Special Issue "The Belt and Road Initiative’s Land Use and Land Cover Change and Impact on the Environment"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2022) | Viewed by 4079

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Jianjun Cao
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Geography and Environmental science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
Interests: ecology; ecological (environmental) economics; natural resource management; human–environment interactions
Dr. Troy Sternberg
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford OX2 6HY, UK
Interests: extreme climate hazards; water, steppe vegetation; desertification; social–environmental interaction
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Qi Feng
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Key Laboratory of Ecohydrology of Inland River Basin, Alashan Desert Eco-Hydrology Experimental Research Station, Northwest Institute of Ecology and Environmental Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
Interests: hydrology; water resources; environment; climate change; ecosystem system
Prof. Dr. Liang Zhou
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Geomatics, Lanzhou Jiaotong University, Lanzhou 730070, China
Interests: urbanization and ecological environment system; urban landscape planning and sustainable development; human-environment interactions; spatial analysis and decision-making; eco-environmental impact assessment; satellite-based urban monitoring, cities & Metropolitan
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Asim Biswas
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
Interests: soil physics; vadose zone hydrology; precision agriculture; proximal soil sensing; digital soil mapping; soil spatial variability
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Christopher McCarthy
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
Interests: biodiversity; conservation; protected area management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Land use/land change with economic development is a global issue, and its impacts on the environment have received wide concern from a diverse array of stakeholders. Understanding the processes and consequences of environmental improvement or deterioration is important to facilitate economic, social, and environmental sustainability at local, regional, national, and global levels. Initiated by China in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a cooperative agenda aimed at enhancing regional connectivity through infrastructure projects, such as railways, highways, ports, pipelines and energy facilities. However, demand for land, water and materials by these projects can have a significant negative impact on ecosystems, rivers, landscapes, and other non-renewable resources and can thus be a threat to surrounding environments, such as in ecologically sensitive areas like the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor. Export of agricultural products, minerals, and energy consumes essential resources, contributes to pollution, and reconfigures space and place. Processes impact environmental sustainability in these regions, reduce economic benefits, and may have significant consequences for vulnerable populations and rural communities.

To date, there has not been much investigation and documentation of BRI’s land use and land cover change and impacts on the environment. Examining BRI’s environmental impact is very important to assess and understand the BRI initiative. This Special Issue documents land use, land cover, and landscape change. The topics include but are not limited to:

  • Landscape changes at country, regional (g., China–Pakistan Economic Corridor) or the entire BRI scale;
  • The direct effects of BRI on natural resources, such as arable land, water, energy, and mining, and the indirect effects on ecology, geology, environment, and landscape;
  • The effects of BRI on food and water security at local, regional or global scales;
  • The effects of BRI on social–economic–environmental system sustainability;
  • Environmental impact evaluation of transportation construction in BRI countries.

Dr. Jianjun Cao
Dr. Troy Sternberg
Prof. Dr. Qi Feng
Dr. Liang Zhou
Prof. Dr. Jan Franklin Adamowski
Dr. Asim Biswas
Dr. Christopher McCarthy
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Belt and Road Initiative
  • land use change
  • landscape change
  • ground-truth analysis
  • environmental impacts
  • food security
  • human–environment interactions

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Exploring Changes in Land Use and Landscape Ecological Risk in Key Regions of the Belt and Road Initiative Countries
Land 2022, 11(6), 940; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11060940 - 18 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 457
Abstract
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has revealed that it is necessary to strengthen research on land use and land cover change (LUCC) and ecological risk in key regions of countries around the world. In this study, the spatiotemporal characteristics of LUCC in [...] Read more.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has revealed that it is necessary to strengthen research on land use and land cover change (LUCC) and ecological risk in key regions of countries around the world. In this study, the spatiotemporal characteristics of LUCC in the five capitals of Central Asian countries within the BRI were analyzed. Based on the grid scale, a landscape pattern index was introduced to quantitatively evaluate the landscape ecological risk levels of the five capitals. The results showed the following: first, the components of land use types in the five capitals have different structural characteristics, which are mainly grassland, unused land, and cultivated land. The landscape types that changed significantly were water and unused land, while the construction land area showed a trend of continuous increase. Second, different capitals have different land-use transfer patterns. Akmola State is mainly converted from cultivated land to grassland; Chuy State is mainly converted from forest land to grassland; Dushanbe and Tashkent City are mainly converted from grassland to forestland; and Ahal State is mainly converted from grassland to unused land. Third, the overall landscape ecological risks of the five capitals were low. Akmola State had the largest proportion of lowest ecological risk areas, whereas Chuy State and Dushanbe City had an increasing trend of highest ecological risk areas. The level of ecological risk in Tashkent remained stable during the study period, and the highest ecological risk areas in Ahal State decreased to 49,227.86 km2. This study has enriched the research results of land use change and landscape ecological risk assessment of countries within the BRI and can provide a research reference for these countries and regions to achieve ecological sustainable development and strengthen ecosystem management. Full article
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Article
Effect of the Belt and Road Initiatives on Trade and Its Related LUCC and Ecosystem Services of Central Asian Nations
Land 2022, 11(6), 828; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11060828 - 01 Jun 2022
Viewed by 573
Abstract
Economic development and trade activities are some of the main driving forces leading to land use and land cover changes (LUCC) with impacts on ecosystem services (ESs) functions. As the origin of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) initiated by China, Central Asia [...] Read more.
Economic development and trade activities are some of the main driving forces leading to land use and land cover changes (LUCC) with impacts on ecosystem services (ESs) functions. As the origin of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) initiated by China, Central Asia nations (CANs) provide a prism to examine the impact of LUCC and ESs changes brought by the BRI. The impacts of LUCC and ecological influences were evaluated. The land use transfer matrix and dynamic index, the Vector Autoregressive (VAR) model, the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST), the Carnegie Ames–Stanford Approach (CASA) model, and the Revised Wind Erosion Equation (RWEQ) model were used to evaluate the impact of export trade from the CANs to China (ETCC) on LUCC and ESs in the CANs before and after the BRI. Results showed that before and after BRI (2001–2020), agricultural land and construction land increased by 59,120 km2 and 7617 km2, respectively, while ecological land decreased by 66,737 km2. The annual growth rate of agricultural land and the annual reduction rate of ecological land after the BRI were higher than that before the BRI, while the annual growth rate of construction slowed down. Among the ecological land, the forestland increased by 5828 km2 continuously, while the grassland increased by 12,719 km2 and then decreased of 13,132 km2. The trends for LUCC spatial variation were similar. The development of ETCC positively affected the changes in agricultural and construction land in the CANs and negatively affected the changes in ecological land. The average contribution rates of the ETCC to changes in agriculture, construction, and ecological lands after the BRI were higher than those before the BRI. They increased by 5.01%, 3.33% and 5.01%, respectively. The ESs after the BRI improved compared with those before the BRI, indicating that, during short-term implementation of the BRI, ETCC growth also ensures the ecological protection of CANs. This study provides a reference for dealing with trade, land management and environmental protection relations between member countries of international economic alliances worldwide. Full article
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Article
Multi-Scenario Simulation for the Consequence of Urban Expansion on Carbon Storage: A Comparative Study in Central Asian Republics
Land 2021, 10(6), 608; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060608 - 07 Jun 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1037
Abstract
There is growing concern about the consequences of future urban expansion on carbon storage as our planet experiences rapid urbanization. While an increasing body of literature was focused on quantifying the carbon storage impact of future urban expansion across the globe, rare attempts [...] Read more.
There is growing concern about the consequences of future urban expansion on carbon storage as our planet experiences rapid urbanization. While an increasing body of literature was focused on quantifying the carbon storage impact of future urban expansion across the globe, rare attempts were made from the comparative perspective on the same scale, particularly in Central Asia. In this study, Central Asian capitals, namely Ashkhabad, Bishkek, Dushanbe, Nur Sultan, and Tashkent, were used as cases. According to the potential impacts of BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) on urban expansion, baseline development scenario (BDS), cropland protection scenario (CPS), and ecological protection scenario (EPS) were defined. We then simulated the carbon storage impacts of urban expansion from 2019 to 2029 by using Google Earth Engine, the Future Land Use Simulation model, and the Integrated Valuation of Environmental Services and Tradeoffs model. We further explored the drivers for carbon storage impacts of future urban expansion in five capitals. The results reveal that Nur Sultan will experience carbon storage growth from 2019 to 2029 under all scenarios, while Ashkhabad, Bishkek, Dushanbe, and Tashkent will show a decreasing tendency. EPS and CPS will preserve the most carbon storage for Nur Sultan and the other four cities, respectively. The negative impact of future urban expansion on carbon storage will be evident in Ashkhabad, Bishkek, Dushanbe, and Tashkent, which will be relatively inapparent in Nur Sultan. The potential drivers for carbon storage consequences of future urban expansion include agricultural development in Bishkek, Dushanbe, and Tashkent, desert city development in Ashkhabad, and prioritized development of the central city and green development in Nur Sultan. We suggest that future urban development strategies for five capitals should be on the basis of differentiated characteristics and drivers for the carbon storage impacts of future urban expansion. Full article
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