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Agricultural and Natural Ecosystems Restoration after Disturbances

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 October 2023) | Viewed by 14415

Special Issue Editors

College of Life Science and Technology, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha 410004, China
Interests: biodiversity; bematode taxonomy; soil food web; global change; ecosystem functioning
College of Life Science and Technology, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha 410004, China
Interests: earthworm ecology; soil food web; function of soil fauna on contaminants clearing; plant-soil interactions; environmental geochemistry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is widely known that agricultural and natural ecosystems are complex and diverse. The diversity of agricultural and natural ecosystems includes soil microorganism, soil animal, and plant diversity etc. At present, the disturbance of human activities in agricultural and natural ecosystems is becoming stronger and more frequent in the context of global change. Disturbances such include fertilizer input, pesticide application, irrigation, weeding, and mechanical crushing in farmland ecosystems and deforestation, control of forest pests and diseases in forest ecosystems. This is bound to change the original structure and function of these ecosystems. Understanding the alterations and the linkages in biodiversity, biological interactions, ecological processes and ecosystem services is the basis of the development of restoration theory and measures. This Special Issue focuses on recent advances and research on theory and application of ecosystem disturbance. In this topic, we welcome all article types published by Sustainability that show the recent research on agricultural and natural ecosystems restoration after disturbances. Authors are encouraged to submit their manuscripts on the topic of the theory, method and practice of ecosystem restoration after disturbances. We aim to highlight new research on global change and ecosystem restoration, agro-ecology, soil microbial diversity, earthworm ecology, soil food webs, the function of soil fauna in contaminants clearing, plant–soil interactions, and ecosystem functioning.

Dr. Yuan Li
Dr. Tao Liu
Dr. Xinxing He
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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • agricultural ecosystems
  • natural ecosystems
  • ecosystems restoration
  • soil microbes
  • soil enzyme
  • global change and ecosystems restoration
  • soil food web
  • ecosystem functioning

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

21 pages, 1801 KiB  
Article
Ecological Aspects and Methodology for Assessing the Forests of the Ural Floodplain
by Mira Elekesheva, Vitaly Khlyustov and Yerassyl Dulatbay
Sustainability 2024, 16(12), 4989; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16124989 - 11 Jun 2024
Viewed by 271
Abstract
The floodplain forests in West Kazakhstan’s Urals are challenging to study due to complex growth patterns. Existing tables estimate the trunk volume and wood size but lack comprehensive data for effective forest management. A developed research methodology focuses on creating growth and productivity [...] Read more.
The floodplain forests in West Kazakhstan’s Urals are challenging to study due to complex growth patterns. Existing tables estimate the trunk volume and wood size but lack comprehensive data for effective forest management. A developed research methodology focuses on creating growth and productivity models for forest-forming species across diverse forest types. Multidimensional linear growth models, with dummy variables for species and forest types, offer reliable insights into the average height and diameter changes at different ages. These models facilitate statistical analyses of asynchronous growth with high reliability. Three-level growth models detail regression lines for individual forest-forming species within specific forest types. This article illustrates the construction of a model for black poplar stands in a central floodplain’s medium-level conditions. Furthermore, it highlights the potential for a regional planting classification based on average height gradients at the base age of stands. The presented methodology aims to address the challenges in forest management and forestry in the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural and Natural Ecosystems Restoration after Disturbances)
14 pages, 2503 KiB  
Article
Impacts of Grazing on Vegetation and Soil Physicochemical Properties in Northern Yinshan Mountain Grasslands
by Zhenqi Yang, Ping Miao, Yufeng Zheng and Jianying Guo
Sustainability 2023, 15(22), 16028; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152216028 - 16 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 902
Abstract
The grasslands at the northern foot of the Yinshan Mountains are an integral component of the northern grassland ecosystem in China. The ecosystem in this region has low stability and poor resistance to disturbance. In this study, experiments were conducted to evaluate the [...] Read more.
The grasslands at the northern foot of the Yinshan Mountains are an integral component of the northern grassland ecosystem in China. The ecosystem in this region has low stability and poor resistance to disturbance. In this study, experiments were conducted to evaluate the possible changes in vegetation community structure and soil physicochemical properties due to overgrazing in the grasslands. Completely randomized group experiments were designed with grazing intensity as the single-factor study was conducted using natural grassland located in Xilamuren (in Inner Mongolia, northern China) as the study area. Three blocks were created, each having four plots of different grazing intensities and each block having an area of 100 m × 100 m. The experiments were conducted to evaluate the possible variances both in the structure of the vegetation community and the soil physicochemical properties resulting from overgrazing in the grasslands at the northern foot of Yinshan Mountain. The results were as follows: The importance values of dominant species, such as Heteropappus altaicus and Artimisia gmelinii, exhibited varying degrees of change with an increase in the grazing intensity. The surface vegetation cover decreased significantly with an increase in the grazing intensity. The increasing grazing intensity led to a significant increase in the content of very coarse sand grains in the soil. Severe grazing increased the exposed surface area, intensified the effects of blowing wind and scouring action of water, and led to the coarsening of topsoil particles. At 0–5 cm depth, the bulk density of soil exhibited an increasing tendency with an increase in the grazing intensity. The organic matter content of the soil in the heavily grazed plots decreased by 11.74%, 11.00%, and 14.08%, respectively, when compared to that in the 0–40 cm soil layer with no grazing, light grazing, and moderate grazing. The results emphasized the importance of managing grazing intensity for soil and vegetation restoration. Thus, the effects of short-term grazing (for example, 5 years) on vegetation community composition and species diversity may be less pronounced. This study contributes to our understanding of pasture management and the restoration of grassland species diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural and Natural Ecosystems Restoration after Disturbances)
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14 pages, 2728 KiB  
Article
Transcriptomic Analysis of the Carbon Fixation Pathway in Photosynthetic Organisms of Pugionium cornutum (L.) under Drought Stress
by Hongyu Zhao, Kezhen Ning, Xiaoyan Zhang, Zhongren Yang, Xiumei Huang, Lizhen Hao and Fenglan Zhang
Sustainability 2023, 15(19), 14438; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151914438 - 3 Oct 2023
Viewed by 882
Abstract
In recent years, the problem of crop yield reduction caused by drought has become increasingly serious in countries around the world. China, in particular, is facing a pressing issue of water resource scarcity that is limiting agricultural production and food security. To address [...] Read more.
In recent years, the problem of crop yield reduction caused by drought has become increasingly serious in countries around the world. China, in particular, is facing a pressing issue of water resource scarcity that is limiting agricultural production and food security. To address this, studying the drought resistance of plants is crucial to understanding the limitations of cultivated plants in dealing with drought. It can also contribute to an improvement in plant drought resistance theory and provide a theoretical foundation for sustainable agricultural development. In this study, we used Pugionium corntum (L.) Gaertn. as the experimental material and analyzed the transcriptome data of P. corntum under drought stress using high-throughput Illumina sequencing technology. Under the simulated drought environment, we compared P. corntum with the control and observed that the number of differentially expressed genes involved in the carbon fixation pathway in photosynthetic organisms was 14 and 30 under moderate and severe drought stress, respectively. Our findings revealed the presence of genes related to the C4 cycle pathway in P. corntum, which effectively explains its adaptation mechanism to arid desert environments. This adaptation mechanism alleviates the negative impact of drought on photosynthesis in seedlings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural and Natural Ecosystems Restoration after Disturbances)
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22 pages, 14547 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Development of Industrial Renovation: Renovation Paths of Village-Level Industrial Parks in Pearl River Delta
by Shiran Zhang, Jiaping Yang, Changdong Ye, Weixuan Chen and Yixuan Li
Sustainability 2023, 15(13), 9905; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15139905 - 21 Jun 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1344
Abstract
Driven by manufacturing supply reform and regional industrial transformation and upgrading, village industrial parks are key areas for deepening urban renewal. The complex relationship between various property rights actors is a key factor limiting the sustainable development of village industrial parks, and thus [...] Read more.
Driven by manufacturing supply reform and regional industrial transformation and upgrading, village industrial parks are key areas for deepening urban renewal. The complex relationship between various property rights actors is a key factor limiting the sustainable development of village industrial parks, and thus attracts considerable research. However, existing research is limited to individual cases and lacks systematic approaches to provide effective guidance for the renovation of village industrial parks. In addition, the paper summarises the participation pathways and characteristics of 12 typical cases of village industrial parks in the PRD. This is particularly true for rural industrial parks. The study identifies five scenarios based on the renewal of village collective ownership (government warehousing, land lease to developers, land lease to operating companies, land lease to enterprises, independent management); five situations based on the renewal of market enterprises’ rights of use (regular leasing, government support, abolition on expiry, introduction of enterprises, autonomous management); and four situations based on the renewal of government management rights (land expropriation, unified lease management, policy stimulation, supervision and management). The results are valuable for the research of urban regeneration and sustainable development in the context of government ownership. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural and Natural Ecosystems Restoration after Disturbances)
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15 pages, 3022 KiB  
Article
Leisure Agriculture and Rural Tourism Benefit Analysis on Eco-Environmental Resource Use
by Baoding Sun, Guixia Wang and Yunjia Liu
Sustainability 2023, 15(10), 7930; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15107930 - 12 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2085
Abstract
In recent years, particularly, the expansion of tourism has become more and more prosperous, and along with it, the impact on the natural environment has become greater and greater. As a result of the continuous development of the economy, human activity is having [...] Read more.
In recent years, particularly, the expansion of tourism has become more and more prosperous, and along with it, the impact on the natural environment has become greater and greater. As a result of the continuous development of the economy, human activity is having a greater impact on the natural environment and agricultural depth. The desire to feel more connected to nature and life is leading an increasing number of people to relocate to more rural areas. Because of this, the management and preparation of rural tourism destinations are of utmost significance. This paper presents a study on the analysis of the benefits of the use of ecological and environmental resources driven by the development of leisure agriculture and rural tourism. The study was carried out by the Environmental Economics and Policy Group (EEPG). The primary purpose of this study is to conduct an analysis of the benefits of agroecological environment and resource use in Jilin Province in accordance with the evaluation system of resource and environmental benefits of leisure agriculture. This evaluation will be combined with an analysis of the current situation of resource use and will be based on the principle of net social benefits of resource and environmental supply. The results of the experiments show that the coupling degree of the agricultural economic system in Jilin Province from 2015 to 2021 is greater than 0.9, which places it in the category of high-quality coupling (0.9 ≤ C ≤ 1). The degree of synergy ranges from 0.54608 to 0.78358 and exhibits an upward trend, but it remains in the medium synergy stage (0.50 ≤ D ≤ 8). This paper carries out relevant research on ecological and environmental resource use, which is of great practical significance in promoting the rational use of leisure agricultural resources, and, ultimately, the long-term sustainable development of leisure agriculture. In addition, the paper presents an analysis of the benefits of ecological and environmental resource use promoted by the development of leisure agriculture and rural tourism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural and Natural Ecosystems Restoration after Disturbances)
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15 pages, 3928 KiB  
Article
Screening of Efficient Phenol-Degrading Bacteria and Analysis of Their Degradation Characteristics
by Shuo Chen and Lihui Sun
Sustainability 2023, 15(8), 6788; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15086788 - 18 Apr 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1880
Abstract
A strain with high phenol degradation capacity was isolated from the activated sludge of an urban wastewater treatment system in Panshan County, Liaoning Province, by enrichment culture, gradient domestication and plate delineation, and named strain LA1. After morphological observation of colonies, physiological and [...] Read more.
A strain with high phenol degradation capacity was isolated from the activated sludge of an urban wastewater treatment system in Panshan County, Liaoning Province, by enrichment culture, gradient domestication and plate delineation, and named strain LA1. After morphological observation of colonies, physiological and biochemical identification and 16S rDNA gene sequencing, strain LA1 was initially identified as Stenotrophomonas sp. Examination of environmental factors showed that pH 7, a growth temperature of 35 °C and shaking at 150 r/min were the optimal degradation conditions for strain LA1. Under these culture conditions, strain LA1 could completely degrade 1000 mg/L phenol in 18 h. LA1 is the most powerful strain with phenol-reducing ability among the reported genera, which provides some theoretical basis for the treatment of phenol-containing wastewater and technical support for the sustainable development of the wastewater treatment industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural and Natural Ecosystems Restoration after Disturbances)
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17 pages, 2898 KiB  
Article
Application of AI Identification Method and Technology to Boron Isotope Geochemical Process and Provenance Tracing of Water Pollution in River Basins
by Gang Hou, Hui Yan and Zhengzheng Yu
Sustainability 2023, 15(7), 5942; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15075942 - 29 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1428
Abstract
River water is the most important water source that people can use. Since the 20th century, human influence on river courses has become increasingly serious. The quantitative analysis of water quality is even more difficult. According to the characteristics of Fenhe water chemistry, [...] Read more.
River water is the most important water source that people can use. Since the 20th century, human influence on river courses has become increasingly serious. The quantitative analysis of water quality is even more difficult. According to the characteristics of Fenhe water chemistry, pollution time and pollution control factors, the contribution rate of people in the polluted water body is not clear. Therefore, this paper aims to use AI identification methods and technologies to study water pollution and provenance tracing. The combination of major elements, trace elements and stable isotopes was used to study the chemical characteristics, water quality status, and sources of pollution of the Fenhe water in the Fenhe area. Because the water contains a large number of pollution sources, it is difficult to find the source using traditional methods. Using correlation analysis, principal component analysis, multi-factor regression analysis, trend analysis and other methods, the macroelements and trace elements in the water body of the Fenhe River were analyzed. The boron sources in the Fenhe river were qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed using mass spectrometry equilibrium equation. Using the boron isotope value of the river, it showed a spatial variation of upstream (+5.1‰) < middlestream (+8.6‰) < downstream (+9.5‰) in dry season, and showed a spatial variation of upstream (+6.1‰) < downstream (+7.2‰) < middlestream (+9.0‰) in the wet season. The contribution of silicate to B is calculated by subtracting the contribution of other resources from the comprehensive contribution rate. It is found that the contribution of silicate is about 38.8%, 22% in dry season and 49.2%, 17% in wet season. The research results have provided a reliable scientific basis for the protection of water resources and pollution control in the Fenhe River Basin. Therefore, the above research confirms the role of AI identification method in the process of boron isotope geochemistry and provenance tracing of water pollution in river basins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural and Natural Ecosystems Restoration after Disturbances)
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16 pages, 1190 KiB  
Article
Low Carbon Management of China’s Hotel Tourism through Carbon Emission Trading
by Lei Wang
Sustainability 2023, 15(5), 4622; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15054622 - 5 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2276
Abstract
In recent years, with the continuous improvement in the economic conditions of our people, people pay more and more attention to the spiritual aspect of consumption. Therefore, tourism has developed by leaps and bounds, and the tourism economy has become an important form [...] Read more.
In recent years, with the continuous improvement in the economic conditions of our people, people pay more and more attention to the spiritual aspect of consumption. Therefore, tourism has developed by leaps and bounds, and the tourism economy has become an important form of economic growth in China. However, as the global climate continues to deteriorate, people have begun to seek a sustainable development path, and the concept of low carbon tourism has been put forward, which requires hotels to make certain changes in their management mode in order to adapt to the concept of low carbon tourism in the new era. Since carbon trading is an important means for the promotion of carbon dioxide emission reduction, this paper explores the emission reduction effect and transmission mechanism of the carbon trading pilot through a spatial double difference model based on the study of spatial characteristics. The experiment shows that carbon trading not only effectively promotes local CO2 emission reduction, but also has a certain spillover effect on the surrounding areas. In addition, carbon trading can promote the economic growth of the pilot areas and the neighboring regions, and drive CO2 emission reduction at the same time. The paper concludes with an analysis of how to strengthen policy and behavioral guidance, improve government regulatory mechanisms, reduce environmental pollution in hotel tourism, and ensure that the model of hotel management meets the needs of the industry from the perspective of low carbon tourism under the situation of information symmetry and asymmetry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural and Natural Ecosystems Restoration after Disturbances)
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18 pages, 4532 KiB  
Article
Changes in Microfine Particle Migration of Ionic Rare Earth Ores during Leaching
by Yunchuan Deng, Yinhua Wan, Hongdong Yu, Shijie Kang, Yang Deng and Jie Yang
Sustainability 2023, 15(4), 3867; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15043867 - 20 Feb 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1581
Abstract
The hydration mechanism between the leaching agent and ore surface during the leaching process of ionic rare earth ore is complicated, and the inter-particle bridge cementation is prone to fracture due to the existence of multiple forces and dispersion during ion adsorption and [...] Read more.
The hydration mechanism between the leaching agent and ore surface during the leaching process of ionic rare earth ore is complicated, and the inter-particle bridge cementation is prone to fracture due to the existence of multiple forces and dispersion during ion adsorption and exchange, resulting in migration and rearrangement of microfine particles, and precipitation at the pore throat, producing blockage phenomenon and affecting the leaching efficiency of ionic rare earths. In order to reveal the migration law of microfine particles during in situ leaching of ionic rare earth ores and to find suitable regulation methods, this paper investigates the effects of leaching agent mass concentration, viscosity, flow rate, hydraulic gradient, ore body height, and ore body water content on the migration of microfine particles. We compared ionic rare earth ores as raw ores and rare earth ores with particle sizes ranging from 0.075 to 0.09 mm using the laboratory column leaching method. The results showed that the migration of microfine particles during ionic rare earth ore leaching was an important factor affecting leaching efficiency. Under the action of external forces, the microfine particles tended to migrate with the leaching agent during the leaching process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural and Natural Ecosystems Restoration after Disturbances)
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