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Sustainability, Volume 4, Issue 12 (December 2012), Pages 3180-3403

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Open AccessArticle Wind Farm Siting and Protected Areas in Catalonia: Planning Alternatives or Reproducing 'One-Dimensional Thinking'?
Sustainability 2012, 4(12), 3180-3205; doi:10.3390/su4123180
Received: 22 August 2012 / Revised: 2 November 2012 / Accepted: 8 November 2012 / Published: 22 November 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (641 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Wind energy is an emblem of sustainability with the potential to promote a qualitative alternative to current energy systems and nuclear options for CO2 reduction. However, wind farm siting often conflicts with aspirations to conserve traditional landscapes and wildlife habitats. In this
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Wind energy is an emblem of sustainability with the potential to promote a qualitative alternative to current energy systems and nuclear options for CO2 reduction. However, wind farm siting often conflicts with aspirations to conserve traditional landscapes and wildlife habitats. In this paper we adopt a Critical Theory perspective, informed by Herbert Marcuse`s work, to study the discourse concerning wind energy siting in Catalonia, Spain. We give particular attention to how tensions between potentially conflicting sustainability objectives are addressed and by whom. Based on a review of this siting discourse and the application of Marcuse’s theory, we find that the Catalan wind energy siting discourse is both influenced by and reproducing what Marcuse referred to as the ‘one-dimensional thinking’ of technology as ideology: erasing the possibility of critical dialectical thought by subsuming the question of “what should be” under the question of “what is”. This has implications both for how these conflicts are investigated and for the sustainability of decisions taken. We conclude that closer attention to the role of ‘one-dimensional thinking’ in wind energy siting discourses could improve not only the understanding of their logic but might also have the potential to help make them more democratic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development in Natural Protected Areas)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Environmental Performance of East Asia Summit Countries from the Perspective of Energy Security
Sustainability 2012, 4(12), 3206-3233; doi:10.3390/su4123206
Received: 21 September 2012 / Revised: 15 October 2012 / Accepted: 17 November 2012 / Published: 23 November 2012
PDF Full-text (353 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Energy security is an increasingly important issue for East Asia Summit (EAS) countries. The Cebu declaration on East Asia Energy Security provides a common ground towards improving energy security. However, EAS countries are in a different situation and face different challenges. This leads
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Energy security is an increasingly important issue for East Asia Summit (EAS) countries. The Cebu declaration on East Asia Energy Security provides a common ground towards improving energy security. However, EAS countries are in a different situation and face different challenges. This leads to varying policies in dealing with energy security. This study provides an analysis of future environmental performance of three EAS countries with distinct socioeconomic and energy conditions from an energy security standpoint. A model which captures complex interrelationships between different aspects of energy security is developed for the study. Aspects related to energy, socioeconomics, and the environment are considered in the model. Policy scenarios which reflect governments’ efforts to improve energy security are developed for simulation. Analysis is performed by comparing each country performances indicated by measures related to CO2 emissions. The results show that Japan would achieve a very small increase in CO2 emission growth. China would still produce the largest amount of CO2 emission, but its growth would decrease significantly. In the contrary, Indonesia’s emission would be the smallest, but its growth would be the fastest. The results indicate that Indonesia’s commitment to the Cebu declaration goal will not be sustained. The study suggests that the Cebu declaration should be moved forward by including legally binding commitments and clear CO2 emission reduction targets. Full article
Open AccessArticle Publication Growth in Biological Sub-Fields: Patterns, Predictability and Sustainability
Sustainability 2012, 4(12), 3234-3247; doi:10.3390/su4123234
Received: 12 June 2012 / Revised: 5 November 2012 / Accepted: 19 November 2012 / Published: 23 November 2012
Cited by 26 | PDF Full-text (694 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biologists are producing ever-increasing quantities of papers. The question arises of whether current rates of increase in scientific outputs are sustainable in the long term. I studied this issue using publication data from the Web of Science (1991–2010) for 18 biological sub-fields. In
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Biologists are producing ever-increasing quantities of papers. The question arises of whether current rates of increase in scientific outputs are sustainable in the long term. I studied this issue using publication data from the Web of Science (1991–2010) for 18 biological sub-fields. In the majority of cases, an exponential regression explains more variation than a linear one in the number of papers published each year as a function of publication year. Exponential growth in publication numbers is clearly not sustainable. About 75% of the variation in publication growth among biological sub-fields over the two studied decades can be predicted by publication data from the first six years. Currently trendy fields such as structural biology, neuroscience and biomaterials cannot be expected to carry on growing at the current pace, because in a few decades they would produce more papers than the whole of biology combined. Synthetic and systems biology are problematic from the point of view of knowledge dissemination, because in these fields more than 80% of existing papers have been published over the last five years. The evidence presented here casts a shadow on how sustainable the recent increase in scientific publications can be in the long term. Full article
Open AccessCommunication General Resilience to Cope with Extreme Events
Sustainability 2012, 4(12), 3248-3259; doi:10.3390/su4123248
Received: 5 October 2012 / Accepted: 14 November 2012 / Published: 28 November 2012
Cited by 51 | PDF Full-text (177 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Resilience to specified kinds of disasters is an active area of research and practice. However, rare or unprecedented disturbances that are unusually intense or extensive require a more broad-spectrum type of resilience. General resilience is the capacity of social-ecological systems to adapt or
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Resilience to specified kinds of disasters is an active area of research and practice. However, rare or unprecedented disturbances that are unusually intense or extensive require a more broad-spectrum type of resilience. General resilience is the capacity of social-ecological systems to adapt or transform in response to unfamiliar, unexpected and extreme shocks. Conditions that enable general resilience include diversity, modularity, openness, reserves, feedbacks, nestedness, monitoring, leadership, and trust. Processes for building general resilience are an emerging and crucially important area of research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation or Extinction)
Open AccessArticle Inclusive Protected Area Management in the Amazon: The Importance of Social Networks over Ecological Knowledge
Sustainability 2012, 4(12), 3260-3278; doi:10.3390/su4123260
Received: 3 September 2012 / Revised: 5 November 2012 / Accepted: 16 November 2012 / Published: 30 November 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (587 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the Amacayacu National Park in Colombia, which partially overlaps with Indigenous territories, several elements of an inclusive protected area management model have been implemented since the 1990s. In particular, a dialogue between scientific researchers, indigenous people and park staff has been promoted
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In the Amacayacu National Park in Colombia, which partially overlaps with Indigenous territories, several elements of an inclusive protected area management model have been implemented since the 1990s. In particular, a dialogue between scientific researchers, indigenous people and park staff has been promoted for the co-production of biological and cultural knowledge for decision-making. This paper, based on a four-year ethnographic study of the park, shows how knowledge products about different components of the socio-ecosystem neither were efficiently obtained nor were of much importance in park management activities. Rather, the knowledge pertinent to park staff in planning and management is the know-how required for the maintenance and mobilization of multi-scale social-ecological networks. We argue that the dominant models for protected area management—both top-down and inclusive models—underestimate the sociopolitical realm in which research is expected to take place, over-emphasize ecological knowledge as necessary for management and hold a too strong belief in decision-making as a rational, organized response to diagnosis of the PA, rather than acknowledging that thick complexity needs a different form of action. Co-production of knowledge is crucial for governance, but mainly not for the reasons for which it is promoted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development in Natural Protected Areas)
Open AccessArticle Carbon Footprint of Beef Cattle
Sustainability 2012, 4(12), 3279-3301; doi:10.3390/su4123279
Received: 1 November 2012 / Revised: 23 November 2012 / Accepted: 26 November 2012 / Published: 3 December 2012
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (350 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The carbon footprint of beef cattle is presented for Canada, The United States, The European Union, Australia and Brazil. The values ranged between 8 and 22 kg CO2e per kg of live weight (LW) depending on the type of farming system,
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The carbon footprint of beef cattle is presented for Canada, The United States, The European Union, Australia and Brazil. The values ranged between 8 and 22 kg CO2e per kg of live weight (LW) depending on the type of farming system, the location, the year, the type of management practices, the allocation, as well as the boundaries of the study. Substantial reductions have been observed for most of these countries in the last thirty years. For instance, in Canada the mean carbon footprint of beef cattle at the exit gate of the farm decreased from 18.2 kg CO2e per kg LW in 1981 to 9.5 kg CO2e per kg LW in 2006 mainly because of improved genetics, better diets, and more sustainable land management practices. Cattle production results in products other than meat, such as hides, offal and products for rendering plants; hence the environmental burden must be distributed between these useful products. In order to do this, the cattle carbon footprint needs to be reported in kg of CO2e per kg of product. For example, in Canada in 2006, on a mass basis, the carbon footprint of cattle by-products at the exit gate of the slaughterhouse was 12.9 kg CO2e per kg of product. Based on an economic allocation, the carbon footprints of meat (primal cuts), hide, offal and fat, bones and other products for rendering were 19.6, 12.3, 7 and 2 kg CO2e per kg of product, respectively. Full article
Open AccessArticle Local Perceptions and Responses to Climate Change and Variability: The Case of Laikipia District, Kenya
Sustainability 2012, 4(12), 3302-3325; doi:10.3390/su4123302
Received: 18 September 2012 / Revised: 21 November 2012 / Accepted: 22 November 2012 / Published: 5 December 2012
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (369 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agricultural policies in Kenya aim to improve farmers’ livelihoods. With projected climate change, these policies are short of mechanisms that promote farmers’ adaptation. As a result, smallholders are confronted with a variety of challenges including climate change, which hinders their agricultural production. Local
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Agricultural policies in Kenya aim to improve farmers’ livelihoods. With projected climate change, these policies are short of mechanisms that promote farmers’ adaptation. As a result, smallholders are confronted with a variety of challenges including climate change, which hinders their agricultural production. Local knowledge can be instrumental in assisting smallholders to cope with climate change and variability. In this paper, we present empirical evidence that demonstrates local knowledge, perceptions and adaptations to climate change and variability amongst smallholders of Laikipia district of Kenya. A Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) calculated for one station is compared with smallholders’ perceptions. Data was collected using qualitative and quantitative methods in Umande and Muhonia sub-locations. Qualitative data included 46 transcripts from focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Quantitative data is derived from 206 interviewees. We analyzed qualitative and quantitative data using Atlas-ti and SPSS respectively. According to smallholders’ perceptions, climatic variability is increasingly changing. Local perceptions include decreasing rainfalls, increasing temperatures, increasing frosts and increasing hunger. The PDSI shows a trend towards severe droughts in the last four decades, which is in accordance with farmers’ perceptions. Smallholders use a combination of coping and adaptation strategies to respond to variability, including, among others, diversification of crop varieties, migration and sale of livestock. Significant relationships exist between drought perceptions and some adaptations such as migration and sale of livestock. Farmers have an in-depth knowledge of climatic variability, which they use to inform their coping and adaptation strategies. Knowledge of climatic perceptions and adaptations are vital entry points for decision makers and policy makers to learn how and where to enhance the adaptive capacity of smallholders in rainy and drought periods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coping with Climate Change in Developing Countries)
Open AccessArticle Institutions and Ecosystem-Based Development Potentials of the Elephant Marsh, Malawi
Sustainability 2012, 4(12), 3326-3345; doi:10.3390/su4123326
Received: 22 October 2012 / Revised: 20 November 2012 / Accepted: 21 November 2012 / Published: 7 December 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (825 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Elephant Marsh, a wetland in Southern Malawi, is important for fishing, agriculture, hunting and the collection of natural resources for the livelihoods of local communities. However, there has been increasing pressure driven by a changing climate, population growth, rural poverty and agricultural
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The Elephant Marsh, a wetland in Southern Malawi, is important for fishing, agriculture, hunting and the collection of natural resources for the livelihoods of local communities. However, there has been increasing pressure driven by a changing climate, population growth, rural poverty and agricultural conversion, all of which threaten the future of the wetland. Currently, Malawi does not have either a national wetland policy or a climate change policy and wetland issues are only marginally present in the National Parks and Wildlife Policy of 2000 and National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy of 2001. As a result, the country lacks a framework that could be strong enough to achieve balanced and sustainable wetland management for multiple resource users. The objective of this study was to establish the development potentials of Elephant Marsh from an ecosystem-based (‘working-with-nature’) perspective. It was revealed that there are development potentials in fisheries, recession agriculture, biomass for energy, conservation and tourism. This paper emphasizes that as these opportunities are developed, there will be the need to strengthen management institutions at local and national levels, and the coordination between the two. Full article
Open AccessArticle Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) Removal in the Western United States: Multi-Site Findings and Considerations for Future Research
Sustainability 2012, 4(12), 3346-3361; doi:10.3390/su4123346
Received: 3 September 2012 / Revised: 4 December 2012 / Accepted: 11 December 2012 / Published: 14 December 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (747 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Elaeagnus angustifolia (Russian olive) is an introduced tree that has become one of the dominant species in many watersheds in the American West. Although it is a target of restoration efforts, very little is known about vegetation response after removal of this exotic
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Elaeagnus angustifolia (Russian olive) is an introduced tree that has become one of the dominant species in many watersheds in the American West. Although it is a target of restoration efforts, very little is known about vegetation response after removal of this exotic species. To address this gap we surveyed 25 sites in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana where E. angustifolia was removed. We collected information regarding plant cover and richness, climate, soil characteristics, management history, and geography. We analyzed these data using regression tree modeling. Our results indicate that moisture and temperature are key environmental factors relating to restoration success as measured by abundance of native cover; lower temperatures and greater availability of water were generally associated with more native cover. These results have important implications for selection of restoration sites, and for understanding the consequences of removing this species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Terrestrial Ecosystem Restoration)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Community Sanitation for a Rural Hospital in Haiti
Sustainability 2012, 4(12), 3362-3376; doi:10.3390/su4123362
Received: 23 October 2012 / Revised: 6 December 2012 / Accepted: 12 December 2012 / Published: 18 December 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (393 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A fully sustainable sanitation system was developed for a rural hospital in Haiti. The system operates by converting human waste into biogas and fertilizer without using external energy. It is a hybrid anaerobic/aerobic system that maximizes methane production while producing quality compost. The
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A fully sustainable sanitation system was developed for a rural hospital in Haiti. The system operates by converting human waste into biogas and fertilizer without using external energy. It is a hybrid anaerobic/aerobic system that maximizes methane production while producing quality compost. The system first separates liquid and solid human waste at the source to control carbon to nitrogen ratio and moisture content to facilitate enhanced biodegradation. It will then degrade human waste through anaerobic digestion and capture the methane gas for on-site use as a heating fuel. For anaerobic decomposition and methane harvesting a bioreactor with two-stage batch process was designed. Finally, partially degraded human waste is extracted from the bioreactor with two-stage batch process and applied to land farming type aerobic composter to produce fertilizer. The proposed system is optimized in design by considering local conditions such as waste composition, waste generation, reaction temperature, residence time, construction materials, and current practice. It is above ground with low maintenance requirements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Waste Management)
Open AccessArticle The Genes of Tulou: A Study on the Preservation and Sustainable Development of Tulou
Sustainability 2012, 4(12), 3377-3386; doi:10.3390/su4123377
Received: 19 October 2012 / Revised: 28 November 2012 / Accepted: 11 December 2012 / Published: 18 December 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1798 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper analyzes the formation of Tulou villages and the characteristics of Tulou buildings. The genes of the Tulou are examined within the unique physical forms and the significant social culture background. The paper is concerned with how to apply the valuable genes
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This paper analyzes the formation of Tulou villages and the characteristics of Tulou buildings. The genes of the Tulou are examined within the unique physical forms and the significant social culture background. The paper is concerned with how to apply the valuable genes in the preservation and sustainable development of Tulou with a special case analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hakka Tulou and Sustainability: The Greenest Buildings in the World)
Open AccessArticle The Sustainability of Agriculture in a Northern Industrialized Country—From Controlling Nature to Rural Development
Sustainability 2012, 4(12), 3387-3403; doi:10.3390/su4123387
Received: 15 October 2012 / Revised: 8 December 2012 / Accepted: 14 December 2012 / Published: 18 December 2012
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (231 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The concept of sustainability has been a part of theory and practice in agriculture for a long time, but the diverse roots of the concept have led to a number of different definitions of sustainable agriculture. This paper provides an overview of the
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The concept of sustainability has been a part of theory and practice in agriculture for a long time, but the diverse roots of the concept have led to a number of different definitions of sustainable agriculture. This paper provides an overview of the policy development of sustainable agriculture in Finland by examining internal and external discourses of sustainability and the evolution in different dimensions of sustainability. We show that the debate on sustainability within European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy and Finnish agri-environmental policy are reflected in attempts to implement and monitor sustainability in agriculture in Finland. However, indicators suggest a largely non-sustainable condition. This has contributed to a shift in policy objectives from sustainable agriculture to sustainable rural development, especially in the EU context. As there are commonly trade-offs between the economic, ecological and social dimensions of sustainable development, future developments in sustainable agriculture will inevitably be characterized by continuous redefinitions of problems, paradigm revisions and reassessments of actions already taken. Full article

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