise use of wetlands is still more of a catchphrase than a well-used management practice. This paper presents a cross-sectoral case study for the evaluation of the primary management practices in a Ramsar-registered wetland in Japan. It employed a literature review, field and laboratory experiments, and a questionnaire survey as well for assessing the wetland conditions and identifying management problems. It revealed that the management of the wetland is still flood regulation–oriented, without sufficient consideration of bird habitats, and the water level drawdown operation for Lake Yanaka inside the wetland may lead to mass fish deaths. Furthermore, the reed burning practice is effective in maintaining the plant structure in the wetland but controversial from different perspectives. Moreover, the questionnaire survey results indicated that the public were not well informed of the wetland conditions and not convinced of the appropriateness of reed burning. Based on these findings, it was concluded that the registration under the Ramsar Convention did not lead to new strategies for the conservation and wise use of the wetland. Full article
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Article
A Database for the Stocks and Flows of Sand and Gravel
Resources 2022, 11(8), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11080072 - 02 Aug 2022
Viewed by 623
Abstract
Increasing demand for sand and gravel globally is leading to social, environmental, and political issues that are becoming more widely recognised. Lack of data and poor accessibility of the few available data contribute to exacerbating these issues and impair evidence-based management efforts. This [...] Read more.
Increasing demand for sand and gravel globally is leading to social, environmental, and political issues that are becoming more widely recognised. Lack of data and poor accessibility of the few available data contribute to exacerbating these issues and impair evidence-based management efforts. This paper presents a database to store stocks and flows data for sand and gravel from different sources. The classification system underlying within it builds on the Universal Materials Information System (UMIS) nomenclature, which is used to construct hierarchical order in the data and in the same manner as the Yale Stocks and Flow Database (YSTAFDB), a common data format. To illustrate how the database is built and used, a case study using UK data is presented. The UK is chosen owing to relatively better access to data compared to other locations. Quantitative analyses of the data show the supply chain of these materials to be currently stable for the UK as indigenous extraction contributes 95.6% to UK sand and gravel production, with imports accounting for the rest of the inputs, of which 50% is reliant on only one nation. Full article
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Article
Eucalyptus Succession on Croplands in the Highlands of Northwestern Ethiopia: Economic Impact Analysis Using Farm Household Model
Resources 2022, 11(8), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11080071 - 29 Jul 2022
Viewed by 533
Abstract
The northwestern highlands of Ethiopia are characterized by severe land degradation and apparently low agricultural productivity. This situation is continuously threatening the livelihoods of smallholder farmers who mainly sustain their living from the cultivation of annual crops. In recent years, however, smallholder farmers [...] Read more.
The northwestern highlands of Ethiopia are characterized by severe land degradation and apparently low agricultural productivity. This situation is continuously threatening the livelihoods of smallholder farmers who mainly sustain their living from the cultivation of annual crops. In recent years, however, smallholder farmers have started converting their croplands to plantations of Eucalyptus, a non-native tree species to Africa, for its rewarding economic contributions. In this study, we aggregated data from 388 smallholder Eucalyptus growers located in three agroecology zones (onwards called farm typologies). We measured the economic impact of Eucalyptus succession on croplands using a farm household model which is provided in the GAMS (General Algebraic Modeling System) platform. The results of the model varied between farm typologies and showed that households’ gross margins increased with a corresponding increase in the conversion of croplands. Results also showed that gross margins from plantations of Eucalyptus were higher than that of cultivation of food crops. Furthermore, evaluation of farm portfolios indicated a higher benefit-cost ratio (BCR) for the plantation of Eucalyptus. We concluded that the conversion of croplands in the study area is an incentive-driven process in a dynamic farming system, which strongly demands bringing policy-emanated livelihood alternatives. With this arena, the expansion of Eucalyptus is recommended for lands of terrain features, high marginality and low suitability for the cultivation of food crops and setting aside fertile arable lands. We generalized that an increase in Eucalyptus plantation pays off given the implementation of proper land resource management and the apparent impacts of Eucalyptus on biodiversity and cultural landscape is managed with sustainability perspectives. However, it demands collaborative policy efforts that can especially meet socioeconomic, environmental and public interests. Full article
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Article
Vulnerability in a Populated Coastal Zone and Its Influence by Oil Wells in Santa Elena, Ecuador
Resources 2022, 11(8), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11080070 - 29 Jul 2022
Viewed by 629
Abstract
The oil industry requires studies of the possible impacts and risks that exploration, exploitation, and industrialization can cause to the environment and communities. The main objective of this study was to assess the vulnerability caused by oil wells of the Salinas and La [...] Read more.
The oil industry requires studies of the possible impacts and risks that exploration, exploitation, and industrialization can cause to the environment and communities. The main objective of this study was to assess the vulnerability caused by oil wells of the Salinas and La Libertad cantons in Ecuador by proposing a multi-criteria spatial analysis methodology that would aid in land-use planning and management. The proposed methodology relates the variables of distance, identification of gas emission from oil wells, permeability, and the state of oil wells (DIPS). The methodology consists of: (i) the diagnosis of oilfield wells; (ii) environmental considerations of productive wells, wells in temporary abandonment, and wells in permanent abandonment; (iii) the vulnerability assessment of both intrinsic and extrinsic aspects of the wells; and (iv) the development of a vulnerability map and recommendations for land management. The results showed 462 wells in the study area, of which 92% were shown to be located in urban areas. Of the total, 114 wells were considered to be productive wells, 89% of which are in urban areas. The vulnerability map identified the areas to be addressed, which coincided with coastal and urban areas associated with oil production. Our main recommendation is to elaborate land-use planning regulations and build safety infrastructure around the wells to guarantee their distance from houses, beaches, and tourism-development sites. The vulnerability map was shown to serve as an essential diagnostic for decision making in managing oil territories, especially in coastal areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minerals and Land-Use Planning: Sustainable Narratives and Practices)
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Article
Approaching the Study of Corruption and Natural Resources through Qualitative System Dynamics
Resources 2022, 11(8), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11080069 - 28 Jul 2022
Viewed by 604
Abstract
The complexity and scale of the challenges posed by the climate crisis demand knowledge sharing and collaboration between a variety of academic disciplines to address them. In that regard, the way in which natural resources are used matters, and more information is needed [...] Read more.
The complexity and scale of the challenges posed by the climate crisis demand knowledge sharing and collaboration between a variety of academic disciplines to address them. In that regard, the way in which natural resources are used matters, and more information is needed on which regulatory framework and policy instruments foster their sustainable management. There is consensus that corruption can seriously obstruct social, economic, and political development. However, research on corruption has tended to be fragmented and investigating the concept itself is a challenging endeavor. Due to the complexity of corruption as a research subject, we argue that in seeking to explore and understand corruption, researchers would benefit from using a framework that facilitates an interdisciplinary and process-oriented approach. This paper suggests that the method of system dynamics can be applied to advance the academic discourse on corruption in relation to natural resources, since it seeks to improve understanding and learning in complex systems in an illustrative manner. More specifically, it offers a platform to explore feedback processes between the different social, economic, and ecological dimensions which ultimately produce undesirable behavior or patterns. The paper outlines how corruption has been approached previously in the academic discourse. It then offers a tool to bridge knowledge from different fields on natural resources, in a way that allows for research from different fields to be integrated, and thus gaps are better identified. A process-oriented approach to exploring corruption in natural resource systems based on qualitative system dynamics methods can inform new questions and thus improve understanding about the conditions under which corruption occurs or corrupt behavior thrives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Making in Resources Management: Problems, Methods and Tools)
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