Now showing items 29530-29549 of 49060

    • N- and S-Doped Carbons Derived from Polyacrylonitrile for Gases Separation

      Lidia Domínguez-Ramos; Ainoha Prieto-Estalrich; Giulio Malucelli; Diego Gómez-Díaz; María Sonia Freire; Massimo Lazzari; Julia González-Álvarez (MDPI AG, 2022-03-01)
      The CO2 capture using adsorption can reduce the carbon footprint, increasing the sustainability of the process without the production of wastes present in commonly used industrial operations. The present research work analyses the effect of the doping-agents incorporation in carbon materials upon adsorption and separation of gases, specifically for carbon dioxide and nitrogen. The carbons precursor was polyacrylonitrile (PAN), which enabled the incorporation of nitrogen atoms in the structure, whereas sulphur doping was reached using pure sulphur after the carbonisation step. The influence of several variables (such as temperature or pressure) and characteristics of synthesised materials (mainly corresponding to surface characteristics) on carbon dioxide separation has been evaluated. Adsorption isotherms were determined for each gas (CO2 and N2) at different temperatures and pressures. Different adsorption models were evaluated to fit the experimental data. In general, the Toth isotherm described better the adsorption for both gases. Important parameters such as CO2/N2 selectivity and heat of adsorption were determined using the IAS theory and the experimental isotherms at different temperatures, respectively. Non-activated carbons generated from PAN carbonisation without sulphur addition showed the highest values of selectivity (up to 400) and adsorption heat (up to 40 kJ mol−1), mainly at low pressures and at low carbon dioxide uptakes, respectively. Furthermore, thanks to their high adsorption capacity, these carbons can be applied for carbon dioxide separation from mixtures with nitrogen.
    • N-(n-Butyl) Thiophosphoric Triamide (NBPT)-Coated Urea (NCU) Improved Maize Growth and Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) in Highly Weathered Tropical Soil

      Muhammad Muhaymin Mohd Zuki; Noraini Md. Jaafar; Siti Zaharah Sakimin; Mohd Khanif Yusop (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
      Nitrogen (N) fertilizer is commonly used to supply sufficient N for plant uptake, for which urea is one of the highly preferred synthetic N fertilizers due to its high N content. Unfortunately, N provided by urea is rapidly lost upon urea application to soils through ammonia volatilization, leaching, and denitrification. Thus, treatment of urea with urease inhibitor (N-(n-Butyl) Thiophosphoric Triamide (NBPT)) is among the solutions to slow down urea hydrolysis, therefore reducing loss of NH<sub>3</sub> and saving N available for plant uptake and growth. A field study was carried out to evaluate the effects of NBPT-coated urea (NCU) at varying rates on growth, yield, and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) of maize in tropical soil. The experiment was conducted at Field 15, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia, and maize (<i>Zea mays</i> var. Thai Super Sweet) was used as the test crop. The results showed that all maize grown in soils applied with urea coated with NBPT (NCU) (T2, T3, T4, and T5) had significantly (<i>P</i> ≤ 0.05) higher chlorophyll content compared to the control (T0 and T1). The surface leaf area of maize grown in NCU-treated soils at 120 kg N h<sup>−1</sup> (T3) was recorded as the highest. NCU at and 96 kg N ha<sup>−1</sup> (T3 and T4) were relatively effective in increasing maize plant dry weight, yield, and N uptake. Improvement of NUE by 45% over urea was recorded in the treatment of NCU at 96 kg N ha<sup>−1</sup>. NBPT-coated urea (NCU) at 96 kg N ha<sup>−1</sup> had potential to increase the growth, yield, nitrogen uptake, and NUE of maize by increasing the availability of N for plant growth and development.
    • NaCl Improves <i>Suaeda salsa</i> Aniline Tolerance in Wastewater

      Jie Xu; Yi Liu; Chao Zhu; Honglei Jia; Changyan Tian; Hongrui Ma; Guanghui Lv (MDPI AG, 2020-09-01)
      Halophytes have been studied as a model for morphological traits of adaptation to saline environments. However, little information has been given on plant growth, chlorophyll fluorescence responses, and change of ion content in halophytes grown in an aniline–salinity coexistent environment. This study hypothesized that aniline could induce alterations in plant growth, chlorophyll fluorescence, and ion content in <i>Suaeda salsa</i>, but salinity could promote the tolerance of halophytes to aniline. A 6 (aniline) × 3 (NaCl) factorial experiment (for a total of 18 treatments) was conducted to test the above hypothesis. After 30 d of cultivation, roots and shoots were harvested separately to analyze the effects of salinity on the seedling growth under aniline stress. Biomass accumulation was inhibited by aniline treatment, and the inhibition was significantly alleviated by 200 mM NaCl. The change in chlorophyll fluorescence in leaves with aniline stress was moderated by the addition of NaCl. The removal efficiency of aniline was significantly enhanced by moderate salinity. Aniline stress decreased the accumulation of Mg<sup>2+</sup>, but various concentrations of NaCl increased the accumulation of Mg<sup>2+</sup>, especially with 200 mM NaCl in both roots and shoots. Both aniline and salinity decreased the content of Ca<sup>2+</sup>. There was a negative correlation between the K<sup>+</sup> and NaCl concentrations and between the Cl<sup>−</sup> and aniline concentrations. Our results indicated that <i>Suaeda salsa</i> may be suitable for the remediation of salinity and aniline-enriched wastewater.
    • Namares—A Surface Inventory and Intervention Assessment Model for Urban Resource Management

      Elias Naber; Rebekka Volk; Kai Mörmann; Denise Boehnke; Thomas Lützkendorf; Frank Schultmann (MDPI AG, 2022-07-01)
      Densely built-up areas are challenged by reduced biodiversity, high volumes of runoff water, reduced evaporation, and heat accumulation. Such phenomena are associated with imperviousness and low, unsustainable utilisation of land and exterior building surfaces. Local authorities have multiple objectives when (re-)developing future-proof districts. Hence, exploiting local potentials to mitigate adverse anthropogenic effects and managing the resource of urban land/surfaces have become key priorities. Accordingly, a five-level hierarchy for a land-sensitive urban development strategy was derived. To support the operationalisation of the hierarchy, we present the model Namares, a highly resolved GIS-based approach to enable spatially explicit identification and techno-economic and environmental assessment of intervention measures for advantageous utilisation of available surfaces per land parcel. It uses existing data and covers the management of economic, natural, and technical resources. Nine intervention measures are implemented to identify potentials, estimate investments and annual costs, and assess the appeal of existing subsidies. The approach was applied to a case study redevelopment area in a large city in Germany. The results provide spatially explicit information on greening potentials, estimated investments, subsidy demand, and other quantified benefits. The case study results show the limited potential for additional unsealing of impervious surfaces by transforming ca. 10% of sealed ground surface area into new urban gardens. At the same time, up to 47% of roof and 30% of facade surfaces could be utilised for greening and energy harvesting. The approach enables a comprehensive localisation and quantitative assessment of intervention potentials to enhance decision support in land-sensitive urban development strategies.
    • Named Data Networking for Efficient IoT-based Disaster Management in a Smart Campus

      Zain Ali; Munam Ali Shah; Ahmad Almogren; Ikram Ud Din; Carsten Maple; and Hasan Ali Khattak (MDPI AG, 2020-04-01)
      Disasters are uncertain occasions that can impose a drastic impact on human life and building infrastructures. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) plays a vital role in coping with such situations by enabling and integrating multiple technological resources to develop Disaster Management Systems (DMSs). In this context, a majority of the existing DMSs use networking architectures based upon the Internet Protocol (IP) focusing on location-dependent communications. However, IP-based communications face the limitations of inefficient bandwidth utilization, high processing, data security, and excessive memory intake. To address these issues, Named Data Networking (NDN) has emerged as a promising communication paradigm, which is based on the Information-Centric Networking (ICN) architecture. An NDN is among the self-organizing communication networks that reduces the complexity of networking systems in addition to provide content security. Given this, many NDN-based DMSs have been proposed. The problem with the existing NDN-based DMS is that they use a PULL-based mechanism that ultimately results in higher delay and more energy consumption. In order to cater for time-critical scenarios, emergence-driven network engineering communication and computation models are required. In this paper, a novel DMS is proposed, i.e., Named Data Networking Disaster Management (NDN-DM), where a producer forwards a fire alert message to neighbouring consumers. This makes the nodes converge according to the disaster situation in a more efficient and secure way. Furthermore, we consider a fire scenario in a university campus and mobile nodes in the campus collaborate with each other to manage the fire situation. The proposed framework has been mathematically modeled and formally proved using timed automata-based transition systems and a real-time model checker, respectively. Additionally, the evaluation of the proposed NDM-DM has been performed using NS2. The results prove that the proposed scheme has reduced the end-to-end delay up from <inline-formula> <math display="inline"> <semantics> <mrow> <mn>2</mn> <mo>%</mo> </mrow> </semantics> </math> </inline-formula> to <inline-formula> <math display="inline"> <semantics> <mrow> <mn>10</mn> <mo>%</mo> </mrow> </semantics> </math> </inline-formula> and minimized up to <inline-formula> <math display="inline"> <semantics> <mrow> <mn>20</mn> <mo>%</mo> </mrow> </semantics> </math> </inline-formula> energy consumption, as energy improved from <inline-formula> <math display="inline"> <semantics> <mrow> <mn>3</mn> <mo>%</mo> </mrow> </semantics> </math> </inline-formula> to <inline-formula> <math display="inline"> <semantics> <mrow> <mn>20</mn> <mo>%</mo> </mrow> </semantics> </math> </inline-formula> compared with a state-of-the-art NDN-based DMS.
    • Nano-Iron and Nano-Zinc Induced Growth and Metabolic Changes in Vigna radiata

      Neelam Rani; Kusum Kumari; Parul Sangwan; Poonam Barala; Jyoti Yadav; Vijeta; Rahul; Vinita Hooda (MDPI AG, 2022-07-01)
      The widespread industrial use and consequent release of nanosized iron (nFe3O4) and zinc oxide (nZnO) particles into the environment have raised concerns over their effects on living organisms, including plants. These nanoparticles are the source of their respective metal ions and although plants require both Fe and Zn ions for proper growth, excessive levels of these metals are toxic to them. A better understanding of the effects of these nanoparticles on plants also offers an opportunity for their useful applications in agriculture. The present work evaluates the changes in seed germination, plant growth, photosynthetic capacity, levels of biomolecules and antioxidant enzymes in Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek when grown in the presence of nFe3O4 (size 1–4 nm) and nZnO (size 10–20 nm) and compared to the control plants. The plants were raised hydroponically for up to 14 days at two different concentrations of nanoparticles, viz. 10 and 100 mg/L. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) results established that V. radiata can accumulate Fe and Zn in shoots with high efficiency. The results indicated that nFe3O4 had a favourable effect on V. radiata, whereas no apparent benefit or toxicity of nZnO was observed at the tested concentrations.
    • Nanobiotechnology for Agriculture: Smart Technology for Combating Nutrient Deficiencies with Nanotoxicity Challenges

      Gaurav Chugh; Kadambot H. M. Siddique; Zakaria M. Solaiman (MDPI AG, 2021-02-01)
      Nanobiotechnology in agriculture is a driver for modern-day smart, efficient agricultural practices. Nanoparticles have been shown to stimulate plant growth and disease resistance. The goal of sustainable farming can be accomplished by developing and sustainably exploiting the fruits of nanobiotechnology to balance the advantages nanotechnology provides in tackling environmental challenges. This review aims to advance our understanding of nanobiotechnology in relevant areas, encourage interactions within the research community for broader application, and benefit society through innovation to realize sustainable agricultural practices. This review critically evaluates what is and is not known in the domain of nano-enabled agriculture. It provides a holistic view of the role of nanobiotechnology in multiple facets of agriculture, from the synthesis of nanoparticles to controlled and targeted delivery, uptake, translocation, recognition, interaction with plant cells, and the toxicity potential of nanoparticle complexes when presented to plant cells.
    • Nanogenerator-Based Wireless Intelligent Motion Correction System for Storing Mechanical Energy of Human Motion

      Yupeng Mao; Fengxin Sun; Yongsheng Zhu; Changjun Jia; Tianming Zhao; Chaorui Huang; Caixia Li; Ning Ba; Tongtong Che; Song Chen (MDPI AG, 2022-06-01)
      As it is urgently needed to address the energy consumption and health care problems caused by population growth, the field of sustainable energy collection and storage equipment as well as intelligent health care for monitoring human motion behavior has received wide attention and achieved rapid development. However, the portable intelligent systems that integrate them have not been widely discussed. In this work, we propose a design of a nanogenerator-based wireless intelligent motion correction system, combining triboelectric nanogenerator technology with wireless intelligent host computer signal processing and visualization systems. Under the condition of no external power supply, a noninvasive triboelectric nanogenerator (FL-TENG) sensor integrated system stores the mechanical energy due to human movement behavior and drives wireless micro-electronic devices to realize the human–computer interaction application of the intelligent system. In the conducted test, the reported instantaneous output of an ordinary clap action was around 241V. For a variety of physical exercise types being monitored, it can accurately determine human movement behavior and perform error correction and scoring for movement techniques. Additionally, using hydrogel as an electrode improves the service life and stability of the device. Therefore, this flexible and convenient design concept is beneficial to the development and utilization of sustainable energy and sports activities. In addition, it extends the application prospects of FL-TENG in self-powered sensing systems.
    • Nanoparticle-Induced Changes in Resistance and Resilience of Sensitive Microbial Indicators towards Heat Stress in Soil

      Abhishek Kumar; Rajiv Rakshit; Arnab Bhowmik; Nintu Mandal; Anupam Das; Samrat Adhikary (MDPI AG, 2019-02-01)
      Modern agricultural innovations with nanomaterials are now being applied in every sphere of agriculture. However, their interaction with soil microbial processes is not being explored in detail. This initiative was undertaken to understand the effect of metal-oxide nanoparticles with heat stress in soil. Metal-oxide nanoparticles, zinc oxide (ZnO), and iron oxide (Fe<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub>) (each at 10 and 40 mg kg<sup>−1</sup> w/w) were mixed into uncontaminated soil and subjected to heat stress of 48 °C for 24 hours to assess their effect on soil biological indicators. The resistance indices for the acid (ACP), alkaline phosphatase (AKP) activity, and fluorescein diacetate hydrolyzing (FDA) activity (0.58 to 0.73, 0.58 to 0.66, and 0.42 to 0.48, respectively) were higher in the presence of ZnO nanoparticles as compared to Fe<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub> nanomaterials, following an unpredictable pattern at either 10 or 40 mg kg<sup>−1</sup> in soils, except dehydrogenase activity (DHA), for which the activity did not change with ZnO nanomaterial. An explicit role of ZnO nanomaterial in the revival pattern of the enzymes was observed (0.20 for DHA, 0.39 for ACP, and 0.43 for AKP), except FDA, which showed comparable values with Fe<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub> nanomaterials for the following 90 day (d) after stress. Microbial count exhibiting higher resistance values were associated with Fe<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub> nanoparticles as compared to ZnO nanomaterials, except <i>Pseudomonas</i>. The recovery indices for the microbial counts were higher with the application of Fe<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub> nanomaterials (0.34 for Actinobacteria, 0.38 for fungi, 0.33 for <i>Pseudomonas</i> and 0.28 for <i>Azotobacter</i>). Our study emphasizes the fact that sensitive microbial indicators in soil might be hampered by external stress initially but do have the competency to recover with time, thereby reinstating the resistance and resilience of soil systems.
    • Nanoparticles from the Cosmetics and Medical Industries in Legal and Environmental Aspects

      Renata Włodarczyk; Anna Kwarciak-Kozłowska (MDPI AG, 2021-05-01)
      This paper presents the application and role of nanomaterials, with particular emphasis on the cosmetics and medical industries. Methods of obtaining materials at the nanoscale and their characteristic structure, which determines their attractiveness and risk, especially in recent years, have been described. The subject of the work was to indicate the hazards and risks that are associated with the properties of nanomaterials; dimension, and high chemical and physical activity, thus making ways to capture and monitor them difficult. Legal and environmental aspects were taken into account, and the involvement of the European Commission in this subject and the activities carried out in a few European countries as well as in Japan, the USA and Canada were analyzed.
    • Nanoporous Alumina Membranes for Sugar Industry: An Investigation of Sintering Parameters Influence onUltrafiltration Performance

      Farooq Khan Niazi; Malik Adeel Umer; Ashfaq Ahmed; Muhammad Arslan Hafeez; Zafar Khan; Muhammad Shoaib Butt; Abdul Razzaq; Xian Luo; Young-Kwon Park (MDPI AG, 2021-07-01)
      Ultrafiltration membranes offer a progressive and efficient means to filter out various process fluids. The prime factor influencing ultrafiltration to a great extent is the porosity of the membranes employed. Regarding membrane development, alumina membranes are extensively studied due to their uniform porosity and mechanical strength. The present research work is specifically aimed towards the investigation of nanoporous alumina membranes, as a function of sintering parameters, on ultrafiltration performance. Alumina membranes are fabricated by sintering at various temperatures ranging from 1200–1300 °C for different holding times between 5–15 h. The morphological analysis, conducted using Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), revealed a homogeneous distribution of pores throughout the surface and cross-section of the membranes developed. It was observed that an increase in the sintering temperature and time resulted in a gradual decrease in the average pore size. A sample with an optimal pore size of 73.65 nm achieved after sintering at 1250 °C for 15 h, was used for the evaluation of ultrafiltration performance. However, the best mechanical strength and highest stress-bearing ability were exhibited by the sample sintered at 1300 °C for 5 h, whereas the sample sintered at 1250 °C for 5 h displayed the highest strain in terms of compression. The selected alumina membrane sample demonstrated excellent performance in the ultrafiltration of sugarcane juice, compared to the other process liquids.
    • Nanopotassium, Nanosilicon, and Biochar Applications Improve Potato Salt Tolerance by Modulating Photosynthesis, Water Status, and Biochemical Constituents

      Abdel Wahab M. Mahmoud; Mahmoud M. Samy; Hoda Sany; Rasha R. Eid; Hassan M. Rashad; Emad A. Abdeldaym (MDPI AG, 2022-01-01)
      Salinity is one of the main environmental stresses, and it affects potato growth and productivity in arid and semiarid regions by disturbing physiological process, such as the photosynthesis rate, the absorption of essential nutrients and water, plant hormonal functions, and vital metabolic pathways. Few studies are available on the application of combined nanomaterials to mitigate salinity stress on potato plants (<i>Solanum tuberosum</i> L. cv. Diamont). In order to assess the effects of the sole or combined application of silicon (Si) and potassium (K) nanoparticles and biochar (Bc) on the agro-physiological properties and biochemical constituents of potato plants grown in saline soil, two open-field experiments were executed on a randomized complete block design (RCBD), with five replicates. The results show that the biochar application and nanoelements (n-K and n-Si) significantly improved the plant heights, the fresh and dry plant biomasses, the numbers of stems/plant, the leaf relative water content, the leaf chlorophyll content, the photosynthetic rate (Pn), the leaf stomatal conductance (Gc), and the tuber yields, compared to the untreated potato plants (CT). Moreover, the nanoelements and biochar improved the content of the endogenous elements of the plant tissues (N, P, K, Mg, Fe, Mn, and B), the leaf proline, and the leaf gibberellic acid (GA3), in addition to reducing the leaf abscisic acid content (ABA), the activity of catalase (CAT), and the peroxidase (POD) and polyphenol oxidase (PPO) in the leaves of salt-stressed potato plants. The combined treatment achieved maximum plant growth parameters, physiological parameters, and nutrient concentrations, and minimum transpiration rates (Tr), leaf abscisic acid content (ABA), and activities of the leaf antioxidant enzymes (CAT, POD, and PPO). Furthermore, the combined treatment also showed the highest tuber yield and tuber quality, including the contents of carbohydrates, proteins, and the endogenous nutrients of the tuber tissues (N, P, and K), and the lowest starch content. Moreover, Pearson’s correlation showed that the plant growth and the tuber yields of potato plants significantly and positively correlated with the photosynthesis rate, the internal CO<sub>2</sub> concentration, the relative water content, the proline, the chlorophyll content, and the GA3, and that they were negatively correlated with the leaf Na content, PPO, CAT, ABA, MDA, and Tr. It might be concluded that nanoelement (n-K and n-Si) and biochar applications are a promising method to enhance the plant growth and crop productivity of potato plants grown under salinity conditions.
    • Narrative-Based Disaster Learning Programmes Simultaneously Improve People’s Disaster Awareness Scores, Willingness to Pay and Settlement Preferences

      Misato Uehara; Makoto Fujii; Kazuki Kobayashi; Keita Shiba (MDPI AG, 2022-05-01)
      Few studies currently examine the effect of different disaster informational programmes because conducting such intervention studies is challenging. By providing two types of online disaster learning programmes, this intervention study measured changes made to three different perspectives: (1) disaster preventive awareness scores, (2) willingness to pay for disaster information (WTP), and (3) settlement preferences (preferences for post-disaster recovery goals). The participants engaged with one of two different types of 45-min learning programmes—one created as a narrative-based disaster learning programme (N = 218) and the other presented as a collective information disaster learning programme (N = 201). Consequently, both disaster preparedness scores and WTP increased statistically after both styles of disaster preparedness programmes. Furthermore, the increase generated by the narrative programme was greater (2.2 times higher for WTP value and 1.72 times higher in WTP value-increased probability). In their preprogramme answer, people who selected safety and nature conservation for post-disaster recovery goals improved their awareness scores. Despite both programmes having the same theme and length, only the narrative learning programme had a beneficial—improvement odds ratio for all three perspectives. Thus, the narrative-based disaster learning (vicarious) experience simultaneously improved people’s disaster awareness scores, willingness to pay for disaster information, and settlement preferences for disaster prevention.
    • Narratives as a Didactic Resource in the Social Sciences to Teach Sustainable Development: A Study with Primary Education Students

      Miguel Jesús López Serrano; Rafael Guerrero Elecalde (MDPI AG, 2022-06-01)
      The environment should be incorporated transversally into all human activities, especially the different areas of education. However, this is not always the case. In these pages we present a study carried out during the 2021/2022 academic year among students studying for a degree in Primary Education at the University of Cordoba, to analyze narratives as resources for teaching pupils about the environment and sustainable development, mainly through the dissemination and knowledge of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Data on the didactic experience was collected from a potential sample of 217 teachers to be via a questionnaire validated by experts, which was subjected to reliability analysis with Cronbach’s Alpha, using the SPSS program, version 25.0 for Windows. The trainee teachers reacted positively to the use of narratives as resources for teaching and learning about the environmental contents of the SDGs, considering them an ideal pedagogical resource to transmit concepts effectively, in addition to serving to develop other types of competences. Likewise, they concluded that this intervention provided significant coverage of both the theoretical and practical contents of sustainable development.
    • Narratives of Crisis: How Framing Urban Shrinkage and Depopulation Shapes Policy and Planning Responses in Spain, Germany and The Netherlands

      Bozhidar Ivanov (MDPI AG, 2021-10-01)
      Academic research on urban shrinkage and depopulation has advanced significantly in recent years, mostly by attributing causality between the reasons and consequences of shrinkage in the positivist tradition of planning research. This paper critically analyzes shrinkage and depopulation as an issue of planning and policymaking in a broader institutional context. By applying a qualitative interpretive policy analysis methodology to planning and policy narratives from Spain, Germany and The Netherlands, this article highlights and scrutinizes how policymakers and planners have framed shrinkage, and how this framing has justified some of the selected planning and policy approaches. It is concluded that framing shrinkage in practice may only partially encompass the scientific definitions. It is also concluded that framing shrinkage and depopulation as a crisis may be determined by locally and temporally important issues as well as differences in planning cultures, which in practice may distance the understanding of the phenomenon from the scientific definitions. Debates on shrinkage conceptualization and the development of new planning concepts can become more applicable in practice by incorporating insights from qualitative investigations. This can bring them closer to planning practice and embed them in a wider planning system context, so as to produce more applicable and contextually sensitive proposals for addressing shrinkage.
    • Narrowing the Gaps: Assessment of Logistics Firms’ Information Technology Flexibility for Sustainable Growth

      Jeong Hugh Han; Yingli Wang; Mohamed Naim (MDPI AG, 2020-05-01)
      In a supply chain management context, the effective management of Information Technology (IT) flexibility has been an issue to be resolved. However, no analytical method that calculates the required and actual level of IT flexibility dimensions has been proposed. This paper aims to provide an analytical tool that measures the required and actual levels of IT flexibility dimensions to provide the best value from a logistics firm’s IT flexibility. To do so, we propose a combined Importance‒Performance Analysis (IPA) and Partial Least Squared Structured Equation Modelling (PLS-SEM) method based on a multidimensional IT flexibility model. By comparing industry-level data with client firm data, our method allows for effective identification of a client logistics company’s multiple IT flexibility gaps and indicates where particular management interventions are required. By proposing importance and performance as measurement scales, our research suggests an analytical tool that managers can utilize to assess IT flexibility and identify any gaps that exist between actual and required flexibility levels. This allows managers to effectively address areas that demand further attention. This approach also leads to an improved understanding of how organisations can extract the best value from their investment in IT flexibility to contribute to sustainable growth.
    • National and International Policies and Policy Instruments in the Development of Agroforestry in Chad

      Divine Foundjem-Tita; Ann Degrande; Cyrille Bergaly Kamdem (MDPI AG, 2021-08-01)
      The potential of agroforestry to improve livelihoods and mitigate climate change and environmental degradation has been widely recognized, especially within the context of climate-smart agriculture. However, agroforestry opportunities have not been fully exploited because of several reasons, among which are adverse policies and legislations. However, many countries do not have a full understanding of how their policy and institutional environment may affect agroforestry development. We aim to fill this gap by looking at the particular case of Chad. The method used included examining data from: (i) literature reviews of important national and international polices, strategies, and legislation governing access to land and trees, among which are ‘La Loi 14’, Chad’s 2010 poverty reduction strategy paper, draft zero of the National Environmental Policy, (ii) interviews and focus group discussions with NGOs, government officials, and farmers, and (iii) surveys with 100 households. Results show that Chad has no specific agroforestry policy but opportunities for agroforestry can be found in some of the above-mentioned policy documents and government strategies. Most stakeholders interviewed had positive attitudes towards agroforestry, but uptake of the practice is handicapped by poor understanding of the forestry law by farmers and forestry officials. Gaps in existing laws give room for rent-seekers to collect individual (USD 272–909) and collective (USD 36–1818) access fees to trees on both forest and farmland. We propose that the government of Chad should unmask elements of agroforestry in existing policies and policy instruments to demonstrate its importance in responding to livelihood and environmental challenges in the country.
    • National and International Standardization (International Organization for Standardization and European Committee for Standardization) Relevant for Sustainability in Construction

      Renata Morbiducci; Marina Fumo; Guri Krigsvoll (MDPI AG, 2010-12-01)
      Sustainability in construction has a short history in terms of principles, standardizations and applications. From the Brundtland Report “Our Common Future”, a new vision of the resource deficits, climate impacts and the social responsibility gave growth to the idea of sustainability also in design and construction. Consequently, in around 2000, the international and national organizations for standardization started to develop standards for the application of sustainable principles. This paper gives an overview of existing and planned standards, and examples on how to use them as a framework for the development of methods and tools for assessment.
    • National Baselines for Integrated Implementation of an Environmental Sustainable Development Goal Assessed in a New Integrated SDG Index

      David Horan (MDPI AG, 2020-08-01)
      Most indicator-based assessments of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focus on identifying priorities for implementation. However, once priorities are established, policymakers are called to implement them in an integrated way which requires progress not just on a Goal’s targets (siloed approach) but also progress in interrelated policy areas. To assess baselines for integrated implementation, this article introduces a new family of SDG index based on a Goal’s targets and first-order interrelations with other goals that divides targets linked to the prioritized or focal SDG into pressure, impact, and response components. Focusing on an application to SDG14, the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, an important priority for many small island developing states, the article develops an integrated SDG14 (I-SDG14) index based on an international study of SDG14 interlinkages with indicators selected from SDSN’s global indicator set for all island states with sufficient data available. While all island states assessed face challenges on SDG14, top-performers in terms of I-SDG14 (United Kingdom, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland and Iceland) tend to face greater challenges on pressures, primarily reflecting their performance on targets related to SDGs 2, 12, 13 and 15, whereas bottom-performers (Timor-Leste, Vanuatu, Haiti, Jamaica and Comoros) tend to face greater challenges on responses, i.e., country capacities to influence SDG14, owing to their status on targets related to SDGs 4, 9, 16 and 17. In particular, country scoreboards, “traffic-light” visual representation of performance, and radar-diagrams are used to investigate country-level strengths and challenges for integrated implementation of SDG14. The proposed index offers a useful starting point to frame discussions with different stakeholders around integrated approaches to implementation and can be flexibly applied to other SDGs and contexts. The article concludes with several suggestions for future research aimed at improving integrated assessments for the SDGs.
    • National Budget as Linked Open Data: New Tools for Supporting the Sustainability of Public Finances

      Francisco Cifuentes-Silva; Daniel Fernández-Álvarez; Jose Emilio Labra-Gayo (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
      This paper presents the visualization of national budget, a tool based on Semantic Web technologies that shows by graphic representations the Chilean budget law published annually, and their execution by each state agency. We describe the processes for consuming open data from the Budget National Agency, and how this data is transformed and published to linked open data, based on a National Budget Ontology. Although similar initiatives have been developed on transparency and public budget around the world, we consider that there is no previous experience showing optimized access mechanisms both for human and machine readable, providing in each case the highest level of aggregation, granularity and interoperability, making it understandable and easy to process complex data and legislation. As part of our analysis, we describe a recent scenario of usage in the context of the socio-political crisis in Chile, where we discuss the possible impact of the linked open dataset and data visualizations for distribution and control of funds, on the premise that this type of tools can support the decision making and sustainability of public finances. Finally, we present the results of our budget knowledge graph and the lessons learned during the development, allowing to replicate the process and enabling potential uses of the published data in other contexts.