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Land, Volume 7, Issue 1 (March 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Coupled human and natural system (CHANS) models often treat system components separately, linking [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle System Properties Determine Food Security and Biodiversity Outcomes at Landscape Scale: A Case Study from West Flores, Indonesia
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 14 March 2018 / Accepted: 17 March 2018 / Published: 20 March 2018
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Abstract
The food-biodiversity nexus is a concept that defines and characterizes the complex interactions between agricultural systems and biodiversity conservation. Here we use a social-ecological systems approach that combines fuzzy cognitive mapping and graph theoretic analyses to uncover system properties that determine food security
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The food-biodiversity nexus is a concept that defines and characterizes the complex interactions between agricultural systems and biodiversity conservation. Here we use a social-ecological systems approach that combines fuzzy cognitive mapping and graph theoretic analyses to uncover system properties that determine food security and biodiversity outcomes at a landscape scale. We studied a rice-based agricultural landscape system situated in Mbeliling district of West Flores, Indonesia. A graphical representation of the Mbeliling district food-biodiversity nexus was created by local experts. The representation revealed system properties that help reconcile the trade-offs between food security and biodiversity conservation. The graph represented a diverse set of food security and biodiversity nodes, and showed that there is not a simple dichotomy between ‘production and protection’. The analysis captured greater complexity than popular academic concepts such as land sparing–land sharing or sustainable intensification. Three major themes emerged from the graph. We found distinct clusters of factors influencing biodiversity and food security. We named these sources of influence (1) Modernisation and sustainable farming; (2) Knowledge and management; and (3) Governance and processes. Component 2 was the most representative of emergent system properties that contribute positively to managing a sustainable food-biodiversity nexus in the Mbeliling landscape. The key determinants of outcomes were: improving agronomic practices, diversifying production, maintaining forest cover and connectivity, and using knowledge and natural resource management processes to mitigate the main drivers of change. Our approach highlights the complexities in the food-biodiversity nexus, and could have wide application in other locations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Post-War Land Cover Changes and Fragmentation in Halgurd Sakran National Park (HSNP), Kurdistan Region of Iraq
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 12 March 2018 / Accepted: 13 March 2018 / Published: 19 March 2018
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Abstract
Context: The fundamental driving force of land use and land cover (LULC) change is related to spatial and temporal processes caused by human activities such as agricultural expansion and demographic change. Landscape metrics were used to analyze post-war changes in a rural mountain
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Context: The fundamental driving force of land use and land cover (LULC) change is related to spatial and temporal processes caused by human activities such as agricultural expansion and demographic change. Landscape metrics were used to analyze post-war changes in a rural mountain landscape, the protected area of Halgurd-Sakran National Park (HSNP) in north-east Iraq. Therefore, the present work attempts to identify the temporal trends of the most fragmented land cover types between two parts of the national park. Objectives: The objectives of this study are to compare two land cover classification algorithms, maximum likelihood classification (MLC) and random forest (RF) in the upper and lower parts of HSCZ, and to examine whether landscape configuration in the park has changed over time by comparing the fragmentation, connectivity and diversity of LULC classes. Methods: Two Landsat images were used to analyze LULC fragmentation and loss of habitat connectivity (before and after the Fall of Baghdad in 2003). Seven landscape pattern metrics, percentage of land (PLAND), number of patch (NP), largest patch index (LPI), mean patch size (MPS), euclidian nearest neighborhood distance (ENN_AM), interspersion and juxtaposition (IJI) and cohesion at class level were selected to assess landscape composition and configuration. Results: A significant change in LULC classes was noticed in the lower part of the park, especially for pasture, cultivated and forest-lands. The fragmentation trends and their changes were observed in both parts of the park, however, more were observed in the lower part. The inherent causes of these changes are the socio-economic factors created by the 1991–2003 UN post-war economic sanctions. The changes increased during sanctions and decreased afterwards. The fall of Baghdad in 2003, followed by rapid economic boom, marked the greatest cause in land use change, especially in changes-susceptible cultivated areas. Conclusions: Shrinkage of forest patches in the lower part of the park increases the distance between them, which contributes to a decline in biological diversity from decreasing habitat area. Lastly, the results confirm the applicability of the combined method of remote sensing and landscape metrics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Protected Areas)
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Open AccessArticle Quantifying the Spatiotemporal Pattern of Urban Expansion and Hazard and Risk Area Identification in the Kaski District of Nepal
Received: 11 January 2018 / Revised: 9 March 2018 / Accepted: 13 March 2018 / Published: 16 March 2018
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Abstract
The present study utilized time-series Landsat images to explore the spatiotemporal dynamics of urbanization and land use/land-cover (LULC) change in the Kaski District of Nepal from 1988 to 2016. For the specific overtime analysis of change, the LULC transition was clustered into six
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The present study utilized time-series Landsat images to explore the spatiotemporal dynamics of urbanization and land use/land-cover (LULC) change in the Kaski District of Nepal from 1988 to 2016. For the specific overtime analysis of change, the LULC transition was clustered into six time periods: 1988–1996, 1996–2000, 2000–2004, 2004–2008, 2008–2013, and 2013–2016. The classification was carried out using a support vector machine (SVM) algorithm and 11 LULC categories were identified. The classified images were further used to predict LULC change scenarios for 2025 and 2035 using the hybrid cellular automata Markov chain (CA-Markov) model. Major hazard risk areas were identified using available databases, satellite images, literature surveys, and field observations. Extensive field visits were carried out for ground truth data acquisition to verify the LULC maps and identify multihazard risk areas. The overall classification accuracy of the LULC map for each year was observed to be from 85% to 93%. We explored the remarkable increase in urban/built-up areas from 24.06 km2 in 1988 to 60.74 km2 by 2016. A majority of urban/built-up areas were sourced from cultivated land. For the six time periods, totals of 91.04%, 78.68%, 75.90%, 90.44%, 92.35%, and 99.46% of the newly expanded urban land were sourced from cultivated land. Various settlements within and away from the city of Pokhara and cultivated land at the river banks were found at risk. A fragile geological setting, unstable slopes, high precipitation, dense settlement, rampant urbanization, and discrete LULC change are primarily accountable for the increased susceptibility to hazards. The predicted results showed that the urban area is likely to continue to grow by 2025 and 2035. Despite the significant transformation of LULC and the prevalence of multiple hazards, no previous studies have undertaken a long-term time-series and simulation of the LULC scenario. Updated district-level databases of urbanization and hazards related to the Kaski District were lacking. Hence, the research results will assist future researchers and planners in developing sustainable expansion policies that may ensure disaster-resilient sustainable urban development of the study area. Full article
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Open AccessReview Transferring Landscape Character Assessment from the UK to the Eastern Mediterranean: Challenges and Perspectives
Received: 21 January 2018 / Revised: 27 February 2018 / Accepted: 5 March 2018 / Published: 15 March 2018
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Abstract
Landscape character assessment (LCA) has a significant contribution to make as a spatial framework for the emerging concept of ‘multi-functional landscapes’, a landscape providing a range of functions, services, and human-derived benefits. The paper reviews the development of LCA in Northwest Europe with
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Landscape character assessment (LCA) has a significant contribution to make as a spatial framework for the emerging concept of ‘multi-functional landscapes’, a landscape providing a range of functions, services, and human-derived benefits. The paper reviews the development of LCA in Northwest Europe with a brief description of more recent LCA projects in a Mediterranean context. This is followed by a comparative description of the Living Landscapes approach developed in the UK as applied to Cyprus. The focus is upon the challenges, and limitations, of transferring a method developed in one context to the different physical and cultural setting of the island of Cyprus examining differences in the definition of landscapes, the availability of information on the cultural landscape, the importance of incorporating a strong element of ‘time-depth’, and the potential of LCA for enhancing land use policy at a time of increased land pressures in the Mediterranean. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Chiefs in a Democracy: A Case Study of the ‘New’ Systems of Regulating Firewood Harvesting in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Received: 5 January 2018 / Revised: 4 March 2018 / Accepted: 7 March 2018 / Published: 12 March 2018
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Abstract
Much of the international commons literature reveals a decreased functioning of local traditional institutions that regulate natural resource harvesting. In South Africa, it is believed that the creation of new democratic structures at the end of Apartheid has contributed significantly to the deterioration
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Much of the international commons literature reveals a decreased functioning of local traditional institutions that regulate natural resource harvesting. In South Africa, it is believed that the creation of new democratic structures at the end of Apartheid has contributed significantly to the deterioration in traditional resource regulation and this in turn has led to the extensive resource degradation seen in parts of the country. Many of these assertions, though, remain anecdotal in nature. Given the high reliance by rural households on natural resources, and the serious negative implications that over-use has on livelihood security, understanding how well or poorly such commons are regulated is key to ensuring the sustainability of such resource-dependent populations. The aim of this study was therefore to examine systems of resource governance, focusing specifically on firewood, and to determine the roles of traditional and democratically elected community leaders in six rural villages spanning two chieftaincies in Bushbuckridge, South Africa. In each study village, five local leaders were interviewed and five community focus groups were conducted. Results indicate that most parties still regard the Chief as the ultimate authority for regulating firewood harvesting. However, overall firewood management appears weak, at best, across the region. Although some authors attribute this to community confusion over the roles of local leaders in a new democracy, we provide evidence that other socio-political factors, including political expediency, may be driving the increasingly relaxed implementation of these firewood management systems. With resource dependence remaining a vital contributor to livelihood security across the developing world and with many rural communities facing increasing strain under local resource depletion, these findings shed new light on the complex social dynamics underlying the widely reported weakening of traditional institutions in South Africa. In so doing, it offers insights into local firewood governance that can be used to combat these challenges and thereby reduce regional social and ecological vulnerability being experienced in communal landscapes across the region. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Regional Perspective on Urbanization and Climate-Related Disasters in the Northern Coastal Region of Central Java, Indonesia
Received: 4 January 2018 / Revised: 8 March 2018 / Accepted: 10 March 2018 / Published: 12 March 2018
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Abstract
Indonesia, as an archipelagic nation, has about 150 million people (60%) living in coastal areas. Such communities are increasingly vulnerable to the effects of change, in the form of sea level rise and stronger, more intense storms. Population growth in coastal areas will
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Indonesia, as an archipelagic nation, has about 150 million people (60%) living in coastal areas. Such communities are increasingly vulnerable to the effects of change, in the form of sea level rise and stronger, more intense storms. Population growth in coastal areas will also increase the disaster risk mainly because of climate change-related effects such as flooding, droughts, and tidal floods. This study examines the dynamic changes of urban population and urban villages in three decadal periods, from 1990, 2000, to 2010. To highlight different disasters that are increasingly tied to climate change, the analysis was conducted in the northern coastal area of Central Java province using village potential (PODES) data, which are routinely collected by the government. Results show that about 41% of people in Central Java province live in the northern coastal region and 50% live in urban areas. The numbers of hazard events within a distance range of 0–40 km from the shoreline are: flooding (non-tidal)—335; tidal flooding—65; and droughts—28. Based on this study, about half of flood disasters (non-tidal) occurred within 10 km of the shoreline, while tidal flooding accounted for 80%. Most of the climate-related disasters were found in rural areas at low levels of population growth, while in urban areas the disasters were found to be associated in less than 1% and in more than 3% of population growth. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Towards a Simpler Characterization of Urban Sprawl across Urban Areas in Europe
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 6 March 2018 / Accepted: 8 March 2018 / Published: 9 March 2018
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Abstract
Urban sprawl is a concept commonly used to describe the physical expansion of urban areas. It is traditionally associated with lower residential density, poorer connectivity, and higher energy costs for heating and transport. From the period of 1980 to 2000, the extent of
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Urban sprawl is a concept commonly used to describe the physical expansion of urban areas. It is traditionally associated with lower residential density, poorer connectivity, and higher energy costs for heating and transport. From the period of 1980 to 2000, the extent of the built-up area in Europe has increased at a rate three times higher than that of population increase, and urban sprawl is now recognized as a major challenge. However, for policies to address this issue, it is essential to be able to identify and quantify sprawl. Yet, there is no internationally agreed upon definition of what constitutes sprawl, nor is there an agreed upon methodology on how to measure and define it in a quantitative manner. This paper describes an attempt at characterizing urban sprawl across urban areas at a pan European scale by presenting a new indicator, the Averaged Concentric Weighted Urban Proliferation (ACWUP) index. This index is calculated by aggregating the “sprawl profile” of urban areas, derived from an adapted version of the Weighted Urban Proliferation (WUP) index and applied to EU28-wide, 100 m resolution gridded population and land-use data. In comparison to other approaches, the proposed indicator (1) is data cheap and quick to produce, and (2) provides a unique synthetic value that characterizes the sprawl status of individual cities. We believe this indicator and its associated sprawl profile could be used as a first-pass approximation that characterizes and compares urban sprawl across cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land, Environment, and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle Forest Cover Change, Key Drivers and Community Perception in Wujig Mahgo Waren Forest of Northern Ethiopia
Received: 17 January 2018 / Revised: 13 February 2018 / Accepted: 14 February 2018 / Published: 9 March 2018
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Abstract
This study assessed forest cover change from 1985 to 2016, analyzed community perception on forest cover change and its drivers, and suggested possible solutions in northern Ethiopia. Landsat images of 1985, 2000 and 2016, household interviews and focus group discussions were used. While
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This study assessed forest cover change from 1985 to 2016, analyzed community perception on forest cover change and its drivers, and suggested possible solutions in northern Ethiopia. Landsat images of 1985, 2000 and 2016, household interviews and focus group discussions were used. While dense forests and open forests increased by 8.2% and 32.3% respectively between 1985 and 2000, they decreased by 10.4% and 9.8% respectively from 2000 to 2016. Grasslands and cultivated land decreased in the first period by 37.3% and 5.5% but increased in the second period by 89.5% and 28.5% respectively. Fuel wood collection, cultivated land expansion, population growth; free grazing, logging for income generation and drought were the major drivers of the change reported by local communities. Soil erosion, reduction in honey bee production, flooding and drought were the most perceived impacts of the changes. Most of the farmers have a holistic understanding of forest cover change. Strengthening of forest protection, improving soil and water conservation, enrichment planting, awareness creation, payment for ecosystem services and zero grazing campaigns were mentioned as possible solutions to the current state of deforestation. In addition, concerted efforts of conservation will ensure that the forests’ ecosystems contribute to increased ecosystem services. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Improving Object-Based Land Use/Cover Classification from Medium Resolution Imagery by Markov Chain Geostatistical Post-Classification
Received: 3 February 2018 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 5 March 2018 / Published: 7 March 2018
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Abstract
Land use/land cover maps derived from remotely sensed imagery are often insufficient in quality for some quantitative application purposes due to a variety of reasons such as spectral confusion. Although object-based classification has some advantages over pixel-based classification in identifying relatively homogeneous land
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Land use/land cover maps derived from remotely sensed imagery are often insufficient in quality for some quantitative application purposes due to a variety of reasons such as spectral confusion. Although object-based classification has some advantages over pixel-based classification in identifying relatively homogeneous land use/cover areas from medium resolution remotely sensed images, the classification accuracy is usually still relatively low. In this study, we aimed to test whether the recently proposed Markov chain random field (MCRF) post-classification method, that is, the spectral similarity-enhanced MCRF co-simulation (SS-coMCRF) model, can effectively improve object-based land use/cover classifications on different landscapes. Four study areas (Cixi, Yinchuan and Maanshan in China and Hartford in USA) with different landscapes and classification schemes were chosen for case studies. Expert-interpreted sample data (0.087% to 0.258% of total pixels) were obtained for each study area from the original Landsat images used in object-based pre-classification and other sources (e.g., Google satellite imagery). Post-classification results showed that the overall classification accuracies of the four cases were obviously improved over the corresponding pre-classification results by 14.1% for Cixi, 5% for Yinchuan, 11.8% for Maanshan and 5.6% for Hartford, respectively. At the meantime, SS-coMCRF also reduced the noise and minor patches contained in pre-classifications. This means that the Markov chain geostatistical post-classification method is capable of improving the accuracy and quality of object-based land use/cover classification from medium resolution remotely sensed imagery in various landscape situations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land, Environment, and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle Assessing Climate Smart Agriculture and Its Determinants of Practice in Ghana: A Case of the Cocoa Production System
Received: 5 January 2018 / Revised: 23 February 2018 / Accepted: 27 February 2018 / Published: 4 March 2018
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Abstract
Agriculture in Africa is not only exposed to climate change impacts but is also a source of greenhouse gases (GHGs). While GHG emissions in Africa are relatively minimal in global dimensions, agriculture in the continent constitutes a major source of GHG emissions. In
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Agriculture in Africa is not only exposed to climate change impacts but is also a source of greenhouse gases (GHGs). While GHG emissions in Africa are relatively minimal in global dimensions, agriculture in the continent constitutes a major source of GHG emissions. In Ghana, agricultural emissions are accelerating, mainly due to ensuing deforestation of which smallholder cocoa farming is largely associated. The sector is also bedevilled by soil degradation, pests, diseases and poor yields coupled with poor agronomic practices. Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) thus offers a way to reduce the sector’s GHG emissions and to adapt the sector to the adverse impacts of climate change. This study assesses the potential of CSA vis-à-vis conventional cocoa systems to enhance production, mitigate and/or remove GHG emissions and build resilience, in addition to understanding key determinants influencing CSA practices. Using a mixed methods approach, data was collected in Ghana’s Juabeso and Atwima Mponua districts through semi-structured household questionnaires administered to 80 household heads of cocoa farms, two focus group discussions and expert interviews. A farm budget analysis of productivity and economic performance for both scenarios show that CSA practitioners had a 29% higher income per ha compared to the conventional farmers. Estimations using the FAO Ex-Ante Carbon-Balance Tool (EX-ACT) indicate CSA practices preserve forest resources without which the effect on carbon balance as presented by conventional farming would remain a source of GHG emissions. Farm tenure, age of farmers, location of farm, residential status and access to extension services were the main determining factors influencing CSA practices among cocoa farmers. An in-depth understanding of these indicators can help identify ways to strengthen CSA strategies in the cocoa sector and their contributions to climate change mitigation and resilience. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Estimation of the Spatiotemporal Patterns of Vegetation and Associated Ecosystem Services in a Bornean Montane Zone Using Three Shifting-Cultivation Scenarios
Received: 16 December 2017 / Revised: 5 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
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Abstract
Tropical countries are now facing increasing global pressure to conserve tropical forests, while having to maintain cultivated lands (particularly shifting cultivation) for the subsistence of local people. To accomplish the effective conservation of tropical forests in harmony with subsistence shifting cultivation, we evaluated
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Tropical countries are now facing increasing global pressure to conserve tropical forests, while having to maintain cultivated lands (particularly shifting cultivation) for the subsistence of local people. To accomplish the effective conservation of tropical forests in harmony with subsistence shifting cultivation, we evaluated the influence of shifting cultivation on ecosystem services (i.e., biodiversity and carbon stock) at a landscape level based on three land-use scenarios. The study focus was the upland area between the Kinabalu Park and the Crocker Range Park in Sabah, northern Borneo, where local people conduct shifting cultivation for their subsistence. In this area, vegetation patches of various stages of secondary succession admix with shifting-cultivation lands. An earlier study in the same site depicted significant relationships between the stand ages of vegetation patches (which form a sere of secondary succession after the abandonment of cultivated land) and the above-ground biomass (i.e., carbon stock) and species composition of the stands. We incorporated these significant relationships to a stand-age estimation algorithm that had been developed earlier. We first mapped current (as of 2010) spatial patterns of the above-ground biomass and plant-community composition for the whole landscape. Subsequently, we simulated the spatiotemporal patterns of the above-ground biomass and plant-community distribution using three land-use scenarios: (1) reducing the area of shifting cultivation by one half and protecting the rest of the area; (2) shortening the minimum fallow period from 7 to 4 years while maintaining the same area of cultivation; and (3) elongating the minimum fallow period from 7 to 10 years while maintaining the same area of cultivation. Results indicated that land use based on scenario 2 could increase the carbon stock while maintaining the cultivation area. Our methods were effective in mapping the structure and composition of highly dynamic forests at a landscape level, and at predicting the future patterns of important ecosystem services based on land-use scenarios. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Cultural Landscape Past of the Eastern Mediterranean: The Border Lord’s Gardens and the Common Landscape Tradition of the Arabic and Byzantine Culture
Received: 5 January 2018 / Revised: 18 February 2018 / Accepted: 21 February 2018 / Published: 26 February 2018
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Abstract
An evaluation of landscape tradition, in Near and Middle East area, could emphasize a profound past of agricultural experience, as well as of landscape and garden art. In reference to this common past, Byzantine and Arabic landscape and garden art paradigms appear to
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An evaluation of landscape tradition, in Near and Middle East area, could emphasize a profound past of agricultural experience, as well as of landscape and garden art. In reference to this common past, Byzantine and Arabic landscape and garden art paradigms appear to be geographically and culturally correlated, as proved by a Byzantine 12th century folksong, presenting the construction of a villa, with its surrounding gardens and landscape formations, in the territory of Euphrates River. This song refers to Vasilios Digenes Akritas or ‘Border Lord’, a legendary hero of mixed Byzantine-Greek and Arab blood; ‘Digenes’ meaning a person of dual genes, both of Byzantine and Arabic origin, and ‘Akritas’ an inhabitant of the borderline. At the end of the narration of the song, contemporary reader feels skeptical. Was modern landscape and garden art born in the European continent or was it transferred to Western world through an eastern originated lineage of Byzantine and Arabic provenance? Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Land Systems Science Framework for Bridging Land System Architecture and Landscape Ecology: A Case Study from the Southern High Plains
Received: 11 January 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 14 February 2018 / Published: 26 February 2018
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Abstract
Resource-use decisions affect the ecological and human components of the coupled human and natural system (CHANS), but a critique of some frameworks is that they do not address the complexity and tradeoffs within and between the two systems. Land system architecture (LA) was
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Resource-use decisions affect the ecological and human components of the coupled human and natural system (CHANS), but a critique of some frameworks is that they do not address the complexity and tradeoffs within and between the two systems. Land system architecture (LA) was suggested to account for these tradeoffs at multiple levels/scales. LA and landscape ecology (LE) focus on landscape structure (i.e., composition and configuration of land-use and land-cover change [LULCC]) and the processes (social-ecological) resulting from and shaping LULCC. Drawing on mixed-methods research in the Southern Great Plains, we develop a framework that incorporates LA, LE, and governance theory. Public land and water are commons resources threatened by overuse, degradation, and climate change. Resource use is exacerbated by public land and water policies at the state- and local-levels. Our framework provides a foundation for investigating the mechanisms of land systems science (LSS) couplings across multiple levels/scales to understand how and why governance impacts human LULCC decisions (LA) and how those LULCC patterns influence, and are influenced by, the underlying ecological processes (LE). This framework provides a mechanism for investigating the feedbacks between and among the different system components in a CHANS that subsequently impact future human design decisions. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Effect of Feeding System on Enteric Methane Emissions from Individual Dairy Cows on Commercial Farms
Received: 17 January 2018 / Revised: 19 February 2018 / Accepted: 21 February 2018 / Published: 24 February 2018
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Abstract
This study investigated the effects of feeding system on diurnal enteric methane (CH4) emissions from individual cows on commercial farms. Data were obtained from 830 cows across 12 farms, and data collated included production records, CH4 measurements (in the breath
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This study investigated the effects of feeding system on diurnal enteric methane (CH4) emissions from individual cows on commercial farms. Data were obtained from 830 cows across 12 farms, and data collated included production records, CH4 measurements (in the breath of cows using CH4 analysers at robotic milking stations for at least seven days) and diet composition. Cows received either a partial mixed ration (PMR) or a PMR with grazing. A linear mixed model was used to describe variation in CH4 emissions per individual cow and assess the effect of feeding system. Methane emissions followed a consistent diurnal pattern across both feeding systems, with emissions lowest between 05:00 and 08:59, and with a peak concentration between 17:00 and 20:59. No overall difference in emissions was found between feeding systems studied; however, differences were found in the diurnal pattern of CH4 emissions between feeding systems. The response in emissions to increasing dry matter intake was higher for cows fed PMR with grazing. This study showed that repeated spot measurements of CH4 emissions whilst cows are milked can be used to assess the effects of feeding system and potentially benchmark farms on level of emissions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Spatial Modeling of Soil Erosion Risk and Its Implication for Conservation Planning: the Case of the Gobele Watershed, East Hararghe Zone, Ethiopia
Received: 8 December 2017 / Revised: 9 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 21 February 2018
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Abstract
Soil erosion by water has accelerated over recent decades due to non-sustainable land use practices resulting in substantial land degradation processes. Spatially explicit information on soil erosion is critical for the development and implementation of appropriate Soil and Water Conservation (SWC) measures.The objectives
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Soil erosion by water has accelerated over recent decades due to non-sustainable land use practices resulting in substantial land degradation processes. Spatially explicit information on soil erosion is critical for the development and implementation of appropriate Soil and Water Conservation (SWC) measures.The objectives of this study were to estimate the magnitude of soil loss rate, assess the change of erosion risk, and elucidate their implication for SWC planning in the Gobele Watershed, East Hararghe Zone, Ethiopia. Applying remote sensing data, the study first derived the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) model parameters in an ArcGIS environment and estimated the soil loss rates. The estimated total soil loss in the watershed was 1,390,130.48 tons in 2000 and 1,022,445.09 tons in 2016 with a mean erosion rate of 51.04 t ha−1 y−1 and 34.26 t ha−1 y−1, respectively. The study area was divided into eight erosion risk classes ranging from very low to extremely high. We established a change detection matrix of the soil erosion risk classes between 2000 and 2016. The change analysis results have revealed that about 70.80% of the soil erosion risk areas remained unchanged, 19.67% increased in total area, and 9.53% decreased, showing an overall worsening of the situation. We identified and mapped areas with a higher and increasing erosion risk as SWC priority areas using a Multi-criteria Decision Rules (MCDR) method. The top three priority levels marked for the emergency SWC measures account for about 0.04%, 0.49%, and 0.83%, respectively. These priority levels are situated along the steep slope areas in the north, northwest, south, and southeast of the Gobele Watershed. It is, thus, very critical to undertake proper intervention measures in upslope areas based on the priority levels to establish sustainable watershed management in the study area. Full article
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