Landscape Planning, Sustainability and Diversity in Human–Nature Interactions

In the last few decades, there has been growing concern about worldwide, human-induced ecological degradation. Throughout our history and prehistory, landscape change and socioeconomic dynamics have been the main components of human–nature interactions. An essential endeavor of human societies is the creation of productive, residential, or leisure spaces. Land use and land cover dynamics are significant drivers of global change. One of the best elements available is to assess this are human–nature interactions in monitoring environmental sustainability.

Current landscapes constitute complex social–ecological systems shaped by a wide range of human–nature interactions. The speed, scale, complexity, and strength of such interactions have profound implications for social–ecological system diversity and sustainability. The decision-making and landscape planning in each historical period, political regime, or socioeconomic context define the different land covers and land uses and prioritize the demand of specific ecosystem services over others and the sustainability of their use. In landscape planning and management, there is often neither absolute right nor wrong. However, landscape transformations can have very long-lasting effects on human societies and ecosystems across time and space.

Analysis of the long- and short-term dynamics of forest transitions (deforestation or afforestation), agrarian transitions (abandonment or intensification) or urbanization can yield information about pre-impact states, success or failure of decision-making experiences, stability, resilience, or sustainable change dynamics across social–ecological systems. Thus, the monitoring of these transformations is essential to produce new knowledge on human–nature interactions that can guide more sustainable landscape management in the future.

This Special Issue aims to present an up-to-date overview of environmental sustainability and diversity in human–nature interactions from a broad and interdisciplinary perspective by bringing together conceptual, epistemological, methodological, and mainly case-based studies or applied perspectives. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Definition, characterization, or mapping of social–ecological systems, geosystems, or environmental management units.
  • Novel approaches to identify the main drivers of landscape change for environmental sustainability in landscape planning throughout history.
  • Innovative concepts, methods, or technologies to analyze and model land cover/land use change, human–nature interaction, or social–ecological system dynamics.
  • Disentangling concepts, synergies, and trade-offs between the concepts of social–ecological systems, geosystems, and environmental management units.
  • New technologies, methodologies, or tools to support land cover/land use decisions in sustainable landscape planning.

Deadline for abstract submissions: 5 September 2021.
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 5 November 2021.

Topic Board

Prof. Dr. Raúl Romero-Calcerrada
E-Mail Website
Topic Editor-in-Chief
Departamento de Ciencias de la Educación, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, 28032 Madrid, Spain
Interests: human–nature interactions; land use/cover change; natural protected areas; sustainability science; landscape ecology; GIS; remote sensing
Prof. Dr. Javier Cabello
E-Mail Website
Topic board member
Andalusian Center for the Assessment and Monitoring of Global Change, University of Almería, 04120 Almería, Spain
Interests: arid zones ecology; conservation biodiversity; ecosystem functions and services; remote sensing; translational ecology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Manuel Pacheco-Romero
E-Mail Website
Topic board member
Andalusian Center for the Assessment and Monitoring of Global Change, University of Almería, 04120 Almería, Spain
Interests: ecosystem services; human–nature interactions; social–ecological systems; social–ecological dynamics; sustainability science
Dr. Koldo Trapaga Monchet
E-Mail Website
Topic board member
Faculty of Law and Social Sciences, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, 28032 Madrid, Spain
Interests: early modern history; Environmental History; Maritime History; GIS; Natural Heritage

Keywords

drivers of landscape change; environmental history; environmental management units; environmental sustainability; geosystems; geographic information technologies; human–nature interactions; land use/cover change; landscape planning; social–ecological systems

Relevant Journals List

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Diversity
diversity
2.465 2.2 2009 14.05 Days 1800 CHF Submit
Sustainability
sustainability
3.251 3.9 2009 15.35 Days 1900 CHF Submit
Urban Science
urbansci
- - 2017 18.15 Days 1000 CHF Submit

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Article
Influence of Slope Gradient and Aspect on Soil Organic Carbon Content in the Region of Niš, Serbia
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8332; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13158332 - 26 Jul 2021
Abstract
Topography-induced microclimate differences determine the local spatial variation of soil characteristics as topographic factors may play the most essential role in changing the climatic pattern. The aim of this study was to investigate the spatial distribution of soil organic carbon (SOC) with respect [...] Read more.
Topography-induced microclimate differences determine the local spatial variation of soil characteristics as topographic factors may play the most essential role in changing the climatic pattern. The aim of this study was to investigate the spatial distribution of soil organic carbon (SOC) with respect to the slope gradient and aspect, and to quantify their influence on SOC within different land use/cover classes. The study area is the Region of Niš in Serbia, which is characterized by complex topography with large variability in the spatial distribution of SOC. Soil samples at 0–30 cm and 30–60 cm were collected from different slope gradients and aspects in each of the three land use/cover classes. The results showed that the slope aspect significantly influenced the spatial distribution of SOC in the forest and vineyard soils, where N- and NW-facing soils had the highest level of organic carbon in the topsoil. There were no similar patterns in the uncultivated land. No significant differences were found in the subsoil. Organic carbon content was higher in the topsoil, regardless of the slope of the terrain. The mean SOC content in forest land decreased with increasing slope, but the difference was not statistically significant. In vineyards and uncultivated land, the SOC content was not predominantly determined by the slope gradient. No significant variations across slope gradients were found for all observed soil properties, except for available phosphorus and potassium. A positive correlation was observed between SOC and total nitrogen, clay, silt, and available phosphorus and potassium, while a negative correlation with coarse sand was detected. The slope aspect in relation to different land use/cover classes could provide an important reference for land management strategies in light of sustainable development. Full article
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Article
Assessing Impact of Land Use Change on the Ecosystem Service Value in Yinchuan City from 1980 to 2018
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8311; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13158311 - 26 Jul 2021
Abstract
Accurate assessment and response analysis of land use and land cover change (LUCC), and ecosystem service values (ESV), are critical to regional ecological security and economic development. There is a lack of detailed reports on the impact of LUCC on the temporal and [...] Read more.
Accurate assessment and response analysis of land use and land cover change (LUCC), and ecosystem service values (ESV), are critical to regional ecological security and economic development. There is a lack of detailed reports on the impact of LUCC on the temporal and spatial evolution of ESV in Yinchuan City, which is inconsistent with the pilot urban design policy. This paper, using the LUCC data of Yinchuan City from 1980 to 2018, calculated the ESV, analyzed the temporal and spatial patterns of LUCC and ESV, and discussed the response of ESV to LUCC. The results show that, from 1980 to 2018, the building land increased significantly in Yinchuan City, as did the cultivated land. Meanwhile, grassland and bare land decreased, while forest and the water body remained stable. The spatial connectivity of the building land showed regular improvements, while the urban landscape developed in a regular and balanced direction. During the study period, the total ESV of Yinchuan City decreased by 0.75 × 109 yuan. This was due to the decrease in grasslands and the increase in building area. The supply, regulation and support of three types of services have a high correlation with different land types. The prosperity and progress of culture reduces the ESV value of cultivated land to some extent, while the change in land use type leads to the significant loss of ESV in Yinchuan City. Full article
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Article
A Synthetic Indicator for Sustainability Standards of Water Resources in Agriculture
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8221; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13158221 - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
The aim of this work is to evaluate the sustainability of water management for agriculture in a specific territory through the creation of a synthetic index resulting from the aggregation of multiple indices (environmental, economic, and social). The resulting synthetic index can be [...] Read more.
The aim of this work is to evaluate the sustainability of water management for agriculture in a specific territory through the creation of a synthetic index resulting from the aggregation of multiple indices (environmental, economic, and social). The resulting synthetic index can be used to set sustainability standards and to guide the choices mandated by the Common Agricultural Policy 2023–2027. In this work we intend to show how the Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) method facilitates a complex process such as establishing a degree of sustainability in a certain area and, therefore, provides support to national or regional policies and communities. The integration of MCDA and GIS increases the efficiency of the support activity. A case study is presented evaluating the level of sustainability in the Irrigation and Reclamation Consortium of Piacenza and Emilia Centrale, in the Emilia Romagna region. Full article
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Article
Mapping Mangrove Opportunities with Open Access Data: A Case Study for Bangladesh
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8212; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13158212 - 22 Jul 2021
Abstract
Mangroves protect coastal areas against hazards like storms or cyclones by attenuating waves and currents, and by trapping floating debris during extreme events. Bangladesh is a very vulnerable country to floods and cyclones, and part of its coastal system is thus being upgraded [...] Read more.
Mangroves protect coastal areas against hazards like storms or cyclones by attenuating waves and currents, and by trapping floating debris during extreme events. Bangladesh is a very vulnerable country to floods and cyclones, and part of its coastal system is thus being upgraded to a higher safety standard. These upgrades include embankment reinforcement and mangrove afforestation schemes seawards of the embankments. To further strengthen the implementation of combined green–grey infrastructure in future programs, identifying potential mangrove development sites near the polder systems is a necessary first step. We thus developed a tool to systematically identify mangrove sites throughout the coastal area based on open access data. This method identifies potential sites for mangrove development based on their distance from existing mangrove patches and suggests the required technique to implement the vegetation depending on the rate of coastline change. Our method showed that approximately 600 km of the coastal stretches placed seawards of embankments are within 10 km of existing mangroves, and could thus be potential sites for mangrove establishment. Out of those 600 km, we identified 140 km of coastline where the landwards polders are particularly vulnerable to flooding. The sites with highest restoration potential and priority are located in Galachipa, Hatiya, Bhola, Manpura, Khangona, and Boro Moheshkhali. More detailed data collection and local assessments are recommended prior to executing mangrove afforestation schemes. Nevertheless, this method could serve as a useful systematic tool for feasibility studies that identify mangrove opportunities in data-scarce areas and help to prioritize data collection at the sites of highest interest. Full article
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Article
Prioritization and Analysis of Watershed: A Study Applied to Municipal Solid Waste
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8152; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13158152 - 21 Jul 2021
Abstract
This paper shows a watershed prioritization analysis applied to municipal solid waste. The study area was the macrowatershed “Cañón del Sumidero”, in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. Geographic information systems, multi-criteria evaluation techniques, as well as several geomorphometric, land use, vegetation and waste [...] Read more.
This paper shows a watershed prioritization analysis applied to municipal solid waste. The study area was the macrowatershed “Cañón del Sumidero”, in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. Geographic information systems, multi-criteria evaluation techniques, as well as several geomorphometric, land use, vegetation and waste management variables were used. The results indicate that, of the set of watersheds analyzed (4 subwatersheds and 80 microwatersheds), only 14 (2 subwatersheds and 12 microwatersheds) have high priority, since they are severely affected by the mismanagement of solid waste. This is also due to the major presence of urban settlements, which are places with different dynamics in terms of population growth, migration, as well as access to infrastructure and services, such as collection and final disposal of waste. Additionally, the incidence of certain biophysical and geomorphometric variables, such as steep slopes, high rainfall and high drainage density, among others, exacerbate the waste-related problems. The remaining watersheds (2 subwatersheds and 68 microwatersheds) showed moderate or low prioritization values because of the low amount of solid waste produced there. Finally, this work concludes that the regionalization of municipalities and the management of solid waste through decentralized operating agencies can help solve solid waste management problems since this approach would permit to delegate non-primary activities from watershed operating agencies to other specialized waste agencies. Full article
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Article
Geological Approach for Landfill Site Selection: A Case Study of Vršac Municipality, Serbia
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7810; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13147810 - 13 Jul 2021
Abstract
One of the biggest problems of environmental protection in Serbia is landfills. It is often a case that the economic interests are predominant in the landfill sitting; thus, most landfills are not located according to standards. This study shows that detailed geological data [...] Read more.
One of the biggest problems of environmental protection in Serbia is landfills. It is often a case that the economic interests are predominant in the landfill sitting; thus, most landfills are not located according to standards. This study shows that detailed geological data assets combined with geographical modeling represents a reliable way to define and locate the landfill site. Geological evaluation is discussed in detail with regard to bedrock lithology, quaternary geology, geological structure, hydrogeology, surface runoff patterns, and topography. An approach combining geographical modeling and geology is presented for determining the sites suitable for landfill selection with respect to their geologic favorability. As opposed to numerous research papers on this topic, in the methodological procedure, special importance is devoted to the analysis of the geological criteria. In this way, it is significantly easier to determine the landfill area with the best characteristics due to geological structure and lithology which unequivocally and precisely indicates inadequate territories for candidate sites. The multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) is based on geological criteria upgraded with road (primary, residential, secondary, and tertiary), settlements network, railway, airport, infrastructure, land use, hypsometry aquifer, wetland, and surface water. The score values are divided into four classes, i.e., restricted areas, suitable but avoid, suitable, and most suitable. Combining geographical modeling with geology led to the recognition of two locations to be most favorable for landfill site located in the most suitable area, which represents 25.3% of the study area. Full article
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Article
How Social Networks Affect the Spatiotemporal Planning of Smart Tourism: Evidence from Shanghai
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7394; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137394 - 01 Jul 2021
Abstract
Scenic tourism route plans are usually generated by combining scenic Points of Interest (PoIs) and the scenic road network. Traditional algorithms map the road networks linking the PoIs into a route collection and build a corresponding graph model. However, a single PoI description [...] Read more.
Scenic tourism route plans are usually generated by combining scenic Points of Interest (PoIs) and the scenic road network. Traditional algorithms map the road networks linking the PoIs into a route collection and build a corresponding graph model. However, a single PoI description mechanism for scenic spots with multiple entrances and exits is significantly different from the actual tour route, which has multiple entrances and exits. Furthermore, the preferences and needs of tourists are not considered in attraction selection in existing algorithms. In this study, we propose a double-weighted graph model that considers the multiple entrances and exits of the PoI and identifies the tourists’ preferences using social network data. According to tourists’ different preferences and demands, different optimized tourist routes closer to the actual optimal paths were generated through an ant colony algorithm based on the proposed double-weighted graph model. To address the efficiency of the proposed model, we applied it in Shanghai and compared it with the traditional model through the 2bulu app, which can record three-dimensional (3D) trajectories of tourists. The comparison results show that the proposed model using social network data is closer to the actual 3D trajectory than the traditional model. Full article
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