Special Issue "Sustainable Natural Resource Management"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Gordon M. Hickey
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Natural Resource Sciences, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, H9X3V9, Canada
Tel. 1 514 398 7214
Interests: sustainable natural resource management, governance, public policy, innovation systems, forestry, fisheries, food security, community-based approaches, sustainable development, social-ecological systems, networks, complexity, resilience, regulatory science

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

2050: A world in crisis? Scientific research is increasingly predicting that within the next 30 years, our global human population will exceed 9 billion people; food, energy, and other resource shortages will lead to riots and political destabilization; we will have exceeded the 2° C threshold for dangerous global warming causing widespread drought and desertification; global ocean fisheries will collapse; significant deforestation and mass species extinctions will have occurred; society will be facing enormous social and economic burdens due to the obesity and overweight epidemic; 75 percent of the world’s population will be experiencing freshwater scarcity; and there will be interstate military conflicts over access to food and water resources. While such ‘doomsday‘ scenarios may not all come to pass, the urgency of realizing integrated and sustainable natural resource management praxis has never been greater. However, how can understandings of sustainability be more meaningfully and realistically operationalized in the day-to-day management and governance of our precious natural resource systems, systems that are inextricably connected to human identities, cultures, quality of life, and general wellbeing?

This Special Issue seeks to identify pragmatic approaches to institutionalizing sustainable natural resource management, policy, and governance in different contexts internationally. The focus is on renewable natural resources, “including biotic (such as biomass, plants, and animals) and abiotic (such as freshwater, fresh air, soil fertility, and elements like carbon and nitrogen), that can be regenerated or replaced by ecological processes on a relevant timescale (Hens and Quynh, 2008). Renewable natural resource systems include fisheries, forestry, foods, medicines, tourism, agriculture, renewable energy, and water. Recognizing that such systems are inherently interlinked deeply challenges our social, ecological, and physical boundaries, necessitating more networked and open approaches to research and governance. Empirical research papers offering novel insights for public policy across institutional, organizational, and disciplinary boundaries are particularly encouraged.

Prof. Dr. Gordon M. Hickey
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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

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

  • sustainable natural resource management
  • renewable resources
  • social-ecological systems
  • sustainable rural livelihoods
  • innovation ecosystems
  • inter-institutional dynamics
  • impact assessment
  • risk governance
  • community-based approaches
  • network governance
  • environmental change
  • gendered approaches
  • sustainability transitions

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Designing Innovative Management for Cultivated Biodiversity: Lessons from a Pioneering Collaboration between French Farmers, Facilitators and Researchers around Participatory Bread Wheat Breeding
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 605; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020605 - 14 Jan 2020
Abstract
The industrialization of farming has significantly threatened cultivated biodiversity. Participatory breeding endeavours to overcome this issue by enabling farmers to select a wide range of crop varieties in different conditions, and to foster genetic mixing through seed exchanges, crosses or mixtures. This necessitates [...] Read more.
The industrialization of farming has significantly threatened cultivated biodiversity. Participatory breeding endeavours to overcome this issue by enabling farmers to select a wide range of crop varieties in different conditions, and to foster genetic mixing through seed exchanges, crosses or mixtures. This necessitates the design of new forms of coordination and organization for the farmers and partners involved. This article reports on an ongoing initiative, aiming to facilitate the participatory design of such forms of coordination and organization. It first outlines the method used (Knowledge–Concept–Proposals or KCP®), and how it has been tailored to this highly decentralized context involving politically engaged actors on a quest for autonomy. It then presents the exploratory results of the first two workshops: these include group consolidation, the sharing of heterogeneous knowledge, the generation of innovative ideas, and the elaboration of preliminary projects. Finally, this empirical case is compared with other initiatives supporting the participatory design of natural resource management strategies and tools. Its key original dimensions and benefits are that the workshop protocol is replicable, the data produced can be easily exploited, and it allows for testing hypotheses in the field of design science. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Natural Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Platform, Participation, and Power: How Dominant and Minority Stakeholders Shape Agricultural Innovation
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020461 - 07 Jan 2020
Abstract
Within agricultural innovation systems (AIS), various stakeholder groups inevitably interpret ‘innovation’ from their own vantage point of privilege and power. In rural developing areas where small-scale and subsistence farming systems support livelihoods, dominant policy actors often focus heavily on participatory modernization and commercialization [...] Read more.
Within agricultural innovation systems (AIS), various stakeholder groups inevitably interpret ‘innovation’ from their own vantage point of privilege and power. In rural developing areas where small-scale and subsistence farming systems support livelihoods, dominant policy actors often focus heavily on participatory modernization and commercialization initiatives to enhance productivity, access, and quality. However, existing social hierarchies may undermine the potential of such initiatives to promote inclusive and sustainable farmer-driven innovation. Focusing on the chronically food insecure smallholder agricultural systems operating in Yatta Sub-county, Eastern Kenya, this paper explores how power dynamics between stakeholders can influence, and can be influenced by, participatory agricultural innovation initiatives. Findings suggest that there are often significant disparities in access to, and control over, platform resources between smallholder farmers and other stakeholder groups, resulting in large asymmetries. We discuss how these power dynamics may increase the risk of agricultural intervention, further marginalizing already disempowered groups and reinforcing power hierarchies to the detriment of smallholders. This study highlights the need for a deeper understanding of the institutional contexts that facilitate and maintain relationships of power within agricultural innovation systems, as well as the complexities associated with promoting transformational agricultural innovation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Natural Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Stakeholder Perspectives to Prevent Soil Organic Matter Decline in Northeastern Italy
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 378; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010378 - 02 Jan 2020
Abstract
A transition from conventional to more sustainable soil management measures (SMMs) is required to reverse the current soil organic matter (SOM) losses in the agroecosystems. Despite the innovations and technologies that are available to prevent SOM decline, top–down knowledge transfer schemes that incentivize [...] Read more.
A transition from conventional to more sustainable soil management measures (SMMs) is required to reverse the current soil organic matter (SOM) losses in the agroecosystems. Despite the innovations and technologies that are available to prevent SOM decline, top–down knowledge transfer schemes that incentivize a certain measure are often ineffective. Here, we discuss relevant outcomes from a participatory approach where researchers, farmers, practitioners and government officials have discussed opportunities and barriers around SMM application to prevent SOM decline. Within a series of workshops, stakeholders identified, scored, and selected SMMs to field-tests and evaluated the benefits and drawbacks from their application. Results showed that the stakeholders recognized the need for innovations, although they valued the most promising SMM as already available continuous soil cover and conservation agriculture. In contrast, more innovative SMMs, such as biochar use and the variable rate application of organic amendments through precision farming, were the least valued, suggesting that people’s resistance to new technologies is often governed by the socio-cultural perception of them that goes beyond the economic and technological aspects. The valuation of benefits and drawbacks by stakeholders on trialed measures emphasized that stakeholders’ perspective about soil management is a combination of economic, environmental, and socio-cultural aspects, thus corroborating the need for transdisciplinary bottom–up approaches to prevent SOM depletion and increase soil rehabilitation and SOM content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Natural Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Responsible Agricultural Mechanization Innovation for the Sustainable Development of Nepal’s Hillside Farming System
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 374; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010374 - 02 Jan 2020
Abstract
Agricultural mechanization in developing countries has taken at least two contested innovation pathways—the “incumbent trajectory” that promotes industrial agriculture, and an “alternative pathway” that supports small-scale mechanization for sustainable development of hillside farming systems. Although both pathways can potentially reduce human and animal [...] Read more.
Agricultural mechanization in developing countries has taken at least two contested innovation pathways—the “incumbent trajectory” that promotes industrial agriculture, and an “alternative pathway” that supports small-scale mechanization for sustainable development of hillside farming systems. Although both pathways can potentially reduce human and animal drudgery, the body of literature that assesses the sustainability impacts of these mechanization pathways in the local ecological, socio-economic, cultural, and historical contexts of hillside farms is either nonexistent or under-theorized. This paper addresses this missing literature by examining the case of Nepal’s first Agricultural Mechanization Promotion Policy 2014 (AMPP) using a conceptual framework of what will be defined as “responsible innovation”. The historical context of this assessment involves the incumbent trajectory of mechanization in the country since the late 1960s that neglected smallholder farms located in the hills and mountains and biased mechanization policy for flat areas only. Findings from this study suggest that the AMPP addressed issues for smallholder production, including gender inequality, exclusion of smallholder farmers, and biophysical challenges associated with hillside farming systems, but it remains unclear whether and how the policy promotes small-scale agricultural mechanization for sustainable development of agriculture in the hills and mountains of Nepal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Natural Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Short Comments on the Application of Criteria for Identifying Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs)
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010130 - 23 Dec 2019
Abstract
In 2008, the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted seven criteria for identifying ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) for biodiversity conservation. Nine international workshops were held in which 209 areas and 38 potential areas were identified as meeting the EBSA criteria. This [...] Read more.
In 2008, the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted seven criteria for identifying ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) for biodiversity conservation. Nine international workshops were held in which 209 areas and 38 potential areas were identified as meeting the EBSA criteria. This study analyzes the 209 identified areas and reveals that the use of the seven criteria in different workshops differed, so their scores are therefore not quantifiable. Furthermore, descriptions specific to criteria regarding areas having “special importance for the life-history stages of species” accounted for only 1.44% of the overall descriptions. Most descriptions regarding “vulnerability, fragility, sensitivity, or slow recovery” were almost contributed by the “importance of threatened, endangered, or declining species and/or habitats”. These three criteria were based on scientific evidences and have been widely accepted by the public. Therefore, we would suggest the criteria of “special importance for the life-history stages of species” and the criteria of “vulnerability, fragility, sensitivity, or slow recovery” need further investigation for biodiversity conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Natural Resource Management)
Open AccessArticle
China Eco-Wisdom: A Review of Sustainability of Agricultural Heritage Systems on Aquatic-Ecological Conservation
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010060 - 19 Dec 2019
Abstract
The multiple problems of modern agriculture urge people to probe into sustainability of the traditional agriculture. As important representatives of Chinese traditional agriculture, the agricultural heritage systems on aquatic-ecological conservation (AHSAEC) are confronting threats and urgently needs to be protected. In this study, [...] Read more.
The multiple problems of modern agriculture urge people to probe into sustainability of the traditional agriculture. As important representatives of Chinese traditional agriculture, the agricultural heritage systems on aquatic-ecological conservation (AHSAEC) are confronting threats and urgently needs to be protected. In this study, the functions and value of the AHSAECs are analyzed by multi-disciplinary methods including system analysis methods based on the review of old books and modern scientific research literature, and the nature of their sustainability are discussed, and the countermeasures against their current unsustainability are proposed. The results show that AHSAECs derive from the simple eco-agriculture models such as the Taihu Lake multi-industry compound ecoagriculture model in historical periods. These systems can integrate farming, forestry, animal husbandry, and aquaculture and make them a sustainable recycling system. Thus, they have strong ecological stability, rich cultural connotation, and good comprehensive benefits. Traditional eco-wisdom from Chinese traditional culture is the power to promote the sustainability and high-quality development of these systems. The key eco-wisdom of AHSAECs is to integrate aquaculture with livestock and poultry breeding and planting through the harmless treatment and recycling of agricultural wastes, which is conducive to the aquatic ecosystem conservation and sustainable resources utilization. Nowadays, it is urgent to preserve the eco-wisdom by establishing ecological museums to realize the productive protection and inheriting development of the heritage systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Natural Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Social Factors Affecting Sustainable Shark Conservation and Management in Belize
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010040 - 19 Dec 2019
Abstract
Predatory sharks contribute to healthy coral reef ecosystems; however their populations are declining. This paper explores some of the important social factors affecting shark conservation outcomes in Belize through a qualitative analysis of the shark-related activities, attitudes and perceptions among local stakeholders and [...] Read more.
Predatory sharks contribute to healthy coral reef ecosystems; however their populations are declining. This paper explores some of the important social factors affecting shark conservation outcomes in Belize through a qualitative analysis of the shark-related activities, attitudes and perceptions among local stakeholders and their perceived relative ability to influence shark conservation policies. Drawing on key informant interviews and focus groups, respondents suggested that considerable demand for shark meat originates from markets in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, especially during Lent, driving larger-scale shark fishing operations within Belize waters. Different stakeholders reported a wide range of uses for shark products, and reported diverging perceptions concerning the status and value of shark populations in Belize, with conflicting attitudes towards their conservation. Such conflicting perceptions among stakeholders can pose a serious challenge to sustainable shark conservation and management, and ultimately undermine collaborative governance objectives. Belize shark conservation issues likely need to be addressed at the scale of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, perhaps by taking a transboundary approach that better accounts for the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders from Belize, Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Natural Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Trusting the People and the System. The Interrelation Between Interpersonal and Institutional Trust in Collective Action for Agri-Environmental Management
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7022; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247022 - 09 Dec 2019
Abstract
Agri-environmental schemes have been introduced in numerous countries to combat biodiversity loss in agrarian landscapes that are important for both food production and biodiversity. The successful operation of such schemes depends strongly upon trust between actors involved, as well as trust in institutions [...] Read more.
Agri-environmental schemes have been introduced in numerous countries to combat biodiversity loss in agrarian landscapes that are important for both food production and biodiversity. The successful operation of such schemes depends strongly upon trust between actors involved, as well as trust in institutions that govern these schemes. However, the interplay between interpersonal and institutional trust in the context of collective action for agri-environmental management is not well understood. To address this question, we explore the case of agri-environmental management in the province of Drenthe (in The Netherlands), where a new policy model was implemented. This case shows how both institutional design and institutional performance critically influence trust dynamics. Under the old policy model, farmers struggled with auditing and control, which fostered mistrust and hampered collective action. Under the new model, a landscape approach, more responsibilities were delegated to farmers, and more room was created for interaction, which fostered trust both between actors and in institutions. Based on our findings, we conclude that institutional designs that reflect trust in the actors can foster interpersonal and institutional trust that, in turn, facilitates collective action. However, old arrangements can also create path dependencies that limit trust development and impede collective action for agri-environmental management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Natural Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Institutional Innovation for Nature-Based Coastal Adaptation: Lessons from Salt Marsh Restoration in Nova Scotia, Canada
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6735; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236735 - 27 Nov 2019
Abstract
Sea-levels have been rising at a faster rate than expected. Because of the maladaptive outcomes of engineering-based hard coastal protection infrastructure, policy makers are looking for alternative adaptation approaches to buffer against coastal flooding—commonly known as nature-based coastal adaptation (NbCA). However, how to [...] Read more.
Sea-levels have been rising at a faster rate than expected. Because of the maladaptive outcomes of engineering-based hard coastal protection infrastructure, policy makers are looking for alternative adaptation approaches to buffer against coastal flooding—commonly known as nature-based coastal adaptation (NbCA). However, how to implement NbCA under an institutional structure demonstrating ‘inertia’ to alternative adaptation approaches is a question that seeks scientific attention. Building on a case study derived from a highly climate-vulnerable Canadian province, this study shows how the entrepreneurial use of scientific information and institutional opportunities helped institutional actors overcome the inertia. Drawing on secondary document analysis and primary qualitative data, this study offers five key lessons to institutional actors aiming at implementing NbCA: (i) develop knowledge networks to help avoid uncertainty; (ii) identify and utilize opportunities within existing institutions; (iii) distribute roles and responsibilities among actors based on their capacity to mobilize required resources; (iv) provide entrepreneurial actors with decision-making autonomy for developing agreed-upon rules and norms; and (v) facilitate repeated interactions among institutional actors to develop a collaborative network among them. This study, therefore, helps us to understand how to implement a relatively new adaptation option by building trust-based networks among diverse and relevant institutional actors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Natural Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Trust and Influence in the Gulf of Mexico’s Fishery Public Management Network
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6090; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216090 - 01 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Sustainable fishery management is a complex multi-sectoral challenge requiring substantial interagency coordination, collaboration, and knowledge sharing. While scholars of public management network theory and natural resource management have identified trust as one of the key ideational network properties that facilitates such interaction, relatively [...] Read more.
Sustainable fishery management is a complex multi-sectoral challenge requiring substantial interagency coordination, collaboration, and knowledge sharing. While scholars of public management network theory and natural resource management have identified trust as one of the key ideational network properties that facilitates such interaction, relatively few studies have operationalized and measured the multiple dimensions of trust and their influence on collaboration. This article presents the results of an exploratory study examining the Gulf of Mexico fishery management network comprised of more than 30 stakeholder organizations. Using an empirically validated survey instrument, the distribution of four types of trust, three gradations of influence, and the degree of formality and informality in actor communications were assessed across the fishery public management network. The analysis reveals generally low levels of interorganizational procedural trust and a high degree of network fragmentation along the international border. Civil servants based at U.S. organizations reported nearly no interactions with Mexican agencies, and vice versa. Rational (calculative) trust was the most important in bringing about reported change in other organizations, while dispositional distrust and affinitive (relational) trust also had significant effects. The results suggest that, although transactional interorganizational relationships prevail in Gulf of Mexico fishery governance, well-developed professional relationships contribute meaningfully to the reported success of public fishery network management and warrants further policy attention in order to help ensure sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Natural Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Simple Soil Tests for On-Site Evaluation of Soil Health in Orchards
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6009; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216009 - 29 Oct 2019
Abstract
Standard commercial soil tests typically quantify nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, pH, and salinity. These factors alone are not sufficient to predict the long-term effects of management on soil health. The goal of this study was to assess the effectiveness and use of simple physical, [...] Read more.
Standard commercial soil tests typically quantify nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, pH, and salinity. These factors alone are not sufficient to predict the long-term effects of management on soil health. The goal of this study was to assess the effectiveness and use of simple physical, biological, and chemical soil health indicator tests that can be completed on-site. Analyses were conducted on soil samples collected from three experimental peach orchards located on the Utah State Horticultural Research Farm in Kaysville, Utah. All simple tests were correlated to comparable lab analyses using Pearson’s correlation. The highest positive correlations were found between Solvita® respiration, and microbial biomass (R = 0.88), followed by our modified slake test and microbial biomass (R = 0.83). Both Berlese funnel and pit count methods of estimating soil macro-organism diversity were fairly predictive of soil health. Overall, simple commercially available chemical tests were weak indicators of soil nutrient concentrations compared to laboratory tests. Modified slake tests, Solvita® respiration and soil organism biodiversity counts may be efficient and cost-effective tools for monitoring soil health on-site. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Natural Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Investigating Perceptions of Land Issues in a Threatened Landscape in Northern Cambodia
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 5881; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11215881 - 23 Oct 2019
Abstract
Land governance highly affects rural communities’ well-being in landscapes where land and its access are contested. This includes sites with high land pressures from development, but also from conservation interventions. In fact, local people’s motivations for sustainably managing their resources is highly tied [...] Read more.
Land governance highly affects rural communities’ well-being in landscapes where land and its access are contested. This includes sites with high land pressures from development, but also from conservation interventions. In fact, local people’s motivations for sustainably managing their resources is highly tied to their perceptions of security, trust and participation in land management regimes. Understanding these perceptions is essential to ensure the internal legitimacy and sustainability of conservation interventions, especially in areas where development changes are fast paced. This paper presents an analysis of household perceptions of land issues in 20 villages across different conservation and development contexts in Northern Cambodia. We assess whether conservation and development interventions, as economic land concessions, influence perceptions of land issues in control and treatment sites by modelling five key perception indicators. We find that household characteristics rather than village contexts are the main factors influencing the perceptions of land issues. Interventions also affect perceptions, especially with regards to the negative effect of development pressures and population growth. While large-scale protected areas do not calm insecurity about land issues, some village-based payment for environmental services projects do. Ultimately, evidence from perception studies can help address current concerns and shape future conservation activities sustainably. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Natural Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Farmers’ Satisfaction and its Influencing Factors in the Policy of Economic Compensation for Cultivated Land Protection: A Case Study in Chengdu, China
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5787; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205787 - 18 Oct 2019
Abstract
With the rapid progress of urbanization, the loss of cultivated land has attracted great attention worldwide, and economic compensation is one of the incentives commonly used by the governments to enhance farmers’ enthusiasm in protecting cultivated land. In recent years, although various economic [...] Read more.
With the rapid progress of urbanization, the loss of cultivated land has attracted great attention worldwide, and economic compensation is one of the incentives commonly used by the governments to enhance farmers’ enthusiasm in protecting cultivated land. In recent years, although various economic compensation modes have been implemented by the Chinese government, such modes are still experimental and exploratory. Thus, designing and implementing a national economic compensation mode is urgent to effectively protect the quantity and quality of cultivated land. This study focuses on the mode of cultivated land protection fund (CLPF) in Chengdu, which is the earliest mode of the implementation of economic compensation in China in 2008. First, we analyzed the farmers’ satisfaction with the CLPF through a face-to-face interview with 296 farmers in Chengdu. Then, we used the path analysis method to identify the influencing factors of farmers’ satisfaction from the characteristics of farmers and the policy. Results show that the CLPF was generally supported by farmers. Nevertheless, room for improvement still exists. Particularly, farmers’ satisfaction was low in the design of the government’s supervision management of the CLPF. Farmers’ satisfaction with compensation standard, funding use requirement, and the government’s supervision management were remarkably affected by factors, including farmers’ educational level, cultivated land area, total annual agricultural income, farmers’ knowledge of the CLPF, farmers’ recognition of the value of the CLPF, and farmers’ perception of the changes in household economics. Particularly, the direct influence of farmers’ perception of the changes in household economics was the most important. Finally, we proposed the recommendations for constructing a national economic compensation mode for cultivated land protection. Our results have certain guiding significance for promoting the sustainable development of cultivated land protection policies by means of economic incentives in China and other countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Natural Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Fish Communities, Habitat Use, and Human Pressures in the Upper Volta Basin, Burkina Faso, West Africa
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5444; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195444 - 01 Oct 2019
Abstract
Human pressures and loss of natural fish habitats led to a decline in fish populations in terms of abundances, biodiversity, and average size in sub-Sahelian Burkina Faso. Little knowledge exists about fish assemblages regarding their composition, their habitat preferences, or their sensitivity to [...] Read more.
Human pressures and loss of natural fish habitats led to a decline in fish populations in terms of abundances, biodiversity, and average size in sub-Sahelian Burkina Faso. Little knowledge exists about fish assemblages regarding their composition, their habitat preferences, or their sensitivity to or tolerance of human pressures. This research provides the first data-driven basis for sustainably managing fish and associated aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Surveys in four different regions sampled 18,000 specimens from 69 species during the dry season. Fish communities, available abiotic habitat conditions, habitat use, and human pressures were assessed and analyzed. Fish communities cluster into four distinct types, each dominated by either Cichlidae, Clariidae, Cyprinidae, or Alestidae and accompanied by specific other families and genera of fish. Habitat preferences of four key species (Labeo coubie, Bagrus bajad, Chelaethiops bibie, and Lates niloticus) were linked to ecological habitat conditions. Results show that physical parameters influence fish community composition and abundances and, when indexed according to pressure type, are linked to responses in fish metrics. Relative abundance either dropped (Mormyridae) or increased (Cichlidae, Cyprinidae) with rising pressure intensity, and some sentinel taxa (Auchenoglanis, Hydrocynus) were only found in low-pressure sites. The outcomes of this study provide basic knowledge of habitat availability, habitat use by fish, species associations, and human pressures and therefore provide the basis for effective conservation and management of fish populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Natural Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Investigating Gaps in Perception of Wildlife between Urban and Rural Inhabitants: Empirical Evidence from Japan
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4516; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174516 - 21 Aug 2019
Abstract
A decline in natural resource management by rural communities has significantly contributed to human–wildlife conflicts, especially crop-raiding, in Japan. Collaborative wildlife management between existing rural stakeholders and new urban stakeholders is essential to address this problem. However, differences in the perception regarding wildlife [...] Read more.
A decline in natural resource management by rural communities has significantly contributed to human–wildlife conflicts, especially crop-raiding, in Japan. Collaborative wildlife management between existing rural stakeholders and new urban stakeholders is essential to address this problem. However, differences in the perception regarding wildlife exist between rural populations, which have ample direct experience with wildlife, and urban populations, which lack direct experience with wildlife. Consequently, this gap in perception can potentially lead to conflicts between stakeholders during collaborative wildlife management. In this study, content analysis, which has been extensively employed to analyze qualitative data, was performed to elucidate the differences in perception of wildlife between urban and rural stakeholders. An online survey was conducted in December 2016 to understand the perception of wildlife by stakeholders, in which 1401 responses were received. The results indicate that the urban individuals did not have a comprehensive understanding of wildlife and any positive views were primarily abstract. Conversely, rural individuals had diverse perceptions, both positive and negative. Therefore, a novel perceptual gap-narrowing approach based on staged interactions with the rural environment, is suggested. Introduction to rural issues through field-based experiences to urban stakeholders is likely to the narrow gaps in perception between urban and rural stakeholders, in order to allow for efficient and collaborative wildlife management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Natural Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Estimating Sustainable Harvest Rates for European Hare (Lepus Europaeus) Populations
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2837; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102837 - 18 May 2019
Abstract
Hunting quotas are used to manage populations of game species in order to ensure sustainable exploitation. However, unpredictable climatic events may interact with hunting. We established a population model for European hares (Lepus europaeus) in Lower Austria. We compared the sustainability [...] Read more.
Hunting quotas are used to manage populations of game species in order to ensure sustainable exploitation. However, unpredictable climatic events may interact with hunting. We established a population model for European hares (Lepus europaeus) in Lower Austria. We compared the sustainability of voluntary quotas used by hunters—which are derived from hare-specific guidelines—with the actual numbers of hares shot and our recommended quotas for hares, which have been derived from climate and population modeling. We used population modeling based on vital rates and densities to adjust our recommended quotas in order to achieve sustainable harvest. The survival of age classes 1 and 3 had the highest impact on the population growth rate. Population viability analysis showed that a recommended quota with a harvest rate of 10% was sustainable for population densities of 45 hares/km2, and that the threshold for hunting should be raised from 10 hares/km2 so that hare populations with <15 hares/km2 are not hunted. The recommended quota outperformed the voluntary hunting quota, since more hares could be harvested sustainably. Age Class 1 survival was strongly linked with weather: a single year with unfavorable weather conditions (low precipitation) negatively affected population densities. Game species, including the European hare, face increasingly frequent weather extremes due to climate change, so hunting quotas need to be sensitive to frequent population fluctuations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Natural Resource Management)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Integrating UAV Technology in an Ecological Monitoring System for Community Wildlife Management Areas in Tanzania
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6116; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216116 - 03 Nov 2019
Abstract
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have recently emerged as a new remote sensing aerial platform, and they are seemingly advancing real-time data generation. Nonetheless, considerable uncertainties remain in the extent to which wildlife managers can integrate UAVs into ecological monitoring systems for wildlife and [...] Read more.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have recently emerged as a new remote sensing aerial platform, and they are seemingly advancing real-time data generation. Nonetheless, considerable uncertainties remain in the extent to which wildlife managers can integrate UAVs into ecological monitoring systems for wildlife and their habitats. In this review, we discuss the recent progress and gaps in UAV use in wildlife conservation and management. The review notes that there is scanty information on UAV use in ecological monitoring of medium-to-large mammals found in groups in heterogeneous habitats. We also explore the need and extent to which the technology can be integrated into ecological monitoring systems for mammals in heterogeneous habitats and in topographically-challenging community wildlife-management areas, as a complementary platform to the traditional techniques. Based on its ability to provide high-resolution images in real-time, further experiments on its wider use in the ecological monitoring of wildlife on a spatiotemporal scale are important. The experimentation outputs will make the UAV a very reliable remote sensing platform that addresses the challenges facing conventional techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Natural Resource Management)
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