Special Issue "Landscape Fragmentation and Sustainable Environmental Assessment"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Geography and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Antonio Ledda
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Università degli Studi di Sassari, viale Italia 39, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Interests: rural landscape analysis and planning; land use planning; landscape fragmentation; environmental assessment; adaptation to climate changes; sustainable development
Prof. Dr. Andrea De Montis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Sciences, viale Italia 39a, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Interests: urban and regional planning; rural landscape analysis and planning; strategic environmental assessment; adaptation to climate changes and planning; resilience; ecological networks; green infrastructures; landscape fragmentation; sustainable development; landscape analysis and planning
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Landscape fragmentation (LF), i.e., the process where large habitat patches become smaller and more isolated, has been studied recently by a variety of scholars. Most of the time, LF negatively affects wild fauna and flora and depends mainly on human activities, such as deforestation, urbanization, and transport and mobility infrastructures. Spatial, landscape, and transport planning are typical instruments for designing defragmentation measures (such as ecological networks, green and blue infrastructures, etc.) in the perspective of the reduction of LF in rural, periurban, and urban contexts. As LF is a product of the interaction between human activity and the environment, the design of sustainable counteractions relays on the development of proper environmental assessment procedures, including environmental impact assessment (EIA), strategic environmental assessment (SEA), and appropriate assessment (AA) concerning Natura 2000 sites. The integration of environmental assessment procedures since the early stages of the planning processes is key to the minimization of the effects connected to the increase of LF in a given area. 

This Special Issue focuses on LF and sustainable environmental assessment. Authors are invited to submit original research articles concerning innovative approaches for (though not exclusively): defining and quantifying LF, integrating LF in planning contexts, and designing and addressing defragmentation measures. Essays should clarify the interplay between LF analysis and planning and environmental assessment processes.

Dr. Antonio Ledda
Prof. Andrea De Montis
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • landscape fragmentation
  • fragmentation metrics
  • environmental assessment
  • spatial and transport planning
  • defragmentation measures
  • landscape ecology
  • road ecology
  • ecological network
  • green and blue infrastructure
  • rural, periurban, and urban landscape
  • rural and urban settlement

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Integration Versus Fragmentation, the Role of Minor Rural Networks in Rural Cultural Landscapes. A Study-Case in Spain
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4765; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13094765 - 23 Apr 2021
Viewed by 398
Abstract
This work deals with the dichotomy between integration and fragmentation caused by artificial elements in the cultural landscapes, especially minor rural roads. In Europe, the rural matrix dominates the configuration of landscapes, and the agents of fragmentation can be analysed from different perspectives. [...] Read more.
This work deals with the dichotomy between integration and fragmentation caused by artificial elements in the cultural landscapes, especially minor rural roads. In Europe, the rural matrix dominates the configuration of landscapes, and the agents of fragmentation can be analysed from different perspectives. For this purpose, the Land Parcel Information System, designed for the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) is used as a data source to feed the indicators, allowing a high detail analysis, down to the parcel unit. It is applied to a case-study in Spain: the province of Ciudad Real. Here we find different landscape units with different rural and agrarian profiles to test the hypothesis. We use three indicators that allow us to explore the configuration of different cultural landscapes under the fragmentation perspective, using minor rural roads and other elements of the rural matrix that can only be observed at large scale. Then we calculate a composite indicator summarizing the fragmentation results of each unit. Results reveal a significative variability of fragmentation results regarding the land use and spatial patterns of the different cultural landscapes dominated by agrarian and rural factors, with a strong correspondence with the minor rural network underneath. Therefore, fragmentation can be interpreted as a dual process in cultural landscapes where the different land uses have different relations with the infrastructure network. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Fragmentation and Sustainable Environmental Assessment)
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Article
The Agrarian, Structural and Cultural Constraints of Smallholders’ Readiness for Sustainability Standards Implementation: The Case of Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil in East Kalimantan
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2611; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13052611 - 01 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 941
Abstract
The expansion of oil palm plantation has caused adverse impacts on the ecosystem. It has been associated with deforestation, biodiversity loss, disturbances to environmental services and livelihood change. The government of Indonesia has made an effort to control the negative effects by issuing [...] Read more.
The expansion of oil palm plantation has caused adverse impacts on the ecosystem. It has been associated with deforestation, biodiversity loss, disturbances to environmental services and livelihood change. The government of Indonesia has made an effort to control the negative effects by issuing relevant policies. One of the policies is Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO)’s sustainability standards to which large-scale plantations and smallholders are obliged to adhere. This study assesses the readiness of two types of smallholders, namely, the nucleus–plasma scheme and independent smallholders to adopt ISPO standards. Using a case study research approach in two oil palm plantation villages in East Kalimantan, the study found out a number of ISPO implementation challenges, grouped into structural and socio-cultural challenges, which make smallholders less ready to adhere to this mandatory policy. Coping with these challenges, this study proposed that land and business legality programs be expedited to strengthen property rights, and that training and education programs be intensified to enhance awareness, knowledge and capacity of smallholders to enable them to comply with sustainability standards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Fragmentation and Sustainable Environmental Assessment)
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Article
Assessing Landscape Fragmentation: A Composite Indicator
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9632; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12229632 - 18 Nov 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 452
Abstract
The assessment and management of landscape fragmentation (LF), i.e., the subdivision of the habitat into smaller and more isolated patches, can benefit from the adoption of a composite indicator explaining, in a unique measure, the various concerns involved. However, the use of composite [...] Read more.
The assessment and management of landscape fragmentation (LF), i.e., the subdivision of the habitat into smaller and more isolated patches, can benefit from the adoption of a composite indicator explaining, in a unique measure, the various concerns involved. However, the use of composite indicators may be affected by lack of data, subjectivity in algorithm design, and oversimplification connected to reduction to just one index. In these cases, the findings obtained might not provide the researcher with reliable information. In this paper, we design and apply the Composite Indicator of Landscape Fragmentation (CILF), a metric resuming three indicators concerning the effect on LF of transport and mobility infrastructures, human settlements, and patch density per se. The application concerns the measurement of LF spatial pattern and dynamics from 2003 to 2008 of 51 landscape units in the island of Sardinia (Italy). We considered a complete spatial data set, chose the generalized geometric mean as aggregation algorithm, and verified its robustness via sensitivity analysis of the results. We found that, in 2003 and 2008, the CILF spatial pattern shows higher values in coastal areas and has varied randomly, i.e., without a consistent tendency to converge to, or diverge from, a mean value. Overall, we demonstrate that the CILF is a powerful instrument for monitoring LF in Sardinia and advocate that it can be further implemented, following the same methodological framework, by extending the pool of indicators considered and assessing a weighted version of the composite indicator. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Fragmentation and Sustainable Environmental Assessment)
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Article
Spatial Distribution of Surface Temperature and Land Cover: A Study Concerning Sardinia, Italy
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3186; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12083186 - 15 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 829
Abstract
Land surface temperature (LST) is a key climate variable that has been studied mainly at the urban scale and in the context of urban heat islands. By analyzing the connection between LST and land cover, this study shows the potential of LST to [...] Read more.
Land surface temperature (LST) is a key climate variable that has been studied mainly at the urban scale and in the context of urban heat islands. By analyzing the connection between LST and land cover, this study shows the potential of LST to analyze the relation between urbanization and heating phenomena at the regional level. Land cover data, drawn from Copernicus, and LST, retrieved from Landsat 8 satellite images, are analyzed through a methodology that couples GIS and regression analysis. By looking at the Italian island of Sardinia as a case study, this research shows that urbanization and the spatial dynamics of heating phenomena are closely connected, and that intensively farmed areas behave quite similarly to urban areas, whereas forests are the most effective land covers in mitigating LST, followed by areas covered with Mediterranean shrubs. This leads to key policy recommendations that decision-makers could implement to mitigate LST at the regional scale and that can, in principle, be exported to regions with similar climate and land covers. The significance of this study can be summed up in its novel approach to analyzing the relationship between LST and land covers that uses freely available spatial data and, therefore, can easily be replicated in other regional contexts to derive appropriate policy recommendations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Fragmentation and Sustainable Environmental Assessment)
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Article
Analysis of the Habitat Fragmentation of Ecosystems in Belize Using Landscape Metrics
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3024; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073024 - 09 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 935
Abstract
Landscape metrics have been of game changing importance in the analysis of ecosystems’ composition and landscape cohesion. With the increasing urban and agricultural expansion, the natural flora and fauna of many highly diverse areas have been degraded. Fragmentation of ecosystems and habitats have [...] Read more.
Landscape metrics have been of game changing importance in the analysis of ecosystems’ composition and landscape cohesion. With the increasing urban and agricultural expansion, the natural flora and fauna of many highly diverse areas have been degraded. Fragmentation of ecosystems and habitats have stressed the biodiversity of Belize. To understand the dynamics of this change, a study was conducted using three moderately separate years of ecosystem landscape data. The metrics used for the analysis were area-weighted mean shape index (AWMSI), mean shape index (MSI), edge density (ED), mean patch size (MPS), number of patches (NUMP), and class area (CA). These metrics were produced for the years 2001, 2011, and 2017. The classes of agricultural use, lowland savannas, mangroves and littoral forests, urban, and wetlands were the subjects for analysis. Using the GIS extension Patch Analyst, parametric runs were performed. From these results, a one-way ANOVA test of the NUMP, Tukey HSD test, and Scheffé Multiple Comparison test were performed. The results indicate that there has been significant habitat fragmentation, especially from the years 2001 to 2011. Agricultural areas increased by 19.37% in just 10 years, with the NUMP of some habitats increasing by 284%. The results also show fluctuation in ED and a decrease in overall MPS, all indicating high fragmentation. These changes have been mostly induced due to the expansion of agricultural activities and urbanization, especially in the northern parts of Belize. It is imperative that additional policies be implemented to deter the effects of habitat fragmentation upon the existing ecosystems of Belize and elsewhere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Fragmentation and Sustainable Environmental Assessment)
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