sustainability-logo

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Topical Collection "Feature Papers in Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources"

Editors

Dr. Elena Rada
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce a new Special Issue entitled “Feature Papers in Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources”. This is an important collection of high-quality reviews and original papers that cover recent advances in our understanding of sustainable use of the environment and resources. Only contributions from the Editorial Board and papers from distinguished scholars in the field invited by Editorial Board Members, Guest Editors, or the Editorial Office will be accepted in this Special Issue. Researchers are welcome to contact the Editorial Office to be invited.

Prof. Vincenzo Torretta
Dr. Elena Cristina Rada
Guest Editors

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 collection 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 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (41 papers)

2021

Jump to: 2020

Review
Management of Global Warming Effects in the European Water Framework Directive: Consideration of Social–Ecological System Features in the Elbe River Basin District
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9111; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169111 - 14 Aug 2021
Viewed by 449
Abstract
In this study, we examined the extent to which global warming management is currently integrated into the European Water Framework Directive (WFD), the central legal framework for water management in the EU. We focused on the Elbe River Basin District and how global [...] Read more.
In this study, we examined the extent to which global warming management is currently integrated into the European Water Framework Directive (WFD), the central legal framework for water management in the EU. We focused on the Elbe River Basin District and how global warming is addressed in its water management. We used the social–ecological systems (SES) approach as our theoretical framework, representing an eminent analytical frame of biosphere-based sustainability science. In our study, we analysed core characteristics of SES in the context of global warming to evaluate the effectiveness of current water management in the Elbe River basin concerning long-term changing climate conditions. To determine to what extent each SES feature is considered in the Elbe water management, we applied a scale of 1 to 5. Our results show that the SES feature “scale and openness” is best addressed (score 4.0) by the Elbe River basin management, followed by “context dependency” (score 3.9); however, “non-linearity, uncertainty, unpredictability” (score 3.2), “self-organisation and adaptability” (score 3.1), and “dynamics” (score 3.0) have only moderate impacts. SES features can only be considered comprehensively if global warming is accounted for in an integrated way at a European level. In order to ensure effective implementation, explicit regulations and legally binding obligations are most likely required. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Alleviation of Salt Stress in Wheat Seedlings via Multifunctional Bacillus aryabhattai PM34: An In-Vitro Study
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 8030; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13148030 - 19 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 567
Abstract
Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria play a substantial role in plant growth and development under biotic and abiotic stress conditions. However, understanding about the functional role of rhizobacterial strains for wheat growth under salt stress remains largely unknown. Here we investigated the antagonistic bacterial strain [...] Read more.
Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria play a substantial role in plant growth and development under biotic and abiotic stress conditions. However, understanding about the functional role of rhizobacterial strains for wheat growth under salt stress remains largely unknown. Here we investigated the antagonistic bacterial strain Bacillus aryabhattai PM34 inhabiting ACC deaminase and exopolysaccharide producing ability to ameliorate salinity stress in wheat seedlings under in vitro conditions. The strain PM34 was isolated from the potato rhizosphere and screened for different PGP traits comprising nitrogen fixation, potassium, zinc solubilization, indole acetic acid, siderophore, and ammonia production, along with various extracellular enzyme activities. The strain PM34 showed significant tolerance towards both abiotic stresses including salt stress (NaCl 2 M), heavy metal (nickel, 100 ppm, and cadmium, 300 ppm), heat stress (60 °C), and biotic stress through mycelial inhibition of Rhizoctonia solani (43%) and Fusarium solani (41%). The PCR detection of ituC, nifH, and acds genes coding for iturin, nitrogenase, and ACC deaminase enzyme indicated the potential of strain PM34 for plant growth promotion and stress tolerance. In the in vitro experiment, NaCl (2 M) decreased the wheat growth while the inoculation of strain PM34 enhanced the germination% (48%), root length (76%), shoot length (75%), fresh biomass (79%), and dry biomass (87%) over to un-inoculated control under 2M NaCl level. The results of experiments depicted the ability of antagonistic bacterial strain Bacillus aryabhattai PM34 to augment salt stress tolerance when inoculated to wheat plants under saline environment. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Environmental and Energy Implications of Meat Consumption Pathways in Sub-Saharan Africa
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7075; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137075 - 23 Jun 2021
Viewed by 401
Abstract
In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), diets are largely based on cereal or root staple crops. Together with socio-cultural change, economic and demographic growth could boost the demand for meat, with significant environmental repercussions. We model meat consumption pathways to 2050 for SSA based on [...] Read more.
In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), diets are largely based on cereal or root staple crops. Together with socio-cultural change, economic and demographic growth could boost the demand for meat, with significant environmental repercussions. We model meat consumption pathways to 2050 for SSA based on several scenarios calibrated on historical demand drivers. To assess the consequent environmental impact, we adopt an environmentally-extended input-output (EEIO) framework and apply it on the EXIOBASE 3.3 hybrid tables. We find that, depending on the interplay of resources efficiency and demand growth, by 2050 the growth in meat consumption in SSA could cause a growth in greenhouse gases emissions of 1.4 [0.9–1.9] Gt CO2e/yr (~175% of current regional agriculture-related emissions), which is an extension of cropping and grazing-related land of 15 [12.5–21] · 106 km2 (one quarter of today’s global agricultural land), the consumption of an additional 36 [29–47] Gm3/yr of blue water (nearly doubling the current regional agricultural consumption), an eutrophication potential growth of 7.6 [4.9–9.5] t PO4e/yr, and the consumption of additional 0.9 [0.5–1.4] EJ/yr of fossil fuels and 49 [32–73] TWh/yr of electricity. These results suggest that—in the absence of significant improvements in the regional sectoral resource efficiency—meat demand growth in SSA is bound to become a major global sustainability challenge. In addition, we show that a partial substitution of the protein intake from the expected growth in meat consumption with plant-based alternatives carries additional significant potential for mitigating environmental impacts. The policies affecting both farming practices and dietary choices will thus have a significant impact on the SSA and global environmental flows. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Innovations in Best Practices: Approaches to Managing Urban Areas and Reducing Flood Risk in Reggio Calabria (Italy)
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3463; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063463 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1039
Abstract
Urbanization increases imperviousness and reduces infiltration, retention, and evapotranspiration, frequently aggravating urban flooding due to greater runoff and higher and faster discharge peaks. Effective strategies to mitigate flood risks require a better understanding of the watershed dynamics and space to reverse the negative [...] Read more.
Urbanization increases imperviousness and reduces infiltration, retention, and evapotranspiration, frequently aggravating urban flooding due to greater runoff and higher and faster discharge peaks. Effective strategies to mitigate flood risks require a better understanding of the watershed dynamics and space to reverse the negative impacts. However, often cities do not have proper data sets to feed mathematical models that would be helpful in mapping water dynamics. Attempts to reduce flood risks have been made for decades by means of structural interventions but were frequently designed within the logic of a local scale, using limited available spaces and often merely shifting flooding downstream. Therefore, assessing urban floods requires a modeling approach capable of reflecting the watershed scale, considering interactions between hydraulic structures and urban landscape, where best practices and non-structural measures aim to improve community flood resilience through the reduction of social and financial costs in the long run. This paper proposes an integrated approach to analyze low impact development (LID) practices complemented by non-structural measures in a case study in southern Italy, supported by mathematical modeling in a strategy to overcome a context of almost no available data and limited urban open spaces. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Palestine Energy Policy for Photovoltaic Generation: Current Status and What Should Be Next?
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2996; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052996 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 708
Abstract
Most of the consumed energy in Palestine comes from Israel. Meanwhile, the Israeli government controls the amount of electricity for Palestinians due to political reasons. This has led to many electricity shortages, prompting the Palestinians to invest in grid connected photovoltaic systems to [...] Read more.
Most of the consumed energy in Palestine comes from Israel. Meanwhile, the Israeli government controls the amount of electricity for Palestinians due to political reasons. This has led to many electricity shortages, prompting the Palestinians to invest in grid connected photovoltaic systems to mitigate electricity shortages. However, the lack of experience and loose energy policies have negatively affected the electricity distribution network in Palestine. Thus, this paper aims to discuss the current energy policy model for photovoltaic generation in Palestine and the challenges facing it. Moreover, 15 photovoltaic systems are selected in this research for technical and economical evaluation, to first show the typical performance of photovoltaic systems in Palestine, and second, to prove that there are failure cases in many systems due to a number of behavioral and structural barriers. Finally, the paper proposes a suggestion of unbundling transmission lines in the region to address the current critical status of photovoltaic investment in Palestine. As a result, the typical average yield factor of photovoltaic systems in Palestine is in the range of 1368–1816 kWh/kWp per year with a payback period of 5.5–7.4 years. However, the percentage of failure for the installed systems is found to be 47%. Meanwhile, the low awareness and lack of non-technical information are the main behavioral barriers, while grid infrastructure, lack of technical standards and staff training as well as loose and discouraging policies are the most dominant structural barriers. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Impact of the Slow Fish Movement Curriculum on Students’ Awareness of Marine Environment Conservation and Marine Resource Sustainability
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2880; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052880 - 07 Mar 2021
Viewed by 507
Abstract
This study aims to measure the impact of the Slow Fish Movement (SFM) curriculum regarding the awareness of marine environment conservation (MEC) and marine resource sustainability (MRC). The SFM curriculum was designed for 1007 junior high school students in a seaside city. The [...] Read more.
This study aims to measure the impact of the Slow Fish Movement (SFM) curriculum regarding the awareness of marine environment conservation (MEC) and marine resource sustainability (MRC). The SFM curriculum was designed for 1007 junior high school students in a seaside city. The UN SDG 14, Taiwan Seafood Guide and the Nine Principles of Consuming Seafood in Taiwan for Ocean Sustainability formed the core of three questionnaires. The results show that students in the seaside city lack an understanding of the marine ecosystem and that SFM lessons can significantly encourage personal responsibility and impact students’ judgments regarding consuming sustainable seafood. These lessons also increase the awareness of MEC and MRS and the self-restoration of organisms in marine ecosystems. These factors could help us to achieve sustainable development for our ocean. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Comparison of Projection in Meteorological and Hydrological Droughts in the Cheongmicheon Watershed for RCP4.5 and SSP2-4.5
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2066; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042066 - 15 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 984
Abstract
Due to the recent appearance of shares socioeconomic pathway (SSP) scenarios, there have been many studies that compare the results between Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP)5 and CMIP6 general circulation models (GCMs). This study attempted to project future drought characteristics in the Cheongmicheon [...] Read more.
Due to the recent appearance of shares socioeconomic pathway (SSP) scenarios, there have been many studies that compare the results between Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP)5 and CMIP6 general circulation models (GCMs). This study attempted to project future drought characteristics in the Cheongmicheon watershed using SSP2-4.5 of Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator-coupled model (ACCESS-CM2) in addition to Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 of ACCESS 1-3 of the same institute. The historical precipitation and temperature data of ACCESS-CM2 were generated better than those of ACCESS 1-3. Two meteorological drought indices, namely, Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) were used to project meteorological drought while a hydrological drought index, Standardized Streamflow Index (SDI), was used to project the hydrological drought characteristics. The metrological data of GCMs were bias-corrected using quantile mapping method and the streamflow was obtained using Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) and bias-corrected meteorological data. As a result, there were large differences of drought occurrences and severities between RCP4.5 and SSP2-4.5 for the values of SPI, SPEI, and SDI. The differences in the minimum values of drought index between near (2021–2060) and far futures (2061–2100) were very small in SSP2-4.5, while those in RCP4.5 were very large. In addition, the longest drought period from SDI was the largest because the variation in precipitation usually affects the streamflow with a lag. Therefore, it was concluded that it is important to consider both CMIP5 and CMIP6 GCMs in establishing the drought countermeasures for the future period. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Biochar Volatile Matter and Feedstock Effects on Soil Nitrogen Mineralization and Soil Fungal Colonization
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2018; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042018 - 13 Feb 2021
Viewed by 559
Abstract
Biochar has important biogeochemical functions in soil—first as a means to sequester carbon, and second as a soil conditioner to potentially enhance soil quality and fertility. Volatile matter (VM) content is a property of biochar that describes its degree of thermal alteration, which [...] Read more.
Biochar has important biogeochemical functions in soil—first as a means to sequester carbon, and second as a soil conditioner to potentially enhance soil quality and fertility. Volatile matter (VM) content is a property of biochar that describes its degree of thermal alteration, which can have a direct influence on carbon and nitrogen dynamics in soil. In this study, we characterized the VM in biochars derived from two locally sourced feedstocks (corncob and kiawe wood) and evaluated the relationship of VM content to nitrogen transformations and culturable fungal biomass. Using 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, we found that the VM content of biochar primarily consisted of alkyl (5.1–10.1%), oxygen-substituted alkyl (2.2–6.7%), and phenolic carbon (9.4–11.6%). In a series of laboratory incubations, we demonstrated that corncob biochars with high VM (23%) content provide a source of bioavailable carbon that appeared to support enhanced viable, culturable fungi (up to 8 fold increase) and cause nitrogen immobilization in the short-term. Corncob biochar with bioavailable VM was nitrogen-limited, and the addition of nitrogen fertilizer resulted in a four-fold increase in total hydrolytic enzyme activity and the abundance of culturable fungal colonies. In contrast, kiawe biochar with an equivalent VM content differed substantially in its composition and effect on these same biological parameters. Therefore, the rapid measurement of VM content is too coarse to differentiate chemical composition and to predict the behavior of biochars across feedstocks and production methods. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Picture-Frustration Test to Assess Environmental Attitudes of Residents Exposed to Aircraft Noise from Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2016; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042016 - 13 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 460
Abstract
Expanding transport systems for life convenience and preserving the natural environment are essential but conflicting human activities. The operational expansion after the opening of a new terminal building at Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport was followed by changes in aircraft noise exposure. A [...] Read more.
Expanding transport systems for life convenience and preserving the natural environment are essential but conflicting human activities. The operational expansion after the opening of a new terminal building at Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport was followed by changes in aircraft noise exposure. A series of socio-acoustic surveys were conducted around the airport, revealing different levels of noise annoyance responses in the surveyed sites. To clarify this discrepancy and to explore people’s true feelings, the Picture-Frustration test was conducted to assess attitudes toward the airport, aircraft noise, living environment, and awareness of environmental protection in the communities around the airport. A total of 321 responses were obtained. The results showed a significant variation in attitudes toward the airport and natural environment among residents in different areas. Urban residents preferred natural environment more than those living in rural and mixed sites, who desired harmony between nature and life convenience. Residents in rural sites raised more complaints about aircraft noise effects on sleep than those in the other sites. Factors of occupations and gardening activities did not affect residents’ attitudes toward the airport. The attitudes of the participants varied depending on the exposure noise levels. It was suggested that using multiple questioning methods is necessary to certify the true opinions and aspirations of people living in the project area and ensure sustainable development. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Viewpoint
Recycling and Reuse of Sediments in Agriculture: Where Is the Problem?
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1648; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041648 - 04 Feb 2021
Viewed by 558
Abstract
Though suggested by international conventions for a long time, there are still several technical and legislative limitations to a complete reuse and recycling of dredged sediments. In particular, reuse of unpolluted sediments can be practiced, whereas sediment recycling is still affected by several [...] Read more.
Though suggested by international conventions for a long time, there are still several technical and legislative limitations to a complete reuse and recycling of dredged sediments. In particular, reuse of unpolluted sediments can be practiced, whereas sediment recycling is still affected by several downsides, and a significant proportion of the recycled fine sediments has no practical use and must be landfilled. However, the silty clayey fraction of the recycled sediments is rich in organic matter and macro- and micronutrients useful for plant growth. Nevertheless, sediment recycling in agriculture is not possible, even in non-food agricultural sectors, due to the lack of a permissive legislation and of consolidated supply chains. In addition to plant nutrients, the silty-clay sediment fraction may also accumulate organic and inorganic pollutants, and while the organic pollutants can be effectively biodegraded, metals and metalloids may concentrate at concentrations higher than the limits set by the environmental and agricultural legislations. In this paper, I briefly summarize the scientific evidence on the potential reuse and recycling of sediments in agriculture, and I discuss the main reasons for hindrance of sediment recycling in agriculture. I also present evidence from a real industrial biodegradation process that produces bioremediated fine sediment fractions with suitable properties as a mineral ingredient for plant-growing media. I propose that nutrient-rich recycled sediments could be reconsidered as a component material category in the new EU regulation on fertilizers. Full article
Article
Phosphate Removal Using Polyethylenimine Functionalized Silica-Based Materials
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1502; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031502 - 01 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 611
Abstract
In water and wastewater, phosphate anions are considered critical contaminants because they cause algae blooms and eutrophication. The present work aims at studying the removal of phosphate anions from aqueous solutions using silica particles functionalized with polyethylenimine. The parameters affecting the adsorption process [...] Read more.
In water and wastewater, phosphate anions are considered critical contaminants because they cause algae blooms and eutrophication. The present work aims at studying the removal of phosphate anions from aqueous solutions using silica particles functionalized with polyethylenimine. The parameters affecting the adsorption process such as pH, initial concentration, adsorbent dose, and the presence of competitive anions, such as carbonate, nitrate, sulfate and chromate ions, were studied. Equilibrium studies were carried out to determine their sorption capacity and the rate of phosphate ions uptake. The adsorption isotherm data fitted well with the Langmuir and Sips model. The maximum sorption capacity was 41.1 mg/g at pH 5, which decreased slightly at pH 7. The efficiency of phosphate removal adsorption increased at lower pH values and by increasing the adsorbent dose. The maximum phosphate removal was 80% for pH 5 and decreased to 75% for pH 6, to 73% for pH 7 and to 70% for pH 8, for initial phosphate concentration at about 1 mg/L and for a dose of adsorbent 100 mg/L. The removal rate was increased with the increase of the adsorbent dose. For example, for initial phosphate concentration of 4 mg/L the removal rate increased from 40% to 80% by increasing the dose from 0.1 to 2.0 g/L at pH 7. The competitive anions adversely affected phosphate removal. Though they were also found to be removed to a certain extent. Their co-removal provided an adsorbent which might be very useful for treating waters with low-level multiple contaminant occurrence in natural or engineered aquatic systems. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Experimental and Techno-Economic Study on the Use of Microalgae for Paper Industry Effluents Remediation
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1314; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031314 - 27 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 603
Abstract
Humanity is facing some major global threats, namely lack of environmental sustainability, the energy crisis associated with the unsustainable reliance on fossil fuels, and water scarcity, which will be exacerbated with the rapid growth of urban areas. Researchers have drawn their attention to [...] Read more.
Humanity is facing some major global threats, namely lack of environmental sustainability, the energy crisis associated with the unsustainable reliance on fossil fuels, and water scarcity, which will be exacerbated with the rapid growth of urban areas. Researchers have drawn their attention to microalgae, photosynthetic microorganisms known for their environmental applications, such as wastewater remediation and lipids accumulation, to produce third-generation biofuels to solve some of these major issues. Considering this dual role, this study evaluated the potential of the microalga Chlorella vulgaris on nutrient removal from a paper industry effluent and bioenergy production. Firstly, experiments were performed to assess the potential of this microalga to: (i) successfully grow in different concentrations of a paper industry effluent (20% to 100%); and (ii) treat the industrial effluent, reducing phosphorus concentrations to values below the accepted legal limits. Then, a techno-economic assessment was performed to study the viability of a C. vulgaris biorefinery targeting the remediation of a paper industry effluent and bioenergy production. The results have shown that C. vulgaris was able to successfully grow and treat the paper industry effluent. Under these conditions, average biomass productivities determined for this microalga ranged between 15.5 ± 0.5 and 26 ± 1 mg dry weight (DW) L−1 d−1, with maximum biomass concentrations reaching values between 337 ± 9 and 495 ± 25 mg DW L−1 d−1. Moreover, final phosphorus concentrations ranged between 0.12 ± 0.01 and 0.5 ± 0.3 mg P L−1, values below the legal limits imposed by the Portuguese Environment Agency on the paper industry. Regarding the proposal of a microalgal biorefinery for the bioremediation of paper industry effluents with bioenergy production, the techno-economic study demonstrated that six of the seven studied scenarios resulted in an economically-viable infrastructure. The highest net present value (15.4 million euros) and lowest discounted payback period (13 years) were determined for Scenario 3, which assumed a photosynthetic efficiency of 3%, a lipids extraction efficiency of 75%, and an anaerobic digestion efficiency of 45%. Therefore, it was possible to conclude that besides being economically viable, the proposed biorefinery presents several environmental benefits: (i) the remediation of an industrial effluent; (ii) CO2 uptake for microalgal growth, which contributes to a reduction in greenhouse gases emissions; (iii) production of clean and renewable energy; (iv) soil regeneration; and (v) promotion of a circular economy. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Can ICZM Contribute to the Mitigation of Erosion and of Human Activities Threatening the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Coastal Landscape of Calabria?
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1122; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031122 - 21 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 507
Abstract
Calabria is a region of southern Italy characterized by several natural and heritage sites located on seaboard areas, within a distance of 300 m from the coast. In fact, 58 Natura 2000 sites and 63 cultural heritage sites (42.9% of which overlap with [...] Read more.
Calabria is a region of southern Italy characterized by several natural and heritage sites located on seaboard areas, within a distance of 300 m from the coast. In fact, 58 Natura 2000 sites and 63 cultural heritage sites (42.9% of which overlap with the Natura 2000 ones) fall within the borders of the region. Within this context, this study has analyzed the connection between natural and cultural goods in the region, considering both seaboard and human impact risk conditions. The results evidenced that 50% and 21% of the natural and cultural heritage sites, respectively, are exposed to the risk of increasing coastal erosion and heavy human impact. Moreover, in order to highlight how cultural heritage sites could be integrated into natural ones within a process of global coastal area management, three case studies have been discussed. In fact, a new kind of approach to coastal regions through an Integrated Coastal Zone Management is necessary in order to valorize the natural and cultural heritage of coastal regions for the social and economic growth of local people. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Sustainable Use of the Environment, Planetary Boundaries and Market Power
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 949; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020949 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 685
Abstract
Many of the environment and natural resources that constitute key “safe operating spaces”, as designated by planetary boundaries, are being exploited by a handful of large firms with considerable market share. In this paper, we discuss how the environment and natural resources that [...] Read more.
Many of the environment and natural resources that constitute key “safe operating spaces”, as designated by planetary boundaries, are being exploited by a handful of large firms with considerable market share. In this paper, we discuss how the environment and natural resources that occur within a safe operating space can be treated as an exploitable finite stock. We use an optimal depletion model to show how the extraction of these exhaustible assets can be managed optimally, and allow for adjustment in price paths due to technological innovation and environmental externalities. Given the growing market concentration and monopoly power in the key economic sectors that exploit the environment and resources that constitute many safe operating spaces, we then explore how monopoly conditions can alter the extraction and price path of the environmental assets over time compared to that under competitive market conditions. We show that the monopoly may be compatible with more sustainable use, by extending the life of the exploitable, depletable stock, at the expense of firms capturing excessive resource rents from exploitation. This tradeoff means that any policies implemented to tax the excessive monopoly rents need to be designed without compromising the sustainable use of the environment. The tax revenue raised can be channeled into protecting or regenerating natural assets that are essential for global environmental sustainability. If investment in regeneration efforts is sufficiently substantial, or if the wider social and environmental values associated with the exhaustible assets are taken into account, then the safe operating space may be conserved indefinitely. Such policy challenges will become increasingly important as dominant firms exert market power over the planet’s remaining environment and resources that constitute key “safe operating spaces”, as designated by planetary boundaries. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Hydrochemical and Isotopic Applications in the Western Aosta Valley (Italy) for Sustainable Groundwater Management
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 487; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020487 - 06 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 498
Abstract
This research gives an overview of the status of water resources in the western Aosta Valley (Italy). Surface water, groundwater and precipitation were sampled during five sampling campaigns, and chemical analyses were performed and interpreted. Stable isotopes (δ18O and δ2 [...] Read more.
This research gives an overview of the status of water resources in the western Aosta Valley (Italy). Surface water, groundwater and precipitation were sampled during five sampling campaigns, and chemical analyses were performed and interpreted. Stable isotopes (δ18O and δ2H) were evaluated. This study highlights the relationships between water quality and quantity and local conditions (i.e., aquifer lithology, mixing into the aquifer, proximity to towns, contribution of snowmelt and ice melt to groundwater recharge, amount of rain, and season and altitude of the sampling location). A relationship between dust dispersed in the atmosphere as aerosols from the nearby Piedmont Region and the precipitation chemistry was identified, highlighting the presence of interregional conditions. Furthermore, isotopic analyses allowed the identification of aquifer feeding by both rainwater and glacial meltwater. Additionally, two origins for rainfall were identified: the Mediterranean Sea in winter and the Atlantic Ocean in summer. Finally, a local meteoric water line was calibrated for the study area. This research highlights the importance of implementing both traditional and isotopic techniques for water analysis to achieve optimal and sustainable management of water resources. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Recovery of Zinc from Treatment of Spent Acid Solutions from the Pickling Stage of Galvanizing Plants
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 407; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010407 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 609
Abstract
Typical methods for the treatment of waste pickling solutions include precipitation by alkaline reagents, most commonly calcium hydroxide. As a result, large volumes of galvanic sludge form, containing iron, calcium, sulphates, and a relatively small quantity of zinc (<20%), making Zn recovery not [...] Read more.
Typical methods for the treatment of waste pickling solutions include precipitation by alkaline reagents, most commonly calcium hydroxide. As a result, large volumes of galvanic sludge form, containing iron, calcium, sulphates, and a relatively small quantity of zinc (<20%), making Zn recovery not profitable. In summary, state-of-the-art Zn galvanization processes entail the loss of valuable metals and the irrational and expensive handling of spent pickling solutions (SPSs). The resulting conclusion is that there is room for a significant improvement in the way SPSs are treated, with the double goal of enhancing Zn galvanization methods’ economic viability and achieving a lesser impact on the environment’s processes. The experimental results show that it is possible to use SPS as a coagulant to treat the process wastewaters, kept separated, and added with sodium hydroxide. The results in obtaining precipitates with Zn contents higher than 40%, increasing the added advantage of making Zn recovery profitable. The results show the possibility of using SPS as a coagulant in the process of physical-chemical wastewater treatment and sodium hydroxide to obtain a precipitate with a zinc content of more than 40%. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

2020

Jump to: 2021

Article
Assessment of Disintegration of Compostable Bioplastic Bags by Management of Electromechanical and Static Home Composters
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010263 - 30 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 625
Abstract
Interest in small scale composting systems is currently growing, and this in turn raises the question of whether the compostable bags are as suitable as in industrial composting facilities. In this work the physical degradation percentage of compostable lightweight bioplastic bags in two [...] Read more.
Interest in small scale composting systems is currently growing, and this in turn raises the question of whether the compostable bags are as suitable as in industrial composting facilities. In this work the physical degradation percentage of compostable lightweight bioplastic bags in two types of composter was examined. The main goal was to understand whether the mild biodegrading conditions that occur in electromechanical or static home composters are sufficient to cause effective bag degradation in times consistent with the householders’ or operators’ expectations. Bags, which complied with standard EN 13432, were composted in a number of 600 L static home composters, which were run in different ways (e.g., fed only with vegetables and yard waste, optimizing the humid/bulking agent fraction, poorly managed) and a 1 m3 electromechanical composter. Six months of residence time in static home composters resulted in 90–96 wt% degradation depending on the management approach adopted, and two months in the electromechanical composter achieved 90 wt%. In the latter case, three additional months of curing treatment of the turned heaps ensured complete physical degradation. In conclusion, in terms of the level and times of physical degradation, the use of compostable bioplastic bags appeared promising and consistent with home composting practices. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Processes in the Unsaturated Zone by Reliable Soil Water Content Estimation: Indications for Soil Water Management from a Sandy Soil Experimental Field in Central Italy
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010227 - 29 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1263
Abstract
Reliable soil moisture data are essential for achieving sustainable water management. In this framework, the performance of devices to estimate the volumetric moisture content by means dielectric properties of soil/water system is of increasing interest. The present work evaluates the performance of the [...] Read more.
Reliable soil moisture data are essential for achieving sustainable water management. In this framework, the performance of devices to estimate the volumetric moisture content by means dielectric properties of soil/water system is of increasing interest. The present work evaluates the performance of the PR2/6 soil moisture profile probe with implications on the understanding of processes involving the unsaturated zone. The calibration at the laboratory scale and the validation in an experimental field in Central Italy highlight that although the shape of the moisture profile is the same, there are essential differences between soil moisture values obtained by the calibrated equation and those obtained by the manufacturer one. These differences are up to 10 percentage points for fine-grained soils containing iron oxides. Inaccurate estimates of soil moisture content do not help with understanding the soil water dynamic, especially after rainy periods. The sum of antecedent soil moisture conditions (the Antecedent Soil moisture Index (ASI)) and rainfall related to different stormflow can be used to define the threshold value above which the runoff significantly increases. Without an accurate calibration process, the ASI index is overestimated, thereby affecting the threshold evaluation. Further studies on other types of materials and in different climatic conditions are needed to implement an effective monitoring network useful to manage the soil water and to support the validation of remote sensing data and hydrological soil models. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Indoor Lighting Customization Based on Effective Reflectance Coefficients: A Methodology to Optimize Visual Performance and Decrease Consumption in Educative Workplaces
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010119 - 24 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 552
Abstract
The importance of accurate lighting has been proven to be essential for good performance in all kinds of buildings, where most of the professional activities are carried out. National regulations and international standards dealing with indoor lighting establish the technical requirements of lighting [...] Read more.
The importance of accurate lighting has been proven to be essential for good performance in all kinds of buildings, where most of the professional activities are carried out. National regulations and international standards dealing with indoor lighting establish the technical requirements of lighting installations to ensure the performance of their users. These requirements deal with illuminance on the working plane, uniformity, glare, color temperature of light and some other parameters. However, regulations and technical documents on indoor lighting are mainly referred to standard conditions that are sometimes far away from the reality. Hence, some installations can fulfill the technical requirements, whilst being uncomfortable for task development, impairing user’s performance and are oversized in terms of energy consumption. This work departs from a field study in highlighting the regulatory limitations in the matter of reflectance, to propose a quasi-Lambertian approach to real conditions in indoor workplaces with a special aim in educative environments. It consists of the introduction of “effective reflectance” coefficients for some key visual tasks and furniture carried out by users in certain typical positions and working planes. Based on this coefficient, it is proposed to implement a simple measurement and luminary programming methodology adapted to each particular workplace, especially in educational centers. The final target is to improve visual performance and save energy. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Preliminary Screening for Microplastic Concentrations in the Surface Water of the Ob and Tom Rivers in Siberia, Russia
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010080 - 23 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1656
Abstract
To date, the largest Russian rivers discharging to the Arctic Ocean remain a “blank spot” on the world map of data on the distribution of microplastics in freshwater systems. This study characterizes the abundance and morphology of microplastics in surface water of the [...] Read more.
To date, the largest Russian rivers discharging to the Arctic Ocean remain a “blank spot” on the world map of data on the distribution of microplastics in freshwater systems. This study characterizes the abundance and morphology of microplastics in surface water of the Ob River and its large tributary, the Tom River, in western Siberia. The average number of particles for the two rivers ranged from 44.2 to 51.2 items per m3 or from 79.4 to 87.5 μg per m3 in the Tom River and in the Ob River, respectively. Of the recovered microplastics, 93.5% were less than 1 mm in their largest dimension, the largest group (45.5% of total counts) consisted of particles with sizes range 0.30–1.00 mm. Generally, microfragments of irregular shape were the most abundant among the Ob and Tom samples (47.4%) and exceeded microfibers (22.1%), microfilms (20.8%), and microspheres (9.74%) by average counts. Results from this study provide a baseline for understanding the scale of the transport of microplastics by the Ob River system into the Arctic Ocean and add to currently available data on microplastics abundance and diversity in freshwater systems of differing global geographic locations. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Toward a New Way for the Valorization of Miscanthus Biomass Produced on Metal-Contaminated Soils Part 2: Miscanthus-Based Biosourced Catalyst: Design, Preparation, and Catalytic Efficiency in the Synthesis of Moclobemide
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010034 - 22 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 478
Abstract
The conception of two biosourced catalysts (biocatalysts) using stems of miscanthus from the first part of this study are described herein. The temperature and the process used to extract metals from plant as mixture of Lewis acids were investigated in detail and proved [...] Read more.
The conception of two biosourced catalysts (biocatalysts) using stems of miscanthus from the first part of this study are described herein. The temperature and the process used to extract metals from plant as mixture of Lewis acids were investigated in detail and proved to be essential in the design of the biosourced catalysts and their catalytic efficiency. One part of the crude mixture of Lewis acids extracted from the aerial parts of miscanthus plants was used without further treatment as a homogeneous biocatalyst (M1), and the other part was supported on montmorillonite K10 to provide a heterogeneous biocatalyst (MM1). M1 and MM1 were next tested in the synthesis of moclobemide (main ingredient of a drug used to treat depression) and led to excellent yield. Additional comparative experiments with different commercial metallic salts (NaCl, KCl, CaCl2, MgCl2, CuCl2, ZnCl2, FeCl2, FeCl3, MnCl2, and AlCl3) and their mixtures were carried out and underlined the importance of the multimetallic synergy on catalytic activity. Finally, a comparison of this new synthetic method assisted by the biosourced catalyst with the previously described procedures to access moclobemide was realized by calculating their green chemistry metrics. This study revealed that the use of the biosourced catalyst led to one of the greenest synthetic methods described today to produce moclobemide. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Compost and Sewage Sludge for the Improvement of Soil Chemical and Biological Quality of Mediterranean Agroecosystems
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010026 - 22 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 694
Abstract
Conventional fertilization practices in agroecosystems concern the supply of bioavailable nutrients, such as mineral fertilizers. A consolidated alternative to restoring the long-term fertility of agricultural soils is their amendment with organic fertilizers. Soil amendment with biowaste compost or sewage sludge represents a sustainable [...] Read more.
Conventional fertilization practices in agroecosystems concern the supply of bioavailable nutrients, such as mineral fertilizers. A consolidated alternative to restoring the long-term fertility of agricultural soils is their amendment with organic fertilizers. Soil amendment with biowaste compost or sewage sludge represents a sustainable strategy to avoid the landfilling of organic matter derived from urban waste and sewage sludge. This study aims at validating the use of quality biowaste compost and sewage sludge from secondary sedimentation (alone or in combination with mineral fertilizers) in a Mediterranean agroecosystem and their effects on soil chemical and biological quality, with a view to verifying the maintenance of soil fertility and functionality. In particular, the dynamics of soil organic matter, pH, potentially toxic elements and microbial community functionality were assessed, in experimental mesocosms, during 6 months of incubation. The research showed that, while soil amendment with biowaste compost induces positive effects on soil organic matter and phosphorous concentrations, as well as on microbial community functionality, the amendment with the selected sewage sludge does not determine any benefit to the microbial community or any danger in relation to soil potentially toxic element concentrations and toxicity. The quantity of sewage sludge employed, chosen according to regional directives, was thus not enough to stimulate the edaphic microflora activity. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Comparison of Different Monetization Methods in LCA: A Review
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10493; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410493 - 15 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1631
Abstract
Different LCA methods based on monetization of environmental impacts are available. Therefore, relevant monetization methods, namely Ecovalue12, Stepwise2006, LIME3, Ecotax, EVR, EPS, the Environmental Prices Handbook, Trucost and the MMG-Method were compared quantitatively and qualitatively, yielding results for 18 impact categories. Monetary factors [...] Read more.
Different LCA methods based on monetization of environmental impacts are available. Therefore, relevant monetization methods, namely Ecovalue12, Stepwise2006, LIME3, Ecotax, EVR, EPS, the Environmental Prices Handbook, Trucost and the MMG-Method were compared quantitatively and qualitatively, yielding results for 18 impact categories. Monetary factors for the same impact category range mostly between two orders of magnitude for the assessed methods, with some exceptions (e.g., mineral resources with five orders of magnitude). Among the qualitative criteria, per capita income, and thus the geographical reference, has the biggest influence on the obtained monetary factors. When the monetization methods were applied to the domestic yearly environmental damages of an average EU citizen, their monetary values ranged between 7941.13 €/capita (Ecotax) and 224.06 €/capita (LIME3). The prioritization of impact categories varies: Stepwise and Ecovalue assign over 50% of the per capita damages to climate change, while EPS and LIME3 assign around 50% to mineral and fossil resource use. Choices regarding the geographical reference, the Areas of Protection included, cost perspectives and the approach to discounting strongly affect the magnitude of the monetary factors. Therefore, practitioners should choose monetization methods with care and potentially apply varying methods to assess the robustness of their results. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Development of a Life Cycle Assessment Allocation Approach for Circular Economy in the Built Environment
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9579; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229579 - 17 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1462
Abstract
Transitioning the built environment to a circular economy (CE) is vital to achieve sustainability goals but requires metrics. Life cycle assessment (LCA) can analyse the environmental performance of CE. However, conventional LCA methods assess individual products and single life cycles whereas circular assessment [...] Read more.
Transitioning the built environment to a circular economy (CE) is vital to achieve sustainability goals but requires metrics. Life cycle assessment (LCA) can analyse the environmental performance of CE. However, conventional LCA methods assess individual products and single life cycles whereas circular assessment requires a systems perspective as buildings, components and materials potentially have multiple use and life cycles. How should benefits and burdens be allocated between life cycles? This study compares four different LCA allocation approaches: (a) the EN 15804/15978 cut-off approach, (b) the Circular Footprint Formula (CFF), (c) the 50:50 approach, and (d) the linearly degressive (LD) approach. The environmental impacts of four ‘circular building components’ is calculated: (1) a concrete column and (2) a timber column both designed for direct reuse, (3) a recyclable roof felt and (4) a window with a reusable frame. Notable differences in impact distributions between the allocation approaches were found, thus incentivising different CE principles. The LD approach was found to be promising for open and closed-loop systems within a closed loop supply chain (such as the ones assessed here). A CE LD approach was developed to enhance the LD approach’s applicability, to closer align it with the CE concept, and to create an incentive for CE in the industry. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Assessing the Legitimacy of Technological Innovation in the Public Sphere: Recovering Raw Materials from Waste Water
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9408; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229408 - 12 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 518
Abstract
This paper researches legitimacy creation in a publicly-funded trajectory of innovative technological development. It develops a framework of input, throughput and output legitimacy. The framework is developed based on a review of the literature on the creation of legitimacy in innovative technological development. [...] Read more.
This paper researches legitimacy creation in a publicly-funded trajectory of innovative technological development. It develops a framework of input, throughput and output legitimacy. The framework is developed based on a review of the literature on the creation of legitimacy in innovative technological development. The framework assists in further exploring the potential of the integrated assessment of the legitimacy of technological innovation trajectories in the public sphere, in terms of (1) public accountability (ensuring input legitimacy); (2) science, technology and innovation policy (ensuring throughput legitimacy); and (3) the potential for the implementation of the technology itself in practical contexts (ensuring output legitimacy). The framework is used to analyze a case study about the publicly-funded development of innovative technology for the retrieval of raw materials from waste water. Theoretically, the value of a more processual approach to the conceptualization of legitimacy becomes apparent. Furthermore, the framework assists in the development of practical recommendations on the ways in which to optimize the legitimacy in an earlier stage in the innovation’s trajectory. However, due attention should also be paid to the role of regulatory arrangements in the optimization of the legitimacy of publicly-funded technological innovation. This is an avenue for further research. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Toward a New Way for the Valorization of Miscanthus Biomass Produced on Metal-Contaminated Soils Part 1: Mesocosm and Field Experiments
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9370; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229370 - 11 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 489
Abstract
The effects of P-fertilizers (mono- and di-calcium phosphates) on the bioavailability of metals and nutrients in leaves and stems of Miscanthus × giganteus were studied in mesocosm and field experiments in order to propose a new way for the valorization of miscanthus biomass. [...] Read more.
The effects of P-fertilizers (mono- and di-calcium phosphates) on the bioavailability of metals and nutrients in leaves and stems of Miscanthus × giganteus were studied in mesocosm and field experiments in order to propose a new way for the valorization of miscanthus biomass. The concentration of potentially toxic elements was generally higher in stems than in leaves. Although P-fertilizers were added to contaminated soils under sustainable conditions (from 0.022% to 0.026% w/w), the average of leaf and stem biomass generally increased in the presence of P-fertilizers due to the changes in the speciation of phosphorus. Leaves of the investigated miscanthus may be of great interest as a catalyst in organic chemistry, since the Ca concentration was up to 9000 mg kg−1 DW. Stems represent a potential biomass that can be used as renewable resource of Lewis acids, currently used in organic syntheses (the sum of Zn, Cu, Mn, Fe, Mg, Si and Al was near 1000 mg kg−1 DW). The percentage of Cd and Pb in leaves and stems of miscanthus did not significantly change with P-fertilizers. Depending on the mesocosm and field experiments, it ranged from 0.004% to 0.016% and from 0.009% and 0.034% for Cd in leaves and stems, respectively, and from 0.004% to 0.015% and from 0.009% and 0.033% for Pb in leaves and stems, respectively. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
State of the Art of Techno-Economics of Nanofluid-Laden Flat-Plate Solar Collectors for Sustainable Accomplishment
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 9119; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219119 - 02 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 625
Abstract
Emerging nanotechnology with solar collector technology has attracted the attention of researchers to enhance the performance of solar systems in order to develop efficient solar thermal systems for future sustainability. This paper chronologically reviews the various research works carried out on the performance [...] Read more.
Emerging nanotechnology with solar collector technology has attracted the attention of researchers to enhance the performance of solar systems in order to develop efficient solar thermal systems for future sustainability. This paper chronologically reviews the various research works carried out on the performance enhancement of nanofluid-filled flat-plate solar collectors (FPCs). Gaps in the radiation exergy models and maximum exergy of FPCs, the importance of pressure drops in collector manifolds in exergy analysis, and the economics of nanofluid-laden FPCs have been addressed. The necessity of replacing currently used chemically derived glycol products with a renewable-based glycol has not been reported in the current literature thoroughly, but it is pondered in the current paper. Moreover, the thermophysical properties of all common metal and metal oxide nanoparticles utilized in various studies are collected in this paper for the first time and can be referred to quickly as a data source for future studies. The different classical empirical correlations for the estimation of specific heat, density, conductivity, and viscosity of reported nanofluids and base liquids, i.e., water and its mixture with glycols, are also tabulated as a quick reference. Brief insights on different performance criteria and the utilized models of heat transfer, energy efficiency, exergy efficiency, and economic calculation of nanofluid-based FPCs are extracted. Most importantly, a summary of the current progress in the field of nanofluid-charged FPCs is presented appropriately within two tables. The tables contain the status of the main parameters in different research works. Finally, gaps in the literature are addressed and mitigation approaches are suggested for the future sustainability of nanofluid-laden FPCs. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Who Benefits? How Interest-Convergence Shapes Benefit-Sharing and Indigenous Rights to Sustainable Livelihoods in Russia
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 9025; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219025 - 30 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 806
Abstract
The paper examines interactions of oil companies and reindeer herders in the tundra of the Russian Arctic. We focus on governance arrangements that have an impact on the sustainability of oil production and reindeer herding. We analyze a shift in benefit-sharing arrangements between [...] Read more.
The paper examines interactions of oil companies and reindeer herders in the tundra of the Russian Arctic. We focus on governance arrangements that have an impact on the sustainability of oil production and reindeer herding. We analyze a shift in benefit-sharing arrangements between oil companies and Indigenous Nenets reindeer herders in Nenets Autonomous Okrug (NAO), Russia, as an evolution of the herders’ rights, defined as the intertwined co-production of legal processes, ideologies, and power relations. Semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and document analysis demonstrate that in NAO, benefit-sharing shifted from paternalism (dependent on herders’ negotiation skills) to company-centered social responsibility (formalized compensation rules). This shift was enabled by the adoption of a formal methodology for calculating income lost due to extractive projects and facilitated by the regional government’s efforts to develop reindeer-herding. While laws per se did not change, herders’ ability to access compensation and markets increased. This paper shows that even when ideologies of indigeneity are not influential, the use of existing laws and convergence of the government’s and Indigenous groups’ economic interests may shift legal processes and power relations toward greater rights for Indigenous groups. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Review
A Comparative Review on Greenery Ecosystems and Their Impacts on Sustainability of Building Environment
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8529; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208529 - 15 Oct 2020
Viewed by 795
Abstract
Greenery systems are sustainable ecosystems for buildings. Many studies on greenery systems, such as green roofs and green walls, have demonstrated that greenery systems support energy saving and improve thermal conditions in the building sector. This paper summarizes, discusses, and compares greenery systems [...] Read more.
Greenery systems are sustainable ecosystems for buildings. Many studies on greenery systems, such as green roofs and green walls, have demonstrated that greenery systems support energy saving and improve thermal conditions in the building sector. This paper summarizes, discusses, and compares greenery systems and their contributions to the reduction of the urban heat index, the reduction of internal and external buildings’ wall temperatures, and the reduction of the energy consumption of buildings. The fundamental mechanisms of greenery systems, which are thermal insulation, evapotranspiration, and shading effect, are also discussed. The benefits of greenery systems include the improvement of stormwater management, the improvement of air quality, the reduction of sound pollution, the reduction of carbon dioxide, and the improvement of aesthetic building value. The summarized materials on the greenery systems in the article will be a point of references for the researchers, planners, and developers of urban and rural areas, as well as the individual’s interest for future urban and rural plans. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Estimating Invasion Dynamics with Geopolitical Unit-Level Records: The Optimal Method Depends on Irregularity and Stochasticity of Spread
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8526; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208526 - 15 Oct 2020
Viewed by 722
Abstract
Biological invasions are an ongoing threat for sustainability of ecosystems, and estimating the spread of invasive species is critical for making management decisions. Geopolitical unit-level data (GULD) are often used to estimate invasions due to their wide availability, and researchers had evaluated the [...] Read more.
Biological invasions are an ongoing threat for sustainability of ecosystems, and estimating the spread of invasive species is critical for making management decisions. Geopolitical unit-level data (GULD) are often used to estimate invasions due to their wide availability, and researchers had evaluated the abilities of multiple methods to estimate invasion with GULD. However, earlier studies were case based and only addressed limited information on the spread, thus making it inadequate to determine which method to choose to estimate invasions with GULD under various spread scenarios. Here, we conducted a simulation study to (1) evaluate performances of eight methods on estimating expansion patterns, spread rates, and spread dynamics of invasive species with GULD; (2) assess the impact of size and homogeneity of size of geopolitical unit on the estimations by studied methods; (3) evaluate the similarities of all studied methods. Additionally, we presented a concave hull boundary displacement method (Ctd_BD) and an area-based regression method (SqrtNA_R) to estimate spread with GULD. Three regions with varying sizes of counties in the United States (U.S.) were selected to conduct the simulations, and three spread scenarios and three expansion patterns were simulated. AIC, and R2 and root mean square error (RMSE) were used to evaluate the accuracy of methods on estimating expansion pattern, and overall spread rate and spread dynamics, respectively. Correlation coefficient and RMSE were used to assess the similarity of eight methods. We found Ctd_BD and area-based regression methods consistently estimated the right expansion patterns. Boundary displacement and area-based regression methods estimated highly correlated spread rates and dynamics. Distance-based regression methods provided a high accuracy on estimating overall spread rate without long-distance jump dispersal but performed poorly on estimating the spread dynamics. We recommend boundary displacement method, especially Ctd_BD, for estimating spread with GULD, whereas for spread without clear infestation boundaries, distance-based regression can be used to estimate overall spread rate and area-based regression can be used to estimate spread dynamics. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Concept Paper
Development of the CREATE Inventory in Support of Integrated Climate and Air Quality Modeling for Asia
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 7930; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12197930 - 24 Sep 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 955
Abstract
A bottom-up emissions inventory is one of the most important data sets needed to understand air quality (AQ) and climate change (CC). Several emission inventories have been developed for Asia, including Transport and Chemical Evolution over the Pacific (TRACE-P), Regional Emission Inventory in [...] Read more.
A bottom-up emissions inventory is one of the most important data sets needed to understand air quality (AQ) and climate change (CC). Several emission inventories have been developed for Asia, including Transport and Chemical Evolution over the Pacific (TRACE-P), Regional Emission Inventory in Asia (REAS), and Inter-Continental Chemical Transport Experiment (INTEX) and, while these have been used successfully for many international studies, they have limitations including restricted amounts of information on pollutant types and low levels of transparency with respect to the polluting sectors or fuel types involved. To address these shortcomings, we developed: (1) a base-year, bottom-up anthropogenic emissions inventory for Asia, using the most current parameters and international frameworks (i.e., the Greenhouse gas—Air pollution INteractions and Synergies (GAINS) model); and (2) a base-year, natural emissions inventory for biogenic and biomass burning. For (1), we focused mainly on China, South Korea, and Japan; however, we also covered emission inventories for other regions in Asia using data covering recent energy/industry statistics, emission factors, and control technology penetration. The emissions inventory (Comprehensive Regional Emissions inventory for Atmospheric Transport Experiment (CREATE)) covers 54 fuel classes, 201 subsectors, and 13 pollutants, namely SO2, NOx, CO, non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), NH3, OC, BC, PM10, PM2.5, CO2, CH4, N2O, and Hg. For the base-year natural emissions inventory, the Model of Emissions of Gases and Aerosols from Nature (MEGAN) and BlueSky-Asia frameworks were used to estimate biogenic and biomass burning emissions, respectively. Since the CREATE emission inventory was designed/developed using international climate change/air quality (CC/AQ) assessment frameworks, such as GAINS, and has been fully connected with the most comprehensive emissions modeling systems—such as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Chemical Manufacturing Area Source (CMAS) system—it can be used to support various climate and AQ integrated modeling studies, both now and in the future. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
The Production of Sustainable Concrete with the Use of Alternative Aggregates: A Review
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 7903; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12197903 - 24 Sep 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1400
Abstract
The concrete industry is a core element of the building sector, but it has to deal with the increasing attention on the environmental issues related to the production process: increasing energy efficiency and the adoption of alternative fuels or raw materials represent the [...] Read more.
The concrete industry is a core element of the building sector, but it has to deal with the increasing attention on the environmental issues related to the production process: increasing energy efficiency and the adoption of alternative fuels or raw materials represent the most relevant solutions. The present work analyses physical, mechanical, and environmental performances of concrete incorporating residues derived from four main sources (construction and demolition waste, residues from waste treatment, metallurgical industry by-products, and others), as substitutes of either fine or coarse aggregates. Fine aggregates showed the highest number of alternatives and replacement level, with the relevant impact on concrete properties; coarse aggregates, however, always reach a complete replacement, with the exclusion of glass that highly affects the mechanical performance. Construction and metallurgical industry categories are the main sources of alternative materials for both the components, with ceramic and lead slag reaching a full replacement for fine and coarse aggregates. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Printed Paper Waste as an Alternative Growing Medium Component to Produce Brassica Seedlings under Nursery Conditions
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 5992; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12155992 - 25 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 729
Abstract
Significant quantities of paper waste (PW) have been accumulated in recent years and the reuse/recycling of PW is required due to environmental concerns. In the present study, printed PW was used as a peat (P) substitute in growing medium for the Brassica seedlings [...] Read more.
Significant quantities of paper waste (PW) have been accumulated in recent years and the reuse/recycling of PW is required due to environmental concerns. In the present study, printed PW was used as a peat (P) substitute in growing medium for the Brassica seedlings production, considering recycling, sustainable agriculture, and partly peat replacement. Seeds of cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage were seeded in growing media made of 0–10–30–50% PW. The addition of PW improved the growing media pH and mineral content, reduced the media aeration, and affected seed emergence. The PW decreased plant growth and the effects were more pronounced at 50% PW. The PW ≥ 30% decreased stomatal conductance, while chlorophyll fluorescence and content of chlorophylls decreased with high PW ratio, negatively affecting the plant physiology. The PW decreased plant sodium and iron and increased potassium, calcium, magnesium, and copper content. The PW increased antioxidant activity to a certain degree for cauliflower and cabbage and resulted in no change for broccoli, while polyphenols increased in cabbage seedlings. The addition of PW did not cause cellular damage as both lipid peroxidation and hydrogen peroxide production remained at low levels, maintaining low levels on the antioxidant enzymes (catalase, superoxide dismutase, peroxidase) metabolism. The present study shows that low PW content can partially replace peat for Brassica seedling production under a sustainable agriculture and environmentally friendly scheme. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Identifying Sustainable Grassland Management Approaches in Response to the Invasive Legume Lespedeza cuneata: A Functional Group Approach
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 5951; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12155951 - 23 Jul 2020
Viewed by 995
Abstract
We propose combining the filter framework model of community assembly with the passenger-driver model of non-native species behavior to help clarify the impacts of invasive species in the communities they invade and to guide sustainable management protocols. Observational field surveys and a greenhouse [...] Read more.
We propose combining the filter framework model of community assembly with the passenger-driver model of non-native species behavior to help clarify the impacts of invasive species in the communities they invade and to guide sustainable management protocols. Observational field surveys and a greenhouse experiment explored the role of the invasive legume Lespedeza cuneata in the communities it invades and how natives in three functional groups—grasses, forbs, and legumes—respond to its presence. Within-site analyses from the field survey revealed differences in invaded and uninvaded areas in half of the sites, suggesting that site-specific characteristics influences whether L. cuneata’s presence corresponds to local differences in species composition. The greenhouse experiment found higher levels of saprophytic and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in soil conditioned by L. cuneata than in unconditioned soil. However, competition between L. cuneata or the native congener L. capitata and nine native species illustrated stronger aboveground competitive effects than belowground soil effects due to soil conditioning, with impacts differing among functional groups. The response of L. cuneata was reduced in the presence of grasses and other legumes but not forbs. Assessing the impact of L. cuneata with the combined community assembly model revealed this invasive plant acts as a driver because it alters abiotic and biotic filters to impact species composition. Managing for high grass abundance and planting native legumes will help sustain grasslands from L. cuneata invasion. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Can the Tragedy of the Commons be Avoided in Common-Pool Forage Resource Systems? An Application to Small-Holder Herding in the Semi-Arid Grazing Lands of Nigeria
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 5947; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12155947 - 23 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1105
Abstract
There exist common-pool resource systems where it is difficult to prevent prospective beneficiaries from receiving profits from the use or harvest of shared resources, and they are often subject to continual utilization, leading to resource degradation and economic erosion (a behavior known as [...] Read more.
There exist common-pool resource systems where it is difficult to prevent prospective beneficiaries from receiving profits from the use or harvest of shared resources, and they are often subject to continual utilization, leading to resource degradation and economic erosion (a behavior known as the ‘tragedy of the commons’). Nigerian nomadic grazing systems currently undergoing the tragedy of the commons pose a great challenge to agrarian communities, herders and political stability throughout the country due to violent conflicts and property destruction as herders migrate in search of forage resources for livestock. We modeled these dynamics in order to better understand the Nigerian grazing lands, with the objective of identifying potential leverage points capable of reversing overgrazing-induced forage degradation, in order to ensure a sustainable livestock production sector. Model what-if experiments (crop restrictions, crop marketing and increased labor costs) were run, resulting in partial solutions that were effective only in the short-term or limited in geographic-scope. A sustainable solution should include a combination of strategies, as the impact of one strategy alone cannot effectively resolve these Nigerian grazing issues (e.g., collaboration between farmers, herdsmen and government stakeholders to increase market integration via crop market expansion while simultaneously providing forage regeneration time for grazing lands). The resulting model could be used by Nigerian policy-makers to evaluate the long-term effects of decisions which were previously unexplored. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Chemical Destabilization of Fresh and Spent Cutting Oil Emulsions: Differences between an Ecofriendly and Two Commercial Synthetic Lubricants
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5697; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145697 - 15 Jul 2020
Viewed by 653
Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate if eco-friendly lubricants had an additional advantage over conventional synthetic lubricants in terms of emulsion treatment of metalworking wastewater. To these purpose, two fresh commercial synthetic cutting oil emulsions were compared with an emulsion obtained [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate if eco-friendly lubricants had an additional advantage over conventional synthetic lubricants in terms of emulsion treatment of metalworking wastewater. To these purpose, two fresh commercial synthetic cutting oil emulsions were compared with an emulsion obtained from a new cutting oil produced from the reuse of slaughtering waste (CADT-605 from Kimya Srl, Bari, Italy). The breaking of the fresh emulsions was carried out with the addition of small amounts of sulfuric acid (2–20 mL/L) followed by pH neutralization by means of calcium hydroxide. During the two-step treatments, COD, BOD5 and non-ionic surfactant (NIS) concentrations were monitored in the aqueous phase. The results demonstrated that the best results were obtained with the emulsion produced with the bio-based lubricant. In addition, this cutting oil was tested in a metalworking plant within 30 days and the resulting spent emulsion was treated with the proposed process. In all the cases, the treatment led to a drastic decrease of the COD, BOD5 and NIS contents that allow the discharge of resulting aqueous phase in sewers or in surface water bodies, together with the other wastewater produced by the plant, in agreement with the Italian regulation. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
To Rank or Not to Rank with Indices? That Is the Question
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5572; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145572 - 10 Jul 2020
Viewed by 810
Abstract
Ranking countries via index-based league tables is now commonplace and is said by its proponents to provide countries with an ability to compare performance with their peers, spurring them to learn from others and make improvements. The Human Development Index (HDI) is arguably [...] Read more.
Ranking countries via index-based league tables is now commonplace and is said by its proponents to provide countries with an ability to compare performance with their peers, spurring them to learn from others and make improvements. The Human Development Index (HDI) is arguably one of the most influential indices of its type in terms of reporting within the media and influence on development policy and funding allocation. It is often used as part of a suite of indices to assess sustainability. The index was first published in the Human Development Report (HDR) of 1990 and has appeared in each of the HDRs published since then. This paper reports the first research of its type designed to explore the impacts of methodological changes over 28 years (1991 to 2018) on the ranks of a sample of 135 countries appearing in the HDRs. Results suggest that methodological changes in the HDI have had a statistically significant impact on the ranking of the majority (82%) of countries in the sample, and the ranks of countries that tend to appear towards the top, middle, or bottom of the HDI league table are just as likely to be influenced by changes in HDI methodology. The paper suggests that after nearly 30 years of the HDI, there is an urgent need for independent and empirical research on the changes that it has helped bring about. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Disentangling Benefit-Sharing Complexities of Oil Extraction on the North Slope of Alaska
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5432; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135432 - 06 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1182
Abstract
This paper analyses benefit-sharing arrangements between oil companies, native corporations, the North Slope Borough, and Indigenous Peoples in Alaska. It aims to disentangle the complexities of benefit-sharing to understand existing procedural and distributive equity. We identified benefit-sharing regimes involving modes, principles, and mechanisms [...] Read more.
This paper analyses benefit-sharing arrangements between oil companies, native corporations, the North Slope Borough, and Indigenous Peoples in Alaska. It aims to disentangle the complexities of benefit-sharing to understand existing procedural and distributive equity. We identified benefit-sharing regimes involving modes, principles, and mechanisms of benefit-sharing. This includes modes that reflect institutionalized interactions, such as paternalism, company centered social responsibility (CCSR), partnership, and shareholders. Principles can be based on compensation, investment and charity. Mechanisms can involve negotiated benefits and structured benefits, mandated by legislation, contracts, or regulation. Furthermore, mechanisms can involve semi-formal and trickle-down benefits. Trickle-down benefits come automatically to the community along with development. The distribution of money by the North Slope Borough represents the paternalistic mode, yet involves investment and mandated principles with top–down decision making. They are relatively high in distributional equity and low in participatory equity. Native corporations predominantly practice the shareholders’ mode, investment principle, and mandated mechanisms. The oil companies’ benefit-sharing represents a mixed type combining CCSR and partnership modess, several principles (investment, compensatory, charity) and multiple types of mechanisms, such as mandated, negotiated, semi-formal and trickle-down. These arrangements vary in terms of distributive equity, and participatory equity is limited. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Simultaneous Removal of Arsenate and Chromate from Ground- and Surface- Waters by Iron-Based Redox Assisted Coagulation
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5394; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135394 - 03 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 677
Abstract
Arsenic (As) and chromate (Cr(VI)) contamination of ground and surface waters is a major problem worldwide. Given that a new drinking water limit is anticipated for Cr(VI) and that the limit of arsenic in drinking water is quite low (10 μg/L), there is [...] Read more.
Arsenic (As) and chromate (Cr(VI)) contamination of ground and surface waters is a major problem worldwide. Given that a new drinking water limit is anticipated for Cr(VI) and that the limit of arsenic in drinking water is quite low (10 μg/L), there is an urgent need for evaluating technologies that could be efficient for removal of both contaminants simultaneously. In this work, the use of Fe(II) redox assisted coagulation was investigated to simultaneously remove the contaminants of interest. The basic principle of this technology is that Fe(II) could react with Cr(VI) and form Fe(III)-hydroxides and insoluble Cr(III) species, while the freshly formed Fe(III) hydroxides are very efficient adsorbents for As(V). The effect of pH, the water matrix composition, Fe(II) dose, initial contaminant concentrations, NOM presence and phosphate concentration were the examined parameters. The results revealed that with a dose of 2 mg/L Fe(II), residual As(V) and Cr(VI) concentrations were both below 10 μg/L, from initial concentrations of 50 μg/L. Though, this is effective only at circumneutral pH values. This is however not a big obstacle, since most natural waters, especially groundwaters, have near neutral pH values. At these pH values, residual iron concentration was far below 200 μg/L. The presence of phosphate anions inhibited As(V) removal but had no effect on Cr(VI) removal. Increasing Fe(II) concentrations eliminated the effect of phosphate and provided simultaneous phosphate removal. Therefore, Fe(II) coagulation can be applied, with secured results, for simultaneous As(V), Cr(VI) and phosphate removal from waters. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Influence of Land Use/Land Cover on Surface-Water Quality of Santa Lucía River, Uruguay
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4692; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114692 - 09 Jun 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1185
Abstract
Land use/land cover is one of the critical factors that affects surface-water quality at catchment scale. Effective mitigation strategies require an in-depth understanding of the leading causes of water pollution to improve community well-being and ecosystem health. The main aim of this study [...] Read more.
Land use/land cover is one of the critical factors that affects surface-water quality at catchment scale. Effective mitigation strategies require an in-depth understanding of the leading causes of water pollution to improve community well-being and ecosystem health. The main aim of this study is to assess the relationship between land use/land cover and biophysical and chemical water-quality parameters in the Santa Lucía catchment (Uruguay, South America). The Santa Lucía river is the primary potable source of the country and, in the last few years, has had eutrophication issues. Several multivariate statistical analyses were adopted to accomplish the specific objectives of this study. The principal component analysis (PCA), coupled with k-means cluster analysis (CA), helped to identify a seasonal variation (fall/winter and spring/summer) of the water quality. The hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) allowed one to classify the water-quality monitoring stations in three groups in the fall/winter season. The factor analysis (FA) with a rotation of the axis (varimax) was adopted to identify the most significant water-quality variables of the system (turbidity and flow). Finally, another PCA was run to link water-quality variables to the dominant land uses of the watershed. Strong correlations between TP and agriculture-land use, TP and livestock farming, NT and urban areas arose. It was found that these multivariate exploratory tools can provide a proper overview of the water-quality behavior in space and time and the correlations between water-quality variables and land use. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Letter
On the Potential of Preprints in Geochemistry: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3360; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083360 - 21 Apr 2020
Viewed by 2397
Abstract
In recent years, the pace of the dissemination of scientific information has increased. In this context, the possibility and value of sharing open access (OA) online manuscripts in their preprint form seem to be growing in many scientific fields. More and more platforms [...] Read more.
In recent years, the pace of the dissemination of scientific information has increased. In this context, the possibility and value of sharing open access (OA) online manuscripts in their preprint form seem to be growing in many scientific fields. More and more platforms are especially dedicated to free preprint publishing. They are published, non-peer-reviewed scholarly papers that typically precede publication in a peer-reviewed journal. They have been a part of science since at least the 1960s. In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web to help researchers share knowledge easily. A few months later, in August 1991, as a centralized web-based network, arXiv was created. arXiv is arguably the most influential preprint platform and has supported the fields of physics, mathematics and computer science for over 30 years. Since, preprint platforms have become popular in many disciplines (e.g., bioRxiv for biological sciences) due to the increasing drive towards OA publishing, and can be publisher- or community-driven, profit or not for profit, and based on proprietary or free and open source software. A range of discipline-specific or cross-domain platforms now exist, with exponential growth these last five years. While preprints as a whole still represent only a small proportion of scholarly publishing, a strong community of early adopters is already beginning to experiment with such value-enhancing tools in many more disciplines than before. The two main options for geochemists are EarthArXiv and ESSOAr. A “one size fits all” model for preprints would never work across the entire scientific community. The geochemistry community needs to develop and sustain their own model. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop