Abstract: This study deals with the landscape evolution reflected in the changes of land cover in the suburban area of Marathon, Attica, Greece. The study was based on remote sensing images covering the time period between 1945 and 2007. Several other types of data were also used, such as a digital terrain model, historical orthophotos, vegetation maps, geological maps, cadastral maps and aerial photos. These types of data were used in order to create the spatial database for the classification/interpretation of land cover and to identify the land cover changes that occurred during the period in question. The results of this study showed significant land cover changes, especially for the land covered by forests and wetlands with a 47% and a 37% decrease, respectively. The spatial arrangement of the development of residential areas was partially predictable, while the occurrence of land cover changes due to retrogressive vegetation succession appeared rather idiosyncratically throughout the area initially covered by forest.
Abstract: Interacting land use demands and competing interests originating from fields such as agriculture, housing, mobility and nature conservation call for integrated governance approaches that incorporate disciplinary perspectives and arbitrate between them. The German research program “Sustainable Land Management” targets this challenge and provides an umbrella for a number of regional projects involving transdisciplinary system-oriented approaches to sustainable land use, connecting researchers and practitioners. This research note gives an insight into the experiences presented at the program’s fourth year status conference, held in October 2014 in Berlin. It focuses on cross-scalar and cross-sectoral approaches to governing urban-rural interdependencies of land use and scrutinizes debates on how to implement and disseminate project results.
Abstract: This study assessed the change in some environmental parameters in the Plateau region of North-Central Nigeria (Barakinladi, Jos, and Kafachan environs) using the nexus of landcover change, land surface temperature, surface albedo, and topography. The study employed both remote sensing and statistical techniques for the period between 1986 and 2014 to analyze the dynamics between and within these environmental variables. In Barakinladi, the built up landcover change is highest (increasing from 39.53% to 47.59% between 1986 and 2014); LST ranges from 19.09 °C to 38.59 °C in 1986 and from 22.68 °C and 41.68 °C in 2014; and the albedo ranges between 0.014 and 0.154 in 1986 and 0.017 and 0.248 in 2014. In Jos, the built-up landcover occupied 34.26% in 1986 and 36.67% in 2014; LST values range between 20.83 °C and 41.33 °C in 1986 and between 21.61 °C and 42.64 °C in 2014; and the albedo ranges between 0.003 and 0.211 in 1986 and 0.15 and 0.237 in 2014. In Kafachan area, the built up landcover occupied 32.95% in 1986 and 39.01% in 2014. Urbanization and agricultural activities, including animal grazing, were responsible for the gradual loss in vegetation and increasing average LST and albedo. The results also revealed that changing landcover and topography have a relationship with surface albedo and land surface temperature, thereby impacting significantly on ecosystem services delivered by the natural system.
Abstract: This paper proposes the use of agent-based models (ABMs) as “interested amateurs” in policy making, and uses the example of the SWAP model of soil and water conservation adoption to demonstrate the potential of this approach. Daniel Dennett suggests experts often talk past or misunderstand each other, seek to avoid offending each other or appearing ill-informed and generally err on the side of under-explaining a topic. Dennett suggests that these issues can be overcome by including “interested amateurs” in discussions between experts. In the context of land use policy debates, and policy making more generally, this paper suggests that ABMs have particular characteristics that make them excellent potential “interested amateurs” in discussions between our experts: policy stakeholders. This is demonstrated using the SWAP (Soil and Water Conservation Adoption) model, which was used with policy stakeholders in Ethiopia. The model was successful in focussing discussion, inviting criticism, dealing with sensitive topics and drawing out understanding between stakeholders. However, policy stakeholders were still hesitant about using such a tool. This paper reflects on these findings and attempts to plot a way forward for the use of ABMs as “interested amateurs” and, in the process, make clear the differences in approach to other participatory modelling efforts.
Abstract: Changes in the hydrology of sediments in tidal marshes or landfills may affect the uptake of metals in the vegetation. Leaf and stem samples of Salix cinerea (grey sallow) were collected during four consecutive growing seasons at six contaminated plots on a polluted dredged sediment landfill and one plot on an uncontaminated reference site. The first three contaminated plots were already emerged in the first half of the first growing season, while the other three were submerged in the first year, but became increasingly dry over the study period. Foliar and stem cutting concentrations for Cd, Zn and Mn increased on the latter three plots over the four years. Willow bark contained high concentrations of Cd, Zn and Mn. In two consecutive greenhouse experiments with willow cuttings from different origins (uncontaminated and contaminated sites) and grown under different soil conditions (uncontaminated and contaminated), we observed an important translocation of Mn from bark to shoots. In a third experiment with willow cuttings collected on soils with a range of heavy metal concentrations and, thus, with a broad range of Cd (4–67 mg/kg dry matter), Zn (247–660 mg/kg dry matter) and Mn (38–524 mg/kg dry matter) concentrations in the bark, high Mn concentrations in the bark were found to affect the budburst of willow cuttings, while no association of delayed budburst with Cd and Zn concentrations in the bark was found. We conclude that wood and, especially, bark are not a sink for metals in living willows. The high Mn concentrations in the bark directly or indirectly caused delayed or restricted budburst of the willow cuttings.
Abstract: High-precision land-cover-land-use GIS mapping was performed in four major townships in Maine’s Aroostook River Valley, using on-screen digitization and direct interpretation of very high spatial resolution satellite multispectral imagery (15–60 cm) and high spatial resolution LiDAR data (2 m) and the field mapping method. The project not only provides the first-ever high-precision land-use maps for northern Maine, but it also yields accurate hectarage estimates of different land-use types, in particular grassland, defined as fallow land, pasture, and hay field. This enables analysis of potential land availability and suitability for grass biomass production and other sustainable land uses. The results show that the total area of fallow land in the four towns is 7594 hectares, which accounts for 25% of total open land, and that fallow plots equal to or over four hectares in size total 4870, or 16% of open land. Union overlay analysis, using the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soil data, indicates that only a very small percentage of grassland (4.9%) is on “poorly-drained” or “very-poorly-drained” soils, and that most grassland (85%) falls into the “farmland of state importance” or “prime farmland” categories, as determined by NRCS. It is concluded that Maine’s Aroostook River Valley has an ample base of suitable, underutilized land for producing grass biomass.