Overgrazing is a common form of land degradation at the global scale with negative impact on ecosystem functioning, natural capital stocks, socio-ecological systems and economic development. Although most of the regions in Mediterranean Europe are affected by soil degradation driven by unsustainable grazing, information on the spatial relationship among overgrazing, the economic structure and socio-spatial attributes of rural communities is limited. The present study explores the relationship between an index of grazing pressure and a set of indicators assessing six thematic domains (Population dynamics and human settlement, Labour market and human capital, Economic specialization and competitiveness, Quality of life, Agriculture and rural development, Territory and environment) at the municipal scale in Italy. An exploratory data analysis based on non-parametric inference, multiple regression models, Principal Component Analysis and Hierarchical Clustering was developed with the aim to profile municipalities exposed to high or low degree of grazing pressure. An index of overgrazing-driven soil degradation risk which integrates grazing intensity and soil erosion risk was finally proposed. The analysis contributes to identify socioeconomic factors influencing soil degradation in areas with unsustainable grazing possibly leading to desertification risk. Results indicate that the socioeconomic profile of municipalities with high grazing pressure is characterized by specific socio-spatial and economic attributes, traditional cropping systems and a typical land-use structure. Our results may support the development of sustainable land management strategies in areas sensitive to land degradation in the Mediterranean region.
|Autori:||Salvati, L.;Carlucci, M.|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Titolo:||Towards sustainability in agro-forest systems? Grazing intensity, soil degradation and the socioeconomic profile of rural communities in Italy|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|