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Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 3086-3104; doi:10.3390/su6053086

Territorial Systems, Regional Disparities and Sustainability: Economic Structure and Soil Degradation in Italy

1
Consiglio per la Ricerca e la sperimentazione in Agricoltura—Centro per lo studio delle Relazioni Pianta-Suolo (CRA-RPS), Via della Navicella 2-4, I-00184 Rome, Italy
2
Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali ed Economiche, Sapienza Università di Roma, P.le A. Moro 5, I-00185 Rome, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 March 2014 / Revised: 13 May 2014 / Accepted: 14 May 2014 / Published: 19 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Abstract

The present study was devoted to identify the evolutionary path of a number of local systems in a Mediterranean country vulnerable to soil degradation (SD) in the last decades. A multivariate analysis was used to evaluate the socio-ecological conditions and to estimate rapidity-of-change of local systems by considering 6 bio-physical factors predisposing soil to degradation and 23 socioeconomic indicators over fifty years (1960–2010). Results indicate that systems’ development paths diverged during the investigated time period reflecting changes in the spatial organization and in the economic base of entire regions. Interestingly, economic performance and environmental quality do not seem to follow opposite trajectories. Local systems characterized by low per-capita income, agricultural specialization and population ageing, seem not to be associated with better and more stable ecological conditions. Local systems in affluent areas, featuring a mix of socioeconomic conditions with the prevalence of services in the economy and tourism specialization, showed relatively good ecological conditions and moderate-to-low SD vulnerability. Thus, affluent local systems do not necessarily reflect a higher pressure on the environment. These findings suggest that areas with a changing socio-demographic profile and a dynamic economic structure are compatible with low and stable levels of SD vulnerability. View Full-Text
Keywords: socioeconomic systems; Italy; multidimensional approach; mediterranean region socioeconomic systems; Italy; multidimensional approach; mediterranean region
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Salvati, L.; Zitti, M.; Carlucci, M. Territorial Systems, Regional Disparities and Sustainability: Economic Structure and Soil Degradation in Italy. Sustainability 2014, 6, 3086-3104.

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