Evaluating responses to land degradation mitigation measures in southern Italy

B. Basso, L. de Simone, D. Cammarano, E. C. Martin, S. Margiotta, P. R. Grace, M. L. Yeh, T. Y. Chou

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30 Scopus citations

Abstract

The main factors affecting environmental sensitivity to degradation are soil, vegetation, climate and management, through either their intrinsic characteristics or by their interaction on the landscape. Different levels of degradation risks may be observed in response to particular combinations of the aforementioned factors. For instance, the combination of inappropriate management practices and intrinsically weak soil conditions will result in a severe degradation of the environment, while the combination of the same type of management with better soil conditions may lead to negligible degradation. The aim of this study was to identify factors and their impact on land degradation processes in three areas of the Basilicata region (southern Italy) using a procedure that couples environmental indices, GIS and crop-soil simulation models. Areas prone to desertification were first identified using the Environmental Sensitive Areas (ESA) procedure. An analysis for identifying the weight that each of the contributing factor (climate, soil, vegetation, management) had on the ESA was carried out using GIS techniques. The SALUS model was successfully executed to identify the management practices that could lead to better soil conditions to enhance land use sustainability. The best management practices were found to be those that minimized soil disturbance and increased soil organic carbon. Two alternative scenarios with improved soil quality and subsequently improving soil water holding capacity were used as mitigation measures. The ESA were recalculated and the effects of the mitigation measures suggested by the model were assessed. The new ESA showed a significant reduction on land degradation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-380
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research
Volume6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012

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Keywords

  • Desertification
  • Environment
  • GIS
  • Land degradation
  • SALUS
  • Sensitivity index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)

Cite this

Basso, B., de Simone, L., Cammarano, D., Martin, E. C., Margiotta, S., Grace, P. R., Yeh, M. L., & Chou, T. Y. (2012). Evaluating responses to land degradation mitigation measures in southern Italy. International Journal of Environmental Research, 6(2), 367-380.