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Journal Cover Environment, Development and Sustainability
   [27 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  [2207 journals]   [SJR: 0.319]   [H-I: 26]
  • Integrating energy and land-use planning: socio-metabolic profiles along
           the rural–urban continuum in Catalonia (Spain)
    • Abstract: Abstract Abandoning fossil fuels and increasingly relying on low-density, land-intensive renewable energy will increase demand for land, affecting current global and regional rural–urban relationships. Over the past two decades, rural–urban relationships all over the world have witnessed unprecedented changes that have rendered their boundaries blurred and have lead to the emergence of “new ruralities.” In this paper, we analyze the current profiles of electricity generation and consumption in relation to sociodemographic variables related to the use of time and land across the territory of Catalonia, Spain. Through a clustering procedure based on multivariate statistical analysis, we found that electricity consumption is related to functional specialization in the roles undertaken by different types of municipalities in the urban system. Municipality types have distinctive metabolic profiles in different sectors depending on their industrial, services or residential role. Villages’ metabolism is influenced by urban sprawl and industrial specialization, reflecting current “new ruralities.” Segregation between work activity and residence increases both overall electricity consumption and its rate (per hour) and density (per hectare) of dissipation. A sustainable spatial organization of societal activities without the use of fossil fuels or nuclear energy would require huge structural and sociodemographic changes to reduce energy demand and adapt it to regionally available renewable energy.
      PubDate: 2014-08-01
  • The oil palm boom: socio-economic implications for Q’eqchi’
           households in the Polochic valley, Guatemala
    • Abstract: Abstract Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) has become one of the most rapidly expanding crops in the world. Many countries have promoted its cultivation as part of a broader rural development strategy aimed at generating paid work and producing both export commodities and biofuels. However, oil palm expansion has often occurred at the expense of ecosystems and subsistence agriculture, and on lands riddled with tenure conflicts. In this article, we analyse the implications of the combined effect of labouring in oil palm plantations and land access on households, and we discuss how these implications affect human well-being in two indigenous communities of the Polochic valley, Guatemala. Combining participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and land-time budget analysis at household level, we reveal how oil palm cultivation increases incomes for plantation workers’ households, but decreases the productivity of maize cultivation, reduces the time that household members have available for other activities and, particularly, reduces women’s resting time. In contrast, households that focus more intensively on maize cultivation show higher degrees of food security and women can allocate more time to social activities. However, our results also show that maize consumption per capita has not decreased in households working in oil palm plantations since such crop is considered sacred by the Q’eqchi’ and plays a central role in their diet and culture. In conclusion, we argue that while working for an oil palm cultivation can increase specific elements of the basic material conditions for a good life, other aspects such as food security, health, freedom of choice, and social relationships can become deteriorated.
      PubDate: 2014-08-01
  • Land poverty and emerging ruralities in Cambodia: insights from Kampot
    • Abstract: Abstract Rural change in Cambodia manifests itself in rapidly declining land availability for the smallholder sector, posing the question of how farmers may be able to deal with limited access to land. In this paper, we discuss with a case study village and household livelihood strategies of smallholders currently operating under land-constrained conditions. Based on an integrated assessment of a smallholder village in Kampot province, we illustrate in quantitative terms how land shortage is creating problems of surplus generation and liquidity issues in monetary and non-monetary flows. At the household level, livelihood diversification based on the involvement of productive resources other than land may play an increasing role, particularly in the future, when levels of land shortage may increase. At the village level, smallholder may respond through institutional innovation, in particular through the establishment of a community banking system and a paddy rice bank to provide money and rice credits to overcome transitory shortages and to cover investment costs for additional productive resources. Thus, in this case, we observe the emergence of new patterns of livelihood in rural areas, based on the integration of non-land-based economic activities and new institutional settings.
      PubDate: 2014-08-01
  • An assessment of the metabolic profile implied by agricultural change in
           two rural communities in the North of Argentina
    • Abstract: Abstract The soy expansion model in Argentina generates structural changes in traditional lifestyles, which can be associated with different biophysical and socioeconomic impacts. To explore this issue, we apply an innovative method for integrated assessment—the multi-scale integrated analysis of societal and ecosystem metabolism framework—to characterize two communities in the Chaco Region, Province of Formosa, North of Argentina. These communities have recently experienced the expansion of soy production, altering their economic activity, energy consumption patterns, land use and human time allocation. The integrated characterization presented in the paper illustrates the differences (biophysical, socioeconomic and historical) between the two communities that can be associated with different responses. The analysis of the factors behind these differences has important policy implications for the sustainable development of local communities in the area.
      PubDate: 2014-08-01
  • Publisher’s note
    • PubDate: 2014-08-01
  • Erratum to: Pathways of rural change: an integrated assessment of
           metabolic patterns in emerging ruralities
    • PubDate: 2014-08-01
  • Pathways of rural change: an integrated assessment of metabolic patterns
           in emerging ruralities
    • Abstract: Abstract While rural transformations are nothing new in human history, current processes of rural change occur under multiple forces at an unprecedented pace, involving profound and unexpected changes in land use and users, and rapid transformations in the metabolic patterns of rural systems. The present special section aims to shed light on current drivers and pathways of rural change by analyzing, under a common conceptual and theoretical framework, examples of new ruralities that are emerging as responses across different world regions. Within this context, this introduction presents: (1) common research questions of the six presented cases of rural change; (2) the general theoretical and methodological framework of integrated assessment of societal metabolism adopted to analyze rural systems and (3) the main contributions and conclusions that could be drawn from six context-specific case studies from Asia, Latin America and Europe.
      PubDate: 2014-08-01
  • Water use in arid rural systems and the integration of water and
           agricultural policies in Europe: the case of Andarax river basin
    • Abstract: Abstract Water is a precious resource in arid rural areas with irrigated agriculture. Nonetheless, water and agricultural policies in Europe show different management scopes and objectives, usually translated in divergent drivers of rural change. This paper has a double aim: to propose a specific method for quantitative biophysical analysis of water use in rural systems with the multi-scale integrated analysis of societal and ecosystem metabolism approach and to show the usefulness of this method for the assessment of the integration of water and agricultural policies. The river basin scale is chosen, since it is the socioecological unit for water management established in the water framework directive 2000/60/CE. A multi-scale water use accounting is provided for a Mediterranean river basin in Andalusia, integrating water cycle, ecosystems and social levels. Particularly focusing on agricultural production, a relevant set of indicators is proposed in order to analyze and compare different metabolic patterns. Finally, the integration of water and agricultural planning is assessed in terms of external (biophysical) and internal (economic, institutional) constraints of the new water-use patterns generated by the scenarios posed in these policies. While on a European level water policy is ambitious in terms of ecological conservation, the lack of integration within the common agricultural policy and the entanglement of multiple scales of political and economic organization of local ruralities blur its priority in a rather slow transition to a new water culture.
      PubDate: 2014-08-01
  • Rural change and multidimensional analysis of farm’s vulnerability:
           a case study in a protected area of semi-arid northern Nicaragua
    • Abstract: Abstract This paper presents an empirical research in a protected area of northern Nicaragua, aimed at: (a) classifying predominant narratives surrounding present and future pathways of the local rural system, drivers of change, features of livelihoods’ vulnerability; (b) understanding current functioning of local metabolic patterns of rural systems by developing a typology of farms and (c) comparing types’ vulnerability to current drivers of change. To achieve these objectives, we integrated qualitative and quantitative analytical approaches. The different visions of rural spaces, which emerge from the analysis of the narratives, and the five types of farms, characterized by specific land-time budget and energy and monetary flows, suggest two emerging dynamics of local restructuration in protected areas: (1) a dominant land re-concentration process which is generating increasing inequality in access to resources and a progressive marginalization of the self-sufficient economy of landless and subsistence households; (2) an emergence of a paradigm of ‘environmentalization’ of rural spaces together with a valorization of small and medium-scale diversified economies. Moreover, the vulnerability assessment focuses on multidimensional features of types’ sensitivity to crisis, i.e. risk unacceptability, production instability, economic inefficiency, food and exosomatic energy dependency, as well as capacity to buffer and adapt to change, i.e. access to assets, including labour for men and women, social safety nets and degrees of economic diversification. The discussion highlights the occurrence of trade-off between the solutions adopted by farms within different development paths, suggesting the relevance of the proposed framework of analysis at the interface between science and policy.
      PubDate: 2014-08-01
  • Environmental resources reduce income inequality and the prevalence, depth
           and severity of poverty in rural Nepal
    • Abstract: Abstract This paper investigates the economic importance of environmental income to rural households in Nepal and how environmental income influences poverty and inequality measures. Qualitative contextual information was collected from two village development committees in middle Gorkha District followed by a structured survey of 303 randomly selected households; income data were collected quarterly throughout 2008. Average environmental income was 15.7 % of total household income, ranging from 11.0 to 29.5 %. Environmental reliance decreased with rising income while absolute environmental income increased. Ordinary least square regression analysis indicated that households having large areas of crop and other lands, many livestock, larger amount of bank saving and having at least one migrating household member generate significantly larger amount of total household income. Households having a larger household size and the Dalit households generate significantly lower amount of total household income. Poverty indices and Gini decomposition showed that excluding environmental income from total household income has a large negative impact on the proportion of households below poverty lines, the income shortfall as a proportion of poverty lines and the variation in income distribution among households below the poverty lines.
      PubDate: 2014-06-22
  • Experimental comparison of different heat transfer fluid for thermal
           performance of a solar cooker based on evacuated tube collector
    • Abstract: Abstract A comparison of thermal performance of solar cooker with two different heat transfer fluid (HTF) and effect of gate valve on discharge process of phase change material (PCM) had been investigated experimentally. In this experimental setup, solar cooker with inbuilt thermal storage unit was connected to evacuated tube collector through connecting pipes. The available solar heat in the collector was transferred to the solar cooker by natural circulation (thermosiphon) of HTF. The water and thermal oil (engine oil) were used separately as HTF to compare the thermal performance of solar cooker. Commercial grade acetanilide was used as thermal storage material in the solar cooker. The PCM discharging process was studied, firstly when both gate valves were open and secondly when both gate valves were closed during discharging process. Then, cooking was carried out using thermal oil as HTF, and both gate valves were closed during discharging of PCM. It was found that with water as HTF, the temperature of PCM at 18:00 h was 10.7 °C higher when both valves were closed as compared to the case when both valves were opened, whereas it was 13.1 °C in case of thermal oil as HTF. Using thermal oil as HTF, quantity of average energy stored by PCM was increased by an amount of 18.88 % as compared to water as HTF.
      PubDate: 2014-06-22
  • Farm-scale adaptation under extreme climate and rapid economic transition
    • Abstract: Abstract This paper aims to analyse what shapes farmers’ vulnerability and adaptation strategies in the context of rapid change. Xinjiang is semi-arid, with extremes of temperature, growing seasons and winds. Favourable socioeconomic conditions have boosted the wellbeing of farmers in the past decades. Interviews with forty-seven farmers led to the categorization of five groups according to the predominant type of farming activity: animal farmers, government farmers (leasing land from the Xinjiang Production and Construction Group), crop farmers, agri-tourism operators and entrepreneurs. High government support has aided farmers to deal with climate challenges, through advanced technology, subsidies and loans. Farmers, however, greatly contribute to their own high adaptive capacity through inventiveness, flexibility and a high knowledge base. Although the future climate will entail hotter temperatures, farmers can be seen as generally well equipped to deal with these challenges because of the high adaptive capacity they currently have and utilize. Those that are most vulnerable are those that have difficulty to access credit e.g. animal farmers and those that do not want to change their agricultural systems e.g. from pastoral lifestyles to include tourism-based operations.
      PubDate: 2014-06-21
  • The sustainability of New Zealand climate change policy: an ethical
    • Abstract: Abstract Through a theory-driven thematic analysis, the paper gauges how, since 1990, New Zealand (NZ) Governments have approached climate change ethics and provides insight into the importance of ethics in the broader context of sustainable development and global sustainability. Analysis of the policy-related data identified two main ethical themes labelled standard self-interest and advocacy. The data show that despite some advocacy consistent with urging the objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the international arena, Governments from 1990 to 2008 have held back to an extent on climate change policy development having operated broadly under a “standard self-interest” approach. Since 2008, the current Government has also held back on policy development and is operating under a particularly narrow, highly unethical and unjust form of self-interest. Strong criticism of the Government is therefore warranted. The paper has also highlighted the significant consensus around the broad overarching operational conclusions of sustainable development. The paper concludes, inter alia, that the NZ Government should advocate to the international community to achieve, and among their people to support, the objective of the UNFCCC, while advocating at the national and international levels for a science-informed global ethic on sustainable development. The same logic would apply to all other UNFCCC members, of which it appears many are also operating unethically and unjustly on this global transformational issue.
      PubDate: 2014-06-20
  • A study on the status of saltwater intrusion in the coastal hard rock
           aquifer of South India
    • Abstract: Abstract Groundwater of the coastal regions represents a fragile environment. A study has been attempted in the hard rock aquifer of the south-eastern part of India. A total of 135 groundwater samples were collected and analysed for major cations and anions. The domination of cations and anions was in the order of Na+ > Ca2+ > Mg2+ > K+ for cations and Cl− > HCO3 − > SO4 2− > H4SiO4 > NO3 − > PO4 − > F− in anions. The water is neutral to alkaline in nature with pH ranging from 6.30 to 9.20 with an average of 7.57. The ions analysed were used for standard plots, ratio of different ions and correlation between them helped to evaluate the active hydrogeochemical process and extent of saltwater intrusion in the coastal aquifer. The electrical conductivity (EC) contour shows that the groundwater quality is poor along the coast due to saltwater intrusion. The Piper and chadda’s plot shows that most of the groundwater samples fall on Na–Cl water type may be due to saltwater intrusion in the eastern part study area. The ratios of Cl−/HCO3 − ranged between 0.24 and 152.50 and have strong positive relationship with Cl− concentrations; it was found that about 30 % of the groundwater samples were strongly affected by the saline water in the study area. The Na+/Cl− ratios ranged from 0.20 to 3.73, and most of the groundwater samples fall close to the contamination region. Agricultural and salt pan land use pattern decrease the water quality due to impact of anthropogenic processes and seawater intrusion. Statistical analysis was also used to obtain the objectives, and it was found that the seawater intrusion is the major factor controlling the groundwater chemistry followed by other factors such as weathering and fertiliser impact.
      PubDate: 2014-06-19
  • Influence of hydrogeochemical processes and assessment of suitability for
           groundwater uses in Busan City, Korea
    • Abstract: Abstract This study was carried out to understand the hydrogeochemical processes of groundwater quality and groundwater use in the Suyeong District of Busan city, Korea. Groundwater samples were collected from 40 wells in February, 2010. The abundance of major cations concentration in groundwater is Na+ > Ca2+ > Mg2+> K+, while that of anions is Cl− > HCO3 − > SO4 2− > NO3 − > F−. According to hydrogeochemical facies, Ca (HCO3)2, Ca Cl2 and NaCl are the dominant groundwater types in this study area. Mechanism controlling the water chemistry (Gibbs) indicates that most of groundwater samples fall at rock-weathering dominance zone. The geochemical processes and temporal variation in groundwater in this area are influenced by evaporation processes, ion exchange and dissolution of minerals. According to water quality index (WQI) of the study area exhibits 8 % of the groundwater samples fall at the unsuitable zone for drinking purpose. The spatial distribution map of WQI shows the poor quality of the water decrease toward the southern part of the study area. The results of SAR, Na%, PI, RSC and MH show that majority of groundwater samples are suitable for domestic and agricultural purposes. By the hydrogeochemical analysis, aquifer rock weathering, seawater intrusion, sewer leakage are the dominant factors that determine the major ionic composition. The proper management plan is necessary to preserve valuable groundwater resources.
      PubDate: 2014-06-13
  • Erratum to: Flora biodiversity change detection: a case study
    • PubDate: 2014-06-13
  • Shaping minds to action: an evaluation of the environmental influences of
           primary school students in an urbanizing community
    • Abstract: Abstract Environmental perspectives are shaped by both affective and cognitive domains of education. In the urbanizing municipality of Balanga City, the primary school students of its 19 public schools were reported to have a skewed perspective of the environment, equating the term to only the natural components of their surroundings. This does not prevent the students from being actively concerned about the environment, but their confusion is aggravated by the contrasting habits observed in their households to those taught in school. Education is only a limited means to help develop sustainable practices needed as the global community addresses the challenges brought by climate change so to determine how to further develop the environmental knowledge of primary school students in Balanga City, and the influences enumerated by the children of its public schools were studied. Based on the students’ response, their school and television provide the fundamentals for their understanding of the environment, but the social atmosphere in their homes causes the trivialization of the environmental information they acquire. The ease by which these students are compelled to let go of environment-friendly habits may be caused by the absence of a solid cognitive foundation of environmental science due to the integrated curriculum design for teaching science to elementary students and the lack of sufficient training of the teachers involved. Although reiteration and emphasis of learned environmental principles in school can also come from mass media, the forms the students are exposed to are local and subject to sensationalism. There is a lack of sufficient infrastructure needed to expose the students to global viewpoints and issues about the environment, while those with immediate family members overseas have limited avenues for sharing their external influences. Involving the family in environmental education is the key, together with proper training of faculty and a modification of how environmental science is taught, to create an effective system for the improvement of the environmental perspectives of the children of Balanga City. Though environmental education may rely on the linearity of communication, the meeting point of the social influences of these children should emphasize the values of environmental stewardship for them to ascertain the right perspectives toward the environment.
      PubDate: 2014-06-13
  • Spillover effect of congestion charging on pro-environmental behavior
    • Abstract: Abstract This paper reports an examination of a spillover effect from a real-world intervention policy of traffic congestion charging that impacted various pro-environmental behaviors. A mailed questionnaire surveyed randomly sampled car owners living in Stockholm County (Sweden) to gather data on travel modes and pro-environmental behavior before and after the introduction of a trial congestion charging policy in Stockholm. Results of paired t test on 291 valid samples revealed that this policy not only directly mitigates traffic congestion (i.e., a direct effect of the policy intervention), but it also indirectly ‘spills over’ to affect pro-environmental behaviors in nontransportation situations (resource and energy use). A spillover to pro-environmental behavior was confirmed by respondents who shifted their travel mode from car to pro-environmental travel mode. Interestingly, the spillover was also confirmed in a group of respondents who remained in the pro-environmental travel mode and others who adversely shifted away from a pro-environmental travel mode to cars. Results suggest that the spillover effect from an environmental policy intervention can have considerable impact on facilitating pro-environmental behaviors and surrounding issues in more general contexts, thus warranting careful evaluation with a wider perspective.
      PubDate: 2014-06-11
  • Research and education for sustainability in a beekeeping project in
           sub-Saharan Africa
    • Abstract: Abstract Support to small farmers is at the heart of the fight against poverty. However, the continuous provision of support poses a major challenge which greatly affects the sustainability of development-related projects. Using a research and education approach, in which beekeeping was introduced into the curriculum of two secondary schools, we tested the potential of knowledge transfer as a means of promoting beekeeping. In this paper, we show that, with an educational program tailored to the audience needs, knowledge transfer and self-start-ups ensure better sustainability than material support. We further discuss the implications of these results in the sustenance of beekeeping as a development-related activity.
      PubDate: 2014-06-01
  • Forced internalization of external environmental cost: experience of a
           South African Company
    • Abstract: Abstract While environmental regulations are designed to ensure that organizations comply with minimum environmental standards, organizations may be compelled to pay penalties if they exceed the set standard. This study provides explanations on the effectiveness of a forced internalization of external environmental cost in a brewery in South Africa. A review of relevant literature indicates the apathy of organizations to internalize environmental costs. To see whether this apathy still holds, this paper uses the contingency theory approach to management accounting to analyze a case study on the effectiveness of forced internalization of brewery wastewater treatment cost by a municipality in South Africa. Findings reveal that the policy forced brewery managers to develop a waste-reduction strategy to improve production efficiency while limiting the volume of brewery wastewater and chemical oxygen demand emissions discharged to municipal waste treatment plant. A significant implication of this study is the forced internalization of wastewater treatment cost and the use of resources more efficiently and sustainably in production by the brewery as a result of the municipality’s policy to demand extra fees when agreed minimum wastewater discharges are exceeded. The importance of this policy is that it brought about improvements to the environmental, social, and economic performances of the brewery. The study suggests that environmental regulators should look beyond mere regulatory and monitoring roles to formulate policies to ensure that organizations take responsibility for external environmental costs they have created.
      PubDate: 2014-06-01
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