Special Issue "Sustainable Land Use Policy"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Susana Martín-Fernández
Guest Editor
ETSI de Montes, Forestal y del Medio Natural, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Interests: land use management; optimization of land use assignment; climate change and land uses; public participation processes; development, social innovation in rural development; process simulation; natural hazards; sustainable forest management; sustainable indicators; quantitative techniques in environmental and natural resources management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Population growth and economic development today are increasing the pressure on ecosystems and leading to greater public concern about environmental challenges, thus heightening the demand for solutions to climate change, pollution and the protection of natural resources. Current land use policies must balance the needs of the population and economic considerations with environmental sustainability. These policies affect individual and collective wellbeing and aspects of rural and urban planning and decision-making, and they are a critical factor in meeting the goals of environmental sustainability, economic growth and social inclusion (OECD, 2017, The Governance of Land Use). Specifically, land use policies play an important role in climate change mitigation, sustainable land cover change, sustainable agriculture, sustainable forest management and protection of natural resources, pollution control, rural depopulation, respect for landowners’ rights and traditions, public participation, and labour conditions.

However, the application of sustainability to land use policy is complex. Since the first definition of sustainable development by the Brundtland Commission in 1987 and its subsequent evolution and debate, the concepts, monitoring and assessment of sustainable forest management and agriculture have been widely studied and developed. The specific role of each land use, the competition between them (i.e., biodiversity and landowners’ rights), the level of the fragmentation of the land, and the compatibility of neighbour uses must be considered to measure sustainability. There is no global agreement as to the criteria and indicators to assess and monitor the sustainability of land uses.

In this context, a new analytical framework is needed for designing methodologies and techniques to promote and assess land use sustainability. This Special Issue aims to disseminate conceptual and empirical research about sustainable land use management, and quantitative methods in sustainable land use decision making. Specifically, we welcome papers focused on, or dealing with, the topics listed in the keywords.

Dr. Susana Martín-Fernández
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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

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

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


  • Sustainable land use criteria and indicators
  • public participation and decision making in sustainable land use
  • changes in rural and urban land use cover and sustainable development goals
  • management of agroforestry systems
  • land use conflict solutions
  • effect of natural hazards in land use management
  • social innovation and spatial planning
  • evolution and comparison of land use policies

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
After the Wildfires: The Processes of Social Learning of Forest Owners’ Associations in Central Catalonia, Spain
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 6042; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12156042 - 28 Jul 2020
Over the last few decades, according to the Forest Fire Prevention Services of the Catalan Government, a small number of fires (less than 1%) have been responsible for the destruction of more than three quarters of the burnt forest area in Catalonia. However, [...] Read more.
Over the last few decades, according to the Forest Fire Prevention Services of the Catalan Government, a small number of fires (less than 1%) have been responsible for the destruction of more than three quarters of the burnt forest area in Catalonia. However, while these wildfires have transformed many components of the landscape, including its vegetation and soils, they offer landowners the opportunity to learn from past decisions. This article aims to analyze the responses of forest owners in Central Catalonia after the great forest fires of the 1980s and 1990s, including the way in which their objectives and strategies are defined and their actions implemented. By conducting interviews with the members of forest owners’ associations and by means of participant observation at association meetings, we seek to examine the processes of social learning experienced by this collective and to identify the mechanisms used in their efforts to create socio-ecological structures that are less vulnerable to fire. Associationism is unusual in the world of Catalan forest ownership, despite the great number of private forest areas. In our results, however, associationism emerges as a strategy for cooperation, a recognition of the need to link ecological and social structures in the territory, and one which we define as a form of ‘socio-ecological resistance’. Our study highlights that the goals and actions of forest owners’ associations have both an instrumental and emotional component, so that reason, emotion and action have come to form the three vertices of socio-ecological resistance to fire. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use Policy)
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