Estimating land degradation risk for agriculture in Italy using an indirect approach
This paper illustrates a two-step procedure for measuring land degradation (LD) risk in agriculture. The procedure estimated the potential costs of LD from a standard index of land sensitivity to degradation (ESAI) by calculating, over 784 local districts covering the entire Italian territory, a 'depletion factor' in relation to the agricultural value added. The procedure was based on changes in the ESAI (1990-2000) and ancillary variables (i.e., per capita value added, share of agriculture in the total production, and agricultural profitability). On average, the estimated costs of LD in Italy amounted to nearly 0.5% of the agricultural value added (which corresponded to 12[euro]/ha of cultivated surface). These figures are comparable to those presented in the literature for regions with similar environmental conditions. This paper contains descriptions of the assumptions under which the proposed scheme works and comments on their empirical plausibility.
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