Special Issue "Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Maurizio Tiepolo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning (DIST), Politecnico University of Turin, viale Mattioli 39, 10125 Turin, Italy
Interests: climate change adaptation; risk management; sustainable local development; urban and regional planning
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Vieri Tarchiani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Istituto di bioecomomia, National Research Council of Italy, I-50145 Florence, Italy
Interests: agrometeorology; climate services; disaster risk reduction
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Alessandro Pezzoli
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning (DIST), Polytechnic University of Turin, viale Mattioli 39, 10125 Turin, Italy
Interests: meteorology; hydrology; marine engineering; marine navigation
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Efforts to achieve sustainable rural development are often thwarted by hydroclimatic disasters (droughts, flooding, storms, typhoons) which local communities are little prepared to tackle. Understanding these disasters, improving preparation, and strengthening governance have become equal priorities of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) (2015). In recent years, however, the implementation of actions at local scale to achieve the objectives of the Sendai framework has come across innumerable obstacles. It is often the case that agricultural practices and local planning are not very risk-informed. Climatic information is absent or not accessible locally. Early warning systems and climate services are not constructed with and for the rural communities. Vulnerability and risk assessments are misaligned with risk prevention and preparedness local plans. Finally, the frequency and nature of DRR mainstreaming in municipal development plans is actually unknown. These deficiencies are particularly acute in the Tropics, where the majority of least developed countries are located and where there is, however, great potential for agricultural development.

As a consequence, this Special Issue is focused on rural Tropics, involving the local administrative level (individual municipalities and individual rural communities) and local scale (associations of smallholder farmers, groupings of specialist producers, cooperatives).

Our aim is to investigate information on the hydroclimatic risks (production, organization, accessibility) and the use of that information in agricultural practices and in local planning. We seek studies of individual cases (best practices), critical reviews, and theoretical papers originating from different academic fields dealing with a variety of topics, including:

  • Open data on disasters;
  • Non-stationary approaches to floods;
  • Local climate scenarios;
  • Early warning systems;
  • Multihazard risk assessments for local planning;
  • Hydroclimatic risk prevention, development plans, and aid at local scale;
  • Capacity building for co-development of weather and climate services;
  • Agrometeorological services for small farmers;
  • Crop monitoring for food security;
  • Climate change opportunities in agriculture.

References:

  1. Fiorillo, E.; Crisci, A.; Issa, H.; Morabito, M.; Tarchiani V. Recent changes of floods and related impacts in Niger based on the ANADIA Niger flood database. Climate 2018
  2. Deichmann, U., Goyal, A.; Mishra, D. Will digital technologies transform agriculture in Developing Countries? World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 2016, 7669
  3. Brasseur, G.P.; Gallardo, L. Climate services: Lessons learned and future prospects, Earth’s Future 2016, 4, 79–89
  4. Ouedraogo, M.; Barry, S.; Zougmoré, RB.; Partey, S.T.; Somé, L.; Baki G. Farmers’ willingness to pay for climate information services: evidence from cowpea and sesame producers in Northern Burkina Faso. Sustainability 2018, 10, 611
  5. Tall, A.; Coulibaly, J.Y.; Diop, M. Do climate services make a difference? A review of evaluation methodologies and practices to assess the value of climate information services for farmers: implication s for Africa. Climate Services 2018, 11, 1-12
  6. Pasquini, L.; Ziervogel, G.; Cowling R.M.; Shearing C. What enables local governments to mainstream climate change adaptation? Lessons learned from two municipal case studies in the Western Cape, South Africa. Climate and Development 2015, 7(1)
  7. Lyles, W.; Berke, P.; Smith, G. A comparison of local hazard mitigation plan quality in six states, USA. Landscape and Urban Planning 2014, 122, 89-99
  8. Horney, J., Nguyen, M., Salvesen, D., Dwyer, C., Cooper, J. Berke, P. Assessing the quality of rural hazard mitigation plans in the Southeastern United States. J Planning Education Research 2017 37(1), 56-65
  9. Lavell, A.; Maskrey, A. The future of disaster risk management. Environmental Hazards 2014, 13(4), 267–280
  10. Thomalla, F.; Boyland, M.; Johnson, K.; Ensor, J.; Tuhkanen, H.; Gerger Swartling, Å.; Wahl, D. Transforming development and disaster risk. Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1458
  11. Steenkamp, P.J.; Van Heerden, H.; Van Schalkwyk, O.L. Ecological suitability modeling for anthrax in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, PloS one 2018, 13(1)
  12. Zia A.; Wagner, C.H. Mainstreaming early warning systems in development and planning processes: Multilevel implementation of Sendai framework in Indus and Sahel. Int J Disaster Risk Sci 2015 6, 189-199
  13. Gautam, D.K.; Phaiju, A.G. Community based approach to flood early warning in West Rapti river basin in Nepal. J integrated Disaster Risk Management 2013, 3(1), 155-169
  14. Spielman, D.J.; Ekboir, J.; Davis, K.; Ochieng, C.M.O. An innovation systems perspective on strengthening agricultural education and training in Sub-Saharan Africa, Agricultural Systems 2008, 98, 1-9
  15. Altieri, M.A.; Nicholls, C.I. The adaptation and mitigation potential of traditional agriculture in a changing climate. Climatic Change 2017, 140, 33-4
  16. Meijer, S.S.; Catacutan, D.; Ajayi, O.C.; Sileshi, G.W.; Nieuwenhuis, M. The role of knowledge, attitudes and perceptions in the uptake of agricultural and agroforestry innovations among smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 2015, 13:1, 40-54.

Prof. Dr. Maurizio Tiepolo
Dr. Vieri Tarchiani
Prof. Dr. Alessandro Pezzoli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 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

  • climate services
  • disaster risk reduction
  • drought
  • early warning systems
  • emergency plans
  • flooding
  • local development plans
  • loss and damages open data
  • multihazard
  • risk assessment
  • risk prevention
  • risk reduction plans
  • vulnerability assessment

Published Papers (23 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4179; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084179 - 09 Apr 2021
Viewed by 422
Abstract
In the tropics, rural areas are still the place where many people live, despite ongoing urbanization [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)

Research

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Article
Water Resource Management and Sustainability: A Case Study in Faafu Atoll in the Republic of Maldives
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3484; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063484 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 676
Abstract
This paper contributes to the existing literature in proposing an integrated approach to water management and energy renewable production in a fragile environment. After the 2004 tsunami, in many outer islands in The Republic of Maldives, the lens freshwater natural reservoir was deeply [...] Read more.
This paper contributes to the existing literature in proposing an integrated approach to water management and energy renewable production in a fragile environment. After the 2004 tsunami, in many outer islands in The Republic of Maldives, the lens freshwater natural reservoir was deeply damaged. Currently, the populations of rural atolls use rainwater and water in plastic bottles imported from the mainland for drinking. To provide safe and sustainable drinking water, we analyze the feasibility of two different actions: a desalination system fed by a diesel plant or by a photovoltaic (PV) plant with batteries. The current situation (business as usual, (BAU)) is also evaluated and taken as a benchmark. After illustrating the technical and economic features of desalination and PV plants, a financial and environmental analysis is conducted on the two alternatives plus BAU, showing that the desalination fed by the PV plant results in optimization both on the financial and the environmental side. The levelized cost of water (LCOW) and the CO2 levelized emissions of water (LEOW) are calculated for each alternative. The case study is developed in Magoodhoo Island, Faafu Atoll and can be extended to other islands in The Republic of Maldives and in general to small island developing states (SIDS). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Climate-Smart Adaptations and Government Extension Partnerships for Sustainable Milpa Farming Systems in Mayan Communities of Southern Belize
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3040; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063040 - 10 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 510
Abstract
There are disproportionate adverse impacts related to climate change on rural subsistence farmers in southern Belize, Central America who depend directly on natural resources for their food and livelihood security. Promoting a more resilient farming system with key climate-smart agriculture (CSA) adaptations can [...] Read more.
There are disproportionate adverse impacts related to climate change on rural subsistence farmers in southern Belize, Central America who depend directly on natural resources for their food and livelihood security. Promoting a more resilient farming system with key climate-smart agriculture (CSA) adaptations can improve productivity, sustainability, and food security for Mayan milpa farming communities. Once a sustainable system, the milpa has become less reliable in the last half century due to hydroclimatic changes (i.e., droughts, flooding, hurricanes), forest loss, soil degradation, and other factors. Using interviews with both milpa farmers and Extension officers in southern Belize. This qualitative study finds several socio-ecological system linkages of environmental, economic, socio-cultural, and adaptive technology factors, which influence the capacity for increasing CSA practices. Agriculture Extension, a government service of Belize, can facilitate effective CSA adaptations, specifically, an increase in mulching, soil nutrient enrichment, and soil cover, while working as partners within Maya farming traditions. These CSA practices can facilitate more equitable increases in crop production, milpa farm system sustainability, and resilience to climate change. However, there are several institutional and operational barriers in Extension which challenge their efficacy. Recommendations are presented in this study to reduce Extension barriers and promote an increase in CSA practices to positively influence food and livelihood security for milpa communities in southern Belize. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Community Perception and Communication of Volcanic Risk from the Cotopaxi Volcano in Latacunga, Ecuador
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1714; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041714 - 05 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1177
Abstract
The inhabitants of Latacunga living in the surrounding of the Cotopaxi volcano (Ecuador) are exposed to several hazards and related disasters. After the last 2015 volcanic eruption, it became evident once again how important it is for the exposed population to understand their [...] Read more.
The inhabitants of Latacunga living in the surrounding of the Cotopaxi volcano (Ecuador) are exposed to several hazards and related disasters. After the last 2015 volcanic eruption, it became evident once again how important it is for the exposed population to understand their own social, physical, and systemic vulnerability. Effective risk communication is essential before the occurrence of a volcanic crisis. This study integrates quantitative risk and semi-quantitative social risk perceptions, aiming for risk-informed communities. We present the use of the RIESGOS demonstrator for interactive exploration and visualisation of risk scenarios. The development of this demonstrator through an iterative process with the local experts and potential end-users increases both the quality of the technical tool as well as its practical applicability. Moreover, the community risk perception in a focused area was investigated through online and field surveys. Geo-located interviews are used to map the social perception of volcanic risk factors. Scenario-based outcomes from quantitative risk assessment obtained by the RIESGOS demonstrator are compared with the semi-quantitative risk perceptions. We have found that further efforts are required to provide the exposed communities with a better understanding of the concepts of hazard scenario and intensity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Mitigation of the Water Crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa: Construction of Delocalized Water Collection and Retention Systems
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1673; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041673 - 04 Feb 2021
Viewed by 511
Abstract
This paper presents the results of a three-year research project aimed at addressing the issue of water shortage and retention/collection in drought-affected rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. The project consisted in the design, construction, and the upgrade of existing barrages near Kita, the [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of a three-year research project aimed at addressing the issue of water shortage and retention/collection in drought-affected rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. The project consisted in the design, construction, and the upgrade of existing barrages near Kita, the regional capital of Kayes in Mali. The effort was led by the Department of Architecture of Roma Tre University in partnership with the Onlus Gente d’Africa (who handled the on-the-ground logistics), the Department of Architecture of the University of Florence and the École Supérieure d’Ingénierie, d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme of Bamako, Mali. The practical realization of the project was made possible by Romagna Acque Società delle Fonti Ltd., a water utility supplying drinking water in the Emilia-Romagna region (Italy) that provided the financing as well as the operational contribution of AES Architettura Emergenza Sviluppo, a nonprofit association operating in the depressed areas of the world. The completion of the research project resulted in the replenishment of reservoirs and renewed presence of water in the subsoil of the surrounding areas. Several economic activities such as fishing and rice cultivation have spawned from the availability of water. The monitoring of these results is still ongoing; however, it is already possible to assess some critical issues highlighted, especially with the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic in the research areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Impact of Climate Change Adaptation on Household Food Security in Nigeria—A Difference-in-Difference Approach
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1444; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031444 - 29 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 852
Abstract
Studies have shown that climate change adaptation options (CCA) are implemented to buffer the unfavorable climatic changes in Nigeria causing a decline in food security. Against the background of measuring the impact of CCA options using cross-sectional data, this study assessed how CCA [...] Read more.
Studies have shown that climate change adaptation options (CCA) are implemented to buffer the unfavorable climatic changes in Nigeria causing a decline in food security. Against the background of measuring the impact of CCA options using cross-sectional data, this study assessed how CCA had affected food security using panel data on farming households from 2010–2016 obtained from Nigerian General Household Survey (GHS). Data were analyzed using the Panel probit model (PPM), Propensity Score Matching (PSM), and Difference-in-Difference (DID) regression. PPM showed that the probability of adopting CCA options increased with farm size (p < 0.01), extension contact (p < 0.01), and marital status (p < 0.01), but decreased with the age of the household head (p < 0.01). Credit facilities (p < 0.05), ownership of farmland (p < 0.01), household size (p < 0.01), years of schooling (p < 0.01), household asset (p < 0.01), and location (p < 0.05) also had a significant but mixed effect on CCA choices. PSM revealed that farming households that adopted CCA strategies had 9% higher food security levels than non-adopters. Furthermore, the result of the DID model revealed a significant positive effect of CCA on household food security (β = 5.93, p < 0.01). It was recommended that education and provision of quality advisory services to farmers is crucial to foster the implementation of CCA options. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Groundwater Resources in the Main Ethiopian Rift Valley: An Overview for a Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1347; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031347 - 28 Jan 2021
Viewed by 504
Abstract
In arid and semi-arid areas, human health and economic development depend on water availability, which can be greatly compromised by droughts. In some cases, the presence of natural contaminants may additionally reduce the availability of good quality water. This research analyzed the water [...] Read more.
In arid and semi-arid areas, human health and economic development depend on water availability, which can be greatly compromised by droughts. In some cases, the presence of natural contaminants may additionally reduce the availability of good quality water. This research analyzed the water resources and hydrochemical characteristics in a rural area of the central Main Ethiopian Rift Valley, particularly in the districts of Shashemene, Arsi Negelle, and Siraro. The study was developed using a census of the main water points (springs and wells) in the area and the sampling and physico-chemical analysis of the water, with particular regard to the fluoride concentration. In many cases, fluoride content exceeded the drinking water limits set by the World Health Organization, even in the absence of anthropogenic contamination. Two different aquifers were recognized: A shallow aquifer related to the eastern escarpment and highlands, and a deep aquifer in the lowland areas of the rift valley on the basis of compositional changes from Ca–Mg/HCO3 to Na–HCO3. The distribution of fluoride, as well as pH and EC values, showed a decrease from the center of the lowlands to the eastern highlands, with similar values closely aligned along an NNE/SSW trend. All these data contribute to creating awareness among and sharing information on the risks with rural communities and local governments to support the adequate use of the available water resources and to plan appropriate interventions to increase access to fresh water, aimed at the sustainable human and rural local development of the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Water Erosion Risk Assessment in the Kenya Great Rift Valley Region
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 844; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020844 - 16 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 621
Abstract
The Kenya Great Rift Valley (KGRV) region unique landscape comprises of mountainous terrain, large valley-floor lakes, and agricultural lands bordered by extensive Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs). The East Africa (EA) region has received high amounts of rainfall in the recent past as [...] Read more.
The Kenya Great Rift Valley (KGRV) region unique landscape comprises of mountainous terrain, large valley-floor lakes, and agricultural lands bordered by extensive Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs). The East Africa (EA) region has received high amounts of rainfall in the recent past as evidenced by the rising lake levels in the GRV lakes. In Kenya, few studies have quantified soil loss at national scales and erosion rates information on these GRV lakes’ regional basins within the ASALs is lacking. This study used the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) model to estimate soil erosion rates between 1990 and 2015 in the Great Rift Valley region of Kenya which is approximately 84.5% ASAL. The mean erosion rates for both periods was estimated to be tolerable (6.26 t ha−1 yr−1 and 7.14 t ha−1 yr−1 in 1990 and 2015 respectively) resulting in total soil loss of 116 Mt yr−1 and 132 Mt yr−1 in 1990 and 2015 respectively. Approximately 83% and 81% of the erosive lands in KGRV fell under the low risk category (<10 t ha−1 yr−1) in 1990 and 2015 respectively while about 10% were classified under the top three conservation priority levels in 2015. Lake Nakuru basin had the highest erosion rate net change (4.19 t ha−1 yr−1) among the GRV lake basins with Lake Bogoria-Baringo recording annual soil loss rates >10 t ha−1 yr−1 in both years. The mountainous central parts of the KGRV with Andosol/Nitisols soils and high rainfall experienced a large change of land uses to croplands thus had highest soil loss net change (4.34 t ha−1 yr−1). In both years, forests recorded the lowest annual soil loss rates (<3.0 t ha−1 yr−1) while most of the ASAL districts presented erosion rates (<8 t ha−1 yr−1). Only 34% of all the protected areas were found to have erosion rates <10 t ha−1 yr−1 highlighting the need for effective anti-erosive measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Risk Aversion, Inequality and Economic Evaluation of Flood Damages: A Case Study in Ecuador
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10068; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310068 - 02 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 627
Abstract
While floods and other natural disasters affect hundreds of millions of people globally every year, a shared methodological approach on which to ground impact valuations is still missing. Standard Cost-Benefit Analyses typically evaluate damages by summing individuals’ monetary equivalents, without taking into account [...] Read more.
While floods and other natural disasters affect hundreds of millions of people globally every year, a shared methodological approach on which to ground impact valuations is still missing. Standard Cost-Benefit Analyses typically evaluate damages by summing individuals’ monetary equivalents, without taking into account income distribution and risk aversion. We propose an empirical application of alternative valuation approaches developed in recent literature, including equity weights and risk premium multipliers, to a case study in Ecuador. The results show that accounting for inequality may substantially alter the conclusions of a standard vulnerability approach, with important consequences for policy choices pertaining damage compensation and prioritization of intervention areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Effects of Land Use Change from Natural Forest to Livestock on Soil C, N and P Dynamics along a Rainfall Gradient in Mexico
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8656; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208656 - 19 Oct 2020
Viewed by 978
Abstract
The effects of converting native forests to livestock systems on soil C, N and P contents across various climatic zones are not well understood for the tropical region. The goal of this study was to test how soil C, N and P dynamics [...] Read more.
The effects of converting native forests to livestock systems on soil C, N and P contents across various climatic zones are not well understood for the tropical region. The goal of this study was to test how soil C, N and P dynamics are affected by the land-use change from natural forests to livestock production systems (extensive pasture and intensive silvopastoral systems) across a rainfall gradient of 1611–711 mm per year in the Mexican tropics. A total of 15 soil-based biogeochemical metrics were measured in samples collected during the dry and rainy seasons in livestock systems and mature forests for land-use and intersite comparisons of the nutrient status. Our results show that land-use change from natural forests to livestock production systems had a negative effect on soil C, N and P contents. In general, soil basal respiration and C-acquiring enzyme activities increased under livestock production systems. Additionally, reduction in mean annual rainfall affected moisture-sensitive biogeochemical processes affecting the C, N and P dynamics. Our findings imply that land-use changes alter soil C, N and P dynamics and contents, with potential negative consequences for the sustainability of livestock production systems in the tropical regions of Mexico investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Theorising Indigenous Farmers’ Utilisation of Climate Services: Lessons from the Oil-Rich Niger Delta
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7349; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187349 - 08 Sep 2020
Viewed by 554
Abstract
In the wake of a rapidly changing climate, climate services have enabled farmers in developing countries to make informed decisions, necessary for efficient food production. Climate services denote the timely production, translation, delivery and use of climate information to enhance decision-making. However, studies [...] Read more.
In the wake of a rapidly changing climate, climate services have enabled farmers in developing countries to make informed decisions, necessary for efficient food production. Climate services denote the timely production, translation, delivery and use of climate information to enhance decision-making. However, studies have failed to analyse the extent to which Indigenous farmers residing and producing their food in an environment degraded by multinational corporations (MNCs) utilise climate services. This study addresses this gap by analysing Indigenous farmers’ utilisation of climate services in Igbide, Olomoro and Uzere communities, in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews were used to obtain primary data. Findings suggest that although the activities of Shell British petroleum, a MNC, have compromised food production, other factors have fuelled farmers’ unwillingness to utilise climate services. These include their inability to access assets that can significantly scale up food production and lack of weather stations close to their communities needed to generate downscaled forecasts, amongst others. This paper argues that failure to address these issues may stifle the chances of actualising the first and second sustainable development goals (no poverty and zero hunger) by 2030 in the aforementioned communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Climatology and Dynamical Evolution of Extreme Rainfall Events in the Sinai Peninsula—Egypt
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 6186; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12156186 - 31 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1011
Abstract
The whole Mediterranean is suffering today because of climate changes, with projections of more severe impacts predicted for the coming decades. Egypt, on the southeastern flank of the Mediterranean Sea, is facing many challenges for water and food security, further exacerbated by the [...] Read more.
The whole Mediterranean is suffering today because of climate changes, with projections of more severe impacts predicted for the coming decades. Egypt, on the southeastern flank of the Mediterranean Sea, is facing many challenges for water and food security, further exacerbated by the arid climate conditions. The Nile River represents the largest freshwater resource for the country, with a minor contribution coming from rainfall and from non-renewable groundwater aquifers. In more recent years, another important source is represented by non-conventional sources, such as treated wastewater reuse and desalination; these water resources are increasingly becoming valuable additional contributors to water availability. Moreover, although rainfall is scarce in Egypt, studies have shown that rainfall and flash floods can become an additional available source of water in the future. While presently rare, heavy rainfalls and flash floods are responsible for huge losses of lives and infrastructure especially in parts of the country, such as in the Sinai Peninsula. Despite the harsh climate, water from these events, when opportunely conveyed and treated, can represent a precious source of freshwater for small communities of Bedouins. In this work, rainfall climatology and flash flood events are presented, together with a discussion about the dynamics of some selected episodes and indications about future climate scenarios. Results can be used to evaluate the water harvesting potential in a region where water is scarce, also providing indications for improving the weather forecast. Basic information needed for identifying possible risks for population and infrastructures, when fed into hydrological models, could help to evaluate the flash flood water volumes at the outlets of the effective watershed(s). This valuable information will help policymakers and local governments to define strategies and measures for water harvesting and/or protection works. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
A Vulnerability Assessment in Scant Data Context: The Case of North Horr Sub-County
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 6024; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12156024 - 27 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 603
Abstract
In Kenyan rural areas belonging to the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs), water quantity and water quality are major issues for the local population. In North Horr Sub-County water quality is threatened by nitrate contamination due to fecal matter pollution. This research, hence, [...] Read more.
In Kenyan rural areas belonging to the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs), water quantity and water quality are major issues for the local population. In North Horr Sub-County water quality is threatened by nitrate contamination due to fecal matter pollution. This research, hence, aims at assessing the vulnerability of open shallow water sources to nitrate contamination due to fecal intrusion following flooding events and nitrate percolation in groundwater. The present research, indeed, provides, on one hand, new insights into the analysis of the vulnerability in a scant data context; on the other hand, it assesses the adaptation measures contained in the local development plan. Applying the reference definition of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the results demonstrate that the open shallow water sources in the northern part of the sub-county are more vulnerable to nitrate contamination. Furthermore, the consistency of the results proves the suitability of the methodology selected. Understanding the vulnerability at the local scale is key to planning risk-reduction strategies as well to increasing the local population’s knowledge about flood-related risks and water quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Development of a Real-Time, Mobile Nitrate Monitoring Station for High-Frequency Data Collection
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5780; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145780 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 873
Abstract
A mobile monitoring station was developed to measure nitrate and physicochemical water quality parameters remotely, in real-time, and at very high frequencies (thirty minutes). Several calibration experiments were performed to validate the outputs of a real-time nutrient sensor, which can be affected by [...] Read more.
A mobile monitoring station was developed to measure nitrate and physicochemical water quality parameters remotely, in real-time, and at very high frequencies (thirty minutes). Several calibration experiments were performed to validate the outputs of a real-time nutrient sensor, which can be affected by optical interferences such as turbidity, pH, temperature and salinity. Whilst most of these proved to play a minor role, a data-driven compensation model was developed to account for turbidity interferences. The reliability of real-time optical sensors has been questioned previously; however, this study has shown that following compensation, the readings can be more accurate than traditional laboratory-based equipment. In addition, significant benefits are offered by monitoring waterways at high frequencies, due to rapid changes in analyte concentrations over short time periods. This, combined with the versatility of the mobile station, provides opportunities for several beneficial monitoring applications, such as of fertiliser runoff in agricultural areas in rural regions, aquaculture runoff, and waterways in environmentally sensitive areas such as the Great Barrier Reef. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Floodplain Settlement Dynamics in the Maouri Dallol at Guéchémé, Niger: A Multidisciplinary Approach
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5632; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145632 - 13 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 650
Abstract
In Sahelian Africa, rural centers have been hit by catastrophic floods for many years. In order to prevent the impact of flooding, the flood-prone areas and the settlement dynamics within them must be identified. The aim of this study is to ascertain the [...] Read more.
In Sahelian Africa, rural centers have been hit by catastrophic floods for many years. In order to prevent the impact of flooding, the flood-prone areas and the settlement dynamics within them must be identified. The aim of this study is to ascertain the floodplain settlement dynamics in the Maouri valley (135 km2) in the municipality of Guéchémé, Niger. Through hydraulic modeling, the analysis identified the flood-prone areas according to three return periods. The dynamics of the settlements in these areas between 2009 and 2019 were identified through the photointerpretation of high-resolution satellite images and compared with those in the adjacent non-flood-prone areas. Spatial planning was applied to extract the main dynamics. The synergic application of these disciplines in a rural context represents a novelty in the research field. Since 2009, the results have shown a 52% increase of the built-up area and a 12% increase in the number of buildings, though the increase was higher in the flood-prone areas. The factors that transform floods into catastrophes were identified through perceptions gathered from the local communities. Three dynamics of the expansion and consolidation of buildings were observed. Specific flood risk prevention and preparation actions are proposed for each type of dynamic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Groundwater Resources Assessment for Sustainable Development in South Sudan
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5580; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145580 - 10 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 968
Abstract
The economic activities of South Sudan (East-Central Africa) are predominantly agricultural. However, food insecurity due to low agricultural production, connected with weather conditions and lack of water infrastructure and knowledge, is a huge problem. This study reports the results of a qualitative and [...] Read more.
The economic activities of South Sudan (East-Central Africa) are predominantly agricultural. However, food insecurity due to low agricultural production, connected with weather conditions and lack of water infrastructure and knowledge, is a huge problem. This study reports the results of a qualitative and quantitative investigation of underground and surface water in the area of Gumbo (east of Juba town) that aims to assure sustainable water management, reducing diseases and mortality and guaranteeing access to irrigation and drinking water. The results of the study demonstrate the peculiarity of surface and groundwater and the critical aspects to take into account for the water use, particularly due to the exceeding of limits suggested by the WHO and national regulation. The outcomes provide a contribution to the scientific overview on lithostratigraphic, hydrochemical and hydrogeological setting of a less-studied area, characterized by sociopolitical instability and water scarcity. This represents a first step for the improvement of water knowledge and management, for sustainable economic development and for social progress in this African region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Sustainable Management of Territorial Resources in Hodh el Chargui, Mauritania
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5114; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125114 - 23 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 753
Abstract
The present study proposes an analytical investigation of the natural resources and social framework of the Hodh el Chargui region (Mauritania), aiming to offer a useful instrument for planning and management to the local authorities. The situation of the region was evaluated by [...] Read more.
The present study proposes an analytical investigation of the natural resources and social framework of the Hodh el Chargui region (Mauritania), aiming to offer a useful instrument for planning and management to the local authorities. The situation of the region was evaluated by means of a participatory survey carried out among the local inhabitants. The obtained results include a collection of data about population, territorial organization, access to basic education and health services, infrastructure, main economic activities, and natural resources (in terms of water, both surface and groundwater, duration and intensity of rainfalls, soil types, and vegetal resources). The survey outcomes were completed with an integrated approach based on Earth Observation (EO) data supports, such as digital elevation models (DEMs) and Landsat8 imagery. The interdependence among the different data was evaluated and discussed, with regard to the influence of the availability of natural resources on the development of agricultural activities and on the general social welfare. The results are organized in the form of digital maps and a user-friendly webmap platform to facilitate access for all the technical and nontechnical actors involved in the project. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Agrometeorological Forecast for Smallholder Farmers: A Powerful Tool for Weather-Informed Crops Management in the Sahel
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3246; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083246 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1003
Abstract
Agriculture production in Nigerien rural areas mainly depends on weather variability. Weather forecasts produced by national or international bodies have very limited dissemination in rural areas and even if broadcast by local radio, they remain generic and limited to short-term information. According to [...] Read more.
Agriculture production in Nigerien rural areas mainly depends on weather variability. Weather forecasts produced by national or international bodies have very limited dissemination in rural areas and even if broadcast by local radio, they remain generic and limited to short-term information. According to several experiences in West Africa, weather and climate services (WCSs) have great potential to support farmers’ decision making. The challenge is to reach local communities with tailored information about the future weather to support strategic and tactical crop management decisions. WCSs, in West Africa, are mainly based on short-range weather forecasts and seasonal climate forecasts, while medium-range weather forecasts, even if potentially very useful for crop management, are rarely produced. This paper presents the results of a pilot initiative in Niger to reach farming communities with 10-day forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—Global Forecast System (NOAA-GFS) produced by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). After the implementation of the download and treatment chain, the Niger National Meteorological Directorate can provide 10-day agrometeorological forecasts to the agricultural extension services in eight rural municipalities. Exploiting the users’ evaluation of the forecasts, an analysis of usability and overall performance of the service is described. The results demonstrate that, even in rural and remote areas, agrometeorological forecasts are valued as powerful and useful information for decision-making processes. The service can be implemented at low cost with effective technologies making it affordable and sustainable even in developing countries. Nonetheless, the service’s effectiveness depends on several aspects mainly related to the way information is communicated to the public. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Comparison and Bias-Correction of Satellite-Derived Precipitation Datasets at Local Level in Northern Kenya
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2896; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072896 - 05 Apr 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 910
Abstract
Understanding ongoing trends at local level is fundamental in research on climate change. However, in the Global South it is hampered by a lack of data. The scarcity of land-based observed data can be overcome through satellite-derived datasets, although performance varies according to [...] Read more.
Understanding ongoing trends at local level is fundamental in research on climate change. However, in the Global South it is hampered by a lack of data. The scarcity of land-based observed data can be overcome through satellite-derived datasets, although performance varies according to the region. The purpose of this study is to compute the normal monthly values of precipitation for the eight main inhabited areas of North Horr Sub-County, in northern Kenya. The official decadal precipitation dataset from the Kenyan Meteorological Department (KMD), the Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) monthly dataset and the Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Stations (CHIRPS) monthly dataset are compared with the historical observed data by means of the most common statistical indices. The GPCC showed the best fit for the study area. The Quantile Mapping correction is applied to combine the high resolution of the KMD dataset with the high performance of the GPCC set. A new and more reliable bias-corrected monthly precipitation time series for 1983–2014 results for each location. This dataset allows a detailed description of the precipitation distribution through the year, which can be applied in the climate change adaptation and tailored territorial planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction into Local Development Plans for Rural Tropical Africa: A Systematic Assessment
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2196; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062196 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1606
Abstract
Disaster risk reduction in rural Africa can contribute to reducing poverty and food insecurity if included in local development plans (LDPs). Five years after the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), we do not know how much risk reduction is practiced in [...] Read more.
Disaster risk reduction in rural Africa can contribute to reducing poverty and food insecurity if included in local development plans (LDPs). Five years after the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), we do not know how much risk reduction is practiced in rural Africa. The aim of this assessment is to ascertain the state of mainstreaming DRR in development planning in the rural jurisdictions of tropical Africa. One hundred and ninety-four plans of 21 countries are considered. Ten characteristics of the plans are examined: Climate trends, hydro-climatic hazards, vulnerability and risk assessments, alignment with Sendai Framework, vision, strategies and objectives, DRR actions, internal consistency, DRR relevance and funding sources, local and technical knowledge integration, public participation. It is found that local climatic characterization is almost always absent and risk reduction is an objective of the plans in one case out of three. Prevention actions prevail over those of preparedness. There is poor participation in the plan preparation process and this limits the implementation of the actions. A modification of the national guidelines on the preparation of LDPs, the orientation of official development assistance towards supporting climate services and the training of local planners, together with the increase of financial resources in local jurisdictions are essential for improving DRR at local scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Community and Impact Based Early Warning System for Flood Risk Preparedness: The Experience of the Sirba River in Niger
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1802; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051802 - 28 Feb 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1725
Abstract
Floods have recently become a major hazard in West Africa (WA) in terms of both their magnitude and frequency. They affect livelihoods, infrastructure and production systems, hence impacting on Sustainable Development (SD). Early Warning Systems (EWS) for floods that properly address all four [...] Read more.
Floods have recently become a major hazard in West Africa (WA) in terms of both their magnitude and frequency. They affect livelihoods, infrastructure and production systems, hence impacting on Sustainable Development (SD). Early Warning Systems (EWS) for floods that properly address all four EWS components, while also being community and impact-based, do not yet exist in WA. Existing systems address only the main rivers, are conceived in a top-down manner and are hazard-centered. This study on the Sirba river in Niger aims to demonstrate that an operational community and impact-based EWS for floods can be set up by leveraging the existing tools, local stakeholders and knowledge. The main finding of the study is that bridging the gap between top-down and bottom-up approaches is possible by directly connecting the available technical capabilities with the local level through a participatory approach. This allows the beneficiaries to define the rules that will develop the whole system, strengthening their ability to understand the information and take action. Moreover, the integration of hydrological forecasts and observations with the community monitoring and preparedness system provides a lead time suitable for operational decision-making at national and local levels. The study points out the need for the commitment of governments to the transboundary sharing of flood information for EWS and SD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment at Community Level Integrating Local and Scientific Knowledge in the Hodh Chargui, Mauritania
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5063; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185063 - 16 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1195
Abstract
Hydro-climatic risk assessments at the regional scale are of little use in the risk treatment decision-making process when they are only based on local or scientific knowledge and when they deal with a single risk at a time. Local and scientific knowledge can [...] Read more.
Hydro-climatic risk assessments at the regional scale are of little use in the risk treatment decision-making process when they are only based on local or scientific knowledge and when they deal with a single risk at a time. Local and scientific knowledge can be combined in a multi-hazard risk assessment to contribute to sustainable rural development. The aim of this article was to develop a multi-hazard risk assessment at the regional scale which classifies communities according to the risk level, proposes risk treatment actions, and can be replicated in the agropastoral, semi-arid Tropics. The level of multi-hazard risk of 13 communities of Hodh Chargui (Mauritania) exposed to meteorological, hydrological, and agricultural drought, as well as heavy precipitations, was ascertained with an index composed of 48 indicators representing hazard, exposure, vulnerability, and adaptive capacity. Community meetings and visits to exposed items enabled specific indicators to be identified. Scientific knowledge was used to determine the hazard with Climate Hazards Group Infra-Red Precipitation with Station (CHIRPS) and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) datasets, Landsat images, and the method used to rank the communities. The northern communities are at greater risk of agricultural drought and those at the foot of the uplands are more at risk of heavy rains and consequent flash floods. The assessment proposes 12 types of actions to treat the risk in the six communities with severe and high multi-hazard risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Article
Flood Assessment for Risk-Informed Planning along the Sirba River, Niger
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4003; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154003 - 24 Jul 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1746
Abstract
South of the Sahara, flood vulnerability and risk assessments at local level rarely identify the exposed areas according to the probability of flooding or the actions in place, or localize the exposed items. They are, therefore, of little use for local development, risk [...] Read more.
South of the Sahara, flood vulnerability and risk assessments at local level rarely identify the exposed areas according to the probability of flooding or the actions in place, or localize the exposed items. They are, therefore, of little use for local development, risk prevention, and contingency planning. The aim of this article is to assess the flood risk, providing useful information for local planning and an assessment methodology useful for other case studies. As a result, the first step involves identifying the information required by the local plans most used south of the Sahara. Four rural communities in Niger, frequently flooded by the Sirba River, are then considered. The risk is the product of the probability of a flood multiplied by the potential damage. Local knowledge and knowledge derived from a hydraulic numerical model, digital terrain model, very high resolution multispectral orthoimages, and daily precipitation are used. The assessment identifies the probability of fluvial and pluvial flooding, the exposed areas, the position, quantity, type, replacement value of exposed items, and the risk level according to three flooding scenarios. Fifteen actions are suggested to reduce the risk and to turn adversity into opportunity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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