Special Issue "Rural Sustainable Environmental Management"

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

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

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Chunjiang An
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Concordia University, Montreal H3G 1M8, QC, Canada
Interests: solid waste composting and digestion; waste utilization and resource recovery; advanced physiochemical and biological treatment; contaminant transport in multiphase; environmental risk assessment and management; synchrotron-assisted environmental process analysis; surface water and groundwater quality; environmental sustainability
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Rural environmental protection has received increasing attention in recent years. The economic development and population growth of rural areas results in many problems such as environmental pollution, land degradation, resource depletion, biodiversity loss, income loss, and public health risks. These issues are particularly poignant in villages and remote regions of developing countries. The rural areas often lack required resources to take needed action. In areas with low population densities and dispersed households, many management strategies associated with centralized and urban regions are unsuitable for implementation. The development of the rural economy and the protection of the environment need to be well balanced with both short- and the long-term views. Of interest for rural areas are strategies that can be environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable. Although much progress has been made, many major challenges to rural environmental management remain to be addressed. How to deal with these problems through sustainable approaches has become an urgent issue in rural areas.

This Special Issue will be dedicated to the perception of rural, sustainable environmental management based on the integration of economic, environmental, and social considerations. It aims to provide a summary of novel developments that can improve the awareness of and provide solutions to these environmental issues. This Special Issue calls for original research and partial and full reviews, including perspectives on the field of the current standing of rural environmental management. Topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Sustainable rural water resources management
  • Rural water and wastewater treatment
  • Rural environmental risk assessment and vulnerability analysis
  • Rural solid waste disposal and management
  • The reduction of nitrogen and phosphorus loss from agricultural activities
  • Environmental best management practices for rural areas
  • Adaptation to climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gas emission in rural areas
  • Environmental statistics and multi-criteria decision analysis in rural environmental management
  • Rural environmental policy analysis
  • Rural ecosystem protection and biodiversity recovery
  • Computer graphics, GIS, and expert systems for supporting rural environmental decision making
  • Optimization and control of rural pollution mitigation processes
  • Agricultural resource utilization
  • Rural land management and planning
  • Monitoring and analytical techniques of rural environmental quality
  • Methods and applications of data mining and artificial intelligence to rural environmental studies
  • Methods and applications related to the integrated simulation, optimization, and management of rural resources, environmental and/or ecological systems
  • The characterization of emerging rural environmental problems and related solutions

Dr. Chunjiang An
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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

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

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • rural environmental risk assessment and vulnerability analysis
  • rural environmental policy analysis
  • rural ecosystem protection and biodiversity recovery
  • agricultural resource utilization
  • adaptation to climate change and reduction of greenhouse gas emission in rural areas

Published Papers (24 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research

Open AccessEditorial
Rural Sustainable Environmental Management
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6688; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166688 - 18 Aug 2020
Abstract
Rural environmental protection has received increasing attention in recent years. The economic development and population growth of rural areas results in many problems, such as environmental pollution, land degradation, resource depletion, biodiversity loss, income loss, and public health risks. Although much progress has [...] Read more.
Rural environmental protection has received increasing attention in recent years. The economic development and population growth of rural areas results in many problems, such as environmental pollution, land degradation, resource depletion, biodiversity loss, income loss, and public health risks. Although much progress has been made, many major challenges to rural environmental management remain to be addressed. The question of how to deal with these problems through sustainable approaches has become an urgent issue in rural areas. This Special Issue, “Rural Sustainable Environmental Management”, was dedicated to the perception of rural, sustainable environmental management based on the integration of economic, environmental, and social considerations. The Special Issue covered the topics about the rural land management and planning, sustainable rural water resources management, integrated simulation and optimization, rural environmental risk assessment and vulnerability analysis, rural water and wastewater treatment, rural environmental policy analysis, rural ecosystem protection and biodiversity recovery, and the characterization of emerging rural environmental problems and related solutions. A total of 24 high-quality papers were accepted after strict and rigorous review. These accepted papers focused on various perspectives of rural sustainable environmental management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Assessment of Soil and Water Conservation Practices in the Loess Hilly Region Using a Coupled Rainfall-Runoff-Erosion Model
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 934; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12030934 - 27 Jan 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Soil and water conservation practices (SWCPs) are widely used to control soil and water loss. Quantifying the effect of SWCPs and climate change on soil and water erosion is important for regional environmental management. In this study, the Soil Conservation Service Curve Number [...] Read more.
Soil and water conservation practices (SWCPs) are widely used to control soil and water loss. Quantifying the effect of SWCPs and climate change on soil and water erosion is important for regional environmental management. In this study, the Soil Conservation Service Curve Number (SCS-CN) and the Modified Universal Soil Loss Equation (MUSLE) were employed to investigate the patterns of surface runoff and soil erosion with different SWCPs in the hilly region on the Loess Plateau of China. The impact of climate change under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 emission scenarios was considered from 2020 to 2050. Surface runoff grew with the increased rainfall and rainfall erosivity, while soil erosion presented large variations between years due to uneven distribution of rainfall and rainfall erosivity under two scenarios. Different SWCPs significantly reduced surface soil and water loss. Compared with bare slopes, the reduction rates were 15–40% for surface runoff and 35–67% for soil erosion under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 emission scenarios, respectively. The combination of shrub and horizontal terracing was recommended due to its low water cost for sediment control among seven SWCPs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Safety Guarantee System of Drinking Water Source in Three Gorges Reservoir Area and Its Application in Huangjuedu Drinking Water Source Area
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7074; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247074 - 10 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
With China’s rapid economic growth and increasing speed of urbanization, water pollution accidents have become one kind of environmental pollution source in China and bring potential risk to urban drinking water safety. The Huangjuedu Drinking Water Source Area is an important water source [...] Read more.
With China’s rapid economic growth and increasing speed of urbanization, water pollution accidents have become one kind of environmental pollution source in China and bring potential risk to urban drinking water safety. The Huangjuedu Drinking Water Source Area is an important water source in Chongqing City (Southwest China) and a water intake source for the Jiangnan Waterworks of the Chongqing Drinking Water Company. There are still risks of water pollution accidents caused by ship leakage, road traffic accidents, chemical plant leakage, etc. The safety of the drinking water area is related to regional residents’ health and life safety and also has a profound impact on economy development and social stability. To reduce the harmful impacts of water pollution, it is of great scientific value and practical significance to analyze the pollutant diffusion of water pollution accidents with the Three Gorges Reservoir Area drinking water source security platform. In this paper, a two-dimensional water quality monitoring model was applied, and the digital elevation model was incorporated into the geographic information system, which generated a computational grid. Then, the Three Gorges Reservoir Area drinking water source security platform was developed. The platform can predict the water flow velocity, pollutant concentration at the drinking water inlet, and the spatial and temporal distribution of pollutants in the whole water source area. Furthermore, a hypothetical ammonia nitrogen leak accident was analyzed using this safety platform. The ammonia nitrogen concentration at the intake of the drinking water source area was detected and analyzed by the security platform from the time of the accident until the concentration dropped to the background during four water periods under different wind direction conditions. The pollutants took 19, 22, 25, and 40 min to reach the water quality standard during the four water periods. Moreover, the diffusion of ammonia nitrogen in the southeast wind was faster than that in the southwest wind. The results showed that the platform is scientific and practical, and the prediction results are helpful for the Emergency Management Department to quickly and accurately predict the migration of ammonia nitrogen pollution and make corresponding plans under accident conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Risk Aversion Based Inexact Stochastic Dynamic Programming Approach for Water Resources Management Planning under Uncertainty
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 6926; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11246926 - 05 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In this study, a dual interval robust stochastic dynamic programming (DIRSDP) method is developed for planning water resources management systems under uncertainty. As an extension of the existing interval stochastic dynamic programming (ISDP) method, DIRSDP can deal with two-stage stochastic programming (TSP)-based planning [...] Read more.
In this study, a dual interval robust stochastic dynamic programming (DIRSDP) method is developed for planning water resources management systems under uncertainty. As an extension of the existing interval stochastic dynamic programming (ISDP) method, DIRSDP can deal with two-stage stochastic programming (TSP)-based planning problems associated with dynamic features, input uncertainties, and multistage concerns. Compared with other optimization methods dealing with uncertainties, the developed DIRSDP method has advantages in addressing uncertainties with complex presentations and reflecting decision makers’ risk-aversion attitudes within its optimization process. Parameters in the DIRSDP model can be represented as probability distributions as well as single and/or dual intervals. Decision makers’ risk-aversion attitudes can be reflected through restricting the deviation of the recourse costs to a tolerance level. Water-allocation plans can then be developed based on the analysis of tradeoffs between the system benefit and solution robustness. The developed method is applied to a case of water resources management planning. The solutions are reasonable, indicating applicability of the developed methodology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Spatio-Temporal Variation of Heavy Metal Pollution during Accidents: A Case Study of the Heshangshan Protected Water Area, China
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 6919; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11246919 - 05 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Recently, water environmental accidents have occasionally occurred which have had wide-ranging influences, long durations and are difficult to deal with. The development of the social economy, the acceleration of industrialization, the huge discharge of industrial wastewater and the occasional occurrence of ship transportation [...] Read more.
Recently, water environmental accidents have occasionally occurred which have had wide-ranging influences, long durations and are difficult to deal with. The development of the social economy, the acceleration of industrialization, the huge discharge of industrial wastewater and the occasional occurrence of ship transportation accidents pose serious threats to the water quality of water inlets and protected water areas. This article applied the two-dimensional water quality model, used a GIS platform and FORTRAN language, and predicted spatio-temporal variations of the iron concentration during a water pollution accident. This research selected the water inlet of Heshangshan Water Plant and the Heshangshan protected water area as the research objective, and assumed a water pollution event had occurred. It was suggested that we should take corresponding emergency measures and relevant solutions to deal with the bad effects of water pollution accidents. The processes mainly included the selection of the study area, the determination of the equation to be used, parameters determination, as well as the identification of the accident scenario and source. The durations of the iron concentration exceeding the standard at the water inlet were 12–18 min and in the protected water area were 16–36 min in four water periods after the accident. In addition, the durations taken for the iron concentration to decrease to the background value in the protected water area were 18–38 min after the accident in four water periods in the accident scenario. Relevant departments should take some contingency measures to avoid fetching water from the intake after the accident within 40 min after the accident and the relevant staff can cancel the warning 40 min after the accident. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Effects of Land-Use Practices on Woody Plant Cover Dynamics in Sahelian Agrosystems in Burkina Faso since the 1970s–1980s Droughts
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 5908; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11215908 - 24 Oct 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
The 1970s–1980s droughts in the Sahel caused a significant degradation of land and plant cover. To cope with this situation, populations have developed several biophysical and social adaptation practices. Many of these are agroforestry practices and contribute to the maintenance of agrosystems. Unfortunately, [...] Read more.
The 1970s–1980s droughts in the Sahel caused a significant degradation of land and plant cover. To cope with this situation, populations have developed several biophysical and social adaptation practices. Many of these are agroforestry practices and contribute to the maintenance of agrosystems. Unfortunately, they remain insufficiently documented and their contributions to the resilience of agrosystems insufficiently evaluated. Many authors widely link the regreening in the Sahel after droughts to the resumption of rainfall. This study examines the contribution of agroforestry practices to the improvement of woody plant cover in the North of Burkina Faso after the 1970s–1980s droughts. The examination of practices is carried out by integrating the rainfall, soil, and geomorphology variables. Landsat images are used to detect changes in woody plant cover: increasing, decreasing, and no-change in the Enhanced Vegetation Index. In addition, 230 field observations, coupled with interviews conducted on the different categories of change, have allowed to characterize the biophysical environment and identify land-use practices. The results show a variability of vegetation index explained to 9% (R2 = 0.09) by rainfall. However, Chi-Squared independence tests show a strong dependence between changes in woody plant cover and geomorphology (p = 0.0018 *), land use, land cover (p = 0.0001 *), and land-use practices (p = 0.0001 *). Our results show that rainfall alone is not enough to explain the dynamics of agrosystems’ woody plant cover. Agricultural and social practices related to the dynamics of farmer perceptions play a key role. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Agricultural Water Management Model Based on Grey Water Footprints under Uncertainty and its Application
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5567; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205567 - 10 Oct 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
The grey water footprint theory was introduced into a fractional programming model to alleviate non-point source pollution and increase water-use efficiency through the adjustment of crop planting structure. The interval programming method was also incorporated within the developed framework to handle parametric uncertainties. [...] Read more.
The grey water footprint theory was introduced into a fractional programming model to alleviate non-point source pollution and increase water-use efficiency through the adjustment of crop planting structure. The interval programming method was also incorporated within the developed framework to handle parametric uncertainties. The objective function of the model was the ratio of economic benefits to grey water footprints from crop production, and the constraints contained water availability constraints, food security constraints, planting area constraints, grey water footprint constraints and non-negative constraints. The model was applied to the Hetao Irrigation District of China. It was found that, based on the data in the year of 2016, the optimal planting plans generated from the developed model would reduce 34,400 m3 of grey water footprints for every 100 million Yuan gained from crops. Under the optimal planting structure, the total grey water footprints would be reduced by 21.9 million m3, the total economic benefits from crops would be increased by 1.138 billion Yuan, and the irrigation water would be saved by 44 million m3. The optimal results could provide decision-makers with agricultural water use plans with reduced negative impacts on the environment and enhanced economic benefits from crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Alien Plants in the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa: Perceptions of Their Contributions to Livelihoods of Local Communities
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5043; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185043 - 16 Sep 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Invasive alien plant species are plant species that establish themselves outside their native distributional range. The current study documented utilization of alien plant species in the Eastern Cape province in South Africa. Information about utilization of alien plant species was gathered through interviews [...] Read more.
Invasive alien plant species are plant species that establish themselves outside their native distributional range. The current study documented utilization of alien plant species in the Eastern Cape province in South Africa. Information about utilization of alien plant species was gathered through interviews conducted with 120 participants, which included 13 traditional healers, 27 herbalists, ten farmers and 70 laypeople. Ethnobotanical importance of documented species was assessed through evaluation of use value (UV), fidelity level (FL) and relative frequency citation (RFC). A third of the participants (33.3%) perceived alien plant species as undesirable, while 71.1% of the participants argued that alien plant species had beneficial effects. A total of 26 alien plant species were recorded, seven species being fruit trees, followed by ornamental plants (five species), fodder and herbal medicines (four species each), construction materials, erosion control and vegetables (two species each). The popular alien plant species with UV > 0.1, RFC > 0.4 and FL > 4.0% included Amaranthus spinosus, Cannabis sativa, Cereus jamaracu, Harrisia balansae, Opuntia engelmannii, Opuntia ficus-indica, Opuntia monocantha and Prunus persica. Information on perceptions of local communities in the Eastern Cape province on the contributions of alien plant species to livelihood needs is an important stage of initiating a management protocol that incorporates public perceptions and values associated with alien plant species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Accident Trend Prediction of Heavy Metal Pollution in the Heshangshan Drinking Water Source Area Based on Integrating a Two-Dimensional Water Quality Model and GIS
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 3998; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11153998 - 24 Jul 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
In recent years, water pollution accidents have frequently occurred, which have caused enormous economic loss and an adverse social impact. In this study, an accident trend prediction system was developed based on integrating a two-dimensional water quality model and GIS, and Arsenic (As) [...] Read more.
In recent years, water pollution accidents have frequently occurred, which have caused enormous economic loss and an adverse social impact. In this study, an accident trend prediction system was developed based on integrating a two-dimensional water quality model and GIS, and Arsenic (As) was adopted as a typical pollutant to study the temporal-spatial changes of heavy metal pollutions under different hydrological and meteorological conditions in the Heshangshan drinking water source area. The simulation for a recent accident indicated that pollutant changes were influenced by lateral diffusion, longitudinal diffusion, flow velocity, water flow, and the self-purification of the water body. It took 79.5 min for the As concentration to meet the water quality standard during the dry period, while it spent 61.3 min, 71 min, and 52 min in the impound period, falling period, and flood period, respectively. The emergency response times were 32 min (in the flood period), 38 min (in the impound period), 48 min (in the falling period), and 52 min (in the dry period). Furthermore, wind speed and wind direction also had impacts on pollutant spread. The times in which the maximum values met the water quality standard were 71 min (southeast wind), 77 min (southwest wind), and 87 min (no wind). The emergency response times were 38 min (southeast wind), 49 min (southwest wind), and 59 min (no wind). This study not only provides a reference for relevant departments and managers to carry out a risk assessment, disaster prevention, and emergency management after actual pollution accidents, but also makes up for the lack of research on the spatial-temporal change of heavy metal pollutants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Environmental Management Practices within Agritourism Boarding Houses in Romania: A Qualitative Study Among Managers
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3887; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143887 - 17 Jul 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Small accommodation businesses such as agritourism boarding houses (ATBHs) provide a large share of accommodating capacity in certain rural destinations. Despite their small accommodation capacity, ATBHs consume substantial quantities of water and energy; this consumption implies high environmental costs. The present study aims [...] Read more.
Small accommodation businesses such as agritourism boarding houses (ATBHs) provide a large share of accommodating capacity in certain rural destinations. Despite their small accommodation capacity, ATBHs consume substantial quantities of water and energy; this consumption implies high environmental costs. The present study aims to explore opinions of ATBH owner-managers regarding water and energy consumption in their businesses, what motivates them to adopt environmental practices, and the specific saving measures used within the tourist accommodation units they manage. A qualitative research was conducted, using semi-structured interviews among 12 Romanian ATBH owner-managers. Data analysis revealed that the interviewed owner-managers understand the importance of natural resource conservation in tourist destinations but they are not willing or have insufficient financial, time, organizational resources, etc. to engage in serious water and energy saving initiatives. Moreover, most interviewed managers indicated that tourists cannot make a significant contribution to natural resources conservation in accommodation units and perceive water and energy saving systems as more effective than the environmental education of visitors in their facility. These findings may be useful to tourism policy-makers and environmental organizations in order to develop effective environmental strategies in ATBHs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Open AccessArticle
Expected Rural Wastewater Treatment Promoted by Provincial Local Discharge Limit Legislation in China
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2756; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102756 - 14 May 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Wastewater treatment in a rural region in China was undeveloped both in treatment capacity and legislation. The successful fast development of urban wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) demonstrated the importance of legislation, including discharge limits. However, most provinces, with as high as 79.8% of [...] Read more.
Wastewater treatment in a rural region in China was undeveloped both in treatment capacity and legislation. The successful fast development of urban wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) demonstrated the importance of legislation, including discharge limits. However, most provinces, with as high as 79.8% of the rural population in China, released no specific local discharge limits. Newly issued top-designed nationwide policy in September of 2018 by central China government required all provinces to issue their local rural wastewater discharge limits before June 2019. For the first time, this research analyzed the requirements of the newly issued policy and their inconsistence with several existing provincial limits. It proposed flexible principles for determination of discharge limits under various conditions to improve the rural residential environment as a whole. This study also proposed the use of the ratio between wastewater treatment cost and life expense to describe economic burden. Economic burden calculation for wastewater treatment in rural and urban regions was established respectively. Based on three conditions described in the new policy, the average burden for all urban residents was estimated as 0.122 ± 0.038% of the total life expense. In comparison, average nationwide rural burden was 0.087 ± 0.035% and 0.564 ± 0.196% for condition I (Total nitrogen(TN)/total phosphorus(TP) for resource recovery) and condition III (TN/TP for pollutant removal), respectively. It was also revealed that a stringent rural discharge limit lead to a Gini value as high as 0.38, indicting policy-related subsidies for rural residents should be carefully considered to ensure a balanced burden. Local discharge limit legislation and suitable financial policy is expected to promote rural wastewater treatment in China in the near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Effect of Ornamental Plants, Seasonality, and Filter Media Material in Fill-and-Drain Constructed Wetlands Treating Rural Community Wastewater
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2350; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082350 - 19 Apr 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The effects of Canna indica (P1), Pontederia sagittata (P2), and Spathiphyllum wallisii (P3) growing in different filter media materials (12 using porous river rock and 12 using tepezyl) on the seasonal removal of pollutants of wastewater using fill-and-drain constructed wetlands (FD-CWs) were investigated [...] Read more.
The effects of Canna indica (P1), Pontederia sagittata (P2), and Spathiphyllum wallisii (P3) growing in different filter media materials (12 using porous river rock and 12 using tepezyl) on the seasonal removal of pollutants of wastewater using fill-and-drain constructed wetlands (FD-CWs) were investigated during 12 months. Three units of every media were planted with one plant of P1, P2, and P3, and three were kept unplanted. C. indica was the plant with higher growth than the other species, in both filter media. The species with more flower production were: C. indica > P. sagittate > S. wallisii. Reflecting similarly in the biomass of the plants, C. indica and P. sagittata showed more quantity of aerial and below ground biomass productivity than S. wallisii. With respect to the removal efficiency, both porous media were efficient in terms of pollutant removal performance (p > 0.05). However, removal efficiency showed a dependence on ornamental plants. The higher removal of chemical oxygen demand (COD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5), total kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), nitrates (NO3-N), ammonium (NH4+-N), and phosphates (PO43-P) oscillated between 81% to 83%, 80% to 84%, 61% to 69%, 61% to 68%, 65% to 71%, 62% to 68%, and 66% to 69%, respectively, in P1 and P2, removals 15% to 30% higher than P3. The removal in planted microcosms was significantly higher than the unplanted control units (p = 0.023). Nitrogen and phosphorous compounds were highly removed (60%–80%) because in typical CWs, such pollutant removals are usually smaller, indicating the importance of FD-CWs on wastewater treatments using porous river rock and tepezyl as porous filter media. (BOD5), chemical oxygen demand (COD), (NO3-N), (NH4+-N), (TKN), and (PO43-P). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Price-Forecast-Based Irrigation Scheduling Optimization Model under the Response of Fruit Quality and Price to Water
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2124; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072124 - 10 Apr 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Different from the traditional irrigation optimization model based only on the water production function, in this study, we explored the water–yield–quality–benefit relationship and established a general irrigation scheduling optimization framework. To establish the framework, (1) an artificial neural network coupled with ensemble empirical [...] Read more.
Different from the traditional irrigation optimization model based only on the water production function, in this study, we explored the water–yield–quality–benefit relationship and established a general irrigation scheduling optimization framework. To establish the framework, (1) an artificial neural network coupled with ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD-ANN) is used to decompose the original price time series into several subseries and then forecast each of them; (2) factor analysis and a technique for order of preference by similarity to ideal solution (FA-TOPSIS), as an integrated evaluation method, is used to comprehensively evaluate the fruit quality parameters; and (3) regression analysis is used to simulate water-yield and water-fruit quality relationships. The model is applied to a case study of greenhouse tomato irrigation schedule optimization. The results indicate that EEMD-ANN can improve the accuracy of price forecasting. Jensen and additive models are selected to simulate the relationships of tomato yield and quality with water deficit at various stages. Besides, the model can balance the contradiction between higher yields and better quality, and optimal irrigation scheduling is obtained under different market conditions. Comparison between the developed model and a traditional modeling approach indicates that the former can improve net benefits, fruit quality, and water use efficiency. This model considers the economic mechanism of market price changing with fruit quality. Forecasting and optimization results can provide reliable and useful advices for local farmers on planting and irrigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Optimal Design of a Distributed Energy System Using the Functional Interval Model That Allows Reduced Carbon Emissions in Guanzhong, a Rural Area of China
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 1930; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11071930 - 01 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Nowadays, rural power supply in China plays an important role in restricting the economic development and improvement of residential living standards. In this study, an interval full-infinite programming rural energy model (IFIP-REM) was developed for supporting distributed energy system (DES) optimal design under [...] Read more.
Nowadays, rural power supply in China plays an important role in restricting the economic development and improvement of residential living standards. In this study, an interval full-infinite programming rural energy model (IFIP-REM) was developed for supporting distributed energy system (DES) optimal design under uncertainties in rural areas. By affecting the upper and lower bounds of the interval by complex and variable external conditions, IFIP-REM could simulate the influence of external systems. To validate the model, a real case study of DES optimal design in Guanzhong, a rural area of China, was tested and aimed to minimize system cost and constraints of resources, energy supply reliability, and carbon emission mitigation. The data revealed generation of reasonable optimization schemes to obtain interval solutions of IFIP-REM. Compared to centralized energy system (CES), DES reduced electricity purchasing of the municipal grid by 47.5% and extended carbon emission of both upper and lower bounds to [17.13, 44.51] % and [12.42, 36.02] %, respectively. Overall, the proposed model could help managers make decisions of DES optimal design by coordinating conflicts among economic cost, system efficiency, and carbon emission mitigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Influent Forecasting for Wastewater Treatment Plants in North America
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1764; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061764 - 23 Mar 2019
Cited by 13
Abstract
Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) is a time series analysis model that can be dated back to 1955. It has been used in many different fields of study to analyze time series and forecast future data points; however, it has not been widely [...] Read more.
Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) is a time series analysis model that can be dated back to 1955. It has been used in many different fields of study to analyze time series and forecast future data points; however, it has not been widely used to forecast daily wastewater influent flow. The objective of this study is to explore the possibility for wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) to utilize ARIMA for daily influent flow forecasting. To pursue the objective confidently, five stations across North America are used to validate ARIMA’s performance. These stations include Woodward, Niagara, North Davis, and two confidential plants. The results demonstrate that ARIMA models can produce satisfactory daily influent flow forecasts. Considering the results of this study, ARIMA models could provide the operating engineers at both municipal and rural WWTPs with sufficient information to run the stations efficiently and thus, support wastewater management and planning at various levels within a watershed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Strategic Assessment and Economic Evaluation: The Case Study of Yanzhou Island (China)
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1076; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041076 - 19 Feb 2019
Cited by 13
Abstract
This paper proposes an interdisciplinary multi-level decision-making procedure for supporting an ongoing process of rural development of Yanzhou Island (China). A multi-methodological evaluation approach based on the combined use of different evaluation tools has been developed in order to take into account the [...] Read more.
This paper proposes an interdisciplinary multi-level decision-making procedure for supporting an ongoing process of rural development of Yanzhou Island (China). A multi-methodological evaluation approach based on the combined use of different evaluation tools has been developed in order to take into account the economic, social, environmental and cultural aspects of the planning process. An experts’ panel has been involved in research since the preliminary phases of the evaluation with the aim of helping the structuring of the decision problem and discussing the outcomes of the analysis. The proposed approach allowed to understand the potentials and weaknesses of the area and to design the most suitable solution for the case study selected. The interdisciplinary nature of this process had given the opportunity to co-design and re-define the master plan in line with the expressed priorities. The master plan of the new district encourages landscape enhancement and promotes the economic development, proposing to grow tourism activities and wellness facilities in a natural place. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Indigenous Agricultural Systems in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka: Management Transformation Assessment and Sustainability
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 910; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030910 - 11 Feb 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
The tank-based irrigated agricultural system in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka is one of the oldest historically evolved agricultural systems in the world. The main component of the system consists of a connected series of man-made tanks constructed in shallow valleys to [...] Read more.
The tank-based irrigated agricultural system in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka is one of the oldest historically evolved agricultural systems in the world. The main component of the system consists of a connected series of man-made tanks constructed in shallow valleys to store, convey and utilize water for paddy cultivation. Up to 10,000 tanks originating from the heydays of ancient kingdoms are still integrated in the current agricultural landscape. During the last two millennia, this indigenous system has undergone many changes in technological, management and socio-cultural norms. This research aimed to analyze the current management practices and existing indigenous aspects of the Dry Zone irrigated agricultural system from the viewpoint of farmers who are the main stakeholders of the system. Altogether, 49 semi-structured interviews were conducted in seven villages in the Anuradhapura district and a detailed survey was conducted in the village of Manewa with a mixed research approach. The basic elements of the indigenous landscape, agricultural practices and management structures based on Farmer Organizations were mapped and examined in detail. The analysis of results shows that the sustainability of the indigenous agricultural system is vulnerable to rapid changes due to modernization, market changes, education levels, and inconsistent management decisions. The case study demonstrates the value of preserving indigenous agricultural systems and the negative outcomes of current management interventions that neglect the indigenous system. Therefore, careful interventions and innovations are needed to adapt the tank-based indigenous agricultural system of the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka so as to preserve ecological and socio-economic sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Spatiotemporal Changes in Evapotranspiration from an Overexploited Water Resources Basin in Arid Northern China and Their Implications for Ecosystem Management
Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 445; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020445 - 16 Jan 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Evapotranspiration (ET), including evaporation from soil and water surfaces and transpiration from vegetation, influences water distribution in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum, especially in arid areas where water is a key limiting factor. Therefore, understanding the spatiotemporal dynamics of ET, including its two components of [...] Read more.
Evapotranspiration (ET), including evaporation from soil and water surfaces and transpiration from vegetation, influences water distribution in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum, especially in arid areas where water is a key limiting factor. Therefore, understanding the spatiotemporal dynamics of ET, including its two components of soil evaporation (Es) and vegetation transpiration (Ec), can be useful for water resource management and ecological restoration in arid regions. Based on ET data from 2002 to 2012, the spatiotemporal variations in ET were evaluated in the Shiyang River Basin in arid Northwest China. The results showed the following: (1) spatially, ET decreased from upstream of the Qilian Mountains to the middle and downstream, with a mean annual value of 316 mm; (2) temporally, ET showed a single peak curve throughout the year, with the highest value occurring in summer; (3) ET showed a downward trend (from 350 to 265 mm) before 2009 and thereafter increased (from 265 to 345 mm); and (4) water use efficiency, indicated by the ratio of Ec to ET, was low in the cropland, with a mean value of 50.9%. Further analysis indicates that decreases in ET are mainly caused by vegetation decreases; in contrast, ecological restriction measures and strict water resource management policies in the middle reaches of the basin led to ET increases. It is concluded that understanding ET and its two components can elucidate the connections between water and human society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Study of Multiple Land Use Planning Based on the Coordinated Development of Wetland Farmland: A Case Study of Fuyuan City, China
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010271 - 08 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Fuyuan City is located in the black soil region of northeast China. Its fertile soil and flat terrain provide a reliable guarantee for the scale, intensification, and standardization of farmland. A large amount of land resources that can be used for the national [...] Read more.
Fuyuan City is located in the black soil region of northeast China. Its fertile soil and flat terrain provide a reliable guarantee for the scale, intensification, and standardization of farmland. A large amount of land resources that can be used for the national food base has been developed, and the contradiction between the need for wetland protection and arable land development has become increasingly prominent. Based on the remote sensing data of 2000, 2005, and 2010, this paper simulates the future land use/land cover changes structure in Fuyuan City based on the Markov Chain model. According to the characteristics of Fuyuan City’s structure, economy, society, and natural environment, within the overall planning of the city, we explore three scenarios: business-as-usual scenarios, farmland conservation scenarios, and wetland conservation scenarios. The results revealed the following: (1) Under the business-as-usual scenario, the rapid development of Fuyuan City showed the characteristics of the continued expansion of urban area and the reduction of farmland and wetland area in 2020 compared with 2010. (2) Under farmland conservation scenarios, farmland was well protected and stable, while construction land expansion was restricted. (3) Under wetland conservation scenarios, wetland increased dramatically, which mainly derived from farmland, grassland, and unused land. According to the result, optimized countermeasures are proposed to balance the coordinated development of farmland and wetlands, to deepen the multiperiod planning of land use in Fuyuan City and to provide data support and a basis for decision-making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Robust Linear Programming and Its Application to Water and Environmental Decision-Making under Uncertainty
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010033 - 21 Dec 2018
Cited by 16
Abstract
In this study, we introduce a robust linear programming approach for water and environmental decision-making under uncertainty. This approach is of significant practical utility to decision makers for obtaining reliable and robust management decisions that are “immune” to the uncertainty attributable to data [...] Read more.
In this study, we introduce a robust linear programming approach for water and environmental decision-making under uncertainty. This approach is of significant practical utility to decision makers for obtaining reliable and robust management decisions that are “immune” to the uncertainty attributable to data perturbations. The immunization guarantees that the chosen robust management plan will be implementable with no violation of the mandatory constraints of the problem being studied—i.e., natural resource supply constraint, environmental carrying capacity constraint, environmental pollution control constraint, etc.—and that the actual value of the objective will be no worse than the given estimation if the perturbations of data fall within the specified uncertainty set. A simplified example in regional water quality management is provided to help water and environmental practitioners to better understand how to implement robust linear programming from the perspective of application, as well as to illustrate the significance and necessity of implementing robust optimization techniques in real-world practices. Robust optimization is a growing research field that requires more interdisciplinary research efforts and engagements from water and environmental practitioners. Both may benefit from the advances of management science. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Multi-Objective Hierarchical Model for Irrigation Scheduling in the Complex Canal System
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010024 - 20 Dec 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
Due to population growth, environmental pollution and climate change, the lack of water resources has become a critical factor which threatens sustainable agricultural development. Reasonable irrigation scheduling strategies can reduce the waste of water and enhance agricultural water-use efficiency. In the present study, [...] Read more.
Due to population growth, environmental pollution and climate change, the lack of water resources has become a critical factor which threatens sustainable agricultural development. Reasonable irrigation scheduling strategies can reduce the waste of water and enhance agricultural water-use efficiency. In the present study, the decomposition-coordination theory was adopted to analyze the hierarchical canal system. A novel nonlinear multi-level multi-objective optimization model for complex canal systems was established, taking account of the multiple demands from decision makers and realistic factors of canal operation. An interactive method of the technique for order preference using similarity algorithm and genetic algorithm was proposed to solve the developed model. The developed model was successfully applied for the operational strategy making of a canal system located in the arid area of northwest China. The results indicated that the optimization model could help shorten the operational duration by two days, achieve about 26% reduction of irrigation water consumption, and improve the efficiency of water delivery from 0.566 to 0.687. That will be very favorable for the promotion of the agricultural water productivity, the relief of water shortage crisis and the sustainable development of agriculture. The outcomes can provide a wide range of support for decision making and make irrigation decision-making more scientific and systematic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Effects of Different Grazing Systems on Aboveground Biomass and Plant Species Dominance in Typical Chinese and Mongolian Steppes
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4753; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124753 - 13 Dec 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
This study investigated the effects of different grazing systems on plant communities, and examined the causes of Mongolian grassland desertification. The typical steppes near the Chinese-Mongolian border were studied using quadrat sampling and remote sensing methods. Aboveground biomass in the steppe areas differed [...] Read more.
This study investigated the effects of different grazing systems on plant communities, and examined the causes of Mongolian grassland desertification. The typical steppes near the Chinese-Mongolian border were studied using quadrat sampling and remote sensing methods. Aboveground biomass in the steppe areas differed significantly among the three grazing systems (p < 0.05): Biomass in the grazing-prohibited areas (455.9 g) was greater than that in the rotational-grazing areas (268.4 g) and the continuous grazing areas (122.2 g). Aboveground biomass was well correlated with the Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (SAVI; y = 5600x2 + 260x + 110; R2 = 0.67; p < 0.05). The relative mean deviation between the aboveground biomass was calculated using this regression and the measured biomass was 29.1%. The Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (SAVI) values for nomadic-grazing areas were greater than those for continuous-grazing areas in 1989, 2005, 2011, and 2016, and were significantly greater in 2011 and 2016. The SAVI values for the continuous-grazing areas were slightly, but not significantly greater, than those for the nomadic-grazing areas in 1993. Plant species that dominated in moderately degraded areas were most dominant in nomadic-grazing areas, followed by continuous-grazing areas and grazing-prohibited areas. Plant species that dominated in lightly and heavily degraded areas were most dominant in continuous-grazing areas, followed by nomadic-grazing areas and grazing-prohibited areas. Generally, continuous grazing caused more serious grassland degradation than did nomadic grazing, and nomadic-grazing areas tolerated more intense grazing than did continuous-grazing areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
How to Effectively Improve Pesticide Waste Governance: A Perspective of Reverse Logistics
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3622; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103622 - 10 Oct 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
With the development of modern science and technology, agricultural production and quality have made major breakthroughs, followed by more and more pesticide waste. Pesticide waste refers to the packaging of pesticide residues. Pesticide waste will cause great damage to soil, water and human [...] Read more.
With the development of modern science and technology, agricultural production and quality have made major breakthroughs, followed by more and more pesticide waste. Pesticide waste refers to the packaging of pesticide residues. Pesticide waste will cause great damage to soil, water and human health, seriously affecting the ecological sustainability. Most of the existing literature is theoretical articles, and few empirical studies are provided on how to improve pesticide waste management. In this paper, a set of reverse logistics network models of pesticide wastes is constructed, and the framework of reverse logistics is used to realize the efficient recovery and treatment of pesticide wastes. The problem of how to collect pesticide wastes and how to optimize the location and flow allocation of facilities such as recycling center and treatment center was solved. The weights of the factors affecting the reverse logistics network model are determined by using the network analytic hierarchy process. Under the conditions of minimizing the cost and minimizing the negative externality, the mixed integer model programming method is used to make the optimal location decision and flow distribution. Finally, taking the JT area of China as an example, the results of the reverse logistics network model of pesticide wastes are demonstrated. The results show that the scheme is feasible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Factor Decomposition of the Changes in the Rural Regional Income Inequality in Southwestern Mountainous Area of China
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3171; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093171 - 05 Sep 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
This study aimed to determine factors of rural income inequality changes in Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, China, to help formulate measures to reduce regional inequality and alleviate poverty in the southwestern mountainous area of China, which experiences frequent natural disasters [...] Read more.
This study aimed to determine factors of rural income inequality changes in Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, China, to help formulate measures to reduce regional inequality and alleviate poverty in the southwestern mountainous area of China, which experiences frequent natural disasters and poor living conditions. Changes in rural income inequality are examined, which are then decomposed into different component factors based on the Gini index. Income inequality is comprised of four types of income source: wages, household operations, properties, and transfers. This analysis focuses on the period of 2003 to 2011—a special transitional stage during which the Wenchuan earthquake intervened. The results indicate that income from household operations plays a dominant role in income inequality. Its contribution to the overall inequality fluctuates from 36.40 to 50.39% and had a positive effect on reducing inequality after the earthquake. Wage income contributed the second-most to income inequality and had positive and negative effects on reducing inequality before and after the earthquake, respectively. Transfer and property incomes are important forces in income inequality that have different influencing mechanisms. Transfer income positively helps reduce income inequality. Exclusive favors or preferences should be granted to such areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Sustainable Environmental Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop