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Bioeconomy, Circular Economy and Sustainability

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2022) | Viewed by 39040

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Landscape Management, Mendel University in Brno, Zemědělská 3, 613 00 Brno, Czech Republic
Interests: landscape management; forest management; recreation and tourism; nonwood forest products; environmental protection
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The bioeconomy is made up of those parts of the economy that use renewable terrestrial and aquatic biological resources, such as forests, fish, and wildlife, to produce food, building materials, energy, medicine, and other essential items. It includes forestry and wood production, with the related biotechnological, chemical and energy industries, but also the provision of other ecosystem services that can support sustainable economic growth. In a bioeconomy, agriculture is not conceivable without sustainable land management. This is because land is a resource that can be used for growing produce as well as providing habitats for animals and living space for humans. Wood from local forests is an important resource for the bioeconomy. Greater forest diversity and new wood-based materials have the potential to make the timber industry more sustainable. Nonwood forest products are essential items in the bioeconomy. Certain bioeconomy strategies and scientific publications consider the bioeconomy to be inherently sustainable (Hetemäki et al., 2017Pfau et al., 2014). While certain authors consider the bioeconomy to be “circular by nature” (Carrez and Van Leeuwen, 2015Sheridan, 2016). Whereas,  Hetemäki et al. (2017) see the risk of following a linear business-as-usual approach if the principles of a circular economy  are not considered. The circular economy is defined by the European Commission (2015) as minimizing the generation of waste and maintaining the value of products, materials and resources for as long as possible. As a response to these critical discussions, the updated bioeconomy strategy of the European Commission (2018) announced that the “European Bioeconomy needs to have sustainability and circularity at its heart” (European Commission, 2018). Boosting the circular bioeconomy is one of the ways to help combat global warming and its consequences: climate change, biodiversity loss, increased forest fires, etc. Furthermore, it is important to generate less waste and recycle the waste we produce.

Scope and aims: Therefore, the purpose of the Special Issue will be to bring together scholars interested in the broadly understood bioeconomy, circular economy, agroforestry, climate change and sustainability. We encourage interdisciplinary perspectives on an organisation and its milieu, combining an individual and organisational approach, bearing in mind that only comprehensive and multilevel strategies can result in benefits. The list of topics below is by no means exhaustive; they are merely suggestions for scientific investigation. This Special Issue welcomes contributions presenting both conceptual frameworks, systematic literature reviews and empirical results in the following areas:

  • Progress towards a sustainable bioeconomy;
  • Good practices to operate the bioeconomy within safe ecological limits;
  • Benefits of biodiversity in primary production;
  • Circular economy;
  • Agroforestry and its benefits;
  • Climate change;
  • Nonwood forest products;
  • Constructing relations with the business environment (including customers);
  • Education of stakeholders;
  • Eco-innovations;
  • Ecological trends in consumer behaviours.

Dr. Jitka Fialova
Prof. Dr. Martina Zeleňáková
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainability
  • forest-based bioeconomy
  • environmental management
  • eco-innovation
  • integrated value chain
  • agroforestry
  • nonwood forest products

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 345 KiB  
Article
Assessment of the Development of Forest-Based Bioeconomy in European Regions
by Leire Barañano, Olatz Unamunzaga, Naroa Garbisu, Siebe Briers, Timokleia Orfanidou, Blasius Schmid, Inazio Martínez de Arano, Andrés Araujo and Carlos Garbisu
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4747; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14084747 - 15 Apr 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2499
Abstract
In recent years, the potential of the forest-based bioeconomy to provide competitiveness, differentiation, and sustainability to the European economy has often been claimed. Interestingly, regions, as territorial units with their own political and socioeconomic strategies, have been highlighted as the most suitable targets [...] Read more.
In recent years, the potential of the forest-based bioeconomy to provide competitiveness, differentiation, and sustainability to the European economy has often been claimed. Interestingly, regions, as territorial units with their own political and socioeconomic strategies, have been highlighted as the most suitable targets for the development of the European forest-based bioeconomy. Here, using the case method, we evaluated the development of the forest-based bioeconomy in three European regions (i.e., North Karelia in Finland, North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany, the Basque Country in Spain), by appraising the status of 10 previously identified key drivers through primary (interviews with experts) and secondary (literature review) sources of information. In our analysis, North Karelia and the Basque Country obtained the highest and lowest score, respectively, with regard to forest-based bioeconomy development. In any case, for the successful development of the forest-based bioeconomy in a European region, it is essential to accept the unnegotiable, critically, of the long-term sustainability of forest bioresources and production processes, as well as the need to foster the required changes in consumption patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioeconomy, Circular Economy and Sustainability)
17 pages, 5422 KiB  
Article
The Dutch Green Deals Policy and Its Applicability to Circular Economy Policies
by Sven Kevin van Langen and Renato Passaro
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11683; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132111683 - 22 Oct 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3992
Abstract
This study investigates the applicability of the Dutch Green Deals policy instrument for use in projects that help the transition towards a Circular Economy in the Netherlands. Green Deals provide an opportunity for firms, NGOs, universities, and provincial, municipal, or waterboard governments to [...] Read more.
This study investigates the applicability of the Dutch Green Deals policy instrument for use in projects that help the transition towards a Circular Economy in the Netherlands. Green Deals provide an opportunity for firms, NGOs, universities, and provincial, municipal, or waterboard governments to sign an agreement with the national government to take away barriers for a Circular Economy related innovation. Quantitative and qualitative content analysis has been performed, categorizing all green deals as being related to Circular Economy and those are further categorized thematically and analytically. A total of 50 relevant Green Deal agreements are selected for quantitative and qualitative content analyses that cover 9 themes, 20 industry classifications, and 10 types of action undertaken, being particularly popular in the biobased economy and construction industry. The policy instrument is believed to be successful in addressing a variety of barriers and as useful in strengthening national innovation systems, thus, it can be recommended for application in other countries. The instrument does lack clear policy indicators and would benefit from explanatory reviews with each agreement. Future research could compare this policy instrument to similar instruments employed in other EU countries and developing countries, the potential role of green financing for such green deal agreements should also be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioeconomy, Circular Economy and Sustainability)
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15 pages, 1856 KiB  
Article
Correlating Genetically Modified Crops, Glyphosate Use and Increased Carbon Sequestration
by Chelsea Sutherland, Savannah Gleim and Stuart J. Smyth
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11679; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132111679 - 22 Oct 2021
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 17559
Abstract
In the early 1990s, tillage was the leading form of weed control, with minimum/zero-tillage management practices incapable of long-term continuation. Presently, weed control through tillage has virtually disappeared as cropland management systems have transitioned largely to continuous cropping, with zero to minimal soil [...] Read more.
In the early 1990s, tillage was the leading form of weed control, with minimum/zero-tillage management practices incapable of long-term continuation. Presently, weed control through tillage has virtually disappeared as cropland management systems have transitioned largely to continuous cropping, with zero to minimal soil disturbance. Research was undertaken to examine what was driving this land management transition. A carbon accounting framework incorporating coefficients derived from the Century Model was used to estimate carbon sequestration in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. The results quantify the transition from farmland being a net carbon emitter to being a net carbon sequesterer over the past 30 years. This evidence confirms the correlation between genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant crops and glyphosate use is a driver of the increased soil carbon sequestration. The removal of tillage and adoption of minimal soil disturbances has reduced the amount of carbon released from tillage and increased the sequestration of carbon through continuous crop production. Countries that ban genetically modified crops and are enacting legislation restricting glyphosate use are implementing policies that Canadian farm evidence indicates will not contribute to increasing agricultural sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioeconomy, Circular Economy and Sustainability)
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18 pages, 3112 KiB  
Article
Efficiency of Natural Clay Mineral Adsorbent Filtration Systems in Wastewater Treatment for Potential Irrigation Purposes
by ElSayed ElBastamy, Lubna A. Ibrahim, Atef Ghandour, Martina Zelenakova, Zuzana Vranayova and Mohamed Abu-Hashim
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5738; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105738 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4101
Abstract
This project investigated the relative efficiencies of three pilot-scale constructed columns for enhancing drainage wastewater treatment processes to ensure compliance with Egyptian and international water quality criteria. In this investigation, basic materials (sand and gravel) and variable natural clay minerals zeolite (Z), diatomite [...] Read more.
This project investigated the relative efficiencies of three pilot-scale constructed columns for enhancing drainage wastewater treatment processes to ensure compliance with Egyptian and international water quality criteria. In this investigation, basic materials (sand and gravel) and variable natural clay minerals zeolite (Z), diatomite (D) and bentonite (B) were utilized as packing materials to build up a Z column (ZC), D column (DC) and B column (BC), respectively. The three columns’ ability to remove pollutants from waste water for re-use in irrigation was investigated throughout one year (12 trials). The results revealed that the influent water had 211 mg/L total suspended solids, 6.09 mg/L total nitrogen, 36.67 mg/L biochemical oxygen demand, 56 mg/L chemical oxygen demand, 1700 mg/L total dissolved solids, 0.97 mg/L copper (Cu2+), 1.12 mg/L iron (Fe2+), 1.07 mg/L manganese (Mn2+), 1.02 mg/L lead (Pb2+), 1.05 mg/L zinc (Zn2+), and 46 × 103 CFU/mL fecal coliforms. These parameters were higher than the values permitted by Egyptian and international licenses. The range of removal efficiency of these pollutants by ZC was 96–21%, by BC was 99–29.8%, and by DC was 99–19.80%. Regeneration studies for the spent adsorbents demonstrated that the percentages of pollutant removal were sufficiently high. The treated effluent produced by the three columns was suitable for irrigation purposes, especially at a contact time of four hours, with the order for column treatment efficiency being BC ˃ DC ˃ ZC. Treated water was classified for irrigation suitability according to the Agrifood Water Quality Index (AFWQI) as marginal from the ZC, very good from the DC, and excellent from the BC. Treatment of such drainage water using the BC and DC appears feasible, because the process is easily operated and leads to final treated effluent of high quality for agricultural uses. The economic cost also confirms the feasibility of this treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioeconomy, Circular Economy and Sustainability)
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16 pages, 4580 KiB  
Article
Forest Park Visitors Opinions and Willingness to Pay for Sustainable Development of the Germia Forest and Recreational Park
by Azdren Doli, Dastan Bamwesigye, Petra Hlaváčková, Jitka Fialová, Petr Kupec and Obed Asamoah
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3160; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063160 - 13 Mar 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3415
Abstract
The study addresses sustainable development in the forest and recreational park of Germia in the Capital City of Kosovo. The park serves the residents and other visitors’ socioeconomic and environmental needs, such as leisure, sports, meditation, and biodiversity and ecological roles. Sustainable management [...] Read more.
The study addresses sustainable development in the forest and recreational park of Germia in the Capital City of Kosovo. The park serves the residents and other visitors’ socioeconomic and environmental needs, such as leisure, sports, meditation, and biodiversity and ecological roles. Sustainable management and the development of natural resources are a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their own needs. The study used the contingent valuation method to assess willingness to pay for the sustainable management and development of Germia forest and recreational park, given the values it serves the people. The study surveyed 208 respondents about their opinions on the willingness to pay for the sustainable management and development of the forest and recreational park. The results showed that 56% were willing to pay for recreational services, while 44% were against it because they were not satisfied with the park’s services. The majority (62%) were also willing to pay for this service in tax from their salaries. This showed that an average percentage of people were willing to pay for the sustainable management and development of the forest and recreational park. Therefore, this study serves as a basis for future similar studies and policy decisions for park development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioeconomy, Circular Economy and Sustainability)
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16 pages, 4839 KiB  
Article
National Limits of Sustainability: The Czech Republic’s CO2 Emissions in the Perspective of Planetary Boundaries
by Aneta Parsonsova and Ivo Machar
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2164; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042164 - 18 Feb 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2416
Abstract
Building on the planetary boundaries (PB) concept and recent studies on assessing the PB at the national level, this paper proposes a new method for addressing the growing need to conceptualize the national environmental limits in the global perspective. The global and national [...] Read more.
Building on the planetary boundaries (PB) concept and recent studies on assessing the PB at the national level, this paper proposes a new method for addressing the growing need to conceptualize the national environmental limits in the global perspective. The global and national limits for the climate change PB are set using the GDP-adjusted model that represents an innovative and fairer CO2 emissions distribution mechanism. It elaborates on the equity principle and distributes the remaining global emission budget to countries on the basis of their past, current, and future population; past emissions; and current state of economic development. The results point to insufficient global efforts to reduce the CO2 emissions to avoid a global temperature rise of more than 2 °C by 2100. When examining the data in accordance with this climate change scenario, we see that some countries have already spent their CO2 budget and most high-income countries will spend their remaining budget by the end of the decade. This is also the case for the Czech Republic, which exceeded the limit for the period from 2017 onwards in 2018. While the result clearly points to the urgency of the decarbonization process, it also shows that some high-income countries, including the Czech Republic, are currently emitting at the expense of other countries. On the policy level, the findings could contribute to the re-evaluation of the GHG reduction plans as well as setting more appropriate and fairer national targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioeconomy, Circular Economy and Sustainability)
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Review

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26 pages, 2839 KiB  
Review
Legislative, Institutional, Industrial and Governmental Involvement in Circular Economy in Central Asia: A Systematic Review
by Aidana Tleuken, Galym Tokazhanov, Kebir Mohammed Jemal, Ramazan Shaimakhanov, Magzhan Sovetbek and Ferhat Karaca
Sustainability 2022, 14(13), 8064; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14138064 - 1 Jul 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3384
Abstract
As the world faces the detrimental effects of humanity on the environment, the circular economy has started receiving a lot of attention as a tool to keep the value of resources. Although in Europe, circular economy principles have become a trend much earlier, [...] Read more.
As the world faces the detrimental effects of humanity on the environment, the circular economy has started receiving a lot of attention as a tool to keep the value of resources. Although in Europe, circular economy principles have become a trend much earlier, CACs still face challenges in adopting them. The current research aims to review the available literature on sustainability, green economy, and circularity development through the adoption of political, industrial, and financial instruments, followed by an assessment of the barriers and opportunities to circular economy development in the CACs. The novelty of this research lies in the systematic review of different state-of-the-art data resources (journal papers, policies, news, and reports) of CACs by different categories: policy regulations, energy, waste, education, water, and agriculture. This research addresses that the CACs have similar circular economy development barriers (e.g., wide use of fossil fuels, water shortage, and lack of effective waste management) and opportunities (e.g., orientation towards sustainable development, foreign cooperation, and green financing). Therefore, performing effective strategic plans that are already directed to circularity, ensuring stakeholders’ involvement, and providing sufficient funding could benefit their circular economy development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioeconomy, Circular Economy and Sustainability)
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