Open AccessArticle
Life Cycle Cost Evaluation of Noise and Vibration Control Methods at Urban Railway Turnouts
Environments 2016, 3(4), 34; doi:10.3390/environments3040034 -
Abstract
A focus of the railway industry over the past decades has been to research, find and develop methods to mitigate noise and vibration resulting from wheel/rail contact along track infrastructure. This resulted in a wide range of abatement measures that are available for
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A focus of the railway industry over the past decades has been to research, find and develop methods to mitigate noise and vibration resulting from wheel/rail contact along track infrastructure. This resulted in a wide range of abatement measures that are available for today’s engineers. The suitability of each method must be analysed through budget and timeframe limitations, which includes building, maintenance and inspection costs and time allocation, while also aiming at delivering other benefits, such as environmental impact and durability of infrastructure. There are several situations that need noise and vibration mitigation methods, but each design allocates different priorities on a case-by-case basis. Traditionally, the disturbance caused by railways to the community are generated by wheel/rail contact sound radiation that is expressed in different ways, depending on the movement of the rolling stock and track alignment, such as rolling noise, impact noise and curve noise. More specifically, in special trackworks such as turnouts (or called “switches and crossings”), there are two types of noise that can often be observed: impact noise and screeching noise. With respect to the screeching (or flanging), its mitigation methods are usually associated with curve lubrications. In contrast, the impact noise emerges from the sound made by the rolling stock moving through joints and discontinuities (i.e., gaps), resulting in various noise abatement features to minimise such noise impact. Life cycle analysis is therefore vital for cost efficiency benchmarking of the mitigation methods. The evaluation is based on available data from open literature and the total costs were estimated from valid industry reports to maintain coherency. A 50-year period for a life cycle analysis is chosen for this study. As for the general parameters, an area with a high density of people is considered to estimate the values for a community with very strict limits for noise and vibration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Perceptions of Socio-Ecological Changes and Their Implications on Changes in Farming Practises and Agricultural Land Uses in the Savannahs of Northeast Ghana
Environments 2016, 3(4), 33; doi:10.3390/environments3040033 -
Abstract
This study assesses the perceptions of local farming households in the savannahs of northeast Ghana about the patterns of ecological and social changes happening around them over the years. It then unpacks how those perceptions are influencing farming practices and agricultural land use
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This study assesses the perceptions of local farming households in the savannahs of northeast Ghana about the patterns of ecological and social changes happening around them over the years. It then unpacks how those perceptions are influencing farming practices and agricultural land use changes. Theoretical and empirical understandings of the value of local resource users’ perceptual judgements about changes in their socio-ecological environment and how they respond to those changes have far-reaching implications for design of agricultural development and sustainable land management policies. Consideration of local perceptions offers more informed basis to design and implement agricultural development policies in ways that encourage active local participation, sustainable livelihoods development, and responsiveness to changing conditions. This departs from current conventional implementation systems, which are usually top-down and based on technical and political aspects of agricultural land management, but do not necessarily comprehend processes influencing the agency of local communities in shaping various agricultural land use outcomes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Illegal Hunting of Prey Species in the Northern Section of Bardia National Park, Nepal: Implications for Carnivore Conservation
Environments 2016, 3(4), 32; doi:10.3390/environments3040032 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
We interviewed 48 people from communities around Bardia National Park in Nepal, including ex-hunters and protected area management professionals. The purpose of the interviews was to understand the motivations for, and the nature of, illegal hunting of prey species of iconic predators—tigers and
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We interviewed 48 people from communities around Bardia National Park in Nepal, including ex-hunters and protected area management professionals. The purpose of the interviews was to understand the motivations for, and the nature of, illegal hunting of prey species of iconic predators—tigers and leopards—in the northern section of the park. Participants reported that hunting of prey species occurs mostly in spring and autumn and is less common during the summer. In the past, hunting was primarily for the purposes of obtaining meat for household consumption. Since the introduction of a road network in the region, opportunities to sell wild meat at ad hoc “highway markets” have developed. The purported medicinal properties of wild meat was also cited as a driver for illegal hunting. Guns (mostly made locally, by hand) and dogs were reported to be commonly used. Protected area managers indicated that illegal hunting problems in the study area are associated with a lack of presence of park authorities, remoteness and underdevelopment and poverty of the community. Our study suggested that skills development training for local community members might reduce dependency of local people on wild meat, for both household consumption and for income, thereby reducing illegal hunting. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Potential Reduction of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions from Gas Flaring in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry through Alternative Productive Use
Environments 2016, 3(4), 31; doi:10.3390/environments3040031 -
Abstract
Globally, climate change and its adverse effects on the human population and the environment has necessitated significant research on the sustainable use of natural resources. Gas flaring in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry causes environmental and health hazards and to a large extent,
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Globally, climate change and its adverse effects on the human population and the environment has necessitated significant research on the sustainable use of natural resources. Gas flaring in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry causes environmental and health hazards and to a large extent, culminates in yearly loss of the Nation’s revenue. The aim of the study is to highlight the potentials of converting flared gas from the Nigerian oil and gas industry to compressed natural gas (CNG) which could be an alternative fuel for the 220 Lagos Bus Rapid Transit (BRT-Lite) while reducing CO2 emissions. In addition, the study provided an overview of gas flaring in the oil and gas industry and energy utilisation in some selected sectors in the country. The Long-range Energy Alternative Planning System (LEAP) software was employed to model the energy demand and carbon dioxide emissions from the BRT-Lite by creating a current scenario and projections to the year 2030. The use of CNG as an alternative fuel for Lagos BRT-Lite will significantly reduce CO2 emissions in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. Other utilization options for flared gas from this industry includes: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), and power generation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sensitivity Analysis of a Riparian Vegetation Growth Model
Environments 2016, 3(4), 30; doi:10.3390/environments3040030 -
Abstract
The paper presents a sensitivity analysis of two main parameters used in a mathematic model able to evaluate the effects of changing hydrology on the growth of riparian vegetation along rivers and its effects on the cross-section width. Due to a lack of
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The paper presents a sensitivity analysis of two main parameters used in a mathematic model able to evaluate the effects of changing hydrology on the growth of riparian vegetation along rivers and its effects on the cross-section width. Due to a lack of data in existing literature, in a past study the schematization proposed here was applied only to two large rivers, assuming steady conditions for the vegetational carrying capacity and coupling the vegetal model with a 1D description of the river morphology. In this paper, the limitation set by steady conditions is overcome, imposing the vegetational evolution dependent upon the initial plant population and the growth rate, which represents the potential growth of the overall vegetation along the watercourse. The sensitivity analysis shows that, regardless of the initial population density, the growth rate can be considered the main parameter defining the development of riparian vegetation, but it results site-specific effects, with significant differences for large and small rivers. Despite the numerous simplifications adopted and the small database analyzed, the comparison between measured and computed river widths shows a quite good capability of the model in representing the typical interactions between riparian vegetation and water flow occurring along watercourses. After a thorough calibration, the relatively simple structure of the code permits further developments and applications to a wide range of alluvial rivers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Seasonal Variations in the Use of Profundal Habitat among Freshwater Fishes in Lake Norsjø, Southern Norway, and Subsequent Effects on Fish Mercury Concentrations
Environments 2016, 3(4), 29; doi:10.3390/environments3040029 -
Abstract
This study is based on monthly sampling of fish from grates mounted at an industrial water intake, located at a depth of 50 m in Lake Norsjø (Southern Norway) during the year 2014, to investigate seasonal variations in the use of the profundal
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This study is based on monthly sampling of fish from grates mounted at an industrial water intake, located at a depth of 50 m in Lake Norsjø (Southern Norway) during the year 2014, to investigate seasonal variations in the use of the profundal habitat and subsequent variations in total Hg-concentrations in profundal fish. Data on various fish present in a cold and dark hypolimnion of a large, deep, dimictic lake within the upper temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere are rare. While predominant species such as A. charr (Salvelinus alpinus) and E. smelt (Osmerus eperlanus) were continuously present in this habitat, whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus) occupied this habitat primarily during wintertime, while other common species like brown trout (Salmo trutta), perch (Perca fluviatilis) and northern pike (Esox lucius) were almost absent. Besides stomach analyses (diet) and biometry, stable isotope analyses (δ15N and δ13C) and total mercury (Tot-Hg) analyses were carried out on the caught fish. The δ13C signature and stomach analyses revealed a combined profundal-pelagic diet for all three species, A. charr with the most profundal-based diet. Length was the strongest predictor for Hg in whitefish and A. charr, while age was the strongest explanatory variable for Hg in E. smelt. A. charr was the only species exhibiting seasonal variation in Hg, highest during winter and spring. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Assessment of Fecal Contamination in Oklahoma Water Systems through the Use of Sterol Fingerprints
Environments 2016, 3(4), 28; doi:10.3390/environments3040028 -
Abstract
Fecal contamination is a major concern for water quality management, since the fecal materials are associated with pathogens that can cause illness wherever water is used for recreational, drinking and aquaculture purposes. In order to monitor source(s) of fecal contamination in Oklahoma water
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Fecal contamination is a major concern for water quality management, since the fecal materials are associated with pathogens that can cause illness wherever water is used for recreational, drinking and aquaculture purposes. In order to monitor source(s) of fecal contamination in Oklahoma water systems, sterol profiles were previously examined in rural and urban samples collected from the Illinois River Basin and the Norman Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), respectively. Two distinctive, qualitatively and quantitatively, sterol fingerprints were recognized. Despite the effective removal of organic material by the Norman WWTP, human-derived sterol fingerprints, characterized by a predominance of fecal stanols such as coprostanol, were still significant in the output from the plant. The source of fecal material in the Illinois River samples (rural) was defined as being characteristic of corn-feed chicken manure originating from surrounding feedlots through the principal component analysis (PCA) of the sterol distributions and carbon compound specific isotope analysis of selected sterols (CSIA, δ13C). Thiosteranes, formed during sludge treatments, were also shown to be useful tracers for monitoring sludge application in agriculture fields. The results obtained were used to provide water management authorities with qualitative insights into the source of fecal material inputs into the environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Study on the Kinetics and Removal Formula of Methanethiol by Ethanol Absorption
Environments 2016, 3(4), 27; doi:10.3390/environments3040027 -
Abstract
Biological filtration is widely used for deodorising in wastewater treatment plants. This technique can efficiently remove soluble odour-causing substances, but minimally affects hydrophobic odorants, such as methanethiol (MT) and dimethyl sulfide. Ethanol absorption capacity for MT (as a representative hydrophobic odorant) was studied,
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Biological filtration is widely used for deodorising in wastewater treatment plants. This technique can efficiently remove soluble odour-causing substances, but minimally affects hydrophobic odorants, such as methanethiol (MT) and dimethyl sulfide. Ethanol absorption capacity for MT (as a representative hydrophobic odorant) was studied, and the MT removal rate formula was deduced based on the principle of physical absorption. Results indicated that the MT removal rate reached 80% when the volume ratio of ethanol/water was 1:5. The phase equilibrium constant was 0.024, and the overall mass transfer coefficient was 2.55 kmol/m2·h in the deodorisation tower that functioned as the physical absorption device. Examination results showed that the formula exhibited adaptability under changing working conditions. These findings provide a reference for engineering design and operation of a process for the removal of MT by ethanol absorption. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Organic Matter Removal Efficiency and Microbial Enzyme Activity in Vertical-Flow Constructed Wetland Systems
Environments 2016, 3(4), 26; doi:10.3390/environments3040026 -
Abstract
In this study, enzyme activities and their relationships to organics purification were investigated in three different vertical flow constructed wetlands, namely system A (planting Pennisetum sinese Roxb), system B (planting Pennisetum purpureum Schum.), and system C (no plant). These three wetland
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In this study, enzyme activities and their relationships to organics purification were investigated in three different vertical flow constructed wetlands, namely system A (planting Pennisetum sinese Roxb), system B (planting Pennisetum purpureum Schum.), and system C (no plant). These three wetland systems were fed with simulation domestic sewage at an influent flow rate of 20 cm/day. The results showed that the final removal efficiency of Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) in these three systems was 87%, 85% and 63%, respectively. Planting Pennisetum sinese Roxb and Pennisetum purpureum Schum. could improve the amount of adsorption and interception for organic matter in the substrate, and the amount of interception of organic matter in planting the Pennisetum sinese Roxb system was higher than that in planting the Pennisetum purpureum Schum. system. The activities of enzymes (urease, phosphatase and cellulase) in systems A and B were higher than those in system C, and these enzyme activities in the top layer (0–30 cm) were significantly higher than in the other layers. The correlations between the activities of urease, phosphatase, cellulase and the COD removal rates were R = 0.815, 0.961 and 0.973, respectively. It suggests that using Pennisetum sinese Roxb and Pennisetum purpureum Schum. as wetland plants could promote organics removal, and the activities of urease, phosphatase and cellulase in those three systems were important indicators for COD purification from wastewater. In addition, 0–30 cm was the main function layer. This study could provide a theoretical basis for COD removal in the wetland system and supply new plant materials for selection. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Vegetation Structure and Carbon Stocks of Two Protected Areas within the South-Sudanian Savannas of Burkina Faso
Environments 2016, 3(4), 25; doi:10.3390/environments3040025 -
Abstract
Savannas and adjacent vegetation types like gallery forests are highly valuable ecosystems contributing to several ecosystem services including carbon budgeting. Financial mechanisms such as REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) can provide an opportunity for developing countries to alleviate poverty through
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Savannas and adjacent vegetation types like gallery forests are highly valuable ecosystems contributing to several ecosystem services including carbon budgeting. Financial mechanisms such as REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) can provide an opportunity for developing countries to alleviate poverty through conservation of its forestry resources. However, for availing such opportunities carbon stock assessments are essential. Therefore, a research study for this purpose was conducted at two protected areas (Nazinga Game Ranch and Bontioli Nature Reserve) in Burkina Faso. Similarly, analysis of various vegetation parameters was also conducted to understand the overall vegetation structure of these two protected areas. For estimating above ground biomass, existing allometric equations for dry tropical woody vegetation types were used. Compositional structure was described by applying tree species and family importance indices. The results show that both sites collectively contain a mean carbon stock of 3.41 ± 4.98 Mg·C·ha−1. Among different savanna vegetation types, gallery forests recorded the highest mean carbon stock of 9.38 ± 6.90 Mg·C·ha−1. This study was an attempt at addressing the knowledge gap particularly on carbon stocks of protected savannas—it can serve as a baseline for carbon stocks for future initiatives such as REDD+ within these areas. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Potential of CO2 Capture and Storage Technology in South Africa’s Coal-Fired Thermal Power Plants
Environments 2016, 3(3), 24; doi:10.3390/environments3030024 -
Abstract
The global atmospheric concentration of anthropogenic gases, such as carbon dioxide, has increased substantially over the past few decades due to the high level of industrialization and urbanization that is occurring in developing countries, like South Africa. This has escalated the challenges of
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The global atmospheric concentration of anthropogenic gases, such as carbon dioxide, has increased substantially over the past few decades due to the high level of industrialization and urbanization that is occurring in developing countries, like South Africa. This has escalated the challenges of global warming. In South Africa, carbon capture and storage (CCS) from coal-fired power plants is attracting increasing attention as an alternative approach towards the mitigation of carbon dioxide emission. Therefore, innovative strategies and process optimization of CCS systems is essential in order to improve the process efficiency of this technology in South Africa. This review assesses the potential of CCS as an alternative approach to reducing the amount CO2 emitted from the South African coal-fired power plants. It examines the various CCS processes that could be used for capturing the emitted CO2. Finally, it proposes the use of new adsorbents that could be incorporated towards the improvement of CCS technology. Full article
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Open AccessCase Report
Toxic Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the Atmospheric Environment: Regulatory Aspects and Monitoring in Japan and Korea
Environments 2016, 3(3), 23; doi:10.3390/environments3030023 -
Abstract
In the past decades, hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), so-called air toxics or toxic air pollutants, have been detected in the atmospheric air at low concentration levels, causing public concern about the adverse effect of long-term exposure to HAPs on human health. Most HAPs
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In the past decades, hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), so-called air toxics or toxic air pollutants, have been detected in the atmospheric air at low concentration levels, causing public concern about the adverse effect of long-term exposure to HAPs on human health. Most HAPs belong to volatile organic compounds (VOCs). More seriously, most of them are known carcinogens or probably carcinogenic to humans. The objectives of this paper were to report the regulatory aspects and environmental monitoring management of toxic VOCs designated by Japan and Korea under the Air Pollution Control Act, and the Clean Air Conservation Act, respectively. It can be found that the environmental quality standards and environmental monitoring of priority VOCs (i.e., benzene, trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, and dichloromethane) have been set and taken by the state and local governments of Japan since the early 2000, but not completely established in Korea. On the other hand, the significant progress in reducing the emissions of some toxic VOCs, including acrylonitrile, benzene, 1,3-butadiene, 1,2-dichloroethane, dichloromethane, chloroform, tetrachloroethylene, and trichloroethylene in Japan was also described as a case study in the brief report paper. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Analysis and Modelling of Taste and Odour Events in a Shallow Subtropical Reservoir
Environments 2016, 3(3), 22; doi:10.3390/environments3030022 -
Abstract
Understanding and predicting Taste and Odour events is as difficult as critical for drinking water treatment plants. Following a number of events in recent years, a comprehensive statistical analysis of data from Lake Tingalpa (Queensland, Australia) was conducted. Historical manual sampling data, as
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Understanding and predicting Taste and Odour events is as difficult as critical for drinking water treatment plants. Following a number of events in recent years, a comprehensive statistical analysis of data from Lake Tingalpa (Queensland, Australia) was conducted. Historical manual sampling data, as well as data remotely collected by a vertical profiler, were collected; regression analysis and self-organising maps were the used to determine correlations between Taste and Odour compounds and potential input variables. Results showed that the predominant Taste and Odour compound was geosmin. Although one of the main predictors was the occurrence of cyanobacteria blooms, it was noticed that the cyanobacteria species was also critical. Additionally, water temperature, reservoir volume and oxidised nitrogen availability, were key inputs determining the occurrence and magnitude of the geosmin peak events. Based on the results of the statistical analysis, a predictive regression model was developed to provide indications on the potential occurrence, and magnitude, of peaks in geosmin concentration. Additionally, it was found that the blue green algae probe of the lake’s vertical profiler has the potential to be used as one of the inputs for an automated geosmin early warning system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Land-Use Change Modelling in the Upper Blue Nile Basin
Environments 2016, 3(3), 21; doi:10.3390/environments3030021 -
Abstract
Land-use and land-cover changes are driving unprecedented changes in ecosystems and environmental processes at different scales. This study was aimed at identifying the potential land-use drivers in the Jedeb catchment of the Abbay basin by combining statistical analysis, field investigation and remote sensing.
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Land-use and land-cover changes are driving unprecedented changes in ecosystems and environmental processes at different scales. This study was aimed at identifying the potential land-use drivers in the Jedeb catchment of the Abbay basin by combining statistical analysis, field investigation and remote sensing. To do so, a land-use change model was calibrated and evaluated using the SITE (SImulation of Terrestrial Environment) modelling framework. SITE is cellular automata based multi-criteria decision analysis framework for simulating land-use conversion based on socio-economic and environmental factors. Past land-use trajectories (1986–2009) were evaluated using a reference Landsat-derived map (agreement of 84%). Results show that major land-use change drivers in the study area were population, slope, livestock and distances from various infrastructures (roads, markets and water). It was also found that farmers seem to increasingly prefer plantations of trees such as Eucalyptus by replacing croplands perhaps mainly due to declining crop yield, soil fertility and climate variability. Potential future trajectory of land-use change was also predicted under a business-as-usual scenario (2009–2025). Results show that agricultural land will continue to expand from 69.5% in 2009 to 77.5% in 2025 in the catchment albeit at a declining rate when compared with the period from 1986 to 2009. Plantation forest will also increase at a much higher rate, mainly at the expense of natural vegetation, agricultural land and grasslands. This study provides critical information to land-use planners and policy makers for a more effective and proactive management in this highland catchment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Forest-Cover Change and Participatory Forest Management of the Lembus Forest, Kenya
Environments 2016, 3(3), 20; doi:10.3390/environments3030020 -
Abstract
Forests are a vital resource supporting the livelihoods of rural communities in Kenya. In spite of this significant role, human activities have put increased pressure on this resource, leading to continued forest-cover decline. To address forest-cover decline, the Kenyan government introduced Participatory Forest
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Forests are a vital resource supporting the livelihoods of rural communities in Kenya. In spite of this significant role, human activities have put increased pressure on this resource, leading to continued forest-cover decline. To address forest-cover decline, the Kenyan government introduced Participatory Forest Management (PFM) through its Forest Department in the early 2000s, enabling local communities to form and register Community Forest Associations (CFAs). This study was conducted to examine the impacts of the PFM approach on the Lembus Forest-cover change. Three Landsat satellite images (Landsat 5 TM acquired on 9 January 1985; Landsat 7 ETM+ acquired on 1 February 2002; and Landsat 8 OLI (Operational Land Imager) acquired on 1 March 2015) were used to analyse forest-cover change in the 1st period (1985–2002) and the 2nd period (2002–2015). In analysing the contribution of CFAs in conservation and management of the Lembus Forest, questionnaire sheets were distributed randomly to various residents living adjacent to the Lembus Forest; 327 valid responses were obtained from heads of households. The results of the land-cover change show a decrease in the percentage of forest-cover decline from 11.2%, registered in the 1st period, to 8.2% in the 2nd period. This led to the decrease of the annual rate of the forest-cover decline from 0.4 in the 1st period to 0.2 in the 2nd period. Three CFAs operate in this area, and 75% of the respondents participated in tree planting and 16% participated in tree pruning. This type of community participation is thought to most likely be the cause of the decline of the recent decreasing annual rate of forest-cover loss in the study area. Conversely, we found out that important initiatives, such as a forest patrol, had not been implemented due to lack of funding, and that CFAs and Kenya Forest Service had not yet signed any management agreement. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Green Economy Modelling of Ecosystem Services along the “Road to Dawei”
Environments 2016, 3(3), 19; doi:10.3390/environments3030019 -
Abstract
This review of the study “Road to Dawei”, conducted by WWF Greater Mekong, seeks to assess economic, social and environmental impacts of road construction between Kanchanaburi, Thailand and Dawei, Myanmar. It also aims to identify relevant Green Economy policy interventions that would enhance
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This review of the study “Road to Dawei”, conducted by WWF Greater Mekong, seeks to assess economic, social and environmental impacts of road construction between Kanchanaburi, Thailand and Dawei, Myanmar. It also aims to identify relevant Green Economy policy interventions that would enhance the sustainable use and conservation of natural capital, which is considered to be a foundation for sustainable and inclusive economic development. In particular, the study concentrates on the identification of feedback loops, delays and nonlinearity in order to properly map the socio-economic and environmental system analysed and inform decision making. Results are presented for three different scenarios both for Myanmar and for Thailand. Simulation results show that a conventional approach to road construction is likely to have positive economic impacts in the region, especially in the short term, but also negative consequences for the integrity of the ecosystem, which in turn might also negatively impact on the investment itself and its economic outcomes in the medium and longer term. Further, results indicate that green economy interventions would mitigate environmental risks by creating synergies across sectors, systemically. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Spatial Inequalities and Wind Farm Development in the Dodecanese Islands—Legislative Framework and Planning: A Review
Environments 2016, 3(3), 18; doi:10.3390/environments3030018 -
Abstract
Islands present sustainable energy growth challenges due to a number of reasons such as remoteness, limited energy resources, vulnerability to external events and strong dependence on international trade agreements. In particular, the Dodecanese Islands of the Aegean Sea cover their electricity needs mostly
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Islands present sustainable energy growth challenges due to a number of reasons such as remoteness, limited energy resources, vulnerability to external events and strong dependence on international trade agreements. In particular, the Dodecanese Islands of the Aegean Sea cover their electricity needs mostly on the basis of autonomous conventional stations, consuming significant quantities of imported oil annually. Renewable energy sources (RES) penetration increase addresses the global requirements towards a carbon neutral environment, and wind farms (WFs) are among the most well-known green electricity-production alternatives. The study explores wind power installation potential of the Dodecanese Islands and the storage or interconnection options, based on the national and European legislative framework and the international scientific literature. The major finding is that, due to the high wind potential of the area, the National policy and targets focus on the installation of great RES power at Greek islands. Hence, private interests, who are willing to carry out the electrical interconnection of islands to the mainland, serve the same objective. Both scientific and business proposals overcome the local wind power installation capacity and neglect local specifics and needs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Classification of Land Use on Sand-Dune Topography by Object-Based Analysis, Digital Photogrammetry, and GIS Analysis in the Horqin Sandy Land, China
Environments 2016, 3(3), 17; doi:10.3390/environments3030017 -
Abstract
Previous field research on the Horqin Sandy Land (China), which has suffered from severe desertification during recent decades, revealed how land use on a sand-dune topography affects both land degradation and restoration. This study aimed to depict the spatial distribution of local land
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Previous field research on the Horqin Sandy Land (China), which has suffered from severe desertification during recent decades, revealed how land use on a sand-dune topography affects both land degradation and restoration. This study aimed to depict the spatial distribution of local land use in order to shed more light on previous field findings regarding policies on a broader scale. We performed the following analyses with Panchromatic Remote-sensing Instrument for Stereo Mapping (PRISM) and Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer type 2 (AVNIR-2) images of Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS): (1) object-based classification to discriminate preliminary classification of land-use types that were approximately differentiated by ordinary pixel-based analysis with spectral information; (2) digital photogrammetry to generate a digital surface model (DSM) with adequately high accuracy to represent undulating sand-dune topography; (3) geographic information system (GIS) analysis to classify major topographic types with the digital surface model (DSM); and (4) overlay of the two classification results to depict the local land-use types. The overall accuracies of the object-based and GIS-based classifications were high, at 93% (kappa statistic: 0.84) and 89% (kappa statistic: 0.81), respectively. The resultant local land-use map represents areas covered in previous field studies, showing where and how land degradation and restoration are likely to occur. This research can contribute to future environmental surveys, models, and policies in the study area. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Review of Special Issues in the First Half of 2016
Environments 2016, 3(3), 16; doi:10.3390/environments3030016 -
Abstract Environments was launched two years ago, in March 2014.[...] Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Pteris cretica as a Potential Biomarker and Hyperaccumulator in an Abandoned Mine Site, Southwest Japan
Environments 2016, 3(3), 15; doi:10.3390/environments3030015 -
Abstract
This study aimed to determine the potential of naturally occurring Cretan brake fern (Pteris cretica) as a biomarker and hyperaccumulator in an abandoned mine in Southwest Japan. This species is a known hyperaccumulator of As. Total concentrations of heavy metals and
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This study aimed to determine the potential of naturally occurring Cretan brake fern (Pteris cretica) as a biomarker and hyperaccumulator in an abandoned mine in Southwest Japan. This species is a known hyperaccumulator of As. Total concentrations of heavy metals and As were determined in the shoots and roots of plants collected from inside and outside of the mine area. The results indicate that As and Pb in the shoots of P. cretica reached 1290 and 3840 mg/kg dry weight, respectively, which is classified as hyperaccumulation. The metal uptake intensity in the shoots indicates that P. cretica is a biomarker for As, Pb, and Zn. Furthermore, the metal concentrations, and bioconcentration and translocation factors indicate that P. cretica is a good candidate for phytoremediation of sites that are contaminated with As and Pb. Full article
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