Special Issue "Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Giuseppe Modica Website E-Mail
Dipartimento di Agraria, Università degli Studi Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria, Località Feo di Vito I-89122 Reggio Calabria, Italy
Phone: +39-0965-1694261
Fax: +39-0965-312681
Interests: Land cover and land use change dynamics; Satellite and UAV remote sensing; landscape analysis and interpretation; remote sensing of vegetation; Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis (GEOBIA)
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Andrea De Montis E-Mail
Dipartimento di Agraria, University of Sassari, viale Italia, 39, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Phone: +39 3209225566
Fax: +39 079 229243
Interests: landscape planning; regional planning; environmental evaluation; multicriteria evaluation; complex networks

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Landscape is the dynamic result of the interactions between human activities and natural drivers. It is our living natural and cultural heritage and has an important public interest. The achievement of sustainable land use involves a balanced and harmonious fulfillment of three well-known pillars: Social needs, economic development, and environmental protection. Thus, a major issue in contemporary rural governance is the correct compromise between land use expansion and intensification for satisfying ever-growing human-needs—a major driver of habitat and natural resources loss—and the decline of rural populations and traditional land uses, leading to the abandonment of marginal areas. Moreover, rural/urban landscapes are still undergoing rapid changes connected to the loss of agricultural land, resulting in a mix of fragmented ecosystems.

With respect to the argument above, this Special Issue welcomes theoretical and case study contributions dealing with sustainable landscape governance at local and regional scales. Typical contributions deal with natural areas, rural landscapes, urban landscapes, metropolitan regions, ecosystem services, and human-environment systems around the world. Innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to the support of community-based landscape governance in rural as well as urban/rural areas are very much encouraged. We also welcome papers from broadly defined topics that are relevant to the theme of this Special Issue.

Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Modica
Prof. Dr. Andrea De Montis
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.

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Keywords

  • sustainable land uses
  • green infrastructures in urban/rural environments
  • sustainable landscapes and indicators
  • planning for sustainability
  • landscape change trajectories
  • ecosystem services
  • rural governance

Published Papers (27 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Population-Based Simulation of Urban Growth: The Italian Case Study
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4838; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124838 - 18 Dec 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Land take is one of the most studied phenomena in land use science. The increased attention to the issue of urban growth from both scientists and decision makers is justified by the dramatic negative effects on land use caused by anthropogenic activities. Within [...] Read more.
Land take is one of the most studied phenomena in land use science. The increased attention to the issue of urban growth from both scientists and decision makers is justified by the dramatic negative effects on land use caused by anthropogenic activities. Within this context, researchers have developed and explored several models to forecast land use changes, some of which establish excellent scenario-based predictions of urban growth. However, there is still a lack of operative and user-friendly tools to be integrated into standard urban planning procedures. This paper explores the features of the recently published model FUTure Urban-Regional Environment Simulation integrated into the GRASSGIS environment, which generates urban growth simulation based on a plethora of driving variables. Specifically, the model was applied to the case study of urbanization in the Italian national territory. Hence, the aim of this work is to analyze the importance of population dynamics within the process of urban growth. A simulation of urban growth up to the year 2035 was performed. Results show that, despite the importance given to demographic aspects when defining urban policies over the last several decades, additional factors need to be considered during planning processes to overcome the housing issues currently experienced in Italy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
On the Use of Satellite Sentinel 2 Data for Automatic Mapping of Burnt Areas and Burn Severity
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3889; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113889 - 25 Oct 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this paper, we present and discuss the preliminary tools we devised for the automatic recognition of burnt areas and burn severity developed in the framework of the EU-funded SERV_FORFIRE project. The project is focused on the set up of operational services for [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present and discuss the preliminary tools we devised for the automatic recognition of burnt areas and burn severity developed in the framework of the EU-funded SERV_FORFIRE project. The project is focused on the set up of operational services for fire monitoring and mitigation specifically devised for decision-makers and planning authorities. The main objectives of SERV_FORFIRE are: (i) to create a bridge between observations, model development, operational products, information translation and user uptake; and (ii) to contribute to creating an international collaborative community made up of researchers and decision-makers and planning authorities. For the purpose of this study, investigations into a fire burnt area were conducted in the south of Italy from a fire that occurred on 10 August 2017, affecting both the protected natural site of Pignola (Potenza, South of Italy) and agricultural lands. Sentinel 2 data were processed to identify and map different burnt areas and burn severity levels. Local Index for Statistical Analyses LISA were used to overcome the limits of fixed threshold values and to devise an automatic approach that is easier to re-apply to diverse ecosystems and geographic regions. The validation was assessed using 15 random plots selected from in situ analyses performed extensively in the investigated burnt area. The field survey showed a success rate of around 95%, whereas the commission and omission errors were around 3% of and 2%, respectively. Overall, our findings indicate that the use of Sentinel 2 data allows the development of standardized burn severity maps to evaluate fire effects and address post-fire management activities that support planning, decision-making, and mitigation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Historic Rural Landscapes: Sustainable Planning Strategies and Action Criteria. The Italian Experience in the Global and European Context
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3834; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113834 - 23 Oct 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
This paper focuses on the historic and cultural dimension of landscape, in relation to the holistic and dynamic approach today required in landscape research. In this direction, the Authors investigate the present role played by historical rural landscapes in relation to their multifaceted [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on the historic and cultural dimension of landscape, in relation to the holistic and dynamic approach today required in landscape research. In this direction, the Authors investigate the present role played by historical rural landscapes in relation to their multifaceted character and function. In recent years there has been an ever-growing appreciation of their cultural value, depending on the differential speed of environmental change (relatively high) and people’s adaptation to it (relatively slow), as a matter of compensation. Although reference is often made to the global and the European contexts, Italy is given special attention, since the long history of civilization known by its rural landscapes makes them particularly worthy of consideration and offers a wide variety of examples assuming a more general interest. The main changes occurred in the Italian rural landscapes over the last two centuries are described by referring to their main causes and to the parallel change observed in the urban-rural dialectic. The notion of “cultural landscape”, as it emerges from the international debate and documents, is applied to historic rural landscapes, according to a varied range of conditions and characteristics. Knowledge, identification, interpretation and characterization are fundamental actions to define sustainable landscape management strategies. These last should be diversified according to landscape character, functionality, integrity and obsolescence, not being limited to outstanding landscapes only but considering all rural landscapes as heritage. To this end, heritage strategies and policies must go together with agricultural sectorial policies, since agriculture and farmers are the major actors of rural landscape protection and transformation. EU Common Agricultural Policy is considered by focusing on its effect on rural landscape and proposals coming from the heritage experts for its future implementation are examined. Emerging strategic measures and action criteria are singled out and presented. In any case, to protect historic rural landscapes, balanced change-dynamics and development vitality should be strengthened if present, introduced if not, so as to assure resilience. Neo-rurality today expresses the search for sustainable lifestyles, green development models and a better quality of life, implicitly offering new opportunities for the revitalisation of historic rural landscapes. Finally, a holistic approach and multidisciplinary cooperation are needed to allow for an effective synthesis of the many cultural visions, which today concern the theme of landscape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Rural Governance against Eucalyptus Expansion in Galicia (NW Iberian Peninsula)
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3396; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103396 - 24 Sep 2018
Abstract
Researchers, planners, and decision makers admit the need to take into account the social conflicts inherent to invasive species management in order to minimize controversy. These conflicts are mainly based on differences in values systems, thus causing antithetical policies in environmental management. On [...] Read more.
Researchers, planners, and decision makers admit the need to take into account the social conflicts inherent to invasive species management in order to minimize controversy. These conflicts are mainly based on differences in values systems, thus causing antithetical policies in environmental management. On the topic of Eucalyptus plantations, this paper studies two cases in Galicia, a region under an emerging social fight between advocates and opponents: firstly, we analyze a local community that is progressively eradicating Eucalyptus through the principles of ecological restoration; and secondly, a planning initiative led by a local government with a common goal. In order to set the spatial and social dimensions of the conflict, the methodological approach is based on the components of cognitive hierarchy theory and risk perception theory. The results are discussed with the purpose of examining to what extent the case studies imply a new model of rural governance, and in this respect, are transferrable to other situations. We conclude that institutional non-interference in Eucalyptus management facilitates the emergence of diverse new governance practices in the local scale but endures the conflict in its regional dimension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Integration between GIS and Multi-Criteria Analysis for Ecosystem Services Assessment: A Methodological Proposal for the National Park of Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni (Italy)
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3329; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093329 - 18 Sep 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Ecosystem services play a fundamental role in society; their characteristics and the production of their natural generated capital are fundamental elements in the functioning of the support system of life on Earth. The loss of ecosystem services contributes to food and energy uncertainty, [...] Read more.
Ecosystem services play a fundamental role in society; their characteristics and the production of their natural generated capital are fundamental elements in the functioning of the support system of life on Earth. The loss of ecosystem services contributes to food and energy uncertainty, increases vulnerability to natural disasters, such as floods or tropical storms, decreases the level of health, reduces the availability and quality of water resources and affects cultural heritage. This study has conducted a quantitative estimate of ecosystem services and their evaluation for a wide, complex and sensitive area: The National Park of Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni, in Southern Italy. The assessment has been undertaken via a preliminary, partial evaluation model and further through the TOPSIS method. Research results have led to a scenario highlighting a dualism on the territory shaped by the differences between internal and coastal areas, defining themselves as complementary and necessary to each other. To improve the sustainable use of territorial resources, it is necessary to adopt policies and strategies from those that are available, always taking into account any possible conflict between conservation and development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Monitoring Mediterranean Oak Decline in a Peri-Urban Protected Area Using the NDVI and Sentinel-2 Images: The Case Study of Castelporziano State Natural Reserve
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3308; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093308 - 16 Sep 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Climate change and human activities in particular are important causes of the possible variations in Mediterranean basin forest health conditions. Over the last decades, deciduous oak-forest mortality has been a recurrent problem in central and southern Italy. Despite the perception of increasingly visible [...] Read more.
Climate change and human activities in particular are important causes of the possible variations in Mediterranean basin forest health conditions. Over the last decades, deciduous oak-forest mortality has been a recurrent problem in central and southern Italy. Despite the perception of increasingly visible damage in oak forests in drought sites, the role of various environmental factors in their decline is not completely clear. Among the modern methods of monitoring terrestrial ecosystems, remote sensing is of prime importance thanks to its ability to provide synoptic information on large areas with a high frequency of acquisition. This paper reports the preliminary results regarding a replicable and low cost monitoring tool planned to quantify forest health conditions based on the application of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), using the diachronic images provided by the Sentinel-2 satellite. The study area is represented by a peri-urban forest of natural Mediterranean deciduous oaks, characterized by a high variability in the composition of the species and in the silvicultural structures. In order to monitor the health conditions of a specific forest canopy cover with remote sensing data, it is necessary to classify the forest canopy cover in advance to separate it from other species and from the Mediterranean scrub. This is due to the spatial distribution of vegetation and the high rate of biodiversity in the Mediterranean natural environment. To achieve this, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data, forest management data and field sampling data were analyzed. The main results of this research show a widespread decline in oak health conditions over the observed period (2015–2017). Specifically, for the studied area, thanks to the specific localization of the oak canopy cover, we detected a high potential concerning the Sentinel-2 data application in monitoring forest health conditions by NDVI application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Urban Fragmentation at Regional Scale Using Sprinkling Indexes
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3274; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093274 - 13 Sep 2018
Cited by 20
Abstract
Artificial land use trends could represent an effective indicator of the settlement process quality and could also provide information about the efficacy of protection and exploitation policies in natural and rural areas. This work discusses an analytic procedure for the time series investigation [...] Read more.
Artificial land use trends could represent an effective indicator of the settlement process quality and could also provide information about the efficacy of protection and exploitation policies in natural and rural areas. This work discusses an analytic procedure for the time series investigation of urban settlement development at the regional scale to verify the nexus between urban growth and demographic trends connected with the phenomenon of land take. In Italy, since 1950, the land take phenomenon has been a consequence of several factors: urbanization, realization of transport infrastructures including ports, airports, and highways, and the enhancement of industrial and productive systems. We analyzed all these territorial transformations that create waterproof soil, and more generally, a transition from natural and semi-natural uses toward artificial land use. After World War II, the demographic growth and the consequent housing demand generated a strong urbanization process in the main poles of economic development areas in Italy. Since the early 2000s, the situation has completely changed and the land take phenomenon is no longer mainly based on real need for new urban expansion areas based on effective urban planning tools, but is strongly related to a scattered demand for new housing in a weak territorial spatial planning system not able to drive effective urban development that minimizes speculative real estate initiatives. This uncontrolled occupation of soil generated, in Italy, a landscape fragmentation called the urban sprinkling phenomenon, different from urban sprawl, which is a wider phenomenon characterized by disordered urban growth. The present document aims to assess how uncontrolled expansion in areas characterized by low settlement density can generate fragmentation. To define if the territory is affected by the urban sprinkling phenomenon, two 50-year time series concerning urban expansion of buildings and demographic trends are analyzed calculating population and building density indices and their variation over the years. The sprinkling index is used to analyze the variation in the fragmentation degree at two different scales (regional and municipal). Finally, we discuss the context where this phenomenon has developed, analyzing the buildings located in hydrogeological risk zones and protected areas, and the correlation between demographic changes and the degree of territorial fragmentation variation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Potential of 3D Visualization for Collaborative Rural Landscape Planning with Remote Participants
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3059; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093059 - 28 Aug 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Rural populations are aging and declining, which has reduced the capacity for rural landscape conservation. Thus, collaborative governance with non-local stakeholders is essential to foster innovative ideas by combining knowledge bases. In the current digital era, remote actors can play a part in [...] Read more.
Rural populations are aging and declining, which has reduced the capacity for rural landscape conservation. Thus, collaborative governance with non-local stakeholders is essential to foster innovative ideas by combining knowledge bases. In the current digital era, remote actors can play a part in rural governance across boundaries through information technology. This study focused on the potential of 3D visualization for rural landscape planning and examined the effects and challenges of using 3D models for collaboration with non-local stakeholders. We conducted a survey with remote participants about a rural village landscape, using 3D models created from drone-shot aerial photos, and then discussed the findings with local stakeholders in a workshop in the village. We found that, by using 3D models, various opinions could be obtained from non-local stakeholders who had never seen the actual landscape. They used the 3D model to view the landscape from various perspectives and it enabled participants to accurately grasp local situations and problems. However, some of the opinions gathered in the survey were unrealistic for actual landscape planning. We conclude that 3D models are a useful tool to incorporate external opinions into rural landscape planning across temporal and spatial boundaries, to maintain healthy rural landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Sustainable Food Systems Governance in EU’s Outermost Regions—The Case of the Azores in Portugal
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3057; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093057 - 28 Aug 2018
Abstract
The European Union’s (EU) remote rural areas undergo unique organizational challenges to counteract geopolitical, economic, and environmental constraints and engage in a competitive global food market. A one size fits all recipe to mend specific issues has also proven inefficient and led policy-makers [...] Read more.
The European Union’s (EU) remote rural areas undergo unique organizational challenges to counteract geopolitical, economic, and environmental constraints and engage in a competitive global food market. A one size fits all recipe to mend specific issues has also proven inefficient and led policy-makers to acknowledge the importance of implementing sustainable landscape governance to promote rural development. This paper inquires what are the challenges and opportunities food systems must adopt in a sustainable landscape governance approach, based on a qualitative research work carried out in the Azores Region (Portugal) in 2016. Data was gathered via eleven semi-structured interviews to key stakeholders and participatory observation in six events related to the management of the Azores’ food system. A grounded theory method structured qualitatively research participants’ perceptions about the Region’s food regime. This analysis is hereby furthered according to the four criteria proposed by the sustainable landscape governance assessment method. Our results indicate the lack of coordination among actors, institutions and policies in the Azores Region could be counteracted by promoting inclusive participation and integrated knowledge to attain cohesive, sustainable, and efficient outcomes at the landscape level. The methodology has proven to be adequate and instrumental in identifying sustainable landscape governance issues in other food systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Green Payment and Perceived Rural Landscape Quality: A Cost-Benefit Analysis in Central Italy
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2910; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082910 - 16 Aug 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The conservation of perceived scenery of traditional extensive and diversified landscapes is a valuable aim for reaching sustainable rural development. Considering the financial budget assigned and the application rules of European Union agricultural policy (Common Agricultural Policy—CAP), the relationship between perceived landscape benefits [...] Read more.
The conservation of perceived scenery of traditional extensive and diversified landscapes is a valuable aim for reaching sustainable rural development. Considering the financial budget assigned and the application rules of European Union agricultural policy (Common Agricultural Policy—CAP), the relationship between perceived landscape benefits and CAP first pillar payments is an interesting aspect to analyze. In this study, a cost-benefit analysis has been carried out in a rural area of Central Italy that represents typical Italian conditions of hilly territories. Greening payment, a mechanism aimed to boost public goods, including landscapes and their ecological functionality, was selected as a proxy for policy cost of preserving traditional extensive landscapes. The benefits of greening have been evaluated through the analysis of the people’s willingness to pay for the maintenance of extensive and diversified landscapes. The analysis conducted does not explicitly consider the full range of environmental benefits determined by greening, even if some interviewees may have perceived them in addition to the visual perception of the rural landscape. The present study can contribute to the debate on the agricultural policy post-2020, especially for a future definition of long-lasting and cost-effective sustainable interventions in hilly and extensive rural landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Visual Landscape Quality as Viewed from Motorways in Spain
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2592; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082592 - 24 Jul 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Motorways are large infrastructures that alter the environmental resources in a territory, while constituting an important element through which the individual comes into contact with the landscape. Motorways are integrated in the landscape through their layout design and construction, the aesthetic details of [...] Read more.
Motorways are large infrastructures that alter the environmental resources in a territory, while constituting an important element through which the individual comes into contact with the landscape. Motorways are integrated in the landscape through their layout design and construction, the aesthetic details of minor structures (design and building materials) and the treatment of embankments and landscape planting. In this paper, we test the following hypotheses: motorway elements are related to the perception of landscape quality—from the point of view of the road users—and the aesthetic characteristics of minor infrastructures and planting affect the quality of the landscape perceived from the roads. These research questions were tested by comparing the visual quality of the landscapes captured in 128 photographs taken from sections of motorways in Spain. We compared the results obtained from (a) a photo-based method, and (b) the public’s landscape preferences determined using a survey of 737 people. The results show a correlation between the landscape quality values obtained using the model and the landscape preferences expressed by the public. We also found that the presence of the motorway elements and their aesthetic characteristics are significant in the users’ perception. These results can be applied in the decision-making process for potential investments to integrate new and existing motorways in the landscape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Peri-Urbanization and Rurbanization in Leiria City: the Importance of a Planning Framework
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2501; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072501 - 17 Jul 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
The objective of this study is to evaluate the spatial and temporal dynamics of land use in the city of Leiria, which is located in central Portugal, and its relation to the planning framework. The analysis is based on land-use change recognition in [...] Read more.
The objective of this study is to evaluate the spatial and temporal dynamics of land use in the city of Leiria, which is located in central Portugal, and its relation to the planning framework. The analysis is based on land-use change recognition in the period 1958–2011, calculation of the stability grade indicator, the losses and gains between classes, and the rate of artificialization. The results show an increase of the artificial areas, namely in continuous and discontinuous urban fabric, contrasting with a continuous decrease of the agricultural land-use classes, giving origin to peri-urbanization and rurbanization processes. We can also observe a large fragmentation of the landscape in the city of Leiria, representing rapid urban expansion that is fundamentally related to the increase of residential and industrial areas, and afterwards, tertiary growth. This study also demonstrated the relation of a land-use and planning framework that works as a driving force for land-use changes. This underlines the importance of strategic regional planning instruments in managing urban sprawl and the artificialization processes of medium-sized cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Assessing Mismatches in the Provision of Urban Ecosystem Services to Support Spatial Planning: A Case Study on Recreation and Food Supply in Havana, Cuba
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2165; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072165 - 25 Jun 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Integrating information about how ecosystem services (ES) are provided and benefited from in spatial planning is essential to enhance quality of life in urban areas. This study aims to assess mismatches in the provision of urban ES. Specifically, it compares the amount of [...] Read more.
Integrating information about how ecosystem services (ES) are provided and benefited from in spatial planning is essential to enhance quality of life in urban areas. This study aims to assess mismatches in the provision of urban ES. Specifically, it compares the amount of services that urban dwellers currently benefit from with the capacity of green spaces to provide service and the ES demand, in order to assess two mismatches: “unsustainable flow” and “unsatisfied demand”, respectively. We focus on two ES, recreation and food supply, and conduct an empirical study in two adjacent municipalities of the city of Havana, Cuba. The methodological approach includes: the identification of services providing and demanding areas; and the quantification of mismatches by carrying out a spatial comparison between critical capacity and flow, and demand and flow. Results show that urban green spaces may be potentially exposed to overcrowding. Concerning food supply, a mismatch between demand and flow emerged in both of the municipalities. The assessment can support planners in addressing the sustainable use of green spaces and the equitable distribution of ES benefits. However, its applicability requires a deep understanding of local specificities, including demand levels, accessibility to ES, and sustainability thresholds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
The Fourth Regime of Open Space
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2143; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072143 - 23 Jun 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
This article reinterprets open space as the theatre of adaptive regimes in the interfering wakes of two major waves of transformation: the agricultural and the urban transformation. The aim of the wave regime concept is to accommodate traditional and emerging land uses in [...] Read more.
This article reinterprets open space as the theatre of adaptive regimes in the interfering wakes of two major waves of transformation: the agricultural and the urban transformation. The aim of the wave regime concept is to accommodate traditional and emerging land uses in a logical scheme of co-existing regimes separated by transition waves in space and time. Each wave corresponds to a transitional stage from one set to another set of value regime, which by the agents of the transformation is interpreted as a major value increase. The current struggle for space and the difficult interpretations of quality and sustainability can be explained as expressions of competition between value regimes. These value regimes tend to be driven and perpetuated by customary paradigms of land-use planning and management (urban planning, ecology, agronomy, etc.). Land-use sectors ask for rather unambiguous definitions and clear use rights of land use categories and zoning, leaving limited possibility for interaction, mixed regimes and innovative multifunctional land-use. New service demands, new sustainability and resilience urgencies challenge these customary land-use planning paradigms and their rules and instruments. This paper acknowledges a third wave and consequent fourth regime. This regime seeks overall increased sustainability and resilience in open spaces, stressing the strategic importance of unsealed soils and other life conditioning substrates. Different existing land-use models, such as “transition towns”, “agroforestry” and many more, can be interpreted as fourth regime examples, but altogether there is a need for more coordination or integration to turn the third wave concept into a real “wave”. A specific target is to scan territories for characteristics and values according to the prevailing regimes, and assess each unit in terms of third wave transition opportunities, even within active uses that may be at odds with customary rules and expectations. This is illustrated for cases of illegal intake of farmland for non-agricultural activities and for domestic gardens as a missing category in customary rural and land use policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
A Geographical Analysis of the Poverty Causes in China’s Contiguous Destitute Areas
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1895; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061895 - 06 Jun 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
One of the most critical development problems in China is the existence of a considerable number of contiguous destitute areas (also known as regional poverty), and the causes behind such regional poverty might structurally differ by geographical characteristics. To deal with the problem, [...] Read more.
One of the most critical development problems in China is the existence of a considerable number of contiguous destitute areas (also known as regional poverty), and the causes behind such regional poverty might structurally differ by geographical characteristics. To deal with the problem, this paper, based on the “Three Nature” theory of New Economic Geography, first establishes an analytical index system of poverty causes, and then uses the gray relational method to identify the causes of poverty in 14 contiguous destitute areas. The results show that, at present, the main poverty causes in the mountain areas in eastern part of China, such as the Dabie mountain area, the Yanshan-Taihang mountain area and the southern Greater Khingan mountain area, are the shortage of human capital and information technology. In contrast, the main factors behind regional poverty in the central mountain areas such as the LuoXiao mountain area, the Lvliang mountain area and the Wuling mountain area are poor transport, locational and other natural factors. The western mountain regions such as Tibet, Tibetan areas in four provinces, South Xinjiang’s three districts and the West Yunnan border area are especially affected by natural endowments, but each area’s specific cause for poverty is different from one another. Finally, this paper discusses relevant policy issues regarding the fact that poverty causes are different by distinct natural factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Towards Spatial Composite Indicators: A Case Study on Sardinian Landscape
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1369; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051369 - 27 Apr 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Composite Indicators (CIs) recently earned popularity as decision-support tool in policy-making for their ability to give concise measures of complex phenomena. Despite growing diffusion of the use of CI in policy-making, current research has barely addressed the issue of the spatial dimension of [...] Read more.
Composite Indicators (CIs) recently earned popularity as decision-support tool in policy-making for their ability to give concise measures of complex phenomena. Despite growing diffusion of the use of CI in policy-making, current research has barely addressed the issue of the spatial dimension of input data and of final indicator scores. Nowadays the spatial dimension of data plays a crucial role in analysis, thanks to recent developments in spatial data infrastructures which has enabled seamless access to a large amount of geographic information. In addition, recent developments in spatial statistical techniques are facilitating the understanding of the presence of spatial effects among data, spatial dependence and spatial heterogeneity. These advances are improving our ability to understand the spatial dimension of information, which is crucial to obtain a more robust representation of the territorial reality and insights of territorial dynamics in order to inform decisions in spatial planning and policy-making. This paper proposes an original method for the integration of spatial multivariate analysis and the use of spatial data to extend existing state of the art methods for CIs, as a step towards the construction of Spatial Composite Indicators. The method was successfully tested on a landscape planning case study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Effect of Spatial Proximity on Urban Growth
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1308; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051308 - 24 Apr 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
Land-Use/Cover Change (LUCC) reacts to demographic pressures, economic trends, or improved transport networks. Urban growth with implications on LUCC patterns can be measured using a diversity of methods. Our study derives from Tobler’s first law of geography: ‘everything is related to everything else, [...] Read more.
Land-Use/Cover Change (LUCC) reacts to demographic pressures, economic trends, or improved transport networks. Urban growth with implications on LUCC patterns can be measured using a diversity of methods. Our study derives from Tobler’s first law of geography: ‘everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant ones’. We identified and measured the influence of neighbouring distance on urban growth from the edge of existing urban areas. For that, we have developed a method, built using the NetLogo software tool, which we called Land-use chAnge and Neighbouring Distance (LAND). We selected Torres Vedras (Portugal) to conduct our case study due to its increasing urban development in the past few years. The periods of analysis were 1995–2010, 1995–2007, and 2007–2010. The results have shown the influence and the effect of strong spatial correlation between the proximity of existing artificial surfaces and the emergence of new ones. The understanding of the patterns of urban growth is helpful to plan forward land developments. This method can be used to write guidelines for decision makers to monitor urban expansion and define spatial planning priorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Simulating Spatial-Temporal Changes of Land-Use Based on Ecological Redline Restrictions and Landscape Driving Factors: A Case Study in Beijing
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1299; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041299 - 23 Apr 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
A change in the usage of land is influenced by a variety of driving factors and policies on spatial constraints. On the basis of considering the conventional natural and socio-economic indicators, the landscape pattern indicators were considered as new driving forces in the [...] Read more.
A change in the usage of land is influenced by a variety of driving factors and policies on spatial constraints. On the basis of considering the conventional natural and socio-economic indicators, the landscape pattern indicators were considered as new driving forces in the conversion of land use and its effects at small regional extent (CLUE-S) model to simulate spatial and temporal changes of land-use in Beijing. Compared with traditional spatial restrictions characterized by small and isolated areas, such as forest parks and natural reserves, the ecological redline areas increase the spatial integrity and connectivity of ecological and environmental functions at a regional scale, which were used to analyze the distribution patterns and behaviors of land use conversion in the CLUE-S model. The observed results indicate that each simulation scenario has a Kappa coefficient of more than 0.76 beyond the threshold value of 0.6 and represents high agreements between the actual and simulated land use maps. The simulation scenarios including landscape pattern indicators are more accurate than those without consideration of these new driving forces. The simulation results from using ecological redline areas as space constraints have the highest precision compared with the unrestricted and traditionally restricted scenarios. Therefore, the CLUE-S model based on the restriction of ecological redline and the consideration of landscape pattern factors has shown better effectiveness in simulating the future land use change. The conversion of land use types mainly occurred between construction land and cropland during the period from 2010 to 2020. Meanwhile, a large number of grasslands are being changed to construction lands in the mountain towns of northwest Beijing and large quantities of water bodies have disappeared and been replaced by construction lands due to rapid urbanization in the eastern and southern plains. To improve the sustainable use of land resources, it is necessary to adopt the construction and development mode of satellite towns rather than encouraging a disorderly expansion of downtown areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Landscape Greening Policies-based Land Use/Land Cover Simulation for Beijing and Islamabad—An Implication of Sustainable Urban Ecosystems
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1049; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041049 - 02 Apr 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
City green infrastructure (CGI) makes cities more resilient and sustainable, as required by the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goal 11–Sustainable Cities and Communities. Based on the CGI policies of Beijing, land use/land cover (LULC) changes of two Asian capitals, Beijing, China and [...] Read more.
City green infrastructure (CGI) makes cities more resilient and sustainable, as required by the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goal 11–Sustainable Cities and Communities. Based on the CGI policies of Beijing, land use/land cover (LULC) changes of two Asian capitals, Beijing, China and Islamabad, Pakistan, are simulated. LULC maps for 2010 and 2015 are developed by applying object-based image analysis (OBIA) to Landsat imagery. Dynamics of land system (DLS) model was used to simulate the LULC changes for 2020 and 2025 under three scenarios: (1) business-as-usual (BAU); (2) urban green space work plan (UGWP); and (3) landscape and greening policies (LGP). Results reveal that DLS is efficient than other simulation models. The BAU scenario predicts an overall expansion in Beijing’s greenery, while Islamabad will encounter a decline by 7.3 km2 per year. Under the UGWP scenario, urban green spaces and other vegetation area of Beijing will expand by 7.6 km2, while, for Islamabad, vegetation degradation rate will slow down to 6.9 km2 per year. The LGP scenario envisage a massive increase of 23.5 km2 per year in green resources of Beijing and Islamabad’s green land loss rate will further slowdown to 6.1 km2 per year. It is inferred from the results that vegetation degradation in Islamabad need to lessen by implementing LGP policy after basic amendments according to the local conditions and available resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrating Ecosystem and Urban Services in Policy-Making at the Local Scale: The SOFA Framework
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1017; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041017 - 29 Mar 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Despite ecosystem services having been broadly studied in the scientific literature, they are still hardly integrated in policy-making and landscape management. The lack of operative tools for their application is a main limiting factor of such operationalization. In this work, a framework including [...] Read more.
Despite ecosystem services having been broadly studied in the scientific literature, they are still hardly integrated in policy-making and landscape management. The lack of operative tools for their application is a main limiting factor of such operationalization. In this work, a framework including 53 livability services produced by the biophysical and socioeconomic subsystem, or by their interaction, was developed considering a local study area. All the services were characterized in terms of the need to access their Service Benefiting Areas (SBAs, the geographical units where the services benefit consumers) from the Use Regions (URs, the usual location of users). Moreover, the Service-Providing Areas (SPAs, the geographical unit where the service is produced) were also classified and characterized. Such analysis, together with empirical observations, helped to classify the spatial relationships between the SPAs, SBAs and URs of each service. In addition to a list of detailed information about all the services included in the framework, a visual scheme representing the different SBA types and an operational flow diagram synthesizing the spatial organization of service flow were designed to apply the methodology in other study areas. Two examples show the practical applicability in policy-making of the whole framework for supporting different aspects of local decision-making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Population Growth and Distribution, Based on Urban Zone Functions
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 930; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10040930 - 23 Mar 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Population growth and distribution are still widely seen from the perspective of urban areas. Though the city has many zones with various functions, so comes the question, what zone will have population growth and hold the highest population growth distribution? And why would [...] Read more.
Population growth and distribution are still widely seen from the perspective of urban areas. Though the city has many zones with various functions, so comes the question, what zone will have population growth and hold the highest population growth distribution? And why would residents choose that zone? The study was conducted in Bandar Lampung, Indonesia, using population data from 2004 to 2011 (8 years) and urban zoning data from government documents. The results show that the conservation zone has the highest population growth and receives the highest population growth distribution. This result is confirmed by a cross section survey of respondents who live in the conservation zone. The survey results show that purchase, wide land, environment, and native inhabitants are variables affecting the population’s choice of the conservation zone as their residential location. The study also shows that the zones with the highest population do not automatically have the highest population growth and accommodate the highest population increase. Population analysis using the zonation system can help us better understand population growth and population growth distribution in urban areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Impacts of Urbanization of Mountainous Areas on Resources and Environment: Based on Ecological Footprint Model
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 765; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030765 - 11 Mar 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
The rapid urbanization has exerted tremendous pressure on natural systems in mountains. As a measure of sustainable use of natural resources, ecological footprint is an important basis for judging whether the development of a country or region is within the bio-capacity. Taking Dali [...] Read more.
The rapid urbanization has exerted tremendous pressure on natural systems in mountains. As a measure of sustainable use of natural resources, ecological footprint is an important basis for judging whether the development of a country or region is within the bio-capacity. Taking Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture as an example, this study comprehensively analyzes the impact of human activities on mountain resources and environment from the three aspects of urbanization, land use and ecological carrying capacity. The results show that Dali Prefecture with the urbanization rate of 33% is still in the accelerated stage of urbanization. The urban space presents the core-periphery feature, and the central city is the focus of human existence and living activities. The per capita ecological footprint is 1.14 ha higher than the ecological carrying capacity, meaning Dali Prefecture has an ecological deficit. This indicates that there is an uncoordinated state between urbanization and environment. Arable land is the main source of per capita ecological footprint in the prefecture. However, the urban expansion overly occupies the arable land in the plain sub-region, leading the arable land to an ecological deficit state. In the future, the development of the mountainous area should focus on the protection of arable land and choose a new sustainable path. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Analyzing the Decoupling between Rural-to-Urban Migrants and Urban Land Expansion in Hubei Province, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 345; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020345 - 29 Jan 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Rapid urbanization in China has caused a large number of rural-to-urban migrants (RUMs) and rapid urban land expansion (ULE). Understanding the relationship between RUMs and ULE has important implications for urban sustainable development. This study explored the spatial patterns of RUMs and ULE [...] Read more.
Rapid urbanization in China has caused a large number of rural-to-urban migrants (RUMs) and rapid urban land expansion (ULE). Understanding the relationship between RUMs and ULE has important implications for urban sustainable development. This study explored the spatial patterns of RUMs and ULE in Hubei Province from 2009 to 2014, and analyzed the relationship between the two using a decoupling model. The results show that: (1) a large proportion of the rural population migrated to urban areas in Hubei Province from 2009 to 2014, and the distribution of RUMs was uneven: developed areas attracted more RUMs than undeveloped regions; (2) the urban land in Hubei Province increased rapidly from 2009 to 2014, and the urban land use in Hubei Province was extensive and inefficient; (3) the decoupling types between RUMs and ULE in Hubei Province were dominated by expansive negative and weak decoupling; (4) according to the changes in per capita urban land area and decoupling types, the coordination relationship between RUMs and ULE in Hubei Province was divided into eight types, and while the relationship between RUMs and ULE in most areas were coordinated and beneficial to urban land intensive use, the rest were uncoordinated. Finally, reasonable implications for urban sustainable development and new land use policy were put forward. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Factors Influencing Farmers’ Adoption of Soil and Water Control Technology (SWCT) in Keita Valley, a Semi-Arid Area of Niger
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020288 - 24 Jan 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
The Ader Doutchi Maggia in Niger, as with other Sahelian zones, undergoes a process of climatic deterioration, which combines with the growing social and economic needs of the increasing population and causes a general economic crisis. Land degradation due to biophysical factors requires [...] Read more.
The Ader Doutchi Maggia in Niger, as with other Sahelian zones, undergoes a process of climatic deterioration, which combines with the growing social and economic needs of the increasing population and causes a general economic crisis. Land degradation due to biophysical factors requires that priority action is given to land reclamation and soil conservation and to activities intended to increase agricultural production. This paper takes a look at socio-economic and established factors affecting the adoption of soil and water control technology (SWCT) in Keita valley, a semi-arid area in the central of Niger. Well-designed questionnaire survey on key agents was used to gather the indispensable data from farm ménages. The binary dichotomous logistic regression model prognosticated six factors to be affecting the adoption of soil and water control technology in Keita. These variables cover the gender of the respondent, age of the household’s head, income evolution within the family, small craft referring to off farm income, training provides by local institutions, use of credit and, possession of full rights on land and its resources. The results revealed that diffusion of adoption from local organized community is a good alternative to increase the adoption of soil and water control technology in Keita valley agriculture system in Niger. Researchers and policy makers should conceive proper strategies and agenda reflecting the farmers’ interest, position and restriction in advocating new technologies for greater assumption and adoption by the farmers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Modelling the Spatial Expansion of Green Manure Considering Land Productivity and Implementing Strategies
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010225 - 17 Jan 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
In modern sustainable agriculture, green manuring is increasingly emphasized for a reasonable land use management. However, the expansion of green manure is affected by a range of factors, such as soil geophysical properties and human intervention. This paper proposes an approach of spatial [...] Read more.
In modern sustainable agriculture, green manuring is increasingly emphasized for a reasonable land use management. However, the expansion of green manure is affected by a range of factors, such as soil geophysical properties and human intervention. This paper proposes an approach of spatial modelling to understand the mechanisms that influence green manure expansion and map the future distribution of green manure intercropped in the orchards in the Pinggu District, Beijing, China. We firstly classified the orchards into five grades according to a land productivity evaluation, and then considered two strategies for implementing green manure. Two scenarios were designed to represent the strategies: prioritizing low-productivity orchards to promote green manure intercropping (scenario 1) and prioritizing high-productivity orchards to promote green manure intercropping (scenario 2). The spatial expansion of green manure for 2020 was simulated at a resolution of a 100 × 100 m grid in the CLUE-S (the Conversion of Land Use and its Effects at the Small Region Extent) model. The two strategies led to quite different spatial patterns of green manure, although they were applied to the same areas. As a result, the spatial pattern of green manuring of scenario 1 was more concentrated than that of scenario 2. To summarize, the modelled outcomes identified the driving factors that affect green manure expansion at a grid scale, whereas the implementing strategies directly determined the spatial arrangements of green manuring at a regional scale. Therefore, we argue that the assessment of the driving factors and the prediction of the future distribution of green manuring are crucial for informing an extensive use of green manure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial Patterns and the Regional Differences of Rural Settlements in Jilin Province, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2170; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122170 - 25 Nov 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
The spatial patterns of rural settlements are important for understanding the drivers of land use change and the relationship between human activity and environmental processes. It has been suggested that the clustering of houses decreases the negative effects on the environment and promotes [...] Read more.
The spatial patterns of rural settlements are important for understanding the drivers of land use change and the relationship between human activity and environmental processes. It has been suggested that the clustering of houses decreases the negative effects on the environment and promotes the development of the countryside, but few empirical studies have quantified the spatial distribution patterns of houses. Our aim was to explore the regional differences in rural settlement patterns and expand our understanding of their geographic associations, and thus contribute to land use planning and the implementation of the policy of “building a new countryside”. We used spatial statistical methods and indices of landscape metrics to investigate different settlement patterns in three typical counties within different environments in Jilin Province, Northeast China. The results indicated that rural settlements in these three counties were all clustered, but to a varied degree. Settlement density maps and landscape metrics displayed uniformity of the settlement distributions within plain, hill, and mountainous areas. Influenced by the physical environment, the scale, form, and degree of aggregation varied. Accordingly, three types of rural settlements were summarized: a low-density, large-scale and sparse type; a mass-like and point-scattered type; and a low-density and high cluster-like type. The spatial patterns of rural settlements are the result of anthropogenic and complex physical processes, and provide an important insight for the layout and management of the countryside. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of the Tourism’s Potential as a Sustainable Development Instrument in Terms of Annual Stability: Application to Spanish Rural Destinations in Process of Consolidation
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1692; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101692 - 22 Sep 2017
Cited by 10
Abstract
Tourism has established itself as an instrument that supports the sustainable development of rural destinations and has both, negative and positive effects. The annual instability of the flow of visitors, known as tourist seasonality, contributes to the intensification of some of these negative [...] Read more.
Tourism has established itself as an instrument that supports the sustainable development of rural destinations and has both, negative and positive effects. The annual instability of the flow of visitors, known as tourist seasonality, contributes to the intensification of some of these negative effects. In this work, we perform an analysis on the evolution of the seasonality intensity during the process of consolidation of the Spanish rural destinations, designed to improve the knowledge about the tourist activity’s capacity to generate a sustainable development alternative steady throughout the year. To guarantee an accurate measurement, we propose the use of a synthetic indicator as a methodological innovation, such as the Method of Distance Pena DP2, that brings together the supply and demand variables. We can observe that tourist seasonality is restrained in smaller destinations that experience a growth in terms of tourists’ arrivals, so it is associated with the early stages of the consolidation process. However, the destinations with a lower seasonality level do not match with those that welcome a larger number of visitors. Those destinations with the potential to obtain more benefits because of their level of consolidation do not have the necessary annual stability to provide employment and income in a steady way throughout the year. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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