Editor’s Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to readers, or important in the respective research area. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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18 pages, 3826 KiB  
Article
Sustainability Consequences of Making Land Change Decisions Based on Current Climatology in the Brazilian Cerrados
by Daniel S. Silva and Eugenio Y. Arima
Land 2023, 12(4), 914; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12040914 - 19 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1515
Abstract
Brazil is one of the largest suppliers of commodities in the world, partly due to the agricultural expansion in the Brazilian savannas (also known as Cerrado) that began in the 1970s. However, as areas with better soil and climate for agriculture become scarce, [...] Read more.
Brazil is one of the largest suppliers of commodities in the world, partly due to the agricultural expansion in the Brazilian savannas (also known as Cerrado) that began in the 1970s. However, as areas with better soil and climate for agriculture become scarce, farmers have been advancing to the ecotone between the savanna and xeric shrubland, where precipitation is less reliable for rainfed agriculture. The expected increase in temperature will lead to extended drought periods, with negative consequences for surface and groundwater resources. This study explores the hazards associated with making land-use decisions based on current climatology in regions where projected increases in temperature and reductions in water availability are anticipated to pose significant challenges to rainfed agriculture in the Brazilian Cerrado biome. We modeled future farmland expansion and how that matches with future climate change predictions (2016–2046). According to our estimates, at least 129 thousand km2 of cropland and 418 thousand km2 of pastures will be added in places with projected higher annual temperatures ranging from 26–30 °C. This is equivalent to ~60% of the current agricultural areas, and a novel agro-climatology will emerge for the Cerrado biome. Therefore, we discuss the agro-environmental policies that are pushing and pulling farmland expansion in the Cerrado. For instance, payments for environmental services could support the conservation of native vegetation on private land in regions with the highest temperature increases and deforestation risks. Moreover, in areas with expected reduced water yields, such as in the western Cerrado, the protection of riparian vegetation and strict regulation of water use could mitigate future risks to agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Savanna Variation in Form and Function: Theory & Practice)
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17 pages, 33463 KiB  
Article
Vulnerability of Wheat Crops to Flooding Outweighs Benefits from Precision Farming and Agroecology Practices: A Case Study in Central Italy
by Enrico Santangelo, Claudio Beni, Loredana Oreti, Adriano Palma and Marco Bascietto
Land 2023, 12(4), 915; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12040915 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1642
Abstract
This study aimed at testing whether the integration of precision farming (PF) and agroecological practices could influence wheat yield in the short term on soils exposed to varying degrees of risk from flooding. The study embraced two years (2018–2019 and 2020–2021) of wheat [...] Read more.
This study aimed at testing whether the integration of precision farming (PF) and agroecological practices could influence wheat yield in the short term on soils exposed to varying degrees of risk from flooding. The study embraced two years (2018–2019 and 2020–2021) of wheat cultivation in Central Italy. A two-way factorial grid with agronomic practice (two levels: agroecology vs. conventional on-farm management) and soil vulnerability to flooding (three levels: extreme, mild, non-vulnerable) as factors was set up. The agroecology level included a number of agroecology practices (rotation, use of nitrogen-fixing crops, mulching, and reduction in chemical fertilization). Crop phenology and photosynthetic activity of wheat was monitored by remotely-sensed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Grain yield was estimated at twenty sampling points at the end of year 2. A flooding event occurred during year 2, which led to significantly lower photosynthetic activity compared to year 1 in extremely vulnerable plots regardless of agronomic practices. Grain yield measurements confirmed that vulnerability was the sole factor significantly affecting yield. The study concludes that food security on vulnerable land can be guaranteed only when precision farming and agroecological practices are coupled with water management techniques that strengthen the resilience of vulnerable soils to floods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Land–Climate Interactions)
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21 pages, 2273 KiB  
Article
Periphery and Integrated Planning: Coping with Rural and Touristic Challenges across Scales in the German Wadden Sea Region
by Nora Mehnen, Ingo Mose, Peter Schaal, Frans Sijtsma, José Muñoz-Rojas, Mariia Fedoriak and Per Angelstam
Land 2023, 12(4), 904; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12040904 - 18 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1943
Abstract
Rural landscapes face multiple challenges, but they can be attractive for developing nature-based tourism. Encouraging place-based participatory governance in local communities represents a relevant transdisciplinary landscape approach. In this study, we map (1) rural and touristic challenges and (2) coping strategies in peripheral–rural [...] Read more.
Rural landscapes face multiple challenges, but they can be attractive for developing nature-based tourism. Encouraging place-based participatory governance in local communities represents a relevant transdisciplinary landscape approach. In this study, we map (1) rural and touristic challenges and (2) coping strategies in peripheral–rural municipalities, and we (3) discuss the need for integration of local and regional-level actions. Two island and two mainland municipalities with different demographic profiles and different degrees of touristic specialization in the German Wadden Sea Region were selected as case studies. Through meetings and interviews we mapped perceived challenges and analyzed policies and other coping strategies. We then discuss the need for integration at multiple scales. Island municipalities were more exposed to tourism development challenges than mainland municipalities. Securing public services and welfare, and the sustainable conservation of ecological green infrastructures were particularly challenging. Applying a participatory approach was a coping strategy at the local level. However, there is a need for activities at multiple scales. In coping with rural development challenges, local level participatory approaches and regional planning complement each other. Combination and integration of local and regional-level concepts should be encouraged to support collaborative learning through evaluation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversifying Forest Landscape Management Approaches)
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25 pages, 9057 KiB  
Article
Biogeophysical Effects of Land-Use and Land-Cover Changes in South Asia: An Analysis of CMIP6 Models
by Juliana Freitas Santos, Udo Schickhoff, Shabeh ul Hasson and Jürgen Böhner
Land 2023, 12(4), 880; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12040880 - 13 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2061
Abstract
The identification of the biogeophysical effects due to land-use, land-cover, and land- management changes (LULCC) is yet to be clearly understood. A range of factors, such as the inclusion of an interactive ocean model component, representation of land management, transient LULCC, and accountability [...] Read more.
The identification of the biogeophysical effects due to land-use, land-cover, and land- management changes (LULCC) is yet to be clearly understood. A range of factors, such as the inclusion of an interactive ocean model component, representation of land management, transient LULCC, and accountability for atmospheric feedback, potentially shifts how models may detect the impacts of the land surface on the climate system. Previous studies on the biogeophysical effects of LULCC in South Asia have either neglected one of those factors or are single model results. Therefore, we analyzed the outputs from 11 models, participants of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project in its Sixth Phase (CMIP6), which derived from experiments with and without LULCC and compared the two simulations with respect to changes in near-surface temperature and total precipitation means. The CMIP6 simulations, to a certain extent, accounted for the elements previously overlooked. We examined the grid cells that robustly indicated a climatic impact from LULCC. Additionally, we investigated the atmospheric feedback and the dominant fluxes with their associated land surface variables involved in the changes in temperature and precipitation. Our results indicated that the biogeophysical effects from LULCC favored surface net cooling and surface net drying over the robust areas at all seasons. The surface net cooling was strongly influenced by the decrease in available energy and the increase in latent heat and total evapotranspiration. Surface net drying was highly promoted by local hydrological processes, especially in areas outside the monsoon core. The study also revealed that non-local sources might influence precipitation in some parts of South Asia, although this was inconclusive. Our research presented similar results to previous studies but with different magnitudes, which highlighted the added value of CMIP6-GCMs simulations but also their pitfalls. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modelling Land Use in Challenging Terrains)
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19 pages, 11033 KiB  
Article
Determining the Extent of Soil Degradation Processes Using Trend Analyses at a Regional Multispectral Scale
by Mohamed A. E. AbdelRahman, Mohamed R. Metwalli, Maofang Gao, Francesco Toscano, Costanza Fiorentino, Antonio Scopa and Paola D’Antonio
Land 2023, 12(4), 855; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12040855 - 10 Apr 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2373
Abstract
In order to ensure the sustainability of production from agricultural lands, the degradation processes surrounding the fertile land environment must be monitored. Human-induced risk and status of soil degradation (SD) were assessed in the Northern-Eastern part of the Nile delta using trend analyses [...] Read more.
In order to ensure the sustainability of production from agricultural lands, the degradation processes surrounding the fertile land environment must be monitored. Human-induced risk and status of soil degradation (SD) were assessed in the Northern-Eastern part of the Nile delta using trend analyses for years 2013 to 2023. SD hotspot areas were identified using time-series analysis of satellite-derived indices as a small fraction of the difference between the observed indices and the geostatistical analyses projected from the soil data. The method operated on the assumption that the negative trend of photosynthetic capacity of plants is an indicator of SD independently of climate variability. Combinations of soil, water, and vegetation’s indices were integrated to achieve the goals of the study. Thirteen soil profiles were dug in the hotspots areas. The soil was affected by salinity and alkalinity risks ranging from slight to strong, while compaction and waterlogging ranged from slight to moderate. According to the GIS-model results, 30% of the soils were subject to slight degradation threats, 50% were subject to strong risks, and 20% were subject to moderate risks. The primary human-caused sources of SD are excessive irrigation, poor conservation practices, improper utilisation of heavy machines, and insufficient drainage. Electrical conductivity (EC), exchangeable soil percentage (ESP), bulk density (BD), and water table depth were the main causes of SD in the area. Generally, chemical degradation risks were low, while physical risks were very high in the area. Trend analyses of remote sensing indices (RSI) proved to be effective and accurate tools to monitor environmental dynamic changes. Principal components analyses were used to compare and prioritise among the used RSI. RSI pixel-wise residual trend indicated SD areas were related to soil data. The spatial and temporal trends of the indices in the region followed the patterns of drought, salinity, soil moisture, and the difficulties in separating the impacts of drought and submerged on SD on vegetation photosynthetic capacity. Therefore, future studies of land degradation and desertification should proceed using indices as a factor predictor of SD analysis. Full article
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23 pages, 2969 KiB  
Article
Managing the Conflict of Human–Wildlife Coexistence: A Community-Based Approach
by Stilianos Tampakis, Veronika Andrea, Thomas Panagopoulos, Paraskevi Karanikola, Rallou Gkarmiri and Theodora Georgoula
Land 2023, 12(4), 832; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12040832 - 5 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2525
Abstract
One of the most recent and pressing issues for policymakers to address is the presence of wild boars in urban and rural areas. Their aggressive spread and invasion of human-populated areas have created an alarming problem as the coexistence of wild boars and [...] Read more.
One of the most recent and pressing issues for policymakers to address is the presence of wild boars in urban and rural areas. Their aggressive spread and invasion of human-populated areas have created an alarming problem as the coexistence of wild boars and people poses serious threats to human life and property. Human-caused factors, such as residential zone expansion and land use change, have exacerbated this problem. Furthermore, natural factors, such as predator reduction and climate change effects, create favorable conditions for population growth. This study sought to gain insights into citizens’ perspectives on a current issue, specifically wild boar colonization and coexistence in urban and rural settings. Between September 2021 and November 2022, a survey was conducted in two communities of northern and central Greece, addressing 800 citizens in total. Obtained through hierarchical log-linear analysis, factor analysis and two-step cluster analysis, the findings indicate that rural citizens appear to be more concerned about agricultural production losses and the high risk of road accidents, while the invasion-level perception was high in both areas. Intensive hunting has gained widespread acceptance as a management tool for wild boar populations in both urban and rural areas, while anthropocentric (EGO) and ecocentric (ECO) social groups have emerged. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Urban Contexts and Urban-Rural Interactions)
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19 pages, 2738 KiB  
Article
Satellite-Based Carbon Estimation in Scotland: AGB and SOC
by Chun Ki Chan, Carla Arus Gomez, Anish Kothikar and P. M. Baiz-Villafranca
Land 2023, 12(4), 818; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12040818 - 3 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2216
Abstract
The majority of state-of-the-art research employs remote sensing on AGB (Above Ground Biomass) and SOC (Soil Organic Carbon) separately, although some studies indicate a positive correlation between the two. We intend to combine the two domains in our research to improve state-of-the-art total [...] Read more.
The majority of state-of-the-art research employs remote sensing on AGB (Above Ground Biomass) and SOC (Soil Organic Carbon) separately, although some studies indicate a positive correlation between the two. We intend to combine the two domains in our research to improve state-of-the-art total carbon estimation. We begin by establishing a baseline model in our study area in Scotland, using state-of-the-art methodologies in the SOC and AGB domains. The effects of feature engineering techniques such as variance inflation factor and feature selection on machine learning models are then investigated. This is extended by combining predictor variables from the two domains. Finally, we leverage the possible correlation between AGB and SOC to establish a relationship between the two and propose novel models in an attempt to outperform the state-of-the-art results. We compared three machine learning techniques, boosted regression tree, random forest, and xgboost. These techniques have been demonstrated to be the most effective in both domains. This research makes three contributions: (i) Including Digital Elevation Map (DEM) as a predictor variable in the AGB model improves the model result by 13.5 % on average across the three machine learning techniques experimented, implying that DEM should be considered for AGB estimation as well, despite the fact that it has previously been used exclusively for SOC estimation. (ii) Using SOC and SOC Density improves the prediction of the AGB model by a significant 14.2% on average compared to the state-of-the-art baseline (When comparing the R2 value across all three modeling techniques in Model B and Model H, there is an increase from 0.5016 to 0.5604 for BRT, 0.4958 to 0.5925 for RF and 0.5161 to 0.5750 for XGB), which strengthens our experiment results and suggests a future research direction of combining AGB and SOC as a joint study domain. (iii) Including AGB as a predictor variable for SOC improves model performance for Random Forest, but reduced performance for Boosted Regression tree and XG Boost, indicating that the results are specific to ML models and more research is required on the feature space and modeling techniques. Additionally, we propose a method for estimating total carbon using data from Sentinel 1, Sentinel 2, Landsat 8, Digital Elevation, and the Forest Inventory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Global Perspective in Soil Carbon Sequestration and Climate Change)
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13 pages, 1199 KiB  
Article
Supporting the Global Biodiversity Framework Monitoring with LUI, the Land Use Intensity Indicator
by Joachim H. Spangenberg
Land 2023, 12(4), 820; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12040820 - 3 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2553
Abstract
Biodiversity loss has been identified as one of the environmental impacts where humankind has been trespassing over planetary boundaries most significantly. Going beyond the pressures causing damages (calling them ‘direct drivers’) and analysing their underlying driving forces, IPBES, the Intergovernmental Science–Policy Platform for [...] Read more.
Biodiversity loss has been identified as one of the environmental impacts where humankind has been trespassing over planetary boundaries most significantly. Going beyond the pressures causing damages (calling them ‘direct drivers’) and analysing their underlying driving forces, IPBES, the Intergovernmental Science–Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, also identified a series of indirect drivers. The Montreal–Kunming Global Biodiversity Framework, GBF, including its suggested monitoring approach, is intended to and claims to be a policy response to such analyses. However, to assess the human impact on ecosystems as a basis for planning conservation and restoration, as foreseen in the GBF, monitoring ecosystem typologies (in the GBF with reference to the UN statistical standard SEEA ES, which, in turn, refers to the IUCN ecosystem classification) is not enough. It needs to be complemented with data on the severity of human impacts and on the history of places, i.e., how and when the current ecosystem status was brought about. In this conceptual paper, we suggest LUI, a deliberately simple ordinal scale index for land use intensity changes, to address these two gaps. It is based on the hemeroby concept, measuring the human impact as deviation from naturalness. This makes it an information collection and presentation tool for those working in landscape planning and management. LUI’s simple and intuitively understandable structure makes it suitable for citizen science applications, and, thus, for participative monitoring when extensive statistical data gathering is not feasible and past data are not available. Of course, it can also be used as a simple tool for communicating when detailed statistical data series are available. While the aggregate index is expected to communicate well, its components are more relevant to motivate and help policy makers to prioritise their decisions according to the severity of recent anthropogenic ecosystem disturbances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Land – Observation and Monitoring)
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17 pages, 1157 KiB  
Article
A Framework for Data-Driven Agent-Based Modelling of Agricultural Land Use
by Giacomo Ravaioli, Tiago Domingos and Ricardo F. M. Teixeira
Land 2023, 12(4), 756; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12040756 - 27 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4124
Abstract
Agent-based models (ABMs) are particularly suited for simulating the behaviour of agricultural agents in response to land use (LU) policy. However, there is no evidence of their widespread use by policymakers. Here, we carry out a review of LU ABMs to understand how [...] Read more.
Agent-based models (ABMs) are particularly suited for simulating the behaviour of agricultural agents in response to land use (LU) policy. However, there is no evidence of their widespread use by policymakers. Here, we carry out a review of LU ABMs to understand how farmers’ decision-making has been modelled. We found that LU ABMs mainly rely on pre-defined behavioural rules at the individual farmers’ level. They prioritise explanatory over predictive purposes, thus limiting the use of ABM for policy assessment. We explore the use of machine learning (ML) as a data-driven alternative for modelling decisions. Integration of ML with ABMs has never been properly applied to LU modelling, despite the increased availability of remote sensing products and agricultural micro-data. Therefore, we also propose a framework to develop data-driven ABMs for agricultural LU. This framework avoids pre-defined theoretical or heuristic rules and instead resorts to ML algorithms to learn agents’ behavioural rules from data. ML models are not directly interpretable, but their analysis can provide novel insights regarding the response of farmers to policy changes. The integration of ML models can also improve the validation of individual behaviours, which increases the ability of ABMs to predict policy outcomes at the micro-level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Approaches to Land Use/Land Cover Change Modeling)
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18 pages, 545 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Factors Influencing the Intention to Adopt Long-Term Land Leasing in Northern Ireland
by Adewale Henry Adenuga, Claire Jack and Ronan McCarry
Land 2023, 12(3), 649; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12030649 - 9 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2096
Abstract
Short-term land rental agreements such as the traditional conacre system in Northern Ireland offer flexibility between the landowners and the farmers renting the land. However, the uncertainty of tenure linked to such short-term land rental systems does not allow for farmers renting the [...] Read more.
Short-term land rental agreements such as the traditional conacre system in Northern Ireland offer flexibility between the landowners and the farmers renting the land. However, the uncertainty of tenure linked to such short-term land rental systems does not allow for farmers renting the land to make longer-term investment planning and decisions, particularly around sustainable land management practices. Long-term tenancy agreements have been identified as a viable option to cope with short-term uncertainties and improve the environmental management of the land. In this study, we analysed the factors influencing farmers’ intention to adopt long-term land leasing with and without income tax incentives in Northern Ireland. To achieve our objective, we employed ordered logistic regression models complemented with qualitative analysis. The results of our analyses showed that varying factors including risk attitude, pro-environmental behaviour, profit consciousness, having a dairy enterprise, the area of farmland owned, the presence of a successor, and the age and education of the farmer influence farmers’ intention to adopt long-term land leasing. However, variability exists depending on the farmers’ rental status and availability of income tax incentives. It can be concluded from the study that policies aimed at encouraging long-term land leasing should take a holistic approach that incorporates environmental and socioeconomic factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Land Socio-Economic and Political Issues)
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13 pages, 3724 KiB  
Article
Global Maps of Agricultural Expansion Potential at a 300 m Resolution
by Mirza Čengić, Zoran J. N. Steinmann, Pierre Defourny, Jonathan C. Doelman, Céline Lamarche, Elke Stehfest, Aafke M. Schipper and Mark A. J. Huijbregts
Land 2023, 12(3), 579; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12030579 - 28 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2840
Abstract
The global expansion of agricultural land is a leading driver of climate change and biodiversity loss. However, the spatial resolution of current global land change models is relatively coarse, which limits environmental impact assessments. To address this issue, we developed global maps representing [...] Read more.
The global expansion of agricultural land is a leading driver of climate change and biodiversity loss. However, the spatial resolution of current global land change models is relatively coarse, which limits environmental impact assessments. To address this issue, we developed global maps representing the potential for conversion into agricultural land at a resolution of 10 arc-seconds (approximately 300 m at the equator). We created the maps using artificial neural network (ANN) models relating locations of recent past conversions (2007–2020) into one of three cropland categories (cropland only, mosaics with >50% crops, and mosaics with <50% crops) to various predictor variables reflecting topography, climate, soil, and accessibility. Cross-validation of the models indicated good performance with area under the curve (AUC) values of 0.88–0.93. Hindcasting of the models from 1992 to 2006 revealed a similar high performance (AUC of 0.83–0.91), indicating that our maps provide representative estimates of current agricultural conversion potential provided that the drivers underlying agricultural expansion patterns remain the same. Our maps can be used to downscale projections of global land change models to more fine-grained patterns of future agricultural expansion, which is an asset for global environmental assessments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Approaches to Land Use/Land Cover Change Modeling)
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17 pages, 1175 KiB  
Review
Digital Twin for Active Stakeholder Participation in Land-Use Planning
by David Adade and Walter Timo de Vries
Land 2023, 12(3), 538; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12030538 - 22 Feb 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3942
Abstract
The active participation of stakeholders is a crucial requirement for effective land-use planning (LUP). Involving stakeholders in LUP is a way of redistributing the decision-making power and ensuring social justice in land-management interventions. However, owing to the growing intricacy of sociopolitical and economic [...] Read more.
The active participation of stakeholders is a crucial requirement for effective land-use planning (LUP). Involving stakeholders in LUP is a way of redistributing the decision-making power and ensuring social justice in land-management interventions. However, owing to the growing intricacy of sociopolitical and economic relations and the increasing number of competing claims on land, the choice of dynamic land use has become more complex, and the need to find balances between social, economic, and environmental claims and interests has become less urgent. These facts reflect a paradigm shift from top-down, noninteractive, and one-directional policymaking approaches to a more negotiable, bottom-up, deliberative, and responsible one. Geospatial industries claim that digital twin technology is a potential facilitator that improves the degree of stakeholder participation and influences land-use planning. The validity of this claim is, however, unknown. By adopting the integrative literature review, this study identifies where in LUP is stakeholder participation much needed and currently problematic, as well as how digital twin could potentially improve. The review shows that digital twins provide virtual visualisation opportunities for the identification of land-use problems and the assessment of the impacts of the proposed land uses. These offer the opportunity to improve stakeholder influence and collaboration in LUP, especially in the agenda-setting phase, where land-use issues could be identified and placed on the LUP agenda. This relies on the ability and willingness of local planning institutions to adopt digital twins, and stakeholders’ perception and willingness to use digital twins for various land-use goals. Despite the assertion that digital twins could improve the influence of stakeholders in LUP, the focus and the development of digital twins have not accomplished much for those features of the technology that could improve stakeholder influence in LUP. By adopting the principles of the social construction of technology, this study proposes a “technological fix” of digital twins to focus more on improving stakeholder influence on land-use planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land, Innovation and Social Good 2.0)
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18 pages, 46316 KiB  
Article
Extrapolation of Digital Soil Mapping Approaches for Soil Organic Carbon Stock Predictions in an Afromontane Environment
by Jaco Kotzé and Johan van Tol
Land 2023, 12(3), 520; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12030520 - 21 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2978
Abstract
Soil scientists can aid in an essential part of ecological conservation and rehabilitation by quantifying soil properties, such as soil organic carbon (SOC), and is stock (SOCs) SOC is crucial for providing ecosystem services, and, through effective C-sequestration, the effects of climate change [...] Read more.
Soil scientists can aid in an essential part of ecological conservation and rehabilitation by quantifying soil properties, such as soil organic carbon (SOC), and is stock (SOCs) SOC is crucial for providing ecosystem services, and, through effective C-sequestration, the effects of climate change can be mitigated. In remote mountainous areas with complex terrain, such as the northern Maloti-Drakensberg in South Africa and Lesotho, direct quantification of stocks or even obtaining sufficient data to construct predictive Digital Soil Mapping (DSM) models is a tedious and expensive task. Extrapolation of DSM model and algorithms from a relatively accessible area to remote areas could overcome these challenges. The aim of this study was to determine if calibrated DSM models for one headwater catchment (Tugela) can be extrapolated without re-training to other catchments in the Maloti-Drakensberg region with acceptable accuracy. The selected models were extrapolated to four different headwater catchments, which included three near the Motete River (M1, M2, and M3) in Lesotho and one in the Vemvane catchment adjacent to the Tugela. Predictions were compared to measured stocks from the soil sampling sites (n = 98) in the various catchments. Results showed that based on the mean results from Universal Kriging (R2 = 0.66, NRMSE = 0.200, and ρc = 0.72), least absolute shrinkage and selection operator or LASSO (R2 = 0.67, NRMSE = 0.191, and ρc = 0.73) and Regression Kriging with cubist models (R2 = 0.61, NRMSE = 0.184, and ρc = 0.65) had the most satisfactory outcome, whereas the soil-land inference models (SoLIM) struggled to predict stocks accurately. Models in the Vemvane performed the worst of all, showing that that close proximity does not necessarily equal good similarity. The study concluded that a model calibrated in one catchment can be extrapolated. However, the catchment selected for calibration should be a good representation of the greater area, otherwise a model might over- or under-predict SOCs. Successfully extrapolating models to remote areas will allow scientists to make predictions to aid in rehabilitation and conservation efforts of vulnerable areas. Full article
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33 pages, 7301 KiB  
Article
Optimal Regional Allocation of Future Population and Employment under Urban Boundary and Density Constraints: A Spatial Interaction Modeling Approach
by David Jung-Hwi Lee and Jean-Michel Guldmann
Land 2023, 12(2), 433; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12020433 - 7 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1540
Abstract
This paper develops an optimization modeling framework to select strategies of land development and population and employment densities for a growing metropolitan area. The modeling core involves a non-linear commuting model, which accounts for spatial structure variables and is empirically estimated by Tobit [...] Read more.
This paper develops an optimization modeling framework to select strategies of land development and population and employment densities for a growing metropolitan area. The modeling core involves a non-linear commuting model, which accounts for spatial structure variables and is empirically estimated by Tobit regression. This commuting model is then embedded into a non-linear optimization model that allocates increments in the population and employment (activities) to available land, while minimizing the total future commuting costs under various combinations of land expansion boundaries and population and employment densities. The resulting minimum cost surface is approximated via polynomial regression and combined with land development and congestion cost functions to derive the overall optimal strategy. These models are estimated and calibrated with data from the Census Transportation Planning Package (CTPP) and Auditor’s property database, and are applied to the Fredericksburg metropolitan area, Virginia. The results demonstrate that the optimal development densities are very sensitive to the congestion cost function. A land development strategy that allows for limited sprawl might be a smart policy to reduce both regional vehicle mile travel (VMT) and related congestion and pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Land Use Pattern in Metropolitan Area)
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15 pages, 6754 KiB  
Article
Using a Rainfall Simulator to Define the Effect of Soil Conservation Techniques on Soil Loss and Water Retention
by Jakub Stašek, Josef Krása, Martin Mistr, Tomáš Dostál, Jan Devátý, Tomáš Středa and Jan Mikulka
Land 2023, 12(2), 431; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12020431 - 7 Feb 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2247
Abstract
In the Czech Republic, the Universal Soil Loss Equation provides the basis for defining the soil protection strategy. Field rainfall simulators were used to define the actual cover-management factor values of the most extensively seeded crops in the Czech Republic. The second purpose [...] Read more.
In the Czech Republic, the Universal Soil Loss Equation provides the basis for defining the soil protection strategy. Field rainfall simulators were used to define the actual cover-management factor values of the most extensively seeded crops in the Czech Republic. The second purpose was to assess rainfall-runoff ratio for different crops and management to contribute to the debate of water retention effectiveness during approaching climate change. The methodology focused on multi-seasonal measurements to cover the most important phenological phases. The rainfall intensity was 60 mm·h−1 for 30 min and a plot size of 16 m2. More than 380 rainfall simulation experiments provided data. Soil conservation techniques proved to have a significant effect on runoff reduction. Conventionally seeded maize can reduce the runoff ratio to around 50%. However, cover crops combined with reduced tillage or direct seeding can reduce the runoff ratio to 10–20% for ‘dry’ conditions and to 12–40% for ‘saturated’ conditions. Conventionally seeded maize on average loses 4.3 Mg·ha−1 per 30 min experiment. However, reduced tillage and direct seeding reduce soil loss to 0.6 and 0.16 Mg·ha−1, respectively. A comparison with the original USDA values for maize showed that it is desirable to redefine the crop cover factor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Soil-Sediment-Water Systems)
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19 pages, 2556 KiB  
Article
A Decision Support Tool for Green Infrastructure Planning in the Face of Rapid Urbanization
by Peta Brom, Kristine Engemann, Christina Breed, Maya Pasgaard, Titilope Onaolapo and Jens-Christian Svenning
Land 2023, 12(2), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12020415 - 4 Feb 2023
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4645
Abstract
Multifunctional green infrastructure, a key component of compact sustainable cities, is challenged by the pressures associated with rapid urbanization. In this paper, we present a method that uses remote sensing, GIS modeling and stakeholder engagement to produce a decision support tool that communicates [...] Read more.
Multifunctional green infrastructure, a key component of compact sustainable cities, is challenged by the pressures associated with rapid urbanization. In this paper, we present a method that uses remote sensing, GIS modeling and stakeholder engagement to produce a decision support tool that communicates the availability and need for green infrastructure benefits. The case study presented is the City of Tshwane, South Africa, a Global South city facing rapid urbanization. We found that this method of mapping green infrastructure benefits can provide simultaneous oversight on multiple objectives for green infrastructure, including climate change adaptation, biodiversity, and equitable distribution of urban green space. We found that low-scoring benefit areas occur in dense urban areas where small-scale nature-based solutions or rehabilitation activities are required. Moderate benefit scores occurred in parts of the city that are vulnerable to urban expansion and densification activities, warranting the careful planning of green infrastructure provision, and that moderate-to-high-scoring areas can be protected as conservation areas. The results are discussed in terms of the role of decision support tools for urban planning practice. Composite indexes can provide important guidance to decision-makers involved in spatial planning and urban upgrading and expansion activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land-Use Dynamics and Green Infrastructure Mapping)
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24 pages, 2398 KiB  
Review
Natural Resources Conflicts on Borderlands by the Five Spheres of Earth System
by Hansol Lee, Jeongeun Son, Suyeon Min, Haeun Lee and Mi Sun Park
Land 2023, 12(2), 389; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12020389 - 31 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3857
Abstract
Border regions face challenges managing natural resources, which include forests, wildlife, air, and rivers. This study aims to provide an overview of research on various natural resource conflicts and cooperation in borderlands worldwide, considering the five spheres of the Earth system, namely the [...] Read more.
Border regions face challenges managing natural resources, which include forests, wildlife, air, and rivers. This study aims to provide an overview of research on various natural resource conflicts and cooperation in borderlands worldwide, considering the five spheres of the Earth system, namely the atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and anthroposphere. The type, scope, and place of natural resource conflicts in the borderlands were examined and key findings for clarifying the conflicts, cooperation, and geographical characteristics were derived using a systematic review methodology. The results indicate that over the last two decades, the conflicts over the hydrosphere are the most dominant. In the following order, conflicts over the biosphere have been frequently dealt with in transboundary areas. In Africa, dams (the anthroposphere) related to the hydrosphere especially influence and cause conflicts as well as cooperation for benefit-sharing among riparian countries. In North America, governance along the transboundary areas has been developed. “In Asia, several neighboring countries are linked through various types of associations ranging from multilateral organizations to sub-national administrations in order to effectively manage the long and wide-ranging natural resources that exist beyond the borders of the countries”. In Europe, numerous protected areas related to the biosphere have been designated. Therefore, this research helps better understand transboundary conflicts based on natural resources and could contribute to designing natural resource management strategies or models in borderlands. Full article
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17 pages, 5027 KiB  
Article
Planning and Designing Natural and Urban Environments with an Adaptive Visualization Framework: The Case of Pazhou Island, Guangzhou, Pearl River Delta
by Adam Tomkins and Eckart Lange
Land 2023, 12(2), 377; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12020377 - 31 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1858
Abstract
In the planning and design of natural and urban environments, visualization plays an increasingly important role. It has become a core component of communication and dissemination within the various formats of project representation, environmental assessment, workshops, and stakeholder involvement in general. However, as [...] Read more.
In the planning and design of natural and urban environments, visualization plays an increasingly important role. It has become a core component of communication and dissemination within the various formats of project representation, environmental assessment, workshops, and stakeholder involvement in general. However, as a practical technology, the outputs of our visualizations are, too often, regarded as a static product rather than as a living and evolving tool in and of itself, often due to the inherent restrictions present in both the analog and digital technologies used in data curation and visualization creation. In this paper, we argue that with the increasing complexity and usability of digital technologies, we are now capable of bringing a heightened level of interactive dynamism to planning and design, improving the communicative power of landscape visualization. We introduce a theoretical adaptive visualization (AV) framework, designed to support project meetings and stakeholder interactions with iterative planning and design elements. To demonstrate the merits of the framework, we develop an augmented reality application following AV principles; we discuss the novel design interactions afforded by integrating alongside traditional analog and digital data sources, in an interactive and dynamic application. This is highlighted by a case study from the Pearl River Delta region, with a focus on planning and design for flood risk mitigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Land Planning and Architecture Section)
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17 pages, 9940 KiB  
Article
The Driving Role of 3D Geovisualization in the Reanimation of Local Collective Memory and Historical Sources for the Reconstitution of Rural Landscapes
by Dimitris Goussios and Ioannis Faraslis
Land 2023, 12(2), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12020364 - 29 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3172
Abstract
The dynamics created by the process of territorial construction are partly based on the selective and functional incorporation of heritage. However, in rural areas, retrospection presents particular difficulties due to a lack of appropriate information. Τhis research proposes the implementation of a methodology [...] Read more.
The dynamics created by the process of territorial construction are partly based on the selective and functional incorporation of heritage. However, in rural areas, retrospection presents particular difficulties due to a lack of appropriate information. Τhis research proposes the implementation of a methodology that combines sources, methods, and tools where the extraction of timeless information is based on the use of 3D interactive representations incorporating the active participation of actors and their collective memory. The proposed methodology strives for the compatibility, objectivity, and synergy of information from various sources and historical periods. The scope of this research concerns the mapping of the route and landscapes that were explored and described by the traveller Leake 210 years ago in the Farsala-Almyros area in Thessaly (Greece). The results focus on the reconstruction of the spatial subsystems of land use and exploitation at the beginning of the 19th century. The analysis reveals a production system, organized to use the laws of nature in order to sustainably manage the relationship between humans, animals, and natural resources. At the same time, the comparison with the current space has revealed a serious degradation in the natural environment since then. Finally, this mixed methodology, by combining the “spatialization” of information, virtuality and interactivity, the transition in time and space, and, finally, the “territorialization” of information, forms the basis for the inclusion of the history of places in the modern process of constructing a territorial area. Full article
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14 pages, 1484 KiB  
Article
Maintaining Agricultural Production by Building Local Distribution Systems in the Northern Area of Japan
by Noriaki Kawasaki, Tamaki Washio, Katsunori Nakamura and Ken-Ichiro Nagahama
Land 2023, 12(2), 320; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12020320 - 24 Jan 2023
Viewed by 2171
Abstract
In the field of vegetable farming, it has become a common approach for farmers to advance into the secondary and tertiary industries to increase their income, an initiative known as the sixth industrialization. Under these circumstances, a growing trend is to outsource a [...] Read more.
In the field of vegetable farming, it has become a common approach for farmers to advance into the secondary and tertiary industries to increase their income, an initiative known as the sixth industrialization. Under these circumstances, a growing trend is to outsource a part of the sixth industrialization activities in order to improve consumer satisfaction, strengthen market competitiveness, and avoid investment risks. However, owing to a mismatch between farmers and processors, there are few cases that result in collaboration. Under such circumstances, a new distribution channel called local distribution systems have been born, and its importance is increasing in Japan. This paper demonstrates how a local distribution system for farmers living in rural areas could address this distortion. The concept of local distribution systems has been used since the 1990s, and yet, its significance and importance are still increasing in relevancy in today’s Japanese agriculture. In this study, the subject is an intermediary (Company A) that originated from farmers, so it was able to understand the behavioral principles of farmers and to identify businesses that could not be covered by the management resources of farmers themselves. Through the entrustment of the business, company A could support the production and sales activities of the farmers. The following conclusions were drawn: (1) the company does not directly involve members in the decision-making of sales methods but instead provides a number of options for decision-making, and (2) the needs on the production side will match those on the consumer side and play the role of communication. By building such a collaboration system, the company succeeded in establishing a local distribution system. In the distribution of vegetables, which is characterized as perishable items, it is essential to pursue efficiency and rationality through a wholesale market system to distribute the products from producers to a large number of consumers. However, constraints in the wholes system limit the extent to which this local distribution functions. This paper demonstrates how a local distribution system for farmers living in rural areas could address this distortion. The concept of local distribution systems has been used since the 1990s, yet its significance and importance are still increasing in relevancy in today’s Japanese agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamic Agriculture in East Asia: Land-Livelihood Interactions)
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21 pages, 11365 KiB  
Article
Mapping and Monitoring Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Rainfed Agriculture Lands of North Darfur State, Sudan, Using Earth Observation Data
by Mohammed B. Altoom, Elhadi Adam and Khalid Adem Ali
Land 2023, 12(2), 307; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12020307 - 22 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2037
Abstract
Rainfed agriculture in Northern Darfur is influenced by erratic seasonal and decadal rainfall patterns and frequent droughts. Understanding the spatio-temporal variation in rainfed agriculture is crucial for promoting food security, socio-economic stability and protecting the vulnerable ecosystem. This study aimed to investigate the [...] Read more.
Rainfed agriculture in Northern Darfur is influenced by erratic seasonal and decadal rainfall patterns and frequent droughts. Understanding the spatio-temporal variation in rainfed agriculture is crucial for promoting food security, socio-economic stability and protecting the vulnerable ecosystem. This study aimed to investigate the spatio-temporal dynamics of rainfed agriculture in North Darfur State from 1984–2019 using multitemporal Landsat observation data. Using the random forest technique, the multitemporal images were classified into common land use/land cover classes and rainfed agriculture on goz (sandy) and wadi (seasonal river) lands. Overall accuracies were assessed using a confusion matrix. Overall accuracies were assessed using a confusion matrix has ranging between 94.7% and 96.9%, while the kappa statistics were greater than 0.90. The results showed that the high spatial variability in goz land used for rainfed agriculture increased of (889,622.46 ha) over 1994–1999, while it decreased (658,568.61 ha) over 2004–2009 south of the 232.9 mm isohyet. Rainfed cultivation of wadi lands expanded significantly of (580,515.03 ha) over 2014–2019 and decreased (182,701.8 ha) over 1994–1999, especially in the 362.8–477.2 mm isohyets (beyond the climate-adapted 500 mm isohyet agronomic dry limit). These spatial trends need further investigation as they may exacerbate both regional land degradation and disputes among farmers over scarce wadi lands. This study provides essential spatial data which are lacking owing to ongoing conflicts; this can help decision-makers formulate sustainable land use monitoring systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Land – Observation and Monitoring)
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37 pages, 11649 KiB  
Article
The Archeological Landscape of the Chanchán Basin and Its Agroecological Legacies for the Conservation of Montane Forests in the Western Foothills of the Ecuadorian Andes
by Christiam Paúl Aguirre Merino, Raquel Piqué Huerta, Lady Nathaly Parra Ordoñez, Verónica Alexandra Guamán Cazho and Walter Oswaldo Valdez Bustamante
Land 2023, 12(1), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12010192 - 6 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2808
Abstract
This article shows a set of agroecological practices that were incorporated into the archeological landscape of the Chanchán basin by pre-Hispanic Kañaris societies for 1200 years (240–1438 AD), a millennium before the arrival of the Incas, and that continue to be used in [...] Read more.
This article shows a set of agroecological practices that were incorporated into the archeological landscape of the Chanchán basin by pre-Hispanic Kañaris societies for 1200 years (240–1438 AD), a millennium before the arrival of the Incas, and that continue to be used in this landscape by certain indigenous communities of the 21st century. The use of archeobotanical techniques, contrasted with ethnobotanical sources, has allowed us to interpret how these societies structured their cultivation systems, agroecological practices, and landscape management, for the conservation of agroecosystems in the western Andean foothills. Agroecological legacies show how the stability, adaptability, and elasticity of Andean agriculture can be sustained under models of progressive intensification without this causing irreversible environmental damage in the agroecosystems. Kañaris agroecological practices configured the Chanchán landscape as a great cultural artifact, wherein the non-human agency of plants (cultivated and wild) was more than a mere adaptation to the niches culturally constructed by human populations. Non-humans are active subjects in recovering the functional and structural integrity of agroecosystems after a social or ecological disturbance. All this is part of landscape management based on an “Ecological Diversification Model”, where plant species are adapted to the ecotones and ecological floors of the western Andean foothills, to diversify and increase the availability of food crops that are bioculturally appropriate given the present agrobiodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perspectives on Mountain Conservation)
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16 pages, 676 KiB  
Article
The Contribution of Land Registration and Certification Program to Implement SDGs: The Case of the Amhara Region, Ethiopia
by Ayelech Kidie Mengesha, Reinfried Mansberger, Doris Damyanovic, Sayeh Kassaw Agegnehu and Gernot Stoeglehner
Land 2023, 12(1), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12010093 - 27 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2823
Abstract
Land is the key asset in the agricultural sector and hence land policy is one of the key elements that determine whether SDGs are achieved in developing counties or not. In developing countries, land titling programs have been seen as a strategy for [...] Read more.
Land is the key asset in the agricultural sector and hence land policy is one of the key elements that determine whether SDGs are achieved in developing counties or not. In developing countries, land titling programs have been seen as a strategy for addressing SDGs. Even though the government of Ethiopia launched the rural land registration and certification program (LRCP) to secure the land rights of rural households in 1998, currently, there are limited empirical studies to examine the contribution of LRCP in addressing sustainable development goals (SDGs). This study is employed to fill this knowledge gap by assessing how LRCP supports the achievement of the UN SDGs. The research data were collected through key informant interviews, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and reviewing published and unpublished documents. Content analysis, narrative analysis, and SWOT analysis were applied to examine the research data. The study confirms that LRCP improves tenure security, which greatly contributes to the achievements of SDGs, such as SDG 1 (end poverty), SDG 2 (end hunger), SDG 5 (gender equality), and SDG 15 (life on land). The tenure security of rural societies is a key pathway for the achievement of SDGs in Ethiopia since their livelihood mainly depends on agriculture. Therefore, developing countries should focus on land rights to improve the livelihoods of rural societies in particular and to enable sustainable development in general. Full article
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19 pages, 3347 KiB  
Article
Multi-Temporal Analysis of Past and Future Land-Cover Changes of the Third Pole
by Munkhnasan Lamchin, Woo-Kyun Lee and Sonam Wangyel Wang
Land 2022, 11(12), 2227; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11122227 - 7 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1698
Abstract
In the past few decades, both natural and human influences have contributed to the unpredictable rates of land use and land-cover change (LUCC) in glacially devastated places. Monitoring and identifying the geographic and temporal land-cover changes and driving forces in this unique type [...] Read more.
In the past few decades, both natural and human influences have contributed to the unpredictable rates of land use and land-cover change (LUCC) in glacially devastated places. Monitoring and identifying the geographic and temporal land-cover changes and driving forces in this unique type of area may help to give the scientific basis needed to understand the effects of climate change and human activities on LUCC. The Third Pole is one such landscape that provides inevitable key ecosystem services to over 2 billion people in Asia. However, this important landscape is increasingly being threatened by the impacts of climate change. Policy and program responses to the Third Pole’s mounting socioeconomic challenges are inadequate and lack scientific evidence. Using the land-change model (LCM) and historical data from 1992 onwards, our study attempted to (i) detect the spatial patterns of land use and land-cover changes in the Third Pole from 1992 to 2020; and (ii) project them into 2060. Our analysis shows that the land use and land-cover types in the Third pole are undergoing changes. About 0.07% of the snow and ice have melted in the last three decades, indicating global warming. This melt has resulted in increasing water bodies (0.08%), especially as glacial lakes. This has significantly increased the risk of glacial outburst floods. Other key alpine land-cover types that decreased are bare land (0.6%) and agricultural land (0.05%). These land types represent important habitats for wild flora and fauna, grazing land for livestock, and food for nomads, and their loss will directly degrade ecological services and the health and wellbeing of the nomads. Land cover of forest, shrubs, and scanty vegetation have all increased by 0.3%, 0.02%, and 0.77%, respectively, inducing socio-ecological changes in the Third pole mountains. Further predication analysis showed that snow and ice, along with bare land, will continue to recede whereas forest, grassland, water bodies, shrubland, sparse vegetation, and settlement will increase. These results indicate the increasing impact of global warming that will continue to change the Third Pole. These changes have serious implications for designing adaptation and mitigation interventions in the mountains. We recommend more detailed research to investigate the underlying factors that are changing the Third Pole to develop policy and programs to help humans, livestock, and biodiversity adapt to the changes in these remote and harsh mountains. This will also help to mitigate the effects on downstream communities. Full article
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14 pages, 4159 KiB  
Article
Urban Growth Simulation Based on a Multi-Dimension Classification of Growth Types: Implications for China’s Territory Spatial Planning
by Siyu Miao, Yang Xiao and Ling Tang
Land 2022, 11(12), 2210; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11122210 - 5 Dec 2022
Viewed by 2480
Abstract
One of the primary aims of China’s territory spatial planning is to control the urban sprawl of local municipals and prevent regional competition and the negative consequences on the environment—which emphasizes the top-down spatial regulation. Indeed, the traditional cellular automaton (CA) model still [...] Read more.
One of the primary aims of China’s territory spatial planning is to control the urban sprawl of local municipals and prevent regional competition and the negative consequences on the environment—which emphasizes the top-down spatial regulation. Indeed, the traditional cellular automaton (CA) model still has limitations when applied to the whole administration area since it may ignore the differences among cities and towns. Thus, this paper proposed a CM-CA (clustering, multi-level logit regression, integrated with cellular automaton) framework to simulate urban growth boundaries for cities and towns simultaneously. The significant novelty of this framework is to integrate several urban growth modes for all cities and towns. We applied our approach to the city of Xi’an, China, and the results showed satisfactory simulation accuracy of a CM-CA model for multiple cities and towns, and the clusters’ effects contributed 74% of the land change variance. Our study provides technical support for urban growth boundary delineation in China’s spatial planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Technologies and Methods in Spatial Planning)
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19 pages, 4170 KiB  
Article
The Relative Timing of Population Growth and Land Use Change—A Case Study of North Taiwan from 1990 to 2015
by Hsiao-Chien Shih, Douglas A. Stow, John R. Weeks, Konstadinos G. Goulias and Leila M. V. Carvalho
Land 2022, 11(12), 2204; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11122204 - 5 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1994
Abstract
Urban expansion is a form of land cover and land use change (LCLUC) that occurs globally, and population growth can be a driver of and be driven by LCLUC. Determining the cause–effect relationship is challenging because the temporal resolution of population data is [...] Read more.
Urban expansion is a form of land cover and land use change (LCLUC) that occurs globally, and population growth can be a driver of and be driven by LCLUC. Determining the cause–effect relationship is challenging because the temporal resolution of population data is limited by decadal censuses for most countries. The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship and relative timing between population change and land use change based on a case study of northern Taiwan from 1990 to 2015. A unique dataset on population was acquired from annually-updated governmental-based population registers maintained at the district level, and land-use expansion data (Residential, Employment, and Transportation Corridor categories) were derived from dense time series of Landsat imagery. Linear regression was applied to understand the general relationship between population and land use and their changes. The strongest relationships were found between population and areal extent of Residential land use, and between population change and Residential areal change. Lagged correlation analysis was implemented for identifying the time lag between population growth and land use change. Most districts exhibited Residential and Employment expansion prior to population growth, especially for districts in the periphery of metropolitan areas. Conversely, the core of metropolitan areas exhibited population growth prior to Residential and Employment expansion. Residential and Employment expansion were deemed to be drivers of population change, so population change was modeled with ordinary least square and geographically weighted regression with Residential and Employment expansion in both synchronized and time lag manners. Estimated population growth was found to be the most accurate when geographic differences and time lags from urban land use expansion were both incorporated. Full article
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18 pages, 3707 KiB  
Article
Impact of Transhumant Livestock Grazing Abandonment on Pseudo-Alpine Grasslands in Greece in the Context of Climatic Change
by Anna Sidiropoulou, Dimitrios Chouvardas, Konstantinos Mantzanas, Stefanos Stefanidis and Maria Karatassiou
Land 2022, 11(12), 2126; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11122126 - 25 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1895
Abstract
Pseudo-alpine grassland ecosystems have started to decline during the past few decades. According to many studies, climate change and abandonment of traditional anthropogenic activities are directly linked to this phenomenon. However, the interaction of these two factors with pseudo-alpine grasslands has not been [...] Read more.
Pseudo-alpine grassland ecosystems have started to decline during the past few decades. According to many studies, climate change and abandonment of traditional anthropogenic activities are directly linked to this phenomenon. However, the interaction of these two factors with pseudo-alpine grasslands has not been studied in Greece. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of climatic change and abandonment of transhumant livestock grazing on pseudo-alpine grassland ecosystems structure and stability in Mt Vermio and Mt Zireia. Geographic Information System data on land use/land cover from 1945 and 2020, as well as climatological and livestock data, have been examined and presented. Landscape metrics were also used to quantify landscape structure changes. Although both mountains’ pseudo-alpine grasslands have reduced in size, Mt Zireia has experienced an upward treeline shift, which seems to be the result of climate change, while in Mt Vermio, the more severe transhumance abandonment caused horizontal tree expansion. There are strong indications that a rise in temperature is the main driver for the upward increase in treeline. Full article
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25 pages, 2425 KiB  
Article
Climate Change and Natural Resource Scarcity: A Literature Review on Dry Farming
by Naomi di Santo, Ilaria Russo and Roberta Sisto
Land 2022, 11(12), 2102; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11122102 - 22 Nov 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2781
Abstract
The agricultural sector is facing the challenge of climate change, which is increasing difficulties to the activity and the economic sustainability of the primary sector, also affecting farmers’ revenues. There is a growing need to support policy makers’ decisions and help them develop [...] Read more.
The agricultural sector is facing the challenge of climate change, which is increasing difficulties to the activity and the economic sustainability of the primary sector, also affecting farmers’ revenues. There is a growing need to support policy makers’ decisions and help them develop cross-sectional strategies to support farmers. To this aim and to collect useful information for policy makers and stakeholders for the development of efficient strategies for the management of dryland farming, the paper examines how this issue has been analysed in the literature. A mixed method, based on a systematic literature review and a bibliometric analysis of 79 Scopus documents using VOSviewer software, was applied. Major results highlight the need to implement participatory policy interventions so as to include farmers. It was possible to summarise the main adaptive and technical interventions implemented by farmers. The results indicated the importance of the concept of the resilience of territories and the need to analyse agricultural systems by considering their multifunctionality. The innovativeness of this study relies on its relationships with several policy aspects and not only with purely technical and agronomical features, analysing thus the issue from the under-investigated perspective of the global challenge, contributing to filling this literature gap. Full article
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16 pages, 1302 KiB  
Article
Socioeconomic and Environmental Benefits of Expanding Urban Green Areas: A Joint Application of i-Tree and LCA Approaches
by Mariana Oliveira, Remo Santagata, Serena Kaiser, Yanxin Liu, Chiara Vassillo, Patrizia Ghisellini, Gengyuan Liu and Sergio Ulgiati
Land 2022, 11(12), 2106; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11122106 - 22 Nov 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2832
Abstract
Green infrastructures deliver countless functions for counteracting climate change, air pollution, floods, and heat islands, contributing at the same time to water and carbon recycling as well as to renewable energies and feedstock provisioning. Properly addressing such environmental problems would require huge investments [...] Read more.
Green infrastructures deliver countless functions for counteracting climate change, air pollution, floods, and heat islands, contributing at the same time to water and carbon recycling as well as to renewable energies and feedstock provisioning. Properly addressing such environmental problems would require huge investments that could be decreased thanks to the further implementation of urban forests. Local administrations are designing participative projects to improve territories and their living conditions. The i-Tree Canopy modelling tool and the life cycle assessment method are jointly applied to evaluate the potential benefits of increasing tree coverage within the boundaries of the Metropolitan City of Naples, Southern Italy. Results highlighted that tree coverage could increase by about 2.4 million trees, thus generating 51% more benefits in pollutants removal, carbon sequestration and stormwater management. The benefits are also explored and confirmed by means of the life cycle assessment method. The potential tree cover is expected to provide a total annual economic benefit of USD 55 million, purchasing power parity value adjusted, representing USD 18 per citizen and USD 99,117 per square kilometre of implemented urban forest. These results can support a potential replication elsewhere and provide a reference for the sustainable improvement of cities by expanding urban green areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Ecosystem Services III)
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24 pages, 3417 KiB  
Article
Regional Planning, Land-Use Management, and Governance in German Metropolitan Regions—The Case of Rhine–Neckar Metropolitan Region
by Simin Yan and Anna Growe
Land 2022, 11(11), 2088; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11112088 - 19 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3742
Abstract
German cities and their hinterlands have a long tradition of cooperation; however, there remains considerable challenges when developing integrated governance models, especially in those metropolitan regions that cross state-boundaries. The Rhine–Neckar Metropolitan Region (MRN), with its unique location of a tri-state intersection, explored [...] Read more.
German cities and their hinterlands have a long tradition of cooperation; however, there remains considerable challenges when developing integrated governance models, especially in those metropolitan regions that cross state-boundaries. The Rhine–Neckar Metropolitan Region (MRN), with its unique location of a tri-state intersection, explored ways out of the governing dilemma and has pioneered cooperative federalism in Germany. To determine how the cross-jurisdictional cooperation is organized and realized in the MRN, and how well this model has worked in terms of regional planning, attributing land resources, and the reality of long-term governance, a series of interviews with involved officials and planners and MAXQDA software were employed to decode the transcribed text content. A second-hand qualitative database, including, but not limited to, meeting memos, protocols, and published works were added to examine our findings. The results indicated that diversified actors, a combined instrument, multiple collaborative contents, and the networked joint decision-making structure have strengthened the governance of the MRN. However, their public association-centered structure raised concerns in terms of inadequate participation of private agents and an excessive pursuit of regional balance as well. Ultimately, this paper discusses the inefficiency challenges facing the MRN and further reflects on the need for, and impacts of, high-level government participation in constituting a regional identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Governance of Land Use)
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22 pages, 6241 KiB  
Article
Spatial Patterns and Intensity of Land Abandonment Drive Wildfire Hazard and Likelihood in Mediterranean Agropastoral Areas
by Michele Salis, Liliana Del Giudice, Roghayeh Jahdi, Fermin Alcasena-Urdiroz, Carla Scarpa, Grazia Pellizzaro, Valentina Bacciu, Matilde Schirru, Andrea Ventura, Marcello Casula, Fabrizio Pedes, Annalisa Canu, Pierpaolo Duce and Bachisio Arca
Land 2022, 11(11), 1942; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11111942 - 31 Oct 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3012
Abstract
In Mediterranean agropastoral areas, land abandonment is a key driver of wildfire risk as fuel load and continuity increase. To gain insights into the potential impacts of land abandonment on wildfire risk in fire-prone areas, a fire-spread modeling approach to evaluate the variations [...] Read more.
In Mediterranean agropastoral areas, land abandonment is a key driver of wildfire risk as fuel load and continuity increase. To gain insights into the potential impacts of land abandonment on wildfire risk in fire-prone areas, a fire-spread modeling approach to evaluate the variations in wildfire potential induced by different spatial patterns and percentages of land abandonment was applied. The study was carried out in a 1200 km2 agropastoral area located in north-western Sardinia (Italy) mostly covered by herbaceous fuels. We compared nine land abandonment scenarios, which consisted of the control conditions (NA) and eight scenarios obtained by combining four intensity levels (10, 20, 30, 40%) and two spatial patterns of agropastoral land abandonment. The abandonment scenarios hypothesized a variation in dead fuel load and fuel depth within abandoned polygons with respect to the control conditions. For each abandonment scenario, wildfire hazard and likelihood at the landscape scale was assessed by simulating over 17,000 wildfire seasons using the minimum travel time (MTT) fire spread algorithm. Wildfire simulations replicated the weather conditions associated with the largest fires observed in the study area and were run at 40 m resolution, consistent with the input files. Our results highlighted that growing amounts of land abandonment substantially increased burn probability, high flame length probability and fire size at the landscape level. Considering a given percentage of abandonment, the two spatial patterns of abandonment generated spatial variations in wildfire hazard and likelihood, but at the landscape scale the average values were not significantly different. The average annual area burned increased from about 2400 ha of the control conditions to about 3100 ha with 40% land abandonment. The findings of this work demonstrate that a progressive abandonment of agropastoral lands can lead to severe modifications in potential wildfire spread and behavior in Mediterranean areas, thus promoting the likelihood of large and fast-spreading events. Wildfire spread modeling approaches allow us to estimate the potential risks posed by future wildfires to rural communities, ecosystems and anthropic values in the context of land abandonment, and to adopt and optimize smart prevention and planning strategies to mitigate these threats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Landscape Ecology Section)
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23 pages, 5833 KiB  
Article
Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Landscape Transformation in Western Balkans’ Metropolitan Areas
by Isra Hyka, Artan Hysa, Sokol Dervishi, Marijana Kapovic Solomun, Alban Kuriqi, Dinesh Kumar Vishwakarma and Paul Sestras
Land 2022, 11(11), 1892; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11111892 - 25 Oct 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2585
Abstract
Human-caused landscape transformation represents a danger to conserving the Earth’s natural habitats. Landscape fragmentation (LF) caused by transportation infrastructure and urban development poses a threat to human and environmental health by increasing traffic noise and pollution, reducing the size and viability of wildlife [...] Read more.
Human-caused landscape transformation represents a danger to conserving the Earth’s natural habitats. Landscape fragmentation (LF) caused by transportation infrastructure and urban development poses a threat to human and environmental health by increasing traffic noise and pollution, reducing the size and viability of wildlife populations, facilitating the spread of invasive species, and reducing the recreational qualities of the landscape. It is especially noticeable in the metropolitan areas of developing countries due to rapid and unsupervised urban sprawl. In this context, this study aims to protect natural landscapes and biodiversity, promoting forms of sustainable development. To exemplify our aim, we bring a spatio-temporal analysis of landscape change comparing three metropolitan areas in the Western Balkans (WB). First, we compare the land use land cover (LULC) changes in Tirana (Albania), Skopje (North Macedonia), and Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina). The comparison was based on the Urban Atlas (UA) data of 2012 and 2018. The analysis was performed on two levels, at the metropolitan and urban spatial scales. Apart from descriptive statistics about the changes in surface area and patch counts, we used effective mesh size (meff) as a landscape metric to quantify the LF level. Our results show that each city has faced significant LULC change between 2012 and 2018, with a dominant increase in artificial surfaces. Furthermore, the cumulative natural surface area reduction is followed by increased landscape patch counts, indicating an increased LF at both levels. This study enhances public awareness about the landscape transformation trends in the developing metropolitan regions of WB. The respective administrative bodies at both local and central levels are invited to consider our results and adopt proper measurements to reduce the adverse consequences of subsequent spatial development decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Cover and Land Use Mapping Using Satellite Image)
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14 pages, 2538 KiB  
Article
Urban Avian Conservation Planning Using Species Functional Traits and Habitat Suitability Mapping
by Andrew Tim Man Chin, Jonathan Leo William Ruppert, Namrata Shrestha and Marie-Josée Fortin
Land 2022, 11(10), 1831; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11101831 - 18 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2128
Abstract
Urbanization adversely impacts biodiversity by reducing the quantity and quality of natural habitat areas. Additionally, the quality of natural habitat depends on its bio-physical characteristics (e.g., natural cover, impervious surfaces, urban tree canopy) as well as the functional traits of species inhabiting them [...] Read more.
Urbanization adversely impacts biodiversity by reducing the quantity and quality of natural habitat areas. Additionally, the quality of natural habitat depends on its bio-physical characteristics (e.g., natural cover, impervious surfaces, urban tree canopy) as well as the functional traits of species inhabiting them (e.g., breeding/foraging habitat requirements). To better plan conservation of regional biodiversity in urbanized landscapes, it is therefore critical to assess the relationship between the landscape and the response of key Functional Trait Groups (FTGs) of species. To identify different FTGs of 116 avian species in the urbanized landscape of the Toronto region (Canada), we conducted a Functional Trait Analysis (FTA) using RLQ-fourth corner analysis. We focused on four species traits (diet, foraging, nesting, and territoriality) to identify the FTGs and their association with natural cover and landscape characteristics (landcover types, patch quality, habitat connectivity). Then, to predict FTG presence in relation to the landscape characteristics, we performed a Habitat Suitability Analysis (HSA). From this analysis, we found 21 avian FTGs with different habitat suitability values that correspond to forested patches and wetlands. The HSA for tree canopy, forest insectivore, and ground-nesting birds (or FTGs) have higher suitability values within forest patches, while aerial insectivores have higher suitability values in older residential neighborhoods indicating the value of the urban tree canopy. This methodological approach shows that by mapping habitat suitability by FTG one can identify strategic conservation areas that target multiple species, shifting efforts from a single species to a community-based functional focus. Our study highlights the conservation value of remnant and/or restored habitat patches in near urban and urban landscapes that help to maximize the persistence of regional avian biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Landscape Ecology)
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22 pages, 4583 KiB  
Review
Land Use and Land Cover Mapping in the Era of Big Data
by Chuanrong Zhang and Xinba Li
Land 2022, 11(10), 1692; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11101692 - 30 Sep 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 7954
Abstract
We are currently living in the era of big data. The volume of collected or archived geospatial data for land use and land cover (LULC) mapping including remotely sensed satellite imagery and auxiliary geospatial datasets is increasing. Innovative machine learning, deep learning algorithms, [...] Read more.
We are currently living in the era of big data. The volume of collected or archived geospatial data for land use and land cover (LULC) mapping including remotely sensed satellite imagery and auxiliary geospatial datasets is increasing. Innovative machine learning, deep learning algorithms, and cutting-edge cloud computing have also recently been developed. While new opportunities are provided by these geospatial big data and advanced computer technologies for LULC mapping, challenges also emerge for LULC mapping from using these geospatial big data. This article summarizes the review studies and research progress in remote sensing, machine learning, deep learning, and geospatial big data for LULC mapping since 2015. We identified the opportunities, challenges, and future directions of using geospatial big data for LULC mapping. More research needs to be performed for improved LULC mapping at large scales. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Land Innovations – Data and Machine Learning)
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43 pages, 6097 KiB  
Article
Confronting Complexity: Interpretation of a Dry Stone Walled Landscape on the Island of Cres, Croatia
by Michael Doneus, Nives Doneus and Dave Cowley
Land 2022, 11(10), 1672; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11101672 - 27 Sep 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3125
Abstract
Dry stone walls are a worldwide phenomenon that may shape entire regions. As a specific form of vernacular agro-pastoral practice, they are expressions of the culture and history of a region. Dry stone walls have recently received increased attention in Croatia, primarily due [...] Read more.
Dry stone walls are a worldwide phenomenon that may shape entire regions. As a specific form of vernacular agro-pastoral practice, they are expressions of the culture and history of a region. Dry stone walls have recently received increased attention in Croatia, primarily due to research in landscape architecture and (historical) geography, though archaeological research on such remains is rare in part due to the challenges of undertaking such work in areas covered by dense evergreen maquis vegetation. In this paper, this type of landscape has been studied in detail for the first time using Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) based digital feature models as a basis to articulate dynamic dry stone wall landscapes in a diachronic archaeological interpretation. Using a case study from the Mediterranean region of Punta Križa, Croatia, we show that what superficially appears to be a simple system of dry stone walls contains a wealth of information on a complex sequence of human activity. The systematic, detailed, and diachronic interpretation applies a transparent workflow that provides a tool for all those undertaking interpretative mappings of archaeological prospection datasets and has proved highly effective when working with ALS-derived visualizations. The capacity to develop spatio-temporal interpretation within the framework of GIS and a Harris Matrix is especially powerful and has the potential to change our image of any region. While the case study presented here deals with a small area in Croatia, the methods described have a broad application in any areas of complex landscape remains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Archaeology by Using Remote Sensing Data)
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16 pages, 301 KiB  
Article
Ecological Civilization in Practice: An Exploratory Study of Urban Agriculture in Four Chinese Cities
by Alesandros Glaros, Geoff Luehr, Zhenzhong Si and Steffanie Scott
Land 2022, 11(10), 1628; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11101628 - 22 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2302
Abstract
Chinese development priorities have, since 2012, been formally framed under the slogan “Ecological Civilization” (EC). Simultaneously, urban agriculture (UA) has emerged as a potential strategy to contribute to urban food security in China, in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this paper, we [...] Read more.
Chinese development priorities have, since 2012, been formally framed under the slogan “Ecological Civilization” (EC). Simultaneously, urban agriculture (UA) has emerged as a potential strategy to contribute to urban food security in China, in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this paper, we interrogate EC as an approach to urban and agricultural development in China and explore how EC manifests in practical terms, through a case study of urban agriculture. Over four months, we conducted on-site interviews and surveys with UA practitioners in four Chinese cities to understand how their experiences are negotiated with the state, in the context of EC. We find through our case study that capital-intensive and peri-urban approaches to UA are favoured in the context of EC, while small-scale intra-urban initiatives are actively discouraged in policy but passively accepted in practice and enforcement. This is despite all forms of UA promoting key goals for EC, including beautifying urban areas, increasing the quality of life for urban residents, and reconnecting individuals with food growing culture. Despite novel developments in innovative agricultural practices in both rural and urban contexts, the EC pathway risks overlooking grassroots initiatives and meeting local residents’ needs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Institutions in Governance of Land Use: Mitigating Boom and Bust)
23 pages, 2205 KiB  
Article
Is Climate Change Restoring Historical Fire Regimes across Temperate Landscapes of the San Juan Mountains, Colorado, USA?
by William L. Baker
Land 2022, 11(10), 1615; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11101615 - 21 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1533
Abstract
Wildfires are increasing with human-induced climate change, but could this be ecologically beneficial in landscapes where recent fire is deficient relative to historical? I compiled 1980–2020 fire data for the San Juan Mountains, Colorado. I analyzed fire sizes and trends in area burned [...] Read more.
Wildfires are increasing with human-induced climate change, but could this be ecologically beneficial in landscapes where recent fire is deficient relative to historical? I compiled 1980–2020 fire data for the San Juan Mountains, Colorado. I analyzed fire sizes and trends in area burned and fire severity, and compared fire density and rotations between 1980–2010 and 2011–2020 among ecosystem types and watersheds. I compared historical (pre-industrial) evidence from tree-ring, charcoal, and land-survey reconstructions to evaluate whether recent fire is outside the historical range of variability (HRV). Nearly all burned area was in the southwestern San Juans in 5 of 41 years and 35 of 4716 wildfires. Between 1980–2010 and 2011–2020, fire densities increased ∼200% and rotations shortened to ∼25%, similarly among ecosystems and watersheds, consistent with climatic effects. Fire rotations in 2011–2020 were within HRV for three ecosystems and deficient for four. Fire sizes and severities were within HRV. Moderate- and high-severity fire had no significant trend. Thus, reducing fire size or severity is currently ecologically unnecessary. Instead, incorporating fire from climate change, via wildland fire use, supplemented by prescribed burning, could feasibly restore historical fire regimes in most San Juan landscapes by 2050, the target of the Paris 1.5 °C goal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Land–Climate Interactions)
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19 pages, 3424 KiB  
Article
Integrated Modelling Approaches for Sustainable Agri-Economic Growth and Environmental Improvement: Examples from Greece, Canada and Ireland
by Jorge Andres Garcia and Angelos Alamanos
Land 2022, 11(9), 1548; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11091548 - 13 Sep 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2075
Abstract
Complex agricultural problems concern many countries, as a result of competing economic and environmental objectives. In this work we model three common agricultural problems through optimization techniques: a water-scarce area with overexploited surface and groundwater resources due to over-pumping for irrigation (Greece); an [...] Read more.
Complex agricultural problems concern many countries, as a result of competing economic and environmental objectives. In this work we model three common agricultural problems through optimization techniques: a water-scarce area with overexploited surface and groundwater resources due to over-pumping for irrigation (Greece); an area facing water quality deterioration caused by agriculture (Canada); and an intensified animal farming area facing environmental degradation and increased greenhouse gases emissions (Ireland). Multiple goals are considered to optimize farmers’ welfare and environmental sustainability. The proposed approaches are new applications for each case-study, providing useful insights for most countries facing similar problems. Full article
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12 pages, 1288 KiB  
Article
Effect of Soil Aggregate Size on Vineyard Bacterial Communities under Organic and Conventional Agro-Managements
by Yosef Steinberger, Tirza Doniger, Chen Sherman, Itaii Applebaum and Gil Eshel
Land 2022, 11(9), 1517; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11091517 - 8 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1547
Abstract
Soil microorganisms are an indispensable component of natural ecosystems and play an important role in agro-management ecosystems. However, the function of soil microbial communities is still a black box. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of organic and conventional agro-management practices [...] Read more.
Soil microorganisms are an indispensable component of natural ecosystems and play an important role in agro-management ecosystems. However, the function of soil microbial communities is still a black box. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of organic and conventional agro-management practices in a vineyard on the soil’s bacterial community and its composition in three different soil aggregate sizes using functional profiles derived using 16S rDNA metagenomics analysis for elucidating the metabolic capabilities of soil microbial communities. Soil samples were compared in terms of community composition and functionality. A clear distinction was found between the two managements. The soil samples contained 12 phyla and 45 orders, where Proteobacteria was the most common phylum in all treatments. Twenty-three functional profiles were obtained for both treatments and three aggregate sizes, showing similarity in their function, suggesting that functionality is due to the community’s composition and environmental conditions. The results indicate that organic farming systems have a beneficial effect on microbial diversity and encourage ecosystem multifunctionality. Full article
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25 pages, 6059 KiB  
Article
A Systematic Review of a City in a City: An Aerotropolitan Perspective
by Emeka Austin Ndaguba, Jua Cilliers and Sumita Ghosh
Land 2022, 11(9), 1499; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11091499 - 7 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2731
Abstract
The purpose of this research is to demystify literature on aerotropolis using systematic review. Literature on aerial life and aeronautical studies suggests that airports are frequently cited outside urban centres. However, recent events surrounding the growth of aerotropolis contradicts existing realities. In fact, [...] Read more.
The purpose of this research is to demystify literature on aerotropolis using systematic review. Literature on aerial life and aeronautical studies suggests that airports are frequently cited outside urban centres. However, recent events surrounding the growth of aerotropolis contradicts existing realities. In fact, the pull and push factors constitute the life cycle of aerotropolis in urban enclaves. In generating data for this study, Dimensions, an artificial intelligence databank, was adopted, and a hybrid method which combines both VOSviewer and Citespace software was the preferred analytical tool for analysis. Key findings were imperative in establishing certain parameters regarding aerial life, including but not limited to knowledge about the technologies adopted, quality of stakeholders, in addition to existing relationships of urban space, urbanisation, and geography. Furthermore, two recurrent themes were identified, such as the development in ICT, and smart technologies, which corresponds with the multiple potentials that exist for developing sustainable airports, such as eco-innovation, greenovation, and social innovation. This study contributes to the concept of transit-bound tourism, a concept we coined to depict the role tourism can play in transit philosophy and economics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Spaces: Socioeconomic Challenges)
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19 pages, 2547 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of MODIS, Climate Change Initiative, and CORINE Land Cover Products Based on a Ground Truth Dataset in a Mediterranean Landscape
by Margarita Bachantourian, Kyriakos Chaleplis, Alexandra Gemitzi, Kostas Kalabokidis, Palaiologos Palaiologou and Christos Vasilakos
Land 2022, 11(9), 1453; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11091453 - 1 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2443
Abstract
Land cover can reflect global environmental changes if their associated transitions are quantitatively and correctly analysed, thus helping to assess the drivers and impacts of climate change and other applied research studies. It is highly important to acquire accurate spatial land cover information [...] Read more.
Land cover can reflect global environmental changes if their associated transitions are quantitatively and correctly analysed, thus helping to assess the drivers and impacts of climate change and other applied research studies. It is highly important to acquire accurate spatial land cover information to perform multidisciplinary analyses. This work aims at estimating the accuracy of three widely used land cover products, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) land cover product (MCD12Q1), the European Space Agency Climate Change Initiative land cover (ESA-CCI-LC), and the EU CORINE land cover (CLC), all for the reference year of 2018, by comparing them against a fine resolution land cover dataset created for this study with combined ground surveys and high-resolution Large Scale Orthophotography (LSO 25/2015). Initially, the four datasets had their land cover classes harmonized and all were resampled to the same spatial resolution. The accuracy metrics used to conduct the comparisons were Overall Accuracy, Producer’s Accuracy, User’s Accuracy, and the Kappa Coefficient. Comparisons with the reference dataset revealed an underestimation of the forested areas class in all three compared products. Further analysis showed that the accuracy metrics were reasonably high for the broad classes (forest vs. non-forest), with an overall accuracy exceeding 70% in all examined products. On the contrary, in the detailed classification (total land cover mapping), the comparison of the reference dataset with the three land cover products highlighted specific weaknesses in the classification results of the three products, showing that CLC depicted more precisely the landscape characteristics than the two other products, since it demonstrated the highest overall accuracy (37.47%), while MODIS and ESA-CCI-LC revealed a percentage that did not exceed 22%. Full article
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19 pages, 12333 KiB  
Article
Updating Distribution, Ecology, and Hotspots for Three Amphibian Species to Set Conservation Priorities in a European Glacial Refugium
by Ilaria Bernabò, Viviana Cittadino, Sandro Tripepi, Vittoria Marchianò, Sandro Piazzini, Maurizio Biondi and Mattia Iannella
Land 2022, 11(8), 1292; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11081292 - 11 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2913
Abstract
The Calabrian Peninsula (Southern Italy) has acted as a glacial refugium and is now considered a hotspot for the genetic diversity of several species. Even if it hosts the highest diversity of many Italian endemic amphibian species, the distribution of some of these [...] Read more.
The Calabrian Peninsula (Southern Italy) has acted as a glacial refugium and is now considered a hotspot for the genetic diversity of several species. Even if it hosts the highest diversity of many Italian endemic amphibian species, the distribution of some of these needs an update to address conservation measures. We took advantage of a vast dataset for three Italian species (Bombina pachypus, Salamandrina terdigitata, Triturus carnifex), two of which are endemic, deriving from a 40-year field surveys dataset (1982–2022), to update their distribution and basic ecological requirements. We evaluated changes in their distribution, projecting them on a broader spatial scale through a kernel density estimation, inferring statistically-significant hotspots using Corine Land Cover patches, and assessing the protected areas’ coverage. We confirmed that Pollino, Catena Costiera, Sila and Aspromonte massifs are the main statistically-significant hotspots. Kernel densities showed a diversified pattern of gains/losses, sometimes overlapping, depending on the species. The whole outcomes obtained allow us to pinpoint specific areas where effective conservation measures need to be applied. Ousr findings reveal that local-scale monitoring and management should be planned, especially within the existing nationally-designated protected areas, which have been shown to protect far less with respect to the Natura 2000 sites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Landscape Ecology)
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18 pages, 5891 KiB  
Article
The Potential Impact of Climate Change on the Efficiency and Reliability of Solar, Hydro, and Wind Energy Sources
by Uma S. Bhatt, Benjamin A. Carreras, José Miguel Reynolds Barredo, David E. Newman, Pere Collet and Damiá Gomila
Land 2022, 11(8), 1275; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11081275 - 8 Aug 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4483
Abstract
Climate change impacts the electric power system by affecting both the load and generation. It is paramount to understand this impact in the context of renewable energy as their market share has increased and will continue to grow. This study investigates the impact [...] Read more.
Climate change impacts the electric power system by affecting both the load and generation. It is paramount to understand this impact in the context of renewable energy as their market share has increased and will continue to grow. This study investigates the impact of climate change on the supply of renewable energy through applying novel metrics of intermittency, power production and storage required by the renewable energy plants as a function of historical climate data variability. Here we focus on and compare two disparate locations, Palma de Mallorca in the Balearic Islands and Cordova, Alaska. The main results of this analysis of wind, solar radiation and precipitation over the 1950–2020 period show that climate change impacts both the total supply available and its variability. Importantly, this impact is found to vary significantly with location. This analysis demonstrates the feasibility of a process to evaluate the local optimal mix of renewables, the changing needs for energy storage as well as the ability to evaluate the impact on grid reliability regarding both penetration of the increasing renewable resources and changes in the variability of the resource. This framework can be used to quantify the impact on both transmission grids and microgrids and can guide possible mitigation paths. Full article
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13 pages, 1752 KiB  
Article
Climate Change, Agriculture, and Biodiversity: How Does Shifting Agriculture Affect Habitat Availability?
by Mary Ann Cunningham
Land 2022, 11(8), 1257; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11081257 - 6 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4410
Abstract
Models show that climate change is likely to push agricultural production in the US region known as the Corn Belt northward in coming decades. The economic and social impacts of this northward shift have received extensive attention, but its environmental impacts, such as [...] Read more.
Models show that climate change is likely to push agricultural production in the US region known as the Corn Belt northward in coming decades. The economic and social impacts of this northward shift have received extensive attention, but its environmental impacts, such as effects on biodiversity, have received less focus. The aim of this study was to evaluate the extent and distribution of grassland-type habitat that is vulnerable to a northward-shifting Corn Belt. To analyze this question, geographic shifts in suitable climate conditions for the dominant crop, corn (Zea mays), were modelled. The amount and distribution of uncultivated (potential habitat) land cover classes was then calculated and mapped in current and future (2050) regions suitable for corn. In currently-suitable areas, the degree of climate suitability positively predicted the dominance of corn in the landscape and negatively predicted grasslands. Areas likely to become climatically suited for corn production contained modest amounts of grassland and herbaceous wetland, most of it privately held and lacking protected status. If economic incentives for corn remain strong, pressure to further simplify the landscape and further reduce habitat resources will likely increase in the coming decades. While global concern for biodiversity and habitat conservation is growing, this study raises the question of how wealthy countries are taking action, or not, to reduce further land conversion and habitat losses. Full article
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26 pages, 4216 KiB  
Article
The Role of Soil Type in Triggering Shallow Landslides in the Alps (Lombardy, Northern Italy)
by Fabio Luino, Jerome De Graff, Marcella Biddoccu, Francesco Faccini, Michele Freppaz, Anna Roccati, Fabrizio Ungaro, Michele D’Amico and Laura Turconi
Land 2022, 11(8), 1125; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11081125 - 22 Jul 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3522
Abstract
Shallow landslides due to the soil saturation induced by intense rainfall events are very common in northern Italy, particularly in the Alps and Prealps. They are usually triggered during heavy rainstorms, causing severe damage to property, and sometimes causing casualties. A historical study [...] Read more.
Shallow landslides due to the soil saturation induced by intense rainfall events are very common in northern Italy, particularly in the Alps and Prealps. They are usually triggered during heavy rainstorms, causing severe damage to property, and sometimes causing casualties. A historical study and analysis of shallow landslides and mud-debris flows triggered by rainfall events in Lombardy was carried out for the period of 1911–2010, over an area of 14,019 km2. In this study, intensity–duration rainfall thresholds have been defined using the frequentist approach, considering some pedological characteristics available in regional soil-related databases, such as the soil region, the textural class, and the dominant soil typological units (STU). The soil-based empirical rainfall thresholds obtained considering the soil regions of the study area were significantly different, with a lower threshold for landslide occurrence in the soil region M1 (Alps), where soils developed over siliceous parent material, with respect to the whole study area and the soil region M2 (Prealps), where soils developed over calcareous bedrocks. Furthermore, by considering textural classes, the curves were differentiated, with coarse-textured soils found more likely to triggerlandslides than fine soils. Finally, considering both texture and main soil groups, given the same rainfall duration, the rainfall amount and intensity needed to initiate a landslide increased in the following order: “coarse-skeletal” Cambisols < Umbrisols < Podzols < “fine” Cambisols. The results of this study highlighted the relevant role of pedological conditioning factors in differentiating the activation of rainfall-induced shallow landslides in a definite region. The information on soils can be used to define more precise rainfall–pedological thresholds than empirical thresholds based solely on meteorological conditions, even when they are locally defined. This knowledge is crucial for forecasting and preventing geo-hydrological processes and in developing better warning strategies to mitigate risks and to reduce socio-economic damage. Full article
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17 pages, 81692 KiB  
Article
The Shaping of Daqing: Borderless Interactions between Oil and Urban Areas
by Stephan J. Hauser and Penglin Zhu
Land 2022, 11(7), 1120; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11071120 - 21 Jul 2022
Viewed by 2950
Abstract
Since the development of the oil industry in the 1860s, petroleum products became increasingly important in economies and shaped the urban form. The impact of oil exploration, exploitation, and transformation led to the creation of districts and cities entirely dedicated to the oil [...] Read more.
Since the development of the oil industry in the 1860s, petroleum products became increasingly important in economies and shaped the urban form. The impact of oil exploration, exploitation, and transformation led to the creation of districts and cities entirely dedicated to the oil industry. This dynamic relationship between economic activity and urbanization was presented in the shaping of cities and their borders. Although important, the notion of borders and its consequences on the uses of land as well as on the life of inhabitants are often ignored. This paper first conceptualizes the term borders in understanding the interlinkages between oil and other areas closely related, either geographically or for the functioning of the oil industry; it then illustrates the intertwined borders of all these spaces from the contemporary example of the city of Daqing, in Northeast China. The paper answers the question of how past borders designed during the development of Daqing in the 1960s are impacting future planning strategies and the health of local inhabitants? By mapping the current land-use of the city, this paper elaborates on the need to consider borders beyond two-dimensional perspectives by revealing how spatial planning practices in oil-dependent cities can be an environmental issue today and in the future. The objective is to demonstrate the influence of past planning decisions linked to industrial activities on contemporary urban spaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Urban Contexts and Urban-Rural Interactions)
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19 pages, 1955 KiB  
Review
Cellular Automata in Modeling and Predicting Urban Densification: Revisiting the Literature since 1971
by Anasua Chakraborty, Sujit Sikder, Hichem Omrani and Jacques Teller
Land 2022, 11(7), 1113; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11071113 - 20 Jul 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 4168
Abstract
The creation of an accurate simulation of future urban growth is considered to be one of the most important challenges of the last five decades that involves spatial modeling within a GIS environment. Even though built-up densification processes, or transitions from low to [...] Read more.
The creation of an accurate simulation of future urban growth is considered to be one of the most important challenges of the last five decades that involves spatial modeling within a GIS environment. Even though built-up densification processes, or transitions from low to high density, are critical for policymakers concerned with limiting sprawl, the literature on models for urban study reveals that most of them focus solely on the expansion process. Although the majority of these models have similar goals, they differ in terms of implementation and theoretical assumptions. Cellular automata (CA) models have been proven to be successful at simulating urban growth dynamics and projecting future scenarios at multiple scales. This paper aims to revisit urban CA models to determine the various approaches for a realistic simulation and prediction of urban densification. The general characteristics of CA models are described with respect to analysis of various driving factors that influence urban scenarios. This paper also critically analyzes various hybrid models based on CA such as the Markov chain, artificial neural network (ANN), and logistic regression (LR). Limitation and uncertainties of CA models, namely, neighborhood cell size, may be minimized when integrated with empirical and statistical models. The result of this review suggests that it is useful to use CA models with multinomial logistic regression (MLR) in order to analyze and model the effects of various driving factors related to urban densification. Realistic simulations can be achieved when multidensity class labels are integrated in the modeling process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Big Data Analytics, Spatial Optimization for Land Use Planning)
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20 pages, 3701 KiB  
Article
Evaluation and Improvement Measures of the Runoff Coefficient of Urban Parks for Sustainable Water Balance
by Jinkwan Son and Taegeun Kwon
Land 2022, 11(7), 1098; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11071098 - 18 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2885
Abstract
As the impermeable sidewalk area increases in urban areas, diverse problems related to water occur. The purposes of this research were to increase the rainwater infiltration rate through water balance analysis and estimate the runoff coefficient according to land cover types in urban [...] Read more.
As the impermeable sidewalk area increases in urban areas, diverse problems related to water occur. The purposes of this research were to increase the rainwater infiltration rate through water balance analysis and estimate the runoff coefficient according to land cover types in urban parks. The regression equations and runoff coefficients relative to the rainwater infiltration rate were estimated according to the land cover types and applied to eight urban parks. In the results of the experiment, the runoff coefficient was 0.245 for vegetation areas, 0.583 for permeable sidewalks, 0.963 for sidewalk blocks, and 1.000 for impervious sidewalks, which had 100% outflow. The results show that the vegetation area in urban parks is significantly related to rainfall–runoff, infiltration, and evapotranspiration. The average of eight urban parks was 126.52 mm, indicating that 11.80% of the rainfall was recharged into groundwater. Additionally, the average runoff rate was 498.56 mm, indicating that 46.52% was leaked externally. Therefore, it is suggested to decrease the impermeable sidewalk areas in urban parks. Additionally, extending the waterway, swamp, and gravel sidewalk areas is suggested. Urban parks should be developed in order to contribute to hydrological control through the water balance in urban land use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrological Processes in Urban Environments)
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20 pages, 5161 KiB  
Article
High-Mountain Landscape Classification to Analyze Patterns of Land Use and Potential Natural Vegetation
by Tim Theissen, Annette Otte and Rainer Waldhardt
Land 2022, 11(7), 1085; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11071085 - 15 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3144
Abstract
In Georgia’s Lesser Caucasus, extremely species rich wooded grasslands are still used as pastures or meadows. These silvopastoral systems are one of the oldest land-use types in Europe, hosting both light-demanding and shade-tolerant species. However, in Europe silvopastoral systems have decreased over the [...] Read more.
In Georgia’s Lesser Caucasus, extremely species rich wooded grasslands are still used as pastures or meadows. These silvopastoral systems are one of the oldest land-use types in Europe, hosting both light-demanding and shade-tolerant species. However, in Europe silvopastoral systems have decreased over the past centuries. The aim of this study is to map, quantify, and classify the local land use and forest types in comparison to the potential natural vegetation to analyze and evaluate the high-mountain landscape pattern. Therefore, we mapped a 223 km2 study area and classified this mountainous terrain by topographical variables in a cluster analysis. Our results revealed a small-scale pattern of agriculture and forest in the study area, both strongly interlinked. The forest pattern strongly depends on altitude and aspect. The mentioned wooded grassland consists of forests with varying canopy covers connecting the settlement-near pastures and meadows in the montane belt with the natural open grassland in the alpine belts. The forest is in a near-natural condition compared with the potential natural vegetation. However, the quantifications revealed shrub encroachment indicating land-use abandonment. The compiled GIS-maps and the spatial classification of the landscape can be used to support sustainable management strategies in forestry and agriculture. Full article
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17 pages, 666 KiB  
Review
An Exploration of the Land–(Renewable) Energy Nexus
by Bouchra El Houda Lamhamedi and Walter Timo de Vries
Land 2022, 11(6), 767; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11060767 - 24 May 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 5145
Abstract
The need to understand the connection between land and energy has gained prominence in the calls to opt for renewable energy as part of the climate change mitigation actions. This need derives from the fact that renewable energy resources are site-specific and require [...] Read more.
The need to understand the connection between land and energy has gained prominence in the calls to opt for renewable energy as part of the climate change mitigation actions. This need derives from the fact that renewable energy resources are site-specific and require rightful access and use of land. The impacts on landscape, land tenure, and land-use patterns of constructing energy facilities are significant, and they may subsequently undermine the authority of local communities. Still, the connection between land and energy is not yet part of integrated development policies and political debates when deciding on renewable energy projects. Therefore, this study critically reviews the land–energy nexus with the aim to understand and explain how the uptake of renewable energy is shaping the land–energy nexus and how renewable energy technologies are evolving and interacting in different regions of the world, particularly in the Global South. Theoretically, the land–energy nexus tends to reflect a dual tension between those who support the rapid expansion of renewable energy projects and those who oppose it due to concerns over land pressure and social impacts. We consider that this contrast is ruled by both the ecological modernization paradigm and the environmental and social justice paradigm, as part of wider environmental and social debates. The study adopts an integrative literature review built on the analysis of existing literature and deductive logical reasoning to create new, exhaustive scientific knowledge focusing on three interdependent dimensions: land requirements and planning policy, environmental impacts, and public opposition, as an informative guidance for future research and policies. The multiple forms of social dispute and agency demonstrate that dominant narratives supporting renewables act as a modern technological fix but provide only a partial solution for the climate and energy crisis. The deployment of renewable energy creates land pressures and spatial patterns of uneven development. These are visible by numerous environmental and social outcomes, which may imperil the sustainability of the investment. Hence, there is the need of a land–energy balance as a new aspect of sustainable development. Full article
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