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Sustainability, Volume 13, Issue 20 (October-2 2021) – 432 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The purpose of this food system study was to examine key environmental impacts (carbon emissions, energy, and water use) to inform decisions to buy locally produced (or grow) vegetables in the Midwest US. We used a life cycle approach to examine three food systems (large-, mid-, and small-scale) for 18 vegetables commonly grown in Des Moines, Iowa. We found that large-scale production had greater impacts. We also found differences among vegetables—for example, romaine lettuce produced about three times greater carbon emissions compared to leaf lettuce in the large-scale scenario. Hotspots and tradeoffs were identified and could inform vegetable production/consumption based on these environmental impacts for the US Midwest.View this paper
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Article
Predicting Textile Recycling through the Lens of the Theory of Planned Behaviour
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11559; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011559 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 599
Abstract
Management of textile waste is a growing challenge for many countries. In order to tackle this issue, countries are turning to recycle, which is treated as an efficient way to manage textile waste. This empirical research is the first study on the scale [...] Read more.
Management of textile waste is a growing challenge for many countries. In order to tackle this issue, countries are turning to recycle, which is treated as an efficient way to manage textile waste. This empirical research is the first study on the scale of Lithuanian households aimed to ascertain the predictors of textile recycling behaviour. The study involved a sampling research method in order to understand factors affecting textile recycling behaviours and attitudes of residents in Lithuania. Data from a sample of 391 households were analysed using structural equation modelling. The research indicated key factors stimulating textile recycling behaviour based on standard and extended versions of the theory of planned behaviour. Results have shown the usefulness of applying the traditional model of planned behaviour instead of the extended one in predicting intention to recycle textile waste. The outcome of this research contributes to the formulation of recommendations regarding the promotion of sustainable textile waste management. Full article
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Article
Does Face Consciousness Affect Tourist Behaviour at Festival Events? A Korean Perspective
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11558; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011558 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 454
Abstract
This study aimed to (1) investigate whether face consciousness (or chemyon) and playfulness affect tourist behaviour and tourist satisfaction at a festival event from a South Korean perspective and (2) identify the moderating effects of both the frequency of visits and overnight [...] Read more.
This study aimed to (1) investigate whether face consciousness (or chemyon) and playfulness affect tourist behaviour and tourist satisfaction at a festival event from a South Korean perspective and (2) identify the moderating effects of both the frequency of visits and overnight trips. Structural equation modelling was conducted with a sample of 506 adults. The outcomes indicated that face consciousness and playfulness positively influenced tourist behaviour at festival events. In turn, these impacts were conducive to tourist satisfaction. However, the results were either positive or negative depending on specific tourist behaviour. Moreover, revisit travellers and overnight travellers exerted significant moderating impacts between certain paths. The integrative model can provide objective data for destination marketers and event organisers to support the enhancement of festival events in the post-COVID-19 era. The originality of this study lies in the initial attempt to adapt face consciousness to amalgamate tourist behaviour at festival events. Full article
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Article
When the Going Gets Tough … the Effect of Economic Reform Programmes on National Well-Being
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11557; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011557 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 349
Abstract
Well-being is an essential human need and has social, psychological and economic benefits. Consequently, social scientists and economists, in particular, want to know whether economic reform can lead to increased (and sustainable) happiness. To answer this question, we applied a new approach—investigating the [...] Read more.
Well-being is an essential human need and has social, psychological and economic benefits. Consequently, social scientists and economists, in particular, want to know whether economic reform can lead to increased (and sustainable) happiness. To answer this question, we applied a new approach—investigating the effect of economic reform programmes on national well-being for 154 countries between 2005 and 2018. As the dependent variable, we employed national subjective well-being scores based on people’s evaluation of their satisfaction with life. International Monetary Fund economic reform programmes provided a sufficiently long time–series and global presence for the main independent variable. We used a treatment effect model and fixed-effects instrumental variable panel with the novel approach of synthetic instruments, to address selection bias generated by the non-random selection of countries into International Monetary Fund programme participation, also controlling for unobservable characteristics influencing both International Monetary Fund participation and national well-being. Irrespective of the approach used, empirical findings show that economic reform programmes lead to increased national well-being globally, both in the short-term and the long-term. The results do not imply that International Monetary Fund arrangements should be used as policy tools to increase national well-being. They empirically confirm our argument that improvements in national economies sustaining increased well-being require intentional effort and engagement. Full article
Article
Optimization of Cyclone-Type Rotary Kiln Reactor for Carbonation of BOF Slag
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11556; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011556 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 355
Abstract
Mineral carbonation of the basic oxygen furnace (BOF) slag produced in the steel-making process not only provides an effective approach for carbon dioxide storage, but also stabilizes the slag such that it can be reused as a construction material. Generally speaking, carbonation performance [...] Read more.
Mineral carbonation of the basic oxygen furnace (BOF) slag produced in the steel-making process not only provides an effective approach for carbon dioxide storage, but also stabilizes the slag such that it can be reused as a construction material. Generally speaking, carbonation performance improves as the time for which the carbon dioxide resides within the reactor increases. This research proposes a method to increase the residence time of carbon dioxide in the cyclone converter slag carbonization kiln by adjusting the inclination angle and length of the feed pipe. Therefore, it has the same effect of increasing the flow path length of the cyclone in the reactor. The optimal values of the inclination angle and length of the gas inlet tube are determined using the robust Taguchi design method. Computational fluid dynamics simulation results show that the optimized reactor design increases the average residence time of carbon dioxide gas by 60.4%, compared with the original rotating reactor design with a straight (non-cyclonic) flow path. Moreover, the experimental results show that the optimized design increases the carbon dioxide storage capacity from 12.15 g per kilogram of BOF slag in the original rotary kiln reactor to 16.00 g in the re-designed reactor. Full article
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Article
Participatory Guarantee System and Social Capital for Sustainable Development in Brazil: The Case Study of OPAC Orgânicos Sul de Minas
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11555; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011555 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 401
Abstract
In recent years there has been a growing international interest in alternative certification strategies for organic products. Specifically, participatory guarantee systems (PGS) have proved to be particularly suitable not only to simplify bureaucratic procedures for small organic producers and reduce the cost of [...] Read more.
In recent years there has been a growing international interest in alternative certification strategies for organic products. Specifically, participatory guarantee systems (PGS) have proved to be particularly suitable not only to simplify bureaucratic procedures for small organic producers and reduce the cost of certification, but also to generate empowerment, social inclusion and mutual support among farmers. The purpose of this paper is to study the elements of social capital (SC) found in a PGS through the use of social network indicators using the Organizaçao Participativa de Acreditaçao e Certificaçao “Orgânicos Sul de Minas” (OPAC-OSM) as a case study. The research was carried out in the southern part of Minas Gerais, one of the states of the Brazilian Federation, where organic production represents a viable alternative for small and medium-sized farmers. In particular, a survey was carried out to capture the opinions of managers (presidents or directors) about their participation in the OPAC-OSM, and about the level of interaction and degree of trust between members. Relational skills, which are the basis of structural SC, were analyzed both at the level of individual units and at the level of the general network of the OPAC-OSM. An in-degree centrality score assigned to OPAC-OSM members was obtained from each network. These scores have been correlated with variables of the database that were chosen due to their relevance in assessing the level of social capital. According to the results, the factors that most reinforced the proof of SC among the OPAC-OSM members were the level of information and the degree of trust and collaboration networks, with special emphasis on female participation. From the analysis carried out, it is possible to conclude that PGS are powerful tools in the strengthening of SC far beyond the aspect of quality assurance, which remains the main objective of the OPAC. Full article
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Article
Application of Urban Scale Energy Modelling and Multi-Objective Optimization Techniques for Building Energy Renovation at District Scale
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11554; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011554 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 450
Abstract
Nearly-zero energy buildings are now a standard for new constructions. However, the real challenge for a decarbonized society relies in the renovation of the existing building stock, selecting energy efficiency measures considering not only the energy performance but also the economic and sustainability [...] Read more.
Nearly-zero energy buildings are now a standard for new constructions. However, the real challenge for a decarbonized society relies in the renovation of the existing building stock, selecting energy efficiency measures considering not only the energy performance but also the economic and sustainability ones. Even if the literature is full of examples coupling building energy simulation with multi-objective optimization for the identification of the best measures, the adoption of such approaches is still limited for district and urban scale simulation, often because of lack of complete data inputs and high computational requirements. In this research, a new methodology is proposed, combining the detailed geometric characterization of urban simulation tools with the simplification provided by “building archetype” modeling, in order to ensure the development of robust models for the multi-objective optimization of retrofit interventions at district scale. Using CitySim as an urban scale energy modeling tool, a residential district built in the 1990s in Bolzano, Italy, was studied. Different sets of renovation measures for the building envelope and three objectives —i.e., energy, economic and sustainability performances, were compared. Despite energy savings from 29 to 46%, energy efficiency measures applied just to the building envelope were found insufficient to meet the carbon neutrality goals without interventions to the system, in particular considering mechanical ventilation with heat recovery. Furthermore, public subsidization has been revealed to be necessary, since none of the proposed measures is able to pay back the initial investment for this case study. Full article
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Article
The Known Unknowns: What Citizen Science Projects in Germany Know about Their Volunteers—And What They Don’t Know
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11553; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011553 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 1227
Abstract
The citizen science landscape in Germany offers an enormous range for participation. More than 170 projects currently present themselves on the national citizen science platform. In 2020, we conducted a survey among 140 projects (participation rate 56%), and they provided information on the [...] Read more.
The citizen science landscape in Germany offers an enormous range for participation. More than 170 projects currently present themselves on the national citizen science platform. In 2020, we conducted a survey among 140 projects (participation rate 56%), and they provided information on the organisational framework and characteristics (disciplines, initiators, funding, and project goals), as well as on the academic researchers and the volunteering citizen scientists involved. A surprising result was that the level of knowledge about the volunteers is very low overall. Many projects deliberately do not collect personal data (e.g., on socio-demographic variables, knowledge, and behaviour), partly for data-protection reasons and partly because they are unsure about how to collect it due to a lack of instruments and standards. We aim to illustrate the complexity of this issue and discuss various dilemmas arising between theoretical aspirations and the pragmatic and procedural realities in practice. We conclude with suggestions for developing project-specific strategies to increase diversity and inclusion. We argue that the task of conducting accompanying research on participant diversity cannot be borne by individual projects alone and consider the development and implementation of co-creative and qualitative approaches suitable for this purpose. Full article
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Article
Prediction of the Energy Self-Sufficiency Rate of Major New Renewable Energy Types Based on Zero-Energy Building Certification Cases in South Korea
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11552; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011552 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 354
Abstract
There is an increasing interest in new renewable energy sources for achieving net zero emissions. Consequently, the construction industry has mandated zero-energy building certification (ZEB), through the usage of new renewable energy. However, because of the variations in the energy self-sufficiency rate (ESR) [...] Read more.
There is an increasing interest in new renewable energy sources for achieving net zero emissions. Consequently, the construction industry has mandated zero-energy building certification (ZEB), through the usage of new renewable energy. However, because of the variations in the energy self-sufficiency rate (ESR) among the new renewable energy types, incorrect ESR prediction at the design stage may lead to problems. Hence, in this study, the ESR and construction cost are analyzed for each new renewable energy capacity to predict the ESR of photovoltaic (PV), building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV), geothermal, and fuel cell systems. Passive and active technology elements of the ZEB cases in Korea are analyzed, and by establishing a standard model with the average value of each case, the ESR is calculated for each new renewable energy capacity, and the calculation formulas are derived. The results indicate that for the PV and BIPV systems, the rate of ESR increases with the capacity (kWp) and is constant at 0.54% and 0.34%, respectively. However, for the geothermal system and fuel cells, the average ESR is 0.016% and 1.46%, respectively, but as the rate of ESR increase with the capacity (kW) gradually decreases, the calculation formulas are derived with a log graph. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Villages)
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Communication
COVID-19 Pandemic and Reimagination of Multilateralism through Global Health Diplomacy
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11551; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011551 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 595
Abstract
The ongoing pandemic COVID-19 has made it very clear that no one is safe until everyone is safe. But how can everyone be safe when the pandemic has broken every nerve of the economy and put an extra burden on the already crippled [...] Read more.
The ongoing pandemic COVID-19 has made it very clear that no one is safe until everyone is safe. But how can everyone be safe when the pandemic has broken every nerve of the economy and put an extra burden on the already crippled healthcare systems in low-income countries? Thus, the pandemic has changed the orientation of domestic as well as global politics, with many geopolitical shifts. The exponential growing infected cases and more than four million deaths has demanded a global response in terms of multilateralism. However, declining multilateralism and the need for its reforms was a much-delayed response. Given this context, this paper aimed to link the decline of multilateralism in the face of the pandemic by highlighting various instances of its failure and success; and highlighting the need for its revival. The article critically examines and evaluates the responses of multilateralism and global health diplomacy (GHD) during the pandemic. The ongoing black swan kind of event (an unexpected event) has obligated global leadership to think in terms of the revival of multilateralism through GHD. Historically, multilateralism through GHD has been shown to play an important role in managing and combating pandemics. The article further discusses various theoretical aspects such as sovereignty and hegemonic stability theory as reasons for the failing of multilateralism. The paper concludes by emphasizing the importance of foresight in reviving multilateralism in the pursuit of a more sustainable future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Public Health and Social Science on COVID-19)
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Article
Fading Attraction of the Shrinking City: An Empirical Study from an Urban Resource Perspective
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11550; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011550 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 345
Abstract
The accelerated flow of resources and the population has resulted in the coexistence of the expansion and shrinkage of cities. The shrinking city is not a new thing, but it is a new problem that needs to be solved urgently in China. Urban [...] Read more.
The accelerated flow of resources and the population has resulted in the coexistence of the expansion and shrinkage of cities. The shrinking city is not a new thing, but it is a new problem that needs to be solved urgently in China. Urban resources reveal the direct cause of the shrinking city: attraction, which reflects the competition for external resources and the endowment of the intrinsic resources of cities. Therefore, this paper established the Urban Resource Degree (URD) model to measure the urban resource degree of the shrinking city. Factors were then selected to analyze the ways in which they influence the shrinking cities. Given the spillover effect and heterogeneity of the influencing factors, a Spatial Durbin Model (SDM) and a Spatiotemporal Geographically Weighted Regression Model (GTWR) were used to conduct a spatial spillover (SSA) and spatial heterogeneity (SHA) analysis of the URD of the shrinking cities in Northeast China. The results show that the ability gap to compete for and control resources between prefecture-level shrinking cities and county-level shrinking cities is narrowed. From the SSA and SHA perspectives, the influence factors can be categorized into three types: “High West–Low East and Negative–Positive Spillover”, “Low West and High East Positive–Negative Spillover”, “Low Northwest and High Southeast Negative Spillover”. Finally, policy implications are proposed to provide support for policy-making. Full article
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Article
Digital Twins in Civil Infrastructure Systems
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11549; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011549 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 606
Abstract
This research explores the existing definitions, concepts and applications surrounding the efficient implementation and use of digital twins (DTs) within civil infrastructure systems (CISs). The CISs within the scope of this research are as follows: transportation, energy, telecommunications, water and waste, as well [...] Read more.
This research explores the existing definitions, concepts and applications surrounding the efficient implementation and use of digital twins (DTs) within civil infrastructure systems (CISs). The CISs within the scope of this research are as follows: transportation, energy, telecommunications, water and waste, as well as Smart Cities, which encompasses all of the previous. The research methodology consists of a review of current literature, a series of semi-structured interviews and a detailed survey. The outcome of this work is a refined definition of DTs within CISs, in addition to a set of recommendations for both future academic research and industry best practice. Full article
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Article
Competitiveness of E Commerce Firms through ESG Logistics
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11548; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011548 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 601
Abstract
Rapid growth in the e-commerce market, caused by COVID-19, has led to fierce competition. The intense competition in e-commerce market triggers firms to strengthen their competitiveness by providing logistics services. Furthermore, as sustainability becomes important in consumers’ choices of products or services, e-commerce [...] Read more.
Rapid growth in the e-commerce market, caused by COVID-19, has led to fierce competition. The intense competition in e-commerce market triggers firms to strengthen their competitiveness by providing logistics services. Furthermore, as sustainability becomes important in consumers’ choices of products or services, e-commerce companies’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) activities are becoming important. Therefore, our purpose of study is to examine the attributes of e-commerce’s competitiveness in the perspective of ESG in the logistics service and to suggest differentiation strategies. We analyzed the importance of each ESG attribute in the logistics through a conjoint analysis. As a result, we found that e-commerce consumers value ESG activities in the order of distribution in the social (9.866%), partnership in the governance (9.637%), operation of distribution center in the social (8.570%), packaging in the environmental (8.320%), operation of distribution center in the environmental (8.262%), purchasing in the social (8.200%), and distribution in the environmental (7.153%). Accordingly, we suggested ESG strategies such as win-win cooperation, opening information on the working environment in delivery and distribution centers, development of a shared logistics platform, preventing COVID-19, and raising consumers’ awareness of eco-friendly delivery. Full article
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Article
Cloud-Based Booking Platforms in Warehouse Operations
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11547; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011547 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 335
Abstract
This study evaluates the implementation costs of cloud-based booking platforms (CBBPs) to manage vehicle queues in warehouses and investigates how cloud-based booking platforms support inter-organizational logistics processes. To understand the impact of CBBPs, we interviewed logistics managers concerning the structure of the CBBP [...] Read more.
This study evaluates the implementation costs of cloud-based booking platforms (CBBPs) to manage vehicle queues in warehouses and investigates how cloud-based booking platforms support inter-organizational logistics processes. To understand the impact of CBBPs, we interviewed logistics managers concerning the structure of the CBBP processes, salient platform features, and their effects on inter-organizational dynamics. In addition, we conducted an analytical modeling simulation to compute the economic impact of each investment scenario. Our results show that CBBP benefits, and their financial viability, are sensitive to the size of a company and the selected decision driver (cost vs. time optimization). Hence, our findings challenge the standard view that adopting digital technologies in inter-organizational settings is an easy task. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Network Operations and Supply Chain Management)
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Article
The Role of Owner-Managers in Shaping CSR Activity of Romanian SMEs
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11546; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011546 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 363
Abstract
Background: While corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a field of study that has gained popularity in the last years, the approaches of small and medium enterprises’ (SME) contributions to social responsibility are under debate. Moreover, studies on Romanian CSR demonstrate the incremental development [...] Read more.
Background: While corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a field of study that has gained popularity in the last years, the approaches of small and medium enterprises’ (SME) contributions to social responsibility are under debate. Moreover, studies on Romanian CSR demonstrate the incremental development of such practices, while the social responsibility of Romanian small business is an understudied topic. In this paper we present data regarding the role of owner-managers in shaping the CSR actions of their SMEs in Romania, along with their opinions on what social responsibility is. Methods: We analyze two sources of data: quantitative research, based on 109 questionnaires collected from SMEs in the western part of Romania, and also a qualitative study, based on 17 interviews with owner-managers of small businesses. The quantitative data presents the reality of social responsibility actions and the relationship with manager’s attitudes, while the qualitative focuses on a better understanding of owner-managers opinions on social responsibility. Results: Our data confirms the high impact of owner-managers’ values and orientations in shaping the degree and forms of the CSR of their firms, and reveals definitions of CSR given by practitioners. Conclusions: Our data reveals that the way managers’ see the role of business in providing social welfare influences their decisions to participate in different types of CSR actions. Through interviews we show that managers, whether their firm has formal CSR actions or not, consider being fair and doing business at their best as part of CSR. Those that also displayed other forms of CSR are those who considered it their duty to give back to the community. The interest of stakeholders was displayed mostly by those who have incremental interest in CSR. Full article
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Article
Effects of Air Pollution on Assaults: Findings from South Korea
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11545; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011545 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 375
Abstract
This study investigates the effects of concentration of air pollution on assault rates for 204 police districts of South Korea from 2001 to 2018. A series of panel spatial Durbin models for the concentration of ozone, fine dust, and nitrogen dioxide—three key air [...] Read more.
This study investigates the effects of concentration of air pollution on assault rates for 204 police districts of South Korea from 2001 to 2018. A series of panel spatial Durbin models for the concentration of ozone, fine dust, and nitrogen dioxide—three key air pollutants of the country—identify the significant impacts of air pollution on assault rates that vary from each other. Ozone is expected to induce more assaults both locally and regionally. Fine dust decreases assault rates of an area and also in neighboring areas. Nitrogen dioxide yields positive effects on the surrounding areas’ assault rates but not in area of pollution itself. Findings of this study suggest the need to incorporate active measures on air pollution and violent crime at both city and inter-city levels. They also propose the active sharing of information on air pollution and crime between cities and regions as a collaborative response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability on Crime Analysis and Public Safety)
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Article
A Study on Optimal Agroforestry Planting Patterns in the Buffer Zone of World Natural Heritage Sites
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11544; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011544 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 318
Abstract
As the protection layer of world natural heritage sites, the buffer zone should enable economic development while protecting the environment. To carry out agricultural activities in the buffer zone, it is necessary to balance agricultural development and environmental protection. In addition, the development [...] Read more.
As the protection layer of world natural heritage sites, the buffer zone should enable economic development while protecting the environment. To carry out agricultural activities in the buffer zone, it is necessary to balance agricultural development and environmental protection. In addition, the development of agroforestry has the benefits of developing the economy, maintaining biodiversity, and protecting the environment. In order to promote the coordination of environmental protection and community economic development, it is particularly important to scientifically select agroforestry planting patterns in the buffer zone of world natural heritage sites. This study utilized a mixed-methods research approach that included qualitative and quantitative research. Taking the buffer zone of Shibing Karst Heritage Site in southern China as an example, based on the seven agroforestry planting patterns surveyed in the buffer zone of the world natural heritage site, the four dimensions of net output value, carbon emission, environmental cost, and comprehensive livelihood score of different agroforestry planting patterns were calculated. The sorting scores of the values were calculated as Borda numbers. The sorting scores of the seven agroforestry planting patterns were B(A1) = 17, B(A2) = 18, B(A3) = 8, B(A4) = 8, B(A5) = 14, B(A6) = 12, and B(A7) = 7. The results showed that the priority sequence of seven agroforestry patterns was A2 > A1 > A5 > A6 > A3 = A4 > A7. A2 was the best among the seven agroforestry planting patterns, and A7 ranked last. The results can provide a quantitative evaluation basis for scientific optimization of agroforestry development planting patterns, and provide a reference for promoting the protection of world natural heritage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Agricultural Systems and Ecosystem Services)
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Article
Identification of the Dominant Factors in Groundwater Recharge Process, Using Multivariate Statistical Approaches in a Semi-Arid Region
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11543; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011543 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 526
Abstract
Identifying contributing factors of potential recharge zones is essential for sustainable groundwater resources management in arid regions. In this study, a data matrix with 66 observations of climatic, hydrogeological, morphological, and land use variables was analyzed. The dominant factors in groundwater recharge process [...] Read more.
Identifying contributing factors of potential recharge zones is essential for sustainable groundwater resources management in arid regions. In this study, a data matrix with 66 observations of climatic, hydrogeological, morphological, and land use variables was analyzed. The dominant factors in groundwater recharge process and potential recharge zones were evaluated using K-means clustering, principal component analysis (PCA), and geostatistical analysis. The study highlights the importance of multivariate methods coupled with geospatial analysis to identify the main factors contributing to recharge processes and delineate potential groundwater recharge areas. Potential recharge zones were defined into cluster 1 and cluster 3; these were classified as low potential for recharge. Cluster 2 was classified with high potential for groundwater recharge. Cluster 1 is located on a flat land surface with nearby faults and it is mostly composed of ignimbrites and volcanic rocks of low hydraulic conductivity (K). Cluster 2 is located on a flat lowland agricultural area, and it is mainly composed of alluvium that contributes to a higher hydraulic conductivity. Cluster 3 is located on steep slopes with nearby faults and is formed of rhyolite and ignimbrite with interbedded layers of volcanic rocks of low hydraulic conductivity. PCA disclosed that groundwater recharge processes are controlled by geology, K, temperature, precipitation, potential evapotranspiration (PET), humidity, and land use. Infiltration processes are restricted by low hydraulic conductivity, as well as ignimbrites and volcanic rocks of low porosity. This study demonstrates that given the climatic and geological conditions found in the Sierra de San Miguelito Volcanic Complex (SSMVC), this region is not working optimally as a water recharge zone towards the deep aquifer of the San Luis Potosí Valley (SLPV). This methodology will be useful for water resource managers to develop strategies to identify and define priority recharge areas with greater certainty. Full article
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Article
The Relationship between Artificial Intelligence and China’s Sustainable Economic Growth: Focused on the Mediating Effects of Industrial Structural Change
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11542; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011542 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 366
Abstract
In recent years, the application of artificial intelligence (AI) has had a significant impact on economic development. This study examined the relationship between the level of AI development and economic growth in 28 Chinese provinces from 2005 to 2018, and we focused on [...] Read more.
In recent years, the application of artificial intelligence (AI) has had a significant impact on economic development. This study examined the relationship between the level of AI development and economic growth in 28 Chinese provinces from 2005 to 2018, and we focused on the mediating role of the industrial structure. We found that the unreasonable state of the structure is an important reason behind the slowdown of China’s economic growth. The development of AI not only has a direct effect on economic growth, but can also improve economic slowdown by inhibiting industrial structure upgrading. Taking into account regional heterogeneity, we also conducted sub-regional regressions, and the results show that this mediating effect is particularly significant in the eastern, central, and western areas of China; the regression results also show that the development of AI technologies did not boost the economy before the 2008 financial crisis, but during the economic recovery period, the R&D and application of AI helped China’s economy to rebound. Thus, AI has gradually become an important power engine for high-quality and sustainable growth in China’s economy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Article
On the Dependence of Acoustic Pore Shape Factors on Porous Asphalt Volumetrics
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11541; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011541 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 280
Abstract
The sound absorption of a road pavement depends not only on geometric and volumetric factors but also on pore shape factors. In turn, pore shape factors mainly refer to thermal and viscous factors (i.e., thermal and viscous effects that usually occur inside porous [...] Read more.
The sound absorption of a road pavement depends not only on geometric and volumetric factors but also on pore shape factors. In turn, pore shape factors mainly refer to thermal and viscous factors (i.e., thermal and viscous effects that usually occur inside porous materials). Despite the presence of a number of studies and researches, there is a lack of information about how to predict or estimate pore shape factors. This greatly affects mixture design, where a physical-based or correlation-based link between volumetrics and acoustics is vital and plays an important role also during quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) procedures. Based on the above, the objective of this study is to link mixture volumetrics and pore shape factors. In particular, 10 samples of a porous asphalt concrete were tested in order to estimate their thickness, air voids content (vacuum-sealing method, ASTM D6857/D6857M), sound absorption coefficient (Kundt’s tube, ISO 10354-2), airflow resistivity (ISO 9053-2), and permeability (ASTM PS 129). Subsequently, two models (herein called STIN and JCAL) were used to derive both volumetrics and pore shape factors from the estimated parameters listed above, and statistical analysis was carried out to define correlations among the parameters and models performance. Results confirm the complexity of the tasks and point out that estimates of the pore shape factors can be derived based on mixture volumetrics. Results can benefit researchers (in acoustic and pavement mixtures) and practitioners involved in mix design and pavement acceptance processes. Full article
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Article
The Mediating Role of the Social Identity on Agritourism Business
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11540; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011540 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 340
Abstract
There is a significant relationship between social capital, functional competences and social identity which forms the environment of rural tourism. This complexity was studied using the PLS-SEM approach, applying the initial corrected bias method based on direct questionnaire surveys among rural tourism entrepreneurs [...] Read more.
There is a significant relationship between social capital, functional competences and social identity which forms the environment of rural tourism. This complexity was studied using the PLS-SEM approach, applying the initial corrected bias method based on direct questionnaire surveys among rural tourism entrepreneurs in Tunisia. The results of the bias-corrected primer model revealed that the entrepreneur’s social identity mediated the link between social capital and functional competencies. Managerially, social capital supports rural lodge entrepreneurs in the process of defining their marketing strategy and optimizing the different components of their marketing mix, focusing on the differentiation of their products and services. A strong link within the entrepreneur’s social capital network will encourage them to strengthen their social identity, leading to the enhancement of their different functional competencies. Full article
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Article
Enhancing Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation and Soybean Growth through Co-Inoculation with Bradyrhizobium and Pseudomonas Isolates
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11539; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011539 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 347
Abstract
The present study was undertaken to explore acidotolerant rhizobial and non-rhizobial bacteria associated with root nodules of soybean (Glycine max L.). Genotypic and phenotypic characterization regarding nitrogen fixation, nodulation and other potentially plant growth-promotion traits were performed in several isolates. Influences of [...] Read more.
The present study was undertaken to explore acidotolerant rhizobial and non-rhizobial bacteria associated with root nodules of soybean (Glycine max L.). Genotypic and phenotypic characterization regarding nitrogen fixation, nodulation and other potentially plant growth-promotion traits were performed in several isolates. Influences of bacterial inoculation on symbiotic nitrogen fixation and soybean growth were evaluated through flask and pot experiments in a greenhouse. The highest nitrogen-fixing activity was recorded in isolate Bra6, which was closely related to Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens based on 16S rDNA, nifH, and nodD gene sequences. All the non-rhizobial Pseudomonas isolates possessed multiple plant growth-promoting traits, with various hydrolytic patterns toward plant constituents. In sterile water agar-containing flasks, Bra6 + Pse2 treatment significantly (p < 0.05) increased the number of nodules, fresh weight, and dry weight of both root and shoot. This also led to the increment of most of the nutrients in the soybean plant compared with the uninoculated control or sole inoculation of Bra6. In non-sterile strongly acidic soil-containing pots, co-inoculation with Bra6 and various Pseudomonas isolates showed distinctively positive effects on symbiotic nitrogen fixation and soybean growth. The highest symbiotic nitrogen-fixing activity; root and shoot biomass; as well as N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Mn, Cu, and Zn contents of soybean plant were observed in Bra6 + Pse2 treatment. Synergistic symbiosis occurred through co-inoculation with Bradyrhizobium and Pseudomonas isolates, which further enhanced nutrients’ acquisition and growth of soybean in the strongly acidic soils. Full article
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Article
Advances in Geoheritage Mapping: Application to Iconic Geomorphological Examples from the Italian Landscape
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11538; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011538 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 417
Abstract
In the framework of geosite management, specific targeted symbols for geomorphological legends are still lacking. Concerning geosites of geomorphological interest, geomorphological mapping requires targeted symbols in relation to goals and applications, either concerning geomorphic hazards and risk detection or the enhancement of resources, [...] Read more.
In the framework of geosite management, specific targeted symbols for geomorphological legends are still lacking. Concerning geosites of geomorphological interest, geomorphological mapping requires targeted symbols in relation to goals and applications, either concerning geomorphic hazards and risk detection or the enhancement of resources, in particular those related to cultural heritage and, hence, geoheritage. A new methodology for mapping geo(morpho)heritage on geomorphological maps is presented in this paper. Nine iconic examples from the Italian landscape, selected in different morphogenetic and morphoclimatic contexts, are proposed to test the methodology in relation to point, polyline and polygon features. Moreover, guidelines for mapping are suggested according to the importance of the site and to the complexity of processes characterizing each case study. Full article
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Article
Data-Driven Forecasting and Modeling of Runoff Flow to Reduce Flood Risk Using a Novel Hybrid Wavelet-Neural Network Based on Feature Extraction
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11537; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011537 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 306
Abstract
The reliable forecasting of river flow plays a key role in reducing the risk of floods. Regarding nonlinear and variable characteristics of hydraulic processes, the use of data-driven and hybrid methods has become more noticeable. Thus, this paper proposes a novel hybrid wavelet-neural [...] Read more.
The reliable forecasting of river flow plays a key role in reducing the risk of floods. Regarding nonlinear and variable characteristics of hydraulic processes, the use of data-driven and hybrid methods has become more noticeable. Thus, this paper proposes a novel hybrid wavelet-neural network (WNN) method with feature extraction to forecast river flow. To do this, initially, the collected data are analyzed by the wavelet method. Then, the number of inputs to the ANN is determined using feature extraction, which is based on energy, standard deviation, and maximum values of the analyzed data. The proposed method has been analyzed by different input and various structures for daily, weekly, and monthly flow forecasting at Ellen Brook river station, western Australia. Furthermore, the mean squares error (MSE), root mean square error (RMSE), and the Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) is used to evaluate the performance of the suggested method. Furthermore, the obtained findings were compared to those of other models and methods in order to examine the performance and efficiency of the feature extraction process. It was discovered that the proposed feature extraction model outperformed their counterparts, especially when it came to long-term forecasting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Waste Management to Promote the Recycling System)
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Article
Case Study on the Efficiency of Recycling Companies’ Waste Paper Collection Stations in Japan
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11536; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011536 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 364
Abstract
Each year, a large amount of waste paper (WP) is generated in Japan, and due to the change in lifestyle with the COVID-19 pandemic, the WP collection and recycling system in Japan faces new challenges. Although the government of Japan has installed WP [...] Read more.
Each year, a large amount of waste paper (WP) is generated in Japan, and due to the change in lifestyle with the COVID-19 pandemic, the WP collection and recycling system in Japan faces new challenges. Although the government of Japan has installed WP collection systems, the efficiency of these traditional WP collection systems is too low, and this causes inconvenience to the governments, residents, and other stakeholders. On the other hand, some recycling companies in Japan are trying to establish a nontraditional WP collection system by setting their own WP collection stations in cooperative supermarkets. Yet, the efficiency of this new system has not been clarified. This research aims to investigate the current status, operational characteristics, and the role of recycling companies’ WP collection stations in the Japanese WP collection system. By performing trade area analysis and stepwise OLS regression, this research will evaluate WP collection stations’ efficiency. Moreover, this research will also discuss how the new WP collection system improves WP collection efficiency and residents’ convenience. The results show that WP collection stations efficiency is particularly high in large supermarkets with many parking spaces and long business hours, as well as in areas with many families with children. Recycling companies’ WP collection system could create a system, which can satisfy resident, government, and recycling company interests at the same time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Waste and Recycling)
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Article
Applying Spatial Analysis to Create Modern Rich Pictures for Grassland Health Analysis
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11535; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011535 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 439
Abstract
Grasslands are complex and heterogeneous ecosystems, and their health can be defined by the cumulative ability of their components to evolve, adapt, and maintain their integrity in the presence of stress/disturbance and provide ecosystem services. Herein, a design approach is used to generate [...] Read more.
Grasslands are complex and heterogeneous ecosystems, and their health can be defined by the cumulative ability of their components to evolve, adapt, and maintain their integrity in the presence of stress/disturbance and provide ecosystem services. Herein, a design approach is used to generate alternative and multifunctional pastoral livestock production systems that enhance grassland health. As a way of understanding the complexity of grasslands and initiating the design process using systems thinking, rich pictures emerge as a useful method. As rich pictures are subjective views, geographic information systems (GIS) could be applied to improve the veracity of their outcomes, as both techniques are forms of an analytical process. This paper reports the application of GIS to a case study of a high-country farm to generate and combine different thematic maps to create a modern rich picture. The rich picture is a combination of remote sensing data (altitude, slope, aspects, and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)), and on-the-ground data (plant species distribution and diversity and soil chemical, biological, and physical parameters). Layers were combined using a multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) based on the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) to create a final rich picture. The results highlight dissimilarities in perceptions of what underpins ‘grassland health’ between researchers in different fields and with different perspectives. The use of GIS produced a modern rich picture that enhanced the understanding of grassland health and allowed for the identification of gaps, values, and possibilities for future research work. Full article
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Article
How Do Different Households Respond to Public Education Spending?
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11534; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011534 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 325
Abstract
Using data from the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS), we developed an educational production function to examine how households with different income levels and parental human capital respond to changes in public spending. Our results suggest that there is a significant complementary effect [...] Read more.
Using data from the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS), we developed an educational production function to examine how households with different income levels and parental human capital respond to changes in public spending. Our results suggest that there is a significant complementary effect between household inputs of time and money and public investments in the educational process. However, the results are heterogeneous in terms of different income levels. Rich families have more incentives to invest in their children, suggesting a crowd-in effect of public resources. In contrast, public spending crowds out private inputs for poor families, who care more about their own well-being. Moreover, we show that educational investments in parents have spill-over effects on their children, but the degrees of influence are different for the poor and the rich. Full article
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Article
Resident Perceptions of Mosquito Problems Are More Influenced by Landscape Factors than Mosquito Abundance
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11533; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011533 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 403
Abstract
Mosquitoes and the pathogens they carry are increasingly common in urban areas throughout the globe. With urban landscapes, the need to manage mosquitoes is driven by the health risks and nuisance complaints associated with mosquitoes. Controlling the number of mosquitoes may reduce the [...] Read more.
Mosquitoes and the pathogens they carry are increasingly common in urban areas throughout the globe. With urban landscapes, the need to manage mosquitoes is driven by the health risks and nuisance complaints associated with mosquitoes. Controlling the number of mosquitoes may reduce the overall risk of disease transmission but may not reduce nuisance complaints. This study focuses on Maricopa County in Arizona, USA, to investigate the relationship between mosquito abundance and landscape-level and sociodemographic factors on resident perceptions of mosquitoes. We used boosted regression trees to compare how mosquito abundance, collected from Maricopa Vector Control, and landscape factors and social factors, assessed through the Phoenix Area Social Survey, influence survey respondents’ reporting of mosquitoes as a problem. Results show that the landscape and sociodemographic features play a prominent role in how individuals perceive mosquitoes as a problem; specifically, respondents’ perception of their local landscape as messy and the distance to landscape features such as wetlands have more substantial roles in shaping perceptions. This work can highlight how potential mosquito and non-mosquito-related communications and management efforts may improve residents’ satisfaction with mosquito control or other wildlife management efforts, which can help inform best practices for vector control agencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Socioecology of Disasters and Infectious Disease)
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Article
Implementation of Fire Policies in Brazil: An Assessment of Fire Dynamics in Brazilian Savanna
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11532; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011532 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 366
Abstract
In 2012, the Brazilian government implemented the Federal Brigades Program (FBP), a fire policy strategy to hire and train firefighters to combat wildfires. This study analyzed the impact of this program on fire behavior before (2008–2012) and after (2013–2017) its implementation in the [...] Read more.
In 2012, the Brazilian government implemented the Federal Brigades Program (FBP), a fire policy strategy to hire and train firefighters to combat wildfires. This study analyzed the impact of this program on fire behavior before (2008–2012) and after (2013–2017) its implementation in the Parque do Araguaia Indigenous Land, the largest indigenous territory with the highest occurrence of fires in the Brazilian tropical savanna. We analyzed the annual pattern of fire incidence in the dry season, the fire impact per vegetation type, the recurrence, and the relationship between fire and precipitation. The datasets were based on active fire products derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), the Landsat and Resourcesat-based burned area products, and the records of the fire combat operations. Our results showed that FBP contributed to the reduction of the number of areas affected by fires and to the formation of a more heterogeneous environment composed of fire-resistant and fire-sensitive native vegetation fragments. On the other hand, after the implementation of the FBP, there was an increase in the recurrence of 3–4 years of fires. We concluded that the FBP is an important public policy capable of providing improvements in fire management activities. Full article
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Article
Interval Type-2 Fuzzy Logic Anti-Lock Braking Control for Electric Vehicles under Complex Road Conditions
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11531; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011531 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 374
Abstract
To simultaneously track the ideal slip rate and realize ideal energy recovery efficiency under different complex road conditions, an electro-hydraulic compound anti-lock braking system based on interval type-2 fuzzy logic control strategy and its corresponding braking torque allocation strategy have been developed for [...] Read more.
To simultaneously track the ideal slip rate and realize ideal energy recovery efficiency under different complex road conditions, an electro-hydraulic compound anti-lock braking system based on interval type-2 fuzzy logic control strategy and its corresponding braking torque allocation strategy have been developed for electric vehicles. The proposed interval type-2 fuzzy logic controller aims to calculate the ideal total braking torque by four steps, namely, fuzzification, fuzzy inference, type reduction, and defuzzification. The slip rate error and the change rate of slip rate error are utilized as inputs in the fuzzification, and then, the membership degree interval of fuzzy variables determined by the upper and lower membership functions is used to calculate the activation degree interval of different fuzzy rules in the fuzzy inference process, which enhances the anti-interference ability to external uncertainties and internal uncertainties. The braking torque allocation strategy is proposed to maintain the maximum energy recovery efficiency on the premise of safe braking. The software of MATLAB/Simulink is applied to simulate the process of anti-lock braking control under two complex road conditions. Simulation results corroborate the proposed interval type-2 fuzzy logic anti-lock braking control system can not only obtain better slip rate control effect and outstanding robustness but also achieve ideal regenerative braking energy recovery efficiency under both joint-μ and split-μ road surfaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intelligent Technologies in Energy Management of New Energy Vehicle)
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Article
Consumption Structure in Urban and Rural Areas and Self-Rated Health of the Elderly: A Survey Based on Chinese General Social Survey
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11530; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011530 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 311
Abstract
Health inequality is an aspect of social inequality, and has now become an important problem in the current society. This article uses the data from the Chinese General Social Survey (2017) (CGSS2017) and uses the Multinomial Logistic Models method to analyze the elderly [...] Read more.
Health inequality is an aspect of social inequality, and has now become an important problem in the current society. This article uses the data from the Chinese General Social Survey (2017) (CGSS2017) and uses the Multinomial Logistic Models method to analyze the elderly population (over 60 years old) across the country. The study found that the differences in the basic consumption of food and daily necessities among the elderly are relatively small; while consumer goods that reflect the differentiation of social classes such as clothing consumption and cultural consumption have a significant impact on the elderly. Travel consumption status also has a certain impact on the self-rated health choices of the elderly, but housing consumption has no effect on these choices. Thess results pave the way for investigating health from the perspective of socioeconomic status in academic circles. By using this consumption pattern analysis it is possible to analyze the health of the elderly population more effectively. In the future supply of consumer goods, it is possible to strengthen the consumption and supply of cultural tastes for the elderly, enhance the beauty and value of the lifestyle of the elderly, and increase the health of the elderly. At the same time, due to the significant impact of urban–rural differences in the health of the elderly, it is necessary to improve the living security level of the rural elderly, reduce the difference in public services between urban and rural elderly groups, and promote urban–rural integration. Full article
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