Resilience, considered as the ability of a system to absorb and compensate pressures derived from human and natural systems, is a topic of interest in the Mediterranean region whose landscape is the joint result of social, economic and environmental factors. The present study analyses the changes in the Italian landscape over two periods (1960–1990 and 1990–2010) of the last 50 years through a composite index of environmental resilience and vulnerability to land degradation. Results indicate that the spatial distribution of this index has been considerably changed from a relatively simple geography (mainly reflecting a latitude gradient) to a more complex pattern. The level of vulnerability of southern Italian land maintained quite stable while increasing significantly in Northern and Central Italy. The (potential) resilience level decreased over time in Central and Northern Italy while growing moderately in Southern Italy. This means that important processes of environmental changes impacting landscape resilience occurred with a different spatial trend in Italy. The composite index derived from vulnerability and potential resilience estimates at the regional scale revealed crucial to map over time the increase of surface land exposed to desertification risk. Results support the adoption of measures promoting a sustainable land management in environmentally vulnerable land with low potential to resilience.

Landscape changes and environmental quality: the evolution of land vulnerability and potential resilience to degradation in Italy

SALVATI, LUCA;FERRARA, Agostino Maria Silvio
2013

Abstract

Resilience, considered as the ability of a system to absorb and compensate pressures derived from human and natural systems, is a topic of interest in the Mediterranean region whose landscape is the joint result of social, economic and environmental factors. The present study analyses the changes in the Italian landscape over two periods (1960–1990 and 1990–2010) of the last 50 years through a composite index of environmental resilience and vulnerability to land degradation. Results indicate that the spatial distribution of this index has been considerably changed from a relatively simple geography (mainly reflecting a latitude gradient) to a more complex pattern. The level of vulnerability of southern Italian land maintained quite stable while increasing significantly in Northern and Central Italy. The (potential) resilience level decreased over time in Central and Northern Italy while growing moderately in Southern Italy. This means that important processes of environmental changes impacting landscape resilience occurred with a different spatial trend in Italy. The composite index derived from vulnerability and potential resilience estimates at the regional scale revealed crucial to map over time the increase of surface land exposed to desertification risk. Results support the adoption of measures promoting a sustainable land management in environmentally vulnerable land with low potential to resilience.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11563/47448
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