Soil erosion is a common form of land degradation in Europe concentrating on sloping rural areas. Consequences of soil erosion include the alteration of the long-term balance between ecosystem functioning and socio-ecological systems. Although it was hypothesized that rural areas with specific environmental (soil, climate, vegetation) and territorial attributes (economic marginality and poor accessibility) are more exposed to soil erosion risk, less information are available on the spatial link with various socio-spatial, productive, cultural and political attributes of local communities, spanning from unemployment to subsidence agriculture, from quality of life to water management, from poverty to economic backwardness. Taken together, these factors may trigger a downward spiral leading to land degradation. The present study explores, on a municipal scale in Italy, the spatial relationship between an index of soil erosion risk and 133 indicators describing six research domains. Exploratory data analysis based on non-parametric inference, principal components analysis and hierarchical clustering was carried out with the aim to profile municipalities exposed to high risk of soil erosion and to identify a restricted number of factors possibly determining a downward spiral towards soil erosion and land degradation. Results indicate that the socioeconomic profile of risky areas in Italy is characterized by specific rural development attributes and defined productive structure and socio-spatial characteristics representing a possible target for mitigation policies. Multi-factor studies investigating the influence of the local socioeconomic context on soil erosion may contribute to improve the effectiveness of national soil conservation strategies.
|Autori:||Sabbi, A.;Salvati, L.|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2014|
|Titolo:||Searching for a downward spiral? Soil erosion risk, agro-forest landscape and socioeconomic conditions in Italian local communities|
|Rivista:||LAND USE POLICY|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|