Land — Open Access Journal
Land (ISSN 2073-445X) is an international and crossdisciplinary peer-reviewed open access journal of land use/land change, land management, land system science and landscape, etc, published quarterly online by MDPI. Land is affiliated to International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE) and members receive a discount on the article processing charge.
- Open Access: free for readers, with article processing charges (APC) paid by authors or their institutions.
- High visibility: Indexed in the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI - Web of Science) and Scopus.
- CiteScore 2017 (Scopus): 1.35, which equals rank 54/124 (Q2) in the category 'Nature and Landscape Conservation' and 135/306 (Q2) in 'Ecology'.
- Rapid publication: manuscripts are peer-reviewed and a first decision provided to authors approximately 17 days after submission; acceptance to publication is undertaken in 4.8 days (median values for papers published in the first six months of 2018).
- Recognition of reviewers: reviewers who provide timely, thorough peer-review reports receive vouchers entitling them to a discount on the APC of their next publication in any MDPI journal, in appreciation of the work done.
Resilience of Traditional Livelihood Approaches Despite Forest Grabbing: Ogiek to the West of Mau Forest, Uasin Gishu County►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040140 (registering DOI) - 16 November 2018
This paper is a summary of the findings of research work conducted in two case studies in the Rift Valley, Kenya. This study used the Neo-Institutional theory to interrogate how the rules and regulations (institutions involved) of the agrarian reform process in Kenya[...] Read more.
This paper is a summary of the findings of research work conducted in two case studies in the Rift Valley, Kenya. This study used the Neo-Institutional theory to interrogate how the rules and regulations (institutions involved) of the agrarian reform process in Kenya are constantly changing and helping to shape the livelihoods of social actors around Mau Forest. The first case study—Ndungulu, is a settlement scheme where the Ogiek ethnic community were resettled between 1995 and 1997 after the land clashes of 1992. The second case study is the Kamuyu cooperative farm, a post-colonial settlement scheme owned by a cooperative society that was founded in 1965 by members from the Kikuyu ethnic group. This study employed qualitative data collection methods intermittently between 2012 and 2017 for a total of two years. A total of 60 interviews were conducted for this research. Thirteen (13) of these were key informant interviews with experts on land. The qualitative interviews were complemented by participant observations and nine focus group discussions. The qualitative data from the interviews and focus group discussions were transcribed, coded and analyzed thematically. Observations documented as field notes were also analyzed to complement the study findings. In this paper, the challenges, bargaining position and power play between social actors and government institutions implicated in the agrarian reform process in Kenya has been brought to the forefront. For instance, due to the structural issues that date back to the colonial period, the Ogiek have found innovative ways to maintain their daily existence (e.g., maintaining traditional methods of apiculture in Mau Forest). However, constraints in accessing forest land has resulted in them taking desperate measures, namely; selling off land to the Kalenjin in what is called “distress land sales”. On the contrary, the neighboring Kikuyu have maintained their land ownership status despite recurrent ethnic clashes that have occurred during general election years. Full article
The Cypriot Extra-Urban Sanctuary as a Central Place: the Case of Agia Irini►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040139 (registering DOI) - 16 November 2018
This article contributes to the ongoing debate on the relationship between sanctuaries and the territoriality of the Iron Age polities of Cyprus. The sanctuary site of Agia Irini, at the locality Alonia, is used as a case-study to test hypotheses regarding the connection[...] Read more.
This article contributes to the ongoing debate on the relationship between sanctuaries and the territoriality of the Iron Age polities of Cyprus. The sanctuary site of Agia Irini, at the locality Alonia, is used as a case-study to test hypotheses regarding the connection between extra-urban sacred space and the formation of political and cultural identities. After a short introduction to the theme, a combination of archaeological (context and iconography) and geographic data is implemented in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analyses in order to contextualise the centrality of this sanctuary within its political, economic, cultural and symbolic landscapes. The discussion proceeds with the examination of pottery evidence from the sanctuary, both published and unpublished, in order to reveal if and how site based analysis of a category of material may help to further reveal the significance of this sanctuary as a central place, albeit lying in an un-central landscape. Full article
Forest Carbon Gain and Loss in Protected Areas of Uganda: Implications to Carbon Benefits of Conservation►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040138 (registering DOI) - 16 November 2018
Uganda designated 16% of its land as Protected Area (PA). The original goal was natural resources, habitat and biodiversity conservation. However, PAs also offer great potential for carbon conservation in the context of climate change mitigation. Drawing on a wall-to-wall map of forest[...] Read more.
Uganda designated 16% of its land as Protected Area (PA). The original goal was natural resources, habitat and biodiversity conservation. However, PAs also offer great potential for carbon conservation in the context of climate change mitigation. Drawing on a wall-to-wall map of forest carbon change for the entire Uganda, that was developed using two Digital Elevation Model (DEM) datasets for the period 2000–2012, we (1) quantified forest carbon gain and loss within 713 PAs and their external buffer zones, (2) tested variations in forest carbon change among management categories, and (3) evaluated the effectiveness of PAs and the prevalence of local leakage in terms of forest carbon. The net annual forest carbon gain in PAs of Uganda was 0.22 ± 1.36 t/ha, but a significant proportion (63%) of the PAs exhibited a net carbon loss. Further, carbon gain and loss varied significantly among management categories. About 37% of the PAs were “effective”, i.e., gained or at least maintained forest carbon during the period. Nevertheless, carbon losses in the external buffer zones of those effective PAs significantly contrast with carbon gains inside of the PA boundaries, providing evidence of leakage and thus, isolation. The combined carbon losses inside the boundaries of a large number of PAs, together with leakage in external buffer zones suggest that PAs, regardless of the management categories, are threatened by deforestation and forest degradation. If Uganda will have to benefit from carbon conservation from its large number of PAs through climate change mitigation mechanisms such as REDD+, there is an urgent need to look into some of the current PA management approaches, and design protection strategies that account for the surrounding landscapes and communities outside of the PAs. Full article
Context and Opportunities for Expanding Protected Areas in Canada►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040137 - 15 November 2018
At present, 10.5% of Canada’s land base is under some form of formal protection. Recent developments indicate Canada aims to work towards a target of protecting 17% of its terrestrial and inland water area by 2020. Canada is uniquely positioned globally as one[...] Read more.
At present, 10.5% of Canada’s land base is under some form of formal protection. Recent developments indicate Canada aims to work towards a target of protecting 17% of its terrestrial and inland water area by 2020. Canada is uniquely positioned globally as one of the few nations that has the capacity to expand the area under its protection. In addition to its formally protected areas, Canada’s remote regions form de facto protected areas that are relatively free from development pressure. Opportunities for expansion of formally protected areas in Canada include official delineation and designation of de facto protected areas and the identification and protection of land to improve connectivity between protected areas (PA). Furthermore, there are collaborative opportunities for expanding PA through commitments from industry and provincial and territorial land stewards. Other collaborative opportunities include the contributions of First Nations aligning with international examples of Indigenous Protected Areas, or the incorporation and cultivation of private protection programs with documented inclusion in official PA networks. A series of incremental additions from multiple actors may increase the likelihood for achieving area-based targets, and expands stakeholder engagement and representation in Canada’s PA system. Given a generational opportunity and high-level interest in expansion of protected areas in Canada and elsewhere, it is evident that as a diverse number of stakeholders and rights holders collaboratively map current and future land uses onto forest landscapes, science-based conservation targets and spatial prioritizations can inform this process. Full article
Changes in Human Population Density and Protected Areas in Terrestrial Global Biodiversity Hotspots, 1995–2015►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040136 - 15 November 2018
Biodiversity hotspots are rich in endemic species and threatened by anthropogenic influences and, thus, considered priorities for conservation. In this study, conservation achievements in 36 global biodiversity hotspots (25 identified in 1988, 10 added in 2011, and one in 2016) were evaluated in[...] Read more.
Biodiversity hotspots are rich in endemic species and threatened by anthropogenic influences and, thus, considered priorities for conservation. In this study, conservation achievements in 36 global biodiversity hotspots (25 identified in 1988, 10 added in 2011, and one in 2016) were evaluated in relation to changes in human population density and protected area coverage between 1995 and 2015. Population densities were compared against 1995 global averages, and percentages of protected area coverage were compared against area-based targets outlined in Aichi target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (17% by 2020) and calls for half Earth (50%). The two factors (average population density and percent protected area coverage) for each hotspot were then plotted to evaluate relative levels of threat to biodiversity conservation. Average population densities in biodiversity hotspots increased by 36% over the 20-year period, and were double the global average. The protected area target of 17% is achieved in 19 of the 36 hotspots; the 17 hotspots where this target has not been met are economically disadvantaged areas as defined by Gross Domestic Product. In 2015, there are seven fewer hotspots (22 in 1995; 15 in 2015) in the highest threat category (i.e., population density exceeding global average, and protected area coverage less than 17%). In the lowest threat category (i.e., population density below the global average, and a protected area coverage of 17% or more), there are two additional hotspots in 2015 as compared to 1995, attributable to gains in protected area. Only two hotspots achieve a target of 50% protection. Although conservation progress has been made in most global biodiversity hotspots, additional efforts are needed to slow and/or reduce population density and achieve protected area targets. Such conservation efforts are likely to require more coordinated and collaborative initiatives, attention to biodiversity objectives beyond protected areas, and support from the global community. Full article
Trend Analysis of Las Vegas Land Cover and Temperature Using Remote Sensing►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040135 - 14 November 2018
The Las Vegas urban area expanded rapidly during the last two decades. In order to understand the impacts on the environment, it is imperative that the rate and type of urban expansion is determined. Remote sensing is an efficient and effective way to[...] Read more.
The Las Vegas urban area expanded rapidly during the last two decades. In order to understand the impacts on the environment, it is imperative that the rate and type of urban expansion is determined. Remote sensing is an efficient and effective way to study spatial change in urban areas and Spectral Mixture Analysis (SMA) is a valuable technique to retrieve subpixel landcover information from remote sensing images. In this research, urban growth trends in Las Vegas are studied over the 1990 to 2010 period using images from Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM) and National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP). The SMA model of TM pixels is calibrated using high resolution NAIP classified image. The trends of land cover change are related to the land surface temperature trends derived from TM thermal infrared images. The results show that the rate of change of various land covers followed a linear trend in Las Vegas. The largest increase occurred in residential buildings followed by roads and commercial buildings. Some increase in vegetation cover in the form of tree cover and open spaces (grass) is also seen and there is a gradual decrease in barren land and bladed ground. Trend analysis of temperature shows a reduction over the new development areas with increased vegetation cover especially, in the form of golf courses and parks. This research provides a useful insight about the role of vegetation in ameliorating temperature rise in arid urban areas. Full article
Environmental Justice in Accessibility to Green Infrastructure in Two European Cities►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040134 - 12 November 2018
Although it is well-established that urban green infrastructure is essential to improve the population’s wellbeing, in many developed countries, the availability of green spaces is limited or its distribution around the city is uneven. Some minority groups may have less access or are[...] Read more.
Although it is well-established that urban green infrastructure is essential to improve the population’s wellbeing, in many developed countries, the availability of green spaces is limited or its distribution around the city is uneven. Some minority groups may have less access or are deprived of access to green spaces when compared with the rest of the population. The availability of public green spaces may also be directly related to the geographical location of the city within Europe. In addition, current planning for urban regeneration and the creation of new high-quality recreational public green spaces sometimes results in projects that reinforce the paradox of green gentrification. The aim of this study was to explore the concept of environmental justice in the distribution of the public green spaces in two contrasting cities, Tartu, Estonia; and Faro, Portugal. Quantitative indicators of public green space were calculated in districts in each city. The accessibility of those spaces was measured using the “walkability” distance and grid methods. The results revealed that there was more availability and accessibility to public green spaces in Tartu than in Faro. However, inequalities were observed in Soviet-era housing block districts in Tartu, where most of the Russian minority live, while Roma communities in Faro were located in districts without access to public green space. The availability of public green spaces varied from 1.22 to 31.44 m2/inhabitant in the districts of Faro, and 1.04 to 164.07 m2/inhabitant in the districts of Tartu. In both cities, 45% of the inhabitants had accessible public green spaces within 500 m of their residence. The development of targeted new green infrastructure could increase access to 88% of the population for the city of Faro and 86% for Tartu, delivering environmental justice without provoking green gentrification. The outcome of this study provides advice to urban planners on how to balance green space distribution within city neighbourhoods. Full article
Soil-Related Sustainable Development Goals: Four Concepts to Make Land Degradation Neutrality and Restoration Work►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040133 - 10 November 2018
In the effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to food, health, water, and climate, an increase in pressure on land is highly likely. To avoid further land degradation and promote land restoration, multifunctional use of land is needed within the[...] Read more.
In the effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to food, health, water, and climate, an increase in pressure on land is highly likely. To avoid further land degradation and promote land restoration, multifunctional use of land is needed within the boundaries of the soil-water system. In addition, awareness-raising, a change in stakeholders’ attitudes, and a change in economics are essential. The attainment of a balance between the economy, society, and the biosphere calls for a holistic approach. In this paper, we introduce four concepts that we consider to be conducive to realizing LDN in a more integrated way: systems thinking, connectivity, nature-based solutions, and regenerative economics. We illustrate the application of these concepts through three examples in agricultural settings. Systems thinking lies at the base of the three others, stressing feedback loops but also delayed responses. Their simultaneous use will result in more robust solutions, which are sustainable from an environmental, societal, and economic point of view. Solutions also need to take into account the level of scale (global, national, regional, local), stakeholders’ interests and culture, and the availability and boundaries of financial and natural capital. Furthermore, sustainable solutions need to embed short-term management in long-term landscape planning. In conclusion, paradigm shifts are needed. First, it is necessary to move from excessive exploitation in combination with environmental protection, to sustainable use and management of the soil-water system. To accomplish this, new business models in robust economic systems are needed based on environmental systems thinking; an approach that integrates environmental, social, and economic interests. Second, it is necessary to shift from a “system follows function” approach towards a “function follows system” one. Only by making the transition towards integrated solutions based on a socio-economical-ecological systems analysis, using concepts such as nature-based solutions, do we stand a chance to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality by 2030. To make these paradigm shifts, awareness-raising in relation to a different type of governance, economy and landscape and land-use planning and management is needed. Full article
Assessing the Extent of Historical, Current, and Future Land Use Systems in Uganda►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040132 - 8 November 2018
Sustainable land use systems planning and management requires a wider understanding of the spatial extent and detailed human-ecosystem interactions astride any landscape. This study assessed the extent of historical, current, and future land use systems in Uganda. The specific objectives were to (i)[...] Read more.
Sustainable land use systems planning and management requires a wider understanding of the spatial extent and detailed human-ecosystem interactions astride any landscape. This study assessed the extent of historical, current, and future land use systems in Uganda. The specific objectives were to (i) characterize and assess the extent of historical and current land use systems, and (ii) project future land use systems. The land use systems were defined and classified using spatially explicit land use/cover layers for the years 1990 and 2015, while the future prediction (for the year 2040) was determined using land use systems datasets for both years through a Markov chain model. This study reveals a total of 29 classes of land use systems that can be broadly categorized as follows: three of the land use systems are agricultural, five are under bushland, four under forest, five under grasslands, two under impediments, three under wetlands, five under woodland, one under open water and urban settlement respectively. The highest gains in the land amongst the land use systems were experienced in subsistence agricultural land and grasslands protected, while the highest losses were seen in grasslands unprotected and woodland/forest with low livestock densities. By 2040, subsistence agricultural land is likely to increase by about 1% while tropical high forest with livestock activities is expected to decrease by 0.2%, and woodland/forest unprotected by 0.07%. High demand for agricultural and settlement land are mainly responsible for land use systems patchiness. This study envisages more land degradation and disasters such as landslides, floods, droughts, and so forth to occur in the country, causing more deaths and loss of property, if the rate at which land use systems are expanding is not closely monitored and regulated in the near future. Full article
Assessing the Spatial Drivers of Land Use and Land Cover Change in the Protected and Communal Areas of the Zambezi Region, Namibia►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040131 - 7 November 2018
Understanding the patterns and drivers of land use and land cover (LULC) changes is fundamental for rational and specific planning for sustainable land management. Using remote sensing techniques, geographic information systems (GIS) and statistical modeling via multinomial logistic regression, we sought to identify[...] Read more.
Understanding the patterns and drivers of land use and land cover (LULC) changes is fundamental for rational and specific planning for sustainable land management. Using remote sensing techniques, geographic information systems (GIS) and statistical modeling via multinomial logistic regression, we sought to identify spatial variables that determine LULC change and their extent over time in the protected and communal areas of the Zambezi Region, Namibia. Multi-temporal satellite imagery of the Landsat series was used to map changes over a period of twenty-six years, divided into three stages (1984–1991, 1991–2000 and 2000–2010). Post classification change detection methodologies were used to determine conversions between LULC classes. Additionally, socio-economic characteristics of the area were used to identify drivers of changes. Four spatial drivers of LULC change that we identified included the distance to the nearest road, distance to settlements, population density and fire return periods. Population density, distance to settlements and fire return period were significantly associated with conversion from crop/grass land to crop/grass land and forest land to crop/grass, forest land to bare land and forest land to forest land in the protected area. In communal areas, distance to the road was found to significantly influence conversion from crop/grass land to crop/grass land. The study concluded that the influence of these drivers is attributable to distinct political and agro-demographical differences during the study period. Policy makers and planners need to take these drivers into consideration together with their subsidiaries to respond and make sound decisions regarding undesirable changes in LULC. Full article
Institutional Functionality in Participatory Integrated Watershed Development of Tana Sub-Basin, Ethiopia►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040130 - 6 November 2018
Sustaining watersheds that were developed through community mobilization are a major challenge in Ethiopia despite significant efforts to promote soil and water conservation technologies and approaches. This paper investigates the hypothesis that institutional rationality and functionality play an important role in developing enduring[...] Read more.
Sustaining watersheds that were developed through community mobilization are a major challenge in Ethiopia despite significant efforts to promote soil and water conservation technologies and approaches. This paper investigates the hypothesis that institutional rationality and functionality play an important role in developing enduring watersheds by comparing the good performing Model research watersheds and adjacent watersheds developed through extensively promoted community mobilization. A semi-qualitative research method was used by applying a multi-stage purposive sampling technique for selecting sample respondents. Based on the new institutional economic theory, twelve effective institutional indicators were devised for the evaluation. Questionnaires were designed and tested to solicit respondents’ perceptions on these indicators. Data were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney test. The results showed that significant differences were observed between the two watershed groups in relation to good interaction (p = 0.03) and technical rationality (p = 0.04). Most of the institutional characteristics and rationalities that led to better performance in the case of the Model research watershed were lacking in the community watersheds. In the Model watersheds, effective institutional characteristics and rationalities contributed to enhanced natural resource conservation, increased incomes, improved household food security, and provided additional social benefits. The most important lesson is that close follow-up and informed engagement leads to a speedy recovery and the sustainability of Community watersheds from implementing modest re-orientation of the existing institutional arrangements. Full article
Navigating Multiple Tensions for Engaged Praxis in a Complex Social-Ecological System►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040129 - 6 November 2018
Innovative, pragmatic approaches are needed to support sustainable livelihoods and landscape management in complex social-ecological systems (CSES) such as river catchments. In the Tsitsa River Catchment, South Africa, researchers and natural resource managers have come together to apply such innovative approaches. Since CSES[...] Read more.
Innovative, pragmatic approaches are needed to support sustainable livelihoods and landscape management in complex social-ecological systems (CSES) such as river catchments. In the Tsitsa River Catchment, South Africa, researchers and natural resource managers have come together to apply such innovative approaches. Since CSES are characterised by uncertainty and surprise, understanding and managing them requires a commitment to reflexive praxis and transdisciplinarity. Accordingly, we facilitated a collective reflection and learning process in the project team to deepen our understanding of praxis in CSES. Our findings indicate that CSES thinking created an enabling framing. However, building new linkages among diverse actors to put CSES thinking into practice is challenging, since it requires the development of novel working relationships. Existing institutional structures, power dynamics, and ways of working impose significant constraints. A deeper critical realist analysis of our findings revealed a metaphor which explains why this work is challenging. In this metaphor, the Tsitsa Project team is navigating a bumpy terrain of dialectic tensions. These are tensions for example between natural science and social science, and between science and indigenous knowledge. Based on this metaphor, we suggest an expanding role for scientists and managers, and recommend transformative social learning processes to support teams navigating such bumpy terrains. Full article
Farmers’ Perceptions of Agricultural Land Abandonment in Rural Western New York State►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040128 - 27 October 2018
Over the last century, the U.S. economy has favored large-scale agribusiness over small-scale farming. In some regions, this trend has led to the abandonment of cultivated land, and there is little scholarly literature that discusses how farmers are affected. The goal of this[...] Read more.
Over the last century, the U.S. economy has favored large-scale agribusiness over small-scale farming. In some regions, this trend has led to the abandonment of cultivated land, and there is little scholarly literature that discusses how farmers are affected. The goal of this study was to examine Allegany County (NY) farmers’ perceptions of abandoned land and associated correlates. The data were collected through surveys mailed to farmers in Allegany County in 2012. We found that the majority of farmers felt personally affected by abandoned land and expressed the greatest amount of dissatisfaction with the state of the U.S. economy and local, state, and national regulations, especially if they considered themselves Republican. These findings address the sociopolitical significance of abandoned land and contribute to an understanding of how abandoned land affects residents of rural communities who are typically left out of discussions on policies affecting their livelihoods. Full article
Crowdsourced Street-Level Imagery as a Potential Source of In-Situ Data for Crop Monitoring►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040127 - 22 October 2018
New approaches to collect in-situ data are needed to complement the high spatial (10 m) and temporal (5 d) resolution of Copernicus Sentinel satellite observations. Making sense of Sentinel observations requires high quality and timely in-situ data for training and validation. Classical ground[...] Read more.
New approaches to collect in-situ data are needed to complement the high spatial (10 m) and temporal (5 d) resolution of Copernicus Sentinel satellite observations. Making sense of Sentinel observations requires high quality and timely in-situ data for training and validation. Classical ground truth collection is expensive, lacks scale, fails to exploit opportunities for automation, and is prone to sampling error. Here we evaluate the potential contribution of opportunistically exploiting crowdsourced street-level imagery to collect massive high-quality in-situ data in the context of crop monitoring. This study assesses this potential by answering two questions: (1) what is the spatial availability of these images across the European Union (EU), and (2) can these images be transformed to useful data? To answer the first question, we evaluated the EU availability of street-level images on Mapillary—the largest open-access platform for such images—against the Land Use and land Cover Area frame Survey (LUCAS) 2018, a systematic surveyed sampling of 337,031 points. For 37.78% of the LUCAS points a crowdsourced image is available within a 2 km buffer, with a mean distance of 816.11 m. We estimate that 9.44% of the EU territory has a crowdsourced image within 300 m from a LUCAS point, illustrating the huge potential of crowdsourcing as a complementary sampling tool. After artificial and built up (63.14%), and inland water (43.67%) land cover classes, arable land has the highest availability at 40.78%. To answer the second question, we focus on identifying crops at parcel level using all 13.6 million Mapillary images collected in the Netherlands. Only 1.9% of the contributors generated 75.15% of the images. A procedure was developed to select and harvest the pictures potentially best suited to identify crops using the geometries of 785,710 Dutch parcels and the pictures’ meta-data such as camera orientation and focal length. Availability of crowdsourced imagery looking at parcels was assessed for eight different crop groups with the 2017 parcel level declarations. Parcel revisits during the growing season allowed to track crop growth. Examples illustrate the capacity to recognize crops and their phenological development on crowdsourced street-level imagery. Consecutive images taken during the same capture track allow selecting the image with the best unobstructed view. In the future, dedicated crop capture tasks can improve image quality and expand coverage in rural areas. Full article
Timacum Minus in Moesia Superior—Centrality and Urbanism at a Roman Mining Settlement►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040126 - 22 October 2018
When applying traditional criteria of Roman urbanism, several settlements in the province of Moesia are not recognised as parts of the urban network. To avoid this, previous criteria of urbanism should be revised. This paper suggests revisions, which provide a more inclusive definition[...] Read more.
When applying traditional criteria of Roman urbanism, several settlements in the province of Moesia are not recognised as parts of the urban network. To avoid this, previous criteria of urbanism should be revised. This paper suggests revisions, which provide a more inclusive definition of urbanism: Thus, instead of focusing on administrative status and monumentality as primary markers of urbanity and urbanization, development factors for agglomeration and centrality are emphasized as decisive conditions for, and characteristics of, urban settlement. To provide a case study for this theoretical outline, the upper-Moesian mining settlement of Timacum Minus is evaluated by ideas derived from a critical appreciation of Walter Christaller’s central place theory. Timacum Minus did not have official settlement status and monumental character, yet, it developed as a central place in the unique landscape of the Timok valley. This was due to its location as a central road station, military post, and settlement along the important interregional Timok valley road as well as the site hierarchy as the base of the centralized administration of the Timok valley mining district. Hence, Timacum Minus displays different levels of centrality. Interestingly, the site only held these properties during the Roman Principate, although its central location and mining activities also existed in pre-Roman and post-Roman times. This demonstrates the significance of centrality mechanisms as determined by local and regional circumstances and historical conditions. Accordingly, it is argued that these circumstances and the diverse character as a central place also turned Timacum Minus into an urban site, irrespective of status and monumentality. This definition of the site provides not only an example of how to use central place theory in current archaeological thought but also possibilities for re-thinking urbanism in Roman Moesia. Full article
Regional Socioeconomic Changes Affecting Rural Area Livelihoods and Atlantic Forest Transitions►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040125 - 22 October 2018
Centuries of colonization of the Atlantic Forest biome in Brazil have led its native vegetation cover to be reduced to only 11.7%. On the other hand, regional land changes have fostered natural forest regeneration, since the 1960s, in the region of Paraíba Valley.[...] Read more.
Centuries of colonization of the Atlantic Forest biome in Brazil have led its native vegetation cover to be reduced to only 11.7%. On the other hand, regional land changes have fostered natural forest regeneration, since the 1960s, in the region of Paraíba Valley. A fieldwork survey in rural properties was conducted in three municipalities (n = 90, thirty in each municipality), to assess how forest transition is affected by the region’s socioeconomic development and biophysical dimensions of the landscape. To select the municipalities among thirty-four, we applied the modified Thompson Tau technique to detect outlier values for three selected variables: Natural forest cover, eucalyptus plantation cover, and municipal revenue. The outliers were dropped from consideration and the municipality with the maximum value for each variable was selected. Based on the survey and GIS analysis using land-cover maps, topography, and hydrology variables, we concluded that the diminished land-use pressure in the Paraíba Valley, a response to the regional economic development (e.g., increasing labor demand in urban areas pushing rural migration), resulted in the increase of the Atlantic forest cover. Interestingly enough, a counter-migration of people moving to rural areas as a newly valued amenity has the potential to reshape the rural landscape with positive outcomes to the Atlantic forest cover. Full article
Predicting the Potential Impact of Climate Change on Carbon Stock in Semi-Arid West African Savannas►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040124 - 21 October 2018
West African savannas are experiencing rapid land cover change that threatens biodiversity and affects ecosystem productivity through the loss of habitat and biomass, and carbon emissions into the atmosphere exacerbating climate change effects. Therefore, reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in[...] Read more.
West African savannas are experiencing rapid land cover change that threatens biodiversity and affects ecosystem productivity through the loss of habitat and biomass, and carbon emissions into the atmosphere exacerbating climate change effects. Therefore, reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in these areas is critical in the efforts to combat climate change. For such restorative actions to be successful, they must be grounded on a clear knowledge of the extent to which climate change affects carbon storage in soil and biomass according to different land uses. The current study was undertaken in semi-arid savannas in Dano, southwestern Burkina Faso, with the threefold objective of: (i) identifying the main land use and land cover categories (LULCc) in a watershed; (ii) assessing the carbon stocks (biomass and soil) in the selected LULCc; and (iii) predicting the effects of climate change on the spatial distribution of the carbon stock. Dendrometric data (Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) and height) of woody species and soil samples were measured and collected, respectively, in 43 plots, each measuring 50 × 20 m. Tree biomass carbon stocks were calculated using allometric equations while soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks were measured at two depths (0–20 and 20–50 cm). To assess the impact of climate change on carbon stocks, geographical location records of carbon stocks, remote sensing spectral bands, topographic data, and bioclimatic variables were used. For projections of future climatic conditions, predictions from two climate models (MPI-ESM-MR and HadGEM2-ES) of CMIP5 were used under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 and modeling was performed using random forest regression. Results showed that the most dominant LULCc are cropland (37.2%) and tree savannas (35.51%). Carbon stocks in woody biomass were higher in woodland (10.2 ± 6.4 Mg·ha−1) and gallery forests (7.75 ± 4.05 Mg·ha−1), while the lowest values were recorded in shrub savannas (0.9 ± 1.2 Mg·ha−1) and tree savannas (1.6 ± 0.6 Mg·ha−1). The highest SOC stock was recorded in gallery forests (30.2 ± 15.6 Mg·ha−1) and the lowest in the cropland (14.9 ± 5.7 Mg·ha−1). Based on modeling results, it appears clearly that climate change might have an impact on carbon stock at horizon 2070 by decreasing the storage capacity of various land units which are currently suitable. The decrease was more important under HadGEM2-ES (90.0%) and less under MPI-ESM-MR (89.4%). These findings call for smart and sustainable land use management practices in the study area to unlock the potential of these landscapes to sequestering carbon. Full article
Understanding the Biodiversity Contributions of Small Protected Areas Presents Many Challenges►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040123 - 20 October 2018
Small protected areas dominate some databases and are common features of landscapes, yet their accumulated contributions to biodiversity conservation are not well known. Small areas may contribute to global biodiversity conservation through matrix habitat improvement, connectivity, and preservation of localized ecosystems, but there[...] Read more.
Small protected areas dominate some databases and are common features of landscapes, yet their accumulated contributions to biodiversity conservation are not well known. Small areas may contribute to global biodiversity conservation through matrix habitat improvement, connectivity, and preservation of localized ecosystems, but there is relatively little literature regarding this. We review one database showing that the average size of nearly 200,000 protected areas in the United States is ~2000 ha and the median is ~20 ha, and that small areas are by far the most frequent. Overall, 95% and 49% of the records are less than the mean (1648 ha) and median (16 ha), respectively. We show that small areas are prevalent features of landscapes, and review literature suggesting how they should be studied and managed at multiple scales. Applying systematic conservation planning in a spatially hierarchical manner has been suggested by others and could help insure that small, local projects contribute to global goals. However, there are data and financial limitations. While some local groups practice ecosystem management and conservation planning, they will likely continue to protect what is “near and dear” and meet site-based goals unless there is better coordination and sharing of resources by larger organizations. Full article
Impact of Government Policies and Corporate Land Grabs on Indigenous People’s Access to Common Lands and Livelihood Resilience in Northeast Cambodia►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040122 - 19 October 2018
Cambodia has become a principal target of transnational (and domestic) land grabs over the past decade, mostly in the form of economic land concessions (ELCs). The northeastern part of the country—where the majority of Cambodia’s indigenous people reside—is a particular hotspot. In this[...] Read more.
Cambodia has become a principal target of transnational (and domestic) land grabs over the past decade, mostly in the form of economic land concessions (ELCs). The northeastern part of the country—where the majority of Cambodia’s indigenous people reside—is a particular hotspot. In this article, we discuss three policy mechanisms that the Cambodian government has employed to extend and legitimize land exclusions in the name of national economic development through the example of two indigenous villages in Srae Preah Commune, Mondulkiri Province. First, we show how the allocation of two ELCs has deprived indigenous communities of their communally managed land. Second, we examine how communal land titling processes have failed to provide indigenous villagers with effective legal mechanisms to counteract ELCs and land encroachment by internal migrants. Third, we elucidate how the promotion of cash crop production contributed to livelihood and land use transitions from a reliance on forest resources in 2003 to a dependence on cash crops in 2012 to a struggle to remain resilient amid a slump in crop prices in 2018. We conclude that the combination of these policies has undermined communal ownership and livelihood resilience under a situation of limited exit strategies. Full article
Cropland Abandonment in South African Smallholder Communal Lands: Land Cover Change (1950–2010) and Farmer Perceptions of Contributing Factors►▼ Figures
Land 2018, 7(4), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040121 - 16 October 2018
Despite agricultural land abandonment threatening the food security and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, it is pervasive globally and in developing countries. Yet land abandonment is an understudied aspect of land use change in social–ecological systems. Here we provide more information on this[...] Read more.
Despite agricultural land abandonment threatening the food security and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, it is pervasive globally and in developing countries. Yet land abandonment is an understudied aspect of land use change in social–ecological systems. Here we provide more information on this phenomenon by exploring cropland abandonment during 1950–2010 in four former South African ‘homelands’—part of the ‘Apartheid’ era racially-based land allocation programs—characterized by rural, smallholder farmers. Cropland abandonment 1950–2010 was widespread in all surveyed sites (KwaZulu: 0.08% year−1, Transkei: 0.13% year−1, Lebowa: 0.23% year−1, Venda: 0.28% year−1), with rates peaking between 1970 and 1990, with concomitant increases (up to 0.16% year−1) of woody vegetation cover at the expense of grassland cover. Active and past farmers attributed cropland abandonment to a lack of draught power, rainfall variability and droughts, and a more modernized youth disinclined to living a marginal agrarian lifestyle. We discuss the potential social and ecological implications of abandoned croplands at the local and regional scales, as the deagrarianization trend is unlikely to abate considering the failure of current South African national agricultural incentives. Full article
31 October 2018
2017 CiteScore™ metrics autumn update released
2017 CiteScore™ metrics autumn update released
Special Issue in LandTowards the Sustainable Management of Ecosystem Services in Social-Ecological Systems Guest Editors: Martin Schultze, Christine Fürst, Ulfia A. Lenfers, Martin Volk
Deadline: 30 November 2018
Special Issue in LandAdvancing Methods and Models for Implementing REDD+ for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Guest Editors: David Skole, Cheikh Mbow
Deadline: 17 December 2018
Special Issue in LandNew Trends for Financing Land Administration Guest Editor: Daniel Paez
Deadline: 31 December 2018
Special Issue in LandLand Governance and (Im)mobility: Exploring the Nexus between Land Acquisition, Displacement and Migration Guest Editors: Annelies Zoomers, Marthe Derkzen, Christine Richter
Deadline: 15 January 2019