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Resources, Volume 6, Issue 1 (March 2017)

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Editorial

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Open AccessFeature PaperEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Resources in 2016
Resources 2017, 6(1), 2; doi:10.3390/resources6010002
Received: 10 January 2017 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 10 January 2017
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Abstract
The editors of Resources would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2016.[...] Full article

Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Environmental and Energy Performance of Ethanol Production from the Integration of Sugarcane, Corn, and Grain Sorghum in a Multipurpose Plant
Resources 2017, 6(1), 1; doi:10.3390/resources6010001
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 12 December 2016 / Accepted: 20 December 2016 / Published: 27 December 2016
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Abstract
Although in the last 40 years only sugarcane has been harnessed for the production of ethanol in Brazil, corn production has grown strongly in certain areas, and may serve as a supplementary feedstock for ethanol production in integrated plants during the sugarcane off-season.
[...] Read more.
Although in the last 40 years only sugarcane has been harnessed for the production of ethanol in Brazil, corn production has grown strongly in certain areas, and may serve as a supplementary feedstock for ethanol production in integrated plants during the sugarcane off-season. The aim of this study is to evaluate the environmental and energy performance of ethanol production from sugarcane, corn, and grain sorghum in a Flex Mill in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil. A life cycle assessment was carried out to survey the production of ethanol from each individual feedstock, and the integration of two of these to increase production during a one-year period. Results indicate that the environmental and energy performance are greatly influenced by agricultural activities, highlighting the importance of sugarcane cultivation. Still, there was an increasing trend of Climate Change impacts, Human Toxicity (carcinogenic) and Ecotoxicity, as well as reduced impact of Photochemical Oxidant Formation and Energy Return on Investment (EROI) as the proportion of ethanol from starchy sources in integration scenarios increases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Analysis of Energy Systems under Sustainability Aspects)
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Open AccessArticle The Engagement of Students in Higher Education Institutions with the Concepts of Sustainability: A Case Study of the University of Northampton, in England
Resources 2017, 6(1), 3; doi:10.3390/resources6010003
Received: 1 September 2016 / Revised: 1 December 2016 / Accepted: 20 December 2016 / Published: 13 January 2017
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Abstract
Across higher education institutions there has, for some time, been a growing move towards incorporation of the concepts of sustainability into the policies and practices of the organisations. Using the University of Northampton, in the United Kingdom as a case study, this project
[...] Read more.
Across higher education institutions there has, for some time, been a growing move towards incorporation of the concepts of sustainability into the policies and practices of the organisations. Using the University of Northampton, in the United Kingdom as a case study, this project aimed to understand the efficacy of student engagement with a sustainability project called Planet Too. The study employed a range of methods including waste and energy audits, as well as questionnaire surveys both with students and landlords to examine their environmental attitudes, beliefs, and practices. The project was able to lead to increased awareness and engagement with the concepts of sustainability amongst the students. Recycling, though it was not one of the initiatives focused upon, was a key practice mentioned by both students and landlords. The engagement of the landlords was focused primarily on conservation of energy and water. However, conservation practices generally remained static, with limited significant or long-term changes in environmental practices. The key implications of the findings are discussed and recommendations suggested. Full article
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Open AccessArticle State-Level Forestry Cost-Share Programs and Economic Impact of Increased Timber Outputs: A South Carolina Case Study
Resources 2017, 6(1), 4; doi:10.3390/resources6010004
Received: 14 October 2016 / Revised: 4 December 2016 / Accepted: 8 January 2017 / Published: 18 January 2017
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Abstract
Management of family forests in the United States has been long-influenced by public policies and programs that encourage active management on these private lands, especially afforestation of idle lands and reforestation of cut-over lands. Financial incentive programs to encourage family forest reforestation date
[...] Read more.
Management of family forests in the United States has been long-influenced by public policies and programs that encourage active management on these private lands, especially afforestation of idle lands and reforestation of cut-over lands. Financial incentive programs to encourage family forest reforestation date back to the 1940s, and in the beginning were funded by the federal government. Beginning in the early 1970s, state governments, especially those with strong forestry-based economies, saw a need to offer their own incentives, primarily cost-share programs to increase forest productivity. These programs are considered to be successful, but little research addresses the value and increased timber supply that result from the state investment. Here, we use historical data from the South Carolina Forest Renewal Program (FRP), one of the oldest and well-established state forestry cost-share programs, to determine the incremental timber outputs generated. Marginal analysis was used to produce financial comparison between regeneration options that include cost-share and those that do not. Annual funding for the FRP is currently $1,000,000 and in the long-run five dollars of economic impact is created for each dollar invested, and over a half million tons of additional wood is added to the annual timber supply. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Toward a Framework for Resource Efficiency Evaluation in Industry: Recommendations for Research and Innovation Projects
Resources 2017, 6(1), 5; doi:10.3390/resources6010005
Received: 24 October 2016 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 18 January 2017
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Abstract
The world is facing a tremendous resource supply challenge. One strategy of regions and nations to address this issue is to encourage research and innovation through funding programs. Most of the time, these programs require that research and innovation projects quantify potential increases
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The world is facing a tremendous resource supply challenge. One strategy of regions and nations to address this issue is to encourage research and innovation through funding programs. Most of the time, these programs require that research and innovation projects quantify potential increases in resource efficiency achieved by the projects. However, no consensus exists on how to calculate resource efficiency; therefore, a wide range of approaches is followed. As a result, resource efficiency results are not comparable between projects, and because no rules or guidelines exist to help project developers, the approach followed is not always appropriate. This paper aims to discuss the existing approaches and methods used to evaluate resource efficiency. In this context, resource efficiency is defined as the ratio between the benefits obtained from resources and the impact or amount of resources used. The most challenging step is the determination of this ratio’s denominator because a wide range of methods to quantify resource consumption exist and are being used. They can be classified as gate-to-gate or life cycle based methods and can be subdivided into accounting methods and impact assessment methods. Each method considers different aspects of resources; thus, no single method aims to answer the same research questions. Therefore, project developers must make a well informed choice about which method to use. This paper provides recommendations to support this choice, as well as the overall evaluation and the valorization of the resource efficiency ratio in the framework of research and innovation programs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Urban Mines of Copper: Size and Potential for Recycling in the EU
Resources 2017, 6(1), 6; doi:10.3390/resources6010006
Received: 29 November 2016 / Revised: 18 January 2017 / Accepted: 18 January 2017 / Published: 24 January 2017
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Abstract
Copper is among the most important metals by production volume and variety of applications, providing essential materials and goods for human wellbeing. Compared to other world regions, Europe has modest natural reserves of copper and is highly dependent on imports to meet the
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Copper is among the most important metals by production volume and variety of applications, providing essential materials and goods for human wellbeing. Compared to other world regions, Europe has modest natural reserves of copper and is highly dependent on imports to meet the domestic demand. Securing access to raw materials is of strategic relevance for Europe and the recycling of urban mines (also named “in-use stock”) is a significant mean to provide forms of secondary copper to the European industry. A dynamic material flow analysis model is applied to characterize the flows of copper in the European Union (EU-28) from 1960 to 2014 and to determine the accumulation of this metal in the in-use stock. A scrap balance approach is applied to reconcile the flow of secondary copper sent to domestic recycling estimated through the model and that reported by historic statistics. The results show that per capita in-use stock amounts at 160–200 kg/person, and that current end-of-life recycling rate is around 60%. The quantification of historic flows provides a measure of how the European copper cycle has changed over time and how it may evolve in the future: major hindrances to recycling are highlighted and perspectives for improving the current practices at end-of-life are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Socio-Ecological Approach to GIS Least-Cost Modelling for Regional Mining Infrastructure Planning: A Case Study from South-East Sulawesi, Indonesia
Resources 2017, 6(1), 7; doi:10.3390/resources6010007
Received: 15 October 2016 / Revised: 13 January 2017 / Accepted: 17 January 2017 / Published: 24 January 2017
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Abstract
Regional planning approaches to mining infrastructure aim to reduce the conflict associated with mining operations and existing land uses, such as urban areas and biodiversity conservation, as well as the cumulative impacts that occur offsite. In this paper, we describe a method for
[...] Read more.
Regional planning approaches to mining infrastructure aim to reduce the conflict associated with mining operations and existing land uses, such as urban areas and biodiversity conservation, as well as the cumulative impacts that occur offsite. In this paper, we describe a method for conducting Geographical Information System (GIS) least-cost path and least-cost corridor analysis for linear mining infrastructure, such as roads. Least-cost path analysis identifies the optimal pathways between two locations as a function of the cost of traveling through different land use/cover types. In a case study from South-East Sulawesi, Indonesia, we identify potential linear networks for road infrastructure connecting mines, smelters, and ports. The method used interview data from government officials to characterise their orientation (perceived importance and positive/negative attitude) toward the social and environmental factors associated with mining infrastructure. A cost-surface was constructed by integrating spatial layers representing the social and environmental factors to identify areas that should be avoided and areas that were compatible with linear infrastructure using the least-cost path analysis. We compared infrastructure scenario outputs from local and national government officials by the degree of spatial overlap and found broad spatial agreement for infrastructure corridors. We conclude by discussing this approach in relation to the wider social-ecological and mine planning literature and how quantitative approaches can reduce the conflict associated with infrastructure planning. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of Pay-As-You-Throw Schemes on Municipal Solid Waste Management: The Exemplar Case of the County of Aschaffenburg, Germany
Resources 2017, 6(1), 8; doi:10.3390/resources6010008
Received: 2 November 2016 / Revised: 19 January 2017 / Accepted: 23 January 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
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Abstract
The “pay-as-you-throw” (PAYT) scheme is an economic instrument for waste management that applies the “polluter pays” principle by charging the inhabitants of municipalities according to the amount of residual, organic, and bulky waste they send for third-party waste management. When combined with well-developed
[...] Read more.
The “pay-as-you-throw” (PAYT) scheme is an economic instrument for waste management that applies the “polluter pays” principle by charging the inhabitants of municipalities according to the amount of residual, organic, and bulky waste they send for third-party waste management. When combined with well-developed infrastructure to collect the different waste fractions (residual waste, paper and cardboard, plastics, bio waste, green cuttings, and many recyclables) as well as with a good level of citizens’ awareness, its performance has frequently been linked to an increase in the collection rates of recyclables. However, the establishment and operation of PAYT systems can require significant resource inputs from municipalities. In this paper, PAYT is analysed through a case study from the German County of Aschaffenburg, covering nearly 20 years of implementation across 32 municipalities with 173,000 inhabitants. Key performance indicators include temporal trends in the county’s recyclables collection rate, waste treatment fees for residents, and municipal waste management costs, benchmarked against German municipalities not implementing PAYT. We conclude that PAYT could make an important contribution towards material reuse and recycling objectives for the new circular economy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Access and Benefit Sharing under the Convention on Biological Diversity and Its Protocol: What Can Some Numbers Tell Us about the Effectiveness of the Regulatory Regime?
Resources 2017, 6(1), 11; doi:10.3390/resources6010011
Received: 7 December 2016 / Revised: 19 January 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 19 February 2017
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Abstract
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), adopted in 1992 and entered into force at the end of 1993, established a global regime on access to genetic resources (GR) and sharing of benefits arising from their utilization (Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regime). Its
[...] Read more.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), adopted in 1992 and entered into force at the end of 1993, established a global regime on access to genetic resources (GR) and sharing of benefits arising from their utilization (Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regime). Its protocol—the Nagoya Protocol (NP)—which entered into force 21 years later in 2014, clears up some terminological ambiguities of the Convention, clarifies and develops several procedural and instrumental elements of the regime, and obliges States Parties to implement some of its provisions, including the core instrument of the regime: the bilateral ABS agreement between users and providers of GR, that became a condition for obtaining access to the resource. However, scholars who analyzed the ABS regime as well as its official bodies find, and sometimes deplore, the small number of ABS agreements concluded so far, under the CBD as under the NP. This paper has two objectives: First, to assess the effectiveness of the ABS regime implemented by the CBD and the NP on the basis of its central instrument: the ABS agreements concluded between users and providers of GR. The aim is to accurately document the number of ABS agreements concluded since the entry into force of the regime. To our knowledge, such a counting that is neither piecemeal nor has an estimate yet been produced. To do so, I combine several sources, including first hand data collected from the official information agencies—the National Focal Points (NFP)—of each of the States Parties to the NP. Second, I provide a critical summary of the existing explanations of the low number of ABS agreements concluded and I evaluate the corresponding causal mechanisms, relying on the results I obtained regarding the number of permits and agreements. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Feasibility of Biomass Briquette Production from Municipal Waste Streams by Integrating the Informal Sector in the Philippines
Resources 2017, 6(1), 12; doi:10.3390/resources6010012
Received: 3 January 2017 / Revised: 17 February 2017 / Accepted: 19 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
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Abstract
A technical and socio-economic feasibility study of biomass briquette production was performed in Iloilo City, Philippines, by integrating a registered group of the informal sector. The study has shown that the simulated production of biomass briquettes obtained from the municipal waste stream could
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A technical and socio-economic feasibility study of biomass briquette production was performed in Iloilo City, Philippines, by integrating a registered group of the informal sector. The study has shown that the simulated production of biomass briquettes obtained from the municipal waste stream could lead to a feasible on-site fuel production line after determining its usability, quality and applicability to the would-be users. The technology utilized for briquetting is not complicated when operated due to its simple, yet sturdy design with suggestive results in terms of production rate, bulk density and heating value of the briquettes produced. Quality briquettes were created from mixtures of waste paper, sawdust and carbonized rice husk, making these material flows a renewable source of cost-effective fuels. An informal sector that would venture into briquette production can be considered profitable for small business enterprising, as demonstrated in the study. The informal sector from other parts of the world, having similar conditionality with that of the Uswag Calajunan Livelihood Association, Inc. (UCLA), could play a significant role in the recovery of these reusable waste materials from the waste stream and can add value to them as alternative fuels and raw materials (AFR) for household energy supply using appropriate technologies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Why Organization May Be the Primary Limitation to Implementing Sustainability at the Local Level: Examples from Swedish Case Studies
Resources 2017, 6(1), 13; doi:10.3390/resources6010013
Received: 18 August 2016 / Revised: 20 February 2017 / Accepted: 21 February 2017 / Published: 2 March 2017
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Abstract
Much of the effort to address environmental issues at the local level has focused on defining principles and aims rather than addressing the operational difficulties of implementation. Drawing upon insights from sustainability scholarship, this study reviews two cases: the development of a Swedish
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Much of the effort to address environmental issues at the local level has focused on defining principles and aims rather than addressing the operational difficulties of implementation. Drawing upon insights from sustainability scholarship, this study reviews two cases: the development of a Swedish standard for implementing sustainable development at municipality, county council, and regional levels, and attempts by a small rural municipality to establish a process towards implementing the Aalborg Commitments. The research illustrates the specific organizational and managerial complexity of these case study experiences. It concludes that an organizational focus on integration and mainstreaming deserves particular attention to achieve broader sustainability, or related environmental or adaptation goals. The results, in particular, highlight the role that integrated management systems can play for sustainability work at the local level. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Unpacking Changes in Mangrove Social-Ecological Systems: Lessons from Brazil, Zanzibar, and Vietnam
Resources 2017, 6(1), 14; doi:10.3390/resources6010014
Received: 30 August 2016 / Revised: 3 March 2017 / Accepted: 8 March 2017 / Published: 15 March 2017
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Abstract
Mangroves provide multiple benefits, from carbon storage and shoreline protection to food and energy for natural resource-dependent coastal communities. However, they are coming under increasing pressure from climate change, coastal development, and aquaculture. There is increasing need to better understand the changes mangroves
[...] Read more.
Mangroves provide multiple benefits, from carbon storage and shoreline protection to food and energy for natural resource-dependent coastal communities. However, they are coming under increasing pressure from climate change, coastal development, and aquaculture. There is increasing need to better understand the changes mangroves face and whether these changes differ or are similar in different parts of the world. Using a multiple case study approach, focused on Vietnam, Zanzibar, and Brazil, this research analyzed the drivers, pressures, states, impacts, and responses (DPSIR) of mangrove systems. A qualitative content analysis was used on a purposively sampled document set for each country to identify and collate evidence under each of the DPSIR categories. Population growth and changing political and economic processes were key drivers across the three countries, leading to land use change and declining states of mangroves. This had an impact on the delivery of regulatory and provisioning ecosystem services from mangroves and on the welfare of coastal communities. Responses have been predominantly regulatory and aim to improve mangrove states, but without always considering ecosystem services or the consequences for welfare. The issue of scale emerged as a critical factor with drivers, pressures, impacts, and responses operating at different levels (from international to local), with consequences for response effectiveness. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Pathways to Shape the Bioeconomy
Resources 2017, 6(1), 10; doi:10.3390/resources6010010
Received: 23 December 2016 / Revised: 3 February 2017 / Accepted: 13 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
In view of the increasing depletion of fossil fuel resources, the concept “bioeconomy” aims at the gradual replacement of fossil fuels by renewable feedstock. Seen as a comprehensive societal transition, the bioeconomy is a complex field that includes a variety of sectors, actors,
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In view of the increasing depletion of fossil fuel resources, the concept “bioeconomy” aims at the gradual replacement of fossil fuels by renewable feedstock. Seen as a comprehensive societal transition, the bioeconomy is a complex field that includes a variety of sectors, actors, and interests and is related to far-reaching changes in today’s production systems. While the objectives pursued—such as reducing dependence on fossil fuels, mitigating climate change, ensuring global food security, and increasing the industrial use of biogenic resources—are not generally contentious, there is fierce controversy over the possible pathways for achieving these objectives. Based on a thorough literature review, the article identifies major lines of conflict in the current discourse. Criticism of the prevalent concept refers mainly to the strong focus on technology, the lack of consideration given to alternative implementation pathways, the insufficient differentiation of underlying sustainability requirements, and the inadequate participation of societal stakeholders. Since today it cannot be predicted which pathway will be the most expedient—the one already being taken or one of the others proposed—this paper suggests pursuing a strategy of diversity concerning the approaches to shape the bioeconomy, the funding of research topics, and the involvement of stakeholders. Full article
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Other

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Open AccessEssay Key Issues of Interdisciplinary NEXUS Governance Analyses: Lessons Learned from Research on Integrated Water Resources Management
Resources 2017, 6(1), 9; doi:10.3390/resources6010009
Received: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 January 2017 / Published: 31 January 2017
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Abstract
Governance has become a cornerstone in addressing complex linkages between multiple resources such as water, energy, and food. However, contributions of governance research in interdisciplinary research projects are either lacking or highly controversial. Drawing on Integrated Water Resources Management-related experiences of German research
[...] Read more.
Governance has become a cornerstone in addressing complex linkages between multiple resources such as water, energy, and food. However, contributions of governance research in interdisciplinary research projects are either lacking or highly controversial. Drawing on Integrated Water Resources Management-related experiences of German research projects in emerging and developing countries, we demonstrate how to strengthen NEXUS-related governance analyses: There has to be a stronger focus on the analyses of existing and useful governance strategies as well as of conditions for governance transitions; governance analyses should refer to different types of problems, instead of only focusing on single cases and abstract analyses; and answers must be based on a more elaborate practice of inter- and transdisciplinary research. These suggestions should be implemented on the level of single researchers, but should also require incentives on an institutional level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toward Integrated Water-Energy-Land-Food Management)

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