Special Issue "Valuing Agricultural Sustainability by Modelling Socioeconomy, Landscape and Ecosystem Services"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Farming Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Pedro A. Aguilera
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Guest Editor
Department of Biology and Geology, University of Almería, 04120 Almeria, Spain
Interests: cultural landscapes; quantitative ecology; environmental modelling
Prof. Dr. Ana D. Maldonado
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mathematics, University of Almería, 04120 Almeria, Spain
Interests: environmental modelling; data analysis
Prof. Dr. María Morales
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mathematics, University of Almería, 04120 Almeria, Spain
Interests: applied statistics; data analysis
Prof. Dr. Antonio Salmerón
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mathematics, University of Almería, 04120 Almeria, Spain
Interests: bayesian networks; data mining; big data; machine learning; statistics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Traditional agriculture, involving extensive and semi-extensive agriculture, takes production, culture  and conservation aspects into consideration. The maintenance and development of traditional agriculture have been related to local knowledge and the transmission of information from one generation to another, promoting the sustainable use of resources. Many regions that are characterized by having a long agricultural history, often show an integration of agriculture and conservation within multifunctional landscapes. These heterogeneous landscapes provide a remarkably diverse set of ecosystem services. However, they are threatened by two opposite tendencies: agricultural intensification and rural abandonment. Both threats affect the supply of ecosystem services.
The sustainability of the traditional agriculture has to be considered in the context of the cultural landscape and its relationships with the socio-economy. Therefore, it is necessary to know how socioeconomic changes affect the cultural landscape in general, and the the provision of ecosystem services in particular.
This special issue focuses on the application of different models to study the sustainability of traditional agriculture in cultural landscapes. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to, modeling the provision of ecosystem services given socioeconomic, land use or climate changes, or the synergy of these changes.

Prof. Dr. Pedro A. Aguilera
Prof. Dr. Ana D. Maldonado
Prof. Dr. María Morales
Prof. Dr. Antonio Salmerón
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • cultural landscapes
  • traditional agriculture
  • land uses change
  • climate change
  • rural abandonment
  • intensification
  • demographic changes
  • economic changes
  • population ageing
  • statistical methods
  • numerical modelling
  • probabilistic modelling

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
Conservation Strategy for Palm Groves: Optimal Chemical Control Model for Red Palm Weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus
Agronomy 2021, 11(5), 920; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11050920 - 07 May 2021
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Abstract
Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier, 1790) is an invasive pest species that constitutes one of the most important problems around the Mediterranean region and has been responsible for the loss of over 100,000 palm trees with an estimated annual cost of EUR several hundred million [...] Read more.
Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier, 1790) is an invasive pest species that constitutes one of the most important problems around the Mediterranean region and has been responsible for the loss of over 100,000 palm trees with an estimated annual cost of EUR several hundred million since its introduction into Europe. Methodological approaches of conservation ecology, such as multidisciplinary modelling, also apply in the management of cultural landscapes concerning ornamental plants, such as palm trees of the area. In this paper, we propose a dynamic model for the control of the red palm weevil, contributing in this way to the sustainability of an existing cultural landscape. The primary data set collected is a sample from the density-time function of a two-cohort pest population. This data set suggests a bimodal analytic description. If, from this data set, we calculate a sample from the accumulated density-time function (the integral of the density-time function), it displays a double sigmoid function (with two inflections). A good candidate for the analytical description of the latter is the sum of two logistic functions. As for the dynamic description of the process, a two-dimensional system of differential equations can be obtained, where the solution’s second component provides the analytical description of the original density-time function for the two-cohort population. Since the two-cohort waves appear in all three cycle stages, this reasoning applies to the subpopulations of larvae, pupae and adults. The model fitting is always performed using the SimFit package. On this basis, a mathematical model is proposed, which is sufficiently versatile to be of help in the control of this pest species in other geographical areas. Full article
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Article
A Soft Clustering Approach to Detect Socio-Ecological Landscape Boundaries Using Bayesian Networks
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 740; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040740 - 10 Apr 2021
Viewed by 625
Abstract
Detecting socio-ecological boundaries in traditional rural landscapes is very important for the planning and sustainability of these landscapes. Most of the traditional methods to detect ecological boundaries have two major shortcomings: they are unable to include uncertainty, and they often exclude socio-economic information. [...] Read more.
Detecting socio-ecological boundaries in traditional rural landscapes is very important for the planning and sustainability of these landscapes. Most of the traditional methods to detect ecological boundaries have two major shortcomings: they are unable to include uncertainty, and they often exclude socio-economic information. This paper presents a new approach, based on unsupervised Bayesian network classifiers, to find spatial clusters and their boundaries in socio-ecological systems. As a case study, a Mediterranean cultural landscape was used. As a result, six socio-ecological sectors, following both longitudinal and altitudinal gradients, were identified. In addition, different socio-ecological boundaries were detected using a probability threshold. Thanks to its probabilistic nature, the proposed method allows experts and stakeholders to distinguish between different levels of uncertainty in landscape management. The inherent complexity and heterogeneity of the natural landscape is easily handled by Bayesian networks. Moreover, variables from different sources and characteristics can be simultaneously included. These features confer an advantage over other traditional techniques. Full article
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Article
A Comparative Analysis of Soil Loss Tolerance and Productivity of the Olive Groves in the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Areas Norte Alentejano (Portugal) and Estepa (Andalusia, Spain)
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 665; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040665 - 31 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 812
Abstract
Olive groves are Mediterranean systems that occupy more than 2.5 M ha in Spain and 0.352 M ha in Portugal. Assuming the differences between both countries in terms of olive grove regulation and considering their multifunctionality, it is useful to implement agronomic indices [...] Read more.
Olive groves are Mediterranean systems that occupy more than 2.5 M ha in Spain and 0.352 M ha in Portugal. Assuming the differences between both countries in terms of olive grove regulation and considering their multifunctionality, it is useful to implement agronomic indices to estimate their sustainability. The Soil Loss Tolerance Index (SLTI) and the Soil Productivity Index (SPI) are two such indices. We calculated both indices in the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Norte Alentejano (Portugal). The SLTI index was adapted considering specific variables of the analysed olive groves (i.e., SLTIog). The values obtained were compared with those previously estimated for PDO Estepa (Spain). The negative impacts of erosion and the underlying agricultural practices on the sustainability of olive groves became evident, resulting in decreased soil productivity at the regional level. The SLTIog index showed higher values for crops, being a more realistic tool to analyse sustainability. A higher soil loss tolerance was detected for integrated groves in the PDO Norte Alentejano than for PDO Estepa due to the shorter age of olive cultivation in Portugal, with incipient soil impacts. These indices provide information on the degree of soil erosion, allowing farmers and decision-makers to apply practices to maximise the sustainability of olive groves. Full article
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Article
Implementation of Urban Green Infrastructures in Peri-Urban Areas: A Case Study of Climate Change Mitigation in Madrid
Agronomy 2021, 11(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11010031 - 25 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1057
Abstract
Urban areas are critical points that contribute to global warming and are also affected by climate change. One of the measures to move toward urban sustainability and to reduce the effects of climate change is the development of urban green infrastructures. Urban green [...] Read more.
Urban areas are critical points that contribute to global warming and are also affected by climate change. One of the measures to move toward urban sustainability and to reduce the effects of climate change is the development of urban green infrastructures. Urban green infrastructures (UGIs) are being increasingly recognized as key providers of ecosystem services in cities, but there is still a lack of support from urban planners. We highlight the potential of urban green infrastructures for sustainable urban planning based on its capacity to mitigate climate change This paper studies the CO2 mitigation potential through a multi-intervention (agricultural and forestry) local case in the peri-urban surroundings of a big European city such as Madrid. We consider two inseparable aspects: the amount of atmospheric CO2-eq reduced through direct carbon uptake of the UGI and also the emission of greenhouse gases due to its implementation and maintenance. The analysis carried out has shown the benefits of urban green infrastructures and their contribution to the mitigation of climate change. The results demonstrate that the absorption capacity of the new urban green infrastructure is much greater than its ecological footprint. Therefore, it contributes to the mitigation of emissions from other urban activities, thus improving urban sustainability. Full article
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