Women's Special Issue Series: Land System Science

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (8 March 2024) | Viewed by 12674

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Forestry, Department of Forest & Conservation Sciences, The University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
Interests: landscape ecology; conservation planning; biodiversity research; ecological impacts of climate change

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Guest Editor
Institute for Geosciences and Geography, Department Sustainable Landscape Development, University of Halle, Von-Seckendorff-Platz 4, 06120 Halle, Germany
Interests: social–ecological system models; ecosystem services; impact assessment; participatory planning processes at urban and landscape scales; climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies; biodiversity trends and governance
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Health and Environmental Sciences, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou 215123, China
Interests: landscape ecology; ecosystem conservation; adaptive management
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Climate Change Laboratory, Ikiam Amazon Regional University, Tena, 150102 Napo, Ecuador
Interests: biodiversity conservation; ecosystem services; landscape restoration; landscape fragmentation and climate-smart agriculture; SDGs

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Guest Editor
Research Group Eco-Hydrology and Water Resources Management, Department of Geography, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Meckenheimer Allee 166, 53115 Bonn, Germany
Interests: hydro-ecology based approaches and watershed management; hydrologic risk assessment; forest hydrology; ecosystem services; human-water systems; urban resilience through blue-green infrastructure; greenhouse gas inventory country reports and national communications

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Land System Science is an emerging discipline that widens the view of other fields, such as landscape ecology, by the consequent integration of the interactions of humans and nature in its hypotheses, research questions, approaches, and its inter- and transdisciplinary methods. A key person in this context was Elinor Ostrom, who formulated the concept of social–ecological systems. Ostrom [1,2], through her concept, posited preliminary scientific works answering the following question: how can we develop an integrative and interdisciplinary approach to understanding the complex systemic interactions and systemic scales in the context of natural resource management?

Such systems, however, in order to be societally relevant and politically influential, require integrated assessment approaches, such as those suggested in the 1990s by Gretchen Daily in her famous works on the dependence of human well-being on natural ecosystem services (“Ecosystem Services”; [3,4]). Daily's excellent contribution to the field consists of delivering economic arguments surrounding how the sustainable management of ecosystems can be improved.

Meanwhile, such basic systems research has become more integrated, defined by the approaches of inter- and transdisciplinary research, citizen science, and the understanding that land system research is a co-designed process between scientists on the one side and society on the other.

The call of Melissa Leach [5,6] for pathways of humanity which considers a safe operational space that accounts for ecological (planetary) boundaries and human demands started as a call for integrating a deep systemic understanding of human–nature interactions and the communication surrounding policy making. Leach asked how this integration could be transformed into sustainable development strategies.

Presently, highly integrative research and studies addressing key societal challenges—such as the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the objectives of the Paris Agreement, the recommendations of CBD, the trade-offs for economic development under the shock of global pandemics, and the increasing resource competition across geopolitical contexts—are driving the research questions and approaches in land system science [7]. For instance, climatic extremes, human–nature interactions, and biodiversity losses through large-scale hazards, such as mega-fires, are gaining scientific attention [8,9] The threats to “nature´s contribution to people” are specified and characterized for different biomes, such as mountain ecosystems, which are acknowledged to be the most valuable and the most vulnerable systems under climate change and human pressures for land use [10] Large-scale research, such as the question of corridors and their efficiency and suitability for conserving moving animals under climate change and habitat vulnerability assessments, have been gaining importance [11,12]. Additionally, certain movements, for example, that calling for better recognition of local and indigenous knowledge, beyond scientific knowledge, have become more central, as suggested by Kamaljt Sangha; such recognition will foster the integration of people´s experiences, perceptions, and values into land system research [13,14].

All the above-mentioned developments were published through women in land system science, who have contributed enormously to shaping the advances in our scientific area; furthermore, women are continuing to develop this emerging discipline, with research reflecting the rising challenges surrounding the sustainable development of our planet.

With this Special Issue, we wish to call women in land system sciences (and in disciplines closely related to the field) to contribute their research advances, recent results, and emerging visions and approaches to the LAND journal. Acknowledging that scientific progress is a joint and inclusive effort—which requires gender equity and equity in access to publishing across the global north and south—we invite female researchers from all over the world to contribute to this Special Issue, and, with us, co-develop an award for “Influential female research in Land System Science”. We call experienced female scientists as well as young female scholars to contribute to bringing our research forward.

Full research papers are welcome, as well as short communications, reviews, discussions, and perspective papers. The only precondition is that the lead author—and ideally last author—are female researchers. Research areas may include—but are not limited—to the following aspects:

  • Land system science in the 21 century—challenges and innovative approaches;
  • Global change—drivers and pressures on land systems;
  • Social–ecological systems—frameworks, approaches, and models for achieving the UN SDGs;
  • “Measuring sustainability”—ecosystem services/nature´s contribution to people: what can we achieve in integrating ecology’s constraints in policy and decision making?
  • Global biodiversity losses—contributions of land system sciences to halt losses and restore nature;
  • Climate change impacts on land systems—adaptation and mitigation approaches and their successes;
  • Global resource competition—geopolitical processes and their impacts on nature, societies, and sustainable development;
  • Critical global processes—climate change, urbanization, and demographic development, and their joint impacts on nature and society

We welcome submissions from all authors, irrespective of gender.

References:

  1. Ostrom, E. A general framework for analyzing sustainability of social-ecological systems. Science 2009, 325(5939), pp. 419–422.
  2. McGinnis, M. D.; Ostrom, E. Social-ecological system framework: initial changes and continuing challenges. Ecol. Soc. 2014, 19(2). Available Online: https://www.jstor.org/stable/26269580 (Accessed on 12 February 2023).
  3. Daily, G. C. Introduction: What Are Ecosystem Services. In Nature’s Services: Societal Dependence on Natural Ecosystems. 1997, 1(1). Available Online: https://www.raincoast.org/library/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Daily_1997_Natures-services-chapter-1.pdf (Accessed on 12 February 2023).
  4. Daily, G.. What are ecosystem services. In Global Environmental Challenges for the Twenty-First Century: Resources, Consumption and Sustainable Solutions. D. E. Lorey, Eds.; Scholarly Resources Inc: Wilmington, DE, USA, 2003; pp. 227–231.
  5. Leach, M.; Rockström, J.; Raskin, P.; Scoones, I.; Stirling, A. C.; Smith, A.; Thompson, J.; Millstone, E.; Ely, A.; Around, E. et al. Transforming innovation for sustainability. Ecol. Soc. 2012, 17(2). Available Online: https://www.jstor.org/stable/26269052 (Accessed on 12 February 2023).
  6. Leach, M., Raworth, K., & Rockström, J. Between social and planetary boundaries: Navigating pathways in the safe and just space for humanity. In World Social Science Report 2013. UNESCO. 2013. Available Online: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000246073 (Accessed on 12 February 2023).
  7. Fürst, C. Upcoming Challenges in Land Use Science—An International Perspective. In Sustainable Land Management in a European Context. Moran, E.F.; Springer: Basel, Switzerland, 2021, Volume 8, pp. 319–336.
  8. Armenteras, D.; Dávalos, L. M.; Barreto, J. S.; Miranda, A.; Hernández-Moreno, A.; Zamorano-Elgueta, C.; González-Delgado, T.M.; Meza-Elizalde, M.C.; Retana, J. . Fire-induced loss of the world’s most biodiverse forests in Latin America. Sci. Adv. 2021a, 7 (33), eabd3357.
  9. Armenteras, D.; Meza, M. C.; González, T. M.; Oliveras, I., Balch, J. K.; Retana, J. Fire threatens the diversity and structure of tropical gallery forests. Ecosphere 2021, 12 (1), e03347.
  10. Martín-López, B.; Leister, I.; Lorenzo Cruz, P., Palomo, I.; Grêt-Regamey, A.; Harrison, P. A.; Lavorel, S.; Locatelli, B.; Luque, S.; Walz, A. Nature’s contributions to people in mountains: a review. PloS One 2019, 14 (6), e0217847.
  11. Malakoutikhah, S.; Fakheran, S.; Hemami, M. R., Tarkesh, M.; Senn, J. Assessing future distribution, suitability of corridors and efficiency of protected areas to conserve vulnerable ungulates under climate change. Divers. Distrib. 2020, 26 (10), 1383–1396.
  12. Nematollahi, S.; Fakheran, S.; Kienast, F.; Jafari, A. Application of InVEST habitat quality module in spatially vulnerability assessment of natural habitats (case study: Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province, Iran). Environ. Monit. Assess. 2020, 192 (8), 1–17.
  13. Sangha, K. K.; Preece, L.; Villarreal-Rosas, J.; Kegamba, J. J.; Paudyal, K.; Warmenhoven, T.; RamaKrishnan, P. S. An ecosystem services framework to evaluate Indigenous and local peoples’ connections with nature. Ecosyst. Serv. 2018, 31, 111–125.
  14. Sangha, K. K.; Maynard, S.; Pearson, J.; Dobriyal, P.; Badola, R.; Hussain, S. A. Recognising the role of local and indigenous communities in managing natural resources for the greater public benefit: Case studies from Asia and Oceania region. Ecosyst. Serv. 2019, 39, 100991.

Prof. Dr. Christine Fürst
Prof. Dr. Sima Fakheran
Dr. Li Li
Dr. Jin Kyoung Noh
Dr. Pinar Pamukcu Albers
Guest Editors

Women’s Special Issue Series

This Special Issue is part of Land's Women’s Special Issue Series, hosted by women editors for women researchers. The Series advocates the advancement of women in science. We invite contributions to the Special Issue whose lead authors identify as women. The submission of articles with all-women authorship is especially encouraged. However, we do welcome articles from all authors, irrespective of gender.

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 2600 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

  • land system science
  • climate change
  • demographic development
  • ecosystem services
  • human–nature interactions
  • nature's contribution to people
  • natural resource management
  • social–ecological systems
  • UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • urbanization

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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20 pages, 2547 KiB  
Article
Gender and Water-Energy-Food Nexus in the Rural Highlands of Ethiopia: Where Are the Trade-Offs?
by Grace B. Villamor
Land 2023, 12(3), 585; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12030585 - 28 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1600
Abstract
The introduction of modern bioenergy alternatives is promoted to address water–energy–food (WEF) security in the rural highlands of Ethiopia. While the role of women in WEF security is an essential component of these challenges, gender dimensions remain invisible in the nexus debate. This [...] Read more.
The introduction of modern bioenergy alternatives is promoted to address water–energy–food (WEF) security in the rural highlands of Ethiopia. While the role of women in WEF security is an essential component of these challenges, gender dimensions remain invisible in the nexus debate. This study explores the impact of gender-specific roles between female- and male-headed households on the nexus resources in the rural highlands of Ethiopia using an agent-based modeling approach. This includes capturing the gender-specific responses to modern bioenergy interventions to address current energy crises that may reduce or enhance synergies among nexus resources and whether the introduction of modern bioenergy technology would improve the quality of life for both men and women. Using the participatory gendered mental model of the food–energy–land nexus, a base ABM was developed to simulate the predicted effects under scenarios of population growth and labor reallocation. Initial simulation results show that there is low adoption of alternative bioenergy (i.e., biogas digesters), and the majority remain dependent on traditional energy sources (e.g., fuel wood and animal dung), suggesting further land degradation. Female-headed households that adopt biogas increase their burden of collecting water needed for the operation. Reallocation of labor from crop production to fuelwood collection would result in the reduction of crop yields. It is expected that male-headed households have better crop yields than female counterparts due to gender-specific roles. However, by shifting 10% of labor allocated from energy collection to crop production, yields (i.e., teff and wheat) produced by female-headed households would be comparable to their male counterparts, enhancing their food security. However, the reduced workloads for women resulting from the adoption of biogas digesters will not necessarily enhance their quality of life. This study suggests that trade-offs may arise between efficiency (in resource use) and social equity, which deserve to be further analyzed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women's Special Issue Series: Land System Science)
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18 pages, 853 KiB  
Article
Informing Future Land Systems Using Self-Reported Pathways and Barriers to Connections to Nature: A Case Study in Auckland, New Zealand
by Lissy Fehnker, Diane Pearson and Peter Howland
Land 2022, 11(10), 1758; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11101758 - 10 Oct 2022
Viewed by 1439
Abstract
Empirical research exploring what increases an individual’s connection to nature is growing, however research seeking respondents to self-report what they feel acts as a barrier or pathway to their connection to nature is scarce. Previous empirical literature suggests a link between connections to [...] Read more.
Empirical research exploring what increases an individual’s connection to nature is growing, however research seeking respondents to self-report what they feel acts as a barrier or pathway to their connection to nature is scarce. Previous empirical literature suggests a link between connections to nature and pro-nature actions. Therefore, understanding what acts as a barrier or pathway to people’s connection to nature can provide insight as to what may promote, or hinder, pro-nature actions. From a land systems perspective, the research is crucial, given that human disconnection from nature is argued to be the reason behind large scale ecological crises and species extinction which threaten the land systems in which we live. Consequently, a cross-sectional qualitative study was undertaken in 2019 with 976 respondents from Auckland, New Zealand to explore self-reported perceptions of what acts as a barrier or pathway towards their connections to nature. The findings suggest that respondents perceive modern society modalities such as ‘life takes over’, ‘urban life’, etc., as being barriers to their connections to nature. Being exposed to nature, was perceived as a pathway to prompting, and/or sustaining their connections to nature. These learnings highlight the benefit of exploring the perceived influences on connections to nature and the findings can be applied to improve the human–nature connection and therefore potentially increase pro-nature actions. We also use the findings to provide practical actions for environmental managers in the Auckland region by advising as to how the human–nature connection can be supported through future urban planning and better designed urban land systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women's Special Issue Series: Land System Science)
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18 pages, 9744 KiB  
Article
Spatial Prioritization for Ecotourism through Applying the Landscape Resilience Model
by Shekoufeh Nematollahi, Sadaf Afghari, Felix Kienast and Sima Fakheran
Land 2022, 11(10), 1682; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11101682 - 28 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1835
Abstract
Given the growing universal demand for sustainable development in recent years, ecotourism has become one of the top effectual actions that can be employed to reconcile environmental conservation with economic growth. Therefore, sustainable development can be supported by assessing ecotourism ecosystem services at [...] Read more.
Given the growing universal demand for sustainable development in recent years, ecotourism has become one of the top effectual actions that can be employed to reconcile environmental conservation with economic growth. Therefore, sustainable development can be supported by assessing ecotourism ecosystem services at the landscape scale. In this regard, we presented a new technique that considers a potential model of ecotourism along with a landscape resilience measurement to identify the priority areas for sustainable ecotourism development. For this purpose, a multi-criteria fuzzy model with a geographic information system (GIS) and analytical hierarchy process (AHP) was first used to evaluate potential zones for ecotourism. The landscape ecological risk index (ERI) was then applied to measure the landscape resilience. The usefulness of our novel technique was then tested in a case study in the Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province (Ch & B), situated in the central part of the Zagros Mountain Chains, Iran. The area has a coarse terrain with climate that varies considerably, which results in high potential for ecotourism development. The results indicated that about half of the provincial area had high potential for developing ecotourism and attracting tourists. However, when considering the landscape resilience, approximately 33% of the study area near the western and central regions had both high potential for ecotourism and the high values of landscape resilience, making these locations suitable for sustainable ecotourism development. Overall, the present study demonstrated that utilizing the integrated models and the ecotourism potential model, together with the landscape resilience assessment, might provide a powerful tool for ecotourism prioritization for the purpose of sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women's Special Issue Series: Land System Science)
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14 pages, 261 KiB  
Article
Women’s Woodland Owner Network: A Comparative Case Study of Oregon (the United States) and Austria
by Pipiet Larasatie, Dagmar Karisch-Gierer and Alice Ludvig
Land 2022, 11(10), 1653; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11101653 - 25 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1498
Abstract
Gender equality, as a preferred social norm based on both ethical considerations and legislative demands, can be boosted by networking. However, the concept of organizational networks is too often associated with old boys’ clubs or old boy networks that effectively exclude women, thus [...] Read more.
Gender equality, as a preferred social norm based on both ethical considerations and legislative demands, can be boosted by networking. However, the concept of organizational networks is too often associated with old boys’ clubs or old boy networks that effectively exclude women, thus limiting their potential. As a result, there is a movement to form women-inspired networks, to address the experiences of women with a goal for increasing their perceptions of belonging and engagement. So how do such networks operate in practice? This research focuses on the organizational differences and commonalities in two women’s woodland owner networks, one in the US and one in Austria, in order to understanding how participation in networks influence the advancement of women in the forest sector. Based on expert interviews, we found that both cases well reflect current networking potential for strengthening the capabilities of women engaging in network activities. Regardless of country women in similar circumstances tend to have similar networks. Yet, there are some differences even among these organized networks operating with similar targets. Results also show the limitations of sole networking approaches for the enhancement of women’s positions in the men-dominated forest sector. We suggested more action in terms of active equality policies, such as mentoring/networking programs, family friendly policies, and quota/sensibilization measures for boards and selection committees to increase the gender balance in the sector and its related industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women's Special Issue Series: Land System Science)
20 pages, 6439 KiB  
Article
Examining the Effects of Agricultural Aid on Forests in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Causal Analysis Based on Remotely Sensed Data of Sierra Leone
by Qingqian He, Qing Meng, William Flatley and Yaqian He
Land 2022, 11(5), 668; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11050668 - 29 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1894
Abstract
In sub-Saharan Africa, extreme poverty highlights the tension between development aid and the environment. Foreign aid is considered one of the most important factors affecting forest health in this region. Although many studies have empirically examined the effects of different kinds of foreign [...] Read more.
In sub-Saharan Africa, extreme poverty highlights the tension between development aid and the environment. Foreign aid is considered one of the most important factors affecting forest health in this region. Although many studies have empirically examined the effects of different kinds of foreign aid on forests, few have investigated the potential impact of agricultural aid. This study investigated the causal effects of agricultural aid on forests in Sierra Leone, a country that relies heavily on agricultural products. We constructed a fine-grained (16-day) indicator of forest growth from 2001 to 2015 by combining remotely sensed data of land cover and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index. The high frequency of forest growth data enables us to trace the dynamic causal process. To reduce the confounding effects of heterogeneity, we applied a difference-in-difference design with data at the sub-national level to estimate the causal effect. This study provides robust empirical evidence that foreign agricultural aid harms forests both in the short term (i.e., 16 days) and long term (i.e., years) in Sierra Leone. Agricultural aid projects with agricultural development as their primary objective or aid projects without specific objectives lead to the highest levels of forest degradation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women's Special Issue Series: Land System Science)
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Review

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15 pages, 4067 KiB  
Review
The Gender Gap in Land Sciences: A Review of Women’s Presence on the Editorial Boards of Peer-Reviewed Journals
by Somayeh Mohammadi Hamidi, Mohammad Rezaei-Pandari, Sima Fakheran and Christine Fürst
Land 2022, 11(11), 1876; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11111876 - 22 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1969
Abstract
Women are disadvantaged across all stages of academic publishing. In science, contribution to editorial boards of journals is evidence of a high reputation within a specialty or field. Therefore, the low presence of women on editorial boards can be considered a disadvantage indicator [...] Read more.
Women are disadvantaged across all stages of academic publishing. In science, contribution to editorial boards of journals is evidence of a high reputation within a specialty or field. Therefore, the low presence of women on editorial boards can be considered a disadvantage indicator for women in academia. This study aims to highlight the gap in women’s contributions in land science journals. We assessed the gender composition of editorial boards in 60 peer-reviewed journals using systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and we obtained data on current and past editorial boards of these journals. The result shows that the current number of editorial board members is 5197 of which only 25.47 percent are women. Gender inequality is very evident in this group of journals to the extent that journals with a high impact factor indicate inequality that is even more than 75 percent. The results of the time series analysis have also shown that the presence of women on editorial boards has increased over the last decade, although this increase has been more in the Nordic countries. The geographical distribution of editorial board members is also quite unequal in the North and South, 83 percent of female editorial board members are from northern countries, while only 12 percent are from the global South. According to the results, there is still a long way to go to achieve gender equality, especially in the field of land science. Our results also support previous findings of a considerable gender difference in urban land science, geoscience community, biodiversity conservation, and veterinary sciences. Thus, the academic community, editors, and journals must take proactive measures to achieve gender balance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women's Special Issue Series: Land System Science)
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