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Journal Cover   Environment, Development and Sustainability
  [SJR: 0.419]   [H-I: 29]   [29 followers]  Follow
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 1573-2975 - ISSN (Online) 1387-585X
   Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2291 journals]
  • Planetary boundaries: at the threshold… again: sustainable
           development ideas and politics
    • Abstract: Abstract The implications of the planetary boundaries (PBs) proposal involves scientific, moral and political dimensions. The core of the PBs idea is that humankind is transgressing global environmental tipping points resulting in changed conditions that threaten to unravel human progress. The growing status of the proposal potentially makes it a highly influential organising concept that seems to contain within it aspirations to dramatically reconstitute the relationship between society and the environment—thereby transforming the politics of sustainable development. This paper situates PBs in contemporary green thinking. Key planning events and related documents supporting the Post-2015 Development Agenda process are then examined to identify strategies and reactions to the PB proposal. The findings show that divisions reminiscent of older North/South environment and development tensions related to the role of experts, democracy and the Right to Development threaten to prevent PBs from being mainstreamed in key UN environment and development programmes and fora.
      PubDate: 2015-08-01
  • Climate change, health, and sustainable development in Africa
    • Abstract: Abstract This paper critically examines the effects of climate change on the African continent and suggests ways in which the negative effects of climate change can be effectively combatted to ensure sustainable development. Although responsible for a small share of global climate change, Africa is the most vulnerable region of the world to climate change, which destroys the people’s source of food, medication, shelter, and income, leading to poor nutrition and exposure to infectious diseases, more hospitalizations, less working hours, and heavy financial losses. Apart from global environmental deterioration, Africa is one of the regions of the world experiencing the severest droughts and water scarcity. The impact of all this on Africa’s already fragile socio-economic and political structures is grave. Climate change threatens the political stability of the continent. In this paper we argue that the effects of climate change on the continent have been amplified by human choices and political ineptitude of the ruling elites in Africa. We maintain that good governance, the promotion of African traditional values that encourage the protection of the environment, paying attention to rural development and the emancipation of women economically and politically, and investing in alternative and renewable energy are the necessary pre-conditions for effectively mitigating the effects of climate change and ensuring sustainable development in Africa.
      PubDate: 2015-08-01
  • From international principles to local practices: a socio-legal framing of
           public participation research
    • Abstract: Abstract Natural resource management (NRM) is a complex public policy field, which challenges conventional governance structures. Increasing the role of community in the protection, restoration and management of natural resources is a stated priority of ecologically sustainable development (ESD) principles. Despite a proliferation of legal requirements for public participation and non-legal guidelines that promote community access to environmental decision-making at both the international and national scale, implementation is often unsatisfactory and difficult to evaluate. There is a need to develop methodologies that can improve the design, implementation and evaluation of community engagement. Australia is a member of the United Nations and has participated in the development of international principles for public participation, most notably agreeing to the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21. The terminology of ESD appears in much environmental legislation developed at the national and intra-national level. This paper examines the role of international legal and non-legal frameworks in driving national reform. This paper suggests that existing international frameworks can connect social norms of public participation with legal norms of procedural justice to provide a pathway for improving governance in this complex area. The need to develop robust socio-legal methodologies that can assess implementation of ESD principles provides the impetus for this paper. A possible methodology is outlined, and early empirical results described.
      PubDate: 2015-08-01
  • A review on composting of oil palm biomass
    • Abstract: Abstract Nowadays, the biomass produced in oil palm industry, such as oil palm fronds, palm pressed fibers, palm kernel shells, empty fruit bunch, and liquid waste discharged from the palm oil mill effluent and others, may lead to significant environmental concerns. The quantity of produced wastes by oil palm industry is increasing with the growth of this industry day by day. Therefore, the use of these wastes as compost is considered by researchers to overcome their negative impacts and recycle them to produce a useful byproduct for agriculture. This review analyzes the recent composting studies on palm oil biomass and provides useful information about the potential uses of these biomass in composting as an alternative method for enhanced and sustainable use of biomass produced from oil palm industry. In addition, environmental impacts of composting are discussed. This knowledge could build a platform for researchers in this area to understand the recent developments in palm oil biomass composting by means of addressing the environmental pollution concerns as well.
      PubDate: 2015-08-01
  • Implications of the Minamata Convention on Mercury for informal gold
           mining in Sub-Saharan Africa: from global policy debates to grassroots
    • Abstract: Abstract In October 2013, after years of negotiation, governments from 92 countries signed a historic agreement called the Minamata Convention on Mercury, establishing mandatory measures to curb mercury use and pollution. Article 7 of the Convention stipulates that governments must create National Action Plans to reduce and where feasible eliminate mercury use in artisanal gold mining, a rapidly growing informal sector in much of Africa, with strategies to be monitored by the Convention Secretariat. The purpose of this study is to critically analyze the implications of the Minamata Convention for the artisanal mining sector in Sub-Saharan Africa, which currently depends upon mercury amalgamation for gold extraction. Our analysis draws on examples from Zimbabwe and Tanzania, countries with divergent political challenges but both with expanding artisanal mining sectors. We argue that a paradigm shift is needed to address intertwined technological, political and socio-economic challenges facing marginalized populations in mining communities. We highlight why meeting the Convention targets requires that international donors and national policymakers proactively engage—rather than vilify—artisanal miners who use mercury, prioritizing local knowledge and collaborative community-based decision making to develop effective pollution abatement initiatives in gold mining regions. We further argue that gender-sensitive grassroots empowerment initiatives including microfinance programs are vital to facilitate adopting cleaner technology, as required by Article 7. Finally, the analysis underscores the need for fundamentally reforming national mining policy priorities, recognizing marginalized mining communities’ resource rights and tackling livelihood insecurity as part of efforts to implement the Minamata Convention. In considering what ‘grassroots’ implementation could mean, the article contributes to a growing body of scholarship calling attention to fairness and equity concerns in order to achieve the aims of global environmental agreements.
      PubDate: 2015-08-01
  • Households’ perception and livelihood vulnerability to climate
           change in a coastal area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria
    • Abstract: Abstract This study examines households’ perception and livelihood vulnerability to climate change in a coastal area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. It employed multistage sampling procedure, selected a total of 101 households from three coastal communities in Ibeno local government area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria and obtained primary data on several indicators through interviews guided by a structured questionnaire. From the data obtained, the study examined households’ perception and developed a livelihood vulnerability index (LVI) to assess livelihood vulnerability. The result showed that households in the study area generally perceive that all the climate variables considered in the study, especially timing and length of the average rainy season, have changed over time. These are in line with meteorological data obtained from the Nigerian Meteorological Agency. In addition, the LVI shows that households are vulnerable to changes in climate variables. Households in the study area are striving to adapt to these changes but facing many challenges of which lack of adequate finance is the most important. Although these challenges are multifarious, they can be reduced through adequate support of government and non-governmental organizations. Consequently, policy recommendations are discussed.
      PubDate: 2015-08-01
  • Unifying the catch data of a divided island: Cyprus’s marine
           fisheries catches, 1950–2010
    • Abstract: Abstract The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974 into the Turkish Cypriot north and the Greek Cypriot south. Here, we have reconstructed the total marine fishery removals for the island in its entirety, and then for each side. Cyprus’s total marine fisheries catches were reconstructed for the 1950–2010 time period by estimating all fishery removals, including unreported commercial, subsistence and recreational catches, and major discards. These estimates were added to the ‘officially reported’ data, as represented by data submitted by countries to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Such data were submitted by the south, but were absent from the north for years following the 1974 partitioning of the island. The total reconstructed catch for 1950–2010 was nearly 243,000 t, which is 2.6 times the 93,200 t officially reported by FAO on behalf of Cyprus. The unreported components consisted of nearly 57,000 t of large-scale commercial landings, 43,000 t of small-scale commercial landings, 11,000 t each for recreational and subsistence landings and nearly 28,000 t of discards. Improving the accuracy of fishery statistics by accounting for all removals is fundamental for better understanding fisheries resource use thus increasing the opportunities for sustainable development through enhancing fisheries management capacity.
      PubDate: 2015-08-01
  • Non-timber forest products certification and management: a socioeconomic
           study among the Kadars in Kerala, India
    • Abstract: Abstract Debates on linking livelihoods and conservation through the commercialization of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) continue to hold significance considering the increasing market demand for NTFPs, its high economic value for forest-dependent communities and “enabling” neoliberal policies that are in place. Kerala, located on the southwest coast of India, flanked by the Western Ghats—a UN declared biodiversity hot spot, on its windward side, is of particular significance due to the presence of the Ayurvedic industry—a traditional medicine industry that procures 90 % of its raw materials from the wild. In addition, the presence of a resource-dependent tribal population re-affirms the economic, social and cultural significance of NTFPs. Unsustainable practices and poor co-management and marketing arrangements have rendered the sector ineffective in terms of meeting livelihood as well as conservation goals in the region. Although new approaches such as NTFP certification are being recommended for India not much has been reported on its feasibility and/or implementation challenges. Focusing on the Kadar community of Kerala, this study attempts to highlight some of the issues within the sector and using an “instrumental model”, present the benefits accrued from new strategies such as NTFP certification through quantitative and qualitative assessments. Last but not least, recommendations for the adoption of sustainable strategies in context with the existing policy environment are provided that may be broadly applicable to other forest-dependent communities in India and elsewhere.
      PubDate: 2015-08-01
  • Residents’ perception of tourism development as a vital step for
           participatory tourism plan: a research in a Greek protected area
    • Abstract: Abstract The literature review has revealed the critical role of local residents in ongoing tourism development. The present paper investigates the perceptions of the Greek local population toward tourism development and their engagement in participatory opportunities in a case study of a Greek protected area. According to the results, the respondents have not fully understood the meaning of the protected area. They pay particular attention to activities related to business and economic development, derived from the activities which are proposed as necessary for tourism development. Furthermore, the study shows the weak engagement of the respondents in participatory opportunities which is related to the demographic characteristics of them, as well as to the factors related to economic benefits and environment. However, residents support the need for a new scheme where local population will actively participate in the decision-making process. The supporting role of local authorities is likely to be one of the main factors affecting residents’ intention to engage in participatory opportunities.
      PubDate: 2015-08-01
  • Renewable energy in Saudi Arabia: current status and future potentials
    • Abstract: Abstract The energy future must be accessible, affordable and mainly sustainable. Actually, there is an increased demand for energy worldwide, and 80 % of the present energy use is based on fossil fuels. Not only are oil prices increasing but also pollution continues to rise due to the burning of fossil fuels, and the probability of oil supply depletion remains. A critical part of the solution will lie in promoting renewable energy technologies in order to address concerns about energy security, economic growth in the face of high prices of crude oil, competitiveness, health costs and environmental degradation. All of these issues encourage the investigation of using renewable energy, which has several unique advantages that should be considered when making comparison with oil-based alternatives. Besides, achieving sustainable development is a target that is now widely recognized as important to humankind. In this context, the utilization of renewable energy resources such as solar, wind and geothermal energy appears to be one of the most efficient and effective ways of achieving this goal since renewable energy is abundant universally and holds huge ecological and economic promise. Although the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the world’s major producer and exporter of fuel, and represents one of the biggest consumers of petroleum in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia should be interested in taking an active part in the development and exploitation of renewable energy technologies. In fact, the unsustainable use of fossil fuels and the activities which are mainly responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions are consistently in the upslope. That is why Saudi Arabia was among the first countries to contribute in renewable energy research through major joint international cooperation programs, despite the fact that it occupies a very advanced rank in the world in terms of huge proven oil and gas reserves. This paper describes the current status of energy and focuses on renewable and energy-efficient technologies, major achievements, and current government policies and challenges.
      PubDate: 2015-08-01
  • Adoption intensity of soil and water conservation technologies: a case of
           South Western Uganda
    • Abstract: Abstract Important signs of agricultural land quality deterioration are apparent in many countries, including declining yields and a switch to crops that demand fewer nutrients. This is despite efforts to curb land degradation rates through the years, including the attempt to promote use of soil and water conservation (SWC) technologies. This study was done in Kabale district in the South Western highlands of Uganda. Data analysis was done using cross-sectional data from 338 households. A Tobit model was used to identify the factors that influence intensity of adoption of different SWC technologies at parcel level. Results indicate that higher proportions of individual parcels having SWC technologies are associated with availability of labor, education level, and age of the household head, access to SWC related training, more tropical livestock units, neighboring parcels having SWC technologies on them, high fertility levels, location of the parcel, and expected access to parcels in a given period of time. Large size of operated land and long distances from parcels to the homesteads are associated with lower adoption intensity. The importance of each of these aspects varies depending on technologies of focus. Measures to improve the quality of training and extension services have been recommended. In addition, improvement of physical infrastructure such as roads and institutional infrastructure such as tenure security enhancement has been recommended.
      PubDate: 2015-08-01
  • Exploring participation in new forms of environmental governance: a case
           study of payments for environmental services in Nicaragua
    • Abstract: Abstract This article discusses a “payments for ecosystem services” project in Nicaragua involving different public and private actors. The main contribution of this paper to the literature is that this study shows how the participation of the poor and marginalized in environmental governance projects, particularly in payments for environmental services (PES) projects, is shaped by asymmetrical and preexisting power relations that do not simply disappear with the inception of a project. This study also contributes to better understand and to nuance the motives of different actors to engage in PES projects, and my analysis confirms that a sole focus on economic incentives is too narrow and insufficient explanation for actors’ involvement in the project. The project constitutes a hybrid arena where different ideas meet. One of the outcomes of such hybridity is that the expansion of the activities of corporate actors remains unquestioned and their perspectives are favoured, while at the same time claiming to promote the conservation of natural resources. The study reveals the engagement of international development agencies in influencing the relations between private and public actors. Powerful actors are able to draw the borders of what is possible to discuss and negotiate in “invited” spaces for participation like this PES project.
      PubDate: 2015-08-01
  • Ecological footprint of paperboard and paper production unit in India
    • Abstract: Abstract It is important to evaluate the performance of industries in a growing economy like India through responsible resource use assessments. The article estimates ecological footprint (EF) to communicate the environmental effects of a paperboard and paper production unit in India based on information collected through face-to-face interview method. EF has been calculated by adopting component or bottom-up approach taking into consideration all the components of EF (land, energy, freight and employees transport, water, materials and wastes). Results show that the total EF for production and allied activities of the case study unit varies between 5,62,845 and 2,15,564 ha and EF per tonne of production varying between 23.61 and 9.03 ha. This is based on the production of 23,828 Mt of output of specialty and tissues paper, and the variation occurs due to higher and lower conversion factor for materials and water. The hotspots of EF are energy, materials and wastes.
      PubDate: 2015-08-01
  • Walter Leal Filho (ed): Transformative approaches to sustainable
           development at universities—Working across disciplines
    • PubDate: 2015-08-01
  • Degradation of polyethylene by Penicillium simplicissimum isolated from
           local dumpsite of Shivamogga district
    • Abstract: Abstract Penicillium simplicissimum was isolated from a local dumpsite of Shivamogga district for use in the biodegradation of polyethylene. Degradation was carried out using autoclaved, UV-treated and surface-sterilized polyethylene. Degradation was monitored by observing weight loss and changes in physical structure by scanning electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. P. simplicissimum was able to degrade treated polyethylene (38 %) more efficiently than autoclaved (16 %) and surface-sterilized polyethylene (7.7 %). Enzymes responsible for polyethylene degradation were screened from P. simplicissimum. Enzymes were identified as laccase and manganese peroxidase. These enzymes were produced in large amount, enzyme activity was calculated using spectrophotometric method, and crude extraction of enzymes was carried out. Molecular weight of laccase was determined as 66 kDa and that of manganese peroxidase was 60 kDa. Capacity of crude enzymes to degrade polyethylene was also determined. By observing these results, we can conclude that P. simplicissimum may act as solution for the problem caused by polyethylene in nature.
      PubDate: 2015-08-01
  • Vietnam’s seafood boom: Economic growth with impoverishment?
    • Abstract: Abstract By 2050 most seafood will be sourced through aquaculture, with a range of production intensities being required to sustain livelihoods and to meet future needs from seafood. This makes Vietnam a particularly insightful case, since Vietnam is at the forefront of the trend toward greater aquaculture production. Our aim in this paper is to examine the social-ecological sustainability of small producer livelihoods contributing to Vietnam’s seafood boom. This paper uses original survey data to understand the range of fishery-based livelihoods that have contributed to Vietnam being a leading global exporter of seafood. We investigate the kinds of fishery-based livelihood activities that households are engaged in, consider the type and amount (kilograms) of species caught or farmed annually, and examine household perceptions’ of change in species quantity. We find that Vietnam’s seafood sector is facing real sustainability challenges: Nearly 30 % of small producers—fishers and fish farmers—within our sample rest at or below Vietnam’s rural poverty line. Ecological decline and disease in farmed fish is perceived to be a serious issue for all fishers. In this context, policy and management interventions need to better reflect social and ecological variability, adopt an integrated coastal systems perspective across fisheries and aquaculture, and consider the most impact-effective poverty interventions.
      PubDate: 2015-07-26
  • Solar-driven technology for freshwater production from atmospheric air by
           using the composite desiccant material “CaCl 2 /floral foam”
    • Abstract: Abstract In this communication, experiments have been performed to check the capability of the newly formed composite desiccant material (CaCl2/floral) for the extraction of freshwater from atmospheric air. Three numbers of solar glass desiccant box type system (SGDBS) with a captured area of 0.36 m2 each, have been used. The design parameters for the water production are height of glass from desiccant bed at 0.22 m, inclination in angle as 30°, the effective thickness of glass as 3 mm and number of glazing as single. The maximum yield by the new composite desiccant material is 0.35 ml/cm3/day. The efficiency of the system SGDBS with 37 % concentration of CaCl2 is 76.44 %.
      PubDate: 2015-07-26
  • A happiness Kuznets curve? Using model-based cluster analysis to group
           countries based on happiness, development, income, and carbon emissions
    • Abstract: Abstract This exploratory study uses model-based cluster analysis to group sixty-one countries based on statistical similarities in terms of happiness, development, income, and carbon emissions. Model-based cluster analysis is appropriate for an initial identification of a pattern that is worthy of further investigation. A key finding is that there may be a Kuznets curve for happiness. The Kuznets curve graphs the proposition that, as an economy develops, economic inequality first increases and then decreases. Similarly, the authors find that clusters of countries at the extremes of the lowest and highest average levels of development and income have the highest self-reported levels of happiness. Clusters of countries in the middle of the development and income spectrum have the comparatively lowest average levels of happiness. Further, carbon emissions are not perfectly associated with happiness. For example, between two clusters with the highest average levels of development, income, and happiness there is a 43 % difference in carbon emissions. A highly developed cluster has roughly the same mean carbon emissions as a cluster with 83 % less income, and the least developed cluster has 93 % of the happiness as the most developed cluster yet 86 % less carbon emissions. Despite limitations of both data and methodology, the overall pattern—that there may be a happiness Kuznets curve and that development, income, and carbon emissions are not associated lockstep with happiness—contributes to the literature on decoupling development from growth in emissions.
      PubDate: 2015-07-22
  • Fishers’ perceptions of climate change, impacts on their livelihoods
           and adaptation strategies in environmental change hotspots: a case of Lake
           Wamala, Uganda
    • Abstract: Abstract Fisheries resources support livelihoods of fishing communities but are threatened by over-exploitation, habitat degradation, pollution, invasive species and climate change. Unlike the other threats, climate change has received limited consideration and reducing its risks requires appropriate adaptation strategies. This study used quantitative and qualitative methods to generate knowledge on fishers’ perceptions of climate change, changes in climate variables and their impacts on livelihoods, adaptation strategies, constraints to adaptation and required interventions to promote adaptation strategies that would enable fishers to build resilience to sustain their livelihoods. We found that fishers were aware of changes in climate conditions manifested by unpredictable seasons, floods and droughts. Fishing remained the main livelihood activity. However, the dominance of fishes had changed from Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus L.) to the African catfish (Clarias gariepinus Burchell). Floods and droughts were associated with damage to gears, boats, landing sites and changes in fish catches and sizes, income from fishing and fish consumption. The fishers adapted by increasing time on fishing grounds and changing target species and fishing gear among other things. Some innovative fishers diversified to high-value crops and livestock. This increased their income beyond what was solely earned from fishing which provided an incentive for some of them to quit fishing. Livelihood diversification was enhanced by use of communications technology, membership of social groups, increasing fishing days and fishing experience. Adaptation was, however, constrained by limited credit, awareness and access to land, which require interventions such as improving access to credit, irrigation facilities, appropriate planting materials and awareness raising. We identified adaptation strategies, which if promoted and their constraints addressed, could increase resilience of fishers to the influence of climate change and sustain their livelihoods.
      PubDate: 2015-07-21
  • Ecological clusters as a tool of improving the environmental safety in
           developing countries
    • Abstract: Abstract The article is devoted to the research of ecological clusters as a tool of improving the ecological safety in developing countries. The authors offer to use a specifically developed methodology for determining the level of ecological security in developing countries. Formation of a city skeleton on the basis of ecological clusters, generated on the basis of biologically active natural complex, is offered. We offer the methodology of introduction of the cluster organization of the city environment with introduction models on the example of the city of Volgograd of the Russian Federation.
      PubDate: 2015-07-12
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