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Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2174; doi:10.3390/su9122174

Anthropization Processes and Protection of the Environment: An Assessment of Land Cover Changes in Sardinia, Italy

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Architecture, University of Cagliari, Via Marengo 2, Cagliari 09123, Italy
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Received: 30 October 2017 / Revised: 17 November 2017 / Accepted: 22 November 2017 / Published: 25 November 2017
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Abstract

Protection of the environment is implemented through preventive and mitigating measures aimed at hindering anthropization processes. These measures may possibly entail the establishment of natural protected areas and sites where conservation measures are stated under the provisions of the “Habitats” Directive (No. 92/43/EEC) and Directive No. 2009/147/EC (the so-called “Birds” Directive, which modifies Directive No. 79/409/EEC). A straightforward way of assessing widespread anthropization processes consists in analyzing land cover changes related artificialization processes concerning natural areas. In this study, we assess land cover changes by using the simplified land cover taxonomy of the Land and Ecosystem Account classes and by analyzing transition processes; in addition, we propose a comparative appraisal of land cover changes occurring in areas characterized by different protection regimes, as follows: areas protected under the provisions of national or regional acts or regulations; sites belonging to the Natura 2000 network, that is, protected under the Habitats or Birds Directives; and unprotected areas. We analyze anthropization processes that take place in Sardinia, an Italian insular region characterized by the presence of several national and regional protected areas and by a significant system of Natura 2000 sites, and assess land cover changes over a twelve-year period (2000–2012). The outcomes of our study put in evidence important lessons related to the definition and implementation of planning policies aiming at preventing anthropization processes in Sardinia. Moreover, the assessment methodology we implement in our study can be exported to other European regions to set up planning processes that fit the local features of land cover changes. View Full-Text
Keywords: protected areas; Natura 2000 network; land cover change; transition processes protected areas; Natura 2000 network; land cover change; transition processes
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

Lai, S.; Leone, F.; Zoppi, C. Anthropization Processes and Protection of the Environment: An Assessment of Land Cover Changes in Sardinia, Italy. Sustainability 2017, 9, 2174.

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