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  • Managing Multiple Projects in Uncertain Contexts: A Case Study on the Application of a New Approach Based on the Critical Chain Method

    Unai Apaolaza; Aitor Lizarralde (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    Uncertainty and change are two features of modern project management. They strongly influence the project management needs to operate in such contexts. This is the case when a complete and accurate definition of the scope of a project is not available. Those situations require a project management approach capable of dealing with the special conditions that characterise said contexts. This study focuses on the application of the progressive elaboration approach and the Critical Chain method. We analysed the implementation process of the new procedure in a company that produces capital goods for the automotive industry. The work’s main focus is on the effect of this change from the multi-project perspective. We found that the change had a larger impact than was expected by the company. Firstly, we found that the new approach provided an opportunity to improve the performance of the company. Besides, the new approach uncovered significant problems that previously were ignored, as well as problems and obstacles to the change. Based on the results and findings of this work, we conclude that shifting to this kind of approach requires a global managerial perspective, and strong support from the management.
  • Multi-Physics Analysis for Rubber-Cement Applications in Building and Architectural Fields: A Preliminary Analysis

    Marco Valente; Matteo Sambucci; Abbas Sibai; Ettore Musacchi (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    Generally, in most countries, there are no strict regulations regarding tire disposal. Hence, tires end up thrown in seas and lands as well as being burnt, harming the living beings, and are therefore considered a very dangerous pollution source for the environment. Over the past few years, several researchers have worked on incorporating shredded/powdered rubber tires into cement-based material. This strategy shows a dual functionality: Economic–environmental benefits and technological functionalization of the building material. Rubber-modified cement materials show interesting engineering and architectural properties due to the physical-chemical nature of the tire rubber aggregates. However, the abovementioned performances are affected by type, size, and content of polymer particles used in the cement-based mixtures production. Whereas an increase in the rubber content in the cement mix will negatively affect the mechanical properties of the material as a decrease in its compression strength. This aspect is crucial for the use of the material in building applications, where proper structural integrity must be guaranteed. In this context, the development of innovative manufacturing technologies and the use of multi-physics simulation software represent useful approaches for the study of shapes and geometries designed to maximize the technological properties of the material. After an overview on the performances of 3D printable rubber-cement mixtures developed in our research laboratory, a preliminary experimental Finite Element Method (FEM) analysis will be described. The modeling work aims to highlight how the topology optimization allows maximizing of the physical-mechanical performances of a standard rubber-cement component for building-architectural applications.
  • Development and Diagnosis of a Teaching Experience Using Participatory Methods: Towards an Ecosystemic Learning in Higher Education

    Beatriz Pedrosa; Paz Peña; Violeta Pina (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    The redefinition of the objectives of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) generates novelty in the teaching design developed by universities. The constructivist perspective encourages the use of methods that promote teamwork, an interest for information searching, autonomy and an increased motivation for learning, among others. Currently, the acquisition of the established curricular content receives feedback thanks to information and communication technologies (ICTs). This research describes the implementation of an experience related to the use of teaching/learning participatory methods with first- and second-year students in Early Childhood Education and Primary Education bachelor’s degrees. This experience is based on flipped classrooms and role-playing and is supported by ICTs. A questionnaire was delivered to a total of 100 individuals on their perception of participatory methods and their assessment of the methods used for the described experience. After performing the analysis, the conclusions showed that higher education students considered that classroom implementation of emerging methods helped them at a theoretical, practical and professional level as well as motivated them, which allows us to advance towards the goals of the EHEA.
  • Factors Influencing Competitiveness in the Global Beer Trade

    Áron Török; Ákos Szerletics; Lili Jantyik (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    Beer is a widely produced, consumed, and traded alcoholic drink all around the world. This paper investigates the factors influencing competitiveness in the global beer trade on the macroeconomic level. To reach this aim, descriptive analysis and panel regression together with stability tests were used on the global beer market from 1998 to 2017. Results showed high concentration both in global production and trade, while except for the most competitive beer-exporting countries, the level of comparative advantages has significantly changed in these three decades. Based on the panel regression models, total beer production and per capita consumption, EU membership, and the number of beers with geographical indications have a positive impact on comparative advantages. In contrast, barley production, level of foreign direct investments, size of the population, GDP/capita, and high quality level of the beer export have a negative effect.
  • Comparison of Long Short-Term Memory and Weighted Regressions on Time, Discharge, and Season Models for Nitrate-N Load Estimation

    Kichul Jung; Myoung-Jin Um; Momcilo Markus; Daeryong Park (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    The long short-term memory (LSTM) model has been widely used for a broad range of applications entailing the estimation of variables in different fields to improve water quality management in rivers. The main objectives of this study are (1) to develop a novel LSTM-based model for the estimation of nitrate-N loads, which adversely affect water resources, and (2) to evaluate the performance of the model by comparing it with that of Monte Carlo sub-sampling and the weighted regressions on time discharge and season (WRTDS) model. We evaluated the model performance using various numbers of hidden layers, ranging from one to four, in the LSTM model to determine the appropriate number of hidden layers; furthermore, we applied the sampling frequencies of 6, 12, and 24 to assess their impact. Seven polluted river basins in the United States were used for analysis, and the relative root mean squared error (<i>rRMSE</i>) and the mean percentage error (<i>MPE</i>) metrics were applied for the validation of the model estimates. The proposed model achieved accurate nitrate-N load estimates using three to four hidden layers, and improved model performance was observed when the sampling frequency was increased. The differences among the results obtained using the LSTM model were examined based on a binning technique via a log-log plot of nitrate-N concentration against discharge. The binning analysis showed that the slope obtained from the average rates of discharge and low discharge values apparently influenced the estimates. Furthermore, box plot analyses of the statistical indices such as <i>rRMSE</i> and <i>MPE</i> demonstrate that the LSTM model seems to exhibit better performance than the WRTDS model. The results of the examination demonstrate that the LSTM model may be a good alternative with regard to estimating nitrate-N loads for the control of water quality constituents.
  • Quantitative Assessment of Natural Disaster Coping Capacity: An Application for Typhoons

    Ting Wang; Linsheng Yang; Shaohong Wu; Jiangbo Gao; Binggan Wei (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    At present, natural disaster coping capabilities are quantitively represented as high, moderate, or low. These classifications, which are described as the results of relative grades, have failed to reveal the specific grades of disaster coping capacity. Therefore, an assessment method of natural disaster coping capacity, which is attempted to quantify the natural disaster coping capacity as disaster grades, was proposed in this study. First, an indicator system consisting of disaster reduction ability index, disaster resilience ability index, and disaster relief ability index was established. The index values were defined as disaster grades according to the historical disaster-related data and information on the equipment and infrastructure for disaster prevention. Second, the weights assigned to these indicators were assessed by using the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). Then, the back propagation (BP) neural network was used to examine the indicator weights. Finally, the disaster coping capacity was estimated by using the fuzzy comprehensive evaluation model. The assessment result was characterized as disaster grade. Cangnan county was chosen as a case study for the assessment of typhoon coping capacity by the proposed method. The results showed that the coping capacity of the county was prepared to deal with 12–13 intensity grades of typhoon. The assessment carried out using the proposed method accurately reflected the typhoon coping capacity of Cangnan. Moreover, the index values of disaster reduction ability, disaster resilience, and disaster relief ability revealed the advantages and limitations of typhoon coping capacity. This suggests that natural disaster coping capacity can be quantitatively assessed by the proposed method.
  • Empowering Urban Governance through Urban Science: Multi-Scale Dynamics of Urban Systems Worldwide

    Juste Raimbault; Eric Denis; Denise PUMAIN (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    Cities are facing many sustainability issues in the context of the current global interdependency characterized by an economic uncertainty coupled to climate changes, which challenge their local policies aiming to better conciliate reasonable growth with livable urban environment. The urban dynamic models developed by the so-called “urban science” can provide a useful foundation for more sustainable urban policies. It implies that their proposals have been validated by correct observations of the diversity of situations in the world. However, international comparisons of the evolution of cities often produce unclear results because national territorial frameworks are not always in strict correspondence with the dynamics of urban systems. We propose to provide various compositions of systems of cities in order to better take into account the dynamic networking of cities that go beyond regional and national territorial boundaries. Different models conceived for explaining city size and urban growth distributions enable the establishing of a correspondence between urban trajectories when observed at the level of cities and systems of cities. We test the validity and representativeness of several dynamic models of complex urban systems and their variations across regions of the world, at the macroscopic scale of systems of cities. The originality of the approach resides in the way it considers spatial interaction and evolutionary path dependence as major features in the general behavior of urban entities. The models studied include diverse and complementary processes, such as economic exchanges, diffusion of innovations, and physical network flows. Complex systems dynamics is in principle unpredictable, but contextualizing it regarding demographic, income, and resource components may help in minimizing the forecasting errors. We use, among others, a new unique source correlating population and built-up footprint at world scale: the Global Human Settlement built-up areas (GHS-BU). Following the methodology and results already obtained in the European GeoDiverCity project, including USA, Europe, and BRICS countries, we complete them with this new dataset at world scale and different models. This research helps in further empirical testing of the hypotheses of the evolutionary theory of urban systems and partially revising them. We also suggest research directions towards the coupling of these models into a multi-scale model of urban growth.
  • Special-Length-Priority Algorithm to Minimize Reinforcing Bar-Cutting Waste for Sustainable Construction

    Dongho Lee; Seunghyun Son; Doyeong Kim; Sunkuk Kim (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    Reinforcing bars (rebar), which have the most embodied carbon dioxide (CO<sub>2</sub>) per unit weight in built environments, generate a significant amount of cutting waste during the construction phase. Excessive cutting waste not only increases the construction cost but also contributes to a significant amount of CO<sub>2</sub> emissions. The objective of this paper is to propose a special-length-priority cutting waste minimization (CWM) algorithm for rebar, for sustainable construction. In the proposed algorithms, the minimization method by special and stock lengths was applied. The minimization by special length was performed first, and then the combination by stock length was performed for the remaining rebar. As a result of verifying the proposed algorithms through a case application, it was confirmed that the quantity of rebar was reduced by 6.04% compared with the actual quantity used. In the case building, a CO<sub>2</sub> emissions reduction of 406.6 ton-CO<sub>2</sub> and a cost savings of USD 119,306 were confirmed. When the results of this paper are applied in practice, they will be used as a tool for sustainable construction management as well as for construction cost reduction.
  • Identification of Key Performance Indicators in Project-Based Organisations through the Lean Approach

    Carolina Cruz Villazón; Leonardo Sastoque Pinilla; José Ramón Otegi Olaso; Nerea Toledo Gandarias; Norberto López de Lacalle (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    For the time being, companies and organisations are being forced to compete in utterly complex and globalised environments, facing massive natural, economic, and technological challenges on a daily basis. Addressing these challenges would be impossible without a proper approach that helps them identify, measure, understand, and control the performance of their organisations. Lean principles and techniques rise as a solution. This paper justifies and proposes the use of lean principles and techniques to identify key performance indicators (KPIs) in project-based organisations based on their organisational and operational needs. The research focuses mainly on the identification and categorisation of KPIs through a qualitative approach, based on systematic literature review (SLR) of performance indicators, project management, and project success. As a case study, an analysis of relevant information of an R&D and innovation project-based organisation, such as quality manuals, a benchmarking process, internal studies, and surveys regarding what success means for different kinds of stakeholders and for the organisation itself was conducted. As a result, this research is of a high value for project-based organisations, especially those that are not apprised of how to correctly formulate a series of KPIs, or whose path to it is still not clear.
  • Challenges for Protected Areas Management in China

    Miao He; An Cliquet (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    Protected areas are widely recognized as a cornerstone of biodiversity and natural resources management and sustainable development. Protected areas are a vital part of securing human prosperity and quality of life. In China, the legal framework for protected area management is scattered around various regulations. In order to better manage protected areas in China, the Chinese government has issued and revised some laws, regulations and policies on protected areas conservation and management. However, protected areas management is still facing some challenges. There is little legal literature on this issue and this paper tries to fill this gap. Firstly, it will briefly introduce the most relevant laws, regulations and policy on protected areas management. Secondly, it will analyze the recent challenges of protected areas management. Thirdly, some possible suggestions on how to better solve the recent challenges on protected areas management in China will be proposed. These suggestions include improving the management system, improving the relevant legislation, promoting public participation and establishing a diversified funding guarantee system.
  • Strategies for Post-COVID Cities: An Insight to Paris En Commun and Milano 2020

    Carlo Pisano (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    In recent times, many infectious diseases have been spreading at an increasing scale and frequency. There is a common agreement in the literature that our cities should be prepared in the future to react promptly to epidemics, but the way in which this preparedness should be shaped is still an open question. This study aims to introduce a series of factors that should be taken into consideration in building a working framework to define and evaluate strategies for post-COVID cities. Through the use of the mutual learning methodology, this contribution draws on the concept of the epidemic prevention area (EPA) defined by the International Council on Monuments and Sites-China, in collaboration with other institutions, as an urban responding system to the COVID-19 epidemic, extracting its main factors and comparing them with two European post-COVID urban strategies: The Paris en Commun and Milano 2020. Research findings highlight that three factors—decentralization of facilities, hierarchization of the transport system and public services, and redundancy of public and semipublic functions—appeared to be particularly relevant in post-COVID cities, to promptly face future epidemic events, while improving their quality, equity, and resilience.
  • Analysis of Potential Shift to Low-Carbon Urban Travel Modes: A Computational Framework Based on High-Resolution Smartphone Data

    Mehrdad Bagheri; Miloš N. Mladenović; Iisakki Kosonen; Jukka K. Nurminen (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    Given the necessity to understand the modal shift potentials at the level of individual travel times, emissions, and physically active travel distances, there is a need for accurately computing such potentials from disaggregated data collection. Despite significant development in data collection technology, especially by utilizing smartphones, there are limited efforts in developing useful computational frameworks for this purpose. First, development of a computational framework requires longitudinal data collection of revealed travel behavior of individuals. Second, such a computational framework should enable scalable analysis of time-relevant low-carbon travel alternatives in the target region. To this end, this research presents an open-source computational framework, developed to explore the potential for shifting from private car to lower-carbon travel alternatives. In comparison to previous development, our computational framework estimates and illustrates the changes in travel time in relation to the potential reductions in emission and increases in physically active travel, as well as daily weather conditions. The potential usefulness of the framework was evaluated using long-term travel data of around a hundred travelers within the Helsinki Metropolitan Region, Finland. The case study outcomes also suggest that in several cases traveling by public transport or bike would not increase travel time compared to the observed car travel. Based on the case study results, we discuss potentially acceptable travel times for mode shift, and usefulness of the computational framework for decisions regarding transition to sustainable urban mobility systems. Finally, we discuss limitations and lessons learned for data collection and further development of similar computational frameworks.
  • Process Planning in Industry 4.0—Current State, Potential and Management of Transformation

    Maja Trstenjak; Tihomir Opetuk; Hrvoje Cajner; Natasa Tosanovic (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    The implementation of the Industry 4.0 concept enables the flexibility, modularity and self-optimization of the manufacturing process. Process planning, placed in the value chain between construction and physical manufacturing, therefore, also demands digital transformation, while management of the transformation towards the new digital framework represents one of the most demanding challenges. Continuing the research on its structure and role within the smart factory, the main motivation for this work was to recognize the potential of the digital transformation of process planning elements, and to define the key dimensions that are essential for the readiness factor calculation and later transformational strategy formation, but also to recognize the current level of awareness of the Industry 4.0 concept among the process planners, along with the current use of its elements and key priorities for the transformation. The research has therefore been conducted in 34 Croatian metal machining companies, within which the influence of company size, level of education and familiarity with Industry 4.0 on final results and the stage of development have been investigated. The results have shown that the company size has a significant influence on the development stage and the use of certain elements wherein small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have already implemented certain digital elements, while they also tend to have a better fundamental infrastructure when using complex process planning methods, unlike others, which are still highly traditional. Organization and human resources have been ranked with the highest priority for change, while target goals for hardware and software have been set, with the managerial challenges of transformation defined and discussed.
  • Objectively-Assessed Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, Smartphone Use, and Sleep Patterns Pre- and during-COVID-19 Quarantine in Young Adults from Spain

    Borja Sañudo; Curtis Fennell; Antonio J. Sánchez-Oliver (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    This study assessed the effects of COVID-19 home confinement on physical activity, sedentary behavior, smartphone use, and sleep patterns. Data was collected in a sample of 20 young adults (mean age ± SD: 22.6 ± 3.4 years; 55% males) over seven days pre- and during the COVID-19 lockdown. Objective and subjective physical activity (Accelerometer and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), respectively), the number of hours sitting (IPAQ), objectively-measured smartphone use (smartphone screen time applications), and objective and subjective sleep (accelerometer and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, respectively) were assessed. Results revealed significantly greater walking time and mean steps (<i>p</i> < 0.001, d = 1.223 to 1.605), and moderate and vigorous physical activity (<i>p</i> < 0.05, d = 0.568 to 0.616), in the pre- compared with the during-COVID-19 lockdown phase. Additionally, smartphone use (<i>p</i> = 0.009, d = 0.654), sitting time (<i>p</i> = 0.002, d = 1.120), and total sleep (<i>p</i> < 0.004, d = 0.666) were significantly greater in the during- compared with the pre-COVID-19 lockdown phase. Multiple regressions analyses showed associations between physical activity and sedentary behavior and sleep quality. The number of hours sitting per day and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity significantly predicted deep sleep (adj.R<sup>2</sup> = 0.46). In conclusion, this study revealed that during the COVID-19 outbreak, behaviors changed, with participants spending less time engaging in physical activity, sitting more, spending more time using the smartphone, and sleeping more hours. These findings may be of importance to make recommendations, including lifestyle modifications during this time.
  • Evaluating Participation: Empirical Analysis of Recipient and Beneficiary Engagement with IFAD International Development Projects

    Seokwoo Kim; Hyuk-Sang Sohn; Jinyoung Lee (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    Active participation of the recipient governments and the beneficiaries is an essential factor in carrying out international development projects. Despite ongoing theoretical discussion on the effects of participation by the recipient governments and the beneficiaries in international development projects, there has been relatively little empirical analysis of the effects of their participation in development projects. To fill this gap, this study examines the relationship between the participation of the recipient governments and beneficiaries, and projects outcomes conducted by IFAD by validating two hypotheses. First, the higher financial contribution rate of the recipient governments results in lower evaluation results of international development projects. Second, the higher financial contribution rate of the beneficiaries leads to higher evaluation results of international development projects. In order to verify these two hypotheses, this study analyzed 166 of the IFAD Project Completion Report Validations. We did ordinary least squares (OLS) regression analyses for the panel data made from them. As a result of the analyses, the inverse relationship between the participation of the recipient governments and the outcome of the assessment holds true. On the other hand, the higher involvement of the beneficiaries leads to better results in the assessment. The results reaffirm prior research that suggested that the involvement of the recipient governments has a negative impact on project performance and that the participation of the beneficiaries has a positive impact on the projects performance. This study adopted ”financial contributions” as the variable to analyze the participation of the recipient governments and the beneficiaries; since it utilized IFAD data, the research focuses on the agriculture sector in terms of international development cooperation. The applicability of these findings in other areas of international development cooperation therefore to be tested in future research.
  • Composition and Efficacy of a Natural Phytotherapeutic Blend against Nosemosis in Honey Bees

    Romeo Teodor Cristina; Zorana Kovačević; Marko Cincović; Eugenia Dumitrescu; Florin Muselin; Kalman Imre; Dumitru Militaru; Narcisa Mederle; Isidora Radulov; Nicoleta Hădărugă (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    Honey bees are essential to sustaining ecosystems, contributing to the stability of biodiversity through pollination. Today, it is known that the failure of pollination leads irremediably to the loss of plant cultures and, as a consequence, inducing food security issues. Bees can be affected by various factors, one of these being <i>Nosema</i> spp. which are protozoans specifically affecting adult honey bees and a threat to bee populations around the world. The composition of the phytotherapeutic product (<i>Protofil<sup>®</sup></i>) for treating nosemosis was analyzed from a biochemical point of view. The most concentrated soluble parts in the phytotherapeutic association were the flavonoids, most frequently rutin, but quercetin was also detected. Additionally, the main volatile compounds identified were eucalyptol (1.8-cineol) and chavicol-methyl-ether. To evaluate the samples’ similarity–dissimilarity, the PCA multivariate statistical analysis, of the gas-chromatographic data (centered relative percentages of the volatile compounds), was applied. Statistical analysis revealed a significant similarity of <i>Protofil<sup>®</sup></i> with the <i>Achillea millefolium</i> (Yarrow) samples and more limited with <i>Thymus vulgaris</i> (Thyme) and <i>Ocimum basilicum</i> (Basil)<i>,</i> and, respectively, a meaningful dissimilarity with <i>Taraxacum officinale</i> (Dandelion). The results have shown a high and beneficial active compounds concentration in the analyzed herbs. High similarity with investigated product recommending the <i>Protofil<sup>®</sup></i>, as the treatment compatible with producing organic honey.
  • Mechanical Characteristics of Soda Residue Soil Incorporating Different Admixture: Reuse of Soda Residue

    Jiaxiao Ma; Nan Yan; Mingyi Zhang; Junwei Liu; Xiaoyu Bai; Yonghong Wang (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    Soda residue (SR), a waste by-product of sodium carbonate production, occupies land resources and pollutes the environment seriously. To promote the resource reusing of waste SR, this paper studies the feasibility of utilizing SR for the preparation of soda residue soil (SRS) through laboratory and field tests. The SR and fly ash (FA) were mixed with six different proportions (SR:FA is 1:0, 10:1, 8:1, 6:1, 3:1, 1:1) to prepare SRS, and the optimum water content, maximum dry density, shear strength, and unconfined compression strength of the SRS were measured. The representative SRS (SR:FA is 10:1) was selected to investigate the compression performance and collapsibility. The preparation and filling method of SRS in the field was proposed, and the effects of gravel, sand, and lime on the mechanical properties of SRS were studied through field tests. The results show that the addition of FA contributed to the strength development of SR, and the addition of lime, sand and rubble have a significant effect on the subgrade bearing capacity of SRS. The subgrade bearing capacity and deformation modulus of SRS in field tests is more than 210 kPa and 34.48 MPa, respectively. The results provide experimental basis and reference for the preparation of SRS, the scientific application of SRS in geotechnical engineering to promote sustainable development.
  • An Economic Analysis of Tropical Forest Resource Conservation in a Protected Area

    Noel Perceval Assogba; Daowei Zhang (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    In this paper, we develop a reduced form model for factors influencing the conservation of forest resources. We then estimate it using a bivariate negative binomial regression model with cases of illegal farming and illegal cattle grazing in the W Reserve in West Africa. Our results show that population size and farm area in the periphery of the W Reserve are associated with an increase of 2.4% and 7.1% of these illegal activities, respectively. On the other hand, income level, the existence of a checkpoint, and the distance between the villages and the reserve decrease these illegal activities by 7.3%, 63.2%, and 2.3%, respectively.
  • Inverse Malthusianism and Recycling Economics: The Case of the Textile Industry

    Francisco Salas-Molina; David Pla-Santamaria; Maria Luisa Vercher-Ferrándiz; Javier Reig-Mullor (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    The current use of natural resources in the textile industry leads us to introduce a new economic concept called inverse Malthusianism describing a context in which population grows linearly and resource consumption grows exponentially. Inverse Malthusianism implies an exponential increase in environmental impact that recycling may contribute to reduce. Our main goal is to extend the analysis of materials selection under the principle of equimarginality proposed by Jevons. As a first result, we show the particular circumstances under which policies excluding recycled supplies are never optimal. We also aim to overcome the difficulties of reducing environmental aspects to monetary units. To this end, we propose a multicriteria approach to solve the conventional-recycled materials dilemma considering not only economic but also environmental criteria. Then, we allow producers to enrich their decision-making process with relevant information about the environmental impact of materials selection. Although we use examples of the textile industry to illustrate our results, most of the insights in this paper can be extended to other industries.
  • Making Way for Trees? Changes in Land-Use, Habitats and Protected Areas in Great Britain under “Global Tree Restoration Potential”

    Martin A. Wilkes; James Bennett; Sara Burbi; Sue Charlesworth; Katharina Dehnen-Schmutz; Francis Rayns; Ulrich Schmutz; Barbara Smith; Mark Tilzey; Liz Trenchard (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
    Numerous tree planting initiatives have been launched worldwide, based on the idea that carbon capture by trees can help to limit global warming. A recent study estimated the additional tree canopy cover that could be established given the growing conditions in every square kilometre of land on earth that is not already forested, urbanised, or used for crop production. It reported a total “tree restoration potential” of >900 million ha worldwide and identified hotspots where opportunities for tree planting initiatives may be the greatest. With the potential for an estimated 4.2 million ha of additional canopy cover, one such hotspot is Great Britain. We quantify the extent of habitats, land uses, and protected areas that would be impacted by tree planting on this scale in Great Britain and discuss the potential social–ecological trade-offs involved. Our findings show that realising the “tree restoration potential” would mean a considerable upheaval for the British landscape with 30–50% of ecologically valuable habitats lost and a reduction of 44% in the area of improved grassland. Up to 21% of land protected by law for its ecological, scientific, scenic, or cultural value would be impacted. Importantly, we demonstrate that an alternative approach based on increasing tree canopy cover by up to 20% in urban areas and on cropland could make a substantial contribution to tree planting targets, potentially offsetting losses elsewhere. Such shifts in the structure and function of the British landscape will depend on deep changes in the food system, evidence-based decisions about which existing habitats to protect, and a long-term commitment to tree planting and maintenance.

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