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Mediterranean Desertification and the Economic System


  • Luca Salvati

    () (Sapienza University of Rome and National Council for Research in Agriculture)


This paper reviews the role of market, population growth, social issues, developmental policies, and other (minor) economic variables contributing to Mediterranean desertification. These variables were classified as describing the micro-economic and macro-economic factors suitable to assure a better comprehension of the environmental-economic nexus. Micro-economic factors like the higher prices and lower wages in the primary sector, as well as the reduction of off-farm employment reflect some potential causes of LD. It was also argued how technical change, agricultural input prices, and household income may affect land vulnerability but their contribution to this ecological problem is poorly known. On the contrary, the role of macroeconomic factors such as population density, poverty, and environmental policies, although more extensively studied on a qualitative base, was regarded as important but still relatively ambiguous, and needs further quantitative studies. Territorial disparities in land distribution, as well as increasing rural poverty and unsustainable management of soil and water were described as a consequence of the process triggering Mediterranean desertification. The effectiveness of policies aimed at mitigating LD and thus reducing desertification risk was finally discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Salvati, 2010. "Mediterranean Desertification and the Economic System," Working Papers - Dipartimento di Economia 10, Dipartimento di Economia, Sapienza University of Rome, revised 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:des:wpaper:20

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. de Groot, Rudolf S. & Wilson, Matthew A. & Boumans, Roelof M. J., 2002. "A typology for the classification, description and valuation of ecosystem functions, goods and services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 393-408, June.
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    Land degradation; desertification; economic system; micro-economic causes; macro-economic factors; Mediterranean basin;

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