Special Issue "Assessment, Mitigation and Restoration of Ecosystems in a Changing World"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Carlos Sanz-Lazaro
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Ecology, Multidisciplinary Institute for Environmental Studies (MIES), University of Alicante, PO Box 99, E-03080, Alicante, Spain
Interests: aquaculture-environment interactons; coastal pollution; plastic pollution;biogeochemistry; extreme events; ecosystem functioning; climate change; seagrass ecology; ecotoxicology; plastic biodegradation; invasive species; multiple stressors
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ecosystems are threatened by numerous environmental pressures derived from anthropogenic activities. To the “classical” pollutants, new emerging pollutants are appearing, along with pressures related to climate change that are becoming of increasing importance. All this is causing a complex scenario of ecosystems being affected by multiple stressors.

Thus, it is becoming more challenging to reliably assess the environmental status of ecosystems, using integrative approaches that allow us to evaluate how ecosystem functions and services to society can be affected. This is a necessary step, to decide if mitigation and restoration actions are needed to be taken and how they should be performed.

We present this Special Issue, “Assessment, Mitigation and Restoration of Ecosystems in a Changing World” to bring together multidisciplinary approaches and fresh ideas that can be combined with state-of-the-art techniques and procedures. The aim of this Special Issue is to advance this area of knowledge and to contribute to the preservation of the environment.

We invite researchers to contribute with original research articles on issues related to this topic.

Prof. Dr. Carlos Sanz-Lazaro
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. 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 1800 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

  • Environmental assessment
  • Mitigation and restoration of ecosystems
  • Climate change
  • Environmental stressors
  • Pollution, emerging pollutants
  • Ecosystem based approach
  • Multiple stressors

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
The Valuation of Grassland Ecosystem Services in Inner Mongolia of China and Its Spatial Differences
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7117; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247117 - 12 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Economic valuation of grassland ecosystem services is important for protecting and restoring grassland ecosystems. This study aims to investigate Chinese netizens’ willingness-to-pay (WTP) for protecting grassland ecosystem services in Inner Mongolia by using the contingent valuation method. The results indicate that 61.55% of [...] Read more.
Economic valuation of grassland ecosystem services is important for protecting and restoring grassland ecosystems. This study aims to investigate Chinese netizens’ willingness-to-pay (WTP) for protecting grassland ecosystem services in Inner Mongolia by using the contingent valuation method. The results indicate that 61.55% of respondents expressed a positive WTP. The mean WTP was estimated to be CNY 170.76 (USD 25.11) per person per year. We found that there is a significant spatial difference in respondent’s WTP. Factors such as respondent age, education, household income and concern about grassland protection significantly affected their WTP. Younger, more educated and wealthier respondents have a higher probability of willingness to pay, and those who are concerned about grassland protection present a higher WTP. The regression results also show that distance from the grassland negatively affects the probability and values of people’s WTP. Findings of this research provide useful policy implications for decision-makers involved in grassland protection and management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Climate Change Affects Forest Productivity in a Typical Climate Transition Region of China
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2856; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102856 - 20 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
As global climate change has a large effect on the structure and function of vegetation, it is very important to understand how forests in climate transition regions respond to climate change. The present study investigates the net primary productivity (NPP) of two planted [...] Read more.
As global climate change has a large effect on the structure and function of vegetation, it is very important to understand how forests in climate transition regions respond to climate change. The present study investigates the net primary productivity (NPP) of two planted forests (Robinia pseudoacacia and Pinus tabulaeformis) and one natural forest (Quercus wutaishanica) from 1951–2100 using the LPJ-GUESS model in the Shaanxi province of China, which is a typical transition region from humid to dry climates. We found that: (1) Future annual precipitation and mean temperature exhibited nonsignificant and significant increasing trend in the region, respectively, indicating a drier climate in future; (2) although precipitation would increase in the dry area and decrease in the humid area, the NPP of each species in the dry area would be lower than that of the humid area, possibly because increasing temperature and CO2 concentration could restrain forest growth in dry areas and promote forest growth in humid areas; (3) of the three species, P. tabulaeformis forest exhibited the highest average NPP and R. pseudoacacia forest exhibited the highest NPP trend in both dry and humid areas, indicating these planted species may be adaptable to future climate change. Our results provide novel insights into the potential response of forest productivity to a changing climate in the transition region from humid to dry climates. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment on Island Ecological Vulnerability to Urbanization: A Tale of Chongming Island, China
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2536; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092536 - 01 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The twenty first century has witnessed an emerging research interest in island urbanization, which will set further pressure on island ecological vulnerability (IEV), especially in those islands with a fixed link to the mainland. In this contribution, the IEV of eighteen towns and [...] Read more.
The twenty first century has witnessed an emerging research interest in island urbanization, which will set further pressure on island ecological vulnerability (IEV), especially in those islands with a fixed link to the mainland. In this contribution, the IEV of eighteen towns and townships in Chongming Island is assessed based on an “exposure (E)-sensitivity (S)-adaptive capacity (A)” framework and by means of the entropy weight method for determination of the weight of fifteen indicators. The assessment results show that: (1) An index system consisting of 1 objective, 3 sub-objectives, 8 elements, and 15 indicators can be established and tested to reflect the IEV to island urbanization; (2) The overall ecological vulnerability of Chongming Island to urbanization is at a rather low level, with only three out of eighteen towns and townships at a moderate high and high IEV level, while the spatial distribution of IEV surrounds Chengqiao, the seat of the district government, and radiates in a fan-shaped manner; (3) Chengqiao inevitably leads among the towns and townships in its IEV value, and its westward urbanization has adversely affected the IEV of adjacent towns Xinhe and Jianshe. (4) Chenjia’s moderate low level of IEV comes as a surprise to the authors, due largely to its proximity to Shanghai. Our proposed E-S-A framework and assessment model could be rationally applied to similar islands with fixed links to the mainland nationally and internationally, which is the major contribution of our study. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Predictors of Drought in Inland Valley Landscapes and Enabling Factors for Rice Farmers’ Mitigation Measures in the Sudan-Sahel Zone
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010079 - 24 Dec 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Drought is a noteworthy cause of low agricultural profitability and of crop production vulnerability, yet in numerous countries of Africa little to no consideration has been paid to readiness for drought calamity, particularly to spatial evaluation and indicators of drought occurrence. In this [...] Read more.
Drought is a noteworthy cause of low agricultural profitability and of crop production vulnerability, yet in numerous countries of Africa little to no consideration has been paid to readiness for drought calamity, particularly to spatial evaluation and indicators of drought occurrence. In this study, biophysical and socio-economic data, farmers’ community surveys and secondary data from remote sensing on soil characteristics and water demand were used to evaluate the predictors of drought in inland valley rice-based production systems and the factors affecting farmers’ mitigation measures. The study intervened in three West African countries located in the Sudan-Sahel zone, viz. Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria. Significant drying trends occurred at latitudes below 11°30′ whilst significant wetting trends were discerned at latitude above 11°30′. Droughts were more frequent and had their longest duration in the states of Niger and Kaduna located in Nigeria and in western Burkina Faso during the period 1995–2014. Among 21 candidate predictors, average annual standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index and duration of groundwater availability were the most important predictors of drought occurrence in inland valleys rice based-production systems. Land ownership and gender affected the commitment of rice farmers to use any mitigation measure against drought. Drought studies in inland valleys should include climatic water balance and groundwater data. Securing property rights and focusing on women’s association would improve farmers’ resilience and advance drought mitigation measures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of the Effects of Climate Change on Evapotranspiration with an Improved Elasticity Method in a Nonhumid Area
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4589; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124589 - 04 Dec 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Climatic elasticity is a crucial metric to assess the hydrological influence of climate change. Based on the Budyko equation, this study performed an analytical derivation of the climatic elasticity of evapotranspiration (ET). With this derived elasticity, it is possible to quantitatively [...] Read more.
Climatic elasticity is a crucial metric to assess the hydrological influence of climate change. Based on the Budyko equation, this study performed an analytical derivation of the climatic elasticity of evapotranspiration (ET). With this derived elasticity, it is possible to quantitatively separate the impacts of precipitation, air temperature, net radiation, relative humidity, and wind speed on ET in a watershed. This method was applied in the Wuding River Watershed (WRW), located in the center of the Yellow River Watershed of China. The estimated rate of change in ET caused by climatic variables is −10.69 mm/decade, which is close to the rate of change in ET (−8.06 mm/decade) derived from observable data. The accurate estimation with the elasticity method demonstrates its reliability. Our analysis shows that ET in the WRW had a significant downward trend, but the ET ratio in the WRW has increased continually over the past 52 years. Decreasing precipitation is the first-order cause for the reduction of ET, and decreasing net radiation is the secondary cause. Weakening wind speed also contributed to this reduction. In contrast, regional warming led to an increase in ET that partly offset the negative contributions from other climatic variables. Moreover, reforestation can affect the energy budget of a watershed by decreasing albedo, compensating for the negative influence of global dimming. The integrated effect from precipitation and temperature can affect the energy budget of a watershed by causing a large fluctuation in winter albedo. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Shifting Gears for the Use of the Shifting Baseline Syndrome in Ecological Restoration
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1458; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051458 - 09 Mar 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
There are two barriers to accomplishing restoration of ecosystems: insufficient information about historical baselines to guide restoration, and shifts between the actual baselines and perceptions about historical conditions. These two conditions generate a phenomenon called shifting baseline syndrome (SBS). Our study systematically reviewed [...] Read more.
There are two barriers to accomplishing restoration of ecosystems: insufficient information about historical baselines to guide restoration, and shifts between the actual baselines and perceptions about historical conditions. These two conditions generate a phenomenon called shifting baseline syndrome (SBS). Our study systematically reviewed and quantitatively analyzed the SBS studies. There is an increase and subsequent stabilization in the number of publications, 32% of scientific articles added new information and 5% of them delivered biological and social information required to demonstrate the SBS presence. Meta-analysis conducted showed an inconsistency between biological and social data. The inclusion of a greater amount of species in the biological data compared to social data produced the inconsistency. There must be an improvement in reporting both biological and social information to assess SBS. The integration of both sources of information would also enhance the success of restoration projects. The consideration of perceptions about resource users are also in accordance with global agreements about sustainable use of natural resources and ecological restoration. Full article
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