The present study assesses the level of sensitivity to desertification of forest types in Italy between 2000 and 2010 on a fine resolution scale using the Environmental Sensitive Area (ESA) scheme. The proposed methodology identifies and ranks the level of sensitivity of fourteen forest types and quantifies the changes in their level of sensitivity over time as a contribution to understanding of complex landscape-forest interactions in Mediterranean ecosystems. Only few forest types showed a relatively high sensitivity level, suggesting that forests may positively contribute to the mitigation of land degradation processes in the Mediterranean region. Forest types showing the highest sensitivity are native types mostly adapted to dry Mediterranean landscapes, introduced vegetation types and highly-fragmented and heterogeneous forest types. Results suggest that: (i) high-quality and biodiversity-rich forest types (e.g., beech, mountain pine forests) may act as vegetation buffer mitigating the increase of land sensitivity to desertification at the landscape scale; and (ii) the remaining forest types (especially highly fragmented, low-quality or low-biodiversity classes in areas with severe soil and climate conditions) may undergo increases in land sensitivity to desertification and should be protected through specific management measures as also implemented in the framework of the National Action Plans to Combat Desertification.

Estimating sensitivity of different forest types to desertification in Italy

SALVATI, LUCA;FERRARA, Agostino Maria Silvio;
2015

Abstract

The present study assesses the level of sensitivity to desertification of forest types in Italy between 2000 and 2010 on a fine resolution scale using the Environmental Sensitive Area (ESA) scheme. The proposed methodology identifies and ranks the level of sensitivity of fourteen forest types and quantifies the changes in their level of sensitivity over time as a contribution to understanding of complex landscape-forest interactions in Mediterranean ecosystems. Only few forest types showed a relatively high sensitivity level, suggesting that forests may positively contribute to the mitigation of land degradation processes in the Mediterranean region. Forest types showing the highest sensitivity are native types mostly adapted to dry Mediterranean landscapes, introduced vegetation types and highly-fragmented and heterogeneous forest types. Results suggest that: (i) high-quality and biodiversity-rich forest types (e.g., beech, mountain pine forests) may act as vegetation buffer mitigating the increase of land sensitivity to desertification at the landscape scale; and (ii) the remaining forest types (especially highly fragmented, low-quality or low-biodiversity classes in areas with severe soil and climate conditions) may undergo increases in land sensitivity to desertification and should be protected through specific management measures as also implemented in the framework of the National Action Plans to Combat Desertification.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11563/95492
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