Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050) is an international and cross-disciplinary scholarly, open access journal of environmental, cultural, economic and social sustainability of human beings, which provides an advanced forum for studies related to sustainability and sustainable development. It publishes reviews, regular research papers, communications and short notes, and there is no restriction on the length of the papers.
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  • Spatiotemporal Analysis of Fire Foci and Environmental Degradation in the Biomes of Northeastern Brazil

    José Francisco de Oliveira-Júnior; Munawar Shah; Ayesha Abbas; Washington Luiz Félix Correia Filho; Carlos Antonio da Silva Junior; Dimas de Barros Santiago; Paulo Eduardo Teodoro; David Mendes; Amaury de Souza; Elinor Aviv-Sharon (MDPI AG, 2022-06-01)
    Forest fires destroy productive land throughout the world. In Brazil, mainly the Northeast of Brazil (NEB) is strongly affected by forest fires and bush fires. Similarly, there is no adequate study of long-term data from ground and satellite-based estimation of fire foci in NEB. The objectives of this study are: (i) to evaluate the spatiotemporal estimation of fires in NEB biomes via environmental satellites during the long term over 1998–2018, and (ii) to characterize the environmental degradation in the NEB biomes via orbital products during 1998–2018, obtained from the Burn Database (BDQueimadas) for 1794 municipalities. The spatiotemporal variation is estimated statistically (descriptive, exploratory and multivariate statistics) from the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) and Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) through the Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation Station (CHIRPS). Moreover, we identify 10 homogeneous groups of fire foci (G1–G10) with a total variance of 76.5%. The G1 group is the most extended group, along with the G2 group, the exception being the G3 group. Similarly, the G4–G10 groups have a high percentage of hotspots, with more values in the municipality of Grajaú, which belongs to the agricultural consortium. The gradient of fire foci from the coast to the interior of the NEB is directly associated with land use/land cover (LULC) changes, where the sparse vegetation category and areas without vegetation are mainly involved. The Caatinga and Cerrado biomes lose vegetation, unlike the Amazon and Atlantic Forest biomes. The fires detected in the Cerrado and Atlantic Forest biomes are the result of agricultural consortia. Additionally, the two periods 2003–2006 and 2013–2018 show periods of severe and prolonged drought due to the action of El Niño.
  • Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM): Management and Socioenvironmental Impacts in the Northern Amazon of Ecuador

    Carlos Mestanza-Ramón; Demmy Mora-Silva; Giovanni D’Orio; Enrique Tapia-Segarra; Isabel Dominguez Gaibor; José Fernando Esparza Parra; Carlos Renato Chávez Velásquez; Salvatore Straface (MDPI AG, 2022-06-01)
    Mining is one of the oldest economic activities of mankind. Within this activity, artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is one of the most studied sectors due to its high level of environmental contamination and the social problems it causes. In recent years, ASGM in the northern Amazon of Ecuador has increased significantly, and studies that describe its current situation and impact are scarce. In this sense, the present study aimed to analyze the current status and socioenvironmental impacts caused by ASGM gold mining activities in the Cascales canton in the province of Sucumbíos in northeastern Ecuador. The methodological tools used in the present study were a literature review of scientific and gray literature, field visits to assess perceived impacts and an expert judgment to discuss the results and establish challenges. The main results indicate that illegal and informal activities continue to be carried out in the upper zone of the Cascales and Duvino rivers; 90% of local miners still use mercury in this activity, although it is legally prohibited. Among the main impacts evidenced are the contamination of water bodies, soil and atmosphere due to the use of mercury and disturbance to flora and fauna due to the use of machinery in the exploration process. Finally, the government should focus efforts on strengthening public policies to socialize the importance of good environmental practices in ASGM and the effects of the impacts on human health and environmental issues, all this with the support of social actors, such as ministries, universities, NGOs, ASGM associations and private enterprise.
  • Research on the Effect of an Entrepreneurial Environment on College Students’ Entrepreneurial Self-Efficacy: The Mediating Effect of Entrepreneurial Competence and Moderating Effect of Entrepreneurial Education

    Lie Luo; Meiwen Guo; Jiehua Huang; Jialin Yang (MDPI AG, 2022-05-01)
    Background: entrepreneurial self-efficacy is the level of confidence that entrepreneurs can complete various entrepreneurial tasks. It can significantly predict entrepreneurial effectiveness, entrepreneurial motivation and entrepreneurial ability. This study explores the mechanism of entrepreneurial environment on college students’ entrepreneurial self-efficacy and analyzes the role of entrepreneurial competence and entrepreneurial education in the relationship between entrepreneurial competence and entrepreneurial education. Methods: a questionnaire survey was conducted among 1100 college students from 10 colleges and universities in Guangdong Province, and the survey results were statistically analyzed. Results: the results show that: (1) entrepreneurial education and entrepreneurship practice have a significant positive impact on college students’ self-efficacy; (2) entrepreneurial environment and entrepreneurial competence have a significant positive predictive effect on entrepreneurial self-efficacy; (3) entrepreneurial competence plays a mediating role in the influence of entrepreneurial environment on entrepreneurial self-efficacy; (4) entrepreneurial education plays a moderating role between entrepreneurial environment and entrepreneurial self-efficacy. Conclusion: present study found that entrepreneurial environment, entrepreneurial competence and entrepreneurial education play a positive role in college students’ entrepreneurial self-efficacy. Therefore, this paper suggests the promotion of an entrepreneurial education by creating a good innovative and entrepreneurial environment, establishing a talent training model based on entrepreneurial competence model, and building a high-quality entrepreneurial education system.
  • Understanding Sustainable Development of English Vocabulary Acquisition: Evidence from Chinese EFL Learners

    Yuntao Zeng; Qiuxia Lu; Matthew P. Wallace; Yawei Guo; Chun-Wai Fan; Xiaofei Chen (MDPI AG, 2022-05-01)
    Vocabulary learning is often seen as an important but also difficult aspect of learning English as a foreign language (EFL). Thus, it is particularly important to promote the sustainable development of vocabulary acquisition. Many features of English words affect the sustainable development of vocabulary acquisition, including frequency, polysemy, word family, part of speech, and word length. The influence of most of these factors on vocabulary acquisition has been extensively explored in previous studies, but the effects of cognateness and lexicalization remain unclear. This is in part due to the measurement tool, the Vocabulary Size Test, which does not include enough cognates and non-lexicalized words to adequately represent the language used in authentic contexts. To better our understanding of the effect of word features in the context of Chinese EFL learners, the present study modified the Vocabulary Size Test by including additional 19 non-lexicalized words and 33 cognates and administered it to 527 Chinese non-English major sophomores. The results revealed that cognateness, frequency, and polysemy were positively correlated with vocabulary acquisition, whereas word length and lexicalization were negatively correlated with acquisition. Further, multiple regression analysis indicated that cognateness, polysemy, and frequency were the largest contributors to acquisition.
  • Achieving Food and Livelihood Security and Enhancing Profitability through an Integrated Farming System Approach: A Case Study from Western Plains of Uttar Pradesh, India

    Poonam Kashyap; Ashisa K. Prusty; Azad S. Panwar; Venkatesh Paramesh; Ravisankar Natesan; M. Shamim; Nisha Verma; Phool Chand Jat; Mahendra Pal Singh (MDPI AG, 2022-05-01)
    The integrated farming system (IFS) is a comprehensive farm practice to improve small and marginal farmers’ livelihoods. The IFS enhances nutrient recycling and food security and promotes greater efficiency of fertilizers and natural resources. To improve livelihood, profits, and employment generation holistically through an IFS method, a study was conducted over four years, from 2016 to 2019, to define the farming condition in 1036 households in the Muzzafarnagar district of Western Uttar Pradesh. Crop + dairy was the most frequent farming method (68%) followed by crop + dairy + horticulture + goatary. Compared to older cultivars, improved rice, maize, wheat, and barley cultivars enhanced crop yield by 17 to 42%. Transplanting sugarcane and intercropping of mustard increased system yield from 58.89% to 86.17% compared to the sole sugarcane crop. Nutritional kitchen gardening resulted in an average saving of $20 to $25 during the Kharif season and $20 to $27 during Rabi season. Exotic vegetables such as broccoli, Chinese cabbage, cherry tomato, kale, parsley, and lettuce were introduced, which increased regular income. With the adoption of a multi-tier-based system, the net returns from the system improved from 0.6 lakh to 2.20 lakhs per ha. Enhancing the fodder availability resulted in a 27.5% milk yield improvement. The study’s outcomes demonstrated that a five-member family’s annual protein (110–125 kg) and carbohydrate (550 to 575 kg) requirements can be easily met using the IFS technique. According to the study, IFS approaches combined with better technical interventions can ensure the long-term viability of farming systems and improve livelihoods.
  • Employment Training at the University: Employment Expectations in Times of Pandemic

    Juan-Jesús Torres-Gordillo; Paloma Belinda García-Martínez (MDPI AG, 2022-05-01)
    This study analyses the job expectations found in early childhood education students as well as the main personal and academic aspects that influence their training during the COVID-19 pandemic. A nonexperimental ex post facto study based on a descriptive, correlational and inferential approach is developed. A total of 168 students from the University of Seville (Spain) participated. The results show a moderate to high level of expected employability. However, salary expectations and how the university is perceived regarding employability reveal more negative data. Expectations are higher for men, first-year students and those from a high socioeconomic background. The results suggest the value of offering guidance to students according to their employment preferences, before and during their training, to avoid considering the university as the only educational institution available.
  • Characterization and Prediction of Water Stress Using Time Series and Artificial Intelligence Models

    Amuktamalyada Gorlapalli; Supriya Kallakuri; Pagadala Damodaram Sreekanth; Rahul Patil; Nirmala Bandumula; Gabrijel Ondrasek; Meena Admala; Channappa Gireesh; Madhyavenkatapura Siddaiah Anantha; Brajendra Parmar (MDPI AG, 2022-05-01)
    In agroecosystems, drought is a critical climatic phenomenon that affects evapotranspiration and induces water stress in plants. The objective in this study was to characterize and forecast water stress in the Hyderabad region of India using artificial intelligence models. The monthly precipitation data for the period 1982–2021 was characterized by the standardized precipitation index (SPI) and modeled using the classical autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model and artificial intelligence (AI), i.e., artificial neural network (ANN) and support vector regression (SVR) model. The results show that on the short-term SPI3 time scale the studied region experienced extreme water deficit in 1983, 1992, 1993, 2007, 2015, and 2018, while on the mid-term SPI6 time scale, 1983, 1991, 2011, and 2016 were extremely dry. In addition, the prediction of drought at both SPI3 and SPI6 time scales by AI models outperformed the classical ARIMA models in both, training and validation data sets. Among applied models, the SVR model performed better than other models in modeling and predicting drought (confirmed by root mean square error—RMSE), while the Diebold–Mariano test confirmed that SVR output was significantly superior. A reduction in the prediction error of SVR by 48% and 32% (vs. ARIMA), and by 21% and 26% (vs. ANN) was observed in the test data sets for both SPI3 and SPI6 time scales. These results may be due to the ability of the SVR model to account for the nonlinear and complex patterns in the input data sets against the classical linear ARIMA model. These results may contribute to more sustainable and efficient management of water resources/stress in cropping systems.
  • Weed Communities in Winter Wheat: Responses to Cropping Systems under Different Climatic Conditions

    Tim Seipel; Suzanne L. Ishaq; Christian Larson; Fabian D. Menalled (MDPI AG, 2022-06-01)
    Understanding the impact of biological and environmental stressors on cropping systems is essential to secure the long-term sustainability of agricultural production in the face of unprecedented climatic conditions. This study evaluated the effect of increased soil temperature and reduced moisture across three contrasting cropping systems: a no-till chemically managed system, a tilled organic system, and an organic system that used grazing to reduce tillage intensity. Results showed that while cropping system characteristics represent a major driver in structuring weed communities, the short-term impact of changes in temperature and moisture conditions appear to be more subtle. Weed community responses to temperature and moisture manipulations differed across variables: while biomass, species richness, and Simpson’s diversity estimates were not affected by temperature and moisture conditions, we observed a minor but significant shift in weed community composition. Higher weed biomass was recorded in the grazed/reduced-till organic system compared with the tilled-organic and no-till chemically managed systems. Weed communities in the two organic systems were more diverse than in the no-till conventional system, but an increased abundance in perennial species such as Cirsium arvense and Taraxacum officinale in the grazed/reduced-till organic system could hinder the adoption of integrated crop-livestock production tactics. Species composition of the no-till conventional weed communities showed low species richness and diversity, and was encompassed in the grazed/reduced-till organic communities. The weed communities of the no-till conventional and grazed/reduced-till organic systems were distinct from the tilled organic community, underscoring the effect that tillage has on the assembly of weed communities. Results highlight the importance of understanding the ecological mechanisms structuring weed communities, and integrating multiple tactics to reduce off-farm inputs while managing weeds.
  • Indigenous-Led Nature-Based Solutions for the Climate Crisis: Insights from Canada

    Brennan Vogel; Lilia Yumagulova; Gordon McBean; Kerry Ann Charles Norris (MDPI AG, 2022-05-01)
    This article provides an international and national overview of climate change and biodiversity frameworks and is focused on emerging evidence of Indigenous leadership and collaborations in Canada. After introducing the international context and describing the national policy landscape, we provide preliminary evidence documenting emerging national, regional, and local examples of Indigenous-led collaborative conservation projects and nature-based climate change solutions for the climate crisis. Based on our preliminary data, we suggest that Indigenous peoples and communities are well-positioned and currently have and will continue to play important roles in the protection, conservation management, and restoration of lands and waters in Canada and globally. These efforts are critical to the global mitigation, sequestration, and storage of greenhouse gases (GHGs) precipitating the climate crisis while also building adaptive resiliency to reduce impacts. Emerging Canadian evidence suggests that there are a diversity of co-benefits that Indigenous-led nature-based solutions to climate change and biodiversity protection bring, enabled by creating ethical space for reconciliation and conservation collaborations.
  • Improvement in Solar-Radiation Forecasting Based on Evolutionary KNEA Method and Numerical Weather Prediction

    Guosheng Duan; Lifeng Wu; Fa Liu; Yicheng Wang; Shaofei Wu (MDPI AG, 2022-06-01)
    Accurate forecasting of solar radiation (Rs) is significant to photovoltaic power generation and agricultural management. The National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NECP) has released its latest Global Ensemble Forecast System version 12 (GEFSv12) prediction product; however, the capability of this numerical weather product for Rs forecasting has not been evaluated. This study intends to establish a coupling algorithm based on a bat algorithm (BA) and Kernel-based nonlinear extension of Arps decline (KNEA) for post-processing 1–3 d ahead Rs forecasting based on the GEFSv12 in Xinjiang of China. The new model also compares two empirical statistical methods, which were quantile mapping (QM) and Equiratio cumulative distribution function matching (EDCDFm), and compares six machine-learning methods, e.g., long-short term memory (LSTM), support vector machine (SVM), XGBoost, KNEA, BA-SVM, BA-XGBoost. The results show that the accuracy of forecasting Rs from all of the models decreases with the extension of the forecast period. Compared with the GEFS raw Rs data over the four stations, the RMSE and MAE of QM and EDCDFm models decreased by 20% and 15%, respectively. In addition, the BA-KNEA model was superior to the GEFSv12 raw Rs data and other post-processing methods, with R2 = 0.782–0.829, RMSE = 3.240–3.685 MJ m−2 d−1, MAE = 2.465–2.799 MJ m−2 d−1, and NRMSE = 0.152–0.173.
  • Characterization and Analysis of Acetaldehyde Wastewater by Molecular Weight Distribution, Hydrophilicity, and Chemical Composition

    Yang Yang; Yin Yu; Jingling Zhou; Hongbo Xi; Chunrong Wang; Yuexi Zhou; Liya Fu; Yue Qi; Yue Yuan (MDPI AG, 2022-05-01)
    Acetaldehyde is a typical toxic substance of the petrochemical industry. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) plays an important role in wastewater treatment. Therefore, the molecular weight, hydrophilicity, and chemical composition of DOC in acetaldehyde wastewater were evaluated. First, the molecular weight (MW) distribution was investigated; the results showed that acetaldehyde wastewater was mainly composed of components with a MW less than 1 kDa, and possessed higher proportion of protein-like substances that were dominant contributors to membrane fouling. Then, the distribution of hydrophobicity was evaluated; hydrophobic bases were reported to be slowly biodegradable fractions due to the high humic content. Finally, gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was utilized to determine chemical composition, and 30 pollutants were detected. Aldehydes, hydrocarbons, ketones, alcohols, furans, phenols, and organic acids were the dominant pollutants. Most of them were moderately toxic compounds. The comprehensive characterization of acetaldehyde wastewater will contribute to control strategies and sustainable development.
  • Ensemble Climate and Streamflow Projections for the Assiniboine River Basin, Canada

    Muhammad Rehan Anis; David J. Sauchyn (MDPI AG, 2022-05-01)
    The Assiniboine River Basin (ARB) is subject to an exceptionally variable precipitation regime of the Canadian Prairies, ranging between record droughts and unprecedented flooding in just the past decade. To assess the impact of a changing climate on hydroclimate variability in the ARB, we used the bias–corrected simulations from the Canadian Regional Climate Model (CanRCM4) to drive MESH model for two 60–year periods, a historical baseline (1951–2010) and future projection (2041–2100), under the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 to simulate ARB flows at eight hydrometric stations. The precipitation is projected to increase in every season (~10–38%) except for summer (~−1–−5%). Minimum winter and maximum summer temperatures have the largest seasonal trends, increasing by 2–3 °C in the near future (2021–2050) and 5–6 °C in the far future (2051–2080). These climate changes produce higher winter river flows while peak runoff shifts by several weeks to earlier in the year. There is a shift in the magnitude and timing of extreme water levels. The ensemble of climate projections from a single model and one RCP to the variability and uncertainty in the future hydrology supports adaptation planning in the industrial sectors of Saskatchewan’s economy.
  • Sustainability and Open Innovation: Main Themes and Research Trajectories

    Barbara Bigliardi; Serena Filippelli (MDPI AG, 2022-05-01)
    Today, innovation and sustainability in their broadest sense, which includes people (social dimension), the planet (environmental dimension) and profits (economic dimension), are increasingly intertwined. Integrating the sustainability dimension into the innovation of products, services, processes, technologies, business and organizational models requires an effort on the part of the company as it demands a different set of knowledge and skills than those needed to innovate in a traditional way. As a result, companies, in order to integrate the dimension of sustainability in their innovation processes, have felt the need to exploit knowledge, skills and technologies external to the organization itself, promoting what is called the process of open innovation. Since this field of field is only recently being explored, we conducted a literature review through bibliometric analysis on a sample of 93 scientific articles published between 2011 and today, April 2022. To achieve the purpose of this review, both quantitative (co-occurrence analysis) and qualitative analysis have been conducted. Four different research themes have been identified: sustainable open innovation and innovation performance, the role of technological capability for sustainable open innovation, business model perspective and sustainable open innovation and university collaboration. As far as future research is concerned, a mainline has been identified concerning the study of sustainable open innovation in the agri-food industry.
  • Dynamic Versus Static Life Cycle Assessment of Energy Renovation for Residential Buildings

    Els Van de moortel; Karen Allacker; Frank De Troyer; Erik Schoofs; Luc Stijnen (MDPI AG, 2022-06-01)
    Currently, a life cycle assessment is mostly used in a static way to assess the environmental impacts of the energy renovation of buildings. However, various aspects of energy renovation vary in time. This paper reports the development of a framework for a dynamic life cycle assessment and its application to assess the energy renovation of buildings. To investigate whether a dynamic approach leads to different decisions than a static approach, several renovation options of a residential house were compared. To identify the main drivers of the impact and to support decision-making for renovation, a shift of the reference study period—as defined in EN 15643-1 and EN 15978—is proposed (from construction to renovation). Interventions related to the energy renovation are modelled as current events, while interventions and processes that happen afterwards are modelled as future events, including dynamic parameters, considering changes in the operational energy use, changes in the energy mix, and future (cleaner) production processes. For a specific case study building, the dynamic approach resulted in a lower environmental impact than the static approach. However, the dynamic approach did not result in other renovation recommendations, except when a dynamic parameter for electricity production was included.
  • Effect of Short-Term and UV Irradiation Aging on the Behaviour of SBS-Modified Bitumen

    Clara Celauro; Rosalia Teresi; Nadka Tz. Dintcheva (MDPI AG, 2022-06-01)
    To obtain road bitumen with improved temperature and fatigue resistance, polymers and/or rubbers could be added to it. A particularly suitable polymer for bitumen modification is styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) copolymer but limited information is available about the ageing behaviour of modified binders. In this work, two neat bitumens, with different penetration grades, and two SBS-modified bitumens, containing different SBS amounts, were selected, and their short-term and UVB ageing behaviour were investigated considering dynamic shear rheometry and Attenuated Total Reflectance-Fourier Transformation InfraRed spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR). Short-time ageing behaviour was investigated performing the rolling thin film oven test (RTFOT), while artificial UV ageing was examined/investigated using UVB lamps. The structural changes in bitumen were monitored at different UV exposure times. All the results suggest that the bitumen having higher penetration grade is more stable than the one with a lower penetration grade in the RTFOT ageing condition, and SBS addition exerts a beneficial effect on thermal stability during processing. Further, SBS addition also has a beneficial effect on the UV ageing resistance of bitumen, reducing its oxidation tendency.
  • Impact of the COVID-19 Confinement on the Physics and Chemistry Didactic in High Schools

    Elena Jiménez Sánchez; Estrella Montes-López; María Jesús Santos Sánchez (MDPI AG, 2022-05-01)
    Online education due to COVID-19 confinement impacted the use of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Spain, where it was poorly implemented. The aim of this paper was to inspect the methodological changes in Physics and Chemistry teaching during the confinement as well as in the ICT use and the lockdown impact afterwards. For this purpose, an online survey was administered by email to the Physics and Chemistry teachers of three provinces of Spain. Based on the analysis, the most widely used methodology was the traditional one. Still, during the lockdown, its use decreased, and others, such as the flipped classroom, increased significantly. Other adaptations included increasing the use of virtual simulations and self-learning by the student. It can be outlined the incorporation of new tools such as WebQuests, the smartphone, or online education platforms, whose use has continued. The ICT was used for new functionalities such as evaluation or answering student questions. According to the respondents, the lockdown had entailed that they strengthen implementation of ICT. In conclusion, there have been changes that have remained in the Physics and Chemistry didactic and in the ICT use due to the lockdown situation.
  • Geomechanical Behaviour of Recycled Construction and Demolition Waste Submitted to Accelerated Wear

    Marina Paula Secco; Giovani Jordi Bruschi; Castorina S. Vieira; Nuno Cristelo (MDPI AG, 2022-05-01)
    The construction industry is one of the most important sectors for economic and social development. However, it is responsible for more than 50% of the depletion of natural resources, for 40% of the energy consumption and construction and demolition waste (CDW) accounting for 30–60% of the total municipal solid waste generated worldwide. In this sense, the recycling of CDW is considered a safe alternative to the current trend, which can produce environmental and economic benefits, namely the reduction of the depletion of natural resources and the volume of waste sent to landfills. Some studies have shown promising results in the use of recycled CDW as geotechnical materials. However, the degradation performance induced by the construction procedures and weather conditions on the geotechnical behaviour of recycled CDW is still a research gap, creating an obstacle for its regular use in general engineering practice. This work evaluated the mechanical performance of recycled CDW over time when subjected to wetting–drying degradation cycles under different temperature and pH conditions. The effects of such degradation were then evaluated qualitatively (changes in particle size distribution and Proctor parameters) and quantitatively (stress–strain response and permeability). The results showed that 10 wetting–drying cycles and different compaction energies have no change in the particle size distribution of CDW compared to the original CDW. The shear strength parameters were very similar for the different degradation conditions except when different pH values were used, which may have weakened the grains and decrease the friction angle of the material. Regarding the permeability, all tested samples were classified in the same hydraulic conductivity range (very low) without significant changes induced by the degradation mechanisms.
  • Selecting Cast Alloy Alloying Elements Suitable for a Circular Society

    Anders E. W. Jarfors; Per Jansson (MDPI AG, 2022-05-01)
    Resource efficiency, energy usage, and carbon footprint drive the need to use aluminium alloys to manufacture lightweight components. The current paper targets the effects of alloy composition on the heat associated with remelting from a material circularity perspective. Si as an alloying element increases the required heat in the recycling cycle. Limiting the Si content in cast materials can reduce the energy needed in the recycling process by 20%, leading to significant gains in energy usage and CO2 emissions from gas heated furnaces and fossil fuel-generated electricity.
  • Spatial Vegetation Patch Patterns and Their Relation to Environmental Factors in the Alpine Grasslands of the Qilian Mountains

    Theophilus Atio Abalori; Wenxia Cao; Conrad Atogi-Akwoa Weobong; Wen Li; Shilin Wang; Xiuxia Deng (MDPI AG, 2022-05-01)
    Globally, grasslands are affected by climate change and unsustainable management practices which usually leads to transitions from stable, degraded and then to desertification. Spatial vegetation patch configurations are regarded as key indicators of such transitions. Understanding the relationships between this grass-land vegetation and its environment is key to vegetation restoration projects. Spatial vegetation patch patterns were chosen across different soil and topographic conditions. Patch numbers, perimeter, and cover of each patch were measured along transects of each patch type. Using field surveys and multivariate statistical analysis, we investigated the differences in vegetation biomass and distribution and soil properties of four typical alpine plant species patches along with a range of environmental and topographic conditions. It was found that topographic conditions and soil properties, particularly soil moisture explained most of the variation in spatial patch vegetation characteristics and thus control vegetation restoration in the alpine grassland. The Kobresia humilis, Blysmus sinocompressus and Iris lactea patches under the drylands recorded small patch sizes, large patch numbers, low connectivity, and large total perimeter per unit area. Generally, species within the high moisture sites recorded small patch numbers, a large fraction of vegetation cover and a small total perimeter per m2. Patches in limited soil moisture areas recorded patch configurations indicating they are unstable and undergoing degradation and therefore need urgent restoration attention to forestall their further degradation and its resultant effect of desertification. These results would provide quantitative easy-to-use indicators for vegetation degradation and help in vegetation restoration projects.
  • Investigating Sustainability of the Traditional Courtyard Houses Using Deep Beauty Framework

    Rabia Ahmed Qureshi; Sarah Javed Shah; Munazzah Akhtar; Wasim Abbass; Abdullah Mohamed (MDPI AG, 2022-06-01)
    In Pakistan, power outages have become frequent over the past two decades, due to a continuing energy crisis. Reliance on machines for thermal comfort of buildings has led to high energy demands of the increasing population. The negative impacts of artificial environments have, also, diminished the sense of place, biophilia and cultural values. Moreover, globalization has standardized the built environments, causing a lack of regional identity and an absence of climate sensitivity in design. Keeping all these issues in focus, this article re-examines the fundamental aspects of traditional architecture and aims to stimulate architects and designers to create sustainable and life-enriching designs, which are appropriate for contemporary times. In this research, the first two levels of Deep Beauty (functional and typological) are used, as a conceptual framework for sustainable design, to analyse a representative of a traditional courtyard house. In conjunction with the theoretical underpinnings of the Deep Beauty framework, the analysis utilizes photographs, drawings, and diagrams to support the arguments. The research shows that the traditional courtyard house possesses numerous attributes of sustainable design, which can be incorporated into contemporary house design.

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