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Agro-environmental Indicators and Land Quality in the Mediterranean Basin: a Preliminary Analysis

L. Salvati, Sofia Bajocco, A. Sabbi, M. Zitti


Rural landscape was rapidly changing in southern Europe during the last years. Urban growth with the consequent abandonment of cultivated lands, and the unsustainable use of land, soil, and water resources are examples of the growing environmental pressures impacting on the agro-forest ecosystem. The linkage between the environment and the primary sector can be expressed by the ecosystem functions. Based on this framework, a set of agro-environmental indicators was proposed here in order to assess the sustainability of the agriculture at the local scale. Indicators were classified into three groups to depict agricultural constraints, benefits, and negative externalities. A preliminary analysis of a key indicator selected within the specified set was carried out at the municipal level in Latium, central Italy, a region with high crop yield and a marked human pressure on rural lands. The dimension of agro-environmental quality was explored in the study area by pointing out the influence of the socio-environmental context, including the growth of the urban area of Rome determining soil consumption of agricultural and forest land in rural districts. The role of agro-environmental indicators as a decision-making tool aimed at overcoming the socio-economic and ecological unbalances at the local and regional scales was finally discussed.


Agro-environmental indicators; geographical analysis; Latium; Italy.

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