Special Issues

Land journal

"The Water-Energy-Food Nexus: Progress and Prospects"

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past decade, international research and policy circles have been increasingly recognizing the need for more integrated research, planning and management of water, energy and food systems to address the interconnected risks to water, energy, and food security. In response, the water-energy-food nexus concept highlights the interactions between these systems and provides insight into the cross-sectoral implications of single-sector strategies. The need to manage resources in an integrated way has never been as urgent as it is today. Growing pressures on natural resources are making the interdependencies and trade-offs between food, water and energy systems, and their interactions with land, climate change and livelihoods, increasingly evident. Understanding their interplay is essential to effectively addressing sustainability challenges. Furthermore, managing food, water and energy systems is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and requires a better understanding of the interactions between the Goals, both at and across different scales. Providing decision-makers with the multifaceted knowledge needed to seize all opportunities to enhance synergies and minimize trade-offs is, therefore, a major objective for sustainability science.

This Special Issue will feature theoretical and empirical work aimed at better understanding the role of land as the nexus of water, energy and food.

Prof. Dr. William J. McConnell
Guest Editor

More information

"Nature-based solutions (NBS) in Cities and Their Interaction with Urban Land, Ecosystems, Built Environment and People: Debating Societal Implications"

From Session 105R Designing sustainable urban land systems, and Session 308R: Mixed-methods approaches to identify and include the peoples' needs in modeling urban spaces and their settings

Special Issue: "Nature-based solutions (NBS) in Cities and Their Interaction with Urban Land, Ecosystems, Built Environment and People: Debating Societal Implications"​

Dear Colleagues,

Nature-based solutions are a comparatively new field of research regarding the ‘green city’ and a main focus of large European and Global research programs. Nature-based Solutions (NBS) are defined by IUCN as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified—in our case urban—ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits”. NBS have the aim to support the achievement of society’s development goals and human well-being and public health as well as social welfare in ways that reflect the cultural and societal values of the urban societies and enhance the resilience of ecosystems, their capacity for renewal, their diversity, along with the provision of services. NBS are designed to address major societal challenges related to cities, such as safe and clean housing, fresh air, food security, climate change, water supply, human health, and disaster risk. NBS are intended to produce societal benefits in a fair and equitable way, thus promoting transparency and broad participation as well as learning and education.

This Special Issue seeks to provide a state of the art of the functional, empirical, and field study-based experiences and data on NBS provided by green and blue infrastructure (GBI) in cities. We focus on the interaction of the instrument of NBS, its benefits, and tradeoffs with urban land, the built environment in cities, and the urban society, in particular in relation to social wealth and public health, also taking into account stewardship and governance aspects.

We aim at answering questions such as:

  • What type of GBI-based NBS are being implemented in cities across the Globe?
  • Which properties of urban nature and/or urban ecosystems do they make use of, and how do NBS themselves influence urban ecosystems and ecosystem services flows in Cities?
  • What are the trade-offs of NBS with other ecosystem services and urban biodiversity?
  • What are the typical land units and types where NBS are implemented?
  • How do NBS and their implementation interrogate/interact with the social environment and issues of social cohesion and justice?
  • What are land governance and policy schemes for NBS in cities? Do they differ from the prevailing land management and governance policies implemented so far in our cities?
  • How does the implementation of NBS correspond/interact with general directions and priorities of urban development?
  • More specific topics or questions could be added here.

Prof. Dagmar Haase
Dr. Annegret Haase
Dr. Manuel Wolff
Dr. Diana Dushkova
Guest Editors

More information

"Transforming Telecoupled Landscapes Towards Sustainable Development"

From Session 317R: The role of digitalization in land transformation

Special Issue "Transforming Telecoupled Landscapes Towards Sustainable Development"

Dear Colleagues,

In many parts of the world, local land-use changes are no longer determined just by local decision-making. Distant decision-makers – policymakers, consumers, conservation actors, and others – increasingly influence highly dynamic land-use changes at the interface of forest, subsistence farming, and commercial agriculture. The telecoupling framework provides opportunities to investigate these social–ecological systems combining place-based analyses with flow-based perspectives. It focuses on interactions between distant actors and institutions through flows of goods, capital, information, and people. However, the framework’s operationalization regarding the analysis of (1) decision-making leading to land-use changes and (2) the impacts of these land-use changes on ecosystem services and human well-being is still in its early stage.

A better understanding of telecoupled processes and their impacts on local livelihoods and the environment is crucial to support the transformation of many landscapes worldwide towards sustainable development. The following questions need to be answered:

  • Who are the key actors and institutions in land-use decision-making, what are their strategies, and what power do they have to pursue them?
  • What ecosystem services trade-offs do these land-use changes imply, and for whom?
  • Who are the winners and losers of these land-use changes, i.e. how do these land-use changes affect disaggregated groups of people in terms of their well-being?
  • What methodological approaches are needed to inform today’s decision-makers about possible future land-use change pathways? What land-use changes are likely to occur, what is their uncertainty, and how should this information feed into policymaking?
  • What approaches and methods can support transformations of telecoupled landscapes towards sustainable development?

For this Special Issue, we encourage studies that aim to answer these (and other related) questions through a telecoupling lens. Papers may present (1) empirical and context-specific case study results, (2) generalization and upscaling of telecoupling processes and impacts based on empirical findings, and (3) methodological innovations that support transformation towards more sustainable development, taking into account the challenges posed by telecoupled interactions between systems.

Prof. Peter Messerli
Dr. Julie G. Zähringer
Dr. Enrico Celio
Prof. Adrienne Grêt-Regamey
Prof. Bruno Ramamonjisoa
Guest Editors

More information

"Sustainability and Rainforest Communities: Technological and Social Innovations for the UN Sustainable Development Goals"

From Session 205R Sustainable rainforest communities: Supply chains, trade-offs and emerging technologies

Special Issue "Agricultural Land Abandonment: Patterns, Drivers and Consequences"​

Dear Colleagues,

Tropical rainforests are locally and globally significant in terms of environmental, social, and economic values, but local and global market demands for food, fuel, and fibre result in deforestation and forest degradation. Despite global commitments to forest protection through the mobilisation of public, private, and civil society stakeholders, tropical deforestation and degradation continue. Processes of tropical deforestation and degradation erode social–ecological resilience at local and global scales, with the potential to trigger self-amplifying feedbacks and regime shifts if unabated.

The adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides a strong framework to substantially reduce tropical deforestation and forest degradation, with target 15.2 stating that by 2020 we need to “promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.” However, this target cannot be reached independently of other goals, such as SDG 9, which promotes the integration of small-scale business into value chains and markets, and SDG 12, which is to ensure sustainable production and consumption.

In this Special Issue, “Sustainability and Rainforest Communities: Technological and Social Innovations for Conservation and the UN Sustainable Development Goals”, we invite contributions that focus on the synergies between SDGs 9 (integrate small-scale business into value chains and markets), 12 (ensure sustainable production and consumption), and 15 (protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of forest ecosystems). Papers exploring the positive and negative synergies with other SDG goals related to sustainable rainforest communities are also welcome. This Special Issue welcomes papers that present novel interdisciplinary conceptual approaches for examining social and technological innovations for tropical forest conservation, as well as syntheses and empirical studies relating to questions such as:

  • What are the emerging remote sensing technologies for monitoring land cover change, forest cover, forest health and function, carbon stock, and biodiversity?
  • How can methodologies integrate new technologies and traditional ecological knowledge to achieve rainforest system sustainability?
  • How can participatory methodologies at multiple scales be integrated into land-use planning and decision-making processes to deliver more sustainable and equitable outcomes for rainforest communities?
  • How can social and/or technological innovations secure the rights of forest communities and support the development of alternative livelihoods?
  • What opportunities exist in linking non-timber forest products with wider supply chains, and what are the consequences for rainforest conservation and sustainability at multiple scales?

Dr. Izabela Delabre
Dr. Pedram Rowhani
Dr. Alexander Antonarakis
Guest Editors

More information

"Agricultural Land Abandonment: Patterns, Drivers and Consequences"

From session 209R: Agricultural land abandonment in the teleconnected world 

Special Issue "Agricultural Land Abandonment: Patterns, Drivers and Consequences"​

Dear Colleagues,

Agricultural land abandonment is globally a widespread land-use change process, but not sufficiently studied as other land use changes, such as deforestation. As a result, there has been little progress in understanding the global patterns, drivers and implications of land abandonment, particularly outside Europe.

This Special Issue on "Agricultural Land Abandonment: Patterns, Drivers and Consequences" is dedicated to bringing advances on our understanding of the patterns, proximate, and underlying drivers of agricultural land abandonment. We highly encourage submission of integrative studies on agricultural land abandonment, which involve different techniques, such as remotely-sensed observations, land-use modeling, sociological–ecological and economic studies, as well as system dynamic and Earth system modeling. We invite submission of innovative sociological and anthropology works, as well as economic studies with causal inference. Studies are welcomed that carefully disentangle the effect of land-use legacies and trigger events (e.g., political shocks), and telecoupled land-use systems. We expect the submission of studies on implications to food security and environmental and human well-being. The Special Issue aims to shed light on the interaction of drivers of abandonment across various scales, including household and regional studies.

Prof. Dr. Alexander Prishchepov
Dr. Fabian Löw
Dr. Florian Schierhorn
Guest Editors

More information

Environments journal

"Landscape Ecological and Social–Ecological Approaches in Agro-Ecological System"

From session 212R: Landscape ecological and social-ecological approaches in agro-ecological systems 

Special Issue "Landscape Ecological and Social–Ecological Approaches in Agro-Ecological System"​

Dear Colleagues,

In recent decades, rural areas have suffered from extreme events caused by climate change, ecologically unfriendly farming methods, and other multisource factors. Moreover, the extensive functions performed by agroecological systems, such as soil protection, carbon sequestration, climate change mitigation, as well as sustaining wildlife habitats and conserving species, are largely ignored, thus causing the instability of the agricultural environment and the loss of biodiversity. Restoring and protecting agroecological systems has therefore become a truly significant task in preserving a comprehensive and sound agroecological system surrounded by abundant crops, species, and ecosystems, and eventually leading to human well-being and health.

Ecofriendly, agroecological, and organic farming has been the major trend in the attempts to reduce existing and potential influences which do harm to the entire ecosystem services. As a result, the aim of this Special Issue is to investigate the impacts that land fragmentation and conventional and organic farming methods have on ecosystem services, with the expectation being to make efforts toward sustainable agriculture and bringing both environmental as well as socioeconomic benefits. The topics of this Special Issue include but are not limited to: (1) The impacts of farmland fragmentation on agricultural environment and its surrounding habitats; (2) the changing microclimatic phenomena; (3) hydrology and water quality in rural areas; (4) the relationship between pests and beneficial insects, as well as insect food chains in the rice paddies; (5) data from qualitative interviews of relevant stakeholders, as their opinions and perspectives are of great importance in promoting sustainable agriculture; and finally (6) promoting the Satoyama Initiative and policies, accelerating the discussion of related themes.

Prof. Dr. Yu-Pin Lin
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Li-Pei Peng
Dr. Wan-Yu Lien
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kuo-Tsang Huang
Dr. Melinda Fan
Guest Editors

More information

"Geospatial Technology for Land Restoration and Planning"

From session 324R: Geospatial technology for land restoration and planning 

Special Issue "Geospatial Technology for Land Restoration and Planning"​

Dear Colleagues,

In spite of the fact that urban areas are where most of the population around the world resides today, there are still millions of people depending on agriculture for life. However, due to excessive and inappropriate land use, land degradation has become worse, influencing people from all walks of life in an increasingly connected world. As a consequence, engaging stakeholders from a variety of disciplines to create socially, economically, and environmentally beneficial land use patterns is necessary and particularly urgent. Nevertheless, little research in the past has addressed the topic of land restoration, while it is important to understand the relationship between and the balance of both land degradation and restoration for land degradation neutrality; furthermore, there is still an existing knowledge gap in applying remote sensing techniques to land ecosystem management. On account of the situations mentioned above, it is needed for land managers, practitioners, and decision-makers to be capable of evaluating the losses, gains, and changes in land use systems across various spatial and temporal scales.

Attempting to solve stakeholders’ knowledge gap in land use management, the goal of this Special Issue is to invite papers which are able to (1) explore land restoration and planning with the use of innovative scientific technologies; (2) apply existing and/or innovative remote sensors to quantify and analyze land use change in novel ways; and (3) integrate geographical data from different spatial, spectral, and thematic scales, along with their spatial patterns. Well-prepared review papers are also welcome.

This Special Issue aims at realizing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 11, to “make cities and human settlements,” and 15, to “protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably”. The Special Issue is co-organized by the Japan and Tapei Nodal Offices.

Prof. Dr. Teiji Watanabe
Dr. Ram Avtar
Prof. Dr. Yu-Pin Lin
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Li-Pei Peng
Guest Editors

More information

Remote Sensing journal

"Urban Land-system Synergies and Governance Using Remote Sensing, Modeling and Big Data,Analysis"

From Session 303R Urban land-system synergies and governance using remote sensing, modeling and big data analysis

Special Issue "Urban Land-system Synergies and Governance Using Remote Sensing, Modeling and Big Data"

Dear Colleagues,

The significance of urban land-system synergies and spatial governance are increasingly emerging toward sustainable target and livable environment in cities. Satellite remote sensing, process-based models and big data are playing the pivotal roles for obtaining spatially explicit knowledge for better planning or managing city. This session expects to provide an opportunity for urban land-system synergies and governance with remote sensing, modeling and big data integration. Remote sensing, modeling and big data technologies as well as the improvement of mapping algorithms, such as impervious surface area, surface radiation and heat fluxes, heat island, and surface runoff associated with urbanization will be expected to share and exchange in this session. In addition, optimized schemes on urban-land system, i.e. low impact development in cities, carbon emission reduction in cities and so on, is suitable for this session.

The fourth Open Science Meeting of the Global Land Programme (GLP 4th OSM 2019) will be held from the 24-26 of April 2019 in Bern, Switzerland. In this conference, we will organize a session on above theme, which will attribute to the conference theme “How do we support transformation? New frontiers in studying and governing land systems”. As a follow-up to the workshop, we are calling for papers on the work presented at the session of GLP 4th OSM 2019. In addition to this, we welcome papers from the global research community actively involved in this session. As such, the special issue is open to anyone doing research in this field. The selection of papers for publication will depend on quality and rigor of research. The potential topics may include the followings:

  1. Data integration or fusion methods from remote sensing, process-based modeling, or big data
  2. High-spatial resolution mapping of urban land cover/land use (i.e., impervious surface, green space)
  3. Spatial mapping and exploratory analysis on urban heat island, urban hydrological process, and other ecological factors.
  4. Knowledge mining or discovery from available fine-scale spatially explicit information for urban governance 

Prof. Dengsheng Lu
Dr. Wenhui Kuang
Prof. Chi Zhang
Dr. Tao Pan
Guest Editors

More information

Journal of Land Use Science

“Exploring interactions between rural and urban land use systems”

From session 203R “Land use change processes and interactions along the urban-rural gradient”

Special Issue “Exploring interactions between rural and urban land use systems”

Dear Colleagues,

Urban and rural land us systems are frequently studied in isolation. Yet the two are thoroughly intertwined, for example in mosaic land use systems, as sending and receiving systems for flows of people and goods, and in spillover effects between both systems. Many of these relations have strong implications for land use, locally as well as over greater distances.

This SI aims to explore interactions between urban and rural land use systems in more detail. These relation include, but are not limited to 1) direct land conversions between rural and urban land systems, 2) the increasing mix of urban and rural systems and their function, such as in peri-urbanization, counter urbanization and urban agriculture, 3) new functions of rural areas posed by urban lifestyles, such as recreation, landscape aesthetics, and the production of niche-feeds, and 4) the distant relations between urban and rural systems and their consequences for the land.

Dr. Jasper van Vliet
Prof. Anton van Rompaey
Guest editors

More information