Πέμπτη, 9 Απριλίου 2015

Complex Adaptive Systems, soil degradation and land sensitivity to desertification: A multivariate assessment of Italian agro-forest landscape

[ΠΗΓΗ ΕΔΩ - Στην επιστημονική ομάδα συμμετέχει ο Δρ.Αναστάσιος Φ. Μαυράκης που έχει συντάξει τον "Κατάλογο Επιστημονικών Εργασιών για το Θριάσιο Πεδίο και τον Κόλπο της Ελευσίνας"  ΕΔΩ

Luca Salvatia, Anastasios Mavrakisb, Andrea Colantonic, Giuseppe Mancinod, Agostino Ferrarad

Abstract

Degradation of soils and sensitivity of land to desertification are intensified in last decades in the Mediterranean region producing heterogeneous spatial patterns determined by the interplay of factors such as climate, land-use changes, and human pressure. The present study hypothesizes that rising levels of soil degradation and land sensitivity to desertification are reflected into increasingly complex (and non-linear) relationships between environmental and socioeconomic variables. To verify this hypothesis, the Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) framework was used to explore the spatiotemporal dynamics of eleven indicators derived from a standard assessment of soil degradation and land sensitivity to desertification in Italy. Indicators were made available on a detailed spatial scale (773 agricultural districts) for various years (1960, 1990, 2000 and 2010) and analyzed through a multi-dimensional exploratory data analysis. 

Our results indicate that the number of significant pair-wise correlations observed between indicators increased with the level of soil and land degradation, although with marked differences between northern and southern Italy. ‘Fast’ and ‘slow’ factors underlying soil and land degradation, and ‘rapidly-evolving’ or ‘locked’ agricultural districts were identified according to the rapidity of change estimated for each of the indicators studied. In southern Italy, ‘rapidly-evolving’ districts show a high level of soil degradation and land sensitivity to desertification during the whole period of investigation. On the contrary, those districts in northern Italy are those experiencing a moderate soil degradation and land sensitivity to desertification with the highest increase in the level of sensitivity over time. The study framework contributes to the assessment of complex local systems' dynamics in affluent but divided countries. Results may inform thematic strategies for the mitigation of land and soil degradation in the framework of action plans to combat desertification.

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