New article on Predicting Groundwater Footprints in Iran With Machine Learning

Using machine learning to determine acceptable levels of groundwater consumption in Iran

Authors: Ronny Berndtsson (Lund University), Sami Ghordoyee Milan (University of Tehran), Zahra Kayhomayoon (Payame Noor University), Naser Arya Azar (University of Tabriz), Mohammad Reza Ramezani (Griffith University), and Hamid Kardan Moghaddam (Water Research Institute Iran).

November, 2022

Journal Sustainable Production and Consumption


Groundwater footprint index (GFI) is an essential indicator to assess the sustainability of groundwater aquifers. Prediction of future GFI can significantly help managers and decision-makers of groundwater supply to better plan for future resilient consumption of surface and groundwater. In this context, artificial intelligence and machine learning models can aid to predict GFI in view of lacking or uncertain data. We used this technique to predict GFI for 178 Iranian aquifers. To our knowledge, this is the first time that GFI was predicted using machine learning models. Four models, i.e., adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system, least-squares support vector regression, random forest, and gene expression programming, were used to predict GFI. Systematic combinations of eight variables, including precipitation, recharge, return water, infiltration from the river to the aquifer, groundwater exploitation, aquifer area, evaporation, and river drainage from the aquifer were used in the form of nine input scenarios for GFI prediction. The results showed that inclusion of all input variables gave the best results for predicting the GFI. Predicted GFIs were generally between 0.5 and 8 with an average of 1.9. A value above 1 indicates that groundwater consumption is not resilient that can adversely affect available groundwater resources in the future. Over-use of groundwater can lead to land subsidence. Especially, aquifers located in Qom, Qazvin, Varamin, and Hamedan provinces of Iran may be affected due to large over-use. Among the four models, least-squares support vector regression resulted in the highest prediction performance. Due to the poor performance of adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system, the novel Harris hawks optimization algorithm was used to improve the performance of adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system. The Harris hawks optimization – adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system hybrid model improved the GFI prediction performance. Machine learning methods improve prediction of GFI for aquifers and thus, can be used to better manage groundwater in areas with less reliable data.

New article on landscape composition modeling in Iran

Analysis of Landscape Composition and Configuration Based on LULC Change Modeling

Authors: Hossein Hashemi (Lund University) Masoomeh Yaghoobi (Shahid Beheshti University), Alireza Vafaeinejad (Shahid Beheshti University), and Hamidreza Moradi (Tarbiat Modares University).

November, 2022

Journal Sustainability


Land cover changes threaten biodiversity by impacting the natural habitats and require careful and continuous assessment. The standard approach for assessing these changes is land cover modeling. The present study investigated the spatio-temporal changes in Land Use Land Cover (LULC) in the Gorgan River Basin (GRB) during the 1990–2020 period and predicted the changes by 2040. First, a change analysis employing satellite imagery from 1990 to 2020 was carried out. Then, the Multi-Layer Perceptron (MLP) technique was used to predict the transition potential. The accuracy rate, training RMS, and testing RMS of the artificial neural network, MLP, and the transition potential modeling were computed in order to evaluate the results. Utilizing projections for 2020, the prediction of land cover change was made. By contrasting the anticipated land cover map of 2020 with the actual land cover map of 2020, the accuracy of the model was evaluated. The LULC conditions in the future were predicted under two scenarios of the current change trend (scenario 1) and the ecological capability of the land (scenario 2) by 2040. Seven landscape metrics were considered, including Number of Patches, Patch Density, the Largest Patch Index, Edge Density, Landscape Shape Index, Patch Area, and Area-Weighted Mean Shape Index. Based on the Cramer coefficient, the most critical factors affecting LULC change were elevation, distance from forest, and experimental probability of change. For the 1990–2020 period, the LULC change was shown to be influenced by deforestation, reduced rangeland, and expansion of agricultural and residential areas. Based on scenario 1, the area of forest, agriculture, and rangeland would face −0.8, 0.5, and 0.1% changes in the total area, respectively. In scenario 2, the area of forest, agriculture, and rangeland would change by 0.1, −1.3, and 1.3% of the total area, respectively. Landscape metrics results indicated the destructive trend of the landscape during the 1990–2020 period. For improving the natural condition of the GRB, it is suggested to prioritize different areas in need of regeneration due to inappropriate LULC changes and take preventive and protective measures where changes in LULC were predicted in the future, taking into account land management conditions (scenario 2).

New article on landfill site selection for solid waste in Iran

Optimal Landfill Site Selection for Solid Waste of Three Municipalities Based on Boolean and Fuzzy Methods: A Case Study in Kermanshah Province, Iran

Authors: Seyed Amir Naghibi (Lund University), Seyed Mohsen Mousavi (Shahid Beheshti University), Golnaz Darvishi (Shahid Beheshti University), and Naghmeh Mobarghaee Dinan (Shahid Beheshti University).

October, 2022

Journal land


In recent decades, population increase and urban development have led to catastrophic environmental consequences. One of the principal objectives to achieve “sustainable development” is to find suitable landfills. Due to their physical characteristics, which have led to a lack of landfill sites and closeness to water bodies, agricultural fields, and residential areas, the cities of Javanrood, Paveh, and Ravansar were chosen as the necessary research regions. On the other hand, these landfills are unable to accommodate the growing urban population. Therefore, this study attempts to develop a framework for spotting the most suitable sites for landfill construction with these three cities as case studies. For this, 10 important driving factors (9 factors and 1 constraint) in landfill site selection were generated. Second, for the fuzzy membership function, the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) method was employed for the standardization of criteria and determining the weight of the driving factors. Then, the Boolean, weighted linear combination (WLC) and ordered weighted average (OWA) methods were utilized to spot optimal sites for landfills. Finally, two suitable sites were found for landfills: site (a) was obtained from the WLC, and site (b) was obtained from OWA-low risk some trade-off (LRST) methods. Our results proved the high efficiency of multi-criteria decision-making methodology for landfill site selection.

New article on the use of sewage sludge in sustainable Tunisian agriculture

How Can Sewage Sludge Use in Sustainable Tunisian Agriculture Be Increased?

Authors: Ronny Berndtsson (Lund University CMES), Nidhal Marzougui, Nadia Ounalli, Sonia Sabbahi, Tarek Fezzani, Farah Abidi, Walid Oueslati, Sourour Melki, Sihem Jebari

October, 2022

MDPI Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute


In recent years, farmers in Beja, an agricultural governorate in northwestern Tunisia, have expressed their willingness to use urban sewage sludge as agricultural fertilizer, especially with the unavailability of chemical fertilizers and the soil type of the region that is poor in organic matter. However, there is an imbalance between the important farmers’ demand versus the limited quantity of sludge produced by the Beja wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). In the face of this, this study aims to identify the problems related to the agricultural reuse of sludge in Beja and propose solutions to solve them. The quality of the sludge produced by the five Beja WWTPs was assessed based on physicochemical and microbiological parameters. The data were collected using the Delphi method, with 15 experts representing different positions on the issue treated. The SWOT-AHP methodology was used to define the strategies promoting the sustainable use and management of urban sewage sludge for sustainable agricultural development in Beja. Results showed that there were no problems with compliance with the Tunisian standards NT 106.20 for the sludge produced. A set of twelve practical conclusions was identified, constituting the strategies of Strengths–Opportunities, Strengths–Threats, Weaknesses–Opportunities, and Weaknesses–Threats deduced from the SWOT-AHP.

New book on Middle Eastern Diasporas

Routledge Handbook on Middle Eastern Diasporas

Edited by Dalia Abdelhady and Ramy Aly (CMES Lund University, and American University in Cairo)

August, 2022

Routledge Taylor & Francis Group


Bringing together different strands of research on Middle Eastern diasporas, the Routledge Handbook on Middle Eastern Diasporas sheds light on diverse approaches to investigating diaspora groups in different national contexts.

Asking how diasporans forge connections and means of belonging, the analyses provided turn the reader’s gaze to the multiple forms of belonging to both peoples and places. Rather than seeing diasporans as marginalized groups of people longing to return to a homeland, analyses in this volume demonstrate that Middle East diasporans, like other diasporas and citizens alike, are people who respond to major social change and transformations. Those we count as Middle Eastern diasporans, both in the region and beyond, contribute to transnational social spaces, and new forms of cultural expressions. Chapters included cover how diasporas have been formed, the ways that diasporans make and remake homes, the expressive terrains where diasporas are contested, how class, livelihoods, and mobility inflect diasporic practices, the emergence of diasporic sensibilities, and, finally, scholarship that draws our attention to the plurilocality of Middle Eastern diasporas.

Offering a rich compilation of case studies, this book will appeal to students of Middle Eastern Studies, International Relations, and Sociology, as well as being of interest to policymakers, government departments, and NGOs.

CMES Research Seminar: Law, Language and Space Making – Three Dimensions of Human Rights in Egyptian Feminist Activism Post-2011

Emma Sundkvist gives a talk on feminist activism in post-revolutionary Egypt. Her dissertation explores feminist activism in post-revolutionary Egypt and how activists used human rights in diverse ways during different periods of unrest and political instability.

When: 15 December 2022, 13:15 to 14:30 (CEST).

Where: CMES Seminar room (Finngatan 16) and on Zoom.

RegistrationFollow this link to register for the event

Emma Sundkvist is a Senior Lecturer in Human Rights Studies at Lund University.



CMES Research Seminar: Challenging Global Gender Mainstreaming – Syrian Refugees in Jordan as a Case Study

Yafa Shanneik gives a talk on the impact of humanitarian interventions on gender rights and the safety of displaced people in the Middle East by taking Syrian refugees in Jordan as a case study. This study analyses imam marriages within their multi-layered local and transnational socio-political contexts, highlighting the wider complexity of power relations in which intersecting and often conflicting, structures place women in more vulnerable positions.

When: 17 November 2022, 13:15 to 14:30 (CEST).

Where: CMES Seminar room (Finngatan 16) and on Zoom.

Registration: Follow this link to register for the event

Yafa Shanneik is Visiting Professor at the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies in Lund. Yafa’s research focuses on the intersections between Islam, gender, and migration in two regional contexts: Europe and the Middle East.


CMES Research Seminar: The Rise and Fall of Tunisian Democracy

Kasper Ly Netterstrøm gives a talk on the Tunisian revolution and constitutional process and tries to identify some of the more structural causes of the current crises. The talk emphasizes the role of the Islamists, the Tunisian General Labor Union, the democratic institutions established by the 2014 constitution, and the unfulfilled promises of the revolution.

When: 3 November 2022, 13:15 to 14:30 (CEST)

Where: CMES Seminar room (Finngatan 16) and on Zoom.

Registration: Follow this link to register

Kasper Ly Netterstrøm is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at the University of Copenhagen.



CMES Research Seminar: Transnational Lives and Narratives – Three Scandinavian Women Missionaries and the 1915 Armenian Genocide

Maria Småberg gives a talk on the Scandinavian missionaries that witnessed the 1915 Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire while working as nurses in Armenian orphanages in the eastern part of Turkey. Maria discusses how to understand and witness reporting and humanitarian work from the example of these individuals’ transnational lives and narratives.

When: 20 October 2022, 13:15 to 14:30 (CEST).

Where: CMES Seminar room (Finngatan 16) and on Zoom.

Registration: Follow this link to register for the event

Maria Småberg is a professor of History and CMES researcher at Lund University.