Special Issue "Green: The Best Way for a Sustainable Planet. How Agriculture, Architecture, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Food and Forestry Can Help the Survival of the Earth through Plants"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Carmelo M. Musarella
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of AGRARIA, “Mediterranea” University of Reggio Calabria, 89122 Reggio Calabria, Italy
Interests: flora; vegetation; habitats; biodiversity; conservation; alien species; ethnobotany; Solanaceae; Quercus; Allium
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Ana Cano Ortiz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Animal and Plant Biology and Ecology, Section of Botany, University of Jaén, Campus Las Lagunillas s/n., 23071 Jaén, Spain
Interests: agroecosystem; bioindicators; edaphology; sustainable management; phytocenosis; plant community
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Ricardo Quinto-Canas
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Faculty of Sciences and Technology, University of Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
2. CCMAR – Centre of Marine Sciences (CCMAR), University of Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
Interests: ecology; conservation biology; ecosystems services; sustainable planning; urban and rural landscape; urban green space; landscaping; green building
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Antonio Jesus Mendoza-Fernández
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Departamento de Biología y Geología, CEI·MAR and CECOUAL, Universidad de Almería, Almería, Spain; Departamento de Botánica, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain
Interests: Flora Mediterranea; ecological restoration; semiarid ecosystems; SDM; GIS; Red List

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In a crucial historical moment for the loss of biodiversity across the planet, the interdisciplinarity of scientific research must give a strong boost to environmental sustainability. Indeed, "sustainability" and "biodiversity" are closely linked. In particular, plants (and more generally photosynthetic organisms) are among the most important living beings for maintaining the ecological balance. They fix CO2 and release O2 into the atmosphere, transforming inorganic compounds into organic compounds. Man has always used plants for purposes other than those most essential for life (medicine, construction material, etc.). However, today we tend to forget this and are at risk of not properly protecting our "green-sphere”.

It is important to create forums for scientists from different sectors to collect and compare their work, to safeguard all living beings through knowledge of the plant world. This Special Issue of Sustainability will function as one of these forums. Therefore, the main scope of this Special Issue is to publish new knowledge of plants that highlights their importance and the precious ecological role they play in all environments of the planet.

This Special Issue focuses on the importance of plants for the survival of the Earth through greater environmental sustainability. Therefore, we invite each author to contribute by sending one or more articles that embrace this general purpose and that respond to one or more of the indicated keywords.

Dr. Carmelo M. Musarella
Dr. Ana Cano Ortiz
Dr. Ricardo Quinto-Canas
Dr. Antonio Jesus Mendoza-Fernández
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 special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Alien species
  • Bioclimatology
  • Biodiversity
  • Biogeography
  • CO2 sequestration
  • Ecology
  • Ecosystem management
  • Ethnobotany
  • Flora
  • Habitats
  • Natural resources
  • Nature conservation
  • Systematics
  • Taxonomy
  • Vegetation

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
New Contributions to the Ericion umbellatae Alliance in the Central Iberian Peninsula
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5639; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105639 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 551
Abstract
The study of heathlands dominated by Erica australis, E. umbellata and Cistus populifolius in the centre and west of the Iberian Peninsula allows us to separate the eight shrubland communities. The taxonomic analysis of E. australis distinguishes two subspecies: E. australis subsp. [...] Read more.
The study of heathlands dominated by Erica australis, E. umbellata and Cistus populifolius in the centre and west of the Iberian Peninsula allows us to separate the eight shrubland communities. The taxonomic analysis of E. australis distinguishes two subspecies: E. australis subsp. australis and E. australis subsp. aragonensis. The statistical treatment confirms the differences between the suballiances Ericenion aragonensis and Ericenion umbellatae. This ecological, bioclimatic, biogeographical and floristic study has allowed us to differentiate three new associations from the remaining five: TCp = Teucrio oxylepis-Cistetum populifolii nova. HEau = Halimio ocymoidis-Ericetum australis nova. DEu = Drosophyllo lusitanicae-Ericetum umbellatae nova. ECp = Erico australis-Cistetum populifolii Rivas Goday 1964. PCp = Polygalo microphyllae-Cistetum populifolii Rivas Goday 1964. HEa = Halimio ocymoidis-Ericetum aragonensis Rivas-Martínez 1979. HEu = Halimio ocymoidis-Ericetum umbellatae Rivas Goday 1964. UEu = Ulici eriocladi-Ericetum umbellatae. Full article
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Article
Sharing the Agrarian Knowledge with Archaeology: First Evidence of the Dimorphism of Vitis Pollen from the Middle Bronze Age of N Italy (Terramara Santa Rosa di Poviglio)
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2287; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042287 - 20 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 745
Abstract
The recovery of inaperturate pollen from functionally female flowers in archaeological layers opens the question of a possible pollen-based discrimination between wild and domesticated Vitis vinifera in prehistoric times. Pollen analysis applied to archaeology has not routinely considered the existence of pollen dimorphism [...] Read more.
The recovery of inaperturate pollen from functionally female flowers in archaeological layers opens the question of a possible pollen-based discrimination between wild and domesticated Vitis vinifera in prehistoric times. Pollen analysis applied to archaeology has not routinely considered the existence of pollen dimorphism in Vitis, a well-known trait in the field of agrarian studies. Therefore, the inaperturate shape of grapevine pollen is ignored by studies on the archaeobotanical history of viticulture. In this paper we investigate pollen morphology of the domesticated and wild subspecies of V. vinifera, and report the first evidence of inaperturate Vitis pollen from an archaeological site. We studied exemplar cases of plants with hermaphroditic flowers, belonging to the subspecies vinifera with fully developed male and female organs, cases of dioecious plants with male or female flowers, belonging to the wild subspecies sylvestris and cases of V. vinifera subsp. vinifera with morphologically hermaphroditic but functionally female flowers. The pollen produced by hermaphroditic and male flowers is usually trizonocolporate; the pollen produced by female flowers is inaperturate. This paper reports on the inaperturate pollen of Vitis found in an archeological site of the Po Plain, Northern Italy. The site dated to the Bronze Age, which is known to have been a critical age for the use of this plant with a transition from wild to domesticated Vitis in central Mediterranean. Can the inaperturate Vitis pollen be a marker of wild Vitis vinifera in prehistoric times? Palynology suggests a possible new investigation strategy on the ancient history of the wild and cultivated grapevine. The pollen dimorphism also implies a different production and dispersal of pollen of the wild and the domesticated subspecies. Grapevine plants are palynologically different from the other Mediterranean “cultural trees”. In fact, Olea, Juglans and Castanea, which are included in the OJC index, have the same pollen morphology and the same pollen dispersal, in wild and domesticated plants. In contrast, the signal of Vitis pollen in past records may be different depending on the hermaphroditic or dioecious subspecies. Full article
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Article
Using Digestate as Fertilizer for a Sustainable Tomato Cultivation
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1574; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031574 - 02 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 759
Abstract
The effects of two digestates split up in liquid and solid fractions were investigated on tomato production. The objectives were (1) to verify if the two digestates different in composition differently affected the growth and the quality of tomato; (2) to assess the [...] Read more.
The effects of two digestates split up in liquid and solid fractions were investigated on tomato production. The objectives were (1) to verify if the two digestates different in composition differently affected the growth and the quality of tomato; (2) to assess the effectiveness of the two digestate fractions (liquid and solid) on tomato growth and quality characteristics of the harvested tomato fruit. In short, our results evidenced different effects between the two digestates and also between solid and liquid fractions, suggesting that the type of solid fraction (Uliva or Fattoria) rather than the concentration, or their interaction mainly influenced plant growth parameters. Conversely, the effectiveness of liquid fractions were mostly due to the concentrations rather than to the type of digestate. Results also evidenced positive effects of both digestates on the nutritional values of tomatoes, largely explained by the increase in various health-promoting compounds, including vitamin C, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds. The contemporary increase in these different bio-compounds with a wide range of physiological properties and multi target actions confers to digestate treated tomato a nutraceutical benefit. The use of both fractions of both digestates as fertilizer may represent an effective strategy to obtain, even if in some cases at the expense of growth, high-quality fruit in a sustainable way from an economic and environmental point of view. Full article
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Article
Relationships between Some Biodiversity Indicators and Crown Damage of Pinus sylvestris L. in Natural Old Growth Pine Forests
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1239; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031239 - 25 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 746
Abstract
Biodiversity at the species and individual levels is one of the fundamental elements characterizing an ecosystem. It is assumed that the greater the level of biodiversity, the more tolerant the environment is to changes in external conditions. In recent years, dynamic climate change [...] Read more.
Biodiversity at the species and individual levels is one of the fundamental elements characterizing an ecosystem. It is assumed that the greater the level of biodiversity, the more tolerant the environment is to changes in external conditions. In recent years, dynamic climate change has negatively impacted the health of many forest trees across Europe, in particular Scots pine. Tree health is commonly characterized by crown defoliation. The study presented here describes and correlates crown defoliation with biodiversity indicators at the species and individual tree levels. Research was conducted in two national parks in Poland (Kampinoski and Bory Tucholskie). Since stands have been under legal protection for many years and forest management is not practiced there, stand development processes taking place there are similar to natural ones. This study provided empirical data on ecosystem response to external stresses based on species and genetic structure. The results confirm differing health of the populations, which results from, among other factors, stand age and the environmental conditions in which they grow. Pine stands in both national parks are genetically diverse but with low genetic variability. Differences in stand health are related to the number of alleles forming the genetic pool. This conclusion is supported by a high correlation coefficient for interactions between defoliation, the number of alleles, and the Shannon index for genotypes. This suggests that greater gene diversity is likely to provide a wider range of phenotypic responses to environmental change. Full article
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Article
Wild Food Plant Gathering among Kalasha, Yidgha, Nuristani and Khowar Speakers in Chitral, NW Pakistan
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 9176; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219176 - 04 Nov 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 832
Abstract
The documentation of local food resources among linguistic/cultural minorities is essential for fostering measures aimed at sustaining food biocultural heritage. Moreover, interdisciplinary studies on food cultural heritage represent a vital aspect of promoting environmental and social sustainability. The current study aimed to record [...] Read more.
The documentation of local food resources among linguistic/cultural minorities is essential for fostering measures aimed at sustaining food biocultural heritage. Moreover, interdisciplinary studies on food cultural heritage represent a vital aspect of promoting environmental and social sustainability. The current study aimed to record the traditional foraging of wild food plants (WFPs) among three minority groups (Kalasha, Muslim Ismaili Yidgha, and Muslim Sunni Kamkata-vari speakers) as well as the dominant (Sunni Muslim) Kho/Chitrali people in the Kalasha and Lotkoh valleys, Chitral, NW Pakistan. A field survey recorded fifty-five locally gathered wild food plants and three mycological taxa. Most of the WFPs were used raw as snacks or as cooked vegetables, and Yidgha speakers reported the highest number of WFPs. Although the wild food plant uses of the four considered groups were quite similar, Yidgha speakers exclusively reported the use of Heracleum candicans, Matricaria chamomilla, Seriphidium brevifolium, and Sisymbrium irio. Similarly, Kalasha speakers reported the highest number of use reports, and along with Yidgha speakers they quoted a few WFPs that were frequently used only by them. The results of the study showed a remarkable degree of cultural adaptation of the minority groups to the dominant Kho/Chitrali culture, but also some signs of cultural resilience among those linguistic and religious minorities that were historically more marginalized (Kalasha and Yidgha speakers). The recorded food biocultural heritage should be seriously considered in future development programs aimed at fostering social cohesion and sustainability. Full article
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Article
Originalities of Willow of Salix atrocinerea Brot. in Mediterranean Europe
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8019; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198019 - 28 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 580
Abstract
Willow communities (genus Salix) occurring in Mediterranean Europe are presented, showing, through statistical treatment with multivariate cluster analysis, the separation of the different plant communities and their sintaxonomic affiliation. Six willow communities have been identified, whose formations include a set of plants [...] Read more.
Willow communities (genus Salix) occurring in Mediterranean Europe are presented, showing, through statistical treatment with multivariate cluster analysis, the separation of the different plant communities and their sintaxonomic affiliation. Six willow communities have been identified, whose formations include a set of plants with high heritage value. We highlight plants with legal protection status (Annex IV and II of the Habitats Directive-92/43/EEC), endemic, rare, and endangered species such as Salix salviifolia subsp. australis, Cheirolophus uliginosus, Euphorbia uliginosa and Leuzea longifolia. Therefore, two new willow communities are proposed for the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. The first dominated by Salix atrocinerea, Frangulo baticae-Salicetum atrocinereae ass. nova of ribatagan distribution, under acid substrates, thermomediterranean to lower mesomediterranean, dry to sub-humid. The second, dominated by the endemic Salix salviifolia subsp. australis, Clematis flammulae-Salicetum australis distributed in the Algarve, developing on neutral-basic substrates, exclusively thermomediterranous, dry to sub-humid. In both cases, there are presented on their own floristic serial, ecology, and substitution steps. A new hygrophytic meadows was also identified dominated by Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinaceae, Cheirolopho uliginosii-Molinietum arundinaceae ass. new hoc loco, which lives on substrates rich in organic matter, exclusive to the Ribatagano Sector. Through the deepening of knowledge about the composition and dynamics of riparian vegetation, it is possible to adapt management methods to sustain and protect these important edafo-hygrophilic systems in the Mediterranean. Full article
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Article
Exploring Plant-Based Ethnomedicine and Quantitative Ethnopharmacology: Medicinal Plants Utilized by the Population of Jasrota Hill in Western Himalaya
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7526; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187526 - 11 Sep 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1189
Abstract
Plants and natural products have played a significant role in curing and preventing a variety of ailments occurring in humans and animals, and continue to provide new bioactive leads for researchers in therapeutic discovery. This study was conducted with the aim to identify [...] Read more.
Plants and natural products have played a significant role in curing and preventing a variety of ailments occurring in humans and animals, and continue to provide new bioactive leads for researchers in therapeutic discovery. This study was conducted with the aim to identify and document local healers’ practices of treating human diseases and quantitatively document indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants, as well as to highlight the species of public interest for bioprospecting potential. A total of 17 field tours were carried out in 12 regions of Jasrota hill and its adjoining areas of Himalaya. Informants (113) were interviewed using semi-structured interviews and discussions and local guided collections. The results were analyzed using ethnobotanical indices—use-reports (URs) and the informant consensus factor (ICF)—and the data were statistically analyzed. The ethnopharmacological uses of 121 plant species belonging to 105 genera and 53 families were reported for use as medicine for treating 93 types of ailments. A total of 4987 URs were mentioned by 113 informants. Fabaceae (90.09%) and Asteraceae (6.62%) were the most represented families. Herbs (46.28%) were the primary sources of medicine, decoction (33.88%) was the most common use method for utilization, and leaves (43.80%) were the most frequently used plant parts. The ICF values ranged from 0.667 to 0.974, with the highest number of species (1314UR, 55 species) being used for the treatment of gastrointestinal ailments (GIA), followed by dermatological disorders (38 species). This result showed that the exchange of knowledge could be evident among the different communities, and their medicinal uses and practices could be correlated. Full article
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