Special Issue "Environmental Impact Assessment"

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2017).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Manuel Duarte Pinheiro
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CEris—Civil Engineering Research and Innovation for Sustainability, Department of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Georesources, Lisbon University, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: sustainable built environment; sustainable construction; life cycle assessment; energy life cycle; rehabilitation and sustainability
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is one of the key process of the preventive environmental approach, mandatory to a full set of countries and projects (e.g., agriculture, industry, commercial, services, infrastructures, urban projects, energy, tourism, and others). Environmental Impact allows developers and decision-makers to identify the impact, define measures, and select alternatives to a full set of projects in order to have better integration in the environment and the support integrated search of sustainable development. This Special Issue invites research papers from a wide range of environmental impact issues to present articles emphasizing: (1) new approaches and cases of applications of environmental impact analysis; (2) project impact alternatives selection; (3) define environmental baseline (GIS and others) and environmental evolution without project; (4) impact identification, prevision and assessment; (5) integration of biodiversity, global warming, risk analysis and other environmental factors; (6) feasibility analysis of environmental measures; (7) environmental public consultation and governance; (8) efficiency of environmental impact assessment processes; and (9) link between strategical environmental assessment, environmental impact assessment and sustainability. This environmental impact Special Issue will provide an integrated view of the best cases and trends in solving the challenges associated with the integration of environmental impact methodologies and processes in the decision, in order to review sustainability at different levels.

Prof. Dr. Manuel Duarte Pinheiro
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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. Environments 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 1000 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

  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
  • Environment Impact Study (EIS)
  • Environmental baseline
  • Impact Methodology
  • Feasibility Analysis of Environmental Impact Measures
  • Environmental Public Consultation and Governance, Strategical Environmental Assessment (SEA)
  • Sustainability

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Deriving a Benefit Transfer Function for Threatened and Endangered Species in Interaction with Their Level of Charisma
Environments 2018, 5(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5020031 - 23 Feb 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Biodiversity and species conservation are among the most urgent global issues. Both are under serious threat because of human intrusion and as a result, it is likely that present and future projects will affect threatened and endangered species. Thus, it is important to [...] Read more.
Biodiversity and species conservation are among the most urgent global issues. Both are under serious threat because of human intrusion and as a result, it is likely that present and future projects will affect threatened and endangered species. Thus, it is important to account for these impacts when evaluating and conducting cost and benefit analyses of projects. Due to their public good character and non-tradability, the total economic value of threatened and endangered species cannot be reflected by a market price and therefore, alternative approaches (stated preference method) are needed to determine their monetary value. This paper reviews and compares the valuation literature on threatened and endangered animals and conducts a meta-analysis regression to identify explanatory variables for the variation in willingness to pay for threatened and endangered species. The main findings of the meta-analysis show that the interaction of the level of threat and charisma have a positive effect on willingness to pay. Furthermore, developed countries have a higher willingness to pay compared to developing countries. Similarly, visitors of conservation sites have higher willingness to pay than residents. The provided example of a benefit transfer of the estimated function shows the practicability of our results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impact Assessment)
Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Concrete Performance—CO2-Emission
Environments 2018, 5(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5020027 - 13 Feb 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
The balance of carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases in the life cycle of concrete is one of the important elements affecting the sustainable development of concrete technology. Modifications in the composition in the aim of minimization of so-called “carbon footprint” of [...] Read more.
The balance of carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases in the life cycle of concrete is one of the important elements affecting the sustainable development of concrete technology. Modifications in the composition in the aim of minimization of so-called “carbon footprint” of concrete also affect the majority of its technical features, including primarily the mechanical properties and durability. The article presents a desirability function that would allow us to estimate the combined effect of the modification in terms of both CO2 emissions and some of the technical features of the concrete. As criterial features equivalent CO2 emission, compressive strength and susceptibility/resistance to concrete carbonation are selected. Selected features should be considered as an example for the presentation of the proposed methodology and represent the three pillars of concrete desirability in terms of sustainable development, i.e., the constructional usefulness, durability, and environmental performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impact Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Alternatives for the Passenger Road Transport Sector in Europe: A Life-Cycle Assessment Approach
Environments 2018, 5(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5020021 - 30 Jan 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
The road passenger transport is responsible for a large share of energy consumption and pollutants emission in Europe. Efforts have been made in the definition of new policies to reduce the environmental impacts of this sector. However, an integrated and consistent assessment of [...] Read more.
The road passenger transport is responsible for a large share of energy consumption and pollutants emission in Europe. Efforts have been made in the definition of new policies to reduce the environmental impacts of this sector. However, an integrated and consistent assessment of the most promising policies is required, using specific European indicators. For that matter, a life-cycle analysis was applied to the road passenger transport, for the European Union with 27 countries (EU27) in 2010, following a basket-of-products methodology and considering three main stages: production, use, and end-of-life of vehicles. Simapro 8 software was used, along with Ecoinvent 3 database and the impact assessment method International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) 2011 Midpoint+. Changes in vehicle production processes, vehicle constitution, and energy sources for vehicle propulsion were analyzed. The policies resulting in a decrease in all impact categories are the use of smaller or lightweight vehicles by positively influencing use, production, and end-of-life of vehicles. The use of more recent vehicles technology or diesel vehicles show substantial reductions in, respectively, five and eight impact categories (out of 15), justifying their adoption in the European fleet. Generally, the most notorious policies compared to the actual transport paradigm, like compressed natural gas (CNG), biofuels, or electric vehicles use, show the greatest reduction in climate change (up to 46%) but also a very significant rise of impacts in the categories that in the conventional basket-of-products already resulted in the worst indicators after normalization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impact Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle
An Open-Data Based Assessment of Expected Changes in Land Use and Water Availability as a Result of the Construction of the West Segment of the Nicaragua Interoceanic Canal
Environments 2018, 5(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5010014 - 17 Jan 2018
Abstract
Nicaragua is preparing the construction of an interoceanic canal that will be the longest and largest canal on Earth. An environmental and social impact assessment was published in 2014 supporting a general viability of the canal. Nonetheless, several scientists and societal actors raised [...] Read more.
Nicaragua is preparing the construction of an interoceanic canal that will be the longest and largest canal on Earth. An environmental and social impact assessment was published in 2014 supporting a general viability of the canal. Nonetheless, several scientists and societal actors raised serious concerns regarding the social, economic, and ecological sustainability. Despite an open dispute within the Nicaraguan society, no independent, transparent, and scientifically sound assessment has been carried out. This article presents a transparently documented and comprehensible impact assessment of the West Canal Segment of the Nicaragua Canal. Based on publicly available data and scientifically sound and recognized methods, land use, hydrological (water availability), and socio-economic impacts (population, transportation/communication) are described, quantified, and compared with official declarations in the impact assessment. The examination of official declarations discloses significant ambiguities concerning the methodology and data used for the impact assessment. Consequently, the results presented are at least partly doubtful. When compared with official declarations, the main results of this study reveal: (1) significantly more forested areas (+53.7 km2) and areas of extensive agriculture/near nature (14.4 km2), but far less urban and intensively used areas (−39.6 km2) are affected by the canal; (2) A population of nearly 16,500, and several regional or locally unique transportation and communication routes are directly affected by the canal construction; and (3) a slightly lower water availability (−6.6%) and a much higher water demand for lock operations (+31.8%) were estimated. Accordingly, only about 20% of the lock water demand could be met by locally-available discharge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impact Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle
System-Based Assessments—Improving the Confidence in the EIA Process
Environments 2017, 4(4), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments4040095 - 18 Dec 2017
Cited by 3
Abstract
This viewpoint article examines Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) practices in developed and transitioning nations, identifies weaknesses, and proposes a new quantitative approach. The literature indicates that there exists little to no standardization in EIA practice, transitioning nations rely on weak scientific impact analyses, [...] Read more.
This viewpoint article examines Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) practices in developed and transitioning nations, identifies weaknesses, and proposes a new quantitative approach. The literature indicates that there exists little to no standardization in EIA practice, transitioning nations rely on weak scientific impact analyses, and the establishment of baseline conditions is generally missing. The more fundamental issue is that the “receptor”-based approach leads to a qualitative and subjective EIA, as it does not adequately integrate the full measure of the complexity of ecosystems, ongoing project risks, and cumulative impacts. We propose the application of a new framework that aims to ensure full life cycle assessment of impacts applicable to any EIA process, within any jurisdictional context. System-Based EIA (SBEIA) is based on modeling to predict changes and rests on data analysis with a statistically rigorous approach to assess impacts. This global approach uses technologies and methodologies that are typically applied to characterize ecosystem structure and functioning, including remote sensing, modeling, and in situ monitoring. The aim of this approach is to provide a method that can produce quantifiable reproducible values of impact and risk and move EIA towards its substantive goal of sustainable development. The adoption of this approach would provide a better evaluation of economic costs and benefits for all stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impact Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle
In the Dark Shadow of the Supercycle Tailings Failure Risk & Public Liability Reach All Time Highs
Environments 2017, 4(4), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments4040075 - 21 Oct 2017
Cited by 4
Abstract
This is the third in a series of independent research papers attempting to improve the quality of descriptive data and analysis of tailings facility failures globally focusing on the relative occurrence, severity and root causes of these failures. This paper updates previously published [...] Read more.
This is the third in a series of independent research papers attempting to improve the quality of descriptive data and analysis of tailings facility failures globally focusing on the relative occurrence, severity and root causes of these failures. This paper updates previously published failures data through 2010 with both additional data pre-2010 and additional data 2010–2015. All three papers have explored the connection between high public consequence failure trends and mining economics trends especially grade, costs to produce and price. This work, the third paper, looks more deeply at that connection through several autopsies of the dysfunctional economics of the period 2000–2010 in which the greatest and longest price increase in recorded history co-occurred across all commodities, a phenomenon sometimes called a supercycle. That high severity failures reached all-time highs in the same decade as prices rose to highs, unprecedented since 1916, challenges many fundamental beliefs and assumptions that have governed modern mining operations, investment decisions, and regulation. It is from waste management in mining, a non-revenue producing cost incurring part of every operation, that virtually all severe environmental and community damages arise. These damages are now more frequently at a scale and of a nature that is non-remediable and beyond any possibility of clean up or reclamation. The authors have jointly undertaken this work in the public interest without funding from the mining industry, regulators, non-governmental organizations, or from any other source. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impact Assessment)
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