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A Fifty-Year Sustainability Assessment of Italian Agro-Forest Districts

Author

Listed:
  • Fabio Recanatesi

    () (Department of Agriculture, Forest, Nature and Energy (DAFNE), University of Tuscia, Via S. Camillo de Lellis snc, Viterbo I-01100, Italy)

  • Matteo Clemente

    () (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Perugia, Via G. Duranti, 93, Perugia I-06125, Italy)

  • Efstathios Grigoriadis

    () (Department of Architecture and Project, La Sapienza University of Rome, Via Flaminia 359, Rome I-00196, Italy)

  • Flavia Ranalli

    () (Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Via della Navicella 2–4, Rome I-00184, Italy)

  • Marco Zitti

    () (Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Via della Navicella 2–4, Rome I-00184, Italy)

  • Luca Salvati

    () (Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Via della Navicella 2–4, Rome I-00184, Italy)

Abstract

As cropland management and land use shifted towards more intensive practices, global land degradation increased drastically. Understanding relationships between ecological and socioeconomic drivers of soil and landscape degradation within these landscapes in economically dynamic contexts such as the Mediterranean region, requires multi-target and multi-scalar approaches covering long-term periods. This study provides an original approach for identifying desertification risk drivers and sustainable land management strategies within Italian agro-forest districts. An Environmental Sensitivity Area (ESA) approach, based on four thematic indicators (climate, soil, vegetation and land-use) and a composite index of desertification risk (ESAI), was used to evaluate changes in soil vulnerability and landscape degradation between the years 1960 and 2010. A multivariate model was developed to identify the most relevant drivers causing changes in land susceptibility at the district scale. Larger districts, and those with a higher proportion of their total surface area classified as agro-forest, had a significantly lower increase in land susceptibility to degradation during the 50 years when compared with the remaining districts. We conclude that preserving economic viability and ecological connectivity of traditional, extensive agricultural systems is a key measure to mitigate the desertification risk in the Mediterranean region.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabio Recanatesi & Matteo Clemente & Efstathios Grigoriadis & Flavia Ranalli & Marco Zitti & Luca Salvati, 2015. "A Fifty-Year Sustainability Assessment of Italian Agro-Forest Districts," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(1), pages 1-13, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2015:i:1:p:32-:d:61475
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Salvati, Luca & Zitti, Marco, 2008. "Regional convergence of environmental variables: Empirical evidences from land degradation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1-2), pages 162-168, December.
    2. Reshmita Nath & Yibo Luan & Wangming Yang & Chen Yang & Wen Chen & Qian Li & Xuefeng Cui, 2015. "Changes in Arable Land Demand for Food in India and China: A Potential Threat to Food Security," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(5), pages 1-27, April.
    3. Pasquale Borrelli & Panos Panagos & Luca Montanarella, 2015. "New Insights into the Geography and Modelling of Wind Erosion in the European Agricultural Land. Application of a Spatially Explicit Indicator of Land Susceptibility to Wind Erosion," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(7), pages 1-14, July.
    4. Hualin Xie & Jinlang Zou & Hailing Jiang & Ning Zhang & Yongrok Choi, 2014. "Spatiotemporal Pattern and Driving Forces of Arable Land-Use Intensity in China: Toward Sustainable Land Management Using Emergy Analysis," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(6), pages 1-17, May.
    5. Marianne Lefebvre & Maria Espinosa & Sergio Gomez-y-Paloma, 2012. "The influence of the Common Agricultural Policy on agricultural landscapes," JRC Working Papers JRC73276, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    vulnerability; soil degradation; environmental indicators; desertification; Italy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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