Special Issue "Multiple Roles for Landscape Ecology in Future Farming Systems"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Diane Pearson
Website
Guest Editor
School of Agriculture and Environment, College of Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, 4442, New Zealand
Interests: sustainable landscape management; landscape ecology; environmental management; land system change, land use, GIS, environmental change, participatory research, co-production of knowledge, landscape planning and design and landscape function
Prof. Dr. Richard Aspinall
Website
Guest Editor
Honorary Research Fellow, James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, AB15 8QH, Scotland, UK
Interests: land systems science; land use; GIS; sustainability; environmental change; landscape ecology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Mr. Julian Gorman
Website
Guest Editor
Lecturer, School of People Environment and Planning, Massey University; Palmerston North, 4442, New Zealand
PhD Student, College of Engineering IT and Environment, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, 0909, Australia
Interests: Sustainable use of wildlife; land and natural resource management; Indigenous livelihoods

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Agriculture in the coming century faces new and urgent pressures, with mounting social, environmental, and economic challenges. Climate change will alter the prevalence and capacity of farming and forestry across regions; it is likely that flooding and drought events will increase in frequency, and water quality and quantity will become increasingly problematic. Additionally, biodiversity is declining, biosecurity threats abound, market influences are changing, and there are heightened concerns around the relationship between animal protein and human health. There is also growing public intolerance for the cumulated environmental impacts from the agricultural sector, requiring a need to adopt more of a social licence to operate into the future. This is all set in a framework where there is a need to feed a growing global population, putting pressure on marginal and previously unproductive land to be considered for production or intensification.

The holistic and multidisciplinary nature of landscape ecology positions it aptly to be ready to not only address the challenges facing agriculture, but also to offer advice on how to plan, design, modify, and develop new landscapes with the best environmental, economic, and social outcomes in mind. It should be able to provide appropriate tools, approaches, and frameworks that can facilitate the action, knowledge, and advice required to help work towards the creation of future farming systems that meet societal needs, respond to the environmental challenges, and that can sit within sustainable landscapes and societies.  This Special Issue will explore these contributions and discuss the evolving roles for landscape ecology in future agricultural systems. 

In this Special Issue, we invite papers focusing on, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • How landscape ecology can assist in the planning, design, modification, and development of new farming landscapes with the best environmental, economic, and social outcomes in mind;
  • How landscape ecology can contribute towards increasing food production in the face of market and climatic variability whilst reducing environmental impacts;
  • How landscape ecology can assist in the transformative change required for the socioeconomic and environmental systems of rural areas and food production for the future.

Prof. Diane Pearson
Prof. Richard Aspinall
Mr. Julian Gorman
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 1400 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

  • agricultural landscapes
  • sustainable landscapes
  • landscape planning and design
  • land use
  • land systems
  • natural capital
  • ecosystem services
  • socioecological systems
  • cultural landscapes

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Structural Variations in the Composition of Land Funds at Regional Scales across Russia
Land 2020, 9(6), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060201 - 17 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In recent decades, Russia has experienced substantial transformations in agricultural land tenure. Post-Soviet reforms have shaped land distribution patterns but the impacts of these on agricultural use of land remain under-investigated. On a regional scale, there is still a knowledge gap in terms [...] Read more.
In recent decades, Russia has experienced substantial transformations in agricultural land tenure. Post-Soviet reforms have shaped land distribution patterns but the impacts of these on agricultural use of land remain under-investigated. On a regional scale, there is still a knowledge gap in terms of knowing to what extent the variations in the compositions of agricultural land funds may be explained by changes in the acreage of other land categories. Using a case analysis of 82 of Russia’s territories from 2010 to 2018, the authors attempted to study the structural variations by picturing the compositions of regional land funds and mapping agricultural land distributions based on ranking “land activity”. Correlation analysis of centered log-ratio transformed compositional data revealed that in agriculture-oriented regions, the proportion of cropland was depressed by agriculture-to-urban and agriculture-to-industry land loss. In urbanized territories, the compositions of agricultural land funds were predominantly affected by changes in the acreage of industrial, transportation, and communication lands. In underpopulated territories in the north and far east of Russia, the acreages of cropland and perennial planting were strongly correlated with those of disturbed and barren lands. As the first attempt at such analysis in Russia, the conversion of cadastral classification data into land-rating values enabled the identification of region-to-region mismatches between the cadaster-based mapping and ranking-based distribution of agricultural lands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Roles for Landscape Ecology in Future Farming Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Leveraging Traditional Agroforestry Practices to Support Sustainable and Agrobiodiverse Landscapes in Southern Brazil
Land 2020, 9(6), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060176 - 01 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Integrated landscape approaches have been identified as key to addressing competing social, ecological, economic, and political contexts and needs in landscapes as a means to improve and preserve agrobiodiversity. Despite the consistent calls to integrate traditional and local knowledge and a range of [...] Read more.
Integrated landscape approaches have been identified as key to addressing competing social, ecological, economic, and political contexts and needs in landscapes as a means to improve and preserve agrobiodiversity. Despite the consistent calls to integrate traditional and local knowledge and a range of stakeholders in the process of developing integrated landscape approaches, there continues to be a disconnect between international agreements, national policies, and local grassroots initiatives. This case study explores an approach to address such challenges through true transdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder research and outreach to develop solutions for integrated landscapes that value and include the experience and knowledge of local communities and farmers. Working collaboratively with small-scale agroforestry farmers in Southern Brazil who continue to use traditional agroecological practices to produce erva-mate (Ilex paraguariensis), our transdisciplinary team is working to collect oral histories, document local ecological knowledge, and support farmer-led initiatives to address a range of issues, including profitability, productivity, and legal restrictions on forest use. By leveraging the knowledge across our network, we are developing and testing models to optimize and scale-out agroforestry and silvopastoral systems based on our partners’ traditional practices, while also supporting the implementation of approaches that expand forest cover, increase biodiversity, protect and improve ecosystem services, and diversify the agricultural landscape. In so doing, we are developing a strong evidence base that can begin to challenge current environmental policies and commonly held misconceptions that threaten the continuation of traditional agroforestry practices, while also offering locally adapted and realistic models that can be used to diversify the agricultural landscape in Southern Brazil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Roles for Landscape Ecology in Future Farming Systems)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Old Ways, New Ways—Scaling Up from Customary Use of Plant Products to Commercial Harvest Taking a Multifunctional, Landscape Approach
Land 2020, 9(5), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9050171 - 25 May 2020
Abstract
Globally, the agricultural sector is facing many challenges in response to climate change, unsustainable farming practices and human population growth. Despite advances in technology and innovation in agriculture, governments around the world are recognizing a need for transformative agricultural systems that offer solutions [...] Read more.
Globally, the agricultural sector is facing many challenges in response to climate change, unsustainable farming practices and human population growth. Despite advances in technology and innovation in agriculture, governments around the world are recognizing a need for transformative agricultural systems that offer solutions to the interrelated issues of food security, climate change, and conservation of environmental and cultural values. Approaches to production are needed that are holistic and multisectoral. In planning for future agricultural models, it is worth exploring indigenous agricultural heritage systems that have demonstrated success in community food security without major environmental impacts. We demonstrate how indigenous practices of customary harvest, operating in multifunctional landscapes, can be scaled up to service new markets while still maintaining natural and cultural values. We do this through a case analysis of the wild harvest of Kakadu plum fruit by Aboriginal people across the tropical savannas of northern Australia. We conclude that this system would ideally operate at a landscape scale to ensure sustainability of harvest, maintenance of important patterns and processes for landscape health, and incorporate cultural and livelihood objectives. Applied to a variety of similar native products, such a production system has potential to make a substantial contribution to niche areas of global food and livelihood security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Roles for Landscape Ecology in Future Farming Systems)
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Review

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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceReview
Developing a Landscape Design Approach for the Sustainable Land Management of Hill Country Farms in New Zealand
Land 2020, 9(6), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060185 - 03 Jun 2020
Abstract
Landscape modification associated with agricultural intensification has brought considerable challenges for the sustainable development of New Zealand hill country farms. Addressing these challenges requires an appropriate approach to support farmers and design a better landscape that can have beneficial environmental outcomes whilst ensuring [...] Read more.
Landscape modification associated with agricultural intensification has brought considerable challenges for the sustainable development of New Zealand hill country farms. Addressing these challenges requires an appropriate approach to support farmers and design a better landscape that can have beneficial environmental outcomes whilst ensuring continued profitability. In this paper we suggest using geodesign and theories drawn from landscape ecology to plan and design multifunctional landscapes that offer improved sustainability for hill country farm systems and landscapes in New Zealand. This approach suggests that better decisions can be made by considering the major landscape services that are, and could be, provided by the landscapes in which these farm systems are situated. These important services should be included in future landscape design of hill country by creating a patterning and configuration of landscape features that actively maintains or restores important landscape functioning. This will help to improve landscape health and promote landscape resilience in the face of climate change. Through illustrating the potential of this type of approach for wider adoption we believe that the proposed conceptual framework offers a valuable reference for sustainable farm system design that can make an important contribution to advancing environmental management globally as well as in New Zealand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Roles for Landscape Ecology in Future Farming Systems)
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Open AccessReview
Key Roles for Landscape Ecology in Transformative Agriculture Using Aotearoa—New Zealand as a Case Example
Land 2020, 9(5), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9050146 - 11 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Aotearoa—New Zealand (NZ) is internationally renowned for picturesque landscapes and agricultural products. Agricultural intensification has been economically beneficial to NZ but has implications for its clean green image. Contaminated waterways, high carbon emissions, and extensive soil erosion demonstrate the downside of high stocking [...] Read more.
Aotearoa—New Zealand (NZ) is internationally renowned for picturesque landscapes and agricultural products. Agricultural intensification has been economically beneficial to NZ but has implications for its clean green image. Contaminated waterways, high carbon emissions, and extensive soil erosion demonstrate the downside of high stocking rates and land clearing. Transformative farming systems are required to address the challenge of balancing production with the environment. Whilst navigating through the process of change, farmers need to be supported to make informed decisions at the farm and landscape scale. Landscape ecology (LE) is ideally positioned to inform the development of future farming landscapes and provide a scientific context to the criteria against which land-related information can be evaluated. However, to do this effectively, LE needs to demonstrate that it can link theory with practice. Using NZ as a case example, this paper discusses the key roles for LE in future farming systems. It looks at the way LE can help quantify the state of the landscape, provide support towards the co-creation of alternative futures, and assist with the inclusion of land-related information into design and planning to ensure mitigation and adaption responses assist in the transformation of farming systems for sustainable outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Roles for Landscape Ecology in Future Farming Systems)
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