Special Issue "Mountains under Pressure"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X). This special issue belongs to the section "Land Systems and Global Change".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Rob Marchant
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
York Institute for Tropical Ecosystems, University of York, York Y010 5NG, UK
Interests: tropical ecology; conservation; palaeoclimate; palaeoecology; fire ecology; modelling; management; sustainability
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Aida Cuni-Sanchez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
York Institute for Tropical Ecosystems, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5NG, UK
Interests: tropical forest ecology; forest conservation; global environmental change; botany and ethnobotany; ecosystem services

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Montane forests and alpine ecosystems are rich in biodiversity and endemism as well as being a large global carbon store. They are highly threatened by climate change, population growth and land use change. Mountains provide an ideal natural laboratory to investigate the evolution of social–ecological systems, and to assess the current challenges and opportunities that this past evolution has created. Mountains have been centres of past development and conduits for the spread of crops, populations and technologies. They were and remain a locus for cultural interaction, as manifested recently in many parts of the world at the local level through pastoral–agricultural–urban interactions over access to space and resources, particularly water. The relevance and impact of this Special Issue on mountains goes beyond academia, as practitioners and policy-makers need key information on the dynamics and changes in threatened ecosystems to help design and implement appropriate management strategies for sustainable mountain futures.

Prof. Dr. Rob Marchant
Dr. Aida Cuni-Sanchez
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

  • mountains
  • social–ecological systems
  • development
  • cultural interaction
  • pastoral–agricultural–urban interactions
  • water
  • conservation

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Article
The Alien Plants That Threaten South Africa’s Mountain Ecosystems
Land 2021, 10(12), 1393; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10121393 - 16 Dec 2021
Viewed by 494
Abstract
The six major mountain ranges in South Africa support critically important ecosystem services—notably water production—and are rich in biodiversity and endemism. These mountains are threatened by detrimental land uses, unsustainable use of natural resources, climate change, and invasive alien plants. Invasive alien plants [...] Read more.
The six major mountain ranges in South Africa support critically important ecosystem services—notably water production—and are rich in biodiversity and endemism. These mountains are threatened by detrimental land uses, unsustainable use of natural resources, climate change, and invasive alien plants. Invasive alien plants pose substantial and rapidly increasing problems in mountainous areas worldwide. However, little is known about the extent of plant invasions in the mountains of South Africa. This study assessed the status of alien plants in South African mountains by determining sampling efforts, species compositions and abundances across the six ranges in lower-and higher-elevation areas. Species occurrence records were obtained from three databases that used various approaches (roadside surveys, citizen science observations, focused botanical surveys). Most mountain ranges were found to be undersampled, and species composition assessments were only possible for two ranges. The majority of abundant alien plants in both the lower- and higher-elevation areas were species with broad ecological tolerances and characterised by long distance seed dispersal. These prevalent species were mostly woody plants—particularly tree species in the genera Acacia, Pinus, and Prosopis—that are contributing to the trend of woody plant encroachment across South African mountains. We suggest improved mountain-specific surveys to create a database which could be used to develop management strategies appropriate for each mountain range. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountains under Pressure)
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Article
Plant Responses to Changing Water Supply and Availability in High Elevation Ecosystems: A Quantitative Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Land 2021, 10(11), 1150; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10111150 - 28 Oct 2021
Viewed by 439
Abstract
Climate change is expected to lead to changes to the amount, frequency, intensity, and timing of precipitation and subsequent water supply and its availability to plants in mountain regions worldwide. This is likely to affect plant growth and physiological performance, with subsequent effects [...] Read more.
Climate change is expected to lead to changes to the amount, frequency, intensity, and timing of precipitation and subsequent water supply and its availability to plants in mountain regions worldwide. This is likely to affect plant growth and physiological performance, with subsequent effects to the functioning of many important high-elevation ecosystems. We conducted a quantitative systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of altered water supply on plants from high elevation ecosystems. We found a clear negative response of plants to decreases in water supply (mean Hedges’ g = −0.75, 95% confidence intervals: −1.09 to −0.41), and a neutral response to increases in water supply (mean Hedges’ g = 0.10, 95% confidence intervals: 0.43 to 0.62). Responses to decreases in water supply appear to be related to the magnitude of change in water supply, plant growth form, and to the measured response attribute. Changes to precipitation and water supply are likely to have important consequences for plant growth in high elevation ecosystems, with vegetation change more likely be triggered by reductions than increases in growing season precipitation. High elevation ecosystems that experience future reductions in growing-season precipitation are likely to exhibit plant responses such as reduced growth and higher allocation of carbohydrates to roots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountains under Pressure)
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Article
Plant Trait Assembly in Species-Rich Forests at Varying Elevations in the Northwest Andes of Colombia
Land 2021, 10(10), 1057; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10101057 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 597
Abstract
Andean forests are home to a strikingly high diversity of plants, making it difficult to understand the main drivers of species assembly. Trait-based approaches, however, help overcome some challenges associated with high taxonomic complexity, providing insights into the main drivers of species coexistence. [...] Read more.
Andean forests are home to a strikingly high diversity of plants, making it difficult to understand the main drivers of species assembly. Trait-based approaches, however, help overcome some challenges associated with high taxonomic complexity, providing insights into the main drivers of species coexistence. Here, we evaluated the roles of climate, soil fertility, and symbiotic root associations on shaping the assembly of six plant functional traits (leaf area, specific leaf area, dry leaf matter content, leaf thickness, leaf toughness, and wood density) along an elevational gradient in the species-rich northwestern Andean forests of Colombia. The two main axes of the correspondence RLQ analysis explained 95.75% of the variability. The first axis was associated with the leaf economic spectrum, while the second axis with the tradeoff between growth and survival. Furthermore, the fourth corner method showed that both regional (climatic variables) and local factors (soil fertility, symbiotic root associations, and light distribution) played a key role in determining plant trait assembly. In summary, our study emphasizes the importance of considering both individual size and local factors to better understand drivers of plant trait assembly along environmental gradients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountains under Pressure)
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Article
Combining Remote Sensing and Species Distribution Modelling to Assess Pinus hartwegii Response to Climate Change and Land Use from Izta-Popo National Park, Mexico
Land 2021, 10(10), 1037; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10101037 - 02 Oct 2021
Viewed by 789
Abstract
A detailed analysis of distribution shifts in Pinus hartwegii Lindl. is provided across time for Izta-Popo National Park (México). Combining satellite images, species distribution models, and connectivity analysis we disentangled the effect of climate change and anthropogenic land use on the habitat availability. [...] Read more.
A detailed analysis of distribution shifts in Pinus hartwegii Lindl. is provided across time for Izta-Popo National Park (México). Combining satellite images, species distribution models, and connectivity analysis we disentangled the effect of climate change and anthropogenic land use on the habitat availability. Twenty-four Maxent habitat suitability models with varying complexity were combined with insights on vegetation and land cover change derived from two Landsat satellite images at 30-m resolution from 1993 and 2013. To evaluate effects of climate change on Izta-Popo’s P. hartwegii forest, projections for future climatic conditions (averaged for 2050 and 2070) were derived using two General Circulation Models under three Representative CO2 concentration pathways (RCPs). Calculated fragmentation and connectivity indexes (Equivalent Connected Area and Probability of Connectivity metrics) showed significant habitat loss and habitat fragmentation that weakens P. hartwegii dispersion flux and the strength of connections. Projections of future climate conditions showed a reduction of P. hartwegii habitat suitability as populations would have to migrate to higher altitudes. However, the impact of anthropogenic land use change documented over the 20 years masks the predicted impact of climate change in Izta-Popo National Park. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountains under Pressure)
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Article
Local Perceptions of Climate Change and Adaptation Responses from Two Mountain Regions in Tanzania
Land 2021, 10(10), 999; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10100999 - 23 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 810
Abstract
Mountain environments and communities are disproportionately impacted by climate change. Changes in temperature are greater than at lower elevations, which affect the height of the cloud base and local rainfall patterns. While our knowledge of the biophysical nature of climate change in East [...] Read more.
Mountain environments and communities are disproportionately impacted by climate change. Changes in temperature are greater than at lower elevations, which affect the height of the cloud base and local rainfall patterns. While our knowledge of the biophysical nature of climate change in East Africa has increased in the past few years, research on Indigenous farmers’ perceptions and adaptation responses is still lacking, particularly in mountains regions. Semi-structured interviews were administered to 300 farmers on Mount Kilimanjaro (n = 150) and the Udzungwa Mountains (n = 150) in Tanzania across gender and wealth groups. Respondents in both mountains reported not only changes in rainfall and temperature, corresponding with meteorological data, but also a greater incidence of fog, wind, frost, and hailstorms—with impacts on decreased crop yields and increased outbreaks of pests. The most common adaptation strategies used were improved crop varieties and inputs. Wealthier households diversified into horticulture or animal rearing, while poorer households of Hehe ethnicity diversified to labour and selling firewood. Despite being climate change literate and having access to radios, most respondents used Indigenous knowledge to decide on planting dates. Our findings highlight how context and culture are important when designing adaptation options and argue for greater involvement of local stakeholders in adaptation planning using a science-with-society approach. Place-based results offer generalisable insights that have application for other mountains in the Global South. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountains under Pressure)
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Article
Analysis of the Spatial Variations of Determinants of Gully Agricultural Production Transformation in the Chinese Loess Plateau and Its Policy Implications
Land 2021, 10(9), 901; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10090901 - 27 Aug 2021
Viewed by 512
Abstract
Exploring the gully agricultural production transformation and its influencing factors is of considerable significance to the evolution of the human–land relationship and multifunctional transformation of gully agriculture in the context of new development. This paper tries to reveal intensive land use under the [...] Read more.
Exploring the gully agricultural production transformation and its influencing factors is of considerable significance to the evolution of the human–land relationship and multifunctional transformation of gully agriculture in the context of new development. This paper tries to reveal intensive land use under the background of population contraction in the Chinese Loess Plateau and its transformation trend by defining the gully agricultural production transformation (GAPT). Given the representativeness of land-use change in the loess hilly and gully region (LHGR) was taken as a case study, and ArcGIS spatial analysis techniques and geographically and temporally weighted regression model (GTWR) were used to detect the spatio-temporal differentiation pattern and influencing factors. The results show that: (1) GAPT shifts from the high elevation area of 1000–1300 m to the low elevation area of <1000 m, and the transformation process remains within the range of slope 0–20° and topographic relief between 40 m and 180 m. (2) GTWR coupled with time non-stationary and spatial heterogeneity has a better fitting effect, which verifies its applicability in the study of GAPT. Social and economic factors were the main driving forces of GAPT in Yan’an City in the past 20 years, and they were increasing year by year. (3) The spatial-temporal distribution of the driving factors of the agricultural production transformation in Yan’an City is different. The intensity of the population factor and the slope factor is always in the dominant position, and the high value distribution area of the land average GDP factor forms a funnel-shaped pattern of “core edge” in the north and the central and western regions, and its changes tend to “flow” to the core. (4) The gully agricultural production transformation can reflect the general law of rural land use transition in gully areas, and thereby provide policy ideas for gully development. Overall, this study’s content can provide scientific guidance for the sustainable development of gully agriculture and the revitalization of watershed and land consolidation in gully areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountains under Pressure)
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Article
Land Abandonment in Mountain Areas of the EU: An Inevitable Side Effect of Farming Modernization and Neglected Threat to Sustainable Land Use
Land 2021, 10(6), 591; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060591 - 03 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 993
Abstract
In a period of rising concern for sustainable land management systems to achieve food security at a global scale, land-use changes demand increased attention. This study assesses the past observations and future risk calculations for land abandonment across European regions, highlighting the particular [...] Read more.
In a period of rising concern for sustainable land management systems to achieve food security at a global scale, land-use changes demand increased attention. This study assesses the past observations and future risk calculations for land abandonment across European regions, highlighting the particular risk for mountain areas. It draws from a study commissioned by the European Parliament to investigate the situation and probability for high and very high risk of land abandonment until 2030. Revealing that land abandonment is at three times higher risk in mountain areas than in non-mountain areas, the need for action to cope with this pressure is the core result. We reveal that the high disparity in agricultural competitiveness between regions (at fine geographical scale) is the main driving force leading to the spatially uneven performance of land management. Viewing this wide set of drivers and mitigation options, land abandonment is understood as the outcome of a multitude of factors of socio-ecological systems and a combination of farm-specific, internal regional and trans-regional factors. The present dominance of narratives of effectiveness leaves little scope for mountain regions under threat of abandonment and marginalization. In this situation, policy reform would address the issue but this might turn out to be influential only if the complex nature and trade-off of the comprehensive policy framework are prioritized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountains under Pressure)
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Article
Forests, Farms, and Fallows: The Dynamics of Tree Cover Transition in the Southern Part of the Uluguru Mountains, Tanzania
Land 2021, 10(6), 571; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060571 - 28 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 977
Abstract
Forests and woodlands remain under threat in tropical Africa due to excessive exploitation and inadequate management interventions, and the isolated success stories of tree retention and tree cover transition on African agricultural land are less well documented. In this study, we characterize the [...] Read more.
Forests and woodlands remain under threat in tropical Africa due to excessive exploitation and inadequate management interventions, and the isolated success stories of tree retention and tree cover transition on African agricultural land are less well documented. In this study, we characterize the status of tree cover in a landscape that contains forest patches, fallows, and farms in the southern part of Uluguru Mountains. We aimed to unveil the practices of traditional tree fallow system which is socially acceptable in local settings and how it provides a buffering effects to minimize forest disturbances and thus represents an important step towards tree cover transition. We assessed land cover dynamics for the period of 1995 to 2020 and compared tree stocking for forest patches, fallows, and farms. We found that tree biomass carbon stocks were 56 ± 5 t/ha in forest patches, 33 ± 7 t/ha in fallows, and 9 ± 2 t/ha on farms. In terms of land cover, farms shrank at intensifying rates over time for the entire assessment period of 1995–2020. Forest cover decreased from 1995–2014, with the reduction rate slowing from 2007–2014 and the trend reversing from 2014–2020, such that forest cover showed a net increase across the entire study period. Fallow consistently and progressively increased from 1995–2020. We conclude that traditional tree fallows in the study site remain a significant element of land management practice among communities, and there appears to be a trend towards intensified tree-based farming. The gains in fallowed land represent an embracing of a traditional land management system that supports rotational and alternate uses of cropping space as well as providing a buffering effect to limit over-exploitation of forests. In order to maximize tree cover and carbon stocks in the farm landscape, this well-known traditional tree fallow system can be further optimized through the incorporation of additional innovations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountains under Pressure)
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Article
Population Trends and Urbanisation in Mountain Ranges of the World
Land 2021, 10(3), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10030255 - 03 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1096
Abstract
This study assesses the global mountain population, population change over the 1975–2015 time-range, and urbanisation for 2015. The work uses the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) definition of mountain areas combined with that of mountain range outlines generated by the Global Mountain Biodiversity [...] Read more.
This study assesses the global mountain population, population change over the 1975–2015 time-range, and urbanisation for 2015. The work uses the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) definition of mountain areas combined with that of mountain range outlines generated by the Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA). We estimated population change from the Global Human Settlement Layer Population spatial grids, a set of population density layers used to measure human presence and urbanisation on planet Earth. We show that the global mountain population has increased from over 550 million in 1975 to over 1050 million in 2015. The population is concentrated in mountain ranges at low latitudes. The most populated mountain ranges are also the most urbanised and those that grow most. Urbanisation in mountains (66%) is lower than that of lowlands (78%). However, 34% of the population in mountains live in cities, 31% in towns and semi-dense areas, and 35% in rural areas. The urbanisation rate varies considerably across ranges. The assessments of population total, population trends, and urbanisation may be used to address the issue “not to leave mountain people behind” in the sustainable development process and to understand trajectories of change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountains under Pressure)
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Article
Water-Facing Distribution and Suitability Space for Rural Mountain Settlements Based on Fractal Theory, South-Western China
Land 2021, 10(2), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10020096 - 22 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 606
Abstract
The establishment of rural settlements in the topographically complex mountainous area of South-Western China is restricted by various geographical features. The fractal characteristics and water-facing distribution of rural mountain settlements and the suitability of spaces for rural mountain settlements were analyzed for a [...] Read more.
The establishment of rural settlements in the topographically complex mountainous area of South-Western China is restricted by various geographical features. The fractal characteristics and water-facing distribution of rural mountain settlements and the suitability of spaces for rural mountain settlements were analyzed for a greater scientific understanding of what factors would facilitate a more appropriate selection of residential sites. The results showed that: (1) Rural mountain settlements have significant fractal characteristics—the fractal dimension values of rural mountain settlements in terms of elevation, slope, disaster risk, and water-facing level ranged from 0.853 to 1.071, 0.716 to 0.997, 0.134 to 0.243, and 0.940 to 1.110, respectively. (2) The fractal dimension value of rural mountain settlements initially increased and subsequently decreased with increasing elevation, and gradually decreased with increases in slope and disaster risk, but with wave-curve increases in water-facing levels. (3) The suitable spaces for rural mountain settlements were those with a low disaster risk and with slopes less of than 5° under a water-facing level of 0 ~ 500 m in the elevation range of 1500–2000 m. Currently, 8.77% of rural mountain settlements are situated in high-risk and sub-high-risk areas. The spatial planning of national land in China may enhance the land consolidation of rural mountain settlements and plan for the placement of settlements in suitable spaces while avoiding high-risk areas and sub-high-risk areas to ensure the safety of lives and property. The results from this study could be used as a reference for future revitalization activities and the site selection of rural mountain settlements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountains under Pressure)
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Article
VegeT: An Easy Tool to Classify and Facilitate the Management of Seminatural Grasslands and Dynamically Connected Vegetation of the Alps
Land 2020, 9(12), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9120473 - 24 Nov 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1068
Abstract
Alpine pastures and meadows are agroecosystems of biological, cultural-historical, and economic importance that are undergoing profound imbalances and which are in a rapid decline due to changes in management and/or abandonment. The European Union is making efforts to protect this heritage and resource. [...] Read more.
Alpine pastures and meadows are agroecosystems of biological, cultural-historical, and economic importance that are undergoing profound imbalances and which are in a rapid decline due to changes in management and/or abandonment. The European Union is making efforts to protect this heritage and resource. However, the dialog among the different professionals in charge of studying and managing these agroecosystems needs to be as easy and comprehensible as possible for grasslands conservation/restoration actions to be successful. This research introduces VegeT, an easy-to-use tool to facilitate information transfer between botanists and practitioners responsible for providing guidelines for the correct management of mountain grasslands. VegeT is a Microsoft Excel® worksheet that allows the classification of seminatural grasslands and dynamically connected vegetation (shrublands and forests) of the Alps employing two ecological indexes: the index of nutrients (N) and the index of mowing tolerance (MV). VegeT was elaborated upon the floristic-ecological analysis of the vegetation of Taleggio Valley (Italian Alps) performed applying multivariate analysis techniques. From the analyses, it emerged that N and MV are the main variables on which to base a classification system of alpine mountain grasslands and dynamically connected vegetation able to facilitate the interpretation of floristic-vegetation data and to return useful information for management decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountains under Pressure)
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Article
Endangered Mediterranean Mountain Heritage—Case Study of katuns at the Kuči Mountain in Montenegro
Land 2020, 9(8), 248; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9080248 - 28 Jul 2020
Viewed by 950
Abstract
The study gives an insight into the domain of seasonal mountain settlements for summer cattle grazing (katuns), characteristic for the mountainous areas in the Mediterranean basin. The area of the Kuči Mountain in Montenegro was chosen for the case study. The [...] Read more.
The study gives an insight into the domain of seasonal mountain settlements for summer cattle grazing (katuns), characteristic for the mountainous areas in the Mediterranean basin. The area of the Kuči Mountain in Montenegro was chosen for the case study. The area contains numerous characteristics exemplary for the topic—193 katuns with more than 2900 belonging housing and subsidiary objects. The presented results originate from the 3-year-long investigations, where the data obtained from archival documents were combined with those acquired through intensive field work and visits to each and every katun determined and documented within the area. The density of these settlements, as well as their architectural and constructional characteristics, show the high level of importance they had for the local population up until the last third of 20th century. Currently, changed sociodemographic trends rendered their intensive traditional use obsolete, but used building techniques, their internal organization and organic connection to the surrounding mountain landscape, have nominated them for important part of region’s historical heritage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountains under Pressure)
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Article
Land Functions, Rural Space Governance, and Farmers’ Environmental Perceptions: A Case Study from the Huanjiang Karst Mountain Area, China
Land 2020, 9(5), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9050134 - 28 Apr 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1180
Abstract
Residents of rural areas live and depend on the land; hence, rural land plays a central role in the human–land relationship. The environment has the greatest direct impact on farmers’ lives and productivity. In recent years, the Chinese government carried out vigorous rural [...] Read more.
Residents of rural areas live and depend on the land; hence, rural land plays a central role in the human–land relationship. The environment has the greatest direct impact on farmers’ lives and productivity. In recent years, the Chinese government carried out vigorous rural construction under a socialist framework and implemented a rural revitalization strategy. This study was performed in a rural area of Huanjiang County, Guangxi Province, China. We designed a survey to measure rural households’ perceptions of three types of rural spaces: ecological, living, and production spaces. The survey was administered to 379 farmers, and their perceptions and satisfaction with Ecological–Living–Productive spaces were evaluated with the use of structural equation modeling. Analysis of latent and observed variables indicates that: (1) Farmers’ overall satisfaction with Ecological–Living–Productive spaces was moderate. The average satisfaction score for production spaces was lowest (2.881) while that for living spaces was highest (3.468) and that for ecological spaces was in between (3.351). (2) The three most important exogenous observed variables associated with living space satisfaction were house comfort > domestic water supply > domestic sewage treatment. The three most important exogenous observed variables associated with production space satisfaction were irrigation water > cultivated land quantity > cultivated land fertility. The three most important exogenous observed variables associated with ecological space satisfaction were garbage disposal > vegetation cover > flood and waterlogging. Based on the requirements of the rural revitalization strategy and the results of our analyses of rural households’ spatial perceptions, we propose corresponding countermeasures and suggestions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountains under Pressure)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Review
A Framework for Reviewing Silvopastoralism: A New Zealand Hill Country Case Study
Land 2021, 10(12), 1386; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10121386 - 14 Dec 2021
Viewed by 358
Abstract
Silvopastoral systems can be innovative solutions to agricultural environmental degradation, especially in hilly and mountainous regions. A framework that expresses the holistic nature of silvopastoral systems is required so research directions can be unbiased and informed. This paper presents a novel framework that [...] Read more.
Silvopastoral systems can be innovative solutions to agricultural environmental degradation, especially in hilly and mountainous regions. A framework that expresses the holistic nature of silvopastoral systems is required so research directions can be unbiased and informed. This paper presents a novel framework that relates the full range of known silvopastoral outcomes to bio-physical tree attributes, and uses it to generate research priorities for a New Zealand hill country case study. Current research is reviewed and compared for poplar (Populus spp.), the most commonly planted silvopastoral tree in New Zealand hill country, and kānuka (Kunzea spp.), a novel and potentially promising native alternative. The framework highlights the many potential benefits of kānuka, many of which are underappreciated hill country silvopastoral outcomes, and draws attention to the specific outcome research gaps for poplar, despite their widespread use. The framework provides a formalised tool for reviewing and generating research priorities for silvopastoral trees, and provides a clear example of how it can be used to inform research directions in silvopastoral systems, globally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountains under Pressure)
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Review
Mountain Watch: How LT(S)ER Is Safeguarding Southern Africa’s People and Biodiversity for a Sustainable Mountain Future
Land 2021, 10(10), 1024; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10101024 - 30 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 577
Abstract
Southern Africa is an exceptionally diverse region with an ancient geologic and climatic history. Its mountains are located in the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes at a tropical–temperate interface, offering a rare opportunity to contextualise and frame our research from an austral perspective to balance [...] Read more.
Southern Africa is an exceptionally diverse region with an ancient geologic and climatic history. Its mountains are located in the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes at a tropical–temperate interface, offering a rare opportunity to contextualise and frame our research from an austral perspective to balance the global narrative around sustainable mountain futures for people and biodiversity. Limited Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) was initiated more than a century ago in South Africa to optimise catchment management through sound water policy. The South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) has resurrected many government LTER programmes and added observatories representative of the country’s heterogeneous zonobiomes, including its mountain regions. LTER in other Southern African mountains is largely absent. The current rollout of the Expanded Freshwater and Terrestrial Environmental Observation Network (EFTEON) and the Southern African chapters of international programmes such as the Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments (GLORIA), RangeX, and the Global Soil Biodiversity Observation Network (Soil BON), as well as the expansion of the Mountain Invasion Research Network (MIREN), is ushering in a renaissance period of global change research in the region, which takes greater cognisance of its social context. This diversity of initiatives will generate a more robust knowledge base from which to draw conclusions about how to better safeguard the well-being of people and biodiversity in the region and help balance livelihoods and environmental sustainability in our complex, third-world socio-ecological mountain systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountains under Pressure)
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