International Journal of Sustainable Agricultural Management and Informatics (7 papers in press)
Assessing and Mitigating the Impact of Livestock Agriculture on the Environment through Geospatial and Big Data Analysis
by Andreas Kamilaris, Francesc Prenafeta, August B. Blasi, Assumpcio Anton
Abstract: Intensive livestock farming has been linked to excessive pollution and contamination of land, water and air. A common body of knowledge is required in order to under-stand and assess this impact of agriculture, and take proper countermeasures with a focus on the sustainability and the protection of the physical environment, affecting agricultural productivity as little as possible. In this paper, we examine the problem of the environmental impact of livestock agriculture, targeting animal manure, which is a serious problem in various territories of Europe and the United States. Aiming to address this problem, we have developed AgriBigCAT, an online software platform that uses geophysical information from various diverse sources, employing geospatial and big data analysis, together with web technologies, in order to estimate the impact of the livestock agricultural sector on the environment,examining possible pollution of land, water and air, considering various scenarios and potential applications to mitigate the problem. The AgriBigCAT platform can assist both the farmers decision-making processes and the administration planning and policy making, with the ultimate objective of meeting the challenge of increasing food production at a lower environmental impact.
Keywords: policy tool; livestock agriculture; environmental impact;
assessment; geospatial analysis; big data analysis.
Mobile Technology for Smart Agriculture: Deployment Case for Cocoa Production
by Richard Lomotey
Abstract: In order to maximize the quality and quantity of agricultural production, smart farming has become imperative where mobile technologies can be employed to access: real-time information on crop yields and soil-mapping, fertilizer application, weather data, and intelligent assessment. However, in some economies, there is huge gap between agriculture production and the required supporting mobile technology. Thus, the goal of this research is to narrow this gap by proposing a smartphone application that facilitates intelligent real-time access to agronomic information. Specific to cocoa production in Ghana, our proposed research can aid farmers to use their smartphones to 1) access agronomic information on cocoa management, 2) perform self-assessment of cocoa pod infestation, 3) perform stock analysis of their produce, and 4) offers a crowdsourcing forum for the farmers to discuss cocoa-related issues. The work received 96.88% strong satisfaction rating from the evaluated feedback collected from 32 cocoa producers who also said they will recommend it for community usage. Also, 87.50% of the test users find the developed app to be helpful and useful. Furthermore, 100% of the users expressed interest in using the app to better manage cocoa production.
Keywords: Mobile devices; Agriculture; Ontology; Data Transfer; Cocoa production.
Special Issue on: 18th Panhellenic Forestry Congress Information Technology and Sustainable Agro-Environmental Management
Geoinformatics as a tool for the application of energy policy
by Konstantinos Ioannou, Lazaroros Kosmatopoulos, George Zaimes, Georgios Tsantopoulos
Abstract: In many countries, including Greece, the majority of mountainous watersheds are ungauged in respect to hydrologic and weather data. The lack of stream flow monitoring makes it very difficult and time consuming, in regards to the pre-processing development studies of hydropower projects that find possible locations for their construction. Field observations and in stream measurements may become too expensive due to the need for special instruments and labour costs. The present study focuses on the combination of a hydrologic simulation model and a climate reanalysis system for the estimation of a watersheds hydrologic characteristics, mainly stream flow, which will help in small hydropower plants placement decision making. The foundation of the method is based on the ArcGIS system that is used for the introduction and display of spatial information. The SWAT semi distributed hydrologic model in the form of ArcSWAT extension for ArcMap, was used for running a series of hydraulic simulations of Ekaterinis stream watershed for extracting average monthly and annual streamflow data in each one delineated sub-watershed outlets by SWAT. Because of the lack of a weather station close to the study area with the adequate climatic data, weather parameters time series generated by the global climate model Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) were used as inputs for the SWAT model. The results of the simulation show a realistic prediction regarding the produced streamflow data in many predefined selection points within the whole watershed. The method developed here is promising especially regarding larger scale projects, like studying a group of watersheds within the boundaries of a municipality or even a prefecture.
Keywords: G.I.S. SWAT; CFSR; Hydropower Plant; Watersheds.
An overview of food businesses in the Western Greece and the extent to which they use information systems
by Bill Mitsos, Grigorios Beligiannis
Abstract: Nowadays, even small businesses must use information systems. In a competitive business environment it is impossible to run a business without the use of information systems. This study presents general information about food businesses in the Western Greece and the extent to which they use information systems. A questionnaire survey was conducted in 85 food businesses. Analysis of primary data shows that most owners have secondary education while women are preferred for employees. Moreover the majority of export businesses deal with olives-olive oil and dairy and most businesses are small. Only 30% of food businesses are export ones and about 49% of them are sole proprietorships. In addition, 67% of food businesses apply quality systems while just 45% apply information systems. The findings of the study suggest that businesses having a larger size, a greater turnover and more departments use information systems to a greater extent.
Keywords: Information Systems; Food Businesses; Western Greece.
LAND USE CHANGE AND SOIL FERTILITY ASSESSMENT IN THE VICINITY OF ZAGREB LANDFILL
by Ivana Šestak, Milan Mesić, Željka Zgorelec, Aleksandra Perčin, Darija Bilandžija
Abstract: The aim of this study was to give quantification of the present land use, land use change and assessment of agricultural soil in the area surrounding Jakuevec landfill in Zagreb, Croatia. A map of land use types of approximately 2 km zone around the landfill was created, based on photointerpretation during 2012 and according to Corine Land Cover 2000, 2006 and 2012 database. For soil fertility evaluation, soil was sampled at 4 locations at a distance of up to 300 m around the landfill. Spatial analysis revealed thirteen land use categories of total size around 3161 ha. These categories were divided into three larger groups based on land use types (water: 5 %, agricultural land: 50 % and city: 45 % of the total analysed area). Mixed agriculture is very important in this urban area regardless of the closeness of the waste landfill, because it relies on fertile soil and vicinity of large market of the capital city. The main land use changes included increase in industrial or commercial units and transport infrastructure, and decrease of agricultural land.
Keywords: land use change; waste landfill; mixed agriculture; urban/suburban area; soil monitoring; soil fertility; soil chemical properties; CLC; Corine Land Cover.
THE USE OF VEGETATION INDICES AND CHANGE DETECTION TECHNIQUES AS A TOOL FOR MONITORING ECOSYSTEM AND BIODIVERSITY INTEGRITY
by Georgios Kefalas, Panagiotis Lattas, Panteleimon Xofis, Roxanne Suzette Lorilla, Aristotelis Martinis, Konstantinos Poirazidis
Abstract: The use of satellite data has been widely applied to provide a cost-effective mean to analyse land cover changes over large geographic regions. The aim of this study was the multi-temporal change analysis of vegetation over the last 30 years, using freely available remote sensing data in three steps in Ilia Prefecture, Greece. In the first step, four vegetation indices were adopted to analyse the dynamic change of vegetation. At the second step, the investigation of the vegetation density changes was succeeded through thematic change detection techniques, and lastly, at the third step, a Comprehensive Change Detection Method (CCDM) was applied for mapping biomass progress/regress. Finally, after the catastrophic mega-fire of 2007 in Ilia, a change analysis of four vegetation indices focused on this affected region was implemented to investigate the vegetation restoration. Although some spatial changes of vegetation cover were observed during the study period, the state of biomass either improved or remained constant through time, demonstrating the high potential of Mediterranean ecosystems to recover after disturbance events.
Keywords: Remote Sensing; Vegetation Cover; Multi-temporal Analysis; Change Detection Analysis; Vegetation Indices.
Promoting soil bioengineering in the Mediterranean ecoregion with new tools and approaches
by George N. Zaimes, Guillermo Tardio, Martin Gimenez, Valasia Iakovoglou, Jose Luis Garcia-Rodriguez
Abstract: Soil loss and degradation are considered threats that could cause serious problems to the human well-being and survival. The Mediterranean ecoregion because of the anthropogenic activities for thousands of years along with its susceptibility to climate change impacts, make the ecoregion especially prone to soil loss and degradation. The ECOMED project promotes eco-friendly methods to mitigate such problems with the acceptance and utilization of soil bioengineering. This will be achieved through the generation of theoretical and practical material and tools on soil bioengineering specific for the ecoregion. In order to promote soil bioengineering, the know-how transfer within the sector is being reinforced, existing soil bioengineering works are being evaluated, new interactional schemes and dynamics within the sector are being generated and new designs and protocols for the ecoregion are being adopted or developed. The current curricula and enterprise work practices of the Mediterranean ecoregion have been reviewed, stakeholders have participated in an online questionnaire on soil bioengineering and three protocols and a template specialized for the ecoregion have been developed. These activities will provide the material and information specific to the ecoregion for the development and accreditation of the modular training syllabus for the Mediterranean for the next generation of soil bioengineering specialists. Overall all the material and tools developed will enhance the knowledge and specialization level and promote soil bioengineering in the Mediterranean.
Keywords: soil protection; climate change; sustainable management; eco-friendly methods.