Environmental and Sustainability Indicators (published by Elsevier) - a companion title to the highly-respected Ecological Indicators, is an open access journal promoting research on indicators as drivers for environmental management, policy formulation, and interdisciplinary research assessing complex environmental interactions for stimulating sustainable development.

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The Globethics Library has vol. 1(2019) to current

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  • Mainstreaming biodiversity into policy–Do the numbers add-up?

    Kavita Sardana; R. David Simpson (Elsevier, 2023-12-01)
    In this paper, we review the literature on economic approaches to providing value estimates of biodiversity. In most cases, the value estimates represent a lower estimate for a multitude of reasons, emanating from the complexity of definition and conceptualization of biodiversity as a capital stock and/or an ensuing flow of various ecosystem services. However, this exercise is important for accounting for these values in national income accounts, policy reforms, and raising funds for biodiversity financing. We discuss some of the theoretical and empirical challenges towards this valuation exercise along with providing estimates of biodiversity values.
  • Impact of membership in agricultural cooperatives on yield of smallholder tomato farmers in Nigeria

    Adebayo Akinola; Ayodeji Kehinde; Akeem Tijani; Adeolu Ayanwale; Felicia Adesiyan; Victoria Tanimonure; Ayodeji Ogunleye; Temitope Ojo (Elsevier, 2023-12-01)
    Tomatoes are one of the most significant fruit and vegetable crops in Nigeria. This could be ascribed to the fact that it helps many farmers support their way of life and improve their financial status. However, due to ineffective production management techniques, restrictions on the supply of pesticides and fungicides, access to information, market fluctuations, and crop shelf life, the yield of tomatoes is low. There is a need for powerful institutions like agricultural cooperatives to increase tomato yield. Agricultural cooperatives have been promoted in Nigeria as an agricultural development strategy that will increase crop yield and farmer income. Therefore, this study investigates the impact of membership in agricultural cooperatives on the yields of smallholder tomato farmers in rural Nigeria. A multistage sampling procedure is used to collect data for the study. The Endogenous Treatment Regression model was used to analyze the data. According to the findings of the first regression (Probit regression), age, years of formal education, main occupation, years of farming experience, farm size, years of experience in tomato farming, aged dependents, distance to market, access to credit service and access to extension service have a positive and significant impact on the membership of farmers in the agricultural cooperative. The results of the endogenous treatment regression model reveal marital status, age, years of formal education, years of informal education, main occupation, years of farming experience, farm size, years of tomato farming, aged dependents, distance to market, access to credit services, cost of processing, access to extension service and agricultural cooperative membership are all statistically significant variables influencing tomato yield. According to the ATE estimate, the average farmer would produce 9.159 times more when he/she joined an agricultural cooperative. The conditional treatment effect (ATT), which assesses the impact of membership in agricultural cooperatives on tomato yield, was correspondingly approximately 9.447 and statistically significant at 1%. As a result, the typical farmer who is a member of an agricultural cooperative would produce a yield that is 9.447 times more than it would be if he/she was not a member of an agricultural cooperative. The study found that membership in agricultural cooperatives has a positive impact on tomato yield among smallholder farmers in rural Nigeria in contrast to what it would have been in the absence of being a member of agricultural cooperatives after adjusting for both observable and unobserved factors. Tomatoes farmers must be encouraged to join an agricultural cooperative to boost their yield.
  • Participation in innovation platform and asset acquisitions among farmers in Southern Africa

    Adeolu B. Ayanwale; Adewale A. Adekunle; Ayodeji D. Kehinde; Oluwole A. Fatunbi (Elsevier, 2023-12-01)
    Asset development is a crucial tactic for advancing social and economic development in Southern Africa. But until now, there has not been any solid evidence of how asset-building strategies affect Southern African households. This study investigates the relationship between participation in innovation platforms and the acquisition of assets among farmers. Data for the study were collected using a multistage sampling approach. The data were analyzed using the Endogenous Treatment Linear Regression model. According to the findings of the first regression (Probit regression), gender, marital status, years of education, number of male working-class members, number of female working-class members, number of aged dependents in the household, access to extension service and locational effect of farmers in Mozambique have a significant relationship with the participation of farmers in Innovation Platforms. The results of the endogenous treatment linear model for asset acquisition among farmers reveal gender, age, marital status, number of male-working class members, access to extension service, the locational effect of farmers in Mozambique, and participation in the activities of the Innovation Platform are all statistically significant. After controlling for observed and unobserved covariates, the study concluded that participation in the activities of Innovation Platforms has a positive relationship with the acquisition of assets among the farmers than they would have in the absence of participation in Innovation Platforms. Therefore, farmers need to enhance their asset base by participating in Innovation Platforms. This has a significant implication for the attainment of most of the targets of the SDG.
  • Climate change vulnerability and resilience strategies for citrus farmers

    Esmail Karamidehkordi; Seyed Abdolhamid Hashemi Sadati; Yahya Tajvar; Seyed Hossein Mirmousavi (Elsevier, 2023-12-01)
    The adverse effects of climate change on food production, livelihoods and agroecosystems are well-documented. This paper investigates the vulnerability and resilience of citrus farmers to climate change using a mixed quantitative and qualitative methodology. The quantitative study analysed the trend and variability of the climatic data comprising annual precipitation and annual average, minimum and maximum temperatures (1984-2021), collected from Iran's Meteorology Organization and analysed by the Mann-Kendall test. The qualitative research also employed the grounded theory method (GTM) and collected data through direct observations of citrus farms, focus groups and semi-structured interviews with 35 citrus farmers and 11 agricultural extension agents and specialists in North Iran. The results indicated that citrus farms are sensitive to temperature extremes, with increased instances of freeze stress during winter and heat stress during spring and summer over the past four decades. These stresses have reduced the productivity and marketability of fruits, making farmers' livelihoods more vulnerable. While scientific knowledge exists, farmers generally have limited adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change. Existing policies, innovations and institutions are insufficient to enhance farmers' resilience. To cope with climate change-induced hazards, resilience mechanisms in the long and short term are necessary to mitigate, prepare and reconstruct before, during and after the incidence of such events. Effective strategies, such as input, insurance and credit support services and innovations, are thus required to increase farmers' resilience. This paper also offers insights into the way external organisations' policies and institutional strategies affect farmers' vulnerability and resilience to climate change.
  • A review of integrated multicriteria decision support analysis in the climate resilient infrastructure development

    Parfait Iradukunda; Erastus M. Mwanaumo; Joel Kabika (Elsevier, 2023-12-01)
    Roads, bridges, sewer systems, and other infrastructure failures often result from climate-related incidences along with extensive socioeconomic impacts including human life losses. Infrastructures with frequent experiences are usually replaced, altered, or adopt different Low-Impact Development, Best Management Practice (LID-BMP) approaches. Adapting and recovering from the damages cost a substantial budget. This study reviewed Multicriteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) i.e., risk analysis, hydroclimatic analysis, and Life Cycle Cost-Benefits Analysis (LCC-BA) in the Climate-Resilient Infrastructure Development (CRID). It was carried out following the protocols and guidelines for systematic literature review. Throughout the review, 1D is acclaimed as the best and most suitable to identify critical flooding zones and nodes within the drainage network. The study showed that integrated GIS and 1D hydrodynamic modelling are reliable in waterlogging characterisation and locating suitable floodwater regulating areas, while 2D analysis was found ideal for appropriate damages assessment over different inundation depths, duration, return periods and different climate scenarios. Indeed, about 62.5% of the studies have analysed the LID-BMPs whereby 23.2% integrated hydrologic-hydrodynamic and LCC-BA, and identified optimum performances at different levels. The study showed that, the cost of climatic adaption in infrastructure development results in the benefits optimisation and the effects-attributed cost minimisation. Besides, several studies acclaim the rising of weather-related extremes due to a gradual climate variation. Henceforth, there is a need for adaptation, most importantly, incorporating the changes in infrastructure development, and the necessity of integrating MCDA in CRID. Further, machine learning and deep learning approaches are recommended to overcome challenges and limitations associated with the current multi-dimensional numerical models and big data era demanding huge time and computational power.
  • Assessing the sustainability of biosand filters: Unveiling interlinkages and leveraging factors for effective implementation

    Pardon Dandadzi; Nikhil K. Kothurkar (Elsevier, 2023-12-01)
    The household slow sand filter patented biosand filter (BSF) has been implemented in several developing countries to improve access to safe water. Evaluating the sustainability of various BSF implementations is essential. However, most evaluations neglect interlinkages among factors. This leads to unclear identification of leverage points to enhance BSF sustainability, resulting in limited utility to policymakers. To address this issue, the present study carried out a systematic literature review and used systems thinking to establish complex interlinkages among some factors affecting BSF sustainability. A total of 38 studies in 21 countries from the Americas, Africa, and Asia evaluated the BSF and 31 factors were found across the studies. The most influential factors were continued use, produced water quality, operations and maintenance (OM), and willingness to pay. Continued use was positively correlated to produced water quality and negatively related to the amount of water produced. OM was positively correlated with household hygiene practices and negatively correlated with education level. Willingness to pay was positively related to household income and education level. BSF's discontinued use was attributed to broken parts and improper maintenance. This paper identified the main leverage points that should be targeted during BSF implementation to improve its sustainability. This study helps identify specific factors and enables policymakers to understand their interrelationships, facilitating well-informed decisions before implementing a BSF.
  • Spatial neighborhood sustainability assessment for urban planning, Cuenca, Ecuador

    Jessica Ortiz-Fernández; Sebastian Astudillo-Cordero; Felipe Quesada-Molina (Elsevier, 2023-12-01)
    The accelerated processes of urbanization produce an explosive occupation of the land, creating scattered cities, with great demands for infrastructure and high consumption of raw materials and energy, affecting natural territories and increasing the emission of pollutants. The city of Cuenca-Ecuador as well as several Latin American cities are not strangers to this problem, as it reflects a dispersed growth towards the peripheries that have caused an expansion of the urban landscape. The above situation requires sustainable planning, which contributes to decision-making to identify what measures are needed to regulate the growth of the city. Accordingly, the present research proposes combining the set of indicators of the Neighborhood Sustainability Assessment tool with the spatial analysis of GIS, so that the sustainability assessment can be extended at the city level to support urban planning in Cuenca. For this purpose, a 3-step methodology was proposed: selection of sustainable indicators, evaluation of sustainable performance, and design of a model that integrates SIG+NSA, which allowed incorporating spatial analysis in the sustainable assessment of neighborhoods, by designing a model adapted to Cuenca. This model consists of 15 variables, 12 indicators, and 4 evaluation categories, which result in the sustainable performance level of 149 planning sectors. The developed model makes it possible to automate the analysis processes and generate a complement to the ArcGIS geoprocessing tools for evaluating urban sustainability, as a support tool for planners and decision-makers in city planning processes.
  • Recent advancements in fluoride impact on human health: A critical review

    Kamal Kant Tiwari; Rashmi Raghav; Rampal Pandey (Elsevier, 2023-12-01)
    In groundwater, excessive fluoride concentration has been evidenced in more than 20 developing and developed countries including India, wherein 19 states are confronting serious problems owing to fluorosis. A total 71% of earth's surface constitutes water however, only some amount is drinkable and suitable for household activities. Groundwater present below the earth's surface is a vital source of water for human intake. Numerous scientists have reported that a small amount of fluoride is beneficiary for strengthening the bone and preventing dental caries, instead, its high dose causes severe effects on human health such as skeletal fluorosis, dental fluorosis, increase in bone fracture, decrease in birth rates, impaired thyroid functions, increased rates of Urolithiasis and lower IQ in children. Fluoride exposure may lead to high frequency of chronic irritative respiratory disease, chronic bronchitis in particular. Due to high intake of sodium fluoride pesticides and dental products, severe fluoride toxicity and death have also been witnessed. Although fluorine is present in all four spheres of earth i.e., lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere, however the volcanic rocks are also one of major sources of large quantity of fluorine. Through numerous natural processes like rock dissolution, volcanic eruptions and man-induced activities (ore processing, coal burning, use of industrial plants and fertilizers), fluorine enters to the environment. Fluoride is a highly reactive chemical entity naturally found as CaF2 being a vital component in minerals (fluorite, topaz, cryolite, fluorapatite, theorapatite and phosphorite etc.). Entrance of fluoride in the soil occurs through rocks weathering, precipitation or waste runoff. In cases where water is not polluted by external sources, the surface water does not constitute more than 0.3 Mg/l of fluoride. Drinking water is the foremost supplier (75–90% of day-to-day consumption) of fluoride whereas, other sources are intoxication like food, drugs, cosmetics and industrial exposure etc.
  • The swiftlet house business in Thailand sustainable development goals: Study in the legal and policy

    Amonrat Ammartsena; Sinittha Dittapan (Elsevier, 2023-12-01)
    This article explores the results of a study on the improvement of the swiftlet house business with the goal of making appropriate legal measures for it. Area surveys, focus groups, and in-depth semi-structured interviews were among the data collection methods used. Swiftlet house entrepreneurs; central and local government officials; and citizens surrounding swiftlet houses significantly contributed to the research. Currently, the swiftlet house business is still illegal in Thailand because swiftlets are considered protected wildlife – protected by the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act B. E. 2562 (2019). Additionally, it is not permitted to collect, damage, or occupy swiftlet nests without appropriate legal authority to do so. Moreover, there is still no legislation that specifically applies to the swiftlet house business. This study can guide the Thai Government and local governments to develop appropriate laws to govern the swiftlet house industry in Thailand.
  • Aggregate and disaggregate impact of natural resources on sustainable development: New evidence from the latest institutional data

    Brahim Bergougui; Syed Mansoob Murshed (Elsevier, 2023-12-01)
    The aim of this study is to investigate the impact of institutional quality (IQ) and natural resources (NR) on sustainable development (SD) in 107 developing countries, using instrumental variable-generalized method of moment (IV-GMM) method. The study finds that NR tends to impede SD in developing countries, especially in resource-rich nations where NR is a significant component of national wealth. However, the impact of NR on SD varies depending on the type of resource. Point resources have a negative effect on SD, while diffuse resources do not show a significant impact. The study also provides evidence supporting the conditionalist view of the resource curse, demonstrating that higher IQ can mitigate the negative effects of NR on SD. The study establishes a threshold IQ value that must be met to transform the resource curse into a blessing. Conversely, a decline in IQ may lead to a resurgence of the resource curse and a decline in productive asset investment. Based on these findings, policymakers must carefully consider the type of NR being exploited to develop policies that are tailored to the unique characteristics of each resource type. This will help them to optimize resource exploitation while minimizing negative impacts on society and the environment.
  • Cultural ecosystem services: A review of methods and tools for economic evaluation

    Giuliano Rocco Romanazzi; Romina Koto; Annalisa De Boni; Giovanni Ottomano Palmisano; Marilisa Cioffi; Rocco Roma (Elsevier, 2023-12-01)
    Cultural ecosystem services (CES) are non-material intangible benefits that humans derive from ecosystems, which are indispensable for the well-being of communities and directly influence the quality of life. CES are deeply interconnected to each other and to providing and regulating services, thus influencing everyday life. CES are among the most important values that people associate with nature, but understanding them may be challenging. The definition of CES is both self-evident and elusive, specifically because they consist of the interaction between two dynamic systems: human societies and natural ecosystems. This paper updates the state of the art about CES evaluation methods, underlining the gap between their economic values and their incorporation into planning and decision-making on different scales and in different sectors, and emphasizes their importance in conservation policies and sustainable development programs. This study reviewed 68 articles published between August 2019 and May 2023 from the SCOPUS database, and classified CES assessment into 15 evaluation methods. This review reveals that the choice of CES assessment methodologies has often depended on evaluation purposes. In addition, specific CES classifications are required, since different definitions and unstandardized economic concepts for assigning market values to the CES can lead to conflicting results. The combination of different methods, monetary and non-monetary, can aid better evaluation of CES by focusing on the interaction between different components, and can facilitate the mapping and quantification of social values of ecosystem services. This can help decision-makers to develop sustainable territorial planning and policies.
  • Applying multi-criteria decision making method to analyze stability and mechanization patterns in small farms

    Saheb Mirpanahi; Morteza Almassi; Arjang Javadi; Hossein Bakhoda (Elsevier, 2023-12-01)
    This study aimed to analyze stability and mechanization patterns in small-scale farms in Khuzestan province, Iran, and their implications for productivity and profitability. The objectives were to assess the sustainability level of farmers, determine the stability level of the farms, identify the optimal mechanization pattern, and evaluate the implications of moving towards sustainability. To achieve these objectives, the research employed multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) methods, which allowed for the assessment of multiple criteria and the evaluation of various alternatives. The study focused on farmers and operators managing small farms below 5 ha in Karoon and Behbahan counties, with a sample size of 48 farmers. The findings of the study indicated that the majority of farmers (75.7%) fell into the “very little” sustainability group, indicating significant challenges in terms of stability and mechanization. Only a small percentage of farmers (0.5%) were classified as having a “high” sustainability level. The average stability level among the sample was 18.09, with a range from 7.98 to 79.89. The study also identified the optimal mechanization pattern for the study region, which required an increase in the availability of necessary tools. The ideal planning model suggested that moving towards sustainability would involve specializing in specific products that align with the region's facilities. This specialization would reduce tool variety and eliminate some tools from the current model. Additionally, the study found that implementing the optimal mechanization pattern would result in a gross return of 4.2 billion Rials, indicating increased productivity and profitability. In conclusion, small-scale farms in Khuzestan province face various obstacles that affect their productivity and profitability. By analyzing stability and mechanization patterns using MCDM methods, this study highlighted the need for increased sustainability and identified the optimal mechanization pattern for the region. The implications of moving towards sustainability include reduced tool variety, specialization in specific products, and increased gross returns. These findings can guide policymakers and farmers in improving the productivity and profitability of small-scale farms.
  • Evaluation of land suitability for soybean production using GIS-based multi-criteria approach in Kudan Local Government area of Kaduna State Nigeria

    Fatihu Kabir Sadiq; Suleiman Lawan Ya'u; Jamila Aliyu; Lemuel Musa Maniyunda (Elsevier, 2023-12-01)
    The demand for food production in achieving Sustainable Development Goals, such as poverty eradication and food security and nutrition in developing countries like Nigeria has led to intensive agriculture, resulting in decreased soil quality and environmental challenges. To address these issues, land suitability evaluation plays a crucial role in designing sustainable land use and management systems. This evaluation provides valuable insights for farmers and policymakers to optimize soybean production, enhance crop yield, and promote sustainable agricultural development. The research covers 39,057 ha (ha) and it considers multiple criteria such as soil properties, slope, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), and land use/land cover (LULC) of the study area. Soil data and land use/land cover information were obtained and processed using geostatistical techniques and interpolation methods in ArcGIS. An Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) was employed to determine the overall importance of the evaluation criteria. This study revealed that 14.14% of the area falls into the moderately suitable class, a significant proportion (83.77%) of the area is marginally suitable for growing soybean, and the remaining proportion (2.09%) is deemed unsuitable. Drainage condition was identified as one of the major limiting factors for soybean cultivation in the region. Management practices such as drainage construction, organic residue incorporation, and appropriate fertilizer application were suggested to improve land suitability. The outcome of this study has shown that integrating RS and GIS techniques in land suitability assessment facilitates evidence-based decision-making and supports effective land use planning for increased agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability.
  • Perceived social risks and farmers’ behavior in using urban wastewater in their farms

    Hamid Karimi; Pouria Ataei (Elsevier, 2023-12-01)
    An alternative source of water in drought conditions is treated urban wastewater which can be used in the cultivation of some crops if properly managed. However, farmers consume it with no regard to its treatment, which will have dangerous consequences for the health of humans and the environment. Accordingly, this research aimed to study farmers' behavior in using urban wastewater considering perceived social risks. The study was conducted on farmers in the Sistan plain, Iran (N = 6000). The sample (361 farmers) was taken by the proportionally allocated stratified randomization technique. The extended Health Belief Model (HBM) was used to investigate the farmers' behavior. The results revealed that perceived social risks (health, environmental, and socio-ethical risks) had significant effects on the HBM components. Also, perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits, perceived barriers, and perceived self-efficacy had positive and significant effects on the farmers' behavior in using urban wastewater. The results may have practical consequences for policymaking and designing interventions for modifying farmers’ behaviors in using urban wastewater.
  • Application of machine learning to predict of energy use efficiency and damage assessment of almond and walnut production

    Mehrdad Salimi Beni; Mohammad Gholami Parashkoohi; Babak Beheshti; Mohammad Ghahderijani; Hossein Bakhoda (Elsevier, 2023-12-01)
    A study was conducted in Shahrekord city, Iran, focusing on improving the production of almond and walnut crops on rural agricultural lands. The gardeners selected for the study shared similar characteristics and production histories. One of the major challenges in producing these crops was the manual harvesting process, which required a significant amount of human labor in the region. To collect data, questionnaires and face-to-face interviews were conducted. The study used machine learning models, specifically artificial neural network (ANN) and adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS) models, to predict energy use efficiency and environmental impacts in almond and walnut production. Among the models used, the ANFIS model with a three-level topology was found to be the most accurate in predicting output energy generation and environmental impacts in both almond and walnut production. The R2 values for the testing stage ranged from 0.969 to 0.996 for output energy generation and 0.994 to 0.997 for environmental impacts. The study demonstrated the effectiveness of using machine learning models like ANN and ANFIS in predicting energy use efficiency and environmental impacts in almond and walnut production, which can aid in planning and managing these crops more sustainably and efficiently in the future.
  • Assessments of annual effective doses for population and estimation of environmental risk in the vicinity of coal-fired power plant Kakanj, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Nedžad Gradaščević; Mirza Čelebičić; Nedim Mujić; Nejra Karaman; Emina Muftić (Elsevier, 2023-12-01)
    The paper describes radioactivity monitoring and radiological risk assessment procedures for the population and the environment in three villages located around the coal-fired power plant. The dose assessments were performed after long-term radioactivity monitoring that was carried out in the production process and in the vicinity of the coal-fired power plant Kakanj, Bosnia and Herzegovina.The estimated annual effective doses for the population living in the observed villages were in the range of 1.89–2.13 mSv. The most significant contributions were delivered from ingestion of food and water (0.55–0.63 mSv y−1); external exposure from building materials (0.44–0.62 mSv y−1) and inhalation of radon (222Rn) progeny (0.29–0.62 mSv y−1).The inhalation doses from flying radionuclide particles were not significant with values in the range of 0.0056–0.0062 mSv y−1 for inhalation of 235U, 238U, 226Ra, and 232Th. External terrestrial doses were in the range of average world values (0.070–0.094 mSv y−1).Environmental risk was estimated using the ERICA tool which did not highlight any threatened species. A conservative approach with a lower dose screening value (10 nGy h−1) indicated the risk for lichens and bryophytes as terrestrial organisms with high accumulation capacity for natural radionuclides.
  • Rural sustainable livelihood resilience to climate change: A strategic analysis

    Ali Tohidimoghadam; Alireza Poursaeed; Masoud Bijani; Roya Eshraghi Samani (Elsevier, 2023-12-01)
    Due to excessive dependence on the climate, the villagers have experienced the greatest effects of climate change in recent years. Therefore, it is necessary to increase their resilience against the effects of climate change by adopting measures. The current descriptive and exploratory research was conducted with the aim of conducting a strategic analysis of the resilience of sustainable rural livelihoods against climate change using SWOT technique. The statistical population included 21 subject specialists. The sampling method was purposeful. The results obtained included 27 strengths (final coefficient = 4.032), 39 weaknesses (final coefficient = 3.723), 21 opportunities (final coefficient = 3.940) and 20 threats (final coefficient = 3.410). The SWOT matrix indicated that the dominant strategy is in the SO (offensive) area. In this regard, four offensive strategies were proposed including: SO1 (S1, S8, O3, O7: Using the technical ability of leading farmers and gardeners in educational and extension activities), SO2 (S2, O2, O10: Empowerment of extension developers by providing continuous at-services training to climate change), SO3 (S3, O5, O7: Using press media to inform farmers about climate change) and SO4 (S7, O7: Increase the connection between the extension system and research centers and paying serious attention to the issue of adapting to climate change). In the following, some strategies were determined for three other strategic areas including WO (conservative), ST (competitive) and WT (defensive). The proposed strategies can be used by policy makers in the field of rural development and agriculture.
  • Spatial-temporal changes in mangrove Forests for Analyzing habitat Integrity: A case of hara biosphere Reserve, Iran

    Parvaneh Sobhani; Afshin Danehkar (Elsevier, 2023-12-01)
    Spatial-temporal changes in land use and land cover (LULC) patterns have led to the fragmentation of forest ecosystems and the reduction of more than one-third of mangrove forests worldwide. Environmental protection challenges and biodiversity threats in mangrove forests have attracted national and international concerns in the last three decades. Accordingly, the present study demonstrates spatial-temporal changes in mangrove forests of Hara Biosphere Reserve using Landsat images from 1989 to 2021. Moreover, habitat integrity in this area was investigated based on ecological landscape metrics. The results of LULC changes revealed that the forest area in Hara Biosphere Reserve is decreasing, while other land use (LU) such as tidal area and bare land are increasing. Likewise, in this area, the tidal area had the top increasing trend in 2021 compared to 1989, and water body revealed the top decreasing trend during the studied years. According to the results of landscape metrics change, fragmentation and patches dispersion have increased at the level of mangrove forest and water body classes, and these results at the level of tidal area and bare land classes have decreased from 1989 to 2021. The obtained results indicate that habitat integrity has decreased at the level of mangrove forest and water body classes due to the increase of LULC spatial-temporal changes and human activities development. Therefore, planners and decision-makers should strive to reduce the human causes that have led to rapid LULC changes‏.‏
  • Influence of elevation gradient and plant species composition on soil organic carbon in Mount Rungwe Forest Reserve, Tanzania

    Mhuji Kilonzo; Upendo Richard; Dickson Mauki (Elsevier, 2023-09-01)
    This study was conducted at Mount Rungwe Forest Reserve, Mbeya, Tanzania, East Africa to investigate the influence of elevation gradients and vegetation composition on soil organic carbon. Elevation gradients were established through three elevation grids, the higher, mid and lower elevation. We hypothesized that soil organic carbon would be richer in high plant diversity than in low plant diversity gradients. Findings from this study observed that, low elevation had high moisture content (47.72 ± 1.49) and % soil organic carbon (4.02 ± 0.56) with low bulk density (1.03 ± 0.001) and soil pH (5.96 ± 0.06). However, only moisture content, bulk density, organic matter and sand content were statistically different across elevation gradients. It was also observed the proportional decreases in diversity as elevation increases with both Shannon and Simpson index of diversity indicating higher species diversity at lower elevations (3.62 and 0.03 respectively). Results from two multiple linear regression models indicated that moisture contents, plant abundance and species diversity explained the most variation in soil organic matter across an elevation gradient with R2 = 0.4063, F (3, 38) = 8.67, p = 0.0002 and R2 = 0.3510, F (2, 39) = 10.55, p < 0.0001 for model 1 (tree abundance) and model 2 (tree diversity) respectively.
  • Embracing green spaces: Exploring spatiotemporal changes in urban green space accessibility and its equity in Guangzhou, China for sustainable urban greening

    Weiwei Lu; Weiyu Jiang; Dan Qiao; Qing Liu; Guangdong Chen; Qianyuan Huang; Chao Xu (Elsevier, 2023-09-01)
    As a vital component of urban green infrastructures, urban green space (UGS) provides essential ecological, recreational, and social-cultural services to urban residents. Ensuring adequate and equitable accessibility to UGS for all urban residents has become an integral aspect of promoting social justice. However, studies that comprehensively investigate the long-term changes in urban green space accessibility (UGSA) and its equity under rapid urbanization are scarce, thereby limiting the potential guidance for implementing nature-based solutions to enhance ecosystem services that benefit urban residents. In this study, taking Guangzhou, China, as the empirical study area, the UGSA and its equity during 2000–2015 were evaluated at the district level by combining the Gaussian-based two-step floating catchment area method (Gaussian-based 2SFCA) and the Gini coefficient. Meanwhile, the changes in land cover and land use (LULC) were also investigated to reveal the dynamics of the UGS. Moreover, the long-term synchronous changes between UGSA and its equity were explored through a grouping analysis based on the four-quadrant method. The results revealed spatial heterogeneity in UGSA, with peri-urban districts having more accessibility to UGS compared to core-urban districts. The equity of UGSA exhibited an uneven spatial pattern, with most districts displaying consistently low levels of equality. The results of grouping analysis underscored the significance of considering both the improvements of UGSA and its equity in policy-making, leading to specific policy implications for each district. Our study provides valuable insights that can inform future urban spatial greening strategies and contribute to the promotion of sustainable urban development.

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