Special Issue "Restoring Degraded Lands to Attain UN-SDGs"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Purushothaman Chirakkuzhyil Abhilash
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Guest Editor
Institute of Environment & Sustainable Development, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India
Interests: climate-resilient agriculture; food security; sustainable agriculture; agrobiodiversity; agricultural sustainability; indigenous and local knowledge (ILK); wild crops
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Sheikh Adil Edrisi
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Guest Editor
Institute of Environment & Sustainable Development, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi 221005, India
Interests: Biomass & bioenergy production; Land restoration & development; Remote sensing & GIS application; Adaptive restoration measures; Sustainability analysis
Dr. Vishal Tripathi
Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Biology, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Interests: Land Restoration; Biomonitoring, Bioremediation and Bioeconomy; Plant-Microbe-Pollutant Interactions
Dr. Rajiv K Chaturvedi
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, BITS Pilani, Goa Campus, Goa – 403726, India
Interests: climate change; public policy; climate policy; greenhouse gas inventory, impact, vulnerability & adaptation (IVA) assessment; energy policy; forestry and land-use change
Dr. Himlal Baral
Website
Guest Editor
Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor Barat 16115, Indonesia
Interests: forest landscape restoration; landscape sustainability, biodiversity, ecosystem services; forest biomass; bioenergy and carbon sequestration
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Ali El-Keblawy
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Applied Biology, University of Sharjah
Interests: invasive biology; restoration of arid deserts; plant propagation; reproductive ecology; natural resource exploitation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Land is a complex and dynamic bio-physical system that maintains essential planetary functions and vital ecosystem services such as biodiversity maintenance, water and nutrient cycling, climate regulation, food, fibre and fuel production, as well as providing space for human habitation and other development activities. Unfortunately, land degradation due to various direct and indirect drivers (i.e. industrialization, rapid urbanization, intensive agricultural activities, climatic change, etc.) are negatively affecting the homeostasis of land systems and thereby  reducing the ecosystem services offered by land for a good quality of life and human well-being. Hence the sustainable management of land resources is imperative for attaining various Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs), which are the blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all, and addressing the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. Fortunately, there is a growing momentum for the restoration of degraded land across the world and especially the concept of forest landscape restoration (FLR) is rapidly gaining attention as a unifying theme in many national and subnational forestry programs. In this context, the present Special Issue on“Restoring Degraded Lands to Attain the UN-SDGs” aims to address the sustainability challenges of land degradation and showcase innovative and promising practices and success stories from across the world for restoring degraded lands to attain global sustainability by 2030.

Dr. Purushothaman Chirakkuzhyil Abhilash
Dr. Sheikh Adil Edrisi
Dr. Vishal Tripathi
Dr. Rajiv K Chaturvedi
Dr. Himlal Baral
Prof. Ali El-Keblawy
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. 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 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Adaptive land management
  • Bioenergy production and bioeconomy
  • Bioremediation and biomonitoring
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Drivers of land degradation
  • Ecosystem services
  • Forest landscape restoration
  • Integrated restoration measures
  • Land systems and good quality of life
  • Policy measures
  • Remote sensing and GIS application
  • Restoration of marginal and degraded lands
  • Restoration of mined areas
  • Restoration methods and processes
  • Restoration monitoring
  • Restoration of polluted and agricultural lands
  • Social impact assessment
  • Stakeholder involvement
  • Traditional ecological knowledge

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Sustainability Analysis of Prosopis juliflora (Sw.) DC Based Restoration of Degraded Land in North India
Land 2020, 9(2), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9020059 - 21 Feb 2020
Abstract
Restoration of marginal and degraded lands is essential for regaining biodiversity and ecosystems services, and thereby attaining UN-Sustainable Development Goals. During the last few decades, many fast growing and hardy trees have been introduced worldwide to restore the marginal and degraded lands for [...] Read more.
Restoration of marginal and degraded lands is essential for regaining biodiversity and ecosystems services, and thereby attaining UN-Sustainable Development Goals. During the last few decades, many fast growing and hardy trees have been introduced worldwide to restore the marginal and degraded lands for ecosystem stability. Unfortunately, most of these introduced species have become invasive and invaded the nearby productive systems, leading to significant biodiversity loss and land degradation. Therefore, it is imperative to conduct a sustainability analysis of the introduced species for necessary course correction and also for preventing the future utilisation of such species for land restoration. With this backdrop, the present study was conducted to analyse the socio-ecological impacts of a widely used species, i.e., Prosopis juliflora (Sw.) DC based restoration of degraded land of Lucknow, North India. For this, ecological (soil quality and plant biodiversity) and social (livelihood) indicators have been studied over a period of two years (2015–16) through direct field sampling and questionnaire-based surveys. While there was a positive difference (p < 0.01) in the key physico-chemical properties of the P. juliflora-invaded soil than the non-invaded site, the belowground microbial load was significantly lower (19.46 × 106 g−1 of soil) in invaded land as compared to the non-invaded one (31.01 × 106 g−1). Additionally, the invasion of P. juliflora had significantly reduced the biodiversity by displacing the local flora such as Achyranthes aspera L., Amaranthus spinosus L., Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers, Euphorbia hirta L., etc. The invaded area had only eight plant species having an effective number of species (ENS) of 7.2, whereas the non-invaded area had the presence of 26 plant species with an ENS of 23.8. Although the local people utilised P. juliflora as fuelwood mostly during summer and winter seasons, the invasion resulted in a fodder deficit of 419.97 kg household−1 y−1 leading to resource scarcity in the invaded area in comparison to the non-invaded area. Ecodistribution mapping clearly showed that P. juliflora is already found in most of the tropical and subtropical countries (~103) including in India and has become invasive in many countries. Therefore, we recommend that P. juliflora must be wisely used for the land restoration programs targeted during the United Nations Decade of Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030) as this species has invasive traits and thereby reduces the ecosystem sustainability of the invaded areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Restoring Degraded Lands to Attain UN-SDGs)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Soil Bund and Stone-Faced Soil Bund on Soil Physicochemical Properties and Crop Yield Under Rain-Fed Conditions of Northwest Ethiopia
Land 2020, 9(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9010013 - 06 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Research-based evidence on the effects of soil and water conservation practices (SWCPs) on soil physicochemical properties and crop yield is vital either to adopt the practices or design alternative land management strategies. Thus, this study was conducted to evaluate the effects of about [...] Read more.
Research-based evidence on the effects of soil and water conservation practices (SWCPs) on soil physicochemical properties and crop yield is vital either to adopt the practices or design alternative land management strategies. Thus, this study was conducted to evaluate the effects of about 10-year-old soil bund (SB) and stone-faced soil bund (SFSB) structures on selected soil physicochemical properties, slope gradient, barley grain yield, and yield components in the Lole watershed, in the northwest highlands of Ethiopia. The experiment consisted of three treatments: (i) fields treated with SB, (ii) fields treated with SFSB, and (iii) fields without conservation practices (control) with three replications at three slope classes. A total of 27 composite soil samples from 0 to 20 cm depth and barley grain yield samples from 27 locations were collected. The soil samples were analyzed for bulk density, soil texture, porosity, soil reaction, cation exchange capacity, organic carbon, total nitrogen, available phosphorous, and potassium. Barley grain yield was analyzed using different agronomic parameters. The result indicated that SB and SFSB positively influenced the physicochemical properties of soils and barley grain yield. The interslope gradient between the successive SBs and SFSBs was reducing. Moreover, the untreated fields showed significantly lower barley grain yield, plant height, and straw biomass. Hence, SB and SFSB practices were found to be effective in changing slope gradient, improving soil fertility, and increasing crop yield. Therefore, this finding is vital to create awareness and convince farmers to construct SWCPs on their farmlands for sustainable land management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Restoring Degraded Lands to Attain UN-SDGs)
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Open AccessArticle
Performance Analysis and Soil Quality Indexing for Dalbergia sissoo Roxb. Grown in Marginal and Degraded Land of Eastern Uttar Pradesh, India
Land 2019, 8(4), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8040063 - 15 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The successful utilization of marginal and degraded lands for biomass and bioenergy production depends upon various factors such as climatic conditions, the adaptive traits of the tree species and their growth rate and respective belowground responses. The present study was undertaken to evaluate [...] Read more.
The successful utilization of marginal and degraded lands for biomass and bioenergy production depends upon various factors such as climatic conditions, the adaptive traits of the tree species and their growth rate and respective belowground responses. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the growth performance of a bioenergy tree (Dalbergia sissoo Roxb.) grown in marginal and degraded land of the Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh, India and to analyze the effect of D. sissoo plantations on soil quality improvement over the study years. For this, a soil quality index (SQI) was developed based on principal component analysis (PCA) to understand the effect of D. sissoo plantations on belowground responses. PCA results showed that among the studied soil variables, bulk density (BD), moisture content (MC), microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and soil urease activity (SUA) are the key variables critically influencing the growth of D. sissoo. The SQI was found in an increasing order with the growth period of D. sissoo. (i.e., from 0.419 during the first year to 0.579 in the fourth year). A strong correlation was also observed between the growth attributes (diameter at breast height, R2 = 0.870; and plant height, R2 = 0.861) and the soil quality (p < 0.01). Therefore, the developed SQI can be used as key indicator for monitoring the restoration potential of D. sissoo growing in marginal and degraded lands and also for adopting suitable interventions to further improve soil quality for multipurpose land restoration programs, thereby attaining land degradation neutrality and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Restoring Degraded Lands to Attain UN-SDGs)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Desertification–Scientific Versus Political Realities
Land 2020, 9(5), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9050156 - 18 May 2020
Abstract
Desertification is defined as land degradation occurring in the global drylands. It is one of the global problems targeted under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 15). The aim of this article is to review the history of desertification and to evaluate the scientific [...] Read more.
Desertification is defined as land degradation occurring in the global drylands. It is one of the global problems targeted under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 15). The aim of this article is to review the history of desertification and to evaluate the scientific evidence for desertification spread and severity. First quantitative estimates of the global extent and severity of desertification were dramatic and resulted in the establishment of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in 1994. UNCCD’s task is to mitigate the negative impacts of desertification in drylands. Since the late 1990s, science has become increasingly critical towards the role of desertification in sustainable land use and food production. Many of the dramatic global assessments of desertification in the 1970s and 1980s were heavily criticized by scientists working in drylands. The used methodologies and the lack of ground-based evidence gave rise to critical reflections on desertification. Some even called desertification a myth. Later desertification assessments relied on remote sensing imagery and mapped vegetation changes in drylands. No examples of large areas completely degraded were found in the scientific literature. In science, desertification is now perceived as a local feature that certainly exists but is not as devastating as was earlier believed. However, the policy arena continues to stress the severity of the problem. Claims that millions of hectares of once productive land are annually lost due to desertification are regularly made. This highlights the disconnection between science and policy, and there is an urgent need for better dialogue in order to achieve SDG 15. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Restoring Degraded Lands to Attain UN-SDGs)
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Open AccessReview
Impact of Agrochemicals on Soil Microbiota and Management: A Review
Land 2020, 9(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9020034 - 23 Jan 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that in developing nations, there are three million cases of agrochemical poisoning. The prolonged intensive and indiscriminate use of agrochemicals adversely affected the soil biodiversity, agricultural sustainability, and food safety, bringing in long-term harmful effects on nutritional [...] Read more.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that in developing nations, there are three million cases of agrochemical poisoning. The prolonged intensive and indiscriminate use of agrochemicals adversely affected the soil biodiversity, agricultural sustainability, and food safety, bringing in long-term harmful effects on nutritional security, human and animal health. Most of the agrochemicals negatively affect soil microbial functions and biochemical processes. The alteration in diversity and composition of the beneficial microbial community can be unfavorable to plant growth and development either by reducing nutrient availability or by increasing disease incidence. Currently, there is a need for qualitative, innovative, and demand-driven research in soil science, especially in developing countries for facilitating of high-quality eco-friendly research by creating a conducive and trustworthy work atmosphere, thereby rewarding productivity and merits. Hence, we reviewed (1) the impact of various agrochemicals on the soil microbial diversity and environment; (2) the importance of smallholder farmers for sustainable crop protection and enhancement solutions, and (3) management strategies that serve the scientific community, policymakers, and land managers in integrating soil enhancement and sustainability practices in smallholder farming households. The current review provides an improved understanding of agricultural soil management for food and nutritional security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Restoring Degraded Lands to Attain UN-SDGs)
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