Special Issue "Dynamics of Urbanization and Ecosystem Services Provision"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 November 2022) | Viewed by 12950

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Luca Congedo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
ISPRA - Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, 00144 Rome, Italy
Interests: land cover; remote sensing; land consumption; climate change; ecosystem services
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Francesca Assennato
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
ISPRA - Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, 00144 Rome, Italy
Interests: land degradation; ecosystem services; land consumption
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Michele Munafò
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
ISPRA - Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, 00144 Rome, Italy
Interests: desertification; land degradation; land consumption; urban planning; landscape; remote sensing
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ecosystem services are heavily affected by urbanization, with consequences that can be negative for the environment and people’s health. The provision of services is strictly dependent on the ecological condition of the land that is hosting the ecosystem. Many classification systems were established for ecosystems, with different levels and detail, but all require a spatial reference system to allow for the assessment of ecosystem services and related environmental and socio-economic factors. 

Modifications of the extent of an ecosystem, its capacity and function, and its capability to provide ecosystem services are influenced by settlement structures. Urban sprawl and landscape fragmentation could enhance the impact. Among urbanization processes, land consumption (the conversion from natural or agricultural surfaces to impervious surfaces) is one of the main drivers of environmental change and is assessed through the evolution of land cover and the related changes in the land condition and biophysical features of the environment, such as bioclimate and vegetation potential.

The availability of remote sensing technology allows for an effective improvement in monitoring land cover changes in order to grasp the complexity of urbanization processes, even over large areas. Furthermore, new methodologies and indicators are being used to assess the conditions/features of ecosystems (and habitats).

This Special Issue of Land is intended as a multidisciplinary opportunity to describe innovative methodologies based on remote sensing, and the monitoring and analysis of the relationship between urbanization and ecosystem services on the different scales.

We invite papers that describe the use of innovative technologies for land cover change monitoring, ecosystem services modeling and mapping, innovation in land use planning, and which highlight the potential of technologies to tackle challenges such as sustainability of urbanization, climate change adaptation, sustainable land management, and food security.

Dr. Luca Congedo
Dr. Francesca Assennato
Dr. Michele Munafò
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 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

  • ecosystem services
  • land consumption
  • land cover change
  • remote sensing
  • spatial analysis
  • indicators

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Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Article
Land Consumption Mapping with Convolutional Neural Network: Case Study in Italy
Land 2022, 11(11), 1919; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11111919 - 28 Oct 2022
Viewed by 375
Abstract
In recent years, deep learning (DL) algorithms have been widely integrated for remote sensing image classification, but fewer studies have applied it for land consumption (LC). LC is the main factor in land transformation dynamics and it is the first cause of natural [...] Read more.
In recent years, deep learning (DL) algorithms have been widely integrated for remote sensing image classification, but fewer studies have applied it for land consumption (LC). LC is the main factor in land transformation dynamics and it is the first cause of natural habitat loss; therefore, monitoring this phenomenon is extremely important for establishing effective policies and sustainable planning. This paper aims to test a DL algorithm on high-resolution aerial images to verify its applicability to land consumption monitoring. For this purpose, we applied a convolutional neural networks (CNNs) architecture called ResNet50 on a reference dataset of six high-spatial-resolution aerial images for the automatic production of thematic maps with the aim of improving accuracy and reducing costs and time compared with traditional techniques. The comparison with the National Land Consumption Map (LCM) of ISPRA suggests that although deep learning techniques are not widely exploited to map consumed land and to monitor land consumption, it might be a valuable support for monitoring and reporting data on highly dynamic peri-urban areas, especially in view of the rapid evolution of these techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamics of Urbanization and Ecosystem Services Provision)
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Article
Coupling Coordination Analysis of Ecosystem Services and Urbanization in Inner Mongolia, China
Land 2022, 11(10), 1870; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11101870 - 21 Oct 2022
Viewed by 419
Abstract
Given that ecological and environmental functions are greatly influenced by rapid urbanization, a clear understanding of the relationship between ecosystem services (ESs) and urbanization is urgently needed to improve sustainable development in Inner Mongolia. In this study, we first carried out ecosystem service [...] Read more.
Given that ecological and environmental functions are greatly influenced by rapid urbanization, a clear understanding of the relationship between ecosystem services (ESs) and urbanization is urgently needed to improve sustainable development in Inner Mongolia. In this study, we first carried out ecosystem service valuation (ESV) using the value coefficient method. We then examined the urbanization level using a comprehensive indicator system. Finally, we applied the coupling coordination degree model to analyze the coordination relationship between ecosystem services and urbanization from 1995 to 2020 in Inner Mongolia. The results showed that there was an increase in both the urbanization level and all ecosystem services excluding climate regulation, environmental purification, and biodiversity services. The coupling coordination degree (CCD) of Inner Mongolia is not ideal, and most counties remain at a low level of coordination degree. Furthermore, spatiotemporal heterogeneity was evident in the CCD of ecosystem services and urbanization as it was higher in the center and east of the country, but lower in the north and west regions. Relevant policies should be implemented to strengthen the advantages of local ecology, encourage environmentally friendly industrialization, and promote ecologically and economically sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamics of Urbanization and Ecosystem Services Provision)
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Article
Spatiotemporal Patterns and Drivers of the Carbon Budget in the Yangtze River Delta Region, China
Land 2022, 11(8), 1230; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11081230 - 03 Aug 2022
Viewed by 633
Abstract
Improving our understanding of the patterns and drivers of regional carbon budgets is critical to mitigating climate change regionally and globally. Different from previous research, our study attempts to reveal the comprehensive impact of climate change and human activities factors on the carbon [...] Read more.
Improving our understanding of the patterns and drivers of regional carbon budgets is critical to mitigating climate change regionally and globally. Different from previous research, our study attempts to reveal the comprehensive impact of climate change and human activities factors on the carbon budget. Based on the Carnegie–Ames–Stanford approach (CASA) model, the IPCC inventory method, the ordinary least squares (OLS) regression model, the Geodetector model, and the geographically weighted regression (GWR) method, we investigated the spatiotemporal patterns of the carbon budget in the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region from 2000 to 2015 and analyzed the effects of climate change and human activities on the carbon budget. The results showed that the carbon budget in the YRD region changed from 271.33 million tons in 2000 to −1193.76 million tons in 2015. During this period, the changes in the carbon budget per unit area in the four provinces all showed a decreasing trend, among which Shanghai decreased the most, followed by Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui. In terms of spatial pattern, the carbon budget of the YRD region has a “core-edge” structural feature. The closer it is to Shanghai, the core area, the more severe the carbon budget deficit; the farther from it, the greater the carbon budget surplus. Overall, we found that human activities have a greater impact on the carbon budget than climate change. The top three drivers were, in order, changes in population density, GDP per capita, and unused land, with q values of 0.3317, 0.1202, and 0.0998, respectively. Locally, the impact of the drivers on the carbon budget shows obvious spatial heterogeneity. In particular, the population density was negatively correlated with carbon budget changes in the entire study area, and the coefficients of GDP per capita and unused land were negative in most counties. Based on the results, we put forward suggestions for restricting population flow among the core area and the peripheral area, promoting industrial innovation in the core area and ecological protection in the peripheral area, as well as implementing three-dimensional space development in the core area and controlling the expansion of construction land in the peripheral area. Our study can provide a scientific basis for low-carbon development in the YRD region. The methodology and findings of this study can provide references for similar studies in other urbanized regions around the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamics of Urbanization and Ecosystem Services Provision)
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Article
Integrated Approaches to Ecosystem Services: Linking Culture, Circular Economy and Environment through the Re-Use of Open Spaces and Buildings in Europe
Land 2022, 11(8), 1161; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11081161 - 26 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 693
Abstract
Green and blue infrastructure, nature-based solutions, and cultural and built heritage play a key role in enhancing ecosystem services provision and shaping urban quality and communities’ wellbeing calling for an integrated approach to ecosystem services in urban policy and planning and decision-making. On [...] Read more.
Green and blue infrastructure, nature-based solutions, and cultural and built heritage play a key role in enhancing ecosystem services provision and shaping urban quality and communities’ wellbeing calling for an integrated approach to ecosystem services in urban policy and planning and decision-making. On the other side, under-used spaces and buildings have social, cultural, economic, as well as ecological functions and benefits, which are essential to sustainable urban development. The EU has been developing and implementing policies for an integrated approach to urban development and sustainable land use through the implementation of the Urban Agenda for the EU and fourteen associated Partnerships. Thus, it engaged a broad range of institutions and stakeholders across Europe in promoting local projects and sharing best practices on sustainable land use and nature-based solutions, the circular economy, and cultural heritage. This paper reviews the experiences of cities involved in the Partnerships of the Urban Agenda for the EU by illustrating how they related to different modes of ecosystem governance and associated challenges, discussing how three case studies integrate different dimensions of ecosystem services and regeneration in under-used areas and what type of knowledge as well as regulation and governance modes they have developed for supporting innovation in land use planning and management for urban ecosystem services. The results show that appropriate alternative regulations and policies are little explored and that cities adopt an integrated approach, combining cultural, environmental, economic, and social dimensions in their interventions, directly or indirectly enhancing the benefits of built and natural heritage and urban ecosystems in under-used areas. However, some issues, such as nature-based solutions and climate change, are still partially integrated into the projects while priority is given to the cultural, aesthetic, and economic dimensions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamics of Urbanization and Ecosystem Services Provision)
Article
The Impact of Urbanization on Land: A Biophysical-Based Assessment of Ecosystem Services Loss Supported by Remote Sensed Indicators
Land 2022, 11(2), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11020236 - 05 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1071
Abstract
Urbanization and related land consumption are one of the main causes of ecosystem services loss. This is especially the case for soil-related services affecting ecosystem functions and limiting accessibility to natural resources. Satellite remote sensing and environmental databases enable in-depth analysis of urban [...] Read more.
Urbanization and related land consumption are one of the main causes of ecosystem services loss. This is especially the case for soil-related services affecting ecosystem functions and limiting accessibility to natural resources. Satellite remote sensing and environmental databases enable in-depth analysis of urban expansion and land changes, which can be used to monitor trends in the provision of ecosystem services. This work aims to describe a multilayered approach to the assessment of biophysical loss of ecosystem services flows in Italy caused by an increase in land consumption in the period 2012–2020. The results show higher losses in wood production, carbon storage, hydrological regime regulation, and pollination in the northern regions of Italy, as well as in some southern regions, such as Campania and Apulia. Habitat quality loss is widespread throughout Italy, whereas crop production loss varies on the basis of the locations in which it occurs and the crop types involved. Loss of arable land and fodder production mainly occurs in northern regions, whereas southern regions have experienced a drop in permanent crop production. This study highlights the importance of using integrated data and methodologies for well-founded approaches, with a view to gaining a thorough understanding of ecosystem services-related processes and the changes connected therewith. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamics of Urbanization and Ecosystem Services Provision)
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Article
Ecosystem Services Valuation for the Sustainable Land Use Management by Nature-Based Solution (NbS) in the Common Agricultural Policy Actions: A Case Study on the Foglia River Basin (Marche Region, Italy)
Land 2022, 11(1), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11010057 - 31 Dec 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1552
Abstract
Agricultural land is a very important ecosystem that provides a range of services like food, maintenance of soil structure, and hydrological services with high ecological value to human wellbeing Ecosystem Services (ESs). Understanding the contribution of different agricultural practices to supply ESs would [...] Read more.
Agricultural land is a very important ecosystem that provides a range of services like food, maintenance of soil structure, and hydrological services with high ecological value to human wellbeing Ecosystem Services (ESs). Understanding the contribution of different agricultural practices to supply ESs would help inform choices about the most beneficial land use management. Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are defined by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems, which address societal challenges (e.g., climate change, food and water security, or natural disasters) effectively and adaptively, while simultaneously providing human wellbeing and biodiversity benefits. Some actions farmers can implement in the new Rural Development Programs (RDP 2021–2022 and 2023–2027) can be considered as NbS and could affect the quantity, quality, and time of some ESs related to water regulation and supply, N adsorption and erosion protection. This study aims to evaluate these ESs in different scenarios in the upper Foglia river basin (Italy) and at a local scale (farming), and to highlight the issue to compensate farmers for the production of public goods which benefit the whole society (ESs) by the implementation of RDP’s actions. These scenarios highlight how actions have positive effects on ecosystem services and their economic value related to land use management, on maintaining agricultural practices by integrating Water Frame Directive (2000/60/EC), Directive 2007/60/EC on the management of flood risks and highlighting the potential role of farmers in a high diversity landscape. This study highlights a new way to evaluate the processes of natural capital in the production of public goods, which benefits the whole society (ESs), by emphasizing the economic and environmental role of farmers in producing them and putting on the table data to trigger a PES (Payment for Ecosystem Services) mechanism. To facilitate decision making, robust decision support tools are needed, underpinned by comprehensive cost-benefit analyses and spatially modeling in which agriculture can be a strategic sector to optimize food production and environmental protection in harmony with the Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamics of Urbanization and Ecosystem Services Provision)
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Article
High Resolution Land Cover Integrating Copernicus Products: A 2012–2020 Map of Italy
Land 2022, 11(1), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11010035 - 26 Dec 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2242
Abstract
The study involved an in-depth analysis of the main land cover and land use data available nationwide for the Italian territory, in order to produce a reliable cartography for the evaluation of ecosystem services. In detail, data from the land monitoring service of [...] Read more.
The study involved an in-depth analysis of the main land cover and land use data available nationwide for the Italian territory, in order to produce a reliable cartography for the evaluation of ecosystem services. In detail, data from the land monitoring service of the Copernicus Programme were taken into consideration, while at national level the National Land Consumption Map and some regional land cover and land use maps were analysed. The classification systems were standardized with respect to the European specifications of the EAGLE Group and the data were integrated to produce a land cover map in raster format with a spatial resolution of 10 m. The map was validated and compared with the CORINE Land Cover, showing a significant geometric and thematic improvement, useful for a more detailed and reliable evaluation of ecosystem services. In detail, the map was used to estimate the variation in carbon storage capacity in Italy for the period 2012–2020, linked to the increase in land consumption Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamics of Urbanization and Ecosystem Services Provision)
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Article
Green Infrastructure, Urbanization, and Ecosystem Services: The Main Challenges for Russia’s Largest Cities
Land 2021, 10(12), 1292; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10121292 - 25 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1456
Abstract
Globally, the process of urbanization is transforming land use and, as a consequence, reducing the efficiency of ecosystem services (ESs), which ensure a healthy and comfortable urban environment. In cities, green infrastructure (GI) is a key source of urban ESs. Russia is a [...] Read more.
Globally, the process of urbanization is transforming land use and, as a consequence, reducing the efficiency of ecosystem services (ESs), which ensure a healthy and comfortable urban environment. In cities, green infrastructure (GI) is a key source of urban ESs. Russia is a highly urbanized country: 70% of its population live in towns or cities. As cities continue to expand, they are swallowing unsealed lands that support ESs. In this paper, we present the results of an analysis of the current state and recent changes in urban GI in Russia’s 16 largest cities, including a biophysical evaluation of key urban ESs, using remote sensing data and freely available statistics. Our analysis identifies a weak correlation between GI area, ES volume, and favorable climate conditions as well as a stronger correlation between ESs and the increasing rate of urbanization. Considering Russia’s high level of urbanization, the key importance of ESs for the well-being of citizens, and ongoing reductions of urban GI, major revisions to urban planning policy are required. Indicators of urban biodiversity, GI, and ESs should be incorporated into decision-making processes. In particular, it is vital that the accounting and monitoring of GI and ESs are established in all of Russia’s larger cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamics of Urbanization and Ecosystem Services Provision)
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Article
Spatial–Temporal Impacts of Urban Sprawl on Ecosystem Services: Implications for Urban Planning in the Process of Rapid Urbanization
Land 2021, 10(11), 1210; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10111210 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1024
Abstract
Rapid urbanization drives land cover change, affecting urban ecosystems and inducing serious environmental issues. The study region of Changchun, China was divided into three urbanization categories according to different urbanization levels and the characteristics of urban sprawl and changes and relationships between typical [...] Read more.
Rapid urbanization drives land cover change, affecting urban ecosystems and inducing serious environmental issues. The study region of Changchun, China was divided into three urbanization categories according to different urbanization levels and the characteristics of urban sprawl and changes and relationships between typical ecosystem services (ESs) under rapid urbanization were analysed. The results showed that Changchun has undergone considerable urban expansion since 2000, which has significantly impacted all ESs in terms of spatial and temporal heterogeneity. Habitat suitability and crop yield have relatively stronger service capacity in the study area. Since the expansion of large-scale infrastructures, the mean ES values of developed urban areas are the lowest among the three zones, except for water retention and sandstorm prevention in 2015, when the balance between all services decreased. Over the past 16 years, habitat suitability in developing urban areas has decreased to a large extent due to urban sprawl. Because of the improvement in agricultural science and technology, crop yield in three regions increased, while the area of cropland reduced from 1720 km2 to 1560 km2 (9.3%). Synergies between habitat suitability and carbon storage and habitat suitability and soil retention were detected in three areas. A trade-off between habitat suitability and water retention was detected in three areas. The interactions between crop yield and carbon storage, habitat suitability, and soil retention were more complex in this study region. In addition to water retention, urbanization index has a negative correlation with ESs. According to the results, some suggestions to alleviate ES loss during the process of rapid urbanization were proposed, which may guide scientific urban planning for sustainable urban development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamics of Urbanization and Ecosystem Services Provision)
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Article
A Preliminary Study on the Impact of Landscape Pattern Changes Due to Urbanization: Case Study of Jakarta, Indonesia
Land 2021, 10(2), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10020218 - 21 Feb 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2238
Abstract
Urbanization is changing land use–land cover (LULC) transforming green spaces (GS) and bodies of water into built-up areas. LULC change is affecting ecosystem services (ES) in urban areas, such as by decreasing of the water retention capacity, the urban temperature regulation capacity and [...] Read more.
Urbanization is changing land use–land cover (LULC) transforming green spaces (GS) and bodies of water into built-up areas. LULC change is affecting ecosystem services (ES) in urban areas, such as by decreasing of the water retention capacity, the urban temperature regulation capacity and the carbon sequestration. The relation between LULC change and ES is still poorly examined and quantified using actual field data. In most ES studies, GS is perceived as lumped areas instead of distributed areas, implicitly ignoring landscape patterns (LP), such as connectivity and aggregation. This preliminary study is one of the first to provide quantitative evidence of the influence of landscape pattern changes on a selection of urban ecosystem services in a megacity as Jakarta, Indonesia. The impact of urbanization on the spatiotemporal changes of ES has been identified by considering connectivity and aggregation of GS. It reveals that LP changes have significantly decreased carbon sequestration, temperature regulation, and runoff regulation by 10.4, 12.4, and 11.5%, respectively. This indicates that the impact of GS on ES is not only determined by its area, but also by its LP. Further detailed studies will be needed to validate these results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamics of Urbanization and Ecosystem Services Provision)
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