ISSN: 2297-6477 doi: 10.12924/librello.CiS

Challenges in Sustainability (CiS; ISSN 2297-6477) is an international, open access, academic, interdisciplinary journal dedicated to the publication of high-quality research articles and review papers on all aspects of global environmental and transformational change toward sustainability. Research articles, reviews, communications or short notes and films are welcomed. Manuscripts must be prepared in English; they will undergo a rigorous peer review process, and they will appear online immediately after final acceptance. We especially encourage submissions from early stage researchers.

Objectives & Aims

The objective of the journal is to be a front-runner for original science that stimulates the development of sustainability solutions in an era of global environmental change. CiS defines its place at the interface between natural, socio-economic, and the humanistic sciences, creating a unique platform to disseminate analyses on challenges related to global environmental change, associated solutions, and trade-offs. The journal helps to further the field of sustainability science by bridging gaps between disciplines, science and societal stakeholders while not neglecting scientific rigor and excellence. The journal promotes science-based insights of societal dynamics, and is open for innovative and critical approaches that stimulate scientific and societal debates.

Examples of topics to be covered by this journal include, but are not limited to:

  • Environment and resource science
  • Governance for sustainability
  • Transition experiments and pathway studies
  • Education for sustainability
  • Future and anticipatory studies
  • Transdisciplinarity
  • Sustainable urban systems
  • Sustainable energy
  • Place-based sustainability studies
  • Resource exploitation
  • Impact assessment and integrated modeling
  • Carbon accounting and compensation
  • Remote sensing and geoinformation

Latest publications

doi: 10.12924/cis2018.06010020 | Volume 6 (2018) | Issue 1
Jeanette Silvin Blumroeder 1, * , Peter Ralph Hobson 2 , Uli Frank Graebener 3 , Joerg-Andreas Krueger 3 , Denis Dobrynin 4 , Natalya Burova 5 , Irina Amosa 5 , Susanne Winter 3 and Pierre Leonhard Ibisch 1
1 Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management, Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, Eberswalde, Germany
2 Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management, Writtle University College, Writtle Chelmsford Essex, United Kingdom
3 WWF Germany, Berlin, Germany
4 WWF Russia, Arkhangelsk, Russia
5 Northern (Arctic) Federal University, Arkhangelsk, Russia
* Corresponding author
Views 515
PDF 532
Publication Date: 14 June 2018
Abstract: The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a voluntary sustainability standard with global reach that has been developed to encourage responsible and sustainable forest management. Despite its broad appeal, there is little scientific assessment to substantiate the effectiveness of FSC in the boreal zone. In this study, an ecosystem-based and participatory approach was applied to a case study in the Arkhangelsk Region of the Russia Federation to assess the potential influence of the principles, criteria and indicators of the Russian FSC standard. An ECOSEFFECT theoretical plausibility analysis was conducted to evaluate the potential effectiveness of FSC in safeguarding the ecological integrity of the ecosystem. Besides spatial analysis and a field visitation, core elements of the methodological procedure were workshops with experts and stakeholders who directly contributed to knowledge mapping and analysis. The results of the study suggest FSC can potentially influence and improve forest management including monitoring and evaluation, foster the institutional capacity, and enhance knowledge on the impacts of forest management. Theoretically, FSC has a certain potential to reduce a range of anthropogenic threats to the ecosystem, such as large-scale deforestation and forest degradation, logging of High Conservation Value Forests, large size of clear-cuts, excessive annual allowable cuts, damage to trees during forest operations, and hydrological changes. However, human-induced fire is the only ecological stress that was assumed to be effectively tackled through a strong and positive influence of FSC. The results of the theoretical analysis with a semi-quantitative evaluation revealed the potential for FSC to generate much more effective outcomes for biodiversity by prudently targeting key ecological problems. The biggest problem is the large-scale clear-cutting practice, especially within IFL. These devastating practices are not promoted by, but are compliant with the current Russian FSC standard. This feeds doubts about the consistency of FSC practice and its credibility.

doi: 10.12924/cis2018.06010001 | Volume 6 (2018) | Issue 1
Ariane Krause 1, * and Johann Köppel 2
1 Center for Technology and Society, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
2 Environmental Assessment & Planning Research Group, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
* Corresponding author
Views 293
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Publication Date: 11 June 2018

To reduce the consumption of firewood for cooking and to realise recycling-driven soil fertility management, three projects in Northwest Tanzania aim to provide the local smallholder community with cooking and sanitation alternatives. The present study proposes an integrated approach to assess the sustainability of the small-scale cooking and sanitation technologies. Based on the multi-criteria decision support approach (MC(D)A), we developed a decision-specific, locally adapted, and participatory assessment tool: the Multi-Criteria Technology Assessment (MCTA). Pre-testing of the tailored tool was set up with representatives of Tanzanian and German partners of case study projects. From a methodological perspective, we conclude that the MCTA uses a set of relevant criteria to realise a transparent and replicable computational Excel-tool. The combination of MC(D)A for structuring the assessment with analytical methods, such as Material Flow Analysis, for describing the performance of alternatives is a promising path for designing integrated approaches to sustainability assessments of technologies. Pre-testing of the tool served as a proof-of-concept for the general design of the method. Future applications and adjustments of the MCTA require the inclusion of end-users, a reasonable and participatory reduction of criteria, and an increase of feedback loops and group discussions between participants and the facilitator to support a common learning about the technologies and thorough understanding of the perspectives of participants.

doi: 10.12924/cis2017.05020011 | Volume 5 (2017) | Issue 2
Matthew Cohen 1, * and Arnim Wiek 2
1 Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Furman University, Greenville, SC, USA
2 School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA
* Corresponding author
Views 1028
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Publication Date: 25 August 2017
Abstract: Public participation is a common element in state-of-the-art urban development projects. Tailoring the public participation process to the local context is a popular strategy for ensuring sufficient turnout and meaningful engagement, but this strategy faces several challenges. Through a review of case studies of public participation in urban development projects, we identify ten typical misalignments between the public participation process and the local context, including the lack of policy maker support, adverse personal circumstances of participants, low collaborative capacity, and mistrust, among others. When a public participation process is not aligned to the local context, the process may generate outcomes that compromise public interests, inequitably distribute benefits among stakeholders, or favor powerful private interests. This study offers caution and guidance to planning practitioners and researchers on how to contextualize public participation in urban development projects through the categorization of common misalignments that ought to be avoided.

pp. 63-70
doi: 10.12924/cis2016.04010063 | Volume 4 (2016) | Issue 1
Evelyn Gustedt
Academy for Spatial Research and Planning, Leibniz Forum for Spatial Sciences, Hannover, Germany
Views 1391
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Publication Date: 16 July 2017
Abstract: This article reflects on traditional and contemporary gardening movements in Germany. The focus is on forms of gardening, that take place in spaces subject to land lease agreements and similar forms of tenancy or of illegal land take or squatting. The author examines various definitions taking into account the variety of practices, the development of urban gardening over time, and the respective backgrounds or values that users relate to such gardening activities. The examination of definitions led to the drawing up of a timeline of traditional and contemporary gardening movements in Germany and to the tentative approaching of this issue from a semantic perspective. The latter is due to the usage of many different terms mostly as yet undefined in a legal sense. Translation into English or, most likely, to any other language, further blurs the common understanding of the terms used. The author concludes with some considerations on these gardening movements in relation to urban sustainable developments. A presentation at the 5th Rencontres Internationals de Reims on Sustainability Studies, dedicated to Urban Agriculture – Fostering the Urban-Rural Continuum, which took place in October 2015 in Reims/France was the starting point of this article. The basis of this article is a literature review, nourished to a certain extent by observations randomly made over many years and complemented through talks with competent young colleagues. Special thanks go to Martin Sondermann, Leibniz University Hannover, who shared his research experience in various discussions with the author, as well as to Friederike Stelter, internship student at the author’s place of work, who gave highly appreciated support to the preparation of the presentation.

doi: 10.12924/cis2017.05020001 | Volume 5 (2017) | Issue 2
Charles F. Mason 1, 2, * and Rémi Morin Chassé 3
1 Department of Economics and Finance, University of Wyoming, Laramie, USA
2 Grantham Research Institute, London School of Economics, London, UK
3 Department of Economics, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, Canada
* Corresponding author
Views 1327
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Publication Date: 8 May 2017
Abstract: The existing economics literature neglects the important role of capacity in the production of renewable energy. To fill this gap, we construct a model in which renewable energy production is tied to renewable energy capacity, which then becomes a form of capital. This capacity capital can be increased through investment, which we interpret as arising from the allocation of energy, and which therefore comes at the cost of reduced general production. Requiring societal well-being to never decline—the notion of sustainability favored by economists—we describe how society could optimally elect to split energy in this fashion, the use of non-renewable energy resources, the use of renewable energy resources, and the implied time path of societal well-being. Our model delivers an empirically satisfactory explanation for simultaneous use of non-renewable and renewable energy. We also discuss the optimality of ceasing use of non-renewable energy before the non-renewable resource stock is fully exhausted.

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ISSN: 2297-6477
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