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An Integrated Indicator System for the Assessment of Land Quality and Soil Degradation in a Mediterranean Rural Area
In Mediterranean Europe, urbanization, climate change, and agricultural intensification contribute to land degradation, a process that triggers desertification risk and reduces land quality especially in rural areas. To define the impact of agriculture on land quality, the present study illustrates a decision support system based on a set of agri-environmental indicators (AGR-ESA) exploring four research dimensions (rural demography, landscape quality, farm management, and the sustainability of the agricultural practices implemented at farm level). Thirty-two indicators have been included in an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) scheme and a composite index of land quality has been calculated accordingly. The AGR-ESA indicator system was applied to a Mediterranean agricultural region with increasing human pressure (Latium region, central Italy). The use of AGR-ESA as a tool capable to quantify the agricultural impact on the environment was discussed as an original contribution to the study of land degradation in the Mediterranean basin.
Agri-environmental indicators, Environmental Sensitive Areas, Mediterranean Europe.
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