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Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 78; doi:10.3390/su9010078

Where Land Use Changes Occur: Using Soil Features to Understand the Economic Trends in Agricultural Lands

1
Dipartimento di Bioscienze e Territorio, Università degli Studi del Molise, Pesche (IS) 86090, Italy
2
Research Centre for Inner Areas and Apennines (ArIA), Dipartimento di Bioscienze e Territorio, Università degli Studi del Molise, Pesche (IS) 86090, Italy
3
Agronomist, Rome 00134, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Beniamino Murgante and Federico Martellozzo
Received: 5 November 2016 / Revised: 28 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 9 January 2017
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [4895 KB, uploaded 9 January 2017]   |  

Abstract

This study investigates the major land use change processes over the 1990–2008 period in Abruzzo region (Central Italy) in relation to the characteristics of the soils and with particular regard to their capability for agricultural purposes, in order to highlight their implications on agricultural productivity. The relative changes in the agricultural incomes and land values were also estimated. To this end, we proposed an inventory approach as a flexible and feasible way for monitoring land use changes at multiple scales. As main outcomes, the shrinkage of agricultural lands and their internal changes (intensification vs. extensification processes) were highlighted. The shrinkage of agricultural lands was strictly related to: (a) reforestation process in mountain areas and less productive lands after land abandonment; and (b) urbanization on plains and more productive lands. Although the intensification process was demonstrated to have a positive effect on the overall regional agricultural incomes, especially on high quality soils, this was not adequate to compensate the economic loss due to the other land use changes, especially in marginal areas and low-to-medium quality soils. Finally, the paper discusses the geographical pattern of land use change processes across the region, including their interrelations and combined effects, and ultimately offers recommendations to decision-makers addressing future sustainable development objectives from local to global scale. View Full-Text
Keywords: land use change monitoring; soil region; land capability; mean agricultural value; Italy land use change monitoring; soil region; land capability; mean agricultural value; Italy
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Rivieccio, R.; Sallustio, L.; Paolanti, M.; Vizzarri, M.; Marchetti, M. Where Land Use Changes Occur: Using Soil Features to Understand the Economic Trends in Agricultural Lands. Sustainability 2017, 9, 78.

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